Monday, September 6, 2011
Wowzer! What a busy week I have had with so many crazy, but yet, “full of great learning” meetings! I have learned so much this past week in meetings! Well things are for sure changing in the mission! It's crazy how much change can really help you along in the work and energize you! Because Sister Crawford loves us so much, she has put us all on diets! For real! She has given us a grocery list and has given us advice of what we need to do to become more energized and not feel so tired! It's awesome! I must say, I have truly seen a big difference these last few days! She addressed us this past week at Zone Conference and so the whole mission is doing the President's Challenge! We have to be obedient and go to bed on time at 10:30 p.m. and that does not mean saying our prayers at 10:30 p.m., but actually be in bed and under the covers. We then are to wake up at 6:30 a.m. in the morning, hurry and get dressed, say our prayers and then go running or walking! It has to be one of those two things! And we are supposed to tell our District Leaders every night if we have done that! So yeah, and we are supposed to eat healthy at breakfast and lunch and be wise at members homes and not eat too much! So ya and at the end of this challenge we will all get BLUEBELL ICE CREAM!!!!!! K so the story of Bluebell Ice Cream is that it is so, so, so good! Better than anything back home. But we are doing this President's Challenge as Zones so whichever zone gets the highest points wins a pint of Bluebell!!! Yeah, pretty excited I must say! Well I myself have been doing well and truly have been blessed where I am not sleepy in the morning during studies and I am wide awake! And it's so cool; I can run for the entire time we are doing exercise, just like I did back home! So hopefully with me getting into this habit again I will lose some of the weight that I have gained in Texas! Every missionary in Texas gains weight so President and Sister Crawford are trying to help us learn good eating habits and to be healthy on our missions! So that is pretty sweet! I must say!
Well something else triggered me at Zone Conference … at each Zone Conference we have the missionaries that are leaving bear their testimonies and share their feelings about their mission. It is always so very touching listening to their testimonies! Well when they were bearing there testimonies this past conference, man the spirit really hit me hard realizing that I have only 6 months left; that's all I have and it struck me so hard that my time is running out and that is just so sad! Remember at the beginning of my mission when I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could just say I did it with the Lord and he helped me through it! I was like counting months and days and stuff like that. Well I have been just so busy and had to deal with being sick and then I have been doing lots of teaching that time is just flying by! I have 6 months left! That is just so crazy; that is like when I was with Sister Smith. She had that amount of time left and then I turn around and she went home and now that is going to be happening to me! I am not ready to go home! There is so much work to do and so much I still have to learn that I just don't want the time to come! Maybe I will talk to President Crawford about extending for another transfer! I hope ya'll won’t mind. But extending on missions is so rare now, they hardly ever do it! But wouldn't that be so cool!?! Mom, I am not ready to accept that my time is running out! But I have six months and I am going to try to do my very best and work so hard so I can become even more like my Savior Jesus Christ! I hope these next six months don't go by super fast!
Well things in Baytown have been good; the work is still slow but I know the Lord is preparing those brothers and sisters of ours to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It's going to be so awesome when that time comes to be teaching a lot of people! I had a cool experience on exchanges this week; I got to do exchanges with a Spanish Sister! Pretty sweet I must say, and Sister Hatch went into Spanish land! But Hermana Rivera, (Hermana means Sister in Spanish) and I went to see this less active lady and she hasn't been to church in a long time! We were at her house talking with her … well let me rephrase that … she was doing all the talking. When it came time when we needed to go she started opening up with us about why she hasn't been going to church. She told us she doesn't go because she is out of the habit and that she feels like she doesn't know the ward very well, and plus she has been sick and dealing with back problems and having surgeries for her back. I was praying for an opportunity to testify to her about coming to church and wanting to help her feel the spirit; well guess what … that time came! Oh man the spirit was so, so strong. I bore witness that if she would make the step and effort to come to church that the Lord would bless her to get better and that she wouldn’t be in so much pain and that he would provide a way for her! She was crying. Then she quickly said, “Well I can't go tomorrow but we will see about next week.” Then Hermana Rivera testified as well and said that the things I told her were true. She then told her we needed to get going and would like to say a prayer. I said the prayer. I prayed that the Lord would help her and provide a way for her to get better and that he would help her get through her family struggles and blessed her with strength! Then we left … we always try to leave when there has been very spiritual experience so they can notice the difference when we are there and are not there and hope they will want that feeling always! When we got into the car, Hermana Rivera said, “Wow that was so awesome. The spirit was so strong when you were testifying.” I said a little prayer to thank my Heavenly Father for that neat experience I had! Very cool I must say!
Also something else happened this past week that was really awesome! I finished reading the Book of Mormon again! My third time on my mission! How cool and neat is that! I just love the Book of Mormon. After I was done reading it I tried something new that I had learned from my last area from Elder Walker when he taught from a talk by President Henry B Eyring … that every time you finish the Book of Mormon, always ask to know it's true and to have that spirit testify to you it's true. Well I did that on Saturday morning and I prayed and waited and well nothing! I was hoping for a warm spirit inside and goose bumps or for me to start to cry because of the spirit! But nothing. Well during our companion study with Hermana Rivera she shared some scriptures with me, and they were 2 Nephi 4:15, 16,19, 20, 23, 24, 26, 29 …
15 And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.
16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
… and I was feeling the spirit so, so strong! And it was bearing witness to me that the Book of Mormon is true, and it is! It's another testimony of Jesus Christ and we have it in our day to help us with our trials and our hardships and it's so awesome! I love reading the Book of Mormon! My goal is to finish it again before the year is out and then try to read it again before I come home! That is my goal because I want to learn all that I can as a missionary reading the Book of Mormon! Something I learned from President Pomeroy, a counselor to President Crawford, is that no matter how many times you read the Book of Mormon it will always teach you something new! All the time! President Pomeroy was an institute teacher for 35 years and at zone conference he told us missionaries that he studies every day like we do and he still learns something new and finds something that didn't catch his eye before and who knows how many times President Pomeroy has read the scriptures; only God knows that. It's just cool and there are powerful tools that are in the Book of Mormon! I know it to be true! It TESTIFIES! It is the word of God and it was restored for us, for our learning and for our knowledge so we can become more like our loving Savior Jesus Christ! It's true. I will never ever reject the truthfulliness of the Book of Mormon! Such a powerful book!
Well one more week till transfers and wow this transfer has been so slow with all the struggles of a new area and new District and with a new companion. It's tough, but what can I say, you learn the best through the trials the Lord gives ya, and boy I have learned a lot this transfer … to have patience (even though I must say I have exploded a couple of times) and I have learned understanding and lots of humility and love … but I must say, I am still working on all these Christ-Like attributes because I am not perfect but I can do my best to perfect them! I love my Savior so dearly and I am learning more of him every day and becoming closer to my Heavenly Father through my many prayers to get through the trials I have as a missionary! The Gospel is TRUE! It's here for us to become more like our Savior and to prepare ourselves to meet God. We need to take this time on earth to learn all we can and take the trials and learn from them and love them and accept them and thank God for our trials!
Well I love you mom and the family! I miss ya'll like crazy! I am still trying to do my best! But always know the Lord is the way through any trial! Have a good week! I hope to hear from you soon! Love you!
Love Sister Hawkins!