Wednesday, February 22, 2017

02/20/2017 Squeeze That Lemon

Hey crew!

Surprise, I'm in Webb City Missouri. The best trio last transfer ever was only meant to last two weeks I guess. President Loveland called early Wednesday morning and told me to pack my bags. I left that afternoon to go replace Elder Wilson an hour and a half north in WC. He's been way sick for like a month and unfortunately had to go home to get it figured out. So I got moved yet again! That's like 3 times in two months. But ya know, it's been okay. I've appreciated each opportunity and the lessons I can learn and influence I can have in a short time in each place. Sister Loveland likened me to a lemon being squeezed for every last drop of impact with other missionaries before.... well, before my lemon juice is gone I guess. There's plenty of Hakes Juice to go around.

It was a bummer to leave Prairie Grove with Elder Fielding and Elder Wright. I loved those guys. Tuesday (Valentine's Day) before I left we volunteered at the St. Thomas episcopal church soup kitchen. We had a great time prepping and serving food with a lot of nice people. As you can see from my pictures, I even secured myself a Valentine for the day. Age is just a number people. Karen agreed to humor me this year.

Also see attached pictures for a sad group hug right before I shipped out.

Next photo is just me and good ole President Loveland road trippin it back to Missouri. At least I got to serve two weeks in Arkansas in the Arkansas Bentonville Mission right? Missouri missed me.

Here's the thing about my new (and I'm not even convinced it will be my last) area: bikes. Yup, bikes. Like, bicycles. Apparently some people still ride those. We have no car in Webb City and I ditched my old beater bike, never once having ridden it, way back in Monett. The elder I replaced sold his to President so I'm riding it around for now. Luckily its super nice, and big enough. Doesn't change the fact that my butt is crazy sore. I haven't ridden a bike in two years haha. That being said, I actually REALLY love it. 70 degrees and sunny hasn't hurt too much either.
It's great exercise, I don't feel like a whale all the time, I can screech to a halt and talk to random people all over the place. I've set a goal to give out 78 copies of the Book of Mormon with my personal testimony in them before my lemon juice runs out. Drip drip drip. (78 is all the books we had in the apartment haha) This area has essentially no one to teach, the elders were trapped in with sickness for forever. But that's okay, gives me time to bike all over with books in my bag like Santa Clause spreading joy. We've already had some miracles, the Lord placing people in our path, and found some potential investigators who are interested. Boo ya.

My new companion Elder McEntire is sure happy to get out and do work for the first time in awhile. He's been out 8 months and is a great elder. I should've taken a picture of him, but if you look really closely he is the speck on the bike in the background of my last picture haha.

Life is good, I feel real good. Excited for the next chapter without a doubt. I have so much hope since serving a mission. The world is your oyster.

-Elder Hakes

02/13/1017 Another Legendary Week

Hey guys,

Another legendary week down. Life as a missionary can't get much better. The trio has been a huge bonus. My air mattress is holding air, my clothes are resting gently in their vacuum bags on the floor because I don't have a closet, luckily we don't run out of hot water in the shower, sometimes I get to ride in the backseat and take nap, and we always have enough people to play card games at night. Not bad!

Lots of great things happened this week, lets highlight a few.

-We set a baptismal date with our old 86 year old friend Don Anderson. We're not sure yet how determined he is about this, but he's expressed its a desire he has! He's sweet and old and really old. He likes to tell the same stories over and over. Sometimes I wonder if he hears what I'm saying. We work with what we got :)

-This transfer President Loveland called two elders as "travelling teachers" to tour to mission and help train areas that are struggling and such. One of them is none other than my former companion Elder DeGooyer. The other is Elder Wilcox and he is so rad. Unfortunately, we know what we're doing in our area so they weren't scheduled to come on exchanges with us. But another one they had lined up fell through on Friday so they called us up and spent the day with us. #party. We got work done, Elder D had served in PG before so we went out and found some people he used to teach. All 5 of us went to dinner with some members who promised us they didn't mind feeding a small army. It was awesome. Found a lot of people to teach and opportunities to serve that day. Elder D took me to meet this super old less active guy who is a wizard at chess. I beat him. He seemed a little sad, and I began to regret not letting him win on his own turf the first time. Then we get home and Elder Fielding kindly informs me that this old gentleman is legally blind and is dying of cancer. Then I felt really bad. Hahaha. He just called me today though and wants a rematch. No mercy, even for blind dying old men. He's a sweet guy.

-Zone conference in Fayetteville last Tuesday. My last zone conference. :( It was great though, got to see a lot of people I love and will miss. Probably won't see them again before I hit the skies. Every departing missionary bares their final testimony at the conference. I spent my whole mission thinking about what I wanted to say when my time came. Then, I couldn't remember any of it so I let the spirit guide. I felt good about it. Sad to leave it for the final time. Then I announced that I would be signing and distributing ALL OF MY TIES in the gym. You should've seen those elders tear into my rack of 50+ ties like piranhas in a blood frenzy. I regret not filming that. I determined to only take 7 ties home with me. I don't need more haha. One of my last companions was a little salty when he saw the tie he had traded me in the pile though hahah. I tried to tell him it will better serve other missionaries. He wasn't convinced.

-What else? We had the weirdest meeting of my life with a guy named Brother King on Sunday. He's old, wears like four fat rings on his fingers and a corduroy coat. He's a ward missionary, and a little gung-ho about it. He said "I want 15 minutes with you guys after church." We sit down and rapid-fire talk about random missionary efforts. He turns to me and says "You first, you have 5 minutes. Go. We have no time." I said, "what would you like to discuss?" "Whatever you want." So I tell him what I've seen in the area and some ideas. I takes two minutes. This is literally being timed. He says "you have 3 more minutes. talk." Uuuuuhhhh so I ask him what he's seen in the missionary work his long years of being here. He launched into a rant about negligence of leaders, lazy members, poor hometeaching. Now its Elder Fielding's turn. He takes a couple minutes and then asks Brother King, "What can we do better this transfer than last?" Brother King points to me without looking at me. "Listen to him. This is his show. He's the guy. The Lord has revealed it to me this morning." .....Silence. He says "Do you feel it?" .....More silence... "Good, I can feel it. I want you to feel it." Elder Wright is nodding his head in a slow confused way now. My eyebrows are raised but he's still not looking at me. He says more about "urgency. we have no time. This is the Lord's time. The Lords expands our time. Do you feel that? We want the ward leaders to feel that. Call them at midnight, I don't care. Tell them Brother King said to call. They'll work or I'll kick their butts." Afterward I got in the car and had no words to describe what just happened hahaha.

I'm out of time. Love ya'll!

Elder Hakes

An ocean of lollipops at the Ozark Delight candy company. Owned by a ward member.

Last zone conference with my bois and the Lovelands!

Doin service work with the crew
We earned these shakes.

Monday, February 13, 2017

02/06/2017 THE BEST 6 YET!?

Yo team!

Life is so good in PG Arkansas right now. This transfer has been a huge-normous blessing. I've loved everything about it! I like making lists, they seem to work. So let's stick with that today.

1. I missed Cheryl's baptism, that was about the only bummer. But she made it! YAY COVENANTS.
2. The transfer day was awesome. I got to see and talk with just about everyone I love, and it might be the last chance before I go home so that was really great. So many missionaries I am going to miss. Other side of that coin: so many lifelong friends.
3. My new companions are so rad, Elder Fielding and Elder Wright are both ballers. And we're all like the exact same height. I wish I had a picture demonstrating that, my bad. We get along great, life in the apartment and doing work is great. I played nice guy and let them have the queen beds, I'm spending my last month on an air mattress in the corner hahaha. Elder Wright has only been out 1 transfer, so I figured it was too early in his mission to ruin his sleep. It's kinda fun though, feels like I'm camping.
4. The area is demographically really similar to just about everywhere else I've been. Small town, kinda rural, some bigger cities nearby. Northwest Arkansas in general is really nice. Fayetteville is a nice big university town, Bentonville nearby is so rich with Walmart execs. It's a good atmosphere, I like it. Or maybe I've just lived in hickville too long.
5. The ward seems great. Sacrament was wonderful, met a lot of wonderful people. They are everywhere, right? We have a family or two to teach, so that's great. We've taught one of them, they are having a tricky time getting revelation but seem to be super sincere, that's all we can ask for :)
6. We spent the weekend basically engaged in back-breaking service opportunities for ward members. Still sore. But they love us already. We helped Jake Aldridge carry like 3 tons of wood upstairs into his new downtown studio apartment which he is remodeling. He owns the bakery beneath it. And give us cheap food. The bakery is called Fat Rolls. MERCY. Diet, RIP. We helped our ward mission leader Bro Fox move his mother in law too. Took awhile. They're great people.
7. This might be the best one: played some real, competitive, basketball today. YES. My old comp Cooper Anderson is serving in our zone in Fayettville, he called us up and you know we didn't hesitate. He and his companion are so good. My whole companionship plays, we had some others there, it was awesome. I can barely walk. And have little time to keep emailing haha.
8. The Lord's hand is apparent sometimes. I love those times. This is one of those times! I'm excited to sprint to the finish.

Here's some selfies of the crew, I know it looks like I never dress like a missionary. I promise I do, I just remember to take pictures when we're doing service haha.

Weather is nice, life is good. Love ya'll!

Elder Hakes

This is Cheryl Sheard who was baptized! We said goodbye this night.
Here is my favorite man in Missouri, Duane Sherrell, our neighbor in Mtn Grove, and his wife hiding in the back, Belle :)
These are my boys!!!! On the left, my trainee and son, Elder Buhler. On the right, Elder Buhler's trainee and my grandson who I just met, Elder Smith. I'm the shortest. What is up?
These guys. Elder Wilcox and Elder Stevens, two of our former APs. This is significant because we found out we all want to be orthodontists. We'll smile at this picture down the road no doubt.
Elder Fielding, and Elder Wright. Some of the wood we struggled up the stairs.

02/01/2017 From Grove to Grove: The Tale of an Endangered Species of Missionaries

Hey guys! Another whacky Wednesday p-day again.

It's been decided, I'll spend my last transfer on planet earth as a missionary in Prairie Grove, Arkansas. Whoop! This is exciting for a number of reasons.
1. This will be my first (and last) assignment in Arkansas! Seems like an important step for an elder in the Arkansas Bentonville Mission.
2. I will have not just ONE companion with whom I go everywhere and do everything, but I will have TWO companions with which I will go everywhere and do everything. That's right, two. Elder Fielding, and Elder Wright will be my companions. Hahaha random right? Not sure why, but it will certainly be interesting. Dibs on first shower. Dibs on not sleeping on the couch. I call shotgun everyday. I'll pull seniority if I have to. "Yes, me and my two bodyguards here have come to share a special message with your family." This has a lot of daily implications, you can tell I've thought through some of them. It's gonna be hilarious.
3. New things are always fun.
4. I will be living in very close proximity to the airport from which I will depart in *cough* 44 days.
5. My zone is huge, I've never had a zone with 3 districts in it. Maybe we won't live 2 hours from each other and can actually play basketball and do other fun things on pdays.

Elder Walker, my current companion, is also leaving this area, so we are getting it tidied up and organized for two new guys to take over. Reasons we are sad to be leaving: Cheryl's baptism is this Saturday D: She's doing great and is super excited, she even wanted me to baptize her. I broke it to her softly. Second time in a row I leave the week our investigators are baptized! Oh well, we are still super happy and proud of them :)

Not a lot of time to report on other adventures, mostly just looking forward to the next transfer. I can't really express how grateful I am that the Lord has allowed me to be here on his errand and experience the things I have. It's a rich, tender mercy. He understands my flaws, He knew the mistakes I would make out here, the mini rebellions of my heart, my imperfect desires, He knew when I would fail. But He still let me come, asked me to come, so that I could be changed, and help others change. That's what I love about the gospel! It stockpiles our growth, goodness, and successes, and allows us to cut away our failures, shortcomings, and foolishness. Or even consecrates them to our gain. There just isn't a lose anywhere in this situation. The good things are good, the bad things are for your good, everything is good. It blows my mind. We don't deserve that! How merciful. How powerful.

I love you guys, and I'm grateful for you support, and teaching, and encouragement! Here's to six more weeks!

Elder Hakes

PS I wish this dinosaur library computer could get my pictures to you. It's just too hard for it. Cross your fingers that my next area will have more technology than what was available in the 20th century.