For two years Sam and Linda Hawkins discussed, designed, and worked vigorously over the 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback with its V8 engine. And what was the product? The Iron Rod. But why name a car after a scripture, and why spend so much time and energy on a car? Named for the Iron Rod discussed in the Book of Mormon, this Iron Rod has a similar purpose—to encourage people, especially those in the Hawkinses' community, to make wise choices, to say "no" to the negative influences of the world, and to seek happiness through righteous living. The seeds leading to the iron rod were sown thirty years ago, when Sam and Linda met two LDS missionaries while Sam was out front washing his car. Though uninterested in their presence at first, a small comment made by one of the missionaries caught Sam's attention. The missionary had sold his own car in order to finance his mission. "My husband couldn't comprehend that a nineteen-year-old young man would sell his pride and joy so he could travel from America to Australia to work for a church for free, for two years!" says Linda. Sam was so impressed by the young man, and curious enough about his sacrifice, that he invited the missionaries inside to share their message. After being baptized into the Church, Sam sold his own pride and joy—a 1967 Mustang Fastback—in order to pay for a trip to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple so he and his wife could be sealed. Now, with another chance to have a dream car similar to his 1967 Mustang, Sam combines his two dreams: a beautiful car and the message of eternal life and happiness. An unusual sight, the car is a mesmerizing mural symbolizing the battle between good and evil. The car's coloring is divided down the middle—one half black, and the other silver. On the hood of the car appear two contrasting warriors. The silver side is painted with glitter and airbrushed to give the illusion of steel panels with pop rivets—the armor of God. At night the car lights up underneath with purple lights to remind onlookers to be a light to the world. But the most important message which Sam and Linda hope to share appears on its license plate: RWH, reminding all to "return with honor." "Because we are still in the 'planting seeds' stage, we really don't know what the long-term impact of our project will be,” Linda says. "Only Heavenly Father knows, and we are leaving it in His hands."
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