Monday, November 25, 2013

Hidden Treasures

Young Women's president eh?  That should be exciting. Mom, you will be great, don't worry. Heavenly Father will not let you down.  Sister Jensen wouldn't have suggested you or Bishop Danielson call you if it wasn't God's will.  I know what you mean though.  Sometimes I still feel inadequate as a missionary, but I have found as I read my scriptures, really read them and pray often, that I am strengthened.  The problems don't always go away, or I am not always changed, but people are put into my path that help me to be better.  You have counselors for a reason.  Be prayerful and ask for help in choosing those special people to help you.
I know you will do great as the Young Women's president.  You have lots of experience too!  You have had several callings in the stake and ward Young Women's and you have three girls.  You will do fine :)
I am glad that you are being a missionary!  It is not that hard and if the Spirit is with you, He does all the talking and convincing anyway.  Something that might help you to gain a better understanding and be able to explain what we believe better is if the missionaries came over and practice taught a lesson to the family.  You might even ask if you can help them teach it.  I knew the gospel before I left, but know I can explain to others what I know because I have to teach it. It makes it a lot easier.
This week wasn't too exciting I think, but we did manage to go on an adventure.  There is a retention pond/ditch behind our house that we walk around in the mornings for our exercise.  I had noticed that you can see the road down a ways and I was wondering if we might be able to get to one of the neighborhoods that we previously thought we could not bike to from that little road we saw.  So one day we walked down it and discovered the most beautiful homes I had seen so far.  They looked like they belonged in the country and were just gorgeous.  We walked down to the end of the road, saw we could get to the neighborhood, then decided to knock on all the doors down the road.  We met a lot of really nice old people down the way.  One couple is celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary next month and gave us the name and address of their daughter so we could try by her.  We are going to go back and do something nice for their anniversary.  
Zone members before transfers
It has been cold, wet, rainy, and windy the past week.  We were biking to an appointment and got caught in a downpour.  We were too early for our appointment so we went to a nearby member's house to escape the rain.  We are dripping wet and I wish we had thought to take pictures.  I was too preoccupied with changing into the service clothes we just so happened to have with us to worry about it quite then.
I hope that Turkey day is a happy one and that you all can remember what it is we have to be thankful for.  I am so thankful for Christ and His Atonement and for the knowledge that I am a daughter of God.  I am also thankful for warm houses, socks, bikes, cars, and faith.  I am thankful for scriptures, a living prophet, and Sister Whalen who always reminds me that when we are out in the rain that at least we aren't pioneers.  I am thankful for great family and friends who are and continue to be great examples and sources of love for me.
Teaching a missionary prep class
Sister Hudgens

Monday, November 18, 2013

Everything is Bigger in Texas!

This week hasn't been quite as exciting as last week, but I am not being transferred, which is a huge blessing.  I am so happy that I get to spend the holidays with a ward I already know and love.  They were switching a sister out every transfer in this ward, so I was worried.  Couldn't sleep last night until I found out.  Instead of receiving the transfer text by 10:30 like we usually do, we didn't get it until almost 11.  Very nerve racking.  All calm and happy now though!

This week the Relief Society had a special dinner where one of the stake presidency and his wife came and spoke.  The theme was "What Heaven Sees in You", based on the song that makes everyone cry at Girl's Camp. It was really good.  They showed a video from Dove, called "Real Beauty Sketches" or something like that.  It was really good and I highly recommend you watch it.  It compared how we see ourselves and to how others see us.  We are all a lot more than we think.  Everyone left that activity filled with the Spirit, and we even had an investigator come, super awesome.

This week was also super weird weather wise.  It was freezing the first half of the week.  So cold that Sister Wahlen could barely hold the fork at dinner because her fingers were so cold.  Luckily Sister Canfield had some gloves she was able to give us.  Then the last half of the week it got hot again.  And really humid.  Texas weather is weird.

The Primary Program was this week in my ward too.  Never before have I felt like crying during the Primary Program.  Just so y'all know, there is little over a hundred primary kids in my ward.  They all had short parts and sang loud and proud.  Hearing them sing "I Am a Child of God" just testified to me that I am a child of God.  He loves me, and He loves all of His children.  
Later that day we went to a member in the ward to discuss one of our investigators that we met with this week, Chip.  Chip knows more about Church history and read almost everything put out by prophets and the Church that is out there.  He has so much knowledge about the Church, but understands so little of it.  He won't pray about it to receive his own confirmation from God.  Brother Hammer has similar knowledge about the Church, has read many church books as well.  But there is one vital difference: he has prayed about it.  Brother Hammer shared his testimony of Christ with us, just wept as he thought about the Atonement and what it means to him.  It made me realize something about myself.  I may not have the most knowledge about the Church, but I have a testimony that Christ lives and in His Atonement.  I know that God loves me and that I can return to live with him again as I use the enabling power of the Atonement and do my best to become more comfortable in God's presence.

I have officially been in Texas three months now, so let me share a few things I have learned:  A lot of things really are bigger in Texas.  Some examples; food, bugs, me, rain, bugs, religion, my testimony, sky, clouds, storms, thunder, houses, changes in weather, cars, and families, to name a few.  Some things that are smaller; my skirts choices, the roads, hills (almost non existent).  My testimony has grown the most though.  I have studied harder, prayed with more sincerity and more often, and born my testimony more than I ever have before.  And it has only been 3 months!!!  Imagine how much I will grow in the next 15?

New finding idea.  Went to the park to try it out, haven't found much success yet, but we will find something that works

Sister Hudgens  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Look Mom, No Hands!

Look Mom, No Hands!
I will answer your questions first and then get to the rest of the email.  Thanksgiving.  I am sure I will have my fill of pumpkin pie and the such.  We find out about transfers next week, but if I don't leave the area we have two Thanksgivings on our calender!  I know DearElder has package ideas, and I am really bad at thinking of stuff.   I am running out of stamps too.  
We usually have a pretty full dinner calender here in Parkway so we rarely cook.  If we do have to make dinner for ourselves, I am usually the one to do it.  I did learn something while I was at BYU!  Usually we eat lunch at home (I eat a lot of quesadillas), but on Tuesdays a less active member feeds us.  We get up at 6:30, exercise, eat, shower, do personal and companion study, some days we do training (on my last week of training!), find a craft or do a finding activity, then we eat lunch and head out!  It is amazing how much you can get done before noon.  On Mondays we go to Sister McQuay's house to email and she takes us grocery shopping afterwards.  The life of a missionary is so exciting!

It sounds like you are all having a fun week and I am glad the girls are enjoying water polo. I am also happy to see all of the help in the missionary effort.  I bet the missionaries are well fed every night.  Don't feel like you have to feed them dessert every night or a feast, often times I am overstuffed full of food. I often yearn for more vegetables at meals.  Weird right?  
I am so glad that you are inviting people to things.  That is all it takes!  Opening our mouths is where success is, not in their accepting.  We can't control how other people will exercise their agency, but we can control how we exercise ours! 

Carrying Bike Over the Train
This was kind of an exciting week with all sorts of crazy experiences.  On Monday we decided to bike to the church building for P-Day.  We were tired of trying to find a ride and bothering people so we took things into our own hands.  Took us under a half hour.  P-Day wasn't too exciting, we played a little volleyball and sat around and chatted.  Reminded me that while we are missionaries, we are still barely more than teenagers.  On the way home there was a train stopped on the tracks.  Dinner was only 20 minutes away so we decided instantly do lift our bikes over the gap in the train cars.  We had no sooner finished and taken some awesome pictures then the train started to move.  In hindsight, that may not have been the best idea, but we didn't want to be late.

Hidden Knives
On Tuesday we met a very interesting guy while tracting.  He lost his tongue to tongue cancer (at lest that is what I understood) and he was hard to understand.  He was very concerned for our safety though.  So he went into his garage and Sister Wahlen and I knives.  They are these little  knives that you can wear around your necks and he told us to put them on and keep them secret.  So we each got a knife from a guy with no tongue. Weirdest story ever.  
We then walked to another street to tract some more and we met this other guy.  He asked us what we believe and we taught him the Restoration right there in the street and we exchanged numbers so we could set up another appointment.  Later he texted us and we realized that he was hitting on us.  Needless to say we decided we would probably not be the best missionaries to teach him the second lesson.  We will just have to send the elders to him.

We had a specialized training on conversion this week.  President Pingree talked for three hours on it and it was really good.  Our goal as missionaries isn't to merely get people baptized and give them a testimony, but to help the to become truly converted to the gospel so that when life is hard they will not fall away.  Just like in Helaman 5:12, we must build our foundation on the rock of Jesus Christ so that when Satan sends all of his influence and power against us, we will not fall.

We had some fun member experiences as well.  We had dinner with this family that is vegan, and I was a little concerned at first.  I wasn't quite sure what they were going to feed us.  But it was really good and I enjoyed it.  They feed us this chocolate pie that was really good. I asked her what was in it since she didn't do sugar or milk or anything.  She wouldn't tell me until after I finished eating it....When I was done I asked again and she said it was coco powder, dates, and...drum roll....avocado!  It was delicious and I was surprised.  It didn't taste like avocado.  We also visited the Neciosup family.  The father is from Peru and the mother from Russia, and they are an interesting and fun family.  I enjoyed talking with them and asking them how a Peruvian and a Russian met, got married and moved to Texas!  It was pretty cool.

Since there are a lot of Hispanic people here I have been trying to brush up on my Spanish. I am doing pretty good, I can do a door approach and understand most of it.  I am now trying to teach Sister Wahlen and she is trying.  It is a little rough, but she is getting there.  

Happy Sisters

Keep being awesome and I love you all.  Don't send any letters until I know if I am going to be transferred though, I don't want to miss them!  Though it takes about 2-3 days for letters to get here so if you can do math, go for it.

Sister Hudgens

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween & Hogwarts

Sounds like you had an exciting and full week!  We had a great week!  We finally found some people to teach.  More like they were found for us, but I will take it!  
Adventure time!
The Spanish sisters found a nice couple and we went to see them this week.  We get there, knock on the door, and a man answers the door and immediately says "Hi!  You're awesome!!  How can I help you?" I was shocked and it took a moment to recover.  He then proceeded to tell us his life story saying that if you don't open up to others, you can't expect them to open up to you.  We had a great conversation with him and set a return appointment.  I am so excited to teach him and his wife!  Our bishop also found a great person for us to teach.  She isn't interested in converting, but she wants to feed us, so we will see. She doesn't understand how persistent we can be!! 

I dont know if you can see how much rain that is, 
but it is a lot.  
And we helped someone move that day
It rained  a lot this week (it rains a lot in general this time of year I guess).  On Halloween I was awoken to the sound of thunder rending the air, rain pounding our window, and flashes of lightning illuminating the room.  I have never understood why people were afraid of thunder storms, but now I understand.  I was a little frightened.  Even more when I contemplated how we had planned on moving a part member/less active family in that day!  Sis. Wahlen and I prayed about it though and we both got an overwhelming answer.  "Go" was repeated in my head repeatedly and Sis. Wahlen had a similar experience. So we went.  
The roads were on the verge of flooding, but were not there quite yet.  We get there and the Klein elders were already there helping with the heavy lifting.  We kind of felt in the way, so we went inside and chatted with the wife, who isn't a member.  Eventually some of the heavy stuff was moved out of the way and we were able to help.  I had to be very careful on the ramp since it was wet with rain.  We all know how easily I fall!!  It was a good experience though and I am glad we went.  We didn't even get soaked!  Plus we got lunch out of it, so all is well.

I learned how to reupholster chairs this week.  Ever since I got to Parkway, we have gone to a member's house to help her with 10 dining room chairs she bought from an old hotel.  So, since my first week, we have sanded, primed, undercoated, over-coated, and reupholstered her chairs.  I will have to get some before and after pictures for you!  I never thought this would be a skill I would learn on my mission, but it was fun and we usually got lunch out of it, so it was all good.  
Missionaries customize their planners, so this is my current one on the left and the one I made for next transfer on the right! I loved Grace's pictures so much I thought they would look great on my planner

It is so cold now!!!  
Ok I didn't really wear the coat, but you get the picture
So this was a milestone week, I finished my first journal ever.  I am very pleased with myself, seeing as how I have never written in one for more than two days before.  It has also been kind of cold.  I have actually worn long sleeves and tights and wished I had gloves.  Only to ride my bike though, otherwise gloves would be a bit much.  It gets dark at like 6 now though, so that is a little rough.

Me & Sis Canfield on Halloween!
Halloween was fun.  We had to be in by 6:30 unless we had a meaningful appointment.  We had dinner with the Malo family that evening and Sis. Malo went all out.  She had a Halloween table cloth, cups with plastic eyeballs in them, a rat on my chair, and a Halloween themed menu.  She even gave us a little goodie bag full of candy.  She was so nice.  We went home after and I sat on the porch with Sis. Canfield and passed out candy and pass along cards with her. It was probably the best Halloween I have had in a long time.

I got a fantastic package from Phil this week that was Harry Potter themed. This reaffirms my thoughts that I have the best friends ever.  I also got a candy laden package from Denise that was great.  Though I looked kind of funny biking from the mail box to our house with these two awkward packages balanced as I biked.  I almost fell off.  Sis. Wahlen did fall off her bike this week.  It was not a great biking week for her. She fell off her bike and ripped her skirt as we crossed a stream and the railroad tracks in order to get into a neighborhood.  She has a great attitude about it though which I admire. 
I have pretzels & frosting and Sis Wahlen has chips & salsa.  What a pair!

I few weeks ago I hit 8 weeks and Sis. Wahlen hit 8 months!   
It was a momentous occasion!
(or moths if the sign is right?- comment added by Tracy).  

Last night we had one of the funniest dinners in my whole life.  Bro. Mclane is just funny in general.  He just talks and talks, but he has a good heart and is one of our ward missionaries.  As we were leaving (half an hour late), Sis. Mclane said she wanted to take us to get mani-pedis (we all know howmuch I love getting my nails done) and her husband almost jumped out of his chair.  He screamed "Mani-pedi Mondays!!  The missionaries can do mani-pedi Mondays with the non-members!!!"  We all just laughed and laughed.  We will see if we actually do it though.

Well I hope that everyone is doing well and is remembering the Lord everyday, leaving their heart open to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

 Sister Hudgens

Phil got creative...

And more creative!

Elder Bladh was really into pumpkin carving
Elder Bladh made a face to match my pumpkin!

We did pumpkin carving for p-day last week

I gave Elder Nyenmyer my camera, 
that may have been a mistake. 
 He took lots of pictures!

Pumpkin time!

Sis. Wahlen made the hole really small, 
so her hand has to squeeze in there