Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17

This hawk sits about 20 feet outside their apartment window on a regular basis.

Hey Mom, 
How goes the battle? wow boy am I glad to be away from shoveling snow haha but sounds like all is well back in the land desolation. Here in the land of milk and honey life is swell. The work is progressing here in Farragut more than it has in over a year or two I love it! A member family we have become pretty close with ( originally from Riverton) said we're going to feel Spolled rotten with the winters here, I’m pumped for that! and that brings us right to our Tennesseeism: Spolled- the correct way of saying spoiled. "Y'all are gunna feel right spolled here this winter!"
Oh before I forget Dad, theres this motorcycle junkie in the ward with a 1963 triumph bonniville with a rebuilt engine in hes garage, all it needs is the beauty work done to it! how sick is that?! also there is a motorcycle clothing/ accessory store here in my area im hoping to get a chance to go to today, the have a matchless, a couple triumphs, old hondas, and BSA's and stuff they always have displayed in the windows! so stellar 
any how the work here is awesome we are working hard and having success. we have 4ish investigators that could potentially have a baptismal date in the next few weeks so fingers crossed. We have 9 potential investigators who are progressing ( some slower than others) but none the less we are teaching them and they are progressing so thats good. There is one story in particular from this week I'll never forget. We were out tracting one day. We met a lot of cool people and taught a few of them, but it was a long tracting day, we did 5 solid hours and biking on the hills in tennessee which are not for the weak of heart... haha anyways we did a hard day of tracting and at some point we were supposed to go contact this media referral from This lady requested a copy of Joy to the World- the video about Christ’s birth and we knew we weren't supposed to go over until we had our ward missionary ( josh) with us. we weren’t really sure why but we waited till we were with josh that night to go see her. We go and knock on her door and she says from behind the door "who is it?" it was the voice of a very frail older woman (turns out she’s 80.) we briefly explain we have the video she requested and we'd like to give it to her. she opens the door and we talk a bit and she says she is christian and doesn’t want to hear about mormonism and stuff like that but we ask if we can say a prayer with her before we leave and she invites us in to pray. we are standing in her small little entry way and I offer a simple sweet prayer and offer a blessing on her and her home, shortly after she says a prayer and is very emotional. after the prayer she looked up at us and looked at our name tags and she introduced herself as Katherine D, we then introduce ourselves and then she looks at josh and says," And you! you're here! whats your name? -joshua- Oh joshua! just like in the Bible!" she looked at josh as if she distinctly recognized him and knew he would be there... (so spiritual? haha i about died) anyways.. As it turns out in the last 8 months or so she has lost her husband and this is going to be her first christmas with out him. We told her that the savior loves her and is watching out for her and testified of the plan of salvation. she then asked 'Will I recognize him (referring to her husband) when I get to heaven" which shocked me to find out that these churches here teach the people that they wont be able to recognize each other in the next life. But none the less, we answered her and said essentially, yes of coarse you'll be able to recognize each other in heaven. josh offered her a copy of the book of mormon and we gave her a pamphlet on the plan of salvation and invited her to church. she is really excited about it! she wants to come to church next week and she is going to start reading the Book of Mormon! She expressed over and over again that we don't know how grateful she was that we came to see her. We are going to call and check in with her tomorrow and see if we can do anything for her and josh and his family are supposed to go caroling to her soon as well. she is really one of the sweetest ladies i've ever had the privilege of meeting. 
Its really been a humbling experience out here on my mission. I have had the opportunity to feel the savior work through me and touch his children. The amount of pure Christ-like love I feel for these people, because i get to stand in place and represent Jesus Christ himself is unparalleled. It's like nothing i've ever felt before. And by feeling the love for the people i serve I feel the saviors love and trust in me individually. I know the savior loves us deeper than we can ever imagine. He is there for us in our deepest darkest times of need and there to celebrate with us in our times of success. No one wants us to succeed in this life more than he. And Russell M. Nelson taught us while we are here - just as our family back home prays for us because they are our #1 fans Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ pray for us also because they love us more and want us to succeed more than anyone. 
the mission is great I’m so grateful for the opportunity to serve, thanks for the love and support!
Love Elder Bakker

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