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, 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