Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dec 27. Two days after Christmas...

hey mom how you doing?! it was so great talking to all of you guys on Sunday! it was so cool to finally be able to talk to you guys after 7 months. wow that so crazy, 7 months without talking, that's the longest time so far i think I've gone without talking to you all. I'm looking forward to my next and last phone call in a few months. so Christmas was great! we went to the gel family for dinner. they are so cool, one of my favorite people to go to. i enjoyed being there for Christmas. so yah i was telling you about jack, me and dietz met him like 3 days after we got doubled in to pass, and ever since then we've been seeing him. he's a really cool guy who enjoys our company. we usually see him a few times a week. the pictures you sent were awesome! i loves seeing all the pictures of everybody talking! it was really cool. i have a picture of me too talking if you want that one. I really enjoyed the gifts you guys sent me, i really like the 2 half pound Reese's cups you sent me, i haven't eaten them yet, but they will be gone soon though, haha! well right now I'm writing you in slidell at the lds employment thing/ bishops storehouse place. I'm on exchange until Wednesday with elder dav. and elder hig is with elder wagi n pass until Wednesday! its funny that they're together again.well that's it for now, again i loved talking to all of you guys, i cant wait to do it again, tanks or everything ill talk to you next week, in the year 2012! love ya bye!
love hank 
hey dad, how is it going? i really liked talking to you on Sunday. i really wish we could have talked longer, but oh well. May will be here soon enough. i wonder if I'm going to be able to talk to everybody again on mothers day next year. i sure hope so, but well see. i like hearing about your guy's Christmas, it so sounds like what we do every year. the puzzles is a really good tradition. it is actually one of the things that i look forward to the most around Christmas season. the harder the puzzle the more fun they seem to be. this week was pretty cool. just seeing everything slow down and get ready for Christmas. a lot of people left town, and a bunch of stores and places were closed too. it was cool though to think that this is my last Christmas out on my mission. i remember last Christmas and it was a year ago. it feels so long ago but it also feel like it was just a few months ago too. its weird, but that's what it feels like. anyway, thanks for all that you guys have done, and all the letters you write and the packages. i really like them, i cant thanks you guys enough for doing it. until next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Talked to Hank today!

I couldn't finish the day without posting about our phone call with Hank.  It was so nice to hear his voice.  He called this morning right after we got home from church (we had a nice Christmas Sacrament meeting, the rest of the meetings were cancelled for Christmas).  We got home about 10:30 am, and he called about 10:45 to let us know that he'd be calling about 3:00.  He didn't know if we would be able to Skype, so Jonna got her laptop set up just in case.  He called about 3:30, and told us we'd just be able to talk on the phone, no skyping.  No problem was just nice to hear him, hear how he's doing, and I know he loved hearing everyone's voices.  I asked him how he'd like to talk...either on speaker with everyone, or individually...he said he'd like to talk to everyone one at a time.  So Carla started, went outside and talked with Hank first.  Then Jeri, then Addie, then A.J., then Jonna, then me, and then finally John.  Everyone got a nice chunk of time to talk to him...A.J. took the longest, I think knowing this would be the last time they'd talk for about 2 1/2 years...A.J. just wanted to talk, so they talked for quite some time.  It was just so nice to hear him.  What a great way to finish up Christmas.

 We ended the conversation by putting the phone at the dinner table, put the phone on speaker, and we had a family prayer together.  Then we all said goodbye again to him, and finally, I hung up the phone.  I love that kid.  But he's really not a kid anymore.  He'll always be my kid....but he's growing up. My gosh...he's a month away from being 21!  Wow!  Amazing how time has flown.  My heart is full today for many reasons.  We're less than 2 months away from saying goodbye to Jonna.  We'll soon be hearing where A.J. will be serving, and having to say goodbye to him too...most likely in the Spring.  Yep.  My heart is really full.  With so my gratitude, and at the same time...some dread that we're already here in our lives.  It's all good, though. that was our Christmas phone call with Hank. So nice!  Next one is in May, on Mother's Day.  It'll be a tricky day, in that Jonna will be calling, and depending on when A.J. leaves, and if he's out of the MTC, he may be calling too!  We'll just have to see...!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Six more days to Christmas Phone call...Second email he uses the word "yall". Love it!

what up mom?! well this is my last email until i get to call home next week, we had another meeting on Friday and it was cool. it was a cool week, we saw jack a few times he's doing really good. i don't remember if I've told you about jack but we met him like a week after we got here in the pass and ever since we've been good friends. he's a cool guy. next week is going to be so awesome, I'm really looking forward to the phone call. i really don't know if I'm going to be able to skype, but its up in the air, ill let you know on the phone call next week if we can still do it. its going to be awesome. my last Christmas is next week, and then I'll have only 1 more phone call left. a lot of "my lasts" are coming up on the mission now. it's a cool feeling. I'm really looking forward to a lot. anyway, sorry for the very short letter, ill talk to for real next week, love ya bye!
love hank
( I noticed in Hank's email last week, that he closed his email with "yall".  I wasn't sure if that was a typo, or if he's starting to pick up on the Southern dialect a little.  Today he send an email to John, and once again, closed it with "yall".  It'll be fun to talk with him on Sunday, and see if he has picked up on any kind of slang or accent.  We really look forward to talking to him in six days!)
hey dad whats up?! well this week was so long, we had to meetings to go to. man the first one was good, elder carden spoke and it was good, but the second one was on Friday and it was really starting to drag me out. i was getting so burnt out. i get really burnt out out after long meetings like that, but for the most part it was ok. I'm really looking forward to Christmas next week, it's going to be awesome. i'll let you know next week in the phone call if we are going to skype or not. this week we saw jack,  he's a really cool guy. i don't know if I've told you much about him, but he's an old war veteran. he reminds me of clint eastwood in gran torino, if you've ever seen that. we also saw jade and whitney they are new people that we met who are way cool too. jade is actually from west monroe.  thats all that's going on right now, I'm really looking forward to next week, its going to be awesome to talk to yall. well anyway that's it for now, love ya bye!
love hank

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Zone Conference, Elder Carden visits

hey whats up? thanks for your letter, i especially liked the whole concert dilemma thing. i remember those well. its funny now not going to it and just hearing about it, and yet I'm able to picture exactly;y whats going on. dad told me that at Carla's concert they sang the same songs again, this is America and Christmas is coming and we are getting fat. conference was yesterday and elder carden of the seventy spoke. he was cool and it was good to listen to him. he had a lot of cool things to say. especially this one thing about the wise men at the nativity.... I'm really looking forward to Christmas in 2 weeks and talking to yall. it will be so good. it amazing how far into my mission I'm actually at now. this week will be my 15 month mark, 9 to go. very exciting. anyway mom thanks again for the letter, and ill talk to you next week, and then talk to you for real on the week after that. love you bye!
love hank

Thursday, December 8, 2011

hey mom, another week has gone by. its been pretty good, this week, we mostly just went to gulfport, and saw the necs again this week too.this area is cooling off too. during the day it gets kind of cold, but at nighttime is when it gets the coldest. its still not too bad though. just like home it gets warm sometimes. it sounded like a pretty cool week back home, just running around going to all the events going on. thanks for wanting to send me thermals and stuff, but I'm ok, its not too cold. ill be fine. last winter i was in northern Louisiana, and it got cold, but nothing too bad. so we got a new zone leader now its elder H! do you remember him? he was elder w's trainer in west monroe. anyway he's our new zone leader now. its pretty cool because it feels a little like last year again. well mom thanks fort the letter ill talk to y0u next week, love ya bye!
love hank
hey dad, so this week was pretty good, its awesome that I  get to stay for another 6 weeks, it will be 9 months in total, its really exciting. I'm glad that ill be able to talk to you again while I'm in the pass. so this week was transfer week, so us four (me, w, mat, and mo) went to gulfport to hang out with the other missionaries. it was cool, elder T was there, it was cool to see him again. we saw the necs again this week, which was cool. they are doing good, even though they have really slowed down. but they are awesome people and i have become really good friends with them. on Thursday we had a missionary movie night and we showed the testaments. about 5 people showed up, and i made the popcorn it was cool. those were pretty much the big highlights for the week. oh next week is zone conference and elder cardon from the seventy is coming. its pretty cool, but its going to be on next Monday, so you may get my next letter on Tuesday. well dad that's about it for now, i cant wait to talk to you all on Christmas, thanks for everything, love ya bye!
love hank

Monday, November 28, 2011

Transfer week: Staying in the Pass again!

hey mom how you doing? well what a crazy week, i went to slidell for a day and thanksgiving, and transfer info. so this is whats going on with transfers. I'm staying in the pass again for another transfer! pretty cool. i really think this is my last 6 weeks here. by the time this next 6 weeks is up, ill be in the pass for 9 months. it's awesome that i was able to be here for so long. well for Thanksgiving we went to 3 dinner appointments. it was good, but we all got sick kind of after our first dinner. the stuffing was the best part for me about the food. me and elder W are excited to serve again for another transfer and for Christmas. last year me and W celebrated new years, and we are again this year too. I'm really excited for Christmas this year that I'll get to talk to you guys again. well things are going good here, I'm really glad that you guys had an awesome thanksgiving, i really cant wait to have thanksgiving with you guys again. its going to be fun. i really like hearing what you guys are all doing and stuff. so what did you get at black Friday? is it a surprise? i can't wait to hear what it is! that was awesome about A.J. playing chess with pill bottles and cards, haha that was awesome! well thanks again for the letter, ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Email to John:
hey dad, hows it going? well this week i got back from slidell on thanksgiving and then immediately we went to a meal appointment. it was crazy. it was a pretty crazy week. well with transfers, me and W are staying again for 6 more weeks. its awesome that i get to stay down here again. thanksgiving was good, we ate a lot of food and i got a little sick from it. haha but it was good though. it sounded pretty good back home too. all the family coming over and and the family movie and stuff, it sounded really fun. i got the package you guys all sent me this week, thank you so much for all that food. it was awesome, i already ate all the pancakes, haha! ill be eating it over the next few weeks...well dad thanks for everything, i cant wait to talk to you on Christmas, thanks for everything, love ya bye!
love hank

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fender bender, flooded apartment..."crazy week"

hey mom how you doing?! haha your crazy adventure hiking was really amusing! I'm sure you guys were probably freaking out at the end! me and wager had kind of a crazy week too. especially on Tuesday. so Tuesday morning we wake up to these 2 guys in our apartment, and we find out that they are working on the plumbing. our apartment was flooded, our kitchen got about 2 inches of water, and our hallway was soaked and our room was soaked. the main pipeline backed up and ours and another persons apartment got flooded by it. we were told that we had about 350 gallons of water in our apartment. so we left that day with the plumbers and carpet cleaning people to do there stuff, and around one o'clock we got in a car accident. don't worry it wasn't that bad. W was driving and he went through a stop sign and a car that was already going hit us on the side of the car. we now have a huge dent on the side of our car and the whit paint scratch all over it. but were fine though no injuries or anything. so that was Thursday.
i heard about Shawna's mom, we went and stopped by this week, and her husband was there and he told us.  so this week we saw the necs again. they are doing good still, we had a good time on Saturday they had us over for dinner. hopefully we will see them again this week. transfers are next Tuesday, and the transfer info is this Saturday. i really hope that i stay for at least one more transfer. pass christian is a good place and I'm really glad that i was able to come here. well mom thanks for the letter, ill talk to you next week.  love you bye!
love hank

Riding over the Bridge 100 times... (dated Nov. 14, 2011)

hey mom how you doing? this week was kind of the same, nothing much. me and wager didn't have the car so we had to do biking all week. it was kind of rough, I'm getting really tired biking over that bridge. I've probably biked over the bridge at least 100 times, haha! but its cool though, I'm definitely going to miss the bridge. and all of this down here when i leave. i think this may be my last transfer down here. i really hope not, i want to be down here for Christmas. that would be so cool. well see. the transfer info is next week. it seems like transfers was just here. this transfer has been going by really fast. well thanksgiving is coming up, we already have a list of people were eating at on that day, were trying to score as many dinner appointments that night, haha! well that's it for now, sorry for such a short letter this week, ill write back next week, love ya bye!
love hank
hey dad thanks for the letter, this week was pretty good. we just tried seeing the same people. me and wager are doing great. having a good time serving together. matthews and morris are doing good too. its been cooling off here which is great, i am so glad that summer is over with. i have 1 summer left. tomorrow is my 14 month mark. pretty crazy. whenever a month mark goes by its always pretty cool. so hows the chase job going? it sounds kind of rough, i bet the light rail is cool though. i remember when they were building it and all the road construction was going on. it was pretty annoying, but the light rail is cool though. me and Cole rode it once, all the way to the farthest stop in phoenix. it was pretty cool. well dad thanks for the letter, ill talk to you next week. love you bye!
love hank

Saturday, November 12, 2011

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Jonna surprised her family and friends by turning her mission papers in without telling anyone.  She told John and I in August, and she told A.J. sometime in September, and told Hank on October 18, and told Jeri, Addie & Carla on Oct 30th, the night before her call came.  Other than that, none of her friends or extended family knew she was thinking of going. She got the call on Halloween. On October 18 she got the following email back from Hank.  She forwarded it to me saying: "Do not post this on the blog until I have my call and I've announced it. :)"
So now I'm posting his response to her deciding to go on a mission:
Whats up?!! wow Jonna! That is a big secret, it's exciting though, I'm sure you'll have a great time, make sure to let us know where your going. I know you will, haha! wow that's cool. So only A.J. and me and mom and dad know? Cool, I'm in the loop, haha! So that's why your going to the temple? haha, I should have known. So you should be getting your call in like 3 weeks? ok i have a bit of advice for you out in the mission field: Be yourself, and its ok to have fun. I'm serious it may not seem like this is advice, but it really is. There's a ton of missionaries who are not themselves and do not have fun. This is cool, I'm excited for you. well jonna, thanks for the news. I'll talk to you next week, love ya Jonna and good luck! bye!
love Hank

November 7, 2011

hey mom, sounds like a better week this week. Jonna got her call! That's pretty cool, Houston east mission. Whats the boundaries? I saw that you sent a Texas map, maybe you could copy the mission map and send it, I'm just curious as to what her mission boundaries are. That's so cool that shes going to be so close to me. We may very well be in Louisiana at the same time, or even Texas at the same time. Elder Mat got his new companion this week, elder Mat is cool he's been with elder Kni for the past few months but now he's with elder Mor. He's a greenie straight from the mtc. me and Wag are back  working pass christian again. its cool. this week we saw the nec's again, and we finally saw gator again, we haven't seen him in awhile. he's a great guy, they gave us a whole bunch of food and stuff. this week Wag is going to Slidell until Wednesday for exchanges, I'm going to be with elder Will until Wednesday. well mom I'll to you later, thanks for everything, bye!
love hank
hey dad how you doing? thanks for the letter, this week was a lot better then last week. well the 3 companionship thing ended this week, elder Mat got his greenie on Friday. elder Mat is going to do great training him. So you said that a family moved to long beach? that's cool! that is right next pass christian, I've been there a lot. its not in the pass area but its very close. I know the missionaries who are in that area. this week we saw gator again and same with the necs. the necs are doing good still, they didn't come to church but there still doing good. this week was Halloween, and that meant that you guys listen to When October Goes. I listened to it also on Halloween and I though of you guys the whole time, I knew you were listing to it too. That's the last Halloween on my mission, its a cool thought that I'll be home for the next one. well dad I have to go, everybody is telling me to hurry up and stuff, thanks for the letter and everything that you do for me. I'll talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We got a nice email from Hank today.  He loves his companion, loves the families they are teaching, and just sounds good.  We had to break the news to him that our dog Juliet passed away yesterday.  He loved Juliet, and we debated if we should tell him or not.  He was glad we told him, and took the news very well, but asked that we not post his letter this week on the blog.  It was a crazy week over here in our home, we also had to tell him about an accident John and A.J. were in this last week, in which no one in our family was hurt, but a man on a bike was--pretty badly.  We are grateful he wasn't killed.  Hank was a bit surprised by all the news...and I feel bad we had to hit him with so much.  You sometimes second guess what to share and what not to share, and hopefully we made the right call.  He sounds so good, though, and as I said, loves this family they have been teaching.  He loves the area he's in, and has enjoyed being District Leader.  Jonna, our oldest, got her mission call today, and so she will be letting him know the news this week.  He's pretty excited about her going, and I know he'll be even more excited when he finds out she's going to Texas, and part of Louisiana!  I have changed the blog title from "Elder Jackson goes to Jackson", to "Siblings in the South".  I thought it was an appropriate title, and seems to fit! 

Jonna got her mission call today!

Well, we now will have 2 missionaries out, beginning Feb 8th.  When Jonna told us in August she was thinking of going, she asked that we not say anything to anybody, even our other children.  She didn't want anyone to know she was thinking about it, in case she changed her mind.  Then, when she decided to go, and put her papers in, she decided to have fun with it in the process...and wanted to keep it a surprise.  THE HARDEST secret I've had to keep.  But I honored her wishes, and said nothing, not even to my siblings.  (Please forgive me!)  She was hoping to get her call last week, but it didn't come, so she figured that it would come this Thursday or Friday.  Last night John went to a priesthood leadership meeting, and it was mentioned in the meeting that John's daughter was waiting for her call.  John texted Jonna (we were in Payson, driving back from my nephew Noah's mission farewell) and said "you'd better tell your siblings...the word it getting out".  She told them last night, and they were stunned, surprised, etc.  Of course, then Jeri and Addie wanted to know who was getting her room!  Oh well...!  To everyone's surprise, even Jonna's...the call came this evening about 5:00 PM, just as we were making dinner (feeding the missionaries in fact!), and getting Halloween costumes ready.  John casually brought it in and handed it to Jonna as she was making treats for dinner.  She looked at it, held it, and had a look of disbelief in her hands.  I was also in disbelief.  She said "I can't believe I'm really doing this..."  She has felt so right about it since making the decision, and reality is setting in.  She will be serving in the Texas Houston East Mission, reporting Feb 8th!  So now I will be maintaining this blog for 2 missionaries!  Possibly 3 when our son A.J. gets his papers in.  And so I may change the title of the blog again...but for now, it went from Elder Jackson goes to JACKSON, to Siblings in the South.  We'll see if it changes when A.J. gets his call! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Transfers this week...he gets to stay in Pass Christian again! District Leader, New "Old" companion.

hey mom how you doing? well as you guys have probably figured out, there have been same changes in the area. well Elder T was transferred out and became a zone leader in Gulfport, only 15 miles away from pass christian. so i stayed in Pass Christian, A.J. was right in the guess's. that's a really good idea doing the guess's. you guys should do it every transfer haha! and i am now the District leader. pretty cool. my new companion is Elder W! do you remember him? he was west Monroe with me while i was with Elder Cummock! W is a cool guy i really like him, he knows alot about movies. this may be my last transfer, i know i said that last time but this one really may be. well this week was cool transfers always make things crazy though. this whole week pretty much elder T and K just went around saying goodbye to as many people as they could. we saw the nec's this week, and they made the best dinner ever. they basically bought a whole bunch of shrimp and they cooked it in a bunch of different ways. they barbecued this shrimp that was so good. we had a good time going over there. its been cooling off down here. it starts to actually make you want to get warm. I'm really excited for winter. Carla had an awesome birthday party! all those people, haha! i bet Carla loved it. October is almost over, this is the last October in my mission. its weird that I've already been through an October on my mission. ill have to listen to that Barry Manilow song again. well mom thanks for the letter, I'll talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank
This was taken when Hank was in his first area, West Monroe, Louisiana, about February of 2011. Hank's new companion now, Elder W, is in this picture, on the far left. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

hey mom, thanks for the letter, i really like reading your letters. well this week was pretty good,me and elder k from Waveland went on splits and he came to pass christian with me. it was good except all week it has been so so windy! we biked over the bridge while the wind was against us the entire time! it was so exhausting, I've been a little exhausted this week because of all the biking. well we've been mostly trying to see people this week, we saw the necs once and they're are doing good, they have slowed down a bit, but they are coming along at their own pace. so other than that not much else has happened. this Saturday is transfer info. I'll let you know next week what is going on for transfers. it will be interesting. I'll be here in pass Christian for 6 months next week. that's kind of cool, but it also has flown by. but we'll see what lies in store for me. well thanks again for the letter, ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank
 PS tell Sis. (Ruth) Morris that i said hi too     (*updated note:  Sis. Ruth Morris, a longtime member of our ward has been very ill.  I went to visit her the Saturday before, Oct. 8, and she asked about Hank.  She shared some very sweet stories about him.  She said "sitting on the back row at church, you notice a lot of things!" She asked me to please tell him hello, which I did in my letter to him the next day.  His P.S. is for her.  Sis. Morris died 3 days after this letter from Hank, on Oct. 13)

hey dad thanks for your letter, that's cool that you got a job at chase in phoenix. i was just wondering, are you working by any chance at chase tower in phoenix? you know the tallest building in Arizona? i was just wondering if it was, that would be cool. well this week was cool. i haven't been able to use the ihop card yet, because there are no ihops around here. there is one in gulfport. i know that I'll be able to use it eventually on my mission, it will be good. so ya we go to daddyz in the pass a lot, its a really good place, really good burgers for a good price and its a nice little place, haha. that's cool that you looked it up and stuff, haha maybe you will try it one day. so the weather is cooling off this week, and hopefully the rest of the year. were supposed to be cooled off for now. the teaching has been going good, seeing the necs mostly. they've slowed down a bit, but there still doing good for the most part. well transfer info is this Saturday, next week is transfers on Tuesday the 18th. I'll let you know on Tuesday what happens. well dad thanks for the ihop card and your letter, ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oct 3, 2011- Day after General Conference

hey thanks for the letter, i really like conference this week. my favorite talk was elder cook's titanic talk. it really was good, i know a bunch of random facts about the titanic and i really like the movie too. it was cool that he related a lot of stuff to it. well this week we went and had dinner with Shawna on Wednesday. she is really cool, her daughters are funny! we talked a lot about movies. i had a good time over there. hopefully i stay here again for another transfer so we could go over more. that's cool that Carla wants to do a haunted house, i always wanted to do one, haha! i still do actually, i would love to help Carla out on it. thanks for keeping Juliet alive too, haha! i looked at Jeri's profile, its really good, i liked it. i can't wait to see your guy's. those were about the big highlights of the week, conference and dinner with Shawna. this week should be good though. I'll hit my 1 year in Mississippi mark tomorrow. pretty exciting. well mom thanks for everything, I'll talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank
well conference is over, only 1 more conference left on the mission. its a cool thought. as cool as it is to be out here, its cool to think that next October conference will be at home. well i liked conference it was good, i like cooks talk about the titanic alot. it was probably my favorite one. well this week was pretty good, conference is always good because you just get to sit down and relax. its really nice. i was thinking about you guys eating the red lobster, we went to subway, haha! still good, but not as good. it was great though. none of our investigators came but it was still fine, we'll just see how they did this week. we watched it at the Waveland building. well that's all that i can think of, we didn't see the nec's or gator this week. they've been real busy, we'll try this week. well dad thanks for the letter, I'm sorry the letter is so short. I'm really trying to be better at writing better letters. I'm probably going to have to send and audio tape. I usually say a lot more. well dad thanks for everything, I'll talk to you later, bye!
love hank

Monday, September 26, 2011

A year later....

Hank looks like he's standing a little taller a year later...a little more grown up.  Maybe it's just kids don't really see the difference.  But I sure do. 

November 2010

September 2011

Sept 26- General Conference coming up

hey mom thanks for the letter, and the pictures and the package! it was a good package! thanks for the stuff that you sent in it. the pictures you sent were cool, AJ really did have long hair! haha it was awesome! and Jeri and Skyler at homecoming was cool! it was a good picture, same with Carla cheering for Westwood. i really like the one with all the ref's standing there. it was cool. well thanks again for the package, I'm going to eat that conference crunch stuff this week, and were probably going to eat out somewhere after priesthood session. its cool that conference is here again. after this, I'll have 1 more conference left on my mission. pretty cool. and dad said something to me, I'll be home for next October session. awesome! well this week was good, we had zone conference again,  its just sooo long. but it was good though. we haven't seen the nec's this week, but were going to see them this week probably. i haven't seem gator either. there probably just really busy. hopefully we get over there this week. the food down here is great. usually families feed us gumbo and red beans and rice. its pretty good. sometimes they feed us boring food like potatoes and beef because they think we don't want to try southern food, haha! i tell them I'll eat anything you make, I've eaten chitlins, I'm willing to try it all! seafood gumbo and spicy red beans and rice is probably my favorite thing though down here. but fried catfish and craw fish broil are also very good. those four food selections are my favorite thing down here. well mom thanks for the letter, i really enjoy them. I'll talk to you next week, bye!
love hank
hey dad, thanks for the letter, well i got the package you sent this week it was awesome thanks for the stuff you sent in it. grandmas letter was good. I'm glad that things are going good I'll write her a letter this week. the diamondbacks are in the playoffs? awesome! hopefully they go to the world series this year. the last time was 10 years ago. hopefully they do good. and picayune, Mississippi is right on the border of my area. I've been there a few times on exchanges there. and one of our members lives there so we go there from time to time. so usually on p-days, we really don't do much. just kind of chill with the Waveland missionaries. the last time we did something really fun was golf about 3 months ago. hopefully we do something fun again soon. I'm still taking a ton of pictures. i try to take as many as i can. its pretty cool. i have a lot of random pictures of scenery but oh well, i have alot of room for it. so conference is this week and its pretty cool, my 3rd one. next conference will be my last one on the mission. its a cool thought. well dad thanks for the letter ill talk to you next week, have a good week bye!
love hank

Hank at his Zone Conference this past week.  He's in the back on the far right.  So different than his first zone conference a year ago (below), when he looked a little overwhelmed, maybe a little homesick. (Below he's on the back row, 2nd from left)

November 2010, almost a year ago.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Package from Hank- Conference Crunch recipe

We got the funniest package from Hank on Saturday.  We rarely get packages from him, I think the last one was last Christmas.  So this came as a surprise.  John handed me the box, and I felt it, and I said to John "It feels like he sent us bricks!"  We opened it, and it WAS bricks.  Two of them!  And also 3 railroad nails, an empty bottle of super hot sauce, and an empty can of Dr. Pepper. There was a letter that came with it, and he explained the items.  In honor of his one year, he wanted to send these items home, to keep for him as mementos.  The 2 bricks came from his apartment in Pass Christian.  (They were 2 bricks laying around outside his apartment.)  The railroad nails came from 3 different places.  West Monroe, Vicksburg, and Pass Christian.  He's collecting railroad nails from each area!  I love it.  Totally Hank!  And the hot sauce bottle is what's left of a dare.  Hank was dared to drink the entire bottle by his companion when he was back in West Monroe, and he took the dare, and drank it.  And then he threw it all up.  And THEN, he sent us a picture.  Dis-gust-ing!  No, I won't post that picture, so no worries.  And finally, the Dr. Pepper his letter, he wrote "just letting you know I'm still drinking Dr. Pepper"  It has Thor on it, I think that's why he saved this particular can. 
So we sent him a One Year Mark package today.  His only request when I asked him last week what we could send him, was "Conference Crunch".  It's a snack that originally came from a friend of ours, Molly Wright, who liked to drop it off every General Conference.  It's great!  (The recipe is at the end of this post.) Last General Conference, we sent him 2 big gallon sized bags of it, one for him, and one for his companion.  That's what he wanted in his package this week, the only thing he asked for, so today we mailed it out.  And we decided to add a few things, so we added an Arizona T shirt, a jar of JIF Peanut Butter, a bunch of candy, and Addie came up with the idea to send something from home, something he'd appreciate.  So we sent him a ziploc with a bag of leaves from our citrus trees, a pine cone from our tree in the back yard, and 3 little limes from our lime tree, that just started producing limes for the first time this season!  Hopefully he'll get a kick out of it.  If he can send home railroad nails and bricks, we can sent him pinecones and limes from our tree! I think he'll especially love all the notes Jonna writes all over the things we put in the package.  (She does it every time!  If only I was that creative). 

Conference Crunch (courtesy of Molly Wright)
6 cups Golden Grahams
6 cups Rice Chex
3-4 cups nuts (I use cashews and slivered almonds)
-Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
-In a saucepan bring the following ingredients to a boil for 3 minutes (not any longer!):
1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo Syrup
¾ cup butter or margarine
-After it boils for 3 minutes then pour it over the
dry mixture. Stir it until it is coated evenly, then pour onto wax
paper to cool.

Sept 19, 2011- One Year Mark! It's gone so FAST!

hey mom how you doing? thanks for the letter. well this week was cool. i celebrated my 1 year mark as you know, and it was cool. haha.  it really was! we went to panda express in slidell and then we came back and burned my shirt. it was so awesome, oh there are no panda express down here. the closest one is in slidell and it was built a month ago. there are literally no panda expresses, be grateful for them, back home, haha! The nec's came to church again, they stayed for primary this time, but one of their kids was absolutely scared of it, it went good though for the most part, we'll have to see them this week again to see how they liked it. you know conference is next week, and it came by again real fast, I'll only have 1 more after it. time is going by faster than i thought, I'm not saying its flying by but its faster than i thought. I've really enjoyed my first year on the mission and i hope that my next year is even better. well that's been about it, thanks for the package you can go right ahead and surprise me with stuff. I'll talk to you next week, love ya mom. bye!
love hank
hey dad thanks for the letters, it sounds like a pretty busy week with all the games going on and stuff. this week was pretty cool, celebrating my 1 year out in the mission, it was great! i cant believe that its already been a year out here it definitely went by faster than i thought it would. well we burned a shirt and went to panda express in slidell. it was great eating at panda gain. this week looks pretty cool also. were probably going to see the nec's and maybe gator and Cynthia too. conference is next Saturday and its going to be my 3rd one in the mission too, only 1 more. its definitely going bye faster than i thought. well me and Elder T are doing good, we're still pushing along. i really appreciate all that you guys do. ill talk to you next week, thanks again for everything dad love ya bye
love hank

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Hank sent us his SD card full of pictures from Vicksburg and Pass Christian.  About 700 pictures! Here's a give you an idea of where he's been serving. 
A playground under an overpass, in Pass Christian. 
Look close at Hank's skin, you can see how hot and humid it is!

Last night in Vicksburg- saying goodbye to a great family they'd been teaching.  May 2011.

The bridge Hank and Elder T ride over every day. 

Pass Christian
P-Day.  A family they are teaching loaned them their golf clubs!

What's left of a house after Hurricane Katrina.

I think Hank is still in Vicksburg in this picture.  Some of the pictures are mixed up! 
I think this was taken in April, but not sure!  But I love this picture!

Hank and his companion, Elder "T". This is their 3rd transfer together in Pass Christian.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Excerpt of emails dated Sept 12, 2011- one year mark this week!

Hank will be out one year on Sept 15!  Wow!  It's FLOWN!
Here are some excerpts of the emails we got from him this week:
hey mom how you doing, Well this week is the pretty eventful. The 9/11 10th anniversary and my 1 year mark. It's pretty exciting to get past 1 year. Only 1 year left. I've been thinking of 9/11 this week, mostly about what i was doing 10 years ago. I think everybody subconsciously does that. Back home whenever 9/11 rolled by again, all those documentaries would come on and i would watch them but after awhile I really had to watch something else. It really got depressing. Anyway its just crazy that that was 10 years ago.  Well my 1 year mark is on Thursday and I'm pretty excited for it. I'm probably going to go out and get something to eat. And October 4th is the first day out in the mission field and that 1 year mark is coming up too. It really has gone by faster than I thought it would. So this past week was cool we mostly just went over the bridge a few times to go see people. We haven't seen Gator or the Nec family yet this week, but hopefully in this coming week we will.
love hank
Hey dad how you doing? Thanks for the letter, its crazy that the 10 anniversary of 9/11 was this week. I totally agree with you after awhile it just gets depressing. I  have to start doing something fun. My 1 year mark is pretty exciting too. Can't believe a year has gone by. And it goes by faster than  I thought. There are sometimes that it goes by way too fast, and some times where it feels like its never going to end. It depends on how your mood is I guess.
That's crazy AJ was ordained this week, I didn't know he was. That's cool and Jack is leaving too this week. He will be a year behind me. So this week we mostly just tried to see people. We weren't able to see the Nec's or Gator but it was still pretty good. I really think this may be my last transfer in Pass Christian, so I'm going to try to enjoy it while I can because I  know I'm going to leave eventually and I'll want to come back to this area. That's what happened with West Monroe and Vicksburg. Thanks again for the letter, I'll talk to you next week. love ya bye
love hank

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Excert of email sent Sept. 6, 2011- Tropical Storm Lee

Hey Mom! Well this week was cool, tropical storm Lee came and it was crazy! Seriously I never knew how strong a tropical storm was. it was pretty cool though, we went out to the beach and took some pictures!! I'll send them to you soon. A tree landed on Gators house and his electricity went out, we went over yesterday with some ward members and we took the tree down. He's doing good. and also the floor in our room at the apartment is wet because of the rain, pretty crazy. It was fun riding through it. Extreme weather is crazy. Well we went to the Nec's yesterday and they are doing awesome! They bought us ties!! They seriously are really cool, I'm really glad that I'm staying another 6 weeks. oh yah transfer info all four of us are staying me, Elder T, Elder M, and Elder K. That's really all that happened this week, the storm really slowed things down, I cant wait for you guys to see the pictures.
Well anyway thanks for the letter, and don't worry I'm fine from the storm haha, I'll talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Hey Dad! Well tropical storm Lee came through this week and it was really cool. It was so windy and raining alot. It was actually pretty crazy i never realized how powerful tropical storms were until it came. back home when the news was saying that a tropical storm hit Florida or whatever i was like "oh that's nothing" but it was crazy. A tree landed on gators house and so we went over yesterday to help chop it down, he really appreciated it. I definitely took pictures and stuff. Well with transfer info. all four of us are staying again for 6 more weeks. so me and Elder T are both here again. I'm pretty excited about it, pass christian is a good place and I've made so many friends here. especially the Nec's family were teaching. they are awesome, and they really like us. They are our top investigators right now and things are going good. How has it been back home? Just refereeing more games? That's cool, when I  come back I would like to go to some of those games. I never really saw you referee before, I really want to watch now. Well dad thanks for the letter. I'll talk to you later thanks, bye!
love Hank

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Excerpt of email dated August 22, 2011

hey mom thanks for the letter, i really enjoy hearing about all the random stuff that goes on. yah dad told me about the interview he was having, i really hope he gets it. jonna and aj went to the d23 also and that sounds cool. everybody is doing their own thing, its awesome. well this week we mostly just saw the Nec's and helped them a lot. there awesome. i always enjoy eating over at their house. i think we're going over there again this week to see them. well tomorrow I'm going to be in Picayune for the day while Elder T goes to DLC. its going to be cool, I'm going to be with Elder M. he came out with me and the MTC. its going to be cool to see him again. although i remember that we were very different at the MTC, but it will still be cool to see him. not much is going on. things are definitely alot slower paced it feels like.
I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures i sent you. its always fun to send them. well mom thanks for the letter, I'm really sorry that my letter is short. I'm just not the greatest at writing long letters. oh i got the post card from vegas this week, it was awesome. thanks for everything ill talk to you next week, love you bye!
love  hank

hey dad...this week has gone by fast and September is coming up. I've heard stuff about hurricane Irene but not much. just that its headed towards Florida. but who knows maybe it will jump into the gulf. it sounds like everything is back to normal i guess you would say back home. school is going on again and football season is going too. I'm glad that cowboys and aliens was good, i was really hoping that it was going to be awesome. well this week we went on split with the slidell zone leaders. i stayed here while Elder T went to slidell. this week I'm going to picayune tomorrow while Elder T goes to hattiesburg for DLC. the Nec's family is doing really good too. we went to there house for dinner i think twice this week i always like going over there. we didn't see gator this week. but hopefully were going to mow his lawn again soon. that's about whats going on. transfer info is next Saturday and i don't know whats going to happen, i haven't been in an area longer than 3 transfers. so well see what happens. anyway thanks for the letter and advice ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Excerpt of email dated August 15, 2011

hey how you doing?! so you guys finally got the SD card? I'm glad you got it! i like it when you guys get to see a little bit of whats going on out here. sorry about all the gross pictures, haha! i just think that the gross pictures are fascinating if that's the right word for it i don't know. the abandoned building, yes that's a Katrina damaged building that just sits there now, about a quarter of a mile from our apartment.
so this week has rained alot again! its awesome, the rain is very good and I'm surprised at how often it rains. its cool though. we saw gator on Friday with one of the members in the ward, they got a long perfectly and it was cool seeing them get along. ill try to get a picture of him sometime. probably when i leave this area and i go around to get pictures of everyone. the people down here on the coast are really nice. the coast of Mississippi is really alot different than the rest of Mississippi, like Vicksburg for example. its funny though, there's a joke that all the normal people of Mississippi live on the coast, haha! bay st. Louis is a cool place and I'm going to be a little bummed when i leave, there are times though where I'm anxious to leave because I'm not used to it, but now that I'm really getting to like the place its pretty cool. the people are really nice down here. transfer info is on September 3rd and hopefully i get to stay again though. we'll see. anyway thanks for the letter I'll keep Mark in mind, that's very nerve racking. anyway thanks. ill talk to you next week, love ya bye.
love hank

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 18, 2011

(Excerpt of email to Lisa)
mom whats up?! harry potter week!! man i wish i was a part of it, it was always so awesome working the midnight showings of crazy movies!! I remember working the dark knight and spider man 3 and man was it fun! just watching everybody waiting in line all day to see the movie. and it was fun on my day off to wait in line forever for a movie too! it sounds like that you must have had a lot of fun! AJ was telling me about it and about the movie trailers too! He was telling me that the dark knight rises trailer was with it and that it looks awesome! i can not wait to see these movies, haha! oh and thanks for the dust storm pictures!! holy crap that's huge!! it reminds me of the mummy or hidalgo or something! that's a massive dust storm!
...well this week was pretty cool, its been raining crazy for the past few days! I'm glad that its raining, i really enjoy it! so yesterday we were tracting in the rain! it was crazy because we were soaked! but it was fun. we saw gator this week (I really don't know why hes called Gator, that's just what people call him, haha!) he's cool, we ate lunch at his house and talked with him a bit, he's not really progressing but I love going over to his house he's such a cool guy. The Nec's family is doing good also, we had dinner over there on Thursday and it went well. We taught the Plan of Salvation. It went good and they I think they got it, but we'll see this week when we see them again.
...oh we had fried alligator this week also and it was good. the second time i ever had it. ( the first time was back home when you guys gave me some from bass pro shops!) anyway that's about it this week, thanks again for everything, ill talk to you later, bye!
love hank
(Excerpt of email to John:)
dad whats up?! Ammon (Clanton) is in Sta__ Mississippi?!! haha i had no idea that he was in Mississippi! crazy! 
.... so things are going good this week. its been raining like crazy the past few days, and the thunder and lightning was so crazy last night, we couldn't even sleep! I'm really loving this stormy weather, i hope it rains for awhile. anyway this week was pretty good. Me and Elder T get along good for the most part and I really hope that we stay together again for another transfer. Transfer info is this Saturday so that means that transfers are next week on Tuesday. So my next email will probably be on Tuesday next week, I'll let you know whats going on. As for the people we're teaching no one is really close to baptism but I like the people here. Sometimes people will just invite us in for dinner! People who we hardly know, its great. We teach around 12 lessons a week it seems. Not too bad.
well dad thanks for the letter I'll talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

July 11, 2011

(Excerpt of email to Lisa)
hey mom, wow it sounds like that a lot has happened back home, dad getting released and you being the new RS president. sounds like a crazy day, well I think JR is going to to a great job as the bishop. Its really hard to believe that dad has been bishop for 5 years now. it really did go by pretty fast. and also that dust storm! that's sounds crazy! i would love to see a picture of it or something. well this week was going pretty cool. i enjoyed it. we're teaching this family the Nec's and there pretty cool, they're a catholic family and they enjoy having us over a lot. yesterday they lent us their golf clubs and today we went golfing. it was a lot of fun, it was something i definitely needed. i think I'm getting better at golf, but i still suck at it, haha!
the fifes are really cool, we went over there again on Friday for breakfast and it was great. i played their son at chess and he beat me, but he's a cool guy. we talk quite a bit, on Sunday sister fife came up to me and asked if dad was the bishop. i said yah, he's actually being released today. she thought it was cool and that she would write to you about it, and i guess she did. well mom thanks for your letter, I'm sure you'll do just fine as the RS president. thanks again for everything. ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank
(Excerpt of email to John)
hey well thanks for the letter.  wow that's crazy that you've been released already as the bishop. I'm sure JR is going to do a great job at it. and mom is the new relief society president? wow that's pretty cool, she'll do good at that too I'm sure. the high adventure trip sounds like it was a good one this year. My favorite high adventure trip is still and will always be Lake Powell. that was a fun trip, i think about that trip a lot and I would like to do that again someday. so this week was pretty cool, me and Elder T are still going to Pass Christian and working there. We're still trying to find more people. There's this one lady though who were working with, her name is K Nec. shes like 40's ish years old and she went to U of A. shes really cool and her husband lent us there golf clubs today. we went golfing today at the Pass Christian Isles. it was fun. on 18 holes i shot 113 and Elder T got 109 and Elder N got 89. Elder K didn't want to golf but he still tagged along. it was fun, i would really like to do that again sometime. . well not much is going on right now. were still trying to find people but things are going good. I'm glad that I'm with Tyler he's a cool guy. its hot riding around but its not too bad. people will give us water and stuff. thanks again for everything, ill talk to you again next week,love ya bye!
love hank

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 6, 2011

well if you don't know already, the past few days i was in Slidell, LA. it was really cool going there. i really wanted to go there sometime and now i finally did, haha! but right now we are back in Bay St. Louis/Pass Christian area. so on the 4th of July we went to slidell and that night we watched the fireworks from there front lawn. it was nice. the whole time i was thinking of you guys back home on the golf course watching the fireworks as well. i took a few pictures of them and ill send some pictures back hopefully sometime next week. so Gator is a pretty cool guy. hes a very southern guy but hes also very nice. i would say that Gator is probably one of the nicest people I've met so far. he loves having us over. we don't teach him that often because hes not interested really. but he really likes it when we come. He'll feed us and talk and we mow his lawn sometimes. this week were finishing his "Jungle" front lawn though. it seriously is going to take awhile. were going back on Thursday probably to finish it. usually when we teach we go into their houses and they invite us in. right now we have 1 person that look like they can progress. K. She is cool and her husband is too! they have 2 kids that are pretty cool. i like going over to their house, they're very smart and down to earth and also very nice. people are very nice down here for the most part, and always give you water if you knock. is cool.
well tonight we are going over to the fifes house tonight for dinner. I'm looking forward to it. we saw them a few days ago and they gave us the packages! thanks so much for them!! i loved all the goodies you sent and the camel back too! I'm definitely going to use that as well. tonight I'm definitely going to talk about you guys with them. well mom that's about it, thanks for everything and no your long letters aren't a problem, haha! i like reading them! thanks again for everything, ill talk to you again next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 28, 2011- Pres. Tucker comes for interviews, mowing Gator's lawn...etc.

Excerpt of emails home:
Hey how you doing mom? Well sorry I didn't email yesterday. We had interviews with President Tucker and it was pretty cool. He came to our apartment to do them this time, so it was different. It went well. So yesterday was Jeri's birthday. Pretty crazy. I'll write here a letter right after this one. Well yesterday we mowed this guy's lawn and we got so dirty. We're mowing the rest of  his lawn on Wednesday. The guy were mowing the lawn for is pretty cool, his name is Gator and he's very cool. He is a Southerner haha! He's a pretty funny guy, and also these other people Rick and Joseph. Rick is about 50 and his son is like 14 and their conversations are so funny, they talk about the most random stuff. I like going over there a lot. Thanks for the Camelbak your sending, I'll use it. I'm looking forward to getting it. Right now we're mostly using the car but we use bikes once in a while. Elder T and I get along good. He's a nice guy and I'm glad to be with him. We're planning on going golfing at the Pass Christian golf course on July 11th. I'm pretty excited for it. The last time I went golfing, it was when it was me and A.J. and dad at the Riverveiw golf course. I'm really enjoying the south, its a pretty cool place and I'm getting used to everything. Well that's about it thanks again for everything. I'll talk to  you next week. love ya bye!
Love Hank
excerpt to John:
hey dad, how you doing. sorry I didn't write yesterday we had interviews from President Tucker yesterday and so today is our pday for this week. Interviews went good, he did it differently this time. He came to everyone's apartment and interviewed them there. It was different but overall it wasn't bad. Me and T are getting along good. Pass Christian is going good. Yesterday we also went to one of our investigators house to mow his lawn. his name is Gator and he's a really cool guy. We mowed his front lawn yesterday and we're mowing his back lawn on Wednesday. It's getting hot here, but to be honest it feels like its hotter back home. It gets up to like 93 degrees plus the humidity. But the worst months I've heard though is in July and August. So during those months I'll let you know how bad it is.  
Love Hank

Monday, June 20, 2011

Excerpt of emails sent 6/20/11 Day after Father's Day. New Companion- Elder Tyler

hey mom how you doing? well this week has gone good. elder T is a cool guy, I'm very happy that I'm going to be with him this transfer.  i think me and T are going to get along this transfer. so back home the fifes finally made it to our house? haha I've been waiting for them to finally stop by, I'm glad that you guys had a good time talking with them. i loved the pictures you sent, it is cool seeing those pictures. i look forward to talk with them in 2 weeks when they come back.
so hows Jonna doing? that's cool that she was able to come home for fathers day and talk. and she got some interesting storys that i never heard of before. those storys were pretty cool, I've never heard of them before but it does sound like dad though. so I'm pretty much just showing elder T around this area an its going good, the weather here is getting hot, but i honestly don't think its that bad. people tell me its the worst in August so I'll let you know in August how the weather is. the only thing about it is it gets to around 90 to 95 degrees but the humidity makes it feel like 10 degrees hotter. the heat index i think is what its called. but anyway right now i don't think its that bad, but well see how August goes. well mom thanks for everything, and ill talk to you next week. thanks for the packages you sent. I'm looking forward to getting them. well ill talk to you next week, love you bye!
love hank
hey dad! well this week is over now and I'm with elder T, hes a cool guy and i think I'm going to get along with him this transfer. hes from taylorsville Utah. He's a really cool guy and its going good. so this week was fathers day, I'm glad that it went good for you back home. that's cool that jonna was able to come down from flagstaff and be able to speak. it sounds like it was a good day for you. that's awesome that the fifes were able to finally stop by and visit. they told me they were going to stop by but i didn't know when exactly they were going to. that's awesome that they finally did. i haven't read moms email yet but I'm sure that she will have something to say about it. well pass christian is going good right now. we have a few people we are teaching. we have this guy named E and he's pretty cool. he's baptist and he drums for them. were going to go to his church one of these days to watch him drum. and also we have this girl names L she's pretty cool too. we've only been teaching her for about 2 weeks now. they are pretty much our top 2 people that we got right now. well dad thanks for everything, the letters back home really have helped out a lot. Thanks again and I'll talk to you next week. bye
love hank

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another fun story...

I have been meaning to share this story for quite some time, but am just now taking the time.
In May, the week of transfers, we got the email  from Hank saying he was being transferred to Pass Christian.  I looked it up on the map, and realized it was very close to a girl I knew growing up in Ventura, Shawna.  Facebook is an amazing thing....last year sometime, I reconnected with Shawna, and also her sister K.C. on Facebook...I haven't seen either of them for 25 + years.  When we first reconnected, we wrote back and forth a couple of times, and caught up.  Shawna lives in Mississippi, on her FB she had put Gulfport, which is very near Pass Christian. 

So, fast forward to Hank's transfer.  When he got his transfer, I got on FB and contacted Shawna, and told her about Hank.  (Also, I learned that she is actually in Pass Christian). I said "If you ever see a couple of LDS missionaries walking down the road, will you go up and ask if one of them is my son?"  She said she'd be happy to.  I knew that in a few days would be Mother's Day and we'd get to talk to Hank, so I was going to tell him about Shawna then. 

BUT...the very next day, I got an email from Shawna!  She described how she was walking out her front door, and there stood two LDS missionaries!  She asked which one of them was from Ventura, and she said Hank was amazed!  She said they had a great conversation, and she said some very nice things about Hank.  When Hank called a few days later for Mother's Day, we talked about it, and he explained in more detail about it, and about how nice Shawna was, and how shocked he was when she said she was from Ventura.  It was just a fun moment, and I was so grateful to Shawna for taking the time to visit with him and his companion.  I love how small the world is.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Visitors from Mississippi!

This past Wednesday morning, June 15, we got a phone call from a couple, Evelyn & Wilson F, who are in Hank's ward in Mississippi right now, and who were out here visiting some family here in Mesa!  They wanted to come and meet us, and give us a couple of pictures they'd taken of the missionaries!  This sweet couple showed up, gave us the pictures, and visited for about an hour.  We LOVED meeting them.  They were so generous, and offered to take a care package back to him.  So this morning, they showed up at 7:30 am to pick up a box we packed full of his favorite junk food, as well as some practical things like shampoo, toothpaste, sunscreen, etc. 
I can't even begin to express how appreciative John and I are to this sweet couple.  It meant so much to us.  This couple are both from the South, met there, came out to Mesa to marry in the temple, and decided to raise their family here.  They lived here 33 years, retired, and moved back 6 years ago.  They live just about 7 miles from Hank and his companion.  They are ward missionaries, and feed the missionaries often, and said some wonderful things about Hank, which really did my heart good.  I love hearing from other people, how he is doing. 
Here is one of the pictures they shared with us: 
Elder D is on the far right, then I think Elder N, then Hank, but I don't know the Elder on the far left.  This was taken in the Fife's home one night after dinner, during a missionary meeting.  Late May or early June, 2011.

Here are pictures of the Fife's in our home.  We'll be sending copies of these to Hank...I think he'll love them! (Jonna is at EFY for the next 3 weeks as a counselor, so she wasn't in this picture)
Proof that the Fife's were at our home, looking at Hank's pictures on the wall!

PICTURES! Pictures of Vicksburg, and Pass Christian

 (Hank sent us these pictures just after he got to Pass Christian, Mississippi, in May of 2011.  It's taken me over a month to post them.  I couldn't put them all on there, so many, but here are a few of them)

Companion Elder M.  Elder M  finished his mission with Hank, and went home the next transfer.  It was hard for Hank to see him go.  About March 2011- Vicksburg, Mississippi

Hank and new companion Elder A in Vicksburg- April or May 2011

Hank with his new friends, recently baptized.  (I can't remember their names!)
Mississippi River, in Vicksburg- April/May 2011

Another baptism...I will have to ask Hank her name too!  March or April, 2011
New Transfer!  May 2011- Pass Christian, Mississippi!  He was amazed that people had docks in their backyards. 

More pictures of Pass Christian, MS.

Excerpt of email sent June 14, 2011: Staying in Pass Christian- New Companion

hey mom, how you doing? thanks for the letter, and the package. i got it on Monday, i loved it all, that's crazy getting all the graduation nominations (he meant to say announcements- went sent him all the graduation announcements of friends and family), i couldn't believe that all these people were graduating already. and also thanks for the shirt and the cookies, i loved them. the cookies were awesome, there all eaten now, haha! well transfers are today and elder D is going to Shreveport. I'm getting a new companion. i don't know who it is, but I'm meeting him at 6 o'clock tonight. I'm really nervous but I'm really looking forward to it as well. I'm really glad that I'm staying in Pass Christian too, its a good place. I've heard a lot about the wildfires out in Arizona. A few people in our ward are from Arizona and talk about it once in a while, yesterday i heard its almost bigger than the rodeo chedweski fire. that sounds crazy. hopefully it will die down soon. well not much has happened this week, transfer info came and i was in shock. i didn't think i was going to be with Elder D this short. i really hope that my new companion is a cool guy. but well see, either way it will be fine in the end. well that's about it I'm really sorry that this letter is so short today, ill talk to you next week and tell you how my new companion is. well thanks again for everything and ill talk to you later bye!
love hank
(excerpt of email to John:)
hey dad how you doing? i got the package this week it was awesome...well this week was better than last week as well. transfer info came and elder D is leaving. he's going to Shreveport. I'm going to get a new companion today i don't know his name and I'm meeting him tonight around 6. its been a very interesting transfer, i was with elder D for a lot less than i originally thought i was. next week i'll let you know how my new companion is. well pass christian is a cool place I'm really glad that I'm staying again for another transfer. thanks for all that you do, and ill talk to you next week, bye.
love hank

Excerpt of emails sent June 6, 2011

Hey mom how you doing? thanks for the letters you sent. I really like the pictures you guys sent too. The Beecroft run, the pier and stuff. Thanks, it was awesome also to get the postcards too! I really enjoyed all of them.
Well I'm sure your probably wondering how this week went for me. Well it was better than last week, but it's still a struggle at times. Transfer info is this week and I'm pretty sure that were both staying for another transfer. I'll let you know next week. But just in case send letters and stuff to the mission office just for this week. mostly we've been doing more tracting and trying some more people that we've found. the members here are really cool, especially the w's, c's, and z families. they are probably my favorite families to go over so far. I will say that the people down here are really helping get through this. And the thing is they probably don't even know it. Tonight we have a dinner appointment with the Z's and I'm pretty happy about that, then I have exchanges right after. I'm going to be with elder N till Wednesday morning. I'm really excited about this as well. Hurricane season officially started on June 1st, so that's exciting. Some people down here are a little worried about it. I personally don't think anything is going to happen this year, but hey I've been wrong before. Well anyway that's about it. Thanks for everything, and the postcards. I'm going to keep an eye out for the package this week. Thanks again for everything, bye!
love hank

Email to John:
hey dad how you doing? well another week has gone by. i got all the post cards from you guys, they were great! thanks so much for them. it sounds like the California trip was awesome, and you guys did everything we usually do right? you went to the pier and the Beecroft run and the hawks' place. it sounds like it was alot of fun. and A.J. got his eagle? that's awesome, he's probably very happy that he got it now. well this week was better than last but still it feels like a struggle. i appreciate your letter and advice. I'm just coping with everything right now, i know eventually that things will get better. so this week we just did the same stuff as last week, mostly just tracting and seeing people. transfer info is this week, and i don't know what going to happen. ill let you know whats going to go on. I'm pretty sure that were staying here though again for another transfer. anyway ill let you know. well that's it for now, thanks for everything  i really do appreciate it. that's all for now, bye!
love hank

Excerpt of e-mail sent May 31, 2011

(Lisa's Note: I've often wondered how much to include on this blog.  Some things he's written, were only meant for John & I, and so I've edited some of his letters, but think it's important to mention that he is having a difficult time right now.  What I'm most grateful for, is that he is working through it, "pushing through it", as he'd mentioned several times the past few weeks.   He is constantly in our prayers, and John and I have sent several letters and emails to him full of encouragement and advice.) 
hey mom how you doing?
....I'm just pushing through it and hoping for the best. 
this week has been alright. the highlight of the week i would say is when we went over to the w's  for dinner. we ate some red beans and rice and some frog legs. it was very good. i actually enjoyed it a lot. most of our time here in pass christian is trying to see people that we've met, or tracting. we tract alot. visiting members and other people who are cool and laid back really makes things easier and kind of a relief. its always enjoy visiting with members. well that's about it going on here, hows it back home? That's cool that you guys are in California! California is a cool place, i know what A.J. means when you guys visit memory lane, haha! you guys sound like your doing what we usually do every year, but it sounds like fun..... anyway thanks for all that you guys do and I'll talk to you next week, bye!
love hank

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Excerpt of email written May 23, 2011

Well,  another week has gone by and now its Monday again. this week was better than last. i guess I'm starting to get used to everything going on here. Although i do think of my last area quite a bit once in a while.  this week we had zone conference again. it was awesome, because Elder C was there. it was great to hang out with him at zone conference and take a break you'd might say. Elder C is really cool, and he goes home in like 4 to 5 weeks. after zone conference we had to drive all the way back to the coast from hattiesburg. then on Friday we had shrimp and craw fish, it was good. were not really teaching right now, were seriously doing a lot of tracting. everyday. for most of the day. then we ride our bikes back over the bridge to bay st. Louis. that's like what we do everyday. we haven't seen Shawna since we last saw her but were definitely going to some time. that's mostly whats going on right now.
it sounds like that back home lots of stuff is going on, AJ is graduating and getting a job and you guys are all going to California! that's awesome! that's weird that the hawks aren't going to be there. it sounds like its going to be fun. i got Jeri and dad's letter this week, so the address i gave does work, haha! so you can send stuff to the address. well that's about it for now, ill talk to you later, bye!
love hank

Excerpt of Letter written May 16, 2011 (I've been a bit behind...trying to catch up!)

...those pictures of Vicksburg are crazy! the train station in the first photo, I've walked down the road many times. its right by the levee and the river. that's crazy that the water is that high. yah, most of Vicksburg will be fine, its everything in the delta that's a problem. when i was leaving, everybody was getting ready for it and some people were even leaving. on Wednesday it will be at its highest. well hurricane season starts on June 1st! isn't that exciting? haha, everybody is nervous for each hurricane season.
well this week I've gotten no mail, because we lost our mail key and were still in the process of trying to get another one. so i probably have lots of mail but i don't have any access to it yet because of the key. ill let you know as soon as i finally get it.
well this week was alright, we mostly did a lot of tracting again.  I'm just pushing though it, and hopefully everything works out. i think i forgot to tell you but in my last area in Vicksburg there was this couple in the ward named the B and i found out that they were from Arizona. when they had us over for dinner i asked what part of Arizona. they said they were from snowflake, i said do you know the flakes? they were like which ones? i said Pam and Shon flake, they were like, "yah we know them". i told them that they were my aunt and uncle, they though it was cool, then they said. so you Shiloh and Jayze and Levi's cousin? i was like yah! anyway i was going to tell you that but i forgot until now. anyway that's about it for now, thanks again for everything, and let me know how Carla's talent show goes. talk to you later, bye!
love hank

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day after Mother's Day Call: May 9, 2011

This is part of the email we got from Hank yesterday, which was the day after we got to talk to him for Mother's Day.  It's short, sweet, and we're happy we have his address!  In our conversation with him on Mother's Day, he talked about his new area, which is right on the Gulf Coast, in fact, his apartment is "about 30 second walk to the beach".  His area was hit very hard by Hurricane Katrina, in fact, he said the eye of the hurricane went right over Pass Christian.  He said there is still a lot of destruction there, many structures have not been rebuilt yet. 
He LOVED Vicksburg, and misses it very much, but is trying very hard to work through this transfer, and adjust to the new area, and his new companion.  He's got a great attitude, and we love hearing the faith in his voice.  He sounded great, and everyone in the family got to talk with him.  We didn't want to hang up, but had to eventually tell him good-bye....until Christmas!  It wasn't easy.  Anyhow, here is the email we got from him...
hey it was so awesome talking with you yesterday, i didn't want to hang up, I'm so glad that you guys are all doing ok. i think its so funny though that you discovered red box, haha! its definitely awesome, haha. well yah Pass Christian is cool, i really like how everything looks and stuff. .....
This whole past week we literally just tracted. it was long, and I'm getting sunburned.....
I'm like 90 percent that that's what it is. maybe you should send a test letter, haha just to see if it works. if you want you can just send stuff to the mission office until we know for sure. anyway I'm sorry that this letter is short but we don't have a library card to get more time on the computer. thanks for the letters and packages you've been sending. those pictures were awesome!  aj looks like he was excited for prom! I'm glad he went to it. well that's it for now, ill talk to you next week, have fun and be safe and stuff, bye!
love hank