Monday, September 23, 2013

Being A Missionary

I keep forgetting to take a picture. Sorry I don't wear my suit other than meetings any more or else I would just take it right now and send it.

Mom, an idea came to me while you were talking about the Lungs. You should ask them if they want to receive our letters to you in email. I don't mind who reads mine and I think that they would benefit from them. Dad told me that his secretary reads them and enjoys them very much (or I think Dad told me that).

Being here in Utah I see a lot of people coming to Church because of missionary farewells or homecomings that would never normally go to Church. If Ben does not mind I think that you should invite everyone you know to come to Church with you. We do that when we have talks in a ward. We run around telling everyone in the ward that we are giving talks and surprisingly, a lot show up to listen to us. So I think that everyone in our family should invite the people that they home teach and visit teach to go to Church, and Robert you should invite your friends to church and tell them that your older brother will be coming home from a mission and he will be talking and that you want them to come with you. That goes for you too Monica :)
I believe that it is a easy missionary tool that can bring people in church and give them a reason to come to church and feel the Spirit that Ben will bring him.

I still think it would be hard for me to give 3 hour trainings. I like environments where I can ask questions and get a response from the people I am teaching. I don't really like it when you are up there just talking and expect everyone just to accept the ideas you are throwing out there. Conversations are a lot easier to bring the Spirit if you ask me.

Transfers are this week. I think that one of us will be transferred. I have learned a lot from Elder Kolpakov and have enjoyed him as a companion. He told me the other day that I am the only companion that he has ever gotten along with. I hope that he has learned a thing or two from me and that it will help him. He reminds me a lot of you Ben. I like that.

Ben did you know that I look up to you a lot. I see you progressing in your letters and I love to see the difference in you. I remember the day that I got my mission call and you sent me a letter. This letter was filled with scripture references. I loved it and set a goal for myself to be able to quote as many scriptures as you do. I hope that you will keep sending me letters. I love the letters that you send.

We have been teaching this boy. He is one of the smartest young boys I have ever known. He is going to be baptized this Saturday.  I love him. You grow such a close relationship with the people you teach it is hard when you have to move on and you can't spend all day with them.

Also quick question for you. I went on an exchange and one of the elders is really lazy and I don't know how to motivate him to do anything. Before my mission I never expected missionaries to do anything bad, but I have found out that that is not true and I don't know how to motivate them. I am very blessed to be with missionary companions that want to be here and want to work. Ben I am sure that you have dealt with that and I want to ask you how you deal with it.

I think it is funny that Ben has 2 wards. It would be such a different mission if you only had one ward council to know. It would also be strange to talk to someone who has never known any LDS people.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Notes and Baptism

I have just recently read that talk. (Ed. Note: It is in this month's Ensign about GraceThe one on the Ensign is a shorter version of the original one online. I have actually have been teaching this to family at our dinner appointments. I think that it is funny that me and Ben have read this talk and then you had it given in your sacrament meeting.

This last Sunday was stake conference. We had 2 members of the 70, Elder Golden and Elder Ketch. They gave great talks. I think because of the talks I am going to change how I teach people.

So I will be brief and give part of my notes to you that I took.

Some people think that they need to be perfect and if they are not they are really disappointed in oneself. God does not want us to feel bad.
So Satan normally pushes us far away from righteousness. He makes us feel like we don't want to do anything good or things like that, but people overcome that so he ends up pushing the other way. He pushes us so far the we feel like we have to be perfect and if we are not we are failing. It is a tricky way that Satan gets us to feel bad about ourselves.
Gordon B Hinckley said "Just do the best you can." God does not expect us to be perfect here on Earth. we are supposed to make mistakes. That is why he sent a way out of all the mistakes that we would ever make.
They went a lot more into detail about this but this is just the brief version.

Next, Elder Golden talked about the Spirit of the Lord. I learned so much from this. I have completely been underestimating the power and purpose of the Holy Ghost. He first said that all people get some influence of the Holy Ghost. They can get a (teacher/testifier) this is what the Holy Ghost can do for non members.

Members get a (teacher/testifier) as well, but the difference between the two are astronomical. He then shared the example from Joseph Smith–History 74. Read this verse. What had Joseph Smith been doing all of the time before. He had done amazing things and understood so much, but after he had the Gift of the Holy Ghost so much more was open before him. When we are confirmed the Holy Ghost can do two more crucial things (sanctification/converter).

Now here is a good question fro you. Why do we go to the temple, pray, read, go to church, etc...  I have always answered this question like so. We are doing these things because they are a commandment, we will receive knowledge, we will feel better about ourselves and so on. Elder Golden said that these reasons are all correct, but the main reason is to have the Holy Ghost more in our lives. This is something that I need to study more on.

Also how often do you think you gave the Holy Ghost with you. 1/8 of the day, 1/4th of the day, 1/2 of the day. Elder Golden said they we have it the rest of our life after we receive it just at different strengths. A lot of the people believe that you have to be doing something spiritual to have the Holy Ghost with you, but when you are doing mundane tasks you don't have it with you. He told us that the only way for us to completely lose it is if you do something that can get you excommunicated. That surprised me, but made sense. We had been teaching this older man that had been excommunicated about 20 years ago. He said that he feels so lonely and he can tell he does not have the Holy Ghost. He loves it when we come over because he tells us he can feel the Holy Ghost so much more when we are there. He is literally craving the Holy Ghost. He is just not wanting to get it himself (not keeping the commitments we gave him ever) so we had to stop visiting so much. I thought that was really interesting.

Our life is a roller-coaster and some think that only at the high parts when you can really feel the Holy Ghost is the only time it is there. It is there almost all the time. We are just not always looking for it so we don't always notice it.

Sometimes we read a scripture with a nonmember and they read it and then they look at you like that have no idea what they read and they don't. I look at it and it is so simple to me and something I wonder if they are even trying. I was told that it is so much easier for me, a member of the church with the Holy Ghost, to understand the scriptures than that of someone without it.

We had a baptism this week. Yay! Brother Maltsberger finally got baptized. It was the coolest baptism I have ever been a part of. We had a brother of the ward who is about 80 and is not expected to live past this year because of the cancer he has) baptize him. Me and Elder Kolpakov helped baptism him because Bro Riggs could not even stand by himself. So I helped put Bro Maltsberger under the water and Elder Kolpakov held Bro Riggs so he would not fall in the water. It was really special. Bro Riggs has been his faithful home teacher for 10 years. He was so happy that he was able to perform the baptism. That was one of the best days in my mission.

We also have had 4 new bishops in our stake and a new stake president in the past 4 1/2 months that I have been here. That is a lot of new bishops that I have to meet.

I can't believe that Colton is 8 already. That is so cool.

Also Mom I know that money should not be the goal and he should work by faith and not his own works. He is just going to have to learn that when he is not able to make it one month and is going to have to make a decision God or Money.

I have seen a life size cardboard picture of a missionary that is out serving. They made it for a wedding of the missionaries sisters wedding so that she could stand in the line and not be left out. Now thy leave it in their living room. I think it is kinda creepy. Always just standing there smiling.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sick and Work

I think that is funny Ben that you teach that all the time. I almost always teach part member families so they at least know some of the things that we are talking about.

Question, how do you go about facing issues like reincarnation? There is this lady we are teaching and she believes in that as well as every thing else we teach. She is not willing to give up that belief. She told us that she knows it is true and she has received answers from God and psychics and other strange people like that and they told her those beliefs. The problem is that if we straight out tell her she is wrong then she will get mad at us and have us leave, but she is close to being baptized.

Right now I am sick. I can't talk at all. I have to whisper everything. Luckily my companion doesn't mind talking so he can do it.
Mom do you remember when I was sick when school started and I was frustrated because I could not ask any questions? This is like that except worse because I am the teacher and not the student any more. [I had a] blessing. I got sick about 2 days ago and I was worried because I had to give 2 talks in Sacrament meeting that day. I was blessed to be able to make it though my 2 talks and most of the night. Another blessing is that I rarely just sit there and don't say anything so this time I get to observe and see their body language and then when I want to say something I whisper really loud. It is kinda like a Russian appointment, but I can understand what they are saying.
One of the other disadvantages is that I don't want to shake people's hand so I don't get them sick as well but everyone wants to shake the "missionaries" hand. So I have to explain in a whisper that I am sick and I can't shake their hand unless they want to get sick as well.
The talks went well. I truly am getting better at them. I gave a 20 min talk when I was only supposed to give a 15 min talk. I think that is the longest I have ever stood at the pulpit at Church my whole life. The first subject was on studying the doctrine of Christ and the next topic was easy it was the Plan of Salvation so I did not even write any notes. We as missionaries get to teach that all the time so it was an easy topic. The blessing of it though is that missionaries normally teach it different then ward members because we teach it to people who know nothing about the gospel or very little. So it is easier to understand.
The main thing that is hard about talks is you don't get any response from the audience. Instead of a discussion we just talk not knowing if any of it went through at all to their heads.

We had a good week. Two weeks ago we only taught 1 lesson with a member present because we did not have any investigators to teach. This week we found 4 new investigators to teach so we will finally be teaching more people. Missionary work becomes hard when you don't have anyone you can teach.
We did a lot of tracting last week and I found my first new investigator though tracting in my whole mission. That was really cool. His name is Quince and he is 9 years old in a part member family. I always gain a great love for those I teach. I think I need to work on loving those that I don't teach (or the ones that don't love us) as well. I have got to do so much service in this area. Last week I got to lay sod (grass) for a potential investigators. They kinda set it up for a test. They told us afterwards that they came out right then because they wanted to see if we would offer to help instead of doing the lesson we had planned on doing. Of course we asked and they said that we could help. So in my white church clothes and in my dress pants we laid sod. It was hard work and afterwards we were so dirty we did not have on white shirts any more they were more of a brown color and my pants that were gray turned much more green then I thought that they could get. They washed off, but they were extremely nice to us afterwards. They love missionaries a lot more because of that experience so hopefully we will be able to transfer that to God and not us when we are able to come back over and do a lesson.
We also mowed a lawn, fixed a chicken coop, and helped one of our ward mission leaders move this really heavy couch by ourselves down this stairway. (That was way hard. We had to take so much of the couch apart to even fit it in the door. That took about 2 1/2 hours). Funny thing about that the wife started with a prayer to pray that we would be able to fit it in the door and get it down the stairs and then by the end of the 2 hours she was praying "I don't care about the couch just protect the missionaries so they don't get hurt."
I really enjoy doing charity for people.
I love you family
Elder Walker

P.S. Dad I was reading my patriarchal blessing the other day and it reminded me what a special home that I lived in and the circumstances. As a missionary we get to see the very desperate that can't even pay for food for their family and how grateful I am that I did not have to go through that. Also in Sunday School we talked about the role of family members and that also made me realiz
e how well you have followed the commandments that God gave fathers in families and I just hope I will be able to emulate you when I become a father. A mission helps you appreciate a lot of the things that we were given in life physical mental and spiritual.

Thanks Dad, keep up the good work.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teaching Lessons

Ben I have found that more people here in Utah have gardens then people in California. I find that kinda funny.

This week we had a lesson with a baptist ordained minister. That was the strangest lesson I have ever had. I am now wondering if that is all the lessons that Ben teaches. It is so different then the lessons that I have taught. We started with a song and I started to start singing with my companion playing his electric piano. He stopped singing half way through because we were sing too fast. Have you ever heard a baptist sing? It is way different then the way that we sing. Then he said the prayer which was normal. We had the lesson, I am not sure how much of it he believed. When I was giving the first vision and talking about Joseph Smith he busted up laughing at me so hard. That was strange. I have never had that happen to me. When I give the first vision I slow down and say each word clearly. When Baptists talk they get really loud and say it strangely. He was laughing at me for about 2 min straight and we were just staring at him as if to say "what did we say". Then as we said the closing prayer he was saying things like "I love you Lord" or "thank you Jesus" and this was during the prayer that my companion was saying. Very strange. I do not know very much about other religions so I don't know what to expect when I have a lesson with someone that is not a religion that I have taught before.

Also, there is a man that we are teaching. He is way fun I loving going over to his house and teaching. He is a nonmember, but lives right next to the church and has never been inside. His wife is a member less active. He now wants to be baptized, but he does not know how he is going to pay tithing. We promised him that he would be ok and would not lose his house if he was to start paying tithing. He thinks he should be able to be baptized even if he does not pay tithing right away. We told him he could not. So, he is now taking classes to become a really good stock trader so he can pay for tithing. He does not really understand how to rely on Christ. He is working on it. He is now a "dry Mormon" or active non Mormon. Last week he had a dream telling him that he was ready and has always been ready. So he now has a baptism date of September 12 and also wants to get his daughter (age 35 or something) to be baptized with him on that day as well.  We have not met her yet, but he is trying to set something up with her so we can meet her as well so she can be baptized. This is a family that I will for sure visit later in my life. I will stay in contact for a very long time with them.

Miracles do happen I see them every day. I love the things that we do for God as missionaries and I love being able to recognize the miracles that happen to us each day.

Also I think you would get a kick out of this. last week I was saying that I really still don't like giving talks. Next week, I will be giving 2 talks in 2 different wards. I think God is trying to tell me something.