Monday, December 27, 2010

A lot to read this week from Sister Hawkins … I received both an email from her today as well as a letter in the mail that she had written on last week’s p-day. I am going to post the letter first and then her most recent email along with some fun pictures she sent today. Enjoy!

Letter - Monday, December 20, 2010

Hey Mom,

Today is zone p-day and it was so cool what we did and are doing for zone p-day. We arrived at Sulphur, Louisiana at 9:45 a.m. and we went crabbing by the Gulf of Mexico! How crazy is that! I got to catch two crabs and then I helped other people; Elders and Sister Brosnahan’s catch their crabs. We got two coolers full! Right now we are waiting for the water to boil so that’s why I’m writing ya! I had a lot of fun plus I got to wear jeans all day … well till six as we have an appointment at six. But wearing pants feels great! LOL Don’t worry by the end of my mission, I might love skirts, but we will see, right! LOL I’ll try to get pictures to ya within the next couple weeks so ya’ll can see me crabbing!

Well mom, I get to talk to you soon! How awesome is that?! Can’t wait to talk to you and dad. I really want to see if I sound different plus to hear your voices is gonna be so much fun! We’re gonna call ya from the Skinners and we’re not going to have Christmas day to be all p-day. We get to go out and work so we’re going to see some members who don’t have family and were gonna to try to go caroling at the veteran’s home and visit Brother Martin on Christmas so it’s going to be a good day! But the coolest part will be talking to ya’ll. I’m being prideful but I miss ya’ll!

I got your packages and Melanie’s packages and I got a sweet package from the Ribbon Retreat! They spoiled me mom! I love all the stuff they got me. They got me a cute yellow stocking made out of ribbon and fabric from work, a Dalmatian dog, makeup remover, hand towels, and a cute ear warmer. You’ll see it in the crabbing pictures. I also got packages from Chelsie and Krisi, Tiffany’s sister-in-law, but I haven’t opened them yet. Have to wait till Christmas! But it was cool to get all the stuff I got. So many people were so kind to me.

This last week I went on exchanges and it was a really great experience for me! I met this awesome Sister Pilmar from Utah and she’s cool. I went to Woodville, Texas for a day. It was amazing to see myself again! I taught in lessons and followed the Spirit and remembered where scriptures were! It was an amazing feeling to feel and I got really humbled when I was there. Mom, I met this lady and she is a convert to the church and she doesn’t have good living conditions and it broke my heart. It made me so grateful for the things I grew up with. I was truly blessed! Mom, thanks for you and dad. I know I complained about our home but I’m so grateful for the house I grew up in! Also I met an elderly lady in a nursing home and half her leg is gone and she can’t do anything really and needs help a lot! But the awesome thing to see from this was they both had and have a very strong testimony of the gospel and they rely so much on the Lord! Wow, my testimony grew so much last Wednesday. It doesn’t matter how you live, the gospel is there and will help you through anything or through any trial. It was so neat to experience that. I’m learning so much. Yes, it is hard but you have those days where you learn so much! I’m so grateful for the exchange. I really felt like myself that day. I was happy and I laughed some! It was great! But the sad thing is that I’m not that way in Jennings and I can’t figure out why! But I’m trying to be myself. It just seems a lot harder in Jennings! But I know I have to learn something. The Lord will show me the way. He always does!

Last Thursday was so cool! We had our mission Christmas Zone Conference! Man the Spirit was so strong! I learned so much about myself and about the Savior! We watched a really good movie. It’s called “Mission Christmas”. It’s about two elders and one of them is having a hard time and it really reminded me a lot of myself. He found a family were the boy is deaf and the elder knew sign language and converts them to the church! But man, I learned so much from that. There’s also a book that talks about the Houston Temple being built and how many miracles that happened. And it’s cool because my mission is a miracle. I can’t remember the title of the book so I’ll have to get back to you on that. It’s out of print but it’s possible to find. We got cool gifts from President and Sister Moldenhauer. We got a DVD of all the missionaries and there are pictures of me on it too. So after Christmas I’m sending a package home for sure this time and you’ll have to watch it. They also gave us a temple recommend holder of the Houston Temple and our mission sticker. I’ll send ya’ll a picture of it. The Christmas conference was amazing. I loved it. Plus I got to meet Elder and Sister Nielson of the Seventy! I even got a picture with him. It was sweet! I also got a Christmas picture with Sister and President Moldenhauer. It’s cute.

Well mom, this is a long letter and it’s gonna be a long letter to retype for the blog! But I love ya’ll and I sure can’t wait to talk to ya’ll on Saturday! I love you mom and dad.

Love Sister Hawkins

P.S. Can’t wait to talk to ya’ll!

Email - Monday, December 27, 2010
Dear Mom!

Wow, that was so neat to be able to talk to you and dad and Brooke and Rachel and Melanie! That was so crazy and super fun! I miss ya'll! It was so great to hear ya'll voices and to be able to talk to ya'll! Yeah it was hard for the next couple of days to get back on track and to not think of home so much, but that is what happens when you are so close to your family! But I'm so grateful for my family and for the love they have for me! I'm so very blessed with a wonderful family and with so many friends that send me cards and letters and packages! It truly does help out a missionary so much to receive mail because being missionary is hard work, it aint easy! But it's amazing how the Lord is there to help me through so much! I'm learning a whole lot to rely on the Lord and to learn to have so much patience!

I had a great Christmas! It was fun over at the Skinners! We all got Nerf Guns for Christmas so we went outside and although it was cold, we had so much fun shooting at each other! Afterwards we got yummy Hot Cocoa! The boys got cool stuff for Christmas and they loved the candy coal and the movie you got them. They loved it that ya'll gave them gifts! Nina loved the movie with all the videos and stuff about the Doctrines and Covenants that you gave her. It was fun having Christmas with the Skinners!

After talking to ya'll on the phone, Sister Brosnahan and I talked for a bit in the boys room so I could have my eyes stop watering and we talked about our phone calls and things that were happening back home. It was funny because she was talking to one of her sisters that was having contractions and then the next day Sister Touchet called Sister Brosnahan to tell her that her family had called to tell her that she is an Aunt and that it was not false contractions so that was pretty cool! It was a girl and they named her Samantha! So that was neat!

After being with the Skinners we dropped off a gift to a member to wish her a Merry Christmas because she doesn’t have family near by. Then we went to go see Sister Frasier to wish her a Merry Christmas! We had some cider with her and just visited for a bit. But that was my Christmas day!

Things are going well some days and other days are lot more tougher but ya know that is missionary life like ya'll said on the phone. But it makes us stronger everyday and makes us closer to our Heavenly Father too! It’s neat to see how much I'm changing and growing. It's hard some days to not see it but it's cool to take time and to look back on the progress I have made being on my mission. I wonder what's going to happen this week for transfers; if I'm staying or going. I have been in Jennings for 3 transfers and wondering if I'm gonna stay one more! I hope I do! I'm not ready to leave. I feel like there is more work for me to do here in Jennings. I don’t know what, but I know the Lord knows what’s best for me and where I need to go. I could be like Sister Brosnahan and work my way to Houston, Texas because that is what she did, only backwards. She worked her way from Houston, Texas to here in Jennings, Louisiana; I think that this might be her last area because she only has 3 transfers left and then she is on her way home. So in missionary terms; she might die here. LOL. But I hope I'm here longer, but who knows really.

Hmm, I kinda don't know what else to write because I just talk to ya'll on Saturday and there is kinda not a lot to write ya know. I love ya and miss ya a whole lot and I will more than likely have more to tell ya next week! Thanks for all you do! I love you mom!

Love Sister Hawkins!

Fire Hydrant in Orange, Texas
(If there is something Dalmatian ... I will find it!)

Crabbing in Sulphur, Louisiana!

Net and bait ... I am ready!

I did it ... I was so afraid it was going to bite me!

I was so spoiled for Christmas
This is my cool package from all my friends at The Ribbon Retreat!
Thank you EVERYONE for making me feel so special!

GPS ... no more getting lost!

Nerf Guns -- Armed and dangerous!

Christmas at the Skinners ... a whole lot of fun!

Evidence ... I am working hard!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Phone Call

Sorry there was no posting this past week from Sister Hawkins; her zone went crabbing for p-day and so she did not get a chance to email. She did mail me a letter but I have still not received it so I will probably have a couple of letters to post this next week.

We had a wonderful Christmas phone call from Emily today; we talked for close to an hour. A few tears at the beginning and at the end but for the most part, she sounded wonderful! Due to modern technology and three-way calling on our cell phones, Emily was also able to talk with Rachel and Melanie. Before saying our goodbyes, Emily was treated to a darling rendition of the Chipmunk’s Christmas song by her nieces Kadie and Ella. Needless to say, that was a perfect way to end our Christmas phone call ... Emily loves being an aunt!

Sister Hawkins asked me to express her love and gratitude to everyone for all their love and support. She knows she could not be doing this without all your prayers and letters. I told her everyone would be wondering about our Christmas phone call and asked her if I could tell them she was loving her mission yet and she said, “Yes, I am loving my mission. It is really hard but I am loving it!” That was by far the best Christmas gift I received today! I have been waiting to hear that Emily is loving her mission. It was actually kind of funny, after Emily said that, both Rachel and I jokingly asked Emily if she would say that again so we could record it! LOL

I too want to express my gratitude to all of you who follow this blog and pray for Emily and send her words of encouragement. She was overwhelmed with all the cards and packages she received during the holidays. You all give her so much strength.

As this year comes to a close we, the Hawkins Family, thank our Heavenly Father for all our many blessings and for this amazing opportunity Emily has been given to serve in the Texas Houston East Mission. We count all of you as blessings in our lives and in Sister Hawkins’ life and want to wish you all a wonderful 2011.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A couple emails from Sister Hawkins

Emily’s letter today was short as she had a zone p-day to go to so she did not have very long to email me. She did take a few minutes to email her sister Rachel who is currently in the nursing program at CSI. This third semester has been extremely difficult so Emily wanted to send Rachel some words of encouragement. I asked Rachel if I could share some of her letter as it was very touching and truly showed the strength Emily is gaining on her mission. I am grateful for all my children and for the examples they are to me. As we celebrate the holidays, I want to add my testimony with Emily’s that I know my Savior loves us and gave the greatest gift of all … his life. I am so thank for the Atonement and the role it plays in my life. May we all take a moment to ponder the question Emily left Rachel at the end of her letter.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hey Mom,

Well wow, What a week! Well lots has been going on this week. I have been doing a lot of extra studying because my companion hasn’t been feeling good this past week, which I feel bad, but it's a blessing because that gives me more time to be able to finish the Book of Mormon before the end of the year!!! I am hoping I can … we will see.

Well this week we have been doing lots of tracking and some lessons and its getting cold up here!!! Really it is. And it totally stinks to wear a skirt. I don't know why I signed up for a mission, because you know me … I am not a huge fan of skirts but hey, we got to do things what we don't like sometimes, right. But the cold here is like a wet cold that just goes right through ya. Doesn't matter how much you put on you are still gonna shiver bad!!!! But I'm trying to find those gloves that have the fingers on them and then turn into mitts if that makes sense. I know dad had some once or Rachel might have. But it's weird, some days are worst than others.

Hmm.. so what can I share in the little time that I have today. Well we have this family we are teaching and they moved here from Kansas. I think that I might have told ya that. Well they are progressing a lot. They aren’t married but they are planning to get married soon. So I get to see a marriage while I am on my mission. Jason is a convert of about a year and Lynn is going to get baptized after they get married. She had missionary lessons in Kansas and so she knows it's true. So we will probably have a baptism in January! Cool uh! They are really a great family. They have two really cute kids and they are just so into the gospel. They are just GOLDEN!!! They really are. During December’s Fast and Testimony meeting, Jason bore his Testimony. It was so awesome. This family is cool and their kids love missionaries. They are young but they love it when we come over!

Well this last week I had to prepare for a talk at church and I did it on lesson three in preach my gospel. It went okay… you know me and preparing talks. Heck it's even hard to prepare for lessons at well, but some people said I did good but it went okay. I felt like I had no emotion with my talk and I just read my talk and didn’t have excitement but hey I am working on that.

Well I am sorry this letter is so short but I have to get going for our zone p-day get together. I love ya'll and can't wait to hear from ya to see how things are going! I am so excited to talk to you on Christmas. You’re the best mom and thanks for the packages and the letters and mom's love that you send to me every week. You are truly the best!!!!!! I love you!

Love Sister Hawkins (Lady Bird)

(Excerpts Rachel’s letter)

Hey Sis!

I'm so glad you passed your nursing test!!! That is so EXCITING!!!!!! I'm so proud of you!!! I knew you could do it. I've been praying lots for you. I read your e-mail and it broke my heart that you are having a hard time this semester. I know this is hard, but you can do this. That is awesome you could receive a blessing from Jackson! Rachel you are so blessed to have a priesthood holder in your home. I have received some blessings on my mission to help me. They have been for comfort and guidance and they all have been really touching in my life. Rachel you’re such a strength to me because of how dedicated you are to finish nursing. I'm gonna get you something so cool from down here when you graduate and everyone is going to be so sad they don’t have one! But I'm super proud of ya sista! Keep holding on strong and keep going to the temple! I know the Temple is amazing and can help ya a lot with your school. Keep reading your scriptures!! They are going to help ya too. I don't know if these letters I write help ya but just know that I am praying for you and trying to help you the best way I can. I wish I was there to help ya study but me being on a mission will help ya the most. Somehow it will. You are doing awesome!!! I love you Rachel. And when things get tough, stop and think of the blessings you have in your life and sing “I Am a Child of God” in your head and think of the words. Dad told me to do that in a letter and I tried it and it really helped me out and also “How Firm a Foundation!”

My mission has been tough lately because I have been thinking a lot about home and of Danee. I don’t know if mom keeps you updated on Danee but some days are good and most days are hard and very tough for her. I have been missing the cool traditions we do at Christmas time too. But I know that the hard time I am going through right now will be a blessing in the end and is really to make me closer to my Father in Heaven. I have been saying lots of prayers to help me a lot! It feels like the Lord is testing me but He is there, I just know He is.

The wonderful thing about the gospel is that it blesses our lives so much and it helps us get through the hard times. It really does! I just don't know how my life would be without my Savior Jesus Christ. Being a missionary has been cool because I have noticed more and learned more about the Savior this Christmas Season and realized all the things He has done for us! What I am going to do this Christmas morning is to read Luke 2 and to think of my Savior and all the things He has blessed me with and for the blessings He has given my family!

Rachel I know this Gospel to be true. I'm starting to be grateful for this mission that I am doing in my life. It's hard, but wow, it's amazing of how much I am growing closer to my Heavenly Father and to Jesus Christ and how much I am loving the Book of Mormon! It's an amazing Book and I am learning so much! The Book of Mormon is a wonderful blessing to have in our lives to become closer to our Heavenly Father!

I know the power of prayer is such a blessing to have and through it we can become closer to our Heavenly Father. It's crazy how many prayers I have said so far on my mission but I know that I am receiving blessings and that my family is receiving blessings and the people who we are in contact with our here are receiving blessings!

Well Rachel I got to go but just know I love you and you’re in my prayers, same with Jackson! You take care and Merry Christmas! I have a question to leave ya today!

“What gift are you giving Christ this Christmas Season?”

I love you! Love Sister Hawkins!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010 Email

Hey Mom,

Well this last week was fun because we got to go to Houston, Texas and spend the night at the mission home again! And boy that was lots of fun! It was funny on the way down to Houston. Sister Brosnahan was driving and she got pulled over. But when the lights came on we were not in a good spot to stop and it looked like the cop told us to keep going. Well that is not what he wanted us to do!!! So he came on the speaker and told us to turn off the car and to have Sister Brosnahan drop the keys on the ground outside and to have her hands out the window. And she had taken off her seatbelt to stick her head out the window to see if we needed to move forward and so she was trying to hurry and put her seat belt back on and the police man yelled and told her to keep her hands out the window. I put my hands in the air so he could see them through the car. He came up to the car and said, "What in (Blank) name are you doing?" "You just go and keep going?" We told the officer that we didn’t know where it was safe to stop and it looked like he wanted us to move up more. He was like, “No!” He wanted both of our ID's and I told him we are not from around here. And he was like, “Ya, I can see that!” So he went back to his car and we just didn’t know why he pulled us over. He soon came back and told us he was gonna give her a warning and that she just got out of a $750.00 ticket! Why he pulled her over was because she didn’t slow down enough when we past him on the freeway. He was done pulling over somebody and we couldn't go in the other lane because there were cars there. So he was just being a grumpy cop with no Christmas spirit. LOL. But it was so intense. I was truly scared! But it was funny too. Sister Brosnahan is my second companion to get pulled over because Sister Smith got pulled over too and she got a warning! I just thought it was funny. So who knows when my next companion I get might get pulled over too! It was funny when we showed up at the mission home. We told the story and everybody just laughed.

It was so pretty at the mission home with their beautiful Christmas tree. I took a picture with me by it and then one with Sister Brosnahan and with another Sister, Sister Mapa! I'll try to send ya some pictures today.

The Sisters training was really good this last week. I learned so much. I learned about Emma and how much of a strong woman that she is and how many hard things she went through with Joseph Smith! I truly look up to Emma and Joseph. I just have a very strong testimony about those two and how they endured so many things and how they had such strong faith in the Lord. I love watching clips about them and movies that we get to watch. Like there is a Doctrine and Covenants movie and clips Sister Smith got from her parents and it has cool movies on there about Joseph and Emma that we can watch with the members or our investigators! I just have such a strong testimony of them. I know this might sound corny, but I look up to Joseph and Emma Smith and the love they had for each other and how their marriage was so strong! I hope and pray that my marriage can be strong like Joseph and Emma's was. But that day will come after the mission! But it's so true of how they are such great examples of enduring to the end and going through so many trials of losing children and having people tar and feather Joseph and how everyone was so mean to them. They are just such cool and amazing people to learn about and to help your testimony grow so much!

I learned in Proverbs 31 of women and how special we are and how we are such great examples to the Elders and how the Elders look up to us. But I look more up to the Elders for leaving their family and their home life when they are 19, heck we leave when we are older. They are still just teenagers. I got a letter from Tom Bird and he talked about the Elders and of how they are preparing themselves for the future and how they are practicing there priesthood for their future families. And it's true. I've received two blessings from Elders on my mission and I'm helping them prepare themselves for their families. I just look up to them so much because they have lots of responsibility. They have the priesthood and they work and are preparing to be the head of the house hold. It's just amazing how they do so much! They are pretty cool Elders in my mission. They are so willing to help us Sisters if we are in need. Like Sister Brosnahan told me a story of how she was really sick one night and the Elders came at three in the morning to give her a blessing. How cool is that for the Elders to get up when they are so tired from a long day of work serving the Lord to go give Sister Brosnahan a blessing? I just think that is so neat!

Well in the mornings lately I have been reading from the General Conference Ensign and boy the talks are so good! I just love reading from them and I am learning lots and remember hearing the talks at church where I watch it at. I just love the stories and the advice they give us to help better prepare ourselves for this life and to have us become more like Jesus Christ. I also have been doing a lot of reading from the Book of Mormon. I'm really trying to finish it before the end of the year because President Moldenhauer told us last week that we are starting fresh on January 1st. So you and dad need to do that too like I am going to be unless I finish it then. But man by reading the Book of Mormon everyday I am totally seeing the story line and how everything is fitting together. It's so cool! I wonder what President is going to be having us look for in the scriptures next year!

Oh, before I forget, this last week after our Zone meeting, which was really cool and I will tell ya'll about in a bit, we went with our District Leader Elder Serdar and his companion Elder Brown to this guy’s house who just loves Sister Missionaries. His name is Dog … well he likes to be called Dog because he is half Indian. Anyways, we went to go see him and he is pretty cool. He lives in Lake Charles and he loves the missionaries and he gives the missionaries names so like for Sister Brosnahan, she got the name Moriah and he named me, are you ready for this … “Lady Bird." Cool uh, I love it!! So it's kind of an Indian name for me! Plus I like it because it goes with my last name. He named me that because he loves my smile. He said I have a pretty smile and when we left that day he told me he likes my hair too. It was fun visiting with him. He is an old man that doesn’t get out much and he is less active in the church. But it's cool because he has names for all the missionaries he meets and he still knows all the missionaries he has met by the names he gives them. He likes Sister Missionaries I think because they converted him to the Church and he has pictures of past Sister Missionaries and so Sister Brosnahan and I need to get one to him of us to put on his wall of missionary pictures. He has a couple pictures of Elders too! It was a fun visit and to finally meet Dog because all the Missionaries would talk about him so I finally go to meet him!

But hmm what else? Oh yeah the Zone Meeting! The meeting was good. We got to watch a clip from my favorite movie ever!!! "The Best Two Years" and we saw the part that is so spiritual in that movie where Elder Rogers is telling the guy about Joseph Smith. Our Zone Leaders told us to think about why we are out here and what is “Our Purpose as a Missionary?” And during that clip I just kept remembering all the hard times I went through to get out here and all the counseling I did and the money I saved and how badly I wanted to go, and that I just didn’t know why but I knew that I just wanted to go. So of course I was just crying and Sister Brosnahan doesn't know my story of how I got out here and how hard I had to work for this. She just knows that I just worked to get out on my mission. I told Sister Smith and so I know one day I'll tell Sister Brosnahan. I just don't know why I am so scared to tell my story of how hard I worked to get out here. I just don't want the missionaries to treat me like I can't do this and try to make things easier for me. Even though that would be sweet but I know that a mission has to be hard work. The Lord's suffering in Gethsemane was not easy at all and then to die for us on the cross was not easy either. And He did this for us so I know that this mission isn’t going to be easy. And plus really, looking at the past … when is anything easy for me? Like nothing at all!!!! But Zone Meeting made me remember working so hard for this mission. Mom I think I will always have that doubt and feeling to quit but deep down in my heart I hope I don't because I want what other people have from their missions. I also see other missionaries out here in my mission and how happy they are serving the Lord and I hope I can get to where they are at soon!

But hmm, what else can I tell ya'll about? Well it's cold here for real! No lie. It is cold in Louisiana. I freeze! Why? It's because of lovely skirts that don't really cover legs very well like pants do. LOL. But it's gonna be cold the next few days but it will warm up soon. It's weird how the weather is here. Mom and Dad I can't wait for ya'll to experience the weather here in Louisiana and in Texas. You are just gonna love Idaho even more!! LOL!!!!!

But um, I think that is all I have to write this week. I hope things are going good for ya'll. Mom, do me a favor and let me know ya'll schedule for Christmas day because I get to call ya!!! We have studies from 6:30-10:00 in the morning and then we have rest of the day for p-day. We are going to Skinners for Christmas and that's gonna be fun playing with the boys and the toys and spending time with their family! The last time we were over there we got to decorate their Christmas tree with them. How cool uh? And it's real too! LOL! We had Christmas music with no words playing in the background and we had fun! Sister Brosnahan and I got to hang the lights on the tree and the popcorn string! And all of us hung up the Christmas ornaments. We had so much fun! We had some Jumbli and it was really good! I liked it I'm gathering yummy recipes to bring home to make. It's gonna be so yummy! But I had a fun time at the Skinners and it made me think of home but I have a cool memory this Christmas to always remember! The Skinner family is amazing. Same with the other families in the Branch! We have a really cool small branch and all it is just so amazing!

Also will you take a picture of the house far enough away horizontal to put on my planner for this transfer. We decorate our planners and I want one to put on my planner to see the snow and the Christmas lights!!! Thanks mom, you’re the best! Good luck with your Santa Night. Please send me pictures of the line and of Santa and of the people over hot cocoa and the backdrop. I would like to see all of that. Thanks I love ya'll.

Love Sister Hawkins (Lady Bird)

Sister Hawkins and Sister Brosnahan at the Mission Home

Sisters' Training

Ice ... it really does get cold in Louisiana!

Cool Sisters!

Opening up the Christmas Decorations we sent them

Their "Chalie Brown" Christmas Tree
(I think it needs a smaller star!)
Notice the Dalmatian ornament --- Emily was
given that from the Skinners for her birthday

Decorating the Skinner Family Tree

Christmas will be at the Skinners this year for Emily!
What special memories she will make!

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010 email and pictures

Another letter from Sister Hawkins. For the most part she is doing well. She is still struggling but pretty determined not to come home. Unfortunately the things worth having in this life are often the hardest. Emily truly wants to be a missionary and wants to serve her Father in Heaven but struggles with the unknown and being so far away from home. We are so proud of her for all that she has accomplished and she is so grateful for each and every letter that she receives. Your support is invaluable! Enjoy her latest letter, she is really beginning to sound like a Louisianan … “ya’ll”

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hey Mawmaw,

Lol! That is the Cajun way they say it down here. It's really for the grandparents but I want to use it for you and for dad it's pawpaw. So when I talk to you on Christmas I might say that lol. Who knows?

Wow it's almost December 1st. I can’t wait to call you and dad on Christmas. That would be super cool if Wade was there too! I got an e-mail saying he is going to see ya’ll in the morning on Christmas day. I don't know when we are doing our calls; I'll try to figure that out. Are Rachel and Jackson going to be there too? That would be cool. Then ya'll would be on speaker phone and I could talk to ya'll. I only get 30-40 minutes to talk so I bet it will go by fast.

Well this week has been fun and it has been tough. Sister Brosnahan is a really fun companion. She has her own personal thoughts and ideas and she just talks straight up with everyone. It's crazy and she really, really talks to everybody. I am not kidding. She isn’t afraid of nothing. Maybe that would be good for me to overcome my fears, right? We talked to a lot of people this week and taught a lot of lessons. We struggle at night to figure out where to go and who to see because it's dark earlier now and everyone is so far away and we have to drive everywhere. But we usually figure out somewhere to go and something to do.

This last week was good. We had fun over at the Touchet house. I forgot my camera so I didn’t get any pictures but I wrote very well in my journal about the food and the fun talks we had about Christmas shopping and lots more fun stuff! The Touchets are so cool! It's fun to go over to their house. It was fun. I had some yummy food. I had cornbread dressing. Ya’ll never had it up there in Idaho! I'm gonna get the recipe from someone. I tried it at the Turkey bowl at the church and we had it for Thanksgiving and boy it is so good!!! The food down here is good! I can't wait for you and Dad to come back with me to try this yummy food here in Louisiana. Even boudin is good. You will look at it and think, “What in the world am I eating?” But it's good. It feels like I am gaining weight and not loosing little by little like I was. But I'm still trying to run every morning and to do crunches. I'm working with Sister B. with running. She isn’t too use to it yet!

I spent a lot of money the last couple of days because I found me some boots and a nice coat! How cool uh. It has been super cold and I didn’t have warm boots or a coat so Sister Brosnahan and I went shopping because I couldn’t go out in the cold without proper shoes and a coat! And it's so cool because my coat looks like Aunt Amy’s missionary coat!

Now about my ear. It is ringing louder then ever and it’s the left ear, not the right one that had surgery. I just have been noticing it a lot more and it's hard to fall asleep because I have this loud ringing in my ear. It's not hurting yet. I'm worried about my ear. I just notice the ringing and its super loud and annoying. I can just always hear it and before I was used to it because it was a low ringing but now it's a loud ringing and it just isn’t normal plus it's not the ear I had surgery on ya know.

Well ma it's been tough lately because I am still trying to be myself and it's hard to be. Everyone is so talkative and has fun with the other missionaries and I am the one who is quite and sits in the corner. And I truly hate that. I wish I can be happy with myself and not be so up tight. I just feel so out of the loop and it's hard to figure out what I need to do. I just feel lost and still feel like coming home. But I know I am not going to even though everyday it is hard to figure out who I am. But I hope in time things will figure out right, the Lord will help me in some way. Mom I am going to stay because I know if I don't I will have so much regret and I will be so miserable. I know I will. I'm just gonna have to live one day at a time like Melanie wrote and told me to do so that's what I am going to do. Yes I am learning and I am changing a bit. But it's still hard to be out here. And plus it's getting harder because people are not writing as much anymore. I know I'm not the new missionary that is out and people get busy, I totally understand it gets harder. But I do love the letters I get every week from you and dad and Brother Bird and from Sister Bolander, and other friends and family when they have time. But this is just a tiny trial that I am going through to become stronger. These last few months have been hard and super long, and I mean super long, but I think the Lord is letting me feel like it is long because I wanted to come so bad that He doesn’t want me to see it fly by like it is with everyone else’s mission.

I got a really good letter from Wade and I miss him so much mom. I wish I could hear from him a lot more but I know he is a busy dad and a husband. I just love his letters of encouragement and he gives me tips and ideas to try to get through the holidays. It's really cool to get letters from dad. I know I haven't written him lately, my p-days are just so busy going to different places or for zone p-days with other missionaries or cleaning up the place but I will try to write him soon.

Well mom it' about time for me to go. I'm gonna send ya a picture of me and my new coat and boots and also a picture of my new hoodie and sweat pants I bought with the money Aunty Sarah and her family sent me. The apartment has been getting cold and they keep me nice and warm! But I just want to let ya know I love you and I miss you lots and thanks for being such a great support in my life. Your amazing mom and I love you and I just can't wait to hear from ya more this week! I love you so much!

Love Sister Hawkins

New coat and boots!

New hoodie and sweats ... Thanks Ohki family!

Are we cool or what!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sister Hawkins has a new companion

One of the things I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving is for the blessing of having a daughter on a mission. Miracles are happening and Emily is growing every day. Today was transfers and Emily has been very anxious about what was going to happen. Although it was really hard for her to say goodbye to Sister Smith, she knows the Lord is with her and she has again been blessed with a wonderful companion who will continue to help her grow. Sister Hawkins and her new companion will continue to serve in Jennings, Louisiana. There are many wonderful families and members from the branch that Emily has grown to love and who will help make the upcoming holidays very special for her and her new companion. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here is today’s email.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hi Mom,

We did get some time to e-mail today, not much but I'll probably write ya on Thursday for Thanksgiving! Well we are going to eat at the Touchets house! Cool Uh! I'm excited.

Well I better tell ya about my new companion! Her Name is Sister Mary Brosnahan and she is from Utah and is super excited to be in Jennings. I'm excited to have her as my new companion. I've met her a couple times at Sister Training and at other events that we have had on my mission. She is so kind and loves to talk to everyone! She is so excited to be here with me. At the Elder Costa conference she talked with me and she knew I was struggling and I guess she talked with Sister Smith some too and so she knows a little bit about what I am going through and totally wants to help me out in anyway she can! She is so cool! I'm excited and she is excited to go run three miles in the mornings! I'm super stoked! It's gonna be fun! I hope I can continue to lose weight. It seems like I lose a little weight but not a lot. But I've been taking those vitamins you sent me and trying to eat healthy and eat less. So slowly it will be okay.

Well this last week has been a struggle just worrying about transfers. I felt like it was coming but I just didn't want it to come. But it did and I saw wonderful things happen. It was special to see the families here in Jennings say good bye to Sister Smith. They love her so much! It just broke my heart and it's like how can I help these people like Sister Smith helped them. It was hard seeing everybody saying good bye and it was hard to say good bye to Sister Smith! I'm truly going to miss her mom! She has helped me out so much these last two and a half months. She really has! She is amazing and I just can't wait to see her at Sister's Training on December 1st! It's going to be great and also for our Christmas Party on the 16th of December! So it's going to be great!

Anyways, it was cool this past Saturday. We watched a video with Robin who is a convert that Sister Smith and Sister Singleton converted. I love her. She is so amazing and she just finished the Book of Mormon and is starting to read it again! We watched the Joseph Smith the Restoration video, not the short version, its the hour long one. I felt the spirit so strong to just see what all Joseph Smith went through and how he stayed close to the Lord! During the whole movie it was just so amazing and I got a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith and how he was truly a prophet of God. He really did see God the Father and Jesus Christ and he did translate the Book of Mormon. I just know it to be true. It's so amazing how my testimony is growing on little things. Yes I do struggle but my testimony is growing and I am learning little bits everyday!

The Houston Temple last Tuesday was so amazing. I just loved it. It's so beautiful inside. As I was walking up the stairs to go get changed into pretty white clothes, I was holding onto the handrail and I totally felt the spirit so strong. I felt peace and love and it was so amazing. I got teary eyed and I wanted to cry so bad but I kept it in so I wouldn't cry in front of the Elders! But it was so amazing. I loved the session and I was so worried that I was going to fall asleep but I didn't. We had to wake up early in the morning but I'm so thankful that I didn't fall asleep! I was so excited to be in the temple, OOHH Mom it was so pretty!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just can't wait for you and dad to come back and go to the Temple in Houston!! It's gonna be so great! I just can't wait to go again! I don't know when I'm going again but I sure can't wait. I loved the temple. I felt peace and I prayed lots to have the Lord help me and to give me strength and comfort. When it was time to go my heart seriously just broke. I didn't want to leave but we needed to because all the Elders in our Zone were waiting for Sister Smith and me to talk to the Temple President. It was funny because his talk was basically about marriage and how our missions are preparing us for marriage and to be committed to marriage and how the Temple blesses families and that when we are married in the Temple it will bless our family! It was just so awesome to go there. And I took a leaf to put in my journal to remember my first day at the Houston Texas Temple. But man it was so amazing. I really can't describe it. I just loved it and it was so hard to leave. I love the Temple and I love to feel the peace that is inside the Temple. It was amazing and it's hard to describe in words how I felt that day. It was truly a great day.

My knee is doing better. I’m done with the medicine and I popped it the other day and lots of stuff came out. I'm still kind of worried because it is still hard but it looks like it's healing and people around here say I would know if it was a spider bite because I would still be in pain and stuff would still be coming out and so they think it's a staff infection and that I itched it and that my hands were dirty.

Last night I finished my first Journal ever in my whole life!! I was super excited! I couldn't believe I finished it. And it was super funny to read my first day as a missionary. It was silly but I was looking at my journal and flipping through the pages and just thinking to myself like wow! This is super crazy that I am doing this and that I have so many memories of struggles and of good times in my journal! I can't wait to start my new one tonight! I'm so grateful to keep a journal because there are some things that I have seriously forgotten but I'm so grateful to write it down and to be able to remember everything. Mom you should start to keep a journal and to write about special things or write about your feelings and then you can look back to see how far you have come in life ya know.

Mom I know that I'm growing. Sometimes I have doubts that I am growing and that I am changing but last night was cool to see one full journal all done and to know that I have cool, wonderful memories. It makes me sad to not have kept a journal when I was growing up. But ya know you can always start new everyday! So I'm going to continue to write in my journal. Yeah, I forget a day or two but I always go back and fill in the days so I can have an entry to remember every day of my mission! So I'm really happy about my journal. I just need to add pictures in my journal and it will be all good!

I hope this coming week goes well and that the pre-planning that Sister Smith and I did works out and that things will go through and that we will have a good week and that I can be able to show the area to Sister Brosnahan. But I know that the Lord will be there for me and that He will put me through tests but hey it will be okay. Right? He will help me. And the Touchets and the Skinners and lots of other people from the branch are there for me and said they would help us in anyway they can. So I know the Lord will be there for me!

Well I love you mom and thanks for the pictures that you are sending to me. You’re so amazing and I love you so much! You’re the best mom ever! I miss you lots. And I can't wait to hear from you soon! And thanks for taking such good care of Buddy and for letting him sleep inside. That was very smart of you to cover my bed, I never would have thought of that. I hope to write ya more on Thursday! I love you and I can't wait to hear from ya. Tell everyone hi and sorry for not writing anybody last week. I was too busy with other stuff. But love ya'll and talk to ya later!

Love Sister Hawkins

Sister Hawkins and Sister Smith
Houston Texas Temple

November 16, 2010

Last moments as companions! 
What a blessing Sister Smith has been!

Leaving her in goods hands ...
Sister Hawkins, Sister Brosnahan, Sister Smith

Sister Smith --- truly an angel!

A new chapter begins!
Sister Brosnahan and Sister Hawkins
Jennings, Lousisiana - November 22, 2010


Monday, November 15, 2010

Sister Hawkins had a wonderful birthday thanks to the great people in Jennings, LA and to so many of you. She received many, many cards and well wishes. She could not help but know she is loved. On November 18th, Sister Hawkins will have been out for 100 days. To help celebrate this huge accomplishment for her, we sent her a small package (that she is not allowed to open until the 18th) with “100” starburst and a darling poem written by her sister Melanie. It was such a cute poem, I thought I would share it with you:

100 days
100 ways
The Lord has blessed you so
100 days
100 ways
He’s been there as you go
100 days
100 ways
You’ve given to the Lord
100 days
100 ways
His blessings He has poured

Thank you Melanie! I could not have summed up the past 100 days any better myself!
Well here is Emily’s email I got today along with some fun pictures of her birthday. Enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hey Mom,

Well this week has been busy doing service and helping out people in my area. But I want to make sure to tell you about my birthday! Well it was yesterday and Sister Smith decorated the apartment with balloons and put messages and candy in the balloons and got me candles for my birthday! I was surprised. She did it when I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day.

Then at church the primary program went great. It was fun singing with the kids and people said Happy Birthday to me. Then at the end of Relief Society for the closing song they sang Happy Birthday. But before they started singing, they brought in the cake. I saw it and I started to cry. I was so surprised. It was a Dalmatian Cake. I loved it. We served it to everyone but the funny thing is that we have not eaten the dog yet! LOL It was a cute cake! I loved it!

After church we got an inactive lady, Sister Young, and went to Coach Pizz’s house to eat lunch. He is catholic and he bought me a pound caramel cake to take home and he also gave us the leftover of pasta. It was good. We gave some cake to Sister Young because we had the Dalmatian cake still and Sister Smith wanted to make me a cake. So we had lots of sweets. Well later that night we went home and Sister Smith made me a strawberry cake with whipped frosting and we opened my presents. I was so excited for the mini cd player and speakers and for a new Mormon Tabernacle cd!!! I was so excited!! I love it!!! I listen to it in the morning getting ready. Then after presents she sang happy birthday to me. And also that night the Elders in my District each called and sang Happy Birthday which I thought was cool. Even the Assistance to the Mission President called too and the Zone Leaders did, so that was really cool!!! It was a great birthday. Tonight we are having a birthday party at the Touchets so that's gonna be lots of fun!!! Can't wait. So things have been good, but a long week.

Now about my knee. I notice on Tuesday that my right knee was hurting. It hurts to put pressure on it and it was getting hotter. I told Sister Smith on Thursday and she told me to call Sister Moldenhauer. I did and she said to go get it checked and to make sure it's not a spider bite or something. So Friday morning we got up early and headed to Lake Charles to go to the clinic there because they accept our mission insurance. We waited in the lobby for about 30 minutes and then they took us to the room where we waited for over an hour. So we got at the clinic at 8:30 and then were seen by the doctor at 10:30. He came in and was in and out in thirty seconds. All he did was ask what was wrong and I showed him my knee and then he touched it and pushed on it and said, “Ya, your skin is infected you need shots and I'll put you on some medication.” He was leaving and walking out the door as he was telling me this and I couldn’t even ask questions. I was so upset because we waited for so long and he didn't care. Well then the nurse came in and gave me two shots, one on each hip. Well then while we were checking out at the front desk, they told me that my insurance might not cover the shots and that I might have to pay for them. Then they handed me two prescription slips and I asked, “What’s this stuff?” I told them the doctor didn’t tell me what’s going on. They said one is cleaning stuff for the skin and the other is pills I have to take four times a day. I was about to cry but I said okay.

So we got to our district meeting late and I got sharp pains from where the shots were given for some dumb reason. After our district meeting the Elders had made me brownies and sang happy birthday to me. Then I got to meet with Ken. We didn’t get to go to lunch with our district or the assistants to the mission president that came out because Ken was coming and we didn’t have time to go and eat with them.

Meeting with Ken was really great! He gave me lots of homework to do. He gave me some ideas of how to handle things and gave me a football analogy that was cool of a quarter back. I'll have to send ya that next time as I don't have it with me. But it was a great visit. I don't see him till the week after Thanksgiving so that gives me plenty of time to do my homework. I have to make three lessons plans for him next week and write out the area with people’s names and descriptions to remember the people because transfers are in one week and who knows if Sister Smith is leaving or not. Then I have to do role plays with Sister Smith to help me and to give me advice. So hopefully I can have time to do all that stuff. But Ken is a cool guy and he is helping me a lot. It makes me think of a lot my counselor in Idaho Falls, DeAnna, and what we did together and how much she helped me. I wish she was here. I don't know why I can't remember some of the stuff we did and I'm trying to remember things we worked on of ways to help me so I can be able to tell Ken. She was the best and I changed a lot over the last year and half because of her help! But it was a good visit with Ken.

Well I just also want to say thank you so much for all the wonderful packages I got for my birthday and for the cool packages I got from the young women and from Melanie and from Sister Pulispher and from you and dad! It was wonderful to get all the birthday cards and the letters of support and I hope I can continue to get letters as they really do help out a missionary to know that they have support from home and to know that they are loved. I love getting mail. Mail is the best thing as a missionary!!!!!!! :) So thank you for all the letters and the cards!!! Love it!!!!

Oh, do you know what’s funny? A couple of weeks ago after a zone conference our zone leader asked Sister Smith if she could crochet. She told him no but told him to ask Sister Hawkins. So he did and I told him I could. He then asked me if I could crochet a scarf for him. I said, “Well I'll have to see when I'm not busy if I can.” And he said, “You can, you can do anything.” So guess what? I crocheted him a scarf and his companion asked for one to and same with my district leader and so I have one done and have to make two more and Sister Smith saw the scarf and she likes it, so I'm gonna try to crochet her one too! LOL But it's funny that I might be the sister missionary who crochets scarves for the winter!! Lol I have time when we are driving place to place because it takes a while to get to places, but it's just funny. But we will see if I can do it. But I just thought that was funny to share with ya.

Well mom it's about time to go but I want to let you know I love you and miss you tons. I know that I am struggling and that I'm hurting because of my dumb bite that I have but the Lord is there. Even though I don't feel like He is there sometimes, I know He is there. I tell that to the people we see that the Lord is always there! It’s like when I am struggling with transfers coming up and trying to figure out what I need to do, I feel like He isn’t here right now but looking back over the last couple months, He has been there. He will be here for me during the next couple of hard weeks ahead.

Mom we watched a Together Forever movie with Brother Martin and it talked about families. It was so touching and it made me think of you and dad and Melanie and her family and Wade and his family and Rachel and her family and then to think that I will hopefully have a family like my family who is strong in the gospel and who will be close to the Lord. I thought about all the things our family has been through and we as a family have been through a lot of stuff and it's amazing of how we got through it. It’s great to see how much we helped each other out and to see how much the Lord was there for us and supported us through our hard times. I'm so grateful to have a family who loves me and who is still strong in the gospel and who goes to the temple and who loves the Lord. I'm so grateful! :)

I have to go. I love ya mom and sorry for not much details of what’s going on. It’s a short p-day because of the temple tomorrow. I just can’t wait. You have no idea. It’s going to be so great and plus afterwards we get to meet with the temple presidency and then go to the book store and just hang out with missionaries tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I love you and I will write to you soon!

You’re the best and I can't wait to hear from ya'll!!!! :)

Love Sister Hawkins

Yes, she is crying, not laughing. 
She truly was surprised and very touched!

She was able to pull herself together!

Sister Skinner, the very talented lady who made that amazing cake!
(She is the mother of the two boys that were baptized a couple
of weeks ago and were in the pictures I posted last week.)

How cute is that!

Sister Smith and Sister Hawkins sharing the yummy cake!

Sister Smith decorated their apartment!

What a team!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Well considering the week Emily has had, she is doing pretty well. We got word to her that one of her best friends is battling cancer and that was really hard for her. Things like that are always hard but even harder when you are so far away from home. She is excited about her upcoming birthday and then to be able to go to the Houston Temple on the 16th. Here is her latest email.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Hi Mom,

Well this is going to be a really good e-mail, hopefully, if I have time to write ya stuff. So last week I couldn't really tell ya about the baptisms. Well Noah and William’s baptisms went through, but the girls’ one didn't which is sad but we are still trying to work with them. We haven’t seen them these last couple of weeks because of the holidays and there grandpa isn’t doing well is in the hospital.

The baptism was amazing! The spirit was there! Yeah, there were a lot of kids there, but it was amazing; the peace and feeling of the Spirit! I'll try to send ya pictures of the baptism if I have time this week.

This last Monday was zone p-day which means the missionaries in my zone got together and played softball and they invited another zone to come play with us! It was so much fun and we had to wear red t-shirts to tell the zones apart. I didn't have one and so I went and bought one. Sister Smith and I bought letters to iron on our shirts. On the back of my shirt says HAWKINS and on the front is says O-ZONE because we are the orange zone. I didn't have enough letters to spell out the word orange. Sister Smith did the same. It was cool and we each got red headbands and had them on our heads and it was great to have the headband because it kept the sweat off from my face. LOL!!! But it was cool because my team, the orange zone, really liked me on their team. They said I was their MVP (Most Valuable Player). How cool it that! I was the pitcher and they liked my batting too because I only batted one handed. So it was fun playing softball last Monday. I was the one driving us to Orange Texas and it was raining and boy the rain was so bad. It was pouring down buckets of rain for real!!! Big Buckets of Rain. It was scary but we got there safely!

Oh so what I am going to do for my birthday is that after church we are going to Crowley. That’s in our area and there is this guy and his name is Coach Pizz, and he invited us for lunch. We are bringing an inactive member with us because we can’t go inside unless there is another lady there. We are having lunch and it's going to be a weird lunch with three meat sausages, onions, peppers and chicken over some noodles. Coach Pizz says the Elders loved it and so it's going to be interesting! But that is all I know about what I'm doing for my birthday.

It's crazy; I'm going to be 22!!!! I can't wait for my package; it's going to be sweet!!!! I love getting packages. I feel bad that you and dad spend so much money on packages. You truly are the best parents ever!!!

So this last Saturday was fun. Why? Because we have been helping in the Primary for the Primary Program that is happening on my birthday. So this last Saturday we had a practice and it was so much fun helping the Primary and singing songs. The kids really don't know the songs and I sit with the kids and Sister Smith leads the music. I keep the kids settled down and tell them to be quite and help them sing. I have been thinking a lot about you. When we are helping the primary, I wish you were here to teach the kids to sing. I know that you miss primary. You never know, you could get called back in there someday. But it's been fun working with the kids and singing primary songs. I can’t believe I missed primary growing up; I was just too scared and afraid. I missed out on the great messages you learn in primary. There is a lot of stuff in life that I missed out on because of my fears. I just hope and pray that I can do this mission and not miss this opportunity to learn and to grow and to change and to not be afraid anymore. But we will see right?

Transfers are on the 22nd of November. We won’t know till the 20th if we get transferred or who gets transferred, so just letting ya know. Sister Smith thinks she is leaving which is really sad and hard because she has helped me so much to give me comfort and to help me out with Danee right now. It was so hard to hear about Danee. I just started to ball and ran into my bedroom, fell to the floor by my bed, and just cried my heart out. I can’t even imagine what she is going through. It breaks my heart so much that I can't be there for her mom. So transfers are going to be interesting. I just still feel like I need Sister Smith.

Oh I know what to tell you about! So the last couple of weeks Sister Smith has been itching her back. It reminded me of a lady in our branch who had shingles. This lady told us that she began to itch and one day she itched and it hurt and looked red so she went it and got it checked and the doctor told her it was shingles. So I told Sister Smith that she might have shingles and to call Sister Moldenhauer and tell her what’s going on. So we told Sister Moldenhauer and she told Sister Smith to go to a clinic. Since Jennings is a small town, we had to go to Lake Charles and she saw a doctor on Friday and they told Sister Smith it is the beginning stages of Shingles!!!!!!! And so she is taking medicine and they told her to buy itching cream to help her not itch. It is not contagious to me because I have already had the chickenpox. So I am okay. But I'm still am worried and wondering if I'm going to get it. She is itchy all the time but I hope the medicine helps her. She says the clothes really irritate her but she is being upbeat about it. I wonder what’s next for poor Sister Smith; she got a chipped tooth (got that fixed in Lake Charles) and now she has shingles. I'm trying to help her out anyway I can.

This is all I can think of to write about today. I'm going to try to send ya'll pictures. I love you guys and I hope things are going good and I hope you have fun decorating for Christmas. I miss the leaves changing colors and seeing snow. The weather here doesn’t change except for cold and hot.

Love ya and I hope to hear from you soon!!

Love Sister Hawkins

Carving Pumpkins at the Touchets

This is the pumpkin Sister Hawkins and Sister Smith
started carving and the Touchets finished
putting on the darling face for them

Louisiana State line

"Yes, the have swamps in Louisiana"

Noah and William's Baptism!

Lake Charles Halloween party

Noah and William's Mom -
Trunk-or-Treat after the Halloween Party

Sister Hawkins and her District at the Trunk-or-Treat
(Sister Smith is taking the picture)

Mr. Piggly Wiggly Store - Jennings, LA
(From the movie - "Win a Date with Tadd Hamilton")

Brother Martin, the gentleman from the Veterans Home
that Emily often writes to us about

Sister Hawkins, the one-handed hitter!

Sister Hawkins - being cool! LOL

Zone P-day "Orange Zone" T-shirts

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just a short letter today as she had to get to a Two Zone P-Day. Emily is still struggling with her fears but is trying hard to work through them. She loves her mail and is so grateful for each letter she receives.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Hello Mom,

Well this is going to be a kind of a short letter because I don't have much time to tell ya a lot of things. Could you also put on my blog that I didn't have time to write letters because of Zone P-day? We are going to be combined with another zone in the mission and so it's going to be crazy. This morning Sister Smith and I made cool shirts for zone p-day and my shirt says Hawkins on the Back and on the front it says O-Zone for Orange Zone. I didn't have enough letters!

But the baptism for Noah and William went really well. The spirit was there and there was a peaceful feeling. It was so great to see them get baptized. When we got there it was so funny because Sister Smith had to walk across the font while it was filling with water to get to the girl’s side to get the baptism cloths because we forgot them in Jennings and we did the baptism in Lake Charles. The font was filling up and we didn’t have keys to open the girl’s side of the font from the bathroom and so she walked in the font and the water was to her knees and it was funny … you had to be there to see how funny it was.

But our other baptism for the three girls didn't go through. The mom says that we were going to quick and that we needed to slow down so we are going to continue to teach them but were going to go slower. We were going fast just to try to have them baptized on Jessie's birthday at the end of October. But the dad is an inactive member and so I think to get all the family baptized would be cool if the dad would do it. But the Lord will help out their family this week.

This week was hard on one day. I was just down on myself thinking I can’t do this and Sister Smith and I were out going to see people and things weren’t working out and my spirits were low. I bet it's hard for Sister Smith to deal with me every day and so she got upset and it was time for lunch so we went home and we didn't talk. It's truly my fault because I am still scared and things and afraid of trying new things and meeting people that I don’t know and I just didn’t feel like going out because I just wanted to stay home and keep studying but you can't do that as a missionary. You got to go out and work for the Lord and I understand that but it's just really hard. But we figured things out and I told her I was sorry and she was sorry too because she is trying so hard for me to love what I am doing and I know that I am not trying hard enough. It's just hard and scary. I hope to see Ken this week to let him know what is going on. I just hope and pray they don't send me home because of me being too scared. I do want to be here but I just want to be the person to see all the cool things and just be invisible, if that makes sense.

I talked with President Moldenhauer again after a zone conference we had this past week and we went over things and he told me that this mission I am on is really for me. I told him that I feel like I am doing more for my family and friends at home then here on my mission. Me being on my mission is helping everyone I know back at home. He said I am making a difference here but it's hard to see that. He asked me when was the last time I had a blessing. I told him recently with Elder Sedar. He asked me if I would be okay for a while until the next time I see him and I told him ya. He said that is good and that I just need to have faith with the blessing I received from Elder Sedar. I know that Lord will help me. I just need to keep pressing forward, right?

But I loved the package you sent me. That was great. I love the shirts. I am sending one of my friends on a mission a box of NERDS that mean Never End youR Day Scriptureless. Pretty cool uh! So he should enjoy that. But I love getting letters from you and everyone else. Even Brother Bird, he always tells me about his studies and things going on in Shelley and even sports which is so great to hear. Tell him thanks for me when you see him. I will try to write to him next week. But the Bird family is so amazing!

Hey mom, as of today I have been out two months in Jennings and on the 11th of November I will have been gone 3 months from home. And on the 14th I am going to be 22! Wow pretty crazy uh!

Well I have to get going. Tell everyone in the family hi and tell them I am sorry I couldn't write to them this week. I love you lots and miss ya tons and you’re the best ever!!!!! Thanks for sending those amazing packages. I know you and dad are spending so much money sending me stuff and trying to help me out to make things easier. I know the Lord is going to bless you mom, and it was great to hear dad is feeling better.

Well I have to run but I love you and I will write ya better next week and send ya pictures of the baptism and of the Halloween party we went to in Lake Charles ward. I hope your day and week goes good. Love ya!

Love Sister Hawkins

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010 email

I am so excited to be able to post this letter from Sister Hawkins.  It is a long letter, but a great letter about all the missionary work she is doing.  Things are still hard for her but she is doing so much better.  The Lord is with her and putting people in her path that are helping her to see just how amazing and strong she is.  Thank you for all your love and support ... Emily loves all her letters and words of encouragment!  They are making a difference!  Enjoy her latest letter and pictures ...

 October 25, 2010

Hey Mom,

Well this week has been good in some ways and hard in others. Last p-day it was good to be able to write to you. I wrote to both sets of Grandparents and to Aunt Bethy and to some friends and Sister Bolander. But I had a good p-day. That night was a good night as we met with Nae. He is a deaf guy in the branch. I don't know if Melanie told ya but she sent me a sign language book but I haven't gotten a chance to study from it. But it's cool to see Sister Smith sign to Nae. She knows some sign language! Then we went to go see this Catholic family! There are so many Catholics down here, it's crazy. Its weird how many different religions there are. But this family is really nice and they fed us. We didn't know they were going to but they love the Missionaries even though the mom says we won’t convert the family. We had an interesting visit with them talking about God's plan and she thought it was interesting that we believe that God has a body of flesh and bones. Luckily Sister Smith knows everything what to say. I said a couple of things but it just strengthened my testimony more to know that God has provided a plan for us and that He knew us before we came here on earth. But we didn't get them upset; they just like talking about their faith and ours and to see how ours is different. It was neat to experience.

On Tuesday we went and saw Ethel Joseph. She is a new investigator and she lives in Lake Arthur and has a 5 year old son. We taught her the first 2 lessons and she seems to like it. Her life is a struggle from her past but she wants to come to church and to learn more but she is struggling right know with some health problems. Hopefully she will get better soon. Later that day we went to Iowa and met with Sandy Broussard. Mom, I love this lady. She is so cool! Next time I see her I will try to get a picture with her. But we have taught her the first lesson and watched the Restoration video with her and read some from the scriptures. She has lived a pretty tough life. But this lady Sandy has changed so much and she has a deep faith in the Lord and loves it when we come and see her! She has a big fish that she pets and plays with and the fish sucks her finger -- no lie! It's was cool. She also feeds her fish other fish for treats. But anyways she is amazing and I think one day she'll join but she is interested a little bit.

Tuesday night we ate dinner at the Touchets home. I love going over there. We always have so much fun. We talked about weight and she saw me in Wade's wedding picture on your facebook and says I look really good now. She showed Sister Smith because I had told Sister Smith that I was bigger than I am now. They couldn't believe how much I have changed and Sister Smith thinks I am losing weight even though it doesn't feel like I have but who knows. But we had a good time spending time with the Touchet family! They are really cool!

On Wednesday, me and Sister Smith and Sister Frazier, who is in our little branch, cleaned the church and then we went back to our apartment to clean before President and Sister Moldenhauer came to see us. They had called early that morning to say they wanted to take us to lunch. We went to a nice little restaurant and I had a yummy salad. It was fun spending time with them because we are so far away and we never get to see them. But the interview with President went very well. I told him what I am scared of and how I am doing and shared a conference talk from Henry B Eyring about trust in the Lord and going and doing. I can't wait for the Ensign. I really had a good talk with President Moldenhauer and he thinks the counselor here, Ken, is really going to help me out. He talked about how I need to keep running and not go sit on the bench because he asked what I like to do and I told him running. And so he said just keep running this race and don’t give up and he said just imagine your family all in cheering outfits cheering me on to finish the race. We were talking about conference and I told him I saw you. He began to laugh because he thought it was funny because it must have made it even harder for me but he also thought it was cool because who can say they saw their family on TV. After meeting with President, I got to visit with Sister Moldenhauer and she gave me good counsel as well. She seems like me of how she is scared of things. She told me as a little girl she was scared and couldn't leave her parents and she also said she feels that me going on a mission was a really big step for me and she knows this is hard for me. She says I am going to learn and grow and at the end of the mission I am not going to want to go home. She asked me what I felt about that. I told her it's really hard to believe that right now but she said I will and that I will get lost in the work and that Ken will help me and that the Lord is there to help me as well. She also suggested that I highlight Jesus Christ in my reading of scriptures instead of the other things we are suppose to highlight but I am kind of doing all of them but it's cool to see how much Jesus Christ is in the scriptures. It was a really great visit with them! They are so AMAZING! I am sure going to miss them with they leave in June. Who knows who is going to be the next President but I know he will be called of God and that I will learn to love them as I love President and Sister Moldenhauer.

For the rest of Wednesday we went to go see the Billeaudeaux Family in Kinder. They have 3 girls that are getting baptized and two are over the age of 8 and the other one is 8. We taught the girls some of the commandments and about praying, reading your scriptures, and obeying the prophet and other commandments. We did the Word of Wisdom with them and we made a fridge and a garbage can a while ago on paper to teach them what is good for their body and what is not. It went well. We had a great time teaching them and visiting with them.

But then after seeing them we headed back to Jennings and visited Brother Martin. He was in bed but we shared a scripture with him and I found the scripture. It was about sharing your testimony to others because he lives in a veteran’s home he has lots of opportunity to share his testimony so I thought it will help him to do that and to not be afraid. He liked the scripture. I need to get a picture with him. He always brightens us up because he has such a humble heart and he just loves the gospel. He just forgets a lot of things and I am so grateful to learn to write in my journal so that I can look back on my mission and remember everything that has happened. Then when we were leaving we ran into this guy named Shelton that we had met the week before. We had shared with him what we do and had given him a Book of Mormon. When we saw him again he said he wants to learn more and talk about the gospel so I think we are going to try to meet with him. He lives in Lake Charles which is out of our area but he works here so we will see what we can do. But after seeing them we headed home.

Thursday morning is weekly planning where we plan for the week and we made plans for our baptisms this week with the girls for Thursday and for two other boys that I will tell you about later in the letter for Friday. We made plans to visit people and also made plans for our Zone Conference that we will be having on Wednesday. It will be my first one so we will see how that goes. Sister Smith says it's really good. Later that day we went to Iowa and saw Sister Ramsdel even though we needed to talk with Brother Ramsdel because he is the Branch missionary leader. But we had a good visit with his wife. They are an older couple but she is Baptist and doesn't want to change but she just loves us and loves visitors because she never gets outside of the house. We challenged her to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon so we will see if she did it. But then we went to the Caples home and they are an awesome family. President Caple is the President in the Branch and they always feed us on Thursdays and we always have a fun time there. We had yummy BBQ Chicken tortillas that were so good and yummy peach cobbler with yummy vanilla ice cream. They have two kids, Ryanne and Austin, a girl and a boy. They are big Utah fans and they are really cool!

Friday was district meeting where we meet with our district every week. It's always fun to see our District and also the Zone leaders where there. The meeting was good and we learned more about the Doctrine of Christ and how we need to ask more questions in lessons. I had to play the piano which I kept messing up but hopefully I'll get better. But after our meeting we went to a yummy restaurant that I hope to take you one day and dad too. It's called Nina P's. It's so good. This time I had a really good salad.

After we ate, I went to go see Ken. It was a “get to know ya” talk and I had to fill out papers and told him about my past. He shared with me that he will be able to help me and teach me to not be afraid anymore. He told me I will get feeling better and feel more like myself and to be happy. He reminds me of dad. He is big but doesn’t have grey hair lol. But he is a cool guy and I feel comfortable and not scared of him and he is my first boy counselor so we will see the progress that I hope to make with him.

But then after our visit and our meeting in Lake Charles we headed to Iowa. It was cool because we got to see the homecoming parade. We couldn’t go tracking so we walked over to a member’s house, the Skinners, and watch the parade with them. The parade was fun but I didn't take pictures. I should have but I was too busy watching Sister Skinners’ boys having fun and talking with Sister Skinners because she has been super busy. I love this family and we see them every Friday night. She feeds us and she has three boys. I think I already told you about them but they are the ones getting baptized this Friday. It was fun seeing them since they have been out of town on a cruise and they have been busy camping and they just recently got hit by a drunk driver so that was scary for them but they are all okay and doing well. After the parade and visiting them we went to meet someone that we tracked into, Suzie and Sissy, but they forgot that homecoming was that night so we rescheduled. Then we went tracking for a bit and got 20 contacts in an hour and that’s hard to get but we met some cool people. There is this one guy and he wants to stop drinking but he is deaf and I don't think he knows sign language but he wants to change but we will see if he comes to church or gives us a call. Then we went back to the Skinners to have a yummy, and I do mean yummy dinner. We had Poor Boys and it’s a sandwich. A big sandwich with roast beef with gravy, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and fries and lots of gravy and it was so good and it was messy. I'll have to make it for ya'll when I come home so make a list of food that I tell ya'll so I can remember what to make ya.

But after dinner we taught the boys about tithing and that was fun because we had monopoly money from the Touchet family that we borrowed and they boys liked it. But they are so excited for this Friday. They are getting baptized before a big Halloween party in Lake Charles that we are going to. The baptism is in Lake Charles and they know a lot of people down there because when the mom was inactive the boys would go with their grandma so hopefully they will have a lot of people there for support. So it's going to be good.

Saturday we went to go teach this family that we tracked into and their names are Josa and Rhonda Bravo. We just taught them and not their kids. It was hard to teach because I didn’t feel comfortable and I just didn't feel that I could teach and so I think the lesson went okay but Sister Smith said it went great. I didn’t talk much but we will see. We are going to see them tonight so hopefully they read and want to learn some more.

Then we went to a birthday party for the Richard family. Their little girl turned one and all we did was just sit around and talked but it was fun to communicate and to relax for a bit.

Then we had to go see the Billeaudeaux family again. It scared us because when we got there the one who is 8, her name is Daisy, said she didn't want to be baptized because she was mad she couldn’t go hang out with friends because we were coming. But by the end of the lesson she wanted to get baptized again. It seems sometimes in life when we can't go do our own thing but have to do something to help us better in life, we will receive more blessings. I hope Daisy will see that by making that sacrifice and meeting with us, she will be blessed. But the girls’ names are Gloria 11, Jessie 10 and Daisy 8. We had a good time teaching them the commandments and it was weird telling the girls about the law of Chastity but Sister Smith took care of that part and it wasn’t too bad. We also taught them the law of tithing and so they excited to pay tithing. But after our fun time with the Billeaudeaux family and Rosie the mom, they told us that after we leave when that time comes they hope other missionaries still comes and see them. They live far away from Jennings but they need missionaries to keep helping them and their family. I told Rosie that we will leave a big note for the new sister missionaries to have them come see her and she smiled and laughed but I knew that gave her some hope and peace in her heart.

We then headed back to Jennings and tried a couple of different people but had no luck. We hadn’t had dinner yet so we went in for dinner.

Sunday I had to play the piano again for church. It went okay but I still made mistakes. Sister Touchet says that I do great and it's good to have the melody played so we can be able to sing, kinda in those terms, but I love her, she is awesome. Well church was good. We missed Sunday School because we had a meeting with Brother Ramsdell about our baptisms this week. I loved Relief Society. We had a good lesson. Sister Caple gave it and she talked about a conference talk about going back to the basics and she talked about how sad it is that people don't love themselves. It totally made me think of me and it was sad but I have been praying to help me love myself because I don't love me. I hate how big I am and how I act and how I put a shy shell on and how I am afraid of everything. But I think it was an answer to my prayer saying that I need to love myself. And I need to see how I can do that and I need to talk to Ken about that and to see what I can do. But after church I was down and Sister Smith talked with me because I feel so out of place and lost because I still just don’t know things and the area and where people live and we have a month left till transfers. It’s a week after my birthday and I'm so scared of what’s going to happen. But she said she is going to help me the best she can to help me not feel so stressed.

So after our talk we headed out to Crowley and we met with some people. There is a sweet lady, Sister Young, and she is an inactive member because her car is broken and there are no other members that are active to drive her to church. I just love to go and visit with her. We never plan for anything because the spirit directs us on what we need to say. And I had a feeling to ask her what’s wrong with her car. She told me it's something electrical and that some guy friend of hers has a friend that said he might could fix it. Then I asked her if she has called him and she said no. Then I felt to tell her that she needed to and that this might be an answer to her prayers of getting her car fixed and she said I might be right. Then we talked about how we need to have faith and need not to be scared and that the Lord will be there to help us. And after we got done visiting with her it was like wow…that is me. I need to have that faith that the Lord will be there for me. But boy its weird teaching people but you really teach yourself.

But after her we went and saw Sister Joiner and she is inactive too because she can’t drive. She loves it when we come and talk with her and share scriptures with her. She started to cry and told us that she loves us coming to have her feel of the spirit because she has us and the Jehovah Witnesses come by and that’s the only way she can feel the spirit. And it broke my heart of how far away she is that no one can take her to church. But hopefully one day there will be members in Crowley to take her. She is an older black lady and it’s always fun to go talk with her. She always calls us “baby.” That is a thing lots of people do here in Louisiana and Texas. It’s really weird and different but hey it’s Louisiana!

Then we saw some other inactive members, the Monsoe family. They have been inactive for a while. They have lots of dogs and its fun to play with them but Sister Smith is not a fan of dogs but it was fun to visit with them and to invite them to the Halloween party this Friday. The visit went well. We talked about the iron rod and how we need to hold tight and that we need to read our scriptures to help us through the day. But oh ya, earlier we were trying to see another inactive member and his name is Brother Burnett but he wasn’t home. He had his black lab on the leash and I was holding the lab so Sister Smith could knock on the door to make sure he wasn’t home and to leave a note on the door. It was so funny. I could have let go and had the dog run and go lick her but I didn’t. I love her too much. She got a picture so I will send ya it. But luckily I love dogs right! But anyways that was Sunday.

I sure hope this next week that the baptism for the girls works out because their grandfather, who hasn’t been in their life lately, now wants to be and so we might change the baptism date again or he might be able to make it Thursday hopefully. We will see. The Lord knows what is best when the girls should get baptized and the grandfather is not a member so it will be good for him to see it so we will see what happens.

But wow, what a week and I bet you are just crying and so amazed at my week and what has happened uh. I know I need to write more of these letters to tell ya about the work and the area and to tell you what I am doing. But I sure hope you enjoy this letter.

I love you mom and I hope this letter brings you comfort and joy to read to see how your missionary is doing.

I love you and I can't wait to hear from you and dad. And I’m glad dad loved his letter. I will be writing him more and you too. But I love you and got lots more letters to write. I love you bye.

Love Your Favorite Missionary,

Sister Hawkins

Down Town Crowley -- one of their areas

A painting on one of the buildings in Crowley

Haveing fun with the Touchet kids
(Sister Hawkins just loves this family!)

Sister Smith and Sister Hawkins
with one of the children they like to visit

Sister Hawkins protecting Sister Smith!

Don't worry Sister Smith ... I will protect you! LOL

Taken at the library when she was writing the above email