Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 27, 2010 email

Emily did not have a long time to email but what she did email was great and upbeat.  She is still homesick but also getting lost in the work.  I know every week will get a little better for her.  Emily is grateful for all the letters she has been getting and is sorry she has not been able to write everyone back.  Her p-days have been really crazy.  I personally want to thank all of you for your love and support.  You have really made a difference.  Emily loves to receive mail and she gets such encouragement from you all.

Hi Mom,

I got your package with the scripture case and I just love it!!! It will work great and I'm so excited for the cd. Thank you so much. I only have like 30 minutes today to e-mail because of Zion P-day. We have to travel to Orange to hang out with our Zion and guess who is in our Zion – Elder Wilde, no lie. (Josh Wilde from Shelley) I forgot to tell you that at our first Zion meeting I saw him.

Sorry I don't have much time to write but I will try to get a lot in. I was thinking of you on Saturday night when I was watching the General Relief Society Broadcast. I knew you were right there watching it too and I loved all the talks. They were so powerful and it makes me want to do visiting teaching better when I get home! I just can't wait for General Conference. We get to watch it at the Branch building, so hopefully things work out there.

So my time in Humble, Texas was fun on some days and some days I was really homesick. The first of the week was good and fun and we dressed up and put our hair silly and took pictures so maybe next week I'll try to send you silly pictures. But I learned a lot while I was in Humble. I need to step up in the work because I think I'm not doing a lot of stuff like Sister Smith is. I learned that from the Companions in Humble. So now I am taking more phone calls which is super hard. You know me and making phone calls! I am also starting to keep track of our tracking numbers and also talking more. And let me tell ya, it's hard but I am learning that the Spirit is there helping me in so many ways.

This week we had an appointment with some people who were Muslims. There are so many different religions down here and I just don't know what their beliefs are but they just don't know what Jesus Christ has done for them. That is what I got from visiting with the Muslims. Sister Smith was having a hard time because she felt bad that they just don’t know of Jesus Christ.

I had this really cool experience last night when we went to go see a member, Brother Martin. He lives in a Veterans home because he was in a war but I don't know which war. We were practicing lesson #2 about the Plan of Salvation and he had a friend there listening. His friend wasn’t Mormon and it was hard to teach because he got frustrated and said the Book of Mormon wasn't true. He got up and left. But then the Spirit was so strong as we were testifying of how the Plan of Salvation is real and how we have the temple to do the Lords work. We told of how people have that choice in the spirit world to accept the gospel and I bore my testimony of how this plan is amazing and that we can have our families forever. I told of how the temple isn’t just another building but it is truly a House of God and it is a sacred place and we can go there and be closer to Him and to do His work. I know last night was truly a big testimony builder for me even though I still have fears that something is going to happen to my family and that I might not see them after my mission but I just need to have faith and trust in the Lord that I will always have my family forever and that me serving a mission can help other families to have there families forever.

I know this gospel is true. I know that God lives and that He does answer prayers even though it might not be on my time table but it is on His to help us learn and grow. I have learned so many things and I am still learning new things everyday. It's hard work but by the end of the day I know that I did the Lord’s work and that I need not to fear and I need to have more faith and try again tomorrow. I love the scriptures. I'm in 2 Nephi reading the Isaiah chapters which are confusing but I know the words in the Book of Mormon are true and they are very powerful and can give you guidance and give you comfort. You just have to pick up the book and really read it and study it and learn from it because you can really learn and grow!

I'm so glad that Sister and Brother Outcelt had a great time at the MTC. I really miss the MTC and the Spirit that is all around there and I miss the lessons and the firesides that they have. I'm glad that they had a wonderful time.

Mom I love you, and Dad I love you too. Thank you so much for raising us kids in the Gospel. I see the people down here and their lives without the Gospel and it's hard to see them not be happy. Yes we do have hard times, but we have the Lord and the scriptures to help us. Thank you for raising us the right way and teaching us the Gospel. It's so awesome to think that I have a family who is all strong in the Gospel and who is worthy to go to the temple and who go to church every week. It's a great testimony builder and it makes me want to have the same blessings for my future family. I want to have the Gospel in their lives.

I know this Church to be true. I know this mission is hard work and that I am away from my most amazing family ever and I feel bad taking for granted the times that we have had together. I know when I get back home I will always love every moment we have together as a family! I am changing and I'm not going to be the same person when I get home.

I had a neat experience with Sister Moldenhauer. We were picking up Sister Smith at the mission home on Friday and I was just having a hard day missing you mom and the rest of the family. And I saw sister Moldenhuaer and she asked me if I was ready to go home. I just started crying because I do feel ready to go home but I know my work is not done yet. She gave me a hug and said that things will get easier and asked if I had an amazing family and I told her yes and she told me that I will find families on my mission that I will grow to love and will help me with missing home. So I know what she told me will happen and I just have to be patient and the Lord will help me.

Well I have to run but I love you and the family. I miss you lots and I keep you all in my prayers all the time. You all are so amazing and thank you so much for the wonderful support that you have been to me. I love you and I really miss you so much! The Gospel is True!!

Love Sister Hawkins xoxoxoxox

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010 Email

This was a tough email to read.  She is still really struggling with her fears and homesickness.  She wants this so bad but it is really hard for her.  Thank you to those who have been writing her and praying for her.  Every single letter means so much to her.  The letters and the prayers are truly what are keeping her going.

Hi Mom!!!!

Boy how much I miss you!!! For this week I am not going to be in Jennings. We are traveling to Humble, Texas for Sister Smith’s training meetings that start on Tuesday and don't end till Friday. Going back home every night would be too hard and plus its three hours to get there so we will be spending the week in Humble. We are leaving today and I'm so scared because while Sister Smith is in meetings I'm going to be with the Humble Sisters, Sister Singleton and Sister Parsens, and so we are going to be in a threesome during the day and then at night I'm going to be with either Singleton or Parsens. I'll see Sister Smith in the morning and at night when were home but I hope and pray it's a good thing.

Well this week has been hard because I really miss home! I have been crying lots just worrying about home and worrying if I am going to see my family in 17 months. I'm so afraid that something is going to happen!! I know I need not to worry about that and do my best trusting in the Lord!! It’s going to be hard this week with not being able to read my letters because we are going to be gone. But I miss home and I miss you the most and just everything. But I know I need to do this mission. There are times in the day that I just really love it and other times where I just wonder why am I doing this and what have I got myself into but I'm trying my best to put trust in the Lord.

I'm not really going to be able to write anybody today because after e-mailing you we are heading to Humble so maybe in the car I can write a couple of people but I don't get much of a p-day today! But at least I get to write you!

Last Monday I was having the most hardest day thinking of home. President Moldenhauer called to see how I was and to make sure I was okay. And I was crying and saying I'm trying to do my best and he said good and asked if I was getting stronger. I told him I was trying. He told me that he and Sister Moldenhauer love me and that he was thinking about me and just wanted to call and check on me. I thanked him and he told me to keep praying to the Lord and to give the Lord my burdens and to keep working hard. He told me that I have the best companion in the field which is so true! She is so nice to me. She tries to help me the best she can. But after the call I just kept crying and went to go do my personal studies and I was wondering what to study so I studied in Preach My Gospel on pages 4 and 5 about the Power and Authority of my Calling. Later that morning I got a call from the District Leader asking me to teach about what I studied in personal study for District meeting on Friday. I said yes. So I was stressing all week wondering if my lesson was going to be good and it turned out okay. And it made me think in different ways of how powerful being a missionary is. It helped me in some ways and in other ways it was hard to believe things. But it went well.

Oh guess what? This last Friday night we ate at the Skinners where the boys are getting baptized and we had shrimp pasta and I really about threw up. I had to spit out stuff in my napkin when they weren't lookin. I felt bad but I was just getting sick. So pray for me not to eat sea food, it was just so gross!!!! I HATE SEA FOOD!!!!! Yuck!! I hope I don't have any more sea food even though I still have a long way to go on my mission.

Well yesterday was an interesting day. I fasted for a recent baptism convert that has had a hard time quitting smoking and I fasted for her to have the power and the strength to stop and I also fasted for myself to have faith in the Lord and to believe that I can do this mission. Church was good. I was quiet and thinking of my fast and it was interesting that the Relief Society Lesson talked about "Faith in Jesus Christ." I didn't realize it until half way through the lesson and I started thinking about the past prophets having faith in the Lord and how strong they are! So it was a good lesson. It made me think a lot. But after church I didn't quit my fast. I kept fasting and I should of broke it because we were visiting a non member and I started to feel sick and I turned green and white and got keys from Sister Smith and went to the car and the non member gave me some power aid to help me and soup but I didn't eat the soup, I just drank the power aid and luckily I had snacks in my bag because we were like a half hour away from Jennings but it was so weird. I saw white clouds in my eyes and I was just sweating. It was bad. But I am much better now. I just have to fast differently out here. But it was a good fast. I hope and pray the Lord accepted my fast.

We had a New Missionary Training this last week on Thursday and so we had to go to Texas by the mission home to go to the meeting. We were going to sleep with the Humble Sisters that night but President and Sister Moldenhauer wanted us to sleep at the mission home! So Wednesday night we traveled to Orange Texas to meet up with Pres. M. and then we followed him to Beaumont Texas. Then we got in their cool van and we drove to the mission home with just Pres. M, because Sister M. was at home cooking for the meeting tomorrow so it was a nice car ride with him. We had a good time in the car. I really didn't talk much because he was on the phone a lot and he was talking to Sister Smith about some things but he did talk to me here and there. So it was different but the cool part was when we got to the Mission home I just felt this peaceful feeling like I didn't have to be scared and it was so nice. I wasn't worried or scared. It made me think of the Temple a lot!! Even though at night I don’t sleep well. I don't know if I have told you that but I just toss and turn at night and I just don't get much sleep at night. But I did kinda have a good sleep that night. But that morning I just really didn't want to leave. I just wanted to stay!! It's going to be hard when I reach my half way mark in June and they will be gone. And then we will get a new Mission President for the other half of my mission. So I am trying to enjoy them till the summer time. That is when they head back home to Soda Springs! But we had a good drive to the meeting Thursday morning. We met at a Pinecrest church in Texas and we had a great meeting. I was really homesick then because we started to watch the District 2 videos that I was suppose to watch before my mission that I didn't get done and it made me think of packing and spending those last few wonderful moments with you mom. So I kept crying during the first part but the meeting was good and I learned lots. But after the Meeting the Assistants to the President drove us back to Beaumont to go get our truck to head home and it was a fun car ride with the Assistants. They are really cool elders! But other than that, we had a good week and it was hard because of me missing home.

I really do love the email with pictures from Spud Day. I just can't believe how much the girls and Zaebyn have grown!! I love the picture of all three of them! I do like the pictures. But I just love getting your emails and I just can't believe Melanie might be having another girl! It was cool to see the work float and the Singles Branch float. I'm glad ya'll had a great time at the parade at Spud Day! I miss Spud Day! It was cool to see all the pictures. Its good know that the family is safe. I just have that burden on me that I won’t see ya’ll again. And that just scares me so much!!! Mom this is so hard being out here but I'm doing my best. I got a letter from Sister Kruxckyi, my MTC companion and I guess she is having a really hard time. But I'm trying to not give up and to do my best to stay here. There are some days were I just love being a missionary and other days where I feel like I could go home. But I don't want that. I want this but it's so hard and it is just hurting me.

But we need to go to head to Humble now but I just can't wait to come back to Jennings Friday night and to read your letters that you will be sending. If you’re sending me something, send it to end up on Friday so I can for sure get it on Saturday. But I love you so much and I am trying my best to do the Lords work. Its super hard mom and I miss you all so much and mom it's hard. It's so hard. I wish you were here to help me everyday where I can give you hugs and to just hear the family’s voices. But I just need to trust in the Lord. But tell Sister Hall hi for me. I feel bad I haven’t had time to write. She has written me twice but it's hard to write everyone that I want to so give her my love and tell her thanks for the card and the letter. She wrote about Ether 12:27 and that really helped me that day.

So I love you and I can't wait to read things from you on Friday but please have all the family be safe so I can see them again. I love you mom and I miss you so much.

Love Sister Hawkins

Pictures from Sister Hawkins

Here are a few more pictures Emily sent home last weekend.  Enjoy ...

Some of the Sister Missionaries serving in Emily's mission

Sister Smith reached her one year mark,
Sister Hawkins ... one week in the mission field!

New little friend Emily found outside her appartment.
She said it is the size of a white-out bottle.

"Look, no mountains!  Can you find a mountain?"

One of the many beautiful sunrises she sees in Jennings every morning.

The following is the Book of Mormon reading challenge that Emily received from her Mission President that she mentioned in her September 13th email posted below. She asked me to post it on her log in case anyone else wanted to join her. Here is the schedule she was given.

Book of Mormon Reading Schedule:

August 9, 2010 to September 20, 2010
Title Page through Jacob 5

September 20, 2010 to November 1, 2010
Jacob 6 through Alma 23

November 1, 2010 to December 13, 2010
Alma 24 through Helaman 14

December 13, 2010 through January 24, 2011
Helaman 15 through Moroni 10

Things to highlight while reading is anything pertaining to:
- Revelation
- The Holy Ghost
- Prayer

Monday, September 13, 2010

Email - September 13th

September 13, 2010

Hey Mom

Boy it was so good to get an e-mail from you!!!! I love the pictures of the Kadie and Ella. They have grown up so much, it's amazing! When I get home I'm not going to recognize them! I love the picture of Zaebyn you sent me! I love it! Wade wrote me a really great letter of encouragement and I got a letter from Sister Hall. I got a cool package from Aunt Sarah! She sent yummy Hawaiian Chocolate and they all sent me post cards with messages on the back! I also got a small package from Barbara Moulton with a small hand fan and some gum! So that was really sweet of her.

This week has been so hard. It seems like every day it is harder and harder to get up and to go to work. This mission is truly a hard and very scary thing and it's amazing that the Lord helps me get through each day! We had a Sister's meeting in Humble, Texas that Sister Smith and I went to and I asked President Moldenhauer for a blessing. I talked with him and I told him I am struggling and he told me that every missionary goes through it but I feel like I am totally different because of my anxiety. He gave me a blessing saying that the Lord loves me and is very thankful that I made the sacrifice to go on a mission and that my family will be blessed with me serving the Lord and that my studies will help me and that I will have a great relationship with Sister Smith and to pray to the Lord and put my burdens on his shoulders. That is all I can remember but it was a nice blessing and he said he would keep in touch. This Wednesday night we have to travel to Humble Texas for a New Missionary Training so I will see him Thursday sometime.

But it's sad because the Moldenhauer’s mission will be over in nine months and we will be getting a new Mission President so hopefully I hit the half year marker for my mission and then I will be getting a new Mission President. This is going to be hard. But I'm trying my best and trying to get lost in the work. I really am. Time is moving so slow. That might be a blessing because of how hard I worked for this mission and the Lord really wants me to try to enjoy every minute of it. But every one I meet, I tell them time is slow and they just keep saying that it will go faster and that the first transfer is the hardest ever. But I'm really struggling. This is so hard. This mission is the hardest thing ever in my life. I thought school was hard …well I'm totally wrong. Heck when I get home I can go to collage lol. But it's truly hard tracking and to share the gospel because when you go to doors you want to say something that will make them feel the Spirit and make them want to learn more. Who knows, maybe if Dad or Wade could write a letter of how to track and how to say things to say. That would help me. I also struggle with remembering what to say in lessons and to try to remember scriptures. Over all everything is super hard for real!!!

Oh by the way I had to speak in church yesterday and I had the subject of "How to use the Book of Mormon as a Personal Guide." I thought about it all last week wondering what I was going to do and then we got the Ensign for this month and there is an article just about that by President Henry B. Eyring! I want you to read it! It is really good for real! Also in the Ensign Sister Smith found an article about having joy on our missions. It's in there, read it too. It totally made me cry and just kinda felt like it was talking to me.

Also I forgot to tell you that when we got to the mission home they gave us a new Book of Mormon that had printed on the front “The Texas Houston East Mission.” We were told to read it and mark stuff to share at meetings. There are certain things to mark. This time while reading the Book of Mormon we have to find things that relate to "Revelations, Holy Ghost and Prayer." So mom I want you and dad to do the same thing. Get a Book of Mormon and have personal study and do the same. Highlight things that pertain to Revelations, the Holy Ghost and Prayer. Also give that a challenge on my blog. Then have you and dad report to me at least every week of what you found to see if I saw the same thing. Like this morning when I was reading I read in 1 Nephi 15:8,11 and it talks about how to inquire of the Lord and to have faith to ask the Lord for things and they will be made known to us. I hope this makes sense. But by doing this, it really makes you go deeper in reading the Book of Mormon. I forgot the paper where you have to be in the Book of Mormon on a certain day but I will write ya in the letter. So I hope you and dad and the family and who ever else reads this will take that challenge to see how much it will bless your life.

But for some good news, we have two baptisms for October 2nd, but they aren’t mine. They are from Sister Smith and her last companion Sister Singleton. They are two boys 8 and 9 and they committed to be baptized so we are excited! Their mom is such an angel and I love her and we always have dinner at their house on Friday nights. I will try to get a picture with them. They are the best. They are such a nice family.

So yesterday was scary because it was raining buckets all afternoon and the thunder and lightening was so scary. The lightening would hit and just shake the pictures at a members house because in Louisiana and Texas there is absolutely no mountains whatsoever. I really miss the mountains. I always try to find some and you just can't. But we got wet yesterday. We even went tracking in sprinkling rain so I got to see how it rains down here. The weather really changes down here. One minute it is raining and the next it's not, but it's weird.

I love you mom and dad and I am trying to get lost in the work and to not worry about home. But there is not a day goes by that I don’t worry so bad that my family is going to get hurt or something and that I'm not going to see them until the after life and it's just breaks my heart. I really worry about that every day and in all my personal prayers and prayers in my heart everyday I pray that the Lord with keep you safe and protect you all. I really miss you and love you lots.

Tell everyone on the blog that I love the letters and the support I get. It truly helps! This mission is hard and I am doing my best to remember how hard I worked to get here and trying not to quit. I can't! I want this and I need this in my life and I want to have amazing stories to tell you all and to share with my family in the future. I'm struggling but I am trying. I really am. It's hard but I know the Lord is there. I just have to keep asking Him to be there and to give me comfort and peace and to help me everyday and to give me peace that my family is safe at home and that they are okay. It's so true that missions are hard and they are not a piece of cake. But the Lord is there even though it feels like He isn't but He is carrying me and all the other missionaries and keeping them safe.

Louisiana is a scary place! Everyone all the time tells us to be careful and I just hope and pray that I won't experience anything scary!! I don't know how I would be able to get through it! The Lord knows me and knows what I can handle. I just hope He doesn’t send anything that is scary ya know. Well anyways I'm going to run to write letters and to go shopping. Tell Melanie thanks for the pictures. I hope to hear from you soon. I love you!!! I love you so much!!!

Love Sister Hawkins

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Letter and pictures!

We received a letter from Emily today. She actually wrote this letter the day before she sent us the email I posted previously so a lot of the letter was talking about the same stuff so I am only going to post parts of her letter. (I am not sure when she started calling me Mama! Maybe that is a Texas thing! LOL) She also sent home a picture disk with a lot of great pictures … too many to post but I have picked out the best ones. Enjoy …

September 6, 2010

Hey Mama!

My plane ride to Texas was good but hard to breathe because of the humidity and the heat but it got better! I was starting to sweat! It was hot in Houston! But to let you know my first area is not in Texas! It’s in Louisiana! How crazy is that! So the town we basically cover is Jennings and we are the only Sister Missionaries, the rest in this area are Elders. It was a 3 hours drive to get to Jennings from Houston! The town is kind of scary looking but the worst part is our apartment! Why? Because of the humidity and the heat, we get lots of cockroaches in the kitchen and living room! For real! Melanie sent me those mouse/spider sticky traps but they don’t work on cockroaches! We have this spray but you have to drown them to kill them. And we have this white powdery stuff to try to kill them too. It doesn’t work! But luckily they are not in the bathroom or bedroom so that’s a blessing! So every time we come home we go kill them when we see them roaming around. It’s nasty! So we have to protect our food extra careful!

And the water is not so good so we have to buy gallons of water to drink! Once we went tracking and a nice lady offered water and I could tell the water was yucky. It was super hard to drink and she gave me a full glass! But I drank it with a smile!

My companion is Sister Elizabeth Jean Smith and Mama, she is so nice! She has been patient and understanding! For real! It’s a blessing to have her as a companion. Even when we go tracking I tend to freeze and I don’t hardly speak and she does most of the talking. But I’m trying not to freeze up! It’s really hard to do that but Sister Smith says it will come and that I am new and not to stress! She understands. Next week she’ll be out on her mission a year so she only has four transfers left! She heads home in February! She was telling me that her mission is a 17 ½ month mission and she figured out that mine is an 18 ½ month mission! So I’m out longer! I know when I’m coming home because I saw it on my Mission President’s fridge! It’s February 29th, 2012. How crazy is that Mama!

Do you know what? By this Saturday I will be out 1 MONTH!! Mama, it’s really happening and I know the Lord is making this possible for me! He has helped me a whole lot to overcome fears! He knows how much I want this and how much this is going to benefit me! Mama this is hard! Sister Smith says the first couple of transfers are the hardest! So please send letters and words of encouragement! I know as each day goes by I will surely need them!

Well mama I got to go. Sorry it’s a short letter. I wrote lots of people today! I know I should be emailing you tomorrow. I love ya and I truly can’t wait to hear form ya! Love ya.

Love Sister Hawkins.

Her MTC District

Sister Hawkins with her MTC companion (on her right) and roomate Sisters

Last day with her MTC companion (she left Moday morning)

Emily spent Monday with her roomate Sisters

Emily spent Tuesday with two Sisters going to Indonesia

Sister Anderson
(The sweet sister who tutored Emily in the MTC)

Margene, the wonderful lady who emailed me and kept us
updated on Emily's feet.  She also baked Emily some delicious cookies!

Sister Hawkins and Sister Bitter (both from Shelley)

How am I going to do this in a skirt?!?

First area --- Jennings, Louisiana!

Sister Hawkins and Sister Smith

What a team!

One of the MANY cockroaches!

Don't mess with Sister Hawkins!

Ready to serve the Lord!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sister Hawkins' new address!

We received an email from Emily today with her new address.

Sister Emily Mae Hawkins
804 1/2 Granger Street
Jennings, LA 70546

Emily sent a couple of emails today, one to me and one to her older sister Melanie.  I have posted mine and Melanie gave me permission to post some of hers that we thought you might enjoy reading. Thank you again for all your love and support.  The Lord is hearing and answering our prayers.  As you will read in her emails, Emily has been blessed with an awesome companion who is being very patient and understanding.  I think we all knew that this first companion in the mission field could make all the difference for Emily.  How grateful we are for Sister Smith.  Here are the emails:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hi Mom!

Well I have lots to tell you but first things first. I didn't sleep at the Mission President's home. I went straight to my area and I am in Jennings Louisiana!!! How crazy uh! I have a really nice companion and she is so nice to me. It's really a blessing to have her as my companion! My new address is

804 1/2 Granger Street
Jennings, LA 70546

So I hope to get letters soon. I will have to pick up the packages at the post office because there isn't a place to deliver packages here but that is okay! I can't wait to hear from you! Send a letter soon. It's been hard not to hear from anyone for a week but it was sure nice to have Melanie's package and your letter when I got here to Texas! I even had a letter from Sister Bolander! Listening to Melanie's tape was so helpful! I couldn't listen to it all at once, only for a bit every morning.

You are probably going to get an e-mail from a guy named Bob. I met him on the plane and he wasn't interested in the Book of Mormon or in anything about the church but he said near the end of the flight that he was always going to wonder how my mission is going for me.  I couldn't remember my blog address and so I gave him your e-mail so you can tell him my blog. He was a nice elderly man and he was just visiting Texas. So I hope that is okay.

So I am in Jennings Louisiana! Me and my new companion, Sister Smith, had to drive 3 hours to get to Jennings from the mission home so last Wednesday was a super long day!!!! For real, I'm still so tired. We didn't get to bed till almost 11 O'clock. It was super crazy Wednesday.

So I have my new bike we ordered from the bike shop here in Texas but they gave me the wrong seat so before we left for Jennings we told the mission office and they took care of it and got me a bigger bike seat. My bike looks so pretty and it's cool that I have a Texas water bottle. But my first area is not a bike area so we have a really cool truck!! No lie!! And it's a 2009 truck that is a four door. I'll have to take a picture and send it to ya!

But I'm getting use to things. It's hard to go tracking because I truly freeze at the door and just don't know what to say and I feel bad that my companion does all the talking but she is so understanding and she keeps telling me that it will come and not to stress so much about it.

I truly miss home! When we got to the apartment late Wednesday night I was truly scared but I did keep cool and just kept telling myself I am going to be okay. And even when we went shopping, because we had no food in the house, we saw people at Wal-Mart here and I really got scared and just almost cried because they looked so scary!! Mama there are some days when I just get scared and just want to freak out. Even in teaching lessons I get scared and just want to cry, but I must admit some lessons are good. Like we had one on Sunday with a lady we call Sister Young and we went to go see her. She is inactive and we went to share some scriptures with her and the Spirit was strong there and it was neat to be able to find scriptures that the Spirit wanted me to share with her. So there have been a couple of good lessons but it's hard to teach them. I know the gospel and kinda know the understanding of things but it's hard to explain it to the people because I just don't want to make a mistake!

Mom I feel so alone at times and feel so out of place and feel like I don't know anything and wonder if I can really teach them the gospel and just wonder how to get through each day. Sister Smith says the first transfers are the hardest ones and even sometimes the second transfers are too. But I guess I'll see what happens.

Well on Wednesday when I was at the mission home, I had a visit with President Moldenhauer so he could get to know me a bit and I did tell him the struggles of my life and of being scared and going through counseling and how I had to try my hardest to get on a mission. He said, “Well Sister Hawkins, let me just take the anxiety you have and we will just put it on the shelf so you can have a fantastic mission.” And when we where having our meetings on Wednesday they kept saying that this mission you’re on is a Miracle Mission! I just think it is cool how you relate to me as a miracle and how Melanie describes me in one word as a Miracle, and then to have them say that this mission is a Miracle Mission! It just blew my mind away!

Well I love you mom and my p-days are Monday so I hope to hear from you soon!!!! Love you Lots!!

Love Sister Hawkins!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hi Melanie!

So when I flew into Houston we drove to eat lunch and I really felt homesick and didn't really eat. I went to the bathroom and stood in the stall starting to cry because I just felt so alone and scared and just thinking to myself saying “What did I get myself into!” I felt really bad when my mission president's wife came in to see if I was okay because I think she could tell that I was scared and nervous because I really didn't eat anything. But then we drove to the mission home and we had meetings and pictures taken and I got a chance to meet with President Moldenhauer and I told him how I was scared as a kid and how I went through a lot to get on this mission. He was nice and caring and just said that we will take my anxiety and put it on the self so I can have a fantastic mission!

But after all the meetings we went to the mission office to pick up mail, which was yours and moms and Rachels and Sister Bolanders, and to also meet our new companion. My new companion is Sister Elizabeth Jean Smith and she is truly an angel. She has helped me so much and has been patient with me and told me things will be okay and that the first transfer is the hardest ever and the second is sometimes too but after that she said my mission is just going to fly by. I can tell you that this is so hard and that I feel so inadequate to do these things. So these next two transfers are going to be the hardest ever I think!

So I met Sister Smith and she showed me a big map of our mission. She pointed to where we were at the Mission Home and then drug her finger clear to JENNINGS LOUISIANA!!! So I'm not in Texas.  We had a 3 hour drive ahead of us so we had to hurry and leave with our sack dinners and head out the door! The drive was long but it was good to get to know each other. She is from Utah and she has been on her mission for a year this coming Thursday! So she only has like 4 transfers left! And I got lots left, but she is so nice and caring and really is upbeat and is trying to help me in lots of ways! I'm so grateful my prayers have been answered to have such a wonderful companion as Sister Smith!

Well flying into Houston was hard because all of a sudden it was hot and humid!! For reals! It was hard to breath coming in! I felt like I was going to die of not being able to breath but it got better. Sister Smith says the hot, hot, hot summer is over. She tells me I'm going to have lots of fun next summer! But it's not too bad right now but it is still hot for sure! When we go tracking we carry water and the water here is not good to drink out of the tap so we have to buy big gallons of water to put in our fridge. Once we were tracking and we met this nice elderly lady and she gave us water and I could tell it wasn't filtered. She gave me a full glass and it was not yummy at all. It was hard to drink the full glass of water. But I am feeling fine and hopefully I don't get anything from drinking nasty water!

In our apartment we have air conditioning but we have to keep it at 80 degrees when were gone during the day and when we are home we have to keep it at 75 degrees so we do kinda keep cool. We don't have any fans in our apartment so I am going to look for a mini fan because for some reason I just can't sleep at night at all. I keep waking up and tossing and turning all night. It's super quite and every time I either move or my companion moves I wake up, so for most of the days I am so tired because I didn't get a good night sleep! So maybe the noise of a fan will work!

But thanks for all the advice on the tape it was so much fun listening to you and the girls. It is truly hard to be away from home, no wonder the first two transfers are so hard because you're not use to living this life style but I hope and pray things will get better.

Well my time is up because yesterday we had p-day but it was Labor Day so the library was closed so we had to come today and we just don't have lots of time, but I love you and I hope to hear from you soon! Give the girls a hug and tell them Lou will be sending a tape next week.

Love Sister Hawkins!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sister Hawkins First Area!

Well Sister Hawkins was not in Texas long … she is now in Louisiana which is part of the Texas Houston East Mission. We received an email and two darling pictures from her Mission President today. After enlarging the one picture of Emily with her new trainer I can tell you her new companions name is Sister Smith and that they are serving somewhere by Jennings, Louisiana. Hopefully we will get an address from Emily within the next couple of days. Below is the email and pictures we received:

Dear Parents,

Your Missionary has arrived safely to T.H.E. Mission! They were treated to a Texas BBQ and we enjoyed a great afternoon together. Wednesday evening they met their new companion and arrived safely in their new areas. They are now out diligently searching for our Heavenly Father's children and doing the work of the Lord. Thank you for sending your daughters and sons to us, they have added great strength to our small army here in the Texas Houston East Mission. We love them and are so grateful to have them with us. You will find attached a picture of the newly arrived missionaries at the mission home and a picture with their trainer. We are delighted that your Missionary is here and look forward to working with them.

President and Sister Moldenhauer

Sister Hawkins with President and Sister Moldenhauer

Sister Hawkins with her trainer, Sister Smith

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sister Hawkins is in TEXAS!!

Well she did it, Emily is in Texas! I had a good cry this morning after I hung up the phone but I am good now. It was the same kind of cry after dropping her off at the MTC. It really wasn't about how much I am going to miss her but rather all about how proud I am of her and how grateful I am to be a part of this miracle in her life.

We actually talked for a little over an hour. She called me from the Salt Lake Airport from a pay phone and I called her back on my cell and it was about 7:05 a.m. She said she was all checked in and they were near the gate where they had to board and all the missionaries were told they could talk until 8:15 a.m. She said the missionaries were all lined up on the payphones talking to their families. It was a really good talk. It got emotional at times but I tried really hard to keep it up beat and asked her lots of questions about the MTC and about all the letters and packages she had received. She is so grateful for all the letters and I can't stress enough how much they mean to her and how they have been keeping her going. She mentioned more then once how she would get a certain letter on a really hard day and it would say just what she needed to hear and it would help her push on.

She talked to her dad for about five minutes. When I handed him the phone, I told him to keep it up beat ... well, as soon as he got on the phone he started to cry so they were both crying. He loves his daughter and is so proud of her and it is really hard not to get emotional when you know just how hard this is for her. But it was okay, he pulled himself together and told her she would be fine and told her to stay close to her Mission President and his wife and that they would be her parents while she was away from home.

I won't lie to you, Emily is scared to death and still doubting if she can do this but I was able to explain to her that she is having the same doubts and feelings that so many of the other new missionaries are having. I think she was pretty good by the time we had to say goodbye. Of course saying goodbye was really hard for her. I held it together and told her how proud I was of her, how much I loved her and how excited I was for her.  Then after I hung up the phone I went in my room and knelt down by my bed and thanked my Father in Heaven for answering all our prayers and then I had a really good cry.

It was probably a good thing that we talked as long as we did just because by the time we were done, it was time for Emily to start boarding the plane and so it had kept her busy. She did end up flying with one other Sister Missionary who will be speaking Spanish in the Houston East Mission. I think Emily was relieved to have another Sister to fly with along with the eight Elders.

She had a direct flight and landed in Houston just before 1:00 p.m. her time which is noon our time. I am not sure if I will get any more calls from her or the mission home today. I know when Wade went, his Mission President called us that night. I will post something if I hear anymore.

Emily said she would email me or send me her new address as soon as possible and I am sure she will as she loves getting mail.

Thank you again for all your love and support and especially for your prayers. She feels your love and receives such strength from knowing how much support she has back home. Love you all,

Julie (Sister Hawkins Mom)