Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Living and Learning

Hola familia y amigos,
I've realized this week that our weaknesses are really made manifest on the mission. I'm learning to accept my need to develop more patience, humility, and charity. Sometimes I am so quick to judge. We were talking with one of our investigators this week and she said she had a bad impression of the church because her neighbor, Adrianna, is a member of the church but drinks a lot. I thought, well let's go have a lesson with Adrianna and teach her the Word of Wisdom so she can set a better example! My perspective changed completely when we arrived and she started telling us all about her past and how she was abused as a child and later joined the church and then her husband died and she went inactive for a while and then returned to church and that she has weaknesses and learned the hard way that she can't take the sacrament while she's still struggling to overcome those weakness and that she knows that the most important thing is to keep going to church every Sunday and trying to do better. Boy, did I judge her wrongly. She has a strong testimony and it struggling with a lot. I realized I need to stop being so quick to judge. Everyone is fighting their own battle and we usually don't know the whole situation. For the entire lesson, we just sat and listened to her. I've learned how important listening is. Sometimes we just start teaching and trying to determine their needs when really, if we would have just let them talk and listened, they would have told us their needs directly. It's been a humbling week. I'm striving to be a better representative of Jesus Christ.
I've also learned this week that there are some situations for lessons that no matter how hard you try to teach with the Spirit, you won't be able to because the spirit can't dwell there. We had a lesson with an old guy named Oscar and his son Daniel (Who is a Jehova's witness). We couldn't tell Daniel we only wanted to have the lesson with Oscar so we started teaching them both. But Daniel was super close-minded and kept going off on tangents and getting worked up about the things we were teaching. He is absolutely not prepared to hear the gospel and we couldn't have a good lesson with Oscar with him there. We had to see if Daniel would be open to the message, but the minute we realized he wasn't, we should have said we'd come back another day and left. Instead, we wasted over an hour trying to convince Daniel of the truth and Oscar didn't even understand the conversation and gained nothing from it. We're repenting and trying to never make that same mistake again.
We finally had an investigator in the church this week and he even invited a friend. They left after the second hour so I don't know if they didn't have time to stay for the third or if they didn't want to stay for the third. I hope they felt good in the church. We working really hard to try to bring a family to church. This is the last week of the transfer so we'll see if we have changes this Monday.
I uploaded some more pictures to dropbox. There is this funny old guy in our ward who is just waiting for me to get fat haha. Pretty much every time I see him he closely examines my face and says, "La mira mas gordita" which means you looks fatter! Hahaha, people here are so blunt. He's just teasing though. I look the same.
I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting and was able to do so confidently, only stumbling over a couple words. I realize I've come a long way with the language and I'm so grateful to be able to comfortably conduct a conversation in Spanish now.
We're stilling pushing along and trying to get some progressing investigators cuz right now we have zero. But I know that if we are patient and have faith, things will get better. Love you all! Have a great week!
Hermana Hawkins

Pushin' On

Hola familia y amigos,
Sorry, this letter will be short cuz I'm almost out of time. But nothing too exciting happened this week. Still facing a lot of disappointments. People lying to us, Jennifer saying she doesn't believe in the church and doesn't want to get baptized anymore, contacting a bunch of new families and not having a single one come to church, not having any progressing investigators... we're pretty much starting back at zero. It's hard to not wonder if I'm doing enough, but I've been working hard and trying my best so I know that's enough in God's eyes. I think we just need to consider some new methods for contacting and work with the members more. It's been a humbling few weeks and my prayers have been a lot more sincere and specific. I hope we are guided to someone this week who is really prepared to hear this message. We're trusting in the Lord.
On a lighter note, I tried shark meat this week. It was good, but I didn't love it. Hmmm... what else. I had divisiones twice this week in two different areas. It's cool to see how other missionaries work and get ideas from their teaching methods. We threw a small birthday party for one of our recent converts and invited a few members that lived nearby and were able to see the birth of a new friendship among 3 women who don't have husbands. I hope they can be a good support system for each other. I love you all and am praying for you. Thank you so much for your letters. Have a wonderful week!
Love, Hermana Hawkins