Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016 - Buckets Of Fun...

Baptism of Mayse, Maycom and Maxwell

Sister Missionaries and Irma Nayara

                                                 Courtney Draining The Baptismal Font

Hi family!

So this week was a fast one because we were running running so that some of our investigators could get baptized this week. After lots of bumps in the road, people who got scared or wanted to wait more time, or moms who were mad at their kids for being obnoxious, we got 3 of our amazing investigators baptized, Maycom, Maysa and Maxwell! The others will shortly follow. But it was a great week! I felt like I could finally catch my breath a little bit finally, that our work was finally showing its fruits. The baptisms were great; I have never seen people SO Excited to be baptized!! They were all nervous and antsy saying ´´is there gonna be a lot of people there? Do they all know our names and who were are already? Am I gonna have to give my testimony in the front on Sunday? Are we already members of our church?´´ They are really great. It was also a great opportunity to finally get their parents to step foot inside the church, and now we are working on getting them married and at the church on Sunday!

The high of this week was that we went to fill up the baptismal font Saturday morning. We had heard it might be filled since the last baptism which was a few weeks ago but we went just to try and drain it ourselves. Turns out ´´draining´´ this font doesn’t mean just pressing the little button, it means you get to take out all of the dirty smelly stinky water full of bugs and new species of bacteria unknown to science, bucket by bucket. haha. It’s funny now that I write it out but it was not so funny in the moment! lol. We spent about 3 hours throwing buckets of sick water out the window or down the toilet just to be able to fill it back up again. Adventure is out there! Am I right?!

This week I also noticed that the bishop here, when the people are going over their time limit as dad would say during their talks, the bishop raises the pulpit up and down a little as a secret signal haha. Classic Bishop Henrique.

Let me also just make it publically known how much I enjoy Jared’s weekly life updates now, seriously he puts in a recap of pretty much every day of his week which makes me feel like I’m right in the moment with him haha. #jerryshoutout

But other than that things are pretty laid back here in São Miguel. The city elections here started so it’s a whirlwind of campaigning and shallow promises and sad music jingles that will never come close to ´´vote me maybe´´. I don’t know how another week already passed by. I feel like the world works in weeks now and not days, the time passes so quickly. All I know is that I love this work! I love feeling so close to the spirit and knowing more about my Savior every day. I feel closer to Him than I ever have, and that’s not despite the hard moments but exactly because of them. I know He has a real and living church here on the earth! And when others find out about that they will understand why we are the way we are! A nice and peculiar people.... work hard to share something about the gospel with someone this week! We don’t understand how much others are searching for the missing puzzle pieces we have. I am glad to have gained my real testimony here on my mission, a place and time that I will never get back after December 27! I love you guys so much! Have a wonderful week! se cuidam!

Sister Walker

Ps. here are pics of the baptisms this week, one picture of all of us with Irma Nayara who’s our friend in the ward, and us with the nice brother in the ward who helped us clear out the sick nasty water in the font with buckets!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 22, 2016 - Dearly Blub Blubber...

Look who got hitched this week woohooo!! Thank you to the people who sent me pics of the event and not just pics of barrels and burlap bows. Very much appreciated. Congrats to Syd and Austin Corry!!

So I don’t have a lot to say... (name that movie) because transfers are in and I’m staying in São Miguel with Sister Monteiro another transfer woohoo! We helped the sister we were living with get off to Maceio today to go home tomorrow, which was a whirlwind of work I had forgotten about. But luckily I planned it well enough that I got to spend some time with Sister Estela before she leaves tomorrow. Not sure if it was a good idea or a bad one to surprise her in her apartment because she started crying when I walked in haha. It was a hard moment for my fragile heart this week but I’m glad I got to see her.

Anyways who else heard that Brasil won the big gold one in the Olympic soccer game?! woohooo I was so pumped!! It was the worst thing ever trying to teach during the Olympics when literally everyone was watching, but this week when Brasil won, everyone in the city started cheering and went out on the streets yelling (including me) and it was great. Viva Brasil!!

Hey who has ideas on where I can live at BYU this January?? Any ideas will be welcomed thank you... I’m thinking Liberty Square but who knows if I’ll even have money to pay for that place. Is it too early for Sydney and Austin to have a house pet?

Anyways I’m doing really good in this area, our teaching group is falling and restarting as usual but that family that went to church went again and we´re trying to work faster than the adversary to get them firm for their baptism on September 11. I really see clearly now how the little actions in our life make such a difference, or represent how converted we are to the gospel, just by our attitudes or how we react to a situation. I never perceived how the people in my own ward have varying levels of conversion, and that helps you understand why they do the things they do. Interesting all the things the spirit will help you understand if you just listen. Anyways that’s all. Sorry my letter is so short, but have a great week, happy last week of summer!! I love you all lots!!

Sister Walker

August 15, 2016 - "Why Can't I Be A Prophet?"

                                               Funeral Program For Missionaries Leaving

                                                  Going Away Party For 2 Missionaries

                                                The Socorro Family Attending A Baptism


Anyways this week was so amazing and crazy busy. I went on splits with 2 different sisters and they were both new on the mish, and I forget that I’m not anymore... I remember when the sisters told me they had been on their missions a year and I felt like a big noob... now I have one year but have yet to shake the feeling of still being a noob. We´ll see.

Well the going away party for the missionaries was a success. They were all surprised, and we made a special lunch for them at the church. We planned it all like it was a funeral for them and we all bore our testimonies and it was great. I had even made up a program with their pictures on it that said ´´in loving memory of... Elder Zeron and Sister Domingues´´ with lots of scriptures about death and all that. We killed it.

The family that went to church last week went again this week. We are trying to get the elders in Maceio to go visit the oldest sister so she can be baptized with her brothers when she comes back home this weekend. But elders aren’t super reliable unfortunately. All the elders are a little scared to get a phone call from me here. We also were teaching a man and his wife who basically was meeting with the sisters before us just to say he already knew everything about the Mormon Church. I didn’t teach anything else I just told him he had to ask god specifically if Joseph Smith was a prophet to take away his doubts about the church. And he said ´´I’m not gonna ask god, I already believe he was! He talked to god, received revelation, and was a prophet. I too, talk with god and receive revelation, so I too am a prophet, just like you and you and all of us!´´ So then came the long conversation of why he can’t be a prophet because he doesn’t have the priesthood or the ability to receive revelation for the whole world, and he kept saying ´´but a prophet prophesizes, and I receive revelation!! Why cant I too be a prophet??´´ So we kinda just left him on that one..

And this week is gonna be a special one because Sydney’s getting hitched everybody!! I will throw my own bouquet up into the air just to feel like I am there in the action. Wait does this mean that in 2 years I have to get married in August too, because it seems like it’s a Walker family tradition by now... to be continued.. But this is the last week in this transfer so we´ll see if I stay here with Sister Monteiro or if I leave. But I love it here! I’d be sad to go. Anyways just know how much I love you all and am so grateful to know my sister will be getting married in the temple this week. That is a true gift in and of itself to have my family on the right path. I am so grateful to know that the lord loves us enough that he gives us the choice to choose the right rather than just forcing us to do that. He trusts in us SO MUCH that he knows we are capable of doing what’s right without being forced. I am so grateful to know that and know our Father in Heaven has a perfect plan for us. This church is true and His gospel is true and perfect. My doubts are taken away every time I have the courage and humility to ask about it! I love you all, make sure to put my head on a stick and put it on lots of pics!! parabéns para o casal do ano!!

Sister Walker

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8, 2016 - The Lucky 13!

                                               Courtney & Sister Monteiro With A Family
                                                             Of Investigators At Church

Helllooo from the other side! That is an Adele reference for all you old folk.

What a great week holy cow!! We were working every second of every day and I didn’t even see the week go by. We met an amazing new family that all went to church with us. They live with the 8 kids and the mom, but the only one that works is a daughter who’s 22 and she works as a maid in someone’s house over in Maceio and only comes home for 2 days and then stays there 15 days. This family is amazing people, you have no idea. I’m sending a pic of them to prove it. So our area is kinda far away from the chapel which makes it hard for people to go to church but they usually pay 50 cents to take a van down and back up afterwards. But this family doesn’t exactly have that to spend. So we went and picked them up Sunday morning and they all (the youngest being 8 and the oldest 22) walked with us the 40 minute walk completely downhill to the church, and then at noon in the hot hot sun walked more than an hour back up hill to get home. THAT IS REAL FAITH PEOPLE. I was so amazed, they didn’t even complain or anything, they said ´´it’s really good to go to church, let’s go see what this one is like´´ and went! They are amazing! The youngest is Maxwell and he was the only one that had remembered to pray and ask god if the church was true. We asked how his prayer went and he said ´´it’s true. Its true what you guys said;´´ and we said ´´how do you know?´´ and he said ´´well I prayed before I went to bed and said ´´Jesus, is it true what the ladies said about this church?´´ and then I had a dream that night where Jesus was coming out of heaven on a stairway made of clouds and he told me it was the right church. That’s how I know. ´´ When he told us I just sat in awe and hugged him trying not to cry. These people are amazing and there are so many of them waiting for the gospel to clear up so many questions and doubt about religion and gods plan for us!!!

And in Relief Society this week they taught about family night and how it should be held and the purpose. I couldn’t help remember how most of my fondest memories of all of us together where during family night-whether it was going to west fenwick park, or to play bball at the church, or playing jenga or when it turned into wrestle mania and mom always got mad. And let’s not forget the beloved moment when mom and dad played just dance and danced to that Rihanna song... but I realized in such a simple act how much a family can be strengthened, that most of the things I learned about the gospel, or the questions I had, weren’t answered at church but at home with my parents and my siblings, even Spencer putting his feet in my hair. I am really grateful for those memories mom and dad supplied (forced) us to make. How smart is the church? I was thinking about the devotional they had here in Rio de Janeiro that was about personal progress and duty to god-I thought about how much personal progress showed me I was capable to do hard things, that I could and should break out of my comfort zone. Because one day we will all be accountable for not just the things we did here but the person that we became, and personal progress helped me in that effort.

I guess that really it for this week! The super Christian families are alright, one we found out is a super famous pastor and the other went to church with us this week! He already knows the church is true he just doesn’t want to admit it yet. But we will keep trying with them!! I love you all. Have a wonderful week in good ole Utah!!

Sister Walker

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016 -- Its Already August??

                                          Courtney Getting Her "Baby Fix" With Pedrinho

                                                           Sister Monteiro & Courtney

Hi everybody!

Wow I feel like I was just here telling you what I did and that I didn’t actually do anything note worthy this week but here goes nothing. This week was really cool, the other sisters had a baptism of a guy who’s wife was less active but they helped her come back to church and now he’s baptized too! It was really a miracle, his story, because I remember when I came here on splits a few months ago and his wife was talking about him, how it was impossible to baptize him, that he hated the missionaries, wouldn’t even look at them when he got home. But slowly and surely the gospel went touching his heart. He finally gave in and decided to pray and find out if it was actually true and felt the spirit! Everyone in this ward got to see a real life miracle this week, it was great. Speaking of recent converts, have you had the new families over for dinner yet? Who remembers all of their names? Give yourselves a big flick in the head if you don’t. This is crucial timing for them now!! Right when they’re baptized the adversary works super hard to pull them out of their little gospel bubble and back to their comfort zone. They need FRIENDS people. Please help the sisters out!!

Anyways we met some really cool families this week, that surprisingly all are part of the same religion but go to different churches. Turns out they are all some sort of leaders in their churches, like almost pastors but not that high up yet. It’s like an extremely Christian church, idk how to explain it. But it’s hard to find time to teach them because they go to church 2 times a week, and the other family is working all week for the church. So it was a little intimidating to teach someone who actually has read the bible cover to cover and knows a whole lot more about Ezekiel than I do.

But what was really cool is that as we were teaching one of the families, we taught the restoration. And we taught that after Christ, the 12 apostles all died, there wasn’t anyone left on the earth with the authority of god. That no one had the power to baptize or have a real valid church. And that is right in the moment that usually people freak out because we basically say that their church doesn’t have real authority, but this woman we were teaching named Socorro said ´´wow your right! Wow I never thought about that before, you’re really right! And where did that authority go? And who got it back?´´ And I was so relieved!! I was SO happy because we teach that a million times a week and basically no one understands that literally NO ONE on the earth had the priesthood until Joseph Smith, and she understood it!! It is amazing when you find someone who you thought would never accept it, but they just need to be given the chance to find out for themselves! It was such a wonderful feeling.

The other family was a little less focused and at the end they were super excited to say the prayer, but little did we know, they asked us to stand up, and when Sister Monteiro started saying the prayer, each of them began to say their own prayer really loud and with various ´´amens´´ and ´´hallelujahs´´ and ´´god blesses”.... I had to hold it together to keep from laughing during the 3 prayers happening at the same time. But they will learn.

Anyways I’m going to go take a nap now so see you guys soon!! I love my family very very much. You are the most important people to me after the savior!! boa semana!

Sister Walker