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, January 30, 2012

In the 11th Week in the Field...

Elder Walker reported a bit of service, enjoying the life of a missionary, saw a new part of South Carolina and also experiencing crazy weather like the rest of America.
Thursday night we walked/pushed a very agile man in a wheel chair back to his house because he was lost and trying to find it all day. Saturday night we stopped by his house (about 8:50pm is when we stopped by) and committed him to coming to stake conference (yesterday). Well, nobody would answer their phone probably because they were in the adult session of stake conference that occurred Saturday night. So we called lots of people Sunday morning and finally found a ride for him to be picked up at 9am for the 10am session of stake conference. What makes matters worse is that he didn't have a phone . . . and did I mention that he's in a wheelchair and lives a long way away? Anyway, it all worked out. 
Sunday morning at about 4:30 our fire alarm went off. Normal mornings when our alarm goes off we all get up and go to the table out in the front room to ensure that people get out of their bed for a morning district prayer. Elder Hancock got up, walked around the apartment to make sure there was no fire in the halls or anything, turned off the heater, so we all went back to bed (some didn't even get up). Well it went off again, and again and again, about every 2 min. After that we finally were annoyed enough to look thoroughly for a source of setting the smoke alarm off and had turned on the lights we discovered that lots of smoke was in the apartment but still no fire (not black smoke, more like kitchen fire smoke, but everywhere) and you could smell it everywhere... there wasn't any smoke in our room though.
Elder Thayne called president and he basically said, "what are you calling me for?" Then he called 911 we had 3 firetrucks, a police car and two ambulances show up pretty fast, we went around to all of our neighbors and rang the doorbells and knocked but nobody got up until the firetruck stopped outside the building, lol. We weren't knocking frantically because there wasn't any fire to be seen, but it's still funny nobody got up. The police told Elder Thayne on the phone that we could go ahead and pack important things into our bags and then to wait outside till the firetruck got there. Elder Winger, as he is
leaving this upcoming Wednesday (two days), had everything already sort of organized for what he wanted to take and packed up everything in like 3 minutes and took it outside, it was pretty funny to think about later. Turns out there had been lots of dust that was sitting in the heater part and caught fire and spread throughout the apartment making it fill with smoke. It didn't come into our room because our door was closed and our vent was closed. One reason we thought it wasn't the heater was because Elder Hancock had turned it off the very first time the alarm went off, it was just blowing the smoke around of the already burnt stuff after that. The first picture I took was about 5:10am Sunday morning. 
Today, a member of our ward took Elder Winger and I to a plantation, his favorite place in all South Carolina, because he didn't want Elder Winger to go home without us first going to it. He had a membership so could take one person for free and paid for the other one of us. What a nice guy. Anyway, but that's why I didn't email this morning, I was at the "Middleton Place" plantation from 10am to 1pm ish. Lots of history about slaves and stuff. I took lots of pictures from there. lots and lots. 
The weather here has been very strange. We have had days in the last week that broke 80 degrees and other days where it's been very cold. The weather fluctuates a lot here. This is probably the warmest January this place has had in a bunch of years considering last year it snowed 7 or so inches around Christmas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

10th Week in the Field

Many of you may know, especially if you are a returned missionary, once you set a baptismal date, Satan does all in his power to make sure it doesn't happen. Sadly, my brother has been discovering this.
So a couple of things happened in the last week. Three people who were on date to be baptized dropped off... after we put them on date we never saw them again. (Two different households.) That's a bummer. But we got one more on date for Feb and will probably get a few more before the end of the month on date (hopefully).
Elder Walker also learned something he wished he knew before. So for all you future missionaries:
I finally figured out how to make a study journal, that is something that I was never taught how to do, but wish I had been. I thought it consisted of a notebook that I took notes in, it's not. I've planned it all out for how I'm going to do it and it's going to be in a huge binder that I'll buy today. it's going to make my study a whole lot more effective and memorable as I will never have to use a different method for the rest of my life.
The rest of his email talks about how his life is:
Today a member, who doesn't live in my ward (his son does though) is going to take Elder Winger, Elder Hancock, Elder Thayne, and myself to Charleston. Apparently I'm told that when people come to South Carolina, that Charleston is the place to go... so, we're going today. 
Last week our table broke, did I tell you that before? I think it was a week ago yesterday. Elder Thayne sat on the table and the entire table top came off. So we've been either eating on the table held up about a food by a cinderblock or we've been eating off of the pedestal that used to hold up the table top. I didn't get the picture, but there was a time when it looked like Elder Winger was praying to the food on the pedestal. I took one of him eating his food off of it though. Reminded us of the Rameumptom. We put wood glue on it last night that a member gave to us and tried to use the tabel today because it said to let it dry for an hour or over night... the glue was still wet and the table pedestal fell off when we picked it up. We'll probably buy gorilla glue to glue it down today again. 
Well I'm not sure what to tell you... In my first 3 letters to Elder Sean Burnham, I've told him to send me letters in spanish... and he has been progressively making more and more of his letters sent to me in spanish. his last letter was completely in spanish. I think he leaves the MTC within a few days if not already. he gave me his mission address. I bought a small english-spanish spanish-english dictionary last monday for 65 cents to help me decipher his last letter. It's amazing how much spanish I've forgotten. [Elder Walker took Spanish in junior high and high school.] Elder Burnham is sure learning a lot really fast though. He started his last letter something like this (yes, it was in spanish) "I'm writing this entire letter in spanish. Good luck translating it! ... especially because my spanish isn't perfect." Well I did it, and I'll keep my almost close translated versions with his spanish versions for easier translations of his next letters later. 
Well, all is well. Hasta luego! En dos anos! O madre dia! 
Con amor, (Elder Sean Burnham always ends like this, not sure what it means)
Elder Benjamin Walker 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Civil Rights Weekend

Because of Civil Rights Day being on the day Elder Walker and his companion would normally go by the library and e-mail home, he wasn't able to write us yesterday. However, he was able to squeeze it in today!
We were supposed to have lots of investigators come to church last sun but none did. Lots = expected 10 
Two of the people that we set on date we have found out they have seemingly hollow "yes"'s . . . They will never answer the door when we know they are home and they will never follow through with any of the commitments they have promised to do. Looks like they don't have real intent to be baptized... It makes me very sad to see that. However we did get another on date. I might have told you before though. One lady is on date for Feb 11! And there are several more that are really really close to making that commitment. Our zone has been doing a very good job at helping people progress towards baptism. We have 92 people on date for the beginning of Feb from our zone alone that we have set starting at the beginning of this month.  
We have had lots of food that is not normal food in the last week. We had crab that we cooked. I took a picture of them when they were still alive after they were steamed and dead and after I had cracked them open to eat their guts! It was fun to dissect them and pick out the meat even though I don't like it very much or there wasn't much meat on them. Joshua would have enjoyed that meal a lot. 
Missionaries get to eat the best food of everybody! Best = normal meal at table and sometimes something a little extra like dessert.  
It's really weird to see all of the missionaries prepare to go home in a couple of weeks and two months as I have just gotten out to the field. I can tell that home has gotten to them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Beginning of a New Year

Sent by Elder Walker, Monday:
We had four investigators at church yesterday! and they are all really solid (solid = interested in learning more). However one of them is on parol (parol might be spelled wrong, means like probation) so he can't get baptized any time soon. However we set 2 1/2 other people on date that didn't end up coming to church for Feb 4th, but we talked to one of them Sunsay night, and they just had a busy/bad day but they are still interested and still on date. So, by the end of next week we'll probably have 5 people on date. 
Yesterday, and Friday night I rode out to Dorchester with a member to see a member referral. Yesterday I rode in a convertible (in the middle of January). Summerville has very dramatic weather changes, one day it's super hot and humid and three days later it is ice cold and humid. Yesterday was a hot day and last week was a cold week. Anyway, I got a picture of my companion, Elder Winger, and I in a convertible, I've never rode in one before I don't think.

This week Elder Winger was gone somewhere else for Wed and Thurs. Wednesday, I went in a trio companionship with Elder Hancock and Elder Thayne, and Thurs I worked with Elder Hansen in my area (both days were my area, the trio was both mine and their area (because we're both in Summerville, west and east Summerville)). Yes, this is the same Elder Hansen that I knew at the MTC. How 'bout that. it was lots of fun both days.
 Here's a few photos he sent us as well!

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year's Weekend

Elder Walker was able to Baptize someone over the weekend! What a great way to begin the New Year. It sounds like the work is going pretty well for him:

An investigator was baptized by me Saturday the 31st of Dec. Sunday he received the Holy Ghost by a member, and before church on Sunday he was interviewed to receive the Aaronic priesthood and received it in priesthood meeting. During priesthood he realized that he didn't have a home teacher or a family for him to visit and approached the elder's quorum president on his own to get an assignment. It was pretty funny to watch. Something else with the new member is that in priesthood they mentioned that if you can't get your home teacher companion to go with you to do your home teaching, you are welcome to call the missionaries and they would love to go with you, especially if the home teachees are less-active. He heard this and told us he wanted to go out and teach people with us when we have a opportunity to bring him. He's going out with us tomorrow to see some of his acquaintances (I'm not sure if they are friends) that we ran into a couple weeks ago that know him already.

This past week we invited a great number of people to church. everybody. and nobody I expected to some did, but we did have two other people come. There was a person that we met as a street contact that we had given the church address to that I didn't recognize but could tell she was lost that came. There was also an eternigator [people who have investigated much past the recommended time before baptism] that came to church. He has a Book of Mormon that is signed by the last 8 or so (or more) companionships of the missionaries and he only came because he told us a couple of months ago that he would come eventually.

I went on another exchange with the zone leaders. This time I went to North Charleston for the day. We met some pretty cool people there.

Members are great! We just had two members that moved into the ward and they both approached us and gave us their info (# and address) and told us that they would help any time they could.
In another letter he wrote home, he wrote his testimony for his friends and family and strangers:
I know that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer and Savior of the world. I know that it is only because of the sacrifice that both God (mentioned in John 3:16) and Christ (mentioned in John 15:13) have made on our behalf that we may obtain God's greatest gift to us, Eternal Life (found in D&C 14:7 and Romans 6:23). I know that it is through obedience in which we are blessed (D&C 130:21). I know that I am on the Lord's errand (D&C 64:29) out here on a mission. I have seen miracles and I know that they came as a result of the faith of the individuals in which were blessed. I know Christ has set the perfect example for us to follow, and that I should do all I can to emulate Christ ever day of my life. I know that answers are found through the scriptures and this is part of why I study them every day. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Lastly, I mentioned in the last blogpost that Elder Walker was able to skype us. Here is a snippet of his chat with our family: