Monday, April 27, 2015

One Week

I love being His representative. I don't ever want to take my tag off.
But i  know that He has more plans for me. I know that He will continue to use me where I'm needed.

Holy cow this week was so amazing. If there was one word to describe this week it would be the word spiritual. Why? Because my friend Rogerio was baptized!!!!!!! But his story is so dear to my heart that I think I'll have to wait to share. With his conversion I really wouldn't even know where to begin. Luckily for the majority of you I'll be home shortly to tell. (I won't be posting pics of the baptism because he doesn't want them on the internet. Sorry!)

I've been thinking a lot about what I wanted to write for my last post and you know what came to my mind? Nothing but to share my testimony with you. Anything else would have made it seem that I still didn't have a whole week left. Do you know how important and significant one week can be? 

Just think, in the entire 3 years of Christ's ministry, what was the most important week? The very last. In one week He instituted the sacrament, suffered for the pains, afflictions, and sufferings for every being who has ever lived, is living and will yet live, and THEN died on the cross to fulfill righteousness... and THEN He was resurrected! Imagine! All that within just one week! 

What an incredible Savior we have. What a loving, humble, obedient, meek and patient man He was to do all of that for the weak- for us! He showed no resistance doing what no man could do, walking a path no man could walk. He never gave up, even at His death on the cross He persisted in the purpose of our Father pleading for our souls instead of His. His only resistance was at His final breath as He gave up His Spirit only so that 3 days later He could overcome what no man could overcome. The morning of His rise still resonates today though it happened over 2000 years ago! 

He lives! I know He lives. Just like I know the sea is always there even if I can't see it. Many believe He lives but to me His existence isn't a belief, it's a fact. I've come to realize this on my mission. In many instances, I have felt His literal presence beside me, I have felt the touch of His hand push me as I often wanted to lay down and rest. No matter where you go in the world, His presence is the same and His love is a feeling that never fades.

What humility He showed to have done all this, only asking for one thing in return. He asked that we come to Him through faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and endurance to the last breath. His contract is simple. If we do these things correctly, He will bless us with eternal life and eternal happiness. 

I am a witness of Him. He has changed me in ways I cannot express and has been there every step of my mission. I love His work on this Earth. I love that I can wear His name on my tag even if I fall so short of being the kind of person He is. I know that He guides this church, that it is His only true church. I know and have seen His words given through prophets of old and new change lives of those searching for truth. I know that whoever searches with a contrite Spirit and broken heart, no matter what nation, kindred or tongue, the Lord will find a way to present His path- whether it be through 80,000 missionaries or a friendly neighbor.

I love my Savior Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. I pray that we all can continue to grow in the testimony of their love and sacrifice for us. That the Spirit may forever dwell with us. 

I leave this testimony with you all, my family and friends, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Sister Hawkins


Monday, April 20, 2015

Oh the Things I've Learned

Ola familia!

Oops... tried to start typing in Portuguese...

This week was great! A bit of zombie-ness still, but not too much so that was helpful. I'm really trying not to think about the fact that this is my 2nd to last Pday (my last monday I'll be at President Cascardi's house). I'm in complete denial. Even my brain is in denial. I've already had ¨nightmares¨ about being home. I love you and miss you my family.... but I'll be with you for an eternity... my full-time mission as a 19-21 year old ends here and won't ever return. UGH. Alrighty, I'll stop on this subject before I start crying. 

You know my mission has just been one big humbling experience for me. To witness so many miracles, to receive answers to prayers, to help someone in need. They say that the biggest convert on your mission should be yourself. I really have witnessed the truth of that statement. I have learned how to trust in God, how to follow His whisperings and I've even learned who He really is. 

But one of the biggest lessons I've learned is how to change through the Atonement of Christ. I've discovered that without repentance, it's as if we're seated in a chair our whole lives, unable to move forward. But maybe more importantly I've learned that it's through repentance that God really speaks to us.

A missionary friend of mine told me of an insignificant experience that taught him just that. He told of how he was writing in his journal one night while his companion prayed in the bedroom. My friend had been in a bright room and his companion in the dark for some time so when he turned off the lights and tried closing the door, he was useless at finding it. His companion laughed at him as he tried finding the wall and said, ¨can you really not see the door?¨ My friend replied and said, ¨no my eyes haven't adjusted yet¨.

I think too often in life we look for the voice of the Lord through questions like, ¨Why, Heavenly Father?¨, ¨Why did this have to happen?¨. When in reality the answer to those questions aren't what the Lord will respond to. When we question like this, we are like my friend who became lost in the darkness. We grab at the dark and search for whatever wall to lean on, or whatever answer we can get. Unfortunately, it's not in this way that we receive divine guidance from our Heavenly Father.

What we need is to let our eyes adjust. We need to give our spiritual eyes time to adjust so we can be prepared to receive answers. How do we do that? Humble ourselves.... repent!

After sincere repentance we're in a state to receive heavenly revelation. Many times we pray on our own without first pleading for forgiveness for our shortcomings and failures. My friend made the comment, ¨we might as well take a baseball bat to Taco Bell, shatter all the windows and stroll inside to order a burrito like nothing ever happened.¨ (sorry about the destruction of Taco Bell  visual, dad!)

I believe that it's when we understand the importance of repentance in our lives that we truly have the key to always be guided by the Spirit and receive direction from God. To talk with Heavenly Father and be blessed with His help, strength and love.

FAMILY, I could share everything I've learned on my mission but I would have to sit at a computer for hours, maybe days. Better yet in person, right? Sit tight for just a little longer!

I love you all and really felt your prayers this week! Thanks for all you do!

Sister Hawkins

Note from the Mom: Please consider taking time to send a little note to our sweet missionary girl in the next couple of weeks. I'd love it if her inbox could be flooded with notes from friends and family one last time! Click on the "write to me" tab at the top of this blog post for her email address.

Pics: (she just forwarded these pics on without descriptions, so, your guess is as good as mine! Goofy girl.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Small and Simple Lessons

Monday again? Geez! It's been well over a year... you've all got to be sick of me by now! 

Speaking of sick, I'll share a little experience that happened this weekend. It's not super exciting.. .but hey, I learned something new! I woke up on Saturday morning congested and with a sore throat. After waking up I continued with the morning routine of exercises, breakfast, shower and studies. Unfortunately, it was enough sickness to completely dristract me from my studies. I remember thinking, "today's going to be interesting"

I ended up calling the wife of our President (who is also the mission nurse). To take any type of medicine you have to get permission from her. SO. She suggested I take something called Benegrippe. I thought that it must be some kind of Benedryl due to the name and rememberd that Benedryl makes you drowsy. She assured me I'd be fine and off I went to take my Benegrippe.

To say that I was a little drowsy would be an understatement. My companion told me I looked and walked like a drunk. My mind had completely shut off and I think I walked onto the set of the Walking Dead. 

It frustrated me to no end to be in this condition. It doesn't help to be a zombie AND a representative of Christ. We had had such an awesome week and I knew I needed to work hard that day so that others could make it to church the next day. It became hard to even walk very far without needing to stop for a few minutes to rest. 

When I got home I was upset at how the day went. I was upset that my body wasn't functioning the way I wanted it to and that God let this day happen after such a good week of work. You may be wondering why I'm sharing this experience... but as I wrote in my journal that night I pondered on why the day played out this way. I learned quite a valuable lesson.

You know how you have these weeks or periods of life where things are just going well? Maybe not so smoothly, but at least where you're feeling happy and pretty content with your situation? That was me this week before Saturday. Everyday I returned home exhausted but excited for the next day and happy with my efforts. These are the types of peaks where naturally, we start to gain more confidence, where we feel like we know how to handle life and what it has to offer. Where we start to get a little more prideful maybe and even forget where happiness really comes from. 

It's like all those times where the people in the Bible and Book of Mormon are blessed with prosperity and peace and slowly they forget about God and become greedy or prideful. It's then that the Lord throws an obstacle our way to almost put us back in our place. Why? To let us know that we are weak and are nothing without the help of our God. To remind us to be humble and turn to Him, not ourselves. 

As we reach these peaks in our life, pride is something we need to be aware of. Pride creates more trip-ups, falls and hard-learned lessons. Eventually, one way or another we'll learn our wrong-doings.. but it's wiser to submit yourself to the Lord and trust in Him. 

This sounds a lot like repentance but repentance is needed to cleanse sin. Pride is only a sin when we choose to be prideful. Otherwise it's considered a weakness. We can't repent of being weak because weakness is natural. We do not need forgiveness for our weakness, we need the Atonement. We need grace, which is power that comes from Christ's Atonement to do what we cannot do on our own.

How grateful I am for my crummy Saturday and the lesson I learned. What good it is to know that we are weak, but that the Lord makes us strong. I felt truly humbled at the end of the day. There are things to be learned from any small situation! 

Love you all!

Sister Hawkins

P.S. I'm still a little sick, but don't worry Mom, I'll be better shortly! (and will only take Benegrippe before bed, haha.)



The loot

I'm a little sick on chocolate

Monday, April 6, 2015

Choose to Believe

Conference weekend!

Wasn't conference so awesome!? Goodness I wrote just about all of the talks down to study later. I think of conference as I do holidays. It's like when Christmas passes and you think, "dang... now I have to wait a whole other year". Luckily conference is every 6 months!! 

Wow, there's so much goodness to this conference that it doesn't seem fair to write something so short and brief. There seemed to be a lot of talks about love, being alert, caring for our lost brothers, marriage and faith. Well good! I got a lot from the love, faith, alertness, and caring for lost brothers part but the marriage part made me feel uncomfortable... that's gonna have to wait!

As my companion and I went to bed we discussed lots of talks and shared what stood out to us. She reminded me of a quote by L. Whitney Clayton that kept playing in my head as I fell asleep. (feel free to listen to his whole talk here...)


He said that we have to choose to believe. That God doesn't force us to believe, He invites us.

(for more conference quotes to print, click ----> here!)

How does he invite us? His invitations are countless! How many scriptures tell us to "come unto Christ" and "delight in the Gospel"? If you even take a minute to look around you the mountains, the sky, the stars, and the sea are open invitations to believe in something greater than any of us. The love of a neighbor, the help of a friend, the unconditional support of parent and child. The 85,000 missionaries, 144 temples and millions of members stand as witnesses and invitors for others to believe. 

But why believe? Why does it even matter? L Whitney Clayton spoke of the darnkess that fills this world. When we choose to believe we let the spiritual light in. When we sacrifice and defend this belief, we choose to live above the world and not in it. The darnkess that the world offers can be dimmed as we nourish this light within ourselves and within the walls of our own homes. There is peace. There is rest from our trials. There is sincere and unconditional love. But it starts with a belief.

"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in Earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth, believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend"Mosiah 4:9

I don't just believe in a God, I know there is a God. A God who is loving, who is waiting for us, wanting to bless us with that light. 

The choice is up to us! What will you choose?

Love you all!
Sister Hawkins


The mom: not sure about the soccer photobomber....

All these sweet pics and then....