Duct Tape it to Full Throttle

This week has been one of the best weeks of my life.

Mission President interviews were on Wednesday, with some extremely exciting news!! Mom and Dad (Grandma and Grandpa too) get ready to send me some Spanish materials, because…I’M STUDYING SPANISH!! That was one of the first things he brought up. I told him in one of my letters that I take Spanish tours sometimes at the sites…and I only say about half in Spanish because I don’t know the rest. He encouraged me to start studying the language so I can communicate with more people and help them feel the spirit! It is wonderful. So, if anyone has good Spanish materials I can study, they would be much appreciated. I’ve almost got the First Vision memorized.

We planned to take our investigator, Sandee, to the Relief Society Broadcast with us. We called her a couple hours before it started, and unfortunately said she couldn’t make it. We’ve also been having a hard time finding her a ride to church. (Our area is about the size of South Salt Lake.) Sister Graham and I were so bummed, and immediately went into one of the rooms in the chapel to ask our Heavenly Father what to do. (It’s very nice to be able to go straight to the source.) I offered one of the most sincere prayers of my life, asking Him to help us know how to get her to Church, how to teach her, and how to let her know that this is important. After I was done, we just sat there, hoping to think of anything we could do. We thought of some ideas, and then opened the door to walk out. And lo and behold…our bishop is standing right there! Sister Graham and I both just look up and smile. He was probably caught way off guard because we were ecstatic to see him. We told him the situation, and all three of us thought of some great ideas to get Sandee to church. As of yesterday, we found a solution for her to come and feel the spirit. If I learned nothing else, it was teaching me how much one person means to God. The same amount of work is placed one one person, as if it were a hundred. Exactly like the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

And I haven’t even gotten to how the Broadcast was impacted on my personal goals. Remember my “prove me now moments?” I decided to take a brand-new notebook, and write a question on the top of each page. At first, I thought, “this might be too much for Heavenly Father, these are a lot of questions.” Then I thought about my own question. Too much for Heavenly Father? Wow, that was stupid. I kept on writing more questions down. I had about six or seven different questions that I had been thinking about. And guess what? Each one was answered. But that’s not the coolest part. They are still being answered during my personal study and other meetings and conferences. So I’ve dated each question, and also dated each answer. It’s really neat to have my own little Doctrine and Covenants. Anyway, after this experiment, I found myself explaining it to a family in a tour at the Smith Farm. (Well, it was actually two families. One was a part-member family, and the other was a family who’s son was about to serve a mission.) I explained how helpful it had been, and encouraged them to do the same thing. When I finished, the mom of the future missionary said, “I don’t believe it, what you just said was an answer to my question.” She is a seminary teacher and has been wondering for so long how to prepare her students for upcoming General Conference. When I explained it, she realized that that was exactly what she needed to do. I then looked over to the non-member in our tour, and I swear I saw her wipe a tear away! She even promised that she would write down a few questions this weekend. Another lady said, “I’m going to text all of my friends and tell them to do that!” You see, it was a small and simple thing, with great things brought to pass. By being an empty vessel for the Lord, I was able to just blurt out something I had never even thought about, bless the lives of the people present, bless the mother’s seminary class, and bless all of that woman’s friends. I’ve learned over and over again that the Lord never wastes His time with His missionaries.

Right after I finished this incredible tour, who else comes out of the Frame Home other than Shawn Stringham! Oh my goodness it was so good to see her. I got to take her and her family through the Threshing Barn and the Cooper Shop, and then the best part–walk with them through the Sacred Grove. Like I said, it was an incredible day. We even went to go see a referral, who Sister Graham and I immediately adored. Her name is Amanda, and she’s a cancer survivor. We can’t wait to go teach her again.

I should probably explain the subject of this e-mail before I finish. In the broadcast, President Eyring spoke about working hard in any capacity that you have. He quoted President Hinckley saying “I’ll duct tape this to full throttle until someone else is called.” What a good visual to know how hard you should work. The Lord won’t give you anything you can’t handle. Check out 1 Nephi 3:7 for more information. It’s made me even more motivated to do all that I can to make sure none of the Lord’s time is wasted. It’s been on my mind all week, and has affected each of the experiences I told you about.

Time to go, but just know that I love you, and I love the Lord so very very much. We are so blessed.

BE HAPPY!

Sister Hawkes

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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…)

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