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!