Monday, September 29, 2014

Life in the Field


Life is pretty tranquilo here, and I'm starting to get better. It’s cold in the mornings and hot in the days. Last week We had a huge festival with all the ramas in our area. There was food and games and futbol, and it was pretty great to relax for a day.There was so much carne and empanadas. The missionaries were all there, and we played some games in front of everyone. Then we watched some Chilean dances which are pretty weird.  President and Hermana Barreiros came and it was nice to talk to them for a little bit again. Other than that my week was pretty normal for a missionary. I’ve had a lot a divisions because my companion is the district leader. This week I'm going to have two divisions. One with a Greenie like me Elder Brophy and another with the Zone leader so that’s exciting. 

My Spanish is coming slowly, but I know it’s coming. I can now recognize the Chilean accent and the fact that my accent is awful. The challenge is that Chileans don't speak Spanish the way I’ve ever heard it. They talk fast and use a whole bunch of I’s where the S’s should be. I can understand more now though, not that I know more Spanish, but I can understand from a word pretty much what there talking about. My companion speaks really good Spanish so that’s nice, and I can understand almost everything that he says. I’m starting to figure out what's going on which is nice. 

Here are the answers to all of your questions. We play a lot of soccer no basketball. My area is in the country with huge fields of vines. I think grapes for wine not really sure. But we work in an area with a whole bunch of houses that all look alike. Sort of like a subdivision.The members feed us every day almuerzo and we have soup and pollo and turkey and papas and salsa and siempre pan. Somethings thats kind of interesting is that after you done eating you're supposed to clean your plate with a piece of bread. My companion’s name is Jeff Brown, and he’s from Ogden. We had about 70 people in our ward last week, which was really good. We will go to Maipu to watch Conference with all the missionaries in a chapel.We do laundry in a washing machine in our house and air dry on a line. For exercise we usually do p90x or just push ups and stretching if i don't want to join my companion. For breakfast we just eat cereal normally, and we don't really eat dinner because they don't have it here. We have once which is just bread and cheese and some meat with some mormon cafe. (Don’t really know what mormon cafe is.) Or just bread and mormon cafe. I'd say we ride at least 10 miles a day, but my legs are strong now so it's not bad. I like biking more than walking.

I still feel like the sons of Lehi when they were charged with the difficult task of retrieving the plates. I feel like I'm in kind of in the same situation as them. I don’t really know exactly what to say or do, but I'm trying to be lead by the spirit like Nefi describes in 4:6. The task is hard but God "can only guide our foot steps when we move our feet.” I feel like my shoes have sand in them sometimes, but God will provide a way.

Love you!

Elder Walker
Another photo of me with President and Hermana Barreiros.
This is at the actividad.
​Here is the family. Elder Brown was the trainor of Elder Goats and Elder Goats was the trainor of Elder Paternaria/Uraguay. So this is me with my Dad, Brother, and Nephew.
Sack race at the festival.

One Elder eating dust.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 2 in Islita


My computer doesn’t have a usb jack so no pictures again. Sorry. Stuff is pretty much the same. I struggle pretty badly in lessons and with understanding. Mom, I put the quote by Gordon B. Hinckley about optimism on my desk at home. I know I can do it, and I know that God with Bless me with the gift of tongues. I just have to learn some things first. I don’t talk very much. I know that I’m not that outgoing, but I’m not silent at the same time. In the mission, I just don’t know what or how to say what I'm thinking. Ahhh… I want to talk! I just want to! Oh well.

This week is kind of of like the fourth of July for Chile except in Chile it lasts the whole week: empanadas like crazy, tons of Chileans flying kites, Chilean flags everywhere. They have a national dance and parade. It really is a great time to be in Chile. The members are awesome, and we eat so much and every meal. Whenever my plate is empty all I hear is serve yourself more, Elder. The food is good and I hope I can gain some weight. (But not too much.) Another thing everyone here has a dog at least one huge one or about 5 little ones. 

Elder Brown has been out for about 18 months or something and is awesome. We work in an area called Islita, but live in a place called Villa Nevada (kind of ironic and makes me think of home). So where we like is about 2 miles away from where we work, which means we are a biking area!!! We bike a lot and our area is huge. We have like 70 active members and a ton of inactive. That’s kind of of the problem in Chile, inactivity. We have two baptisms this week, and Conference the next so I’m super excited for that. 

I thought I was independent and strong, but the mission has humbled me. I didn’t realize how great my life was until I left it and saw the problems that people had down here. One interesting thing is that I’ve taught the law of Chastity casi 5 times this week. No lie. Way more than the restoration, which is really weird I know. The last time we taught it to a couple that aren’t married and have a child. Yeah, I felt a little unprepared for that.

Love you lots. The Spanish will come. 

Love you guys,

Elder Walker

Monday, September 15, 2014

Libre Soy!


Libre Soy!!! Libre Soyyyyy!!!

So I'm free! I'm out the CCM in the big bad world, and it's awesomely hard. My life is a giant paradox--I feel like I've learned a lot and that I haven't learned anything. I'm just trying to figure things out. Anyways my companion is from Utah (I can't remember where in Utah) but he's a baller. Elder Brown is a lot like me; I hope at least. He's hard working, really smart, and the members love him. He's super humble and honestly hasn't said one mean thing to me, so I'm really grateful for an awesome trainer. So grateful.

Story time--this one is for Dad. So we were with Jóse, who is an investigator with a baptismal date, and we were at his house because he had just wrecked his car and was super sad. He was planning on selling it, but after the crash it wasn’t worth as much. Anyways, we were talking about car crashes, and I’m like usual just trying to figure out what the heck is going on because I have no idea what the vocab for a car wreck is. So my comp shares a car wreck story of his own then asks me if a have been in a car accident. I told them about me flipping my car. Actually, I acted out charades style my car rolling because I can’t speak Spanish, and I showed him my scars. Haha. It was awesome, but the best part was after that I asked him if he had seen the Jeff Gordon crash video (Dad you know what I’m talking about), and he said no. So we had him look it up and watched it with him before we shared a spiritual message. It was so much fun!! I can’t wait for Jóse’s baptism.

Thanks for all the encouragement. At times this seems impossibly hard. It is so hard not being able to talk to anyone. I promise that I’m going to learn this language. I’m going to learn how to be a missionary. I’m going to learn how to talk to people without fear. I’m going to turn my biggest weaknesses into my biggest strengths by the end of my mission. That’s what I say to myself. That’s the promise that God gives us in Ether 12 when we come unto him with humility. I am holding on to that promise. I am learning how to fail because I do it about 100 times a day.

Okay, I have to write Nick so we'll see if I have time for pictures, but before that one more story. This happened about two weeks ago, but it’s been a long time since I’ve written. Elder Brush, my old companion, and I were out in front of the CCM just sitting there like we always do during a break, and a few people walked up. They were kind of laughing at us because we werre doing 360's. Elder Brush was explaining to me how to ski. So they walked up and a man kind of looked at me and then walked over to shake my hand like everyone does. After that though this girl walks up, and I put my hand out for a handshake, but she just stepped up and got a little too close. (In my mind I was thinking this is a little weird, and why is she getting so close for a handshake?) Then she gave me a kiss on the cheek. Haha. She was more embarrassed than I was as I explained that missionaries don’t do the whole cheek kiss thing that they all do here in South America.

Yep, so that’s that. I’m in Chile. I’m alive. My area is a small city called Islita (or Little Island in English). I’m in the Talagante zone. It’s in the country and I love it. The people are amazing and super nice. I love them so much even though I can’t even talk to them. Well, life keeps going. Love you all. No temas, cree solamente.

I love you a lot!
Elder Walker
Hermana Barreiros, Elder Brown, me, President Barreiros

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Last Week in the CCM


I just read Nicholas’s email, and wow his area, that’s crazy!! How lucky is he!!! I’m praying that I get an awesome training companion as well. While he’s up there in the freezing cold of the Andes mountains I’m down here chillin’ in Chile where it pretty much feels like America, it’s so nice. In the field my mission has a lot of diversity. In one area you could be in the slums or ghetto, in a country area, or in another you could be on in a crazy nice area. Anyways in terms of living conditions, I’m really lucky. 

Last Sunday was the last opportunity anyone leaving in a week to speak in church. The CCM President, like other places I know, calls people randomly to speak at church, and with fast Sunday next week the odds were with me that I wouldn’t have to speak. So after my companion and I passed the sacrament, the zone leader stood up and called my companion’s name and then my name. It was really surprising because the president hasn’t called a companionship at the same time ever. So we walked back to get our stuff and gave our talks. We had both prepared talks on the Holy Ghost. My main focus was on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion and how an investigator needs personal revelation in order to obtain conversion. I had a lot of quotes and then talked about the blessings of the Holy Ghost D&C 84 or 85, I think. D&C is super awesome, by the way, because it is is all about missionaries. It was hard, my Spanish pronunciation stinks, and I have no idea how good I did because everyone lies no matter how bad you are, but I’m learning how to fail. It definitely brought Elder Brush and I together more. 

Elder Brush is such an awesome guy, and we get along so great. In lessons and stuff we are really good at just having a natural conversation with someone. Like mee was in student council and soccer in high school, so we just click really well. We do all right giving lessons, but its still hard to speak and we struggle with being excited in the lesson. It’s good though because when you don’t have very many words you can’t describe something in a complicated way. The language barrier forces us to teach in a simple way, which is good because that is how we should teach.

I can’t wait to go into the field and meet my new companion. I have a question for Chloe. Am I ever going to catch up on my sleep? In the mission do you ever wake up and feel like you actually slept?? 

Love You!! 

Elder Walker

Elder Williams (or Westpoint as we like to call him) Awesome guy.
Elder Brush and I