Monday, June 29, 2015


What is up!

I have so much to say, mostly I will attach a bunch of pictures because they are worth a thousand words.
Elder Murdock is awesome. We get along so well and work great together. He is a great missionary and is teaching me a lot! The kids we were preparing for baptism last weekend weren't quite ready, but we hope they will be ready this weekend! And their dad will most likely be the one bapising them :) The parents have been less active for years, but we finally got ahold of his records and found out that he is an elder, so he can definitely baptise them! They seem grateful that they have started to become active in the gospel again! We are working with our wonderful recent converts the Kress's, Marla Atkison, and Dixie Acord. They're all doing so well and progessing quickly in the gospel. The Kress's will be going to the temple to do baptisms July 10th! We we get to go with them, we can't wait. They also received their patriarchal blessings this week and were sooo happy. I have such a testimony of the healing power of the atonement and the growth and structure of living by gospel principles. It is so real. God knows what he's talking about, believe it or not. Other than that we have been teaching some great active member lessons and trying to get the members involved, and spending time trying to contact less actives and unknown names on the ward roster. We had a funny experience trying to contact a referral we were given the other day. We saw him outside washing his car with his kid and so we drove down the street and parked where they couldn't see us and got out and started walking toward the house. Right as we approached him, his neighbor across the street called out and started talking to him. Not wanting to make it seem like we were hunting him down specifically, we couldn't really interrupt his conversation or stand there and wait for him to be done, so we smiled and just kept on walking hahaha. We knocked a couple of doors next to him and started working our way back down to his house, but ended up meeting a really nice baptist couple in the their garage and talking with them for a good chunk of time until we had to leave for dinner. We never got to see the guy we were there for, but maybe we were supposed to talk to his neighbor all along!
On Sunday we went to First Christian Church with Michael Hallock whom we've been teaching. He wanted us to come check it out, his parents won't really let him come to our church on Sundays. What an experience. It blew my mind. I could not believe what I was seeing! It was my first time ever going to another church service. If you can even call it that! The building was huuuge and brand new and really nice. We sat in an auditorium with comfy pews and listened to a jamming rock band for the first 30 minutes of the service. They just sang about Jesus and grace and the atonement. The music was actually really good haha! But you know there's a problem if you feel like you can't even keep the Sabbath day holy at this "church". After the band jammed on and people sang along and raised their hands and praised God and whatnot, there was a baptism of a young girl in the font on the side of the stage. It was kind of weird, everyone was wearing just your everday clothes, and even the guy baptising her was just in jeans and a shirt. It looked way out of place in a font. He had her repeat some stuff, then put his hand on her face and dunked her backwards, but she honestly only went in about halfway and her arms were sticking out of the water. While everyone clapped and cheered, Elder Murdock leaned over and said, "if I was witnessing that baptism, they'd be doing it agian." Haha it was all just so different. And REALLY irreverent. I felt like Alma witnessing the Zoramites worship in chapter 31:19 "Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure." The pastor/preacher guy then talked about some bible stories about Christ. Their bible is some "new international version" which has been "translated" by a bunch of scholars in to modern language. It takes essentially all of the meaning out of it. The preface to the book basically said, "this book was written by men". It's unreal! It made me really sad. I felt an overwhelming compassion for all of those people. I wanted them to know the gospel so badly. They come and they rock out and they sing, but they don't really believe in anything. I wish they could truly know of Christ. I was tempted to get up on stage with the pastor and just tell them all that Jesus Christ has visited earth again, alongside God the Father, to establish His church, His way. And His way is Joy. I've never felt so blessed having been born into this church, and simply knowing the things that I know. I've never had to wonder in my life about all of the things that people question every day! The Church of Jesus Christ if Latter Day Saints is not showy. It's not loud, it's not big, and it's not expensive. It is a humble building, filled with honest people, filled with the priesthood of God, and His Holy Spirit. Within our walls is truly a Pearl of Great Price, and the truths of eternity are taught by simple children, and loving families. Oh how great our blessings as Saints of Christ! Oh how great our calling among our brethren who know not the truth!
I'm grateful to be called of God to bring this truth to those who will hear it. This week the mission is changing over, and President Shumway will be going home to be replaced by President Loveland. I can't wait to meet him and welcome him to the ABM! We have a zone conference with him on Thursday. Until next week :) I love ya.
Elder HakesThe Last Week of the Oklahoma Tulsa MissionThe First Week of the Arkansas Bentonville Mission

Monday, June 15, 2015


Dixie's Baptism
 Our zone!

 Durrant decorated his planner.. as he dies I am born anew in the ashes!

Transfers and Baptism


Sorry I wasn't able to send a real email out last week, our stupid office computers have been on the fritz. I feel like a ton has happened in the last two weeks, I'll try to remember it all!

So transfers is coming up this Thursday. My companion and trainer Elder Durrant will be flying home to Wyoming :( It's the most bitter sweet time ever. I'm gonna miss him a ton, he's taught me a lot! We've had so many good times over the last 3 months, he's a great guy. I am staying here in Owasso and my new companion will be Elder Murdock! He actually just finished training my MTC companion Elder Barton in Bentonville, AK. Poor guy is getting two newbies in a row haha. But I think I've come a long way in the last two transfers! We've come to love the people here so much. The wards feel like home. I'm glad I get to stick around with them a little longer. Everyone keeps telling me that once I'm done with training the mission will fly by even faster. I'm not sure if that's possible honestly.

This last weekend was miraculous and full of blessings! Saturday was Dixie Acord's baptism, and it was beautiful! She wanted the first missionaries who started teaching her, Elders Reynolds and Baxter, to drive out and baptize her. It was a cool reunion for them! She had some family there who were not members and I think it was a great experience for them too. This whole week we have been in finding mode, looking for people who are prepared to be taught. So far we have had essentially no success, but Saturday our prayers were answered. Dixie's boyfriend Michael was at her baptism and it had a major impact on him. He asked us a ton of questions and said he felt so comfortable here. So we taught him a little bit that night and gave him a Book of Mormon. He had read Moroni 10 and texted us about it before we even got home. He's really eager to learn. He came to church with the Acord's on Sunday for Dixie's confirmation and he loved it. We taught him the restoration that night at the Acord's house and he accepted to be baptized. It happens that fast when people are prepared! We are excited to teach him the rest of the lessons and watch him progress. He's 18 and his parents are okay with it, but they made it pretty clear to him that they have a church and don't want us coming to try and convert them. We'll see ;) Haha.

Friday we went on exchanges with the Assistants to the President, Elders Morris and Smith. They are both super cool and really hard working missionaries. Elder Smith and I spent a couple of hours trying to contact some former investigators that had been dropped like a year ago for various reasons. It was funny because he served in this area around the time these people were being taught and knew most of them. But we weren't able to contact the majority of them, either they had moved or didn't want to see us anymore haha. But we did give a Book of Mormon to this pothead named Kefir. I think he might actually read it. It was neat to get to see how Elder Smith does things, I learned a lot from him. Last Moday we went bowling with our little zone and President and Sister Shumway! They said they have never actually done anything fun on a P-day because they are always so busy. So they came and spent a couple of hours with us it was fun! Last weekend was stake conference and it was great. We went to Barttlesville Saturday evening for the adult session and they had all the missionaries sing Hark All Ye Nations. We killed it. That Sunday was the general session and we had a couple of investigators there. The talks were all fantastic. It was held in the Owasso High School auditorium which is gigantic. The school looks like a college campus, its brand spanking new. Wednesday the 3rd was my first real zone conference. It was very spiritual and bitter sweet as well, since it was President Shumway's last. But he gave some fantastic instruction and we heard from Elder Southward who is the area authority. Some ward members fed us all lunch and we had a good time.

I think that is the major highlights from the last two weeks or so. The sad thing is that I had to flip through my planner to find all that out because I didn't remember it at all. The days just mush into one big coagulated memory! It has been getting really really hot this last week. The humidity makes being outside a sweaty nightmare, its horrible! I can barely stand it. We've been getting rain the last two days though, thank the heavens. People say it's only going to get worse too :( At least we have a car with AC, I guess I don't have much room to complain. Saturday we found two giant turtles walking around near our complex, and Elder Durrant jumped down into the dam near the pond to catch a baby bass with his bare hands and toss it back into the water haha! Apparently there are a lot of snapping turtles around here and they are kind of aggressive, which is funny because its a turtle. But I picked him up regardless of the hissing and snapping... because its a turtle. They aren't the most agile fighters haha.

Well, the gospel is super true. Every single evidence points to that fact. Especially the witness of the Spirit. The fruits of the gospel are evident in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There is not a brighter, more loving group of people in all the earth! If our investigators would just come to church, they would recognize it. Sabbath attendance has been the key between those who progress and are baptized and those who hit a wall and stop learning. If they could just come to church they would see! It's a marvelous privilege to be apart of the hastening of the work in this dispensation. The Lord is hastening it, not us. Miracles are happening all around us as we strive to pave the way for our Savior's glorious return. There is sure lot of work to be done! But I don't think there is a more rewarding work to be involved in.

Till next week!

Elder Hakes​

Jun 2

 Moose, the big black dog.
 Elder Durant cruising on a members long board.
 I make it look easy right.
We played ultimate frisbee on Pday in Tulsa with a bunch of elders in Riverside park, it was gorgeous!

Life's Neat. Jun 2

I apologize for the delayed email, the internet was down in our apartment business center all yesterday and our library cards expired because we forgot to bring them proof of address haha. But we got it sorted out. Unfortunately I don't have any time though, we have to go teach a lesson here in a few minutes! But this last week was great... well at least I think it was, I can't really remember! Haha we're working hard and seeing the Lord's blessings. Time is flying. I'm growing! We went on exchanges with the zone leaders last Wednesday after district meeting and it was pretty sweet. This time I stayed in Owasso with Elder Merryweather while Elder Durrant went to Claremore with Elder Cluff. I had like 6 appointments set up for the day and it was going to be great, but all of them but one canceled. Ugh it was super frustrating. So we spent time trying to visit people we haven't been able to get ahold of, but after like 5 stops we still hadn't seen anyone. Frustrating! So we tracted till dinner and met a cool guy who said he had been to our church before. Maybe we'll get something out of it. Last week we also started teaching an inactive family who moved into the ward about a year ago. They have two kids who are 8 and 11 years old who don't know anything about the gospel. But we've started teaching them and they are progressing toward baptism on the 27th this month! They're great kids, the older girl is very active in the lessons and even wrote down a ton of words that she didn't know from her Book of Mormon reading during the week so we could help her with them. It's been fun teaching a new family. We're always looking for new people to teach, and it's been rough going trying to find some lately. This week the mission goal is to tract for a full hour a day and get at least 5 OTM's ("open thy mouth"s and randomly tell people about the gospel) in a day. We pray we can find those who are prepared to be taught! Elder Durrant is getting ready to go home in 2 weeks. I'm really, really bummed. But I'm also stoked to take on the next chapter in my mission! Will I stay in Owasso? I hope so. I love the people here. Tomorrow is the last zone conference of the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission. Then President Shumway goes home and President Loveland enters to open the Arkansas Bentonville Mission with us. I love the OTM, I'll always be an Oklahoma Tulsa Missionary!

Elder Hakes