My Testimony

Moi!

Well, to be honest not too much has happened since Thursday! Well, that’s not entirely true. A lot has happened! I got to go back and visit Blackburn for Gail’s baptism! That was great! I loved seeing everyone there! That saying is so true, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” In this case, I didn’t know quite what Blackburn had until I was gone. But I love that place as I love all the other places I have served. Much love to you in Blackburn!

This week, a lot has gone wrong to be honest. A lot has gone right, but a lot has gone wrong. If I were some of you at home, I would be wondering, “Why is he still out there? Why is he in England? Why isn’t he running or something? Why is he Mormon? Why does he put up with those hard things?” I would be wondering those amongst a million other questions. And so to be fair and to explain myself, I will answer all of those questions in one story, because all of those questions have one answer.

A little over 28 months ago, I had lost my faith in God. I didn’t believe. But, everything good that has happened in my life since then started even before that, with reading just a couple verses from the Book of Mormon.

It was Moroni Chapter 10, versus 4 and 5 (page 529). They read as follows:

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

When I read this scripture, I took it mean that I could ask God and He would let me know through the spirit. I didn’t know what the Spirit was, but I prayed that night. Nothing happened. For the next 3 months (up to early February) I prayed every now and then with no noticeable answer or feeling or anything. Not only was I not receiving answers to my prayers, but everything was going downhill. It was my Senior year in High School. I wanted to break the state record, but an early season nagging knee injury prevented me from running the 800 until later in the season. Not only was track going poorly, but my patience was being tested daily by people at school wondering why I quit football and that I was injured anyways so that it was a bad decision. Furthermore, I had everyone and their mama trying to tell me where I should go to college. In my mind I knew Stanford was the better logical option over BYU. It had better diplomas, better weather, better books and desk and buildings. But in my heart, however, I felt that BYU was the best option for me. Though I knew BYU was the place for me, I tried fighting it for so long, simply because I wasn’t a mormon, and never intended to be. Especially if I wasn’t getting answers from God to know if it was right. Feeling like I would never get an answer, I stopped reading in the Book of Mormon and stopped praying for nearly a month. In short, I stopped believing.

Then one night in early March, everything changed. I was up late, around 3 AM doing a school project that was due the next morning. I had procrastinated and would be up all night just to finish it in time. As I worked on my project, however, I kept feeling this gut feeling to go and read the Book of Mormon. I kept ignoring it, realizing that I had a project to do. After about 15 minutes of constant feelings that I should go read the Book of Mormon, I did. 

I went into my room, with everyone else in the house asleep and sat on my bed. I grabbed he Book of Mormon from the dresser and started reading it from a random spot in the book. As I read each and every word, I felt something happening. This feeling that I had never had before seemed to be filling me up. It started small, but as I read I felt more and more full. I started feeling like I was going crazy. For some reason that night I wanted to read as much as I could. With every page I turned I felt like I was getting closer to what I had been looking for. To this day, I do not remember what I read. But I do remember that after what seemed like 10 or 15 minutes I was on my knees, crying. I remember being confused as to why I was crying because I never cried! (I was supposed to be tough right?) I then looked at the clock. It was 5:50 in the morning. Somehow, someway, I had been reading for nearly three hours straight. All the while thinking it had only been 15 minutes. 

As all this happened I felt to pray one final time. If I didn’t get a definite answer, I would give up and conclude that God did not answer prayers and that mormons were wrong. I knelt. I prayed. And I received an overwhelming witness, a sudden rush of understanding and enlightenment that I had never before had. In an instant, I knew that the entire Book of Mormon was correct and true. I knew that God answers prayers. I knew that He had been giving me answers the entire time, piece by piece or in other words, “line upon line, precept upon precept.” I knew that it was vital that I be baptised with the proper authority into Christ’s church. These things are true. This is how I came to know, for mysef, that this church is true.

When things are hard or when I feel weak; when I feel down or tired or discouraged. When I feel like giving up and going home, all I have to do is remember. Remember that night and the way that God answered me. Remember that because I know He loves me, I have reason to be cheerful. I have reason to smile! That is why I have the strength to be and stay happy. Simply because I found out for myself that God is there! Everything else followed.

Your turn! Go give it a go or share your story with a friend. It will help them, I promise it will.

I love you!

Elder Walker

Humble

Hello hello!
 
I hope you are all enjoying summer and the nice weather that it brings! I don’t know too much what the weather has been like where you live, but here it has been fantastic. Its been perfect for about 2 straight weeks now. I love it. This week has been a bit different in that it was a transfer week. I am still in Liverpool, but I got a new companion! Elder Ford from West Jordan, Utah. He is a 6’4, 220 pound man with a deep voice and a hard personality. He loves working hard, seeing results, and moving on. He loves getting dirty and won’t hesitate to smash whatever he doesn’t like. He doesn’t smile. He doesn’t laugh. Only works. He loves being real. He loves playing basketball and baseball. He loves being a man. Did I paint the picture good enough? I sure hope so. But of course anyone who knows me knows that I tend to over do it. So take probably half of what you imagine away and that is him. Ha honestly though he is great. We are going to have a fun transfer working together in Liverpool.
 
I will get the big news out of the way. So here in England there is going to be a church pageant soon. It is a big deal because it will be the first one EVER outside of America. And it is going to be in our mission boundaries. It is going to be the biggest missionary event EVER in the UK. It will be huge. I’ll talk more about that next week. But because of this, over the 10 day period that the pageant is being run, 8 of the Quorum of the Twelve will be coming. What’s even better, is that on the 8th of August, we will be having a full mission conference. This conference with all 200 missionaries will include Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elder Evans and Elder Kearon of the Seventy. What a priviledge! These four might disciples to visit this mission! To counsel with us and help us and bless us. I look forward to it!
 
Recently, I have had the opportunity to speak to a couple other missionaries and have found that we have some talented individuals in our mission! Of the missionaries that I know there is a 1) Former professional snow boarder 2) Professional footballer (soccer)  and 3) Semi-professional tennis player. There are others as well. Now I have noticed one thing in common among these great talents. Sad to say, they all had accidents that ended their sports careers. One of them broke his back and the other two broke their legs. Speaking to one of them recently, I asked him why he thinks that that happened to them all. He answered that it was because he needed to be “compelled to be humble.” As a result of these accidents, each of these athletes came on missions and blessed many many lives, including their own. One Book of Mormon prophet explained this cycle well when he said, “And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?” (Alma 32:14).
 
When we begin to forget God and what he has done for us; when we trust in ourselves and our abilities, forgetting where they come from; when we choose to do our own will rather than His; in short, when we allow pride to grow within ourselves, we will be “compelled” into humility. This will happen not to ruin our lives, rather to save them from a later destruction. So just remember, choose to be humble by recognising your realiance of help! By so doing, you will be stronger, not weaker.
 
Love you!
 
Elder Walker

The Isle of Man

Hello hello! 
 
How are you?! I hope you are doing well. I can tell you that I surely am! Most weeks exciting things happen, but nothing too new other than the weird everyday conversations that happen on the streets of England. Well, let me tell you, this past week has definitely been unlike any week of my life. I could tell you every reason and I probably will, but to summarize it first in one sentence, I am on the Isle of Man. What is the Isle of Man, you are probably wondering. Well you can look it up on Google. But if you are too lazy or just can’t be bothered, I will tell you. The Isle of Man is an island just West of England. It is not considered to be part of England and doesn’t even use the same money system! About a month ago my companion and I found out we would be traveling to the Isle for four days and we have been looking forward to it ever since. When we arrived Saturday by way of a 3 hour ferry across the Irish Sea, we both fell in love. It’s a great place. Since I have been here the past 3 days, I have met some of the nicest people! Everyone loves the missionaries here! Not only are the people nice, but certain roads have no speed limits! I have never, before yesterday, driven to church going nearly 100 mph. So that was a new experience. Also seeing the ocean from church wasn’t so bad either. All in all, this place is great and it has grown so much on me in just 3 days!
 
But as always, I did learn some life lesson from some simple everyday happening. When I arrived on Saturday, we had a bit of time to speak to people on the streets. We weren’t too sure what to expect, but felt good about the people there. Well, the very first person I spoke to told me something I had never heard of before in my life. He said he believed in God. He said he believed in evolution. Those two are common beliefs among people here. But then he said he didn’t believe that we as humans evolved from apes. What he did believe, however, was that there was an alien invasion. That these aliens came down and mated with the apes and that the offspring was mankind. Quite frankly I was not prepared for such an explanation. I took a second to digest what this man had said and tried to understand what he was telling me. Immediately two thoughts came to my mind. 1) That’s crazy. 2) To him, my belief probably sounds just as crazy. SO, we were at a stand still. Two people with very different beliefs and with no chance of either convincing the other. “What now?” I wondered. Then I remembered that God answers prayers! So what did I do? I prayed in my heart that he would feel the spirit of what we were saying for himself. So that he wouldn’t have to blindly believe what we were saying. As we continued speaking, the spirit touched him and he recognized it. His countenance changed. He slowed down, he listened. Before long, he asked us to come to his home at a later time to teach him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was not because we “convinced” him to believe what we said. It was not because we used “flattering words” to appeal to his belief. It was because we spoke truthfully and sincerely and trusted in God to take care of the rest. If any of you have any concern or trouble or question or whatever it may be. Don’t try to do it on your own. Just pray. Just ask. God does answer. I promise He does. So go try it, and find out for yourselves.
 
I love you!
Elder Walker

 

Appreciation and Remembrance

Hello friends!
 
This past week was very good! For the most part, it did not contain any bizarre events. Other than what happened AGAIN today on my way to the library. That’s right, I got pooped on by a bird AGAIN! That’s 3 times in 23 days! Just remember what I said in last week’s post. Other than that event, this past week was only different in that it contained the date July 4th. For Americans, this is known as Independence Day and is a day that we celebrate the freedom that we have been blessed with. This day is a day that has been set aside as a day of remembrance for all those who fought and died for freedom and truth. On this day for the last 19 years of my life, I have always celebrated with fireworks and food and everything else. I have always found myself doing what everyone else seemed to be doing without actually remembering why I was celebrating the day in the first place. This year, however, I did take some time to think about some of the things that are here because of those many sacrifices for freedom. One of those things is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
Perhaps no other place on Earth was prepared to receive the resoration of the Gospel like in America. At the time (1820) very few (if any) other places had the priviledge of religious freedom. As a result many moved to America looking for such freedom. With so many moving to find this new religious freedom, many churches soon emerged and left some confused about which church to join. One such was the young Joseph Smith. At just 14 years of age, he was confused about which church was right. He was a thoughtful boy and wanted to do the right thing. As most 14 year olds do, he looked to his parents for support, but even they could not agree on one church. Realizing his parents could not help, he looked to the Bible for answers and found that even the Bible was viewed so differently from person to person. Despite this realization, he did find one verse of scripture that provided some help and eventually lead to a life changing experience. This verse was James 1:5 and reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God; that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.” The young man did act on the verse, and he did receive a very real, personal, and sacred answer from God. 
 
I am grateful that because of the early sacrifices made, the Earth was prepared to receive this truth that has blessed so many lives.
 
I love you all!
Elder Walker
 
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The easy choice!

Here is this week’s post!

Hello! I want to start with some strange news… In my entire life before my mission, I was pooped on by a bird once. I think I was 6 and I remember feeling something splat in my head. I touched it, realized what it was, and instantly began to cry. I was not happy. Well, in the past 16 days I have been pooped on not once, but twice, by a bird. Once on June 15th and then the second time earlier today. Why?! I do not know. I can not explain why this has happened to me twice in 16 days, and both times in front of many people who laughed and looked disgusted. I simply do not know why. But with 14 years more experience than when I was 6, I have learned some vital lessons that have helped me to suppress the tears and the anger when things happen that we just don’t understand and can not control. Those lessons are to smile and to laugh.

For every single one of us, there will come a time when things happen that are out of our control and beyond our understanding. In our own ways, each of us will be “pooped on by a bird.” In such situations, should we scream and cry and pout and yell? Should we turn against the world asking “why me?” Should we feel rejected, despised, and forsaken? Should we blame everyone and everything, seeking some sort of compensation to make up for our damaged pride? Or should we simply choose to move on? Choose to smile; choose to laugh? In essence it comes down to just two choices- choose to be bitter or choose to be sweet. To me, it seems like an easy choice! So make your choice today and stick with it! It will save a lot of time in the future!

I love you all! Keep smiling!

Elder Walker