Monday, December 29, 2014

Our Own Christmas Miracle

So this week was quite the unusual week. I think it was yesterday that we all chatted so that means I don't have to write this week, right? Just kidding, I have a few little Christmas miracles to share-don't you worry! 

First I want to say that I LOVE MY FAMILY! Goodness I miss you all so dang much. It was awesome to see and talk to you on Christmas day. OF course it was too short--but don't worry, so is my time I have left!

I had an awesome Christmas!! We witnessed so many miracles and honestly I don't think I have time to write them all. So, I'll share my favorite that happened the day of Christmas Eve. 

The day started off on the wrong side of the bed. Our alarm didn't go off and unfortunately Sister Oliveira and I slept in an extra 30 minutes. AH. How terribly we felt! Who knew that 30 minutes more would kill you. The whole morning was a struggle after that. I almost fell asleep in personal study and during our companion study we both expressed how there was no excitement for the day ahead. Both of us were in the lows and as we set out it was obvious that we were struggling to find motivation. I remember even worrying that I'd fall asleep as I walked. 

About 2 in the afternoon, hot, sweaty, thirsty, hungry and even more discouraged due to the mountain we were about to climb, we decided to take a break to catch our breath. We found a spot on some steps in the shade and we plopped right on down. I sat with my head in my hands due to the sun-provoked headache I had while Sister Oliveira pulled out the phone. She started to scroll through some pictures we'd taken and in the midst she found a story of a Christmas miracles someone had sent to her. It read of a missionary in Russia who succeeded in uplifting hundreds of people in a train station, even with the terrible weather conditions and depressing times. 

We sat in silence for a few minutes until Sister Oliveira turned to me and said, "I want a Christmas miracle". I couldn't deny that I wanted just the same. The slump we were in wasn't helping the fact that I was miles and miles away from those I so desperately wanted to spend Christmas with. We needed something and quick as it was already the day of Christmas eve. Thinking of what I love most at Christmas I thought of the Christmas hymns I had in my pocket sized hymn book. I mentioned the idea to Sister Oliveira and we decided then that we would sing a Christmas hymn for as many that would allow us. 

Excited, and full of renewed energy, we practically ran up the mountain to find someone to sing and uplift. We found two women outside and approached them. They first told us that they already belonged to another church and when we asked if we could sing, they looked at each other and made funny faces. You have to know that Brasil, they don't do caroling. At least it's not a normal thing. We decided to sing anyway. As we sung I concentrated so much on the words and singing correctly that when we finished and I looked up, I realized both of these women had tears running down their cheeks. It hit me too as I bore testimony of what we do and of the message of Christ we share. Tears were welling within my own eyes from the Spirit that so peacefully testified of truth. These women then accepted the invitation we had to come back and teach them more.

We went on from person to person, door to door, singing and watching the Spirit fill their hearts... and eyes with tears! We sang in restaurants and ice cream shops that were opened late on Christmas Eve. We visited hospitals with patients and families that had to spend the holidays in a hospital bed. We sang and testified until we ran out of the stacks of pamphlets, pass-along cards and Books of Mormon in our bags. 

Our hearts grew 3 sizes that day, just like the Grinch!

We left each happy and uplifted and to our surprise, WE were even more happy and uplifted. The drastic change from morning to the time we returned home was as different as night and day. Heavenly Father, He knew what we needed to inspire us so that we could go inspire others. Maybe we didn't inspire hundreds all at one time- but as we kept track of those we taught and sang too, we found that in about 4 days, we talked to well over 200 people and taught more lessons than we've ever taught in an entire week since I've been here in Muriae. 

And just like that, the Lord provided us with our own Christmas miracle... and a Christmas I will never forget! 


Sister Hawkins


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Feliz Natal Everyone!!!!

MTC companions!!! Sister Menasco. Ahhh. such a fun reunion!

Is it really Christmas? It's 85 degrees and sunny.... where's the snow?? Where are the coats and sweaters and woolen socks?? I'm really missing the cold. Honestly I didn't even know that I liked the cold until I realized it wasn't going to get cooler here. Yay for summer in Brasil! 

What a week! Yesterday we had our Christmas conference in Juiz De Fora and it was awesome! I got to see Sister Menasco and it was such a sweet reunion... holy cow it's only been a whole year since I've seen her! We also had a little conference with a few talks and musical numbers. We ate food and took pictures and ate more food... goodness our Mission President's wife, Sister Cascardi really went through a lot to pull it all together. I'll post pics! It was a great get together as a mission family!

I've been thinking a lot about what I wanted to share with you this Christmas season. I've felt it appropriate to simply bare to you my love and appreciation for Christ. I invite you to share your testimony of Christ with someone or record it on paper. I promise it will help resolve the "How can I really remember what Christmas is about" concern. 

Yesterday in our President's talk he included the video, "He is the Gift" (posted on blog sidebar). I can't tell you how many times I've watched that clip and how many times it has touched me but this time it seemed to hit me the most. What is more important in this life than the ultimate goal to live with God again. Alone we are incredibly incapable, immeasurable and doomed to a death with no hope of life to follow. What a miserable thought! Death and nothing more. The scriptures call it the "sting" of death. It's no wonder the world mourns deeply at the lose of a loved one-too many lack faith in the gift we've been given.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son." Imagine! God let his son, Jesus Christ, come into the world, knowing what he would do. He let Him pass through incredible trials which we as humans have no capacity of comprehending the kind of suffering He undertook. God watched His Son suffer, bleed and die for one reason only- because He loves us. What immense love the Father has... goodness it pains me to watch a child fall and scrape his knee! But Christ was and is our only hope, our only chance we have to live with our Father in Heaven. God gave us Christ, a symbol and manifestation of the love and sacrifice He is willing to make to bring us home. Through Christ we have hope, we have love, we have life! What greater gifts are there than these?

I love the Lord. I know He came here to redeem us. How one can redeem billions, how that is physically and spiritually possible I can't explain. But I can say that I know He did it and I know it through the witness I've received of the Holy Ghost. I believe in His all-powerful and mighty gift. I believe in His love- the love of Christ and of the Father. I know these things are true.

Merry Christmas friends and family! Don't forget to share your testimony this Christmas!

Oh,and Happy New Year!!!!


Sister Hawkins

Pics with Sister Oliveira!

Merry Christmas from us to you!

Birthday Celebration...still in denial. I'm not 21!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Twenty-One Reasons

Birthday girl, then and now!

What a week! I've been in denial though due to some happenings this past Saturday. As some of you knew, it was my birthday. My 21st! Yay for birhday's... nay for being 21. This year is particularly difficult... why? Well let me just give you 21 reasons why I don't want to be 21:

1. I'm still a kid, how unfair! You can't put an age limit on that! I'll always be a kid at heart. #disneyismybestfriend


3. If I'm 21 it means others are getting older; my family, friends, dog..etc. No one likes getting older and my mom particularly doesn't like that I'm getting older. So let's just all go back together.

4. Section 21 of D&C is all about the first baptisms in the church. It obviously is a sign that I should not be going home this year... but that I should be on the mission, baptizing. 

5. The phrase, "completion of my mission" is 21 letters long. How insensitive! 

6. Taylor Swift doesn't have a song for 21

7. Trevor doesn't even have a song for 21 (for more info, request the "teenager song" from Trevor)

8. My mission will end while I'm 21 and my tag will be ripped off my chest and I will be forever sad 

9. 21 is not as cool as it looks. When I was younger I thought, "Oh those kids are so cool. I want to be like them." It's a myth. They only made it look fun!

10. Mormons don't really care about being 21 anyway

11. You make big decisions in your 20s that I don't want to make! 21 in my opinion, is already way too far into the 20s. So either I should just go back or skip to the 30s.

12. My mission will die and I will cry

13. If I live to be 99 I only have 78 years left.... only! 

14. Eating 21 veggies off your plate is really tough

15. I have to return to real life at 21. No one wants real life. A mission is like a vacation from your worldly\personal life. Like anyone, who actually likes returning from vacation?

16. It's too big of a number. This list seems it will never end. 

17. Who even uses the number 21? Honestly, you'll never see a 21 dollar bill or SPF 21 or instructions to cook something for 21 minutes. How ridiculous! 

18. It's an odd number

19. The 21st page of my Portugeuse dictionary contains the word "arbĂ­trio" which means agency. The only relation with agency and 21 is that being 21 is against my own free agency.

20. I used to think that you were supposed to be somewhat grown up at 21-- I still don't even know what I want to be when I grow up!

21. Did I mention that my mission will end while I'm 21? I don't want to be 21 :(

So there's my petition. I hope you enjoyed it. I remember thinking before my mission, "Wow! I'll be 21 when I finish my mission." Now it's actually happening and my mission is on a downward slope. Everyone is already telling me I'm "dying"  as a missionary. Goodness, who knew at 21 you'd have one foot in the grave. 

Off I go to another week. Until next Tuesday! Thanks for all the birthday wishes! 

Love you all!

Sister Hawkins

Monday, December 8, 2014

Quick Update

My wonderful friends and family. I do apologize but today my time is cut short due to some traveling we have to do for interviews with the mission President tomorrow

Quick update-- things are picking up! Were teaching a lot more and the Lord is providing us with miracles. I've learned so much this past week!

I just have one favor to ask of you all. Go to and watch "He is the Gift" then share it with everyone you know! 


Sister Hawkins

Note from the Mom: Two things that made Sis H super happy this week (aside from the work FINALLY picking up in her sector!): 

1. She's lost 10lbs since she's been in Brazil. (I'm not sure this is such a good thing...even though she assures me it's the "butter" weight she gained in Atlanta, haha!)

2. Her friend Dalia from Atlanta got BAPTIZED this week! That totally made her entire week. Woohoo!

I have a special request from all you blog readers....this Saturday, Dec 13th, is my girl's Birthday. How about we FLOOD her inbox with Birthday greetings? Doesn't have to be a big long letter, just a quick Happy B-day! You can find her email address (and address of the mission home!) by clicking on the "write to me" tab at the top of the blog page.  THANKS EVERYONE!!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Some Must Push and Some Must Pull

This week has been a long one. We're not seeing a whole lot of success in the area but no reason to be discouraged! Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to pull a train... I can just picture a cartoon of a little guy trying to pull this train. At first he tried from the front and runs a hole in the mud... then he runs to the back and pushes with his hands... and then his back, but the darn train just won't budge. I'm sure someone has made this cartoon. Mom, you got this! See what you can find... if not why don't you just draw it haha you're the one with talent here! 

(The Mom: actually, SHE'S the talented one! Didn't find a train pic, but thought this was relevant!)

Anywho I think it's really just been unsuccessful this week because we've had a TON of rain. Funny because the First Presidency asked all members in Brazil to fast for all those who have a shortage of water. Those prayers are being answered here... I think we're getting plenty, thank you! So yay for blessings! Nay for wet skirts and wet shoes. When it comes down to it though, I'd take wet shoes over thirsty friends any day.

And so it goes on! I'm pretty accustomed to Brazil I think. My feet are a lot stronger now thank goodness! My knees on the other hand are a different situation but overall, it's good to be here! I go to bed at night thinking I'm never going to wake up and I wake up ready to conquer the world. My companion thinks I'm crazy due to the energy I have to work out in the mornings. She sits and stretches while I'm like a 90s Tae-Bo DVD. 

Portuguese as of late is coming along. I really can say and witness that the gift of tongues is real. Just because it's real though doesn't mean it's all that easy to learn another language. I felt like I was finally getting to be a good teacher in Spanish when God sent me here and now I'm back to square one. BUT God taught me something really cool this week as I was studying my scriptures.

I was reading in John chapter 4 about the Samaritan woman. Jesus and this woman conversed for a while by the side of a well for what may have been the longest recorded conversation that we have of Jesus. But the whole time, this Samaritan woman just was not getting what Christ was saying. It seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other as the conversation continued. From their whole discussion, she only seems to gather that Christ has got to be some kind of prophet due to the prophecies he made of her life. In short, she leaves to tell the whole city that this man sitting on a well may be a prophet. What ends up happening is this:

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

41 And many more believed because of his own word;

42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

And so... the story of a woman without much understanding was just what these Samaritans needed to find out the truth for themselves. Maybe I don't know Portuguese very well, maybe I don't know all the references and scripture stories to answer every question thrown at me, maybe I can't quite express the Gospel in the manner I'd like to, but I do know one thing. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He has called ME to be an instrument in bringing others to the well of the living waters. We may never live up to our own expectations, but we are who the Lord has chosen and WE are all He needs, inadequacies included. 

If "many more believed" through one, why not through one more.

Sister Hawkins

P.S. Sorry no pics! It was too rainy to take my camera out. 

The Mom: This week I told her we had our Christmas decorating going full swing and that I miss her every time I hear a certain song that makes us laugh together after a frustrating evening of getting lost one time trying to find a Messiah sing-along practice and this song playing on repeat. I loved her response: 

"I miss the Christmas decorations and things so I drew a Christmas tree and we're cutting out snowflakes to tape on it. haha oh missionary life. 

And I sometimes sing that Michael Bublé song when things go unplanned here... like if an appointment falls through... bu da da da bum bum bum ba dum. haha it makes things a little bit lighter."

So in her honor....

Monday, November 24, 2014

One Year Down, One Half to Go!

 One Year! 

I'm in denial! Can someone please explain to me how it's been a full year. ONE YEAR. How?? How is it possible??

It's weird to think that I'm closer to ending my mission when I've only just started a new one. There are so many things that I've learned on my mission thus far, but now it seems like I'm learning a whole new set of things. In a way it feels like I've done a 180 degree flip and now I'm looking at everything upside down!

Ok it's not that dramatic haha, BUT let me just share some of the differences between Georgia and Brazil. 

1. Animals

In Georgia you'll see lots of birds and cats. Also we had plenty of cockroaches and insects I never knew existed! Here I see lizards everywhere (and I have nightmares that I'll find them in my bed) and tons of stray dogs. We even see capivaras... ok I've only seen one but they're so gross and weird looking. Like a mix of a really large rat and small pig. God is so interestingly creative to me. 

 So weird! 

2. Smells

Georgia smells like trees for the most part. Really it depends on where you are... Atlanta smells more like cars. Just a few smells here are bread (which kills me everyday... my family knows I'd die for bread), meat from the street vendors and dogs and more that are best left unmentioned...

3. Sounds

Georgia is quiet. Actually the USA is quiet. Quiet neighborhoods, quiet people. Maybe traffic is the only noise you hear all the time. Where to even start with Brasil?! People have music playing all the time in stores or apartments or homes. Everywhere! And It's a mix between American pop and Brasilian music. 

Also I hear propaganda everyday! People strap massive speakers to the back of their motorcycles or open trunks and drive around playing these recordings at an earsplitting level. It scared me the first morning I was here. I was quietly studying my scriptures and a car drove down our street with it on full blast. I just about fell out of my chair. I also hear lots of barking dogs and fireworks. Actually that same morning we were having companion study and lots of dogs were barking outside. All of a sudden we hear BAM BAM  BAM and all the dogs quieted. I sat there horrified that someone had just shot a dog until my companion reassured me they were fireworks. It was better when the dogs started barking again.

4. Neighborhoods

Georgia is divided into towns and within the towns, everything you need is a drive away. Here everything is divided into towns but within the towns you have neighborhoods or bairros. Each neighborhood is stacked with all you need at a walking distance; local markets, barber, church, etc. Also when you give an address, you first say the name of the bairro, then the street name and number. The whole set up of this place is completely different from the US. Although I will say that the winding roads here look a lot similar to the winding roads in GA... just a little hillier here. I do miss nicely paved roads though. 

5. Church

GA had church services every Wednesdays and Sundays. And for the Adventists it was Saturdays. Here there's a service every. single. night. Most play lots of loud music and have their doors open for passers-by. And there I was thinking Georgia was the bible belt....

6. Wearing the tag

Well in GA, most people avoided me.. probably because I'm a missionary.... I don't know. Maybe I have a scary face haha. Here in Muriae I sometimes feel like a celebrity. It's not normal that people come up and talk to us but there's been a few occasions of people coming up to me on the street because I'm American. Usually they're just people asking about US and all. One day we walked into a bread shop and when our server learned that I was from the States she went and told the whole shop. Next thing I know there's a crowd of Brasilians around my stool, questioning me about the US while I tried to eat my bread. Luckily it was a perfect opportunity to share the Gospel so we got a few potentials from that! 

There's a whole lot more I could tell but I think that's good for now! Love you all! If you have questions let me know and I'll answer them in a post! 

Sister Hawkins

A couple more pics for the week!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Not in Atlanta Anymore!

Well hey there!! Goodness has it been a year???? AH. Where do I even begin!? First here are some pictures from the MTC.

Me and my comp Sister Greenall. She's the best! 

Flying over sao paulo

MTC district!

I guess I'll start with the trip over to JDF. Me and 3 elders travelled together to the Campinas airport. 

me and the elders

We took a little plane to the small JDF airport. Here's a comparison of the overview of crazy Sao Paulo and my first view of JDF......

JDF from my little jet plane.

We had quite the ride in a van from the airport to the city. The MTC president told us to record all of our first thoughts and I will go ahead and share those with you....

"Oh no... this is the middle of nowhere. I've never seen so much bare land. Where are the people???"

"What are these weird rock clumps in the ground??? Did Dr. Seuss design this place?"

Can you see the weird dirt clumps?

"We're going to die. Cause of death: Brazilian driver on mountain passes. Mom's not going to be happy about this!"

"Is that woman really carrying a stick with a cloth sack? Is this a movie?" (I couldn't snap a picture of this in time but I swear it's just like Zip a Dee Doo Dah!)

"Goodness I've seen a total of 35 people in this 40 minute drive... where are the BAM"

Don't worry...we didn't crash. But it seemed like the city crashed into us! You drive over a small hill and BOOM there's a city full of 500,000 people. It's like a brick wall when you see it for the first time. 

Juiz De Fora is pretty cool. It kind of reminds me of Miami but just a much, much older version and lots and lots of hills. Anyways we got to a church building and had a zone conference where I met President and Sister Cascardi and my new companion Sister Oliveira from Sao Paulo. We spent the night there in JDF and then we were off to my new area Muriae. It's about 4 hours away from JDF and a much smaller city. My companion doesn't know the area very well because she's only been here for a few weeks. We don't have much to work with so we're honeslty just starting fresh and rebuilding the area. The church is quite new and located in a house owned by the church. It's been here in Muriae for about 6 months now and it's apparently a branch but we had 19 people at church yesterday (4 of which were missionaries and 6 kids). 

Toto.... we're definitely not in Atlanta anymore... or the good ol' USA. 

Jesus statue in Muriae. 

Looking out of my apartment window

It's not been a terrible culture shock. Everything seems fairly easy to adapt to! I guess the trickiest part for me is that I've never done this kind of missionary work before. And quite frankly I'm only pretending I know what I'm doing. It's not like they teach you how to solve these kinds of struggles people have here, but there is one thing I know and that is that the Lord is really blessing me! SO much! Portuguese isn't even a worry. Sure I have lots to learn in Portuguese... but it's coming along 100x faster than Spanish! I can't thank the Lord enough for this miracle. The gift of tongues is real, and how blessed I am to even be able to experience it first hand! 

Thank you so much for your prayers! I know I would not be here without you all. 

More adventures to come next week! 


Sister Hawkins

Cool little brazil plane

Monday, November 10, 2014

BRAZIL! First Impressions.

Minha familia que esta nos Estados Unidos,
WHAT A WEEK. I don't have much time to write this week so I will make this short and sweet and I'll attempt to fill you in on as much as I possibly can... though that seems like an impossible task. Here is a bullet point list of a few of my first impressions, thoughts, experiences... you name it....

1. Sao Paulo is the biggest city I've ever ever seen. So. many. buildings... and people.

2. You know that Harry Potter night bus? It exists here in Brazil and it's called the Onibus. I think I'm going to die every time I'm on it. And anyone on a motorcycle is just as crazy. I think they actually want to die!

3. First conversation on the plane over to Brazil... I was speaking Portusplanglish with the woman sitting next to me. Quite the interesting conversation if I do say so myself...

4. I have been in the field for the least amount of time out of all the sisters that were visa waiters. One sister has been out for 15 months and she's here in the CTM with me!

5. My comp is soooooo awesome!! She's Sister Greenall and served in Texas for 14 months... and she's super good at Portuguese which helps me a ton!
6. Why am I craving rice and beans? Since when did this happen??

7. Sometimes I forget I'm in Brazil and then I look out the window and see foreign buildings. Not in America anymore, toto!

8. Most of the teachers and missionaries from Brazil are converts and their stories are incredible! Some of them have sacrificed so much to be able to serve. It's really brought me to appreciate just how lucky I am to serve and be here!

9. Goodness it's like I never served in the field before. I feel like a completely new missionary.

10. Portuguese is improving. Getting it down a lot faster than Spanish!! I can understand just about everything now and I can converse well. I just need to tweak it up and really get some studying in.

11. Dumb experience-- The day that we had to get photos taken for the police I woke up with mosquito bites everywhere... and right on my eyelid. Yep I was a Quasimoda for the photos and it was super embarrassing. I walked around with a bag of ice for hours so the swelling would go down. A great warm welcome from Brazil to me! Yippee!

12. Wow this is definitely not the Provo MTC.

13. We got to go into Sao Paulo, and when I say into, I mean the heart of it, like Times Square... and practice talking to people. We all had 4 Books of Mormon per companionship. This week we went out to Sao Paulo 3 times and it's just been so awesome! The people here are so incredibly nice! I'm shocked at it just thinking about it. In total, my district this week passed out 60 Books of Mormon. That was just 3 hours too. I LOVE BRAZIL!

14. Has it been only a week? I think I've been here for a month!

15. Sao Paulo temple was incredible! Last time for 7 months! (sniff)
Man. I don't have any time left and I can't send pictures from here. But not to worry, I have pictures and I will one day send them. I'm not exactly sure when my next P-Day is but I'm guessing it'll be in the field, as I think I'm leaving for Juiz de Fora on Tuesday (I have to FLY there!). So that means you probably won't hear from me this Monday,  but the one after that. Thanks for your prayers!!
Sister Hawkins

The Mom: Little trial note using a shipping service. Guess I'll be sending
peanut butter and candies soon?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Buh-Bye Amurrica!

that's a lot of languages

Well hello there! Looks like it's just about my time to go. Can you believe it? Last week in the US. And let me just tell you how much of a blast it has been!

We'll start with transfers. We got to hear all the testimonies of departing missionaries like Sister Vasquez and Sister Pribyl. It was so sad to see them go but they've done their time and they've served well. Shout-out to you guys! YOU'RE THE GREATEST! I look up to them so much and will miss seeing their faces. Anyways, back to the meeting. After those testimonies we heard introductions of all the new missionaries. They were so nervous. Man. I remember being in their shoes. President asked them to share one thing they knew to be true and one elder said, "1 thing I know is that I'm scared out of my mind." Most honest elder I know! I didn't realize how long it had been since I was that new. I guess in a way I'll be back at that spot in just 2 days....

As President called the new transfer companions, he called my name and had me go sit up on the stand to bear my testimony at the end of the meeting. I thought I would get away with it but no, they caught me. Overall it was an awesome meeting. It was so great seeing people I love for the last time before heading off.

Then I was put with my new companions and let me just say how much we've hit it off. I almost don't want to leave because I love them so much. Both are from Utah- Sister Echols and brand new Sister Giles. And guess what?? She's a visa waiter too! She's going to Taiwan! Luckily her visa should only take a few more weeks. But we've got this awesome Portchanese thing going on here. With Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and English, we don't really know what we're speaking. I can't tell you how incredibly grateful I am to be learning Latin-based languages...Granted that's plural but I'd take 4 Latin languages over Chinese. I have learned to say a few things in Chinese though. As the week has gone on, I've even thrown some French into the mix. Goodness... maybe now I really am learning 4 languages!!

The other day we had a really awesome experience as we were getting our car inspected. Out of sheer luck, there just so happened to be a huge farmers market behind the PepBoys. I used to go sometimes with Sister Vasquez to go finding because it was one of the craziest international Food stores. There are so many kinds of fruits and vegetables that I've never seen before. I was amazed at how many types of bananas exist in the world. Holy cow I could spend hours discovering the foods in that store. Anyways, we went to the France and British aisles and I got some Cadbury and Kinder chocolate :) Just for childhood's sake!  And then the miracle happened....

We got to the Chinese aisles and Sister Giles wanted to practice her Chinese. She tried to talk to 2 people, but that failed as they spoke only Korean and Cantonese. Discouraged we stood at the top of an aisle and I pointed out two Asian girls. I told Sister Giles to go talk to them and she turned to me saying, "my nervous level is about 100% right now." But as we stood there I grew impatient and walked right up to these girls. As soon as I opened my mouth, Sister Giles came out behind me and started speaking Chinese. They were completely amazed!!! She conversed with them in straight Chinese for about 25 minutes!!! IT WAS SO COOL. 2 months and she's able to converse like that. In the middle of it all, while she was explaining the Book of Mormon, a lady walked by and stopped to ask, "Are you Mormons? I'm a Mormon!" I started speaking in Spanish with her and realized I knew her kids but that she hasn't been to church in years. At the end of our trip to Farmer's Market, we were all just on cloud 9 with the miracles. Sister Giles was so happy to have used her Chinese and to have understood everything. She even rolled down the window to tell the whole world.

Well. Now to a new adventure. I don't feel like it's real. I feel like I'm staying in GA except that I'm taking a plane on Tuesday. It still hasn't hit me that I'm really going. People keep asking, "are you nervous?? Are you excited???" I think I just say yes because that's probably how I should be feeling. In all honesty, I don't really feel anything, yet. Maybe it'll finally hit me when I'm there. I guess we'll find out, won't we?

Love you all!!!

Buh-Bye Amurrica!

Hermana Hawkins
(last 'hermana' signing!)

3 amigas

maybe we need a few more language study materials... that's not even all of it

three amigas. studying outside a waffle house. hip. 

me and my husband. We're "parents" since we're training sister Giles. She's our baby. 

sis Giles telling the whole world she spoke in Chinese for the first time.

true southern bumper sticker. Gon miss dis.

Fro yo

Sister Echols


family pic

this is us impersonating each other. hahaha