Monday, May 30, 2016

May 30, 2016 - 3rd Times The Charm?

                                                 Birthday Celebration With Sister Estela

                                             Best Gift Ever - A Baptism On Her Birthday!

So transfers are in! In short, our area here will be closed now until the members learn how to better care about missionary work. Sister Estela is going to Maceio and I am going BACK to the first zone I stayed in for 8 months in Sergipe! I’m going to Lagarto now instead of Itabaiana or Estancia. And I’ll be companions with.... drum roll please.... Sister Barbosa!! hahahaha I couldn’t stop laughing when I found out. Either we work really well together or we are the problematic sisters no one wants to be with... haha. But seems like most of the mission is getting transferred back to Sergipe now... weird. 

New pants news since everyone seems to be super interested: yes we can use pants! No its not a rule right now, only if all of us start getting dengue then it’ll change. We can also use dark sunglasses and sun hats woop woop! Pull out my floppy beach hat from the back of the closet, all bent and crumpled. 

I’m sad to leave Sister Estela because I found a real true friend with her, someone who just serves and serves and doesn’t look for anything in reward. She’s a lot of things I always wanted to be; brave, courageous, strong, sure of herself. But she’s planning on meeting me at the airport on my connecting flight to Sao Paulo in December so it’ll be okay :)

This week was one where I learned a lot about the Lords plan for us and how we have to trust in that plan even when we don’t understand why. The other brother of Marias family got baptized this week on my bday (Holla). Sad to say there were 0 members there. But I have learned so much with that family, they will always hold a special place in my heart- they were the only ones who knew it was my birthday, but they don’t have any money or any furniture, or anything really. But as we were going to the baptism, Maria was carrying a little red sack and she told me she had found a little money and went to the store to get me a present and she handed me the sack with a bright red belt inside of it. I had to bite my tongue not to cry. A family that didn’t even have anything to eat that day, who has 3 pairs of clothes, who sleep on foam mattresses, had pooled their money to get me a gift for my birthday. Marias belt is a story I’ll never forget. 

Arapiraca was a place I learned a lot of things, I’m sad the members will have to be punished now for our many cries for help and attempts at changing their perspective on missionary work. Now we´ll be known as the sisters who closed down their ward- but I was feeling so heavy in the work here, I didn’t realize it was the spirit telling me that the Lord wasn’t going to permit any more work to be done and then wasted at the hands of the members. He really does know what He’s doing. 

Well I’m off to Sergipe tomorrow 5am! I love you guys! Thank you for the birthday wishes! 20 years young wooohoo!!

Sister Walker

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016 - PANTS

                                                  Baptism of Maria (18) and Anderson (15 )

                                                Preparing For 'Game Night' Ward Activity

Let me just give a public service announcement since my mother thinks I am breaking one of the 10 commandments LYING to her, my leg rash has been cured! Through the marvels of modern medicine it is all gone. Pics to prove will follow if I remember...

So this week was a whirlwind! We finally got a bone thrown to us from the members and our LMA helped us plan the ward activity game night which was super great. It was supposed to be an event to invite your friends and integrate new members but unfortunately the members forgot about that part. Next time. But they had ´´guess the music´´ and races holding a broom on your palm and I remembered in my past life how I used to be really competitive... 

In other news I’m sure everyone is freaking out about the new rule that sisters have to use, yes, the dreaded, work pants for proselyting. So I’m in Maceio right now to renew my passport and tomorrow we have a meeting here with all the sisters in the mission to find out what the regulations will be exactly for sisters here. I’m gonna look like the biggest loser wearing work pants walking around when no one here even wears shoes on the street. 

But this week was great because we got to finally have the baptisms of our investigators, a great family of siblings, Maria and Anderson. We´re teaching their other brother too but he got scared on the day of the baptism and bailed... but they are a wonderful and simple family who have taught me a lot about just how spoiled we are in the states. It’s just a little sad to me when we work so hard for these baptisms and then 3 members show up and 1 is the bishop... 

In other news yesterday at lunch with a family somehow it got let out that in my house we have a garbage disposal, a dryer and washer, and a dish washer. The women were so surprised they asked ´what does your mom even do all day?? Americans are so lazy...´´ hahah. But hey to me it was smart to invent something to not have to do the work! Am I right? 

But this week I’ve been thinking about how truly humbled I’ve been forced to become, how you realize how little the material things matter. How if you aren’t well spiritually, if you don’t have  purpose and love in your life, you could be a billionaire but still wouldn’t be truly happy. Is it possible that I got more hippy tendencies here on my mission? I just love my mission. And I love you guys! Have a great week, maybe I’ll have pics of eggs and flour dumped on my head after my bday this week! Fingers crossed! 

Sister Walker

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016 - Good Life Experiences

                            Courtney and Sister Estela                              
 Just Came In From A Rainstorm

Hi Party People!                                                       

This week we finally had a semi normal week and got to work a lot in our area! We are working with the family members, nieces, nephews, aunts or strange neighbors of the members here because they aren’t super good at integrating anyone else. It was a great week of work but sad when Sunday morning comes and no one comes to church... it teaches you a lot about how your time really isn’t the Lords time, how you can do everything in your power but in the end have to be humble and realize that you’re just a small part of those peoples journey to come to know the truth. And maybe you won’t see the results immediately but one day those people will receive the ultimate gift of eternal life! 

 Our bishop here was released and a new one called. We went from short and serious Bishop Junior to big chubby and loud and joking Irmao Wilhames. It’s funny that the whole ward needs to trust in the callings of the lord, no matter who the person is or what they have done in the past- trusting enough in your testimony of the church that He wouldn’t call the wrong person. 

It’s fun that on a mission you really learn how to adapt- I learned a few fun things this week. Like sometimes your kitchen sink backs up and smells like baby barf and you have to clean out the food chunks while your companion stands in the corner dry heaving. Or sometimes a few chickens will run through the living room during a lesson and the baby on the floor will scare one of them and it’ll poop on the floor and scurry out and you just gotta keep it all together for the sake of the lesson. Or sometimes you’ll share your beef jerky your nice mom sent from the states for your bday with your companion and she´ll spit it on the floor because she’s never tasted something like that hahahah. This week was a lot of good life experiences. You learn that you can’t control everything in life, and you just gotta make the best of every situation and go with the flow. I love my mission! And I love you guys! Don’t forget to pray for someone that you can share the gospel with this week! The lord is counting on you!

Sister Walker

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 9, 2016 - Post Mother's Day Blues

                                                     Skyping Courtney on Mother's Day

Hi guys!

Happy late mother’s day! I never knew I would love mother’s day so much! It was so great to see you guys on skype, a lot easier emotionally than at Christmas but still I felt drained afterwards. But now I know I gotta work super hard these months so I’ll have lots of good stories to tell you guys! so weird to think I’ll be going home in only 8 months... that’s like no time!! I loved seeing everyone, even if you all made fun of my sad English language skills and how I have an Italian/Mexican..? (not sure how that is possible..) accent now.. I will be hooked on phonics when I get home. 

I don’t have really anything to say since I talked to you guys yesterday... haha but I just wanted to let you know I’m doing great even if I have a weird Brazilian rash on my leg that takes up half of my calf, and I love my mission! I love my family so much! Be nice and be safe! 

Sister Walker

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 2, 2016 - Feliz Dia Das Mães!!

Sister Barbosa, Sister Estela and Courtney

Hey everybody!! So I’m gonna keep this email short so we have lots of stuff to talk about on Sunday. Who’s excited please raise your hand!!! But seriously I am. I think I’ll try to be online about 6pm here so it’ll be 1 pm over there.. Is that correct? Hopefully the internet will be better than the last try... but your church is at 9 am, right? 

Anyways big b-day shoutout to our b-day girl JULIIIEEEE cuhs when you’re 16 and someone tells you they love you.... it’s probably Duddy.... remix. But I love Julia because she’s funny and eats cream puffs with me and watches netflix all rolled up in fuzzy blankets. And because she’s not afraid to wear her overalls and talks about political issues with me. We are the perfect couple <3 

This week I learned some info about packages; so you can’t put on the description exactly what’s in it or people will wanna snag it. You gotta be really vague on what’s inside like ´´office supplies´´ or ´´books´´ or something lame people won’t want. 

But anyways this week was hurried because we had yet another conference in Maceio for the leaders of the mission to talk about how the mission is baptizing more than the other month but this month needs to be even higher. Gee whiz! It’s funny I realized that my mission is really small compared to some others, it only has 154 missionaries so you pretty much know or have heard of everyone here. But we learned a lot about how to focus on the doctrine of baptism and how it will help everyone in whatever circumstance they’re in. It’s good to focus on something so common in religions, because everyone knows Jesus says you have to be baptized to enter the kingdom of god, but then comes in the question; how should we be baptized or what church should we be baptized in if they all claim to be the right way? So it’s perfect because it’s something simple but profound that our investigators usually get hooked on.

I also found out a girl serving here is from Forteleza and has met Melanie before! She said she went on splits with Melanie one time. I’ll try and remember the name of her ward. But this week we taught Mateus and his family again and they are slowly warming up to religion. But Mateus is way ahead of the game and when he prays in the lessons he stops everything, kneels down and starts talking with god, it is the most wonderful thing to see! In one of his prayers he said ´´please help all of the people out there using marijuana that they can be cured´´ hahaha. I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing most of the time. But he´ll be baptized soon enough ;) Anyways I’ll talk to you guys this Sunday!! Happy almost mother’s day! Love you so much!

Sister Walker