This week has had lots of ups, but fewer downs. I have been able to see the Lord's hand personally in my life. I love all of your letters and packages. Getting news from home is always good to hear. I love it! I am doing well. I am keeping fit...such a hard thing to do when you can eat all you want! Thanks Mom and Dad for sending the Isa, everybody has been asking questions. You should be getting an email in the next week about Isa. I love this time of year and all of the festivities. They always make me happy! As most of you know, Christmas is my favorite time of the year because the hearts of the people are turned more towards The Savior. I want you all to know that I know that I love Him and He loves you all. He watches over you all day and night. read the words in the song, "Dearest Children God is near you, watching o'er you nigh and day." He knows your pains, your joys, your fears, and He finds joy when you are happy. God loves us, He knows us by name. I love Him so much!
Update on my investigators:
Katya has committed to be baptized. Thank you for all your prayers. They are graciously received. Elder Rindlisbacher and I have taught her all the Discussions and are finishing up with the last of The Commandments. She is progressing so well! Thank you again for your prayers.
Vitalli is progressing well, but he hasn't found the courage to tell his family that he is meeting with the missionaries. Please pray for him. He could use your prayers. We just taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation. We are teaching it in 2 lessons because it is still new vocab for us and the first time we taught it, we didn't feel like we could talk freely. Learning the vocab is hard, but I have faith that in time it will come. We gave him a pamphlet so that when we teach him again on Thursday, he will not get lost or hung up.
I love these two so much. As much as I teach them, they teach me twice as much. Vitalli was so skeptical at first, but with the power of The Holy Ghost, his heart was softened and he was open to receive the Gospel. Please pray for him to have the courage and to be able to understand the doctrine well.
Theo is a new investigator. I contacted him at lunch. He was sitting alone and he looked like he could use some company. I offered for the sisters to sit with him, but they refused. I went and sat by him and we started talking about the gospel and questions that he had. We spoke with him all through lunch and we scheduled to meet with him again the next Monday at Lunch.
Teaching him in English was so weird to me. I felt like I didn't know what to say. I could just think of Russian words. We were able to teach him well though.
Monday came and there he was waiting for us, but eating his lunch. We sat sown and began talking to him just trying to get to know him more and a group of 4 elders came over and did the same thing. It was unexpected, but it was good to have their perspectives. I love how this gospel can bring all together. We scheduled to meet with him on Tuesday, but when we waited for him, he didn't show. We were sad that we wouldn't get to teach...but we know to trust in the Lord. Pleas pray for him and for us that we will be able to teach him well and also teach him what he needs.
On Monday, we taught Katya. I forgot everything that I knew about Russian, ALL of it... I couldn't say anything that I was prompted to, nor could I read what was in the lesson plan. The only thing I could say was so broken that Katya couldn't understand. I tried asking her if she would say the closing prayer, but I couldn't remember the conjugation for the verb, "To Pray" (молиться)
When I did get something out, she laughed at me. She laughed and so did my companion. I went along and laughed...but it made me a bit sad. I tried hard, but it didn't work. We went back to class and my companion could do nothing, but laugh and laugh and laugh. He even came in bragging that he told Drew and the other district of my mistake. I felt dead inside. I felt like if I wouldn't have been in that lesson, it would have gone much better.
I got a few letters that day and so I read Casey's and Nelly's letters. Thanks for that, it really made me feel a bit better. I just wanted to be alone because if the shame that I felt. I wanted to feel better, but I didn't know how.
As if God were standing in the room when I said the words, Elder Reece gathered everybody because he has an announcement. He gathered up our whole branch (minus the Sisters) and he told us that his mom had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. He told us all that he is staying out on his mission, but he wanted a blessing. He asked Drew if he would give it and invited all who wanted to join to please join. This was an answer to prayer. Service is that best way to fix sadness. Please pray for him and for his family that they will feel God's love for them. They will need it through this trial. Everybody stood in on the prayer, 18 Priesthood holders and Drew giving the prayer. The Spirit was so strong in that room.
There is a companionship that Elder R and I run into almost every day without trying to. I have grown a love for them, but I don't know them that well. Elder Winkel is one of the elders in that comp.ship. He is such an example to me. I never see him sad and he is always willing to say hello. They leave next Monday so please pray for their success.
The reason that the subject is what it is, is because I have tried telling the elders in my district some of the things that Dad has taught me and they all discredit it. I hold it close to me and with all that I could, I tried to help them understand about faith and things, but they just shrug it off and make it sound like I don't know what I am talking about. They also view our investigators as our teachers. They are our teachers, but they are portraying actual investigators that they had (except for Theo. He isn't an actual member.) I tell them that they need to separate the two and make fun of me for asking God to help them. They don't understand that I see our teachers one way and our investigators another way. It makes me sad that they have found the lake, but know not where to find water. I still love them, but it is a trial that I have been given.
I love you all. Drew and I are still growing closer still. Drew and I both felt the need to talk to an elder about some stuff and The Spirit was so strong. After that discussion, Drew and I talked about life and our missions, trials and why we get them, and other things. I am so thankful that Drew and I are here together. He is a huge blessing. I want you all to know that I love my God and I know that He loves you. If you will be thankful for your trials, God will bless you with His mercy, I promise you! I love you and I pray for you all!
я люблю всех
старейшина Хокинс (Elder Hawkins)
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Elder Collin Hawkins
Departure Date: Jan 04 #97