Because we believe in Jesus Christ…

For President Christianson’s last Zone Conference on Wednesday, we held it in the Sacred Grove. Remember how I told you last week I wasn’t going to play the violin because I couldn’t get one in time? Well, I got a call at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning telling me I now had a violin…which gave me 15 minutes to practice something! I chose “How Great Thou Art.” It actually went really well. I can’t believe after ten years of not playing, my Father in Heaven helped me out to 1) play the thing, and 2) play it in tune. I now know why my family had to endure many years of noise coming from the living room. It was because I had to perform in the Sacred Grove on my mission! It doesn’t end there…after we got back to the Palmyra chapel for the last half of the conference, President asked me to play another musical number to quickly get the spirit there. I had played around with “Abide With Me, ‘Tis Eventide,” a few times previous, and that was really my only option. Because that night, they had pre-asked me to do yet another musical number at site meeting, and I couldn’t play that twice in one day. At site meeting, I sang and play, “A Child’s Prayer.” That also went really well. However, I know people want a change-up…but this is what happens when no one else says yes! Moral of the story: say yes when people ask you do to do something, or else you’re going to have to hear from the same people over and over again. Regardless, it was really fun. I forgot how much music was and is such a huge part of my life.


Anyway, at Zone Conference for the main portion of the meeting, President just asked us to ask him any question in the book. Any doctrinal, spiritual…any question, and he would answer it. We started asking him some pretty tough questions that we’ve been asked, but he started every question with the phrase, “Because we believe in Jesus Christ, we…” It was amazing. We quizzed him about the Apocrypha, what Transfiguration does, the difference between sanctification and justification…you name it, he answered it using that phrase. President helped us realize that no matter what comes our way, we always start with Christ. If we make Him the focal point of anything, He will teach the righteous and confound the wicked. He’s kinda like a meteorologist–He can see the storms coming, but doesn’t cause them. He tells us exactly what we need to know, only if we watch Him.


Now for one of my favorite “deep doctrinal” thoughts that President had us think about:


“If God and Jesus Christ traveled at the speed of light, they would’ve had to leave the place near Kolob when Lehi left Jerusalem to get here in time for Joseph Smith…and they wouldn’t even be back Home yet. If you ARE the light, you don’t have to travel anywhere. You’re already there.” -President


Give that some thought about the importance of light and Christ! Study John 14. Needless to say, the Zone Conference in the Grove was life-changing.


Anyway, considering the two or three hours Sister Steel and I have had in Irondequoit this week, we’ve gotten a lot of things done! We taught Jessica the importance of the Plan of Happiness, and we’re going back tonight to talk to her and her family about the importance and blessing of eternal families. We brought a member, Ivie, with us, and she’s also from Puerto Rico. It was a perfect member-missionary lesson; they bonded and Jessica was more comfortable with the situation. It’s scary to meet with two girls you’ve never met, about a subject that can be very dear to your heart. Bringing people who won’t be changing as quickly as missionaries get transferred is key. Ivie was great, the lesson was great–the Spirit taught her everything she needed to know that day.


I got a pretty funny letter from my mom this week–which actually made me realize some success I have as a missionary. Whoo hoo! She said, “So let me ask you a serious question…tell me when/if you feel down, and for how long? When was the last time? If you do feel down occasionally, that’s normal…” I just laughed. All of you returned missionaries know that being a missionary can be the greatest calling in the world about 5% of your time, and then the other 95%…you’re dragging your heels. If my own mother has to ask me that question, I know I’m doing a pretty good job of keeping happy! So, to answer your question, let me share with you all a little bit of my journal last week:


It’s been a rough day. You’d think since we had a tour of the Sacred Grove this morning, and had a baptism, that it would have been awesome! Yes, it has. But spiritually and mentally, it’s been rough. I’m just going to say it: I feel like a horrible missionary right now. It’s hard trying to figure out what I need to bring back to the sites, and if I actually changed for the better going full-proselyting. Being a site sister is extremely different than anything–and it’s a different mission call than full-proselyting missionaries. It’s reminding me of my adjustment to that false expectation when I first got here, too. I usually don’t, but I’ve been beating myself up about it. I know the Atonement can overcome whatever I’m feeling right now…I really can’t even put it into words. Either I’ve been doing something right and Satan is pushing my buttons to get me to fall, or the Lord is slowly loosening His grip, and now is my turn to really prove myself. I just don’t feel on top of it as I used to be. I really hate these, but I’ve been asking for opportunities to grow closer to Christ. Well, bring it on! As much rejection as we face, my happiness comes from the peace that I have no regrets. We work hard. “A prophet hath no honor in his own country.” Well, guess where Joseph Smith was raised? I wish people would be more prepared…or at least I could start finding the ones who are prepared! Whatever, it’s not about me!


There you go…that takes a lot of humility to put that out there. I’m working on that, too. 🙂 But, I hope that answers your question, Mom. I do have horrible days. In fact, the last time I felt down was just last night! My philosophy is, why tell people that your life is horrible, when God has put you in a situation to succeed? That’s kinda rude. My “feeling bad time” is only a short–I let myself feel bad for about an hour (sometimes I give myself a couple of days–longer about the situation) and then it’s back to being the person I was called to be. I can’t have a bad day, at least not in public. We’re the face of the Church. We fight for the truth, and that’s the happiest thing you can get.

Thanks for all the support–we’ll especially need prayers since the Hill Cumorah Pageant starts in just one month! I love you all!

BE HAPPY! (More meaning now, eh?)

Hermana Hawkes

p.s. This picture is the day I wrote that entry in my journal. Rachel was baptized, by the help of all of these sister missionaries, plus a few others who already went home! Sister Madsen on the far right is from my home stake in Centerville…she was the missionary that knocked on her door, and I got to be the one who “baptzied her!” (For lack of a better word…) We’ve got 4 Viewmont/Centerville sisters in the NYRM starting next week!


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