Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016 - Happy Halloweiners!!

                                                     Courtney With Her Halloween Treats

                                                     Eating Crab For The First Time

                                                           Missionary Training Meeting

                         Sister Menezes The Pirate And Elder Courtney Walker On Halloween

                                                        Sister Menezes and Courtney


Oh and for Halloween as you can tell by the pictures I was an Elder for Halloween and Sister Menezes was a pirate. I’m going to see what I can do to go to a members house or two tonight to try trick or treating.... but they don’t really do that here so everyone will be super confused why I’m asking for candy on their doorstep...

Anyways our week here was good, we tried to go to the government with a couple to get them married but they got scared and ran away so it fell through. We also had a meeting at the stake center for all the missionaries training and being trained. Where they put us in 2 separate rooms basically to interrogate us to see if the newbies would rat us out if we weren’t doing our jobs right and to see if we were treating the newbies well. I’m glad to say I passed with flying colors. Obviously... Sister Menezes even told everyone how humble and patient and hard working I am. Three thumbs up and a pat on the back from Presidente Gomes. Weiner!  Oh and I got my package from mom, thank you!!! Goldfish and peanut butter have never tasted so good!! Everyone at the meeting was so intrigued by the beef jerky... 

I am sending a bunch of photos hoping they will count for 1000 words here... I am in Siqueira Campos today (a different area in my zone) and out of time because we had ´´pday with Presidente´´ which is basically code for we´re not baptizing enough so he had our zone get together and brought us lunch and told us to get our act together. It was interesting the things he said, they made me think. He told us that not one act of service or force we make goes unnoticed by the Lord. That was a good reminder for me after a week where I felt like our sacrifices were less than valued here by the people we met. But he talked about how we need to have a lot more faith, believe in the miracles that the Lord promises are possible. Which is true-sometimes we get so caught up in the day to day and the routine and talking with people on the street just to say we talked with 20 or 30 people on the street that day, that we don’t stop to realize that those are possible baptisms we´re talking to, those are generations of Gods children waiting to be helped along the right path. It was a good wake up call for me. It also made me really sad thinking that my time is almost up here to prove how much I really am willing to serve the Lord. Obviously we have our whole lives of dedicated service to show Him, but it will be in other capacities that I’m worried won’t be as fulfilling for me. Its hard that when I feel like I’m finally really good at something, that I know what I’m doing, my time is already up. That is a hard feeling. But I’m working on not thinking about that for now.

s/o to Sydney’s other name that I stumbled upon in Acts 24:24!

I love you all very much. I hope you know that!! Have a great week! até logo!

Sister Walker

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 24, 2016 - Sister Orange...

                                               Courtney At The Beach At Aracaju

                                  She Is So Happy With Her Fruit From The Farmers Market!

                                             Sister Lauder And Courtney At Aracaju

                                                   All Of The Sisters In Courtney's Zone

Hey party people! 

The work is trucking along here in Eduardo Gomes. We were having a hard time finding people to teach so we prayed and prayed and fasted and the Lord was good to us and gave us people, lots of people to teach. But then I realized how He has a sense of humor because apparently I forgot to ask only for people who are legally married... of the 21 new people we began to teach 19 of them aren’t legally married, just are living with someone and that means their baptism date will be pushed back for at least a month to get it through the government system here. Awesome. 

In other news this week it was cool because a woman in the ward took us to this huge farmers market that just sells fruit. It was cool because 1. She took us in her car so I got to ride in a car, and 2. Because I have never seen so much fruit in my life. Trucks full of oranges and mountains of pineapple and watermelon and goiaba and mamão that doesn’t even exist in my home land. And it’s all super CHEAP. The happiest moment of my life was this week when I bought 35 oranges for $5 reais which in dollars is like $1.75; that is right people, I am trading in my coca cola weight for lean mean fruit eating machine. But the woman we went with thought it was hilarious that I was so excited just to go buy fruit and oranges because the oranges here are super good, and now is going around telling everyone in the ward how much I love oranges. They now have lovingly nicknamed me ´´sister orange´´... classic. 

Last week on pday we went with the other sisters in our zone to what’s called the Orla, down in another part of Aracaju. It’s a really touristy place by the beach where someone asked if we all had the same husband and I was like barf, please excuse me and I left. But other than that it was fun to see the beach at least from far away and see the sights.

Oh and great news!! I was talking to an Elder who’s in Estancia where I served and he said that the family that I taught that was baptized after I left, Magna and Cival and their 2 kids, now gives lunch to the missionaries!! She’s on the real life relief society missionary calendar like a real life member!! I got so happy to hear that. It’s so wonderful to see how all your little efforts that you thought were useless eventually paid off in the end for someone, even if it was just that one family. I know that all of our efforts are noticed by the Lord and are even very miniscule and small compared to everything we owe to Him. That’s what I think a lot about my mission-a year and a half is very very little to give back to Him after how indebted I feel to Him. He just wants us to give our best and remember Him! How simple is that! I love my mission and I love serving our Father in Heaven! I have never felt such a real joy or purpose before all of this. But that’s all I’ve got for now, know how much I love you and miss you guys! Have a great week!

Sister Walker 

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016 - Testimony Slamdown

 P-Day Volleyball Game With Sister Lauder, Courtney, Sister Menezes and Sister Carvalho

                                     Birthday Party For Zone Leader, Elder Andrade

                                                             Eduardo Gomes District

                                             Celebrating Sister Menezes' One Month Mark

Hi everybody!!

So here’s a quick update on my week. We are getting a little more settled into the area here. All the members think its a huge area for just 2 sisters but I’m like yeah I’ve had areas three times the size of this one... the bishop continues to worship at our feet, he basically did everything but tell us to take a bow in front of everyone at our first Sunday here yesterday.

We had our first district meeting and I had found out last minute it had been our ZLs bday so I went into mom mode and whipped out a little party for him. When he got there we all yelled surprise and he got so happy and turned to me and Sister Menezes and said ´thank you sisters!!´´ And I said ´´´why do you think it was just us who did this?´´ And he said ´´please, do you really think an Elder is capable of doing all of this?´´ haha. That is correct sir!

Anyways fast and testimony meeting was... interesting here. It is always a gambling game when our investigators are visiting for the first time... its funny to me when testimony meeting turns into people pointing out what other people are doing wrong in the ward that they think should be changed. For example: someone got up and started telling a story, as usual. The next person got up and said ´´I’d like to bear my testimony that I know we aren’t supposed to tell stories over the pulpit.´´ and then someone else gets up and says ´´I’d like to bear my testimony that I know we should all worry about our own lives and not butt into the lives of others.´´ and then when the ward gets a little rowdy and a man gets up and says ´´I bear my testimony that I know reverence is a lot more than just being quiet. amen.´´ hahahah I was dying the whole meeting. But they are a smaller ward so they are still learning. We are patient with all people and their weaknesses.

We are getting creative to get referrals here. I like to do an activity with Noah’s ark. I teach about the story and tell about how there was room on the ark for all those people, and it was Noah’s job to tell them all to repent so they wouldn’t die. But if Noah hadn’t done his part announcing that, those people wouldn’t be guilty if they died, because they didn’t know there was gonna be a flood! Noah would have been the guilty one because he didn’t announce it to the people-in the same way our friends and neighbors don’t know there is a true church with the priesthood and commandments they need to follow. So if they show up at the last day, they won’t be guilty, it’ll be US that God will be upset with, because we didn’t announce it to them. So I make the members write down two people that they would want to be on their ark with them if there was a flood tomorrow, and we mark to go visit them this week. It works like a charm!

If that one doesn’t work, there’s always people asking me for help in English class, whether its kids or adults, so I’ve started trading with them, I teach them English if they’ll go on visits with us during the week. Sold! On Sunday the relief society president even got up and said ´the sisters need people to go with them on visits everyday in the week! Who’s gonna go with them on Tuesday? Wednesday?´´ and didn’t let anyone leave until we have someone to go out with us every day this week! She is great.

But other than that, things are going good here, we´re working a lot, getting a good tan, and learning how to be patient and accept things in the Lords time and not our own. When I think about it, following the Lords orders and being faithful, optimistic and patient is the most intelligent thing we can do. We´re saying that we trust in the highest, most powerful, know all tell all, creator of the universes. I sure do trust in Him. He knows a whole lot better than us! Don’t forget to pray to know who you can take the sisters to teach! We gotta stop praying so that THEYLL find people but that we´ll know who we know that is ready for them. That is what the prophet tells us! I love you all very very much!! Have a great week!

Sister Walker

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016 - And Then There Were Two.... Transfers

                                                   Courtney Leaving Sao Miguel

                                      Sister Menezes, Courtney and Mayara (twin of Nayara)

                        Sister Monteiro, Nayara's Mom, Nayara (twin of Mayara) and Courtney

Hellloooo Federal Way!

Good news and lots of changes here in Eduardo Gomes. Its kind of fun to get to serve close to Aracaju, the big city here in Sergipe. My area is about 20 minutes away from the city, but still is bigger and more city like than my last area. Here they have more paved streets and less horses running around. The ward here is a little bigger and they LOVE sisters. Seriously love. The bishop is super cool, has been bishop 12 whole years (now dads counting his lucky stars he was only there for 5) and is known for only liking sisters working here. They do everything for us, show us where the members live, pick us up drop us off, give us cake, they just love us. We are treated like the princesses we always were destined to be...

Oh and my companion! Her name is Sister Menezes, she’s 23 and is from Manaus, Amazonas. Just her and her mom are members in her family, she was baptized when she was 17. She is really sweet has lots and lots of hope and faith that mission life is all baptisms and people flocking to learn about the Mormon Church. I try not to do anything to take that hope away from her. She’s super excited to be here and just jumps in to everything even if she doesn’t really know how to do it yet haha. But it’s good. We live just us 2 which is different for me but still good.

Funny story this week, so there is a girl named Nayara in São Miguel that had told me her twin sister had just gotten back from her mission and lives in the stake I’m in now but another ward. So one day we were at an activity and I look up and I see who I think is Nayara from a whole different state and I got so happy I almost cried and I said ´´Nayara!!´´ And went to hug her and she said ´´no I’m Mayara, that’s my twin sister!´´ haha and she got super happy I had met her sister all the way in a different area. It was like Mary Kate and Ashley except Nayara and Mayara and they don’t have their own hit tv show. But it was super fun to get to meet her. I’m sending of pic of her to compare the two.

We are kind of starting from zero in this area since the elders here before didn’t leave any indication of anything or anyone actually with promise, so it’s a little frustrating sometimes just trying to not get lost in the city slash also find people who want to be taught. But the members take us to their neighbors house and their friends house so that’s a huge score. We use Elders Oaks talk from conference now in all the messages we leave with them to kick their missionary efforts in gear. booya! I was kind of worried to start training and be responsible for the whole future of another missionary, but I know how much the Lord gives us chances to grow and learn. When we were leaving Maceio to go to Sergipe we had to leave at 5am, and I didn’t know if there would be a taxi or anyone to get us there where the buses are. I was freaking out thinking we wouldn’t make it there with all our suitcases and started praying and praying for help. I was up in an apartment window and I looked down and all of a sudden one single taxi had appeared outside, 5am, with no one on the avenue. THAT was a miracle. I know we are qualified when we do all we can to fulfill His callings. I love my mission!

More to come next week! até logo! amo muito vocês!!

Sister Walker

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016 - The Prophets Drink Coke!

                                         Sister Monteiro, Other Roommates and Courtney

                                  Sister Monteiro, Sao Miguel Ward Members and Courtney

                                   Sister Monteiro, Courtney and Roommates in Sao Miguel

Hi everyone!

Well you read the title right, as well as lots of spiritual guidance and instruction, the whole world was also informed that the latter day prophets drink coca cola and/or dr. pepper people!! Caffeine is not against the word of wisdom!! I was right! I was right my whole dang life!! *mini bow*.

Anyways conference is so amazing as a missionary. Also even greater when all the talks are giving specific and direct revelation from God to the members of the church on how they need to amp up their game and help us out more! That really really was an answer to my prayers. I just sit and listen to all the talks and the time just whizzes by. I see how directly and specifically the Lord answers our prayers if we really open our minds and hearts up to ask specifically.

As for news here, I am being transferred as I suspected, I’m going back to Sergipe where I’ll be serving in Aracajú, in an area called Eduardo Gomes. But before that I’ll be going to Maceio to pick up the new sister that I’m going to train! I didn’t think that I’d spend my last 2 transfers training but it’ll be a fun new experience! The other sister I trained went home with problems, in her foot so now I’ll have a legacy here! haha. Sergipe is kind of far away from everything but it’ll be fun to serve in a city.

Well I’m busy today saying goodbye to the members and investigators I’ll leave behind here, people that I really really just love so much but will have to leave behind. Funny that I never really loved the members so much in an area like I do here. But they will always be in my heart! Cheesey but true. You learn to love the people despite their flaws and awkward things they say, despite their lack of understanding on certain gospel topics or focus on the more important things in life. In a lot of ways it’s just like our Savior chooses to love us despite all of the reasons we give Him not to.

I can tell you all that my mission is without a doubt the best and most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. Never has the Spirit been with me so constantly, never have I felt more close to my Savior and feel like I’ve walked just a few steps of the path He walked on. The saddest part to me is that we learn and are edified and feel the spirit and know what we need to do better, and then lots of times we leave the chapel and our lives continue the exact same way. Please please don’t let all of that instruction go to waste we just got! Think and pray about what you can do to help the sisters, pray to know who is ready to learn more about God and not the church, who would like to read the Book of Mormon to increase their faith, please think about how much it will mean to the future generations of the people we know down the line. Don’t let all the counsel of the prophets go to waste. I know my family is wonderful, they will have the courage to become wonderful missionaries as well! I love you all! I don’t have a doubt in my mind about our role in the Lords work, He has called us and He needs us. He has a true church that was reestablished on the earth through Joseph Smith and a tangible proof of that is the Book of Mormon. Lots of people still don’t know about that. If they did, that would make all the difference.

Have a great week full of new experiences and sincere prayers for help!! I love you all more than I can say.

Sister Walker