Thursday, October 30, 2014

I can go the distance

Queirdo familia,

I have often dreamed of a far off place, where a great warm welcome will be waiting for me...  And the crowds will cheer when they see my face, and a voice keeps saying, "Welcome home Elder Quaker!"



So for those who don't know yet, this last Thursday Ryan- I mean Elder Walker (wo ya estoy trunky?), completed his first year in the Lima Peru North Mission.  I end this year with 20 baptisms, many many friends and family here in Peru, much hard work, and hope for more hard work this next year.  No, I didn't do anything fantastical to celebrate it, besides throw a district pizza party, burn my shirt while I was still wearing it, and toilet paper the bishops house.  LOL ya except that last one.  But I did take a moment or hour or 10 to reflect on just... everything.  Basically from when I was born as a lad to the time I received my mission call, the plane ride, the MTC, and each area I've been.  One might say I was trunky.  I prefer the word super indepthly reflective thinking.

Well as I complete a year in my mission this week, I have taken a lot of time to reflect.  And looking back, I'm filled with joy.  I'm joyful that through all the pain, afflictions, and patience I've suffered, somehow in some milagro, I came out alright.  And I'm still baffled as to how I survived.  Its been a huge testimony to me just how real the Plan of Salvation really is.  How real God and His wonders are.  And that pain/temptations are temporary, but happiness is life eternal.  There's so many words I could say to describe this road mark in my life, but words aren't necessary.  I know who I am, and how I got here.  And I know who to thank for it.  I thank the Lord for His endless love.  I thank His Spirit for being my only friend when I was left desolate.  I thank Christ for his example, teachings, and wonderful Atoning sacrifice.  And for all the children of God that have been my friends/family in the road of life.  Before my mission, I always believed that I walked a lonely road, not knowing where it goes, and that it was destined to be my home.  But that's not true.  Believing you're alone is the PERFECT LIE that Satan uses against us.  But its just an illusion that fades away with time.  Turns out the whole time I thought I was walking alone, the Lord was just carrying me.  I don't need to feel alone or forgotten anymore, there's enough of that in the world.  It's time to let my light shine forth to the rest of the children of God who still wonder in the mists of darkness.  I haven't been a perfect missionary, but this last year, I'm going to restart, adapt, learn, and give it my all.  As Nephi said, "My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
 21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh...And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains (Of Peru). And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
 26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
 27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
 28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
 29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
 30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation. "(2 Nephi 4:15-35)

His words are my words.  AWAKE MY SOUL!  No longer droop in sin or depression or anger for what other think or how I may have messed up.  The past has past, but God has given us agency in that we write our own future.  The choice is yours, the future is left unwritten and we all have pens of distinct character and colors.  Lift your heads and keep writing, imagining, dreaming, and achieving!  The power is in your hands, and the possibilities are endless.

To end this epistle, Id just like to thank all of you who are reading this.  Thank you for your continuous support in all ways- whether it be prayers, letters, gifts, or even just reading this shows you haven't forgotten about me.  Thank you for being my friend.  And thank you my family for being my anchor while I'm out in the middle of the eye of the storm.  I miss you like a lion cub misses his lions den, and can't wait for the next Christmas where we can all roll up around the fireplace and tell stories.  But I'm here, and will be there in the blink of an eye.  I love you all, remember that.  I miss you all, and.........  see you in a year!!!

Con Amor como siempre vuestro,

Elder Walker
Mision Peru Lima Norte

Till I find my heroes welcome right where I belong......

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