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Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry, merry Christmas!!!! 

Lots of fun things have been happening! Last week, I went on exchanges (I am not even going to attempt to explain that word) in my old area in Carmichael!! It was the best! I got to see Albert, Mohammed, and Wesley with Sister Wilson. Since I never got to say bye to them because of the emergency transfer, it was so fun to see them. They are doing great. Wesley and Mohammed received the priesthood! Albert is in Minnesota right now figuring out his papers, so hopefully he will be working, with an apartment in the next few months. That means a baptism too :) 
Back in Carmichael for the day with Sister Wilson and Albert, Mohammed, & Wesley. It was so fun!
In Carmichael! 
Taking on Carmichael with Sister Wilson for the day!
My Liberians :) I just love them!
The two areas have been going well! Tuesday night, some recent converts got together and a La Sierra member brought Mohammed and Wesley to meet Annie and Daniel and others! It was so fun having all my recent converts together. I felt like a proud mom :) Their testimonies are so strong, and it truly has been a blessing to have the privilege of being a part of their lives. 
Annie (recent convert) came out with us, and she was INCREDIBLE!!!!! Her testimony just explodes with the Spirit. She is changing lives already!!!!! 
My recent converts from my last area and this area!!! They loved meeting! It was a powerful testimony meeting. 
Annie made us African food for dinner one night :)
I MET MY GRANDMA!!!! This is Sister Parkinson's trainer, Sister Brewer (pronounced Poya...she is from Germany). She came back to visit the mission. I loved meeting her!!!!!! 
This morning I talked to my fam! It was great. They haven't changed :) Whatever Bubba tells you I said.....dont believe her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
picking up our Christmas packages from President! Sadly, he did not dress up as Santa.
Ugly Christmas sweaters with the sisters in our zone :)
My cousin, David, and his fam came to visit me on Christmas!! They surprised me! they live about 15 min away. It was fun seeing family on Christmas :) We are spending the day at the Bishop's house, and they happen to be friends so they planned it all out! 

As I sit and reflect on this Christmas season, alone on a mission, I think about how I have learned to understand what Christmas is all about. It is about our Savior. I am so thankful I get to talk about him to everyone I see on the street. I get to hear the testimonies of the people who live here in Sacramento and how Christ has touched their lives. It is not about the presents, the tree, or cute family instagrams. It is about understanding what Christ means for us and our families. 

I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He is my Savior and Redeemer. I know that because He was born and lived, I can return to live with my Father in Heaven. Sometimes people look at us and say, "you are only 20 years old." However, the message that we carry is very real. It changes lives. It has changed mine. I am about to hit my 6 month mark. I am not sure if my family agrees after talking to me today, but I am not the girl I was 6 months ago. I have struggled, succeeded, felt the most joy,and most sadness in these last 6 months. My testimony has grown, and I know the lessons and experience I am having now are setting the foundation for the rest of my life. If you have the chance to serve a mission, do it. Never in my life will I have the opportunity to consecrate all of my time and talents 24/7 as a set-apart representative of Jesus Christ. It is a sacred calling, and I love nothing more than putting on my name tag everyday to find those that He would. I would be lying if I said I didnt miss my family and friends, especially today, but when you are lost in the work of the Lord, He comforts you and it isnt that bad. I am not homesick because I know I have the rest of my life to have Christmas with my fam. 

thank you to everyone who has sent emails, packages, and letters. I sure did feel loved today :)

I love you all so much! Enjoy the holidays! We are all so blessed!

Love,
Sister Hickman
My friends and family are the best!! This is our little Christmas tree :)
THE CUTEST STOCKING EVER!! I am obsessed :) 
We sent this to our MTC District in St. Louis. Yes, we are in our matching Christmas PJ's :) I love being companions with Sis Campbell!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Get ready for BIG NEWS!!!

Hello everyone!! This was a crazy week full of some big news. There are a couple items.

Firstly, Sister Garrido (my companion...hopefully you all know that by now!) went home on Friday. She has had medical problems for many years. It was a miracle the Church even let her come out! Haha I do not even know how to explain it. We met with President and Sister Jardine this week. All 4 of us were in there talking and the Spirit was so strong, bearing witness to all of us, that she needs to go home. That is where Heavenly Father wants her. Let me tell you, she is one of the very best missionaries out here. This mission will miss her. I think she has known for a while that the mission was getting to be too much physically and emotionally, but she did not want to give up. In the end, she did not give up, but she humbled herself and is having faith in the Lord. I am proud of her. I know I was emergency transferred here to be her companion for these 3 weeks. We are soulmates! I love that girl. Her and Sister Parkinson will be in my wedding! Heavenly Father knows what He is doing and knows who we need to be with, whether good or bad :) She is safe and sound home in Hawaii. I heard from her today :) It has been hard for her, and it has been hard on me. The last thing a missionary wants to see is their companion go home early. It has been a rough week. I have now been put in a trio with Sister Campbell (from my MTC district!) and Sister Wheelwright (who I served with in the El Dorado Zone). I figured that is what would happen. It is right before Christmas, so I did not think President would emergency transfer someone to be with me. That would have been too hard on another missionary. We are covering my ward (Mission Oak) and their ward (Eastern Avenue). The wards used to be combined. This situation is similar to my first transfer when Sister Bishop got put with me and Sister Parkinson. Hahaha my 2nd trio!! Most people do not even experience 1 trio on their mission! My mission has been nuts!!! I should have guessed that since I'm Sister Parkinson's baby. She was involved in emergency transfers, like every other transfer her whole mission! Most people do not have missions so crazy like this, BUT I think Heavenly Father is teaching me to be flexible and trust Him. Maybe He is preparing me for a crazy life ahead :) Not sure. HAha but I have been a trooper, and I really have been fine! President and Sister Jardine are worried about me, and Mom, I know you are too. I promise I am loving life and still working :) If my mission has taught me one thing it is to "Press On." Life keeps going and we cannot stop! I will be in a trio until the end of transfers, so til the end of December. I'm sure they will split them, and I will get a new companion, but we never know :)

The second piece of news. We had a conference call with President last night with the whole mission. He read a letter from The First Presidency saying.....THEY ARE MAKING A NEW MISSION WITH PART OF THE SACRAMENTO MISSION!!!! It will be the California Modesto Mission. As if Cali doesn't already have enough missions :) This is officially being announced by the Church tomorrow. They are taking the south part of our mission and part of the Fresno mission. The south part is where lots of our baptisms happen, so that will be interesting! They are taking Lodi, Stockton, and Manteca. It happens next July. Yes, this means missionaries could be called to leave, from here, to that mission. We find out in January. To be honest, with how crazy my mission has been, I would not be surprised if I get moved to that mission. I really would not mind! Whatever the Lord wants, I will do. People kind of freaked out last night, but I do not think it is a big deal. It is right next door! I think it is awesome because it means these areas are doing so well with baptisms that they need to make a whole new mission! It is exciting! 
Back at the cello! It was a fun experience. This is for you, dad!

Wednesday was Christmas Temple Conference. It was very special to attend the Temple with President and Sister Jardine. It was right before Sister Garrido left, so it was fun to be with her. THe musical number went great! I loved playing the cello again. Another Elder played a solo on his cello. He showed me up a bit :) I served with him in El Dorado. He was always wanted to perform in Church. It was a great day to feel of the Spirit in the Temple. Especially in the middle of all this chaos! 

Sister Garrido and I at the Temple for Christmas Conference. What a great way to send her home :) 
Our MTC district reunited at Zone Conference! Sister Kandare's zone was with ours :) It was a blast being back together!!! And now, Sister Campbell and I are companions! 

Well, sorry this post is pretty factual this week. These are the details that have been going on! I love being companions with Sister Campbell. Haha it is an interesting dynamic in this trio. I am excited to talk to my fam on skype next week :) 

The East Sacramento Zone! This is who I will be spending my Christmas Eve/ Christmas with! 

I am so behind on responding to emails and letters! I am going to get a lot done on Christmas. Have a great week! I love you all! thanks for your support! 

With all my love,
Sister Hickman 

P.S.

P-day will not be next Monday for next week. We get Christmas Eve off, starting at 4pm. We then get all of Christmas off. I get to skype my fam for about 40 minutes. Hopefully, I can get on email that day too :) But just a heads up that you will not hear from me next Monday!!!! And for the following week, our Pday will be the same schedule for New Years Eve and New Years day. The next two weeks will be crazy! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hi Everyone!!!

Hi everyone!!!

It has been an INCREDIBLE week! One of the best weeks on my mission so far! 

Annie and Daniel were baptized this past Saturday! It went so well. The Spirit was very strong. They are an amazing couple, and it has been so neat watching them take this step together! They will be great members of the Church. 

This week we had so many miracles come from TALKING TO EVERYONE! It is so fun. I want to share one experience. We had an appointment to see this couple in an apartment complex, and when we got there, no one answered (welcome to the life of a missionary). So, we are leaving and I notice a guy putting his kids in a van. I decide to talk to him because, what the heck! We are supposed to after all! We start talking to him about his faith in Jesus Christ, and he goes, "Wait, what church are you from?" We tell him and he says, "I was baptized in that church about 10 years ago when I moved to California." He is from Sierra Leone, Africa (yes, another African!!!) He has 5 kids!!! They are all under the age of 7. They are SO CUTE! We asked if he had gone to church in a while and he said it had been a couple months, but that his wife wants to be baptized. WHAT?!?!? We freaked out! We met the wife and she said she wants the discussions. Long story short...they came to church...they loved it (they've been many times) and it turns out Beresford and Tiffany are not married, but they want to be. We put Tiffany on date for baptism for December 27, and they are getting married this Saturday by the Bishop of our ward....it will be very low-key. Just us and them. My dream has been to baptize a part-member family and see them be sealed in a year!! WOOHOO!! So hopefully one year from now the family of 7 will be sealed in the Temple :) It is so incredible. I will send pics of the family in the next couple weeks. Tiffany is Egyptian and speaks it to the kids. They are the cutest family. God is so good!!!! What a complete miracle! And they had just moved in a couple days before. No matter where we go as missionaries, we planned that place for a reason. We are always taught that if an appointment falls through, there is a reason you are there, so find that reason! I am thankful for the Lord's hand in this work.
Sister Garrido and me with Annie and Daniel at their baptism this past Saturday!
Aren't they so cute! They have been married only a few months. What a special day for them! 

We have been teaching like crazy. It is so fun! We have been busy, and this time of the year is a fun time to be talking to people. 

Wednesday is Zone Conference with the mission. We go to the Temple with President and Sister Jardine and then there is a Christmas program. Our zone was asked to do a musical number. All the sisters are singing and someone is playing the piano, and I AM PLAYING THE CELLO!! hahaha it as been 3 years. I have been freaking out. I found one to play. It has been SO HARD to get back into it. My fingers hurt so bad! And my brain is so slow figuring out where the notes are on my cello. It will sound good though all together! We are playing "O,Holy Night" which is my favorite Christmas song. I am excited for the conference on Wednesday to see other missionaries! 
My little Hawaiian companion :) 

We have been picking up a lot of new investigators, but it is hard to tell if they are prepared. We decided we have to start just inviting people to baptism right there in the contact. A lot say yes, surprisingly. I used to be so scared, but I actually really like it! Welcome to the life of a missionary, people. Sometimes, I just want my friends at home to shadow me for a day to see what I really am doing. Hahaha you guys would not even believe it. It is the best though. You have to be bold to know who Heavenly Father is preparing! 

I am just so excited for the rest of the transfer! It will be really busy and we will have another baptism for Tiffany :) And we are possibly having another for a couple the same day. It might be moved though, we will see :) 

The Holidays in California is fun! I do miss good 'ol Oklahoma though :)

Good luck to all my friends on finals!

With love,
Sister Hickman 

P.S. Congrats to my girl, Val, on getting married a couple weeks ago! I still cannot believe it! AND congrats to Madisson on the engagement!!!!! Woohooo!!!! I am so excited!

P.P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DAD THIS WEEK WHO TURNS THE BIG 6-0! Man, you are getting old!!!!!! Stay young, dad, stay young. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How has it already been 5 months!?

Hello everyone!! 

It has been a great couple days since Thanksgiving. We went and had dinner that day with a family in the ward. It was fun! But honestly, it did not feel like a holiday without family. It wasn't "sad" because it did not feel like a holiday or anything special...just another day! 

Things have been great in the area with Sister Garrido. She is a clone of Olivia Pope. S/O to all the Scandel fans out there. She carries herself like Olivia Pope and talks to people like her. It is so funny. I tell her all the time how she is her CLONE! We have a baptism this Saturday! It is for Annie and her husband, Daniel. They have been teaching Annie for about 3 months, but her husband, Daniel, just started coming around since around the time I got here. We are excited they are taking this step together! 

The Church's big PR Christmas push starts today. Check it out at christmas.mormon.org
Seriously, the Church is the bomb with their PR. We have special pass-along-cards, etc to share with people. I am excited because who would not want to hear about Jesus at Christmas-time?! The video is pretty good. Not as good as the Easter, "Because of Him," but it is great! You can check it out at the website!

We have had so many miracles this week. From talking to everyone we pass, to pulling over on the side of the street to follow a prompting to talk to that person, to knocking on random doors, Heavenly Father has been leading us to those prepared people!!! It is incredible!

I am just so happy right now in my mission. Sister Garrido and I really push each other and strengthen each other. We work hard and make the work FUN. I love going out everyday talking to people. 

I think I will truly learn the real meaning of Christmas this year. It will not be about the presents, family, fun memories, etc. It will be about sharing the message of Christ with others. For that, I am thankful! It will help me see a new, GREAT perspective that I hope has an effect on me for the rest of my life. 

Thanks for all your prayers and kind words! Life in Sacramento is good. There is great reason to rejoice! 

Until next week,
Sister Hickman 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from EAST SAC!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! 

So…. I have some big news. I AM IN EAST SAC!!! I was emergency transferred. Let me tell you the story…

Last Thursday night, Sister Wilson and I were in a lesson and President Jardine called. We did not answer, but I was so nervous to call him back because it really is not ever good news when he calls. We get out of our lesson and call him on our way home. He said, “Sister Hickman, we need to emergency transfer you to East Sacramento.” Emergency transfers are not super common but they do happen. Basically, it means we can be transferred anytime, not just at the regular “transfer” periods. When he said that, I was soo calm!! Sister Wilson started crying. We talked a little more to him. I could tell he was nervous to tell me haha, but I felt so good. It felt right. I asked why this was happening. President Jardine said two sisters are together, who both cannot drive for various reasons. So basically, me and a sister would switch. And I would be the driver J He told me I was going to Mission Oak ward in the East Sac Stake and a sister would come to Carmichael. The good news is that Mission Oak is the area right next to the La Sierra ward. So, I literally moved across a main road. My ward in Carmichael was on the Stake border. So, this new area is pretty much exactly the same as my Carmichael area. President told me that Thursday night to go home and pack because I would be leaving the next morning. He told me to go home and pray about this, so that I, too, could receive confirmation that this was right, just as he did. By the time the conversation was over, I was crying because I realized I could say no good-byes. Not even to Albert, Mohammed, and Wesley! I went home and prayed. I felt the Spirit so strongly confirm to me that is exactly what Heavenly Father wants for me. I told Him I will have faith and stay strong that this is right! I packed up and moved the next morning. It has been hard not saying bye to anyone, but this taught me a lot! I learned to work so hard EVERYDAY because we do not know when it will be our last day in the area. I learned to have complete faith in Heavenly Father because every little thing happens for a reason. 

On Friday, I moved to my new area (literally just like 5 minutes away). My new companion is Sister Garrido. She has been out for one transfer more than me and is from Hawaii. I had heard about her before I came because she was trained in the La Sierra Ward (my ward in Carmichael). I was a little nervous about being with her because I have heard we are similar. We are both very bold and straightforward. I told President we would scare people together!! Well, I LOVE HER!!! Seriously, she is the best. She is a way hard worker and a total “Preach My Gospel” missionary. She is extremely on purpose. This area has been on fire. They had so many baptisms this last transfer and have some on date this transfer. We work super well together and push each other. She reminds me a lot of Elizabeth Bryant. Just so y’all have an idea of her. And her goofy side reminds me of Lindsey Willis. It is so fun because I feel like I am with my best friends! We have so much fun together, but we also work super hard. It has been the absolute BEST! We love talking to everyone. I got there on Friday and on Saturday we had a baptism. Haha I had no clue who they were. It was funny being the missionary at the baptism. They are this couple that has minor mental problems. They are sweet. Then, on Sunday, we had to give full-blown talks at church. Haha we were the only speakers. It was a crazy weekend!! Welcome to the life of a missionary. I have adjusted to the area for the most part. Sister Campbell (from my MTC District) is serving in this Zone, so that is so fun! We have lots of Spanish missionaries in this zone. It reminds me of Annalee and Mychal! 
 
We have a baptism next Saturday, December 6th. They have been teaching Annie, this sweet lady from Liberia. Sister Garrido and I started teaching her husband Daniel, this past week. He is getting baptized with her on the 6th! It has been a miracle! He is African American, not from Liberia. I keep laughing that I am baptizing all the Liberians! I am so incredibly thankful for this emergency transfer. It truly has been a huge blessing in disguise. I know this will be an amazing transfer. I cannot wait! We want a baptism at the end of December before the transfer is over. Missionaries call that having a “white Christmas.” J We will see J I am so excited for Annie and Daniel! We are praying hard for them. It has been a CRAZY week, but it has been the best! I love being in East Sac. It is so weird I was only in Carmichael for a transfer. That is not normal. Haha. BUT I know this is the plan for me! I will miss Carmichael. It was a good zone. I was spoiled being by the mission office. So side note: It will now take me a while to get mail, like when I was in El Dorado. In Carmichael, I would go pick it up, so now it will be forwarded. I get letters about 10 days after you mail them.

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be a missionary. It truly is the best thing in the world. It brings the hard times and good times. I am thankful for my loving Father in Heaven and all He does for me. I am thankful for my supportive family and friends at home. I thought it would be hard being away at the holidays, but I really haven’t noticed it too much. As missionaries, everyday is the same. We get all today off, which is nice. I have not had a break in 5 months. Not kidding! I am not complaining though J Missions are the best.  Even P-days are super stressful. But today will be chill. We are going over to a family’s house for dinner. I am excited! 
I surprised Sister Parkinson at the mission office last Wednesday before she went home :) It was so good seeing her! I miss that girl!!!! 

I love you all! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. My heart is so incredibly full! I love my companion, my area, and my mission. I will talk to y’all on Monday! J
 
Lots of love from Sac,
Sister Hickman

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

End of Transfer 3

 Hi everyone! SOOOO Sister Wilson and I are staying in Carmichael! This next transfer is Thanksgiving and Christmas. She was worried that she would get transferred. We are both happy! Things are getting SO much better with the ward, so it is nice things are staying as is. Plus, with Mohammed and Wesley, and Albert hopefully being baptized by the end of the year, we both wanted to stay. Sister Parkinson goes home Thursday. I cannot believe it! I am taking it kind of hard and am so sad! I know I have not been with her for a transfer, but it feels weird that she is going home. She is an incredible missionary, and I know we will be friends for the rest of our lives. Sister Wilson's trainer goes home too, so we are going to go to the Mission Office tomorrow to say bye to them :) Perks of living by there!
At the temple with Sister Wilson!
Also at the temple with Sister Wilson!




















I cannot believe I have been out almost 5 months. When this transfer ends, I will be 1/3 done. It goes by WAY too fast. Today, I wanted to write about something that I have come to realize on my mission so far. Growing up, I always knew how important missionary work is in the Church. I knew that we merely want to invite people to "Come and See" (Read: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/come-and-see?lang=eng) and, as Lehi said in 1 Nephi 8: 12 "And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family [and friends] should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit." The fruit being this Gospel of Jesus Christ. When you find the best thing in the world, don't you want to share it? As I came to develop a testimony, I grew the desire to serve a mission to share the gospel. I always thought there was a stereotype of Mormons. You either were one or you were not. And if you were not...there was probably not a good chance you would become one. It is ironic I thought that considering my dad is a convert..
What I have come to realize on my mission is that being a Mormon, or a Latter-day Saint, is not just being a part of another religion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the gospel that Jesus Christ, Himself, established when He was on the earth. When He died, the truths were lost. In the 1800's, the fulness of the gospel was restored again, or brought back to perfect form, by a prophet of God. This is not just another "church." I know this gospel to be true. I know that it is for all people, who are truly seeking to find the truth. As a missionary, all day long, I do not shove this on people. I merely invite others to "come and see." I invite them to learn and pray to know for themselves. That is what I have done. I have prayed and received my own answer, which is the foundation of my conversion. True conversion is not learning the most amount of knowledge from the missionaries, but it is the Spirit testifying to you of truth. I have a firm testimony that this gospel has been restored. I know that we can find strength from Jesus Christ. Everyone has struggles. Everyone has stuff hurting them, no matter the act we try to put on for others. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings hope to all and meaning to our lives. I know that there is not a certain type of "mold" to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. He invites all to come unto Him. For this, I am thankful.
Next week is Thanksgiving. That is our P-day, so you will not hear from me next Monday :) We are eating with a family in the ward. Then, we are going over to Albert's for an African Thanksgiving with all of them. I am so excited!! This transfer was incredible. We still have a lot of work to do in this area!!!

Enjoy the break everyone! I miss you all so much! In week 6 of this next transfer, I get to skype with my fam on Christmas :) I am looking forward to that.
Until next week,
Sister Hickman 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Baptism HAPPENED!!!!

Hi everyone!!! This weekend was incredible because Wesley and Mohammed GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was this last Saturday night. It was so special! Everything went so smoothly. Seriously! Sister Wilson was actually the one freaking out something would go wrong because she said something always has with her baptisms. I was the calm one. Imagine that!!!! President and Sister Jardine came, so that was very special because it is not often they can make it to baptisms. The spirit was strong. Other missionaries brought investigators, and they said the baptism helped with their own investigators wanting to be baptized. The ward ROLLED out. It was packed! They felt so loved and supported. I have never seen them so happy! Albert came and supported which was great! He did not do anything crazy this week to be baptized. He accepted that it is the Lord's timing, and he is being patient. We honestly have no clue when he will be baptized. Welsey's two sisters came, which was awesome. At the end of the baptism, Wesley and Mohammed bore their testimonies. Mohammed said, "Sister Hickman, will you please read Moroni 10:32 for everyone?" That is the verse where he felt the spirit testify to him to be baptized. It was such a spiritual moment for me because it reminded me how these two have helped my faith grow so much. They have trusted in Heavenly Father, even in times when I have doubted. On Sunday, they were confirmed in church. Thelma, Albert's GF, came and brought little Harry. They stayed all three hours. It was just an incredible weekend. In Sunday school, we were introducing ourselves and Mohammed said, "I am Mohammed Konay, the newest member of the LDS family." It was so cute! They are loving the fact of the "ward family." 
Sister Wilson, Wesley, Mohammed, and me before the baptism!!! They need to work on smiling...
Us with Albert! He was such a trooper at the baptism.
Sister Wilson and me after the baptism! 
Our attempt of a selfie...we are a bit obnoxious 
We dropped like all of our investigators this week because none were keeping commitments or progressing. It takes faith, but we know God will provide! This week, we are really hoping to find those prepared people. 

Something I have not mentioned is that so many people I meet out here on my mission are Catholic. That truly is the religion I hear the most of. I would not have guessed that! Anyways, I am thankful I went to a Catholic high school, so I actually know some stuff! This week we had a lesson with this lady who is a VERY devout Catholic. It helped a lot in the lesson that I knew the basic beliefs of them. Sister Wilson was glad I had that Catholic background too! I tell everyone I am a quarter Catholic pretty much! I did go there 7 out of my 20 years of life. 
Little Harry wearing my nametag.
My heart is just so full. It has been a miracle and privilege to teach Mohammed, Wesley, and Albert. For those who do not remember, they referred themselves on Mormon.org. Who does that?!?! It was awesome! And they were taught the night before I came into the area, so I have been with them pretty much the whole time! We seriously are family. We are going over there on Thanksgiving for an African Thanksgiving :) That will be funny. Next week is transfer week. WHERE DID THESE 6 WEEKS GO!??!!? I feel like I just got here. Sister Wilson is freaking out. We do not know if she will stay or go. This is only her second transfer here, so I think she will stay. I hope I stay with her through the holidays. So next week, P-day will be Tuesday!!! I will most likely be staying here hah but I guess you never know....
My picture on the ward bulletin board...I thought it was pretty funny :)
I am so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it is for everyone. No matter what age you are, race, gender, where you are from...etc. We are all children of God, and He wants us to return to live with Him again. I am thankful for the people out here who are willing to listen to us and put their faith in Christ. It takes a lot to completely follow the Lord's path, but when you do, I can promise your life will be exactly how it needs to be.

Thanks for all your love and support!! I love you all!!

Love,
Sister Hickman 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hi Everyone!!!

Hi everyone!!! 

This was a crazy week and emotional roller-coaster! That is the hard part of missions...all of the emotions. 

Sister Wilson and I had a great Halloween. We had Zone Training on Halloween. It was over exact-obedience, the Atonement, and humility. It was very spiritual, and I was able to receive a lot of personal revelation. After, we went to our ward's Chili Cook-Off/ Trunk-or-Treat (surprise, surprise). It was pretty fun! I am still trying to get to know the ward. Albert and Wesley came. The ward has been so great with them! Albert's girlfriend, Thelma, came and her son, Harry. It was Harry's first time to trick-or-treat. It was so cute!! Albert and Wesley felt famous with everyone talking to them. I think it was great for Thelma to warm up to people in the ward. I could see her being baptized one day, especially is her and Albert end up together. 

So...Saturday was a crazy night. We show up to Albert's apartment, where we normally teach them. We had this lesson planned all week with them. We were going to teach them the law of tithing. We showed up and no one is there. That has NEVER happened. Because Albert does not work, he is always home. We tried calling him and it said "this user is no longer taking calls." I started FREAKING out. Earlier in the day, I had been telling Sister Wilson how I will not believe they are getting baptized until they are literally in the water because in my last area, "golden" people would just fall off out of no where. I have just been so nervous. I need more faith! So anyways, I am freaking out, like oh my gosh Sister Wilson they are gone...we will never see them again. I was assuming the worst. We finally got a hold of Mohammed and he said he was on his way home. Side note...he got kicked out of his apartment. He was living with his Muslim family friends (he used to be Muslim..as you can tell from his name), but they kicked him out because he is getting baptized. So sad. He is now living with Albert and Thelma on the couch until he gets his own apartment. So, we had a member with us and we all went inside to wait for the others. Wesley shows up, but no Albert. We started talking to Mohammed about how he has been. He seriously has been going through so much lately between working all the time and getting kicked out. He says to us, "I don't know if I can be baptized on Nov 8. I am not going to do it. Things are too crazy, and I don't think I can live how I should after baptism." Alright, I am going to get very personal and let you in because this experience taught me so much. I did not handle it right AT ALL, but I learned a lesson. So, when he said that, my heart sank. I just started crying. I could not think. I could not talk. I just stared at the wall. I have never felt so terrible in my whole life. Here was Mohammed who knows the gospel is true, loves it, and I have been able to see it change his life and he says he cannot be baptized. I was devastated. Sister Wilson and the member tred to talk things out, and I just sat there just crying, not saying a word. He saed to me, "Sister Hickman, please stop crying. When I see other people cry, I cry. I know you think you wasted your time on me, huh? I know you think you could have been doing other things." I said, "No, Mohammed that is not what I think at all. I would never think that." Poor Sister Wilson is trying to hold everything together for us. She explained to him how as missionaries, we put EVERYTHING into them. Our whole life out here revolves around our investigators. She then says, "Mohammed, do you have the faith to find an answer from Heavenly Father?" She then tells him we are going to pray and then he needs to open to a random page in the Book of Mormon and just read it. Another side note: This is how she found out her answer to go on a mission, and I always tell her that the Book of Mormon is not a genie and does not always work like that!! It can, but not always. We cannot control when and how we get answers from Heavenly Father. So, at this point, I am freaking out like, please please open to a verse where he can find answers...
We pray and he opened to Moroni 10. She asked if anything stuck out to him. He read Moroni 10:32...talking about "coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him...." He sat there and thought.  He said..."I need to be baptized. Things are so hard, and I do not know how I will do it, but I know this is what He is telling me. I need to follow Christ and be baptized." I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!! THAT WAS A COMPLETE MIRACLE!!! He found his answer in that scripture and was more confident than ever that he needed to be baptized. He said there is no turning back now. The Spirit was so strong. WE all testified and the lesson ended well. As I reflect back, here are a couple things I learned. I am the missionary and my purpose is to HELP...I HAVE TO hold it together. Seriously, if Sister Wilson had not kept it together...Mohammed may not be getting baptized Saturday. Also, as I was crying and trying to pray, I realized I was thinking about selfish things like "Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong?" This is not about ME, but I was thinking those thoughts. Towards the end I was just getting frustrated because I KNEW it was Satan getting to him, trying to convince him and tempt him to not do what he knows is right. I am sorry that was so long, but I wanted to share it because it was a miracle this week. Mohammed and Wesley are getting baptized this coming Saturday and I CANNOT WAIT! We are all so happy. I have never seen them so happy. They announced it in church, they met with the Bishop, and everyone is so excited for them. My Mission President and his wife have been wanting to meet them, so they came to a lesson with us after church. We taught about eternal marriage. It was a neat experience! They are hoping to come to the baptism. Wesley and Mohammed were glowing all day Sunday. I truly have never seen them full of so much joy. Especially Mohammed. He has been struggling with trials being thrown at him, but his faith is growing.

So, Albert in all of this. You have to be living the law of chastity at least a week before baptism, so although he is sleeping on the couch, they are still under the same roof. So, he cannot be baptized til he moves out. He is devastated and is determined that he still is. We told him last night the situation and he kept responding "I will be baptized November 8." We are worried he is just going to go marry Thelma this week. We are praying hard for him. We will see how it all plays out. 
At the Church Halloween party with Thelma, Albert, Wesley, and Harry! 
Sister Wilson and me on Halloween! It has finally gotten colder here. Tights are my new best friend :) 
I am sorry this is so long, but this week I learned so much. I have to be humble to be able to be an instrument in God's hands. Saturday night, I was just so upset about what was happening. I come off tough, but I seriously have such a tender heart! I'm not kidding!!! My heart is totally in this, and I was just so scared. It was funny because after that experience, Mohammed told me I am no longer "Zoe" (the head) because I cried and was weak hahah. I have been praying a lot for strength for me and for them as they go through this week before their baptism. Satan attacks hard right before baptism. I cannot wait for Saturday to see Wesley and Mohammed enter the waters of baptism and make that covenant with Heavenly Father to follow Christ. I still cannot believe we have had this experience of teaching them. It has all happened so fast, but they were sent to us prepared. They truly are a miracle. And hopefully Albert will be able to be baptized by the end of the year. 

I love you all! I am catching up on my writing, but I am a few weeks behind. Thank you for your love and prayers!!!

Love,
Sister Hickman 

P.S. Next week I will have BAPTISM pictures!!! EEEKKK!!!!! I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for letting me be apart of their journey into the gospel. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week 3 in Carmichael!

Hello everyone!! 

This was a great week in Carmichael! We had interviews yesterday with President, so P-day got moved to today. On Tuesday, Sister Wilson had to go to the doctor because she gets a check up every 6 months. The doctor is a bishop in the Folsom Stake...very nice. While we were in there, I decided to ask about my legs. I found out I have a stress fracture in one leg...and in the other, I just need to stretch it better. He told me to take some time off running. haha I started crying, but it is fine now. I take Ibuprofen, and that helps. I have been riding the bike every morning in the gym. They are getting a little better, so hopefully I can start running again soon. 

The senior couple missionaries in the Mission Office came up to me last week and said, "Are you Genevieve Hickman!?" I said yes. They said, "You get more mail than any other missionary in this whole mission! There are 270 missionaries!! If you were not here, we would have half the work!! We have been wanting to meet this Genevieve Hickman." I started laughing. I told them I just have the best friends and family ever! I have said that for years...that I am surrounded by the best people in the world and this is proof :) Thank you all for loving and supporting me! Even the whole office here agrees!! :) I just thought that was funny, so I wanted to share. They all know about my sorority now :)

Tuesday afternoon, we had a lesson with a woman who was a referral from the Elders. It was the hardest lesson I have had. It is the kind of lesson you think we would have more as missionaries, but we really do not. She asked tons of questions and argued a bit. She was quite scary! Sister Wilson was laughing that she even intimidated me! But she did. After the lesson, we were not feeling too good. We just felt like the Spirit could not be there with contention, but how do you teach and try to stay on topic when she is asking all sorts of questions? It was bothering me. Well, Wednesday, Sister Wilson had exchanges with our Sister Training Leader, so I went to Folsom for the day. We met that night with their Ward Mission Leader and I was talking to him about the lesson. He gave great advice and really brought the Spirit in. He said how our purpose as missionaries is to love and to teach. We have to teach simply and help keep things focused. That is the way the Spirit will be there. He just really lifted my spirits because I had been upset about the work. He gave me that spiritual boost I needed for the rest of the week.

Albert, Wesley, and Mohammed are still on date for November 8!! They came to Stake Conference on Sunday and LOVED IT! They are so excited for baptism. I just love them. I know I will stay in touch with them after I get home. We are still trying to figure out Albert's situation, so that he can be baptized November 8. He just does not have money for an apartment to go to. He said, "If I cannot move out, I will just marry Thelma, so I can be baptized." We said, Albert, you cannot just marry her to be baptized!! Poor guy! This all has been hard on him.

Things with the ward are getting better. We feel that Heavenly Father wants us to focus on strengthening the ward and their faith in Christ. We are going to try to do some member visits everyday and help bring the Spirit into their homes. We want to serve them and love them. I think by the end of the transfer, the ward will have made large strides. They are just tired and exhausted, so we need to help build their testimonies.

Yesterday in interviews, President Jardine was telling me about the last transfer and how I was headed to Elk Grove. He said something was not right. He was up in the middle of the night and received revelation to move some things around. He said Carmichael is exactly where Heavenly Father wants me and that I am with Sister Wilson for a reason. The Spirit was so strong and it is incredible to see all the revelation that goes into transfers. 

I am just thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ. So many people out here do not understand that He suffered for us and because of that, we can have hope. We can start over. and we can change. I am so thankful for the opportunity to share this good news with the people of Carmichael. As missionaries, we just want to help other people and realize how much joy, truth, and peace they can find from the gospel. I truly love my mission. It is a privilege to be out here serving. I cannot believe my 4 month is coming up!! It is FLYING by!! 

Have a great week! Thank you for loving me and supporting me!! That makes it easier to be out here away from you all :) 

Talk to you soon,
Sister Hickman 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Week in Carmichael!!

Hello friends and family!!

It has been a great week in Carmichael!! I am getting more and more familiar with the area. Especially because I have been driving all week :) Sister Wilson scraped the side of the car, so she got her privileges taken away haha so you can imagine at after experiencing my driving that she regrets that!!! It should only be a few more days of driving haha but I have liked it!! 

So...Albert, Mohammed, and Wesley (our African investigators) are still on date for baptism November 8th!! Ekkkk!! We cannot wait!! We teach them almost everyday. They are incredible! This week we taught them the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity (it was a little awk) and they are praying for so much strength. They inspire me. They truly follow the will of the Lord with their whole heart. They came to Church again yesterday and loved it! This week they gave Sister Wilson and me African names. Mine is Zoe (pronounced like "zoo") and it means "the head." Haha they call me boss because I am so direct and always tell them how it goes. They already know me too well!!! I always tell them that when I am firm that it is out of love! Sister Wilson's name has to do with her being loving and positive...which is so perfect for her! Albert is in a tough situation right now. He is living with his girlfriend and does not have a job and money to move out. We are praying for a miracle!! Something has to happen for him to be baptized because he is not living the law of chastity. He is trying though! He now sleeps on the couch. AND he reads the Book of Mormon all night while his girlfriend sleeps and he sleeps when she gets up! Isn't that amazing?? He does not think he should marry her, so that is why we are trying to find him a job and apartment. We have 3 weeks to make this happen! One night he was really down, so we were giving him a pep talk. He was lacking faith that a miracle could happen. I was so passionate talking to him because I have really been focusing on faith lately. I know that if it is Heavenly Father's will for him to be baptized Nov 8th, that he will find a job and a place to live! I was really getting into it. He said, "Sister Hickman, you are so direct and gave showed me the faith I needed." I love being a missionary because I love helping people. The other day, I was thinking about what it will be like going home and focusing on my life because when I am out here, I am only thinking about the lives on my investigators and how to help them. It is the best thing! 
This describes Sister Wilson and me in a NUTSHELL!! Haha she is so cute and sweet and then there is me probably sassing off to Mohammed hahaha.
We had a lesson this week with this crazy Philippine man!! We brought a woman in the ward with us who is from the Philippine's. Surprisingly, I hadn't gotten worked up with anyone until this. Haha I really have been pretty patient and loving with people, but this guy just got me so worked up!!!! I wish you could have seen it. Sister Wilson was dying laughing. I called him stubborn at one point. I was not Bible bashing, but when I get really into something I talk loud and fast and just go off!! He was nuts. It was one of the funniest lessons ever. Just try to imagine!! 
Us in front of church yesterday! That is Wesley and Albert. 
The ward is super interesting and it has been hard. We have challenges in every area and this is the challenge in this. I am not going to give details, but let's just say this week was full of "Sister Hickman feisty moments" in case you cannot already tell! Yesterday at church I wanted to just give up. But, I told prayed to Heavenly Father and told him I am a fighter, and we are going to make this situation the best it can be! I had one of the most spiritual experiences yesterday during the Sacrament. I was crying and praying so hard and truly felt my Heavenly Father's love around me. As I reflected on my Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement, I remembered how I am not alone and never have to be. I am thankful for the gospel in my life and for the hope it brings. I am realizing how my mission is teaching me SO many lessons that will prepare me for the rest of my life. I cannot believe the experiences of missions. They seriously are the best! There is nothing better than getting lost in the Lord's work and focusing on His children around us. I love Carmichael and am thankful for the blessings, miracles, but yet challenges that it brings. 

I love you all! 
Until next week,
Sister Hickman 

Monday, October 13, 2014

First Week in Carmichael!!

Hello Everyone!!!

What an incredible first few days in Carmichael!! I am about 20 minutes east of Sacramento...I believe. And guess what.....I AM IN A CITY!!!! Carmichael is not huge, but definitely more city-like than Cameron Park was! I came from an all-residential area and here there are restaurants, business, and stores.  I LOVE IT! Oh, and most importantly...THERE IS A TARGET!!! WOOHOO I am so happy! So turns out, it is not full-time bike. A sister from a couple months ago could not ride bike, so the car has just stayed. I am bummed about that! Hopefully we will be able to ride bikes a few times a week. But seriously, there are people everywhere and THEY LISTEN TO US!!! It is a little ghetto, so people are humble. It is crazy how different it is than El Dorado area! 
The day Sister Parkinson and I left each other. It was sad let me tell you!! She will be my friend for life. I cannot wait for her to come visit y'all in Oklahoma :) 
This is us with Sister Gomm. I am so happy we got to live with the Gomm's! Brother Gomm hates pictures, so he went on a run when I was moving out...I was so mad at him! The Gomm's are incredible, and they will always be my mission parents :) 
I came to the area on Wednesday and met my new companion at the mission office. Side-note: The mission office is in my area, so I will be able to get mail and packages way easier and faster because we can just go pick them up! 

My new companion is Sister Wilson. She graduated high school the year after me, and she is from Pleasant Grove, Utah (by Provo). She is the cutest little blonde you've seen! She has been out 9 months. She has been in this Carmichael area for just one transfer, so she still has trouble getting around. She is super friendly and good at talking to people. We live in an apartment here. It is so different than living at the Gomm's! No one in this area really lives with members...it is so different! Being in an apartment is pretty fun though, and we have a little gym! Which I am so happy about because Sister Wilson does not run, so it is nice because she can sit there while I run in the gym. Also, I will probably be in this area through the winter, so it will be nice to have an indoor workout area.
Sister Wilson and me with Wesley (far left), Albert (very front, arms crossed), and Mohammed (to the right of me). The woman is Albert's girlfriend...she sits in lessons occasionally. Prince is on the right. He is one of their friends we are teaching, but he is not on-date for baptism like them. And the girlfriend's son, Harry, is the cute little boy in the front. We love them!!!! 
We are in the La Sierra Ward. This is definitely a baptizing area. They have not had one in a few months, but they have lots of recent converts in the ward. About 2/3 of the ward is less-active. It is definitely a different vibe than my last 2 wards in El Dorado. Boy oh boy do I miss those wards and those members!!! They were incredible!!!!! I am so so glad I was there for my first area. This ward will be interesting haha, but at least we have lots of people to teach, etc. I think that wraps up the intro on my new area. I seriously love it!!! 

So...these last few days here have been full of MIRACLES!!! The night before I got here, Sister Wilson and the other companion received a referral from headquarters of this man who referred himself. His name is Albert and from Liberia in Africa (no, he does not have that disease! ). They taught him the night before I came to the area. When they showed up, he had two of his African friends there as well. They taught all three of these men (all in their 20s), and they committed them to baptism if they came to know the gospel is true. So, when I showed up Wednesday, we went to teach them the second lesson. They are incredible!! We put them on date for NOVEMBER 8TH!!!! We have taught them everyday. They want to know it all! They came to church yesterday and LOVED IT!!! They know that the gospel is true, and they read the Book of Mormon everyday. They go and teach all of their friends after we do. They are already missionaries!! :) It is so awesome! Their testimonies are growing so much. Investigators get on date for baptism a lot and it falls through, but I truly do not think this will. It is in their culture to not commit to something unless you fully intend keeping it. I AM SO EXCITED!!!! Albert, Mohammed (used to be a Muslim), and Wesley are their names. And if you know me at all you know I have LOVED teaching these African people!!!!! It is the best ever!!!!! They always bring friends to the lessons. 

On Friday, we were at dinner at a member's home. They man working on their carpet was from Nigeria in Africa. We started talking to him outside and it led to a lesson and that led to committing him to baptism and he said YES!!! WHAT?!?!?!? and he came to church yesterday and LOVED IT! He is actually not in our area, so we will be passing him off soon to the other missionaries. 

I just cannot believe all of these miracles!! We teach SO many African people. I AM OBSESSED!! We were talking to President and Sister Jardine the other night on the phone, and I said, "President, you are probably laughing at me thinking back at all my emails yo you hinting that I wanted to stay in El Dorado and not leave...and now look at me here loving it!!! I know this is where Heavenly Father wants me." He said, "Sister Hickman, I knew a long time ago this is where He wanted you." 

I have such a testimony that Mission Presidents truly do receive revelation from Heavenly Father of where the missionaries need to be. My Bishop back home told me that I would serve in a diverse area, where I could teach these kinds of people because I have always loved them. I know that I am supposed to be in Carmichael. I am so thankful to my Father in Heaven for giving me this experience and allowing me to be apart of this great work. He knows me and loves me. I am so grateful to be a missionary and teach the gospel. It truly is the best thing I have ever done in my life. I am so grateful I started in a hard area like El Dorado because now I know how to work hard and have faith! I needed so many lessons at the start of my mission, which I learned in El Dorado. I miss Sister Parkinson so much. She is an INCREDIBLE missionary. I told her when I left that I would probably appreciate her a million times more when I get my other companions. She is just so obedient and diligent and taught me to be that way. I am thankful to have been trained by her! And she was the best person for me to have been with in such a hard area like that. Sister Wilson and I work well together and she is very laid-back. She is awesome in lessons and great with talking to people. I am just a little more Type A personality...like "let's get going" kind of missionary haha. 
But seriously,  I am just thankful for so much right now! My heart is full. I know this gospel is true, and it is incredible to watch it change other people's lives. 

I love you all and miss you tons!!! P.S. I am trying to catch up on my letter writing!! :)

Until next week,
Sister Hickman

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

TRANSFER WEEK!!

SOOOO.....I am getting transferred! Hahaha it has been a huge ordeal. So, last night we had dinner with the Gomm's (the fam we live with) and our investigators, Karen and Carisa were there. It was getting late, so we went out to get our phone in case we got the call soon. About 20min later the Zone Leaders call. They said "Sister Hickman, you are going to Elk Grove." I started SOBBING! In front of the Gomm's and the investigators. I was so upset! I could not even finish talking to them. Haha I handed the phone to Carisa to get the rest of the info. Then, they told Sister Parkinson that she was staying here over these two wards and a new companion will come. Seriously, I was devastated. I cried ALL NIGHT! The poor Gomm's. They were so worried about me. I woke up at 2:15 am this morning because I could not sleep. I have been awake for HOURS! This morning we went to the temple, and I was talking to a sister I came out with. I asked where she was being transferred to and she said Elk Grove to be with Sister Henderson. I said, "I am going to Elk grove to be with Sister Henderson." One of the Sister Training Leaders was standing there and said, "Sister Hickman is on my list for being one of my sisters I'm over in Carmichael." We were all so confused!! After the temple, I called the Assistants to the President, and they said, oh yeah...you are going to Carmichael! So there it is! Tomorrow, I leave for Carmichael in the La Sierra Ward. This is the stake with the mission office and AP's. It is the zone with the highest baptism rate. It is on fire right now!!! My area is ALL BIKE!!!! I am pumped for that. I gotta get off this mission weight! I have heard my companion is super fun and awesome. SO I AM EXCITED!!! It is sad to say good-byes today to the members, and I do not want to leave Sister Parkinson at all, but I am excited! Also, this area is pretty ghetto I guess. haha I have been told I will know the scent of every drug by the time I leave...wonderful! This will be great. 



So....this week in Cameron Park. It is so weird this was my last week! We had some really powerful lessons with investigators. If any get baptized this transfer, I can come back for them!!! On Friday, we got to go to the Mission office and see "Meet the Mormons." It comes out this next weekend in select theaters. It was so good!!!! It is basically just a documentary on some different Mormon individuals. you all should check it out! Watching the segment on the Navy football coach made me miss football SO MUCH! Wow, can't wait to go to a game again!! I loved the segment on the "Missionary Mom." I think it will help people see where we, as missionaries, come from. We are normal and have family/friends just like everyone else!!!!
Sister Gomm took us to Mormon Street on our way home from watching "Meet the Mormons!"
General Conference was amazing!!! There were a couple talks that really stuck out. Obviously, Elder Bednar's talk. Check it out! It is all about why this Church loves missionary work! I also loved President Uchdtforf's talk.

Okay, I am sorry I am so overwhelmed! I had so much I wanted to say this week, but today I have to pack, say good-byes, etc. My mind is racing! And I have had no time to write anyone back, but I am working on it!!!! Promise!!!! 

I am sorry this email is not better with more inspiration, etc. Good things happened this week, but it would take too long. Just know that I am headed to Carmichael tomorrow, and I am so so excited!!!! Also, I will get to see Sister Parkinson Saturday at Zone Conference, so I am telling myself it isn't good-bye yet :) I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for all he has blessed me with! El Dorado Zone has been incredible, and I am sad to leave. I cannot wait to come visit it someday!!! 

I love you all so much!!!! 

Love,
Sister Hickman