Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bye Bye Bella Vista

Dear Familia,

This week was AMAZING! I want every week to be as good as this week. It just shows the fruits of real diligence. 

So it starting off interesting with the types of people we spoke with. First, we contacted with this lady and she wanted us to return and talk with her husband about his drinking problem. So we returned. Her husband speaks slow, like 5 seconds after we ask him a question and his eys (apprently he can see perfectly) roll back and forth in different directions. Interesting. Then one by one, the rest of their family apeared and before you know it, we´re talking with 8 people at the same time. There kids´ also have problems, one of them´s divorced with a child, another is gay and has ``different ways of worship´´, etc. Interesting family.
Another person we talked with stopped us on the side of the road infront of his house. He was drunk and has a problem with drinking (obvious), smoking, an STD, prostitutes, his family disowned him, his fiance left him, etc. But the only question he wanted to know was why is he still living. He said he was supposed to die 5 years ago but continues living. He thinks he can´t die and HE is the cure. Then apparently Carnival started because teenagers in their car drove by squirting water at us. It hit me and him right in the face. It hurt. While me and my companion calmy brushed the water off, he shouted at the them, throwing gang signs, cussing, etc. I smirked. 

We also had a conference this week. That was pretty spiritual. 

The Bella Vista branch had another activity this week. The primary had a cool activity where there were a ton of people. Also, the priesthood had an activity Saturday called ``un día en la misión.´´ We went out two by two knocking doors and visiting less actives. It was a sucess. The members have a lot more desires to share the gospel and one of them wants to go on splits with us to all the people we found that day. The fruits were definitely seen during Sunday. It was full again. 

Oh so I also have a transfer. I´m leaving to Sucre as a Zone Leader! (The president really likes our group that came into Cochabamba. It seems like all of the Elders from my group are going to be a leader, Elder Knight, Swasey. etc). Sucre is 3 hours outside of Potosi and is the one of the capitals of Bolivia (I think La Paz is the other capital). I´ve already been there twice because the conference that I had during my time in Potosi were in Sucre. So at least I know something of my area. I´ll try getting a good picture of it when I get there. My companion will be Elder Zacarias (or something like that). I heard he´s very serious, doesn´t smile, and hasn´t got along with a single companion. Sounds rough, but i´m not going to let what other people say about him form who he is. I have to remember that as you judge others, you aren´t defining them, but yourself. But it sounds like I´ll have a great time. 

-Elder Walker

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jan. 21 The invasion/ The Christ Statue

Dear Family,

Thanks for your letters. There´s not a day that goes by without something happening in or to the Walker Family. So my dad´s a TV star, nothing new. He should have his own TV drama or soap-opera haha.

You´re going to have to excuse my speling, grammer, English, etc. Mom was saying that she´s going over my emails in red pen...
Well, it´s been raining here all week long. The fog is pretty thick, you can´t see past a quarter of a mile. I actually think it´s beautiful. But I´m soaked and a bit cold. It´s alright.

So this week, we found 50 new people. Marissa and Cameron know what I´m talking about when I say new people. We usually get like 5 and the mission goal each week is 10. Right now, you might be asking yourself How. How did we do it? Well, let´s just say I cheated, or in other words I had a bright idea. We had an invasion!... of missionaries. I called up my zone, (5 companionships came) to Bella Vista to work, knock doors, etc. In fact, we only had about 3 hours in the actual invasion; but during that time, we found 38 people. That meant that we needed to re-contact everyone single one of them. We´ve been working all day everyday to that done. There´s a lot of work to be done here and a lot of baptisms coming. Yesterday, 80 came to church! That´s double than the usual. It was packed. The activites must be working or we must working or both. 

We also had our 3 month routine interviews this week. All we did was basically talk about the transfers. He didn´t even discuss obedience with me... So I´m basically (or supposedly) leaving next week and the place I´m leaving to slipped out of his mouth by accident, but I caught it. I´m not going to say anything about that for now just in case I curse it, but let´s just say that I´m really excited and happy. Happy for the next cool area and happy that Bella Vista (the area I´m leaving) is getting way better. There still is a ton of work to be done, but I´m leaving many baptisms in my companion´s hands. This week, I think I´m going to visit all the members and use your guys´advice. 

One huge thing that I learned this week and in this area is Diligence. I know, that may be hard for you guys to believe because in your minds, all you picture is lazy (but intelligent) Craig. But I´ve learned that when we work hard, we get the spirit. When we get the spirit, we touch peoples hearts. When that happens, they let us in the door, to another appointment, and then to baptism, etc. I don´t think I´ve ever started a day and got in the first door I´ve knocked. It´s always been close to the last one or when I´m tired and I say, just one more. When we use our faith and go beyond our limits, that´s when the miracles happen. 
In fact, the mission is one of the best place to learn and apply Christ-like attributes. Before my mission, I studied all the doctrine and that wasn´t a problem in the mission. The thing I wished I had studied and learned before the mission would be teaching to people´s needs, going by the spirit, and developing these attributes. Ryan, that is Chapters 6 and 10 in PMG.

Have fun,
-Elder Walker

Let´s see who can spot the temple in one of my pictures (hint, look to the right)


Jan. 14 Service and Love

Dear family,

Thanks for the letters. Mom, I sometimes don´t understand your Idaho jerga. Cameron, write more detail. Dad Ryan and Emily, write one!

Marissa - I remember you writing me about a reference that you sent from Barcalona to Cochabamba. Well, I was talking to a new Elder (his area is the main part of the city) he was telling me how it´s hard to find new people and they mostly get references, even one from Barcelona. I made him repeat that sentence again. Well, I´m not sure if this is the person you sent but is her name Maria Celeste Ibarra? If so, she already has a baptism date in a couple weeks. Write me.

So this letter, I´m going to ask for advice. I just really need some help with this area. There´s a ton of work to do and I can´t do it all. Last night, we had a good talk with a member that fed us dinner. She has a lot of faith, loves to fast and goes to the temple often, and has a stong testimony of the BoM and the church. However, she´s tired of this branch and all the other few members. She wants to attend this other church next to her house that is growing rapidly because everyone´s nice, they have activities every week, fast together, there´s a lot of young people, and there´s no hatred amongst them. Or she´ll just go 30 min to the next closest ward. She thanks us for our hard work, but thinks that it´s in vain because the members have always been like this and unless they change, this branch will never progress.

It´s very sad, but true. She´s not the first person that has told us this. I want to leave this area way stronger than I´ve found it, but it might be too late. I´m just now figuring out all of the problems that this area has had. There are almost 300 members. There was a time when more than 120 came. Now, about 40 come. Investigators are turned off because they already know how the members are and they don´t want to be like that. I don´t know what more I can do. Ideas? Serve more, love more?

I was reading the King Benjamin´s discourse. ch.4 really hit me. Sometimes we judge the people begging for something and we justify it saying that they put themselves it that position, or if they really wanted to change they could.
But aren´t we all beggers? Don´t we all rely on that same God who gave us life, food each day, our basic necesities? All of us being sinners, don´t we beg for forgiveness? Don´t judge, you´re just as bad. Love.

-Elder Walker

(with all this love, I should put a peace sign)

Jan. 7 Whether I speak by my mouth or by the internet, it is the same.

Dear familia,

Thank you for your letters. Marissa, don´t get too crazy on your first month back.

This week, we didn´t do much of the normal missionary things like preach and knock doors, instead I feel like I was just helping the rest of the missionaries in the district, including my companion.

Tuesday, we had district meeting as usual. But it wasn´t the usual. President Dyer came to my meeting (uh-oh). I has probably sweating and my district told me that I was nervous. But the president Dyer said that it was a great class. Afterwards, we had an activity with the whole brach. There was actually alot of people that showed up! We went to a beautiful park area that had 3 swimming pools with slides (it was soo tempting because it was hot out), 3 soccer fields, 2 basketball courts, 2 volleyball court, and a nice barbaque area. We made a lot of friends, gained the trust of members, and some other people that came, and had a good time. I don´t know if missionaries are supposed to have that much fun, but we did have permission from President Dyer.

Wednesday, So my companion broke his finger during soccer and volleyball and it was all purple and nasty. So we have to take a bus 1 1/2 hour to go to the city and go to the hospital. It was basically a day in the city. He also had to pick up his glasses that he left to get fixed the last monday. But it was nice to be in the city. I felt more at home. There was even a burger king that had american cheese!

Thursday, we proselyted until about 3. Then left for the hermanas´ area. You have to remember that when we go to district meetings or the other areas in the district, it takes about an hour to get there. In there area, we gave a health blessing to their investigator and helped teach the lesson. Once again, we had to travel and hour back to our area. By that time, it was time to eat dinner.

Friday was pretty normal until 4. From there we went to the other hermana´s area to do baptism interviews. But it wasn´t that normal. The normal is about 1-2 people that take 30min. I had to interview 6 people to get baptized the next day! Wow, it was exhausting. That also took the rest of our day.
Saturday and Sunday were really the only days that we got to work in our areas...

Something I learned this week has to do with the fact that no effort is wasted in missionary work. I was talking with my old companion from Potosi and he was talking with the Elders that are there now in my old area. We had some great news from the past couple months. First of all, inactives. The familia Rua went to the temple in December and in May are returning to get sealed. They say that they returned thanks to my companion and I. WOW. Another inactive, Jesus Mullo, just turned in his mission papers. Also, 5 people that my companion and I found and taught got baptized. I really defined the words in PMG, ``leave you area stronger than you found it.´´ If the whole mission did that, the people coming into the church would increase dramastically. In both of my areas, I feel like I´ve started from 0 or sometimes worse from the Elders before me. But I know that God runs this church and this work, it is his work. If he wants something done, he will do it by using us. We just have to be obedient, able, and willing to follow his will.

-Elder Walker

Dec. 31, 2012 A Fresh Start

P.S. I don´t have Marissa´s new email yet so please send it to her also.

Dear Family,

Thank you for chatting with me during Christmas (even though we went a little over time), I´m now even more pumped to share the gospel and render more service. Just to let you guys know, the next day for companionship study, we talked about activites and what we could do for this branch. It turns out that even though my companion has only been a member for a year and a half, he has a ton of ideas. In his last area, they always had activities. So we made this list with reasons why and how and presented it to the president of the branch that night (miércoles). He acepted it very well and said we had reason because they hadn´t done an activity in the branch for over a year. He presented those ideas and they discussed it with his new counselors and some other leaders (that´s probably the whole branch haha =). Then Domingo, during the priesthood and relief society hour, we talked about activites; the purpose of them, how we can do them, what we need to do, and how it accomplish´s the purpose of the church (with one of them being missionary work). It was well recieved and every was excited to do it. Tomorrow, we are actually implementing it with a pretty sweet activity.  Well, thank you for helping me and this area.

Just to let you guys know, on Friday, I hit my year mark. So I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on my one year in the mission and my plans for the next year. It´s also great because it´s new years ;).
So December 28, 2011, I entered the Provo MTC with my teacher being Hermana Jardín (now Gillon). Hi Lindsay and my first companion Elder Knight. We pretty much owned it up for the little three weeks that I was there. But those first days and weeks were the longest and seemed like an eternity. But I also learned a ton, about the mission, spanish, and just life. But it was time to move on. We then went to the CCM in Lima for 6 weeks. It was really cool being in the culture and everything, but we probably had more fun than actually learning... It was way smaller but more exciting than being in Provo. Everyone knew each other. The food was great. Some of the great opportunites was leaving the CCM to go preaching in the streets. It was hard, mostly because I didn´t understand much, but very rewarding. But after so much fun and getting fatter, it was time to get to work in the area that I belong.

In Bolivia, we spent our first 3 days in the temple´s hotel. There, we had an orientation and got our trainers. Mine was Elder Lopez from Ecuador, and then we went straight to our areas. My first one was in the city of Potosí, the oldest, coldest, and highest city in Bolivia (and second highest in the world). If I thought the rich part of Lima was a little bit of a culture shock, this was definently the extreme. My first day I threw up about 10 times. I couldn´t get anything down, even my own spit I would throw up. It was freezing cold everyday in the shade, but in the sun I got burnt so many times from the altitude. I also couldn´t understand anything for the first week and I don´t believe that they could understand me. I often asked myself what I was doing. But everyime that I got down, I was always comforted again by God, you guys, or other small things. My Spanish however did improve. I don´t remember exactly when it was, but started understanding people more and more, at least understand the concept of what they were talking about so that I could muster up at least something to say or a scripture to use. Even though with my trainer we only baptized one person (on my first week which I don´t really remember her), I still feel like I learned a ton and helped out people. Then two weeks before the end of my training, my trainer and another elder got in a fight with my Bishop (everyone says he´s the worst in the mission). They left many of the leaders in the meeting angry, without trust in us, and crying. That week was just terrrible. I can´t describe all things that happened but I will just say that my trainer and that elder left in an emergency transfer.
A week later, I got my next companion Elder Diaz from Ecuador. He was a very prideful person, but it´s because he´s had a hard life and by the grace of God, he´s on a mission (and ending this month). He wasn´t exactly the most obedient missionary either. But it was either his way or nothing. He also corrected me about everything after EVERY lesson. I mean, I was just starting here, you don´t have to be so mean and blunt all the time. But with this elder, I learned more about good teaching, speaking, behaving, and being humble. And with him, we had huge success. 7 great baptisms and many inactive people reactivated. I really saw the Lord´s hand in those last 3 months in Potosí.
Then I got my next transfer, Bella Vista, Cochabamba being a district leader with Elder Palacios from Peru. But really, It´s not in the city. I have a good view of it, but it´s an hour and a half away in the country. There are more cows, pigs, pollos, than people. How Fun! It´s actually really beautiful, like the opposite of Potosi. But there´s alot of work to be done. There´s not very many people that know about the Gospel and few active members (a billion inactive). I didn´t really know how to work in this area because they don´t really like gringos (Americans) and not very many people let us in. They also speak a different language (Quechua). It´s sweet. With Elder Palacios we had 3 baptisms (one being my new pensionista) in his last week.
Then Elder Injante from Peru came. He´s quieter and a little shy with the people, but when he gets talking, it´s by the spirit. We get along. We just need to work, work, and work in this area. We had a baptism that last week (and his marriage) and it looks like we might have some more in January, but only time will tell.
Even though I don´t have the most baptisms, I´m just proud to say that all of them are active. That´s what I really don´t want to happen with the people I´ve taught.
My goals for this next year:
I can also work harder and be more obedient.
More love for the people
Work with more authority and power
Finish strong in this last year until the end
and maybe get a 6 pack =)

Have a great 2013,
Elder Walker

Dec. 25, 2012 Feliz Birthday and happy Navidad

Feliz Navidad (sch ch ch ch) Feliz Navidad (sch ch ch ch ch) Feliz Navidad, prospero año y felizada Yahaaaaaaa
And happy birthday (bluh) to Virginia Cox.

The Deer family,

I don´t want to write much here becuase then I won´t have things to say to you tommorow. Get some questions in mind to ask me and I would like to hear your experiences as well that you guys have been having. We both know that there isn´t enough space to write everything in emails. 

So when you see me, my face might look like rotton tomato, red and peely. We did some service Wednesday. I got called the night before by my leaders to help someone move. We showed up at 7:45 in the Morning just to find out that we had to move a circus... (Los Negritos de Oro). It was a family that just recently got baptized. Well, this service project took a lot out of me. We seriously took down a circus and put the things in a truck, then drove to their next destination and took the things out of the truck. It went on for 5 hours in blistering heat. I didn´t put sunscreen because I didn´t know anything about it. So I just started my peeling yesterday... Fun. 

We had a cool Baptism. We´ve been teaching Ismael Salvatierra for a couple months now. A while ago, we put a baptismal date and a marriage date. He got Married this past Friday, his baptism Satuday, and his confirmation Sunday (I also had to give a talk yesterday). It was pretty nice. His wife is already a member since she was a little girl but very inactive. Now, they are both going to be active and great parents for their daughter. Sweet stuff.

I´ve been also thinking a little bit about prayers this week. The point of a prayer isn´t to change the will of God by asking for obscure and sometimes seemingly impossible blessings, but instead, to search for his will and follow it. As missionaries we have to rely alot on our Father in Heaven and not on our own knowledge. 

Have a great Christmas!!!

-Elder Walker

Hi-December 17-Whoa

Mom and I guess the rest of the family also,

We need a back up plan in case we are not skyping or it doesn’t work.  Do you have a telephone number?  
No, but I know your number.
Do you need more probiotics?
Do you use the mosquito net yet? 
No, i live in a house (mas o menos house)
What is the weather like now?

Can you send more of those tide to gos? I accidently spilled all the stuff inside... another story. hmm whatelse. Ties, socks (white ankle legnth), belts, fotos, AMERICAN food, are always nice. Please, don´t send me stuff that I can get here like tuna (I just got that in the package this past week). I just feel like its a waste of space, but thank you. It was delicious. I also don´t need more shirts

When you wrote about people writing letters to him, i was touched because that is the spirit of Christmas. Also mom or dad, could you please write Gabriel a bit of encouraging words. He´s feeling really down. The issue is now settled, he met with the bishop, stake president, and an area of the 70 and they all told him that he can´t go on a mission. He´s too old (26-7?). They said they don´t make exeptions. I´ll write him a little bit, but I really don´t have much time with the computer.. please help him out.

So I know you guys really won´t have time to read this at all. I´m kinda jealous that you two are in España and the rest are in Seattle. I don´t have much to report here. Just that everything´s going well. I might be in a different area (or might not) by tomorrow. They didn´t tell us the transfers last night but tonight they will. That always gets everyone´s nerves going. Because we would have to be packed by tomorrow in the afternoon, but how do we know that we´re leaving. Terrible. 

Well this week, we had a little christmas party with the Dyer´s and many Elders. I feel like Dad´s curse of directing choir is upon me. I made a pretty darn good choir if I do say so myself. 10 Elders and 2 hermanas who are in my zone with many of them who have never sung before into a decent perfomance for the little time we had to practice. Of course, I didn´t sing, but was on the piano (i made me have my own solo ;) .) 

Whatelse can I share hmm.. There are these cool bugs that started appearing in Cochabamba. They are called Waka-Waka (yes shakira was singing about them in her song.) In Quecha, waka means vaka which means cow in English. They are these giant beatle-looking creatures with shiny bronze wings. Weird and cool and the same time. hmmm, there are a lot of sister missionaries starting to come. 4 come this week and each transfer it´s supposed to Double each time until July. Not sure what that´s suppossed to mean. But the work is progressing.

Well have a good vacation and a merry christmas. We´ll talk the next monday and then tuesday to skype at 10 or 11 your time.

¡Lo mas rico desayuno que yo tenía en la misión!