My Dear Amazing Family!

Hello!!!
I hope you are all doing so great, and from the looks and sounds from your letters, it truly does sound like you are all doing great! It sounds like a busy time of the year as always, but I am so glad to hear that you are all doing well and that you are safe! I want you all to know that I pray for your safety continually and hope you are all doing great in the many various things that you are all doing!!
This was a great week and I will try to hit a few of the highlights! First, last Wednesday, we got to go to Guayaquil and listen to a world missionary training and it was so awesome! Thursday our zone leaders came again to work in our area and meet the people we were working with and we had exchanges with sisters… so once again I was in charge of the 4 of us which was slightly stressful but I know that we were so blessed becasue we had lessons the whole day and none of the appointments fell through. Our leaders were able to help us with some of our investigators and less actives and my testimony truly grows of leaders in the chruch. We have incredible structures in the whole church, and in the mission as well. It was also kind of cool because we have a missionary here from Utah and he reminds me exactly of what I think Dad was like as a missionary! I seriously would just sit and stare (in a not creepy and totally appropriate missionary way) as he was talking because I literally thought I was sitting there listen to Dad as he had great examples and such a strong testimony!
Monday, we were able to go to the mission home for a big Sister`s Conference. All the sisters in the mission were there (I think there are 41 of us) and it was so much fun to be there with all of them and I learned so much. Then that night we got to stay in the temple hotel because the next morning Hermana Fuentes had the Leadership meeting and I got to go work with some of the other Hermanas in the area, but I was the oldest one of the 4 of us so my motherly instinct kicked in as I felt in charge of them… even though they didn`t really need it!
I also wanted to share kind of a funny story! one of our less actives that we helped reactivate had her interview to go to the temple and we were so excited! She went in and had her interview (she is 87 years old and one of the funniest people I have ever met!!) and right in front of the branch president said `that is the exact same interveiw that I had the last time I went to the temple. All the questions were the exact same. Plus, the last time I went to the temple they dunked me in the water a whole bunch of time and I thought I was going to drownd. then I came out soaking wet. I don`t like taking baths…` Oh my goodness… I was literally crying I was laughing so hard!! I think maybe she needs a lesson on the importance of baptisms for the dead and the special opportunity to go to the temple! 😉
The following is part of the letter taht I sent to President Dennis and a tiny look at the things that I was able to learn in the conferences this week!
I would like to start out with the things that I learned this past week in the Conferencia Mundial and la Conferencia de Hermanas. First, in the Conferencia Mundial the thing that really stuck out to me was that they talked so much about the things that we need to do to help the people be converted- repent, feel the spirit,… etc, but all of these things are what lead to a true conversion. This is what these people really need is their converstion. We can teach and use every technique that there is, but unless we find a way to help them discover their testimonies and become truly converted, it is all in vain because conversion is what they need. I also learned that the only way to acheive this is through the Spirit. The Spirit is the most powerful tool that we can have and need to take full advantage and do all possible to follow the spirit in the lessons, contacts, and in everything we do because the Spirit is the true teacher, not us. From this I am going to try even harder to make sure I am listening and following the spirit in the things that I do and say. I also learned to how important it is that we focus on our purpose as missionaries: Invite others to come unto Christ. This is why we are here and if we truly focus on this goal of inviting people to change and become better and repent, then we are doing what we have been called to do. I also really liked that it talked about that we need to find the people`s need and then teach to these needs in order to strengthen their faith, and lead them to be truly converted through the spirit. And the way to teach is to listen and observe! At times I think we get caught up in trying to share everything we have learned and study- at least I do, but if we truly want to have the spirit and know what to tell these people, we need to listen and observe them, and then the spirit will lead us to find their needs. I am so grateful for the leaders in the church that we have and for their inspiration and guidance that they give to us.
I was so happy to be able to participate and be edified in the Sister`s conference! It was such a privelage to hear from you and Sister Dennis and the things that I need be setting goals for now in my life! I also really enjoyed hearing from each of the Hermana leaders and it truly felt like their messages were each for me. The thing that stuck out to me the most, and maybe what I needed to be taugh, was about the unity with our companions. Hermana Fuentes and I are now in our 4th transfer together and I think I fell into thinking that we knew each other the best we were going to, but over these past few days I have tried really hard to ask her questions to get to know her better, and today on our busride from zone meeting she was sharing a story with me about one of her converts, and she started crying and we had such a spiritual experience there on the bus. I know that the unity in our companionships is soo important and that we can always strengthen them. I also loved that Sister Dennis taught us so much about faith and that we can truly put so much faith in our goals and when we do this, Heavenly Father will help us with these righteous desires and with our faith. I am truly so happy for all the things that I was able to learn in the conference!

I hope that you are all safe and happy and always remember how much I love you all!!! I pray for you so many times everyday and know that Heavenly Father is watching over and protecting us as a family! I love you all!!!
Love, Hermana Hawkes

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A Great Week in Ecuador

Hey How are you all doing??? 🙂 As always, it was sooo incredibly great to hear from you all! I am sorry that I don`t have time to write you all individually this week, but I truly loved each email and picture and am thinking about you all and praying for you tons! I am so glad to hear that you all had such a fun get together for Kristie`s birthday and it was super fun to see you all together!!
 This has truly been a great week as I have been able to witness miracles and continue to realize how blessed I really am to be here witnessing miracles each and everyday. We always teach that Heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and the more my testimony grows of this, the more I realize that I am truly witnessing the same kind of miracles that took place with Christ… sometimes we just have to look a little harder because if we aren`t careful, they will pass us by without us even realizing it. But I think this is how the miracles worked with Christ too. Many people missed them and so many missed the significance of them because they weren`t looking for them and weren`t spiritually prepared to witness them. I know that I am blessed to be here witnessing these miracles!
This was a great week here in Daule! I was able to go on an exchange with Hna Casimiro in Hna Fuentes`and my sector and we had a good and successful day. It is always great for me to see how different people teach and to get new ideas of how to teach. Our zone leaders also come that day and they were able to meet some of the families that we have started working with, and helped us teach and it really was a great experience. I think Heavenly Father wanted to test me a little bit because when I was `In charge of going to the appointments with one of the zone leaders and another priesthood holder that went with us´ nobody was home. We went to 4 different houses and then started contacting. I was a little bit stressed out, but I think it was Heavenly Father`s way of letting me know that I am not the one in charge of things and that He knows best. It ended up being a great experience and I learned a lot from it.
We have also had a great week with some of the people we have been working with. We have been asking references like crazy to the members of the ward council and Wow… my testimony of asking references has grown so much! They have given us some great references and it has been great to get to know these people. One of the people we visited came to church yesterday, and when we went to her house after, she told us that she has been looking for a church and something to truly change her life for the best and truly believes that the church can help her do that! It was such an awesome thing to see in her life and it was even more great because it came through the inspiration of a member that was willing to help us and wasn`t afraid to give us the name of a reference!
We have also been working with a less active that is 85 years old. She is super receptive and loves to talk to us as she is a widow. Whenever we go she loves to tell us stories about her life, and I love hearing of her experiences and learning from her! This week when we passed by to visit her, she was sooo excited and couldn`t wait to tell us that she had read her Book of Mormon. We were kind of shocked because she can`t see very well and because of this she hadn`t read at all. We asked her how she was reading and she went and got her book and a magnifying glass and told us that someone had given her this magnifying glass so that she could read and then she started reading for us! What a small but incredible experience to see her so excited to finally be able to read the Book of Mormon.
My testimony was also strengthened so much of church attendance this week. One of the ladies we have rescued and her two sons that we baptized told us that they were going to walk to church because they didn`t have money to take a mototaxi. We talked to a member of the ward taht has a car and he said that he could pass by and pick them up. So on sunday morning we were out gathering our investigators and we saw this faithfull mother and her two happy boys leaving their house an hour early for church so that they could walk all the way there. They were as happy as could be and weren`t one bit discourages for the long walk ahead. We caught them and told them that the member would pick them up and they gratefully said thank you and returned to their house to wait. Not once did they complain! Also when we got to church, there was another family there that hasn`t been able to come for 2 weeks because they didn`t have money, but this week they had saved their money to be able to come. It was incredible for me to see these faithful members and the sacrifices that they made to be able to attend church because they knew that they needed to and that it would truly bless them.
Again, I am so grateful to be here witnessing all of these things. I am so grateful for Hermana Fuentes and the great companion that she is to me. she is teaching me so much and I truly love her. I love the Lord and I love this time that I have to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I hope that you all have a great week. I love you all so much!
Love, Hermana Hawkes

Happy Birthday Kristie!

Mi Querido Familia,
First, HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRISTIE DEAR!!! ahhhh I seriously cannot believe that you are getting so old, but i hope that you have an awesome birthday!! It was so fun to hear from you and all that you are doing! it was also awesome to see the pictures of cute baby Baylor!!! what an angel!! I hope you are all having so much fun with him and that you are all healthy and safe!!
 It has been a great week here! I got to go to Guayaquil again last week while my companion was in a meeting with the leaders of the mission and I got to help another sister contact this huge hill…. oh i thought my legs were going to fall off! but we ended up meeting some great people and had some good contacts and it was really fun to be in Guayaquil for the day!! Most of the week was pretty normal and we had some great lessons with the new people that we are trying hard to find. our new goal is to work even harder with the members to get references and we have set some new goals with the ward council and they are all getting excited, so hopefully we will see some good progress with our new goals!!!
This week we had a really cool experience with our recent convert, Glenda. She gave us a referral and then went to visit the referral which is one of her friends. I know that it is obvious how interested people are in the gospel when they are willing to share it with other people. She was able to tell her story of conversion and to tell how the gospel has changed her life and the life of her family. She has such a strong testimony of the gospel and especially of the Book of Mormon. What a privilege it is to be here working with these people and seeing the changes that they are making in their lives. I am truly grateful to be able to be here to see these changes and progress in the lives of so many.
Well the big news is that I didn´t get transferred! I am still here in Daule with Hermana Fuentes, which means that I will be with her this transfer and then she goes home. I am so grateful for her and am learning great things from her! We are excited to start with some new goals to push our work forward!! I am also still in the house with Hemana Twitchell and Hermana Casimiro and they are both about halfway through their missions. We all have a great time and I know I am learning tons. My studies this week have really taught me a lot and I am so grateful for the spirit in our lives to help lead and guide us. One of my goals for this year is to become more in tune with the spirit and recognize answers! I´m sorry this is kind of short, but I love you all so much and hope that you all have a great and safe week!!! I love you all!
Love, Hermana Hawkes

Happy New Year!

Happy happy new year from the Equator!!! 🙂 I hope that you all had a nice `cool` holiday… i had a very `warm` one! Haha but it was great and filled with lots of fun memories that I will definitley never forget!! Thank you all so much for writing and I have to say I was soooo excited to hear that Baylor is finally here!!! I took pictures of all the pictures to look at lots more times and I can`t wait to hold him… even if he will be 1 by that time!! 🙂 It was great to hear about the fun holidays and bbal games and everything you are all doing!! Josh- i haven`t gotten the letters yet, but they go to the mission office and then they give us them at zone meeting, so hopefully I will get them tomorrow!!
I just have to tell you all… that you have never experiences a New Year until you have seen how they celebrate in Ecuador!! Wow… there aren`t even words!! Haha so we had to be in our house on New Years Eve at 6 because I guess it gets pretty crazy…. so we went to our house and I was in this weird cleaning mood (haha) so we deep cleaned our apartment super good and then I worked in our area book for like an hour and a half… I know…. crazier partier! But it was nice relaxing time that I actually really enjoyed. After that, we waited for the new year. Here they have things called monigotes that they burn at midnight and they have been making these huge ones for like 3 months. So at midnight they started all these monigotes on fire in the streets and there were a whole bunch right by our house! What I didn`t know is that they had these huge fire crackers inside them so you can imagine hundreds of these things burning and going off at midinght! Wow it was seriously sooo crazy and soo aweosme! The first new years I`m home I am going to make a monigote to show you all becase it was seriously sooo aweosme!!
The day after we ahd to stay in the hosue all day again, and we got to watch Mulan and Frozen! Ahh it was so much fun! We did a lot of fun things together (us 4 sisters) and I really have grown to love and have so much fun with them!!
It has been a great week here in Daule, and the more experiences I have, the more I know how blessed I am to be here because I know that Heavenly Father is helping me to realize how blessed I am, but also to help me to see the things that I need to change in myself. I am grateful for this new year with new goals and new things to work on. I know I have a lot more to work on and fix, but I am grateful to be shown these things to help me better myself, and hopefully others along the way.
It was great to get to pass the New Year with the other Hermanas in the house and it was awesome to see how they celebrate here in this culture! I think I have a new idea of what new years will be like the rest of my life and I definitly think I will make monigotes!
It was great to get out and work after the day in the house! We have really been working hard with the Cuenca Family with their baptism date. The mom Jessenia is coming along so well, and also her less active husband. They really are such a great family and I am so grateful to be able to be here to work with them and to see the amazing change that has already started to occur in their lives. They are reading the Book of Mormon and can always give us a review of what they read and it really is great to see. I was studyinf this morning about baptism and about how they can come into the `redil de Dios` and I truly feel a love for them and desire for them to gain these amazing blessings in their lives, so we are going to keep working hard with them.
We are also going to do some good hard contacting this week to find more investigators. I have truly come to love contacting and I love to meet the new people and get to know about their lives and try to help them. I have started to understand spanish a lot better and I finally feel like I can understand well enough to respond to problems and questions and converse with the people so much better. I know that this is a blessing from Heavenly Father and I am so grateful to receive these blessings. I truly do love being a missionary and I love being here in Daule. I know that I have a lot more to learn, but that I am learning and have learned tons. I truly love it here and love being a missionary!! I know this church is true and love sharing this message with the people here! I love you all so mucha nd pray for you nonstop!!! Have a great and safe week!
Love, Hermana Hawkes