Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tolu na papitaiso e loma ni uciwai (3 baptisms in the river)

Ni sa bula vinaka na noqu matavuvale!

Well this week's email might be a little different than a lot of the
other emails that I have sent home in the past, but I promise that you
will love it.

So this week the transfers were happening so we had to figure out how
to get all of the people leaving our zone onto their flights back to
the other island and how to get all of the new people coming into our
zone to their new areas as well. It all actually worked out really awesome.

So for a lot of the week we were driving people all over the island
and putting them on boats and things to get to their new areas. Elder
Tamuera and Elder Tremea are going to Rabi island where they speak
Kiribati language so we had to go and put them on the boat to get over
I am way excited for them. They are going to do awesome work out there
because Elder Tamuera knows the language and Elder Tremea is really
excited to learn it. Pretty much all the other white Elders that have
ever served there didn't even really try to learn the language which is
sad, but I am way excited that Elder Tremea is so pumped and willing to learn
it. We also got sisters in our zone which is going to be really weird.
I don't really like being a leader over sisters because it is just a
whole lot different than dealing with Elders and there are like all
kinds of rules that go along with it. But it should be all good. We actually did get
a ton of work done in our area too though because we were able to go
on splits alot with other missionaries that were staying at our flat
for a little before they headed out. The highlight of the week of
course was the 3 baptisms.
I had probably one of the biggest spiritual experiences of my life and
so that is pretty much the only other thing I am going to write about
in my email today.

So we woke up on Sunday morning, the day of the baptism, and it was
POURING rain. It was super windy too and pretty much like a hurricane.
I was upset because our baptism was just out in the river in the
middle of the bush and the only shelter that we had for the service
and stuff was going to be a blue tarp tied to the trees and proped up with bamboo and mats on
the ground for us to sit on. But I knelt down and prayed hard that the
Lord could show us that he was aware of us and what we were doing and
if he could please keep the rain away from Vunivesi so that our
baptism could go well.
About ten minutes after I prayed the rain almost stopped completely
but it was still super cloudy and looked like it was raining over on
the other side of the bay where Vunivesi is but I knew it would all
work out alright. So we go over to Vunivesi for the baptism and it was
raining on the way there but we get out to where the baptism is going to be and I asked all the
members if it was dumping rain out there like it was at our flat and
they said that it didn't even rain at all. So that was just the
beginning of the awesome day, to know that Heavenly Father heard my
prayer and really was aware of where we were and what we were doing.
SO then there was about 43 people that showed up for this baptismal service
 out in the jungle. And more than half of them were non-members. That unit usually
averages an attendance of less than 20. So the baptismal service goes
really awesome. It was so cool having it all outside underneath the tarp covering
 sitting on the floor. The spirit was really strong. So then after all that we had a little break
and then we had our sacrament meeting service at the same place. We
did the confirmations for all three of them that were baptized and
then our branch president that came out there with us to preside got up and said
 the speakers today will be Elder Muir, who is our senior couple missionary,
 Elder Moaalii, and then Elder Hawk. So I was just planning on sharing just
any normal old short talk when I got up, but then I really felt like I
should try to be guided by the spirit and share something that would actually
 mean more to these people and invite the spirit more than just some little thought that
 I put no effort in on. So I started looking through my scriptures and I wanted
to kind of try to tie in the restoration some how and Christ too, so I
found this scripture in Moroni 7:41-42. It talks about how because of Christ
 and his atonement we have hope. And so I really felt like that is what I should share.
So it was my turn to talk and I got up and I began to talk and I
shared a scripture from 2 Nephi 31:17-21 where it talks about the
gospel of Jesus Christ and how it is the only way to return to live with our Heavenly Father
 and I also talked about how we can return to live with our Heavenly Father
and with our families for eternity in happiness if we follow this
gospel. So then I shared the scripture from Moroni about the hope in
Christ and talked about that, and then I started talking about how we now have a hope
 today in this life to return to live with our Heavenly Father and our Families for eternity
because God called a young man named Joseph Smith to restore his
gospel, and this hope back to the earth. As soon as those words left
my mouth about Joseph Smith and the restoration I was hit with the feelings
 of the spirit like I have never felt before and I could not hold back the tears. I paused and
began to cry. As I looked up at the congregation sitting on the ground in
front of me almost everyone was crying along with me. The spirit
filled our little shelter for church.
I finished off with my testimony as I continued to cry. I felt so much
love for all of these people there and so thankful that I now had an
experience that I will remember for the rest of my life of the day
that I gained a true unshakable testimony of Joseph Smith and the
Restoration of this gospel. And the coolest part about it is that it all happened,
in the middle of the jungle, while I was speaking in Fijian.

Well I love all of you so much. Thank you so much for helping me to
get to this point in my life, to be here in Fiji with these people
that I love so much, and to be able to have such amazing experiences
as this. Au lomani kemudou!! The Church is TRUE!!

Loloma levu,

Elder Hawk

 Alena,Sereima,and Aisake ready for baptism
Our chapel in the jungle

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Livin' the Dream in Fiji

Papitaiso e loma ni waitui (baptism in the ocean!)

Me'u ba bula re na oku ma'avuvale

Well the first part of this last week was officially my one year mark of actually being in Fiji! Pretty crazy. I can't believe that I am almost down to single digits on how many months I have left. Time goes by WAY too fast. I got a letter from Brother Reeves a week or 2 ago and I wrote him back today. I wrote him some stuff to tell to the priest quorum too so that should be good ha It is so funny how I remember hearing the letters and stuff from people that were on their missions and now I am the one writing the letters. That is so crazy that Parker got his permit to drive! Can he drive stick shift yet? I love sitting on the right side of the car here and being able to shift with my left hand and steer with my right. It is way better. I want to try to get an imported car that is like that when I get home. haha

So this week we were hardly even in our area at all. Last Monday we went over to Taveuni and we were there until Thursday morning when we rode the boat back. When we were riding the little ferry boat back it started pouring rain and the sea was pretty rough but I thought it was way cool haha I don't get sea sick or anything at all. Taveuni was really awesome. It is a beautiful place. It was really good too to be able to be over there with those elders and to help them. There are only 4 Elders on that island and 2 of the Elders are still being trained so it was good for us to go and help them out some more. I really like being able to help other missionaries because I remember when I was new and how much I always looked up to the zone leaders. Hopefully people will look up to me in the same way. In Taveuni there is a senior couple, Elder and Sister Sherry. They are way awesome people. They are hilarious. There house is SO gorgeous. I will try to send some pictures of the view they have. They live in this super nice house up on the side of a big mountain and they have a beautiful view of the ocean and some other islands and there are like not any other houses close and stuff so it is really quiet. It is amazing. I am for sure going to have to come back to Fiji to serve with my wife haha there is actually a senior couple here in Savusavu, The Muirs, and he actually was one of the first missionaries to ever come to Fiji. When he came Fiji was part of the Tonga mission and there was only 4 missionaries assigned to cover all of Fiji and he was one of them. They just had their 48th wedding anniversary yesterday and we got to go eat lasagna at their house which was amazing. haha

I wish that the subject of my email was actually one of our baptisms but it isn't. There is a lady from Australia that lives on one of the resorts here because her husband is like the manager of it and she is a member and one of their daughters got baptized this week and they did it on this way nice beach on the resort and we got to go. It was way awesome haha we are actually having three baptisms this weekend though so that will be awesome. There are 3 adults and 3 kids out in a village called Vunivesi where we have a unit and they are all going to get baptized but we are baptizing the kids first this weekend and then in a couple more weeks after we teach the adults some more they will be getting baptized too. They are all such awesome people. We were teaching the adults this week and all 3 of them bore such strong testimonies about how they know Joseph Smith is a prophet and that this is the true church and how they have already been receiving blessings in their lives because of it. Way awesome. We are going to get to baptize all of them in this sweet river too so that will be awesome. I usually always try to make it so that a member baptizes the investigators so that they can have the experience too but this time I do hope that one of the kids picks me because I want to do a baptism in a river. haha

Transfers came in this week and my son Elder Tamuera will be coming to our zone. He is reopening an island called Rabi. It is an island where they are all people from Kiribati where he is from so they speak his language. I think he will do way good work out there. It will be awesome. We lost one of the other 2 Elders that stays in our flat with us sometimes, Elder Haimin. He is the one that went to South Hills Junior High the year I went there too. He is the man. We will miss him.

Well all is well in paradise. Still livin' the dream just like my whole life! Thanks for being such an amazing family!! Au lomani Kemudou vakalevu!!

Loloma, Elder Hawk

Sunday, September 9, 2012

 Swingin' on a vine.....livin' the dream!
 Boat ride to  Taveuni
Sunset view from the deck of the Purple Mansion


Bula vinaka!!

Well, today I am emailing you from the beautiful garden island of
Fiji, Taveuni! This morning we took a 3 hour bus ride on some terrible
roads to get to the bay where we got on a tiny ferry to ride over here
to Taveuni. The boat ride was so gorgeous and so was the bus ride
though so it was awesome. It was one of those days where I feel like I
am just dreaming this whole thing of being in Fiji. I dont know what I
have done in my life to be so blessed!

This week was a really awesome week. I think I told you guys last week
but on Tuesday we had Zone Conference. It was kind of a little bit
stressful having to be the ones in charge of everything but it turned
out way awesome. It was actually my favorite zone conference that I
have been to my whole mission. Me and Elder Moaalii’s training was way
good. It really made our zone a lot more unified, especially because
we don’t all get to be together too much because we are so spread
apart and are on different islands and stuff. It was really fun to get
to know some of the newer Elders too that I hadn’t even really met
before. Zone conferences are always some of my favorite times just
because it gets everyone so pumped up to work hard and stuff. Our zone
is doing super good right now. This zone is usually the slowest as far
as the work and stuff just because it is a lot of really hard areas,
but we actually have the most baptismal dates right now out of all the
zones which is way awesome. Me and Elder Moaalii are working really
good together on helping the zone out a lot. We have a lot of really
good missionaries here too which is awesome. We should be getting some
more areas opened up soon in our zone too with this massive intake
coming in next week. We are going to be really busy trying to organize
getting everyone moved around to the right places after the transfer.
It will be good though.

As far as our own area goes it is exploding right now!! It really
sucks because we travel so much and we can't even keep up with how many
potential investigators and stuff that we are getting. The members
really like both me and Elder Moaalii so they give us a lot of
referrals and things which is way awesome. We are both really outgoing
people to so we just meet all kinds of people all of the time that
invite us over to teach them. We are trying to get president to send
us some more missionaries to share our area with us just because we
are gone so much and there is so much work there right now.
I had a couple of really cool experiences too this week in lessons and
stuff. One of the nights we went over to this ladys house named
Masina. She is from an island called Kioa, they speak Tuvaluan
language there. But she has been an investigator for over a year now
and she has been dropped multiple times by other missionaries, but a
few weeks ago we had a super good lesson with her and she is really
started to progress now. So she was gone for a few weeks because of
the school break so we kind of just went over to see if she was back.
We were all just talking stories for a while and then we decided that
we should probably share something spiritual before we left. So Elder
Moaalii told me to just find a scripture really quick to share. I
started looking in the topical guide to just see what popped out to me
to share and I just picked some scripture and flipped the pages of my
Book Of Mormon to find it and on the first page that I stopped on
there was a verse that I had marked from my studies earlier in the
week and it instantly just stuck out to me and I knew that that was
the scripture I needed to share even though I didn’t even know what it
said yet. The scripture was Alma 26:35-37. It talks about how God is
mindful of all of his people no matter where they are and how he loves
them. So we all read it and I bore my testimony about how we are on
this tiny island in the middle of the ocean and all of us in the room
are from different places, but God was mindful that we were there and
he brought us together because he loves us and wants this family to
receive this gospel in their lives so that it can bless them. I really
felt like I was feeling a love for these people in the same way that
our Heavenly Father loves them. I finished and looked over at my comp
and his eyes were a little teary haha which is probably pretty rare
for a US Marine. The spirit was super strong, and then after the
lesson we were walking out and my comp said that his whole mission he
has done this thing that if one of his comps shared a way good
scripture in a lesson that made him feel the spirit super strong that
he writes their name next to that scripture to always remember that
experience, so he said my name is going to go next to that verse in
his scriptures. It was a way awesome experience of being led by the

Well I am glad you guys are all doing well. That is crazy that there
are 2 more teenage girls living in our house! Haha They are lucky to
get to have the experience of what it is like to have such amazing
parents. I love you all so much. Keep being awesome!! Au lomani

Loloma, Elder Hawk


Sunday, September 2, 2012

 My tiny gecko friend
Inside the Purple Mansion

Vodo waqa!! (boat ride)

Me'u ba bula re na oku ma'avuvale!

I got the package!! It is perfect! These shirts are WAY nice. Soo much better than all the other ones that I have. I think that I am going to give my old ones to the Elders in Korovou to give to some members from there. They forwarded the package here to Savusavu so I got it really fast. Thank you so much!!

Well this week was a week of a lot of traveling. On Monday and Tuesday we were up in another town on this island called Labasa. Me and Elder Moaalii had to do a zone training meeting. It is a new world wide thing they are doing for missions. We will be doing them once a month. It was really good. We can't really get our whole zone together all at once because of the ones on the other island so we just did the meeting on Tuesday with all the elders on Vanua Levu (which is only 8 of us) and then on Wednesday we went over to Taveuni, the other island to do the meeting with the Elders over there. On Wednesday we had to wake up at 5 in the morning and walk down to the dock to get onto the boat. We road the "SOFI" or "The Spirit Of Fiji Islands" (hence the name SOFI haha). It is the pictures that I sent. It is a pretty dang big boat. We usually go up to a different part of this island and then get on like a little ferry boat that will take us accross but this time we had to bring their truck back from there to bring it here to get it fixed so we had to ride the big boat. So we rode the boat for 5 hours to get to Taveuni and we got off, did about an hour and a half of our training meeting and then we had to get their truck and go get back on the same boat to go back haha so it was just a day filled with riding the boat but it was really fun. As you can see from the picture with the window we were getting pretty bored on the boat ride back and started exploring the boat haha We are going to have to go back to Taveuni next week to go finish our zone training meeting and also to just go do some other zone leader stuff there. This month of September we will be traveling around every week haha it is going to be a way busy and crazy month. Especially because there is also an intake of 20 new missionaries coming in in 2 weeks so that is going to be insane. Our zone will probably be getting some more missionaries. It is going to be so awesome for the work here in Fiji.

Other than that the rest of this week was pretty good. There was some deaths in some of the villages that our work is in so it was really hard for us to get lessons in this week. On Sunday though our unit from Vunivesi came into Savusavu for church and that is where all of our baptismal dates are right now so we got to teach all of them at the chapel after church. Our chapel is just like a little wooden chapel with 3 little tiny classrooms and then a little bit bigger main room where we just set up chairs for sacrament I will have to take some pictures of it and send them sometime.

Today we have to go and pick up President and his wife and also the AP's from the airport. We are having zone conference tomorrow. It will be really weird being at a zone conference that me and my companion are like in charge of. Our training that we prepared is way awesome though so I am way excited about it. The hardest part was that we had to plan all the transport for people coming on the boat from the other island and stuff so that was a pain. But it is all set. Tonight there will be 14 missionaries sleeping at our flat haha good thing our flat is HUGE! I will send a picture of the main room of our flat in another email.

You guys need to send me some actual pictures of you guys so that I can show them to people! Like actual printed pictures in the mail. People in Fiji love looking at pictures of our families and I only have those couple that you guys sent me at like Christmas of last year haha We have the best family ever so I need to show you guys off!! haha Au lomani kemudou!!

Loloma, Elder Hawk
 SOFI------The Spirit Of Fiji Islands
 Ferry Gate
Touring around the boat
Beautiful Sunset