Monday, September 30, 2013

Sept 30

Oak ridge is pretty sweet! I'm enjoying the new responsibilities of preparing zone meetings and confrences, It brings a new kind of work into missionary work. Variety helps things to stay moving and active. We are excited about a few things in the area right now. First is that Cody B is going to be baptized this Sunday shortly following general conference. It's been great teaching him and watching him progress in the gospel. Our other dear lady with a date Maria was able to come out to church with us yesterday! She is great and it’s been amazing to see the Atonement of Christ be an enabling force in her life. She has a dark past and a lot of struggles now that she is striving to overcome, but she can do it. Please pray for Maria.
We are looking forward very much to general conference this week! It's like Christmas for missionaries! Missionary work is hard. It is supposed to be hard. Life is hard. It is supposed to be hard. All we can ever do is try our best and repent where we fall short. We must keep in mind that if our heart and mind are all in and focused, then our might and strength will be acceptable to the lord. He loves us, He has a divine Plan for our salvation, and He doesn't intend to just save a few of us.
Love your work,
Work your love ;)
Love Elder Bakker

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sept 23

This week has been great we have finally had a greater opportunity to work in our area! We are still working with Cody and he is coming right along and we were also able to commit a lady named Maria for baptism as well. We have less time in our area than most and the Lord continues to bless us for doing our best that is something that is sure. Maria we met the first week in Poplar Creek. We went to a gas station to pick up a few drinks for our hour and a half drive to a meeting for one of our districts, and when we were checking out we gave the lady at the counter a pass along card and she asked us for a Bible. I had to think if we had one in our car or not to give away (we are in the south we don’t give out a lot of Bibles) and then she said yeah a Mormon Bible! So we gave her a Book of Mormon, told her about it and got her information and told her we would come visit. We were finally able to catch her at home this week and we taught her about the Book of Mormon and she asked "so are they the other sheep that Jesus was talking about in the Bible?" and we jumped on that!  that was cool. We testified of its truth and divinity and committed her for baptism for mid October. She is very prepared.
The only trouble with people like this are they are very very fragile. The anti-mormon people and literature out here come from everywhere around you. So the trick is getting a solid fellowshipper in to help them when that comes because it inevitably will come. So we need to take it one step at a time. But its really cool still.
Another highlight this week was I went on exchange with one of the assistants in the mission and he is over the Knoxville/Cumberland YSA branch and we went to Farragut for an appointment and I got to see a member family over there that I was fairly close to then I called Brother R and he took us out to get a couple steaks. Always great to see Brother R!.
The work is good I have been trying to set some new goals on the kind of person I want to become from the last year of my mission. There is a lot to accomplish and not a lot of time to do it, but its amazing the Lord excels growth exponentially when you are in his service. Thanks for everything and for the birthday wishes! love you
Love ELder Bakker

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sept 16

All is well in Zion! I love the new companions, we have a blast, plus we got a bench in our apartment so we have been hooked on working out at 6 every morning and blending up a green juice smoothie after for our morning routine.  We get along great and there is never a dull moment between us. Our ward members are always willing to help us go and teach and get work done, the only problem however, is that we have the boonies of the ward and the sisters have Oak Ridge itself. So, we have like 9 active members in our area and like 25 less active. Makes missionary work a little more difficult. We are determined to make some things happen though!
Cody B is doing really awesome he reads the Book of Mormon every day and yesterday we watched “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration” with him. He is getting excited and nervous about his date on October 6th to be baptized. He is still waiting for his confirmation on whether the Book of Mormon is true, which we and he are all confident that he can receive if he puts the work in in the scriptures at church and on his knees. I love teaching people that want to be taught.
Our ward mission leader has a really big heart and doesn't ever want us to drop anyone, so that means we are still teaching a lot of non-progressing people. We recently had an investigator get anti'd pretty bad by her preacher and I can't tell you how often that happens. The Baptisits here are more abundant than mini vans in an LDS church parking lot. Many of them literally have like a whole month out of the year where they give "introduction to Mormonism" nights and things like that where they just feed the south with more anti Mormon literature and ideas than you could even believe. They never bash on any other religion though, I wonder why... Why would there be so much opposition against only one church? hmm.... haha
Well I feel like I’ve changed a lot so far on my mission as my 1 year mark approaches. I’m not sure what or how, but I really do feel like a different person. I've been truly been changed by the Lord. I've got a lot of work left in me, and I plan to give it all I have left. I have strived to be exactly obedient and I have seen blessings from it. Opposition always comes but if the Lord commands it there is always a way to accomplish the task. (thanks Nephi...) I know that the Lord lives. I know that Joseph Smith was his tool to bring about everlasting restoration. The only way Home is through the Savior. The only way we can access the fullness of the blessings of the atonement is through the blessings of the restoration, specifically the Book of Mormon and saving ordinances. There is no greater place than where ever we are at as long as we are in the service of God. I love my mission and it moves way too fast.
love you.
Elder Bakker

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sept 9

hello family!
Donna A, best food in the south!
So the big changes! I’m now serving in Oak Ridge Tennessee, which is about 30 min from Farragut. I’m over the Poplar Creek ward. Elder Schouten and I have a new greenie with us! Elder Russo from Tulsa OK! He is a visa waiter going to Belo Horizante, Brazil (same as my first greenie elder Mcneil! I have a larger posterity there than here!) Elder Russo is 21 and really funny he graduated from Penn State with his bachelors already and pole vaulted there. Elder Schouten (scout'in) is from Orem Utah and has been out 19 months he is 23 and really funny as well.
"Me and the companions"
Elders Schouten, Russo & Bakker
I've never been so tired in my life. There is never enough time in the day for me to feel like I’m caught up on anything. So naturally we are always running late and prepare on the go.  We have one investigator already with a baptismal date in early October. His name is Cody B and he is 20 and super awesome. We all get along really well up here and have already found some good hole in the wall places to eat. We are in the midst of preparing our zone meeting this Thursday which has been really crazy we spend a lot of time doing regular zone leader things so our time in our area is really starting to suffer a little, but our ward mission leader is awesome so he keeps us updated and the members all really enjoy going out with us, so all is well in Zion.
We are driving a Chevy Malibu... haha know what the captain of the Titanic said right before they hit the iceberg? "this thing turns like a Chevy Malibu!" haha
Andrew  & Elvis
Elders Russo, Bakker, Schouten & the sister missionaries w/the M family in Oak Ridge, TN
Cool story, Oak Ridge is the home of the Manhattan Project. They still build missiles and make explosives and stuff here. Well all is well here. The gospel is true and it is built upon the rock of our Redeemer and the foundational principles come from the Book of Mormon.
Love you all!
love elder bakker

The new district w/President & Sister Irion