Monday, January 26, 2015

180 degree turn!

Hi everyone!! 

What a week!! So, on Tuesday was the New Missionary Meeting for Sister Bills. I DID NOT want to go. I did not want to see all the trainers and their trainees as besties because I just want to cry everyday. I know, very selfish. We got there and I could not even hold it together during the opening song. I just wanted to burst out in tears. I normally am fine holding it together, but it was because of the environment with all the missionaries...I just had been holding in a lot for a long time that I couldn't anymore. The day before, so last p-day, I just sobbed all day and wanted to talk to my parents more than anything. I wanted to know they were both listening and hear my mom say, "everything is going to be okay." I would have given anything to hear that. So, when this meeting came, I was already pretty emotionally unstable. When we broke up as trainers and then trainees, we got to ask questions, etc. When that part was over, we were waiting for the trainees to finish their part with President, and I was standing by Sister Jardine. She asked how I was, and I just burst into tears. I told her, "I am fine, but I just need to cry." Haha I am so pathetic. I told her it is not Sister Bills, but it is me. I am just upset with myself all the time because I cannot be the patient, loving trainer that she needs. I am totally failing and just miserable all the time. She said that the moment she heard that Sister Bills from her ward was coming, and I was called, she knew I would be her trainer. She said she knows this is what Heavenly Father needs me to do. The next part of the meeting was a testimony meeting for the new missionaries. We walked in late after I pulled it together. Sister Bills was last to bear her testimony. She cried through the whole thing. At the end she said, "I am thankful for my trainer, Sister Hickman, and for how patient she has been with me." I just sat there in shock. I literally have to like pull her teeth to communicate with me, and I honestly feel like she hates me most of the time. I could not believe she said that. I met with President after the meeting to get a blessing. He asked how I was because he could tell I was not okay. I said, "You know what, after hearing her testimony, I am doing a lot better. I think I just needed to hear her say that." President said, "If Heavenly Father did not prompt her to say that right in the moment for you to hear because you needed it, then the Church is not true." Haha I said, "Isn't that the truth!" He talked to me a lot. I just told him how I am struggling being who Heavenly Father needs me to be, and I feel like a failure all the time. I told him that I was raised in a way that you just "buck up and keep going" and that I am embarrassed that I am struggling this much. I have never been like this! He talked to me a lot about not expecting perfection, etc. He is one of the most loving people I know, and he helped SO much. He gave my a priesthood blessing after. Wow, my whole world has changed. He talked a lot about me developing the Christ-like attributes that I need at this time. It was just incredible. I have felt so happy since. I have felt more patient. It has been hard for me because I do not have problems loving people. EVER. Anyone who knows me knows that someone is my "best friend" after like a day. Seriously. I just love people. That is my favorite part of being a missionary. I get to love so many people. I have NEVER struggled with loving someone like this before. I didn't think I would ever get there. That night when we went to bed, I was laying there and said, "Goodnight Sister Bills, I love you." When I used to say this, she would just say "goodnight." This night she said, "Goodnight Sister Hickman, I love you too." Talk about a tender mercy. Things are changing!!!! Life is so much happier this way. I am able to teach her a lot more out of love and patience. My week seriously changed 180 degrees from where it had been.

Here are pictures from a run we helped with last P-day as a zone! It was for the high school. The STUCO pres is Mormon, so all the missionaries volunteered for their fundraiser run! It took me back to my involvement glory days hahah I loved it. 
Tim moved to Texas yesterday. He could not find work here. I am so bummed. It was really hard saying bye to him. I saw him change so much, and I am so thankful to have been a part of it and witness it. We are setting him up with the missionaries in Texas. I will never forget him!

We have a LEGIT investigator, Alec. He is friends with one of our members. He is younger and so normal and stable. It is great! wow. BUT, he lives in the Roseville Mission....lol. We have permission to teach him, but he cannot get baptized in our ward. He loves our ward so much, I am pretty sure he is going to move in our ward so he can officially be in it. 

Things really are going so much better. I have so much more joy in my life. My testimony has grown so much on the power of the priesthood. I am thankful that the authority from God is on the earth. I am thankful I grew up in a home with a priesthood holder. 

This week is Zone Conference, and I am excited!!! Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. You all are in mine :)

Sister Hickman 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hello Everyone!!!

Hello everyone!!!

So for this week, I wanted to write about some fun facts about Northern California versus good 'ol Oklahoma. Everyone keeps asking me, so I tried to make a list!!!

Fun facts about the people here in Sacramento:

-Everyone says "hecka." For example..."that is hecka cool!"
-salads are never served without avocados
-everyone has a dog...and they are OBSESSED with it
-when you ear oranges, they are usually homegrown from the person's yard 
-most of the families here were born and raised and are still living here
-there are bike lanes on EVERY street. I do not even remember seeing bike lanes in Tulsa!
-Sacramento is a huge melting pot. When we talk to people, we do not even assume they speak English anymore. There are lots of people from Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, etc.
-when people say the "bay area," I do not even know what they are referring to besides San Francisco. But everyone says it.

What you cannot find here that I miss from Oklahoma!
-QUESO. no one even knows what it is!!!!! Man, I miss chips and queso.
-Country music (they probs have it here, but we cannot listen to normal music as missionaries...just church music).
-I always look like such a prep in my clothes....I have tried to adapt to the style here.
-All the times we have been on the side of the road working on our bikes, no one has stopped, but I keep thinking how if we were in OK people totally would have stopped to help! 

That is about all I can think of. I love serving my mission here. We meet the most interesting people. It keeps life exciting. I miss Oklahoma lots, but I have loved being out here in this diverse area. My eyes have really opened to how a lot of people live. 

Things are going okay. Honestly, this week was probably the most homesick I have been on my mission. It helped that I got lots of mail each night to read from you all :) It made me happy. Sister Kandare and her comp are really struggling and want to go home. We are really close, so I think that has been hard on me. I don't want to go home at all, but I just really missed it all this week. I am just trying to make it through! 

Tim cannot find a job, so he may be moving next week. The baptism may not happen. That has been hard, but I have to remember our purpose. It is to "help others come unto Christ." not just to baptize. I know that I helped him build that relationship, so whatever happens is Heavenly Father's plan for him. 

Thanks for all your kind words and prayers :) The bike is still going well! I love it! I never ever want to go back to car. Have a great week!

Sister Hickman

**Disclaimer** I did not write this!! But let me tell you, this sister is speaking the truth. Here is an insight to my feelings that I do not always adequately describe!
The Honest Truth About Missions

"So are you getting paid to do this?"


"Are you getting some kind of school credit?"


"What about church promotion?"


"Well how about community recognition?"

"Definitely not"

"Then why would you EVER choose to do what you're doing??"

He had a point. I'd been talking to one of our investigators about missions and how we work as missionaries, and his final question wasn't foreign in my mind. I'd asked myself that question many times. 

You asked for honest. Here's honest.

I believe many--my pre-mission self included--have a warped opinion of what it's like to be a missionary. Before I put on the tag, I had only a vague idea of what it was really like to actually be in those shoes.

I thought they were perfect.
I thought they were always happy.
I thought they loved every minute of their service.
I thought they were invincible.
I thought they didn't have a care in the world.
I thought it was probably hard work, but easy to love.
I thought they were almost always successful.
I thought that it was easy for them to sacrifice.

It seems like a lifetime away since I lived life not as a missionary. In the time that's followed--now 14 months into my mission--I've come to see missionaries and missions in a completely different light.

"Sister Parker, missions are 98% hard work, struggle, disappointment, difficulty, sorrow, and even pain. 2%.......2% is pure joy," my mission president told me during one of our first interviews together. 

He was right. SO right.

Here's the honest truth:missionaries hide a lot. Sometimes it's behind a smile as someone slams the door in our face after cussing us out. Other times it's behind closed doors when we fall to our knees, sobbing and begging for the help of The Lord to carry us through. And at other times, it's only disclosed in a simple journal entry reading, "Why aren't we seeing more success?" or "Why is this so hard??" Investigators don't see the tears we cry the night they've told us they're no longer interested in meeting with us. The strangers on the street don't see our hearts sink when they refuse to listen and instead call us names. The family members back home don't see the long sleepless nightswhen we can't think of anything but the faces of those we miss. The members don't see our pain when ten minutes before church, an investigator calls to say he won't be able make it. And even our companions don't always see our exhaustion after a long and difficult day. 

Let's get raw:

I'm not perfect.
I'm not always happy.
I don't always love every minute of it.
I'm not invincible.
I struggle.
It's hard back-breaking work, and not always easy to love.
I'm not always successful.

And it is HARD to sacrifice.

I've missed the weddings of two siblings.
I’ve missed the farewell of a brother leaving to serve in Russia and
I’ll soon miss the farewell of another brother leaving to serve in Portland, Oregon.
I've had more medical problems on the mission than I have my entire life.
I've been called every name in the book, and been harassed for what I believe.
I've struggled with difficult companions, areas, and people.
I've spent long and lonely nights, aching for help and comfort.
I miss home and family every. single. day.
I’ve cried more tears in the last 14 months than I have in the last 14 years.
I question my ability to succeed often.
I feel completely inadequate to meet the needs of those around me.
I often feel weak, lonely, exhausted, frustrated, disappointed, and homesick.

And yet…….my mission president continued, “Sister Parker, missions are 98% hard work, struggle, disappointment, difficulty, sorrow, and even pain. 2%.......2% is pure joy…….  
And somehow that 2% makes it ALL WORTH IT.
I don’t even know how it’s possible. Serving as a missionary is THE hardest thing I have ever done. By far. It’s more demanding, challenging, and draining than anything I’ve ever experienced.
And somehow…..somehow……it is all worth it.
Yes…I struggle.
Yes…I fall.
Yes...I long for home and family.
Yes…I miss the comforts I gave up.
Yes…I often wish people understood how much we sacrifice just to bring them the gospel and make their lives better.
Yes…I’m FAR from perfect.
Yes…I’m weak and inadequate. 
And YES…..my mission has transformed me and others into people we wouldn’t have been without it. Therefore, YES…..it is worth it.
That pure joy—PURE JOY—that President told me about……I had no idea what that was like until I became a missionary and have seen the gospel change lives, including mine. Most of the time, the joy we experience as missionaries isn’t even our own. It’s the joy we feel seeing others experience the joy of the gospel……Yes, it doesn’t come often. It takes HARD work to get. But it is PURE. It’s a joy I’ve never felt before in my entire life. And I believe it is a type of joy that few will ever feel. And it comes only to those who are willing to sacrifice everything for the Lord in order to receive it.

So yes….. I’ve often thought and often been asked: "Why would I EVER choose to do what I do??"
It IS hard. It doesn’t even make since to the outside world why young missionaries like me would go out for 18-24 months, paying thousands of dollars to go, abide by such strict rules, live such a rigorous schedule, have such limited communication with family and friends, and all just to share a message about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.
I do it because IT’S TRUE. I would not be here….doing this, sacrificing like this….if I didn’t know with allmy heart that it is true. It has changed my life, and I continue to see it change others’ lives.

 That is undeniable.
I can’t even begin to describe to someone why, specifically, being a missionary is so incredibly difficult. 
It’s much harder than I’ll ever be able to express. But while, I don’t believe my mission will ever be easy…..nor that sacrifice or conversion will ever be easy…….I KNOW that with the help of God, it’s worth it.
Now go hug a missionary ……... they need it:)

Monday, January 12, 2015


Hello Everyone!!!!

This week...was...interesting :) 

So, first off....WE ARE FULL-TIME BIKE!!! WOOP WOOP!!!! An Elder in the mission broke his foot, so they decided our area would be fine for bike. I LOVE IT!!! You can talk to so many people and exercise and enjoy the outdoors and everything! The first day I wanted to hurt someone because I hated it so much. My bag is SO HEAVY, I feel stupid in a helmet, my body hurt, and Sister Bills can barely ride a bike. BUT, that is all okay now :) She is struggling lots on the bike. She has already crashed twice and her bike is broken. She is borrowing someone's. She is struggling with it. Bike is taking lots of patience because she is so slow!!! But it is good for me to learn haha. It really is a tender mercy from Heavenly Father because you don't have to talk to your companion on bike because they follow behind you :) In the car, it can get awkward not talking hahaha. The first night after biking, I really did hate it. I was thinking about the pioneers crossing the plains. They went through WAY MORE than I can even imagine. I always wonder if I would have been one of the strong ones crossing the plains or one left behind. That helped me have the drive to keep pushing on. And now, I do not want to go back to car! Hopefully Sister Bills starts liking it better.

I had a "Come to Jesus" moment this week. I was really struggling, but I read a few talks that really helped me. Also, a verse really helped me. It is Doctrine and Covenants 121: 7-9: "...peace be unto thy soul: thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if those endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." 
So basically, this 12 weeks will be but a "small moment." I have to "endure it well." And then it will be over!!! I need to just learn to "become." I was doing well, then I sort of gave up trying with her. It is in the open we don't like each other. I feel like I am the only one trying. Whatever, I will just keep doing what I know how to do and pray my little heart out for love for her. 

So....for a miracle this week. I am not sure if I have said anything about Tim and Robyn. There was one night Sister Garrido and I were driving to dinner, and we passed a couple on the street, with their daughter. I felt a little prompting to talk to them, but I kept driving. We got lost and ended up circling back around, and there they were. I felt again that we should talk to them. I said, "Sister Garrido, I am pulling over and we are going to walk up to them and talk to them." We hop out of the car and talk to them. The Spirit was there. We had set up a return appointment. Robyn said she felt something the moment she met us. This was the end of November. So, we taught them on and off for the last several weeks. They aren't married, but were engaged. It got to the point where their relationship issues were getting in the way of them progressing spiritually. Right when Sister Bills got here, we went over and the lesson was very powerful. The Spirit was so strong. That night, Robyn left Tim. She took her daughter and left in the night. Tim was devastated. However, he had been moving forward spiritually and she was holding him back. I firmly believe that this is Heavenly Father's plan. It is too weird she left the night of our powerful lesson with them. I think she felt prompted to leave. Tim went into a dark place for a couple days, but then he remembered his faith. He has been doing incredible!!! He called me last week and said, "Miss Hickman, I am getting baptized. You have changed my life. I know God sent you to me." Haha is is from the south and calls me Miss Hickman. I told him that God prompted me to meet you for a reason, and I know this is what He wants for you. Tim is getting baptized January 31st!! What a miracle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We literally just found him on the street! What was holding them back was their relationship, so I knew if they ever got baptized, it would be a while because of that. Tim is progressing so well, and he feels his life completely changing. It has been an incredible experience to be apart of. Heavenly Father loves Tim so much, and I feel that love everytime I teach him.

This week has been full of ups and downs. The work really is going so well :) That is what is keeping me sane, and it is what keeps me going!!!! I know this gospel changes lives. I see it everyday. What a privilege that is!

Thanks for all the support you all have given me :)

Sister Hickman 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

1/3 Done!

Hello friends and family!

It has been only a few days since you last heard from me, and since then.....I hit my 6 months! Wow, it has gone by so fast. I am still alive. I haven't gotten fired yet from training :) haha jk.

Celebrating our 6 months! Love my Sister Kandare :)
It is good. President told me I will probably be teaching by myself for the next 12 weeks with her, so I sure need to get used to that then. I honestly do not really know what to write about this week! 

We have a few pretty solid investigators. I really want to baptize every month of her training, but I am not sure if we will have a baptism in January. Our investigators have quite a bit to work out first :) I am trying to be as patient and loving as possible. Some days I am better than others. 

I am sorry. I really have a mental block with writing today. If you ever feel alone, know that Heavenly Father loves you. He knows us and is there to help us. Don't forget that. A lot of our investigators are going through some hard things, and it is really hard for me to see. We just have to remember that Heavenly Father molds us into the people He needs us to become. 
Forgive me for not writing a better weekly summary :)

Love you all,
Sister Hickman 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Hi everyone!!! 

So transfers were this week.....on Monday night, I got a call that I am training! I will be in the Mission Oak ward, here in East Sac, for the next 12 weeks. They split the wards and Sister Wheelwright is staying in Eastern Ave and Sis Campbell got transferred to South Sac. I went and picked up my little new missionary yesterday. I kinda felt like I would be training soon and wasn't too nervous until I got to the mission office. I was freaking out!!! 
Her name is Sister Bills. She is from Ogden, UT. She is actually from the same ward as President Jardine. She did a year of school at Weber State. This is my first time to have a companion that I have nothing in common with except the gospel. It has been different, especially because I am training her. I honestly am scared to death. I am trying to think back to my training and how Sister Parkinson was!!! I think this situation is going to teach me a LOT of love, kindness, and patience. I know that I am assigned to her for a reason, so I will have to seek the lessons Heavenly Father is trying to teach me.
Meeting my trainee, Sister Bills
Luckily, Sister Kandare (other bestie from the MTC) got transferred here to East Sac. I am so lucky to have her in my district and zone!!!!!! 

In my studies this morning, something really hit me that I want to share. When Nephi was commanded to go back and get the plates, they first basically flipped a coin to see who would go talk to Laban. Then, they tried buying them. The third attempt is described in 1 Nephi 4:6 - "And I was led BY THE SPIRIT, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." Well, right now I feel like Nephi. I have no clue what I should do, but I just need to be guided by the Spirit to know how to train. A lot of missionaries come out pretty much "pre-trained," so they catch on quickly. I will be doing a lot of teaching and guiding here, so I have to depend on Heavenly Father. These next 12 weeks will be an adventure!!!! 

The work is going well. We have a couple people on date for January, so we will see what happens! I will just be taking everything one day at a time. At least I know I will be here the next 3 months. 

I cannot believe it is 2015! Wow! We had last night off, and we hungout with the zone. Today is our P-day. Next week, our p-days will go back to normal on mondays :) 
New Years Eve with the missionaries! So happy Sister Kandare is in East Sac :) 
NYE missionary style....Martinelli Sparkling Cider  :)
With Sister Bills on NYE
I hope everyone has a great start off to the new year!!!! 

Sister Hickman