God moves~

Hiya friends! Another week in England is gone! I can not even believe I have been here for a month already! It’s flown by! I do love it here though and I am having a great time teaching and learning to love and care for those around me.
This week was a weird one. From Sunday to Thursday I was REALLY sick. Haha I don’t know how it happened, but all I know is that being sick in the mission field is not fun. I didn’t want to just lounge around, so I did everything I would usually do. Except it was a lot harder. And let me tell you, when you are healthy and happy and someone yells at you its not big deal. But when you are sick and miserable.. Oh no. Haha but of course there is always positive to be seen! In this case, I lost 10 pounds! Yep! I’m back to my usual weight of around 142 so that’s good. For a minute there I was afraid that I was going to get really fat and never run again.
So being sick isn’t fun and is something that I think we can all agree on. Another thing I think a lot of us can agree on is that being rained on in 40 degree weather isn’t very fun either. Well, winter has officially hit in England! I think it has rained everyday this week. But the crazy part is, is that I love it. I do not know why, but its just been really enjoyable to have to walk everywhere with an umbrella. I guess its because growing up I always thought umbrellas were useless. Boy was I wrong.
On another note, my companions and I saw our friend from the park a couple days ago! This time he was just with one other friend, so as we passed we smiled and waved. What do you think he did? He yelled ANOTHER rude comment at us. We were on the way to a dinner (tea) appointment however and didn’t have time to stop. I guess he won that one.
This week, a lot of crazy things didn’t happen to me in terms of other people. But this week has been by far the most spiritually uplifting one. Even though it is now winter and I got really sick, I have seen so many miracles take place this week. I have seen people in very bad situations decide to rely on God. And I know that in doing so they will find the comfort and help they need to get out of those situations. One particular story I would like to share is about a young man in this area. This young man is 20 years old and works at a local car wash. Three weeks ago, we spoke to him about the gospel as he worked and he wasn’t interested at all. So we told him to check out mormon.org, told him what street our church was on, and moved on and never heard anything more from him. Yesterday in church as my companions and I sat listening to the speakers, this random young man comes walking in. None of us recognized him at first, but he was just staring at us… Before long we realized who he was and invited him to come sit with us!
After church we took him aside and spoke to him and he shared with us that he had been going through a lot of tough things. His parents had abandoned him at the age of 14, he had lived by himself since then working to survive. He had lost faith in God and felt that there was no way out. This Sunday, however, as he sat at work as usual, he looked around him and realized in his own words, “I need God in my life or I am going no where.” This young man has been through so much and has been mad at God for so long, yet he knows that in the end, God is there to help him if only he would ask. He knows that all of his pains and sorrows can be taken away. He knows that his trials and tribulations have strengthened him into the strong man that he is today. He knows that Jesus Christ is his saviour and that because of his sacrifice, he can return to live with God again.
This young man is an example to me. He has taken a situation at its worst, and decided to make it better. As he looks to make changes in his personal life with assistance and guidance from God, he will be blessed to have success. This man’s example and situation led me to this week’s scripture of the week found in the Book of Mormon in Ether 12:27. It reads:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Friends, it is my hope and prayer that we can all strive to allow the Lord to help us in our everyday lives. It is definitely something that I need to work on. 

Well, that’s all for this week! I’m excited to see what next week holds! Until next Monday!

With love,
Elder Walker

Hold on to Faith

Hiya my friends!
This week was another good one! We met many new people and taught many lessons. But as a missionary in England, if you don’t have one weird thing happen to you throughout an entire week then something is wrong. So of course I have a good story for you all back home! Anyways, my companions and I were walking to an appointment and were talking to everyone we saw in the streets on the way. One man passed me and I tried talking to him. He quickly got angry and tried to run away. As he started to run, however, he dropped his brand new box of beer and it smashed on the ground. I’m sure you can guess what happened next- He blamed it on me. As he made sure I knew how he felt about losing his precious new beer, I spoke to him about why I tried speaking to him in the first place. The more I talked about why, the calmer and more collected he became. now fast forward 10 minutes later to the end of the conversation when I am shaking his hand as we leave. he grabs my hand, thanks me, says “Respect brother,” then KISSES my hand. Hm. Quite a humbling experience. Weird, yes. But he is a good man who just needed someone to talk to.
Good story right? Yes but it doesn’t quite compare to what happened the very next day. 3 days ago (Sept 14th) as my companions and I passed a local park, we saw a family that we stopped and talked to. The kids continued playing, but the parents were very nice and interesting to talk to… The entire time we talked and shared spiritual experiences however, there was this one 16 year old kid who was picking on every other kid in the park. He was smoking, cussing, throwing lighted cigarettes at passing pedestrians, and harassing EVERYONE. He even screamed out to us some pretty blasphemous things. Like usual, we ignored him. The parents we were talking to even expressed their concerns about the fact that he kept bullying their children. We would have loved to tell him to relax, but felt that we should just leave before we got too bothered. As we left the park, he screamed out one final thing to us. He said, “Are you from Africa?!?!” At this point, my companions and I decided that maybe we should talk to him. So, we turned back and asked him what he said. Shocked that we actually came back, he acted like he didn’t say anything. So we told him to check out Mormon.org and left again. As we left, he screamed out another comment. This time, a very ugly comment aimed at Elder Taotua, my big samoan companion. Before I even realized what was said completely, Elder Taotua who is 25 and not one to let a boy speak to him that way was calling across the fence to the boy. He said “Hey, young man. Come here.”
Now, it gets good. The young boy was instantly afraid. You could tell he was shocked and didn’t know what to do. As Elder Taotua continued to call out to him he started saying it wasn’t him and blaming it on the other kids that were around. What happens next was like a dream. Elder Taotua called all the kids in the park to him. There were probably about 15 of them between the ages of 12 and 16. He proceeded to explain to all the kids that this one bully was nothing more than a coward who wouldn’t take responsibility for his actions. He really did make the young man look so humiliated all while speaking so kindly and dignified. While they were all listening, we took the opportunity to explain why he acts the way he does and then provided the Book of Mormon as a possible solution. It was very clear that this young man was suddenly not feeling so tough. The kids that were being bullied looked so cheerful though and were so glad that finally the bully was getting some of his own medicine. Just before we left, Elder Taotua told the young bully to grow up, to find God, and that he never wants to see him bullying anyone ever again. I know that that young man was humbled at that moment and I don’t believe that he will be bullying in that park anymore. I also know that the children there were very grateful!
This brings me to my scripture of the week from the Book of Mormon! It comes from Helaman 5:41-42. In this chapter, a group of wicked people are surrounded in a “cloud of darkness.” They can’t see anything and are very afraid. Not only can they not see anything, but they can hear a powerful voice that strikes fear in their hearts. The voice is telling them to change their ways, or to repent.
Just as they are beginning to lose all hope, a man amongst the wicked named Aminadab counsel them and says “You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ… and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.” Though these people do not believe in Christ, they are so desperate at that moment that they follow the man’s counsel and cry unto the Lord, “even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.” I like this scripture so much because I can easily apply it to my life. There have been many times when I am really scared or in a situation that is really bad. In those times, I always say a prayer in my heart, asking for help, but what I now realize is that just like this group of people, my faith is stronger in moments of fear or when I am desperate. Why is that? I think it is human nature to have a stronger faith when we have lost faith in all else. Realizing this, I now understand that I need to get to a point where my faith is ALWAYS as strong as it is in those moments. I know that if I can do that, then I will never forget that God is always there and willing to help; we just have to ask!
Well that’s it for this week! It has been so nice to hear from so many of you! It always brightens my day so thanks! I hope that you are all doing well! Until next Monday!
Elder Walker

England is different, huh?

Hello my friends! Or, as the British would say “Are you alright?”  I’ve been here two weeks now and I have learned a bit more about British culture. Lets see. They call a line a queue. They call bathrooms toilettes. They love “American accents.” They say hiya instead of hello. They say mate a lot. They LOVE custard. They spell weird (ex:tire=tyre). They pronounce aluminum as owl-you-me-num. No one knows who Shaquille O’neal is. I could sit here and think of the differences all day. but the most shocking experience I have had with this happened the other day.

I was walking with my companions on the side of the road and a bus went driving pass. As we looked at the bus, and old man leaned out the window and gave us the two fingered American “peace sign.” I smiled and waved of course. Then I said to my companions, “What a nice old man!” They looked really confused then told me that the sign he had just given us was not what I thought it was… Basically, it means the total opposite of peace here in England. You can imagine how dumb I felt. Haha but we do have a lot of fun here. I’m getting more and more comfortable here and getting to know more and more people everyday. I have even had one man tell me I sound like I’m from England! I don’t know what he was hearing, but hey, I’ll take it!

The work has been going well too! I’m getting more comfortable with talking to people and learning to have fun at the same time. I think the clock has sped up or something because everyday flies by now. This past month has flown by, and I have already had experiences I will never forget. This decision I have made to serve is one I know I will never regret and one that will positively affect the rest of my life. My favorite scripture this week has to do with a question I am frequently asked when meeting people. They say “If there was a God, why would he let bad things happen to me?” And that is a good quesiton, but a question that can be answered with scripture and by understanding why we are on this earth.

The scripture reads, “If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring…and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:5-7)

Simply put, this scripture teaches us that no matter how bad the situation is, we can always grow and learn from it. Even when we do not think we can handle a situation, God knows us and would not give us any situation that we could not deal with. I love this scripture because it really does give a hope that we can all overcome our struggles no matter what they are. I hope we can all remember that! But I’ve gatta get going! Have a great week everyone! Bye bye!

‘Ello, England!

Hello Hello everyone finally from England!
I finally made it to England! My brother should have posted my new address so get it and write me! Anyways it is definitely pretty close to what I expected, rainy and cold. Haha honestly though it is a great place. I have learned pretty quickly that the people are one of two kinds. Either really polite and kind or really angry and rude. Either way, so far I haven’t met anyone who I don’t like! Since I got to England about three weeks late, I ended up being put in a companionship that already had two Elders in it. So now there are three of us! One of them, Elder Taotua, is a Samoan from New Zealand  who tells everyone his uncle is Duane “The Rock” Johnson. Then the other is Elder Ditzler, an American from Washington. Together they are a dynamic duo, but with the three of us its just a terrible trio. We do have a lot of fun though. They are both great men and awesome missionaries.
This week I found out what missionary work is all about. We wake up and study for about 3 hours then leave the Flat (apartment) to teach. We usually have 3 or 4 appointments each day, but the time we are teaching we are either eating or walking the streets of Telford and talking to everyone we can about what a missionary is and what our purpose is. Most people are too interested, but what I have found is that there are some people who are looking for help. And finding those people is always a treat. Another thing I have learned is that this mission is all about serving the people. We are always trying to help others in any way we can. Even cutting down trees!
Staying in shape shouldn’t be too hard for at least these first three months. We bike EVERYWHERE. It actually got me sore for a couple days but I am used to it now. Spiritually, my favorite scripture this week comes from the Book of Mormon! Here in England, there are a lot of Atheist who don’t believe in a God. Of the ones I have met, they don’t have a belief because it seems that they don’t understand the nature of God. In Alma 18:22-32, Ammon, a great missionary long ago, teaches an Atheist King the nature of God. He does so very simply though as he explains that Heavenly Father watches over us and knows our true desires and thoughts. In other words, he explains that Heavenly Father’s nature is one of love and caring as he watches each and every single one of us. I love these scriptures because they not only remind me of that fact, but teach me that others need to be reminded of that as well.
I hope you will all remember that God does love you, no matter what! Well it’s about time I get ready to go! Its almost Tea (dinner) time here. But take care and I look forward to getting letters from you all! Bye bye!
Elder Walker

Thanks Kelly for inviting us in and for your hospitality!