Monday, March 30, 2015

MTC - First Solid Week! 3/20/15

Hey everyone!

     Life here at the MTC is moving so fast. My companion and I swear that they somehow change our clocks to make us think only a day has gone by when its actually been a week! All the days blend together, I can't tell them apart.. time is weird here. But its so good. We are learning sooo much and studying soooo much and practicing sooo much, I can't wait to get out into the field. I only have about 5 whole days left here before we fly out to Oklahoma! We did an in-field orientation yesterday to learn and practice some goal setting, working with members, finding people to teach and that kind of stuff that they don't really teach here. We mostly spend time learning how to be effective teachers and focus on the needs of our investigators. We have been teaching 3 different people in the TRC, which is the teaching resource center, this whole week. We teach all 3 of them one by one each night, and tonight is our last lesson with them. It is a role play, but its pretty real feeling and they've actually had a lot of baptisms result from non members volunteering to be taught here haha. Our investigators are all pretty awesome and we need very different teaching approaches for each of them. Our first investigator is a sweet Chinese girl who is spending her first semester in the states at BYU. She is Bhuddist! Teaching about the concept of God as our literal Father in Heaven and creator of everything is interesting. We have been teaching her the plan of salvation and she loves it, it answers so many questions and uncertainties that she's had because Bhuddism really doesn't answer any of them haha. Beauty of the gospel folks, answers to life's greatest questions. So that has been a sweet experience, and yesterday we got her to pray for us. We taught her about Jesus Christ and His central role in the Plan and sacrifice for us. We asked her how knowing about Christ's love and Atonement makes her feel, and she just said "I want to thank Him". So she prayed for the first time out loud, just to thank God for her life and for sending His Son. It was beautiful. Our second investigator is a South African girl named Tayla. (Ya I know, so cool) She is also a BYU student and she is a fireball of questions and religious doctrinal knowledge. She really pushes our knowledge to the limit to be able to satisfy her about our beliefs. We have been teaching her about the restoration. One of her first questions for us was, "if Christ actually has a church, why doesn't he claim any of these Christian churches as His?" As you can guess we were pretty excited to share that he not only claimed a church, but restored His own as in the days of his ministry on earth. She prayed yesterday for us as well, but she did it in her native language of Afrikans (is that right?) so we had no idea what she was saying hahaha. But it sounded to sincere, and she wants to know if these things are true. Good progress. Our last appointment of the day is an old man named Arnold. He is the coolest, wisest, most story telling grandpa figure you can imagine (other than you Grandpa Hakes, of course). He talks sooo much, and sometimes we have a hard time getting a lesson in. An incredible thing that happened with him was as we were studying to know what to teach him, before we even met him, I felt so strongly that he needed to learn about prayer. I was prompted to find powerful scriptures to testify of the importance and power of prayer. As we sat down to talk to him on Monday night for the first time, we quickly learned that there was one thing this man would not do: pray to Heavenly Father. He lost his wife years ago to cancer, and prayed his heart out during the time, and still lost her. He's been bitter ever since and feels like he doesn't want to talk to God if He's not going to help him out. Crazy right? So we were incredibly prepared to hammer him on prayer, and why he needs it. He didn't pray for us that night, but he almost did. He prayed for the first time by himself after our lesson Wednesday night, and yesterday when we met with him we got him to say the closing prayer. It was pretty great. 2 Nephi 31:8-9 got him to pray. (I think thats the right scripture). Anyway, it was incredible to receive revelation for a man I had never met before. It shows me that the Spirit knows exactly what people need to hear, how we should teach it, and that He will tell that to us if we study, pray and qualify for the spirit! So we've learned a lot from these experiences. I can't wait to apply them in the field. Soon enough!! OH, i saw Jamie a couple times haha its awesome to see her, and awkward to try and not hug her so we don't freak everyone out haha. I've taken lots of good pictures, I'll have to run and grab my camera real fast to send them over.

     Life is good! The work is great! I love being a part of it. The Lord sanctifies me in ways that are quit miraculous as I commit myself to His purpose. I'm having lots of fun, and I'm tired a lot. One of my teachers said there's nothing better than hard earned exhaustion at the end of the day! Love you all, send me more letters!!

Elder Hakes

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