Monday, April 28, 2014

What Did YOU Learn Today?

 I don't have pictures this week :( other than our pic we
took just now in the computer lab haha! Going on a hike now
with the zone. 

This week was quite and odd one. Slow but eventful. I don't have much time to write so I'll go from my journal to help illustrate the latest learnings. If you didn't already know, I write at last one thing everyday that I learn as it is a tradition in my family. So even when I have no time to write, I'll at least jot one thing down. To save time, I'll record what I learned on some days this week and explain the reason for my new found knowledge. Fair warning; this week held quite the wide variety of experiences...


"Maybe you have to be more negligent of the world in order to be more spiritually in tune. Maybe though, what makes one wise is when they recognize the world and deliberately choose the way of the Spirit"

When you spend so much time with a person who you think you know completely, sometimes it can surprise you what you learn. My companion may not realize that she teaches me, but just by her example I can observe things to apply in my own life. Just by being spiritually open and willing to let the Lord change you, others become the Lord's teaching tools. Pretty cool how this companion thing works. 


"When you work as a team, it's often more motivating to reach high goals"

This past week my district has tried yet again to increase our faith in Christ by setting high standards. We've been striving to increase member involvement in our missionary work. As Preach My Gospel says, "the ideal situation is when members invite other to be taught and are present for the teaching." When members refer us their friends for us to teach, we call them referrals. As a district we made the goal to attain at least 10 referrals this week. Well. We went out in faith that very day. Though we had never before received more than 3 in a week, to our astonishment, we found 10 referrals that DAY. It's amazing how when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, nothing's impossible. It's what we expect of ourselves that makes the difference.


"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light" --Plato 

Tyler, our recent convert, moved to Utah this very day. It was bittersweet to see him go, but so much is in store for him out there. Before he left, I gave him a drawing of this quote to always remind him of the correct perspective. To me, it's never ok to be afraid of the light-and why would you want to be? The light of the Gospel is like a fragment of the light from heaven. When you let it surround you, you not only see the path before you, but you can help brighten the path of others along the way. 


"Stressed backwards is desserts"

My life was changed at this realization! I learned this by walking into a bakery and gazing upon the quaint interior. My eyes then fell upon a small chalkboard that beheld this wonderful knowledge. Never know what you're gonna learn in a day. 


"Fasting really works, even if what you specifically fast for isn't what is answered at the moment you hoped for. Faith is never wasted, it is just sometimes used unexpectedly"

We fasted for specific things all day long and though we didn't see the result of those things, we still saw a miracle. Even though the day was slow and we were disappointed with the progress of the work, we ended the day with news that a whole family wants to be baptized!! He works in mysterious ways! Only He knows what's ahead.


"The adversary works harder when we do, especially when we're close to something he really doesn't want to have happen"

This day was pretty lame. We tried to do what our leaders had encouraged us to do. to our dismay, we hardly saw anyone we needed to see but spent 60 miles attempting to. What better way to hinder the work of the Lord by discouraging the missionaries in their failed attempts. In a way, this discouragement seeped into the tone of the day and as a result the rest of that day took after this pattern. To top it off, there isn't anything worse than being hit on by creepy men. Satan really knows how to push my buttons.


"I'm emotional when I'm helplessly uncomfortable. And because getting emotional is rare for me, when I do get emotional, I'm much more uncomfortable"

So. Again with the adversary and his dumb tactics. You know what tops the worst day of the week? When said "creepy man" (who we invited to church before realizing his intentions) shows up to church only to come looking for me. Which then left me feeling completely and utterly embarrassed and uncomfortable. Thankfully, with a little help from my ward family, creepy man had a wonderful day at church in the absence of my presence. Maybe not what he expected but that's what you get for being creepy. Rude. But not even that couldn't distract me from the Spirit I felt as I listened to an investigator testify in class of the importance of missionary work. Like I learned the other day, when you're on to something good, you better be prepared for a few fiery darts. I just sometimes don't understand why some of his darts are really weird and annoying. But it could have been worse. That's all I'm sayin'. 

As you can see, the variety of what we learn as missionaries is so vast. From companions to creepy men, the Lord has catered to my strengths and weaknesses the things I need to learn- not only to be a better missionary but also person. Some things I'd rather not have to learn, but like I've said before, we don't grow unless we're somewhat uncomfortable. The Lord knows that. I'm only just beginning to grasp it. 


Sister Hawkins

Note from the Mom: Yes, as you can imagine I was ready to hop on the next flight to Atlanta and take out that creeper! But I am comforted in knowing that she is surrounded by a good ward family who is taking care of her. And also, that girl knows self-defense and promises to channel her inner Mulan if it ever comes to that. Meanwhile, she promises to live up to this quote I sent her by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, because I thought it sounded so much like her:

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Love, I Love, I Love

Hoppy Easter!

Monday whew! I can't believe it's Monday!! So many exciting things happened this week, now I get to reflect...and then go home and sleep! :)

Ahhh I get to tell you all about the baptism this week.  Our friend Brody got baptized. He's 11 years old and we met him because his father (who doesn't live with him) requested that the missionaries start teaching his mom and son, Brody. Now, Brody's dad is not a member but started taking discussions where he lives in Maine. Time passed...and I mean a lot of time passed...and we were really focusing on teaching Brody's grandma when finally they committed to coming to church one Sunday. When they came, Brody knew as soon as he stepped foot in the building that this was true. He LOVED it. He couldn't get enough of it. When we met him next, we asked if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes! 

It's a hipsta pic of my notebook for Tebs!

Of course, being an 11 year old, we needed to make sure it was alright with Grandma and Dad. Both were accepting of Brody's decision to be baptized and his Dad even made plans to come down from Maine to support him. So we began our teaching with Brody and within 3 weeks, he was ready and excited!

Oddly enough, things went perfectly to schedule. Every lesson was spot on, every commitment he was willing to keep--everything! It was so awesome to watch how easy the change was for Brody since he was already committed. But nothing in missionary work is ever that easy...or at least we should have guessed...

You see.... Baptism day came and well, I don't even know where to begin. Everything seemed to fall apart for Brody's family. It started with a phone call at 10am with Brody's grandma trying to postpone the baptism. So many family issues started arising that weren't even centered around the baptism at all. It was merely a conflict of poor planning and bad timing. An hour before the baptism, we had plans to pick up Brody so he could be there early. But when we got there we walked straight into the chaos. The only way to really describe just how chaotic it was is to say that the Adversary took a bowling ball and hit a strike...or several strikes. The timing of their trials couldn't have been much worse. With whatever peace of mind they had left, finally, we all drove to the baptism. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances, Brody's dad couldn't go which was the reason for the baptism to be on this day in the first place. 

But victory was won! The baptism took place and it was a wonderful service. Brody had much support from the ward and his grandma even made mention in the service how glad she was that she didn't cancel. I remember that as soon as he stepped into the water I started to tear up. I felt so proud of Brody--for doing what he believed was true. He said the day before to his dad,"I don't know everything about this church but I feel how it is true and I know that getting baptized is the path I need to take." What an example he is to his family, friends and even myself!! Just after the baptism, we asked Brody how he felt and he responded, "I felt so much power. It was different than my other baptisms because there were angels. Like I had God over one shoulder and Jesus over the other."

From the mouths of babes!! Well... 11 year olds. It just proves to me that anyone with an open and willing heart to follow the Lord's will can know of the truthfulness of this church; this restored gospel. Baptism is such an important step to returning home to God and it is now available because of this restoration. But beyond that, it is available because of our Savior. With Easter yesterday I hope you've all taken the time to ponder on the glory of his sufferings. With every tear of blood He shed, He made it possible for us to repent, to be cleansed of our sins. He made it possible for us to never feel alone but instead to be lifted up! Most importantly, He makes it possible for us to return to the same God who gave us life--that we might be clean and pure in His presence.

I love this work. I love the Gospel. I love the Lord.

Oh, and I love you too! 

Sister Hawkins


Hahah we took those robin eggs you sent and made lipstick out of em.
They're gross to eat so what else do you expect me to do with them??

Oh have I told you about all the turtles here???
We see SO many!! It's crazy! Here's a picture of just a few we saw the other day!

Note from the Mom: She sent a cute picture of Brody, but as he is a minor, I didn't feel comfortable posting it on this blog. What a great example he is for all of us!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sometimes Life is Just a Disney Tune

Oi Familia!! Como Estao? Life here in GA is amazing as usual. This week was pretty spectacular. Just keeping busy! Spoiler: we have a baptism this week but more to come on that next email!! :)

This week I thought I'd steal one of Trev's ideas. So my thoughts will be italicized as I show you a day in the life of Sister Hawkins:

Alarm goes off. Snooze. Alarm. Snooze. Stumbles out of bed.

(Cue Tangled)
6:30 am it's the usual morning lineup
Why can't sleep just count as working out?
Do a few squats some lunges and maybe a pull up
Take a 5 minute rest, I'm sure that really counts! 

Now that I'm hungry gosh, what do I want to eat?
Eggs and bacon..maybe something sweet
Here comes my comp, what's that? Somethings smells like feet
Wondering what is she cooking now...

And I keep wondering and wondering and wondering and wondering what is that burning smell?

See sink. Sigh. Do dishes. Feel satisfied. Sit down at desk and pull out books. 

(Cue Little Mermaid)
Look at these books, aren't they neat?
Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the girl, the girl who knows everything!

Look at these chapters, treasures untold
How many wonders can one bookcase hold?
Lookin' around here you'd think
"Ah man all that's not fitting in my suitcase"

I've got PMG, scriptures and pamphlets
I've got grammar workbooks and vocab
Wanna learn Portuguese? I'm your girl! 
But who cares, no big deal... I'm not there....

I wanna be where I'll apply what I learn
I wanna see, wanna see em convert
Getting on their knees to.. what's that word again? Oh orar. 

Down where they preach
in Portuguese
And where they walk all day in the sun
Maybe I'll stay
In Georgia clay
thanks Chevy cruz...

Finish studies. Call the whole world. Twice. Turn off all the light...again. Walk out door. 

(Cue Beauty and the Beast)
Little town, full of little people
Everyone is a child of God
Douglasville, are you ready for the
Gospel truth?

Hi! Good morning! Hey y'all! 
Look here we go again we're missionaries
We've got our books and tags and skirts
Everyone gives us a stare
Maybe then a little glare
We'll see the best of them and send a smile to share!

Ohhhh isn't it amazing! 
I am called to love the people here
I need to be inviting
So they can discover who the Lord wants them to be!

Make it to service opportunity. Awkwardly change clothes in car. Gather house cleaning supplies.

(Cue Mulan)
Let's get down to business
to defeat.. the dirt
Did they send for elders?
No they sent..for us!

The sisters know the rage of dirt
the elders haven't got a clue
Somehow I'll make a Temple out of you

Be a sister 
you must be swift as a coursing river
Be a sister
Clean up the dirt in all the corners
Be a sister
With the force of unfailing Spirit
Persistent as the ringing of our phone

Answer phone. Team-up confirmed and appointment set. Do a little happy dance. Get sevles to appointment. Ring bell. Chat. Say prayer, follow up, teach doctrine.. watch investigator start to understand...

(Cue Tangled)
And at last he sees the light!
And it's like the fog has lifted
And it's warm and clear and bright
As the Spirit fills the room
All at once, everything looks different
Now that he knows truth

Leave with commitment. Close with prayer. 

Time to be guided by the Spirit...time to find. Get to store, carry Book of Mormon. Look around for someone who stands out to me. Feel discouraged. Take a breath.

(Cue Pochohontas)
I look once more,
just beyond the frozen food
A family of four
I know I've seen them before
I find the courage to walk ahead
Just beyond the frozen food
For me..waiting for me!

Make appointment to see new friends again. Check watch. Gasp! Run to car. Ponder for 20 minutes while driving to dinner appointment.

(Cue Hercules)
I have often dreamed, of a far off place
Where a great warm welcome will be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer, when they see my face
And a voice keeps saying this is where I'm called to be

I'll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way, if I can be strong
I know every mile will be worth my while
When I go the distance I'll be right where I belong

Arrive late to dinner appointment. Chat with family while dinner finishes. Discover fried butter on the table. Sigh

(Cue Beauty and the Beast)
Be their guest!
Be their guest!
Put my stomach to the test
tie my napkin 'round my neck, Cherie!
And they'll provide the rest
Fried butter!
More fried butter!
Why we only fry in butter
Try the butter
It's delicious
Don't believe me? Ask the Misses!

They can talk, with their mouth
After all this is the South!
Still the dinners here are never second best!

Go on get comfortable
soon you'll be very full

'Cuz you're their guest
Be their guest!
Be their guest!

Share spiritual thought. Find mobility to get to car. Waddle out the door. Squeeze into car. Drive home and check mail....

(Cue Hercules)
If there's a prize for rotten judgement,
I guess I've already won that
I should have guessed I'd get no letters
But it could make my life so much better

Who'd you think you're kidding
You're behind in writing them back
You know that they love you
They just got their tax return back
Probably on vacation...
Don't you know you're still the one they're thinking of

No chance, no way, they have time I know it

(muses): They work they school, just get over it

Ooooh it's okay now, they will write me someday....

Get home. Plan. Throw Pj's on. Report on conference call. Crawl to bed. Write one thing I learned and pray. Think of family at home and in Douglasville.

(Cue Tarzan)
"Come stop you're worrying they will be alright"
I'll do what's right and hold on tight
He will protect from all around them
He will be there, stop, don't fret

For 18 months it seems so long
But everyday he'll keep them safe and warm.
This bond between us can't be broken
They all know that I love them

'Cuz you'll be in my heart
yes you'll be in my heart.
From this day on now and forever more

You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart.

Love you all :)

Sister Hawkins

Pretty blossoms!

We gave a salamadar to the Elders in return for the frog!

Zone conference. See? The butter is making me fat! 

Sis P took this pic of Douglasville in Spring!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gratitude, a Way of Life

So the elders played an April fools joke on us and left us a frog in a container outside our apartment.
I picked it up and it jumped inside of the container right at my face!! I proceeded to throw it across the lawn haah. We tried to get a picture with him, but he was being a diva. Here's his paparazzi pic haha.

Wasn't conference amazing!? I'm so sad that it's over. I've been just waiting to watch conference for 6 months! Once again, I'm back to waiting. But I've been filled with lots of inspiring words and answered prayers! 

There is NO way that I could possibly pick my favorite talk. I absolutely loved the talks from President Monson, Uchtdorf, Rasband, Bednar, Zwick, Ballard, Stevenson, Perry and Oak's talk from Priesthood Session. So see? I basically listed all the talks. The ones not listed I still really enjoyed too. It was cool to see common themes like "true to the faith" and gratitude. I really LOVED all that Uchtdorf had to say about gratitude and I actually want to talk about it today. 

(Take the time to listen to this awesome talk I'm speaking of!)

As I've been studying the attributes of Christ, I've been pondering how to quicken the development of our "Christlike" characters. What Uchtdorf said was an answer to a prayer:

"Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes" 

This week was full of experiences that left me and others beyond grateful! My first story started a few months ago when Sister Pribyl and I were pondering ways to involve the members of the ward in missionary work. We came up with a plan and did a test run with our first family. Each family member we helped to create a specific goal that would increase their chances of a missionary opportunities. A young daughter, Kaylee made the goal of doing something nice for a girl in her class that she had a hard time getting along with. With our consistent, persistent follow-up, we learned that her kind deed was a success and they became friends. As sweet as the story would be if it ended here, the miracle of Kaylee's faith gets infinitely better. 

In fact, a few weeks after, guess who shows up to church unannounced? That very friend along with her mother and grandmother. Upon further investigation, we came to find that Kaylee's friends' mom is a less active member of the church. After that Sunday, Kaylee made sure to invite her friend every Sunday and in response, her friend would plead with her mom to take her to church. Due to Kaylee's invitations, hearts were opened and her own faith fortified. As we explained to her the significance of her actions in these past weeks, tears filled her eyes. 

Through a small and simple act of Christlike love, Kaylee felt so much gratitude for what her actions led to. Her perspective changed as she began to understand more the character of Christ. That when she strived to be like Christ, miracles happened! 

Another amazing experience of gratitude only happened last night. While getting ready for bed, we noticed a text message from the one and only Tyler. Have I told you about Tyler? Not sure if I ever have... haha that's a funny joke! Anyways, the text read: 

"I just had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude towards you ladies. Thinking back on all the things I did and used to think, I am grateful that your faith lead you to someone in desperate need of change and the Gospel. Thank you for trading a few moments of your mortal life to ensure my eternal."

First off, how do you even respond to an incredible statement like that?! Second, SO MUCH GRATITUDE!!! Those "few" moments that I had the opportunity of spending to open someone elses heart is something I would never trade. How amazing it has been to watch the effect of Christ and His Atonement on Tyler's life. Through Tyler's gratitude and humility, he has become more of the person he's designed to be. 

Finally, I have one more experience to share. Thursday morning, I was pondering on ways to help our investigator gain a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. Through a series of promptings, I was led to a section in Joseph Smith History that I had never read before. While reading the accounts of Joseph and the witness of Oliver Cowdery, I was touched by the Spirit. Their testimonies were clear and was exactly what our investigator needed to ponder and pray about. As we read her the account, her countenance changed. Just by looking in her eyes you could tell that the Spirit was working within her. With a  few more answered questions she was a little more submissive, a little more grateful... a little more Christlike. 

If Kaylee, Tyler and our investigator's gratitude has increased, you can imagine where my gratitude stands! How they are closer to being more like Christ and how I have more hope for the same in myself. With these experiences, I've become more grateful for ward members, my mission, the prophet Joseph Smith and so many more! There really isn't enough room or time to adequately and perfectly express the gratitude in my heart! But in short, I am grateful to be a part of this work, to be part of this restored Gospel! I'm grateful for the work of the Prophets and the amazing Apostles who each set a standard for the rest of the world. I'm grateful for my parents and family who have helped me and supported me in gaining my own testimony of this Gospel. And last but certainly never least, I'm grateful for Jesus Christ and the power of the Atonement in my life. I'm thankful for the love that I feel from my Heavenly Father every day as well as the love I feel from all of you! 

Love you all!

Sister Hawkins

For more conference talks click HERE!