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!

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-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