Monday, December 15, 2014

Last Letter

Happy birthday Robert! you are 15 years old. when I left you were 13 still a deacon. I love you!!

Mom I want to tell you that I am so grateful that you have written me my entire mission. I am glad that I could always look forward to you writing me each Monday. 
At the beginning of my mission I set a goal that I would never miss one week of writing back to you. I am glad that I was able to accomplish my goal. Goal setting can be amazing if it really means something to you. That is one thing I learned on my mission.

This week has been one of the best weeks of my mission. I think I changed someone's mission. there was an elder who I really love and who is new to the mission. He is in my district and from Mexico. I love him so much and he trusts me a lot. He asked me to come over and give him a blessing. It was a wonderful blessing from God, but afterwards he asked to talk to me in private. He was very sincere and loving, but he was really home sick and was considering going home. We talked for about 1 hour and afterwards we called the mission president and he wanted me to go to the interview with him. So me and him went up to the mission office and talked to President Chambers. He talked to him first then I went in afterwards. President Chambers told me that he wants to be my companion, not because he said that, but because he could feel it from him. Then he told me what he found out about the situation and then asked me to find out where he should be transferred to. That is a request that I have never seen the mission president actually ask a missionary before or even ever heard of that. That was a big responsibility and I had to do it in the next few hours. So he told me to think about it and text him when I figured it out. Crazy, I love my mission. About 2 hours later after thinking and praying I had a name come into my mind and I know that was the person he should be with. It was really cool experience. He said that I was like his brother out here and he was so glad to get to know me. I am sad that I could not be with him next transfer, but the Lord knows that was not what was in store for him. It was a very unique experience for me. I love my mission. 

Also do you remember what I said about my goals last week about the main one was to put some people on date? Well yesterday, We put 4 people on date. It made me so happy. The Lord has truly blessed me. 

Also here in Utah it has not snowed very much, but I really wanted it to snow before I went home. So yesterday morning it was snowing! Prayer answered. My prayers have been answered all this week. I love it. I know God loves me and what I have done. 

I am going to go visit lots of other people today, so I don't have that much time. 

I will see you in a few days!

 Elder Walker

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Season

So the Iraq family we are not working with as much. We have passed them over to the ward. Alisha is progressing slowly. We bought a nativity set for her. Just a cheap one, but she was appreciative of the gift. She is one that I need to stay in contact when I come home. Ben and I will be driving though here soon right? I just want to keep in contact with these people on my mission.

This week has been fun. You are right about Christmas. Sometimes people are really excited to see us in the Christmas season, other times they are too busy with the Christmas season for us. We had lots of appointments this week and we had about 15 cancel, but we were still able to get 14 lessons in. that was exciting. Tonight we are going to go to Temple Square with a less active family that wants to go though the temple as a family. I hope they do it. Their names are the Hogges. 

The stake president thinks very highly of us as missionaries. He tells us that every week. He is one of those stake presidents that you can tell just loves everyone. I like him a lot. 

I had an interview with my mission president this past week (not my last one), but he gave me a lot of good advice. 
He told me to think about these 2 questions:
  1. What are the patterns learned as a missionary that I will continue after I am released?
  2. What are worthy goals that I want after my mission? 

It was an interesting conversation with my mission president. I like him a lot. If I could follow his example I would be a much better person in life. 

Our goals next week is to teach 8 investigators with a member present, 2 other lessons and 5 lessons with a recent convert or less active. We are going to try to find 3 new investigators. 
But the main goal that we are going to work on is putting someone on date to be baptized. That is the hardest struggle right now.

Also another Goal is not to think about what is next so basically focus on the work.. haha. (Something that my whole life I have been asked to make sure I know what is coming next. So it is funny that right now I am trying not to do that.) I know that missionary work will continue.

The "He is the Gift" initiative is a good thing to be doing. We share it at all of our dinner appointments so they remember why we have Christmas. Some people even tell me they have seen it on billboards in Utah. Also it was on the news. I thought that was so cool. The Church is really smart. That is what happens when you get God to run the church. 

I also did 2 exchanges this week. Once with a zone leader and another time with the elders in my district. It is fun to be able to help other missionaries learn what I have learned and also to see what they naturally do. Especially when they are new. There are some unique Ideas that they come up with. They are 100% spirit driven, because they have nothing else to really go off of. It is fun to work with them.

I will be doing one more exchange this week. I hope I can be of some help to them in their area. It is struggling a little bit. I wish I knew [when I first came out] some of the things I know now about missionary work and how to help other missionaries. I just need to focus on them, not necessarily their area. Areas change, but if I can help the missionaries change then I am sure that Elder Goins will appreciate it a lot. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Lord Really has a Hand in this Work

This week has been interesting. We had transfers this week and both of us are staying together, but basically our whole district changed. One got whitewashed and the other one companion moved into a different zone. We also have 2 new Zone leaders. It is interesting switching leaders. Each of them work a little different and want things a little bit differently to be reported. It is a good learning experience for me because I have been in their circumstances before and I know what they need. It is just a different circumstance that I am not used to. 

I have a goal of finishing the Book of Mormon before I go home and I am way too far ahead. I am reading too much each day. I am kinda sad because in about 10 days I am going to be done with it. :( I love reading the Book of Mormon. It really has taught me a lot. 

This week we had a miracle. The Lord really has a hand in this work. I love it when I speak and when I learn form what I say. This is something that I have learned that the Spirit can teach me even though I am the one speaking. Sometimes people ask us questions that I am not sure how to answer and then I open my mouth and I feel the spirit speaking to me and I just talk. Sometimes I am amazed at the things I say. Sometimes it is really bold and other time is it is not even an answer to that question, but it helps them understand.  

Last night we went into this less active return missionary's home. He is recently married to a non member and he set up an appointment with us to visit. His wife refused to sit in the same room, but sat in the room next to it and said she would listen form there. It was a little funny, but she definitely listened and sometimes she would even comment from the other room. Eventually we got onto prayer and talked to him about prayer. It was a very special moment and he prayed at the end of the lesson and he was crying and I was crying. Very spiritual lesson. He also bore his testimony on Joseph Smith. That was very cool to see how the Spirit teaches people and how if we follow it we can be blessed. 

Another thing I learned on my mission is that missionary work is hard yes but most of the works is the Spirit's. We just have to bring it in the environment and then teach what we know. The Spirit is the converter not us. I am glad for that. It is already hard enough sometimes and to know that I can rely on Him relieves a big burden from me. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"I Love my Mission"

Dear Family,

I love my mission, and that is an understatement. I have truly learned how to love the people and love those that don't like to see me. Now I still get frustrated with some people when I know that this would truly change their lives and change their attitudes towards the world, but we are all still improving. 

This week we had a baptism of Bella. She is almost 10 years old. She has been active for about 2 years. She loves the gospel, but both of her parents are not members. They came for the baptism and they also heard the message of the restoration, because we shared it while they were changing. It was a good experience with the family. 

Also we went to a ward council yesterday and I learned something really cool. The church can put together a party relatively easy. I was watching the interaction between the ward council and the bishop. It is interesting to learn about. You have about 10 people there and that represents about 200 people. so you ask them to do something and they can do it and are not afraid to ask someone else to do it if they know that are not going to be able to do it. I learned a lot in that meeting. Also learned that the bishop really likes when we report back to him quickly. It really develops trust. 

We are teaching this lady named Merlyinda. she is really nice. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she loves it. She is reading a lot and has a lot of questions about everything. She is going to be baptized on Dec 15th. She still has some things she needs to overcome, but I know that if she works at it and prays that she will be able to do it. 

We are creating a lot of dry Mormons. People that are coming to church and like church, but don't want to be baptized. It is an interesting problem that I have not had very much on my mission. They will eventually be baptized, but it will take a while. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Working like Crazy

Crazy week! Lots of things are happening. We are working like crazy.

We have found 5 more new investigators this week. Some of them are hard to work with because of their background. I think this is one of the poorer areas I have ever been in. So it is a lot easier to find but harder to help them progress. For example there is this lady we are teaching that has been through a lot in her childhood. Lots of things that have ruined her life and her perspective on life. We found her and started to teach her and the main things we are working on is helping her understand that God loves her and wants her to change. I think that is of great importance in this life. That is one thing that I love teaching and that I have a testimony in. God loves everyone no matter what has happened in their life, but he does not always love our actions. I find a lot of the time that people think that because God loves them that he will not use his judgement upon them. That is a false Idea: that God loves you so he does not care about your actions. 

It reminds me of the scripture eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die (1 Corinthians 15:32) and if we are found guilty then we will have a few stripes and he will let us unto heaven. That is not an exact quote but that idea come to me a lot when I meet these people. It is amazing how many of the prophecies that the Book of Mormon talks about are true and are coming to pass right now.  

Another cool story:

Last night we had an appointment with these girls that are 9 and 10. The 9 year old has been baptized and the 10 year old has not, but the strange part is that the parents are not members. The kids go to church every week and the parents stay at home. They are very nice, but they refused to sit in on the lessons and to participate. So we sat there and taught these 2 wonderful little girls the Restoration. They love it. The Dad in the mean time is sitting behind us playing on his iPad and listening to us. Strange. The only time that he made comments are when we were trying to schedule the baptism. We scheduled it for Nov 15th, so 2 weeks. Really fast. The parents were fine with it. Any ideas how to get the parents involved in this? I know that at least the Dad was listening in the background, so he is at least feeling the Spirit. 

We also got the best comment from the Stake President. He said to me specifically: "We are so blessed to have you here in this stake. You are really developing trust with our leaders and are teaching a lot of the people in this stake." Then he turned to my companion and said to him, ''You need to learn from this Elder (pointing to me) because if you do what this elder is doing then you will be able to help in ways that you did not know before." Afterwards he pulled me aside and told me that he and all the bishops are vary grateful that we are serving in his stake and to keep smiling! He tells me that a lot. Keep smiling. I always ask the leaders what I can do for their callings and this stake president has always told me that I need to keep smiling, because that will help the stake the most. 
I Love My Mission!

This month's training plan is all on obedience. I love this topic. It is something that we can all improve on and something that I am excited to train on in district meeting. There are a lot of scriptures and stories that are all about obedience. 

Maybe I will share the story of Robert and not listening to the coach. Punishments happen, but we must be humble to learn and to grow from those consequences rather then just becoming mad.

I hope your parents feel better and become stronger. 

I use the analogy of the gate a lot. Never quite like you put it, but as a way to tell them that this is the first step into the pathway. 2 Nephi 31. I love that chapter!

As a missionary I would be so grateful that you were sitting next to the recent convert. That is always something that is kinda scary to see when the recent convert does not sit next to anyone. Yes we use a lot of terms that don't make sense to a new member of the church. As missionaries we become a lot more aware of when the teacher or person giving a talk starts talking about things that our investigator or recent convert does not know.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I love this Gospel

Elder Goins is doing great. We have been teaching a lot and he is getting better and better at it. Companionship study is very important in all of this training and learning 

This week was a good week. We are teaching a lot of people and we are helping people come back to church as well. I love this Gospel! It is so much fun to tell people about the truth. While we were siting here emailing home we had this lady come up to us and tell us that we should Google "Joseph smith abortions." She said that we were teaching a lie and that we need to know that Joseph Smith is a lie. Every time someone tells me something like this I think of the thing that Moroni told Joseph Smith:
He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindred, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people (JS-History 1:33).
I thought it was wonderful that Moroni warned Joseph about this and all of us as well.

I gave a talk in sacrament meeting this last Sunday. Someone fell though so they asked the missionaries to help with the talk. We had to be in another ward as well so we decided to do splits and I gave a talk. It was about 20 min long. I got to talk about what ever I wanted. I liked that. So I talked about the restoration. It was fun to be able to share that with so many people. 

I am sorry it is a shorter letter today. My computer died on me 2 times and it had to restart 2 times. 

I love this work. We have lots of people in our teaching pool. 

We are teaching several less actives that are coming back to church which is exciting! I am glad that they are doing so well and have such a desire to come to church. The only problem that we are running into is that we are so busy that we can't teach them a lot each week. This stake we are in has a huge potential to grow and to even have 2 sets of missionaries in it. The members are helping us a lot and I believe that they will continue to help us. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Love Being a Missionary

This week was a good week. Three new investigators and 16 lessons that we were able to teach. It was great! Especially for whitewashing. I showed some missionaries about Robert liking the girls attention more and they laughed. Funny.

Grandpa emailed me a letter and he used crazy works that I had to look up. This is what he said:
Grandma just told me I should send this to all our currently serving missionaries so they will read the antepenultimate paragraph.  (I hope you read the penultimate and the ultimate as well.)  In fact – you can read all of it.  Love each of you very much.     Grandpa Bean.  
We went to Temple Square this week and we loved it. It is a great opportunity to go up there and to be able to see the temple and all of the work the pioneers did and the spirit that is up there. Wonderful. I love being a missionary up here. 

Riding a bike it lots of fun. We get to see the area from a different perspective. Also my companion has fallen off of his bike about 5 times kinda funny. He is never injured seriously yet. 

I love being a missionary. We get to see people change their lives and we get to be a part of it. I am so glad that I get to be in the work of salvation. We also had stake conference this week. We learned all about the temple and how important it is to go to it as much as possible. 

My companion is learning the lessons and he is going great. He is an interesting person. 

We had a good experiences this week. Things that happen that are amazing and come out of nowhere. We had an investigator that has investigated for a long time. She accepted a date yesterday after reading 3 Nephi 11-- great chapter by the way. We read it and she said she wants to be baptized and we invited her to be baptized on Nov 8th. She said yes! Yay. I love seeing people so overcome with the Spirit that they change and want to come unto Christ. That is why this work is in a way easy because all we have to to is be ready and follow the Spirit.

I have been studying about service and the importance it is in the gospel. We need to serve everyone no matter what their circumstances and the places they are in their life because God asked us to. So I make my companions bed a lot because he does not like to do it. I also do other minor things that I don't think he even knows about, but that is ok I will keep doing it and he might see and recognize the importance of serving.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Place

Brother McCall is the very first person that I ever gave a blessing to in my life. That is kinda sad that he passed away.

I met Michael Barton's cousin yesterday. He is in my stake. 

This stake is a good one and I will be fun to train my last few transfers. How did you know my companions name? Was it in the letter they send home? Elder Goins is a good elder. I like him and I will be able to teach him a lot and I will also learn some things from him as well. He comes from a rough background. He is learning and wants to learn a lot. 

We have one person on date and he is progressing. He is 9 years old. His mom is becoming active as well. 

We are teaching lots. The area has had missionaries that were not really liked by [members] very much. So sad, but they seem to like us. I feel like I have really learned how to get a stake to trust us. Or in that case anyone. I don't fully know how I do it but I think the number one thing to do is to smile. That helps so much for everyone. 

The members in this stake knows how to help us as missionaries. They are very helpful. We have 8 referrals right now and a lot of them seem really good. 

I love being a missionary and training gives me the opportunity to give my knowledge to a new missionary so he can help other missionaries. This is the first person that I have trained that will be staying in this mission because all the rest I have trained were trial missionaries. 

We are on bikes. That is fun except when it is cold and when it is dark and when you want to get from place to place. [Editor's note: ask Ben what he thinks.] The benefits for it is that we get to talk to a lot more people out on the street. That is good for Elder Goins. Just to learn how to talk to strangers.

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference Weekend

Something our mission is changing is that we are going to be finding all of the recent converts over the past 2 years and find out if they are active or not. I am so grateful for this because I know some of the people I helped to be baptized are now less active and if missionaries were still going by then they probably would still be active. There are a lot of people willing to come to church but they need a friend to help them make that step and when they make it a lot then it becomes natural and they can start to do it on their own. 

I don't know how many converts we have had in our ward back home but if you could find out I think it would be a fun activity to go around and say hi to all of those people and ask them if they want to come to church with you. it is a good FHE activity lets say a mission prep for Robert. 

This week was lots of fun. Taught quite a bit of people. Transfers are this week, Wednesday. Such an interesting time of your mission transfers. God will put you exactly where he wants you. All spirit driven. I was listening to conference and they talked about personal revelation and how all people need it. Then they gave a specific example of mission presidents. If there is one thing I learned on my mission is that our mission president definitely has that steady stream of revelation. Not just a flash of light. So wherever I go who ever is my companion it will because God wants me there. 

We are going to have a baptism this next week, Alec. He is so excited to be baptized. We had lunch there yesterday between conference and he told us that he has seen missionaries before but they knocked on his door and he was playing video Games and he said he was kinda annoyed that they distracted him from his game and now he loves this so much. Amazing to see that God has in his mind when people are ready to receive the gospel and he prepares them for it. That is what this is all about. 

I talked to this doctrine guy the other day and he was talking about God and time and how God does not really work by time like we do because he is not limited my it. He gave us this talk on it. This explained a lot to me about my time here on earth. Here it is:
D&C 130:4–7. The Relativity of Time
Several scriptures suggest that the way we perceive time on earth may not be the way time really is throughout the universe. Alma 40:8 suggests that only men measure time and that to God all time is as one day. Other scriptures suggest that all things are present before the Lord (see D&C38:2; Moses 1:6). Verses 4–7 in section 130 suggest a similar concept,namely that past, present, and future are continually before the Lord and that time is relative to the planet on which one resides. 
In the twentieth century, the field of physics began to speak about time and space in a way that may help explain these revelatory statements.Albert Einstein, in the early part of this century, developed what is known as the theory of relativity. Einstein postulated that what men had assumed were absolutes in the physical world—space, gravity, speed, motion, time—were not absolutes at all but were interrelated with each other. That is why the theory was called the theory of relativity. Physicists now agree that a person’s time reference will vary depending on his relative position in space. 
According to Einstein’s theory, if a body moves at very fast speeds (those approaching the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second), that body’s time slows down in relation to the time of a body that is on earth;and for the body in motion, space contracts or shrinks. In other words,time and space are not two separate things but are interrelated. Physicists refer to this as the space-time continuum. If an astronaut were to journey out into space at speeds approaching the speed of light, though to himself all would seem perfectly normal, to someone on earth it would appear as though his clock were ticking slower, his heart were beatings lower, his metabolism operating slower, and so on. He would actually age more slowly than would a person who remained on the earth. Though the finite mind tends to reject such concepts, Einstein’s theory suggests that reality to us is a product of our relative position in the space-time continuum. 
According to this theory, if a being achieved the speed of light, to that being all space would contract to the point that it would be “here” for him,and all time would slow down until it became “now” for him. The theory of relativity thus may suggest how, for a being of light and glory like God, all space and all time could be present. As difficult as such a concept is to understand, increasingly sophisticated experiments continue to substantiate Einstein’s theoretical description of the realities of the universe. 
Lael Woodbury, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University, talked about man’s perception of time and God’s perception of time in an address sponsored by the Church Educational System: 
“The evidence suggests that God … perceives time as we perceive space.That’s why ‘all things are before him, and all things are round about him;and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things’ [D&C 88:41]. Time, like space, is ‘continually before the Lord.’ … 
“… Right now we perceive music in time as a blind man perceives form in space—sequentially. He explores with his fingers, noting form, texture,contours, rhythms. He holds each perception in his mind, one by one,carefully adding one to the other, until he synthesizes his concept of what that space object must be like. You and I don’t do that. We perceive a space object immediately. We simply look at it, and to a certain degree we‘know it. We do [not] go through a one-by-one, sequential, additive process. We perceive that it is, and we are able to distinguish it from any other object. 
“I’m suggesting that God perceives time as instantaneously as we perceive space. For us, time is difficult. Lacking higher facility, we are as blind about time as a sightless man is about space. We perceive time in the same way that we perceive music—sequentially. We explore rhythm, pitch,amplitude, texture, theme, harmonies, parallels, and contrasts. And from our perceptions we synthesize our concept of the object or event—the musical artwork—that existed in its entirety before we began our examination of it. 
“Equally complete now is each of our lives before the Lord. We explore them sequentially because we are time-blind. But the Lord, perceiving time as space, sees us as we are, not as we are becoming. We are, for him, beings without time. We are continually before him—the totality of our psyches, personalities, bodies, choices, and behaviors.” (Continually before the Lord, Commissioner’s Lecture Series [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1974], pp. 5–6.) 
Einstein’s theory is only a theory, although it is being substantiated again and again as a valid representation of reality. How God operates through the vastness of space and the eternity of time has not been revealed in specific detail, but what information man has been given can be harmonized with what physicists are discovering about the interrelationship of space and time. 
Time is relevant to mortality.

Good study right? It took me several times to read over this to fully understand what they were saying. 

It was cool to see Ben and Monica. Question is Robert taller then Ben? If he is then I think he is taller than me too. I was looking and I think Ben is taller then me. 
Robert I miss you too, but it has been 3 years since I have seen Ben in person only 21 months since I have seen you. It is not that much farther away. I am sorry you lost your game. Beyer is a good school and was really good at football when I was there. 
I love the picture from all of the people. The Chapmans kids look so old.

Where is Robert in this picture? Just kidding. haha He is the tallest person there. He has grown a lot as well. 

I loved General conference. So 2 of our investigators were able to see it. I know one of them fell asleep a lot. haha the other one Mandy the one Ben and Monica meet she had to leave right after conference so we were not able to see if she received her answer yet. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014


We had MLC this week Mission Leadership Training. It was cool. President Chambers talks to all the sister training leaders STL and the zone leaders ZL. He shares some great insights about the scriptures and new things coming out. I love them. Before my mission I did not like meetings very much, now I love them and can't wait until the next one. 

We are teaching Alec. He is one of the coolest investigators ever. We were able to teach him about Christ and he has heard little to none about Him. he told us,"that Guy is a great Man!" We told him back, "Yes it is Jesus Christ." Then he said "O that is why every one likes him." We laughed and said yes part of the reason is that and then went on explaining the atonement. Every time we go over there he opens the Book of Mormon and wants to read it with us. He has a true love for the Book of Mormon. We have to tell him sometimes that we have a lesson about the plan of salvation and we need to teach it to you. He just does not want to do anything with us except read the book of Mormon with us. 

Today is my companion's Birthday. He is now 23 years old. 

This week we have had to fix a lot of issues with our zone. That is one thing as a zone leader that is tricky. Like you said Mom people sometimes don't like you because of the tings you have to say to them. (Like Dad or Nephi talking to his Brothers) I was reading about Nephi and building the boat today. Nephi was chastising his brothers about partying on the boat and told them to stop and then his brothers tie him up for 4 Days! That is a long time and no one could soften their hearts except the Lord. Not even Nephi's Kids.

One thing about being over so many stakes is that we are trying is to visit the ward leaders from the family wards and try to get referrals from them for young signal adults. Just a finding idea. if you have any I would love to hear them about how to find people to teach. 

Have a good week!

Love Elder Walker

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


We found a new investigator who is golden. He loves the Book of Mormon. It brings him happiness every time he picks it up and reads it. He is on date to be baptized for Oct 11th. He is excited. His name is Alec. The first time we went over at the end he said, "Is it time to pray?" We said yes and then he proceeded to say I am scared to pray, but I know that I need to pray anyways. It was a very basic prayer but you could tell that it came from the heart.

We taught 22 lessons this week. Crazy right! A normal week we would teach about 12 or something like that. We are teaching a lot of recent convert lessons and a lot of less active lessons. Something we have been instructed to do by a Seventy that visited our mission. 

I love my companion, he is a great Elder and loves the gospel. He has really changed his life to come on his mission. He has done things that I would have never dreamed of anyone doing, but he has repented and now he is wonderful. 

Our zone is a good zone too. All the other zones we had things we have had to "fix", but this zone has had none of those. I appreciate that a lot. 

Going to the temple was wonderful we got to do that on Tuesday. We saw the newest one. Every time I go I learn so many things that help me in missionary work and in my life. Interesting thing that happens all the time in the YSA stake is that about 4 times a week we get a text form a returned missionary that tells us that he wants to go out with us on splits. I have always struggled to find someone who really wants to go out with us and now there are too many that we tell them that if they have an appointment for us that we will take them. haha this is a lot different. 

So I will be going to the Saturday PM session [of General Conference] and then the priesthood session later that night. Yes, I did get to go to the temple dedication. That was really cool! I loved it and I was able to feel the spirit so strong. President Monson said in the dedication to love the temple, to appreciate the temple, and to attend the temple.  He also said that the temple is a light home that leads us to heaven. 

Elder Bednar said that when we are in the temple we are home! I thought that was cool.

Interesting thing that happened because we could not have anyone we are working with go to church that day it posed a problem. No less active members or non members were allowed to go the church that day, so what we did is just watched a sacrament meeting on TV and that counted for them to go to church. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rough Times, but Good

I am going to go to the temple today at 3 that is why I did not email yesterday. This past week was crazy. Lots of things happening. So at the beginning of last week we were praying and fasting for our investigators and kinda the opposite things happened that we did not want to happen. First off we have completely lost contact with some of our investigators. They disappeared. Sad. and then we were walking down the street and high school got out and we got 2 people to yell at us and one to throw something at us. It did not hit us but I think it was a rock. He swore at us and then not 2 min. later we got another person to yell ''devil" at us.

Then we got a call from one of our fellow-shippers for one of our investigators and she chastised us for inviting her friend to be baptized and told us that we don't have the Spirit with us and that we were not good teachers and the such. Then through all of this we have about 10 lessons cancel on us.

So we are a little disappointment this week and Sunday comes around and our only lesson with an investigator with a member present. We are working so hard to make it a good lesson during comp study and we get a call and one of our less active lessons canceled. Then we go out to our car to go to church and we start driving off the drive way and it has a completely flat tire. So we put on the spare and then while we are on the ground we got a text from our investigator saying that she is sick and she can't have the lesson and she will not be able to make it to church. :( So we are not able to. We get in our car and then realize that we only have about 40 miles left of gas and it is Sunday. We go to church. and our last investigator texted us about 2 min before church starts and said that he will try to make it to Church. He does not make it. So last week was kinda rough.

This week is going to be really good though we have already taught 4 lessons yesterday. We are going to go though the temple and we have some lessons with new investigators already set up. yay. Good things that happened last week. We had some good less active lessons and we were able to feel the spirit very well in those lessons. We were able to give 3 blessings last week and miracles came from those blessings. One was a healing blessing. He had just had surgery on his bladder. He had stones in his bladder. Little different and there had been lots of swellings and things. A week later his son should be getting married and he wanted to be there so bad. The wife was talking about who they are going to get to give him a blessing to him when she saw us talking to her neighbor. She called us over. We gave him a blessing and we saw him a few days later and he was up and walking and she said to us that 1 hour after the blessing he was fine. A little weak but fine. Really cool to see that.

Then the other blessing we gave were for someone the sisters were teaching. Her car broke down and she had no way of getting her kids to church and her parents left her because she came back to the church. (she was less active) She was very scared because she had no way of getting to work or anything. We gave her a blessing and then next day her car was just fine. God loves his children a lot. We are so blessed to have the priesthood in this restored church. The power to act in Christ's name. crazy right? Sometimes I think we forget what we have.

I don't mean to complain about the work. It has its ups and downs. Yesterday we taught a girl named Falisha. She is a wonderful person and we knocked on her door Sunday night and asked if we could have a lesson with her on Monday. She is a little shy. So the next day we have a lesson and turns out that yesterday she said she was very close to committing suicide because of her depression. She is going to go to a hospital in about a week. But the lesson we had was one of the most powerful I have had in a long time. Totally by the Spirit. We talked about the Atonement and Christ and how he can help you. That is when she told us about committing suicide. (We happened to be at the bishop's house at that time as well)  She was crying and of course Elder Walker was crying. haha

As missionaries we are God's servants and he leads us where he wants us to go so that is why we were lead to that house at that time. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

I know who I am

This week was interesting. Lots of things happened. We had several of our investigators text us and tell us that they don't want to meet anymore and they don't want to learn anymore. Normally when things like this happen I am disappointed, but I was reading in Preach my Gospel and it said that disappointment will decrease my faith and desire. So I decided to look at it in another way. The way I chose to look at it is that God knew that they would stop investigating the church and He knew that his missionaries would not be to happy about it. So a question arises from all of this. Why did we even start teaching them and seeing them progress only to see them leave what we were teaching them or to have trials that they are trying to over come to stop their progression?

I believe that things like this occur, because if they did not then we would not know how to deal with it in the world outside of an "Elders life." So I chose to look at it that God will take care of these people and he will have them remember what we have taught them and eventually they will have another chance to accept it and now they will know exactly what is expected of them in the Church of Jesus Christ.

I fasted for a miracle yesterday so that I would know that I was on the right path and that God would show me in something that happened in that day. At about 2:30 we get a phone call from a Mom who has a less active son in our area and she really wants him to become active. We had been trying to contact this individual for several days and we saw their Dad outside doing yard work and we stopped by and asked if we could help. He lives in Draper and was just down there taking care of the property. We talked to him a little. (He refused to let us do any of the yard work) and he told us about his son and then we gave our phone number to him, and told him to call if we could help with anything. So back to the phone call at 2:30 on Sunday the Mom called and was so grateful that the YSA missionaries were trying to see her son and then she asked for the bishop's phone number and the ward information. That was the answer to my fasting that day. God showed me that even in small things I can bless people all around even if it is not in a baptism, but simply to calm a Mother's heart and know that someone cares for her son.

By the way Mom I have had too many companions that have not been focused at the end of their mission and I have seen what it does to the area and the companion. So I will not be doing that. Talking about home does not distract me.

The Church of Jesus Christ by Janice Kapp Perry
I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (That is who I am "true blue though and though")
I know who I am. (Elder Walker)
I know God's plan. (Lesson 2 in Preach My Gospel)
I'll follow him in faith. (This has to do with the next phrase)
I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. (First principle in the Gospel of Jesus Christ)
I'll honor his name. (keep my baptism convents)
I'll do what is right; (Keep the commandments)
I'll follow his light. (it is much easier to follow a light then the dark)
His truth I will proclaim. ( I am a missionary!!!)
(This is the song that came into my head when I started writing that sentence.)
(The things after each phrase is the first thing that came to my mind as I read each phrase)
I do know who I am. I know what I am doing right now and I want you to know this as well. 
I do appreciate your concern. Some missionaries it does effect, so I am not trying to say that I don't appreciate it. Just realize that I am working hard and I now know how to be a better missionary than I ever had on my whole mission. I know how to rely on the Spirit and how to rely on God. That is what I will do as my mission comes closer to the end. I get reminded everyday by members that I only have a few months left so I have had to find someway to deal with it. haha

Being a zone leader is a lot easier (and fun) when missionaries are doing what they are meant to do. Then you are just a guide and friend. When a missionary doesn't follow the white handbook that is when being a zone leader becomes hard. I think about that when it comes to any leadership position in the church. Bishop, Elders Quorum president, Ward mission leader... the blessing is that no matter what is going on the Lord is sustaining you! Plus the whole ward has sustained you as well.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

YSA Stake

I cover the young signal adults wards. They just split the stake so I am now over about 15 other stakes. I cover one of the largest areas in the mission. Our last stake got white washed. [White washed: both missionaries are transferred out and two new missionaries to the area are transferred in]. Kinda sad we were having lots of success there and now it is kinda dull. Well the Lord knows what is going on. My companion is great. Elder Small from the Bua Island of Fiji. He is a great elder that made lots of changes to be able to be out here on his mission. I love him. We switched zones. Kinda sad as well, but cool news is that I am now over one of my old areas. So I know one part of my area really well. Jordan Oaks.

The YSA is a different mission. You have people your own age that you are teaching and working with. A lot different then what I am used to. We are having success here though. We have 3 people on date to be baptized on the 20th of September. Yay! One has a crazy story. So 2 weeks ago one of our investigators named Tee did not even believe in God and now he said he was praying one night because he wanted a change and he took a walk and was praying to God. And the heavens opened up and he said he felt it embrace him and at that time he knew there was a God. So he did research online. (Never a good thing especially about the Mormon church) and then he asked one of his coworkers that he did not know very [well] and asked him what religion he was. Well God works in mysterious ways. He was Mormon and told him about the church and just so happened to have a Book of Mormon on him and gave it to him. Then the family elders knock on his door 5 days latter, and then we as YSA get a referral from the family elders telling us to go over there and teach. Great lesson. He already knew all about Joseph Smith and he told us he felt like cheating because he already knew all of what we were telling him. Golden! but we ask him for referrals and he later asks his brother if he wants to meet with us and then he gets this nasty 8 page text from him telling him about how we are not Christians and how those Mormons are liars and the such. It made him really sad to see his brother act that way so we had to have the lesson at his now fellowship's house. Lesson went well and we talked about some of the anti stuff his brother gave him and he told us that he had already done his research on all of it and he knows that this church is true. So this Sunday he was trying to go to church and his brother was waiting for him down stairs and he was scared to go down there so he had is sister distract him while he crawled out the window and got in his car and drove off. Then we meet him at church and he is scared because he thinks he is late (he was about 15 min early), but he wanted to prepare him self. Way cool guy! He is in 2nd Nephi and he has gone to the Ogden Temple open house. He loves the temple and when he was waking around (again with his fellowship) he said he felt like he was in a museum where you were not allowed to touch anything but he wanted to touch everything. Funny he saw a drinking fountain and he asked his fellowship if it was ok to drink out if it because it looked so beautiful. He is a funny guy. Then in gospel principle class they were talking about spiritual gifts and about getting them. Now interesting thing is that he was sitting next to us and sharing all of his insights with us, because he was too shy to raise his hand. He is not a very social person.

The best thing about the YSA is that everyone is the best fellowship ever, half of them are all recently returned missionaries and so they know exactly how to help us.

Funny thing about the YSA is that you have a lot of less actives that want to come because they want to find someone to date. Like I said earlier. A little different environment. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Live by the SMA (Standard Mormon Answer)

There was a sign on a church here in Utah called the Rock Church. (Can you guess what they do there? Yep you guessed it. They listen to rock music about Christ). It said "Do you want to worship God without Religion?" It does not make sense, but I understand why we need to have a structure of Christ's church. We need to be shown what to do. We need to be kept in unity by being lead by a prophet. 

Funny story that happened this week. So I went on exchanges with another Elder and I went to his area and we knocked this door of this 17 year old who said he is going to be a pastor, but we started talking about how we have a living day prophet today and then he said, "So do we, we have the Pope and others who believe in Christ and are prophets." But the funny part is how he then decided that we were prophets and started calling us prophets instead of missionaries. 
He does not go to any set church, so I don't know how he is going to be a pastor if he does not even go to church. I guess that he has it all figured out though. 

Have you ever heard of SMA (standard Mormon answer) like the Atonement, church, or pray? There are some other ones, but I don't think we realize that if we would just follow what we say is the standard Mormon answer then we would be able to return to God. That is why it is a common answer. God repeats things a lot in the scriptures, but he said it in different ways. 

I had a general authority come up to me once and tell me what his mission president told him once. he said " If you read your Book of Mormon every day you will go to the Celestial Kingdom!" When he said that at first I was confused. It tells us we need to have a lot more in our life then just reading the Book of Mormon, so how can I go to the Celestial Kingdom by just reading the scriptures? Well if I am reading the scriptures I will start to do the other things I need to. Like go to church take the Sacrament, share the gospel and all of the other things it tells us we need to do in the scriptures.

Another thing I learned from a general authority. 
He asked all the stake presidents in our mission some questions. Do you have a planner? They all said yes and raised their phones. Then he asked how many of you set goals every day? 2 stake presidents raised there hands. 
He then goes on to tell us how he chastised them for not setting daily goals to have something to accomplish every day. 
He then proceeds to tell us after this story that we need to always set goals every day and the things in your day should be focused towards those goals. Especially after our missions. 
It talks about how to set goals in chapter 8 of PMG. Elder Clark, the general authority, told us that if we master chapter 8 we will triple our income in our life. It was written by experts that train CEOs and then the general authorities added the spiritual side to it. I thought that was so cool.

We had a baptism this week his name is Lamas, Fabio Alexandre Oliveira. He is a good kid. Age 17 and is actually from London and going back there on the 30th of Aug. He wants to serve a mission. That is so cool to see him change. He was baptized within 2 weeks of us meeting him. People are being prepared.

So this week we have lost several of the investigators we were teaching. 2 of them are moving out of our ward, and 3 others have gone back to Michigan to check on family or something. (Don't know the full reason why.) So we have more time to find new investigators now. If anyone wants to know what missionary life is it is all about ups and downs in the work. You can have 10 investigators in one day and the next only 4, but that is ok because we were able to help them feel the spirit and they will all get baptized, it is just a matter of when and where.

At the beginning of my mission, I used to have "My Baptisms", but I realize that I was just a very little part in their conversion, I brought the Spirit which did the converting and brought the feeling to their heart, I also am not the main reason that they started to investigate the church. That is because of the example that other members of our church gave, so realistically I have such a small part to play in their conversion and my job was easy compared to all the rest of it. we are just the harvesters. I now realized that these people that I help are God's investigators and God's Baptisms. So when I try my hardest and I know that I did and things don't go the way I expect them to that is because this is not my work, it is God's. He understands where they are going and what is happening to all of them. It makes discouragement gone. Plus it also helps in Pride. haha We can remember that for anything. This is God's world so the earthquake that happened in CA is not our fault, but God's and He knew that was going to happen and who was going to die and who was going to lose their home. Everything is God's plan. It is all apart of it, so of what do we have to fear? Jesus said "Fear not, believe only" (Luke 8:50).
We must fear not, that does not help us but belief does beyond what we can imagine, this is how we come close to God. Only believe and miracles will happen.

Transfers are this week on Wednesday. They come once again. haha.
I have learned that transfers is a very God driven thing. You are put with another missionary from revelation from God, or kept where you are. The people that are there in your area where you are assigned need to feel of your spirit and your testimony that are in that area where you serve. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Working Hard

I like that about the 100% and 100% in a companionship. We have actually talked about that because it is important that you are both working your hardest.
That is actually an issue in missionary life because we have junior and senior companions, but they both need to work side by side to see and equally as hard. The main difference would be because the senior companion is in charge of making decisions when there are two different opinions. 

So we had a baptism this week. Yay! We are going to have 3 more in the next week and should have 3 more in the following week as well. Also all of those baptisms are not solid but they are all working for it.

We had Elder Clark of the Seventy come to our mission this week. That was really cool! Our mission president is very humble and willing to change. Sometimes we as leaders or people think that the way we have done things is the best way. But Elder Clark came in and told us we are doing a lot of things wrong and our mission president at the end just said, "O.K. I know we have done it this way, but we are going to change it once again." Really cool to see him willing to change at the drop of a hat.

Elder Hammond performed the baptism this last weekend. It went really well. Lots of miracles are happening. We went over the baptism interview questions with her and she told us on Monday night that she thought tithing was only for those that could afford it. So she said she could not pay it. We taught the principle of faith, but she was not understanding. She was really scared about not being able to be baptized. She had invited a lot of people to it and the program was already made. We were thinking about it and we thought it was a good thing because she needed to know that she needs to rely on God more. She never really gave up that much and everything was really easy. So we committed her to pray about it and the next night we get a call from her and she said that she prayed about it and she said yes I am willing to pay tithing!!! Miracles every day in the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission! We were really happy for her.

We are also teaching a kid from London that is going to be baptized this Saturday. He is excited and will be the only member in his family.

Another miracle, we were going to this person's house in the apartments and she was not home so we were driving off and we saw this lady that was really struggling carrying up water to her apartment (it was on the third floor) so we pulled over and helped her take up the water and afterwards she asked us who we were. We told her missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She asked if we had headquarters of our church in the Vatican. We told her no and then she proceeds to ask us lots of questions, one of them was, "Do you know anything about these Mormons that live here?" We then told her that we were Mormons. She looked confused so we explained the Book of Mormon and then gave her a copy and taught the restoration in 2 minutes. So not really a lesson, but she was interested. She told us that she was from the Philippines and had moved to Nevada and the people were not very nice, but she had lived here in Utah for about 1 month and she thought this was the nicest place on Earth. We have not been able to go back yet, but she is a person that God has prepared and brought here to Utah so she can become LDS. I believe that happens a lot. Right now we are teaching someone from Japan and London and soon a Philippine.

I have also baptized 2 people from South Korea. The Lord prepares those people and then brings them to Utah to be able to come in contact with the church.

I am doing fantastic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Love Mission Life!

This week was very interesting. For example, last night we get a call from one of the district leaders in our zone that is supposed to report numbers on Sunday night. That means they need to call each companionship to get their numbers. This district leader could not get a hold of one of the companionships and it was about 9:35 at night. We are supposed to be home at 9:30 at the latest. so naturally we are a little worried and we tell the district leader that we will take care of it. We drive to the missionaries' house and look for them there. They are not home. We talk to the landlady and she said that they are always home by 9:30 -- by this time it is about 10:00 at night. We are supposed to report numbers to the APs at this time so we tell them that we have an issue with a companionship and we are trying to resolve it. We are sitting here in their house and waiting and waiting. This is not normal for this companionship. They are great missionaries. So we try calling them again and again. We talk and decide if it gets to be 10:30 we are going to call the mission president. At about 10:25 they come in. Now I want you to remember that missionaries normally really respect their leaders and the rules and when they saw our car outside they must have known how serious the issue was. (We are out of our apartment at the time that we are normally supposed to be in bed.) We sit down and talk to them and the first thing they say is "We are sorry, we know this is unacceptable to do this." (We are thinking yes we know that, but what were you doing?)  The senior companion is actually training so the trainee really does not understand yet what is happening. Very interesting how the senior companion took full responsibility and the junior companion did not fully understand why he was doing that. (This showed me that they really do love each other.) We get their numbers from them and they look so scared. 
I have never really been in a situation where I am the leader and am expected to correct behavior like this and also to have them so willing to do anything we ask of them. They told us the reason they were out so late (They got caught talking to lots of people and they left their phone in the suit jacket inside so they could not hear it. They also did not realize what time it was until they looked and noticed how dark it was.)

They were looking for a punishment and I did not really want to give them a punishment at all. I was just glad that everything was alright. We had no way of contacting them and no way of making sure they were ok. We asked them if they will do it again and they said no. We told them that we were not going to punish them. (Part of the reason is because they already realize how bad it was.) We then tell them good news that we have 2 of our investigators moving into their area and are getting baptized on Aug 23rd. We then leave with a prayer and a hug and tell them we are glad they are safe and that they know not to do this again.

The amazing part is the whole situation could have been completely different if they came in with a whole list of excuses and reasons why they were right, but they did not and it ended up being a good learning opportunity for them. They realized that us as their leaders don't want to punish them, especially when it was a mistake. They just learned that we love them and care for them.

I am glad that I get to be in this leadership responsibility because I get to show my love of missionaries so much more than in any other situations. 

Other good story.
We had an amazing lesson with one of our investigator families. This was Monday night and we were going to eat dinner at their house but before that we get a text from the Dad and he tells us of his favorite scripture from the reading assignment we gave him. It was Alma 7:14. Read that verse. It is a good one that is talking about baptism. Then we run into the mom and son at Walmart. We just talk a little bit about stuff.

So when we went over to their house they start dinner and we have a plan to watch Elder Holland's talk "Lord I Believe." Before we start dinner the Mom asks her son, "Would you tell the missionaries what you told me at the store after they left" (little background information the boy is a little autistic so he does not talk very much when we come over). The boy said, "Ever since you started coming over to my house I feel God and Jesus in my life more then I ever had." That was so cool! So we have dinner and after we watch the talk. We ask them what they feel. They say, "He really knows what he is talking about, a very firm conviction that he has about Christ and this church." We say yes he does and he is an apostle. One to bear testimony of the truth. We ask them what they feel. Answer: "Happy and peaceful." They then ask some questions about church and such. We then ask them to be baptized and they look at us and all of them said yes! They are so excited to join this church. The Spirit was so strong there you could touch it. I was crying a lot, and they were tearing up as well. Even Elder Hammond, who I have never seen cry was starting to. Such a spirit driven lesson. One of the best on my mission.

I love being a missionary. So many things happen each day. I love it. 

We have 10 people on date for baptism. The most I have ever had on my whole mission. They are not all solid, but all of them want to work towards being baptized. Yay! I love mission life. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mission Leadership Training, Zone Conference

[Elder J. Walker became an uncle over the weekend to a nephew Charles born on August 1, 2014 at 5:41 PM].

When Charles was born I was eating pizza at a member's house. Haha. I am glad he is so healthy. That is really good. The baby looks really cute. It will be strange to come back home and find a new member of our family.

This week has been full of miracles all over. We had 5 investigators come to church. and we have about 4 people on date to be baptized. Exciting! This area is on fire. Lots of work is happening and I love it all. We had MLC this week, That is mission leadership training. It was really neat to be able to be in a council with all of the other zone leaders and the sister training leaders. Something I learned is that the work of the Lord is hastening, but it is not because we are doing anything differently, but because God decided to make it go faster. He compared it to this analogy: 
When you are young your Dad takes you for a walk in the city and it is your first time. As a child you see things that are unfamiliar and it is loud with city life all around you. You walk really close to your dad and hold his hand as you see this unfamiliar world, but then after a few weeks of this the child gets used to the path and lets go of his father's hand and does not stay as close to his father, but then the father takes him on a different route and a different part of the city. He also has quickened his pace so the child has to walk a lot quicker. Now what we need to do is to hold onto the father's hand and not to let go. 
This is like today. God is changing how he does missionary work and some people don't like that. They tell him, "We have done missionary work like this for years and I am not wanting to change" (I get this a lot for members, "We think you are too pushy to ask in the first lesson for them to be baptized, we never did that on my mission"). They are not holding onto the father's hand and if we do not, we will be left behind. This is what our mission president told us. the work is going to speed up. and the Lord is preparing the way with PMG, Younger missionaries, more missionaries, Facebook, . . . the work is going faster and faster.

We had a baptism this week. Toni, she is 10 years old and I was able to confirm her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That was a special experience for us. I love this work. There are so many people that are just waiting for the gospel in their lives. God is preparing a lot of people out there. I have a lot of faith in that. There are people in all of the world that are craving the gospel and the peace that comes from it and all we have to do is to follow the Spirit and find them. The Spirit knows exactly where we should be and what we should be doing all the time and if we listen to the voice and our feelings that we get from God then we will be led to those people out there. 

My companion is great. One of the best! He is a hard worker and understands how to follow Christ. Good example to us all. 

We also had a zone conference. Those are always fun. They are from 9am to 4pm. We get so many revelations in those meetings from the spirit.
I am excited to see you at our upcoming zone conferences. In preparation for our learning together, will each of you please read and ponder the following scriptures? Specifically, pay attention to what these verses teach us about the worth of a human soul. Come prepared to discuss your insights.
Genesis 1:27
John 3:16-17
Hebrews 12:2
Mosiah 28:3-4
D&C 18:10-13
Moses 1:38
Read those verses. We read them and then talked about them at zone conference. They are really good. Just think about it. God created this world for us so we are worth more then the whole world. That includes everything on it. God's purpose is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life for man." His whole purpose is for us to become like him. Jesus Christ suffered just for us. He did not have to do that. He had agency just like the rest of us, but because He loved us all, He chose to. That is incredible and I need to see that worth in every person.  

We had a guy the other day and he was putting boxes into his car and we went over and asked if we could help. He said no. Then we told him what we do as missionaries and he said he was not interested and started to walk away from us. Than Elder Hammond said when can we come by. He looked at us and said without even thinking about it, "2nd week past never" and walked away. Elder Hammond then yells back, "OK we will come by at that time." 
Kinda Funny.

Also a lot of people ask me if my mom is on Missionary Moms on Facebook. I tell them I don't know, but apparently it is a group where people post pictures of missionaries when they see them so there mom can see their sons or daughters that are serving missions more. At least that is what they made me think. Check it out, maybe there will be pictures of me. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

New Area, New People, New Experiences

A cool tree that we found in my area. 
I got a letter from one of my recent converts. Her name is Kelsie and she is really learning much more about the gospel. This is what she wrote:
So we met the new elders and one of them said he knows you and that you are a great guy. The other Elder has only been out for a week and a half and all he talked about was his girlfriend haha. So I have a talk in sacrament today on my conversion story, and it's kinda funny, because while I was waiting to talk during passing the sacrament I felt like I was going to pass out. And everybody told me that I didn't look nervous at all and was a natural up there. I decided to not write down a talk and just let the spirit tell me the things that I should say. Which made me nervous and I couldn't sleep or eat breakfast haha. But it was a really cool experience. I cried a lot during my talk, so did a lot of other people. The interesting thing I noticed is that during my talk there was this still peaceful silence. There was no kids being loud and all eyes were on me. And during everybody else's talk people were moving around a little and kids were screaming haha. Also during Sunday school there was only 3 of us and about five minutes into class this guy that I had never seen walks in and asks if he could join us. After we all introduced ourselves he told us that his name I think it was Elder Doxie, then I was told later by the stake presidency that he told them he was impressed with me. I don't know what I did or said but he said that. Sorry this is kinda long and you probably don't have a lot of time to read this or answer but I just wanted to let you know how much I'm improving and it's largely do to your help :)
So thank you Elder Walker. You are a great example to me.
Sincerely, Kelsie 
I thought this was so cool. I love hearing about the change that I was able to participate in God's children. Also turns out that her less active grandpa lives here in our stake - actually about 5 houses away from where we live. I don't think that is a coincidence. I believe the picture you got of me was of my current companion because we have not gone on splits this transfer yet. This area is so cool. We have 3 people on date for baptism and they are all progressing really well. 2 of them are 9 and the other is about 35ish. She is a really cool lady. 

My last district
We are finding like crazy over here on the west side of the valley. In Draper is is harder to find people but when you find them they are normally a little more solid. Here you are able to find a lot, but they are normally not as solid. Our mission can on average baptize about 1 person in 5 new investigators. That is one of the best averages in the world. That is manly due to the member support. So if you want the people that you find to be baptized you need to get the members involved.

Being a zone leader is a lot of work, but the work is by far worth it. You get to serve other missionaries and love them so much. We have had lots of interesting things happen already. We are also in a lot more contact with President Chambers because we report directly to him.

My last zone
We gave talks again this week. So in the past 2 months I have given 6 talks. That is a lot. people really like to hear from missionaries out here. I think it is because it is a little bit different than normal. So it adds an excitement. 

Question for Dad, being the first counselor in the bishopric how do you think missionaries can help strengthen the ward the most? Also how do you think that as a bishopric that you can help the missionaries the best? I have been wondering what a bishopric's perspective is, because I am on the other side of things right now.

Also I have been told to tell you that I will be coming home before Christmas. they moved the transfer so my last transfer will only be 4 weeks long. :( How sad, but I want you to know this so you can plan accordingly. So I will be released from the mission on 17th of December.

We had 3 investigators come to church. One of them will be baptized this Wednesday, and the other 2 will be baptized sometime this month. The work is going really well in this stake and I love being a part of it.
I just took of my companion while I was sitting here because I wanted you to know what he looked like. He is one of the best companions I have ever had. He loves everyone and we laugh all the time with each other. He is a great trainer (he is a trainer because he is training me how to be a zone leader)
We are eating a lot of breakfast food. Elder Hammond loves it and he has been here for 6 months so the whole stake knows that he loves it. Funny! I like it as well. It is a lot different than what we normally get. This week was Pioneer Day and we had burgers a lot this week as well so this week was a combination of burgers and pancakes for dinner every dinner appointment we had. 

Also happy birthday Dad and BJ! Have a good one. 
Saying good by at the river view stake

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Zone Leader & New Area

This week has been crazy. They whitewashed my last stake and they told me that about 6pm and I had to leave around 10 AM in the morning. Also Elder Garver went home (he got his mission call to Alaska) so I had to stay with the zone leaders because I did not have a companion any more. So no time to pack or say good buy to anyone, ok I did get the opportunity to say good by but not to as many as I would have liked to.

This new area that we are in is a great area. We are going to do well here. I like our zone as well. My companion is the first companion that has been younger then me in age. All the rest have been older then me. Crazy. He has been a zone leader a long time and is training me how to be a good zone leader. His name is Elder Hammond. Great guy. The past 6 weeks I have been training so it was a little bit harder in lessons, now it is much easier because he can teach on the spot with out having to go though each point multiple times during comp study so he knows what is happening.

Another big difference is that I am now junior companion. I am not used to that. It is good and bad. I can rely on him to make the final call on things to know if that is the best judgement. He has been out for about 16 months and is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I asked him if he knew Ryan Burnham and he did not, but it was worth a try.

We gave 2 talks this week in church. I have decided I can't do talks very well any more. Let me explain. I can give talks on things I know about like missionary work or any of the lessons we teach, but when it comes to topics that I don't know very many things about I struggle. This week I have to give talk talk on family history. I am not very good at talking on family history so I changed it a lot to missionary work and got though it, but there is still a good appointment of work I can do. My companion gave a great talk. I did not have to be the last speaker, which is a lot different because for the past 9 months I have always been the last speaker or at least after my companion. It was still a good talk, just not a great one. That was also probably due to the fact that I was sick, but that is a little thing. We are teaching several people and they are coming along. I  really like this calling, because I get to help lots more people then I did before, which is also a hard thing because we are not in our area as much as we normally would be, but the Lord will bless us. 

Something that our mission is trying to do is to give a lot more of the responsibility onto the district leaders. We have a big meeting about how to do that. Eventually it needs to get down to the senior companion and have him bear responsibility about the area. This is the same with bishops. They try to delegate things to the elders quorum president then from there to the home teachers and from there to the family to the fathers and mothers.

That is something interesting about our church it is all about the one. No other organization in the world has as good as set up as we do in this church. It would work great if only people did what we were supposed to.

We are a lot busier then we have been in the past. The first few days we did not even get to work in our area until 5 at night. Crazy. But things are slowing down now that transfers are a little bit behind us. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Missionary Life

This week was a different week then normal. Elder Garver had to pack because he is going to go home tomorrow. So from 4:00 pm to 10:00 am I will be with out a companion. So I will probably stay with the zone leaders. I have had this happen to me once before with Elder Mansfield. He got his visa and left the day before transfers ended. We also had to work hard so Elder Garver did not get too trunky. haha he has only been out 3 months and he is already going home. (He will be home for about 1 week and then go to the MTC and get trained then he will head off to his mission).

I actually think it a high possibility for them to whitewash me out of this area. Right now there is only one missionary that has been in his area longer then I have and he is going home. There are only about 6 other missionaries that have been in their area for as long as I have. It is definitely not very common to stay in one area this long. I like it. I know who are the potential investigators and the members to help with lessons. I know the recent converts that need help and need continued guidance.

The Assistants to the President came to my district meeting last week. That was interesting. They helped a lot in the lessons. That is again a tell tale sign that I will probably get moved, but only the president and the lord will know where I need to be.

We gave talks this Sunday again. 3 talks this transfer. I am now to the point where I have to be careful not to go over my time limit. I did that yesterday. There were 4 speakers and I was originally assigned a 15 min talk and I was the 2nd to last speaker there was still the high councilor to speak. We had about 20 min left of the meeting. So I probably should have done a 5 min talk. I ended up doing about a 13 min talk and I felt bad because I did not notice that all that time had passed. I said sorry to the next speaker. I think he has glad on the inside. haha. Well he gave about a 5 min talk and we ended going over about 5 min. I now need to be able to shorten my talks as well as make them longer. I have always been so focused on making my talks longer that I never really realized that I might have to make it shorter.

Something that I have been studying that I find really interesting is light. The first day Christ separated the Light for the dark. At that point there was no sun or stars or Moon so the light came from Christ. He gave the power to the sun and all light comes from Christ. That is why when he died there was no light according to the Book of Mormon for 3 days, because there was no way for it to even be here. The darkness was thick that you could not even light a fire. I find that really interesting. There was a lot more behind this discovery but this basic version of it. I thought you might be interested. 

You can look at darkness in a similar way.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lessons Learned

All of the girls in our stake went up to girls came this week. They loved it. We also got one of our investigators to go up there as well. That was really good for them. 

So Elder Garver sent a letter to the mission president last week about me and the mission president then shared it with basically the whole mission. So they have a first transfer training and they also have a second transfer training and in both of them he shared this with all of them. Then he went to a companionship study for the sisters in my district and shared this story as well. They did not know who it was until today when it came up in a conversion. 
I asked Elder Garver for a copy and he gave it to me:
Elder Walker and I were walking to an appointment when we crossed paths with a man walking his dog. He stopped us and asked us if we could answer him a simple question. He pulled out a wallet and gave us each a paper that he had typed up that was anti-material. He asked us a question that was set up in the fashion that no matter what the answer was, we would be wrong. I felt very uncomfortable, and I wanted to get out of there. Elder Walker said, "We cant answer that with just a yes or no question--" 
The other guy cut him off and with a raised voice said, "Oh my gosh, its just a simple question!" 
Without all the details, he tried to bash with us, and was just freaking out. I tried to testify and leave, but he didn't want to hear my testimony. I did everything I could to get out of the situation, but Elder Walker was just standing there listening to all the criticism from the guy. I didn't want to bash, and I wasn't feeling the spirit. Eventually he left, and I said to Elder Walker, "We need to talk about this, I didn't know what to do." Before he answered me, he walked over to a lady that was watching us, and sitting on her porch. I remember her getting up during the argument and going inside for a minute and then coming back out. When we walked up to the lady, I saw that she went in to get her Bible. Elder Walker really lovingly crouched down, and sat on the heel of his feet, (she was sitting on the ground) and asked her about her Bible. She said it was her mothers. He asked her if read it often, and she confirmed. He said, "Can I show you one of my favorite scriptures?" and then he flipped to James 1:5 and read it to her. He told her that if she had any questions about anything, to do what the scripture said. He apologized for what she saw, and she said "Don't worry, I see people like that all the time trying to mess with you guys. Why can't they just leave you alone?" He set up an appointment for us to come back. 
After her, we walked over to the other people who were watching, and Elder Walker did a similar thing.  
As we walked away, he told me that both those people were not members, and he had been trying to set up appointments with them for months.  
I told him how uncomfortable I was in the argument, and told him I didn't feel the spirit. He told me, "You always have the Spirit unless you do something that will drive it away. Just because he didn't have the Spirit, doesn't mean that you don't. If you stay calm and composed, and don't get worked up, you will have the spirit." 
That really made sense to me.  
Then he told me, "I usually don't like to stand there, but I noticed that people were watching. When someone is yelling, people usually watch. I like to stand there and show the people who are watching that we are disciples of Jesus Christ, and we don't egg on contention. If we stay composed, we get a lot of respect from those watching us."
That was an awesome lesson that I learned from him.
So this is the story he shared. President Chambers really like it. I thought that was so cool. 
Something you learn as a trainer. Your companion watches everything you do and will copy it. That is the same for almost all things when you find someone in a position of leadership or where you have been doing it for longer than others watch you. 

Also I remember when Elder Holland talked to us about a year and 3 months ago he told us something that has stuck with me.  I summarized, but it went something like this.
What is the most recognized thing in the church. Our temples? No. Our church buildings? No (then he listed some other things that the church is famous for), but he said that people associate the church the most with two young people on bikes riding down a street. (Then really forcefully like Elder Holland does) AND YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO RUIN THE IMAGE OF THIS CHURCH! THIS IS NOT YOUR RIGHT! He said especially in Utah where there are lots of kids that look up to missionaries that you must always maintain the image of a missionary!
I have taken that to heart. I must always remember that we really did take Jesus Christ's name upon us and that we need to remember that everyone knows that. This is not just for missionaries as well. People look up to us. 

I remember when I was in school when we would get some one that would swear. A common thing in high school. But if it was a Mormon then all of a sudden it becomes this great big deal and I would probably hear about it. They would say ''Did you know so and so said this? Aren't they Mormon?" 
I also remember when we were watching a TV show together one night and it was called Greed or something. They were talking about this guy who was able to con a lot of people out of their money. Then they mentioned that he was a Mormon Bishop. People know. People watch. So always show others that we really are a disciple of Jesus Christ by our example and our deeds. 

Well I hope that the video that you make does not get deleted if the power gets shut down. and if it does things will work out. 

That is another thing I am learning. Sometimes things go way wrong. For example we had a nonmember that had removed his records in the church because he did not believe there was a God. We were teaching him and he was progressing. Then we got to the Law of Chastity and we committed him to follow it. The next lesson was so sad. He said that he had tried and he felt horrible and did not ever want to try it again. He said that he still does not believe there was a God or anything we were teaching. I know that he does know there is a God. Why would he let us back time and time again? Why read the book of Mormon and go to church? The only explanation is that he was repenting, but then got to something he loved more then he loved God and denied all of it. Then the spirit prompted us to read Helaman 16:14-25 this was the exact thing that we needed to read to him. This is what happened:
We could feel the spirit so strong, but he just kept on denying it. Then he refused to let us pray. It was one of the saddest moments of my mission. We could see him progressing so well. He had been reading the scriptures going to Church, and he said he had started to pray. He had completely reversed back to his old self. (Side story, the first time we met him his Mom had us over for dinner and she was there. We taught kinda more of an argument about if there was a God. Then we kept going over and he started to say Amen to prayers and to take notes when we would teach. It was a fantastic miracle.) Now he has rejected us and cast us out and refuses to do anything we ask of him.  I felt so bad. I was reminded of a scripture Mosiah 28:3. I will remember that feeling.
I have learned that it is an easy what of getting our of feeling guilty. To not believe there is a God. An escape from the guilt that God gives us so we can repent. 

On a happier note. we had an investigator come to church yesterday. We also had a member of the 70 Elder Ulysses Soares give his testimony. That was cool to see. He is a good speaker and also a member of the presidency of seventy.

We had a lesson with her afterwards and she told us that she was happy she made it to church.  

Well I ran out of time but have a good week family!