Sunday, March 27, 2011

January 3, 2011

Happy Monday Morning to you all!
Well, hold on.... I'm trying to remember what happened this week... ok, now I remember:
We had New Years at home on half of Friday and all of Saturday! Yay! You all know how much af a homebody I am, so that was a nice break. However, we tried to sleep New Years evening, but the fireworks made it rather impossible. I was looking forward to maybe taking a nap and catching-up on some sleep Saturday during the day, but we were given a schedule of how to use our time at home, so we followed the schedule, which unfortunately did not include a nap. However, the blessings of obedience are real, and I have felt rather energized since New Years despite not being able to catch-up on any sleep.
Vladislav's wife has agreed to let him get baptized! I don't know what happened, but it is so awesome! However, like usual, there is another hang-up. I swear, I always think that as soon as Vladislav can get over this hurdle, then he'll be ready for baptizm. But, no. He has stopped sleeping in the evenings for some unknown reason, which doesn't seem like a big deal, but he recently got a new job, and if he's not sleeping at night, then he falls asleep at work during the day. To keep himself from falling asleep at work, he drinks tea, which is sad, because now he is saying he can't quit tea! Sigh. It'll all work out I am sure, but his baptizm for this Saturday is looking rather unlikely. Maybe he'll pull through though, we'll see! Pray for him.
Sasha is doing great, and yesterday he received the Priesthood at Church! We have very limited Priesthood in our branch, so it is very nice to have a new addition. He told us yesterday at Church though that he has been reading the Book of Mormon, and he has some really "important, and serious questions" about what he has read. He said they weren't good questions. That kind of worried us. We have a meeting scheduled with him for tonight, and I am sure everything will be okay. I told him that he just needs to believe and remember his testiomny regardless of whatever questions he may have, but to keep that fouindation of faith. He said, "Of course I believe!" And, when we asked him if he was doubting, he said "Of course not!" Haha. All will be well with him I am sure. He has a very believeing heart, which is very endearing. He is rather childlike in his faith.
Tatiana the lady we had a baptizmal date for on Christmas came to Church yesterday with her boyfriend from Norway. She is so golden! Her boyfriend is an excommunicated member, but has had a change of heart and is working with his Bishop in Norway to get re-baptized. He really wants Tatiana to get baptized too so they can be sealed in the Temple together. It is rather sweet. She really wants a happy family because both of her parents died when she was young, and she says she really feels something special at Church. So, I am sure she will be getting baptized soon. Yay for miracles!
Yana, the little girl that comes to Church on her own, set a baptizmal date in early Februray! Her mother was kind of unsure about the Church, but we've really been working with her, and she has now come to Sunday's in a row. And, she agreed to let her daughter get baptized in our Church, and not in the Russian Orthodox Church. She is a very nice lady, but is the classic example of hopelessness. She just has had trouble raising her other children, and she doubts that anyone can really keep the commandments of God successfully. She doesn't think Yana will make it. But, Yana has the desire, so that is the first step.
What else.... let me give you some fun "Russian" info.
People's car engine's freeze if they don't periodically start them. So, if you own a car in Russia, you have to wake-up every three hours at least to turn your car on and let it run for a good thirty minutes. That is at least three times during the evening! The big thing here is having an automatic timer for your car, so it can turn itself on during the night without having to get up. Crazy huh? It's like having a baby!
People have GRILLS. Meaning, I have never seen so much gold teeth in my life. In fact, people have, on numerous occasions, have stopped my companion and I on the street to comment on our "white teeth." They even say we need to be in the movies if our teeth are so white. It's really funny. They can always spot we're foreigners because we smile on the street. I don't even realize I am smiling most of the time, but I think just having my mouth open is strange, I don't know...
If you don't have a hat on outside, they will stop you and tell to cover your head, or you will catch a cold. They take this very seriously. I can understand now, when it is really freezing outside, but even in early Fall, they were stopping my companion and I to tell us to cover up, or we'll catch cold! It is also rather comical to us, but maybe there is some truth in that.
Well, that is my letter for this week. It was, again, so so nice to see all your faces on Skype. I really felt like I had come home from the mission in that I didn't feel far away from you all for a couple of days, so that was nice.
Some notes:
Mom, I haven't gotten your Mormon Tab CD yet, did you send a package beside the pumpkin one that didn't make it? I haven't seen anything yet, but I'll keep an eye out. I haven't had a chance yet to buy that Russian jacket, but I appreciate the funds and I will try to purchase it sometime soon. Thanks : ) Oh, can you check out BYU for me, PLEASE? I need to probably re-apply, but could you call them and have them look-up my status, so I know exactly what I need to do to re-apply. Thanks. I loved your weekly email, it was nice to hear updates from everyone. Love and appreciate you lots!
Meesa, I got your Christmas package! Thanks so much for the red sweater! I am wearnig it today... Deh. Say hi to Collin!
Cassi, thanks for your letter. The YW Program here is not quite the same, but they try. There are three girls in YW in my Branch, and they are sisters. I don't think they have any special activities that I know of, but they do meet asYW on Sunday like usual, so that is good. If I could say an expereice that stuck out to me, I'd say Girls Camp, lessons on dating were always my favorite (not gonna lie), and I remember doing my Personal Progress for Individual Worth and really enjoying that. On the mission, I often share the story of when I first felt the love of God, and it was doing the Individual Worth value project, when I read D&C 18:10. That is still my favorite scripture, as you know. I think it was really important for me to learn who I was as a daughter of God, and that is what helped me most growing up. You'd really be impressed by the three sisters in my Ward. They are so strong, and yet they have no one else their age that are members. Maybe you could tell your girls about them? Their names are Liza, Lena, and Anya Kaigorodova. P.S. the pic of you all + Greycoat made me laugh. I've spotted a couple Greykote look-a-likes here and Russia and have even taken pictures of them. I'll show you when I get back : )
Dad, no pressure about the cat : ) It was just a suggestion haha. Though, reading your commentary on why it is best to NOT have one, was rather hilarious. You really have put up with a lot! Thanks for the letter, even though Mom was trying to keep you off the computer. And, thanks for forwarding the letter to my ldsmail account. Yes, it does matter where it gets sent to. I can only get email at the lds account.
Anyways, love you so much!
Sister Hakes

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