Thank you again for all the love and support you have shown Emily and her family during these past 18 1/2 months. We will be forever grateful! Be sure to check back later in the week as I will be posting pictures of her homecoming at the airport. Enjoy this final email from Sister Hawkins.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Well this is my last letter/e-mail to you that you will be receiving! How crazy is that! I can't believe my mission is over! Wow so many miracles and growth that the Lord has given to me the last 18 1/2 months! I have grown and learned so much about my loving Savior Jesus Christ! I know He lives and that He did come to earth to perform miracles and to be the amazing example to us and to show us the path of which we need to do our best to follow every day! I know the He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and that He went through so much pain for us and has felt our sorrow and our pain! I know that He saw me personally through that suffering! I know that He knows me and I know that He knows you too! Our older Brother Jesus Christ knows everyone of us and we need to do our best as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to share this gospel with our brothers and sisters all around us! I know Jesus Christ died for us, He died for me so that I have that chance to return home to my loving Heavenly Father and to my Family!
I have been thinking a lot about the Atonement and what it means to me! I have been trying to put myself in His shoes of all the suffering that He did for us! Imagine people spitting on you, hitting you and calling you names and saying you’re not the Christ. Imagine people being rude, scorning you and beating you. Then imagine being whipped and in so much pain only to have a crown of thorns put on your head and be forced to carry your cross all the way up to the hill where you are going to die! I can't imagine how much that hurt; I can’t imagine that night in the Garden of Gethsemane and how much pain He was feeling and how He was bleeding out of every pore! He didn't complain, didn't lash out and try to defend himself, He just let them do it! He did it because He loves everyone! I know that the Atonement is real! I have learned so much about the Atonement on my mission and how to apply it to ourselves! It's so amazing!
This Gospel is so true! It's been so humbling to wake up every morning and to do my studies and to prepare myself every day of my mission to be His servant in His hands. To go out and to share the amazing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to share the Book of Mormon! I love bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon! I love the stories that are in there! I'm so grateful to have learned the stories and to have been able to help apply them to the people's lives here in Texas! How wonderful it is! So, so grateful!
I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and our Savior Jesus Christ in the grove of trees! Have you ever taken the time to really think about the experience that Joseph Smith had at the age of 14, having that strong of faith that Heavenly Father is going to answer his prayer. He goes into the grove of trees and he sees them! Face to Face! How AMAZING!!! And how he got to see them and talk to them and how they knew Joseph and they called him by name! God knows us each individually! I love sharing the experience of Joseph Smith and how we all can get answers to our prayers and how we need to have that faith that Joseph Smith had! I'm so grateful for Joseph Smith and for what he and his family went through to enable us to have the Book of Mormon today! Without his faith, diligence and his obedience to serve the Lord and translate the Golden Plates we wouldn't have the Book of Mormon today! We all need to make sure we take the time to read and study from the standard works and apply them to our lives because the Prophets went through so much so we can have the Gospel and the Scriptures that can truly help our lives today!
I just love being a missionary! Last night I was packing all my stuff and just thinking about my mission and about all the wonderful memories and experiences that I have had and about how much I have changed! The Lord answers our prayers and he performs miracles for us to see that He is real and that He lives! I love my mission and it's so sad it's coming to an end but I'm thinking about the bigger picture! I know there is missionary work to do all over the world and that you don't need to have the cool amazing name tag! You have your testimony and you have the knowledge of the Gospel and you just have to share it with everyone! It's hard to see all my stuff packed up and ready to head back home! All my missionary friends are calling and saying goodbye and wishing me good luck! It's sad, I'm not going to be in the missionary atmosphere to feel the Spirit all around me and to have amazing friends that I can talk to and talk about investigators or what we could do better to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ! But I know there are lots of friends back home and there gonna help me adjust! I'm excited to start my new life; a new young women who has developed her own testimony of the Gospel and has found out for herself that this Gospel is true and does not need to depend on my amazing parents testimonies anymore! Deeply grateful to you mom and dad for helping me grow up in this Gospel and teaching me the things that I needed to know to help prepare me for my amazing mission! :)
Well this week was a very hard week! I have never been so down and really depressed and have never prayed so much in my life! Well you’re probably wondering about Hugo and his baptism … well we had a really great meeting with him on Monday at a member’s home and well, that Tuesday morning he texted us that he needed time to really think about this commitment of being baptized! He told us he is being like Joseph Smith and is praying and asking God if this is what he really needs to do for himself! Sister Cochran and I respected him by giving him space but we told him that if he met with us that we could help him find out the answers and help him with concerns. He told us that he would be in touch! Well, my heart was broken wondering what happened and I just prayed so much in my heart to have the Lord answer Hugo's prayer. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning Sister Cochran and I fasted for Hugo and said many prayers and we have been praying for him. I have been in deep prayer with my loving Heavenly Father pleading that Hugo will find his answer that I might have the opportunity to see him make those covenants of baptism. Well a whole week went by and Sister Cochran and I have had break downs and just cried and wondered why this was happening but we know that this is a stumbling block for Hugo and that this is his trial; every investigator goes through a trial before baptism and this is his!
We finally met him on Saturday and he is doing well but still hasn't gotten his answer and my heart broke in half. We talked to him and told him that he doesn't have to be 100% perfect and that we are all human and we have the natural man in us that makes mistakes. We had taught him some of the commandments on Monday and I think that he realized that this isn't a church that you can just go and do stuff like maybe smoke or drink coffee and so he realized that this is a big thing. He wants to make sure he can do this and he hasn't got his answer yet. I reminded him to remember how he felt during all the lessons and to remember the goose bumps and the warm feeling inside and how happy and joyful he is. He just sat there and paused and I told him we would like to meet with him this weekend to talk and plus I said I would like to see him before I go. So we are meeting with Hugo tonight and he is taking us to dinner. I have been praying that Sister Cochran and I can be the answer to his prayer and help him find what he is searcing for. I know that the Lord is helping him and that one day he will get baptized but it wasn't during a time that I could be here. But I know he will get baptized very soon! So please continue to pray for our dear friend Hugo!
Well Kyra’s baptism was beautiful and the spirit was there and it was a real sweet baptism. Her family who haven't been to church much where also there and she looked so pretty all dressed in white and I know she made the right decision to be baptized! I know that our Heavenly Father is really pleased with her and is going to bless her and her family! When she got confirmed yesterday at church it was a real sweet blessing and the Lord is going to bless her if she keeps the commandments and follows our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ!
Kyra's baptism cake!
I have learned so much this last week of my mission about faith and prayer and relying deeply on the Lord! There were some down falls and it was a tougher week than all the other weeks I have had with Sister Cochran, but I know the Lord was teaching us to have faith and to rely on the Lord! My Testimony has just grown so much; I'm sadden not to see Hugo get baptized but I'm so happy for Kyra. But it taught me that things happen on the Lord’s time and that Hugo isn’t ready but Kyra was. I learned that they are different people and they have different needs and our purpose as missionaries is to help them come unto Christ and help build their faith in Christ. We need to help them understand how to repent so they can make those promises with God at baptism and receive the wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father, the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We need to help them apply the Doctrine of Christ so they can Endure to the End! I love 2 Nephi 31, the Doctrine of Christ! This is the path God has given us to know the path way in life and how to rely on them. That is what we are teaching all our investigators and Hugo and Kyra. God's children are all different and we need to love and care for them and accept who they are! :)
Man I bet you are just crying mom reading my e-mail to you! You probably never thought I would be like this uh! I know you and the family and all my friends are going to see a new Sister Hawkins, a new girl who isn't afraid anymore and who is strong and independent and has a strong testimony of the Gospel. You are going to see someone who is ready to start a new path and ready to hit it hard and have my loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ next to me to help, lead and guide me! I'm so grateful that I can share my mission with everyone back home and help their testimony grow and help them realize that anyone can be a missionary too!:) I love this work and I love this Gospel and I'm so grateful that I got to share it with ya'll and that I had the opportunity to serve my loving Heavenly Father! I love you and I can't wait to see you on Wednesday! Love you!
Love Sister Hawkins
The Walter family! They are the best ever!
My very last district!
The Sisters at the Hibachi Grill ... a super good place to eat!
Sister Cochran and I out for dinner my last time in Baytown!
A pretty sunset that I am not going to see anymore :(