Monday, March 28, 2011

Same area --- new companion!

Medical Update: Emily's ultrasound showed that her gallbladder is producing gallstones.  She and Sister Moldenhauer will be going to see a specialist this week where they will discuss possibly removing Emily's gallbladder.  Thank you for your continued prayers on her behalf.  If I get an actual surgery date, I will post it on her blog.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hey Mom,

Oh my gosh!!! I just love all the wonderful pictures that you emailed to me of the family and Rylee's baby blessing. You really need to send me copies so I can have them to show my companions and to show other people plus to just have them to remember everyone by! It's so crazy of how much my wonderful family has changed!!! It's so crazy, everyone is all grown up and mom you really look so great! I haven't seen a picture of you in a long time and when I saw you and the girls and dad my heart just broke because you look so beautiful! I just love you so much. I really love the picture with you holding Rylee and it's so crazy of how Rylee has grown so much! I bet all of you had so much fun! I am super glad the car performed so well for ya'll! See I told ya the car would be great! Why … it's because I took really good care of it and now Rachel and Jackson take really good care of it. Since you sent me pictures of most of the family, see if Wade can send me a photo update of his family but not through e-mail because I would like to have an actual copy of it.

Well transfers came and I stayed and poor Sister Singleton left and it was just so sad. It's hard not having her with me but you would never guess what companion I have!!! You are just gonna laugh so hard, it's so cool! Her name is Sister Alohanui Kinikini … yeah just like Kaylee's last name. She might be related to her and she is Tongan and she is from Utah. I can't remember what part of Utah but she is so cool and she is so excited to be here in La Porte with me! I just can't believe I have a companion with the same name as a best friend of mine! It’s funny because Kaylee and I talked about this before I left on my mission saying that I might have a companion with the same last name. So I am going to write Kaylee today and tell her about it!!! Isn't that the craziest thing ever! And ever since I picked her up we have been just having a really good time just talking and laughing and me just telling her about the area and also about my stomach pains, which is hurting right now but hey what can ya do? I told her that I might be having surgery soon and she is just so supportive and is like, “Okay, we will do whatever we have to do to get you better!” So she is really cool! I think we are going to have lots of fun together! I’m also excited because the Elders didn't get changed so we still have Elder Walker and Elder Hunt. Elder Walker is our District leader again. He was released last transfer but he was called again last night to be our District leader. So it's cool to be with my cool Elders that I just have grown to love so much. They are just so caring and just wonderful and just so AWESOME!!!! They truly are the best.

So mom I am going to tell you an experience that happened on Friday during district meeting but I need to start at the beginning of the story which was on Wednesday. So this past Wednesday night I was staying up to finish Elder Hunt’s planner because we decorate our planners as missionaries which is super fun and it was my turn to decorate Elder Hunt’s planner. I took a long time with his planner because I wanted it to be really nice. Well Thursday night I was tired (because I had been up late Wednesday) and was having stomach pains again. While looking at Elder Hunt’s planner, I realized that some of his planner was kind of “girly” and even Sister Singleton thought so. So then I was going to fix it but then Sister Singleton and I got upset with each other because we are supposed to be in bed at a certain time but I wanted to fix the planner. Sister Singleton went to bed upset with me because I was being stubborn and wouldn't go to bed because I didn't want Elder Hunt to have a girly planner that isn’t cool for an Elder ya know. But after she went to bed mad I couldn't fix the planner so I just sat at my desk and then I started to feel bad and just overwhelmed with everything that was going on in my life. I was thinking about Roger being so sick, I worried about Buddy and I was just being homesick and just really missing family. I was thinking about how I just feel like I don’t fit in too well in La Porte with the Elders and Sister Singleton because it's like when we are all together sometimes it feels like I am the 3rd person ya know, like I just have to be there and no one understands. And boy mom I was just crying and I was just praying to the Lord so hard telling Him that I just can't do this anymore, I can't be a missionary, I'm not happy, I feel so alone and I just can't go on. I just told Him that I don't want to have pain anymore and that I am nervous and scared for the surgery and that I just don't want to do this anymore. I told Him that I can't do this work that He wants me to do and I was crying for a long time. I finally went to bed because Sister Singleton was asleep by then and I was tired. The next morning my eyes hurt and were swelled up! I ran hard core trying to get my anger and upset out. Then I checked our mail and I got the letter from you telling me about Roger and how he might be returning home to his Father in Heaven soon and then a letter from Rachel telling me that Buddy isn’t doing too well. So then I was just so sad and knowing I was so far away from home and that I just can't do anything about it!!!

Well that morning was district meetings so when we went to pick up the Elders I was wearing my sunglasses because of all the crying I had been doing. I pulled myself together and told Sister Singleton I was sorry for being such a pain and she said she was sorry too. By the time we got to the District meeting everyone saw me without my sunglasses and asked if I was okay. And I lied and said ya, and Elder Hunt being the sweet person that he is says, “Sister Hawkins, do you need a blessing?” I told him. “No, I'm okay.” But inside I was thinking to myself I really wanted one but I just feel like I ask for blessings too much. So during District meeting I was kinda down and stayed to myself and throughout some of the meeting I would cry at some things and Elders would look at me and I was like, “I'm okay, no worries.” Well here comes the Tender Mercy from the Lord … so my old District leader Elder Fife asked me to close the meeting in prayer. I was teary eyed from the song and the lyrics I had been reading but I told him sure. So we knelt down in prayer and I gave a prayer of thanks to our Heavenly Father and talked about the Atonement and the Spirit was strong. After the prayer we all got up and as I was packing my stuff I looked up and Elder Walker was looking at me and he signed to me asking if I wanted a blessing and I just knew I couldn't go on any longer and the Spirit told me to say yes, and so I signed back to Elder Walker and said yes, and please. He signed back and asked me if I wanted one right now and I just said yes in sign language. Elder Walker then asked the Elders if they could give me a blessing and Elder Hunt said he had been thinking the same thing too!! How crazy is that. So Elder Fife anointed and I was just crying the whole time. I asked Elder Walker to give the blessing! And mom, the Spirit was just so strong and amazing when Elders Walker, Hunt, Fife and Johnson came around me and put their hands on my head and Elder Walker gave a beautiful blessing!!!!! He said in the blessing that the Lord is proud of me and that through these tough times I am going through that it will be okay and he blessed me with comfort and peace at this time. And Mom when Elder Walker said those words I just felt at peace and comforted. I was also told to search the scriptures more and to let them help me find that comfort and peace through this difficult time and to also use the scriptures to help me to prepare for surgery! And he even said that all of them, which meant everyone in the room, was very pleased with me and the work I am doing for the Lord and I was feeling loved!!!! Mom this blessing was so powerful! When it was over I was just crying and felt loved and so peaceful and I just knew that everything that I am going through and the trial that I am having, well it's going to be okay! I thanked the Elders and it was cute because Elder Walker was like, “I wish I could hug you,” and so did Elder Hunt! LOL, cute huh! Well Sister Singleton came up and gave me a BIG HUG!!!

(As Emily’s Mom, I am so grateful for the comfort and peace she was given. I know it will get her through this next week, not only with her possible upcoming surgery but also when she receives the news that her dear friend Roger Waters has passed away. I called Sister Moldenhauer this morning and asked her to personally let Emily know that Roger had lost his valiant fight with cancer. Roger is a very dear friend of Emily’s and our family and we are all better people for having known him. We all gain great comfort knowing we will see him again. Emily truly loved Roger and this will be really hard for her but I know she has a testimony of the Plan of Salvation and she knows Roger is in a better place and now pain free. How blessed we all are to have that knowledge and peace!)

So mom the reason I am sharing this story with you is because I want to testify to you and to anyone that is reading my blog, that I have a strong, very strong, testimony of the Power of the Priesthood that has been restored upon this earth and it's amazing to have the Priesthood keys upon the earth to heal people and to give them guidance and to especially give them comfort and love. I just know that the experience that I had this last Friday was powerful and so real!! Even with Missionaries who are so close and very much in tuned with the Spirit!! I just testify that these things are so true. I hope I didn't make you too upset by telling you this story of me having a hard time with my pain and missionary work and just feeling alone and sad for all the things in my life. And mom it was a very, very humbling experience to know for myself that God does hear and answer prayers. There have been times I have doubted but I just know that He is always going to be there. So please don't be scared now to write things in letters because it's going to be okay. I am learning and growing each day mom, stronger and stronger in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my Savior is just going to help me carry the burdens that I am going to have as a missionary and things will be okay. Even though there might be times when I write and I am sad, but in the end, I have the Lord on my side! So don't worry mom I am being watched over and I'm going to be okay, even when times get scary!!!!

Well yesterday was Ward Conference and I learned something that is so valuable and just so cool that I would love to share with you! K! :) Bishop Turner spoke and he talked about his mission and how he just loved all the letters that he received from home and how they made him feel so loved by the people who sent them. Then he talked about the letters that he has received from his Heavenly Father and he said that these letters were the scriptures … the scriptures are letters from our Heavenly Father. When you read the scriptures you can totally feel the love that our wonderful Heavenly Father has for us with the words in the amazing scriptures that are here for us today. I had just never thought of that before. Isn’t that just the coolest thing? So now when I read my scriptures I just think of it differently. Now when I want to hear from my Heavenly Father I really just need to open my scriptures and He is just going to talk to me through them. And it's so true. It's like the quote Melanie gave me a long time ago, "If you want to talk to God … pray, If you want God to talk to you … read your scriptures." Isn't that the coolest thing that we have the scriptures today to receive that revelation for ourselves through reading the scriptures! It's so crazy, I got to Helaman yesterday and I am almost done with the Book of Mormon!! How cool and exciting is that? I will have read the Book of Mormon twice in like 7 months! What a wonderful blessing that is to me to have the time to read the wonderful comforting words that my Heavenly Father wants me to read to help better myself and to become like Him!!

I love the work that I am doing! Is it tough … you better believe it is tough, but it's so worth it. Well we did exchanges this week and I got to be with a Sister Bouwhuis and she is cool, all about the work most of the time, which is good. Sister Singleton and I scheduled an appointment with a guy named Alfredo, yea just like the noodle!! We didn't know if he was married or not so I was trying to find a member to come with us to go in the house but was unable to. The Elders didn't have any set appointment so they said they would come with us. Then earlier that but we all ended up going. When we got to Alfredo's house he was kinda shocked at first to see four people so I explained things to him and he was okay with it and he understood. We had to teach him in the garage because his wife, (p.s. we found out that he was married) didn't want anything to do with us. We taught a first lesson and it was so cool to see how the Elders teach. Yeah they have been with us before to members homes but never to an investigators house where we teach lessons. But the lesson was so cool and it was neat to teach with the Elders. Elder Walker helped me a lot in teaching because it's still hard for me to teach and he would kinda give me a look and a head nod so I knew that it was my turn. It was really nice. But then it was interesting because Elder Hunt was going to read Moroni 10:3-5 but then Elder Walker blurted out to have me read it and mom, I have never read scriptures with such power and to have the Spirit be so strong while reading, I was crying. But the cool thing was that I remembered to not say sorry for crying because like I told you last week we were taught to not say sorry for crying because you are saying sorry for having the spirit there to testify. Well I didn't say sorry and it was so cool because Alfredo could feel the spirit and he totally liked the scripture! And mom that night it was not me teaching, it was the Spirit. It was the weirdest but the coolest thing ever. It was like I was a total different person! It was awesome. Well we committed him to baptism twice but he said no and told us he needed to read and pray. We told him we wouldn’t baptize him until he is ready but that we like to set goals to work towards something but he still said no. We were going to leave a Book of Mormon with him but we didn't have a Spanish Book of Mormon in our car and he can understand better in Spanish then English. So Sister Singleton and I dropped by yesterday to give him a book and he said he couldn’t accept it because of his wife and it's sad. I told him it's a gift from us to him but he said he can't have the book if he can't come and try our church. So Alfredo is not reading The Book of Mormon but we are not going to give up on him. We are going to still drop by and talk with him and we are going to pray for him to have his wife have a soften heart so he can read and also come see our church. People have their free agency and it's a gift from God and we can't make people do anything but I'm not going to give up. Did it hurt with him saying no, yes it did, but we just have to love him and be patient and work with the Lord on this, and things will work out!!!

Well hopefully Lauro will be getting baptized this weekend on Friday if Sister Kinikini and I get all the lessons taught to him. If not we will wait one more week. But no worry, it's the Lord’s work and things will be great! Lauro is so excited to be baptized and it's been so great to work with him! It's going to be so cool to see him baptized!! I just can't wait! :) And what also I can't wait for is GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!! It's going to be so good, but it's sad I won't be able to see ya'll on TV again!! LOL!! But hey at least I know you will be watching it the same time as me so it's all good!!! Please do your best to watch all four sessions and Dad, make sure you can go to the priesthood session. It's important to hear the words that the Prophet wants us to hear! That's why we have it twice a year to get that guidance the Lord wants to give to us! :) So take notes and it's going to be great, and then write to me what ya'll have learned okay.

Well this is a really long letter and I have to go write President and maybe a couple other people but I will try to send a picture of my new companion okay!! Well I love you and let me know how Roger and Danee and Buddy are doing!! You’re the best ever and I love you lots. And no worries, the Lord is watching over me and I will for sure let you know about the Doctors and I know it's going to be okay!!! Love ya'll!!

Love Sister Hawkins!!!

Sister Hawkins - hard at work!

We sit outside the Elders' apartment every
Sunday afternoon for lunch --- it's super fun!

Elder Walker and Elder Hunt
Best Elders ever!

Houston Temple -- March 22, 2011

Sister Bouwhuis and Sister Hawkins on exchanges

Missionaries with Jay and Amy Prigmore

Sister Hawkins and Jay Prigmore at his 50th Birthday Party
(They had an "05" birthday party  --- no over the hill stuff)
They were getting ready to "Pin the Mustache" on an old army picture of Jay

Mitchell family with Sister Singleton and Sister Hawkins
(The daughter will soon be heading to BYU-Idaho)

District picture before transfers
(Aren't we cute and handsome!)

I got to ride in this sweet car!! Really fast ... like 110 mph ssshhh lol
We loved it and hey we are still alive!! Love you Mom!

Sister Singleton, Sister Hawkins and member Monica
(We all love Twilight!)

My new companion, Sister Kinikini
(Another chapter begins!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

A great week but in need of some extra prayers!

A wonderful long letter from Emily today. She really is growing so much. It is great to read these fun letters. As you know Emily has been struggling with stomach pains. I received a call from Sister Moldenhauer this past Friday and they have scheduled Emily for an ultrasound on Wednesday. They are suspecting gall stones and if the ultrasound confirms it, they will need to remove her gallbladder. When I asked Sister Moldenhauer how Emily was handling it all, she told me she was doing remarkably well. She said they have seen such a huge growth in Emily and that she has come so far. They are so proud of her and just really love watching her grow and progress. She did say Emily expressed concern about having to have surgery without her mother there but when Sister Moldenhauer explained that she would be with her and that they would bring her back to the mission home to recover, Emily seemed to be comforted. As soon as I hear if she is going to require surgery, I will post the information. Please continue to remember her in your prayers. You are all so important to Emily and she knows and feels of your love and support.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hey Mom,

Wow it feels like I haven't written to you in a long time but it was just seven days ago; pretty silly uh. P-day last week was super fun! We had two zones meet at North Shore and we played basketball, which was fun except the Elders won’t pass to the Sisters! Then I played Ultimate Frisbee and it was so much fun running around and throwing the Frisbee! I loved running, it felt so good! I miss running! I can’t wait to run 5K’s and marathons when I get home. It’s sad in the mornings because I am too tired to run and that is because I don’t sleep well at night. It’s hard to fall asleep; I sometimes lie in bed and think about all the stuff that I need to get done or worry about how the next day will be. But no worries, I do eventually fall asleep and I am doing well. After Frisbee we came inside and played Ultimate Dodge ball. Boy that was so much fun! That evening we had dinner at the Prigmores and had lots of fun with them. Love the Prigmores!

I saw the doctor last Tuesday and she thinks I have gall stones. So this Wednesday, the 23rd, I am going to have an ultrasound and if I do have stones then I am going to have to have surgery. I'm glad that you got to talk to Sister Moldenhauer a bit about this last Friday. That brings comfort to me. That is so nice that she said so many good things about me; that's really sweet of her. Yes I am nervous to have surgery but like you said in the e-mail you sent me this morning, I will be okay because I have the Lord on my side and I have so many wonderful people praying for me. That was really sweet to have the Relief Society and Young Women praying for me. That truly brings me lots of comfort! I sure have been thinking about the Shelley 8th Ward and my Young Single Adult Branch lately. Boy how I miss everybody. It sure feels like I have been away for a long time. I can still imagine the hall ways and all the wonderful people I would say Hi to every Sunday. It’s sad that people have moved away but its super great to get new people in the ward. When new people move in they bring their own special spirit and it can strengthen the ward even more. It is wonderful to have them share their testimonies and to have our testimonies grow even more!

Well I loved the pictures you sent to me with my email this morning. That hooded towel you made Rylee is so cute and the pictures of the notebooks for Kadie and Ella are cute too. The girls are just gonna love them! You’re the best Grandma ever! I can't wait to have a family of my own so you can spoil my kids and you can babysit a lot for me too. LOL. But don't worry, that's not gonna happen for a while LOL. So it's kinda crazy how long I have been out and that my “Hump Day” is coming pretty quick. Oh Mom, I loved the package for St. Patrick's Day and I just love the sign language book! That made my day! I was so excited for it. I use it all the time looking up words and trying to remember them. I also try to practice signing with Elder Walker even though he is way better than me at signing. Oh and Sister Singleton just freaked out when she saw her “Green Eggs and Ham” book! All my companions I have had just love the book! Even Elder Hunt and Elder Walker like it too! LOL That book is just famous. So mom, since you are just so awesome, maybe you can make a book for every companion I have during my mission and that can be a gift from me and you eh? What do you think? Just let me know eh?

In District Meeting I learned some new things that I have never thought of before and are going to take lots of practice to get use to. I learned that when you are teaching a lesson, giving a talk in church, or making a comment of any kind that is spiritual and you pause and then you say sorry for crying, well my District Leader Elder Fife, told us that President Moldenhauer encourages us not to say sorry, because basically we are saying sorry for inviting the spirit into the room to testify to what you are saying. Ya, so that was a cool thing to learn because I never have thought about that before. So mom, with the amazing lessons you teach to the Young Women or whenever you talk in church, don’t say sorry for crying because you are bringing the Spirit in to testify to the people the things that you are saying are true and it can totally build their testimonies stronger!

Well do you remember that guy I told you about last week, Lauro? Well he was catholic and he told us that he wants to be baptized. How cool is that! He is just the nicest man and he is like 75 years old and he is just so excited to join the church. He loves to come to church because everyone is so kind and very welcoming. He loves the classes because you learn so much and everyone is so involved. It was funny yesterday because in Priesthood he learned about the Word of Wisdom and that is what Sister Singleton and I were going to teach him this week. Well Lauro didn't say anything after class but he was excited to meet with us this next week and we are going to talk to him more about the Word of Wisdom because he drinks coffee. But he really wants to join the church and when someone really feels that way then they will basically quit their old habits. Last Saturday was really neat because Lauro got to attend a baptism. Brother Taylor’s son turned 8 and was baptized. (Brother Taylor is the one who took us to the kick boxing gym.) It was a really good experience for Lauro to see the baptism and also to hear the beautiful musical number that Sister Singleton played on her violin and that the Elders sang. I didn't join in because I wanted just them to do it. I know I can't carry a tune very well and I wanted it to be pretty. They sang “When I am Baptized.” It's that song that talks about the rainbow and it was very beautiful! Lauro is going to get baptized on the first of April so we are so excited for him.

Well I got to see my awesome friend Ken this past week! He is so helping me to learn and grow. If it wasn't for him being here and counseling me then things would be twenty times harder to get through. We had a good talk. I talked to him a little about Roger and how hard it's been for me knowing he isn’t doing Chemo anymore and how it is now in the Lord’s hands. This is so hard, I'm not going to lie, this isn’t easy for me. But I know I need to learn and grow, especial from things that become hard for me to understand and to bear. Probably that is why I have been seeing so many funerals and gaining a testimony little by little and knowing that I will see them again. It's probably to prepare me for Roger which just stinks!! I really wish there could be a way to say good bye or to talk to him but I'm on a mission. I am serving the Lord right now and some things in life I just can't have and it' s hard. But I'm trying my best to put it in the Lord's hand and to rely on Him and to have faith that things will be okay. But please do give Roger a hug and tell him hi for me and that I do miss and love him lots. I sent a Battleship Texas picture to him and I sure hope that he gets it and that it brightens his day.

But back to Ken, we also talked about how teaching is such a struggle for me. Oh, I got this cool letter from Sister Wilson telling me about her mission and she sent me some talks that she had done while on her mission. I haven't read the talks yet but it's on my plan for studies this week and I am super excited to read and study them. Well the next thing Ken wants me to do to help me with my teaching is to be straight forward with the people and to tell them that I am scared to teach and get super nervous. He wants me to tell them why and to tell them I get nervous and I struggle to find the right words and struggle teaching the gospel principles because I know how important they are and that I want the people I am teaching to truly understand what I am teaching. He wants me to tell them that it is so important to me that they truly understand what I am trying to teach and because it is so important to me, I get nervous and scared. I hope that makes sense. But he wants me to be straight forward with people and to just be honest and he wants me to do this five times before we meet again. So we will see how the next couple weeks go of me being honest with people and telling them that I am scared and nervous and that it is because I care. Ken thinks this will be a big help for me when teaching and it will also help me be calmer. Ken wishes more people would be honest with themselves and not try to pretend that they just know it all and can do it without the Lord.

Oh and get this mom. I keep telling Ken that I just don't want to be a trainer because training is a big thing and it would be scary to teach a new missionary the ropes. But he thinks that I will be training because I have a kind heart and a love for people and that is what a trainer needs to have. He told me that if I do what he wants me to do in telling people the truth, that it will make me such a better trainer and that I will be able to be honest and caring. So mom we are going to see what's going to happen because in two transfers when Sister Singleton leaves in June we are getting lots of new Sister Missionaries. It is going to be interesting! For real! But it was a really good visit with Ken. He is super cool! Hopefully you can meet Ken one day; maybe you and dad can when we come back to see my mission! Cool Uh!

Well guess what Mom, transfer phone calls are on Saturday and I think that Sister Singleton will be leaving me and its super sad because we have fun together and it's just been good and she has just helped me out so much! It’s going to be super hard if she goes because then some stress comes for me having to know the area and the people to go teach. Man sometimes you just got to love being a missionary! Just lots of stress and work to do! But do ya know it's great. I was thinking today as I was driving up to the college library that this mission kinda feels like college life. Now just hear me out on this. On my mission I meet lots of cool people that we teach and also lots of awesome missionaries that are going to be lifelong friends and we are together for a while but then comes the time to go home and graduate from all the things that we have done. It's like I am in college learning so much about the Gospel and learning about the Doctrine of Christ and learning how to apply things to my life so it can always help me as I go through the challenges that I go through. And when my mission is over I graduate accomplishing the things that I needed to do for the Lord and to come out changed and to be more like my Savior Jesus Christ. Now how cool is that? I just thought of that cool idea this morning. But it's fun being with the missionaries and our investigators of the church and also members because we have lots of fun times but we do have some low times which can be hard and so challenging that sometimes we just don't know how to get through them. But that is what is cool; we learn on missions to really rely on the Lord and not anybody else and to learn to have faith in yourself and that things are just going to be okay! Isn't that just so cool! I hope you like that.

Well mom, writing this letter seems kinda weird because I am just writing the things of my heart. Just thinking about the things that I have written to you, I am so different, Holy Texas! LOL! Mom it's cool to see me change even though there are some days that I don't see me changed. But it's great all the things I am learning as a missionary that I probably never would have ever learned if I didn’t' serve a mission. Just thinking about me now serving a mission … it's just WOW!!! Just so awesome. Wow mom, I'm doing this! But I'm for sure not doing this mission by myself! I am for sure doing this wonderful work for the Lord! He has carried me so far and He is going to continue to carry me and also to let me fall a little to let me learn things to help me learn and grow! WOW!!! I'm just so surprised at myself mom and I bet the whole family is because everyone back home knows the real me; the really scared little girl that went through so much growing up and had to climb mountains that were just so steep! But now look at me; I am climbing by myself with the Lord and do you know what, it's a miracle. I'm so blessed to be in the Texas Houston East Mission because that is all we talk about is miracles and we hear lots of miracle stories of how we find those lost sheep and we teach them and we help them come back to the Lord's fold. It's just amazing all the things I am learning, all the things I am experiencing, and all the cool places I get to see as a missionary. I really super encourage anyone to go on a mission. Just go and watch yourself change! It's so cool! Mom I just can't wait for that day to come home and to have you see me changed; not on the outside but for sure on the inside! You’re going to be like Holy Texas! LOL, where is Emily!

Mom, thanks for the support. Thanks for not giving up on me and for always helping me and telling me that I can do it. Mom, you are just an amazing mom and you are just making my mission the best with all the awesome packages and the wonderful letters of support and for doing the blog for people to read and see me change and keep updated on me. It's a blessing to have you in my life and for you to be my mom. And I am for sure grateful to dad for teaching me the small things that matter in life like how to manage money and to be a tough worker and to keep working when you don't want to work anymore. And the most important thing that you and dad have taught me is to serve. You taught me to serve with all that I have and to give more than 100%. Do service and just love doing it! So mom and dad thank you for being my parents and for raising me in the church and for never giving up on the little scared Emily! I love you both so much! And also thank you to all the wonderful people back in Shelley and to my extended family in Canada and the US. I couldn't even get through some of the weeks I have gone through without all the wonderful letters or packages that I get from so many awesome people. Thanks ya'll. I love you so much!!! Ya'll are the super best!

Well mom you’re probably crying right now just so amazed that you don't know me anymore and to just see how much I am growing. But hey that's what I do … I make ya cry because I love ya! :)

Well its official; I have sadly, very sadly, gained all the weight back I had lost before my mission and it totally stinks. It really stinks! : ( But hey, I wouldn't change it for the world for all the things I am learning and how I am changing. But you and dad can for sure give me a wonderful present when I come home by making sure the Anytime Fitness account that I froze is turned on so the day after I get home I can start back up in the gym and get my life back together. I don't want to be this way and I want to be healthy. I learned from Church on Sunday about the Word of Wisdom and to keep our bodies healthy and full of energy so that we will be able to do anything. Well as a missionary you can't go to a gym for two hours and you really can't control what you eat. But you have to make that sacrifice to go and do the Lord’s work. I'm trying to accept that I have gained all my weight back and it for sure is not easy but I'm trying my best to eat slow and not have seconds and for sure to drink lots of water! Especially now, it's getting hot and it bites having long hair in this weather because basically it's up in a pony tail every day, but I'm for sure not cutting my hair for right now, I don't think. But it is for sure getting long! :) I'm kinda getting the length of Melanie and of Rachel which is pretty cool! :)

Well mom I want to tell you a quick story before ending my letter because I have to write President but I have to wait for Sister Singleton to do it first because she is senior companion. So this last week the Relief Society had a birthday party celebrating Relief Society and there is a wonderful lady in the ward and her name is Sister Gale and she shared a really cool story that I would love to share:

There was this lady and she had a family so every day she would go get water for her family. She used two big pots and she would put a stick across her shoulders and put one pot on each side of her and walk down to the water, fill the pots and come back. One of the pots was very nice and pretty and in good condition and the other pot had a big crack that went all the way from the top to the bottom of the pot. Well everyday she would use these two pots to fetch water for her family. The old cracked pot always wondered why the old lady kept using such an old pot instead of a nice new one. So one day the cracked pot asked the lady why she uses such an old pot. The pot told her it was useless and not worth anything to the lady anymore. The lady said to the cracked pot, “You mean a whole lot to me. You have done so much good for me! Have you ever noticed the side of the path we walk back home on every day?” And the cracked pot said, “No.” She went on to say, “You have made my flowers that I planted grow so pretty and on the other side of the path there is nothing.” And so the pot realized its worth.

Sister Gale shared that story with us and told it a whole lot better than I did but I really loved that story and I hope to get a copy of it. But, she referred it back to home teaching and Relief Society and how we all need to do our part and share our water/testimonies to the less active and to go out and do service and do our best for the Lord. I hope that story made sense but it's so true, we as members of the church need to do go visiting teaching and home teaching and to share our testimonies of the gospel and to be friends to those people who need our water!

Well mom it's time for me to write President Moldenhauer because the Elders and Sister Singleton are almost done with e-mailing. I hope you enjoy my letter and also have a lot of fun this week with Melanie and her family. Please take pictures and send me copies. And please be safe and I know Jackon’s car will do fine! It's the best car ever! Why … because for one, it was mine before my mission and for two, you have a daughter who is on a mission! Lol, plus I know the Lord will be watching over ya'll.

Well I can't wait to go to the temple tomorrow. I hope I have a little money for the bookstore and also I am going to be spending extra money today making cd's for me and for my last companion because she didn't have a camera and so I am making a copy of pictures of us to send to here because in 7 weeks she is going to be going home. I hope that is okay. Oh and also pictures for my journal.

I love you so much and thanks for everything. I can't wait to hear about the trip. Have fun and love ya lots! The Lord is watching over me. He really is! I’m grateful to Him for all He does for me.

Love Sister Hawkins!!!

P.S. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints it TRUE!!!! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Email - March 14, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dear Mom,

Well Howdy there! LOL I just wanted to write "Howdy" trying to act silly and to have fun! LOL. Silly me! Well lots of things have been going on and I really don’t have a lot of time to write. Unfortunately we have only 30 minutes on the computer today as we are at a different library because the college library we usually go to is closed for spring break, but hey, at least I can have a little time to write to my family.

So first off, Church was really good yesterday for two reasons. First was because President Moldenhauer came to our ward and surprised us. He even talked in church because the other person from the stake didn’t show up. It was really cool to be able to hear President Moldenhauer's testimony of the Gospel and of how important it is to go to church. I have come to realize why church is so important! It's truly important to go to church every week and to renew our baptismal covenants that we made when we were baptized. We promised our Heavenly Father that we will do our best to follow Him and to keep His commandments and to endure to the end and to also remember that wonderful sacrifice that He did for us so we can repent of our sins. It is also neat to listen to the prayer when they bless the bread and the water; lots of meanings to those words. Sometime during the Sacrament you should read those prayers in the scriptures and think about what you are doing every Sunday when you partake of the bread and water. It's really cool to realize the wonderful thing you are doing by partaking of the bread and water.

The second thing that was really great about church yesterday happened in Relief Society. The R.S. President had her parents in town visiting and they talked about their mission and they even had a book to show us. It was their blog book. They had a blog like me and someone told them that they really had a good blog from their mission and that they should make it into a book. And so the Relief Society President’s dad looked online and found a place that does that. Their book is really cool it has all their entries that they wrote down and the pictures that go along with it. It's really neat! So maybe after my mission we can look online and see if we can find a place to make my blog into a book so I can have all my letters I ever wrote home in a book with all the pictures. That would be pretty cool. Just think about it k! (Emily does not know, but I have already started making her Blog into a book!)

So the next thing on my list to write to you about is the crazy stuff that is happening in the world. What's going on in Japan and with Hawaii and California with that crazy water storm! (I think she means tsunami.) I sure hope Aunt Sarah and Uncle Takuya’s family which I think live in Japan are doing okay! I sure hope so. Well let me know as soon as possible if things are okay and doing well for them. I heard from people here that all the missionaries in Japan are safe and doing well which I think is really good! That is sure a blessing for the families of those missionaries!!!!

So things are going really good for me even though some times are tough. But we now have a new investigator. Last week Lauro called us and so we have been working with him. He says he might want to join our church which is really cool! I sure hope that he will continue to pray and ask God to see what he needs to do. He is a really cool guy! He is in his late 50's so it will be cool to talk more with him this week!

Well the weather around here is just crazy. One day it’s hot and one day it’s super cold; very weird! The weather is so different every day. There are some mornings I just don't know what to wear because it's cold or it might get hot. But for sure this morning just walking out of the front door I could feel the humidity and the warmth and it was like 6:40 in the morning … pretty strange weather that I get to deal with! But hey, at least it's not super hot yet. I just can't wait for that day. It's gonna be super hot like everyone has said!

Well I get to see a doctor about my stomach pains on Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m. and it's Doctor Carmen Wong. I might go through blood work and some other tests. It's been tough though. Off and on all day last Friday I had some stomach pains even during our District meeting. Luckily I got through my lesson that I had to do. Then after my lesson the pain came back. For real … and ever since Friday I have woke up and felt sick but today I feel kinda okay with just a little pain but not much.

Well what else can I tell ya about? Oh yeah, this last P-Day was fun. I got to go to Battle Ship Texas where we went on this HUGE ship that was used in the war and we got to walk through it and take so many pictures. It was a fun little field trip like NASA!!! It was cool to see how the army/navy people lived on these ships in the war. It kinda smelled a little in the bed area but it was so cool and very neat to go see. I was gonna buy a shirt but when we got done the store had closed early so we might go up there again soon. If we do I might buy a cool Battle Ship Texas Shirt. Last P-Day we also saw the Texas Monument. It is a very tall building with a star on top and we took lots of fun silly pictures outside. It is just so cool the things I am seeing and experiencing on my P-days. It is lots of fun!! I just can't wait to have you and dad come back with me to see all the cool families that I have met and to see all the cool sights that I have seen!! It's really cool so I hope you and dad are saving money for a trip to Texas to experience the wicked weather and to see Texas. I bet ya'll never would have thought that you would be going to Texas uh! LOL.

Well guess what? In one week I get to go to the Temple and I'm so excited. It is going to be so neat to go into the Lord's house and to feel His love and presence there! I just can't wait. It's like time can't go any slower! I can't wait for you and dad to come with me to the Houston temple either! It's so beautiful. If I had money to fly everyone down to Texas to go to the Texas temple, I would. I love it so much! I wish one day I could get sealed with my future spouse in that temple because it's like a princess castle. I just love it!! Can't wait!! Also we get to go to the Book store again!! Pretty cool uh! So if it's okay Mom and Dad, would you make sure I have some money for the store on the 22nd of March? I would like that! If not just let me know through a letter!

Well I love being a missionary. I am learning so many wonderful things and I am growing. It's crazy how much I have learned in seven months!  It is pretty crazy that I have been gone for seven months and do you know in two more months I get to call you for Mother's Day! Can' wait to hear ya'll voices and to tell ya'll Hi and to talk with ya'll. It's gonna be nice but it's a super long time away. Who knows what area I will be at in two months. Transfers are in two weeks and I think Sister Singleton might be getting transferred which will be sad. She just knows the area so well and knows where to go all the time. But we will see on the 26th of March who is staying or who is going.

My time on the computer is almost up but I want to let you know I'm doing well. I love riding my bike even though I haven't lost any weight yet; maybe just gaining muscle. But I love La Porte; it's fun and has lots of nice, wonderful members in the ward who are caring. Haven’t found my favorite ones yet but they are all the best! Well I hope to hear from ya'll soon! I know the Lord is going to help me everyday to become more like Him. I just know I am becoming like Him and my testimony is growing everyday. It's crazy of how different I am going to be in a year and I am excited to tell ya'll about my stories and to show ya my scriptures! It's sad because my Mosiah and also Alma are already falling apart. When I come home I'm gonna need a new set of scriptures! LOL. Missionaries use there scriptures very well!!! LOL.

Well Love ya'll and I hope to hear from you soon!

Love Sister Hawkins!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

P-day at the beach!

More pictures and another fun email from Emily.  She had some trials this past week but keeps pushing forward.  I am so proud of her ... she is determined to serve the Lord and do her very best!  She is still having problems with her stomach so please remember her in your prayers. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hey Mom,

Wow what a long week! Lots to tell ya about and not much time to do it in because I sent ya so many pictures and I am hoping that you will get all of them because they are really cool pictures that I took this past week!

Well as you can see by my pictures, Monday we got to go to the beach and that was really fun but boy the bottom of my skirt got wet and I really need to wash it today because the water left a white line from all the salt in the water! It was fun to walk on the beach and to read letters and to just let the wind blow in my hair! It was cool to reflect on the growth I have gone through. When I was looking at the water and the waves I was thinking that they are just like our trials in life and we just have to surf over them and get through them with the Lord. As you can see by one of the pictures I sent, I was also trying to do the “footprints in the sand.” It was neat to look back and think of how much the Savior has helped me to change and grow in this life! It's a wonderful experience to look back and to see how much I have grown and to see how much more I have to grow in this life to prepare myself to meet God again! Lots to do! But I know I can accomplish that with the Lord to become more like Him!

Monday night we had fun at the Prigmores. No racquetball though as they were too busy which is okay; life gets really tough and busy, so it's all good! But we had a very good dinner! Amy and Jay Prigmore know how to cook and we had RIBS!!! Boy, you get so spoiled as missionaries! So it was a good p-day to relax and to realize just how far I have come in this life of mine!

Tuesday was a very busy day! We taught a lot of lessons to member and to less actives. We really don't have a lot of investigators right now and then this week we dropped some. On Tuesday we dropped a person because she just wasn’t progressing and she isn’t ready for the gospel in her life. But it was also a good day on Tuesday as we met this lady while tracting and she wants us to come back when her husband is home to teach the family. She said they are looking for a church for the kids to have the Lord in their life. So we are excited and Katharine is her name. So good hopes there!

Wednesday wasn't my favorite day because we did lots of finding/tracting and just knocking on doors to see if anyone wanted to learn about the gospel. I was thinking on Wednesday when we were knocking on doors about my missionary prep class with Brother Shumway. One day in class he asked me what my favorite part of my mission would be and I remember telling him tracting! Boy was I wrong! It is not my favorite thing but that's what we have to do as missionaries to find those people who are searching for the gospel! And it's tough! Just imagine going up to a door where you have no idea who these people are or what they look like and you knock and no answer. Then you ring the door bell and BAM!!! They open the door and you basically have 30 seconds to grab their attention and have them want to listen to what you are out there to do and it's really hard to come up with something to say! But who knows, by the end of my mission it could be my favorite thing to do as a missionary. But right now I'm still working on trying to love it!

Thursdays are tough days because we have to do a whole bunch of planning for the next week which is good but tough at the same time because you can get tired really easy … well for me I do! But something that what was cool about this past Thursday was that I fixed Sister Singleton’s bike!!! I wish I had taken a picture but I didn't … shame on me. Sister Singleton bought a bigger bike seat and I put it on. My hands were all greasy and just yucky but it felt good to kinda know what I was doing and hey, I got the seat on correctly and she is one happy camper on her bike and that's the important thing because now we can go bike riding more in our area. We are really trying to ride bikes a lot more because we have limited miles per month and we see the price of gas!!! WOW!!! It's really high here, like $3.49 a gallon! Yeah pretty expensive!!! It was funny on Thursday when we were riding around because Sister Singleton has Sister Smith's bike which is pretty old and the brakes keep messing up and breaking. But what's funny is she tries to fix them and she doesn't know what to do and then I take a look and something tells me to do this or to try that. And BAM!!! I fix her brakes. It's pretty funny. My district always calls me “Mom” because I always have snacks in my bag and I can fix things and I am a caring person! So it's pretty funny. I’m gonna be a great mother someday I guess!!! LOL!

Well here comes the tough day Mom! Friday was district meeting and it started out good but then near the end of the meeting Elder Hunt and I had to do some role playing. We had to teach the first lesson and Sister Singleton was to be the “member” present at the lesson and we had to teach our district leader who is Elder Fife. Well let me just tell ya … it was horrible! Elder Hunt is a new missionary and he was all over the place and he's not afraid to talk to anyone and he was just all over the place with the lesson and I was trying to do "How to Begin Teaching" and trying to teach by the spirit. We didn't use Sister Singleton as the member and I was just so upset and I just didn't know what to do. After our role play we were evaluated and Elder Fife drew a circle on the board and then he drew a line that was going everywhere. I was starting to cry. I felt so dumb and so stupid like I couldn't do this anymore and it felt like no matter how much I tried that it wasn't enough. Elder Fife saw me of course because he is in front of the room and I bet he felt bad but it wasn't his fault. I was so low and just wanted to quit. I really did. I just wanted to throw my hands up in the air and just walk out of the classroom and head home. It was that bad and so embarrassing. Later in the car Sister Singleton asked if I was okay and I told her NO and she said it was okay, everyone does that. I was like, “No, if you or some other people did that role play it wouldn't end up so bad and you wouldn’t have the district kinda lecturing you to do this or to work on that.” He was nice about it, don't get me wrong, but to have four people know how to teach and not afraid to teach and to have two who are still new and are still trying to figure out how to teach, it was just bad!! So that was really tough but I felt better as the day went on. I just had to rely on the Lord that day … I really did! I said so many small prayers that day to help me keep my head up and to help me keep going. But by the end of the night it was better because I made a new friend and I get along with him so well. That new friend is Elder Johnson. He is going home the same time I am so it's pretty cool of how I got to know him better. Elder Johnson was on exchanges with Elder Walker and that night we all went to a wedding of some members in the ward and that is where I got to know Elder Johnson better. It wasn't a temple marriage but I don't know the couple very well but I think they are working towards a temple marriage. The wedding and reception was so much fun!! Sister Singleton, I, and Jazzmin (as you see in the picture) were all trying to catch the flowers. It was pretty funny and it was even funnier because Sister Singleton got the flowers in the end! So that was pretty cool!

Well I sent you pictures of me kicking stuff and punching stuff. It was at Shaun Baun’s place (I don't know how to spell it) and he is a professional boxer and this morning we got to go to his gym and we had fun punching stuff and kicking and learning new stuff so it was pretty cool. Right now I am smelly and stinky. The gym was so far away from our apartment but close to the Elders’ apartment so when the Elders are done getting ready (which should be pretty soon), they are gonna come e-mail while Sister Singleton and I go get ready for the day at their place. But it was fun to learn some cool moves and learn how to punch and kick!!!

Well my time is almost up and I have to wrap it up. So about my stomach … I went to a members house, Sister Schaffer, and something prompted me to tell her about my stomach pains so I did. She has gotten her gall bladder out before and I told her of that bad pain I had one night and she said I might have gall stones and one was trying to pass through and that is why I had that bad pain that one night. And then she told me all the little pains could be because my gall bladder is having problems with the food like fried fatty foods and chocolate and spicy food. She told me to go to the doctor because she says it might not seem bad now but it will get super worse. And it was funny because she said if I didn’t' go that she would take me to the doctor. So I called Sister Moldenhauer and she is getting me set up to see a doctor. I have been cutting out the foods Sister Schaffer had told me to cut out and it's making a small difference. She said if it's my gall bladder then my eating habits are gonna be different for the rest of my life. So this trial that I am going through right know is a mystery solving one but the Lord is gonna help me out.

I got to go get ready for the day and to get going but I love you and I hope that you have a good day and I get to hear from ya'll soon. Things are good just still trying to figure out things with my stomach but hopefully by next week I’ll have some answers. Love ya'll and miss ya tons. Hope to hear from ya soon!

Love Sister Hawkins

P-day at the beach ... I loved it!

Elder Hunt, Sister Singleton, and me

Sister Singleton, me and Elder Walker

Having fun ... not so good for the skirt!

"Footprints in the Sand"

Emily loves the rip-stick!

Look ... a Dalmatian dog ... isn't she cute!!

Ready for the bouquet!

And the winner is ... Sister Singleton

Hey, how did we end up with these!?!
(Elder Walker and Elder Johnson)

P-day work out ... had a blast!

Don't mess with us Sisters!

Sister Hawkins can kick!
(Trainer - Brother Taylor)

Don't mess with me!

What I will do for my companion and the Elders!

What a team!