Down (up?) the Erie to Brockport!

I never fully understood the meaning of “bittersweet” until yesterday. I am getting transferred out of Newark and going to full-proselyting Brockport!

Brockport is about 20 minutes west of Rochester, but too far away to go to the sites. In the NYRM, there are about 36 sisters that serve as “site sisters,” and six at a time that get shipped out to either Brockport, Buffalo, or Dansville. And I’m lucky enough to be going! I seriously screamed when I found out! Every sister that has been there just raves about it. And that’s not even the coolest thing. At Zone Conference, Hermana Torres and I were joking around with President, telling him that we’ve had dreams that we were supposed to go full-proselying together for her last two transfers on her mission. Apparently he wanted to give us an early Christmas present…because it actually worked! HA!

However, leaving the Lyons ward is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Leaving Sister Graham, Sister Butters, Sister Adams, and especially the Lyons elders in our district is absolutely horrible. We called ourselves the “celestial district” because we had so much fun together. We got so much work done, and everyone got along so well…even us with the ward. I felt like it was my home ward. We figured we’d get transferred soon enough…Sister Adams is going to Seneca Falls, and she’s living at the Peter Whitmer Farm, right where the Church was organized. Sister Graham is getting Sister Park from South Korea. They are going to have so much fun together–Sister Park is hysterical! Then Sister Butters is getting Sister Fetuli from Tonga. And my new companion is from Nicaragua. Talk about the gathering of Israel!

Instead of wallowing that I’m leaving Newark right after I fell in love with it, I am going to think of a million other reasons why I will absolutely LOVE Brockport. First, Hermana Torres. I’m making her speak Spanish to me all day every day. We have 12 weeks together–don’t you think I could get pretty good? Second, we are the only missionaries in our ward. President just closed Brockport elders area and gave it to us, so we now have double the area, which means double the work! YES! Hermana Torres and I are the only missionaries in the small Brockport ward, so it will be such a great challenge. I’ll have to work super hard and super long, but that’s the only way I can grow. However, without the sacred grove 2-3 times a week…I don’t know what we’ll do! Oh well, I’ll be back to the sites in time to start training for the Hill Cumorah Pageant.

So that’s the update for what’s happening to me–I CAN’T EVEN WAIT! Oh my goodness. It’s easier to just remember the good times, and put trust in the Lord that the good things keep on coming. That’s what I had to learn when I graduated from high school, left BYU Athletics, BYUtv, my best friends back at home…and now it’s happening in the mission field. Mom and Dad, I seriously don’t know how you’re going to drag me out of this place when the time comes. We won’t talk about it…

I’ll leave you all with a great experience–my last at the Joseph Smith Farm until I come back in the Spring/Summer. I had the privilege of taking a 19-year old member named Brittany, and her 20-year-old non-member best friend Alyssa on tour. Brittany brought Alyssa to the sites because she’s been talking to her about the church for a long time. In fact, Brittany wears the Church on her sleeve, and talks about it with everyone. I am so impressed with her–she opens her mouth to absolutely everyone that comes in contact with her. And, she doesn’t even wear a name tag yet! Anyway, we went into the log home and I explained the First Vision to the two girls. Brittany turns to Alyssa and said, “I know, it’s a lot to take in. But I know it’s true.” Alyssa kinda laughed and said, “psh, yeah!” We then went up the narrow stairs to Joseph’s bedroom where the Angel Moroni appeared to him when he was just 17 years old. I emphasized the Book of Mormon, however, we got into a fantastic discussion about “being a Mormon” is a way of life. Alyssa told the both of us that she was so impressed that girls our same age would give their lives to something that means so much. She also said that we obviously are happy, and it’s a happiness that comes from within. Brittany and I both bore our testimony about the things that happened here in Palmyra and what it’s done personally for our lives. I ended up getting her contact information very easily and gave it to the elders that are in her area. They already contacted her, and are starting the discussions in the next two weeks. The moral of the story is: don’t be afraid to share the gospel with anyone, even your best friends. If 19 and 20 year-olds can do it, you can. Sometimes people want to know how happy you are, but honestly have no clue what to ask. People don’t realize it’s the gospel that makes us happy. If they turn you down, don’t worry about it! Just resume the friendship. But–think of what can happen if they accept. When President Eyring says, “thousands will call your name blessed,” he really means it. However, that can only happen if you ACT. You don’t have to be awkward about it. In fact, please don’t be awkward about it. We want these people to think we’re normal. You could say, “My family and I are having a Family Home Evening on Monday night. Would you like to join us?” or “Do you want to come with me to the YSA activity on ______?” Then explain to them that Christ is the reason for everything. If you say it with confidence, they won’t even question you. Don’t think about it! Just do it.

It’s time to go to transfer meeting, so I’ll give you the update when I can! I’m glad we got to e-mail l because we didn’t know if we had time…but we figured it out! I’m really sad about leaving the sites and Sister Graham, but being with Hermana Torres will be a huge adventure. Hopefully I’ll get some pictures soon! I love you all! I love being a missionary.

BE HAPPY!

Hermana Hawkes

p.s. MERRY CHRISTMAS! How is everyone doing on talking about mormon.org/Christmas?

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