I LOVE IT HERE. i cannot believe i have only been here a week. i cannot believe i got blessed with such a perfect companion and i cannot believe i can read in russian (though painfully slowly) and can pray, bear my testimony, etc. i have taught five lessons in russian! FIVE! its insane how hard they push you here but i am grateful. my companion is CECTPA Prows and is from layton Utah and is everything im not…i admire her so much and hang on her every word. she ALWAYS has the Spirit with her, always is smiling, is so thoughtful and concerned for everyone, is such a good listener (my number one goal) and is funny and easy going and she works so hard! We wake up every morning at 5:30 (an hour early) to get some extra studying time and she sets the pace and the pace is fast! We live with two other girls, CECTPA (sister in Russian…pronounced see. yes. tra) O Neal and CECTPA Tedford and the four of us are soul sisters and are the four girls in our district. O Neal is so sassy and spunky and keeps us all laughing and Tedford is from Mexico City and is so awesome and we all get along so well even though we are all so different. we have so much fun every day and have the best heart to hearts at night. our district also has four elders+ Packard from Carlsbad (shoutout to all my Encinitas friends) Litchfield from Washington, Samuelson from Washington, and Kumferman from Rexburg. They all have had experiences with Russian and are going to the Donesk Ukraine mission so it is very humbling for us sisters struggling to learn Russian. we are all so close already and i have so much respect for everyone im serving with…they all are so inspiring and have taught me so much already. i am TOTALLY myself and they all think im crazy haha but i have taught them all how to awkward smile and have whipped out the Alien sunglasses for my roommates. i am constantly telling stories about my hilarious friends and family and everyone knows about all of you. one of our districts favorites is maddies Goodnight. hahaha i know the friends ive made here will be my friends forever…we have already planned a reunion at CECTPA Tedfords house in Mexico…cant wait.

All of the missionaries who have been here longer and are in our zone speaking Russian are my role models! they all speak so well and are so funny and helpful. i am proud to be a Russian! we all sing hymns in Russian by the bicycle statues on Saturday nights and i think we are the only zone that does it but i LOVE it and it reminds me of tunnel singing
the mtc food is hit or miss but mom you should be proud..i drink a shot of grapefruit juice every morning that i squeeze from the grapefruits they serve…it wakes me up and I’m pretty sure grapefruit is good for you….right…anyways, i also eat carrot sticks every lunch and dinner…they have become my trademark. i take gym time very seriously and have discovered the mtc rage of 4 square..it is hilarious! we played sand volleyball the other day (one thing that has not changed is my lack of volleyball ability) but it felt like home having my toes in the sand!
Personal study is my favorite part of the day and i have been feeling so filled with light and inspiration and overwhelming gratitude for the scriptures. the Book of Mormon is true! i am so grateful i got to be a Sunday School teacher this last semester and I’m so grateful that in a way i am still a Sunday school teacher…times 100! I’m always teaching about the Book of Mormon and it is the greatest blessing. The Book of Mormon has had such a profound effect on my life and truly does answer all of life’s questions. Especially as a missionary i have just been recognizing its beauty…and trying to imprint in my memory all of the lessons it has to offer. I’m reading in the 30s-40s in Alma and the beginning of Matthew in the New Testament. I LOVE the New Testament. One thing I have realized is how much I miss being able to call my Daddy and ask questions…Dad, thank you for always being so patient with me. I had a little emotional slip when I was having personal study yesterday and i had all of these questions and wanted to badly to understand and the sweet elders were trying to help but for some reason it still wasn’t clicking and  I think I took it for granted how well you understand me Dad and understand the way my mind works and what I need to hear to understand. I miss you! I might be writing you a long letter soon with a bunch of questions haha but I also know I’m a big girl and can search and find answers for myself…
In last nights devotional, there were several things i just loved–serving a mission allows you to spend time with the Savior like you never have before…by relying on Him and by doing as He would do. I loved the phrase spending time with Christ…and that’s really how i feel. He also sad that music invites reverence and reverence invites revelation. I loved that! Also, the Lord knows what you can do and He will help you do it.
I remember Megan Looney saying that the mission just brings out all of your weaknesses hahah that is so true! I have learned so much about myself and who i want to be and am working everyday to be more of that person. I feel so honored to be surrounded by such incredible individuals who radiate their testimonies and have given up everything to follow Christ. I feel so at peace and so much happiness. speaking of happiness! A few shoutouts!! To my cousin Matt and my new cousin slash soul sister Cami!!! I am SO HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS! Nicole, i am so sorry about that accident goshhh be careful! i am praying for you everyday on your European adventure!  Thank you Kelly Anderson and Sandy Bertha for the cinnamon rolls and thank you to everyone who has written me! we are very tight on time here at the MTC but i will try to write back..I am so grateful for all of the love and support and love you all!
Love,
CECTPA Hawkins
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