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!

Monday, January 23, 2012

An Awesome Week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dear Mom,

Wow, where do I begin telling you about the AWESOME week I had! It has been so much fun with Sister Cochran. We have been working hard and having so much fun laughing and just going out and teaching … it’s just been the best! She is just so much fun and we both have that desire to work hard and she wants my last five weeks to be super fun and the best!

During the first part of the week we were in a trio because Sister Tanner’s new companion did not arrive until later in the week. So she was with us until early Thursday morning and then we had to take her to Eagle Springs to go get her new companion because she is training! I think she was very nervous and probably scared to train but I know the Lord will help her out! Her new companion is Sister Hyde and we got to meet her when they were driving through Baytown! She is really nice and I'm excited for both of them for the wonderful work they are going to do in Lake Charles, Louisiana!

The rest of the day Thursday we were at home because poor Sister Cochran got sick. We woke up at 2:30 in the morning and she wasn't well at all and she was in pain and felt like her skin was on fire. She was really hurting and had the chills! I suggested we call the District Leader and have the Elders come over and give her a blessing. She didn't want to at first because she felt bad about waking them up but I did it anyway because she was really hurting! So I called and called and called and there was no answer which I thought was really weird! I decided to call the ward mission leader, Brother Stone, because he was working nights and I knew we would not be waking him up. But when I called him, he too didn't answer so I left a message. Then something really cool happened. Brother Stone was at work and felt like he needed to go check his phone and when he got to his phone he saw that he had just barely missed our call and listen to our voicemail and then called us back. How cool is that! Well I told him what was going on and that we couldn’t get a hold of the Elders and wondered if we should call the Zone Leaders and see what they wanted us to do. Brother Stone told us to do that because he could not leave work but he wanted us to keep him informed on what was going on. Poor Sister Cochran was just not feeling well and she couldn't believe all the calls I was making in the middle of the night. I then called the Zone Leaders and told them what was going on and they suggested we try calling the district leaders again and that maybe she just needed to go to the hospital. As soon as I got off the phone with the Zone Leaders the Elders called. But by the time they had finally called the Ibuprophen that Sister Cochran had taken was starting to kick in and she was feeling a little less pain. The Elders told us their phone had been on vibrate and that is why they missed our call but they told us to call back if she started feeling worse again. Yeah, it was a crazy night for us! But hey it's a night that all of us missionaries will never forget!

So do you remember how I told you last week that we were taking over the Elders area here in Baytown? Well this last week we took over one of their investigators that was ready and scheduled for baptism! So we had to teach Roman the last two lessons and get his interview schedules so he was ready to go! We got everything done and so we had a baptism yesterday! Roman is an awesome kid! He is shy but he has a lot of knowledge and he has a strong testimony of the Gospel and a strong spirit about him. It was neat to be able to teach him a couple of times! Elder Taney and Elder Tracy got to come back for the baptism so that was really cool! Because Elder Tracy was transferred to Port Arthur and Elder Taney to Sulpher, Louisiana, it was a long drive for both of them! A member drove each of them so that was awesome! It was such a spiritual baptism! The spirit was so strong there. Elder Tracy and Taney bore their testimonies and the spirit was just so strong! Mom, I wish you could have been there! Elder Tracy told about how Roman knew the Book of Mormon was true. He told us about how after one of the lessons they had Roman say the prayer. His prayer was a simple, sweet prayer. They told how Roman asked God if the ... he then paused for moment and the room filled with the spirit, and then Roman continued on with his prayer asking if the Book of Mormon was true. After the prayer, Roman explained to the Elders why he had paused. He told them he didn't want to bother God asking him the question when he already knew the Book of Mormon was true! Man that was just so powerful to hear! Elder Tracy can tell the story way better than me of course! I took pictures at the baptism so I will send them to you today. So that was fun this week!

Elder Taney, Roman, and Elder Tracy

Elders, Roman, Me and Sister Cochran

Us with Brother Lopez ... he baptized Roman

Roman's Mother, sister and brother

We spent this week introducing Sister Cochran to some of the members as well as some less actives. We visited Sister Schaumburger in the hospital and she isn't doing good mom! Her friend Kevin took her to the hospital last Monday because she was having a hard time breathing and she has been there for a week now! She is having some surgery today and she is really scared and so I am just worried today! Supposedly she is in surgery this morning and there is some family that is gonna keep us informed but we haven't heard anything yet! Mom it's gonna be so hard if the Lord takes her now! I don't think I am ready for that but I know it's God's plan for whatever happens to her! I know that he will take care of her! She has such great faith and she knows that things are going to be okay! We didn't have time to see her yesterday but we got to see her on Saturday and I called her last night to tell her that I love her and that I am praying for her! I know God takes care of all His Children and that he has a plan for all of us! I know that to be true!

Well I have been reading the Book of Mormon again and it's just awesome the things I am learning and how I am understanding the stories more and more! I am almost done with 2 Nephi; I will finish it tonight! Like I wrote last week, my goal is to finish it before I come home! I am behind on my Doctrine and Covenants reading but I should catch up in the next couple of days I hope! But I'm just loving my early morning studies! I feel so much better prepared for the day to go out and to serve my loving Heavenly Father! In Relief Society yesterday they were talking about the power and authority of scriptures and what they can do for us! Sister Carraway, the teacher, asked us missionaries to add some thought into the lesson. We shared what it says in Alma 17:2-3 where it's talking about the sons of Mosiah and how when Alma finally sees them again after being apart from each other, he rejoices in finding out they have remained super strong in the gospel and that they were continuing to study and learn so they could be strong missionaries for the Lord and teach with the power and authority. We told how that is like us as missionaries; if we don't do our studies and do not prepare in the morning then we can't be prepared to go teach the people the Gospel of Jesus Christ! And so it's super important for us to get up and do our studies so we can teach with the authority!

Oh and guess what also happened yesterday! We got a call in the morning from the Sunday School teacher who wasn't feeling well and she asked us to teach her lesson. Sister Cochran has lost her voice from being sick and having a sore throat so that morning I did my studying and got a lesson ready in an hour and was ready to teach the class. Sister Cochran was awesome; she stood up there with me even though she didn’t speak; she was great support! The lesson went well! It was lesson 3 in Gospel Principles and I learned so much about Free Agency and understanding more about this wonderful gift God has given us to be able to make our own choices in this life. I just learned so much and I would love to tell you all about it but I really need to write some other people today! But I want you to know that I just love being a missionary and love all the cool things that I am learning about and how I am becoming more like my Savior Jesus Christ everyday!

This last week went by so fast; I just know that these next five weeks are going to be super fast! I can't believe it's already week two of my last transfer! Soon next week I will be half done with my transfer! Super crazy! This next week or the next I think we are having interviews with President Crawford. It's going to be weird to have one with him now and then one with him when I am ready to return home. I don't know the exact date yet when I fly in, other missionaries tell me that I don't get it until 2 or 3 weeks before I leave! So I might come home on Tuesday or Wednesday! Still don't know, but when I know I will get the information to you as soon as I can! Well I love you and I miss you so much! Things are just going so great and I'm just loving every minute that I have left as a missionary! I love you mom! Have a great week! Take Care!

Love Sister Hawkins!

This is at the Galaviz house and it is real!
Brother Galaviz is from the army!
Sweet uh! But don't worry ... it's not loaded!

That's the moon shiny through ... cool uh!

This is the poster for our upcoming fireside that I am singing in.
(Texas Houston East Mission Choir)
 I am so excited I get to perform in one before I come home!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Last transfer ... only six weeks left!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hi Mom,

Well guess where the Lord wants me to be for the last six weeks of my mission in the Texas Houston East Mission! It's.......Baytown! Yep, I am finishing my mission in Baytown, Texas! Everyone in the ward is super excited that I am still here in Baytown! So I still have work to do in this area! I have a new companion and her name is Sister Jeana Cochran and she is from Logan Utah. She loves scarves and she loves the music by singer Justin Bieber! Yep for real, she is lots of fun. She loves to laugh and have a good time! Yesterday was kinda hard for her because she was in her last area for only six weeks and she gets attached to people easily so it was hard for her to leave!

New companion, Sister Cochran

Some more news about this transfer … well on Friday night the Elders in our area, Elder Tracy and Elder Taney, got a call from the assistants and were told that they are getting FLUSHED OUT OF THE AREA and that the area is getting CLOSED! They were told that the Sisters are taking over their area! Yep for real! So lots of stress on my shoulders. I was totally in shock when I heard the news from the Elders Friday night; I couldn't believe it and I didn't know yet if I was getting transferred or if Sister Higley was so Saturday was the longest day waiting to hear about transfers. We finally got our call at nine o'clock that night and were told that said Sister Higley was getting transferred and I was staying. A whole bunch of stuff went through my head. I have to take over the Elders area and also do work in our area. The Elders have a baptism this weekend and they have been working hard with this 16 year old kid Roman and they worked with him for three transfers and now they are leaving! So I was thinking, “How in the world am I going to do this?” I was like, “aahhh!” Well you know me, I called up Sister Kinikini. I called her to say goodbye but also to ask for her advice. She was a big help and a great encourager and said, “Girl, this is going to be good for you for the last six weeks of your mission.” She said I am going to be so busy and working so hard that I am not going to have time to focus on how much longer I have on my mission! So that was really cool to realize! I did also go to my Heavenly Father in prayer and just asked Him for help; help to lead this area and to be given a companion who is a hard worker, likes to have fun, is outgoing and someone who is going to help me stay focused and not get sidetracked! And the Lord really answered my prayer! I am really looking forward to working with Sister Cochran; we have had fun the last 24 hours so it's gonna be super good!

Well this last week was super busy and crazy! First I want to let you know that Brother Stone and his wife went and bought me shoes and we had a fun time shopping for the shoes. So last Monday on our P-day after our e-mailing and shopping, I called up Brother Stone and he and his wife were grateful that I called and finally agreed to let them get me some new shoes. They wanted to get me good shoes to last the remainder of my mission so I won’t have to worry anymore about my shoes and so we went to store after store looking for some really good shoes. It was fun but a crazy fun at the same time. We found shoes that I liked the style but they didn't have any in my size. So we stopped shopping for a bit and did FHE with them and then we drove to Channelview and still found no shoes down there either. Finally we went to good old Payless Shoes and just bought the same kind of shoes that I have been wearing my whole mission. I just hope they can last me six weeks and still look nice for my final day! But the weather has been super crazy and every other day has been rainy and so I wear my boots one day and then my shoes, so I think that is a blessing from the Lord!

The Temple last week was just so amazing and guess who got to come again! She drove the missionaries up to help save them miles! Yep, Sister Smith from La Porte! It was so good to see her! And it was so cute because she got emotional before we went in when she realized that I am going home soon and that she won't see me anymore! And it got me thinking like wow, it's just around the corner and that I am coming home soon! But the Temple was amazing! I got to see Sister Kinikini one more time (she flies home today), and I just sat in the celestial room to ponder and think and pray about things. l just looked around and just enjoyed the peace and didn't think about much but I just wanted so badly to stay inside forever! I loved it in there!

Me and Sister Higley

The Sisters in my Zone

Me and Sister Kinikini

Me and Sister Smith

We are really going to miss each other!

I love the Houston Temple!

It was a fun trip and I got to have some JAMBA JUICE!!! Man I miss that store; in my entire area they don't have that kind of a store and so on our road trip back from the temple Sister Higley and I got JAMBA JUICE! And man that was just so delicious! I loved every sip! So mom when I come home and get off the plane we are going to get me some JAMBA JUICE!!!! Hmmmm.... Or just have one there for me … I love the pomegranate one! Get me the biggest size! Yummmy!!!! :)

Love my Jamba Juice!

Well I had a great lesson with Erika and Silva, a family we are working with in the ward to brighten their spirits and help them come closer to Jesus Christ. We are working with them on their scripture reading. I was bearing my Testimony to Erika and Silva about how important it is to read 10 minutes a day and how it can really help their lives so much and how it will help keep our minds from always thinking about the worldly things! I just felt the spirit so amazingly and I haven't felt that way in a long time, but I just know it's true! Reading your scriptures every day just really helps you have that connection to our Loving Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ! It's so important to learn the stories and to apply them to ourselves! So powerful! Loved it! So I hope all the family is reading their scriptures 10 minutes a day! It's going to bless your life so much more!

Tracting this past week was really cool. We met this awesome lady named Melissa and there was something about her that was different. We were on her street trying to see a less active member and while we were driving by she was just smiling at us and we waved. Well things fell through with the person we went to go see so we parked the car a ways up from where we had waved at Melissa and I just felt like we needed to go tracting. We haven't done much of that lately and so I told Sister Higley we needed to tract. I suggested we do the street we were on and not waste miles or waste time finding another street. I said, “Let’s do this one!” So we did and we met a guy that knew about us Mormons. He told us he had a friend who was Mormon and at their wedding this friend gave out Books of Mormon as Thank You gifts … pretty sweet uh! We met another lady named Rachel who had just moved into Baytown so we are going to try her this week. She was a little shy and going to be busy with school but she said we could stop by.

But then came the door that belonged to Melissa. She was so nice and she had questions for us. She was busy with her grandchildren when we came but she told them to do their homework and we visited with her for about 10 minutes. Sister Higley gave her a Book of Mormon and I explained where the Book of Mormon came from. She admitted to us that she is scared to open the book and read it. I just bore my testimony that the Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ and it testifies of Him and there are prophets in the book that teach us of Jesus Christ. I told her that we don't take anything away from the Bible but we use them both together! She was excited for us to come back next week to teach her more and I was excited we got to meet her! Well today we stopped by to see Melissa before e-mailing and she was sick and she said she was sorry. We told her it was okay and that we would try next week because Mondays and Tuesdays are best for her! When we were walking off, she opened the door again and yelled to us, “Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate it!” So I am hoping and praying for Melissa that the Lord is preparing her to learn more and we also invited her to come to church so we shall see! So I'm excited about that!

We are working with this lady named Theresa and she is awesome. She has had missionaries forever! She has been dropped and then picked up again to teach and dropped again and we have picked her up again. She had questions from the Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants and so we asked the 1st counselor in the Mission Presidency, President Pomeroy who lives in our ward to help us and it was just a great lesson. He answered all her questions and he started where he needed to in the Book of Mormon because she had a question in Jacob and it was so good. Then Sister Higley and I had kinda prepared a lesson about Enos and about prayer and the spirit was just so amazing! She was tearing up and she loved the story about Enos and it was so cool and we all bore our testimonies and it was neat! The other times that I have met her and have taught her, she hasn't cried so that was just really cool! Can't wait to teach her again this week! We are going to take a different route teaching her the lessons and just take certain points and really focus on those certain points and take time for each point because she has had the lessons a lot and so I think if we go in a little more detail it's gonna be better for her and she will know the truth and want to be a member of our church!

Well something funny happened with one of our members whose home we eat at a lot … the Harris family! Sister Harris is the one that trimmed my hair! So we had dinner plans with them the other day and we asked them if they could pick us up for dinner since we are limited on miles and we had used a lot to go to the temple. They picked us up and on the way to their house they were telling us about the lasagna Brother Harris had made and how good it was gonna be and how they left it on low for a while to continue to cook. They made a joke like, “Yeah hopefully we don't go home and the apartment is burning down!” Well guess what … we pulled up to their apartment and Sister Harris heard this beeping sound outside! She wondered if it was their apartment and ran to the door and the beeping was from their apartment! She opened the door and all this smoke comes out of their apartment and I mean smoke! Lots of smoke! She ran inside and turned off the oven and opened it up and the lasagna had boiled over and burned on the bottom of the stove. The Elders quickly helped open the windows and took the batteries out of the fire alarms. They put fans in the windows and we all went out to eat instead and we all smelled so bad! We were all laughing about it and we had a good time at dinner though! But it's something I'm never gonna forget! It was so funny!

Well I hope you enjoy this e-mail … that is pretty much all I have for this week. I could write more but I still have to write to President Crawford and some other people before we have to go and I want to send ya'll some pictures! But I love you mom and thanks for all you do! I hope to hear from you soon. Let everyone know I am still in Baytown with the same address and I will let you know about my flight information as soon as I get it. I don't know anything yet but they did call last week asking what airport I am flying in to and I told them Idaho Falls! So any day I think it will come! So yep! Ya'll have a great week! Love ya lots!

Love Sister Hawkins!

Texas and US Flags

My district just before Transfers!

A fun cake Sister Galaviz made ...
I couldn't eat it but I thought it was really cute!

We are working with the Neilson family ...
they have super sweet kids!

Pretty clouds!

Monday, January 9, 2012

No Extension ... Returns the end of February!!!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Hi Mom,

Well what a morning! Even last night! At 3:00 in the morning I got woken up by loud thunder and lightning! It was super scary and it was just pouring down rain! This morning there was a text from the Assistant to the President saying there was a tornado warning and that we had to stay inside and away from the windows! Yeah super scary! Luckily the warning has ended and we got the okay to go do p-day. But man, the rain is just pouring down in buckets and buckets! It's super crazy! We were doing laundry this morning and I wore my flip flops to the laundry room because I didn't want to get my shoes all wet! We are at the library now and it's still raining; I can hear the rain! We were driving to the library and one of the streets was really bad, we almost didn't get through it because it was really flooded! It's kinda scary weather right now! I think after we are done e-mailing we are going to head home! I don't think we are going to go get food today! The weather is really bad. Who knows if the weather is still like this tomorrow, I don't know if we will still go to the Temple! But we will see how everything goes!

Rainy, rainy day in Baytown!

Well I had a really fun weekend! Why? Well I got to be with Sister Kinikini for 24 Hours! Yep, super fun! I love that girl so much! It's sad she's gonna be leaving in a week! It's sad because when I'm struggling and having a hard day sometimes she will text me or call me up to see how I am doing. So six weeks is gonna be a long time till I hear from her again! Super crazy! Sister Kinikini is from Kearns Utah and she will be speaking one the 22nd of January! Pretty sweet uh! I really hope you can go listen to her. When I told her that I might be moving to Utah to live with Rachel in West Jordon, she was excited and told me that Rachel lives near Kearns! I just thought that was so funny! Sister Kinikini is kind of sad to be going home because she just wants to be a missionary! But we had good chats while we were on exchanges and we had fun talking about life after the mission. She and I want to plan a trip to New York to see the Sacred Grove and go have fun and just lots of other stuff. She might be going to BYU but I don't know yet for sure. She said she is gonna write me when she gets home. She said she is going to be there when I come home but she doesn't know if it's gonna be when I come off the plane or when I speak in church; it might be when I speak in church so she could spend the weekend with us! And oh by the way I got a call today from the mission office asking me where I am flying in to and I told them Idaho Falls, Idaho! So I will be getting that information this week I think or next week, but I will be coming home on the 28th of February. I don't know what time but I will get some information soon! Oh by the way, which Sunday am I talking; Sister Kinikini wanted to know so she can plan for it and other Sister companions I have had are wondering what day and I don’t know so could you maybe find out for me?

Sister Kinikini and I at a park in Baytown!

While Sister Kinikini and I were together this last weekend we went to go play some basketball with a recent convert of hers from last year when she started her mission off here in Baytown. He hasn't been coming to church and we have tried to meet with him before but had no luck so when I got a hold of him and told him Sister Kinikini was coming we got to see him! He is still in High School and he has lived a rough life! Well when Sister Kinikini and I and the Elders where waiting for him at the park we met some other cool people there. We met a guy named Neto and he had music blasting and was street dancing and stuff! It was super crazy. I didn't have my camera with me but I wish I had. He was telling us how he does competitions in Houston and how he practices a lot. He even showed us some dance move. He was a nice guy and we talked with him about the church a bit and told him what we do as missionaries. He said he would check it out sometime. He usually works on Sundays but he said when he is off he would like to! So that was cool! Then we met up with Devin, Sister Kinikini's convert. We were about to start playing basketball when Devin saw a guy sitting across the way and he kept looking at us and he looked like he wanted to play so Devin invited him to play. His name was Leo and he was a really good basketball player. He asked us who we were even though we weren’t in Sunday clothes but we did have on our name tags on so that was cool! Leo had a family that was at the park and he seemed interested and we invited him to come to church. He said maybe one day he would like to come and check it out! So that was a fun day with the Elders and Sister Kinikini and with Devin, Leo and Neto! Super crazy day!

So mom, we were at the Galaviz's house one evening and both before and after dinner the Elders where playing with this lighter thing, but it wasn't a lighter, it was like a zapper that shocked ya! It was super crazy and I wouldn't do it for the longest time, until I finally tried it and pushed the button! Man I got shocked! Scared the crap out of me! We had fun playing with it and laughing so hard. But that evening poor Sister Galaviz wasn't feeling too well and she doesn't ever let us help in the kitchen or cook or clear our plates or clean dishes. Well she has a bad knee so Sister Kinikini and I were trying to wash the dishes but Sister Galaviz told Brother Galaviz to go get the belt! Well Elder Taney really wanted to see us get whipped so he hurried and pulled off his belt and tried to give it to Sister Galaviz but she said, “No not that one. I need my whipping belt!” It was so funny how quick Elder Taney pulled off his belt! You had to be there to see it! Sister Kinikini and I were laughing so hard! Super funny! We had so much fun together! And it was great to teach with Sister Kinikini again because we know how we flow and we just work so well together!

Well one more week in Baytown until transfer calls this Saturday. A lot of the people in Baytown think that I'm gonna stay here for my last six weeks, but who knows, we will see if I stay or if I go! Who knows who is gonna be my next companion, but we shall see! I can't e-mail ya till Tuesday though because of the holiday on Monday, so yep, yep!

Well this is all I can remember for this week, but I hope I have a great week and work hard and find people to teach the gospel to! Well I love you all, have a great day! I have a couple of pictures to send ya'll and a cute one with a new hat I got. I couldn't say no, it was too cute! :)

Love Sister Hawkins

Look what I found ... Dalmatian decorations!

My new Dalmatian hat ...

... I just could not resist!

Sister Kinikini and I with Arod ... she is a member!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Testimony continues to grow!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dear Mom,

What a beautiful day in Texas even with is being chilly outside today! I want to tell you about the experiences I have had this past week and tell you that I know that God lives and that He truly answers our prayers and truly knows us personally!

Well for starters it's been a hard week! The Lord seems to want me to learn lots from the companions that I have had lately! So this week was hard, we didn't do our best, we didn't talk with one another and we were not being the missionaries the Lord needed us to be! We were just frustrated with each other because we are really two different people with really different personalities! It was getting harder and harder everyday but we still went out and did our best to serve the Lord!

Well on New Year's Eve I was ignoring the Elders phone call to turn in the car miles because I just wanted to be alone and Sister Higley was already in bed. We had come in at 8:00 p.m. for our safety because people like to drink and drive for the New Year and President Crawford wanted all the missionaries to be safe and sound! I was taking advantage of the quiet time to finish reading the Book of Mormon. Before starting to read I was praying to God and asking for the spirit to be with me and to not be angry or upset with my companion! While I was reading I heard a knock at the door and it was the Elders coming to check on us. I felt bad because the reason they had come was because I did a big no no and didn't answer their phone call! But they were glad we were safe and they left. I continued reading the Book of Mormon because I only had a little bit left! While I was reading I just wasn't feeling the spirit at all; I felt so alone and just not happy with all the things that have been going on and I just knew I needed to say another prayer so that's what I did. I poured out my heart to my Father in Heaven asking what I need to do because I just don't know what to do anymore. During my prayer I felt prompted to also ask about the Book of Mormon and do Moroni’s challenge by asking if the book was true. When I was asking God if the Book of Mormon was true and if it's the word of God and if Prophets really wrote those things, something cool happened. I just felt the spirit testifying to me that it was true and that Prophets really wrote those messages in the Book of Mormon! Mom I just don't know how to describe the feeling I had on New Year's Eve! I know the Book of Mormon is true, if it wasn't we wouldn't have the Gospel that we have today; we wouldn't have the Priesthood keys that are restored upon the earth and we wouldn't know God's plan that He has for us! It's the best thing ever!

Well after my prayer I just sat there and pondered on my prayer and I looked in the back of my old copy of the Book of Mormon I had gotten from the Moldenhauers at the beginning of my mission. Every time I had finished the Book of Mormon I would write my testimony in the back of the book so I decide to go back and read them! WOW, the growth in my testimony was so cool to see and to read! I have gained a stronger testimony each time I have read the Book of Mormon. By reading my testimonies in my other two books I was reminded of the struggles I had gone through at those particular times and how the Book of Mormon helped me through those tough times. I could also see how the Book of Mormon has been helping me this past time as I read it for the third time. I hope all this makes sense! But it's so cool! I was really proud of myself because before President Moldenhauer left he committed me to read the Book of Mormon three times a year! And guess what? I did it this last year! I am so proud of myself that I have kept that commitment! :) I have started the Book of Mormon again and it's been a blessing to reread it again! And my hope is to finish it before I come home! I just love the Book of Mormon! I have truly grown to love it lots!

I must say I'm truly grateful for the power of the Priesthood and the blessings that we get from it! The last couple of days have been tough between me and my companion and so I texted the District Leader to ask for some advice of what to do because I'm tired of it and just so upset. So two nights ago Elder Tracy and Elder Taney came over to talk with me and they helped me to figure out what I need to do and they told me I needed to continue to have patience and to just let things go, which in my case is hard and frustrating. Then last night they came over again to talk with Sister Higley and then they talked to both of us. We all set goals to help Baytown 2nd Ward and to help me and Sister Higley get through these next two weeks! They then asked us if we wanted a blessing. So we were both given a blessing and the Spirit was so strong in our home. I got a blessing from Elder Tracy and it was a very powerful, spiritual blessing! During that blessing I knew that God truly knows me and He is here to help me! I can't even describe to you how I felt during the blessing and the spirit was really, really strong! After the blessing the Spirit was in our home again and it was amazing! I have truly missed feeling that and it's nice to have it back!

Well guess what? Our church now starts at 1:00 pm! Man it's been a while since I have had church in the afternoon! Super crazy! It's nice because we can do our studies and prepare for the day before we go to church without having to get up super early like we used to since we had early morning meetings we had to go to before church started. So afternoon is cool! This last week at church was very powerful and it was just wonderful to be spiritually fed! I learned so much and felt the spirit! I think it was from the prayer on Saturday evening when I poured out my heart to the Lord and asked for His help! We learned about making new years resolutions and how important they are and how we need them to help us out! We talked about both physical and spiritual goals and how we need them both. So I have been thinking about the spiritual goals that I want to do this year. I haven't thought of any yet but I do still want to read the Book of Mormon three times again this year and maybe read the Bible all the way through. Relief Society was great too! We learned more about revelation and having better communication with God! Just so cool! Wow, what a great day at church. It was also awesome because there was a family at church who are not members and they were checking out the church and all the lessons were really good for them and their little boy loved primary! So that was cool. We have never met them before but they are in the Elders area but when we met them they seemed like they would want Sister Missionaries so we will see! But it was great to have them at church on Sunday!

Well guess what? We get to go to the Temple in January! Yeah! Super excited! I don't know a date yet but it's gonna be cool. I will go in January and then again before I come home. I will get to go with President and Sister Crawford and it's gonna be cool because it's only me and a Spanish Elder that are going home next month so it's gonna be nice to just have lots of one on one time with them and not have so many missionaries around! But it's gonna be weird being at there home and not being with a companion and sleeping in a room by myself! Weird … don't want to think of that … but I'm just excited to go to the temple! I hope you and I can come back to my mission so you can come with me to the Texas Houston Temple and also go around and explore my mission! So ya'll need to save money mom because I'm gonna come back this year and I would just love to have you come with me eh! It will be super fun! Then you can explore the Texas culture! Good stuff!

Well this is what I basically have for this week! Super crazy the transfer is almost over! Wow! Time is flying by! And wow for the New Year! Well mom I hope you have a great week thanks for all you do love ya lots!

Love Sister Hawkins