Monday, October 28, 2013

Los Eligidos‏

Hola todo,

This has been quite an interesting week. It has been pouring rain like crazy! So every night my pants and shoes have been covered in mud (see attached pictures). But the work has been great! Spanish is still difficult but I find that when I listen to people carefully and love them and focus on them instead of my Spanish I am able to understand and say so much more. Because its not about me speaking Spanish, its about that person feeling the Spirit.

So, the other day started out as a disaster because I accidentally locked the keys in the house. Elder Peña said (rather quickly) "tiene los llaves" and I said yes before I totally understood what he said and then he swung the door shut right as I realized what just happened. The door automatically locks when it shuts and the only other key was in the centro en Eldorado. So after we ate lunch with a member we got on a bus for the centro. I felt like crap because we were missing out on proselyting time and also because I felt stupid. Then, the place was closed cause it was ciesta time (naps) so we had to wait for like 15 extra minutes. During this time I just prayed that Heavenly Father could make up the difference for my mistake and that I would work as hard as I could if he could only make up the difference. But the people didn´t have a key. So we left and it took another 15 or more minutes for the next bus to show up. Finally, we got back to the apartment and were able to open one of the windows and use a long stick to turn the doorknob thing. I´m not sure why we didn´t try that earlier haha. But after that things got way better! We started clapping houses and we found an awesome family. They are way prepared for the gospel and have all the right questions and really accepted everything really well. Then, we had a great lesson with one of our investigators and after we asked if he had any questions and his only question was what day he was going to be baptized, so we were pretty pumped about then. Then we visited a less active family and Hermana Tavarez had a sister at the house who is like 16 or so. We started talking to her and gained her confidence and then she told us about some of the problems she was having and we were able to help her. I testified that through the atonement we can be totally clean and that it is powerful enough to make up for everything. It was awesome and the Spirit was so strong! So a terrible day turned into an amazing day because we worked hard and Heavenly Father made up the difference.

Yesterday we also taught Gladis who Elder Peña contacted during exchanges. She is amazing and talked about how she was able to change her life through Christ and now she has this beautiful feeling in her heart. We asked if she wanted it more and after she said yes we taught her the first discussion about the Restoration through Joseph Smith. And it was so awesome because the Spirit was way strong and she accepted a baptismal date. Afterwards she said she felt a beautiful powerful feeling in her heart during our lesson, especially about the Book of Mormon. We told her it was the Spirit. It was just so amazing because here was this person who had come so near to Christ with the knowledge that she had, but was kept from the whole truth and the full joy of Christ because she knew not where to find it. And we were able to give her that truth that is able to make her joy full. It just made me think even more about how lucky I have been to have all this knowledge my whole life. And now I have the opportunity and privilege to share that knowledge with others so that they can have total peace and joy in their lives. It really is incredible and I am so lucky!

Also, we are going to have a baptism this Saturday! Lucas is 9 and finally we got permission from his mom to be baptized! He seriously is such a great kid and we are so excited for him! He is the man! So, the work is progressing and we are being blessed. Its actually going to be the first baptism in this area in over 6 months because it had been closed for a few months and this is only the second transfer it has been opened. So that is pretty sweet as well!

Well, I love you all so much and am grateful for you! I miss you, but the sacrifice is more than worth it for all of us. Stay strong.

Alma 22:18 "abandonarè todos mis pecados para conocerte"

Con amor y felicidad, Elder Hawk

 Soaking wet from the rain

A Lizard...should we cook him for dinner?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gran Area Ruta 2


It has been another awesome week in the gran (great) area Ruta 2! I decided early last week that we were going to fix our map and area book up because they really were just terrible and so I talked with the zone leaders and we got this huge map that is like 1.5x1 meter and we are putting all of our investigators on it with pins and it is way better because before the missionaries would lose investigators because they didn´t know where they were and it was difficult to find your way around, but this should really help a lot. I want to leave this area a lot better off then I found it, and help the next missionaries to be successful. I have a picture of me by the map but I forgot my card 'cause there is a freak thunder storm right now and we had to run to the internet place and my umbrella broke. jaja (haha in Spanish) but it was pretty funny.

Another cool experience this week was going on exchanges with the zone leaders. I went into their area and worked with Elder Cortez. He is way capo (cool) and I learned a lot from him, especially about how to use the Book of Mormon more in our lessons which I think is way important it is kind of difficult because a lot of the people here don´t read all that well. though, I did find one guy who loved reading. He is deaf and so I wrote notes back and forth and gave him a Book of Mormon and pamphlet and he loved it so much. It was cool.

Yesterday was el dìa de madre. We gave little cards to a lot of the mothers that we are teaching and it was way cool. We gave one to the mother of one of our investigators (Lucas who is 9) and I think it has really warmed her up to us so hopefully she will give permission for him to be baptized this week. But it made me think a lot about how awesome my mom is! I really am so grateful for her and all that she has done to help me. I am especially grateful for her prayers (and all of your prayers) for me. We shared Moroni 8:3 with a family and it is Mormon telling Moroni that he is always praying for him. It made me think especially of how I know that my parents are always praying for me in every prayer and have always been praying for me. I know these prayers have blessed my life and given me the opportunities to learn and grow. I am so grateful for all of your prayers of support. When I am feeling down I can especially feel them.

Also, yesterday there was a bird in our apartment! jaja We walked in and it was kind of just sitting on the blanket thing we use to block the sun out of the window. We freaked it out a little and it flew straight for me and I just ran to the other side of the house and the bird hit the wall and Elder Peña was laughing his head off. jaja it was hilarious! So finally Elder Peña snuck up on it and grabbed it and it started screaming but he let it out the window and that was the end of that. jaja

Yesterday I was feeling a bit frustrated with my progress in the language and I was just kind of down and felt that a lot of our investigators just were not even trying to keep their commitments. But then we went and visited the Gayerdo (probably spelled wrong) family who I visited on my first day and I realized how much I really had learned. The first day I was hardly able to understand or say anything and during the visit yesterday I was able to understand so much and participate in the conversation and laugh with everyone. It was so nice! Then Elder Peña made a comment about how I had been in Argentina for ten days and I realized how foolish it was to be frustrated. In only ten days I have learned so much and I am continuing to learn like crazy. In my life before the mission I would usually experience some kind of trouble or trial and struggle but fairly quickly adjust and be ok. In the mission I am constantly being pushed and stretched and challenged. It is difficult but I am growing so much and it is awesome! I want to be pushed and pushed so that I can become an effective and reliable instrument in the hands of the Lord.

Well, sorry I don´t have any pictures this week. Next week I will try to remember to send some good ones! (Just kidding it was actually in my pocket the whole time)

´´Quedaos tranquilos, y sabed que yo soy Dios´´ -Psalms 46:10

Les quiero mucho,

Elder Hawk

La Pension

 Elder Peña

The Map

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Estoy aqui‏


Well, after riding the crazy train tracks from the MTC to the airport in Salt like (while getting separated into two different trains because the train didn´t give us enough time) taking a flight to Dallas after our plane was delayed and having to run like crazy to even get on our flight to Buenos Aires (10 hours), taking a bus for 2 hours to the church headquarters, taking that bus another hour to the other airport and taking a 2 hour flight to Posadas, then after a meal boarding a 5 hour bus to my area, I am finally here in the City of Ruta near the city of El Dorado. It was a crazy couple days of travel but I am very happy to be here.

My companion is Elder Peña from Chile. He is the only member of the church from his family and was baptized when he was twelve. He is really cool and a good trainer, or at least i think he is good because it is kind of hard to understand this whole Spanish thing. haha He is Chilean and they are notorious for talking super fast, so he has a hard time slowing down for me, but he is really doing a great job and is really patient. Luckily, he knows how to say some things in English so that makes it a tiny bit easier.

So, the language is coming along really well. The first day I pretty much could understand nothing which was kind of frustrating and I hadn´t yet talked with Elder Peña about how he could help me so I wasn´t understanding much. I also wasn´t talking enough because I had no idea what was happening. also have been praying and studying and trying my hardest and Heavenly Father is helping me to learn. Honestly, without His help I wouldn´t be able to do anything. The people here speak super fast and have a weird accent and leave out letters a lot but i am starting to figure it out. I actually have been able to understand a crazy amount these last couple days and we have had several amazing lessons where I was able to understand and also bear my testimony with power all in Spanish. I am feeling really good about the language right now because I have already learned so much and I know the Spirit will help me to continue to learn super fast.

The work here in Ruta 2 is going well. On 9 of November we have committed 4 people to baptism at this moment I believe. I even challenge Rosalia to be baptized and she said yes! It was pretty sweet! Write now we are focusing a lot on less active members and trying to help them come back to church. the families and the branch here is awesome! There were probably like 50 or so people at Sacrament meeting and it was testimony meeting so I got to hear a lot of really powerful testimonies. AND i bore my testimony in Sacrament Meeting. I talked a little about why I decided to go on a mission and that I don´t know the language and I don´t know the culture and I don´t really know all that much of anything, but I do know that my Savior lives and that God loves us and that he will provide a way for us to do his work. I know that He is going to teach me Spanish and teach me how to be a better teacher and that through Him I will be able to do all that he needs me to do. I said that I was going to work my hardest and do my best and that I was thankful for all of them and that I loved them. It was so cool to bear my testimony like that in Spanish. That really is my favorite thing to do-- bear testimony of the gospel. Luckily, I get to do that for 2 more years!!

The weather is incredibly humid and pretty hot so there is a lot of sweating. The food is really good! We had chorizo the other day and the empanadas are the most delicious things I have ever tasted. They also have this like weird crumbly bread stuff that is super salty that isn´t too bad. The use a crazy amount of salt in everything which will take getting used to. Also, the expect me to eat like  20 pounds of food every time I go to their houses so I am always full. It was raining like crazy the other day so all the street (they pretty much are all dirt) are super muddy so my pants are covered at the end of every day. We do a lot of fast walking and visit a lot of people. The people here are so amazing. They have very little, but have such amazing faith and trust in God. I wish i could tell you about all of the awesome people that I have met but I don´t have time. Also, the little kids love those little alien parachute things! The kids here are so stinking cute and there is one kid who is probably like 2 and he always runs to the gate and says hola elder! and I talk to him a little in Spanish and his sister is teaching me twinkle twinkle little star. haha The people are all so kind and are helping me so much.

Right now I am in this tiny store with 4 computers in Argentina! And all of my words are underlined in red because I don't know how to change it to English, so sorry for the spelling mistakes. But I really am so happy! There have been some rough times but My Heavenly Father always provides and always lifts my Spirits. The work is hard and it is difficult to be a missionary, but the work is good and true and it makes me so happy.

Yo sè que nada soy; en cuanto a mi fuerza, soy dèbil; por tanto, no me jactaré de mi mismo´sino que me gloriarè en mi Dio, porque con su fuerza puedo hacer todas las cosas -Alma 26:12

Les amo mucho!
Con amor, Elder Hawk

Elder LaPierre, Elder Peña, Elder Hawk, and Sister LaPierre

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

So I (Rand's mom) have been following a blog that is written by a sister in Rand's district, heading to Argentina with him today. This is what she wrote in the last paragraph of her post yesterday. I loved it and wanted to share. She also had some pictures that Rand was in so I thought I would share those too. It's been a blessing to me to read her blog. She will be an amazing missionary. I love you Hemana Crump even though I've never met you.

The people here in the MTC, particularly my district, have really become like family to me. I just have to say that I was, at first, a little skeptical of the idea of these 18-year-old boys coming out here and representing the Lord, but as I have spent so much time with them, I know that this is a revelation from God to send us here at such a young age. Their testimonies are so strong. As I sang Called to Serve one last time with these missionaries, I thought to myself, why in the world would all these teenagers, of their own free will, give up some of the best years of their lives, leave everything behind, solely to serve the Lord? Why? The only explanation is because this is true. This. Gospel. Is. True. I know it with my whole heart or I wouldn't be here. I am so excited to get out there and do this! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

 Elder Litchfield's first time seeing snow.
Trying out the new coat
 The District
Crump, Me, Ogden, Litchfield, Cross, Rupe, Barrett, Rust, Sleight

Fe y Cambiar‏


Another week in paradise! Crazy how excited I am to leave a place I love so much. But it is because the mission field is even better! So the news you have all been waiting for.... I got a travel visa and I am heading to Argentina on Tuesday!!! I am so pumped! I wanted so badly to go straight there and now I get to do it! So after a flight to Dallas and like an 11 hour flight to Buenos Aries (and I am thinking maybe a bus all the way to Posadas). I will be at the mission home probably Thursday some time. I am so excited! I can't wait to get there. I am a little nervous because I am not that good at Spanish or teaching or anything a missionary needs to be good at, but I am not afraid because the Lord is on my side and he has amazing blessings promised to missionaries (including member missionaries) if they will work hard, have the Spirit, have faith, and open their mouth. And I can't do a lot of things but I can do those simple things! So I cannot fail. SO pumped!

OK, my first lesson of the week came during in-field orientation which is this big meeting for like the whole day where they prepare you for things in the field. It was all awesome, but my favorite part was when the guy in charge told a story about how in the Philippines he had an investigator who needed to sell fruit on Sunday to support his family, but he told the man God would provide if he came to church instead. The man did it and made enough money to be OK. but I thought about this and how for me living the gospel has never required that much faith. I have certainly had to have some portion of faith, but never the kind of faith that would require a person to put their family's livelihood on the line. I thought about if I would be able to have the faith to ask people to do this. I thought about it and then the man mentioned D & C something that talks about how obedience to the law will always bring blessings. And as I continued to ponder and study that the next couple days I began to realize that while I don't know a whole lot, I do know that God will always keep His promises. He has given us pages and pages of promised blessings along with the way to obtain these blessings and if we have faith that he will give us those blessing if we do the required work then we will be so blessed! In D&C 84:88 God promises that he will go before my face and be on my right hand and on my left and that angels will be there to bare us up. Now, that scripture is worthless to us if we don't believe it and remember it! I know the scriptures are true and that if we will believe God, believe that he will support us and then do the things he requires then we will be blessed with all that he promises. I know that when I promise a person that God will bless them and provide for them if they do a difficult thing that he asks that He will keep His promises! I am so excited to promise people blessings and see those fulfilled as they do the required work. And I promise all of you that if you will study the scriptures and understand what you need to do to gain the blessings you desire that God will keep His promises to you! Every single promise, every single time! So amazing!

Conference was so awesome! I hope you all felt the Spirit and were able to hear and listen for the answers you needed. The main theme to me in conference was: Get yoked! They quoted the scripture "my yoke is easy and my burden is light" at least 70 times and each talk for me in some way related the idea that if we will just do all that we can then Heavenly Father will do the rest; which was exactly what I needed to hear before going to the mission field. And after receiving so much truth from the MTC and conference through the Spirit I know I have a lot to improve on, but that I will be able to change through the Atonement. And that is my desire for all of you. I think it is easy to listen to 10 hours of truth, feel good, and then do nothing about it. I know that I have done that so much in my life. But now I truly want to change and be molded by the Savior. But the question is: how do we truly change? I have a few tips I have learned that I hope you and I will be able to put into practice so we can actually change. First, true doctrine, understood changes behavior. (I believe that quote is in PMG) We need to understand that we will never change with "applications." What I mean by this is that we can try to first change our behaviors, the things we do, but until we understand God's revealed truths (doctrine) we will not change. For instance, (and this example and idea of doctrine vs. application comes from a talk by Elder Bednar that we watched last week) if we want to increase home teaching in the ward we can either try applications such as getting the meanest strongest man in the ward to threaten to beat people up for not doing home teaching, or we can help everyone understand the doctrines of why we do home teaching. Only the doctrine understood will bring true, lasting change. Second, first set goals, then plan to achieve them. Too often we do the opposite. I caught myself planning before setting goals right after conference. luckily, the Spirit helped me realize this and I decided to set "eternal goals." I listed the Christlike attributes plus a few others in a book and then wrote about what I wanted to be. How would I think, act, and be when I had mastered this attribute? What did I want to BECOME? Once we have determined that. And only after we have determined that, we can set daily, weekly, monthly, goals with the purpose of helping us achieve those eternal goals. The only purpose of short term goals is to help us achieve our eternal goals! I hope that makes sense. So, my challenge to you is to truly change because of what you have learned at conference. Go to a quiet place, write about what you want to become with help from the doctrines you have learned, and then set shorter term goals to help you accomplish that and regularly and diligent check up on them. And do all of this with the help of the Spirit and your Heavenly Father. I know that only through the Atonement and through diligent effort are we able to change. So get the most out of every spiritual experience and truly allow yourself to change from it. I promise you will not be alone in your righteous pursuits to change. Heavenly Father, the Savior, and angels both heavenly and earthly will be there to help you.

I love you all and am so grateful for you and your examples! Because I love you, I want you to change for the better. I am so excited to go to Argentina! I can't even begin to express how excited I am to serve the Lord and have the experiences that will bring permanent change in me and in the people I love and will love. What a great work this is!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stock and Hawk

Tanner's AP companion (Tate Stock) teaches Fijian at the MTC and looked up Rand. 
Stock sent this picture to Tanner today.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Orar y Cambiar

 Hola, personas bonitas!

Another week in paradise! Though I have to say that I am getting pretty ready to leave. It is crazy how excited I am to leave such an amazing place, because if I was going  to almost anywhere else I would be sad, but I am about to head off to do something even better--serve others by helping them come unto Christ. Now that is really living the dream!
So this week I got a little sick. I have had like half a cold for awhile, but on like Tuesday I lost my voice part way through the day and could only whisper for half of Tuesday and all of Wednesday (kind of like Elder Cox in our ward, I sounded like Batman sometimes). On Thursday I woke up and decided to go to the doctor so he said I might have a sinus infection so I got to walk down the street to the BYU student health center and get some drugs. It was pretty exciting to go on a little adventure almost a full 1/4 mile away. haha But now I am feeling a lot better so don't worry about me! But on Wednesdays we do this thing called the Training Resource Center where we get to talk to members about the gospel in Spanish which is so cool. But since I could only whisper I wasn't gonna talk a lot, but when we got in there I just had to say what I felt. So our teacher, Hermano Bush, is able to watch from the camera and he said it was super powerful when I would testify and quote scriptures while whispering. It was a blessing to be able to do that and we had an amazing discussion with the sister we spoke with. It actually ended up being a blessing to have lost my voice and been able to do that. I know that the Spirit helps me to speak and without it I would not be able to do anything I am doing on a mission.
So yesterday was probably the best day at the MTC so far. It was fast Sunday and so we had mission conference and also a Sunday night devotional and district meeting and fast and testimony meeting and watched a video in the evening. So it was bound to be an awesome day from the start i guess. But I'm going to share a couple talks I heard. The first was in mission conference. President Brady asked if we wanted to learn the language better and gain more knowledge and teaching ability. He then told us if we would only take a handful of minutes each day then we would be able to do this. And he asked us if we would be willing to do whatever it was even if we didn't know what it was yet. Then he talked about having an evening devotional with our Heavenly Father each night. At the MTC, between 10:15 and 10:30 each day we have time set apart for pondering and prayer and he told us it was crucial we took this time to account to the Lord about our day and to listen for answers. He promised that if we did that, then we would be able to receive guidance, support, encouragement, and help as we faithfully had a personal interview with the Lord each day. He said this is the time when the will of the Father and child become one and when we make ourselves moldable to become who he wants us to be. It was so powerful and I am definitely going to do that for my whole life. So I challenge all of you to turn your evening prayers into something more than just a quick list of the blessings you want. Speak with your Heavenly Father about your day, ask for direction, tell him of your desires to improve and LISTEN. Remember that He is your Father and prayer is a 2 way communication! I promise if you do this, then he will help you to become the person that He wants you to be and your relationship with Him will grow and this will bless your life in so many ways. It really will change you and I know that to be true because as I have done that during the MTC I have already been changed and prepared to change and it is a great blessing. So please, do this and share your experiences with me! And don't only do it once! Do it every single day!
Each Sunday we get to watch these different videos they show, mostly of talks given by apostles at the MTC. So instead of an apostle we were gonna watch this movie about Joseph Smith's life, but at the last minute we changed our mind and decided to go to a talk by Elder Uchtdorf. We put our stuff down and went to the bathroom and came back and saw Elder Bednar talking. We were surprised and almost left cause we thought we had already seen it. But we stayed and I am so glad we did because it was the best talk I have yet heard at the MTC! He talked about doctrines being simple truths revealed to us by God. Principles are guidelines based on those truths and an application is what we do because of the guideline. So doctrines answer "why", principles answer "what", and application questions answer "how." Hopefully this all kind of makes sense. But he said we too often try to help people and help ourselves by using applications. we try to change our behaviors by focusing on the behaviors themselves. But a prophet said that "true doctrine, understood changes behavior." Can't remember who it is but the quote is in PMG and it is amazing. So, the only way we can truly change is to learn doctrine with our minds AND hearts. For instance, when we truly understand in our minds and hearts that prayer is 2 way communication with God then we will apply that doctrine by praying like described by President Brady above. He gave us an apostolic promise that if we would search, learn, and understand the doctrine then our lives would be changed and that as we helped others to understand doctrine for themselves that their lives would also be blessed and they would be able to truly change. It was so simple, but so amazing. So, my challenge to you is, when faced with a problem or a question about the gospel, always respond with DOCTRINE! Learn the doctrine, understand the doctrine, and you can then apply the doctrine.
There were so many amazing talks and those are just two of them. So I hope that you at least kind of understand them because the talks themselves were way better than my attempt to share them with you. But, fortunately you don't have to rely on my email alone and you don't always need an apostle to testify of truth. Go and search these things and I promise you will gain a greater understanding and you will be better able to change for the better every day. These had really been answers to my prayers because I had been asking how to truly change.
What an amazing day and amazing week and amazing life I have been able to have! I am so lucky! Keep being awesome people! Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement and examples to me. Les amo todo de ustedes! I love you all!

Love, Elder Hawk