Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014 Beautiful Austin, Minnesota

the morning walk

lots of rabbits here
and ducks

the lake by the library. 

... and a goose 

(the spanish equivalent of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!)

also try this one out- como cama coco como coco cama
and this one- otoroniringologo

Hola! Boy is it beautiful in Minnesota! It's super green and the sky is blue and the birds are out and its actually up in the 80's! You can feel the humidity as well, but so far I don't mind it. It's just nice to  be able to feel your toes again (: 

There's not to much news other than we're back to square one, out and about knocking doors and getting a wicked missionary tan- or more just getting sun burned! haha so I haven't seen the sun in like 9 months and needless to say I'm super white. And Hermana Maravilla is Mexican so she's always tan and so she was laughing at my whiteness. I told her as the scriptures say "I was most exceedingly fair and white above all other virgins." haha she likes to scream and cover her eyes whenever I get out of the car and she yells "It's so bright!" she's mean. 

So since I finished reading the Book of Mormon again I decided to start reading the Bible. and I'm addicted to reading it. whenever I get the chance I read it. Just the same as when I was reading the Book of Mormon, only the Bible's a lot bigger so I've got more to read. But I've read the stories Samson, Ruth, Samuel, Saul and David so far.  It's been interesting seeing how those stories are applying to what I'm doing right now. A lot of the Bible stories are all about repentance. About changing and really understanding and loving and relying on the Lord. 

I just want to write down two verses that I really liked from 1 Samuel

This verse is talking about when Samuel the Prophet commands Saul to go and destroy the Amalekites and all that they have, but he saves some of the animals to sacrifice and does not do what the Lord asks. Saul knew what he had to do, but he believed that what he had to do was a better idea. Samuel the Prophet rebukes him and asks him what the Lord wants more, a sacrifice or obedience?

1 Samuel 15:22
And Samuel said, hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

-We had one of our investigators argue that if God knows all things, then He knew that we would sin, and therefore He expects us to sin. Which is one of the arguments of predetermined destination. 

It all comes down to trusting and understanding God and His plan for us. I want to point out two things.

-Heavenly Father does expect us to sin.
         it's part of Gods plan to become like him. We have to face adversity and go through trials. That knowledge only comes through knowing good and evil. We cannot know joy without pain, and thus we know that we must be imperfect, which inevitably means we will make mistakes and sin. however He does not compel us to sin. By definition sin is doing anything contrary to Gods will. An act of our own to choose to disobey God.   

-Got already knows that we will not return to heaven clean. 
          That is why His son, Jesus Christ, is our center in everything. in short, without Jesus Christ we would die both a physical and spiritual death. He agreed to go through with the plan our Heavenly Father had for us in the beginning, and thus provided a way to be forgiven, or in other words, to satisfy the demands of justice. Jesus Christ suffered and died to overcome the inevitable death of being mortal, or imperfect. one of our life long goals is to try to understand His Atonement. The more we understand about the Atonement, the more we understand how free we are to choose our own destinies.

Heavenly Father has a plan and He's set before us the way to succeed. All He asks is that we obey. God does not exist so that we can praise Him, He exists so that He can bring about the immortality and eternal life of man. He lives for us, as we live for Him. He is a God of both justice and mercy. 

Our lives are not predetermined. We have the God given right and blessing of Agency. The ability to choose for ourselves what we really want. 

okay and then this one is just plain and simple. and awesome!

1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

The Lord truly knows our hearts. He knows who we really are. If God wasn't a loving God, He wouldn't care about who you really are. That says something about His personality and Characteristics.

welp I'm out of time! Love you all! 
Hermana Ficklin

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 19, 2014 Austin, Minnesota -- The Spam Factory

We took a tour of the Spam Factory. This is my perfect SPAM family (:

 maids night out!
 cell phones these days...


 doing a little work at the SPAM factory

the hermitage next to the queen of angels catholic church

a pet rooster named chicken

the maya! flatening a bag full of bubble wrap- helping megan (in the middle) move into her new apartment!

tacos de tripa (tripe) and tacos de cabesa (head)

So I've had a lot going on this week. From all spectrums of the emotional scale there's been some great experiences I want to briefly share. 
On the very happy side of the scale, I finally got to go visit the SPAM factory! What a great sense of humor they have (: It was fun to see and experience all of the great history and culture of Hormel and the town of Austin. Hermana Maravilla and I had a swell time.

And! speaking of farm animals, we had a dinner date with one of our members, the Petersons! Sister Peterson is Filipino and her mother was there visiting and she brought along her pet rooster, fittingly named chicken, which happily clucked around the kitchen floor as we ate our spaghetti and meatballs. 

This week we had our zone conference which President Clements talked about the family. it was amazing. And surprising as he spoke to us about spiritually preparing for our own future families right now, while we are on our missions.
President and Sister Clements gave a very heart felt lecture on their own experiences as parents and told of their struggles of financial instability as a newly wed couple, their house burning down, and dealing with their children's health problems involving heart and brain surgery. But then went on to show us a slide show of the many good and memorable experiences they had with their children in traveling the world and spending time together. That's what I want, a family that loves and cherishes each other. That is what our Heavenly Father wants as well, and He has set up a plan to carry that out and make it possible. 

I know that no family is perfect and I expect I'll have many trials as well being a parent and I'll probably get to see my kids go through many struggles as well. But knowing that I can prepare for them now through the teachings of our perfect Father in Heaven through the gospel of Jesus Christ, I can secure eternal blessings for my family that is to come. There is a constant attack on families and I expect it will not get much better in the future. You have to plan and spiritually create goals and make a conscious effort to carry out your goals. That is why we have to be proactive parents as President Clements explained to us that you cannot be a passive parent, only proactive parents will raise righteous children. 
We had some great lessons with our investigators this week and I've learned some valuable lessons as well. two of our investigators decided they didn't want to learn anymore this week. that is more heart wrenching than I thought it would be to hear because we've come to grow so close to them and their family and we truly want the best for them. But I know that the Lord has his timing for everything and I know he will bless them immensely. I have come to see the growth of those we are teaching right now though and it is the best feeling ever! I love seeing the bright look on someones face when they learn a truth and it just clicks for them and they get so excited! it's like a relief that comes over them when they finally get their questions answered.  

My grandma also died this week and its been sad to be so far away from family but also it's cool to see how much of a blessing it is in our lives. I wrote to my cousin about it and I want to share a little with you what I shared with him:

 You know what I realized about death, it brings us closer as a family, you come to see how precious time is, and how precious your family is, and when there is death of a loved one, the family becomes strengthened in each other, mending old wounds and finding new support and understanding in one another. I think it opens our minds and awakens us to the happiness we have been missing out on as a family, and now we don't have to wait any longer! We can change, we can grow, we can love deeply while we still live! And have deep and eternally lasting relationships that start here on Earth and carry on into the next.  there is new life that comes from death.
I hope you all have a great week this week! 

Love you all! Love Hermana Ficklin

May 12, 2014 Austin, Minnesota -- Cinco de Mayo Party

our ward cinco de mayo party
homemade pinata. filled with vegetables and peanut butter packets. not candy. our ward has a lot of food allergies. (:     When it was broken open, and the kids saw what was inside, some of them were not too happy, ha ha!
 sister trickler and callister
 hermana soto dancing (: she sings amazingly to! 
the horchata we were bringing to the cinco de mayo party from one of our investigators. all buckled up and ready to go! haha our investigators had a good laugh at that
an actual icecream truck!

Feliz dia de Madres!
  So the Austin ward just had their Cinco de Mayo party, and it was a hit! We had home made pinatas filled with vegetables and peanut butter packets, a mariachi band comprised of the high school music teacher and students. Authentic Mexican food provided by our Hispanic ward members and investigators- Pazole and Horchata! and the not so Authentic Mexican food provided by the ward members- American style burritos, and ice cream and brownies! The mix of two cultures was so much fun! The decorations set off the mood with hanging lanterns, colorful paper flowers hung on the walls, green white and yellow streamers lined the ceiling, the smell of Spanish rice and the beautiful voice of Enrique Iglesias booming through the giant speakers in the church gym united our ward with the Hispanic culture for the night. 

We finally got to hear Hermana Soto's (one of our members) beautiful voice as she sang a solo of a Spanish love song for the ward, and we also got to see her awesome dance skillz that competed with Napoleon Dynamites pretty awesome moves. It made our wildest dreams come true. 

We also had Lorenzo come with us, our Pentecostal friend from Guatamala who is learning more about the church. The ward members got to know and love him the way we do and I think Lorenzos got a new friend group! (: One thing Lorenzo really wants are good influences and good friends, and because he came, he got to meet a lot of great new people who want the same thing! It's really cool to see the growth that's taking place.

We really love the Austin area for the fact that here are people here who really need to hear the gospel. This is a town that needs time, effort, patience and diligence though. Austin has churches on every corner (literally) and just about everyone already has a religion that they swear to stick by. We've come to see with the families we're teaching right now, that once you break through the firmly set religion barrier they put up, you come to find they have a lot of questions,
misconceptions, and misunderstandings. Our brothers and sisters here in Austin want the gospel. This town is built around religion. This poses as both a blessing and a challenge. The Lord has brought us here to guide those who have religion already in their lives to see that there is truth in what they seek. 

The members who already know a little bit of Spanish have really started to fellowship the investigators we have brought and we've seen the excitement they are starting to have for Spanish work. Yesterday, two of our members actually wanted to come in and join our Spanish gospel doctrine class with us! And even though they only spoke a little Spanish, you could see the spark they had for wanting to be more involved. And I saw that they started to make really good connections with our Hispanic member families in the class!
There are many different goals as missionaries. The main goal is to bring everyone closer to Christ. One of the ways we come closer to Christ is by coming closer to each other, by seeing and understanding who our brothers and sisters are and really truly loving them. Because we are all a family, we have a divine duty of making sure everyone has the opportunity of receiving all of the blessings our Father in Heaven has given us which some of those blessings are peace, love, comfort, and confidence. Or, in point, Joy. And what greater joy can there be than knowing that we are part of the eternal family of Heavenly Father! 
I love you all and I hope with all of my heart that you find the excitement and joy of helping those around you to understand their divine potential and feel the love of being part of our family! there is no greater joy than this! 
Love you! Love Hermana Ficklin

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014 Austin, Minnesota

deer antlers!

 our zone

 we helped out with a yard sale (:

 aaron- the diaz fam baby

diaz fam

cueritos- pickled pig skin (:

dear crossing- a sign by a nursing home (:

 the frog pond (:

the diaz family

Feliz dia de madres!!!!
           This week has been exciting! Today for p-day me and hermana Maravilla will be going to the SPAM museum, finally. we will find out all of the background details of why we get emails that have ads and stuff that we don't want. just kidding! we get to see the process of canning pigs! sooey! so i will be sending pictures of that next week (:

We had the opportunity of attending a Pentecostal youth church service this week as well. One of our investigators we are teaching invited us, and it is an experience I will never forget! It is very different from the church services we have and I really got and understanding of why it's so great that we have the restored gospel on the Earth. Their pastor gave a great sermon on knowing your identity, which is an amazing topic that I love talking about as well, knowing who we are and acting on it!

But, I know that it is so important to correctly understand who our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really are and through their correct principles and teachings, we can truly understand who we are. And in that we know our true identity. We are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. And our identity leads us to be like them. In that is true happiness and peace. 

Just being there, listening to what was being said, to really contemplate what is truth, and feeling gratitude for the knowledge I have in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 
I know that we all search for truth in this life. We seek for happiness and peace and comfort. We strive for a firm foundation where we can become steadfast and unshakable. Where what we know and do and say, are familiar. They are not abstract. 

The best thing I've come to realize about the gospel is that it is not something new, it is just things I had forgotten. 

The truth in our true identity is to hear truth, and through that, remember who we are and it is familiar to us. And when we come to that truth of who we are, we live it. And we find our foundations are set before the beginning of the world. We have always been sons and daughters of God. 

It is our divine Identity to be like our Heavenly Father. (: and that is a feeling of comfort and peace and happiness.

That is what the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can do for us with every correct doctrine and principle we learn and apply. We can understand who we are! 
I hope you all have a great week and an awesome Mothers Day! 
Hermana Ficklin