Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011

From Cameron:
 Dear family,

I am very excited to be writing you this week. A lot has happened this week. We started the week with 8 possibles that could be baptized this week. One by one we went to them preparing them to be baptized.

Edmilson. A man we found a couple weeks ago and took to church. He wants to stop drinking and really has problems. His family said that he often disappears and then tehy find him a couple days later passed out on the street. He  is miserable. So we put it in his head that he cannot drink anymore. I stated very clearly that he knows the locations and people and circumstances that cause him to do this. He had to do anything possible to avoid these circumstances. It must be really difficult. He disappeared on Wednesday and didn't show up until Thursday night. I will keep trying to help him, but there is only so much I can do for him. He must learn to overcome this obstacle for himself. I can teach him, but he must apply.

Marina. She is still having difficulties with her "answer". We didn't get a chance to visit her last week, but we promised ourselves we would visit her. After trying on four different occasions we finally made a visit Sunday before church. I feel like she knows it's all true. She reads and fulfills all the invites. She has gone to church several times now and is very well integrated with the members. Elder Gallacher bore an awesome testimony to her along with a personal experience that helped her. I hop she realizes that the way to be happy is found only within the doctrines of the gospel.

Cristiana (and Lidiane). We haven't had much contact with Lidiane because she hasn't been home, but Cristiana is making wonderful progress. We have been teaching her and her family, but only she went to church (all by herself). This week we laid down the message of the restoration of the gospel which is the Joseph Smith s. We also gave her a Book of Mormon. We expressed to the family the importance of the book. If we know the book is true, we also know that Jesus is our savior, Joseph Smith was a prophet for translating the book, and the church is true. We also laid out the way to know it was only through prayer, but not just any kind of prayer--sincere prayer with real intent and with all your heart, having faith that you will receive an answer from our Heavenly Father. Cristiana read and prayed that night. We showed up the next day and she gave us a note and told us to read it later when we have left. The note stated her prayer experience. She felt a strong answer feeling a presence at her side and she knew it was true. We're working on her baptism date...

Viviane. She is the daughter of a recent convert. A couple of weeks ago I felt that I should work more with the recent converts. We went straight to her house and we invited the daughter to go to church. She went. She fell in love with the church so quickly that she accepted baptism without a doubt. She loved how sincere the members were towards her (which they are). It was so simple. When the people are prepared, they are prepared. We did the baptism on Sunday and many of the members stayed for it. The spirit was so strong. We put a DVD of the mission on which has some really cool baptism presentations. Many started crying. The brother who went up to welcome her into the ward could barely get his message out because he was crying. The importance of baptism is truly incredible. If anything changes lives, it is through our submission to God through ordenances like the baptism. How grateful i am to end my fifteen weeks without baptism with a baptism like this.

Similar to an experience mom shared in her email, there are many investigators who ask how we can go without seeing or talking to our families for so long?  We always explain that there are some things more important. That we trust that they are well and we know the Lord is taking care of them. Not that we don't miss them, but we know the good that will come out of such an experience. The two most important years of our lives.


Elder Walker

P.S.Tell everyone to pray for Rio to have a temple in the upcoming conference!

From Marissa:

Dear Family and Friends;
Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentence, Baptism, Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.  That is why I am here and that is what I have done!  BAM!  We have our first baptism!!!!  Yep we committed our investigator here in Provo UT to baptism!!!  Our other investigator is hard though.  He doesn't understand the importance of God in his life.  Anything we tell him he doesn't seem to care for or agree with.  We finally told him we can't teach him unless he puts faith in us to have an open mind and open heart because we don't do the converting the spirit does.  He agreed to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  Then it dawned on me yesterday as we watched the movie "The Testaments" what we need to teach him this week.  God is important because he not only created us but sent his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON to atone for our sins, teach and lead us the right way, love us, and show us that we can make it through this life.  He showed us how to find eternal happiness and that is what this church is all about.  Our Savior knows our griefs he knows our sorrows and cares for us.  God used His power to send us His son so we would not be miserable living in our sins.  The healing power of the atonement does miracles.  I have seen it in my own life.  With our power we can do much, but with God's power we can do miracles!  It doesn't hurt to have simple faith in Him and His son.  For that single event of the atonement makes God important and shows His love for us. 
Tuesday Gerald Lund spoke at the devotional which I said the prayer at so I got to meet him.  One of my favorite authors!  I was complimented by so many that that was the most beautiful prayer ever!  Many people close to me here say I have the gift of giving prayers...never heard that before.  Some think the food gives you digestion problems but it's like a buffet every meal for me!  I've gained 5 healthy pounds!!!!!  That was my goal!!!! 
I realized with the ASL signing missionaries here that I really do know a lot of sign language.  One of the deaf sisters just needs a friend so we sign together all the time and I listen to her problems concerns, and just help her because she is injured too.  I've come to know my Savior more and am happier on this journey as I follow his ways.  Teaching how he would have taught.  Although I have realized how easy signing comes to me Spanish is an area I will have to work harder on.  I'll tell you what Craig if you're sitting around on the couch be studying and highlighting Preach My Gospel.  I wish I did more reading before the mission.  I could have been way more ahead of the game cause there is so much to study and do.  Mom and Dad I think the mission will re-teach work-ethic to Craig since he has seem to have forgotten what real work should consist of....serving others ALWAYs :)  the language is coming though and I know the more I work harder and be obedient I will see miracles.
Our zone was complimented this week from the branch presidency on our unity.  Our Spain visas are still not here but I am happy.  I found out that my return date is December 26th 2012 which is awesome and works out perfect for school!!!!  The Lord does miracles for His missionaries!  My neck from the accident is sore somedays but not unbearable.  It has actually helped me to have good posture throughout the day because it hurts when I slouch.  Blessing in disguise.  Aw that's so sad about all the butterfly stuff in the room I've had that since I was in 6th grade but sure ya'll can get rid of it.  Maybe keep the butterfly pillows for me their cute.  Yes it is safe to send packages still.  Please send just the hair-ties, bobbypins, another copy of me as sleeping beauty, and in my pink suitcase is my plain white T and gray cut off sweats I want.  Thanks!
Love you all and am so proud to hear about your accomplishments!!!!   Can't wait to see the new pictures of Em's room and the office and bathroom.  Have a beautiful week!!!!  Don't forget to write :)))) 
Con amor,
Hermana Walker
PS tell Grandma I love her dearly!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The last letter of July and first letter of August 2011

 From Cameron July 25, 2011
Dear Family,
This week was a preparatory week. Meaning there wasn't a lot of result, but I feel it coming. 

Cibele, Brenda, Leyser, and João Vitor are all part of a large family that we are teaching. They went to church last week and loved it to death. However, they still haven't understood the importance of baptism. We are sticking with them because I just know that she will accept the gospel. Cibele happens to be one of the most sincere and faithful people i have ever met. The best part is that she already is becoming friends with the members and we didn't even know it. A member was picking her up and taking her home and was going to give her as a reference without even knowing that we were teaching her. I understand how hard it can be for someone to baptize so quickly. There's all new things to know and understand and you will mess up a lot, but they are so much more blessed. By showing their faith and humility they grow and become a much better person and disciple.

On Saturday we had a "Festa Caipira" in the chapel which is like brazilians version of cowboys or hicks. It was a lot of fun and had a lot of food. They had Canjiquinha which is a corn stew, Angu which is like mashed potatoes only with very little flavor of anything, Caldo Verde which is this green stuff with meat (I still haven't eaten it), and Canjica which is made of corn, peanut, some sort of paste and cinnamon (looks a little like an oatmeal). They also did a dance that was similar to the Virginia Reel. We all had a lot of fun.

One of the best parts was last night when they broadcasted the mormon tabernacle choir presentation for Pioneer day. It was very well done. My favorite number they did was "Wheels of a Dream" from Ragtime. They sang with a Broadway singer and it was awesome.

President Uchtdorf: "There are many others, who, for different reasons, find themselves waiting on the road to Damascus...The truth is, those who diligently seek to learn of Christ eventually will come to know him...then, looking back on our experience, we see that the savior had indeed come to be with us--not all at once but quietly , gently, almost unnoticed."

President Monson (Priesthood): What will protect you from the sin and evil around you? I maintain that a strong testimony of our savior and of his gospel will help see you through.

"Choose your love; love your choice."

I love you all. I enjoy getting your letters and hope you can have patience with me as I try to write you.

Com amor,

Elder Walker
From Marissa July 25, 2011
Como estas?  estoy muy muy felizidad ser aqui!  Es muy divertido y yo sentimiento el espiritu siempre.   Seriously being a missionary rocks!!!!  I am soooo glad I made this choice it is definitely for me!!!!  So my missionary journey began the moment I left you guys!  Ha.  Like I told you in my letter I wrote it was like man I should have brought some pass along cards and BOM's for the flight there!!!  It was awesome!!!  Like I said the guy totally was buyin it all.  At the beginning he was like "Mormonism" is silly and by the end he said..."huh...makes sense i guess!"  haha
The first Elder I met was on the shuttle and he was headed to Pocatello Idaho. Poor Porbresito...poor guy.  Estoy muy agradecido por mi IIamamientio misional a Espana.  I was singing missionary songs the whole way here on the shuttle cause all these little 19 year olds were terrified to be there!  Ha I said sorry Elder's you'll be sick of me but I opened them out of their shells by the time we got there.  It was fun, I love who I am.
Dorine Sheilds welcomed me as well as many others I know.  It was nice of them all.  Let me tell ya it was a great feeling hearing my name as I walked down the halls to mi dormitorio.  I felt like I was walkin down a hall of fame.  So many here that I know it's crazy!!!  Two Elder's hurried to carry my suitcases because they were like..."we want the sister with style!"  that's right I'm the sister with style!  BAM!  haha.
First day was a blast.  We have no joke the coolest district ever!!!!  Seriously I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my entire life!!!  There are 12 of us 4 sisters going to Spain (2-Malaga, 2-BARCELONA) and the Elders are all going to McAllen Texas.  Elder Rupp is our District leader and is good at it.  His companero is from Cali. Then Elder Wilson is from Vegas, his companion is Elder Marble who is a straight up farm boy hick and is HILLARIOUS without even trying or maybe is funny cause we all just make fun of him haha.  I especially make fun of him and talk farmer talk with him all the time it's great.  We sit next to each other in the class, "Elder Marble has lost his marbles!"  (haha said in a Hick accent)  Elder Boswell is also just so funny and so smart and good at Spanish.  He does this funny dance and his companion has this silly laugh we make fun of Elder Quezada.  Elder Wilcox got sick and is having problems with his stomache so pray for him and elder Bybee is just always happy as bee.  Our teacher is Brother Anderson.  He is so humble and softspoken but so funny.  Brother Jarman subs for him and is soooo enthusiastic and upbeat about teaching I love it.  He teaches just like dad.  I like him a lot.  So we feed off each other.  There is soooo much energy and spirit in our classroom it's great.  I can't tell you how nice it is to have everyone so eager to learn in the same class.  We just all crave it.  I've suprised myself at how much I know!  Everyone asks me questions and "it's all coming back to me."
My companion is Hermana Smith.  She's from Sandy and is just wonderful!  We have a lot in common.  Hermana Crowder I knew at BYU and is from Maryland and Hermana Lentedre is a law student 25 from Conneticut.  We all get along great and have an awesome zone.  All of us girls have a blast!!!
Ahhhhh so much to talk about and I have only 3 min left.  Yesterday the spirit was soooo strong as the speaker spoke with spunk and enthusiasm and motivation then had us all stand up and sing "come come ye saints."  I'm crying telling you about it cause the spirit was just so strong at the devotional.  Well P-day's are Monday.  What else....the food isn't that bad but is a hit and miss...ah so much to talk about.  We have already taught 2 lessons to this funny Chilean Miguel.  We invited him to church and didn't think he would show cause we thought it was fake but he did!!!!  we were not there but good thing he showed up late in jeans and a big gulp and the Eldres saw him!  haha so darn we would have been the rockstars if we had him at sacrament. 
Well tiempo fien...yo se que la iglesia es verdadero! 
Hermana Walker
From Cameron Aug. 1, 2011
Who is your companion right now?  Elder Gallacher. He said his mom is a missionary mom.
What is the area like?  It has a quite a bit of factories and hills.
What is your schedule like?  the same
Have you been sick since that time last year?  Just a few colds but it's all getting better
How are the Zone leaders?  awesome
How often do you have conferences?  every 3 months
How long do you have on the internet? 1 hour

Birthday wishes: I want peanut M&Ms. tie. I really like the surprises. Everyone loves the christian stickers (especially the missionaries). 

Dear family, friends, and acquaintances,

What a crazy week. It all started out on a division. One of my zone leaders went on division to help me out in my area. Elder Vargas from Porta Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. I really learned quite a bit from him. The way he works is very interesting. He gives out presents to get into house (like Liahonas DVDs) and then he leaves a short powerful message. In the end he also asks for the name of a neighbor. Then we go teach them. Teaching like this we found more people and because we found more, we had more people that are willing to listen, go to church, and progress. 

He also had this article that was really interesting. It talks about how faith can actually work these miracles in missionary work and used scriptures to back it up. Through faith, goals, prayer, and complete dedication, the miracles come. They described three levels of faith: Zero faith, faith action, and faith power. Action isn't enough. It isn't enough to just go through the motions and do it mechanically. It requires desire, belief, and determination. It also said we must learn to pray better. Pray as if it were a conversation. Ask for what we want, be specific, and tell why we want it and what we will do to get it. But ultimately we must learn to listen and adapt our goals and plans to the Lord's way. It's a good article. I'll share it with everyone after the mission. 

In the middle of the week, Elder Gallacher and I felt like we should be visiting our recent converts more and working through them to get a baptism. We went to a recent convert's house, taught her daughter, and she ended up going to church. It was incredible.

We brought five people to church: Viviane (the recent convert's daughter), Cristiana and Lidiane, Edmilson, and Marina.

Cristiana and Lidiane are friends who we found through a reference of an investigator. The miracle with them is that they went to church all by themselves. I have never witnessed on my mission an investigator going without the help of the missionaries or the members. I was so shocked and happy at the same time. 

Edmilson is a man I found with Elder Vargas who already accepted baptism. He used to drink a lot, but he is seeking for a change in his life. Luckily he found the right people to help him with this change. 

Marina is the bishop's niece. Her case is a little more complicated. We have been teaching her for a while now but she can't manage to accept the truth of it. I don't know what else she needs. I believe it is a problem with tithing. She makes very little money and doesn't quite have the faith to understand that Heavenly Father will help. We have to do our part first. 

Side note -- We saw the Google street view car here in Juiz de fora. It's that car with a camera on top and takes a ton of pictures from the street. Pretty cool.

The miracle of the Atonement - C. Scott Grow
"The Savior's atonement is available to each of us--always. We access the atonement through repentance. When we repent, the Lord allows us to put the mistakes of the past behind us"

Read all the scriptures he uses (notes 2 - 21). They are all very important.

"Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" 3 Nephi 9:13

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church which holds the restored and everlasting gospel. Following the gospel is the only way to true happiness. I know that Christ is the savior of all humanity. I really enjoyed the talk by Elder Grow because it was about the atonement. It was so simply stated in the talk, but it is of infinite value. 

Com amor,

Elder Walker
From Marissa Aug. 1, 2011
Yep it's that time again!!!!  Let me start by saying thank you to everyone who has sent letters!  It makes my day everytime!  I will try and keep up with your letters but just know that I only have little time to write everyone.  My first job is working for the Lord which is the best job ever!!!!  I think there would be a lot more happiness in this world if people applied for this job haha....but seriously being a missionary rocks! 
What a blessing it is to be here and see the work of the Lord firsthand.  We have accomplished so much as a district, but yet there is always something to do.  To me it's not hard work...the gospel is a's more of a good challenge then it is hard. It's all about your mindset. 
Our district rocks!  There is a spirit about our group that you just can't find anywhere else.  They're seriously like a bunch of Craigy's it's so fun.  When people give our Elders get a hard time from others I get in Big Sister defense mode and put them in their place. I honestly feel like other districts and zones are jealous of our district because we are so close and have sooooo much fun while we still accomplish a ton!  I can't explain it.  We just feed off of each other.  We all have so much energy, spunk, and outgoing, personality in our group.  We are the first group of missionaries ever on their new pilot program here at the MTC.  What other missionaries would learn in 3 weeks we learned in one.  Our first investigator we taught for the first week, Miguel the crazy, funny Chilean, shows up one day clean shaven, hair cut, dressed up, glasses, and speaks perfect English!  Hahahaha....come to find out it's our second teacher Brother/Hermano Nava!  I couldn't even focus that day because I was so shocked and embarassed!  haha.  It was sooooo funny!!!!  He's another one of us!  Just craZy, goofy, passionate, and upbeat!  He goes to BYU and is a film major.  Wants to be an editor/director.  He's hillarious and teaches with a lot of energy.  I love his teaching style.  Come to find out we worked at Disney together around the same time so all the Elders in the District found out I was a Disney princess and all want a signed picture it's hillarious!  So I will be needing some pictures Mommy...haha.  I already made one and gave it to Elder Boswell...he said Sleeping Beauty was his 8 year old crush it was funny.  I've also been telling that "no soap radio" joke BahHAhahaha.  It stumped all the Elders it was so funny us sisters were just dying of laughter.  Now the whole zone is telling it.  haha there must be something in the food here, either that or we're all really tired!  We get a little loopy and hyper sometimes...gotta have some fun though. 
It's fun being one of the only sisters, but I've had to offer soooo many prayers.  haha oh well more blessings!  Even all the big devotional prayers and big meetings.  All the leaders know me by my first name now I feel like.  There was a fire alarm at 2 am in the morning last Monday just in the girls dorms...what else oh ya all us Spain sisters got a letter saying our Visa's have NOT come yet so we will NOT be leaving on our departure date.  But I'm okay with that I'll be there for over a year.  I'm loving it here.  It's like we're not even in Provo just in our big missionary bubble it's great...this has been the BEST experience!!  Everyone thinking about serving a mission DO IT!!!!!  It's so worth your time!  Guys especially, but even girls!
Well I love you all!  It's amazing the more I study the gospel and the atonement I learn something new.  I LOVE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.  I am soooo happy I have this opportunity to represent my Savior and show others His love for them.  Life just makes so much sense with the fullness of the gospel I wish other people could see it, but you can't force them to listen to your message, a message of happiness, a message of peace, a message of good works, integrity, charity, the list goes on. The spirit here is so strong.  I know this is the fulness of the gospel.  The Bible and Book of Mormon teaches us that.  I know God speaks to prophets today just as he did in times of old!  God loves us and will not just all of the sudden lead us a stray if we but listen to His teachings.  Simple as having faith and acting upon it.  This church I know to be true.  Take the time to search it out.  We learn more on how to improve our behavior from the teachings of this gospel rather than just studying behavior.  I love this church, it brings me eternal joy, not just temporal joy.  Missionary work rocks my socks!
Hermana (sister) Walker

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our Two Missionaries

Marissa's mission picture

                                              Cameron with his first Mission President and wife.

We will be posting both Cameron and Marissa's missionary journeys.  We hope you enjoy following our postings.
"... go ye therefore and preach the gospel."