Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Message from the Flat Lands


     Yet another week down, time marches on so quickly. This week I was jotting things down throughout the week so I could remember what the heck I wanted to email about! The days all mush together in my brain and I forget all the cool things that happen!

     Last Monday on preparation day I finally got to play some ball with other elders. We found out there is a big group that plays in the Tulsa East building in the mornings, which was only about 15 minutes away and didn't eat up too many of our miles. It was so fun. Great exercise too, I felt way out of shape. There were probably about 13 other elders there which is less than they usually get. We also used a members infrared sauna in the afternoon haha it was pretty sweet. It got up to 140F, I was sweating bucket loads. Which I guess is the point. Pretty relaxing afternoon! Wednesday was our last district meeting before transfers, and the first one that the zone leaders actually showed up to because I guess their busy doing zone leadery stuff. So there were 6 of us there instead of 4 which was an improvement haha. We also went on exchanges that day, so I went back to Claremore with Elder Cluff (one of the zone leaders) for the day. It was great! It was a good experience to get out and see how another area is operating, and I learned a lot of good stuff from Elder Cluff. He is from Queen Creek, and his companion Elder Allen is from Mesa. Elder Allen says he knows Greg from Mesa High haha! So half our district is from the AZ, which is awesome. Anyway the exchange went well and we taught some really good lessons. I was bummed I won't be able to keep teaching some of the people, they were really cool. I spent that night in Claremore and Elder Durrant came and picked me up Thursday morning. 

     President Shumway is down to 10 weeks left in the mission, and he plans to go out with a bang. During the mini zone conferences two weeks ago he got our ideas on new goals we wanted to work on as a mission, and the result is a 10 week goal program that will reaaally stretch our limits and get the momentum going for the new mission president! For example, one of the weeks our goal is to double the standard of excellence in our area, which is 20 lessons taught, 12 with members present, 1 investigator at church, and 2 new investigators. When doubled that's obviously 40, 24, 2 and 4. But, we're in a two area assignment and so we have to double it again, which is 80 lessons taught, 48 with members present, 4 investigators at church and 8 new investigators. I think if we did that we would have higher numbers than our district combined haha. Talk about a huge goal... But it will stretch our growth whether we hit it or not so it'll be good!

     Saturday was my birthday? I guess I'm 21 now, that's weird. It was a great day though, Elder Durrant made me a tasty crepe breakfast. My birthday package was perfect!! Thanks so much, everything in there was awesome, even my nutritious tubsy wubsy diet shakes.. I loved my gifts, mom the watch is perfect! It's super classy, I definitely needed it thank you so much. The tie tack was perfect too, I was actually looking for one. Table billiards is funny haha the little pool queues are like chop sticks. In the afternoon we went to mow an investigators lawn, she and her kids made me a birthday cake and fed us wings! It was a party. Her daughter put a frosting cross on the cake because we are Christian, I just had to laugh. It was a tasty graven-image strawberry cake hahaha. So that was fun! The rest of the day went well, and the Kress's had their baptismal interview that evening. He came out happier than I have ever seen him! We also had transfer calls that night, surprise, we're not getting transferred. Chances were reeaally slim we would move, with me in training and it being Elder Durrant's last transfer.

     I also started writing down some of the miracles I see all the time. On Thursday morning I ended up studying some scriptures on the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, I don't really remember why but it seemed really interesting at the time. So I read some chapters about it in the new testament rather than continue in my Book of Mormon reading. Later that day our ward mission leader took us to meet a really interesting investigator who hadn't had the lessons in about a year. He is a youth minister at the Church of Christ. Doesn't sound like somebody who would enjoy a visit from the missionaries, right? Wrong, he was so glad we were there. He's got a young family and has been a paid minister for like 20 years. He is really humble though, and said he honestly can't claim he has all the truth that is out there, and if there is more then he needs to hear about it because the salvation of his family is at stake. He and his wife had printed out PDF copies of the Book of Mormon in huge 6 inch binders that looked almost like the golden plates haha. They ordered them so that they could study it and take notes in the huge margins. They are scriptorian wizards. Almost to their detriment honestly, they pick apart a verse until it's bereft of meaning and spiritual value haha. But they are eager to take the lessons again, he's actually read the whole Book of Mormon before. The problem is they don't know what the Holy Ghost is. They don't believe they can feel it, or that it can answer their prayers. It kind of blew my mind. They read about it in the Bible but almost believe it was just a specific gift for a few people who received it, I'm not even sure. If we can get that link between their Father in Heaven opened up they will absorb everything. Anyway, miraculously the very verses they referrenced in regards to the Holy Ghost in the new testament were the very verses I had not so randomly studied that morning. I was able to discuss it with them, and help them understand some things they just weren't seeing. Had I not read in Acts 2 or Acts 8 or John 14 I probably wouldn't have really known what they were talking about. It was neat! The Spirit told me exactly what they needed to learn before I even met them. And I didn't know it at the time. It's small things like that where I can really see the Lord's hand in His work. Anyway I'm so excited to keep teaching them. I testified of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that they could receive it and all of its blessings if they were to have faith and be baptized. He said he would commit to being baptized if he came to know the things we teach are true. Which is pretty incredible, considering that would put him out of work as a minister. I hope and pray the Lord will work it out for them!

     Well that's my week. Hope everyone is doing well! Repent and read your scriptures everyday! Alma 13:27-29 has been my favorite verse this week.
Elder Hakes

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