Monday, October 7, 2013

Wow!! What a Week!! October 7, 2013

Hey Family!! 
I just have to start by saying that this past week was one of my favorites yet here in Durres. There were still the occasional disappointments and lessons with vital investigators that fell through, but for the most part I have no complaints. We were so blessed this week and like the prophet Moroni teaches, you truly do not receive a witness until after the trial of your faith. I thought I knew what this scripture meant and how it applies to me but I guess I have not been applying it if you know what I mean. 
This is a very important principle that I am learning about more and more every week, especially this last one. The principle of relying on the Lord through both the hard and the easy times to receive a stronger testimony. It seems that most of the time I think of testimony building moments as things I can learn through "trials" but I am slowly learning that this is not always true. There are times while spending moments with members here that I gain a strong testimony for a specific principle without even realizing it until the moment is gone. But I am always grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord and immediate answers to prayers. 
One example was on Tuesday when we were waiting at our Institute Center for an investigator to show up for her first lesson. Half an hour had passed and she wasn't answering her phone so we were worried that she was not going to come (just like 5+ lessons we had fall through the previous week). I remember saying a very quick but sincere prayer that she would show up and surely enough ten seconds later she walked through the door. She probably would have come even if I had not offered the prayer but it was an answer just like the Lord promises He will give us if we have faith. Through out the week there were many experiences like the previous and we continued to have an amazing week- our best yet despite the many lessons that did fall through and we were blessed to find many new investigators! I am so excited to continue to exercise this principle daily and begin to truly rely on the Lord especially when I feel I do not need to. This past week has been one of extreme growth (we were blessed with eight new investigators!!) and I am excited to finally be working effectively with my companion and working in such a way that we strengthen and help each other.  
Something amazing I learned about her German grandfather is that he carved the podium in the conference center and the prophet's desk (he told his grand kids that underneath he left a secret message for the prophet if he ever got down on his knees and took a look underneath!! Sweet right?) 
Another random fact is that yesterday as I was making breakfast I burned my arm so now I am going to have another wicked sweet scar on my right hand on the reverse side of where I already have a nice big scar. Maybe I should just tell people I was a pirate before my mission and used to do a lot of sword fighting... 
Unneeded to mention, I absolutely loved conference and learned so much for myself, for my investigators (okay so really they are the Lord's but you know...) and for my current companionship. It seemed to me that the biggest message was that we need to do as King Benjamin advises and yield to the enticing of the Holy Spirit and put off the natural man by becoming a saint through the Atonement of Christ. Such things we can do to achieve this is by realizing our full spiritual potential and looking ahead not behind, becoming meek, forgiving others and ourselves, making important daily decisions, repenting and serving others. I really like the battle plan that you have made as a family. What we do as missionaries is something called Weekly Planning and here we evaluate the goals we set and then raise the bar higher or change our goals to make them more effective. Maybe you could do this every Sunday to make sure all six things happen. I am so happy that you are all study together- this is something that I wished we had done more of while I was home but I know it is exactly what you all need now as you are preparing for the mission field. Something helpful to do is to take one of the Christ-like attributes and study it weekly. 
Well I love you all and hope that things keep going well for you with work, with school and with your testimonies. Like President Monson taught, it is always better to look up! 
Love you all!! 
Motra Hawkins

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