Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merrrrrrry Chrrrrrrrrristmas...from Great Falls!
Hello family and friends,
I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and loved being with those you love and taking a little break :)
Christmas here was fabulous! I got to see my family over Facetime and chat with them for a while, and that was wonderful.  We spent most of the day in members' homes and just enjoyed family traditions and the love of Montanans. In case you didn't know...(which probably most of you don't because Montanans stay in Montana), Montanans are hilarious.  They say it like it is, do what they want, and love SO easily.  And the reason they stay in Montana is yes, because Montana is the greatest place ever....I just love it here in case you couldn't tell ;)
Life is wonderful.  Today I read 1 Nephi 17:20-21.  Laman and Lemuel are angry with Nephi and they say, "if this and this and this hadn't happened then, "...we might have been happy."  I am like this sometimes- always trying to reach perfection to the point where it's hard to see where I have come and where I am at, and loving it.  Sometimes we aren't in a place where we necessarily want to be, but, because of the gospel, we can get there.  God has in store for us more than we can ever imagine.  As we follow him, we progress, step-by-step.  It takes time to become who He is trying to make us.  When we look for the rays of sun, the flowers in bloom (sometimes figuratively speaking...oh, winter... :), the little things in life- then we are happy.  God is blessing us even when things are hard.  We just have to open our eyes to see it.  
How do we follow Christ? How do we let God make of us who we can be?
We live the gospel of Jesus Christ that He has given us in the scriptures (2 Nephi 31):
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
Enduring to the End

Sometimes I feel like I don't know enough.  I am not enough.  I can't help these people.  There is not enough time to study! But today, I learned that yes, maybe you don't know enough, and yes, you will never have enough time to study BUT that is ok.  God will help you.  Just keep doing what you can, and His Spirit will guide you.  I have a testimony that God loves every one of His children.  He wants them all to return to Him, and He has given us the way to do that. 

For those of you who don't yet know of the gospel,  start reading the Book of Mormon, and then pray about it.  Come to church and see what we do and learn.  Then see how happy and grateful those people are who live it.  I promise that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in its fullness in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is true.

And for those of us who have been blessed with the gospel and the way, share it :)
I love you all so much! Keep being amazing! I just am so grateful every day for the people in my life.  Thank you for the packages, letters, and love I have felt this week.  I may not always respond, but that never means I didn't absolutely love it.  It just means I am going to give you an extra ginormous HUG when I see you again.
Keep the faith!
Love always,
Sister Hixson <3

Thursday, December 26, 2013

That's the title of my journal...that I bought for myself a while ago because it is so cute.  It was in my favorite store in Dillon- a flower shop owned by the nicest lady ever.  You walked into that store, and you were immediately happy.  The journal says, "Life is Beautiful" on the front cover and then has flowers all over it and a little crown at the top.  Then, you open it up and all the pages, say "Life is Beautiful" and are all colorful and happy with butterflies and flowers.  Every time I see it, I think, "Yeah, life is beautiful."
Merry Christmas! For reals this time :) We had an early Christmas on Thursday when we had Zone Conference with half the mission.  If it wasn't enough that I got to see Sister Barrus, President and Sister Mecham, and all my other favorite missionaries, then can you believe how awesome it was when we got packages to open and letters from our families? Family, thank you so much! I loved it :)
This week we've had the opportunity to help a lot of people.  It seems like there have just been situations that have come up where we were able to help out, and it's been wonderful.  I have been reminded about the purpose of Christmas a lot.  There is a lady who we know who has nothing in her fridge and didn't have gas money to go get food.  She is the sweetest lady and is in some bad situations at home.  She wants to be a part of the church and we were able to teach her about the restoration of the gospel.  We are not sure what will happen because of her home situation, but we hope to see her again. 
The highlight of the week might be last night when we saw a young family in the church.  The husband is not a member, but after going to church and feeling the love and the Spirit that was there, he wants to learn more.  He has been married to his wife for years, but never wanted to come to church.  But then he met the people at church and listened to the talks and just wants to learn more about what this all is.  The gospel is true.  I know this, and I know that everyone can know this for themselves.  They don't have to follow someone else's statement that it's true, but they can pray, read the Book of Mormon, come to church, and keep on praying, and God will let them know.  I am grateful for my Savior.  I am so grateful to be on a mission, helping share this joy with the world.  Love you!
And thank you Sister Lamp, Mom, Dad, Gma and Gpa, Grandma and Grandpa, and Jenessa for your letters :)
Sister Hixson <3 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas! :)
What a wonderful week it's been! I LOVE Great Falls.  It looks and feels like the little miniature towns you set up at Christmas time.  The roads are small, Christmas lights are all around, and it is quiet and covered in snow.  The people are wonderful!
Last night we had an appointment fall through, so we drove around with a member and no one was home.  Then we headed to a home to meet someone who we had been told to visit.  That person was not there, but someone else was! And that girl was Margie.  Margie wants us to come tonight to teach her about the gospel! Little miracles like this happen all the time, and I know it is the Lord leading people to our paths or leading us to theirs. 
This gospel is true. I am grateful to be able to share it.  It just makes me happy. 
Love you all.  Not much time today,  but know that I love you and am thinking of you, especially this Christmas season :) A scripture I love: Isaiah 41:10...
"Fear thou not; I am with thee; be not dismayed; I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Thank you Leticia and the Sharps for your letters.
Sister Hixson :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

I have been hearing from everyone how they are feeling so happy about Christmas! Hot chocolate, sweets, Christmas music, lights, trees, the Spirit of the season.  It really is the greatest.  And surprisingly, or not surprisingly, it feels just as amazing on a mission! Although we don't have Christmas trees or lights at our house, we get to be in others' all day, and I love it.  We helped Sister Probst decorate her tree the other day while we listened to "Count Your Many Blessings" on her phone.  Haha, she thought it was a Christmas song.  Why not right? So basically, I am so happy all the time.  It snowed this week!! According to people here, it hardly ever snows, but vwala (note from Jeanette: I was going to correct this to voila but I thought it was so funny I had to keep it:)! It is soooo pretty. I am literally living in a Winter Wonderland.  Aaaaand it might be -18 degrees.  Now I know what that feels like! But really, it's not that bad.  I just get into a home and realize a while later that yes, I still can't feel my feet. Hahaha.  I just want it to snow forever. And I am dreaming of a white Christmas.  I have never had one of those before, and I am thinking, why not have it on my mission? That would be so cool.
This week we have had some really cool experiences.  We met with this girl Randy, the one we helped move that one day.  It was awesome to meet with her.  She has a lot of apprehensions about everything and lots of doubts, and Sister Barrus and I were literally on our knees in front of her promising her that amid all her fears and apprehensions, she will be prepared to be baptized on her baptismal date if she does all we ask of her. She told us she trusts us and won't let anyone else in her home.  (P.s. I am being transferred to Great Falls, so she will have to get used to another companion, but it will be fine.  Yes, I am sad to be transferred.  I LOVE Dillon, but I will be back, and Great Falls will be awesome). 
Anyways, so that happened, and then Saturday was awesome.  Sister Barrus and I had been praying to know where to go and what to say to people.  We got a call Saturday morning from a man in Utah who coaches the Westminster Basketball teams, I think.  He said they were playing in Dillon today and there are some return missionaries we could talk to and maybe do some missionary work while we are there.  So we had the feeling this random call was not by coincidence and it was an answer to our prayers.  After praying and feeling good about it, we worked it in to the crazy day we had planned.  We got there 45 minutes late with an appointment starting in 30 minutes.  We talked a little with the girl getting our tickets, and she said she has met missionaries before and things, but the conversation ended and we said bye.  We sat down in the bleachers and felt so out of place.  Haha, why are we here? I thought.  Heavenly Father, why are we here? We sat and sat, and then we had to leave for our appointment.  As we were leaving, I felt like, we can't just come and leave.  Maybe we need to do something.  So, as we were walking out, I said to the girl at the desk, so have you ever learned from the missionaries before?  Then she told us she hasn't, but her and her fiance would love to, and she gave us her # and we made an appointment for Wednesday! Her name is Ariel, and she is even from southern California! Soul sister. I am sad I won't be here to teach her, but I am so glad I had this experience, and it strengthened my testimony that God expects us to ACT. 
We are starting to work more with members here too.  We have been asking them, what can we do to help the ward? Getting their advice, showing them we trust them.  We also have committed some to pray to know someone specifically that they can share the gospel with, and then we will follow up with them and see how it is going and if we can help. 
I will miss Dillon.  I love the people here.  They have changed my life and really made a bigger impact on me probably than I realize.  At the same time, I am excited for Great Falls.  It will be a blast.  P.S. -34 degrees and windy.  If I end up in Utah or California, it's because I blew away. Haha. Someone told me to use an umbrella to keep me down, and I was like, Mary Poppins! How cool would that be, except I really like it here, so pray that I stay put.
Keep Jody Housel, Randy, Hilary's mom, and Sienna's family in your prayers.  These are some people who we are working with who need prayers.  I wish I could tell you about all these people.  They are awesome.  I say awesome waaaaay too much. 
"Come, come ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear; But with joy wend your way. Though hard to you, this journey may appear Grace shall be as your day.  'Tis better far for us to strive our useless cares from us to drive; Do this, and joy your hearts will swell- All is well! All is well!" 
I truly feel so blessed to be here.  I know that God has helped me as He helps all His children.  Though we still
have trials, He is there.  He is still blessing us, strengthening us, and there is a Balm in Gilead.  I love you all! Merry Christmas! :)
Sister Hixson :)

From Lexi's posting of December 2nd...a week late, sorry.

Guess what? I am writing this email first, before all others, because I never seem to have time for this one.  It is so hard to remember everything that happens each week, even things that I think, "I'll never forget that." Time really is different on a mission.  Christmas is tomorrow and summer is in a week! (Which is actually really awesome because I love summer)

This week has been really great though.  JD got baptized and confirmed! We asked his mom how she felt, and she said, "Blessed." There were many of his friends there to support him, and one of his greatest friends was able to baptize him.  To think that it would never would have happened if we hadn't received and followed a prompting a few weeks ago.  JD is an awesome kid who really has so much faith.  His prayers are some of the most hilarious and sincere and honest prayers I have ever heard.  Haha. We laugh every time.  I am so glad Heavenly Father has a sense of humor :)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone! Our Thanksgiving was spent at Sienna's house and the Lochridges and the Bishops.  We were full.  Sienna is one of the most wonderful people I know.  She is not a member of the church and her husband is in Korea in the service, and she has four kids.  She is an AMAZING mom, and she loves her family so much.  She and her kids have questions about God and want us to come over and teach them.  They have welcomed us into their home and let us teach and love their family.  The oldest boy (9) and Sienna want to be baptized, but she wants to wait until her husband is around.  She asked us for a Book of Mormon that she can send to him in his Christmas package.  I know God prepares people to hear and accept His message.  I don't know when Sienna's family will be ready, but they have great faith and love for the gospel.  There have been so many miracles with her and her family.  

The other night we stopped by because it was two of her daughters' birthdays.  They are the sweetest.  Verah had all her little friends over for a sleepover and Sienna's friend was on the couch- her friend, Randy, who we met a few weeks ago and helped move out of her house.  After moving, she asked us if we had a book, so we had given her a Book of Mormon and talked about the Plan of Salvation with her.  So, we were able to sit and chat with Randy and everyone else there.  Verah loves to pray, so she came up to us three times and asked if she could pray.  We said sure! She got all her friends together and said two prayers while we were there.  

We ended up staying at Sienna's for a while because our appointments had cancelled, and we both felt like we should stay.  We are so used to running around and teaching that when we get a moment to just enjoy a party, we feel like we have to be teaching or something.  Haha.  So we stayed, and guess what? Heavenly Father gave us the opportunity to teach Randy! We ended up sharing a mormon message, answering her questions, and inviting her to read the Book of Mormon.  The Spirit was strong, and we will be seeing her again.  Also, another miracle- Sienna's mom and stepdad are members of the church.  Her mom converted a few years ago and married Wes who is recently active in the church again.  Wes joined our conversation and was able to testify of the gospel as well.  Members are amazing in the work.  They truly help people come unto Christ even when they feel inadequate or like their lives are not worth sharing.  I have felt that same way at times.  I have felt like I don't have experiences and skills that are going to help anyone, but I am learning that God gives everyone different experiences and traits and talents for a reason.  If we all had similar experiences, we could not share anything with others.  

I read this scripture this morning:
1 Nephi 13:37

"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, and tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be."

How blessed I feel to be able to have the gospel to share with others.  Peace and great joy, that's what I get to bring to people all day every day, for the rest of my life! 

I have a great testimony of God's love for His children.  I know that His hand is in all that I do every day.  Sometimes it can seem like I am just driving to people's houses, making phone calls, and eating dinner, haha, but then God's hand is revealed as we continue to try.  I know that He places people in our lives who needed help preparing to receive the gospel and who are prepared to receive the gospel.  He loves everyone so much and He will trust us to bless the lives of His children if we are willing.  

K, so now I know why I don't write this email first...BECAUSE I WILL NEVER STOP WRITING :)  

Dillon is still the greatest place I have ever lived.  Oh! I went to the Big Hole this week again and Nate and Hilary are doing awesome.  We rode out with the Olsen's who also came with us to Nate and Hilary's, and they gave so much to the lesson.  Their testimonies and love.  Hilary's mom was there and asked for a Book of Mormon and wants to change her life as Hilary has.  She has talked to Hilary since and has already been reading the Book of Mormon and likes it a lot! Hilary is already a missionary, bringing the gospel to her family, and it is bringing her and her family so much joy.  It is so joyful knowing that you can change your life and start again.  And it is all possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for the Atonement and for the opportunity to see it change people's lives.  

After the lesson, we went to the Olsen's who live in a National Forest in a log cabin.  We could see the Idaho border from their home.  They are the most amazing, kind people.  Brother Olsen is a literal mountain man.  Literally.  He rides his horse from his house to the Grand Canyon, living off the land, eating pine cones and sleeping in buffalo skin.  They love buffalo meat so they buy a buffalo each year and let it go on their property and go hunt it with friends.  I think Chase would be best friends with him :) Self-reliance at its best.  

Thank you for your prayers and letters.  I am grateful every day for the people I have in my life who have blessed my life so much.  Have a wonderful week! 

Keep the faith,
Sister Hixson