Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spiritual Spanish Soap Opera (say that ten times fast)

Hola familia y amigos,
    Well, I'm super ticked because I'm pretty sure this cyber just gave my camera card a virus and deleted like half the photos from my entire mission. Luckily I had most of them saved on a USB, but I lost all the photos I took in the last several weeks including the monkey park photos and all of Freydel's baptism pics. I want to punch someone in the face. Grrrr. Maybe they're somehow just hidden and I'll be able to still locate them. I hope so.      
  I went to look for tights today because my legs have been cold in the rainy, windy weather and the first place I asked said, "For dogs?" and I said, "No, for people..." and she said they didn't have any so I went to look somewhere else and when I asked, "Do you sell tights?", they said the same thing! "Just for dogs". What!? Who in the heck puts tights on their dog?? Hahaha. It was pretty funny. Guess my legs will continue to freeze and get attacked by bugs. 
    Anyway, we had a great first week of transfers. I'm having a blast with Hna. Ewing. She is hilarious and we've gotten into some pretty great laughing fits. I decorated her a trunky agenda because she's finishing her mission this change and it's a tradition to make a super trunky last agenda with pictures of weddings and temples and stuff haha. She put her agenda face down on the table in a lesson without thinking and then I looked at her as if to say, ´Don't let them see that!´ and we both tried so hard to keep from laughing as she quickly swiped the agenda off the table and hid it in her bag. She TOTALLY reminds me of Crystal Nilsen and that just makes me love her even more. 
    Also, we were replacing a light switch in our house and our land lord was standing in the door watching and we were telling her how expensive the lightbulb was (cuz she made us replace it and told us it would be cheaper than it was) and just in that moment, as I was pulling it out of the package, it flew out of my hands and hit the floor and shattered. We just bust out laughing. The funniest part was that when we looked up, our land lord was gone. Hahaha. She didn't even laugh or say anything! She just walked away! She was probably thinking something like, "These crazy white girls." 
   We were so happy and suprised when two suuuper less active families that we had been visiting finally came to church! And they came on their own! We didn't even pass by for them! Better yet, we were able to bring an awesome family of investigators. We had a really amazing, sacred experience with them this weekend and I don't really want to go into a lot of detail, but it was basically like living a real-life Spanish soap opera haha. Anyway, to kind of give you an idea of the miracle that we witnessed, I wrote a poem.

Two days past, God blessed me to behold

An incredible miracle and joy unforetold

Wounds healed. Compassion shown.

Hearts softened. Love grown. 

The writings of Matthew held power and remedy

 And kept from falling apart, a beautiful family.

 Angry words he would later regret

Converted to love and a will to forget

The mistake of one still burdened with grief.

The grace of the Savior helped her find relief.

Two troubled missionaries knew not what to do,

And struggled to share a scripture or two.

Tears shed. Prayers said. A new faith spurred. 

Hope was found in a wise man´s words. 

In the cold morning mist, they found him again. 

With a countenance changed and a desire to mend

A bond almost broken and I’ll tell you more,

That bond became stronger than before.

From one day to the next, it was like black and white, 

The difference in atmosphere, like dark to light.

They were left in awe, smiling ear-to-ear,

And a wedding and baptism are now drawing near. 

One miraculous God, two thankful hearts,

And countless blessings from the moment a mission starts. 


I know that Jesus Christ can heal and change hearts. I like the scripture 2 Nephi 25:13 "Behold, they wil crucify him, and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings, and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Wherefore, my soul delighteth to prophesy concerning him, for I have seen his day and my heart doth magnify his holy name." He has healing in his wings and the power to save us even though we are ever unprofitable servants. I delight in sharing this message and seeing the miraculous effects it can have on people´s lives. 
   Sorry I couldn't send pictures as I promised. I´ll just send one from my comp´s camera. Love you all and hope you always appreciate the blessings the gospel brings to families. 
Hermana Hawkins

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Baptism Picture

Imágenes integradas 1

These are 4 people I taught in my last area who got baptized the week after I left! :) Left to right: Hna. Colado, Juan, Fernanda, Indyra, Nazareth, Hna. Castillo

Pictures!

Pics of my zone in Chinandega, and Gabriela's baptism.

Surprise Baptism and Transfers!

Helllooooo everyone!
     My comp had transfers! I was so shocked! I thought we would for sure be together for two changes, especially because she was only in her last area one transfer too. And now she's gonna be in a trio in Managua with the sister asistants to president! Crazy! I'm staying in Jinotega and my new comp is Hermana Ewing. She's a cute blond from California. This is her last transfer so I´ll be "killing her". I'm excited to be with her because she was already in Jinotega before in her mission so we´ll be able to go visit all her old investigators and give em another short to see if they´re ready for baptism now. Hermana Ewing taught Alex and Catalina who went to church to Sundays ago so they´ll be excited to see her. We´ve been on buses all day and I´m so worn out. I will sleep real good tonight. 
   This Saturday we were able to baptize a little girl named Freydel who´s 9 years old. It was probably the most spur-of-the-moment baptism I have ever had haha. Our possibilities for this month had fallen through and we were pretty sure we weren´t gonna have a baptism this transfer, but then on Wednesday we visited Freydel´s family and thought, "We could totally baptize her this Saturday!" Cuz she had been to church a bunch of times before with her mom. Her mom has been less active, but she was down for it, so we decided to plan it. We thought it would be a great way to get her mom excited to go back to church too. So we had her baptism Saturday and she was confirmed Sunday. Freydel´s pretty popular and was super excited to invite all her friends to her baptism and as a result, a bunch of her friends want to get baptized now and one of them went to church with her on Sunday! We met the girl´s family and taught her Dad and sisters and put a baptismal date with them for next month! It was pretty exciting. I don't have my camera with me today so I´ll have to send pictures next week. I´m glad Hermana Gubler and I could at least have one transfer together. 
   We had 4 investigators in church on Sunday. One of them was Indira and another was Luis (they both went to see the baptism last week). We were so happy to walk in and see them already seated and ready for church. But sadly, they didn´t stay after sacrament meeting so that made us worried that they didn´t get the best first impression of the church. Probably cause sacrament meeting started 20 minutes late again. Our branch needs some help. It mostly consists of relief society sisters and kids. We don´t even have a ward mission leader or an elder´s quorom president. But this week we have district conference so hopefully the leadres will have some ideas for how to help the branch. 
 Welp, that's all for this week. Until next week! Con amor, Hermna Hawkins

A Family at Church!

Hola familia y amigos!
   This week we were finally able to bring a family to church! There names are Alex and Catalina and they were former investigators that we picked up. 
  Unfortunately, Abelino still hasn't come to church and looks like he doesn't have a true desire to get baptized, so we're dropping him. Guess it was too good to be true.
   This Sunday we'll find out about transfers. I can't believe another transfer is already over! I only have three left! That's crazy!
  Our branch is really suffering with church attendance when it comes to priesthood holders. Sacrament meeting didn't start until 9:20 yesterday because  we were waiting for another priesthood holder to show up so there´d be someone to pass the sacrament. We only had the elders to bless it and one other guy, but he wasn´t in a white shirt and tie.
   Saturday night the elders had a baptism and we were able to have two investigators there! It was supposed to start at 6:20 and we were still passing by for investigators at that time and I decided to pass by for one more investigator and risk being late. So we went by the house of a family named Maura and Luis and Luis was there, shirtless, sitting in his chair relaxed watching TV and when I invited him to the baptism he said, "When?" And I said, "Right now... like in 15 minutes" and he paused, and then said, "yeah, I'm gonna go. Is it alright if I come at 7pm" and I said yes. But he just said it so easily that I felt like maybe he was lying and wasn't gonna show up, but a minute before the baptism started he walked in with his daughter! And another awesome investigator named Indira came with her adorable little 2-year-old daughter Camila as well! It was a great service and even better because while the guy who was baptized was changing out of his wet clothes, they pretty much had a testimony meeting and almost all the members in attendance shared their conversion stories! The spirit was really strong! And Luis told us the next day that he liked it and wants to go to church with his wife! He couldn't go yesterday, but we're gonna commit him for this week! :9
  Last Monday we got to go the monkey park which costs only about a quarter to get in and you can feed the monkeys!! I have them a banana and a juice box and some cookies haha. The monkeys have creepy long arms and reach out and grab things. One even grabbed my comps hair! Haha!
  Sooo sorry I don't have time to respond to anyone's individual email, but as I always do, I'll print them off and read them and respond next week! Love you all! 
Hermana Hawkins

More Investigators

Hola familia y amigos,
  This week we hardly had any time in our area because Tuesday we had a training meeting in Managua and Wednesday we had division with the sister training leader and Thursday we were Matagalpa all day an interview activity with President Collado. That was a hard day. Part of the activity was certifying a lesson so that they could see if we had learned the new form of teaching they introduced to us a few weeks ago that includes a focus on blessings and more inspired questions. I thought I was already using the new form of teaching, but it turns out, not so much. In the activity, we had to teach an investigator who was played by one of the sister training leaders and the other one rated us. We started out really well and then somewhere in the middle we tried to cover too much lesson material instead of really focusing on her needs and I could just see our leaders´ expressions change from impressed and excited to disappointed. It was really disheartening. Afterwards, they explained to us what we did wrong and my self esteem took a dive as a realized I have been doing a lot of things wrong in my mode of teaching for the entire mission and that I had forgotten a lot of the simple things they taught us in the CCM. It was a great learning experience and helped me to know what I need to work on, but it was also really overwhelming knowing I had a lot of changes to make and wondering why I hadn't figured this out before. How much wasted time could I have avoided? How many more investigators would have progressed instead of being dropped? How many more baptisms would I have seen? How hard will it be to master this new teaching techniquew? It was a lot to take on at once. But the next day, as I started to put some of the things I learned in practice, I started to feel more hopeful and it seems like we're already seeing results. I wish I had understood earlier in my mission what exactly it means to teach people and not lessons, but I'm grateful that I'm starting to understand it now.
   We found some pretty promising investigators this week. One of them is a couple named Pedro and Idañia who were former investigators and accepted a baptismal date for this Sunday. But they didn't come to church this Sunday as they promised so we'll see. Please pray for them so that they can move forward with their decision to be baptized.
  Sadly, we still haven't been able to bring investigators to church here, but we have some good plans for this weekend so I'm feeling hopeful about General Conference. I am soooo excited for conference!! I'm already prepared with some good questions of the soul. 
   I'm having a lot of fun with my comp. Hna. Gubler is super smart and ambitious. She's really funny too. Dad, I got a joke for you (courtesy of my comp): What happens when a cow jumps over a fence? Udder destruction!! Hahaha, that's punny, eh? I laughed. 
  Yesterday, my comp and I each had to give a 12 minute talk in sacrament meeting. I've never had to give a talk that long. Even my farewell talk was only about 10 minutes. And here's the worst part: the theme was... the millenium. What? Of all the themes they could have chosen, they picked the millenium? They could have at least picked something that was more related to missionary work so I could use the things I'm already studying in personal study for my investigators. I hardly knew anything about the millenium! But I learned a lot in the process, so it was a good experience. And I was able to tie it into missionary work, temples, and General Conference so it turned out pretty well. 
   Hna. Castillo told me that Gabriella is going out with the missionary almost every day and sharing her testimony. Aw, so awesome! That made me really happy to hear. 
   Well, I'm super sorry, but I'm completely out of time and won't be able to respond to any of your personal emails, but I will try to plan better next week so I can respond to everyone. Love you all! Enjoy General Conference!!
Hermana Hawkins

Cold!

Hola familia y amigos!
   This week has been nice and COLD! It has rained every day and even rained for three days straight at the beginning of this week! I actually have to wear a coat!  The mosquitos or other sorts of bugs have been pretty fierce here and are attacking our legs and feet and making us suuuuper itchy! I think I'm gonna buy myself some long socks to keep warma and protect me legs!
 Last Monday evening we got to do a cool bonfire activity with the zone and roast marshamllows. 
  We got a happy surprise this week when we were having a lesson with a less active and her non-member uncle named Abelino. The less active said, "He has all the missionary lessons." And he said, "Yeah, the missionaries were visiting me before, but I just didn't feel prompted to get baptized. And now I do." SAY WHAT? My face lit up! It's like someone just handed us a baptism! Obviously we can`t take credit for it, because we didn´t teach him a thing, but at least I feel like we´re doing what we´re supposed to if God led us to him. I worry that it´s a little too good to be true, but we talked directly with him to make sure he understands what a big commitment this is and that he needs to go to church every Sunday after his baptism and he seems to understand so he'll probably be getting baptized next week if all goes well. 
   We couldn't bring any investigators to church yesterday, but we had some success with less actives and recent converts. Jamilet didn't make it to church yesterday, but that night we visited her and she accepted a baptismal date for this month. 
  Pedro and Idania weren´t serious about wanting to get baptised and wouldn´t keep commitments so we dropped them. 
  I made mac n´cheese in a frying pan this week. Not that easy. Not that easy. (Name that movie! McKenna?) 
    We found a bunch of new investigators this week and some of them seem to have  lot of potential. I'm loving it here in Jinotega. Hope you all have a great week. Love you, Hermana Hawkins

Conference Weekend

Hola familia y amigos,
   This week was good because we got to see General Conference, but not so great because we had to drop about 80% of our investigators because they promised to go to Conference and didn't even make it to once session. Ok, I really don't have very much time to write so I'm just gonna share a cool miracle experience we had this week. Early in the week, we contacted a couple named Jamilet and Davin in the street and gave them a spur-of-the-moment tour of the church. They seemed to really like it and the husband whispered to his wife near the end of the tourm "Beautiful, right?". So we took down their address and went to find them later in the week, but as we went to look for their house, we realized I took down the address wrong and was missing the reference point. All we knew is that they live in a neighborhood called Camilo Ortega. There are two streets which are part of Camilo Ortega separated by another street with a different name. Anyway, we started asking people on the street if they knew them and no one did, and pretty soon it was clear we were gonna need a miracle to find them. My comp suggested we say a very specific prayer so we found a little alleyway where there weren´t any people and she offered it, asking that God would help us find the family if we talked with every person we came in contact with. After the prayer we went back out to the main street and the first person we saw was a little girl. We asked her and she didn't know them. Then a young guy came up the street and we asked him and he said he didn't know anyone on the street with those names. (At this point I was thinking we should just go to the other Camilo Ortega street.) Then a lady came up the street at the same time we noticed a lady at her window so Hna. Gubler told me to go talk with the first lady while she asked the lady at the window. I did and she didn't know her, so I went back over to where Hna. Gubler was and when I saw that the lady at the window was on the phone, thought `Let´s not bother her. Let`s go to the other street.` But then she put one finger up as if to say ´just a minute`. And next thing I know Jamilet´s face popped up in the window and I felt such a rush of suprise, excitement and gratitude in that moment. Definitely got a bit teary-eyed. Prayer works!! We only had to talk with 4 people in less than 4 minutes to be able to find their house! And I KNOW we wouldn't have found it without God's help and without talking with everyone. THAT was a miracle. So cool. What makes things even cooler is that she was the ONLY investigator who came to conference this weekend. This taught me that I need to ALWAYS seek revelation to know where to go and who to teach. Soooo sorry I can't send pictures this week. The files on my memory card are hidden and I have to go to a different cyber next week because there's a guy who can unhide the files. So pics to come next week! Also, I'm probably just gonna have to respond to everyone's personal emails the week after from now on. Love you all! Hope you have a cool spiritual experience this week as your excercise your faith to pray for specific desires and are willing to give God something in return!
Con amor, Hermana Hawkins

Love This Area

Hola familia y amigos!
   So I am LOVING Jinotega. It's cool weather and in the mountains and we sometimes have to HIKE to our teaching appointments? How cool is that?! Mom, you would love it here. I'm going to bring you here when I get back. Our area is HUGE. The are houses built way up high in the mountains. There's this one house we went to teach a lesson that we pretty much risked our lives to get to. It is soooooo steep and there's loose dirt so it¡s pretty scary. Coming down from another house up high a few days ago, I slipped on some mud and totally fell on my hands and got mud all up my skirt and legs and my hands were covered. It was quite an adventure! The view here is amazing! I wish my camera took good night picture, but sadly it doesn't. But it's so pretty at night to look down in the valley and see all the twinkling blue and yellow lights of the houses. I am sooooo grateful to be here. We have a lunch appointment for two weeks and her food is yummy, but after the two weeks end, we'll be switching over to someone else so I really hope she cooks well too. We don't have a single dinner appointment so this week we've just eaten from a couple fritangas and... a LOT of pizza. There's this place called Dino's Pizza here and we ate there 4 times haha. I guess it's no wonder my face is breaking out so much. But we found a little elelctric stove in our house so we're gonna start cooking some simple food in our house to save money. I finally finished the Book of Mormon this week. My goal was a month and I finished it in about 4, but hey, that's a lot less than I had ever done it before. Also, "where the sidewalk ends" takes on a whole new meaning here because there are holes in the sidewalk! The sidewalk is built over this trench/sewer thing and it freaks me out to walk on the sidewalk. I try to send a picture of it next week. This week we've mostly been trying to get to know the area and find new investigators cuz we pretty much started from zero. More to come on them next week! Love you all, Hermana Hawkins. 
P.s. Our branch is tiny. There are only about 15 active relief society sisters. Our branch attendance yesterday was 60. Our goal is to duplicate the attendance. 

   So a little bit more about my comp. She's the oldest of four children. We've been having a lot of fun getting to know each other and sharing stories. We talk in English in the house and are trying to talk mostly Spanish in the street. She's only been in Nicaragua for like 2 months and her Spanish is already really good. She'll be fluent in no time. 

Transfers!

Dear family and friends,
     Guess where I´m writing you from?! My new area of Jinotega (in Matagalpa)!! As I said before... I never repeat myself. Just kidding haha. As I said before, I didn't expect to have transfers. I thought I would be staying here another too change to finish training Hermana Castillo, but what to my surprised when the ZLs announced I would be going to Matagalpa! I was super excited because I've been wanting to go there because I'd heard it's really pretty. In Acome, there were four sister: Hna. Castillo and I, Hna. Arguetta and Hna. Colado. Hna. Arguetta and I were transferred and Hna. Colado will be finishing training Hna. Castillo and they're closing our area and putting in elders. When I heard that, I felt bad thinking president didn't see me as fit to finish Hna. Castillo's training and that he closed our area and reopened it because we weren't having success. But turns out, the stake president had wanted a pair of elders. And when I got to Managua for the changes, I found out I'll be finishing the training of another sister- Hna. Gubler- who's from Utah! My first american comp! I'm so excited! I think we'll have a lot of fun together. She's a cute, charismatic blond from Tooele, Utah. She did show choir in high school too and loves to read and watch movies. She did a year at BYU as well. Also, she's certifiably insane because she doesn't like chocolate, but it's ok, I forgive her. More chocolate for me!! Woohoo! She's the oldest of four kids and her whole family is members. She loves Disney and we decided we're doing the Disney College Program together when we get off our missions. Jinotega is beautiful! It's in the mountains and the weather is COOL! I'm so grateful to be out of the hot, hot Chinandega sun. If feels sooooo nice here! But I'll probably want to put a coat cuz I here it gets really cold here sometimes. Our house is nice and comfortable. I'll miss the beautiful house in my old area, but this one is good. Oh, and did mention that I'm opening an area?! It's been over 6 months since there have been sisters here. Before there were 2 elders in a huge area, but now they divided it and put us 2 sisters in. It's a branch that has been dropping in attendance, but we hope to double the attendance while we're here. I think it will be fun to open an area because everything is so new and there is so much potencial and I'm just downright excited! Everthing went well with Gabriela's baptism and she was confirmed Sunday in church. And she already offered to accompany us to lessons so she can share her testimony! Awesome! More to come next week! Love you all!  Hermana Hawkins

Much to Tell

Hola familia y amigos,
   Wow, it feels like just yesterday I was writing you all with my predictions for transfers. Can it really be that another transfer is already almost over? This Sunday we´ll find out who has changes. I´m pretty sure I´ll be staying a fifth change here to finish my comp´s training. Welp, we just got word that President for some reason decided to cut the intenet time in half (now it´s only 45 minutes) for the whole mission! So if I don´t have time to respond to everyone´s email, you know why. I´m trying to type as fast as I can cuz there´s a lot to write about.
   Yesterday we had 11 investigators at church! It was great! Especially because Juan finally went to church with Marta! The day before we did a fast with them in mind and it payed off! Oh, I hope we can see them get baptized this month! The mission goal for this month is to baptize 306 people, and of that, 107 families. 
    Sadly, Alfredo and Mirna didn't show up at church yesterday even though they had promised. I´m pretty sure we´re going to have to drop them. It´s SO sad because they seemed SOOOO prepared! Grrr. It´s frustrating. But I´d rather spend time visiting people who want to progress.
    We found this less active named Miriam and started teaching her 13 year-old daughter Indyra and her husband Juan. Miriam said she stopped going to church because all her kids go to an Evangelical church and they kept begging her to go with them, so she started going there with them, but never got baptized. She said that church doesn´t make her fill "full" and that she´s been feeling lonely. She says she´s always known this is the true church. She just needed some encouragement to go back to church. So God sent us to her and now she´s come to church 2 weeks in a row with her daughter. Her husband was gonna go yesterday, but got called in to work to finish a construction job that needed some extra work. But wanna here a really cool story about Juan? We went to visit him this week and he told us that people, including some of his own kids, have been mocking him and saying that the "Mormon church" is bad and that it isn´t true and its ´not the legitimate church. And you know what he responded, "I´ve been to a lot of churches and I haven´t felt good in any of them. I´ve never been to the Mormon church. I´m gonna try this. And I´m gonna get baptized on the 28th." Say what!? AWESOME! We had set a baptismal date with him for the 28th in the first lesson with him, but we had no idea he had taken it to heart so much! So cool! Indyra is also preparing for the 28th.
    This Friday, we´ll be having the baptism of a 19 year-old girl named Gabriela is was SUPER prepared for the gospel and is super excited for her baptism. She´s inviting everyone. Something funny about her is that she was a referal given to the other pair of sisters in our ward, but before they went to contact her, we happened to come across her in the street and put an appointment with her and started teaching her so she became our investigator! Haha. She has been going through some really rough times. She was actually introduced to the church by a member friend, who later betrayed her in a really cruel way and fell away from the church. But she didn´t let that change her interest in the church. It is so amazing that she could recognize that what her friend did to her is not something that we teach in our church. She had an interview with the bishop yesterday and he later told us that it was a special interview and that he could see that the spirit is touching her heart and that we´re on the right path as missionaries. That was cool to hear. 
   Also, Veronica (the wife of Donald) finally went to church yesterday! We decided to pay her another visit yesterday in the morning, and boy did she need us. She was feeling really depressed and said she sometimes doesn´t want to go on living because she´s so sad thinking about her two sons that passed away. One commited suicide in her own house while she was gone for just 20 minutes and the other was only 5 years old and was electrecuted in an accident. She has suffered SO MUCH. But I know the only person who can heal her is Jesus Christ. Please keep her in your prayers. 
   We´re still working with Reyna and the only thing thats holding her back from getting baptized is her boyfriend. She has the hope that they´re gonna get married and baptized together, but judging from the fact that he´s lied to us like 3 times about going to church, I doubt he has any interest in the church. 
   The meeting with Elder Alonzo was inspiring. I was wrong about the Young Men´s General president coming too. Too make a long story short, there´s a missionary here who just found out she has a genetic sickness that will completely alter her life and destroy career plans and I´m pretty sure there is no cure. A normal case of the sickness ranges between 20-40 on a point system and a severe case of the sickness is about 40-60. Her test results came back as over 3000. I could not believe her when she told me. That´s is really bad! It made me cry to hear about it. Anyway, realizing how much she has been suffering without ever complaining (she didnt even want people to know she was sick) has really changed my perspective. Sometimes I whine about the tiniest little things, and here she is humbly suffering in silence and not looking for attention or anything, but rather faithfully accepting the will of God. She is such an amazing example. Well anyway, in the meeting with Elder Alonzo, he had finished his talk and passed the time to his wife, but then stood up again and said the spirit had prompted to say something else and that he couldn´t forget to day it. He said that at lunch hour he had felt an overwhelming exhaustiona and thought it was just from such a spiritually-strong atmosphere having present many powerful missionaries, but that later in the meeting he realized that wasn´t it and that the Spirit made him feel tired to let him know that there were some missionaries present who were struggling a lot physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Then he left an apostolic blessing and promise that they would be healed. He said, "Doctors and medicine can´t do what God can do." I was in tears thinking about that particular missionary and knowing that blessing was made especially for her. I know God knows our individual needs and struggles. I know the leaders of the church are called of God.  I know the power of the priesthood is really and that the Holy Ghost can give us personal revelation. 
 Well, I´m completely out of time. More to come next week. Thank you all for the notes of encouragement. It´s helping meet to not have a stress-attack. I love you all. 
Hermana Hawkins

Sunday, September 7, 2014

More Pictures!

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/60lwn8hkcxjglgi/AAB63YMjrS2kd_ARs9k18jKqa?dl=0

Click link to see pictures! Below is a description of some of the pictures.

{me and my new comp at a zone activity, her first day in the mission, me with some other sisters, a love note from some random Nica (hahaha), the huge pacakge I sent Hunter}

Downer Week

Hola familia y amigos,
  Not gonna lie, this week was hard. First off, Alfredo and Mirna did not get baptized this weekend. We had zero baptisms in the month of August and the goal we had commited to achieve was to baptize 5 people, and of that 5, 2 families. Alfredo and Mirna don´t even really seem to have any real doubts. They both say they know this is the true church and have felt the spirit in the lesson and they recognize that God has blessing them since we started visiting them. But they keep saying "It´s so fast". Alfredo and Mirna were gonna go with us to see a baptism on Saturday and are reluctance to accept a new set baptismal date.It´s so hard because I feel like I´ve been doing everything I can and putting my whole heart and energy into helping Alfredo and Mirna and they still didn´t get baptized.  
    Before we thought Alfredo was the one who had doubts, but now we´re pretty positive it´s Mirna because yesterday we shared a video with them that showed events from Jesus´s life and when the video finished the first thing Alfredo said was, "Look, Jesus Christ was baptized too". I´m pretty sure he already knew that, but it was cool that THAT was the part of the movie that stood out to him. He had baptism on his mind. He basically told us he´s willing to get baptized without Mirna. Mirna says it´s a step they need to take together as husband and wife, but there´s something that´s holding her back, we´re just not sure what it is. We found out one of the thing´s that was causing doubts was that their neighbors and family members have been mocking them "What, you´re Mormon now?", but we brought some members with us to the lesson who could really relate to that because they passed through the same thing, so they shared their experience and how they moved forward and also bore their testimonies of the blessings they´ve received since baptism. So I think that helped them. 
  Anyway, we´re still working with them and have asked them to pray about the date September 14th for their baptism. Please keep praying for them. I want so much to see this family get baptized before transfers. I know they are ready for it. 
   Juan and Marta had accepted a baptismal date for September 13th and were both commited to coming to church on Sunday (it would have been Juan´s first time), but neither of them went. Juan decided to do an extra job and Marta decided to stay home cook lunch for him so that when he got home tired from working, he´d have a meal. We´re tried to convice her to make something for him and leave it and go with us to church, but she stayed. Erg, I don´t understand why they´re backtracking! We´ve already taught them about keeping the Sabbath Day holy, but we´re gonna review it with them. Also, Marta´s sons keep promising they´re gonna go to church and never do. The only one who went yesterday was Reyna. She is progressing well and has a goal to finish the Book of Mormon. She even paid a fast offering yesterday! Awesome! But she doesn´t have a baptismal date right now because she has a boyfriend who is married and separated from his wife and in the process of divorce and marry her. So she can´t get baptized while she´s dating him because he´s a married man and who knows how long it will take for him to finish his divorce. I wish she would just drop him and get baptized. But obviously we can´t even suggest that. She´s gotta decide what to do.
   Juan and Marta won´t be able to get baptized on the 13th because Juan hasn´t even been to church once yet and he has to go at least twice before his baptism. We also keep reminding them about their wedding and asking them if they´ve started making plans and have decided on a place to hold it, but they keep saying "We´re working on it. We want to make plans when it gets a little closer." It´s less than two weeks away! Or would have been. But now we have to move the baptismal date and they also seem reluctant to accept a new set date. We´ve asked them to pray about the 20th.
We had to drop one of the family we dragged to church last Sunday. Turns out their hearts really weren´t in it and they only when to church cuz we insisted so much. It´s hard to find a balance between giving your all/doing everything that´s possible to help people take the steps to come unto Christ and pressuring so much that we don´t know if the people are acting in faith or only acting because we´re insisting so much.
  Alfredo and Mirna came to church again, which was a relief because I was afraid we had pressured them so much that now they weren´t gonna keep coming to church. 
   And if this week wasn´t already stressful enough, it´s really costing me with my companion. We´re very different. Plus, with all the time we´ve been spending make plans for lessons and other things to help Alfredo and Mirna, we´ve gotten really behing on training and I don´t feel like my comp is improving very much. Maybe I´m not teaching her enough, or effectively enough. I kinda feel like I´m failing as a trainer this time around. I could use some extra prayers.
  I´m sorry this is kind of a downer letter. But the truth, a mission isn´t easy. It´s a refiner´s fire. I hope these experience help me to be a better person and grow closer to Jesus Christ. 
   This Thursday, we´re having a meeting with some general authorities- one name Elder Alonzo and the other is the Young Men´s general president. I hope I can receive some good personal revelation on how to be a better trainer. Love you all. Thank you for your support. Hermana Hawkins

Good Week

Hola familia y amigos!
    This week was great! We had a double zone conference with President and recharged our spiritual energy. I'm learning a lot of simple things I can put into practice to have more success. Small ways to better recognize when people are really prepared for the gospel. 
   Yesterday, our zone leaders sent us a message saying we needed to be really persistent to get people to come to church. We passed by for Alfredo and Mirna and they were already dressed and ready to go to church so we said we'd see them there, but our goal was to bring two families to church so we set out to bring another. A couple possibilities fell through and we were left with one other couple who had commited to come to church. We had passed by their house a little while earlier and the mom said they weren't home, but we didn't think that was true so we went back and check 15 minutes before church was about to start. As we imagined they WERE home, but had just barely gotten up and weren't ready. We told them, ´That's ok! You still have time! We'll wait here for you!" and they tried to tell us, "No, it's fine. Wait for us at the church. We'll arrive within a half hour!" But we knew that if we left them and waited for them at the church they wouldn't show up, and we were already gonne be late so we didn't want to show up late at church without investigators. We said, "No, we'll wait here while you two are getting ready. We don't like arrive at church alone. We like to walk with friends." Then a few minutes later, again, the lady tried to tell us they would just meet us there, but we weren't leaving without them. So we waited and they finally got all ready and came with us, but we were about 40 minutes late to church and they only had time to hear the last talk. But we conviced them to stay for the gospel prinicpals class. And Alfredo and Mirna came as they promised so we were able to reach our goal of having two families at church! Woo! A tender mercy from God. This week, we're hoping to break the record of two and bring 3 families to church. In my whole mission I've only been able to bring at most 2, but I'm determined to have 3! In total, we had 8 investigators at church, so it felt like a pretty successful Sunday. This week we're preparing Alfredo and Mirna for baptism. They are sooo positive and I just know they are prepared to be baptized, but please everyone pray for them and that everything goes well this week for their baptism and confirmation! 
    Juan finally got back from El Salvador yesterday and seems really excited to go to church for the first time this Sunday. We are now teaching every single person in that house. I'm not sure if I've already mentioned that we found Reyna by way of her sister-in-law Flor, who we contacted in the street. We kept showing up at their housing looking for Flor and she was never there and then finally we showed up one time and she was there, but she didn't want to receive us, so we asked Reyna if we could share a message with her. After about 3 visits with Reyna, we realized we needed to invite everyone in the house to listen to our message, so we started teaching Marta and Juan, and later Reyna's brother Pablo. Then later the other brother Mario and finally this week, Mario's wife Flor decided to sit in on a lesson so we're teaching her too! And she wants to go to church with her husband! So cool! God works in amazing ways. 
    We found this seemingly nice family this week who were super positive in the first lesson- they accepted a baptismal date, commited to praying about the Book of Mormon, and commited to coming to church this Sunday. But when we passed by this Sunday, the husband said he wasn't gonna go to church because he had a horrible headache. We tried everything to convince him to go, but he wouldn't budge. After church, we went to visit them to teach a lesson and the husband would even let us come in through the front gate. Instead he shouted at us from the patio to come back next Sunday. The wife was down the street running and errand and when she saw us, she hid from us. So we pretended like we were gonna go visit another person and turned the corner and waited a while. When the wife thought we were gonna she went back to her house. 2 minutes later we showed up and called out to her, but she completely ignored us. What on earth?? I don't understand why the suddenly don't want to receive us. I'm sure someone told them some lie about the church. But hey, it's better to realize after just the first lesson that they don't want ti progress than after many lesson, as it happened with Luis and Mercedes. Also, another investigator stopped receiving us and we found out later it was cuz her neighbor told her that Mormons give people $20 when they get baptized. It's so sad that people will so easily believe lies without even trying to find out the truth. She had never even gone to church to see how it really is. 
    We ordered zone t-shirts and they turned out awesome. They're red and on the back we have the names of each missionary in the zone. Today we played soccer as a zone. It was really fun, but it was sooooo hot outside I felt like I was respirating fire. By the time we finished playing, I think my face was pretty much the color of my t-shirt haha. 
   Well, that's all for this week. Love you all! You're always in my prayers! 
Hermana Hawkins

Another Week

Hola familia y amigos!
    First of all, I'd just like to say CONGRATULATIONS HUNTER AND JASMINE!! Sounds like you had a beautiful wedding! I'm am so looking forward to being there when you two are sealed in the temple. That will be so special. Also, I hope everyone gets a chance to listen to the awesome recording of "Some Nights" that my family did for the reception. Wow. They are the best. Yep, now you know. I have the best family in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!! Ok, enough with my trunky rant haha. 
   This week went pretty well. Sadly, we didn't have a family at church yesterday, but we had 5 other investigators. Alfredo and Mirna couldn't go because he had to work and Mirna didn't want to go alone. But we visited yesterday night and taught them about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. They had never heard of the Sabbath Day and they took it so well! It seemed like they totally understood and they commited to come to church this Sunday and to start keeping the Sabbath Day holy. The other cool part is that they had a visitor there when we arrived. It always maked me a little nervous to teach a lesson to people we've already been visiting when there's someone there who hasn't heard any of the lessons because sometimes they have a ton of doubts or questions and ruin the lesson, but this guy was awesome because he had gone to our church for like 6 months before he moved to a new house and he totally had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and was supporting us in our lesson! He said "It's true, this book contains a lot of really beautiful teachings." Sweet! 
   Also, I forgot to mention last week, but last Sunday when Alfredo and Mirna went to church, a stake leader gave a super bold talk about tithing and generous fast offerings that was totally directed at the members. I was worried because we haven't taught them about tithing yet so I didn't know what they would think, but that night when we visited them and asked them if they had any questions about church, Alfredo said, "Everything was good. I'm just not sure how I'm going to pay my tithing because I don't have a salary/set income." We explained that they didn't have to worry about that until they're members and gave a little more detail about the importance of tithing and what it's used for. Mirna said, "We like to contribute." How awesome!! They're already willing to pay tithing! They understand that the blessings we receive are greater than the small portion of money we give up to build God's kingdom. Tithing can be a hard principal for people to accept so it's pretty miraculous that they already understand the importance of it. 
   Juan hasn't come back today. Marta thinks he will come back today, but she's not sure. They were preparing for a baptismal date for this weekend, but we'll have to move it back a bit because Juan hasn't come to church yet. We had a good lesson with Marta this week in which she volunteered to give the closing prayer! Awesome! It has been so cool to see her progress. 
    Hmmm... what else? We're working on finding new families to prepare for baptism in September. God is testing my patience a bit with this second greenie just cuz she's not as fast of a learner as Hna. Garcia, but she makes up for it with her enthusiasm for the work. I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Go give a referal to your local misionaries! :)
Love, Hermana Hawkins

La Ley!

Hola familia y amigos!
    This week was awesome! Or as they say here in Nicaragua "La ley!" Wow, where do I even begin? On Tuesday, we went to the mission home to meet our greenies. Mine, Hermana Castillo, is a tall black girl from the Dominican Republic! She's the first missionary I've met here in the mission who is from there. She's a convert of just 2 years and has a lot of enthusiasm for the work. I realize it's a huge responsability to train her, being so recent to have joined the church. She likes to play baseball, cook, and dance. Also, she can braid hair, which I'm excited about because none of my other comps could and I can't do it on my own hair. Her two other sisters are members, but her brother and her parents aren't. Her mom is going to church and receiving the missionaries though. She was baptized in the Catholic church, but hadn't gone in years when the missionaries found her and started teaching her. She doesn't speak any English, but wants to learn. She is very sweet and simple. There was a total of 29 new missionaries that came this transfer and the majority were sisters.
   This week we went to visit Marta (Reyna's mom) so I could introduce her to my new comp. My plans were just to visit her every once and a while to share some scriptures to keep her faith growing while Juan's away so that when he gets back, she'll still have the desire to get baptized. When we arrived, I was happily surprised to see that Reyna had finally returned after like 3 weeks of being out of town. I greeted her with a big smile and introduced Hna. Castillo and then we said a prayer to begin the message. I started off just making small talk, asking them how they`d been and Marta mentioned that she talked with Juan and he found work. I assumed that she meant he found work in El Salvador, but then she said he came back yesterday, but then left again. Shocked, I asked, "He was here yesterday?" And she said yes, that his cousin had found him a job. Confused, I asked, "He found a job in El Salvador?2 and she replied yes, and I continued, "And he found a job here?". She replied yes again, so I asked, "Which one is he gonna choose?" and with a smile on her face, she replied, "Here". She said he's be coming back this next Saturday. I got so excited and said, "Perfect! That means you guys will still be able to prepare to get baptized on the 23rd!" And then it took a moment for everything to really sink in. My eyes welled with tears as I realized God had answered my prayers. All the prayers Hna. Garcia and I had offered for their family, even after Juan had already left, the prayers of faith that he might somehow be able to find work here and come back... were heard and answered be a loving and merciful Heavenly Father. For a minute, I sat trying to hold back my tears and compose myself, but when I realized the tears were well on their way, I said in a broken, emotion-filled voice, "Sorry... I just... I know that God answers prayers... my companion and I have been praying so much for your family," and then proceeded to bear my testimony, express my love for them, and promise blessings. As I was saying all of this, Marta's eyes also welled with tears and Reyna seemed to have a glisten in her eyes that may have been the beginnings of tears that never came to fruit (is that a phrase? "came to fruit"... I'm forgetting English). We invited Reyna to prepare to be baptized the same day as her Mom and Juan. She accepted. Also, Marta said her son Mario, who we've never taught, was reading a little in their Book of Mormon and liked it. Maybe we'll be able to baptize their entire family! Marta has 3 kids and one of them is married. Also, we just found out Reyna has a boyfriend so maybe they'll decide to get married and we can baptize that family! Ah, that would be awesome. Anyway, I can't even express how happy I felt. I was telling people the good news all day. I am so grateful God answered my prayers and renewed my hopes to see this family get baptized. Definitely a miracle.
    Also, we had a new family at church on Sunday named Alfredo y Mirna! Then that night, we had a lesson with them and my comp put a baptismal date with them which they accepted! Also, when we asked them if they were gonna go to church again next week, I was expecting them to say, "We'll see, I don't know if I have to work" or "If there's nothing else to do" like the majority of the people here in Nicaragua say, but Mirna said with a smile on her face, "Claro que sí!" which means "Of course!" Ah, SO AWESOME! They awesome know a bunch of members already so they`ll have some great fellowshipping. I`m so excited for this family. I'm so excited to see where things go this month. Keep these families in your prayers!
Mom, You're right, I'm staying in the area because there's something more to do here! It rained a lot this week. We even got a bit of hail one day. My comp had never even seen hail before. Haha crazy, huh? 
   Yohana and Marcos are moving so we have to drop them. And they still haven't found out their new address so we can't pass them to the missionaries there yet. Hopefully they'll get it to us before they move for good.  
  Anyway, this week was great. God always answers our prayers. If we are patient and don't lose faith, we will see miracles. Love you all! Thanks for all your support!
Hermana Hawkins

Transfers

    Well, I`ve decided I should just stop guessing about transfers cuz it`s never what you think it will be. I think sometimes President just likes to mess with our minds in the interviews haha. He didn't put elders in our ward, so it`s still two sets of sisters. I'm staying in my area and will be training. I had to write earlier today because this afternoon, I`m going to Managua for a training meeting and tomorrow we meet our greenies. All I know is that my greenie`s name is Hermana Castillo. Hermana Garcia is getting transferred to Managua and isn`t training after all, like I thought she would be, but I have the feeling she`ll train next transfer. If I stay with my greenie the whole 12 weeks of training, I`ll have had 7 and a half months in this area and will only have 5 months left in the mission. It`s very likely I`ll only serve in a total of 3 areas my whole mission. I`m glad I`m staying here because I like this area and the members are awesome and our house is awesome, but I`ll also be very ready to experience a new area after this training. I feel like I`ve learned a lot training Hna. Garcia and hope I can be an even better trainer this second time around. I`ll tell you all about Hermana Castillo next week!
    We've been hoping Reyna and her daughter would get baptized for the last two weeks, but she's been out of town this whole time and we have no idea when she`s coming back. She won`t answer our phone calls our texts. She went to visit the dad of her daughter, so maybe they decided to get back together again. This makes things complicated. We`ll see if she decides to come back. Her mom seems to think they are always off and on, sometimes together, other times fighting and separate, so who knows. 
   As for Reyna`s mom Marta and her boyfriend Juan. We`ve been teaching them for a while now and the had a baptismal date for August 23rd and were progressing really well, BUT Juan decided to up and go to El Salvador to look for work this week and said he probably won`t be back for a few months. He had told us he was thinking about going. He hasn`t had work since February. We did everthing we could to help him stay and prepare for baptism. What 3 more weeks to wait compared to the 6 months he`s already gone without a job? He said maybe he would get baptized there in El Salvador, but we said it would be so much more special if he and Marta took that step together as a family. We did a special fast for them on Thursday and were praying so hard that he would decided to stay, but alas, when we went to visit them on Friday, Marta gave us the awful news that he decided to go. We asked her if she still wanted to prepare for baptism and she said the Juan had asked her to wait so they could get married and baptised together when they get back. We were soooo sad! I really thought they were gonna be the family we baptize this month! They are SO prepared! But at least the have the desire to do so and I hope and pray with all my heart than they follow through when he gets back. I just hope Marta doesn`t lose enthusiasm for the gospel while he`s away. 
     On a brighter note, we did find a pretty positive family name Yohana and Marcos who accepted a baptismal date and have the desire to get married. They said they want to see a wedding and a baptism in our church first though. They`ve already visited the church a bunch of times with a relative of their who is a member. In the first lesson, Yohana asked, "When are you gonna come back again?" We said, "Friday?" and she said they would be home on Friday and then said, "Tomorrow?" She was so excited for us to keep teaching her. We ended up putting the appointment for Saturday so we could share a message and then take them to see a baptism in the church and they said that was fine, but when we arrived at their house on Saturday they weren`t home, and the others in the their house said they wouldn`t be back till Monday. ;( So they couldn`t come to church either, but I have hope that they`ll come this week. 
. We only had one investigator at church yesterday even though, again we had many people commited to coming. 
  Almost every single person here in Nicaragua that I ask, "Do you have faith in Jesus Christ" replies. "Yes" or "Of course", and almost everyone here BELIEVES in Christ, but I`ve come to the conclusion that very few actually have true faith in Him. Faith is manifested by works. But most of the people here thinks it`s sufficient to believe in Christ, recognize him as our Savior, and pray daily. They don`t see that if they really had faith in Christ they`d know that he was perfect, which means he never gave a commandment in vain. He wants us to keep ALL of his commandments. If not, he wouldn`t have given them. And if we truely have faith, we will be obedient to the commandments of Jesus Christ and show him our love. I hope I can strenthen my personal relationship with Jesus Christ so much so that my love for him is so evident in my testimony that it causes a conversion in the hearts of others. That they might DEVELOP that true faith, even if they don`t have it right now. Have a great week everyone! Much love, Hermana Hawkins 

When I am Weak, Then am I Strong

Hola familia y amigos!
   I´m pretty much all better. My body is still trying to figure out how to digest food right and I´m still taking some anitbiotics, but now I´m off the pain medication and am feeling great! Ah, there´s nothing like being really sick to make you super grateful to be healthy. I hope this feeling of gratitude will carry me to work even harder in my area. No Mom, it wasn´t a parasite. It was an infection in my intestines. I don´t know what type of infection, but the nurse said it was probably caused by something I ate. We´re assuming it was some food from a fritanga (street vendor) that I had last week. Needless to say, I won´t be eating from fritangas anymore. I don´t think it´s anything permanent. I already gained back my appetite and am eating normally again. But goodbye tan. Hello pale. Haha I need to get some sun again to get my tan back.
   We were able to go back out and work in our area on Thursday night. So we only had two full days of teaching/tracting this week (Friday and Saturday). I was pretty stressed for all the time we had lost while I was sick and for not having visited our investigators all week. I worried that our numbers would be horrible this week and that we wouldn´t be able to bring anyone to church on Sunday. But God blessed us with another little miracle. Friday, we did divisions with two member so that we could split up and double the number of lessons. That helped. It was pretty exhausting jumping back into the missionary schedule of walking all day after 4 days in bed, but I did it. And the next day was easier. Also, my comp did awesome without me. I need to give her more chances to take the reigns. Then, Sunday in the morning, we did divisions with members again so that we would have time to pass by for all of our investigators and bring them to church. We ended up bringing 5 people to church and the church attendance was up by 33 people! I was so happy and relieved. I hope things continue to go well in our area and we can keep strengthening our ward. 
   I think God wanted to teach me a little something about faith. When things are beyond our control and there´s nothing more we can do, that´s when God steps in and manifests his power. 2 Corinthians 2: 9-10 "And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me... for when I am weak, then am I strong." I was really weak at the beginning of this week. And a little weak in faith towards the end of the week, worry that we wouldn´t have success on Sunday, but God´s power is made perfect in weakness and he showed me that even when the odds are completely against us, God can do miracle. Anything is possible with God. We just need to have the faith look past the seemingly poor probabilities. 
   We´re teaching this awesome guy named Leonardo who is reading the Book of Mormon and praying and went to church on Sunday. He was baptized in a church called the Church of Christ and when we invited him to be baptized he said he couldn´t be baptized again because he was already baptized. Never heard that one before... not. Haha. But anyway, we explained the priesthood authority and he still didn´t seem to understand so we brought the district leader and then on Sunday, we brought the Elder´s Quorum president and he explained things really well and Leonardo accepted a baptismal date for August! It was awesome. He even said that maybe God will want him to get baptized earlier! He said, "When I get my answer, I get baptized that same day." Ah, I´m praying to much that he will be able to recognize his answer when he gets it! He was in a war earlier in life and God saved his life like two times. I know God preserved him for a purpose. He had to learn about the restored gospel! 
  I forgot to mention last week that the mission accomplished the goal of baptizing 102 families in the month of June. I wish I could say we contributed a family to that number, but we did not. We just contributed a lot of prayers for the whole mission. And we are working hard to try to baptize a family soon. I have yet to baptize an entire family in my mission. I hope I can do it before I get transferred from this area.
   My recent convert Elizabeth went to the temple in Honduras to do baptisms for the dead a couple weeks ago with the stake! How awesome is that? It brought me joy to hear that. Also, yesterday, we got to church late after leaving to fetch an investigator and missed the sacrament. I felt so incomplete and didn´t want to miss taking the sacrament even once on my mission because it has become something so much more sacred for me in the mission, so I asked the Bishop if we could still take it and he arranged for the sacrament to be blessed in the secretaries office and given to us. And guess who blessed it? Mauricio! It was so special to have one of my converts bless that sacrament especially for me and my companion. It´s like a circle. Hermana Cruz and I helped him receive the gospel and now he was helping my companion and I receive a sacred ordinance on the Sabbath. 
  I´m ready to hit the ground running this week and see some more miracles. Hope you all have a fantastic week and stay healthy! Until next week, Hermana Hawkins

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not Much To Tell

Hola familia y amigos!
    Well, it looks like I may have been wrong about transfers. One of the sister training leaders told my comp that she´s getting transferred to another area and that I´m training again, which means one of two things: I´m staying to train here and my comp will be transferred and they will take out the two other sisters here to put in elders, or they´ll take out both my comp and I to put elders and I will be training and white-washing. I get the feeling that I´m staying here to train and the other sisters will be transferred, but who knows. All I gotta say, is that ya never really can be sure about transfers. I was positive my comp was gonna train, but I doubt they´ll have her train AND white-wash fresh out of her training. Guess we´ll just see what happens this Sunday. 
    This week, President gave us the goal to contact 10 familias each day. We were in Managua for a training meeting all day Tuesday so we didn´t contact any familias, but Wednesday we contacted 12, Thursday 12, Friday 11, and Saturday 15. We´re working hard on finding new families to teach in these next two weeks to prepare us for the Miracle of August (which is that the whole mission baptized more than 100 families in the month of August). I am determined to contribute a family this time! By Saturday night, we had 26 people and 7 families commited to coming to church the next day. Sunday morning we did divisiones with two sisters in the ward so we would be able to pass by for everyone to bring them to church. One by one, each promise fell through. Some people weren´t home. Others had to work. Others had some other excuse. And we ended up having zero investigators at church yesterday. Zero! And 26 had said they would come! Ugh, I just wish people would be honest. Man, it was disappointing. We felt like we had worked so hard contacting families and commiting people to coming to church this week and we had the goal of bringing 3 families to church. But alas, God gave us a trial of faith. I´m trying to stay positive. I know that trials are just signs that a blessing is around the corner so I have the firm hope that we will bring families to church this Sunday and we´ll make this last week the best one in the whole transfer! We´re going to recommit all the families who said they would come yesterday and we´re gonna commit more! From all the contacting we did, we have a lot of possibilities for new families, so I hope we can really increase our teaching pool. 
  My comp and I have been working on trying to shorten our lessons. Presidente wants us to only spend 30 minutes in any house. It´s harder than it sounds. Especially when the investigators have lots of questions and you just want to sit any answer them all, but our sister training leaders say that sometimes it´s better to leave someone with a question brewing and tell them you´ll answer it the next day when you come back. I´m trying to put that in practice and simplify my teaching. 
  Well, sorry this letter is pretty boring. We´re found some seemingly positive new investigators, but we haven´t taught them much so I´ll wait to tell you more about them when we see if they´re sincerely positive. I´m pretty antsy to find out what happens with transfers. I´ll let you know this Monday! 
   My love for the scriptures continues to grow. Hope you all are treasuring them and reading every day! Lots of love, Hermana Hawkins

Sunday, July 27, 2014

More Pictures


a dead baby mouse we found in our room.... EW!!! (this picture doesn't really show the size very well, but it was puny. still, it was so hard for me to get up the guts to get rid of it), cool rubber shoes I bought to use in the rain, day at the beach in Corinto, eating lunch with the sister of the zone











3 generation pic (my trainer and my "daughter" in the mission), me with all four of my comps so far



Reyna's baptism, a cool braid thing another sister did on my hair, a chicken on a clothesline, my district from this last transfer







My Letter Titles Are Always Lame - Sorry

Hola familia y amigos,
   Yesterday we had an an awesome first lesson with a couple named Veronica and Donald who are super prepared to hear the gospel. We received a referral from other missionaries and went to contact it. We found the house, but they weren´t home. So we continued to check back various times, but they were never home. One Sunday before church, we finally found them in their house and set an appointment to return. But when we arrived for the appointment, they weren´t home. So we went back another day to check and they still weren´t home. And finally, yesterday evening we found them at home! They were just about to leave, but we told them "Just 15 minutes! It will be worth your time!" So they stayed and we were able to teach them the Restoration. They commited to coming to church and to reading the Book of Mormon and praying and they accepted a baptismal date! The lesson was definitely not 15 minutes long. Even though we were trying to be concious of time, it was like 45 minutes, but I didn´t even care cuz it was just such an awesome lesson! My comp told me after that she felt the spirit the strongest in that lesson of all the lessons of her mission so far. We set an appointment to go back this Wednesday and Veronica said she wants the whole family together when we teach them because she wants them all to be saved. Heck yes! She also said something she liked about the church is our devotion to searching for the lost sheep and said that other people wouldn´t have given up after a couple times not finding them in the house, but that we kept coming. It showed me how important persistence can be in missionary work. II´m grateful God trusted us enough to place them in our path and hope I can keep working hard and exercising my faith to find more prepared families like them. So that was exciting. But sadly, I´m pretty sure I won´t be here for their baptism. We had interviews with presidente this week and he pretty much told me comp we won´t be together for another transfer and he alluded that she will be training! So I´m pretty positive I´m gonna have transfers in two weeks. I wish I could be there for Veronica and Donald´s baptism, but hopefully I can´t at least hear about it and see pictures. But I will miss this area and the members here. 
   We´re teaching another lady named Reyna who is a single mom and has a 9 year old daughter. She has come to church twice and seems to be progressing well. We´re hoping she will get baptized with her daughter this Sunday. We´re also teaching Reyna´s mom and step dad. 
   We´re facing some challenges with Leonardo. His neighbors are recent converts and apparently he´s being saying stuff to them that he never says to us in the lessons. The last time we went with him he said he believed the Book of Mormon was true and that the church was restored though the prophet Joseph Smith, but his neighbor told us yesterday that throughout the week Leonardo has been going over to talk to them and says that they´re crazy and that the church teaches false doctrine. What? I think it´s his wife that is causing him to doubt. She is very closed off when we try to teach and said that she´s already congregated in a church even though she doesn´t even go anymore. Also, he´s one of those people who believes that before, we were under the law of most but now we´re under His grace and that certains laws don´t exist anymore because Christ did away with the law of Moses. That means he doesn´t believe in tithing. We tried to help him understand that the laws of God are eternal and that Christ only removed the legal consequences of the Law of Moses, but that doesn´t mean he removed the commandments. It´s still wrong to kill and to rob and titihing still exists. We´re going to study a lot for Leonardo and see how we can help him overcome his doubts. Please pray for him.  
  This week I tried green mangos with salt and lime juice and this chile powder called tajín. I actually really liked it. It has an interesting zesty flavor. I´ve decided that when I get back I´m going to make it for the family, as well as papusas and fried plantains, and maybe a few other things I´ve tried here. 
   Welp, I´m happy to be a missionary and am learning so much every day. I hope all of you develop a love for the scriptures. There is so much we can learn from them. And when we apply them to our own lives and to the lives of others, our studies are so much more edifying. Hope everyone has a wonderful week! Con mucho amor, Hermana Hawkins

The Effects of the Sickness

hahahahahaha... just kidding, it´s just a cool effect on another missionarie´s camera. How ugly... hahaha


When I am Weak, Then Am I Strong

Hola familia y amigos!
   I´m pretty much all better. My body is still trying to figure out how to digest food right and I´m still taking some anitbiotics, but now I´m off the pain medication and am feeling great! Ah, there´s nothing like being really sick to make you super grateful to be healthy. I hope this feeling of gratitude will carry me to work even harder in my area. No Mom, it wasn´t a parasite. It was an infection in my intestines. I don´t know what type of infection, but the nurse said it was probably caused by something I ate. We´re assuming it was some food from a fritanga (street vendor) that I had last week. Needless to say, I won´t be eating from fritangas anymore. I don´t think it´s anything permanent. I already gained back my appetite and am eating normally again. But goodbye tan. Hello pale. Haha I need to get some sun again to get my tan back.
   We were able to go back out and work in our area on Thursday night. So we only had two full days of teaching/tracting this week (Friday and Saturday). I was pretty stressed for all the time we had lost while I was sick and for not having visited our investigators all week. I worried that our numbers would be horrible this week and that we wouldn´t be able to bring anyone to church on Sunday. But God blessed us with another little miracle. Friday, we did divisions with two member so that we could split up and double the number of lessons. That helped. It was pretty exhausting jumping back into the missionary schedule of walking all day after 4 days in bed, but I did it. And the next day was easier. Also, my comp did awesome without me. I need to give her more chances to take the reigns. Then, Sunday in the morning, we did divisions with members again so that we would have time to pass by for all of our investigators and bring them to church. We ended up bringing 5 people to church and the church attendance was up by 33 people! I was so happy and relieved. I hope things continue to go well in our area and we can keep strengthening our ward. 
   I think God wanted to teach me a little something about faith. When things are beyond our control and there´s nothing more we can do, that´s when God steps in and manifests his power. 2 Corinthians 2: 9-10 "And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me... for when I am weak, then am I strong." I was really weak at the beginning of this week. And a little weak in faith towards the end of the week, worry that we wouldn´t have success on Sunday, but God´s power is made perfect in weakness and he showed me that even when the odds are completely against us, God can do miracle. Anything is possible with God. We just need to have the faith look past the seemingly poor probabilities. 
   We´re teaching this awesome guy named Leonardo who is reading the Book of Mormon and praying and went to church on Sunday. He was baptized in a church called the Church of Christ and when we invited him to be baptized he said he couldn´t be baptized again because he was already baptized. Never heard that one before... not. Haha. But anyway, we explained the priesthood authority and he still didn´t seem to understand so we brought the district leader and then on Sunday, we brought the Elder´s Quorum president and he explained things really well and Leonardo accepted a baptismal date for August! It was awesome. He even said that maybe God will want him to get baptized earlier! He said, "When I get my answer, I get baptized that same day." Ah, I´m praying to much that he will be able to recognize his answer when he gets it! He was in a war earlier in life and God saved his life like two times. I know God preserved him for a purpose. He had to learn about the restored gospel! 
  I forgot to mention last week that the mission accomplished the goal of baptizing 102 families in the month of June. I wish I could say we contributed a family to that number, but we did not. We just contributed a lot of prayers for the whole mission. And we are working hard to try to baptize a family soon. I have yet to baptize an entire family in my mission. I hope I can do it before I get transferred from this area.
   My recent convert Elizabeth went to the temple in Honduras to do baptisms for the dead a couple weeks ago with the stake! How awesome is that? It brought me joy to hear that. Also, yesterday, we got to church late after leaving to fetch an investigator and missed the sacrament. I felt so incomplete and didn´t want to miss taking the sacrament even once on my mission because it has become something so much more sacred for me in the mission, so I asked the Bishop if we could still take it and he arranged for the sacrament to be blessed in the secretaries office and given to us. And guess who blessed it? Mauricio! It was so special to have one of my converts bless that sacrament especially for me and my companion. It´s like a circle. Hermana Cruz and I helped him receive the gospel and now he was helping my companion and I receive a sacred ordinance on the Sabbath. 
  I´m ready to hit the ground running this week and see some more miracles. Hope you all have a fantastic week and stay healthy! Until next week, Hermana Hawkins