Monday, July 15, 2013

Back and Better than Ever!

Alright, found a new cyber and the connection is great! Shouldn't have any problems this week (knock on wood). It's still Africa, after all. 

This was from the baptism a few weeks ago. The one in the middle is Mama Geebete and I found her with Elder Owusu, but she ended up getting baptized when Elder Seidl got there. However, since I was still part of the process I was honored to be part of the picture! Also, the person on the very right is not a missionary! He's the Branch President of Wuiti wearing Elder Seidl's badge!

Well, just to let everybody know... it's gotten kinda hot once again out here. I didn't realize that it was actually cool until the sun started baking my skin again... in honor the returned heat, this little nugget of a poem came to me the other day.

Africa is really hot
I feel like a frying tater tot.

BOOM! Pretty good huh? I wanted to write more to the poem but my poem engine/english skills are not as up to par as they used to be. However, maybe as my mission goes on, I can continue adding to what I have.
Aside from my poem skills blossoming this week, it's been a pretty good week. I got my new companion finally! His name is Elder Kapuku and he's from Congo (again). As odd as it sounds (because his name is so easy to say) it took me a good two days to actually remember his name... it was really embarrasing introducing him to everyone in the sector because I would be like, "And here's my new companion, who calls himself....errrrr... well... how about I just let him present himself" But it's okay now! I know his name so no worries.
I think that we're going to be able to work well together. He has some good ideas to get the group working better... hopefully we'll actually get to put them into action, but that will take some time first! You should have seen him the first few days in the sector though... it was like one piece of bad news after the next. He only has 3 months left, so I'm pretty sure this mess is not something that he wants to be walking into right now in his mission! Ca va aller, however!
I'm happy to have finally gotten a companion though. It really stunk for a while because I just couldn't do anything to fix my sector since I didn't have a companion, but now that I have Elder Kapuku, we can actually start fixing the sector. We're already seeing the fruits of our labor, I believe. The past few days, our schedules have been filled and we've been finding people to teach too. Of course, as to how they will progress remains to be seen but you figure that the more people we talk to, the more success we will have. Right?
Since I just got the conference issue of the Ensign this past week, I have been reading tons and tons of talks. One talk that really touched me was that of Elder Uchtdorf's on light in our lives. In the talk, he talks about how he has a picture in his office that shows an open door with light coming from it. The thing he likes about it the most is that even the light is coming from the door, it does not illuminate the whole room, just the path the open door creates (cue the fro, maybe she could put the picture into the email so people will know what I'm talking about!)

(From the Fro: This is a great talk! The picture he's talking of is shown early on in the talk.  
And he talks about Africa at the end!)

He compared it to our lives here on Earth. Throughout our lives we are surrounded by darkness and if we are not careful, we might pay too much attention to it and drift from the light. What's really important is that, despite all the darkness that surrounds us, we need to remember the light that we are in and face towards the light. 

It reminded me a lot about what I'm going through right now. A lot of things in this sector could be considered pretty big problems... the group has been a group for two years, no progressing investigators, no members live in our sector, etc, etc. It kinda sucks... but at the same time, that's not what I'm focused on. I'm focused on what can happen here, not what has happened here. I'm focusing on the light that's ahead of me, not the darkness that's behind me and surrounds me right now. Sure it's important to understand how those bad things happen so I can avoid those mistakes, but what's important here is that I have basically a new sector to go off of. Like the Boy Scouts always said, leave your campsite better than you found it!

So, I guess you could say I'm trying my best to be a happy camper!

I also learned something rather interesting about my French skills... it comes and goes. I won't lie... my French is much easier than it used to be but it's still tough at times and it's not always at 100%. I remember one time somebody called us around 6 in the morning and I answered the phone since my comp was in the bathroom. I honestly thought he was speaking another language and I could not undestand him at all! It's those humbling experiences that kind of remind me that it was with the help of Heavenly Father that I have gotten to where I am today. To this day, I still always pray for the gift of tongues and the ability to communicate with these people here. I've noticed that I've never asked to be able to speak perfect French, but I've always tried to ask for the ability to communicate with people here so that they can understand me! And the Lord has blessed me countless times with that, because I can't even count the number of times I stumble over my words and feel like my tongue is tied. But, whatever the case may be, people still seem to understand what I'm trying to say despite my difficulties.

That's my little spiel for today... I think I'll be able to send some good pictures this week to entertain everybody. Thanks again for all the prayers, support, emails, etc. They're really a big help for me out here. Love you all and keep going strong!
With love,

Elder Hawkins

P.S. Shoutout to the Olsen family! The drink powder and the Sour Patch Kids ROCK! But of course, that was nowhere near my favorite part of the package... Zoey's hand drawn picture of my future wife was amazing! You have got to tell her thank you thank you thank you!!!! Absolutely loved it! 

Boss of the mangez-vous as shown by my position at the head of the table!

Mmmmmmm... comb and HOT PIMA SAUCE!!!!!! We had two different kinds (there are a lot of different kinds of PIMA... some much, MUCH hotter than others). It was actually delicious to be honest and if I was fed that more often, I would be a much happier missionary. Remember folks, always feed the missionaries!

Proof of me eating my FISH HEAD! Told you, I'm a rough and grizzled veteran now so this stuff does not scare me anymore! 

This is Elder Haggard in the process of losing his mind... well, actually it was already lost at this point. He was sweating like crazy and making no sense due to the large amount of pima he consumed. Still, I give him props for tying Elder Seidl in eating the most amount of comb with pima. Kudos to you, Hipster Haggard.
(yes, he's a hipster).

This was the first mangez-vous of the night (a surprise mangez-vous really). I think I talked a little bit about Sr. Nguessa is the sister back in Wuiti who ALWAYS feeds us if we are at her as around dinner time. 

On one of Elder Rama's last nights, we had to take advantage of his CHARWAMA making skills! In all, we each got 6 big charwamas filled with lettuce, mayo, ketchup, ground beef mixed with curry seasoning, french fries... it was delicious! And now, because of Elder Rama, I know how to make charwamas! Needless to say, we ate like KINGS that night! 

Close up of the little guy I ate. I hate to say it but I actually really liked eating it. Sure the fish eyes were a little funky but it was really good still. Oh goodness, what has become of me!?!?! I guess I really have become an African man. 

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