Friday, November 11, 2016

11/9/2016 14 down, 3 to go

Hey guys,

So today is a weird Wednesday transfer-week pday again. Still not a huge fan! Elder Radford and I wrapped up the transfer real good with some fun on Halloween with members, a farewell district meeting which included potluck cafe rio pork burritos, and a great exchange with the Elders in Carthage. Unfortunately Elder Radford will be shipped off to Calremore OK tomorrow (long live the Bartlesville zone). I'll miss the guy! I'll miss making diabetes jokes and driving home as fast as possible because he frequently forgets his insulin. Good times! I'm staying here, my new companion is one Elder DeGooyer (Deh-GOY-er). I know him just a little bit, he's was previously the neighboring Joplin zone leader. It'll be good! He'll be a zone leader with me so I'm finally not flying solo, that will be kind of nice. But solo also has its perks.

This Monday I took Elder Hansen, its his first transfer in the mission, on exchanges in my area to help rain him and hopefully provide some new experiences. Well, we certainly got new experiences. After unsuccessful attempts and unanswered doors at every home we wanted to visit, we made our way to a returning less-active's apartment. This guy had come to church on Sunday and bore a really great testimony about falling away but having prayers answered recently and the Spirit uplifting him more than ever! Elder Radford and I had met him a few weeks earlier when he came into the clerk's office at the church while we were emailing and asked to talk to the bishop. We dialed him up on the clerks phone and handed it to him. He proceeded with "Hi bishop, my names ----, yes I'm a baptized brother. I'm calling because I need to tell you something important. It's about the seven seals. Yes, they've been opened. I thought you would want to know. I'm the sanest man you've ever met!" Radford and I looked at each other like "oooooohhh boyyy" hahaha. He left right afterward. I felt like I was in Harry Potter 2, with the Chamber of Secrets being opened. Anyways this is the man Elder Hansen and I were going to visit, to see how we could help him progress back into the gospel. He was napping and let us in, went to splash some water on his face while we just sat on his couch and looked around in silence. He came back, sat down, and immediately launched into the most interesting monologue I have heard to date. Vision after vision of who knows what, Jehovah told me this, Satan told me that, I've battled demons, Monett is the New Jerusalem, the millennium has started, angels have four arms, and no, no he is not crazy. :D Poor young Elder Hansen sat there stiff as a board and just stared at him, at total loss for words. I had no idea had to get handle on the conversation hahaha we sat a listened and wowed and really?'d for an hour before we shared a scripture and bolted. It was a little creepy some of the things he told us haha. Luckily I had my gopro clipped to my belt and plenty of memory card room to capture the bulk of the action. Which is great, because he needs us to relay these things to the church right away so they can gather in Zion in Monett Missouri and begin the millennial work ;) Oh, the things you experience in the service of the Lord. As if our night wasn't weird enough, Elder Hansen emergency puked in someones yard after dinner hahaha. Luckily it was dark. I hope I was able to teach Elder Hansen some good new things! Haha.

Also, last week for Halloween (hallelujah on a pday) we went golfing with our WML Brother Barnes. It was literally the most perfect weather you can imagine. Loved it! Except they didn't have any lefty clubs to rent. So there's some big dirt chunks out of the greens on that course now. Don't know who did that. Some noob. I'll include some pictures, wish I could attach all the videos in a timely manner.

Well, the area's hit a little stand still with the work, it's been hard to connect with our investigators and find time to teach and help progress. Seems to come and go in waves. Ideally, we can find many new people to teach this transfer!

Much Love,

Elder Hakes

The Raddog

A lil Halloween golf

The bois, Elder Millet, Elder Bayles, Elder Radford, Yours Truly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

10/31/2016 St. Louis Temple

Yo Crew,

Made it to the St Louis temple again this week with a couple zone from the mission! We were supposed to be able to go to the Kansas City temple last Wednesday, but Elder Radford came down really sick Tuesday night and we had to skip out. Luckily we caught the other trip! It's great to travel and get to know the other missionaries.

Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween, can't believe this time last year I was just getting to Cleveland OK. Home's just around the corner! Can't wait to see everyone I love.

Not many words, but pictures are worth a thousand!

Elder Hakes

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Dinner on the Andersons magical patio
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10/24/2016 This is dedicated to YOU

Brilliant people,

This email today is dedicated to you. "Who me?", you might ask... yes you, the reader of this email. Chances are pretty high, if you're reading this right now, that we have a good relationship. Chances are high that you've been one who has helped me out. Maybe it was a simple thing, you bought my lunch, you spent time getting to know me, you gave me a compliment, you asked for my advice. Maybe you trusted me, and I trusted you. Maybe you've known me for years! Maybe you've supported me that whole time, thought about me, prayed for me, cheered for me, defended me, lead me, strengthened me. Or maybe I only got to know you for a few weeks, maybe a few months. Maybe I met you on my mission and spent time in your home, where you provided for me, sheltered me, cared for me, fed me, listened to me, ministered to me. Maybe you went out of your way to spend time teaching with me, or just giving me a ride, or giving me dinner over and over and over, even asking me for my favorite foods. Maybe you've been a friend to me. Or an ally, or a foundation, or an example, or a companion, a mentor, or a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a family member, a bishop, a leader, a fellow saint. Maybe you've loved me enough to straighten me out! To shake my shoulders and slap my cheeks and yell, "Wake up! Where are you headed?!". Or maybe enough to let me go my own way. I am the result of all of that. I am who I am, because you are who you are, and you've done for me what you've done. I want to tell you that I recognize that, and that I appreciate it. A lot.

People ask me all the time how I know God is really there. Quite simply, because I have seen his hand many, many times. I've seen it in the way you've treated me, and loved me. Some of the greatest miracles God has worked in my life has been through you. I mean that literally, it's not just a mushy saying! There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who have been the hands of the Lord, for me. They have been his hands as they have loved, or have been good, even as he loves, or has been good. And it has lifted me up! Again and again. So thank you.

I want to be those hands. Hands for doing good, for creating, for upholding. I want to bless, as I have been blessed.

The attitude of gratitude is perhaps one of the healthiest of human emotions.

That's all I wanted to say! Things are well in Monett, the future is absolutely bright, no matter what happened in the eternity of misused yesterdays.

Elder Hakes

Here's some random pictures of my life, as usual!

10/17/2016 Live It

Weekly Gang!

What's goin on? Only good things for me to report from Missouri this week. We had interviews with President and Sister Loveland, it was good. They are great leaders. Also had stake conference for the Monett stake with Elder Greer of the seventy there, he was awesome, and an AZ native! We taught the daughter of an investigator, Samantha, that we found tracting, and after the restoration video she says, "Mom, I still haven't been baptized. When can I?" We beamed like dummies :) Love finding the prepared, they are everywhere! Set a date for Nov 5. Our zone is doing great things and starting to pick up the pace, we have 9 dates set for the transfer, which for our tiny zone is great!

I forgot to relate a funny experience last week. There I was, standing at the pulpit on Sunday the 9th of October, my first sacrament meeting in the Monett ward, just bearing your average testimony, when a big lightbulb from high in ceiling somehow dislodged and exploded on the ground right behind me! I looked around, saw the glass on the ground, looked up, saw the empty bulb socket above. The room was dead silent, I looked at bishop, he just shrugged, so I laughed and said, "well, that's a first!" and just plowed ahead with that testimony! It was crazy random.

Unfortunately we didn't get to golf last week like we were hoping, they were maintaining the course, so we hiked roaring river state park just south of us and it was SO GORGEOUS. The fall weather was perfect, I was in heaven. I'll add some pics!

Love it, Live it! Till next week

Elder Hakes

Devil's Kitchen Trail, Roaring River State Park

Had some huge rainstorms, biffed it in a flood!

Missouri farm land

Monett stake center!

10/10/2016 Countem

Hello America,

Stellar things have been happening in the Mo Town this week. We baptized Brittany Graessle and her two kids, Eli and Savanna. The elders had been working a lot with her right before I got here, she's really come a long way! It was a beautiful experience and the whole ward got behind her. Elder Radford got to baptize her, his very first baptism in his mission. Certainly won't be the last.

Our zone was fired up in zone training meeting this week, almost all the missionaries in the zone (including me) just got transferred in, and we're determined to break the Monett zone stereotype and blow this place out of the water. We put our heads together and emerged with a lofty goal of getting 25 baptisms across the zone this transfer. We've got two down... 23 left to go. Elder Radford and I are determined to get 5 more. Prayers welcomed!

My gramma Becky and grandpa Mel surprised me with a visit on Friday! They were hitting the sites and tours in Branson MO with her sister and her husband this last week. Gramma called the mission office on Monday and told them she wanted to feed me lunch. The office sisters called me to let me know, but my companion had lost the phone that day and we couldn't find it to save our lives so she left a message to call her back ASAP. We didn't find the phone until the next day, I listened to the messages and heard that gramma was trying to get a hold of me, and I thought I had missed the opportunity! I yelled at Radford, "YOU LOST THE PHONE THE DAY MY GRANDMA CAME TO MISSOURI?!" Luckily she had called ahead and wasn't coming until Friday hahaha. It was crazy weird to see them and to be called "Tay" again haha. A breath of fresh air though, I loved it!

This week we found two new investigators also, one had been taught years ago and we gave her daughter a blessing and set a return appointment which we're stoked about. The other we found tracting and followed up another day to teach the restoration, we set a baptismal date with her for Nov 5, goals here we come! Sister Loveland has told us the brethren want us to know that we can find, teach, and baptize in a month. I've never seen it done, but I believe them. We're gonna do it. "Mine elect hear my voice, and harden not their hearts." That's who we're looking for.

My companion is a ridiculous Idaho competitive golfer. We're going to play 18 holes with our ward mission leader in a half hour. No idea what I'm doing. Don't worry, I'm wearing a polo so I'll fake it till I make it.

Take Elder Oaks' advice from conference and counsel with your families about how you can share the gospel in your individual circumstances!! We're teaching families how to pray, counsel, receive revelation, and act in faith together. This is the hastening baby.

Love ya'll!

Elder Hakes

Lunch with Gramma Becky and the fam

Baptism of Brittany, Eli and Savanna Graessle :)

Sometimes the most fun thing you can find to do on p-day is a swing set.
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10/3/2016 Lifes Good

Yooo I wish I had time to tell you how great my life is!

Transfers went well, it was sad to say goodbye to Elder Buhler, hopefully Elder Shore will take good care of my buddy. Packed my stuff in a little under two hours, not too bad. Not a personal record either. Rode the transfer van up to Joplin MO with some missionaries I knew and some I didn't. Got to see a bunch of old friends and companions at the Joplin transfer point! My new companion Elder Radford has got to be a top 3 competitor for favorite comp. He's so sick, we get along perfectly and have a lot of fun. SUCH a blessing. Makes the whole work that much easier and more enjoyable haha. He's a spud farmer from up in Idaho, athlete, ladies man, great missionary. Hope I get more than one transfer with him.

The Monett area has been reeeaaaally good to me so far. Wish I could explain in detail. It's a small city, about 8,000, lots of surrounding farmland and even smaller cities. Really beautiful this time of year, the weather has been ridiculously perfect, high 60s low 70s slight breeze. The ward members I've met have been great, really down to earth and helpful in the cause. We have some people to teach and found some more on our own the day after I got here. Have 3 baptisms for a mother and 2 kids coming up this Saturday!! Doesn't get better than that :) The most interesting family in the ward is the Leavitts. Ben Leavitt is our stake president, and incredibly kind guy who's only about 43 years old, his younger brother Casey is our bishop! They live right next door to each other on a nice piece of land outside town. And their parents live on the neighboring property. And about 3 or 4 other close relatives all live right there too! Elder Radford calls it the "compound", they call it "farmville". It's seriously a huge Mormon family of incredible spiritual strength. Almost like a hyper-righteous cult. This is why we have rumors about or church lol. We spend most of Sunday with them watching conference in their homes and trying to meet the whole family. The parents of this clan have 15 kids, the oldest being our stake president, and the youngest an 11 year old girl living at home! So nuts, but they're fun and full of love. Radford refers to them also as "a zion-like family. They even live the law of consecration!" Hahaha.

Conference weekend has been great and we've been pretty busy. We also watched a session with a Brother Faria who has one of the largest personal church history collections out there. Like, we're talking about original copies of the Book of Mormon signed by Joseph Smith and the witnesses (yeah, the kind thats worth like 10,000+ bucks). He's got documents signed by the original first presidency of the church and even Joseph and Hyrum's death masks (I dunno if those are original or replicas... judging by the rest of his collections, probably originals... haha). Cool guy.

Things are looking great into this next transfer. The area has a lot of potential, I think we can unlock it with the Lord. The zone is the smallest in the mission and I'm the only zone leader, my companion is 3 transfers out and the district leader haha. Going to mission leadership conference again tomorrow and conducting zone training again Wednesday, just like every month. Excited to amp everyone up and get this place rolling, the zone has a reputation for under preforming. Not for long!

Signing out from Missouri again,

Elder Hakes

Here's a bunch of hammock pics, the weather was too nice NOT to hammock.

9/28/2016 Round 5......FIGHT!

Hey Everyone, sorry you didn't hear from me Monday. Forgot to clue you in that p-day was Wednesday again this week because it's transfers week. It's weird, I know, I don't like it either haha. But the big news rolled down the line last night, I'm getting transferred to Monett Missouri. The ping pong is real, I've bounced between OK and MO every time. This will be an interesting transfer! It's just about the smallest zone in the mission, I'll be the only zone leader there, and my companion is pretty green and apparently he's the district leader! His names Elder Radford, I think he's been out about 3 months or so. I'm pretty sad to be leaving my hometown of Owasso, I was hoping to stay and finish training my boy Elder Buhler! We had some good times together and good things going here. Plus I'm basically family with everyone in the ward. It's good though! I see the Lord's hand every time, this one will be no different. I just don't want to pack all my crap... I have so much junk haha.

This last week that Elder Buhler and I had together was a killer one though!! We saw some big miracles. The biggest was that our new investigators that we found tracting who I think I've mentioned before, all came to church on Sunday for the first time! It was a landmark event, I couldn't believe it. I've never actually found someone while tracting who was willing to actually take the lessons, let alone come to church, let alone two families next door to each other who are on board! Courtney and her boyfriend Kyle came with their two young kids and I think had a pretty great experience, we saw her again yesterday and she was all smiles. Her neighbor Amanda Fernandez came without her husband but with her two young daughters and she had a way good time too! She stayed for all 3 hours and her kids had a ball in primary. There is nothing more rewarding than introducing people to the church of God on the earth. I wonder what that experience would be like for the first time for someone, probably some weird feelings and foreign experiences, but I know underlying that is the peace of the Spirit, and a testimony of the truthfulness of the work. I was so happy to see them all there. I'm sad to get transferred but hope they all keep coming and progressing. They're in good hands.

AAALLLLSSSO Dean Williams has agreed to be baptized this Sunday the 2nd. Maybe I haven't talked about this experience enough. Let's just say I came back to this area for Dean. It was what he needed, and what he was looking for. It's been cool, and very spiritual. Just wish I could've stayed to see the ordinance. They were pretty bummed I was leaving too. But he's making the covenant, and I couldn't be happier about that!

Well, I've gotta pack, and say goodbye. Looking forward to new experiences! I've been schooled from on high my whole life, but its fun to focus myself entirely on the lessons he wants me to learn. I hope to come back a little better than when I left :)

Much Love!

Elder Hakes

My new address for anyone interested is 1407 B Glen St Monett, MO 65708. I accept letters. And packages. 😀

9/19/2016 Everything is Everything


I know you all literally sit by your computers just waiting for this email from me each week, sorry it's gotta be a shorty today :)

Things are good in the hood! All the meetings and trainings went stellar last week, Spirit was strong, tears were a'flowin, and hearts were a'changin. You know how we do. Gotta find more people to teach, like usual, wish us luck!

Here's some pics, feel the love, be good, peace out! 

9/12/2016 Rebirth

9/6/2016 Missin Cactus

I need new email greetings. Today's is:


Welcome to my email. It is a pleasure to have you reading it. I promise the whole thing will not be this dry.

We had a pretty stellar week! I have a couple of random and mind blowing things to relate. I'll make a list. These are not in order of importance haha

#1. We felt a 5.6 earthquake Friday morning while we were lifting weights. The room sure jiggled and I honestly thought a fat guy just fell down or something but it lasted a little longer than a tubby tumbler haha.

#2. I'm emailing you today because all computer access was closed yesterday for the holiday :( We were so bored, couldn't email, everything was closed, other missionaries are way far away. But we ended up being invited to the lake with some members in the other ward with the sister missionaries. It was a hot beautiful day and the beach was crowded with swimmers. But we got to enjoy the sights and I got my feet wet (resisted the urge to dive in a swim for the rest of my life. Also the urge to steal one of four conveniently located jet skis on the shore...) and played some sand volleyball. It was a good labor day! Then the Birds took us to dinner and invited us to get foot massages with them hahahaha it was so wonderful. I feel like a new man.

#3. We saw a car roaring in flames on the freeway exit. Saw the pillar of smoke and got there before the response team, no idea what happened! See attached pics

#4. I literally dreamed the future. I get goosebumps when I think about it still! I'll describe to you how it happened. Wednesday we are sitting in our apartment planning and the AC is broken. We are sweating our butts off in there. Luckily the maintenance dude came to fix it pretty quickly. He came in and started looking around inside the panel on the wall, I just struck up a conversation with him and of course steered it toward the gospel because he was a fly that literally just got trapped in our home web haha. I ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and inviting him to take some lessons, his name was David and he was real nice and accepted the copy but didn't really want visits. After he left we were glad to have taught a short lesson but didn't think much more about it. The next day at zone conference I am flipping through my notebook and come across the section where I have been recording all of my dreams for the last 4 or 5 months. I had been slacking and one of the last entries was from July 31. I started reading it and had the strangest feeling, I didn't remember writing this one! That happens a lot though, because I record them immediately after I wake up and am usually not fully cognizant haha. The entry said "I was on the stairs at the Owasso apartment and met the maintenance guy. He asked if he could fix anything and I said yeah lemme check. So I ran in a grabbed a list and told him that our AC was broken. He came and started fixing it. He crawled inside a space behind the wall panel and was looking around. I remember thinking 'I should give him a Book of Mormon.' " That's the real deal people. As I read it I remembered vividly the dream, all the major parts were the same as what happened the day before. Yiiiiikkkkesss. Haha dunno what that means but I think I need to brake my AC again and get this guy to come back!

#5. Had lot of success, 8 investigators at sacrament which was fantastic. Martha, Cheyenne, CJ, and Emerald are so excited to be baptized this Saturday!! Teaching them has become a real treat. We've seen growth in all of them and we are so blessed to help them move forward. It's going to be a beautiful ordinance. The ward is way excited too, as chance would have it, the last baptism they had was also the last time I was here in May 2015 for the Kress's! We've seen the ward pick up the pace around here the last week or so, I like it. Hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling. Elder Buhler is doing great and isn't afraid to work and teach and talk, its a great blessing. He is also still taller than me.

That's the bulk of it! We're blessed and favored. This week I can testify to you that I felt the power of Christ through the sacrament. I had a lot of burdens and weight on my soul, but they were lifted within moments and I felt light. Light as a feather, and light as in brightness. I am glad I've been able to come on a mission and learn how to pray, and take the sacrament, and repent. I've done them my whole life, but now I really know how to do them. Well, a lot better anyways :)


Elder Hakes