Saturday, June 21, 2014

As Unique as a Pigne Tie

 President at our Apt for the last time!

As we've been gearing up for the departure of President Weed and the arrival of President Morin, we have been going through a lot of changes in the office. Of course, you know already that Elder Oliverson is here in order to help President Morin out during his first couple of months in Benin. So, this past week I have really been trying my best to train him on how things work in the office. 

Of course, that's not the only thing that we've been doing. The Africa West Area sent an auditor here to do an audit on the mission before President Weed goes home (that was fun)... President Weed had movers come earlier this month to take his stuff back to the states (his office looks so barren now! We've even had to replace President Weed's chair! (errrrr... don't ask me why...).

But, this past week, President Weed has been going around interviewing the entire mission and he ended the cycle with a little testimony meeting yesterday which turned out to be really great! President gave missionaries time to bear their testimonies over a period of two hours and it went by really quick in my opinion. We had about 60 missionaries at the meeting and I didn't even get to bear my testimony. However, we did have about 30 or so missionaries get to go up. 

A lot of things were said... a lot of people bearing testimony about the Gospel, the mission...(even a Ghanian Elder saying how much he loved everyone here, and the Americans too even though we beat Ghana in the World Cup!)...but also a lot of people thanking President and Sister Weed for all that they do. 

Oliverson, Rich, Kunz, me... in pigne ties coming back from Conference.

However, my favorite thing that was said during the testimony meeting was a comment that Sister Weed made towards the end of the meeting. But first, I have to explain that about 10 days ago, the Sisters in the mission got this bright idea to buy a pigne and make ties for all the elders and dresses for all the sisters. I really didn't think it would work out but the taylors and the seamstresses were able to whip up everything for us by Friday morning. All in all, the fabric and the ties looked great! We gave a tie to President Weed and a dress to Sister Weed too. 

Sisters giving Sister Weed her dress... I cropped and tried to get the colors to pop as much as I could! 

The comment that Sister Weed made, however, was what really touched me. She talked about how we took fabric and made tons of different things out of it. Yet, even though we all used the same fabric to make the dresses and ties, each and every single on of the items were completely unique. There was no one tie alike, nor one dress alike either. She made the comparison of how that's a lot like how we are all children of our Father in Heaven, and even though we all come from the same cloth, the same person, we are all so different in our own unique ways. 

I thought that was really cool, especially as I have been reflecting on my mission as of late. For some reason, I seem to always compare myself to others... compare my achievements with those of others... compare my shortcomings with those of others. All of that adds up to getting down and feeling inadequate, which is not at all good for the work that we are doing out here. 

As my mission is coming to a close in a few short months, sometimes I have been left to wonder if I am coming close to accomplishing all that I have set out to accomplish. Did I teach enough people the gospel? Did I baptize enough people? Did I study enough? Was I obedient enough? Will I have enough cool stories to tell when I get back home? Basically, was all that I did (and will do until the end of my mission), enough

And then, Sister Weed's comment dawned on me. If you look at all the ties and what not, some people might like more red in their ties... others might like ties with more yellow... others with more blue, etc. But, really, a tie is a tie and it serves the same purpose. And, all the ties were even more cool as everybody was wearing them together in one unified group.

It made me realize that I'm really not exactly like any one other missionary, and I don't need to be. Some missionaries are great at contacting and talking to just random people... I am not. Some missionaries baptize what seems like hundreds of people... I am far from that number. Some missionaries can do so many things that I just, for some reason or another, cannot (or are very hard for me to) do!

But, you know, maybe that's just not what's on my tie! I know it's a pretty funny comparison, but I've come to learn that no matter what I accomplish on my mission, the important thing is that I still came out... I'm doing things that I could never have done if I had never chosen to come out here and serve a mission. And really, it's not about just ME but all of us and what we can accomplish together in that one unified group. 

I'm so grateful to be out here, serving a mission in Togo and Benin. There has truly been nothing more satisfying that I have ever done thus far in my life. It's probably been the hardest and most challenging part of my life, but I'm really thankful and I have realized that no matter what the outcomes, no matter how many baptisms, no matter how many times I've studied, no matter how many cool stories I end up with... at the end of the day, I am who I am and the Lord sent me here to do what I have to do, and not whatever anybody else has to do. And really, doesn't that apply to all of us here in this life in general? 

With love,

Elder Hawkins

That is not a swimming pool. That's a guy in a sewer in a flooded street... don't worry he was trying to fix the clog I guess because we passed by later that night and there was no more water on that street! 

Elder Izekor teaching me a new way to iron.
Don't know if that's normal in Nigeria or not but... kinda odd.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Beautifully said. What lessons they have learned. Love it :) This is his Mom