Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 6 of Transfer One!

Hi everyone!!!

This was the last week of the first transfer. I have said it before, but each transfer is 6 weeks and at that point, everyone is up to move areas in the mission. You could move, your companion could, you both could, or neither. So anyways, this was the last week of my first transfer in the field...it was great!!!

The weeks started off with the New Missionary Meeting. At the end of the first transfer, they bring all the new missionaries together to see how training is going, etc. I got to see my friends from the MTC...Sisters Campbell and Kandare. It made my week!!! We were so excited. We are all doing well as new missionaries. A lot of us are in the "richer" areas, which make them harder haha. We are all struggling with the same things, but it was really cool to come together and share experiences. Sister Parkinson said it is good to be trained in a hard area like this because you will grow so much! After looking back on this transfer, I know Heavenly Father needed me to learn from this and grow. I think I have been so used to being handed things in life. I always thought I was a hard worker, but my mission has already taught me so much about hard work and truly relying on the Lord. I am happy I learned that in my first transfer because it will truly change my mission. The first two weeks out here were the hardest things of my life. However, Heavenly Father humbled me and taught me to be obedient and have faith. Anyways, all the new missionaries loved seeing each other!!
At the New Missionary Meeting with Sister Campbell and Sister Kandare, who were in the MTC with me. It was the best seeing them!!! P.S. shout out to Kenz for the cute, cute necklace she mailed me :) the best gift for Sister Missionaries!!!! Our clothes get old after a while.
Later that day, Monika called and dropped us. It was so weird and out of the blue. She basically did exactly what happened last time when she dropped the sisters about a year ago. That was hard for me. I felt like Heavenly Father was bringing people to us, like Hannah and Monika, and they were so ready, and then taking them away so quickly. I felt like I was being teased. However, prayer got me through it. I have faith that it is just not their time yet. I know they felt something in our lessons, and I just have to be patient and see if something happens down the road.

Sister Bishop, Sister Parkinson, and me at the Bass Lake Ward Luau. It was at the Bishop's house. Yes, the one I sent pics of last week. Actually, when this was taken, we were not in Bass Lake, but we crashed on our dinner break because we served there three weeks and thought we deserved to go!! Now that we are back over Bass Lake Ward, we do not feel bad at all!!!!
This week, we added like 3 or 4 investigators! They are awesome! We are teaching like crazy! I do not think this area has been this busy in months and months!!! We are so excited. I do not want to give too many details on them all, but just know we have some great people ready to accept the gospel.

On Friday, we had this investigator come to the church and work on family history with a member in our ward. It was awesome because we are really trying to push family history! She has been visited by missionaries for YEARS, but now something is starting to happen. We think temple work and family history work is starting to bring the Spirit to her. The Spirit was so strong while we did family history for her. I pulled up mine and started looking through all my ancestors. So, my dad has always been SUPER into family history, and I have ALWAYS taken it for granted. I thought it was boring. But this night, I was so into it!! I was looking at all my family names and places, etc. So, shout out to my dad for working hard....I can now say I appreciate it! I read the story about my great-great grandfather, Henry Moon, on my mom's side. He was baptized in England by the missionaries there (Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde) and came to America. He talked about meeting Joseph Smith and knowing he was a prophet of God. He was set apart as a Bishop by Brigham Young, after coming across the plains. The story then had his testimony to his posterity. He talked about the truthfulness of the gospel and staying on the straight and narrow path. I was crying reading this because I felt the love in my family roots. I was reading the testimony of this gospel from my great-great grandfather. He was a strong man, who raised his family in this gospel. I felt the Spirit so strongly, and I know that this Church is true, just like he testified of.
Everyone asks us if we are sisters. It is too funny! We have decided that we do see the resemblance. 
So...we got transfer calls last night and we all move tomorrow! Sister Parkinson and I are staying! Yay! When you are training, you always do haha. BUTTTTT we are back over Bass Lake Ward. Hahah so back to Green Valley and Bass Lake wards. It is so weird because remember how I was and then they brought the member to be with Sister Bishop for the last week so the work could be split? So, we are like...why would they do that if they were just going to be combined again? Sister Bishop is going to Tracey, by the way. It is south. So, I will be living in the same place. I am pumped! However, I am so overwhelmed!! Green Valley was getting SO BUSY!!!!! Not kidding! and now we have another ward!!! I know this transfer will be exhausting but so worth it. We will be working so hard. I cannot wait! We missed Bass Lake..even though we had only been there 3 weeks. So this is the ward Sister Parkinson served in the first 6 months of her mission. 
Today, we got to go to the temple. It was incredible. I had missed going!! I wish we could go more. We can only go 4 times a year on transfer P-days. It was so peaceful and the temple is beautiful in Sacramento!  
This was taken this morning at the Sacramento Temple. We did a session, and we loved going together! 

I wanted to end with some things I have learned in my first transfer, as transfer two starts this week....

A mission is completely what the missionary makes it. Not kidding! There is a HUGE difference between a good missionary and a great one. You can come out here and be disobedient and push the boundaries. Also, not work hard and just be besties with the members. I want to always work hard and remember that I am on the Lord's time for these 18 months because they will FLY! Also, I have learned to be grateful for the little miracles in life. Heavenly Father gives us miracles everyday, and He is truly blessing this area. If I put my faith in Him, he will make sure we are okay. I have learned to find joy in the little things. I have also learned to talk to everyone!!! I have a bad habit of judging people by their looks...thinking "they look mean..they will not listen to us" but sometimes those are the nicest people!!! People here are being prepared for the gospel and WE WANT A BAPTISM THIS TRANSFER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I seriously love my mission and being out here. Everyday, I fall more in love with it. Because we have actually been teaching and finding people, I am able to see the gospel begin to change people's lives. I cannot wait for this next transfer. I am in a good place in my mission, but I do not want to be content!! We want to keep working hard and pushing and finding people. Thank you for all your kind words and prayers for me every week. Miracles are happening, and this mission is changing my life.

I know this gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I know that if we commit to Him and act on our faith, the gospel will change our lives. We can find a new meaning. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that if you read it, study it, and pray to know that it is true, you WILL receive an answer. I love that book. I study from it for a long time each day, and I keep learning. 

I love you all, and mail gets stopped on transfer week because they wait to see if you move, so I will get it all at the end of the week! I have printed emails this week, and I will write back ASAP!

Talk to you all next Monday!!!

Sister Hickman

P.S. If my grammar is ever wrong, I promise I can write well...I just type so fast to get this all in...no judgement :) 

P.S.S. I was not effected by earth quake!! I did not even know it happened!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 5 in Sacramento

Hi everyone!! This was a busy week, and I have lots to share so read closely!! I am going to go day by day because I have so much!!

So, last P-day after I emailed you guys, we spent the afternoon at the bishop's house of the Bass Lake Ward (the 2nd ward I was assigned to in the trio). His house is a resort. No joke. I grew up in a nice place and have seen nice homes, but this is crazy. It is how you imagine celebrities living in California. He really should be in the Folsom Stake, where are the El Dorado Hills homes are. But he is in ours. I will attach pictures because you have got to see it!!! We were in heaven. I played tennis, basketball, relaxed, ran...it was a great P-day. 

Bishop Porter's house in Bass Lake. Not all the houses in the ward are like this...actually none are haha. It is insane! He sold something to Apple. His oldest son is on a mission in Brazil.
Bird's eye view of the house  
Yes, there is a water park. Okay I have lots but this is good for now. There is a Ward Luau there on Saturday, and although we are no longer over the Bass Lake Ward...we did serve there 3 weeks so we are crashing it for our dinner...so I will take pics at it :) 
Sister Bishop had to go to the dentist, so Sister Parkinson and I decided to tract some "sketchier" apartments in the area. We came across a former investigator, a less-active, and others we did not know about. It was decently successful. BUT, when we were crossing the street, we contacted these two high school girls and said we could come teach them next week! (We have yet to catch them home, hopefully soon). And then, we passed a man and started talking to him, and when he the small talk was almost dead we brought up family history work. Long story short....he said we are a sign from God and wants us to come talk to him and his girlfriend about the gospel! You always hear how tracting is more of a sign of faith and that blessings follow and this was true for us! That day, we were focused and found potential investigators because we had our faith on the line. Like I said, I actually do like tracting. You can definitely make it fun.

I got to sheer a sheep for service!! They are a family in the El Dorado ward (like all country people). They sheer them twice a year. All the missionaries came together, and it was so fun! I will attach pics. It is an experience I will never forget! 
Also, this was our last day in a trio/covering two areas. They really want them separate, so they have a returned missionary sister with Sister Bishop over Bass Lake ward. So, I am back with just Sister Parkinson over Green Valley Ward. Sister Bishop is still living with us until the end of the transfer, which is until next week. This is all so confusing I know, and weird....they never do that...haha I guess they are desperate for the work to get moving. This transfer has been chaotic for poor Sister Bishop. 
Sheering sheep!!! It was so funny. My area is not country like this haha. But most of our stake is. 
Our Zone sheering sheep.

Last day in a trio!!! 
Okay, so this is my big story for the week. On like my second day in the area back in July, we were going through the Area book looking at former investigators, etc. There was a woman names Monika, who was just taught the first lesson by Sister missionaries about a year ago. She was family friends with a Mormon family who used to live here. Anyways, we went to see her and she was not home. Then, on my first Sunday, I received so many promptings at church to go see Monika. I had no clue who she was...I had just seen her name in the book. But the Spirit kept telling me to see Monika. After church that Sunday, I asked Sister Parkinson if we could try again before heading to dinner. We did, and she was not home, but we met her husband and kids. Weeks went by and we caught her a couple times and she was so so nice, but the time was never good for her to let us in. Okay, so on this Thursday, we tried her again before dinner. She answered and let us in. We talked about her past experience with attending church activities with the Mormon family, etc. We ended up teaching her the Restoration right there and the Spirit was so strong. I felt prompted to tell her of this experience. I told her that I had no idea if she was searching for something or if she even knew that she was, but that I had strong impressions to come talk to her. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said that she loved the peace her Mormon friend had when raising her kids, and she wants that peace. We testified of the power of the gospel. We committed her to read The Book of Mormon. We have another lesson with her this week. I am so excited for it!!!! She is incredible, and this experience taught me to always follow the Spirit, even if we do not know the person or really understand why at that moment. 
Sister Parkinson and me back to just us over the Green Valley ward. We miss the trio, but we are excited for what is to come! She is an incredible companion. 
Today was Zone conference with President and Sister Jardine! It was a great day, full of lots of spiritual lessons. There were 4 Zones in attendance, and it was fun to meet other missionaries. I got all my packages that day! I felt so loved! Everyone was making fun telling me that in a couple months everyone will forget about me and I will receive no more packages haha. 
El Dorado Zone at Zone Conference Friday. 
So, the Cohen family I wrote about last week is in Bass Lake, so now we will not be teaching them because we are back to just the Green Valley Ward. That makes me sad. But, Sister Parkinson and I are working hard and having faith, and miracles are truly happening in this area. We feel that it is about to explode!!!! We are so pumped. The ward members are catching onto our enthusiasm and they are getting excited too because this area has been pretty slow for a while. 

Transfers are next week (I cannot believe it has already been 6 weeks!!), so P-day will be Tuesday. They make transfer calls Monday night. We will almost 100%  be staying here because when you are training, you stay in the same area for two transfers. We are excited for another transfer in this area. 

Also, I want to thank Sara Coonce from the Inviting Place who gave me a ton of stationary to write to y'all on!!! I will be sending cute cards this week, instead of my ghetto lined paper :) 

It has been an incredible week here, and I am excited for the work this week! I love being our here and sharing the gospel. I know that it is the way out of darkness, out of comfort, and out of sadness. 

Talk to you soon!!
Sister Hickman 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another Week!

Hello hello!!!

These weeks fly by, I'm tellin ya. It freaks me out. I just cannot get over it!!!

So, last week, I think I told you guys about a family we found through members?? The Relief Society president (in charge of the women's program) and her husband (on the high council) have been praying about this family in the neighborhood for like a year and a half. They have always felt like Heavenly Father was telling them to share the gospel with them. Brother Vance asked them if the missionaries could talk to them and the family said yes! Well, we have been encouraging families to have nonmembers in their homes. So, last Monday night, The Cohen's (the nonmembers) went over to the Vance's (the members) and swam. The Cohen's have 4 kids. The Vance's have a son on a mission, a daughter about to leave for college, and a 9 year old. The Cohen kids swam with the 9 year old and the parents talked. After, they did s'mores. We came for that part and shared Moroni 10:32 about becoming perfected in Christ and striving to be like Him. We told the Vance's that if they do the "social conversion" that we, as missionaries, will do the "spiritual conversion." After the thought, we asked if we could come over and teach the first lesson and they said yes! We taught it last night. Brother Vance came to the lesson. So, as you can guess by the last name Cohen, the dad comes from a Jewish background, but they are Catholic. We taught the Restoration, and the dad was very intrigued by prophets. The Spirit was definitely in the lesson. We asked them to read The Book of Mormon as a family and pray about it. I think there is definitely hope with this family, but it will take time. The oldest daughter is going into Middle School and the dad really wants strong values for her. We talked a lot about families. He said he would call us for the next lesson...so that means he probs wont so we will check on them soon. Haha. But they listened and seemed fairly open! Fun fact for Gracie....their daughter is Gracie...so Gracie Cohen...it made me laugh haha.
Anyways...member missionary work is the key for us!! When you talk to families and invite them into your home where the Spirit can be felt, they can learn of the gospel...versus us just showing up on their doorstep. We have been doing lots of member ward visits and sharing this with the families....encouraging them to do what the Vance's did!

The member's house we landscaped....We worked on it a few days for like two weeks. Finally it is done! This is missionaries getting used for "service"....

This week...I went tracting for the first time. Yes, tracting. Literally walking door to door knocking and trying to talk to people. I actually liked it. Most people HATE IT. But I liked the walking and seeing new faces, etc. 

We are working with this less-active lady, Hilary. SHe is the best!!! She has the kindest heart and loves coming back to Church. We have been doing practice lessons with her because the information benefits her. She has not been to Church in a long, long time. I have loved building friendship with her and seeing how much she loves this gospel.
The member's house we landscaped....We worked on it a few days for like two weeks. Finally it is done! This is missionaries getting used for "service"....

We had an amazing Zone training this week. Our Zone leaders talked about having charity in the work, being bold in the work, and following the Spirit in the work. It is so weird because I am totally a bold/blunt person...just ask anyone who knows me!!! But here, I back down a little. I am trying to be more bold in just going up and talking to ANYONE I see. We never know who Heavenly Father is putting in our path!
My two companions! We will probably just be a trio until the end of this transfer (2 more weeks). 

We have people to see and visit, but not a lot of like legit investigators. The members here are great people, but are a little worn on talking to their friends about missionary work, etc. I LOVE being in a trio. It is a party. We have to work harder to stay focused, but it will be sad when we separate in two weeks after this transfer. Missionary work is hard, but you can enjoy it with your companion. I always tell them that I cannot imagine doing this with someone I do not like!!! ahh. Hopefully that does not happen....
My first time legit tracting. I really did not mind it! 

This Friday is Zone Conference with President Jardine. I am excited because I heard they are the best! 3 Zones will be gathered. So, I am in an "area" and like 8 of those make a "zone." hopefully that helps....

I really do love missionary life now! I have adjusted and I find joy in it. I have always been a person who invests in what I do, and I get more invested here everyday. The work is hastening. I love this gospel because it changes lives. Straight up, it really does. That is why I am out, being a missionary with a name tag, stopping to talk to people everywhere I go, because I love my Savior and I want people to know Him. 

Love y'all!! Have a great week!
Sister Hickman  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

One Month Down!

Wow! I cannot believe I hit my one month mark a couple days ago. The days are long, but the weeks go by so fast. This week some things happened.

So remember Hannah? The golden investigator? Well, she texted us Sunday and said she is postponing the rest of the lessons. Her and her husband talked about it and they want to read The Book of Mormon together and pray about it. Then, hopefully move forward together in the lessons. This is good news because a week ago he would not even consider reading it. Hannah said she can tell prayers are being answered because now he is open to reading it! She thinks it is best for their family to take these steps together. I am sad because I wanted to teach her and see her be baptized. BUT, I need to have faith that Heavenly Father has a bigger plan for them. Hey, now they both might join this gospel, and that would be awesome! So, we are going to occasionally visit them and see how the reading is going. I was super bummed, but I am doing better at hoping for the best!

Nothing else really happened this week...We are still trying to find people to teach. We are visiting potential investigators that the last missionaries knew, and we are just trying to find new people. It is hard work! But I am enjoying it. This week was really hot, but this week is supposed to be cooler. 

So, in this Stake, the missionaries do tons of service. We are asked to do about 10 hours per week. a lot of programs are being piloted in missions called "Just Serve." Ours is in the El Dorado Stake, but our whole mission will do it soon. It is supposed to be service primarily for non-members to get to know people and love them, but of course cheap Mormons take advantage of us haha. We have pretty much landscaped this woman's yard in one of our wards. It is funny because we totally get used. But, service is service I guess!!! 

I am beginning to catch on that this area is like a mini-Utah. All the members are friends with each other, and they do not really have non-member friends. I was not expecting this because we are in California. We are trying to push member-missionary work, but they are all like...we do not have many friends. It is tough because I am like...you are talking to the wrong girl!!! I have like zero friends that are Mormon!!!!! So it is tough finding their friends to talk to haha. But oh well. A member family invited their neighbors over to swim tonight and have s'mores and we are coming to give a thought. It was my idea to do this and the mom was scared but they asked the friends and it has worked out!! So hopefully, the Spirit will be present tonight. 

I love the new place we moved into last week. They live sort of in the country so every morning I run on gravel around the house. It is a nice route from what I had before, and I am able to run about 3 miles every morning. My companions just like stretch and do lunges in the yard. Running keeps me sane and helps me have energy during the day! I love it. And I like that I can run my pace and amount because they just do whatever on the side. A lot eat pretty healthy here, which is nice. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies. This week, we were not served a lot of dessert which was awesome!! If you have Sister Missionaries, do not serve them dessert!!! They won't want it!!! 

But overall, life is great. The three of us as companions have been doing well together. The third that joined us will probably leave at the end of this transfer in 3 weeks. It is hard getting to know members in both wards, but I am getting better.

I miss you all so much, and I think about you all the time! When you mail something, I get it about 10 days later. Thank you for thinking of me and for all your prayers!! Have a great week!!!

Sister Hickman