Abbi Haws returned in August after serving an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission, which includes the states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Abbi is the daughter of Peter and Gretchen Haws. She grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley and attended Solvang Elementary School and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.
She has four siblings, three of whom have also served missions for the Mormon Church in Brazil, Russia and Finland. The other is planning to go in the near future.
Abbi said she decided to go on a mission because she was trying to decide what to do with her life, and she had a prompting to go now.
While in New England Abbi served in three different areas.
She began in Bedford, N.H., then went to Winthrop, Maine; then to Montpelier, Vt.; and finished back in Bedford. While serving in these areas she did about 10 hour a week of community service.
Her projects included working at a therapy horse ranch, cleaning stalls and walking the horses. There was also trash pickup, splitting wood and helping at a local Color Fest marathon and at a mini farm at the local fair.
When not doing service projects she and her companion would share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of New England.
Abbi smiled affectionately when she talked about how much she enjoyed and loved the people there, and said that even if sometimes they had kind of a “hard shell” they were “soft and wonderful” on the inside.
One of her most meaningful experiences was sharing the principle of tithing with a single mother who had serious financial difficulties and lived in an improvised neighborhood. Making ends meet was difficult and there was no money to spare.
The principle involves giving back to God one-tenth of your increase with the promise that the Lord will bless you and help with your needs. The woman decided to go by faith and paid her tithing, knowing she would not have enough to feed her family at the end of the month. At the end of that month her employer unexpectedly gave her $200 and she was able to then take care of her family. Abbi considered it a testimony to all of them that the Lord keeps His promises.
Abbi has returned to BYU Idaho, where she was attending school before she left for her mission. She is studying sociology and hopes to become a counselor for addiction recovery.