Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Onward and Upward


     Here I sit in my apartment office center yet again, trying to recap 178 hours of gospel adventures in one short email. The struggle.

     This week was full. We had a ton of great times!! And some frustration. But that's life, baby. I'll work backwards. Yesterday was a blast, we were invited by an awesome family in the ward to spend Memorial Day with them at their parent's ranch in Skiatook. We had a great time enjoying some pristine weather and amazing scenery. Don't worry, pictures will uphold these claims. We fed some horses and ate some burgers and played some football and shot some homemade rockets and went fishing and played cards! Can it get any better? Unfortunately, despite all of my big talk, my companion out-fished me with 5 fish to 4. But I think mine were bigger. It was so nice to get out and enjoy God's creation, I consider that about as righteous a cause as any haha. This is a beautiful state, the greenery is amazing. It's been raining buckets too! We also had the unique and random opportunity to set up for a spur of the moment wedding that morning. The Elm Creek Sisters in our district have been teaching a couple that cannot be baptized until they either stop living together or get married. So they finally decided like 2 days ago to get married. Haha they called us and needed our help clearing out this gorgeous little secluded grove where the decided to hold the ceremony. I didn't have my camera and we left before they started the wedding, but I'll get some pictures from the sisters sometime. This weekend was incredible, we baptized Marla and it was such a spiritual experience. She's been meeting with the missionaries for a year and we watched it all come together for her. We were teaching her a couple of weeks ago and she was telling us how blessed she is by God, and how this last year has been awesome for her. She's gotten her dream car, and new job and a raise, and lots of other great blessings and mercies in the last year. We found it no coincidence that all these things started coming about as she learned about the gospel and started reading and coming to church. When it suddenly hit her that these blessings were the answer she has been looking for, our lessons changed. And she was so ready to be baptized. It was a miracle! Her husband came to her baptism which was so awesome, he isn't willing to meet with us but is a pretty friendly guy. And then he came to church on Sunday for her confirmation! We could tell how it affected him, this may have been the softening he needed. More miracles. I was able to confirm Marla a member of the church on Sunday and confer upon her the Holy Ghost. It was such a sweet opportunity. We love her!

     Friday we had zone training in Barttlesville with President and Sister Shumway. It was great, they're amazing and we love em so much. Its an uplifting experience to gather with our fellow laborers in the zone and feel motivated together! It was the Shumway's last zone training and personal interviews ever :( Elder Durrant and I were the last companionship to ever to interviewed by President Shumway at zone training. We talked a lot about the 10 week goals we've been working on and the incredible miracles that are happening all over the mission. We have broken a mission record almost every week, and those records were all set with around 80 more missionaries than we have in the mission now. Thought the workforce has decreased, the Lord revealed to President Shumway that the work would only increase, and we are seeing it happen. A marvelous work and a wonder indeed! The rest of this week was ups and downs as we worked to find and teach. It's been frustrating lately to set up appointments with people, they're all too busy or preoccupied to make us a priority. But we've been striving to do what we can. Elder Durrant and I have discovered a sleeping dragon within ourselves and made the best Chinese food in the western hemisphere. I found out I am a master fried chicken artist and he made some homemade sweet and sour sauce and the result was glorious to behold. It was honestly really good haha. We cook well when we have the time for it.

     Well that's about it for the week. The Lord loves us and does all he can to help us when we let Him. Here's a scripture that struck me pretty hard this week. Alma 37:44-47:

44. For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point you to a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass (being the Liahona), which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.

45. And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.

46. O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so it was with our fathers; for so it was prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look, we may live forever.

47. And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.

     Not only was Alma a Prophet, Warrior, High Priest, and Father, he was a blessed Poet! I know his words to be true, and I hope that we can all look to our God and live. Love you all!

Elder Hakes

Oklahoma Tulsa Mission

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