Monday, July 28, 2014

Pioneers, Baptism & Beyond

Found someone's art project. Made use of it!

Hi Family!
I think maybe I'll stop writing for a month so I can have more to update you all on!! Just kidding...but I swear I never know what to write bear with me!
This week was a good week. Lot of work went down. Just trying to climb a mountain over here. Good thing I like to hike!

Speaking of hiking, Happy Pioneer Day! That was this past Thursday! My mission President made the comment that we needed to remember all our Pioneer ancestors who were helping us on the other side. There was one day this week that was so hot and of course Sister Vasquez and I planned to walk basically the whole day. Just as I was ready to throw in the towel, I remembered these Pioneers who walked 500xx more than I did and carried a 100x more than my small shoulder bag. Needless to say I was humbled. My mission president was right! They did help me continue forward and strengthen me this week. And they probably helped me even more than I know.

Pic of my sister Adele (left) being a pioneer recently!

Now what's a week without a few rejections! I know the Pioneers had more than just a few trials-namely, broken shoes, lack of food, diseases, 1,310 miles to walk, death... I consider myself lucky that I just get a few door slams and a couple of languages to learn. My favorite rejection this week was when we knocked on a door and a man opened to say, "there's no one home." Uh, Ok? Apparently he wasn't home. Sister Vasquez and I kind of just looked at each other, laughed then went on our way.

But of course a week can't go by without a few answered prayers. And I know the Pioneers had a few of these too. Another one of my investigators has set a date to be baptized! We've been teaching her ever since I came here and she asked us in our last meeting, "so when is the next baptismal service?" My response was, "Uh, as early as tomorrow"...haha. It's the best feeling when you know for sure someone you're teaching is going to make that decision! It's an even better feeling when they ask YOU what they need to do to prepare. You know, as opposed to asking people to commit and inviting them to do so. Not only does it make our job as missionaries a little easier, but it lets you know how ready these people are to making covenants with Heavenly Father. You know that they're ready to start the trek. And for all the members reading this know that being LDS really is quite the trek! It's not just a church to maybe go to every Sunday but a lifestyle to live each and every day. There's a lot to commit to when someone commits to being baptized in this church! Luckily, there's about 15,082,028 (and counting!) members all over the world who can testify of how blessed they are to have made that commitment and been baptized!

I'm so grateful for my baptism! Every time I see a baptism I think back to my own. I remember that it was a happy day with all the family gathered. It's funny, I don't ever remember being that little but the pictures of me and Erin (my cousin!) prove otherwise. Since I was 8 it's a little hard to remember all the details, but I remember feeling happy and like it was the right choice. I know now that it was definitely the right decision as I wouldn't have learned this much or come this close to the Lord without it! One of my favorite memories from my baptism is when all my cousins and siblings sang, "We'll Bring the World His Truth." Little did we know at the time that the words to that Primary song really would come true:
  1. We have been born, as Nephi of old,
    To goodly parents who love the Lord.
    We have been taught, and we understand,
    That we must do as the Lord commands.
  2. We have been saved for these latter days
    To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
    We hear the words our prophet declares:
    "Let each who's worthy go forth and share."
  3. We know his plan, and we will prepare,
    Increase our knowledge through study and prayer.
    Daily we'll learn until we are called
    To take the gospel to all the world.
  4. Chorus
    We are as the army of Helaman.
    We have been taught in our youth.
    And we will be the Lord's missionaries
    To bring the world his truth.
Thanks to our parents who taught us! And for the Prophet who has declared and called each of us to go forth and share! Shoutout to Shar, Jared, Trevor and Erin who sang that song at my baptism and have served or are serving. Erin, look at us now! And my Hawkins cousins; Chris, Ben and Josh! What a little army of Helaman we all are! Love and miss you guys!

Anyways, sorry for my unorganized thoughts! Just you know, remember the Pioneers and your baptism ;). 

Hermana Hawkins

(special thanks to Sienna's cousin Daniel, Uncle Mark and Grandpa for providing the background music!)

just a ridiculous picture!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Testimony

Getting caught in the rain...oops!

HI Everyone! How are you this fine day! I hope as happy as I am!!

Here's an update on the work: it's going!! We are pushing to really find the people who are prepared to receive us. Lately it's been difficult to do because Hispanic people are so nice, they all say yes to learning more but really they're just too nice to say no. But hey, the door is still open so there's hope!
On the other hand, we have one investigator who is going to be baptized. Just a little heads up for all of you! She'll be baptized in August so it's coming soon! You'll probably hear about it in her baptism post so stay tuned!
Really that is all that I can update you on this week. That and a few random incidents with cockroaches and rain. If you're wondering about the cockroaches that's just Georgia! They're everywhere, it's disgusting! I was at lunch the other day and one was crawling up my leg. Gah, I know! My family knows I can handle bugs but I've learned that I canNOT handle cucarachas. Oh my goodness epiphany! That Spanish song "la cucaracha" is about a cockroach! Who would ever write a song about that! I'll never think of that song the same again! I thought it was a latin dance or something goodness! Song so ruined!  Thanks a lot Spanish. At least I can really thank Spanish for one thing... that is understanding the Dora the Explorer theme song! Now I know what I'm saying when I sing it.. which is quite often for some odd reason. (Special thanks to Adele for that one too.)
Ok ok back on track. I think the greatest thing I learned this week was about the scriptures. One of my new goals is to finish the New Testament in 45 days. I just started this past week and honestly I don't ever want to put the book down! Sometimes I'll even pick it up during lunch break if I didn't finish in the morning. 

Everyday I look forward to reading from the Bible. As I've been reading though, I've noticed something so interesting. Aside from being edified by the Savior's words, I find that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and restored gospel much more strengthened! I've realized this past week that without the Book of Mormon and revelation from modern-day prophets, I'd be so lost reading the Bible. Some of it, and to clarify we read from the Kind James Version, is just downright confusing. And it's only confusing because of how many times it's been translated and placed into the hands of men. No wonder so many religions exist and so many people are confused!
Can I just say how lucky I feel to have 533+ pages of clarification?! With the Book of Mormon and words from the prophets it's so much easier to understand the Bible! The Book of Mormon even states it "shall be made known the plain and precious truths that have been taken away from [it]." (1 Nephi 13:40). To be honest, you can spend your whole life studying the Bible and still not know some of the things we as Latter-Day Saints know about it due to the knowledge we have from the Book of Mormon.
That's a heavy claim to make, no? But so is telling Mormons we don't know the Bible. When people tell me that on my mission all I think is, "But you don't understand the Book of Mormon... because if you did, you wouldn't have said that!" And that's why I respond by testifying and teaching of the Book of Mormon. Because the Book of Mormon also says that any who "denieth these things (the restored Gospel/Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them" (Mormon 9:8). And so that's my job! To bring understanding to as many as I possibly can. Understanding of this little blue book. 

One of my favorite quotes about the Book of Mormon by Jeffrey R Holland keeps coming to mind. He said:

"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history [...] In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so"

With that I leave you my testimony of the Book of Mormon that I know with all my heart it's truthfulness. That no one can receive as much peace in their lives without it. That no one can know of it's divine power without reading it and praying about it. That no once can know so much about our Savior, Jesus Christ at this day in age without it. It is a convincer of truth. It is a clarifier of things past, present and future. And most importantly, it has lead me to feel and know with a surety that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and Savior of all mankind. And to know Him and return to the presence of God, all we must do is come to Him.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Honestly and truthfully!

Hermana Hawkins

From the blog LDS Media Talk:

In social media, you often see posts like “5 things about me you may not know.” Here’s one for the Book of Mormon:
  1. I was translated in 65 working days.
  2. I speak 109 languages.
  3. Over 160 million copies of me have been distributed.
  4. The Bible is my best friend.
  5. I am one of the top 10 most read books in the world.
For a free copy, click here: Book of Mormon

Monday, July 14, 2014

Just Go and Do

Friends! Family!
It's been a good week here in Atlanta. Thank you for all the letters!! I feel like it was Christmas every time I went to the mailbox so thank you thank you!!
I thought about what I could possibly share with you this week and felt inspired to share one of my "secrets" to missionary work- as inspired by my mission president!
Sometimes, in missionary work, you're going to do things that you don't want to do. Sometimes you won't want to wake up at 6 every morning. Sometimes you don't want to try to understand another language through the phone. The point is, unless you're perfect, you will run into at least something that you don't have a passion for here in the mission. And hey, we're not perfect!

For me, I had a hard time with talking to everyone or finding new people to teach. I can easily strike up a conversation with someone but the initial approach is in all honesty, kind of scary. Really there's no reason to be scared... we wear a name tag in which people expect something from us. I think I used to get too caught up in waiting for the Spirit to prompt me when in most cases you just need to exercise your faith and open your mouth.

So what do I do? How can I resolve this? Let me tell you a story.
I remember a time when I was about 9 or 10 living in Berwyn PA and my little brother, Keegan, decided he was going to leave the family and run away. He must have been angry at the family for something I can't recall. Middle Child Syndrome? Possibility. In any case, somehow (...and maybe I was a part of the problem), I was a witness at the moment he made up his mind to run. I began then to panic! Mom told him if he wanted to leave then fine...leave!! Of course being a mom, she knew better, but I looked at her as if she were crazy. Next thing I knew we were standing on the driveway. With a to-go bag-that my mom packed mind you- and bike, I hysterically cried as he rode down the driveway out of sight. I was traumatized!! My little brother! Gone forever! Turning to my mom out of despair I cried, "You're not even going to go after him!?"
I hated the thought of not doing anything to get him home. I would have done anything and everything at that moment. Luckily, and to the benefit of my mental well-being, it was a short escape. Keegan came riding back just after he rode around the cold-de-sac a few times.
What sticks with me the most from this experience is the way I felt when I "lost" Keegan. I was panicked but I was willing to run to every street, every door to find him. If any of you have remembered searching for someone, you probably asked everyone where they last saw your loved one and you probably moved with haste and searched thoroughly. And you probably never gave up.

Sometimes as a missinoary and even in normal day life, you're perspective makes all the difference. Maybe comparing finding new people to teach with finding a lost family member is a little dramatic. But it pushes me to work harder. I knew the kind of feelings I wanted to have when I go "finding" and used a time where I felt that way to motivate me. Not only can I work harder to talk with everyone, but I can really see everyone as if they're my own family. And that helps me to love more like the Savior just upon the first greeting.
So. The solution is to change your perspective. It's sometimes hard for me. My dad and older brother are really good at it. But you get better at it with time. The only way it'll work though is if you are willing to work. Most things you don't like in life won't require you to do nothing. You can't move forward if you're standing still.

Lastly, always trust the Lord. He knows much better our abilities and capacities. He knows where we need more help and when we invite Him to help, you better believe He's sure to be there. I know He is because I heave felt Him with me every step of the way thus far. Full-time missionary or not, you can too!
And if you call now you can receive a free pass-along card and Book of Mormon! Haha, sorry I had to. :)

Anywho. This is something that I've learned throughout my mission, but really tried to apply it well this week. And it's helped! It's helped me look at hard situations in a new light and learn to follow more closely the will of the Lord.
Now that you've been enlightened on some "secrets" go and do!
Love you all!

Sister Hawkins

*She didn't send pics this week, but here are a few I found from their zone conf. on the Atlanta Mission Page:

I LOVE this one! She's the only one laughing, and it looks like her comp is "shushing" her.  haha!

Pay attention everyone!

On her best behavior....

See? She still gets to spend time with Sis Pribs!

Note from the Mom: For the record, I must be the worst mom in the world because I totally don't remember Keegan's attempt to run away! He remembers though. He said he wasn't mad, he just wanted to know if he could actually do it, haha!  But he also knew that Sienna would come find him no matter what. Aren't siblings the best?! (it reminds me of another brother/sister runaway story in the city of Paris...) I love the connection she makes with the story and finding our "lost siblings" in the gospel.  Go and do. Just Go and do!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Yo se que

Oh just a bearded dragon on my shoulder. Nbd.

My family! Hola!

What a wonderful week of learning. And what a wonderful day of rest it is for missionaries around the world.

Quick update on this week as far as the work goes: It's a little slow but we're trying to pick up the pace. We found 18 new people to teach this past week so that should keep us a little busy! Expecting many miracles to come this next week! :)

I thought it'd be fun to share a few phrases that I learned quickly in Spanish. I say most of these phrases numerous times a day and many of them I learned on my first day here. So here goes:

1. "No hablo mucho.... estoy aprendiendo" 
(I don't speak much... I'm learning)
I learned this with the first meeting I think I ever had here in Chamblee. I probably say it 20 times a day. Pretty much to everyone we meet. I should have more confidence in myself but honestly, I tell people I'm learning because sometimes, rarely, but sometimes they speak a little slower and help me out. Most people here know some English so if I don't know a word then I'll say it in English and they'll either get it or my cool companion will translate. It may take me longer to learn Spanish since I'm not "submersed" in the language.. but hey. I'm not complaining!

2. "Que beuno", "Gracias" and "Si"
In many conversations we have throughout the day, these are the top 3 responses I use. Que beuno literally translates to "what good/goodness" but it's used to say something along the lines of "that's great!" Then of course "gracias" is a given. Gotta say thanks as often as I can! And lastly, I use "si" to obviously answer questions but any kind of response I don't know how to give I just kinda nod my head and say "oh yeah, si, si" hahah. I find that I rarely say no. Maybe it's not a good thing that I just kind of agree with everything... I think this is something that a lot of missionaries do when they're learning a language. We really just don't know what the heck is going on sometimes... lots of smiling and waving. I hear the movie Madagascar in my head "just smile and wave boys, smile and wave" 

3. "Ven aqui!"
This means "come here". Which I say to every child. Gosh all these kids are so dang cute! Most of them speak English too so I get along real well with them haha :)

MY FAVORITE CHILD. THIS kid. Look at those Cachetas!! 

Family is so so important to the Hispanic culture. Most people I talk to have so many kids!! It seems like they all have young kids too and if they don't have kids, their families are in their home country while they're here trying to support them. Most of them all live in one house too- grandparents, grandkids, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Probably helpful for financial purposes but I've learned that it's mainly due to their culture. And let me just tell you the variety of Hispanic culture I've been educated on from right here in the Melting Pot. I've met people from Honduras, Dominican  Republic, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Guatemala, Uruguay, Columbia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Salvador. And the food! Goodness so many good foods with rice and beans as the common denominator. I've come to better terms with my inevitable fate to gain weight here and in Brazil.

Hispanic people are so giving. Look at what we came home with in just one day... so many waterbottles!!! 

4. "Este versiculo es mi preferido"
"This verse is my favorite" Apparently, every verse I share is my favorite. I realize that I say that about all the scriptures I share with people. I just love the scriptures, ok? Is that such a problem?

5. "Yo se que..."
Means, I know. One thing I do know how to do is bear my testimony. Each time I testify I know the Spirit is directing me in what to say and how to say it. I couldn't possibly do it without the Lord's help! I'd like to leave you with my testimony that:

Yo amo al Senor. Creo en Su poder redentor. Yo se que El vive. Yo se que El sabe como me siento en mis aflicciones. Por esto yo siempre puedo tener la confianza en El. Yo se que nunca pagare las cosas que El ha hecho por mi. Mi fe en su Expiacion me ayuda para tener la fuerza para vencer mis muchas flaquezas. Mi Salvador ha cambiado mi corazon y lo siento todos los dias. Yo se que mi Redentor es mi roca y lo voy a continuar alabando con humilde gratitud.

I love you all! Thanks for all the support and the kind comments from last week!

Sister Hawkins

More Pix:

More bearded dragon on my shoulder.

This is what are car has come to...

Baby chihuahua (how in the world do you spell that??)

Note from the Mom: I'll admit, that testimony brought tears even though I had no idea what it said! She also told me that no, she did not use Google translate, haha! But her companion did help her write it out. Also, a little slow with 18 new people to teach??? Um.

And I can already hear Trevor's response to the last picture here: "'s like your twin!"