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