There’s Another Testament of Jesus Christ?

I love the Bible. What would anyone do without the Bible? It is the central point of doctrine of Jesus Christ–our Savior and Redeemer. The Old Testament was the scripture the world had before Christ came. It explained how to live and be happy according to God’s standards, and it testified of the Christ that would be coming. Then, once the people were ready for more, Christ did come, and He gave us the New Testament. With these two books of holy scripture, the world could rely on it’s testimony to feel the power of Christ in their lives. But before we go on, let me ask you these two questions:

1. Once He died…we’re supposed to think that’s it? Nothing else? What happened to the statement, “He is not dead, He is risen?” Well, if He’s risen, why would He stop communicating to us?

2. Why would Jesus Christ only visit His brothers and sisters at the place He just previously died? Didn’t Jesus Christ die for the sins of the whole world? What about the other followers of Christ that didn’t live in Jerusalem?

I guess those are techincally more than two questions–but you get the picture. Twice in the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 13:1 and in Matthew 18:16, it says, “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” If you’re familiar with Christianity, you know there’s a power to the number three. (See my previous post of the “power of three”: https://sistermonicahawkes.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/study-series-the-power-of-3/) So there’s a third witness to Jesus Christ? YES.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is “a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” (Book of Mormon, Introduction) There was a prophet in the Americas named Mormon, who abridged many records from past prophets who escaped Jerusalem before it was destroyed. They wrote about the coming of Christ, and the return of Christ…complete with nail marks in His hands and feet. This is one more way of God saying to us, “You guys, He really does exist! Just trust me!” The Book of Mormon in no way can replace the Bible, but it adds to it, and answers questions that aren’t too clear about the doctrine of Christ. It’s the book that you see all of the young men holding in their white shirts and black tags.  Our Heavenly Father wants to do anything He can to prove His love to us–if we just trust Him. That’s why He sent out missionaries, and that’s why it’s very important to read it, study it, and ask Him if it’s true or not for yourself.

I’ve got a simple invitation for you. Well it’s not really my invitation, it’s an invitation from your Father:

We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of it’s truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3-5)” (Book of Mormon, Introduction)

So next time you see one of those guys in a white shirt and tie–ask them for a Book of Mormon. (If you don’t ever see them, go to lds.org and click on Scripture, and that will lead you to the Book of Mormon–all online.) No doubt they’ll have one in their backpack, because they are carrying the same message that changed their own lives. They love it so much, that they are in the act of doing everything they can to serve their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s why I’m out here serving my own mission in New York. It means that much to me, and I know it will bring you more comfort in your every day life, simply by knowing Who’s you are and where you belong. I have taken my Father’s challenge for myself, and I have come to know the truth of the power of the Book of Mormon. I can’t force it down your throat, but man…you’re sure missing out if you don’t just try it. It also wasn’t a coincidence that you read this post…so what do you have to lose? Oh wait–your life.

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If you give a missionary a microphone…

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!
 
Hermana Hawkes

Planting Seeds…. One by One

Man, I love being in the mission field when stuff like this happens…I heard through the grapevine today that over 7,000 missionaries have submitted their papers in this past week alone. We’re having a Specialized Training on Thursday morning specifically for combat instructions when our fellow soldiers arrive. When we say we’re serving a mission, we’re serving a mission. Stay tuned next week for more details regarding the action plan.

We got a decent amount of time in our area this week, and also celebrating the first time to church for one of our investigators! She brought her family, and they really loved it. What a joy it is to sit next to a mother and her children during the sacrament, especially if they’ve never experienced it before. She is progressing wonderfully. We had another great lesson with her and a member who knows a lot of what she’s going through. Missionaries don’t go out to baptize the world, we go out to serve just as Christ would–one by one.

Sister Graham and I also got time to do some street contacting in Phelps. This village (yes, a village) is right outside Fayette. It’s amazing to me that something so big could happen just miles away where nobody knows the magnitude of it. Anyway, we came across a bearded man named Jim eating his lunch. My companion offered a mormon.org card with our contact information to him and asked if he had heard of the church before. He said he had grown up in Palmyra, and had made a trip to Salt Lake City before. He noted how nice the Mormons were and that he didn’t realize how important upstate New York was to us. We began just in a small conversation about it, then he eventually asked what two girls could do to change his heart. I said, “Do you really want to know? Our Heavenly Father created a Plan specifically for you–a way to get back to Him. He’s sent us to tell you about it. The best part is that we can’t force you to believe anything.” We then went on to explain how a person has to ask God with real intent, meaning he needs to commit to act on the answer he’s given. Then comes his next question, pretty sarcastically, “So you’re saying that I’ll get an answer straight from God.” Without any hesitation, Sister Graham and I both nodded our heads strongly and said, “YES.” It took him back a bit and it was silent for a few seconds. I said to him, “Jim, when we are done with this conversation, will you just ask Him if what we are telling you is true?” He said he would. We finished up our conversation, and went on our way. I don’t know what will ever come of that conversation. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. I know Jim felt the power of the Holy Ghost testify to him that whatever we said was true. Like I said, missionaries don’t “get baptisms,” we plant seeds.

We also had an opportunity to teach a recent convert about what my parents have taught me since day one. She wanted to know how her kids could stop being bullied at school. She was expecting us to have some amazing prophesy about it, but we simply  turned to 3 Nephi 12:44. “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.” My mom always taught me to “Kill ’em with kindness,” so that’s exactly what I told her! After her realizing this was the right thing to do, she wrote it down and said, “I’M PUTTIN THIS ON FACEBOOK!” Mission accomplished.

Again, I love being in this mission. Days feel like years, and months seem like hours. Time is totally messing my brain up, but I absolutely would not trade this mission for the world. The decision to go was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, and the ability to change a human heart can not be duplicated. I want all of you this week to find somebody who needs that invitation to come closer to Christ, and invite them to do that. Sometimes it’s not words. Maybe it’s just a hug, maybe just a smile, or something simple as asking them to go out to dinner with you. Commit yourself to this invitation tonight while you’re talking to Heavenly Father. Like I said, you probably won’t know what will come of it. But I promise something will. Maybe you’ll save a life.

Thanks for the support and prayers! I love you all!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes