Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 27

Dear Mom,
This week was great! We had a fun Halloween activity this last
Friday, and had a great turn out! J and J took us, and had a
great time. They are doing well. I really love them. We also had
the primary program this week, and that was a ball. It is weird to
think that the only primary programs I have seen on my mission have
been here in the Alliance Ward. It is always a good time to hear some
of the kids having yelling matches as they sing, chasing each other
around the benches, and some of them chewing on their chairs and the
posts in front. All of that being said, the spirit was so strong, and
our attendance was almost a 1/4 greater than it usually is, which is a
great sign. There were many nonmembers there who were able to feel
that sweet tender spirit as the kids testified of our Eternal
Families. That is one of the best ways for anyone to feel the spirit,
to "come and see" for themselves.
I love being a missionary, and serving in this way. Every time I am
transferred I feel like I learn a little more about some of my
weaknesses and about my strengths and it really helps me to remember
how the Lord wants to help us grow (Ether 12:27, the scripture I chose
for the plaque).
I love you!


Sister Bakker

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 20

Dear Mom,

I have thought about it a little this week, and I realized how short
my time is getting. It is a little freaky to think about. Honestly,
as a missionary, you just feel like you are going to be a missionary
forever. It never feels like you are going to take off the tag.
This week has been great for me. I have not yet figured out my
specific purpose in coming back. I don't know that there is just one,
but I am definitely learning a lot more than I am probably helping.
Sister Byers has seen a lot of success in increasing all of our key
indicators, which means that we are teaching a lot more, and that our
focus is where the Lord needs it to be. That has been exciting. I
have also learned some pretty valuable lessons. Some unanticipated
things happened this week, that were unavoidable and considered to be
disobedient as missionaries (nothing big or anything). They were
things that we could have been better prepared for, but in all honesty
were mostly out of our control. I felt terrible! I was quick to take
blame, and pushed myself a lot harder than I should have been. Sister
Byers lovingly taught me that the Savior does not want me to beat
myself up for those things that happen. Yes, our repentance needs to
match our actions, but we also need to rely on His grace. I realized
that these lessons were needed for me to better understand what our
investigators, less actives, and members feel. Sometimes it is hard to
keep the commandments, and sometimes things are just out of our
control. Sometimes life is just hard, and all we can do is our best. I
thought I understood this principle, but I feel like it is all new to
me. I have felt a stronger sense of strength as I have come to rely
on Him, and know that I am enough.
I love my mission so much! I have been so blessed by our family's
sacrifices for so many of us to serve. Thank you!

Sister Bakker

Being dropped off for transfers 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 13

Hi Mom,

Oh yeah, I am back in Alliance!!!!! Back to change Youngstown. I
don't know if I have ever explained really how a transfer works. So
for us, (it will be different for Rooster and Lys) we have to wait
until Monday night around 9:30 to get a phone call from our District
Leader, who had just received a call from the Zone Leaders, who were
just called by the Assistants. Only President, and the Assistants at
this point know what is going to happen. All the District and Zone
Leaders know is if we are staying, being moved somewhere in the stake
or being moved outside of the stake we serve in. So we all thought
that Sister Kunz would be transferred. She even said herself that she
felt like she would be, and I thought it was possible. We were pretty
surprised by the call when they said that I was being "out-staked."
There is only one stake that I can serve in that I haven't, which is
the Akron stake. That is where everyone was predicting since I have
already served in Youngstown and Toledo. Well, you pack your things
We went to the most appropriate restaurant for
me, Danny Boy's. It is pretty good!
on preparation day, and go to transfer meeting on Wednesday.
President speaks to us for a bit, and all of the new trainees
introduce themselves and their trainers, and finally the zone leaders
stand up and announce who will be serving in the zone. They always
start from the Toledo side and work over to the Youngstown zones.
They kept announcing areas, and my name wasn't called over and over,
and finally we passed the Akron stake, and I realized there was only
one other place I could go. I stood up, as they announced I would
serving in Alliance North, and gave a confused/excited look to
President Vellinga. He looked almost as surprised as I was, shrugged
and then laughed. There was a ton of gasps from the other
missionaries. It is super rare, almost unheard of to return back to
an area, especially after serving there for 6 months already. I was
so excited to hear about getting to go back.

My new companion is Sister Byers. She is really great, and very
humble. She is much different than any of my other companions, and I
am excited to work with her.  She and I have had a ton of fun surprising people with funny stories from the past and waiting for them to realize what has happened.
S Bakker and Byers doing a service project

Me coming back has been great for some of the families here.
There are some things that have changed since I left, and I am so
grateful that I get to come back and work hard to overcome some of the
challenges that have come in the last 9 or so months.

It is so weird to be back in my old apartment! I keep walking in
there waiting for it to be freezing just like what happened last year
with the furnace. Sister Byers thinks I am a nut... What else is
new, though?

I love you all!


Sister Bakker

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 7

Dear Mom,

I am being transferred somewhere outside of the Cleveland Stake. I have no idea where I am headed, but you will all find out next week probably.  Sister Kunz will be staying here waiting for someone else to come in and join her, and continue to build up this place of miracles.

We have had a really awesome week! I love General Conference because we always see miracles as missionaries. We saw exactly what you saw, with the voice over language thing. I loved the talk by Elder Jorg Klebingat. I don't know that it could have been said more plainly. I
would agree with dad's thought of it being about choices and
consequences. Another theme I saw was the need for our own personal
conversion. Everyone emphasized the need to continually strengthen
and fortify ourselves not just for what is to come in the future, but
what is happening all around us right now. Prayer, scripture study,
family home evening, and temple attendance are so crucial. I also
loved Elder Anderson's quote about how spiritual questions deserve
spiritual answers. If we really must know something, we have to ask
God directly, and seek His word for our answers.

I love serving in this ward. We have seen success in different ways
than what I saw in St. Marys or in Alliance. We have seen individuals
change in ways that no one has yet seen before. On Sunday, we received a surprise phone call from Bishop G to thank us for helping a
particular sister in our ward. We have also worked really hard to see
miracles in finding. It is really hard to find the way that Elder Teh
was talking about, but that is how Sister Kunz and I have been
primarily working for the last two transfers. We are finally starting
to see some of the fruits of our finding efforts. Just last night we
had one of the most incredible lessons with our new investigator,
C.  She has been taught by the missionaries before, and has a great relationship with many of the people in our ward already. She knows that she needs something that we have to offer
because she feels the presence of the Holy Ghost when she talks with
us or thinks about this. She is willing to work and pray about it.
Last night, Sister Kunz and I pretty much taught her all of the 5
lessons out of preach my gospel. Not because we had planned that, but
because her questions lead to everything we teach as missionaries. She
understood it all very well, and even seemed to answer her own
questions about some older practices in the church and was able to
accept it. She is willing to pray to come to know if Christ really is
the Messiah and Savior, which she has never had a testimony of before.
It was an incredible lesson!

There are so many wonderful things happening here, and I can't wait to
see where else I am called to be apart of different miracles. I know
the atonement is real, and that we have the power to change. I know
that there is such a thing as peace of conscious, and that we can have
confidence in our eternal salvation. I love this gospel, and I love
being a missionary!

I love you!


Sister Bakker