Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Written in My Heart

This is the only pic I have this week...
a family here in Dville had 4 little kittens that are 4 weeks old!
 We got to hold them and play with them. So little!

Well, one more week down...and a crazy one at that! 

One might ask, Sister Hawkins, why do you look like the walking dead? Or Sister, Pribyl, what's wrong with your twitching eye? Well let me tell you.

This week I've sought for a lot of spiritual strength as I've come to realize the responsibility of discipleship. Sounds like a mouthful, but hear me out! God has blessed us with some wonderful people to teach who are more than prepared and more than willing to start on that straight and narrow path through baptism. I'm overly pleased and incredibly humbled!

One might think that these dark circles under my eyes come from consistently running around and working hard on less than satisfactory hours of sleep. Though this week I've come to understand that this is not the case...but most often I think sleep would still do me some good.

Instead I've realized that it's not as much of a physical strain as it is a spiritual one. I've never loved so much!!! I've never loved this quickly and this deeply. And my altered physical appearance results from all the stress and worry I have for strangers I may have never even met! 

Man. When I think of the strongest kind of love, I immediately think of the love between parent and child. Relationships between God and us, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. It makes me think twice about having a family of my own someday...um hello??! There's no more room in here, my heart's too full! and if I worry this much about the agency and well-being of strangers, I don't even want to think about my own kids! 

Ok, my venting is over. But honestly, I didn't know I could love so much. I feel like the grinch when his heart grew 3 sizes. Except I think mine grew 4. 

You know on my mission I've been able to better understand my feelings because the Lord speaks to us through them. By inviting the Spirit everyday my senses seem to be heightened. Sounds like I'm gaining super powers haha. What I mean is that I can see and recognize things about others that will help them comprehend the Gospel more clearly. I can feel and experience the Spirit in different ways to know how to teach and learn and grow. I can hear the quiet whisperings and promptings of the Holy Ghost to be led and guided through His will. And at the end of the day I can more prominently smell that glorious piece of dark chocolate as I taste of it's divine-ness. haha

In all seriousness, I've come to find and develop more of my own spiritual gifts and even others as I continually call upon the Lord day by day. It's amazing what the Lord can reveal to us about ourselves and the people who surround us. And it all stems from love!

In 2 Corinthians 3:3 it says"

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart"

Not only am I a missionary because of my tag, but I'm a missionary because it's written in my heart. And I hope that all those who have the gift of the Holy Ghost would write it in their hearts too--as it is a commandment from the Lord!

Thank you for all the prayers this week, I've felt them and I am ever so grateful for them! Till next week!

Sister Hawkins 

Probably the only time that I actually like cats is when they're kittens!

Note from the Mom: Oh my sweet girl. She's always worried about others more than herself. Reminds me of the time they were teaching fire safety in the 2nd grade and she stayed awake at night worrying over how she was going to save the entire family if the house was on fire! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Miracles Do Exist

Just kinda describes our relationship...

This week in miracles:
1. The Miracle of Luck: We were at the apartment talking about luck when we heard a knock on our door. Pribyl and I looked at each other in curiosity. No one ever comes to our door. Turns out a cute old lady in a wheelchair was looking for 2 men to help her move out of her apartment. We weren't who she was looking for but we gave her the elders number and our own. Then we taught her a mini restoration lesson... I have to say, that this was the fist time I've ever taught someone at MY doorstep. How often does that happen???? Never. It was so awesome. We ended up walking her back to her apartment and setting a time to go see her again.
2. The Miracle of Example: One day we were at Walmart printing pictures and we had a 1.5 hour long conversation with a young man who works there. He loved our conversation and we invited him for a lesson at the church. Guess how he shows up?! He shows up in a shirt and tie with his bible that he drove 40 minutes away to get out of storage. When we asked why he was dressed so well he responded, "Well, I've seen the elders in Walmart dressed nicely and I didn't want to be disrespectful by showing up to a church in a t-shirt." How cool? What an awesome guy! Also, just goes to show that people notice us missionaries even if we may not introduce ourselves... We stand out I guess. I didn't realize that we stood out THAT much though!!
3. Miracles Can Even Be Odd:  So this has been just an odd week with our investigators. It's a good odd. More than ever before, we've had our investigators text or call US instead of the other way around. For example, we met a girl in the grocery store who we had a great conversation with. We left her with our card and normally we're the ones looking up their numbers a day or two later. The whole time I've been on a mission, no one has ever reached out to us first...until this week! So the same night we talked to this girl she texted us to tell us how much she enjoyed our talk and was excited to see us again. Not to mention our other investigator has been communicating with US everyday before we even get the chance to! He asks when we're meeting next and what he needs to read and then he's even finding and inviting more people to church that I think we even are. I told him the other day, "Here, just take my tag!" It's so cool! THEN another investigator texts us everyday to ask how we're doing and to see if we need anything...um, hello! That's our job! It's so awesome! It's amazing to see the missionary spirit spread to our own investigators. We couldn't have asked for more wonderful people to have the privilege of teaching.

4. The Miracle of the Temple: Nuff said.
Us and Paola!

5. The Miracle of the Gospel: PAOLA WAS BAPTIZED. Her story goes as such:
Paola was referred to the sisters by a set of elders who helped Paola's husband on the side of the road. About the time that I went into the MTC, Sister Pribyl and her companion knocked on Paola's door. When they knocked on her door, she was actually upstairs praying for direction on how to help her marriage and family. Sister Pribyl said she remembers how big Paola's eyes got as they talked with her at the doorstep. She said, "Oh my gosh, God sent you straight here! I was just praying for you!" But then 2 months passed and I came to Georgia. We taught Paola almost every week when I got here until we decided that we should give her a break. We stopped seeing her for almost the whole month of March to which she agreed was the worst month of the year for her so far. Things were crazy with her 5 kids and she was super stressed with work.

One day in April, we got a text from her asking where we were and why we hadn't been over in a while! We thought, "Sweet, she's ready." So we set a time to see her and after a couple of visits we learned just how much the Lord was preparing her in that last month we were absent. In one of those lessons I asked Paola what would be holding her back from being baptized and her reply was "nothing!! I want to be baptized!!" Well why didn't you say so!!? We were so pleased and surprised! She set a date and we taught her all the lessons in 3 weeks.
Me and paola with her family!

If you wanted to know, Paola is from Haiti! Just a cool fact!

Saturday finally came! The service was so beautiful. All her kids were there but unfortunately her husband had to work. Sister Pribyl and I got to sing a new duet we put together too. Don't worry, mom. You'll get a recording sooner or later. Maybe we'll just come out with an album actually. ;)
The most wonderful part about her baptism was the Spirit that filled the chapel. Paola just glowed with the Spirit and it was refreshing to see how happy she was. So many came to support her that almost the whole middle section in the chapel was full! The addition of the hymns "How Great Thou Art" and "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" really influenced the strength of the Spirit. It was one of the most spiritual services I've ever been to and many who came can testify of it too!
On Sunday we helped Paola get to church just in time to be confirmed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. As she sat down next to me I felt it just radiating from her. The love that she has for the Savior is just incredible and her willingness to submit to His will is so impressive. I've learned a lot from Paola and I know that many in the church will do the same. Douglasville is one lucky ward!
We did a little planning session outside our apartment and took a pic!
So hot and sunny nowadays!

It's amazing how miracles really do happen. I've only just begun to scratch the surface of miracles that happened this week. I don't think it's even possible to write all of them. Especially since we don't often recognize the small miracles that the Lord uses us to perform. We are always told that the Lord works through us, but I can surely testify and witness that this really does happen! I've seen it! I've felt it, I've experienced it! At the end of the day I feel like I've done nothing. The only thing I've done is made the choice to be here and do what the Lord says. I'm just grateful that I can witness so many miracles and grow my own testimony of the power of God.

I apologize for how poorly written this email is. You'll have to excuse me... I plan to sleep for the rest of today! It's been a fast week but now that I have a moment to relax I feel exhausted. not even just physically but spiritually...which I never knew could happen.
Well friends and family, I'm falling asleep. But before I leave, I want you to know that God is good. There's really no other way to express my gratitude and amazement for this week other than to say that God is just so good.

I love you all! Thanks for keeping up with me and supporting me!
Sister Hawkins 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Exemplify Christlike Attributes

So fun "hanging out" with these two yesterday!

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all the amazing mothers out there!!!

You might be able to guess what I'll write about today.....MOTHERS. I'm surprised they didn't ask me to speak in church yesterday actually. They always seem to put me on the program for mother's day. I spoke last year at BYU and I think 2 times before then. Must mean that I have a pretty good mom because who expects someone to talk on mother's day and NOT mention their own mom??

First off, I want to mention that missions are like spiritual bootcamps. You train yourself day by day to be more like Christ by consistently serving and loving those around you. Practicing and studying the characteristics of Christ turn us into our true selves or the person that God has intended for us to be. You know as I think of all the mother figures in my life and my own mother, I realize that mother's are the closest thing in this world to fulfilling this Christlike expectation. 

Just look at all the attributes of Christ listed in Preach My Gospel: faith, hope, charity, love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience. Every mother I've ever looked up to has always exemplified these qualities! 

I think about how hard I've worked on my mission to have these qualities. Also about how often I fall short or forget to keep them up...it gets a little discouraging. But mothers are naturally good at being Christlike. haha my original thinking on this was "hm. maybe I'll stop worrying and just wait to be a mother...seems like an easier path to quickly becoming Christlike." But I'm told it's not that easy.

Actually, I've even seen how hard it is for mothers. On my mission and throughout my life I've seen and observed how hard mothers work. I've watched a mother on the verge of a meltdown as she tries to shut out the "weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth" (D&D 19:5) from her 6 kids wreaking havoc around her. I've seen a mother silently wipe tears from her eyes as she struggled to keep her kids quiet in a church pew. I've watched a mother work the night shift to support her family and come to church on just 3 hours of sleep. I've watched a mother burst into tears admitting that she's been waiting for her life to get better for 14 years. I've comforted mothers who feel unhappy, who've been neglected and who feel completely lost and utterly alone. I've even sat with a mother in a delivery room, wiping her brow and whispering encouraging words as she struggled and strained to give birth to her first born child. Yet, in all the mothers that I've seen, not a single one of them has given up. Not a single one of them has ever decided to forget her family and selfishly go on with her life. Why? Because of the love she has for her kids. Not just any kind of love but a strong, unconditional, selfless love. As my good friend Neal A. Maxwell puts it: 

"We salute you, sisters, for the joy that is yours as you rejoice in a baby's first smile and as you listen with eager ear to a child's first day at school which bespeaks a special selflessness. Women, more quickly than others, will understand the possible dangers when the word self is militantly placed before other worlds like fulfillment. You rock a sobbing child without wondering if today's world is passing you by, because you know you hold tomorrow tightly in your arms."

TO ALL THE MOTHERS OUT THERE... specifically to the one that has 2 kids on missions and loves to quilt and is an awesome Relief Society President and whose name is Liz.... THANK YOU! Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. Thank you for the perfect example you set for me as I strive to be Christlike. Thank you for sharing your talents, your knowledge, your patience, your confidence, your courage, your comfort, your faith, your love, your life. 

I love you, mom!

Sister Hawkins


District before our district leader got transferred :(

Happy Mother's Day! I hope this baptist church didn't mind me using their sign...

Note from the Mom: Love you too sweetie! Thanks for making me all teary-eyed! Not sure about that "Mothers are naturally good at being Christlike" bit, but it's sweet of her to think so. We had such a great time chatting with her and Sis P yesterday! And of course, I made them sing for me. :)

Monday, May 5, 2014


Pic of us hiking Kennesaw Mountain last Pday.

I'm trying to entertain myself with this post. Let me tell you. sometimes i'ts really hard knowing what to write every week!! Some weeks seem no different than the rest. For this week I decided I will spell out GEORGIA and write happenings this week according to each letter. Originally I tried to work this with the word "Douglasville" but that was a little difficult.....

So. Here goes:


This week, Pribyl and I really wanted to do something nice for one of our sweet members. She's one of our most cherished friends and we just adore her family so much. Well her birthday passed and P and I still didn't know what to get her because we knew it had to be good. I decided I'd draw her something Gospel related since you know, she loves the Gospel. Almost everything on her walls is a scripture, Apostle quote or religious painting. So starting on Tuesday I took every opportunity I could to work on this drawing. Lunch breaks, dinner breaks, 10 minutes here 5 minutes there and finally it was finished on Friday! As you may know, missionary life is fairly busy. But I made time and found time to do this knowing that a beloved friend would feel the love I have for her through hard work. FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Go out of your way this week to do something nice for someone else! I promise you will be blessed for loving those around you!
The drawing.
(pic borrowed from Sis. Cordova) 

Us with our drawings! (I love Sis P's, I put in a request for one for myself!!) 

Us with Sister Cordova when we gave her our drawings! 


So we had a lesson with a family that we're teaching at one of our member's homes. We had a total of 10 kids (under the age of 12) and 6 adults in one home. Talk about excitement, I've never seen so much energy in one single mass of children. It was comparable to the energy of an atomic bomb. Ok maybe I'm exaggerating. But it was so fun to watch the kids play and bond over the Gospel all at one time. I think too often we say we're too busy to be social and bond with our neighbors and friends. But that's why we're here. Together! We can't make it through all the trials in life without each other. Something to think about this week as well! :)


This one's a common one in missionary work. It's easy to run into obstacles like cancelled appointments, rude rejections, hurt feelings....wanting to sleep. But this week my biggest obstacle was the fact that transfers are coming. Transfers means that they could call me or Sister Pribyl or both to a different area. Of course there are pros and cons to both situations. What drives me NUTS is the uncertainty of it all knowing there may be a change but not knowing what or how it'll happen. Then of course being the natural mom/worrier that I am I start thinking about all that would need to happen if Prib leaves or myself- BUT I still can't actually DO anything yet. Oh the anticipation. This is missionary life for you! 


Apparently, there was a big tornado watch on Monday and Tuesday. We had lots of rain and overnight there was a huge storm. Pribyl and I were clueless. We woke up the next morning to texts asking if we were ok when we had no idea that there was even a storm! When we checked the time we realized that our clock was off and that we had to have lost power. But it was on when we woke up as if nothing had happened. Just shows how knocked out you get when you hardly sleep but go go go all day. I used to be a pretty light sleeper before my mission....

Gas Mileage

First off. Crazy story about our car...GM motors had a recall and our Chevy Cruz was recalled for a cracked axle. Just a minor problem. So we had it inspected and sure enough we've been driving around in this car for 7 months (5 for me). I guess you could say the Lord was protecting us! Anyways we spent most of this week trying to contact a few less active members. Unfortunately, due to poor planning we would decide who to see, go there and then go to another place. Then, we'd pick another person to see who just so happened to be in the same neighborhood of our first visit...which was now 20 minutes away. Not much was accomplished with our poor planning and inefficient use of time. Planning is so important!!! Without well-done planning, you can waste the Lord's time...or gas mileage.


Lots of inspiration this week. One quick story. The other morning we were getting ready to go to a relief society stake activity. Normally I am ready to go before Pribs and am trying to rush her out the door. This morning was the opposite. I was taking my grand ole time for no apparent reason even though we were already late. As we were driving we made a wrong turn and decided to turn around at a gas station. We realized then that we needed gas so we decided to stop and fill up. I guess we figured we were already late anyways. Well as the car was filling we got talking to some people and ended up exchanging info with 3 different people. But had we not left late, we wouldn't have run into them! Also, when we got to the activity, we came just in time to help set up for the luncheon. Just when they needed some extra hands, we were there to work. It's cool to witness how the Lord inspires us and puts in the right places at the right time.


So at the end of every lesson, we leave people with a commitment to keep until we see them next. doing so is a way for us to use the Atonement and repent. In a church pamphlet it says, "repentance does not always mean making big changes. Often it simply requires an increased commitment to live according to God's will." That's exactly why we extend commitments-to help others strive to live God's will and change. So as we were helping a family make their commitments, they decided they'd give US a commitment back. Pribs and I are to pray 10 times a day and repent at least 3 times too. Let me tell you! We pray more than 10 times a day but to try doing 10 personal prayers is tricky! It's been awesome though. You feel the Spirit much more strongly throughout the day which is exactly what we need to have in order to be lead and guided. Always have a prayer in your heart, but don't forget to also set aside time to really pray to our Heavenly Father.

Well there you have it. This week in Georgia! I hope all is well. Thanks for all the letters I received this week!! Keep smiling!! :)

Sister Hawkins

More Pics, the zone on our hike: