Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Got no time, but I do want to let ya know I'm killin it out here. Elder Thurgood and I are working hard and seeing the Lord's blessings.was yet another temple day and it was miraculous. I got to baptize our convert David Ballard, so great! We went to a high school basketball game with a family to support their nonmember son, it was way fun. Made me want to work hard to get back into shape. We have been lifting hard on a small weight set at our bishop's office. Life's good! This Thanksgiving week is going to be awesome, I can't wait to pound the fried turkey. (Speaking of getting into shape....) I am grateful for so much that I am not even going to spend the time typing it. Do you realize we have been giving everything that we need to return to God? We can inherit our thrones with Christ. (Romans 8:16-17). He has literally offered us all He has. What more is there? Love ya'll
Elder T. Hakes
This week has been jam packed full of neat experiences and blessings!!!
Tuesday was the Ballards wedding in Independence Kansas, we had such a fine time travelling with our bishop to get them wed the Kansas way! The judge who married them expedited the paperwork for the price of 2 twelve packs of diet coke! Literally! Only in Kansas.... It was a simple ceremony in the judges office, but they know the temple is there goal, and it almost stung to hear "till death do you part". We saw the historic site of "Little House on the Prairie" on the way back so that was random!
Wednesday I went on exchanges with our zone leader Elder Skinner in Cleveland, we had a good time and saw some miracles. Set a baptismal date with two new investigators for, hopefully the put forth the effort to make it there.
Friday the Ballards were baptized and it was awesome. following the had the ward Thanksgiving social and you bet your sweet bottom I ate my weight in sweet potatoes and cheese cake. Regrets!
Saturday was Johhny Atkison's baptism in Owasso!!! SO fun, so many people I got to see whom I love and miss and surprisingly remembered me haha. I got to hang out with my old companion Elder Murdock who is serving in Jenks (Tulsa) now. We all went to lunch and played some ball afterward.
Sunday was a trial and blessed miracle all rolled into one, I awoke with a wretched sore throat and spent the day in bed, but my companion was able to get a ride to church where we incredibly had 19 investigators there!! Our bishops efforts to minister to the people in this area are really paying off, so many people respond to his love and kindness and find the desire to improve their lives. He's an example to all of us. Sounds like we'll have even more people to teach soon!
I love being a servant of the Lord and draw my strength from those who have gone before me. The prophets and apostles of scripture are a foundation of my faith and power. A brilliant quote from Elder Holland that Sister Loveland shared with us today:
“In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike-- and they will-- you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened, we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed.” Jeffrey R. Holland, “For Times of Trouble” Devotional Address, March 18, 1980.
Let Him change you, let Him raise you.
Elder T. Hakes
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 9:38 PM
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Another weekly report here. I remember sending my first email out in the mission field and thinking, "I have to do this every Monday??". Well, that was approximately 30 Mondays ago. That's a lot of Mondays haha!
This week has been another filled with miracles, anxieties, blessings, teachings, learnings, growings, and fun. Tuesday we had an exchange with Brother Cox who took us around to meet some less actives and then we had dinner at his house on one of the only hilltops around for hundreds of miles. He's in the bishopric and just a good down to earth guy. He's hilarious. His wife made us my favorite meal per my request: chicken n' waffles baby!we had zone training meeting in Bartlesville and personal interviews with President Loveland. He's no President Shumway, but he's doing a great job for the mission. I felt such a power and connection with Shumway, perhaps I'll grow to feel that with Pres. Loveland as we serve together for the next 16 months. After zone training I went on exchanges to Owasso!! I saw some of the people I love and miss and was able to interview Johnny Atkison for his baptism which will be ! It was my first interview as district leader, it's kind of a neat experience. I relied heavily on the Spirit to help me determine his level of preparation for baptism. He is trying to do what he thinks God would have him do, and is willing to continue on the path of learning. Can't wait for his baptism this weekend!!! The rest of our week was full of great lessons and visits. Elder Thurgood and I sang "For the Beauty of the Earth" with the ward choir, and really enjoyed the regional stake conference broadcast. We had some new investigators at church that members had brought with them, and it sounds like we'll be able to teach all of them this week! Doesn't get better. This week is going to be a crazy busy one, the Ballards are getting married tomorrow, then baptized ! We also have a ward Thanksgiving social night, Johnny's baptism in Owasso, and then the Ballards confirmations . It's going to be great. The Ballards are travelling to Kansas to get married, he was just divorced and in OK you have to wait 6 months to be remarried, so we're going to border hop. Gonna be fun!
I believe I need to simplify the gospel in my life, and simplify my own discipleship. Complexity is burdensom and unnecessary! Christ is my Savior, and I am His servant. I'll do what he wants, and He'll help me do it! Doesn't get much simpler. I constantly feel renewed and peaceful when I turn to Him. He is my only source of lasting contentment. Love Him!
Elder T. Hakes
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 12:16 PM
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
I'm turnin' country out here people. And I love it! This is my favorite area so far, for a bunch of reasons. This last week flew by so fast, it's ridiculous. We were so busy and had so many awesome lessons and met some really cool and funny and sincere people. I don't have a ton of time left but I want to tell you about some of the people we are teaching! To preface this, literally everyone in Cleveland smokes. Okay, not literally. But if I had to count all the people who don't smoke it wouldn't be very hard haha. Last night we did the "stop smoking workshop" with an awesome guy named Jeff and his son Peyton. Peyton is 22 and a member, but his dad Jeff never joined the church. Jeff's been coming to church and he's read the Book of Mormon twice and really is just enjoying all that the gospel has to offer him right now. So let's get this guy some healthy lungs and gett'im dunked! The workshop we teach was developed by an RM awhile ago and it follows 15 pretty basic steps, like brushing teeth and using mouthwash and taking tons of vitamin C and kicking the nasty habit! If followed 100%, the smoker will lose the urge to smoke in 7 days guaranteed. It's pretty cool. We taught it to Jeff and Peyton and they are geared and ready to quit this week! I'm pumped for Jeff to be baptized, its going to be awesome. Saturday we went to the temple with the relief society. We had 2 recent converts there doing baptisms for the first time, and we even had 3 investigators go just to check it out and see what it's all about! Sarah and David Ballard are investigators who's 15 year old son was baptized about a month ago, but they have had to wait because they aren't married yet. He is waiting on finallized divorce papers from his exwife before they can tie the knot. But as soon as that happens (which sounds like it should be this week) they are going to literally drive across the border to Arkansas and get married that day. (I guess there is a 6 month waiting period to get married in OK after you are divorced). They are awesome and their conversion and welcoming into the ward family has shaped their lives in a big way. We eagerly anticipate their baptisms as well. We found a new investigator named Sandra per a referral from our stud Bishop Southward. She is living with a less active member in her trailer and we went out and taught her. She already believed in a pre-mortal existence and loved everything we told her. So much, in fact, that she brought her 29 year old son Matt with her to church on Sunday! We invited him to gospel principles which we were teaching 2nd hour, but he said he would feel more comfortable with a 1 on 1 lesson. We were like "heck ya we can do that" and we met him and his mom in the park after church and taught them the Restoration while sitting on a merry-go-round because it was in the shade hahaha. It was one of my favorite lessons ever. Turns out he is super ready for the gospel and looking to invite God into his life and loved our lesson. He was excited! I love teaching people who are looking for the gospel. I honestly don't think there is anything better. I am out of time, but I wish I wasn't. Halloween was the day we were at the temple, then afterward we helped a guy move and went home at about 8 and basically slept because we were pooped. We were supposed to be in by 6 that night (mission rule) but we were engaged in a good cause, so don't tell anyone. ;) #rebels. This place has such a small town friendly feel, its way awesome. This Wednesday I am going on exchanges in my first area, Owasso! And I will be interviewing Johhny Atkison for his baptism on Saturday WOOOO!! I can't wait to see him and Marla (whom we baptized while I was there) again. Incredibly Blessed and Highly Favored. Till next week from the land of milk and honey and cigarettes.
Elder T. Hakes
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 5:33 AM
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Howdy from podunk Cleveland!
My address is 823 W Caddo St #1
Cleveland, OK 74020
Life is so good out here! Transfers went so well and the transition into Cleveland with Elder Thurgood has been great! I can't believe I'm starting my 3rd area. It's been soo fun so far! I wish I had time to type tons of details but the library has a time limit. I had a bittersweet time saying goodbye to my friends and family in Nixa. I'll miss them! But good news, they rearranged the district that Cleveland is in and now its in the same district as my first area, Owasso!!! I am the district leader which means I will get to go on exchanges in Owasso and see my old wards and all the people I miss!! Also, Marla Atkison whom we baptized way back in May, her husband is being baptized on the 7th of next month! Literal miracle!! So I'll get to go to that, so excited. But enough about my old area, this new one is exploding. Cleveland is a tiny place with several even smaller surrounding cities which all lie within our huuuge ward boundaries. Bishop Southward is Elder Southward, our area authority 70's, son. And he is remarkable. I can't even believe the level of missionary work and culture that he has built in his ward in the short 1 year that he has been bishop here. First night here he took us out to teach and visit people, which is already more than my last bishop did in 3 months hahaha. He cares so much about the people in his ward. I've literally talked to him every day since being here, and every time he has told us, "hey I went out and met a new part-member family, and 5 of them want to take the lessons." He's setting up so many discussions for us and truly doing the finding. It's incredible! It's the ideal missionary model! The other week they had 27 investgators at church!! That's more than I've had my whole mission combined! Sunday we had 9 investigators there, he had asked me to give a talk which I was incredibly grateful for because it is the best way to introduce myself and bear testimony to the ward, and when I sat down he handed me a program with "9 investigators here today! I'll introduce them to you afterward." written on it. Music to my missionary ears. I'm flabbergasted. It's been so fun! So we have tons of people to teach and several preparing for baptism and that's everything that makes missionary work fun! I am so blessed to be here right now. My companion is from Elk Ridge Utah and is another young buck just outta high school. He's hilarious and simple and loves hunting more than pretty much anything. Today I asked him how to spell his first name, McKay or Mckay? He said, "I don't know, I'm not one of those grammar dudes, I just focus on the duck hunting aspect of everything." Hahaha. I was like cmon dude it's your own name!! He's always smiling and he's a sweet guy. We've had fun together barbequeing on our porch and we have plans to trap and squirrel outside our apartment and have a recent convert of ours cook it up for us haha. Today we are going fishing in a pond by bishops house and I hope I catch a giant catfish. We get to go to the Oklahoma City temple this weekend with recent converts too!! Life can't get better right now. Gotta go! Love ya'll. And I can't believe Brent is engaged?!?!?! My goodness. That's way exciting. Can't wait to meet the lucky girl in 17 months haha. How it Weston doing? Email me, my long lost buddy!
Elder T. Hakes
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 6:20 AM
It's been a crazy week around here. Last Monday we hung out with President and Sister Loveland at Bass Pro which was fun! Later we bought footy PJs with the Southern Hills elders because, well because they're footy PJs and everybody needs a pair. Mine's Darth Vader :) Check out the attached pics!
First off, my companion and trainee Elder Davidson went home. Super unexpected. He had told me last week that it might happen, he brought some things up to president that he thought might result in going home. President called on Tuesday and said that he was going, and they sent a senior missionary couple to pick him up that afternoon. It was really sad.. It was kind of an emotional day, we went out and worked a bit after he got packed. We were talking about it and he said, "It's going to be harder for me to leave you guys, leave this mission, than it was for me to leave home." Broke my heart. I'm gonna miss him, but he plans on working through whatever he's got going on and coming back. No idea when that might be. So that was kind of a challenge.
I picked up Elder Hardy as my new companion, he came over from a neighboring area which had 3 missionaries in a companionship so it worked out easy. He came out the same time as Elder Davidson and I finished doing the last week of his 12 training program with him. He's a great kid, super honest and diligent and hard working. We've gotten along great and done some good work. We spent a major portion of the week visiting people we don't know on our ward roster and giving them fliers to the open house for our new church building. We found some new potential investigators among the less actives and part members that we met! Others just shut the door or told us they left the church when they were like 12 haha. People don't understand that they are still members of Christ's church. They have still made covenants at baptism with God. You can't nullify that contract. I want to help people remember their covenants as much as I wan to help others receive them! We've also been running in the mornings and it feels great to get some regular exercise again. My shins are developing really bad shin splints again though so that is incredibly frustrating and painful.
Friday night we went to our investigator Misael's football game! They got stomped by Republic, but it was fun to be there. We sat with a bunch of members and the bishop and watched their kids perform in the band.
On Saturday Sister Fowler from our mission office came up to Nixa to bring us a bunch of supplies for the open house and help us set them up. We had a "VIP" tour that day where they invited the press and local political leaders and whoever else to come check out the building. Two people showed up from KOLR 10 news haha. But hey I might have been on tv! Yesterday at church was our primary program which was awesome, but I accidentally rubbed my contact lens into my eyeball while crying and it got lost behind my eye for the rest of church and I could not for the life of me get it out haha. I finally found the stupid thing a couple hours later and put it in its proper place. After church was the open house! It kind of tanked though... There really were like no nonmembers there. Several people brought friends but that was about it. I half expected it to happen. We gave away essentially no material and didn't really teach anyone about our faith. Woo hoo! Hopefully those who came at least felt the spirit or walked away with a better understanding of us crazy Mormons.
So Saturday was also transfer calls.... and I'm going back to Oklahoma!! I'll be serving in Cleveland, OK. It's really close to my first area and in the same zone :) So I feel like I know it pretty well already! I'll be district leader there and my new companion is Elder Thurgood, who just finished being trained this transfer and has been out about 3 months. Hope he's cool! I'm pumped to start a new area again, and from rumors I've heard the work is really happening out there, I guess they had 20 something investigators at church recently. That's unheard of. Wonder if it was a fluke haha! I hope I don't get in there and slow the work down! I'm ready to start fresh and work even harder. Nixa has been good to me, but its also been a big challenge in a lot of ways. I know for sure the Lord was teaching me (or trying) and preparing me for trials and experiences to come. I can honestly say I am grateful for the trials I have faced here, they have begun to hammer me into the shape God would have me be. The hammer hurts sometimes, but man do you look good when he's through. Heavenly Father is the best artist, after all. I love this work and I'm glad He had called me to it despite my woeful imperfections. His mercy never ends! Till next week from my homeland Oklahoma!
Elder T. Hakes
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 6:18 AM
Hey Guys =)
It's been yet another great week here in the ABM. Wednesday I went on exchanges with the Chesterfield and Republic areas and had a great time! I love getting out of my bubble and working in another area. Meeting new people and getting a fresh view on the work! Perks of district leading. We met two single moms in the complex where the elders live and taught them about the restoration and shared Elder Holland's talk about mothers from this conference. They really seemed to like it and it! There is a trio of elders in that area so I was with Elders Naef and Hardy, it was odd being with two others! It felt like we were a little crammed in people's doorways and we took up too much space in people's living rooms haha. Thursday we helped the Brandhorst family move out of our ward and into Republic ward. Becca is kinda less active and her goofy husband Greg is not a member, but they're great people and we're gonna missem! They moved into a third story apartment.... it was so much work to get all there junk up there. Thursday we also drove down to Branson to have lunch with the other half of our zone for Elder Dye's birthday and we played some basketball in a ghetto park! It was one of the most fun games I have played out here. Saturday we helped the Canes in our ward continue their house rennovations and landscaping, we built a retaining wall in their front yard and they took us to a local Mexican place called Purple Burrito for lunch. So good. We also had a great lesson with the Young family who is less active because she works most Sundays, but their 3 daughters Emma Allie and Ella are adorable and came to church this Sunday for the first time since we have been here woo hoo!! I showed them some origami (thanks for the paper mom) and now they regard me as a wizard. We also had some good doorstep lessons this week with some new potential investigators we have found!! We contacted a referral that a priest in the ward gave us, and he was interested in learning more and had some questions! Also, I don't think I told you, but last week as we left Bob Palmer's (a homebound man in our ward) I saw a guy sitting on the sidewalk outside his apartment smoking. I felt very strongly that I needed to give him a book for some reason. I mean, I give books to most people, but I just KNEW that I had to give him one. We had a good conversation with him and left him with the Book and he said he'd be interested to read it. We stopped by again this week and met his girlfriend who was also very friendly and pretty interested in what we had to say. We taught her about the restoration, gave her a pamphlet and she said she'd like us to come back! We got her phone number too, which is a pretty good indicator of people's sincerity. I've found if they actually give you contact information they're typically not just acting interested to get you off their porch. So hopefully we can keep teaching them :) Sunday was a surprise, President Loveland called and wanted to go work with us in our area after church. We walked out of elder's quorum and he was standing there in the hallway with Sister Loveland! They went to a stake conference in Springfield that morning. President brought his 15 year old son Neil and I went with him to work and President went with Elder Davidson. We spent the afternoon contacting inactive members and giving them fliers to the open house for our new church building this coming Sunday!! Its going to be a great missionary opportunity, we've invited the surrounding communities around the building to come check it out. We hope people come! Today we went to Bass Pro Shops with the Lovelands and most of our zone. This Bass Pro is the biggest in the world and also their headquarters or something. You think Bass Pro in Arizona is cool? This place was basically a zoo and a museum and a park all rolled into one. They have live alligators inside, and a gun and archery hall of fame and we ate lunch at a fancy restaurant upstairs. It was fun! This Saturday we will get transfer calls and find out who's staying and who's going. Hope I go! I could use a change of pace! But staying will be fine, there's great people here and the work is picking up a bit. Stay tuned!!
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 6:04 AM
Monday, October 12, 2015
My favorite meal!! Chiggin n waffles with tomato avocado siracha mayo and syrup :) Don't knock it till you try it.
Biking exchange! #realmissionary
Fun times at the good ole Springfield dump
Hey Friends :)
I love you all. If there is something I took away from conference, it's that I need to go back to the simple gospel roots :) Being a missionary can be daunting and complicated, but living the gospel should be simple and enjoyable just like our friend Elder Uchtdorf reminded us :) I also need to have more love, and see others through our Eternal Parent's eyes! I hope you all walked away enlightened and empowered, I know I did. It was awesome to witness the calling of 3 new apostles as well. I go out and testify every day of the calling of these men, so it was quite reassuring to hear them give me some advice :) We watched the sessions with several different member families and one at our new church building. It was great! My favorite was either priesthood session, because I love Elder Eyring with a nostalgic passion, or Sunday afternoon, there was just one fantastic address after another! President Monson scared me with his drooping and whispering, I thought I was about to witness something terrible. I love that man. Let's all pray for him. I can testify through the Holy Ghost along with those who declared it in the conference, that I do indeed know President Monson is the Lord's chosen mouthpiece and keyholder on this earth. What a privilege to live and labor alongside this man.
Well things have taken a nice turn around here this week! Literally as soon as October 1st hit, the weather dropped 20 degrees. It was weird. And appreciated! It's been cool 60s and cloudy lately. Fall is definitely in the air and suit coat season is upon us. We'll be locked in jackets until next conference! But no big complaints, its chilly. Pumpkin products fill the stores and our meals and its cool. I love this time of year so much. This week we set a baptismal date with our friend Misael Garcia whom we've been teaching! It's the first date we've had in this area woo! It's very tentative, but we pray and hope :) He's a quiet kid and I can hardly know how he feels half the time. Other than that things are about the same around here. Oh, we had goal to give out at least 3 books a day this week and it was fun, it made the work more enjoyable and meaningful when I view the success of handing out books rather than constantly not finding people to teach haha. Here are some of the names of the people whom we gave books to this week: Dianna, Richard, Rob, Jannett, Michael, Blevins, Diana and Hadley Fisher, Sonja, Dave, Ashton. Look at all that success! Look at all those people who now have in their homes the most important record on the planet! Seeds planted. It's all about perspective folks :)
Well, I love ya and hope you know how strongly I believe in this gospel. It's quite real.
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 10:01 PM
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Aaaayyyyyy loved ones!!!
Super sorry I didn't get to send out an email last week, I was crazy busy (mostly playing basketball and trying to get stuff done) and really didn't have time. But don't worry I'll fill you in :)
I feel like I've become rather poor at emailing and telling you all about the weird mission experiences and stories that I have. I think it's because they've almost become common place and so I forget about them fairly quickly and just keep plugging along! But, that doesn't mean I'm not having an exciting time, I just get overwhelmed trying to type out my life and remember exactly what happened to me in the last 7 days. And today I have to remember the last 14 days to make up for last week. Pray for me!
Mission life is super weird. It's super good, and super rewarding and fun and trying and all that, but mostly it's just weird. Nobody else in the world lives a life like we do! Nobody else can have the most odd experiences and meet the craziest people and eat dinner at someone's home everyone night, and get rejected and ignored and avoided and stared at, but at the same time be so loved and cared for and admired by members of the ward, AND at the same time be called of God and set apart to do his marvelous work and a wonder and receive all the blessings of a loving Deity parent. WEIRD. But priceless. An experience that transcends language. Or at least my own language. The challenge I face in trying to share these with you in about an hour each week is one of the hardest things I have to do on my mission haha.
This week's been a little off kilter. Tuesday was zone conference with President Loveland which was fantastic. He stands in striking contrast to President Shumway, but fulfills his calling all the same. It was the first real zone conference we've had in like 4 months since P. Shumway left. So it was great and we felt the spirit together and were edified in a big way. It was the most fun conference I've been to because I finally know a good chunk of people in the mission and it's fun to catch up with them and see how're they're doing and talk about old times. I was talking to Elder Murdock the other day who is still in my homeland of Owasso OK and it really made me miss that area!!!!! I miss those people so much. Can't even tell you. But I have no time to think about them which probably keeps me sane. Everyone I left is doing so good though :) I'll be back one day. Wednesday we went on exchanges with Southern Hills area, ZL Elder Watkins and his companion Elder Burch. I went to their area with Burch and Watkins went to my area with my son Elder Davidson (son because I'm his trainer/father in the mission, I clarify for you mom ;) ). It was really fun because theirs is a bike area and I got to ride a bike for the first time in the mission!! I felt like a real genuine missionary :) Having a car is a necessity in these huge rural areas, but it takes something away from the stereotypical missionary image in everyone's mind. So I strapped on my helmet and felt genuine all day :) It was SUCH nice change of pace being on a bike and using my muscles and getting some fresh air. We biked around to find some less actives and returning members and it was great. I felt so much more capable of approaching people on the street and in neighborhoods too, because when you roll up in a car and roll down your window and yell at people it freaks them out haha. But an unassuming dude on a bike wearing a tie is much more subtle ;) I gave a guy standing on the side of the road eating a bag of chips a fist bump as we sped downhill and almost punched his arm of hahah. We had dinner with a fairly recent convert couple, brother and sister Ussery (she was baptized about 2 years ago and he's been inactive his whole life) and they were really cool. Turns out they knew and love my trainer Elder Durrant because he served in this area like a year ago. We spent a lot of time talking to them about the gospel and their conversions and testimonies and it was neat. Thursday I went back to my area and we volunteered at the bishops storehouse food handout at the church and helped Brother Taylor move a delivery of 3 pallets of pellet-stove pellets (say that five times fast) into his shed. I physically hefted like 4 tons of pellets. Then we had to go back to Springfield to get our car fixed because a belt or something has been squeaking for 3 weeks. We also told them our power window on the drivers door had been making weird creaking noises when we roll it up. So they looked at it and we walked around the mall for awhile until they called us. We went back and they said it was all in ship shape and all they did was change the oil for us. I was like "well what about the squeaking we brought it in for?!" The dude said he didn't hear any squeaking so we went outside and started it up and it was whisper quiet. Odd. As we drive away it starts squeaking again like a kid on a rusty swing so we turned around and took it back and parked it without turning it off and went and got the guy and proved to him that there was indeed a squeak. So they inspect it and say its likely a belt tensioner and they need to order the part to fix it. So we schedule to come back the next morning and get it repaired. About halfway home Elder Davidson rolls up the driver window and it creaks and groans and cracks and just falls back into the door. Are you serious?! They literally looked at nothing we told them to haha. So luckily it doesn't rain in our open window that night and we take it back to the shop Friday morning after we help Brother Taylor unload a trailer of wood at the dump (so smelly). We drop the car off at the shop and go to wander the mall again, they call us back and say the broken window motor and the belt tensioner are both under factory warranty since the car is still new. So we take it instead to the Chevy dealership to get it repaired for free (it's a 2014 Chevy Cruz). It took about 4 or 5 hours for them to fix it and luckily they had a free shuttle that we took to the Southern Hills elders apartment while we waited. So that took up most of our Thursday and Friday which was annoying. But the thing is finally fixed hallelujah. Saturday I felt terribly ill and we spent most of the day cooped up in the apartment. I got a phone call from Sister Park in our ward who said that she had just talked to Sister Ussery (the lady I had dinner with on exchanges in Southern Hills ward) and she told her she had really been struggling with the church lately and having kind of a hard time and was a little disappointed with the missionaries in her ward, but that somehow she had really felt the spirit for the first time in a long time while I was there and was so grateful! She said that I was something special and thanked me over and over. The weird part is I have no idea what I did, I don't even remember what message I shared haha. So I certainly have a testimony that the Lord uses us in ways we aren't even aware of sometimes. Whatever I said, she needed, unbeknownst to me! We finished strong yesterday with a great Sabbath. Our ward moved to a new building that they just finished constructing this week! It's been long anticipated, I guess they were supposed to have it done in July. So our ward building is now east of us in Ozark rather than southern Springfield. It's a little closer to our apartment which is nice. The building itself is really small and has one of those baby gyms where the 3-point arcs essentially touch in the middle. So I'm gonna be draining half-court shots all day. Our first sacrament meeting in the building was awesome because everyone was excited and we had several less actives show up to see it! The only two restrooms in the building though were "out of order" and they had a plumber coming to look at them, so both wards had to use the spare handicap/family restroom, leaving a single toilet for about 400 people hahaha. The line was worse than Disneyland. So funny!
Well that's the majority update. A super nice spunky old lady in our ward named Sister Taylor wrote me a poem the other week! She's always writing little poems so I asked her to write one for me and this is what she gave me!
We met a young man whom we call "Elder Hakes"
And what a fine impression he makes!
He's friendly and smart and talkative too
(Can't get in a word until he gets through)
He comes from Arizona and misses his state
But the good things at home will just have to wait.
He's involved in church service and helps folks each day
To learn how to walk in the straight narrow way.
He is living his life in the way he feels best,
And somehow we know he is passing the test.
In a couple of years he'll be going back home-
Get a job, find a wife and nevermore roam.
He looks forward to children and grandchildren too.
Such an honorable man! Most too good to be true!
It's been our pleasure to have him for a friend.
Our memories of him will never end.
I promise I didn't write that about myself haha :) She is so sweet, she's like a grandma away from home and always gives us treats.
Anyway, I love you all a ton and miss you each day! Can't believe I'm approaching 7 months out here, it's crazy. Also I CANNOT wait for conference this weekend, I've been craving it since the last session. Stay true!
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 5:26 AM
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
This week has been another fantastic one. Last Sunday Elder Davidson and I were able to stand in on a baby blessing in Sacrament meeting and I ordained a convert of last year to the office of a priest! I love participating in priesthood blessings, ordinations and ordinances. I feel part of something greater than myself. This week was bitter sweet since about half of our district was transferred. We got lunch together on Wednesday and said our goodbyes. It stings how fast everything goes by. There's almost no time to stop and take it all in. Our week went about as normal with all our work. Saturday we went to a really cool service project with the Missouri State YSA Elders on campus. There was a giant food packaging drive and we went to help package and seal meals to be shipped all around the world. They played some pump-up music the whole time which was the best part! Any chance that I'm "forced" to listen to music is a tender mercy ;) Last night was awesome because we got a new investigator! We stopped by the house of a man named Charles because we saw that missionaries had tracted into him in March and talked to him for a little bit. We went to follow up and he was a really nice older man who's wife passed and he now lives alone. We gave him a BoM and he said we could come back and talk to him about it! So last night we went back by and he said, "wait here, I made you boys something." So he went inside and came back out with two gospel music CDs that he had put together for us haha! He eventually invited us in and we were able to teach him about the restoration. He's had a long religious history and has basically given up because there are too many unanswered questions. We're excited to answer them for him. He wonders about things concerning the nature of God and the plan of salvation, and we can tell him all about it! So that is a major answer to prayers. I feel a little bad for Elder Davidson, he really hasn't had a lot of new teaching experiences because all we do is work with less actives and try to find new people to teach in this area! But we slowly seem to be finding some which is great. It's hard in such a religiously saturated area, everyone thinks they're content and we're just another random christian church (either that or they think we're some non-christian cult and they won't have anything to do with us.) We get doors slammed and rude remarks everyday, but hey its fun! This ward has been a little frustrating as well. There is no missionary effort whatsoever and no one really helps us.. especially our ward mission leader who has no idea what his calling entails. They're nice enough people though and once they see us finding people on our own and bringing them to church I think it will spark the fire we need. In other news my ankle is healing pretty quick still which is miraculous.. but I'm starting to get reeaally bad shin splints on both shins. So that's annoying. One thing after another! Guess I'll have to take it easy on the court for awhile. Being district leader is fun and a nice little dose of added responsibility which is nice and will keep me focused. The weather cooled off this last week which was glorious with a cool breeze, but apparently it was just a teaser and will heat back up again this week :(
If there is one thing I treasure on this earth more than anything it is the Book of Mormon. If only I understood even the hundredth part of the miracles, mercies, prophecies, blood, and lessons contained within it. I love reading it every day! It's what gives me the power I need.
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 7:55 AM
Greeting from misery (that's what most people call Missouri).
Life's good! Transfer calls came in, and Elder Davidson and I are both staying in this area! But I'll be the new district leader so that's pretty neat. About half of our district got transferred out so we'll have a bunch of new people coming in! It'll be fun, we'll miss a lot of these cats though, they're all great elders. This week's been a blur, highlights are that my ankle is almost fully healed (miracle) and I can walk normal again, and we taught Travis two more times with a member of the elders quorum named Peter Upton-Rowley who is a great guy. Peter's wife came for the second lesson and invited Travis and his wife and kid over for dinner, so they're fellowshipping really well and we're excited to keep teaching them. He is progressing slowly... but we'll work with it. He needs to be sincere in his prayer and read more of the Book, but he'll get there :) Well that's about all the update I can muster, Elder Davidson and I are excited to spend another transfer in Nixa! I have no idea where the time went, seems like I barely even know any of the ward yet. We've fasted and prayed that we can do even more work and really pick this place up this transfer! Remember, the Book is blue and the church is true, so let it change you! (I made most of that up). Till next week <3
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 7:54 AM
Monday, August 31, 2015
I am out of time. Sadface. But I would like to let you know this week has been yet another great one! And the gospel is still true, so that's nice! Elder Davidson and I are moving right along. This week we tracted into a guy named Travis and talked to him on his doorstep for like an hour. He invited us back later and we taught him the restoration. He's baptist, and just doesn't get some of what we try to tell him. It's kind of frustrating. Plus, he went online and found a bunch of anti mormon questions to ask us, so that was fun. But he didn't do it in an antagonistic way, he just wants to know! So we'll teach him the plan of salvation. But our time is filled with trying to find people to teach and serving the members of the ward. We've really solicited our services well apparently, a lot of people have been asking for our help! Its fun, I love serving people. night I rolled my ankle reallly bad playing basketball. I'd attach a picture, but my camera just died :( It's swollen and bruised, but I've been able to limp around all weekend and get everything we need to done. A physical therapist in the ward examined me and said I got lucky and it's not too bad (despite it's appearance) and should heal up nice and quick! Already I'm walking better. But things are about the same around here! We can't believe how fast the transfer has gone by!! Transfers are next week?! We will likely both stay here, but who knows! I like Nixa, its a good place. Missouri far outclasses Oklahoma. I'll send pictures next week, love you guys :)
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 11:52 AM
Sunday, August 30, 2015
I look up the word Ozark, I don't think it means anything, it's gotta be some weird Indian term. But its a gorgeous region.
This week has been a lot of ups and downs! I don't even remember what happened... highlight is that we finally got a new investigator! Woo hoo! Her name's Patty, we talked to her outside our apartment a couple weeks ago and finally had the chance to have a first lesson with her. We taught the restoration and it went about as well as it could have! We're excited to keep teaching her.
My faith has been tried this week, the adversaries messin with my brain! I always find strength in the Lord though as I put my trust in him and keep his commandments. Every time!
Wednesday night we had dinner in a mansion estate out in the middle of the woods. It was incredible, their home was enormous. They made some bomb food too, I kept expecting a butler to pop out fill my glass or refill my plate. Great people!
Thursday was such an awesome day, I was so happy all day. We drove down to Branson and worked on a huge service project with our zone. We mulched some trails in the lakeside forest. The forests are thicker and greener than anywhere I've seen. After we got back to Nixa we helped a ward member cement their new mailbox in their yard (and by help I mean we did it for her) and then we went to help a family move out of the ward! We spent all day in our service clothes just helping people, it was the greatest! Then we had dinner and played investigator basketball like we do every Thursday night, which is fun. This Sunday I announced in priesthood that we play and that everyone should bring a friend. Hope they come!
Sunday Elder Davidson and I were kinda sick, it was rough. Our dinner appointment was kind enough to bring it over to us and we got some rest and played some chess.
Today we went exploring some really cool caves in Willard MO. We dropped down into some muddy pools and water and had to squeeze through some tight spots it was awesome. Then we washed off in the river nearby after we got out. Don't worry, it wasn't swimming ;)
Gotta go, have a great week!
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 4:29 PM
Monday, August 17, 2015
Sorry my email last week was kind of lame, after I sent it I realized all the cool things that I wanted to tell you. Oh well:) This week flew by. You're probably getting tired of hearing me say that. It's crazy weird. We did some cool things this week! We've met some great members of the ward, I love a lot of the families. this old less active guy named Charlie Donelow took us to a restaurant called Lambert's. I had been hearing about it since I got here, It's a huuge tourist attraction apparently. They're famous for the "throwed rolls"; a guy comes around with a cart of hot rolls and throws them to everyone who wants one. It was pretty neat. And servers walk around with big pots of free appetizers like fried okra and potatoes and black eyed peas. It was fun! I got chicken and dumplings which was essentially just glorified chicken noodle soup... shoulda got the chicken fried steak. we had zone training down in Branson which is about 30 miles south of us. We got to meet the rest of our zone and do interviews with President Loveland, it was great. Elder Davidson and I instructed the zone on the pattern of learning: prepare, interact, invite. We did good! Afterward we went to buffalo wild wings in downtown Branson. Branson is a way cool place, the drive down there is gorgeous, soo many steep rolling hills and green in all directions. It's basically a Mormon Vegas, they're famous for tons of shows and performances, a lot of which are done by famous LDS families. There's theme parks and magic shows and country shows and all kinds of stuff there. I'd be a fun place to serve. President called Elder D and I into interview him at the same time, there was a missionary that went home in an area north of us and he wanted to know if we could help cover that area for awhile if we had to and be in a "tri-panionship" with Elder Merryweather who was serving in that area. We told him we could! But I think he decided on something else, because it didn't happen. Would've been cool though, because that ward is the YSA ward for Missouri State University and we would've spent half our time living on campus. We've been playing investigator basketball nights which is way fun, us and 3 other companionships just invite everyone we're teaching to get them into the building and fellowship them haha. We did a lot of service and for members of the ward who needed help with their yards and whatnot, it was great. And the weather was relatively cool this week so that was way nice. Elder D and I spoke in church, I loved it. I spoke on personal revelation and I wish I had more time, the spirit gave me utterance. I called Elder Murdock last night, he's training a new missionary in Owasso where I just left. My old area is doing so good, and he's seen some awesome miracles with the people that I love there! It was great to catch up with him, feels like I've been gone for ages even though it's not even been 3 weeks.The work in our area is starting to pick up ever so slightly. The ward is getting more involved now that they realize we're here and we wanna work. We had a great ward council and got our ideas out there to get the work rolling. We've been tracting our feet off and giving out as many Books as we can. We found some more potentials last week so hopefully we can go follow up with them! It's been a lot of fun though. A ton of the missionaries get together every P-day which is a blast, today we played football on MSU campus!We talked with an evangelical couple that we met in their driveway for like an hour last night. We taught essentially the whole restoration! But they wouldn't have it. They were such kind people, and she wanted us so badly to come to know "the one true Jesus and be saved". We told her we do believe in Jesus... I'm tired of trying to tell people that haha. They believe all the have to do is confess Christ as the Savior and then they're saved and nothing can change that. It's nearly impossible to change their minds and tell them there's more to the plan. She teared up several times because she was so passionate about it. But we ended up on a friendly note and she said we could come back sometime if we wanna talk and then she invited us to her church and prayed for us that we would come to know the real God. While she was praying, I was praying the same thing in my heart.."Heavenly Father, please help us help her come to know you." We'll see if it goes anywhere or if she'll just keep trying to convert us haha!Mission life rocks, I love it. I was thinking today this is the last time in my life where I'll be so carefree. Sure I'm constantly busy and always working, but I really don't have any worries! I'm just out here trying to help other people. And the Lord takes great care of us.Do everything that you can everyday to strengthen your testimony. If you're not, then you're slipping backwards. There is no middle ground.Love from the mid west,Elder Hakes
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
I'm getting transferred to Nixa, Missouri!! Never heard of it before! Woo hoo! And I'll be training a new missionary as well, so that's going to be really exciting. I could feel the change coming around the corner, and here it is staring me in the face. I feel nothing but calm and courage, the Lord is strengthening me in ways I've never before felt. I can testify that the path to joy truly lies through submitting our will to Him! Because He knows best. How foolish of us to suppose that we know what is good for us, and that we are capable of determining the roads which we think will make us happy. There is One Road! One beautifully perfect and narrow road that is somehow tailored to every one of us as His children. It walks alongside the Savior, and accelerates our progression toward the Father. Anything else transgresses His path, or regresses away from Him. I would encourage us all to simply trust in Him a little more. Have a little more hope!
It will be really sad to leave Owasso. I have this weird feeling where I feel as though I've been here for my entire life, and at the same time I've only just arrived. I suppose I'd better get used to that. This last weekend was amazing, the perfect way to end with a bang in Oklahoma! I saw so many tender mercies and miracles, I don't know why the Lord felt the need to bless me so. I know sometimes he just gives us all we need and want just to make us happy, so thank Him:) Brother Baird the dentist cleaned our teeth for us, then we volunteered at a ministry thrift shop and the ladies there were so kind. Somebody had just donted a bunch of brand new slacks and she gave me a pair that fit well, I needed them! We prepared for Emilie's baptism which was fantastic. I love being able to be apart of such a covenant for others! She had tons of nonmember friends and family there, and it was a great experience for everyone. She had a missionary who taught her 4 or 5 months ago come back to baptize her. The Spirit was prevalent! It was a lot of fun. Afterward we were blessed again with a bunch of leftovers from the pioneer party we had , and we found a random windshield sun shade in the street, which we had just determined a couple of days ago that we needed because our car is trying to kill us every time we get in it. Mercies! Then we contacted a friendly less active and had a good visit, and I caught 5 fireflies and put them in a bottle haha. I love the fireflies out here. It was a magical end to a magical day. Well my library time is up! Till next week from Missouri!
I don't know my new address yet, but you can send things to the mission office and it will be forwarded to me.
1004 Beau Terre Dr. Ste E-502
Bentonville, AR 72712
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 5:08 PM
Hey Guys,Sorry this is gonna be a real quickie today! No major updates though, the work continues along and I am doing super well. I love being a missionary. "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel!" Joseph Smith. This weekend is Emilie Acord's baptism, it is going to be great! She's excited as are we. Transfer calls is also THIS SATURDAY. What the heck? I'll find out whether or not I've got another 6 weeks in Owasso, or if the Lord is calling my name in some other rural country town. Exciting! I'll sure miss it here if I leave though, this has become a second home :(
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 5:07 PM
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
I'm doing way good in the heat over here. I'm only soaking wet always, so it's no big deal. Last week was awesome, we went to the temple on Friday and again on Saturday with our recent converts. Friday was our stakes fill the temple day and so most of the ward was going down to do a session in the morning. The Kress's weren't scheduled to do baptisms until later in the afternoon, and the only ride we could find was with people who were going down early. So we called our new mission president and asked him if we could just do a session with the ward since we were going to be there early anyways. I guess the rule is that you can only do a session if you have a convert who is receiving theirs for the first time. We figured we have a new president so what the heck why not ask? He said we could join them in the session which was awesome, I've been dying to get in there for months! It was a blessing! Plus, it was Elder Murdocks birthday so I don't think he could've gotten a better gift. When the Kress's came down they were able to watch ordinances in the baptistery and participate in some confirmations. They loved it! He said he knew he was taking part in something special. He and his wife have been doing better than ever, not only has their spiritual and emotional life improved, but he continues to gain health and strength, and his right leg which was a stump due total loss of circulation has been miraculously healed! He took the word of wisdom to heart and stopped drinking soda and milk and started eating healthier. He's lost like 20 pounds! What do ya know, the Lord knows how we should take care of our bodies. The next day we went down again with the other ward for a youth trip, and our convert Dixie Acord did baptisms. She was glowing! I love seeing people in their temple whites, they are so clean and pure, just as God sees them. It was a great experience for all of us. Sunday we were fasting as a district in order to find people to teach. Later in the day the stake president a called us and and told us he just met with a man who wants to take the discussions and be baptized! His wife is a member and he's ready to join. We called him and he said he knows almost everything about the church already and knows it is right. Does it get any easier than that? The Lord certainly heard our pleas and showed us immediately who is ready to embrace the gospel. We hope and pray that we can only keep finding them! We have a baptism scheduled for the 25th this month for Dixies little sister Emilie. She is doing so well and the gospel has already changed her persona. You can just tell when people have been reading the Book of Mormon, they are different. It's the most powerful book on the planet. In other news, we got into a doorstep bible bash the other day. This guy was pretty antagonistic and just wanted to prove us wrong, which of course the bible will never do if understood correctly haha. We bore powerful witness and he said he would read the Book of Mormon so that he would know for certain it is wrong. I hope the spirit just brings him low and opens his heart! It was kind of exciting though, got my blood pumping. Turns out I know the bible pretty well now. But what president Shumway said is so true, with over 32,000 Christian denominations, the bible is not common ground. It is a battleground! When left to lean to our own understanding, we have nothing! Even with the word of God right in front of us. The spirit of revelation is the teacher, testifier, and truth weilder. And it is flooding the earth today through priesthood power and the testimonies of the saints. I've gotta go eat lunch with the Bird family, keep the faith!
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 6:26 AM
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Happy Late Independence Day!This week was a great one for Elder Murdock and I, and it is only going to get better this week! It was a really eventful weekend with a baptism and 4th of July celebrations. Earlier in the week we had a zone training meeting on July 1st, the first day of the Arkansas Bentonville Mission! President and Sister Shumway have travelled safely home to Utah, and they will be greatly missed. Our zone leaders gave us all new mission calls saying we have been reassigned to the ABM, it was clever! We talked a lot about how we're going to keep the culture and pace of the mission, and do all we can to support and sustain President Loveland in this transition period. The next day was zone conference, where we got to meet the Lovelands. It was their very first conference in the mission! They are incredible people and were truly called here by the Lord. President is a hard working potato farmer from Idaho. I'm excited to see how they shape the mission! When I met the Lovelands, President said, "Hey, I think we know you!" They remembered that you went to college with Sister Loveland's brother, dad. So I've basically already got my "in" with the President ;)
Saturday was awesome, the Birkedahl kids were baptized!! It was an amazing ordinance. Kyle (8) and Sabrina (11) were initially really nervous to be baptized, because they are both kind of afraid of the water for some reason. In one of our earlier lessons, they said that they didn't want to be baptized. It stung a little! But when we talked to them about it, we realized they believe in Christ and the church, but were scared of the actual ordinance itself. Their parents' records were finally received in the ward, and we found out that their father George is actually an elder in the priesthood. He had been inactive for so long that he didn't know what his office was. After meeting with the Bishop, he was cleared to baptize his kids! That made Sabrina and Kyle much more comfortable. It was a beautiful thing to witness him enter the water with his son. When it was Sabrina's turn, she was still nervous going down into the water. Enthusiastic Kyle gave her a big double thumbs up and encouraged her that it would be okay! George reassured her and did a great job performing the ordinance, and their mother Mandy comforted from the sidelines. It was such a family affair! It was awesome to be able to witness the whole family making this step together. After the baptism they were all so happy! We had two amazing youth talks and the Spirit was so strong. I can't wait to watch them progress in the gospel. I pray every day that they can continue to sink their roots into the lasting soil of conversion. Later that day we had a fun bbq with the Bird family. They're so awesome and we feel right at home with them. It's amazing that we can be complete strangers at their family parties, but feel so close at the same time. The gospel unifies all of us! That night our bishop put on a huuuuuge fireworks show in his backyard with half the ward there. It was crazy! He asked me to say a prayer before we started and ask for a blessing of safety. It was probably a good thing that we did, some of the fireworks missfired right into the crowd and exploded against the side of the house. It was like a warzone haha. The fireworks were massive, I'd never seen a show like that in Arizona. All around the horizon as we drove home we could see people shooting off their own giant fireworks in their yards. It was awesome!
Posted by Elder Taylor Hakes at 10:21 PM