What exactly are you going to do on your mission?
I have accepted the calling to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so that I may share the gospel to those who are yearning to know of the truth of the gospel. I have answers to questions that people don't even know to ask. I am going to tell people where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. I will explain to everyone that will listen why Christ is the center of the Plan of Happiness and why the Atonement that Jesus Christ has provided for us is necessary for our salvation.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

I wanted to tell you about one of our investigators... A week ago Saturday we called W. to confirm our appointment for Saturday morning and he dropped us over the phone. He never wanted to see us back at his home again and wasn't interested in the church. I asked him if he had read any of the Book of Mormon or prayed about it at all, his answer was no. I committed him to read something, anything and pray about it and told him that we'd come by in a couple of days to see if he changed his mind. He told us to not come over because he didn't want to see us any more. I told him we'd call him then, he consented and we left it at that. On Wednesday evening, we were on an exchange and our plans ran short and we were near his home so we went over to see him anyway instead of giving him a call. He let us right in, we taught him about the Book of Mormon, he told us he didn't pray or read, but he committed to church (which was one of his big hangups) and committed to be baptized. I tell you I was pretty confused, I was expecting him to not even let us in the door again. Alas, he came to church, and is still committed to be baptized. It was kind of a neat unexpected miracle. Since then, he has started reading the Book of Mormon and now has a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Very interesting. I'm short on time for various reasons, one of which is because we are at a member's home; however, I will talk to you tomorrow. 

I meant to make a bunch of Christmas cards and send them to a variety of people, but all the Walmart photo maker machines are broken thus unfortunatley my Christmas letters aren't going to get sent or made. =( I just don't have time to write everybody.

My time is spent, I love you all,
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, December 17, 2012

Investigators' Micracles

I always enjoy hearing about the things that are happening at home. I have never felt any kind of remorse or discouragement for hearing about what is happening at home while I'm here, so keep the family news coming. I know why I'm on a mission, and nothing is going to distract me from it.

This is and excerpt of what I emailed President Holm:
We had a pretty good week. P. and B. both have outstanding faith. They are our investigators on date for December 29th. I must tell you their miracle display to us of their faith. Here's two of our little miracles for the week:
B. is a person that moved out here to Orangeburg because this is where his parents are and they opened up their home to him to live in for a time. He was just separated from his wife/baby's mother and gets to see his 2 year old daughter every weekend of so. B. came out here having just lost his job and two days later gets a job. His dedication enables him to drive three hours each way (6 hours total) to work every single day. As such, it wore on him pretty fast so he decided that he's going to stay out there for a week so he doesn't need to travel back and forth so often. Last Saturday night is two weeks before his baptism and we needed to teach him the Word of Wisdom so he can start living it before this week is over. B. is such a strong individual; he handed us his cigarettes and lighter and we swapped him for cinnamon toothpaste (which turns out is the same one he's used before and apparently works pretty well). He is a very strong individual and came to church yesterday and brought his two year old daughter. 
P. is in a similar situation-ish. He is leaving for 5 days this week as well, and he's also being baptized the same time B. is. Once again, we hadn't taught him about the Word of Wisdom yet. So, yesterday we saw him (he's out of state by now) and he told us of concerns that had been brought up to him from his old pastor, his friends, and family. They anti'd him. Good ol' P. though knew just what to do when he heard all the anti stuff; he went to mormon.org and read lots about it and watched a bunch of the videos. Problem solved. Then he just wanted to confirm what he understood with us. One of the things that his family/friends told him is that we would trick him into quitting his job so he would be a pastor of his own church for the Mormon church. He said, if that's true, then I'll do it, but I want to start the church back in my home in India. What a great guy... We also taught him the Word of Wisdom which we all know he's struggling with, and committed him to live it over the time that he'll be out of state. They are both so trusting in the Lord; they'll both surely be blessed for it.
I hope the package gets here by Tuesday night. Wednesday is our Christmas Zone Conference and we will receive the packages then. They can forward all mail to us that is "priority mail"; the packages that aren't priority wait till we have some sort of meeting large enough that either the assistants to the President or President himself attends.

We have been having lots of fun here in Orangeburg. The bishop is great, the ward is great, the people are great, our investigators are great. God is great, the Christmas season is great, Elder Gonzalez is great, and y'all great too (<-- that's southern talk for "you all are great as well" with emphasis on "you all").

Oh, by the way I didn't answer your question last week: I did receive the memory card, thank you for it. It's even twice the size of the one that broke. I'm probably going to send some stuff home that I ought not carry around with me, being dead weight, because I'm not going to use it on my mission, but rather after it.

Let Robert know that he would astound me if he reached my height by the end of my mission, and frankly, it's impossible to be my height without being able to grab the basketball rim. So if he wants to be as tall as me, he needs to grow in jumping capability and be able to touch/grab the gym basketball rim. It's a prerequisite to added height.

I love you mother, father, sisters, brothers!
Enjoy the new car Dad!
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, December 10, 2012

Final Notes of Missionary Conference with Elder Bednar

Reminder: Elder Walker does not quote Elder Bednar word for word, but rather the message Elder Walker personally received from the conference.

This is what I didn't finish from my other email weeks ago about my notes on Elder Bednar:

Character is revealed in a moment of tremendous crisis because you don't have time to prepare, who you have become shows instantly.

Who you are is much more important that what you say. Don't worry about how we present the message... It's who we have become that makes all the difference.

One of the revelations that I received is to use the technique with the blank copies of the Book of Mormon that Elder Bednar gave me and, while I'm on my mission, use that technique for those things I will be teaching such as: faith, pre-mortal life, repentance, restoration, Godhead character, etc. The other stuff such as priesthood of visions or dreams can wait till after I'm off my mission.

The doctrine to motivate people to do what they are supposed to is the atonement.

Don't try to force any revelations of blessing else a false spirit answers and we can't tell the difference between God and our own emotions.

Concerning Elder Bednar's gift of discernment, heaven orchestrates the sequence of questions

Spirit of discernment:
A lot of the time when we have a thought we don't realize that it was a prompting until after we act of it.

I (Elder Bednar) don't think Nephi would have gone the 3rd time if he didn't learn his lessons he needed to the first 2 times. (concerning getting the brass plates)

You can ask to see yourself as you really are, but don't ask unless you really mean it, because you may see things you don't like.
Scriptural phrase: "see things as they really are" -> they lead to deep real repentance. You can't have improvement through repentance w/o anguish.

I know what Elder Bednar says is true!

If "I" want to have faith so "I" can move a mountain, then it's not going to move if it's not according to God's will. If I am seeking God's will and discern by the spirit that God wants the mountain moved, then the mountain will move by my faith.

Members tend to do things as pendulums. Some general authority focuses on temple work and temple work goes up. 6 months later they focus of food storage and temple work goes down and food storage does up. Don't you think they still want you to remember what they said before?

2 questions to answer from time with Elder Bednar:

Q1 Based upon what I have learned, observed, and felt today, what will I do?
Q2  (same as questions 1 but I -> we, for companionship)

Apostalic promise: work as hard as I can and we'll receive courage..... (There was more to it but I didn't write it down because he asked us to put away our notes so we don't make a ruckus of putting things away during his testimony).

Surprise Talk

Elder Walker's family received a letter from his mission president informing them of his call to serve as a District Leader. He began his service as District Leader when he was transferred to Orangeburg.

I'm glad you opened your letter to me about giving talks. Guess who gave a talk yesterday? I was asked 5 minutes before sacrament meeting if I would give a talk. Among greeting people and being excited for many of our investigators that ended up showing up these were my notes by the time I reached the pulpit that I wrote down on a sticky note:

Amalickiah story
Alma 47:18
1 Ne 4:31 vs 1 Ne 2:16
1 Ne 4:6
overcoming temptation
Hel 3:29
Alma 17:11 -> Alma 26:16
Alma 57:21
Hel 10:4-5 -> 3 Ne 7:18
3 Ne 17:3

I also ended up reading part of Matt chapter 4 right before 3 Ne 17:3 and I announced my talk title at the beginning of my talk as "temptation and trials and how we can overcome them". I ended up giving about a 20 min talk... it was a little sketchy and would have been loads better had I had 30 min preparation, but it was still pretty good.

Bishop Ross is our bishop. He is a very busy bishop but found time to come out with us to two lessons Saturday night (both of which came to Sacrament meeting). The lessons went great and one of them is half on date to be baptized and the other will be baptized. B– is someone we met Thursday and is the person on date to be baptized. The day before he lost his job and drove out to Orangeburg to live with his parents for a little while, the week before he got separated and his 2 year old daughter is stuck in the middle of it. We talked to him Thursday and spoke to him for about 10-15 min standing outside by his truck. When we first saw him he was depressed, when we left he was uplifted and thinks, "This might be the thing I am looking for." He told us Saturday night with Bishop that immediately after we left he "got very very emotional" and "knows that God does care about him" and no longer, if he ever did, believe in coincidences.

Bishop, then at church, found two other people he didn't recognize at church, one of which came on her own from a recommendation from her co-worker from the Aiken ward and ended up knowing the Relief Society president 40 years ago. The other person was Lee: Lee is a newspaper journalist writer and our investigator. Bishop was so hyped up on the Spirit because of the great missionary work he took part in from the night before that after we introduced him to Lee at church he took it upon himself to give him a church tour during the Sunday School hour. A good number of less-active members came too! If we keep up this rate of progression, then we'll end up being really good servants of the Lord by the end of the transfer: the day Joshua leaves.

Well, I brought my journal, so I'll continue my other entree that has been a draft for a long time now about Elder Bedner, just remember, don't quote me quoting Elder Bednar, in case I didn't quote him verbatim or in the context he intended it to be in.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Recommendations and New Area

First of all, to answer some questions, my GPS was within 3 days of being under warranty  so I was sent a new one, but I don't have it yet because it's wandering around somewhere in the mission as a lost package that I'm sure will show up sometime sooner or later. It's not the first time that happened, it's the second. I just received the book you sent me by Elder Bednar a week and a half ago, I haven't asked about being able to read it, but I'm pretty sure the answer is going to be "no," I'll find out tomorrow.

Secondly, I actually agree, I would say that the weather is worse over in California than it is here, except for the humidity, the once every couple years hurricane, the once every couple years snow, and the occasional tornadoes; none of which I have seen yet. However, when it does get cold, it's a different kind of "cold,"and it is very cold; last year there were only about 10 days worth of it though.

As far as the slacks/shoes/shirts/etc. I'm sure I'll be fine for the rest of my mission. The pants are still brand new except for a couple tears that was caused by the gears of my bike. I haven't used/opened a single new shirt I've been given from you, nor do I think I will, I even bought one for myself right before that that I don't think I'm going to use. One member did give me one shirt that I do use though. It seems that missionaries wear out their clothes fast, mine are hardly worn at all. My old suit is very sun bleached, I'm probably going to throw it away before my mission is over, so I bought another suit jacket from goodwill that is nearly the same color as one of the many pants I have and use that as a suit; I bought it for $5. I recommend that you don't send me any clothes, while other missionaries go through their clothing fast, mine don't wear that much at all. My shoes have been very good to me, they are worn in, but I'm pretty sure they will last great for the rest of my mission, they are still pretty much waterproof too, I just need to remember to polish them. If I receive anything at all, I could probably use 2 pairs of black socks, I think I have 7 pairs of black and two of brown which is plenty for the week, but I have two pairs of socks that are starting to get holes in them.

Oh, recommendation for Joshua: don't buy more than three dress pants for him, he'll probably wear his suit most of the time anyway, especially because it is a lot colder there than here, and we wear suits a lot. Also, I think that he'd like a nice bike too, it ought to last him for a lot of years if he takes care of it. The only hard part will be sending it home after his mission, some missionaries never want to ride a bike again and just pawn their bike off or donate it to the mission or give it to another missionary.

Tell Robert that he is already a missionary and will excel in the field when he's set apart as one. Monica too if she's going to choose to serve.

The area that the Orangeburg ward covers is exactly twice the size of the Salt Lake Valley. There are probably more stakes in the Salt Lake Valley than there are active members here in this area. We also cover another county that has a branch in it and we almost never go over there unless the senior missionaries in that branch find someone to teach, then they come and pick us up for that appointment because it's too far a drive for us to go with our limited miles.

I really like Orangeburg. If I was going to tour Orangeburg, this wouldn't be the place to go, because there is no documentable history that has gone on here in this area, but because I'm here for a different purpose, this is a great place to be.

The new thing the church was inspired with at www.lds.org/youth/learn (click "read" on "Teaching the gospel in the Savior's way") is almost without a doubt greatly inspired by the hand of Elder Bednar, because almost everything on that website I've read about includes some principal that he talked to us about. Once again, I didn't bring my journal, sorry for that, it just might not ever happen now... just kidding, I'll bring it next week.

I know that the church is true, and so do you from your scripture reference at the bottom of your email. (I'm going to get cocky for a moment here:) When I was reading your email, after I read the "Holy Ghost with the tongue of angels" and before I read the reference given" (2 Nephi 31-32) in your email, I was already thinking about the specific scriptures in those two chapters that expound about it.

My time is far spent, sorry I didn't say much today. I can never remember the things I want to say when I'm actually at the library.

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, November 26, 2012

In Orangeburg!

I'm in Orangeburg now and Elder Gonzalez is my companion (and he doesn't speak Spanish, lol).

Thus far in the city of Orangeburg, we've had a blast! This is probably going to be my favorite area. I'm in a situation where we are prone to expecting many miracles because of the obedience that we will be fulfilling here in this area. This is defiantly the most suthun ward I've been to so far. Maybe it's just because I'm coming from a military ward, where almost no one in the ward is actually from the South, but I think the ward is just a very South-Carolinian ward. Our area is humongous. It very well may be the largest area in our mission. That's pretty funny too. From the smallest area with 10 missionaries going to the ward in Goose Creek, to the largest area in Orangeburg with only two missionaries covering it. The other 4 missionaries in our district are either training or being trained, I haven't met them yet, just talked to them over the phone. I'll see them tomorrow during our district meeting. (Tomorrow will be a 100 mile round trip for the day to get to and from the district meeting including the 30 miles we usually spend in a day going to and from places). I am very grateful to be able to use a car in our proselyting here in Orangeburg. I biked mostly all this past year, and it's starting to get pretty cold again.
I've picked up reading "Jesus the Christ" again lately, and it is so much easier to understand now than it was at the beginning of my mission when I was trying to read it. I comprehend so much more now than I did before.
We are fed by a member almost every single day. I really like that. The Goose Creek ward couldn't feed us as much, and here they feed us a lot, even though it's a small ward. I also made a really good first impression on our bishop. I am glad that I did so, it makes the work so much easier in the specific ward that we reside. Our bishop is a very great missionary-minded bishop. Another thing funny about this ward is that about half of all of the active ward members are concentrated on two or three streets. In such a large area, they all live right next to each other. How's that work out? I haven't been out that far any of those two or three neighborhoods yet, but I heard that they are known as the "Mormon neighborhoods".
The investigators that we have are wonderful. Elder Gonzalez and I are great companions. I can't foresee anything that is going to keep us from moving the Lord's work along tremendously. I Love being a missionary!
This is also probably the nicest apartment that I've been in too, and there are only two people in it. Probably next transfer there will be two more missionaries coming into this area. I understand that our mission starts to get filled with the title wave of missionaries starting on January 2, 2012. The same day Joshua enters the MTC.
I am excited for this ward. I will enjoy my time here in Orangeburg.
Oh, on a side note: my GPS broke out of the blue with no warning. I hope it's still under warranty. Finally when we have a car, it just stops working and can't get past the loading screen and will only turn off if I leave it on the loading screen to run the battery out or hold the power button down for over 10 sec. It ought to be under warranty; it is supposed to be anyhow. I'll call them today because they were closed last week due to the holidays.
I love you all! Monica, don't just date the same person all the time! Joshua, I'll write you a letter today! Robert, put your growing on hold! Alexandria, just keep doing what you are doing, your on the right track! Mom & Dad, I will keep the 5th commandment and bring honor to you!

Hasta Luego!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Transferring but Congrats, Brother, on your Mission Call

This particular email was mostly in response to the letter Elder Benjamin Walker's younger brother, Joshua Walker, wrote him. J. Walker's email you can read here. In it, J. Walker informs Elder Walker about the mission call J. Walker just received to serve in the Utah Salt Lake South Mission. Brothers have a special bond. They haven't seen each other since October 2011 and won't until January 2015.

I am super duper excited for Joshua and Ryan. That is awesome!

Today I get transferred (actually on Wednesday). Things were just picking up, those people that are trying to overcome their Achilles foot problem of coming to church were coming to church... oh well. Elder Brinkerhoff will baptize them.

Just to let everyone know, if I don't reply to a letter received within the next 6 weeks, it's because I'm going to be writing letters to Joshua instead (expect some Josh, let me know when your semester ends so that I send it to home after that).

So, is Ryan's mission language English as well? Just curious.

I forgot to bring my journal today as well to finish the Elder Bednar stuff because of transfers in a couple of days. I'm busy packing. It slipped my mind.

One thing that I think I have mentioned before is how amazingly trusting random non-member individuals are of missionaries. They tell us some of the weirdest things you don't tell a normal person. It keeps me entertained.

Joshua will go on his mission approximately the same time the next transfer is. I'll remember that. This is exciting and it's not very long away.

I have obtained a lot of stuff. I may send a box home of stuff I don't need. We shall see. 

Oh, I wanted to let Joshua know, that when I was reading his "Dear Elder Walker (this means me not you)" I though Josh was writing another letter to me within his letter before I finished the line. ha ha ha

Joshua, I hope you received my letter I mailed to you a while ago. You are bound to enjoy my letters in the future. I'm not giving you a choice. ha, just kidding, that's against the Plan...
I've heard a lot of rumours about Utah missionaries from missionaries that serve here from Utah... I'll have to tell josh some of them sometime and see if they are true.

Hey Joshua. If you find yourself looking for something to study I think it would be good to read the "missionary handbook" and look up all of the references that are mentioned. There are a lot of wonderful insights I had never supposed before. 

Well dear family, I'll have to write a letter probably next week, for I am currently caught in thought with the recent events that have occurred. I'll pray for you Joshua! Talk to you all later. See you in 2015 Josh... (that's a long time... October 2011 to Jan 2015).

I love being a missionary!
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, November 12, 2012

Being a Missionary

Oh, before I forget, first of all, I forgot my journal today so I cannot send you the rest of my notes from Elder Bednar

There were 16 people that had committed to come to church yesterday... 30 minutes into church, nobody was there... =( On Saturday, we called all of the auxileries to let them know a bunch of people of varying ages were coming. About half way though Sacrament meeting, four of them showed up! Hurray! They almost didn't come because they don't like to be late to things. The rest never did. We talked to them yesterday, and they gave us excuses. They ought to have let us know that they weren't coming. However, on Saturday we received a media referral (mormon.org referral in this case). He sent it for himself requesting a missionary visit. It turns out he lives on a part of the military base that we can't set foot on, and his phone was off and didn't have a voicemail set up yet so we couldn't see him. We called him again Sunday and it turns out that he was church yesterday! He came on his own accord with a friend. He was in the back so we didn't see him. That's kind of cool, so we'll be teaching him this week. 

I am excited to hear where Joshua and Ryan end up going. If I've kept track correctly, Ryan should be receiving his mission call this week, so you'll know by next week. That would be pretty cool is Ryan came here speaking English and Joshua went to North Carolina speaking Spanish, that'd be pretty funny too. [Ryan's brother, Elder Burnham, is serving in North Carolin Spanish speaking; Joshua's brother, the elder for the blog, is serving in South Carolina English speaking].

It sounds like you (Mother), Monica, and Alexandria, through the many blogs she does, are amazing missionaries keep up the good work. Once again, my favorite thing to receive from anybody is spiritual insights. Whether from the scriptures, or other spiritual stories or whatever, I love them all!

I love you all too
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, November 5, 2012

Missionary Conference with Elder Bednar

Elder Benjamin Walker mentioned previously that Elder David A. Bendar was going to have a mission wide, missionary only conference on November 3rd. His most recent email is his experience, notes, and thoughts on that conference; Elder Walker does not quote Elder Bednar word for word, but rather the message Elder Walker personally received from the conference. Elder Bednar's messages are similar to his writings in Increase in Learning and Act in Doctrine.

I wanted to tell you about the time our mission had with Elder Bednar. First of all, I've never heard such good singing before in my life than I did right there with Elder Bednar. Our mission did a remarkable job at being reverent. So now, I'm going to almost quote to you what it is that I wrote in my journal over the last few days (no, I haven't written down everything yet) (it's probably the best couple journal entries I've made in a long while) (the reason it's not "quoted" is because I'm changing things as I type it up):
I don't think the word "marvelous" is sufficient to say what a great conduit of the spirit Elder Bednar is and how much revelation he helped us accept/allow into our hearts tonight. I asked him something to the effect of "How can I go about learning how to use the tools I am given such as the priesthood because I don't believe I have been utilizing the tools I have been given?" After relating the question to himself he gave me a 3 step answer:
1. Pick the subject
(power) (authority) Priesthood, (long-suffering) Patience, Nature of the Godhead (he said this is the single most important thing I can learn about), or Christ's character
2. Go through a blank paper-back Book of Mormon marking everything relevant to that particular subject. Don't do a word-search, because you'll miss things hidden in other passages. Read through it marking it as the Spirit directs you throughout to that subject. 
examples he gave:
Patience --> use BoM (usually just Book of Mormon)
Priesthood (what I asked him about specifically) -->BoM & D&C
Christ's Character --> 3 Ne 11 & New Testament
(Side note: Elder Bednar has an entire bookcase full of copies of paperback Book of Mormon, one for each subject he wanted to study)
3. After I've gone through it, read the notes and markings I've made in that particular BoM and make a 1 page summary of it (only one side of that one page)
He said it will take lots of time. "This is a Christ-like quality we're talking about developing"
If I want to learn something, I need to go through the process of learning it. The help I should be seeking is how and where can I find the answer, not having somebody just tell me the answer. This includes asking general authorities questions. The best thing they could do for you if you asked them a question is not give it to you, but to lead you where to find it yourself. Here is a list of question examples regarding asking a question to anybody (investigators, children, prophets).
Seeking learning by faith questions (a major topic he helped us learn about):
  • Would you take some time to teach us about ____? (spirit of discernment for example)
  • Where can I go to find answers for ___?
  • What can I do to help motivate members in missionary work?
  • What did you learn about ___?
  • Why do you think it's important you ___?
Bad questions (some specific to wasting the one question you might ever have an opportunity to ask to a member of the twelve apostles):
  • What are the ___? (the "guess what's in my head" game)
  • What/where is kolob?
  • Where is the sword of Laban?
  • How can I get/make ____ do ___? (answer, you can't, you can't get anyone to do anything. If you have this mindset you are seeing others as object not as agents.)
Notes should be taken like the purpose of the small plates were. We should not be writing down everything that we hear, rather just those things that are of great spiritual importance that is revealed to us through the power of the Spirit.
There is this pattern that Elder Bednar was a conduit of the Spirit in teaching us about:
Observing + Listening -->(helps us)--> Discern + Know what to Say
Who is in the better situation to discern? It's the person that isn't talking. If we're in a lesson with a Mother and Father and the Father isn't as prevalent to act as the Mother is, his best situation to discern the truth would be to listen to his wife share what she is learning, because he loves and trusts her and not us missionaries yet.
(From here it's continuing from last night's entree, above was Saturday night/Sunday morning entree).
Now I wanted to continue off where I left off yesterday in writing down my notes from the mission meeting with Elder Bednar.
When I develop a spiritual gift it will be able to use me as an instrument to bless others, and he trusts me enough to not get in the way of the blessing he's passing through me.
"work harder + smarter"
Pay attention between the difference of these two invitations:
  1. "Will you pray about the Book of Mormon so you know it's true?"
  2. "Will you pray about the Book of Mormon so you will join this church when you know it's true?"
It's a completely different invitation.
Rely on the precision + power used in the Book of Mormon, not by other worldly interpretation of it.
My vocab needs to change:
participate -->(should be)--> act
get people to --> help them act on their own accord
The whole meeting lead me to learn how to learn by faith and apply those things I learn.
...I'm going to need to stop here because of lack of time... sorry, I'll continue next week if I remember to bring my journal.

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Exert all of my Efforts"

I'm glad Joshua was able to fix the bike... I apologize that it is in a "sorry" state. My bike over here has been very good to me. I haven't crashed once... my bike has been crashed a couple of times, but not by myself. I haven't met a missionary yet that hasn't crashed except for the new missionaries and the Spanish missionaries, because the Spanish don't use them much.

I'm making lots of friends I intend to keep for life. (Mostly missionaries, because they live closer to home and I can actually see them if I go to Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, or some in California). I am very grateful that I have this opportunity to meet so many amazing individuals.

Any word on how Sean is doing? I assume that the hurricane passed through his mission. Any temporary evacuations made? The weather here has been pretty normal. It rains a couple times a week, gets cold at night, and the wind blows harder a couple times a week. I don't think it's out of the ordinary, but I have heard about the possibility of the storm passing into South Carolina from random people that tell us random things.

Tell Robert that with whatever time I have with him after my mission next year, I'm going to train with him to do a lot of amazing exercises that will push him to the limits and help him be more awesome.

There is a "Ryan Branham" missionary who's home is in this ward, and every time I see the plack, I think of Ryan Burnham, because it's so very close in spelling.

I have had a tiresome week. I was thinking about it a little bit last night and this morning and I decided that being tired at the end of the week is a good thing. For why would I want anything than to be pushed to my limits during my time of probation? If I were to look back on this life and see that I didn't reach anything near my potential because I didn't exert all of my efforts I would be sorely disappointed. To compare it with Roberts situation: if I ran a race and while doing so knew that I could run so much faster but didn't make the effort to do so and come up 5 second slow from 4 points of a 2 mile race, wouldn't I be devastated? Except in this analogy, there are no do-overs. I'm glad to be able to say at the end of my mission that I will have no regrets for I will have exerted my all.

It is very peculiar how the Lord teaches us. He expects us to figure things out on our own, and when we don't know what to do in a particular situation, he expects us to ask for help and he waits for us to use our agency to humble ourselves enough to realize that we can't accomplish anything without his divine help. And no one knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him. The slothful servant does not wait to be told what to do and doesn't take the initiative to figure it out on his own.

We have two outstanding new investigators on date to be baptized. One of which is a single mother of a family 2 of 3 of which are old enough to be baptized too and would probably follow in their mother's footsteps. I'll let you know when they follow through on that commitment. The Achilles heel for the others is just coming to church, that's all that is keeping them back, we'll see how it goes for them.

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers.
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life and Growth

We had a fun announcement Saturday morning: in two weeks, on the 3rd of November, Elder Bednar will come and have a mission wide missionary-only conference with us. That will be fun.

I did get the packages [for his birthday].  Thank you for the 3 ties, the 4 shirts, the dark chocolate, the ballot, the letter, the rice crispies (they are pretty stale... I only ate a bite, I didn't open the package until my birthday two days after I received the one from home. It's the thought that counts though, so thank you) for the hot chocolate, the monster cup, and everything else that I am forgetting.

Our awesome investigators that I may have mentioned about last week are struggling to keep appointments. Which is unfortunate, because they are still pretty awesome people. However, we have found some pretty cool new investigators to baptize this past week. If we are on top of things we'll help 5 more people be baptized in the upcoming future. They all excepted the commitment to be baptized, but we've only had one lesson with each of them so we can't really exercise righteous judgement on them yet for how solid they are. (They seem pretty solid though for the little amount of time I've had to know them.) I intend to send out one of my camera memory cards today. I'm going to send the other one once I get the other one back. There are some files on each of the cards that are too large for my camera to transfer to the other card. So I'm going to send both of them home (you'll receive duplicates probably).

Throughout my mission, I occasionally have the strength to pray for patience or to develop charity or something of the sort then later in those days think to myself, "Why did I pray for that again? Why did I pray for hard things? Aren't things hard enough? Why would I ask for trials?" because I receive them. (Believe me, God is willing to send trials our way if we ask for them if we think it will make us stronger.) Yesterday I had my inspiration for the day that came from a realization of how much patience and charity I am actually given from God when I pray for it. There were some things that happened yesterday that took a great deal of patience and charity particularly and looking back on that time I saw that there was no other way that I could have been as happy as I was had I not started that process of developing that unconditional love and patience for my brothers and sisters months earlier. I had a great day yesterday. Four months ago yesterday would have been a terrible day. It is really cool to see how the Atonement actually works on ourselves. When I can actually see the difference it makes for me in my own life in not a very great amount of time.

My time is spent
Hasta Luego!
Los Amo
Elder Walker

Monday, October 15, 2012

Testimony of the Work

For the next couple weeks we are going to find investigators and help them get to church and feel the spirit and get baptized! Hurray! My new companion is Elder Brinkerhoff. He's from Murray, Utah. He has a very inclined electrical engineering mind. He's the boldest missionary I've been around. He's ever so bold. Being bold is a good thing. I need to learn how to be loving and more bold, and he'll be the perfect teacher for me to change so. I am grateful that God gives us the strength to overcome our circumstances. Whether it be through actual physical health, a desire or determination strength, a connection with the spirit strength, or a strength or courage. In all those things (and more I'm sure) God doesn't take away our struggles, he doesn't remove them, he gives us the power to overcome them; why would he take away the opposing force that will do nothing but strengthen our testimonies and establish a venue for which God can bless us when we use our agency correctly and seek Christ for strength to resist, overcome, or remove our problems for ourselves? Our Father is a perfect father. He teaches us how to help ourselves. As missionaries that is what I strive for. I don't remove obstacles of our investigators (except with some service opportunities), I help them know where they can go to to receive that strength on their own so they will learn to trust God more and so that they may be blessed in the way God wants them to be.

I love being a missionary. Joshua is going to love being a missionary. Robert is going to love being a missionary. There's nothing bad about it. When we go forward with full purpose of heart, having faith in Christ, we recognize we have no need to fear the tulmultuous winds, the raging fires. When we stay focused on Christ and do not waver, we truly can command in the name of Jesus, and ther very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

I love you all a lot and I know you love me too. Be safe. I'll see you eventually.
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, October 8, 2012

General Conference

The announcement about the age change to serve a mission truly brightened up everyone's attitude. I was afraid that I wasn't going to see Joshua in about 4 years because if he'd leave shortly after June, that's how it'd end up, now it's only 3-3.5 years. That's a little better. Keep me updated with Ryan's call and Joshua's and anyone else that is going to go on a mission.

Conference was awesome. They had a whole talk specifically for investigators that were listening in Saturday morning. I enjoyed the Saturday morning, Priesthood, and last half of Sunday morning the best and the last half of Sunday afternoon next best. It kind of amazed me how much I was almost expecting what was going to be said. For example: remember Jeffery R Holland's talk? That was quite similar to his other talk that I sent you. I've also shaken hands with a few of the people that talked, such as Elder Gonzalez. (He's probably the only one, besides clapping hands with President Monson at the jamboree). It was fun to connect with the people a lot more than normal. I took 20 pages of notes throughout it all. I tried to find every scripture they made a reference to; I probably got a little under half of them written down. They quoted pieces of scripture all over the place. That was a fun consistent scripture hunt. I was thinking about my seminary class questioner. I'm sure I'd do a lot better job now than ever before. When on a mission, it is definitely easier to be inspired with things when you hear general conference talks because I have have been led into good habits to do things that bring the spirit.

I'll decipher my conference notes over the next few weeks and make a collection of the most important things I learned and send it to someone in a letter... just like you though, praying to recognize and act on everyday service opportunities how little and inconspicuous they may seem is on that list.

Joshua, remember my friend Elder Grayson Conner Bowman that I told you to go see the family of? Well, he's headed home this Wednesday or Thursday and will be home before Friday, so you should stop by to say "hi" to him this upcoming weekend for me.

"Suit season" is back. That means we are to wear our suits in any weather under 75 degrees. My suit is pretty sun bleached. Thus today I am going to buy a suit coat that matches one of my many other non-suit pants, to use that as my suit. This Wednesday is transfers. Elder McGuire is leaving and a new missionary is coming. Elder Zurita (Elder Boman's current companion from Equador (not where Jacoby is) is going to train a new missionary this upcoming transfer. That will be fun for all of us.

I love being a missionary! and Joshua and Ryan will too!
Los Amo,
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Neat Miracle

I copied this from what I emailed to my president:
Yesterday, we tracted into a sister who was baptized in her teens who's records are not in our roster. Almost immediately she told us about her children that she's been taking them to a lot of different churches, Baptist, Jehovah Witness, Catholic, etc. but that she's been saving Mormon for last because she wants her kids to stay with Mormon. (Her logic is kind of off for taking them to all the false churches first, but her kids didn't like any of the other churches so that made her happy). She has 4 kids, a 9 year old, 8 year old, 6 and 2 year old too. Hurray! One of the first things that came out of her mouth at the door was: "I'm looking to get my kids baptized in the Mormon Church." and ended with: "I'm glad you came by."

That was a neat miracle.

I am excited for General Conference this upcoming weekend too! This will be my second one on my mission I'm pretty sure. I hear all of the time that watching conference as a missionary is tons more fulfilling than watching it as a normal member. I kind of agree. From reading the Ensigns I get much more out of the talks than I have anytime else before my mission. I hope to continue to increase in the inspiration that I am supposed to come to an understanding of and to remember it, or write it somewhere where I'll remember to look over it. I'm sure I'll be very inspired this upcoming conference (and I'm eating ice cream right before the priesthood session, I'm looking forward to that also).

The time difference puts the priesthood session ending at 10pm on Saturday. That is pretty late.

Los amo
Elder Walker

Monday, September 24, 2012


I do a 15 mile mile bike ride every day. Had I been home, I'd probably have gone with them. I've gotten really skilled on a bike now and haven't crashed yet. I'll keep it that way. Everyone else I know has at least once. (Elder Mcguire has crashed at least 8 times).

Hmmm I had some spiritual thoughts I was going to (and still intend to) send you... but my mind has drawn a blank and I can't remember the ones I was going to say... anyway, this saturday another person I have taught is going to get baptized, not in our ward though, but that doesn't matter. Also, not in our ward, another family I've got to get to know quite well on several different occasions had their two twin sons baptized two days ago on their 13 birthday. Their anti-mormon divorced mother wouldn't allow them to get baptized until just two weeks ago when she consented to let them do so. Hurray!

That is wonderful to hear that grandma and grandpa are seeing the sights that Christ walked. That is fun. I had a thought this week as I was studying some of the things that Christ did that it would be cool to see the places that have great significance like the tomb he was buried at or the Garden of Gethsemane etc.

Oh I remember one of the things I was going to say. It was about forgiveness... When I was thinking of it earlier it turned out much better and inspirational than it is now that I'm actually typing out what I remember by the way. I also only have 5 min left before the comp kicks be off, so I need to hurry. So heaven is full of people that are forgiven and who forgive. "I, the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men" (D&C 64:10). When Christ says that we are commanded to forgive ALL men, that includes ourselves. Ourself is sometimes the hardest person to forgive. As Christ showed us with the women who was caught in the act of adultry who was sentenced to be stoned by the law of Moses, we will be forgiven on condition that we sin no more, no matter how serious our crime. (Except denying the Holy Ghost which most of us won't even be able to commit anyway.) We know we have repented and been forgiven when we "confess and forsake" our sins.

I'm sorry to say I can't finish my thought because I'm out of time... alas, I'll write you another thought next week if I remember one that sticks out to me.

Hasta Luego
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's that time of week again

I am glad I have this opportunity to write to you today! I enjoyed Elder Holland's fireside (I watched it on lds.org during mormon.org time =-) I get an hour a week if you remember). You are right, it was a good one.

It is amazing how much more I get out of the scriptures as a missionary. It is lots of fun to discover new things and to remember old things that I remember being taught in our family scripture study when I was younger. Lately I have been studying up with a lot of the teachings of Jesus Christ. He sure did put up with a lot of the (all of the) trials that I've seen in people's life to an extent unimaginable with such charity behind every gesture of his in reply. Surely the Lord Saith that we are given the opportunity to progress to the extent that we are able to deal with every single trial. I can't wait for that day. It's reminds me of some of the times I wished I could go back in time to do-over the things I've done before with the wisdom and knowledge that I've attained since then. It's just not going to happen. Thankfully we have a God who's every effort is in the salvation of our souls. He has divinely planned out how I can go about repenting in the most progressive manner in which I may live worth of the highest blessings available to us, Eternal Life, to live the kind of life that God lives and enjoy those blessings with my family.

I have eaten out more this past week than I ever intend to do so again (about 5 times). Elder McGuire would eat out every meal if he could. I for one do not have that kind of financial abundance, and for two, don't even like to go out to eat; thus it's not going to happen much more I hope.

We have some super awesome investigators (still). All they need to do is take that leap of faith to get baptized. It ought to happen soon. Not much is keeping them back from doing so besides some of their families (which is "much" is do understand; they'll just have to gain a stronger testimony so they'll get baptized).

Thank you for all you do with the newsletters. I realize it's a lot of work, but I really appreciate it and I know everyone else does too. I'm always looking forward to hearing about our ward and my missionary friends through your newsletter.

Los Amos!
Your son loves being a missionary, if I knew how good it was, I would have pulled some strings and done it earlier.

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, September 10, 2012

Talks and Studies

[At the beginning of this most recent letter, Elder Walker is speaking of Elder Holland's CES Fireside given Sunday, September 10, 2012].

The talk sounds like a really good one. I have grown to really like Elder Holland talks. He is the apostle that called President Holm to be a Mission President, so I hear a lot of them. If it's on one of the church websites, which it probably is, I can listen to it, so I'm requesting the link, if it's not, or if it's on one of the school sites I can't go to it without permission, and would ask you if you would print/mail me out a hard copy (paper please) of it. I'm going to print out a copy here if it's available, I like to keep a collection of good talks, and I have quite a bundle of them right now. I think I have enough to send Joshua one talk every other week for his whole mission. (Which I plan on doing by the way, I'm sure Joshua will like that. Whether he thinks so now or not, he will then on his mission.)
Yesterday we had a Stake Conference. I ended up standing up in the back of the gym for the majority of it and sitting on the edge of the stage for part of it. They announced when the wards were going to be split and we had the Temple President, Pres Baughman, President Holm (my mission president), Sister Holm, and a couple other people I didn't know (one might have been the stake president) all speak. It was a good stake conference. I also had the privilege of saying hi to a lot of the friends that I made in the Summerville Ward, for they were all there at the stake conference.

This past week we saw a lot of LA members and I read a lot of Ensigns. That sums up my past week. We also had some funny sit down lessons with random people. Potential is great in Goose Creek right now, we just need to do better at fulfilling that potential.

I still keep a daily journal. Due to Elder Bowman's dedication to keeping one, I thought I could keep one faithfully too; he's a lot better about writing important stuff in it, but consistancy is all I'm working towards right now. I'm sure a lot more than what I've said has gone on this past week, but I can't remember and am not going to bring my journal with me to the library, you are welcome to read it once I get home. I know it was really hot biking in the heat and that this week it is supposed to be getting a lot cooler working into the fall finally. (I actually like the burning hot better than the bitter cold.) I'm going to mail my winter clothes home after this winter, btw.

Here's something that I was reminded this morning from Elder Guasse (I'm pretty sure) as I read the 2008 Ensign conference talks:
No matter what age people are, the gospel was divinly designed so that even the youngest people may come to an understanding of what it has in store for them. The gospel is not meant to only be understood by the intellectually elite, it's meant for everybody. Something that I need to work on is teaching to their needs and at the level of their understanding. Even Jesus Christ was subject to the whole law of justice, yet at age 12 he was teaching others in the temple because God taught him at an early age what it was he needed to know according to his understanding.
Time passes really fast, that either means that I am getting older and time is comparitively not as big of a deal, or I'm doing a good job and that makes the weeks fly by.

I love being a missionary!
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

To Family

Mother, you are very clever for teaching your children, keep up the good work. For me, a huge part of having the motivation to do something is remembering what sacrifices have been made in the past to make what you have been given the privilege to do availiable, or to remember that others have been through much worse and what you are going through is actually a blessing despite any trials that arise. Even without realizing that others have gone through worse, we have a God that has promised us that every trial we go through will be for our good and will give us experience to be able to do better things in the future. Way-to-go Robert! Tough it out. Not even a band-aid! =-)

Joshua is almost at at school now. That's pretty fun. One of the Spanish missionaries in my apartment right now lives in Rexburg, Idaho and is just about to finish his mission and go back home, I'll get his address for Joshua to go and see him. Elder Bowman is a really good missionary, it'd be good for Joshua (and make me really happy) if he met him and asked about his mission.

We have some awesome people we are working with. The members are doing a good job at finding people for us to teach. There are several friends of members that have potential to be baptized in the near future.

To answer the food question. Our ward consists of mostly young couples that have kids under the age of 7. Frequently they are not able to have us over for dinner because of weird Navy schedules, but the ward sets up two red boxes in the kitchen counter for members to put food in for us if they are not able to have us over, and there tends to be quite a bounty in those red boxes each week. So yes, the ward takes good care of us. I've also got a great picture of us defrosting ice cold pried open cans of soup on the stove that came in a box that we froze in the freezer. It's a really funny picture for a stereotypical home made meal. (Our can opener broke, right before we attempted to eat this meal.) You'll be sure to get a copy of it from the memory card I send eventually.

I've been able to hear lots and lots of unique experiences that people have had, both spiritual and non-spiritual as a missionary. It is amazing how much God really does look after each and every one of us. I am priviledged to be a missionary, and I love it!

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, August 27, 2012

Language Translation and Bed Bugs

I am happy to announce that two more people I was working with in Greenwood I found out yesterday were baptized! hurray!

Transfer calls came last Saturday night. Not much change, except that one of the Spanish missionaries in our district is leaving and being swapped and two more English missionaries are coming putting our district at 12 (remember, before this transfer the largest I've had a district is 4 people), which probably means the Spanish elders are going to move back into our apartment. Hurray! But we're going to loose the car back to the Spanish probably. (It was expected, but booo!)

Elder McGuire has been sick most of the week so I have had very long extended studies which is really cool, but unfortunate at the same time...

I think I told you before already, but my ward and a couple other wards here are about to split up too, it'll be interesting to see how it all divides out; I think I told you also, that our Crowfield ward is probably only going to grow in numbers because our boundaries are so small already (however we have many many solid members with more than 50 active elders so maybe not.)

So, let us see... this past week I went on a day exchange with the Spanish elders, he taught me how to spot Spanish households and it held true every single time. A Spanish house will have one on the following: a pink bike in the yard. a satellite with two receivers (English and Spanish channels), construction supplies laying around specifically paint, a mop on the porch (don't know why that is, but that was the most common out of all of them), I don't remember the rest, but I know I wrote it down somewhere and I think it was in my journal so it's ok that I don't tell you the rest. It was lots of fun though. One of the lessons we had the mother only spoke Portuguese and the kids spoke Portuguese, Spanish, and English but were the most fluent in Spanish. My companion spoke mostly Spanish to them (some English) because he is a Spanish missionary and doesn't know any Portuguese and I speak English. At that lesson we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" in Portuguese. The next lesson was a family from Mexico and the dad spoke some English, mostly Spanish and knew a dialect of some sort of Spanish (Mistecka?) that I wrote down in my journal too, the son speaks fluent English and Spanish and at least some Mistecka, the rest of the kids speak a little bit more English than the father (because of school I'm sure) but mostly speak Spanish. The mother doesn't speak any English is in the process of learning Spanish (I read the scriptures better than she did in Spanish) and so everything we said was translated by the father to the mother in Mistecka... it took an hour and a half to get through 1 Nephi Ch 1. It was a fun Spanish day.

All the missionaries that were in the North Charlston apartment (Spanish and North Charlston elders (4 of them)) have been bit by bed bugs, they had a severe bunch of them and had their apt sprayed down recently. I was never bit, but apparently they came from our apartment when the Spanish elders left our apartment and went into their apartment. I don't even know what one looks like, so if there ever were any in our apartment they probably died in the room the Spanish elders were in in our apartment because nobody has gone into that room since they left beside to vacuum it.

We haven't had many dinner appointments with the member recently, but there is a "red box" that is kept in the kitchen at church that members put food in for us to take during church. They have given us a lot of food, our cabinets are full of mostly uncooked pasta and tomato sauce.

I love you all lots! Keep up the good experiences at home! Sounds like you are all keeping busy.

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Best Baptism

How I am doing:
Awesome; Amazing; Excited; Outstanding; Incredible; Magnificent; Undaunted; Inspired; Talented; Busy; Blessed; Taken Care Of; Making Friends; Being Grateful; Heading to Guidance; Listening to Spirit; Making Goals w/ Deadlines; Overcoming Uncomfortable Situations; Increasing in Bravery and Dedication; Recognizing Opportunities;
yep, that pretty much sums it up.

So a lady's baptism was the best baptism I can remember going to. (I'm sure mine was good too, all I remember about mine is that the water was cold after the first 3 inches.) There were 60 people there at the baptism (plus two sister missionaries that was requested that they watch over Skype from Salt Lake, they speak Japanese and helped with the teachings), about half was related to her in some way. This sister had many of her less-active or non-member children and grandchildren (and great-grand) there attending the baptism. The members were great, it was funny to watch. One member asked her grandchild after the baptism, "So are you going to be baptized too?" His response was, I don't know, maybe. =-) Her family came from mostly South Carolina, but some flew from across the nation others drove that were closer than that. It was a good day. Lots of stuff happened...

I guess since my time is running low, I better answer your question better before time is up...
I am doing wonderfully. I love it here in Goose Creek. We have a wonderful ward. It is lots of fun getting to work with so many military people. Because of various missionaries that got their VISAs to go to Argentina our districts combined and we have ten missionaries in our district now (part Spanish) my companion is thew district leader, the zone leaders are in our district too. We have more than 1/3 of our zone in our district. Funny to think about. We also get an apartment to ourselves and a car for a total of about 3.5 weeks (1.5 weeks remaining). It is different being in a 2 pack instead of more than 2; It's helped me to be more productive I think because there aren't Spanish missionaries around anymore to bug and listen in on their Spanish planning. I still get to bug them because they are in our district (before they weren't) but not to the same extent. ha ha ha I'm just kidding, me? being a nuisance to others? never... (no, we are one big happy ever changing (because of transfers) family). We have lots of work to do and I'm having lots of fun carrying it out. Elder McGuire is pretty awesome too!

ta ta for now,
I'm signing out.
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, August 13, 2012

Baptism and Military

Because I'm not biking everywhere anymore and get to use the car, I have felt that I'm not putting all of my energy into the work any more and have felt a little lazy (even though we are not and are very productive with the car), I'm just not physically straining myself anymore while being soaked and carrying a heavy backpack several miles on a bike at the same time. I haven't been able to use so much of a car before. Glad I get to. Pretty soon our ward (Crowfield), and other wards: Summerville, Oakbrook, North Charlston, are going to be split and create a new ward... that will happen in about October or late September. I hope it doesn't effect our ward by taking members out, ours is the smallest geographically in the stake (probably mission just including the areas that don't have miles and miles of nothing but forest), our bishop thinks from looking at a map that we are not going to loose any members but instead gain some... we'll see, they are adding another ward afterall.

I just found out that one of my investigators I was working with who we all knew was going to get baptized in Greenwood was baptized! hurray! Way to go Elder Ah Kuoi (one of the elder that took over there in Greenwood).

Still we have a super duper solid baptism that is going to happen this upcoming Saturday at 5pm. hurray! She's from Japan, mother of the stake relief society president. Yep, it's going to happen. Later that Saturday night at 7pm our stake is having a celebration for their 40th anniversary for being a stake, then after that we are going to watch President Monson's 85th b-day party at 9pm on the BYU channel (6pm your time).

We have a busy week ahead of us...... lots of appointments and lots of other things planned in too. This ward is a very unique ward. Last Monday I took a tour in the Air Force Base, Navy Base and also commissary (sp wrong, it's the military food store). There is a focus to work with lots of military people (mostly Navy in Goose Creek) here. It's fun, I go to the Brig (navy prison) once a week to talk to a LA member there, and I get to teach navy people at the navy chapel each week. It's different working with military, because we can't proselyte on base, they have to come to you (through members typically). Fun stuff!

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Life of a Missionary

I had an interesting week. I stepped large piles of dog poo at least 4 times. I got stung in my eye (lid) from a bee and it didn't get swollen up till the next day (still itches). I wrote in my journal every night (you should be proud of me!). My companion got hit by a car (just barley though, the car just tapped his bike (wasn't his fault, I saw the whole thing, nobody got hurt, no damages done, car just wasn't looking (and was at a red light)). We now only have two elders that live in Goose Creek (two Spanish elders went to Argentina today and we got to keep the car.) We have a car now for minimum 3 weeks (3 weeks till transfers when they will probably add two more Spanish elders back.) I went on a three day exchange with three different missionaries. Our Japanese investigator is set in stone for baptism on the 18th. She's all prepared.

I'll have to tell you about my Thursday and Friday exchange. (I told Alexandria I'd do a good job on particularly Friday.) I was with Elder Parker (my former companion), and Elder Kerr. All of our companions went to a LTM (leadership training meeting) in Columbia. I ran into more negative people those two days than any other days on my mission. We got kicked out of a particular apartment complex twice when we never intended to knock on a door anyway, but just were passing though to get out, and come back (because we live behind it so need to go through), we had several angry people that told us we weren't Christians, others that wanted to bash, and others again that told us that they don't want to ever see us knocking on their door. It was kind of weird because since I came into Goose Creek I hadn't met any negative people at all, none. (Although, we were only in our area for half of Thursday, my area/ward is the smallest in our stake.) Nevertheless, I kept a positive attitude during the whole of it, and I talked to everybody I saw, I stayed enthusiastic about missionary work, I was bold and loving in all I said, and it was a great two days. It's all about attitude, it really is. I'm glad I had that privilege to go out and see those people, it helped me understand what to do in the future if anything like that happens again. A particular guy we talked to when we approached had his buddy that left immediately when they saw we were headed their way. They were both smoking (not very inviting looking guys) and we started speaking to them and found out that he had just gone through a divorce, was looking for a job, though was financially secure at the moment, and a couple other things and he wasn't interested at first, but the more we talked the more he felt that he needed this gospel, through powerful testimony and through the dedication that he saw in us, his heart was softened a lot, you could see it in him as we talked, it was really cool. We also saw lots of other cool people those two days and made some great return appointments.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Biking... or not?

This past week has been amazing to say the least. First of all, our area is the only all-biking area in our zone (zone usually equals stake). Last Thursday traveling missionaries came to our apartment to go on splits with us. The English elder, Elder Olsen, came with us and the Spanish elder went with the other two spanish elders in our apartment. Because the "traveling" missionaries travel a lot, they have an infinite amount of distance they can travel in the car. They are the only one's not limited on how many miles they can go in a month. After about an hour of being out teaching, Elder Olsen's companion called and asked him to come back to the apartment because he was very sick and Sister Holm told him to sleep it off (he slept a good 16 hours... wow). So we got permission to use their car that has unlimited miles on it. Our area is pretty small, but we made good use of the miles, and it couldn't have been on a better day, it was very very hot that day. We'd walk to a door 30 feet away then walk back and be drenched in sweat. I'm am very grateful for the car that day. then we changed his plans and had Elder Olsen stay with us for Friday too. Hurray! Both days were very effective days. It was amazing the things that I learned from Elder Olsen. He is a very good missionary. He knows how to love the people at the same time as being bold. I learned a good number of things from him, and someday when you read what I've typed to President Holm, you'll get part of the rest of the story. I have learned that I need to bear my testimony more frequently and that I need to be more bold and loving at the same time...

On top of that, one of the Spanish missionaries, Elder Sinclair, was waiting for his visa so he can serve his mission in Argentina. How fun is that? He'll be on the plane next week Monday. I don't know if that means Elder Bowman (the other Spanish missionary) will be moving somewhere else or if someone else will be moving in to our apartment. I think it's likely that Elder Bowman will leave, but that will mean that we don't have a car that we can use to get to church or to Walmart to buy food, because it'd be a little ridiculous to bike to them each week. We'll see what that means; but if Elder Bowman leaves, we might get the car; we'll find out.

This Thursday and Friday, my companion will be going to some meeting that I don't get to go to, so I'll team up with other missionaries those two days, and then on Saturday one of our investigators is going to have a baptismal interview, so I'll go on an exchange with one of our zone leaders for the day. It'll be an adventure week, I'll be going half the week to different areas. It'll be fun, that's for sure.

hasta luego! en dos anos!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

No Miracles Missed Here

I forgot to tell you last week. I met a person who's name escapes me from Morgan, UT. He came down here to Greenwood for the last couple of weeks to ask a father permission to marry his daughter. He got off his mission recently (a couple months ago) and knows our aunt and uncle and cousins. Forgot his name... but dad might know his family.

I am currently in Goose Creek, South Carolina. It's right next to Greenwood where I started. This is a wonderful place to be. Wonderful. My companion is Elder McGuire. Elder McGuire was baptized when he was 17, his family is not members and did not support him financially for going on a mission. He's 20 now and has been a member for almost 3 years. He has the strongest recent convert testimony I have seen in anyone who has been in the church for such a short period of time. Through a particular huge miracle he was able to come to be blessed with a sudden gift of financial help that enabled him to come on a mission, and some. His priorities are all in order, we are going to make a great team here in Goose Creek. We share an appartment with Spanish elders who are not in our district, great elders btw, and a member does our laundry because we don't have a washer or dryer.

We have some super solid awesome outstanding investigators that are going to get baptized next month. They are really cool. One of them is chinese (no religious bakground at all, his only concern is currently being resolved of whether there is a God or not), one of them is Japanese, two of them are Americans, one of them I haven't met and will probably drop off date. But the first 4 have wonderful friends in the church that are supporting them and are looked to for answers. The Japanese lady's mother is the Stake Relief Society President. The Chinese guy's friend is the Elder's quorum president. Unfortunately is moving soon, but the elder's quorum president knows all the people in the ward he's moving to so he'll be taken care of there. The couple is also well liked and they've come to church and are well fellowshipped.

The area I have seems small, but when we have the Spirit with us, we are most blessed and a great number of the people open the doors for us and we have gained a great number of potential investigators in the last few days we need to follow up with. Ever heard the quote, "one person can cost the miracle" Well, there will be no miracles missed here in Goose Creek.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Surprise surprise. (It really is a surprise.) I'm getting transferred, not sure where, I'll find out Wednesday when I get transferred. I already packed most everything up though. It's a sad exciting moment. I have a mix between getting ready for something I've been preparing for and leaving the people I've come to know so well. Greenwood is a great place, it'll be sad to leave it. I'll have to come back sometime in the future and visit it. At least I know to whom all of our investigators are falling into the hands of, and they are in good hands. I am most excited to be heading into the unknown ready to take on a mountain (I'll just borrow the faith of the mustard seed in the grocery store.) I am an amazing packer, I don't know how I happened to accumulate so much stuff, but I'm going to need to mail things home before I bring it on a plane. Because it weighs more than it should. But somehow I'm able to fit it all in not very much space.

I love the people of South Carolina. They have such wierd words: buggie (shopping cart), cammode (toilet), smash (push), cut (turn [off]) and such belly warming fried and greasy food. That pretty much sums up South Carolina. They done been saying good language and know how to whip up a supper!

Monday, July 9, 2012


Ty [names changed] is part of a less-active family in the outskirts of town. He sent a media referral for himself to us and requested that we help him become active again. We gave him a call and texted him to set up an appointment to see him and ever since he has been coming to church. . . . He became a member when he was 16 years old and stopped coming to church at age of 18 when his parents divorced. (He's 24 now). The reason that he contacted us through mormon.org for us to come and see him was so that he could be friends with the missionaries and know somebody for when he comes back to church. He is looking to go to BYU-Idaho for school and he is a very hard worker. Ever since he has met us he has offered to help us in any way that he can. For example, "I know I live a ways out, if you can't get a ride from a member to get out here I'll drive down to you and pick you up." "If you guys want to take a break from biking for a day, I'd love to drive you around and go with you where ever you need to go." "If you find that you need something at night or in the morning past your curfew and you need it bad, give me a call and I'll go to the store and buy you it and bring it to you even if it's 1am or 5am." He is very honest and is a very nice guy. He plays some game and in the online game you go around in groups of 5. 4 of the 5 including himself are members of the church. 2 from California and one from Idaho. Every day or every couple of days they read the Book of Mormon together over a video conference. One of his friends, the one in Idaho, is the only one that has read the entire Book of Mormon. One of them is a recent convert in California and gets bored easily, so they read the stories that Ty's friend in Idaho picks out because she knows all of the stories, to help the recent convert stay alert and paying attention to the scriptures. Ty is awesome. He has been coming to church ever since we've met with him. He's gone out to visit people with us. He's offered to do us any favor we might ask him. He has talents for being a great inspirational leader, his personality has been positive every time that I've seen him, but he's not going to let somebody tell him he's not a good person or he will walk out of the environment. Because of how he's grown up (with his dad and roommate before) he's gone through phases of packing up all of his stuff in 15 minutes and putting it all in his car and leaving. But he has never done that without first telling the person that he's living with that they need to change certain things they are doing (bad habits of them, word of wisdom or otherwise) or he'll be gone. So, to finish summing it all up, he's been through a lot, and he's awesome because of how he has dealt with his trials in his life.

So... this kind of story, happens all of the time with people, all of the time. You hear all sorts of crazy experiences people have: visions, family issues, financial issues, miraculous miracles in people's life, a change a heart and attitude for what needs to be done, renewed sense of purpose, etc. Every day, my testimony grows stronger and stronger, I know the church is true. There is no other explanation that explains everything with the accompanying of the Holy Ghost as a witness of it's truth.

Ta Ta my time is spent,

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fun Times

We're having an awesome fireside tomorrow night. It will be way awesome and lots of less actives/recent converts/re-activating members/investigators will be there. It'll be great.

Yesterday it got to 108 degrees Fahrenheit; it was over 104 for at least 4 hours. Then I took a video with my camera... it hailed. The hail was 1in diameter. Big hail. How strange is that? You'll see it eventually.

We taught an awesome investigator yesterday. She is dating one of the members and we taught them both (they're both 60+), and she explained to us how she knows the church is true... it is pretty awesome, she had many ah-ha! moments and afterwards we went to a members house to eat with them, and the member tried to bear testimony to her and our investigator kept interrupting telling Sister Bayne (who was feeding us all) that she already knows the church is true and that she doesn't need to tell her that so many times. Pretty funny to watch.

My memory is so bad.. I can only remember to yesterday and tomorrow...
I'm kind of out of time, thus, I now leave in peace! adios amigos!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ask Elder Walker

My brother, Elder Benjamin Walker, has requested this particular blog post. He wants it to be opened up for any question at all you would like to ask him. Whether it is doctrinal or not.

If you comment at the end of this post, I will be sure to forward them to Elder Walker and he will be sure to come back with answers for a follow up post.

So ask away everyone!

Update on Elder Walker's Binder Organization List

A few months ago, Elder Benjamin Walker informed us about how he organized his binder. This his how he organizes it now:
A Meetings–District 
B Meetings–Zone Conference 
C Meetings–Other (Conferences) 
D Daily things to review: goals, things to pray for, daily repentance 
E Preach My Gospel Lesson 1 
F Preach My Gospel Lessons 2 
G Preach My Gospel Lesson 3 
Preach My Gospel Lesson 4 
Preach My Gospel Lesson 5 
Preach My Gospel Activities 
K Book of Mormon reading–insights/summary 
L Feelings and impressions of missionary work–what I've learned on a mission 
M Topics for teaching: Last days, trials, gratefulness, prayer, prophets, etc 
Teachings of the Savior 
O Talks 
P Study ideas, helps 
Q Letters to God 
R Qualities I'm striving for 
S People I want to remember 
T <Blank> 
U Stuff to do when I get home 
V Dreams 
W Favorite Quotes or handouts 
Lesson ideas 
Y Companions/fellow missionaries 
Miscellaneous: Questions (both my own and ridiculous ones we come across) with corresponding answers, common concerns and ideas to help them resolve them, and other things like measurements of money in the Book of Mormon times of the judges.  

Ben's Goal

This past week we had General Authority Elder William R. Walker over all the temples of the world speak to us and Elder Russell M. Nelson of the 12 called him twice and interrupted him speaking to us. It was so funny to watch. He has so much association with the apostles already that he acted like it was nothing, like his best friend gave him a call in the middle of his talk and he found it more important to walk out of the room to talk to his friend (Elder Nelson) than to finish his talk. It was funny.

I have set some goals for myself. I want to be able to do 100 handstand pushups in a row by the end of my mission. It's going to be hard, I can't even do 100 normal pushups in a row. Nor can I stand on my hands for more than 5 seconds. I'll use a wall eventually.
Ben's drawing to help us understand how he will achieve his goal.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Special Day: Biked more than we ever had

I've had some awesome activities this past week, and some less-awesome mountains to climb. It's been a week full of adventure... Elder Fisher and Elder Ah Kuoi baptized a new member of the church. We had some good investigators at church. We had a ward picnic and it was awesome: lots and lots of amazing food. We ought to have more investigators on date to be baptized next month within this coming week. One of the days we biked 47.1 miles in one day. (I usually don't keep track of it, but this day was special because I knew we biked more than we ever had before.) We played basketball with some members last preparation day, some LA's and investigators were supposed to come, but none did.

"Food" for thought:
I don't know if I told you about the letter I sent Elder Sean Burnham with fudge in it, I double bagged two good size pieces of them... Well apparently the bags leaked and the fudge melted and blobbed all over the very very good and inspired letter I wrote him... bummer. It was a really good letter. He said the fudge tasted good though.

I'm sorry I'm short on words today, I'm just not in the mood to tell you what's been going on right now...
Greenwood Ward consists of lots and lots of nice members. I've come to discover that it really doesn't (and shouldn't) matter to the missionary where you are at in the world sharing the gospel. We are where our leaders have been inspired to put us because we will help the work move along to the fullest in that area if we all do our part. The church is so inspired and awesome...

Oh, this past week we also got to hear from "Elder Walker" a general authority over all of the temples in the world. It was a really awesome "mission tour" meeting.

Tis all I have to say, till next time!
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

(@")@ <("<)
(above: two Kirby's fighting)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day Weekend

I want to comment a little bit about insights I've had about what I've learned from the talks and scriptures I've read recently (this is what has been on my mind lately):

Joseph Smith did not have any more resources to the gospel than we have. In fact we have an incredibly larger abundance if resources whereby we may grow from than he started with. There is no reason we can't develop the faith, the trust, in God to grow with such great magnitude as any of the prophets you have read about.

I don't think we come close to comprehending what great spirits we have. We have super-delux spirits that have been blessed with a body that is in the image of God. We are a lot more spiritually devoloped than we probably think we are, or think others are. Even the most evil person you can think of has an amazing spirit. It's hard to comprehend.

We are preparing for ordinances that we are striving to accept later after we die; two of which I'll mention: the immortal body, the ability to have spiritual children.

The reason general conference so many times talks about general principals of the gospel is because general conference is to the whole world. The apostles/prophets need to keep a "cap" on things that they know when speaking to the whole world or a large group of people. They may not all be ready for it. You get an apostle alone in a small group and he will expound the scriptures in ways you may have never thought of if you are ready for it. They are very very good at teaching to our needs. The spirit truly does know all things. One of my favorite quotes is from a talk Joseph Smith gave when he said that he knew more than the whole world combined, or not him, but the Holy Ghost does, who is with him.

Questions are good, they are very good. If we don't think of questions, how will we progress? We ought not be satisfied with our spiritual strength ever. Never ever. God won't settle for anything less than what our potential is and he will remind us through trials or other ways unless we knowingly choose not to accept the blessings that we have been granted, in which God can do no more because of our agency.

We are rediculously blessed. It is truly remarkable what a great Heavenly Father we have. He is all knowing, he has all wisdom, he is omnipotent, he is omnipresent. His dominion resides over everything. How marvelous the Plan of our Eternal God! I think Jacob in the Book of Mormon said something to the effect of: "My fathers have taught you the Plan of Salvation, what more can I teach?" And I'm starting to understand why he said that. I am starting to bearly notice what would happen if I were to grasp the immense genious of the plan. The Plan of Happiness, The Plan of Salvation, the Plan that gets us back to live with our Eternal Heavenly Father. The Plan that enables us to enjoy the blessings that God himself enjoys. Do the scriptures not say that nothing will make you more happy than to bring souls unto Christ? I haven't fully figured that one out yet, but I read about once we understand the prophets more, the scriptures more, the plan more, we will come to understand the value of a soul and what an immense blessing it is to bring souls unto Christ.

Eternal life consists of living the kind of life that God lives! This is what we are striving for. Did you just understand what I said? As I've said before, we can live the kind of life that He lives, enjoy the blessings He enjoys. is not this worth any miniscule pain or suffering or patience that we barely get exposed to? I am quite sure that if we did not pass through the veil of forgetfullness that we would undoubtedly do all that we can to withstand any suffering, to forgive and repent over anything, ANYTHING. There is no pain nor suffering that is not worth triumphing through in the moment of to prepare us for greater things to come in the future. none whatsoever that is not worth it.

If only we understood the inspired counsel that God's prophets have given us, to what extent it effects us. Our little peanut brain cannot comprehend all that God has for us. His wisdom is infinite in all things.

Oh dear and beloved family: I love you all. I really really do. I want the best for all of you. Joshua and Robert and Monica if you so choose to, I would not pass up a mission in this time in my life for anything. Mother and Father, it wouldn't surprise me if you two choose to serve another mission later in your life as well. It is awesome! Satan tries to have us dwell on missionary work as boring, life interrupting or not worth it... Well, Satan is wrong. It is what you make it. There is great potential in all of our lives. Greater than we can imagine I'm sure. God's guiding us there. we need to make the most with what we are given.