Monday, April 29, 2013

February 4, 2013

Dearest Family,

Happy 4th of February 2013 on a nice, sunny warm morning looking out onto the ocean...Is anyone jealous yet?;)  Haha I´m glad to hear that everything is going well in the mother land and I´m pretty glad the Ravens won that´s cool that Dennis Pitta had some success!!  I didn´t even realize it was the super bowl until late last night when our neighbor (white guy from Idaho) started yelling his guts out about some play.  I think it´s better that way anyway that must mean I´m doing something right and keeping myself out of the world:)  I´m glad dad had such a fun time on the Klondike (that was always my least favorite campout too haha), that mom is chugging along in work, that Michael is moving on after his heartbreak and that Stephen is being the classic kassanova I know and love!  Hearing about everything reminds me that 2 years is a long time but in reality not too much changes and the people you love keep being the same people you love!  Please tell Michael to email me about his feelings and what´s going on I would love to hear from him especially right now!

Ah this week was a good one.  Elder Wade was sent away to Tocumen it´s the zone that´s right next to the airport so he´ll have a nice finish to his mission watching planes fly in and out all day long!  Cottrell and I are excited about it cause now we won´t have to be in a trio and teaching will become a lot easier.  It´s not too hard for two people to get in sync and teach together but when you throw in a third voice it´s a little bit more complicated!  Another small, fun piece of news is that this week I was made emergency District Leader haha.  It´s emergency because this last week a small group of Elders went home and all of them were Zone Leaders so the District leaders in our zone all had emergency changes to go be Zone leaders and we were left without a District Leader haha.   It´s fun and the only thing that changes is that I have to report numbers with all the areas in the zone and then I have to teach in district meetings on Tuesdays!  I also get to do divisions with the Elders and help them be better and then do all the interviews for the people that are going to be baptized.  

Our area is doing OK to be honest.  It´s tough because we have two parts within our area.  One is very very rich (the President of Panama lives there), and then the other part is a small slum.  Obviously it´s much easier and effective to work in the poorer area because they´re more receptive to God and actually feel as though they need him in their lives.  The only issue is that this part is very small and all the other missionaries that have been here have felt the same as us so the area has been worked a lot.  Another thing that makes it tough is that we share our ward boundaries with the two other elders in the office and unfortunately all the members live in their area which makes it difficult to work well with members.  We´re open to any ideas to help us out and get things cooking but meanwhile we´re doing our best to contact and work with our old investigators.  

Unfortunately nothing more has happened with the boy we played basketball with because they´re just always always working and so in order for us to get the whole family together is tough but we´ll keep trying and see if we can figure it out.  This week we were doing our rounds in our area, contacting, visiting people and we went down to the house of a lady we´ve been teaching for the last little while.  When we walked in a young boy walked in and started asking us all kinds of questions about who we were, what we were doing here and why we always had on shirts and ties.  It was funny to talk to him and just look at his 18 year old face marvel at what we were doing cause if we think about it for non members the life we live as missionaries is completely different than anything any other young man is doing with their life.  It´s refreshing when people talk to you and understand a little bit better why we´re here because they really come to know that we´re doing it for them that we want to help them have a better sense of purpose in life, and that most importantly we just want them to know their Lord Jesus Christ.  It´s fun being a missionary and having the chance to talk with everyone about Christ is amazing and something that just makes me happy!  

This week I learned an important lesson about open communication and how important it is to make sure that we´re understood.  When we´re in relationships with family, friends, girlfriends etc the communication is critical and if we don´t have it feelings get hurt and small issues turn into large problems.  This week our communication was not very good in the office and it caused a lot of issues this last weekend.  On Saturday night we got home, all sat down and talked the whole thing out.  Hurt feelings were repaired, the bad communication was resolved and in the end all the issues that had come up were resolved.  I stayed up thinking for a long time about that and realized how important it is for us to be open with each other and not let small issues build and simmer until they become big and finally explode.  By just sitting down and figuring the small things out we can avoid large issues and our love for one another grows because we know we can trust and confide in those that surround us.  

I love you all and am so thankful for your sacrifices to help me be here on the mission.  It makes me so happy to hear from you all and know that you´re thinking about me and that this mission isn´t just important to me but to all of you as well.  I love being here and am so thankful that I was able to make the necessary decisions to be here!

Thank you again for everything I´m so lucky to have such a wonderful family!  I can´t wait to hear from you again next Monday have a great week:)

Elder Andrew Hawks

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