the sisters on Maui

the sisters on Maui

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 4- if you're gunna have a hard day why not have it in Hawaii !

Hey Everybody!
Okay so last week I had sooooo much to say and I forgot to say where I'm even serving! Mom guessed right, I'm on O'ahu! I am in the Honolulu-West zone. We are so busy! I love it though!
President and Sister D are leaving soon so they had their goodbye zone meeting this week. President D is always laughing about how sister M and I are companions. He jokingly asked us if we thought that the Lord took height into consideration when He sets up companionships. He also told us "Dynamite comes in small packages." He is super funny! His wife is barely over 5 feet tall too.
We have four new investigators this week. One of them has a mango tree and sent us home with a few fresh mangos. They were super good. Our ward keeps us fed also. We left church on Sunday with a plate of cinnamon rolls, a gallon of milk and a half gallon of orange juice! We looked ridiculous carrying it all out to the car. The people here are so sweet!
We played piano at another baptism this week. You know that there aren't very many pianists around when I have to play:) Sister M played the only hymn she knows for the opening song, then I played the only hymn I know for the closing. Same deal as last week...... We decided that we both need to learn another hymn this week:) It was neat too because it was a Samoan ward baptism, so they were all singing in Samoan!!
We are getting a mini missionary on thursday, and we'll be doing service in Pearl Harbor on Wednesday. Also, a guy in the ward wants to give us a tour of his submarine on one of our p-days. I hope that works out!
Okay, so friday was a super tough day! We tried to contact a bunch of less actives, but NOBODY was home! We drove to so many different houses! We started to just feel exhausted and unmotivated. We tried just working through it, we tried taking a snack break, we tried everything. We prayed for help and strength and to be able to find the miriacle in the day. We knew that something good would come. We tried tracting. The guy opened the door, and while I was trying to talk and the guy just closed the door with a dismissive "not interested". -First time I cried since I've been with sister M. Friday was SO HARD! but Looking back on it, we realized a few things: 1. Heavenly Father didn't just make the day easy. Sometimes He does that, but sometimes He expects us to work hard, and just trust Him. 2. We didn't understnad why the day was so tough, but we made it through, and in comparison the next day seemed so much better! 3. Heavenly Father does answer prayers. We got to meet with one of our investigators that we hadn't been able to get in touch with! That was one miracle from the day! Also, as we were getting out of the car in the area we tract in a lot, a guy asked us "Who are you? I see you around here a lot." We talked for a bit and set up an appointment with him:) Even on the hard days, Heavenly Father is still watching over us, and we can learn so much on harder days.
I love this poem, I can't remember who it is by, but there is a part that says:
"be still sad heart and cease repinning.
behind the clouds is the sun, still shining.
thy fate is the common fate of all- into each life some rain must fall.
Some days must be dark and dreary"
And I guess if you're gunna have a hard day, why not have it in Hawaii:)
Love you all!
-Sister Rachel Hodgson

Sunday, June 16, 2013

week 3- This is totally a foreign mission..tee hee

Hey!!!! this is so crazy! I'm in Hawaii:) I still can't get over it. We'll just be driving along and I'll be like "I'm on an island in the middle of the ocean!" But I'm loving it here! Okay, but before I get too carried away I need to catch you up on the last bit of my MTC stay.
It was the last Thursday night in the MTC and we had just come from dinner to go to our evening class. We were all having problems focusing and just weren't feeling well. Sister P asked if any one else's stomach was hurting and all but one of the sisters said that their stomachs were hurting too. We dismissed our complaints and went on with the lesson. Our teacher was talking, then all of a sudden  Sister O burped. It was super funny! We were trying to hold in our laughter but we just couldn't. The teacher asked if we needed a quick break and we all burst out laughing and agreed that we did. Out in the hall, we were laughing so hard that I started crying (I don't know why....we were exhausted :) ) but I knew it was stupid so I was laughing at myself too. Pretty soon I was on the floor sobbing hysterically and we were all laughing at that. Then sister P started gaging and ran to the bathroom to throw up. Sister F threw up too. It was pretty much the craziest five  minutes of my life! When we had finally gathered ourselves together we went back into class and had a testimony meeting- which was great! but it was just a really funny night. ....Our poor teacher:)
Anyway, that pretty much sums up the MTC. On Tuesday morning we took a bus to a train, then the train to a track/ monorail thing, then the track/ monorail thing to the airplane, then the airplane to our mission president's car, then his car to his home and Finally our travels were done!
We stayed the first night in the mission president's home. Of course my bed would be the one to have flying termite larva nesting in the sheets...... but the mission president's wife helped us change the bedding and we slept fine:) But I went to bed thinking No matter what they say....
 "This is totally a foreign mission". The weather, food, and houses also contributed to my conclusion. All of the windows here are made like blinds. They are a whole bunch of glass slats put together that you can tilt to let the air in...'cause Boy it is hot here! We haven't come across very many air conditioners..... Everyone just uses fans. (Except for the military but I'll get to that in a bit)
 Here in Hawaii, transfers are done a bit differently: instead of everyone coming to a transfer meeting on Wednesday and finding out who your companion will be and where you will serve, all of the missionaries get a letter Tuesday night with all of the information. Then, only the ones who will need to change islands will have to fly (because it would be way too expensive to fly everyone in and then back out again). We opened our letters Tuesday night. They call it early Christmas! It was so great! We went around the room reading who we would serve with and where we would serve. My new companion and trainer is Sister M! She is so great! She is 5'3", brown hair, super bubbly personality, and loves a busy schedule! We have so much fun together. Interestingly enough, she had a baptism lined up for this last weekend, so that was super exciting! So it has been a been joke in the area that I "got a baptism" on my fourth day in the field!
It is so crazy living with only two people in a home. Do you know how many dishes two people use?! Not that two.... So it has been really easy to keep the kitchen clean! 
okay, finally to the military. My area is mostly made up of military housing! So that means nicer houses, air conditioning and pretty "normal" food. In the other parts of our area we do have a few native Islanders who feed us Hawaiian food.
They other night we had a great dinner apt My trainer didn't tell me till after dinner, but the lady that we were teaching always feeds us food. So by the end of our lesson/ Second dinner appointment we were so full! She fed us Hawaiian food = a HEAPING plate of rice.... lots of meat and a Huge glass of soda! We ate all that we could to be polite then taught the lesson. but boy were we full! 
With all that said, I love mission life! It's all part of the experience, and I feel like I am learning so much! one more quick thought before I go- IN the MTC our teachers will role play as an investigator for you and your companion to teach. Our teacher played someone who was really open to the gospel, but had one main issue that she would need to resolve before baptism. She was living with her boyfriend. The first day that I here, the first appointment that I had, the investigator was someone who was really open to the gospel, but had one main issue that she would need to resolve before baptism. She was living with her boyfriend. It was neat to see that Heavenly Father knew who I would be teaching here, and knew how to best prepare me for that. He is so mindful of giving us exactly what we need. He has the big picture in mind and wants to always bless us.
Love you!

-Sister Hodgson

Week 1- It was the best of times it was the worst of times....

This is the only  Family letter we received from the MTC ( there was a quick hand written one  and then she was to fly out before the second Pday)

Hi everyone!
Well, I'm here at the MTC! It is really a great place to be! It seems like I've been here forever, but at the same time I feel like this past week went by so quickly! It is like a time warp. We have an ongoing joke in our district that whenever you say something like "yesterday when we were teaching lydia....." you say "yesterday, or 2 weeks ago, when we were teaching lydia" or something like "this morning, or last year, when we ate breakfast....". haha. It feels like we do SO MUCH every day! But it is all great stuff.
My companion and I get along great! We like to eat the same stuff at the cafeteria, and we both are lovers of the little white handbook. We pray SO MUCH here and we kept loosing track of whether it was her turn to pray or mine. SO we came up with a little system: every time we pray, I flip my ring around the other way and put it back on. If the ring is facing towards me, I say it. If it is facing towards her, she prays:)
We get to go to the temple today and I'm excited about that! Oh, and we LOVE getting your mail! Thank you so much for the letters! It makes a missionary's day when the District leader hands them a dear elder or a card!!! Mail=gold here:)

We have wonderful teachers! Brother R, Brother G, and Sister GR. They know just how far to push us. We had an amazing experience on Saturday! We had been working in hours and hours of classes for the past few day and we were all so exhausted: Physically from not getting enough sleep, mentally from learning so much from our great teachers, emotionally from this whole new experience, and spiritually because we were being asked to teach and bring the spirit in ways that we never had before. We were doing role plays in class and the post-lunch sleepiness was setting in. We couldn't focus, and we couldn't get the new concept that we were learning. We understood it in theory, but when it came to the application, we couldn't get it right. We kept trying, role play after role play, and we began to feel very frustrated and discouraged. Most of the sisters were crying (myself included). I felt so inadequate. I really couldn't do it. Our teacher, Brother R, Told us to all stop for a second and say a prayer. He told us that we could use the atonement in this situation. Christ knew exactly how we felt. He could help us to overcome the exhaustion, he could help us to feel good enough, and most of all He could help us to be able to understand the concept and put it into action. Brother R told us that we were at the edge of a cliff, and we were being asked to take on more step. But he testified to us that if we had the faith to take that step, Christ would carry us. It was an amazing experience. We all prayed for the strength that we so desperately needed. We knew that we could not do any of this on our own. As we came to our Heavenly Father in prayer, and fully relied on Him, He gave us more strength and help than we ever could have gotten through our own work. I now have a stronger testimony that He will provide a way for us to do all the things that we are called upon to do. He will never leave us alone. If we will just turn to Him, He will make a better missionary, a better sister, a better friend, a better person out of all of us. Through Him, we can do all things.
I love and miss you all!
-Sister Rachel Hodgson

p.s. we report to the travel office at 7:30 Tuesday morning June 4th, and our flight leaves Salt Lake City airport at 11:55 (Utah time). Expect a call somewhere in there! sorry we don’t know much!