Monday, March 31, 2014

Be Safe and Don't Fear Change

I forgot to send pictures of us at the temple when we went a few weeks ago.
Here's me and the Pribs.

Well hello there! Another week in hot'Lanta! It's starting to really warm up here-- supposed to be in the 80s all week! yay!! Not quite as hot as Brazil or Africa though... 

This weeks happenings were few. There's nothing specific that took place which I'd like to share so I thought of a way to describe everyday life as a sister missionary here in Georgia. Now we talk to people all day long whether it be on the phone or in person, SO I've gathered 3 phrases that we hear on almost a daily basis for you to enjoy:

1. Now you girls be careful out there, you hear?

I suppose that this is something almost every sister in the world gets told. Honestly, I didn't ever worry so much about my safety- reason being because I can usually discern a bad from a good situation. I like to think ahead which helps me to avoid questionable situations. But lately I find myself second guessing my decisions ever since my interview with President Harding a few weeks ago (Georgia Atlanta Mission President). If there was a title for the interview we had it would be "Are You Safe???".... only because he may have asked me that exact question 6 or 7 times in just an 8 minute interview. 

Now knowing that President Harding is an inspired man and receives revelation for me specifically, this turned me nuts! Now I  swear I triple check the locked door every morning or I'll click the lock on the car keys 5 times just to be sure everything's secure. The other night we got home and I ran out to the car to get something I had forgotten. It was dark and there was that creepy lamp post and then it seemed way too quiet. Next thing you know I'm bookin' it for the front door and locking the car the whole way there. If you know me, you know I'm not afraid of the dark! I love sleeping in the pitch black but man! With all these constant reminders and the imminent danger I apparently always seem to be in, it's hard not to think of my safety. 

So don't worry Mom and Dad... I am safe. Except from maybe Sister Pribyl... Which by the way, contributed to another baking disaster. Well I shouldn't say disaster because we did succeed after many failed attempts and trips to Walmart. 

2. What a mericle!!

No no no.... it's mIrAcle..... not mericle. It's a miracle if they ever say it right honestly... Usually pronunciations don't bother me so much because I've become accustomed to Philly's "wuter" for water and Sister Pribyl's "ekspecially" for especially. I'm not sure why but it probably has to do with the fact that I hear this everyday. At night we call to report to our district and they always ask us to share "mericles". Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE miracles, I just dislike mericles. Can't wait to get to Brazil and have this whole thing be reversed...

3. I've been churched.

What? What is that?! Since when was "church" a verb? How does someone get churched? I church, you church, we all church? So far I've gathered about three different meanings for this phrase. It either means they've been adopted into a "church family", they've grown up in a church or they know everything already and don't want to learn more. Sometimes it's a combination but in all cases it really means "go away I'm not interested." I guess using church as a verb is a nicer way of saying it so I'm appreciative. I always chuckle to myself when someone says it.

There's definitely more to this phrase though. By saying this, one is implying that their faith is based on tradition. Tradition of following a culture, or taking after what they've always known. And what I've come to find is that tradition is always stronger than truth. Why?  Because tradition is so comfortable. The fact of the matter is that we can't learn truth without change. Change is uncomfortable- it helps us to overcome our weaknesses, to push us and to lead us to make the most of our lives. How can we strive to be more perfect, more Christlike, if we aren't willing to change what makes us so imperfect?

As my good friend Neil A Maxwell says, "Change and improvement are blocked by an inordinate fear of the unknown and the risks of change. This kind of fear can immobilize us; it can block us from accepting challenges that might permit us to grow...... If our soul is to be stretched, how can that happen without growing pains?"

Don't fear the change!

Love you all!! 
Have a happy, sunny week! 

Sister Hawkins

Note from the Mom: She forgot the cord she needs in order to upload pics from her camera, said she'd try to send some later in the day. If not, we get double pics next week!  

Still no change in her visa status. :(


My awesome district!! Love these missionaries!! :) 

My district being crazy. Because we're all crazy.
Powder Springs zone. These people are so awesome. We had a day of playing capture the flag,
ultimate frisbee and hanging around a guitar. Best day ever. 

A bunch of sisters in my zone... we got together for a p-day at the park!!

Cake pops! Hmm, they looked different when Mom made them....

Monday, March 24, 2014

All you need is Love

We went knocking on doors. Unfortunately no one was home...we'll have to go back another time. ;) 

This week was a great one in the fact that it was busy. Lots of people to teach and places to be! Even when things fell through we had lots to fall back on. Like awesome recent converts to help team up with us! :)

So this month our Mission President gave us 4 summits to reach- one per week. This week, we were to try to get 10 lessons with out investigators with a member present. The goal in doing so is that a member can add fellowship, relate to our investigators and be a third witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Anyways, oddly enough we hardly thought about the summit as appointments just fell into place throughout the week. Until the week neared to an end and we realized we only had to get one more lesson to reach the goal! Already we'd seen most of our investigators multiple times. Sunday we'd report our work at 4:30 and it was already 1pm. Talk about stress! We were so close!!! Within reach even!

Then an idea came to me as I was pondering about church. I sent a message to an investigator who I was sad to see absent from church that morning. Turns out he was on his way home and was available for us to see him within a half an hour. Immediately we called the first member that came to mind who could potentially be available and the Lord made it work! We'd been working so hard to teach one more person for 2 days and it all came together last minute. 

This morning,  Sister Pribyl and I were discussing what attributed to this success. We realized that once we knew we only needed one more we focused more on the GOAL than on the people we were teaching. Fortunately, I listened to a prompting that dealt with genuine concern for someone. The reality of it was that we reached our goal when our hearts were in it. The Lord isn't going to tell us the next "member present lesson" but He will always lead us to someone who needs God's love. Though our intentions were good, the motivation behind it couldn't lead us to do the Lord's will. It was only when we changed that our will became the Lord's will.

How often do we do this in our lives? How we put ourselves and our needs before others? Or even how often we put our "good" goals before the Lord's perfect plan. His main goal is to grant us all eternal life but we've got to do this together. We're a team! (*insert any cheesy teamwork quote here... like "There's no 'I' in teamwork" or my personal fav that High School Musical puts so eloquently "We're allll in this togeeeether") By putting ourselves first, there's no way to be loving. Love is an outward expression and the pure love of Christ is charity.  If the common denominator isn't love, then how are we to learn the will of our Father?

 1 John 4:7-12

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 
He that loved not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 

Need I say more? It's all about the love people!

Thanks to Steve and Tami for letters this week!! I loved them both.. and Steve's "teamwork" card was perfect haha. I'll be responding shortly! 

Love you all!

Sister Hawkins


Finally pretty spring blossoms!

This is a cat that likes to hug... it does this automatically...
don't worry I steered clear. (allergies!) 

Monday, March 17, 2014

And His Sins Were Washed Away...

Happy St Patrick's DAY!!!!!!

Man every year at this time I really start to miss dancing! The celtic music, shoes, dresses and Irish parades. And of course, mom playing the tin whistle. That is the reason I had her send me a pennywhistle! :)

Thank you thank you thank you for all the letters this week! I loved all of Mark and Cathy's letters! In one day I found my mailbox FULL of letters from Megan, Rachel, Abby, Julia, Kelly, Daniel, grandpa and a few other missionary friends. That was the sweetest surprise and I LOVED hearing from all of you! It may have been a little misty-eyed moment when I opened my mailbox to find a pile of letters from family. Thanks for the love! It truly made my week!

So this week is one for the books-well my book... and the church's books because.... TYLER GOT BAPTIZED!!!!

Tyler's baptism!

I'll start from the beginning. Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about knocking on a door with the front lawn full of cats. Well that was Tyler's door. Just about as ordinary as his house, was the conversation that started it all. After commenting on his plethora of kittens, we invited him to learn of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His careless response of "Sure I'll give it a shot" only begins to describe his character. At this point, we had no understanding of just how complex that answer was. Our understanding grew as we continued to meet with Tyler almost every day for a month. We quickly came to find that he was no ordinary person. I've narrowed (with Sister Pribyl's help) our experiences with him to 10 points to summarize his awesome story:

1. February 4, Tyler willingly opened the door to two silly bright-eyed sisters. 

2. Tyler came to church after two meetings with us and stayed for ALL three hours. Not to mention he came the next Sunday on three hours of sleep and has come to church every Sunday since!

3. That first Sunday, he asked about the "gamechangers" (Aka the laws we follow through our devotion to Heavenly Father) to which he immediately committed to start doing. When we questioned his willingness, he said, "Well, do you like spaghetti?" We responded 'yes' and he replied "Right, because you've tried it before"...ahhh so awesome!(in other words, don't knock it till you try it!)

4. Tyler soaked up everything we taught him like a sponge. One day he even recounted every part of the Plan of Salvation discussion and then asked a question about something we didn't cover. 

5. We invited him to baptism. In reply he said, "well let's see what the Book of Mormon has to say about that" He then took the date of his suggested baptism (3/15) and flipped to a random book and chose chapter 3 verse 15, which actually said "repent and come unto Christ". To all of our astonishment, the words couldn't have made it more clear and he accepted to work towards baptism. 

6. Tyler worked hard to receive his own witness of every aspect of the Gospel like the scriptures, prophets, Word of Wisdom, etc. He read and prayed about it all on his own every single day. When he let us know that we were merely vessels of the Lord and that his testimony wasn't based on us, he thanked us for following the promptings of the Spirit-- that if it weren't for us he probably wouldn't be here.

7. Before all of this, Tyler used to have terrifying dreams but when we told him he could pray about it, he proceeded to ask God to take this away. That night he dreamed of the Temple and is making every effort to get there. 

8. Within weeks he successfully rid himself of so many addictions. One of which was Tobacco which has plagued him from the age of 14. 

9. BAPTISM. He related it to feeling like you've worked a 12 hour shift construction job in the hot Florida sun and finally coming home and taking a shower. To him it was a "misty-eyed and goosebump"-filled day...that words couldn't describe. 

10. RECEIVING THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST. He explained it so eloquently.. He said it was like "the hum in the air that's left after a crack of lightning. It's a deep sense of something profound and loud happening but with our feeble human bodies we can't sense it except with our spirits. 

(thanks to Sis. Cordova for the Pic!)

In short, it was an amazing experience to be a part of. The more I think about it, the more I realize how small that part really was. In fact I feel so privileged and honored to be included. It's hard to describe all the feelings that were felt in this past month, especially over the weekend! I feel quite exhausted. But with every tired sigh I let out, my satisfaction with this calling and lifestyle grows brighter. This is the reason I'm here! This is what reinforces all those hard days and all the sacrifices I make. And while so many aspects to the life of a missionary are so uncomfortable and out-of-the norm, I feel completely at peace. As if, at the same time, I were so close to home.

I know that this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the Earth once again. It is by the power and authority that was given to Joseph Smith that has made this possible and I have a witness of just how powerful that is. I know that the Book of Mormon helps us on our path to eternal life and that through the implication of its words, we can find the greatest happiness and discover the most amazing blessings. I know that my Savior loves me. That He constantly tries to help me and to reach out to all of us! I know that it's so important to listen and to heed to our promptings, to find answers to our prayers and to try our faith. I know this with all of my heart.


Sister Hawkins

More Pics of the Week:

Sis P and I like to keep it classy.

Sister Pribyl on her Birthday with lots of ice cream!!

Happy Birthday Sister Pribyl!!

We made sushi last night for dinner... my plate is the neat one hahaa I love Sister Pribyl
Haha also this is a funny remake of an old picture of me and Tebs! I realized this one day during lang study.

Note from the Mom: Love this sweet girl and her strong testimony! And yes, that last photo was a little watery-eye moment for me. *sniff. For those of you who saw the video I posted on fb yesterday of them singing Sweet Hour of Prayer, she shared with me a bit about the arrangement:

Sis SieHawk: We had sung that for a Zone training with a bunch of missionaries and then for tyler's baptism. It's funny because one of the songs that I had on my ipod was that tune and I didn't know the real words to it... but for some reason I kept singing the words of sweet hour of prayer! SO I decided to add some harmony and change it up a little to make it into a cover and got sister P to sing it with me. So now it's like our little original version of the song and it's so much more interesting than the normal melody. I'm glad you liked it!!! I felt super creative when I came up with it hahaha but I guess it was more by mistake than anything!

Sometimes, I really like her mistakes!  She said they've worked on a few other's as well. As soon as I get the real video file, I will post it here for those of you not on facebook. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Learning to Recognize the Warnings

Off to the mission wide conference with Quentin L Cook. IT WAS SO INCREDIBLY AWESOME!!!

Well. This week started off with a bang... or a burn?
Tuesday morning, Sister Pribyl and I decided it would be a great day for some banana bread in honor of our rotten bananas in the kitchen. First we had to eat breakfast though and things were normal just like every other morning. As I peaceably cooked my bacon and eggs, Sister Pribyl swept in and said, "I want that too OMGosh" She slaps two pieces next to mine and proceeds to perform a marvelous work and a wonder by doing the dishes all by herself. It was quite the peak in our companionship actually. What an act of love! Until she turned the kitchen into a swimming pool and burned her bacon. How you burn bacon in a swimming pool is beyond me. In her mad chaos she endeavored to flip her burning egg so artistically that half of it poured on to the burner...
Even throughout the mess, the temptation of delightful birthday cake banana bread was still strong. I began to put together the mix and smash the bananas. Then it just got awkward. The bananas wouldn't mash, the egg was neon green and the space was limited by the two previous happenings. But cake baking went forth and I impatiently waited. All was calm. The aroma of vanilla/banana cake finally overpowered all burned scents and it was done. I pulled out the perfectly browned cake setting it to cool on the stovetop.
Well. It didn't cool. In fact, I left the kitchen for 5 minutes and returned to a smoking cake and an even worse burnt smell. SOMEONE (....cough cough Sister Pribyl cough coughjkfdsa;) had one more ace up her sleeve....she left the burner on!! I swear this girl is bound and determined to burn the house down. Man I don't know what it is about me having all these experiences with burning food but I promise it doesn't always happen... it wasn't nearly as bad as the seminary-burnt-microwave-bacon-wafting-through-the-entire-church smell. The sad thing was the top of the cake couldn't even be saved because it had a touch of burnt flavor. So the whole cake was rendered inedible.. unless you have a taste for charcoal.. "yumm wood-fire grilled banana cake! Sounds so tasty!" Needless to say the expected delightful experience became one of much distress. It was then that we banned ourselves from the kitchen for the rest of the day.
Cake anyone?

Sure you don't want any?

This experience really does relate to so many things that happen in life... whether it's missionary-related or not. We face things that we don't expect almost every single day! Sometimes, not always, but sometimes your day just so happens to begin with a tiny Poltergeist-like thing where all your efforts are plagued by the adversary. But you know, God never hesitates to give you some red flags. We're just not always good at seeing them! We probably should have and absolutely could have taken the warnings that this morning was not a baking day. In doing so, there would've been a  possibility of preventing a perfectly good cake from being murdered.
I've noticed recently though from this experience and many others, that you can't neglect the little things. Often times the little things build up until you feel overwhelmed or even like you've failed. Really, the only thing we fail is recognizing all the warnings that God places in our lives to keep us from winding up in the deep end of the pool (haha literally our kitchen). It could have been so simple to double check the burners or be more cautious! And it's just as important to see the small things for what they are and embrace them! Small warnings are much easier to manage than big trials. Who knows, had we continued to explore the kitchen, maybe the kitchen could have caught fire...maybe even the whole apartment complex! Good thing we finally got the hint, got out of the kitchen and took a burned cake over a burned apartment!
I guess what I'm trying to say is that we can't do this work or go through life without trusting the Lord. He doesn't always wave huge flags in your face to let you know what you're doing isn't His will...but He WILL tell you!! I like what Nephi says about trusting the Lord right after his father dies and he goes to confide in the Lord. He says " Oh Lord I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man (or bacon..) or maketh flesh his arm" I love that. That is my testimony and hope that I can put my trust and faith in Christ as much as Nephi has and demonstrated so beautifully!
Thank you all for your love and support! :)
Love Sister Hawkins

Car Selfies!

PS: I love Sister Pribyl with all my heart... She's awesome and she has "endorsed and approved" of this message.
PPS: Does anyone know if this pan is still usable?

Err...the perfect circle of a burner left on.  Hmmm.

Since it was fat tuesday we decided to celebrate. We knew we had till tuesday to get fat... so we bought a king cake....
 ....and the biggest chick fil a sandwich.....
....and "borrowed" a bowl of candy from our investigator and stuffed it in Pribby's purse hahaha!
Sorry it's blurry.  I was laughing!

Here's a pic of me, my trainer, and my trainer's trainer haha. I call my trainers trainer my grandma..
oh missionary terms.

Sis P and I with our old District Leader.
Mission conferences are awesome because you can reunite with
other missionaries that were transferred. It's sad to say goodbye to missionaries!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014


Sis H and Sis Pribby - Courtesy of the Evans Family!

Hi Everyone!!
I felt like this week was a dream... probably because I've been so dang tired! But honestly it's been one of the busiest weeks here.
Sometimes missionary work is really serious. I mean we talk to people about their personal lives just about 24/7. And I'm not kidding- Sis P sleep teaches the missionary lessons! Hmmm maybe that's also why I've been so tired... Anywho. Reality is that it's not missionary work without funny moments. We all know God has a sense of humor!

Funny Moment #1: Salvation Invasion

Pribby and I were teaching an investigator who has quite the enthusiasm for getting ahead. We hadn't even talked of the Plan of Salvation when she brought up the 3 degrees of Glory. She hadn't actually done the reading we wanted her to do but instead she took it upon herself to research online... which is one of the biggest fears we have as missionaries unless they use, because other sources, well, they just aren't correct. Anyway, as she elaborated on the things she liked of the kingdoms of glory, she exclaimed, "Well, if I don't convert, at least I'll go to the second kingdom... and that's pretty good!!"
Uhhh.... #itsjustsalvation  #itswhatever

Funny Moment #2: Hugs & Kisses

This actually happened on Valentine's Day which makes it all the funnier. Pribs and I were handing out Hershey's hugs and kisses and decided to knock on a door near a member's home. A shirtless nine-year-old boy answered the door. We soon realized his parents were out and the babysitter told us to come back. As we left we said, "Hey, would you like some hugs and kisses?" Before Pribs could pull them out of her pocket, the boy answered timidly, "I can't... I don't have a shirt on."  hahah #awkawk

Funny Moment #3: Ending the Day with a Bang

At the end of the day, missionaries are very tired. Sometimes, when we brush our teeth at night, the desire to sleep overrides our brains. So simple tasks become difficult-- like needing to spit and overestimating the distance between the facet and your forehead. And suddenly your forehead makes a new friend... or enemy. #smack #isthismybed #goodenough

Funny Moment #4: Study Buddy

One fine morning, P-Ribby and I got caught up studying deep doctrine for 2 hours... which in turn shortened my language study to 5 minutes. P-Ribby, being the helpful companion she is, picked up the dictionary and began quizzing my Portuguese vocabulary. We soon came to find that it was extremely ineffective as I didn't know words like guacamole, logarithm or cous-cous. She stumbled across a few more words and it turned into a game of What-the-heck-is-in-this-dictionary. Then, she over-dramatically proclaimed the next word and said, "Big diaper." As I pondered in confusion and even attempted to translate, P-Ribby exclaimed in defeat, "Oh, big....dipper."  #sonotyouraveragesolarsystem

Funny Moment #5: Bobby's First Altoid

Last Sunday, our investigator brought her 4 year-old grandson, Bobby, to church. During the sacrament, Pribster gave Bobby an altoid, unexpecting of the happenings to come. Bobby proceeded to partake and to his astonishment it was not as delightful as perhaps Pribby intended. The evidence of this spread across his face as his eyes welled up with tears and his face scrunched up in every direction. With a face as red as a tomato, he turned to her and pointed, "Why would you give me that!?!" He then realized how hard it was for us to keep our composure and politely asked "Can I have another?"  #parentingtips  #whateverworks

Funny Moment #6: Catz for Dayz

You should understand that Pribbly and  I have an ongoing joke about cats. I don't know why... I guess they're just funny. To be honest they really are funny animals. Anyways, on this particular day we had about 20 minutes before zone training and felt led to a house of a less active member. They ended up not being home, but trusting that we were there for a reason, we decided to pray for guidance to know where we needed to be. We were feeling like we should go to a neighborhood nearby and one house stood out to us more than the others. We were only just having a conversation about cats when we walked up to this door to find about 7 or 8 stray cats scurry from our path in the front lawn. It was insane how many there were! When a man opened the door the first thing we said was, "Wow... you have a lot of cats!!" We casually conversed and talked of the blessings of the gospel and he responded, "Sure, I'll give it a shot" Tyler's now on date to be baptized in 2 weeks and he's the most committed, responsive, prepared person we've ever had the privilege of meeting and teaching! That's not so funny, that's fantastic in fact! I guess the funny part about that story is that Pribbly and I were asked to share this guided by cats moment on a mission-wide conference call consisting of 250 missionaries and the mission president...We'll  forever be deemed as the companionship doomed to become old cat ladies. #whyus #imstillallergictocats  #eharmonyvideoblog #ijustlovecats

From faucet face plants to a lawn full of cats, God still works in mysterious ways. No matter how ridiculous our situations might be, I've learned that God definitely has a sense of humor because His work still moves forward! God knows us so personally that He knows what we'll need and what we'll recognize-- He even sometimes spares no pains in over-doing it! It's up to us to take these moments for what they are and press forward with an attitude of gratitude. There's so much to be grateful for! 


Sister Hawkins

Like I'm grateful for these lemon pepper chicken wings...hahaha
(don't worry Trev, I saved one for you and I'm sending it in your next letter)

Note from the Mom: She just makes me smile! I'm sure her brother Trevor will be happy to find that she's still the hipster hashtagger. Also, for information regarding the Plan of Salvation, or the Plan of Happiness as it is also called, here's a video and a link for you to find out more.

Click here...Plan of Happiness