Monday, June 16, 2014

June 9

Dear Mom,

Sorry transfers were this week, so that is why you are getting this on Tuesday.  I didn't get transferred!  I get to stay in St. Marys for at least 6 months, which I am more than excited about!  We have been having great success, and more people are coming out of the wood work.  I am sure other missionaries can also attest to this simple fact, but transfers brings out so many good changes.  We have started meeting with people that Sister Chapman and I could never come in contact with, and people are keeping their commitments, and making changes.  This Branch is so great! 

Just an update.  I told you last week that I hadn't been feeling well.  Sister Vellinga recommended that I ask for a blessing.  I decided that I would ask Brother F, and waited until late Tuesday night.  He gave me the blessing, and I felt a surge of peace.  It was really incredible to have him be worthy to give me that blessing, and knowing how hard he has worked to be able to get to that point.  Since the blessing, I felt so much better!  I am so grateful for the priesthood. 

So funny story of the week....  Last Monday, Sister O'Banion and I had a picnic lesson with Lusbiminda (Isaac's daughter), and everything was going well.  She had opened up a lot, and was really starting to get more comfortable, and then all of the a sudden I felt something on my face...  I started feeling around and Biminda pointed and was trying to help me, when Sister O'Banion saw it...  All of the sudden, Sister O'Banion started waking me across the face and screeching at the top of her lungs.  I sat there quietly with my head down for a moment and said, "why would you do that?"  She really couldn't get out her words because she had jumped about four feet away and was still shivering from her attack.  A big, black spider had fallen from the tree I was sitting under, and was crawling around on my cheek.  Come to find out, Sister O'Banion wasn't kidding when she warned me on our first day together that she has a major fear of spiders...  I learned the hard way and had a lingering headache.  So funny! 

Karen is doing really awesome!  We taught the 10 commandments to her and Lexi this week with funny hand symbols for each one.  They really seemed to enjoy that, as well as coming to church.  Sister O'Banion and I thought it would be good to just go over for a few minutes and read with Karen and Lexi on Sunday, and had one of the best lessons with the two of them.  We read about Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life.  The story was good, and Lexi, who is 9, was really starting to pick up the Book of Mormon lingo, and understanding the concepts.  When we were asking her some questions, Karen just started crying.  She was so amazed that Lexi was changing and had a desire to follow Christ, and that she was able to set that example for her daughter.  The spirit was very strong.  They have some tough challenges ahead for sure, especially if they are going to be baptized on August 2, but we know that they will be able to make it. 
Last, but not least, Heather turned 9 this week, and invited us to her birthday.  We ended up serving the F’s by helping them set things up, and they fed us dinner.  While we were there, the little girls kept following us around (especially Sister O'Banion, they just loved her) and asking us questions about being a missionary.  Turns out that Heather has been telling her friends all about the missionaries at school.  By the end we had about 13 girls wanting to come to church with Heather and us.  So crazy!  It was so good that we were there, also because we were able to talk with the F's daughter, Britney.  She is around our age, and used to go to church when the Elders were here about a year ago, but told her mom that she wouldn't meet with us or go to church.  After getting to talk with her some more, she invited us over!  Miracles. 

All is well out here.  I really am so happy to be here on a mission and to be able to serve in this capacity.  As Elder Holland told us, "this is the closest to real life that you are ever going to get."  He is right.  We will never be able to be so selfless and not have to concern ourselves with the cares of the world in this way again.  I love you all!


Sister Bakker

P.S. check out these websites.  the father's day one hasn't been posted yet, but it should come up in a little bit.

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