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