Monday, March 30, 2015

Villa Rica

In the mission there are weeks when nothing really changes or happens. This was not one of those kind of weeks. 

Thursday night we got a call from our zone leader, Elder Cayo, and he first told my companion Elder Lopez that he had transfers to Tingo Maria (another jungle city). Then in crazy turn of events he told me that I had transfers as well to Villa Rica. So they closed Santa Ana, and I'm here in Villa Rica. It was hard to leave. I love the people from La Merced and Santa Ana, and it sucks and breaks my heart because the members in Santa Ana are kind of abandoned now. 

Villa Rica is still the jungle, but it is at a little bit higher elevation than La Merced and is in the region of Pasco. It is also a little bit colder, but it isn't cold at all. It is the perfect climate. I am in the same Zone and Stake. Villa Rica is known for producing coffee, and everyone grows coffee. They sell their coffee to Starbucks. Like all my areas it's kinda remote and far from the mission office. It is about an hour from La Merced.

My companion is Elder Moraga from Masaiya, Nicaragua. He was with me in Cerro de Pasco, and he is a great guy. He has 18 months in the mission and yesterday he turned 20. He comes from a family of 5, and he has 2 brothers and 2 sisters like me. I am excited to work with him, and we work hard and enjoy the work. 

This week though we will go to La Merced to watch conference. So I will get to see all of my friends there which is cool. 

Mom thanks so much for your letter last week. It was perfect and really just amazing. When are you going to write a book! Inserio. But this week I have been thinking a lot about your letter, happiness, and especially love. 

This week we talked with a member who is having problems in his life and he told us that he doesn't know why he can't be happy. He said he is keeping the commandments and doing what he should be doing but isn't happy. It was literally what I have been studying all week. I had the chance to bear my testimony that true happiness comes from understanding the Atonement and from living and loving the gospel. As a bore my testimony I realized that it was true.

I came up with 5 things that lead to true happiness 
  1. Keeping the commandments (MSH 2:41)
  2. Truly repenting (Alma 36: 41)
  3. Humbly seeking for happiness (Alma 27:18)
  4. Understanding the Atonement and grace
  5. Loving God and other people in life

Love is the key like you said mom. Love is the motive for our existence here on the earth and Christ's sacrifice for us. Love like faith is a principle of action. It is sacrifice and it is all encompassing. If we love God with all of our heart like the first great commandment says and our neighbors, we will find true happiness in this life. 

A missionary from the ward got back this week. The ward threw him a little Homecoming party. His name is Victorio, and he bore his testimony. He said that he learned more than anything how to love on his mission. I realized that what he said is so true. I have learned how to love companions, the bishop, ward mission leader, the ward, investigators, and the people of Peru. I have many weaknesses shortcomings and faults. I have tons of fears doubts and questions, but I love (or try to love) more than my personal problems. One of my favorite scriptures that I found in my research is found in Moroni 8:16, ... Perfect love casteth out all fear. Perfect love overcomes our fears and doubt. 

In true to the faith is says, ... The only way to real happiness is to live the gospel. That statement is what confused me at first. I like the statement, The only way to real happiness is to love Christ and his gospel. 

LONG!! haha. Love you!

Elder Walker
Elder Moraga and I

Monday, March 23, 2015

End of the Cambio Already. What?


I have completed cambio 5 of my mission! Wow it went by fast! I am excited for the next transfer. I think my comp and I are going to stay one more together here but I am not sure. Anything could happen. One cool thing about the mission being able to look back every transfer and analyze or judge personal progress and progress in the area. I have definitely grown this transfer. I have learned a lot from Elder Lopez. The area is stronger although it isn't reflected in the number of baptisms. I still want to do and be even better. Because of that Im looking forward to the next transfer. 

So two of my best friends in the whole mission went home this week. Elder Kidd (white shirt standing up) and Elder Perrins (bottom right with bird). Elder Kidd finished his mission and it was sad to watch him go because I have been with him my whole mission. He has been my zone leader my entire mission! He is a great guy and the kind of missionary I want to be. I love him, and I made him promise to send me a wedding invitation. haha.

I entered the mission with Elder Perrins and actually in the buss ride to the CMM in Lima we sat next to each other and have been good friends since. In an extremely unfortunate turn of events he has to go home to get a second surgery on his wrist. He broke it before the mission playing rugby then continued to play with it broken actually won state and then had to get surgery. Now he has to go home to fix it again. Super sad. 

So I'm gonna read your letter later to save time, but this week has been good. Like I said it was hard to watch some friends go home, but really that is how the mission is-- a bunch of farewells and welcomes. It is sad though because as missionaries we make the people around us our family. We love and serve and then we have to leave them. Again and again and again. And the start over again and again. But I like it too. 

It didn't rain this week and 4 investigators went to church!!! yeah! Efrain y Sofia (need to get divorced and married) went to church. They are super great people and while they need a lot to get baptized nothing is too great for the Lord. Joao went as well. He fell through on all of our appointments with him this week but went to church, which is so cool. Then Tuvi a friend of Aldo went to church as well. (haha I write the friend of Aldo and not Aldo’s friend naturally. haha). It was a good week. We had a bunch of appointments fall through. 7 appointments on Saturday fell through. haha. But that is how the work is. 

Love you all,

Elder Walker
The Daily struggle: trying to find a reference when no one knows street names and none of the houses have numbers.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Hello again,

This Sunday it rained again hard in the morning. We had one investigator go to church though named Joao, who was receiving the lessons with the missionaries before he went to Huancayo for vacciones (summer break). So we are teaching him, and he is a cool guy. This week was kind of tough. We had 17 appointments fall through and only 12 were there that we taught. We have a couple new investigators, and yeah we just keep working. It’s kind of tough though I haven’t had one baptism my whole time here in La Merced, and it is hard not to judge your success in the number of baptisms. I mean we all know our purpose is to invite and the people to Christ, and they have their agency. But that doesn’t stop self reflection and scrutiny. I read Elder Bailey’s email this week, and I loved what he said that we just have to keep working hard. He talked about the Hoover dam and how damnation is literally like a dam stopping our spiritual progress. And what power would be required to break the Hoover dam! But that is what I want to do and what I am here to do! It just requires more patience than I would like. I also feel like I am just preparing the way for other missionaries here. For example, the two Jovencitas, whose Grandma is a member and who went to church, they both now don’t want to get baptized this month and want to wait 3 or 5 months to "investigate" because the Grandma got baptized after going to church for 2 years. So they see this example, and ya fuimos. Also two investigators that we found have to get divorced before both of them get married and then baptized. So that is where I am at. 

I’ve been pondering this question lately: what is true happiness and how do we obtain it? Any help with that would be appreciated. 

Also, my companions family went to Marcus’s ward to see him and took a picture with him. Pretty sweet!


Elder Walker

PS. Hey! Congrats to Justin on his mission call. Is that the same mission as Timmy?
Marc with Elder Lopez's family

Kickin' it in the jungle

Monday, March 9, 2015

Just Call Me the Mighty Rat Hunter!


It was a good week. Saturday night and Sunday morning it rained super hard and all night and day. It was a kind of rain you don’t see in Vegas. The rain destroyed part of the main road and it destroyed the road to Oxapampa which is where we were going to go today for Pday and then have our Zone meeting there, but not anymore. There were also mudslides and houses by the river were destroyed and actually one member’s home was destroyed. We went to see if we could help, but all was lost. All of the rain was kind of cool, except for the destruction, but none of our investigators went to church. 

None of our members went to church either. haha.

So last Tuesday we went in for the night planning, and I was undressing and unwinding when I saw a giant rat run into the other part of our room. I freaked out and yelled at my comp. The rat tried to escape then my comp kicked it twice and it ran into the other part of our room and hid. So our vecinos Ronald and Lizbeth (pensionista’s son) heard all the commotion, so they came down and we were all looking for the rat together for about 10 minutes. We couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I was searching in my dresser, and I opened my drawer with my pday clothes and garments and with my hand was searching around when bam the rat was there and jumped out of the drawer. I screamed soo loud. Then, we cornered it, hit it, and killed it. But now everyone makes fun of me for screaming like a girl, but it was a big rat! Not quite as cool as Braize’s story, but add to his testimony that jungle rats are huge!

Love you all,

Elder Walker

PS. My comp. Elder Lopez is from Santiago, 5 de Abril Stake, Los Delfines Ward. Same Stake as Marc!! Neighboring Ward!! 

Young and wild and free! I wasn't going to send this to you Mom, but if you could handle Chloe skydiving then I figure you can handle this. haha.

I baptized a convert, Kelly, of the Hermanas. I keep baptizing Hermana Johnson's converts, and it is getting annoying. haha. We served in the same ward in Cerro and now again in La Merced. I've baptized 4 of her converts now. It was a good baptism. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

God First


This week was good .We had a good week even though the our numbers don't really reflect it. It was funny we had no investigators at church until the third hour of church when a member came up to us and told us that she wanted us to visit and baptize her grand daughters, so we ended up having two investigators at church.

Right now we are working with a couple families. The familia Taype (less actives) the familia of Jose Mendosa (less active)  and his wife Gisela (Investigator) they have one son who is 1 named Fabricio. And this week we found a new family of investigators who are Jesus, Gloria and Wendy. Also we’re still teaching Arnold, who is a friend of a member. But yeah only the less actives went to church this week and none of our investigators went except for the two that we found at the end of church. It’s okay though because all of them are super cool and are going to go to church next week! 

So this week I have been thinking a lot about two stories in the Bible. The first about Abraham and Isaac and the story of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Abraham willing gives up his will for the will of the Lord and was going to sacrifice his son until the last second when an angel appeared. Abraham because of his obedience was blessed greatly along with his family. The other story is about the young rich man that is talked about in Lucas 18:18. He asks Jesus what he has to do to obtain eternal life. Jesus responds that basically you need to keep the commandments, and the man says that he has since his youth. But then Jesus says that to get eternal life he has to give up all of his treasures. And the Bible describes the man becoming sorrowful because his heart was set upon his treasures and not the will of God. 

Just one thing I have noticed is the importance of putting God first in our lives. The problem for the man in the second story wasn't willing, and he loved his riches more than God. Abraham however loved God, and put God even before his only son. The importance of putting God first is everything it is why I am here and what I am trying to help the people here do. We know that we are truly blessed and we find true happiness in doing so. But sometimes missionary work is hard because we can't make the decisions for the people we teach. 

We went to a native city near here, Pampa Michi, and it was pretty cool.

Have a Great Week,

Elder Walker