Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 - Halloween in Austin!

Aardvark pumpkin carving that i did for Megan. Her favorite animal is an Aardvark.

happy halloween!

I lost some weight... and height...
haha Sister Wentworths daughter, Sophia (: aka hermana ficklin

Austin is the perfect halloween town im tellin ya. last night it was all foggy and creepy

The lessons we've taught have been a little dead this week...

our new investigator

a pretty house here, more pretty house pictures to come

just chillin out eating injiri with Ojulu and Odonga and her friend!

a tie Ojulu made entirely out of beads haha

us trying to unlock hermana diaz car ( she locked her keys inside)

Ehappy Ehalloween!
       Austin is prepared and ready for Halloween! the leaves are piling up on the ground, the weather has been a nice crisp 50 degrees the last week, and the decorations in this town are phenomenal! It definitely adds to the towns already antique look and not to mention the fog that rolls in at dusk! 

Fun Fact: did you know that trick or treating originated in Minnesota? It's true!   Also, the story of Paul Bunion originates in Minnesota. 

Sister Pierce and I got into the Halloween spirit by carving pumpkins we were given by the Grush family farm (one of our members), haha that was fun, we felt like kids digging out the pumpkin guts and concentrating so hard on carving haha! sister Pierce carved out some cute lil pumpkins and I carved an Aardvark... that's a normal thing to carve in a pumpkin right? Megan, one of our members favorite animal is an Aardvark and she asked if I would draw one for her, but instead I surprised her with a pumpkin carving of an Aardvark haha she liked it. She gave me a high five and a hug. 
Here in Austin we have investigators from Benin, Africa, and most of them speak French as a first language and can speak English a little bit, so, Sister Pierce and I are adding a new language to our list, Francois! We have a member here who knows French and we are going to learn French from her so that we can communicate better with our investigators. We are also learning a little bit of Anyuak, an African dialect that many of the Africans here speak!

Here's what I've learned so far:
Hello! Nidi! 
Goodbye! Malderi!  
How do you say... Anocoanadi...
Feel free to practice with me!  haha I have a hard enough time trying to pronounce Anocoanadi that they get what I'm asking better by just pointing! haha but, practice makes perfect!  You can find the greatest success by finding every wrong way first!  
The work here is going well! We had one of our investigators from Benin attend church for the first time, which is awesome! We think he enjoyed it, and he met another long time investigator from Benin and they talked in French to one another all throughout church. So we think they got along okay? Haha 
We are teaching one of my old investigators from last spring that I was here and she is awesome! She invited us to attend the Pentecostal church with her and we agreed. Sister Pierce was quite excited because she'd never been before. The service was very nice, and we got to meet her husband, and her friends. They are all very nice as well, all of them came up to us and shook our hands and welcomed us in, which is a pleasant relief.
The service was very much to the Pentecostal traditions of singing and dancing and then a boisterous and animated sermon given by the Pastor. His message was good, it was about the spiritually dead, that sin, or separating ourselves from God is spiritual death, and then in another part of the sermon he said something that surprised me, because I'd never heard any other church say this, that if there is one God, why are there so many churches?  He didn't explain why, but at least he asked the question! He said that all churches have spiritually alive people, but they all have spiritually dead people as well. which is all true.
The Pastor thanked us for coming to the sermon haha he said "Mire! Las Mormonas estan aqui! Hoy, somos unidos! Hermanas, DIOS BENDIGAS!"  which means, "Look! the Mormons are here! Today, we are united! Sisters, GOD BLESS YOU!"  
And then we were invited to their anniversary party. 
The more I'm on my mission the more I learn that we truly are all brothers and sisters. That other churches are not bad, they have the basics of the gospel and they are trying to live righteous lives in the way that they know they can, and if it be through singing and dancing and loud sermons, then so be it. Let them worship how, when, and where they may.

We should not condemn others for worshiping God in a way that is different to ours. Most are doing a good thing. We, however can let others know that there is more yet in store! That if they want, they can enjoy the blessings of knowing they can have an eternal family, that we lived with God before, we have a purpose on this life more personally fit for us to succeed that we'd ever thought, and that we have all the opportunity in the world to make it back to the Celestial Kingdom. That we have more Testimonies of Jesus Christ in a book that many sacrificed much to get to us today so that we can know that God truly loves all of His children, we have the Book of Mormon to read! That we can repent, and be baptized by the same authority Jesus Christ was baptized with! We have the sacrament each week to start over again. Our chances to happily succeed are endless in this life! We have not only the keys to gain eternal life, but we have the knowledge of HOW to gain eternal life! Surprisingly, not many people have this knowledge. 
And if that is something that they want to know, by all means, teach them! Share what makes you truly happy!

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isaiah 52:7

  "And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;"  Mosiah 16:9
I pray that you will all be able to enjoy the blessings of Missionary work! Get out there and do it! there are those out there who are searching! And you can be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about the Eternal life of your brothers and sisters! 
Love you all! 
Love, Sister Ficklin

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014 Transfered back to Austin - with Sister Pierce (my companion in the MTC)!

Sister Taito!!!

us goofing off at a surplus store
ww 2 veteran

us and sister abrahamsen- a member (our grandma) she let us do our laundry at her house on pdays and we always watched general conference dvds and chruch videos at her house

me and kamilla -soon to be baptized!

us and the larsens- awesome members of the shingle creek ward

us and mama barway she gave me the african skirt and purse

us and brad collins- our new age christain investigator who invited us to all of the different christian churches

sister kaisambah

us and the ramseys- our favorite shingle creek members

me in front of the infamous willows apartments

me in african makeup... i think it looks better on africans haha

me fifi and isha, jamaal and their friends

me and george, our quirky upstairs neighbor in shingle creek

Transfer results: (A week later)
             I am now back in SPAM town, Austin Minnesota!!! With my MTC companion, Sister Pierce!!! who would have thought!  I really am super excited to be back here though!  It's been fun seeing all of the members again and their expression when they see I'm back. I've never had so many double takes in my life! haha. Apparently no one ever comes back to Austin once they leave. But, if they knew my track record of being a missionary, this wouldn't be a surprise to them because I tend to be the odd duck when it comes to where I go. It keeps me on my toes that's for sure, I never know what is going to happen next! 

As for now I've been settling back into place just fine and the work here is exciting! This area is now a zebra area, which is missionary lingo for doing english and spanish work which I absolutely love. There are a lot of Africans and Micronesians here along with our Hispanic friends which adds to the adventure of teaching. One thing I've learned to love here is culture. You learn a lot and come to appreciate all human life. We truly are all brothers and sisters.
We are working now on what is called NACI (the North American central initiative) which works with getting the ward more involved in missionary work with those who are "in the ward, but not of the ward" and we are super excited to see where this goes. There's a lot of work that is going to be done the next little while, but we can't wait for it! Missionaries love work and when we've got a project like this, it's like Christmas every day! 
Well this ones going to be short and sweet, but there will be more to come next week! 
Love you all! Keep praying for missionary opportunities!
Love Hermana Ficklin

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014 ...Still waiting to hear on transfers tomorrow...

                                                    HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

welcome to the fall attire!

grace getting ready for her job interview! we helped her get dressed and practiced interview questions. she got it!

freezing at a brad collins house (lesson in the back) (rule of 3)

The Temple!!!

us with Sister Forbes

me elder larsen elder manoa sister taito

the temple with the sisters!

the next missionaries

zone p day
egg on the spoon!

p day army relay!

The Book is blue, and this church is true!
Hello! Transfers are here again. We still haven't found out if my dear Sister Taito and I will still be together or not! We've both got butterflies. President decided to do it a little different today and the zone leaders are going to call us if we are going to be transfered. So far, nothing yet. The anticipation of transfers always kill me. My leg won't stop bouncing! 
If we get transfered we are having our "last supper" at ocean buffet. Our favorite chinese seafood restaurant that we always get sick at haha. What can I say, it's a tradition. And it has sushi! 

So, we've been working with two new investigators, sister Queenah, and sister Kamilla. They are both searching for a change in their lives and willing to change, which makes our jobs easy! Queenah is a 23 year old from Liberia, whose been through the rebel war, and seen many many terrible things. As we talked with her about the plan of salvation and explained to her about our purpose here on earth, she told us her story of life. Sister Taito asked Queenah what her personal purpose was. She was quiet for a while and then she answered and said, that our purpose is to be happy, and to serve God and be a missionary! We gave her a fist bump for that one. (: She told us that she wants to know this, she wants to learn the gospel so that she can be clean from the past, and find that comfort that she's been searching for. We talked with her about repentance and baptism and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how through this plan of our Heavenly Father, we can have a renewal and the peace that she's searching for. So we asked her to pray about knowing if this is the Church the Lord wants her to join, and if so, if November 15th should be her baptismal date. She said she already knows the Book of Mormon is true but that she will pray about it anyway and she will pray to know about baptism. We are excited to see what she says!

Kamilla is also 23, she is African American with a young 3 year old boy. We knocked into her and when we told her we were missionaries out sharing a message about God and Jesus Christ, so she let us in. So far we've taught about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. Her favorite phrase is "THAT IS SO DEEP!" She told us when we first met with her that she said that she wanted to learn more about God and so she prayed that someone would come and teach her about God. She later on had a dream that someone would come and teach her the gospel, and a few months later we showed up knocking on her door and when we told her we were sharing a message about God and Jesus Christ she knew that it was a sign from God. And her relations of her life has similarities with Sister Taito and I's lives and we are able to understand the want to change and with our personal stories and testimonies have caused her to think and I know the Holy Ghost is working within her, stirring her soul. Her desire is becoming stronger and stronger and her curiosity of wanting to learn more is becoming apparent.

On Sunday we were in a meeting with our ward mission leader, talking about a few of our investigators, how they've prayed and asked for things in their lives to work out, and in return they would change certain things in their lives to be more faithful to God. And God had granted them what they prayed for and they have been slow to live up to what they had Promised God.

Brother Jones, our ward mission leader told us something I'd like to share. He said:
We are taught grace by grace. The Lord gives us enlightenment as we are willing; and depending on how quick we are to act is how quick he is to give us further enlightenment. If we pray for something in our lives and it is given us, our agency is put into play and we must choose how we will act on what He gives us. If we are slow to act, He is slow to give, until He sees that we are willing to act on what He gives. 

Our Heavenly Father is a wise man. He does not give us more than we can bear, whether it be trials or blessings.
This fast Sunday I also got up and bore my testimony on Prophets. This whole past week I've really had a lot of curiosity for the lives of the Prophets. And as I've watched and listened and pondered on their words and actions I got a light bulb moment! I've seen the passion they have for life, they seem to have a charisma of love and joy, their lives are full of selfless acts and countless opportunities to serve and uplift. They also have so many trials of faith, so many opportunities to learn from mistakes and yet they grow!   

My thoughts became clear and I said to myself, they've figured it out! They know how to be a successful person. They know how to live a successful life. 

As I continued to listen to General Conference, watching the General Authorities I just became so excited listening to them! They are telling us EXACTLY what we need to do to be successful. There is never a clearer path of success than the pathway of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

In everyone, at one point or another there is doubt in wondering if what pathway the Lord is taking us really is the right path. 

Perhaps we know that it is true, but yet we still don't follow because it means swimming against the currants of the worlds definition of success, or fear of failure if we try. Whatever it may be in our lives, we can at least start by observing the lives of the Lords Prophets and Apostles. Just as Jesus Christ in olden times was the example of a successful life, we have real life, here and now examples of the reward of Christ-like living. To see what happens when we follow what the Lord is telling us. 
And let me tell you the reward is great. There is a richness to life that doesn't necessarily involve having lots of money. There is a fulfillment in our lives that we all search for. I believe that one of the biggest reasons of being an unhappy people is because we don't feel successful, and we can't figure it out. 
Our Heavenly Father is here to see us to success. He's got what we need to do all laid out for us. We just have to search, listen, have faith and then act. Yup, it won't come to us if we don't put in our effort. We have to be willing. Nothing ever worth having is ever easily given.
If success is something you are searching for at this moment, my prayer for you is to do what Joseph Smith did one spring morning in 1820. Kneel and pray to know how, and when the answer comes, act. 

                           SEARCH. PONDER. PRAY.

And I would add to that, OBSERVE. Look to those you see that have figured it out. Learn about the lives of Jesus Christ and the Prophets and I can promise you that the questions you have been searching for will be answered. 
Keep up the good work my family! can't wait to see you all in the Celestial Kingdom! (:
Love you all! 
Love Sister Ficklin