Monday, October 28, 2013

Oct 28

The work continues. Another week comes and goes, time flies I can't hardly keep track of the day or even month it is. My year mark has come and gone and Halloween is right around the corner, I spent the last one in the MTC. The Highlight for the week was definitely getting to go see Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the 70 come and speak to the mission on Tuesday. He came and toured our mission and spoke to us for several hours about "The Most Important Thing." It was great. He spoke for quite a log time and it was hard to take everything in all at once but upon further study and light of understanding by the Spirit I finally feel like I really have a good grasp on it. He started off by letting us know that in the last 2 thousand years and in the next 2 thousand years there is nothing that has been or could be said that is of more importance than his message. This is it and you can truly base your whole life on this principle. 
  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be cleansed of sin and endowed with God's power from on high so that we can qualify for eternal life and exhalation if we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, are baptized for the remission of sins by one having authority (and renew our covenants weekly), receive the gift of the holy ghost (and remain worthy of that gift, and endure to the end. 
Essentially it is three fold.
1. What we should most desire to receive - To qualify for eternal life and exaltation in the world to come and to be endowed with God's power and spirit here in this life as well.
2. How we get there- Faith, Repentance, Baptism (make/renew covenants), Receive the Holy ghost (remain worthy/keep covenants), and enduring to the end. 
3. How it's possible- The infinite and all reaching power of Christ's Atonement.
We as God's servants are to achieve accomplish these things and to help others partake as well. just as Lehi partook of the fruit of the tree of life (the love of god is the tree and the blessings of the atonement are the fruit) then immediately looked around to find his family. We are all apart of the family of God and are charged to partake of the fruit and then help others make it to the tree and partake also. 
E Russo, Andrew and E Schouten P-day at Obed Park in Wartburg TN
I love the Lord and my mission means everything to me. Thanks for all the support and love! 
I love you!
Elder R.A. Bakker 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oct 20

Zone Conference 10/13
Tennessee is starting to get a bit colder. The Fall is here and you can feel winter coming in close behind it. There is a lot to be grateful for this week. We were able to commit a new investigator for baptism.
For starters the blessings of the time I got to serve in Farragut have been flowing my whole mission, We got a referral from a member in the Knox. stake that I got to know a little bit while I was serving there. His name is Stewart and he found out his friend who he is trying to share the gospel with lives in our area. We got in contact and he brought his friend Steve  out to church last week. We were able to get an appointment with him for this last Thursday. We began to teach him the Restoration and everything was going great! We got to my favorite part, sharing the First Vision. It has become my absolute favorite thing to teach. Elder Russo shared the experience with Steve, and I had the prompting to pull out the restoration pamphlet and show him the picture of the first vision, which is typically a rarity for me to do. But I pulled it out and he looked at the picture and his mouth dropped. The room was swimming with the Spirit. He told us that a while ago he was at a flee market and decided to purchase a wrinkled old piece of art for a dollar for Stewart, he steamed it and it was framed and given to him. He proceeded to tell us that the painting had an eery similarity to the picture in the restoration pamphlet we had just shown him. He then relays a series of experiences from earlier that very day. He is not a man of wealth, in fact he is very poor and he works for Stewart, and Stewart had given him that morning 20$ to put gas in his car. He was driving down the road and he ran out of gas precisely the time that the man in front of him ran out of gas. They pull off the road and Steve remembers the 20$ in his pocket for gas and he gives 5 of it to the other man. In gratitude this "Grizley Adams" (in the words of steve) looking guy gave him in return a painting. (random... who does that right?) Upon closer inspection of the painting Steve notices that the artist is the same one that had done the painting he had given to Stewart, in fact it was the sister painting to it, and they are both the originals. He takes us out to his vehicle and shows us the painting. It was amazing, The Spirit touched his heart, and The lord had prepared him. We committed him for baptism the 16th of November.
I testify that "the field is white already to harvest." And according to our faith, diligence, and obedience and the Lord's will we will be able to find "those that will receive (us)." thanks for everything! Love you!
Love Elder Bakker

Monday, October 14, 2013

Oct 14

Dear mom,
Tennessee is still great! Not much has changed. We were able to go with the assistants to the KNOX-YSA branch yesterday to go confirm Cody a member of the church. He was ecstatic and it was a really cool opportunity to go help with that. As missionaries we really live for those experiences where we get to teach someone who has truly been searching for the Lord's gospel, see it change them from the inside out, and help them make sacred covenants with their Heavenly Father. 
We have been working really hard with our zone to think up and apply new finding ideas. It's been really difficult with our zone mostly being in a more rural part of the mission, there aren't tons and tons of people. So we have to get creative, try new things and have hope and faith that the Lord will help us to increase our teaching pool. We volunteer at a Southern Baptist "Storehouse Ministry"(kind of a version of a bishops storehouse) on wednesdays, and we are searching for more opportunities for us to get into the community for service opportunities as well as other community events to promote the church. We also sweet talked the librarian here in oak ridge to give us a 45 page list of community organizations to try and volunteer other places as well. Do y'all have any new and interesting finding ideas we can try out? Let me know! 
There are a lot of good things happening in the church now. The missionary spirit is spreading like a bug and if you catch it it's contagious. It's The best of times and its the worst of times. We have the greatest amount of truth and righteousness the world has ever seen as well as the  greatest amount of false truths and wickedness. I hope and pray that we all will be more able to see the big picture and have an eternal view of what is to come so that we can be aided in our decisions now and everyday. 
Love you
Love Elder R.A. Bakker

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oct 7

Hey Mom!
As far as this week goes it was busier than busy. We had Zone meeting on Friday, zone meeting/conference for zone leaders is pretty stressful, we spend countless hours the week leading up to it making sure everything is perfectly prepared and all the trainings are ready to go. Which I’m glad to say went super well. Elder Schouten and I trained on developing Christ-like attributes and setting effective goals to do that. Then I went on exchange to go help a struggling elder who is on the last leg of his mission and is real trunky.He is great though I really like him. Then we had the transfer conference call, we are all staying here together at least one more transfer. Then it was General Conference which was fantastic! I always love conference especially on he mission! We were able to get 5 of our investigators out to conference at the church with us.
Then Sunday night was Cody's baptism. So amazing it was with the baptism of two others from the other ward, great attendance. Elder Russo really connected with Cody and was asked to do the baptism which was great. Elder Schouten and I did a presentation of the restoration lesson for the whole room of people in attendance including non members. The spirit was so strong. Especially when I got to recite the first vision, the spirit just hit everyone really hard, many of us were in tears actually. It was absolutely amazing, then we strongly invited everyone to share this message with their friends, because honestly as missionaries we just cant find the prepared people like the members can.
I just know that this is the lords restored gospel. The Spirit has touched my heart and will also for anyone who humbly asks the lord.
Elder R.A. Bakker