Monday, February 24, 2014

The Miracles of Exactitude

I'd have to say, this week may have been the best week on the mission so far. Why? Well looking back it all started so small.
About a week ago, Sister P and I kneeled down for our companion study, pondering on our companionship. Setting our studies aside for a moment, we were inspired to make some changes. It was then that we discussed the things that poke at our Spirits... all the things that hinder our work or stop us from being the greatest sisters there have ever been! With that we made a list of things we would be better at, which in reality, was a pathway to exact obedience.
Later that day, we set out to begin the Lord's work. Being quite ambitious we decided that we'd find 6 new people to start teaching that day. This was a crazy goal for us as we've never before found more than 2 people willing to listen to us in a single day. But. We had faith and we set out diligently. And then the miracles happened!! We found 1 person.. and then another... and then 2 more!! In total we found 4 new people that day! Sure we didn't reach our initial goal, but that was more than we'd ever found in a day for the whole 2 months that I've been here!
And just like that our week was filled with the most amazing blessings!! We've been busy from start to close. Just yesterday, there were 5 of our investigators at church which has never happened in the whole 6 months that Sister Pribyl has been in Douglasville!!
Now my whole mission so far I've been hearing this "exact obedience" ordeal A LOT. They practically pound it into your head in the MTC. What it means is trying to do everything you've been asked to do... so waking up every day at 6:30, no later...or focusing for 4 hours to study and being on time to all of your appointments... whatever we've been asked to do. We are expected to do it exactly!
What I've learned though is that this word "exact" doesn't mean perfect. It's impossible to be perfect in this life-- that's why we need Christ! But instead, the word "exact" implies that you try your hardest. And when you've tried your best, you try even more and you don't give up! Then those times come when you trip, but instead of landing on your face, throw your arms in front of you, do a push up and jump back to your feet! Ok... so maybe we'll work up to the push-up. But it IS doable... as Audrey Hepburn says, "Nothing's impossible.. the very word says, 'I'm Possible!'" And besides, the Lord is always there to give you strength.
The best part about this whole experience was not that I learned to be more obedient, but that my faith increased. As I set goals to be obedient I had faith in the big miracles that would happen. I had faith that we'd find new investigators and I had faith that there are people in Douglasville that are prepared to hear two silly little Sisters pour their hearts out. If anything, I will remember this moment because of the faith I gained and the new perspective that I learned. How amazing it is to be given the opportunity to increase not only MY faith, but others too!
I love this work. I love this life. I love God. I love Georgie-- (haha that was a typing error. I'm leaving it.) And, I love you!
Sister Hawkins

Now I "mustache!" Love you!
P.S. It's blue cotton candy, in case you were wondering....

Monday, February 17, 2014

No Coincidences

Picture email!! Get ready:
So as you may have heard, we had a crazy ice storm this past week. In order to prepare, we went grocery shopping... mainly because it was our Pday and we had to get food anyway. But as we pulled into the parking lot, we soon discovered the kind of situation we were getting into... little did we know that we were just an ant in a herd of buffalo.

Just about every bread loaf, milk jug and egg carton had been wiped clean off the shelves.
The town decided to prepare for this storm because it's what they call an "ice storm." So apparently power lines get frozen and fall and everything's a mess... but no worries, Georgia prepped this time. All the power trucks lined up at the nearest hotel ready for attack. 

This is what the snow looked like in the early morn just outside my apartment...

...and then in about two hours this is what it looked like... 

But within 24 hours.... Georgia looked like this..

Needless to say, it was an exciting 24 hours. Sister Pribyl and I went out in the mornings helping people scrape ice off their cars with spatulas.. which is surprisingly pretty effective and doesn't scratch the car! But I did break a spatula. No worries though, we have like 7 donated spatulas and I'm unsure of why we have so many!

VALENTINES DAY!!! Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!! It was wonderful down here in GA. We woke up and made little valentines and cookies and wrote letters to wonderful families in our ward. What we ended up with was a messy apartment...

...but also really cute valentines!!

...and then some really cheesy cheap kitten cards for member families hahaa. They were so ugly. see? 

Before we left, Sister Pribyl and I tried getting a nice picture together for Valentine's Day... 

....and then ended up taking a million silly pictures... 

By the end of the day we were exhausted from running around trying to see everyone and their dog that we knew. I'd say it was a successful Valentine's day. 

Hmm what else? Oh just yesterday we had dinner at a member's home where it's tradition to eat Crab legs and steak for valentine's day. I've never had crab legs before so it was quite the interesting experience but sooo tasty! (sorry trev.... I can't help this high-living lifestyle God has given me!)

Seriously though it was an awesome dinner with some amazing members. 

The end of the week was awesome as Sister Pribyl and I learned that there are no coincidences in the Lord's eyes. We were directly placed at the right spot in the right time in multiple cases all throughout the weekend. How incredible it was to experience finding those that needed us and giving as the Lord would! 

I love you all :)
Sister Hawkins

Monday, February 10, 2014

Anything Can Happen

"Open different doors. You may find a you there that you never knew was yours. Anything can happen if you let it."  
-Mary Poppins

Here's me with a snowman during snowmageddon 2 weeks ago.
I think round 2 is heading our way this week!

I love how sweet moments from my childhood pop into my head daily. Man I miss watching Mary Poppins with my family when I was younger! This quote came into mind many times this week as it was put to the test.

First off, I love this quote for the image of opening different doors. Because as a missionary, we literally open quite the variety of doors...

But it's not about knocking on doors. Mary Poppins really talks about changing yourself and stepping out of your own comfort zone to do so. I found myself doing this more than just a few times this week. It'd be pretty safe to say that missionaries step out of their comfort zone every single day! I'll share with you a few experiences that made me really realize that, "anything can happen".

Sister Pribyl and I were driving back from an investigators home on Friday. We had a few extra minutes before another appointment when we stopped at a neighborhood intersection. Sister Pribyl turned to me and said, "Where should we go now? We need to find more people." At the time I was looking down a street that I had a strong impression to follow. But for some reason, I was so afraid to do it. Whether it was nerves or laziness or whatever, I don't really know. All I remember is that I just didn't want to open that door. Then quickly before those feelings could really start to doubt my faith I responded, "Well then turn here." By "opening that door" we went on to find a new investigator who had been visited by missionaries months before, wondering why they never came back.
Why was it that such an easy thing to say seemed so hard for me to do? It would have been so comfortable to just show up early for that appointment. But NO! The Spirit's all like, "Sienna, I need you to try your faith: Now go & do!"

Another experience happened just yesterday. We were driving back from church when I pointed out a man cleaning the side of the road. It was obvious that he was only trying to do the community a favor. The road was completely littered with wrappers and cigarette butts. Sister Pribyl asked almost the same question, "huh, we see him all over Douglasville, should we go?" Then again, the same feeling came over me and I tried to make excuses not to go. But before I could say no, the words "turn in!" came out of my mouth. We got out there and helped "Denson" clean the road for 2 hours in our skirts. He was incredibly grateful for us. As he took a Book of Mormon he called us "angels from heaven".. haha. He told us that he'd always remember the day that God sent angels to help him. What was just a simple act of service for us was a powerful answer to another. The cool thing about opening this door was that God let me know that we did the right thing to stop. While we were cleaning I found a fortune cookie fortune which said.... 

It was only a few hours later that our investigator who has been seeing missionaries for 4 months accepted to be baptized! 

So I learned that Mary Poppins was right. I learned that it is within my power to do what the Lord asks me to do! And when I do it, I find that my trust and confidence in Him gets 10x stronger. I'll leave you with a missionary-ized version of the lesson I learned this week which is to "Follow the Spirit and step out of your comfort zone. You may find a you there that you never knew was yours. Anything can happen!"

Sister Hawkins

Monday, February 3, 2014

And It Came to Pass...

So this week was far from the norm! Why? Well. It all started Tuesday morning.
It was 11 am. The lull of Elder Post and his mighty words filled the room with wonder. Our blessed district meeting was coming to an end. Anxious and excited, we were ready to labor diligently in God's vineyard of Douglasville. As we arose to commence our busy labors, one Elder took upon himself to gaze through the frosted window. His face lit up as excitement welled within until it came forth from his lips, "SNOW!!!!" And suddenly, we talked of snow, we rejoiced in snow, we preached of snow and we prophesied of snow, and we write according to our prophecies that our children may know of what source they may look for snow (oh sorry my scripture mastery took over [2 nephi 25:26]... back to the story!)

We approached the door to find a foreign world covered in a blanket of white crystals. Cautiously, we struggled to unveil our 2014 Chevy Cruz..only to embark the long trek homeward- not knowing beforehand the things which we should do. (Wait was that scripture? I can't even tell anymore) Miraculously, we made the 5 minute drive from the church building to our apartment unharmed and without delay. As we partook of our meager Mac&Cheese, we fearfully waited for the call that would doom the success of our meticulously planned day. And when it arrived, our missionary hopes and dreams were smitten (dang this scripture thing).
After the detrimental blow to our perfectly planned day, Sister Pribyl and I pondered of what little connection we had left to society. No car. No snow shoes. No floo powder. Or chimney for that matter! And no luck. We were stranded! The only connection we had left to bringing forth the work of salvation was through the means of our tiny ancient celluar device. We continued on, to make 83 phone calls, and when all was done, and all the members and investigators were left spiritually uplifted,... we played a makeshift game of Apples to Apples with just the two of us. We can make it if we try. (wait that's not scripture...)
The next morning we peeked through the blinds only to find the snow had worsened and the ice had thickened! And again, our hopes were struck dumb, that we could not have utterance (Alma 30:50). As we turned to our cell phone once more we learned of the calamities of Douglasville. The horrors of walking 10 miles in three inches of snow just to make it home, or the bumper-to-bumper traffic which lasted for a day and a night and a day. Cars ran out of gas and hundreds of children were confined within the walls of purgatory (school). And many were hungered and were given granola bars, and many were thirsty and turned to snow, and many were strangers and were taken in by those prepared with 4-wheel drive. (Matthew 25:35).

And in 3 days time, many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility. (Alma62:41).

Haha, ok, you might think this sounds dramatic... but this was how Georgia reacted to the three inches of snow. It was practically Armageddon for Georgians and no one was prepared to meet snow. Ok seriously I'm done with the scripture jokes now. Honestly though, it was pretty crazy, So many accidents happened and as far as casualties I haven't heard of any. In Georgia's defense it really did get super icy and it was dangerous since so many people abandoned their cars on the sides of the roads. So driving around was threatening as you could slip right into parked cars. We found so many cars in ditches and banged up on the sides of the roads when we were finally able to drive again. The cool miracle was that all the missionaries were accounted for and none were caught in the snow or in accidents. On the second day of being confined to our apartment we actually did go out and knocked on a few of the doors in our development.. my shoes didn't hold up very long though and more people than not were staying at friends houses since they couldn't make it all the way home. As for the weather now... there is no snow to be found. It has all completely melted. As they say here in Georgia, "Don't like the weather? Wait 5 minutes."
Love you all! Thanks for the emails!! :)
Sister Hawkins 

PS: This story was written by me and sister Pribyl. Gotta give Sister P-Ribby some credit!

Note from the Mom:Huge shout out of THANKS to the Ward Mission Leader and the Evans' family for letting me know my girl was safe; and for getting food to them beyond mac & cheese!  

Also, she shared a letter from her brother, who is serving in Benin, West Africa (click on the tab up top to find his blog), in answer to her blog post last week. I just HAD to share it here, it gave us a good chuckle.


1. Since when did Wendy's redesign their logo. Why was I NOT INFORMED OF THIS?!?!?! Do you realize I basically have no idea what is new in the states for all of 2013? 

2. Salads. Do you know when the last time I ate real salad with real grape tomatoes, cheese, and salad dressing. In the UNITED FREAKING STATES, over a year ago. We aren't allowed to buy salad here because the water that they use to grow it is unsafe to drink from and it seeps into the salad. That and it's a hard vegetable to clean well.

3. Frosty's. I honestly would burn a house down if I could get a frosty right now. 

4. Mini preach my gospels... oh let's make them in every single language EXCEPT FRENCH.

5. Blackberry or whatever kind of phone you have... Seriously? Might as well just show off your iPads too why don't you!?!?!?!?! I have a nokia phone that was designed in the 90s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GAH!

6. Green post-it notes. Do you know what doesn't exist here? Post-it brand post-it notes. We buy cheap French stuff but they suck so much that we don't even buy them anymore. We just use old printing paper, cut them into squares and then use fake scotch tape to stick it onto something. NO CONVENIENCE IN THIS PLACE.

7. Carpet... well you already know that I love carpet and how I freaked out about it when I went to an American's house for Christmas and rubbed my feet in his carpet for hours.

Anyway... that's my email to you this week.


Elder Hawkins

P.S. Haha jk (sort of). Trust me, every mission has it's pros and cons... and our missions (right now) happen to be completely different. But, no matter what, they are both awesome!

Keep doing great!