Friday, October 24, 2014

October 20

Well it's all coming to an end. It's been a strange phenomenon to try and understand time. My whole life growing up I knew I would serve a mission, it was a hard and fast plan and goal that for some reason I had the feeling that the time would never come to where I would actually go "be a missionary." Similarly, approaching my final couple days I never really felt like being a missionary would ever end. It was almost like it was just who I was and it would last forever, and being a returned missionary was something for old people. It seems to be true that "all is as one day to God, and time is only measured unto man." On the Lord's errand it's been a blur.
My mission here in Knoxville has meant everything to me.  I can't really even put into words the things I have learned. I hope to be able to recognize all the changes that have taken place in my life as I pick up where I left off. The Atonement of Jesus Christ has wrought change in my heart. The biggest difference I can feel in my heart is the understanding of and purpose of the Gospel, and where I fit into that equation. Thus my decision making should have a more eternal perspective as a result. 
I am forever grateful to my Father in Heaven for the opportunity he has given to me to serve him and to serve his children. I have been able to see success and see the work hasten in Knoxville, Tennessee. 
I also just want to say thanks for everything to Mom and Dad. They literally supported me through the whole journey, which turned out to be my greatest blessing. Also thanks to the rest of my family that supported me along the way. 
This truly is the Lord's work. The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes people, It has changed me, and if we choose to follow or Lord and savior, that is where we will find true happiness. 

Love ya. 
See you Thursday.

Elder Robert Andrew Bakker

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 13

hey not much time tonight after all, I thought I would have a second. I will try and write tomorrow but really I am doing great and don't need anything. I’m good to go! This is my last full week out here, kinda weird. A few sleepless nights already, but no worries.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 7

So not much from this week. It was Elder Mumm's birthday on Friday (same as Jay Jay's) so we celebrated that this week. Lots of fun. I found out Sister P’s sister and nephew are getting baptized in a couple weeks! I hope to be in attendance. It's cool to directly see that kind of influence already. If the P’s hadn't joined the church a year ago then their family probably wouldn't now have the opportunity to enter in the fold of Christ. Pretty cool. I also ran into Brother B, one of my first converts, at Panda Express and he and his beautiful wife are taking out their endowments on the 24th of October! Way cool! They will be sealed in November! I'm way excited for them.
General Conference was great, my favorite talk was from Elder Cook in Priesthood session, it sounded like council I grew up with from Dad. Heart warming. 
That's about it. Sorry it's short, not a lot of news! 
Love ya! 

Elder Bakker

Sunday, October 5, 2014

September 28

Hey mom! 
Life still continues to roll in the TKM! These last two weeks we hit the road hard with 10 zone training meetings across the whole mission and several "exchanges" with the Zone Leaders through out the mission as well. We trained on finding and have already been able to see a very noticeable increase in our finding of new investigators throughout the mission. So that's exciting.
We also have been introducing the new movie "Meet the Mormons" as we went and visited with all of the missionaries. It isn't out until the 10th of October in theaters around the nation.  It's a really good movie, I suspect Dani will be seeing it soon if she hasn't already and Alyssa will more than likely have the opportunity to watch it in the MTC. It seems to be highly effective in tearing down walls of ignorance.  So thus I see it being a highly effective tool in "The Work of Salvation." It was also merely entertaining, which was a nice change from the daily. 
So today I went on a speaking assignment with President Griffin, which we do about once a month. It's always an exciting experience to do that. I spoke in Dalton, GA this morning on the Atonement and the power it has to change us. President always follows and knocks it out of the park, makes the whole congregation cry, and successfully makes us feel inferior all in one fell swoop. He really is a great speaker and I have been able to learn a lot from him these past 3 months or so. He has truly been one of the greatest blessings of my mission and a huge role model for me in my life. I will miss the time I get to spend with him, and also with his family who have adopted me as their own practically. I will be the first assistant that they will send home. 
I love my mission and am still learning things everyday! I know that it's the work of the Lord, this witness I have reaffirmed daily. 

Thanks for everything
Elder Bakker

September 14

Great week this week! Transfers came and went and that head-ache is over. The coolest thing happened though! So when I was in the MTC 2 years ago we had Elder Hancock in or district at the MTC. Loved the kid we became buddies there, well due to some things he had to go home from there for a short time and was going to come right back out. Long story short due to the change in missionary age his paper work I guess got lost in transit and hadn't been able to get back out till now and finally 1 transfer short of 2 years later I got to pick him up from the airport! He told me that I had changed and was "different" "all mature and stuff" haha weird. But who should be called to be his trainer? Could it be anyone less than my son? Elder Hart from my Marion days! So now Elder Hart my son is training my grandson Elder Hancock! What a blessing! It really was quite the experience to be able to see him again, I’m proud of him for coming out 2 full years later after all that. 
Other great happenings of the week. Yesterday the 13th we, at Elder Mumm's direction decide to go to Cherokee, NC to attend a baptism for some of our zone leaders. It is a 2.5 hour drive and we are excited because we get to go through the Smokies and see the Indian reservation. Well, turns out the baptism was cancelled and Elder Mumm never checked his text messages to know that was what happened. So 5 hours of driving all for naught. What an adventure. We did however get to stop for some scenic pictures on the way home. (photos included) The night was completed with a member taking us to Cheddar's Casual Cafe where I got chicken and waffles which were delicious. :) So all in all a good day.
This next week is jam packed with Zone training meetings where we will be training on finding briefly. Oh and Brother T is taking me to lunch while we are in Oak Ridge near his work for my birthday Tuesday and then Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake Wednesday after I do dinner with the Griffins. That should be good! Excited for that. Oh he got the Aaronic priesthood today! That was way awesome! And Brother G did last week! They are both so strong! 
Last cool story of the week. This was actually a couple weeks ago and I may have shared it already but after MLC I ran into Sister H, my first convert in Farragut. I hadn't been able to see or contact her my whole mission and I feared that she has already fallen away, but to my surprise I saw her there and she is active! It has been such a blessing through out my whole mission to be able to see many enter the waters of baptism, and as far as I know almost everyone is still going strong today! I have been richly blessed by the hand of the Lord. 
Love ya! 

Elder Robert Andrew Bakker