SPEC TRAINING 0900 HOURS: Gathering of Israel

“You will be the ones who they build the foundation of missionary work from now on.” -President Christianson

On Thursday we had an all day Specialized Training on the House of Israel and our continued plan of action to get it together even faster. I attatched a picture of the chalkboard when President was through…the next thing he said was, “Does this make sense?” It was funny. But it actually did make sense! Thankfully I’ve been studying up on my Old Testament, so he was just filling in the gaps. I wish I could just tell you everything I learned. I felt like I was in Fort Rochester in a briefing. He explained that the missionary force had climbed 471% in the past three weeks, and we will see about 100 new missionaries in 2013. What does that mean for the US mission with the most snow? (That’s right: Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester.) Instead of 91% of us getting cars, only 70% will. Our areas will be smaller with about fifty new apartments to distribute our force more evenly, but the most important thing is the quote I started with. We can’t slack off now. We’ve got plenty of work to do, and we have to be prepared.

The past few days, my spirit has been on overload. I feel like the veil is a little bit thinner; I’m realizing that I actually have a body now, and I’m actually doing what I came to earth to do. Sometimes I feel like a fly on the wall, and I would give anything for you all to see what I see through my eyes. Even though I may make it seem fun and games–this is less than glamorous. This is real life. I can’t believe I’m actually here. It’s going so fast, and I want to soak up everything I possibly can. The only way to do that is to immerse myself in the work. This next story is just one of the many things that happened to me this week.

On Saturday, I went on exchanges again with Sister Madsen. (Yes, Mary Madsen…we graduated from Viewmont together!) We were working at the Book of Mormon Publication site and in walks (storms) an agnostic named Phil. He stood about 6’3″, dark long black coat, and no less than 230 pounds. Before we could even get out a “Welcome” he said, “Who in the world is this Romney guy, and what are his core beliefs.” Well of course Sister Madsen and I suited up, grabbed our Book of Mormons and went to shake his hand. We pulled out the Articles of Faith, and suggested he would take a look at those. We started talking about the Restoration…and asked every question in the book about that. Our discussion got even further, and we showed him the living prophet on the earth today. “What’s his name? Can I take his blood pressure? Did you know that by that age, it’s 40% likely to have schizophrenia? Are those age spots? What’s his cell number? I need to call this guy.” We just simply explained that his name was Thomas S. Monson, and he in fact receives revelation for the world, and for the Church today. He kept staring at his picture on the screen, and said, “You mean to tell me, that we have a living prophet on the earth today, and no one has told me about it? I can’t even wrap my head around this.” He had even more questions about the Spirit World, the moving planets, and what faith even means. It’s a great thing our good friend Alma had exact answers to all of those questions, and I could pull out Alma 11, 30, and 32, respectively. (Don’t’ worry I’m working on branching out of Alma…he just has some great stuff in there.) We answered every single one of Phil’s questions with the Book of Mormon. However, during the entirety of our hour-long conversation, he kept saying the words, “Prove it,” over and over. We had to explain that he needed to act for himself, and then it could be proven from within. His exact words were, “So you’re saying I need to experiment?” I got the biggest smile on my face and turned back to Alma 32, where we just were, and read it to him. “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” -Alma 32:27. That verse stopped him dead in his tracks, because he knew we had just given him the right answer. The next thing out of his mouth was, “How old are you two?” “Twenty-one,” we said. “You two are good eggs. I better get to work, but here’s my phone number. Give it to the missionaries in my area and we’re going to talk about this.” We waited until Phil walked out and then Sister Madsen and I just threw our arms around each other. We struggled to get into our chairs, and the senior couples came up to us and were giving us high-fives. Haha–it was hard! But it felt so-o good. The spirit, through us, had changed an agnostic’s heart within one hour. The amazing things missionaries are set apart to do. This has nothing to do with me or Sister Madsen. It’s all about the Lord’s work, and about what He needs accomplished.

I wish I could tell more stories, but we have been grounded to our apartments the next two days. This is the last trip we will have out until Wednesday morning. Three big storms are supposed to hit Rochester, so we get to do tons of work from our little apartment! We’ve got good stuff planned, though. Don’t worry about us, we’ll be fine. I’m just hoping that this will bring in the snow. I really need some!

Thanks for all of your prayers and support, I know I say that almost every week, but I’m serious. Getting letters in the mail and feeling prayers is the best thing in the world. It’s really nice to know that people don’t think you’re dead! So I appreciate it. I love you all, and have a great week.


Sister Hawkes




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