Thursday, December 15, 2016

12/12/2016 Oh Dear...

Hey Crew,
Sorry I had zero time last week. And today is a weird Wednesday pday again. A lot has happened since I've last updated you. I found out last night that I am being transferred to the Mountain Grove ward in the West Plains Missouri Stake. (My address: 1101 Long St. Apt B7, Mountain Grove, Missouri 65711) Not what I was hoping would happen! Let's say I was on my knees for awhile last night haha. I'll miss Kandie's baptism on Christmas Eve :( And Christmas day with the Leavitt clan.. and another transfer with the coolest companion.. and the best district.. BUT hey at least I had an epic last transfer here. Who knows what's in store?
Monday we had a zone conference in Bentonville with Elder Gay of the seventy. It was solid. He is definitely an influential man and has quite the repertoire of spiritual knowledge and experiences. He shared a lot for us to adjust to in the mission. Then President smacked us with some dizzying news: The 3 stakes of our mission in Oklahoma, Bartlesville (where I've served more than a year of my mission), Tulsa, and Tulsa East are being swallowed into the Oklahoma City Mission. Their mission only had 5 stakes, we have 13 stakes. And we have the same amount of missionaries serving as they do. So they are finally taking some responsibility and picking up more stakes to work with haha. Now we essentially have none of Oklahoma in our mission. The Oklahoma Tulsa Mission is truly dead. RIP. I've seen some wild changes while I've been out here. It wrenched my heart to think that pretty much all of my favorite families, converts, and friends are no longer within our mission boundaries. No chance of seeing them again till I get home. Ouch! So that will increase our missionary workforce since we have less area to cover with the same amount of people. There will be no more two-area assignments, we'll have enough missionaries for every ward now. Should be a good thing.
The last week leading up to these difficult changes was pretty awesome though, can't complain about that. We had a zone Christmas Sweater party last Monday (check out them pics). Did a lot of good work. Kandie Steelman is progressing like a determined bullet train toward her baptismal date. She has so much faith. She suffers basically every physical affliction you can name, and therefore lives in a nursing home/care facility. But we go teach her literally every day, and she grows every time. She has a hunger for the gospel and healing of Christ that I've rarely seen in many others. She smoked heavily for 43 years and was even more addicted to coffee than she was to cigarettes. She gritted her teeth and batted them aside, eyes fixed on the goal. She's been clean for several weeks. That's the power of worthy goals, they surge you through the battles we face. Her baptism will be sweet. Can't wait to see pictures of it :( haha. She's not the only one who's overcome; Sister Skye Ames is a sweet lady who has an apartment in a little town called Purdy. She's got two little doggies, Cocoa the weenie dog and Buster Brown. We helped her to quit smoking too and she's gained a new light and life in her life! There is nothing more fulfilling than helping others conquer the natural man within them. No greater feeling of success and achievement than that which comes from gaining control of yourself. And I can tell you its certainly impossible without the merits, mercy and grace of Christ.
Wishing you all the merriest of Christmas seasons.
Elder Hakes
Monett Zone Christmas Party '16
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This cute lil guy jumped in our car and just didn't want to leave. Wonder who's he was...
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Exchanges with APs in Rogers AR
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Full truckload of crap we dumped from our apartment. #purge
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David Silvers (returning less active) and Kandie Steelman, our golden girl at the ward Christmas social
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