Goals

Hello friends!

What a week! It has been a while since I last wrote! It was a transfer week so I didn’t have a chance to email until now, but so much has happened! Bare with me while I share! Last Thursday, Elder Jose A. Teixeira of the Seventy and his wife visited us. He is a powerful man. One of those “spiritual giants.” He had a lot to say, but one thing in particular stood out to me, goals. He shared what goals truly are, the desire of our hearts. And he shared that to fail to aim for the righteous desires of our hearts is the result of a lack of faith. Are there righteous desires in YOUR heart that you need to make plans to achieve? If so, do it immediately! I promise, you will be blessed.

As I reflect on my 3 months or so in the Newcastle Ward of the Newcastle Stake, this very topic also seems to be the lesson I have learned. I have experienced first hand, the power of prayerfully setting a goal, and then faithfully acting to achieve that goal. Even when that goal is not reached, happiness can still be found. But how? To illustrate what I mean, I want to tell you a story.

Imagine a young boy. Let’s say his name is John. Now John, since the time he was a little boy, has always wanted to be an Olympian in the sport of track and field.  He put a lot of thought into the goal, made some plans, and from an early age, got to work. Many many years down the road, it seemed that that chance would finally come. Having run brilliantly for a number of years, John was in a position to make the Olympic team, and had made it to the Championship race. Focused and ready to finally achieve his life-long goal, John focused as he got on the start line. Silence. “On your mark.” “Get set.” “BOOM!” And off John went. The early parts of the race seemed to be in his favor. He was in front and towards the end, it seemed that nothing could keep him from his goal. As he neared the finish line he said to himself, “I have done it! I am going to be an Olympian!” When suddenly, seemingly out of no where, John tripped on his own shoe lace, just moments before the finish line. Unfortunately, he did not become an Olympian.

Now John has two options. He can pout and give up and feel as though his entire life was a waste, or, he can look at how far he has come. At the progress he has made. At the good he has accomplished, and find joy in his effort. Every single one of us will set goals and we will fail to reach some of those goals. Sometime, by no fault of our own. Does that mean we are failures? Of course not! Happiness is not measured in achieving goals alone, but in the progress we make as we do all we can. As we do make goals and do our best to achieve them, we will find within us our very best selves.

I love you and want you to know that God will bless you with whatever you need if you will allow Him to!

Elder Walker

Bonjour!

BONJOUR!
No no, I am not French. I just like to say hi in some way different than the highly usual and over read “hi.” I hope that’s acceptable. But what a week I have had! There have been a lot of good weeks since I have been here (pretty much all of them), but very few as full of miracles as this one has been! Usually when I talk of miracles, I am being selfish. I am thinking of the miracle I personally have witnessed or been a part of. Well, this week was so very gratifying because so many other of the missionaries around me saw miracles! Seriously, they were everywhere! More so than any other week, I heard experience after experience from missionaries of some random person walking up and asking to learn more. Asking to be taught. Asking to be helped. Asking to be baptised! Even better, most of these experiences came shortly after some sort of feeling to go this way or that way. Some feeling to ask for this in prayer or that. Well, they listened to the feeling and good things happened! I hope you can feel my excitement! I love what is happening to those around me. That is much greater joy for me than when something good happens to me.
So, what is the cause of all these miracles? Well, we learn from Moroni, a prophet living during the 5th century in the Ancient Americas, that God “worketh by power, according to the faith of His children.” What does this mean to us? It means that God will work miracles in our lives according to our faith in allowing such miracles to take place. And so we learn that faith is vital in our lives for the best things to take place. But, what is faith? Is it simply believing in something? I say it is not. No. Faith is not just believing, faith is acting. If it does not motivate and inspire to act, then it is not real faith. For example, you press the button to turn on your computer because you believe that the computer will turn on. Notice the action. Because you believedthat it would turn on, you pressed the button; you acted. That action lead to the computer coming on and a strengthening in your belief that pressing that particular “on” button will result in the computer coming on. Why do you believe that it will come on in the first place? Well quite simply because every other time in the past you have tried it, it came on. This is faith.
Now let’s translate this to Faith in Jesus Christ. Unlike the example of the computer which may experience a short in the circuit, Jesus Christ is always stable. He is something we reallycan place our trust in. How? Think back to the example of the computer. First, you had to believe enough to try. Belief enough that it motivates to action. In other words, have just a particle of faith. If you can’t muster that up, then at very least desire that you could have such a desire. This will work. Next you act! Say a prayer. Read a scripture. Go to church. Act on a feeling to do good. Any of these things will do. And what will happen? Well, you will find that it works! The computer will come on so to speak and you will have a strengthened faith in trying it again the next time. Can you see how this cycle works? Can you try it yourself? Of course you can! The benefits of such an effort are beyond your wildest dreams.
I love you all!
Elder Walker

Not Coincidences!

Hello!
 
I hope (as always) that you each enjoyed this past week and that you each learned something about anything! I am sure you did! For me, I learned all over again that God lives! Surprised? You shouldn’t be. But really, so many good things have been happening recently at the precise moment when I need it most, but expect it least and it just reminds me that God knows me. That He cares.
 
But, I have a question for you all. Do you ever feel that someone or something is guiding you? Directing you? Placing you in all the right places at all the right times? Of course you do! If not, start paying closer attention to those small little promptings we call feelings (as I said a couple weeks ago) and watch what happens. But returning to those questions, I would love to tell you a story of a dear friend of Elder Wirtala and myself who did feel that way and who did act, and the results thereof.
 
Just 2 days ago, one of our good friends, “John” was out with friends enjoying his Saturday night. As “John” and his friends were bringing their night to a close, he noticed a man. A poor man. Outside, homeless, with no warm clothes and with no money, begging for food. Well, this friend of ours was on his way home with a group of friends and so he decided and intended to come back in a short while to give this man something warm to eat and drink. As he approached home however, he suddenly had a distinct and sudden prompting or feeling to go back at once. To go back to that homeless man and to help him, now. So he obeyed and began to walk back to this man. Along the way, again, something clicked inside, and he felt the need to hurry to this man, to run. Not knowing why, but feeling a great sense of urgency, our friend began to run back to this man that he did not even know and had never previously seen before. Upon arrival and after getting this man food, they sat and spoke with one another. The man was most grateful and began to open up to our friend. As he did so, “John” realized that the words that he wanted so badly to share with this man were found in the Book of Mormon and realized, to his despair, that he did not have one on him at that moment. At this precise moment, guess who just happened to be passing? Of course, the missionaries! They recognized “John” and stopped to see how they could help. They all spoke, and they offered the man a Book of Mormon and invited him to come to the church if he ever needed anything. The man was most grateful. 
 
Now, thinking of this timing, I do not consider it to be a coincidence. Why? Because too many “coincidences” happen in this church for them to be “coincidences.” There was a guiding hand behind “John’s” feelings that night and there was a guiding influence that caused those missionaries to be there at that precise moement in time when they could have been anywhere else in the city. Now, as a side note, our friend’s name is not “John,” but we don’t want to embarrass him. He knows who he is! But there are many of us who are faithful following those righteous promptings and as a result are seeing miracles. There are many of us who are brushing off those righteous promptings in the name of something more convenient. My simple invitation is to seek to do good. To seek to follow after righteous promptings. By so doing, we begin to comprehend that this guiding influence is our loving Father in Heaven who does all that He can to help us to make good decisions.
 
I love you!
 
Elder Walker