Monday, April 29, 2013

March 25, 2013

Dear Family,

Hello everyone!!  I couldn`t be happier with Scotty and his decision to go on a mission I`m sure that he did a great job on his talk.  Sounds like Uncle Richard is doing some big time farming I didn`t really know that was what he was doing...(sounds like it`s been a little too long since I went out to Fallon)  Haha.  It`s crazy to hear about all of Stephen`s friends getting there mission calls, I hope one of them comes to Panama that would be awesome!  On Saturday we had a meeting with President Ward to get ourselves ready for transfers which are going to be next Wednesday.  In that meeting he told us that Panama is going to get up to 250 missionaries with half of them being sister missionaries.  It`s amazing to see the growth that`s taking place in our mission and in the rest of the world.  It`s a fun time to be a missionary and to be honest I couldn`t be more blessed to be here.  

This week brought a lot of good things.  We`re still teaching the Herrera family and they are actually progressing really well.  We only got two lessons with them because being a single mom here in Panama isn`t cheap and Iris (the mom) works the longest hours.  Sometimes she`s gone from 7 in the morning until 9 at night.  I respect her so much for making the sacrifices that she does and it makes some of the sacrifices we have to make look like nothing.  This week we taught her about the restoration and we made the best decision of our lives by just showing them the hour long Joseph Smith movie.  They loved it and really felt the spirit.  Tonight we are going to the temple with President Ward and so that should also be really special, there`s just something about the temple here and all the temples in the world.  They have a different spirit that you can really feel and it just helps people want to be baptized.  This week with them is going to be cool because the 13 year old daughter is going to the camp out with the young women this week and then the day after she gets back will be their baptism.  I can`t think of anything better it`s going to be so cool to watch her testimony grow as a result of this experience!  Their baptism is going to be the 31st of March (my last Sunday in this ward).

Yesterday we had a stake conference in Brisas del Golf (my first ward).  Everyone there was ecstatic to see me and it resulted in a lot of hugs and happiness.  I was so proud to see two of my converts there and active and that both of which were worthy Melchizedek priesthood holders.  There is literally nothing better than knowing that you helped someone find the gospel and that through your example and the spirit that you could help them feel they could change their lives.  Elder Valladares and Martino from the 70 were both there which meant a reorganization of the stake presidency.  The old stake president, President Lamb, was from the U.S. and a great man.  The new president is a Panamanian, the first one to be the president of the biggest stake in the country.  The new president is Jorge Amaya and he was my bishop when I started the mission.  He`ll be great and I know that he`s going to help the church make the growth that it needs to make in the next 10 years.  It`s funny cause he`s actually a famous commentator here so everyone that sees him recognizes him in an instant!  

I think the highlight of the week was the visit that we received from Elder Duncan.  One of the advantages to being in the office is that when General Authorities visit we get to drive them around, get them to the airport and meet them individually.  It was cool cause Elder smith and I got to meet him personally on Wednesday at President`s house!  On Friday we had a zone conference with him and it was amazing.  His message was focused on having a vision but not your own vision but the vision of God.  He taught us that God has an individual vision for each and every pair of missionaries and for every ward, branch, stake and district.  We learned that to have the greatest amount of success we have to capture the vision that God has (that every ward can become a stake) and that after we`ve captured the vision we have to set goals in order to to achieve the vision and then below goals we have to make specific plans.  His teaching really inspired me and helped me to realize that for the rest of the 9 months I`m here I need to "capture God`s vision"  that means stop thinking about what the ward, people, leaders are but what they can become.  Every single area, companion, ward, investigator has a celestial potential and that we have the responsibility to understand that the only way they can reach that potential is through repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.  What I loved about his visit is that we`re always taught that we need to work with our heads before our feet but that never took on a whole lot of meaning until Duncan came because he taught us HOW to work with our heads and gave us a formula for success.  To be 100% honest his visit changed my mission and it`s just too bad he didn`t come 9 months ago!  Haha

Vision...the overall view of what something can become not what it is

Goals...the steps necessary for realizing our vision.

Plans...a list of works that have to be done.
1.  What has to be done...
2.  Who has to do what...
3.  And when do they have to have it done...

Really if you think about it this formula is what we need to put into practice in our lives as well.  If we don`t have a vision of where we want to end up and then don`t set the goals and make the plans to make our vision a reality we`ll never really get anywhere.  I feel so blessed to be here on the mission and having the opportunity to learn so much about my Lord and and Savior but to also learn lessons that are going to help me for the rest of my life.  I love you all so much and hope that you have a wonderful week!  

Love Elder Hawks

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