Monday, November 24, 2014

El oro en Azotea


Well it was a good week! We had two divisions this week. We went to San Pedro and did some baptismal interviews and on the way back I decided to clap this super huge two story house and they let us in. It was probably the nicest house I have ever gotten into my whole mission. We taught a little bit about the Restoration and they want the missionaries from there to keep visiting them. So that was pretty cool. The little group there is growing a lot and the Elders are working really hard so it was cool to see. It is a lot like the situation in Ita Paso and we talked about how sometimes we feel like pastors of a little church. haha especially since we live right behind the church. It really is amazing how much I have grown to love the people here and how responsible I feel for their livelihood and progression. I know that love doesn´t come from me.

And although we love Itá Paso, we decided to go visit another area called Azotea that I have wanted to visit for a long time, but it is really far and there isn´t a lot of time. So on Saturday we finally were able to go out there and we struck gold. First we met Hermano Gonzalez and his family. He was the branch President before, but the branch got closed down and we aren´t sure exactly how it all happened, but he went inactive with just about everyone from this neighborhood cause they would have had to go to church way far away and it is a pretty poor place. But we started to just talk to him and listen to him and hear about his life and then he asked us why we had come. We said that we came to get to know him and listen to him and then Elder Sanchez said that we needed his help. He looked really thoughtful and then he said "I give you my word that I will go to church tomorrow with my family." And they went! He sat in a church building for the first time in 7+ years. His two sons are 11 and 9 and haven´t been baptized yet so we are going to start teaching them as well. Hermano Alfonso and the district president were there when he walked in and they both went over and gave him a huge hug. Afterwards we talked with Hno. Alfonzo and he started crying when he talked about how he had done his best to visit that man for 10 years and he finally came. It was way cool to see and we are way excited. In this area there are at least 3 other part-member families that we are going to work with.

One of the members we found over there came out and said "tanto tiempo!" and was so happy to see missionaries again. She is like 70+ years old and has read her scriptures and prayed every day even though she has been unable to go to church. We asked her if she was going to a different church nearby and she said "never!" and bore her testimony to us. The only problem is that we couldn´t organize a way for her to come to church and she wanted to try to walk all the way there, but we told her we were going to find a way for her to go the next week. It was so humbling to see someone so excited to see the missionaries and so willing to try to go to church. We can really see how these people have a huge desire and hunger to feel the Spirit and be a part of the church again. We had a similar situation with a woman who is 8 and a half months pregnant and who also wanted to go to church so bad. We are going to try to see if Hno. Gonzalez will be able to take them in his van next week. But I am more excited than ever to work and build the church in the neighborhoods around Itá Paso. Every house in Ita Paso has been clapped probably  times in the last few months so its time to check out some other options.

Life is good. Today we went and visited some Jesuit ruins in a place called Trinidad. They were way awesome. I sent a lot of pictures to dropbox. I wore my Team Nigeria shirt with wrestling season coming up and cause I promised Coach bishop I would send some. haha I´m a white guy wearing a Team Nigeria shirt in Paraguay. hahaha

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Ready to Wrestle

Monday, November 17, 2014

La esperanza‏


Well it has been a very busy week, with a lot of traveling. On Monday we went to Pilar which is like 6 hours away and we had to take two different buses in the middle of the night. In the second bus there were no seats lefts, so we stood. haha. But it was cool cause we were with like 4 other missionaries and we had a good time. Then we all slept in one tiny apartment and I met Elder Acevedo´s new son! haha His name is Elder Johnson and he is way awesome. We had our zone meeting 2.0 which turned out really well, but not quite as awesome as the first one. But after I did divisions with Elder Johnson, and they were some of the best that I have ever had. He is a brand new missionary that plays piano like a boss. Pilar has a reputation of being a rough area, so instead of clapping all of the houses close to the street, I started searching for houses hidden behind other houses and such. We found some way cool people who were way excited to talk to us and had some really spiritual lessons. We found one kid who speaks way good English and he defiantly wouldn´t have talked to us if we didn´t also speak English, but he was way interested and went to church this week! At the end and throughout the splits I had a good talk with Elder Johnson and just let him know that he was doing awesome and that he needs to just be himself and use his many talents. He left very excited and I felt like I was able to inspire him. He is going to be an awesome missionary and he gave me a lot of hope for the future of our mission. I love helping other missionaries. It is very rewarding and I left Pilar way excited.

Then we had a long bus ride to Encarnación. We got home late and then on Friday had our combined zone meeting with President LaPierre and the assistants. We talked a lot about the first vision and the Spirit was really strong when we practiced it in small groups. We also talked about not following into a routine and doing things in different ways to help the Spirit. It was cool to hear everyone´s ideas. We gave a training on having a vision and plan for your area instead of just going out and working. We had Elder Johnson play the top hand of a simple hymn and talked about how that is how it sounds when we just go out and work without a plan and without a vision. Then we talked about the specifics of a plan and toward the end I talked about how the Alfonzo family got sealed and how that is the vision for our mission--making families eternal. Then I felt impressed to share about Jace, which I had not planned. I talked about how that experience created a vision for our family of being together with him forever. I said that focusing on that vision and striving to achieve it is what has helped me to progress and has kept us together as a family. Then we said that if we have that vision and plan, than our areas will be like this. And Elder Johnson started playing this beautiful combination of Jesus once of humble birth and I stand all amazed with a few other songs. It was so amazing! The Spirit was way strong. Elder Johnson was way excited to be able to play again and pretty emotional too.

Then we headed back to the area and had a lesson with Lilian and Ivan. I am pretty sad about them because they are way awesome and believe what we say, but are just not willing to put aside other things to go to church and do the other commitments. She was talking about having an eternal family and how when we taught that, she just felt whole. I told her that it wouldn´t be possible to have that if they didn´t do what was necessary. I don´t think they understood, because they didn´t come to church again. I just want these people to be happy, but I can´t force them to do it. It just is hard to love people so much and see them not progress. I just have to have hope that one day they will have the faith necessary. But right now is not their time. I´m telling myself to have hope, but it is getting a bit difficult. I still need to figure things out. It´s easy to say that its all just gravy, but I need to truly believe it. Something that is going to take some time to figure out.

But all in all it was a pretty good week. I am excited for this week cause we are going to be able to focus more in our area! Thank you all so much! Les amo!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Monday, November 10, 2014

Familias Eternas‏


Well this was probably the best week of my mission, but I thought it was going to be the worst week of my mission at the beginning. There was A LOT of problems in our zone and missionaries making dumb decisions. I asked the Lord to increase my capabilities so that I could help solve the problems and help the missionaries in my zone. He answered my prayer.

We had the leadership council where we were able to learn a lot of good stuff. The best part for me was when Presidente LaPierre talked about having a vision and how he had this project to design a part of a jet engine and it was going to be a project of 6 years and on the way to a meeting about the project he begin to write and planned what he would do for the next six years. Some things changed, but the vision stayed the same and that is what guided him to be able to finish this project. He said that it is the Spirit that gives us the vision.

So as I was thinking of all of this after the meeting and planning our zone meeting an idea came to my mind and we planned it all out and did it with half the zone on Friday (we have to have a zone meetings with only half of the zone cause we can´t all come together for the distance) and it was one of the most powerful experiences I have had on the mission. What we did is take everyone into the chapel and sit in the first two rows. We talked about President LaPierre´s experience and then said how each one of us is the engine and Christ is the engineer and we need to know His vision for us and work to achieve it. We talked about our divine potential and the ability we have to progress and grow especially in these 2 years. Then, when the Spirit was strong we gave everyone a piece of paper, told them to find their own spot, say a prayer and then write what came to mind, promising them that the Spirit would guide them to know what to write. We all considered three questions: Who do I want to become before finishing my mission? Am I doing what I need to do now in order to achieve this vision? What will I do to achieve this vision? As I personally wrote I begin to think of things that I hadn´t even considered. One of them was to just let myself be happy and to radiate happiness. I realized that God doesn´t want me to change what I do, rather, He wants me to change my nature. As we were finishing we quietly went to each missionary and invited them to come back to the front of the chapel. The Spirit that was present there in that moment is difficult to describe, but it was something similar to what I feel in the temple. It was a sacred experience for everyone and it was very rewarding to hear everyone share some of the things that they had learned. One Elder who has had some problems said that as he wrote he realized that before, he believed he knew everything but now he sees that he still has a long way to go and a lot to learn. Another Elder afterwards said it was one of the experiences he would treasure and take with him home from the mission. Probably one of the coolest and most powerful experiences of my mission and it solved all of the problems we had in our zone. But I know it wasn´t me and Elder Sanchez. It was the Lord increasing our capabilities and sending us the vision of what we needed to do.

Then we had one of the most joyful experiences of my mission. The Familia Alfonzo who has been fighting hard to go to the temple for 7 years finally went and were sealed as a family, even though he was making very little money and even though his motorcycle got robbed. We focused sacrament meeting on eternal families. I talked first and had planned to just talk about the basics of the temple so our investigators understood, but after explaining a little bit I felt impressed to talk about Jace. I talked about how in that moment the promise of an eternal family was what kept us going and gave us hope and the thing that keeps us striving to be our best. Sister Alfonzo started crying and I just about started crying too. At the end I said something like ``this is what we do in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-- we use the power and authority given from our Father in heaven to unite families together for eternity. That´s what its all about´´. Then we sang ´´Las families pueden ser eternas´´ and the Alfonzo family all talked a bit about how they felt in the temple and the experience they had. I almost cried again listening to Sister Alfonzo. I can´t describe the joy I felt to see this family united. Their home has a different feeling now and I have never seen them more happy and excited. And this is what it`s all about.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

In other news we had two less active members come to church for the first time. For her it was the first time in years and her grandson was so excited on the way to church, It was so awesome. And Hno. Morel came and is going to ask for every Sunday off of work. Also, Hno. Barbosa got a new job where he won´t drink anymore cause his boss doesn´t allow it. And many other amazing things.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Well this was a pretty crazy and a little bit rough week. We went on divisions to Ayolas this week which is a little fishing town. I went out with Elder Ah Quin who is a new missionary from St. George, Utah. He knows the Laubs and went to Washington elementary at the same time as me. So that was pretty crazy. But before the divisions started we headed out on a bus and it went way slow and we got off in this tiny town that was like one square block and the other bus took forever to get there and then almost at the end it broke down.. so we got there a little late, but it was still cool to be with a new missionary and remember what that was like. He kept saying how 14 months is such a long time and it made me realize how long I have been out here. Everything went well and then the next morning we woke up early to take the bus that was supposed to pass at 5:30. But it never passed. I sent a picture of us sitting on chairs in the giant rain waiting for the bus to come. haha Next time we are just going to ride donkeys there. more reliable than Paraguayan travel. haha

Then we got home and the rain started way strong and we were in the church doing our planning and it was the hardest rain storm I have seen in my whole mission. I started taking a video and then there was this huge bang and in the video you can see the shingles of the roof fly to the ground. The church got struck by lightning -exclamation point doesn´t work-. It was the craziest thing ever. And then the whole church started leaking water cause there were no shingles to stop it. We put up some buckets and stuff, but it was impossible to stop it all. So after the storm ended we just pushed all the water out. Then we went to help some members whose house got pretty messed up and on the way we saw a bunch of trees knocked over and power lines destroyed. It was pretty crazy. The wind was so strong. One sister was in her house and this giant tree right next to her house started moving like crazy and she prayed and the tree fell the other way. We saw the tree and it was like on the side of this mini cliff and I can´t believe it didn´t fall on her house because it logically should of. That was a pretty cool miracle this week. We didn´t do near as much proselyting but a lot of the time when i am serving I feel even more like a missionary.

We are also way excited cause our group leader here is going to be sealed to his family this Friday. They are way excited and we are so happy for them. I think it is going to get everyone here way excited. We have a lot of plans to help the group here progress. I have never had so much stuff to do with an area and a group and a zone that is giant, but it is a fun challenge. I am excited to see the work here progress.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Our Branch
Farewell to Elder Ollerton
Splits with the tall missionaries
The Infamous Rubik's Cube 
Is that the way to spell "John"? haha
 Waiting for the Bus
 The hole in the roof of the church

Candlelight in our Apartment
Another Beautiful Sunset