Atonement

Hello Hello!
 
Well yesterday was transfers so Elder Gabler and I said our good byes to our Italian friend and our sleep talking/walking/everything else friend. It was a great 6 weeks together. To avoid confusion, I am still at the same address as before. Ok? Perfect! 
 
Both Elder Gabler and I do get the opportunity to welcome 2 new missionaries into the field! Their names are Elder Diperi from Mesa, Arizona, and Elder Pywell from Sheffield in England. What a great time we will have together this transfer. As I got to know Elder Diperi a bit better on the bus home yesterday, I found out that he is a recent convert! He was baptised in September 2011. So between the two of us, we have been member’s of this church for less that 4 total years! As he told me of his conversion, I felt a powerful spirit and knew that he was here for the right reasons. What an assurance! To have a companion that I know is here to work hard and see miracles! And miracles we will see!
 
The first such miracle was in our first teaching lesson together. It was last night at a member’s home. It was my first time going to this member’s home and so I did not know them very well. As we taught (on the Enabling Power of the Atonement) this member just looked at us in deep thought. Towards the end of the lesson, with tears in his eyes, he looked at us and said, “Elders, you don’t know what I am going through right now, but that lesson was inspired.” He then told us of recent trials he was facing and how he had just been thinking the night before that he simply did not have the strength to handle them and that he did not know what to do. Thanks to the spirit being present, however, he came to know in that lesson just what he needed- to rely on the Atonement.
 
In this Easter season I invite all of you, non-believers or believers, to find out for yourself exactly what it was that Jesus Christ did and why He did it. I invite you to really work it our in your minds and hearts and learn how you can access His divine help. If you don’t know how you can find out, talk to missionaries. They will love to help. If that’s too scary, go to church or look at mormon.org. Whatever it may be, do something! There is no reason why you shouldn’t have as much as you possibly could. I love you all!
 
Elder Walker

Why? Love, of course!

Hello Hello!
 
Wow! With these new changes in emailing, I am sure busy! But I want to thank all of you for your support and for you emails. They do make a difference so don’t ever think that they don’t. This week the other Elders and I tried something new. There are four of us in Blackburn right now and for some reason we all sing quite well together! So, we decided to spread some joy and sing to the people! So that you can imagine what its like I will explain. Elder Gabler, from Germany, sings bass. Elder Kunzler and I, both from America, sing the melody. Elder Reali, from Italy, sings tenor. We aren’t professionals by any stretch, but it does sound ok!
 
So last night around 7 pm we decided we would go out and knock on doors and when they open sing to them! Just the idea was exciting, and so we set off. The first door we knocked and then waited. Before long, a lady came an opened up. Immediately, we started singing the hymn, “Nearer my God to thee.” Her face went from one of shock, to one of confusion, to one of pure joy and happiness. She ran inside and quickly returned with money. We finished the song, then told her we couldn’t accept her money. her face again looked puzzled and she asked, “Then why are you doing this?”
 
What a great question, “Why are you doing this?” At the time, it seemed obvious and we told her because we love to see people happy! She didn’t quite understand so we explained further that we were missionaries. It was then that she understood. She gladly invited us back for later today and we went on our way.
 
Today, I have thought about that question a lot. “Why are you doing this.” Why do I sing to people in their homes. Why do I laugh in the rain and snow and hail. Why do I smile when I get yelled at. Why, am I even on a mission. I want you all to know, that the answer is quite simple. I do it because of my desires. All of these things, as far as I can tell, come from one deep rooted desire within. That desire is that all may love God as I love God because that kind of love, charity, as it is called, is the bond of perfectness and peace. Who doesn’t want that? Of course we all do! And so for you all, I ask you to ponder one question, “Where are your desires?” And remember, “where your [desires] are, there where your treasures be also.”
 
I love you all.
Elder Walker

Changes and Miracles! Email me!

Hello Hello!
How are you all! I hope it has been a good week! We definitely saw some miracles this week so I hope that some of you are as well! In terms of any new news, there is some this week! The way it used to be in the England Manchester Mission, we were only authorized to email our family. That means we had to write our friends. But, that has changed now! We are now authorized to email friends also. So, for those of you who actually do still want to communicate with me, my email address is shaquille.walker@myLDSmail.net. That will make it a lot cheaper for me and a lot easier to respond! It is a good change so hopefully I will be hearing from more of you! As a missionary, everything is so routine that we go crazy at the slightest change, so if I seem a little overly excited you’ll have to forgive me.
In terms of missionary life, some real miracles happened this week. Of the many, there are two I want to tell you all about! On Saturday, a young man named Greg was baptised here in Blackburn. He is 12 years old and is so unbelievable mature for his age. He has already had missionary experiences of his own and will be a great strength to the ward here. The best thing to see was Greg after his baptism. As he came out of the font with Elder Reali and into the bathroom he said, “Woah! I did not expect it to feel so intense. I feel SO good!” It was a wonderful experience.
The next miracle happened Thursday. Recently, I have been studying a lot about faith and what it actually is and how I can increase my own faith. One point of doctrine that has stood out to me from that study is the fact that where there is true faith, there are miracles. In other words, the power from that faith is evident. With this in mind from my personal study Thursday morning, I went out with high expectations. It was 3:59 pm and not much had happened. We were rushing to an appointment for 4 pm on a street when suddenly I got a clear, very distinct impression to knock this door right as we walked past it. Without questioning the prompting and understanding that we would now possibly be late to our appointment, I stopped a knocked it. Elder Reali looked puzzled and said, “Is this their home?” I told him it wasn’t. He then said, “Then who is it?” I told him I had no idea. Right after that response, a woman opened the door. We said hello and she said hello back. Before we could say anything else she said, “Are you the Mormons?” We said yes. And she then said, “Come on in.”
We all sat down and then she crossed her arms and looked right at us then said, “So. Are you just going to tell me how God can bless my life and help me through all my problems?” I didn’t know how to answer other than be honest so I said, “Yes.” After that we helped her as she expressed some very serious concerns and questions she had. We had a very nice visit, and will be seeing her again tonight! What a miracle! And for those of you who are wondering, no, we didn’t make it to the originally planned appointment, but they texted us shortly after 4 pm saying they would have to cancel so it all worked out!
I know that sometimes some of you can not tell if you are receiving a prompting from God or if it is your own mind telling you to do things. There is a very simple way to fix this as explained to me by my mission president. If it is a good thing to do, do it. If it isn’t don’t. It is just that easy! Don’t make it so complicated!
I love you all,
Elder Walker

Decisions – Hope I don’t get fat!

Arrivederci amici miei!

How are you all?!? I hope that life is going well and that you are all happy! Well, to be honest, not too much has happened this week. Of course, all the normal missionary experiences and what not, but not too much out of the ordinary. It has actually been a very good week. Definitely the best since I got into this new area. The only disappointment I think I have had this week happened about 30 minutes ago.

Elder Kunzler and I have been trying to run in the mornings, but we are either too tired, too cold, too unmotivated or any other number of excuses. Luckily for us, over the past week, there has been a little shop that has a treadmill outside that is for sale. We have been waiting all week to go see how much it costs. So, this morning, feeling excited and ready to pay the amount necessary to get that treadmill, we headed to the shop. When we got there, we asked how much it was. He told us £70. We examined it and decided that that was not an entirely fair price. So, he called his boss and asked how much it really was. His boss responded (and we heard it) that it was £40. So now we were surely excited and more than willing to pay that price. Just as we pulled out our wallets with big grins on our face he said, “Oh, by the way, it’s a manual treadmill.” I had never heard of a manual treadmill. I had to try it out before I bought it and let me tell you, it was more like holding onto a wall and marching into the ground than running. And so we didn’t buy it. And so we will get fat unless we choose to do things the right way; the harder way.

So now you can probably guess that I will share what I learned from that experience. Very simply, I learned that sometimes we just can not take the easy way out. Of course a treadmill would be convenient. Of course it would save us from being cold and of course it would make everything easier. But, is it an absolute necessity to keep us from getting fat? No. It is not. We can just go and run! Often times in our spiritual or moral lives we see an opportunity that seems so very convenient. Or we see a short cut to getting what we want and what we think we need NOW. Most conveniences and short cuts are not in themselves evil, but when a decision is made based on which seems more convenient rather than which seems right, then we are in danger. There is a reason why the LDS youth so often say, “Choose the right,” and not “Choose the convenient.”

Con affetto.

Elder Walker

Stand up for what’s right!

Guten Morgen!
 
Good Morning! I love serving around a German. It’s great. But, I hope that some of you decided to go home and clean after last week! If you did, I am sure that you felt the difference!
 
So, a miracle has happened over these last 12 days! You will not believe it! It hasn’t rained in 12 whole days! Its a dry spell! I LOVE it! Sure, the rain isn’t so bad, but it is just so much better when you can walk and talk with people and only be cold, rather than cold and wet. Aside from the weather (which I always seem to somehow end up talking about) I have learned something new about myself recently! Whenever I ride on a bus, I get sick! Apparently its motion sickness? Lucky for me, I am in a bus area! So everywhere we go is by bus. Now for the entire first week, I suffered on every bus ride because I didn’t know how to fix it. But I have found the remedy. Believe it or not, the only way I feel better is by speaking with someone the entire time I am on the bus. These conversations always end up in some kind of religious conversation and sometimes when it goes that way, they no longer want to speak with me. But then I start to get sick, so I get up and go and sit by someone else and start the whole process all over again!
 
Now those of you that have served missions in bus areas may understand that speaking to people on the bus is the best situation ever because they can’t escape! Well, those people realize that too, and if they feel threatened they will begin to yell and scream and whatever else helps them feel comfortable. Why anyone would feel threatened by a goofy, skinny, and smiling 19 year old is beyond me. A few days ago, I did have an experience on the bus that really made me think. 
 
I was sitting on the bus, trying not to get sick and said hello to this man sitting across from me. He looked back with somewhat of a look of shock, but did say hello. I asked him how his day was, and he responded. We started getting into a conversation and eventually it lead to the badge on my chest as it always does. After I explained what the badge meant, he made some more then bold statements as to why he doesn’t believe in God. Rather than get into some sort of argument over doctrine that he didn’t even believe in, I simply said, “Ok, I see. What is it that you do believe in?” And he let out an angry burst of uncontrolled emotion that lead everyone on the jam-packed bus to look at us.
 
Before I could respond, a young girl probably 15 or 16 that was sitting behind the angry man said to him, “Quit being so rude! He hasn’t done or said anything rude or wrong to you at all!” The man then turned his attacking words on the girl who defended herself quite well. As she stood her ground for what was right, however, he calmed down, backed off, and apologized. Shortly after, he got off the bus. Amazed at what had just happened, and not wanting to get sick from not speaking to anyone, I turned to the young girl and said “Thank you.” I then asked her how she was able to get the man to calm down and to listen to her. Her response was simple and pure truth. To paraphrase she said, “When you stand for what’s right, what’s wrong won’t.”
 
Profound? Maybe. But it was in essence the words of a young 15 or 16 year old who recognized right from wrong. In application for us all, don’t ever be afraid to stand for what’s right. Even if it’s only you, you can be assured that sooner or later, what is wrong will fall. Now I ask you, what will you stand for? 
 
I love you.
 
Elder Walker