Wow what a week; it's like where do I start? There has been so much stuff going on both good times and hard times and I'm kind of actually surprised that I got through this week! Well we had a meeting this past week up in Eagle Springs Texas with the Stake President. His name is President Banks and he is a very bold, loving and up front kind of guy! We also had the Stake high council there as well as President Crawford. We discussed missionary work and how we can get the wards more involved and to be more excited to help us out and stuff! It was a really good meeting; I learned a lot about what I need to do better in my missionary work ethics! I also got to see Sister Henson and Sister Kinikini at the meeting and mom Sister Henson is doing so well, she has changed so much I can't believe how well she is doing. I can tell she still struggles a bit but I can see a change in her! I'm so proud of her! I hope I can still be near here before I go home to see how much more she has changed! I hope her family is seeing the change in her as well through the letters that she sends home! It's amazing what a mission can do for a person! I visited with Sister Kinikini and she is doing so good; she is just on fire doing the Lords work and is just so grateful to be back in La Porte. They told me that there are two baptisms happening and they are both with people that I have taught! I am so excited for them! It's just sad that I can't go back for the baptism because it's not within the last transfer; I wish I could go but Sister Henson and Sister Kinikini told me they are going to take pictures and send them to me so I can see these dear people all dressed in white on their special day!
Also at the church that same night as our meeting there was an activity going on for the Relief Society and President Banks told us to go in there and introduce ourselves to all the sisters and say “Hi” so everyone can get use to the missionaries! Well mom, guess who I saw??!!!!! I saw Monica! A wonderful lady that I love so much! Oh boy, when I saw her I just went up to her so fast and touched her shoulder and then she and I both screamed and everyone stopped talking to see what was going on! It was so good to see her! She is just the coolest person ever! She told me that she has stopped drinking coffee, has been going to church, is getting married to a LDS guy and that things are just working out for her so much! Mom the last 7 1/2 months that I was in La Porte I was so blessed to help out Monica and her two boys and I was there for them and my companions and I would go see her and encourage her to go to church and to stop drinking coffee and when I saw her at this meeting she was different; she was glowing and she was changed! A changed heart! She introduced me to her finance; a very nice guy named Lee and she introduced me to her sister-in-law. It was funny because the sister-in-law asked me if I knew Monica and I was like “Yeah!” and Monica told her sister-in-law that I was one of the missionaries that helped her get back on track and she said, “I just love this girl to death!” Monica told me she is getting married on October 22nd and that they are going to get sealed in the Temple next year! I'm just so excited for her! She told me I better be there next year when they get sealed! I told her, “Don't worry girl, I will be there!” So I am planning a trip next October to go to Texas which is good! Enough time for me to save money! It was so awesome!
Then something neat happened the next day during District Meetings. My new District Leader was giving a talk on “Changed Hearts” and he said, “Sister Hawkins, so tell us what happened last night.” At first I was so confused and then he said, “You know, the lady you were hugging and you both were like screaming and crying!” I said, “Oh, that's Monica.” I just started to cry and I felt the spirit so strong as I was talking about her. It was cool too because then Elder Tracy said that when he and some other Elders were leaving the meeting with the Stake President they heard Monica telling her finance Lee that she loved me so much for helping her get back to where she needed to be and that she couldn't have done it without me. Elder Tracy then asked me how I did it. I told him with lots of love and service and really relying on the Lord! The experience I had this past week with Monica was so cool and what a Tender Mercy from the Lord to be given the opportunity to see someone who I care so much for and to see how their life has changed and to see how their life is now! I know that we are called by a Prophet of God to go where we need to serve! And what a wonderful blessing to be a part of Monica's life and to help her come unto Jesus Christ!
So mom, you know I have restarted the Book of Mormon … and well I didn't have a focus on what to look for and so I just prayed that things would pop out for me to study and learn from and to highlight. Well you know how there have been problems between me and my companion and the stress of letting stuff go and my pride … well this whole time that I have been reading from The Book of Mormon, it's all about Pride and Humility! NO JIVING! I see things that can get ourselves wrapped up in pride and how our hearts are harden and how when we are just so angry we make “our will” the priority instead of having it be “God's will.” I have seen scriptures that just talk about Humility! It is just mind blowing what the Book of Mormon is showing me and teaching me about how I can change my ways and how I can turn to Christ to have Him help me soften my heart. But I also learn from the Book of Mormon that it's not easy and that it takes a lot of love, humility and trust in the Lord to have your heart be softened. It's like Laman and Lemuel; you read how many times that they are prideful and how they are so angry at their younger brother because they want to be the chosen one. Well I can tell you one thing … they were for sure chosen for something, and I know they didn't know it at the time, but they were chosen to show us how we can better ourselves and how we can humble ourselves unto Christ and how we need to not be so prideful about things that just don't go our way. I love how it shows that they see so many signs from God and an angel and then are shaken by God's power and how it's so real of what happened to them; but I love the part where Nephi is being so bold and loving to his brothers because of the spirit that is in him when he is telling them to humble themselves and to not touch him because what he knows is true and he can't deny it! It's in 1 Nephi 17:48. I just love the power that Nephi has … you should read 1 Nephi 17 … just a lot of power of what Nephi is teaching his brothers and how it makes you think of what miracles or wonders that God has done for you in this life and that we don't see it and we cover it with the pride of our hearts! Man I just love reading the Book of Mormon; it's just such a great powerful tool to have it in our lives!
Another experience I will share with you about the Book of Mormon happened last night. It had been a tough day because Sister Hatch and I were arguing like normal and then I had just got off the phone with the Zone Leaders as they had called to see how we were doing? Well I opened up the Book of Mormon and I read the words of what Jesus Christ said. it's in 2 Nephi 27:20-26!
20 Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee.
21 Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.
22 Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.
23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.
24 And again it shall come to pass that the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall be delivered him:
25 Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men—
26 Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.
Oh just powerful verses telling me so much! It reminded me that I need to do more studying and really turn to the Book of Mormon for answers just like I was told in a blessing a while ago. I was told to search the scriptures for answers and that experience last night just confirmed to me what I need to do because I was just sitting and wondering how I am going to get through this transfer and how am I going to lose my pride and how am I going to humble myself and learn to love my companion and to serve her so I can get back on track of doing the Lords work … well right there it is telling me to open my scriptures and apply the stories to myself and I will be able to do the things the Lord wants me to do! Amazing isn’t it, how the Lord answers your mini prayers! The Lord loves us no matter what is happening in our lives. He is always there! I know He is!
Well I hope you enjoy this letter as much as I enjoyed writing it today! Man it feels like I couldn't type fast enough to tell you about the wonderful things that I have been experiencing and to tell you about the blessings from the scriptures! Oh yeah guess what? I am reading from the New Testament and I just finished Matthew! I have never read the Bible all the way through, just parts here and there growing up! And man I am learning so much about the Savior and His miracles that He performed and how it talks about authority in the New Testament and it is just so amazing and very powerful what I am learning about my Savior Jesus Christ and how I feel like I am growing closer to Him every day! I love the Gospel with all my heart. I love being a missionary and how it's changing me every day! I know I am on my road of Gethsemane right now with the challenges that I am facing but I know God and my Savior is there. I know that I can get through these challenges even when I want to give up! I love being a missionary. I love how I am changing everyday and I love that we can study from the scriptures and Preach My Gospel and how it's helping my relationship grow so much! This church is so true!
Oh one more cool thing to tell ya … this last week was so awesome. One night we were coming in and this lady was waving us down to talk to us. When she got to us I noticed that she couldn't talk and she was signing and that she was deaf. I signed to her to tell her I know some sign language but not much and we started talking. We found out she is a recent convert from last year. She got baptized and she moved back here to Baytown. She knew Sister Hatch a little bit and her name is Karen. She is friends with some people who are in our ward who are partially deaf! She showed us where she lives in our apartment complex and we signed for a bit and set a return appointment for the next morning! So the next morning we went to go see her and she was helping me to sign and it was so much fun to sign back and forth and so I am learning more sign language. She was supposed to go to church yesterday but she got sick and she wants me to interpret for her at church. Well I told her I would do my best and also told her that we have members who can sign. There is this one lady but she is due to have a baby so she won’t be able to help much and then there is a girl but she is too busy and she hardly comes and plus I think that she goes to the Singles Branch. So next Sunday will be interesting! So now when I get any free time I am looking at the books Melanie and you have sent me! So I am super excited to be able to learn more signing and to help out Karen to be able to go to church. There is a deaf ward in Houston but she can’t drive and doesn't have a car to go but I hope that God will bless her to go somehow so she can learn more of Him and be around people who are members who are deaf … but we will see how things will go! But I'm so excited that I have met Karen this week … so please pray for me that I can learn and to be able to interpret a bit at church for Karen!
Well time is running short and I got to go e-mail President and get going! Lots to do today; we need to go shopping and then are going to see a member and get some cool stuff from Avon that she is giving to us! So hopefully today will be fun! Well I love you and thanks for the love and the support! I know the Lord is going to help me some way! The Lord always has a plan for us to succeed and to be happy! Oh mom can you send me copies of the pumpkin cake recipe and your yummy crock pot chicken and potatoes and also you potato salad recipe? Some members want some new ideas for cooking so that would be great if you can do that for me! I love you mom! Have a great week!
Love Sister Hawkins!
Reposting of a picture
taken March 2011 in La Porte
Sister Singleton, Sister Hawkins and Monica