Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trials bring blessings!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dear Mom,

Where do I start to tell you how the Lord knows me and knows what I am going through? This past week has been hard but yet, has also been a blessing; the Lord has shown me Tender Mercies and helped me become so much stronger! I have been getting a lot of blessings this last week for different reasons and especially for my health right now. In each blessing the Lord has given me something to look upon and to give me that strength! I'm so grateful for the power of the Priesthood and that we have it upon the earth today to really bless our lives! Mom I cannot see myself without living the Gospel and I can't see my family without the Gospel! I have been so blessed to serve the Lord and to work towards becoming more like Him! I can't believe I'm on a mission! I can't believe all the wonderful things I'm experiencing! I know the Lord gives us trials for a reason! You know growing up was not easy and there were times I would sit in the living room all alone and look at the picture of Christ and His saying, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it". And mom that is just so true; that is true for me right now on my mission and in my life! The things I have overcome have not been easy but it's been so worth it and it has made me a stronger person and helped me know who I am and who I am striving to become in this life! I'm so grateful for the Lord and the many blessings He is blessing me with! I am grateful to have been blessed with an amazing family that has just showed so much love to me over the years and now on my mission! I have no idea how to pay the Lord back for all the many blessings and for letting me serve Him! All I know is that I have a short time left and there is a lot of work to be done and I just got to give it my all to pay the Lord back and to give Him thanks for everything that I have in my life!

I'm grateful for revelation and for my Mission President and for Sister Crawford! They do have the keys to help the work grow in the mission! They have the Keys to be our Mission Parents and to give us the love and comfort that we need … because things aren't easy! I know that they were called by a living Prophet who received revelation that they needed to be our Mission Parents! I know they love us deeply and care about us a lot and want the best for us on our missions. They want to help us strive to be like our Savior Jesus Christ! I'm grateful for my own personal revelation that I get as a missionary and how the Lord answers my prayers through thoughts, scriptures, companions, ward members and through the Power of a Priesthood blessing! But I also know the in order to receive the revelation that you are seeking that you have to be in tune with the Spirit and you have to have your heart and mind open to the Spirit to tell you the things that the Lord wants you to hear!

I'm grateful for my challenges this past week with an in-grown-toe-nail. I have been wearing a slipper on my left foot and a normal shoe on my right foot, but what a blessing it has been to be in pain and to have that time to work in our “area book” of Baytown! We had the opportunity to do missionary work in our apartment and to make calls to past people that missionaries have talked too! And mom, you know how I don't like to talk on the phone or to make phone calls, well I must say that was one challenge I have overcome on my mission. My companion, Sister Higley and I called lots of phone numbers! Now some people didn't answer and at the beginning I was like “yeah” and kind of glad because I was scared to talk on the phone but then as time went by I was getting disappointed because I was feeling like they need the Gospel I wanted the people in Baytown to answer the phone so we could bear our testimonies to them and invite them to hear the Gospel! I learned that this week! So now when I make phone calls I no longer hope they don't answer like I use to … I hope they answer so they can hear more about the Gospel and hear our testimonies and have their lives blessed!

We actually had a couple neat experiences as we got to talk to different people and invite them to learn more about the gospel and the restoration. We invited them to the Church house so we can give them a tour and show them around. And two of the people we called said yes! So this upcoming week on Tuesday and Saturday we have appointments set up! I have been praying and hoping that things will work out and leaving in the Lord’s hands. I know He will help guide our Brothers and Sisters to where they need to be! I had the opportunity to make a phone call to a girl named Meagan who graduated from High School a couple of years ago! I was able to talk with her and she wanted to meet with us but she couldn't because she lives in Houston and not Baytown. I told her not to worry because we have missionaries like us that are all over the world that do the same thing we do, teaching about Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel, and that if we got her address, we could get a hold of the missionaries that are close to her. And it was so neat because she accepted to have the missionaries come to her home. So I wrote all her information down and told her that missionaries would get a hold of her soon! I then called the Mission Office and talked with Sister Larsen, who is in charge of referrals, and told her the story of Meagan and how we got to know her because of us having to be home while my toe got better. Sister Larsen thought that was the coolest thing! So I hope and pray that Meagan accepts the Gospel and that the Missionaries will love her and help her to the Waters of Baptism! So there is a reason why I have been having toe problems … it is so Sister Higley and I can work in the area book and find people to teach! It was also neat last night when we were doing our numbers and talking with our District Leader Elder Tracy. We told him about having to stay inside and doing phone calls and then he helped me remember that at one of our latest Missionary Conference we heard from a special speaker about just that thing. I think he said it was Elder Gaverette who told us that the people in our “Area Books” are ready to be Baptized so now it's our job and responsibility to go searching in our area books and find our Brothers and Sisters and teach them of the Gospel! Pretty cool uh!

Well mom I'm truly grateful for you this past week because almost a year ago on Christmas morning you gave me the Best Teaching tool ever!!!! That was the Green Eggs and Ham Book! By Dr. Suess! Well Sister Higley and I have been sharing it with members in our ward to help them remember the Challenge that the Stake President gave to our stake here in Baytown. He gave every member a Book of Mormon and challenged them to take it home and pray and seek revelation about who they needed to give it to and to also write their testimonies in it! Well we have been using my story book to share with families and they just love the book! A whole lot! It helps them to see that if they give a Book of Mormon away that it can change someone’s life forever and for the future Generations to come! It helps them give away Books of Mormon! So mom, thank you so much for the book! I love it and Sister Higley loves it too! It seems all my companions love it! So thank you mom!

Well I'm so excited for this next week because on Friday we get to go to Bering, Texas to hear from a Seventy of the Church, Elder Rasband I believe! I'm so excited! It's always fun to go and hear from the General Authorities and see what they want us to learn and what we need to do to become better missionaries! And it's gonna be a great month because we have Zone P-day on my birthday next week! I'm excited! I hope we do something fun on my birthday, if not sad day! But we will see! And also I am looking forward to Zone Conference where we meet with some other Zones and get to hear from President and Sister Crawford. The Crawfords are excited to see how well we have been memorizing the scriptures and I am working extra hard to have all 25 scriptures memorized by November 17th! I have like 10 left and then I will have them all memorized! They also want us to be able to know some other scriptures too, but the good thing is that these other scriptures don't have to be memorized but rather we just need to know them well so that we will be able to use them in our teaching! So I want to give you the list of all the 25 Scriptures that I need to have memorized hopefully by November 17th! So here they are!

Old Testament
Exodus 33:11      Proverbs 3:5-6
Isaiah 29:13-14   Isaiah 55:8-9

New Testament
Luke 24:36-39     John 7:17
John 10:14-16     Ephesians 4:11-14
James 2:17-18    Revelations 14:6-7

Pearl of Great Price
Moses 1:39      Abraham 3:22-23

Book of Mormon
1 Nephi 3:6-8            Alma 37:6-7
Alma 37:37               Heleman 5:12
Moroni 7:16-18         Moroni 7:45-47
2 Nephi 25:23, 26    Jacob 2:18-19, Ether 12:27

Doctrine & Covenants
D&C 4                 D&C 18:10, 15-16
D&C 76:22-24    D&C 130:18-19

And so far I have all of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament except James and Revelations but hopefully in my studies I will have them memorized too! But it's been fun to memorize them because they are becoming special to me. I haven't had the opportunity yet to use them in my teaching but I know before my mission ends I will! But it's reminds me of a General Conference talk I was reading on Sunday by Elder Richard G. Scott! And boy that is a really good talk! It talks about how we need to memorize scriptures and have them be a part of us! And I love it where he says in his talk:

"Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing your cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world."

Also I like this too:

"A memorized scripture becomes an enduring friend that is not weakened with the passage of time."

And I like this quote too that talks about revelation which is what I was talking about earlier in my letter:

"Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give a place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ."

That one reminds me of Melanie’s quote that I use all the time when I teach about getting answers to things:

"If you want to talk to God, Pray. If you want God to talk to you, Read your Scriptures."

And so it's so important that we are recognize the stories in the scriptures and make them a part of our lives to help us through the hard times that we can remember the stories and say if they can do it then I can to it! So it's been fun to do the things that President and Sister Crawford want us to do with learning of Scriptures!

Well mom, this seems like a really long letter that I know you will enjoy! I love you mom and thanks for all the love and support on my mission and for helping me to never give up! I learned that I can't do that! I need to keep pushing forward and endure to the end! It's like in 2 Nephi 31:20, we got to keep pressing forward and feasting on the words of Christ so we can endure to the end! I know it's all going to be good and that challenges are for our good to help us learn and to grow!

Well I hope you have a great week! I love you! And thanks for everything! Love ya!

Love Sister Hawkins!

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