Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015 - That's So Raisin!

is it sad i cant remember how to spell raisen in english? #portugueseprobs
But as you can tell from the title, this week was all about visions, more or less like Raven Baxter.  Seriously it was like almost everyone we met this week considered themselves a prophet, because they receive visions and revelations from god, or they talk to spirits who have already passed on, or they see dead people, it was the weirdest thing. just picture Teresa Caputo on Long Island Medium x4 . and then it is not exactly the right time to teach them about Joseph Smith and the first vision... so we got kinda stuck sometimes but we always somehow come out strong.
 This week was so hurried, i feel like as a missionary trio we´re casting our net really wide right now to be able to find people that live close to the church and that are genuinely prepared and interested.  and now we gotta slim down our pickings a little. this week was sad because we went to teach Ronaldo again to see what we could do for him and  he hid himself in his house... let me explain. everyones doors are open here if they’re home, so you can see the people inside. we see him walk past and then go to his room and he wont answer us as we´re calling his name... his roommate told us he ´´left´´ too so that was awkward.  that happened to us a couple of times this week, we could literally see our investigator inside their house but they were hiding from us!! i felt a deep guilt for that one time the elders came to our old house and we all ducked down and pretended not to be home... karma big time.
it also got up to 107 degrees here this week, and for the first time i wanted to die because it was so hot. and that 107 degrees is not a dry heat my friend.

but besides all the craziness, i realized how much i just love the people here. theyre so different in that theyre so open and loving and generous. for example, i have friends all over the city now because i had a conversation with them one time and now we´re friends, or i slipped in some mud on the street and a woman sitting on her porch invited me in to clean it off and then we taught her the #1 lesson,  or a guy we´d met a week before  bought us all cheeseburgers (with fried egg and everything here) one night when we were all starving and poor. why cant everyone everywhere be braziian?!!
this week for thanksgiving i drew a  turkey for sister davis on a sticky note and put it on her desk. and that was about it haha. but im trying to make things fun at least a little bit for christmas. this week one day i made it a requirement for everyone to make 2 snowflakes out of paper before we left for the day. I’m working on a paper fireplace too. its gonna be legit.
 but this week we also had the coolest experience ever. we´re teaching Daniel who’s a 21 yr old chem student.  hes really nice and is really eager to find out if the church is true. for about 2 weeks he said he’d been praying and nothing was happening , he wasnt getting an answer about the church. i started to get a little nervous.  but then he asked why christ and god would appear to only people in America, to Joseph Smith. i felt prompted to have him read 3 nefi 11  where christ visits the americas. i marked it for him and then the next day called to remind him about church. he said that he read the chapter and that he believed!!! he said he read it and now he knew that the church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the  book of mormon is true and wants to be baptized as soon as possible!!! ahhh i cant even describe how happy i felt when he told me that,  it was a happiness that I’ve never felt, like i was just floating on air and so so full of joy. all of our efforts and time and dedication was worth it because he finally understood why we were so earnest that he found out what  we already knew!! Ahhh,  it was perfect. 
 we also got to help a lot of people that were needing help in that moment, because we were directed by the spirit. one day I felt like we should go to a certain road that i used to go to a lot but all of our investigators there fell through, so i didnt know why. but we went and we found a less active girl who went to church all during young womens but married and her husband didnt like the church so she left it. and she was just crying saying that she felt she needed to go back and she loved the church so much and knows its all true. I'm grateful for the spirit that helps us know where the people are that need help!
im so happy to be a missionary!! really truly. its dang hard thats true, but im honored to get to serve the people here. i love you guys lots!!
até mais,

sister walker

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015 - Can't Be Hateful, Gotta Be Grateful!

                                                              The Awesome Threesome!

Happy Ação de Graças! (or turkey day for you less civilized people)
This week was heck. I thought I’d just start off with the truth. seriously most crazy week of my entire life. it was one of those weeks where every imaginable thing that could go wrong, goes wrong. alot of it i felt like i was drowning in things to do all by myself, planning lessons, calling people, making goals, coordinating with people, scheduling things,  meetings, just tons of random stuff to do. i felt like i was not cut out for this work, because i was just swamped in things to do. im trying to train a new sister,  i have to teach her english but teach the other one portuguese, holy cow its crazy. i got wicked bad food poisoning for 2 1/2 days and let me tell you, yes it is possible to have worse problems in the bathroom than i had had for the first  4 months. yikes. tmi. i kept wanting to work when i was sick but then moms voice would come haunting my mind when she always says when we´re sick ´´don’t push it!!´´ so i did not push it mom!  one day i had to sit on a bench because i was gonna throw up in this park and this old wrinkly man came over to me and asked me if i needed anything or needed to go to the doctor (brazilians go to the doctor for everything) and he went and bought me a cup of water and brought it to me.  i was so amazed at his kindness, because obviously he could see i wasn’t well, and so he just took a few minutes out of his day to do something for someone else. That’s just how the people are here, so generous and community minded. i love it!!!

but i spent the first few days feeling really sorry for myself. i think i felt every single possible feeling of a missionary this week. but then i realized that i needed to kick it into gear and get on my knees and ask for help from the one person who has the power to do all these things and more. and that’s when i saw miracles. i got to see how during our trials, the lord is there to carry our burdens with us, that we can be positive and persevere even though what we´re dealing with is tough, because it is!
but this week i felt like i really was starting to be a real missionary. im starting to feel for these people. i feel like when they tell me their problems, that im right there with them, because i physically feel their pain and their sadness too. i just ache for these people and sit and listen to them and wish i could  do everything to take away their pain. but all i can do is teach them about the savior, who can really help them.
more about the people here i love, irmao luiz. we went to visit him one time this week because we had run out of time the other day we were close to his house. When we got there and he was literally mad at me for not coming to see him! haha.  he had told his whole family about it. but we had told maycom we´d come that day so he said he was waiting all day because he knew we´d come :´) that kid is great.
we are working really hard to meet people that live close to the church because that is one of our problems with a city is that we waste a lot of time walking to different areas . but then we meet just amazing people  that were praying to find a path to follow, that live out in the boonies... im like really?? give us a break!  also in other news, our baptism for this week, ronaldo, called me to tell me he really likes me and  wants to know how i feel about him. talk about the saddest/most uncomfortable experience of my life. im working with my district leaders to figure out what we can do with this situation and praying hard. 
but somehow we are getting by here in itabaiana! im working a lot with the members now and its funny how they first saw me as the dopey american who didn’t know anything but now im the dopey american  who they have to talk  to because im the only one who knows whats going on! ha ha take that suckers!! okay thats all. oh we had zone conference this week and presiente  gomes is super mad at the mission because they’re all lazy and now we only have one hour to email. that is all.
eu amo voces! i love you!!

sister walker       

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015 - Training Week 1

                                                    The Lagarto District Before Transfers

hey party people!

SO, week one of training was a week where i got to learn that you just do your best and the lord is there every step of the way to fill in the cracks. (julia no more jokes, please). im really doing this, im training!! my new companion is sister marques from Espirito Santo, just a little south of our mission. she is really great. a little quiet, but any new missionary would be! shes very prepared, just like sydney told me she would be. shes really smart and is good at speaking up in lessons and talking to people on the street already! and our other companion is sister davis from northern california who is a bright peppy little redhead. we are kind of an odd group now that i think about it, all with very different strengths and weaknesses, trying to forge our way in this big city all to ourselves now, but somehow we´re doing it. 

 it is just so amazing because this week i honestly just felt a big ability placed on my shoulders, like a strange surge of confidence and potential and optimism. it was one part of me just trying to put on a brave face and make it til i make it, but 99 parts the lord was answering my very fervent prayers this week to be able to lead 2 somewhat noobie sisters when i just got out of training. the spirit really led me to know who we needed to visit and what to teach them, and how to use our time. thats what i was most worried about, that i wouldnt do the work the ´´right´´ way, but really the only right way is through the spirit and doing the Lords work. i had lots of great experiences this week where i would plan to teach someone something, and when we got there, feel like we needed to teach something else that i hadn’t prepared, and id just start talking and the spirit would always give me words i needed to say, even if i didnt have the vocabulary before. and everytime i did that, even if i was scared or nervous, id feel Him testifying to me as i spoke that i had made the right choice. 

mostly this week was just really hurried. i went to maceio for training (which was like 10 minutes of ´´you are a trainer and need to treat them nicely and teach them things- go and do it´´ cool thanks...) and to pick up sister marques. its cool because i got to know a lot of the other sisters in the mission and some of the elders, when before i felt like a big dope because i only knew 3 sisters in the whole mission. the new american sisters that arrived were scared stiffless let me tell you. i hope i didnt look like that when i got here... but i probs did. when they got to the chapel sister gomes came looking for me and said ´´please speak english to them, they’re really freaked out´´ haha poor things.  the weird thing was that i spoke in english to them but it felt so forced... like it wasn’t really my voice or me talking.. idk it was weird. then at the end of the meeting all together presidente asked me to say the prayer and i think he did that to show the american sisters that they really can do this and speak portugeuse. some of the elders who had been too cool to talk to me came up to me after and were asking ´´wait how long have you been out on the mission??´´ and i said 4 months and then i earned a lot of street cred in those moments. 

we had a lesson this week with marcio who bailed on his baptism and we brought a member to try and help him feel more integrated in the branch. but boy did we pick the wrong member. he has more time in the church and more wisdom, and for some reason he thought it was appropriate to take control of the entire lesson and start talking about the premotal existence, the war in heaven, lucifer vs christs plan, the expiatory blood of christ, and lots of other things. the topic of the lesson was qualifications for baptism. i wanted to reach over and flick him in the head the whole 20 minutes he was talking. i sat on my hands. 

anyways dont worry about me too much, the lord sure is taking good care of me!! it sure is hot and sweaty here. everyday i think ´´okay, it cant be any hotter than yesterday. i can do this´´ but everyday i am surprised again. but all that doesnt really matter when you go into a house and get to teach someone that christ loves them and is their savior and is aware of what they’re going through in that exact moment. that feeling makes it all worth it. i hope you guys have a great week. i love you so much!!

sister walker

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015 - Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Change...

´´just face the strange, ch-ch-changin´´ that one goes out to all you shrek fans out there.

SO. Big news. the end of an era has occurred here in Itabaiana. Transfers are tomorrow, and both the other sisters got transferred to different areas. Sister Barbosa got transferred to be a sister training leader, and I am gonna stay here in Itabaiana and train a new sister!! More news. There were 2 areas here in this city because it is literally huge, but Presidente combined them and now i´ll have to cover BOTH areas with the new sisters. Oh yeah and im gonna be in a trio with Sister Davis, the other Americana that got here the same time as me. But i am kinda confused because all the other sisters that’ll be training have AT LEAST 9 months on the mission. and i have 4... so theres that. And to top it all off, ill have to be the most experienced one here in the area when 1. i am horrible with directions and am gonna be lost 97% of the time and 2. i barely speak portugese. So this will be an adventure! I already had my little breakdown and now i just feel like whatever happens happens. Obviously if the Lord thinks i can do this, Im just gonna trust in Him and let myself grow and help this new sister as much as i can! but i am also freaking out a little bit. I am nervous about having such a huge area to cover when Sis B and i didn’t even have enough time to visit all the people we needed to in our own area, and now times that by 2... holy cow. I am very confused but very humbled to have been called to get to serve another new sister, and i know that because i was so so blessed to get such an amazing trainer who gave me nothing but support and love and help, i get to give that to someone else now too. 

so thats pretty much all that i can even think of that happened this week, the rest of it was pretty much just dreading this day and leading up to it and trying to be focused. but me and sister b were just so depressed all week cuhs we knew we´d be separated. she really has taught me so much and is one of those people that you know god handpicked to put in your life to help you along your way. we are so similar its like she knows exactly what’s going on in my head or im feeling before i even tell her. one day we left a members house for lunch and they had forgotten we were coming so there wasnt very much food. we left and i said ´´we gotta go to the market.´´ and she said ´how come? just kidding i could tell by your face you were still hungry.´´ haha. in brasil they call the person who trains you your ´´mom´´ on the mish and i was the daughter. sis b never called me that because it demeans you and literally you cant treat someone like a small child and then expect them to grow into a regular missionary but that is a separate issue. but having to leave her will really be like having to leave my sister when i left sydney and julia at home. but i know with the lords help he´ll help me see my new purpose here.

so sadly this week i felt like my world in itabaiana was crumbling. for one thing, our baptism with irmao marcio fell through although we have no idea why. the day of his interview our district leader came and we had called him earlier to check in and he said he´d see us at the church at 7pm. so we all met there then, but he never showed. we called and called, but he had turned off his phone. we went all the way to his house, and his daughter said he´d never come home from work. still today he wont answer our phone calls or come to the door if we go there. so we are confused and sad because we have no idea if he just got scared to be baptized, if he really didnt know the things were true he told us he knew, or what. its just frustrating to me that he went through all that trouble with all these shenanigans, when if he didnt wanna be baptized he coulda just said so!!!

but back to happier things. we had a great family night hosted in Rio das Pedras with all our investigators that live over there, because its hard for them to come all the way into the city when we have one there. we have this great new investigator Ronaldo, who literally asked me if he could be baptized this saturday. how often does that ever happen in real life?? i had to explain he had to have a few more lessons but that sure enough he would be. how amazing to meet someone so ready to put everything on hold to follow christ!

dang i cant think of any other cool things this week cuhs my heads filled with worrying about transfers. i have to go to maceio tomorrow morning at 6am to have training and then to pick up my new companion and then we´ll get back here wednesday or thursday , im not sure when. i know the lord is on my side right now and will help me through every difficulty i have with this new part of the mission. good thing i got comfy here because now ill be here for the next 3 months, totalling 6 months here altogether! yikes... but itll be great. know that the lord is on your side too! he is ready and willing to give you all the capacity to help, if youre doing whats right and if you ask. i love you guys!

sister walker

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015 - A Week Of Wonders

                              Greatest thing ever is when a ward member's dog has puppies!!

hope everyone had a feliz dia das brujas this week!! my companion kept calling it ´´the day of sister walkers´´, but i´m gonna forgive her for that one eventually.

so this week was the week of wonders people! lots of cool things happened. For one, we had a really cool zone conference where presidente gomes and sister gomes came to talk to us. the stuff they talked to us wasnt exactly super wonderful because get this; the mission brazil maceio has almost the worst numbers in all of brazil.... lol awkward. like almost approaching european missions in lowness. so we got to talk about lots of ways to help that. personally i have lots of ideas on how to have people work more efficiently, like things including obedience to schedules and other rules that should naturally apply to missionaries, but i figure its not exactly my place quite yet to try and fix all that. but whats really great is that i got a package from grandma and grandpa at that meeting!! ahhh they are so nice to think of me. everyone was asking how to say my first name haha. no one was even close. i did get called corny though which sent me into a spiral of horrible memories from my past life. 

anyways, another great thing that happened was that we got a washing machine!! boooyah, say goodbye to half washed clothes in a bucket and say hello to a heavily used washing machine! ahh life is good. also this week, a funny thing in brazil is that sometimes the water just stops running and you dont really know why but you just gotta wait til it comes back on. lots of times there’s not enough water to flush the toilet so you have to pour a lot of water in after you use it but thats no biggie. the complete drought never happened to our house but in rio das pedras it happnes a lot. but this week it was our fate. we got home one night and didn’t have water to shower or anything so we lugged buckets of water from outside where we filled it with the faucet inside. then i boiled some of it on the stove and we showered with that water. it was quite the adventure!

but this week we got some really good lessons with some really great people. wow i wish i could write about all the people we meet cuhs they all have such great stories! but this week is the baptism of marcio if everything goes smoothly. this week we were in one lesson with a guy named ronaldo who is really torn up beacause his girlfriend left him and took their little baby with her and now he only gets to see him on the weekends. and we were teaching about why there are lots of churches in the world since he asked. we had brought his neighbor who’s a member but is kinda a more or less rambly old woman but she’s still really nice. anyways i was teaching about prophets and all of a sudden she butts in and says ´´isnt she speaking so well?? and its a good thing too, because when she got here no one could understand anything she said!!´´ so kinda got wrecked by an old woman during a spiritual lesson but hey what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. note to self, don’t bring her to important lessons anymore.

this week was my week of training to be the senior companion which kinda stressed me the heck out. sister barbosa thought it was so hilarious to sit back and do literally nothing, which was really dang hard but also good for me to see how many responsibilities and things you need to remember day to day. but this week i also got kinda sick and gross like with a bad cold and sore throat so i was like a hacking old man during lots of the lessons so that was fun. the funny thing about brazil is that everyone and their mom has a fool proof remedy for each ailment, when i kept saying it was just a cold and not to worry about it. they’d say ´´don’t drink cold water´´ or ´´don’t use a fan at night when you sleep´´ or ´pretty much ´´don’t walk out in the sun´´ which isn’t exactly possible now is it?! but now I’m better so it’s all good.

today we got to go to this really cool activity for all the branches in the district at like this resortish place. it was like a nicer ensign ranch, tropical edition. and they had stayed there last night but we went just today to hang out and eat lunch and talk with the members and play games out on the field and play some noncompetitive soccer. i have never wanted to swim so bad in my life cuhs they had a nice pool and its steaming outside, but also it was sad cuhs they were playing just dance and it made me miss our big family just dance sessions (shoutout to when mom and dad danced to rihanna #nightmares)

i realized this week that my heart is growing a lot for the people here, which is great because that’s what I’ve been praying for. I’m gonna be sad when i leave them, or when sister barbosa gets transferred next week, but i know there´ll be others i need to meet and help too. I’m really learning to love being a missionary! It’s amazing to be able to think 100% about others all day long, and do everything you can just to maybe make their life just a little bit better. I’ve always loved to serve and help others, and now i know this is the best and most efficient way you can ever do that. i love you guys have a  great week!!

sister walker