Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014 Final Countdown

Oh my goodness. It's finally here!!!!! I can't believe it! I leave on Monday guys! Monday! I am so excited!! I feel like the time just flew by!! I am not even close to being ready with my Spanish but I know that once I get down there I won't even know what anyone is saying anyway so it'll be fine. I will learn and the Spanish will come eventually so I am not actually all that worried. I am really just super excited right now and I wish it was Monday today so that I could be in the airport and the airplane and be traveling down to Puebla! It is like, real now! I know that I am a missionary already and that I have been serving in the MTC and all that but I still don't really feel like a missionary yet and I haven't really been in the "real world" I am really excited!! :) I'm excited to see what it looks like down there and to hear all the crazy fast spanish speakers and to see where I am going to live and to see my new companion! There's so much to look forward to! I just can't believe how fast the time went by. A month of my mission is already gone!!! Ah! That is so crazy to me!
So Girl's camp was fun and crazy and busy as always then? I'm glad that it was! I wish I could have gone! My year at Reid Ranch wasn't all that great because I was sick for a lot of it and it was not very fun so I would have loved to go back and make a better time of it but that's ok because I love what I am doing and I wouldn't trade it for anything! It is so much fun! don't get me wrong, it's like, the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is so fun and so great and I have learned so much! It's so awesome being a missionary! :) 
So Friday was service day and we were able to go to the pillow room!! Apparently people think it is like a myth or something and I had never actually heard of it before but i went there and it was so much fun!!! It is a whole bedroom just full of pillows and so we all just ran in and jumped into the pillows like it was a pool and we were like swimming through the pillows! It was so much fun! we just all laughed so much and threw pillows at each other! It was such a work out! because you can literally sink in the pillows and it takes so much work to get out of them. Getting out of the room was like the hardest was so much fun though! I sent a picture :) 
Um, what else happened? We auditioned and sis Nally said she liked it and stuff but we needed a pianist and so we found one but he was flaky and we didn't like that so now we have a new one and I got sick so did Hermana Peine so our voices sounded horrible! But we are auditioning again tomorrow and we will see how that goes. My voice sounds a lot better now so hopefully I will be able to sing and hopefully we can make it and maybe sing at like one of the Devotionals or something. That would be a cool experience :) 
We taught Vanessa for the last time on like....thursday I think and it went pretty well but I was sad because it was our last time and we were just barely getitng somewhere with her! But we didn't invite her to be baptized which we probably should have done but that's ok. We had a really good devotional last night! I am running out of time though so I will just tell you the things that I learned later or something because I still didn't get to reply to Elder Sampson or Heidee and I haven't listened to the recordings from Elder Sampson so I need to go! But I have some pictures! And I will write more when I have time!! I love you all so much!! :) I hope you have a great week! I can't wait to call you and talk to you on Monday!! (don't be awkward though! Because I heard that's how it always goes ;) )
Love always,
Hermana Walker :) 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23, 2014 Vanessa


I hope you enjoyed my Trax story from last time. I just found out earlier this week, I think it was on Sunday, that William's information was forwarded on and missionaries are going to be teaching him!! I literally jumped up and down and clapped....yikes I know...I was just a little bit excited... Sadly nothing like that happened this week really... I mean, I guess I did have a cool experience with one of our investigators. Her name is Vanessa and she is so hard to teach! The first two times with her were pretty hard and kind of awful...a little bit... um yeah so basically she said so does't believe that God answers her prayers or that God loves her and stuff and that she doesn't need anything from our religion in her life because she is happy now and stuff. She said she would just like to learn more about the culture of our church... so we just taught her about Joseph Smith and the first vision and she really liked that "story" as she called it. The next lesson was the best one. It's the one that I felt the Spirit in and it actually went pretty well. So she grew up with an abusive dad and she brings that up all the time because he almost killed her mom and stuff and it was really hard when she started talking about that again. I don't know why but for some reason it hit me really hard that particular day. I had been praying a lot a lot a lot to be able to love Vanessa the way that Christ does so that she knows that I love her so that she can trust me and believe me when I say that God really does love her. So maybe that was why it hit me so hard. But I told her something like this (I can't remember exactly what I said because I truly believe that it was the Spirit speaking and not really me...if that makes any sense): I told her, I honestly don't know what you went through because I have never experienced that and I don't know why bad things happen to us sometimes. I really don't know why. (Then this is where I just felt so much love for her and I started crying-of course!) But I don't want you to feel this way anymore. I don't want you to feel sad and alone. Then I basically just bore my testimony that I know that God really does love her and I pleaded with her to just pray to Him one more time, to honestly and sincerely pray and pour out her heart to Him. I told her to just say anything and everything that she wanted to say and even if she was mad at Him, to just pour out the feelings of her heart because I know that God knows her and loves her and that He listens. It was just really cool after that because she just said, "Ok. It's about time I prayed." And she totally leaned forward and started praying without me even having to ask her to!! And she truly did pour out her heart! It was amazing to be a part of that and to feel so much love for her and to see her heart softening! It was amazing! and it helped me and Hermana Palmer to feel like we were actually helping her and getting somewhere with her. So yeah that was one of the good experiences I guess :)

Um...haha I am so sorry that this week's letter is so lame! I just basically do the same things all day everyday so there isn't anything too exciting to report other than what I have already mentioned.

 Oh haha just kidding! I forgot! We had seven of our Elders leave on Monday and it was really sad. I miss them! They were so fun and funny and it was sad because it was like saying goodbye to our family again and we couldn't even hug them because they are Elders and we are Hermanas was weird because we could only shake hands. But they are in Mexico right now and I have their emails but I don't know if I will have time to ask them how it is down there because I don't have a ton of time for emails in general. 

 Um, devotionals are always great! I think those are what I am going to miss most once I am out of the MTC. They are really like, my favorite things because I always learn so much! This last one that we had last night was really great! I took so many notes and had a lot of thoughts and learned a lot of things. One thing that I thought of during the devotional was this:

 This is the time, this short 18 months as a missionary, is the only time in my life that I can suit up everyday and testify of and represent the Lord Jesus Christ. I can give promises of power! Promises of power-not empty promises. Nothing in this Gospel is empty. It is all eternal life and eternal happiness and glory and all things wonderful and filling. Nothing is temporal or superficial or empty. While on my mission, I am privileged to wear the name of Jesus Christ on a name tag, over my heart. Everyone will look at me differently because of that and because of the light that I will hopefully have with me. I know that when I get home I will have to take of my name tag and that is going to be the hardest thing. I won't want to do it and I will probably be crying. But my deepest hope is that when I come home and take off my name tag, that people will still look at me like they did when I was a missionary. I hope that they will see the light of Christ in me and see that I am different and that they will be drawn to that. I hope that when they look at me, they will know without a doubt that I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I hope they KNOW that I am His disciple when they look at me. That is my hope and sincere desire. That is the thing that I really got out of the devotional last night, among several other things that I can share with you when I come home. I know that this gospel is true and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve! I leave for Mexico in like, ten days or something like that and I can't wait to be down there learning Spanish and teaching the people of Puebla. I am very grateful for the Lord for this opportunity to be a missionary. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Hermana Walker :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014 William

Hola familiia! Well, and anyone and everyone else that is going to read this :) 

So, I have a way awesome experience to share with all of you and I don't have a lot of time to email today because the Hermanas in my district (there are four of us) are singing in Sacrament on Sunday and we were practicing what we were going to sing. We just came up with it and practiced it within the last half an hour haha. We are going to sing "If you could hie to Kolob" a'capella. It sounds so cool. Me and Hermana Peine are singing the Soprano part, Hermana Peterson is singing the alto and Hermana Palmer is singing the tenor up an octave. We are going to record it later this week and I can send it maybe so you can hear :) 

Anyway, so yesterday we went to get out visas in Salt Lake at the Mexican Consulate. Hermana Peine and Elder Andersen already got theirs last week so they were the only ones from our district that stayed here but the rest of us left and it was really fun. It was like, super hot was disgusting because I was sweating so much and I probably looked really horrible...and I had to get my picture taken so that didn't help at all.... Anyway, we rode Trax there and back. So here is my cool thing that I'm like, super pumped about!! so on the way back we get on the Trax and there's so many missionaries on there! Hermana Peterson and I were at the end of the big blob of missionaries so we were struggling to find a seat. (Hermana Peterson is the blonde one in the district that isn't my companion, just so you know) :) so we were just standing there trying to figure out where we were going to sit and then there was this man sitting down at a totally empty "cube" or whatever and he told us that we could sit in the two empty seats directly across from him so we said thank you and sat down. So there we are, sitting there across from this stranger and I pull out my Spanish flashcards that I am making for myself so that I can practice some vocabulary. Well, this man in front of us is a little on the heavy side and he has his eyebrow pierced as well as several piercings on his left ear...he was just on his phone off and on and he kind of kept looking up at us like he wanted to say something. Well, he made a comment about the Elders and he said that they are all sharp dressed men and that really impresses him. He said that probably like five times. So then we had the opportunity to kind of explain who we are because he thought that we were students at BYU. We told him that we are missionaries and we don't go to school. We are on missions. We told him that we are going to Mexico to serve our missions in about three weeks and we explained how long the sisters go out and how long the Elders go out and we told him about the MTC and how it is a training center for missionaries. We told him how there are a lot of MTCs all over the world and how missionaries come from all over the world and serve everywhere. He was really interested in that and it was fun to talk to him. Well, before we kind of told him more about us we were just making small talk and I asked him, "So how has your day been?" and he said, "Uh...stressful..." And I guess the concern and the question of "Why?" was just super apparent on our faces because we didn't have to say anything else before he just went off telling us about why his day was stressful. He told us that he is a truck driver but the place he was working at wanted him to do some illegal things for his job like drive way over the speed limit and go to places that were "restricted" that he wasn't supposed to go to and he told us that he just didn't feel right about it and stuff so he was on his way to work on the train and he was about to take a cab to work but then decided to turn back around and get on the Trax again. And the guy that was sitting with him left right when all the missionaries got on and then Hermana Peterson and I sat with him and we started talking and he said that we made his day. We made him so happy because we sat with him and talked to him and he told us about his stressful day. He moved here from Maryland one month ago and he told us that he already noticed the difference in living here. He said the people are friendlier and the streets are cleaner and stuff and things are less expensive here so he really is enjoying his time here in Utah so far, which is good. But, here's something that was really cool that happened. He told us that he believes in God, not like he should but he still does believe, and he said that he didn't want to risk doing any immoral things for money because money isn't the most important thing in life. He said that even though he knows that things are going to be rough for him financially and stuff because he isn't going to go with that trucking company, he knows that God is going to lead him to something better eventually. I just thought that was so amazing when he said that! Inside I was screaming "Yes!! Yes!!! That is so true! You know it! You know it!!" I was sooo excited!! He has faith in the Lord!! That is so important!! It was amazing to hear him say that! well then there was this equally excited Elder across the aisle from us and he jumped in and said that we believe in the Godhead and he talked a little bit about the Holy Ghost and told him that he believes the Holy Ghost told william (the man we sat with on the train) that he shouldn't take the job and that he should just get back on the Trax and William said, nodding his head, "Yeah, yeah. I agree. I agree with that." Ok. WHAT!?? No way!? I was FREAKING out!! How aweesome!!!?? How awesome is that!? I just could not believe what was happening! So then William asked me and Hermana Peterson about why we went on missions and how that happens. He asked if we just ask God if we should and then go or what? So then I had the opportunity to share my experience with him. I told him that I was watching General Conference (we had kind of touched on this topic a bit before so he kind of knew what I was talking about) and I told him that the Prophet announced the age change and I was all, "Whoa! I could totally go serve a mission." And so then I told William that I thought about it and thought about it and prayed and asked Heavenly Father if that was something that I should do and I told him my answer. I told him how I felt so happy and excited every time someone talked about missionary work or mentioned it or anything like that and I just knew that it was the right thing for me to do. Then I shared a scripture with him in D&C. It is D&C 9:8-9 which says,

 "But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it our in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it e not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me."

So I shared that scripture with him and told him how it applied to me and how that was a confirmation from God that my prayer had been answered and that a mission is the right thing for me at this moment. He really liked that scripture. And yeah then the Elder across the aisle asked him if he went to any church and William said that he didn't so then the Elder, who was pretty bold actually, asked him if he was looking for a church to join and guess what. William said "Actually, I am." Um...are you serious!? No way! This is not happening right now!! I was totally freaking out! The Elder said, "Ok perfect!" And went on to invite him to go to one of our church meetings and we explained how it worked and who he could talk to and stuff so that he could go to church at our church and William was so excited and said that he had seen a lot of our churches around and that he would go in and check it out. Hermana Peterson and I are dying of excitement this whole time! Everyone on the train was listening to us, we could just tell. But it was weird because it honestly just felt like it was William, me, Hermana Peterson, and the Elder across the aisle and no one else. It was amazing. I honestly felt so much love for this man that I had just met! He is a stranger to me and yet, he wasn't! I already love him and I want to teach him. Hermana Peterson and I kept talking about that after we were all, "Oh my goodness! I love him so much and I just want to teach him and help him. He is so ready!! Why can't we just go teach him!?" Haha we became very possessive of him and it was kind of funny. The Elder across the aisle handed William a pamphlet about the Restoration so that he could read it and learn more about our church and we got his phone number!! He mentioned like five times how excited he was to be getting a phone call in the next couple of days from some missionaries in his area. He is so excited to learn more about the gospel; it's just ridiculous how ready he is! Oh my goodness guys! The church is so so sooo true!!! William is so ready it's not even funny! I felt the love of Christ for William; I felt charity. I had been praying to feel that for a few days and then bam! The Lord blesses me with this opportunity. I had also been struggling with feelings of inadequacy and feeling like I just didn't know what I was doing here already (having companionship issues...) but the Lord made it possible for us to sit with William and to teach him with the Spirit and change his life. Even if we don't get to teach him, someone will. He told us several times that we made his day and that he felt so much better and that he was going to tell his female friend that he met the "most coolest people today". I was filled with so much love and charity and so full of the Spirit that I literally could NOT stop smiling for hours afterwards. I was so happy! I was able to get a taste of real missionary work and true Christ-like love. It was so awesome! Words cannot even describe my feeling of this experience! I am trying my best to tell you what happened and how I felt and still feel but it is just too impossible to describe! I know that God hears us and that He answers our prayers. I know that He truly does prepare the hearts of those that we teach and that the Spirit is the true teacher in all things. Likewise, I also know that it is important to be pure and clean vessels for the Spirit to dwell in so that we can be true instruments in the hands of the Lord; that we can truly speak the things that the Spirit prompts us to so that we can bring others unto Christ. I know that charity is real. I have felt it for a total stranger. I had honest and sincere love for that man on the train and I desired to help him obtain the happiness that this gospel grants us because of our loving Heavenly Father. I bear this testimony in the sacred name of my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, amen.

I am so sorry that I don't have a lot of time this week...and I'm sorry I only told you about one experience but it was honestly the best thing that has happened to me here and I am so grateful for that experience! I was able to teach an actual real-life investigator in the real world! And it was awesome! The Spirit was there, William's heart was so soft and so open and accepting and I was able to take part in making somebody feel better; able to help them change their day for the better. Granted, it was all in English....but ya know what? Bringing others unto Christ is bringing others unto Christ, no matter what language it's in! 

Ok well, I need to go but I love all of you and I hope that you all have a great week! Pray for experiences like the one I just shared because honestly, it isn't going to just change their lives, it will change yours as well. I can testify of that. I love you!! 

Hermana Walker



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014 Listen To An Apostle

Hola familia!! 

It is P-day again! Yay!! P-day is the greatest! I love getting emails! :) I just wish I could have longer than an hour because that just isn't nearly enough time. Anyway, I love getting the pictures from Shaylee and Jaxon's wedding! They are so cute!! I really wish that I could have been there but at the same time, I know that being on a mission is really important and I am loving my experience so far. I know that this is the right thing to be doing and that it will bless me and my family in so many ways for years and years. I wouldn't trade it for anything! Even though it is one of the hardest things I have done in my life...already! I have been here all of 2 and a half weeks and it is already categorized as one of the hardest things I've done in my life.

So this week was great! We had Fast and Testimony Meeting on Sunday and it was neat to hear all the testimonies of "my family". (They are mi familia de la CCM) :) 

Ok, wow, I am's hard to gather my thoughts. Sorry! This email will probably not be the most organized....but so on the Fourth of July we were able to participate in a special program where we sang patriotic songs. were privileged to listen to some really talented musicians play musical numbers and listen to a speaker who shared a talk about Spiritual Heroes. We also were able to watch 17 Miracles. It was really good. After that we went outside and got an ice cream while we watched fireworks from the Stadium of Fire. It was fun.

The other District of Hermanas left on Monday for Mexico! How crazy! I was so excited for them! They are all going to be so awesome. 

The Spanish is still hard but I am not beating myself up or stressing out about it so that is good. I am understanding a lot more and I can make sentences, even though they are really choppy....we call it "caveman Spanish" haha. But hey, I have to start somewhere right? 

Last night we had a Devotional and guess who came to speak to us....??? NEIL L. ANDERSEN!!! An apostle of the church was speaking to us here at the MTC. I know that happens all the time but I was like 20 feet away from him!! It was awesome! I really liked his talk. He spoke to us about the Holy Ghost and I learned a lot. I learned something really impactful AFTER the devotional though. We all went back to our classroom as a District and had a discussion on what we learned with the Branch President there and everything and when Elder Smith got up to share his thoughts about the talk, the Spirit bore witness to me of something that had happened to me. Neil L. Andersen shared a scripture with us and Elder Smith read it again during his sharing time. The scripture is D&C 9:8-9. When he read those words again to me I was hit with the Spirit as I realized that the promises in those verses had happened to me when I was making my decision to come out here and serve. Go look up the scripture and read it because it is really neat! :)

After Elder Smith read those verses again I realized, through the Spirit, that I had literally felt that burning in my bosom and I felt so happy and excited everytime missionary work was mentioned or discussed. It was constantly on my mind. I did not have a stupor of thought. I am so glad that I came out here because I am already feeling the blessings that come from being called as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is such an amazing experience! 

I also learned something really cool from mi maestro, Hermano Martinez. We read a scripture in Moroni...I can tell you the verse later, I am just running out of time. But it was talking about how the Lamanites will receive the gospel and stuff like that and it just hit me really hard in that moment that I have been called to go and preach the gospel to the Lamanites! I am going to be able to take part in fulfilling that prophecy!! I just think that is amazing! :)

Love always,
Hermana Walker

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2, 2014 First Week In The MTC

Hola Familia!! So I am so sorry about all the P-day confusion. I had no idea when it would be and I found out that it is actually on Wednesdays so....sorry you had to wait a whole week. I felt really bad for kind of telling you that it would be on Saturday or something. I just didn't know...

But yeah so it is on Wednesdays here in the CCM (MTC). I was happy to get some Dearelders from mom. It made me laugh how you wrote me and said that it was crazy that I had already been gone for two HOURS!! Mom, that isn't even anything....hahaha you're so funny :) The CCM is so much fun! I seriously love it here The Spirit is so strong here and there hasn't been a moment that I haven't felt the Spirit. I actually cried while bearing my testimony on the first night that we met our Branch Presidency. I am such a crier. :) I also cried last night after the Tuesday Night Devotional. We got together after the Devotional as a District and talked about what we learned and what we liked that the speaker said. I cried while sharing my thoughts and my testimony AGAIN so everyone here probably just thinks that I am a big bawl baby but that's ok because I am feeling the Spirit and I am learning a lot. 

The language...oh man. Spanish is really hard and my teacher only speaks spanish so...yeah I get lost quite often during class but I am learning things and trying to study harder everyday so that I can start picking it up a little better. Um....Oh yeah, I should probably tell you about mi companera. Her name is Hermana Palmer and she is super sweet! She is very smart and knows a lot about the scriptures, like the Book of Mormon. She said that she doesn't really know a lot about the Bible but...I kind of doubt that because she is very very smart and is always quoting scriptures and she knows the stories in the Book of Mormon really well. I will attach some pictures here so you can see her. The other two Hermanas in our District are Hermana Peine (she is the one with the shorter brown hair next to the blonde with long hair). And the blonde with long hair is Hermana Peterson. They are both super cute and I love all the Hermanas already! We all laugh and have a great time. I also love our District. We have sooo many Elders....there are four in our District and then 7 more in the other district so there are 11 Elders in our zone. We are getting 10 more Elders today so...yeah that should be interesting. They are all sweet and stuff but a lot of them are straight out of high school so they are really crazy and the other Hermanas and I feel like we are the moms here sometimes haha. But it is a lot of fun and it is so crazy that we are all already so close to one another after only one week. That is what the Spirit of the Lord does though, it brings us together and we can all feel so much love. 

The time here really just flies by. I am busy all the time and I always feel like I have so much to do. The week flew by and all the days kind of just blend together so I forget what day is what and I forget what clothes I have already worn and...yeah it is just a blur sometimes. 

We had to teach an "investigator" on the first day here. It was just a group effort of a whole room full of missionaries and we heard the story of three different investigators (who are actually members just role playing) and then we can raise our hands and comment and share things and try to help him/her out. The first one was really awesome because one Hermana talked about her experience with Special Needs children and how she sings songs to them to help them feel the Savior's love so we all sang "I feel my Savior's love" and the Spirit was so strong. I started tearing up and my arms broke out in goosebumps. But the best part was that our investigator, Jose, actually started to cry. He felt the Spirit and the Savior's love and it was just such a great experience. 

We also got an investigator that our District has to teach. Her name is Arely. This one is different though because it is just you and your companion who go in to teach the investigator. So Hermana Palmer and I go in and teach her when she is scheduled to come in and stuff. We have to do it all in Spanish and it is really really hard because we don't know how to speak it and she totally does so we just get left in the dust sometimes but we try to invite the Spirit and learn and understand what she is saying so that we can help her. The other companionships in our District also teach her too but we all go in at different times and we can teach her whatever we want to the experience for all of us is totally different. I just really wish I knew Spanish so that I can feel like I am being successful haha :) I will get it though so I'm not really that worried :) 

OH!! I thought this was really awesome. So, I told my District that I am shy and two Elders totally freaked out because they don't think that I am shy at all. Since I have been here I have been so happy and smiley and laughing and I talk to people and bear my testimony and I try to speak spanish out loud and stuff and I don't feel shy at all so I just thought that was awesome. It hasn't even been long at all and I am already noticing positive changes in myself :) the Lord is definitely helping me overcome some fears that I have/had and I am so grateful for that :) His Spirit is with me and is teaching me everyday; teaching me new things about other people, teaching me new things about myself and teaching me new things about the Gospel. The CCM is seriously such an amazing place and I know that I will never regret my decision to serve a mission.

I am running out of time really quick and I still need to write to Elder Sampson and Heidee and Gentry but I love you guys so much!! You are all amazing and I am so thankful for the family that I am blessed with and for the love and memories that we share with one another. Thank you mom and dad for your faithful examples and for raising me right and raising me in the Gospel. It has truly been the biggest blessing in my life! I love you Cody, Heather and Preston! You guys are so sweet and adorable and I miss you and all the fun things that we would do and all the laughing. I hope you guys will send me letters and emails!! :) Oh and hey dad, I want to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! You are getting so old ;) haha just kidding. You actually aren't that old....yet ;) I hope that you get to have a really nice and enjoyable day and that you guys can all go do something fun! Sibs? You guys better be helpful and kind and considerate to dad alright? He does so much for us and we take it for granted 99% of the time.... Dad, Thank you for holding the Priesthood worthily and alwaays fulfilling your callings to the best of your ability. Thank you for always being willing to share the power that Heavenly Father has shared with you when you have given me Father's blessings. They really mean a lot to me and I know that the power of the Priesthood is real and it is amazing!

i love you all a lot! Hope to hear from you soon! Enjoy the pictures ;)

Hermana Walker