Monday, July 28, 2014

Hey There (Post for July 28)

Querido familia,

Well, I feel like a jerk.  I totally forgot to write you guys and now my internet time is ending hahahaaaaaaaa.  Perdoname.

Just to keep it short n sweet Ill throw in some details of this week, esta bien? :)

This week basically consisted of three things: teaching, rain, and paperwork.  Oh and buses.  I'm so sick of buses.  I was supposed to take a days vacation to Ecuador this week for my visa.  I woke up at 5 all ready to go, cold shower, no breakfast, out the door- oh wait!  Do I bring my suit?  I call the offices- "Oh ya um, you're not going anymore.  Maybe next week."  WHAT.  Forget this I'm sleeping in.  Haha or that would have been sweet, but instead they sent me to Migrations, which is a dark cold place where you sit for hours waiting to fill out paperwork.  I went 3 or 4 times this week- cant even remember.  I took at least 25 buses this week, the normal bus ride consisting of at least an hour.  And all week it rained nonstop, which is weird because it usually never rains, just cloudy skies all day.  But the rain is super weird here.  Its literally just a mist.  Not even your average mist, like a vapory mist that suffocates you.  Its like swimming through polluted mist all day.  But I kind of enjoy it.

The highlight of my week was eating bacon and eggs and PANCAKES for the first time in forever!!!!!  I mean real pancakes, not the crap ones we tried to make last month haha.  and BACON!!  Oh sweet bacon.  My favorite investigator, Ruth, lived in America for 5 years and was a chef in Dennys.  So she invited us to some delicious bacon eggs n pancakes :).  Pictures soon to come ;) (I'm out of time:( )

Well I do actually have a spiritual message, but you'll have to stay tuned for next week. :)  But I love you all, stay strong, stay true, and most importantly- stay fresh.

Con Amor,
Elder Walker

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 21 - Excuse you?

Querido famiria,

Will you come to church with us next Sunday?  Oh, you can't?  why?  you have to walk your dog...?  Well how 'bout you walk your dog after church?  Oh you have to sweep the floor?  Well how 'bout you sweep the floor tonight so you can go to church tomorrow?  You have to take out the trash tonight?  Hey.  Lets cut the crap, and go to church tomorrow, alright?

Just kidding, I didn't say that.  But I'm not exaggerating either.  The biggest enemy of missionary work: excuses.  Ohfff.  Just saying that works gives me the chills.  I cant even tell you how many excuses I hear in a week.  Can't even.  This week I almost lost it, because I was just so tired of the excuses people make to not do simple things like attend church, read scriptures, pray, or even just listen to us.  You have to walk your dog?  Your dog can walk himself!  JUST COME TO CHURCH!!!

My companion was frustrated about it too.  But we came to the conclusion, that what we lacked was the Spirit.  You cant make anyone do anything, nor can you obligate the Spirit to give them the answer.  But when someone does feel the Spirit, they know its true, and are excited to learn more!  So at the end of the week, we began trying new strategies, such as reading scriptures when they make excuses, or talking about family and blessings.  When they recognize the blessings God has given them, they open up and desire to do more.  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

So when you cant feel the Spirit in your life, ask yourself, "Is what I'm doing allow me to feel these fruits?  Do I feel Joy yelling at my family?  Can I feel peace listening to this song?  Do I show my love for others?  Or am I just making excuses and putting it off for other things?"

Con Amor,
Elder Walker


July 14 - On the road again (week 37)

Querido familia,

The missionaries worked, and worked, and worked, and worked, and worked, and worked, and got nothing.  Haha.  My companion and I worked this week probably the hardest Ive ever worked my whole mission.  Started out great, but for some reason by the end of the week everything was falling apart.  This last Friday, not a SINGLE person let us into their house, except for our star investigator, sister Ruth.  Very frustrating when you walk and talk all day just out of love to serve people, and all they do is make excuses for another day.  Any advice from my return missionary family?  I already know the answer though.  We honestly just didn't have the Spirit.  Well at least I know I didn't.  And if ye have not the Spirit, ye shall not teach.  Name that scripture.  I don't blame myself tho, every house had a different excuse and just frustrated me more.  I guess that's why one of the missions goals is "I will love the Peruvian People".

Anyways in good news :), I love my companion!  Nobody has been more humble, loving, obedient, and willing to work with me my whole mission!  Even though we had a bad day, we still support each other and tell jokes or stories to build each other up.  I cant even explain everything, but hes awesome.

Interviews were also this week, and I feel like my mission president and I have finally connected.  My whole mission we've just always been in this awkward small talk friendship.  But after this last interview we both really got to know each other.  He told me many things, which the Spirit constraineth me to say at this time, but he also told me he might have to make me a trainer this next transfer, even though Id rather stick with my current companion.  Also because of supply and demand, I might train a white boy!  Or gringo, mejor dicho...  But its practically impossible that gringos ever train other gringos.  But ya know, I'm down for whatever.

Id love to leave you all with a spiritual thought this week.  But I'm out of time.  So... love one another. :)

Con Amor,
Elder Walker

July 7th - I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly...

Quesadilla familia,

I was a little worried all day that you guys would be sending me a million messages asking where I was and why I'm writing so late.  Nope not one.  Well, I'm sure its because there was something tragic back home so you couldn't worry about ol Elder Walker.  Ill just tell myself that.

I'm writing late because frankly, I lost my P'day haha.  I wish the offices here would give us a heads up sooner or something.  They always call us at like 11 at noche and tell us were leaving at 5 in the morning to go take care of more visa passport whatever paperwork.  That's cool.  You guys couldn't plan this a week in advance?  After 6 bus rides all I ended up doing was going to the embassy for 5 minutes to pick up 2 papers.  Woo.  The good news is that they might fly me out to Ecuador for a day to take care of my visa! :)  A missionary gets a vacation- who know?  Well, besides the paperwork part.

Well lets get to the real stuff ya?  I know you guys are dying to hear the transfer news.  Well, I'm no longer a junior cheeseburger.  I'm now a happy meal :)  Turns out the Lord does answer prays.  My trunky companion was changed to another zone, while I received my new companion, Elder Espitia.  Which is crazy because he was one of my best friends in the MTC.  Hes literally the best companion I could ask for.  He's very loving and humble.  Hes also pretty quit and lets me take charge in a lot of things, so I'm also learning a lot now too.  We both just want to work hard and have fun.  We support each other in everything and just... enjoy it!    But hes the best!  I'm looking forward to the next 5 weeks, and will definitely cry if they change one of us.

Well that's all the news for this week.  Oh and we can now leave the mission boundaries to visit museums, but that doesn't really inspire me.  So my message this week is that one of Heavenly Father´s traits is long-suffering.  Patience is a godly trait, as is long suffering; resisting the temptation to cave in while suffering.  Anyone can be patient, but who really shows the faith in the objective when things get tough?  Long suffering generally includes many sacrifices too, including our own pride and will.  But the Lord is faithful.  So if we wait for him and hold our end, he will always keep his.  D&C 82:10.  Thus I know that God answers prayers in his own time and manner.  So stay strong, and hold out to the end.  Doubt not, because in the moment ye may see not.  For ye receive no reward, until after the trial of your faith.  Perhaps faith is not faith until it has been tested?
Till next week, keep the faith!

Con Amor,
Elder Walker

The Final Countdown-June 30th

Querido familia,

Well, I survived transfers.  Easily the hardest transfer of my mission yet.  I love my area, investigators, and companion, but I'm just tired of having a trunky companion.  It's time I got someone who will work hard with me.  Nonetheless, these transfers should be interesting, as the whole mission is undergoing reorganization.  Several missionaries got transferred to other missions because their visas failed, or something like that.  And last transfers almost nobody got changed which is rare.  So many leadership positions are opening up this change and many newbies are coming in too.  So stay tuned for next week, things should get dicey. ;)

Every transfer seems to bring new challenges and lessons to learn.  I pick up a new life lesson from every change and every companion I have.  I usually have to suffer or taking a beating first which is the bad part haha, but in the end its worth it.  This transfer, the lesson I definitely learned was to overcome apprehension.  I realized that one of my biggest problems is that I'm apprehensive and sometimes insecure about my choices.  Why?  As a missionary, you cant be apprehensive.  If people ask you a question, you can't be unsure about the answer.  If someone is disobedient, you can't be apprehensive to tell them the truth.  This transfer I basically learned to open my mouth.  As my MTC instructor told me, "Whatever it is you're thinking- JUST SAY IT!!" (Luis Chavez).  Its much easier to just sit back and watch things happen, or to just not say anything to avoid confrontation.  But what we don't realize is it that we could be impeding the Lord´s will by not saying anything at all.  Truth is hard to take when you're guilty, but its the only way to get better.  What would happen if a police officer saw someone mug somebody, but didn't say anything at all?   My point is, so when you feel that burning inside your chest to say something- whatever it is you're thinking- JUST SAY IT!  It hurts a plant when you cut off the branches that have gone bad, but it allows it to grow even bigger, even better, even more beautiful.  If not, the bad branches will overcome it, and it will eventually rot away.

Our lives are the same too.  Many times we find ourselves in routines, or our lives are just moving in circles and circles.  Have you ever felt like that?  I have.  I guess its just natural for us as humans to look for complacency, things that we´re used to, are easy, and keep with us to avoid change, which would be "hard".  Or we just lose sight of where we´re going.  This is the natural man.  This is basically how Satan cheats us.  As it says in 2 Nephi 28:21, "And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell."  As humans, we need to be careful of our own lives and routines/choices.  The world will always have more to offer, so its important to recognize when we have enough.  The question we need to ask ourselves is the same from Elder Bednar´s talk: "Is the load I'm carrying providing enough spiritual traction to keep me from being stuck?"  Well I hope I quoted it right haha.  We all have a load to carry in this life.  Many people think an empty load is happiness.  Others have too much of a load and way themselves down.  Its a constant struggle, but if we balance our load right, we wont get stuck.  We should continuously look for the good and cut off the bad/old.  If we do this and find the balance in our lives, well find happiness and joy in the journey. :D

So I invite you all to make an effort this week to cut off the old things in your life, and look for new exciting things that will help you grow and be a better person.  Open your minds, and open your mouths to whatever comes your way.  And find joy in the adventure. :)

Con Amor,
Elder Walker

PS I finally learned how to say underwear in Spanish this week.  Calzon.  See?  There's always something new to learn. ;)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Missionaries walked, and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked and

BUeNoS DiaS Famalia!

Lets just get it over with, today's my 8 month anniversary woooo!!!  I'm a big boy now, wow!  Weird to think Ive already passed through 1/3 of the mission!  ONE THIRD.  That's like almost half of a pizza.

Buts that's all the news this week haha.  Oh and we had a ward talent show.  Nothing beats the Old Horizon Ward Talent shows.  All we did was watch people dance Peruvian dances, little kids run around, and the missionaries did some comedy to liven up the party.
I also ate some more weird food this week.  No surprise there.  I had anchovies for the first time in my life.  Wasn't as bad as I thought it was, and ended up eating half the bowl.  I also thought I was eating chicken for a lunch, until I bit into it and some organs and whatever gross stuff fell out.  Turns out it was the liver of some animal I don't even know the name in Spanish.  Great.  The most embarrassing part was that the Sister saw me from the other room bite into it and almost puke.  She felt bad haha, I just told her the usual Gringos aren't allowed to eat this food, mission rules.

Once again, I'm already out of time.  Sorry.  I promise a better letter for next week, which are transfers ;). My letters are getting worse every week haha.  But hey, its not about me, its about you guys!  So you guys have a great week and stay fresh!  And whatever you do, don't eat anything that looks like liver. 

Con Amor,
Elder Walker
 A little late but enjoy the pictures of pancakes, talent show and pedicure and más!