Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day Phone Call!

We got to talk to Hank was so great!  He sounds real good.  We put him on speaker, and we all talked to him for several minutes, and then one at a time, someone took the phone out of the room and went and talked.  I'm glad he got to talk to each of his siblings.  And from the length of it...he got some good conversation time in with each of them.  Then John talked to him for awhile, and then me...and then before we knew it, it was time for him to go.  I don't think he wanted to hang up...but we had to let him go.  We put him on speaker one more time, everyone said their goodbyes, we had a good family moment, said goodbye all together..and he was gone.  Ok, so I shed a tear or two.  (But not until after we hung up).   I have no idea what he said to each of his siblings, but I know Hank enjoyed the connection to his family, and I know each of the kids enjoyed their individual time with him.  He is still struggling with homesickness...more than I realized.  But he says he's just dealing with it, and it's getting better with time.  Being in an apartment of four has really helped him, he said.  He said he feels lucky, in that out of his entire mission, there are only two areas where there are four in an apartment, all the other areas (60 total) are two in an apartment. 

Transfers are this week, but he found out he's staying in West Monroe again, but getting a new companion.  He's sad to see his companion, Elder B, go...but knows it's part of the mission.  Elder B has been great for Hank, and has really helped him adjust to the first few months on his mission. He knows how to work, and knows how and have fun and laugh.  And I think he knows how to work AND have fun at the same time.   (Elder Belden enjoys being a stand-up comedian back at home.  You can get a glimpse of him here on youtube).  His new companion served the first part of his mission in Brazil, but due to some health problems, had to come back to the states, and is finishing his mission in Hank's mission.  We'll hear from Hank next week, after transfers, so we'll know more about his companion then. 
The other two missionaries he rooms with, Elder H and Elder B are also making some changes.  Elder B is going to Monroe, and Elder H is staying.  Change is good, though, and this will be the first big change for Hank since he got to Mississippi/Louisiana. 

After we hung up with Hank, I went in to hang up the extension in our room, and the line was still open.  I could hear a woman with a strong southern accent talking to Hank and the other Elders...she was joking around, laughing...and I could hear Hank and others laughing.  I thought "Ok,...he's just fine.  He's with wonderful people."  I called Hank's name...just couldn't resist.  But they couldn't hear me, so I went ahead and hung up.  After a minute, I picked up the phone, and the line was dead.  I'm such a mom. 

Anyhow...Hank learned yesterday that on Holiday calls home, they can now use Skype, which is an internet video phone call.  But because they found out just the day before, they didn't know anyone who had Skype set up, so it didn't happen.  I'd heard rumors all week that some mission presidents were allowing it, but hadn't hear anyhing from Hank, so decided not to get my hopes up.  But if they can find someone who has Skype setup...he can use it on the Mother's Day call.  He's pretty excited about it...and so are we!

Dec. 20, 2010

...hey i read your letter, I'm glad you liked the tape. that's cool that you were able to hear the train in the background. its very relaxing to just sit outside and and talk to you guys. thank you so much for all the Christmas gifts and stuff and also the cactus jelly! ha ha thanks for getting that for me!
...and also you guys know what geocaching is?! i had no idea what it was until i got out here! its a fun thing to do on pday! i took alot of pictures in the next email ill send them to you!  i am really excited about that!
we haven't seen the V_____this week because alot of their family is over, so were going to try next week sometime. they are still our top people right now. during all the other time we are "member hunting" as we call it and fixing our ward directory or just following up on people that we run into on the streets. its not bad though, I'm glad to hear that you are all doing fine. i do get a little homesick once in a while, but these emails and the thought that I'm talking with you on Saturday makes it better. i look forward to talking with all of you on Saturday! thanks again for everything that you have done. i really do appreciate it all. well that's about it! Bye!
love hank
PS when i call its going to be sometime in the day, i don't know when yet. just keep an eye out for it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dec. 13, 2010

Excerpt of Hank's email sent today.  I LOVE hearing from this guy!  It's why I look forward to Monday's more than ever.
....Thanks for your letters! I'm pretty excited for these packages coming in! I'm just curious. what did you get for B____, H____, and (this is how you spell his name) B____? haha! I'm sending home a package for you guys too! i hope you like it. i haven't heard from Jake yet actually. i wrote him last month but i haven't heard from him yet. oh thanks you again so much for the money to fix the bike. I'm sure the guy feels bad for us because we come in all the time to fix our bikes. my bike repair was worth around 60 dollers-ish but it only cost me around 30. i was pretty happy about it. that would be awesome if you just surprised me with Christmas presents. there is only like 1 thing that i actually want. ...some cactus jelly? i know that sounds really strange, but could you send a few jars of cactus jelly. I'll explain on Christmas more about this, haha.
...well that's about it. now I'm going to update you on the V____. well it didn't really go well this week with them. we taught the "stop smoking lesson" and it didn't go well. he told us that hes never going to stop smoking, but he said it in a nice way. he still wants us to come over and stuff and they come to church still. so that's whats going on. they are like our only people right now that we visit regularly. well I'm sending a tape home and its going to explain alot more stuff. that's why this letter is a little short today. so you guys should look for a tape in the mail in the next few days. anyway thanks for your letters again! bye!
love hank
PS its good to hear about Tanner. i remember the last time i saw Austin Dewitt, I was at Cinemark working at the midnight showing of Live Free Or Die Hard and he came in and i sold him his food. anyway i don't know if i ever told you that.
Hank's Zone Conference in Shreveport, LA.  Nov. 29  2010.  (He's on back row, 2nd from left.) 
Eating lunch at Zone Conference.  I love even getting a glimpse of him!  These pictures came off his Mission President's blog, and I copied them on to here.  I'll take any pictures I can of him!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dec 6, 2010

Excerpt of this week's letter, dated Dec. 6, 2010
hey mom!
thanks for your letters again! nothing has happened much since i last wrote you on Wednesday. we just did the same type of stuff and taught lessons to people. oh with the V____ things are going well. we were teaching the word of wisdom and then we discovered that he smokes. so were going to have another appointment with him this week. things are still looking good with them. that was like the biggest thing that happened this week....
....Shreveport was pretty cool, it was bigger than Monroe and nicer. I'm actually going to be in Monroe today because I'm doing exchanges today with the Monroe people again. ill be in Monroe until Wednesday afternoon.
....I'm so glad to hear that aj is going to the school dances! and that he is actually enjoying them! after i got out of high school my biggest regret of high school was not going to any of the dances. I'm glad aj is not doing what i did.
.....well that's about it so far, I'm going to write a letter back home this week-ish with a tape. anyway I'm looking forward to actually talking with you on Christmas! thanks for the letters! Bye!
love hank 
Part of email to John:
hey dad!
 ....thanks for all these updates, i really do love reading them. Its crazy that Caleb is already leaving! When does he get to Columbia? For our zone conference in Shreveport we had to drive around 100 miles there and 100 miles back.It did count towards our miles for the month. we had to save a lot of miles this month for that reason. well i didn't tell mom this i forgot so you can tell her, but this week I've been sick. I'm just coming out of it now and I'm glad too. this week should be better. i look forward to talking with all of you on Christmas, thanks for the letters and write back soon. bye!
love hank

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dec 1, 2010

Hank had a zone conference in Shreveport, LA this past Monday, so his p-day was today instead.  Here's part of the emails we got from him today:
Hey Mom! 
Ahhh, its been an exhausting week! our last p-day was last Monday, so we had and extra long week. but on the bright side we have another p-day close by so that's going to be cool. not much has happened this week, other than thanksgiving. on thanksgiving we went to 2 families for lunch and dinner. we went to the B___ house for lunch and ate their thanksgiving lunch. their dinner was pretty much the same type of dinner but they cooked a lot of sweet potatoes! Dinner was a little different, we had the same basic stuff but the turkey was deep fried! deep fried turkey. it was pretty good but it was a little overcooked. And that's all we did on thanksgiving. the rest of the week we didn't do much because everybody is out of town. on Monday we went to Shreveport and went to zone conference. let me tell you, zone conference is LONG, haha! we started at 10am and it went till 4pm! oh and i said the opening prayer. the main thing that the zone leaders and president were saying is that they want 42 baptisms in the month of December. speaking of December, today is December 1st! i get to call home in 24 days! I'm pretty excited and I'm sure you guys are probably too. I'm actually going to send home a package to you guys, but you cant open it until Christmas! its a Christmas present. i hope you like it.
....oh last week we went to a service project in the morning and their was THICK fog! you couldn't see 20 feet past you! it was awesome! i took a ton of pictures of it! anyway it rains alot also, but that's a good thing. i enjoy the day alot more when its raining outside. well i hope you had a good thanksgiving it sounds like you did. and thanks for reed address I'm definitely going to write him.
.. ill write back soon, and ill write a letter if i forgot to put anything in here. I'm glad to hear that things are going good. well that's been about it. i cant wait for your next email on Monday! Bye!
love hank
Part of the email to John: 
hey dad,
hey I'm finally able to write back now! I've been looking forward to these emails. I'm glad to hear that you all had a good thanksgiving....thanksgiving was good, i felt a little homesick though this week, but emails home and knowing that i get to call you on Christmas makes it better.
... well most of the stuff i wrote is in moms letter....
...I'm glad that your game went good! anyway ill write back on Monday! Bye!
love Hank