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, 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.