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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Missionary Meetings

We had another super awesome last-second meeting, this time only with the ZL's and sister training leaders, and the APs and Pres. and Sis Cottle. It was with Elder Giddens of the 70. Do you recognize that name? That is the same person that I met with Elder Gonzalez of the 70 over a year ago. Elder Giddens came directly from the Atlanta mission conference to us. So this past Saturday we had a meeting with him and drove out to Macon and back. Took pretty much the whole day also. 2.5h drive each way. I am very blessed. He talked all about leadership. It was a very powerful experience. He certainly knows his scriptures and D&C 84:85 was pretty evidently used.

Also I gave a talk yesterday it was going to be 5 minutes, but the main speaker called in sick and they asked me before Sacrament if it could be 15 minutes. I'm pretty good with planning talks on short notice now. They're lots of fun too. I certainly will keep that skill handy for the experiences I'm bound to have. I started my talk with something similar to what Joshua ended his last email letter with, "I'm really excited to give this talk, I just hope it turns out as good as it did in my head..."

Something that they've been doing in our ward is they are having the members of the ward that are preparing for or have their mission call (each out of high school and seminary) become a teacher's aid for the seminary classes. There are two in each class for the seminary classes here. They are only each doing it for a couple months because their calls will send them away, but it seems to be a great experience for those to help teach the gospel by teaching it to seminary with the teachers. Just an idea.

Btw I am more than happy to help build the fence. I'd love to do that. Sounds like fun.
I received your letters and I thought they were great... unfortunately I'm behind in replying to the letters I'm getting so Mother, I will not be able to send you a happy birthday letter. I hope you know that I love you lots and that I'm thinking of you today. And as I pondered on that this last week I realized that I may not have made any mention of Dad's birthday! oh no... I felt bad for a little bit. I got over it quick, he'll be ok. (Dad has Rhinoceros skin, it's 2 inches think, nothing can get to him!, so I'm sure he's fine.) Odds are that I'm going to be transferred before the family of four we're working with is going to be baptized on the 7th (transfers is on the 3rd). That's the way of the mission sometimes, leaving the field with plenty to harvest.

Note for Joshua:
Elder Tanner Heyland, who lives with me, currently serving in the Stevens Creek Ward, is from Draper Utah, if you happen to be in that area, he's got some friends that he wants you to teach, so let me know if you do or ever are in that area, one of which who he told me about is less-active and thinks that talking with missionaries will help his out. He's from the Draper 4th ward.


Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sone Conference and Investigators

From Elder B. Walker's Mother: Ben, funny thing happened with your new missionary plaque.  It has you returning home in November instead of October.

No problem mother...
and no worries about the plaque, I don't mind at all. Who knows, 25 years down the road I might start thinking I received a transfer extension.

So, some interesting things about the conferences (notice plural) this week.

Zone conference went great. We have them every other transfer (once every 3 months). Ya, I provided a training, it is normal for that to occur. (For the Zone Leaders to provide a training for their zone). I would have been surprised if I wasn't assigned one to do. The theme of the zone conferences had to do with using the Book of Mormon. My training was to use the Book of Mormon to confirm the message of the restoration. The stake president visited for a little bit, President Squires, he's a good stake president. In his stake mission plan he's helping the members bring friends to church, so we, as missionaries, can find new people to teach at church. That's where the four baptisms are coming from in our ward on the 7th of Sept.

So, on Thursday night we received a call from the assistants (to President Cottle) that Elder Anderson (of the quorum of the 12) is going to the Columbus Stake Conference that weekend and that he wants to have a mission conference with our mission on Saturday. It was a last-second mission conference with Elder Anderson. That is pretty cool. I drove the most consecutively I've ever done in my life without switching with somebody else. it was a 4.5 hour drive from where I'm at to Columbus Stake center. That pretty much took up our entire day. Something funny that Elder Anderson told us:
He shook hands with Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin after a talk in his ward he gave (years ago) who shook hands with some old lady (many more years ago) who shook hands with Joseph Smith in the streets. So, let me take that one step further: I shook hands with Elder Anderson who shook hands with Elder Wirthlin who shook hands with some old lady who shook hands with the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. He spoke of patience, he told us that our mission is a difficult one, he told us to memorize 10-15 passages in the New Testament to quote to people, he spoke about how no effort is wasted, and gave some examples, Friday night he visited with a non-member friend he hadn't seen in over 20 years and gave two missionaries an apostle referral to go see them and took his picture with them individually to email his friend to let him know who the two missionaries were that are going to see him. (we also got a group picture with Elder Anderson btw.) It's been fun. 

Dana, and her three kids came to church yesterday for the 3rd or 4th or 5th time (lost count), and they're going to be baptized on the 7th. They are a good family. They are lots of fun to teach too.

We stopped by one of our investigators we hadn't seen in a while and her husband's funeral was that day (he died sometime between the time that we'd seen them before); Italia greatly appreciated us stopping by and sent us home with lots of food. She's got deep roots in Catholicism.

We had a fun exchange with one of the priests in the ward too, we were able to teach a couple of lessons with him.

(hmm, anything else?)
Love you all,

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker

Monday, August 12, 2013

Baptisms and Life

We don't actually have a standardized way that I've ever seen with teaching the LoC to younger baptismal candidates. I definitely would use simplified language though. Here's probably a direction I'd take it:
Do you understand why your parents won't let you watch certain movies? They talk about bad things and they sometimes do bad things, the swearing is part of it, but sometime they show or do other bad stuff too, that's part of the law of chastity. Don't look at bad pictures. I did a quick search of lds.org and came up with this: Chastity and Modesty
Seems to teach it simply pretty well.
It might be something worth while to give the parents to and have them teach their children the LoC (to a greater extent than we do) using that link above as a guide.

Dana and her family are awesome! They are definitely going to be baptized. A lady named Kelly that I found a while ago came to church today and thought it was great. I taught the gospel principles class. I'm more than willing to teach any class any day of the week. I wanted to be called on to give a talk yesterday too, which I didn't get to give. I thought the bishop was going to surprise us on the ward program with the opportunity to speak to the ward. He told us he's going to assign us to speak eventually, but didn't tell us when.

It's fun to go on exchanges we get to organize a lot more of them because of my assignment.

It's fun to help organize the mission meetings we have, and to address my ideas to the mission leadership. As President Hinckley once said to those close around him, "I want a lively debate, but after the decision is made the debate is over." I offer some good debates sometimes.

Steak lunch ($60 slab of meat, provided, we cooked), steak dinner (surely also expensive but provided), 5/6 bowls of cereal for breakfast, then an eating competition to eat a large 3 patty burger, a large drink, and a large plate/tray of fries under an hour, all back to back. I didn't eat the rest of that day. I got my picture taken though and put on the wall. (1/3 of the pictures on the wall are missionaries that served around the area in the past. lol) The next day during lunch time we tracted into somebody moving, we helped, and they happened to own a restaurant, and called and ordered free food for us that we drove over to and ate. Then we were given a large dinner. I weighed myself immediately after the large burger and fries and drink that I ate, and I think I lost weight... The only reason that I can think of is that I'm not riding my bike as much so I'm probably losing muscle. I probably broke the word of wisdom on eating too much and not eating meat scarcely this week, but I still lost weight, that's good right?

Tomorrow we have a zone conference. Should be fun, I helped with a lot of the organizing of it.

Here's a fasting insight for you.

In Isaiah 58:3-11 the lord comes to us and says, "here I am" I'm pretty sure that's the only place in the scriptures it does it that way

Monday, August 5, 2013

Response to Elder J. Walker's Questions

Mom's Advice to her son Elder Joshua Walker:
Joshua, here are the beginnings of answers to your questions, but let me tell you that as you ponder and study, the answers will become more apparent.
To start with: 1) with regards to people going to the Terrestrial Kingdom because they would not receive the testimony of Christ in the flesh. I believe that this refers to people that received a strong witness that Jesus is the Christ and they know what they are supposed to do about it, but for whatever reason, they don't want to let go of their sins (or pride, etc.) so they are unable to go forward. A purposeful choice is made of pride over Christ. They aren't evil per se, just too comfortable to change. Fortunately, it is the Lord who will judge.  We just keep trying.  Food for thought though, it is those who received not the testimony of Christ, . . . it didn't say the Church. That might be something different.
2)What is an intelligence? That could be a fascinating study. Keep your eyes, ears, heart and mind open. We know that before we became spirits we existed as intelligence. Elder Bednar also teaches that as we act in obedience to doctrine our intelligence increases. Is he referring to the same "intelligence"? I think he is. 
Josh, I would suggest that you keep a list of your questions in your journal. Then as you go through your regular course of scripture study you occasionally refer back to the questions so you know what you are looking for. Answers that you discover yourself will always mean more to you than the answers your mother gives you.
Mom's advice is good, Joshua, I recommend you follow it... 
Here's a thought for your first question... It is easier for people to repent when they have forces that try to pull you away (like temptations or discomforts that a physical body presents) that aren't available in the spirit world and that don't happen with a perfected body.
Here's a section to more in depth address your second question. It'll make for a fun study sometime. D&C Section 93.

You were right mother, I didn't keep track of Alexandria's and BJ's anniversary in the least. It flew by unnoticed (sorry Alexandria =-(  ). That can be a good thing though it's kind of weird to have a married sister to a brother-in-law I've hardly met (that's you BJ). I'm sure I'll get to know him someday.

I wrote down the names of the people that the Cooper's mentioned, if I ever make it over there. (Time's a dwindling ever so fast!)

You are super-duper Monica. That blog was an inspired thing to start. I've thought about doing something like that (in a journal), but I keep on convincing myself not to do so, because of my limited time and resources (a keyboard). 

There is "new scripture mastery"? or are you just talking about the book of mormon scripture mastery that hasn't been introduced to the seminary students yet?

School over here starts tomorrow (tues) for just about all of the public schools.

This past week our zone had a ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) I thought it was awesome! It went great! I loved it. Trainings (and those that gave them) were inspired, and all were edified. Dana and her family are most certainly going to be baptized in the near future. I've never seen somebody so excited to accept the invitation to be taught the gospel before. The member fellowshipper asked her if she's still interested in learning about the church from the missionaries immediately following our gospel principle sunday school lesson and she turned from sis dayton and looked directly at me and said, "yes! I'd love to!" How about tues! Bro Dayton said, would it be alright if we joined you at the lesson? Dana quickly replied, "no, you can't come... just kidding =-)" That family will join us all in the celestial kingdom, you'll get to meet them later if not in the next 20-30 years.

Love you all!

Elder Benjamin Ray Walker