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