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.