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 EspĂ­ritu‏

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