Well life got pretty crazy this last week. I am now a father in the mission. Hardly had any time to enjoy my youth. haha I had a feeling it was coming but the truth is it is an even harder challenge than I had thought before.
So we had a big conference call with the whole zone and the ZLs announced every change and said that Elder Peña would be training a new missionary in Ruta 2 (my last area). So I was kind of confused cause I thought that would be what I would do. Then they said that I was going to train and everyone started talking at once and Elder Peña picked me up and started yelling things in Spanish and I was kind of confused. haha Once things settled down they explained that I would be going to the Area Oberá 1 with a new missionary. White wash and training at the same time! At that moment I got more nervous, but the missionary's name was Elder Muñoz so the ZLs and Elder Peña said he was probably from South America. So I decided it wouldn´t really be all that hard.
The next day we went around and visited all the families and investigators and it was really hard to say goodbye, I love those people so much. One of our investigators who is 9 started crying and it tore me up a bit, but Elder Peña will keep working with him and I hope to go back and visit after my mission. I am going to miss those people and that area, it became like my home. I learned so much from Elder Peña and the ZLs and I was really lucky to get to be in that area in that time. And the truth is that the Lord was using them to prepare me for this new and difficult challenge. They are all great missionaries.
So, the next day we traveled to Posadas to receive our new missionaries. I was talking to all the new missionaries and met Elder Muñoz who is from California and is not a native speaker of the language. At this point I got a lot more nervous. haha But Elder Muñoz is awesome. He is struggling with the language but he is working so hard! He wants to learn it and help the people so badly. He is working really hard with me and has a good grasp on the principles of the lesson. He just needs some more practice in Spanish. But he is already a great missionary and he is going to do great things in the mission. I just hope I can do all I can to help him reach his full potential. It's a pretty big responsibility but I have the Lord´s help.
As for our area: Oberá is the second largest city in misiones and there are 3 sets of missionaries here. The address to the church is Santiago del Estero 355 and we live across the street in a house in case you are interested in checking it out on Google maps. The branch has about 70 active members and they are super supportive so that is a huge help! The city is sooo beautiful! It's really green and when you are at the top of the hill you can just see it all. The other day there was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. haha It was even better than an Arizona sunset. haha The area is so beautiful.
However, when we opened the area book we found a lot... of nothing. There aren´t any teaching records of current investigators or forms of progression. The most recent is from like April. So we are kind of starting from scratch. We have tried to ask around the members who they were teaching and there are numbers in the cell phone but basically there is no one. It was kind of frustrating, but also it's ok cause now we can just kind of play dumb and talk to everyone and clap every house. And so we have just been talking to everyone we see and going down the streets and clapping lots of houses. It has actually been pretty effective and we now have a pretty large pool of people who we are going to start working with. I figured that if we just actually had a pool to teach from we could work with them all and then see which are actually prepared for baptism and who will actually follow through with commitments. So that is what we are doing for now. I am praying really hard for direction and the Lord is guiding us to lots of amazing people. The work is hard, but we are being so blessed.
The truth is that this is the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. I am mentally exhausted constantly, because I have to speak ridiculous amounts of Spanish every day and try to figure out where we need to go and there is a lot of responsibility. It´s difficult. But this is not my work and it is not my challenge. This is the work of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am not alone! I have His help constantly and I have felt Him with me. I have felt Him lift my Spirits, guide me where I need to go, and give me the strength to continue on. I testify that this is the work of the Lord. And I testify that this gospel is true! Because if it wasn´t true, an 18 year old boy with very little experience of the world who hardly knows Spanish wouldn´t be able to do what the Lord is helping me do. Thank you for your prayers and your support! ¡Les quiero!
2 Nephi 4:20-25
My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high;
and angels came down and ministered unto me.
And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
Con amor, Elder Hawk
|President, Elder Munoz, Elder Hawk, and Sister La Pierre|