My Christmas in Ecuador

My dearest Family,
Happy Holidays! I hope that you had a great Christmas and will have a happy New Year. It is crazy to think that it is already almost a new year, with lots of new goals and things to work on! I am excited for this new year and excited for the feeling of starting to renew my energy on my goals! This has been a great year and one that I will never forget! It was SOOOOO awesome to get to see you all and talk, even if it was only for a short time. I know that I truly have the very best family in the whole wide world and that Heavenly Father has blessed us all so much!
This week was truly a great week as I came to know what the true meaning of Christmas really is, more than ever in my life! It really was a special time filled with lots of fun and also work! We worked hard in the days that we had to find and commit people to church.
On Wednesday I went on an exchange with Hermana Twitchell and I really do learn so much every time I am with these awesome Hermanas. I love to see how different people teach and the different ways and stories they use to teach. While we were on our exchange, we got to visit our recent convert Glenda. She is so strong and her testimony continues to grow and strengthen. As we were talking she told us that she takes her Book of Mormon with her everywhere and that her daughter asked her why she always has it, to which she replied ¨this book is my constant companion.¨ I have truly witnessed  a miracle in her life and I am so grateful for her sweet testimony.
So on Christmas eve, I got to talk to you all, and then after that, The people whose house we were at made a super american alfredo and it was so good but I was kind of still trying to get ahold of my emotions the whole time… 🙂 after that we had a few hours to go out and teach, and tons of people invited us to eat with them, but we had to be in our house by 6. We didn´t hardly know what to do with ourselves with so much free time, but Hermana Twitchell and I read the night before Christmas and wrote Santa letters, and then at 11 we were exhausted and decided to go to bed. At midnight, our companions woke us up and had made empanadas and a cool fruit drink so we ate that, sang a christmas hymn, prayed and then went back to bed. It was kind of funny though because when my comp woke me up (I am so accustomed to waking up and praying) that I kneeled down to pray and she started laughing so hard and told me that we weren’t going to pray right then! 🙂
We had a great Christmas altogether in the house! It was fun to see the different traditions that different cultures have, and we spent the day laughing, talking, and I really feel that my relationship with Hermana Fuentes, Casimiro, and Twitchell is the strongest it has ever been and I know that they will be my friends forever! We started out the morning working out and then did an hour of studies altogether. We read the christmas story and had a really great discussion about lots of things I had never even considered. Then we made Crepes and opened the presents taht mom sent! They all loved them!! Thank you so much mom!! That day we also got to watch 2 disney movies and really just had a really relaxing day. I would look at the time and wonder what you would all be doing in this time… opening socks, eating cereal… ect and I really do hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas!!!
We also had an awesome Sunday yesterday as the Cuenca Family all attended church together! It was so special to see all 5 of them sitting there together, and later to see their interest in the classes. We went to visit them after church and they really liked it and want to keep going. We also invited them to be baptized, and they accepted. Their goal is for the 16th of January and we are excited to help them progress and continue to learn.
I am so grateful for this time that I have here to serve the Lord as a representative of Jesus Christ. I know that this gospel is true and that true happiness in this life comes through living the commandments and the things that we learn in the Gospel. I also know that the family is so important to Heavenly Father and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here looking for families to help them be together forever.
I hope you all have a great and safe week! I am always praying for you all and want you all do know how much I love you all individaully”!!!
Love, Hermana Hawkes

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