Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dec 16

Hey all,

Well the work in Oak Ridge is pretty slow honestly. We are still struggling to find people to teach, and we have been working our tails off this last week or so trying to get all prepared for this huge zone meeting/conference hybrid. We are doing a couple trainings and a few other things. I have really been busy with a lot of administrative type tasks the last little while, but that's ok you gotta do what you gotta do! It will be an exciting meeting filled with the spirit and Christmas Cheer!
Speaking of Christmas cheer, we had the Oak Ridge parade this Saturday and it was AWESOME! We passed out roughly 1,000 pass along cards and I think really put out a "mormons aren't weird cultists" message for the community. I never realized how much I loved Christmas until I did these last two parades! We felt like the "Holiday Cheermister sitting in the chair of cheer!" from the Grinch. We were actually able to meet Sarah's parents at the parade (their family has llama's... like 40 of them... which I never knew till Saturday) anyways... We met her parents and were able to get them to agree to have a lesson with us so that's really exciting! I’ll include some pictures of the float and llamas and Christmas cheer.
 Christmas really is about the birth of the Savior. I love being able to read time and time again the story of from Luke 2 and knowing that He is the one who will help me to obtain what really is most important. Eternal life with my family. Love you all MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Love Elder R.A. Bakker

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dec 9

Hey hey,  
A few cool things happened this week, we found a family we are going to start teaching so that was pretty cool! they seem very prepared and open to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ! 
In other news we had the Wartburg parade this Saturday.  It was a blast! We built a sweet float and it had a manger scene at the back on the stage with elves in the front with giant wrapped boxes of gifts we could give the Savior, things like virtue and charity etc. We missionaries and the youth walked along side the float and passed out mormon.org #webelieveinChrist rubber bracelets. The youth were cold and kind of not all that excited to be there at first so naturally we got everyone to start Christmas caroling while we were walking and it was a blast! huge success! plus everyone had fun! We are going to be in the much bigger and better attended Oak Ridge holiday parade this Saturday so I am sure you will get to see some pictures of that one! 
In other news we were able to get one of our less actives out to church this week, we are working on strengthening his testimony and getting him out on a mission, plus he brought Sarah his girlfriend that we have been teaching too so it was awesome to see both of them there. 
The Christmas devotional was really good last night as well and Elder Rasband even mentioned Hannah Last Corbany, who is brother Cornaby's (from Farragut) great great grandmother. She wrote hymn 260 in the hymnal "Who's on the Lord's Side?"  
Well Merry Christmas! don’t forget to remember the Lord this time of the year! What are you going to put under the tree for Him?
Love ya!
Elder R.A. Bakker

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dec 2

Hey y'all!
Great week and happy December!  Thanksgiving was awesome! We went to dinner with some members that we are really close to and also went to the church for a dinner that a few families put on for people in need and people who don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving. It was great! There was all kinds of food, we deep fried a turkey and one of the members brought one that was entirely wrapped in bacon! We also got to play in the annual turkey bowl this year which was great, we missionaries who don’t get to play sports like that too often were sore for days but it was totally worth it.
We have been teaching a members girlfriend named Sarah lately and she is awesome I may have told you about her last week... I don't remember. But she is great, we are hoping to commit her for baptism this week or next. It's been really difficult for us to find any new investigators lately but there is the parade coming up! Wartburg is in our area and we have like 2 active families up there so it is hard to find new people to teach understandably. The ward decided to enter a float in the Oak Ridge parade this year because of a little extra money in the budget, so we also decided to put in the Wartburg parade this weekend! We are going to be walking with it and handing out bracelets that link you to a twitter page the youth in the ward made #webelieveinChrist , and custom pass-along cards/fliers that have our phone number on it and other info! We are praying for some new investigators from this and we hope that a miracle will come out of it! well thanks for everything! hope all is well!
Love Elder R.A. Bakker

Nov 25

Hey Mom,
Little Dutch Boy Cookies in Tennessee
For thanksgiving we are going to the church for a group thanksgiving dinner kind of thing hopefully another members house or two as well. Oh and the turkey bowl in the frigid morning. Well it's a new transfer with new goals and plans and a reinforced vision to baptize! The new companion is elder Williams from Pocatello, Idaho. He is awesome, pretty quiet guy but quite funny and very motivated. We are really working with our zone on finding and then teaching our investigators the most important thing so they then have a real desire to be baptized. We are really trying hard to lead by example and find, teach, and baptize ourselves.
Andrew, E Scouten, Cody, E Russo
On that note Ill talk about Maria. She hasn’t been to church now two weeks in a row. We are working really hard to help apply the "balm of Gilead" in her life. In order for her to be ready for the sacred covenant of baptism we are going to postpone her date for the time being until we feel she is truly ready for that step. She is very sweet and really doing her best to prepare. We were able to teach her this week with Sister K a sister from the ward who is an LDS family and clinical psychologist. She was able to help us get a better idea on how to help her and where she is at emotionally. The World can really do some damage on people that can't or don't know how to utilize the atonement.
E Russo, E Williams, Andrew
There is an over arching theme among many southerners of "I have already been saved, and Jesus took my sins away." That's all good but it really shows how much they just don't understand. That faith is only a piece of the picture and with out the whole restored gospel of Jesus Christ it salvation will never come to fruition. Our purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end. With out that whole cycle, you are on the wrong road and can't partake of the fruit of the tree of life. We were able to teach this to a less active teenager who is thinking about a mission and his nonmember girlfriend yesterday and it was awesome. Alex and Sarah. They are great I really think we can help him get ready for a mission and help her enter in "by the gate." I feel if we all really understood the gospel of Jesus Christ, like really understood we would never sin. Proverbs 6:32 " But whoso comitteth [adultery with a woman] lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul." Or [sin]. I hope and pray that we can all be grateful for the supreme blessing of the gospel in our lives this holiday season. I love you all and hope all is well!  

Love Elder RA Bakker