Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25

hey hows the tricks at home? The great tennessee knoxville mission carries on quite well! We got to hear from Elder Dallin H. Oaks yesterday and boy was that a spiritual experience! I wrote down like 6 questions that i had prayed about and wanted to be answered during the special stake conference, and all of them were answered as well as a few I had in my heart that God new I wanted to hear but I didn’t really write down. such a special spirit there. Also I shook his hand like 9 or 10 times, We had 6 investigators at church and I made it a point to take him to meet everyone of them as they arrived. He is a really really nice guy and he talked to each of them and most of them had answered prayers there too. Maria is one of our investigators that has a testimony but has a hard time committing to come to church and also is having trouble overcoming her smoking addiction. Our ward mission leader picked her up for the meeting and she was in tears almost the whole time. She talked to him after the meeting and told him she felt it was taylor-made for her and she really loved it. boy was that an answered prayer. She is really strong! We also got together as a whole mission to hear from him after stake conference was over. And the coolest part of the whole experience which had me literally in tears (which as y'all know doesn’t happen too often) is before the meeting he went around and met almost everyone in the building and when he got up to speak he said there are two types of talks he does, the first is a general conference address which he takes about 20 drafts to complete and the other is a stake conference talk which he doesn’t prepare for at all. He just meets as many people as he can and lets the spirit tell him what to say to everyone. And what he spoke about for about 85% of his talk was specifically for our investigators! He essentially testified of the first two lessons (restoration and plan of salvation) and told them what was up. he even mentioned elder christensen and I in his address! haha so cool! One of our newer investigators (Josh T) who we will be committing for baptism tomorrow night, over heard him telling president how good of a job he thought elder christensen and I were doing here as missionaries! I really can’t even remember ever being happier than I was feeling yesterday! Alma 29:10 puts it perfectly "And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled been with joy;..." I've been reading the book of mormon jack sent me for christmas and I don’t go anywhere with out it, and Alma 29 is just destroyed haha it's become one of my very favorite chapters in the book of mormon. Jeanne and Mekenzie are finally really going to be baptized this saturday and boy are we excited.  Well there has never been a better time to be a missionary. I love it and am excited to move forward! Love you all! 
Love Elder bakker 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 18

February 18, 2012
Hola Madre
So good news or bad news first? good news? ok, so coming this sunday to farragut tennessee...... ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS! I'm so excited this is already my second time meeting an apostle! He is coming to our building for a special stake conference! The bad news is that Jeanne and Mckenzie got sick and we have to push their baptism to march 2... But thats ok we had a super good lesson with mckenzie yesterday and she is just so excited to be baptized! We have also been trying to find new investigators a lot lately, and there has been some good success with that.
So yesterday we got to go to the hospital and give a member a blessing that was a really cool experience. Also one really cool thing about being a missionary is that we get to waltz into the hospital and flash our ordained minister badge and we can do whatever we want haha its pretty cool. well All is well on the eastern front the sun is shining and its a new day! I love my mission its the best time of my life. I love serving the lord this is the best. Love ya! 
Elder bakker

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11

February 11, 2013
Hola Madre!
ha Preston is going to Japan! thats so stellar! I'm glad, he will love that! Well Tennessee is kickin'! I love it here so much! Farragut is the best! We just implemented our ward mission plan this Sunday and it should go off with out any problems! One of the main components of the mission plan is a 40 day fast from the ward. We have everyone in the ward signing up for a day to fast and pray as a family to specifically find someone that the missionaries can teach in their home! It's going to be so good! The ward is finally getting excited about doing missionary work and has completely turned around. Our meal calendar is always completely full and now they always expect us to be prepared with a spiritual thought.  Another cool thing that we are starting to do is leave the Savior”s peace and blessings with people in their home, it's been a really cool way to serve and get people to feel a special spirit. It's literally a priesthood ordinance and it works tracting too! People soften up and they can tell its the real deal, its super awesome I love it. 
So next transfer day is March 13 and Elder Christensen is probably going to be leaving which will mean I'm most likely staying here for at least another transfer after that, and if I'm training it'll be 2 transfers. I'm super stoked about it, it means I'll spend the first quarter of my mission here in Farragut. It's really starting to wear on me, how fast the time goes. It’s like I blink and another month goes by. I’m not really a fan of that... 
Oh some exciting random news, we were at the gym this morning with brother Ray and I dunked my first full size basket ball. That was a small celebration inside for me haha, now i just need to get the technique down and pull it off playing the other elders! ha Jacky boy, I challenge you Mr. J-Jazz! I'm getting a lot better, I even bought some basket ball shoes ( first pair I've ever owned). Anyways, our progressing investigators all got busy this week so we had to deal with a lot of dropped appointments which is always a bummer, however Jeanne and Mckenzie are still on for their baptism this Saturday and Robert Branson is still on but we are trying to push the date up. So all is well with them, and we are so excited for the baptism this week! 
I really love the people here and the Lord is really behind this work. I heard the Sextons even wrote you guys! That's so great that you sent them a package! They are such sweet people, I may have you add them to the email list. Well Life is great I love it here and the work is really, really great! Thanks for the love support and prayers! Love ya! 
Elder Bakker 

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4

A "bad" Tennessee snowstorm.  They got almost 2 inches!

Hola Madre!
so life here in tennessee is so fantastic! Tennessee-ism for the week is "run". Run: synonym for batch. "Youns hungry? I'm fixin' to make a run o' bread." I love it! 
Oh and not to mention the fact that both elder christensen and I are staying in Farragut for the next transfer! President had like 10 personal phone calls from members of the ward asking him to keep us here! and i'll most likely be here another transfer after that as well! I love farragut. The people are so nice! we have a meal appointment every night, with special requests so we often times get lunch too! haha its crazy! and the people we are teaching are just spectacular! There has been a mission stigma of no one wants to go to farragut because the people don’t want to listen to you, but if you truly involve the lord in his own work he helps you out! we went to a street in our area ( as per the spirits direction) and out of the 5 doors we had time to knock we taught 3 lessons. It was awesome and we have a pretty legit guy to go back and see! (haha he does fracking and before he would talk to us he had to make sure we weren't environmental nuts... haha kinda sketch) 
Oh and we got another elder rolling with us for a few days! Elder Chopelas, he is so awesome his companion is training to be the new AP so he came with us till transfers on wednesday. We have really been having a blast with him, it brings a new spice to the work. We had an awesome experience this week with Robert B, he finished the Book of Mormon and told us he has officially decided to join the church! So awesome the only hold up is he wants his son to be there, and he is in boot camp until the end of August so he wrote him a letter and if his son writes back to go ahead and go with the baptism then it will be sooner. So we are really praying for that to happen, but its all on the lords time table! 
Also Jeanne and Mckenzie have been rescheduled to Feb. 16. We went over yesterday and put together a calendar of stuff we have to get done in order to be ready by then and they are super excited and committed! So all three of them were at church and we also had the S parents Dwight and Jane there also!! That was the first time in the last 3 years they've been to church! They are talking about feeling the spirit and stuff and its great. Also our youth are amazing! they have a new friend at church every week I swear. this week brother r's daughter and another kid had a friend each there and one of them Austin J came up and asked me for a Book of Mormon and to learn a little more about the church, so we are going to see him this week to teach him! so stellar! There’s also this old french couple in the ward that are less active because of health problems ( the H's) and they cooked us a real french meal, boy that was nice! Plus i hadn't had Brie cheese in a while so that was pretty good too! 
I love it out here in the lords vineyard its amazing what i learn everyday! I know this is the lords church restored to the earth today and that only by living the principles of His gospel can you achieve true joy. I love you and thank you for your continued support! 
Love Elder Bakker