Monday, November 23, 2015

novel writings by yours truly

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I feel like I have so much to tell you!
So just giving  heads up, this is kind of long....and transfers are next week!!! Pday will be Tuesday! I think I'm staying and sister Lillie thinks she is leaving, but we will have to see!!
    Well first off, Lee is doing awesome! When we met on Tuesday, it had only been a week and he had already read the first 15 chapters in the Book of Mormon! On thursday, we taught the Restoration. The spirit was so strong. When I said Joseph Smith's First vision, I could see the spirit in his eyes. He knew it was true. At the end of the lesson we asked him to pray to know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true. He said, "I dont need to, I already know it is!" He accepted everything we taught. Lee is one of the most
genuine, service oriented people I know. He says that after seeing all the good the members of the church do, there is no way it isn't Christ's church! He says everything we taught makes total sense. I stopped in the middle and said, "Thank you Lee! This is what I have been trying to say my whole mission when people tell us we are crazy!
You are smart, educated, sharp.....there is still hope out there!!!!!" Seriously though. Lee brings so much hope. I have been discouraged lately because with everything going on with the Church and the media, members are choosing to listen to the world and they are letting go of what they know to be true. Strong, lifelong members. It is the saddest thing. I keep thinking, how are we as missionaries supposed to bring people in and expect them to be strong during these "last days" when the strongest are letting go?? It is so hard to stay strong! After this lesson, I just cried on the way home. For many reasons haha. But one is that Lee brought me hope that there are people out there who are so prepared for the gospel and see the light and good that come from it. The other reason I was in tears was that it makes me SO SAD that it is getting close to the end. I know, I still have a transfer left, but I never know how many more people I will get to teach and Lee might be one of my last and it is such a privilege to teach him!
My heart was so full. After the lesson, the member who introduced Lee to the gospel (he drives an hour for our lessons), thanked Sister Lillie and me for being obedient missionaries. He said, "I know you are obedient and work hard because the spirit was so incredibly strong in that lesson." It strengthened my testimony on obedience because it honestly wasnt that great of a lesson from our teaching part, but it shows that the spirit is the teacher and that is what counts and we get the spirit when we are obedient!
The youth temple tour was such a success!! Almost every youth was there and there were 9 friends of them there!!!! The leaders said, "sisters, what did you do?! Some of these kids have never come to Wednesday night activities!" We had a few of the youth bear their testimonies and share experiences of the temple. The spirit was so strong! About 4 of the friends want to come to church now and they all live in our area....tender mercy :)
We are still teaching the girls :) We had a great lesson this week and the mom, Roxy, said, "wait I get this all now!" when we taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The daughters are doing well but Roxy is scared to commit.
This week, we talked to so many people who have just had hard lives. One girl is our age and has an almost 8 year old (yes, she was 13 when she got pregnant), another kid is 20 and has a 2 year old and is struggling to make ends meet, and just so much more. My heart kept breaking. You guys, we seriously are so blessed. I cannot even tell you. I did not even know how most of the world lived. It is so so so sad. But It strengthened my testimony so much of the commandments.
Most of the troubles people have (not always) come as a consequence of breaking commandments. It really showed me how God truly is trying to protect us and allow us to be happy because these people are NOT happy
because  they have no freedom! whether it is addictions or this or that, they are chained to so many things. I know the God tries to help us because nothing breaks His heart more than seeing us suffer and be in pain and heartache. so now the trick is....follow God and His commandments....He knows what He is doing!
In other news, Sister Kandare isnt going home a transfer early!!! she is staying til January!!!! hahah she doesnt want to go home!! yay so happy I will be going home with my best friend :)
Also, gracie emailed me this week and said, "I was listening to music while I was working out and wondered, 'is genny allowed to listen to real music?' are you allowed to?" hahah to answer that....nope! I have been listening to church music for the last almost 18 months. so if anyone wants to hit me up with the latest country music when i get home, I wont be mad :)
We truly are so blessed. But, that comes with lots of responsibility. We need to serve and care for those who are around us. 
I KNOW this gospel is true! If you are grateful for it, go share it! nothing will make Heavenly Father more happy :)
Love you all!
For thanksgiving, we are going downtown for the "feed the hungry run" so that will be super fun! I love being in the zone with downtown Sac. and we are having dinner with a sweet empty nester couple and one of their daughters and then we are having a zone training that night with the missionaries. It should be fun. have a great holiday!!!! I miss you all!

sister hickman

P.S. This is for other missionaries out there reading this. I had the opportunity to ask Elder Hamula a question at Zone conference during the Q&A session. It has been on my mind and what a perfect chance to ask a General Authority! I told him there is a huge drop off between people who get baptized and them still being active in a year and going to the temple. Are we even helping them? because sometimes I feel like we are not because we just move on to the next area and no one is there to keep supporting them. It gets discouraging because I
want to truly help people!
He said that we do not even comprehend God's plan of Salvation fully (wow, that was cool to hear him say because it already sounds pretty great from what I know). He said that this life isnt the end. We are helping but we do not see eternity. It can still work out for them. If new members struggle, help them. Do not give up hope. Things will come around. He also said that sometimes missionaries baptize people who are just "not ready." That also was good to hear. But I like how he said, to just be patient. If they struggle after baptism, they have a
long path ahead to make things right. so missionaries, do not get discouraged! find the elect and remember, you are their missionary for eternity. never forget your converts :) we are in this for the long haul!
Welcome to my life :) love those winter nights all bundled up!

It's never a bad time for selfies. Yay for Oshi turning 8 this week!

My last box of stuff is off! I probably could have shipped myself home :) hehe

We are running off to service...I will be back on about 1-2pm my time.
I just wanted to get this out!

For my missionary friends who don't see my blog, I wanted to send a
few pics of what's been going on!

It's like the missionaries are at the church or something! Let me tell
you how to identify us.
1) Chevy Cruze or Toyota Corolla- 2) bike rack on the back...with
possible bikes on it- 3) cars pulled through on parking spots so the
passenger companion doesn't have to back us out of the spot :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hi everyone!!!

Hi everyone!!!
It has been an amazing week :) 
So, that referral I told you about? We taught him Tuesday morning and he IS LEGIT!!!!!!!! His name is Lee. A member in another area works with Lee, and has been sharing the gospel with him. Lee works to makes spines or something for surgeons? Idk but he is like awesome at his job. the member said he is famous in the medical world or something.The member came to the lesson, and Lee was like "I will be the easiest person you teach because I want to be baptized!" He talked about how the world he is in is shallow and their isnt much meaning behind it and the gospel gives that to him. It was so cool. He has two daughters middle school aged and a little 2 year old boy with his fiance. so yes, some sort of wedding will have to take place. but, he is on date for December 19. What a miracle!!!! I cannot even tell you!!!!!!!!!! When we were teaching him I was like, this guy is going to be a bishop some day. We are teaching him every tuesday and thursday morning. I am so excited! It has been neat to see the role of the member in all of this. 

James Hamula (of the Seventy) came to our mission for a zone conference on friday. It was super good!! He talked about becoming Christlike through 3 steps:
1. Accepting that we are FREE to ACT. We are forced into anything.
2. Act outward how you want to feel inward.He did not mean it to be fake. But as our actions show how we want to be, our heart will change.
3. Apply the Atonement. Pray for the grace of Jesus Christ to change us and give us strength!

It was awesome. His wife was my favorite! she was just so real. And so loving. They have twin boys on missions right now. They talked about setting our mission on fire. There has been a great vibe throughout the mission!

President said Thanksgiving will not be a P-day this year. people are freaking out but it will be fine! we have announced to our members and a lot will have us over with their nonmeber family members and we are going to put together a thanksgiving-gospel message to share with everyone. It will be good!
The youth temple tour is this Wednesday night. We are excited about it!  It is fun seeing the youth get involved in missionary work.

I am loving the fall weather and being back in bike. I love this area! transfers are the end of the month and I hope I stay!!!!
I know this gospel of true. I know we are led by a prophet today under the direction of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the direction, foundation, and peace the gospel brings. 

I love you all! have the best week! 
Sister Hickman 
Sister Briggs and I at zone conference with our babies!!!!

The best group of sisters that ever came out!! Missing sister Kandare
and the other 3 in our group :) July 2014 produced some great
missionaries :)

Companions on companions on companions! I've been companions with all
of them, sister wright and Campbell are companions now and sister
Briggs trained sister wright. I love these 3!!!

President came up to me and said "sister Hickman, is that a new
skirt?! Don't think I wouldn't notice!!" I told him that I bought it
before my mission! I just haven't worn it haha.
It was so fun seeing sister Briggs! She is definitely one of my
favorite companions. It is so funny bc we are so different and were
scared to be companions but we made the best team! She reminds me of
sister Parkinson :)

Zone conference reunions are the best :) love these people!!

We volunteered at the Veteran's Day parade downtown by the Capitol and
here is our giant Book of Mormon we used to proselyte! On the Capitol
grounds of Sacramento....pretty legit!!! Our zone made it to use
around the mission.
This woman was in the parade and I found out that the baby was born
July 22 and her name is Jenevieve!! (With a j). How crazy?!?! I told
her my niece was born July 22 and named Genevieve!!!! It made my day

Monday, November 9, 2015

God is pouring down with rain&miracles

Hi everyone!
This week was so great!!
The sweet family with 3 daughters is doing awesome! The girls are moving right along. The mom is more hesitant because she has so much going on. 
The girl, Nicole, who we met inviting to the harvest festival? I was gone for the lesson on exchanges, but Sister Lillie was here. It went awesome! She is so solid....BUT literally she just texted us like 10min ago and thanked us for bringing her back to God, but that she wants to go back to her Catholic faith. hahah Sister Lillie goes, "does that happen a lot?" I said..Yes! people will drift from God and they meet us and re-discover God and then go back to their old faith. But hey, at least they are going back to church and God in general! 
We got a sweet referral this week for a guy who lives in the nice part of our area. We are pumped for that! We teach him and his fiance tomorrow! 
We taught some other lessons this week for investigators we found! We have been so busy, which is so nice! Sister Lillie got the clear from the Doctor to be on bike, so we were on bike this week! It is so nice to be back at it :) She loves it, which is awesome! It has been so fun talking to people. The weather finally changed, so I am a little whimp in the cold. I will adjust soon. I was on bike last winter, so I know that I will be fine! 
We are really working with the youth to talk to their friends. Next week, Sister Lillie and I are doing a temple tour up at the temple for the youth to bring their friends to. We have been all over them about who they are inviting! It has been good for them! 
I wanted to share a story that Sister Campbell used in Zone training. It is the story of Naaman in 2 Kings chapter 5:1-14. Basically, the prophet Elisha tells Naaman to wash in the River Jordan 7 times to be clean of his leprosy. Naaman thinks it is ridiculous because he figured God would come and just heal him! Naaman's servant says, "...if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, wash, and be clean?" I love this story because how often do we say that we will do WHATEVER God asks us to, even if it is soooo hard? Well, most often, it is the little simple things that He asks us to do that will make us whole. I have been thinking a lot about the small & simple things everyday that I can do to show my love and appreciation for God. I want to follow ALL that He asks...not just the big things and over look the simple ones. You all should go read that story! It really touched me.
I am so grateful for all of the blessings in my life! I have so much to be thankful for. I love you all so much!!!! Have the best week! and remember to not overlook the easy things :)
Sister Hickman 
Can't forget about our 16 month picture :)

A member made "poutine" for sister Lillie. Canadians like it I guess!
It is big there. It is fries, gravy, and mozzarella cheese.

We went and volunteered at the football game Friday night! The girls
wanted us to see them :) Bibi is on the far left, Zayira is between us
and the one on the right is another young woman in the Ward. We
couldn't stay for their halftime show, but it was fun to go and meet
their friends and be in the community!

Monday, November 2, 2015

16 months....WOAH

November 2, 2015....my 16 month mark. There was a point in my mission when I never thought I would make it here! The longer I am out on my mission, the shorter the months feel. I literally blink and another month is gone. I truly am embracing every minute I have left. The last couple months have been hard because I was really excited to go home.
It has kicked in the last couple weeks that I will not be doing this forever, and it kills me! I really am trying to soak it all in because being a missionary really is the best thing in the world. In the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells us, "...I will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over al those whom he hath chosen,
because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." The Lord truly has poured out His tender mercies to us this week. I want to share a few of those experiences. 
-Travis, the one we found by knocking on his door.....has been passed off to the young single adult elders. He is doing so great!! He is solid.
-The mom with the 3 daughters that we found a couple weeks ago….we taught them again this week, they came to church yesterday, and THEY LOVED IT!!!!!!!! they really really did. The mom is from El Salvador, so we feel like she should go to the Spanish branch because it meets in our building at a different time, but she doesn't want to.
President says he wants us to keep teaching them and not pass them to Spanish, but I feel like culturally, the Spanish branch will be better. We will worry about that down the road. It was such a tender mercy that they came to church! especially the morning after Halloween :) OH, and EVERY testimony in sacrament meeting was PERFECT for them. It was one of the most spiritual sacrament meetings ever. People kept going up to talk and the meeting went like 10 min over. It was awesome.
On Thursday, I kept feeling this prompting to go over by the church building and knock on their doors and invite them to our Harvest Festival the next night. The church is so close...who wouldn't want to come...right?!? It was actully very successful. Everyone was so nice and gracious for the invite. No one is ever nice to us!!! hahaha we need to activities to invite people to. We met this younger girl, Nicole, who just moved in with her fiancĂ©. She doesnt know anyone and is interested in the Church! We talked to her about temples and being sealed to her fiancĂ© for eternity. We have an appointment with her for today! Hopefully it goes well. She was so sweet.
This week, we were visiting a guy missionaries had talked to in the past, and we knocked on the neighbors as well to talk to them. We met a cute, young mom and her 2 year old son. We invited them to the Harvest Festival. They had just moved in, and she legit acted like she was going to come. She said her husband was an "ex-mormon" haha. Well, they showed up to the harvest festival, and it turns out….the husband is from this HUGE mormon family in the area. I have had his family members in EVERY SINGLE one of my areas, except my first! I told him I was sent on my mission for the Comptons. haha it was such a small world. God truly led us to them because we had no clue they lived there! They had fun that night.
Which leads me to the Harvest festival. It was awesome! Sometime church things are lame. It was put on really well and it was an awesome turn out!!! and lots of friends of church members came. Sister Lillie and I were exhausted at the end of the night because we were talking and meeting so many people! It was a blast though.
Halloween is pretty lame for missionaries but that's okay. We got together as a zone, and we had a training on the Sabbath Day. We then had an hour of zone activities, but we weren't allowed to do anything but play games in our missionary clothes. It was fine. I was all for reverse trick-or-treating and going door to door to hand THEM things, but I guess not!
This was an incredible week. Great things are starting to happen in the Rossmoor Ward. There is a lot of energy starting about sharing the gospel for the members, and it is exciting to watch. I am grateful for the tender mercies that the Lord blesses me with everyday. They are always there if we just open our eyes to them and CHOOSE to be grateful, no matter our circumstance (Thanks, Pres. Uchtdorf). In my missionary daily planner (yes, I still use it even with iPads...it is okay, President knows:) ), I have a spot where I write the tender mercies from that day. I started last November, so I have been doing it for a year now. It truly has opened my eyes to all the Lord does for me everyday, as I nightly reflect. I would encourage you all to do it! I have heard people starting a HOG journal (Hand Of God), where they write little tender mercies from each day. It definitely keeps a
heart grateful and turned to our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I love you all!!! HAPPY FALL Y'ALL!!!
Sister Hickman
Car selfie to say Happy Halloween!

They came to church and loved it :) oh happy day!

Welcome to our life. I've never seen so many no soliciting signs! I
don't remember anyone having them in Oklahoma.

The church trunk-or-treat!