Thursday, December 22, 2011

MTC Week 6

Well apparently I was a poor District Leader because I was released this Sunday from that calling...but it's because I am now going to be to a new Zone leader!!  I'm excited and I think that Elder Petersen and I will be able to do a nice job.  Thank you so much for the package Jen, Mom, the Mattingly's and Kenzie.  I'm getting so spoiled this Christmas season!! 
So this week in the life of Andrew, I mean Elder Hawks.  This week was the same as ever besides the fact that we received a new assignment.  The Spanish is so weird because there are days when I really can understand and feel like I can say most of what I'm thinking and then have other days where I really just struggle.  Yesterday was one of those days and it can be tough, but I realized pretty quick to not get down and to just get to work. 
So as a new Zone Leader one of our jobs is to go around and talk to all of the missionaries in our zone before we go to bed.  It's been a good time to get to know about all of them and considering this cold yucky time of year there has been a lot of sickness in our zone.  Elder Clarke in my room has a horrible ear infection that he may have to have surgery to have it cleaned out.  We had the opportunity to give him a blessing and it was really neat.  Another Elder in our zone has a very bad cold that is border line pnuemonia, something close to my heart with Lili, and we gave him a blessing as well.  It's been neat to be able to be involved in excersing my priesthood and it's good to always be worthy to be ready to use it at any time. 
Thanks for the updates with the Cougars and Jazz it's fun to hear and even though we're on the service of the Lord we love to hear about the "real world". 
So funny story this week with investigators we've been teaching.  Our first investigator was named Lucas which translates to Luke.  We taught him a lot and worked with him through our poor poor Spanish.  "lucas" was out of town one week and so we had the opportunity to teach his "father" (another teacher) and we went and knocked and asked him his name but for the life of us could not understand what he was saying so of course we asked him again and again we had no idea what he was saying.  So we went through the lesson, mind you this is a young RM who's jacked, acting as a devout Catholic, and being so cold and just flexing his huge muscles at us while we teach this lesson.  Needless to say we were a little intimidated. At the end we're supposed to pray for them and use their name but since we couldn't remember we said "por favor bendice la Padre de Lucas."  It was weird and nobody in our district said they recognized his name.  We all talked about it but NOBODY could understand his name.  The teacher that played the role of our "Padre de Lucas" has been helping us for the last couple of weeks and last night he asked what was the name of Lucas' father and we all started laughing and saying oh who knows he just mumbled none of us could understand him.  So he wrote on the board that the name he had used was "Vader"  haha it was classic El Padre De Lucas (luke) was Vader (Darth Vader)  he and our teacher Hermano Wiest, who are also roommates just busted up laughing and so did all of us it was classic. 
He was nice and gave me a great compliment though and said that during that lesson my Spanish had been awful but that I had improved a lot since then.  I know I still am not very good at Spanish but it was nice to hear someone tell me I was improving. 
Mom most everyone here is doing well and hearing from their families but thank you for sending all of those treats to share it's always nice to have things to share to help everyone feel better if their having a bad day.  So I'm good with everything and don't necessarily need anything but if you would send the rest of my ties I would love that a lot.  I'll send the nice ones home before I leave.  It's just the only thing i can change about my appearance so that would be nice.  But other than that thank you so much for everything you've done you are helping to make this a great Christmas. 
So I don't get to call you on Sunday but one of the counselors in our Branch presidency, Hermano Monson (President Monson's nephew) will be calling you to talk to you for a few minutes.  Also, I hear that I will have a chance to email you a quick email on Christmas day so look forward to that:) 
I love you all and hope you have a wonderfully Merry Christmas!!!
Much Love,
Elder Andrew Hawks

Saturday, December 17, 2011

MTC Week 5

So first of all I relized that saying bienvenidos is innappropriate considering that means nice to see you/welcome...but it's ok!  So another week in la CCM has come and gone.  Funny how the days blend together.  The highlight of this week is that I was called to be the new District Leader this Monday.  Life here is funny because literally we do the same thing every single day of the week.  Lots of class, lots of study and lots of food. 
First off the food is either getting better or I'm getting more used to how bad it is...Hopefully it's the first but I expect that it's more the last.  So people ask if I've gained weight and the answer is technically yes.  Three pounds.  Not a big deal right? Right, my companion on the other hand loves the food and has since the first day (I don't know how) but he does and as a result has gained about 15 lbs!  I mean you can't blame him because we never do anything that could prevent it.  Last Thursday however, we ate at the temple.  Let me tell you Temple cafeteria food is AMAZING compared to MTC cafeteria food! There is a high probability I'll eat there every Thursday from now on!
So mom I was happy to hear from you and to receive the package from you the answer to your question about my clothes is yes.  I gave a bunch of things, especially sweatshirts, to Kenzie so I'm sorry I didn't let you know about that. I'm so excited for Spencer and for Peter I'll be a veteran by the time they get here the 18th of next month and will be super wise.  It's a good learning experience but I feel for someone learning Chinese and being here for 3 months. 
I'm glad things at home are going well and that everyone is healthy and doing well.  The MTC is a small place with a lot of missionaries and due to the season there is a lot of sickness that spreads very quickly.  Luckily I have been able to stay healthy and none of that has happened to me.  Elder Irwin who was in our room however got it bad and was throwing up horribly Tuesday, the day before he was supposed to leave to his mission in Columbus.  Tuesday night his companion gave him a blessing of healing and I got to stand in the circle.  It was neat.  I have never had the opportunity to stand in on a blessing.  There is true power in the priesthood and it was a really neat thing to be able to be a part of that personally.  There was no immediate miraculous healing but I know that he will be watched over and it helped strengthen my testimony of the power of the priesthood. 
This week in our devotional the choir, myself, sang Away in a Manger.  It was such a pretty song!  It's fun to do the choir and to be involved in it even if it does just get me out of class;)  The speaker on Tuesday was sister Elaine S. Dalton.  She gave a wonderful talk on spiritual gifts and their importance in our lives.  She spoke about the endowment and patriarchial blessings as gifts of the spirit and how they can help to guide our lves.  Her talk was really wonderful and made me think about how sacred these gifts are and how we need to seek them. 
So yes the spirit is strong here but I'm still a goofy 19 year old kid.  For example Elder Hicks and I taped our noses up like pigs and walked around making fun of people so that was fun:)  It's important to have fun with this I've found otherwise it's just miserable and as great as the scriptures are I'm not very good at reading it them for 2 hours at a time...
So in terms of Christmas, it doesn't feel like it here honestly.  But I will not be calling and the post office will close on the 23rd so if you want to send me anything, and I know lots of people will;)  it will need to be here before then.  In all honesty Michael was right and I would love CD's.  A walkman with some computer speakers or something would be FANTASTIC.  But other than that just send some love and I'll be satisfied. 
So in terms of new missionaries coming in I have seen Andy Christensen a bunch, Jake Peterson and Brad Beck are both on my floor.  Also, my friend Justin Jeffries came in yesterday and is on my floor for studying.  It's fun though I've made a lot of friends with kids from Bingham since Elder Hicks is like me and knows a hundred people here.  Vince comes in next week though and I'm praying he gets put in our room because our two other elders leave this week so cross your fingers everyone. 
On a sad note Elder Forrester and Elder Fiaui from our district left on Tuesday.  It was sad cause they were both such good Elders and had become such good friends to all of us in the past month. 
I'm glad that Elder Petersen likes me cause he's a good Elder and we get along really well despite our differences.  He is funny and I'm glad he's my companion because he's helped me accelerate my Spanish and I've helped him come out of his shell a lot!  It's good and we continue to teach pretty well.  I luckily haven't said anything too stupid in any of our lessons yet so everyone keep your fingers crossed;) 
Thank you mom and Kenzie for the packages this week I LOVE to receive packages and letters it is so freaking awesome.  I love my brothers and sisters and have loved hearing from Jen and Kylan, Jayson and Julianne, and Jason and Courtney!  I'm trying my hardest to write everyone back but sometimes it's hard cause we don't have a ton of time even on P-days!  But know that I love to hear from everyone and feel so blessed to have so many examples to look up to.
Mom and Dad good luck with work this week.  I love you both so much and pray for you every single night.  I'm so thankful for the sacrifices that you are both making to help me be here right now!  God Bless!!
Much Love,
Elder Andrew Hawks

Friday, December 9, 2011

MTC Week 4

Hello everyone and thank you this week for the letters and packages. Life here in the MTC is an interesting time. It's almost hard to know what to write because literally we spend 6-8 hours in the same classroom every day. First off to answer moms questions. My teachers, Hermano Wharburton and Hermano Wiest are freaking awesome. Hermano Wharburton served his mission in the Aneheim California Mission and Hermano Wiest was somewhere in Argentina. It's classic because we as missionaries have no life outside of our small bubble so when we found out Hermano Wharburton has a girlfriend we jumped on the opportunity to have some fun with him;) Hermano Wiest esta poco loco. So in other words he's a tiny bit insane. When he teaches us he literally is yelling Spanish at us for half of the lesson! At least it never gives me a chance to fall asleep in class. Next, I still have not seen Callie Clark but I ran into Will West the other day for a few minutes and it was fun to talk to him. He's so excited to be working here and he couldn't stop saying how excited he was for me! Well a fun Spanish story for this week. Sunday was fast sunday which was good and having a true purpose to fast for made it pretty awesome and helped me to feel the Spirit even stronger. But in our Sacrament meeting we had testimony meeting and we did it in all Spanish. I was able to get up and bear my testimony in complete Spanish and it even made pretty good sense. The Spirit really can and does transcend languages...thankfully:)
It's fun to hear how everyone's doing and I especially loved getting a letter from Julianne this week. I miss my little nieces like crazy every day!
On Sunday we did get to watch the Christmas devotional from the first presidency and it was truly pretty amazing wasn't it? Those movies that they're coming out with on the life of Christ are going to be so sweet and we're even going to be allowed to use them when we teach investigators. What a way to help them understand the life of Christ without even hardly having speak any Spanish:) But as I think about Christmas coming up it makes me a little bit sad to think about being away from home but the more I think about it it will be fun to maybe get to hear from an apostle and focus on celebrating the birth and live of Christ rather than the commercial and "stuff" part of Christmas. Although, packages with some fun toys and what not will be fun and may help keep me sane:)
A new batch of missionaries came in yesterday and I ran into Clint Hubbard, Jake Petersen and another of my friends whose name I can't really remember. It's weird though because they will be in and out before me due to my very long time in this place.
I'm very thankful for a good district because even though Elder Petersen and I get along very well there really is nothing we have in common. I mean the kid doesn't even know who the Jazz are...for heavens sake he hardly knew who Kobe Bryant was...Judast!! But it's fun because we really have the spirit with us and we teach very well together. For example in our last lesson we were talking to our investigator "Facundo" and he talked about how much he felt the spirit when we were there and how he wanted to have it with him always. (Facundo is Hermano Wiest but still it felt good)
I am glad to hear about how everyone's doing and wow Stephen's sent me a couple letters and I love it! I would love to hear from my brother in laws and brothers with any good ideas on how to prank people here or anything that helped them make it fun because we need to stay goofy and laugh or else I'm gonna start going a little crazy.
Another part of this place that is fun is that we get to meet so many new people. I've talked to missionaries fromIceland (he played professional soccer there before he came), a missionary from GermanyEngland (his name was Elder Potter! I know funny huh?) and it's pretty amazing what some of them sacrifice to be here. It keeps it in perspective how true and right our decision to be here is.
So not to be preachy but it has been slammed down our throats how important the Book of Mormon is and the more I read it the more I come to realize how true it is. I think it would be an awesome goal, maybe a new years resolution to read the book of mormon every day cause it will really bless our lives and can help us find the answers to any of lifes problems. I've found how true this is as I've been reading every day.
Well I love you all and truly am praying for you all daily. Everyone have a happy wonderful week!!
Elder Andrew Hawks

Saturday, December 3, 2011


 Thanks to big brother Jason we were able to get a 15 passenger van to take Andrew to the MTC in. 
14 seats were filled with people and 1 with luggage.

 The whole family (minus 2 brother-in-laws)

 Hawks Family

 Lundeen Girls

 Clark Girls


 Elder Hicks he went to Bingham, they became friends with their love of Manchester United.

Tally Wilsher 

 Elder Peterson (his companion in the red tie) and him in class.

Brett Paulsen 

 Standing next to Andrew in the yellow tie on the right is his companion Elder Peterson. And the rest are the elders in his room, some of their names Elders Clarke, Paskett, Petersen, Irwin, and Fahina.

MTC Week 3

Hola Familia y Amigos
Thank you so much mom for your package and the letters from michael and stephen.  It's so good to hear from my brothers I miss them a lot but am not jealous of them having to put up the Christmas lights;)  Well the question I keep getting asked is how class is especially Spanish.  We have two three hour class blocks a day.  Yes that's a very very long time to sit in a classroom.  It's funny cause in two weeks with the spirit's help I've learned more than I did in two years of high school Spanish.  It's coming and I'm able to say some pretty simple sentences in Spanish and the Restoration but it's very slow and choppy.
It's been fun to hear how everyone's thanksgiving was.  I was very sad and homesick on Thanksgiving because cafeteria turkey dinner cannot touch grandma Hawks' cooking for the holiday's.  When i emailed you last week it was very early and the day got better.  We got to hear a message from Elder Russell M. Nelson and it was powerful.  He spoke a lot about how we have to be thankful for the things that we have and for our opportunity to be here. He ended the meeting by having us listen to ''alleluia'' by the men of the mormon tabernacle choir.  If you can find time listen to it it is one heck of a song.  Every general authority that has come to speak to us tells us how thankful they are for our service and sacrifice.  It's a strengthening thing to hear. 
I have joined the MTC choir and it is so much fun, if for no other reason that I get to get out of class for an hour on sunday and tuesday to practice!  We sang come thou fount of every blessing my first tuesday and then sang joseph smith's first prayer this last tuesday.  It's fun to get to sing these songs for apostles of God. 
On preperation days we get to do our laundry write letters and go to the temple!!!!!  It's nice to have a break from the grind of the class work.  But, class starts again on thursday nights at 6.  We have fun teachers though.  Hermano Weist and Hermano Wharburton.  They are both freaking hilarious and hermano weist is a little bit loco.  It makes it fun and having their experience is good. 
Something that I have learned is that the days here are incredibly long.  But, the time all seems to blend together which makes the week feel like it goes pretty fast.  It's hard work though I will not deny that and every day I'm here I gain more respect for Dad, Kylan, Jason, Jayson, and Michael for all serving missions.  It is truly hard work but it's worth it and I have already felt blessed for doing it. 
The Elders in my room are Elder Fahina is a Tongan brother from Mesa, Arizona and he's big, loves to eat and is hilarious.  Elder Irwin is from Pleasant Grove and is very shy but he's come out of his shell with us.  Elders Clarke and Paskett are both from American Fork.  Elder Clarke was a student body officer at AF and is a really social kid and is our district leader.  He's a good kid and keeps us in line sometimes.  Elder Petersen my companion is  We literally have nothing in common.  He is smart and knows his Spanish very well but sometimes it gets frustrating to have him correcting me on every single sentence that I say.  But luckily I have been able to use my patience to my advantage and have been trying to learn from it. 
The pictures I sent to Kenzie are of my district.  The big guy is Elder Hicks, and he's my favorite in the district because he loves the gospel and is excited to be out here but he still loves to joke around and have fun.  He and I do choir together because my companion doesn't want to.  The others are Elder Clarke, Elder Paskett, Elder Fiaui, Elder Forrester, Elder Petersen, and Elder Fehll.  They are all fun and when we're all together in the classroom we have a ton of fun.  Elder Fiaui has a really neat story with his mission and he actually is 23 and was engaged but kept having dreams that he needed to come on a mission.  He's a strong man and his maturity shines through among us young babies who barely graduated.  
Mom it was especially good to hear from you.  I miss you dearly!!!  But I know this is where I'm supposed to be and that I and our family will be blessed for it.  Please feel free to write me anytime because I have the most time to write letters on my P-days but on Sundays and Tuesdays I have plenty of time to write.  Plus, receiving letters is like Christmas. 
Speaking of Christmas mom you asked what kinds of things would be good.  More P-day clothes would be good because since we planned on me only being here in the cold for 3 weeks I only have one sweatshirt.  So maybe another sweatshirt would be good!  None of the other Elders have anything that can play CD's but if you can find anything that plays cd's but doesn't have a radio I would love it because I miss music so much!!  Motab is always good but some christmas music would be so great also.  And maybe socks but I can buy any other stuff or toiletries that I need here at the bookstore so I'm ok but thank you:)
Well Spanish could be worse.  My buddy Elder Pham who is speaking Vietnamese went and knocked on an investigators door and instead of asking if he could come share a message he asked the man if he could share a shower...Yikes.  Haha so at least so far I haven't said anything like that yet.
Well thank you for the prayers and the love it means so much and there are times when I can literally feel prayers through comfort or calming feelings that come.  Know that I'm praying for all of you and am so thankful for everyone. 
Mucho Amor,
Elder Andrew Hawks

MTC Week 2

Hola familia y amigos,
Thank you dad for the letter it helped to brighten my day. My p-day is going to be Thursdays so make sure your letters are to me by then! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving! While you are all eating Turkey and wasting away watching football I will be in a devotional feasting on the word of the Lord so Ha!! Just kidding I really hope everyone is doing great and please make sure to send Grandma and Grandpa Hawks my love while you enjoy the ”feast” with them. I love you all so much and am so grateful for the letters and packages. Mom the immunization record was perfect and helped me to take care of that issue so thank you. And the pants were great as well because it’s not exactly shorts weather anymore. This week has been much, much better than last and although I still get major pangs of homesickness every once in a while which is probably natural but they keep us as busy as possible which helps a lot.
Kenzie sent me the greatest package with voice recordings of many people I love saying happy Thanksgiving, cookies, three letters from her and her friends, and a big poster that said happy Thanksgiving! I loved to hear the voices of Patrick, Regean, Karli, Savannah, Serrelle, Lili, and even Stephen even if he was only in the background;) The love and support I feel is so strong and I’m so grateful for it so thanks everyone!!!
Well things here are good. I didn’t know it was possible to feel the spirit virtually every single minute of every single day! It’s been a neat experience and I have grown a lot. Along with my growth I have been humbled. A lot. The language is hard and like most new missionaries I expected the gift of tongues to happen in days. I’m learning that work is required to reap the rewards of that gift. To answer dad’s question I will get to go to the temple once a week on Thursday my prep day. Since today is Thanksgiving the temple is closed so unfortunately I will have to wait until next week to enjoy that experience.
My companion is Elder Petersen. He is very, very intelligent but we don’t exactly have many things in common. Ok that’s a lie we have NOTHING in common but we get along well and it’s funny to me. He’s more of a video game, computer, smart, math type of guy. But, amazingly, it works out great. He took a college Spanish class so he is a few steps in front of me but he’s also been very helpful in sharing his knowledge with me. We get along very well and have already taught 5 lessons to an investigator in nothing but Spanish. It’s funny how quickly you can understand, but how tough it is to say what you want. I’ve definitely been forced to focus on the basics of the gospel. On Tuesday night D. Todd Christoffersen came and spoke to us in our devotional. His talk was fabulous and he thanked us over and over for our service as missionaries. He taught us that we are fulfilling the commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples right before he was killed. That was amazing and a great strength. He also spoke about how to be effective missionaries and gave great advice to work hard but to also work smart and effectively. Stephen maybe you could do this for school;)
I have found out very early that gym time is muy importante. Literally it’s what keeps me going throughout the day because I know that for those 50 minutes I can just be a normal boy and that I can run around to my hearts very desires. It’s also a great stress reliever because I’ve learned quickly that this place works us to the bones. I’m grateful for the challenge but I know that it’s going to be the best, hardest, sweetest, sweatiest, most intense two years of my life! What everyone told me about the high’s being high and the low’s being low has been true. I’ve been amazed that a completely emotionally stable person such as myself can go from wanting to cry, to having so much fun. It’s weird but I’m sure it will just get worse, and better.
This week has kind of been a blur and as my buddy Elder Pham told me the days are slow but the weeks are fast! This is going to be true I can tell because every day seems to drag on forever but now on Thursday I feel like just yesterday was Sunday.
Well how are my Cougs doing? How’s Stephen, what’s school like, how’s indoor, what fun things are you doing? I would love to hear from my brothers and sisters but if you do write I would appreciate letters because I only have 30 minutes on the computer to read and write. So if you need my address see Facebook. Stephen is in charge of it and my address will be up there. Letter’s are like Christmas every day and it’s always fun to hear how and what people are doing.
I love you all so much and look forward to hearing from all you. Know that I’m always praying for you and thinking about you. Until next week!!
Elder Andrew Russell Hawks

MTC Week 1

Hola Family and Friends!
 Mom thank you so much for  your package I got it today and was so excited!!  To answer your questions the MTC is…hard.  It’s going to take a lot of faith and hard work to be able to do this.  The days go by very slowly because we pack so much into each and every day.  My companion is an elder from California.   His name is Elder Petersen and we literally have nothing in common! But we get along well and he’s a super smart kid so he is helping me with the spanish.  it’s a little tough to always have people shoving spanish down my throat and it’s been almost overwhelming at times.  One Elder told us that it’s like having a firehose shoved down your throat and they expect you to drink each and every single drop of water.  My friends are everywhere.  I’m on the same floor as a kid from alta who has been here for ten weeks and it’s been nice to talk to him and be able to lean on his knowledge.  I saw Brett as i walked in and it was soooooooo good to see a familiar face right away!  I’ve seen Tally, Colby, Dakota, Carson, and Luke.  It’s fun to see how they’re doing and everything that they are dealing with as well.  So far it’s been hard.  It’s just such a dramatic change of lifestyle in such a short amount of time but even by now the adjustment is beginning to happen and things are getting better.  The Elders in my room are Elders Clarke, Paskett, Petersen, Irwin, and Fahina.  Paskett, Clarke, and Petersen are all going to Panama so it’s been fun to get to know them.  In case you didn’t get my second letter there was a small problem with my immunizations records and i will need those.  Also the Guatemala MTC is full so we will be here for the full 9 weeks.  I’m a little bummed about it but it will be nice to be close so you can all send me lots of packages, and mommy please send me my BYU blanket:)

Thank you so much for taking care of Kenzie I’ve been worried about how she’s holding up and she will love to be included in anything with you guys I’m sure.  I was happy to hear she sent you flowers mom and i hope you enjoyed them.  She sent me a few memory cards for the voice recorder that she got me so don’t worry about those one bit.  She’s so great and I miss her but I know that where I am is the right place and I will work hard to be the best I can be as a missionary. 

Well we met with our branch president on thursday night and he had some good things to tell us.  Also one of his counselors is President Monson’s nephew and he speaks just the same and has the same humor.  He interviewed me and gave me some good advice and told me that his MTC experience was very hard.  His words were that missing home and friends and moms and those things is natural and that it is part of what makes us human.  I loved it because it came on the second night when I was exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed.  He told me that he struggled in the MTC for the first while because of these exact reasons and that he thought he may not even know if he could do it but he assured me that things steadily get better and to stay positive and work hard so that’s what I’ll do. 

The food is it’s own animal in here.  Although I don’t consider myself a picky eater I appreciate some home cooking now maybe more than ever!!  My district is awesome and there are kids from American Fork, West Jordan, California, Georgia, and an Elder from Hawaii.  It’s cool to know that everyone here is in the same boat and has the same goals.  I have already been humbled and was quick to figure out that many many many sincere prayers are needed to be successfull here.  I don’t say this to be preachy it’s simply a fact.  Everything that’s gone on here has been a little bit of a blur and it’s funny when I get back I look back on the same morning and it feels like it was a month ago just because of how much is crammed into every second of our time here.  I am doing well though and apart from a few pangs of homesickness I’m doing really well and I’m looking forward to the challenges and the successes to come.  I love you all and am thankful for all of the prayers and support!

Lots of Love,

Elder Andrew Hawks

P.S.  Sorry to keep asking for so many things but my gray jeans didn’t make it into my bag so please send those as well!!