Tuesday, December 18, 2012

well howdy...

Monday 17, 2012

This isn't going to be very long. But please just know that I love yall so much. I will be excited to see you on Wednesday. It doesn't seem real, but maybe that's a blessing. I think I would be a huge mess if it seemed real.

I have a coat to carry on the plane. Yikes. We should go to Cafe Rio when I get home because I have missed it oh so much. Kimmy Lane and Mikelle want to come see me that night. Also, Madre, does Keri Holyoak still work at the dermatologist? Cause I might just be verrrry beautiful right now. Yep.

We had a good week. I will tell yall about it when I get home.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Redeemer of my soul. He is my brother, my friend, and my leader and I will follow Him. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We cannot make things fair. The atonement is also what makes up for our mistakes. It is what allows us to truly try and to truly live. Without it, our mistakes would define us and cripple us.

He has conquered everything, except our own will. That makes it the only thing we truly have to give to him, the only gift He really wants. We have the great opportunity to learn truth for ourselves. testimony is a sure knowledge that nothing can separate from you. Faith is trusting the enlightened moments you know you've had when you're in between them.

Jesus Christ has restored His church to the earth in these last days and He will lead it and guide us.

My Father in Heaven loves me. He hears me and He cares about me just as much as my Savior does. He is the great orchestrator of all of our lives. I know that He knew what I would need and ultimately what I would want with all my heart. Because of that, even though I prayed and prayed to be excited when my mission call came, He sent me somewhere He knew wouldn't thrill me initially, but somewhere that would become holy and hallowed ground to me. He sent me to the Crawfords and my companions and to the amazing amazing people in this area. He gave me the greatest thing I could ever have hoped for. I have learned to trust Him more. He wants us to pray to him and when we do pray we will find many of our problems solved and most of our burdens lifted. He is the first source to turn to.

I am so happy. I am so so happy because I know my Savior and my Father. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve as a missionary. I believe that He will accept what I was able to bring and sanctify my offering. My whole life I can be this happy if I will stay strong and converted to the gospel. I will serve Him my whole life. This is just the beginning of what I can do for the Lord. I'm excited to do it.

The Book of Mormon is a miracle and I love it. Service is the way to remain constantly happy, especially missionary service. If we are bold, mighty forces will come to our aid. Sometimes we just have to square our shoulders and do it. There is nothing that will magically make us like our Savior, we must practice and practice. That's all He wants us to do. He loves us. He is so much more patient with us then we are with ourselves.

Yall. I belong to the church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-Day Saints). I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow Him in faith. I believe in the Savior Jesus Christ, I'll honor His name. I'll do what is right, I'll follow His light. His truth I will proclaim. I promise.

2 John 1:12 :]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

it's december this week!

Monday, November 26, 2012 11:03 AM

Hello my family! I'm glad to hear that yalls Thanksgiving was good.
Mine was great. It was, again, an ALL DAY PDAY. Which is so fantastic. We got up and I decorated the apartment for Christmas! Glorious. I am so excited for the season. It's the best. Our resources are... limited... haha but we did the best we could! I still have all the decorations that you sent last year, Mom and we put them up and I made the little tree and the stickers are on the bathroom mirror :] We love Christmas. I also made a box of cornbread stuffing (which people here in the south call 'dressing') and took it to our first Thanksgiving at the Trahans. They are an active Louisiana-grown family and we love them. They have a son in the Washington Everett Mission right now, so Sister Trahan is always looking out for the missionaries. After that we went to the Kenney family for dinner. Brother Kenney is the assistant ward mission leader and they have one son and... a zillion daughters.. Maybe 4? Yes 4. Sister Kenney is the most amazing cook ever. She made dressing from scratch (and of course, obviously that's possible, but I had never had any homemade dressing before and it was divine) And of course, the mashed potatoes. Yum. I loved it all. After dinner we played air hockey with the Kenney kids for an hour or two and then we went back home. We wanted to go see if the big nice park, Prien Lake Park, had it's Christmas lights lit yet (they are up but not lit. It's gonna be sweet.) On the way we stopped at a tree farm. We looked at the trees and walked around and it smelled heavenly. Just totally heavenly. I learned some tree facts. Douglas Firs are the best ones in that they smell and look the most like pine trees. Next are the... oh no I totally can't remember! There are three kinds. Douglas... and Noble... and ugh! That is so annoying. Anyway the Noble Fir is the one that will last the longest but it smells the least. And then the other one is in the middle. I'm soo irritated that I can't remember what it is called. That night we went in and I fell asleep at 8:30. It was amazing!! AMAZING. I love sleeping.
Other than that, the week was good. We taught a lesson 1 to Susan again this week to get her ready for her January baptism. It is amazing to see how the missionary lessons really do the best job. No matter how many times they've been taught, whether they are active members or less active members or investigators or whatever, the most effective thing to do is to teach the lessons as Preach My Gospel has laid them out. It works the best. It was a great lesson. She bore her testimony to us at the end and said "I didn't even know I had a testimony." Funny how that works. I was reading in Mormon this morning, the last chapter and Christ says something like "To them that believe on my name, will I confirm all my words" and that is totally a testimony. If we believe Christ he will confirm things to our hearts and that is the most incredible gift we could have, a testimony.
We shared a bunch of Thanksgiving messages and asked what people were Thankful for. And then we told them how we are thankful for our testimonies of the restored gospel. I love the holidays, don't you? Everyone is a little bit nicer. Well.. most everyone. We are working hard on talking to everyone and that makes for some truly truly awkward moments. haha. We are also calling a bunch of potentials and formers and asking if we can come see them. That has been relatively effective. Our evenings are waining a little bit, but what can you do.
Yesterday we had our appointment fall through (wonderful! I looooove when people stand us up) and so we were trying to think of what to do and we had planned to go by a potential, Allen. I was so scared to do it, but I thought back to Saturday when I saw these people putting up their christmas lights and went over to talk to them. Before I did, I said "Be bold! and mighty forces will come to your aid!" to sister T and we went and contacted them. They were NOT pleased. But it was okay. I'm grateful for the knowledge that everything can be made alright through the atonement. Even when people are apparently deeply offended by our offering the gospel to them. Anyway, I said that again and we went and had a nice talk with him. Then we set up a more solid return appointment for this week. I'm grateful for the way the Lord blesses us.
OH. MY. GOSH!!!! How could I forget! I just looked at my planner and remembered that we ate at the Morris' house this past Monday and guess what???? I ATE SQUIRREL!!! !!!! Seriously. I have video and pictures to prove it. I ate a ribcage (I think) and then half of the brain. Yep. The meat was okay, just really boney and I was like "I'm eating squirrel." the whole time. the brain, however, was dirt-nast disgusting. But, yall, I ate squirrel! Now when people ask me "Whats the wierdest thing you ate on your mission?" I will have something better to say than "Crawfish" or "shrimp" Cause I really haven't eaten too many crazy things out here. Thank you Morris. Mission accomplished.
Tuesday and Wednesday were very full days on our bikes and not much to report out of the ordinary... Friday we had an amazing district meeting about how to help members do missionary work. They are already doing it so we just have to talk to them about it and help give ideas and etc. We are very excited about doing this, even though our ward mission leader hates it. Whatever. I don't care anymore, we have to do work. The Bishop told us to do it and so we will.
Saturday we had our appointments cancel on us as well and we decided to try to find some service to do. We haven't done service in a really long time, so we went and helped Brother Boies with his yard (he's th eone that sent me a package to our house). It was awesome. We were on our way and we stopped by the Mortimers to ask if we could use their rake, and brother Mortimer (aka my HERO) was outside. They had just gotten home from helping a boy in the ward with his eagle project and we told him what we were going to do and he said "Why don't we just throw my lawnmower in the truck and go over and mow it all up? It will take so much less time!" So he just hopped in the truck and followed us over there on our bikes and spent the next two hours helping us with Brother Boies yard. Amazing. I guarantee that he had a huge list of things to do on a Saturday afternoon, but he stopped everything to just come help us serve a brother in the ward. What did I tell you? My hero. I want to be like that.
Well. That's the highlights from our week. This mornin it is rainy and we love it! We had one of our favorite less actives call us and leave a message this morning and tell us "I don't want to see yall until I call you." Which was weird. We called back but she didn't answer. So I was sad, really sad. But then, I seriously thought this: This is an opportunity to apply the atonement to my life. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. And it truly is an opportunity to pray and have him help me feel better. And that knowledge made me so happy and grateful this morning. A year and a half ago, that would have upset me sooo much more than it did this morning. It did upset me, cause it wasn't a very nice phone call and I don't understand why it came in, but I'm not as upset as I could be. I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that offers me that kind of strength. SO GRATEFUL. for the change that has come over me since I left home 18 months ago (18 months on Saturday can you believe it??!?! SO CRAZY!)
Mom, thanks for your letters, always. I love you so much!! I'm glad you had a good week and I can't wait to hear about your Thanksgiving break :] How was being with Grandma? How is she doing? How did she enjoy Heber? I thought of yall that day up there, I'm sure it was a treat for Grandma to get to go. I'm so happy you're all decorated. Now all we need is snow!!!!
Dad, thanks for your e-mail! I will pray for you this week about Stake Conference. It will all work out, I'm sure of it! I'm glad you get so much instruction from a General Authority, that is so cool. Didn't he speak in general conference last time? Was that someone else? Anyway I'll pray for yall and I hope it goes as well as you'd like it to! Nothings ever perfect, but I hope you're happy with it in the end.
James, how are you doing? How is school? Are finals in yet? Are you even going to school anymore?? Just kidding. But I never hear about it! Tell me about your life. What is your ward doing for Christmas? How is life? Are you enjoying the football season. Let me tell you, it is HARD to not talk about football with people. that's all they want to talk about and since LSU and Alabama are not friends, really, it is a hot topic at the moment. Anyway, I hope things are going well.
Jonny, what up? I didn't know that you played the guitar! Mom told me. That is sweet!! How is mission preparation going? I hope well. I am so excited for you!!!!! How are finals going for you? When are yall out of school? Ha! you go to SLCC!
I'm so glad yall got to meet Lundgren. I love her so so so so soo much. She was the perfect trainer for me, just likeJames told me my trainer would be. I love her and she is an incredible example. She told me she liked Wilsy. So, she's in. :]
I hope you have a wonderful week ! I love yall so much. I really am so thankful for you, each of you. Please know that I love you and that you are really great people. Wonderful parents and wonderful brothers. This holiday season is a gift, our testimonies are gifts, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ was the greatest gift of all. I love being a missionary. Guess what? It's still hard :] I'm guessing the last 3 weeks will be no exception. The last couple weeks of Christs life were kind of rough, I'd say. But I know that I will be happy during these weeks. I'm grateful for yall. Please remember Christ this season and serve him the best you can. I love Him so much!! He truly is "a thrill of hope".

Sunday, November 25, 2012

it's thanksgiving week!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012 10:35 AM

Hi yall! We had a very good week. Monday we went shopping ALL DAY! I haven't shopped for real in ... 18 months I guess! It was nice. Except I found out that my love of peacocks is apparently a worldwide phenomenon now! Lame. I got earrings for $0.55 at Khols! How amazing is that?? We also bought jump ropes so that we can exercise in the morning. It is far too cold to go running, especially because we don't really run... But the jump ropes are doing great things! I could hardly walk on Tuesday and Wednesday cause my calves were so sore. Yikes. I found a coat that I want to buy when I get home. It's at target. I'm hoping all the targets in the world have the same stuff. It was a good day. Christmas decorations are up in the stores so I was pleased as punch.
Monday night our dinner cancelled, and our appointment cancelled. Except... we went anyway :] we just didn't say anything about the message we got. It was good that we went. It's a less active who is trying to come back but is struggling so much with the word of wisdom. and We are teaching her cousin that lives there... except everyone had had a couple of shots of cinnamon vodka (nice.) so she didn't sit in on the lesson. Every time we come out of somewhere wreaking of cigarette (or in this case, cigarello) smoke, we say "we smell like repentance" haha.
Tuesday we saw a bunch of less actives. We taught one of the ladies ( a young mom with two little girls and a methodist husband) the first lesson. It was really cool. I've said it before, I'll say it again, there is power in those missionary lessons. The missionary department and the quorum of the 12 know what they're doing, we should follow what they tell us to do. It was a good lesson. Tuesday night we had fish tacos at our ward mission leaders house and then we tried to see people aaand since it is after the sun has gone down we are extremely offensive. People of the world, if missionaries come to your house after dark do not send them away!! Especially if it is 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday we had to fix Sister T's bike... AGAIN! We had rode them to go tracting (fruitless, I almost broke my foot, and freezing cold) and her tire was totally flat. Did I tell yall about the debacle we had last week about fixing her bike? The thing is on it's last leg. It's about to die. So we had to go fix that and then that afternoon we had Debra and Josetta. We watched the Testaments with them. It was amazing. I love the Testments. I will never forget the first time I watched it on my mission. In Brother Samfords house. And I was so emotional, and so happy! It's a great movie. Even if it is a little bit cheesy. Then after a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with the Rex's we went to see our potentials KiKi and Kiandra. We taught them a first lesson, and KiKi was not a fan of us saying that Jesus Christ's true church has been restored... but they said we could come back when they get home from Thanksgiving break (they get an ENTIRE WEEK off for Thanksgiving yall! How amazing is that??)
Thursday we saw Susan and taught her. She is doing well. She is not going to be at church for the next 5 weeks (minus the week right before I leave) and then we had dinner with a family the Littles. He has been a member his whole life and she was baptized about 2 and a half years ago. And now she's the young women's president! She is awesome.
Friday we had Zone Conference in Vidor. My last Zone Conference, can you believe it?? I remember my first zone conference, a Spanish hermana... I think her name was Hermana Werner? Something like that? Anyway she stood up and said "I remember my first zone conference, watching the departing testimonies and thinking, wow I will never be there." And I was like "Um, yes. That is how I feel." but I am there. How totally completely bizarre is that? She shared a scripture where John the Baptist said "He must increase (meaning Christ) but I must decrease" and I've thought about that for my whole mission. Christ must increase, and I the natural man must decrease. His goodness must increase in me. I am so thankful to have a testimony of the gospel and a testimony of the church! I am so grateful to have faith in Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for this mission experience. It was a really good meeting. Me and Sister T sang "He Sent His Son". I thought of you Dad I know how much you love that song! I love it too. I love President and Sister Crawford. Whenever President testifies, I always feel the spirit's presence very strongly. My heart always burns when he testifies. He is so great. Friday night I went to Woodville on exchanges with Sister Jackson! It was so fun and just what I needed.
I'm working on something. I had some cool experiences this week with following promptings. While me and Sister Tuigamala were tracting Tuesday morning, I was talking about how I feel like I get promptings that don't make sense all the time, and how I can't tell if they're promptings yada yada yada, how many of the people of the church have felt like that? Probably almost every single one. I was telling her "I can't just do everything good idea that pops into my head. I just can't do every prompting that I receive, it's humanly impossible." And she said "You might surprise yourself." Light bulb like you wouldn't believe. I might surprise myself with my ability to follow the promptings I get. I might just be able to do every good thing I think of. How profound is my companion without even trying to be? So I've been trying to follow promptings more recently and it's been working out for me. Friday we had dinner with a less active single mom and her 7year old son. The mom, Cassie, was baptized at 12 with her mom and her sister. She has spent some time away from the church and is now coming back. At one point her son was talking about how much he LOVED primary. His mom said "I always feel a little jealous of my son, because when I joined the church I went almost directly into Young Women so I didn't learn the primary songs! I wish I had." and her son was saying how much he LOVED the primary songs. Well, because we had sung at zone conference, I just happened to have my children's hymnbook that Kari Brown gave me before I left and so we went and got it and he wanted to sing "Follow the Prophet." So we did. And then Cassie wanted us to sing "I am A Child Of God" Because she would sing that to him as a lullaby. So while we are singing, I get this prompting "Give Cassie the hymn book" and, that is not like me to do at all. I treasure the things that I've been given by people that I love. So I thought about it for a second, but then I thought "You cannot give yourself poor in this work" and so I asked them "Do yall have a children's hymnbook?" No. "Would you like one?" Yes! "Would you like THIS one?" And they were so excited. And I felt so happy for them. But then we were leaving and I felt like "Oh, no I don't want Kari Brown to think I didn't appreciate her gift, or that it was easy for me to just give it away." and then, looking up at the most beautiful starry sky, I thought of one of my FAVORITE christmas songs. The other wise man :] and it says "And the man of wisdom wonders if the King will understand that gift he meant to offer Him has been giv'n to mortal hands." And I thought about how the Lord understands. And I felt so happy.
Saturday we helped this woman move into the Woodville ward. MOST beautiful house ever. Maybe I'll go into real estate? Cause I love houses, and people, and etc. It was an old old house and there were those old fashioned bathtubs in all the bedrooms behind screens. It was so picture perfect. It was a good long day. We did that, we taught a bible study class out of preach my gospel and got a new investigator and then we taught a less active woman. Then the recent baptism in woodville, she is so great. Anette. When she got baptized all of her friends stopped speaking to her. How lame. Then we had dinner with an amazing family and it was delicious. I think I might have had a tiny migrane or something, my head felt like someone was slicing it with a knife and my eyes hurt so bad and I was sick to my stomach? Sound like a migrane? I felt better after I slept that night and took some ibuprofen on the way home. It was a great exchange. I love sister Jackson and Sister Erickson. So much.
Yesterday someone was praying for us. I know this because we had an okay day, Sister T is not sleeping well, so she wasn't feeling very good. But we had one of our appointments cancel so we went to the other and she wasn't there. So we sat in the car and started calling potentials and formers. This is how I know someone was praying for us and the Lord answers our prayers. EVERYONE we talked to set up a return appointment, many of them for the evening. Ihave prayed recently that we can fill our evenings. Cause they have been so difficult to fill. And I am sure the Lord was answering our prayers.
Mom, thanks for your letter! I'm glad things are going well for you. Are you so excited for Thanksgiving? It will be fun to have Grandma be at Grandma Hickens, I think. Is that what yall are planning? I love you!
Dad thanks for your e-mail! Your mission plan sounds amazing! We are doing something similar in our area. It's called the Plan and we are having the members work on fellowshipping. For a year they fellowship a family that they'd like to see as members of the church without bringing up the church at all. And we follow up to see their actions. Our Ward Mission Leader doesn't like us to ask the members to do missionary work, I think he had a bad experience with missionaries some time ago probably. But anyway we'll try it. It's hard to do without our mission leader behind us, but we'll keep trying.
James, thanks for your e-mail! I have got your letters a few weeks ago... maybe 2 weeks ago? I loved them as usual. Hows life?
Jonny, how are you? Getting ready for the mission? I am so incredible proud of you! SO SO proud of you. And even more excited for you!!! Study lesson 3 of preach my gospel. Just do it. Also, I want you to go to mormonchannel.org and find the video "Sanctify yourselves" :] and if you have time... Also The Tyler Haws video and the video by Neil L. Anderson about Sid Going. It's awesome.
I love yall! Happy thanksgiving! I am so thankful for yall. I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and so thankful for restored church. I am so thankful to be a missionary and for the opportunity I will have to be a missionary for my whole life. I am so thankful for my testimony of the gospel and the church. More than anything I'm thankful for that and for my Savior, Jesus Christ and a loving Father in Heaven. I'm thankful. There is so much to be thankful for and I truly am so thankful. I will try my best to serve Him. All of yall think of the things you're thankful for this week. Especially be thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that helps us to be happier, better, clean, whole, forgiven.
I love yall! HAPPY HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Give my love to the fam at Grandma's house!! Talk to yall next week

Monday, November 12, 2012

we had a good week

Monday, November 12, 2012 10:16 AM

So Monday night we didn't have a dinner and it was RAINING like you wouldn't believe! So cool. But then at 7:30 we had an appointment with a less active member who is wanting to come back to church. She told us her 16 year old daughter doesn't know if she believes in God anymore, so we were going to go teach a Restoration lesson. This family has a 23 year old cousin living with them, Serenity, and on the way over I was thinking "I would LOVE to teach Serenity." So we go in, we start talking, and in Serenity comes. Kizza asks her one question about church and badabing! We are able to invite her to listen to the lesson. It was great. It was kind of crazy cause Serenity's 2 year old daughter was running around trying to do everyone's hair (she tried to give me twists. ha!) We asked her what she would do if she found out what we taught was true and she said "Then I would become Mormon." Like... duh! We are excited to work with her. We're seeing her tonight.
Tuesday was almost an all bike day. All bike day until it got dark. I love riding the bikes so much. I feel like a missionary when I do. And we always end up teaching more on the days when we bike. Who knows why THAT is. Anyway we taught a bunch of less actives and had dinner with a wonderful active family in our ward. Then we had Dan-The-Man dinner with him and his wife. She is getting a little tired of us, I think. We'll approach it after Thanksgiving (they're going out of town).
Wednesday I had some more experience with following promptings. We had an appointment, she wasn't there. So we were biking down to Mormon.org and I had the thought "Go see that young mom from the Hour of Power." So I stopped and told Sister T about it. It's kind of weird because it's the other side of our area. So we rode back home and got the car and drove to Jennys. She let us right in (she was absolutely devastated because of the election. she cried. yikes man.) and we taught her a first lesson. It was kind of awkward because her pastor was in the backyard haha.. But they are a great family. She said she would pray about reading the Book of Mormon. That's the whole battle for us. If they'll read it, God will do the work. Also later that morning we saw Susan and Josetta, our other two progressing investigators.
Thursday morning we went to say goodbye to Lora Monroe because she is moving out of our complex (still in our ward) and she is going to get her husband because HE is now doing an externship at L'Auberge. Then we did weekly planning and no body else was around until Dinner at the clicks then we saw Brother Boies. He sent a package to our house. It's for me :] Just expect that
Friday we had district meeting and the zone leaders came. Then we went to lunch with Josh Brandon. He is recently reactivated, probably 30 and he fed us steak and chili dogs. I am a HUGE chili dog fan now-a-days. And he has a cool cat. I'm starting to like cats more. His cat is named BJ. BJ is almost as cool as the Nunes cat, Toby. But Toby totally wins. He is my favorite cat. I think this also might be coming from the fact that cats don't bark their heads off whenever I enter their property. Dogs drive me a little nuts. Except Wils. Pretty much nothing happened Friday. I start to get depressed when that happens. When it's our second day and no teaching, I get down.
Saturday, ALSO nothin!! YUCK. Also I was sick. I am fighting a little cold/sore throat deal. I really dislike it.
Yesterday we had church and holy smokes I just love church. We had the lesson from the George Albert Smith book about kindness. Isn't he amazing??? Seriously, I adore George Albert Smith. Every time I read the book about him I am blown away. He is so cool. So, therefore, I have decided on a name for my daughter. I'm going to name her Georgia Rae. (Like George Albert Smith and Dad! cool huh? Mom, just think about it for a second. it's not as bad as some of the other one's I've come up with, i'm sure!) I told sister T this last night and she goes "That is such a southern name!" Also last night I got told that I sometimes have a southern accent! YUSS! I'm excited about that. I also had an experience yesterday with following a prompting. We were driving away from a less active visit and I had a thought "go knock those apartments" but I didn't want to. College apartments freak me out at the moment. We got all the way to where our next appointment should be and I was like "Sister, I think we need to go knock those apartments." And she goes "WHY did you wait until now to tell me! We should have gone when we were over there!" And we went back and daught a first and got two new investigators. Sophomores in college. I was thinking about how I got my answer about going on a mission. And how it was because of the power of prayer and I thought of all the sad little college students in the world who were sad and alone and didn't know that they could pray. And that's why I wanted to knock there. It was cool.
We have a new elder in the ward! His name is Elder Hooker! He miiiight know Grandma and Grandpa! He's another Heber-ite. His parents bought a bunch of land and built a housing development and I thought "huh. grandma and grandpa have a housing development by their house.." and he told me he used to live on Hicken Court... Do Grandma and Grandpa know any Hookers? ... hahahaha. In their neighborhood?
Mom, thanks for checking on the MTC for me! You're the best! I think I'll just apply when I get home? What do you think about that? I have been practicing and role playing with my companion. How are you? Thanks for the pictures of the snow! I LOVE THE SNOW! Have yall started decorating for Christmas yet? Also, I got Becky's wedding announcement! HOLY SMOKES she looks GORGEOUS IN IT!!!!!! Don't yall think? I'm so happy for her!! Plus It's nice to have a face to put on "Chauncey Rogers".
Dad, thanks for your e-mail! Those sound like good goals for the stake! We have such a great stake! Hey, guess what? A girl from Vidor Texas got her mission call to the TACOMA WASHINGTON mission! i am so excited. She is one of the "new wave" missionaries. She's 19. I have to call her and tell her she's the luckiest girl in the world! How's everything for you? I hope you have a great week!
James, how goes it? How is life? I hope you're doing good. What exactly is your major? I keep forgetting... accounting? Something?
Jonny, how goes it for you? How are you doing in your mission preparation?? Are you reading the Book of Mormon? DO IT! :]
Family, I love you so much! I am so grateful to be a missionary. It's still difficult. But it's so wonderful! If I ever talk to any girl going on her mission the first words out of my mouth will be "It is WONDERFUL! The most amazing thing you could do with your time! You are so lucky to have the opportunity." Please pray for our investigators. They are not wanting to progress. It's lame. I will keep trying. Please pray that we'll be able to find things to do in the evening. Remember the power and strength of real prayer. Get on your knees and speak out loud to your Father in Heaven. He is really listening to you. He wants to help you and He wants you to help His other children.
I love yall so much! Have a good week and I'll talk with you next monday!!
P.S. TEN DAYS til the rest of the world wants to listen to christmas music with me!!!!! SOOO

oh mi familia. it's the final countdown

November 5, 2012
Well. It is officially my last transfer. I have no earthly idea how this happened. It doesn't seem like a year and a half ago that I was leaving home. It doesn't seem that long since I've seen yall. But on the other hand, I feel like I've been here and known these people for all my life. Sister Tuigamala and I are staying together!! We are so excited! We are going to work hard and see success I know it.
So. Last week was good. I don't have my planner from last week because it is a new transfer... and that is how I remember what I did every day to give yall a play by play haha. But I'll see what I can do.
The first of the week we were on bikes all the time because we had NO MILES left. We were actually over miles a little bit. So we biked to kingdom come. Especially on Wednesday. Halloween! I wondered so many times how many people thought we were just in costumes and went a little far with our helmets and bikes. Oh well. Nobody asked us. We had a good day on Wednesday we saw Josetta and taught her about the plan of salvation. She agrees with it. She knows it is true. There is something that is in the way of her coming to church. We'll see what we can do. Wednesday night we met with Stephen, our new investigator who is dating a less active member. They fed us dinner. It was delicious. We had planned to talk to him about the Restoration but he wanted to know why we couldn't drink tea. Can I just tell yall how much a LOVE being a missionary?! The gospel is just so true. It speaks for itself. All I can do is be the person to feed the information. Anyway the Elders came and they were on bikes too, so we were all four riding home at nine o'clock at night and it was so funny.
We also had a cool experience with a less active woman, Shirley. Oh, how I love her. Our Ward Mission Leader says that the Sisters have been visiting her for years and years and that she comes to church once in a while. Basically he said don't waste your time. Just ps our ward mission leader scares me to death. He's very good at being a ward mission leader and he just intimidates me to no end. Anyway. But we saw Miss Shirley and taught her the plan of salvation. Her daughter passed away about a month ago. And last time we saw her she asked what happened to people after they died. We were able to teach her this plan and the spirit was there. It was cool. I felt so good as I testified that Heavenly Father knew that we would be imperfect and that Jesus Christ knew that he was coming to take our punishment for us. "Justice requires immediate perfection and punishement when we fall short... Jesus took that punishment." This was central to the plan. Our Heavenly Father loves us.
Also yesterday in church. It was fast and testimony meeting and Sister Clifford stood up and bore her testimony. She talked about how when she goes to the temple it feels like she is going home. And something like "It must be so good for our Heavenly Father to see us home." and I felt that God loves His children so much. I remember when Rebecca Tingey came to our house and she said "On the really hard days of my mission I would just picture that hug at the airport when I got home and it made me feel better." and I thought about when we go home to God how he will embrace us and how that will feel. Can yall imagine?? So great. So much better than when I complete my THE mission. And that's going to be pretty darn awesome.
"Fall back" happened. So now it gets dark at like 3 in the afternoon. Just kidding. It's like 6 oclock. But that kicks 6-9 out of drop bys which are how we roll in this area in the evening. For some reason no body wants to see us in the evening. Weird. Anyway we are trying to adjust and set solid appointments in the evening. We should be having more dinners so that will be good.
What else happened... we didn't get any new investigators which I just don't like at all. We are going to do better this week. It's been really really foggy lately in the mornings. Which is cool. And then it gets hot. Not HOT hot, but hotter than I want it to be. I want it to be like coldish. Like 70 would be nice.
Susan is doing great. We love her so much. She is still planning to get baptized January 5 2012. Hoorah! Hopefully we can teach her husband and her daugter before then. Her husband is feeling interested now. That is nice.
I'm sorry that I don't have that much to tell yall about! Mom we had a pizza party last monday! I will send you the pictures from my grateful district.
Mom, how has your week been? I hope it's been good! How is work and etc? Has ABC family started the countdown to the 25 days of christmas? I think it's hilarious that they do a countdown to a countdown...
Dad, thanks for your e-mail! Say hello the Robinsons from me!! They are so great. I'm sorry they had to cut it a little bit short, but I'm sure they did all that God wanted them to do. I'm glad that more sisters are applying for missionary service! I would love to talk to any girls that want to go on a mission! I'd do it in a heartbeat. Set it up and I'll be there. I totally want to teach at the mtc. I don't know how best to go about that. My old job said I could come back and work there, but it just doesn't feel right and I don't want to work there anymore. So I am going to see if I can come and apply for the MTC when I get home or send a video thing. Could you see if you can find out if I could apply between the 19th when I get home and January 2nd when we leave? Thanks! I don't know if you can find out, but I guess just see if they do interviews then... I don't know how to send a video home really, but I will figure it out if that's what needs to happen. PLUS there's going to be so many more missionaries, ESPECIALLY sister missionaries so they're probably going to need more teachers... riiiight? Score.
James, how are you doing this week? How's life? How are the ladies? How is church? How is work? How is school? What are you studying? Can't wait to come home so we can fiesta!!! We shall double date. It will be great. You will find fellas for me and I will find ladies for you. Perfect.
Jonny, hows it going?? Are you getting excited to get on your mission. Mom and dad say you look more and more like a missionary all the time. I can't WAIT for you to go through the temple! It's sooo amazing! And then we can all go together. The best thing you can do to prepare for your mission is strengthen your testimony. Honestly, theres no way to prepare you for what the day to day of missionary life is like except just going. But you CAN build your testimony. It all hinges on the Book of Mormon. Read it daily. You will recieve answers to the questions you have about your mission from studying the book of mormon. Don't feel like you have to read a zillion chapters a day. Just read every day. LOVE YOU! I'm so excited to see you!
Yall. I am so happy. I am so so so soooo happy. I'm not always giddy happy, but I have this underlying happiness that doesn't go away. I know that comes as a gift from God in return for service. I am so grateful to have a testimony. I haven't always had a testimony, or I didn't always think I had a testimony. Now that I have one, I truly do "guard it with my life". I am so incredible grateful for it. I just know that it's true. This gospel is Jesus Christs and this church is Jesus Christs. What I don't know now, I can have faith in and someday God will let me know. THAT I am sure of. LOVE YALL! Be good, be happy, and be safe!

Monday, October 29, 2012

it's cold here! wearing my coat. oo la la!

Monday, October 29, 2012 10:53 AM

before I forget - Mom, I am out of pages in my missionary journal! I know I don't have too many days left, but I would really like all my journals to be uniform you know? So could you send me one? Also I am out of my daily prescriptions, if you have more to send. :] We read a good one today by Martin Luther about birds nesting in your hair, remember that one? Twas good.
Dad, you asked about what we would want members of the ward to know. Above ALL, I'd want them to know that the full time missionaries are there first and foremost to HELP the members do missionary work. Not to MAKE them do missionary work. We know that the members love the gospel and love the church and sincerely WANT to share the gospel. They just don't know quite who or how. And they don't want to be pushy (especially in Utah) and they don't want to be looked at as religious zealots. We understand all of this. We want to HELP them get to where they want to be as member missionaries, and where the Lord wants them to be. They can have positive missionary experiences. We are there to meet them where they are and help them progress to the point where they can share the gospel with everyone that they want to - everyone the Lord expects them to. We are there to TEACH and that includes members. We have the opportunity to have this calling and the special blessings that come with it. So we can help the members find natural ways to share the gospel. They don't have to teach the gospel, that is our privilege. Their privilege is to invite others to something or to do something where they can feel the spirit. We want the members to have confidence in the incredible message of the gospel. It CAN effect people. The missionaries want to help the members have positive missionary experiences. They want to help in ANY way. We are on the same team here. I would want them to imagine someone that they know fully embracing and enjoying the gospel. Imagine how happy that person could be and the changes that would inevitably take place with the gospel in their lives. Those things CAN happen, and the happiness the members would feel from sharing the gospel would be great. Sister Cochran always says "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid!" That's true. When we are bold with the gospel, we INVITE the mighty forces of the spirit and angels to come to our aid. Obviously I have a LOT I want to say about this haha. But most of all, it is that the missionaries are there to HELP members have missionary experiences. President Monson said "Our missionary experiences have to be current. It is not enough to sit back and ponder former experiences. To be fulfilled, you have to continue to naturally and normally share the gospel". That is to every single Returned Missionary in the church. Their mission, as wonderful as it was, is not enough as far as the Prophet of God is concerned. The talk "Was it Worth It?" April 2012 conference by Elder David F. Evans. Dad you have first hand experience with this don't you? I'm sure you say it was worth it. And if will be worth it every time you share the gospel from here on out.
Well. Hola. We had a good week. Monday was zone pday in Vidor and we didn't really do much. But it was Sister Ericksons birthday! We had a great celebration and then Sister Jackson and I came back to Lake Chuck and Sister Tuigamala went to Woodville with Sister Erickson. We had a really good exchange. We went to a members house, the Kenneys, that night for dinner. They invited their neighbor over because she had some questions about the church. Sister Kenney was like "She's not interested in joining the church or anything, but she just has some questions." Well, the message of the gospel is compelling. We taught her about the restoration and by the end, she was so excited to read the Book of Mormon and find out of Jesus Christ's church has been restored to the earth. She accepted a soft commitment to be baptized when she finds out it is true. This is what I'm saying about how we as missionaries have the calling to teach. We will naturally explain the doctrine of the restoration in such a way that the people are blessed. You know, if the members are worried about their friends being shanghaid if the missionaries come over, invite the Elders to teach the first lesson to the members at a dinner appointment before hand. That is a brilliant idea. Then the members know what the elders would be teaching their friends and they would be more comfortable inviting their friends. They would also know where they could chime in at appropriate times. So. Mama Shirley is now our newest investigator.
Tuesday we had our day of exchange we just saw a bunch of less actives that day. And stopped by Gabriella because they weren't home for our appointment and we wanted to set up another appointment. It was getting colder (ahh! i love it so much!) and that night we drove to beaumont to meet the Woodville Sisters so that we could drive to Kingwood for Sisters Training. Seriously, the most comfortable beds on the planet are the guest beds at the mission home. Yall HAVE to come down to see the mission home with me at some point after I get home. It was a great day.
Wednesday was all day Sister Training. They talked about how the new missionaries are going to be much younger and how we (or they actually. i'm gonna be dead and gone) need to be leaders. We talked about finding and teaching and health and family history. It was very nice.I LOVE our mission. I seriously just LOVE it. I can't describe how much. Even when my district leader makes me want to go postal and stab everything, I still love our mission.
Thursday we did hour of power and found two new potentials and we also taught Stephen and Lynn. They are engaged, she is a member, he's not. And he's looking into it. It's pretty cool. We are teaching a WHOLE LOT. Yall, I love teaching. We are just going to need to work on our commitments because our people are not progressing very well. We are focusing on getting them to come to church. Becuase the Lord has commanded it and the spirit is always at church and you can recieve revelation through sacrament meeting. And the classes.
Friday was district meeting. And I was in the worst mood in the world. I felt so bad afterward. I was irritated with everything that breathes. But we biked that afternoon in the cold cloudy windy weather and It was so divine. We taught Gabriella with Sister Bruner and it was perfect. Except it was very loud, the Bruners have three little tiny girls. It was great though because they are neighbors, they both speak spanish and vuala! I love it.
Saturday we biked all morning. It was awesome until we were biking home. Against the wind. for 4 miles. in skirts. On the main road. With no bike lane. Yikes man. It was fun. That is how we do as sister missionaries, I guess. Then Saturday afternoon we went to our ward's Fall Festival. It was very fun. I'm sad that people only "Trunk or Treat" now a days though. I always LOVED trick or treating. I wish it was safer.
Yesterday we had church. Me and sister T sang in church. We sang "He Knew" by Jesse Clark. It is such an amazing song and I have such a special place for it in my heart and in my testimony. I know that Christ knew everything about me and still wanted to save me. He knew everything I'd do and everything I wouldn't do and He still loved me enough to Atone for my sins. Yall need to hear that song. It's great. We also had our first meeting with our new ward mission leader. Brother Clifford. He is SO good as a ward mission leader. It's cool. I will keep yall updated on how the work progresses cause it's gonna be great.
Then today. Today is going to be a great day. I'm trying to give constructive criticism to someone without decaptiating them. I'm a little irritated at some Elders. But I'm trying to remember that we're all imperfect and I am definitely imperfect. Tonight we're going to see a couple potentials.
So. Family. Next week it will be my LAST TRANSFER!! AHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT?! When did that happen? I'm trying to focus on not focusing on it, or when I do I try to think about the good things about coming home (seeing YALL, the missionary work I can do at home, not wearing a skirt every day of my life..) so that I don't get too sad. Did I already tell yall that the last story in the October Engsign was written for me? It's called "Good Things Keep on Coming". So true. That's what faith is about. Sister and President Crawford have their family creed up in the mission home and one part of it says "We embrace change to expand experiences and enrich us"... somethign like that. It is much more profound than that. But I like that. I want to embrace change all my life as a way to expand my character and help others.
Thanks yall for your letters and your prayers. James, I got your letters and I loved them!! You are the best. Mom, I got your letter too. I'm writing lots of letters today. Also, my old job said I could come work for them on the 2-5 shift. Yucko. I don't know. I think I'll tell them that I want it. I just REALLY don't want to work there for the rest of my life. That is all.
Love yall Have a GREAT WEEK!!! The gospel is so great. I'm so happy. So so so so happy. It is such a blessing to serve the Lord. I am not perfect at it, but I really am trying. And that is good. There is another song that I love that says "He accepts what I can bring and sanctifies my offering." That is what the Lord does. He accepts whatever we can bring (but we do have to bring what we can) and then He sactifies it. Makes it more. Makes water into wine. Makes enough out of what we can do. Sanctifies our offerings.
LOVE YALLL!!!!!! Have a great week! Write me! Be good! Be happy!!!

happy happy sister hicken

Monday, October 22, 2012 11:11 AM

Hola familia!! I am just the happiest girl in the world today. Nothing spectacular is happening, but I just realize how much I love the gospel. How badly I want people to have it in their lives. How grateful I am that I have the opportunity to live it and to share it forever. How very much I owe to it. All of my happiness, 100%. I hope yall feel like this too.
So. This last week. Was weird. I wore pants 4/7 days of the week (for part of the day) it was awesome. We did service a LOT this week. Helping members of our ward move and also helping others clean and do yard work. It was great. I kept having to tell myself that it is okay to do service because I just feel like I must be sharing the gospel all the time. But we were being disciples and sharing the gospel a different way. Example. Example is important.. but there's NOTHING like testifying and inviting. I appreciated your story about Miss Lisa, Dad! I know what you mean. It's not enough to teach, we have to invite. I love it.
Tuesday we helped a sister move in our ward and then we helped someone else move I think... and then we had dinner with the Trahans. They asked us what we wanted and we really really wanted chili dogs. They were so good. The things I like to eat now a days! Anyway after that we met with Dan-The-Man and his wife. We kind of did a purpose lesson with Sister O'Dell. She is not currently jumping in the font... or even in the church building. But they like us. And we LOVE them. We're going to continue to work with them and adore them. obviously.
Wednesday we cleaned the new house of a lady in our ward. They are moving to this new house and it needed to be cleaned so we cleaned it. It is such a beautiful home. Then we drove up to DeQuincey Louisiana and had lunch with the newspaper staff. We had lunch a few weeks ago with Sister Fletcher, who is inactive, and she brought her friend Shirley. Shirley was awesome and she loved us and we loved her, so we got invited to drive to Dequincey for lunch. We thought it was going to be a teaching appointment but it wasn't. We ended up being interviewed by the paper and there is going to be a picture and a story about us in the Dequincey news! haha... THAT's how small of a town it is. But it was cool. We were able to answer a few questions and I think it made a lot of difference to Sister Fletcher. After that... everything fell through. So that was great. Not.
Thursday we helped our best friend Lora Monroe clean her scary apartment. She is an intern and the "west wing" of her apartment was just creepy and dirty and her mother is coming to stay so she wanted help cleaning it. It was disgusting. But it's very nice now. And we love her. Then we had the hour of power. Do you even know how powerful FAITH is?? The most success we have in finding during the week comes from the hour of power. It's incredible. We had a good hour of power and then dinner with some of my favorite members the Courvilles. Sister Courville is having her first baby and she is 8 months along and she just wants it to come already! It's a boy and they're naming it Ezra - how awesome is that?? Anyway they are way cool. I love them. And their food is always delicious.
Friday we had a good district meeting and then the world's wierdest appointment with a former investigator. She is bipolar (that's like one of the first things she told us, that she has a mental illness) and then we listened to her stories about her life for like... 2 hours. It was odd. But we just felt like we should listen to her. Then we taught her a very powerful lesson and she straight up rejected it. She said that if the church was true that was disrupt everything about her life and that she doesn't want to get into it. She is the sweetest lady ever, but just won't accept the gospel. Breaks your heart, doesn't it? Then we went and had an awesome lesson with Kizza. And she promised to be at church. And we called her on Sunday morning at 9 and she said she'd be there at 10.... no cigar. Lame. "Just come to church!!"
Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day. We started out at Sister Nunez house helping her with her yardwork. Her husband, Conrad, who is not a member has some very serious health challengest right now (something with a disk and a pinched nerve in his spine??) and she has some health challenges. So we helped her mulch and weed (yuck. still don't like weeding mom :]) and transplant her plumb tree cause it wasn't growing and plant a cactusy ferny looking thing by the electric pole. It was fun. We love her so much. Then we went to see a potential investigator the Elders gave us. Lanette was cutting Walser's hair and got her information. She was very receptive. She understands that the church is either true or it's not and if it is, she really wants to find out and live it. Then we had a meeting with lovely Sister McMahon. She is my hero and my favorite person under the sun. We talked to her about good things to come. That video means so much to me because, if yall remember, we had borrowed the Dearden's Mormon messages and we watchd that the day I left for the MTC. And I was maybe a little tiny bit nervous, if yall will recall. And now I can watch that video and testify to people that it's true. If I could go back and talk to the me that was crying and terrified and sick to my stomach, or even the Sister Hicken that was not a fan of Porter, Texas and felt like such a failure and like she didn't like being a missionary, I would say the same thing that ElderHolland says in that talk "Don't give up, girl. Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness a head, a lot of it. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come." See what I mean? so happy.
Saturday evening we visited Brother Boies (Sister T proposed to him! haha kind of. not really. but she was like "Brother Boies, when I get off my mission, I'm going to come back and take you to the temple." and afterward we were talking about the lesson and she was like "I totally proposed marriage to Brother Boies tonight!" it was so so hilarious). and then, since we didn't have a dinner, we were headed back at 8 to take dinner. And we got a text from a less active who asked if we had 30 minutes to talk to her boyfriend about his questions about the church. Um, yes. We do happen to have thirty to three hundred minutes to talk about that. So we went over and this guy is a real searcher. His name is Stephen and he was very interested. The best way I can describe the lesson is to describe what he said at the end. We asked him "if these things that we are talking to you about are true, what would that mean to you?" and he said "It would mean everything." ding ding ding ding! correct. So we were happy and then I asked him if he'd read the pamphlet by Wednesday and he kind of laughed (like, um duh!) and was like "Oh yeah." And so that is Stephen. We're loving it.
Yesterday was fine. Church was spectacular, Sister McMahon came for the first time in like 2 years and we were so happy. We love her. We got a new ward mission leader. So that will be an adjustment, but he has been a ward mission leader before so I'm thinking it will be smooth sailing. We had dinner with our old Ward Mission Leader, Brother Rabalais and the Elders and their investigator Linda. She is rad. IT was delicious. I'm telling you, people here in the south can COOK. ... none of it has rubbed off on me. Sorry. We visited Betty and decided pretty much to drop her, she is not accountable because she can't comprehend our teachings. And Crystal, a less active who is swamped by nursing school. Another intstance of "Just come to church!" But we understand how busy nursing school is. Still, always always always go to church.
My family, I am so happy. I haven't EVER been so happy in my entire life. I wish everyone could have this experience. I wish with all my heart that everyone could feel like we feel. That's why we go out and awkwardly knock on people's doors and invite them to find out for themselves if the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. I love this. I'm learning so much and I just hope and PRAY that someone is benefitting from my actions. I want to help these people so much. We have been listening to a CD called "Joseph" by the Nashville Tribute people and it is amazing. My testimony of the restoration grows and grows. You know, when it comes to Joseph Smith, it's definitely true that eventually every man is backed up the wall of faith and there he must make his stand. Our faith will become knowledge eventually but sometimes you just have to believe in something that you know without a reason to know it. That's very confusing, so sorry haha.
I love this gospel and this church with all my heart. This is the only and best and fastest way to be happy, to live and SHARE the gospel. I already have plans in the making wfor when I get home. Otherwise I think I would fall apart.
I love yall so much!
MOM- you're hands down the best mother on the planet. thank you for the package and for the awesome letter.
DAD - i'm so happy to hear about your experience with Lisa. That is the sweetst tenderest mercy I can imagine from Heavenly Father to yall.
JAMES - what up? How goes it? Write to me. Gracias.
JONY - I'm proud of you getting ready to go. Stay focused. This is the best thing you'll EVER EVER DO. I love it.
LOVE YALL! Have a great week and share the gospel mmkay??
LOVE, Sister Hicken
I keep forgetting my camera cord! Pics next week !!

Monday, October 15, 2012

my wonderful family

Monday, October 15, 2012 11:21 AM

Hola como esta?!? How was yalls week? My week was great. I will tell you about it.
So. Last monday was pday. It was a very relaxing pday. I took a nap. Which I really hate, but it felt good to sleep. Then we went to dinner with the Sanders. They are awesome. We were at their house for all night long, so that wasn't great, but I love them. We had chicken and dumplings (delicious!!) and ate it around a fire and then we roasted marshmallows in the backyard. I can't WAIT for us to roast mallows in our very own firepit back home. I am jazzed about that.
Tuesday we had interviews with President Crawford. He told me this was going to be my last interview before my exit interview. And my stomach pretty much drops every time I think about it. Why does it have to end so quickly?? It was good to talk to him. He is a great mission President. Then we went to see Miss Betty, Viola and Shirley McMahon before dinner at 5:30 with the Cliffords. It was good. The Cliffords kids are between 8 and 1 and they all speak English AND spanish. It's amazing. They are totally bilingual. I wish I knew another language so I could make my kids bilingual! It's the coolest thing. We talked to them about the talk in conference "I know it, I live it, I love it." And since they're little we had run off copies of a t shirt and invited them to put what they would have on their own t shirt. And we talked to the parents about... mormon.org profiles I think. They don't like us to give them missionary invitations. I don't know why, it's pretty darn weird. But it was a good dinner.
Wednesday we went back and talked to miss Debbie. She is awesome. She is still crazy and still wants to read the book of mormon, but she can't see the print her copy. So we gave her the lds.org website to read. She hopefully did. She wasn't at church yesterday but... we will see if she read. There is so much power in the word of God. I have complete confidence in it. We also saw Susan. She's doing fine. her family is warming up to the church. Her husband reportedly even said he'd like to see what services are like. That is a good step! We also went to see Josetta. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and how restored authority is really important. She is really receptive. We told her we want her to come to church with us. She is doing well. I really love her. We had dinner with the Courvilles. Oh my gosh, I love the Courvilles. They have been married for about 5 years I think and their first baby is due in a month. They are so awesome so confident and charitable. We talked to them about how Satan is real and how we can get him away from our lives and our families.
Thursday it was about 85 so we did weekly planning outside of the church. It was glorious. I have stopped despising weekly planning as much. Then we had lunch with a less active named Lynn, which was odd. She is like the missionaries buddy and she doesn't really understand what her baptismal covenant meant. So basically I felt wierd because she wouldn't really talk about the gospel, and I have no idea what to talk to her about other than that. Yikes man. We also met with Kizza. She is sister T's favorite less active. She loves her. Kizza really wants to come back to church, but she is finding it hard to live the gospel - all the standards. It's too much of a commitment for her at the moment. We did the hour of power and it was great. It was this neighborhood with the hugest prettiest houses. Thanks to that, we didn't have much success, but except one man. He opened his door just a crack and all we could see was his eye )it was kind of creepy) becuase he had dogs inside. And we just like slid a resto pamphlet in the crack and asked him when we could come back. So we are thinking he's going to turn into something good. Sister Lundquist prayed with SO MUCH FAITH before we went out. The Lord honors the faith of his people, I know He does. It's amazing. So we'll go back and see him.
Friday morning we talked to Sue Patterson and it was slightly more coherent than she's been before. Its hard to know when to cut the cords with some people. We are the only contact so many of them have with the church - THEIR church. It is hard. Anyway, Friday we did service after that for Brother Doxey. He is trying to quit smoking. He smokes all the time, in his apartment like crazy. So we went and cleaned it. It was pretty gross but looked and smelled a whole lot better after the Elders and we left. Then we met with Gabriella at 4:30. She had made us steak. I love her. They have been reading. If they will just keep reading, I know that they will feel the spirit. That's how it works. I'm so happy and grateful for that. We left right after that to go to HOUSTON!!! So stay in Kingwood at the mission home. Oh Kingwood is the love of my life. I miss it so much when I go back. I get so nostalgic. It was fun. We drove down with the zone leaders to prevent me from killing the driver of the other car. Never will I ever drive anywhere with that soul again. I almost went nuts the last time. So Brown and Shepherd took us. They listened to this cd by the Nashville Tribute people to Joseph Smith. It was great. I loved it. Me and Brown aren't really friends anymore :[ It makes me oh so sad. It was a good drive. Then we got to the mission home and Erickson and Jackson were there. I haven't seen Erickson since leaving Baytown and it was so good to see her. I love her so much! We talked to sister crawford til 10:30 when president was like "Sister Crawford it's 10:30" and we all had to go to bed. haha
Saturday was the Triwizard!! For James' birthday!!! haha. The final triwizard tournament for me I do believe. I don't know how we get so lucky to have 5 General Authorities in my 18 months as a missionary. I actually think it's because when visiting GAs come down, they work with Elder Gifford Neilson who is our area 70. And I'm pretty sure he asks them if they'd like to meet with the missionaries on their free morning. And they do cause they love us. We love them. Elder Echohawk's talk was AMAZING! He talked about the power of prayer and his conversion story. And how a his priest advisor was instrumental in him gaining a true testimony. It made me want to be such a good member of the church for all of my life! This is what it's all about. Elder Ellis talked about obedience. And Irecommitted to be more obedient. Then Elder Callister. He talked about the Plan of Salvation. He gave us a lot of tools for how to teach it better. It was great. And I got to see all of these people that I dearly dearly love. Paletu'a, Cochran, Mokeaki, Davis, Olsen. OH!
Speaking of Olsen, he came and told me that his parents just moved to Heber Utah and their neighbors are the Hickens. AHHH! Ask Grandma and Grandpa Hicken if the Olsens are their new neighbors because if they are Elder Olsen is our new neighbor!! I LOVE him so so much. Also, I talked to Elder Poteki (I think that's how you say it) and he knows Jonny! He is enormous. He is huge and tall and poly. He said Jonny was way cool :] AND I got to talk to phil! Phil who knows James AND jonny apparently. He is friends with Ian and Brad etc. So apparently yall hung out one time or something James. do you remember phil brown? He's pretty cool. We also saw our mtc people. I love them all so dearly.
When we got home we were all fired up and we saw a less active lady and tried a potential, that honestly I had little faith in. We found her during the hour of power and she has kind of shrugged us off every time. But this time her husband came out and started talking to Tuigamala about Hawaii and then invited us in. Turned into how to begin teaching turned into a lesson 1 and they are now our new investigators. I love them already. They are lake Charles natives. Louisianans are so cool, just trust me.
Yesterday church was incredible. We had a missionary who is going on her mission two weeks give her "non-farewell" (right mom?). It was great. I love being a missionary. AFter church we saw the Connors and we went finding. This is how it went. We try a less active family. They are "busy". So we start driving away and I see these people outside and I just feel like we should go talk to them. I debate it for only like 30 seconds (great improvement from pre-mission jillian) and then we pull over and start walking back toward them. First set of people -strike one. Second set of people, aka the ones I was originally prompted to go talk to- BIG strike two (they didn't like us at all). Little boy walking his dog, rejected the picture of Jesus we offered him (maybe because I asked him really wierdly if he wanted one. my bad. lo siento chico). Third Set of people - strike three. We are walking back toward our car and then out of the corner of my eye I see a lady sitting on her porch. We go over and contact her and she invites us back for this coming week on Tuesday! Gold. The Lord knew that if those people rejected us we would keep walking and we found a really good potential. He is so smart. And then we gave thee cutest little black kids pictures of jesus. They ran after us yelling "Thanks for the Jesus picture!" and I love them. Why aren't all people like children? The world would be happier. Gerard we called him but it was the wrong nubmer so we didn't even get to see him. Broken hearted. He called us later that night to say that it was too late to come over. The other guy, Gerald, that we called was like "Yall came by but it wasn't last sunday" and I thought it was our gerard, so we were like "um... okay but can we come over another time" and he was very confused. Turns out because missionaries hadn't seen him in a hundred years. Oopsy. We had dinner last night with the Morris. Also make me excited to be a good mormon family. LOVE them.
So that's my week. Sorry it's a long e-mail. I love this church I love this gospel I love being a missionary. I am so grateful for it. I have changed so much on my mission and I'm so thankful for that as well. I really think that the Lord wants more of his daughters to have had this missionary experience to help them raise their kids. That's why the age change. It's priceless what I have learned out here. I love it.
Okay so about coming home. Mikelle's apartment complex has a room for $320 and it's where she and Kimmy live. I'm pretty sure there is a washer and drier, it is an older'ish ward and it is close to campus. Then there's the Becky's apartment option. I just don't know what to do. UGH. I know it doesn't really matter where I live, but I don't want to decide. What do yall think? Also, I want to apply at the MTC. Also I need to register for classes, but I can do that from here. I also need to figure out about getting a car. I know I don't have any money, but I think it's high time I bought myself a car. I need to build my credit somehow, right? AH! The reason I am freaking out about all of this is because I have like 2.5 seconds when I get home before I go back to school. So... yes. Minor freak out. What do yall think? Housing option is my main worry now. Kelle says the apartments are filling up fast. What should I do??
Well, familia I love you. Jonny stop going out of town and hang out with the family. :] James, how was your bird-day? Mom, how are you doing? Thanks for your letter I LOVED your conf notes. We think so alike :] Dad thanks for your e-mail. I'm so glad that theh missionary thing is going well and that you had some awesome visits!! I love this gospel. Let's just live it, okay?? Let's just do what we can and be grateful for it. Have a great week and remember to find someone you can serve every day. Pray for missionary opportunities. They're the BEST.
And let me know what yall think I should do about my life in just 9 weeks. Yucko. Scary scary scary. I'm excited to see yall tho!!
LOVE, sister hicken

Monday, October 8, 2012

yall are the best family in the universe

Monday, October 8, 2012 10:25 AM

Howdy yall! I love each of you SO much. I can't even describe how much. President Monson invited us to take stock of our lives and look for the blessings of the Lord, so I did that in studies this morning. And yall were my very first things to be thankful for. Each of you. The best Dad in the world, the best Madre and best friend I've got, the most world class older brother and the most incredible little brother I've ever heard of. I tell everyone about yall all the time. I'm so proud of you and I love you. Yesterday my district leader found out that his mother will pass away in the next two days, she is very sick from cancer. I am so heartbroken for him. He's a good friend and a great missionary. But also he didn't want anyone to know (not that yall would tell anyone in our mission) but if you think of anything I could do to help, let me know. Maybe you could ask Daren what would have helped him from a sister missionary? I don't know. We are sad with him. Will yall pray for him and his family, please?

Wasn't Conference AMAZING???!?!?! AH! Seriously I loved it. Remember how they changed the minimum age requirement for Elders and Sisters?!??! We were shocked. I wish you could have seen every missionary's face because we were stunned. It's awesome. If that rule had been around when I was 19 I would have gone. I'm beyond glad that I came when I did to where I did, It was perfection. But this is exciting stuff. President and Sister Crawford were here yesterday so we talked to them about how they felt when the rule was announced. President said he is excited and we talked about how this is going to cause some definite problems with "locking of the hearts" and so... yeah. That's going to be fun. But all in all, I am happy. I was just stunned. So stunned and so excited. There are negatives and there are positives to it, but the bottom line is that is what the Lord wants so let's do it.

The talks that stick out to me were Elder Ballard's talk about the Honeybees (so amazing!) and Elder Eyerings talk about the pavilion. The themes of this conference to me were submission to the Lord's will, family, repentance and Christ and the Atonement. And leave it to Elder Oaks to boldly proclaim our position on the tough topics. Typical Oaks - and I mean that in the best way. President Uchtdorf is just my hero. His talks are always beautiful. That is the best word to describe them. How incredible was it to sing "Called to Serve"??? I loved it. And the music from the Sunday sessions was amazing. That one that had a soloist was incredible and the closing hymn Sister T says is in her Samoan hymnbook but it's definitely not in ours. The Be Not Weary one. Susan (who came to ALL SESSIONS!!!) loved the Mo Tab. They are exquisite. Didn't we all love Elder Hollands talk! I wrote in my notes, after he was done "Holland strikes again!" Because it's so true. What he said about missionaries who had raised their arm to the square and said "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ"?? I was in awe. I loved it. There was so much about service in this conference. I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to serve for our whole lives. What else could be better? What else could be important? We are here to help each other home. We will all come back to God's presence, and now our job is to make sure we and those around us go back to stay. I love being a missionary. It is the most wonderful, happiest, best time of my life. I wish wish WISH that I could find words to describe it but I simply can't. I will pray for ways to be able to do it.

Officially I have 10 weeks left. That is the most heartbreaking thought I've ever had.

So. Sunday, yesterday, we had conference all day and then we talked to a less active and went to find a referral that the Elders gave us. He is named Gerard and he is rad. We taught him a purpose lessons (outside. In the 60 degree weather. dream boat) and we are going back to teach his family next week. It was a very good lesson. I love nothing more than teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Saturday we had conference then dinner with the most loving less active couple on the planet. We want them to come back to church so bad, but they are having trouble just doing it. They had us over and we taught them about the covenant of baptism. We store contacted after that. Store contacting is lame, but when it's dark and we don't have anyone to see, we don't want to go in so we try to store contact.

Friday we had zone meeting in Orange and it was great. We talked about how we can use family history during finding and about how to work better with the members. I always love being in Texas. Then we went to try some potentials with no luck before we went and taught Gabriella and the girls. It was a good lesson. She said that she needs to read the Book of Mormon and I'm always like "Yes, yes you do." But she is very hesitant with the baptism thing. I love them so much, please pray for them.

Thursday we had weekly family and then we biked around a little bit. We saw Betty. She is just... ugh. We don't know what to do about Betty because she is not being honest with us. She is either losing her mind or lying. We had the hour of power on Thursday and found this awesome young family! They weren't like begging us to come back or anything but they were open and we are SO excited to go back over.

Wednesday we had waffles in the morning with Lora Monroe. Our best friend. We love her. She's the one that's on an externship here til December. She's way awesome. Then we went to see a less active and didn't have much more success until our lesson with Debra and Jozetta. She is awesome! Oh my goodness. I know the Lord can touch her heart and he already has but she is loyal to her church. Which is not a bad thing, I try to imagine what if it was the way I feel about our church and then someone else comes and missionary's at me. It would be really hard.

Tuesday we had dinner with Dan the Man! And his wife. I love them. We talked about general conference and invited them to watch it. She said she would. They love Sister Tuigamala and I and we love them oh so much. Our wonderful Bishop is going to go and work some magic there. He's just the best.

Monday was P day. I don't think anything noteworthy really happened.

That was our week backwards! This week is going to be amazing!! My final interview with President (before my exit interview that is) will be this week and then on Saturday we have another Tri Wizard tournament with the other missions! YES!! We get to see our MTC people one last time. Elder Tad R. Callister is coming!! How did I get so lucky to get so many general authorities on my mission?? Two apostles and three other general authorities. Amazing.

So. Family. Thanks for your letters/e-mails this week. I love yall. The post office will no longer forward our mail from the mission office, so to all my loyal readers and writers please send mail directly to

1531 Country Club Rd #911
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70605

Many thanks.

Dad, how are the missionaries for our stake? What are their names? I hope they are keeping busy. Heaven knows we have a LOT of less active work to do and if we focus on retention the Lord will provide people for us to teach.

Mom, how are you? How's life? How's my doggy? Are you enjoying this fall weather? What are you doing these days? I love you!!!

James, how did you like conference? WRITE ME. I want to hear from you. Not like I'm always thinking about it, but I am definitely going to need your help with coming off of a mission. That's like the last thing I want to do in the world.

Jonny thanks for your e-mail! I am so proud of you!!!! I'm excited for you too. I agree I think we're going to get along better now :] You're pretty great. What is a bowling ball?? Please explain that to me so I can avoid being it.

Family, yall are the very very best. I love you so much. My poor district leader is over there crying right now as he's reading his e-mails because his Mom is dying and I just want you all to please pray for him by name. Elder Walser. I know the Lord can help him and that we can too. I just am having a hard time thinking of what to do.

I love you. This gospel is true and this Church is Christ's. We are so blessed to have full access to the Atonement. Read the book of mormon, share it with someone. Pray for the opportunity to be of service in this most important way. "After all is said and done the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel." We're lucky! We have important things to share and do. Let's do it!!!

LOVE, Sister Hicken

buenos dias!

Monday, October 1, 2012 10:15 AM

You are not going to BELIEVE the temperature here!! It is 68 degrees. I am DYING. I love it so much. I put on a christmas cd and am wearing a turtle neck. I might be jumping the gun but who cares. I am so excited for the holiday season!
We had a really good week this last week. The first week of the transfer. Tuesday we had a good meeting with Gabriella and the girls and taught the first part of the plan of salvation. They are so smart, those girls. Carla asked "So if Jesus hadn't done that (pointing to the Atonement card) what would have happened?" and we explained that Christ's atonement makes the whole plan possible. they are so wonderful. On Friday we went and finished the Plan of Salvation and talked about baptism. We told them that we want them to baptized and invitied them to do so. Gabriella didn't really love that, she is a Catholic and Catholics loove being Catholic, you know? but she said she would pray about it and read the book of mormon. So if she's sincere, itw ill work out. We love her so much and her daughters so much.
Tuesday we went and taught a potential named Miss Rose. She came her after Katrina and never left. And she loves BYUTV. But she was very not okay with the Book of Mormon. She didn't like to think it was at the same level as the Bible in importance. We tried to explain it and she said she would read and pray but then on Friday she called us and said "I was reading your book and it says that you have to keep the 10 commandments to be saved and I know that all you need is Christ's grace, so you can come and get your book back." We went the next day and tried to answer her questions, but she was very closed off. So... yeah.
Wednesday we had an AMAZING lesson with Miss Debbie. She is a single lady living in a trailer and she is just the type that is high on life. We love her. She is about 60 and she's a bartender. She's cool. Anyway we taught her a lesson 1 and she accepted it totally. We asked her to baptized October 27 and she said she would and she's going to read the book of mormon and we're going back on Thursday. We also met with a less active who has cerebrial palsy and her caretaker, Jozetta. We taught Jozetta a Restoration lesson and she accepted it and naccepted when we invited her to be baptized... but when we asked her about a date she kind of put her heals in the dirt and wouldn't. But she has agreed to read and pray. So seriously, Dad like your talk, it's the word of God that converts people Nothing that we do. We also met with Susan. Susan wants to be baptized at th beginning of January. Nice.
Thursday was fine. We taught Betty and finally got her to understand alittle bit of the restoration. We really don't know what to do there.. Our numbers crazy district leader said "If she wants to get baptized, just do it." and I'm like "uhhh, no. I'm not going to just chuck someone into the font and then say 'see ya!'" the ward is not equipped to deal with her and ugh. It's just a struggle. But then we got to go see Sister Morris. Miss Ethel Morris who lives in the rest home as well. She is the worlds sweetest lady and we always tell her "We are missionaries from your church!" and she's like "From the chruch of jesus christ of latter day saints? are you REALLY?" She has really bad dementia. she was asking for her folks last week :[ we love her. We always go and sing with her. she sings right along and she is so dear. We're so glad we went and sang to her this week, because we were sitting in church yesterday and the 2nd counselor stood up and told us that Sister Morris had passed away that morning. It was so sad. We love her. Life was always better when we went tos ee her. But she is no longer in confusion and gets to see her folks and her husband and it will all be okay. Me and Sister T read Mosiah 16:8 (i believe) about the sting of death being swallowed up in christ. And that made us a little less sad. We loved Sister Morris.
Friday we just got denied all day long. Until Gabriella and that was good. Then we went to see a less active who cuts hair. She is awesome. We talked to her about "The race" and she liked it.
Saturday we went to help our dearest ward missionaries, the bortons, move. They are moving to the Beaumont Texas area and we are sad to see them go. But then we had lunch with Dan the Man O'Dell. I told yall about him a couple weeks ago. He's the one whose wife died in Relief Society and then he felt really abandoned by the church. Well he's remarried and awesome and we had lunch with his AMAZING wife. We love her already. We talked to them about the articles of faith. They want us for dinner every tuesday night! YESSS! We love them!! Then we went to see Christine nunez, she is an amazing less active lady. We love her. We watched the mormon message "Good things to come" and shared parts of the talk with her. It was a good lesson. Then we went to Sister cliffords to watch the relief society thing. It WAS AMAZING, wasn't it mom?????? AH!!! I loved it. I really loved the talk about the pioneer trek and dropping your handcart and returning to help others. I also liked the thing about Christ weeping with us. And president eyerings talk was phenominal. VISITING AND HOME TEACHING IS SO IMPORTANT! I hope that is branded into my brain for the rest of my LIFE because it is so so so important. Are yall getting out to see your people? Please do, it's so vital!
Yesterday was wonderful FastSunday and we had a great fast and testimony meeting, because everyone had heard about sweet sweet Ethel Morris. It was raining like mad so we couldn't go get betty or she would have drowned and so would we have. We went to see some less actives yesterday as well. then we had dinner with Bishop Young! Oh my gosh, i cannot say enough good about our bishop. He is the most charitable, just get it done, person I've ever met. I just want to be like him!!! I want to be charitable soooo bad! His wife is a returned missionary from North Carolina! A little town about an hour north of Wilmington. I will ask her the name again and I'm sure Grandma has heard of it. I feel like it starts with a C. It's VERY small, though.
OH! and did I tell you that our Stake President, President Newton, grew up in Bicknel, Utah?? We talked about it and he totally knows who Uncle Merril is and his family. He said that I should ask if Merrill remembers Mr. and Mrs. Newton (the princeple of the high school) and that is his mom and dad! It was cool. We talked about Chappell Cheese haha.
this week should be good. we have VERRRY high goals and that's agood thing. We're goign to try to meet them. I am just loving being a missionary, as usual. I'm scared to come home and go back to school and work and it just doesn't seem like fun at all. But I will live. I am so grateful to be where I am and to have 2 more transfers to serve the Lord full time. I am trying my best to keep my mind centered on Him at all times.
How are yall? Mom I got your letter and I loved it!! Tell me how your fun things went this week! How were your parties? Are you all partied out? How's work? Love you so much!
Dad, thanks for your e-mail and the talk. It is amazing to see how the word of God really is the most important thing. I always think of that scripture in alma that says "They thought it was expedient that they should try the word of god". How is everything? What are you speaking on at conference?
James, what up? our lesson in relief society was on Elder Hollands talk that you told me about. It was cool. How is school and everything else?? I hope you're good. UGH, how do you come home from your mission??? I don't want to do it. good thing I've got a while.
Jonny, duuude. For reals you need to write me. Mmkay? tell me how you're feeling about your mission and everything. JUST DO IT. Love you.
I LOVE YALL SO MUCH! This gospel and this church are Jesus Christ's and we are so blessed to have them. I hope yall are looking and praying for missionary opportunities. They are everywhere! the rescue is about less active members, non members and active members who could use a hand. Let's do it! :]

Monday, September 24, 2012

take 2...

Monday September 24, 2012
This e-mail came back and said it was too big to deliver.... so I'll send the pictures separately. weird...So today is transfers and me and Sister Tuigamala are staying put in Lake Charles. Actually, no body in our entire ZONE is getting transferred. How weird is that? We have a small zone though. I'm definitely going to die in Lake Charles. It's going to be great.

The only reason I'm sad that nothings changing is because I won't get to go to transfer meeting tomorrow. Transfer meeting is where the Elders and Sisters that are going home give their departing testimony. And this time we are losing some Elders that I just love with all my heart. BUT we are also getting an Elder back who had to go home for 6 months due to his companion's disobedience. He's coming back today!!!!! AH!!! I'm so excited. I also wish I could go to transfer meeting to see him. I will tell you what transfer meeting is like:

Everybody gets there and if you're staying put in your area you sit on one side of the chapel and if you're getting transferred to a new area you sit on the other side. In the middle is where the new missionaries and the trainers sit. We all sit there and the departing missionaries sit on the stand. We hear from President and Sister Crawford, watch a slideshow of the previous transfer in pictures, and then we do what President calls "The Match Up". He says "Serving in the Lake Charles South Area... Sister Tuigamala and Sister Hicken!" And then we go and sit together (President prefers if we greet each other at the front of the room and say "Hurrah for Israel!" and then hug. It's OH SO lame haha. But we love President so we do it.) Then when we're all matched up, the departing missionaries give their testimony. And then we close. The departing missionaries line up at the front and all of us file by so we can shake their hand and say goodbye... you know so we dont' spend 12 hours cupcaking and saying goodbye and carrying on. And then we go. President always says at these meetings "I don't know who is out there working if yall are all here!" James, Dad, did your mission president have "isms"? I love Crawford-isms. We also call president Crawford "Craw-Dad." haha I'm not sure if he's aware of that one.

So yes, I'm not going and I'm sad about it. Elder Sadleir was my zone leader when I first came out and then he was the AP so I served around him for a long time (he's the one that looks like Jonny kinda. haha it's so bizarre.) and I'm sad that I won't be able to say bye to him. Also Elder Robles was my zone leader when I first got out to Pasadena. He was like my first friend out there, he's so funny. I love him too. And Elder Paletu'a is from Tonga and he is coming back and I'm SOO excited. I love this mission so so very much. It's like we all belong to each other out here. We're on our own, except for each other so we belong to one another. We're responsible for each other; to help and love each other. That's why I get so sad when I think about leaving.

Anyway, last week was good. Thank yall for your letters! James I got your letter and Mom I got yours. Did you know that Emily Freeman is like super published author?? I'm definitely sure you knew that, but I didn't know that. I saw one of her books at a member's house and I was like "... heeyyyyy! My mom knows her kinda."

Tuesday we met with Gabriella. SHE IS AWESOME! We took Sister clifford who is also a convert from Mexico who used to be Catholic. It was a really good meeting and we love her, she loves us and I believe she will get baptized. Her two daughters as well. PLEASE pray for them. I love them so much. Susan will be getting baptized in January. So that's kind of sad that Iwon't be here for it, but I'm so happy for her! She is committed. We just now have to get here there. We will do our best. Dear old Betty is not sponging anything. So i'm not sure what to do with her. I don't know if she's mentally capable of understanding. We thought she was, but she just doesn't absorb ANY thing. So we're going to have to pray about it a lot. We love them all.

Wednesday we went to the TEMPLE! AHH!! I need yall to come down here and go to the Houston Temple soon. I LOVE this temple; it is one of the most beautiful one's I've ever seen. I know I'm biased, but it really seriously is exquisite, We left at 6:25 and got home at 6:00. It is far away from here. It was amazing though. And I'm always happy to be back in Texas.

Thursday we did weekly planning and I didn't want to shoot myself, which is kind of a miracle. It went very well. Sister T and I sometimes get fed up with eachother, but we're working pretty well together. We will continue to improve. This week I'm focusing on prayer. I am going to pray for 10-15 minutes every night. My prayers have gotten less... good. So I'm going to work on them. I love to pray it's the greatest blessing.

Friday was district meeting and then just work as usual. It went pretty well. It was HOT this last week, High 90s. We had had a cold front last week, so I got all spoiled with my dream weather (which, by the way is 80 degrees and humid. I'm going to DIE when I get home!!) and then it got hot again. Lame.

Saturday was a good day. Nothing too significant to report. Sunday was wonderful! It was Elder Hamilton's 20th birthday so we celebrated. We had dinner with the Rabalais, our ward mission leader. He is SOOO great. He's a convert of about 8 years and we love him. He's Cajun! Except his dad was in the army so he doesn't have the accent. Darn. He's very genuine and sarcastic and great. Who is the ward mission leader in our ward? I don't even know. Dad that new mission plan that yall are doing in the stake sounds AMAZING!!!!!!! I'm so loving it! I've been thinking about what I can do as far as missionary work when I get home. I'm going to invite our neighbor Sharon to my homecoming. Ugh, I kind of hate it that I'm going to be home SOO soon. I'm so excited to see yall and there are parts of being home that I'm going to like... but yikes. I only have 2 transfers left. I can't believe it. This is my life. This is what I do, this is how I live and this is what I love SOO much.

This week will be good. We're going to find all the time and I'm going to be so much better and etc. Have yall written down your questions for conference yet??!?!?!?!?! YOU MUST! Write them down please please please. The Lord wants to answer them. But if YOU don't even know your questions, how can He do it? And write them down. Just do it, it will make your thoughts more concrete. I'm so excited for general conference!

I love yall so much. I am so proud of each of you. I brag on yall all the time, to everyone down here. It's true though, yall are awesome. I hope you have a great fun week. It sounds like it, with a taco stand in the backyard who can go wrong??

Mom, thanks for your letters always. I love you so much. My companion thinks youre the coolest person ever and Mokeaki always texts me when she gets a letter from you or someone in our family. How are you doing? How's work? How's that emergency preparedness night coming?

Dad, thanks for your e-mail. It's okay, I forgive you :] I know you're busy. Hows work for you? I'll write you a little e-mail to answer those frigthening questions about coming home. I'm glad though, becuase I need to get it all worked out before hand. I need to get in touch with MIKELLE NORTON! (does she even read my blog??) Because I'm gonna live with her! Unless she flees the country again. (Don't do it Kelle! I need you! :] ) Good luck with the new mission plan! The work is different back home, but we should always attack it with all the same excitement that is here in the "mission field".

James, thanks for your letter That sounds like an AMAZING weekend! I love Elder Scott and I adore Elder Holland, as wel all know. I love it when he yells, it's awesome! Elder Scott's remarks sounded really inspiring. I totally need to use them, so thank you. How's school and work for you? What are you taking? Who are you dating these days?? Don't get too attached, I'm setting you up with my companions when I get home, mmkay??

Jonny. You are so grown up! Mom sent me these pictures of you openning your call and you have, like, a beard. Way gross. Shave that sucker. I'm excited to see you- but thou shalt not have facial hair when you pick me up from the air port or else I will die. How's SLCC? Let me tell you something, Jonny. I know you love your friends and I'm sure you're hanging out with them as much as you can before you leave. But I have amazing friends who I haven't heard from at all on my mission. Not that I'm upset about it, it's just that make sure you spend time with Mom and Dad and James as much as you can too. There's no one better that you could be hangin out with. I LOVE YOu though. I wouldn't be your big sister if I didn't give you some healthy advice, right? Keep your mind on the mission as much as you can! Don't let anything or anyone get in the way of it. I mormon.org stalked the new mexico albuquerque missionaries. You're going to have the BEST time!!

Family, I love yall oh so much! Be good, keep praying and keep serving. We know how to be happy. If we do the things we know to do, we will be happy. I promise :] LOVE YALL! The gospel is true and the church is Christ's!