Hey everybody! For the last time...
Ahhhhh I seriously can NOT believe this is my last email home!!! It feels so unreal. I remember at the beginning of my mission, this day seemed soooo far away. And now I think back to my first few transfers in the mission and it´s almost a blur, it feels so long ago. I remember wondering if I could really last a year and a half here. It´s like the scripture says in Ecclesiates 7:8 "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof." AMEN! Hahaha. But really, I am amazed that I have come this far and know that it is owed to Christ´s enabling power. Here´s an excerpt from my 7th day in the mission field (October 20th, 2013): Yesterday I felt like I had the life sucked out of me and I didn´t think I could go on, but today I made the decision to stay. When I sent in my mission papers, I made a choice to serve God for 18 months and I need to follow through. This work is so much bigger than me and I know God will strengthen me." And he has. I know he has. He has made me stronger. Serving a mission is the hardest thing I have ever done. They have been some very hard times. But there have also been some very rewarding times. I have had some amazing experiences for which I will ever be grateful. I have made lasting friendships, witnessed miracles, learned so much, and my testimony has grown immensely. I think one of the coolest parts of serving a mission is seeing just how real and applicable all of the gospel principles are. Every commandment has a promised blessing and we only receive those blessings by way of obedience.
I want to thank everyone who has read my letters or written letters or emails in the last 18 months. The support has been greatly appreciated. Anyone who has served a mission knows how much each and every email means. Shout out to Jennis Hansen who has faithfully been my long-distance visiting teacher throughout my mission. It was so fun to get your letters and creative handouts.
Thanks to all who supported in various ways: spiritually, mentally, financially... everything. You all provided hope and helped propel me forward.
I am so grateful for the support of my family who was always ready with a word of encouragement.
This week we are anxiously anticipating the baptisms of Jonatan and Carlos. We were really worried this week because when we showed up for our appointment with Carlos, he wasn´t there and wouldn´t answer his phone. We thought he didn´t want to meet with us anymore. We were even more worried when he didn´t come to church yesterday. But after church, we found him in his house and we able to talk to him and realized it wasn´t that he didn´t like the church or didn´t want to keep learning about the gospel, but rather he had some problems going on in his life and felt discouraged. We assured him that we were there to help and that God came for the sinners and that he is ready to forgive of. He let us meet with him that night and we had a good lesson. He told us he was sorry for acting like he didn´t want to meet with us anymore and that he really likes the messages we share with him. Please pray that all goes well for his baptism this week.
Jonatan has also been struggling a bit because of family problems and didn´t come to church yesterday, but we´re gonna do all we can to help him. I would absolutely love to finish my mission baptizing, but I am willing to accept God´s will and timing. Still, I have the strongest feeling that at least one of these two will be baptized this week. Even though missionaries are imperfect teachers, Christ´s grace makes up for it. God has a perfect plan.
I want to make the most of this last week. I know that I will miss Nicaragua when I leave. I know I will be sad to take off my name tag when the time comes. What a privelage it is to be a missionary and proclaim the joyous gospel of Jesus Christ. It has blessed me in countless ways and I want others to be able to experience those blessings. I love the people of Nicaragua. They are so giving and full of love. Every now and then in contacts we´ve run into some not-so-pleasant people, but even they have been somewhat polite in showing that they don´t have interest in our message. Many of the Nicaraguans are confused by the doctrines of men (there is literally a church on every corner here) and that has been the thing that impedes them most from accepting the gospel, not an unwillingness to follow Jesus Christ. Almost all of them believe in Christ and know that our purpose in life is to serve him; they just haven´t understood the proper way to do so. But those Nicaraguans who truly seek to find and understand the truth are so ready for the gospel. I´m so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve in such a blessed land. I know I can forever continue to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and share the gospel with those around me.
Even though I will miss Nicaragua, I know I will return one day. And who are we kidding, I am so stoked to go home!!!! I have missed my family and friends so much! I´m pretty sure it won´t feel real until the moment I´m sitting on the plane. I think that´s when I´ll have an excitement attack haha. I can´t wait to be able to hug you again and talk to you face-to-face!
As the apostle Paul said, "I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith." YA ME VOY! See you in 8 days!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!
-the "almost dead" Hermana Hawkins
P.s. Please come to my mission report on Sunday, March 8th in the Berthoud church building! :)