Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

Buenos Tardes!
So guess what? Transfers are next week! The mission is going by to fast! Ahhhhh! crazy! 
We've had a lot of great things happen this week! So I want to tell you about The Arriaga family! Juana is a member and she got baptized I think 7 years ago. She is my favorite, she's kinda like a second mom for me ( we always have mexican hot chocolate everytime we go to her house. YUM!) she has three kids, the oldest one I haven't met yet, but we have FHE with her two kids, Fransisco and Ashley. Well we are trying to prepare Fransisco to go on a mission and it has been going great! He got the priesthood two weeks ago and this week he served the sacrament! wahoo!!! He also went out with the missionaries to knock doors (I made him a missionary name tag that said "Hermano Fransisco" haha because we have a joke about calling him "hermano" haha it makes him sound old) Best thing ever! We have seen how their family has grown to be more in unity and it's like the coolest thing ever to see! I want my family to be like them! 
It's great to see how I want my family to grow up, there have been so many great examples in my ward of how I want to be with my family and how to be a strong LDS family. I've seen how much happiness it brings to be worthy and to follow the commandments, and it makes my drive to be an even better missionary so that I can help all of these people out here! 
So me and Hermana Pelaez were talking this morning and I shared a really cool thought that I had with her and I'm going to share it with you! 

I said that I was contemplating the true purpose of being a missionary, and that is to help people come closer to Christ. Well I said that everyday by one small act or another we are helping at least one person come closer to Christ. Either by a door step restoration lesson or just by an act of service. Just by our example of being like Christ we can influence others for good. Well we did some math and we've got 547.5 days in a year and a half. That means that if we talked to just one person a day for our entire missions, we've impacted over 500 people. Small or big, we made a difference. It was kind of an amazing moment to think about that. To think that we can influence that many people for good in just a small amount of time.
And I realized that being an example doesn't begin or end with being a missionary. It's for your entire life. You don't have to be a missionary to impact peoples lives either. Your entire life can be a huge role in helping others see the light of Christ! Just by being an example of trying to live Christlike can help others have the faith and courage to change for the better and I know that this is more true than ever! 
I've seen so many people slowly start to change, and I've seen the happiness and peace that starts to come into their lives as they choose to live the gospel. And it's great to see that this blessing of seeing others happiness doesn't end with a mission! It's the best feeling ever!
We are all an influence for at least one other person. Especially for your family and friends. You'd be surprised at how many people actually are influenced by you, and I know that your impact can be a powerful one, even if you will never know it, living as Jesus Christ lives is a hard path but a beautiful and meaningful path that will bring more blessings into your life as well as into others lives. I really really really  know that this is the truth! And I love it! 
keep strong! be happy! and be an example for others! 
until next time,
Love you all! 
Hermana Ficklin

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

Wow! January is almost over!!! that's so crazy. 

The mission is already going by quick. I know that there is some hullabaloo about counting time in your mission but I promise you I love my mission. That being said, February is my 6 month mark! what!? I'll have been out half a year! that's so weird to think about. It does not feel like it's already been that long. Aaannndd we've got transfers again in 2 weeks as well. That's so weird. Ugh. time is flying by. But! I've been learning soooo much! 

I love the mission! I love this gospel! I've realized how great it is. 

I don't have a lot of time to write this week! sorry! But I'll tell you that I never thought that I would love the people that I teach so much. And how much I love my ward and how great they truely are! I love Spanish work! And guess what?! Hermana Pelaez said that my Spanish was at a 6! (on a scale of 1-10) yessssssss....

That means I'm improving. And she knows. she's Mexican. Me and Hermana Pelaez have great times together. she teaches me Spanish and I teach her English, and we both have a pretty great sense of humor haha so it's making this companionship quite lovely haha and she has the funniest laugh when you get her going haha we've had this joke going on that when we are tight on miles for the car that we will just pull out the bike and we'll tie a rope to it and I'll just roller blade behind her like on Napoleon Dynamite. Haha that one made her laugh for a good 5 minutes. Ah man, the mission life. I feel like little things get funnier on a mission. 

Our investigators are doing great! We have one investigator that we thought that we would lose but! He's decided that this gospel makes him feel different and that my friend is the Holy Ghost at it's best! So we are super super hopeful for him and honestly missionary work makes you realize how much Jesus and our Heavenly Father truly loves everyone so much just by the way that missionaries love them so much and only want the best for them and we try everything we can to see the happiness that lies ahead of them! 

....Jusssttt be happy! That's what I always want to say to them haha.

Anyway! I hope all is well! 
Love you all! 
Love Hermana Ficklin

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

We celebrated the birthday of Fransisco last night! He just turned 17! He reminds me alot of Taryn haha. This is the Arriaga family and they are members of our church and they are awesome! the daughters name is ashley and she is so funny! haha she was playing the chipmunk version of happy birthday and some mexican versions of happy birthday as well! haha it was great! we had pasole and tostadas and chocolate tres leches cake! mmm mmm and more mmm!  it was great! we taught a lesson about presents! the gift of the holy ghost! haha it was a great lesson! we are working on getting him to go on a mission (: 

sorry we didnt take a ton of pictures this week! haha not much has been going on. this is the highlight event (: but it was great!

               So it's been warming up I'm happy to say! woohoo! it's back up to the 30's (: I'm never complaining about Utah weather again. haha it was fun though! I can now say I braved a Minnesota winter at -40 degrees! These people up here are troopers. Well, we had church cancelled two weeks in a row, but yesterday we got to go to church! hallelujah! I love church. I love my ward!

 The last week when we didnt have church we ended up having our own little church service at the mission home with President and Sister Clements. We had a testimony meeting and it was the coolest thing ever! We had a bunch of missionaries from around the area in the living room of President and Sister Clements and we all just bore our testimonies on the work of our Heavenly Father and honestly I don't really remember much of what was said, except for cute Sister Clements told us about for Christmas how her daughter got her a salad bowl in the shape of a boat and said that as "flow" missionaries we have to stay afloat! and she showed us it and she filled it up with peanut m and m's (its her favorite candy) and I loved it! 
I bore my testimony about pocahontas and how the boat reminded me of her when she had to make the decision of what course to take on the river. haha yep. but it was so awesome! I remember most just the feeling we had in that living room. The Holy Ghost is the besssstttt! It was the feeling of family and it just gave me a great feeling of what Heaven feels like and I can't wait for that! 

We also  had our zone meeting this week and we talked a lot about prayer and how important prayer is in our lives, but more of an emphasis on our missions right now. Annnndd let me tell you I've gotten a greater testimony of prayer this week! So when we were in the meeting one of the Elders commented on that his testimony of prayer was strengthened with one of his companions and he now does it too. He said that when he was with this companion he did miracles and he wanted to know how his days were just filled with all of these blessings. he said that when he prayed he would pray and thank Heavenly Father for the miracles that they were going to see that day. He already expected miracles and he thanked Heavenly Father for the things that hadn't happened yet. That is a character of faith! 
So! I started doing that in my prayers, I started thanking Heavenly Father for the miracles that He was going to give us that day. Let me tell you this has been a testimony builder! We have seen miracles more than ever in our days and we have had a ton of blessings. Like for instance, it was a saturday and we only had two hours left in the day and we wanted to teach three more people the restoration to meet our goal for the week. but we already had a list of less actives that we'd never met that we were going to visit. We decided to go ahead and visit the less actives houses, and it was awesome because none of them lived at those addresses anymore! haha We didn't meet a single person that we intended on visiting and instead we found three new hispanic families that we taught the restoration to and now we have return appointments with them to teach them more! How awesome is that? 
And then we've had members call us and ask if they can come with us to lessons which is a huge blessing as well. We've also found investigators this week that have been super hard to get in contact with and  we ended up finding them and teaching them awesome lessons! Miracles all around! It's been so awesome and I know that prayer and faith play a huge part in that!
So I know that as we strengthen our prayers and our faith, we can see more miracles in our lives! 
So awesome. I love this gospel! 
Hope you all have a great week! Love you all! Hope you are staying warm! 
Love Hermana Ficklin

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 4, 2014

Haha, this is one of our members that we taught. We decided to take a picture after our meeting - on the couch they were getting rid of outside of the house, haha!

Happy Winter! So this week has been pretty crazy and pretty cold! Last week church got cancelled because of the cold and this week church got cancelled again! :( This is like the worst thing ever!!! I don't care how cold it is, I just want to go to church! Haha I keep thinking to myself, the pioneers traveled all across the country in the freezing cold without any shoes to make it to church... haha huh. Welp. Next week we better have church because I'm having withdrawals! Again I never thought I'd say that, but really church is the best!  

So I've been learning a ton of spanish from Hermana Pelaez and I think by the end of this transfer I'm gonna be at least six weeks better at spanish than I was before! Haha this week I've been working on the body parts in spanish and everyone who sees us walking around probably thinks we're crazy because I tromp my feet and with every step I say, peas! peas! (because that's feet in spanish) and then I hold up my hands and wiggle my fingers and say manos! and pat my head and say cabeza! cabella, ojos, oidos, majillas, boca! haha it's been great fun. I started making phone calls in spanish to, which is like a huge step because if you can imagine it being hard to understand spanish face to face, imagine it muffled through a phone! But! I'm making phone calls! In spanish!!! ha! 
So, one thing I've learned while being out on a mission is that it's hard. Yep, missions are hard, and you go through a TON of trials. But I've realized that I don't think that there will be a time in my life where there won't be trials. "In all things there is opposition". You gotta know the bad to know the good! I've come to find out that through all the trials I've seen what matters most to me and how to truly be happy, and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ and following the commandments! I'm learning how to be brave and courageous in the face of opposition and I'm learning how to love no matter what! So mom sends me awesome quotes and one of them has just stuck with me these last couple weeks and I can't remember the exact wording but it says that God doesn't put you in any battle that you can't overcome. You are put in situations that God knows you can handle, which says a lot! And then I think of the quote by Mother Teresa and  she puts it perfectly when she says "I wish God didn't trust me so much!" Haha I think of that sometimes and it makes me laugh. 
Through all things we can be made better and we can come to know the truth that everything that happens to us is for a reason. A trial is a test of faith, another opportunity to grow and to change. I think that if we weren't ever put into opposition we would never know our true potential because we would never put ourselves in those situations because we knew that they would be hard. 
... I wonder if before we came to this Earth we sat down with Heavenly Father, pulled out a catalog labeled "opposition opportunities" and we picked them out together. I can just imagine us looking at it and I'm like "oh! this one sounds fun!" haha 
Well, I have a testimony that this life for us is picked out perfectly by our Heavenly Father so that we have every opportunity to learn and grow and feel happiness in our lives, and to be happy now and in eternity despite all the opposition! 
One of my MTC trainers sent me an email that is awesome! It's a story about one of the prophets, Willford Woodruf, and one of his experiences as a missionary and the opposition he went through and came out stronger! 

From: Josh Hardy (my MTC teacher)
TRUE IDENTITY (I believe this is one of the greatest examples of what that means)

“A Desire to Go and Preach the Gospel”
Determined to keep the covenants he made at baptism, Wilford Woodruff was a willing instrument in the Lord’s hands, always ready to do His will. In late 1834 he “had a desire to go and preach the Gospel,” 17 and he received a call to serve in the southeastern United States. He knew that trials awaited him and that his life could be in danger as he traveled, but he found strength in his testimony and faith. He later recalled: “I knew the Gospel which the Lord had revealed to Joseph Smith was true, and of such great value that I wanted to tell it to the people who had not heard it. It was so good and plain, it seemed to me I could make the people believe it.”

18 When Wilford Woodruff began his first mission, he was a recently ordained priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. His companion, who had been ordained an elder, stayed with him through the early trials of the mission but soon became discouraged and returned to his home in Kirtland, Ohio. Left alone in an unfamiliar land, Wilford prayed for help and continued his missionary labors, wading through swamps and wetlands. He finally arrived in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, “weary and hungry.” 19 In his first missionary experience there, he spoke to a large audience. He recounted:

“I went to the best tavern [or inn] in the place, kept by Mr. Josiah Jackson. I told him I was a stranger, and had no money. I asked him if he would keep me over night. He asked me what my business was. I told him I was a preacher of the Gospel. He laughed, and said that I did not look much like a preacher. I did not blame him, as all the preachers he had ever been acquainted with rode on fine horses or in fine carriages, clothed in broadcloth, and had large salaries, and would see this whole world sink to perdition before they could wade through one hundred and seventy miles of mud to save the people.

“The landlord wanted a little fun, so he said he would keep me if I would preach. He wanted to see if I could preach. I must confess that by this time I became a little mischievous, and pled with him not to set me preaching. The more I pled to be excused, the more determined Mr. Jackson was that I should preach. …

“I sat down in a large hall to eat supper. Before I got through, the room began to be filled by some of the rich and fashionable of Memphis, dressed in their broadcloth and silk, while my appearance was such as you can imagine, after traveling through the mud as I had been. When I had finished eating, the table was carried out of the room over the heads of the people. I was placed in the corner of the room, with a stand having a Bible, hymn book and candle on it, hemmed in by a dozen men, with the landlord in the center. There were present some five hundred persons who had come together, not to hear a Gospel sermon but to have some fun. … How would you like this position? On your first mission, without a companion or friend, and to be called upon to preach to such a congregation? With me it was one of the most pleasing hours of my life, although I felt as though I should like company.

“I read a hymn, and asked them to sing. Not a soul would sing a word. I told them I had not the gift of singing; but with the help of the Lord, I would both pray and preach. I knelt down to pray, and the men around me dropped on their knees. I prayed to the Lord to give me his Spirit and to show me the hearts of the people. I promised the Lord in my prayer I would deliver to that congregation whatever He would give to me. I arose and spoke one hour and a half, and it was one of the best sermons of my life.

“The lives of the congregation were opened to the vision of my mind, and I told them of their wicked deeds and the reward they would obtain. The men who surrounded me dropped their heads. Three minutes after I closed I was the only person in the room.
“Soon I was shown to a bed, in a room adjoining a large one in which were assembled many of the men whom I had been preaching to. I could hear their conversation. One man said he would like to know how that Mormon boy knew of their past lives. In a little while they got to disputing about some doctrinal point. One suggested calling me to decide the point. The landlord said, ‘no; we have had enough for once.’
“In the morning, I had a good breakfast. The landlord said if I came that way again to stop at his house, and stay as long as I might choose.”

20 In November 1836, Wilford Woodruff completed his mission in the southeastern United States. He recorded in his journal that in 1835 and 1836 he had traveled 9,805 miles, held 323 meetings, organized 4 branches of the Church, baptized 70 people and confirmed 62, performed 11 priesthood ordinations, and healed 4 people by the laying on of hands and that he had been delivered from the hands of 6 different mobs. 21 He was ordained an elder in June 1835 and a Seventy in May 1836.

When Elder Woodruff returned to Kirtland, he found that many Church members there had fallen into apostasy and were speaking against the Prophet Joseph Smith. “In the time of the apostasy in Kirtland,” he later said, “Joseph Smith hardly knew when he met a man, unless the Spirit of God revealed it to him, whether he was friend or foe. Most of the leading men were fighting him.”

22 Even “in the midst of that darkness,” 23 Wilford Woodruff remained true to the Prophet and true to his own determination to preach the gospel. He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy, and in that capacity he continued to testify of the truth, traveling to conferences in the area. After he had been in Kirtland for less than a year, he followed a prompting to serve a full-time mission on the Fox Islands, just off the coast of the state of Maine. He said:

“The Spirit of God said to me, ‘You choose a partner and go straight to Fox Islands.’ Well, I knew no more what was on Fox Islands than what was on Kolob. But the Lord told me to go, and I went. I chose Jonathan H. Hale, and he went with me. We cast out some devils there, preached the Gospel and performed some miracles. … I got to Fox Islands, and did a good work there.” 24 When Elder Woodruff arrived at the Fox Islands, he found “a people there wishing for the ancient order of things.” He later reported, “Without dwelling upon it, I will say I baptized over 100 while there.” 25

“On the 24th, while in the swamps, I had an attack of the rheumatism, and could not travel fast. My companion, Brother Brown, had got in a hurry, and wished to return to his family in Kirtland; and as I could not travel as fast as he wished, we parted. He left me sitting on a log in the mud and water; I was lame and unable to walk, without food, and twelve miles from the nearest house on the road. He went out of sight in great haste. I then knelt down in the water, and prayed to the Lord to heal me. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I was healed; the pain left me; I arose and went my way. Whenever I met with one or more families, I preached and bore testimony to them.
I crossed the Mississippi River [to Memphis, Tennessee] in the evening of the 27th of March, and stayed at a public house kept by Mr. Josiah Jackson. I was suspected of being an impostor. Mr. Jackson believed I was one of Murril's clan, who were then murdering and stealing negroes; and to test me, he gathered together a large house full of the most wicked and corrupt people in the city, and set me to preaching, to see whether I could preach or not.

I do not think that Mr. Jackson, or the same company of men and women, will ever meet together again for the same purpose, for they would not like again to have their sins and abominations revealed to each other as pointedly as I told them that night, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; they were glad to get rid of me upon almost any terms.”

Have a happy warm week! Enjoy the life you've got! Always look for opportunities to serve one another! We've all got trials to go through, but through love and support of each other and relying on the Lord we can get through everything! YA! 
Love, Hermana Ficklin