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