I don´t even know where to begin. I have about a million things running through my head right now. This has been a very humbling week and a half. We had a baptism fall through, only had one investigator in church on Sunday, and learned a lot of things we can do better. We´re dropping Jessica. Her parents are putting too much opposition and she doesn´t have the courage to share her testimony with them and explain why baptism is so important to her. Maybe when she´s a little older. I was feeling pretty frustrated Sunday morning when none of the people who had commited to going to church showed up. I´ve just gotten so sick of lies. All of this sort of built up until Monday, when we got a text saying one of the sister training leaders would be coming to work with us on Monday. I looked forward to it because I knew I would learn a lot, but I also knew it would be a humbling and overwhelming experience. And it was. She did a lot of analyzing and giving suggestions. I felt like I was being judged. I suppose I was. But not all judgement is unjust. I tried to go through the day with an open mind and took lots of notes of things I can do better. The next day was harder though. In the morning, during our personal studies, the sister training leader told me she had been thinking a lot about me and knew that I was an obedient, hard-working missionary and wondered why I wasn´t having as much success as she felt I deserved. She said she knew I put my heart into the work, but felt that I have been working too much with people who aren´t willing to make the changes necessary to follow Christ because sometimes we love investigators so much that we don't want to drop them. She made a lot of emphasis on the fact that I´m nearning the end of my mission and said that if I would just change some small, simple things, I see miracles before the end. I couldn't help but cry in feeling her love and concern. And anyone who knows me know that when I start crying, I can´t stop. And I´m such an ugly crier!
The truth is, I have been struggling a lot in the last few months wondering the same thing: why I haven´t been baptizing if I´m putting my heart into the work. I´ve been getting so frustrated with investigators and my heart at times has felt like it´s taken a whipping. As I am nearing the end of my mission, I´ve put a lot of goals for myself, and one of my deepest desires is to not look back on my mission with resentment or bitterness. My misson has taught me a lot and made me stronger and I´m so grateful for this experience, but recently I´ve been feeling bitter for all of the disappointments. That´s not what I want. I want to find joy in my mission. I want to look back on this experience with a smile, not with resentment. I want to feel a great love for Nicaragua and the people here. The sister training leader helped me to see that if I am willing to drop the people who don´t want to make commitments and act and do more searching to find those who are truly prepared, I won´t have to experience so much disappointment. I realized she was right. I learned a lot about my weaknesses in these last couple days and discovered some ways I can improve. I regret not learning these things sooner so I´d have more time to put them into practice. But in the moments when we are filled with regret and wish we could go back and change the past, that´s where the Atonement comes into play. Change is hard. It won´t be easy to put the things I learned into practice. It´s going to take work. I won´t be able to overcome my weaknesses on my own. I trust that Christ will give me the strength to move forward, the faith to keep trying, the hope to believe that things will get better, the courage to let go of my fear of failure, and a greater sense of charity for the people of Nicaragua. I pray that this experience will bring me closer to Christ and allow me to turn my regrets into gratitude for the opportunity to understand the Atonement a little better.
I hope everyone had a happy new year and had set some goals for this year to make this year a better one. With much love, Hermana Hawkins
P.s. I was going to send pictures today, but I´m out of time. I´ll try to send them next week.