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!)

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