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, 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