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. 

1 comment:

  1. What a darling, darling girl. I love this experience she shares with Tyler - truly a miracle, no? Thanks for sharing, Liz!