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.

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.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Stuff Happened

This past Sunday I gave a talk. The youth 5 minute speaker called the bishopric Thursday and told him he/she couldn't speak that Sunday.

I had a little over 2 hours to prepare for it (probably more like 3). The talk was on "How Heavenly Father uses Dreams to proclaim prophetic truths".

There was another speaker who called us because she couldn't get hold of the bishopric member Sunday morning to tell him that because of family sickness she needed to stay home to take care of them. So my companion spoke too.

I talked about all of the dreams that Joseph (son of Jacob, with coat of many colors) encountered and for what purpose the dreams were given. I never looked at the time until I was done speaking... I finished at the 45min mark (church starts at 10, so 10:45). Apparently it was really long, detailed and had some good insights. Right after I finished, the bishopric told Elder Peterson to make sure his is really short... he talked on the dream that Daniel interpreted, King Nebuchadnezzar's. He did a good job. We then had a special song sung by one of the youth as an intermediate hymn (not a hymn though). The third speaker was told to take all the time he needed to finish his talk. And he did. But it was not more than 10-15 minutes long, it was Damarquis Harrison (you may have heard of him, he played basketball for BYU last year) who is preparing for a mission soon. We got out of sacrament late... whoops, my fault, it was much longer than 5 minutes. But church in itself was very very good. I had lots of inspiring moments. Great sabbath day.

Missionary work is awesome. It's hard sometimes, but totally worth it. I don't know how somebody looking at what we do from a normal person's point of view could see this as fun and truely uplifting unless they have gone on one themselves before. It applys John 17:7 promise very well for me. You'll gain a testimony of what you do after you do it and have the right mind set while doing it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Advice to People Who Should be Preparing to Serve a Mission

I can't speak for anyone but myself, so I will tell you what a mission has done for me thus far 6+ months out in hopes that I may come to persuade you to put forth a priority in your lives above all else to strive towards being worthy and willing to serve a mission.

When I was growing up, I had been taught from goodly parents who love the Lord; they sought for me to grow up in the gospel, being blessed abundantly, helping me recognize that it all comes from the Lord. Despite all of this guidance from my parents I needed to learn and come to know for myself through my own desire what is right and what is wrong.

I specifically remember one time when I was in a primary class, our teacher, who I'm pretty sure was Brother Barton, asked us why we come to church and how we know the church is true. I remember saying without a moments hesitation that I come to church because my parents bring me with them. My testimony was completely built off my parents testimonies because I trusted them and didn't have a great desire to learn for myself.

It reminds me of the general conference speaker (apostle or prophet) that years ago said that if we have no yet found a testimony of our own, then we can rely off his until we have one for ourself. I have grown up since then learning of the inspired organizations that the church has made so convenient to help me grow: seminary, scouts, young men, Deacons Quorum, Teachers Quorum, Priest Quorum, primary, sunday school, opportunity to give talks, etc. I, however, didn't understand to the full extent how much growth that actually provided me with. I still don't really.

I kept along this path of steady growth until I went to college at BYU-Idaho. I didn't expect the environment at all to be so uplifting in itself. There are hundreds or thousands of returned missionaries at the school. I had always expected myself to serve a mission because that was what my parents did and expected me to do. I don't think I really understood what significant difference in someone's life it makes when we spend all of two years devoted to be a servant of the Lord. All of my friends highly encouraged me to serve a mission as I was preparing myself. They all had wonderful experiences with people where they served and told me that their brief explanations of how great it was for them didn't do their missions justice.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to be nurtured with the good word of God all my life. What a blessing it has been! I am still learning how to use the tool God has provided in these Latter-days, The Book of Mormon. There is so much contained in the Book of Mormon and it truly brings the spirit to all those who sincerely read it. It is amazing how much I learn every time I read it. Reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it is the best way to gain a testimony. I have now been on a mission for a little over 6 months and I have had countless experiences that secure my testimony. I have had so many undeniable experiences and I know that the church is true. I have come to love the Lord more and more. I have developed skills that would have taken many years more to acquire. All of these things are blessings that comes as a result of serving the Lord by serving others (Mosiah 2:17).

A mission puts personal development on fast forward, it really does. The gospel is not separate from the scientific world; that is something I come to realize more and more every day. Everything gospel oriented I learn, I come to realize that they tend to have have excruciating important real-world application; Truly, it all does. Before my mission, I sometimes found scripture study, preparing lessons or talks, going out with the missionaries or other churchly affairs to be quite a task and sometimes a nuisance. I believe the more you study the gospel the more you come to find out there is more to the gospel than we can even comprehend here in this earthly state and it has more application to our lives, to our eternal progression, than anything else does or ever will.

I have grown to appreciate the important things in life; I have gradually come to realize that true joy comes through obedience. Not just obedience, but obedience as a result of charity. Obedience because I love doing those things that are right. Not obedience because it's a commandments; to be obedient with a grudging heart that is wishing he could be doing other things is not a missionary that is going through a change of heart.

These two years I have and opportunity to serve unlike any other I will again. It is a privilege to be set apart as one of less than 200 missionaries in South Carolina. So few of us have the authority to do what we have been called to in the world. There are billions of people ready to come to a remembrance of the plan God has for us that we already accepted. You can't afford to not go on a mission! There are so many secrets of Godliness that you'll miss out on if you end up not preparing yourself and making yourself worthy. The Sisters had a more important calling to get married if they are headed in that direction at the age of 21, but for the rest of us there is no excuse for us to miss this grand experience. We all have our part to do in this world. Even a local service mission is a noble pursuit if you are kept from going on a full time mission. I know from experience that I couldn't have made a better choice than to serve a mission. I love it more than I can say. I've grown more than I can currently recognize. Heavenly Father blesses me every day. Heavenly Father loves His missionaries!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What?! You've never head of the Book of Mormon?!

It is sad to hear things like families fighting and deaths occuring. A lot of the time the best thing you can do is listen. Being on my mission many many people have told me the problems of their lives. Deaths/physical fights/family disowning new member/ losing jobs as a result of being a member/finance issues/etc. As you said, it's the Atonement that brings spiritual (and physical) healing to these things. One of the reasons we become a member of the church is so that we can be part of this world-wide and heavenly family that all cares for each other and as Mosiah 18 says, mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

I am learning more and more every day how to be more bold. I have recently recognized in part how effective it is to express enthusiasm with the people I meet about the gospel... Our mission president has started a program with our missionaries called, "The Big Lift." There are a select number of missionaries that travel thoughout the mission to visit all of the missionaries eventually and go on 24 hour trios with them. These missionaries are to be super enthusiastic and very bold and are to extend commitments and promises all of the time. Well, Elder Martin went with Elder Peterson and I last Tuesday/Wednesday and there were several things that he did that I saw the after effects of that were awesome but I only wanted to mention 1 or 2 of them right now:
So this one guy we talked to named "Dasman" we knocked on his door and we had a bad first impression of him (didn't look interested at all).
Elder Martin asked him is he had ever heard of the Book of Mormon before.
He said no.
Elder Martin's reaction was done with great body language too: "What?!? You've never heard of the Book of Mormon before?!? THIS BOOK HAS CHANGED MY LIFE! [then he talked about it a little bit]. Dasman, have you ever been Baptized before?"
Dasman: "Yep".
Elder Martin: "Now, have you ever been baptized with the Priesthood authority of God?"
Dasman: [Thinking for a minute]"No". (I didn't expect people to know that they were baptized without authority... surprised me: everybody he asked said, "no". It's the way he said it though. Not the question itself.)

You get the idea... but this guy we did not think had much potential to progress right now in his life. but we made a follow up appointment with him last Saturday, this is how it went:
We get to his apartment and some other guy answers the door (didn't live there probably), "What you want?"
Us: "We're looking for Dasman may we speak to him?"
I'm sure the thought crossed his mind to lie to us, we could see it on his face...:"you just wait here a minute."
He walked into the other room then you hear Dasman tell him to let us in, "I told them they can come and talk to me. Tell them to come in."
We came in and Dasman was giving one of his black friends a hair cut. There was profane music being played around the house, they were throwing in swear words to each other every other sentence in their conversation, and his humongous tv was on and nobody was watching anything. (Second impression of him: really bad).
After he finished with his buddy's haircut we sat down on the couch and I invited the other two to join in our discusion after removing (turning [cutting] off) the distractions.
One of them (Richard) asked, "What are you talking about?"
I explained: "We're talking about the Book of Mormon, have you ever heard of it before?"
Richard said, "No."
I said "What?!? you've never heard of the Book of Mormon?"
Dasman said to Richard: "I know! can you believe we've never heard of this book before?"
Now the way Dasman said it was in knowledge that this was a very important book to read. Very important. You could hear it in his voice. Now he would not have had this great impression of how great the Book of Mormon is if we didn't show our enthusiasm for it from the beginning. Too many times we take this stuff for granted and, as missionaries, do not express the great message in such an important and urgent manner.
We had a marvelous restoration of the gospel lesson with them and they know that the Book of Mormon is true even though they haven't read it yet. They committed to read it. and would have come with us to church yesterday if their own didn't confilct (but will this upcoming Sunday probably).

(This is why I don't write in my journal very much. These things happen all of the time. You know how long it'd take to write this down? more time than I have)