The Leaves are Changing!

I’m obsessed with the Fall, so seeing the leaves change here in upstate New York is INCREDIBLE! Thanks for sending my boots mom, now I have no excuse not to be fashionable! Also a huge congrats to Nicole who is on the plane right now to Jerusalem!

This week went by really fast, and that’s a good thing because I’ve got some bad news. Remember Mark and his three friends that we were teaching last week? Well, they dropped us. Sometimes I hate free agency. Then not more than 5 minutes after we got off the phone, we got another phone call to be dropped by another investigator. That makes the total count of progressing investigators at: one. Sister Correia lightened it up after she got off the phone with them by saying, “well at least we’ll know what it’s like to get dumped in the real world. People tell us here they’re not interested all the time!” Which is a positive approach. But nonetheless, still terribly horrific. Horrific is the perfect word to describe, because they don’t know what they’re missing out on. I only wish I could say or do something the first time they see us that they just realize how important this is. That does happen, but unfortunately it only happens when their hearts are soft. I have no doubt that the Spirit was in Mark’s home during that lesson, because it was one of the most powerful lessons I’ve ever taught. Not that I’ve taught many, but it was definitely there, and He was bearing witness of Himself. That makes me just the more sad to know they felt it, and denied it. Please–no one do that. That is worse than dying. In dad’s last letter, he hit the nail on the head (did ya like that, mom?) with the consequences of denying the Christ. That person will be able to see their ripple effects forever on how they could have done better. Not only them, but their descendants that will never know because of what their parents didn’t accept. Yikes.

On Saturday I had exchanges with one of the site trainers! It was really fun. We called lots of referrals, tracted just one street, and worked at the HCVC. When we were tracting, we found a few potentials! One we found spoke Spanish. SCORE. So I need to get another Spanish exchange going so we can teach these people! Our last one wasn’t too effective (everyone said they were “all set”) so hopefully the next time around we’ll catch some people that are home and get some new ones. Newark is crawling with Hispanics and I want to get out to them as soon as I can!

Our ward efforts have really increased. We’ve been studying PMG chapter 13 about Stake and Ward leaders and our responsibilities. Apparently, we never had a Ward Mission Plan! Whoops! So our district has been working hard to get one together so our missionary efforts can increase in the ward. It’s tough, but hey–everything in a mission is tough. I’ve learned that you can’t let absolutely anything fall through the cracks or someone down the line gets in trouble. There is my business lesson for the week. 🙂 Delegate and follow through! That’s the most important thing to get anything done in any capacity. Especially missionary work–you know, saving souls? Yeah, kinda important.

Well, this is Sister Correia’s last week on the mission. She goes back to Hawaii next week! I’ll miss her! We’ve grown to be really close and it’s sad to see her leave. So today is her last P-day, and we’re going to take a tour of the Hill Cumorah. Yes, for missionaries only. That just means if you want the best trip to New York you’re going to have to bring me along in the future. But I’ll get a new companion on Wednesday so that will be really fun! I love the unknown so I’m super excited. Bring it on. I’ll let you know who the lucky girl is next week. I already know I’m going to like her.

I think that’s it for the week, I learned a lot in personal study that is just too much to write down. I wrote it all in my journal though, don’t worry. I learned a lot on baptism (thanks to “Raised in Glory”–shoutout to Mom, Elayne and Janet), lots on the Restoration, and lots on the endowment. I appreciate you all for your prayers on the missionaries behalf. It’s definitely felt, and the work is moving forward. It’s moving forward to those who actually are seeking it, though, which is the most important. We just had a handful of baptisms in our mission last week of people who have been prepared to hear this wonderful message. So your prayers are working! I love you all!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes

p.s. Please everyone cheer extra loud for my Cougars this week. Really. Please. My heart hurts just a little bit that True Blue is being filmed on the field. AH! Tell them I love them. (This message is from me and Sister Woahn in the MTC…not even a mile from the stadium…)

Conquer This Place or Die

And it just keeps getting better! This week we were blessed with four new investigators.

But…sorry to burst your bubble…none of them showed up to Church. HA. It’s okay–we’ll get them soon. One of them we are taking to the Sacred Grove tomorrow. How cool is it that we get to say, “hey, you wanna go to the Sacred Grove? Okay great. Wednesday? Awesome.”

I LOVE MY MISSION.

This week I was studying in Alma 56 about Helaman’s state of war with the Lamanites. That guy is never going to give up. When I read v. 16–I thought of missionary work. 🙂 “Yea, and they were depressed in body as well as in spirit, for they had fought valiantly by day and toiled by night to maintain their cities; and thus they had suffered great afflictions of every kind.” Then in v. 17, “And now they were determined to conquer in this place or die…” Helaman was so proud of his strong warriors. They were young and had huge hearts. That’s exactly what we need to do. We can’t give up because the Lord is counting on us. Wherever He places us in life, it’s the most opportunity for missionary work. So your job is to conquer in [that] place or die, whether you’re serving a full-time mission or not.

I get to fight and conquer with 35 of my closest sisters, 20 sets of grandparents, a mom and a dad, and my huge support system back home. We had a Site BBQ last week for site meeting and President just told us to look out over the grove. It was sunset, and he told us to take a huge mental landscape picture so we would never forget it. I was squished up with all of my sisters, just looking out over the most sacred place in the United States. (According to President Hinckley!) I am so lucky to have this place to conquer, just like Moroni did. We have the exact same mission location! I think of the characters in the Book of Mormon a lot. The things they did, the things they saw, and especially the things they wrote were key to having the fullness of the gospel in the Latter days. We would not be in this place if it wasn’t for the bravery and courage of each one of those men. But wait! In v. 47 and 48–it was all because of their mothers. If they didn’t have their mothers by their side, they wouldn’t have had that bravery. In the margins next to that, I wrote “Parenting 101.” This is exactly how I need to raise each of my children. As weird as it seems–as much as I think about the Book of Mormon characters, I think of the kids I’m going to be stuck with! Just kidding, not stuck with. I’ll be stuck with them if I don’t do my job. I NEED to do my job as a mother to teach them all how to be servants of the Lord. I can’t force them to believe. But I can show them by example. I keep remembering the quote by President Hinckley that I shared a few letters back. It’s really the job of mothers now to raise the Priesthood army. Especially the women who have been called to serve missions. Not that we are above the rest, I just don’t know where I would be with even these three months of a mission under my belt. I think a lot about how I’m going to raise those kids and realize how much it will be in the Lord–all due to my mission so far. It’s a long journey ahead of me, but with all the instruction and blessings I’ve been given, it’s the only thing I can do.

I’ve had lots of neat experiences this week, but none that stick out of the ordinary amazing mission life. Saturday we went tracting for a few hours in Clifton Springs and we got rejected each and every time. However, on the way home, we were singing at the top of our lungs in the car with the windows down because we were so happy. Did we just get dumped? Yes! But we knew that we worked our hardest and the Lord, in His own due time, would bring to remembrance what we had said to those people.

Personal study this week has been through the roof. I’ve studied just basic doctrines from PMG, but then it ends up being a deep doctrinal study and I understand it on a level I’ve never experienced before. I thought I had a strong testimony before. But whatever it was, it wasn’t this! Every single day I am building a relationship with my Heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ. I know that the windows of my mind are open to my understanding while I’m set apart on this mission, so I’m trying to write everything down that I learn in my study journal so I don’t forget anything.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and your letters–they mean a lot. It’s so fun to see at least one person I know each week at one of the sites. It makes me feel like I’m not in a dream, and that I’ll make it more a reality throughout the rest of my life. I really can’t imagine what I would have done if I didn’t decide to come here. Now we are off to the lighthouse at Sodus Point to have a picnic with our Nima’s Calzones. 🙂 Google the place, you’ll be jealous!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes

Let the Games Begin

PAGEANT HAS BEGUN! Oh man…I have not shaken so many hands in my entire life.

 
But I totally love it. Mom, I’m totally turning into you. When little kids shake my hand, I say almost every time, “Break my hand! Break my hand! Look me in the eye!” And they of course grab on with two hands and literally try to break it. It’s awesome. They are so sweet. Monday morning we taught a bunch of 10-year old boys about how to be missionaries and simply to open their mouth. (We had about 8 workshops with all different age groups that went until this afternoon.) It’s funny if you tell them something will make them become men…surprisingly, they will do it. Let’s just say we had lots of firm, strong handshakes and big smiles. It was FANTASTIC. I also love tailoring each workshop to the different age groups. Sometimes we have adults, some YSA, some Primary…but the coolest thing about it is that we all are teaching the same message.
 
3 steps to missionary work:
 
1. Open your mouth. TALK TO EVERYONE!
2. Use scriptures and testify of Jesus Christ. We are a Christ centered Church (obviously). 🙂
3. Invite them to do something. Make sure to offer them a commitment, or else they won’t do anything.
 
So those are the three workshops that we have covered the last three days. Now we go into their individual team tents to role-play with them. It is a blast. Speaking with, not to, 900 people a day is the best job in the world. Being able to teach and testify just as the Savior would is a miracle. “His voice to testify becomes the same as your voice. His hands, are your hands.” (Something like that from Pres. Eyring.) If all else fails, I just think of what Jesus Christ would say if he were my companion. As much fun as it is…I’m totally exhausted. Literally. Sister Correia and I fell into our chairs to write these e-mails.
 
Sunday night we had the missionary devotional. President Christianson came and blessed all of the cast that they would know what to say, know how to act, and most importantly, how to be missionaries. It was amazing to see a literal blessing, but throughout the whole cast while they were sitting in front of us. President had us full-time missionaries get up and recite The Standard Of Truth and the missionary purpose so they could see the power of memorization. It was powerful. Then we all stood to sing “Called To Serve” at the end of the devotional. Tomorrow is final dress rehearsal. But about 1,000 people are expected to come! So basically tonight is the last rehearsal. They have all done amazing. I saw the Resurrected Christ scene for the first time this afternoon. I was in absolute shock at how much the spirit is even brought into those rehearsals. Especially that scene! They pulled up the man who was playing Christ (my age) on a pulley into mid-air. He was holding a black sheet and then when the music cued him, he dropped the sheet so that the Savior appeared. Of course, this part will be in pitch black night so no one will see him going up, they will only see him appear in mid-air, appearing to people in America after the destruction. It was BEYOND powerful. I need to keep pinching myself that I’m actually here…and that I get to do this same thing next year.

Wow–I’m so tired. Not so much physically, but so tired mentally and spiritually. The weirdest thing though, is that all I want to do is go sit on a nice soft couch with my scriptures and teach a lesson to someone that needs Jesus Christ in their life. Oh man…I’m such a missionary! It really is the greatest job in the world. Even last week, I took a family on tour who only wanted to see the Smith log home, then go into the grove. So I taught a lesson in the home, then let them out the back door while I went out the front door. As soon as I closed the back door, I realized I was in Joseph Smith’s home alone. Nobody gets this chance. I just bowed my head and said a prayer of gratitude. When I was done, I left again through the front door, almost to hear Joseph Smith say, “let’s get back to work.” Sorry to be so personal, but I know for a fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He didn’t call it upon himself. This is the same gospel that Jesus Christ had when He taught on the Earth, and Joseph Smith has been prepared from the beginning to be the prophet of the Restoration.

I love your letters. Thank you so much for your support. Thanks to my family…and especially my family at BYUtv! I just got your letter at the end of a very exhausting day, and nothing else could have made me more happy than for Robbie to tell me that they feel like the lost boys in Peter Pan without their mother. I was just beaming. So thanks, everybody. 🙂 I’ll write you back soon!

This church is true. Read the Book of Mormon. But most importantly, read Moroni 10:4-5 before, during, and after your study sessions. Everyone here keeps saying it changed their life. But I would be lying if I said that. WEIRD, I know. However. Change means some sort of opposition. I have been SO lucky to be raised in a family that was based on the Book of Mormon. I have been living the principles since day one. BUT. The Book of Mormon has influenced my life in a way I could never imagine. I love it and Jesus Christ more than anything in this world. Love you all!!

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes

 

Monica with FUTURE MISSIONARIES! Monica and Cast Monica, Correia, and MORONI Actually.. this one is Moroni.. other is Nephi...