Friday, March 2, 2012


After flight delays, changed itinerary, and a snow storm in Salt Lake, Emily finally made it home about 10:00 p.m. That would not have been so bad except it took another hour and a half and two more flights arriving from Salt Lake to actually locate her luggage!

We had a wonderful time at the airport and considering the lateness of the hour, she still had many great friends and most of her family to welcome her home. Emily is doing well. Due to the lateness of her arrival, she actually got to spend an extra day as a missionary wearing her name tag as she was not released until the following day at 6:30 p.m.

She is now officially released and trying to settle back into her life. For the most part she is doing well but there are moments when it is hard. She dearly misses her mission and also the missionary life and routine, and then of course there are all those questions of “What do I do now?” Lots of decisions to be made in the near future. She has an amazing glow about her though and we are all so grateful to have her home safe and sound. She is one of the most amazing people I know and I am so proud of her and am truly grateful to be able to call her my daughter.

Emily plans to get on her blog sometime and write her own final entry so be sure to check back in a few days or in a week or so.

I know I have said it many times before but we truly are grateful for all the love and support Emily has received both in preparing to serve her mission and during her mission. All missionaries have support, some more then others, but we are pretty sure the amount of letters, support and prayers that Emily received would rank pretty close to the top!! We will always be forever grateful.

For those who would like to send Emily a personal message, she has a new email account at houstonladybird@gmail.com

Emily will report her mission on Sunday, March 11th at 11:00 a.m. at the Shelley 8th Ward (184 N Park)

Here are some fun pictures from the last couple of days!

All her friends anxiously awaiting for her!
(Thanks Danee for helping me make the sign!)

Melanie and the girls were hiding behind the signs!

Totally suprised her ... she had no idea Melanie and
the girls were going to be at the airport!

It had been a long day for Kadie and Ella
(They woke up that day wanting to go to the airport right then!)

New neice Rylee not too sure about all this!

Catching up with all her friends!

Still in shock so many people showed up ... not sure what to say or do!

Her sister Rachel from Salt Lake made it to the airport too!

After such a long day she was really excited
to get a jamba juice thanks to Rachel and Jackson!

Neice Ella trying out Aunt Lou's cowboy hat!

Neice Kadie likes it too!

Dear friend Danee!

Signs to welcome home Aunt Lou!

Yay! She did it!!!

Next day ... still waiting to be released!

Flying the Texas flag in honor of her mission!

Toured the Musuem of Idaho while waiting to be released!

Neice Rylee finally gets her turn with the hat!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flight Schedule Change!

FLIGHT UPDATE: Emily's flight out of Houston was delayed which meant she was going to miss her two connecting flights.  We received a call from her Mission President and her itinerary has been changed: She now flies out of Houston directly to Salt Lake and then on to Idaho Falls.  Unfortunately she is going to arrive three hours later.  EMILY IS NOW SCHEDULED TO LAND IN IDAHO FALLS AT 9:15 P.M. TONIGHT (FEB. 29TH)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sister Hawkins' Testimony

Just a reminder that Emily flies into Idaho Falls this Wednesday at 5:58 p.m.  Anyone is welcome to come to the airport.  She will report her mission on March 11th at 11:00 a.m. at the Shelley 8th Ward building (184 N Park) with a luncheon to follow at Sunrise Elementary Cafeteria.

Thank you again for all the love and support you have shown Emily and her family during these past 18 1/2 months.  We will be forever grateful!  Be sure to check back later in the week as I will be posting pictures of her homecoming at the airport. Enjoy this final email from Sister Hawkins.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dear Mom,

Well this is my last letter/e-mail to you that you will be receiving! How crazy is that! I can't believe my mission is over! Wow so many miracles and growth that the Lord has given to me the last 18 1/2 months! I have grown and learned so much about my loving Savior Jesus Christ! I know He lives and that He did come to earth to perform miracles and to be the amazing example to us and to show us the path of which we need to do our best to follow every day! I know the He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and that He went through so much pain for us and has felt our sorrow and our pain! I know that He saw me personally through that suffering! I know that He knows me and I know that He knows you too! Our older Brother Jesus Christ knows everyone of us and we need to do our best as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to share this gospel with our brothers and sisters all around us! I know Jesus Christ died for us, He died for me so that I have that chance to return home to my loving Heavenly Father and to my Family!

I have been thinking a lot about the Atonement and what it means to me! I have been trying to put myself in His shoes of all the suffering that He did for us! Imagine people spitting on you, hitting you and calling you names and saying you’re not the Christ. Imagine people being rude, scorning you and beating you. Then imagine being whipped and in so much pain only to have a crown of thorns put on your head and be forced to carry your cross all the way up to the hill where you are going to die! I can't imagine how much that hurt; I can’t imagine that night in the Garden of Gethsemane and how much pain He was feeling and how He was bleeding out of every pore! He didn't complain, didn't lash out and try to defend himself, He just let them do it! He did it because He loves everyone! I know that the Atonement is real! I have learned so much about the Atonement on my mission and how to apply it to ourselves! It's so amazing!

This Gospel is so true! It's been so humbling to wake up every morning and to do my studies and to prepare myself every day of my mission to be His servant in His hands. To go out and to share the amazing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to share the Book of Mormon! I love bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon! I love the stories that are in there! I'm so grateful to have learned the stories and to have been able to help apply them to the people's lives here in Texas! How wonderful it is! So, so grateful!

I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and our Savior Jesus Christ in the grove of trees! Have you ever taken the time to really think about the experience that Joseph Smith had at the age of 14, having that strong of faith that Heavenly Father is going to answer his prayer. He goes into the grove of trees and he sees them! Face to Face! How AMAZING!!! And how he got to see them and talk to them and how they knew Joseph and they called him by name! God knows us each individually! I love sharing the experience of Joseph Smith and how we all can get answers to our prayers and how we need to have that faith that Joseph Smith had! I'm so grateful for Joseph Smith and for what he and his family went through to enable us to have the Book of Mormon today! Without his faith, diligence and his obedience to serve the Lord and translate the Golden Plates we wouldn't have the Book of Mormon today! We all need to make sure we take the time to read and study from the standard works and apply them to our lives because the Prophets went through so much so we can have the Gospel and the Scriptures that can truly help our lives today!

I just love being a missionary! Last night I was packing all my stuff and just thinking about my mission and about all the wonderful memories and experiences that I have had and about how much I have changed! The Lord answers our prayers and he performs miracles for us to see that He is real and that He lives! I love my mission and it's so sad it's coming to an end but I'm thinking about the bigger picture! I know there is missionary work to do all over the world and that you don't need to have the cool amazing name tag! You have your testimony and you have the knowledge of the Gospel and you just have to share it with everyone! It's hard to see all my stuff packed up and ready to head back home! All my missionary friends are calling and saying goodbye and wishing me good luck! It's sad, I'm not going to be in the missionary atmosphere to feel the Spirit all around me and to have amazing friends that I can talk to and talk about investigators or what we could do better to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ! But I know there are lots of friends back home and there gonna help me adjust! I'm excited to start my new life; a new young women who has developed her own testimony of the Gospel and has found out for herself that this Gospel is true and does not need to depend on my amazing parents testimonies anymore! Deeply grateful to you mom and dad for helping me grow up in this Gospel and teaching me the things that I needed to know to help prepare me for my amazing mission! :)

Well this week was a very hard week! I have never been so down and really depressed and have never prayed so much in my life! Well you’re probably wondering about Hugo and his baptism … well we had a really great meeting with him on Monday at a member’s home and well, that Tuesday morning he texted us that he needed time to really think about this commitment of being baptized! He told us he is being like Joseph Smith and is praying and asking God if this is what he really needs to do for himself! Sister Cochran and I respected him by giving him space but we told him that if he met with us that we could help him find out the answers and help him with concerns. He told us that he would be in touch! Well, my heart was broken wondering what happened and I just prayed so much in my heart to have the Lord answer Hugo's prayer. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning Sister Cochran and I fasted for Hugo and said many prayers and we have been praying for him. I have been in deep prayer with my loving Heavenly Father pleading that Hugo will find his answer that I might have the opportunity to see him make those covenants of baptism. Well a whole week went by and Sister Cochran and I have had break downs and just cried and wondered why this was happening but we know that this is a stumbling block for Hugo and that this is his trial; every investigator goes through a trial before baptism and this is his!

We finally met him on Saturday and he is doing well but still hasn't gotten his answer and my heart broke in half. We talked to him and told him that he doesn't have to be 100% perfect and that we are all human and we have the natural man in us that makes mistakes. We had taught him some of the commandments on Monday and I think that he realized that this isn't a church that you can just go and do stuff like maybe smoke or drink coffee and so he realized that this is a big thing. He wants to make sure he can do this and he hasn't got his answer yet. I reminded him to remember how he felt during all the lessons and to remember the goose bumps and the warm feeling inside and how happy and joyful he is. He just sat there and paused and I told him we would like to meet with him this weekend to talk and plus I said I would like to see him before I go. So we are meeting with Hugo tonight and he is taking us to dinner. I have been praying that Sister Cochran and I can be the answer to his prayer and help him find what he is searcing for. I know that the Lord is helping him and that one day he will get baptized but it wasn't during a time that I could be here. But I know he will get baptized very soon! So please continue to pray for our dear friend Hugo!

Well Kyra’s baptism was beautiful and the spirit was there and it was a real sweet baptism. Her family who haven't been to church much where also there and she looked so pretty all dressed in white and I know she made the right decision to be baptized! I know that our Heavenly Father is really pleased with her and is going to bless her and her family! When she got confirmed yesterday at church it was a real sweet blessing and the Lord is going to bless her if she keeps the commandments and follows our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ!

Sweet Kyra!

Kyra's baptism cake!

I have learned so much this last week of my mission about faith and prayer and relying deeply on the Lord! There were some down falls and it was a tougher week than all the other weeks I have had with Sister Cochran, but I know the Lord was teaching us to have faith and to rely on the Lord! My Testimony has just grown so much; I'm sadden not to see Hugo get baptized but I'm so happy for Kyra. But it taught me that things happen on the Lord’s time and that Hugo isn’t ready but Kyra was. I learned that they are different people and they have different needs and our purpose as missionaries is to help them come unto Christ and help build their faith in Christ. We need to help them understand how to repent so they can make those promises with God at baptism and receive the wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father, the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We need to help them apply the Doctrine of Christ so they can Endure to the End! I love 2 Nephi 31, the Doctrine of Christ! This is the path God has given us to know the path way in life and how to rely on them. That is what we are teaching all our investigators and Hugo and Kyra. God's children are all different and we need to love and care for them and accept who they are! :)

Man I bet you are just crying mom reading my e-mail to you! You probably never thought I would be like this uh! I know you and the family and all my friends are going to see a new Sister Hawkins, a new girl who isn't afraid anymore and who is strong and independent and has a strong testimony of the Gospel. You are going to see someone who is ready to start a new path and ready to hit it hard and have my loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ next to me to help, lead and guide me! I'm so grateful that I can share my mission with everyone back home and help their testimony grow and help them realize that anyone can be a missionary too!:) I love this work and I love this Gospel and I'm so grateful that I got to share it with ya'll and that I had the opportunity to serve my loving Heavenly Father! I love you and I can't wait to see you on Wednesday! Love you!

Love Sister Hawkins

The Walter family! They are the best ever!

My very last district!

The Sisters at the Hibachi Grill ... a super good place to eat!

Sister Cochran and I out for dinner my last time in Baytown!

A pretty sunset that I am not going to see anymore :(

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One week left!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hi Mom,

Well where do I begin to tell you about my week! So much to say but I feel like I don’t want to tell you everything because then I won’t have much to say for my homecoming talk but I will share the highlights of the week! It's been such a busy week that I just can't believe I am down to one week! Super crazy! I have been so blessed to be on a mission serving the Lord and experience so many miracles the last weeks of my mission! Last Monday was supposed to be zone p-day but it got cancelled the last minute because of the crazy rain that we’ve been having! Super crazy! Sister Cochran and I have been wearing our boots so we don’t ruin our church shoes!

The lessons with Hugo have been SUPER AMAZING!! I can't believe how much he is grasping onto this gospel! I love being a missionary and being an instrument for the Lord to help my dear brother come unto Christ and to make those covenants with God this coming Sunday! He is so ready for baptism; he is reading the Book of Mormon and he is loving everything that he is reading and he so often says, “This feels good! It makes sense!” He really wants this for his family because he knows it will bless his family so much! He is just the most Golden Investigator that I have ever had on my mission! It's super cool! :)

Kyra, the little ten year old I told you about last week, is doing good. She is grasping the lessons but not as well as we had planned so we are still going to be working with her this week! We are meeting with her to continue to help her be prepared for baptism on Saturday. She is such a sweet girl! I love her dearly. She gets excited when we come over to teach her! She is a brilliant little girl!

Well mom I don't know if I have told you about the "Hour of Power" that we are doing with our mission. We go to a member’s home and teach them a 10 minute lesson about Faith Unto Miracles! Then we ask the family to kneel in prayer before we leave to go tracting and then us missionaries tract for an hour and go find someone to teach that lives near them so they can have fellowship in the church! Well when I first heard about the new program idea from President Crawford I was a little hesitant about it but I knew I needed to do what President Crawford asked. So Sister Cochran and I were trying so hard to find a member on Thursday night at 5:50 p.m. to go and teach. Well we couldn't find a member that wasn't busy or at home so we texted our dinner appointment to pray for us that hour because she wasn't going to be home till later but that is the time we are all suppose to do it as a mission. Then Sister Cochran and I listened to the song “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and then we said a meaningful prayer, picked a street and went out tracting! We kept knocking but no one was interested but I just kept thinking about what Sister Cochran had said that day when we found Hugo, “There is going to be a miracle today!” So with that in mind, we kept knocking on doors. Then at the second to last door on the street there were kids and a mom who answered the door and we told the mom who we where and what we are doing as missionaries. She looked kind of hesitant to say yes. Then I felt prompted to say that we weren't from around here and that we left our families to come share this message of the Gospel that will bless your life and your family so much! Then she of course asked where we were from and then she looked at her boys and asked, “What do you think?” The boys said, “Yea we want to learn more!” So we said great and we set up a time to go back and teach their family! That was a cool experience to have with the "Hour of Power." I was so excited! It made the night so much more awesome! The reason why we do it on Thursdays at 5:50 p.m. is because the First Presidency is praying for us missionaries then and usually families eat at that time and they pray for missionaries and also all of us are always saying prayers. So our prayer was answered by finding a new investigator to go and teach the gospel too! :) Miracles do happen when you have faith and determination!

Also we had miracles happen this week with meeting two less active families that haven't been to church in a while. One night we were going to go tracting but I had the impression to go see a family and Sister Cochran got the impression to go try the family that we have been trying to see for a while now. And so we went and tried the Price Family! We saw no cars home but decided to give it a try anyways! We knocked on the door and the mom was home! We were so excited! She let us in and got to know us and we got to know her more. She admitted that she has been avoiding us for a bit because she just needed time for herself. We understood and told her we are just here to help her in whatever way she needed and that we loved her and her family even though we just met them! She told us that she likes us and that there is something different about us which was neat to hear! We got talking about the temple and making those small steps to get back to church! It was a great lesson with the Price Family! We are going to try to see them again this week! I'm excited to see them again!

The other miracle was that another family called us! Ever since I have been here in Baytown I have been trying to see the Soldos and never could see them with Sister Hatch or Sister Higley and so we got a call from them and they said they wanted to see us. So we made an appointment with them which they ended up having to cancel but then made a new one! They are such great amazing people but have just gotten out of the habit of church and they want help back! We had a very spiritual lesson with them! The spirit was in their home and we are also going to see them weekly to help them make those small steps to come back to church! These two families are so special and I am so blessed to see a miracle with them and to have the opportunity to go in their home and to help them feel the spirit and to bear my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that the Gospel will help them in their lives!

This last week has been super cool and even better this weekend to see an apostle of the Lord! That was the best ever! It was a little rough getting to Sugarland because the rain was so horrible. I was the driver and Sister Cochran and the other two Sisters that were with us were very grateful that I was the one driving. It was so cool because before we started our trip I felt like we needed to say a prayer to get there safely and so one of the Sisters said a prayer. On the way the rain was really bad and it was flooding some on the freeway. There was a section where you couldn't tell there was water and so we went into some water that scared us a bit but I stayed calm and I knew the Lord was helping me so much driving that morning! Then a few miles ahead there was a car that had stopped partly on the road as it was going off the exit and I had to hurry and swerve so I wouldn't hit the truck and the Sisters were all scared. All I said was, “It's okay because the Lord is watching over us and we are protected because we said a prayer!” So the Lord was with us driving! It was dark and it was raining so hard that morning but we got there safely to hear an Apostle of the Lord!

Elder Christofferson talked about how important it is to have companionship studies in the morning so that we will be prepared for the day to teach the Gospel. He also talked about our purpose as missionaries! Before the meeting we got to shake his hand and I looked into his eyes and I just felt so much love and peace knowing that the Lord loves me and is proud of me because of the things that I am doing for Him! I had so much fun seeing Elder Christofferson and all the missionaries in our mission! I was able to say goodbye to some of my friends of the mission! So that was a really neat experience! :)

Well that basically was my week; just super busy teaching the Gospel and teaching lessons. I could write about every day and tell you about all the lessons but I would be here for like a week to tell you of all my experiences of being a missionary and seeing peoples testimonies grow and how it's blessing their lives so much! It's super fantastic! I know this last week is going to go by super fast and I am not going to have time to get ready to pack and send stuff home but I know the Lord will provide me a way to get all ready to go home! Mom I will have one more e-mail day next week that will be my last one as a missionary! Just letting you know I will have one more p-day that will be normal and so I will be e-mailing next week!

Oh I want to tell you about a really cool gift that I got from the Galaviz family! They made me a Texas Clock! It's super cool. I will send you a picture so you can see it and also some other pictures that I haven't been able to send of the BattleShip Texas yet and other fun activities that Sister Cochran and have experienced like tracting in the pouring rain! It was super fun! I Love being a missionary! I love it!

Well I got to run and write President Crawford and send you pictures! I love you mom! :)

Love Sister Hawkins!

The Walter Family

I wish I had seen this when I was going through some
of my tough times on my mission ... I think it is cute!

Hanging out at the Stones!

The Stones bought this for me ... super cute!

At a members home ... they fed us!

Battle Ship Texas!

Sister Cochran and I

The group that went to Battle Ship Texas

I love Sister Cochran!

Eye, Eye Captain!

Our Valentines from the Elders ... since we can't eat
sweets we got bananas, grapes and and carrots!

We decorated the Elder's door!

Tracting in the pouring rain!

After we got home from tracting ...
my coat did not help much!!!

Visiting Sister Schaumburger who is back in the
hospital ... we were pretending to be on oxygen with her!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Working hard ... ending strong!

Well it is official, we received Emily's itinerary in the mail on Saturday.  She flies into Idaho Falls at 5:58 p.m. on February 29th.  She flies from Houston to Minneapolis to Salt Lake and finally to Idaho Falls. We are so excited to see her but also know she is sad to have to leave this amazing experience behind her.  She is working hard and ending strong.  We are just so proud of her.  As you will read in this latest letter, there are still many miracles happening in Baytown!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hey Mom,

Wow, what a crazy and super busy week! I can't believe I received all my flight plans. It just got me stressed trying to figure out how to get my bike home and to get some stuff mailed off to be sent home; but I'm not going to worry about that till next week! I can't believe I have been serving the Lord for 18 months! And mom do you know what is really crazy? I didn't even realize that I had hit my 18th month mark! I had an Elder tell me yesterday, since he came out with me, he was like, “Happy 18th Month mark!” Man I was shocked! I have just lost track of time and have just not been paying attention to time because we are just so busy in the work in Baytown! I can't believe how time is flying by!

Things are just going so great! I am having so much fun in Baytown and with my awesome companion! I owe Sister Cochran so much. She has helped me to change and has helped me get back on track to finish hard for my mission! I love her dearly and I don't think she knows how much she has really changed my life! Mom, she is such a hard working missionary and she has just helped me to have that desire back to serve and to forget myself and go to work! I feel like my old self again! It's so wonderful! It's so wonderful to have prayers morning and night and for studies and how we have companionship studies and how we laugh and smile! We just have a great time serving the Lord and truly are always thinking about our investigators! I don't think I have ever been so busy on my mission ever! Mom, I am just loving every minute that I have left to serve my Heavenly Father! I am not looking forward at all to coming home! I mean I love you all and miss you lots but serving the Lord is just something that I want to keep doing! Sister Cochran and I are always talking to each other about how much work there is to be done … like we just don't have time to breathe! I don't want to leave this area and the people we are teaching and helping come unto Christ! Being a missionary is truly a big blessing and I know so much more about my loving Heavenly Father and his Beloved Son Jesus Christ! I can't believe how much I have grown in the Gospel and how my Testimony is so much stronger!

We have a lot of great new investigators in Baytown! Hugo is just Golden! Even though he didn't come to church yet, we stay in great contact with him and we are teaching him tonight and tomorrow night! We had such a wonderful Church Tour with Hugo and it was great because President Crawford was there! And boy, Sister Cochran and I were really prepared for the lesson that day; we studied and we prayed for the Lord's help and the Spirit was super strong at the church even though there were so many things going on at the building while we were there. It was a little scary at first having President Crawford there, but you can feel the love from President Crawford! We had a great lesson at the end of the tour and when we committed him to baptism, he was quiet at first and he was looking at the baptismal picture and then he shook his head and said, “Yes, this is what I want! Yes!” Then we committed him to be baptized on February 26th and asked him to be prepared by then. He looked at us and said yes! And man that was such the coolest thing! I loved the spirit there! And then we asked him to pray at the end and well he was hesitant and asked to pass it to President Crawford. Well President liked that but took over to help him to pray because if we have them pray it's the first step telling us that they really want this Gospel and they are willing to make those changes in life! So President explained prayer in steps and Hugo said the closing prayer! The spirit was strong during that lesson! It was so neat to experience and I will treasure this in my heart forever! President Crawford called us later that night and told us how good we did and how we used lots of scriptures and that he was very proud of us! So that was awesome to hear!

We have four new investigators this week! Crazy cool uh! So this next week is gonna be super busy with appointments and also seeing and hearing from an apostle of the Lord …Elder Christofferson. Two of the investigators are Sister Schaumburger’s friends that moved in with her to help her out after her surgery. She is home from the hospital now and is doing super well! Her friends asked us questions one night about the difference between Catholics and Mormons? We told them there are some differences but we didn’t answer all their questions … well in a way we did because we told them that is what we come share with everyone. We told them we teach them about the Gospel and how we are different and how we have the Priesthood Authority. We asked them if they would like to learn more and they said yes they would love too! They also said they wouldn't have a problem coming to church because they need to help Sister Schaumburger get to church! So we are excited that we get to start teaching them tomorrow!

We also have an investigator from the Galaviz family; it's their 10 year old granddaughter who wants to get baptized. She is super excited and her baptism date is for the 26th of February also! So we are having fun teaching her! The last new investigator is a part member family. They are a young couple who are just starting their family. The wife is three months along and she wants to learn about the church and we are also going to try and help the husband come back to church so they can work towards the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity! So it's just super crazy busy but it's so awesome the things that I am learning while preparing for the lessons and the things that I study just touche my heart and makes me love the Gospel even more!

Mom guess who I got to see last night? Well for starters, last night was our first performance for the Texas Houston East Mission Choir, "Come Unto Christ" and we were in Kingwood and I got to see Monica! It was so awesome to see her! She is doing well. You might remember that I told you she got married a while ago and now she is 16 weeks pregnant! She is gonna add me on facebook and tell me when they find out if they are having a boy or a girl so you are gonna need to help me when I get home to make a cute towel for their new child! But she is loving married life and having the family in the Gospel! She just has changed so much! She said they are still planning on October for the Temple! So I get to make a road trip in October! But Monica said I need to come see them earlier and not wait until October but I told her I will see what I can do! But it was a blessing to see her last night!

Oh, mom there is so much to talk about but there is not really much time as today is Zone P-day! My last Zone P-day!! We have to be in Eagle Spring between 1:30 and 2:00 and so we have to be super quick today. I will have to send you pictures next week, just no time today! I wanted to let you know I did get my package and thanks so much, I'm glad the pictures worked! I'm super excited to see the missionary movie Melanie is making me! So are ya'll gonna wait to add more pictures of when I get off the plane at the end of the movie? I was just wondering. Oh mom … a request if I can. When I get off the plane do you think we could get me a Jamba Juice because I know I will be super hungry and I know we will probably have to be quick to get back to Shelley for me to be released that night but I'm looking forward to having some Jamba Juice! Especially the one with pomegranate because it doesn't have any acid fruits in it! But I guess we will have to see!

Well mom I have to write President, but I love you and thanks for all you and dad too! I love you so much and I'm working hard the last two weeks! :) I'll write to you soon! Have a great week! Love ya!

Love Sister Hawkins!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Miracles happening in Baytown!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Dear Mom,

Wow, what an amazing week! We had hard times and we had good times! I just want to say that the Gospel is so true and that God's plan is the plan we need to follow and apply to our lives! I have had a great week that has strengthened my testimony so much and it's making me sad that my time is running out because I want to keep having these experiences that just touch my life so much! Well I don't have much time today because we are going to Battleship Texas so that should be fun. The other missionaries haven't been before, just I have! Super Excited!

Well to start off we had an awesome miracle happen on Wednesday that I just have to share! Super cool! I thought about keeping it to share with ya'll at my homecoming but it's too cool and I just have to share it! Sister Cochran and I are super excited! Wednesday was turning out to be a really hard day because things were not going well and it was not a very pretty day weather wise as it had been raining off and on all day! That morning Sister Cochran had a doctor’s appointment and then for lunch we went grocery shopping since we had just received our new missionary funds for the month and had no food in the house, especially with my silly diet! After that we visited with a lady named Sondra that we had previously met on Monday and set up an appointment with her on Wednesday. She had never heard of Mormons or LDS and so on when she saw us again she was just so excited to see us so that was pretty neat. After our visit with Sondra we went home and ate but Sister Cochran wasn't feeling too well so she took a little nap and then we were off again to do more missionary work. We tried to see people but they weren't home and we were really struggling to know what to do. It was not a good time to go tracting yet as no one would be home during the day. We tried visiting another person but she wasn't having a good day so we didn't really stay too long. After visiting with her, we tried a couple more people but no one was home. Sister Cochran decided we should just go tracting anyway so she picked a street and we went to it. The houses were all colorful and it started to rain again and it looked like a lot of Spanish people lived there so we knew if we went tracting on that street that it would not be productive because we can't speak Spanish; then it started to rain harder.

We both didn’t know what to do and neither one of us really felt like tracting but realized we needed to and one of us needed to make a decision. So I stepped up and made the decision. I decided we were not going to tract on the street we were currently on and after looking at the map I decided we were going to tract on Mabry Street. I also decided we were going to tract the street no matter what it looked like and even if there were a lot of Spanish people living there. So we drove to the street and the rain had let up again. It was a really long street and I suggested that we park in the middle of the street and just start in the middle and go to the end of the street. But Sister Cochran decided we should just park at the end and start at the beginning and so that is what we did. After tracting and walking a ways, it started to sprinkle! I looked at Cochran and said, “Let’s sing songs or talk and just be happy right now!” So we started to sing "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ" and we were having a good time. We knocked on several doors and no one was interested and the time was moving so slow! I was going crazy! Soon we saw this guy sitting on his porch just watching us. We knocked on a couple more doors and then went to his house.

As we were walking up to him he had a friend that came out to get something from the car and they both laughed and I thought to myself, “This guy might bash on us or make fun of us and this is going to add to the already hard day we were having!” Well guess what? I was so wrong! The guy was so nice and his name is Hugo! He is a very funny guy and so awesome! We told him who we were and what we do and we asked if we could come back and teach him more. He said, “I have a few minutes right now.” And WOW, that blew both of us away! So we sat on his porch and we were talking with Hugo and started teaching the first lesson. I was thinking of inspired questions that I really have never asked anyone before and we taught him all of lesson one and it was just so cool. During the lesson he told us how a couple of days earlier there were Sisters visiting with his mom that were Mormons and they wanted to make tortillas and see her again. They were the Spanish missionaries. So his mom had told him about these missionaries that had come to see her and he thought to himself, “I want to meet them.” He then told us how he said a prayer and asked God if one day he could meet the Sister missionaries. And then apparently earlier when Sister Cochran and I were walking down the street, he saw us and he wondered if it was the Sisters or Mormons that met with his mom. He told us he was waiting on his porch for us. We then told him that we were the answer to his prayer.

We then got to the First Vision and Sister Cochran got a picture from the pamphlet we give out and she gave him the picture of Joseph Smith’s First Vision! While she was reciting the first vision I was looking at Sister Cochran and then I looked up at Hugo and he was just looking at the picture and just wouldn't take his eyes off the picture! When she was done telling the story we asked Hugo what he was feeling and he said, “Wow, this is me. This is what I am going through right now.” He had tears in his eyes. Then I started to tell him about the Book of Mormon and he was like, “Look at my arms, I have goose bumps!” And he really did. I then told Hugo that it was the spirit telling him and testifying to him that the things we were telling him were true. It was so cool. The spirit was there and he was like, “This is what I need and maybe this is what can help me and my family.” We testified to him how the Gospel blesses families and how we are brought closer together in the gospel to help our families grow stronger. It was so cool!

Well we got his information we kinda committed him to baptism. He said he wants to get baptized but we didn't set a date. But we have an appointment on Tuesday (tomorrow) to do a church tour and guess who is going to be there … President Crawford! Yep, for real! During our weekly planning we were figuring out who could come with us to go on the church tour and President Crawford kept popping into my head. So I asked Sister Cochran what she thought and she didn't think he would be able to since he is so busy but she said that I could call him so I did. And man I was so scared to call and asked. He told me that he didn’t have anything planned for that day and that he would love to come! So President Crawford is going to be in our Church Tour appointment with Hugo and we are going to set a baptism date for Hugo with President Crawford there! So that is going to be so much fun tomorrow! NO PRESSURE!! Only our mission President is going to be there. But I think it's cool he can come and help us teach the Gospel!

Well after our experience with Hugo, the rest of the evening went well! I think the Lord tested Sister Cochran and me to see what we were going to do with all the oppositions we were having that day. But we stuck it out! I will admit though, I just wanted to go in and not work and be lazy because it was a sad day with things not working out and I was wondering what was happening because we have been having such a good time going out and teaching and seeing people and now this. But it was a learning experience! I loved what Sister Cochran said earlier that day, “Don't worry, there will be a miracle today!” And it was so true! So True!

Well yesterday was an emotional day! It was my last Fast and Testimony Meeting! The Spirit was so strong! I was crying the whole time and I knew I needed to share my testimony before I go so I got up and bore my testimony. All I can remember really is telling whoever is preparing to go on a mission needs to go because it’s such a wonderful thing that they will have their whole life to look back upon it. I told them I have learned so much about the gospel and the Book of Mormon that it just really has blessed my life! And yesterday I was thinking while I was sitting in Church that next Fast Sunday I'm going to be sitting next to you Mom! How crazy is that?!? Wow, time is moving so fast! I can't believe my time serving the Lord is almost done! But it's been so much fun and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve the Lord.

Well I have to go because it's time to hurry and go shopping and then head to Battleship Texas! Yeah I'm so excited! Well I got to go! I love you and can't wait to hear from you! Oh I was wondering if you can get me some dried Mango there at Sams Club … they are so good! If not it's all good! I love you! Have a great week!

Love Sister Hawkins!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Working hard to the very end!

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm going to continue to work super hard to the very last day so I can Return With Honor and say "WE" Did It! That the Lord and I did it! My family and friends and I did it! I'm so grateful for the love and support from home and the many prayers that have been given to get me through this mission! I'm so grateful for my mission and for the things that I have learned! Going on a mission has been the best thing that I have ever done in my life and I'm so grateful that I have made it to the end! :) I'm going to finish strong!

I don’t usually start her post with the end of her letter but this week she ended her letter with such power and gratitude that I wanted to begin her post with it. We can’t believe her mission is almost over. Many mixed emotions for both Emily and her family. We will forever be grateful for this experience! Now enjoy her letter from the beginning!

Hi Mom,

I had a busy week and it went by quick! Wow, two weeks are gone! That is super crazy! We got to eat dinner with President Pomeroy and his wife this past week! He is one of the counselor’s in the Mission Presidency! That is always so fun because I learn so much from him when we share messages with them! They just have so much knowledge of the gospel that it's so crazy! It's because they study everyday and are doing those small and simple things that the Lord asks of us every day!

We got to see Sister Schaumburger in the hospital and man, I have never seen so many tubes on a person; it reminded me of when Kadie and Ella were born early and had so many tubes. Poor Sister Schaumburger just looked so miserable. She had to have double bypass surgery and when we saw her she had tubes in her mouth and she couldn't talk so she wrote on paper and it was so sad! But the surgery went super well! When we were visiting her, I talked to the nurses asking questions for her because she just didn't know much at all or what was going on so I asked questions to makes sure things are going okay and that she is progressing well and the hospital was so nice! There was a nurse there that made me think of Rachel and how she is a nurse now. I saw Rachel when she was a CNA and around the elderly and this nurse was like Rachel; so kind and understanding. That was just a wonderful blessing to think about because I just wanted Sister Schaumburger to have the best care! But she is progressing slowly but doing well. We always sing her church hymns when we go see her and she feels so much better when we do that! :) Hymns are a powerful thing and can certainly bring in the spirit for sure! :)

We saw some awesome people this past week and did lots of lessons! In fact we did 26 lessons this week! I was so happy that we passed our goals this week! It was so awesome! We have been trying some referrals that we have and it's sad when people are just not home. But no worries … maybe that day was not a good day to try them so you got to try another day! I was pretty sad this last week because we went to go see a recent convert family and they aren't doing well at all. It was sad to see that they have gotten out of the habit of scripture reading and praying and the spirit was not there. My heart just broke for them. Sister Cochran and I are going to work with them and help them come back and help them understand the importance of having a habit of scripture study and prayer. It's important to have that in your life because it helps the spirit to be with you throughout the day and gives you that direction that you need during the day!

We had a crazy day on Wednesday! We had some service planned and then some people we were going to try to see. Well the service fell through because there was a storm coming! We tried to do service at another place but they didn't need any help that day. We had lots of papers to go through from the Elders area since we are now over it and so we went through papers for a while. Well then the storm came! It was so funny because there is a chiropractor in Baytown that works on missionaries for free and this particular day there were Sisters from the Porter area and they were in town to see the chiropractor and they stopped by to have lunch with us. Well during lunch we got a text from the Zone Leaders telling us to stay inside till further notice and so we had Sister Hickin and Sister Baldwin with us during the storm! We had a fun time talking, sharing pictures and just having fun. We received the text telling us to stay in at about 11:30 a.m. and we had to stay in till 2:00 p.m.! Yeah the storm was pretty bad; there was lots of rain, lightning and thunder. When you looked out front our door there was like a mini stream flowing by! Yep lots of rain, so there was some flooding happening! It was crazy! But we had a fun time! :)

Storming outside ... having fun inside
with Sister Hickin and Sister Baldwin!

I had an interview with President Crawford this week! That was fun to see President and Sister Crawford, even though I will be hanging out with them again in a month! We had a good talk and he kept encouraging me to work super hard for the last 4 weeks that I have left! And Sister Crawford was so cute; she tried to offer me a muffin that she makes for the missionaries but I told her I can't have it. She has been so proud of me for how well I have been doing on my special diet. I can't believe how long I have stuck with this but it's nice not feeling sick or having stomach pains. But I can't wait to see a doctor! Sister Cochran really wants me to see her doctor; she really thinks he can help me out and so I would like to go see him and see what he can do for me!

Guess who we got to see this week? The Walter Family! They are so awesome. I love them lots. They can't believe I'll be heading home soon and they are so awesome with helping us missionaries send packages home! They are the best! So I will be sending another package, it will be the week before I get home and so I will have it when I get home! And also that is the same week I will be sending my bike home too, but it won’t go through the Walters mailing company, the mission has stuff to send bikes home. So I want to know where you want me to send my bike. Do you want me to send it to your work or home? Just let me know, I just don't want my bike to get stolen if it sits on the front porch ya know! But anyways I'm so excited because this week we are having dinner with the Walters family and we are going to do our best to see them every week before I go home so that's gonna be super fun!

This week was also great because we had three church tours. I know I have mentioned church tours in the past but we exceeded our goal and got three this week! It was so awesome. We had one with a new investigator and we had President Pomeroy with us and our investigator liked the church tour we gave him and he wants to change his life and get closer to God and make changes in his life to make him happier. We are excited to work with him. He used to be an investigator with the Elders but then he moved and lost contact. We tried his phone number and he answered and we set up an appointment and so forth! So we are excited to work with Preston! We have a dinner set up with members that have little kids and Preston is going to come with us and we are going to be teaching him! Can't wait!

So guess what mom, in District Meeting they announced that there is an apostle coming to our Mission! And guess who it is.... It's Elder Christofferson! I'm super excited! He is coming on the 17th of February! So crazy! I love his talks; they are all so good and wonderful! So I get to meet him and shake his hand! I can't believe I get to see another apostle before I come home! So crazy! And also the Texas Houston East Mission Choir that I am in is performing on the 12th of February and I'm so excited for that because I thought I wasn't gonna be able to perform in the choir! So there are a lot of events that are going to be happening in February! There is a Zone Conference also and I will bear my testimony since I am going home the end of the month! I'm nervous for that because there will be lots of missionaries there!

Also I want to let you know that transfers are changing starting with this next transfer! They are different so I want to let you know I am not coming home on the 28th of February anymore! Sad Day! Not really, I get one more day in the mission field! I will be coming home on February 29th! Leap Year! Lol! So ya, I still don't have my flight plans as they are still trying to figure the new way to do transfer stuff. So I will be returning home on Wednesday. It's crazy because on Tuesday the whole mission is meeting together and we will see the new missionaries coming in and then all the missionaries will hear from the departing missionaries which will be me! Pretty crazy! So I will get to talk to the ENTIRE mission before I go! It will be awesome because then I will get to see all my friends before I go leave so that is super cool!

I'm having so much fun with my companion! Sister Cochran is so cool and she is such a hard worker. It's awesome the fire and the energy that she has! Mom you have no idea how thankful I am for her; she has truly helped me get back on my feet and to work so hard. She is helping me to change every day and she is the best example ever! We get along so well and we just laugh and talk and just have the best of times! We haven't had an argument or any fights. We get along great! It was nice, yesterday she told me I was easy to live with and that just blew my mind away. I guess I have changed that much that I am easy to live with so that's super cool to know that I have changed a lot! So mom, be prepared for a new daughter! :)

Sister Cochran and I on our way to an appointment!

We LOVE and I mean we LOVE PISTOCHOS!!!!
Yummmy good!

It's crazy… I was looking at the calendar yesterday marking off the days to see what day is next and I was like wow, “I have one month left! I have 30 days left to work and do the very best that I can do for the Lord!” I can't believe that time is fast approaching for me to come home; my time is short! But I know I will have awesome experiences till I go home! I'm going to continue to work super hard to the very last day so I can Return With Honor and say "WE" Did It! That the Lord and I did it! My family and friends and I did it! I'm so grateful for the love and support from home and the many prayers that have been given to get me through this mission! I'm so grateful for my mission and for the things that I have learned! Going on a mission has been the best thing that I have ever done in my life and I'm so grateful that I have made it to the end! :) I'm going to finish strong!

Well mom I love ya and I'm greatful for all the things you do to help me out! YOU ARE THE BEST MOM EVER! Love you mom have a great week!

Love Sister Hawkins!

My very last planner to decorate!

There is a run down old hospital that we think got
destroyed from past hurricanes and so last p-day we and some
Elders went inside and man that was super crazy and a fun crazy!
But we were safe no worries and we left
a mormon.org inside for people ... it was cool!