Experience

Hello hello hello!

This week has been another good one! I can’t believe how fast time is going by. So I just try to make the most of every moment. Elder DiPeri and I are still running and are getting in better shape now so the miracle continues. Today we even did a 3 minute tempo run! That’s a big deal for us. At this time, I want to teach you a British word and relate it to a word we as Americans tend to use. The word is biscuit. In America, we understand a biscuit to be a compact breakfast pastry type thing. The British, however, understand it to be something completely different.

Just a few days ago, Elder DiPeri and I went out to eat with one of the ladies in the ward. It was around lunch time and breakfast was still available. Elder DiPeri then asked, “Do they have biscuits here?” The lady we were with was confused as to why he would want a biscuit, or as she understood- a cookie. For the remainder of our time together, we tried to figure out how to explain to her what a biscuit was in America. And the final conclusion was, that because there was no equivalent in England, we simply could not do it.

Do you know how frustrating it can be to explain something to someone who just can not understand? I think we have all experienced that. What is even more frustrating is when you absolutely know what you are trying to help that person understand, but you still can not get your point across. In this case, I absolutely know what a biscuit is in America- I ate one many days of my life. But when asked to explain sufficiently what it was to someone who had no experience with one, I could not. The only way for this ward member we were with to completely understand what a biscuit is would be to experience one for herself. She would have to do something to get her hands on a biscuit so that she could eat it and thus understand better what we were trying to help her realize.

The same applies to the gospel. Sometimes we absolutely know what we are trying to explain. We know what it feels like to receive answers to prayers. We know how to recognise God’s assistance. We know how to learn from the Holy Ghost. We know all these things. Yet when we try to tell someone about it and they don’t immediately understand, we get frustrated. Rather than get frustrated, there is only one thing we can do- help them to have their own experience with the things you are trying to explain. It is only through their own experience that an understanding will be reached. As a missionary, it is not my job to convince people that what I believe in is right. It is my privilege to help people receive their own witness and to have their own experiences so that they understand exactly what I am trying to explain.

If you haven’t had your own experience, quit relying on other’s experiences and opinions- rather it be a missionary, a scientist, a parent or anything else. Simply have your own experience with God. He is the only real source of truth.

I love you all!

Elder Walker

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Hello my friends!
 
I hope as always that you all had a good week! I did! For the first time this year it was warmer than 14 (57 Fahrenheit)! And for the past couple days it has been averaging around 15. Couldn’t be better! In terms of strange things happening, not too much out of the ordinary. But, miracles do happen! And I will tell you of one! The miracle is that Elder DiPeri and I have kept to running in the morning! What’s even better is that today we ran 2 whole miles! Now that its warmer its a lot easier to want to run. So that’s a miracle. Maybe now I won’t be so fat and out of shape when I get home.
 
This past week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with a Russian missionary. His name is Elder Nebesnii. We had such a good time. On that exchange I was asked some of the strangest questions and had some of the strangest experiences. But it was still fun and I learned so much from him. On of the best lessons is his ability to see the good in others.
We are all guilty of it. At some point or another, we have looked at someone and judged them unfairly based on some outward appearance. Or perhaps it was based on something we had heard about that person. Whatever the reason, it seems that we tend to notice others’ faults much more quickly than we notice their strengths. I do not believe that we always intentionally do this, but all of us do it. So why is it dangerous? And if it is so dangerous, then how do we stop such thoughts or judgement? First, it is dangerous because such negative thoughts cause us to miss the point. We start to focus on what they appear to be, rather than what, with help, they can become. We cut them short of their divine potential and we cut ourselves short of being able to grow in charity and love. So then, how do we fix it? By having and exercising our faith in the Atonement. We do as Alma suggested and “look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in in-corruption.” (Alma 5:15) In short, lets just give others the benefit of the doubt and view them as we know they may become!
 
Let us all view others in a good light. If you do, you will not only feel better, but you will be able to help others feel so as well.
 
I love you
 
Elder Walker

Listen to our Father and Learn

Hello my friends! 
 
I hope you all had a good week! This week for me has been full of miracles and I am so grateful for that! But before we get into those, I will tell you all the random news you love to hear. For one, it snowed a bit a couple days ago… In April. But then the next day it was 17 degrees Celsius (65 Fahrenheit) and it felt so great. Elder DiPeri and I have gotten sick of being flabby and out of shape so we have started running in the mornings. Today was our first day, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be! Granted we only ran 10 minutes, but we will get up to 25 or 30 soon enough. Now some of you may be thinking you have heard this before- and you have. But this time I am actually dedicated to running every morning (except Sunday) until it is too cold to. So for at least the next 4 months!
 
Recently we have had a few our investigating friends make life changing decisions. And I just want you all to know what the best feeling in missionary work is. It is watching someone change their life by accessing and receiving help from the Atonement of Jesus Christ. These things are real and I know because not only have I experienced it, but I have watched others do so as well! 
 
Now, what random everyday experience did I learn most from this week? In other weeks, there are usually a couple of lessons learned that I have a tough time choosing from. This week, however, it is a very obvious and easy choice for me. About 4 days ago, Elder DiPeri and I went to the bus stop to catch a bus into town. When we got there, there was a lady with her child. A boy around 5 or 6. As we began speaking to the lady, I noticed the boy doing something very odd- he was licking ANYTHING he could get his tongue on. Literally. He walked over to an old, rusty metal railing and started licking it deliberately. Then he laughed and walked to a nearby metal pole and started licking it. Then he walked to the bus stop and licked the dirty, dusty windows. He licked everything. It was disgusting and just watching him made me feel sick. The whole time his mother tried stopping him, but he kept squirming away and licking things. Finally, I spoke to him and said “How are you! Do you like Spiders?” He replied that he did not. I then told him, “Then you might not want to lick those things. Spiders crawl on them.” That was all it took. He no longer licked the railings or the windows- he had learned his lesson.
 
In applying this lesson to ourselves, I bet so often Heavenly Father looks at each of us wondering why we are doing things as foolish as if we were licking rusty metal railings. I am sure that, just like the child’s mother, he gives us ample opportunity to quit and to change. He warns us, invites us, and compels us to stop. But sometimes, just like that young boy, we do not listen. Now this little boy may have looked at the situation as if his mother was putting chains around him and preventing him from having a little harmless fun. In all reality though, she was trying to protect him from the illness and pains that would undoubtedly come if he continues such behaviors. Although in the ideal situation, we would stop before any of these dangers arise, it does not often go that way. We continue in foolish ways until we learn of the dangerous effects ourselves. We are damaged in some way, and the lesson is learned.
 
Rather than have these negative effects, lets just choose to listen and follow the commandments of God! They are there for our benefit! Of course we can choose for ourselves, but when we choose disobedience, we are not granting ourselves unto liberty, we are granting ourselves unto bondage. If you don’t believe me, that’s ok. Just try it. And watch the blessings roll into your life. 
 
I love you all!
Elder Walker

Fun by Serving Others – Time is FLYING!

Hello Hello!

I hope you all had a good weekend. I hope you all had a great Easter as well! Recently, I have been trying to figure out what has happened to the time! It seems to go faster every week! And I have wondered why. I have concluded and m convinced that it is because I am having fun!

This week won’t be anything profound (because I am out of time)- I just want you all to know that I am having so much fun. But only because I am not worried about myself. I am helping others. This is the happiest time of my life. I don’t think I could have ever before walked in the freezing rain or snow or hail and laughed and smiled. At least not genuinely. But as I have served others and increased in my relationship with my Heavenly Father, life has been good. The secret to a happy life is service. It’s a weird paradox really, but both individuals end up happier! If you can’t find it in you to serve others, pray for the strength and it will come. Just do it. 

I love you all! 

Elder Walker