Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dec 17

Hi Mom!
 We don't have tons of time today.  There is a lot that needs to be done this week.  We did have a week full of miracles though. 
So as you all know, Jon is progressing towards baptism.  We taught him the word of wisdom, and committed the whole family to live it.  Jon has been addicted to coffee for years and drinks about 72 oz a day.  The beauty of knowing that Joseph Smith is a prophet, is knowing that all the commandments are true.  He understood the law on both a temporal and spiritual level.  He stopped drinking coffee on 12/11/13, and has committed himself to be off of all caffeine by the new year because he doesn't want to have any addictions in his life.  So last Wednesday we went over, and were nervous if they had been living the law.  Everyone has been clean!  Neil even signed his last can of chew for us and Jon signed his last can of coffee!!!  That family is a miracle!  
I have been holding off on a lot of the details because not everything was set in stone yet due to some minor details....  So in order for Jon to be baptized, he has to be living the law of chastity.  So us, being the kind missionaries that we are, helped him and Julie set a date to get married.  They are getting married on New Years Eve!!!  President Kirk is going to be marrying them, and everyone has been running around frantically trying to pull everything together in time.  Jon is going to be baptized on the following Saturday on January 4th.  He is so excited!  Jon and Julie has asked us to speak at the wedding.  I never thought that I would be able to fall in love with a family the way I have with all of them.  They take really good care of us, and every time we go to teach a lesson, it feels a bit like home.  I love them so much! Tomorrow, we are going with the whole family to tour The Johnson Farm and Kirtland. 
The changes that they have all made in order to make and keep their covenants is a testimony to me of how important this gospel is.  I know that we are on the Lord's errand here to help people find the happiness it brings.  I love being a missionary.   
I love you all!  Talk to you soon, can't wait!
 Love, Sister Bakker

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dec 9

Hi Mom!

This week has been, in the words of Oliver Cowdry, "days never to be forgotten!"  Let me just start off by saying we made history this week!  A Christmas Mission Conference was held on Tuesday in the Kirtland Ohio Temple.  Never before has there been so many full-time missionaries in the walls of that temple.  Every missionary in the entire Ohio Cleveland Mission attended (250+), along with some of the stake presidents, as well as a member of the seventy were present for this glorious event.  Members tell us from time to time that it is hard to feel the spirit in the temple because it does not belong to the church anymore.  I can tell you that the spirit is present there, and it was in great abundance on Tuesday!  We sang The Spirit of God, Christmas songs, and concluded with our mission song.  I wish there was a way for me to describe how incredible that day was, but I can't seem to find the right words.  I didn't realize where I was coming when I received my mission call.  Like Sister Wixom asked last night in the Christmas Devotional referring the birth of our Savior, "what happened next?"  Well Christ appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith here and has declared that "Kirtland will be built up again."  Miracles. 
After the temple we toured the Historic Kirtland Village to visit the nationally acclaimed Nativity Exhibit there.  There are hundreds of nativities people have donated from around the world, and it is amazing to go and visit.  We have invited Jon and the whole family to go with us next week to take a tour.  I am excited to be going back.
We had a pretty great week with our lessons.  Jon is doing great.  This week we taught him, and the whole family the word of wisdom.  It is evident that he has a testimony because he didn't question it at all, even though he is addicted to coffee.  He drinks so much coffee every day, and has vowed to stop completely by this Wednesday.  The rest of the family has made similar commitments, and are still coming to church.  He witnessed one of the Elder's investigator, Ben Ward, receive the Holy Ghost yesterday, and was excited for the day he will be confirmed. 
The church is true.  I feel like Nephi sometimes when he tells us that he doesn't know everything, but I do know that God loves us, and that the gospel has been restored and that is enough.  Hope you are all having an amazing week!  Don't freeze back home.  I love you all!
 Sister Bakker

transfers are next week so we should be getting on the computers on Tuesday.  just a heads up:)

also, did you know that Sister Olson is from Elder Arnold's (Andrew’s 2nd companion) home town  in Fallbrook, CA.  They know each other.  who would of thought that both rooster and I would have our second companions from the same itty bitty town... 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dec 2

 Hi Mom!
This is Holly.  Who knew it got that big?
As far as our Thanksgiving went, well let's just say the holiday to be a missionary is Thanksgiving!  Everyone wanted to have us over, and we didn't have room in our schedule for everyone!  You probably remember President Kirk, well he invited us for dinner, and we had so many appointments we only had time to go and wish them a happy holiday.  One of our dinners was with the C’s (also apart of Jon and Julie's family), and they are great cooks!!!  Another dinner that we attended was with Jim and Leslie's family, and they really go all out!  Afterwards we had a really cool "missionary conference" with Leslie about how to get the youth more excited and involved in missionary work.  We had a really great brainstorming session, and everyone left feeling pretty excited about the potential ideas and activities. 
Typical Ohio house, they leave the candles up year round.
Working with the youth is something that Sister Olson and I have been focused in on the last two weeks.  I have to admit, it is one of my slower moving finding ideas, but it has the potential to be very fruitful.  We are focused so much on it because all of the people we have been teaching have been either because of the youth or are young themselves (with the exception of Jon).  As part of our efforts we started praying for youth referrals, and then out of the blue we got a media referral!  I don't know if you know what that is, but there are many resources for people to get ahold of the church to request either items, like the Book of Mormon, or to actually request a missionary visit.  Well Rachel, an 18 year old girl, was researching religion because she felt herself pulling away from the Catholic faith.  She came across mormon.org, and typed in a question.  A few short hours later we knocked on her door.   We were able to answer some questions that she had felt pressing in her mind, and promise her relief of guilt and sin.  She gladly accepted the baptismal invitation!  I know that this is Jesus Christ's church!  I know that Heavenly Father loves us, and wants to help each of us share the message of the restoration.  I also know that to be successful we have to put our complete faith and trust in Him, and must be willing to ask for help.  I wish I had done more before I came out on my mission.  There are so many opportunities that I passed up to share what I know right at home. 
Love you all very much!
Sister D.K. Bakker

Nov 25

Hi mom,
Yes, it is very cold.  very very very cold.  Everyone kept telling me that the cold will be different here in Ohio than it is in Utah, and they were right.  Between the wind and humidity it is cold.  Fortunately we do now have a furnace that works, and shouldn't kill us:) 
 As far as our thanksgiving plans go, we have a few invitations to go to dinner.  Believe it or not, Jon and that whole family invited us over as well as the pediatry residents in the ward (a bunch of the young families, who aren't going home for the holidays), and the M’s!  We should have a pretty good Thanksgiving when all is said and done.  We will be working, just not knocking doors. 
We had a slight snow storm this last week, and it was Sister Olson's first time really walking around in the snow.  She couldn't stop laughing!  It is always warmer out when the snow is falling than it is after the snow stops. 
Sister Olson extended her first baptismal invitation too!  Lots of firsts for this week.   As far as Jon's progress, he just keeps on going!  We taught him a lot about repentance this week, and even talked about temples.  He now has a vision past baptism! It really helped that Sister Olson worked as an ordinance worker before she came out.  She has a good perspective for our investigators from that end. 
We had a small training meeting in Akron this week.  I always love time with President Vellinga, especially training like that.  Seeing places like Akron, Cleveland, and Youngstown are big reminders for how Ohio is very much not Utah!  I love working here, and helping people.  Everyday is a new adventure and for that I am very grateful!
I know that this gospel changes lives.  It helps people everyday, and through the power of the atonement we can be eternally happy! 
I love you all very much!  Happy Thanksgiving!
 Sister D.K.Bakker

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nov 18

Hi Mom!
Sister Frampton is now a Sister Training Leader in the Bowling Green Biking area in the Toledo Zone.  So she is way out west.  She is going to freeze out there on a bike!  She was ready to go, despite how much she loved it here.  Everyone was so sad though.  I am glad that everyone was very warm to my new companion yesterday at church.  Her name is Sister Olson.   She is from Fallbrook, CA (by San Diego), and just turned 20.  She is really great!  We get along quite swimmingly.  I think part of it is that I feel like I am just winging it, and she doesn't have any experience, so just rolls with it.  She has a very laid back personality and is incredibly patient with me as I am learning too. 
It is a really good thing that she is patient after our crazy first week. The first night that Sister Olson was here, our furnace had shut off.  We woke up to the apartment being about 45 degrees!  Pretty cold for a Southern Cali girl.  We found out later that it was a miracle that it had shut off.  Our apartment manager sent over a repair man to take a look at everything.  He told us that our furnace was shooting out flames, and would heat up the place for just the day, and come back and replace it the next.  He said it should be fine, but shouldn't be left for longer than a day.  We agreed, and he had one more safety check to do before he left.  So we waited, and waited, and he came back finally.  He told us that our furnace had started leaking a large amount of carbon monoxide.  Had it not shut off in the middle of the night... well...  Miracle!   So we called our mission office to let them know what was happening at the apartment.  Right after, I lost the phone.  Of course I would!  Our apartment was freezing cold, the office had no way to get ahold of us if something went wrong, and it all happened on Sister Olson's first day here.  Classic.  Well, she will never forget that I guess. 
Zone conference
Just to put your mind at ease mom, our furnace has been completely replaced, and they added another CO detector to our other two, and we now have a phone.  Everything is hunky-dory here! 
Sister Olson has been picking up the schedule and everything else really quickly.  I am really impressed with her desire to work hard, and how she is focused on listening to the spirit.  I think I will be learning a lot from her these next three months rather than the other way around. 
We met with a whole bunch of people this week.  Jon came to church again yesterday!  He is just eating everything up that we give him!  He loves learning.  I wish I could say that we were perfect teachers, and that is why it was going so well, but it is not.  He is so prepared to hear the gospel at this time.  So we just show up as prepared as we can be, but the spirit does all the work. We ask very basic questions, watch as the spirit teaches him complex doctrine,  and then he applies it all to himself.  So incredible! 
This is Carol, Karen  and her husband Neil  (the dachsaund breeders), me, s. frampton, Julie  and her fiance and investigator Jon.
I know that the church is true.  I know that this is Jesus Christ's church, and that because we are doing His work miracles happen.  I love my mission!  I know that there is no other opportunity I will ever have to be able to dedicate 100% of my efforts to my Heavenly Father like this.  The things I am learning are incredible, and I feel it changing me for the better! 
I love you all so much!  Thank you for your support for me and Rooster! 
Sister D.K. Bakker

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nov 12

Hi mom!

This week has been absolutely incredible!  Last week we had Zone Confence with President Vellinga.  We learned a lot more about how to be better teachers, and be more simple and clear.  It has really helped in every aspect of our work here in North Alliance.  We have seen miracles all week long!!  For starters, we met with our investigator Jon, who lives with the C’s.  We had a great lesson with him!  He told us that he knew the Book of Mormon was true, and wants to push up his baptism date to January!  I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers, and is leading us to those who are prepared.  Jon is loving the lessons, and eating up the Book of Mormon!  The whole family came to church on Sunday as well.  Jon's fiance, Julie, came for the first time in 24 years!  They weren't the only ones who came to church also!  We have been working so hard with families in the ward, like the U’s.  Tom and Sandy U haven't been to church service in a long time, and seemed excited to be there.  I really love Sandy, she cooks like you, mom! 
President Kirk and his family fed us this week.  It was a fairly interesting dinner if I do say so myself.  They put on a big surprise dinner for the missionaries every once in a while.  This was the first time they have ever done it with sisters, and it was way funny!  There isn't much more I can say other than their family is fantastic! 
The only hard part about our week was knowing about transfers a week in advance.  We found out early because I had to go to trainers meeting, since I will be training starting tomorrow.  Sister Frampton has been here a full six months, and the ward was very anxious to know if she was going or staying.  Some were praying for her to stay, but everyone ultimately knew the sad truth.  She is leaving tomorrow, and I will be staying and bringing in the new sister here.  The nice thing about transfers is that we have had some of our most powerful lessons with people.  Our investigators and the members all really put their whole heart into the lesson because they can feel it may be their last with her.  I feel very honored to be serving in this ward where the relationship between the members and missionaries is so strong!  The work here has changed so dramatically in the last 6 months, and even three months.  I will be very sad to see Sister Frampton go just like everyone else.  I do know that the Lord knows what needs to happen here though, so the changes will be for the best.  I look forward to it!

I love you all, and am grateful for your support!  Thanks for all you do for me.


Sister Bakker