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