Deck the Streets

Another amazing, but hard week. I don’t know how anyone can top serving the Lord by walking down old little main street in Brockport, underneath Christmas lights, and getting doors slammed in your face. This is the best Christmas ever.
We decorated our apartment! Not by much…it screams missionary. We got a two-foot Christmas tree from the office and strung some lights across the window, and tried to make it look “homey.” For two sisters who don’t have other missionaries within 50 miles…it looks pretty good. If any other returned missionaries have any ideas, they are always welcome.
Finding investigators was on the top of our priority list this week. We did tons of street contacting, tracting, and referral asking. As a missionary, you really have to talk to EVERYONE. There is no one that you can let get by. I always think to myself, “will I regret not talking to them?” The answer is always yes. We talk to everyone. The other part of street contacting is trying not to be awkward. Sometimes, we find ourselves doing a zig-zag dance while walking down the street to give them a card. Sometimes I just want to say to them, “You should know we’re going to talk to you. We’re trying to make you happy here.”
We also met a wonderful lady named Anne. Missionaries have done service for her in the past, but they’ve always told us that she wasn’t interested at all in what we had to say because she grew up Catholic. Psh, yeah right, like I’m going to take their word for it. On Tuesday, while we were packing up some boxes in her home, we asked her if she’d like to join us at scripture study that night. “Sure! I’d love that!” (I wonder what these missionaries actually asked her…) Anyway, we planned on meeting her at the chapel about ten minutes before it started. We got a call from her telling us that she wouldn’t be able to come because some Diet Coke exploded in her freezer. It was obvious it was Satan that was trying to get her not to go, so we showed up at her house and offered to clean it up so she could come with us. She agreed and we had it clean in no time, and on she went with us to scripture study.
We introduced her to the group and had a wonderful discussion about the gospel of Matthew. We kept going back and forth between the Bible and the Book of Mormon of course, and had great insights from everyone, including Anne. At the end of the night, she raises her hand and says, “So you’ve been going back and forth between another book I assume. Who is Joseph Smith, and where can I get a copy of this book?” Oh man, you should have seen the look on the High Priest Group Leader’s face. He looked at us like, “what have you guys been doing all day?” Another woman got really excited to tell her and gave her a synopsis of the Restoration. She explained (before we could even get a word in) that she could have us come by and teach her. She accepted rather quickly…and there you have it. A new investigator.
The next day we went out to teach her. (FYI, we did tell her a little about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon before the scripture study…not a total fail on our part.) We started by going over the Restoration in pretty good detail. We explained how the Book of Mormon is just another testament of Jesus Christ, and it in fact, proves that the Bible is even true. We started wandering from the plans we had to teach her, and started talking about the Spirit and how it speaks to us. Hermana Torres showed her Helaman 5:30. She just stopped talking, and had tears in her eyes. “I’ve felt that. I’ve had the Spirit speak to me. I know what that feels like.” It was one of those moments in missionary work when you think that it’s all worth it, and you can have as many doors slammed in your face and you don’t even care. We explained what the Spirit was, and how she explained she’s felt previous, was spot on. We explained that the Book of Mormon contained the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how she can find out if it’s true or not through that Spirit that she’s already familiar with. She stopped talking again, had more tears, and said, “I always knew there was more. I always knew there was more.
We can’t let people pass by. We have to tell them there is more. They won’t know until they experience it, and there are only so many of us set-apart missionaries in the world right now. Tell your friends. Tell everyone. Shout this stuff from the rooftops. I would absolutely hate for you to have the experience of having someone come up to you in the spirit world and say, “why didn’t you tell me?” That would easily be the hardest thing to swallow.
The lesson with Anne was probably the highlight of my week. We had the opportunity to go to the temple with a woman from our ward, and we even got a surprise visit from President yesterday at Church. He pulled us out of Gospel Doctrine, “don’t worry, no one died. I just had you two on my mind all night and wanted to know how you were doing.” He even got our hopes up and told us that he really wanted to send the two of us to downtown Buffalo Spanish speaking…but since we’ve got 21 new missionaries coming in January (!!) he will send some elders out there. It is so amazing how President and Sister Christianson are SO in tune with the spirit.. I can’t think of anything significant that the Spirit could have told them to come to us, but it was such a comfort to know that even though he has plenty to do, he even cares about the tiniest little things. It’s just like our Heavenly Father. If we pay enough attention, He will send angels our way to help comfort us.
One more piece of exciting news…I got a call from my former companion Sister Graham telling me that a young girl we found and taught is getting baptized on the 22nd!  It’s a miracle. She’s 14 years old and told Sister Graham she really wants me to be there. Cross your fingers that I’ll get to go. She even told me of another FAMILY we found and taught that has accepted baptism, too. (I would be gone for a week, and have this happen for the first time on my mission.) It’s working! It’s actually working!
Thanks for all of your support, especially during this Christmas season. I love you all!
Hermana Hawkes
p.s. Crystal was early to Church yesterday wearing her brand-new sweater, complete with a huge smile on her face. Mission accomplished.

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