Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wedding Planning and Death Defying Bunny

Modeling our gifts-- rodeo caps

I got your Easter package last Monday after I finished emailing.  So I did get it and I loved it.  The chocolate pretzels were delicious and are almost gone.  I was shocked at the mascara and figure Heidi probably thought she was pretty funny.  

I was very surprised to get an email from Shad last week telling me that he was meeting with the missionaries and that my blog was the inspiration for it. I was a little confused because I thought that he was already a member, and then I thought about it and couldn't remember.  It did make me really happy though.  I didn't think my emails home had much testimony in them, just a lot of awkward stories about my missionary life.  

Grandma told me about Dylan and his family.  Makes me sad, but I hope that there will be something good to come out of it. 

 It is exciting to hear about all the work that is going forth in our ward though!!  I saw on that our ward has a set of elders, a set of sister, and a senior couple, work must be moving really well!

This week was pretty good.  On Monday we went to the chiropractor again.  We went last Saturday and that fixed Sister Davis's headache, but her back has been hurting so we went again last Monday and are going again today.  She is doing a lot better, but the sooner I am able to drive, the better I think.  I can drive, just need to get authorized!  After finishing all of our errands we went to the church with our district.  it was pretty low key, I played Lord of the Rings monopoly with Elders Larsen, Petersen and Thomas. I was the last to go bankrupt, so I guess I did pretty good!

I have had more lasagna in this area than in my entire life.  Had it twice this week, and we usually have it at least once a week.  I have decided that if I never have lasagna again I will be happy.  I am not a fan.

On Tuesday night we went to mutual with the Young Women since our meeting was canceled and everyone was at the church anyway.  Super awkward, they were having a night on marriage.  All the girls brought little pictures to decorate a folder and put little handouts in.  Then they had this little object lesson to do with a cupcake and how you need the cake and the frosting.  So they had all the girls fill out a list of what kind of "cake" and "frosting" they wanted their future husband to have.  Then they made us do it too. Super awkward.  Here are the sister missionaries, filling out all of the cake with some really good stuff and then most of the Young Women were having a hard time thinking of anything but frosting.  We felt weird thinking of that stuff so we saved it for when we got home later.  

The leaders also passed around a paper where you planned some things for your future like your wedding, kids, etc...Sister Davis and I filled it out for each other.  Apparently my wedding colors are going to be navy blue and silver and I am going to have beta fish as center pieces.  All beta fish not given away are going to fight to the death and bets will be placed to help pay for the honeymoon.

On Friday we had our last district meeting together. Next Friday is zone meeting and then that Tuesday the 6th is transfers.  We fully expect change in our district since there was no change last time.  I don't feel like my companionship is changing, but you never know.  We had a testimony meeting when we were done and it was really nice. I like hearing the missionaries testimonies.  Having the opportunity to bear my own also helps me. Helps me strengthen my own testimony by saying it outloud.  Guess that is why we have testimony meetings once a month!  

Also saw a bunny almost ran over by a car.  We were stopping by some members and they weren't home. We were getting ready to pull away from the curb when we saw some bunnies.  We paused to marvel at the adorableness, how they crossed the road and such, when this car zooms past us!  One of the rabbits was in the process of crossing the road and zig zagged under the car to avoid being road kill, narrowly missing the back wheel.  Sister Davis, myself, and the kids playing in the yard across the street all paused and gasped, looking to see if the rabbit was ok.  It was, and all was well, but it was a crazy few seconds!

On Saturday we decided it was going to be a power day. We set a goal to see 8 members that day.  We almost reached our goal too!  We had a lesson with Madeline and it went really well.  We taught the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was strong.  When it came to the Atonement, I felt like I had to ask how knowing what Jesus Christ did for her made her feel.  This opened up some amazing discussion of the Atonement.  She said she felt guilty knowing that Christ went through all that pain for her.  Her mother who is recently becoming reactivated felt the same. We explained that He did it because he loves us.  He already paid the price so we don't have to carry the burdens of our sins, trials, sorrows all on our own. 

The worst thing we could do is to not use this amazing gift He has given us.  That would be like someone buying you a present and then paying the cashier for it again.  There is no point, the price has already been paid.  We show our appreciation for the Atonement by using it everyday.  Not just for a remission of our sins, but to strengthen and enable us to change and become the person that we Christ would have us be.  I feel so strongly about this.  

A few weeks ago President Pingree challenged all of us to read the Book of Mormon by the end of June, highlighting the strengthening and enabling  power of the Atonement.  It is amazing!  I have already seen so many examples, so many ways I can use the Atonement to help me in my life, and to help others.  I encourage all of you to find a clean, paper back copy of the Book of Mormon and to do the same. It is amazing how your testimony can and will be strengthened.  The Book of Mormon truly is another testament of Jesus Christ.  While taking President's challenge, I have also been highlighting whenever it says Christ, God, the Lord, etc.  On every page, multiple times, it talks of God or Christ.  Their commandments, miracles, tender mercies, and help. It is all there on hundreds of occasions.

Sunday was really good.  Sister Davis and I were asked to speak on the ward mission and how to be member missionaries for the missionary farewell of one of the youth who leaves for his mission in two weeks.  It was a really good experience.  Probably the most prepared for a talk I have been in my whole life. Got the assignment on Monday when we went to a member of the bishopric's house for dinner and it was done by Wednesday.  I wanted to get up on the stand and cry repentance to the people, instead I just talked about love.  When we love God and love our neighbor, we are going to share the gospel.  We share the gospel out of love, not because we want more members.  The gospel of Jesus Christ helps us to feel God's love by knowing His plan for us.  That is what the gospel is all about: love.  

We were also able to teach our Chinese investigator couple during Sunday School.  They are really getting into it.  Julia sits on the edge of her chair the whole time.  Joe said that the Plan of Salvation makes sense. We are so relieved!!  We would be in a huge dilemma though if we didn't have the Ongs, a couple in the ward who are from Asia and speak Chinese.  We teach Joe and Julia in English and then the Ongs translate into Chinese to help them understand it better.  Joe and Julia speak English,, but it is always easier to understand in your native tongue. 

We were able to have dinner with a part member family yesterday as well.  She isn't a member, but loves the missionaries. She said herself that she is more Mormon than most Mormons, but loves being Catholic.  One day she will realize what she is missing, but for now we will just keep going over and bringing the Spirit with us. She is a great lady though, and we love her.  

After dinner we went to see the Sundwalls.  They are a pretty fun family as well.  Their 15-year old son has decided to stop coming to church, so they really like it when we go over.  Their son thinks we are awesome, and we always share a message.  We just let him know that God loves him no matter what. It is true, there is nothing that can seperate us from God's love.It is important for everyone to know that, no matter who they are.

Well, have blessed week and be thankful you are missing out on the rising humidity!

Sister Hudgens

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter & Awkward Visits

Easter Eggs

Sounds like you had a really busy week!!  I am glad that you were able to go to the baptism.  Since being on my mission I have discovered a few things.  I really like the Gospel Principles class.  It is way better than the Gospel Doctrine class.  If we don't have investigators at church and the teachers aren't there/we don't have a place to meet (we hold class in the bishop's office, our ward takes up every room in the building), we go to the Gospel Doctrine class.  I highly recommend going to the Gospel Principles class.  It is such a wonderful spirit.  

Also, holidays are so awkward!!!  In the missionary handbook it says it is the best time to find people because they are with their families and at home. Lies!!!!!  It is the worst because everyone is with their families doing family things and then we come along and interrupt things and make them awkward.  

Had three more awkward experiences yesterday. First was dinner.  A family we haven't met invited us over for dinner because they were inviting their non-member Realtor over for Easter dinner. Sweet!  We get there and two more families from the ward we hadn't met yet came too.  Super awkward, especially as neither Sister Davis or I are particularly social.  We try, but its rough sometimes.  So we were there for three hours, feeling awkward and listening to their rich people problems, it was kind of ridiculous.  I was trying not to judge, but it was kind of funny.  We shared the video "Because of Him" after dinner and the Spirit was so strong!!!  Sister Davis and I felt it strong and I almost cried through the whole thing. Afterward we bore our testimonies of Christ and His Atonement and it was amazing.  We then managed to slip out of there and they we went out to visit more people.  

We tried one family from Brazil because they are pretty fun and we hadn't seen them for a while.  We knock on the door and the husband answers the door, with no shirt on!!!  I am sure our eyes got really big because he kind of laughed.  His wife wasn't available so we left.  We got in the car and kind were like, what?!?!  Super awkward.  

It was almost 8 by then so we decided to try one of the few families in our ward with older kids.  We get there and walk in just as they are bringing out the Hobbit birthday cake with happy birthday written in elvish on it.  We sing happy birthday with them and then awkwardly leave because we just crashed the party.  We were done with being awkward by that time so we went home and watched the "Family Answers" video by the Church made in the 90s.  Fun ending to a not so great week.

 Last Monday when we went to the church building to 
A Smile from poor Sis Davis who had a terrible headache

play volleyball with our district, Sister Davis got nailed in the head with a volleyball that one of the Tongan elders served.  She wasn't even playing!  She had a really bad headache all the way up until Saturday.  It was kind of scary.  We thought she might of had a concussion, but we're eventually able to rule it out.  

She was kind of scary as she drove though.  She drove well, she just was a little confused as to where she was and where she was coming from.  On Wednesday after I had come back from going on exchanges she made 5 wrong turns on the way home. She missed one turn and made a turn when she wasn't supposed to.  After telling her she went the wrong way, she yelled "Tell me before we are supposed to turn!"  To which I had to respond, "We weren't supposed to turn!!!!"  We had to laugh about that, but it was a little scary. I had to tell her where to go after that. She also told me that she had been lost several times that day but Sister Thurber hadn't noticed because she didn't know the area.   We weren't able to get out much because her headache was so bad.  She couldn't stand light or noise, and she couldn't focus very well.  We had to be creative with our plans.

Tuesday morning Sister Davis taught an indexing class for the Relief Society and it went really well.  She taught me a little bit so I was able to help her out. Indexing is fun and easy, highly recommend doing it if you are bored!  It helps so much with family history, making records searchable.  Anyone can do it!  

That night we had dinner with our Elders Quorum president and he said something really nice to us. Said he was thankful that we were on time, even when dinner wasn't ready quite on time. Said that the last set of missionaries before us weren't on time very often, and that we were earning their trust because we always made sure we were prompt and on time. It was really nice of him.  

Tuesday night we went on exchanges, I going to Nottingham Country with Sister Garlick, and Sister 
Exchanges with Sis. Garlick
Thurber went back to Katy 4 with Sister Davis. Nottingham Country is a bike area, so I got to bike!!! I was super excited. By the end of the day though I realized how out of shape I am!!!!  My legs were like jelly.  I thought I was going to fall down the stairs afterward, my legs felt  
Bike for the Day
like they were going to give out.  The seats weren't very comfortable either.  I miss my bike!!  It is much nicer.  If I have to leave Katy, I want my bike and to go to a bike area.

Thursday we had weekly planning.  Sister Davis was still not very well so we did most of it from our room with her laying on her bed hiding from the light.  She was able to help and participate, but she was kind of out of it.  I have started writing down when she takes medicine, what and how much.  

Our district was going to do some service at a local school carnival, so I arranged for a babysitter for Sister Davis and I went.  It was fun.  I manned the ring toss, so even though I can't throw well at all, I encouraged those little kids.  After returning to our apartment, Sister Davis did not look well at all. She then told me about her night.  I had arranged for 
Camille, one of our ward missionaries and a girl preparing to put her papers in, to watch her. Apparently though, after about ten minutes Camille had gotten really sick and slept in her parents room, leaving Sister Davis with her 18 year old brother Sam. Sister Davis was not happy with me.  She felt super awkward.

Friday we had district meeting and it was amazing!!! Elder Thomas had us all prepare a little lesson on the Atonement and how it has helped us in our lives.  It was so great.  We were all able to come closer as a district and feel the Spirit really strongly.  It was so great.  I love the Atonement and how much it covers.   It covers all of our sins, sorrows, illnesses, and pain. Christ knows exactly what we are going through even when no one else does.  I am so grateful for the great gift of the Atonement that Christ has given to us.

I hope you have a blessed week!!!

Sister Hudgens

Texas Easter Egg

Easter Crafts with Taggarts

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spiritual Week

Area Training

In response to last Monday's adventures.  Didn't actually kill any myself, but a shot at them, and that is what was fun.  The elders and the member we were with did most of the actual hunting part.  The blond elder is Elder Thomas and he has been in my district since I got out and my district leader since my 2nd transfer, so that is probably why he looks familiar.

Sisters in Area
This week was super crazy!!!!  So much stuff packed into one week. On Wednesday we had interviews and specialized training. It was really good.  We have a new AP (assistant to the president) and he is hilarious.  He served in our zone so he was able to make lots of jokes and they kept it lively.  We did an exercise where we switched area books with another companionship and planned our day.  It was good because we got to see how other missionaries keep records and if we are keeping our records up to date enough that if we both left someone else would know what is going on.  

In my interview with President I almost cried.  That man is amazing, we just has the Spirit with him so strongly and he always knows just what to say. I have been reflecting on my missionary work the past few weeks because I am coming up on half way, and I have had feelings of doubt as to what I have actually been able to accomplish.  I haven't had any baptisms or reactivations. No one I have taught has progressed and I have felt like I haven't done much.  I know numbers don't matter, but it is hard to not look at them.  I know I have worked a lot with members and have helped build and strengthen the kingdom of God that way, but that is not what I expected as a missionary. 

Someone has to plant seeds, and I don't mind, but I wouldn't mind reaping every now and then!!  I expressed my concern to President Pingree and he just said that he feels like the Lord is pleased with what I am doing here.  I almost cried.  He then thanked me for being a low-maintenance missionary. Guess I don't cause a lot of problems.  I am grateful for President though.  Even though our interviews have to be kept to 5 minutes, I am always happy at the end of them.

After Interviews we had dinner at our ward mission leader's house.  His wife said could update Sister Davis' GPS so we left it with her.  We needed it updated because half of our area doesn't show up and it is really annoying.  We thought we would be ok without it, but turns out we don't know the area as well as we thought.  We wandered around lost for probably 20 minutes looking for a house we needed to stop at, finding it becoming all the more urgent since Sister Davis really need to find a bathroom.  We were about to give up when thankfully we found it.  We will not get lost going there again!!!

Car within a car!
On Thursday we went to pick up some toys at this woman's, Teri, house.  She is the neighbor of one of our members who recently moved, the Atkinsons and before she left, they gave her a Book of Mormon.  Only thing is, we didn't know exactly which house was hers and we had never been introduced.  We had been looking for a reason to stop by when we were told that the Atkinsons had left some toys there and that we could pick them up and bring them to another member's house.  So we went and unfortunately she wasn't home.  So then we began the difficult process of trying to shove a little slide, plastic red and yellow car, and a chair into our little Chevy Cruze. Made me miss my truck.  We looked quite ridiculous trying to shove everything into the car and looked all the more when Teri drove up as we were trying to maneuver the slide into the back of our car.  We told her that it was not all going to fit and that we would be back for the rest.  We just had to laugh about the whole thing.

On Friday we knocked on a member's door, the first one all day, and Sister Davis broke/ chipped/ bruised/messed up her knuckle.  We have no idea what happened and she didn't even knock that hard. It was pretty funny though. We just kept saying that she punched me. It is all better now though, so don't worry about it.

Saturday was the Katy Music Extravaganza II, a celebration of music from members of the Katy community, not just the LDS community.  It was pretty cool and we had two artists display their work before the show started.  One was a member from the Sealy branch, Ken Turner.  He has got some amazing stuff.  The other was a neighbor of one of our members, Miguel Rubio. He has some really good stuff too.  We stood at the entrance and handed out programs and then got to sit back and enjoy the music.  One of our investigators came so it was good. Not many others though.  I had fun though so that is good!

Sunday was the most amazing day of my mission so far!!  So many miracles!!!!!!  We got to meet with everyone of our investigators yesterday.  We taught Joe and Julia, our Chinese investigators, during Gospel Principles.  We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they were asking just the right questions!!  It was amazing and we didn't have time to get through the whole lesson because there was so much and Brother Ong had to stop us and explain a bit in Chinese.  Julia was on the edge of her seat the whole time.  

After church we taught Rucker, our 17 year old investigator.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation as well and he asked lots of questions and I can tell that he and his friend who introduced him to the gospel learned a lot.  After Rucker, we headed to have our first teaching appointment with Lori Jackson and her daughter Madeline.  Lori is a member of the Katy Mills ward recently returning to activity and wants her daughter to have the lessons.  She also wants to hear them again since it has been so long.  They were both completely engrossed in what we were saying.  When we asked Madeline what she felt when she went to church she described it has a happy, warm, peaceful feeling.  It was so great to hear that.  I have high hope for her!!!  

Then we went to dinner with the Hartz family.  They are so good to us.  We were low on miles so after dinner we decided to walk to various members that lived in the area.  That is when we met Christopher from Nigeria.  We were walking because we were low on miles and we see this guy walking around talking on the phone.  Sister Davis looks over and says, "He looks lost", and then the next thing he says is "I am lost".  We 
immediately cross the street and offer our assistance.  We look up the address he is looking for and introduce ourselves.  He sees the name  of Christ on our tags and asks, "You believe in Christ?"  Of course!  We talk in the street for the next half hour and share three Book of Mormon stories that relate to him and his problems.  

He asked why bad things happen to good people, we share the burning of the saints in Ammonihah; he asks what he can do when he feels like he is being forced to hide his light, we share the people of Alma being oppressed by Amulon and their prayers to receive strength to change their situation rather than having their situation changed; he complains about the corruptness of his country's government, we share how the Gadianton robbers took over the Nephite government.  It was amazing, and at the end he said he felt like he had met two angels.  He wouldn't take a Book of Mormon or accept an invitation to go to church, but he said he would look at and asked if he could call us again.  I hope he does!!

This has been a week just jam packed full of miracles!!  It makes me so happy :)
Hope all is well back home!!!

Sister Hudgens

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Nutria Hunt

P-day Nutria Hunt

Sounds like your Front Sight trip was way fun!  It would have been fun to see, but I don't think I would have enjoyed it very much!

Nutria Bow Hunt
So, nutria- the hunt was way fun.  We picked up some archery equipment from a member and the elders got pellet guns.  They are not firearms, so it is ok....we think?  We saw a few, but we didn't catch anything.  I don't think the elders believed us though since when we saw them one of them was like, "They're real!!!" Teach them to not believe us!!!  
Nutria Pellet Gun Hunt
Since last week was a fail we went again this morning with just the Katy Mills elders, Elders Thomas and Peterson, and Brother Graham, the member who told us about it in the first place.  It was way better!!!  We killed 5.  Way fun.  The elders got really into it. They said was the best P-day ever.  That is what happens when we are in charge, we have fun!!!

Our nutria haul
This week was pretty low key.  We did some service at a members house, painted some walls.  I had never used a roller brush before, so that was interesting.  It was a workout though!!  It was fun though and I got to be on the ladder to get the high stuff since Sister Davis is afraid of heights.  That was also April Fool's day and Sister Davis sprayed me with silly string. Unfortunately I picked the same moment to turn and got some in the mouth, not very tasty.

General Conference was amazing!!!  I loved all of it.   
We went to the stake center to watch it.  There was this really nice old guy who made lunch for the missionaries both days.  On Saturday we were the only ones there, kind of awkward, but he was super nice. We made sure that other missionaries came on Sunday.  I loved all of the talks given at conference, but there were a few that stood out to me.  Elder Ballard laid down the law on Saturday!  Everyone can be a missionary!!!!  So I challenge y'all to read and study from Preach My Gospel, it is a great benefit to any one.  I also loved what Elder Nelson said, "Let your faith show!"  Don't be afraid to be Mormon.  It is not that scary.

I love all of you and hope you are well!!

Sister Hudgens

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hunting for Rodents of Unusual Size

Women's Conference
Sounds like you were really busy!!!!  Sounds like lots of fun though.  This week wasn't too terribly busy for me, but I still had lots of fun!

Last Monday we had dinner with the Grahams.  We hadn't met them before and they seemed a little quiet so we were a bit apprehensive.  Turns out we shouldn't have been, they are hilarious!!!  One of my
Picture of Nutria from Wikipedia

favorite dinners so far. 
They told us about how they go hunt for nutria in the retention pond behind their house.

Nutria are basically the Rodents of Unusual Size from the Princess Bride.  So they take their kayak out to the little pond thing and their daughter steers it while Brother Graham shoots them with his pellet gun. Sister Graham then brought out the skull from one of the ones they had killed and showed it to us.  It was pretty neat.  We have organized our own nutria hunt for today with the elders in our district.  We invited the sisters, but "something came up"  More fun for us! I will have to let you know how it goes next week.

On Tuesday we went over for our final lesson with one of the families in the ward we are teaching.  It is usually just the mom and daughter, Addi.  Usually Addi is super quiet and doesn't say a word, but she must have gotten used to us or something because she just wouldn't stop talking!!!  She was going crazy with the things she was saying too, spilling all the family secrets. Her mom was so red, we couldn't help but laugh though.  Some of the things she said : Addi "My step-dad yells at me." Mom "He does not!" Addi "Have you heard him?" Mom "yes!" ; Addi "When my mom and step-dad got married they said they would never yell at each other, but I heard him say the other night, 'Stop yelling at  me Trisha!' "  It was pretty funny, and we don't think anything less of the family.  

On Saturday we did a lot of service!  The Katy Mills elders texted us at 7 in the morning and asked if we wanted to go volunteer at this bike rally for disabled adults one of the kids in their ward was doing for his eagle project.  We agreed and it was so much fun!!!  

Ran out of bread so had a PB&J quesadilla.
I got to ride a bike for one thing, which I was super excited about.  I rode next to a guy named Wilson, who has some mental disabilities.  It was my job to help encourage him and help him to make his goal of biking 5 laps (each lap was half a mile).  That involved cheering for him, offering words of encouragement, and pushing him up hills on occasion.  I didn't want to keep getting off and on the bike so for the last lap I ran.  Now I remember why I don't like running, I am still sore!!  But it was so much fun.  After Wilson did his 5 laps I walked with Sister Davis and the lady in an electric wheelchair that she was partnered with.  So I ended up doing 6 laps for a total of three miles.  That is more exercise than I have done the whole time I have been here!  It was so much fun though.  I am hoping that we will be able to get pictures from the people photographing the event.  After the rally we pulled weeds in a members garden, so I got a lot of sun this week.  A few of the members have noticed that Sister Davis and I are a lot darker.

The Women's Broadcast was amazing!!!  I loved it so much.  When Sister Oscarson said that many of those in attendance were with their moms, I am pretty sure all of the missionaries got a little homesick for their moms I know I did!  I was kind of sad that I didn't get to go to this first time broadcast with my mom, but it was great just the same.  I really liked all the songs, I feel the Spirit best through music so it was just perfect!  

Hope y'all have a great week and don't shoot your eye out at the gun class!!

There was this huge storm and the sun looked really cool.  I don't think this picture does it justice.

Sister Hudgens