Friday, December 27, 2013

And I'm Atlanta, Georgia!

The MTC Map picture, with Sister Menasco!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I thought I'd share what my Christmas looked like. It was quite different from any year I've had! 

As soon as I woke up I ran over to the sister's room where we had a "Christmas tree." Sister Keeler's family made this cute little tree with pictures of her family as ornaments. Though it was her family, we all adopted the tree as our own and set our presents under it.

The tree!

I got some pretty sweet gifts from the family. Thanks fam! And of course it just so happened that our Brazil picture frame landed right at the top of the tree. So it was almost like the star on our tree:) 

The star!

The "stockings" er, Christmas shoes....

So for our Christmas celebrations, we had four special events. First of which being a Christmas Program. This was one of the most entertaining parts of the day! We had lots of singers and pianists but the coolest of all (Grandpa will like this!) was an elder who put on a magic show. He had umbrellas and confetti and the whole shabang. Seriously, it was insane! 

The next event was Elder Bednar's devotional. One of the coolest experiences!! Not just because Elder Bednar is a genius, but also because we were part of an experiment. What happened was, they passed out 200 cell phones between all 16 MTC's in the entire world. We then texted questions to Elder Bednar's iPad in which he and his wife would respond to. Basically it was a Q&A with an Apostle... pretty cool, huh? It was so insightful and crazy how so many of the responses were the exact words that I needed to hear. If you were wondering, yes, I did text in a question, but he didn't get to it. Also, it was super weird texting haha it's been a while!

The last two events were quite musical. We had a jazz concert by Ray Smith who played lots of Christmas medleys. Super cool to hear some live jazz!! Then later we watched the 2012 Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas show. THAT was cool... mostly because they had a guy named Alfie Boe sing "Bring Him Home" which made me cry. As per usual.

But the best part of Christmas (next to Elder Bednar's devotional, of course) was ending the day with my district in our classroom. We sat in a circle around our small tree with just our Christmas lights, drinking hot chocolate and reading the story of Christ's birth. Overall, my Christmas here was an unforgettable one. A celebration I will cherish forever!

the M&M Tree!

I'm so happy to have been in the MTC for Christmas. It seems fitting that I could start the MTC with Thanksgiving and end my term here with Christmas. Started with a bang, and ended with an even bigger bang. And that's exactly how I've changed. I've grown so much more than I expected to in just the first 6 weeks of my mission! Knowing that I still have so much time on my mission, I hope I can keep improving myself as I focus more and more on others. You know..... you don't have to be on a mission to do the same!(hint, hint!)

Elder Williams, the one without his suit coat, is going to Atlanta too!

Next week I'll be headed to ATLANTA GEORGIA!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I can't even begin to express how excited I am! Who knows how long I'll be there but whatever the case, I'd be happy to serve there for my whole mission. It doesn't matter where I 'm called to... wherever I go, my purpose is still the same. 

The letter with my reassignment to Atlanta, Georgia!

Eu sei que estou chamado para ser uma missionaria em Atlanta por um proposíto. Lá, as pessoas estam preparados ouvir a mensagem de Jesus Cristo. E eu estou preparado ensinar-los. Eu sei que o Senhor mim precissa a convidar Seus filhos para achegarem-se a Cristo. O trabalho de Deus é o trabalho melhore. Por Causa que eu não sou uma professora perfeita, a caminha somente para fazer o trabalha de Deus é por meio da Expiação de Jesus Cristo, do Espírito Santo, e do Livro de Mórmon. Eu sei que o evangelho de Jesus Cristo é verdade e eu vou amar ele para sempre. 

Until next week in ATLANTA!!!!

Sister Hawkins

PS: those who know Portuguese... don't hate on all my errors! 

Note from the Mom: We didn't get to talk to her on Christmas, but we got to email with her for a bit, which was also nice. And we WILL get to talk to her when she's in transit to Atlanta.  We're excited for that!  And excited for her next adventure. She's ready! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS Everyone!

Another week in the MTC and what a crazy week it's been! I had so many fantastic experiences which I'm excited to share!

First, this Wednesday I had the opportunity to host new missionaries. This means that I met new sisters who were dropped off by family and then showed them to their rooms and classrooms. The best part about it was being cheerful and getting them excited to be here. Most were teary-eyed from leaving family but I left every single one in an excited state. Yes, I even got to see Dallin... er Elder Seguine. No worries! He's great. I talk to him as often as I see him... which isn't a lot, but he seems well. It's so nice to see a familiar face! He probably thinks I'm such a dork because I get so excited whenever I see him.

Another cool experience I had was on the same day when Sister Menasco and I were selected to demonstrate to new missionaries "How to begin teaching". It was so nerve-wracking to have an audience as we taught to an investigator, but fun nonetheless. However, the cool experience happened while we were waiting to demonstrate to our second group of new missionaries. We were waiting in a sound room where we found a man working the sound box and another man texting in the corner. I began talking to the man in the corner and discovered that he was actually a nonmember. (Background: he was waiting for his friend who was an investigator for the new missionaries). Sister Menasco and I proceeded to have such an awesome conversation with this man and even had the opportunity to teach a mini lesson. We left so excited that we had the chance to teach someone even before hitting the mission field. It's absolutely remarkable how the Lord places us where we are needed at just the exact moment. No matter where I am I need to be prepared to carry out His plan. 

I can't even believe all the things I've learned here in the MTC. It's so weird to think I'm leaving soooooon. Only one more P-day here, one more email, and then it's off to the mission field I'll go. (By the way, I'll be getting reassignments most likely this week since my visa isn't here).

You're probably wondering how I'm feeling. Hmmm. My emotions are jumbled, as per usual being a girl, right? I am sad to think of saying goodbye to a family I never expected to find. My district has been and will always be a group of inspiring Elders and Sisters that hold a piece of my heart. Together we've been torn down on the hardest of days. But as often as we've been thrown to the ground, we've been even quicker to jump back to our feet. With that in mind, I'm also incredibly excited to step out of the comfort of my district and face the real world. I've recently realized that now is the time for me to really center all my reliance solely on the Lord. 

As Christmas approaches I find myself thinking more and more about the trust I have in my Savior. Normally the thought of Christmas encompasses the idea of family, friends, music, cookies, and gifts. But as these things are subtracted from my Christmas equation, I've come to understand why I need to be in the MTC at this time. Each of the sacrifices I've made to be here has only strengthened my trust in the Lord. And I've learned that in every sacrifice, a blessing or gift is returned. Instead of focusing on sitting around the tree with my family Christmas morning, I choose to center my thoughts in thanksgiving for the Savior and gifts that He has blessed me with. Specifically the spiritual gifts I have since these are the gifts that we'll keep forever past this life. If you're unsure about what spiritual gifts are, study it! Look up 1 Corinthians 12, Moroni 10 or Doctrine and Covenants 46. All of the gifts listed in these chapters are beautiful blessings and beyond that, the Lord blesses us with even more gifts. This Christmas I hope that you all will take the time to tell someone you love what spiritual gift they have. 

I wanted to give an example of this through my family. Since I couldn't give my family gifts this year, I figured telling them what they're spiritual gifts are is just as comparable. 

Mom: You have the gift of comfort. The way you can make anyone, even those you hardly know, to feel comfortable in whatever situation, is incredible. 

Dad: You have the gift of great faith. I look up to you in the faith and trust you have upon the Lord in all aspects of your life. 

Trevor: You have the gift of teaching. I couldn't think of another way to title it, but you have an incredible ability to make important principles understandable to anyone, especially me!

Keegan: You have the gift of diligence and of course, intelligence. You work harder than anyone I know to be on top of things and yet you still have time to share your knowledge with others so they                  can progress. 

Adele: Your gift is bringing joy and happiness to all who surround you. Do you know how important that is? Most people search for these things their whole lives and you naturally bring this light to their lives. 

Merry Christmas family and friends! I hope the holidays are everything you wish them to be and more. Many thanks for SO many wonderful care packages I received this week for Christmas and my birthday! Thank you thank you thank you!!! You are all in my thoughts and prayers! 


Sister Hawkins

A few more gifts for all of you, take the time to remember the reason for the season!

And then this one of course! I'll miss watching this one with the family on Christmas Eve, but I'll be thinking of you all!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Today I'm the Big 2-0

My B-day Balloons!

I thought (since I'm low on time) that for my 20th birthday I would share 20 reasons why being on a mission rocks. So here it goes:

1.Everything is funnier in the MTC.... I have speculations as to why (lack of sleep!) but in all honesty, I really don't know.

2. You learn to appreciate food outside the MTC. Even McDonalds. And do I dare say, I would even take a helping of Hamburger Helper?? 

3. The sisters and I all shout Disney songs when we shower. Sister Koford always loves to add in her own little flare too since she never remembers the words. Reminds me of a certain someone I know actually.... DAD.
4. My companion is pretty dang cool.

5. Elders rip their pants like it's their job. I've sewn 3 pairs of pants already. Oh elders.

6. In my district, we have a physical boot camp within a spiritual boot camp.... #pinterestworkouts4lyfe

7. Sisters are always a step ahead of the elders in Portuguese... but don't tell them that, they're a little sensitive. 

The difference between a sister and an elder, haha... also... notice the size of the desks vs amounts of books

8. A simple dear elder or letter makes the day that much better!

9. You make a second family (shout out to the most awesome district in the world!)

10. Everyday is a surprise... and a complete growing experience. 

11. Instead of solely praying for others, you get to actually give services all day everyday.

12. You gain an appreciation of life without relying on worldly things. It doesn't matter whether you have the latest iphone or if you've seen the latest Hunger Games learn that life has more important things.

13. Everything you do on a mission is for the benefit of someone else.

14. In the MTC, so many people are in one place striving to bring about one purpose: bringing others to Christ

This is sister Garcia in the middle. She roomed with me and sis Menasco and left this morning for cape verde. We miss her so much! We laughed so much with her and had the best time. So sad to see her go.

15. A mission sets aside time that really makes you recognize just how much the Gospel blesses your life and so many others too

16. Improving someone else's spirituality only heightens yours that much more.

17. You have the best support in the world!

18. The love of God is the driving force behind the work that you are doing. 

19. You become closer to Christ more than you ever imagined you would.

20.  ....and because of that, being the HAPPIEST you have ever been is inevitable. 

Thank you for all the love I've received this week. Special thanks to Mama C and Christine for my packages that I got yesterday!!! Also thanks to Mom/Dad/Fam for the balloons. Yes, I was embarrassed but it was fun walking across campus with massive smiley-face balloons. I felt the love this week when I opened my email and found so many birthday wishes. You are all fantastic!! Have a wonderful week!!!


Sister Hawkins

My B-day P-day!

Mama C socks that I LOVE SO MUCH!!!

Sister Koford, me and Sister Keeler on pday wearing our santa hats to bring in the christmas spirit. We got a lot of compliments while wearing them around campus!
My friend Elder Wright from my BYU freshman ward!!! I finally found someone I knew! He left though, he was only here for 12 days. He was solomon's roommate.

Hipsta mountain pic for Tebs (Elder Hawkins!) while walking to the temple. #instagram

Note from the Mom: Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL for helping to make Sister Sie's birthday one of her most memorable EVER!  She said she had 27 emails awaiting her this morning.  How fun is that?  Plus the packages just keep on arriving.  I know even a few more were delivered after she emailed.  I'm sure we'll hear all about it next week.  I told her she'll be celebrating her Birthday all week long. Then it will be Christmas, lucky girl!  

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Sister Mish

S is for...Sister SieHawk.....and Snow!

beep. beep. beep. BEEP. BEEP. BEEEEEEEEEP!

The room is dark. There is nothing but the sound of shuffling sheets and blankets. Automatically I kneel by my bedside and pray. At the same moment "amen" leaves my thoughts, my clothes and toiletries are in hand as I stumble out the door to the bathroom. Immediately, fear and alarm fills my body as I scramble to think of an escape from the blinding UFO lights. Oh wait. It's only the empty hallway. Maybe I'm still half dreaming.

Dressed with badges and all, the sisters walk outside toward breakfast together. As I step into the icy tundra, the breath is taken straight out from my lungs and I can hardly adjust to the drastic temperature change... not to mention the foot of snow on the ground. Pretty sure my nose just froze solid on my face.

Breakfast goes by and it's off to class we go. Of the 15 waking hours of my day, about 13 is spent within these same four walls. The fight begins between stories of the Book of Mormon and my heavy eyelids. Despite the drowsiness though, personal study hour is without doubt my favorite time of the day. I learn so much! 

It feels as though I've only just opened the Book of Mormon when Irmao Henry walks in to begin class. The 11 members of our district pull out our books and struggle to fit them on our 12 x 12 inch desks. Amidst this 3 hour class we study, teach investigators, learn new teaching skills, study some more and hang on to as much vocabulary, grammar and energy as we possibly can. And did I mention?  We study. 

Lunch break! And a much needed one at that! Even though the food is not that great, haha. But before I know it, it's time to work again. This time my district ventures to a new room in the same building, mind you the same floor, but new nonetheless! I might add that studying Portuguese on the computer really does help to spruce things up a bit. We step into the computer room and in that very moment, a wave of drowsiness overcomes me again. I can see the same happening to all the others in my district. Later, maybe I'll conduct a scientific experiment and report back with statistic graphs and results.. ha. 

Ah! And now we're back (from outer space!! hehe) to the 4-1-4 (my classroom). This time Irmao Williams instructs our 3 hour class similar to the one before. Which means, you guessed it, studying again!

And sometimes, we're just plain goofy! (photo courtesy of Sis Menasco)

The day ends with dinner, companionship study, intense gym time (thanks to Pinterest workouts) and dear elder letters mostly from Mom and Dad and a few loving friends. Then 10:30 rolls around and I'm kneeling right where my day began at my bedside praying. Praying for all my loved ones; for family and friends and my ward back home. For all those who may struggle to recognize just how blessed we are even in the hardest of trials. And then I thank my Father in Heaven for this truly wonderful life and for the precious truths I learn every single day. 

Finally I fall into bed and close my eyes. The room is dark, but I'm illuminated with the Spirit of God. And all I can think is "Tudo bem, tudo bem."


I thought I'd build a little picture of how my day looks here in the MTC. Before coming here I had no clue what missionaries did to prep. Now that I know I figured it'd be interesting to show friends and family back home what being a missionary-in-training is really like. Keep in mind that this is just an example of a general day here. Not every day is the same. Other days we have service projects, devotionals and then preparation days like today! If anyone has questions to ask, post on the comments in the facebook group or message my mom and I'll respond to them in my next letter home! Thanks for all of the letters, love and support! Till next week!!


Sister Hawkins

P.S. CONGRATS to Hayley Meise and her call to serve in Spanish speaking Oregon! I'm SOOOOO excited for you Hayley!

Note from the Mom: Ok everyone, I have a special request for my girl.  Next Friday, December 13th, as some of you may know, is her BIRTHDAY! PLEASE take a little time out of your week if you can and send her a Birthday card!  It would be awesome if we could just flood her with cards, she would LOVE it. Even if it's not a card, send a Dear Elder letter, or one via snail mail. Thank you, thank you!  Here's her address at the MTC:

Sister Sienna Hawkins
Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 E
Box 120 BRA-JDF
PROVO, UT 84604 

Friday, November 29, 2013


"There are only two types of missionaries: Those who serve in Brazil and those who wish they served in Brazil." - Ezra Taft Benson

Oh my gosh, I'm a missionary!

I love that quote!! WOW what a crazy 10 days it has been! I feel as if I've been here for 3 weeks already! I say that because the days feel so long but the week goes by in a blink. Not to worry, I love every minute of every single day! Getting accustomed to the lifestyle change has often felt like trying to drink from a fire hydrant.. there's this overload of information the first few days but never have I felt too overwhelmed or like I didn't want to be here.

Sister Hawkins & Sister Menasco

My companion is Sister Menasco. She is so awesome. We get along so well and the other 3 sisters in my district are incredible too. We all love the work we're doing and encourage each other to study and work hard everyday. Each of these sisters love to laugh and have fun in between doing all the crazy things we do so we've all grown so close in only a matter of 1 week!

Sisters in my district

So a few of you have asked how Portuguese is coming and I've been waiting to answer this! I LOVE PORTUGUESE. It really is a mix of French and Spanish. Just 3 days ago a sister prayed in Spanish and I understood the whole prayer. Sister Menasco actually studied Spanish in school, so add in my French skills and together we speak perfect Portuguese!!! Hmmm I wish it was that simple, but honestly Portuguese is only a tool for teaching the Gospel. The third day here Sister Menasco and I gave a 45 minute lesson to an investigator in Portuguese that I will never forget. Our investigator was so inspired and emotional and I KNOW it wasn't because of our broken Portuguese. In our orientation meeting, a teacher said, "you are called to serve in the language that the Spirit can best testify truth through you." At first my reaction was, "really Heavenly Father? Portuguese??"  But only after the third day here have I become a witness and testifier of that statement.

Sisters in my Zone! (We can walk to the temple, but it will be closed the whole time I'm here.  Boo!)

Thanksgiving Day was the best day in the MTC yet. It started with a devotional where my companions and I sang in the choir. (side note: We'll be singing in the choir every week since I love it, AND a general authority of the church will be speaking almost every week that I'm here!!!) Russell M Nelson and his wife gave the loveliest devotional. As soon as he entered the room I turned to my companion who was moved to tears just by the Spirit that he carried. Then we had a little Thanksgiving Feast which may have been the best meal here so far. BUT the best part of the day was our humanitarian service project. We made 350,000 soup bags for kids in Utah that go home from school with nothing to eat. To top it all off, we finished the day by watching the movie Ephraim's Rescue (which was a pretty cool story!). Overall Thanksgiving Day was so wonderful and one that I will always remember. (click HERE to read the article about the MTC service project!)

I think there's a moment every day where I say to myself, "oh my gosh I'm a missionary!!!" My companion probably gets annoyed haha but honestly I can't believe I'm finally here. If there's one thing I've learned about the MTC it's that it mostly teaches you things that you already know (minus the language) but because you're so filled with the Spirit you become more receptive to the teachings. Then you're forced to apply those new things so quickly whether you're ready or not. Yet, I love it no matter how inadequate or unprepared I feel. At the end of the day I always remember that this is the walk of God and He will not let me fail. 

My district!

I couldn't write a whole lot this week but thanks to everyone who sent me a Dear elder or letter. They make my days SO much brighter and I can feel the love that you all have for me. I have a little bit of time each night to write hand-written letters so if you write to me via DearElder, I will respond by sending a hand-written letter. 

Ciao familia y muito amor!!

Sister Hawkins

Sister Menasco hiding the fact that I've lost another button on my coat.  Sorry, Mom!

Note from the Mom: Oh my girl, she makes me smile!  And she's sorry for the missing button on her coat because I spent a good hour sewing new ones on it before she left.  Ah well.  I'll have to remind her there's a spare in her pocket. Also, if anyone would like to send her a package, she'd love granola bars or protein bars.  Anything even remotely healthy!  She says the food at the MTC is horrible. Funny, her brother didn't complain about it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

One Last Farewell...

Saying Goodbye to Sister Hawkins

Cousins!  Ben, Lauren & Sister Hawkins

BFF's! Sister H, Savannah, Solomon, Anne


Hello, my name is....

Yes, that IS all my luggage.

1.5 years worth of clothes in the duffle right here.  Yep. 

Ok guys, guess it's time to say it, you know, that horrible word that starts with G.

That'll be a handshake for you Solomon!

One last time, GROUP PHOTO!

Thank goodness someone's here to help me with all my luggage!

Don't wanna say it, don't wanna say it.....



To Infinity & Beyond