Monday, June 18, 2012

Oh my word I love yall!

Monday, June 18, 2012 1:14 PM

Hi family! Guess what this friday I've been in Texas for 1 YEAR!!! I think that's called "residency" right? I'm starting to feel like my mission is just over. I actually cried (like real tears. crazy.) the other morning cause I just felt like it was speeding to it's finish and I can't do anything about it! And I'm not the missionary I want to be yet. (Yes. I did cry. I felt so retarded. But I was sad. So i did. So sue me.) I'm trying but I am also sooo not what I want to be. This week I had a big step in the right direction. I think if I double space this it might be easier to read? Sorry for my epistles being so long and psycho sometimes.
So. Last week was a good week. Monday we went out to eat with the oldest couple in the ward and the sweetest couple. He's our stake patriarch. And she is just so sweet. Everything she does is just so... genteel and southern. ha i spelled genteel right. Sweet. Anyway they took us out to eat at a seafood resturant and I am a scaredy cat so I got a hamburger. But afterward we went and talked to Kathy, their son's girlfriend who lives at their house and just got baptized February. She is so awesome. I hope they get married. Except it is weird to me that EVERYONE in texas is on their at least 2nd marriage. When we meet someone who has been married to one person, I'm shocked. It's crazy, just very different. Not bad, in fact the B's have the most solid relationship ever, but it's just sad to me that they had to have the trouble of divorce in their lives earlier. They are stronger for it though.
Tuesday we studied at the little park on the water by our house. Oh it is so beautiful. SO beautiful and we talked there about one of my goals. I've written it the past couple weeks I think: Talk to everyone. Let me explain the progression that this goal has undergone. I felt at first, like I should talk to everyone. That made me feel guilty that I hadn't talked to everyone and that I didn't want to. But then I examined it and realized that I actually want to talk to everyone I'm just afraid to. So I started to think about how I wanted to talk to everyone. But it didn't happen. So finally I wrote it in my journal one day. I knew that if I did, I would be accountable for it. So I put it off and put it off, but one day I realized that I simply just had to do it. So I did. After a week or so, I told sister Erickson that I want to talk to everyone. And I continued to bring it up when we talked about goals for the next two weeks probably. During this time we got put into the Spanish Zone and loaded with a Quality Contact goal of 13/week (crazy. Spanishland, for sure.) and we got our new district leader who is just a REALLY great leader. I don't know how he does it but he motiviates people a TON. I will observe how and get back to you. And then at the park studying sister Erickson and I talked about it. And we said "Okay, on the way home we're going to talk to 3 people we wouldn't otherwise talk to." and we saw this guy and we just walked over. It was awkward. But we got a return appt. And then we talked to another man down the street. Then we made a guy stop mowing his lawn haha and talked to him. Then we talked to a guy in his front yard and got a return appointment. All on one tiny road on the way home. And we kept doing it all day. On our bikes we would stop people or go over to people. And I did it!! AHHH!! It was so cool. It was amazing to see how God helped me reach my goal. He put everything in order to make it reachable. How cool is that? Does it sound cool to yall? Cause it WAS cool, I don't know if I'm making it sound as cool as it was.
Wednesday I wrecked on my bike! HA! It was my first bike crash, let me pain the picture for you. We're on our way to stop by a less actives house on this BUSY, long road (South Broadway/Old Hwy 146, if you want to Google Earth it) we were right the Little Cedar Bayou. And I think i might have overcorrected. I'm not sure. But all the sudden the handlebars were facing the opposite direction so obviously the inertia of the bike wasn't jiving with that so I went forward into the handle bars and then we went down, me and Daphne. My shoe flew into the road and I felt like I was going to puke. I've never had the wind knocked out of me, I guess. I just kind of crouched there sounding like I was gonna die cause I couldn't breathe and it hurt really bad. And then I hobbled over to the grass in case I was going to hurl. And sister erickson comes over and i'm like "Get my shoe!" and then she tells me I'm bleeding. (Not bad. I just realized that this might sound like I was really injured. I wasn't I'm totally fine. Just a gashed elbow and foot and a very sprained foot) sister erickson is like "do you want to go home and lie down?" and I'm in a daze so I'm like "no. let's just keep going. rebecca likes us to come in the morning" and then we got to rebecca's and talked to a man on his porch - Joe - and came back later and taught him and now he's reading the book of mormon and our new investigator! so that was good. Wednesday night we talked to Jonathan. We dropped him :[ We had to. We have to stay connected to our purpose and teaching him every week is not fulfilling our purpose. I was so sad. So was Sister erickson. We love jonathan a lot. I know that one day he'll be baptized, but he just needs to DECIDE.
Thursday was a LONG day where I felt so sore because hello I just wrecked on my bike yesterday and forgot to rest so all of my muscles hurt. We planned and did some work from the house in the morning and in the evening went tracting and had correlation mtg. Sister Manzo is my hero, just know that! She is changing things! I know I always say it but if one person can get a vision for what the Lord wants them to do they can literally change everyone around them.
Friday we had district meeting with our wonderful Fuits - the senior couple. Dad will you ask Grandma about kathy hicken? Friday my foot was going bonkers. I coudln't step on it without a TON of pain. But we taught angie and robert and morris and visited with the elders old investigators (finally!! we haven't been able to get in with them all transfer)
Saturday we all our appointments kind of bombed. That was awesome. But Sister Manzo took us to lunch and then to one of our appts that ended up bombing. I'm going to take a picture with her this week so that yall can see her and start the blueprints for the statue of her that you're going to make, right? haha for reals though she helps us so much.
Yesterday we had dinner with the Gallachers. oh the gallachers I love them. They're moving back to Utah probably so maybe I'll come see them when I get home? That would be so crazy but I'll do it. Then we saw Lauro and Maria and taught a plan of salvation lesson. Why do I ever teach anything but the missinoary lessons to pepole? I don't know. I love teaching the PMG lessons.
Today is Zone pday (we're watching the best two years hoorah!). Tomorrow I'm going on an exchange with the HERMANAS!!! I'm going to spanishland! I'm so excited! I love spanish so so so much and I love hearing it and learning it. And then it will be a normal week were we try to talk to everyone we see while we're out and I try to be a better missionary. I really want to be so much better than I am. But I am happy and grateful. I wonder if I should feel more discontent, because I sort of feel guilty that I'm so happy when I'm so not perfect. But I think that's just Jillian's mixed up thought pattern.
Sister Erickson is doing good. She's still adjusting but she's doing well and we're communicating well and I really love her. I wish I was a better trainer for her, but I just have done my best and I'm okay with that.
How are yall?
Mom, y ou're the best. I LOVED your letter to me. I laughed when you told me about Grandma and your outing, it sounds so sweet. I love Grandma. Will you tell her that when you see her next? I love her very much. How is work going? I think Rebecca Tingey was here last week? That was the rumor around the hood. haha. How are you feelihg? You said you were feeling sad kind of. That's okay. I told Sister Erickson this morning that she should let herself feel sad. And that she won't feel sad forever if she lets herself feel sad right now. I also loved your cookies thing! She sounds really smart. How is the ward? I miss the good old ward sometimes. Keep writing them.I just like to hear what you do with your days.
Dad, thanks for your e-mail! I loved it! I love to hear about your week and your advice and everything. I'm glad you got to see some of the people you saw. And that your fathers day was good. I cannot believe that last fathers day I was in the MTC!!!! AH! I feel ancient. For real, I'm going to come home and everyone will be younger than me. Keep your letters/emails coming! I love to just hear about your week. Also I wanted to know if you have one of those little baby tiny tape players. I know you used to have a gray one and I'm really hoping you didn't chuck it because mikelle sent me a tape and it's one of those like 1 inch big tapes and I can't listen to it cause NOBODY has a tiny tape player anymore. Do you have one? Let me know if you do, I want it!!
James thank you for your letter. I always freak out when I get a letter from you! It sounds like you're doing really good! I'm happy for that. Will you go out with one of my companions please?? I really want you to, I will write you an e-mail filling you in. And I'm mailing the letter I wrote to you tomorrow. Your bachelor party sounds fun! Keep telling me things about your life! How's the everything? Will you write me again :]?
Jonny!!!! Dude! I wrote you your own e-mail but let's just say that i am sooo happy to hear from you! Shoot, you sound mature. It's cool. And weird. You better finish the letter you said it was in two parts. How is work? How is summer? Are you getting a tan? I'm pretty sure you're the only member of our family who can really really tan. It's unfair. Just read my e-mail to you. Mmkay pumpkin?
I love yall! I think the theme of this last part here is I just want to hear about you!!! I want to hear about your week. I know it kind of is laborious to write it out, but please keep doing it!! I heard from you ALL this week and it made me so so soo happy.
I love being a missionary. I love this church and I adore this gospel. I love the book of mormon. read it every morning. Even just one verse. You have time to do that. Will you do it?? one verse every morning this week. Promise you're life will be better. I realize that I totally like bare my testimony in every letter haha. Oh well. so sorry. I'm what i am :] I'll be normal when I get home, I hope. Love you! Have a good week!
  • cassi's baptism i look so matronly. yucko.
  • only in texas will you find a no guns sign in a public library. i love it.
  • at the beach
  • on the way to the temple
  • at the temple
  • again
  • one year later!! we met a year ago this day. And I was wearing the same skirt. Neato.
...stay tuned I'lls end antoher picutre email!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

happy graduation jonnay

Jonny you are graduated!! That is so neato. I think you're probably on senior trip right now too. I went to Lake Powell when I graduated, you are just following in my footsteps. I guess you're going to BYU after all huh? :] Just kidding. How was graduation yall? I remember mine, how that teacher traipsed up and down the rows of kids, grabbing beach balls and stabbing them with her pen. ahaha it was so funny.
This past week was great. Let me tell yall about it.
Monday we went on exchanges. Sister Cochran and I went to Baytown and it was so necessary. It was so wonderful to talk to her. She is having a kind of difficult time right now, feeling the need to be so much better and overwhelmed with her companion and the area. Her companion is really awesome, Sister Mokeaki, but she is still learning english and it is difficult sometimes for people to communicate with her. Poor Mokeaki I can't believe how hard that would be. Anyway, it was a good exchange because we were able to talk a LOT about what she needs to do in her area (PLUS she's been in baytown for going on six months. I know how rough THAT is to be in one area and think youre going to stay there forever). So we talked and I was able to help her. It was really nice cause I was able to use some of the things that i've learned from struggling on my mission to help her. We are just meant to be friends. I can't believe I haven't always known her. We are just real best friends :] Can't wait for you to meet her!! T minus six months. Way too soon.
Tuesday we were still on exchanges and we didn't have a lot of sucess. But I felt rejunviated when I got back to La Porte. I was kind of sad not to be with sister cochran any more but it felt good to be home and with Sister erickson. She did great leading the area for the first time. I hope that I get transferred for her sake so she can know that she CAN lead an area. It will be hard and imperfect, but she can do it.
Wednesday we met with Berenis and we taught her some more commandments. She is not ready to be baptized becuase she can't commit to it. But it's because she doesn't have any support. It's hard to make big changes without support. We are going to keep working with her and teaching her how to make commitments. She is great. She said that she knows that God wants her to be baptized and that she wants to be baptized, but she also doesn't want to be baptized into our church. And we explained that baptism is the way it is in our church because of the preisthood authority. It will only do what you want it to do because it is done by the power and authority of God. We also met with Angie. It is so awkward to meet with angie because she just stares at us and we don't know what we are supposed to teach her. Also her kids are so cute but they want our attention and we can't always give it to them. So it's just a predicament. We also had dinner with the Edwards - they have this beautiful house that they are remodeling a little bit. but it's a really old house so it's more like they are restoring it. Oh my word, it is so gorgeous. It's old, you can tell it's old and the style is different from my style but the architecture is awesome. Mom, you would love it. I also found a neighborhood that we could walk when you come here with me. It's in shore acres, right by where I live. It's really nice. We had our correlation meeting. Once again, the difference one person can make is astounding. Sister Manzo is changing missionary work in this ward. It's really encouraging. I love her so much.
Thursday we had lunch with Morris is Southern Komfort Kitchen again. Really good. We had hour of power with the Pearsons and it went really well. I love hearing people's conversion stories. She said that her first set of missionaries came walking up her drive way and I think she was smoking a cigarette or something? And she said "So yall are going to convert me?" And they said "No I think we'll let the spirit do that." And she was really impressed by that. I think I'll use that if it ever comes up because it's true. we aren't going to convert anyone. We are simply instruments in God's hands. Neato.
Friday we had our first district meeting. let me tell you about our district, it's rad. We have us, Elder Backman (my old zone leader, now the district leader) and his greenie Elder Jensen they are opening up the Pasadena 1st Area as it used to be a south mission area, Elder Hope and Elder Marlar (who also used to be a zone leader) opening up Broadway 1 area to our mission, and the Fuits. They are a senior couple from Utah. Dad, can you ask Grandma if she knows a Kathy Hicken? From Utah? We've got to be related, i'm SURE. It was a great meeting. Elder Backman is a really good leader. I admire that about him a lot. He just gets inspiration and then asks us to do things and then if we dont' do them he asks us why and he doesn't sugar coat his disappointment. That is really annoying sometimes but it's genuine and I appreciate that a lot. It makes me want to be accountable because I know he's going to expect me to do it. We, for example, are now supposed to get 13 Quality Contacts a week. HA! That is such a spanishland goal (a quality contact is when you contact someone and set up a return appointment with them). But he wants us to get it so we're going to try harder. I know our leaders are inspired, though, because I've been praying for the strength and courage to talk to everyone and that's kind of what our district meeting was about. We have good leaders.
Saturday we did area book work for a little because our service fell through, and then we taught Brock, our investigator from the hour of power that was crying, remember? he's doing okay. And Brother Raymundo a RC/LA that we are trying to reactivate and had dinner at the Carpres an active family in our ward that have 4 adopted children. They're cool. And then we went to see Brother and Sister B. They are the sweetest old couple. Brother B is the stake patriarch and Sister B just hugs everyone and calls them "darlin" and she is a true southern lady :] I love the south!!
Yesterday we had church. OH MY GOSH I love church. I love our ward. I missed it a lot last week. I didn't realize how much until we got to church and I felt like "ahhh, yes. This feels good and normal and I am glad to be back." Our Bishop is back in town and it is good to have him back. Also we had a church tour after church with Sister McCuen, she is a returned missionary and served in the Italy, Milan mission (just like you Aunt Cindy!!) she said she had a lot of success on her mission but that it was REALLY hard work. Speaking of, Sister Ericksons dad served in Milan around the same time as Cindy. I wonder if she remembers an Elder Mark Erickson? That would be so cool if she does. Then we taught Jonathan. Oh my gosh, I really love Jonathan. And we are finished teaching him the lessons. And we don't want to be, but we are probably going to have to drop him. AH I have never wanted someone to be converted this much. Not just baptized, we dont' just want him dunked. We want him healed and converted and happy. And the gospel can do it, but he has to let it. I know that he would be so happy. OH so happy if he did what we're asking him to do. Jesus Christ can heal all wounds, even the ones that we're trying to prevent from happening. So if we just trust in him and live our lives, He will take good care of us. I know this. I am trying to apply it to what I REALLY want: to talk to everyone. I figure if I focus on it enough, then I will do it. Oh, Sister Crawford has helped me to change my life with that concept. Remember that mind coach book that she loves? Well sister erickson got it last week and we read it together and I thought again about how my life changed completely when I stopped doing "Guilt Beatings" When I change the word "Should" to "Want to" becuase I really want to do these thigns, I'm just afraid of them. So instead of feeling like "oh, I should talk to everyone" which in turn makes me feel like a failure, I think "oh, I want to talk to everyone." and then I know that it's my goal and it's just hard but if I want it I can work for it. Does that make sense? I love it. I love the Crawfords so much. Anyway, it was a good lesson with Jonathan. i'm glad I'm learning what it means to really love your investigators and desire their salvation. I'm sure I have more to learn, but this experience with Jonathan has made it super apparent.
So. How are yall?
Mommy, thank you thank you thank you thank you for the package!! My retainer is already moving my teeth back into place. It's very good. I have to take ibuprofen before I put it in or it will wake me up in the night haha. But it's getting better so thank you! Also thank you for the pistachio's specifically! I LOVE THEM. Oh I was so excited for specifically them. How is everything? How is work? How is summer? Dad said you went up to take care of Grandma last weekend? That is so good. I know that our Heavenly Father wants us to look after Grandma right now. I wish I was there to help. How is she? You're the best. How are you feeling?
Dad, thanks for your e-mail! You always tell me the thigns I want to hear about from you! I love it. How is work going? I am excited to come home and learn more about what you are doing with your job. It still doesn't make perfect sense to me, but I get it generally. Do you start prepping for next Stake Conference right away? did I tell you that I liked your talks?? I did! I love that you talked about Arise and Shine Forth! How is everything? Did you and Mom get HCT tickets or just went to that one! i'm totally jealous. I don't know if I told you, but easter weekend we went to visit Lauro and Maria and they were watching the Ten Commandments on TV and I was like "I know exactly what my Dad is doing right now!" haha don't tell me if you weren't doing that :] I just know that you love when they show the ten commandments on tv at easter. So do I :]
James, what is up! I didn't send your letter, I'm so sorry. But how are you? I feel like it's been too long since I've known how you are doing? How is summer school? How is work? How are the chicas? I had a dream that you dumped a girl and dad told me afterward and I was like "What?? I didn't even know he was dating anyone." and I was mad. ... so... if that happens in real life I'll probably be mad. :] Hows your friends? Dad said he's marrying Carter and Carter's girlfriend! Nice. That will be sweet.
Jonny, how was powell?? WAY FUN? Tell me about graduation? I am going to make you write me a letter somehow. I just want to hear what's going on and how you are. Tell me how you feel about what's going on in your life. DO IT. You have time, I know you have time. :] Love you.
Yall are the best. I love you so much. I wrote President today and asked him to change the music rule haha. So i'll let you know if he does. I LOVE the CD you sent me though Mom!! I take it in the car and then in the house when we go in at night and I love it!! I searched for Sar's mom in the pictures but I coudln't find her. That first song, the Praise to the Lord, The Almighty/FanFare is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!! Ah. I love it. Did you listen to it before? I love you! The church is Christs and the gospel is the truth. I love it and I'm trying to be a good representative. It's going too fast. This mission is the best thing I've ever done. Hands down. The most fun and the most difficult. I have never been more grateful for anything in my life. I love being in TExas! I hope yall are ready to come back. :]
Love, Sister hicken
PS WRITE TO ME!!!!! I want to hear from YALL. ALL yall! :]

Monday, June 4, 2012

oh baby

Monday, June 4, 2012 12:12 PM

Hola mi familia. We had an... interesting week. A very long week. Lets begin.
Last pday we went to Sylvan Beach with the spanish missionaries for memorial day. I already told you about that. I got burned on my face and now it is peeling. Awesome.
Tuesday we went to see Angie, the elders recent convert. She is the one that is full blooded native american. Her kids are the cutest things ever. I will send pictures. Anyway, she has no family support and we are trying to rally ward support for her, but in the mean time we will see her a lot. She is the queen of one word answers so it is awkward. Its best when we talk about the gospel. I can talk about the gospel wayyy better than I can small talk. haha i'm gonna be a weirdo for a while at home. We also saw Catherine again (not reading the book of mormon. uggggh) and Brock. We went to dinner with Morris at this DELICIOUS RESTURAUNT! We are going to eat there when yall come do a mission tour with me. :] It is called Southern Comfort Kitchen. HOOOLY it is so delish. It made sister Erickson real sick afterward. Here is a Texas tid bit for ya: Chicken Fried Stake is WAYYYY different here. It is literally a stake deep fried in chicken fat or something. It is not as good. I prefer Chicken fried chicken. Anyway we rounded off our night seeing our recently reactivated Brother Samford and Brother Raymundo - we're working on him. He's been a member for about a year.
Wednesday was the temple. :] :] :] Oh my gosh I have missed going to the temple. THAT is one place that will be a highlight when yall come back here. It is one of the most beautiful temple's I've ever seen. EVER. And the inside just beats the band. It was a great day for me. I was praying for a couple things, and a few answers, and for parts of my testimony I want to build. And in the celestial room, I just felt SO happy. Oh, so happy you can't imagine. Family, I've never been this happy. I really havent and I know it is because I start my day every day with prayer and scripture study and then I get to consecrate my life to it all the time. That is how I want everyone to feel. That is why I do missionary work becuase I want them to get to that room. The celestial room of the temple. The only thing that would make that better is to have my family there with me, and that is the end goal. That families can be together progressing and becoming fit to live with God. :] So happy. So happy. I love this gospel. I've had several moments of confirmation that it is true and real this week and those are such important moments to me. Even if they're fleeting, I am positive that I had them and I know how I felt in them. So I hold on to that in the inbetween moments, which there are more of. I have faith that one day they'll all blend together and I'll feel that flame of testimony all the time. Obviously, it was a great experience for me. I hope I get to go to the temple one more time before my exit temple trip. THE MORNING I fly home :O Way too soon. After the temple we went to the dirt-nast Chinese Barf-ee (as Cochran likes to call them haha) and I didn't eat. It was too sicko. Afterward, like I said, sister Erickson was sick so she slept before our ward correlation meeting. Sister Manzo is on fire and she is going to be the big difference in the ward. It is astounding to me when one person has the vision and drive to acheive how it lifts a group of people - so many people are getting energized and things are changing because of sister manzo. It's crazy to think that when I got here, she wasn't totally active. Things have changed and it's the scriptures and the gospel that does it.
Thursday we had dinner with Sister Ruiz and it was really good because it was an awful day before hand. Sister Ruiz was heartbroken when we got there because her mother who lives in Mexico had decided not to come visit her. And it was so sad becuase she loves her mother and she neversees her (obviously). We shared a lesson with her about faith and she felt really a lot better when we left. That is the power of the gospel. What it does is make people feel better- whatever ails them. I know that.
Friday we had zone meeting and it was my ONE YEAR MARK!! It is totally nuts to think about what I was doing a year ago. Because it doesn't seem like it's been a year. At zone meeting we learned we are doing the coolest thing as a mission. We are creating T.H.E. 1st ward. Which means we will have 345 either reactivated members or convert baptisms mission wide. That is enough people to make a ward. It will not be a real ward, but the number of people could create a ward. Does the make sense? I am totally jazzed about it. When we create the new ward we get to go NASA!!!! YUSSS! I'm way excited. I apparently live really close to NASA. Who knew? I have no idea where it is though. We went to KFC afterward and ate a ton of food and sang to me and Cochran (and Curtis and Baldwin via telefono) for our one year mark. It was awesome. We saw Robert and Angie afterward and then had a lesson with Jonathan. AHHH I don't know what to do with Jonathan. While we were saying the closing prayer I got the feeling "Drop him" and I was so scared to. So I tried to but it didn't work and Sister erickson doesn't feel that way so I'm like "uhhh I can't drop our investigator with only my inspritation!" so i don't know what to do. We'll pray about it.
Saturday we had another tri-mission conference. This is my 4th General Authority. What a lucky duck I am, huh? It was Elder Paul V. Johnson (and a lot of my perscription qutoes are from him!!) he is really tall. It was good to see all the Houston missionaries that I love. Elder Curtis (our district leader) is now a zone leader - I'm so proud!! And Leishman and Boehmer are district leaders. So great. I saw Melody Haslam do you remember her? She is in the south mission and she goes home at the end of this month. Crazy!! Elder Johnson was with Elder Villarreal of the area 70. HE WAS SO COOL. I loved him. He talked about his conversion experience and how important missionary work is even though it's hard. The work of the gospel is the most important thing there is, even though it's hard. He was just funny and cool. Romeo Villarreal. Look him up. I hope he becomes someone that we hear in general conference. Elder Johnson talked about his grandson who got Bone cancer and the leg had to be amputated. They did this bizarre sugery where they used his ankle joint for his new knee joint but he couldn't do the phsycial therapy it was too painful. For months and months htey tried to do therapy and it wouldn't work. Then one day they were doing therapy and he fell and broke his leg. His poor little leg. And everyone was so upset, especially Elder Johnsons daughter - the mother. And she said "Why after all of this, the cancer the chemotherapy the pain, does he have to break his little leg and feel all of this pain?" The little 11 year old boy said this pain was worse than the amputation the chemo everything. But what happened was incredible: because they had to reset the break the leg healed in a way that allowed him to do the physical therapy without pain. And he was running and walking with a prosthetic leg in no time at all. As opposed to months and months of pain and discouragement. Elder Johnson talked about how we ask "Why is this happening? And why do we have to go through the pain?" Because the pain is obstructing the view of God's plan. Of how He's going to make it okay. I have a testimony of that as well. It was a GREAT conference. I'm happy I got to go.
Yesterday we had "An historic conference" (hahah S. Gifford Nielson ALWAYS says that. This is "an historic conference" I wish people would just say "A historic conference". "An historic" sounds totally weird.) and it was they created the 18th stake in Houston - The summerwood stake. So we split from our Zone and it became the Summerwood zone and we are still in The Houston East Zone - combined with the old Spanish zone. It's weird sounding, but I can't explain it better than that. It was a good conference but the entire thing was bi-lingual so it took nine thousand hours. It was cool becuase our Stake is a bilingual stake. And our stake president, oh my gosh I almost cried looking at him up there. He is SOOO young. Probably like 40. And he doesn't speak spanish. He has been in the stake presidency for 2.5 years and he said he is super overwhelmed. The challenge that he gave us was to pray for him and his counselors :[ oh, of COURSE we will. It is going to be the best stake presidency. The Love and energy of his counselors was infectious. And he is just so humble, you can hear it. He does not know what to do and that makes us all rally around him somehow - cause he's really really young. It's going to be great. We're meeting him this coming Friday. Then yesterday was a really bad day. Sister Erickson was very upset so President and Sister Crawford came and talked to us. It just amazes me how the gospel changes people. I have felt so similar to how she's feeling and I am so happy now. I swear, there was a time when I thought :How can I do this for 16 more months when I hate it every day??" and I didn't hate it every day but it felt like it a lot. And I didn't think I'd be happy. But I AM. I am happier than ever before in my life. I know the Father was teaching me faith in His Son. I don't remember a whole lot of specific words from my setting apart blessing but I do remember the words "You will find the happiness you seek". And I thought about that when I was so sad in Porter. And do you know what? I have!! And becuase I have I know sister erickson will. I just will try my best to help her. It is going to be alright. It may not be a tap dance 24/7 but it will be alright and the Lord will help us. I can't say how special the feelings of faith and trust I do have in the Lord are. I think I was partly with Sister erickson to learn how to pray as my first source of guidance.
Well, I've been here a year. A YEAR!!!!!!! Can you believe it? I can't. It dragged at some points and flew at others. And right now I just can't believe I'm almost done. :[ I'm trying to be the missionary I want to be. I want to talk to everyone and that's so hard for me. But I will keep trying and the Lord iwll help me.
Mom, thanks for your letter this week! It was a good one I love to hear about your life! How are things this week? Thanks for sending my box and retainer you are just so great. I hope that you are so happy!!!!
Dad, thanks for your e-mail I took picutres of it so I could read it:] my companion is a genius and figured that out so we don't have to print anything. It's neato. And then we can print it later or print the pictures. So smart. I will read it today. How is everything going for you. Pray for my poor new stake president.he is so overwhelmed to be a president so young with so little experience and with a bilingual congregation when he doesn't speak spanish.
James, how are you? Hows everything going? I'm seding you a letter.
Jonny you graduate tomorrow!! tell me how it goes.
Grandma Hicken, THANK YOU so much for sending me 'the touch of the masters hand' i love it!!! you are the best and thank you for writing me always. I'm sorry I don't write back better, but I appreciate every letter I get.
I LOVE YOU ALL! BE good and start your day with scripture study!! LOVE YOU