All Good Things Come From Hard Things

…said President Francis at our missionary fireside on Sunday.

After having sacrament meeting at the Hill Cumorah with the Pageant cast, we had a pow-wow to get everyone pumped up to go out and do some more missionary work. President Francis spoke along with the Hill Cumorah Pageant Presidency. President Hare seared a statement in my head with, “You are creating a benchmark memory that will take you through your whole life.” Man, do I agree with that! I think I’ve finally realized that my mission is SO not normal. I keep getting cast members coming up to me and saying, “How’d you get this gig?” I just answer them back by shaking my head, shrugging my shoulders and flashing a huge smile.
I don’t know if I’ve explained what we’re actually doing here–I know I probably did last year, but I’ll tell you again. Every day before the Pageant actually begins, we present them workshops that help them understand how they can do their best missionary work. We teach them how to effectively share the gospel by asking questions, sharing the Book of Mormon and their testimony, and how to invite other people to act on the promptings of the spirit. It’s an MTC crash-course, if you will. We teach eight different classes a day, presenting the same thing, so they can come to whatever one fits with their rehearsal schedule. Today, right in the middle of one of our workshops we heard a, “CRASH…BOOM!” Then walked in a bunch of soaked, tired looking kids. Turns out they were practicing the destruction scene in 3rd Nephi, right before Christ comes. I think my mission is pretty normal, don’t you?
The cast members at the workshops have blown me away. Especially when the children come in and break out of their own comfort zone. It’s scary to talk to complete strangers! But these families have given me a new perspective on how impactful my job really is. “I could have been on the all-star baseball team, but I came here instead,” said a 9-year-old boy. Another boy his age said, “I would have gone to Germany, or one of my family reunions if I hadn’t of come to the Hill Cumorah Pageant.” The one that blew me the most away was, “I was going to go to the 2013 National Jamboree for the Boy Scouts of America, but He wants me to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon.” 
So yes, it’s been a beautiful, but hot week at the Hill Cumorah…not to mention the humidity that you could just slice through the air. (We’ve all given up on what our hair looks like.) But it’s kinda surreal to walk across the Hill and say hi to Alma, Moroni, King Noah, Lehi…you name who. Especially when they’re in costume. It always reminds me of the scripture in Moroni 8:14-15, “…but the record thereof is of great worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless. For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God.” I can’t think of a more literal way to bring the Book of Mormon to light than with 900 smiling saints, huge spotlight towers lining the Hill Cumorah, and 9,000 chairs set-up waiting for opening night.
I know for sure that what I’m doing is good, because it makes me happy. Not even happy…man I hope I can describe this. It fills my inner soul with a joy that could never be produced from men. Well, I tried, but I don’t think I really accurately explained how I really feel. Anyway, it makes me feel like that, so it must be inspired of God. “But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve Him, is inspired of God.” -Moroni 7:13. The Book of Mormon is true, I have no doubt about it. This Pageant is not just changing audience members’ lives, it’s changing the lives of the people who are in it. This morning, I had a mom come up to me today and tell me that her son finally knew why they went to church every week. This work is greater than I can even wrap my brain around, and bigger than any universe a million light-years away. Like President Francis said, “All good things come from hard things.” My weeks keep getting harder and harder, but my days keep getting better and better.  I know it’s true, and I thank my God every day to be a soldier in His army.
Hermana Hawkes

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