Friday, February 1, 2013

January 28, 2013

Dearest family,

Thanks so much for your emails I love hearing from you guys all the time it´s really the best and just makes me one happy missionary.  Mom thanks a ton for getting that little package ready and being able to fulfill my requests you´re literally the best mother ever!  Dad to answer your question we are in the dry season right now.  I think that the last time it rained here was 2 or 3 weeks ago it´s hard to tell time just seems like a big blur to me.  I hope Stephen is doing well and that he´s getting good grades but make sure to let me know whether or not he makes it into BYU cause that would be so fun to be at school with him again after he finishes his mission!

Well changing gears this week for us was a little bit odd.  It´s hard to explain but it seems like last Monday was just yesterday but at the same time there are so many things that have happened and that are going to happen in the next week it´s hard to know exactly where to start!  Last week was time for the financial secretaries to pay all of the owners of the houses and the cooks for the mission.  They also had to make payments on all the houses electricity, water and garbage.  Needless to say their plate was full.  Luckily a lot of the payments are online so they can be done in the office but the tough thing is that it´s about 95 houses with the three payments each so it takes quite a while.  As a result we had two late nights in the office on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thursday was pretty normal and we got out to contact for a little while.  We decided to work in a different, richer part of our area and it turned into about 30 contacts with 1 lesson.  It was a funny coincidence because a long time ago we were playing basketball and this kid came and played with us.  We talked with him for a bit but he was really shy and we kind of didn´t think much more of it.  Thursday we were contacting and guess who´s house we contacted?  Our basketball friend´s!  It was cool cause he was there with his little sister and then with his mom.  They let us in and all sat down and listened to us.  Unfortunately they weren´t home on Saturday for our return visit and couldn´t make it to church for one reason or another but we´ll see if we can get a hold of them and keep teaching this week that´s coming.  

This coming weeks marks Elder Wade´s last week with us.  On tuesday he´s leaving to go and be a Zone Leader for the last two months of his mission.  It´s exciting for him and it´s going to be good for Elder Cottrell to take up the reins as the financial secretary and do it his own way.  It´s gonna be different with Elder Wade gone and I´m gonna miss him he was honestly one of my favorite companions.  We worked really well together and always got our office things done and made it to the area.  I´m excited for him though to leave and go finish his mission off strong and have the success that he deserves!  It´s fun to meet and have companions that you can keep in contact with after the mission.  With the two I´m with right now it will be really easy because both are going to BYU so there will be plenty of time to catch up and build lasting relationships with them afterwards:)  

To be honest there´s not a ton else to report.  It´s still sunny and I still sweat every single day but I couldn´t love it any more!  I´m having a lot of fun and making sure to balance the fun with the work.  I think that a lot of missionaries get too worried and worked up with being serious all the time and forget that they´re supposed to be themselves and use their personalities to preach the gospel.  I love being here and having the opportunity to spread the good news to the people of Panamá!  

I love you all and hope you have a great week!  Until next Monday:)

Elder Andrew Hawks

Note to Korban:  KORB!!!!!!  You´re 20 what the heck?!  Congratulations man not gonna lie it´s kind of weird that we´re no longer teenagers even though we may still feel/act like it!  Happy Birthday man, really you deserve to have the best day!  Thanks for being one of my best friends for about 16 of those 20 years haha It´s crazy to think that we´ve kept the same group of friends for so long and that we were always so close doing things together and now we´re all doing the same thing just on different sides of the world.  We literally couldn´t be luckier to be doing what we are and having the opportunity to help other people come to know about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I love you buddy and hope you have a really wonderful birthday:)

Andrew Hawks

January 21, 2013

Hello familia,

Well mom you may have sent me the longest email that I´ve received in the history of my mission but it was so much fun to read and awesome to hear about how everyone is doing back at home.  To answer your question I would LOVE one of those family calendar´s and actually was looking at my 2012 calendar and wanting one for this year so thanks mom you made what we call an "inspired question"!  There´s nothing that I need need thanks to the money that I used to buy new shoes and fix my pants!  I really like getting books and pictures so if you send a little package you could definitely add that.  Also thanks a bunch for all of my friends emails it´s always fun to hear how they´re doing and how they´re progressing in the work.  

This week was different for us but good.  It was one of our worst weeks in terms of getting out to our area and working but it was because of a lot of circumstances out of our control.  Something that happens when you´re with the financial secretary is that President will call him and ask him to make a payment immediately and that exact scenario happened to us a few times.  It´s ok though and it´s just a part of the assignment we have.  One of my goals while being in the office has been to do everything in my power to make President´s life easier because he has lots of other things that he needs to worry about and so if I can help lift his load a little bit I feel like I´m doing a good job.  

As a mission we´ve put the goal to read Preach my Gospel before the end of the change (Feb. 20th) and so that has required a reading of 6 pages every day.  It´s been good to go through and read it a little bit quicker and get a very general view of what the first presidency has written to make us better missionaries.  I love that book and HIGHLY RECOMMEND that anyone preparing to serve a mission reads it and starts to study what it teaches because it will make you a much better and more prepared missionary before you even start.  

A few highlights of the week...

Interviews with Pres. Ward:  On friday we had our interviews finally and it was neat to sit down and talk to him one on one for a few minutes.  We talked a lot about me staying in the office because he told me I´m doing such a great job he doesn´t want me to leave.  He asked me how I would feel spending an extra change here in the office which would have me staying all the way until May...To be honest it was hard to hear but I told him if that´s what he needs that´s what I´ll do.  We talked about a few goals and then how to make the office a more positive and working atmosphere.  He also gave me compliments about how well he thinks I´m doing and how much he appreciates my service.  

Fire Brazil:  There´s a restaurant right by where we live called Fire Brazil.  It´s a Brazilian steakhouse kind of like Rodigio´s or Tucano´s in utah where they bring out all the meat on giant swords and then cut you off a big slice if it´s what you want.  On Thursday we finally broke down, spent a little bit of money and ate there.  I ate about my body weight in meat.  Oh words can´t describe how good it was.  You guys know the carnivore that i am when it comes to steak so needless to say I was in heaven.  After that meal it was a little bit tough to walk but it was worth the pain.  The weirdest thing I ate while I was there was a chicken heart and strangely enough it was pretty good.  Other than that it was just big slices of juicy, red meat!

Elder Christofferson:  On Saturday we had a two hour meeting in which 5 general authorities were present.  Elders Amado, Duncan, Maynes, Duarte and Christofferson were all there.  It was a logistical nightmare to bring all the missionaries in to hear him because it involved getting 207 people from all over the country and into the chapel by 9 o´clock to start the meeting.  By lots of planning and a small miracle there were no large problems.  Maybe the most impressive part is that we were able to get everyone in position in front of the temple to take a picture.  Hopefully that will get to us next week so I can send it to you!  Elder Maynes his wife and Elder Christofferson along with his wife were the only ones to speak with us in the meeting.  It was really neat and had such a special spirit to have one of God´s special witnesses there testifying to us.  I loved the talks and then with an hour left Elder Christofferson opened up his time to questions.  It was amazing to watch people ask something and then have him pause, meditate and then immediately know where to go in the scriptures to teach us the answer.  It was neat that he didn´t answer questions, but he taught from them.  Needless to say I walked away from that meeting with a greater desire to do a lot of things but one thing that was impressed upon me was the "why" behind the gospel.  A lot of times we know that things are important and that we should do them but we don´t realistically understand why.  Another point that stood out to me was the Book of Mormon.  In almost every single answer that he gave he used examples and teachings from the Book of Mormon.  He stressed over and over the importance of using the Book of Mormon in our day to to day teaching and helping the people read and gain a testimony of it. There really were so many other things but if I wanted to mention all of them this email would never end!  I know that he is an apostle of God and that he understands the perfection of the Gospel and he truly understands the "why" to many things.  The spirit that he brought to the meeting was something special and an experience I won´t soon forget.  

To wrap this email up things went well this week and the work keeps moving forward.  One of the greatest sacrifices we have to make here in the mission is within ourselves.  We have to learn how to discipline ourselves and make sure that we do everything in our power to make sure that we take control of the things that we can and do them the best we can.  I loved this week because I learned so much.  I know that it´s a blessing to be here in the mission and I love it so much!

Elder Hawks

January 14, 2013

Dear family,

As always thanks for the emails.  Needless to say I´m not one bit jealous of you guys and the weather that yoú´re experiencing right now.  Having to deal with negative temperatures does not sound fun at all and the truth is it´s still feeling like summer here and the truth is that we´re in summer so it´s even stopped raining, don´t be too jealous;)  I hope that everyone can get a little bit better this week and that dad you have lots of success on your trip to Wyoming.  I love you guys and will be praying for you.  
Well this week was a lot better than the last and a lot of it had to do with the fact that I worked a lot harder to help us get out of the office.  I kind of took it upon myself to be ready at 3 and do a little bit of nagging to help get the process moving forward a little bit more.  As a result we had a few really neat lessons this week.  One of the investigators that we´re teaching right now is a family that we found door contacting a few weeks ago.  The father works a lot and as a result it has been really hard to meet with them in their house.  On Friday night we were in our area at a recent converts house cause we wanted to teach them a lesson.  Neither of the parents were home so rather than just teaching the kids who probably wouldn´t listen anyways we decided to leave.  We were going to go contact another part of the neighborhood but as we were walking we changed our mind and chose to go to see Pedro (the man) to see if we could run into him at home.  We got there and finally he was home!  When he saw us his face lit up and he said, in Spanish, something to the effect of "long time, no see" and ushered us into his home.  We sat down and his wife came in from the kitchen and we just started talking.  Through the course of the conversation we started to slip little things in and started teaching them about baptism and the importance of it.  They both agreed that it´s something they need to do to help their family get back on the right path and be able to move closer to God and so we challenged them to prepare for the first week of February.  It felt so good to be able to teach them that they can be cleaned from their sins and receive a re-birth once they´re baptized.  

Another fun thing about this week was that I got to do divisions with Elder Bentz one of the assistants.  It wasn´t a normal day of divisions because we had to run around and do all kinds of chores.  Something that´s happening with the influx of missionaries coming to Panama is that we have to be finding, renting, and equipping a lot of new houses.  One of our jobs was to drive out of the city with our truck full of beds, dressers, and all kinds of other fun things missionaries need to live and filling up a few houses.  That took up a good part of our day but something fun and different that we did that night was eat sushi with a lady in our ward.  I must say fish is not my forte so I thought raw fish wrapped in sea-weed was going to be a fiasco but luckily it wasn´t as bad as I thought it would be!  I definitely won´t be spending my own money on it any time soon but at least I didn´t throw up.  That experience told me one of two things...1.  the things that I like to eat has changed dramatically or 2.  My stomach is now strong enough to take on just about anything.  Either way I´m not sure how I feel about it!

On a side note, this week I´m going to send a letter to Scott but I decided it would be a little more meaningful to do so in the form of a physical letter.  If you could email me his home address during this week I´ll check my email and send that this Friday when I send the mail of the mission.  Things here are really going well for me and it´s neat to notice things that are changing about me.  A great example of this happened last night.  Mom, remember how much of a struggle it was for you to get me to go to firesides and stuff like that?  Last night was the CES devotional and the whole day it was the main thing I was looking forward to doing.  I think that spending all this time preaching about Jesus Christ and the importance of following Him has had an impact on me and helped me to know the things that are most important in this life.  I know that this is the Church of God and that that´s a truth that will never ever change no matter how many people choose to fight it.  I love my Savior and know that he died for me personally and that he suffered so that I could be saved.  It makes me happy to be able to tell people that it´s the same for them and that they can come to have the same surety that I have.  I love being a missionary!

Elder Andrew Hawks

January 7, 2013


Thank you for your emails this last week they were great and really helped me put my shoulder to the wheel. Thanks so much for your love and support and for always thinking of me here. Thank you mom for the money I will be sure to buy some pants and shoes in the next few days so that I’m not walking around like a street rat when Elder Christoffersen comes! I’m so happy you got my package and that everyone liked there late Christmas presents! Sorry it wasn’t much but life here requires a little bit of penny pinching just know that it comes from the heart.

Sounds like things are going well with the family but yes I was informed of the sad news about Jennifer Holmes. I am so sad to hear that but I know that she’s a strong lady and that with the medical help there is these days she’s going to be very well taken care of. Mom you asked if there’s anything Kenzie mentioned that they need and the truth is there’s always little things that you can do to help out. I think that the little things are what matter most like a visit, a phone call, a batch of cookies, a card, or inviting their kids to eat one day or any other kind of thing. If it’s at all possible I think going to see her is the best thing you could do! Thanks so much for worrying mom and for being so willing to help you’re the best.

Well that’s exciting news that Allie is going to go on a mission and Michael may just have to wait for her ;) I think that’s great of her to seize the opportunity and go, who knows maybe she’ll end up getting her call to Panama? Other than those little bits of news sounds like things are going well back on the mother land.

Things here in Panama are going well. Sorry about my email last week I was a little bit whiney and actually after I sent it I kind of felt bad. I thought a lot about the things that I had said and made a few decisions. I know that I have to be the one to put the pressure on to get us out of the office because otherwise it’s not going to happen. I just need to step up and be the leader so that we can go and be more effective in our area. Every single day this last week at 3 O’clock I stopped what I was doing packed up my things and sat down in the chair at the front of the office and told my comps that I was ready to go and if they needed help wrapping up to let me know. The effects were positive and actually surprised me. The both just needed the push and we were able to leave on time and go be pretty successful. The truth of the matter is I just had to take matters into my own hands. This week was good and I felt a lot better about the work that we did. It’s been tough though because our investigators are working so much that we can hardly ever find them in their houses...

Truth of the matter is that I’m happy and working...I love the mission and have grown and learned so much. I feel like I’m doing what the Lord wants and as a result he’s blessing me and helping me grow and become a better person. Thank you so much for all of your love and support I’m honestly so lucky to have come from such a wonderful family. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Andrew Hawks

December 31, 2012

Hello family,

Thanks for all of the pictures that look like you guys had an absolutely awesome Christmas time in the land of snow and mountains. Ah I must say that it was so much fun to get to talk to all of you through Skype and it was cool to have all of us together and to get to talk all together. I’ll be honest it was fun but next time I think it would be cool to just do it with the family that’s there at the house. It was so fun and made my Christmas so much fun!

To be honest this week was slow because my two financial secretary friends have had a lot of stuff to do and unfortunately I’m not allowed to go out and proselyte by myself. One really fun thing that happened this week was that all of us office elders got free iPhone 4S! Haha it’s a lot of fun to have a nicer phone as a missionary than I ever had at home! Well what can you do just take advantage of it:)

Besides a pretty slow week there’s not a ton to report. Tonight should be fun because we have a nice dinner with a lady in our ward then we’ll come to the office and watch the fireworks that are going to go off at midnight:) I hope that this week can be better and I’m going to do everything that I have to to make sure that it is better. It’s interesting to be in the office because I’m here with some of the best elders in the mission but they just don’t have the desire to go to the area and work as missionaries. Last night while I was in bed thinking about this whole office assignment I realized that it’s just that. We have all been "called" to be missionaries but within that calling we have received the assignment to do a little something more. The interesting thing is that we never lose our calling and we’re now expected to fill our assignment while still being missionaries. I don’t know why it took me so long to come to that conclusion but it’s so true and now I have to be better at doing both of those things.

I’m finding out that I have to step up and be a leader. I have to be the one to get up and say hey let’s go let’s get to our area but I have to do it the right way with love but also authority. Something that’s also been tough is working with people who are unwilling to listen to your ideas or that are incapable of seeing things in your light. It’s made me think a lot of my time with Sabayon but in a very different light because there people that have had success in the mission and have good ideas but at the same time I know that my ideas are also good. Do I need to be more willing to take a step back or more authoritive in terms of doing things my way? What do you think mom and dad?

Our investigators are getting thrown into second place and that doesn’t make me feel good. It shouldn’t be that way. These people are the whole reason I came on the mission because if I can’t help them improve their lives through coming to Christ I’m not fulfilling my purpose as a missionary and I’m wasting my time. The truth is that it’s time to start a new year, the last year of my mission, and get some work done. I’m excited for the opportunity to start the year and to set some goals and then work my butt off to accomplish them. I know that the Lord has blessed me with a good brain, healthy body, and legs capable of walking a lot. I think it’s about time I step up and start being what he expects me to be.

I love you all so much and am so thankful for what you do for me. It’s been so much fun to be here in the office and get to learn new things about the mission, my Heavenly Father and about myself. I know that the Lord needs me to learn from this experience and I pray that I’m doing all that He expects of me and becoming what he wants and expects me to become. I know this church is true and am so blessed to be here in Panama telling these people all about it. I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you’re safe during the New Year’s festivities!

Elder Hawks

December 24, 2012


Here is my spiritual experience that happened this Christmas.

On Friday we finally had an activity with the ward. After fighting with them to make something happen for Christmas we got a small group of members together to go caroling Panamanian style. We got all the missionaries and a few of the members at the chapel and then headed out to spread some Christmas cheer. To be honest it felt kind of weird to be walking in the heat with my little Spanish hymnbook to go and sing songs about the birth of Jesus when I’m so used to this time of year having snow, hot chocolate, skiing, and tea ring. I didn’t really know how it was going to turn out or if it was going to be worth our time. We were accompanied by a girl in our ward that plays the violin so at the first house she pulled it out and we sand the first noel (La primera Navidad) it was fun to watch the members eyes light up as she listened to us sing. As we left I started to feel a little bit better about the idea and my "animo" increased just a little bit. We left her house after leaving a little box of cookies and an invitation to the Christmas Dinner on Saturday night.

We left her house and kept on making our rounds to less active houses and then a few of our investigators houses as well. We caroled for about 2 hours and the whole time I kept sweating more and more which made me feel a little bit odd as you can imagine!! I found myself getting happier and happier while also starting to pay a little more attention to the words that we were singing. The spirit of Christmas finally started creeping in. The last house we went to visit was a less active lady who’s from Nicaragua. Two of her nephews were there visiting and listened in as we sang our song and the girl played her violin. As we were leaving they stopped us and started to speak in English (Nicaraguans from the north are from the Caribbean islands and all speak really interesting English, ask Kylan he would understand). One of them looked at me and said "That music really touched my heart, I’m really far away from my family right now and miss them during Christmas but that music made me feel good" I explained to him that we he had felt was the Holy Ghost and that it meant that God was aware of him and this moment and that God loves him. He got a huge smile on his face and said he wants us to go back to his house and teach him a bit more before he goes to Nicaragua.

Christmas is about family, love, and of course the Savior Jesus Christ. Not going to lie I’ll miss you all this Christmas eve night but I know there’s nowhere else I would rather be and there’s nothing else I would rather be doing. I know that God loves us and for that exact reason He sent his son to die for us. The beauty of that message is that yes Christ died for us but more importantly he was resurrected and now he LIVES for us. I love you all and pray you have a wonderful Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa Cline!

December 10, 2012


Hello and than you for your emails it was really good to hear from all of you.  I am so thankful for all of you and glad that Michael´s little crash didn´t end up being too bad.  Sounds like everything with the family is going well and that makes me happy.  Well to start off this email you should all know that Elder Hawks now has a drivers license and can legally drive the streets of Panama.  Wish me luck the people here drive like absolute psychos haha.  The Christmas Spirit is starting to come out a little bit but it´s just not the same without the snow, lights, hot chocolate and all the other little traditions that we have.  It´s fun though because we have a special opportunity to focus on the birth of our Savior and in doing so it should help us to get into more doors.  

This week was long and a lot of work haha.  I spent a lot of it waiting inside of external affairs trying to have papers notarized, authenticated and all that jazz.  The reason I was having to do all that waiting was to get my license but President Ward told us that was our first priority task for the week because Elder Wade is going to be leaving and neither of the assistants have theirs.  Finally after Thursday, Friday and this morning waiting in lines and doing all this Ah-Kiong (the new assistant) and I have our licenses!

Ah moving forward to my actual missionary life.  This week was tough because we ended up having long days in the office and playing catch up at night with the things we normally do in the afternoon so we couldn´t get out to our area a whole lot.  It´s amazing to see how blessed we are though when we do get out because people are willing to let us in and sit down.  Saturday was Mother´s day so instead of contacting in our normal way we went to see all of our investigators and congratulate them while setting up return appointments for this week.  Tonight we actually have two appointments.  One with a man we contacted who´s named Pedro.  He´s positive because he has lots of questions and is interested in knowing more whereas a lot of times people just let us in and don´t worry a whole lot about what we´re saying haha.  The other is with Camilla and her mom.  We are going to teach them how to give a family night lesson and she is being so kind as to cook us dinner (here in the office we eat way too much fast food).  

Ok so a fun little note is that this Sunday we had a devotional from a few pretty famous people.  Susan Black (President Ward´s sister) and her new husband George Durant came to speak to us while on their Honeymoon!  If you don´t know that may not know Sister Black is a professor of religion at BYU and her specialty is the prophet Joseph Smith.  She came and spoke to us about the last 3 days of his life and literally spent an hour breaking down every moment of those last moments of the prophets life.  It was amazing to hear her knowledge and the incredible part is that she did it all without a note.  I learned a lot of things about the Prophet Joseph but also the circumstances that he went through as he reached the end of his life.  It was impressive and inspiring to feel how learning the details only strengthened my testimony of him of the prophet of the Restoration.  It really got me thinking that deepening our knowledge of the gospel in it´s very details will only help us to strengthen our own testimonies.  Something that I could do a better job of applying is learning the specifics instead of just the general message that we teach.  I know that if I as a missionary can learn the specifics it will help me apply the gospel to those that I teach which will in turn make me a more effective teacher.  

I love this Gospel and know that it´s true.  One of the greatest blessings I have received was being born of goodly parents who taught me the ways of the Lord and how to live in a way that´s pleasing to God.  I know that this is His church and that I´m representing His son Jesus Christ.  I carry his very name over my heart but we would all do well to make more of an effort to carry him inside of our hearts.  I love you all so much and am so thankful for all the support that you share with me.  Until next week!!

Much love,

Elder Andrew Hawks