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!

1 comment:

  1. Sister Hawkins is an AMAZING missionary. It almost seems like she was MEANT to spend some of her mission time in Atlanta after all. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading her weekly insights.