Gratitude this season

Hello everyone!
 
I hope you enjoyed your Christmas holidays! I definitely have! But unfortunately, I am low on time this week! And so, just a quick story!
 
On Christmas Eve, my companion and I were with one of our investigating families. It is a family of 11 who we have grown to love dearly. As we said our good byes to them for the evening, they looked right at us and said in their broken English, with a smile on their face, “We hope you have a Happy Christmas.” I thought my heart was going to burst. They have very little. They had no Christmas tree, no money, little food, and a home that could be soon taken from them, yet they were smiling and happy. They were not expecting any gifts from Santa and they were not expecting any nice Christmas dinner the next day, but they were happy simply because it was Christmas Eve. Earlier that day we had arranged with a member in the ward who was going around giving anonymous Christmas gifts to those in need. A “secret Santa” you could say. We had arranged for this wonderful family to receive one of these gifts. As we said goodbye, I imagined the joy that would fill their hearts upon receiving that unexpected gift and realizing that they are loved and that they are thought of. As I thought about the joy that would fill their hearts and the smile that would stretch across their faces that night upon receiving that unexpected gift, I couldn’t help but to feel overwhelmed. I walked away tear-filled (I’m soft apparently) and in absolute admiration over this young family.
 
The message is one of gratitude. Be grateful for whatever you have. Because no matter what, we do all have something. It only takes being willing to see what that thing is.
 
I love you all!
 
Elder Walker
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Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Isn’t this just the best time of the year? I wish every season was the Christmas season. People are so much happier it seems! And why couldn’t we be this happy and friendly all the time? Maybe one day. But the Christmas season is one of such joy and happiness simply because of the spirit it brings. That spirit, is the spirit of Christ. And so if it is the Spirit of Christ that causes these wonderful feelings, shouldn’t we act on those feelings by doing what Christ would? And what would Christ do? He would look outward, rather than inward. He would ask, “what can I give?” rather than “what can I get?” So then, is it a bad thing to receive gifts? No! Of course not! But is it a bad thing to give them? Absolutely not. Rather we are to “Give and never remember; Receive and never forget.”

So what are we to give? Gifts are good. But is it the gift that ultimately makes one happy or sad? Is it the material possession of an object that makes a gift what it is? No, it is not. What is it then that makes a good gift? The thing that makes a good gift is the thought put into it. We are all human. We all want to feel loved. And when we know that someone has put thought into what gift they would give us; when we feel that that gift was chosen for us with care; when we notice the sacrifice one has made in our behalf, we feel loved. This feeling of love is what makes the gift what it is. In short, we are to give gifts of love. And those kinds of gifts do not only have to be material. They can be a kind word. They can be a helping hand. They can be an unspoken gesture. The options are limitless! So in this special season, first remember why we celebrate Christmas, and then do what He, Christ, would; give a gift of love. Besides, you never know just what your gift of love could contribute to that person’s life.

I love you all and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Elder Walker

P.S- Thank you to those who sent me Christmas gifts, whatever form they were in! I know and I felt that they were gifts of love, and I am grateful for them!

Here in Ashton

Hiya!

Hope you all are having a good week so far! Today is December 16, 2013. What happened to the year? Has it gone by as quickly for you as it has for me? I guess the technical answers is, “C’mon Elder Walker, you know time goes by the same for everyone.” Ok ok, but does it feel like it has gone by fast? It certainly does for me! I have been thinking a lot about Christmas time (as we all have) and I have had some thoughts come to me that I would love to share. I will have to do that next week!. For this week, an update on the work here in Ashton!

I start with the first day of the transfer. My companion, Elder Coleman and I, didn’t have too much going on, so we went outside to talk to some people. We ended up bumping into a Romanian man. We ended up teaching this Romanian man. We ended up meeting a lot of his friends and family. We ended up teaching all of them too. Well, you know where this is headed. Now, 19 days later we are teaching over 30 Romanians! The sister missionaries in the area have also met his friends and they are teaching about 20 or so! Between the both of us we are teaching about 50 Romanians! Isn’t that great? And they want to learn about their Saviour and they want to learn how they can follow Him. What we are currently experiencing is truly prophetic. When Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve came and visited the mission in August, he told us that soon many foreigners would be moving to England. He told us that many of them would not know why they were coming here. But that they were being led by the hand of the Lord to a land where they could more readily hear and accept the gospel. I can not help but feel that all of these Romanians and many more to come beginning next year, are a fulfillment of those prophetic words! Miracles!

So, what does this have to do with you? Why am I sharing this? I am sharing this to help you to recognise that God has a plan for you. Personally. He is trying to lead you, to guide you. He is trying to help you. Are you allowing Him to bless you? Are you living in a way that you know you should? Do you have an assurance that the course you are currently pursuing is in alignment with His will? If not, how will you obtain that assurance? There always seems to be more questions than answers, but in an attempt to help partially answer these questions I would invite you to consider just two more questions. 1) Who and what is God? 2) Who and what are you? Searching for these answers leads us to so much good and truth. Once we have found the answer to these questions, we know what we must do.

I love you all! Keep the Christmas spirit and spread the joy to those not as fortunate as you!

Elder Walker

Diversity

Hello hello hello!

Well, it hasn’t been so long since I last wrote to you all, but so so much has happened! Where do I start. Hm let’s see. Yesterday at church, we left with food! I think that that is the first miracle! Anyone who knows me knows that I love food. Mmm. So I am grateful to leave church with a way to fill the hole that builds in my stomach over the 3 hour period. The next miracle is a miracle that does not include food, but it is still quite a large member. Sooo, tune in.

On Wednesday I arrived to the Oldham Ward in the Ashton Stake. I had heard only good things about the ward and my excitement was continually rising as I arrived. The first I noticed was the diversity! It seems like there are people from everywhere! From Poland, Iran, Hungary, and many many more! Well, I arrived, put my luggage into the flat and immediately out we went to work! Unpacking could wait! We went to a particular street and started to talk to people! the first two people we spoke to were from the Czech Republic. Both very very nice, but not very interested. So, we kept on and met a man from Romania. Instantly he seemed to take interest in us. He grabbed the Book of Mormon from our hands and marveled over it. He seemed too intrigued! So of course we were forced to teach him about it. 🙂 

But, he spoke no English. None. Not even a bit. So we quickly called another missionary serving in Preston that we knew could speak Romanian. They had a little talk, set an appointment, and off we went. A few days later, we came back to his home. He greeted us so warmly and pulled us inside. He brought us to his living room and called for his entire family. Down came child after child until, before we knew it, there were 6 children, this man, and his wife, all neatly seated and waiting for us to teach. It was amazing how humble and ready to learn they were! Well, we handed out copies of the Book of Mormon in Romanian (Carta lui Mormon), and began to teach. To make a long story shorter, he ended up inviting some friends over and before we knew it, it was a crowd of Romanians all reading and praying together. What a miracle. After the lesson, we called another companionship nearby to share the miracle with them and guess what? They have been teaching 9+ Romanians too, and guess what? These Romanians all know each other! In just a week, we are now teaching over 20 Romanians, all humble and ready to learn how to follow their Saviour. What a miracle!

This week, almost more than any other, has confirmed to me that God works in a variety of ways to accomplish His purposes. These Romanians don’t entirely know why they ended up in England. But to me, it is obvious that they were being led to the truth they so desperately want. MIRACLES!

For those of you who have already found the true church of Christ as restored by Jesus Christ Himself, there are many many people around you who want to know the truth, but just don’t know where to find it. For those of you who have not found the truth and are searching, ask the missionaries! Go online, Mormon.Org and ask them! Even invite them over to speak in person! Ask the missionaries! They can help!

I love you all!

Elder Walker