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