Missionary Work is the Same Everywhere

This is the first letter I am writing from Prescott Valley Arizona. I
am sitting on the couch in our house. There aren’t any apartments in
PV. In my last place the beds and the desks couldn’t fit in the same
room. Now we have a 3 bed two bath duplex. Our roommates took the
master bedroom so we sleep in one room and study in the other. The
garage has been converted into a gym.

Last week I found out the winter olympics were going on. I asked out
loud “I thought south Korea was in northern hemisphere, why are they
doing the winter olympics in the summer?” Guys, I legitamemtly forgot
it was still winter. And as it turns out just because Phoenix is 85
degrees does not mean the rest of the world is. It has been snowing
for a good 3 hours now. That’s not okay. It’s too cold here.

So this is my first time covering an English ward on my mission. They
asked me to say a prayer in sacrament meeting. It was rough. Elder
Groesbeck mentioned that I sound uncomfortable praying in English. I
cant imagine what it would be like actually serving a foreign language
mission. I think I got over it pretty quickly though. The members are
cool, They don’t cook quite like the hispanics down in the valley. I do
bring with me a bottle of tapatío and a bag of chile tepín with me
wherever I go just in case.

The spanish branch here is pretty new. This was its third Sunday and
we had about 60 people. There used to be a branch here about three
years ago but it had to be dissolved when the branch president went
inactive. So right now we are just searching through the cities of
Prescott and Prescott Valley looking for hispanic people to come to
church. I had the bright idea to go get a phone book and visit anyone
with a hispanic name, its much more effective than knocking random
doors. I feel like if the average american knew that phonebooks still
existed they would be offended that their name number and address was
public information.

Our english area is tiny. About 4 square miles. Half of it we can’t
tract or they will call the police on us. Our spanish area however is
huge. We have to go to places like Chino Valley or Williamson which is
all dirt roads. Last week I was afraid of a pitbull knocking me off my
bike and this week I am taking cover in my truck from a mad ostrich.
Missionary work is the same everywhere.

Oh and we heard that a bunch of the branch was playing soccer on
saturday so we showed up. It was a lot of fun. My legs are really
sore. I take it as a warning to start running again before i get home
and cant run for 2 minutes without falling down and dying.

Well i think that’s my week. I will try to send pics later. Hasta luego!

Elder Walker

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Meet Maria and Maria

We had a good week. Not too exciting. Just good.

On Wednesday we found two new investigators. And before I tell you about them I want to say that I have taught a lot of Marias on my mission. Like A LOT. So we are teaching these two sisters. They are older. Maybe like in their 50s. One is visiting from Mexico and the other lives here. We ask them what their names are and they pretty much say “so funny story, we are both same Maria, I grew up as Maria and she grew up as Maria so we are just both María.” Keep in mind these are sisters, not friends. So I keep my cool and say  “well you probably have different last names. What are your last names?” Nope their last names are the same. That was a confusing lesson report.
Now time for the real highlight of the week. I made salsa. If was really good. Really picante but I sure did munch on a lot of that stuff. More to come this week.
That’s all I can think of this week. Hope everyone is doing good great! Talk to talk next Monday.

It all started with being sick…

This week was slow. It started with being sick. So not much happened for the first few days. Except for sleeping. A lot of that happened.

On Friday was zone conference. It was really good. We had training on being a consecrated missionary and helping investigators keep commitments. But with all kidding aside, the highlight was most definitely getting smart phones. It feels weird. I don’t feel like a missionary with something so big in my pocket. But I’m not really complaining. It’s a very different mission experience from those who go third world.

Saturday we did a service with the city cleaning up alley behind people houses. I don’t really know what they are for, trash and used needles I guess. It was fun to get outside when it wasn’t too hot.

Sunday President was going to present some training in our ward council meeting. About 20 minutes before the meeting started bishop texted us to tell us that he was sick and wasnt able to come. So that was super stressful. He still came and it was really good. It was full of over emphasised ‘erre’s and Chilean accents. But the ward seems to be getting really excited to help us in the work.

 

Rumors, Meetings and Nothing to Report

I am having trouble thinking of things to write about this week.

We had a good week as finding goes. This area had over 100 potential investigators en I got here 2 weeks ago. Ive made it a goal to lower that number significantly. So far that has lead to 7 new investigators and 8 drops/deletes.  Some of the profiles are from 2013. I imagine it would be a little creepy if you tell missionaries your name 5 years ago and then hey come back somehow knowing your name and address. Sometimes its just better to pretend you don’t know who it is.
This week church got pushed back to 1 because the other stake had stake conference in our building. That meant we had time for even more meetings in the morning! Before PEC the senior missionaries gathered all the ward leaders to go over the records. Pretty much what I am doing with potentials, they are doing with members.  In these “inner city wards” there are not a lot of people who have sufficient training to be membership clerks, or finance clerks, so they have been sending in what they call “inner city missionaries” from some of the wealthier areas. They are cool. One of the couples is white and the wife doesn’t speak any spanish. She bakes us food though so Im not mad.
We also had zone meeting. Oh wait Im not allowed to call in that. The multi-district meeting. It was alright. Just another long meeting 🙂
Rumor is this week we get phones! Im sure it will be not worth the hype but i will let you know.
Elder Walker

Not in our Area

This week was hard. I was back on bike in the most downtown area of our mission. We dont live in our area, the church isnt in our area, and the members, and therefore our dinners are not in our area. Its hard to fit in studies with everything else we need to do.

Saturday afternoon we went to the temple with some recent converts to do baptisms. That was a lot of fun. They seemed to enjoy and understand it well.

It was fun coming back into the ward. It is never fun being transferred, but it only took me about 2 days to remember how much I love Encanto. On Saturday there was a party for a young man who is leaving on his mission tomorrow. We worked with him a lot before. This morning he took us to ihop so that was cool of him.

The ward seemed more or less happy to see me. I think most of it is that the other three are kind of struggling with spanish and they were happy to have someone to communicate with. The ward boundaries changed since I was gone so there are still a lot of new people to meet.

It feels like I never left. Which is kind of nice.

Talk to everyone next week. Love yall.

Elder Walker

Stomach-ception

Sorry for no real weekly today.
This is all I got.

On new years eve we had the classic Mexican celebration food. Menudo. I tried a little bit. I ate a good 80 percent of it until I had only the big pieces of stomach left. I couldn’t do it. I kindly declined the rest.

I got transfer news today. I will be in Encanto South again. On bike again. In zone transfer again. So that is kinda exciting. Lol 😂

Love yall. I will get a real weekly next week.

Elder Walker

Old Skills and New Skills

This was a long week. I cannot believe it was only a week ago that we had our mission party. When we showed up the first activity was gingerbread houses. Us Walkers pride ourselves of our high engineering, architectural and historical design elements present in our gingerbread houses and this occasion was no different. With limited time and resources I made a very well constructed 19th century english home, absent of flaws and imperfections. My hopes of winning over the judges were not high, I was aware that the judge was a 13 year old boy named Scott and that my creation likely lacked pizazz and fictional color. I underestimated Scott, in the end he awarded me ‘the most perfect’. I respect Scott for his artistic vision.

We had dinner with hermana Fajardo, and like all hispanic women, she was waist deep in tómales. So we helped her make tómales for an hour. It was a fun new skill learned on the mission.

Christmas day we went to the APs in the morning and ate pancakes and hot chocolate and opened presents family style. It was fun. We then went to the church, called are families and played some basketball. Our dinner called us and said “go to the cid family at 4” or at least thats what I understood. We get there and Cid is like, “who are you eating with?” Well i was like super embarrassed and as I was apologizing for the mistake the people we had dinner with knocked on the door. It turns out he had misunderstood that they were coming to his house. So all was well. A teacher in the ward gave me some trailblazers socks which was cool.

Today is Pday so I took my companion to try Whataburger for the first time. It was a success.

Today Elder Richmond sent some packages home so we took some pictures with the new Polaroid i got. It took longer to figure out than I would like to admit.

So it was a great week! I found out the sisters who entered the MTC with me went home last week… thats not a great feeling… time goes fast. But not as fast as it does for sisters.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Elder Walker

 

A Long Week and a Backup Plan

This week seemed really long, so Im sure I wont remember nearly as much as actually happened.

Thursday was the temple trip to Mesa, it was the only day we could go to see the Christmas lights, even though we had to get a member ride. They wanted us to go with the people we were teaching so we asked our investigators Nick. He is really awesome but for some reason we got this vibe that something would go wrong. So as the good missionaries we are we planned back ups. So Thursday comes and we go to confirm with Nick and he says “wait that was today?!?!” So yeah se text the back up and says he cant. Bet we ended up bumming s ride of our roommates and eventually we got there. The lights were awesomely, the visiter center was cool, and the concert was good. I just wish we could have gotten some investigators there.

Saturday was the ward christmas party. It was a classic church party, had about twice the attendance as sacrament meeting. But we did have good attendance at church the next day so I guess it worked. It had pozole and menudo and pizza so I guess you can say all the classic Mexican party food. Of course you cant have a Mexican party without a piñata, so there were 5 and they went at it for like 3 hours.

Today we practiced our skit for our mission christmas party tomorrow. It is just two zones so it will be good. Rumor is that there will be gingerbread houses so Imma kill it walker style.

I will tell yall how it goes next week!

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Fun and Crazy week

Fun and crazy week as always down in Phoenix.

This week our zone stated a standards competition. Standards are goals set by our zone for every week. Pretty much the reward is getting a shout out from President in the weekly email. Our zone’s standards are the highest in the mission and not a lot of our areas were hitting it. So we added an extra incentive and decided we were going to focus on a few areas every week and helping them hit it. So on Friday morning almost the entire zone went into south east maryvale, as close as downtown as our mission goes, and did a zone blitz. There were 16 Elders, 8 spanish and 8 english, so we split up and talked to everyone we could find. I kind of felt bad because it was all hispanic people but the English elders seemed to have a good time. I went with Elder Campbell, he is the AP. I have been in his zone with him for 9 months so I know him pretty well. It was fun. He is a french Elder so we just talked about the similarities between french and spanish.

Saturday night we went to contact a referral in one of the wealthier areas. I say that relative to the rest of our area. So anyway it is dark and we are going down this neighborhood road and I realize the house is probably close so I pull over to the right and there just happens to be some cholo watering his dirt. He then sprays are car and yells “dont do that or you are going to get shot.” We decided it might be a bad idea to knock on his neighbors door so we scadadled.

Thats about all the juicy stories from this week. On Thursday night we will be going to the mesa temple and Saturday night we have the ward christmas party so that should be fun

Included are pics at our last district meeting, then the sweet setup in the new apartment complete with the smallest desk i have ever seen AND a lamp (thanks mom you are the best!)

Elder Walker

[What? He cleans when he’s stressed?!]

This was a crazy week.

Last time on ‘the adventures of Elder Walker,’ Elder Walker was homeless, crashing on the couch at his friends place. Since then I moved to my own place a good 5 miles away from my area. The location wasn’t ideal but it was our own. It was actually a house. For us and 2 other elders we had an entire house to ourselves. I took an entire day moving things to the new place and unpacking our stuff. I was going mad not having a place to put things. The day after we unpacked everything the housing coordinator calls us and says he found an apartment for us. So we moved again…

The new place is alright, it’s in a kinda sketchy place. We thought it looked ok but when we moved in the neighbors told us there was a shooting last week. I guess you could say its a good thing that we can’t see the news. The only downside is that there is nothing in the apartment. So as if I was stressed before living out of by suitcase now i am living out of my suitcase in my own room. The dressers aren’t the first of our priorities. There are also no lights, or chairs. So i have been showering in the dark for a few days. Its a little scary. On the bright side when I get stressed I clean a lot so what we do have is very organized.

Even though we moved 4 times this week it wasn’t an awful week. We found a new family, Eduardo, Alma and Roger Perez. They seem really cool. So that’s all for this episode.

I love all of you. See y’all.

Elder Walker