Stand Tall–No Matter What

Well, Sister Johnson officially has Celiac Disease. So of course, our diet ROCKS. I’m dead serious. All we eat is protein, vegetables, and water. We do have the occasional grains, but for the most part it’s pure fuel. I feel absolutely amazing. Sister Johnson is majoring in nutrition and has my same body type, so she is teaching me a lot. I can’t even tell you how big of a blessing being her companion is–on top of all this. So naturally, these past couple of weeks have made me realize of one of the biggest blessings I’ll share with you that Heavenly Father has given me for serving in His army.
Before my mission, it would make me nauseated to workout before 10 a.m. I don’t know if it was a mind game from the horrible two-a-days during basketball season, or what, but I’d almost be blacked out within the first ten minutes. Naturally, I was really nervous about this missionary schedule that the only time we could (and had to) exercise was from 6:30 to 7 in the morning. I prayed and prayed it wouldn’t affect my work. Long story short, I am now able to workout harder and faster at those early morning hours than I ever did in the afternoon, and I think I know now why the Lord allowed me such a thing. It’s not just because “that’s what the rules are.” It’s because I had to ask for it, and especially because that half an hour in the morning gives me more confidence and spirituality than I ever had before. It gives me the ability to focus during personal and companion study, and it makes me forget about myself and do His work. Yeah, I know, He’s a genius.

Most of the week, full-proselyting wise, we have been taking it pretty easy. From what I can see, Celiacs get hit hard the first few weeks they are diagnosed. But the work we can do, is super effective. For example, on Saturday we worked an hour on, and hour off in Hilton. On the off hours, Sister Johnson crashed on Sister Trimm’s couch and she gave us pep talks to go out and do work for what we actually can accomplish. Side note: I don’t know if I’ve mentioned her before, but this woman was hand-picked for Rochester to specifically “fix” all of the missionaries and get us back to work. She is a convert of about three years and all of us call her mom–because her whole life is revolved around the missionaries. Anyway, after getting re-charged, we went to visit some potential investigators that the Elders found two years ago, and we had planned to go see a woman named Emma. We walked up to her door, and a woman answered. “Is Emma home?” we asked. Almost in tears, the woman said, “I’m sorry, she died two weeks ago. We’re actually writing thank-you notes from it right now.” Rushing up from behind her was another woman who shouted, “Ooo, you’re the cute Mormon kids that she loved! She talked about you all the time, in fact she was just reading your little Mormon book before she passed away. She really thought the world of you.” Sister Johnson kinda looked at each other and we wondered what to say. After grieving with them, I asked if we could share something out of this book she had been reading. They agreed, and I pulled out Alma 11:43. “The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in it’s perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time…” It was so picture-perfect, we could all feel the love from Emma that was obviously there, and especially the Spirit bearing witness of the truth. Even though they didn’t want any help at the moment, they accepted their own copy of the Book of Mormon and profusely thanked us for being there for her, and for them. We gave them our numbers, and we went on our way realizing the magnitude that must have been for two of Emma’s very best friends.

The interesting thing about this story is that Sister Johnson nor I had absolutely any pull to go to her home. As a missionary, those are the kind of stories you hear all the time. “We just felt we needed to go stop by that house,” or the classic, “I knew we just needed to knock one last door.” Nope, we just went right to work. We were in the right place at the right time, because the spirit guides us everywhere we go. Not just to certain places. It is absolutely everywhere, especially with the missionary badge. The Lord will never waste His time.
I’ve learned a lot of things this past week. It’s amazing what the Lord can do when His disciples actually love Him, and it’s amazing what little things He knows we need to keep us motivated to be obedient. I will never doubt the reach, power and magnitude of the Atonement. All of you keep studying hard and praying hard. I really love you all, and all that you do to support me!
Hermana Hawkes


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