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!