Sister Melanie Hickman, from Chico California

Sister Melanie Hickman, from Chico California is serving an 18 month mission in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 12: New companion, pork tacos with unusual body parts, smiles and miracles

Wow another week has passed. It seems crazy that it is Monday again. This week I´m going to start by answering mom´s questions:
Did you stay in La Salle or go?
 I´m staying in La Salle this transfer, but my companion is leaving for the ocean part of our mission tomorrow. I will need lots of prayers as my new companion does not know the area or the people here. I have known for a while in my heart that I was going to be here, yesterday kind of confirmed it. I did a contact in the street and asked the man for his directions and phone number and for the first time in my mission I understood and wrote the directions and number without the help of my companion. In my heart Heavenly Father said," You are ready for what I´m about to ask of you." It would be a lie if i did not say I´m scared out of my mind.   

Tell us about something that made you Smile this week: 
This week I smiled when I realized that when we do what we are asked and continue in the work of the Lord he will literally hand you miracles. We were walking home after working really hard and we had the most perfect contact. It was so natural and it was Heavenly Father´s way of saying here you go this is for your hard work today. 

Tell us about something interesting that you ate this week:
 Funny that you would ask this week about something interesting.... last night a member gave us tacos made with  body parts of a pig. Lets just say not the normal parts. I know that part of the blessing of being a missionary is having the ability to eat whatever people give you:))))

Beside us what do you miss the most?
The BYU library.... driving and church at home because I feel like I don't understand anything. 

Are you in a safe area? 
Yes my companion gets nervous sometimes, but I feel very very safe.

 Do you see a lot of soldiers with machine guns? 
We live next to an army base and we have members that live on the base so every Sunday we enter to eat with them, but it is safe. 

Tell us about a time that you were led by the spirit:
 On Sunday after lunch... I was so tired and I thought I felt like the elder in The Best Two Years when he sit down in the street and then we went to a lesson and the guy was not there. We were able to contact a girl named M.... and we had a lesson with her.  She is amazing, she is 15 years old. Both her parents died when she was 9 years old  and for a time she lived by herself. She now lives with her ¨Husband¨ mas or menos who is 26 years old and takes care of his little boy. She is so sad. She said her dream is to go to school and have a husband that loves her. I'm so happy we found her, she is GOLDEN!!!
Do you have the opportunity to perform service in the community?
Yes we clean the house of the T... every week and yesterday I had the opportunity to help these two little girls that have dyslexia..... CRAZY I know.   I know God has a hand in His work I will be helping them learn how to read. It is amazing to be able to help someone when you know exactly how they feel.  

Three of our investigators came to church yesterday and it was so good to see them enter the chapel.  My favorite part was seeing J.. after church talking to all the youth. I felt like a little mom, so happy my little boy has friends. The members make all the difference....!!! A... and G...came to church too they are all progressing really well!!!! 

I love you all the church is TRUE!!!

Hermana Hickman

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 11: Plantanos, Really Hot, Living my dream!

Hola familia... como estan? 

I`m not sure where to start as always....
I had my first interview with President C....last week and it was really good. I told him I`m here to help you do the work of God so whatever you need I`m here to help.... I might regret that:)  President talked to our district leader this week and told him that he thought that my companion and I are amazing. He said our numbers are amazing. I think this coming Monday I will be leaving, but I love this area.

I have been thinking a lot lately about numbers and how important they are. We report our numbers every day. I got to thinking that they are not just numbers they are people.  It does not matter how many numbers it matters how many lives we change. I also have been thinking about ¨return and report¨  it is not just for the district leader.. the zone leader... or not for my mission president... it is for God!

SO many times this week in my mind I have said....I`M A MISSIONARY!!!!!!! The truth is I feel like my whole life has been preparation for these 18 months. I`m not sure what I`m going to do after this but, I loving every minute of being here.

My favorite lesson to teach is the Plan of Salvation.  I love teaching about the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father, it brings such peace to me that God has a plan so I don`t need to stress. 

Funny story of the week: my companion asked what we should share in a lesson when we were planning. I said oh the story of when Nephi going to get the `platanos`. My companion laughed and laughed for days.  Platanos is bananas, I meant to say panchos=plate :) opps

1.Do people ride bikes everywhere if they don't have cars? 
 They mostly walk or ride the colectivo (bus). 
2.Temperature this time of year:
 It is very very hot here!  90 to 100 with 70% humidity.
3. Clouds all day or hot sunshine? HOT!
4. Do young children follow the Missionaries around and giver them hugs?
No only in my dreams:)   People just look at me funny:)
5.Have you found out how to break the ice and talk to people about the Church?
Nope I'm still learning how to talk in general:)
6..Do you ride buses to get around?
 Yes every day.
7.How far away do you travel to get to the church building from your apartment?
 30 min walk 
8.What do you eat besides cereal?  Is there yummy fruit?
 bananas.... rice.... bread.... I think I`m allergic to the milk here:)

 I`m living a dream every day.... I`m so happy, being here has made me realized that my life is perfect and I`m so blessed!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 10: Old beans=tea from plants, talk like a northern Mexican, Fans and Sneezing:)

Hola Familia!!!

Wow! Where did the week go? Let's see.... this week was really good! It started off a little rough.... I was sick this week (old beans again) but don´t worry mom I´m totally better now. It was kind of funny when we would tell the women at church that I was a little sick this week they would give me these strange plants to make tea with.... oh they are so cute! 

Ok everyone's letters asked about our investigators coming to church this week. One came with his less active friend and to tell you the truth I was so happy they both came I patted the old man´s back. I looked at my companion and she had eyes of "what are you doing!!!!" It was so funny! I was just so happy to see them both at church:) The investigator's baptism is on April 12. We are still hopeful that others will come to church but who knows. It is hard because we have so many people we could teach, but that if they are not willing to act we have to move on:(

Best part of this week was when someone told me that I looked and talked like a northern Mexican... not going to lie I was pretty excited. 

I have loved studying the scriptures this week. I don´t understand everything but I know enough! I love the story of Alma the Younger in the Book of Mormon and have been sharing it all week. In Mosiah it talks about how Alma the Younger is the vilest of sinners, but then in Alma 48 it list his name with some of the most righteous men of God. When we share this scripture with people I love to add the names of the members or less actives at the end of the list of Alma chapter 48.  We all have the opportunity to change and become men and women of God. 

I´m starting to realize that this change is really hard. I think Heavenly Father´s main goal for my mission is to teach me patience and I think it is going to take forever, but I trying every day to have more patience. 

Ok this week we have been sharing the First Vision  a lot and asking people to ask God if the church has really been restored. Just the other day my companion asked me when did you know that the church was true. I told her to tell you the truth I don´t know. That bothered me for a long time and I prayed and prayed that I would have this amazing experience that i would KNOW. Then on Sunday I read Joseph Smith History, Joseph said, " I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it." I have known that the church is true my whole life. I think sometimes I expect God to answer a prayer that He has already answered a million times. I know that this church is true.


What do you love most about your area? I LOVE the people. To tell you the truth they are so open and loving. I also love that our area has four different areas because it makes every day different. 

What do you admire most about the Mexican culture? I admire how hard they work and their positive attitudes even though they have nothing. It is really hard to watch because a lot of them don´t come to church because they can not afford to. They all love God here and I love that.

I felt like a real missionary this week when: When I saw our investigator at church:) 

Tell us about the people you are teaching: A.... is the name of the investigator that came to church. He is in his 60's. I think he is really great man and very receptive.
J..... is a 14 year old boy and oh man if I could only use 4 words to describe him.... he is so sweet. He has two little brothers and he watches them every day while his mom is at work.

OK we have like 30 others, but they will have to wait to be written about:) 

When and how will you learn Tzotzilk? (native Mayan language)  How often do you speak English? Right now we only have one investigator that knows it. I have not met her yet and a elder in our ward knows it, so we just go to the lessons for moral support. I only speak English about once a week. I speak English in English class. My companion is trying to learn and wants to to speak more, but she does not understand me, so I only speak Spanish.

How do you keep cool? fans
This week I learned that in Mexico people say when you sneeze someone is missing you... I love sneezing!
I love you all.... AND I KNOW THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!
Hermana Hickman

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 9: Beans, Rice and Quesadillas, Hard Things Make Me Stronger:)

Hey Everyone,
 Guess what I have been a missionary for 2 months now..... Can you believe it??? I can´t, it is crazy! I feel like a different person already. Ok this week was probably the hardest week ever, but it is good because hard things make you stronger. We had a lot of days where people did not want to talk to us and were rude, but it just makes me laugh looking back at those experiences. Also I kind of hit a wall with Spanish this week. It is ok because I will keep pressing forward. It is just hard because I want to help but I only understand so much and I can only say so little. 

This week we invited 8 people to be baptized including B.... from last week on the bus!!!!! They all accepted and they all have dates for April, but it is a rule in our mission you have to go to church 5 times before your baptism. My heart broke this week when not one of them came to church. I cried for a little while and it made me realize the importance of going to church. As I participated in the sacrament my heart hurt because I realized how important the sacrament is and how sad Heavenly Father was when they did not come. It was a hard day.


Life is good here! I find myself tired a lot, but I keep trying to press forward.  The hard thing is I want to be one of those missionaries that learns so much from the scriptures during my mission.  Because my focus is to still learn Spanish I studying the scriptures in Spanish.  Unfortunately I don't understand very much and after 50 minutes of trying to understand, I kind of give up and take a minute to pray.  
Tell us more about the English class:  How many people come?  Who teaches?
 I am the teaching of the little kids.  It depends on the week but between 4 and 12 people come every week. We invite our investigators because it is a way to get them to come to the church building and it makes it easier to know where it is on Sunday. 
How are the other missionaries in your district?  Are there a lot of sisters?
We have a set of elders in our ward, and there is one set of elders in our zone and 2 sets of sisters in our district counting us.

Do you need anything?  Are your clothes OK?  
No I´m ok! When I visit people that have nothing it makes me realize that I have everything. I have enough clothes, but I will not be bringing anything home you can count on that. Washing them makes them worse:)))

What do the members feed you?  (anything interesting?)
Beans and rice and fish and quesadillas. I love it all except I got sick last night a little bit but I´m good.  The beans a member feed us were a couple days old:))))
Explain the drink stuff...what is it called?  Are you allowed to drink the water?
 It is called agua or water, but they blend fruit with water and it is....... interesting

What do you eat for breakfast and dinner?  Do you shop with Mexican money?   What do you buy? Cereal and cereal!  I think I have lost weight this week. I shop with Mexican money.

The LORD loves you all and He works through inperfect people! He has a hand in our every day lives; LOOK for it!!! I SEND my LOVE:)

Hermana Hickman

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 8: Stickers, Cold Showers, Calling Bugs by Name

Ok first off, I love it here and I know that I`m in this exact spot for a reason.
I have so many things to say. First off I know why I have collected stickers my whole life: the little kids LOVE them and it is a way to start talking to the little kid's parents on the buses.

 I`m starting to love cold showers and all sorts of bugs. I talk to the bugs when we come home (in Spanish out loud) it is my way of coping with them in our house:)

Two really funny things this week: my comp is trying to learn English and was reading my dictionary. The first word she read was execute.... we had a good laugh when I explained what it was in Spanish.... also one day we were coming home from a meeting that had gone long so we ran though the streets of Mexico to get home on time.

I have a bunch of random stories.... ok a really cool experience was we were on the bus and I was not sitting next to my comp.  I kept thinking I need to talk to this man, but I did not want to. After about 5 minutes of talking to myself  I started talking to him.  Unfortunately, the man wanted nothing to do with the church, but I kept thinking about how when I don`t open my mouth Satan wins. So I hecka opened my mouth:)

 I have also realized that Heavenly Father is trying to teach me patience. My whole life I have had a plan, but here the culture is very different; it is very laid back. I know that I need to learn from this that it is ok to just trust that everything will work out!  I have also learned that I need to change. We had a meeting with the misión leader for like 3 hours. The leader thinks I know no Spanish so he never talks to me, but he asked a question and I answered in a very direct voice..... opps here you don`t answer right away I guess... it was bad... but I`m learning.
It was interesting I was a little upset about my Spanish one day, but then I thought to myself, " What do you want Hermana Hickman to wake up and know Spanish"..... it does not work like that.... I realized that I need to be working hard every day to learn more. Then he will bless me!
So this week we had exchanges and I went to Campanario in Ward ´Teran´ and at first I did not want to be there. We went to this lady's house named G... and my companion had not met her, but we went in, it was crazy. She was like," it is a miracle you are here".  I don't know why but after talking for a while I invited her to be baptized........ in the WORST spanish EVER..... I started to cry because I  felt the spirit so strong, so did she and you will not believe what she said....... she said YES!!!!!!!!!! I felt on top of the world.... I felt like our hearts talked and the spirit expressed what I could not in words. She is not in our área so I will never teach her again but it was a testament that God knows where we are ever minute of every hour.
One thing I would ask of everyone reading this letter is please be thankful for your lives and everything to have. I have seen things with my eyes that people should never have to live with.... these people are so sweet they have nothing yet they give everything. This week I experienced the atonement in a way I did not know was possible.... I felt exactly how the person was feeling and I felt a small piece of the love of the Savior. Please pray for C....her husband left her and took her baby with him. She has no idea where her baby is and she is a mess just like any mom would be if they did not know where their baby was.
Ok the worst part of this week is we have a new investigator and he is 18 years old and he is in love with me.... not really but he views me as a way to America. I keep wearing my CTR ring on my wedding finger hoping he will get a hint but cross your fingers... we are going to take a 18 year old member with us next time so that he can have a new friend:) lol
 Wow momento of the week:
This week was hard because when I came back from exchanges we had lost 4 of our 5 investigators..... that was really hard and I was really sad. but that day we were on the bus was a little boy. I gave him a truck sticker and both his parents smiled.... other people got on the bus and I was one person away so I could not talk to them...... I kept getting the feeling to talk to them.... talk to them ....... I wanted to so bad but I was scared..... finally the man in between us left and it was just us..... I did not do it but then I started to think about this family in white and I said ok.... I need to do this right now.... I did, I said our whole introduction about how we are missionaries.... and then I asked her would you like us to come visit you. Never in my life have I seen someone so excited to listen to the gospel. She said yes with her words, but more importantly with her eyes and heart!!!!!!!! I`m so excited we visit them on Thursday so pray hard her name is B..... I am so happy that the Lord trusts me with his work!!!!!!!!!

 I love the food here it is so HOT! It is sooooo good! The other day I had chili on my orange and it was way good!

Don`t tell mom but the drivers are crazy here... no speed limit, no seat belts, more then the amount of people a car should hold... . it is sooo fun!!!!
I love the work and the Lord..... We have reason every day to smile!!!! I love you all!!!
Hermana Hickman