Monday, August 12, 2013

I Will Go, I Will Do

My goodness gracious... I got to tell you all first off that I am already super tired from responding to the like 20 emails I got this week... I wish I could just combine everything I said in the emails I sent out to people because I think that would be the perfect weekly email! How awesome to get that many emails though, thank you!!!

This week was tough like last week, not going to lie. Tombez-vous left and right. No amis came to Church yesterday. Early returns to the apartment again this week. 

Yup, it's the life alright. 

I'm trying my best to keep my chin held high and my head up, but there are a lot of reasons to keep looking down at the ground, like I said before. It has been almost two months in this sector and I feel like nothing has really changed in terms of the problems we are having. It's also been FREEZING this past week, even more so than usual. My temp gauge in my room went to the lowest I have ever seen it at: 76.5 degrees. Burrrrrrrrr... really the problem is when there's wind. When it's not windy, the weather feels great and somewhat enjoyable... but it has been super windy this week so that hasn't really been the case. 

Anyway, let's get away from the more depressing parts of the week... this week we did have our Zone Conference... which means CHARWAMAS AND HAMBURGERS! WIN! That made me happy this week, for sure... oh and we did learn a lot of cool and valuable things too of course, but I'll get to that later. 

Before the conference, Sister Weed asked us all to wear red ties because she wanted us all matching for our zone pictures that we would be taking. Now, Elder Haggard and I were pretty bummed because we wanted to wear and show off our cool pine ties that Soeur Sonia made for us. BUT! No need to fear... she went out teaching with us on Tuesday and I just casually mentioned our little predicament to her. She told me she was totally up for it! So, just like that and in two days, we were able to wip up 4 pine ties for the whole district of Kodjoviakope! We spent a few hours at her house trying to make them (she doesn't have many lights for the courtyard in her parcel so we were all using the flashlights on our cell phones!). 

Tried to get some good pictures of the sewing machine Soeur Sonia uses to sew with... it's a classic
non-electric step pedal sewing machine thingy. 
Thought Fro might like that... also... she can get that thing going pretty fast when she gets in the rhythm!

Elder Digbe and Soeur Sonia... Digbe is holding up the cell phone with the flashlight so she can see!

Me ironing some pine ties using a classic non-electric actually-made-out-of-iron iron! And I only thought Fro used those for decoration! 

Needless to say, the next day we were all looking pretty sharp in our pine ties. I think everyone was a little bit jealous, but mostly because we were all pretty cool since we were matching! After the conference Sister Weed and President Weed noticed that we were all matching and they had to get a cool picture of all of us together! 

The final product! Looking sharp in front of the new sign they finally put up at the new church building in Kegue.

So yeah, I would have to say that was the highlight of my week this week... charwamas and pine ties. 

One of the things I remember most about what President talked about was his analogy of the mission. In the mission, it's a huge joke because it seems like every conference he compares the mission to something. My first conference, we were all in a boat. My second conference, we were all in a bottle. So, somebody asked at the end of this past conference what we were in this time... thankfully, President had a good sense of humor and he told us that we are now on one of those boats in a bottle! Everyone got a good kick out of that! 

Also, some big news happened this week in Kodjoviakope. For the first time in the history of our little group (it's been around 2 years) we have finally gotten a new Group Leader! Fr. Alex is no longer our group leader and many, many members are so happy and relieved. I think Fr. Alex is relieved too because I found out he had moved out to somewhere that was 30 minutes away 6 months ago! It definitely explains why he was always late to everything. However, I really hope the group can progress now that we have a new group leader. His name is Fr. Marcelyn and he is really cool! He and his wife were converted last year and they have a really cute daughter at the age of like 3-4. Great choice and I hope the group can start progressing. The key is that now that Fr Alex, the scapegoat for all our problems before, is gone, we have to actually step up and work on turning this group into a branch. It will be tough but I have confidence in the group. 

I'm not really sure what else to say right now... just keep praying for me because this sector is hard and has been a real trial for me. Pray that the right people will be put in my path. Pray that people will have an accepting heart. Pray that people will just respect the rendez-vous! 

One thing I realized about being a missionary is this: being a missionary sucks when you're not doing missionary work. Because if you're not doing the work you were called to do, it just doesn't feel right. Sure missionary work is hard, but so is every other kind of work out there. We all get a little tired. We all get a little discouraged. That's life... stuff like that is supposed to happen! 

I think the key this week will be Proverbs 3:5-7, or as I call it, the Fro scripture (since it's her favorite scripture):
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.

Be not wise in thine own eyes:
fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
This week I've been letting myself get down on the failures I've been having in this sector... My fear is that I will have done nothing to make this sector better than it was when I first found it. 

But, like the scripture says, I can't lean unto my own understanding. I need to trust in the Lord with all my heart because he can work miracles in our lives. The only thing that depends on is our faith in Him and His ways. Really it's the only thing I got at this point, because everything I see in my own eyes is pretty bleak and not too promising... but at the end of the day, He knows more than I do and if there's anybody who can make miracles happen, it's Him.  

I know the Lord has got plans for me out here in Nyekonakpoe... and I think Nephi sums up my feelings pretty well as to what I have to do now: 

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

Thanks again for all the prayers, emails and the support everybody. Talk to you again next week! 


Elder Hawkins

Note from the Fro: First of all...he's freezing at 76.5 degrees.  I find that hilarious!  How is he going to ever survive winter when he gets home?  Second....LOVE the sewing machine. With a "treadle" (er, step thingy!). It's a Janome!  How cool is that?  And the fabric!  I think he needs to start buying me this pine fabric.  Maybe I should send Soeur Sonia some of MY fabric in exchange?  I think it was also tough for him knowing that we were at the beach without him (it's not easy for Fro either!) but thought it was cool that we were connected by the same ocean. He also said they're trying to think of activities to get their members and investigators involved in.  He's really excited that this week they get to do a service project for Mormon Helping Hands.  Hopefully he'll give us more details on that next week!  Thank you all for supporting our Elder, I know he can feel your prayers. :)

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