Friday, March 18, 2011

Letter From November 15, 2010

Hi Family,

We have no snow yet, hooray! When I landed in Russia this time last year, there was like 6 inches of snow on the ground and everything was frozen over. I fully approve of the warmer weather, yay for Global Warming!
( Kidding, I'm not going to start that debate with Kimball...)

Well, Carrie, I am so touched that you have not forgotten about your Bird, and that from time to time, I am even in your dreams. Deh! I can't remember exactly, but this past week or two, I had dreampt about coming home. It was awful! I was so so so happy to see you all, but I couldn't talk in English, and so I kept trying to explain myself in Russian, but nobody could understand. It was like my first couple weeks in Russia, only this time I was at home, so it was much more frustrating. You all ended-up talking on one side of the kitchen, and I was ostracized in the corner wondering why noody wanted to hear about my mission. When people came to talk to me, the family would say, "You can't talk to her, she's been in Russia." Haha it was pretty pathetic, and I am so glad the real life version will be much more joyful!

Yay for Marcus having his health back!

Botanika EXPLODED this past week! All of our potential investigators just suddenly turned into investigators, and we were super packed all week with investigator meetings, which is so fun. I love teaching! Investigator meetings are so intense and spiritual too, so it is fun to spend all you time in good lessons. I feel so spoiled here in Botanika. We have lots of progressing investigators, a baptizm or two coming-up, and a lot of potential investigators too. The Lord has truly blessed us! Really. There is no other way to explain the sudden boom. At District Meeting each week, we missionaries discuss the progress of our investigators as a District, and my companion and I realized last week that we have a lot more people to meet with than a lot of the other missionarie in our District. That's sad because they are all great missionaries. However, they are all still super positive, and they spend all day contacting or dropping-by less-actives in their branches. Sister Muhlestein and I realized how grateful we should be for the successes we see each day, because they really are little miracles.

Lena is set and ready to go for her Baptizm on Saturday! I'll send you pictures. She interviewed with our Mission President, and he said he felt so good about her prepardness. She really is prepared, and he wants to try and make it to her baptizm. I hope he can because she has gotten to know him a little, and it would be special to her if he came.

All of our investigators are doing great. Vladimir even invited us into his house. Talk about a чудо (miracle)! We have our daily "чуд" that we write in our planners every eveing and it is so amazing how things always work out. We had three people come to Church on Sunday, and Vladislav is like a totally new person. He is the one with the wife that is anti. He is still trying to keep all the commandments, and has even started somking less. He smiles, laughs, and really has come alive again. He used to sit and be rather lifeless in our lessons, but he seems so different now. He is reading every day still, and has strated reading the Gospel Essentials book on his own, to help him better understand the Book of Mormon. He is coming home early from his planned vaction this week to come see Lena's baptizm. He has real intent and I am SO glad we never gave up on him. It is never too late for people to change!

We met with Volodia, the younger guy that knows the Bible really well. Our goal was to have an actual spiritual experience with him, and not let him just get into a theological debate. We talked to him about the Spirit and how to receive answers. It was so perfect because he says he doesn't trust his feelings. We all kneeled-down with him at the end of the lesson, and he said the most sincere prayer. I didn't think he was even capable of being so sincere, because he usually seems so off-handed and funny. He asked God to know if the Book of Mormon was true, which is a huge step for him. We'll see!

All of our other investigators are doing really well. I'd write you about all of them, but it is a painstakingly long process, and I'm sure it is hard for you to follow anyways. Just know, that the work here is going really well!

Just for the record, in case you didn't know, I HATE ALCOHOL. I feel like it destroys life after life, and it has become my personal mission here in Russia to kick over as many half-empty bottles that I see lying around. I have been pretty successful too!

With Love,

Sister Hakes


1. I haven't received the Thanksgiving package yet.
2. You don't need to buy me a wool scarf, I'll be okay : )
3. I don't know what I want for Christmas. Really, you don't need to send anything! I have no needs, and I'll be coming home soon after, so I don't want you to worry about it. You're the best though, thanks for thinking of me.
4. Please don't redecorate the house too much : ( And, if anybody does buy it before I come home, can we have it written in the Agreement that I need to have my wedding reception there free of charge? I wish that were a joke, but I'm pretty serious : )

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