It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! :)

Dearest Family, 

Hello hello from the Equator!! Even though the weather doesn´t quite feel like Christmas here, we are in the full swing of Christmas cheer!! I hope you are all as well and loving this special time of year that we have to share with all those around us of the love of the Savior and remember Him and all that He does for us. I know that this time of year everyone has softened hearts and more open minds and it is the best time to serve and share the glad tidings of the gospel truths that we have with everyone we possibly can!! I am so happy to hear how you are all doing and hope and pray everyday that you are all being blessed and feel happy!! 

This week went by sooo fast! I feel like I blink and the week is already gone! This week was so busy with activities and meetings and visiting all the people we possibly could in our spare time!! Something so cool is that there is going to be a big Christmas activity here in Guayaquil the 17 of December in one of the biggest parks in South America (I hope that isnt a false statistic) 🙂 but it is a huge event and they asked all of the missions here in Guayaquil to participate! We are going to have live nativity scenes, 7 choirs, and a show that they are hoping will allow us to get about 1,000 references! 🙂 We are all so excited and have been so busy with the preparations, rehersals, and coordinating everything! Another Hermana and I were asked to help be in charge along with 3 elders from our mission in getting everything in our misison ready, so it has been a whirlwind of calling, coordinating, and lots more! It has been so fun and I am so grateful for the great ideas that the church has in finding new people! It is all based around the initiative for the year called ´Ilumina el Mundo´ (in spanish…. I´m not sure what it would be in english, but Kelsey sent me a link and that is the same thing we´re using)!! 

Also this week we had such an awesome experience! We have been working with an Hermana named Flor. The other hermanas were working with her for so long but she never wanted to accept a baptism date because she just didnt feel like she was ready. When we started working in this area, we were visiting her a lot and tried to keep inviting her to be baptized or at least pray about the date that she should be baptized, but she didnt want to. This past week we didnt have very much time to visit her until the end of the week, but eventually went to her house on Friday. When we got there, there was just a different spirit, a different feeling. She told us that she knew we hadn´t abandonded her in that week, but without us there, she couldn’t feel the spirit as strongly and that was something she wanted. She said something like that she knew Heavenly Father was trying to send her a message and that she wants to be able to have the spirit with her at all times and feels like her baptism is closer!!! She was so humble and willing and I know that in this week she will be ready to accept a baptism date because she is feeling the true desires! The Lord truly does show us miracles in our lives everyday! They might seem small, but I know that they are miracles! I am so grateful to be here witnessing these miracles that are not only changing the lives of these wonderful Ecuadorian people, but also my life! 

I love you all so much and hope you have a happy week!! I look forward to hearing form you all and pray for you all daily!!!! I love you!! 

Love, Hermana Hawkes 

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Happy Happy Thanksgiving! 

Dearest Family, 

Happy happy thanksgiving this week. Wow I was trying to think of a few things to tell you all that that I`m thankful for, and the list is literally endless. First of all, I am so grateful for the gospel and for the asurety we have to be together forever! I am grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to repent and become clean so that we can recieve these amazing gifts altogether! I am so thankful for each and everyone of you and the awesome family that we have! I know that we have been blessed to experience true happiness in our family through blessings of the gospel and hope of having this eternal relationship! I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be here in Ecuador teaching people of this marvelous plan that Heavenly Father has in store for them and their families and I know that the gospel truly does bless and change families and lives!!! How thankful we should all be for the many blessings Heavenly Father has given us, and continues to bless us with each and everyday!! 

Also Happy anniversary to Jared and Kelsie this week!!! 🙂  

We have had a crazy week here but I have been able to feel Heavenly Father`s guiding hand in everything we do!! So I am with my new companion Hna Velasco and she is seriously sooo awesome!! She is a convert and the only member in her family. She got baptized 2 years ago in March and I have seriously never heard another missionary teach with the spirit as well as she does! She has such a strong testimony and does such a great job of sharing it with others!! She has also had to work extra hard to finish her 12 week training program as a normal missionary, and do her nurse training! She worked in architecture before so had about as much nurse experinece as I did but she is doing such an awesome job and learns so fast!! 

We had so many meetings all week long and only got to work in our sector at night times from about 6 until 9! It has been a fun challenge trying to get to know all the investigators in our new sector, but it is also so nice that I have already been here in this area so at least know my way around a little bit! We witnessed miracles this week!! The Luna Family got baptized!!! 🙂 It was so fun because that day before the baptism they all invited us to their house for a birthday lunch for their son Harold! We got to go each chicken and rice and sang him happy birthday and eat cake, but the best part was we asked them how they felt for the baptism and they said 100 percent!! They were so excited!! We also had another baptism that day, a 29 year old guy from our sector named Boris that the other Hermanas have been working with for a looong time!!! It was so  funny because we got to the church and the Luna family was already there and we were just waiting for Boris to arrive and all of the sudden we all looked around and said Where did Harold go??? and then the Hermanas could hear splashing…. oh no… yep, he was in the baptism font `swimming`!!!! 🙂 it was soo funny and we were all dying and Diego and Esilda were so embarrassed!!! But it was such a special service! We started without Boris because he wasn`t answering his phone, and I was so nervous that he waasnt going to come, but the Elders were so awesome and called him and reassured him that he needed to be baptized and it was the right thing, and finally he showed up! Hermana Velasco had gone into a room and prayed that he would come because we were so nervous that he wasn’t going to show up, but I know that Heavenly Father heard and answered our prayers!! 

We are busy and I am loving every minute of everything I`m doing! I know that Heavenly Father knows and loves each and everyone of us individually and perfectly!! I hope that you can all feel His love this week and enjoy the awesome time that you have together this week!! I am so thankful for each of you this week and love you all sooo much! Have a great week! 🙂 

Love, Hermana Hawkes
D&C 78:19

The Atonement is real! 

Hello from Ecuador!! How is my awesome family doing?? 🙂 

It is always so fun to write you all and see what you are all doing and the fun activities that are going on!! It is also a great time to reflect upon what has happened this week and all the miracles that Heavenly Father has blessed us with! I know that miracles really exists each day in our lives if we will just look and listen for the small promptings of the Holy Ghost! 

Well a few fun things that happened this week. We were able to keep working with the Luna Family! They are so awsome and are progressing so well and we can truly see their love for the gospel! This week we tried to visit them with a lot of member families to help them feel very loved and to have lots of friends in church! They are going to be getting baptized this Saturday! It was an awesome experience because we had to postpone the baptism for a week to help them with some of the commandments, but when we went to visit them later in the week, they were so determinded and said that they would have no trouble in keeping the commandments now, and it was so incredible to me to be able to see the Atonement work so completely and so quickly for them and for their determination to change and do what`s right!

We also had a really cool experience with a girl named Danixa this week! Danixa is a 20 year old girl that is in college and lives here with her mom and brothers. Her neighbor is a member and 2 weeks ago showed up to church with Danixa and her family because she said that she had had a dream about Danixa and knew that she needed to invite her to church, and they went! We went to her house a few days later to visit her and when she opened the door, she was crying. Her eyes were super red and it looked like she had been crying really hard. She invited us in and we started talking to her and found out that her mom has cancer. She tries to be so strong but it is taking a toll on her and she was pretty sad. We just shared with her that Heavenly Father loves her and her family so much and that He has an eternal plan for her and her family. We were able to testify to her that she can feel happy through the Atonement and that Christ knows exactly how she feels. By the end of the lesson she thanked us and said that we had helped her feel a lot more calm and that she knew we had been sent to her house for a reason. I could truly feel the spirit in the lesson and knew that we had been sent there to help a special daughter of God in a time of need! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father blesses us with theses experiences each day and am so grateful fot the time that I have to be here!!  

Today we had transfers and I am now with Hermana Velasco. She has 6 weeks in the mission and is so excited to work and find! I love her excitment and love for the work and know it will be such a great help in the work at this time! She is also going to be a new misison nurse so it will be so fun to help her with that!!!  

I love you all and hope you have a great and safe week and enjoy each and every experience you are having!!! I love you!! 

Love, Hermana Hawkes

D&C 84:88

This one is a picture of Hna Twitchell and I together today. She leaves today to go home.

This is my new companion and I. Hermana Velasco

The 5 of us the night before transfers.

A time of learning and love

Dear Family, 

Wow what a fun week you have all had! I loved all the picrures you all sent me! I am so excited for all the new events you are all starting and am excited to hear how they all go!! Good luck in basketball to all this week! Good job Garr in your football game! it sounds like you played absolutely incredibly!! And the pictures were so fun to see of Raelynn`s blessing! What a fun time to all be together! 🙂 Families are the best! 

Well this was an awesome week!! I have truly been able to feel the Lord teaching me in so many different ways and am grateful that He loves us enough to help us change and love the circumstances we are in and the people that are around us. I can honestly say that He blesses each and every one of us and those we are around when we seek to serve and love them!! 

This week we were so blessed to have Diego and Esilda Loor in church again! Esilda went to visit her family in Manabi and they put a lot of doubts in her mind about the church and her baptism, but they were still happy and willing to go to church and I know that this week we will be able to help them strengthen thier testimonies and prepare for this Saturday for their baptism! I feel so much love for them and their 2 cute little boys and know that they need the gospel so much in their lives. 

We were also so blessed to find another  big family this week and 4 of them went to church and really seemed to like it! THeir names are the Granados family and they are sooo fun! THe little girl named Tatiana always comes running up to give me a great big hug! I will have to send you a fun picture of them next week!! 

This week will be fun and busy preparing for 20 new missionaries that arrive next week!! I will let you know how it goes! Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week and know that I love you all soo much and am so grateful for each and everyone of you in my life!! have a fantastic week!!! 

This is a little piece of what I wrote to President SAntos this week and wanted to share it with you! 

Hoy me siento una felicidad y un amor muy grande estar aquí en la misión. Sé que cada experiencia que tenemos aquí- con las personas, compañeras, misioneros enfermos… 🙂 es por una razón, y solo Dios sabe porque, pero con tiempo, llegamos a saber porque también. Estaba leyendo en mi diario cuando escribí al principio de mi misión de todos los atributos que quería desarrollar, y estoy muy agradecida con mi Padre Celestial porque gracias a muchas de las experiencias que he tenido o compañeras que me han enseñado, he desarrollado muchas de las cosas que quería mejorar. Pero la cosa que me encanta, es que todavía, hay mucho mas que mejorar! El proceso nunca termina, por eso es un PROCESO y no solamente es por este tiempo, sino por toda la vida, y la galardón al final si hacemos todo lo posible por cumplir con todo lo que Dios quiere, es la salvación! Jesucristo es nuestro ejemplo y nuestra ayuda por toda la vida y sé que El vive y nos ama. Nos ama suficiente para cambiarnos, y dejarnos en las pruebas que El sabe que podemos suportar para llegar a ser mas como El! Amo las lecciones que aprendemos cada día y mas que todo, las tiernas misericordias que recibimos cada día!