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