It’s the most wonderful time…to be a missionary. Where do I even start? I wish you could all see my journal from the past week.
Monday: If I could just record a typical day in a missionary’s life…TODAY WAS THE DAY. Everything cancelled on us.
Tuesday: Great day. Lots of psychotherapy.
Wednesday: Today was another one of those days when I never want to leave the mission field.
Thursday: My legs hurt. Can I say that again? My legs hurt.
Friday: I’m really glad today is over.
Saturday: This was the best day of my life.
Sunday: I lied. THIS was the best day of my life.
The highlight of the week helped me cross something off my bucket list: singing with a live jazz band. One of the greatest men in our ward, Jerry Johnson, plays the jazz guitar like you’ve never seen before. He put together a band awhile ago, and they do concerts all over western New York. I told him one day at Church that I love to sing jazz…and that ended up in an impromptu concert at the Albion library on Wednesday! We came to support him while they were performing a Christmas show, and the pianist asked me to get up and sing the last two numbers. There was at least 20 people there–not too many, but it was so much fun. I sang Silent Night first, then ended with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. When we finished, one of the women in the audience yelled, “who are you?” We all laughed, but it gave me one of the greatest opportunities to bear my testimony. I talked about how Sister Torres and I are just two of thousands of missionaries across the world, and that we decidate 18 months to 2 years of our lives to talk about how Jesus Christ is our Savior. I told them what He meant to me, and invited them to check out mormon.org. We did go up and speak to a few people individually, those we could catch, but they politely declined a Christmas message. Who knows if anything came from it? All I know is that I felt the spirit bearing witness to me and to them it was true. It was Heavenly Father again granting me a wish of speaking to as many people as possible in the smallest amount of time–something that I’ve prayed for since I turned in my papers.
Yesterday was also a memorable day. We went to share more Christmas messages with members from the ward and their friends. The first home we went to is someone who I very highly respect. Mary is a single mother, and served four years in the Marine Corps. Let me tell you–she gets things done. As we were having a great conversation about how Christ is the center of our gospel, we hear the doorbell ring. Mary kinda looks at us like, “here we go.” She walks up to the door and we hear a “no thanks, we’re LDS. Actually, we have the missionaries over right now…” That was my cue to stand up and go over to the door, and introduce myself with a very firm handshake. I easily stood a foot taller than both of them! You shoulda seen their faces when I gave them a mormon.org card with a smile and told them this is where you find the fulness of the gospel. They were extremely nice people, and I wished so bad that we could have a nice conversation on the couch. They seemed very hestitant to come in, so Mary just let them go and we went back to talking. In the moment, it was just a funny picture to have in my head. I also don’t know if I’ve ever had a stronger confirmation of the truth in my heart. Living in Utah, it was my first time talking with missionaries from other religions, and it just confirmed to me that what I was doing was right. It’s different having the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
As you can see, Christmas as a missionary is the greatest. If people aren’t totally receptive, at least they are nicer. Instead of a door-slam, it’s a “we appreciate what you’re doing for Christ, but we’re all set.” It’s definitely a lot better! We had a great discussion about that at the Christmas Devotional on Tuesday with half the mission. The Rochester and Buffalo zones got together to hear President and Sister Christianson speak, have musical numbers, and watch “The Ultimate Gift.” I got caught in a moment in time where I wanted this train to stop, and park at “being a missionary” in my life for a few more minutes. These past seven months have seemed like hours, and I can’t handle it if it goes by any faster. There’s not enough time to learn everything I want to learn. There’s not enough time to serve the people I want to, and certainly not enough time to realize everything that is taking place.
Last week I asked if any of you had friends that could use the Church in their lives–have you pondered on it long enough? If you haven’t, keep thinking about it and invite them to learn from the missionaries. I can promise you that it will absolutely change the way they think of lfe, and may even change the way they think about you. You could become someone’s richest blessing. Keep thinking about it.
Thanks for the Christmas letters and packages some of you have sent. They are waiting to be opened underneath our little Christmas tree! I appreciate the prayers and the love. Oh, one more thing, President Christianson emphasized again in the last meeting that online proselyting is skyrocketing, and we need to be doing as much as we can. I’m putting each of my letters home on my blog: sistermonicahawkes.wordpress.com. If any of you have a blog, will you link mine to yours? Also, could you think of ways to get this wonderful message about Christ out in your own words? I’ve noticed a lot that people are scared of talking face-to-face, and we get a lot more work done online than you think. More often than not our referrals come from mormon.org. If you need ideas, and/or examples about how this online thing should really work, look up Al Fox on Facebook or google. She was baptized in this mission a few years ago, and has taken online proselyting to the next level–without a nametag on.
Merry Christmas, and BE HAPPY!