Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016 - Lord Of The Flies

                                                            Courtney's Previous Zone

Hey everyone! 

We had kind of a slow week this week with lots of random things happening that sometimes stopped us from being able to work, like my companion getting sick, or the secretaries calling us to say we had to move the next day to our new apartment and things like that. But hey we moved! I am an expert mover. My motto was like dad: ´´if we haven’t used it in the last 4 weeks, throw it out!´´ Sister Estela is more like mom: “but what if we´ll need it one time in the next few years...´´ haha. But our new apartment is actually in our own area and had a hot shower for one day but then broke... oh the wonders of mission. 

I’ve gotten frustrated with our tactics of meeting people just by talking to everyone on the street, it’s not very effective and you don’t meet people super interested. So we´re gearing our efforts to work with the members to teach their friends and family. It’s a slower process but you get better quality results. We met the sister of a man in our ward and her family, Sandra, Cisero and Mateus their 10 yr old son. And let me tell you that little kid is one spiritual guru. He had SO many questions for us about religion, like why Catholics have a certain prayer different than ours or why some people think Mary is a saint and some don’t and why there are so many churches. He told us ´´I worry myself sometimes so tell me this; when Jesus comes back, what’s it gonna be like? Sometimes Satan tempts me to do bad things but I usually don’t do bad things but sometimes I do...´´ lol! We´ll get to tell him the answers to all those questions this week!

The other funny thing working with members is that we´ll be talking to them about missionary work or walking around in a neighborhood and they ALL say ´´yeah there are a ton of less actives that live here! You guys should go visit them sometime!´´ and I just want to bean all of them on the head, because they all think it’s only the work of the sisters! I just think ´´you guys all know where they live, what their problem is, what their background is, and we´d have to search around to find out all of that when you guys could just go visit them on your own!´´ but hey we all have our own difficulties in life.

I think a lot about how my family being strong in the gospel, how I was born and raised in the truth, and knowledge that I have has influenced me. It is very very rare to have such a firm family where everyone is active in the church here in this area of Brasil. Very rare! I think of how much Heavenly Father has put every single little detail of my life in order so that I could make it to this point in my life and testimony, and be here sharing these truths that have changed my family’s life with other families.  I love my family so much! Thank you for being wonderful examples of diligence and faith to me! Talk to you soon!

Sister Walker

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016 - Another One In Good Ole Arapiraca

                                                          Marcos Getting Baptized!!
                                                      With Courtney and Sister Estela

Sister Estela and I are staying together here in Arapiraca wooohooo!! Maybe this transfer will finally be a semi--normal one.... 

We had an AMAZING week, even though it was crazy when I was traveling to different cities to go on splits with other sisters. I also may or may not have gotten lost in Maceio for a few short hours because I got on the wrong bus. But as usual the Lord provides a way to help you out! 

But we had a great week because first of all, a friend of Wendel, our recent convert, has been coming to church and seminary for a few weeks and we´ve been teaching him. And he got baptized on Saturday!! It was so great. He’s 16 and a wonderful kid, very responsible and really dedicated to God. I asked him in one of our lessons why he wanted to be baptized, and he said ´´I want to be part of the kingdom of God here on earth´´. That was a pretty good answer for me! I’m really grateful for lessons like those that remind me why I came out here, to find people like him and clear up all of the blank spots that he had his whole life. 

We also are teaching an amazing 14 yr old girl named Laiza (i promise we´re not just teaching kids and baptizing them against their will). She reminds me a lot of Julia in how she is just friendly and inclusive. But she is sooo smart holy cow, she asked us when we taught the restoration who the 12 apostles were that Joseph Smith called when he reorganized the church... I was like yeah ill have to get back to you on that one... 

It’s also funny when you find out why your area got switched to sisters instead of elders when all the members talk about all the rule breaking they did... haha. They’ll say ´´how come you guys don’t hang out at our house?? Elder so and so were here every day for 3 hours!!´´ Or the women sometimes say ´´sister if you need to, you can use my phone to talk to your friends and family on facebook, the elders always needed to when they came here´´. So that goes to show you that the phrase ´´no one will ever find out´´ is sadly untrue! And I will be chatting with those elders soon enough...

But really I’m doing really good here, some of the fun elders will be transferred from my zone this transfer but I’m sure we´ll make it fun either way. I was studying this week about the talk that Syd sent me, and it talks about how we need to have faith and hope for good things to come. That when the scriptures talk about how we need to ´´be not afraid´´ or ´´be still´´, and how it is only someone who truly has passed through all of the darkness and sickness and pain and trouble that we feel that knows the right counsel to give us-to be hopeful! So that is my message for the week, that if we have the gospel, we always have reasons to be hopeful. And it is not despite but exactly because of our trials that we come to understand the grandness of the life of the savior and the power he promises for each one of us if we are willing to reach out our hand. How great is this gospel! I love being a missionary and I love you guys! Thank you for your wonderful examples and support! 

Sister Walker

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016 - "It's The Mormons!" "There's No One Home"

                                        Wendel's Baptism (he's the shorter one in the middle)
                                                  Courtney and Sister Estella on the left

Hey Guys! 

Yes once again that subject is a real life quote from the mission field. I had the funniest/most stereotypical mission experience this week as we went to contact a reference from a member. We knocked on the door, and instead of answering, they just yelled from the other side: ´´Who is it?!´´ And I said ´´The missionaries!´´ ´´The who??´´ ´´The Mormons!´´ ´´There’s no one home right now´´ .... To which I responded ´´That’s strange, then who am I talking to?´´ haha. Sometimes you just gotta make the best of the funny reactions people have to you.

This week was wonderful! Well not super easy but our work finally paid off with the baptism of our friend Wendel!! woohooo! It was so great to see him so happy. He is already doing lots of missionary work, bringing all his friends to church! Now we´re preparing for the baptism of one of his friends, Marcos, this Saturday if everything goes as planned. Wendel will be a great elder someday! He told his friend on Sunday after he got the Holy Ghost ´´Man, I really felt something special, there’s something different about me now. And you’re gonna feel it too!´´ He’s a great kid. 

Our work is really starting to go well now. We have a good teaching group. I was wondering how it had change so quickly and realized that all of our investigators have a friend that’s a member! THAT is the secret to missionary work people. We are teaching really great, actually interested people who know a little somethin somethin about the church because the people that LIVE here actually know the people that are ready!! Missionary work shouldn’t have to be knocking on doors or chasing people down on the street that try to avoid talking to you!!

And we had interviews with Presidente Gomes this week, which I was super nervous for but turns out Presidente actually likes me and trusts me! Who knew? He told Sister Estella I’m a great missionary with a special light that guides the other missionaries #makinmomproud

One night we were planning at the end of the day and then we hear someone clapping at the door (like knocking on the door), and it was our ZLs... Turns out they were just hungry and had stopped to beg for food because they knew we´d have some haha. But hey missionaries gotta stick together!

My address here is Av. Dom Joao Sexto 122 A, Bairro Capiata, Arapiraca Alagoas so dad can look me up on google maps.

I just love being a missionary. I don’t think there is anything else more worthwhile that you could do with your life at this age than to learn how to painfully and slowly and sometimes grudgingly mold your life to be more Christlike. And then you turn around in the end and understand why the Lord wanted you to go through a trial, because you turned out better in the end! There’s a great video on the church website called ´´I’ll go where you want me to go´´ with a family who all does service throughout their day, if you get a chance to watch it, it is wonderful! All the families here love it. Well that’s all for now folks, I love you so much! Have a great week!

Sister Walker

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4, 2016 - And Then There Were Two

                                                    Courtney, Sister Estela & Sister Mira

Hey Guys! 

How was conference weekend? Who else thinks that the world is going to suffer a very life changing world war or natural disaster or something of the kind after all that? I sure do. Conference was amazing as expected, but I couldn’t help feel that the atmosphere of the whole thing was very different than any conference in my life. I’m not sure how to explain it, something sort of unnerving and looming in the air and all the talks. It wasn’t as much about the atonement and hope and strength, it was very logistical and rational, pretty much telling everyone to repent right now because the second coming is nigh. At least that was my take on it. But it was great, and I understood the whole thing!! We watched in the chapel. And you best believe everyone went NUTS when they announced a temple in Belem!! It’ll be amazing. I swear they need to put a second church headquarters in Sao Paulo, they are really needing it with all the members and church growth here. 

But I really loved the talks by Bonnie Oscarson and President Uchtdorf. When Elder Arnold spoke all of the missionaries I was sitting by started freaking out, because it was him who came to talk to us all if you remember. We were all secretly hoping he would give a shoutout to the Brasil Maceio mission haha. Didn’t pan out. At one point the Portuguese translation cut out and it was just English so I started translating for the people sitting next to me... the next session a woman in the ward came to sit by us because ´´if the Portuguese cuts out again, I want you to tell me what’s going on!´´ 

But in other news, we got a sad phone call this week that Sister Mira would be emergency transferred the next day, because another sister had to go home for health reasons. It was pretty much just a huge shock. Tears were shed and suitcases were packed frantically. It was sad for Sister Estela and I because we don’t know the area very well, and sad for Sister Mira because she’s going home in 2 weeks now, so she’ll end in a city she doesn’t know, with members she doesn’t know. The mission teaches you to adapt quickly with whatever life throws at you. But we are doing okay in our huge area all by ourselves now like big girls, the members are great and are really willing to work with us, even if they have to take a bus for 20 minutes to get to our investigators. I sure am learning a lot of great lessons I will take with me the rest of my life! Missions are great. So grateful to be here and to have a companion I love and getting to see them grow little by little in their faith. Have a great week! 

Love you so much!

Sister Walker