Monday, February 23, 2015

Last Letter-- Home I Come!

I really can't believe I am going home either, but I am ready, especially after this week.  I know it is time, and I will move forward, happily looking forward to the next adventure!  Question, will someone take pictures at the airport?  Maybe Denise?  Anyways, hope y'all are feeling better!! That is no fun to hear that y'all have been sick!   What is this all about?  Am I coming home just to take care of all of you?  

This week has been really weird, and I left my planner at home, so this email might be really short.

On Monday we had lots of fun.  We went to this place called Top Golf.  It is this multi leveled place where you shoot golf balls and try to get them into various holes and you get points based on where you get it in.  It was fun.  We sucked the first round, but got better.  Sister Liljenquist won though.  We were then able to hang out at the stake center and have some fun with our missionary friends.  We then had dinner and went to work trying to find.

Tuesday we went church tracting.  Not too scary.  We went to the front offices in the churches and offered to join them in any service projects they have, and left.  The security guards at one of them were very nice.  No, we did not get escorted out, we just talked to them. We then went to NAM to do service and our district forgot to mention that they were all going to come today (they have had family history training) so we missed them and went at a different time.  Little turds.  

We were going to have dinner with a family in the ward, but they were running late so we tracted while we still had light.  One lady answered the door and she was hilarious.  We said who we were and that we were sharing a message about Christ and she said "Jesus?  Oooh girl, I'm married to him!"  Awkward.  Then she told me that I shone with the light of Jesus and that she could see Him smiling through me.  That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me!  We then were finally able to have some dinner with the Standleys (much to Sister Liljenquist's delight).  We tried to visit some people and then went home.

Betty with Sis Liljenquist and Me!
Wednesday was crazy.  We saw Betty in the morning and she actually prayed!!  For the first time ever she prayed in front of us.  She told us it would be the shortest prayer ever and it was.  In the prayer she emphasized, "Make sure that the sisters remember to stay in touch!"  Got to love Betty.  Then we saw another less active and went to lunch at our favorite Mexican place for the last time.  We then went to an appointment and they weren't there.  We had dinner with the Mirandas and that was nice.  We then went to join our district in Cypress Creek blitz.  We went knocking and met this super awesome lady who let us in right away and we had a wonderful conversation with her.  It was awesome.

On Thursday we went to the Arboretum and didn't really do much.  We were supposed to help put a tarp up, but they weren't really organized so we did a lot of sitting around.  I sat on a table and just pondered.  I looked at the plants and marveled at their creation and beauty and enjoyed feeling the pleasant warmth of the sun on my legs.  I love the sun. It is so amazing!!  I love it when it is just warm enough to feel it and...well it is hard to describe. I love the sun.  

Then we went home.  We had three appointments for the day and they all canceled.  Awesome.  Sister Liljenquist has been freaking out about not having enough time to pack, so we took the time that is normally devoted to weekly planning and she packed while I updated records and did a little purging of stuff.  Then we had dinner at the Bishop's house and went to our appointment.  We met the member there and the girl we were going to see wasn't there.  We tried someone else and they weren't home either.  Lame.  But we did have a good conversation with Sister Miller, which might have been what that appointment was for anyway.

Friday (thankfully) we had district meeting.  Last one, that's weird.  We talked about the importance of church and keeping the Sabbath day holy.  Don't be alarmed when I think y'all are a bunch of heathens when I get home.  I am told that is natural.   But church really is so amazing!  We get to partake of the sacrament every week!  We are cleansed, every week!  Isn't that so awesome!!  We can have a clean slate and start new and fresh and clean!!  It is awesome!  Church just got a whole lot better.  That happens when you understand it more.  After the meeting we went to lunch with some of the other missionaries, I love these guys.  I'm going to miss them!!  

Then we went to help out a member in the ward.  We moved boxes and helped her organize some stuff so she doesn't have to worry about it when she starts chemo.  We then had a delicious dinner of panzit and lumpia, delicious Filipino food.  We went finding (with no success, that sucked) and then came home sad.  We just felt like there was nothing left for us to do.  So we called one of the zone leaders who is also going home with us. He told us we were in the best position, that we were untouchable. We don't have to worry about anything, because in less than a week, we were gone.  He asked us what is something we have always wanted to do, but hadn't yet.  Sister Liljenquist said she has always wanted to invite someone to learn from the car at a red light.  I said I wanted to get on a soap box and cry repentance on the street corner.  He asked if Sister Liljenquist would do hers and she said yes.  He asked if I would get on a soap box, and I said no.  I said I also have always wanted to use someones dog to go out and talk to people, so I said I would do that.  We made our plans for the next day, a lot more lighthearted.

On Saturday morning, a lady we had taught the first lesson to was moving into another area, so we, along with the elders there helped her unpack her house.  We jumped right into washing dishes, (you would be so proud Mom), me washing, and the elders drying and putting away.  We also got this couch up the stairs, around this circle, and through a succession of small doorways, into her son's room.  The movers said it wouldn't fit, but Elder Misa had more faith and vision than they did, so with lots of prayers, lifting, pushing, tipping, and crawling, we managed it.   We then went home for some lunch, packed a little more, and then went to our appointment with a puppy!  

Some of our new park & puppy friends
We went with Sister Grabau and her cute new puppy to a park that I saw on the way that had potential.  We go and walk past about a dozen teenagers playing sand volleyball.  They see the puppy and ALL of them come over and are like "Ohhh, your dog is so cute!!  What kind of dog is it?"  We crashed John's birthday party.  We ended up talking to this group of teenagers for TWO hours!  Almost all of it was gospel related.  It was awesome, this is a good group of kids.  One day they will meet missionaries again and totally let them in.  We then had dinner with the Ruckers, so fun.  Had a really great chocolate cake.   Then we visited someone else and went home.

Sunday, so many emotions.  Last ward correlation and ward council.  So sad!! So many lasts.  They had us bear our testimonies when all the speakers were done. I love being a missionary!!!!  I have learned so much and I don't want to stop learning!  I guess I have to learn real people stuff now.  Like how to be this spiritually attuned with all of life's distractions.  That sounds hard.  I guess I can do it.  After church we saw a family and Sister Liljenquist was amused by a water bottle full of water and glitter.  We then had dinner with Tammy.  I love her!!!!!  She is so cute!!!  She is the best.  We saw another family and then went home, not even worrying about transfer calls, it was great.  

Well, I guess I will see y'all soon.

Have a blessed week!

Sister Hudgens

And finally,

"I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:

But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name."
3 John 1:13-14

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Testimony to You

Well, this is my last week in the mission field.  Kind of crazy to think about.  It still doesn't seem like I am getting on a plane next Wednesday and heading home!  I have learned so much from being a missionary these last 18 months, and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything!!!  

I have grown closer to my Savior and really come to understand what He did, who He is, and why He is important.  Not to say I know everything, but I am getting closer!  I am grateful to the people I have met and how they have helped my on my journey, and I hope have been able to help others along the way.  I have been have to bear testimony like never before, so I want to take this opportunity to bear it to all of you! 

I know that Jesus Christ isn't just the Redeemer of the world, but He is MY personal Savior and Advocate with the Father.  The Book of Mormon is true!!!  It is an account of ancient people who knew that Christ would come and taught us to know it too.  There is a power in that book that changes lives and helps us to become better, and better able to meet our God again.  Through the Book of Mormon I have learned more about Christ's Atonement and how to use it, all aspects of it.  Thank you to all of you who have helped me figure this out along the way!

Sister Hudgens

Last Week! What? How did that Happen?

My last zone conference

Sounds like a really crazy week.  Now the strawberries are behind you, so you can relax, right?  I would love to sub for you Mom.  Anything to help!!  And it will help me keep up my teaching skills.  I think it will be much easier to teach a lesson when I don't have to worry about balancing it with my companion.

There is always a lot that happens, and so little time to write it all!!  

Last Monday we went to see Dr./Brother Hayden (he was in my ward in Parkway) to get Sister Liljenquist fixed.  He worked his magic and she was a lot better this week.  I think she is just exhausted from the work this last 18 months and it is taking it's toll.  We then went on a road trip to The Woodlands with one of Sister Liljenquist's recent converts from her last ward and a few other girls.  She really wanted to go to the Texas store and get a bunch of stuff.  I found a children's book about Tex R Masaurus, the dinodillo.  It was hilarious.  One day I will read it to you.  We got frozen yogurt and then came home.  

Sister Liljenquist was doing a song for zone conference on Wednesday and the mission president fireside on Sunday, so she needed to practice with the elders that were accompanying her.  Elder Griffith played for zone conference. He is hilarious.  Fun guy to work with.  Then we practiced the other song with Elder Yanzon, he is so nice. He keeps saying he needs to practice so he doesn't distract from Sister Liljenquist's beautiful singing with his horrible playing.  Not true, he is great.  Then we had an enjoyable afternoon with the district and did some finding.  We met some cool people, and even one who says she believes in the Greek gods.  That was interesting.  Then we had a late dinner with some members and went home.

On Tuesday we had all these appointments set up and had two members coming with us and they all fell through.  Even plan z fell through.  We even had a cute baby to use as bait to talk to people, but no one was around so that didn't work.  It was rough.  We did some more contacting before dinner, which was very delicious, before going out again and meeting with a recent convert for the first new member lesson.

Can you find Sis Hudgens?
Wednesday we had zone conference in The Woodlands (but not with The Woodlands zone).  We all got Tiwis installed in our cars and Brother Ott from Church Headquarters came to talk about them.  Tiwi is this little black box that goes in our car that tells us if we are going too fast, don't have our seat belt on, if we hit a bump too fast, and a bunch of other stuff.  Brother Ott was so funny though, that it made our whole outlook of the Tiwi change.  Goes to show, that it really is how you present something.  Sister Liljenquist filled up a few pages in her quote book, just from his presentation. It was awesome.  I also had to give my dying testimony since I am going home, and lucky me got to go first.  President said we had less than five minutes and that was fine with me.  I always get so nervous to speak in front of so many people like that.  I knew I was going to give me testimony though, so I had thought a lot about it this week.  I decided to read a poem that I heard at the beginning of my mission, "The Touch of the Master's Hand"

The Touch of the Masters Hand

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.

"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."

"And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.

- by Myra Brooks Welch

So basically I read this, said a few words and sat down.  It was great :)  People said they liked it, so that must mean I did something right!  On the way home from the conference we stopped at the restaurant that one of my investigators from The Woodlands opened up, The Tamale Pot.  It was good, and she chatted with us and gave us our food for free!!  So nice.  Hopefully once she gets used to running her shop, she will have time to meet with the sisters again.  We then went tracting and we met a rude lady and the nicest atheist I have ever come in contact with.  Good day.

Pacie & Me
Thursday was super busy.  We went to the Arboretum in the morning and pulled some more weeds, always good. Then we changed at the mission office, got some lunch and saw a semi active family.    I planned with their 4 year old daughter while Sister Liljenquist spoke with the parents.  Fun times.  Then we saw Betty.  She is progressing!!  She is reading her scriptures and she even edited her language.  She is trying really hard, we could tell.  Our goal is to get her to church before we leave.  

No cigarettes for Jeremiah
We then went to dinner and then met the district for a finding blitz.  Everyone in the district met in our area to go finding.  We gave instructions, said a prayer and went off!! We were not having much luck and Sister Liljenquist was almost crying because her head hurt so bad, so we said a prayer.  In my head I heard, "Go, she needs you", so I thought that meant go home.  We go to exit the neighborhood and I look to the right and I think I see someone we know, so I turn. It is one of the recent converts we have been working with to go to the temple.  We pull over to talk to him and see a cigarette in his hand.  Sister Liljenquist takes it and stomps it out, we demand the rest and then we ask for his wallet so he can't buy more. We ended up leaving him with his wallet after he pinkie promised to not smoke anymore.  It was a miracle we found him.  I realize now that the Spirit was saying HE needs you, not she.  It is awesome when you can see the Spirit work through you :)

Friday was great.  We had district meeting in the morning and then we met with Jeremiah again to talk about why he is smoking when he wants to go to the temple.  He brought another member with him, one of his friends.  Sister Liljenquist and I ended up having two separate conversations because they both are going through things and needed some help.   We then went to a members house to try and make scripture flashcards for two people we are trying to get to quit smoking and go to the temple.  It didn't go very well, I ended up just being mad at the computer.  We then went to dinner, getting lost and driving up and down the street 3 times before we found the complex.  Fun stuff.

Random Holly-ness
 random message she saw on a mailbox

Saturday Sister Liljenquist wasn't feeling well in the morning, so I watched Book of Mormon seminary  videos.  Our noon appointment canceled, so I called out lunch appointment and she said we could come earlier.  She then texted back, "Would u like 2 be witness @ a noon wedding in Bishop Lynes office & maybe teach 1st discussion after? Phone me 4 details"  Sister Liljenquist and I both looked at each other and her like, "What?!?!?!?"  So of course we called her back.  We ended up going to a wedding on Valentines day for people we didn't know, showed them around the chapel afterwards, had some lunch, and they said they loved our church and would love to look into it.  It was super awesome.  

We then had a great lesson with the Mirandas, a ward missionary, and the elders so we could start transitioning them over since the elders will be teaching Sarah when we leave.  It was a good lesson and I thought it went well until Sarah didn't come to church (she wanted to take the day off) right after we taught her to keep the Sabbath day holy!!!  Come on Sarah!  We then went to a members house and finally got our flash cards done.  Plus we had red velvet Oreo balls.  Soooo good.  We had a delicious dinner and played with a puppy and went finding.  Good day.

On Sunday we had ward correlation, scared Sister Miranda half to death when we came over to drop off all the extra clothes in our apartment (two trash bags full) so she could have church clothes, did some studying, and went to church.  Brother Rucker says that we are speaking next Sunday, but hasn't cleared it with the Bishop yet and so doesn't have a topic for us. He did ask how many people we would call to repentance if we spoke though.  We said as many as you want, we don't care, we are leaving.  He seemed pretty happy about that.  

After church we practiced the song for the fireside one more time, had lunch and a conversation about life with a 15 year old boy, and then went to the fireside to be in the missionary choir.  I played the flute while Sister Liljenquist sang and Elder Yanzon played the piano. It is a good thing my part wasn't that important because I totally messed up.  The mouth piece wasn't on right when I went to play so I missed the first part, and then I kind of struggled at another part, but I got the last part right and that is all anyone remembers anyway.  Everyone is nice anyway and no one would say I did a terrible job. People came up later and told me it was great, while Elder Griffith was like, "I saw you were struggling, so I prayed for you."  thanks Elder, thanks for knowing that I messed up.  The intent was good though.  Then we went home and I fell asleep exhausted.

So I guess I am coming home next Wednesday, that doesn't seem right.  I still don't feel like it will actually happen, but I guess it will.  So...see y'all soon!

Sister Hudgens

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Countdown Begins

Kind of an uneventful week.

Monday we didn't do much.  We went with a new elder to Chick-fil-a for his first time.  He is from New Zealand and they don't have those there.  Sister Liljenquist loves that place, so she said he had to go.  She videoed it.  He ended up eating two chicken sandwiches and 16 nuggets.  That is a lot of food!  We did our errands and then went to the church to hang out and write letters.  Two of the elders then started to teach a group of us how to stomp.  I will get it down by the time I go home so I can show off my mad skills.  We then had dinner with a member at a delicious pizza place and went out tracting for a bit before going home because Sister Liljenquist wasn't feeling well.  She has been sick off and on for like the whole time we have been companions.  Sometimes she is just so exhausted she falls asleep while I am driving or when she is talking to people she can hardly remember the name of the church.  Then I have to take her home and let her sleep for a little bit before we can go out again.

Thought this was funny that even pregnant
 dogs have their cravings
On Tuesday we met with the bishop to discuss what the high councilman said on Sunday.  We had no idea what he meant and thought the Bishop would have more of an idea.  He had some homemade bread in the oven and told us to stick around for a slice.  His wife then made us some PB&J on fresh bread and then sent us home with a loaf.  Then we went to check on some people.  Sister Liljenquist was then almost passed out while we were driving so I took her home.  

We then had a good lesson with the Mirandas.  We told Sister Miranda that we were going home in a few weeks, and then when we left she started crying because she was going to miss us.  Broke my heart!!  I love her and her family so much!!  She is afraid we will forget her, but she doesn't understand.   There is no way we will forget her, or any of the people that mean so much to us. We promised to keep in touch and then we went to dinner.  We had the most delicious dinner I have had in a long time, and committed the less active son to read the Book of Mormon.

Wednesday we saw our dear friend Betty.  Her daughter came over in the middle of our visit and dropped off her kids.  They are funny.  We asked the three year old boy what his favorite color was and he said, "Bunderkats".  The Betty said, "That's a movie, what is your favorite color?", to which he responded "2".  It was pretty funny.  

We went home, had some lunch, and then went with Michelle to visit some potentials.  We got out of the car to visit one lady and a car drove up and said "You girls the Mormons?"  It was Angelo, "the only black Angelo you will ever meet" as he told us last time we met.  He knows/works with a few members of our ward and has had some contact with the church.  He said we could come talk with him if we could answer his question.  He told us and we said we would get back to him.  The lady we came to visit wasn't home, so we went to go visit some recent converts.   We got them all started on family history.  Tiffany was totally hooked and was going to town on it; calling people, asking questions, looking people up.  It was awesome.  

We then went to dinner and went out tracting.  A few doors in we meet this lady and she invited us in.  We were able to teach her the Restoration.  Interesting thing though, she sees visions.  I am just hoping that she gets one that says that the Book of Mormon is true.  We then went to the church to be moral support for Sister Miranda as she went in for her temple recommend interview.  She brought her whole family and Sister Liljenquist talked to her 7 year old daughter, I talked to her husband, and the other two girls played up and down the hallway.  I got to know her husband well and have come to the conclusion that he is not ready to take the lessons yet, but he is getting there.  He is great though.  He is very supportive of his family and a great dad.  Sister Miranda came out an hour later, temple recommend in hand.  We are excited to go with her in the next week.

There are family connections everywhere!
On Thursday morning we took a shift at the Peanut Butter factory.  It was fun.  I got to meet Amy's ex-sister in law.  All the volunteers were just hanging around and they were asking us where we are from.  I said I am from Southern California and she said her ex-sister in law was a Hudgens form Riverside.  Got to talking and realized that she is Amy's first husband's sister.  Small world.  She was nice.  The factory was just getting started, so it took a while to get the machines working.  My job was to wipe all of the lids if they had any excess peanut butter.  Not a very exciting job.  We got to go home with delicious peanut butter though!!  We then went home, weekly planned, met with the elders to coordinate some work, had dinner with a fun family, and then got our 15 itls.

Friday was district meeting and that was fun.  After lunch we went to go check on an investigator.  We go to the complex and the gate is closed!! That has never happened before.  So we went to the next gate and got in.  We parked and got out and saw one of our members walking around outside.  We stopped and talked to him.  Turns out he just got news that one of his friends that was in the military with him died while he was deployed a few days ago.  He was kind of sad, as one would expect, so we did our best to cheer him up.  We read from the scriptures with him.  Then another member walked up and we talked to her.  Turns out the person that we wanted to see wasn't home, but it worked out how it needed to.  We visited a member, then we worked through without dinner to get our itls.  That is how I knew Sister Liljenquist wasn't feeling well.  She just wanted to get the 15, go home, eat, and sleep.  So we did that.

On Saturday we tried church tracting.  President Mortensen said that Ammon and the sons of Mosiah went from house to house and from church to church, so we are to go to churches and offer to do service with them.  So we tried it.  We were terrified!!!!  We kept making jokes like, "What are they going to do?  Cast stones at us?"  We tried this big church and walked in as the band was practicing in the chapel.  We were so nervous and lost!!  It was huge!!!  We finally found where to go and realized that the office was closed.  We tried another church and it was closed and realized this probably wasn't the best idea.  

We stopped by a member's house.  Their red headed 14 year old daughter was sitting on the couch and looked just like Heidi.  Made me realize how much I miss her.  Love you Heidi!  Then we started heading home for lunch.  We drove by the bishop's house and waved to him as he was doing yard work with his son.  Then we get a call from him telling us to turn around, that his wife was talking to one of their friends in the drive way.  So we did and visited with them.  Then we had lunch at this delicious Greek family owned restaurant, visited people, and then went to dinner with a member.  We were both so full of food it was almost painful.  We visited more people and tracted and then went home.

Sunday was interesting.  The high councilman who came to our ward correlation last week came to our ward council this week and talked about the same thing.  That was good, and I think that a lot of good work was done.  Then we went out to find our investigators to make sure they would come to church, showing up at their houses half an hour before church.  None of them came though they said they would.  During second hour we went out to find them!  We found the Mirandas at home and talked with them a bit and encouraged them to come next week. We called and texted other people to find them and went back to church in time for Relief Society.  It was a good lesson about choice.  Started out with the sister passing around a bowl full of all sorts of treats; chocolate, fruit, veggies, and such, and asked us to pick one.  Be proud of me, I picked the fruit.  Sister Liljenquist and I have decided to do a "Two weeks to not as fat as you were two weeks ago" program.  Basically it means we will actually go to the gym in the morning and make better choices.  Then we decorated a cake for a recent convert who reached his year mark of being a member of the church today.  I call it his REbirthday.  We had dinner at his house and celebrated one year of being awesome.

Well, that is all, and I love being a missionary, but I am getting excited to see all y'all.  Love you and have a blessed week!!!

Sister Hudgens

Delicious food from last week when we surprised the host by
 actually coming back over for his BBQ

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Bluebell Ice Cream Factory otherwise know as  Heaven to Holly

So I signed up for classes.  It has been a while and it took me forever to figure it out.  But it is done.  Hopefully I will not have to do anything else school related until I get home.  Although someone told me about a cool job she has at BYU and that they are looking for more people.  Also that there seems to be a lot of job openings there, so not to be too worried.

Since it took me a hour to figure out registering, I am sick of the computer, so this email may be short.

Sisters Liljenquist, Jeppson, me and Bates

Monday we went to the Bluebell factory !!!!!!!! 
Bluebell Factory!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was awesome.  All that I dreamed it would be. You would have thought I was at Disneyland to see my face.  We went with the sisters from the Ponderosa ward and Michelle drove us.  I was so happy.  We got to tour the factory (no pictures, sorry) and then we got to eat ice cream.  New favorite flavor is marbled cream cheese brownie.  Sister Liljenquist got two 
 Yummy Ice Cream!
scoops and couldn't finish, so I ate her chocolate peanut butter as well.  Then we went home, finished P-Day activities and went to dinner.  We got our fifteen ITLs and then we went home.

Tuesday was full of family history. We went to service at NAM and while we were sorting I found these super cute shoes.  It was half price shoe day, so they were only $2.50.  Best deal ever.  Then we went to a member's house and she fed us lunch and then we helped her with her family history.  She then told us the family ghost stories. Pretty fun.  We then helped a recent convert find family names so she can go to the temple and then went finding.

Wednesday was crazy.  We brought Kate out with us and went to see Betty.  We read from the Book of Mormon with her and it looks like she has actually been reading from it.  She showed us one of the notebooks she kept when she first joined the church.  It had the most beautiful testimony I have ever seen in it.  It was touching, eloquent, well written, and had the Spirit of a recent convert with a firm conviction to overcome her flaws and inadequacies and become strong and stalwart.  It was beautiful.  I'm like, "Betty!  Where have you been hiding this!?"  We then had lunch at our favorite hole in the wall place, and went to a member's house to make ward mission plans to hand out.  We had a wonderful appointment with one of our investigators.  We taught the Restoration and she seemed to accept the Book of Mormon immediately.  It was great!  We can't wait to meet with her again.

On Thursday we had zone meeting.  Very interesting.  We were instructed on this cool talk President Uchtdorf gave to the new mission presidents and their wives last July, "Fear Not I Am With Thee".  Great inspiration.  Then we had some lunch, made a scripture reading chart for one of our investigators who is nine, and then had an interesting appointment with a professional partier.  He literally gets paid to go to clubs and invite people to come with him.  We then saw a member, had dinner, went finding and went home.

On Friday we weekly planned in the morning and then we had specialized training and interviews in the afternoon.  Back to back meetings, fun stuff.  Learned a lot about working with members and focusing on the temple.  Sister Liljenquist had a half hour interview (with a fifteen minute interruption by Elder Corbridge), and mine was about 5 minutes.  I just don't have  much to say.  We then went on exchanges so that Sister Neidirt and I could go to a baptism in The Woodlands the next day.  We did some finding and had a great dinner with the Mirandas.  We finally found Sister Miranda's records, Sarah got her scripture reading chart, Clara (6) gives the best prayers ever, and Mr.Miranda was the first to accept the invitation to a temple tour.  Good night.  We then visited one of my favorite recent converts and had a great discussion with her and her less active husband.  We are going celestial here!

Dash's Baptism
Saturday we got to go to The Woodlands for Dash's baptism.  It was awesome!!  His whole primary class came, and then all of the kids Nancy teaches came, and Brother Haight asked if I could give my testimony in place of someone giving a talk on the Holy Ghost.  It was so great to see everyone and one of the little girls saw me and practically tackled me.  It is nice to know we are loved.  Nancy and Dash's father both bore a little testimony.  It was great.  I am just waiting for Nancy to say she is going to join the church.  She is basically a member already anyway.  Then we got a  ride home with Chon and her husband.  They were nice enough to take us to lunch.  They just love Sister Neidirt since she was the one that taught Chon the lessons.  After lunch we did family history with some recent converts and then we switched back.  Sister Liljenquist and I went to Michelle's for dinner.  I wasn't hungry, but of course I made room for ice cream.  We went finding and then we finished weekly planning.

Sunday afternoon before church we had the most hilarious appointment of my life.  It started out well enough and she promised to read the Book of Mormon.  It ended with her asking if we dated black boys and trying to hook us up with her son.  Don't know how far she will actually progress.  Church was great. Both of us and the elders bore our testimonies.  Figured it was right since this is my last fast Sunday as a missionary.  After church we had been invited back to a guy we met last week.  He said he would be having a Superbowl party and we were invited to come.  So we go and he is outside with his smoker, cooking his meat with his friends and he sees us.  He looked surprised and we said, "Bet you didn't think we would come back, did you?" He admitted he didn't think we would.  We had a good conversation with him and his friends though, cleared up some misconceptions, and handed out two copies of the Book of Mormon.  They even gave us each a plate of food to go.  It was super delicious.  Then we went to dinner and it was kind of disappointing in comparison.  The guacamole was delicious though!

Well I am doing great, loving being a missionary for these last few weeks, and enjoying being in the service of the Lord down here in the heart of Texas!

Have a blessed week y'all!

Sister Hudgens

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Plan of Salvation

So, crazy as this might seem, I have come to accept that fact that I am going home.  I think I did all of my freaking out last transfer, and so now I am at peace with it.  Even excited about the new adventures to have when I return.  I love being a missionary and I have grown so much!!!  My testimony has been strengthened and so I can understand how the Lucas family can withstand such a blow.  They have the Plan of Salvation!  Do you understand what an amazing truth that is?  Do you know how many people don't have this?   They wander around without hope for their loved ones and fearing death.  But with this knowledge, we know that there is hope.  Life continues after death.  Those that died without knowledge of the gospel or Jesus Christ have an opportunity to learn.  How merciful is the plan of our God!!!

On Monday we did the P-day stuff.  Then we had our second appointment with the Jehovah's Witness.  We brought a recent convert with us.  It started off well, but it ended with it coming out that he had read the Book of Mormon to prove it wrong and him saying that we pray to a different God.  Not great.  But we don't have to go back, yay!  Then we saw a less active family and watched them play with Google Earth and saw an investigator family.

Brazilian Feast
On Tuesday, Sister Liljenquist came down with a mysterious illness that caused to sleep all day, often with a bucket by her side.  I was able to go out on splits with a girl in our ward and we saw an investigator (who dropped us) and another who told us all the things wrong with her life and then said she was so glad we came, we should come back, and she has a friend who wants to meet us.  That totally made up for the stuffy, oppressive, smelly, heat of her house.  Then we went to dinner.  We had a Brazilian feast.  We had potato, kale, and sausage soup (not great), squash (pretty good), rice (awesome), and chicken hearts (I could only eat half of it).  Dessert was good though!!  This are reasons I was called stateside.  Then we did some finding, got our 15 itls and went home.

On Wednesday it was much the same.  We watched church movies and got a blessing and I caught up on my journal.  We had a great dinner with one of our favorite families and went out to find our 15 and went home. We met a few people that would only talk to us through the door, but then there was this nice Muslim man who talked to us.  He insisted we come in because it was rude to stand at the door and talk.  He said "If I am not kind, I'm not human."  He was the kindest person I have ever met.  We left filled the Spirit and renewed faith in people.

Moroni & State of Texas Cookies
Thursday Sister Liljenquist really wanted to get out, so we went to the Arboretum for service.  We moved pots and weeded, but she only made it an hour  before we had to go home.  We went to the doctor and he prescribed medicine that was making her symptoms worse,  so the mission nurse told us to get something else.  We had dinner and helped a member with family history before going out to tract.  A few doors in and we meet this lady named Jessica.  She let us right in because she saw our name tags and knew that we could talk about God with her.  We had a great conversation with her and she asked how she could get a Book of Mormon.  I said, "You say 'Hey Sister Hudgens,l can I have one?'  And I say Of course and pull one out of my bag of wonders!"  It was awesome!  Can't wait to go back.

On Friday we tried going to district meeting, but again, only lasted an hour before we had to go home.  We had dinner, tracted, and then we went to see a less active. Afterwards we went to the Young Women's sleep over, and they only had two girls, it was sad.  We had a little fun with them, and then took home some food and left.

Miracle!!  On Saturday Sister Liljenquist was able to go out!!!  It was awesome!  We were able to do family history with a less active.  While Sister Liljenquist worked with the mom, I played with the children.  We played for an hour and a half and I was starting to run out of games!  It was fun.  I was tired afterwards though, I haven't played with kids like that in a long time!  We then were able to have some lunch, visit Betty, and see some of our investigators that we have been neglecting.  We had some dinner, tracted and had a great night.

Sunday was good.  Things are really moving.  Sacrament was so well attended, we almost had to open the overflow!!  There were less actives and investigators and people who hadn't been in a while.  It was great.  Gospel Principles was standing room only, all the chairs were filled and there was almost no room in the back.  After church we did some finding and got two new investigators from being white girls in a predominantly black apartment complex.  The lady was like, "I saw two white girls and so I said hello because I wanted to know why you were here."  Turns out she is the mom of one of our potentials, and he and his brother both have Sundays off now.  Miracle!! The Lord is preparing them!!!  Then we had dinner and went finding and it was great :)

I love being a missionary!!!!!!

Sister Hudgens

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pepper Steak for Homecoming Dinner!

Goodbye Sis Davis!

I am glad you told me when I am coming home.  Kind of not, but I am glad I know the schedule.  Makes it feel a lot more real.  I get to fly in to SLC with half of the other departing missionaries (half are from Utah or Idaho), that will be fun.  Sister Liljenquist said that she gets into SLC at about 2, so I won't have to wait long!   As for my coming home meal, pepper steak, hands down.  That is what I want!  I haven't had that in like 2 years!!!!  Feels like that anyway.  As for activities, I have no idea.  I don't know what to do with down time anymore.  Can we all go to the temple together?  I know that is so missionary, but I think it would be nice.  Also, do you know when my homecoming talk will be?  And super happy my stocking hasn't been lost!  

Anyways, the week.

On Monday we got a new car.  Like brand new.  Like, some elders borrowed it and then we got to drive it.  Like it only had 1600 miles on it.  It's awesome.  Why did we get a new car you ask?  Well, when the mission cars reach 50,000 miles, the Church replaces them and sells the old ones.  A light came on in our car last week so we took it into the mission office.  Elder Stevens asked how many miles were on our car and we said almost 50,000, so he said, "You want a new car?"  YES!  So now we have a super awesome 2015 Chevy Cruze.  I love it, everything about it.  Except one thing.  Every time you turn it on, the car says it is in demonstration mode and we can't figure out how to turn it off.  I figured out how to mute it though.  So that is good.  Anyways, that was probably the most exciting part of P-Day.  

Before dinner we had an appointment with a family we met last week.  They knew their Bible really well, so we brought President Mortensen with us.  We didn't know what their religious background was, but as soon as he said the opening prayer we knew.  They were Jehovah's Witnesses.  No wonder they were so nice to us!  President went into super intense mode and told them that all of our differences center on the Book of Mormon.  As they would get off topic he would say"Read the Book of Mormon!"  It's true, everything rests on the Book of Mormon.  So read it!!!  We are going back tonight, so we will see what happens.

Christmas 2014
Tuesday was awesome.  We volunteered at NAM in the morning and then had some lunch.  We then brought Michelle with us for the afternoon.  We had a few appointments, but they fell through.  We were able to stop by and see a less active and that was awesome.  We would ask her questions and then she would just bear testimony on the subject and say why she needs to come to church.  She got her own ride and was there on Sunday, it was awesome!  Then Sister Liljenquist was hungry (like always) and someone had brought up donuts, so we made a donut stop.  I got three, Michelle got one, then the rest were Sister Liljenquist's.  She ate 8 donuts in the space of two days, it was really impressive.  

Later we went out with Kate, a girl who just got home from her mission.  We tried a few potentials and then we went to see Nick and Ashlee.  We had met them when I first got here and caroled to them on Christmas Eve, and we knew that they would be receptive to the gospel if we could just think of a reason to stop by.  So we get to the door and knock, and I am wondering what we are going to say to get in.  What did we do?  Sister Liljenquist asked if she could use their bathroom.  They are an awesome couple with a cute little baby boy.  We were able to talk with them for a while and we taught the Restoration and it was amazing!!!!  One of the best lessons ever.  We set a return appointment and left super excited and then......the next day they canceled and said that maybe we could come back again in a few months. Saddest moment ever.

On Wednesday we went to go see Betty in the hospital.  She has been needing to go for a month, and when she started coughing up blood she decided it was time to go.  She is in for pneumonia and a lung infection.  So we brought her a large print Book of Mormon, an Ensign, and got the elders to give her a blessing.  It was great.  We went home, had some lunch, then we went to see a family in the ward.  Then we had some dinner, tried potentials and borrowed a mixer so that Sister Liljenquist could make sweet potato casserole (which was super yummy by the way).

Thursday we pulled more weeds at the Arboretum, had lunch, and then went to drop off some supplies for the Klein Oak elders that live in our area.  We are figuring out how to put it on their porch when a guy says, "Oh, hey, sister missionaries."  Immediately my ears perk up and I am like, "Hey, how's it going?  Are you a member?"  Turns out he is the son of a member of our ward who has been less active for a while.   Super cool.  

Arboretum at Christmas Time
Then we went home to do weekly planning.  When we were done and having some lunch, Sister Liljenquist wasn't feeling very well. She was nauseous and exhausted and went to bed with a bucket. While she was sick, I called potentials and  such. At about 7, she comes out and says, "You want to go finding?" I say yes and though she still feels awful we go out. Second door we knock on, Bryan comes to the door and lets us in and we begin teaching him, his girlfriend, and their roommate who said we showed up at the strangest time; right when he finds out his dad has cancer. It was perfect and we are seeing them again on Thursday.

On Friday we had district meeting.  Afterwards we went to lunch with the elders so that Sister Liljenquist could give them some info she had.  There was a brand new elder form New Zealand, and he is hilarious.  Made lunch very fun.  Afterwards we went to see Betty again and she got tricked.  She thought she was going to leave that day, but she ended up having to stay.  She wasn't very happy about that.  Then we saw the Mirandas, a super great family.  They got us dinner,which was a surprise, especially since our dinner was right afterwards.  It was a good visit though and I even managed to eat dinner afterwards.  After dinner we took Michelle out tracting with us, had no success, she took us to get hot chocolate and the people behind us in line were already Mormon.

Saturday we had a little mini exchange with the sister training leaders.  Fun.  Then it was lunch and going out with the Bishop's wife.  We visited a recent convert, then we went out to try one of the sisters that she visit teaches that she hasn't seen in a while.  On the way back we stopped at a garage sale and found someone that is already meeting with the Hermanas.  We exhorted her to read the Book of Mormon and then went to dinner.  After dinner we tracted and tracted until it was time to go home.

Sunday was nice.  People came to church, high councilmen spoke, gospel principles was full, and we taught young womens.  The girls said they actually learned something and how to put it into practice so that was good.  We sang with the ward choir after church and then had dinner with a fun family.  We then went tracting, found some really cool people to teach, made return appointments, and then visited a family with a cute baby that I can't hold.  Six weeks.  Then I can hold cute babies.

Have a blessed week yall!!

Sister Hudgens

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I'm on the Departing Missionary Board! No....!

Departing Missionary Board!

Sounds like y'all had fun on the cruise.  Those beaches look great.  I miss the beach, I like the beach.  Most of my companions miss mountains, I miss the beach.  I got the four letters you had sent to me this week, I really enjoyed them!! Thanks for thinking of me while you had fun!  Also, news: it is official, Sister Lijenquist and I are going to finish our missions here in Olde Oaks.  

Us at the museum
Last Monday we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  Our ward mission leader got us the hookup with tickets so instead of being $20 we got them for $4.  Thank you Brother Harris!  The  museum was awesome!  Super cool.  First we didn't really know where we were going, but we found the energy hall exhibit.  All about energy and oil and gas since that is what Houston is famous for.  Pretty cool stuff.  Then we went and looked at the Hall of Paleontology.  Super cool!!!!  Lots of dinosaur skeletons.  They had them set up like they were fighting each other, and then there would be an artists rendition of to next to he exhibit.  We saw the hall of the Americas, which was about the Native Americans.  So there was a gospel relevance, we 
More of museum
were learning about the Lamanities.  Then we saw the Hall of Ancient Egypt and that was pretty sweet.  Lots of mummies and mummified cats and neat stories.  By then it was definitely lunch time, so we got some lunch and headed home.  

We then hurried and did our grocery shopping before going to dinner.  After we went tracting and met this family that knows their Bible better than Sister Liljenquist can speak English.  We talked a lot about the Pre-Earth life and Adam.  He doesn't believe we lived with God before we came here, and that Adam totally messed up and should have been able to live in the garden forever.  We have been studying all week and we are going back tonight with the mission president to talk to him again.  Should be interesting.

Tuesday was crazy.  We went to see our investigator in the morning with a member.  We are almost done reading Lehi's dream when she gets a call from the school saying her son had found a syringe on the way to school and poked some girl with it.  Her life has basically exploded in her face.  Her husband is emotionally abusive, so she is basically raising her four kids by herself.  Then her sister-in-law was abusing her kids, so she got three more.  Since they are wards of the state she can't discipline them, so now she can't discipline her own kids.  And then this happened.  We have sent up lots of prayers for her.  Then the member decided to take us to lunch and on the way our super awesome investigator dropped us.  It was kind of a rough day.  We went to volunteer at NAM, sticky noted someone's door, had a dinner with crazy children, and then went finding.  Fun times.

On Wednesday we did our usual visit with Betty.  For once her son actually talked to us.  He said he won't go to church because it will make him cry and be emotional and he has to be manly.  Lame!  But he talked to us, so baby steps.  We then went to have lunch with a less active and she wasn't there, so we just went home and had some lunch.  We then tried by some of our people, volunteered at NAM again, had dinner, and then went tracting when it was really cold.  Found a cool guy though and met with a couple that has been investigating the church for about a year now.  Helped her do crafts and talked about how they haven't been to church in a few weeks.  Then we committed them to come.  

Thursday we did service at the Arboretum pulling weeds.  Fun stuff.  It can be when you do it with the district.  Got to be with my Sister Davis, I am going to miss her!!!  She flies home on Wednesday.  That is weird.  I go home soon.  Super weird. Anyway, moving on.  Our afternoon appointment canceled, so we went to the mission office so Elder Stevens could fix our brake light.  He wasn't there, so we went home and had lunch.  Afterwards we went back and he tried to fix it for a while, sent us away to figure out how to get to it, and then he still couldn't fix it.  

So we went to dinner at the Bishop's house and then drove forever to find the Pepboys so they could fix our light.  We found the nicest people though!  They guy who looked like he was in charge of the place told us that he had two techs with three cars each and the store closed in an hour. We said we weren't about making them stay late when another employee said, "But Pepboys is".  We said that was a good answer and then he went and found someone to take a look at our light, he fixed it real quick and boom!  Fixed!  We went to go tell the manager how awesome his employees are and found out the guy who fixed our light doesn't even work there!!!  He was the manager's roommate and used to work there.  I love super nice people.

Friday we had district meeting and we did some weekly planning.  We both felt like they were going to take us both out at transfers, so we did some intense updating.  We then had a good lesson with a family.  It is a less active/part member family.  We have been trying to find her records forever, but we haven't had any luck. Our ward clerk said that he has tried almost everything, so if they can't find her records with the additional information we got from her, she will have to be re-baptized.  We are secretly hoping that we don't find her records, so she will be more likely to let her 9 year old daughter get baptized sooner since she will also have to be baptized.  It was a good lesson though.  We then had delicious BBQ for dinner, did some finding, saw a nice member, and then went home where it was warm.  We then were super sneaky and found out Elder Nielson's favorite cake, their apartment number, and their gate code so we could make him a cake for his birthday the next day.

Elder Nielson's 20th Birthday
Saturday morning we got up and brought Elder Nielson his cake.  It would have been a lot better if we didn't have to pound on the door and call three times to wake him up to come to the door when he should have already been awake, but he still enjoyed his obscure earthquake cake that we had to have a member look up on Pintrest.  We then returned home, studied, and picked up a girl that got home from her mission in Brazil on Wednesday and went to go to three appointments.  They all canceled on us, so we stopped by a less active's and made sure they knew what time church was.  Kate's mom gave her money to take us to lunch and we found this delicious hole in the wall Mexican restaurant where we were the only white people.  That means it was really good.  Then we did more weekly planning since we hadn't been able to finish, went finding and had the worst luck, stopped by a recent convert's and it was great.

Sacrament meeting was awesome on Sunday.  All the speakers were great.  Relief Society was great too.  I am excited to learn more about President Benson's life this year.  We were able to get some stuff done before dinner with one of our favorite couples and then we had a great lesson with the couple who has been investigating for a year and is more active than most members.  It was really awesome.  We shared the talk from conference "Trifle Not with Sacred Things". After talking with them for a really long time, the member said, "If God told you that on February 14th you should be baptized, would you get married before then?" They thought about it and both said they would pray about it and we could come back next week to talk about it. We are really pushing them because we want them to be happy!!!!  
Hopefully they will get their answer soon.

Well, life has been crazy and it will only continue to get crazier!  Have a great week!

Sister Hudgens