Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 2nd

Hi Family!
Thanks for all the Bday wishes! I have the best family. Mom and Dad, that is so crazy you met a lady from Chili in Ruidoso, definitely a coincidence! She is very Russian looking. And yes, Russian women are gorgeous, and they all say that Russia has the prettiest girls in the world. Yay for me... : ) I have come to just love Russia a lot and I think I want to do something with it after my mission, if only I could learn the language better. I speak about as well as my new companion who has studied it for two years, but my grammar couold use a lot of work and so could my accent. It's a very beautiful language though.
Joe and Katie, I'm keeping you in my prayers : ) Hope everything goes well with your delivery-- you're gonna have three kids soon! How awesome. You are so amazing! The Bear is moving out? How sad! I'm sure it's for the best though. I like the idea of using film to help her clients Dad, what a good idea. I can't believe Colin is already submitted and ready to go!! Wow! My guess is South America or somewhere Spanish speaking... we'll see! Does he have a preference?
Let's see, where to begin... my new companion is Sister Schill, and she is doing such a great job for her first week in the country! She is from Virginia, is 6'1, already knows Russian, has lived in Ukraine as an English teacher for 5 months, has lived in France and England, and has been to just about every place in the world you can imagine. So, needless to say, she hasn't really had to adjust much at all, and it helps that she already can speak pretty good Russian. She has a lot of good desires, and is very sweet and easy to get along with. She is a very intelligent girl, and she has a very good knowledge of the scriptures. I feel really lucky to be training her, and I hope I can set a good example so she will know how to be good missionary for the Lord. She is a double major at BYU in Art and Chemistry.... yep. Very smart : ) I attached the usual first day photo with her and I at the Mission President's home.
Well, Sunday was a gret day. We had Brother Arkadia Kozman come to Church on Sunday! I almost didn't believe it when I daw him come! I think I told you about him. He is the older man who lives alone, his wife passed away, and he has a drinking problem? He is a less-active member that missionaries have been working with forever. He keeps promising to come, but then he doesn't show-up, or even if we drop-by his house before Church, he will make some sort of excuse for not being able to come, like he doesn't have a white shirt, he's sick, etc. Sister Hanks and I both felt impressed that we needed to make a focus on him because everyone in the Branch seemed to have given-up faith in him. Well, after a lot of hard work trying to get him to feel the Spirit again, he came, and he is already talking about coming again next week. He is a little older, and he still walked by himself to the Branch about an hour away by foot. So, we need to keep praying for him and working with him and getting the member's involved. We've talked to our Branch President a lot about him, and he sems very willing to help. And, his neighbors are three younger member girls, Liza, Lena, and Anya Kaigorodavi, so they are wiling to do FHE's together with us. We love him a lot and are happy to see his little progress. We just need to make sure he keeps progressing!
Sister Schill and I planned a really great lesson for Lena on Saturday, but she called during our English Club and said she couldn't make it becasue her parents surprised her and came into town. Her parents live about three hours away in a small little village, and she invited us to come over to her apartment and meet them instead. We were able to sit and talk with them for about 35 minutes. It was such a blessing! I know Lena's family is really important to her, and I know that us meeting them gave her more courage to change, because they seemed to approved of us. They would be a great family to teach if the were here in our area. Lena has already mentioned that her Dad believes in God, and that when she is home at her parent's house, he like to read the BOM a little, and is interested in what Lena learns from us.
What else.... I wasn't in my area all week until Thursday mid-day, so there is a lot of catch-up to do, which means we should be busy, like usual. I really love this work. I'm starting to feel more relaxed and confident in the work. Not really confident in myself, but confident in the Lord and that he really is with me every step of the way. I'm always striving to try and strengthen my relationship with Him, so that the work feels less like work, and so I can feel more peace with myself and with whatever happens in life. I know my relationship with Him can be stronger, and that's probably my biggest desire, to know my Heavenly Father and Savior better. I feel like I have already come such a long way with this, and it is exciting to see little glimpses of how the Lord has changed me already. I feel so blessed. Really.
Have a great week!
Sister Hakes

July 26

Hi Family!
Thanks a million for the pictures from the Family Reunion! It looked so fun. I have such a beautiful family. I think my favorite picture was of Dad laying on the bed taking a nap in his swim trunks. It reminded me of the time we went to Newport and Dad threw-out his back and had to lay inside the rest of the trip while we all played at the beach: ( Pretty sure he enjoyed the time to sit and read though, am I right? Glad to hear the family is still normal, meaning Kimball and Carrie forgot both a cell phone and a labtop. What a way to make the family headlines! : )
Yes, I am 22... and yes, I feel a little old saying that! But, you're right Dad, the Lord will bless me for my service. Sometimes I forget that. There are three companionships of sisters here in Ekat, and they are so sweet. After internet, we're going to go make lunch together for my bday. I told them they didn't need to worry about me, but the more I said that, the more determined they got. I think they're going to make me french toast, which will be interesting. I haven't had it in Russia yet : ) Thanks Mom and Meesa for the bday clothes. I love them! I'm wearing the white skirt today, and I wore both shirts just the other day. спасибо!
It was so great going to the Temple. We had just enough time to do a session while we were in Finland. I actually thought a lot about the first time I went through, which was almost exactly a year ago. I remember Mom sitting next to me, and her insights that she shared with me, and then looking over and seeing Dad and Kimball and Josh there too. What a neat experience. I prayed a lot before I went to the Temple this time, so that I would be able to receive the rejuvination I needed. It turns out that the whole session, all I could feel was the love of my family. Like, overwhelmingly. I thought, "oh no! maybe I'm just being trunky," but I really felt close to you all, and it was the best medicine for me. The Lord knew what I needed to feel. Thanks for remembering me in your prayers, writing me, and for putting my name in the Temple, etc. I really feel that love and support and it helps so so so much. Love you all!!
The last couple of weeks with Sister Hanks have just been amazing. I feel so grateful to have served with her, and I think we both feel like we helped each other in ways that were totally unexpected, but very needed at the same time. I genuinely feel sad to see her leaving because she has touched so many people here in Botanika, but I know she'll do the same wherever she goes.
Lena, our investigator, has been on our minds a lot. She lost her job a couple weeks ago, which was kind of a blessing in disguise, because she could never get work off to come to Church. She used to sell alcohol at her old job, and we thought for her new job she'd chose maybe something more conducive to the Word of Wisdom, which she is struggling to learn and follow. We found out just recently though, that she got another job serving alcohol, even though we advised her not to. She says it won't affect her, but I don't know about that, we'll see. She is free to come to Church now on Sunday's, which is really nice. She was out of town yesterday, but we hope to see her next week at Church. We pray for her a lot, and I really have a desire to see her baptized. I know it can happen, but we need the Lord's help.
We had one of our recent-converts, Zhenya, come to Church this Sunday. He is a 12 year old boy, who actually has the Priesthood, but he hasn't come and hasn't showed-up to any of our appointments with him since we have been in Botanika. We found out that he is living with his Grandma right now, who is a strong member in the ZhBE area, about 40 min away in Ekat. We've been able to meet with him twice there, because his Mom in our Area never makes him stay at home when we plan a lesson with him. We recognized that he doesn't really like the to be sat down and taught, and we don't want him to grow-up avoiding the missionaries the rest of his life, so we decided to do a lesson fit for a twelve year old. One of the other sisters, Sister Taylor, gave us the idea to use ice cream. We sat him down and put three bowels of ice cream in front of him. One was plain vanilla, one was vanilla with a little sprinkles, and one was a big sundae with whipped cream, M&Ms, spirnkles, etc. He loves ice cream apparantely! We told him how he has agency to choose, and that sometimes it is hard for us to recognize how much better life is with the Gospel (the sundae). All the sprinkles on top were the blessings that come from keeping the commandments. He seemed to get it, and he actually responded to our questions for once. The biggest miracle was that he showed-up to Church on Sunday, all on his own! He took the bus from ZhBE all by himself, and he seemed a bit warmer towards us. I don't want to feel obligated to give him ice cream every time we go over, but I think it definitely helped him have interest in what we had to say. I hope he'll start to take interest in the Gospel, and it seems he took a small step in the right direction this past week.
I am really excited for the opportunity to train again. A part of me felt like, "I'm never going to have a normal transfer," but the other part of me knows that if I were to get a "normal" transfer (is there such a thing?), that I would get a little ansy. I loved training Sister Hanks. I don't think I fully understood how big the responsibility was until a couple weeks into out first transfer together. I really had to be a good example to her at all times, so it made me question some of the things I had previously been doing as a missionary. In trying to be a goode example to her, I ended-up becoming better in the process, and I saw how the work in our area really progressed as a result. I really just want Sister Schill to enjoy her first couple weeks in the field. She comes in on Thursday, so she'll arrive the end of the second week of this transfer. The first couple weeks in the field are so special, tender, and a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Of course it will a little hard, that's how it should be, but I don't want her to feel like her first transfer is some dark memory that she'd never want to relive. So, I'll try and do my best! I am really grateful for the opportunity to do it again, and I know she'll teach me a lot too.
Thanks for all you all do,
Sister Hakes
P.S. the picture is of me and a babyshka named Raisa. I have a really great story about her, but there's no time. Anyways, she is an angel to me. It's in sepia becasue an elder showed me that i can take pictures in black and white and sepia on my camera. Really cool! But, he didn't teach me how to take it off sepia... haha. So, it's stuck like this for now. This was just yesterday, Sunday.

July 19

Hi Family!
I hope you are all (well I guess not ALL of you) are enjoying the Family Reunion in CA right now. How fun! I'm sure it is a blast as usual. Say hi to all the extended family for me and give a shout-out to all the McCuistion girls! (What are they up to anyways?) Enjoy the beach and PLEASE send me pictures. Ok, those are all of my requests for now. Thanks: )
Well, Sister Hanks and I received a call from Mission President Friday night, which means we got a transfer. Sister Hanks will be leaving to Ufa, and I will be staying in Botanika. I am so happy to stay, but I know Sister Hanks put her heart and soul into this area too, so I'm sad either of us will be leaving. The Lord knows better though. I will be getting a new companion, and when I say new, I mean brand new. It looks like I will be traning again. My new companion is waiting for her Visa right now, so we're not exactly sure when she'll arrive. Maybe the 27th or 28th, so it looks like Sister Hanks and I will have another week together. I'll also be in Finland on Friday, and it looks like we'll have just enough time there to do a session at the Temple. I'm so excited! It has been too long!
Botanika is amazing. I just love it. I feel like the people here actually want to meet with us, and they're not just being nice haha. We found a lady on the bus last week and we went and gave her a BOM at her home, and her questions were just beautiful. She is a very spiritual/thoughtful woman, though she doesn't attend any Church, which to me, is golden. We read with her from 3 Nephi 11, when the Savior appeared to the Nephites, and she was just going on and on about how the book is so much more easy to understand than the Bible. She has a hard time accepting that there could just be one, completely true Church, but she agreed to meet with us again becasue she liked the BOM so much. I have had numerous people on my mission believe in the BOM, but not believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I try to explain that it's not possible to believe in one and not the other, and then I'll read with them some scriptures, but it's so interesting to me that will believe in the BOM, the fruit, but not Joesph Smith, the source of the fruit. I think it's easier to have faith in the bom becasue it's right in front of you. Whereas, Joseph Smith seems so distant to the people here, and they have a hard time accepting anything from America. I can understand that though, there's a long history there. The Russian Orthodox Church is "their" faith, and what we believe is "our" faith. We get a lot of that on the streets, that Russians have their God, and we Americans have our God. I just wish I were a Russian! The native missionaries and members are such a strong testimony to the people here, that the Church is not only for Americans.
Ok, now to Lena. She came to Zhenya's baptizm on Saturday which was really great for her progression. Zhenya is the same guy that I taught with Sister Zakharova in Chelyabinsk (he moved to Ekat and ust gor baptized! Yay!), and there were a lot of people there to show support for him. The Spirit was really strong, and Lena again admitted that she knows the Church is true. We keep saying she needs to act on this, but she is having a really hard time forsaking her old life. I feel a lot for her. Her friends aren't the best support for her, and she needs to find some good friends in the Church. We arranged to have some members pick her up for the baptizm, and then take her to the Youth Fireside on Sunday, but nobody really talked to her. It was really hard to watch. You would think that the members would reach out more here in Russia, because they want people to join the Church so badly, but because there is such a small membership, the youth are kind of cliquish, which it makes it hard for anyone else to join in. I think they made her feel like a sinner a little : ( I wanted to cry. My comp and I know she needs to have her own testimony, and not join just for friends, but I would just like her to feel like the people accept her. She says she feels comfortable with the members, but I know she's just saying that so we don't worry about her. Oh, and, she also lost her job last week, which is actually a blessing. She was never capable of coming to Church on Sunday, but now she is going to get a job Sunday's off. We told her that this was a little miracle from God, and she said that she had already thought that herself. The Lord is essentially asking her to change her life, which I can't imagine how hard that really is. We read Lamoni with her, and how he was willing to forsake all of his sins to know his Maker. I actually feel a lot like Lena at times. How many times has the Lord asked me to forsake something, but I still hold on to it? I thought sacrificing things would be easier, but sometimes I have a hard time seing the big picture. I know the Lord's way is better than mine, but somehow I still have fear that life really will be better if I give everything to Him.
Despite all the ups and downs with trying to get people to accept the Gospel, the work is great. I really love it. I feel a lot of love for the people, and I feel love for my Savior. I have learned to be a lot more steady, and sometimes I forget how I used to let things affect me so much. I've realized that people can do all sorts of crazy things, and I can be in a million different crazy situations, but none of it's really that big of a deal if you just keep going, and keep praying, and keep doing your job. I really was surprised to find out I'd be training again. I feel like I have somehow fooled my Mission President into thinking I'm a really great missionary. But again, that's a lack of faith, becasue my assignments come from the Lord. I just feel like all of my companions and all of the other sisters here are equally if not more capable to lead. I guess I just need to take advantage of these situations and try and learn from them what the Lord wants me to. The Lord must know better than me, becasue I'd be happy with just a "normal" transfer, whatever that is : )
Love you all and have a good week!
Sister Hakes

July 12

Hi Family!
Happy Bday Meesa and Kimball!! Sounds like you both had good bdays with your traditional lemon cake and apple pie. Hope you had a good time and enjoyed your special day. How is the lake this year? Have you had good weather and enough time to enjoy?
Mom, I got my bday package and thanks for everything! So nice of you. I was going to wait until my bday, but then I saw on the outside that there was clothes inside, so I figures I should open it. Summer here isn't that long ya know? So, might as well start wearing them now. They are all so cute. You're so thoughtful. Oh, Jenni New is getting married?? How exciting! Who is it? I can't believe Whitney Robb is coming home already? Is her family so excited? I only have five transfers left after this one which ends this week. Crazy! I'm trying to enjoy every minute.
Cassi, thanks for your letter with all of the details of your Daphne's arrival. I can't believe you were in labor and didn't know it! You poor thing! You're reaction to having them put the baby in your arms was so classic. I could see myself feeling the same way, like, it's really mine? I can't imagine being surprised so soon as you were with your little girl. You're ready for it! Don't doubt yourself! I am glad you and Kelly got to go through the whole birth process together. Your account sounded so sweet. Good Mom and Good Dad. No worries! : )
This week was great! We got 29 meetings and it felt so great. The best part about it though, was that we didn't even count how many meetings we were getting until the end of the week. The more I have forgetten about the numbers and just tried to serve the people, the more meetings we end-up getting. Duh! Doing the work this way is so much more rewarding too. I wish I had thought to do this in Chelyabinsk when I tried so hard to find 20 mtgs, but almost always came just short. We got some really promising street contacts too, so we'll see how those pan out.
Let's see, Lena that we've been working hard with, was unable to meet with us last week : ( We sent her texts with scriptures and tried to keep in touch with her daily so she doesn't regress. I am wanting her to be more self-reliant with her testimony. It seems like she relies on us to come and bring her the Spirit. I wonder if we are all a little like that with relying on the words of prophets and apostles at Conference, or even Church on Sunday to uplift, instead of trying to uplift ourselves up through diligent study and prayer. Anyways, I'm starting to recognize the more that I teach that I am a lot like our investigators. I have problems keeping commitments I make with the Lord too, and I don't always accomplish my goals. Recognizing this has really made me understand how hard it is for all of us to make and keep the commitments. Change is hard. I sometimes think I resist change within myself, and I know that that's not good. I think successful people don't resist change, but they recognize the need for constant improvement.
We had an interesting experience this past week I was wanting to tell you all. We ran into a lady two days in a row on the street, and she herself said that that was a big sign. We thought so too and urged her to contact us (she wouldn't give us her number) and gave her a pass-a-long card. The next day we get a phone call from a guy named Aleksei who had been given our information by a freind. Turns out the lady we had ran into on the street had passed along our pass-a-long card. I taught him over the phone for maybe 10 minutes, had a good conversation, and then asked when we could set-up a meeting with him. He said he couldn't meet with us in person, but only by mail and phone. I asked why and he said it's becasue he is in prison. I don't know what he is in prison for, but he said that he recognizes he is needing to receive forgiveness and wants to learn about Jesus Christ. Cool, huh? We scheduled a phone meeting wih him for the next night or so, and we planned on having a member with us so we could find out why he is in prison and if we have reason to be concerned. The meeting didn't work out though, Aleksei didn't answer. So, we talked to him a little since then, but we are wondering if it is allowed to teach someone in prison? I need to find out, but I thought that that was pretty cool that our card ended-up in the hands of someone who is wanting to know their Savior, regardless of whether or not he happens to be in prison.
Also, that old man that kissed me a while back is no longer our investigator. We were teching him the Plan of Salvation with the Russian Senior couple, when his son showed-up. His son works for the police and asked to see our documents. The Russian couple offered to show theirs first to kind of protect us Americans from any problems. However, they aren't registered in Ekat, which is totally legal and not really a problem, but I guess on some techinicality you can be forced to leave a city if not registered. Anyways, the guys said he was leaving to the store, but would be back in ten minutes. If we weren't gone, then he would call the police. So, we left in hurry obviously. Poor old Sasha (the old man). He seemed to have no idea what was going on. We just suddenly up and left. Not good on our part, but the Russian couple seemed pretty worried. I didn't seem to think it was a big deal, but it's a good thing we had them with us, becasue we saw a cop car and two cops on foot drop by his house a couple minutes later. Whew! Crazty huh? Nothing would have happened I'm sure, but the Lord sure protects us. I am glad we had the Senior couple with us that knew the Russian police better than I did.
Along with that and having the cops show-up in Himash, this week was pretty eventful. The less-actives we are working with seem to be progressing. I just wish our investigators would progress as quickly. We've gone through a lot of people that just don't seem too interested in our message after teaching the first lesson. It has really made me questin if I am teaching it well enough or not. I remember learnng in the MTC that missionary work is clumpy. Sometimes you'll get clumps of people who are super interested, and sometimes, you'll get a big clump of people who aren't interested. I just need to keep doing what I am doing, of course progress and improve, and recognize that times of rejection are a trial of my faith.
Well, that'll be it from me this week. Botanika is doing just great! Lots of work to do. Love you all,
Sister Hakes

July 5th

I get online and suddenly there's a picture of a baby, and I wonder, whose child is that? It couldn't be Cassi's or Katy's.... Wow Cassi is a MOM! Crazy! So unexpected. I am so happy for you and Kelly. Sounds like everything went well, an hour of labor?? Are you kidding me? I guess all of that natural peanut butter, and cookies without sugar really do make a difference, huh Cassi : ) I'm glad everything went well. You and Kelly are going to be the best of parents. How are you handeling everything? Don't feel the need to write back, I know you're stressed and busy. Mom will probably update me anyways, so just enjoy your time together as a new family! Your little girl is straight from heaven.
Katie, hang in there! By the time I write this letter, you could probably have gone into labor and delivered too for all I know.
The day Cassi went into labor, June 29th, I actually visited a family in the Ward that just had their second child. They are a great family. Sealed in the Temple and both RMs. Anyways, the Mom, Masha, had helped us a lot with our missionary work, so we wanted to drop-by with a little welcome gift for the new baby. I walked into their house and saw the Dad, Vova, sitting on the couch holding their newborn. The Mom was in the kitchen with their 3 yr. old daughter baking muffins for us missionaries. It was so pathetic, but the sight of their sweet little family made me want to cry, and so I had to hide my tears until we left their house. I told my comp that we can't go back there because I'll just turn into a sap every time. Family is so special! Little did I know that my little Sasha was on the other side of the world about to give birth. I've learned on my mission how my calling in life really is to be a Mom. I've just noticed with all my companions and the people we teach that I really just like to take care of people. Sometimes I forget to take care of myself, which is when that becomes a problem, but I really just want to have a happy little family someday. Ok, enough indulging that thought... that someday won't be for at least another 7 months because I'm on a mission! Haha, and for right now, I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing. So... here's the highlights from my side of the world....
This past week went really well. We had that meeting with Lena at our Branch President's house we were so excited for, but it didn't really go as well as we had planned. They are great people, but they ended-up bad mouthing a lot of the other Churches a little, and I think that kind of turned Lena off. I should have been better at trying to control the situation, and redirect the conversation, but Russians are very passionate people! I have a hard time cutting them off, but it's their culture to cut people off. It's expected to interrupt, but knowing me, that's not my strength. So, the meeting went okay, not the best, and she can't meet with us at all this week. We're hoping that she doesn't start to plateau, becasue this is probably the worst time to not meet with her becasue she was progressing so well. I feel like I have really put a lot of my heart into Lena. Every time she doesn't make a right choice, or someting doesn't work out, it makes me sad. I just want her to be happy! It makes me wonder how parents all over the world must feel about their children, and how Heavenly Father must feel as he watches all of us making choices that he knows aren't good for us.
Also, we have a less active member, Arkaidi Kazmen, who we have been meeting about three or four times a week. Don't know if I have told you about him? He is a very very sweet man about 60 years old. His wife died and he only has one daughter. The whole family was active, but since the death of his wife, he hasn't come to Church and formed an alcohol addiction. He has promised the missionaries for years that he'll come to Church on Sunday, but he never shows. He'll give you every excuse in the book, I don't have a chirt one week. So the Elders showed-up with a shirt the next week, and so he said he didn't have a tie, etc. He is just really ashamed of himself and how he has been living his life that he doesn't want the other members to see what he has become. It is so sad. He lives all alone. So, a couple times a week, we drop by and read the Book of Mormon with him in the park. we started at the beginning and are now half-way through 1st Nephi with him. He is a muffin (Carrie and Meesa). He is so sweet, but is also very hurt and lonely, but won't admit it. He keeps saying he wants to be an Elder in his Russin/English, and he is actually one of the best member missionaries we have in our area. He knows the Church is true and we've started to see some progress with him keeping the smaller commitments we've given him. We drop-by every Sunday morning and try to get him to come with us to Church, but he is pretty creative in getting out of it. He has an extreme desire to come, but he has a hard time following through on his commitments. Anyways, I was reading through our Area Book and all the missionaries had written hopeless comments about him. And it was kind of discouraging to read how everybody has kind of given up on this guy. I also stumbled across some pictures of him from about 10 years ago, and it was so staggering to see how different he looks now. The loss of his wife turned him to addiction, and now he just looks like a completely different person. It hit home to me that Satan either makes us feel one of two ways. He either entices us think we're too good or too happy to need a Savior (pride), or he makes us feel like we're to hopeless and worthless to deserve a Savior (despair). Both feelings I think are pretty common, and it makes sense that like the Savior, the adversary uses small and simple means to get people down. I know I have felt both of those feelings in small doses in my life, and I can somehow understand how easy it is for people to turn to addictions or other things for consolation in their extremem moments of depair/pride. How sad it is. Well, I don't like it when people preach in emails either, Dad, so I'll try not too. I just want this guy to pull through. I'm trying not to put too much hope in him, but why not hope for the best? He's worth it. Every one of us was included in the Savior's Atonement.
We went and worked on a Russian dacha this Saturday for a service project. So great to do some manual labor! Seriously. I miss being able to work outside. It was at a member's house and they have a neighbor we've been teaching. The neighbor is Natasha and we had a really great lesson with her and her daughter, 5 yrd old. They both came to Church on Sunday which was really cool.
Oh yeah, we're teaching an 86 year old man who is very hard of hearing, and when I try to talk to him in Russian he doesn't understand a thing. We have the Russian senior couple come with us. Last week though, he brought me in for a hug, and I didn't know what to do becasue he's old, so I let him hug me. But then, he didn't let go, and he started kissing my neck, even kind of sucking on my neck! It was so weird!! My comp and the senior couple just were staring and I was just in shock like "what is going on??" Haha I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! I gently pushed away from him, but it was all very confusing. The Senior couple thought it was hilarious, becasue it's very Russian to kiss eachother, but not that extreme. They laughed the whole way home with my comp. I was pretty confused. Didn't know whther to laugh or cry haha. He's a very dear old man, so it wasn't creepy or anything. He came to Church on Sunday too, but there's a funny story for you all to enjoy.
Hope all is well with you all! Carrie, enjoy Hawaii! Sounds like it's all been very interesting : )
Love you all,
Sister Hakes
P.S. here's a pic from the water coming out of our sink. don't worry, it's not always this brown, but every now and then it comes out this color. always a surprise!
pic #2 is me teaching an investigator and a member how to play the violin. the violin is the biggest hit here. most people have never seen a real one before in their life.