Monday, January 26, 2015

Be Joyful, No Matter What

Pictures pictures pictures! The pictures will tell you all the ups and downs of the week. Well not all. I realize that these photos don't quite show exactly what we do. We only take pictures when we are waiting for the onibus or back at the apartment or as we're walking. You won't actually get to see us talking to people in the streets or teaching lessons... which is what we spend most of our time doing. BUT at least you get to follow along the adventure in between. 

Missionary life is awesome. It's full of lots of happy things. Many people wish they could have the opportunity to live mission life... at least for a day, right? Why? Well you feel spiritually connected and edified with the Spirit. You focus on what's really important in life and you find that God really knows you specifically. You learn new skills and develop your knowledge of the Gospel and the scriptures. You become more of the person God designed you to be!

Most people think, wow! God must really bless those missionaries and pave the way for them. Sometimes people think that we're not real people because we live this way. But I think people forget that life is still life! We also face unfortunate everyday challenges just like everyone else.

For example...

sometimes an old man photobombs your ice cream selfie.

and sometimes you drop your spoon onto your neighbors roof. (missing pic!)

sometimes you can't even open your eyes for a picture at the end of the day

sometimes your companion attacks your face with Brasilian chocolate

And sometimes it rains so much that it's better to stay outside than drench everything you touch inside

And sometimes you step on chewed up gum that someone so thoughtfully placed on the ground. 

These things could happen to anyone.. missionary or not. Crazy life still goes on. It still follows me like I'm a black cat or a broken mirror. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I was born on the 13th. who knows! 

What I've been learning though, especially on the mission, is that these things are just a normal part of life and the best way to handle them is to smile. and find the positive!

At least I could snap another picture without the creepy old man.


At least i got the spoon off the roof to sterilize and eat lime mousse my companion made and the Sister Training Leaders for my 14th month mark. 

At least we worked so hard that I couldn't open my eyes for a picture at the end of the day! At least I got to eat Brasilian chocolate and then attack my companion back! 

At least it rained! It hasn't rained for almost a month!! And the gum... well.. I'm not sure... at least it wasn't two pieces of gum?

I know these situations are kind of ridiculous but they often leave us frustrated. No one likes stepping in gum or walking around in wet clothes all day! But in the midst of annoyances, there is joy. I think my friend Neal A. Maxwell sums this one up pretty well:

"Though our trials are tiny compared to His, alas, we are often grumpy. Jesus was of good cheer because then current conditions did not altar His sources of ultimate joy. Are not our fundamental sources of joy the same as His?"

So with that,  be joyful! No matter what life hits you with. 

I'm off! Till the next time!

Sister Hawkins

Monday, January 19, 2015

Do Good and Publish Peace

Today my family, I have photos!! I'm praying this works! I realize with this one photo a day challenge that these computers might not want to upload. Also, I realize we end up taking more than one photo a day so here's a ton of photos for you all! At least you'll get to SEE what a week in my shoes looks like. 

caldo de cana

I've discovered that I'm trying a lot more new things as I have to be more creative with these pictures. This week I tried a ton of Brasilian specialties... like coconut water and sugar cane juice made straight from sugar cane. They have these machines on the sidewalks that smash the cane into juice and you can ask for lime to be smashed with it. SO YUMMY. and probably really unhealthy. But they gave me a little extra, or what they call "choro" or "chorinho" since it was my first time. Small Portuguese lesson! Well maybe Brasilian lesson since this is more of a slang term. "Choro" literally translates to "I cry"... which at first I thought was super strange that something awesome would have to do with crying. I learned though, that it's meant to be a happy cry. For example, if you win a million dollors you'd probably cry- not because you're sad but because you're incredibly excited! Hence why it's called Choro. Happy cry! 

agua de coco

Anyways, we snapped a few shots wherever we went. We had a zone training with a ton of missionaries and we also had a fun little activity we planned with the branch. 

 the zone

The picture of the branch is an interesting one. Our little house where we meet for church doesn't have cups or utensils. Normally the members bring these things when they're in charge of the activities but unfortunately, as missionaries, we don't really think about these things. So we were left to use what we had. We used tupperware lids to cut the cake and bowls/pitchers to drink soda. I think I used a cleaned out yogurt cup for my soda. When there's a will there's a way! Especially here in Muriae! (If you pronounce Muriae correctly, that sentence would rhyme. Ready, it's like this, Mu-dee-ahh-ay) 

pic of the branch and our makeshift plates and utensils!

Family! I love Brasil! Not sure I'd live here due to the heat... but I love the fruits and juices they sell on the sidewalks and my favorite is the scenery. Holy cow. You'll see in some of the photos the rolling hills that surround Muriae! It's absolutely beautiful. I've never seen so much space, so many hills in all my life and I just want to run through them singing Sound of Music everyday. I think the Brasilians would think me incredibly strange but deep down those are my true desires. I think I'll have to do it.. at least once!

you know you want to run and sing through those hills with me, right?

All these mountains, well more like baby mountains, remind me of one of my favorite scriptures. Mosiah 15:16-18 (mom insert scripture here please!)
16 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!
17 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!
18 And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;
How great is the need for peace publishers in this world. I think of all the missionaries today and the ones to come and it just makes me excited for the work that will go forth! The marvelous work of the Lord that will continue to move through every nation, kindred, tongue and people. The work that will one day lead us to our salvation and eternal glory with our Father in Heaven.

Do good and publish peace!

Have a happy week!


Sister Hawkins

a little siena fiat!

when it's hot....get soft serve! :)

They made these little pot thingys ( I cant for the life of me remember the name of them in english)
and all the missionaries that pass through Muriae sign them.
Since the branch is pretty new, there arent many missionaries and I was the first sister to sign!
(The Mom: I think the word she's looking for is: Trivet. :))

lunch at a members house.

pillow fight with sister Araujo

the Brasilian version of me....sweaty, red-faced and no make up. ha!

Monday, January 12, 2015

More Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Sister Araujo and me!

This week was all about ch-ch-ch-ch- changes!! (*cue the music!) And awesome changes at that! Why? Because I have an amazing new awesome companion, Sister Araujo. She's from Campo Grande, Brasil and has 10 months in the mission. I only have good things to say about her. One of her favorite hobbies is to laugh... match made in heaven? I think yes! We're just having a blast and we're so excited to work together. I love transfers because it's a good opportunity to make changes- just like when the new year rolls around. But transfers are more frequent so goals actually get done! Alright alright... let's get to the changes! 

change 1: Sister Araujo and I will do a photo challenge. We're going to take one photo per day of our companionship. Let's face it, I've been a slacker with photos lately... mostly because I don't like uploading them on these computers. BUT. We will commemorate each day of our time together and you'll get to follow along!

Change 2:This is a change I can't control.... it's getting really really really hot. Earlier it was hot but now it's really x3 hot. To the point where my forehead makes salt. Literally. We sweat all day in the sun and then sit in "fresher" rooms with fans and I literally wipe grains of salt off my forehead. Not that any of you really need to know this but I'm only being real with you. You wanna hear about what I'm learning and experiencing, right? Well... I learned that my forehead makes salt and I'm experiencing heat. A lot of heat.

Change 3: Call me chef Sienna because I'm learning how to cook... Brasilian style. Sister Araujo loves to cook and is teaching me lots of different recipes. Just this week I made Pineapple juice (they use the whole thing, spikey parts and all), of course typical rice, a side dish called "creme de leite" and a lime mousse. Don't worry family, I'll perfect the rice by the time I'm home. Apparently it takes years of practice but I only have 6 months. If all goes wrong at least I can make some desserts! All will be happy. 

Change 4: You know how in work out DVDs you have double time where you pick up the speed and start sweating like mad? Well, my Portuguese is going double time now because Sister Araujo speaks like she's running a 200 yd dash in the Olympics. It took me a few days to before I could really start understanding her but now I get most things... haha I still have her repeat things more slowly BUT it's helping me improve my Portuguese. 

Change 5: Sister A and I have made some crazy goals to work. And not just to work but to work "ate o pó" which is a phrase in Portuguese which literally translates to "until the dust". In English it'd be work until we have nothing left or give it all you got!

Many people say at this point in the mission it gets hard to work hard. I feel like the Lord has really blessed me with strength because I feel like I still have that greenie fire of a new missionary. I like to work and I've learned really that it's the best cure! As Ezra Taft Benson once said, 

“I have often said that one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.”

There you have it. Just a few little tweaks for the new transfer and a glimmer of hope for miracles. And work, work, work! I hope you enjoy the pictures and watch out for miracles to come! The Lord has some exciting things prepared!


Sister Hawkins

Note from the Mom: Sadly, she could only upload 2 pictures before the computer started deleting them from her card! Hopefully she'll get it figured out for next week. Also, thought I'd share this little excerpt from our email chat, I mentioned how cold it is here (freezing rain today): 

"I miss the cold mom... I just want to sit in the cold. I don't like sweating like this. I don't ever wear makeup because one- it's hot and melts 2 i don't really like it anymore 3 because I don't have any more and it's expensive here haha. but it's really hot.I don't wear half of my clothes because they're too hot. Did I mention, it's hot?"

Monday, January 5, 2015

Prayer + Work = Blessings

Happy New Year!!

I'm in denial that it's 2015. 4 times this week I accidentally wrote in my journal that it was 2014 and it's only the 5th day of the year. My brain just doesn't want to accept the fact that it's here. 

Sad news... I've gotta keep my time short today. Luckily it's due to more exciting news... that Sister Oliveira will be transferred to be a Sister Training Leader! WAhh she's leaving me! That means today we've got lots of packing and cleaning. It also means I'll get a new companion and everything! I'm excited, nervous, and will be a lot happier once it's all settled. All the traveling we have to do is a little ridiculous just to make a little switch. 

My fever temp? NO! Haha. Yes it was 41 degrees C this week.. which is 105 degrees F.
Another sign said it was 47 degrees Celsius at one point this week.... i don't even want to know how hot that is.

This week Brasil finally got me. I woke up Wednesday with a high fever and sore throat and lots of pain in my back. I ended up going to the doctors and it's just a dumb infection in my throat. I'm on antibiotics but I'm completely better now! Goodness I remember fevers as a kid were nothing but now they completely wipe you out. No worries mom, all is back to normal!

Quickie spiritual thought/story time. Recently I've been studying a lot about prayer. I was studying in Preach My Gospel and felt that it would be good to better my prayers and make each prayer count more. Of course, I later found out that it was in preparation for an investigator we have. This investigator is really awesome... When we first found her she was pretty Catholic. Let me explain! The first time we asked her to pray, she got up and broke a branch off of a nearby tree to pray over us with it. I was a bit taken aback not going to lie, I'd never seen that before...Anyways, we assured her she wouldn't need a branch to pray, so she then continued to recite a memorized prayer. It's been really tough teaching her to pray without saying something that's memorized because a prayer should be a personal conversation with our Heavenly Father. 

Interestingly enough, as I've studied to find ways to help her, I've learned a whole lot about praying. For example, I've learned that when we pray in the name of Christ, we are to pray as if our mind were his mind to the point where our wishes become his wishes. Many of our prayers get unanswered because our desires stem out of our own selfishness. It makes such a difference when you think about how Christ would pray in your situation. It really becomes work when you pray this way as it takes lots of concentration and thought. (Look up prayer under the Bible Dictionary - click *here*).

Excerpt from Bible Dictionary!

Anyway, I've learned loads more but the most important thing was that I was also able to help another learn with me. As we help others grow, it's inevitable that we'll change and grow too. 

Go and help someone this week. I think you'll find a nice surprise waiting for you! 


Sister Hawkins

Our New years celebration!