Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016 - Surprise Transfer!

                                                         Courtney and Sister Barbosa

Hey party people!

So yes the title speaks the truth, I was emergency transferred last Monday afternoon for a new area, Santos Dummont which is in the capital of Sergipe calledAaracaju. Presidente Gomes called us last week and said ´´the mission is needing of your help´´ and this isn’t our first time around the block so we said ´´where are we being transferred President?´´ So turns out the reinforcements we gave to our beloved area in Lagarto were a no go so the area got shut down and we were thrown lovingly into other areas for 2 more weeks until the real transfer. My new area is the smallest area in the mission and now it has 2 pairs of missionaries working it... the members are more than confused. But it has a good ward and an almost well functioning committee meeting-the best I’ve seen on my mission so far.

I always had heard that the end of your mission isn’t easy for anyone, you always pass through a lot of trials, but no one ever talks about how it’s also hard for the companion of the person going home. We are learning to persevere. I’m also pretty sure that Presidente Gomes put us in this cushy area to throw us a bone after all we had to deal with in the other area. But I don’t mind! Now I live with 2 other Americans and it is surprisingly strange and difficult for me to live with just Americans... I don’t know how to act or if I can eat their food or what they’re thinking, I feel out of my comfort zone. But hey it’s only 2 weeks.

This week I have been thinking a lot about the Book of Mormon because I’m in Mormon right now. I learned that if we don’t ponder and study and put ourselves in the positions of the people in the Book of Mormon and understand what they went through and everything they sacrificed so that we can have that book, we really aren’t doing it justice. I like to think about all the wars like a movie in my head and it makes it easier to remember the context and everything. I really love the Book of Mormon. My favorite scripture right now is 1 Nephi 21:16. I learn so much more about Christ than I thought I could-I’m learning now how important it is to remember Him in everything. He looks at the marks in His hands everyday and thinks of us, the least we can do is remember Him in our words and our deeds. I love that book! And if other people haven’t heard about it yet I sure am excited to tell em. I love you all so much! And happy late father’s day to the best pdaddy out there! Love you dad! até mais.

Sister Walker

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 20, 2016 - Feliz São João!

                                                  Courtney and Sister Barbosa Wrestling

Let me just start off by saying I got to spend almost the whole week at home taking care of Sister Barbosa because she got waaay sick, so there is not a whole lot to update you guys on... lol. Now she’s getting better but I had to keep myself busy making soup, cleaning up throw up, taking temperatures, flagging down a member to take us to the hospital, and while she was sleeping I had to do everything from paint my nails to start reading the bible cover to cover. It got real difficult this week lemme tell you.
But this week will be fun because right now in June and July there is a huge festival called São João going on in all of Brasil. I’m not sure what they’re celebrating but its bigger than Christmas-everyone wears plaid and eats a lot of stuff with corn. Fried corn, steamed corn, cornbread, corn cake, corn pudding, everything under the sun with corn in it. And we´ll get to go to the branch party here on Friday night-more corn stories to come next week!
I was always thinking a lot about how my personality is different here, but I’m not sure if it’s a Brasil thing, a missionary thing, or just a personal defect of mine, but I feel such an urgency to speak of gospel things, to tell everyone how it is. Even if no one else sees how important these things are right now, at least I do and I can help! But I find myself saying things I would never have said in my past life like ´´you have to get married, you’re living in sin not being married´´ or ´´you need to have your son be baptized before Christ comes back´´ and ´´you need to be sealed in the temple or you won’t make it to the Celestial Kingdom´´. When I remind the members kindly about keeping the Sabbath day holy I constrain myself to keep from using Exodus 31:4 but it is oh so tempting... I think that the Lord is blessing me by taking away my American tendencies to keep quiet and worry about offending everyone every second- we are in the last days in preparation for the second coming of Christ people-wake up!! Ok that was my missionary moment for now. Just know that one day all these people that don’t know about the gospel will say ´´you knew all along what would happen and what we had to do-why didn’t you tell me?´´ food for thought!
Love you guys so much! Talk to you next week!
Sister Walker

In other news, bean prices here have skyrocketed and everyone is having a panic attack. That’s pretty much it…

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016 - Mummer's B-Day

                                                       Mission Conference In Aracaju

                                             Sister Barbosa, Sousa, Custodio and Courtney

Hey everybody! What day is today? Mom’s bdayyy! I love mummer because she is everyone’s #1 fan and doesn’t get tired of going to our soccer games in the rain, cheering too loud for us on the sidelines, doing a zigzag part in our hair, putting notes in our lunches, or just listening to us complain after a long day. I love mom because she knows how to prioritize and teaches us to love the gospel before anything else. We have the best mom ever!
As for this week we tried to be more creative here and work with the members and do lots of family nights at their house to see if they would have pity on us and give us people to teach. Mostly we are working with less actives (there is about 1000 here in this little city...) and their family members who aren’t baptized. This week we went to visit a family who were all baptized about 10 years ago and were super firm and then fell away and no one knew why. We visited them and they told us their dad never listened to the missionaries, avoided them and wouldn’t even look at them, that he hated religion. But we went over there and shared a message with him and invited him to participate and he did! haha He even prayed at the end of it! Sometimes you just gotta show the people how much you care about them before they’ll care about how much you know.
We also had a really great mission conference for Sergipe in Aracaju this week where we got some other good training on how to help our investigators feel comfortable at church. Presidente Gomes spoke and a returned sister from Itabaiana. She spoke about how your mission is like a soccer game-sometimes you don’t wanna start because you know it’s gonna be a lot of work, but once you’re out there playing you never wanna stop. You see all your friends on the sidelines cheering you on, and when you get subbed out you just wanna go back in and help your team. But at the end of your mission you’ll have to be the one cheering on the others, wanting to go back in there and help but your time will be up. That really resonated with me and my soccer days. It got me focused on using my time better here.
I really am grateful for this short time I have to dedicate all my efforts to showing the Lord how grateful I am for the knowledge and abilities He has given me! Really we are living on borrowed time so we should make the best of it. I know the Lord loves us enough to give us challenges so we can grow. Something that I was thinking about was when I ran hurdles races. You can’t cross the finish line if you ran around all of the hurdles-the same goes for our lives. Food for thought. I love you all and I know this gospel is true! There is no other place I’d rather be!

Sister Walker

Thursday, June 9, 2016

June 6, 2016 - Lagarto Week 1...

                                                           Sister Barbosa and Courtney
                                                           Companions For A 3rd Time

                                                  Surprise Birthday Party For Courtney
                                               With Sisters Sousa, Barbosa and Custodio

Hey everyone!
So I’m back in Zona Lagarto which feels like somehow I never left... here is a branch again and another small city. Not as small as Itabaiana or Estancia but still. We live here with 2 sisters, Sister Sousa and Custódio who were here before us, and they are super cool. I love them. But it is kinda sad when you get to an area and everyone already knows the other sisters and they’re like ´´wait why are you guys here too now...´´ haha. We are trying to get to know the members so we can actually have some real people to teach. I also forgot how fun it is to have people stare at you on the street, think I don’t speak Portuguese, or yell broken English phrases at me as we´re walking. Example: ´´helloo my namey is…!!!´´
Big bday shout out to the big bday boy JAREDDD yes Jared not Jerry or Geraldo (for now-your only bday present) who is 12 years old woohooo!! I like Jared because he used to let me sleep in his crib when he was a baby, because he likes to eat nachos with me, plays Mario Kart and goes on bike rides with me. And because he has good fashion sense.
I’m starting to feel a little old on the mission when you wake up and everything hurts... lol. And I had a very Spencer moment this week when I realized that there are 2 types of hungry in life: regular hungry and so hungry that you’re actually gonna get up to go make something yourself. Life lessons on the mish.
Sorry my letter isn’t super great, hopefully next week I’ll have bigger news to share-we´re just trying to get settled and learn the ropes here. But I am still grateful for the trials the Lord gives us-because it is just those trials that will one day qualify us for the celestial kingdom! It’s a fair price.

Love you all! 

Sister Walker