I received this letter in the mail today, Monday August 23rd. She was writing it off and on and over a period of time so hopefully it makes sense. Thank you again for all your love and support. Emily can feel your love!
August 19, 2010
Well here is my first letter! I love getting mail. It makes my days a whole lot easier. I love the endings of your letters, it gives me comfort and it always helps me out. (I try to send her a spiritual quote with each letter.) So you asked me about the MTC! Well I can tell you this, I’m never not busy! I’m always running to classes and to meals and to Devotionals! Classes are hard sometimes because they ask you questions and they make me come out of my shell. It’s hard! I struggle to not be shy! They want us to contact other missionaries and give them spiritual thoughts or to share a message. But one of my teachers, Brother Mehr, talked with me and asked why it’s hard. I told him I’m shy and it’s hard to talk with new people and that I just don’t know what to say. So he wants me to just go up to missionaries and just say hi and to introduce myself and just try to talk with them. It’s kinda easy with Sisters but it’s really hard to talk with the Elders! But I’m kinda getting better.
I have this amazing teacher Sister Anderson. She is an extra help to me! She is helping me learn how to mark my scriptures to be able to teach a lesson! And it is so amazing! She is such a nice old lady. She always gives me good tips when I’m down or having a hard time. I hope to get a picture with her before I leave the MTC!
Well Mom, I’m really struggling. I’m not going to lie and say things are great. But I must say there have been days when I’m loving it here and that I do understand things and feel the spirit! But you know how I said my companion is like Lindsey … well she is not. I have really gotten to know her and it’s really hard to be her companion. She doesn’t like what I have to say and she thinks her ideas for discussions are the only right way and if she doesn’t have it her way she is upset and grumpy. It was so frustrating mom. I’m really sorry to write this but I’m just really struggling to get through every day! Last night at the end of class I felt alone and felt homesick and I really wanted to come home. But I know I can’t and I know I’ll have huge regrets if I don’t stay and endure to the end. This mission is really hard! Everyday it’s a struggle with something. But mom when I’m not struggling, there is a wonderful spirit in the air or when we have a speaker that’s scheduled for us, man it’s amazing and I feel good and really excited to be on a mission. I love the letters. Please keep them coming! It gets me through the night till the next night and I read the next stack of letters.
Well I’m back, I had to go to breakfast and then had to do personal study. I studied the “Restoration” because we have an actor investigator and all we know about her is that she is interested in the gospel! So I wanted to make sure I understand things! Well after looking over this letter I can see I was pretty harse and upset. I’m sorry to write things about my companion. But I just wanted to tell you some of my struggles. Mom I love saying prayers. I feel like Heavenly Father is listening to me. He knows I’m struggling and trying to get through every day. But I know He wants me to have a stronger faith in Him and to trust in Him and to come unto Him in prayer with a sincere heart and ask for help. I like talking with Him. Man its crazy of how many times I say a prayer! One of these days I need to keep count. I say a lot of personal prayers and companion prayers and District prayers. Heck the first day I was here I said the closing prayer in a big meeting and then on Sunday after we watched a video about “How to Teach” by Elder Holland, I said the closing prayer. One of my roommates, Sister Tavion, said she loves to hear me pray because at the MTC, they ask us to pray with “thee” and “thy”, you know those kind of words in a prayer. She likes hearing my prayers. I really never thought my prayers can help other people or my roommates to say their prayers! Pretty cool uh! Oh before I forget, every Tuesday we have a special speaker come and talk to us and I got to hear from Walter F. Gonzales and his wife. He is in the Presidency of the Seventy! How cool! Did you know he is a convert, same with his wife? When his wife spoke she really helped me and gave me comfort letting me know its okay to be shy and scared. She said to pray to your Heavenly Father and let him know and He will help you through your hard times. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m praying lots to the Lord.
Mom I know you and Dad will be blessed for saying your prayers! Prayer is so powerful! It can help you any time, any place, and any where. I love prayer. Without it I don’t know where I’d be. Mom I can’t believe how many people are thinking and praying for me! I feel so blessed to have such a strong support at home. I see all the Elders and Sisters in my district and to me it feels like I have the strongest support in the District. I think it is so funny because I am the Sister in the District to receive the most letters. Since I have been here I’ve gotten a letter every day except for the first two days and Sunday. I can’t go pick up mail. My zone leader has to. So I have to put lots of trust in him to keep my mail safe!
Mom, I don’t want you to be too worried about me! You know me, I don’t go through things easily. I have things come hard and challenging. But the Lord is here! I know He is and He lifts me up when I’m down. Mom when I’m not struggling, I’m learning and having fun! I love it here! The Spirit is so awesome and amazing! People say when they come to speak to us missionaries that there’s something different here at the MTC. It’s awesome.
Well Mom I’m going to try to write Mel and Rach. I got three letters from Mel, one from Rach, one from Beth, one from Brother and Sister Bird, one from Sister Bolander, a postcard from Kristy and also one from my Branch President’s wife. And lots of letters from you!!! I love getting letters. I date them when I get them so I can always remember what day I got them.
(Finished writing her letter a little later)
Mom, I want to say sorry about the bill for my toes. The nurse saw them when they checked my blisters because when my companion asked about my shoes they told me to see the Health Clinic here. And that is when they saw my toes. They are really concerned about them and so they want me to see a podiatrist. They don’t hurt and they are not leaking. I don’t know. I’m scared it’s going to cause a big problem and I’m sorry! I hope things will be okay.
Also Mom, me and you and whoever else wants to has to come back to go to the Provo Temple. It’s so pretty. I love it! I thought of you and the family the whole time! I really miss you. But the last couple of days have been good. Me and my companion did talk. We talked for an hour and didn’t do the stuff we had to do like quiet time and going to bed at 10:30 p.m. but I think the Lord understands and our roommates in our room understand. But I’m doing great. I’m learning lots. I know I write a lot about my bad days but I have lots of good days too!
I want to let you know I’m having fun. I’m doing well. And oh I found five Elders that leave the same day as me and three Spanish speaking Elders and I’m the only Sister. It’s cool, one is from Idaho Falls and another one is from Rexburg. They seem nice but I’m nervous to be with eight Elders and I’m the only girl. It was funny, one of them said, “Don’t worry Sister Hawkins, we will protect you.” I just laughed. I got my flight schedule. We are leaving the MTC on September 1st around 5 AM!! I know, early uh! LOL. We get on the plane at 8:55 a.m. and we fly all the way through and land at 12:55 p.m. And the Elders told me the Mission President told them we are going out to lunch so that’s going to be fun hopefully. So there’s my flight plans. I’ve heard I can CALL you so please have the cell phone charged and have it near you so I can call you okay! It will be early morning when I call. I don’t think we can call when we land but we’ll see. And I have 30 minutes!
I love you and I miss you lots!
P.S. I see Elder Slater! He looks fine and when we see each other we say hi but he remembers us because he remembers dad playing Santa Clause! LOL. He is doing good, same with Elder Hill, Elder Higham, and Elder Forbush.