Monday, February 24, 2014

Feb 24

So everything is pretty good out here in Asheville. By the way my physical address is 162 West Chestnut St., Asheville, NC 28801. The branch here is especially awesome. We had a pot luck after church this week and one of the less active members we have been working with sister W (granny), an older black woman, decided to make 8-10 huge pans of fried bbq chicken. It was enough to feed a small army. So after our meetings and pot luck Sunday we were tasked to deliver massive amounts of chicken to people in need in the ward, all too much fun.
We also had a special visit from elder Hymas, our area 70, he came to check out one of the branches in his stewardship and decided to go with ours.
I really already love the people here. There are so many good people that are so willing to work for the Lord. The branch is pretty evenly distributed as far as the work goes as well. Our active member count is about 100. Usually I think about 90 or so attend church each week. We are super busy here, our schedules are almost always over flowing and we are scurrying from appointment to appointment nearly all day. It’s been a nice change and an awkward adjustment. Not a lot of time to write today we don’t get much time on the computers here! But all is well and life is good with the Lord in it!

Love Elder R.A. Bakker  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feb 18

Hey there!
Asheville North Carolina! What a beautiful city! I’m here with my new companion Elder Bryce Wollums and we are already off to a great start! I sure loved my last area, Poplar Creek West, but its nice to have so many people in our teaching pool. We have taught more people (mostly less active members and recent converts) in the last 5 days or so than I have the last 6 months in Poplar Creek West put together haha! Crazy how different everything is. It is also definitely the largest city I have served in up to this point. Our days are jam packed with great people to teach and our zone is really doing stellar as well, we have the most baptismal dates in the mission right now, which is quite exciting.
I’m still lost trying to drive around, and also lost as far as the people we see goes, there are so many new people to learn. We are in the Asheville central branch and the members are fantastic! They are so focused on missionary work and are working hard to find us people to teach and help us go out and teach people already found. I’m really looking forward to being here and its weird that I’ll probably only have one more area after this one!
Oh, another cool thing is that we live in the old Asheville central branch building next door to the church. It is an old house from the 1920's and its huge! We have a whole huge house to ourselves, kinda creepy actually. It's hunted apparently... but it's all good! They call it the "branchion" it being a mansion for missionaries and its also the branch.
Well The work is really moving and we are hoping to have a couple people committed for baptism coming up soon. Thanks for everything! love ya!
Elder R.A. Bakker
the "Baranchion"

Poplar Creek West, Larry and his VW's

Monday, February 10, 2014

feb 10

Wow what a great week! So Sarah got baptized yesterday! Super exciting! It was a magnificent service and boy was she so prepared! Her parents came too and that was good, she will have the new member lessons in her home by the sisters and hopefully that means her family will be able to sit in on the lessons with her. We are excited about that. Member missionary work strikes again! I am thoroughly convinced that preach my gospel is inspired of God and when it says that the best way to do missionary work is through the members of the church it is totally accurate. I have been blessed to see nearly all of the people I helped bring into the church join due to the help of their member friends.
Other events worth mentioning: transfers are on Wednesday and it’s official I’m outta here. I have been in the Poplar Creek Ward for 6 months and its time for Elder Bakker to fly the coop. It will be really hard to leave the people here that I have grown close to and the zone that is really working miracles right now, but its the Lord’s will that I turn another page in the adventure. By the way things are looking I will either end up in downtown Knoxville or downtown Ashville, NC. I’m ready for the big city I think, so that will be exciting. The woods and hills are great, there is just not too many people around so it’s hard to teach. Should prove to be a nice change of pace.

We went out to lunch the other day as a district and we went to this legit burger joint called "the other one." There are literally over a hundred choices on the menu, way good too. Anyways elder Williams went with the Sean's Spicy burger.... bad idea. It has jalepenos, seranos, habeneros, and worst of all ghost chilies. He was literally pouring sweat. really quite funny! and then later that day it made a come back at a members house, too good! what a day! we are going to try a locally famous place called Razzelberries today its a European deli, we will see, sounds good. Well looking forward to new things! love ya the church is true! Oh also we got to go to lunch with my dear friend from farragut brother barny , definitely another highlight of the week!
Elder R.A. Bakker

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Feb 3

Pretty crazy week! lots of meetings and our minds have been going 100 miles an hour as expected. We have zone conference tomorrow and we are excited for that. We will be training on "teaching people and not lessons." It’s a topic we are both enthused to train on, I feel it has been key to providing much of the success I have seen as a missionary and hope to be able to pass on what we have learned.
Things with Sarah are going great! The baptismal date has been changed to the 9th now to accommodate different people being able to be in attendance.  She is so prepared and ecstatic to be able to be baptized! Her dad has accepted to give up his sweet tea and coffee to live the word of wisdom! The sisters filled in for a lesson for us with Sarah yesterday because we had a meeting to attend with the stake president and president Irion, and Sarah was very excited to have the sisters and wants them to start teaching her mother! I guess something clicked with them which is great!
At the AMSE Science Museum on P-day
Cody is still doing great, his mother and step-father (a preacher) started taking the lessons now actually! That's more good news! All I can say is "Welcome to the Kingdom!"

 This Saturday certainly was a choice experience. One I wont soon forget! Those who spoke to us were Elder Perry, Elder Rasband, Elder Zwick, Elder Kopishke, and Elder Hymas. First impression, WOW! I did not realize how tall Elder Perry is! He towers over the podium! He must stand at least 6'6", and what a spirit entered that room as they walked in. He, in his early nineties, was the most energetic one in the room! It was amazing! They spoke about how members and missionaries could work together better. They spoke mainly to the ward councils helping them to know how to work with us more. We are excited and we have already seen many blessings.
Sunbright Church Revival sign
In response to transfers, I cant know "for sure" BUT I have been here 6 months and just the way everything is working out it is almost certain I will be transferred out of here on the 12th. Who knows where I will be or what I will be doing. I am just excited for change and feel good about the work that I was able to be apart of while I was here. Thanks for everything.
Love Elder R.A. Bakker