Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!


It seems crazy that Thanksgiving is already here this week, and wow, am I going to be missing those fresh rolls, and turkey! Most of all, I'll miss the good laughs with my amazing cousins! We always laughed so much at Thanksgiving. I'm happy with the work though, so don't worry.

This last week was a rough one. Every week has its struggles, but others are harder to carry than others. We had one investigator at church, which was bad but not terrible. I wanted more, but I'm confident that the spirit will touch them and they will go to church soon. However, I'm really happy for Johan and that he made it to church, and we expect him to get baptised soon in December. 

We had a big surprise reunion this last week, and it seems like were going to have another one this week as well. The President is going crazy because were about to achieve our goal. In the last meeting, he changed the rule and now we don't report our obedience to our leaders. It may seem like a small change, but it was pretty surprising. Before we had to report out obedience every week on things like getting up on time, doing exercises and eating lunch in less than an hour. Every few months for the last year, we've reported more and more things until we got to the point where we essentially lived the law of moses. Now the focus of president is that we can be consecrated missionaries. 

Lastly, I had another somewhat frightening experience with another missionary when he unexpectedly called me in the morning during our studies. He expressed a host of feelings of stress and disappointment and had a break down. He just was carrying a really heavy load and needed to talk about it. It made me think of a scripture in Mosiah 18:8:

"Willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life."

As part as our baptismal covenant, I know that we are called to lighten the burdens of others, lift the hands that hang down, and help each other in this journey. I hope that we can all help our neighbors in this hard life we live in and live worthy of our covenants. 

Elder Walker

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Mission

This past week flew by just as this year has flown by. I had one of the most vivid dreams of my mission last night, and I normally don't dream at all. In the dream I was at home and with all my friends and family and the only thought in my mind was, "Wow! That was fast!" It kind of scared me to have that dream. 

My comp. and I are having a great time. I think Ive been more tired these past few months than any time before in the mission. Training can get kind of hard sometimes, but Elder Moreira and I get along great. He has a great attitude and is focused on the goals that we have. Last week we found 15 new investigators, which was the goal that we had set. He was so happy. I love to see the excitement of a new missionary, and it's something that wakes me up to the divinity of this work. What we need though are investigators that go to church. We found a few amazing people, people that I already love and the challenge is helping them go to church. We are trying for 6 investigators in the church this week. I don't exactly know how were going to do it, but I know we can. 

In the mission we have kind of a slogan: Just Work. Trabajar no mas. It's one of the most important things that one can learn in this life I think: the ability and self-discipline to work. I taught a little bit about this in my district meeting. I read a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard who quoted a few things about Self Discipline that I loved. 

"The longer I live, the more weight I attach to a man’s ability to manage and discipline himself. The longer I live, the more firmly convinced I become that the essential factor which lifts a man above his fellows in terms of achievement and success is his superior capacity for self-discipline."

"For my part, I have concluded that the quality which sets one man apart from another—the factor which lifts one man to every achievement to which he reasonably aspires while the other is caught in the slough of mediocrity for all the years of his life—is not talent, nor formal education, nor luck, nor intellectual brilliance, but is rather the successful man’s greater capacity for self-discipline.” 

I completely and totally agree with these quotes. We must have the self discipline required to reach the goals we want. In a more spiritual sense, it's controlling who we are by putting off the natural man and becoming humble and submissive to the will of God. I feel like this is a principle that has blessed me in my life more than any other. I am not smarter nor more talented than others, but when I or any other person for that matter, apply myself I have been able to achieve great things. Where then do we get the strength to put off the natural man? Perhaps the most important factor of this principle is the realization that this inner strength and power comes from the Savior and His atonement. He gave us the power and through covenants that we make with Him, we can receive that inner power. Elder Holland said, "The power of your covenants is greater than the power of temptation." 

Just working hard and love you all..

Elder Walker

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Companion


This last week past by lightning fast! First things first, I received a new companion on Wednesday, Elder Moreira from Brazil. (He lives on the coast of Northern Brazil about a 5 minute walk from the beach.) He is an incredible missionary that has a huge testimony. He is the only member in his family and had to fight a battle, as we all do, against the world to make it out here, but he did it without the support of his family. He is an example to me, and I have already learned so much from him and his experiences before the mission.

I already have four and a half months in my sector, and it looks like, because I'm training, that I'm going to be here for another 3 months. That will make it seven and a half months here. haha. Kinda crazy. I'm excited though, because I love a lot of people here and have been able to create many eternal friendships. So I'm excited for the next 3 months with them! 

Right now we have a few good investigators that were teaching, but this change is going to have to be one of faith. I know that we can baptist more, and we just need to find the people. We've been spending a lot of time in the streets suffering a little bit to find the chosen. That's what we always say we have to find those chosen people that God has prepared. It's tough at times after hours of rejections, and one can start to feel a weight on their shoulder but God always gives. In the end, He prepares the people and we'll find them. 

Thanks so much for all the support love you lots! 

Elder Walker

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Special Week

Last night I found out that I don't have transfers and that I'll be staying here for at least the next 6 weeks. I'll probably receive a different companion, and I am excited to find out who he is tomorrow morning. My companion, Elder Benavides, is a great Chilean, and we get along well. We have been working 2 sectors these last 2 weeks so it will be nice to return to normal this week. 

This last week was a special one, one that taught me about the responsibility that we have as members of the church. So one of the recent converts here in my ward experienced a tragedy when his son of 33 years died in the hospital. It was a sad event, one that left the family shocked and confused. Duilio (the recent convert) had just gotten baptized, and he wondered why God would test him so painfully. Arriving at their house under these circumstances was a little difficult. The family was in the house with many friends, and the room was filled. The body of the son was in the middle of the room as the people gave their condolences to the family. I was surprised when the family asked us as missionaries to say a few words to the people there. I could see the pain that they all had and taught about death and what it really is--the separation of the body and spirit. Then, I bore my testimony the best I could of Jesus Christ and that through Him we will all live again. A verse came to my mind and I read, Mosiah 16:8 and 9.

8 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

 9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

We has missionaries were able, through the spirit, to console a hurting family and friends. We as latter-day saints are to be a light and example to the people. We have an incredibly great responsibility to help those in need as members of this church, because we have been blessed with the knowledge of the restored gospel. Knowledge that comforts and helps us through difficulties. We have the knowledge and spirit that others need to feel when life gets hard. Reflecting on these experiences of being an example and raising a spirit of hope and confidence, reminded me of the a specific story from the talk of our beloved prophet Thomas S. Monson.

"At that time, leaders of the Church met with officials in Jerusalem to work out a lease agreement for land on which the Church’s Jerusalem Center would be built. In order to obtain the permissions needed, the Church had to agree that no proselyting would be undertaken by our members who would occupy the center. After that agreement had been made, one of the Israeli officials, who was well acquainted with the Church and its members, remarked that he knew the Church would honor the no-proselyting agreement. “But,” he said, referring to the students who would attend there, “what are we going to do about the light that is in their eyes?”  May that special light ever shine within us, that it might be recognized and appreciated by others."

We need to let that special light ever shine within us. My mission has been full of experiences like this. I love the work. Thanks so much for all your support. Miss you all more than you can imagine, and I love you all more.

Elder Walker