Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Story & Some News!

I, Hannah, have a quick story to share that Hilary told us on Tuesday on the PHONE! That's right, phone! She got to call us (for a whopping 12 minutes!) while she was in the airport about to head to Phoenix! She said she'll give us the address asap, and we'll put that up on the blog.

It was the night before she was to leave the MTC and she wanted to give Trenton one last hug goodbye. So she goes up to the main desk and asks if they could page him. The man behind the desk told him he couldn't page him, then from behind him Hilary heard, "I'm making an executive decision. Page her brother, she won't be seeing him for 2 years!"

So they paged Trenton and he and Hilary were able to say goodbye and hug one last time!
She also said she wanted him to sing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" but they knew they would be crying, so they decided not to. Haha

ALSO, we got a call from Hilary's mission president today and they told us that she's rooming with TWO sisters so they're a little threesome right now. She's serving in the Prescott area, about an hour and a half north of Phoenix. It's pretty hilly so they get a TRUCK to drive! Also, the mission president's wife has a blog and she put up pictures of the new recruits and you can see Hilary!! It's the "NEW MISSIONARIES Feb. 2012" post. I'll link it below, and also put it on the side bar to the right so you can continue to check for pictures.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Leaving the MTC!

Hi all,

Thanks for your continued support to Hilary!  She is doing great and is so so happy, and a lot of that is due to the love she has felt from all of her friends and family.
Just wanted to let everyone know that Hilary will be leaving the MTC this Tuesday, February 21st, so please be sure to send your letters to her mission home in Phoenix.  I put the address on the right toolbar.  Let us know if you have any questions about sending her mail or packages or anything like that.  I will post her new address when I get it, but sending letters to her mission home is always a safe bet.

Thanks again!!

(Hilary's sister)

Hilary appreciates all the letters!

Quick note from Hannah:

Hilary sent me this little paragraph in her email she sent personally to me that I thought should go on this blog...

"Also, I feel bad but I only have 3 minutes and I never have time to write everyone that I want to.
"So I don't know what you want to do with this, but this is a list of some of the people that have written me which I found super sweet: Brother Pace, Lauren Anderson (oh my gosh Caleb's mission call?!?!?!?!?!?! WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW), Tracie, Sarah, SJ, Lizzie, Hancock, and Lilly Smith. There have been others but yeah. It was so sweet to me that they wrote me."

So she appreciates all the letters she's gotten!! She's been told to always write her family first, but then she unfortunately doesn't have much time to write personal emails back to everyone else. That's also why she tries to include people in her mass emails to us which is why I'm putting up her emails on this blog! She always addresses them "Dear Family" but there's information for everyone to know in them. :)


Hilary's Second Email

This was our second email received from Hilary on Feb. 15th, 2012.

Hello family!
Okay so I actually wrote down an outline of what I was going to say - so sorry if it's super scattered and such. PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS GOING ON MY BLOG BECAUSE I WRITE THIS WITH EVERYONE I LOVE IN MIND. Okay great thanks.
ALSO THIS IS IMPORTANT AND A SUPER BIG DEAL: So I need everyone I know if you're planning  on writing me this week to write Elder Fisher or Elder Knobbe in my district instead. We had Elder Clarke of the 70 come and talk to us last night, and he recommended we do this if our companion isn't getting mail. Elder Knobbe is from Idaho - he's built like a tree and works out like a machine. He is a convert and his family is super unsupportive of him serving a mission. He's our district leader and doesn't get hardly any mail and no packages and has to see that for himself when he picks up the mail and package slips. Elder Fisher is from Layton, Utah. He's adorable and we love him so much. He is really quiet, but whenever he speaks, it's super insightful and great. We love him a lot. So please - if you're writing me this week, please write them instead. Or first :) Whatever. It would mean a lot to me. Elder Knobbe's address is the exact same as mine except address it to Elder Mark Knobbe, and for Elder Dallon Fisher write the St. Louis, Missouri Mission instead of AZ-PHO or whatever mine is. The MTC mailbox and 0221 is the same.
So yes! We leave next Tuesday at 5 in the morning. I can't tell you our flight plans (cough Tracie cough) but we get into Phoenix around 11 am or so on Tuesday.
Thank you so much for the Valentine's package and cute card!!!!!!!!!!! It was adorable. Trenton and I both got packages from the Joneses too which was super sweet.
Please tell Tracie that I'm trying to write her a letter, but for some reason it's taking a long time and I'm having trouble finishing it. Hopefully I will today.
When does Sister Beck come and visit? Dad, did you finally track down some flat screen TVs?
How is my blog coming? Ah I wish I could see it.
Mom asked about our teaching style I think. Most of what we learn is trial and error honestly. We go in and teach people, and then in our next lesson we learn the better way to do it and practice some more. Sister Crandall and I are not very good at planning because Sister Crandall loves going almost exclusively by the Spirit. So I guess we do a really good job at loving our investigators and showing that, but we're not great at our purpose which is bringing them unto Christ because we're never able to share all the doctrine we feel the investigator needs to make them happier. So yeah. We're working on it. But we always say a prayer before we begin and try to afterward as well. It helps us feel the Spirit so much stronger and help us know what the Lord would have us teach rather than what we think ourselves.
I haven't heard anything about bikes sorry - our elders are convinced that since we're sisters we won't have to ride them, but based on our letters from President Taylor, we're almost positive that we'll have bikes. So yeah concern.
Waking up is hard. Going to bed is the greatest thing ever. But the latest we've ever slept in which was an accident was 6:40. Usually I try and be awake by 6:20 because we have to be dressed and ready for class and in class at 7:00.
Dad keep up the journal writing! I would forget everything that's happening to me if I don't write at least one sentence in my journal every night. It's been a super big blessing already.
Our dorm room is actually slightly bigger than most dorm rooms which is nice. The four of us in our district share it with a sister going to Hungary and another going to Albania. We all go to church together. We're super blessed to love each other a lot and get along really well. We need to figure out where our "Narnia hole" is like the elders did and see if the sisters before us left us anything good.
It snowed all day Sunday but melted by Monday. It's pretty cold - I always wear my purple coat and can't believe I thought about not bringing it. And I love my tights (mostly because it means I don't have to shave every day hahahaha).
I'm getting a haircut today - hopefully it works out okay. My hair is just being really stupid so I guess it's time.
Mom - I have more than enough food. Seriously. Don't worry about it. And I forgot 10000000000000000 things so don't worry about that either. Unless you want to send me my Book of Mormon which has my amazing scripture marker in it (sorry Taylor, but guess what?! My entire district has those pens - we love them) and my glasses screwdriver if you can find it.
My glasses did make me dizzy the first couple of days, but they're fine now. I wear them a lot and everyone laughs at how nerdy the transistion lenses are, but I like them enough. The only downer is that they stay dark for a long time after I walk inside. I'll be excited to try out contacts when I get home in August 2013.
I give Trenton a hug every single time I see him still which is anywhere from 0-3 times a day - mostly in the cafeteria. My district loves watching as I scramble out of my seat and greet him like I haven't seen him in years and how everyone still freaks out when we hug.
Hey so Brother Pace was telling me Romney won Florida or something. I need to know when I can vote so I can figure out who I'm voting for. I don't even know who's in the real runnings. Elections are so crazy. They seem way more complicated than they should be.
Has anyone gone swimming yet?
My classes are all the same - we have 2 different teachers for 3 hours blocks usually twice a day and learn the fundamentals from Preach My Gospel which we then practice on each other and then on investigators.
I love you all so much. I miss you a lot. I only have 12 minutes so I'm going to send Hannah a short note. I'll have to send a handwritten letter or something aaaaaaahhhhh.
Also, I still love my district so much. We eat our meals together and have gotten so close that we eat off each other's plates all the time now hahaha. It's hilarious. Like seriously sometimes I still get overwhelmed by how much I love them.
Okay the thing that I read this week in the Book of Mormon was in Alma 26:16 and is exactly how I'm feeling - especially the last part. In fact, that whole chapter was pretty amazing.
I love this gospel. I am so grateful for this gospel, for the Atonement, and for how much overwhelming love I feel from my Heavenly Father and my Savior who are doing everything they can so that I can live with them again. I love this! The Book of Mormon is true - I've seen miracles already on how reading it with investigators helps them feel the truth of it.
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Please write Elder Mark Knobbe and Elder Dallon Fisher. Thanks
Sister Parks

Hilary's First Email

This was our first letter received from Hilary on Feb. 8, 2012. Sorry it took so long to put up!

Hello my favorite family. I already have only 29 minutes on this computer, and this keyboard is not working well with my fantastic typing skills, so I'm just going to go all out and type everything I think and not go back and think about things and it's going to be crazy. So bear with me, and Taylor and Hannah - just feel free to edit anything you feel is inappropriate. Which I know you won't because I am all appropriate stuff.
Okay so thank you all for all the letters (except Trenton. wow.)! It made me so happy. So in my district we had to wait for a district leader to come and be assigned to get our mail, so I had a plethora of emails and a package of letters from the Glenhood on Friday. And then I got some more DearElders last night - even one from Aunt Kathleen and Brother Pace! So sweet.
Okay so life in the MTC. I'm almost scared to get out your letters and read them again so I can answer all your questions because honestly there just isn't a lot of time and we're trying to do laundry too right now. Basically I'll just try and tell you everything and hope that all your questions and concerns are answered. Okay? Here we go:
My district: The MTC is organized essentially the same way the mission field is. So there were a lot of elders and sisters that came in on my report date, and ten of us are all together in this group called a district. We have classes together and personal study together. I live with the 3 other sisters in my district and most of the six elders live together too. Some of us are going to the St. Louis, Missouri mission and some of us are going to Phoenix like me. So we'll fly out with these people which will be nice. We already love each other so much! There are six elders and four sisters in our district. I feel like we already have a super strong bond and no animosity which is a blessing. Another blessing is that we sound really good when we're singing which we were told isn't always the case haha. Of course - we're all assigned English speaking, so as such we have lots of personal study time and lots of teaching time and lots of class time since we don't have language study time. It's nice. We normally have like 2 hours of study time spread out over the day. It's be quite the blessing, and with us all desperate trying to read Preach My Gospel, the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and our white missionary handbook, there's quite a lot to fill those 2 hours with.
Sister Crandell is my companion. She is adorable. A lot like Shea in that she's super bubbly and happy and just really passionate for the gospel. I love her a lot and have so much to learn form her. She will readily admit that she isn't very book smart, so we work well together because I have this logical and emotionless ability to remember scriptures and the discussions whereas she really goes by the Spirit and just immediately loves our investigators. I rely on her a lot.
The other two sisters are Sister Bailey and Sister Murdock. Sister Murdock as you remember is Katy Murdock who was my roommate this last Fall semester at BYU. So crazy. Sister Bailey is actually from the Dallas area (like Sister Murdock) but they never met until right now. They're really good companions because they're so practical and smart and hard-working. Sister Crandell and I have loads to learn from them too haha. We're heard that we're very fortunate to have so many sisters in our district because some districts (like Trenton's) don't have any sisters at all. We have to agree with that - the dynamic of our district is fantastic I think because we're all so different. For the record - the E and I keys aren't working very well, so excuse my spelling is I decide not to go back and fix stuff.
Okay the elders in our district are great. 3 are going to Phoenix with Sister Bailey, Sister Murdock, and I while the other 3 are going to St. Louis with Sister Crandell. They're great. It's hard not to treat them as little brothers sometimes, but it's just because we love them so much. We have to make Sister Crandell stop expressing her love all the time because it makes them uncomfortable hahahahahahaha.
Shout out randomly here to everyone who sent me letters, especially the Glenwood package I got - I literally spent 40 minutes before bed reading all the letters from my wonderful family and friends. Part of my worries (selfish) of going out on a mission were being forgotten by all the friends I was leaving behind, and that first mail check where I had more mail than anyone else (not that it's a contest - I'm just making a point) was positively fantastic. It made me so happy and made me feel so loved.
Oh my gosh I am so happy to be here. It honestly feels like I've been here for a year or so - that's how close I feel to my district and how much I feel like I've already grown. I'm working super hard on trying to think outside of myself - to really forget myself and go to work. It's hard! Especially since missionary work is not about memorizing lessons and selling our religion - it's about spreading a message of happiness to individual people that all need to hear a different aspect of the gospel that will improve their lives and help them come unto Christ. Honestly, there are so moments of the day where I question whether or not I can really do this (I mean you would think not having to learn a language would make this easier, but it's not!) but most of the time I'm truly grateful and SO HAPPY that I get to be here and be a missionary and feel so much love for all the people everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I used to get kind of annoyed when elders spent their entire letters talking about their testimonies, but now I totally understand - my life IS my testimony right now.
I see Trenton about once a day because our meal times are just 15 minutes away from each other (therefore overlapping) and sometimes we see each other at meetings and such. He looks so great, and I think he's going well with the language. He's the only Salt Lake missionary in his district, but all of them are state-side Spanish speaking elders. I think he likes them. Anyway the first time we hugged in the cafeteria, everyone was freaking out and looking at us. Trenton was so embarrassed but slightly amused. I didn't even care - I hadn't seen him in two days! I totally forgot to say bye to him when we parted ways at the MTC dropoff. It was so fast. All  of a sudden I was hugging Ariel and shaking Caleb's hand while Taylor took pictures and them these two elders took my bags for me and lead me away. I competely forgot about Trenton haha. Wednesday was absolutely a blur and honestly I don't remember much of it without looking at my journal (which I've been writing in every night!).
But yeah Trenton and I hug nearly every time we see each other just to freak people out. I got permission from my Branch President to do this, but I don't think anyone thought we'd be this committed to using our exception to the rule haha. Maybe they'll change it after we leave. I just hope President Hollingsworth and President Hancock will be satisfied since there wasn't exactly an opportunity to walk in holding hands.
The food is fine. I don't know why everyone complains about it. It's exactly like the Canon Center where Trenton ate all his meals at BYU. Seriously - same trays and everything. Food is good. I love all the choices and how much I get to eat.
Getting up has actually not too bad, and going to bed at 10:30 is a blessing!!!!!!!!!!!!! When we get into our room at like 9:30 or so, we are so ready to just be in bed, read our letters and write in our journals, pray, and hit the sack. But yeah we have personal scripture study at 7:00 dressed and ready in our classroom so honestly I usually get up at like 6:05 or so to be ready on time. Showers are designated for us by when we have gym time which actually hasn't been too bad. Sister Crandell loves to exercise so I hit the elliptical machines with her and then I do yoga with Sister Bailey while Sister Crandell does weights and stuff.
We get to go the temple today and actually do a session altogether as a district. I wish I could explain how happy this makes me. We got to walk around the temple grounds on Sunday. Tracie Farrell and Devin Sabin - I'm purposefully leaving the times out of this so you two don't stalk me. But Trace - I'll tell you this - Trenton's Pday is Saturday so I think he goes to the temple then. Just saying...
Okay sorry I have 2 minutes left and the computer won't save my email. Sorry this is so inadequate - I'll try and be better next week and find more time to write y'all during the week. I love all of you so much. Thanks for all the letter and support and letting me be here. I wish everyone had the opportunity to come to the MTC and learn what it feels like to love people and love the gospel so much. It's amazing.
Sister Parks