Hello everybody and thank you very much for your love and support. I especially appreciate the email from Brother Duffin about helping the ward members become involved in the missionary work. It was wonderful and is going to help us out a lot! Dad thanks as well for your suggestion. That´s a great idea and would be more of a pressure free approach to get to know the friends and families of the members! Thanks mom and dad for the emails and it sounds like everyone is doing really well! The honest truth is that I don´t need anything and it´s hard to know what to ask for...ties are always nice because I use them every single day and garments because I´m running a touch low on those. Thank you for everything and honestly you don´t need to send me anything!! This week comes home an Elder Biesinger and I´m going to send home my memory card with him with all of the pictures and videos from my three changes here in Cabuya. I have another memory card and will get to work on filling it up!
Well my time here in Cabuya is up because I got the call that I have changes. I won´t know where I´m going until Wednesday in the morning and then they ship us out on Wednesday afternoon. It´s been a good experience to be here and learn so many new things. The honest truth is that I don´t want to go because I love the members here so much and to leave them I almost feel like I´m leaving my family. But it´s part of the mission and at the same time I´m excited for a new companion, new start, and new place to work for the Lord. It´s neat to know that no matter where we are going we will be doing the same work and that there are people prepared waiting for us.
I´m going to be leaving 2 super positive investigators that just need to be married and then they will be baptized. The difficult part is that we still don´t have the family support of one of the couples so my companion is going to have to work to gain more and more the confidence of them. The other couple Mario and Angela are doing great and are so excited to get married they just need to do their examins and then are good to go because of the contact we have here that helps us with the marriages.
I´m going to keep this email short because there isn't a whole lot to tell you but this weekend my buddy from the mission should be stopping by to drop off a few things. Make sure to save my pictures. I love you all and am so thankful for your support and love, I hope that you all have a wonderful week and I´ll talk to you next week!
Thanks a lot for the sports updates and the news about the Brigham City temple that´s really so exciting to know that there is a new temple in Utah. The people always ask me how many there are in Utah and sadly I don´t know...it would be fun to know so that I can tell the people an exact number. Sounds like things are going well in the homeland and the world is marching a long. That´s so fun that Whitney is going to have a baby and that Cline had his first kiss. Ah I love those fools so much and it´s always so fun to hear these little stories.
Well for the update from me this week...to be totally honest there´s not a ton to report. After our baptism we find ourselves in a position of finding new investigators who are excited to work with us and find out more of the gospel. We have a really good Mission Leader in this ward that is good about working with us and he hates it when we contact because he wants us to be working to get more references from the members. It´s been interesting to try and work hand in hand with the members but in the sense of squeezing references out of them. The honest truth is that it has been hard. The members here are either lazy or shy because they have a hard time sharing the gospel with their neighbors and family members. I totally understand though because I never talked about the church with my nonmember friends either. I would love some suggestions on how we can excite the members to get involved a little bit more in the work here.
The investigators that we have and are working with stay the same. Angela had her baby and it was a c section and they took out her parts all at once. Yeah she´s been out of commission for a little while...It´s been neat to watch the ward get involved with her because since she had her baby the relief society has gone to visit her, the bishop went and yesterday we did a visit with the elders quorum president. I love it when the members take initiative and do their part and it´s been so good for her to feel loved and like she´s important. The only detail with her is that she has to get married. They´re working on it but with the birth and everything we've had to take a step back and wait but I´m sure that in the first of October her and Mario will be married and she will be baptized.
As for me personally I´m doing really well. Changes are coming on October 3rd and considering that this has been my third change I´m almost sure that I´m going to be leaving. I've learned a lot here and am thankful for the experiences that I've had and the truth it´s going to be hard to leave there are so many people here that I love so much but that´s just how the mission is I´m sure. I love you all and am so thankful for your love and support. How is Korban doing and also if you could get me Spencer´s email address that would be super awesome!!
Thank you for your emails everyone and what a bummer about the Cougars...I´ll be honest during our service project on Saturday morning I was thinking about them and hoping they could beat those Utes but it´s ok hopefully in the near future our cougars will stop playing like house cats against the Utes. I´m excited for Stephen to get started on this missionary class that was such a fun memory with my friends and to realize right now that almost all of my friends who went are now on missions is excellent and so satisfying. I remember Kylan, Jason and Michael being some of my favorites just because they´re family and really know their stuff. One thing that would be good to do would be to leave the boys with a commitment in between. For example a reading assignment in the book of mormon, an activity from Preach my Gospel or something like that. It´s important that they develop their own testimonies and aren´t leaning on the testimonies of others when they get into the field.
Ah this week was so satisfying. Priscilla was baptized yesterday at 330 here in the time zone of Panamá. It was so neat to watch her make the covenant of baptism yesterday and even more neat to hear her testimony afterwards. She talked about how she has been investigating the church for two years practically and the first time she committed to be baptized two years ago she really wasn´t ready. It was neat because she told everyone how happy she was to have been baptized but that she realizes that it´s just the beginning. She said she wants to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity with her husband and that she wants us there with her one year from now. It almost made me cry !haha.
The honest truth is that this week we focused almost exclusively on her and getting her baptized. I hope you all enjoy the pictures!
Happy Monday....Today is a rainy dreary day in Panama but I cant take the smile off my face. This week Hector and Priscilla got married and they couldn't have been happier. The significance of this even is that Hector can once again receive the blessings of the priesthood that he holds and that she will be baptize this next Sunday. One year from now they will have the goal to be in the temple of the Lord here in Panama being sealed for time and eternity. Cool huh?
Ah its always so good to hear from all of you and to know that everything is going well in the homeland. I'm honestly so stoked that Utah State beat Utah...This Saturday Ill be cheering for the Cougars to do the same!! Finally Stephen and Michael let me know they´re alive. Speaking of those two I sent them both letters a few weeks ago and so they should have gotten there by now and it would be awesome for them to write me back! Mom it would probably be better to mail me the emails from my friends because I don´t have a ton of time on the computer and it gets expensive to be printing off 10 pages of emails! Thanks so much! It would probably be nice to have some vitamins because rice and chicken only offers so much...haha. I honestly am doing well on everything else and am just happy as can be:)
More good news is that Angela, one of the investigators that we´re teaching, had her baby this Thursday and everything went so well. Last night after church we went to their house to congratulate them and when I saw her I hardly recognized who she was!! They are so happy and she really wants to be baptized so the new goal with them is that they have to get their bums married. It was really neat because Mario came to church with all of his kids while his wife was in the hospital and during priesthood meeting he leaned over to me and said Yo quiero sellarme en el templo con mi familia, que tengo que hacer. When he said that it was so neat and I just told him you have to get married, Angela has to be baptized and you have to wait a year. He looked at me with so much sincerity and determination and asked me what he has to do to get married so now we got to get to work with them in the marriage process. It was honestly a wonderful week and so much fun to watch the Lord and his hand in the missionary work here. The ward here is being blessed and I pray that the members will recognize it and get into helping us just a tich more by giving us a referral or two.
I love you all and am so thankful for you and all the support that you offer me! I promise that I´m doing my best to help the people here come unto their savior. I love it here and every day ends with me tired and sweaty but happy.
Hello everyone and happy Labor day! Today unfortunately isn´t technically our pday because tomorrow we are going to the temple and so we are just getting out of our district meeting. I´m happy to hear that everyone is doing well and that you are all enjoying a day free from the monotony of the work schedule that we live day to day.
Sounds like you guys had fun and that Kenzie got to meet Elder Tholen. Haha classic he´s a funny guy and that makes me laugh that his English wasn´t too good. I´ve been noticing that my English isn´t the best either and I still have a ways to go and for it to get worse. This week in the life of Elder Hawks was nice. The highlights have to be that we had interviews with President Ward this week. It was good to talk to him and curiously enough I was the only gringo that got the interview in Spanish...I don´t really know why but it was funny two gringos in the same room speaking spanish. He congratulated me on the success that we´ve seen and commended the work that we are doing due to the fact that the area had been killed before we arrived. Sister Ward told me that I will be coming home on Thanksgiving day of next year which was weird to think that they already have all of that stuff planned haha I wasn´t even thinking about that.
Our next highlight is that one of the couples we are marrying has the date set and are going to tie the knot tomorrow at 2 o´clock. They were gracious and invited us to come so I will send you pictures of that next week:) I´m so thankful that they made the choice and that it´s finally going to happen!!!!! Priscila, the wife, put her own baptismal date and is going to be baptized the 16th of August! I´m so dang excited it´s crazy.
Next, we received a reference this week from a lady that lives in the city. She is a Kuna who referred us to her sister here in the area. The sister is already a member but her friend who lives there isn´t. We taught her the importance of baptism friday she accepted the baptismal date of the 23 of august and then came to church on Sunday! She is excited and obviously so are we. Funny story is that she is 17 and from San Blas, she came and is already married...Yeah tell that one to Stephen that I met a girl younger than him that is already married...crazy huh?!
Third, we have run into a complication with Johnny and Carolina, another couple we are marrying. The issue is that johnny is 16 (also younger than stephen) and Carolina is 19. She is pregnant and they want to get married so that there son grows up in a functional family but the parents of Carolina aren´t being supportive. It was a hard blow because I really love them so much and they know that marriage is how they are going to repent and put their lives back in order. This Sunday we fasted for them and I have faith that we are going to see a a miracle with thelm and even if they don´t get baptized in this change while JI´m here I´m sure it will happen soon.
Angela didn´t have her baby because she still only has 8 months and so they decided not to go ahead with the operation. She is doing well and they are making strides to be married but they just lack the money necessary right now. Pray for them that the business of Mario, the husband, will pick up and they will come up with the means to provide for the examins that they have to have done.
I´m busy here which makes me happy. I know right now that the Lord trusts me with his souls and as a result we are seeing success. I love it here and am finding that I come to love these people here in Panamá. They are so special to me and I want the best for them! I love you all and can´t wait to hear from you again next week!!
Thanks for the emails and freak Stephen is all geeked up in his SBO stuff that´s super cool tell him to be super careful not to fall off the school today!! Haha Í´m proud of him and I know that he´s going to have a lot of great leadership experience this year that are going to help him grow and when the time comes be a great missionary. Tell him I love him!
This week the changes came and went and my companion and I are staying in our same area and we´re staying together until at least the beginning of October. I´m excited and it should be a good change with at least a few more baptisms and hopefully some marriages:) This week my comp finally is feeling a little bit better and so we jumped out and got back to work. This week we set a new goal that we we´re going to put a baptismal date in every single one of the first lessons that we have and if they don´t accept the date we´re not going to continue to teach them. Something that happens a lot in missionary work is that we become satisfied "planting seeds" and we can lose the focus of finding the people that are chosen and truly ready to accept this gospel. I know it sounds harsh but the truth is that if they don´t accept the date it doesn´t mean they´re a bad person or anything just that it may not be there time. As a result we contacted a lot and we´re putting baptismal dates like crazy but the people we contacted in this week we´re not the select. It´s ok I´m excited and I know that with the faith we are exercising to find these people who are really truly ready the Lord is going to bless us and in 6 weeks we´re going to see miracles.
We are still marrying these couples and one needs the prayers of you guys this week. Mario and Angela are going to have their baby this week. Angela was diagnosed two weeks ago with a urinal infection and the doctors are nervous that it may have affected the baby that´s on it´s way. They´re going to do a c-section this week and so your prayers would be awesome.
Hey I love you guys so much and will be looking forward to hearing from you in the next week. Here comes a picture of a tiny tree cutting project we did in this week. Not quite on the same scale but enjoy!:)
First of all I´m happy my memory card made it to Kenzie and found it´s way to the house. I hope you all enjoy the pictures! It sounds like this tree cutting was a pretty big deal and when I get home I may not recognize the house!! I´m glad everyone is doing well and hanging in there without me;) Mom it´s always fun to receive little treats so if there´s something cool in San Fran send it my way!! Thanks also for putting money in my account I bought new shoes already and am enjoying that they don´t have gapin holes in the front!! haha ps mom I got your package this week on Tuesday and thank you so much for the books they are fabulous! on thursday we used one of the games from the black book for the noche de grupo and it was a huge hit thank you thank thank you a million times! Jason Hawks a shout out for having found missionary pal!!
To be honest there´s not a ton to report because my comp was sick again this week and so me being the nice trainer that I am gave him some time to rest because he´s come to Panamá in a time of lots of sickness! It was pretty normal and we´re still in the process of having the couples married. It looks like one couple is going to be married the end of this month and then the woman will be baptized a week afterwards. One of the other couples is in trouble because the wife is having her baby today which makes all of the examines she did this week invalid...But we´re excited for her to add number 6 to their family and will hope to have them married by the end of September!
The new missionaries are in Panamá today so Rachel Ericson has already landed, arrived and is doing all the fun stuff the new ones do with president in their first few days. I don´t think I have changes so unfortunately I won´t be able to see her for a while probably. I will most likely be staying in my same area with my same companion and we´re going to have to keep working on finding new investigators and getting these couples married. The truth is I don´t have a ton to say but would love if mom could send me a few recipes of cookies, cakes, etc so that I can make them with the members!!
I love you all and am so thankful for your love and support! You are all so amazing and I love you all to death!