Monday, December 29, 2014

Dec 28 & Dec 22

Hi Mom,

We had a great Christmas day full of lots of fun and being with families in the ward. We are so well taken care of here! This is a good ward to get to come back to. I loved talking with all of you,
too. We had a lot of really great lessons this week. D is doing well and progressing. He is starting to get more into the Book of Mormon, is seeing the blessings it brings into his life. It is fun
to see him changing a little here and there. The ward is pretty excited to hear about his progress since many of them remember his father from 20 years ago.

The big news of the week is Miss G. G is doing so great! She has such a strong desire to be baptized, and is absorbing everything up like a sponge. I love it! We taught her to keep the Sabbath day
holy, and she said at the end, "why did you wait so long to teach me this? I am so glad I finally know, now!" We also had a surprise trip up to Kirtland with her this Sunday all thanks to the S's. I will
send you a picture. When Elder Ballard came to talk to the Kirtland Stake last year, he told the mission president that we need to get more people to Kirtland. There is definitely a reason why. They
spirit is so strong there, and it is easy for investigators to work through doubts, fears, and concerns that they may have as they listen to all that the people went through here. It is so incredible to have
that place so close. G is not allowed to be baptized until she turns 18, so she set a goal to be baptized the week after her birthday in 2017! We are so excited for her. I can see her serving a mission
one day. She would change lives!

I love this work so much! I love being a missionary, and being able to stay so focused on one purpose. It was sad to hear how soon it will end, but I know that I have enough time to still make a dent here. I love you all! Do missionary work! Seek opportunities to share the gospel every day. I promise you will never regret it.


Sister Bakker

December 22

Dear Family,

Christmas is going to be great this week. We have a lot of appointments to go caroling, and many families to visit. Sister Takeuchi and I had a great idea to go caroling at the mall, so we are getting together a bunch of missionaries in the stake to go over there tomorrow, and the mall has it all set up for us to come. Hopefully we see some success. This ward still loves having sister missionaries, and we are so spoiled. We came home with many gifts from everyone in the ward yesterday.
D is doing well, and we will be seeing him again this week. One day I will tell you so many stories about Youngstown. It is such a great place! D is a pretty good example of someone who was born and raised here. Sister S was also able to come to church! It was so exciting to see here there. Sister Kirk went with us to see her this last week, and they both found each other and buddied up while President Kirk sat on the stand.
Yesterday was our Christmas program, too. The bishop had the missionaries narrate the program in between each of the musical numbers. One of which we sang in as part of the choir. I am still definitely not a singer, but they still want me to participate... I think it did go pretty well. I just love Christmas time! There is a special spirit and everyone can feel it.

I love you all! I will see you on Christmas!
Sister Bakker

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 15

Dear Mom,

All is well with us. The smoke smell is still present, but seems to be subsiding. We are recovering okay. Sister Takeuchi wasn't freaked out or anything by it. She is pretty resilient. I can honestly say that I have had some weird experiences and some scary ones out here that are not normal. We were talking with Sister M, and she said that neither of her boys ever reported anything like that back from their missions. Maybe boys just don't tell their families about it.

This week has been good. Everyone here has been getting sick, so a lot of our appointments keep getting canceled, but that is okay. It just gives us more opportunities to follow the spirit and bless others. This week we decided to make a big batch of pumpkin cookies, and go and deliver them to who ever we felt inspired to give them too. There is something about a plate of cookies that just softens people's hearts. Plus everyone in Ohio has their own cookie traditions, and have these big parties all about cookie exchanges, and weddings with a cookie table, and so on. So everyone here loves cookies. One of the ladies we visited this week even had a box of Little Dutch Boy Cookies from Family Dollar! People out here love them.

D, our investigator in Youngstown, is doing good. We taught him the restoration this last week, and he was very sincere. He really wants it all to be true. He is praying about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and baptism this week. It is exciting!

Last but not least, our mission prep class is expanding!!! The class started with me and Sister Frampton last year with only 5 kids. This
Sunday there was 17 there, all representing the New Castle Ward,
Youngstown Ward, Alliance Ward, and the Lisbon Ward. Better yet, it is still growing. It is a pretty big turn out over all. We are pretty excited about that success, and the kids are growing so fast! Last week we had a mock investigator come, and most of the kids didn't know her so they thought it was real. They all taught the restoration, and invited her to be baptized. So cool!

Well, I love you all! I know that this work is so important. I don't want to leave here, but I can't wait to be able to do more than I am doing now when I get home. There is so much more than I ever realized to missionary work. I know you all get the ensign, which means you got the sheet with the "He is the Gift" cards. There are nine of them. I challenge you to have them all out by Christmas. It is a pretty big initiative that is happening. The first presidency is having us, as missionaries, report to them every single week directly. I know that when you do pass them out, that Heavenly Father will help you to know who, when and how to do so. You will feel the spirit, and it will make you want to hand out more. That is just how missionary work goes!


Sister Bakker

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 8

Dear Mom,

I am glad you had a calm week.  We did get to watch the Christmas Devotional.  We loved it!  My week was kind of calm for a little bit until this morning...

So Grandma Peterson wrote me, and said that she was hoping that my furnace would be working properly this time around.  I am sure everyone remembers the fiery furnace incident of 2013 with Sister
Olson in Canfield.  Well, my furnace is working great to put all of your minds and hearts at ease.

This morning we woke up to really loud pounding coming from the windows and doors around our main level (we sleep on the second level).  It was about 4 in the morning, and the pounding wasn't a
soft, quiet pounding.  It was a loud, ferocious, terrifying pounding. I am still surprised by how quickly I was able to respond.  I jumped right up, woke up my companion, and grabbed the phone in a few
seconds.  As I was running down the stairs I thought it smelt like smores and camping.  I thought that was weird, in my 4:00 am state of mind. I put two and two together when I pulled the blinds aside and
saw the red flashing lights and a big fireman outside trying to shout orders at us.  We didn't have time to grab anything but our keys. There was a lot of smoke, and it was billowing up through the basement.  They asked us a bunch of questions about what we could have been burning that would have caught on fire.  They were surprised that I knew how long it had been since I had lit a match as we aren't supposed to handle fire as missionaries.  So there were no candles, or anything to be found.  They came back a second time, and asked if there was an incense burning, and quick to tell us we wouldn't get in trouble.  I think they thought we were lying or trying to hide something.  We sat in our car for an hour as we watched the firemen and police try to find the origin.  They walked in and out and up and down and all the way through our apartment several times.  They were shining big spot lights everywhere and waking people up.  It was a big ruckus!  Finally, they came over to us and explained that our neighbor had been smoking outside, and wasn't careful with his cigarette.  It set the mulch outside on fire, and was burning all the way through and creating a ridiculous amount of smoke.  The whole time they thought we had done something careless, they seemed a bit apologetic.  Turns out our smoke detector upstairs doesn't do much if there is smoke downstairs.  Weird how that works, right?  So the fireman said he would call our apartment people, and get it all straightened out.

So just a few hours later, a couple of hours of sleep less, and reeking of smoke everywhere we go, here we are.  This has got to be God's work, because why else would Satan try so hard to make it more
difficult for us to work?

I love you all!  Thank you for all you do for me and Lyssa.  We really appreciate it!


Sister Bakker

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 1

Hi Mom!

We were well taken care of this last Thanksgiving. We spent the meal portion with theC's and R's in the basement of a church somewhere out here in the country with all their extended family. It was a lot of fun! Everyone was a little confused why we were there for a bit, but they seemed to love taking to us. Everyone cannot get over the fact that Sister Takeuchi would leave Hawaii this time of year, and come to Ohio. So funny! It is a great conversation starter.

We spent a lot of time this week in the Youngstown area. Probably won't have to go back there for a bit, which is a relief for us. We found a new investigator there, but it isn't safe for us to teach him, so we are going to have to pass him off to the closest set of Elders. Pretty much a major bummer. We did see a pretty cool blessing from our hard work. Sister Takeuchi took the lead on knocking on a door of home of a lady who we had never met before, but is on our records. A very pleasant looking Sister S opened the door. Sister Takeuchi confidently introduced us, and was very surprised by the quick, "Well, come on in!" we received. We were warmly received, and got to know her pretty quickly. She told us some of the reasons she hadn't been to church in a while. Sister Takeuchi invited her, in the most
sincere and loving way I have ever heard someone be invited to church. I have a lot that I can learn from her. She couldn't this last week with all her family in town for the holidays, but hopefully next week we will get to see her at church!

We didn't get to see N this week. We will see her this week, though. More details to follow once we see her again.

Overall, we had a great week! I love missionary work! I love being able to devote all my time and efforts to doing what the Lord needs me to do, and being his mouth piece. It is a wonderful thing that we get to do as a members of this church.

 love you all! I hope you have a great week this week!


Sister Bakker

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 24

Dear Mom,

Well, Sister Byers has left, and seems to be well. I was a little unsure about training a third time, but I am starting to realize why. Sister Takeuchi is awesome! I needed to be her companion. She is brand new, and straight from Hawaii. Fortunately, she went to school at BYUI, and is a little prepared for the cold. It is different here, though. She is doing really well! I love being her companion. I have been praying for her, and she is definitely an answer to my prayers. This week, we had a referral for a woman named N. She is from Flint, Michigan. Sister Takeuchi invited her to be baptized on our first lesson, and she set a date for 12/27/14, and her daughter is going to be baptized the same day. I am so excited for them!

We are looking forward to Thanksgiving this week. We have some good plans set up. The holiday season as a missionary is definitely my favorite. Not only is winter great, but everyone is in such a good mood around now. People are more loving, and quick to forgive and to give. It makes our work as missionaries so much more enjoyable. We have a lot of families out here who are ready to take care of us, too. I am so happy to be back in the same place for the holidays, I love this ward.

I love you all! Keep doing all the things that are important. Heavenly Father wants us all to go to heaven, and we get to choose if we are going or not. Go to heaven!


Sister Bakker

The Lineage from Sister Frampton

Sisters Greenwood, Bakker, Morris all trained by Sister Frampton

Sisters Olson, Bakker, Kunz and Takeuchi, trained by Dani

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 18

Dear Mom,
You can officially just send everything to Canfield until I leave.  I
was just called to train again, and I will be staying this transfer.
Sister Byers was pretty surprised, and disappointed to leave right
before the holidays.  I don't blame her.  This is a great ward to be
in, especially this time of the year.  I pick up my new trainee
tomorrow at transfer meeting.  I am pretty excited.  I am not the
greatest trainer ever, poor Sister Olson and Sister Kunz.  Maybe I
will get it right this time around.  What I am really excited for is
to be training at the same time that Lyssa is being trained.  I will
be going through the same 12-week packet that she has in front of her.
That is pretty cool!
We are doing well after our "deer-car hit" (that is what the Sargent
called it).  It is actually a miracle that we have a car right now.
Our car is currently in the shop, and it is unknown when it will
return.  We went for a few days without a car, but we are now driving
again.  The office misread the odometer of one of the cars, and
thought it was time to sell it just a few days before we hit the deer.
They weren't sure what they were going to do with it, and President
Vellinga had them get it to us pretty quick.  We are so grateful for
This last week we found a less-active member in Youngstown.  It was a
pretty interesting turn of events.  Turns out they are moving this
week.  She is living with her foster-daughter, and she decided to sit
in our lesson for a bit.  Right then and there we invited her to be
baptized, and she accepted!  She set a baptismal date for January 3 so
that she can start off the New Year right.  We will just have to pass
all of that info along to the lucky missionaries in Oklahoma.  They
must be praying for referrals down there. I have really had a neat 

opportunity to meet some pretty amazing people out here.  I have learned
 so much about life in these short months out here in Ohio.  I am grateful

 for these experiences as hard as they have been at times.
I love my mission so much!  I am excited to be back in a place where I
feel at home for the holidays, again.  It still feels like deja vu
most of the time, but I know that the Lord is wiser than I am and
needs me here now.  I love being able to be used as an instrument in
his hands each day, and to be able to just turn my life over to him
and be led in this way.
Sister Bakker

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 10

Dear Mom,

Raking leaves in Ohio
So we had a pretty crazy week....... There has just been an
outpouring of stuff going on. Some good things, but as of right now
we have no car. I am not sure when we are going to get another one,
or if we will. I guess I should explain.

Coming home, at about 9:00 pm, from the R’s, on highway 62, we
hit a deer. Needless to say, since we were on the highway, we were
going 55. It was a bad accident! Considering everything, I responded
quickly as the driver, but there is no way we would have been able to
see it coming. It was running at full speed, and Sister Byers didn't
see it either. It jumped out right in front, so we hit it while it
was jumping and it hit us pretty high. Upon further inspection of
where it hit, many people told us that it was a miracle it didn't go
through our windshield. We remember it came up pretty close, but
somehow it went the opposite direction. A few very nice people
stopped to help us. Fortunately neither of us were really injured. I
slammed my left side against something. My hand was a bit swollen for
a bit, but I think it is okay. Sister Byers is pretty sore too, but
overall nothing bad. We called J pretty fast, and he and his wife
showed up shortly after! I am so grateful to be here right now, to
know how loved I am that in a crisis, they are there for us. J
helped us figure everything out and get things situated. Sister
Byers was on the phone with our mission office, when the State Patrol
showed up. When I handed him my license, I told him he couldn't say
my first name out loud because I have to be "Sister" right now. He
thought it was funny, and just called my "Little Sister" for the rest
of the night. I got to sit in the back of his patrol car and fill out
some papers for a bit. He and I had a good heart to heart about some
gospel principles, and then he had to let me out, because wouldn't you
know it there are no handles in the back of a patrol car. He said,
"not everyone is as nice as you." Pretty funny. He told me that they
received more deer hits that night than he had ever had before.
Crazy! J and J were so great! They helped get so much taken
care of to make sure we were safe and taken care of.

When we think back to everything that happened, we can really see so
many ways that we were protected. That was something I kept asking
myself. We hear as missionaries all the time that accidents happen if
you are disobedient, but we weren't. We were doing everything we
could to be obedient, but the blessings really came in how we were
protected. That deer should have gone through the windshield, and
could have killed us. Thank you for your prayers to keep us safe. I
know that we were so protected because of the prayers. As the most
prayed for group of people, I can tell you that we honestly feel it.

As far as everything else goes, I am not sure what is going to happen.
I don't even know if we are going to get a rental car or if we are
going to have to get rides pretty much everywhere.

I love you all! Thank you for your protective prayers! I will let
you know how things are going next week, and keep you up to speed.


Sister Bakker