Ask, And Ye Shall Receive

Incredible things are happen in the mission field all the time and most go unidentified. But our Father in Heaven was nice enough to give us a play-by-play this week.

The story of the week has to come from last Tuesday night, just a few hours after I wrote last week’s e-mail. Once P-day ended at 6, we had planned to go out and contact some potential investigators living on MoHawk street. (By the street name, you already know it’s going to be a success, right?) We couldn’t find parking, so we had to walk a ways in order to get to our destination. On the way, we saw two women…one that we had already talked to the day before. She told us that “prophesy has ceased” and the whole conversation felt like a scene straight out of The Restoration. I knew she would be so excited to see us again, so we gave her the pleasure one more time! However, we hadn’t talked yet to her cousin, Shawntia. We presented her with a mormon.org card and gave her a snippet of the Plan of Happiness. She looked at the card, looked back at us, and invited us on her porch to talk. We spent about 45 minutes telling her that Christ had come to America, that she can feel “this feeling she’s feeling right now” constantly, and that she’ll be able to be with her family forever. I’ve never seen any one’s face like hers; I don’t think she blinked while she looked back and forth to Sister Steel and I, and her mouth was wide enough open that we could almost see her tonsils. Once she consciously closed her mouth, she said, “Are there members of your church that live across the street right there?” There weren’t–as far as we knew. “Because I saw two boys just fifteen minutes ago. They were driving a red car…oh, and they have this tag that you’re wearing,” she said, pointing to my name tag. “I couldn’t really hear them, but I felt something when they drove up. I tried to get closer to hear what they were saying, but my step-daughter called me in, and once I came out…they were gone. But then, you show up just a few minutes later. You must be EVERYWHERE!” By the end of the conversation, she had accepted baptism, and we have another appointment set. Unfortunately, her grandfather just passed away a couple of days after we met her, so her progress has been hindered a bit. She’s one of the most humble women I’ve met in the past year, and I can’t wait to tell her all that her Heavenly Father wants her to know. More details coming soon!

Because of our new calling being STL’s, we get to go on exchanges with eight different companionships of sisters per transfer. Since we got late notice this transfer, we’ve been doubling up the past couple of weeks. I went to Webster with Sister Noble, and we taught a man named Jeff. We taught him the first lesson–The Restoration–and when we opened up the first few pages of the Book of Mormon to show him what Moroni looked like, he said, “Yeah, he looks like he’s from Rochester.” Love it. We also have a lot more exchanges coming up, which means our investigators will be really confused when a different set of sisters come every time we teach them. Oh well, we’ve got the same message, right? 🙂 I learn so much on exchanges…I realize more and more why Christ assigned this to me. It’s because I need to learn a lot more than I already do now. (Well, duh.) These sister missionaries are geniuses. I obviously need to get something from each of them. The exchanges go 24 hours, so it’s like we’re having sleepovers once a week. It even makes it better that we have four beds in a row in one room, and the other room is our study room! And oh yeah, this is funny. Last night, we were woken up at two in the morning by Sister Noble saying, “Would you like to go on a tour?” Don’t worry, two of us were dreaming that we were giving tours already. I dreamt that I gave a tour to the General Primary Presidency. Give us a break–at least our eyes are single to the glory!

We’ve just had so many things happen this week that I had to write down before we went anywhere else–definitely not out of the ordinary for a missionary. I also now know exactly what Nephi feels when he said, “For I pray continually [for my people] by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.” -2 Nephi 33:3. For the past couple weeks, it’s been beating me up that so many people are here on earth, living and breathing, but only a small amount of us truly know the way to our Heavenly Father. Thankfully, He has heard many prayers from me, begging on my knees, to soften the hearts of the people. When I ask, He listens…and it happens. I am a sure witness of that.

I was born to be a missionary. It’s so hard, but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t be anywhere else. We all say that if we could just see our family for a day, we could go another year and a half no problem. Thanks for all of your support. I really can feel your prayers…I wish I could say, “You have no idea,” but I’m sure some of you do. When other people pray for you, it’s like you have a back-up army that gives you a water break just in the nick of time. I love you all!

BE HAPPY!

Hermana Hawkes

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