No Time for Hobbies

This week I had a lot of exchanges.

The first was with the french Elders. We had a lesson out in
scottsdale with a french speaking lady. The french lessons always
bring me back to my first few week trying to understand my companion
in Spanish. I can understand a word here and there. It makes me wonder
how hard it would be to learn a little bit of conversational french.
But God has called me to speak Spanish, so I don’t know if he would be
equally helpful if I try to take up the hobby of French. For now I
need to focus on the Spanish. One of the zone leaders mentioned
something about translating for a devotional and that scared me a
little bit so I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

That day we also did a lot of tracting. We have been trying this
survey where we simply ask questions about the family and peoples
beliefs about God. By the end we have been chatting for a while and
they realize that we aren’t that crazy. So we ask if we can teach them
a lesson and they accept. So that day I taught a family of 5 new
investigators by myself. Unfortunately because we were on exchanges
they weren’t in my area so I had to refer them to the other ward.

Boasting of my recent success I returned from exchanges and desired to
show my companion how great this survey was. The first door we knocked
welcomed us in immediately. I thought it was to good to be true. Well
it turns out it was because it was an inactive family from the English
ward. So we wouldn’t get any new investigators. We did share a message
and hopefully it helped them remember their priorities and covenants.

Our next attempt was also interesting. We talked to Avery. Although
assuring us that “he didn’t want to take to much of our time” he went
on to tell us all about how ‘history and religion go hand and hand’.
Usually when people say things like that I expect some bashing or
complaining about the crusades. But instead I actually learned about
new things, like Buddha was actually black and had dreads, and the
injustice that is the history of Timbuktu. We left him with the
restoration pamphlet so if he really does love finding the truth in
history as much as he says he does he will be baptized by the end of
the month.

Also had an exchange biking around in the english area. For dinner we
had tacos. White person tacos with cheddar cheese! Tacos don’t have
cheese on them! And what white person invented taco seasoning? Ah the
blasphemy.

Well thats my week. I hope everyone is doing well, wherever they might be.

Elder Walker

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That was a Bad Assumption

This week I will tell you about some of the people that we are working
with. I have had some time here in La Joya and I’m pretty excited to
work with some of these investigators.

We will start with Juan B. I told you a few weeks ago about Juan.
He was an investigator in my last area whose wife had gotten baptized
back in February. He was frustrated because he kept hearing miracle
stories about people quitting smoking cold turkey and he just couldn’t
do it. So we made a calendar for him with the number of cigarettes he
was allowed to smoke a day. The plan was to follow up with him each
day and for him to tell us how he did on that day’s goal. Well we did
that, but no matter how we would word our text he would just respond
with “it’s going good.” So we assumed it wasn’t going very well. Well,
it turns out that was a bad assumption. Elder Chandler went over at
the end of the calendar, asked him how it went and it turns out we had
a baptism yesterday. Juan is super smart and already knows a lot.
Every time we would go over he had something new he had learned from
the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or The Pearl of Great
Price.

Now for the investigators in our area.

We will start with Hugo. He was what is called an Eternigator
(Eternal-Investigator). He had been taught by every missionary in La
Joya. His wife and child were baptized last year, and he has shown
little progression since then. Until a few weeks ago, when he called
bishop and said he was ready for baptism. Since I have met him, he has
testified of commandments being a guide in life, church attendance,
and the Book of Mormon. He is also working on giving up smoking, but
we are all confident that he will be baptized next month.

Then there is the G family- Catalina, Fermín and their 19 year
old son, Diego. Catalina is very aware that she needs more spirituality
in her life. Fermín was originally
very reluctant to what we were saying. But when we read the
introduction to the Book of Mormon with him, where it reads Moroni’s
promise that anyone who “reads, ponders and prays with real intent will
receive a manifestation of its truthfulness”, he simply said, “It
sounds like I need to read the book then.” Their son, Diego, is
relatively quiet in the lessons. But when we asked if he had any questions
he asked, “what do I have to do to become a missionary?” We explained,
and he seemed excited about the possibility. As if that all sounded
excited enough, the all came to church yesterday and seemed to enjoy
it. The sabbath day is easily the hardest commandment for members and
investigators alike to keep, so it really means a lot when people make
it a priority to come for all 3 hours.

That’s the biggest news in La Joya right now. I’m starting to get
excited for the next few weeks in La Joya. I will keep you updated on
the progress next week. 🙂

Elder Walker

Short

My journal writing skills struggled this week, so my letter writing
abilities might suffer also.

I will start off with a summary of my companion. He has been out for 8
months. He was trained by Elder Clough in Encanto, went to Agua Fría
with Elder Huaiquiñir then La Joya where I joined him. He is from
middle of no where Alaska, and is the 3 of 8 kids. His spanish is
crazy good and he is really good at studying.

Sunday I got in an argument with someone who told us she was a
catholic, but was really just a never-mormon. As missionaries we live
so much with the spirit that we take it for granted. Never before in
my life have I felt such a drastic shift. There is never a positive
spirit present when there is contention. It was rough. But don’t
worry, I won.

The ward seems really cool. I cant wait to work hard in it.

Love you all!

“Chivo” means Billy Goat and other hilarious adventures

As you can tell this week Pday is on Tuesday because of transfers tomorrow. We are just cleaning the apartment. A lot more chill then last week running around wheezing in a sad attempt at ball hockey.

After about 4 hours of hockey last week I got tired of getting schooled by two Canadians so we packed up and returned everything and went home. That night we had an FHE with a family from the ward. We were eating some meat they were calling chivo. It was ok. I looked over and bishop was going at this meat, digging his fingers into it and banging it against his palm. As a joke I said “What are you looking for bishop?” And he responds, “the brain.” It wasn’t until then that I realized that this piece of meat he was fighting had teeth and a spot for the eyes and mouth. Shortly there after, a little goopy thing falls out of one of the eyes (the brain) and bishop makes it into a little taco. Billy goat. “Chivo” means billy goat.

First thing Tuesday morning we drove up to the mission office to get Elder Lewis’ new junky flip phone because he broke his slide phone and they don’t make any more of those. At this point we had come to grips with the fact that he was getting the worst phone of all time, but the new problem was that all his 800 contacts from over the years were still on the old phone.

So, one of the office missionaries hands us this paper that tells you how to transfer over all the device contacts from one phone to another through bluetooth. The only problem is that it’s a little hard to turn on the bluetooth and confirm the code and select the contacts when you can’t see the screen because in is completely shattered. So that wasn’t going anywhere. We went to AT&T and the man told us that it was impossible, IMPOSSIBLE, to transfer the contacts without seeing the screen. So, we went back to the mission office defeated. But I wasn’t ready to give up yet. We are three smart young adults and we aren’t going to let this beat us. So, I did the whole process on our phone (the completely working one) to see where all the buttons are. We remembered the steps and I clicked all the buttons on the black screen phone to save the contacts to the SIM card. We did it! Never before and never again will there be some much dancing in the Arizona Phoenix mission office. So, we pop it in the new flip phone feeling successful. And prepare to head back into the world. On the way out Sister Parker hands us a box of 10 broken slide phones and asked us to take them to AT&T to properly dispose of. After not seeing any obviously fatal characteristics Elder Lewis said it won’t hurt anyone if we just decide to keep them all.

So, we get home and we are all three sitting there and testing everything on these phones seeing if they work. Meanwhile we look over and Elder Chandler has just completely unscrewed and taken apart all of the phones. Before we know it, he rips apart Elder Lewis’ old phone and simply switches the screens with some other one. So, voila! The phone lives. It also turns out we never even got all the contacts onto the flip phone because the SIM card can only hold 250 out of 800 of their contacts. So not only was us doing that now obsolete, but also never really worked.

We realized that one of the phones had a broken front speaker and it needed to be soldered. So we borrowed a soldering iron from Hermano Maldonado and Elder Chandler fixed another 2 phones. He has now fixed 7 of the 10 ‘broken’ phones (one of which we assume was actually new out of the box and put in the wrong pile) and hopes to fix one more tomorrow before we return them to the office. I don’t know why we didn’t think to try to fix them earlier. It makes me wonder how many salvageable phones have been thrown away. It has never really mattered, I’m sure the church bought them for like a dollar each, but now that they can’t be replaced they are going up in value. So now the only question is, return them? or sell them on the black market to other missionaries?

I got some chilatapín in my eye the other day, that wasn’t fun.

This past week I boasted the best district meeting refreshments of all time, Papusas. I have spoken of the magical papusa in the past. Fried el Salvadorian goodness.

I forgot a part, Saturday night we stopped by at the church but our electronic key wasn’t working and we were really confused. Luckily Maryville’s ward mission leader was there filling the font. Apparently, the electricity was all out and the mechanical room smelled like burning plastic. First, we called the English wards bishop (we found his number on a sacrament program) to tell him that they probably want to get this fixed before Elder Anderson was to come to their Stake Conference the next morning. So next we called the APs to let them know what was going on with their baptism and they told us they were running late from the temple trip and asked us to run the baptism. So, the convert shows up and I have to get him dressed while explaining to everyone why it is pitch black and smells like burning plastic. Eventually they all show up and we had a baptism in the dark with two flashlights and I spiritual burning smell through the halls. Near the end a very annoyed electrician showed up and said that if he works at it all night he might be able to get it on by morning. So that’s a baptism I’ll never forget.

On Saturday, we had a mission conference with Elder Anderson of the quorum of the 12 apostles. It was interesting to see him be so normal. He may have priesthood keys but he still doesn’t know how to use PowerPoint and occasionally forgets where scriptures are. He challenged us to memorize ten scriptures from both the new testament and the Book of Mormon that we REALLY believe. He taught that the New Testament tells us about the life of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon teaches us about the power of Jesus Christ. It really opened me up to how much of a blessing it is to have this scripture, and how much of a blessing it can be to those I teach.

My last companion, Elder Clough, drove down from Utah for a few days. We got caught up and played some basketball today.

Yesterday we received transfer news. I will be going to La Joya. It’s not too far of a move, actually just across the hall. I will be with Elder Lewis, my roommate of 3 months. So I am super excited. I am really sad to leave Encanto but I will still get to visit occasionally. I still live in Encanto’s ward boundaries so it’s not far.

Sorry for the epistle, I had a lot of pride of that phone story. Have a great week and I will let you know how the first days in La Joya are!

Totally Worth It

 

 

Wednesday we had a lesson and lunch with the Gomez family. Their friend Lees was there and brought her two girls Laylani and Delilah. After the two lessons, one with adults and one with the kids, we went out to eat elotes in the back. The whole time Delilah was out hanging with us while all the other kids were inside playing. She is adorable. She was playing basketball and jumping around and drinking raspados and taking pictures and giving hugs and touching lewis and saying “look at that fat tummy”. I died laughing.

On Sunday Elder Lewis left with Hermano Waldo to go to la joya and we stayed in Encanto. Juan Muro in the bishopric came up and asked me to give a talk 10 minutes before sacrament meeting. I found a few scriptures and rambled on for like 8 minutes. It wasn’t the best talk of all time but when I sat down i realized that at no point during the talk did i have to think about how to say anything in Spanish. Everything i needed was already coming out of mouth. That was a really cool moment. I could definitely feel Gods hand in that.

Than we went and picked up Elder Lewis from La Joya and drove to the YSA ward. It was weird. The Sunday school class was on eternal marriage. I don’t know if its always like that or i just had a really topical first time. Everyone was trying to be so spiritual and funny at the same time. Elders quorum was much more real.

 

Today we played ball hockey in the gym for a few hours. It was exhausting and I’m not very good at it. So that’s a good combo.

We also found a sweet new family this week. I will let you know more about them next week. I always love when i feel like i can be myself around investigators, even in Spanish. It sure took me a long time to get there but it was totally worth it.
Talk to you all next week!
Elder Walker

This Week was Interesting

I don’t know if God was blessing me for actually keeping my journal
this week or if I just remember more but either way this week was
interesting.

We had lunch with the Paniagua family again this week. I have never
had a bad thing in their house. After the meal they brought out this
bag of nuts. I don’t know what they were but they looked like little
peanut shaped acorns. So we all started biting the shells off and
eating the little. nuts inside. After 3 or 4 Hermano Paniagua says
“look I found one” and in the middle of the nut itself was a little
worm! It was gross. They tell me this after I eat like 5. Apparently
they are in like 1/10 of the acorn things. Elder miller ate some of
them and he said they tasted better than the nuts themselves.

On Thursday I went to get my bike on the way to dinner and the back
tire was completely flat. It has a slow leak and Im not made of money
so I just pump it up every day instead of buying a new one. So i tried
screwing the cap off and it wouldn’t come off. We tried for 10 minutes
and we couldn’t screw it off at all. So I decided we should just saw
it off. As soon as we did that we realized we were twisting it the
wrong way. I am sorry for the shame this story has brought to my
father, grandfather, engineering teachers and boy scout leaders.

Saturday started pretty good because I found three dollars on the side
of the road so that is totally going to go towards an elote. Then we
knocked on a door and met John Be. He is from Liberia and his friend
was from Sudan. John was crazy drunk and his friend was just friendly
drunk. The friend was actually pretty interested, drunk, but drunk
interested. John was just nuts and yelling that we are the true church
and he will protect us. He was punching himself and spitting all over
the place. We ended up just low key running away as he yelled, “Mr
Chandler! My Walker! You are my bruddas (brothers)!!) John said he
spoke french so we let the french elders know about the situation and
they can do what they want.

We didn’t have sacrament yesterday because almost the whole state got
to view the Tucson Arizona Temple dedication. Most of the members
didn’t think it was a big deal because they just had the Phoenix
Temple dedication a few years ago. I had never participated in one so
I was pretty pumped. It gave me an idea of how excited people were in
the beginning of the restored church to get to have temples and how
excited we should be to have one so close all the time. We don’t often
get to hear the brethren pray let alone perform ordinances. When
President Uchtdorf offered the dedicatory prayer you could feel the
spirit so strong. I love temples.

Today is a kind of weird day. Its a normal Pday (two more weeks until
transfers) but Elder Miller (roommate) is going home. They always have
mid transfer departures in August for all the kids that just need an
extra two weeks to be able to go home and make fall semester. So we
have been running around saying goodbye to people and helping him pack
up. The rest of the transfer we will be in a trio with his companion,
Elder Lewis. But that means we get a car so I’m not complaining.

I will let you all know next week how the trio life is going next.

Week, I have to go move another desk into our tiny room. Hasta luego!

Elder Walker

PS. The bishopric bought us a mini fridge in the clerks office

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We Had a Good Week

We had a good week. Nothing too exciting I’m afraid. We found some new
investigators. Had some of them at sacrament. We are working with Juan
to help him stop smoking. We made a calendar with him with how many
cigarettes he was allowed to smoke each day. Working our way from 1
pack to 0. The end of the calendar has a baptismal date. His wife was
baptized back in April and he is one of the most ready people I have
taught knowledge wise. We just have to work on the word of wisdom. His
story is really cool. And since I don’t have much else to write about
I will tell you a little bit.

Due to the language barrier and some health problems Juan doesn’t have
many choices from work. So he is currently driving vans too and from
Mexico. He was making a measly amount of money, and one day he was
just driving and said what you could call his first prayer. He was
just asking God why his life was so hard and what he needed to do to
fix it. He says that a word popped into his head and he decided to
google it. That word was mormon. He found mormon.org missionaries and
then the missionaries here. His wife was taught and baptized. He just
has this one trial stopping him. He and his wife are amazing. They
already have such a great testimony of things like tithing and sabbath
day observance; commandments that for anyone else would have been
burdens.

There isn’t really any thing else that happened that is letter worthy.
We did stop by an investigator who was busy re-waterproofing his
trailer. So we hopped up there in shirts and ties and all to help him
out. It was really fun. It felt like the stereotypical missionary
service opportunity.

Love you all! Hope you are all having fun in the last stretch of summer!

Elder Walker

Shwa shwu shisha

This week unfortunately wasn’t very special. I was getting over my
sickness, while simeltaneously getting all my roommates sick. So that
left us with not much to do in the apartment until Thursday.

Friday I had exchanges with the zone leaders. They are the french
missionaries that cover the stake. That means i finally got to learn
what it has been like for all the english missionaries that come with
us on Spanish lessons. Its not hard to tell what is going on because i
hear the words that are similar to Spanish and english, but i feel
like usually they just sound like Shwa shwu shisha all the time. Later
Elder Campbell taught me about french pronunciation. It confirmed my
assumptions correct. For lunch i took him to go learn about the
Mexican culture that it so prevalent in Maryvale by going to buy corn
with mayonnaise (made famous by nacho libre’s “get that corn out of my
face”) That evening we went to what the french missionaries call
“little africa” its the first African apartment complex they found.
Elder Campbell told me that at the beginning of his mission it took
him a while to figure who was African and who was African-American.
Now he can tell you which region of Africa they are from. So he knows
which ones speak french and which ones speak Swahili. Most of them
speak swahili.

Saturday Sister Bosen took us out to the fanciest restaurant in our
area, a 24 hour IHOP. Shout out Sister Bosen.

The most southern most street in our area has a bunch of mechanics on
it. And each mechanic decided that they needed to own 2 german
shepherds. So yesterday one got out and started chasing us in the
street. It was kind of sketchy but he gave up after a while. I don’t
know if they know that they could totally knock us over off of our
bikes.

So it was a fun week. Sickness means more book of mormon reading and
no one can complain about that.

Elder Walker

Agency in Action

This was a short week. Tuesday was P Day and Wednesday was transfer
day. My apartment didn’t change at all but i had to go up for a
meeting. It was cool to have some interaction with the new President.
He is definitely full of energy. Running around the packed gym looking
for someone he hasn’t said hi to.

Friday night we took our investigators to one of the other wards’
baptisms. She liked it and we had a lesson after. It was one of the
most spiritual lessons I have had. Yet, she decided not to commit the
our invitations. Agency in action. That was a tough night. Saturday I
started to feel sick so that entailed some very slow biking. And as if
we were being punished for biking slowly we popped another tire. So
there goes another twenty dollars. I didn’t expect that being a bike
missionary was so expensive.

This is the only picture i have from this week. Elder chamdler
preparing for his hump day with my new toys from mom.

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Congrats to Bryce and Marcos

This week we got to meet the new mission president. It was planned to
be done in zone conferences, but he also wanted to interview
everybody. Which meant that it took a while. I think we were there for
a complete 6 hours. That’s a bit too long for a meeting of any kind, if
you ask me, but I suppose it had to be done. We talked about most of
the normal things. And did practice teaching.

The rest of the week was filled with preparing for Bryce and Marcos’
baptism. We rushed around to get everything done and were all ready a
half an hour before it was supposed to start. Unfortunately, everyone
decided to turn up 10 minutes after it was supposed to start. It ended
up being awesome and we got a lot of support from the ward. It all
went really well.

Today we got the transfer news. This last transfer was a little crazy
in the Spanish District. So it will be no more. Now instead of
splitting the zone into Spanish and English, it is in south and north.
I will be the south district leader. So I have to go to a training
tomorrow morning. I don’t think it will be as crazy as last transfer
so it should be okay.


I will talk to you all next monday!