I’m in a Dream!

Not too much out of the normal has happened in four days…but I’ll try!
Our investigator, Sandee, is doing really well. Even though she hasn’t come to church yet, she’s excited about coming to the Relief Socity Broadcast on Saturday night. However, our lesson with her last week, I’ll never forget. During weekly planning, we planned to teach her about following the prophet and how he gets direct revelation to guide and lead the Church. But when we got there and sat down on her couch, we both knew we weren’t going to be teaching that. Let me back up–before we got into each lesson, we always say a prayer that the Holy Ghost will be the senior companion, then we evaluate after if He was the “senior companion, the junior companion, or no companion at all.” Anyway, as we were making the spirit the senior companion, we felt like we needed to teach the Law of Chastity–out of all of the lessons! Let me tell you though, that it was the most powerful lesson we’ve ever taught. Even the most powerful lesson I’ve ever taught on my mission so far. The spirit was oozing and once we taught her what it was, she just said quietly, “that makes sense,” almost like she was waiting for someone to give her an excuse to move out of her boyfriend’s house. She listened to everything we had to say–like she always does. Of course she said more incredible things that I recorded in my journal–don’t worry. Sister Graham and I were on cloud nine for the rest of the day. It’s amazing what two 21-year-old girls can accomplish when the Holy Ghost is the senior companion.
Saturday was the 185th anniversary of Joseph getting the plates! I attatched pictures for all of you. It was such a neat day getting to work at the Smith Farm. When we were driving there, we saw President and the AP’s along with a few other elders walking from the Frame home in Manchester (on the Farm) to the Hill Cumorah. It’s about three miles. I will not miss the chance to do that next year, what a cool thing to do. Dad, you told me that Jake remembered he was exactly the age that Joseph Smith was…how weird is that? I bring that up in most of my tours…that I have a 14 year old brother, who was born on Joseph’s birthday, and looks a lot like him. It’s neat to think that just a boy that age had such a mature question. (Jake don’t worry–you’re mature.) But Jake, when you’re 17 on September 22, we’ll have a huge celebration! Anyway, it was a big day at the Farm. We got plenty of visitors that were excited about coming on that day. I got to bear my testimony in the upper room of the log cabin multiple times about Moroni’s visit to Joseph, just 185 years previous. Wow, I have the coolest mission.
And, I have the coolest companion. I just had to let everyone know! Everyone thinks we are sisters, well basically…we are! I absolutely love being her companion. I don’t even feel like her trainer. We’re on equal ground…and I feel like she teaches me more than I teach her by far. I love her a lot and am so glad we don’t have to do missionary work alone. 🙂 Especially with her teaching me ASL all the time. I have a couple of verses in D&C 4 down in sign language! Maybe I’ll be fluent by the end of the transfer. Who knows?
Today we’re headed to Chimney Bluffs for P-day to hike around and to have a cute picnic on the shores of Lake Ontario. I’m just dying at how gorgeous New York really is. Fall up here is incredible. Especially the leaves in the Sacred Grove…most of the time I feel like I’m in a painting. I may or may not have quite a few moments, daily, that I have to snap myself back because I think I’m in a dream. Who gets to completely let go of their life and focus on the Lord for 18 months? With this beautiful scenery? And the most beautiful people? I think the blessing of serving a mission is the mission itself. I could never imagine my life without one. THIS IS AMAZING.
I guess a missionary can pack four days full of fun stuff. It’s never ever boring here. Seriously, if you’re reading any of this, serve a mission.
BE HAPPY!
Sister Hawkes
p.s. someone’s gotta cheer harder for my Cougars…

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“Prove Me Now” Moments

This week has been full of “Prove me now’s” from Heavenly Father. Before I get started, let’s take a look at Malachi 3:10.

10–“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

On Monday and Tuesday we had a Mission Tour with Elder Anthony Perkins of the Seventy. He and his wife came to the mission for a couple of days to speak to the whole mission! Sister Graham and I were lucky enough to get to go to both, because she had to ASL Interpret at Monday’s conference, and I had to do the musical number on Tuesday. (I sang and played ‘We’ll Bring the World His Truth.) We even got to eat lunch with him–at the same table–and quiz him for 45 minutes! Whether he liked it or not…:) He was an Area Authority in Asia, so he was telling us how the Chinese characters relate pretty much exactly to the gospel. For example: The Chinese character for ‘righteous’ has a lamb above something describing “me,” or “I.” So having Christ above us teaches us to be righteous! There is no coincidence–this is the truth. Anyway, at the beginning of each session, Elder Perkins asked us to write a couple of questions down that could be answered throughout the day. I’ll again be personal because it’s just that cool to let you know what happened. These are just a couple of questions I had:

Q1: How can I make each lesson at the sites different, bring the spirit in, while saying the same history over and over?
A1: Bear my testimony A LOT. That is something different that I can bring the spirit with while never saying the same words over and over.

Q2: How can I raise children to be missionaries?
A2: 2 Nephi 25:26.

These are questions that I’ve had for awhile, but have never really asked directly. Since I’ve never really asked directly, I’ve never gotten a direct answer. It’s always been a “kinda sorta” answer. DUH! I am not kidding you, he addressed each of these things like it was a slap in the face answer. Lesson to be learned: If you want an answer, ask Him! I’ve experimented with this a lot now and it totally works. Not that I never got any answers before, but this is crystal clear. That was my first “prove me now” moment.

So I decided to take my new found answers to the test on Tuesday afternoon for another “prove me now” moment. A couple from Canada that were non-members walked into the HCVC during our shift. I treated them like I would any other person and was so excited to tell them about the gospel. They recognized that I was a normal person when they asked me about my family life, and what I wanted to do when I got home from my mission. When I said I wanted to work at the capitol in DC and then continue my job at BYUtv Sports, that made them listen to me that much more and trust me. I explained the Apostasy and why the Restoration needed to happen, and then I took them in to see the new Restoration video that was filmed at the sites last year, which explains everything. I took them out of the movie and they had half an hour worth of questions. “So you believe in eternal marriage? Who is the prophet today? Why do you do missionary work?” And my absolute favorite question to answer, “What does the temple look like inside?” Now if that’s not bearing your testimony frequently, I don’t know what is. Finally, to make my point clear, I asked them how they know they live in Canada. They answered of course because someone told them they do, there are signs everywhere, and they have a piece of paper that tells them they live there. Well isn’t this gospel the same thing? I am telling them it’s true, there are signs everywhere, and the Book of Mormon is not just a piece of paper, it’s a book that tells them it’s true. I think that’s what caught their attention and kept on asking me more questions. They were extremely nice, and left with their own copy of the Book of Mormon. I hope to see them someday teaching the Gospel with me in the spirit world!

And it doesn’t end there! Another wonderful man, Bud, decided to take a visit on his trip from Rochester to Kansas. (Note: Kansas is in the opposite direction…) He had a great white beard, coke bottle glasses, had southern accent, was a United Methodist, and…looked kinda lost. Well, that confirmed my thought when he said, “Sister Hawkes, I think I’m lost.” I turned it around (kinda jokingly) with, “Well Bud, I can help you find your way in more ways than one!” He just looked at me (not jokingly anymore) and said, “I know, that’s why I stopped here.” I then told him about the Apostasy and then about the importance of the Book of Mormon. These were his exact words: “Well, I better get myself a copy of that thing and study it like I do the Bible!” After talking for a bit, he wanted to watch that Restoration video and noted at the end that he felt something different, and he wasn’t sure if it was only temporary. I told him that he could have this feeling forever if he prayed sincerely about the Book of Mormon and to know if what he heard that day was true. He accepted the missionaries to visit him at his house in Kansas, and I hope what he learned at the Visitors’ Center will change his life forever.

I have a few other “prove me now” moments that I’ll save for next week’s letter. Sorry this letter is so late–like I said–we had the Mission Tour on Monday and Tuesday, so our P-day was switched to today. Out of the many things I’ve learned this week, the main thing that I’ve been learning over and over again is that Preach My Gospel is the handbook to life. I could not get a better rock foundation than serving a mission. The catch there is, though, that the only way to get that rock foundation is to work hard. If I’m not working hard and being obedient…that rock turns to sand. It would have been better if I hadn’t come on a mission in the first place. Sister Graham and I joke now that we’re “working hard to be awesome.” 🙂 I’m so grateful to Preach My Gospel and how much it lets the Spirit direct the work. He is definitely the senior companion, and will be for my entire lifetime.

Thanks again for all of your prayers on behalf of the missionaries; the work really is progressing faster and faster. The Lord will be coming very soon, so now is the time to turn to Him. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Do it now. You’ll experience more joy than you have ever imagined every single day if you keep those simple commandments. I love you all, and have a wonderful week!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes

“Enthusiasm Overcomes All Obstacles”

That’s a quote I heard in Sacrament meeting and decided it was going to be my new mission/life motto.

en-thu-si-asm: noun 
   1. absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest.

Now what are we supposed to have enthusiasm for? Here are some examples: The gospel, family, talents, happiness…oh and life! Being excited about everything makes it fun to look forward to anything. Honestly, when I think of that word, I think of my mother. Everything she talks about it’s like we found a cure for cancer. To be that excited about life makes it all worth it. Especially from her last letter. Fighting to keep freedom in our country as set by the prophets from the Book of Mormon is probably the most exciting thing that’s ever happened. Mom, I am SO PROUD of you! What you’re doing for our country can’t be replicated. See what enthusiasm does? That enthusiasm you have for keeping your children free has obviously overflowed to the rest of the nation. The whole point of war in the Book of Mormon was to keep the freedom in order to worship our Lord. That’s the reason we need to keep fighting. You have made everyone that comes in contact with you excited about our goal of freedom. Check out Ephesians 6:10-24–I’m shocked that’s not quoted in your Patriarchal blessing. With enthusiasm comes faith, hope, charity, and love. I couldn’t think of a better person to be called to what you do for this world. 

This week, we volunteered at the Wayne County Golden Olympics! Most of our zone did, actually. We took a cute old man around named Patrick, who even requested a good smack on the lips when he won his first blue ribbon! It was definitely entertaining. I don’t know how much excitement I could have about a bean bag toss or nail pounding. Again, I learn so much from people being enthusiastic about anything that’s put in their path. Even though sometimes you have to fake it, you just fake it ’till you make it. It always works. So for Sister Graham’s first week, we have done SO MUCH after putting that into play. We got 4 new investigators, tried to learn all the historical site information at once, called referrals, met with the bishop, had dinner with members, etc, along with working our shifts at the sites. We’ve done a lot of “baptism by fire” with her…and she’s dominating a mission. I learn so much more from her than she learns from me. We get each other motivated every morning by having a solid personal and companion study with no distractions. Let me tell you it’s hard work, but it’s so worth it. We only get 18 months to do this. We better do it right. 

One big miracle I had this week was kind of personal. But I want to share it because it meant so much to me. Growing up in the Church, it’s harder to see the difference between a prompting from the Spirit and your own mind. I had been asking Heavenly Father to help me see the difference so missionary work can become better and better. This week, I’ve been noticing in my tours/lesons that I say things I don’t usually say, and that the spirit is not only there when I do that, but it’s presence fills the room. It’s impossible for people to not feel it. And since the sites are slower, we’re able to go with our companions and teach together. And that brings the Spirit more than anything. Pretty much, Heavenly Father is telling me, “Just chill out. I’m always here.” I’ve learned that if we’re set apart as missionaries, He answers our prayers a lot faster just because we have so much to accomplish of His work in a short amount of time. It’s just like “get on with it already so we can do this work together.” He’s a great Father. 🙂

Exercise update: I’m jump-rope champion! Just kidding. But I think I’ve mastered that thing more than Rocky Balboa. Sister Graham and I are working up a storm in the morning with me and my jump-rope and her and her weights…enough for a lady walking her dog to say, “what are you two training for?” “Nothing! We’re just missionaries!” Awesome introduction to the Church, right? Probably the best purchase I made before my mission. Besides my scriptures…

Time is running out! Today for P-day we’re walking around Canandaigua lake with the sisters that live there. I’m attaching a picture from Wednesday of all of us Site Sisters and couples. We are the biggest sisterhood I’ve ever been in and I would jump in front of a train for any one of these girls. Mom and Dad, you’re really going to have to drag me out of this place when the time comes. I’m absorbing every minute. Thanks for everything! Love you all!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes

p.s. YOU CHEERED FOR MY COUGARS!!! Now keep doing it! Also a huge congrats to Utah State in that game against that one school…good work.

The Leaves are Changing!

I’m obsessed with the Fall, so seeing the leaves change here in upstate New York is INCREDIBLE! Thanks for sending my boots mom, now I have no excuse not to be fashionable! Also a huge congrats to Nicole who is on the plane right now to Jerusalem!

This week went by really fast, and that’s a good thing because I’ve got some bad news. Remember Mark and his three friends that we were teaching last week? Well, they dropped us. Sometimes I hate free agency. Then not more than 5 minutes after we got off the phone, we got another phone call to be dropped by another investigator. That makes the total count of progressing investigators at: one. Sister Correia lightened it up after she got off the phone with them by saying, “well at least we’ll know what it’s like to get dumped in the real world. People tell us here they’re not interested all the time!” Which is a positive approach. But nonetheless, still terribly horrific. Horrific is the perfect word to describe, because they don’t know what they’re missing out on. I only wish I could say or do something the first time they see us that they just realize how important this is. That does happen, but unfortunately it only happens when their hearts are soft. I have no doubt that the Spirit was in Mark’s home during that lesson, because it was one of the most powerful lessons I’ve ever taught. Not that I’ve taught many, but it was definitely there, and He was bearing witness of Himself. That makes me just the more sad to know they felt it, and denied it. Please–no one do that. That is worse than dying. In dad’s last letter, he hit the nail on the head (did ya like that, mom?) with the consequences of denying the Christ. That person will be able to see their ripple effects forever on how they could have done better. Not only them, but their descendants that will never know because of what their parents didn’t accept. Yikes.

On Saturday I had exchanges with one of the site trainers! It was really fun. We called lots of referrals, tracted just one street, and worked at the HCVC. When we were tracting, we found a few potentials! One we found spoke Spanish. SCORE. So I need to get another Spanish exchange going so we can teach these people! Our last one wasn’t too effective (everyone said they were “all set”) so hopefully the next time around we’ll catch some people that are home and get some new ones. Newark is crawling with Hispanics and I want to get out to them as soon as I can!

Our ward efforts have really increased. We’ve been studying PMG chapter 13 about Stake and Ward leaders and our responsibilities. Apparently, we never had a Ward Mission Plan! Whoops! So our district has been working hard to get one together so our missionary efforts can increase in the ward. It’s tough, but hey–everything in a mission is tough. I’ve learned that you can’t let absolutely anything fall through the cracks or someone down the line gets in trouble. There is my business lesson for the week. 🙂 Delegate and follow through! That’s the most important thing to get anything done in any capacity. Especially missionary work–you know, saving souls? Yeah, kinda important.

Well, this is Sister Correia’s last week on the mission. She goes back to Hawaii next week! I’ll miss her! We’ve grown to be really close and it’s sad to see her leave. So today is her last P-day, and we’re going to take a tour of the Hill Cumorah. Yes, for missionaries only. That just means if you want the best trip to New York you’re going to have to bring me along in the future. But I’ll get a new companion on Wednesday so that will be really fun! I love the unknown so I’m super excited. Bring it on. I’ll let you know who the lucky girl is next week. I already know I’m going to like her.

I think that’s it for the week, I learned a lot in personal study that is just too much to write down. I wrote it all in my journal though, don’t worry. I learned a lot on baptism (thanks to “Raised in Glory”–shoutout to Mom, Elayne and Janet), lots on the Restoration, and lots on the endowment. I appreciate you all for your prayers on the missionaries behalf. It’s definitely felt, and the work is moving forward. It’s moving forward to those who actually are seeking it, though, which is the most important. We just had a handful of baptisms in our mission last week of people who have been prepared to hear this wonderful message. So your prayers are working! I love you all!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes

p.s. Please everyone cheer extra loud for my Cougars this week. Really. Please. My heart hurts just a little bit that True Blue is being filmed on the field. AH! Tell them I love them. (This message is from me and Sister Woahn in the MTC…not even a mile from the stadium…)

(The Real) New Mission Address

Thank you to Sarah for running my blog! I actually found out I am able to keep up a blog…however I still have no time. So Sarah will continue to do it for me. 🙂 Corrections on her last post:

The address she gave you is my apartment address. Feel free to send mail there! I’ll be there at least 2 more transfers: 12 weeks. But just to be safe, send it to our NEW mission office address!

New York Rochester Mission

460 Kreag Road

Pittsford, NY 14534

Thank you all for letters! I want to hear from EACH of you. If you’re reading this, I probably want to hear from you. The work is moving forward, and all is well! Stay tuned–I’m training starting TOMORROW! Love you all!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes