Monday, January 30, 2012

Panama Pictures

Panama Week 1


Well thank you all for all of the support and love, it´s been nice and talking to you all last week was a big boost for me and a good way to get the mission started.  So here it is, I arrived Monday night and we spent the night in the Assistants house.  There were twenty of us in the same small grubby house it was hot and needless to say I didn't get hardly any sleep.  Tuesday was a very very long day because we had to do a lot of things with customs and getting settled in to live here for two years.  In honesty i don't know everything that happened because the people here are sooooooo hard to understand.  But we went to the temple and had Subway and took some pictures.  

So meeting the mission president and his wife.  The Wards are awesome people. I´m very blessed to have .Pres. Ward always has a smile on his face and is a very upbeat person.  So my first companion is Elder Barrera, he is a native from Mexico and he is awesome.  he only has four months in the mission and so between the two of us we have 6 months total as missionaries.  It´s crazy we are very young but I think it´s good because we have a lot of enthusiasm for the work and so we've had good success already.  

Yeah mom that guy you´re talking about is a man that lives in our area he can speak English so I had a good talk with him and he was so excited to let me know how good of friends he is with the Duffins!!  

Ok so the people here speak so so so so so fast it is literally insane.  I can literally understand mas o menos 25% of the conversations we have! haha But it´s really fun and i´m not too worried about it I´m sure that will just come with time.  But I´ve been pleasantly surprised how well I can speak my mind and yes it´s slow and stumbles at times but overall I feel like I´m doing really well. 

Wednesday was when I met my companion and that night we had two lessons with investigators. The familia martinez and hermano martinez and they both went sooooo well.  We taught the plan of salvation to the family and how they can live together forever and they loved it.  There are seven of them and a lot of small kids but they all listened intently the whole time it was a miracle!  We´re visiting them this week and are going to talk about church, baptism and the book of Mormon.  

Ok Hermano Martinez he is an evangelist but really wants to change his life and so this was his second lesson and we taught the book of Mormon and how through it, and sincere prayer he can change and receive answers to his questions it was awesome!!  The only bad part is that his wife doesn't want anything to do with us....But it´s ok hopefully she´ll change her mind!  

The other days we tracted and our area is HUGE. So we knocked doors for a couple of hours and honestly had good success.  We found a couple new families to teach and this week had something like 120 contacts which was cool.  We have mas o menos 20 new investigators which is FREAKING AWESOME.  

So for me wow Panama is hot...yesterday it was about 98 degrees with 80% humidity haha unbelievable.  the thing that´s funny is literally all the people wear pants like it´s not a big deal.  But I am literally sweating every single second Í´m here.  Our house is actually the nicest in the mission and has two floors four bedrooms and only us two.  It definitely is not the US here though and the bathroom is very small and kind of grimy and even though it´s really hot the lack of hot water for a shower is something that will take some getting used to.  Our neighborhood and area is actually one of the more rich areas of the mission and if you talk to the Duffins I´m sure that they´ll be able to tell you all about it.  

Sorry this email is really scatterbrained and random and probably not very informative but they will get better. I´ll start taking notes so I know what to tell you at the end of the week.  

But know that I love you so much and am so grateful for you and all your prayers and can hardly believe all of the marriages that are happening in our extended family!!!!!!!  Ah I´m bummed to be missing them and will need to have some pictures sent to me!!

All my love,

Elder Hawks

ps.  my new address (the one that´s the most secure)

Elder Hawks
Misión Panamá
Entrega General 0834
Panamá, Republica de Panamá

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Andrew and 3 other missionaries left the Provo, UT MTC Monday morning and arrived in Panama late that same night. We (Andrew's family) got to talk to him for a few minutes over the phone (while he was at the airport) and he sounded happy, excited and maybe a bit nervous.

We are thrilled to have heard from the Mission President's wife already! She is a wonderful woman and is doing a mission blog for the Panama missionaries and their family and friends. She will update it weekly with pictures. The address is

Thursday, January 19, 2012

MTC Week 10 (last one!)

Hola familia y amigos,
So here it is my final email from the MTC.  I'm leaving for Panama, Panama City on Monday January 23, 2012 this Monday at 6 am.  I am so excited and this week was a bit of a blur looking forward to Monday!
So first things first thanks for the love Jen and Julianne and families.  Your letters were awesome and it is always so good to hear about my little nieces and the life of the real world outside of our bubble here. 
This week started with a fun activity.  In gym on Saturday I was playing basketball and decided to really be an athlete so I made a nice move down the baseline got past my man and then threw down a two handed dunk.  Needless to say I felt pretty cool and that got my pride pumping a little bit.  The Lord was very quick to humble me however and that night E. Petersen and I had a new investigator who we were teaching the first lesson and I was very tired...I decided to talk about Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden for some reason and when we told everyone in the class about what happened I was thouroughly convinced that I had been correct....Needless to say that humbled me right down again real quick...
So last thursday after I emailed we went to the temple as we always do and I had the opportunity to read the final chapter of the Book of Mormon and finish it while I was in the Celestial room.  It was such a neat experience and the spirit confirmed to me the truthfulness of the Book and the words within it.  I'm thankful for the Book of Mormon and how it blesses our lives and helps us center our lives around our Savior Jesus Christ. 
so Tuesday was also a very good day.  We had a neat lesson about the Second Comforter of the Savior which is when we reach a point in our life where we know that our salvation is guaranteed.  Our teacher Hmno Wiest taught us this and it was so neat to show how working to achieve this can help us maintain an Eternal Perspective on our lives and as a result our trials will become less sore and will mean less and less because we will know through our Savior they are but a moment compared to the Eternity in store for us. 
Tuesday was fun I got a package from Mommy, and Kenzie.  Thanks for the Moleskin journal and calling card. I am in love with those journals they rock!!
So yesterday I had the chance to be a host.  It was way fun!  I ended up hosting for my buddy Chase Hudson.  While I was out there I saw Devin Broadhead, Jake Davies and Landon Lowry drove through.  I saw the Richards and West families and even saw Aaron clegg.  (sorry that sentence was bad)  It was so sweet to see them!!!  They took pictures of me so be sure to talk to them if you haven't already! 
Also yesterday we got a taste of the real world we went to the Provo police stationg to get things for our flight.  We talked to a weird man about his bike being stolen and even heard a swear word haha.  We met the other elder who will be coming with us Elder Mendez he is a native speaker and from Puerto Rico.  He spoke a lot of Spanish to us and told us that our spanish was actually very good compared to other elders in the MTC so that made me feel pretty good but I know when I get down there it's going to be tough!
Last night we had a lesson with our teacher Hmno Wiest about the Savior and we read a large portion of Jesus the Christ about the Atonement and then studied in the scriptures a little bit and then shared testimonies.  Whenever talking about the Savior and his sacrifice the Spirit is always so strong and ALWAYS witnesses of the truthfulness and reality of it for us.  A scripture that stood out to me was Doctrine and Covenants 19: 15-19.  It's powerful and helped me to understand the importance of his sacrifice and how through it we don't need to feel down and unhappy but can have peace and tranquility because of his sacrifice!
My flight schedule is such that I will be at the SLC airport between 7 and 9 and then in the Georgia airport again from 11 to 1 utah time.  I have literally no clue when I will be able to call but everyone keep your phones close! I can't wait to hear from all of you!  This week was great there isn't a whole bunch more to report.  I don't need anything but I have a little memory card thing that plugs into the computer and downloads pictures.  That would be nice to have for when I am in Panama so I can send you all pictures.  I will also be sending a package home with a bunch of stuff home these next few days so look for that too! 
And dad work hard cause I want you coming to pick me up in 22 Months!! I'm praying for you.
Love you all so much and appreciate your prayers and love and support!
The Church is true, God loves us, and Christ suffered for us so that we can be happy!
Elder Andrew Russell Hawks

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sneak Peek...

Two of Andrew's close high school friends entered the MTC today. While the families of the friends were saying goodbye, they spotted Andrew!!!  Andrew was escorting a new missionary (also from Alta High School). Hopefully Andrew will take some pictures of he and his friends. 

These pictures were taken today!!!

It is so good to see his happy smiling face.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MTC Pictures

We love getting new pictures from our missionary boy! This is probably the last batch of pictures from the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, UT. 
Monday, January 23rd Andrew will fly from Utah to Panama! We are so excited for him to start this next chapter of his mission.  

 Andrew with his friend Andy Christenen from Blue Knights soccer team. 
Andy has been called to serve in Hungary!

Andrew's companion Elder Peterson from California.

Traditional tea ring that Andrew's family makes at Christmas
(Mom mailed him his very own this Christmas!) 

 Tally Wisher - friend and fellow Alta Soccer player - going to New York speaking Spanish

 Several Alta HS friends - Brad Beck, Tally Wilsher, Vince Young

 Colby Olverson, Vince Young, Andrew, not sure about the one in the gray shirt.

His district?

Oh no, Andrew is escaping from the MTC...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

MTC Week 9

Dear Familia!
Hola como esta?  Todas las cosas en el ccm esta bien.  Pero estoy animado que mi tiempo aqui es quizas fin. 
Hello!!! Wow this week has been an absolute rush.  We had the new district come this past Wednesday with 12 Elders, and this week we received another district of 10 more!  It's fun to be in a leadership position where I am able to meet them early, get to know them all, and then serve them and help them with the things that they need to adjust to the "oh so wonderful life of a missionary in the MTC". 
So this week I saw a bunch more friends who came in!  I saw sister Masters and had no clue she was even serving a mission.  I saw Parker Wallace and ran and gave him a huge hug.  He looked pretty "deer in the headlights", but he's in my building and on the same floor I live on, so we'll get to hang out a bunch!  I also ran into Jordan Fry who I played basketball with in 9th grade, and then Brody Chipman from Wasatch in 7th and 8th grade.  Elder Petersen always gets mad at me because in his words "How do you know everyone?!"  I'm very blessed to have so many friends here at the same time as me. 
On Tuesday we had our weekly devotional but this week was special...we had Elder Russell M. Nelson with us again.  His talk was very unique and didn't necessarily focus on missionary work in the terms of teaching, or prayer, or faith but it was about the gathering of the tribes of Israel.  It was such a sweet talk and he referenced a ton of scriptures in the old and new testaments that prophesy of it and then also a bunch in the Book of Mormon.  It was sweet and uplifting to realize that I am a part of that gathering right now. 
Elder Clarke had surgery on his ear yesterday and all went well but his ear isn't feeling well.   Elder Hicks sprained his ankle playing basketball and I got sick this week.  Satan is working pretty hard to get us down and to prevent us from getting to the field.  It's neat cause we've been blessed. I was sick for about a day and Elder Hicks' ankle is doing much better, but keep Elder Clarke in your prayers cause we need his ear to get better. 
I'm excited for the next few weeks and the change that's gonna happen in my life.  I'm gonna be in a new country, with new people, with a language that I don't have mastered.  If any of my bretheren in law/brothers/dad have any advice for me it would be greatly appreciated!!
Other than that there's not a ton more to report here.  I finished the Book of Mormon this week and am going again.  Dad I'm in 2 Nephi chapter 4 in Spanish so I hope you're keeping up;)  It's fun and you're right I can understand mas o menos everything that I read but still struggle at times speaking very well.  We did however have a lesson with one of our investigators yesterday that went fabulous.  The spirit was so strong and I was so thankful for the feelings that were conveyed to our investigator even though we couldn't speak perfectly. 
So a quick fun fact (sorry this letter is very scatter brained)  One of the new Elders is from Provo and went to Mt. View and so clearly I asked if he knew the Mattingly's.  He started to smile and said Cline and Macy?  I instantly was stoked and we went on to talk for a while about them.  He was the quarterback and proudly told me that he and cline were 100 percent with completions last year (1 for 1) and how bummed he was when Cline broke his leg.  His name is Elder Bingham and he is an awesome Elder. 
Mom thank you so much for your letter it rocked.  I love your idea for Michael, it was classic!! I'm just curious as to why you never gave me the same opportunity....It's ok when I get home I'll look forward to my 50 dollars monthly for dates:) 
Well I'm keeping my buddies in my prayers and I'm excited for this week to see Spencer, Peter, Jake Davies and everyone else.  It's exciting to be a part of the work of the Lord and we will all be so blessed when we come home and reunite like the sons of Mosiah boasting in the goodness and strength of our Lord. 
I love you all so much and you are in my prayers every day and night!
Elder Andrew Hawks
P.S. Sorry for the shortness of my emails lately the keyboards here are...bad. Fun story I just remembered I ran into a kid who had lived in Panama for a few years and he told me some fun stories and neat facts. One of which was that during the rainy season last year there was a week where it literally poured rain, without ceasing, for an entire week...Yeah I'm stoked.
But much love.  Can't wait to hear from you this coming week!!
Elder Hawks

Monday, January 9, 2012

MTC Week 8

Hola que pasa calibasas?  A fun little Spanish saying this week it technically translates to hey what's up pumpkin but in Spanish apparently it's pretty normal.  So a new year is here kind of weird huh?  One question I've gotten a lot is what kinds of cool fun things are done here for New Year's Eve the answer is...NOTHING!  But even though we didn't have anything special planned for us we made it fun and yes I stayed up until 12!  It was fun a bunch of the Elders in our Zone just got together in one of our rooms and we had like these party popper things, and TONS of treats and candy and then one of the Elders mom sent him some sparkling grape juice with some fake fancy cups so when the clock struck 12 we popped that bottle open and we toasted to a new year;) 
So this week was a good week we finished all of the grammar concepts in our books and now we are going to be doing a lot of reviews for the next two and a half weeks or so.  It will be good because I need all the help and practice I can get.  I'm sorry to hear about all the sickness at the Hawks house and I'll definitely be praying for you all.  I really have been so lucky not to get sick at all and our zone in general has been very healthy which is awesome. 
Mom for your questions.  I see Tally pretty often and he's doing well but his knee is causing him issues so there's a chance that he will be staying here for a week or so extra which is too bad but he's doing good.  Yes I see Elder Young every once in a while too he's doing ok it's just a tough adjustment and there's really no way to prepare for it but if I had any advice for my buddies who are coming in in the next few weeks it would be to pray pray pray and just know that it gets better as you get into it.  January 23rd is my departure date.  And in terms of my warm stuff I saw Callie Clark yesterday for the first time and I'm sure I could give her a box or I can mail it home or I could leave it at the front desk and you can come down one day and pick it up for me so whatever will work best for you I'm willing to do!  To call you at the airport I think that a calling card would be the best option.  They don't sell them here but I know that I could buy one in the airport.  But if you want to send me one that would work well too just let me know what works best for all of you.
So a fun story from yesterday Elder Petersen hates, and I mean HATES sweaters and in our little white handbook we are told to match with our companions so I have been a compromiser and just haven't been wearing my sweaters but yesterday I said hey man come on let's wear them let's do it.  Reluctantly and after a small struggle he decided he could wear it.  He complained the whole day it was really funny but he was so nice to do it! 
Yesterday a new District came into our zone and it was crazy to look back after 7 weeks here and look at these brand new Elders with their eyes in the stars.  It was fun to go in and talk to all of them and be able to hopefully help them out a little bit.  It's just funny cause the ZL's when I came in were a little dorky and didn't talk all that much so the whole time I was just praying that they didn't think that same thing about me!! 
Sorry There's not a ton to say about this week it was pretty much the same as ever lots of class and lots of study.  I'm getting really excited to go down to Panama though and get to work with the people. 
Love you all so much!! Have a great week I love you all so much!
Elder Andrew Hawks

Monday, January 2, 2012

MTC Week 7

Hola Familia!
Dad thanks for your email it was fun to hear about your experiences in the mission field.  It helped me to realize how blessed I was on mine to be surrounded by 2100 other missionaries in the presence of an apostle of the Lord.  Also I love the idea of reading the Book of Mormon with your sunday school class.  I'm excited for you to read it in Spanish cause then hopefully when I get home you'll be ready to talk talk talk in Spanish all the time.  Well if this is a contest I'm in.  I'm almost finished with it right now anyways so I'll get going in the Spanish one start of the year!
Mom thank you so much for your package with the cupcakes they were a hit.  I went into the hall and within fifteen minutes every single one of them was gone!  Missionaries are ravenous wolves (I ate two).  So food...this Christmas season I probably ate more sweets and candy than I ever have in my whole entire life.  But, amazingly I lost two pounds...Yeah I don't really know.  So I've mentioned before in a few of my letters how much my companion loves the food here.  He weighed himself the other day and looked at me and just said in a solemn voice with a little grin..."Elder Hawks I've now gained 17 pounds..."  We both started laughing.  I mean I don't blame him we don't have the most time to exercise and burn off the calories we eat. 
Seriously thank you everyone for the Christmas wishes and presents it was so so nice to have a few things to open and receive.  In all honesty it's funny how when you're in the mission field different things get A Lot cooler than they would be in the "normal world."  I loved the extra moleskin journal because I've been needing a journal specifically for my personal study times.  I don't like to ask for things in these emails cause I don't need much but if at all possible if before I leave you could send me a bunch more of those to last me through my mission would be great cause I want to use those my whole mission if possible.  Thanks again though I'll send pictures home this week from our Christmas and also a bunch of thank you cards for people who sent me things and I don't know their addresses.
So on Monday, the day after Christmas, it was funny how we got right back to the grind of missionary work.  Back to class and our normal schedule.  Speaking of class the Spanish is coming a long.  Right now I'm working on memorizing the first vision in Spanish but I already have a tough enough time memorizing things in English so Spanish has thrown me through another loop.  But it's funny how with the spirit we can receive help for all things Ether 12: 27. 
We are so blessed here to have good teachers.  Hermano Wiest is literally one of the freaking funniest guys I have ever been around.  It's awesome because it's helped us to realize that we can have fun while we work and when we are having fun it's easier to love everybody and everything, and then when you are serious and in "work mode" you can focus better and the spirit is there with you to help you learn the things we need to learn. 
One of the Districts in our Zone left this week and the old Zone leaders were in that District.  Entonces officially Elder Petersen and I began our service.  In the first few days issues were brought to our attention and we had to help one of the districts follow the rules.  One piece of advice to anyone coming to serve a mission is to just follow the rules.  No matter how stupid you think they may be they're there for a reason and something we're told here often is that to be mostly obedient will bring many blessings but to be completely obedient will bring miracles. 
Sorry for the preaching for a moment.  We met a teacher here who served a mission in Mexico I think but when he was young he lived in Panama for a few years so we talked to him for a long time one day during class.  He told us a lot of great things that helped to get us excited to get out there and even if we don't speak great Spanish to start spreading the word and actually talking to real people.  He told us some of the fun things to look for and not to worry too much about Snakes...PHEW!  But, he said the thing to watch out for are the frogs.  He said there are TONS of frogs there some that are native and that are very very poisonous.  Yay fun huh?  But he told us that however prepared we think we are for the heat we're not even close.  That was encouraging.  But it was really just good to talk to him and to here more about the country and the people we will be serving. 
Kylan sent me an email that came at a perfect time.  I was having a little bit of a tough time this week with letting stupid little things that people would do or say bug me.  Especially Elder Petersen.  He has a habit of saying "esta bien" at every opportunity possible and even sometimes when it doesn't apply, so I started keeping a tally of how many times he did.  One day it was about 70 some odd times.  In his letter Kylan told me to, no matter what, love everybody and everything and he specifically said even the little things that people do and say.  It hit me that I was at fault and as a result I stopped my count and have studied for the question I had "how can I love everybody and everything in my mission?" for the past few days in personal study I focused on Love.  Love almost every single time is mentioned in the Scriptures is connected to Charity.  It has strengthened me a lot to look for opportunities and times that I can serve him and everybody else in the zone and as a result my love for them and desire to serve them as a Zone Leader has increased immensely.  This was a fun little moment to see how the scriptures can answer questions in our lives. 
I'm thankful for all of you and praying for you every night! 
Con Amor,
Elder Andrew Hawks