Monday, June 30, 2014

La obra del Señor‏


Thank you all so much for your letters and support. Reading your emails this week has really given me the lift that I need to keep doing all that I can. Missionary work is the hardest thing that I have ever done. I feel like the apostle Paul who said “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” We are battling against everything. The people here are 100% convinced that we receive money for baptisms. The first few times I heard it I thought it was so ridiculous that it was funny, but now I am seeing why the people truly do believe it. Missionaries come and baptize people and never visit them again. So the people made up that idea because it makes sense. The people say that the missionaries baptize people and then abandon them, and the sad part is that in many cases it is true. We hear stories about religious schools that won´t let their kids leave if there are missionaries nearby. Everything is against us and I am just me. But then I read a quote by Ezra Taft Benson that translates into English to be something like this: "There cannot be failures in the work of the Lord when we do the best that we can. We are only instruments in His hands, this is the work of the Lord. This is His church and His gospel plan. We are working with His children. If we do what we are called to do, he will not allow us to fail. When it is necessary, He will magnify us even more than our own talents and abilities. I know it well. I am sure that there are many of you who have experienced it as I have experienced it. It is one of the sweetest experiences that a human being can have." I have been praying to the Lord to change our circumstances and to change what has happened here, but I need to pray for Him to change me to meet these circumstances. If I am doing all that I can then I cannot fail because I am a servant of an all-powerful God. I am nothing, but he can make me everything. He has done it time and time again in my life and especially on the mission and if I am just obedient then he will continue to do it. The only thing that can really impede the work of the Lord is sin. I teach people every day how to avoid sin and how to repent of their past sins, but I learned this week that I need to start putting into practice what I preach. So I started to look at myself and see how I could change. The work continues on the same. We still have the same obstacles and the same challenges, but I am not the same. The Lord is changing me every day and that is the real success.

This week I saw some of the greatest faith I have seen. We were teaching a less active member who recently began coming back to church and she has a lot of problems with her legs and her husband has been without work for months. Despite this, she told me that in all this time they have not lacked anything. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "And who is giving us all of these things? Christ." This family really has almost nothing, but what they do have is faith. I have realized here that the circumstances of life mean nothing. What matters is that we have faith in Christ. When we keep the commandments no matter what the cost, the Lord will give us everything we need and more. It is heartbreaking to see people who do not have the faith to see this and who fall into the same problems because they are not willing to commit 100%, and it is inspiring to see the miracles in the lives of those who commit themselves completely to the Lord.

This is the Lord´s work. There are not failures in the work of the Lord. If I am faithful I cannot fail.

I love you all so much!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Monday, June 23, 2014

Los sentimientos inolvidables‏

Hola familia!

It was a very good week! We are working hard and we have the Spirit and I just need to always remind myself that that is what is most important.

Gustavo Pedroso was our miracle this week. We found him about 3 weeks ago as a reference of a member and he is way intelligent. About 2 years ago he was in a super bad situation and the missionaries showed up and he says that they raised him from the ground to the floor (it makes a little more sense in Spanish). He has a strong belief in Christ and told us that when he drives to church he just talks with God, but was afraid to ask if the church was true because he said that if the answer is yes then he will have to make a lot of difficult changes in his life. Then I said, "so you are expecting Him to say yes" and he said it was 90% positive that the answer will be yes. haha The truth is he already knows because he told me that one of the missionaries before had this strong Spirit that you could feel when he entered the room and he said that I had it as well. It made me feel good when he said that because that is what I want to have with me always. It made me realize that the people will not always remember what you said, but they never forget how they felt. He came to the first part of church on Sunday and loved it. We have a family home evening this night with him and he wants to bring his family to church on Sunday.

We also met a woman at the beginning of the week named Merta. We found her when we went to a partial family and the mom was pulling the seeds out of bean pods and we sat and helped. Merta told us that missionaries had visited her before and she just felt like she wasn´t alone and that God was thinking of her. When the missionaries left she said she cried and cried and told us she felt more alone since then. We bore our testimonies and told her that she could receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and have a friend and companion in every moment. It was a powerful experience and made me realize yet again that the way we make people feel will never be forgotten.

Perhaps in this time here I haven´t had a lot of the outward success as a missionary. But I know that I have had the Spirit and I know that many peoples lives have been touched as we brought the Spirit into their homes and their lives. As full time missionaries and as member missionaries we need to understand that true missionary work is not done in words, but in an example of love. If we radiate the love of Christ and His Spirit then others will want what we have. And the best part is that they can have it as well. Let us work and be an example so that all can see what we have, desire to have it, and then obtain it with our help. That is true missionary work.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Wednesday, June 18, 2014



First of all, please excuse my errors in spelling and if I miss letters. this keyboard was definitely one fo the very first created here in Paraguay. haha

This week the river flooded a bunch of house, including a member. We went and visited her when the water went down and it had gone up passed her door. It was pretty sad to see how almost everyting she had was destroyed in a moment. But despite this she was still at church this Sunday which is awesome because she has been less active. We will be visiting her this week to help her out a bit.

We also just received the new transfers and I will be staying here with Elder Acevedo, and my trainer Elder Peña who went home for back problems is coming back and he will be in my zone! It is going to be a little weird but I am way excited to see him!

We are having a lot of success here, but it is a slow progress. we aren´t finding people who are going to get batized super fasst, but they are people who will be great members of the church--complete families. So i am not worrying too much about the immediate results. I realized that if i am teaching b the spirit and loving teh people and helig other missionaries to imrove then I am fulfiling my purpose as a missionary. So despite our lack of immediate success, I am calm and cinfident that the blessings of the Lord are coming and have seen many blessings taht we have already received. For example: our little investiagating family showd up to church like 15 minutes early and got there before we did! They are already more commited tahn a lot of the members! It was way cool to see such great faith.

I am also so grateful for families. There are so many people here with broken an dysfuncional families and I am just so grateful taht i have always had an amzing family to help me and that I have always felt safe and protected. I really have been more blessed than I deserve, but i know that I must use these blessings and talents that I have to hel oters create families that are strong in the gospel so that generations can be blessed. I love you all so much!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lluvia, lluvia, y mas lluvia‏


Well it was a pretty wet week. It rained pretty much every single day. When it rains, no one works or leaves their houses, especially for church. If it rained here every day for a few weeks more, everyone would starve because they would just stay in their house waiting for the rain to pass. haha But even with the rain it was a way good week.

On Monday we had the leadership council and we talked a lot about leading like Christ does. There is a phrase in Spanish that means when you chastise someone that is "drop the cane" and we watched the Bible video when Christ calls Peter Satan, thus dropping the cane on him hard. haha While we as leaders should probably avoid calling the other missionaries Satan, the video showed how Christ always was concerned about the progress of the apostles more than he was concerned about Himself and I realized that I really need to start taking better care of the missionaries in my zone and helping them to reach their potential. Presidente LaPierre is a great example of this because he always focuses more on us than anything else. He and Hermana LaPierre think of us as their children and you can really feel their love.

Then on Tuesday at midnight we went to Asunción to do visa papers and we got to see the outside of the temple. It was way cool to see all of the busy city and then to go on the temple grounds where everything is peaceful and there is a different Spirit.

We have been focusing a lot on working more with the members and we have been asking for references like crazy. Through the references we found a huge family that has 12 kids, but some have moved away. They went to church a lot like 5 years ago but then the missionaries left and they lost contact with the church. They are way excited to learn more and love having us in their house. One of the members also brought one of his work companions and his wife to church and they loved it. You could just see a huge joy in the member when his friends were talking about how they liked it. We have a family home evening with them tonight and are way excited. We also did divisions with our ward mission leader and he is way awesome and is super concerned about all of the less actives and after we had a quick meeting with him and he is reading Preach my Gospel and bore his testimony to us about how important the work is. It was way cool to see a member so excited about the work and at times as a missionary you feel like it is just you and your companion fighting against Satan alone, but now we have members at our side fighting with us.

Life is good! At the conference the missionaries who are dying soon all talked and I was just thinking about how fast the mission is passing by and how I need to make every day worth it. In the MTC someone told us that we had an eternity to look forward to our mission and an eternity to look back on our mission but we only have two years to live it. I´m living it. I love you all so much!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

 We went to Asuncion to do paperwork for our visas and we got to see the temple,
 though we couldn´t go inside.

Views of the City

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Encontrando Milagros‏


First of all, every beginning or very end of the month I will write you on Tuesdays, because we have the leadership council, so please calm yourselves. Haha.

This was one of the greatest weeks of my mission for sure! We had a crazy amount of miracles in finding people who are prepared for the gospel and not just interested.

On Tuesday, we were walking down a street that we always walk down, but we felt impressed to clap a house and José came out and started talking to us and then we started teaching him and towards the end he was telling us how he wanted to come closer to God and improve his marriage because they lack God in their relationship and that that same day super early in the morning he had a dream that two strangers showed up to his house with white shirts and he thought that something really bad or really good was about to happen. Then, we showed up and he said he didn´t see where we had come from so he wasn´t sure if we had walked there or came down from the heavens.

A few hours later we stopped and talked to a guy sitting next to a volleyball net and he invited us to sit down and his house was super dirty and the pigs were walking by us and he almost couldn´t understand us and I was thinking of leaving, but then the cousin of his wife (Maria) came over and told us that she was baptized about 9 years ago, but moved away and didn´t have a church by her house. 8 days ago they moved in with their relatives and the relatives told us that missionaries had passed by their house hundreds of times but had never stopped and talked to them. Maria was very emotional and a few days later we passed by again and gave her husband a blessing and after we shared about the families and the importance of coming to church and at the end we invited him to give the prayer and he didn´t want to do it but we encouraged him and he offered a beautiful prayer and his wife cried because she had always wanted him to share spiritual things with her, but this was the first time he had actually done it. They both came to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it.

We also found Zuni and Joel when we felt prompted to visit and inactive family who we had stopped visiting cause they didn´t really receive us very well, but we went and a bunch of the family was there and we talked with these two and they invited us to stop by their house and their house is super nice! But they are very humble and Zuni came to church on Sunday and cried during sacrament meeting and one of the sisters was with her the whole time and talking to her and everything. She is excited to bring the whole family the next week.

These are not even all of the miracles we had this week. I can´t fit them all. But we also had one of the most powerful testimony meetings of my life. I was praying that people would be inspired to share so that the investigators would have a good experience and like 3 adults shared their amazing conversion stories and then a girl who is about 10 got up and bore one of the most powerful and pure testimonies I have ever heard. She talked about how much she loved her family because of the love she felt, but then expressed the deep pain she had to think of families who don´t have this love one to another. I cried while she was talking and understood better how our Father in Heaven feels about our world. He is incredibly happy because of those who are doing what is right, but has a pain that we cannot comprehend for those of His children that are not on the right path. My job as a missionary is to share this love and this pain and do all that is in my power to help these people come to the truth and experience the joy and blessings of the gospel and eternal families. And how great shall be my joy with them in the kingdom of my Father.

This is the Lord´s work. We are only instruments in His hands. But as we do all we can, he will work miracles through us. I love this work, I love these people, and I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father. And because of this love, I will work.

Con amor, Elder Hawk