Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm a "Ma'e" Again October 29, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

Well, as the subject suggests, I´m training! I received my new companion yesterday. Her name is Sister Moscoso and she´s from Peru. We received 4 new sisters yesterday and not one elder from the CTM in São Paulo, 3 Brazilian sisters and 1 Hispanic (my companion) :) I attached a photo of the two of us from this morning. (I know I look like a mess but it´s P-day :)) The other photo I attached was when Sister Chauque braided my hair and I slept with the braids in and the next morning she took the briads out and my hair was all crimpy :) 

So, I´m not a Sister Leader Trainer now because I´m training. Sister Chauque is still the Sister leader trainer in our zone with Sister Gomes. They are in Tambaú which is the ward next to ours and their apartment building is about 2 minutes aways from ours, walking! 

Well, I´m in the same area, Manaíra which is cool. So, I`ll only have 4 areas during my mission. So, some cool news, yesterday when I went to the chapel to meet up with the other trainers, a member from my 2nd area, Prossind, was there. He said that one of my recent converts, Jeremias, is thinking about and preparing to serve a mission! He´s 20 years old! I was so excited! 

Well other big news, the other sisters in our house, Sister Briones and Sister Sayonara are going to have a baptism this week. The husband and wife are going to be married legally tomorrow and their baptism along with their 2 daughters will be on Saturday! They have been investigating the church four about 4 months now! Their story is so cool. Ronaldo is the dad and he had prayed to be able to have more peace in his home and to improve his relationship with his spouse and family. Well about 2 days later the sisters knocked on his door and he invited them in. His wife, Solange, in the beginning did not like the sisters or the church at all. She even made fun of them. Well, he continued to investigate the church and her heart was softened. But, she was still having problems quitting smoking and drinking coffee. Well, when I arrived here, they lived in our area, so one night we had a great lesson with her and the whole family about the love that God has for us. And that we have to keep the commandments to show our love that we have for God. Well, at the end of the lesson we all kneeled down and I said the prayer. This Sunday in Church during Gospel Principles, Solange explained that after that prayer that we said kneeling down, she decided to stop smoking and she never again smoked a cigarrette and she poured the coffee down the drain. It was so powerful when she shared this story. It´s amazing the power of prayer. I´m so happy for them and I can´t wait to be there and see there baptism. 

Mom: So I know that it must be crazy to look for housing. At this point, I don´t know if it will work out to live with other sisters that returned home. Well, I know that I don´t want to live in new heritage or wyview with the upper classmen. So, I guess what I´m looking for in an apartment would be air conditioning, and internet access, wifi would be great but if no, the internet that you have to use a cable would be fine as well. I haven´t been able to get in touch very well with the sisters that I know that returned home and/or they already have contracts. But I know that I just want a contract for winter semester because spring semester I`m going to room with Lexi, Emma, Sister Stolk, etc. I know it´s a lot to do mom but I trust your judgment, thanks Mom!

And the 19th sounds great for the open house :)

Also, to get around town I think the easiest thing would be to get a taxi and I thought that also at times we could use the public bus system as well (it´s really good) 

Ballet 390 sounds like it would be a good class, and yah, that´s true that they have an audition in the beginning of the year :) That should be interesting :) 

Dad: Glad to hear that you´ve been able to work on some family history work and missionary work! I will definitely help you with that when I get home! 

That´s so cool that you were able to get the phone number of your mission president! I hope you´re able to catch up with him. 

Bryan: Well I laughed out loud when I read what you wrote about majoring in computer science. Yes, we´ll have to have some good long discussions over Christmas break, hahaaha :) 

And send photos from Halloween, can´t wait to see how you guys all look :) 

Lindsey: Thanks for sending the photos! She looks great! 

Well, I´ll definitely miss the random donkeys in the street and the crazy loud music and parties. There are so many things that I´ll miss, rice and beans every day as well! 

Well, I have to go but I love you all the MOSTIEST!!!

Love you all so much,
Sister Hicks

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Keep on Keeping On! October 20, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

First off, thank you soo much for all the emails, blog posts, videos and photos that everyone sent this week. It definitely made my day that much brighter and was exactly what I needed. 

So before I forget, transfers are next Wednesday so I´ll email next Wednesday, not Monday, just a heads up :)

Well, this week was a little tough but this coming week will be better :) So, our only investigator that went to church last week, didn´t want to hear more. We taught the Restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to be baptized. Well, the next day we passed by and he said to pass by later but when we passed by he wasn´t at home. The next day we passed by his grandma and brother talked to us and said that he didn´t want to hear more. We tried calling him but I think he recognized our number. Well, our district leader called him and talked to him and it was true what his family had said. He told our district leader that he just wanted to visit the church but didn´t want to hear more. It´s always hard to see when people use their free agency to choose to not hear our message but this was the Lord´s plan, the ability to choose. 

haha, Mom, don´t even worry about last week. I assumed that was probably what had happened. Don´t even worry Mom, it´s all good. I got to read two emails this week from you! 

So, in response to your question about the ballet class, yes it says that 290 is a pre-requisite but I exceeded the level so I didn´t have to take it. I was but in the higher level, the 391. So, I don´t know which class is better, 391 is what I took my first two semesters but now it´s been a year and a half since I have danced. I´ll probably have to see once I get out there if I still can keep up with the 391 or see if 290 would be better for the first semester back. Maybe you can call the dance department and ask them what would be better. Just tell them that I was in the 391 before I went on my mission but ask them what they think you should do, register for 290 or 391. 

I emailed Sister Johnson and asked her to talk to some other sisters this week about housing. I also emailed Rachel Hawkley (my BYU roommate) she said that she´s going to live in Allred. Maybe you could check it out online to see what it´s like. She said that there will probably be some openings as well. I should know better next week when Sister Johnson emails me back. 

Yes, I definitely want to see the Nutcracker. I know Abbie and Julia would die if I didn´t see it. It would probably be good to buy tickets for the noon show because I know that Amanda comes in on the 20th as well. 

Good to know about EFY, I´ll just worry about that when I get back. 

Well, the family activity that I want to do when I get back is see the Christmas lights at the temple and do a session in the temple with everyone :)

To eat: Chicken broccoli casserole, big surprise :)

And in response to your question about me feeling the support of your prayers. Yes, I definitely feel the love and support. I know that there are days when I am supported and lifted by the prayers that you offer. I know that it´s absolutely true that the Lord and His angels are on our left side and right side and always go in front of us. Thank you for all your love and support. 

Taylor: Glad to hear that everything is going well at school. Thanks for helping Mom with the school registration stuff! That´s a big help for me. 

I hope everything goes well with the job interviews at Target and Enterprise. You´re gonna rock that interview! 
Bryan: Unfortunately the link opened but opened in YouTube and I don´t think we can watch it on youtube and I don´t think there was sound either. You´ll have to show me when I get back :)

haha, I think you´re going to have do some more convincing when I get back about this whole CS stuff :)

Kimball: It really is true about the converts to the Church during the pioneer age. It´s crazy that they were truly recent converts and left their families to go on missions with such little time as a member. 
That´s great that seminary is going so well, keep up the good work!

Kelsey: Loved the pictures that you sent! It´s crazy how fast Guy is growing up. I loved the Halloween idea as well! So creative! 
So, Halloween definitely isn´t a big thing here but they have a "Dia dos Mortos" which means Day of the Dead. The Brazilian sister that lives with us, Sister Sayonara, said that a lot of people go to the cemetaries to visit their loved ones´ graves. So, it´s Halloween but with a different twist...

Lindsey: Loved the photos that you sent from the State Fair. Everyone looks so great in the pictures!
Well, thank you all so much for your love, prayers, and support. I am so grateful to be a missionary. It´s such an amazing experience!

I love you all the MOSTIEST!!!

Sister Hicks

Things are looking up! October 13, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

Well, this week was a lot better. Sister Chauque and I are getting to know our new area now that we´re in the Manaíra ward. The good news is that are area covers a more humble neighborhood as well. 

This week was a little crazy because Siser Chauque and I went on exchanges Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesday I went to Cabedelo and went on exchanges with Sister Alves (she´s from Cape Verde and ends her mission with me). It was great to be back in Cabedelo and I got to see a few of the members and some of my recent-converts :) 

Then on Wednesday and Thursday, Sister Chauque went on exchanges in Tambaú and I stayed in my area and went on exchanges with the sisters´companions that were going on exchanges in Tambaú. On Wednesday, I went on exchanges with Sister Gomes from Curitiba and on Thursday I went on exchanges with Sister Lugo from Paraguy. They are so great and it´s so cool as a leader to be able to go on exchanges and get to know so many sisters. It´s really on exchanges that you get to know the sisters and exchanges are crucial to be able to find out how you can truly help the sisters in the zone. 

This past week, the APs started doing a thing where every day a few companionships (only sisters) went to the center of João Pessoa where there´s a huge lake. All the public buses stop there and we just contacted people from 8 am (went back to our area for lunch) to 6 PM. It was really tiring and we met lots of different types of people but the four of us in Manaíra got 147 referrals to pass on to the areas here in João Pessoa. It was a pretty crazy experience but it was definitely worth it. I´m not sure if we´re going again this Friday but I´ll let you all know how it goes.

Dad: Thanks for your email. Your emails are always exactly what I need to read every week :) Thanks for all your support and encouragement. :)

So, I heard that our titles were Sister Zone Leaders but maybe it´s just Sister Leader trainer. I don´t know for sure. But a few of our responsibilities are to go on exchanges with all the areas in our zone, there are 6 other companionships (not including ours) in our zone. 2 companionships in Ipês, 2 in Tambaú and 1 in Cabedelo. :) It´s really great to get to know the other sisters. We also have to prepare and give the training at the District Meeting every week. The district meeting is just with the sisters. We also work with the Zone Leaders to plan how we can best help the zone. We also go to the Mission Counsel on the first Tuesday of every month to receive training and to report back on how the month went and how we will improve during the following month. 

Lindsey: I absolutely loved all the blog posts you sent! I know I always write this but I really can´t believe how fast Norah, Alice, and Baby Freya are growing up. I think Alice has changed the most. Thanks for always sending the blog posts to me :) You´re the best and hope that you have a great week :)

Well, yesterday we had an investigator that went to church. His name is Allan and he lives in a neighborhood called São José. It´s a pretty humble neighborhood. He liked church and even stayed for the baptism that the other sisters had. When I invited him to be baptized this Sunday he responded, "This fast, you have to be truly prepared to be baptized." Well, I explained to him that we´re going to teach him this week and that if he feels ready, he will be baptized. He responded that, "Yes, if I truly feel ready I will be baptized." Please pray for Allan so that he can feel a desire to be baptized this Sunday and so that he can recognize the answers to his prayers. 

Well, I´m so grateful to be a missionary. I´m so grateful to be able to get to know so many amazing sisters and see how the blessings in my Patriarchal blessings are truly being fulfilled. 

I love you all the MOSTIEST!!!


Sister Hicks 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Manaira Mania Sept. 29, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

So, this week went really well. Sister Chauque and I went on exchanges with 3 companionships in our zone on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday so it was pretty busy. But it was really to get to know other areas. On Tuesday I went on exchanges with Sister Maciel (woohoo, my old comp) in Ipês 1. And then on Wednesday I went on exchanges with Sister Shirts (from Queimadas, remember?) in Ipês 2. Then on Friday, I went on exchanges with Sister Sayonara and I stayed in my area and Sister Chauque went on exchange in Manaíra 2 (the other sisters´ area, that live in our house).

Oh, so the subject of my email. Yesterday we had a special sacrament meeting with some big news! The Ala (ward) Manaíra was split! And the new ward is Oceania! So, President Nogueira was there and he said that he was going to take a look at the map but for now Sister Chauque and I will serve in the new ward, Oceania, and the other companionship will stay in the Ala Manaíra. So, the new ward boundaries for Oceania are our old area and a part of what was the elders´ area from the Ala Bessa. So, if we stay in the Ala Oceania will have a big new area. But only sad part, Ronaldo and Solange stayed in the Ala Manaíra, about 2 streets from the ward boundary...but it´s life...won´t be our baptism but at least they´ll be baptized!

So, this week my testimony of fasting was truly strengthened. We fasted on Tuesday (here you fast from lunch to lunch) with Ronaldo and Solange so that they would be able to get the money ready to get married and so that Solange would be able to stop smoking. Well, Ronaldo told us a really great story. So, about half an hour before they were going to end their fast, Ronaldo´s daughter´s boyfriend called and asked what he would like for his birthday (it was his birthday on Wednesday). Well he said that he would like him to pay the fee to get married. It was so crazy, it was truly an answer to our prayers and fast. It´s so cool to see how the Lord works in our lives. Then, yesterday at church, Solange came up to us and told us that she decided that she wants to get married and that they would go to the cartório (I don´t remember the word in English, it´s the govt building where you go to get married) today to mark a date for the marriage!!!! Seriously, this week was so great. The Lord truly answers our prayers and fasts! 

Mom: Wow, I am so excited for you guys to come! It´s crazy how everything is coming up so fast! And what?! Guaraná! We drink Guaraná almost every day at lunch (it´s the most popular soda here in Brasil, so good!!) 

And that´s soooo exciting about Amanda Friaca! It´s a bummer that I won´t be able to see her before I leave but I am soooo excited for her!! Could you send me her email address? :) 

About the t-shirts, yah, if you could just bring them with you that would be great :) I don´t think any boxes will get here in time if you mail them now. 

Well, I emailed Sister Johnson (who´s home now) and asked her what she´s going to do about winter semester. So, if you could just look at some apartments that would be great but don´t sign anything, unless you feel like you really need to. Thanks so much for all the time and effort you´re putting in to do this. 

Oh, and tomorrow is the Mission Counsel so I´ll call Pres. Nogueira today and ask him to have an interview tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up :)

Thanks so much Mom for all that you´re doing, it´s sure a big help. and don´t worry about spring housing yet :)

That´s so cool about the Korean choir during the women broadcast. They show the womens broadcast this Saturday morning :) I´m so excited to see it and General Conference as well! It´s going to be so great! 

Aahh, tell Grandpa happy birthday and give him a big hug from me!

Things are going really well here and I´m excited to work even more with the members. We started the 21 Day Promise (have you guys heard about it?) with some of the members. It´s really cool. They read specific scriptures and pray for 21 days for 21 names to be able to accept an invitation to hear the missionaries. It´s from a General authority, I don´t remember who..

Glad to hear that you are doing well and that you´re staying busy. I´m sure it must be really great to share you testimony every day. you´re teaching D+C right? 

I´m liking my new area. It´s pretty different but I´m getting used to it :)

I absolutely LOVED the pictures of Baby Guy! He´s so adorable! I can´t wait to meet him! He´s sooo cute!

Well, there´s no one in the streets because it´s a pretty rich area and everyone is working. But, we just have to work more with the members :)

Well, the time´s up but I love you all the MOSTIEST!!!!

Sister Hicks

Greetings from Jardim Oceania October 6, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

Well, this week was a little bit hard but this week will be better! It was so great to listen to General Conference and to be spiritually fed. 

It was so great to see the picture of Grandma and Grandpa at Grandpa´s birthday get together. I´m so glad to hear that they are doing well and they looked great in the photo :)

Oh, so the AP just called and said that we are actually going to stay in the old area, Manaíra because an elder is going to receive a greenie tomorrow and they´re going to work in Oceania! Wow, one week working in our new area and now we get switched again! aah! but it´ll all work out :)

Mom: I got the package, the Ensigns, and the Church News article! Thank you sooo much! I´m so glad that they got here so fast and like always, it´s always the best thing ever, receiving packages! 

That´s so cool that you got to see so many returned missionary sisters at the Provo temple! That must have been a great session. 

Thanks for buying the tshirts as well, you´re the best!

Well, I talked to Pres. Nogueira at the Mission Counsel on Tuesday and he said that we would do the endorsement thing for  BYU and when I called on Friday he said that he had done it, so it should work now. Let me know. 

Well, this week was a litle rough, the very few investigators that said they would go to conference (which was at the Stake Center (not very far away, about a 10 min. bus ride) didn´t go...but it was definitely a huge spiritual burst that I needed.

Glad to hear you went to Hire´s and got an asiago bagel at Rich´s! Mmmm...

Dad: Glad to hear that you had a great time fishing. You´ll have to send some photos when you get a chance. I´m sure it was nice to have some time with Kimball as well. 

I´m so happy to hear that Grandpa and Grandma are better. That was so sweet of you to give them a blessing. I´m sure that meant a lot to them. 

That´s really cool that you went to the Conf. Center as well to watch Priesthood! I´m sure it was great to be there! A sister that finished her mission about 3 weeks ago here in João Pessoa sent photos of her and a few other missionaries from our mission that just got home inside the Conf. Center! It was so crazy to see them all together! 

Bryan: Loved the Norah story. Wow, she is just so smart. I can´t believe she has grown up in just a few short months! Sounds like she got some good genes :)

Well, this week Sister Chauque and I truly experienced a miracle. So, we were knocking doors in the new part of our area (that was the Bessa Ward) and no one, literally no one, wanted to hear our message. We even knocked doors and he was an atheist, in Brasil! What?! Anyway, we were kind of discouraged but kept on knocking. Well, then, we knocked on a door and a middle-aged lady opened the gate and just peeked out one eye. 

She said, "Hello?"
We said, "Hi, we´re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We just have an invitation for you.
"(Oh, sidenote, her two dogs were barking like crazy and it was pretty hard to hear us)
And then to our surprise, she asked, "Do you two want to come in?" 
And I was jumping for joy in my head, "Hallejulah!"

Well, we sat down and started talking to her. We explained that we were missionaries and we started talking about the importance of faith in Jesus Christ. We talked a little bit and shared a scripture with her. Then, she started to tear up and explained how she was really struggling. Her husband, of 35 years, had recently left her for another woman. She then told us that we were 2 angels that had been sent to her. She said, "I don´t even know why I opened the door. I just opened the door and let you two in." 

My testimony was strengthed so much in that moment that the Lord is truly preparing His children to hear our message. And we are His messengers, His angels. I´m so grateful to be a missionary and to be able to see miracles each and every day. I know that we can all see miracles each and every day. We just need to have faith and look for them. 

Another thing that touched me this week was during General Conference. There were quite a few General Authorities that spoke on the power of family prayer. I remembered of my growing up and how you two, Mom and Dad, always called us to say the family prayer and it became a habit. I couldn´t sleep or leave for school without saying prayer. Thank you for your example and for your patience for so many years. I now see and recognize the change that it has made in my life. 

Well, I got to go but I love you all the MOSTIEST!!!

Sister Hicks