Just a Few Lessons

Hello friends and family! I love you all. Anyways, since Thursday, things have only gotten better. I have gotten to know a lot of the members of the ward here already and have already grown and learned so many new things! Of those new things here are a few: 1) The British accent is much different the further North you go. 2) Several people have told me I DO NOT sound American (whatever that means). 3) Sharing is caring. 4) Learning to love learning= success. 5) Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
 
I will elaborate a bit on each of the lessons learned now. 1) I can not understand many people here. 2) I think living with a New Zealander, a Fin, a German, and an Italian have messed me up. I have subconsciously picked up on many different accents and my brain is just confused. 3) Just share. It is good and makes everyone happy. 4) This is a very important concept! If you can learn to love learning, and act on the things learned, you will be successful. Want to know how to truly love learning? Just start learning all the time as much as you can until it becomes comfortable. Then you will like it. It works.
 
Now for the last point, I invite you all to really focus. 5) Cleanliness is next to Godliness. This is something my Dad used to say a lot. As a child, it didn’t mean anything to me. But I now completely understand what he meant. The past few days I have felt like I couldn’t focus during my time in the flat. It was just so dirty and had rubbish everywhere! So this morning, Elder Gabler and I (both new to the flat) decided to clean. Three and a half hours later we both felt so much better! The place was finally clean! Not only did we feel physically better because we felt like we were breathing in fresh air rather than nasty odors and rotten food particles, but we actually felt the Spirit of God in the room. We couldn’t help but to sit down and put on some nice music to make things even better. Oh how much better when things are clean! It has changed my entire mood! The day seems much brighter! And so, I strongly urge every single one of you to go home and clean what is messy and make it better so that you won’t get sick and so that everything else in life can seem a bit better. I love you all!
 
Love,
Elder Walker

New Friendships

Oh oh oh oh!
 
Hello friends! What a crazy week this has been! For the first time since I have been in England I was transferred area! I went from Telford to Blackburn! I have only been here in Blackburn for one day, but oh what a difference! Telford, which is now my second home and a place that I will forever remember and love, is quiet and comfortable. Things aren’t too fast paced there. Blackburn, on the other hand is always bustling and screaming. It is the opposite of Telford! Now, I am sure I may be exaggerating a little, but it just seems so different from the little town of Telford!
 
Here in Blackburn, I have already had some of the strangest and funniest experiences of my entire life. To start with, I am now living in a four man flat (apartment). My new companion, Elder Reali, is from Italy and is still in process of learning English. He is great though and I already love him. If there is one thing I have learned about him in just 24 hours is his honesty. He just says things the way it is! Mainly because his English isn’t good enough to beat around the bush, but it makes for a good time. The other two in the flat are Elders Kunzler from Idaho and Elder Gabler from Germany. So between the four of us, there are two Americans, one German, and one Italian. It is so perfect! We get along great, and have already forged a strong friendship. This friendship began last night in a story I will now tell you all. It’s great.
 
So last night we sat talking as we prepared for bed about hobbies and goals and other things. As we spoke, Elder Kunzler fell asleep on the floor. After some time, Elder Gabler went to wake Elder Kunzler up so that they could go to bed. What happens next is the craziest thing I have EVER experienced. Elder Kunzler then rolled on his back and started screaming random sentences of incoherent “blah.” Elder Gabler and I who are both new to Blackburn were shocked. Elder Reali then, in his broken English and in between laughing explained that Elder Kunzler has this thing where he talks and carries on full length conversations, IN HIS SLEEP. Excited to try it, we began asking him questions, to which he answered every single one of them in blunt honesty, much to our amusement. I have never laughed so hard in my entire life. He was honestly asleep! We asked him soul searching and brain probing questions. We changed our voices and pretended to be other people and all the while he would respond, thinking that we were others, as honestly and bluntly as I have ever heard anyone respond. At times he would randomly scream “ouch!” or “This bed is so hard!” or “foot cramp!” or all sorts of ridiculous things. This went on for about 30 minutes before he finally said, “I am thirsty.” Now keep in mind that to this point, his eyes were closed, he was actually asleep. Elder Reali handed him a nearby water bottle and he tipped it completely upside down above his face. He shook it up and down with no water coming out. Elder Gabler, in his broken English, then tried to explain that he had to remove the top off of the bottle. To which, Elder Kunzler said, “Of course!” and proceeded to do so. Now, you can all guess what happened. Water came pouring onto his face and he screamed and quickly sat up. Now fully awake, he looked at Elder Reali and said, “Why did you pour that water on my face?!?!” We lost it. We laughed uncontrollably and explained to him all that had just happened and that he himself poured the water on his face. Now extremely tired, confused, and having no recollection of what just happened, he wandered off to bed. And about 15 minutes later as I began to doze off, I heard him singing the hymn “There is a Green Hill Far Away” and pondering aloud the meaning of those words.
 
Is not this hilarious? I never knew that sleep talking could go to such lengths. It was a wonderful time. Not only was it a great time, but it did actually teach me a valuable lesson. In Elder Kunzler’s sleeping state he was extremely honest. He was not rude or unpleasant, but he spoke of things honestly and as they actually are. Sometimes we can find ourselves getting into a little habit of not completely telling the truth. We change little details or leave “little truths” out. We say things that we don’t really mean and we cover rudeness with sarcasm. In essence, we slowly but surely come to believe that honesty is equivalent with being rude or not understanding.
 
How do we fix this “little” problem? We can start by following the counsel that Jesus Himself gave us and “become as little children.” Childlike, not childish. Children are honest and pure. As we seek to be like them; faithful, hopeful, and charitable, we will begin to see things as they actually are. By so doing, we will be blessed with the ability to improve ourselves and our situations as well as those of others.
 
I love you all.
 
Elder Walker
 
New Address!
Elder Shaquille Walker
11 Gladstone Heights
15 Eagle Street
Accrington
BB5 1LN
United Kingdom

God Answers Prayers

Hello!
 
I just want to say, I love the people of Telford! I will be leaving here soon, but I am so grateful for the things that I have learned here! As I think back on my 6 months here, I can’t help but to review the things learned and the wonderful people I have been able to meet. I have been able to see many miracles! And have been able to watch people change their lives. Now I can’t sit here and pretend like I know EXACTLY why I was meant to be here at this time, but I know that it was for a reason, and I know I am a better person because of it.
 
It may sound cliche, but I do think that every single person I have had contact here has affected at least one little bit of me. And all together, they have helped me to closer to who I need to become. The biggest lesson I have learned is something I thought I already knew, but found out I really didn’t. And that is the power of prayer. I know God answers our prayers and that He answers them immediately as long as we have true faith. Sometimes it may not seem like He answers them, but I promise you that He does. Often times we must listen to the spirit if we are to understand how He answers them. As we do this, we will find that He is always there for us. That he loves us.
 
I love you all
 

Elder Walker