A New Self-Discovery

I’ve recently discovered that going completely out of the comfort zone…is my comfort zone.

This weekend alone, I took five full buses on tour at the respective sites I was working at. Two came at one time, and that was even after a long day of running and praying little kids wouldn’t break anything in the print shop, and that’s exhausting in itself. Well, let me back up. When each tour bus comes in, we have to brief them (Mom that’s a shout-out to you) on what’s going to happen. It seems that I am always picked to do the “briefing.” I explain who is in which group, what floor they are going to first, any announcements, and most important bring the Spirit…with a loud enough voice so everyone can hear me. I also seem to have really random questions asked that make it that more fun to try and make them have a great experience. So as I was teaching each of the groups, I noticed that I have this big push of energy that seems to come from out of nowhere. Of course I know Who provides it, and He always seems to energize me when I get in front of large crowds. Even on the drive home, we were totally exhausted, but I feel like I could have gone six hours of talking to people. That was easily one of the highest moments of my life. I was so extremely happy, because I could actually feel the Lord proud of me for what I had done.  Especially when I’m conversing with adults or old people. Oh man–I love old people. (Sorry–wrong term?) They have so much knowledge and want to learn even more, and the group conversations we get into are always fantastic. They really are interested in what me, a 21-year-old has to say, and that makes everything that much better.

Speaking of seniors, the senior couples here are absolutely incredible. I figured out why they are all so hilarious. It’s because they are retired, they are on a mission with their spouse and no one else, and the only argument they have is what is considered “dusk” to close up the sites. I’ve learned that even though they’ve gone through more trials than I even want to imagine, I look at them and they are so happy. They are so happy. They know what’s important in life and it’s not bills that need to be paid, someone at work causing you to be late, wondering how good they look in the mirror, but it’s doing everything that’s in their your power, and then trusting in the Lord. I have fifteen sets of grandparents that think their job is to care for the sisters. They would do absolutely anything for me. And vice versa–I would do anything for them! Sister Graham and I were commenting how we couldn’t imagine a mission without them. They complete the New York Rochester Mission.

Another comfort zone discovery is that I actually like to stick it to people. For example, today at TJ Maxx after this guy is almost done ringing up my purchase:

Cashier (26-ish year old guy): “So, are you like…a nun?”
Me (trying not to laugh hysterically): “No. I’m a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Have you heard of it before?”
Cashier: “Nope. I don’t believe in God.”
Me: “YOU DON’T?! WHY??”
Tyler (I looked at his name tag) : “Whoa, um…I just don’t…”
Me: “Well, Tyler, I can promise you that there is one. Here’s a mormon.org card for you to go check it out! This is one of the coolest websites, and I can again promise you that you’ll relate to someone on there!”
Tyler: “No, I don’t believe in Mormons.”
Me: “Well, can you just take this card? I really know that you’re going to love it.”
Tyler: “Please don’t give me that card.”
Me: “Okay, well I know there’s a God! I hope you’re having a great day!”

Who knows if that was the correct approach. Maybe I should have been more loving and understanding on why Tyler didn’t believe in God. Actually…nah. How can I understand that? I can’t. So when people tell me they aren’t Mormon, or they don’t like the Mormons, you just shock them out of their pants and tell them what they’re missing out on something that could change their lives forever. That might ring a bell for them the next time they talk to a missionary. Then at the sites on Sunday, I came across a 19-year-old girl who was on the fence about turning in her mission papers. After the tour, her family was just wandering around and we started talking one-on-one. I told her how much this could change her life and was pretty insistent on her just going. Just about five minutes into our conversation, she sincerely thanked me for what I said, and told me that she was now seriously considering it. So you see, in just a short amount of time, you can change the way people think about themselves, the way people feel about themselves, and show them the way God feels about them. That’s what being a missionary is all about. That’s our comfort zone.

I better wrap this up, but one of the greatest compliments I ever received was, “I’m like my mom on steroids.” Well, I have to be! I only have a year left! Today was transfers, and the sister that came on my transfer but a year earlier, just went home. It’s really strange to think I’m already a third done. I don’t want to be a third done. I just got here. I need to do everything I can, and seriously duct tape this thing to full throttle. I love being a missionary, and even if I do no more than convince others to go on missions–it was worth it. Congrats to Nicole and Hannah for their decisions! Along with the anchors close behind in Sarah and Maddy. I know I’m missing MANY more others, but really, the decision to go is a decision of a lifetime. There’s absolutely nothing you will regret other than not going. “The Lord is getting ready to send His Priesthood army to the earth, and who better to send them to mothers who have served missions?” -President Hinckley (paraphrasing)

Thank you all for the support and prayers. It’s felt all the way here to New York. Harmers, thank you for the Jelly Bellies, stamps and letters…it made my whole week! I love you all…even if I am a nun. 🙂


Sister Hawkes