Tuesday, December 30, 2014

We Won the Zone Competition!

Huntsville Cemetery 

Sam Houston Monument
Ok, I don't have lots of time today.  We won the zone competition and the mission surprised the zone activity on us today.  We went to Huntsville and looked at the Sam Houston statue, saw some other historic stuff, and then the elders, some sisters, and President jumped a fence and played soccer while Sister Mortensen, Sisters Liljenquist, Bates, Neidirt, Davis, two of the Mortensen daughters, and I went and looked at the antique shops in historic Huntsville.  It was fun but took longer than expected!

So brief week in review.  We got cornered by the mission president and after talking with us and promising blessings, he committed us to find (tract) between 6 and 8.  We saw a part member family and then asked if she knew anyone's door we could knock on.  She said she didn't know anyone, but pointed to a house and said they were new.  So we knocked on her door and she was on the phone. Usually that is the point where they tell us to leave, but she hung up the phone and invited us in.  We were able to teach her the Restoration and she is awesome!

On Tuesday we helped the Klein Oak elders with one of their investigators. June struggles with depression and since Sister Liljenquist does too, she said we would go talk to her.  When we got there June was sitting in a dark room crying.  An hour and some awesome talks later, she had stopped crying and when we left she was smiling and she looked like a totally different person .  We helped a recent convert bake for a bit and when we went tracting that night no one opened their door.  All except for Kurtis (I keep trying to call him Craig, but that is not his name).  We were able to talk to him for 20 minutes and he seems solid.

On Christmas Eve we saw a less active, had a lunch appointment, weekly planned and then we did some caroling.  Didn't work out quite like we thought, but now we know.

Christmas Day with Sis Liljenquist
On Christmas day we took our gifts to the Ruckers and opened them with their family.  I love the bracelet and the box.  The other package you sent still hasn't come yet, so you might want to check on that.  We then had breakfast of pancakes and deliciousness.  We then went to another member's house for second breakfast and games.  We played Mormon charades and I beat children at checkers.  Then I got to talk to the best family ever and that was great.  We then went to the house we were having dinner at and were there for the rest of the night because dinner wasn't ready for a long time. So we got to make awkward small talk for a few hours.  Good Christmas though.
Skyping Selfie

On Friday we had district meeting.  Then we tried by a less active/recent convert family.  We were able to have a good talk with them and make a plan for them to come back and go to the temple.  They have so much promise!  We had dinner at home and then we did some tracting and saw a member and made plans to get the YSA sisters in contact with her daughter.

We saw some investigators and recent converts on Saturday morning and then stopped by potentials.  We then went to see a member and while we were there our dinner canceled.  The member we were visiting said we could stay for dinner and that was awesome.  We ended up being there for  a long time, but it was good for her. 

Missionary Gingerbread, the blue candy
represents the Book of Mormon
Sunday we had our missionary meeting and ward council. It is freezing in Texas now (not really, but 42 is pretty close).  Lots of rain and cold.  Luckily we were at church :)  We had good lessons and meetings and then we had a good appointment with an investigator the sisters hadn't been able to meet with in a month.  She is studying the Book of Mormon on her own, footnotes and index and everything, it is pretty awesome.  We then were able to have dinner and then go out with a member to an appointment with one of my favorite investigators.  She totally needs the church, she is already making changes in her life and she is awesome!  She is totally getting baptized, she just doesn't realize it yet.

Well, thanks for being awesome family!  I talked to President and he said I have to move my application into his inbox, so I will see if I can figure that out today. Love you!

Sister Hudgens

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from
Sisters Liljenquist and Hudgens

I love all the pictures you sent.  I especially love the one with Heidi crying where my stocking should be.  I got the letters from Sister Hansen.  I loved all of them!  Thank you so much!  

Monday was good.  We taught seminary in the morning, cleaned, emailed, went shopping, someone took pictures of us in our Christmas sweaters, we had to do something at the mission office, had dinner, she cut my hair a little, and then we had a meeting with the elders.  It was a busy busy day!

Sis Liljenquist
On Tuesday we made treats for our investigators at a member's house.  She is super pregnant and due any day now.  As her husband was walking out the door, he said "If she goes into labor, you have to drive her to the hospital"  We were kind of hoping she would, but she never did.  Darn.  We got lots of treat plates made though!  We made brownies, snicker doodles, and caramel all from scratch.  We then visited a less active and that was good.  We had dinner with a fun family and we laughed and talked a lot.  They invited us over to their house on Christmas to open presents and have breakfast.  It is going to be fun.  We then brought treats to one of our investigators and she loved them.


On Wednesday we saw a less active lady and brought her a treat plate.  She really liked the caramel.  She doesn't have any teeth, but she said she could actually chew the caramel.  We then got a call from the Ponderosa sisters.  Sister Bates was sick and had been for a few days, so they asked if one of us could stay with her while the other went with Sister Jeppson to their appointments.  I stayed with Sister Bates.  She slept most of the afternoon.  So what did I do?  I made snowflakes and decorated their apartment.  I didn't have a chance to decorate in the Woodlands, and the apartment was already decorated when I got here, so I needed to have some Christmas cheer.  I also read in my Book of Mormon and wrote in my journal and got to actually cook something for dinner.  It was great.
My awesome snowflake skills!

On Thursday we went to the arboretum and weeded.  Fun stuff.  Also got to have a great discussion about the origins of Christmas.  Look it up.  We then went home and did weekly planning until dinner.  We went to a recent convert's house and as the message, we showed her Mormon messages.  Those are the best!!  My new favorite TV show.  We then tried to track down a few of our people to give them their treats.  We met with a new investigator and she seems pretty solid. She knows her Bible really well though!  I had the hardest time getting out of her complex though!  It was night and a little sketchy, so Sister Liljenquist said that President didn't want her backing when it is dark and sketchy.  So I did a lot of illegal backing.  I went one way and it didn't let out so I had to reverse.  Then I tried the front gate and it wouldn't open, so I had to reverse.  Finally I found the right one!  I felt like a sinner for backing without someone directing me. Things like that make me think I have been a missionary for way too long.  It was fun though.

Friday was Christmas conference!!!  I was so excited!!!  The whole mission was there so I got to see everyone that I love and haven't seen in a while.  We started off with some talks by President and Sister Mortensen and then we watched this Nativity movie.  It was like a real movie and they turned out the lights and it felt like a theater. It felt really weird.  It was a good movie though.  Then we had lunch and I got the letters y'all sent!  They were great!  Thank you so much!  Then we went back to the chapel, watched a slide show of pictures of all the missionaries, had a sing along to various Christmas songs and testimonies from departing missionaries.  They had us sing "I'll be home for Christmas" and "There's no place like home for the holidays".  I just glared at Sister Chappell and was like, "Really?  You are going to make 260 missionaries sing those songs?"  It was fine though.  It was a great conference and then at the end we got our packages. I am waiting for Christmas to open mine, but several missionaries opened theirs already (my companion included).  We were there for almost another hour just talking and socializing. It was kind of weird that President let us.  I think it was his Christmas gift to us.  After the conference we headed home and then finished our weekly planning.

On Saturday was our ward Christmas party.  We had a breakfast with lots of fruit, sweet breads, and breakfast casseroles.  They had a little Nativity program and Sister Liljenquist and I sang "Angels We Have Heard on High" (mostly her, I am not a great singer).  I also got attacked by a table as I was helping to put things away.  A kid dropped a table and it fell on me.  So of course I let out a scream (I wasn't hurt at all), but the guy that was in front of me just laughed at my face.  I am sure it was funny.  

Then we tried by a few people, set an return appointment with an investigator because at the time he was too high to remember anything we would have taught him.  We then made our treat run, delivering treat plates until dinner.  We had dinner at a family's house that was having their Christmas party.  So we all loaded up in a flat bed trailer with a piano and drove around the neighborhood singing carols.  It was fun.  Then we had chili and other goodies before going home.

On Saturday we had ward correlation at our acting ward mission leader's house (he is the assistant, but our official one has Alzheimer's, so the assistant does most of the work).  We had correlation and he made us chocolate chip pancakes. Made me feel like I was back home having pancakes on a Sunday morning.  We then went to church and had a nice Christmas program.  

We had to leave church a little early because we had to meet the Ponderosa sisters again because Sister Bates was still sick. I went with Sister Jeppson to a few appointments.  We read the Book of Mormon with a recent convert and her mom and then we went to see one of their investigators that miscarried her triplets the day before.  We just sat with her and held her while she cried.  She is so strong though!!  She just kept saying that she doesn't blame God and just wants to do His will.  I was amazed.  She was sad of course, but she had so much hope.  It was wonderful.  Then we switched and Sister Liljenquist went with Sister Jeppson so she could go to some appointments.  I just wrote more in my journal and then we went home, and we forgot her phone there.  That was fun.  We didn't have an alarm, but Sister Liljenquist and I were awake at 5:40 anyway, so when 6:30 hit she just made an alarm noise anyway.  Fun stuff.
Merry Christmas! 

Well, I am so excited to talk to y'all on Thursday, but until then, Merry Christmas!

Sister Hudgens

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Companion- Sis Liljenquist

Sisters Liljenquist & Hudgens

I was a little worried about telling you about the area, but it is not all like that.  We have nice neighborhoods and it is only this one street of apartments that is a little sketchy.  We do take care of ourselves though and we aren't stupid.  We don't feel afraid either.  We know that if we are on the Lord's errand and we are being careful and cautious, He will protect us (the Lord can't protect you if you are being stupid.  He expects you to use your brain).  It is funny that you have a cold right now, I think I am getting one too.   As for Christmas....that's hard.  I am coming home soon so I don't really want too much because I don't want to have to pack.  I would very much consider getting my bike shipped home a Christmas present.  I think the mission office knows how to do that. Puzzles are nice too.  Otherwise it is hard to think of anything.  Sorry, I am not any help at all.

Monday we dropped off Oreo balls at the mission office (we are super close to it) for the APs and President since they survived transfers and Sister Liljenquist is super nice like that.  We also got there as secret combinations (the Christmas conference kind) were going on and we were sworn to secrecy to not tell anyone.  It was fun.  Then we emailed and hung out at the Hafer building with our district.  We had dinner and then we tried to see people and saw a member who is really funny and told us all about how her son is working on being a full fledged mortician and all the stuff that goes along with that.  Very interesting.

On Tuesday I finished the Cinderella puzzle.  We also went to see one of our investigators before coming in to do some much needed weekly planning.  We ended up just doing some serious reorganization and updating which took all the time we had before meeting with our boys in the apartments.  They weren't there at the scheduled time so we went looking for them. It wasn't hard as they gave us their apartment number.  We start for one of them, and before we are even up the stairs a door opens and one of them pops his head out.  He sees us, smiles, and says, "Hey guys, guess you is here".  They all came out one by one.  "How did you find us?" one of them asked.  Sister Liljenquist immediately responded with "The Spirit" while I said, "You gave your address".  I ruined her story, oh well.  We then had them all come to the parking lot to teach the next lesson.  One by one, most of them wandered off, but we were able to teach two of them. It was really good.  We talked about changing our lives and how the gospel of Jesus Christ can help. They just need to let the Atonement help them and make some positive changes in their lives!  We challenged them to read the Book of Mormon and said they weren't allowed to smoke anything funny while they were reading it.  He said he only smoked weed, so we had to clarify that that was not allowed either.  We then went to dinner and set up a time to bake Christmas treats for our investigators.

Wednesday we met with a less active and afterwards we had lunch and then went to a recent converts house to help her with her family history.  We started looking for her grandfather and were having the hardest time.  Then we realized we hadn't prayed.  We did so and we immediately found the information we were looking for.  Miracle!  We then went to work trying to get her membership record number on her account and three different live chats with missionaries from Salt Lake and two hours later, we finally got it all fixed.  She then invited us to stay for dinner and it was delicious.  She used the same taco seasoning that we use at home, so it was like having home cooked tacos.  It was great.  Then we read from the Book of Mormon with another family and went home.

Thursday was a super crazy day.  We had an appointment every hour it seemed like.  We met with an investigator in the morning, then a referral from the Klein Oak elders.  Back when they had sisters, this lady was investigating, but now they have elders and her husband doesn't want them coming over when he isn't there.  So we are teaching her now.  She is awesome and brought out her Book of Mormon that the sisters had given her.  We taught her the Restoration and she believed all of it, it was awesome.  We then went to go visit a less active member with her visiting teacher and she bore great testimony of Christ.  Then it was off to our 3 o'clock appointment.  We pull up and call to get let into her apartment and she cancels.  She feels really bad, but we tell her not to worry.  Because she canceled we got to eat lunch!  We then went to go see a less active and introduced her new home teacher to her.  We then had to rush off to dinner, accidentally leaving our phone behind.  We had to come back and get it after dinner before going home.

On Friday we had district meeting and then we went to return a phone we had found to the Cricket store so they could find the owner.  The guy was really friendly and since he wasn't busy, he talked to us for a while.  He said that the missionaries had really helped him out one time.  He had some customers that were being unruly when the missionaries came by.  They calmed everyone down and left a peaceful feeling there.

Went home to weekly plan.  It was long overdue since we hadn't been able to the whole time I have been here.  We did that until we had dinner with a woman and her less active son.  We had a good discussion about Christ that wandered a little, but was good none the less.  We were then able to stop by a referral the Klein Oak elders had given us.  The elders live in our area and the referral was for one of their neighbors. We went to meet her and had a most amazing experience! We were really able to connect with her. She said that she just felt like there was something missing and was looking for something to fill it. We shared our testimonies of the gospel and the Atonement, cried a little with her, and it was great.  We then coordinated with the elders and got delicious leftovers from a member.

On Saturday we met with some investigators and recent converts.  We went to a baptism that another set of sisters was having.  We went to dinner and watched a video of his glory days as a roller figure skater.  We tried by some less actives and then returned home.  Nothing too exciting.

On Sunday we had ward council. It is interesting to see how the different ward councils work.  They are all quite different.  Church was great.  A few people that hadn't been to church for a while came, so that was good.  We had dinner with a fun family and their kids are all a big bunch of nerds like us, it was fun.  We then were able to talk to this less active lady for a while and had a really good experience with her.

Life is going well and the weather has been absolutely beautiful the last week.  All in the 70s.  I have loved it.  Have a great week and a very Merry Christmas!

Sister Hudgens

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Area- Olde Oaks

Me & all my Stuff!

Hello!!  I guess I will tell y'all the transfer news.  I am now in the Olde Oaks ward in the North Houston Stake with Sister Liljenquist.  We both came out on our mission at the same time so we are worried they will transfer her next month or take sisters out since we have a set of elders in the ward as well.  We live super close to the mission office and we actually email there now.  

Olde Oaks is very different from The Woodlands.  I have been climbing up the economic ladder on my mission, so as expected I fell to the bottom with this transfer.  I am in the ghetto.  Well, the only part I have seen is the ghetto.  The ward is super small.  We don't even fill the chapel.  For the first time in about 9 months I saw grown men pass the sacrament.  The last time I saw that was in Katy when all the deacons were on a camp out.  It was really trippy.  Sister Liljenquist is great.  She was sick all week with a stomach virus, so we haven't been in the area too much.  Between a stomach virus, having Sister Jeppson with us on Monday (she was waiting for her trainee) and covering two wards, and two exchanges in Cypress Creek, I haven't gotten to know the area too well.  I get to drive since she is not authorized to, so that is good.  Sister Liljenquist is really funny and we have a lot in common.  She has a big personality and is very straight-forward and sarcastic.  We are going to do well now that she is fully recovered.

So, brief week in review.  Monday was spent running around and saying goodbye to people that I love.  It was so hard to leave!!  I just loved everyone so much!!!  We went from place to place all day.  When we got home I had to pack. I am pretty sure I didn't get to bed until one.  It was sad.

Goodbye Sis Murphy
Tuesday was equally crazy.  We got to transfer meeting and I found my new companion.  Sister Jeppson came with us as well because her trainee wouldn't come in until Thursday.  We had some lunch then we were going around to appointments in both areas all day.  At 9pm we went to the mission home where the departing missionaries were so that we could pick up a Sister who wasn't leaving until Thursday and would be with Sister Jeppson until then.  She wasn't ready to leave yet and the Assistants ran off with her luggage so we were there for an hour.  I was able to spend some time with Sister Murphy, a sister who was going home.  I didn't serve with her very long but we became really close and she was like a big sister.  I was sad to see her go.  Eventually we got everything sorted and we got home at 10:45 and promptly went to bed.
Goodbye to my trainer- Sis Seymour is going home!

The next morning Sister Liljenquist woke up really sick. She called the mission nurse and she said to stay in and rest.  So I got to know the  apartment really well.  I unpacked, made banana and m&m 
Finished my puzzle since I had a sick companion
pancakes, and for lunch fried rice.  I wrote in my journal and even started a puzzle.  It was a really cool puzzle, a Beauty and the Beast Thomas Kincade one.  Very pretty.  I also did a lot of cleaning.  Mom, you are going to be so proud of me when I come home, I can't stand a dirty kitchen any more.  I just have to go clean it.  That is pretty much what I did all day.

On Thursday she was feeling a little better, so we were able to go out and work!!!  Yay!!!  We did service at an Arboretum (plant place) and moved pots of plants into greenhouses.  The whole district was there, so that was fun.  Sister Davis is in my district, so it is nice to be with her for her last transfer.  Afterwards we went home, had lunch, did a little weekly planning, and then we went to meet with the elders since Elder Nielson hasn't been here long and he is training.  We were able to do some good planning and then we went to an appointment with a eight year old girl we are teaching.  She is from a part member family, and when the sisters first met her, she said that before she turned nine she wants to be baptized.  When we went over this time, she said that she heard about families getting sealed and she wants that too.  She is so cute!!!  She is so solid.  

We then went to dinner and it was great.  They served us steaks the way grandma likes them and they are super funny.  She is a recent convert and he is a returning member.  They are great and it was funny to see the verbal sparring between Sister Liljenquist and Brother Baer.  We then went to an appointment, but she wasn't home, so we went to the member that lives in the apartment above her and showed them some Mormon messages.  Good night.

Sisters Hudgens & Niedirt
Friday we went to the mission office so that some of the senior missionaries could give Sister Liljenquist a blessing since she still wasn't feeling good.  We then went to district meeting and the church building right across the street.  We had a good meeting on prayer and helping ourselves and our investigators use it to the fullest.  After district meeting we went on exchanges with the Cypress Creek sisters.  Sister Davis went to Olde Oaks, and I went to Cypress Creek with Sister Niedirt.  We helped one of their investigators getting baptized this month.  We cleaned her house and then taught her  a lesson.  We then went tracting before switching back.  Then we went to the Bishop's house so that I could meet them.  They are a nice family.  We then went to a member's for dinner and we made peanut butter truffles with her and they are delicious.

Saturday we had a few appointments in the morning.  The first one didn't show so we went to the next one early.  She wasn't ready for us so we decided to come back later.  We went to go visit the youth garage sale and came back and she still wasn't there.  We went home for lunch and a nap for Sister Liljenquist (and I finished the puzzle), went back, and she still wasn't there!  Guess it wasn't meant to be.  

Two Sick Sisters
Sister Davis was sick today too, so we drove to their apartment and left the sickos to themselves to get better and Sister Niedirt and I went out to work.  We did a bit of tracting, found some new investigators, and then saw a member before returning back.  When we got to the sisters' apartment, we saw Sister Liljenquist and Sister Davis sitting on the foldout couch watching Legacy (a church movie) and eating popcorn.  We just had to laugh and give them a hard time. We then went to dinner.  We got there and they were trying to cook pasta, but her stove went out.  After a half hour of unsuccessful pasta boiling, I told them how to make pasta in the microwave.  We had dinner and then we went with a member to go try by some people.  

We get in her car to go and as we are driving she asks Sister Liljenquist if she wanted to finish listening to the new Taylor Swift CD.  Instantly I start wondering how I am going to tell them that this is not ok.  Then the member turns to me and says, "Is that alright with you?"  I replied with, "Actually, no.  It is not ok"  The she and Sister Liljenquist start busting up laughing and Sister Sheply says, "Good!  It was a test, you passed!"  I was very relieved to know that my companion wasn't going rouge.  The people we wanted to see weren't home, so we returned and shared a delightful message.

On Sunday we had ward correlation and then church at 11.  The ward is super small and I am not used to small wards.  It was good though.  Lots of people got up to bear their testimonies.  After church we went to visit some people.  They weren't home, and as we were walking a kid asked us "What church are you from?" We were then able to teach him and four of his friends right there in the parking lot.  It was so sad.  They don't live in the best place or come from the greatest circumstances.  They are all in high school and lets just say they have a not so great way to make money for their family to live on.  It just made me so grateful for my family and the circumstances that I have had to grow up in.  My life isn't perfect, but I never had to question where my next meal was coming from or if I would have a place to live.  I have two great parents that love each other and love and encourage me and my sisters.  I am grateful that God puts us in families and that the gospel of Jesus Christ can help us better and change our lives.  After teaching the four boys one said that he felt so much lighter. We said we would meet them there on Tuesday at four and one said to the others, "Got that, Tuesday, here.  I am going to make sure they are all here, and we are going to bring our friends too."  It was a really great experience.  We then had dinner with a member and then we went to the church for hot chocolate and an open house before the Christmas broadcast.  It was a great night.

Holly with a kitten?

Well, I am so glad to be a missionary and I know I don't have much time left.  I want to make sure that I work hard everyday and make the hours count.  Being a missionary is the greatest opportunity that I have ever had.  #ShareTheGift

Love, Sister Hudgens

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tower of Flour

It's Fall!
I guess I will start with the bad news....I am being transferred tomorrow.  I am so sad!!!  When we got the call last night I cried for a long time.  I couldn't sleep, I hardly want to eat.  I am am so sad that I have to leave The Woodlands!!!  I love it here!!!  I love the members, my investigators, my companion, everything!  I am really going to miss this place.  

I played the musical number at zone conference.  They always have one at those so it is not something they would make special reference to in the Mission Blog.  I played a medley of "I Stand All Amazed" and  "There is a Green Hill Far Away".  I was so nervous and I was shaking terribly, but I managed to play with only a few errors.  Sister Heaps said it was good, but I don't know if I can trust her.

Anyway, last Monday we had a miracle when we went to go vacuum our car. We pulled up to the same place we always go and we see one of our investigator's sons. We go over to say hello and it isn't her with the son, it is her husband!! We hadn't been able to meet him yet and had been working out how we would try and the Lord put him in our path. Moral of the story: Always vacuum your car.  

Flour nose from  losing Flour Tower Game
We then went to the Hulets for dinner and Family Home Evening with them and two of our investigators.  It was a wonderful evening.  Two of  their sons gave the lesson, the 12 year old on the Sabbath day and their son that just came home from his mission taught about obedience.  They were both wonderful and everyone enjoyed it.  After the lesson we played this came called flour tower.  You pack a measuring cup full of flour and then you put it on a plate and put a penny on top.  You then take turns cutting part of the tower away, with the goal to not let the penny fall.  If it does, you have to pick it up with your mouth.  It was fun.  We played a couple rounds and I lost one and had to pick up the penny. It was fun though.

Hulet Family

Tuesday was MLC, a big leadership meeting. So Sister Heaps went to the meeting and I went with another sister for the day.  Sister Nielson and I got to volunteer at a thrift store and go talk to people at a college campus (she is covering a YSA ward).  Nothing too exciting.  When Sister Heaps and I switched back we came home, had some dinner, and went out to work!  We saw a less active member and her son.  We had him draw the armor of God since he likes art and then we talked about it.  It was cute and fun.  We then visited a member and he showed us his cool box maze thing that he uses to explain the veil, guidance, and the purpose of life.  It was pretty neat!

On Wednesday we went to the horse ranch and got to learn how to change out the hay.  It was fun.  You get to tie knots and cut wires and watch the elders do all the hay lifting!  They are good sports.  After PCI we rushed to the church, changed our clothes and then went to go see a lady we haven't seen in a long time with a member.  It was really good to see her and it seemed like she really appreciated the visit.  She is so sweet and I know she will gain a testimony of the gospel some day soon!  We then went back to the church to have our lunch.  We then went to go check out the Church's new website, christmas.mormon.org and the "He is the Gift" video.  It is amazing!!!  Y'all should go check it out and watch the video and share it with everyone!!  Now go, do!  

Afterwards we went to go see one of our investigators.  We still have a problem getting him to understand how going to church is a good thing.  He is ten though, so I know it is hard.  He had a bad experience at another ward and now he never wants to go back.  He just needs time and love.  At dinner I got attacked by a cat and Sister Heaps just watched.  The members had a cat that was 1) swatting at the back of my ankles for half the time and 2) jumped on the back of my chair and started eating my hair.  It is just sitting there, eating me, and no one is doing anything.  I then kind of turn and said, "Hey Sister Heaps, you want to help me out?"  She then quickly removed the cat from my back.  There was no harm done but I thought it was pretty funny my companion would sit there and watch it all happen.  

After dinner we had another miracle.  We just decided that we would go stop by an investigator's home and drop something off.  As we are writing the note he shows up.  He said he had been having a bad day and had just been praying to God for Him to send someone to help him.  We were able to point him to the scriptures and it seemed to work.  It was really awesome :)

Thursday was Turkey Day!  In the morning we went to an animal shelter because a member said they needed some help.  They didn't that day, but they said we could come back on Saturday, do some orientation, and then volunteer whenever.  So we went home and did a little bit of weekly planning before hitting Thanksgiving lunch at two.  It was good food and we were able to have it with two families in the ward and another family from a different ward.  We even managed to avoid dessert!  We went tracting a bit before our dinner appointment at five.  We had it with a family that lives in this super fancy neighborhood that we never go to because you have to pass the armed security and be invited in.  It was a very different atmosphere at this dinner.  Instead of football on in the background, we talked about conversion stories.  The parents and daughter-in-law are all converts, as well as another member that joined us for dinner.  It was a wonderful Spirit.  We talked about the Book of Mormon and different experiences we have had with it. I left there not only with a very full belly, but with a full heart as well.  They sent us home with leftovers, but we gave them to the guard as we went out since he had to be there until 10.  We then went to an investigator's house for 2nd dessert.  Yummy day.

We were still very full of food on Friday.  We had zone meeting in the morning and then afterwards we went to go see a few members.  One was a Russian family that came to church a few weeks ago and introduced their friend to the Church.  Her family was the first to be baptized in their town in Russia and their testimonies and experiences are amazing.   They just love the gospel and want to share it with everyone.  

We had dinner with the Luis and our investigator Ru.  They made us more traditional Chinese food and it was so good.  It wasn't ready when we got there so we got to know her husband better (There is only so much you have time to say when you meet someone at a car wash/vacuum place).  We then ate and had a lesson.  It was amazing.  We taught the Restoration and though Peter was only intending to listen, he was very engaged in the lesson, they both were.  The Spirit was great and they both agreed to be baptized in February.  They are so sincere and strong.  I love them so much!!!!  I have really learned how to love on my mission.  You just have this increased capacity to love and when you think you don't have anymore room for anyone else, you find some.  So even though we ended up being there for four and a half hours, it was still good.

On Saturday we finished weekly planning before going to the animal shelter for orientation.  We learned how to properly handle the animals and then we took some dogs out to a large enclosed grassy area for some exercise.  We look forward to going there each week.  (Or at least we were before I found out I am leaving!)  We then went with one of the Laurels to visit some of our investigators.  After we did some tracting and then we went to our new ward mission leader's house for dinner and our first meeting.  He has so many plans and he is going to be a fantastic ward mission leader!

Sunday was awesome.  We stopped by a less active woman before church, showed her and her husband the "He is the Gift" video and then invited her to church....and she came!  She and her kids came!! It was great!!  Ru and Peter came as well.  I was so happy.  The speakers ended a little early, so Bishop asked a member and Sister Heaps and I to bear out testimonies.  It is amazing how you can go from a great feeling of peace to total anxiety in two seconds.  I am used to bearing my testimony in front of people, just not over a hundred people at the same time.  It was fine though and I think I said something that was good because people said they liked it.  I just said that no matter where you are in your gospel progression, you need to continue to pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith in order to continue nourishing your tree of faith and to put your roots deeper in the roots of the gospel.  The rest of church was good.  

We had a great lesson in Relief Society in which lots of people had the opportunity to share tender mercies in their lives.  After church we tracted a bit before going to dinner.  We went to a family's house and she had her parents there.  I saw her dad and thought he looks so familiar.  After asking a few questions I realized that he was my bishop in the singles ward I attended while I was at BYU!  Crazy coincidence.  After dinner we went to a Bishop's Youth Discussion about missionary work.  Two recently returned missionaries spoke and afterwards we went around and talked to the youth about missions as they ate their desserts.  It was a wonderful night.

Well, I am super sad to be leaving The Woodlands, but I guess I am needed somewhere else.  Next time you hear from me I will be somewhere else!!  Got to go pack, bye!

Sister Hudgens