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 28, 2013

Goal Setter, Hitter and Exceeder

This week was a pretty good week. I have begun the process of being a master goal setter and a goal hitter, and also a goal exceeder.

It really does help me be a lot more focused to have goals to work towards. It takes a lot of pondering to figure out a method to make goals and have them organized and ready for review and fulfillment with them almost always at the head of thought. That was the hardest part for me to figure out so that I could actually set the goals and follow up on them.

Out of all of the places I will want to visit when I come back to South Carolina, my favorite will be in the middle of nowhere, in Orangeburg. The last entertainment anything was just closed. They just had the only movie theatre with 4 screens in Orangeburg County close because nobody wants to go the the movies. The members are awesome and I intend to spend time with some of them offering my service where I can help. There are a couple retired members that have experience with a lot of traits and they always keep themselves busy doing some other project. Bro Paul Ross and Bro Larry Odum especially. I look forward to coming back eventually.

There are many investigators that we are working with that are occasionally coming to church. Now they just need to figure out where they are at in life and act on the invitation to be baptized. They have all felt the spirit and they all know that this message is true, they are just scared of the required change of themselves. Isn't that all of our issues? We're just afraid of change? I think it's a big part of what prevents us from obeying all the commandments asked of us. There are a lot of borderline investigators that are inching their way towards the gate of baptism that leads to the path with the iron rod to the tree of life.

Our ward is awesome. They just finished the draft of the ward mission plan and the method they intend to implement it with the whole ward, and I think it's inspired. I'm expecting lots of miracles this year.

I have found that studying with a purpose, or with a question in mind makes a more meaningful study. Thus I am going to ask a question of you both that you are both obligated to help me with that will require the manageable task of a minimum of 16 thousand words each (or 24 thousand together will do). Here's what you can enlighten me on:

We often have investigators that tell us all of their life problems or experiences just to have somebody listen to them over the course of 30 minute intervals without us getting a word in. Many of those stories are very interesting, they usually aren't even boring, but it's not the best use of time. We also have investigators that like to go on a lot of tangents, people that ask questions that sort of are aligned with the lesson but not really and they won't accept a simple answer that we can pass by them to get back to the lesson or an answer like "if you get a testimony of the Book of Mormon, you'll get a testimony of that too, because it will fall into place." With some of the investigators, if we tell them we will answer their question later down the line, they still expect us to answer it by the end of the lesson which doesn't always happen because their question doesn't even apply to them or their salvation at the moment, and it would take an entire lesson to answer the one question. What do you suggest?

(Note: I have ideas on how to handle those kind of situations, and I've tried some of them and some work better than others, but I don't want to mention any of them to put words in your mouth to prevent you from getting some other answers that may help with teaching.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Help Investigators Find Their Own Answers

I need to apologize mother, Joshua sent me a letter to forward to you that I didn't do last week because I wanted to write a letter to the family too that I didn't have time to write. It'll get it to you eventually. I just need to add something of my own to it.

I appreciate you reminding me once again to help investigators find their own answers. I get caught up sometimes about just giving them answers. It sounds like you get to have a great scripture studying/pondering time for seminary. I think it was an inspired calling for you because now you are more evidently setting the example for Robert and Monica ... and Dad, and ... nope that's it ... nobody else lives at home anymore, for them to receive their own revelation on life's various situations.

This past week was a very good week. We invited a lot of people to repent and a lot of them accepted the invitation to repent and be baptized, but not very many of them are following through and actually coming to church, they are working on it though, I'm sure they'll come around eventually. We had an interesting day on Saturday and on Sunday (yesterday) the 19th and 20th of Jan. I should tell you about it sometime. I will say this though, we spoke to Elder Gibbons of the 70 on Saturday. And we solidified two people that have chosen to be baptized in February  You'll probably figure some other things out about issues that came up from some pictures that I took that I probably shouldn't give you but will anyway because by the time you'll get it it'll be all over with.

Love you all,
Elder Walker <-- which one is it? (hint: my middle name ends with a 'y')

Sorry my email isn't very long

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baptism and Investigator

The baptism here went well. The tie is very nice also. I don't know how you find such good ties, but the ones you have sent me are great ties.
I'll send you the envelope with the different pictures in it, I'll try to put something a little bit stiff in the bubble wrapped envelope so that the memory card doesn't bend and get damaged (remember that case that holds the memory card? it's still with you.) You'll probably enjoy the videos, you will just have to turn up the sound a lot. Also, for the Christmas skit that I was a part of, the Elder recording couldn't figure out how to record, so he missed the first couple minutes, the last video comes to a halt, because that is where my camera battery died.

I received three letters from Joshua, one forwarded from you mother, another that I will forward you from him today with the memory card. I received them all on the same day too, that was kind of cool. If you dear-elder-ed it the same day that Joshua had his preparation day (Monday?) then they traveled together and got here both at the same time.

We had a crazy lesson this past week with someone that has come to church 3 times now. He received a gospel principles book the first week he was at church and we've been continually asking him to read and pray. So he did read; he read the gospel principles last then first couple chapters. (Last chapter: exaltation, first couple all hint at exaltation). So I called him Thursday morning to confirm for our Friday appointment and he told me what he had read, that it presented "ideas that I had never even considered before" and requested that our topic of our lesson be on "The Nature of God". We brought a great member with us (Bishop Ross's father) and the lesson went great. It started with him saying "I hit a brick wall when I read that" and "It sounds utter blasphemous, but I'm sure you'll tell me otherwise" to ending the lesson with "Ok, I'll give it a shot to find out if this is true". It was an awesome lesson, completely had nothing to do with what we ought to be focusing lessons on, but it sure was still lots of fun, I hope we don't ever have a request of a lesson like that again though. That kind of doctrine too soon can easily go the wrong direction before they have a solid testimony of some of the more basic principals. We were talking about it later though, and we decided that he's going to figure the doctrine of exaltation out sooner or later, so it might as well be from the right source, the gospel principal book. Then, yesterday, we had stake conference broadcasted to our building and he was at church and the first speaker was President Baughman, the South Carolina Columbia Temple President, the second speaker was the stake patriarch, and all of the talks after it had a connotation to exaltation too. It was an awesome stake conference and I'm really glad he came. The different topics for the many speakers tended to be exaltation, temples, or patriartical blessings. Unfortunately many other people we have been working with that really needed to hear some of the things that were spoken about didn't. Specifically people that we just had temple lessons with and were working toward the temple and other people that we had recommending to go and get their patriartical blessings.

Mother, what a great privilege you have to serve as a seminary teacher. It helps to focus personal study when you have an objective behind studying.

P.S. Monica, I'm unbiased too, you're gorgeous. As a caution: Don't let others take advantage of you. =-)

Love you all,
Elder Walker (ooo now you are going to be confused because I didn't tell you which 'Elder Walker' I am)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Terrific Sacrament Meeting

Hello my missionary Mother,
It still gets cold here, don't put up South Carolina's weather too much, it actually snows here once ever 2 or 3 years. Modesto doesn't ever have snow. That's pretty funny about Joshua's and Robert's suit jacket's getting mixed all up. I can't remember if you already sent me Joshua's mission office address, would you send me it again? Not the MTC address, the mission office, he'll only be there for almost 2 weeks. Please and thank you!

Yesterday we had a terrific sacrament meeting; great testimony's were given. Brother Holstad was one of the people giving a testimony and he spoke of one of his testimony builders of the priesthood. He was in Salt Lake City and was very very sick, he got on the plane to fly back to here and took himself off of the plane before it left the airport because he didn't think he could make it. He talked to the airport people and they got him a hotel room and another plane ride the following day. He was sick all night long, once again, he got to the airport the next day and didn't think he could make the flight, then he saw a group of brand new missionaries that were headed to Korea and he stopped them and asked for a blessing. Brother Holstad said they parted like the red sea. They were scrambling for the oil and words to say and Bro Holstad told them that he had oil and that he had the words if they needed it. They gave him a blessing. Brother Holstad got on the plane and the closer he got to South Carolina, the better he felt, till the plane landed and he felt all the way better, just exhausted, but no longer sick at all. it was a great testimony. He also spoke of a the time he went to temple square and he was looking for the temple and could find it because of all of the other tall buildings around it till they were almost there. He compared ourselves to temples in the midst of all the rest of the world and said "but it is us that makes the difference. We stand in holy places." I really enjoyed his testimony. There were several other great testimonies that meant a lot to me, but that was the only one I wrote parts of down.

I've been listening to talks (I've obtained quite a collection) and one of the talks I have says something to the effect of a 5 minute vision of heaven will teach you more about heaven than you can get from all of the scripture about heaven. If we aren't seeking the spirit to be teaching us, then we are missing out on a lot of revelation. He said it a lot better than that, but you get the jist of it.

I completely understand if you cannot write us both a letter every week. Let's not tell Joshua that if it comes down to it, he'll have to miss out on a couple weeks of email. Ha ha ha just kidding. If it comes down to it write him a letter instead of me and just cc it to me. It's kind of weird to have a brother on a mission too. It'd be weirder if I saw him as a missionary. I'm going to see him a total of >3 hours over the next 2 years, how odd. I wonder if we can have a duel Skyping adventure on mother's day, that would be pretty cool.

An investigator we've been working with will be baptized this Saturday.

Love you all! learn lots Monica, stay helpful Robert, keep being a dad Dad, keep being a mom Mom.

Whenever I receive the other memory card back, I'll send you the one I currently have with pictures and videos and past Christmas stuff.
ta ta for now.

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Funny Moments

In talking about Elder B. Walker's younger brother, Elder J. Walker, and comparing the differences between their experiences leaving to report at the MTC.
Let me add a couple of things that also turned out differently between Joshua and I. Joshua doesn't need to find the bus that goes to Temple Square, then figure out which way is the east gate to drop off luggage (I think it was East). Instead, he gets to drive to there with a cousin. I also had Elder Fisher traveling with me to Utah, that was kind of fun.

I enjoyed church yesterday, it was very enlightening. Both talks were awesome, and I had a great scripture referencing time, the 2nd hour we talked about the spirit world in our group of 5 people 2 of which was our investigators, 2 was Elder Gonzalez and I, and Brother Chipman, who was subbing for the gospel principals teacher.

When I saw you all Tuesday [when he was able to Skype us for Christmas], I think Robert asked for some funny moments. Well, Sunday evening, we had some:
First of all we knocked on some doors 8pm. On the first door we knocked on, the person didn't have windows, a peep hole, or anything to be able to see us on the porch, they kept asking us who was there and after answering "church people," after answering missionaries for the fifth time through the door, they apparently still didn't know who we were, so they told us that they were calling the police, I replied, "ok, sounds good" and wondered off to the next house. The next person we spoke to (at the next house) we had this discussion with (I can't completely remember, but this was basically our conversation):
Us: "Hi we're missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We'd like to share..." (cut off)
Him: "Do you know what day it is today?"
Us: "We sure do, we actually have a..." (cut off)
Him: "It's Christmas day today, you couldn't have picked a worse time to go around knocking on people's door talking about the 'good news' " <slam>
The next person we talked to on the next door we had a great 5 min discussion with him and he told us what a great time of the year we chose to go out to share about Jesus Christ, and we scheduled a return appointment. We headed back to the car after that because we decided that that guy was the person we were prepared to find on this particular street and we watched a police officer pull onto the street and shine some sort of giant flashlight or spotlight on and around our car as we walked towards him. After he saw us he headed our way and spoke to us. We confirmed that we were probably the reason that the police officer was there and we directed him to the house that called him and we told him that we were going to continue knocking on houses the rest of the way down to our car.

Next house we knocked on was the one directly across the street from the house that called the police. The person told us how rude we were knocking on his door on Christmas trying to share about Jesus Christ and told us that his neighbor called him (same one that called the police) and that we need to go apologize to that person. Ironically, the police officer was talking to the person at the first door the same time we were talking to the mean neighbor both on their porches at the same time. I don't think the neighbors recognized that the police officer and us missionaries were talking to them both at the same time. It was pretty funny to me in the moment. It was really obvious which people we talked to on Christmas that were prepared and that found Christmas as an excuse to send us away. It was kind of fun... once again the library is closed, so I need to cut this short.

Love you all
Elder Benjamin Walker