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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beautiful Indian Dresses are Very Heavy

Our Indian Experience

On Monday, we got back to our apartment and then we got a visit from Sister Liljenquist's Aunt and Uncle who were down here visiting their daughter who lives in the South mission.  Don't worry, we got permission!  They gave us a gift card to go to dinner, so after emailing we had a delicious dinner.  We then did some tracting in the cold, fun stuff.

On Tuesday we saw a few of our investigators.  Well, we attempted to anyway.  A few of our appointments canceled so we ended up doing a lot of going back and forth and knocking on doors.  We had a great dinner of these fried mashed potato ham patties.  They were delicious!  We then went out and tried to find some less actives and visited some members.  We then switched companions for some exchanges.  Sister Davis came with me to Olde Oaks this time.

Wednesday morning we went to see Betty and tried talking to her about getting her to the temple.  She is a sass master, so I think it went well?  We then had some lunch and went to stop by an investigator.  We were able to talk to her briefly, share a scripture, and set a return appointment.  I thought we had an appointment in the same cul-de-sac, but as we were going to the door, I remembered we didn't.  We needed to be there that day though because we went to see another less active lady around the corner and she almost cried when she saw us.  She had us put on face masks before entering because she has a lot of health issues and no immune system.  She has gone through a lot and is in serious need of counseling.  We were able to talk to her about the Atonement, LDS family services counseling, and coming back to church.  She really wants to come back to church, so we are going to do what we can.  

Sorting clothes with Sis Davis
We then stopped by an investigator's home for an appointment, but her whole family was sick.  She doesn't have a phone, so she can't call us, so we will just have to try again later.  We then went to NAM and sorted clothes for a few hours with the elders.  Fun stuff.  We had a good New Year's dinner, went out knocking, and had a good time.  There was this one lady whose door we knocked on let us borrow some scarves because we looked cold. She was so nice!  We brought them back when we were finished and gave her a bag of candy we had.  Then I said good bye to Sister Davis and welcomed Sister Liljenquist back.

We had weekly planning all New Years day until heading to the mission office.  Sister Liljenquist had to talk to President about something and that is when I got my super quick ecclesiastical endorsement.  We then tried by some investigators we hadn't heard from in a while and then went to visit a member we hadn't seen at church for a while.  We get there, knock on the door and....another member that doesn't live there answered it.  Slightly confused we said, "This isn't your house, what is going on?"  I guess we crashed their New Year's football party.  Most of the people were upstairs watching the game and he had happened to be downstairs.  Also, there was a member's mother there and she said that if we came back later, her son and his girlfriend would be there so we could talk with them,  The son is less active and the girlfriend is potentially interested, so we said we would be back after dinner.  

We had a great dinner with the Ruckers in which we laughed a lot and then had a great lesson on bearing testimony.  The Spirit was strong.  We then went back to the party and found that we had just missed them, but then Sister Castillo brought out all of her dresses that she had because Sister Liljenquist was looking at her wedding album and was admiring the Indian wedding she had had and all of her different dresses.  We were then convinced to try some on, it was fun.  Very heavy though.

Friday was zone meeting.  As is sometimes the case, I left there feeling like an awful missionary.  They always set goals for baptisms for the next month and dates we will set.  Most of the time, my investigators aren't progressing/we don't have any, so I end up feeling overwhelmed and like I can't do anything right.  It is very frustrating when you go out every day looking for people to share the best news ever with, and no one will listen, or commit, or progress.  Then you see everyone else in the zone with a baptism and you wonder what the heck you are doing wrong.  Sometimes it just all builds up and explodes out of my eyes.  So I had a little breakdown.  Sister Liljenquist did her best to help me see that I was being a good missionary and that it isn't all about numbers or baptisms.  

Then I had to shape up for lunch with a less active woman. She was super nice and fed us lots of delicious food.  Gluten unfortunately.  Sister Liljenquist graciously ate it though.  We then went out and tried to see others, but she wasn't feeling too well so we went home and called the Cypress Creek sisters to see if we could do another little exchange since we had a lot of appointments that night.  So Sister Davis came with me again.  She wouldn't let me leave the apartment though until she talked to me.  She saw me tearing up at zone meeting and knew something was wrong since crying is not my thing.  She said all these nice things and went through the successful missionary section of Preach My Gospel and told me I was great and stuff.  A few tissues later and we were out the door. 

Dinner at Panda Express
We were supposed to do family history with a recent convert and then she was running late, so we went to go see the girlfriend we were supposed to see the night before.  We talked with her for a bit and then I felt like I needed to give her a Book of Mormon.  She gratefully accepted it, saying that is what she had the most questions about.  We wrote down some of our favorite chapters and invited her to read them.  She lives in San Antonio, so we won't see her very often, but we have started something.  We then had to drive swiftly (but safely) in the rain to switch back.  As we were  leaving we realized that Sister Davis did have the phone.  We didn't have time to go back because we had a dinner to get to. We get there and the sisters had called their phone and asked them to tell us to call them.  We had a great dinner at Panda Express, they made promises to buy us some food (which was super nice) and then we drove through a now very heavily descending rain (like windshield wipers full speed rain) to get our phone back.  We decided that since it was 8:30 and scary rain, we would go home for the night.

Saturday was crazy.  We read scriptures with a less active who lives in our complex, had lunch, went to find people who no longer live where we thought they did, had appointments fall though, saw a new born baby, talked about family history, and had a delicious dinner.  So funny story.  The elders were having dinner at the same place we were and we were running late.  They called us as we were going over to ask if dinner was for sure at 5.  We said yes, and then they said they had knocked a couple of times and called and no one answered.  So we get there and Sister Liljenquist knocks on the door and they answer right away.  We just laughed and then the elders said that they never rang the doorbell either.  Moral of the story, ring the doorbell and knock loud.  We then did some finding and saw a less active lady.

Sunday was good.  We have moved to one o'clock church, but our meetings are still early.  So after correlation we met with he Primary President to talk about some families in the ward, went looking for someone who said we could come, and then went to church.  There was more people there than I have seen in a long time, and for the first time in forever (look at me making a Frozen reference, haven't even seen that movie) there were no grown men needed to pass the sacrament. I think it is because a new family moved into the ward and brought three young men with them.  Church was good, and then it was dinner.  We went to a home that always has good food and their daughters are hilarious.  One of them has bright red hair and reminds me of Heidi.  She is a little weirdo just like her :)  We then rushed to an appointment and she wasn't home.  We tried by potentials and then went home.  A member said they were going to bring us by food, so we waited for them...and waited..and waited...and then at 10:30 they came.  I can't complain though, because they brought us all sorts of goodies!!  All the things we need to make fried rice (which is a staple for this companionship) and a box of ice cream drumsticks.  They remind me of Granny :)  

So today is going to be fun.  A member is taking us to the Museum of Natural History and we are looking forward to it!!!

Have fun on the cruise without me.  Love y'all!

Sister Hudgens