Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mission Farewell

Emily spoke in both the Young Single Adult Branch and the Shelley 8th Ward this past Sunday, August 8th.  Emily wanted everyone to know a little of how life was for her growing up and how she has gotten to this point in her life so she started her talk by reading a short summary of her life she had asked her older sister Melanie to write.  (I will post the summary that Melanie wrote at the end of this posting for those who would like to read it.)  Emily then told about turning in her mission papers and the events that have transpired over the past 10 months.  Miracles have happened in Emily's life and she recognizes that and knows that things happen for a reason and that she is now 100% prepared and ready to serve the Lord and the wonderful people of Texas.  Sunday afternoon we enjoyed a fun luncheon and many family and friends stopped by to wish her well.

Tuesday, August 10th, at about 8:30 p.m. Emily was set apart as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was a beautiful blessing and Emily ... Sister Hawkins ... has a wonderful glow about her and is ready to serve the Lord.  We head out Wednesday morning and Sister Hawkins will report to the MTC at 1 p.m. 

Here are some pictures from the events of Sunday, August 8th.

Emily and her Young Single Adult Branch Presidency

Luncheon with wonderful friends and family

Nephew Zaebyn - cutest boy at the party!

(The following is the Summary of Emily's life as written by her sister Melanie Staley)

When asked to describe Emily, most people would comment on her sweetness, or how everyone just loves her.  But if I had to use one one word, I would have to say she is a miracle.  And I'm not exaggerating.  While Emily's sweet smile has touched many lives, very few people know the road she has had to walk behind that smile.  Everyday activities that you and I accomplish with out a second thought, have been challenges for her.  From a very young age, Emily has lived a life of crippling fear and anxiety.

Probably one of the most significant fears of her childhood was her fear of being in a classroom setting. She feared things like being unable to leave the room if she felt unsafe, and she feared the untrusted strangers that came and went. So the everyday tasks of going to school and primary were challenges that affected everyone around her. Because while Emily has always been very sweet, she has also always been very strong willed. Getting her to put on tights for church, or getting her to get out of the car on a school day morning, were often physical impossibilities. Leaving my mother in tears, or me late for school. And if there was a substitute teacher that day, well, things just went down hill from there.

My parents tried everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. They put her in counseling. She had a stuffed lion to help her remember to have courage. A t-shirt with dragons on it that said “No Fear”. And neither Emily or my mother will ever forget the day a police officer had to escort her to class. All throughout her elementary school years, we silently dreaded the day she would have to go to middle school. So many different classrooms, so many different teachers. How could this child ever possibly cope.

But she did. There were good days, and there were bad. Emily had a really great home room teacher who was a member of our ward, who's trusted friendly smile each morning, helped Emily with the transition.

But as she got older, we began to see that her fears and challenges extended beyond her fear of the classroom. She was never able to do things like stay all the way through a sleepover, or fly in an airplane. And as she began high school, academic challenges started to emerge. Like many others, school was hard for her. She had to work far harder than I ever did, just to get a passing grade. As Emily walked across that stage on graduation day, very few people in that gymnasium realized what a miracle it was. Only a select few of us knew how often and how close she came to dropping out. Graduation day was a day that many of those close to her, feared would never come.

And she hasn't stopped there. She has continued to work at overcoming her fears and done things we thought she'd never do. Despite her fears and lots of tears, she moved away from home. Went out and got a job that put her well outside her comfort zone. She's even been on an airplane.

At any point along this journey, had someone told me that Emily would one day serve a mission, I and several others, would have said you were crazy.

I truly believe with all my heart, that miracles did not cease when the Savior died. If Emily Mae Hawkins, that terrified little girl, can be transformed and molded into a strong full time servant of the Lord, ANYTHING is possible.


  1. That was a fun day, thanks for letting us be a part of it.

  2. Thanks for sharing the pictures and Melanies tribute to Emily. It is truly amazing to see how far Emily has come. I know it has been a long and difficult journey for your whole family.
    I know she will continue to grow and change in many ways through her mission experiences. I am glad we can share in her journey!
    Lots of love