Thursday, October 24, 2013

And he arrives!

¡OLE!!!!!!!!!!  Ay que rico soy un misionero!!!
This place is flippin wierd.  All I´ve had to eat today is cereal with what <i thought was milk but turns out was yogurt that tased like nacho cheese.  And the majority of the town is in shambles and small shacks stacked on top of eachother like >Jenga..  Its actually really cool, I love it!  I feel like I´m in a zombie apocalypse.  But I need to spread the word of the Lord to the zombies.  My companion is an Elder Calhoun from the movie The Best Two Years.  He´s alway talking to himself and making weird comments.  I think he´s hilarious, unintentionally.
Sorry mom I dont have time to respond to your letters, we were only given 10 minutos. 
But guess what!  Ok.  So on the plane ride to Peru, I happened to sit next to another Elder, who I call my first companion, and this nice lady named Kathy (Kati).  I talked some español pretty easily with her and for the first 4 hours of the flight the three of us just hung out and had a fiesta.  But then she fell asleep.  Me and my companion looked at eachother and knew it was time.  We broke out Preach My Gospel and a Libro de Mormon and prepared a small lesson for her on the restoration.  When she woke up, we struck.  SHe was a goldmine!  She took it happily and talked about her faith and love for Jesus Christ, and how she never knew which Church to join.  BAM!  we got her.  She promised to read it and we left our testimonios inside.  I gave my first Book of Mormon before I was even in Peru. 
I´m out of time.  Love you guys.  Peru is sweet.  There´s no where else I´d rather be; I´m having the time of my life.
Con Amor
Elder Walker

The Last Stride

Dear Family,

''Lengthen your Stride'' is really put into action as I am now on my last transfer. My companion´s leaving (but not very far, he goes 3 min away to the area of the temple). And it looks like I´m training to finish my mission, so I don´t know who my companion´s going to be. The zone leaders weren´t even sure if I´m training. They just heard where my companion is going and Pres. Dyer forgot to say my name so they just supossed that I´m training. It will be my first time actually training someone new. With my last companion, I just finished training him. Looks like my only begotten son will kill me (in the mission of course).

I know that my companion will be great, a spiritual giant. After a while in the mission, one realizes how God works. This past week, we found many people. But they weren´t just people who we talk to in the streets and then we never see them again. We found people prepared from the Lord. I wondered, why this week? It was clear to me that God prepares people before hand and they are ready when the right person (or in this case Elder) comes along. That´s something that Ryan will figure out as he leaves. God has prepared people specifically for him, and if he´s not worthy at that moment, someone else will come along. 
Here are some of the people this week:
-to start off we had 10 investigators come to church
- Lena and her 3 kids. They are a family that have been prepared. Her husband is almost never there due to his work but he did listen to the Elders before because they have a book of mormon in their house that she makes her kids read to learn how to read. Lena was a reference from a member Rosemary Ortuño. They are both Moms who have kids who go to the same school. Lena sees a great and healthy life in Rosemary and wants the same for her life. After 3 weeks ago, she had a dream about Rosemary. It went something like this; Rosemary had a lot that was very beautiful and Lena asked her if she can get her a lot like that for her family. Rosemary said, sure. She found a beautiful lot with a house and a big garden. That was a about it. It´s obvious that her dream was related to the gospel. They all came to church Sunday and I put a baptism date for my birthday ;). Just goes to show the importance of members and that they are always showing a good example.
- Nelson Salazar. His wife and kid are members of the church. He listened to the missionaries for the last two years and has gone to church as well. He considers himself member, even though he´s not baptized. He says he´s mission revelation. Everyone talks about how they have recieved some type of revelation and he´s waiting for that. But one of his problems is that he´s only praying. If he wants to find an answer, he has to read the book of mormon, the evidence that holds it all together.
-Manuel (the blind guy) and his wife are going to get married in November (for my birthday again ;) ).
- Eularia and Diego. Mother and Son. They have several problems. She´s divorced (very ugly that included the her husband hitting her every day), she has 4 children and doesn´t make very much money. Just enough for food everyday, the monthy rent, and sometimes new clothes. Diego is 15 years old and it´s something very hard for a 15 year old to go through all that. Scars his life. They came to church and I saw them smile for the first time.

I´m still not trunky but I do catch my thoughts drifting to life after the mission, food, having fun, school, etc. I try to focus myself when that happens. But I am working even harder that ever.

I still want to hear (read) specific names who you guys are teaching or have given as a reference to the missionaries. 
-Elder Walker
eres lo maximo


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Cameron

Have a great birthday Saturday Cameroncito. Sorry we`re all going to miss it. Eu desejo que eu poderia falar português tão bom quanto você pode ... mas eu estou lendo o Livro de Mórmon em português.

Ryan, you still have 9 days, so you`ll get one more email from me. Just be obedient down there in Perú. The ``gringos´´ usually are the most obedient. Don`t be disappointed by the latino elders, instead help them. Many of them are converts are don`t have the same background that you have. Also, some Elders who have been in my mission live in your mission, Lima norte. I told them to look for an Elder don`t be surprised if someone randomly talks to you.

I played Racquetball the first time in 2 years this morning with the bishop. He whooped me 3-1, I`m a little rusty after two years, but it was a good excuse to talk to him about some things in the ward and get some exercise.

I love my area and ward. I feel like here, I can utilize all my talents. I also feel like i`m more than a missionary, an angel. I`m just now fully recognizing and using the Spirit and the power the Lord gives to missionaries. Advice for Ryan - record your setting apart or at least write it down afterwards. That setting apart is REAL. Utilize that power and authority given to you to the max. 
Also, this is one of the few wards in the mission Cochabamba that acts like a family and cares for one another, not only just a salutation on Sunday then strangers during the week. I think I finally learned how to fully gain the trust of people right off the bat and continue in that confidence. I realized what type of Elders people trust and with whom they can share their deep feelings. You`ve gotta be their friend. Joke and play with them. Smile alot and share your personal feelings or scriptures with them. Then ask them questions and of course listen as a true friend does. Be serious in serious moments. And never fake anything, it´s pretty obvious.

My companion and I usally go on splits with many members and work with the leaders wayyy better than I`ve done in my whole mission. (On a side note, I don`t really like when we go on splits because after a whole three hours or more of working, he comes back teaching only 1 or 2 people which is usually taught to little kids age 8 - 12. He likes teaching little kids but is intimidated by adults.) I really do like the change from `Missionary work´ to `The Work of Salvation´ because it puts more emphasis in everyone helping out to save lives which in turn saves us. We can`t be perfect without them and them without us. 

Even though in the streets, many people look at us weird like `what are these bums doing here´, I testify that this is the Lord`s work. I am His instrument to save and improve lives. We will all have to choose one day if we`re on the Lord`s side or not. There is no inbetween.

-Elder Walker


Monday, October 7, 2013

Not Trunky

Dear family,

Well this is weird. At the end of my mission, I`m getting more letters than ever! Looks like everyone is trying to make me trunky. Pues, It`s not going to work! I have more energies than ever and I`m doing work. Just ask my companion. hehe. 

Thank you for your prayers! Like Pres. Monson said, you can really feel them. Even when my body feels tired, I get a spiritual boost that pumps up my energies. I know it`s all the prayers around the world. Even when they prayed for the missionaries during the conference, I could feel the spirit inside of me. It was as if someone else was inside. 

About conference. I really like Uckdorf, Nelson, and Bednar`s talk! Exclamation point. Hollands` was nice for the psychology that I`ll get back into. The gospel really has the best psychology! Exclamation point. 

Just like you guys ask me questions and tell me things to write about, I would like to hear from you guys in your letters, Who are you teaching or helping come to Christ? I would like specific names and details please. Just like Elder Ballard said, every member should give AT LEAST one reference to the missionaries before Christmas, or what he meant to say, before Elder Craig Walker comes home.

We did service for Rosario, the woman who I talked about 2 letters ago who would only talk about how blue my eyes were. We used a machete for the service project. No mom, I won`t cut myself with that ``knife´´. We cut thorns, vines, palm trees, grass, but mostly espinas. And we did it all with a machete. I also brought a rake and a shovel to the service but Rosary said, ``we don`t need those, they aren`t machetes. Oh what do I know, Gringos work harder and smarter than us bolivianos.´´ jaja. We ended up using everything. During the service she kept saying things like ``I heard the mormons are really good people´´ ``I did have that dream 3 years ago when God told me it was true´´ and how much she didn`t like her church. She even said she might change, refering to our church. She`s a little crazy and needs a husband, but she`s also a child of God who is looking for the peace in this world.

We got 2 baptisms this week, Felix and Alex, the ones that I talked about from my last letter. This is probably the reason why I`m not getting trunky yet, too much work to do... I`ll send you Photos the next week. Their parents came. I think it might be a step back to activation in the church. Felix wanted his dad to baptize him, but his dad kept saying that he wasn`t worthy. He said he would have to be active in order to baptize (even though that`s not specifically true). But like I said, it`s a step towards Christ because he felt pretty bad about not baptizing his son. We`ll see progress soon.

Well my 6 pack hurts. Too much ab ripper x. Take care, love,
Elder Walker

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hard Teaching September 30, 2013

Dear Family,

Thank you for your letters - emily, thank you for your 5 letters..

This week, my teaching skills were challenged many times. Teaching is not only teaching to their needs, but also being the example of what you teach. That being said, we are always teaching.

Here are the people that made my week a challenge;

Tatiana Prado, age 45, her husband`s a member. She comes to many activites and Church a few times. We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ and tried putting a baptismal date. She`s very catholic and wouldn`t accept a date. Ok, if Christ were here teaching you, would you do what you says? Yes. How can you know what he wants or His will? Praying. So if God answers your prayer that this is true and the right path to follow will you follow it? No.
?? Why. Just accept a date and you`ll see miracles happen. It was very tense and was an hour long. It was like a bull. I had to watch every move and say the right thing or I would be dead.

Maritza Lara, 33, returned missionary and inactive in the church. She`s had a ROUGH time since she`s been back. One terrible thing that happened to her was that her mom committed suicide and people would tell her that there`s no hope, even the best of friends. She would cry until there were no more tears. It was sad. What could we teach? She wouldn`t even let me talk. Everytime I tried, she would cry or make an evil face. It was also a little scary. We gave her a priesthood blessing and left D&C 121-122 to read.

Mariabel Sabalaga, 55, daughter is member (young women`s stake pres) and her other daughter wants to get baptized but can`t get permission from Mariabel. She has a TON of doubts about the book of mormon and Josè Smith. I would try explaining or having her read but she would just say to me sharply, ``It`s not obligatory!" Then how are you supposed to find out that it`s true if you don`t read the evidence! ``I have asked many people about it and I`m fine". Uhh

Daniella Arze, 23, very religious and active in her church. Sister`s a member. She accepted a lot of things we taught her and we did it using her bible and basically convinced her. Many hard questions as well. As we finished the lesson, I invited her to pray. ``Yeah, I`ll pray, but i`m sure it`s not true!" Even if God says it is? ``I`m positive my church`s true". Way to humble yourself before God!

Ruth, 50, Laura, 29, Mother and Daughter are teachers in the Catholic Church and know the bible in and out. Her other daughter and son are members of the church. They kept making many indirects trying to bash the church. I just shrugged them off and kept my smile. I only made it to the Great Apostasy because of their many comments.

Felix Herrera 15 and Alex Herrera 12, Parents are inactives in the church. These two kids are VERY inteligent. We`ve been teaching them for a long time and I was going to drop them. Alex was ready to get baptized but wanted to do it together with his brother. Felix said he was missing "something". We read Acts 2:37-43 and talked about baptism. He said that he was afraid. 1 John 4 - God is love. v18 "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear." Ch.5 v.3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep His comandments." Boom. He accepted! Yea! Let`s see if we get a baptism this week.

-Elder Walker

Women . . . September 23

Dear family,
Elder Calderon from the presidency of the area came this week. I learned a couple things that I can apply. Trusting more in the Lord, and working more with members. That`s about it.
I learning more in my area about patience. Patience and perseverance make big problems seem small and insignificant. Everyone of our baptisms we`ve had planned have fallen. For many small reasons also like getting married, the desires, etc. We could have like 20 people. But I`m sure that happens in all areas. I`m tired of my leaders in the mission. My district leader just talks about finding new people and if we don`t find the standard of excellence for the mission, 15 new people, he gets angry at us. He mostly focuses on my companion and I. The other 2 elders in his district are his friends and are also in his ward. My zone leaders, uhh, don`t even get me started. They are the other 2 elders in my ward and are making our lives harder here. The assistents came to our house and took away our couch, microwave, and toaster (most of the other houses don`t have that stuff) and put them in their house. I understand that other missionaries don`t have those things, but what bugged me is that they put it in their house. Just hard to follow leaders that are like that.
Sorry for the negative and now for the positive :)
This woman that we are teaching is named ilsy. She`s come to church many times, but thinks that all churches are good. We taught her about the restoration and the book of Mormon and thinks that its just good also. It wasn`t until we said that it`s the only true church on the earth. That perked her attention because she`s catholic and said ´´well what about the other ones.´´ We had to teach her the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ again, she apparently didn`t understand. We taught her mostly about the authority and power of God, the priesthood. It was quite interesting. After the lesson, we gave her a health blessing because she was a little sick. The next time we came over, she talked about how she was healed quickly because of that blessing and believes even more in our words! It was cool to see how God works in people. I`m sure she had enough faith to be healed and believed even before we gave her the blessing. Miracles follow faith.
We then taught her about the plan of salvation. I don`t think I have ever taught the plan of salvation to a married woman without having them cry. In the past 3 weeks, I`ve had about 10 women cry on me over their husbands, children, mistakes they`ve made, etc. I`m sure it won`t be the last time either...
Another woman we found this week is Rosario. She came to the church Sunday night (A week ago) to pray. We just happened to be there that night. We talked to her to see what was up and also gave her a blessing of comfort. All she could do was look into our eyes and say, ``what beautiful eyes´´ ``you guys have a certain light in your eyes´´ ``you guys have no bad in your eyes´´. Yeah, i get it. It just made me laugh. We went to talk to her Wednesday. We taught her about the restoration and families. She told us of a dream she had 3 years ago. She wanted to know which church was true and in her dreams she heard the words ``the Mormon church´´. That caught me off guard. I know she has been prepared to hear this message of comfort and peace, which is what she`s looking for. I wondered why she didn`t join the church earlier but I realized that God wants us to unify the family first. Her son lives with her sister, her parents are dead and her siblings fight all the time, and her ex husband also causes troubles. Looks like we got alot of work to do.
Whatever you are, be a good one
-Elder Walker

Received on our way to Thailand, Mas Fotos

Dear family ,

Good news, for the first time in 21 months, I´m officially a legal Boliviano . I got my identification and can now also leave the country. Also received my ''carta tronki'' where it says my due date and my schedule for my last week... 

We have new people coming out from no where; good things are happening in the area. The piano lessons that I started is starting to be a success. The first week, we didn´t have anyone, the next a few more, and this last week we had about 8 come! It´s funny because we´re supposed to teach English at 7 and piano at 7:30, but it just ends up to be only piano as people arrive late (on time for Bolivia ). We had a pretty fun service project as we hiked with machetes high on a hill to get to the house and then cut down some 4 trees (There´s some photos on this email and on one more I´ll send... it won´t let me send more). It was hard but fun work. The woman was scared that the tree would fall down on her house and outside bathroom, so she put a wooden pole on the top of her nature shower. As the big tree came down, it hit the wooden pole as sent it flying in an arch-shaped manner and landed perfectly inside her window  and shattered the glass. Sometimes destiny finds us on the path we choose to prevent it. 

We found this one guy named Luis Alfredo this week. He looks like the typical punk. He has black hair shaved at both sides in this weird looking mohawk and puts it straight up. He also has a couple black piercings in his ears; they´re actually more like nails or sharp points his ears. He has acne all over his face, and looks like he just came out of doing drugs. And let me just say that I love this guy!
His dad died about 6 years ago and his mom is in Santa Cruz and sometimes España. He lives with his 3 brothers and they all look the same. I feel like I knew Luis before. He´s so fun to talk to. He goes to a church, but it doesn´t really like the preacher and thinks he´s a hypocrite because he doesn´t treat his wife and children good. I asked him if he thought he has authority from God. He doesn´t. More and more, he believes in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He just awesome and wants to know the answers to lives questions, which we have. 

I had a little red hen experience sunday. We put on a fireside representing the Missionary work. There are 4 missionaries in the ward and when we went to plan for the activity, the other 3 elders didn´t want to do it and had negative attitudes. The other companionship didn´t show and even my companion was saying no to all my ideas. They were being bums so I decided to do all other it by myself and with the ward mission leader. I´m pretty sure the other 3 elders thought it would be a failure. None of them helped me set everything up; the projector, computer, getting the videos, set up the miny activities, refreshments, etc. So the night came and none of the other elders even wanted to talk, so I had to lead and do the talking. The other companionship even showed up halfway through the fireside ! Well, it was a success. I had three clips about 7 minutes long about missionary work. I showed one, then we did a skit about knocking doors. Watched another one, then did another fun activity. Watched the last one then had a few testimonies, the wrote 3 names and their directions with whom they could share the gospel. Then the bishop gave closing words. Afterwards, everyone was congratulating me as if it were my birthday or after a piano concert. They all loved it and we received more than 20 references!  The other 3 elders got pretty mad (and jealous) that they weren´t included in the program.... Did they help me think of ideas? No. Did they help up me set everything up? No. Did they even want to be there? No. They just wanted the glory from the members. 
Well, besides that, I´m just happy the members are excited to share the gospel with their friends, which will bless the ward greatly.

Lght tomorrow with today!!

Elder Waker 
Have fun in Thailand, with mission prep, in Washington D.C, at BYU, and playing soccer. I`m going to sign off now and play some ultimate frisbee for the first time in bolivia! CHAO
-Eldercito Walker