Monday, January 26, 2015

La canción de los justos...‏


 Well we are doing good here in Tacuari. We are passing the difficulties of the white wash. I have a good idea of where everything is pretty much and we know most of the members in our area. We have a lot of support from the leaders now that we have been able to visit them and everything. Last Monday we met with the Bishop and had a family home evening that went really well. We asked him for references and his wife told us that we could visit his mom who recently had a knee replacement. So we went there and sang her a few songs and then gave her a blessing. She was touched and cried during the blessing. The Spirit was really strong and I think we helped her feel better. She was pretty down about being in a wheel chair and she isn't recovering as well as she would like to. Then on Saturday the Bishop called and asked me to give a talk the next day. I gave my talk about how when we fast and pray in faith, for people who we love, to come back to the church or to join it, that miracles happen as long as we do it with faith. Which means that we must do something so that the fast or prayer is accomplished. I shared about how that is what happened with Hna. Benitez and Mariola. Then we gave everyone some cards as they left sacrament meeting to write down the names of the people they will fast for next week. I hope that they do it. We will be following up with everyone to try to help them to do it and help their friends and family.

We also had a way awesome experience on Saturday. We were going to teach a single mother named Claudia who we had found earlier in the week. She smokes a lot and struggles to support her family but she is way funny and says whatever is on her mind. She wasn´t there when we tried to teach her on Friday so I thought maybe she decided that she didn´t really want to talk to us. We got there kind of late on Saturday and she had a visitor over and I was going to just tell her that we stopped by to invite her to church again, but as I was saying it to her daughter, Luz told us she was going to bring us chairs. So we sat down a bit reluctantly and Elder Graves said that there is a song that we sing in the church that says “Luz.” In English it is "Lead Kindly Light". He asked me if we should sing it and I said “I don't know…” but then we decided to do it anyways. We sang, and it sounded pretty good. I had to strain my eyes to see the words in the dark, and when we finished I looked up and there were like 10 kids around us totally mesmerized and they all clapped for us. Haha And so then Claudia and her friend who is also a single mother started asking us questions about what we do as missionaries and stuff, they were very impressed. Then we sang another song, and with the mesmerized children we took the opportunity to teach them about staying away from bad friends and bad influences and listening to their moms. It was way funny cause when we started talking about this the mom´s started to basically scream at their kids things like “Listen to what their saying! Pay attention!” haha It was pretty funny. Then we told the moms that we learned all this stuff at church and their kids can learn it if they go. We also said that the parents learn better how to teach their kids to do the right things. Then we sang "I Am a Child of God" first a verse in English and then in Spanish. When we started to sing in Spanish I felt the spirit really strong and I know that all those kids and their mothers also felt it. We left and as I walked away I considered how truly awesome that experience was. I am a 20 year old in Argentina singing to kids in Spanish and helping them to know that they are children of God. That´s the life. I´m living the dream!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sea una luz‏


Well it was kind of a rough week saying goodbye to everyone in Ita Paso. I hate goodbyes. But it was great to see how much the people have grown and I really feel like ti was true growth and it will keep going. Mariola was baptized on Saturday! Elder Blanco sent me the pictures that I forwarded to dad. I am way happy for them. Even though I wasn´t at the baptism I still got to see a lot of her conversion so that was the important part.

I forgot how difficult it was to do a white wash. We were pretty lost there for the first few days. But we went and bought a pretty sweet map and we are marking all the members and such so that is helping us a lot. It is way weird to be in Argentina again. Everyone has a way different accent and a bunch of the words and phrases that they use in Paraguay they don´t use here. But there are a lot of Paraguayans so I am still able to use a little bit of Guarani which is fun. I am in a ward for the first time in my mission but it is a very small ward and they are struggling a bit. We had like 60 in attendance on Sunday which is very little. The branch that is in our same building even had more than us.. but we are way excited to work.

This week I have just decided that the best way to improve things and help people is to just be a light at all times. So we have just tried our hardest to be excited and to get to know everyone and make sure that they feel the spirit with us and are excited for the work. I have decided to be happy no matter what happens and to just work as hard as I can. With this attitude we have had some very positive things happen.

Our new mission leader recently was reactivated but he is way excited to work with us. Also, we were talking to the young men's president and he was kind of down telling us that only like  young men go and so we told him that on Saturday we would do divisions with him to visit the young men. He accepted and we went out and it got him a lot more excited. We are planning on doing this with all of the organizations.

Also we had a very spiritual lesson with a family when we sang the song hark all ye nations. We sang the whole thing and then we talked about how lucky we are to live in a time when we have the gospel. I shared a story about how when I was in the temple and I saw a painting of Joseph Smith receiving the priesthood and thought about how that must have been a very celebrated day in heaven and the beginning of many amazing blessings that we receive because of the priesthood.Then we talked about how when we have problems the best thing we can do is serve others. Their family is passing through a lot of difficulties so it helped them out a lot. Michelle sent me quote that also talks about that.

“The best antidote I know for worry is work.
The best medicine for despair is service.
The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired.”
-Gordon B. Hinckley

Also, in sacrament meeting I was taking the sacrament and I just felt the confirmation from the spirit that I am where I need to be. I had the chance to bear my testimony and I shared that with everyone and said that I do not know all that God wants me to do here but that I am going to work as hard as I can because I know that I am in His service and have been given his power and that He has sent me here for a purpose. Then I said that every one of them is also here for a purpose and that there are many people who they can help. I felt the Spirit a lot.

We have a lot of work to do, but I know that the Lord will bless us and help us. My companion is awesome and very excited to learn. He is a great missionary and is going to be a powerful leader.

I love you all so much. Be a light!

Con amor, Elder Hawk

Monday, January 5, 2015

En Su tiempo y en Su manera‏


Well it was one of the best weeks of my mission. We are seeing our hard work pay off and a lot of blessings from the Lord. Perhaps the experience that best sums up my week was when I taught an inactive family about faith. They talked about how they don´t feel a lot of the Spirit in their home and I started talking with them and they basically said that they just don´t feel the desire to read the scriptures or do anything spiritual. I thought of a scripture in Alma that talks about how at first if we even have only a desire to change that we can let this desire work within us. They said that they had a desire to truly have the Spirit again. So we talked about planting the seed which is the word of God and then working on it so that it grows. And then a thought came to me. I said that sometimes we have enough faith to at least put the seed into the ground but after about an hour or a day we lose faith and forget about our seed and leave sad. But that is not true faith. Or at least not the faith necessary to receive the fruits of eternal life. What we need to do is plant the seed and do all that we can to prepare the soil and take care of the tiny sprout that comes up and little by little we will have more faith until we have a strong, tall tree. But patience is the key. And this isn´t just true about certain things. It is true in all principles of the gospel. We are commanded to pay tithing and we do it. But when we have a small financial struggle we think that the Lord is not keeping His promises so we stop. We have family home evening but when the kids are misbehaving and no one listens we stop having it. We go to church hoping it will unite our family and when opposition comes and there seem to be more problems than before we stop going. We want to quit smoking but after the first day we feel worse than when we were smoking, so we stop trying to quit. It happens often in our lives. And it happened to me. I was working as hard as I could and when I did not see immediate and instantaneous success my excitement dropped and my work was less productive. But that is a lack of faith. The Lord ALWAYS keeps His promises. We do not know when or how, but I know that He ALWAYS keeps His promises. We just need to patiently wait and work. I may never see all of the fruits of my labors, but I need to have the faith and the hope in God that my labors will give forth fruits. This week was very fortunate for me because the Lord blessed me to be able to see those fruits.

The fruits in Itá Paso were that after months of having the goal and vision that the members would be self-sufficient and depend less on us, they are doing it. On Sunday I didn´t put up one chair, I did not prepare the sacrament, I didn´t have to help the group leader pick the hymns minutes before the sacrament meeting, and I didn´t even have to bring investigators to church or sit with them because the members brought their friends who we have taught and made them feel very welcome. And the gospel principles class was bomb. haha It was an incredibly rewarding experience and I am so grateful for the hard work of all of the members and for the help of the Lord in all we have done here. Itá Paso is now ready to have lots of progress.

In our new little group we had a testimony meeting that was awesome. Some members from Itá Paso came and helped a lot and gave some powerful testimonies. Also, David came. We found him on New Years Eve day and then on Saturday we went back. He was baptized when he was ten but after his father died he kept strong for awhile, but as he was getting ready to go on the mission he fell into drugs and alcohol and now years later he still regrets what has happened to him. When we went back on Saturday he had been drinking a bit, but we sat down and he told us that for a long time he had prayed and no one had ever offered a hand to help him. He said he had been pleading for a long time for help but that he feels like maybe God isn´t listening to him. Then Elder Blanco asked if he believed that we were the answer to his prayers and David started crying. He said that we were the answers to his prayers and I felt the Spirit very powerfully. He came to church on Sunday and is in much higher hopes.

I know that the Lord always blesses us if we do what He asks. Although we may feel that He is not listening to us or that He is not blessing us for our efforts, I know that He will. But sometimes He waits to give us a chance to develop greater faith and give us greater blessings. Never lose hope. Trust that God will always keep His promises. I know He will. But always in His time and in His own way. But it will always be in the way that will help us the most.

Con amor, Elder Hawk