Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 1

Hi Family!
What cute little neices and nephews I have! Happy belated Halloween!
Yesterday and today have been amazing. That extra hour of sleep really made a difference! I love Daylight Sayvings.
Dad, two talks at Conference! Talk about pressure. I heard you did a great job!

Mom, I'm sorry you're not feeling 100% : ( I hope you get to feeling better soon. The story of you leaving the car door wide open made me laugh. Thanks for keeping the entertainment going, and I mean that sincerely! Thanks for the advice and support about everything. Mom always knows what to say.

Thanks for writing Chris and Francisca : ) You have the most adorable kiddos and I can't wait to meet them. Harmon looks so big and grown-up! I can't wait to hear him talk! I love you both and I hope you are hanging-in there with the cupcakes. Twins must be so hard! You're amazing : )
Life in Botanika was great this past week! The work is back to nromal, and we were super busy, which was way nice. We had a lot of needed meetings with our investigators, and we got a lot done. Sister Muhlestein is great. She is way down to earth and really cares about the people. I feel like we have known each other for a long time already, but this was really our first week together. Here are some highlights:
We created a Bible Study class with the members of our English Club. They kept asking to do more English classes a week, but because we aren't allowed to do that, we told them we could meet with them if we only talked about God and spiritual things. We didn't think they would agree really, and we thought that if they didn't want to do it, it would stop them from asking about more English classes during the week, win-win situation. But, they agreed! We had our first Bible study with them last week and it went amazingly well. The people opened-up a lot, and by the end of the hour, we were all in tears. We talked about how they had each seen the hand of God in their lives specifically. It was interesting, some said they hadn't noticed God at all, and other people shared with us some really touching, personal stories. By the end of the class, everybody was able to identify something in their life that proved God's love for them, whether it was a successful marriage, a new baby, or something. It was really beautiful, and we even got one of them to agree to meet with us outside of class! His name is Eugene and he has already read the Book of Mormon, but has a lot of questions about it. I think the questions are going to be more intellectual-historical, not doctrinal, but either way, we'll try and keep our lesson with him next Wednesday on the spiritual things, and not get into a debate about whether or not you can prove the Book of Mormon is true, because you can't really. So, that was really exciting, and a couple of long-time English Club goers said they actually looked at the Church website, and one asked for a Liahona after class last week. We want to Baptize our whole English Club! We'll see anyways : )
Lena is still on track for the baptizm the 20th! Yay! We are trying to find her some really close friends in the Church, and not just acquaintances. I will be super sad if she ever goes inactive. I really don't think she will, but I do want her to have a good support system at the Church. She needs to come to Church every Sunday though, and that is something we are going to be talking to her about. She comes rather regularly, but we want her to understand that it needs to be every Sunday, not just often. She is so cool though, you would all just love her! Like, I think we could be legitimately good friends if it weren't for the fact that we live on other sides of the world. We'll have to do skype dates or something when I'm home, and you can all talk to her... and I'll translate : )
Vladislav.... well, we had an interesting experience this past week. We have been working with him really slowly, and so far it had been working. This past week, we were going to do another lesson about the Book of Mormon, and we weren't planning about talking about baptizm or anything, but Sister Muhlestein and I don't know what really happened. All we know is that we were suddenly trying tom get him to accept a baptizmal date. We hadn't planned that, but we mutually felt like it was what we needed to do. We were being somewhat stubborn with him, because six years is a pretty sufficient period of time to be investigate the Church, but he still didn't agree. We did get him to agree to tell his wife that baptizm was the desire of his heart, and that it would make him happy if that is what he did. We felt like that was a step in the right direction, and we pinky promised that he would tell us how it went at Church on Sunday. However, he didn't come to Church on Sunday unfortunately. We called him after the meeting, and we could tell that something had happened when he talked to his wife. He didn't want to talk about it over the phone. Obviously, it didn't go well when he brought-up baptizm with her. I know we aren't supposed to get involved in personal matters, and that family comes first, so we won't push the baptizm issue any more if we see that it is causing some sort of rift in their family. We have a meeting Tuesday, so we are anxious to talk with him about it.
We also met with Lena (the other one), Volodia, and Vladimer last week. Lena has started keeping her committments again, and Vladimer has started praying with us and in private he says. So that is really cool! Volodia is doing really well. He still doesn't believe the Book of Mormon can be true, because it isn't sufficiently mentioned in the Bible. We committed him to read it though, and he said he would try and read some more, and this time he'd read and pray about it. So, we'll see! He is amazing though and he would be a very devout member if he could get a testimony.
Hope all is well with you!
Sister Hakes
picture 1: they have random holes in the ground when they do construction, and with the traffic, and my favorite person in the world Brat Glagolev smiling with his gold teeth, I just thought I would share with you a little Russian joy : ) This was taken from our Branch building window.
picture 2: the Helsinki Temple! Isn't it beautiful!