Tuesday, November 29, 2016

La Calera: Thanksgiving #1

Another great week! It sounds like everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! Nobody here celebrates it, so for me it was just another day in the mission haha. We did have the Christmas Conference for all the missionaries. There was a talent show that was actually pretty cool and the mission President Correa and his wife gifted everyone a pillow (very few of the missionaries had pillows and the apartments don´t have anything haha) and some candy. It was cool to see some of the missionaries from my MTC district as well. Elder Ponce did hilarious impressions of various missionaries and even the President to pass the time between acts. There was also a choir and Christmas devotional that some of the missionaries put on for the public and for the rest of the missionaries. It definitely doesn´t feel like Christmas at all because the weather here is opposite the weather in the states. I most definitely will not be walking in a winter wonderland this Christmas haha. Always remember the counsel we receive in Alma 37:6 that it is by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass. I encourage all of you to put in the effort to prayerfully search the scriptures, asking our Heavenly Father for strength and direction each and every day. The difference a few minutes devoted to God can make in a day is incredible. We have a Heavenly Father who knows us completely--inside and out. He knows exactly what we need to be safe and happy, but rarely will He give us directions that we don´t ask for. Thanks for the support everyone! I´ll write more next week. Love you guys! Elder Walker

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

La Calera: The World is a Small Place

This week was a little less eventful than most, so I won´t be writing a lot!

 The highlights: A girl named Brisa that we have been teaching read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and told us that she received the answer that it is true and this Gospel is the path that God wants for her.

 We went to the Temple in Córdoba for Pday and I happened to run into two senior missionaries(the Talbots) who worked with Tommy(my brother) in the mission office in Antofogasta for several months! They are traveling to the different area where their children served before returning to the States at the end of this transfer with Tommy.

 In the world we live in today, there are many distractions. Even in the mission, it´s suprisingly easy to forget to focus my thoughts and attention on the Gospel. In 1 Nephi 16:28 we are told that the Liahona which guided Nephi´s family only worked "according to the faith, diligence, and heed" which they gave to it´s directions. In my experience, they Holy Ghost works similarly. In order to receive all of the blessing and guidance that our Heavenly Father wants for us, we need to exercise faith, be diligent in our searching for His guidance, and be willing and ready to act when we receive it. Life isn´t easy, but it was never Heavenly Father´s plan for life to be miserable. In 2 Nephi 2:27 we learn that as children of God we exist to have joy. He is ready and willing to guide us in every moment through the trials of life. We have but to humble ourselves, listen, and obey.

 Thanks as always for the support! I can´t wait to see you all again!

 Elder Walker

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

La Calera: Blessings

This week was yet another filled with learning experiences and miracles.  We were able to baptize a man named Ruben and his two daughters last Saturday and they were confirmed the following Sunday.  A bunch of the members in the branch were able to attend the baptismal service and support.

One of the nights last week we were buying some empanadas before returning to the pension for the night and we heard a crash out in the street.  A dude had crashed his motorcycle and was rolling around moaning and bleeding a ton.  A crowd quickly gathered and we ran over and administered a priesthood blessing, though we couldn´t get him to tell us his name.

I miss all of you guys a ton, but there´s no doubt in my mind that I need to be here.  The knowledge that we have as a result of our membership in this church is incredible.  We know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us--who rejoices when we rejoice and weeps when we suffer, who listens when we pray wants us to have every blessing that we need in this life to overcome our personal trials.  We know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be completely cleansed and healed of our past errors and sins, that we have a system of immediate support that is only a humble prayer´s distance from us at any given time.  We know that families are forever.  The majority of God´s children do not have these precious truths. Each of us has a duty to share the Gospel, but it starts with our personal conversion and testimony.  I invite all of you to do the things that you need to do to strengthen your relationship with our Heavenly Father and your testimony of the Savior.  This Gospel is real.  I realize now how incredible it is that I forgot so often the importance of these things before I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the experience of the mission life.  The Gospel is the way to live in happiness in this life and to prepare to live with God and our families forever. I invite you all to take the steps of faith and put forth as much effort as you can to live this Gospel--it is the best thing you can do to overcome your problems, no matter what they are.  I love you guys so much! I´ll write more next week!

Elder Walker

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

La Calera: Rapidly Adapting to Argentina

Hi everyone! This is the first email that I have written as a group email. Sorry If you´ve been waiting to hear from me and haven´t yet! I don´t usually have very much time to write, but I´ll try to give short updates in the future.  I think I´m almost used to living in Argentina haha.  I can understand almost all of what the people are saying around me most of the time and I am close to being able to teach the lessons in Preach My Gospel.  The people are generally very friendly and it´s not too hard to contact in the street or on the bus or wherever haha.  Something important that I learned about missionary work in the last week is that I can share my testimony with our investigators, but I can´t give them the testimony that I have; my objective is to invite them to begin to develop faith unto repentance and baptism--to come unto Christ.  This is important because before I realized this, I felt as though we were hustling these people toward baptism without fully helping them to convert to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I now realize that when they are attending church and reading the Book of Mormon and praying they are demonstrating their own personal conversion.  It´s possible that they won´t have the same convinction about the same doctrines of the Gospel that I have, but I realized that this is okay.  I´ve had 18+ years to develop a testimony of many different aspects of this Gospel.We are all in different places in our personal conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It´s possible to have a spiritual experience as a result of the testimony of another, but we truly develop a testimony of our own when we put forth the effort in diligence and determination to learn, change, and show Heavenly Father that we are ready to receive further light.  I´ve experienced a lot of personal spiritual growth as well since starting the mission as a result of the difficulties that missionary life presents.  I invite all of you, no matter where you are in your personal conversion, to put forth the extra effort to strengthen your relationship with Heavenly Father and your testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.  Read the Book of Mormon every day, pray with all of the energy of your heart and mind, and truly believe that Heavenly Father is listening and will help you.  Always remember to turn outwards in service and charity of others.  I promise that forgetting yourself is the best way to experience true joy despite the trials and difficulties that each of us has.  I invite you to read Helaman 5:12,  ponder on the message it contains, and pray with all your heart to feel the support that Heavenly Father is giving you in your daily life. This Gospel is the way that Heavenly Father has told us with which we can obtain peace and joy in this life and in eternity, but we have to personally choose to believe and live each and every part of the Gospel before we can receive that spiritual knowledge that it is true.  Thanks so much for the support you all give me! There should be some photos attatched from our visit to Carlos Paz.  Sorry if I can´t write personally to all of you this week, we had less time than usual.  Love you guys! I´ll write more next week!Elder Walker