Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Piano

So interesting story I forgot to add to the weekly e-mail. Yesterday one of the wards found out that I play the piano and after Elder Durnall said, "he's a musical genius" they roped me in to playing for the ward choir for their Christmas program. Haha! This always happens to me. I'm also now the Priesthood pianist for opening exercises. Oh boy! I hope they don't expect too much from me because I never get time to practice nor am I anywhere close to a "musical genius". The best part is that they are performing next Sunday which means I have to learn a few pieces before then. They do have a pretty decent choir; it'll be an adventure.

12/13/10

Hello everyone,

Everything is going great here in Idaho Falls. Things are just getting ready to explode! Yesterday was a way good day for us; we set 2 baptism dates last night. The first, AJ is 18 and loves to learn about the Savior. He's read the Bible and is looking for more. He was way excited to accept the 29th of January as a day for him to be baptized. The problem though is that we got a call from his uncle last night who told us that AJ had to be sent to the hospital a few hours after we left because he had an internal rupture of the intestines and was heading into emergency surgery. Please keep AJ in your prayers. Elder Durnall and I are going to offer him a blessing today.

The second individual, Travis, accepted a date of the 22nd of January to be baptized. Travis is such a great guy with a wonderful family. His wife is a member and he has 4 kids. The lesson last night was one of the more powerful lessons I've ever had on the mission. We focused a lot on Temples and eternal families. We explained to him that baptism isn't what we want for him although it is a great step and a wonderful blessing, we want his family to be united eternally in the holy temple of our God and baptism is the first step to get there. There is much more to this story than I have time to tell but after my companion and I bore witness of the divinity of the priesthood sealing families for time and eternity he and his wife were in tears. Now keep in mind, this is not the first time Travis had been invited to be baptized in fact it wasn't even the second but what we found out through the Holy Ghost is that he needed to know that this is about his family and what our Heavenly Father's plan for them is, once he knew that, he accepted to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized. I know that this missionary work is not done by me nor is any conversion accomplished by me but only by the power of God, the Holy Spirit. How great is this work!

I am doing great, busy as always. We were asked by President Colton to go on an exchange with every Elder in the Zone so we're booked twice a week conducting exchanges. I love learning and growing from the Elders I serve and witnessing their desire to serve the Master. The church is true. President Monson is a prophet of God. Jesus is our Savior and he loves us so much and very individually. "For behold, the field is white already to harvest..."

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

Dec. 6th 2010 The Season of Christmas

It is official, the Christmas season has begun. I love this time of year when people seem to have a complete change in attitude and are willing to accept the promptings of the Spirit. I am starting to get myself into the Christmas spirit as I see Christmas lights up and music playing everywhere. "It's the best time of the year."

I have officially been transferred to Idaho Falls. This area is way different than Pocatello! I serve in the Taylor Mountain stake which is full of Doctors and other rich individuals. About half of my area is very comparable to that of Castle Pines and the other half to that of Sedalia. I'm still trying to learn the area and even figure out which way is North but so far I really like Idaho Falls.

Elder Durnall is awesome. He's from Sacramento Cali and as I said last week he and I came out together. He and I served in a different district in the MTC but we entered into missionary life on the same day. We seem to mesh really well so far. Our zone is way big! We have 5 stakes in the zone covering from Ammon to Shelly. It's way nice being super close to the Idaho Falls Temple to take investigators there and especially to have the Visitors' Center so close. I'm pretty excited to have a zone activity today so I can get to know the Elders and Sisters; we have 4 sisters and 16 Elders in the zone (6 of us all came out together). This is going to be a great transfer.

When we talked with the assistants today to give them our zone's weekly numbers they asked me if there is anything they could do for me, I told them to go to Alameda, get my brain, put it in a medium flat rate box and then mail it to me. This is how transfers are, you don't get your head back for a while. It's hard not only learning my area but learning the whole zone and missionaries and individuals that have a baptism date; I'm doing my best though.

I will have some stories for you all next week when I can actually remember people's names that I'm teaching! haha! No worries though I think I'll be back on my feet by next Monday.

I hope all is well and everyone is safe. Idaho is doing great!

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

I get bored when everyone plays sports so last p-day I took some pictures... random.

Nov. 29th Thanksgiving

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving.

This week went so so so fast! We had a lot of great things happen to us. As I said in the last e-mail we received another group of visa waiting missionaries to the mission, two of which were assigned to our zone. As a part of my responsibility as a zone leader we have to go on exchanges with the new missionaries ASAP so Elder Rudd and I had to do 2 last minute exchanges, plus Thanksgiving. I love exchanges, especially with new missionaries because of the many great things I can re-learn that I once new. Simplicity is the best quality about new missionaries. I heard this quote the other day from Divinchi that says, "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Truly the Lord works many mighty miracles through the faith of new missionaries.

Those of you that went to the Priesthood session of Oct. 2010 general conference remember when Elder Russel M. Nelson said that he had 49 grandchildren that have served or are now serving a mission. Interesting for you to know that his 49th grandchild to serve a mission is currently serving in the Pocatello Central Zone in the Idaho Pocatello Mission, which happens to be the zone that Elder Rudd and I currently lead. Weird huh? It's interesting to be an authoritative figure over an Apostle's grandson. I told him today at e-mails, "make sure you tell your grandfather hello from your favorite zone leader."

Thanksgiving day was great! We were able to have an all day p-day from 10 to 9. Elder Rudd and I organized a tri-zone football game that morning. I didn't play because I'm not one for sports but the missionaries that did play are dedicated; it was 8 degrees and there was at least 6 inches of snow on the ground. Crazy Elders. We were then picked up at 12:30 to have lunch with the Lammers. I loved spending time with that family! We ate quickly so we could have more time to play games; we played a game called "the game of things" for 3 hours! It is so much fun. We definitely need to get that game for when I get home. After spending time with the Lammers we went to the Hulet's house for dessert (tons and tons of pumpkin pie; no complaints). When we were finished eating like kings we gathered our zone together for the evening at the institute to play a huge game of Apples to Apples. Let me just tell you that 20 missionaries chillin playing Apples to Apples is a huge highlight to any Thanksgiving day.

I learned something great on Thanksgiving. In D&C 78:19 we learn what the Lord thinks of gratitude. After you read this verse think about what President Monson has recently told us about gratitude. As we apply an "attitude of gratitude" the Lord says he'll bless us "100 fold". Now just think about this a second, not 100 times, 100 fold. Fold a paper once and you get 2, fold it again and you get 4, again and you get 8, etc. Now think about 100 fold! That is a lot. Be grateful for what you have, we've truly been blessed with so much!

The time has arrived for Elder Rudd and I to be separated. We got transfer info on Saturday and it looks like the Lord needs me up in Idaho Falls. I've been assigned to work with Elder Durnall (we came out together) in the Idaho Falls West Zone. I'm pretty excited for several reasons, one, I get to go back to a car, two, Elder Durnall is sweet, and three, I've wanted to serve in Idaho Falls for a while now. Don't get me wrong I am extremely sad to leave Alameda and Pocatello. I have really enjoyed my time here and the miracles I've witnessed, like Brandon Beers getting baptized. I will forever love these people and will miss Elder Rudd a lot; he has been my favorite companion by far. It's alright though because we've already made plans to kick it on the beach in Jacksonville. Interesting for you to know, Elder Call (my trainer) is replacing me here in Alameda and I'm replacing him in Idaho Falls. When I get to Idaho Falls on Wednesday I'll be serving in the Taylor Mountain Stake.

All is well in Zion. I love this mission and I know I will love my future adventures with Elder Durnall. The Lord has a lot to teach us, just open your eyes to the miracles and we will learn.

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

11/22/10 What I have learned...

Wow... Great week.

My journey up to Idaho falls was awesome!!! I loved the conference we had and learned so much. We focused on the Fundamentals of Preach my Gospel. President Colton did the majority of the training and we were taught all 8 of the lessons. President Colton started the training with telling us why we have these new fundamentals of PMG, he said, "The Lord is showing us the way we always should have used Preach my Gospel."

We focused a lot during this conference on Revelation and how we, members, and the investigators have to receive revelation for conversion to take place. There was this quote given from Elder McConkie that says, "revelation is the making known of divine truth by communication from heaven." Who doesn't want that? Direct revelation from heaven is what we're searching for here and we get it from several ways: scripture, church leaders, feelings, and many more. Our focus as missionaries is to connect an individual that is searching for heaven with heaven and we do it by the power of the Holy Ghost.

The three specific ways that an individual can and will receive revelation if they have a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ, is from the Book of Mormon, attending church, and prayer. These are the ways we focused our efforts on for this conference. In the mission we've been struggling to get investigators to attend church and receive conversion but this past weekend we had more investigators out to church than we've had in a long time. It's interesting to see the Lord's hand in play as we apply His way of doing missionary work. We were told at the conference a quote from President Faust, he said, "this is the Lord's work, let Him do a little of it." It's true, how many times do we try to do our callings on our own or think that our way is the best way? This really is the Lord's work and we are privileged to help.

I learned so much from President Colton this past week and now I'm excited to have a full week to apply what I was taught both by him and by the Spirit. I only have room to grow and that's what I am going to do. After all that is why we are here on earth right?

All is well here in Poky. It's been snowing like crazy off and on for the past few days and is supposed to continue until tomorrow. I love the snow! The only bad part is that I can't play in it.

We have transfers next week (Dec 1st) so if you will please send letters to the mission office first until I find out if I'm going or staying. I really hope that I stay here for Christmas but we'll see. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get transferred up to Rexburg but of course that's all speculation. I will have official transfer info for you next p-day.

Love you all very much and hope you are finding happiness in this journey we call life.

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

11/15/10 Celestial Stew

Hello everyone,

So tomorrow I head off to Idaho Falls for a 4 day leadership conference. I am looking forward to this conference a lot. This will be the first time we hold this conference outside of Pocatello which means I'll be staying with another companionship for the week. It'll be interesting to see what we're going to be taught at this conference. Our high counselor over missionary work in the Alameda stake is taking Elder Rudd and I out to lunch on Saturday so we can teach him what President Colton teaches us. That goes to show how great the leaders over missionary work are here in the Alameda stake.

We got word last night that another group of visa waiting missionaries have received acceptance into Mexico. This mean we'll be loosing a couple Elders from our zone which is way sad because I've really grown close to these two Elders. The good news though is that we've received a new group of visa waiters today that are trying to get into Brazil. Two of those Elders will be placed in our zone to replace the ones that have left. This whole visa issue is crazy! I wish the world would just get along and not be so complicated. We love having the visa missionaries in our mission though they really have brought a lot to the table.

We have an investigator named Kevin who came to church for the first time yesterday! We were so excited! Kevin has had a baptismal date for a while now and was being so stubborn on attending church. Kevin is an extremely hard-headed man but it's been great to see the Spirit work on him to soften his heart and help him be humble. He has changed so much since we've been teaching him. I do not take any credit for what he has done because I have done nothing, I've only been a mouth piece for the Lord. Kevin is preparing to be baptized on Dec. 15th, his 30th birthday.

On Saturday we had a great time at our lesson with Kevin on Saturday. He told us that he was willing to try anything to quit smoking. That sentence is almost as great as someone saying they want to be baptized. Elder Rudd and I heard of this method called "Celestial Stew" that has helped other investigators quit smoking. What it is is a glass of milk with a pack of cigarettes broke open and dumped in and salt and pepper. What you do is heat it up and stir it up then get the addicted person to drink this "stew" and of course they'll throw up. The next time they go to smoke a cigarette they remember this nasty drink and it makes them queasy so they loose their desire to smoke. Kevin did a great job. He didn't give up and finished the whole thing but probably threw up about 30 times; it was nasty. The good news is that when we saw him at church yesterday he said he hadn't smoked yet! Oh the fun missionaries can have.

Everything is going great here in Pocatello. The work is progressing well and exciting things are happening. This work is great! I'm excited to e-mail next week to share with you what I've learned and how I will change from the conference this week. I love you all!

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

11/8/10

Well hello there everyone!

Once again, and to no surprise, this was a great week!

Elder Nelson took off Wednesday morning back to his territory of Sacramento California. He is currently hugging and kissing girls... weird. He still has his temple date of Nov. 27th to be married to Rachael. He was really excited to get back to her and his family. The last day with Elder Nelson was a great experience. He worked really hard and testified like I have never seen. Tuesday evening was filled with many tears and great emotions as he said his final good-byes and the assistants picked him up. This really is the best experience and he realized that it does end.

Thursday was zone conference. We now get zone conference every third month so when we get it we are very excited. For this zone conference President asked Elder Rudd and I to give a training for the three zones; we trained on qualifying for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I loved this opportunity to prepare myself for this training. I had no idea what to study or where to go but under the direction of the spirit I turned my scriptures to the missionary work of the sons of Mosiah. I thought that if anywhere in the scriptures would teach me about this topic it would be the sons of Mosiah. It's interesting because I found my answer in the first three verses. In Alma 17 we read about Alma reuniting with the sons of Mosiah and what he learned about them, he says, "...they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently...they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting" then the Lord gives us a very specific blessing for doing these things, it says, "they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation" or in other words they had the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

We began our training with everyone thinking about their greatest hero in the scriptures. We selected 5 missionaries to stand and tell us who their hero was, what their hero did, and why this individual was their hero; we also asked President and Sister Colton to do the same thing. We heard of such heroes as, Abinidi, Alma, Jonah, Ester, and Peter. After these great heroes were discussed we explained that in every case these heroes were considered heroes because they qualified to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we too will be considered "heroes" in the eyes of our investigators as we strive to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

I feel that this training was a success. We had great involvement from the missionaries and I feel that our zone at least is applying the things that they learned.

We had a great experience with an investigator this week. We watched the Restoration DVD after she told us she hadn't received an answer to her prayers. At the end of the DVD we asked her how she felt and she explained that she felt the same feelings as when she was done praying such as peace, relaxation, etc. We explained that this is how the Spirit feels and she then explained that she now knows that this is true. I love teaching with the Spirit! He is the only way to conversion and when investigators understand that they progress so much faster. Tiffany has a baptism date for Dec. 4th.

All is well. I love what I'm doing and I love the Gospel. This is the great cause of the Lord. He loves us.

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

10/25/10 Great Week

Hello Everyone!

This week has been super crazy!!! Transfer week is always super crazy. As I said last week President Colton did transfers a little bit different this last time with sending all the info out over the phone on voicemail. On Tuesday however, 8 of our visa waiting missionaries received their visas and took off on Wednesday to Mexico so that made even more transfers. President sent out a voice message to all the zone leaders telling us more transfer info. Before this second message our zone was pretty much untouched with effected companionships but he decided to "drop a nuclear bomb on the Poky Central Zone" as the assistants called it. We had every companionship change in the zone including ours. We got put in a threesome for a few weeks with Elder Nelson. Elder Nelson is a great guy! He goes home in a few weeks to Sacramento and then is getting married three weeks after that. It's kinda weird to be honest, I mean he has a fiancee as a missionary and has their wedding announcements all over the house. He has her pictures all over his desk and his walls and receives at least 2 letters from her a day. He's happy though and that's the important part.

We had an amazing week! We had the great opportunity to set 3 baptism dates this week! Two of the three was in our first visit right after giving the account of the first vision. What a powerful account. The Lord taught Elder Rudd and I patience this last transfer because we were working really hard teaching over 20 lessons a week for 7 weeks but with nothing to show from it, well at least I thought there was nothing to show from it but the Lord quickly proved me wrong. Not only were we able to teach over 20 lessons for 7 weeks with the help of the Lord but he showed me that by working as hard as I could for a short time he would prepare his children for us to teach them. I think we sometimes have to prove that we wont give up on our Savior and when we do that then He'll open the windows of heaven and we'll witness miracles; that is the idea of enduring to the end right? I think so. Great lesson learned this week. I love learning so many great truths and lessons while being the Lord's missionary.

Yesterday there was an Elder that returned home from his mission in Little Rock, Arkansas. His family volunteered me to do a musical number so I turned right around and said, "well if you volunteer me then I volunteer you to sing with me." They accepted as well as I and we had a great musical number singing "Army of Helaman". I want to give you the words to 2 verses that we changed when Elder Rudd, Elder Nelson, and myself sang:

"We have been called by Father above,
to serve His children and labor with love.
We will go out His word we'll obey,
to bring Him souls the Savior's way.

We know the truth and so we declare,
to read and ponder and kneel in prayer.
We will proclaim in these latter days,
to be obedient and keep His ways."

I got emotional singing these verses because they mean so much to me about what I'm doing here in Pocatello. I will go forth and I will declare His gospel "in His way, by His power." How grateful I am to have this opportunity in my life to serve my brothers and sisters and declare the most important message this world has ever heard. God loves us. Jesus is the Christ. I bear you my witness of them as His authorized representative.

All is well here. I love what I'm doing. I love Idaho. Thanks for the prayers and thoughts I appreciate them so very much.

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

October 18th Transfers

Hello my family and friends,

So transfer info came this weekend... Guess what's happening? I get to stay here!!! I'm very very excited! I will be here for Thanksgiving for sure and I'm hoping for Christmas. This transfer is crazy! President transferred over 70 missionaries and Elder Rudd and I got untouched. This area is so great and I'm very glad to be staying. Elder Rudd and I get along really great which is a huge bonus to a great area. Cool thought: with 3 transfers with Elder Rudd as my zone leader in St. Anthony and now three transfers together, we'll serve together for 9 months. How great!

My thoughts are that next transfer will be pretty mellow because President isn't going to move too many people right before Christmas. I hope this will be a 7 1/2 month are for me. I love it here!

This week was pretty eventful. Elder Rudd was sick for 5 days! I don't have the patience to sit inside all day so we arranged exchanges with the zone to take turns to be with him so I could work in my area. Haha. I worked with my companion for only 2 days this week in our area. Weird.

Nothing too exciting happened this week. We taught 20 lessons again this week. This makes week 6 of teaching over 20 lessons a week! I'm very excited about that.

This area is great. This work is great.

Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

Oct. 11th Crazy Week

Hello everyone,

Another p-day has arrived. Can you believe how fast time is flying by? Just a couple more weeks and I'll hit my year mark! Holy smokes!

This week has been quite an eventful week. A lot of great stories have happened. Where to start... Fist off I got an AMAZING package from Grandma and Grandpa! They sent me zucchini bread, a cake, and best of all they sent me a bunch of pear tomatoes!!!! Yum yum! My favorite! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

Great story number one: There is a man here who was taught by missionaries for the past 4 years at least. The reason he hasn't been baptized is because he can't kick his smoking habit. Elder Rudd and I have been trying everything we know how to help him quit. He's enrolled in the church's 12-step program, he's meeting with a cancer specialist at the hospital to help him quit, he's taking medication, he's reading the whole Book of Mormon, etc. We've done everything we know how but this week we came up with a great idea! We cleaned his house for him. This might sound like a great idea but let me tell you, never in my whole life have I been in a house as gross as this one! There was dust that has built up for 25 years! With 4 missionaries it took us 3 hours to clean that place. Elder Rudd and I hid his ash trays too. Haha! The agreement was that he would get rid of his ash trays if we cleaned his house so we hid them so he couldn't go back on his promise. We'll see how that goes.

Last night we were walking to an appointment when we heard someone yell out "missionaries, missionaries! I need to talk to you missionaries!" When we turned around there was a drunk man walking a block behind us that wanted to talk to us. His name is Kurt. We stood there and talked with Kurt for 40 mins! He had to tell us all about his problems and what he's done in his life. He kept telling us that he's a great person and not to judge him. We tried to give him advise be he would just talk and talk and talk. Finally he asked us if we would pray with him and of course we agreed. When we folded our arms he wouldn't have any of that. He put his right had out and asked us to do the same (kind of like a huddle before a football game or something) then asked Elder Rudd to say the prayer. Now keep in mind this is on a sidewalk of a busy street. I asked Kurt if we could just fold our arms be he said, "are you afraid of what people will think about you?" I didn't want to cause any problems so we prayed his way. He then had to tell us more about his life and then I think he forgot that we prayed because he asked us to do the same thing 4 more times. Haha! Awkward! I don't think he'll remember that today, he was plastered. Good times!

A spiritual story of the week is when we set a baptism date with Kevin! I must say that was a great experience we had. Last week when we met with him we told him that he has now hit the end of the road and he has to decide to go right or left. We explained that the Gospel is either true or it's completely false and he is the only one who can make that decision. We invited him to pray about it and decide, then we set a return appt. for a few days later. When we went back he told us he prayed and decided that it was true and his life will be blessed by being baptized. We set the date for December 15th because it's his birthday and he wants to start his life over on that day. I'm very excited to be a part of his journey.

Well next week I'll know transfer information. I hope I stay her again because next transfer is Thanksgiving. I would hate to go to a new area and have to build relationships again before the Holidays. I guess we'll find out next Sunday.

I hope everyone is doing well and you are all happy. Life is great! Let's enjoy each day and witness the miracles that surround us.

Peace and love,
Elder Walker

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10-4-10 General Conference Weekend

Well hello there everyone!

Hasn't life just been great? I've really enjoyed this past week as I do every other week I've had.

General Conference was wonderful wasn't it? I love that the focus of this conference seemed to be on the Plan of Salvation and Faith to follow Jesus Christ. I really soak up what our Prophets have to say while I'm serving a mission. I especially loved Priesthood session! I encourage you ladies out there to print out the talks from Priesthood session and study them. Funny thing is when we were at Priesthood session and Elder Nelson had all the missionaries around the world stand up I turned to Elder Rudd and said, "10 says my Dad is crying right now", was I right??? If Dad wasn't crying by that point then 10 says emotions were running during the closing song of "Called to Serve" by the missionary choir from the MTC in Provo. I must admit that I got really emotional listening to those Elders sing. I also got really emotional when President Eyring said something along the lines of "I am honored to be considered to have the same calling as these missionaries behind me." I couldn't hold it in when he said that, I mean here's a man who serves in the highest quorum of the Priesthood here on this earth and he puts himself down to the level of a missionary who doesn't even remotely have the same calling as he does. He's one of the 15 that holds the priesthood to the kingdom of God on this earth and yet he's still a missionary. How remarkable are our Priesthood leaders!

The only down side to this General Conference is that now we have to be back to full time suit jacket wearing. I would be fine with wearing suit jackets in a month but not now when it's still 80 degrees outside and I'm on a bike. Not my fav thing to do. Just a little perseverance and it'll be cool again.

For Conference Elder Rudd and I decided that we wanted to get the whole zone together to watch. I'm really glad we did because there is now this bond in the zone that we wouldn't be able to get elsewhere. I have a testimony of our Prophet. I know that President Monson is God's servant for us. I love being an authorized servant of God to be able to declare to all that God has opened the windows of heaven and called a man to safely lead us home. It's no wonder that God really does reveal his secret to President Monson who declares to the world to follow our Savior.
Speaking of President Monson... On Friday at our Zone Leader Council President Colton was giving us his testimony of President Monson and while quoting from the new book "To The Rescue" a biography of Thomas S. Monson, President Colton has now approved that book to be apart of the missionary library and has asked that all the missionaries in the IPM read the book and know our Prophet better. Just so you know Mom and Dad, you'll see a 30ish dollar charge to my account, that's from buying this book from Deseret Book today. I hope that was okay since I didn't approve it with you before hand. I'm so excited to read this book!

One of my favorite parts about being a Zone Leader is exchanges. This upcoming week we're going on exchanges with our visa missionaries that are waiting to go to Mexico. Tonight I get to go with Elder Ursua from Hawaii. He's way awesome! I'm looking forward to work with him in my area and show him how great our area is. Each time I stay in my area with missionaries from the Zone I pray really hard to have an opportunity to invite someone to be baptized. I hope that will happen tomorrow.

I love you all very much and hope all is well at home. I love my calling. I love my boss. I have the greatest calling in the church! I wish you all well.

September 20, 2010

Elder Walker and Elder Rudd with Idaho State Flag


Ice-blocking at a ward party... (Be Careful!!!)

September 13, 2010 - Twenty Years Old

HELLO everyone!
Well it is officially official. I'm old. Twenty! Holy smokes.

My birthday was a really great day! Nothing too exciting happened. We weekly planned and then taught people the gospel... pretty much the best thing to do on a birthday. The great highlights are the three meals I had. For breakfast the Spanish Elders came over and we made omelets, and for lunch Elder Rudd and I went to the Sizzler for steaks. The best part of the whole day was when we ate dinner with the Robinson family. They called a week ago and asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner and I told them they can make what ever they want. They asked what my favorite food is so I told them Crab legs. The best part is Sister Robinson is from Maine and loves to cook sea food so she flew in several pounds of crab legs from Maine for my birthday dinner. How great is that?!?! I loved it so much! Tasty for sure.

I received the birthday package from home. Thanks for the things you sent. I love the ties and pants and the box of random birthday things. My favorite part of the package is the Spider-man night light! We use it every night and it goes great with my other Spider-man things all over the apartment.

When we got in from the day there was the coolest cake I have ever seen in our apartment. Benji Bosen brought a "missionary cake" for me. I can't even describe it so I'll attach a photo for you to see.

Thanks to everyone who sent birthday cards! I appreciate the thoughts and prayers. Thanks especially to Grandma and Grandpa for the birthday money. I was just about to scrounge for some cash because I needed to go to the dry cleaners for my suits before winter comes again.

I forgot to mention this last week to give you a heads up but I have an idea... Today I finished the Book of Mormon for the 3rd time on my mission. I'm planning on starting again to read for the 4th time on Wednesday. I want to invite all of the family to join in with me on reading the Book of Mormon again. What happens is we read only 5 pages a day which means we'll complete the book in a little over 3 months. My ultimate goal is to read the book 7 times on my mission which I will do by reading just 5 pages a day each day. I invite everyone to read with me starting on Wednesday, 15 September. The first day you'll have to read 6 pages (the introduction first then 5 pgs in 1 Nephi) and also the last day you'll have to read 6 pages.

I know this sacred book is true. I have a testimony of this volume of Holy Scripture. It is another testiment of Jesus Christ. Please take this challenge for yourself and feel of the Saviors love for you by his Prophets of old.

We had a pretty average week this week this week but the coolest part was that Elder Rudd and I taught 24 lessons!!! That's the most I've ever taught on my mission.
I hope all is well back home and everyone is doing great!

Happy Birthday Elder Walker

Spoiled Missionary! Crab legs flown in from Maine!

Birthday cake arranged for and delivered by Elder Bosen (Thanks Benji)

English beans... a fav!!!!
At Brandon's baptism
Elder Fernberg, Elder Rudd, Brandon and Elder Walker

9-6-10 Best Weekend Ever

Well hello there everyone!

Once again transfers have come again. The verdict... I'm staying with Elder Rudd in Pocatello! I'm so excited! I love this area so much! I was really worried because the Assistants told Elder Rudd and I that they were moving 50 missionaries! 50! That's over half the companionships in the mission! I'm way happy to be staying here. I would love to stay here the rest of my mission but that's probably not going to happen. We are getting an additional 2 companionships added to the zone which will be great. We're already leading the mission in baptisms so with 2 more additions we'll be leading every month, or so we hope.

Let me just say that this past weekend was by far the best weekend of the mission. I've seen several baptisms but there was nothing like Brandon Beer's baptism. What an amazing experience that was. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I've had to know Brandon. He will be a close friend throughout the eternities.

There's nothing better than witnessing a baptism that an individual has had to work really hard be baptized. Don't get me wrong, all baptisms are great but there is just something a little more special about those that don't get everything so easy and have to entirely place their will in the hands of God; Brandon has had to do that for the past 7 years. I know the Lord answers prayers, He answers them on his own time but He does answer them. This ward has prayed and prayed and prayed for this day to finally happen but for some reason our Heavenly Father decided that September 4th 2010 was the day for his son to enter into the waters of baptism. How great and marvelous are the works of God.

Last night we received a message from a brother in the ward expressing to us how grateful he is that we prepared ourselves to be on a mission and to especially be here for Brandon. I don't know why the Lord chose Elder Rudd and myself to be the ones to baptize Brandon but he did. Those comments from Brother Porter was simply the icing on the cake. Right now is most definitely the highest of my mission.

This work is real. It IS the Lord's work and the greatest cause on this planet. There is no greater happiness than to be a servant of the Lord. I know that this is the Lord's kingdom and I wouldn't be anywhere else than working to build up this kingdom.

I love you all. Keep persevering. Align your will with the will of the Lord.

Two amazing and wonderful missionaries!!!
Elder Bosen and Elder Walker
Elder Bosen is from Pocatello, Idaho and served his mission in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Elder Walker is from Castle Rock, Colorado and is serving his mission in Pocatello, Idaho

Ten Months of Greatness August 30, 2010

Hello Family!
Can you even believe that I have been out 10 months now? I can't believe how fast time is going. I hear it only gets faster and faster.

There are a few things I forgot to mention last week. The first really cool thing is that I'm in the Ensign. Open up the September issue to pg. 37 and you'll see me there. It's kinda ironic because in the picture I'm teaching a Filipino family but I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt. haha! I just noticed that. I'm pretty sure no missionaries in the Philippines wear long sleeve shirts. Pretty cool to be in a magazine that goes to millions of people though huh?
Another cool thing that happened. Extreme Make-over came to Pocatello and rebuilt a house half a mile away from my area! That was way cool. It was great to see the whole community get involved to help out this family. The story is way sad too, it's a single mom with 9 kids who has cancer. Her house caught fire a few months ago and burned pretty much half of the house. We weren't allowed to help because the church doesn't like missionaries being on national television. Elder Rudd and I rode our bikes by it a few days ago and it's way nice. Check out the show on the 31st of Oct, that's when it shows I think.

Yesterday was such a great day. Definitely a huge highlight of my mission. I was able to speak with Elder Bosen at his speaking assignment yesterday. What a great experience! After the talks and sacrament meeting was over there was a sister that came up to me and told me, "there are no coincidences in this life, there is an eternal reason for you and Elder Bosen to have met." That's true. I'm really thankful for the opportunity that I've had to know Elder Bosen. He's such a great person. I first saw Elder Bosen on Saturday when we practiced the song we sang at church, that was super weird seeing him without a shirt and tie on! It was a great reunion though.

Cool thing happened this week. I got a short letter from a good friend of mine from DECA. She was my Secretary when I was President of Castle View's DECA chapter. She is out to school in Oklahoma. In her letter she simply said, "Tyson, I don't really know much about what you're doing on your mission or much about your religion is there a way I can learn more?" HELLO!!! talk about golden opportunity! I immediately called the Idaho Falls Temple Visitor's Center and sent off a referral for her. I requested missionaries to visit and take a Book of Mormon and a Restoration DVD. I really hope this goes well.

All is well here. I love what I'm doing. Hope all is well with you.
quote of the day... I heard this yesterday at church... "life is like shaving, no matter how good you do it today, you just have to do it again tomorrow."

I forgot something I wanted to tell you. We had zone leader council this last week. At these council meetings we report to President Colton our numbers. Our zone is by far the smallest zone in the mission but we were able to lead the mission in baptisms for August.

We were really excited to report 14 baptisms from the Pocatello Central Zone for the month of August. Our missionaries are really applying the simplified curriculum and as a consequence we've seen incredible results. I would have never guessed our zone would lead the mission in baptisms but I stand corrected. I don't say this to boast of myself but of these Elders and Sisters that are working so hard to be the best missionaries they can be in fulfilling our purpose.

How grateful I am to be involved in such a great work. The Lord is mindful of us and has indeed opened the windows of heaven on our zone.

August 22, 2010

Hello everyone!
Lots of items of greatness this week. I will present them in bullet format...
  • I talked with Elder Bosen yesterday on the phone. That was super weird! We talked for a little bit about his return from the Colorado Springs mission. He's doing great and wants to take Elder Rudd and I to lunch this week.
  • I witnessed the weirdest baptism ever on Saturday. This man that was baptized asked if he could play some music while he was changing. The music that was played was some southern baptist gospel music! Haha! I was laughing so hard!
  • I got the best package ever! A binder full of music! I love it! I have planned 3 hours today to play the piano. I'm stoked.
  • I got a letter from Torie Lee!!! That was so great! That was a long awaited letter.
  • We had another 2 day leadership conf. this week. We have now been taught all of the new simplified curriculum. President Colton read us a letter from Elder Holland and in that letter Elder Holland announces that there is going to be a new version of Preach my Gospel coming out soon. I hope it comes out before I leave.
That's pretty much all the new exciting things that have happened here. Everything is going great. Pocatello is awesome. I hope all is well with you.

Elder Mecham

Oh cool story!
There is an Elder Mecham here that I heard was from Colorado. I called him the other day to ask him where he is from. Of all places guess where he is from???? Monument.... Crazy!!!! We got talking and I told him I have a good friend from Monument and told him about Whitney Baker. He said, "no way you know Whitney, I dated her!!!" Crazy huh! He also knows Mykel who went to seminary with me from monument also.
As we got talking he said that the Baker family told him about me before he left and to tell me hello but he forgot my name so now I finally got the message. haha! Crazy crazy crazy...
Elder Mecham corrected me on my language and said it's "cool-orado". Just so you all know.

Photos August 16, 2010

Elders Rudd, Rust and Walker


Elder Walker at Elder Rudd's birthday dinner

Elder Walker's new bike!
Elder Walker in his apartment with his Spiderman towel that Devin and Lianne gave him for Christmas.

August 9, 2010 - Expect Miracles

Hello everyone,
Sorry the letter is super late today, this is Elder Rust's last p-day so we've finally decided to take a quick break and send a letter home.
So how is everyone doin? I ask because I don't know... hint hint (that means send more letters). I do have to say that I received a great letter from Hedy Lu and Karli this week. They are great friends.
83201
It would be great to see a few letters in the mail box this week! haha.
So I couple of great miracles happened this weekend. I wish I could emphasize the greatness of these miracles but there is no way to understand completely unless you were here. The first miracle is that Brandon Beers finally got permission from his dad to get baptized! Brandon is the one that I told you about who knows more about Preach my Gospel and the scriptures than most new missionaries. He's 16 and has read the Book of Mormon 7 times! That's more than I've read it. This has been a battle for 7 years to get him baptized and now it is finally going to happen. Cool story about how he told me. We went to his ward's neighborhood party and Brandon was there. I asked him about how it went with talking to his Dad and he totally played it up that he hadn't talked with his dad yet after we committed him to it so many times. After letting it go for a while he said, "well I guess we'll have to move my baptism day to Sept. 4th." I said, "ok, is that to give you more time to ask your dad? He said, "no, because that's the day my dad said I could get baptized." Now mind you this whole time he's just playing it off all cool like it's no big deal. Then I jumped on him and started freaking out! Greatest day of my mission for sure! His fellowshipper, Bro. Porter came over to join the excitement but knew what was going on the whole time! They said they planned the whole thing out to mess with Walker. Oh boy am I excited!
The next miracle is that Clifford Bacon came to church!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I never thought I would see him inside a chapel for as long as I was here for sure! What happened is the ward asked me to do a musical number so I was pestering him for weeks to come hear it. I thought all hope was lost but when we got to the building he was there! He has set a date for the 11th of September to be baptized.
The Lord is blessing us with so much success. We have 7 people with a specific date to be baptized. Every new investigator seems to be accepting a baptism date which in and of itself is a miracle. I can't wait to see what is in store for this week.
I hope all is well in Colorado and where ever you are in the world who reads this. This work rocks. Remember to always pray for a desire to serve and you too will be called to so great a work. "Shall we not go on in such great a cause?"


--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Photos from Transfer Day

Elder Walker and Sister Missionaries ("Best Sister Missionaries ever now that Chels is home.")

Last picture with Elder Fernberg on transfer day July 2010

God Speed Elder Fernberg - 8/2/2010

Let me just start by telling you a great thing that is going to happen. Yesterday I got a call from Brother Bosen, he left a message that said, "Elder Walker I have your beans and I also have a question for you, call me back." When I called him back he asked me to speak at Elder Bosen's speaking assignment for his return to Pocatello! He and I will be speaking on the 29th together. So if you want to fly out for Elder Bosen's return you will see me too. haha. How cool is that? This is going to be a great time and one that I will always remember.

On a more serious note. Let me share with you something really close to my heart. I love Elder Fernberg. He and I got along so well. I don't know what it was about him and I but we just meshed really well. On his last night with me in Pocatello we stayed up super late just talking. He and I both shared what we learned from each other and what the Spirit taught us this transfer. This is when he shared with me a story I will never forget:

Elder Fernberg is a Spanish speaking missionary and has been his whole mission. It was extremely unusual for President Colton to have put him in English work especially for such a short time. When he was in the MTC his third day there he was laying in his bed at the end of the day staring at the ceiling with thoughts of the Hispanic people he was going to teach in Idaho, learning the language, and what the Lord had in store for him. At the time of pondering his future he said that a man's image came to his mind as clear as if he was standing in front of him. This man was Hispanic, shorter, a little heavy set, and balding. When this image came to his mind he had a distinct impression that the Lord wanted him to find this man; this man was who he was called to bring into the fold. Elder Fernberg's first year was so focused on finding this man, when he would see someone who looked close to what he pictured he would run to them with a hopeful heart only to find that the person wasn't who he pictured. After about a year and a half of this searching he was starting to give up, he couldn't find who he was looking for. President Colton then called him to English work in Pocatello. He wasn't happy that he was called out of Spanish work and did not want to be working in English. He came to this area with Elder Paterson and together they found the man who was baptized a few weeks ago, Mark Soto. Together they taught him and set a baptism date, then Elder Paterson got transferred and I was put here with Elder Fernberg. Together we continued teaching and preparing Brother Soto for his baptism. The day before his baptism Elder Fernberg was staring at the ceiling again with many thoughts coming to his mind about the baptism like most missionaries do. At that moment the image of the man who he distinctly pictured in the MTC came back to his mind and it was Brother Soto. He told me that the Spirit overwhelmed him more so than any other moment in his life. He found the man who he was sent to find. He fulfilled the purpose he was sent to fulfill. He told me he couldn't describe the emotions that came to him at that moment other than it was one of the happiest moments of his life. No wonder the Lord tells us, "if it so be that ye should labor all your days...and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" I am now beginning to understand what the Lord is trying to tell us in this scripture.

Now why do I tell you this story? I tell you because it is a testimony to me that this is the Lord's work. To add to that testimony, Elder Fernberg got transferred back into Spanish work. The Lord used him to fulfill his purpose to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." I know this is the Lord's church. We will find success as we "do his work in his way, by his power". Please know how grateful I am to be His missionary. I love every minute of what I am doing. There is no greater work in the world than that of missionary work.

We have had such a great and successful week. I really like being in a threesome because there is never a dull moment. Elder Rust and Elder Rudd are my companions. Try introducing those names to all the people you meet, it is a clear challenge. Anyway we had a successful week because we were able to set 2 baptism dates one of which came from a man who we met while walking home (we were walking home because they took our car away and gave it to the sister missionaries). His name is Joel and invited us to come back. When we went for our appt we taught about prophets and priesthood authority; during the lesson we invited him to be baptized and he accepted for the 18th of Sept. Joel brought is the sixth person that has decided to be baptized in our area with a specific date. The zone has 19 dates set, 17 for this month, which is more than this zone has seen in a long long long time. This success is coming from the new simplified curriculum from Elder Holland. Man, I love missionary work!

I hope all is well back home. I hope everyone is happy and healthy.
Love you all!

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

Pocatello 24th of July Parade




Transfers Again 7/26/2010

We got transfer info last night. Can you believe that this transfer came and went like that??? Holy smokes. Come Wednesday I have been out 9 months! Wow.

The transfer news is that I am staying in the Alameda stake. The sad news is that Elder Fernberg is getting transferred... I was really hoping he wouldn't. We've really got along this transfer and I've learned so much from him. The good news about that though is that I'll be getting Elder Rudd. I don't know if I've said anything about Elder Rudd in the past but he was my Zone Leader in St. Anthony for 4 1/2 months. I really like Elder Rudd. He and I went on exchanges twice while I was up north and we joked about serving together. When I got the leadership assignment Elder Rudd was the first one I called. He is way awesome. I'm looking forward to the next transfer. We'll also be having Elder Rust with us. Elder Rust goes home in three weeks so they wanted to put us in a threesome until he goes. Elder Rust is currently serving as a District Leader in our zone. Elder Rudd is from Jacksonville Florida and Elder Rust is from Philadelphia.

We were able to set another baptism date with a lady named Maria Mariani this week. She is in her 50s and has been way prepared for this to happen. Her life has been such a roller coaster of emotions. She was in prison for several years and was highly addicted to several drugs. She has completely changed her life around and now teaches at the prison to help inmates with addictions. She has such a great testimony already; it'll be great to see the testimony she'll have when we finish teaching her. The great thing about Maria is that she recognizes the events in her life and knows that it all happened for this moment. I love missionary work.

Oh way cool thing happened... Kinda worldly but still cool. If you remember back to December I made the comment that a missionary going to a ward party is a like a movie star walking the streets of Hollywood. I was way wrong. This is the comparison... A missionary in the 24th of July parade in Pocatello Idaho is like being a movie star walking the streets of Hollywood! Great times! We were asked to be on a float for the parade and I have never had so many people get excited to see me! Wow. Lots and lots of people shouting and cheering as we went by. Did I like it? Of course. It's me.

I forgot how wild people get around here for the 24th.

Well family, all is well. I am doing great! I love life and look forward to what the Lord has in store for this next transfer.

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Way 7/19/2010

Hello my great family!

How are ya? I'm doing great!

Man, time just keeps flying by! Can you believe that this is week 5 of this transfer?!?!? I can't. My 6th transfer just came and went like the wind in good ol' St. Anthony. The assistants and President Colton are meeting Wednesday to begin transfer meetings! When I was in St. Anthony one of our ward mission leaders told me that there will be a day when I get on my knees and plead with Heavenly Father to slow the time down, I'm now starting to understand what he meant by that and I'm not even past my year mark yet. It'll be interesting to see how the time goes next year.

Let me just tell you, this week was GREAT! I loved every second of it. As I told you last week we had our 3 day leadership conference here in Pocatello; it was fantastic! My mind was completely blown away and hasn't exactly returned to earth quite yet. Elder Holland has completely changed missionary work world wide. We now have what's called the new "simplified" curriculum. It is way inspired and has already worked wonders on our zone. One companionship set 3 baptism dates in just 2 days by applying the new curriculum. I must say though that if I was really to give you any details about it you would all be super confused except Chelsee because it is a spin off of Preach my Gospel. I guess Devin would kinda get it. What you need to know is that this is the difference in missionary work; we are no longer going to learn the lessons in PMG but will be completely focused on this new "simplified curriculum" for our missionary work. This doesn't mean that we disregard PMG, because this is all taken from it in just a more detailed way, what it means is that we focus more on the Spirit of prophesy and revelation for our investigators and only teach them what they need. Intense! The Pocatello Central Zone will be reporting 9 baptisms this month compared to the 0 from June, that is the difference in the new missionary work. And I'm pretty sure that's why President Colton put me in this zone.

Pretty much that meeting has been the focus for the week. We are doing really well and are starting to see miracles happen in our area. I'm excited to write next week and give you an update for what's happened with applying this new curriculum.

It was so fun to see the Bosen Family last week! It was really fun to see the other side of "missionary life". The reason I say that is because I knew Elder Bosen pretty well and knew all his missionary stories. When I met with his family they didn't know half of them or didn't know much detail to his Castle Rock stories, so I filled them in with details and awesome stories. The first thing Sister Bosen said when I met her was, "I guess Benji is supposed to marry your sister huh?" HaHa! YES!!! It's all been arranged! I don't even care if they get married while I'm on my mish just as long as it's in the Rexburg or Idaho Falls temple! This is going to be so great! Elder Bosen can be my best friend and my brother all at the same time! But seriously though, Chelsee, you gotta make this happen... I have it all arranged for you. Plus he's a great missionary so you can rest assured that he'll be a great husband. If you think about it, the Lord wants you to be married to him too... We wouldn't have gotten to know him as well if dad wasn't called as Bishop, I was sent to the IPM then got transferred to the same zone that he lives in for his homecoming, he's going to go to school at ISU which is in my zone still, he really helped me to get on my mission, his parents are now acquainted with mom and dad... the list goes on and on. Let's just recognize the little details here in the grand picture. I'm so excited!

That was my tangent for the day.

I hope all is well at home. I hope everyone is happy and well off.

Thank you all for your love and support.

I love this work. I love my companion. I love my area. I love the IPM.

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

Monday, July 12, 2010

Great Week 7/12/2010

Howdy,

For those of you who have served a mission.... be jealous. I say be jealous because I am sad to tell you that your mission does not even come close to qualifying to the amount of awesome that the IPM has.... sorry.

So with that start into let me just tell you what is going to happen this week that is going to be so great! As I told you last week President Colton received a letter from Elder Holland with the new Preach my Gospel DVDs, with that letter and videos we are having a three day conference for all leadership in the mission (i.e. trainers, district leaders, and zone leaders) here in Pocatello at the institute building on ISU. All the leaders from the mission will be rooming with companionships in Pokey, Blackfoot, and American Falls. We will have a trainer from Rexburg staying with us. The conference will be Tues through Thurs from 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM then we will work in our areas with the extra missionary from 6:00 - 9:00 applying what we learned from the conference. When we get back to the conference the next day we will evaluate what we learned from the previous night in proselyting. It's gunna be big!

I had my first baptism in Pokey on Saturday for brother Mark Soto. He's in his 30s and is having a baby really soon. When he was dressing he made the comment to Elder Fernberg that he has known the church is true for a long time but its now that he had felt that he was ready to make the covenants. His sister-in-law was there, who is not a member, and was in tears the whole time. She told us that she wants to go to church; we'll be following up on that this week.

I had the opportunity to confirm Brother Soto yesterday in church. I don't know about you but for me a confirmation is much more rewarding than performing a baptism. I'm glad that I've been able to confirm so many converts on my mission.

Yesterday in the Alameda third ward was definitely on my top 3 most spiritual sacrament meetings ever. We had Bro. Soto's confirmation, Elder Fernberg and I did a musical number with a 7 year old boy who sang "I am a child of God" which brought everyone in the congregation to tears, and the Bishop and his counselor were the speakers on Tithing and Obedience. It was so so so great! We had two investigators there and the one who we sat with, Lori Allison, was balling the whole time. She was recently a victim of domestic violence from her boyfriend and when that boy, Beau, sang I am a child of God she couldn't hold anything back, she was balling.

We were able to set a baptism date with an "eternal" investigator yesterday. His name is Brandon Beers. He's 16 and has been meeting with missionaries for 5 years!! Let me just put some things in perspective for you about Brandon. He has read the Book of Mormon 7 times, he's read Preach my Gospel, He's more active than most of the teenagers in his ward, he's been in Seminary for 2 years, and he says "when I go on my mission..., and he gets asked to give talks at the sacrament services at the nursing home down the street. What 16 year old member or non-member do you know that does that? I don't know of a single one. What's been happening now is he is teaching us the missionary lessons because he knows them better than most greenie missionaries that come out. Awesome huh? I think so.

Well yesterday as Brandon was teaching us about Prophets we came to the conclusion that he needs the Holy Ghost now more than ever to prepare him for his mission. When we talked about that for a while I asked Brandon when he knows that he'll be ready to be baptized. He told us that his date is going to be the 24th of July. The ward council, us, and Brandon are fasting today for his dad to say yes. Please keep him in your prayers.

That's about it for the missionary work here in Pokey! We had a very very good week this week and I know that next week will be just as good.

peace and love,
Elder Walker

7-5-10

What a great week! I am loving Pocatello more and more each week! I love that everything is so close and that we can actually talk to people on the street.

We have had a successful and extremely busy week. First off I went to my first zone leader council on Friday with all the zone leaders of the mission, the assistants, and President Colton. What a power house. I loved it. I didn't know the work that goes on behind the scenes of missionary work. I had no idea what the zone leaders had to do or the council they received. I really look forward to the next one on the 30th. We rode up to Idaho Falls for the meeting with the assistants and they informed me that we got a new zone leader last week due to some emergency transfers and such. Guess who the new zone leader is.... it's Elder Call! I was way excited to see my daddy again. I'm excited for this new change. He had just been called the night before the meeting so he still had the "dear in the headlights" look like I did for a few days.

At the zone leader council we learned of some huge changes that are taking place. Since Elder Holland has been the executive director over missionary work he has made huge changes. Well the other day President Colton received a letter that is taking missionary work to a whole new level. With out boring you with all the details pretty much what's going to happen is that the assistants and President are going to have much less to do with the IPM and the zone leaders are going to carry out everything. Kinda like a Stake President with a stake. You don't have the area authority seventy come for every training or for lead out all activities but rather a Stake President and Bishop do the work. That's how our mission is going to run but with much more detail and new plans. We think this is leading to a new version of Preach my Gospel. We'll see. We're having a 3 day zone leader conference in Idaho Falls to learn the "new way" of doing things.

I have learned so much this last week. Such spiritual growth. We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the assistants on Friday. I went to their area with Elder Curtis; what a great missionary. He taught me so much. I really learned what it takes to be the leader I need to be. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to do what I need to but I will give 110% to be the best I can be. There is so much to learn from the assistants, I wish I could have spent a week with them. They are great.

Cool story; I got a phone call the other day from a Brother Wild. He told me that he is Elder Bosen's grandfather and he and his daughter (Elder Bosen's mom) would like to take me and Elder Fernberg out to dinner. That's going to be great! I'm way excited! I'm also really confident that I'll be here when he gets off his mission. President Colton told me to be thinking at least 6 months here in the Alameda stake. That's going to be great!

I also got another phone call from a Brother Drake who says, "Elder Walker I was just in Idaho Falls and talked with a missionary by the name of Elder Call, he tells me that you are a great organist. Well I play recitals at the conference center and the tabernacle in Salt Lake all the time. I would like to play the organ with you sometime." My thoughts were, Elder Call is a tool! I don't play the organ! He only said that because he knows how much I hate to play the organ! haha. Maybe if we played a little piano I would be okay but I would be way lost trying to play the organ with one who plays in SLC for recitals!

We have my first baptism in Poky coming up this Saturday. Brother Mark Soto is going to be baptized at 7:00 PM. I'm way excited for this to happen. The best part is that he is excited too.

Well the work is moving forward. I love every minute. I'm smiling all the time and love to do the work of the Lord.

--
Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Poky 6-28-2010

Well hello there everyone!

This has been a great week! I'm pretty sure I've worked harder this week than any other week of my mission. As Zone Leaders we have to have the example area for the rest of the missionaries. We taught more lessons than one of our districts, we have 3 baptism dates right now and are planning to set some more this week.

Being a Zone Leader isn't as bad as I thought. I assumed that we would be busy doing administrative things most of the day but that isn't true at all. Although we get a million phone calls asking for permission to do things we don't really loose too much proselyting time. We do have a few more meetings to go to and some nights are hard to get to bed on time because of phone calls and such or dealing with issues but most days are not too bad. I have really enjoyed getting to know more missionaries and being able to offer advice by the Spirit.
Things I don't like are telling someone "no" when I would want to do the exact same thing that they are requesting permission to do. haha. That's life though isn't it.

This last week I conducted my first exchange ever. I've been on several exchanges as a missionary but never as the one to conduct the exchange. It was a success. I went with Elder Merrell from Georgia who has a super thick accent! It was fun. Kinda weird to be one who gets asked for advice or to help set goals of how to become a better missionary. I hope I was able to help him find new insights to his missionary work.

Coolest story for the week... There is a man that we've been working with who has made an incredible change in his life. Brother Pitman hasn't been active in the church for several years and has had events in his life that have led him back to the church. The great thing about Bro. Pitman is that he commits himself to change or he teaches himself. So here's the story, we went to our appt and the first thing he says is, "come in, I need the Spirit bad today and you bring it with you." As we started talking we wanted to commit him to live the word or wisdom. Well definately he felt the Spirit because before we could even say anything he says, "it's time to change, yup, get out the ointment, I need a blessing." At this time he gets on his knees and keeps saying get out the ointment. I did all I could to not chuckle. I said, "Bro. Pitman, I think you mean the consecrated oil. We don't need that for this type of blessing." He then says, "Well I don't care what you use, I just need some divine intervention here!" What a great man. Well long story short he is now starving for the Spirit and doing all he can to quit smoking. He goes out to teaching appts with us and now helps us to commit others to live the word of wisdom. We gave the talks in his ward yesterday and when I started I promised the congregation that as I shared my thoughts they would have a name come to their mind of someone who needed to be invited to come to church and to meet with us. When we were done Bro. Pitman came up to us with a list of at least 10 names and said, "Elder Walker, I need some Book of Mormons." He is so awesome!

Well we are working hard and having fun and most definately living it up! I really like this area. I really like the people we work with and the leaders of the church here. Doesn't mean that I don't miss St. Anthony because I really really do but this place is just as good. In fact when I have missionary dreams they are still with me proselyting in St. Anthony apparently my brain hasn't come yet... I can see me loving this area just as much.-- Peace and Love,Elder Walker

Monday, June 21, 2010

Elder Walker with Elder Ponce - one of the AP's. Elder Ponce's last day on his mission was Tyson's first day in Pocatello.
Elder Walker and Elder White - This is the Elder that Tyson trained.

Elder Walker and his favorite missionaries!


Elder Walker's home on the Snake River in St. Anthony

Pocatello - June 21, 2010

Hello everyone!

Well... Probably the most crazy week of my mission.

Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning were by far the hardest times for me emotionally. I didn't expect it to be so hard leaving St. Anthony. We made visits all Tuesday night to say good bye to everyone and then Wednesday morning I cried as we drove down the highway towards Rexburg to the transfer sight. St. Anthony will always have a very special place in my heart. I will forever thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to have the many many great experiences I had and to know the people I knew there as well.

It is official, I am a Zone Leader in the Pocatello Central Zone. I don't even know what I'm doing but I'm learning each day. My companion is so great! Finally I got a companion that I will work really well with. He and I are doing so well. Elder Fernberg is so different than Elder Call and Elder White but different for a really good thing. He loves performing arts! He sings really really well and likes theatre! He's from Murrieta, California. He works super hard but has so much fun also. Man this is going to be such a great transfer.

The hardest part of being a Zone Leader is trying to get trained so fast. I've had to learn everything the District Leaders do and everything we do in just a few days. I've never really known the responsibilities of the leaders because I haven't been around them much. I've learned how important it is to be the example for my Zone but how to learn from every missionary around me. We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Assistants on Saturday and I asked Elder Curtis how I can be the most effective leader he said, "be the missionary who leads but is also willing to learn." I have already learned a bunch from my companion and from other missionaries in our Zone and will only continue to learn much much more. I love every second of it.

Pocatello is definitely a huge culture shock for me. I was so used to being in St. Anthony. A quiet place with not too many people. An area that is completely removed from everyone. We ruled the world up there in that little town. Here in Pocatello there is a huge difference! We see the Assistants all the time, our Zone sees us a whole bunch, and we drive past the mission office all the time. Definitely some changes. I pretty much went from Sedalia to Castle Rock. But great news! Elder Bosen's home is in my Zone! I'm pretty sure I'll be here when he reports his mission and because I can, we will be going on exchanges that day with the Highland Elders so I can be there. hehe.

Well I'll give you more experiences and I'll have some spiritual stories next week when my brain arrives from St. Anthony. I love you!-- Peace and Love,Elder Walker

Monday, June 7, 2010

Elder Walker
The Tank in St. Anthony

A family Elder Walker has been teaching and reactivating since November

The St. Anthony Elders - (oh my)




June 7,2010 witness after a trail of faith‏

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it's been a couple (or a "couple-three" as we say in Idaho) weeks since I've e-mailed the whole group. Let me just tell you that this week has been crazy! So much has happened! I don't even know where to start...

This week we've had the Spanish Missionaries stay with us at our house because of a teenage girl that came to stay with the family they live with. It was so much fun! There is wisdom behind President Colton not letting 4 missionaries stay together because I was super distracted during studies and getting to bed on time was near impossible. Probably the most fun I've had in one week than any other week since I've been here. When they were packing up to leave on Saturday we took their mattresses and made a slide down our stairs... you would've had to have seen it.

We had interviews on Tuesday with President Colton. During the interview he unofficially told me that I am getting transferred and where I'm going. His exact words were, "now Elder Walker we haven't decided this yet but I'm pretty sure your time is up in St. Anthony." After talking about how great this area is he then told me, "you'll have great areas anywhere in the mission but I think you'd do great in Pocatello. Yeah, let's send you to Pocatello." So there you have it. I guess I may possibly be going to Pocatello. How cool would it be to serve in Elder Bosen's home ward when he gets home? That would be so great! Obviously this doesn't mean that it is going to happen because they are deciding transfers this week but I'm pretty sure my time is up too. We'll find out for sure next Sunday when they send out the transfer information.

On Saturday we took Stephanie Westover, my recent convert, to the Idaho Falls temple visitor's center to see "Testaments". What we didn't know though was that her husband showed up too! He isn't a member, in fact he normally avoids church things. We were running a bit behind in getting there so while they were waiting for us they took a walk around the temple grounds together. Stephanie made the comment to us that she feels such peace there. She said that it feels like she doesn't want to talk but to just soak it all up. We then went into to theatre to see the film. Anyways, the Westovers had a great experience. The next day, which was fast Sunday, Stephanie got up to bear her testimony. She told of her experience and then testified of the reality of Jesus Christ actually coming to America. There is not much more rewarding than to hear the testimony of an individual who you helped bring into the church. I will never forget that moment.

(Side note: When the film started I decided to go use the restroom so I didn't have to get up from the middle of it to disrupt the spirit. In the visitor's center the women's restroom and the men's restroom doors face each other. When I opened the door the women's side opened too. Jessica Bartholio was coming out at the same time as me! Crazy! I guess she was with a group from school to see the Joseph Smith film. We got really excited and then took a picture in front of the Christ statue there in the center.)

To top off my day with even more greatness yesterday we had another wonderful experience. Caroline Clemens, the lady who is getting baptized on Saturday, went to church with us. Before the meeting started we explained to her what testimony meeting is and how it works, she then said, "I don't have to go up there do I?", we explained that she doesn't have to but we encourage her to if she feels the spirit tell her to. Now a little background on Caroline, she is an extremely shy person. She hates being around large groups of people. It took us a few weeks just to convince her to sit up front with us rather than in the very back at church. Well as the meeting gets going she starts getting a bit antsy. We thought that she was wanting to get out. She finally stood up and walked up to the pulpit to share her testimony with the congregation! She gave a very simple yet very powerful testimony. While talking she said, "I am very thankful for Elder Walker and Elder White..." She then started to cry up at the pulpit. Trying to regain herself she managed to get out, "...for bringing the church into my life." At this time my companion and I are just balling on the front row of the chapel. Our ward mission leader, Kurt Harrison, was sitting behind us and was balling. The Bishop up front was balling. President Crapo was there too and was balling. Pretty much that was the moment I've been needing for a very long time.

I am so blessed. The Lord gave me just a great experience yesterday, an experience I will never forget. Those moments are what make this worth it. To know that I was able to bring joy to some body's life makes every challenge, every sorrow, every heartache, worth it. The Lord has to give us a trail of faith before he will give us a witness.

I am so happy. I can't wait for this Saturday when Caroline gets baptized. What a glorious day that will be. -- Peace and Love,Elder Walker

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spud Factory Tour

Elder Walker at the Spud Factory

Spuds 5/17/2010

Well howdy everyone,

Oh boy, what a week. We went to the spud factory last Monday which was awesome! You might not think that a spud factory sounds that exciting but it was. This place puts out over 3 million pounds of potatoes a year. Crazy amount of spuds.

On Tuesday I went to Big Jud's for the first time up in Ashton. If you have never been to big Jud's, let me just tell you, it lives up to it's name. Those burgers are HUGE! And that is an understatement. What a great experience.

My companion had to have surgery on Thursday on his foot. He wasn't allowed to move around so we had to stay in on Thursday. I hated that. I was so antsy; our apartment hasn't been as clean as it is now from Thursday.

Friday we went to Zone Conference. This zone conference was the best one I've been to yet. The theme for this conference was charity and love. President Colton gave such a great talk and the assistants gave an awesome training. I was asked to play the organ, which I do at every zone conference, but this organ was the oldest thing I've ever seen! I had no idea how to play it. The buttons were all different and it was way smaller than usual. I did my best though and it all worked out.

My favorite part of zone conf. is at the end when we sing "How firm a Foundation". We sing all 7 verses of that song every time as the closing hymn. The words to that hymn are so powerful and so motivating. I encourage you all to read those words and think about how the song applies to you. You will find new great insights to life.

We finally got a baptism date set! Caroline Clemens is her name; she has a 2 year old Son and raises him all on her own. She is 24 and just recently went through a terrible divorce. Get this, she is a Seminary graduate but has never been baptized. She grew up in a foster family that encouraged her to go to seminary. Don't ask me how it is possible for her to attend seminary for 4 years and never join the church but here we are. She has had a really rough life and hasn't ever felt genuine love from anyone before. We explained that although she hasn't felt love in her life, there is one who has always loved her and that is Jesus Christ. She went silent and then said that she never looked at it that way before. She said that our persistence has meant more to her that we will ever know because it shows how much we care about her. We taught her for the second time on Saturday and she accepted a baptism invitation for the 12th of June.

Yesterday was Stake Conf. This time was different though because it was broadcast from Salt Lake. We got to hear from Elder Grow of the Seventy, Sister Johnson of the Relief Society General Presidency, Elder Robert D. Hales, and lastly President Monson. This broadcast was for all of south eastern Idaho, 72 stakes I think. I really enjoyed hearing what these incredible people had to say to us Idaho people. My favorite part was listening to Elder Grow's talk. The majority of his talk was about President Phile of the Colorado Springs Mission! Elder Grow talked about his conversion story.

Well that's pretty much all the updates. I hope you all have a great week!--

Peace and Love,
Elder Walker

Crazy Week: 5/10/2020

Hello Everybody,

Well pretty much this week has been chaos! We packed on Tuesday, picked up the new missionaries Wednesday and showed them their new area, moved Thursday, got furniture Friday, and called home Sunday. Crazy week!

Technically I got transfered because I opened a new area in the same area which I reside. We moved houses across town and split geographically the area which I had. The new house where we live is huge! Probably the biggest in the mission. It's a two story house for just two of us. Let me just tell you, missionaries don't have a whole bunch of furniture so our house looks pretty empty. We are located right on the snake river and have a great view of the Teton Mountains out our front windows. Pretty awesome hook up.

Pretty much that is all the exciting things that have happened. Doesn't seem like much but it was a crazy week.

I hope all is well and everyone is fine. I love you.

paz y amor
E. Walker