Wednesday, June 24, 2015

no electricity? good. i've been missing camping lately

June 24, 2015

another week here in brisas. still blessed and but feeling a lot colder. :) haha
we've officially started winter which means sleep with 2 pairs of socks, leg warmers, and a sweatshirt. 
i'm used to the weather but we have a few foreigners that need blankets in our district meetings and that's alright with me. :)
this week we met with a sister named Maria Teresa (i think i've mentioned her once or twice) she's a less-active member single mom with a son named Marlón who's 8. we've started talking with Marlón about baptism and the 5 steps of the Gospel. we read with them Alma 32:28 when Alma is talking about having faith like a seed and talked with him about what he can do to "help the seed grow" 
sidenote: the "Copa América" is being held here in Santiago this year which means that the soccer fanatics (all of Chile) get a little crazy. everytime Chile plays, we have to enter the house early because, like i said, it gets pretty crazy and pretty scary if Chile loses. they play today so President Cook changed the schedule of our p-day from 10:30-6:30 to 4pm-10:30. we aldo have permission to watch the game in the house of a member so we'll be doing that tonight with the elders in our ward. woohoo! 
one of our recent converts, Laura, found out this past week that she has cancer. at the end of may she completed a year as a member of the church. she is going to have an operation on july 4 and we are doing all we can to help her enter the temple this friday (27) before the operation. laura also suffers from depression and we were so worried that when we visited, she would be terribly sad. when we got to her house she greeted us with a smile and open arms and told us she felt more calm than she'd felt in a long time and that she's ready for anything that happens. what and example of faith and courage she is for me! there is a quote by President Uchtdorf from General Conference November 2014 called "Vivir el Evangelio con gozo" I don't have the quote in english but has all the talks and i invite you to search for it and brighten your day. :)
as for the title of this email..we got to the apartment 2 nights ago and the sisters (hermana bedard and hermana quintana) were planning with the light of a candle. no electricity! but i really have been wanting to go camping lately and seeing that i can't, this was as close as i was going to get. :) so, we took advantage and planned by the light of a candle and warmed some water over the flame to have some hot chocolate. :) the picture attached is our happy experience :)
this week i've had the opportunity to study about grace-the grace of our Savior and really what it means to. in the Bible dictionary it says, "grace is the enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts" we need to do all we can in obedience and works to truly receive the grace of our Father in Heaven. this is all part of the commandment to endure to the end. i invite you to "expend your best efforts" in all that you do. especially in inviting others to come unto Christ and know of His goodness and mercy. 
i hope everyone has a great week and that hailey, ethan and derek all have a happy welcome home! 
love you all! 
hermana walker

Monday, June 22, 2015

lots of photos

June 17, 2015

Have a great week everyone! Sorry the descriptions aren't very long! Take care and enjoy this life. Through all the happy times and the difficuties. Be grateful for each and every day. Love you all! -Hermana Walker

all of you who know i hate seafood should feel proud of me. sushi. i ate it.

​our unorganized house. don't worry, we cleaned it and organized and it's much better now. :) 

the 3 generations! Hermana Jerez (abuela) me and Hermana Ibañez. Today we had p-day de hermanas to say goodbye to all those that are leaving at the end of this transfer. I cried. Hermana Jerez will be leaving in 3 weeks and it's gonna be like leaving home again. BUT all things have their time and season and I know that she will be just fine back in Argentina :)

Our cake for sweet Anastasia. A sweet little one who turned 8 on Monday! We were able to make a cake for her and share a few minutes with her family. Her mom is a recent reactivation and their whole family is so special to me and Hermana Ibañez. We've been meeting with Anastasia to talk about faith and the importance of baptism. She has a date set for her baptism in July. :) (I'm crouching down a little because I couldn't tip the cake!) Haha

2 weeks full of surprises

June 10, 2015

This week I have a long letter for all of ya! Woohoo! :) I'm going to start with what happened 2 weeks ago. It was a week full of surprises that's for sure. On Saturday morning (May 30) we were contacting in El Metro (the subway) when we received a call from our zone leaders, Elders Ware and Valenzuela. Hermana Gaitan answered and Elder Valenzuela said, "Hermana Gaitan, can you tell Hermana Walker that she has an interview with President Cook today." An interview with President Cook at the end of the transfer only meant one thing-he was going to ask me to be a trainer. So, at 11:30, we went to San Bernardo for my interview and sure enough, President Cook said, with a big smile, "Hermana Walker, ya ready to train?" The second surprise was on Tuesday, the day of transfers. I knew I was going to stay in Brisas and train but I didn't know who and I didn't know who else was going to stay in the area. Turns out, nobody! The two elders, Elder Zazueta and Elder Llacza left and so did Hermana Gaitan. We got two new elders in Brisas, Elder Martinez (from Honduras) and Elder Alfaro (from Costa Rica). In the transfer meeting I got my "daughter" Hermana Ibañez from Rio Negro...Argentina!! :) Another Argentine and my heart is happy. :) Because I'm training, I'll be here in Brisas for 3 more months for sure and after that, we'll see where the Lod wants me. Next surprise, President Cook wants all of the sister missionaries to live 4 in each apartment for safety so we're now living with Hermana Quintana from Spain and Hermana Bedard from Utah. Our apartment is "chiquitita" but it's super fun having all 4 of us together.
We are tired, happy and very blessed. On Friday, we had a lesson with a less active member named Juan and his girlfriend, Carmen. We've been meeting with Carmen and Juan for about 5 months now and Carmen has told us every time that she didn't want anything to do with the church, but recently she's been coming to church on Sunday with Juan and in the classes has been bearing her testimony! During our lesson, we sang "There's Sunshine in My Soul Today" and talked about how the gospel can help us have this happiness and hope not only in this life but in the life to come. We invited her to be baptized and after a moment, she smiled and nodded her head, "yes". :) On Monday, we had a lesson with Aline. Aline is 11 years old and acts like she's 18. haha She's been coming to church, mutual and family home evening with the ward for about 2 months now. She's started her Personal Progress and is reading The Book of Mormon everyday. In our lesson on Monday she accepted an invitation to be baptized on September 5. :)
      This week I've been studying about obedience and the Atonement and the connection between the two. In Preach My Gospel it says, "we must be pure and clean through obedience" A lot of times we think that the Atonement purifies and cleanses us without any effort from us but really, the Atonement and Christ's sacrifice gives us the ability to be pure, the opportunity. We are clean through our obedience and repentance and the only reason that we have the chance to repent and obey is because of Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. In the Liahona this month there is a quote that says, "Because of the eternal sanctity of man's agency upon which this mortal life was founded, the Savior cannot take from us our will. We are free to choose. The Savior stands beside us waiting to heal our wounds and lift us into eternal salvation, but He can only do that with our invitation. We must choose Him. For us, there is only one plan of rescue. It is in and through His atoning sacrifice. He descended below all things to rescue us." I hope and invite us all to strive to be more obedient to the commandments of our Lord and Savior. They are for our benefit, they are not a burden. Have a great week and take care. Love, Hermana Walker


June 3, 2015

Once again, I had a nice long email written with pictures and all and my computer crashed. So, next week.

Love you all! Have a great week and take care. Love, Hermana Walker

Hermana Gaitan, me, and Hermana Fresia. Fresia is a member of our ward but isn't able to leave her bed. We love visiting her and listening to her sweet stories and testimony. She is an example to us and we always learn more than we teach with her. 

It's beginning to FEEL a lot like Christmas

May 27, 2015

It doesn't exactly look like Christmas because we don't have any snow but it certainly feels like winter! 
I'm going to start with last Tuesday. Last Tuesday, we met with Angelica. Angelica is about 55 years old and is one of the sweetest and most faith-filled women I've ever met. She started meeting with the missionaries about a year ago with her boyfriend (they've been living together for almost 30 years and have 2 daughters together) but can't be married because the house they are renting can only be rented by people living under "single" status. Angelica had a meeting on Sunday to change her contract so that they can get married and move into a different house. She has a baptismal date set for June 20 and is so excited. We have been fasting and praying with her to have the patience and trust in the Lord's timing that things will work out in the way and in the time that they're supposed to. On Tuesday night, we also had a Family Home Evening in the church with our ward. Hermano Abarca taught the lesson on the Plan of Salvation and Hermana Gaitan and I and the elders (Elder Llacza and Elder Zazueta) planned the game "Te gusta tu vecino" 
On Wednesday night we were able to go to mutual with one of our investigators named Aline. Aline is 11 years old and lives with her mom, aunt and uncle. We found her family while contacting and after 2 weeks of trying to contact them again, finally had a lesson with her aunt, Patricia. We didn't know that Aline lived there until the second lesson when her aunt invited her to listen with her. Patricia has a son who is a member of the church and served a mission in the US but Patricia is Evangelical. We taught the first lesson and invited Patricia to read The Book of Mormon, we then turned to Aline and invited her as well to read.  She replied, "I've already read it." Surprised, we asked if he would then pray and ask Heavenly Father to know if it was true. She replied again, "I know it's true." We invited her to mutual the next day for New Beginnings (the welcome for the new girls turning 12 this year) and she received her Peronal Progress book to start working on that. Since then, she's been attending church with us, mutual on Wednesdays and Family Home Evening with the ward on Tuesdays every week. We're hoping to be able to teach her and her mom together more often. We're so excited and happy to know young Aline and help her during her youth to learn and apply the gospel of Jesus Christ in her life. 
On Sunday we're going to finish this transfer! I can't believe it has come so fast! On Saturday we'll know if we're staying or leaving the area. 
Tomorrow I'll be in La Extranjeria for about 5 hours receiving my visa and all my papers to legally live here on more than a tourist visa. Woohoo! :)
I wanted to share a little thought from the Liahona this month about waiting for assurances. Elder Scott said, "the packets of spiritual sunlight the Lord provides often come after the trial has been the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way to greater happiness, more understanding, and strengthen our determination to accept and be obedient to His will." With our investigator, Angelica, we've been having to put this principle into practice. I know that these packets of sunlight will come and that we will have a stronger testimony through the tests and trials to come when we endure them well and have patience in the Lord's timing.
Have a great and blessed week everyone! Take care. Love, Hermana Walker

The Familia Opazo-Olivares! Two of the best people. They are always willing to help us and call when it's late to make sure we're in our apartment, safe and sound and give us lunch at leat 2 or 3 Sundays in the transfer. Hermana Opazo served her mission in Provo and is a professor here in Chile (but she never talks to me in English to help me with my Spanish :) and Hermano Opazo works at the AMM (basically the Deseret Book) near the temple. We had lunch with them on Sunday and they wanted to take a picture so that I could tell my parents I was being watched over. :) So this one's for you, mom and dad, from the Familia Opazo. 

Hopefully you can see that it's a little chilly and the leaves are just about gone from the trees. 

Skype, Mankaki and the Temple

May 20, 2015

As always, I apologize for my lack of sending emails and pictures! I like to write what I'm going to send before we get to the Internet but this transfer has been difficult to find time to write early.  I hope the pictures and short sentences describe a little bit of what's going on here in Brisas del Maipo. :) 

Have a great week everyone! Enjoy the beginning of your summer break and congratulations to all the graduates! Take care! Love, Hermana Walker

Skype with my family! How wonderful it was to see their faces and talk with them. :) 

We were able to go to the temple as a companionship before this transfer is over. It's such a blessing to be able to attend the temple and feel the Spirit there. 

Mankaki. One of the members that we teach loves to give us things that we've never tried before. We always visit him with a sister named Vanesa who loves this type of fruit. We tried it and it's interesting to say the least ;)  It's super sweet and kind of like jello inside. I don't know if I'll ever buy it for myself but I'm definitely happy we got to try it :) 

Week 1 with Hermana Gaitan

April 29, 2015

The "s" key on my keyboard isn't working too well and I need to type fast so if  I'm missing an s in some spots just fill it in. ;) Haha
Last week in the email that I wasn't able to end I had planned to say that I got a new companion-another Argentine. :) Hermana Gaitan is one of the sweetest people I've ever met! She's from Mendoza, Argentina and is about to complete a year in her mission in May. Our firt week was pretty difficult. Almost all of our lessons fell through everyday leaving us feeling discouraged. Sunday was one of the most difficult days I've had in the mission. We had planned a regular day of contacting, visiting people who had listened to the missionaries before us and lessons with invetigators and less-active members. Few answered the door and of the one that did, no one wanted to hear from us. We knocked on the door of a less-active member of our ward that neither of us knew. There wa a lady sweeping her patio and immediately said "No! No quiero nada con ustedes!" (I don't want anything from you) My companion asked if he knew Lara (the member we were trying to visit) and I don't know how but I think she lost the ability to hear in that moment becaue she looked right at us and kept on sweeping until she was out of sight. ;) We left, a little surprised at what had happened but had a good laugh anyway. :) We continued to contact and as we were walking to the house of a reference, that we had in our area book, an elderly woman yelled "hermanas!" We turned around and saw her with her cart of groceries.  She asked if we could walk with her to the Gran Avenida and El Parron. We started walking with her and after about 30 minutes, reached El Parron. In these 30 minutes, we hear all about her life and the difficulties and challenges she has had. My companion invited her to come to church on Sunday. She said yes and left us with a hug and a thank you. We walked back, feeling better but still a little discouraged that we hadn't had a lesson all day and it was now 9:30pm.  We started to contact again, 15 minutes later and more houses with no one answering. We decided to say a prayer. A prayer that in the last 15 minutes of the day, we could find someone who wanted to listen to our message. We started to contact houses again. As we were nearing our apartment, we passed a young woman with her head down looking a little sad. Hermana Gaitan and I looked at each other and decided to go back and talk to her. We asked if she was alright and she said yes with a smile. We started a conversation and she asked us what we were doing here in Chile. We had a conversation for 15 minutes and asked if we could meet with her another day. She was so excited to give us her address and telephone number! She then aked if she could invite her uncle, grandpa and family to listen as well. Her name is Valentina  and she's 19 years old. We left her with a Book of Mormon and she gave us both hugs and thanked us. :) I don't know why it seems like always in the last minutes of the day, the Lord puts people in our path but I'm so grateful for thee days of difficulty in which we can more easily see the miracles. I know that we all have these days when everything is difficult and it's hard to see that there was anything good in the day, but I know that without this opposition, we could never know true happiness. The true happiness that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings. Thank Heavenly Father for the small miracles and remember "For it must needs be that there is opposition in all things. If not so, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holines, nor misery, neither good nor bad.." (2 Nephi 2:11) Look for good in every day. I love you all! Have a great week! Take care.
Love, Hermana Walker

Alicia and Anastasia


Hermana Jerez and I on the day of transfers. My eyes aren't closed ;) 

Chocolate easter eggs from Hermana Jerez's parents 

Another Cambio in Brisas de Maipo (and my computer crashed..)

April 22, 2015

About 10 minutes ago I was ready to send a nice long email with pictures and an explanation of everything that happened this week and... my computer crashed! Next week will be better! Take care! -Hermana Walker


April 15, 2015

This week is my last week of my "training" with Hermana Jerez. I can't believe how fast it has gone! Today is possibly our last p-day as a companionship so we were able to visit the temple this morning. It's fall here and cold enough to wear boots and scarves and jackets. I really like the temperature but they say that it's going to get really cold in winter and we don't have heat in our apartment so I'm hoping we can stay warm in some way! This week was great.  We were crossing the street a couple weeks ago to go to a lesson with Hugo and entered his house when a lady rang the doorbell and asked if we spoke English. I said yes and she asked if we could talk with her friend Cecilia real quickly. We walked outside and Cecilia asked if we could help her sons with English and we set a time for the next Thursday to visit. She has two sons, Vincente and Maximo, who are 9 and 6. They both changed schools this year and their schools before didn't teach any English so they're really struggling. After this first run-in with Cecilia, Hermana Jerez told me that she and her companion before me had taught Cecilia one time before and the second time they visited, she didn't want to hear anything! We visited on Thursday and helped Vincente and Maximo (I learned too!) and set another time for the next Thursday and she invited us to have onces with them. We prepared a short lesson, thinking that we'd be able to talk a little about the Book of Mormon. She was more prepared than us. :) She had so many questions for us and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and invite her to read it. She received it with a huge smile and a lot of excitement to read. :) We're going to meet with them again tomorrow to help Vincente and Maximo with their english and talk more with her. We were able to see another act of the Lord's hand and His timing in all things and in all places and in all people. Perhaps she wasn't ready to receive these things a few months ago, but we know that her heart is changed, her mind prepared and her faith in Jesus Christ strengthened. This week we also received a call to visit a less-active member named Maria Teresa and her son Marlon. He is 8 and also needs help with his English. We were able to have a wonderful lesson with her and invite her to church on Sunday. She's had a really hard time caring for her son. She works in the feria (farmers market) selling clothes and told us that for 5 years she lived in "house" with her son with no shower, kitchen or separate room to sleep and carried the gas tank to heat the water for her shower to her neighbors house to shower everyday. She was still so grateful for everything she had and continued to work so hard. This people are incredible and we have so much love for them. My faith is strengthened everyday through their example. I hope your faith can be strengthened as well through their lives and progress towards a life again with our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Have a great week, everyone! Take care and enjoy the spring weather! :) Love, Hermana Walker 

At the temple today with Hermana Jerez. Definitely starting to feel like fall! 

One of our investigators, Armando! :) He is probably the hardest person we have to teach because it's really hard for him to remember things but he's come to church for about 2 months now since the first time we invited him! 

eleven weeks and a wimpy letter

April 8, 2015

I ran out of time to write a good letter this week and I apologize for that! But thank goodness for pictures! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed your Easter Sunday. I will be prepared with a good letter next week! Have a great week, everyone. Take care. Love, Hermana Walker

Hermana Jerez gave me her mate for Easter. Mate is a herbal tea mainly used in Argentina but lots of missionaries drink it in the morning here. :) 

Before General Conference on Saturday. 


March 25, 2015

Sorry for the gruesome picture of my ankle but I was pretty impressed with the damage my shoe caused ;) 

The first is a picture of my companion and I on our p day last week and the last is a picture of us decorating a house for the homecoming of a missionary in our ward.

Three months!

March 18, 2015

Today, I have 3 months and 1 day in the mission! Woohoo! I don't have much time today to write and the computer I'm at won't let me send pictures! :( But, I wanted to share something that helped me this week. This is a quote by President Uchtdorf "Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith. It means being 'willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father' (Mosiah 3:19). Ultimately, patience means being 'firm and steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord' every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so. I love this quote and I love the principles that we can learn from it. Patience is action not just waiting and action with faith. I hope you all have a great week. :) I promise a better letter and pictures next week. ;)
Love, Hermana Walker
Images by Freepik