It has been another awesome week at the MTC. I am learning Spanish and the gospel quickly, I am happy, and I am so grateful for all of you, your letters, your advice and your support. Thank you!
So this week I have learned a lot about the word remember. It started when I was walking to lunch and some missionaries were doing something stupid and I just had the thought come to my mind that missionaries don't want to be disobedient or less than they have the potential to be, they just forget. I wrote this down and then that night I just started writing with the subject of: the greatest threat to a missionary is that he forgets. And that really is the greatest threat to all of us who are members of the church. It isn't usually that we want to sin or be unkind to someone or do less than our best. It's that we forget. A missionary forgets that he has been called by God; he is a representative of Jesus Christ and is expected to act as such. He forgets that he has made sacred covenants that he needs to keep. He forgets that he holds the priesthood of God. That God has trusted him with the same power He used to shape the universe. He forgets the people he has been called to serve; that they are alone, and unhappy, and in danger spiritually. That it is his job to find those people and help save them! He forgets all the sacrifices made before him by saints and missionaries and martyrs. Worst of all, a missionary (and all of us) forget about Jesus Christ. He has done so much for us and redeemed us and yet we do not always follow him. We don't remember that we can become perfect through Him and that he wants so badly for us and others to be with Him forever. It really is pretty sad that we forget.
But the only way we can fix this is to remember. To remember all of those things and to act better because we remember them. Last night, I watched a talk Elder Holland gave at the MTC. He talks about how incredibly lucky we are, because never has there been more opportunities and ability to do good and better health technology,etc. on the earth than there is today. And every prophet before our time has had to deal with the reality that eventually he would fail, that the gospel would be taken away from the earth; they were all destined to ultimately fail. But not us! I am part of an army that was called to succeed. The gospel will never again be taken from this earth! "Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say 'the work is done.' What a blessing it is to know that! But it is one thing to know something and an entire other thing to remember it.
So, my new goal is to remember. To remember all who have gone before me. To remember my family and all who have done so much to give me the truth. To remember I was called to succeed. To remember that a boy truly did see God and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees almost 200 years ago. To remember Jace. To remember the people of Argentina and Paraguay who need the Gospel so desperately. To remember my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. And to remember that the message I am going to share is true. I know it is true! And I will boldly proclaim it to everyone I see. If I truly remember all of these things and try harder and do better because of them, then I will be the missionary I want to be. And I promise to everyone reading this right now that if you will only remember then you will have the strength and diligence to continue on and to improve every day.
Well, that turned out longer than I thought. But I hope you all truly consider it, no matter who you are. I know it will bless your life. I love you all! I am so excited to be able to dedicate the next 23 months to helping other people and building God's kingdom on the earth. How lucky am I!? The most lucky.
I hope that everyone is doing good; it sure sounds like it from your emails and letters! I am doing amazing cause I get to be a missionary and serve the Lord all the time. Pretty sweet. Thank you to everyone who has helped give me this opportunity and who is supporting me. I love you all so much!
So, Sunday i was officially made the Zone Leader in sacrament meeting. Sitting on the stand is kinda weird even though there are only like 30 people in sacrament. I get to watch all the missionaries slowly fall asleep and me and Litchfield made bets on who would go first. I even started nodding off a bit but I realized everyone could see me so I kept myself awake. Then all the new ZLs had a training thing that was sort of unnecessary but it was ok. But finally we were OFFICIALLY the zone leaders when the last ZLs called us over and pulled out a crown and sword made mainly from metal clothes hangers and duct tape. They knighted us zone leaders and it was pretty epic. We have 8 new missionaries coming this week so we will be responsible for that and for welcoming them and everything which will be good. i hope i can make them feel welcome and excited!
Classes have been going very well and we committed Alberto to baptism which was pretty sweet. We talked about how he could feel the Spirit more in his life and how if he is baptized he can have the good feelings he feels during prayer and scripture study ALL the time! He was pretty excited about that idea and it made me realize how lucky I have been to have the gift of the Spirit to be with me at all times if I am faithful. I have a friend, leader, comforter, inspirer, helper, etc. at all times! That is amazing and yet I take it for granted too much. We do have one investigator Clara that we are struggling with. She doesn't really share much with us and refuses to say anything and it is hard to get anything out of her. She wouldn't pray either which was lame. But after we taught her she all of a sudden comes into the classroom and says she is going to talk about our lesson cause we all can learn from it. She had some good points and we are trying to learn from them, but it really wasn't presented very well. She just kept on like a 45 minute (not an exaggeration) rant about pretty much everything that bothers her about how missionaries teach and she even took a sarcastic approach at times. She is really a good teacher and I am trying hard to not be negative about the experience but afterwards we didn't feel like we wanted to do better, we just felt discouraged. But we have rebounded and have had good lessons since then and i realized that my teachers are just people. They make mistakes and they don't always approach things the correct way, but they still want to help us. And i also realized that the Spirit is the real teacher and He is the one who I need to listen to and counsel with and ask questions to and I will receive answers and help from the perfect teacher. So it really ended up being a very positive experience and I am glad that it happened so that I could learn a lot from it. I know that if I just listen to the Spirit throughout my mission and work hard then I will become the person that I need to be able to serve others.
I am having a lot of fun even though it is hard work. Elder Litchfield has a hilarious quotable moment like every 15 minutes such as "I think Helen Keller is a myth.. and Stevie Wonder is definitely not actually blind." Also, last night he taped a picture of his (sort of, unofficial) girlfriend on the ceiling (he has the top bunk and I have the bottom bunk) so he could look at her before he fell asleep and I said "I think I'm gonna tape a picture of Jesus above my head" haha it was pretty funny and we had a good laugh. We are teaching with really good unity and are able to finish each others sentences. One time we even said the exact same thing at the exact same time in prefect unison! It was so crazy and i realized that the words i say, if I'm teaching in the right way, are not my words, they come from the Spirit.
Last night we watched a video "Becoming a Missionary" by Elder Bednar and he talked about how some people just go on a mission but others become missionaries. It really motivated me to want to become a missionary! I am going to start making better goals and always trying to get better every day and be molded into the missionary I need to be. I decided that am willing to give up all that I have and all that I am in order to become the missionary that the Lord wants and needs me to be. i know that if i do that then I will be so happy and be able to help others access the Atonement and feel the "exquisite joy" that Alma the Younger felt after repentance (Alma 36, go read it because it is amazing).
This has turned into a very long email so sorry. i just have so many amazing experiences to share and I didn't even get half of them. But that's why the MTC is so amazing! It helps mold us into who we need to be through these amazing, life changing experiences every day! I love you all and I miss you so much. thank you for your letters, emails, and prayers. They are a great strength to me.
Hope everyone is doing well! Thank you all for your letters and emails! I love reading them and responding to them.
Anyways, let me explain the title of this email (Spanish is the language of the heavens). My teacher, Hermano Magallanes told us that he knows that they speak Spanish in heaven. I was skeptical but he actually shared some really cool things. For instance miseria=misery and cordero=lamb but if you combine the two you get miseriacordia which means mercy. So "the misery of the lamb" equals "mercy" for us. I thought that was way cool and just thought I would let you all know that Spanish is awesome. I am speaking it pretty well and I can understand it way better than I could when I got here. We got a new room and switched around teachers about a week ago and Hermano Bush spoke only in Spanish and it frustrated me a lot cause I couldn't understand. But I had a good talk with him and shared my frustrations and he helped me through it and now I am doing way better and it is awesome! I have been here less than two weeks and I can already say and understand so much! The gift of tongues is definitely real and it is amazing! I have been working hard and learning a lot and it has been an amazing experience. Every day at the MTC has been better and better.
Last week I was praying to be more charitable and to love others more and then my prayer was answered... and Elder Litchfield and I were called to be zone leaders (we don't start until Sunday though). haha. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve others and learn to love more like our Savior. I also know that it is going to stretch my talents and abilities and I will learn so much. I am glad it came this week and not the first week because I feel a lot more prepared to take this on at this time, so that is a tender mercy. Speaking of tender mercies, they finally fixed our AC so that is another tender mercy. Also, I have been having allergies and cold symptoms but I am feeling way better now! So I am glad I don't have to worry about that as much now!
We now have 3 "investigators" and it is a lot harder than just one but I like it more because we get to prepare for different lessons. I have also realized how important it is to get to know the investigator and figure out what they need. And I know that I cannot do that with my own talents (even if I was Sherlock Holmes) but that if I work at it than I can have the gift of discernment which is a pretty sweet gift because it is a great way to help figure out what others need and to know how to help them with those needs. I am learning so much at the MTC! It is like every single time I study or listen to a devotional or do anything I get so much truth and inspiration and happiness and light and direction! It is truly amazing and I know it is because the MTC has an amazing Spirit and that the Lord blesses his missionaries so that they can bless others. Never in my life have I felt such a constant flow of happiness, direction from the Holy Ghost, and so much love for the Lord and for others. It is remarkable!
Well, sorry that email was a bit random, but I want you all to know that I love you and I can feel your prayers strengthening me and helping me. Keep being the wonderful people that you are!
Les Amo, Elder Hawk
P.S. You should all WATCH Elder Hollands talk "Safety for the Soul" he gave a few years back. So powerful.
So this is my P-day and we should usually be emailing around this time. But the MTC is amazing! I have already learned such a huge amount and I am so grateful for this opportunity that has been made possible by my Heavenly Father and by my family and by everyone who has helped me.
The first day was actually really rough. I was having a hard time and it was a long day and I was already letting myself get frustrated with everything. Then we did a workshop called "people and your purpose" where we taught fake investigators as a group. That is when I began to think about the reasons why I am here and none of them are about me. There have already been so many experiences that have made me realize how selfish I have been thus far in my life and that have helped me to have a desire to be more selfless and focus on others.
One of the experiences I had was when I began to pray in Spanish (yes I can already do that pretty well and it is awesome!). I realized that I was praying mainly for me and so I ended by praying for the people of Argentina. Later, I realized that the reason I was frustrated was because I wasn't learning Spanish as fast as I wanted so that I could communicate. I realized that was very selfish and that I am not here to learn Spanish so I can communicate and look cool for knowing Spanish. I am here so that the people of Argentina and Paraguay can hear the gospel in their own language and come unto Christ and receive the blessing that I have received.
Another experience I had was when I was praying a few nights ago. I began to think about how I have been saved by the Savior and his Atonement and I how he has helped me to be clean and worthy to be on a mission. I just felt so happy thinking about that! Then I just felt this overpowering desire to help the people I will teach have that same feeling! That idea made me feel even happier! I am so excited to help those people and I am going to work as hard as I can to be the best that I can be. Not for me, but for my Savior and for those people who I love even though I have never met them.
I am also here for everyone who has helped me become who I am and who has helped prepare me to be a good missionary. Everyone who reads this has had an impact on me and has put so much work into trying to help me, especially my parents! I need to be a good missionary for all of you because that is the best way I can show my gratitude for you.
In class we learn a lot of Spanish and a lot about the gospel. I can already pray, bare my testimony and say quite a bit. I am working as hard as I can, especially when we teach our "investigator" Rafael. We get to teach him just like he is a real investigator all in Spanish! It is crazy! But it is so cool to be able to bear witness of the things I know and to help Rafael in any way I can, all in Spanish! We taught him to pray the other day and it was so cool to hear! Soon we will teach him about the Restoration and I memorized the first vision so I can tell him by memory! I was also able to bare witness to him during the lesson and to my zone during testimony meeting that families are eternal. I talked about Jace and how when that happens you really have to believe that families can be forever. I know that families can be forever and it would be so selfish to keep that knowledge to myself! I want to share it with everyone I meet!
I was thinking about how Dad said that Jace and Grandma and Grandpa were going to be at the MTC looking out for me and then I started thinking about a talk we saw that Elder Bednar called the character of Christ. He talks about turning outward and thinking of others like the Savior did. So anyways he talks about how when Christ had finished fasting he probably could have used help from angels and the devil even tempted him with that but instead he sent the angels to Paul who was in prison. So I was thinking about all that and I prayed to Heavenly Father and told Him that I have felt Jace, Grandma and Grandpa Wilson and other angels with me and I thanked Him, but I told him that I was going to be ok and that if it was His will that he would send them to the people of Argentina and Paraguay to prepare them for the missionaries or to someone else who needs angels way more than I do. There are physical angels everywhere here at the MTC, so others can definitely use my personal family angels more than I can. So I like to think that Jace and Grandma and Grandpa Wilson are somehow helping the people I love who I am going to teach and that is an awesome feeling.
Ok, I know I have already written a lot, so I will be done pretty soon. But my companion is Elder Tritchfield and we are in a room with Elder Cross (the district leader) and Elder Ogden from Ogden, Utah. There are also 5 sisters in our district which is really cool cause they help keep us on task. And we are all going to the same mission so that is way cool! My companion is a beast basketball player from West Palm Beach, Florida and he is already way good at Spanish! Everyone is getting along really well and learning so much.
I miss you all very much and I love getting your letters! I sent a few home the other day but I think it might not get there until Tuesday. I will probably send more today when I have some extra time too. But just know that I love it here now that I am trying to be less selfish and trying to think of others. I am so much happier when I am looking for ways to serve others and when I remember that I am not here for me. I am here for all of you, for the people of Argentina and Paraguay and for my Savior! I love you all so much!