Thanks a lot for your emails and especially the pictures of Stephen leaving for Spain. I got his first email and am so happy that he´s doing well and that so far everything is going well with him! I couldn´t be prouder of Jason for having ridden Lotoja again that´s honestly an amazing feat and it´s a goal that I have so when I get home we´ll have to get my riding butt back into shape ;)
I´m going to be short because we have a meeting with President today about changes and then a few appointments. This week has been a good one and it´s been different but in a good way. We haven´t had the car since Thursday because they´re in the process of fixing EVERYTHING (don´t worry mom I didn´t crash it´s damage from before) and as a result we´ve had the whole time to work in our area. It´s a ton of fun working with Elder Laurino because we´re both to the point in our missions that we finally feel like we have a grip on how we want to work and especially how to help our investigators make and keep committments. We worked hard these past few days and were able to have some decent success. We had our investigator Amparo in church today the only bummer is that her fecha for baptism got moved back because she feels like she wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon. My companion and I feel good about it because it means that she understands how important baptism is and she wants to be sure about the decision that she makes but also that she´s willing to do the work to know for herself. It´s gratifying working with people like her because they listen and put attention to what you´re saying and truly seem to understand the importance of this Gospel.
This coming week is going to be pretty busy because we´re getting ready for our transfers (18th) and this week we´re hosting a mission tour with Elder Ochoa from the area presidency. He gets here on Tuesday and Wednesday we have a meeting with missionaries from 4 zones, on Thursday we´re flying out to David to meet with 3 zones out there and then on Friday we´ll be here in the city with the other 6 zones in the mission. It´s going to be a lot of fun but obviously pretty heavy. It´s ok though these are fun times when we have the chance to help out the missionaries. I´m excited to learn new things and to take as much out of this experience as possible. The longer I´m here in the mission the more I love it and understand how important it has been to me and how much it´s helped me become the person that God wants me to be. I love you all and am thankful for all of the sacrifices that you´ve made in my behalf so that I can be here. I promise that I´m doing everything to make the best out of my time here and help as many people as I possibly can! I love you all and hope that you have a great week! Until next Monday!
Thanks a ton for your emails. I love hearing from my family it means a whole lot to me and I couldn´t ben happier with the way that my mission has gone and all the support that I´ve felt from home. I know a lot of missionaries who´s parents fought with them not to come and haven´t written them the whole time they´ve been here so I couldn´t be more blessed to have the family that I do!
Well Stephen is heading out on a mission it sounds like...dang I´m not going to see him for 4 years that´s kind of sad but I think I know just as good as anyone that it´s worth it. I know that he´s grown up a lot in the past 2 years that I´ve been here and I can´t wait to hear about all of the experiences that he´s going to have it´s going to be amazing to serve the Lord in Spain. I already talked to President Carmack and he´s given me permission to call Stephen before he goes into the MTC.
This week has been another good one. I think the reality that my mission is coming to an end is hitting me as I hear about Boston and John getting home. Sooner than I know it it´s going to be my turn and I don´t know how I feel about that quite frankly haha. Don´t worry I´m not counting days, or laying in bed thinking about home it´s just hitting me that I have to take advantage of these last months in the mission because it´s a time that´s never going to be given back to me so I have to make the most of it! Things are going well with me and my companion and it´s picking up in our area as well because these last 2 weeks we´ve been able to plan all of our other things around our appointments in order to get more work done and it´s showed its fruits.
We´re working with the family of a single mother named Alina. She is from Cuba and has 4 little boys and 1 little girl. Every time we go to their house we have to fight in order to create some sort of atmosphere where you can feel the spirit. It went well this week because she, two of her sons and her little girl all came to church today and really liked it. We´re going to visit her this week and try to put a fecha with her so that she can start preparing with her family to get baptized. Pray for her please!
Another lady that we´re teaching is named Amparo and she´s from Colombia (in this area I feel like we teach every nationality besides panamanians). She is here visiting her daughter Lorena who is a 24 year old girl who wants to get baptized with her whole heart but can´t because her to be husband still doesn´t have papers to get married in panama and they can´t afford to go to Colombia for them to get married so we´re just waiting for the process to finish there to get them all baptized. Amparo had never heard of the church before but being here with her daughter and coming to church the past three weeks has helped her out a lot. Today we visited her and she told us that in Colombia whenever she would go to church she would leave feeling the same as when she had entered but that coming to church with us she´s felt better. She explained it that our church has something that she just couldn´t quite explain but that she likes! It´s awesome and we´re hoping to meet with her this week and put a fecha with her as well.
I´m having a ton of fun right now. I love the work, I love the missionaries and I love just about everything else that has to do with Panama! I´m doing well and doing everything to make sure that I give it my all! I love you all and hope that you have an awesome week!!
P.S. When I call, I want to talk a little bit about you guys coming to Panama to pick me up!
First of all Stephen congratulations on your farewell I`m sure that you absolutely killed it and I hope that what I sent you was worthwhile and could help you out a little bit. I`m so proud of you for choosing to go on a mission. It will change your life, but only if you let it. Thanks a bunch for the pictures everyone looks great. Send me more! I`m glad to hear that everyone is doing well and especially to know that Grandpa Hawks is recovering well from his knee surgery. I sounds like things are really going well on the home front which makes me happy. Knowing that my family, the most important people in my life are doing well is always a good thing!
So this week went real quick but it was a great week. We`ve been busy helping President do interviews but it`s nice because we don`t have to go with him all the time so it`s giving us more time to work in our own area and to do divisions with some of the elders in the mission. We`ve also helped the sisters with a few specialized trainings that they`ve done which has been good as well. Doing divisions is a lot of fun because we get the chance to go out with companionships that are maybe struggling a little bit and help them figure it out. It`s a lot of fun to get out and work with the missionaries because that`s the best way to help them is to put yourself in their shoes, in their area, with their people and then help them find solutions to some of the difficulties that they have. This week I went to an area in Colon called Nuevo Mejico and then did divisions in my old area in Tocumen called Cabuya. Both days were awesome and I felt like I could help the Elders find new ideas of ways to work, teach and do all the things we do as missionaries. My day in Cabuya was especially fun because I got to go back and see a lot of people that I had taught and worked with over a year ago and they all remembered me and my name (it`s almost impossible for people to say Hawks here) haha. I loved it!
Having lots of new sisters in the mission has meant that they have to step into leadership roles and it`s been really neat to watch the sisters take it all in stride and then do wonderful things that we elders can`t do to help the sisters. This week one of the companionships of sister leaders decided to do a specialized sister training meeting and asked us to help them out. As I`ve gotten the chance to watch the sister missionaries do missionary work it`s obvious why the Lord wants more of them in the field. They have so many special abilities and talents that we Elders just don`t quite have haha but it`s great because they help the work move forward.
This week we have two new sisters on their way to the mission. It`s kind of a pain because it`s in the middle of the transfer which means that we need two trainers and two new areas for sisters. It`s amazing to be a part of this change because there are so many sisters coming to the mission. In about a month at our next transfers we are receiving a grand total of 23 sisters and not a single one is going home. That means that we have to open at least 12 new areas to sister missionaries and that is no easy task to ask. It`s a lot of fun to be a part of the work right now and even though it`s a challenge getting started a year from now the fruits of having more missionaries will be significant.
I love the mission and couldn`t be happier in any other place than what I am right now right here. I know that this is the church of God and that nobody can take that knowledge away from me. I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week!
Thanks a ton for the emails. From what dad mentioned it looks like we´re going to build a new house? That´s pretty sweet but what´s the deal where is it going to be? When did all this go down etc? I can´t believe that Stephen is getting so close to leaving on his mission is he really old enough to be doing this?
This week was a really good one to be honest. Being the week of transfers it was a little bit stressful to try and have everything done but we did a really good job of planning out what we had to do and by when it had to be done so there were no big problems and I slept 8 whole hours the night before the changes (that´s a miracle ps) haha. Everything went really well and people seemed happy and content about their changes which should hopefully mean that they´re excited to work and to start having baptisms! After changes we spent a good amount of time with the sisters from San Blas (sister Ericson) to help them do all of their grocery shopping to be able to go back out to the island. It was a lot of fun to get to spend some time with her and she seems like she´s doing great! I loved getting to spend some time with her and see how her mission is going. It´s crazy to think that she´s going home the same day as me!
The rest of the week has been pretty good. We have had a lot more time to work in our area and are being blessed finding new investigators. We had a good lesson with a lady named Alina. She´s from Cuba and has investigated the church for about 5 years. I don´t know what we did but she just trusted us and started spilling us everything about her life before and how she´s come to know God. It was a really neat story but helped me realize that a lot of times the pain that we feel in our lives is a consequence of our disobedience to the commandments. The good thing about her is that she understands that concept and knows that by being obedient the Lord can bless her. It´s tough because the only thing holding her back from getting baptized is herself. We talked a little bit about baptism but felt like the most important thing we could do was listen and as a result we came to understand her and her problems much much better.
Things are going well with me. I´m happy and doing the work of the Lord so what else can I complain about? I love you all and am so thankful for your emails and support it means so much to me! Until next week.
Thanks for your emails I´m glad that you had a good trip to Richfield and that´s really exciting that Stephen got to go through the temple. I´m sure adjusting to that new life style is going to be fun but he´ll learn quickly how much of a blessing it really is. I´m glad to know that he´s doing all the things that he needs to in order to be ready to go on his mission. He´s going to bless the lives of so many people.
This week was a good time for me but it was rough at the same time. AhKiong and Barrera both went home this week so it was a little bit of a crazy week. They were saying goodbye to all of their people and as a result we were all over the place. Something that I noticed is that they had huge impacts on the lives of the people they served. No matter where either of them went they were loved by the people whether they were members, investigators, and even non members...I hope that at the end of my mission my companions will be able to see that I had the same effects in my areas. Tuesday we had leaderships council with all of the Zone Leaders in the mission and it was good. I felt lonely because I had to conduct the meeting, I was the only Assistant that taught and was in charge of basically the whole meeting haha. Tuesday in the same meeting President told Elder Laurino that he would be my companion. You should have seen his face it looked like he got hit by a bucket of cold water! He came in on Wednesday and then that same night all of the Elders and Sisters that are going home stayed in the temple. That night was crazy and nobody slept that night...President Carmack stayed there all night doing interviews for them and didn´t leave until 4 in the morning when we had to take them all to the airport. It was fun being there and getting to say bye but I have a lot of friends that went home in this group.
My companion´s name is Elder Laurino and he´s from Rosario Argentina. He´s super awesome and is very different from my two other companions because he is a lot quieter and does a lot more listening than talking. It´s fun though to get to talk to someone that really listens to and takes your ideas into consideration. I´m excited and know that we´re going to work really well together.
Thursday after we dropped them off we took some time to go home and take a nap but we had to be right back to work at 12 because we had a meeting with the staff from central services about all the stuff here in the office etc. We were dead. Ever since then we´ve been in meetings with President Carmack doing the changes. It´s hard because he doesn´t know anyone here in the mission and so my companion and I basically did the changes. It was a really neat experience though because as we did it we would all receive impressions from the spirit to know where the Elders and Sisters need to be assigned. I loved how at times we wouldn´t know what to do then one of the 3 would feel something and as they mentioned it we would all receive the same good feeling. It was amazing to watch how God made us instruments in his hands in that moment to help know where people need to go.
My companion and I will be heading out in the next hour to pick up the new missionaries. This is one of my favorite things to do with this whole new job because they come so happy and excited but so nervous and innocent at the same time it´s a lot of fun :) Changes are going to be on Wednesday and as a result we are working our bums off to make sure that everything turns out well and to try and help as many people as possible go where they can be happy, get along with their companions and work hard. Something that is really true is that if you get along with your companions is that you can be happy and get a lot more work done. I¨ve been blessed with great companions and wonderful areas which has made it a pleasure to work and have success in the mission. I love my mission I always tell everyone that it´s been perfect because I really feel like it has been! I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week and that everything goes well with you guys this week!
Sorry for the lateness of my letter it´s been a crazy little while because we got sent out to San Blas by President Carmack and we just got back yesterday. Thanks a ton for all of the letters that you sent me I´m glad to know that everything is going well with the family and that the move is officially out of stage one. Sounds like the next move is going to be getting a new house and then making the other move! I may be home to help out with that one we´ll have to see ;)
So this week was good. We´re starting to get things ready for changes which is kind of crazy because President Carmack still doesn´t know anyone in the mission so he´s relying a lot on us to help him know what to do and who to put people with. It´s been nice to have Ah-Kiong and Barrera with me because they have both been assistants for at least 6 months and know everyone in the mission which helps us out a ton. Then on Friday we flew out early to go to San Blas in order to see a few of the branches out there and no I didn´t go to the island of Sister Ericson so I wasn´t able to see her. First we flew to an island to an island called Nargana and then Friday afternoon we took a two hour boat ride to an island called Playon Chiko. Ah it is so beautiful there I could hardly believe it. The beaches are full of white sand, blue crystal clear water and there are palm trees EVERYWHERE. While we were there we got a chance to see a few of the branches and it really taught me a lot. We had the chance to see a few islands, sleep in hammocks, walk around in sandals and do all kinds of other things. It was quite the experience and I now understand a lot better why the elders that go there have to be tough, why they always come back smelling bad, hungry and craving a shower with running water haha. Don´t worry I took a lot of pictures and will send you a few so that you can see how amazing it really is!
This week is going to be a good normal week I think so don´t worry you won´t have to wait for an email from your long lost son. Everything is going really well with me and I feel good about everything that I´m doing and experiencing here. The mission has changed my life the way I think, the person that I want to be, the things that are important to me and everything else I can think of. I´m determined to make these last 5 months the best yet. Thank you so much for all of your love and support for me it means the world. I love you all so much and am sorry again for not having written it won´t happen again. Have a great week and know that you´re all in my thoughts and prayers, especially Grandpa Hawks with his surgery.