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!