Monday, August 10, 2015

La cereza por encima‏


Well, this is it. I wasn`t expecting to learn so much in my last week but I really learned so much. This has been the adventure of a lifetime. I told that to present LaPierre in my last interview yesterday and he said "Your adventure has just begun." It still hasn`t hit me that I am not going to be here anymore. I am not sure when it will. But I`m ready for the next step in life and I know that the Lord will continue to put me in the best situations and that I will continue to learn if I am faithful.

Elder Cancino will be training a new missionary and he is the district leader. I am very proud of all that he has accomplished in these 2 changes. He has made leaps in his progress and is going to do an amazing job. I`m glad I could learn so much from him in this time even though a few times I wanted to kick him in the head.

This week, after 11 weeks of little success we found 2 golden investigators who both were early to church and stayed for the whole 3 hours and loved it. That is what kept me going these last weeks even though I was a bit discouraged. I knew that maybe I would find someone on my very last day, but that there were still people waiting for me. Carolina went to church with her two little girls and she is very excited to learn more. Sister Maria Gonzalez was the best friend ever for her and she helped with the girls and lives close by her so she will help a lot. She has such a strong testimony. Orlando is 19 and has a sweet mohawk. He looks a bit wild, but his younger brother has gone to church constantly for a long time even though no one else from the family has gone. His mom and other siblings began going and Orlando came back to his house and is way excited for baptism. The Young Single Adults are already inviting him to all the activities and everything. I am grateful that I learned enough in these 2 years to be able to remain calm despite the fact that it looked like we had no progress and despite my discouragement. It payed off by finding these two. I`m excited to hear about what happens with them.

Yesterday I had an experience that changed my life. We went to lunch after church to eat with the Baez family. Zuni Baez is the mom that is in the picture. Her son Ivan was reactivated a year ago and his wife Yessica was baptized. They haven`t been really active in the church and we visit them about once a week and just try to invite the Spirit and challenge them to live the gospel in its fullness. Anyways, we got to the lunch and I went to the bathroom and they have an outhouse on the side of the house that is horrible. I then entered into the house which is one wall of bricks and 3 of wood. Its one tiny room with the beds and kitchen all together and its a very humble place. Despite that she had cooked us a delicious, but simple meal and I didn`t eat a whole lot cause I knew that they didn`t have a lot of money. After we finished she said that our dessert was in the fridge in the door part. I opened it up expecting the usual peaches with dulce de leche (which is delicious), but I didn`t see anything in the door. Then I looked at the top shelf of that small, old fridge and saw a cake. She said that she wanted to thank us for all that we had done for her son and daughter in law. She said that a month before we had gotten there Yessica had gone to live with her parents and they had lots of problems. A week before we showed up they had gotten back together. She said that because of the things we shared and all we did for them that Yessica loves living with them and is content and wants to study and they got along a lot better. This woman who likely wouldn`t buy a cake even for her own birthday bought one for us because we helped her son. But I really don`t feel like we did a whole lot. I almost couldn`t hold back the tears as I realized what that cake really means. It is a symbol of my entire mission. For every crust of bread that I give to these people they give me a cake in return. I love them so much and I am going to miss them. They have nothing except for the gospel and they are so happy and so giving. I told President LaPierre this story in my interview and we both cried. After a short silence he said: "Always honor those people. For the rest of your life find some way to honor them and to be worthy of them." As I ate that cake the thought came to me that I am not worthy of that cake. I don`t think I will every truly be worthy of all of the love that these people have given to me. They, together with my Father in Heaven have taught me to love and I will forever be indebted for that.

So now, in a short time I will enter a plane and leave behind this place and these people, perhaps forever. But they will always be with me. I`m not the same kid I was when I walked into a plane 2 years ago. How could I ever be the same after getting to know these people and getting to know my Savior like I have in this time?

"And having set our “hand to the plough,” we will never look back until this work is finished and love of God and neighbor rules the world." -Elder Holland

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fotos of Iguazu Falls



Well I just got back from the falls. I have to say that it kicks the crap out of Niagara Falls. Like Niagara Falls is like a water effect in a community pool compared to what Iguazù is. I am trying to download some fotos to dropbox now. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in nature. So powerful.

Before going to the falls I got permission to spend my Sunday afternoon in Tacuari. It was amazing. I was able to visit several families who I had taught there and really felt so much love for them. I miss them a lot. We ate lunch with the Caceres Bejarano family and it was so hard to say goodbye to them. honestly it was harder than saying goodbye to my family when I left home. I knew that I would see all of you in two years, but I am not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to see these people in person again. If I have learned anything in the mission it is how to love. I bore my testimony in church and said that I never imagined that I would be able to love people as much as I have here in South America thousands of miles away from my home. I know that that love comes from the Lord and not from me. I am grateful that He loves me enough to help me share that love with others.

I am going to miss this so much. The work is difficult right now here, but I wouldn`t rather be doing anything else. i love feeling the Spirit and I love serving my Father in Heaven. It will be hard to not get to do that 24 hours a day. It is going to be way hard to adjust, but I am glad that I have all of you who will help me to make the adjustment. But anyways, this was a short one, but thank you all so much for your support and love during the greatest adventure of my life. Still livin' the dream!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

This is a paragraph and a photo from Elder Taylor Graves blog:

Well one of the greatest opportunities of my mission happened yesterday. My old companion Elder Hawk, who I also consider one of my greatest friends, is leaving tomorrow, ending his mission. President of the mission decided to let him, and I go to our old area where we served for 3 miraculous months. We got to do a real time travel, and will seriously be forever grateful that we got to do that. It felt like a dream being back in Tacuarí where I really gained many of my talents and testimonies that I so desperately rely on now in the mission. I learned with Elder Hawk that we are here in the mission to give of our time, and that's what we did.
We visited to Enrique. An investigator who has more testimony than most members I know. Because of divorce complications, and the fact that he has not been able to officially get married to his "wife" he is waiting ever so patiently for the divorce to go through, to be able to get baptized. Meanwhile, he goes to church every week, participating in fasts, paying tithing, and doing and having read the Book of Mormon almost 3 times already. Yeah. I´m not even exaggerating. 3!
We arrived at his front porch, clapped his door, and waited and waited, and waited, he was taking a nap. So... I decided to pull out a secret weapon that I have. It is a special talent I have developed over the course of time, "clapping" lots of houses of lots of sleeping people (during the siesta) who I want to stop sleeping and start considering there personal salvation. I call it, "The Thunder Clap". Lets just say he woke up.
He came out the door, and with tears in his eyes he said, "I don´t believe it! I never thought I´d see you two again!" He gave us hugs and we just chatted for a good while. We talked about how much he strengthens our testimony and how we still pray for him. After the chat with him, he said a prayer thanking God for having sent his angels to change his life. 
During the prayer tears came to my eyes, as I realized what a blessing it was to be a tool in God´s hands to bless my fellow brothers and sisters.
Elder Hawk and I decided that if we hadn't been accepted in a single house except for his in our whole 3 months there, it would have been worth the time.

Monday, July 27, 2015



This week I am going to go back in time and tell a few stories of things that happened before the mission that I remembered this week. I think I am becoming more sensitive and sentimental in this last time. haha

One of the days this week I decided to try to love everyone that I talked to as much as I could and as we were talking to an older lady I don`t know why, but I remembered Michael. I was probably like 6 or 7 and we went to Washington Elementary school. I`m not sure how but mom heard about him and how they lived basically homeless and he had a really rough situation. We took him to school every day in the car cause the bus couldn`t go for him and he wouldn`t be able to go to school if someone didn`t help him. Then we walked home with him to our house and took care of him until his parents could take him again. I remember that I did not like having him around. To me he was strange and he wasn`t well bathed and he bothered me. I only thought about how it was a pain to have to go home with him and everything. But as I sat there talking to this woman about 14 years later I almost began to cry thinking of how amazing my parents are. I saw a problem and they saw a child of God who needed help. The simple act of helping him go to and from school changed his life. It took 14 years for that lesson to finally sink in, but now I understand. I am so grateful for my amazing parents who have always given an amazing example of living the gospel of Jesus Christ which at its essence is service. Michael wasn`t the only person to whom my parents have opened their house and heart. I am grateful for the Spirit for reminding me of that experience. I hope to be able to continue to see everyone as they truly are--children of God no matter what they may appear. Perhaps one day I can love others unconditionally like my parents do.

The other experience I remembered my road to get here on the mission. I was talking to Elder Cancino about the power of the Atonement and how it changes our lives and that is what makes us want to share the gospel and then I shared a bit with him about how I have felt the Atonement in my life and then read the following verses in Alma 26: 

17 Who could have supposed that our God would have been so merciful as to have snatched us from our awful, sinful, and polluted state?

 18 Behold, we went forth even in wrath, with mighty threatenings to destroy his church.

 19 Oh then, why did he not consign us to an awful destruction, yea, why did he not let the sword of his justice fall upon us, and doom us to eternal despair?

 20 Oh, my soul, almost as it were, fleeth at the thought. Behold, he did not exercise his justice upon us, but in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls.

 21 And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.

 22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.

I can`t describe how grateful I am for the mercy of God that has changed my life and allowed me to truly change. Without Him and His Atonement we are all "consign(ed) to an awful destruccion." The least we can do to show our gratitude is to help others receive the same mercy that we have received.

I love being a missionary. I value this mission so much. Its a true privilege to represent my Savior and serve Him. It is going to be hard to leave. If you all weren`t waiting for me I don`t think I would ever go back. haha I love you all! See you later.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Siervos inùtiles‏

Hola todos!

Well it was a pretty crazy day. I am writing a lot later cause President LaPierre let us go to Paraguay! First we were just going to go to buy stuff but when I talked to him today in the office when I was getting my passport, I mentioned about Mariola and Scott in Ita Paso right there in Encarnacion and he gave me permission to go see them! I had never been able to go back to an area before or see anyone from an anterior area. It was weird but so awesome! They are doing very well and are excited to go to the temple to be sealed in January. Scott is about to get the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Spirit is strong in their home. They have passed some trials, but they are doing great and have strong testimonies. It was an awesome reunion. They asked me to dedicate their home and so I did and I felt inspired to talk/pray about the temple and that they can have it be the center of their lives and strive to have the Spirit of the temple in their home and in their lives. Every once in awhile as missionaries we are able to say "If these are the only people touched by my service then my mission was a huge success." I can truly say that about this family. I know that I truly played a small role, but it is amazing to see the blessings. When Mariola got baptized all of the other brothers and sisters of Scott started to warm up to the gospel. I promised Sister Benitez that that would happen when she told us about how sad she was that her kids were all far away from the gospel. She fasted and the next week we started teaching Mariola. Now her other daughter in law is preparing for baptism and her other son quit drinking and is accepting the missionaries in his home. It is amazing to see the effects that came from this faithful sisters small act of faith. With the difficulties going on here in Miguel Lanus it helped me to remember the sweet blessings of the work.

Also, this week I have been studying harder to make sure that I am more focused. It was difficult this week cause sitting around the week before got to me. But I am doing a lot better now. Today I was studying faith and the relationship it has with miracles. I always looked at it as like God does 90% and then if I do my 10% then the miracle happens. But today I realized that God does 100% and we just show our confidence in Him (which is what faith really is: confidence in God) by doing what He asks of us. Anyways as I was thinking about all this I went into the other room to prayer and as I talked and thanked God for my incredible mission and all of the miracles that He has created for me I saw in my mind a Christmas present. It was dirty, dented and very tiny and I said that that is the offering that I have given the Lord as a missionary. It isn`t much. I haven`t always worked with a pure purpose, I haven`t always loved the people like I should. I have stumbled and fallen. I have gotten frustrated and angry. I certainly didn`t do anything perfect. My offering has been nothing more than a tiny, dented present. As I thought of that I was filled with gratitude to know that although I have given such an imperfect offering, my Father in Heaven has blessed me more than I could ever have imagined. I have given so little and He has filled me with His Spirit, changed me, and given me so many amazing experiences and miracles. I don`t deserve all of this. I am not worthy of so much mercy and love. I am more grateful than words can describe. I will not ever be able to pay back the Lord for all that He has given me as I have had the privilege to be His servant for 2 years. But what I do plan on doing is to continue to give Him offerings. They will all be small. They will be imperfect. But to show my gratitude to Him I will make sure that they will all be my best.

"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have (only) done that which was our duty to do." Luke 17:10

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Monday, July 13, 2015



Well the two attached fotos describe my week better than words could. ON Tuesday I woke up sick and we kept working and I kept getting worse and on Friday morning I folded and we went to the doctor. It was way funny though when we were going into this tiny hospital that was in poor condition and Hermano Ojeda who took us there in his car told me that I needed to make myself look like I was dying and to cough a lot and put my head down so that they would see me. haha Turns out that that is the only way to get in and out of the hospital quickly here. haha It worked cause we were in and out in like 20 minutes. haha I have bronchitis. They gave me an inhaler thing and some antibiotics and some pills for the fever. I am kind of better now. I am more sick of being inside the apartment than I am sick from the bronchitis. haha It is super boring. We had some appointments on Saturday and I was feeling a bit better so we went out for awhile. It felt so good to be out in the street doing what I need to be doing. Unfortunately, all the appointments fell through. We got back to the apartment after only a few hours super exhausted. haha It probably wasn`t a good idea. But it made me appreciate more being able to work. After lots of time it starts to just be the normal routine, but when you are pulled out of the routine you realize how awesome it really was. On Sunday we went to church and by the end we were way tired again. I think I have slept more in these last 4 days than in my entire mission combined. It is super boring. But don`t worry about me cause I am getting better. I will be fine.

One of the best things about being sick is all of the funny suggestions about home remedies that everyone forces you to listen to. haha Orange tea, lemon tea, honey, hinhibre (not sure how it is spelled but it is a root that you put in boiling water that helps the fever supposedly). The best suggestion so far was carpincho fat. hahaha A carpincho is like a giant guinea pig and supposedly its fat is like a magical cure for all times of respiratory problems. It healed a man of asthma that he had his whole life. haha Also, cinnamon milk, if taken daily guarantees complete immunity from all types of colds. I never knew. But the best was that when Elder Cancino`s back started hurting from laying around too much he ask me to iron it out with the iron. haha I have pictures. It didn`t work.

But really I recognize how incredibly blessed I have been my whole mission and my entire life in terms of health. I really have been so healthy always and it is one of the greatest blessings we could ever have. Everyone here asks for health for the family in every prayer and it really is amazing. That is sometimes the only thing that they ask us to pray for. And I just take it for granted unless I am sick. So if you are healthy, give thanks now..before its too late... haha But really. Be thankful.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I am so blessed to have all of you praying for me and rooting me on. I love you! Even sick, I`m living the dream.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Monday, July 6, 2015

Los milagros‏


It was a very good week. We are seeing the beginnings of progress. The best part of the week was when I got up to bear my testimony and I looked out at everyone and there was Hno. Custodio! We have worked with him and felt the spirit so strong with him for over a month and I was not expecting him to be there. It was so awesome! The ward received him so well and he definitely felt loved. He still has lots of struggles and lots of repentance necessary but he is taking real steps and I think it strengthened the ward`s faith. They saw that with a united effort even those who appear the hardest can be brought back to the fold. The members visited him several times and he finally made the step.

Yamila Zarza also came to church on Sunday! She definitely felt the Spirit and the Young Single Adults helped her a lot. They are awesome here and the Lord helps us find people who the ward is prepared to receive. She is going to have lots of support and she really needs the gospel because she has passed through lots of hard stuff. She has a strong desire to change, but she also is scared of the reactions of her parents. We will see how it all goes.

Also, the Martinez family is doing great. The dad told us on Friday that he really wants to start living his religion instead of just being a passive participant. They really want to just live the whole gospel. I think that is what I most learned this week. It isn`t enough to just pick and choose which parts of the gospel we are going to live--we just need to live all of it. That is what will bring us more joy and certainty. We don`t have to settle with a small part of the blessings that the Lord has in store for us. We can have them all! The Martinez family is learning that and it is amazing to feel the difference that is with them and the Spirit that is in their house now. They are very humble but have so much faith that the Lord will help them. I am also certain He will help them. One of the daughters who is like 11 is amazing. She reads the scriptures every single day and drops the cane when they don`t say family prayer and sings amazingly. I told her that she needs to start preparing for the mission. haha

Little by little we are seeing miracles here in Miguel Lanus. More and more I learn that it is the Lord who works the miracles and we are just a tiny part of it all. I love you all so much!

Con amor, Elder Hawk