Monday, August 10, 2015

La cereza por encima‏

Hola,

Well, this is it. I wasn`t expecting to learn so much in my last week but I really learned so much. This has been the adventure of a lifetime. I told that to present LaPierre in my last interview yesterday and he said "Your adventure has just begun." It still hasn`t hit me that I am not going to be here anymore. I am not sure when it will. But I`m ready for the next step in life and I know that the Lord will continue to put me in the best situations and that I will continue to learn if I am faithful.

Elder Cancino will be training a new missionary and he is the district leader. I am very proud of all that he has accomplished in these 2 changes. He has made leaps in his progress and is going to do an amazing job. I`m glad I could learn so much from him in this time even though a few times I wanted to kick him in the head.

This week, after 11 weeks of little success we found 2 golden investigators who both were early to church and stayed for the whole 3 hours and loved it. That is what kept me going these last weeks even though I was a bit discouraged. I knew that maybe I would find someone on my very last day, but that there were still people waiting for me. Carolina went to church with her two little girls and she is very excited to learn more. Sister Maria Gonzalez was the best friend ever for her and she helped with the girls and lives close by her so she will help a lot. She has such a strong testimony. Orlando is 19 and has a sweet mohawk. He looks a bit wild, but his younger brother has gone to church constantly for a long time even though no one else from the family has gone. His mom and other siblings began going and Orlando came back to his house and is way excited for baptism. The Young Single Adults are already inviting him to all the activities and everything. I am grateful that I learned enough in these 2 years to be able to remain calm despite the fact that it looked like we had no progress and despite my discouragement. It payed off by finding these two. I`m excited to hear about what happens with them.

Yesterday I had an experience that changed my life. We went to lunch after church to eat with the Baez family. Zuni Baez is the mom that is in the picture. Her son Ivan was reactivated a year ago and his wife Yessica was baptized. They haven`t been really active in the church and we visit them about once a week and just try to invite the Spirit and challenge them to live the gospel in its fullness. Anyways, we got to the lunch and I went to the bathroom and they have an outhouse on the side of the house that is horrible. I then entered into the house which is one wall of bricks and 3 of wood. Its one tiny room with the beds and kitchen all together and its a very humble place. Despite that she had cooked us a delicious, but simple meal and I didn`t eat a whole lot cause I knew that they didn`t have a lot of money. After we finished she said that our dessert was in the fridge in the door part. I opened it up expecting the usual peaches with dulce de leche (which is delicious), but I didn`t see anything in the door. Then I looked at the top shelf of that small, old fridge and saw a cake. She said that she wanted to thank us for all that we had done for her son and daughter in law. She said that a month before we had gotten there Yessica had gone to live with her parents and they had lots of problems. A week before we showed up they had gotten back together. She said that because of the things we shared and all we did for them that Yessica loves living with them and is content and wants to study and they got along a lot better. This woman who likely wouldn`t buy a cake even for her own birthday bought one for us because we helped her son. But I really don`t feel like we did a whole lot. I almost couldn`t hold back the tears as I realized what that cake really means. It is a symbol of my entire mission. For every crust of bread that I give to these people they give me a cake in return. I love them so much and I am going to miss them. They have nothing except for the gospel and they are so happy and so giving. I told President LaPierre this story in my interview and we both cried. After a short silence he said: "Always honor those people. For the rest of your life find some way to honor them and to be worthy of them." As I ate that cake the thought came to me that I am not worthy of that cake. I don`t think I will every truly be worthy of all of the love that these people have given to me. They, together with my Father in Heaven have taught me to love and I will forever be indebted for that.

So now, in a short time I will enter a plane and leave behind this place and these people, perhaps forever. But they will always be with me. I`m not the same kid I was when I walked into a plane 2 years ago. How could I ever be the same after getting to know these people and getting to know my Savior like I have in this time?

"And having set our “hand to the plough,” we will never look back until this work is finished and love of God and neighbor rules the world." -Elder Holland

Con amor, Elder Hawk


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fotos of Iguazu Falls







Iguazù‏

Hola!

Well I just got back from the falls. I have to say that it kicks the crap out of Niagara Falls. Like Niagara Falls is like a water effect in a community pool compared to what Iguazù is. I am trying to download some fotos to dropbox now. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in nature. So powerful.

Before going to the falls I got permission to spend my Sunday afternoon in Tacuari. It was amazing. I was able to visit several families who I had taught there and really felt so much love for them. I miss them a lot. We ate lunch with the Caceres Bejarano family and it was so hard to say goodbye to them. honestly it was harder than saying goodbye to my family when I left home. I knew that I would see all of you in two years, but I am not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to see these people in person again. If I have learned anything in the mission it is how to love. I bore my testimony in church and said that I never imagined that I would be able to love people as much as I have here in South America thousands of miles away from my home. I know that that love comes from the Lord and not from me. I am grateful that He loves me enough to help me share that love with others.

I am going to miss this so much. The work is difficult right now here, but I wouldn`t rather be doing anything else. i love feeling the Spirit and I love serving my Father in Heaven. It will be hard to not get to do that 24 hours a day. It is going to be way hard to adjust, but I am glad that I have all of you who will help me to make the adjustment. But anyways, this was a short one, but thank you all so much for your support and love during the greatest adventure of my life. Still livin' the dream!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

This is a paragraph and a photo from Elder Taylor Graves blog:

Well one of the greatest opportunities of my mission happened yesterday. My old companion Elder Hawk, who I also consider one of my greatest friends, is leaving tomorrow, ending his mission. President of the mission decided to let him, and I go to our old area where we served for 3 miraculous months. We got to do a real time travel, and will seriously be forever grateful that we got to do that. It felt like a dream being back in Tacuarí where I really gained many of my talents and testimonies that I so desperately rely on now in the mission. I learned with Elder Hawk that we are here in the mission to give of our time, and that's what we did.
We visited to Enrique. An investigator who has more testimony than most members I know. Because of divorce complications, and the fact that he has not been able to officially get married to his "wife" he is waiting ever so patiently for the divorce to go through, to be able to get baptized. Meanwhile, he goes to church every week, participating in fasts, paying tithing, and doing and having read the Book of Mormon almost 3 times already. Yeah. I´m not even exaggerating. 3!
We arrived at his front porch, clapped his door, and waited and waited, and waited, he was taking a nap. So... I decided to pull out a secret weapon that I have. It is a special talent I have developed over the course of time, "clapping" lots of houses of lots of sleeping people (during the siesta) who I want to stop sleeping and start considering there personal salvation. I call it, "The Thunder Clap". Lets just say he woke up.
He came out the door, and with tears in his eyes he said, "I don´t believe it! I never thought I´d see you two again!" He gave us hugs and we just chatted for a good while. We talked about how much he strengthens our testimony and how we still pray for him. After the chat with him, he said a prayer thanking God for having sent his angels to change his life. 
During the prayer tears came to my eyes, as I realized what a blessing it was to be a tool in God´s hands to bless my fellow brothers and sisters.
Elder Hawk and I decided that if we hadn't been accepted in a single house except for his in our whole 3 months there, it would have been worth the time.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Ejemplos‏

Hola,

This week I am going to go back in time and tell a few stories of things that happened before the mission that I remembered this week. I think I am becoming more sensitive and sentimental in this last time. haha

One of the days this week I decided to try to love everyone that I talked to as much as I could and as we were talking to an older lady I don`t know why, but I remembered Michael. I was probably like 6 or 7 and we went to Washington Elementary school. I`m not sure how but mom heard about him and how they lived basically homeless and he had a really rough situation. We took him to school every day in the car cause the bus couldn`t go for him and he wouldn`t be able to go to school if someone didn`t help him. Then we walked home with him to our house and took care of him until his parents could take him again. I remember that I did not like having him around. To me he was strange and he wasn`t well bathed and he bothered me. I only thought about how it was a pain to have to go home with him and everything. But as I sat there talking to this woman about 14 years later I almost began to cry thinking of how amazing my parents are. I saw a problem and they saw a child of God who needed help. The simple act of helping him go to and from school changed his life. It took 14 years for that lesson to finally sink in, but now I understand. I am so grateful for my amazing parents who have always given an amazing example of living the gospel of Jesus Christ which at its essence is service. Michael wasn`t the only person to whom my parents have opened their house and heart. I am grateful for the Spirit for reminding me of that experience. I hope to be able to continue to see everyone as they truly are--children of God no matter what they may appear. Perhaps one day I can love others unconditionally like my parents do.

The other experience I remembered my road to get here on the mission. I was talking to Elder Cancino about the power of the Atonement and how it changes our lives and that is what makes us want to share the gospel and then I shared a bit with him about how I have felt the Atonement in my life and then read the following verses in Alma 26: 

17 Who could have supposed that our God would have been so merciful as to have snatched us from our awful, sinful, and polluted state?

 18 Behold, we went forth even in wrath, with mighty threatenings to destroy his church.

 19 Oh then, why did he not consign us to an awful destruction, yea, why did he not let the sword of his justice fall upon us, and doom us to eternal despair?

 20 Oh, my soul, almost as it were, fleeth at the thought. Behold, he did not exercise his justice upon us, but in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls.

 21 And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.

 22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.

I can`t describe how grateful I am for the mercy of God that has changed my life and allowed me to truly change. Without Him and His Atonement we are all "consign(ed) to an awful destruccion." The least we can do to show our gratitude is to help others receive the same mercy that we have received.

I love being a missionary. I value this mission so much. Its a true privilege to represent my Savior and serve Him. It is going to be hard to leave. If you all weren`t waiting for me I don`t think I would ever go back. haha I love you all! See you later.

Con amor, Elder Hawk




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Siervos inùtiles‏

Hola todos!

Well it was a pretty crazy day. I am writing a lot later cause President LaPierre let us go to Paraguay! First we were just going to go to buy stuff but when I talked to him today in the office when I was getting my passport, I mentioned about Mariola and Scott in Ita Paso right there in Encarnacion and he gave me permission to go see them! I had never been able to go back to an area before or see anyone from an anterior area. It was weird but so awesome! They are doing very well and are excited to go to the temple to be sealed in January. Scott is about to get the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Spirit is strong in their home. They have passed some trials, but they are doing great and have strong testimonies. It was an awesome reunion. They asked me to dedicate their home and so I did and I felt inspired to talk/pray about the temple and that they can have it be the center of their lives and strive to have the Spirit of the temple in their home and in their lives. Every once in awhile as missionaries we are able to say "If these are the only people touched by my service then my mission was a huge success." I can truly say that about this family. I know that I truly played a small role, but it is amazing to see the blessings. When Mariola got baptized all of the other brothers and sisters of Scott started to warm up to the gospel. I promised Sister Benitez that that would happen when she told us about how sad she was that her kids were all far away from the gospel. She fasted and the next week we started teaching Mariola. Now her other daughter in law is preparing for baptism and her other son quit drinking and is accepting the missionaries in his home. It is amazing to see the effects that came from this faithful sisters small act of faith. With the difficulties going on here in Miguel Lanus it helped me to remember the sweet blessings of the work.

Also, this week I have been studying harder to make sure that I am more focused. It was difficult this week cause sitting around the week before got to me. But I am doing a lot better now. Today I was studying faith and the relationship it has with miracles. I always looked at it as like God does 90% and then if I do my 10% then the miracle happens. But today I realized that God does 100% and we just show our confidence in Him (which is what faith really is: confidence in God) by doing what He asks of us. Anyways as I was thinking about all this I went into the other room to prayer and as I talked and thanked God for my incredible mission and all of the miracles that He has created for me I saw in my mind a Christmas present. It was dirty, dented and very tiny and I said that that is the offering that I have given the Lord as a missionary. It isn`t much. I haven`t always worked with a pure purpose, I haven`t always loved the people like I should. I have stumbled and fallen. I have gotten frustrated and angry. I certainly didn`t do anything perfect. My offering has been nothing more than a tiny, dented present. As I thought of that I was filled with gratitude to know that although I have given such an imperfect offering, my Father in Heaven has blessed me more than I could ever have imagined. I have given so little and He has filled me with His Spirit, changed me, and given me so many amazing experiences and miracles. I don`t deserve all of this. I am not worthy of so much mercy and love. I am more grateful than words can describe. I will not ever be able to pay back the Lord for all that He has given me as I have had the privilege to be His servant for 2 years. But what I do plan on doing is to continue to give Him offerings. They will all be small. They will be imperfect. But to show my gratitude to Him I will make sure that they will all be my best.

"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have (only) done that which was our duty to do." Luke 17:10

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Monday, July 13, 2015

Enfermo

Hola,

Well the two attached fotos describe my week better than words could. ON Tuesday I woke up sick and we kept working and I kept getting worse and on Friday morning I folded and we went to the doctor. It was way funny though when we were going into this tiny hospital that was in poor condition and Hermano Ojeda who took us there in his car told me that I needed to make myself look like I was dying and to cough a lot and put my head down so that they would see me. haha Turns out that that is the only way to get in and out of the hospital quickly here. haha It worked cause we were in and out in like 20 minutes. haha I have bronchitis. They gave me an inhaler thing and some antibiotics and some pills for the fever. I am kind of better now. I am more sick of being inside the apartment than I am sick from the bronchitis. haha It is super boring. We had some appointments on Saturday and I was feeling a bit better so we went out for awhile. It felt so good to be out in the street doing what I need to be doing. Unfortunately, all the appointments fell through. We got back to the apartment after only a few hours super exhausted. haha It probably wasn`t a good idea. But it made me appreciate more being able to work. After lots of time it starts to just be the normal routine, but when you are pulled out of the routine you realize how awesome it really was. On Sunday we went to church and by the end we were way tired again. I think I have slept more in these last 4 days than in my entire mission combined. It is super boring. But don`t worry about me cause I am getting better. I will be fine.

One of the best things about being sick is all of the funny suggestions about home remedies that everyone forces you to listen to. haha Orange tea, lemon tea, honey, hinhibre (not sure how it is spelled but it is a root that you put in boiling water that helps the fever supposedly). The best suggestion so far was carpincho fat. hahaha A carpincho is like a giant guinea pig and supposedly its fat is like a magical cure for all times of respiratory problems. It healed a man of asthma that he had his whole life. haha Also, cinnamon milk, if taken daily guarantees complete immunity from all types of colds. I never knew. But the best was that when Elder Cancino`s back started hurting from laying around too much he ask me to iron it out with the iron. haha I have pictures. It didn`t work.

But really I recognize how incredibly blessed I have been my whole mission and my entire life in terms of health. I really have been so healthy always and it is one of the greatest blessings we could ever have. Everyone here asks for health for the family in every prayer and it really is amazing. That is sometimes the only thing that they ask us to pray for. And I just take it for granted unless I am sick. So if you are healthy, give thanks now..before its too late... haha But really. Be thankful.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I am so blessed to have all of you praying for me and rooting me on. I love you! Even sick, I`m living the dream.

Con amor, Elder Hawk





Monday, July 6, 2015

Los milagros‏

Hola!

It was a very good week. We are seeing the beginnings of progress. The best part of the week was when I got up to bear my testimony and I looked out at everyone and there was Hno. Custodio! We have worked with him and felt the spirit so strong with him for over a month and I was not expecting him to be there. It was so awesome! The ward received him so well and he definitely felt loved. He still has lots of struggles and lots of repentance necessary but he is taking real steps and I think it strengthened the ward`s faith. They saw that with a united effort even those who appear the hardest can be brought back to the fold. The members visited him several times and he finally made the step.

Yamila Zarza also came to church on Sunday! She definitely felt the Spirit and the Young Single Adults helped her a lot. They are awesome here and the Lord helps us find people who the ward is prepared to receive. She is going to have lots of support and she really needs the gospel because she has passed through lots of hard stuff. She has a strong desire to change, but she also is scared of the reactions of her parents. We will see how it all goes.

Also, the Martinez family is doing great. The dad told us on Friday that he really wants to start living his religion instead of just being a passive participant. They really want to just live the whole gospel. I think that is what I most learned this week. It isn`t enough to just pick and choose which parts of the gospel we are going to live--we just need to live all of it. That is what will bring us more joy and certainty. We don`t have to settle with a small part of the blessings that the Lord has in store for us. We can have them all! The Martinez family is learning that and it is amazing to feel the difference that is with them and the Spirit that is in their house now. They are very humble but have so much faith that the Lord will help them. I am also certain He will help them. One of the daughters who is like 11 is amazing. She reads the scriptures every single day and drops the cane when they don`t say family prayer and sings amazingly. I told her that she needs to start preparing for the mission. haha

Little by little we are seeing miracles here in Miguel Lanus. More and more I learn that it is the Lord who works the miracles and we are just a tiny part of it all. I love you all so much!

Con amor, Elder Hawk




Monday, June 29, 2015

La carga‏

Hola!

Not sure why the e-mail didn`t go through last week. I can`t find it in my e-mail either. But oh well.

This week was hard cause we are starting to hear about a lot of problems that have happened and are happening in this ward. It is discouraging to hear this stuff cause it makes me feel like all of my work is in vane when it will be destroyed by problems that always happen. But this is kind of just the way that it has to be. The wheat and the tares have to grow together. But when we heard of all the problems I just felt a huge weight. I felt sympathy for Bishops cause I am certain that that weight is constant and difficult to manage. I didn`t expect it to affect me so much, but it was very hard to hear some of those things and feel mostly helpless to do anything about it. But I prayed a lot and studied the scriptures and I am learning how to manage the load and give it to the Lord, which is something important to learn. There are always problems, but this is the Lord`s church and He is in charge. If we work worthily He will make sure that it turns out like he wants. The church in Joseph Smith`s times had lots of problems and apostates, but from that a worldwide church sprung forth. The same will happen here, but it takes time. I can`t expect to see it in my 2 years here.

But despite all that we were able to find some prepared people. One family was contacted by Elder Cancino like a month ago but we hadn`t gone back but we ended up being close to the house with nothing to do and he said we should try it out. This time the daughter was there and she was way interested. She said that it called her attention way more than her own religion and that she really wanted to learn more. The others aren`t super interested yet, but the good thing is that there is an awesome young single adults group here that is going to be able to help her progress. The Lord puts people in our path who the ward is ready to receive.

I also recognized a lot of progress in my companion. He has become a missionary and continues with his desire to learn. At the beginning of the change, and as I thought about it, I decided to teach him the gospel more than to just teach him how to be a missionary and it has been awesome. I realized that that is really more important. Yes, I will teach him how to clap a house or teach, but I am trying to focus on helping him to live the gospel and gain a love for the scriptures and learn to follow the spirit and it is working. After talking to a family we were worried about how to fix the situation that is happening and he said that he wasn`t sure what to do but that he didn`t feel the spirit in the conversation we had so he knows that there is something wrong there. I had felt the same, but didn`t really put it into practice like he did. He is becoming a great missionary and it is very rewarding to see those changes. I have had to learn a lot more patience, especially trying to teach him English, haha but I am learning a lot more how to be patient.

I love this work. I love living the gospel. There is nothing better.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Sunday, June 21, 2015

No es justo‏

Hola!

It was a difficult, but important week for me. I learned a lot and saw a lot of weakness that I need to work on. We had lots of incredible experiences.

One of them was yesterday night I when I was kind of discouraged cause we aren`t having lots of success with investigators. The last part of the night we decided to visit the Barreto family who is less active. They are like 10 kids and the single mom and we got there and they hadn`t gone to church cause the sick daughter had to go to the hospital and the wiring of the house burst into flames in the night. The mom was way discouraged. We talked about the Children of Israel who followed Moses out of Egypt (I studied this like a week ago.) The course they take into the wilderness really makes no sense because they are heading straight for the Red Sea when they should logically just take a straight shot to the promised land. But in faith they follow the cloud that guides them by day and the pillar of fire by night. But then a difficulty come: Pharaoh is on their heals and they begin to doubt. They ask why they didn`t just stay and die in Egypt. The situation looks impossible but Moses prays and God tells him to put his staff in the water. And the waters.. do NOT part instantly. I never knew that. But during the night they are parted and they cross over and the armies of Egypt are destroyed and they are all safe. This often happens to us. We may find ourselves in a seemingly impossible situation. We might think that we would be better off if we had never joined the church or if we had never followed a prompting that seemingly led us into danger, but if we have faith and keep following we will be protected and one day we will be in the promised land and realize that we left the comfort, but limited progress of Egypt, passed through pain and trials, but ended up much better off in the promised land. That is what they are going through. It was awesome to see the perfect application of the scriptures in their lives. But the best part was seeing the amazing faith of the mom. She told us that she knew that God would protect and bless them because he has been doing it since she found the church as a recently abandoned single mother. She said that this experience would help her daughter to come back to church and that it would make them stronger for their goal to be at the sealing of her son and daughter-in-law.

As we walked home I realized that while I can preach all day about faith I am not sure if I could face these type of situations with such bravery and optimism. I admire these people so much. I love them and one day hope to have the faith that they have. I truly felt as we went home the love of the Lord for these people. They do not have the same opportunities as I have and are in situation a whole lot more difficult, but they have faith that is unmatched. I have loved these people for 22 months and I think in that moment it really hit me that I was going to have to leave them in not too long. I don`t know how I will be able to do it. The Lord answered my prayers and gave me even more desire to work and help in the time I have left. I do my best to help these people, but they always help me more than I could ever help them. It really isn`t fair how much God blesses me. I love being a missionary.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Friday, June 12, 2015

Y cuando leáis estas cosas...‏

Hola,

Well it was a very good week. We are starting to see who is progressing and who isn`t ready yet.

We had an awesome lesson with Rafael Leal who is the father of a recent convert. He is evangelical and we taught him and his family about the Book of Mormon. We got there and the first thing he said is that he already has his doctrine and church and he feels like he would be betraying his faith if he accepted what we were teaching. We explained that it isn`t a different doctrine, but rather the same doctrine with more light to help him guide his family. We taught him about the restoration of the priesthood and told him that he could have a portion of that power to bless his family and his home. He was very interested and accepted what we were telling him and used the Bible a lot. He accepted what we were saying and then we were about to teach the last part about asking God if the Book of Mormon is true and he started teaching the last point to us! He talked about how he was in a super difficult situation and he prayed for help and God showed him in a dream where he needed to go to get work and he found the place the next day and worked there for 3 years! Then he said that he needed to set apart time to read the Book of Mormon and that he knew that God would show him that it was true. We were way pumped. I am confident that he will receive an answer because it is promised us in the Book of Mormon. We are excited to go back and see how it went.

We also visited an inactive family and started asking them questions to get them thinking. They all said basically that they wanted to be more prepared before going to church. We read Alma 34:32 and explained that we aren`t on the earth to prepare ourselves to be ready to go to church but rather to prepare ourselves to meet God. Going to church is part of the preparation. Then we read verse 33 and vs. 36 and talked about the atonement. The Spirit was strong and then we explained that Christ is the Great Physician and that the church is His hospital. If we fell and broke a leg we wouldn`t wait to go to the hospital until we are prepared we go now. That part really hit the father. We invited them to come to church so that the Great Physician can heal their wounds and make them whole. We said that God loves them even though they aren`t making the best decisions and that he wants to help them and he is waiting for them in His hospital. It was very direct, but the Spirit was strong so we were able to be more direct. The father prayed for strength to be able to return at the end of the prayer.

Also, Monica came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. The members welcomed her very well and she was basically received like a hero for having a son in the mission. It was way cool to see. I just keep thinking about that missionary who is working so hard and praying so fervently for his mother. I`m grateful to be able to help the Lord answer those prayers.

Things are progressing. Luckily I have learned to be a bit more patient here in the mission, so I`m not all stressed out like I would be before. haha We are having lots of success and I am confident that we will have more in the coming weeks. The Lord is preparing amazing miracles here in Miguel Lanus.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Note from the Blogger: Our internet was down for 10 days so these two posts are from May 25th and June 1st.

Nuevas personas‏

Hola,

Well it was a good week and we met a lot of awesome people. There is an unlimited supply of part-member families here in Miguel Lanus so we are finding them and seeing which ones progress.

We went to visit a less active member with Sister Gonzalez and we talked or a moment and then her husband Roberto came up and was way surprised to see us. He asked how we found him cause the house is way back in this tiny trails of super humble houses. Turns out that he lived in El Dorado and the missionaries there were teaching him a bit over a year ago. Back when I was in El Dorado! He was in a different part but the missionaries who were teaching him were from my district! It was cool cause he was just looking for something in that moment when we showed up. He has health problems and started smoking a lot more. He was looking for an escape and we showed up. It also made me think about how maybe there are a lot of people out there who I have taught who maybe didn`t accept everything the first time, but felt the Spirit and the Lord will guide them to the missionaries in one way or another when they need it. I`ll never know the impact I had in some peoples lives.

We also found the mom of a missionary, Monica. She moved here from Santa Fe and we were looking for him cause we saw his name in the ward directory. And we showed up on the one day that she had free that week. We talked to her a bit and during the lesson I just felt very strongly that we showed up there in response to the fervent prayers of her son. She is looking for something to renew her faith and she is starting to read the Book of Mormon and has lots of questions for us. Her daughter who was baptized about a year ago but is a bit inactive is also listening and she was happy that we found them and were teaching her mom.

The other cool experience this week was when we were visiting a family and the mom of the wife was there and the husband said that she didn`t like the missionaries, but we invited her to come and talk with us anyways. She sat down and we had a great lesson and she invited us to their house. On Saturday we went, and they are very humble, but we taught the whole family about the Book of Mormon. The dad was skeptical about another book that wasn`t the Bible but we read some parts and I told the story about Samuel the Lamanite to the kids and they loved it. They are great people and willing to learn.

It really is overloading right now here cause there are just so many people that we could visit. We are going to see who are the ones who progress. But we are working well with the ward. We taught the 5th week class and did a practice with everyone about how to talk to a friend at church and how to treat people right when they come to church and to help them get to classes and stuff. They all participated and it turned out really well!

We are excited with how everything is going and ready for another great week. Thanks for all your love and prayers! I love you!

Con amor, Elder Hawk


Papà en Miguel Lanus‏

Hola!

Well it was pretty difficult to say goodbye to everyone in Tacuari. I really grew to love that place and love the people who were there especially. I miss it a little, but I am way excited to be here in Miguel Lanus. The Bishop is way awesome and there is a whole lot of work to do here. The past missionaries didn`t do a whole lot so there will be lots of success here that has been waiting for us.

Elder Cancino is my son and he is from Santiago, Chile. He is 19 and his dad is not a member of the church. He is way excited to learn and be a missionary and I am doing my best to teach him what I know, but I am finding that I don`t really know how to explain a lot of things cause I just kind of do them. haha But it is great to be a trainer and see the excitement and know that the impact I have on Elder Cancino will impact the mission for two more years even after I am gone. He is going to be a great missionary.

When we got to the apartment it was pretty disgusting. If this computer stops being slow I might be able to send the pictures I took. After 3 hours it is looking a lot better now and the Spirit is actually present. haha The Bishop showed us a lot of the area on Saturday and we had some great lessons. We taught a part-member family whose son will be baptized the first week of June and some other less active families who are progressing a lot. The area is HUGE. Maybe my biggest area. The people are a lot more receptive here now that I am farther away from centro. The ward has lots of potential and I am excited to be here.

It felt like a really short week with everything that happened and we didn`t have a whole lot of time to work, but we are happy and healthy and ready to have a great week. Elder Viñas of the 70 is coming on Monday so that should be awesome too.

I love you all!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Farewell to Friends in Tacuari







New Companion---Elder Cancino
and President and Sister LaPierre




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

El compromiso‏

Hola,

This week I have learned a lot about the importance of commitment and covenants. President LaPierre talked about it in the leadership council and it has been on my mind. He said that Joseph Smith was able to pass through what he passed through in Liberty Jail and came out a changed man because he covenanted with the Lord. When we unite ourselves with Him and are faithful we have power to overcome any trial that comes our way and learn and grow from it. It will all give us experience and be for our good.

The temple dedication is Còrdoba was transmitted to the stake center here and it was incredible. I didn`t expect for it to feel like the actual temple but it really did. I was just in there considering things in the Spirit of the temple and I realized things I need to improve on, but I didn`t recognize them with discouragement and frustration like I used to. I saw that working to improve and progress and helping others to do the same is really the greatest, most exciting and satisfactory adventure that anyone can experience in life. When we have covenanted with God we can work together with Him to accomplish this. That is why the covenants of the temple are so important. I love the temple and I am going to follow the counsel of President Uchtdorf and make temple attendance a regular and uplifting experience for my whole life. What a blessing it is to live so close to the temple.

Matìas was baptized by his father on Saturday. There is a different Spirit when a father can baptize his son. It was perhaps one of the sweetest moments of my mission to see father and son dressed in white in the waters of baptism. That family is going to be a powerful force here in Tacuari as well as the other people I have been able to help here. When they decided to come back to church they entered again into a working relationship with the Lord and are going to improve and progress. It was a pleasure to be a part of it.

And Julio Caceres went to the baptism!! We talked to him on Thrusday about how when we commit to follow a course like read the scriptures we are committing to follow Christ. He said we desired to change and we each shared experiences about how we committed ourselves to follow Christ by accepting an invitation to ACT. I shared about the time when Dad came into my room when I was fighting with Parker and Becca and read me Moroni 7:48 and invited me to pray for charity. I don`t know if he remembers it but he left the room and I stayed there battling with myself and then I accepted the invitation to follow Christ and knelt down and prayed. By accepting that invitation I began to change step by step. I still haven`t made it too far, but by committing myself to improve the Lord began to work in my life. He was afraid to commit but he came to the baptism and said that it motivated him a lot! He also told me that he began to read the Book of Mormon! He knows just as I know that his time is rapidly coming. I hope he sees the importance and decides to commit himself to the Lord by being baptized.

Some questions that we should all consider: Am I truly fulfilling the covenants and commitments I have made with the Lord and allowing Him to change me? What can I do to commit myself more to God?

Nothing is better than being committed to the Lord. It is a very difficult, heart-wrenching, soul-stretching experience, but nothing is more satisfying and it is the only way we can truly be happy.

We just got the changes and I will be training anew missionary in Miguel Lanus and white washing the area! I am going to be a district leader. I am so pumped! It has been an amazing experience here in Tacuari but I am excited for another adventure.

Congrats to Parker for graduating! Also congrats to Danielle and Jordan for making an adorable baby! haha I love you all so much!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Matias's Baptism

 Elder Hawk putting down the hammer

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hola,

Well I debated not writing today cause we just barely talked but I think I`ll jot down a few highlights.

The coolest moment of the week was the Sunday gospel principles class. There almost wasn`t room cause the class has been growing with people coming back and such. But Enrique announced that he will be divorced on June 5! Then 30 days later he can get married and baptized! We are way excited for him! He has fasted like 3 times and a sister brought him the book "Jesus the Christ" from the temple which he is was excited to read. He is going to be an incredible member. Also, David Neira and his son Matias were there and Matias is getting baptized on Saturday! I have been very impressed with the way that his parents are teaching him and helping him. He understands everything and has a strong desire to do what is right. And David shared with us that before we came he had lots of pain in his arm and he was always nervous and tired and such because he works in the hospital and sees so much death and problems. But when he started going to church the pain went away and he feels a peace in his life. He attributed it to sanctifying the sabbath day. He said that before he never had a rest spiritually but that now he feels so much better and everything is improving with his family. The son of a less active member also came. He is kind of rebellious but we talked with him on Friday about where his life was going and the importance of God especially as he makes decisions that are going to affect his life forever and he really took it to heart and is making efforts to change. And lots of other people who I have been able to meet were there. I just really felt the great blessings that the Lord has given me in my time here and I am happy for the people I have been able to meet who have changed their lives and mine. It was a sweet moment.

Also, this Sunday we are going to get to watch the Cordoba Temple dedication. I am way excited!

It was amazing to talk to all of you yesterday! Happy Mother`s day to all of the mothers out there! Especially mom and Grandma and the newest mother, Danielle. Thank you all for your examples and influence! I love you!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Màs de lo que soy‏

Hola!

I am so excited for Parker! We are all going on missions way different and way far apart! He is going to have amazing experiences and I know that it will be perfect for him! He is going to be an incredible missionary and is going to learn so much! I am very proud of him.
Note: Elder Hawk's younger brother just got his call to the Uganda Kampala Mission in Africa, he will be leaving in September, and his older brother served in the Suva Fiji Mission.

 During this week I prayed a lot and put extra focus into studying the scriptures and I was able to keep on going and help another Elder in our zone. I really realized the importance of a good companion and realized how blessed I have been with all of my companions who have had a desire to work and to be obedient and to learn. I also realized how dependent I am on the Lord. I kept remembering that prayer I said in my head asking for God to make me more than I am and he answered "I already am." I really recognize how I am only an instrument and I am only an instrument because God has made me one. I can`t take credit for anything really. I am just happy that he lets me take part and learn.

This week we visited an inactive sister who is very sick. She had to be out of her house for almost a year and recently returned right when we showed up. She told us her story of how she was abused by her husband and all of the health problems she has had and I just felt so horrible for her. As I searched for something to say, I could think of nothing, but I felt impressed to sing "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" As I sang a peaceful spirit came and she thanked me with tears in her eyes and told me that she know that we were servants of God. As she told me that I felt the Spirit confirm it. I have no professional training in how to help these people, but the Spirit works and brings peace when I follow the impressions He sends.

Also, this week we visited Lorena twice (the sick aunt of Sister Bejarano). The last time we went she was in really bad shape. Julio took us in his car and didn`t want to go up with us cause he knew how hard it was from when his brother was also sick. She was unconscious and it had a very hard time breathing and she was pretty swollen. We talked a bit with the family and I sang "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" The Spirit filled this little hospital room with peace. We gave her a blessing and told her that it was ok to let go and that she could have peace and that she as well as her family could feel the peace that the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation brings. We blessed her on Thursday night and she passed away at 3:45 the next morning. She is no longer in pain and she as well as her family can rest. While in that room I felt the so certainty of eternal families. I saw her laying there and thought "Could it be? Is there really life after death?" And I felt peace and knew that there is life after death. We will all be resurrected. We can have an eternal family.

It was a very emotional week, but a week full of support gained from prayer and scripture study. I am grateful for all I learned this week and grateful that the Lord is stretching me and helping me to learn and grow. I`m tired. But I wouldn`t rather be doing anything else. I love being a missionary so much. As hard as it can be there is no work more important and more rewarding than to serve the Lord. I love Him and I love being a part of His work.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fotos at Siomara's baptism



 Argentina and Paraguay will forever be a part of who he is

 Looks like he's at some kind of power plant

Elder Hawk and his new companion Elder Christensen

Ser la voz del Espíritu‏

Thanks to Elder Hawk's sister we have his journal transcribed:

April 23, 2015

Enrique is probably one of the humblest men I have ever met. He told us today how he believed in a lot of the standards and things that church teaches, but never had anything concrete. When he found the Book of Mormon he found what he had been looking for . Then he said that we was reading in the gospel principles manual (which he said he had fallen in love with) and said he read about the difference between the spirit and the gift of the spirit. He said when he learned that he could only have the spirit with him always after repentance and baptism that he felt something in his chest. Then he read the chapter on repentance and realized how he still needed to repent and proceed to make changes in his life and that baptism could complete it. I was amazed of how he was able to be so humble that he could be so receptive to learn and feel those things from the spirit. Then he said that he has been putting more pressure on the lawyers and he is just going to give his ex-wife whatever she wants for the divorce (25%). He said he is tired of waiting and has realized that he needs to have the spirit with him as soon as possible. The first time we had talked he said that he didn’t want to let her take advantage, but now he said he just wants to be baptized. We had already tried to teach him and show him that, but he had to learn it on his own through the spirit. He also showed so much gratitude for the missionaries who found him and for us and I just thought about how much the members here love the missionaries. They really would do anything for them because they are so grateful that through them they received the gospel. I really felt unworthy of such great love and respect. Seeing the humility of Enrique perhaps humbled me. But in his prayer at the end he thanked God for “esai dos burnos personas dignas de fi” and my eyes started to tear up because I felt like my Father in Heaven was telling me that he is content with me and my efforts. I want to be worthy of this love and confidence and respect and work as hard as I can to show my gratefulness.

I also then thought of what it will be like to have the mantle taken from me - to no longer be a full-time missionary. I don’t know what I will do without this authority and blessing and privilege that the Lord has given to me. I am so indebted to Him for this amazing experience and opportunity and I love Him so much. I love being His missionary. I want to serve Him all my life. I want to be humble myself that I can learn of Him and become who He wants me to be.



April 25, 2015

Today in the morning as we walked to our first visit we passed by Julio Caceres(?) washing his car and we talked a second and he told us that Lorena(?) is getting worse. WE went and had a quick meeting with the Neira Family (Matias is going to get baptized on May 16) and then we came back. We saw Julio hugging his wife who was crying. We talked a minute and offered to give her a blessing. WE went in the house next door where they were preparing a little book store and gave her a blessing. i prayed silently and then put my hands on her head. I really felt the spirit speaking through me which is perhaps the greatest feeling that I could ever have. I love being the voice of the Spirit. But then we said goodbye and continued on. But we said goodbye to Julio who had returned to washing his car and he said that they really needed me in this few days but I hadn’t come, that it was hard without Miguel and they felt the lack of him. I realized that I have basically become his child. But I felt horrible that I couldn’t be there for them. As we walked to lunch I prayed to my Father in Heaven pleading that he would make me more than I am and stretch my abilities beyond what I can do. As I said it the words came to my mind, “I already am” and then I asked for even more. It reminded me of how much I truly depend on the Lord.

Also, as I thought about blessings I wrote the following in my daily planner: “I cannot waste my strength in the world when the ones I love will need that strength in times of struggle.”

Then we had divisions, I was with Elder Choez(?) and Elder Q(?). Last year on this day I was also in a division and trio with Elder C…on his birthday! We ate a kilo of ice-cream (too much) But we had a good lesson when I talked to a young couple about my grandparents and how their sacrifices helped me and in the same way their sacrifices will help many generations. I realized yet again how blessed and grateful I am for my heritage and have a desire to learn more about it.

Also, we talked with a woman who was one of the first converts of Posadas. She is incredible. The spirit she has with her and her love is remarkable. She talked to us with excitement about the scriptures. She told us we have been called and chosen to work with the leaders and change things for the better. I asked how we can help others to have this same love for the scriptures. She said it started with a desire and then it becomes contagious. That answered a question I have had for a long time: How can I give people a desire to live the gospel? Missionaries, investigators, members, etc. The trick is to live it ourselves first and be excited about it and be a light and it is contagious. That is why Elder Oaks and basically all the other speakers in the conference yesterday talked about the Sabbath day and applying it first in our lives! First we do it and then we have excitement to share it with others and they see that and feel it and also gain the desire to have what we have - happiness and blessings---light. My greatest desire is to be the kind of person who will give others a desire to improve just by the light they see in me and the excitement and love that I have for the gospel and every principle it teaches. I want to be like Christ.



 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Obrando con Dios‏

Hola,

This week Siomara was baptized. Her family was recently reactivated and I have never seen someone so excited to be baptized! haha There was a mission setting apart first and she could hardly wait and went straight into the room with the baptismal font and we had to tell her that first there was a meeting part in the sacrament room. She almost jumped into the water. haha The only problem was that we thought another girl was gonna get baptized the same time Sunday evening, but in the end she couldn't. Which was fine.. except that her family was going to bring the cake.. And it was Sunday so we couldn`t run and buy something. As we waited to start the baptism I felt so bad cause they had brought soda but nothing else. So I sat thinking of what to do and an idea occurred to me. Right after she was baptized me and Dario ran like a mile to the house of these members who have a little store in their house while Elder Christensen stalled. We ran all the way there and grabbed a few bags of cookies and ran all the way back. I was sweating and I went into the overflow and opened up the back curtain and signaled to Elder Christensen that he could finish his talk on the Holy Ghost which he had kept going for like 15 minutes! haha But everyone was happy afterwards and enjoyed the cookies and the family didn`t feel bad that there wasn`t anything else. It was so funny. We weren`t very wise but it made for an unforgettable experience.

We also had interviews with President LaPierre this week and it was really good. We are going to try out a kind of test with our area to try to get the members more involved in missionary work and to help them to work better. I am pretty excited about the idea and we are working out the details and thinking about how we can get it to work. But there is a lot of hope and I think it could be way awesome! In my personal interview he told me that the greatest and most thrilling experience of life is working together with God as we improve ourselves and help Him to bless the lives of His children. Today in our zone meeting I felt the same thing. We were talking about the role of the Spirit and I recognized that for me my favorite thing to feel is when someone needs help and the words come from the Spirit. Nothing competes with the thrill and joy of being an instrument and feeling Him work through me.

I am doing great! I am happy, healthy and excited. Thank you all for your support! I love you! And congrats to Parker on getting his papers in! I am way excited and proud of him!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fotos from Elder Graves Blog

Elder Hawk---Enrique---Elder Graves


Familia Neira with the Elder Graves and Elder Hawk


Monday, April 13, 2015

Progreso Real‏

Hola!

Well it was a great week! Elder Graves left and I miss him and it was hard for him to say goodbye to lots of the members, but he is going to do a great job in Garupa. Elder Christensen is my new comp. He has like 7 months in the mission but is way obedient and knows a lot about the scriptures. He is a great missionary and I`m excited to work with him this change.

Perhaps the coolest experience of the week was when Franco received the priesthood. He is 14 and his family started coming back to church like 2 months ago. He bore his testimony in church and it was way awesome. Then after the meeting I was busy doing other things and I walked passed the room where he was being ordained and I saw him sitting there with hands on his head, receiving the priesthood. I stood there for a moment and felt so happy. His little sister is getting baptized next Sunday. It has been incredible to see this family truly progress. Because it has been real progress and they are striving to truly repent.

As I reflected on this we also went and taught the familia Neira. They also are beginning to come back and the whole family came to church and we can see the light coming back into their lives. Their son is preparing for baptism and they are preparing to go to the temple to be sealed as a family. We taught them about true repentance and invited them to pray for forgiveness that night. They truly understand and we talked about how we change from the inside out and not from the outside in. It starts with true change from within and then goes outwards. They are teaching their son cause we told them that they are the real missionaries for him like our parents were our missionaries. One day when we passed by they were watching the video of the restoration with him! It was way awesome to see how they are taking it seriously and striving to change.

Really the only way that we can progress is through true repentance. Oftentimes we may shy away from inviting someone to repent directly, and if we do it with the incorrect attitude it will not be received well, but when we truly love others we will invite them to repent and they will see that we invite them out of love. that is what Christ does for us. The invitation to repent is not a punishment, but rather a loving plea to come back to Him.

I also have been enjoying teaching the recent converts here: Dario, Monica and Graciela. They are all progressing so much! We invited them to go to institute on Saturdays and I wasn`t sure how they might respond, but they were super excited about the idea and said things about how great it will be to be able to go another day of the week cause it is usually just Sundays. They are preparing to go to the temple and do the work for their family and it is amazing to see the changes and the real progress in their lives. I want them to stay strong so badly! I know that they can be a huge strength to others and to the church if they keep it up.

I love this work and I am so happy! I love you all so much! Thank you for your support and prayers on my behalf and on behalf of those that I serve.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Also, a bit of humor for the week. Elder Christensen read me a part of his journal entry this week which read "I love this area. I love working here. And I`m not just saying that to be fakely optimistic like I have in the past." I couldn`t stop laughing when he read me that.

Monday, April 6, 2015

El poder perfeccionador de Cristo‏

Hola!

What an incredible week! This week we learned a lot about sacrifice. We were talking and studying and decided that we needed to ask people to sacrifice if they were going to progress. So we did. Enrique hasn`t finished his divorce yet and one of the reasons is because his ex-wife wants lots of money and he doesn`t want to give it to her. So we talked about how having the gospel and the spirit with us always is like the treasure in the field that the man found and sold all that he possessed to buy the field. We shared about the pioneers who gave their lives to have the blessings of the gospel and then we challenged him to do whatever it takes to be baptized. The Spirit was powerful and he said that he would do everything in his power to get divorced as soon as possible. He has a baptismal goal for the end of this month. It was amazing to see his faith and willingness to sacrifice and he said that right when the lawyer's office opened up that he was going to go in person and get the job done. It was awesome. Then we asked a less active sister who is coming back to pay her tithing. I was a little bit nervous but right when she asked her she didn`t hesitate for even one second and firmly said yes. Then we visited Monica Do Santos and Graciela who are both recent converts and without husbands and very humble financially. We challenged them to save up to go to the temple in May and they are both so excited and have faith that they will be able to make it there to help their ancestors. Graciela is especially excited and emotionally to do the work for her son who passed away less than two years ago. I admire the faith and willingness to sacrifice of these great people.

We also had a pre-conference to general conference when we went to visit president LaPierre to talk to him about some stuff that is going on in our zone. He let us listen to a video that a general authority gave to the mission presidents recently. It was so powerful. It talked about how the way of doing missionary work is drastically changing and how they are trusting more in the missionaries and many other things. I realized yet again how blessed I have been to able to start my mission at the age of 18. That revelation from our prophet and the apostles has changed my life and the inspired direction that they and many other church leaders give, including my amazing mission president, has changed my life forever. The changes that are happening in mission work are preparing me to be a better husband, father, and priesthood man for my whole life. I know that the Lord is fulfilling what He told me before starting my mission that "what will be of most worth to you will be to declare repentance" D&C 15:6. It is the thing of most worth now and will continue to be so after.

Conference was amazing! My questions were directly and completely answered on Saturday. I had several questions but the basis of all of them was what do I need to do now to become the person that God wants me to become. At the end of the day on Saturday I was feeling kind of down cause I just realized lots of stuff that I am failing in and many of my weaknesses. I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of having to undergo such drastic changes in my life and in my heart. I realized that it is OK to feel this way if it leads us to change, but often times Satan tells us that we need not try because it is not possible and it will be too hard. I prayed and thought and felt peace, but the true answer came on Sunday when the focus was entirely on Christ. Several people said that change must begin today. As I thought of Christ and my testimony in Him, I realized that I am very weak and have many shortcomings and faults and that alone I will not be able to change. But with Christ and His grace I can and will change if I accept Him into my life and learn to apply His atonement daily in my life. So perhaps there are many who recognize the need for change, but feel powerless to do anything about it. But we can and will change if we learn to apply Christ`s Atonement in our lives. I testify that He lives. I testify that through Him we can be cleansed of our sins and perfected in every way. Because He lives and because He died for us we can overcome every sin, weakness and shortcoming in our lives. I have experienced that power every day of my mission as the Lord has changed me and shaped me and I have seen it in full force in the lives of those who have accepted Him. I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for Him. I will always be a weak and unprofitable servant. But I can show my love for Him by serving Him and using the gift of the Atonement that He has given to me and to each one of us. I am coming to know my Savior and I love Him.

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hola,

Well this week has been a bit frustrating. We changed our proselyting schedule so that we work during the siesta which is the national nap time from after lunch until like 4 in the afternoon. It really is quite impressive that an entire country can organize a nap time so large. For us, however, it is a bit difficult. There aren`t a lot of people in the streets, but it has lead to some interesting experiences. We clapped this house that looked like it was half under construction but a lady came out with a baby and she invited us to sit down and she told us that her daughter was born a month ago and the day after her mom passed away. She really was taking it really well, but it was very interesting to see the mix of two life changing moments at basically the same time, but with completely different emotions involved. She is the second oldest of 7 kids who still live there in the house. The youngest is like 14 and he was taking it really hard. But we shared a bit about the plan of salvation and than a few days later we went back and shared about the Book of Mormon and how it could bring them peace in times like these. Brian who is the 14 year old said a prayer at the end expressing his confidence that the teachings of the Book of Mormon would help them. They really weren`t super interested in coming to church or anything, but I was grateful that we were able to help a family in need. I think it is something that they will always remember.

We had a couple funny experiences this week too. We were teaching this guy about the Book or Mormon and mid lesson he gets a text and starts reading it and ignoring us and he says that he wants to know what we think about the text he just received. I am pretty glad he told us about it cause it sounds pretty intense.. All people in the United States are being implanted with a chip in their arm that is the mark of the beast. We can only buy things if we have that chip. I thought I should let you guys know cause it sounds pretty serious. Also, my companion was almost kissed by a woman this week. haha Here they do that thing where you do like the kissing on the both sides of the cheek without actually kissing the cheek (if that explanation makes any sense) and this lady went in super slow and Elder Graves just froze.. haha And at the last second he backs his face away and apologizes to the lady. After he was just like "she had her face close to me forever!" haha Luckily I don`t think she was offended. I got a good laugh about it though.

But even though the new schedule is a bit difficult it is a good opportunity to find people who we may not find in other ways. They might be a little upset that we wake them up, but if we can help them get eternal life they will be ok. I bore my testimony to Monica and Graciela and I really just realized how certain I am that all of this that I am teaching is true. I know that this is Christ`s true church. But our testimonies are shown by what we are willing to do. It isn`t that hard to give two years of your life, especially when you get so much in return. I am so grateful for this mission. I know I am not paying my time but rather putting myself in greater debt. And the way I plan to show my gratitude to the Lord is by giving Him every day of my life. Maybe I can`t go out and preach every day like I am now, but I can still dedicate my life to Him. It is the only thing I have to give Him. These two years of my life are really just my opportunity to learn how to give Him all my life. How grateful I am for this opportunity.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." -Matthew 16:25

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Elder Graves estaba grave‏

Hola!

Well this was a bit of a slow week cause Elder Graves was pretty sick, but we still got a lot of good work done and I had some time to think and reflect a bit.

One of the cool experiences of the week was on Thursday when we had a few lessons in the evening and Elder Graves was getting worse, but we decided to visit the Caceres family before finishing the day. We got there and Julio didn`t want to come out and talk to us cause he had a fight with his daughter, so we were just gonna leave, but at the end he came out and offered to take us to the church in his car. So we went and on the way he told us that he doesn´t want us to waste our time on him cause he doesn`t want us to lose a chance with someone else. So we asked him a bit about how he felt with us and explained a few things and as we came near to the church he wasn`t budging a lot so I told him we were gonna give him a tour of the church. He laughed and said "Que bravo!" Which is not really brave it is more like bold. But anyways he agreed to go in and it was the first time he had really been inside and seen the church. So we showed him a bit of everything and we turned the light of the baptismal font on and at the end brought him over and talked about baptism. The Spirit was so strong. He asked us what we believed about the Holy Ghost and we explained that it is what he feels when he talks with us and that it helps us as missionaries to help people know the truth. He said that he has felt it a lot with us and it was one of the first things he noticed. Then he started to leave but I told him top come back for a second by the font and I put him in front of me and we got into the baptismal stance. I told him that when he was baptized the one who baptized him would say his name and then say "Habiendo sido comisionado por Jesucristo, yo te bautizo,en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo. Amen." He just kind of stood there with this look in his eyes and then I told him that he knows that what we teach is true because he has felt it and I know that he has felt it. I told him the only thing left to do is follow those feelings. I asked him if he would follow what he had felt and even though the Spirit was so strong and his eyes were watering up he put his head down and just said "I`m gonna miss you." He left and we said goodbye. We then went into the sacrament room and I just felt the Spirit so strong because I had said and done what the Spirit had told me to do. I prayed for Julio and for all of the people who I have met who have felt the Spirit with me but haven`t haven`t followed it yet. One day they will.

Graciela was baptized on Saturday by Dario! I got to be in the font to support her back cause she has some problems. It was awesome to be right there up close to see it all. The Spirit was way strong. She was worried that she was going to have problems with her legs and back while being baptized but she said she didn`t feel anything! She is way excited to try and go to the temple in April to get the work for her son done who passed away. That was really what got her excited in the first place and it will be incredible to help her do that work. She is way excited and the ward is supporting her a lot. There is a new light in her eyes.

 These are the moments that makes it all worth it. I know that I am only an instrument, but I am the happiest instrument ever! haha Maybe not everyone will have the strength at this time to follow what they feel, but when I do my part I can be happy and know that God will make sure they find the way one day. Either way they may not remember a lot about me (often not even my name which is difficult for many) but I know that they will never forget the strong Spirit that we felt together. I love this work.

Con amor, Elder Hawk


Graciela's Baptism Fotos










Monday, March 16, 2015

Mostrar la gratitud‏

Hola!

Well it was another fantastic week. We didn`t have the baptism this week but I think it will be better off. She should be baptized this weekend or the next. She was having some opposition from one of her daughters but the ward is rallying around her. Hermana Duarte came with us to a lesson and bore a huge and powerful testimony! She is a convert of almost 2 years but has a huge testimony and is a very strong woman. We sat and listened and there wasn`t a lot to add at the end so we just bore testimony of her words. It was incredible.

On Friday we had a cool experience with Anival who is progressing a lot. He lives in a very bad part of the town and there are a lot of evil influences. He messed his back up at work and so we gave him a blessing. As Elder Graves spoke I really felt the power of the priesthood and afterwards I just sat down and Anival was crying. He said he was so grateful that we were helping him and he knows he is going to move forward and he wants to get out of that neighborhood which is crazy cause we had already felt like we needed to try and help him get out of there cause it is impossible for anyone to progress. But as he was talking I just realized and I told him that we as missionaries are nothing. We are simply instruments. I powerfully felt in that moment that the priesthood is God`s power and I am just a simple instrument. Everything I do is completely dependent upon Him. Anival recognized that the same is true for him and even though he told us he is absolutely terrified of doctors and hospitals he followed the counsel of the blessing and went! I know he will get better.

I realized that even more when we felt to clap a house and started talking with Mariana. She told us she was a member of a church but had changed because she was in an abusive relationship and the pastor didn`t really support her and it caused her to be in a horrible relationship for even longer and afterwards she separated and was very criticized. She started going to another church and she feels better there, but she said that she talked to what would be something like the Sunday school teacher and he said he wouldn`t really know what to counsel her in that type of situation either. Then thought came to me "you would know what to say." And to be honest in that moment I couldn`t have told her what she would have done cause the situation is already passed but I am 100% confident that if someone came to me with any type of problem that I could respond. I am not an expert on anything. I am 20 years old. But I have the Spirit with me and I am called of God. And because of that and after seeing it happen countless times in my mission I can say that I know that the Lord will always fill my mouth if I open it. It is an incredible thing to feel the inspiration of the Lord come to your mind and heart as you preach the gospel to others. And that is what happened as we spoke with Mariana. I felt ideas come to me and we taught her that because of the Restoration of the gospel she didn`t have to trust in man, but could trust in God and His chosen servants. I told her I felt compassion for both her and the pastor who tried to help her. She didn`t have access to the truths of the gospel to help her with this problem. She didn`t have a knowledge of how to receive revelation. The pastor didn`t have the doctrine necessary nor did he have the authority or power to know what to do. Neither had the gift of the Spirit. Then I asked her "How would you feel if you found out that God`s true church is on the earth with inspired leaders and all the doctrines we need to solve our problems?" She said it would be something.

As I reflected on these experiences I realized yet again just how blessed I am. Since birth I have been surrounded and protected by priesthood power. Since the age of 8 I have had the gift of the Spirit to guide me. And since the age of 11 I have had a testimony of the truths of the Book of Mormon. Every problem I have faced in life (which have not been many) I have had everything I need to face them with God`s help. I have never had to search amongst the ideas and doctrines of uninspired men. In every moment of my life I have had the Restored Gospel. What a great blessing that is. The gospel is the greatest possession that I have. I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for sending us prophets and truths again from the heavens. And I am grateful that I can use these truths and the Spirit as well as priesthood power to bless the lives of others who have not had these truths and who have lived in a cold, fallen world all of their lives without the warmth of the true and everlasting gospel. The only way I can ever show my gratitude to God is by working all of my life to bring others to the same knowledge and happiness that I enjoy. And while I can never pay him back I can at least show how grateful I am. I love this gospel. It is true.

Con amor, Elder Hawk