Monday, 6 June 2016

Happy Week

Goodness. There is just so much to say.

I am so impressed with Erik for going to provincials, and for letting himself lag instead of dying, and then being content with beating his personal best. I want to be better at focusing on improving instead of getting better in relation to other people. It would be so wonderful for him to run on the BYU track team!

For news here, we waited and waited outside the chapel for "Rachel and Charles" to come. Eventually the meeting started and we went in. I was still holding out hope that they would turn up, but then the sacrament started and I was really disappointed because we had talked about the sacrament with them and I knew that it would the highlight of the meeting for them since they don't speak English very well.
But they did come in after sacrament! And apparently they got it out in the foyer. We had set up translation devices for them, but we couldn't get it to them the meeting had already started. So Sister Mohsen just whisper-translated the meeting to them. After sacrament meeting, we went over to greet them and their 4-year-old daughter ran to me and threw her arms around my legs exclaiming, "My sister, my sister!" Which was pretty heartwarming since she had played shy around us before, but I guess she warmed up pretty fast when we were the only people she knew in the room.

They stayed for the rest of the meetings, but told us after that they should learn English better before doing that again. (Specifically pointed out that Elder Owens, who taught Gospel Principles, had VERY HARD English. I found that highly amusing.) We are seeing them again today, and planning to get a solid commitment on a baptismal date.

Fun story: We were doing service at a member's house on Saturday and they gave us pizza afterward since we finished right before dinner. Then we headed back to our apartment for training (greenie training) and I had a smoothie because I wanted to eat something with a little more vitamin C before fasting. So I was very full. Then we had a member lesson with a family from Ethiopia at 7. We came in and the adult daughter was talking to us, and we were waiting for the mother to come in from the kitchen. And waiting. Finally I actually looked at the kitchen, saw her setting the table, and the awful reality set in. We thought we had set up a lesson appointment, but they thought they were having us for dinner. Thus ensued dinner round 3. And it was a huge affair. We asked the mom what she had been doing all day and she replied, "Cooking." We went home that night and almost had to crawl up the stairs.

"Cindy" is still doing well. We watched "Lord, I Believe" with her and it was really helpful because she saw how she can be true to what she knows despite her doubts and concerns. Physically, though, she's going through a hard time. So I think she's pretty much living on prayer. Thank you for your prayers.

Love you!

Monday, 30 May 2016


This last week has been fantastic! A little backstory...
We went to visit a former investigator week before last and she wasn't home, so we decided to tract down the street until she arrived. It was a little awkward because we had seen what looked like missionaries from TWO other faiths on the same street earlier on in the day, and we didn't want to be the third set of missionaries of the day.
But we did it anyway. Because sometimes you have to dare yourself to do really embarrassing things. (After emailing, we are going to Chapters to get a notebook I saw last week that says GO AND DO on the cover. I will use it to write down supremely awkward moments. It will make them more fun.) One woman, "Rachel," opened the door and told us she was busy, but we should come back next week because she just 'loves Jesus'.
So we came back the house on Wednesday and she let us in. Again, it was a little awkward because she doesn't natively speak English and only moved to Winnipeg a month ago so hasn't had a lot of time to practice. We didn't realize the language barrier when we first met her. 
But, in a way, that was a blessing because it made us teach more simply. She told us she was fasting (blew my mind) and shared with us Psalms 91, which is her favourite passage of the Bible. I suggested that she read Isaiah 58, since it is about fasting. We talked with her about how the Lord has sent us a prophet, and He leads our church through this prophet. Her question was simply that so many people say they are prophets, but how can she tell who is real? Introducing the Book of Mormon! We told her we would bring her a book from the prophet in French and set an appointment for the next day. I skipped down the street to the car and squealed a lot.
When we came back, her husband, "Charles" joined us. She had told him about what we taught before, so that was a good sign. We quickly reviewed the first section of the Restoration and then taught the rest, introducing the Book of Mormon. I don't even know how to describe the lesson. It was just powerful. They said they would read and pray, and we knew they meant it.
We came back on Sunday with Sister Mohsen, who speaks French. It made the lesson last a whole lot longer to translate everything, but it was wonderful because they could express themselves, and we could as well. They had read the introduction, and read random passages throughout the Book of Mormon. They told us that they would read the whole thing, but first they wanted to know what it all contained. If joy could kill... I would be dead. Poster children of real intent here.
They had a few questions. The Book of Mormon talks a lot about baptism, and they were concerned about whether they would need to be baptized again. (Apparently "Rachel" hadn't quite comprehended the baptismal invitation the first time. Hence the translator.) 
Anyway, we taught the plan of salvation and it was incredible. He would ask questions--really deep life questions (he's a lawyer, so he has the best questions)--and the answer would lead directly to the next point.
This email is stretching out to be way too long, and I'm sorry. But it was the most incredible thing. Doctrine and Covenants 50:22 says, "Wherefore, he that preached and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." That was what was happening. They testified of how they knew that the Lord had sent us there in answer to their prayers and we testified of... everything. It was beautiful.
They are coming to church on Sunday. They will be baptized this transfer. I just know it must happen.
So that is the miracle of the week. There were others as well. Like yesterday when I was having a tough day and people were quoting 2 Nephi 4 (my favourite scripture) left, right and center. And then I opened up the scriptures this morning to the same spot. But, yes, that is all I have to say.
Love you dearly,
Sister Hudson
P.S. Thank you for your prayers for "Cindy." It would be lovely if you could keep them coming, but she is receiving answers to her prayers. She found a way to break with her previous religion that she feels secure with. And she is already in Helaman. (She was concerned about being able to finish the Book of Mormon before her baptism. I'm pretty sure she has nothing to be worried about.)

Monday, 23 May 2016

Little Tender Mercies

This week saw a lot of miracles. First, Sister Bodily and I were looking through records of former investigators and all the ones we THOUGHT were in our neighborhood ended up being in another one, so we went over there and ended up meeting this wonderful mother of an 11 day old baby who was just so in love with her little boy and so close to heaven that she was ready to willing to meet with us.
The next day, while going through the records again, we called a woman who started crying over the phone because everything in her life was falling apart. We ended up having a lesson about how much Heavenly Father loves her over the phone and setting an appointment for the next day. She texted us later that night to thank us for bringing light into her life when she was in a really dark place.
We met with "Cindy", the less active sister from last week a few more times. She has had a lot of trouble recognizing the Spirit. She will say that she feels good when we talk with her, but doesn't recognize it as an answer to her prayer to know if what we are saying is true. So when we met with her the other day we prayed really hard beforehand that she would recognize the Spirit, and then we went in to talk to her and she started off by telling us about she went to stake conference and felt like she had come home. She said she had never felt that way with the religion she had been meeting with for the past few years and when we pointed out that it was the Holy Ghost witnessing of truth, she agreed. We were overjoyed.
And then there was the wonderful miracle on Thursday night. I have a favourite pair of earrings from Dad that I always wear, and as I was taking them out on Thursday night, one of them went flying. I heard it clatter. Then I heard it suddenly stop clattering. Mortified, I looked at gaping drain, gave the rest of the room a cursory look and then got down and prayed. Hard.
I must have hunted for ten minutes... to no avail. I even started sticking kitchen utensils down the sink to see if I could try to get it out of the drain. I was sure it had fallen in since I couldn't find it anywhere else.
Eventually, I gave up and went to bed thinking about how I would just keep the other earring as a nice little momento. Maybe it could be a pushpin? :)
Imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning, went to the bathroom and saw this: 

To me, it was just a sign that the Lord was looking out for me. I scoured the bathroom the night before and couldn't find it anywhere, but the next morning it was so nicely presented to me. I know that He cared about me getting that earring back, and I just felt so loved.

So, yes. The Lord loves you all. Have a wonderful week!
-Sister Hudson

Monday, 16 May 2016

Not going to take the time to come up with a title :)

We had a WONDERFUL weekend. There was a priesthood leadership training meeting on Saturday of the sort that only happens once every five years. Elder Renlund, Bishop Causse and Elder Spackman were all there. Elder Renlund took off directly after for stake conference in Fort Francis, so I didn't actually see him, but Bishop Causse and Elder Spackman stayed for a special stake conference here in Winnipeg and a tri-zone conference for the missionaries.
It was wonderful. As I was listening, I just thought about how these sorts of experiences are so spiritually powerful... but it isn't really because of who is speaking. General Authorities are wonderful speakers who invite the Spirit while they speak and follow His direction, but I think that the biggest difference between conferences like that and a standard sacrament meeting is our level of preparation. When we go to hear a General Authority, we prepare to hear what the Lord wants us to know. We should be preparing that way every Sunday because--what do you know--the Lord specifically called that long-winded old woman to speak to you in a very similar way to how he called an Apostle. Just a thought.
Besides that... I'm not really sure what has happened this week. Sister Bodily accidentally stole a mini Book of Mormon from a less-active sister who called us in a panic the next day because she couldn't find it. Oops. We finally found some real potential investigators, which was a blessing. We found a less-active sister who is primed to return to activity. She is reading the Book of Mormon, coming to church and loving it. I know that she has been prepared for this time. She said some missionaries called her a few years ago and she said she wasn`t interested, but this time we called and for some reason she said yes. Very exciting. But now I must bid you all farewell. :)
Sister Hudson

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Some Photos at Last

Assinaboine (don't actually know how to spell that) park. Some serious red eye going on here, but the bridge was just too lovely.

We taught YW at church yesterday and made these bookmarks for the girls. They are made with shrink-a-dinks. Which are the best things ever.

I was so excited about Erik's birthday, I talked about it all week.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

No Time to Title

If I don't respond to anybody this week, I'm sorry. I don't really have any time, but I wanted to write an email that is intended for the general public this week. Because, yeah, the emails Mom has been giving people for the past few weeks were just for her. Don't think she knew that. (I love you, Mom!)

Missionary life is crazy. It's like a constant back and forth between having everything and nothing to do. Today, for example, we have everything to do and people keep calling us to ask us to do more things AND it's p-day. But then on another day everybody will refuse to answer their phones and doors and we don't really get any lessons in. 

What we've really improved on this week is street contacting. It is freaky to go out and talk to random strangers. And there's this myth that it isn't effective, so we didn't do ANY street contacting for the first week, but then we had exchanges and learned more about street contacting from the STLs. It's true that it isn't as effective as referrals from members, but it can still be impressively effective. Since we started street contacting after that, we have had several really powerful experiences with people who aren't all that interested at first, but then we testify and they are interested enough to take a Book of Mormon and promise to read it. (And give us their numbers. Seriously, that takes a definite prompting from the Spirit because I know I wouldn't hand out my number to a stranger unless I was convinced she was a servant of God. Or, you know, a government authority. That would probably be a good idea.)

I know that this gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that this is His church. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, given to us for our benefit and the benefit of those around us. People challenge that conviction all the time, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to have my testimony challenged so that I can look at everything from a new angle and see that, yes, it is still true.

Dunno if any of that made sense. I was going to attach pictures, but I have no time. Love you all!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Safe Arrival!

My mom, who is keeping this blog updated for me during my mission, usually waits on my instructions before posting anything here. But she couldn't resist putting up this picture, without my sayso. I probably haven't even seen it yet, but when I do, I'll laugh because you can tell to look at me that I got up in the deathly hours of the morning. However, I have safely arrived in Winnipeg, and you can also tell that I'm glad to be here. Two other missionaries arrived with me and we are here with President and Sister Craig.

Tonight is dinner and a testimony meeting at the President's home. Tomorrow morning is orientation, and then I meet my companion.


The Sisters in my District
The MTC keyboards are awful. In light of that fact, please forgive the brevity of this post and the probable profusion of typos.

The View from our Classroom Window

I'M ALMOST OUT! I leave tomorrow morning at 2:30am. Yeah. I think that might kill me. But I am really excited to leave. At this moment. I'll probably start freaking out again in a few hours, but right now I just want to go out and serve. I didn't come on a mission for the MTC. I have learned a lot of wonderful things, but there are a lot of things I can't learn here. It's a lot like the premortal life, in my opinion. 

Agh, I don't know what to say. The MTC is hard. I think the hardest thing about it is just facing all my imperfections. I love perfection. And I guess I knew I wasn't perfect before I came here, but I was comfortable with where I was at. I'm not anymore. I could go through my whole mission just as I am right now, and I think I could be a good missionary, but the Lord expects more from me. He expects my best. And I think I've managed to float through life on something less than that.  I need to up my game now that I'm going out on the front lines.

 Sister Kent and our wonderful TRC investigator, Hsin Pei

Sorry. I don't think I'm making a lot of sense. It's sort of hard to concentrate in a laundry room. 

Doing laundry with Sis. Toomey

The family came down for General Conference, which was wonderful. I loved Conference, even if it meant sitting in hard chairs for ten hours. Conference is different as a missionary, when you're looking for answers to so many questions. Your own or your investigators. 

They sent me a package while they were down here, which I also loved. And they wrote all sorts of wonderful notes in the journal they sent me, which I ran around showing everyone in my room until they were ready to strangle me. 

Now I must leave. Love you all.

The Two Canadian Sisters in my Zone

Sunday, 27 March 2016

MTC Week One

Hello, hello, everybody!

I am emailing from the laundry room under the main hall. SO MANY WASHERS.

I don't even know where to start. I entered the MTC on Wednesday and just... whoa. I think of the MTC like a roller coaster. Normally, we go through life and we have our ups and downs, but on a mission it's all compressed so you go from the highest high to the lowest low in all of two seconds. I'll be smiling and excited one minute and the next I just want to crawl under my desk and cry.

So, yeah, it's great.

My companion, Sister Kent, is wonderful. When I first saw her, I inwardly freaked out and wanted to run away because I didn't know ANYTHING about her and I was being all loud and insecure, and she was being all quiet and insecure-- and it was terrifying. But I got over my terror by the end of the day and now I think she's just the best thing. If you need any proof, I played with my watch too much and ended up snapping it in half, so she bought me another one. She's great. :) (For other reasons too.)

I guess the next things to talk about are my teachers. They are just lovely. One of my teachers, Sister Reeves, is mind-blowing. There was this moment when she was teaching, and the Spirit was just so thick in the room, and it suddenly hit me that she is a missionary to missionaries. She will teach something, then stop and say, "That is not what God wants me to be teaching right now," and then take the lesson an entirely different direction. That's what she did last night in our talk about STRESS MANAGEMENT and class ended late with half the district crying all over the place. She got us to open up so the Spirit could clean us out and we could get back to work with Christ in the center of our lives. It was wonderful.

We walked to the temple on Sunday, then went again for a session this morning. It was raining something frightful this morning. My nice, lacy, memory-foam-soled shoes quickly became very uncomfortable. I may have also broken my umbrella. It was wonderful, though. As one of the older temples, the Provo temple has a beautiful, unique look that made me feel more at home than the Bountiful temple I went to last week. 

Life as a missionary is HARD, but I love it. Also, Sister Kent and I just went through a headache trying to find her whites somewhere in this maze of washers and dryers, so I don't have the mental faculties left to finish this. I'll try to write something better next week.

Much love,

Sister Hudson

District photo--minus our sisters' trio, who missed the memo and didn't make it on the trip

Sister Kent is from Ogden. She's headed to Billings, MT. So we're both getting ready to freeze our little toesies.She loves Brandon Sanderson, and Dr Who.

2 Nephi 4:34  O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.  

Thursday, 4 February 2016

So I Got My Mission Call...

For those of you who only stopped in to see where I'm going, I have been called to the Canada Winnipeg Mission and will report to the MTC on March 16 (read: crazy soon!). Now go do your homework, rescue your screaming toddler from her crib, or lie on your couch and contemplate the effort it would take to stand up. I understand. You have more important things to do. (Seriously, Sariah, do your homework. I can wait.)

For the rest of you, I have a longer story. I'll try to keep it short but everyone knows I'm a little narcissistic and a little more longwinded... so no promises. 

I started working on my papers back in August but stalled out several times for MANY REASONS I won't go into. I finally had my interview with the stake president on December first and the wait ensued. It was promptly halted because of past promblems with depression and anxiety and I was sent to meet with LDS Family Services so that my capacity to serve as a missionary could be assessed, then left to wait until we heard back from them. 


Although I know that the problems I mentioned in my mission papers are long gone, I was terrified that I would be declared unfit to serve. On January 4th, the bishop told me that my results had come back and that everything was now in the stake president's hands. As we had already had our interview, didn't think the stake president would need to meet with me again.

So when I got a call on the morning of January 11th saying that the stake president wanted to meet with me, I was scared. The number one reason I could think of was that he wanted to break it to me gently that I was not going to be allowed to go. My mind was a warzone all through sacrament meeting as I fought with myself over the issue. But by the end of the meeting I had finally managed to place my mission on the altar and determine that if I wasn't allowed to go I could accept that the Lord had other plans for me and just be the best member missionary ever. 

I went into the interview pretty convinced that I was waving goodbye to my mission. (Cynical Proverb of the Day: Always believe the worst. That way you won't be disappointed. <--BAD ADVICE I LIVE BY TOO OFTEN) The stake president asked me a few questions he hadn't before, like how I would deal with the ups and downs of a mission. He also asked what I would do if I was called to the Canada Winnipeg Mission. (Important note for all non-Southern Albertans: Winnipeg is the mission all Albertans hold up as the primary specimen of Worst Mission Ever. It's right next door, but even colder.) I told him my plan to pray and open my mission call by myself so that -- wherever I went -- I would be able to take the time to know that the call came from God. 

Obviously, I passed the test. He sent my recommendation in later that week and the wait began for the second time. But this time was a lot brighter. Certain elements of stress I had been dealing with in December were gone. Life was generally sweet. Nervousness about the call disappeared and I was purely excited. 

Because I know that a watched pot never boils I figured that a persistently checked mailbox would only deliver bills and flyers and decided not to go for the mail until a week after the call had been issued. (It normally takes a week and a half for mission calls to reach Lethbridge area.) So I didn't check until Monday. It was empty, as expected. (Empty of anything important, that is. We never check the mail so the contents of the mailbox virtually exploded out when I unlocked the door.) I wasn't terribly excited to check the mail the next day because I didn't want to go home empty handed again, but Mom convinced me to check it just before I ran off to go to the temple and drop my siblings off at their play practice. 

When I found a white, rolled up envelope hiding behind amidst all the bills I did a double take. Checked twice to make sure that it really was from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Sister Margaret Anne Hudson. Maybe somebody else would be sending me a large white envelope? I basically started hyperventilating then and there, then skipped out to the car as quickly as I could with my injured knee. My instinct was to drive straight home and hole up in my bedroom to open it, but there were people at home who would all talk in hushed voices and make the air buzz with anticipation. And ... well ... my room is a disaster zone right now. (Things have been crazy and I can't bend my knee enough to reach the floor easily, so cleaning has been tricky.)

I drove to the fishpond instead. There's a certain spot out on the trails there where I once went to pray and decide whether or not this really is God's church. (The answer was yes, btw.) The sentimentality of opening my call in the same place got to me. Unfortunately my skirt and light jacket didn't do much to keep me warm and it was freaking cold out there, so I only made it a quarter of the way out to my destination before I retreated to the warmth of my car. I was so agitated all through the walk that I kept pacing in circles, moving to open the letter right there on the trail, and then changing my mind. What if it's, like, Winnipeg? I thought, Or, (sorry, Lisa!), Minnesota? Carrying that envelope felt like handling a live grenade, and I didn't want to open it before I was ready.

Back in the car, I finally said a prayer and opened it. Although I tried not to skip ahead, none of the words really registered in my brain until I reached Canada Winnipeg Mission. I did a double take. And then I busted up laughing. Exactly the place that I chosen as my example of THE WORST place. I had spent months thinking about where I would go and saying things like: "Russia is cold, but at least it's cold and foreign, not like Winnipeg," or "Utah wouldn't be anything new and exciting, but it's warmer than Winnipeg."

My laughing quickly turned to bawling all over the place as the Spirit testified to me that this was where I was meant to go and that the Lord was mindful of me. It was just too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence; it was the Lord saying that He was looking out for all my needs and concerns. I really want to travel to foreign places, but I don't want my mission to be one of those missions that's treated like an extended vacation. Do you know what I'm talking about? I've always been one of those people who wants to know all about the cool places people served their missions and pities the people who get called stateside. Yeah, they act like they wouldn't rather be called someplace cool, but they're just delusional. 

Now I understand that missions are just different, not better or worse. The Lord sends us where He needs us and where we need to be. I know that I will grow so much more in Winnipeg than I would in Italy, much as I would love to serve in Italy. But I can go to Italy another time. I will go another time. (This is me making a commitment to all of you. Hold me to it.) My brother was so sorry for me when he heard where I was going because he knew how much I would love to serve someplace foreign, but I am not sorry for myself. Winnipeg is my mission. I used to think the name sounded weird but now I just think it's so pretty. Just say it. It's so soft and fluttery. And I'm excited to be serving in what must be one of the largest missions in the world. It takes up Saskatchewan, Manitoba, a substantial chunk of Ontario, and even tiny bits of Alberta and Minnesota. 

I have so much left to say but this post is way too long already. Suffice it to say that I love my mission, and I love my Heavenly Father, and I am so glad to have this opportunity dedicate 18 months of my life to bringing others to Christ.

I will post again soon. Hold me to it. 

(P.S. I am leaving in SIX WEEKS, people! Crazy amounts of preparation must be done and I want to see everybody as much as possible before I leave. I must find times to hang out with all of you, whether it be in person or over Skype. I love you all SO MUCH.)