Saturday, December 14, 2013

If Only Trails Came with Warning Signs..."Bumpy Road Ahead"

H is for....hope?

I asked Fro to post this song.  It's my theme song this week.

As a missionary, the Lord seems to throw me a lot of different sorts of trials. Many times, I do not know what they are supposed to mean. I do not know how they will affect me in the future. I do not know how they will change me. However, one thing that I've learned since coming on the mission is that I usually find a way out of these trials and they always seem to turn me into a better person. 

In the beginning of my mission, the biggest trial I had to face was adjusting to African life and Missionary life, two things which are difficult just by themselves but even more difficult when they are together. There were many nights when I thought I wasn't going to make it through my mission due to the newness. There were many days where I thought I could never get through the infinitely long 2 years. Though it took many months to adjust to my new missionary-in-Africa lifestyle, I finally did find a flow and have gotten a good groove going. 

In my second sector, Nyekonakpoe, my biggest trial seemed to be trying to find success as a missionary. Though my first sector went really well, the success didn't seem to stick so I was always trying to find ways to make things better. As I'm sure most of you know, my success was still rather limited in that sector, but I came out of that sector learning so many things that made me not only a better missionary but a better person, as it really taught me how to care for the few investigators that I did have and it also taught me how to keep my head high even when the going got tough. 

Coming into this third sector at the Bureau of the mission, I thought things were going to be pretty smooth. I thought to myself, finally, I'll be able to work in a not dead sector, I'll be able to do some different things like drive and work on a computer, and I'll be able to handle all the problems that come to me because I'm an experienced missionary now. Really, I thought the only problem that I would have to face is the fact that I still had a year left on my mission and that things might start getting mundane because I was so used to all the problems and I knew how to handle everything. 

Well, you ever hear of the "refiner's fire"? Yeah, apparently it only gets hotter and hotter as you go through your mission. 

Why do I say that?

Right now, the Lord has given me another trial to go through in this third phase of my mission. This time, it's not adjustment issues nor sector issues. Instead, I have been running into a variety of problems with one of my companions (there are three of us), we'll call him Elder O. I really don't want to go into too many details, but because of events that happened this week, our companionship with the three of us has gone completely downhill. Because of his conduct, I have lost a lot of respect and trust for this person, which has in turn made doing missionary work together extremely difficult. 

However, I know that even though this is a huge test and a huge challenge, I know that the Lord is putting my through this trial for some reason or another. I don't know why and I probably won't know why for a while, but I believe that there is a reason and there is a purpose. 

This week, my goal is not to repeat what happened to me this past week: meaning, being spiritually null. After living a week that felt like the spirit was non-existent, I know that I never want that to happen again. So this week, I really need your prayers and your help because I know that I can't succeed without them... I need the Lord on my side this week because I want to do everything possible to move forward with His work.

As discouraged as I have felt this week, as depressed as I have felt this week, and as disheartened as I have been, I know that there's always a balance in the universe. Where there's evil, there's good. Where there's fighting, there's peace. Where there's sadness, there's happiness. 

I hope you all are continuing to have a wonderful Christmas season! It's still hard on my part, to be away from home and the states during this season, but it's still a reminder that Christ is really the center of all of it! And that can be celebrated at any time, and at any place. 

Thank you all for the encouragement you give me already! I love you all! Take it easy!


Elder Hawkins

P.S. I know my P-days are on Saturday now but people can email me anytime of the week! What the heck! Sometimes those emails are the only thing that gets us through tough weeks.  I love when I hear from you all! Please write!!

Just said goodbye to these Elders.  Really sad to be honest. Gonna miss them all!

Note from the Fro: Prayers and letters!  That's what this Elder needs this week.  He would love to hear from you!

More Picures: Warning, we got a pig this week.....and ate it! (scroll really fast to see the bottom pics if you want to skip the pig:))

The pig

Meets the BBQ pit

Why yes, that is the back of a cut of pig's head!

So that's what end tables are for?!

A cool bird that makes the weirdest sound I have ever heard! It sounds a lot like someone sucking gulps of water out of a straw! I can't really describe it but if he comes back, I'll try to record it!
 Well, I guess somebody from PA really didn't want to renew their smog and emissions stickers so they sent their car to Africa!

Santa has a bit of a tan. And yeah, I recognized the Walt Disney font. Might be the closest they get to Disney in Benin...

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