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