Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 13, 2016 - This Is The End!

                                                       Farewell Party For Courtney

queridos irmãos e irmãs..

The email that I never in my life thought I would get to, has arrived.... now I know what the scriptures mean when they say the great and dreadful day of the Lord is upon us...

Wow what a strange feeling to be writing to you guys knowing I’ll get to see your real life faces in less than a week now. I’m writing this mass email and not sending individual ones because I have to write quick and get out of here and also because I’m kind of at a loss for words right now to explain what is going on in my head and my heart. So it’s better to just save up the few words I have to use when I get home. So sorry for the lack of personal replies this week but I read and loved your emails! I’ve been thinking about how much my family has sustained me during my mission, that I never had to worry about if they were okay, if they were writing to me, or if they were going to church, that in and of itself is a huge blessing that not 20% of the missionaries here have. 

Yesterday I got special permission from Presidente to visit Estancia which was the most amazing experience. I got to see some members and the family of Magna and Cinval that are all active in the church now and have callings and are preparing to go to the temple. It was amazing to talk about the stories about when we contacted them in the street and their son thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses and when we would ask them if they prayed and they would give some excuse that they forgot, it was incredible to hear their side of the story. I had got there kind of late and the daughter, Gabi that’s 12, was waiting on the porch when I started down the street with the Elders there, she saw me and ran inside ´´mom she’s here she really came!!´´ I’ll have to tell you more when I get home. Wow. Most amazing experience!

But I also got to see all of your videos this week at Laleska’s house. Holy cow you don’t know how much I cried like a big baby. hahaha We were eating Brasilian treats and hot dogs after a family night there and all of a sudden I heard Sydney’s voice and I whipped around and her big head was on the computer screen talking to me in a language I wasn’t understanding and I just cried and cried to hear your voices. I cried through all the videos even Spencer’s that was 4.5 seconds long. It’s the thought that counts right? ;) thank you guys!! 

But this week I just sucked my tears and nerves up and went to work. We walked and sweat and taught and testified which is exactly how I wanted to spend my last week in the field. There are few things better than getting to an investigators house and asking them if they prayed, if they read the Book of Mormon, and they say ´´yes, I felt something different just like you said I would.´´ What I love about a mission is that you don’t have to worry about yourself, not in one single moment. You get to find yourself and who you are, serving others and trying to figure out what their needs are instead of focusing on your own. That is something precious I have learned here. That we come to truly know the Savior here not just because we´re always talking about Him, but because we are also sometimes cast out, rejected, mocked, our intentions questioned, but above all we serve in some partial limited capacity like He served. I am humbled and grateful to have walked a few measly steps of the path that He walked.

 I truly loved my last area. I love the members and my investigators. They are an imperfect people of course, but you just can’t help but love them so much. I don’t know if I’ve done a super great job of bearing my testimony for you guys or the spiritual truths I’ve learned here, but I want you to know that my testimony is truly the most precious thing I have gained here. I don’t know everything about the church or the gospel but I know that I have pleaded and conversed and truly talked with our Father in Heaven and He has many times given me clear and real guidance and direction. I know He calls real and living prophets on the earth because I feel the confirmation every time I hear them speak. I know this gospel to be true, not because my parents told me, but because I prayed to know, and I have been praying and studying a year and a half to be sure. He truly knows us and loves us, I can’t explain it any better than that. If we want to truly follow Him, if we want to truly be like Him one day, we will follow the example of our dear Savior, in word and in deed.

I feel that I’m coming home half hearted, because I’ll be leaving the other half here in Brasil. I feel like it has been very little that I have given back to the Savior after all that He has done for me. I will forever be in His debt. My mission here in Maceio has come to an end but there is a whole lifetime of dedicated service I am ready to take on now, with Him by my side. He is the most important thing in my life, and that is something that I didn’t know while I was at home. Thank you for all your support, I love you all to the moon and back! a minha família é maravilhosa, nunca pensei que ia sentir tanto saudade de um lugar e nunca pensei que ia ser mais difícil para sair do que foi para chegar.

I’ll see you all Sunday! :) até domingo!

Sister Walker

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5, 2016 - Endure To The End....The Very End

                                                          At An Elders Birthday Party

                                               Courtney And Sister Lauder In Itaporanga

                                               Courtney And Sister Lauder On Splits

                                                               Eliane's Baptism

                                         Sister Menezes And Courtney With Their Zone

I never knew what endure to the end meant until I got to the last two weeks of my mission..... but we are truckin along people don’t you worry!!

So it was a wild wild week. I have never seen the adversary work SO hard against someone a whole week long so she wouldn’t be baptized. But we were with our investigator Eliane every step of the way this week and she was baptized! It was a really special day for us here. But honestly I have never seen so many afflictions happen in the same week-just to keep her from being baptized. One day it was her mom and sisters and family that told her she wasn’t ready, the next she lost her job, the next her long lost lover came back to ask her to marry him and tried to buy her love, the next she didn’t feel prepared enough and was doubting herself. My goodness I was up to my eardrums in problems this week. But every day we got there and could calm her down and remember how important this decision was and how she had been prepared by the Lord for a lot of time before she met the church. How the Lord wants our heart and our humility and our commitment instead of our knowledge. 

After her baptism where everything went wrong, from no one showing up, to the men in the ward forgetting to fill the font, to not having plates for the cake, all my frustration was washed away when I went up to hug her and she held me tight and said ´´thank you sister, thank you, thank you so much, I am so happy´´. That really made it all worth it. 

I also am kind of freaking out because I won’t take the sacrament again until Christmas because this Sunday is a stake event and the next I’ll be traveling... any ideas? Is there a branch that meets in the afternoon at home?

How blessed and humbled I am to be able to be a small part in the Saviors work here, that He trusts us enough with all of our errors and flaws and weaknesses to carry His name. I will be very sad to take His name off of my chest. I know how much He anxiously waits for each one of His brothers to come back into the right path. This is His church and there’s not any other one that can give us that surety! I know that.

Now just one more email, this is my last week of work in the field because on the 14th I’ll travel to Maceio to be interviewed with Presidente Gomes and hang out until my flight on Saturday. So I’ll talk to you all soon! Love you so much!

ps the pics are of an elders bday party I did here, our baptism with Eliane and her mom and son, and when I got to go on splits with Sister Lauder in Itaporanga this week!

Sister Walker