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

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