Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28

Jan 28, 2013
Hey Mom
So I really don't have much to say and they are cutting my time short again. I'm doing really well here in TN and things are going really pretty smooth. The biggest problem I’m seeing here in Farragut is balance. We work our butts off and we have a lot of progressing investigators and they are all progressing but at very different speeds. we don’t have a car and its really hard to keep up to date with everyone. Jeanne and Mckenzie need their baptism pushed to probably the 3rd Saturday in Feb. So that’s kind of a bummer, but they are excited to be baptized its just going to take a little longer than expected. But hey such is life. Spirits are bright and looking forward to big times ahead, also Matt G tried to convert us... so we are going to drop him pretty soon here... haha kinda funny. Also I'll be sending home a package of stuff I dont want to tote around with me out here. 
Oh I just gave a training in district meeting on teaching from the scriptures, since I sucked at teaching from the scriptures I spent the last week or so learning. And boy does the Lord help you out if you ask! My teaching just totally changed, its crazy. Before I would teach and the scriptures would just not come to mind, and as soon as I started praying for help and working hard to remember scriptures and stuff, they would just flood to my mind! I love the scriptures and I'm always learning from them! 
Oh also transfers are Feb. 6 so send all letters and stuff just to the mission office for now, I really don’t have any idea where I'll be. Even though I’m pretty sure I'll stay here you never know
Gotta jet, Love ya 
Elder Bakker

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 21

Hey mom!
Sorry I couldn’t write yesterday but our mission president lets us email the next day if the libraries are closed for whatever reason :) oh by the way rumor has it the price for postage is going up $0.01 Jan. 27.... guess I'm going to have to go buy a bunch of 1 cent stamps to go put on my letters haha thats annoying. Well Life in Tennessee is awesome the Tennessee-ism for the week is extraterrestrium. 
Exteraterrestrium: southern for extraterrestrial, or alien. Buster: "Those crazies think Adam and Eve were cooked up and put here by extraterrestriums to use us as natural resources!" hahaha I love the south! Anywho.. 
Things have been going really great here we had 4 investigators at church this week, and the bishop told us we are setting records in the farragut ward.  I can't figure it out, I don’t feel like Elder Christensen and I are particularly exceptional missionaries at this point, we are both still fairly young in our missions, and yet the lord is blessing us and making up the difference for our hard work and putting our whole heart into the work. Its really incredible, the lord really lets you know he is out there looking out for you, thats for sure.
Our investigators are all really doing awesome. We are going to go see Dwight and Jane S in a few minuets here, and we are going to share a really spiritual lesson on personal revelation and are going to commit them to pray to know that Jesus Christ is their Savior and feeling the spirit on their own, so when we go over next time to have them pray about the book of mormon they will have a feeling to "benchmark" the feeling they are going to get when they ask if the Book of Mormon is the inspired word of God. They are super awesome, they have us over for dinner and lunch all the time, we help them move furniture and stuff (Dad its true Bakker's move furniture once a month if not more their whole life... haha) and they are going to be writing you guys a letter i guess haha we really love them.  
We also had a pretty interesting experience with a Chinese guy named John. We were teaching Matt G here at the library the other day and some random guy named John came up to us, speaking half Chinese half english, saying every time he has an important decision to make in his life and every time he "sees a sign" or anything like that he sees two mormon missionaries. He came up to us and straight up asked us if he should quit his job and move to south dakota to finish school and if he should pay for it on his credit card or not.... haha we told him to pray and we called him later to talk about it and we had a 25 min conversation with him on the phone and he was speaking about 75% Chinese and long story short he prayed and something opened up for him and he can get a scholarship to some college out there. he called us the next day or so and said he was getting kicked out of his place and we went over the next morning at 7am to help him move out, it was so sketchy ha he was living in some rich houses living room and we packed his car up and he was off for south dakota. He was already a member of the church but through this experience he decided he was going to start going back to church and stop drinking coffee. The whole thing was so bizarre i can't adequately describe it to you in words... haha you just had to be there. 
Also we have 12 people we have invited to be at church this week so prayers from home would be awesome if you guys could help prayer for them to make it to church. The ward would go crazy with missionary work if we had a huge turn out like that, it would be amazing! Oh also it totally snowed this week!!! we got 2 inches!!!! hahaha it melted over night and there was no snow the next day but everyone was off work and school anyways haha the streets were deserted so naturally we went tracting! we caught a family home and found some new investigators! 
Also Dad, question, how did you help people quit smoking on your mission? we have an investigator, Maria, who has a firm testimony and wants to be baptized but has to quit smoking. any help on that would be stellar! also I'll be sending home a package of stuff some time in the next few weeks just so i don’t have to carry it around on my mission. As always I pray for you and love you! oh and before I jet, I cant remember if I told you I tracted into a house with a pet monkey the other day... anyways ha love ya
Love Elder Bakker
PS the Kroquets were ABSOLUTELY RAD! ha not a single one broke open! haha how'd ya pull that off?! ha i bought some fresh rolls and ghuda to go with it along with my mustard from Brother L! everything was perfect except the thermometer broke in shipping, but i bought one from the grocery store for like 5$ that worked so its all good!

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14

January 14, 2013

How are y'all?  Life here in tennessee is kickin! we got a solid new investigator this week! his name is matt geary and he is really serious about finding truth and really open to knowing the book of mormon is true and is reading and praying to know! How we found him is really cool. He was being taught by the missionaries in cleaveland, tn and moved to Farragut last monday (i think i told you about him last week) turns out that was the day he was moving in and that day and the cleveland elders weren’t even going to call and tell us about him for like another week! solid solid guy he came to church and everything this week! we had 3 investigators there and we had 5 non members and like 10 members in our gospel essentials class which we taught, that went way well the members are super sweet time, we also had one of our top investigators at the CES fireside last night from Elder Uchtdorf, he taught about seeking truth it was so perfect! Also just to throw this in we were tracting and we tracted into this family and they had a pet monkey named Kenya, it had a diaper and everything. anyways all is going super well here and we are loving it. Lots of success and love here in Farragut! Transfers are Feb 6th and I'll know the saturday before whether i’m staying or not but my guess is I'll be staying (maybe training) but i hope not haha oh well. It's been super warm and now its quite wet outside i hope its not going to be raining. anyways they are cutting my email time short... Im going to go along with it because its Elder Christensens birthday. tell grandma thanks for the books! Love you 
Elder Bakker

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 4

Knoxville Zone Conference 1-4-2013:  E Pattison, Busch, Babbitt,Moyers, T Vincent, Warhurst, M Christensen, Morrill, Bakker, S Taylor: C Robinson, Dean, Bird, Eckery, Morales, Bybee, Chopelas, Shoemaker, LeSueur: S Brough, Hollis, Hollon, Martineau, Sloan, Irion, Stone, Bowman, Preston, Cady

January 7

Andrew with the B family's pet squirrel. 
On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:03 PM, Robert Bakker wrote:
Hey hey!
so cool experience happened about 5 min ago. we are walking into the library to come do our emails and this guy stops us and asks if we are missionaries from the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, I was like uh yes! and what can we do for you? ha ha anyways turns out he is moving into our area and just met the missionaries in his old area a few days before and went to church yesterday and everything. Ha God led him right to us and now we are meeting with him tomorrow afternoon! stoked! he says he has a lot of questions and my response was "good!, we have a lot of answers!" haha so that was pretty cool! So a little bit about our investigators: 
Jeanne H - bap. date: Feb.2- 63 and excited to learn
Mckenzie P- bap. date: Feb. 2- 27 and Jeanne's daughter equally excited and both are progressing awesome 
Robert B- won’t join the church till he finishes the book of mormon, luckily he's already in Helaman and is loving it. he comes to church every week too. His date to finish the BOM is Feb. 3 so hopefully he will be baptized the next week!
Maria- WofW problem, but read the BOM and has a testimony of it. she really wants to join the church and be baptized, so we are going to help her over come smoking and then she and her 2 kids are going to be baptized!
Dwight and Jane S- Parents of a really solid family in our ward raised baptized but they have made leaps and bounds since they started learning! they are even going to throw Elder Christensen a birthday party on his birthday(jan.14) they are practically our surrogate grandparents!
Matt- just met him excited to learn and i don’t know much else... haha but super cool
We are also teaching some Church of Christ people which are super hard because they don’t believe in personal revelation... most of the doctrine is the same but they got off somewhere... super knowledgeable on the Bible and super nice but very stubborn. interesting thing about Church of Christ, it was started by sidney rigdon after he left the church and before he came back... haha so thats kinda funny. 
anyways the work is going super well and we have like 9 possible baptisms in the future here in this area, and it hasn’t seen a baptism in a solid year. so, super exciting. We work hard and the ward and bishop love us, they can see us working hard and how our efforts are being blessed. so they are super helpful to us when they can be! our meal calendar is always full so thats awesome! also there is a new book by Elder Bednar called "Act in Doctrine" and it talks a lot about the talk he gave in the mtc that you can’t find anywhere else called Character of Christ. the talk totally changed my life and the way I want to treat people. I highly recommend reading it. And there are is a two book series my mission president approved for me called "Verse by Verse The Book of Mormon" vol. 1 & 2 by D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C. Skinner on deseret book. its super awesome and if y'all are feeling nice you could send that haha. I have grown a new found love for the Book of Mormon. It really has the converting power and is a treasure given to us by our heavenly father. The Book of Mormon is true and you can grow nearer to god by reading it than any other book. I love you all and continue to pray for you everyday. 
Also there's this family in the ward, the L's, the dad is a total foody i feel right at home there. he was raised in so. cal. and told me where to get a solid taco. He gave me some horse radish mustard from Buffalo NY it is sooooo good! its like sacred to him and he gave me a bottle because he trusted my pure desire for good food haha I'll have to send a picture of it or something. He would love the mustard from Philleeps haha its awesome. well duty calls love y'all keep up the good work on the other side! haha 
Love Elder Bakker
oh got in the newspaper... check out tennessee news sentinel .com or whatever and try and find the article! ill send a couple copies of the paper home as well! there are pictures
**I found the article and this is the link if anyone wants to check it out.  There are about 8 pictures of Andrew and his companion.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

December 31

December 31, 2012

Aloha me amigos et mes amis!
Bonjour! comment cava? ha well I don’t know if I’ve ever told you about our less active friends from france but we got to see them the other day so french is on the brain. ha they are the H's, they are in their young 80's and love it when we come over, awesome people! Brother H is from Germany originally and speaks english and french along with his old towns german dialect.  It totally makes me think about Holland and gets me in touch with my dutch side. haha I love it, make sure grandpa knows that the inner dutchman in me always wants to burst out! 
Also got my hair cut today. ah I needed one, went to this nice barber shop because its the only place we could walk to from the mission office and got a killer hair cut and shampoo with a hot towel, the whole nine yards! the best part is I sweet talked the manager into giving me a "Jesus discount" ha and they gave me 10$ off a 25$ haircut. I love being a missionary! 
Before I forget the Tenessee-ism for the week is..-"Long Handles" - means long johns or thermals. "My it's just right dog gone cold out! Y'all got you're long handles on?!" quote by Sister S (The Elder) Brother and Sister S(dwight and jane) are two of our investigators, they are like our grandparents away from home! They are Brother S's parents from our ward here. They used to be super anti, they even almost disowned brother s when he joined the church. However we have been really connecting with them and we really love them and they really love us, so when we go over and teach they even get involved in the spiritual thought! Just the other day they found out that Elder Christensen hasn't had a baptism yet at 8 months and they were heart broken and they (jokingly) said to brother s that they better get baptized for us haha thats a huge step to even joke about it for them, they will be baptized sometime and we are just super excited to finally be the missionaries allowed to teach them!
Also we got another baptismal commitment! Jeanne H is our first and her 27 year old daughter started taking the lessons too and they both are scheduled to be baptized on Feb. 2nd! so exciting! they both came to church this sunday too! so super excited about that! and our other top investigator right now is a member referral by the name of Robert B. He is awesome he comes to church every week and is reading the book of mormon everyday! He took us out to lunch last P day and lunch and played Disc Golf today! super nice guy. His only hang up is he is the type of guy who reads the fine print on everything. He has to read the whole book of mormon before he is baptized, he is taking it really seriously and is sincerely praying and reading. We thought it would take for ever but he is averaging 4 chapters a day and is already to Helaman!! so we are going to set a date for him to finish by and (sneaky us) we are going to turn it into his baptismal date as well! 
haha so we are really having a lot of success here in Farargut! President just told us we may have "secured our spot" here for probably at least another transfer. so fingers crossed! I’m for sure here until Feb 6th but I'll probably stay here at least another 6 weeks after that so I'm excited. 
I guess the theme of this weeks email is how exciting missionary work is I love it and the Lord blesses you for your service! whether it be a full time mission or member missionary work it brings happiness and he helps deliver us out of our bondage, just like it says in Alma 36:24-27. I love my mission and I love the people and I love my Savior. He brings us the most joy and true happiness in our lives.
Love you so much
Elder Bakker