Monday, January 6, 2014

Dec 30

Hey family! 
Well Elder Russo sadly is leaving us. He is being transferred to another area nearby to continue the long awaited Visa! We are going to miss Russie and all the jokes, laughter, and cheer he brought to our companionship. Elder Williams and I are continuing the trek here in Poplar Creek West. Funny, after this next transfer I will have been here for 6 months! holy smokes! Time comes and Time goes but never as fast as it has this last transfer. I feel like the mission is really starting to speed up and I don't like it! haha There is work to be done and never enough time to get it all done. 
They were able to see Cody again
We were really able to learn a great lesson this week, It was especially a good life lesson for Elder Russo. We were talking about what it means to be a successful missionary and all the hard times and blah blah blah, when we realized something pretty simple and profound. We were talking about a man named Odie whom we have been teaching since we got to the area and has never been progressing because our ward mission leader never wanted to drop him, so really truth be told no harm no foul we continued to teach him. It was frustrating to teach him, but we did it anyways and didnt really see a point to it all. Well Elder Mills (an assistant that was also my second district leader) went on exchange here with Elder Russo and Elder Schouten and the were able to teach Odie and Elder Mills taught a principle found in Proverbs 6:32 " But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul." He replaced the word adultery with the word sin and taught that if we really understood we would never sin "because it's stupid!" So that lesson for Elder Russo was a lesson on how to teach and just interact with people helping them understand instead of automatically just getting frustrated with them, whether its here on the mission or with family or in business, it is a lesson neither Elder Russo or myself will ever forget. Seeing as the Lord is all knowing and " But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things." He decided to teach us a bigger lesson through teaching us that lesson (like inception but doctrinal haha) Well we were able to really gain a better understanding that whatever silly struggle or trial you are going through, like being forever teaching a guy that didnt really want anything but extra company, God knows and he is sending you through it for a reason. In other words "you got hard times? GOOD!" Stuck teaching someone who isn't progressing? GOOD! You got chewed out by your boss at work? GOOD! You're home sick? You're having a hard time at school? You forgot what scripture you were going to share? etc etc... GOOD! Learn your lessons and move on. 
Sorry that was a bit of a rant, but regrettably my journal writing is not very good so i have to record it somewhere. Also Elder Russo and Sister Hatch (a sister missionary in the ward) were asked to speak yesterday at church and there was one speaker left and way too much time so they called me up on the spot to come give a 15 min talk  so I did. You know that feeling when you get up to give a talk and realize that your talk is way shorter than you thought? well that happened to Elder Russo and Sister Hatch. However the opposite was true yesterday, I was able to give a great talk with no preparation for it. An interesting thought came to me yesterday as I was teaching about 1Nephi 8 Lehi's vision of the tree of life. So in the dream Lehi himself is found following a man dressed in a white robe through a vast waste land and a large and spacious field. And at the back of the field he is able to spot a tree, he goes to the tree and eats of the delicious pure, white, sweet fruit from the tree. The tree in this vision is representative of the savior and the fruit is the love of god or the blessings of the atonement of Jesus Christ. An analogy I was able to share on the spot that was taught me by the spirit was that this wasteland that Lehi wanders through is like the Christmas season. and the tree is what he was able to focus on. and when he got there he partook of the fruit that did what exactly? It made him happy. As I was able to keep my focus on the Savior this Christmas I was able to really be happy. If we decide to just hang out in the wasteland what is there for us? A few gifts, santa, and all the other good traditions that are fun but what is going to make us happy is our focus on the most important thing. Happy new year! 
Love ya! 
Elder R.A. Bakker

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