My family!!! i really love you. and each monday is like christmas, hearing your words. you have no idea how much you inspire me and uplift me each week. this morning i woke up with a ton of energy and obviously i am always always happy but today i am just ELATED! and i don’t even know why. probably because i’m a missionary and it’s the best. and this week was miraculous! and i was already in such a good mood, so much so that i was a little strrrrranger than usual haha and then sister carver called me and told me about our flights together!!! now i am drunken with happiness. but in a sober way. in a quiet dignified way hahaha. 

so i said that this week was a week of miracles. and that is the truth. and actually yesterday i bore my testimony in sacrament meeting and shared an experience i had about a year ago when i realized that i believed in miracles…of course. i believed in the miracles in the bible–i really believed that Moses parted the red sea and that daniel spent the night with lions. and in the book of mormon. i really believed that angels appeared to nephi and to his brothers…and to alma the younger and many others. I of course believed that Christ was born to the virgin mary and that miracle started His life of miracles which climaxed with the greatest miracle there ever was–His resurrection. And i believed in miracles in the lives of others….when other missionaries would share stories about the last door in their last 20 minutes of knocking and that person had prayed earlier that day etc. etc. I always believed in such miracles. But then i realized that I, myself, didn’t really expect miracles to happen for me. and that haunted me. and i decided to change. and i worked at it–I worked at building my faith and focusing on noticing the miracles that were all around me and expecting them to continue. and then yesterday i bore my testimony about my absolute certainty that God lives. and He is a God of miracles. And this last year I have been overwhelmed with the reality of what that really means. Of the reality that the same spirit of revelation that gave Moses the power to part the red sea is amongst us and tells us in our minds and in our hearts what we should do (D&C 8:2-3). and the reality that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. the reality that He is aware of me, Sister Hawkins, in Moscow Russia amongst millions of people, and He hears and answers my prayers. And this last week I was just inundated with the Spirit witnessing to me that I am a part of this–I am a part of this work of miracles. And the mercy of God just made my eyes fill with tears and my jaw drop and my knees a little weak and my heart very very full. I will share one such experience:
On tuesday morning/afternoon sister tolbert and I were booking it to the metro and we were about to turn the corner and enter, when sister tolbert reminded me of our new goal we had just made the night before. we had discussed how we could improve and we realized that we live really realllllly close to the metro and it’s hectic and there are TONS of people and they are all in a mega hurry and we are, too, and so usually, we just run across the street and push through the herds into the metro and then we have a goal to talk to someone on each leg on the metro ride to wherever we’re going. But we want to be better and we decided that we could plan better an dgive ourselves more time so we wouldn’t have to always be booking it to the metro. and even though the crowd is daunting and everyone is in a hurry–we pass tons of people everyday who need to know what we know and so we made a goal to talk to someone on our way to the metro every day and from the metro to the church or to wherever we’re going. but we totally forgot about it and had been caught up in the rush, when sister tolbert reminded me. and she’s just an angel. and so so inspired. and makes me want to be a better person everyday. and i will especially forever me indebted to her for this moment–for this moment of memory. And so I said, “oh yeah!! well it’s not too late!” and then a woman turned the corner, and sister tolbert said, “let’s talk to her.” so we asked this woman if we could ask her a question. Her name is natasha and she later told us that when we asked her, she assumed that we were lost and needed directions and she wasn’t expecting anything different and just wanted to help. we assured her, that she indeed helped!!! we told her that we were missionaries here with a message about God and then honestly, i don’t remember what happened from there. it’s all a blur. such a beautiful blur! but the next thing we knew, we were testifying about the reality of God and the reality of prayer, and her countenance changed. I will never forget her hood of fur and her piercing light blue eyes. oohhh how i love the Russian blue eyes. Natasha totally opened up to us and i think some of the most powerful moments as a missionary are when people say, “you know, I usually don’t just talk to people on the street” or “I’ve never told anyone this before, but..” or “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but…” and such was the case with Natasha. She shared with us the questions of her soul. she said she usually fights tears, but she let them come as she told me that I looked so much like her daughter who died 5 years ago at the age of 18. I also let them come. we talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation and she just kept thanking us…in awe of the fact that we are two young girls who came to Russia to help people strengthen their relationship they have with God. 
i once again, thought about all the ways that i was prepared to come on a mission. and in that moment it seemed like my entire existence was for this woman. that i lived just to help Natasha…to help her feel the Spirit and to find peace. It even seemed to me, in that moment, that brian and mindy met and fell in love and got married and started a family and the way their genes combined to make me…and the way i look…is just so that i could look like Natasha’s daughter….so that I could remind Natasha of her and that it would soften her heart and so that she would listen to the very precious message that I shared–so that she could know that the sting of death is swallowed up in the victory of Christ! He broke those chains and He opened the gate. That He lives! and that means that Natasha’s daughter lives, too! death is not the end. and their family will be reunited and they can live together forever. 
we talked to natasha for 30 minutes and we were very late to our district meeting, but obviously, that wasn’t even remotely important. i walked hugged natasha and walked away, physically trembling because i was so full of the Spirit of God and so in awe of His mercy and grace, His kindness…..I just couldn’t believe He would bless me with such a miracle, that He would trust me with something so sacred. I will never ever forget that experience. 
And honestly, I have such experiences every day. Because we pray and ask the Lord for His guidance, and He surely does guide us. and it is so beautiful and so sacred and I am so so grateful. I am so so honored. and I know that there are miracles all around us, every day, and we just have to open our eyes and seek them and create them. I was so touched by Nicole’s story from last week about dancing with Christina. Because I was reminded that the same Spirit that dwells with her, dwells with me. And it made me feel so close to my nicky, even though she is on the other side of the world in Argentina. We are both blessed by the mercy of the Lord every day. And i’m so happy for her. and for myself, haha. this is euphoria i tell you. this is the work of God on the earth.
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