Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gitter Duuun 10/26/15

Howdy from podunk Cleveland!

My address is 823 W Caddo St #1
Cleveland, OK 74020

Life is so good out here! Transfers went so well and the transition into Cleveland with Elder Thurgood has been great! I can't believe I'm starting my 3rd area. It's been soo fun so far! I wish I had time to type tons of details but the library has a time limit. I had a bittersweet time saying goodbye to my friends and family in Nixa. I'll miss them! But good news, they rearranged the district that Cleveland is in and now its in the same district as my first area, Owasso!!! I am the district leader which means I will get to go on exchanges in Owasso and see my old wards and all the people I miss!! Also, Marla Atkison whom we baptized way back in May, her husband is being baptized on the 7th of next month! Literal miracle!! So I'll get to go to that, so excited. But enough about my old area, this new one is exploding. Cleveland is a tiny place with several even smaller surrounding cities which all lie within our huuuge ward boundaries. Bishop Southward is Elder Southward, our area authority 70's, son. And he is remarkable. I can't even believe the level of missionary work and culture that he has built in his ward in the short 1 year that he has been bishop here. First night here he took us out to teach and visit people, which is already more than my last bishop did in 3 months hahaha. He cares so much about the people in his ward. I've literally talked to him every day since being here, and every time he has told us, "hey I went out and met a new part-member family, and 5 of them want to take the lessons." He's setting up so many discussions for us and truly doing the finding. It's incredible! It's the ideal missionary model! The other week they had 27 investgators at church!! That's more than I've had my whole mission combined! Sunday we had 9 investigators there, he had asked me to give a talk which I was incredibly grateful for because it is the best way to introduce myself and bear testimony to the ward, and when I sat down he handed me a program with "9 investigators here today! I'll introduce them to you afterward." written on it. Music to my missionary ears. I'm flabbergasted. It's been so fun! So we have tons of people to teach and several preparing for baptism and that's everything that makes missionary work fun! I am so blessed to be here right now. My companion is from Elk Ridge Utah and is another young buck just outta high school. He's hilarious and simple and loves hunting more than pretty much anything. Today I asked him how to spell his first name, McKay or Mckay? He said, "I don't know, I'm not one of those grammar dudes, I just focus on the duck hunting aspect of everything." Hahaha. I was like cmon dude it's your own name!! He's always smiling and he's a sweet guy. We've had fun together barbequeing on our porch and we have plans to trap and squirrel outside our apartment and have a recent convert of ours cook it up for us haha. Today we are going fishing in a pond by bishops house and I hope I catch a giant catfish. We get to go to the Oklahoma City temple this weekend with recent converts too!! Life can't get better right now. Gotta go! Love ya'll. And I can't believe Brent is engaged?!?!?! My goodness. That's way exciting. Can't wait to meet the lucky girl in 17 months haha. How it Weston doing? Email me, my long lost buddy!

Elder T. Hakes

Journeying West 10/18/15

Hey waddup!

It's been a crazy week around here. Last Monday we hung out with President and Sister Loveland at Bass Pro which was fun! Later we bought footy PJs with the Southern Hills elders because, well because they're footy PJs and everybody needs a pair. Mine's Darth Vader :) Check out the attached pics!

First off, my companion and trainee Elder Davidson went home. Super unexpected. He had told me last week that it might happen, he brought some things up to president that he thought might result in going home. President called on Tuesday and said that he was going, and they sent a senior missionary couple to pick him up that afternoon. It was really sad.. It was kind of an emotional day, we went out and worked a bit after he got packed. We were talking about it and he said, "It's going to be harder for me to leave you guys, leave this mission, than it was for me to leave home." Broke my heart. I'm gonna miss him, but he plans on working through whatever he's got going on and coming back. No idea when that might be. So that was kind of a challenge.
I picked up Elder Hardy as my new companion, he came over from a neighboring area which had 3 missionaries in a companionship so it worked out easy. He came out the same time as Elder Davidson and I finished doing the last week of his 12 training program with him. He's a great kid, super honest and diligent and hard working. We've gotten along great and done some good work. We spent a major portion of the week visiting people we don't know on our ward roster and giving them fliers to the open house for our new church building. We found some new potential investigators among the less actives and part members that we met! Others just shut the door or told us they left the church when they were like 12 haha. People don't understand that they are still members of Christ's church. They have still made covenants at baptism with God. You can't nullify that contract. I want to help people remember their covenants as much as I wan to help others receive them! We've also been running in the mornings and it feels great to get some regular exercise again. My shins are developing really bad shin splints again though so that is incredibly frustrating and painful.

Friday night we went to our investigator Misael's football game! They got stomped by Republic, but it was fun to be there. We sat with a bunch of members and the bishop and watched their kids perform in the band.
On Saturday Sister Fowler from our mission office came up to Nixa to bring us a bunch of supplies for the open house and help us set them up. We had a "VIP" tour that day where they invited the press and local political leaders and whoever else to come check out the building. Two people showed up from KOLR 10 news haha. But hey I might have been on tv! Yesterday at church was our primary program which was awesome, but I accidentally rubbed my contact lens into my eyeball while crying and it got lost behind my eye for the rest of church and I could not for the life of me get it out haha. I finally found the stupid thing a couple hours later and put it in its proper place. After church was the open house! It kind of tanked though... There really were like no nonmembers there. Several people brought friends but that was about it. I half expected it to happen. We gave away essentially no material and didn't really teach anyone about our faith. Woo hoo! Hopefully those who came at least felt the spirit or walked away with a better understanding of us crazy Mormons.
So Saturday was also transfer calls.... and I'm going back to Oklahoma!! I'll be serving in Cleveland, OK. It's really close to my first area and in the same zone :) So I feel like I know it pretty well already! I'll be district leader there and my new companion is Elder Thurgood, who just finished being trained this transfer and has been out about 3 months. Hope he's cool! I'm pumped to start a new area again, and from rumors I've heard the work is really happening out there, I guess they had 20 something investigators at church recently. That's unheard of. Wonder if it was a fluke haha! I hope I don't get in there and slow the work down! I'm ready to start fresh and work even harder. Nixa has been good to me, but its also been a big challenge in a lot of ways. I know for sure the Lord was teaching me (or trying) and preparing me for trials and experiences to come. I can honestly say I am grateful for the trials I have faced here, they have begun to hammer me into the shape God would have me be. The hammer hurts sometimes, but man do you look good when he's through. Heavenly Father is the best artist, after all. I love this work and I'm glad He had called me to it despite my woeful imperfections. His mercy never ends! Till next week from my homeland Oklahoma!

Elder T. Hakes

Laying Bricks. (metaphorical gospel bricks and literal cement bricks) 10/12/15

Hey Guys =)

It's been yet another great week here in the ABM. Wednesday I went on exchanges with the Chesterfield and Republic areas and had a great time! I love getting out of my bubble and working in another area. Meeting new people and getting a fresh view on the work! Perks of district leading. We met two single moms in the complex where the elders live and taught them about the restoration and shared Elder Holland's talk about mothers from this conference. They really seemed to like it and it! There is a trio of elders in that area so I was with Elders Naef and Hardy, it was odd being with two others! It felt like we were a little crammed in people's doorways and we took up too much space in people's living rooms haha. Thursday we helped the Brandhorst family move out of our ward and into Republic ward. Becca is kinda less active and her goofy husband Greg is not a member, but they're great people and we're gonna missem! They moved into a third story apartment.... it was so much work to get all there junk up there. Thursday we also drove down to Branson to have lunch with the other half of our zone for Elder Dye's birthday and we played some basketball in a ghetto park! It was one of the most fun games I have played out here. Saturday we helped the Canes in our ward continue their house rennovations and landscaping, we built a retaining wall in their front yard and they took us to a local Mexican place called Purple Burrito for lunch. So good. We also had a great lesson with the Young family who is less active because she works most Sundays, but their 3 daughters Emma Allie and Ella are adorable and came to church this Sunday for the first time since we have been here woo hoo!! I showed them some origami (thanks for the paper mom) and now they regard me as a wizard. We also had some good doorstep lessons this week with some new potential investigators we have found!! We contacted a referral that a priest in the ward gave us, and he was interested in learning more and had some questions! Also, I don't think I told you, but last week as we left Bob Palmer's (a homebound man in our ward) I saw a guy sitting on the sidewalk outside his apartment smoking. I felt very strongly that I needed to give him a book for some reason. I mean, I give books to most people, but I just KNEW that I had to give him one. We had a good conversation with him and left him with the Book and he said he'd be interested to read it. We stopped by again this week and met his girlfriend who was also very friendly and pretty interested in what we had to say. We taught her about the restoration, gave her a pamphlet and she said she'd like us to come back! We got her phone number too, which is a pretty good indicator of people's sincerity. I've found if they actually give you contact information they're typically not just acting interested to get you off their porch. So hopefully we can keep teaching them :) Sunday was a surprise, President Loveland called and wanted to go work with us in our area after church. We walked out of elder's quorum and he was standing there in the hallway with Sister Loveland! They went to a stake conference in Springfield that morning. President brought his 15 year old son Neil and I went with him to work and President went with Elder Davidson. We spent the afternoon contacting inactive members and giving them fliers to the open house for our new church building this coming Sunday!! Its going to be a great missionary opportunity, we've invited the surrounding communities around the building to come check it out. We hope people come! Today we went to Bass Pro Shops with the Lovelands and most of our zone. This Bass Pro is the biggest in the world and also their headquarters or something. You think Bass Pro in Arizona is cool? This place was basically a zoo and a museum and a park all rolled into one. They have live alligators inside, and a gun and archery hall of fame and we ate lunch at a fancy restaurant upstairs. It was fun! This Saturday we will get transfer calls and find out who's staying and who's going. Hope I go! I could use a change of pace! But staying will be fine, there's great people here and the work is picking up a bit. Stay tuned!!

Elder Hakes

Monday, October 12, 2015

My favorite meal!! Chiggin n waffles with tomato avocado siracha mayo and syrup :) Don't knock it till you try it.

Biking exchange! #realmissionary
Fun times at the good ole Springfield dump

A Week in the Life 10/5/15

Hey Friends :)

I love you all. If there is something I took away from conference, it's that I need to go back to the simple gospel roots :) Being a missionary can be daunting and complicated, but living the gospel should be simple and enjoyable just like our friend Elder Uchtdorf reminded us :) I also need to have more love, and see others through our Eternal Parent's eyes! I hope you all walked away enlightened and empowered, I know I did. It was awesome to witness the calling of 3 new apostles as well. I go out and testify every day of the calling of these men, so it was quite reassuring to hear them give me some advice :) We watched the sessions with several different member families and one at our new church building. It was great! My favorite was either priesthood session, because I love Elder Eyring with a nostalgic passion, or Sunday afternoon, there was just one fantastic address after another! President Monson scared me with his drooping and whispering, I thought I was about to witness something terrible. I love that man. Let's all pray for him. I can testify through the Holy Ghost along with those who declared it in the conference, that I do indeed know President Monson is the Lord's chosen mouthpiece and keyholder on this earth. What a privilege to live and labor alongside this man.

Well things have taken a nice turn around here this week! Literally as soon as October 1st hit, the weather dropped 20 degrees. It was weird. And appreciated! It's been cool 60s and cloudy lately. Fall is definitely in the air and suit coat season is upon us. We'll be locked in jackets until next conference! But no big complaints, its chilly. Pumpkin products fill the stores and our meals and its cool. I love this time of year so much. This week we set a baptismal date with our friend Misael Garcia whom we've been teaching! It's the first date we've had in this area woo! It's very tentative, but we pray and hope :) He's a quiet kid and I can hardly know how he feels half the time. Other than that things are about the same around here. Oh, we had goal to give out at least 3 books a day this week and it was fun, it made the work more enjoyable and meaningful when I view the success of handing out books rather than constantly not finding people to teach haha. Here are some of the names of the people whom we gave books to this week: Dianna, Richard, Rob, Jannett, Michael, Blevins, Diana and Hadley Fisher, Sonja, Dave, Ashton. Look at all that success! Look at all those people who now have in their homes the most important record on the planet! Seeds planted. It's all about perspective folks :)

Well, I love ya and hope you know how strongly I believe in this gospel. It's quite real.

Elder Hakes