Sunday, October 2, 2016

4/25/16 Substantialicious

Last Monday our trip to Ha Ha Tonka was beautiful. Its a state park with pretty hikes and a hilltop castle ruin that some guy built a long time ago. We drove out there with Elder and Sister Gines the senior military relations missionaries on base and met up with most of the zone. It was good to get outdoors!

Our week was filled with the same schedule day in and day out, they all blend and blur and each night when I lay down it all fades into some wild dreams. It's the good life lemme tell ya! Highlight was Tyler Broadway's baptism Saturday evening, it went wonderfully and he is such a good kid with an honest heart. I was so impressed by him Sunday for his confirmation, he worked a night shift from 12-8 that morning and was still dressed and in sacrament meeting. Elder Horsley was asked to give a talk that day, and I found out when I got there that they put my name in the program too for some reason sooo I delivered a fantastic zero prep talk for 15 minutes haha. But I could talk about the gospel for hours, if I ever had to filibuster in court I probably wouldn't run out of things to say haha. It's incredible how the Spirit fills us and draws from our pool of studies and experiences in life to piece together coherent thoughts about the gospel subject at hand. We also helped ordain Tyler and a deacon to the priesthood that day, as well as performed for the Primary dressed up as Peter and John. It was a full day at church. The ward loves us and we love them. There are some great families here!

Well, I don't have a lot to report! It's getting hot around here. :( We should have some more baptisms coming up this next month woo hoo!

My birthday is a week from today, and it's cool to think that I've spent my entire 21st year in the service of others. Every waking moment. That's an experience I'd recommend to anyone. I've found internal healing as I've looked outside myself. Christ's promise has been fulfilled: I've found my life as I've lost it for his sake.

Love you all!

Elder Hakes

4/18/16 Expect the Unexpected....Windows can crash in at any time!

Hey guys!

Things were great this last week. Transfers went well and it was sad to see some in our zone go, but exciting to get a lot of new blood. I feel good about this transfer, we've got good things happening in our area and in the rest of the zone. When president said he needed "some fire" in the St. Robert zone and sent me here, I had no idea how I was supposed to deliver said fire. But as you commit to simply doing the Lord's will to your utmost ability, he magnifies your human efforts and adds the powers and miracles of heaven. That's the truth with some cheese on it!

Two cool stories from this week:
We received a text on our phone from Salt Lake with a referral of someone we needed to go see. We dropped by Wednesday night looking for Tyler Broadway at the address we received and found out he had just move in with his aunt and uncle that day. He's 19 and a great kid from a rough background, he lost his parents and is now living here with relatives. We sat down the next night and found out he's been taking the lessons and going to church since November, and his story is pretty cool. He's deeply converted to the gospel and gave up his old habits at the drop of a hat. He was living in Buffalo Wyoming for a little bit and then in Dallas, and now in Richland Missouri which falls in our area. When I heard he lived in Buffalo for a bit with his sister, I asked if he knew my first companion and trainer, Elder Durrant! He said, "NO WAY I love Hayden! He helped teach me the lessons while I was there!" I couldn't believe it. Durrant and I are still tag-teaming it even though he's been home for like 10 months hahah. Such a small world. So we snapped a pic of us and sent it to Durrant and it blew his mind. But Tyler is going to be baptized this Satruday and its going to be sweet. It's so cool that the Lord put us together.

And another story from last night for you:
We drove to Richland for an appointment with one of our investigators named Mel. We walked up to the door and she had the radio playing suuuper loud and the front window was open with no screen in it, so Elder Horsley climbed through with great stealth and motioned for me to follow so that we could sneak into the kitchen and spook her; don't worry she's super cool. So I whipped my camera from my hip and started filming our stealth mission into her house. I tossed the filming camera inside to Horsley and prepared to make my entry. I was crouched on a wide wooden hand rail on their deck walkway and there was a small gap between it and the open window, so in my mind I planned to spring headfirst through the window and do a ninja-roll onto the living room carpet. I pretty much did that, but my back bumped the bottom of the raised window and dislodged it from the frame, and the whole thing came crashing onto my back as I landed oh so gracefully on the carpet amid a shower of glass. It was not quiet. I lay there stunned, not sure if I had been sliced up or stabbed by the shards or if that had really even just happened! Mel came running into the room and busted up laughing and immediately took out her phone and took a picture of me lying there with the broken window on top of me. Luckily I escaped the chaos with a tiny baby scrape on my arm and just few drops of blood on my shirt. Even more luckily, Elder Horsley caught the whole scene on my camera. He likes showing it to people hahaha. I felt so bad for making such a preventable mistake, I cleaned the mess and vacuumed all the glass bits and apologized over and over. Luckily she and her husband Brenton weren't too upset, when he saw the video he said, "well that's something I would've done!" Haha. Needless to say, I've got a window bill coming up in the near future... But after our brief lesson about repentance (yes, I likened it to shattering someones window and making restitution and never doing it again.....) Mel told us she'd like to be baptized and wants to know what she has to do first. So it worked! :) Major object lesson.

I've gotta go, we're going on a hike at some castle ruins called Ha Ha Tonka, I'll tell you all about it next week!

Much Love and Dishonor to my Family,

Elder T. Hakes

4/11/16 Transfer 10!


We got transfer calls Saturday, I don't even know if I told you they were coming up because I wasn't really concerned. Elder Horsley and I are staying for another go round in the St. Rob! Excited to keep working here.

This week was an interesting one. It was full of triumphs and the Spirit, buuuut really full of tiresome hours, short nights, and a little puking. We had MLC Tuesday in Bentonville and it went great, I was wiped out though, we got up at 3 to drive down there and I could hardly sleep a wink that night, it was odd. So I was pooped, but had a good time. The next day we had to organize and conduct a zone training meeting to relay the princinples we learned in MLC and that kept us up late after our return to the area. The meeting went super good though and the Spirit was there in abundance! Afterward we had exchanges with the Lake Ozark district leader and his companion, they're both way cool and it went great. Thursday morning we caught some fish and Elder and Sister Gines fried them up for us for lunch which was delicious. I started feeling pretty dang sick though, my body ached and I figured it was just crying out from being overworked with little sleep. But into the afternoon it progressed until I yacked at our dinner appointment and spent some time groaning on their couch. Actually, I experienced a small miracle when I was laying on their couch, everyone was eating but I just couldn't handle it, luckily they were happy to let me lay there and recharge. I said a prayer and asked for a little relief, and immediately felt the urge to upchuck. I felt sooo good afterward though! Heavenly Father answers us, even if it means he gives us the urge to throw up. They gave me a blessing and I passed out that night until late the next day. I woke up feeling like a million bucks though, it was miraculous. Sunday we had our baptisms on base at the branch and it was powerful. I'll attach a picture of our little font and the soldiers. We set it up an did it right after sacrament meeting! I think we'll get more baptisms because of the influence it had on others. Sunday was looong afterward though and my creeping sickness returned, sneaky sneaky. So I don't feel great right now, but I've come to really recognize when the Lord is upholding me, and giving me strength beyond my own. I will feel energized and completely fine in a lesson, only to have my aching return as I walk out the door. He doesn't always remove our trials, but he makes them able to bare! His work moves forward. Have a blessed week!

Elder Hakes

4/3/16 Golden Investigator

Hey what's up! Brief updates and mostly pictures today :)

Conference this weekend was awesome, right? I literally seems to go by in a blur, and I look down and I have like 7 pages of notes written and it's already over. How am I supposed to internalize that people? I had a lot of spiritual impressions and was hungry to learn and grow so it was great. I can't wait until the ensign comes out. Major themes this conference seemed to be the Holy Ghost, Temples and family relationships, and the sacrament. They appeared in almost every talk! The Spirit is key to everything in life, one of my favorite teachings from Joseph Smith that Elder Bednar relayed is that "being born-again comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances." He talked about how baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and taking the sacrament are "elements of an inter-related and additive pattern of redemptive progress". Think about it! I think one of the biggest reasons for change on my mission is because I have learned how to approach and draw near to the Lord through the sacrament, thus bringing a change of heart, the greatest miracle that Christ can wrought in our lives. We watched the sessions with several member families, investigators, and recent converts.

Other major update this week is a new golden investigator, her name is Heidy! (pronounced Hay-dee). She is from Honduras and moved from Los Angeles to Missouri a couple of years ago. We received a referral from church headquarters that we should go contact her immediately. Her good friend in LA knew Heidy was going through a divorce and would likely be receptive to the gospel. We knocked on her door and she invited us in, we taught her the restoration and the Spirit filled the room. She's humble, and so eager to follow God, but did not necessarily know the best way to go about it! She will without a doubt have her prayers answered in no time, those who approach God with real intent and faith in Christ have their hearts touched by the Spirit quickly. I am so excited. We taught her again this week and it went wonderfully, we took an RM named Stephanie who speaks Spanish and they clicked so well, and Heidy said the closing prayer for us in Spanish. We stepped outside and Stephanie with a huge smile translated some of her prayer for us: "thank you for sending these people to help me, thank you for the Book of Mormon which is your word." If I could teach people who are hungry for the rest of my life I would. It's finding them that's tricky. I'm grateful for a loving friend in LA who was waiting for the right moment to share the truths that she knows with someone she cares about. Let's all be that friend, because everyone we know will need Christ at some point.

We went fishing again today for p-day, I love fishiing :) It's such a good chance to enjoy this beautiful spring weather that is approaching us.

check out these sunbeams baby
I make a good soldier ya?
Enlisted in God's Army haha a member gave me his old army coat
This is what chuch on base looks like!
Bringin in the baby bass
What are the odds of this turning into a princess? Not good? okay....
check out these sunbeams baby

I make a good soldier ya?

Enlisted in God's Army haha a member gave me his old army coat

This is what church on base looks like!
Bringin in the baby bass

What are the odds of this turning into a princess? Not good? okay....

3/28/16 Things are Just Swell!

3/21/16 This is the Real Deal

3/14/16 A Milestone of Life

Hey Crew!
It's been an eventful week in the dirty rob. Our Mission Leadership Conference in Bentonville was a major turning point in my mission! Which was rather poetic, since last Friday commemorates 1 full year as a dedicated servant of the Lord. I. Learned. So. Much. Spiritually feasted, and I could hardly write fast enough. Wednesday we drove over to Springfield to pick up a sister training leader who was going with us, had lunch at the mongolian grill called Huhot (so good) and drove down to Bentonville Arkansas for exchanges with the assistants. Elder Brown and I had a great time working together and had some good laughs. I learned about the power of more frequent, specific prayers from him; something that I now try and emulate more often. Bentonville is a cool city, a lot smaller than I expected but a very wealthy and rather historical place. It's the HQ of Wal-Mart, where the first store ever opened. All their offices and whatnot are here, and basically all the members work for the company. And a lot of them are really high up. And really rich. Reeeeaally rich. I've included a quick pic of the square where the first Wal-Mart store opened, it was called Walton's five and dime or something like that. We stayed at the assistant's apartment and the next morning was MLC. Brother Hemmingway from the mission department was here to train our mission leaders, he's the head hancho of proselyting efforts in the church I guess. He taught me more key things about this work and the tools I have to perform it than I've probably learned the whole last year of my mission. He was incredible! There were so many takeaways that will help my work and effectiveness, which means more souls will come unto Christ. It was a fantastic training meeting. This week we have zone conference to roll out the training we received to the rest of our missionaries, Elder Horsley and I will train on several of the key points Brother Hemmingway taught us about having short, powerful lessons. I'm excited. Other than that our week has been pretty standard with great teaching opportunities. We taught a new investigator family for the first time and the wife said she'd definitely consider baptism and read the book. Husband is a little trickier, but we're excited about the new development. We have an upcoming baptism this weekend for Sarah Melville! I don't know if I've mentioned much about her but she is absolutely golden and so pumped to enter the water. She's an officer in the army and has been dating an RM member named Josh who we are convinced is just flirting to convert. Haha just kidding, but we tease him :) Sarah has really gained a strong testimony of the truths of the restored gospel and read a major portion of the Book of Mormon. Doesn't get any better than that! Sad part is that the week after her baptism she is being transferred to Italy, and Josh is being transferred to Alaska. Buuut they're both excited about that because both of those places are literally 10,000 times better than Missouri haha. Oh, also we taught a powerful lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ in our investigator class at the military branch, and several members brought their "battle-buddies" who were interested (essentially the army equivalent of a mission companion). After the lesson, young private Cole came up to us and said, "Um, excuse me sir, I would like to be baptized." We said okay how about in two weeks!! Deal. I felt like John the Baptist in the wilderness when people listened to his sermons and then just jumped into the river hahaha. Servicemen are so humbled, and also forced to live almost all the commandments on base, so it works out pretty well.
I think that's about the gist of my week, but I'm probably forgetting something epic that you'll never ever know about, sorry. I am thrilled to have another year in the service of God. I want to make this one count. I have goals on goals on goals to try and be better, serve more, grow more, be more like my Savior. I'm really proud to be called a Disciple of Jesus Christ. That's my favorite part of who I am, and I'll always have that identity. He is my Master! I sure love Him.
Until next week :)
Elder T. Hakes

Downtown Bentonville

Basic Training graduation for several members in our branch!

One year up in flames

3/7/16 1 Year Down, 1 To Go D:

2/29/16 Army Life

Hey People!
St. Robert Missouri has been a great experience so far. Transfers went well, with the usual difficult goodbyes and promises to stay in touch and the general ripping of the heart to shreds. I'll be back one day before they know it. Life in St. Rob with Elder Horsley has been about as good as it can get so far. I knew Horsley from the time I served in Nixa. It's been way fun so far haha he's a cool kid and we have a lot in common and a lot to share with each other. Highlight has been serving on post!! (that's what everyone calls the army base) I knew literally nothing about the military, but already it fascinates me. We've spent a lot of time on base teaching, volunteering and meeting with members who live there. Our ward mission leader is a young enlisted soldier that we have a really good relationship with. This town revolves around Ft. Wood, everyone in Wal-Mart is dressed in uniform or clearly far to physically fit to be a civilian haha. I love it though, they are incredibly respectful and disciplined and easy to get along with. We have several investigators who are right on track and we set a baptismal date last night! The zone here is in a slump for some reason, actually it appears to be one of the only zones that isn't increasing in numbers. Hopefully President knew what he was doing when he sent me here haha. I'll do what I can to help inspire and uplift and serve our missionaries! I don't have much time, but our apartment is legit. It's a 3 freakin story town house with 2 1/2 baths and two bedrooms and a garage with a weight set and fooseball table! Couldn't ask for more. My own bathroom? Proof that the Lord is pleased with me. ;) Mostly I am excited to keep learning the lessons the Lord wants me to learn. It is so cool to look back on my mission and see his hand in every aspect, helping teach me and nurturing me. It makes me excited for the future. I have absolutely no fears anymore. I don't even mind when life gets hard, relying on him makes it possible to brush off the dust and just keep plugging along, awaiting the great things I know are in store. This life is neat. It' s perfect really. I have such a testimony that God's plan is perfect.
Last few thoughts, the military branch was a cool experience with all the soldiers in uniform. Hard to count but we had like at least 25 nonmembers there. We taught an investgator class to some soldiers who are REALLY sincere, it blew my mind. Best class I"ve ever taught, felt like I was on fire. People are humbled in the military haha. I also ran into a kid I went to highschool with at the branch, can you believe that? He walked up to me and I about lost it. WHAT THE RANDOM. We were on the track team together, he graduated a year ahead of me, got off his mission and is now finishing AIT training on base. Small world.
Good things to come, much love to you all!
Elder T. Hakes
The transfer ride

I'll judge you if it pleases me

Flag high reunion at Ft. Leonard Wood with Adam Alvarado

2/23/16 I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go!


I have a lifetime of experiences and emotions to convey today, forgive my weakness in writing and limitations of time. First off, sorry I didn't email yesterday, we got back too late from a trip to Tulsa to get online before our dinner appointment.

Where to start? I guess transfers... uh I'm getting transferred! Knew it was coming, I could feel it in my bones. Saturday I was called to serve in West Plains Missouri! I'm ping-ponging back and forth between these states out here. My companion was assigned to be Elder Hess!!!! I came out in the MTC with that kid, we roomed together! I've literally only seen him like 3 times since then, and just for a few minutes at conferences and stuff. He's one of my favorites. So it's bitter sweet, but I was pumped. Notice that I use the words "was assigned" and "was pumped", which are past tense. Because President Loveland called me this morning and changed my transfer call! He said, "On second thought, we need some fire in the St. Roberts Missouri zone, I need you to go there as zone leader." Soooo still going to Missouri, but a different zone. My ZL comp Elder Horsley was one of my zone leaders when I was in Nixa MO so that's cool. He's rad. But now I'm almost more pumped! President told me that St. Roberts has an army base called Fort Leonard Wood that has a branch, and I get to serve on base there! Horsley called and got my info to get me security clearance to be on base. That's Mr. Elder Hakes Sir to you! I'm stoked about that, it's going to be really unique. It will be cool to serve as zone leader too, new opportunities and lessons to learn for sure. I will miss my Cleveland family, but the Lord has called my name again. It's crazy how spiritual it is each time I get transferred, (or when I received my call for that matter) knowing that God wants me to be somewhere. It's a unique aspect of missionary work, receiving specific revelation like that as to where he wants me to be. I'll go anywhere he wants me to go, trusting my all to his tender care, and knowing that he lovest me. Following his will brings peace, growth, and blessings that would otherwise be missed! So here is my new address: 405 Country Villa, St. Roberts Missouri 65584. Hook me up with some mailage!

I wish I had a lot of time to relay all the things I've learned this week from the Spirit, the scriptures, and especially Elder Christofferson. 
-I got to shake his hand. 
-Elder Christofferson taught us that the Lord only gives his servants what they are prepared to receive.
-He is a living apostolic witness of Christ, I am sure.
-Cleveland ward rented a school bus to get our crew to the stake conference in Bartlesville, it was awesome
-I've had miraculous revelations from the Lord as I search the scriptures with specific questions written down. Sister Loveland challenged us to write questions, open to a random page in the scriptures and read until you find an answer. I desperately wanted to ask a question in the Q&A at zone conference with Elder Christofferson but he didn't call on me, so I used that question to start this challenge. It's something I've been pondering and needed: How can I call upon and rely on the Lord's grace to give me the power to live consistently, every day, to what I know to be true? I opened my scriptures and the first two words I read changed my life. You know how when you read in your head, it sounds like your voice? As I read in Alma 17:3 the words which struck the chords of my soul seemed to come from a voice that was not my own. Much Prayer. "But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God." His Spirit flooded warm affirmation in my soul, and now my prayers have changed. For one, there are more of them. Much prayer is what I need. And to think that I asked the Creator and Governor of the universe this question.. and he heard me... and he answered me. Feasting on the word has taken a new angle for me. I come hungry with questions and ready to have them answered, asking and receiving, knocking and having opened, searching and finding. I wish I could share more, this is not the only one. I dare you to try it. I dare you to have the faith to ask and receive. Start with a prayer and thank him for the sciptures. Read the Book of Mormon for 15 minutes. Close your book and write down a legitimate question that you have. Trusting him, thumb open to anywhere in the scriptures and listen to his voice answering you. Most importantly, write down your answer and thank him for taking the time and having the love to speak with you for awhile. Your lives will take a new meaning, and your relationship will seem much more like that of a very close Father and child. 2 Nephi 32:3 feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. Remember that all things means ALL THINGS. Ask him about work, about school, about play, about relationships, for advice, for guidance, for anything. I dare you!

I'm running behind, like usual :) I love you all and can't wait to learn the things he wants me to learn in the next chapter of my life. It's probably going to be really hard, but I can rest assured it will be worth it. Here's some pics!

Elder T. Hakes

huge fires around town, apparently this happens every year haha

To Bartlesville!

In young investigator Ethan Rowland's words "The Bus of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints"

To Tulsa for the last time!

Ropes course!