Monday, September 15, 2014

To Be or Not To Be....

Funnily enough, ever since I have been getting towards the end of my mission, sometimes it's been fun to count how many times I would still be doing things for the rest of my mission. Example: I have 6 more sessions of Church to go to, 6 more times to do my laundry, etc. Well, I suppose that after this email, I will only have 6 more emails to do! 

Well let's just hope I don't have 6 more times to repeat THIS one thing that did happen today....COCKROACH WARS.  Aka, Elder Hawkins vs the African Cockroaches. I enlisted the help of my companion to combat the cockroaches that were surely but slowly taking over our living room and kitchen. Thankfully, the ones at this apartment are not too big like I've seen in all of my other apartments, but there are a lot of them. 

Cockroach zone #1
My first target was the pantry. I knew that that would probably be a "hot spot." So, with the help of my companion, we emptied out all of the cupboards and sprayed the crap out of it... errr... the cockroaches out of it! There weren't as many as I was expecting but a good amount of cockroaches went to cockroach heaven... or hell. I'm actually surprised that nobody has ever asked me during a lesson: where cockroaches go after this life. I don't really care as long as they leave me alone in this life and in the lives to come!

Contents of a pantry in a missionary apartment. 

Anyway, after clearing out all the food and spraying insecticide like crazy, my companion started cleaning the living room while I put the food back all nice and neat. To me, I had thought that the cockroach wars were finished.

Behold, the cockroach nest!

Unfortunately, they had just begun. 

My comp started taking off all of the couch couchens.... couchins... kutchens? Well, apparently I forgot how to spell cushions. Ah-ha! Finally I spelled it close enough for spell check to give me the correct spelling. So, as he was doing that he started taking off the wood supports that support the cushions.... first for the chairs, then for the love seat. I wasn't surprised that he found a few but then I walked over to see the couch and...

BOOM! FOUND THE COCKROACH NEST! There were at least 20 or 30 cockroaches just all up in the couch going like crazy. Cue in Elder Hawkins with the bug spray. You can bet that I emptied out that insecticide can as much as possible. Then they just started droppin' like flies, wigglin' around on the ground gasping for air... but that's when my second round of insecticide hit for the final death sweep! It was gross.... some tried to get away but my comp and I played some wack-a-cockroach and it worked pretty well. 

Death by insecticide. 

Cockroaches 0, Elder Hawkins 1

I might have won the battle, but I'm not yet sure if I have won this war. I suspect a retaliation on the part of the cockroaches, but in the meantime I will buy more insecticide to prepare for the next attack.

Other than that, nothing too big happened this week. Got a cavity filled for the fourth time here... not saying that I had four cavities but that I've had the same cavity filled four times because the filling keeps falling out! Gotta love African dentistry. This time she used what seemed like less Novocaine so I really got to know what a drill to my tooth feels like. She used two shots, but I don't know where she put the stuff because sadly, it did not work. Pain does not begin to describe what I felt.

Thankfully, she finished it and I can drink and eat for the last 6 weeks of my mission until I see an American dentist, in America. Lesson learned: Avoid West African dentists.

The week actually passed by really, really slow. I'm not really sure why either. In my apartment, three of us are going home within the next six weeks... Elder Mbala is going home on Wednesday and to say that he is trunky would not do the word justice... he is super trunky! Unfortunately, that has rubbed off big time on his companion and a bit on me too! 

Throughout my mission, I have "killed" many of my companions. I remember that when I was training my first trainee, all of my previous companions were home and I hadn't even hit a year yet. That's to say that all of my companions from the beginning of my mission were "tired" and "trunky". During my time with them, I really, really, REALLY tried my best not to get tired and trunky with them. When they didn't want to do companionship study, I just did an extra hour of personal study. When they didn't want to go out on time, I just got ready and waited for them. When they didn't want to schedule rendez-vous all through the day, I went ahead and tried my best to do so. 

But now... I just feel how all of those companions felt who were finishing their missions. The tiredness. The grogginess. The helplessness (in not being able to speed up time!). Honestly, there are so many moments where I just think about home and I can't get my mind off of it. People keep telling me to work hard... well, we do work hard but in working hard that means you have to walk a lot in my sector, which seems to be when I think about all these things the most!! Of course, I also think about what I'll miss in Africa too.  All in all, walking and thinking are not my best friends right now.

I suppose this week, I'm going to try and combat these thoughts the best that I can. I'm not sure how that will be, but I could sure use a lot of help from you guys in prayer! I understand that these feelings are normal to have, but I really fear that they distract me from the final few weeks I have left here in Africa.

In any case, I'm doing well otherwise! Thanks for all the prayers that you guys have said for me before! I hope that you all have a wonderful week. 


Elder Hawkins


  1. Hi Trevor! I'm a quilty friend of your Mom. Reading about your Mission has been so interesting; thanks for sharing. Six weeks is nothing, compared to the MONTHS you've spent in West Africa. You can do this!! While you're walking and thinking, contemplate all the things you'll miss seeing and experiencing there. And remember all of us who are praying for you and your safe journey home. Hang in there. XO

  2. Hi Elder Hawkins, from what I've read you have invested your heart in your mission. I think we all do better when we have something to look forward to. For you - coming home is keeping you going, helping you deal with day to day. Maybe you can include in your "last six times" to do things, specific people you want to visit, share your testimony with? Visit active members to learn more about them, how they came to join the church? What keeps them strong? You are a gifted writer - keep writing. You are making a difference for good, keep doing that. We are thankful for your service and like you, we are striving to focus on things that are good, things that lead to the Savior. We love you, Sister Lona Engle

  3. Hi Elder Hawkins, I'm Elder Gundersens Grandma Peterson- I will do you yo what I did for him, namely, specifically pray for you to have some put in your path who is ready to hear the Gospel and be baptized in the last six weeks of your mission. Be on the lookout, they are waiting for you to find them. (Wait, they? Must mean there will be more than one!) Of course, you are anxious to return home, as you should be, but this is such a special, growing, learning, serving time in your life. Live every minute of it to the fullest! I for one will look forward to hearing about this special family you are going to find! Sister Karen Peterson

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  5. So much great advice has already been given. I'll just add the words of someone who always says it best, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
    "You only get one chance to serve a mission; it is your responsibility, your duty, to use it to the fullest; to give every last ounce of energy until you collapse in exhaustion at the end of it. All the hardships, all the tears, all the hard work will be looked back upon as the best thing you've ever done, not because you enjoyed it, not because you baptized everyone, but because you gave everything you had, even when you didn't think you could, and especially when you didn't want to. Live your mission to the fullest, work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Let people know this is the most important thing in the world to you....If you do not run until you have nothing left to give, and then keep going anyway; cry and pray and work and sweat and plead until you are so drained that all you can do is turn to the Lord ; if you don't do this, then these people will not come to this joy because of you.... Come out of your mission proud of what you've done, and this experience will bless the rest of your life." Go, Elder Hawkins! You got this!