Study Series: Why Pray?

“If there lives a man who has never really prayed, that man is being apart from the order of the divine in human nature, a stranger in the family of God’s children.” -James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ p. 238

Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately. Why pray if Heavenly Father is going to do whatever He wants anyway? What is the purpose? Why we do we have to ask for everything? It’s an interesting concept. Obviously, I don’t understand a tenth of it, but from what I do understand, it is extremely important. I will attempt at focusing my thoughts here.

Think of God solely as our father right now, and I’m going to compare Him to what we understand now on this earth. If a dad has his brain on correctly, he wants to give his children everything. He wants them to have the world, and he would do absolutely anything for them to get there. But say that father has a child that’s fallen off the face of the earth, and he won’t listen to anything he tries to teach him. That father can’t accomplish anything to that child, unless the child actually wants it. That father really wants to give him peace, happiness and joy. But unless the child comes to his father and asks, that’s the last thing he will get.

We are here on earth so we can learn how to be Fathers and Mothers. There is a law that God has to follow, that we will have to follow once we get there, that forces nothing to go to His child unless we specifically ask for it. Let’s be honest–Heavenly Father can do anything. He can make me eat chocolate and not get fat. Is He going to do that, even if I ask? Of course not. I have to use my brain and go by His rules as well. But, of the things He can give me, by me…is infinite. Our Father’s got an ocean full of blessings that He really, really wants to give me. He’s dying at the fact that sometimes I just don’t ask for them, because He’s waiting to put them into my pile. Why don’t I just ASK?!

For example: a super small, but simple way that prayer works. I was hoping that this was a blessing that the Lord really wanted to go into my pile…or maybe it was just to let me know that He was there. Ha! Anyway, this morning, I got up at the usual time to workout to my new kickboxing DVD. I put it in, and it didn’t work. At all. It kept saying it was a bad disc…going on for about ten minutes. (These are precious ten minutes in the morning!) I almost gave up. But then I thought I’d just ask Him to help me out, because I really really wanted to do kickboxing–plus it would have been ten dollars wasted. I tried one more time, asked Him if this was a blessing in my pile, and WAHLAH! It worked! Now, my muscles are sore. That is the definition of a miracle. It took other powers beyond my own to get that thing working…no matter how small or insignificant may seem.

Don’t think you can ask only for major life decisions. Heavenly Father is wanting to help you out in any way possible…He would give anything for you to think of Him all day. However, before and after asking, comes the hard part…the part that most people don’t understand. We have to actually do something. Why would a father give his child something and have them sit on the couch to hope and pray they appreciate it? No matter how much the father tries, they wouldn’t fully understand it, unless the child uses what his father gave him. Which comes to the first question I asked, “Why pray if Heavenly Father is going to do whatever He wants anyway?” Well, let’s think about it. Does Heavenly Father really want everything going on in the world? Absolutely not. What’s going on in my neighbor’s life could be the opposite of what God really wants to be going on. We have to align our will with God’s. We need to want what He wants for us. How hard is that? Intensely. How much more peaceful am I (and God) when it actually happens? Extremely. He knows a heck of a lot more than you and I do, so let’s just do what He wants us to do.

Which brings me to my last thought. It’s exactly what I just said: the only purpose of prayer is to align our will with God’s will. We can ask for things that we think we need, but He will give us the things we truly need to help us rise to a higher plane of work and thought. One choice leads me to a new choice which leads to another choice, which I couldn’t have been on if I haven’t made the first one to begin with. That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what God needs us to do to make everything less painful. It’s like waking up in the middle of surgery before the doctor is done…yep, that’s gonna hurt.

I hope this all made sense, because it did to me. I hope that something will trigger something else in your brain to make you think of a new way to realize the concept of prayer. Make it a personal study while you’re at it. Look up ‘Prayer’ in the Bible Dictionary, read 1 Nephi 18:3, Ether 12:6, Jeremiah 28:12-13, Psalms 37:4-5, and Alma 5: 45-46. I’ll leave with one last quote from Joseph Smith that perfectly sums everything up…

“Be plain and simple and ask for what you want, just like you would to go a neighbor and say, I want to borrow your horse…remember that without asking we can receive nothing.” -Joseph Smith

Resiliency is Key.

I LOVE MY COMPANION.
 
This transfer would be only five weeks long, and this would be our only transfer together. Sister Johnson is INCREDIBLE. We get so much done, and work so well together. Our brains are identical, and we make absolutely everything fun. Not that it wasn’t before, but I think the super hard work combined with the fun is what does it for me. Did you know that you can work hard and have fun? Try it sometime. I attatched a picture of the two of us at a missionary farewell from our ward, and then the other picture I attatched is our new competitive side coming out. With our district, we designed a plan to help us eat healthier and exercise harder. It’s a point system…well, you’ll see. We didn’t want the reward to be food, but the Zone Leaders insisted Texas Roadhouse, so that’s just a one-time thing. But this is throughout the rest of the transfer, and it is going to be great. I’m so excited. Anyway, onto something more spiritual…
 
For personal study, I recently read the lead article in the Ensign, “Raising Resilient Children.” After reading the article and taking meticulous notes, I decided that for the most part, my siblings and I are pretty resilient. So, I went back through the timeline of my life and identified what my parents did to help us grow up with their trust and confidence…so I could do that with my own children. (We’ll see if it works.)
First, they let me know all the time, that no matter what I did, they still loved me. They loved the effort I put into my work, and not the outcome. And more often than not the outcome didn’t even matter to them. All they cared about was how much effort I put into what I was trying to accomplish. Now, as a missionary, I know that being successful means working hard. Success is absolutely NOT the number of baptisms.
Second, they wrote me letters I can read over and over again. In fact, I brought with me one that my mom wrote me in 2005. This was when I lost my 9th grade student-body election, and I literally thought the world had ended. Regardless of if she actually knew that was going on in my brain or not, she wrote me a letter and explained why she loved me. She told me that she was impressed with how I reacted to the news, that more doors would be open for me in the future, but one thing really stuck out to me. At the end, she told me that the love that she and my dad had for me, but most importantly Heavenly Father’s love for me, would “act as a safety net that would catch me and bounce me back up…even higher.” That line has stuck with me for the past 8-9 years. I am pretty positive that because of that one letter that she wrote me, I can do anything. I am not scared to walk into any situation, because I have a sure knowledge that I have two parents that love each other…that alone can bring any child through anything. I also have confidence in my Heavenly Father that He won’t bring me into a situation that I won’t dominate, and for that, I owe them my life.
 
Third, they spent time with us. Not many parents are busier than mine, and yet we still feel like we were with them all the time. The way that you can show someone you love them the most is spend time either for them, or with them.
It doesn’t matter if you have little kids or if your kids are all grown up. You’re still their parents, and you still can have a huge influence over them. As long as “every day, in every way, you get a little bit better,” says President (Coach) Christianson, your children will do the same. They still look to you for advice and council, even if you don’t know it. Just ask my dad. You shoulda seen the look on his face when I finally got to college and told him, “This is the only time I’m going to say this to you, but you really do know everything.”
To change subjects, I’ve got something for you that is an average “day-in-the-life of a missionary” story. Sister Johnson has been pretty sick, so we had to go to a doctor’s appointment with the mission president’s wife out in Pittsford on Thursday. While she was in meeting with the doctor, I was reading my paper-back copy of the Book of Mormon that I carry around everywhere. The door opened, and in walked a woman who carried a huge cloud of smoke with her. I didn’t think about talking to her–I knew I was going to talk to her. She checked in, and sat down right next to me, with all of the other seats empty. I asked her how her day was going, and she told me everything negative she could think of. The next thing I know, she’s in tears telling me that she just received the foreclosure papers on her house that morning. Remember, I still have that copy of the Book of Mormon in my hand. “I’m actually a missionary for my church, and I want to give you something that will bring so much peace you won’t even know what to do with it,” I said. “I’ve been reading this for the past half an hour, and I can’t explain how calm I am right now.” She didn’t make eye-contact with me at all until I told her about the peace part. After that, she wouldn’t blink. The story of the Restoration just flowed out of me…I taught her about the prophets, the apostacy, and of course about Joseph Smith. I got her name and phone number, and put ours in the Book of Mormon and gave it to her. It was perfect timing–once I gave the book to her, Sister Johnson walked out with Sister Christianson, and the nurse called her in for her appointment. She just gave me a “thank you,” and went with the nurse. Of course, we quickly gave the referral to the respective elders. I know that the Spirit, through my personal study, helped me help someone else. President Eyring said something like, “the sacrifice will become a blessing,” and it sure has. Putting all of this work into making someone’s day just a bit better makes it all worth it. I’ll probably never know what happens to her, but I know that I did what I was supposed to be doing. We all can pray to be spiritually sensitive and listen to what God needs us to do at the time it needs done. What if I didn’t talk to her and kept reading? As we like to say here in New York, it’s better to be awkward than guilty.
 
Well, as I hope you all know by now, the missionary force is EXPLODING. We have created 58 new missions, and missionaries are coming in truck-loads to the field. Grandpa and Grandma, they may just call you to be mission presidents again! Speaking of that, we just found out who our new mission president is, President Arthur R. Francis…he is younger than my dad! (Haha, sorry, Dad.) He has eight kids, and four of them are coming to the mission home. I think it’s seven boys and one girl. I also heard that two of them are on missions right now. How cool would that be to live in the mission home of the Cradle of the Restoration? I am going to miss President Christianson SO much, but I have a for sure witness that President Francis is the guy for the job. Too bad I’m un-deployed after only three transfers with him. He’ll dominate this mission and help us rise even higher than we are now.
 
I think that’s everything I wanted to tell you for this week. I am so in love with everything right now. It’s not because it’s chance, it’s because I’ve prayed for it to be this way, and I’ve literally felt the prayers of everyone else for me to feel this way. I don’t know who has been praying for me to have all of these blessings, but thank you. It’s a whole lot easier when you’re solid in yourself, because then you can teach the Word way more effectively. I feel like I’m being lifted up by Who knows how many prayers are being answered. So thank you, thank you.
 
BE HAPPY!
 
Hermana Hawkes

New Mission President

We all have been dying to know who the replacement for the legendary Jack R. Christianson will be. Since it is now public knowledge, I would like to announce our new mission president, President Arthur R. Francis from California! He is a former collegiate athlete and has–are you ready for this–eight children! From what I understand, four of them will be coming. How amazing will it be for them to live and breathe missionary work in the Cradle of the Restoration before they even get to serve their own full-time mission. I’m super excited to meet him and his family.

presidentfrancis

Sister Johnson and I stayed at the mission home on Thursday night, so we got the news before the other missionaries. President Francis will only be my mission president for four months, but it will be a fantastic four months. He’ll arrive right before the Hill Cumorah Pageant. I hope I get to see him a lot, especially because of cast training! I know he is called of God to be here and take this mission to a whole new level. I’m going to miss President Christianson terribly–he has done wonders with this mission. I’ve grown a whole new love for him and his wife that I never thought possible. We do know how lucky we have been to have him as our president in the NYRM. But we know that in order to keep things progressing, things must change. People will go onto bigger and better things to help forward this gospel…”until the Great Jehovah shall say, ‘The Work is done’.”

The Standard of Truth

I get to stay in Brockport for five more weeks! This is a dream come true. Seriously, I thought I was getting transferred because I am so comfortable in this ward. It was funny how I found out…last night at President’s fireside in Greece. (Yes, that’s a city in New York, along with Egypt, Lima, and Rome…etc. Two of the villages in my area are Ogden and Murray.) Anyway, President was talking about how he gets answers to prayers. 90% of them come through scripture study–not while he is on his knees. But he does get some in the shower, and he quickly writes them in his little notebook. “For example, last night,” he said, “I had thoughts about transfers.” All of the missionaries gasped, of course. Then he looks at me and says, “Let’s see if there is one about you…Oh, yes. Keep Sister Hawkes in Brockport for one more transfer.” There was probably 50-60 people there and the people from our Brockport ward screamed…of course my jaw dropped and I started laughing so hard! Then he went on to tell more people about where they were going. I was very relieved, since he had given me the impression the past month that he was going to move me. This is a total miracle, and my new companion, Sister Johnson, is a genius. She is a Joseph Smith history buff, and really knows the gospel well. And she’s really athletic! I am SO excited. Other changes in the mission field: We are opening up two new zones tomorrow, so now we are the only sisters in the Rochester West Zone. We are sending 7 missionaries out, getting 19, and then in March, we are only sending 3-4 out and getting 20. Elder Holland said it perfectly, “There might be a more exciting time to be a missionary, but I don’t know when that would be!”

Speaking of church leaders, we are getting one of the Twelve coming to our mission this next month. We all have our bets on who it will be, so I’ll keep you updated. I really can’t wait for March, we have so much going on. On my birthday, we have a big question and answer session at one of the local colleges about our religion. Talk about a birthday present! We also find out who the new mission president will be on Saturday, so I’ll keep you updated on that as well. I was in tears yesterday thinking of how incredible it is to be here at a time like this. Heavenly Father saved me to come to New York right before the flood of missionaries. I get to prepare for it, see it all pan out, and then train the new army that’s coming in. I want to share with you something that we recite each morning and every meeting in our mission. Joseph Smith wrote “The Standard of Truth” in the Wentworth Letter to try and describe the Work that has been prophesied for ages. Little did the world know that it was then about to break forth:

“THE STANDARD OF TRUTH HAS BEEN ERECTED. NO UNHALLOWED HAND CAN STOP THE WORK FROM PROGRESSING. PERSECUTIONS MAY RAGE, MOBS MAY COMBINE, ARMIES MAY ASSEMBLE, CALUMNY MAY DEFAME. BUT THE TRUTH OF GOD WILL GO FORTH BOLDLY, NOBLY, AND INDEPENDENT, TILL IT HAS PENETRATED EVERY CONTINENT, VISITED EVERY CLIMB, SWEPT EVERY COUNTRY, AND SOUNDED IN EVERY EAR, TILL THE PURPOSES OF GOD SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED, AND THE GREAT JEHOVAH SHALL SAY, ‘THE WORK IS DONE’.”

Picture our whole mission standing and repeating that from memory. Yeah, it gives me chills too. Anyway, I feel like this is all I write home about–so sorry if it might be getting boring. For me, it’s anything but boring. This is my life. This is your life. I’m on a mission to get the training wheels I need until I die. Once I go home, those training wheels will be taken off, and I will still be expected to soar above the world. Recently in my personal study, I have been studying our identity and destiny, and the grand purpose of why we are here. In Alma 34:32 it says, “…this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God.” Now, what does ‘meet’ mean? It’s not just a “Hey, how are you.” It’s literally meeting Him at the same level. When we meet our goals, we reach them. It’s the same with our Heavenly Father. We are literally being prepared to become exactly like him. Our foreordination and election is no coincidence. We each have a grand purpose in life, and I wish I could tell you the one He has planned for you, but you have to figure that out for yourself. You have to. Please, I am begging you. Plead with your Heavenly Father to give you an positivity that what you are doing is the right thing. As President Eyring told President Christianson, “If you don’t have an absolute certain witness that this is true, this will be so hard you will want to quit.” I can testify that that is the truth…whoa. This is all true. Beg Him to let you know for yourself. He will answer us when He decides we are ready. After all, He knows us way better than we know ourselves. Let me just say this one more time, this is all true.

Well, now I guess I should let you know what’s going on in our area. We just got a few new investigators with some pretty rough backgrounds. One of them has been recently held to gunpoint by her ex-husband and had to change her name to protect her and her daughter. We taught her yesterday, and she said, “You might think this is weird, but we didn’t really believe what the Catholics taught us. We are looking for something more…I just know that there is always something good waiting for us after really rough times.” We, as in, her mom and twin sister. I just wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, “Just listen to me! This is not a coincidence that we are here!” I didn’t grab her by the shoulders, but I did say something like that. I hope she starts reading the Book of Mormon and feels the incredible power it emulates. Other than that, we are doing lots of finding, and lots and LOTS of re-activation. We had one more person come back to church yesterday that hasn’t been in a very long time. Another extremely rewarding moment.

I’m having the time of my life. I love this work more than anything. Last night, I just dropped my head on the pillow and had another moment when I couldn’t believe I was actually here. I have noticed that Heavenly Father has broken me down and is building me back up again very slowly–but very surely. My testimony isn’t even nearly anything close to what it was before. I have a new, real relationship with my Father…something I could never have otherwise gotten from not serving a full-time mission. I know I still have light years to go, but that’s what eternity is for. I love you all, and have a great week!

BE HAPPY!

Hermana Hawkes

“Batter Up!”

“When I do the best I can–when I am accomplishing the greatest good, then the most evils are got up against me.” -Joseph Smith

We’ve had some interesting days this past week. I don’t know how to explain why the persecution is so rough on members of the church. Not only has it happened to us, it’s happened to recent converts, long-time members, and even those investigating the church. I always wondered why missionaries said they came home exhausted each night. They said the moment you drop your head on your pillow, you don’t remember anything until 6:30 the next morning.  It’s because you’re combating the devil all…day…long. I’ve probably wrote home about this more than once, but I think I’ve had more strengths I’ve gained within the past week that I want to share.

In the exact moment of persecution, I just want to break down and cry. I don’t know how else to describe it. Someone, even maybe someone that you’ve grown to love, is not only cutting you down, but is ripping apart your Best Friend. Personally, I’d rather have them take a million jabs at me than one at my Savior. But, I can’t just cry–and I don’t just cry. It takes a whole lot of tounge-biting and trying to show an increase of love to those who don’t seem to care. I’ve noticed the moments that I’m putting my whole heart into the work are the moments that Satan tries to stop it. When we have a great companionship study, those people always seem to cancel the appointment. When I make new personal goals, he then attacks from the inside by telling me I can’t do it. In all reality, it’s a blessing, because I’m growing closer to the Savior each and every time that happens. In fact, in Teachings of Joseph Smith, it states, “The enemy of truth opposes the servants of the Lord, especially as they grow closer to the Savior.” Right there–point blank. As we testify against the adversary, it actually glorifies Christ. In our last Zone Conference in speaking about it, President said, “The prophets Adam up until Joseph Smith were merely spectators. Now, you and I get to play in the game. In fact, you know why I loved to play third base? Because I got to get in the heads of the other team. ‘Come on…HIT ME.” (Zone Conference is really half-time pep-talks. All of us just want to knock every house down when President is done with us.) He was relating it to the past prophets who have prophesied of the latter-days, but now, there is no more prophesying of the day. We’re finally in it. The Lord has been hastening His work only because this has been the time set aside from the beginning of the world to do the Work. I’m super excited the ball is now finally being hit to me. Not only do I catch it, I throw it to first faster than they can run it…every single time. It’s a good thing I got myself in shape, or I’d be benched in the top of the second.

Exercise update: We got some $5 Jillian Michaels videos at Wegman’s that have been kicking our…well, yeah. I am so sore. Those muscles are finally coming out from hibernation!  Since I’ve been in Brockport I’ve been super motivated to workout for those six days a week. Hopefully I can keep it up until I can get to a real gym in October! Plus we are trying to walk as much as possible since we got cut 200 miles, and our area that we work in (Albion) is half an hour away. We also have to go to Palmyra a few times this month, and then transfer meeting on the 19th, when my lovely Nicaraguan companion is going back to her homeland! So yes–lots of walking. Oh, and calf raises when we wait at doorsteps. But that’s a different story.

WOW, I love being a missionary. How is this even reality? Especially in this weather, I feel as if I have stepped into a utopian snow globe. I also think my competitive nature makes me enjoy it even more…I want to punch the lights out of Satan. When deciding if I should serve a mission or not (which took me about 10 minutes, by the way) I read D&C 4, “If ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work.” Desire? Check. That’s all anyone needs. Plain and simple.
 
That’s really it for this week, I wish I could just take a snapshot of a day in Brockport and send it all to you. It is absolutely incredible. The trees covered with snow, blue skies, and nothing to do but preach the gospel. This is the life. Hope you all have a great week!
 
BE HAPPY!
 
Hermana Hawkes
 
p.s. Again, feel free to add me on Facebook under my missionary account. We are encouraged to post uplifting, inspiring thoughts regularly…I just can’t write you back. Thanks!

Book of Mormon: Challenge Accepted.

“You’re the one in your family that came here [to the Hill Cumorah.] If you think I’m putting pressure on you–I am. We are the guardians of the story of the Restoration.”
-President Christianson

Having Zone Conference at the Hill Cumorah is probably one of the best things about serving here in Rochester, and especially under the direction of President Christianson. Yesterday, President and the Zone Leaders tore up the Book of Mormon and pounded into our young little minds how powerful this book is, right at the foot of the Hill where the Book of Mormon was born to the latter-days. The reason for this training may or may not be that The Book of Mormon: The Musical is coming to Rochester next month. In fact, he told us from now on that we need to carry a paper-back copy around with us everywhere. Not just in our backpacks like we do reguarly, but have it in our hands. We need to hold it at the grocery store, the library, walking the streets…anywhere. That way people can see the power of the book, and not wonder about it. Today as Sister Torres and I went out, we both grabbed our copies and hit the streets. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more of an invisible sheild around me in my entire life, but especially noticed how quickly something worked. President gave a promise, and the Lord followed through. Yes, the gift of the Spirit is a shield in itself, but physically–I have this power that no one can take away from me. I’m holding revelation from God right in my hands. I don’t care if people look at me weird. That’s their problem. All I care about is that one person that might see us and say, “I want what they have.” 

President expounded on the whole reason why we have two witnesses of Christ, and how important it is that we feast upon the words of Christ. (2 Nephi 32:3) We really don’t have that much information compared to everything that has been written, and everything that will be written. He even went so far as to say his least favorite scripture in the entire standard works is 3 Nephi 26:11. When one of the elders stood up to read the scripture, this is how it went…in a nutshell:

Elder: “Behold, I was about to write them…”
President: “AGGGHHHH…ABOUT TO?” (pacing back and forth)
Elder: “…all which were engraven up on the plates of Nephi…”
President: “ALL OF IT?! UGHHH! COME ON NEPHI!”
Elder: “…but the Lord forbade it…”
President: “WHAT?! FORBADE? GIVE ME SOME MORE!” (still pacing back and forth)
Elder: “…saying: I will try the faith of my people.”
President: “I WILL TRY THE FAITH OF JACK R. CHRISTIANSON?! AGGHHH!!!”

This is coming from a man who had a (friendly) little argument with Elder Holland about who loves the Book of Mormon more. Obviously the Bible and the Book of Mormon aren’t enough, or the Lord would already be here to rule and reign. However, right now, it is enough for the faithful.  President continued to comment on when we do get more scriptural revelation in the future as soon as the world is ready, “Why do you think we have iPads? It’s not like we’re going to truck around our little red wagons with all of the scripture that we get.” God is still the same yesterday, today, and forever. Of course he’s not going to stop on March 26, 1830. Personal revelation is the key to lifting the condemnation that Nephi is speaking of. Then, when the Lord sees fit, He will give the whole world some more. Until then, I’m going to continue my feast, and show the world what the Book of Mormon means to me–by literally wearing it on my sleeve.

They Live in You

Have you all seen The Lion King? That’s the song I’m referring to. Google the lyrics real quick and then you can read the rest of this e-mail.

The highlight of my mission happened on Tuesday. I don’t care if I’ve ever said before. We went to go have lunch with our recent convert, Anne, and wanted to get her thoughts on what happened on Sunday. A little background information: Anne was very nervous about the act of being baptized itself; she’s about 6’1″ and was worried she wouldn’t be able to bring herself back up after she went down in the water. Anyway, as we walked in she said, “Oh, girls! I forgot to tell you something about my baptism! I can’t believe I forgot!” So of course, we sat down pretty quick. Anne very quitely explained, “When I was getting up out of the water, I felt lots of arms on my back pushing me up, and people saying, ‘Help her up! Quick, help her up!’ and it was like I didn’t have to do anything. It was so easy!” We had to pick our jaws back up off the floor before we could respond. I finally said, “Do you know who they were?!”…”Um, the Holy Spirit, I think?”…”Those were your ancestors who have been waiting for hundreds of years for you to be baptized for them.”  Her eyes got real big and immediately she asked what she had to do for them to feel the same way she felt. (Yes! It takes action on our part! She gets it!) We explained baptisms of the dead and how she could do that. We told her that her parents and grandparents have been talking to the missionaries, just like she has, but in the spirit world. But instead of setting a date to be baptized, they had to wait for who knows how many years. You could see the sense of urgency in her face and said, “We have to get this done right now!” We explained even more of our purpose as missionaries, and how she could do exactly the same thing that we are doing, but for her ancestors. It was an extremely eye-opening experience for me, especially since I realized that I didn’t just help Anne get to the Christ, I helped hundreds of other people get to Christ–through one person. Family History is serious business.

Back to the lyrics–now did that make sense? Our ancestors are literally living vicariously through us. That is the importance of getting a body. That is the importance of temples. That day got even better when immediately after we went to Anne’s home, we all went to her cousin’s home (who isn’t a member) and talked to him and his less-active wife about Anne’s journey to the Church. The less-active wife re-committed herself to come to church, and together, they’ve been studying three chapters a day in Gospel Principles. Their ancestors have obviously been working really hard.

On the way home, Sister Torres and I were still soaking up what we just heard. She pointed out the scripture in D&C 84:88–“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” This is coming from a woman who, before this experience, knew little to nothing about the spirit world…and now she knows more about it than I do. We just had scripture and revelation to back it up. But what we didn’t have, was the experience. Experience is the true teacher. I am now constantly praying for experiences that will keep me close to our Heavenly Father.

So obviously, spiritually–I’m doing great. Why am I doing great? Because I’m challenging every question that comes to mind. Everything I hear (like that) I ask Him about it.  At the perfect time, He answers them for me. (For example, “Heavenly Father, is this whole thing true? Then turning straight to D&C 18:2, “Behold I have manifested unto you by my Spirit in many instances…wherefore you know that they are true.” Oh, duh. Thanks.) I’ve noticed that most of the time however, He answers them through other people. I got probably the best letter yet on my mission from a family member.  She obviously put a lot of prayer and thought into it, because she directly answered my question and helped me realize that I wasn’t only blessing the lives of the people in my area, but I was also helping the people outside New York, just by recording my everyday life. It was a huge confindence bootser–being confident in the fact that Heavenly Father doesn’t waste His time, and that I’m doing the right thing. He is going to inspire little old me to say something that might let that person think of what the Spirit needs to teach them–regardless of if that’s exactly what I said or not. Everything we do needs to strengthen someone around us, even if it is through something as seemingly insignificant as an e-mail. In D&C 108:7, “Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings.” Remember: it’s not me, it’s the Spirit. I just do what I’m told.

I noticed that I haven’t said anything about Steph lately…she’s on fire. I wish I could just bottle up every single thing I hear and tell it to you. My favorite recent quote from her: “I contacted the Spirit and said, ‘Hey, if you’re not busy, can you come and just comfort me for a sec?’ And He DID! How doesn’t everyone know about this?” Yep, Steph, we’re all wondering the same thing too.

Anyway, the week has been great. Definitely the most spiritually eventful weeks I’ve had out here. Just yesterday we got another phone call from Anne asking the details of how to pay her tithing, and then at the end of the conversation said, “I am just so ecstatic! I just can’t thank you enough for helping me find the truth! I’m just hungry to read my scriptures every night.”  If you’ve noticed, those are almost the exact words Christ used. Hungry. Anne was hungry. She now has a backbone, a rock, to base the rest of her life on. She’s so much more put together than she was when I first met her nine weeks ago. Especially from all the past trauma she’s been through in her life…the fact that she can say, “I’m just so tounge-twisted, I can’t put into words the happiness I feel,” is one big fat miracle. THIS IS THE TRUTH YOU GUYS.

Please keep your prayers open for missionary experiences. The missionaries in your area don’t know the community like you do. All you have to do is pray about and introduce your friends to go to a fireside, mutual, Family Home Evening, anything…and we will do the rest. And one more thing, can we commit ourselves to go to the temple on a regular schedule? Once a week, once a month, once a quarter…anything. Immortal missionary work is just as important as mortal missionary work. Because then, they live with you.

BE HAPPY!

Hermana Hawkes