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

Monday, May 3, 2010

Transfers!!! 5/3/10

Hello everybody!

Well I'm sure you are all so anxious to hear transfer information... Let me tell you something first. I've served faithfully in St. Anthony for 6 months now. From Nov 18th to now, May 3rd... 4 transfers. 13 baptisms. 2 companions. And now the verdict... are you ready???? I'm staying in St. Anthony another 6 weeks!!! I've actually known that I was staying for a while now because President Colton told me last week. He told me that Elder White doesn't know this area well enough to be on his own.

Oh boy, I don't know what to think about this. I'm pretty sure that President Colton has forgotten about me because I'm so far from Pocatello. Just joking I know he hasn't. 5 transfers?!?! that is forever! Don't get me wrong I love St. Anthony. I really do. The people are so great here. I just don't know how much longer I can stay in one area. I discovered that I am the only one of the 20 that came out with me that is still in my "birth" area. How great is that? Pretty much I've come to the conclusion that I'm spending 2 years here.

Some exciting news though... They are splitting this area! Because of the amount of work and baptisms we've had President Colton is adding two missionaries to this stake. I'm sure how I feel about this. I don't want some missionaries coming in and taking half of my area away from me. That's terrible! We found out that the other missionaries are going to be staying with President Walker. I hope I get to move out there. He's such a great man. I think that President Colton is going to ask me to split this area. Pressure! I don't know how to split up the work. I guess I'll be praying pretty hard the next few days. Which wards do I want and/or don't want?

As I'm sure everyone knows I had the great opportunity to see Chelsee on Friday. What a great experience that was. I love love love the Rexburg temple and soak up every opportunity I get to go. I must confess that I did do something I wasn't supposed to do. When President told me I could go he told me that there is one condition, "do not hug her in broad daylight" he said. Well let me just say when we pulled in the parking lot and I saw the "green machine" (the aveo) I got super excited. Then I saw my sister. I couldn't hold back I just gave her a huge hug in the parking lot of the temple. oops. My bad.

One of our ward mission leaders was in that session and when we got to the celestial room Chelsee came and sat by me and I put my arm around her for a second. Brother Hirschi looked at me all funny so I went to explain who Chelsee was and let him know that I'm not an apostate missionary. haha

What a great reunion that was. She had some great advice to give and some awesome stories to tell. I can't wait until I get to that point when I can tell some sweet mission stories.

I must say though that I got just a little trunky when I saw my cell phone and found out that she'll be reading this e-mail on MY brand new macbook laptop!!! It's okay. I can learn to share.

Well this week has probably been the hardest week of the mission; a definite trial of my faith. Without going in too much detail pretty much a summary is that we have two boys, Jonny and Jordan, that were supposed to be baptized on Saturday. Well their mom called us Thursday night to tell us that she doesn't want her boys to get baptized. Let me just tell you, when a child has such a desire to get baptized and someone tells them that they can't, not only does that rip my heart out but worse is that it kills me to see the sorrow that comes to them.

The next terrible thing is that Jace who also was supposed to get baptized on Saturday postponed his baptism to the 15th, which is okay because he said that he needed more time, which we respect. Well on our way out to the lesson last night he called us to tell us that he needs to take a break. AWW!!!! He knows this is true. He has a testimony and yet he is destroying his potential of becoming great! We know why he needs a 'break' and that is because of the influence of his stupid anti family.

Well long story short, I was feeling pretty bad for myself and was on the verge of depressed when I read a scripture that changed my perspective. In the book of Helaman ch.14 vs. 30 it says, "...whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself...for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves" I know that these people have the gift of agency because they are exercising that right to choose for themselves. Although it hurts, I know that when I stand at the judgement bar of Almighty God I will be guiltless because I did all I could to help them succeed.

There is a lesson to be learned here. We must do all we can to help others. We do not want to have a knowledge of a person that was placed specifically in our path to help and we did nothing. Reach out and exercise charity. You will experience something great.

Well this is a super long e-mail. I hope you all made it through. I love you all very much.

peace and love,
Elder Walker

4/26/2010 Yesterday was a Bad Day!

Hello everyone!

For those of you who have sent me letters, and I haven't replied to them yet, I'm sorry. I think something is wrong at the mission office and them forwarding the letters to me. Usually the mail only takes three days to get here from Colorado but for some reason it's taking it a week and a half to get to me. I think the reason is because we just got new senior missionaries in the office and they probably don't know what they are doing. It's sad because I thought nobody was writing to me anymore until I got a letter from Hedy Lu that was stamped 13 Apr from Denver and I just got it a few days ago.

Transfers are next week and when I found out if I'm going or staying I'll give you my home address rather than the mission address so the letters get here on time. Thank you for your patience.

Last Monday was such a great day! We always go to Wal Mart in Rexburg (where BYU is) on Mondays but usually around noon. Last week my companion took a few hours to do e-mails which pushed our schedule back. We finally got to Wal Mart around 2:00 and when we walked through the doors I heard some girls calling out Tyson, Tyson. Now keep in mind I haven't heard my first name for about 6 months but I still had the reaction to turn around and look. When I turned around I saw a person who looked like Torie Lee but my mind couldn't register who she was. Although I know I'm only 10 miles away from the college I still feel like I'm completely isolated from the world. I just stood there for a few seconds and then light bulb! It was Torie! I was in complete shock! I went over to say hello but probably seemed like a complete weirdo because I had no idea what to say. Not that it was awkward, but definitely a shock. What a great experience though. I knew that would happen at one point I'm glad that it has. When we got done with our shopping all these things started to flow to my brain about what I wanted to tell her. Oh well, maybe it'll happen again.

Yesterday I had the worst day of the mission. My first official sick day. Being sick as a missionary is not fun especially on a Sunday when we have so many meetings and appts. I think what happened is that the dinner we ate on Saturday night wasn't cooked properly so all day Sunday my companion and I were throwing up everything. It was not pretty. I'm just fine now which makes me think that it had to be the dinner from Saturday night.

This Saturday is going to be a great day. We are going to have 4 convert baptisms! The most in one day I have ever had here. They are Jace Crain, Liem Dillmore, Jordan Badachi, and Johnny Badachi. I'm very excited for this weekend. Pretty much any weekend when I can go to the temple with my sister and then the next day have 4 baptisms is a great weekend in my book.

We had such a great experience with Jace last night. When we taught him last Wednesday he was having doubts about his baptism and if these things really are true or not. Last night when we taught him he was still having those same concerns and doubts. He said that when he prayed he felt like he needed to push his date back to June 1st. I told him that Heavenly Father told me and my companion through the Holy Ghost that May 1st was his day and that by pushing it back he would only be pushing back blessings. I told him that we wanted to ask right now. We all kneeled down and I said the prayer. When I said, "Heavenly Father is Jace supposed to be baptized this Saturday" I paused for what seemed to be a lifetime but was probably only 15 seconds. The Spirit filled the room. I thought I received a witness as to when he is supposed to be baptized but after that experience I know that this Saturday is when is to be baptized. He knows it too.

Well I know this e-mail is pretty scattered and extremely unorganized but that is how my brain is today. I hope you all are doing well. I love you all.

peace and love,
Elder Walker

Baptism #12 4/19/2010

Hello everybody!

What a great week! Oh my heck. Probably the busiest week so far in the mission.

We had another baptism for Kyler Kunz on Saturday. What a powerful baptism that was. Probably one of the best I've been involved in. Kyler is such a stud. He is 12 years old and was so ready for that day. He came to his baptism in his new suit he got from his grandparents which was too big for him so he can grow into it. His mom who isn't a member is soooo close to getting dunked. Amber has such a desire to get baptized. She has been to church every Sunday since the first Sunday in January. She has family prayer every night, prayer over their food, and scripture reading each day. She knows the church is true and wants more than anything to get to the point of baptism. The problem is that she can't quit her smoking. It really rips my heart out to see her desire and her testimony grow but yet she is so addicted to a substance that is preventing her from recieving the blessing of eternal life. She tells us that she wants more than anything to go to the temple and be sealed together. At Kyler's baptism she was an emotional wreck. Especially when President Walker gave some closing remarks. I know she was emotional because of her sincere desire to make this covenant.

Speaking of President Walker, he is such a great stake president. Even though he's been the only one I've worked with, he's the best. He has been to every single one of our convert baptisms. He calls us often to ask what he can do to help. He takes sincere interest in the people we are teaching and makes an effort to get to know them. The spanish elders had a baptism on Saturday also and instead of taking his day off President Walker was at the church most of the day supporting the missionary work in his stake. He tells me every transfer that I need to let him know when transfers are so he can call President Colton and work out a deal to keep me here. I would choose to finish out my mission in St. Anthony if I could. There aren't better people on the planet than these people here.

I hope you remember our recent convert Aaron Boots. We went out to his house yesterday for his first new member lesson. We went a few minutes early to check up on them before their home teachers came. While talking I was invited to go and "shoot dog" next Monday. Shoot dog is when the calf runs out of a "shoot" which is like a cage and you have to grab hold of it by the horns and twist to get him to lay down on his side. Be ready for some awesome pictures next week! I'm so excited. I don't know if this is exactly approved but we're supposed to experience the culture right? I think of this as a cultural experience.

We had the wonderful opportunity to pick up 6 new investigators this last week. Four of the six is a whole family! That doesn't happen too often here in Idaho. We are teaching this lady, Mary Lu, and her 3 kids. One day this family went to the church on a Tuesday night to go to church. One of the Bishops found her and took her information and gave it to us. We have now taught them two times and are working on getting a date for their baptism. Miracles happen every day. I think of the movie August Rush when August says, "music is all around us all we have to do is listen" I want to change that to say "miracles happen all around us all we have to do is look". Who says that miracles stopped with Jesus' Apostles? I am a witness that miracles do happen. There are no such things as coincidences; coincidences are what people call miracles that are too blind to see God's hand in our life.

I love you all. More importantly I know that God loves you all.

peace and love,
Elder Walker

Rock It Up 4/12/10

Hello everyone,

We officially have rocked up St. Anthony. Well maybe not us, but the Spirit has rocked up St. Anthony.

We were successful in setting 3 more baptism dates which will total 5 baptisms this transfer. And people think there isn't work to do in Idaho... Sheesh, apparently there is. Well there is in St. Anthony anyway.

We have had a great week. Missionary work has seemed to explode the last few weeks and I am very excited to be apart of it. St. Anthony is such a great area with such great people. It is going to be a very sad day when I have to leave here and leave these people. I have built such a bond with these people I'm sure it will last for eternity. Missionary work is great.

Last night we had the great opportunity to take Jace to the Idaho Falls Temple Visitors Center. We watched "Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration" with him and then stayed for a fireside. When the video was finished we sat there for a few moments just letting the Spirit work on him and then finally I spoke up and asked him what he is feeling inside. His response was, "it's amazing to see what people can do. On both spectrum great things were done." He has now officially accepted the gospel and knows that this is true! What a great time we had.
The brother who spoke at the fireside was just recently called to preside over a mission in Indonesia. His presentation was perfect. He has his PhD in science and talked about putting faith before science. We couldn't have asked for a better topic. That is exactly what Jace is struggling with is science and faith. Afterwards I talked with this man and before I could even tell him anything he said, "Elder, I know that what I said tonight was exactly what that man who was sitting by you needed to hear." The Spirit works in such great ways! One more or the many miracles I have been able to witness as a missionary.

Training is going pretty good. I feel that this assignment has helped me become a greater missionary. My companion is doing well. Although he and I are completely, completely, completely different we are trying to find common ground. He is super into Science Fiction and Pokemon. He talks about all of these characters that he makes up each day to go into a book he is writing, kinda like another star wars, harry potter type thing. Despite all of that he is my brother and I love him. We may not be similar in any ways but what he are similar in is the gospel of Jesus Christ and our testimonies of what is true. be are both missionaries and that is what makes us the same.

I hope all is well with everyone. I hope everybody is finding success. Above all I hope you are all happy.

peace and love,
Elder Walker

Happy Day After Easter 4/5/10

Hello everyone!

What a great week! Well every week is great but this one was great too.

Conference was great! I loved it. I have never experienced conference in the way I did the last 2 days. What a great time we have to listen to the prophet speak to us. Since Elder Scott came to the mission I have had a new view of the Apostles and a definite testimony of their divinity. I don't think I have ever wished for there to be more conference but after this weekend I really want more to be said.

I thought that for sure we would have some people to sit with in the stake center but with this being Idaho, us and the Spanish Elders were the only ones watching conference at the stake center. We tried to get our investigators to go with us but when they can get it on local television we had no success. We did get some to come to priesthood session but that's all.

I'm glad to hear that my great Sister is home safely. She is still the best missionary ever. I can't wait when I get to see her and hear her stories in a few weeks.

Yesterday was such a great day. As many of you know, I am training right now. I love to train because I don't do most of the training. All I have to do is be the best missionary I can be and use the Holy Ghost in all aspects of missionary work and then my companion will follow suit. This was witnessed to me last night when we were teaching Jace, our investigator who is going to be baptized on 1 May. We watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with him for Easter and then after the video bore witness of the reality of the Resurrection and that the Lord Jesus Christ lives. After the lesson my companion sat really quiet in the car and then started to cry and expressed that he felt the spirit so strong. I then helped him understand and recognize the authority he has to proclaim to the world that this is true and that Jesus Christ lives. He and I both had such a great lesson with Jace last night. He told us that he has no more reason to believe that this isn't true. Now mind you that when we started he didn't even believe in the Bible or comprehend faith. The Spirit works in such wonderful ways.

In my studies this morning I was reading in Alma and came upon some scriptures that have such a great meaning to me. In the 29th chapter of Alma, verses 9 and 13, "...I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. ... that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full.

My joy is full. I am so incredibly happy. I can't even express my joy and my pure spiritual happiness. No greater joy have I ever felt than being part of bringing a soul to God. I am eternally thankful to my God for giving me this chance in my life to serve him. At this Easter time I gladly give my whole self to this great cause. The Savior gave his all for me, I can do all I can for him. How great is my calling!

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." 3 Nephi 5:13

I love this work. The Lord is my savior and redeemer. I love him.

peace and love,
Elder Walker

3/29/2010 New Adventure

Hello everyone,

So let me start by saying that I appreciate all of your love and care for me in this new adventure of my mission.

I gave a very successful birth on Wednesday morning at about 10:17 AM to a baby boy. His name is Elder Christopher White from South Carolina. When I first saw him his first words were, "I will never call you 'daddy'". I just laughed. I think he was having a rough morning... Things have changed and he is starting to loosen up.

He really is a great missionary with great potential. I have really felt the mantle shift from Elder Call to myself this week though. When we plan I feel more inspiration and direction than I did before; when we are in teaching appointments I feel more direction in what scriptures to use and answers to questions than I did before as well. I never thought that I would miss Elder Call but when I was laying in bed on Wednesday night I really felt the appreciation that I never thought I had for that great missionary. He is one that I will always remember. He truly has set me a path that will make my mission and my life successful. I know that I wouldn't be training now myself if it wasn't for the lessons and the experiences that my trainer taught me.

Let me share with you an experience we had yesterday that is both funny and humbling. We were asked to speak in the Twin Groves first ward yesterday, which was Elder White's first assignment. I told him at the transfer sight that his first assignment was to prepare a 15 minute talk on the role of missionaries in missionary work. He accepted the assignment and had a few days to prepare. Well we get to sacrament meeting in which there were no sustainings and the youth speaker only spoke for 2 minutes. We were left with about 35 minutes for the two of us. As the senior companion I was asked to speak last. Elder White was really nervous. When it was our turn I told him to talk for 17 minutes. He got up and gave great insights on missionaries and what we do and then started to bear his testimony after only 6 minutes! I was flipping out when he concluded leaving me with 30 minutes to fill... Let me just tell you, that talk was definitely when I depended upon the spirit for help the most to help me with what to say to double my planned talk.

That is the funny part of the story. The serious part is while I was speaking I had such a direct impression come to me that Jace Crain, one of our investigators, was going to accept a baptism invitation that night if it was extended by Elder White. I pushed that thought out of my head because Elder Call and I invited him 3 previous times to be baptized with no success. When we were driving to the apartment to eat lunch I told my companion that he needed to listen very carefully to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and act upon them in the appointment with Jace. Now mind you I didn't tell him to set a baptism date or even tell him that he had rejected an invitation 3 times in the past all I simply said was to follow the promptings. Well we got to the lesson in which we started to talk about blessings and the example of Jesus Christ. I then turned the lesson over to Elder White to add his testimony or any comments he had. As soon as my companion opened his mouth I felt the Spirit just fill the room, he then proceeded to extend the invitation to be baptized. Jace accepted the invitation and will be baptized on the 1st of May.

I'm reminded of what President Colton told us in the "train the trainers" meeting. He said, "the Lord loves to use 'green' missionaries in his work." I know that is true. I know that the spirit told my companion what to say and when to say it. I also know that the Lord works on his time, not ours. Elder White was sent here to invite Jace to be baptized and he was the only one who could do it.

I remember the first baptism date that I set. It was with the Westover family. Elder Call did the same thing to me and let me set the first baptism date. I will always remember that moment. When I was able to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost and successfully set a date, it was then that I finally felt like a missionary. I hope my companion feels the same way.

We are working hard each day. Harder than I think we have strength to do. There is still so much work to do here in St. Anthony and I'm glad that the Lord has me here to stay for 6 more weeks.

We do the Lord's work, His way, and only by His power. I know that this is the true gospel because of the miracles that I witness each day. I am a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and will always do what he requires of me.

peace and love,
Elder Walker