Dear Family, Wow thank you Kylan for taking the time to respond to my little question and I will definately be looking to put all of those ideas into practice. I´m working on a letter to send to you but sorry in advance it will take forever to get to you! haha Thank you family for the updates and especially the letter from sister Clayton! it´s always very nice on Monday to get to the computer and find that everything is going well. So this week in the life of Elder Hawks.... My new comp Elder Moreno is from Mexico and an excellent teacher. The kid can teach the Restoration without skipping a beat (something I need to work on) but the same issue as always is that there are no people in there houses during the day. We have started to do a little bit of planning with ourselves and with the ward and it looks like we have a few good things to do. The ward is planning a huge activity for the 2nd of June that should be a fabulous opportunity for us. They are going to do the huge airplane thing where the plane gets in a crash, everyone dies and then a guide takes them through all 3 levels of glory for after this life. As missionaries we are going to be in charge of getting the invitations out to the people and all the people in the ward elected me to be the captain of the airplane. haha I know awesome. They love me. Haha just kidding but seriously. It´s exciting and should hopefully generate a nice income of references but as always with these activities we never know until they happen how successfull they are. (Sorry if my spelling is bad, I´m forgetting English.) So Herman Martinez. He did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was baptized and everything was so perfect. The meeting was fabulous and he is so stoked to be a member of the church here. It´s amazing the strength and committment this man has. He is now the only member in his family and to be generous about his wife she wants nothing to do with us. It´s interesting because he really has received a testimony and the light that he shines now is impressive but it doesn´t matter his wife is so dang closed to everything she can´t even see it. Pray for her that she will be able to soften her heart and listen to us so that they can be an eternal family. A funny story this week is that we were at the interview with hermano Martinez and I was talking with his wife for a second (about non spiritual stuff) and she says "mire a la chichi" as she pointed at her young daughter of 16 years. I was a 100 percent confused and shook her hand with this weird look on my face and then the mom got up and pointed to her daughters stomach and showed me that she´s pregnant!!! Haha what the heck it was so weird. She is like 16 maybe and is sporting the belly of a 5 month along woman and the family is so proud. It´s interesting and always an eye opener to the reality of the world outside of our cute little bubble in Utah. Haha Well that´s about all to tell you this week. Know that I love you so much and am so excited to talk to you in mother´s day. I still know absolutely nothing about what´s going to happen but i´ll be sure to fill you in as soon as I do. I love you all an am so thankful for your love and support of me! Elder Hawks PS I got the ward´s valentines card this week...haha love Panama mail but thank you:)
Family, Hey thank you so much for the updates sounds like things in the Hawks nest are going well. Hey so Michael and his new "friend" Alli? whoa whoa where are the details on that one and if it gets going I will be expecting a picture or two. It´s good to hear that Kenzie is staying in touch and that Spence always feels at home in our house. I´ve thought a lot about him the past few weeks and would love if he could shoot me an email or write me a letter. Haha mom I didn´t even realize mothers day was that close but wow it really is!!! Um to be 100 percent honest I have no idea on how this whole thing works but what I do know is that I will probably be able to use skype. As details come with this I will be sure to let you all know!! Congratulations to Stephen on his SBO victory that is so awesome I couldn´t be prouder of my little brother he´s such a stud. Ok so changes this week...the reality is they affected me and i am...............in the same area! haha but I have a new companion. His name is Elder Moreno and guess what...He´s from Mexico!! I wonder if the Lord is trying to send me a message with all these mexican comps. haha But he´s a super awesome kid and a great Elder. He has about 8 months in the missison and is a stud. He speaks English but only just a tiny tiny bit! I´m stoked. My spanish is gonna get really good in the next 6 weeks. With Spanish it´s like a switch lit up when Elder Barrera left. I can understand almost everything that the people say to me and have been able to communicate a good 90 percent of what I want to say. obviously I lack the vocabulary and the fluency but that will all come with time. Dad to answer your question about the soccer seasons I don´t have the slightest clue the people here don´t follow their own leauge. They are OBSESSED with the Spanish league and that is all they talk about. Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only two teams that really honestly matter here to anyone haha. Hermano Martinez is doing well and was at church yesterday so his baptism is set for next sunday at 1230 right after church! He is so excited and so am I he is amazing and it will be such a blessing in his life to be baptized and become a member of this church. He is so awesome and always tells us how excited he is and how he can´t wait for his family to take part "in this joy that i feel". It´s amazing and it really is joy. Sometimes it makes me think how "joyful" I was to go to church, or to go hometeaching, or to do fast offerings. Something that I´ve realized as I´ve been gone is how at times I took the church for granted. Not all of it but just the little things. The little opportunities to serve and to help uplift others. I love that the poeple here are always so excited to serve and to magnify their callings or to help uplift someone who is in need. This week was honestly a tich tough because I just feel tired. It´s been weird because honestly I just have felt like i have hit a spiritual wall or something and that it´s time to stand back up and start running again. The area is dead during the day and so sometimes I feel like we walk without purpose so I know that something that we are going to have to learn to do very well together is plan and find useful things to do during these day time hours. All my missionary brothers if you have any ideas I would love to here them because a nice brainstrom session with a bunch of RM ideas could really help me out. I love you all so much and am so thankful for all that you do for me and all the blessings I receive from your prayers. It´s amazing how at times we can feel so tired and then all of a sudden receive a little boost of energy. I know that this is your prayers being answered for me and I´m so thankful for it every time it happens. I love you all so much and will send home pictures of me, my comp and Hermano Martinez in his baptism next week! Elder Hawks
Elders Barrera, Me, Tucker, and Cerrato enjoying life at the trump ocean club on pday!!
Buenas de Panamá
Wow sounds like not too much happened in the land of the free, but congratulations to Stephen on making it to the finals in the SBO skits and everything. That is so awesome! PS Happy late birthday for Serelle and it was so much fun to get to see the pictures of that cute little three year old going to town on her piñata!! How fun about Rachel Ericson! That will be so exciting if I see her. I will be SURE to tell her hi and give her a nice firm handshake! Haha, gotta love being a missionary. Tell her the only thing to get ready for is rain. The rainy season is going to start in the end of this month and everyone says that it´s pretty dang strong from May until November. It has already rained a time or two and let me tell you it is ridiculous...For real the streets if they have any incline at all turn into rivers.
So this week from me was pretty normal. We are still working hard to find new investigators but the success of finding really sharp, ready people has not quite come. However Hermano Martinez from my first few weeks is going to be baptized the 28th of April and came to church yesterday. He loved it so much and is getting really excited for his baptism. I know he´s going to be strong and nothing will stop him from making this step. Vanessa has pretty much fallen off the face of the planet, but one of the members that was close to her has told us that she´s getting better and has kept reading so the baptism now is just up to her on her time. It´s crazy how when something really good in our life is coming that satan really gets on his horse and attacks us like crazy. But it´s all about coming out on top no matter what and moving forward.
It´s hard to believe that I´ve already been here for two changes and almost 3 months...I think. I´ll be honest, I don´t count haha. But it´s been such a blessing and I´ve learned so much about the world and how much of a bubble we really lived in in Utah. It´s been a neat experience so far and I´m excited to see whether or not the changes affect me at all this week. Sorry for being pretty short this week but there´s honestly not a ton to report! I love you all and am praying for you all like crazy. Happy Birthday to Stephen and Macy this week! Make sure Macy sends me a wedding invitation cause I don´t care if I´m 1000 miles away I still want one!
Have a great week and thank you for all of the love support and prayers. Hasta la proxima semana!
Dear Family, HAPPY EASTER!!! Well truth be told I didn´t even know that it was Easter until I looked at my calender before running to church...But here in the Catholic religion they celebrate the Semana Santa and to be honest it´s about like the carnivals and the whole entire world goes to the interior...Whew we had nothing this week absolutely nothing. But it was interesting and I learned a lot about the traditions of the people here in Panama. For this week it´s about the same in all of Latin America and yes they focus a lot on the pain and suffering of Christ and less on his resurrection. They do parades with people whipping each other and carrying crosses and all kinds of other interesting things. The most common however is that they are always walking in the streets singing songs that I still don´t understand totally. But as a result nobody was excited to hear from Mormon missionaries in their days free from school, work, etc. Something interesting is that in every single tv station they were showing videos of Christ. In our dinner last night the family was watching one such video. When it´s on a huge screen and the whole world is watching it´s hard to avoid it 100 percent haha. But it was interesting to see how the video "The passion of the Christ" was so gruesomley focused on the torture and pain that Christ received. I don´t know, for example it showed a scene when he was scourged with the whips and it was such a vivid bloody description that it made me a bit sick to the stomach. I love how in the church we recognize this suffering and pay tribute to it, but the main focus of the Easter message is the life and resurrection of Christ. That He OVERCAME death and not only suffered it. So for an answer to the question with the food. I have eaten more chicken and rice in the past weeks than in all of my life combined and for this I have gained a little weight. For lunch and dinner it´s almost always rice and chicken and when it´s something different it´s almost weird. It´s funny though because now I don´t get filled up unless I have my enormous plate of rice. haha Breakfast we make for ourselves and to not waste too much time in the mornings I have eaten a lot of cold cereal. They have fruity pebbles here which I enjoy! haha But also eggs are super cheap and so I eat a fair amount of those in the mornings as well. Nothing special for Easter dinner just yellow rice rather than the normal white! But I like it and at least I haven´t had to eat anything super weird yet. So this week was slow with the investigators but it´s ok. This next week for the last week of the change we´re gonna saddle up and get to work so that either me or the missionaries who are next in the area are going to have something to work with. We have been very lucky and have really gained the confidence of the members and so their willingness to help us out and to support us in the work has helped us out a lot and will be a huge help in the next changes if the missionaries can keep the confidence. Well everyone I love you and am having a great time here. Everything has been perfect in these first few changes with my area, my comp, the work everything. I know that it´s not always going to be like this but it´s awesome to have gotten my mission off to a good start. Thank you so much for all of the prayers and thoughts and letters (I know there are some that I just haven´t gotten yet haha) But thank you, know that I love you all and am praying and thinking about you all the time but not in the homesick type of way! Have a great week and Stephen good luck with the elections!!! Much Love, Elder Andrew Hawks