Sunday, October 25, 2009

Three Weeks Left!


Ugh I just read all of your emails and I loved every one of them! I keep thanking you for the support but really it means a lot to me. Josh, I could see the vidoe of TROY! He has gotten so big! Ugh I just loved it! I got a little teary eyed, not gonna lie : ) Miss you all tons

So, I spent most of my half hour reading you emails, sorry! I only have about 7 minutes, so I'll try to make this good.

Yes, I only have three weeks before I leave to Russia! Ahh! It still hasn't really settled in. More than anything though, I just feel ready to start doing the Lord's work. I have constantly reminded in small and bigger ways during my stay here at the MTC I have no need to worry because I am doing something greater than myself. If I was going to Russia for myself or for any other reason, I would feel much more anxiety, but I know that I am sharing the message of Jesus Christ, which is true. And becasue I am "about my Father's work" things will work out for me.

Las night, the native Russian sisters taught my companions and I the first lesson, the Restoration of the Gospel. They taught it in Russian and I could actually understand it! Well, the gist of it anyway. They are so sweet and full of faith. I can only imagine what it would be like to be the first in your family to join the Church, and then live faithfully and serve a mission. They strengthen me so much because they take nothing for granted. Anyways, I actually think I'm going to get Russian. I know it'll take between three-six months, but I know it'll come. I pray that it'll come enoguh that I can at least teach the Gospel and fulfill my purpose to the people of Russia. That is all I really want.

Ummm, I already ran out of time : ( The Chruch is true and it changes lives! Remeber me in your prayers and know of my love for you!

Cectpa Hakes

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Some Cute Photos from the MTC

4 Weeks left!


Thanks everyone for your letters this week! It is so good to hear from you all and Cami, Josh, Francisca I love the pictures/notes of the neices and nephews! So sweet! I miss seeing little kids so much. Occasionally there'll be one or two at the MTC and I just go crazy. I'm weird I know.

Um, I have 14 minutes so I'll write as much as I can. Sorry I can't write everyone more persoanlly when you are so good at writing me, but I am trying my best! Not too much time, which is how it is meant to be.

This week we got a real investigator! His name is Tony and he lives in Nova Scotia. Every Monday our District goes to the RC which is where we get all the phone calls/online chats/ and video or Book of Mormon requests by phone. My companion contacted tony I think via phone call and since last Monday, we've taught the first and part of the second lesson. He is a lost soul but really wants to do God's will. We actually just got off the phone from talking to him and His brother had a stroke and died yesterday. Really sad. Kind of perfect though because we just planned on teaching him about the plan of salvation - second lesson. So we cheered him up a bit before he left to Halifax for his brother's funeral. We testified a lot about God's love and how we can return to live with Him and our families after this life. Really sweet Spirit and my companions do a great job of teaching by the Spirit. Although all of this is just over the phone, I feel like I caught a little glimpse of what it feels like to be in the field and teaching real people. So awesome.

I have four weeks to go before I leave for - Russia! I still can't get over the fact I'm going there. We got two new native Russian sisters last night, one of which is going to my mission. It is so cool to see them because most of them have never been to the USA before, most aren't endowed, and most haven't even received their Patriarchal Blessing yet. I am just so inspired and impressed by their dedication to the Church in a place where there are so few members and the culture is so full of tradition. It gives me hope though that there are more people just like them in Russia waiting to be taught. Most if not all members in Russia are converts because the Gospel has only been there since the breaking up of the Soviet Union, which I'm sure you all know. It just amazes me though how people all over the world are accepting the true message despite whatever circumstances they live in. I feel so blessed and so lucky - it just seems unfair. I can't wait to get to know these sweet sisters better : )

Russian is coming along. We do an hour everyday of SYL (Speak your Language) which isn't that much but I feel like it helps me a lot. The past week I've learned al ot more vocabulary and familiraity with the language I feel like because we've had to teach in Russian a couple times now. When we teach we have to try and formulate our own sentances and thoughts coherently in Russian, so that has improved my speaking a lot. I still have so much to learn! Kind of overwhelming. But really, I feel ok and I know it'll come... eventually : ) I actually don't worry about the language too much though. Not as much as I thougt I would at least. It think it's because I know it'll be really har the whole time, so I've tried to come to terms with that.

Wow, 60 poeple at Colin's baptizm!! I've never heard of such a thing! So awesome. I am so glad you are having missionary experiences back home with Victoria, Colin, and even Todd Horton. I feel like we're all working together, isn't that cool? I'm glad my family loves missionary work too. Well, love you all so much! Talk to you in 7 days!

Sister Hakes : )

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Bird's Conference

Zdratsvootyeh Cemya!

That's Hello Family! in Russian (sort of, I can't use the Russian characters on our keyboard). Anyways, how is everyone? I loved all the letters I received this week... and YES, Elder Neilson's talk about the missionaries in Russia was awesome for me. A lot of you asked about that. It was so cool to be sitting in the MTC, with all the Russian missionaries, and realize that they were specifically talking about us. It was amazing to hear something in General Conference that seemed to apply to me so specifically. Such a blessing. All of us Russians went back to our floor where our classroom is and talked about it after. We all felt so pumped up and ready to go! Yes Mom, I did cry : ) Oh, but by the way, I've gotten much better at not crying I think haha. I've only done it for real once, and that was when I had that experience last week : ) Maybe I won't be a weepy missionary, but it's okay if I am too.

So, how did you all like Conference? It sounded like it was a fun time for the Fam in Cruces, and I'm sure everyone else enjoyed it too. I hear Monson's talk on anger was pretty moving. I hope the guys at HB don't worry about anger too much, I always felt everyone was so nice at work... really : ) Meesa, were you in the Conference Center for Sun. Afternoon? I think that is what Mom said. Wow, that was an amazing session for you and Colin to be in! Elder Holland's talk should be a classic. I bet that was really powerful for Colin to hear live - what an experience! Especially when he ripped out the original BoM that Joseph and Hyrum had written in, haha it was so perfect! One of the Elder's in my group almost scratched out the testimony of the Three Witnesses and wrote four, so he could add Elder Holland's name to the group. Haha I love my Elders...

I've taught the First Lesson in Russian three times and it's been okay. I feel like I can say what I've been taught to say and what I'm expected to know how to say, but I am so limited. I have things popping up in my mind that I want to tell our investigators, but I stop midway through my sentance because I don't know how to say it. So I just need to get used to that kind of frustration because, I know if I let it get to me then I'll be upset alot of my mission. It's good in a way though to be limited in speach because you are forced to teach just the simple, plain truths of the Gospel. Which honestly, from what I've learned, is the best way to teach. And I know I'll be helped by the Lord to say what I need to say, when I need to say it. I have a really strong faith in that.

I leave for Russia five weeks from today, which may sound long to you but I just can't believe it! My attitude about leaving has been pretty consistent. I know it's going to be really hard, harder than I can probably realize now, but I'm okay with that. Joe, I loved the letter you and Katie sent me. I feel like once I get to Russia, doors will be opened for me so much that I'll just forget that it's hard. I hope to just loose myself in the work. I feel like there are good people there that are ready and waiting, and maybe, perhaps I might be an instrument in the Lord's hands. That's kind of my motto right now, "perhaps" from that scripture in Alma. Anyways, time is up!

Mom, love you tons and thanks for all you do for me.
Dad, I got your letter and I hope your hip feels better real soon! Glad I'm not there to see you in pain : ( Say hi to the Ward and give them my love
Kimball, get better too!
HB is awesome boys keep up the good work! I love and miss you all tons!
Cami and Marcus good luck with the Baby blessing! You have such a beautiful family wish I could be there!
Bear get better too!
Cassi and Kelly you're angels for setting me up a blog! So sweet. Can't see it but I'm sure it's lovely.
Mees, keep up the good work in Chamber, wow! Tell Colin hi for me and write me about your weekend together!

Oh btw, I have had really bad pink eye so sorry if you get a bill from the doctor... nmy glasses have been a lifesaver theses past two weeks : )

LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Gift of Tongues

Dear All,

Kalli accidentally pushed the wrong button at the internet center at the MTC and lost her letter last Tues. (to the fam). She subsequently wrote a long one to us all. I have included here a portion of the letter that you will find interesting. Love you all and thanks so much for supporting her!

"Cool story: This morning (Tues. pday) I got to go to the Temple. *side note: I love going to the Temple and everytime I do I think about how cool my first time was. Thanks Mom and Dad for making that SO special. I feel closest to the fam when I go to the Temple. After the Temple, we had a TE (Teaching Appt.) which is where we can set-up an appointment to go teach a mock investigator. This morning we weren't too excited because we had arranged to teach in Russian for the first time in practise for tomorrow night (Wed.). Anyways, our lesson was going pretty good, the lady actually seemed to understnad us. My companions asked good questions and all seemed pretty good, normal. Then, when it came my turn to speak the First Vission in Russian, I've said it a lot of times in class, etc., but this time it was different. When I was speaking it, I suddenly realized I sounded different - like, I sounded really Russian! My accent was so pure and my mouth was moving so naturally. I felt the spirit SO STRONG. As I was speaking the words, I felt the power of it more strongly than I ever had before. I started to cry and my investigator did too. My companions just looked at me because they knew something was different too. I don't know how to explain it other than to say it wasn't me, but the Spirit. The giftof tongues is REAL. I wasn't expecting that at all because, to be honest, it's just the MTC and it was just practice. But I feel like that Lord was blessing me because I've worried so much about whether or not I'm being a good enough missionary. If I'm working hard enough on the language, etc. It's like He was telling me I'm doing ok. And that He will give me the ability to speak when He'll need me to as long as I do what I should and rely on Him So awesome."

Thot you would enjoy this excerpt from her letter.

Love, Mom/Lisa

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 5-"Oh No!" September 29th

I just wrote the family probably the best letter so far, and for some reason it wouldn't send, and then I ran out of time... I'm going to try and fix it at the IT center, but if not I'm so sorry. I'll handwrite you all a letter instead. Thanks so much for your package Mom! It was so amazing. I really appreciate all you do for me, the letters, prayers, etc. because I know you are so busy. Please say hi and I'm sorry to the fam for me and check the mailbox for a letter from me! Say hi to Dad! I haven't heard too much from Him but I'm sure he's busy and doing amazing things. Love you all so much... too much actually it's kind of pathetic : ) Bird

Week 4: September 22nd, 09

> How is everyone doing?? I hope all is well. Sounds like Kimball and Carrie are both pretty sick, that's no good. I actually woke up with a sore throat this morning too, but I don't think I'll get too sick.
> Kimball - Hope you get better. HB needs you! That's cool you hired Todd Horton. He'll be a great addition I'm sure. I hear the Dallas thing was pretty awesome, that's so cool you heard Uchtdorf! Did you have a good time? I keep my eye out for you in the girl department all the time. I'll let you know if I find anything here : ) Much love
> Joe/Katie - Thanks for the phone call you gave befor I arrived at the MTC. I still think of your advice al ot and I know what you mean about feeling the "mantle." It's very real. Katie! I keep thinking about how you wanted to serve a mission. You would've done such a great job, but you're such an amazing mother. Thanks for being so awesome.
> Chris/Francisca - Oh my gosh! The baby pictures I've been able to see have been just PRECIOUS! How are you two holding up? I'm sure life is hectic for you but thanks for dropping me a line here and there to say hi. I really appreciate it. Franciscsa, you're so sweet to think of a watch for me. I've actually been thinking I need one, but they're really expensive here. So if you get a chance... but no worries if you cant.
> Cami/Marcus - Cami I just loved your letter! You are probably so busy right now so I don't expect to hear from you all the time, but I am glad when I can. How is Marcus? Cora? The boys? Give them my love. Sounds like Mom will be paying you a visit soon. Best of luck with your surgeries. I'll be thinking of you : )
> Josh/Melissa - Thanks for sending those pictures my way from the Dallas game, etc. You guys make such a beautiful family. How are Troy and Hailey? I miss seeing the neices and nephews so much. Josh, I looked at the calendar today and saw it was almost the end of the month and thought to myself that I needed to do Builder's Risk still. Haha old habits die hard : )
> Bear- I'm so sorry you're sick and I hope by now you're doing better! I think of you a lot and I hope you're having a good time in Cruces. How's Hagrid? I'm writing this letter from the 3rd floor of the RC building. So weird you worked here... When I see BYU students here for work I picture my Bear in her greenish plaid skirt walking around with her paws. Love you and keep me posted with your lovely life right now!
> Cassi/Kelly - So if there was a writing/package contest, besides Mom, I think you would win. Haha thanks so much my dear! It really means a lot to get a package at meal time without expecting it. You're so sweet. I hope all is well for the two of you and you need to keep me posted when you find out where you'll be moving too. How exciting! Say hi to the Coat : )
> Meesa- Colin has a baptismal date!! Holy cow! Since I've been here at the MTC, I've really started to realize that Colin really was super prepared for the Gospel. Kind of the dream contact. Did you get into Chamber? I can't believe you'r just across the street from me... so weird! I've sent you two letters, have you gotten them?
> Mom/Dad- I love you! Thanks so much for the letters! I never get sick of them!! Sounds like you're so busy. My companions love you too even though they don't know you. I've showed them you're picture and they want to meet you both in 18 months : ) And Dad, they think you look like Elder Oaks, and Mom they think you're much too pretty. I agree with both statements : ) Mom, I would love any necklace you got me, that is so sweet of you to think of that. And it's Okoren, not Jentsch she likes... I'm glad you still care about that stuff too : )
> I wish I had more time to write to everyone....
> As for me, a week ago today, Pres. Holland came to our Devotional last Tuesday. I was pretty close to the fron too and it was the highlight of my mission thus far. He is SO powerful! Like, his voice was raised a lot of the time and he was so passionate about everything he said. His talk I'm sure will become a classic here at the MTC, much like many of His other talks here. Some quotes (there were so many I had like 5 pages of notes):
> "Don't think you're going to go home to real life after your mission. Your mission is real life. Capital L capital R. This is what real life will be like in eternity. The world is just a cheap imitation for real life in the eternities. "
> "If your mission asks you to go to Gethsemane, go there. Shed the tears your Savior shed and don't be afraid if you're asked to pick up your cross and walk to Calvary too. Relish the opportunity to do hard work, the Lord's work. Only through that can you understand Him better. The mission is the only opportunity in your life, unless you're called to be an Apostle like myself, that you get to wake up with the Lord and go to bed with him at night. Welsome to discipleship. Welcome to the brotherhood."
> "Don't go home, grow a beard, get a tatoo, and put a necklace around your neck and be an idioit." Haha... he apologized after that one.
> Basically, as you can probably tell, his taslk was really amazing. He encouraged us to come home with no regrets, to give it everything we have. He said a mission is hard because salvation is not a cheap expereince. Don't ask for it to be easy. Wow. His words have kept me pumped up and ready to go fight the good fight.
> I have one minute left. The Russian is still pretty good. I'm recognizing how much I don't know still buth thats ok. I get along so well with my companions. I wanted to give you more details but I'm out of time, pleease forgive me.

Week 3: Sept 15th, 2009

Hi Family!

I just adore receiving your letters.
It makes me so happy. It sounds like the family is really busy, as usual, but that everything is going well. I love hearing about your lives, so I'm going to be selfish and ask that you keep writing me, thanks! : )

So, Dad requested that I give everyone a little Russian lesson each letter.
I'll try and do that, except that I can't use the Russian alphabet on this keyboard - at least not that I know of - so it won't be totally accurate. This week we learned about cases, which is probably the biggest obstacle to the language. In Russian, there is no certain order to a sentence, you can say the words in any order you want. Like, instead of: We read the Book of Mormon together at Church, they could say together Book of Mormon read we at Church, or pretty much any other way you can rearrange those words. That is because, unlike English, most verbs, prepositions, and some parts of speech (lie Direct Object, Indirect Object) have the ending of their name changed according to the meaning of the sentence. We have a big chart of all the different endings for all the different possibilities. Like an inanimate male noun, a female adjective, blah blah blah. So, every word in the sentence is kind of conjugated, that way the meaning is already understood, so it doesn't matter where in the sentence the word goes. That probably doesn't make any sense.... But that's the best way I can explain it. Umm... so here is a sentence in Russian: Ya znao cto boug jeev and leoubet nas. That means I know God lives and loves us. Anyways, Russian is coming... it is going to be extremely hard and I'm sure I'll get frustrated but I'm actually surprised that it still makes sense... at least right now : )

Hmmm... well this week I started to feel more like a missionary.
The MTC has kind of felt lika n extended EFY of Youth Conference or something, but we had a workshop on goal setting this week and I think that has made me realize more that I'm a missionary. Like, our district sets goals together very wed. night , and then we pray to have HF's help with them. I really liked doing this because it really has helped our group grow together spiritually, like no movie quoting in class, and make 2 teaching appointments a week, etc. So, since we had the workshop, I've recognized the importance of personal goals too, so I've started setting some. Chris gave me some good advice in his letter about using the MTC time to set a pattern of living that will help you in the field. So, now that I have started setting personal goals, I feel like I'm evolving as a person and my mindset is a little different. Our teacher Brother Beck (we really do have the best techers) talked about doing a 40 Day Fast as a district to give up our biggest distraction as a missionary so we can have an added measure of the Spirit with us. So, we're going to do it. Actually, today is my first day of the fast (by the way Tues. are my pday). I'd tell you what I'm fasting from but it's kind of personal, maybe later : ) It helps to know that the Lord is with you and that you are accountable to Him. So, I really want to use my MTC time wisely so I can feel more prepared when I enter the field. Speaking of which, I only have 8 more weeks in the MTC, which probably sounds like a lot to you, but the last three have gone by so fast that I'm starting to recognize how quickly my mission is going to fly by!

Some items of business:
I love my family so much! (That's always number one item of business)
Two, I'm really sad to hear about Aunt Cathy : (
But it sounds like it was a really remarkable experience for their family. Please give them my love, especially Tash and Jen please : ) Also, I'd love to hear from them, maybe someone could forward my letters to them? (Bear or Mees?)
Three, I'd love to have Andrea and Hilary's email addresses too... or anyone else really!
Cassi, i thought about it, and although the blog idea always seemed kind of cheesy, I think it would be a good idea. I'd love it and it would make my writing letters less of an overwhelming task.
Four, Cassi and Kelly, I LOVED LOVED LOVED your package!
All the pictures made me cry... and the American flag was a nice touch, let me guess that was Kelly's idea?
Four, Mom, I ran out of time typing in everyon'es email address so if you could forward my letter to the family I'd appreciate it.
Thanks for all you do, you're so amazing.
Boys, congrats on the new pre-sells!!!
I can't wait to come home and see the HB housing empire in Cruces. You're so awesome and i love you tons!
Bear, get better!
Cami, loved your letter and the gossip!
Keep it up