Go Forward And Not Backward

pwfedit1“And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel and of Raphael, and of divers angels from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope.

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!”

-Doctrine and Covenants 128:21-22

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The Sixth Day of April, 1830

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“Most of life’s momentous hours are recorded, but what these men did on that humble occasion would not have given the world much reason to take note. What they did, however, ranks among the most important events ever to have transpired since the death of Jesus and his Apostles in the meridian of time.

These humble, ordinary men gathered because one of them, Joseph Smith Jr., a very young man, had set forth a most remarkable claim. He declared to them and all others who would listen that he had received profound and repeated heavenly communications, including an open vision of God the Father and his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. As a result of these revelatory experiences, Joseph Smith had already published the Book of Mormon, a record of Christ’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of America. Furthermore, the Lord had commanded this young man, by now only twenty-four years of age, to reinstitute the Church that had existed in New Testament times and that in its restored purity should again be designated by the name of its chief cornerstone and eternal head, the Lord Jesus Christ himself.”

-Howard W. Hunter

For this full General Conference talk in April 1991, CLICK HERE.

Fine Tuning

Isn’t it just great that when you think you’ve got it, you don’t? It’s been an occurring theme in my mission.

Ether 12:27–“And if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

So He’s saying that when we finally get the humility to come to Him, we get smacked in the face with weaknesses? That’s exactly what He’s saying. He never said it was going to be easy. Coming on my mission, and even in the MTC, I thought that if I just slowly but surely work at all of these things, they will come. However, I have learned that I still have to work slowly and surely, but they don’t come all on my time frame. This is what I call fine tuning.

Yesterday, we spent a lot of time on mormon.org chatting. There weren’t too many people at the Hill Cumorah so we had time to get our brains fried. Teaching people online is probably one of the most mentally draining thing I’ve done. (Besides producing my first show at True Blue.) We get every single kind of person from all over the world asking absolutely anything they want to. We had some great conversations–members who didn’t know quite the correct doctrine and are too afraid to ask their leaders in person, investigators with their missionaries who are making sure this is the truth, and Bible-whizzes sincerely wanting proof that the Book of Mormon is real. However, we do get some who are bored, and just want to argue. That’s when I know my study for the next day will be centered around Preach My Gospel Chapter 6: Christlike Attributes. I never knew how upset I really can get when someone jokes about my Older Brother. What they don’t know is that this could bring them happiness. Pure joy. That person they are speaking lightly of can literally save them. That’s when I have to tell myself that the war in Heaven is continuing and it’s little annoying Satan that wants to make my job more difficult.

In Doctrine and Covenants 84:88, Christ says, “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” Now tell me that isn’t comforting? That single scripture (along with many others) has pulled me through those rough times. There is no other person in the entire universe that could give me the feeling I get when I know He is lifting me up, and magnifying my words.

One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had at the sites happened just last week. Sister Graham and I were working at the Peter Whitmer Farm in Fayette. We were chatting online waiting for some people to come in for a tour. Finally, a very cute Canadian couple, each not over 5’5″, walked in and said they were “site seeing in Western New York.” (Um hello…? There’s a barn over there, a tree over there…oh and a corn field across the way!) So as you can tell, it was the Spirit that led them here. They introduced themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Latley. They were Catholic, and hadn’t heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before. They said they had 15 minutes before they had to leave, so I took them straight to the log home. As we were walking there, I gave them the watered down version of the Church. Hard to do? Yes. As soon as we got in there, I just took a deep breath, and said, “So this is where the Church was organized.” Apparently the spirit magnified my voice, because they got silent. I let their heart and eyes wander for a bit, and then I went on to explain what happened on the day of April 6, 1830. Mrs. Latley then said, “You mean to tell me, that this is the same church that Jesus Christ formed on the earth?” I said “Yes, and nothing has changed.” I then explained the Book of Mormon and where the record came from. Mr. Latley then questioned the use of the Bible for us and I told him that the Book of Mormon, in fact, proves that the Bible is even true. That’s when both their eyes got very wide, and listened to even more of what I had to say. After about half an hour, I had explained most of the details of the Restoration. They mentioned they had never felt like this before, and telling me when their next trip to the sites would be. Without even me asking, Mr. Latley gave me his card for me to call them and explain more. Now, five days later, we have exchanged e-mails back and forth and they are doing some “real soul-searching, and will call me with any questions.”

The reason that experience was so memorable, is because I could physically see the spirit working on them. They knew that what I was telling them was true, and they could not deny it. They gave it away right in their eyes. They were absolutely impressed with the dedication, diligence, and spirituality that all of these young sisters have. What they didn’t know, is that we don’t do this on our own. The spirit worked through me to invite them back to the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and then for them to ask me to  personally give them another tour of the sites next year.

The experiences I’ve had this week have fine-tuning in patience and love to help me be a better daughter, sister, mother, wife, and friend. Yes, I came to Christ. Yes, I did realize many more weaknesses in myself. But that’s just because it gives me the opportunity to make them stronger. This is a lifelong journey and I will continue to be humbled with weakness. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thanks, again, for all of your support. The missionaries appreciate it more than you can even imagine, and going home after a long day, knowing that someone still remembers you, is one of the best feelings in the world. Thank you so much. I hope you all have a great week!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes

Hard, But Successful Week!

REBECCA IS ONE OF US!!! Just had to give a shout-out to my best friend Reb who just got to the MTC on Wednesday. I am so excited! (And you’re welcome for the package 🙂

So this week…I honestly can’t really remember what happened. So much in so little time. Hopefully if I just keep typing, I’ll think of something to write. Anyway, we started at the Peter Whitmer Farm in Fayette. I had a couple of non-members that just “drove past” and wanted to stop in. (This place is out in the middle of nowhere.) I wanted to squeeze them and say, “that was the SPIRIT!” …but I didn’t. I held my Christlike composure. I took them through the home, and shared the First Vision. They looked at me like I had just given them a new car. It was absolutely wonderful. They each took a Book of Mormon and (hopefully) they’ll read it. That was 2 out of 4 people that I taught the whole day. It was really slow, but I got lots of studying in. I probably read half of Jesus the Christ. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I definitely grew 1,000% closer to the Savior just by reading about Him.

The rest of our week was filled with proselyting and working shifts at the sites. I saw the newlyweds Sarah and Brian at the Farm! That was really fun to see them. I also had lots of good tours on the farm, too. I still am trying to wrap my head around the fact that I get to teach at the Sacred Grove pretty much everyday. That makes our job so much easier. However, it doesn’t make the proselyting easier. It is so hard because of all the history there. Yesterday, I got an Anti at the Hill Cumorah. I don’t mind so much talking to them, but it’s the fact that my heart just hurts for them. Even hours after they leave, I wish so badly I could do something. But I can’t at all. I want them to realize how great this Gospel is for them. That’s the hard part. Even tracting yesterday, we got slammed doors and the famous line, “I’m all set.” Do you people not realize the blessings you could have? I just don’t understand.

Awesome thing yesterday while tracting though…I we met a nice woman from Honduras named Estella, but I called her “Estalita” and she just loved it. She didn’t speak too much English, so I spoke to her in Spanish. When I started speaking en Espanol, she got so excited. I can’t speak that much, but oh my goodness, how the Holy Ghost brings things to your remembrance. (I may or may not have been studying Spanish pamphlets…) I knew everything she was saying and I could respond in a way that brought the Spirit. She told me she was Catholic, and she appreciated us coming over, but she was in and out of the hospital with knee problems. I told her a little about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. She loves Jesus Christ, so I played up on that. I happenedto have a Spanish Book of Mormon in my backpack, so I took it out and gave it to her and told her this was another testament of Jesus Christ in Central America and North America. She put up her hand and said, “oh I’m sorry, I don’t have any money.” Sister Correia understood that in Spanish and she’s like, “OH IT’S FREE!” haha she said, “en serio??” and I told her that our job is to invite others to Christ and I really wanted her to have this book that testified of Him. She was so excited. We set up a return appointment! When we walked away, we were a few steps off her lawn, and I looked back, and she was still standing in the same position just staring at this Book. I could see her mouthing, “Otro Testamento de JesuCristo” with a huge smile on her face. It made my whole week! There are so many Latinos in Newark–I wish I could teach them all. My Spanish is only good enough for a first visit. But good news, I’m going on Spanish exchanges on Friday! Sister Torres (from Nicaragua) and I are going all day tracting from our Spanish Area Book that we found in our apartment from Newark. Sent from God? I think so. Sister Correia found it in one of the closets…”SISTER HAWKES! A SPANISH AREA BOOK!” (Obviously she gets excited about everything. I love her.) But of course, I get excited about everything too so we had a little dance party in our living room. (And yes, dancing is not missionary-appropriate but it only lasted about 10 seconds.) It was awesome. Hopefully Friday will go well!

That’s all I have for this week. We aren’t doing anything terribly exciting today for P-day, because I am playing 2 musical numbers at Zone Conference and Site Meeting tomorrow, accompanying another musical number, and playing all the hymns…so I’ve got lots of practicing to do. And grocery shopping. And haircuts. And washing cars. Anyway, thanks again for all of your prayers support. I love being a missionary.

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes