Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 6, 15

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!
I'm incredibly grateful for the chance that we have to choose. The freedoms in our great nation that allow us to worship how we please are among the greatest blessings we have been given! While the state of our country seems to be declining fast, we indeed have much to be grateful for. We have more liberty than has previously existed on the planet! We need to use it to be forceful influences in the kingdom of God. Our gift of free agency from the Father is among the greatest of blessings that he has ever bestowed upon us. Do we want to experience joy? Do we want to be with our families forever? Do we want to return to our Father in Heaven? Do we want to inherit all that he has? Then all we have to do is choose so. The worth of a soul is it's capacity to become even as God is. The only thing hindering us is our decisions!! It is freely given to all to partake of salvation. 2 Nephi 2:27 says, "Wherefore men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are FREE TO CHOOSE liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or TO CHOOSE captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." Do not let Satan blind you and bind you. Recognize that you are the master of your fate. Shake of the chains and rise up to a greater plane! Through our Savior Jesus Christ, we may become perfected. Those aren't just nice things to say, they are real! I know that His grace is sufficient.
This week we are going to the temple.... two days in a row!!! We have recent converts in both wards that will be going. I cannot wait, there is no place on earth like the House of the Lord. Friday and Saturday we will be spending a lot of time teaching and guiding them as they perform baptisms for the dead. It's truly a miraculous work to be involved in.
I'm so excited for all the incredible things happening in the family. Congrats to Heather and Tanner!!! Love you guys. I can't believe Brent is home and Weston will be home Saturday and Greg has a little baby and Hannah is going to college and Ryan is going on his mission! We're all so old. I love my family more than anything, it's a blessing. Love you, until next week!

Elder Hakes

No comments:

Post a Comment