Monday, June 8, 2015

The Atonement and Life

Hi friends and family!

This week we got iPads woohoo! I am writing this email on my iPad...I
cannot wait to get a keyboard. We are all waiting because if we go to
the Modesto mission at the end of the month, the iPads will be taken
back because that isn't an iPad mission yet. We got ours Tuesday and
the rest of the mission got them on Friday at Zone Conference. It is
fun to have them while teaching. I do think they are a distraction for
missionaries, but it is something the missionaries will have to deal
with, because technology is distracting whether you are on a mission
or not. The iPads are to help us better fulfill our purpose. So, each
time i open it, I try to ask myself, is this helping me fulfill my
purpose for effectively to bring others to Christ? It helps a lot!

So, this week has been tough. I am going to open up because I like
being honest. When I struggle, I say I am. When I'm happy, I say I am!
We had a great life talk with one of our ward mission leaders. He is
legit! He asked how WE were doing, as people, because we are always just talking
about the work. I opened up a lot because we have very similar
personalities. We are both very passionate and driven and focused. I
told him that I was struggling to love people like I did at the
beginning of my mission. Just ask sister Parkinson! I cried all the
time in lessons because I felt God's love for them SO strong and knew
more than anything they needed the gospel. Everyone I meet throughout
my mission, I just LOVE! I have always been like that...a lover of
people. I feel like since I got to Folsom, I just don't love like I
did. I thought, maybe I am out of love to give? That can't be it.
Maybe I have gotten to focused on numbers and baptizing and achieving
goals? That is definitely it. But, is that a bad thing that needs to change? I have been
pondering this a lot and talked a lot to my ward mission leader about
it. I keep thinking, I don't understand, sister wright and I are
probably one of the hardest working companionships in this mission. We
are obedient, focused, and give it our all every single day. Why is
nothing happening? We desire nothing more than to help bring others to
the gospel. I kept thinking, what am I doing wrong? I feel like I am
doing things right to the best of my ability. Our ward mission leader talked about knowing if
the Lord is satisfied with our offering. He said that when we give it
our ALL He is satisfied, and HE will harvest in HIS time. I cannot
have this "sister Hickman timetable" and feel entitled or deserving to
get exactly what I want, when I want because I think I am doing things
right. That isn't how life works! Some of the most faithful members of
the Church have some of the biggest trials! The Lord gives us exactly
what we need when we need it. I cannot think I am failing if I do not
measure up to some internal yard stick or become so focused that I
miss the whole point of this work. A missionary said in his departing
testimony at zone conference that "missions do not change us but that the Atomement of
Jesus Christ changes us." That hit me so hard. I have to start relying
on that Atomement of Christ for strength and not think I can take this
all on my own. Otherwise, I will go home having not really changed at
all. I will have helped other people come unto Christ and not even
myself. Which, something all missionaries learn, is that these missions really
end up being for us to become converted, whether we want to admit it or not. I cannot think that I am only successful if I'm baptizing all the time or this or that. This week, I
told sister wright that I am done with reporting numbers! She is doing
it, so that I can just focus on loving and serving God's children. It
was crazy because at Zone conference I gave one of the prayers and
right after President said, "sister Hickman, are you okay?" I said,
"how come you read me like a book!?" He said, "I can tell something is
bothering you." I felt like I was hiding it well, but I told him I
felt like I was hitting a plateau on my mission where I get out of bed
and go through the motions of being a missionary, but I don't feel the
deep love like I used to. We talked about it and he talked to me a lot
about what a truly successful missionary is. I can't stress about
baptisms, etc. he said that the Lord knows the challenges I face.

I am focusing on applying the Atonement to refine my desires and
motives. I am praying a lot to just feel love for others and purely
desire their salvation. I have already felt a change begin. I will be
focusing on that for the next while. The talk that has really helped me is "Truly Good and Without Guile" from this past General Conference. Link is:
I am focusing on my love for God and serving for HIM, and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Not for anyone else. It does not matter what the other missionaries think, My mission president, my family, or my friends back home. I am here to serve my Heavenly Father. This talk really hit me, and I just want to be a silent servant who does what I should, when I should and for the right reasons.

I testify that the Atonement of Christ can carry every single one of us. It gives us the strength when we feel we have none. It gives us the joy when we feel sorrow. It gives us the hope when we see trials. Life is all about developing patience and being grateful for what we DO have, even when it feels like we are not getting the results or blessings that we want. Mission lessons are life lessons. It is the best :) I am sorry for this tangent. I just really hope this benefits someone out there reading this. If you feel like you are doing what you are being asked but feel like you are somehow still failing, know that God and Christ do not see you as failure. Do your very best and who cares what anyone else thinks! Do all to show your love for Them!

Have a great week! transfers are next week, so Tuesday is Pday. We have no clue what will be happening! 

sister hickman 

The Folsom Zone at zone conference. We are the "joke zone" because all of the missionaries are so obnoxious....it is embarrassing......

Our last district meetings! 

This beautiful picture from a sunset if Folsom that I took. I love
northern Cali!

Happy 11 months to us! so crazy how much time flies! 

nothing says "happy 11 months" better than iPads!! The day finally came :) It only took a year....

We were helping with the youth activity of the "amazing race." At our station, they had to draw the Plan of Salvation on the sidewalk then ride the tandem bike around the pond. We tested it out :) It is way harder than it looks! especially since we think we are pro bikers!!!

at zone conference with cute sister allen :)

Sister Campbell and I cannot be transferred away from each other!!!!

nothing better than celebrating 11 months than with milkshakes.....we are so cheesy :) 

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