Monday, October 25, 2010

Excerpt from Oct 25, 2010 email home.

"hey mom!
this week has also been a pretty uneventful week also. not much has happened. on my regular days me and my companion usually just go try and meet some of the members. but a lot of them don't answer the phone and don't answer the door. we have a ward roster that we use to try and update. the roster is so outdated. anyway we spent a whole day inputting all the addresses on my companions GPS so that on the map the members homes would appear as blue dots. we usually spend the nights driving around to some random blue dots on the GPS to meet a member. so we drive up to this one house at like 7 o'clock at nigh in the woods. we go up to the house and knock. the lady opens the door and were like, "hey are you sister ______?" and she says, "not anymore I'm divorced and no longer a member." were like OK. we need to get an updated roster. about 25 people on our roster we can't visit because they're mad at the church, and another 20 people on the roster moved somewhere. and about 50% of the rest of the people live really far. the west Monroe ward boundaries covers: west Monroe, Calhoun, Eros, Downsville, and one more other city that i forgot the name of. We're allowed to go to these places but it eats up our gas whenever we drive out there. yesterday we had dinner at bishop Dixon's. he lives in Calhoun. we asked him to come pick us up, because were almost out of miles on our car. (miles on the car is something like this: we get 950 miles to drive a month. if we drive more than 950 miles in a month we get in trouble). so anyway it was good, we had like a chicken casserole. but then he pulled out hot peppers and it ended up being "who can eat the hot peppers". the peppers were actually hot, but not the hottest I've ever eaten, haha. so anyway this is what usually happens on our regular days.
" it sounds like that things are going good back home.

"...Halloween is coming up. Halloween is obviously one of my favorite holidays too. i was wondering what you guys were going to be doing for it. its on a Sunday this year so i don't know what you will do. anyway I'm still looking forward to it even though its on Sunday and we are just going to be inside all day. oh and speaking of Sundays, ill tell you what we do on Sundays. we wake up and go o church. I've already told you that the building is small, theres not alot of people who attend church. then after church we try to go home teaching with someone, but so far no one was able to yet. so then we go to the apartment and make calls until around 5 for dinner. if we have a dinner appointment we go to it. if not we go to the sapps downstairs. they enjoy living underneath the missionaries.
." that's about it.
.....thanks for writing and keep writing! bye! oh and happy birthday on Wednesday!
love hank"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mississippi Jackson Blog

As I was re-reading a letter from Hank's Mission President that he sent to us just after Hank arrived in Mississippi, I realized that Pres. Tucker keeps a blog.  Here is the link to the day that Hank arrived.  Just kind of fun to see pictures of his lunch on the day he arrived, as well as a few other pictures. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Email from Hank today- he didn't get our tape!

Another excerpt from an email we got from Hank today.  We are getting emails once a week, and also letters during the week from him.  He sounds SO good, and really loves it there.  We sent him a mini cassette tape last week, full of all kinds of crazy stuff we do at home.  We took it with us when we took our dog Juliet for a walk, Jeri sang a couple of songs, Jonna gave him some great older sister advice, Carla and Addie would randomly say something hilarious...and on and on.  We knew Hank would really get a kick out of it...and he was looking forward to getting it.  I mailed it out last week, and you can see in his email, he didn't get it.  Dang!  Have it do it all over again now.  And be very careful how I mail it next time.
"Oct 18, 2010
OK i need to start out first by saying that i got your letter in the mail. i got the sd card, but something terrible happened. when i got your letter there was a rip in the side and the tape was not in there. I am seriously so bummed that the tape didn't go through. i don't know what happened, if it just fell out or if they physically took it out. but i didn't get the tape. but i did get the sd card and letter. I'm going to send it back as soon as i can. i even made a photo description list that explains the pictures. so look for that in the mail. I'm glad to hear that Carla liked my happy birthday letter, i just thought that she would like that. things are going good here today. pdays are always good, we think about 2 days before what would be a fun thing to do on pday. today they wanted to go to a music store and play with the instruments. so that  should be good.
....on all the other days we just make appointments and tract a bit. i haven't started a lesson yet, but my companion does. he usually starts them, then sometime in the middle of the lesson i just kind of but in. the people here are nice for the most part. when they say there not interested, they do it in a nice way. i have met more nice people down here so far.
.....oh the bike trail that we went on is cool! i took alot of pictures, i cant send some today in email because i left the picture transfer thing back at the apartment. so sorry about that. the river is so cool. 2 days ago we went back around 7 in the morning and the bridge opened up to let a boat pass through. just like in the movies! i have never seen this! i took pictures of the bridge opened up. you'll see it when i send it to you. and also the houses down here are very worn down. i cant even explain as to how some of them look. it really is surprising though as to what these people live in sometimes.
....its starting to cool down and its really nice here. the night time down here is my favorite. it gets so nice and cool and stuff. at my apartment the people who live below us are members and we go there alot to eat and stuff. and the people below us and to the right know us to. they talk to us alot. they are non members. ...all the people who live around us are cool people though and really like us. we talk to them all the time. anyway not much has happened. ill write back in hand letters and next email bye!
love hank"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pictures from his friend, Elder Jacob Clanton

I love this.  Hank is always trying to frown, but the camera caught him laughing.  I love it.
Hank and Jacob Clanton, a young man in our stake, have been friends the past few years.  They've known each other since they were in elementary school, but in the past few years, they became real good friends.  They both are "movie buffs", and have been working on a screenplay together for the past few years.  Jake was called to a mission in Paraguay, and left the beginning of August.  So ironically, when Hank arrived in the MTC on Sept 15, Jake had 3 weeks left before he left the MTC for Paraguay.  They wound up leaving the same day for their missions, on Oct 4.  They had a few opportunities to see each other in the MTC, and Hank loved it when they ran into each other.  In fact, he got to see him for a few minutes on his first day in the MTC...which really helped Hank with the whole "newness" of everything.  Anyhow, we got a letter from Jake yesterday, he sent it to us just before he left the MTC.  I'm so glad he sent these pictures of them!  He sent a nice note with it, and asked for Hank's address.  So glad those two are going to stay in touch.  I'm so happy for these two young men, and glad they are where they are right now.   Different parts of the world, but on the same mission:  To proclaim the gospel. 

Pictures of Hank's first day in Mississippi (Oct 4, 2010)

Pres. and Sister Tucker and Elder Jackson on Oct 4, 2010.
We just got a nice letter from Pres. and Sis. Tucker, along with a picture of Hank with them, and with the other 11 missionaries who flew in to Jackson together.  Pres. Tucker also gave us Hank's new address in Louisiana, so if you want it, click here to get it. Pres. Tucker said some wonderful things, things that any parent would love to read. 
Hank's traveling companions to Mississippi on Oct 4.  All new missionaries!  The next day they were assigned to areas all over their mission. 

I did get a quick note from Hank last night, and this is what it said:

"ok i haven't read your emails yet beause im not allowed to on non pdays :( but im alowed to email you now to ask you if you sent the money yet on my card. i need it fast because i need a bike. so anyway yah. ill read them on monday which is my pday. but i need you to send the money asap. sorry if its short notice. thanks, bye!
love hank "

Within a minute we got this: 
"sorry, i forgot to tell you. can you put it in my checking account? thanks again!
love hank"

Looks like he'll be on a bike!  Love it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hank is in Louisiana!

An excerpt of his letter today!  I had to laugh at one comment he made, I underlined and put it in italics below.  You can tell we're from Arizona! 
hey mom
its been crazy being here right now. after i hung up the phone we got on the plane and took off for jackson mississippi airport. it was crazy to see how the landscape just got greener and greener. we landed at seriously one of the smallest airports i have ever seen. it is very small. even the airplane we were in was tiny! anyway we got out of the airplane and and president tucker was there to greet all of us. he seemed very happy that we fianlly arived. we then rode in a car with him to the church building. it was very small. on the way there i was just looking out the window seeing how different it was from arizona and utah. its was green and there are trees everywhere! we went to the church building and ate lunch and talked. then we went with a missionary by ourselves to go tracting in an area of their choice, for practice. i went with elder renshaw and we went to a trailer park. we were there for about  1-2 hours before the lady who owned the trailer park kicked us out because we were "soliciting". yah she got pretty mad at us and told us we were going to hell for "lying". anyway i took a picture next to the sign that said "no soliciting".

then we went back to the building and rode back to the mission home. this place is really awesome and feels so different. its very green and the roads are differsnt and there's actually water under the bridges we drive over. anyway that night we had a devotinal and then went to bed. there was a lady there who said that she had been talking to you through email and told me that you said hi. then we went to bed. when i woke up we got assigned to our first areas. im actually already here and have been here since yesterday. so i will tell you where i am and will be for the next 6 weeks. I assigned to West Monroe, Louisiana. I have been here since yesterday afternoon. my companion is Elder Belden. he is cool and i get along with him great. .. hes been here a year and from Michigan.
. going to be honest, the apartment we are in is kindof gross haha! theres alot of cockroaches and stains everywhere! but oh well. we share it with 2 other missionaries, elder higgens and elder bolander, they cover the northern part of west monroe, and we cover the southern part of west monroe but we got to each others areas occasionaly.
...After that we went to have dinner with an investigator with all four of us. we went to Logans Roadhouse! i had no idea that they had those out here! we stayed there for about an hour then we said goodbye and drove back to our apartment. we then pklanned for the next day and went to bed. we woke up and got ready. i took a shower and got dressed. me and my companion then went to go visit someone, when all of the sudden someone called us to go visit a member who just went to the hospital for bleeding in the brain. we drove to St. Francis hospital in Monroe Louisiana (look it up if you want) to go visit them. we were there arount 11 o clock in the morning and werent able to visit until 12:30.
So we ate food and waited until we could. when we fianally got in we talked with him. his name is tom henry. we talked with him and his familiy for about an hour and then we gave him a blessing. i was so nervous. i just did the anoiting. but my companion said i did good. we were there for until like 2.
then we drove back to the apartment to use the bathroom and left to go to the library. Thats where i am right now, im using one of the library computers. anyway the people here are cool, and everyone has a southern accent. its awesome to hear everyone talk like that. anyway its very green here and it definantly does not feel like arizona. im actaully surpised at some of the houses the people live in. alot of them are very worn down and look like nobady lives there. ill take more pictures anyway its great here and really wish that you guys could see it. ive never seen anyplace like this, and i like it. anyway enjoy the pictures i took.
love Hank

Monday, October 4, 2010

Letter from a woman I met on Missionary Moms!

I joined Missionary Moms, a sort of connection thing to other moms who have children on missions.  (They also have dads connecting with dads).  Much like Facebook, when you first join, you get tons of emails at first, and then they trickle off.  And then the few that you want to connect with sort of filter through.  This woman I met online a few weeks ago has a son in Brazil, but she lives in Mississippi and works at the Mission Home.  She said she was going to to airport the day Hank flew in, and asked if she could pass a message on to him.  I couldn't think of anything else to say, but that I loved him and was so grateful he was doing this.  If I'd really thought about it, I should have done what a friend of mine suggested, which is to tell her a story about Hank that only we know, and have her tell Hank the story, and have him wonder how in the world he knew the story!  Oh well...

Anyhow, this is part of the email I got from her tonight.
"Hey Lisa, 'I just got in from the mission home.  I met your Elder Jackson.  I told him you said hello and that you love him.  He smiled.  He was tired as were the rest of the missionaries that came in with him.  There were 12 all total.  Half of them were real quiet and the other half were quite talkative.  Elder Jackson was quiet.  I don't know if he quite knew how to take me LOL.  He is great though.  I'm not sure of all the particulars once they are picked up at the airport by President and Sister Tucker.  I think they go to the Brandon, MS Ward for lunch and then I'm not sure what they do for the afternoon, but then they come to the mission home in Jackson, MS for dinner.  They spend the night and then tomorrow they are taken to their first area.  I'm not exactly sure when they meet their companions.  I think it's tomorrow.  'I think once Elder Jackson gets to work, he will do just fine here.  I'm so glad that you got to have a short and sweet conversation with him this morning.  I'm glad I got to meet him and give him your message.  I hope it made his day to know that you had one last message for him today.  
After dinner they went outside and took pictures so be on the lookout for one of them :)  ...

'...The South loves their missionaries and we take very good care of them.  I hope this puts on your mind at ease somewhat. "

 I am so grateful she took the time to write.  Just completely made my day! 

Hank called from the airport this morning!

At 4:31 this morning the phone rang, and we knew it was Hank calling from SLC airport, as he was getting ready to board his plane, heading to Mississippi.  The kids all scrambled into our room, they were determined to be a part of the conversation, so as quickly as we could, everyone took a turn to say hi to him.   (I've NEVER seen any of my kids move that fast at 4:30 in the morning! Loved it!) The phone call only lasted 9 minutes, as they were getting ready to board.  But Hank sounded GREAT, and although a bit nervous about this next phase, he was more than ready to go.  I was sad it was such a rushed conversation...but expected it to be short, especially when he said they'd be boarding any minute.  He asked us if we were going to track his flight to Dallas on the computer, and we assured him we would.  I went in, logged in his flight number, then went back to bed for another hour or so.  When we got up at 6:15, he was over Colorado Springs.  I love flight tracking!  It's pretty neat.  By the time we got all the kids off to school, he had landed in Dallas.  John left to take A.J. and Addie to school, and I was getting ready to walk out the door with Jonna to work, when the phone rang.  It was Hank again!  This time, we had about 15 minutes to talk, and John got home in time to talk with him too.  Jonna on one extension, I on another, and John on the other. He said "thank you" many times, for the letters, packages, and keeping in touch.  I don't think I've ever heard him say thank you so much.  He sounded enthusiastic, a little nervous, but ready to get out there.  We talked until they called him to board, and expressed our love to him, said "Bye Hank.  We'll talk at Christmas!", and that was that.  Just like that...he wasn't there anymore.  I was a few minutes late to work, but I didn't care.  I wouldn't have missed this conversation for the world, and was grateful I was home when he called.

John texted me at work later, said he'd landed at 12:07 Mississippi time to beautiful 62 degree weather!  Pres. and Sis. Tucker (his mission pres.) were planning on picking him up at the airport, as well as the other 11 missionaries going to Jackson. 

One fun story Hank shared, was that there was a 13th missionary traveling with them just to Dallas.  He is from Tahiti, and only speaks French.  He was going to West Indies on his mission.  All the way to SLC airport in the shuttle, Hank sat in the back seat with this Elder, and they attempted to communicate.  (Hank took French all through high school).  He said he loved it.  And then on the plane to Dallas, they tried to continue to communicate.  They said goodbye to him in Dallas, and this Elder headed on to West Indies, and the rest of the 12 missionaries boarded for Jackson.  So that's the update.  We know he landed safely, and can only imagine he's had a very eventful day, and is probably exhausted.