Aftershock week

Dear Family,
Wow how wonderful it is to hear from you all!! I am glad to hear that you are all safe and doing well as I pray for your safety always!!!
ok, I was thinking that my email last week wasn`t all that spiritual, but I have been thinking a lot this week about the different people I have seen and the influence that the earthquake had on them. I was thinking about how shocking and devastating the earthquake was and how nobody knew that it was going to happen. Nobody could leave their houses, or hurry and run to their bishop to repent of past sins. Nobody knew it was going to happen. I feel like this is why we have been warned over and over to continually repent and keep the commandments, because we never know when something will happen. This also made me think of the way that different people react to situations or signs from our Heavenly Father. I will give a short version of what I have been thinking. 1. are the people that are humbled by the `earthquakes` that hit in our lives and remember how they felt and change and become better. 2. are the people that are humbled for a short time, but after the shock wears off and they are all ok, forget and fade back into their old ways. and 3. are the people that forget right away and attribute the shock to chance and don`t even bother to think about the lessons we should be learning or the blessings that we have received. What kind of people are we? What kind of a person am I and am I learning all I should be from the mini earthquakes that Heavenly Father puts in my life so that when the big ones hit I am ready and repentant? This had been an interesting thing to think on.
I know you don`t have a lot of time but I wanted to thank you for your guidance in the mission. I know that you are guided by the Spirit and I am never worried because I know that you are always in tune with Him and are helping us to keep pushing the work forward, in safe and secure situations. Thank you for your trust in me here in our sector and with Hna Ramalho. I know that I have a lot to improve and can become so much better, and will try each and everyday to make these changes! I hope you have a great week and we are happy to do anything that you ask us to do here!
THis week we had some great things happen. The familia Leon continues to progress and I am so blessed to be here seeing their progress! Hno Hector received the melchezidec priesthood sunday, so after he batized is daughter Gishlen on Friday, he got to confirm her on Sunday. The spirit was so prowerful and he performed them all with power straight from heaven!! I cant wait to see their progress as they continue!
We are also preparing a less active`s son for baptism this week and they are also doing so well and have been awesome to help and see the changes in their lives!
Sorry this is kind of short, but I love you all tons and pray for you always! Please be safe in all you do this week and remember to look for the special blessings that Heavenly Father gives to us each and everyday! I know we see miracles everyday if we will keep our eyes open and our hearts open to the spirit! I love you all!
Love, Hermana Hawkes

Hna Sandy and her kids. Limber is going to get baptized this Saturday!

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Gishlen`s Baptism

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Earthquakes in Ecuador

My dearest family,

Wow, weeks like this is when we all realize how much we love each other and how much Heavenly Father is watching over and blessing each of us. My testimony of following the Spirit has been strenthened so much and also my testimony of families! Thank you all so much for your prayers and your emails and nice thoughts! I know that what I saw here in Daule was very minimal compared to what you have all seen in the news! and before I go any further I want you all to know that the pictures with the huge cracks and the cars falling in are false!! There was some major destruction further north, but there are a lot of false pictures so don`t believe everything you see in the news!! 🙂 I know that the Lord is always watching over us as missionaries and that as we follow the prompting of the spirit, we will always be ok.

It was a miracle day here as well, in the morning of the earthquake I had a strong impression to make sure Hna Ramalho had all of her emergency backpack ready to go. So I asked her and she just had to put her clothes in, which she did. The Spirit works in amazing ways and sometimes through other people! I am so grateful for a guide always in our lives. So the day of the earthquake we had Gishlen`s baptism (Hector and Cecilia`s daughter.) The meaning of `Standing in Holy Places` took on a whole new meaning for me that day. We were all in the church waiting for the baptism to start! Everyone was dressed and ready and we were just waiting for the councilor who had the keys to the font. We were talking in the hall with our ward mission leader when my companion said `the floor is moving` and all of the sudden everything was shaking! It seriously felt like the floor was jello. We all ran outside into the basketball court and only one lady was crying and a few of the little kids were crying and yelling. It was so shocking to see all the light posts swaying and the ground move like it did. It was pretty  scary in the moment, but I know I was feeling the Spirit because I wasn`t scared. I was worried about helping the people feel safe, but I wasnt scared. The lights all went out for about 45 minutes, but our house was fine and we still have water and everything is completely normal here. Honestly I wanted to go out contacting when the lights came back on because i thought `what better time to teach people about faith and trusting in the Lord.` but our leaders said no… 😉 During the night (at this point I think I was pretty paranoid to sleep) but our cell phone got a text at 2 in the morning, and it was jsut some promotion, but as I was falling asleep, I thougth I felt another earthquake, but attributed it to my dreams. It actually was another small earthquake but it was pretty tiny. The next morning they canceled all of the church meetings because we were supposed to have a multi stake meeting broadcast from Guayaquil and we couldnt leave our apartment until 11, but after that it was a good day and an aweosme time to talk to people about being ready for the second coming. I know that we have been so blessed and my heart goes out to all those here in Ecuador. I know there are a lot that will be needing a lot of hope in their lives and I am so grateful to be here to help them to find this faith and hope that they need in their lives!!

Ok so a few highlights of this week, We were able to go to the temple on Friday with some of the people we have rescued and with some recent converts. I think that is the most gratifying feeling to see these people in the temple! We were able to take some pictures and I hope you got them! I`m sorry this is short but I want you all to know taht I am doing great!! Everything here is normal and I am so humbled and grateful for the mercy of the Lord in my life! Thank you all so much for your prayers and thoughts! I have definietly been able to feel them and am so grateful for all of you! I love you all so much and pray for your safety continually! I love you!
Love, Hermana Hawkes

We got to go to the temple this week with the branch. The picture with the lady in the yellow dress is Hector and Cecilia!!
The other picture is another couple named Darwin and Shirley who are also preparing to go to the temple in a year!

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Daule says hello

My dearest family,
Happy Happy Birthday to Josh!!!! how old are you again) 25 I think! I hope you have an awesome day!

Wow how are you all doing?? 🙂 I have loved looking at all the fun pictures today of all the fun things you are doing! I take pictures of them with my camera so I can look at them again later when I have more time! It is also so fun to hear that you are in the full swing of spring work and the pictures are gorgeous! I am excited to hear how the new drill works!! Good luck in all your activities this week and Kristie and Garr in track!!  

We had a great week here but short on time to do a lot of missionary work! We went to Guayaquil on Tuesday for the 12 week verification of Hna Ramalho and got great council from President and Sister Dennis! They are so inspired and I love to learn from them. Then that night I got to go on exchanged in Guayaquil with one of the sisters named Hna Chan and we contacted this huge hill and taught some of their recent converts! It was fun to be able to work in their sector and then that night we got to sleep in their house because we had a multi zone conference the next day where President and Sister Dennis and a few of the elders and sisters talked to us. It was incredible and I learned so much about repentance and Sabbath day observance. I think that Sabbath day is something I have truly come to love and see the great importance of here on my mission!!! It was also crazy because I saw one of the sisters that I was in the CCM with us and she is in the Guayaquil North mission!

We have been working with some great people this week! One of the girls we just helped reactivate is so great and has reminded me again why I love to help less active people repent and come back to the gospel. This is the second person that I have truly seen a true change and love for the gospel, and it is incredible to see and be part of when they truly feel the change and want to change their lives. We are trying so hard to keep the people that we have reactivated in the church, because I know that it is pointless to help reactivate them if they are just going to quit coming again. But this girl named Sandy is 26 and has 3 kids that are so cute and her oldest is preparing to be baptized on the 30th of this month. Her son`s name is Limber and he has started reading his Book of Mormon everyday and saying his prayers, and in testimony meeting he got up and bore his testimony about the church and about how excited he is for his baptism! It was really cute and fun to see his excitement!

As always, it is so fun for me to see the Leòn family progress! Their testimonies continue to grow rapidly and they are so great! Their oldest daughter Gishlen is preparing for her baptism this Saturday and is so excited. Her dad is also very excited to be able to baptize her. Hermano Hector has an incredible love and testimony of the gospel. He got up and bore his testimony in sacrament meeting (he as less than 2 months as a member) and it sounded like we were listening to one of the members that has years in the church. He bore a very powerful testimony of the plan that Heavenly Father has for us and how we need to follow this plan exactly. He also blessed the sacrament for the first time and gave the lesson in gospel principles with the help of his wife Cecilia! They are are great couple and truly converted to this gospel! Seeing thier testimony grow makes my testimoy grow as well and I am so blessed for this opportunity that I have had to see them grow and progress in the gospel.

This week I have really focused on deepening my love and knowledge of the scriptures and the docrines that we find in them, and my experience has been incredible! It is like I am learning everything for the first time, and my testimony especially of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the love that they have for each of us has grown so much. I know that we have a very loving and very just father in heaven and that He truly desires our success. I know that this success is only possible through Christ and that one day he will testify to our Father for us according to our works. How great our responsibilities and works are in this short time on earth! I know that they live and want the best for us and we can obtain the blessings that they have for us according to our obedience!
I hope you have a great week! I love you all so much ad hope you all know how much I pray for you all and your safety!
Love, Hermana Hawkes

I made oreo truffles…. with sweet and condensed milk because they dont have creamed cheese but it was still good!!

and one of the cute little girls in our ward. We had an FHE with them!

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My companion and I at the conference in Guayaquil

We stayed in the house of the sisters in Guayaquil and the view was Gorgeous!!!!!

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Conference Week!

My dearest family,
I hope that you were able to enjoy Conference as much as we did here! It was a great week and an especially great weekend where we were extremely edified by the words of our living prophet and apostles. It was so fun to hear what you all did and especially how great you all explained DYW! I almost felt like I was there…. almost! Great Job Kristie and thank you all so much for the fun pictures!!
We had a great week here and I am truly so grateful to be here in Daule with my great companion Hna Ramalho! We are working hard to find new people and to help those we have now to progress. I have truly come to feel such a strong love for the people here and feel an urgent need to help those that are already members and especially those that we have rescued to stay strong in the gospel. we are working to help them have friends in the church and to truly have a desire to attend, because the longer I am here the more I realize how important the retention is and not just rescuing or baptizing people and then leaving them! We are going to be working with the ward missionaries to help us teach and accomplish this with the members we have.
This has been a great week and started out really well last monday night! We were able to have a great FHE with one of the families that we recently rescued and it was so much fun because we felt like what they needed is to be more united as a family and show more love one for another. So we had a lesson on loving each other and set a goal with them that each day they were going to hug each person in their family and told them that we are going to check up on them this week to see how they did! They also played the game human knot and they were all laughing and playing together and it was truly so much fun to see. After that we also had a lesson with the Leòn family and it was so great because at the end of the lesson the little girl who is 7 kept repeating, `so now in our lives we are going to prepare to go to the temple.` Each lesson that we have with them she always reminds them all that they are going to the temple in a year!

The Leòn family is doing awesome and they are like sponges! They retain all the information so fast and always have so many questions and practically teach us everytime we go to visit them! They attended every session of conference (many of the members didn’t even attend as many as them) and after they were giving us conclusions of all the talks they liked and what they want to impliment into their family. It is so fun to see the great progress, and it is so fun for me where I have gotten to see them progress the whole way, since the day that we first knocked on their door. I know that Heavenly Father has prepared them so much and has blessed me to be able to see their conversion!

I loved the opportunity that we had to watch conference!! What an awesome time we have to gain knowledge to help us in the next 6 months and how inspired each of our apostles and prophet are. I was thrilled to hear that they are going to build a temple in Quito, and honestly after taht I couldn`t hear where any of the other new temples were because everyone was `reverently` talking and almost cheering in the chapel because they were so excited! What a blessing it will be for the people of Ecuador to have another temple. Overall my thoughts of this conference were taht the prophets are done warning us because we know that there will be hard things coming, and that now is the time to unite with our families and make sure that we are strong as families. This includes our families we have now and our ancestors. What great messages we were able to hear about being children of a loving Heavenly Father, the families, temples, and uniting as families! I love my family and am greatful for their firmness in the gospel, and now that I have the opportunity to be here helping other strengthen their families so that they can be together forever! I am so grateful to be here and to be a missionary in this time! I hope you have a great week! I love you all sooooo much!!
Love, Hermana Hawkes