Well, this is it. I wasn`t expecting to learn so much in my last week but I really learned so much. This has been the adventure of a lifetime. I told that to present LaPierre in my last interview yesterday and he said "Your adventure has just begun." It still hasn`t hit me that I am not going to be here anymore. I am not sure when it will. But I`m ready for the next step in life and I know that the Lord will continue to put me in the best situations and that I will continue to learn if I am faithful.
Elder Cancino will be training a new missionary and he is the district leader. I am very proud of all that he has accomplished in these 2 changes. He has made leaps in his progress and is going to do an amazing job. I`m glad I could learn so much from him in this time even though a few times I wanted to kick him in the head.
This week, after 11 weeks of little success we found 2 golden investigators who both were early to church and stayed for the whole 3 hours and loved it. That is what kept me going these last weeks even though I was a bit discouraged. I knew that maybe I would find someone on my very last day, but that there were still people waiting for me. Carolina went to church with her two little girls and she is very excited to learn more. Sister Maria Gonzalez was the best friend ever for her and she helped with the girls and lives close by her so she will help a lot. She has such a strong testimony. Orlando is 19 and has a sweet mohawk. He looks a bit wild, but his younger brother has gone to church constantly for a long time even though no one else from the family has gone. His mom and other siblings began going and Orlando came back to his house and is way excited for baptism. The Young Single Adults are already inviting him to all the activities and everything. I am grateful that I learned enough in these 2 years to be able to remain calm despite the fact that it looked like we had no progress and despite my discouragement. It payed off by finding these two. I`m excited to hear about what happens with them.
Yesterday I had an experience that changed my life. We went to lunch after church to eat with the Baez family. Zuni Baez is the mom that is in the picture. Her son Ivan was reactivated a year ago and his wife Yessica was baptized. They haven`t been really active in the church and we visit them about once a week and just try to invite the Spirit and challenge them to live the gospel in its fullness. Anyways, we got to the lunch and I went to the bathroom and they have an outhouse on the side of the house that is horrible. I then entered into the house which is one wall of bricks and 3 of wood. Its one tiny room with the beds and kitchen all together and its a very humble place. Despite that she had cooked us a delicious, but simple meal and I didn`t eat a whole lot cause I knew that they didn`t have a lot of money. After we finished she said that our dessert was in the fridge in the door part. I opened it up expecting the usual peaches with dulce de leche (which is delicious), but I didn`t see anything in the door. Then I looked at the top shelf of that small, old fridge and saw a cake. She said that she wanted to thank us for all that we had done for her son and daughter in law. She said that a month before we had gotten there Yessica had gone to live with her parents and they had lots of problems. A week before we showed up they had gotten back together. She said that because of the things we shared and all we did for them that Yessica loves living with them and is content and wants to study and they got along a lot better. This woman who likely wouldn`t buy a cake even for her own birthday bought one for us because we helped her son. But I really don`t feel like we did a whole lot. I almost couldn`t hold back the tears as I realized what that cake really means. It is a symbol of my entire mission. For every crust of bread that I give to these people they give me a cake in return. I love them so much and I am going to miss them. They have nothing except for the gospel and they are so happy and so giving. I told President LaPierre this story in my interview and we both cried. After a short silence he said: "Always honor those people. For the rest of your life find some way to honor them and to be worthy of them." As I ate that cake the thought came to me that I am not worthy of that cake. I don`t think I will every truly be worthy of all of the love that these people have given to me. They, together with my Father in Heaven have taught me to love and I will forever be indebted for that.
So now, in a short time I will enter a plane and leave behind this place and these people, perhaps forever. But they will always be with me. I`m not the same kid I was when I walked into a plane 2 years ago. How could I ever be the same after getting to know these people and getting to know my Savior like I have in this time?
"And having set our “hand to the plough,” we will never look back until this work is finished and love of God and neighbor rules the world." -Elder Holland
Con amor, Elder Hawk
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Well I just got back from the falls. I have to say that it kicks the crap out of Niagara Falls. Like Niagara Falls is like a water effect in a community pool compared to what Iguazù is. I am trying to download some fotos to dropbox now. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in nature. So powerful.
Before going to the falls I got permission to spend my Sunday afternoon in Tacuari. It was amazing. I was able to visit several families who I had taught there and really felt so much love for them. I miss them a lot. We ate lunch with the Caceres Bejarano family and it was so hard to say goodbye to them. honestly it was harder than saying goodbye to my family when I left home. I knew that I would see all of you in two years, but I am not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to see these people in person again. If I have learned anything in the mission it is how to love. I bore my testimony in church and said that I never imagined that I would be able to love people as much as I have here in South America thousands of miles away from my home. I know that that love comes from the Lord and not from me. I am grateful that He loves me enough to help me share that love with others.
I am going to miss this so much. The work is difficult right now here, but I wouldn`t rather be doing anything else. i love feeling the Spirit and I love serving my Father in Heaven. It will be hard to not get to do that 24 hours a day. It is going to be way hard to adjust, but I am glad that I have all of you who will help me to make the adjustment. But anyways, this was a short one, but thank you all so much for your support and love during the greatest adventure of my life. Still livin' the dream!
Con amor, Elder Hawk
This is a paragraph and a photo from Elder Taylor Graves blog:
Well one of the greatest opportunities of my mission happened yesterday. My old companion Elder Hawk, who I also consider one of my greatest friends, is leaving tomorrow, ending his mission. President of the mission decided to let him, and I go to our old area where we served for 3 miraculous months. We got to do a real time travel, and will seriously be forever grateful that we got to do that. It felt like a dream being back in Tacuarí where I really gained many of my talents and testimonies that I so desperately rely on now in the mission. I learned with Elder Hawk that we are here in the mission to give of our time, and that's what we did.
We visited to Enrique. An investigator who has more testimony than most members I know. Because of divorce complications, and the fact that he has not been able to officially get married to his "wife" he is waiting ever so patiently for the divorce to go through, to be able to get baptized. Meanwhile, he goes to church every week, participating in fasts, paying tithing, and doing and having read the Book of Mormon almost 3 times already. Yeah. I´m not even exaggerating. 3!
We arrived at his front porch, clapped his door, and waited and waited, and waited, he was taking a nap. So... I decided to pull out a secret weapon that I have. It is a special talent I have developed over the course of time, "clapping" lots of houses of lots of sleeping people (during the siesta) who I want to stop sleeping and start considering there personal salvation. I call it, "The Thunder Clap". Lets just say he woke up.
He came out the door, and with tears in his eyes he said, "I don´t believe it! I never thought I´d see you two again!" He gave us hugs and we just chatted for a good while. We talked about how much he strengthens our testimony and how we still pray for him. After the chat with him, he said a prayer thanking God for having sent his angels to change his life.
During the prayer tears came to my eyes, as I realized what a blessing it was to be a tool in God´s hands to bless my fellow brothers and sisters.Elder Hawk and I decided that if we hadn't been accepted in a single house except for his in our whole 3 months there, it would have been worth the time.