Monday, May 26, 2014

Mother's Day Call!

Hola familia y amigos!!
   First off, I LOVED seeing you all and talking to you on google hangout last Monday!!! Sorry for crying like a little baby. It was a combination of getting teary-eyed in the spiritual training meeting, stress about training, worry that I wouldn't be able to call you guys, disappointment that my adorable nieces and nephew would already be asleep, exhaustion (seeing as I only got two hours of sleep the night before because we had transfers and I was cleaning and organizing the house and we had to get up super early), and an overwhelming love for all of you!! Gosh, I miss you guys so much. I'm so grateful I got the chance to call you, even if it was later than planned.
   So Tuesday I met my greenie! Hermana Garcia is a 19 year-old. short, pretty quiet girl from Guatemala. Her whole family are active members of the church. Her parents joined the church when she was like 6 years old. She's easy to get along with and is ready to work. She does really well contacting and bearing her testimony and quickly overcame her fear of extending the baptismal invitation in the first lesson. She extended it 4 times this week and sadly all of them said no. BUT! The silver lining is that we put a baptismal date with a family to complete! We'll have to practice the lessons a lot so she can memorize the important points and feel comfortable to speak more, but she's doing well. I just have to glance at her and smile to indicate that she needs to start talking in a contact or a lesson.
   The mission has a goal to baptism a 4 people and of that four, one family, in this month of May. Right now we have 1 individual baptized (Beatriz was confirmed in sacrament meeting yesterday), but we don't have a single progressing family and we just lost our other hope for an invidual baptism this month because a teenager named Osman who had a baptismal date for yesterday is traveling to the U.S. and will probably be there for 6 months!! Noooooo! He was so awesome too. The first lesson with him, he was so eager to learn and accepted a baptismal date with ease and commited to God in the closing prayer to read the Book of Mormon. The second lesson he had read like 10 pages (which is a ton for people here in Nicaragua cuz many people can't read very well)! Ah, I'm so sad that we won't be able to see him get baptized. But he said he'll take his Book of Mormon with him and read it. Also, he's going with his cousin and his girlfriend who's a member so we encouraged him to go to church with them there.
 It's so funny, people here always call out things to the white sisters when they're walking in the streets, like "Hola, bien bonita esa chela" (Hello, really beautiful that white girl) or "Hola amor, què lindo sus ojos" (Hello love, how beautiful your eyes) or even phrases in English like "I love you forever". I've decided that after my mission if I'm crushing on someone who doesn't feel the same, I'll just say, "Fine. Whatever. There are plenty of Nicaraguan men who will call me beautiful and love me forever." Hahahaha. It's a nice confidence boost walking through the streets here. I just have to be careful to stay away fromt the creepy drunk guys haha.
   Well, I'm completely out of time. I'll send some pics and videos next week. Love you all! Have a great week and go find someone to serve!

Love, Hermana Hawkins

Transfers and Training!

Hola familia y amigos!

   Sorry for a short letter again this week, but I'll tell you more when I call on google hangout!! Yesterday, the little old lady Beatrice who we've been teaching got baptized! She is so sweet! There were some obstacles getting her baptized, but in the end, our prayers were answered and everything went well. I'll try to send pics next week. She has had a hard life and has to provide for her 4 grandkids, but she doesn't have a job. She had some doubts about her decision to get baptized because a friends came to visit her and told her she should wait some more time. But we assured her that the gift of the Holy Ghost will bring her peace in her life. Today is transfers and tomorrow I meet my new comp that I'll be training! I'm excited and nervous to train. I know it's a big responsibilty, but it will also be a cool experience. I hope I can set a good example and help my comp maintain high aspirations for the mission. This last transfer has been my favorite. I really enjoyed being companions with Hermana Cruz. She's awesome. But I look forward to this new opportunity! Hope all the mothers out there had a happy Mother's Day! And a special shoutout to my mommy!!!! You're the BEST!!! I love you!!! Love you all! Hermana Hawkins

8 Months in the Mission!

Dear familia and friends!
           Still loving it here in Acome! Yesterday, Mauricio, Victor, and Elizabeth were confirmed members of the church. I figure I should probably write a little about their conversions. Hna. Cruz and her previous comp contacted Victor before I got here and he was really positive from the start. He wanted to get baptized two weeks earlier, but we hadn't finished teaching him the lessons yet. His mom is a less active, but lives in Costa Rica. Victor is so pure-hearted and simple. He's like a happy little 5 year-old. He said he wants to serve a mission. Mauricio and Elizabeth are dance students of Kevin and Judith and we taught most of the lessons to them both at the same time. Mauricio lives with his mom and grandma, who aren't members. Elizabeth lives only with her grandma. They were both really positive from the start too. Elizabeth received her answer before Mauricio, but sure enough, as Mauricio kept praying and reading the Book of Mormon, he received his answer too. Elizabeth and Mauricio have also said they both want to serve missions. Awesome!! I love all three of them. Sorry this letter is so short. I'm out of time. But I'll get you all caught up when we do google hangout next week! :) Love you all!
Hermana Hawkins

Here is a typical day in the mission:
6:30am wake up, pray, do some exercises, shower, eat breakfast (usually cereal, graham crackers, yogurt, granola bars, bread, or fruit)
8-9 personal study
9-10 companionship study
10-11 language study
11 leave the house and go to a lesson
12 eat lunch at Juanita's house (tortillas, chicken, soup, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, pasta, bread, homemade juice, fish, tortillas, beef, or plantains)
1-8:30 lessons and contacting
8:30 dinner at a member's house
9:30 return to the house
9:30-10 plan for the next day
10 get ready for bed

10:30 go to sleep

This Week

Hola familia y amigos!  
   Wow, I have so much to write and so little time, so I will probably have to continue this letter next week. My second week here we had the ward talent show. My comp and I and the two other sister missionaries in our ward prepared a number. We stood with our back's turned to the audience and shook our fingers in the air, as upbeat music played, to make it seem like we were gonna dance. And then when the music drop, we jumped around and held out papers that said "Las misioneras no bailan" or, "The missionaries don't dance". We got a lot of laughs. Everyone thought we were gonna dance. I think it gave the stake president a good surprise hahaha. Then we called out "But we sing!" and proceeded to do a Spanish rendition of "The Cup Song". I changed the lyrics to a missionary theme. Here are the lyrics:

Hemos tocado muchas puertas hoy
(We've knocked a lot of doors today)
Y nadie quiere escuchar,
 (And no one wants to listen)
Pero no nos vamos a desanimar,
(But we're not gonna get discouraged),
Porque estamos aquì para predicar.
(Because we're here to preach)
Y enseñar, y bautizar, vamos a ir y invitar
(And teach, and baptize, we're gonna go and invite)
En las montañas, en los valles, y tal vez hasta la playas, o,
(In the mountains, in the valleys, and maybe even to the beaches, oh)
Vamos a ir y predicar.
(We're gonna go and preach)
En Nicaragua hace mucho calor,
(In Nicaragua, it's very hot)
y los siervos del Señor,
(And the servants of the Lord)
Caminan sudando, pero gozando
(walk, sweating, but taking joy)
Porque saben que van a rescatar,
(Because they know they're gonna rescue)
CHORUS again.

The other three missionaries did the rhythm with the cups and I sang and then at the end, they joined in singing too. Juancito, our lunch lady's son, wanted to participate so he called out "Uno, dos, tres!" to start off the song and we gave him a cup to play with so he felt like he was part of the group. We had a great turnout for the talent show. The ward goal was 150 and we had almost 200 attend! It was great! The show was straight-up awesome. I tried sending some videos of some of the acts, but I think they're too dark too see. It was a really fun night. I love the people here. They are so happy and free-spirited.
   Yesterday we had three baptism! Two young men (Mauricio- age 17, and Victor- age 14) and one young woman (Elizabeth- age 17). Mauricio and Elizabeth are dance students of Kevin and Judith and Victor is an investigator that Hna. Cruz and her comp found before I came here. It was such a special day and I am so happy to have had the chance to help bring them into Christ's fold. They are the future generation of the Church. Crazy to think that in just 4 weeks here, I saw as many baptisms as in my entire 6 months in Leon. I'm already seeing miracle here and know that God has many more in store! I'll write more next week! Love you all! Have a great week and pray for missionary experiences!!
Love, Hermana Hawkins
P.s. Juancito prounounces my name "Hermana 'Awkeen'" haha.
P.p.s. Kevin and Judith's dog's name is spelled "Puppy", which is funny first of all because it's a cat named puppy and second of all because in Spanish it's pronounced "poopi" hahahahaha. I couldn't help but laugh when I heard that one.


Hola familia y amigos,
    I just watched the "Because of Him" video that the church released for Easter and loved it. I really can't fathom the fact that every single person who ever lived will live for ever. Each person will die and live again. Because of Jesus Christ, we are eternal beings. I loved the talk in Conference a few weeks ago by Elder Uchtdorf. He talked about being grateful IN our circumstances and not just AFTER our problems have been resolved. I've been reflecting a lot on that and trying to have a more grateful heart. But my favorite part of his talks was when he talked about the eternal nature of things. I'm going to copy it here so you all can read it:

We Are Not Made for Endings
In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless13 and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful. How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.
Also, If you haven't had the chance to watch the video yet, watch it now!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and really meditated about the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Ahhhhh...... I think the first part of my letter from last week didn't get sent! Noooooo........ ah, it was so long too! I'm going to try to rewrite it. Erg, I doubt I'll have time to write everything so I'll probably have to continue it next week.
I LOVE it here in Chinandega. The members are awesome and so willing to help in the work. My comp is Hna. Cruz, a big girl from El Salvador. She has 3 months in the mission (just finished her training). She's so loving and always lets people know we're here to serve them. She's a great missionary too. Her and her comp had 11 baptisms in the last 3 months alone. I'm excited to work with her and learn from her. Our lunch apt. is Hermana Juanita. She is absolutely AMAZING!! She made me feel so welcome my first day here. She asked me what things I do and don't like to eat and said I can tell her how much I want when she's scooping it onto my plate. Awww, I love her. It's so nice to not have to stress about hating the food or having to shoving more food down my throat than can fit into my stomach. She told me she wants me to feel at home in her house. Get this: Her husband's name is Juan and her 3 year old's son name is Juancito. Haha. Juanita, Juan, and Juancito. Two other missionaries, who are in our same ward and same area eat at her house too. Juanita and Juan call us their daughters. Juanita also washes the missionaries' clothes and does so with much care and delicacy. Score! It will be nice to not have to worry about washing all my own clothes, especially because the missionary schedule really doesn't make time for it. There is this member couple here name Judith and Kevin and I'm not even sure I have the words to describe how totally awesome they are. They're like the perfect couple. They are dance instructors and professional dancers. They go to a lot of competitions and have even been on T.V. Judith has been a member for 2 years and Kevin for 5. They have already given us so many referrals for people to teach and love accompanying us to lessons. They also told us they want to spend an entire day with us going to lessons and introducing us to new people to teach. They are every missionaries dream! Kevin says he talks with everyone about the gospel and that if it's not part of the conversation, her brings it up. They say sharing the gospel brings them so much joy. We had an amazing lesson with them my first week here with a lady named Marta that made me cry. Kevin and Judith kept saying they loved her and that God loves her and they bore powerful testimony. I felt the spirit so strong. After the lesson, Kevin and Judith kept pointing out houses to us of friends with whom they want to share the gospel. They sure are popular! And I can understand why. They are just the happiest pair of people! And probably the greatest member missionaries that ever lived! We didn't get back to the house until almost 10 o' clock, but we didn't even care because it was such an awesome night. Gosh, I am so happy to be here! All that time struggling in Leon and not having much success just makes me appreciate so much more the blessing I am receiving here. God is the master of Heaven, and earth and space. He really does have a perfect plan and I know that if we are patient and trust in him, he will carry us through our trials and we will find happiness. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary and meet so many wonderful people here in Nicaragua.
  This ward is the best! Our mission leader brought up in a ward meeting that us missionaries didn't have dinner appointments for some nights of the week so the leaders started saying which days they could feed us and now we have dinner appointments for every night! What a blessing! In Leon, we never had a single set dinner appointment.
Random sidenote: The soup here is made by putting everything in a pot and boiling it, so there are huge globs of grease because of the meat. It makes meat feel so unhealthy and can't possibly be good for my skin. Who want's to eat hot super in 100 degree weather anyway?? Crazy...
There's this member named Hno. Blanco who is the cutest little old guy with snow white hair and a huge testimony. He has accompanied to a few lessons and when we were visiting a sick old lady who wanted to receive a blessing of health, he came right away. Aw, love him. I cried during the blessing because my heart was so full of gratitude and love for the members here.
We're teaching this sweet little old lady named Beatrice. At the end of a lesson, the member who was with us offered the prayer and afterwards, Beatrice said, "I'm also going to say a prayer for you all" and proceeded with the sweetest prayer thanking God that we visited her and asking him to take care of us. Aww! She's the cutest!
Welp, I have a lot more to write, but I'm out of time so more next week! The video I sent over dropbox is of a song us 4 missionaries did in the ward talent show two weeks ago. I'll tell you more about it next week.

Love you all! Hermana Hawkins