Monday, November 28, 2011

Back in the Missionary Groove!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hey Mom,

Well it's your missionary daughter who feels great and happy and just ready to do the Lord's work this week! I have a change of heart and things are going to keep getting better and better!

Well to start off, this last week has been tough in ways but also wonderful! I know that I have seemed down, upset and just miserable but there is a change. I have had a lot of different things happen this week and am so grateful for my Savior and the things that He has put me through ... I have become stronger and how I continue to understand the power of the Atonement!

This past week was good; on Tuesday we did battle with our Seminary Class in the area of Baytown. It was missionaries verses the Seminary class. There were five missionaries and five seminary students. There is suppose to be more like ten students but unfortunately not all the kids go to class.  But we had fun and of course the missionaries totally beat the students.  The kids were really hyper that morning and also tired and it was just crazy.  It was funny because we missionaries were all calm and we turned to the scriptures the quickest and it was super fun! Loved it!  We had to wake up early in the morning for class because they don't have it during school like we do so that was pretty crazy! I was tired that day!

On Tuesday we also helped Sister Schaumberger get ready for Thanksgiving and that was fun too.  We cleaned house and the fridge (Yucky) but we had a great time! I love her dearly and she loves me! She really wants me to move back after my mission and live with her; that would be fun to be near all the people I have grown to love, but I need to go back home and get to school and move forward.  But I did tell her that I am coming back in October so she was glad and happy!

Well guess what I learned to do this week? I can make a shirt out of a $1 Bill! Yeah it's so cool! I learned it at an inactive member’s home and I learned it from her brother.  We had a fun night there just talking and also helping her read The Book of Mormon and then having her brother help her out! We are planning to go back there this week to see how it's going!

Wednesday was super fun! We went to the Galaviz home to help bake some pies! We made pumpkin and apple pies and also some cheese cake! It was lots of fun! I learned to make pies! Yeah!

Thanksgiving was fun! We had a morning Thanksgiving at the Galaviz and I ate some turkey and some green beans. Yep, and I had a little pumpkin and apple pie … but don't worry … I didn't eat the crust! But it was soo good! Loved it!  We made a Christmas tree too! She has made so many trees over the years with missionaries and she said they always ship it home and never leave it for the other missionaries! And I can see why, my tree is so cute! So after Christmas I'm sending it home with some other stuff I have to ship so I can have it forever in my own place; it's so cute! I love it! I knew you would love a phone call that day! Sister Galaviz loved calling you! I heard your voice a little bit but I can't wait to talk to you at Christmas time! She couldn't talk long as she doesn't have a normal cell phone; it was one of those minute phones, but she was sure glad to do that for me because I didn't want you to send me a tree when we had just made one. But ornaments would be good, you could send those to me as we don't have much on the tree!

Sister Galaviz helping Sister Hawkins and Sister Higley
make their own Christmas tree!

So you asked what I want for Christmas. Well mom there is my friend Elder Rasmussen, and his mom got him a cool ring. It's a silver ring and it's thick, kinda like guys wedding bands, and on the band it's has this. "T.H.E. Mission"  That would be so cool to have. I asked where his mom got it and he said online somewhere, where you can make rings. Mom that would be so cool to have. I would need a size 9 for my middle finger I believe! And I would like a sign language CTR ring for my ring finger size 8.5. You got me all my sign language church movies for my birthday so I don't know what else. Oh I need shoes and I need a journal.

Well this week was also fun because we got to go work on that house again! More construction work. Man it makes me want to do house building when I go home! Its fun work and it's cool to see the progress of things! We had to get all the wood pieces out of the floor so I racked and I got a blister on my thumb. Then the Elders dug up the dirt to even out the ground because here in Texas you don't build in the ground … you build on top so your house is not touching the ground, it's like on blocks.  So their foundation is bad so we had to even out the dirt! It was so awesome and lots of fun! I got pretty dirty with all the dirt flying around but it's fun! Oh I would like some new pj's for Christmas. I have had my Eeyore ones for a while now. Wow that was totally random! LOL.

Well things are getting better for me mom. I'm starting to do better; this eating only certain things is tough but I know it's for my health. Yeah it stinks that I can’t have yummy desserts anymore but it's for my health! The members are really awesome about cooking me chicken and having a salad! But sometime I don't have dressing because everyone has ranch and that has dairy in it so I like it when members have Italian dressing. I would carry some around with me but it would spoil in the car or my bag. But it's getting better!

Transfers are in a week, and who knows who is going to go or stay! There are a couple of people who think I'm gonna stay and finish my mission in Baytown and there are a couple of people saying that I'm gonna leave because I only have two transfers left. But I guess we will see in a week! Well mom I need to run. I have a busy day for p-day but I want you to know I am better and lots happier! I love you mom and I hope you and the family have a fun week and have fun at your Santa Night in front of our house. Make sure you take pictures so I can see how it went. If Zaebyn, Cadi and Wade come make sure you get pictures and also if Rachel and Jackson are there too! OH and if there are missionaries that come and sit on Santa's lap … take pictures! LOL!

Well I love you mom. Thanks for the pictures. I love them dearly and it is great to see everything that is going on! Love ya Good Luck next Monday!

Love Sister Hawkins!

Us and the Spanish speaking Missionaries at
Sister Schaumbergers house for Thanksgiving.

One of my families I love dearly!
Vince, and his daughter, me, Meme, and Kevin!

A member got me a cute cupcake and sang to me
but I couldn't eat the cupcake ... Sister Higley did though

Monday, November 21, 2011

Still not feeling very great!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Mom,

Well I know I e-mailed you Thursday and so there isn't much to really e-mail about this week! Sad day! Well I was still ill this past weekend and so it's been tough! And what's been really tough is my new eating habits! For real! We have really good food in the house but I can't eat anything! Sad day! But I have been doing really well! I'm very proud of myself! Well since Thursday I still wasn't feeling well at all and so I call Sister Crawford and she asked if I was doing all the things that she and the Doctor have ask me to do, and I said yes.  I said we can't leave the house because I still need to be near a restroom and to lie down and hold my stomach sometimes because it hurts.  It's weird; I have been hurting on my right side! Sister Crawford asked me if I was stressed out or overwhelmed and I told her no. She said she would have Doctor Lesfure call me again and see what he can do for me. He called and said since it's not better that it is problems with my stomach irritable bowl syndrome. He also says that my body is telling me I am under lots of stress and it is trying to tell me to take it easy! He called in a prescription that will help me with the sickness feelings and also to help my stomach heal. So I got those the same day Melanie sent me that package. The pills cost $10 and I have to take it 3 times a day and 30 minutes before I eat. And so I am only allowed to eat 3 times a day and I'm telling ya that's hard, because I would snack on things during the day. So this new eating style is really different!

Well there is stuff to look forward to this week! For Thanksgiving we are going to go to Sister Schaumburger’s house and she is such a dear.  She is making some different things for me to eat. She is an elderly woman and she has been calling me almost every day to see how I am doing and she is worried about me! But she is excited to have us over to eat Thanksgiving! And also we have some service to do this week. This Saturday we are going to be going to that family’s house that we did the construction and ripping out the floor and we are going to go do more! I'm excited! It should be fun but I hope I have my full energy by then.  Tomorrow morning Sister Higley and I and the Elders are waking up super early to go to Seminary! It is at Sister Stone’s house because she teaches Seminary and so we are going to play scripture mastery war with her students! So that should be fun … I think it's gonna be us against the students! Then after class we are going to be having breakfast at the Stones home! So there is some fun stuff to look forward too!

Well hmm let’s see what else I can write about! Oh I might be going to the doctors today because I have a bug bite and it's infected. Do you remember a long time ago in Jennings, Louisiana, where I had a bad bug bite on my knee and it was like a staph infection? Well this time it's on my arm, so I am probably going to go have shots and have to be put on antibiotics, so I'm not looking forward to that. Men there are just a whole lot of problems with me lately. I just don't know what to do with myself! But there are reasons for everything.

Well....I don't know what else to write because not a lot has been happening; just me trying to get better and we haven't had really any experiences of doing missionary work because I have been ill. But hopefully this next week will be better. Well I love you mom, I hope you have a great week and have a good Thanksgiving. I loved the pictures of you guys hanging up the Christmas lights and the girls … how fun! Well, love you and have a good Thanksgiving!

Love Sister Hawkins

"Sisters" Day

Sister Black

Sister Henson

Sister Lundgren

Sister Kinikini

Sister Crawford

Texas Sky!

Feeling SICK!

Make the pain go away!

Yummy dessert at Galaviz home
(dessert I can't have!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finally got to email ... Feeling a bit better!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dear Mom!

Surprise! Well we got time to e-mail today! It has been a crazy last few days for sure! But I did write you a letter and pray and wish you will get it soon to explain fully in detail the things that have been going on!

Thanks so much for all the wonderful birthday wishes you emailed me from all my facebook friends! That was great to read this evening! I wish I could have read them on my birthday to make it better but the Lord had other plans for me to be sick on my birthday! But I am trusting in the Lord right now with the things that I am going through at this time!

Well I got Melanie's birthday package! Super fun! I love those fruit bars, they are super good! Yummy! And mom I finally got your package! I got it on Wednesday! I was so excited! I can't believe you got me all those cool ASL church DVD’s for me to watch during my study time! I am excited to learn more signs! I have looked at some of them and it's crazy, I can understand the signs they do! It's pretty sweet! I just hope that I can still have the time to work with deaf people on my mission! It's the coolest thing to communicate with the deaf! Mom I loved the birthday card! So cool all the people who had signed it! I was shocked at all the signatures that I got! Tell everyone thank you and I really appreciate those birthday wishes!

Well today was a really long day! We had Zone Conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.! And boy I am tired of sitting down; my back and my tail bone are hurting lots today! But I learned so much about the things that I need to do better in missionary work! And mom it was pretty cool … we role played during the meeting and we role played on telling people our purpose as missionaries instead of going into a lesson, to help our brothers and sisters understand our purpose of why we are here and why we come out and teach, so we can invite them to baptism and have them make promises with God! Well mom this evening we had a return appointment that Sister Higley and I set up from a longwhile ago knocking on a door potential. And when we went to our appointment tonight we did the role play like we had practiced earlier and it went well; she understands our purpose and she said we can come back and teach her more. We can't teach her next week because she and her family are going to be out of town for the holidays and she is on call this weekend for her work, but I'm excited to teach her in about a week!

Well everyone is probably wondering what sickness I have been dealing with the last few days! I am having stomach problems again! I ate some food on Saturday that my body did not agree with and it wasn't food poisoning, it was because I don’t have my gall bladder anymore! So I have been in bed since Saturday evening till this morning! Just in pain and trying to get the food out of my system! So it' has not been fun! I called Sister Crawford and she had the mission doctor call me and talk to me. Now the doctor has put me on a special diet for the rest of my mission! He told me that my body is telling me I just can't eat normal foods like everyone else and that I need to be on a special diet plan and that is why I have been sick for so long! And so the new diet that I will be on is only fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish (Yuck) and some beef but not a lot. He wants me to cut out my carbohydrates like pancakes, oatmeal and potatoes! I don't know how I'm gonna live without potatoes! But also starch too! And he is cutting me away from sugars too! He told me to have my companion and I throw out all sugars in our house or hide them from me so I won’t be tempted! And then when I come home I need to do a meal plan of 80 carbohydrates a day and to get a book that tells me what foods have lots of carbohydrates! So now, I get to tell members for a dinner appointment that I need a salad or fruit or chicken … but not fried … grilled or roasted! Mostly roasted he said! So it's been hard and plus after all the pain I went through I am kinda scared to eat anything right now, but I am taking it slowly! So ya that is why I couldn't e-mail Monday … I was sick!

Well I don't have much time to e-mail tonight and plus I got to make sure I e-mail President Crawford and tell him what’s up and how things are going. So sorry for the short letter; there hasn't been really any missionary work done this last week because of how sick I have been. We had already called all the people in our area book because I was down for a day last week with my toe and couldn't go track so we called a lot of people that day. So we have just been studying and making different appointments for next week!

But I love you and I will write to you on Monday but it will be a short day because our full p-day is going to be on Thanksgiving so we only have a short time on Monday to e-mail! But I love you and I am feeling better. I’m just weak right now and trying to get my strength back but I keep telling myself things are gonna get better! Well have a good weekend! I love you dearly!

Love Sister Hawkins

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sick on her Birthday! More prayers needed!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I do not have a regular post from Sister Hawkins this week. I did not hear from her this past Monday, which is really unusual, so that motherly instinct made me wonder if she was sick again or if something was wrong.

A few weeks ago Emily had sent me an email address for Brother and Sister Smith who live in La Porte and kind of adopted Emily as another daughter while she was serving there in La Porte. Emily has remained close to this family during occasional missionary exchanges to La Porte and also when attending Stake events as La Porte and Baytown are in the same Stake. You may remember Emily has mentioned the Smiths several times in recent letters. So I decided to email Sister Smith to see if she was allowed to call Sister Hawkins and check up on her. She was a sweetheart and did check on her for me and the following is excerpts from the email I got back from her.

Dear Julie,

… She didn't answer my email this week either. I knew it was Zone P day and her Birthday, so I thought she was just busy, but I had a little niggling feeling something was wrong. I just got off the phone with her and she has indeed been having stomach problems again. She was very sick through the weekend and missed P-Day on Monday. The mission Dr. called and talked to her and thinks her body is having a hard time processing the food she eats. He also talked maybe irritable bowel syndrome. But, without seeing her and doing tests, he can’t be sure. She has had such awful problems since the gall bladder removal, I don't understand, that should have taken care of the pain, but it continues. He told her to eat only fruit and veggies, and to limit carbs to 80 per day. She has no idea what a carbohydrate is or any way of knowing how many are in foods, so I will get a carb counting book to her so she can look things up.

… She wrote you a letter that was mailed yesterday (Tuesday) telling you everything, so you should get that by the end of the week. When I called and asked how she was, the first thing she said was "My poor Mom is probably so worried about me." She loves and misses you so much. I know how hard it is for you being so far away from her while she is going through these things.

… We have been acquainted with many missionaries through the years, but your daughter burrowed right into our hearts. Jim and I both feel like she is another daughter. I know that isn't really a good thing to say to her own mother, but I want you to know how much we love her.

… Love, Sandy

How grateful I am for this sweet sister and that she was able to check on Emily for me and is going the extra mile to help her and get her the information she needs. The Lords often answers our prayers through the service of another.

I think it is safe to say that Sister Hawkins did not have what I would call a “fun” birthday! Please continue to keep Sister Hawkins in your prayers. I will post again if I get an update or have any more information after receiving her letter in the mail this weekend.

Thank you all for your love and support!

Sister Hawkins with Jim and Sandy Smith, La Porte Texas

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trials bring blessings!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dear Mom,

Where do I start to tell you how the Lord knows me and knows what I am going through? This past week has been hard but yet, has also been a blessing; the Lord has shown me Tender Mercies and helped me become so much stronger! I have been getting a lot of blessings this last week for different reasons and especially for my health right now. In each blessing the Lord has given me something to look upon and to give me that strength! I'm so grateful for the power of the Priesthood and that we have it upon the earth today to really bless our lives! Mom I cannot see myself without living the Gospel and I can't see my family without the Gospel! I have been so blessed to serve the Lord and to work towards becoming more like Him! I can't believe I'm on a mission! I can't believe all the wonderful things I'm experiencing! I know the Lord gives us trials for a reason! You know growing up was not easy and there were times I would sit in the living room all alone and look at the picture of Christ and His saying, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it". And mom that is just so true; that is true for me right now on my mission and in my life! The things I have overcome have not been easy but it's been so worth it and it has made me a stronger person and helped me know who I am and who I am striving to become in this life! I'm so grateful for the Lord and the many blessings He is blessing me with! I am grateful to have been blessed with an amazing family that has just showed so much love to me over the years and now on my mission! I have no idea how to pay the Lord back for all the many blessings and for letting me serve Him! All I know is that I have a short time left and there is a lot of work to be done and I just got to give it my all to pay the Lord back and to give Him thanks for everything that I have in my life!

I'm grateful for revelation and for my Mission President and for Sister Crawford! They do have the keys to help the work grow in the mission! They have the Keys to be our Mission Parents and to give us the love and comfort that we need … because things aren't easy! I know that they were called by a living Prophet who received revelation that they needed to be our Mission Parents! I know they love us deeply and care about us a lot and want the best for us on our missions. They want to help us strive to be like our Savior Jesus Christ! I'm grateful for my own personal revelation that I get as a missionary and how the Lord answers my prayers through thoughts, scriptures, companions, ward members and through the Power of a Priesthood blessing! But I also know the in order to receive the revelation that you are seeking that you have to be in tune with the Spirit and you have to have your heart and mind open to the Spirit to tell you the things that the Lord wants you to hear!

I'm grateful for my challenges this past week with an in-grown-toe-nail. I have been wearing a slipper on my left foot and a normal shoe on my right foot, but what a blessing it has been to be in pain and to have that time to work in our “area book” of Baytown! We had the opportunity to do missionary work in our apartment and to make calls to past people that missionaries have talked too! And mom, you know how I don't like to talk on the phone or to make phone calls, well I must say that was one challenge I have overcome on my mission. My companion, Sister Higley and I called lots of phone numbers! Now some people didn't answer and at the beginning I was like “yeah” and kind of glad because I was scared to talk on the phone but then as time went by I was getting disappointed because I was feeling like they need the Gospel I wanted the people in Baytown to answer the phone so we could bear our testimonies to them and invite them to hear the Gospel! I learned that this week! So now when I make phone calls I no longer hope they don't answer like I use to … I hope they answer so they can hear more about the Gospel and hear our testimonies and have their lives blessed!

We actually had a couple neat experiences as we got to talk to different people and invite them to learn more about the gospel and the restoration. We invited them to the Church house so we can give them a tour and show them around. And two of the people we called said yes! So this upcoming week on Tuesday and Saturday we have appointments set up! I have been praying and hoping that things will work out and leaving in the Lord’s hands. I know He will help guide our Brothers and Sisters to where they need to be! I had the opportunity to make a phone call to a girl named Meagan who graduated from High School a couple of years ago! I was able to talk with her and she wanted to meet with us but she couldn't because she lives in Houston and not Baytown. I told her not to worry because we have missionaries like us that are all over the world that do the same thing we do, teaching about Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel, and that if we got her address, we could get a hold of the missionaries that are close to her. And it was so neat because she accepted to have the missionaries come to her home. So I wrote all her information down and told her that missionaries would get a hold of her soon! I then called the Mission Office and talked with Sister Larsen, who is in charge of referrals, and told her the story of Meagan and how we got to know her because of us having to be home while my toe got better. Sister Larsen thought that was the coolest thing! So I hope and pray that Meagan accepts the Gospel and that the Missionaries will love her and help her to the Waters of Baptism! So there is a reason why I have been having toe problems … it is so Sister Higley and I can work in the area book and find people to teach! It was also neat last night when we were doing our numbers and talking with our District Leader Elder Tracy. We told him about having to stay inside and doing phone calls and then he helped me remember that at one of our latest Missionary Conference we heard from a special speaker about just that thing. I think he said it was Elder Gaverette who told us that the people in our “Area Books” are ready to be Baptized so now it's our job and responsibility to go searching in our area books and find our Brothers and Sisters and teach them of the Gospel! Pretty cool uh!

Well mom I'm truly grateful for you this past week because almost a year ago on Christmas morning you gave me the Best Teaching tool ever!!!! That was the Green Eggs and Ham Book! By Dr. Suess! Well Sister Higley and I have been sharing it with members in our ward to help them remember the Challenge that the Stake President gave to our stake here in Baytown. He gave every member a Book of Mormon and challenged them to take it home and pray and seek revelation about who they needed to give it to and to also write their testimonies in it! Well we have been using my story book to share with families and they just love the book! A whole lot! It helps them to see that if they give a Book of Mormon away that it can change someone’s life forever and for the future Generations to come! It helps them give away Books of Mormon! So mom, thank you so much for the book! I love it and Sister Higley loves it too! It seems all my companions love it! So thank you mom!

Well I'm so excited for this next week because on Friday we get to go to Bering, Texas to hear from a Seventy of the Church, Elder Rasband I believe! I'm so excited! It's always fun to go and hear from the General Authorities and see what they want us to learn and what we need to do to become better missionaries! And it's gonna be a great month because we have Zone P-day on my birthday next week! I'm excited! I hope we do something fun on my birthday, if not sad day! But we will see! And also I am looking forward to Zone Conference where we meet with some other Zones and get to hear from President and Sister Crawford. The Crawfords are excited to see how well we have been memorizing the scriptures and I am working extra hard to have all 25 scriptures memorized by November 17th! I have like 10 left and then I will have them all memorized! They also want us to be able to know some other scriptures too, but the good thing is that these other scriptures don't have to be memorized but rather we just need to know them well so that we will be able to use them in our teaching! So I want to give you the list of all the 25 Scriptures that I need to have memorized hopefully by November 17th! So here they are!

Old Testament
Exodus 33:11      Proverbs 3:5-6
Isaiah 29:13-14   Isaiah 55:8-9

New Testament
Luke 24:36-39     John 7:17
John 10:14-16     Ephesians 4:11-14
James 2:17-18    Revelations 14:6-7

Pearl of Great Price
Moses 1:39      Abraham 3:22-23

Book of Mormon
1 Nephi 3:6-8            Alma 37:6-7
Alma 37:37               Heleman 5:12
Moroni 7:16-18         Moroni 7:45-47
2 Nephi 25:23, 26    Jacob 2:18-19, Ether 12:27

Doctrine & Covenants
D&C 4                 D&C 18:10, 15-16
D&C 76:22-24    D&C 130:18-19

And so far I have all of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament except James and Revelations but hopefully in my studies I will have them memorized too! But it's been fun to memorize them because they are becoming special to me. I haven't had the opportunity yet to use them in my teaching but I know before my mission ends I will! But it's reminds me of a General Conference talk I was reading on Sunday by Elder Richard G. Scott! And boy that is a really good talk! It talks about how we need to memorize scriptures and have them be a part of us! And I love it where he says in his talk:

"Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing your cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world."

Also I like this too:

"A memorized scripture becomes an enduring friend that is not weakened with the passage of time."

And I like this quote too that talks about revelation which is what I was talking about earlier in my letter:

"Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give a place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ."

That one reminds me of Melanie’s quote that I use all the time when I teach about getting answers to things:

"If you want to talk to God, Pray. If you want God to talk to you, Read your Scriptures."

And so it's so important that we are recognize the stories in the scriptures and make them a part of our lives to help us through the hard times that we can remember the stories and say if they can do it then I can to it! So it's been fun to do the things that President and Sister Crawford want us to do with learning of Scriptures!

Well mom, this seems like a really long letter that I know you will enjoy! I love you mom and thanks for all the love and support on my mission and for helping me to never give up! I learned that I can't do that! I need to keep pushing forward and endure to the end! It's like in 2 Nephi 31:20, we got to keep pressing forward and feasting on the words of Christ so we can endure to the end! I know it's all going to be good and that challenges are for our good to help us learn and to grow!

Well I hope you have a great week! I love you! And thanks for everything! Love ya!

Love Sister Hawkins!