Monday, December 28, 2009

December 21, 2009


This week was FREEZING! I had no idea it got this cold in Portugal. I don't know what the temperature was, but it felt like a Utah January. I had to wear about 3 jackets. Plus, it rained yesterday. Today actually got really warm out of nowhere, and right now I am wearing my short sleeve. The weather here reminds me a little bit of Utah weather during the winter, when it will be way warm one day, and then snow the next.

This week was really unsuccessful. Probably the most unsuccessful my whole mission. We basically knocked doors the whole week. We only got about 9 phone numbers, most of which we have called and can't get any lessons set up. It is really hard to find people. We found one guy named Kilson, and taught him. We actually found him when we went caroling. He was the only one that said we could pass by another time. It was funny, because when he opened the door, we started singing, and then he shushed us up and told us his dad was asleep. He is pretty cool and seems promising and has been searching for the true church. But he left for the holidays. He will be back in January.

Other than that, we don't really have anyone. It has also been harder to focus with 3 of us. I actually really enjoyed being 3. But missionary work will be a lot easier with the 2 of us. Elder Lobo leaves tomorrow. But we already took him to the mission home, so it's just the 2 of us now.

I definitely want to work harder, be more diligent, and have more faith. I believe we can find people if we do that.

I am still liking the area though. I actually really like the ward. Portuguese people are cool, if they are members. Or when you talk to them about non-church stuff. The members here feed us a ton. There is a lady in our ward who is probably in her 60s named Lurdes. She feeds us dinner every Monday and gives us a ton to eat. We will also be there on Christmas Eve. There is also a house where 3 member families live, and they trade off feeding us lunch every Sunday. And then there is another member that feeds us dinner every Sunday night named Geraldo. They are way cool people.

This week is going to be a good week I think, even though we probably won't get a whole lot done since it's Christmas. We have the big Zone Conference with all the missionaries on Wednesday, and then Christmas Eve, and then Christmas day is going to be our P-day. Today is sort of just a half P-day. We just do internet and shopping. But Christmas will be P-day.

I am way excited to call you guys. I hope I call at a good time. I will probably be calling around 5 PM here, which will be 10 AM for you guys. It could be a little earlier, or later. It just depends on when Elder Ronson gets done. So I will call you first I guess, since you want to do the Skype thing. I don't know if you have to dial a 1 first, but the 351 is the Portugal code. I am excited.

Sounds like I get to talk to everyone. Awesome. I am way excited for Megan too. That is so awesome! I can't believe she is gonna have a kid! Are they going to stay in Arizona?

Well, I am way excited to talk to you all on Christmas. I hope you all have a good American Christmas there. Christmas here is actually the same, I think. I don't really know of any traditions that are different. The only difference I think, is that Christmas Eve is kind of the bigger deal. They have their big party on Christmas Eve, which I guess is sort of the same in the states. They have Santa Clause too. They call him Pai Natal, or Father Christmas. I think he actually climbs through the window here, since everyone lives in apartments and nobody has there own chimney. They have street lights and lights on their houses, but it's nothing compared to the states. They even have all of the same Christmas music, some of it translated into Portuguese, some of it not. So yeah, it's really just the same here.

Well, I love you all, and hope you have a good Christmas. I hope to have a good Christmas too, and to think more about Christ's birth and mission as our Savior here on earth, more than thinking about my package and food. Hope you will all do the same.

I love you. Merry Christmas! Feliz Natal! Boas Festas! Tchau!

Elder Walker

December 28, 2009

Well, no email again this week. Haha. But I got to talk to y'all, so it's ok. It was way awesome hearing from everyone. It sounds like everyone is doing great. I don't really know what to say that I didn't already say over the phone.

This week was probably the best week that I have had in this area. Which is surprising, because it was Christmas week, and everyone was really busy. We didn't have a whole lot of lessons, which makes sense, but we found a lot of really good people to teach. We got 7 new investigators this week. Almost all of them seem really promising. But we can't really talk to any of them until after the holidays, just because everyone is so busy with their families and stuff. They all tell us to come by after the holidays. I think that this is the most success that this area has seen in a while. We are finally finding people to teach. We have taught this woman named Claudia a couple times. Her husband is an inactive member. We feel really good about her, and depending on how we feel when we teach her tonight, we will be marking her to be baptized on January 16. Hopefully she will accept, and that will help with reactivating her husband. Other than her, the rest of the people we have found, we have only taught once. This week we should be able to teach them more. Not a whole lot more is going on. Still a lot of door knocking.

Some cool things have been happening. Like, on Christmas night, when I was trying to call you guys and we decided to go to the chapel. We took the bus, which is about a 20 minute ride. I was just sitting there, thinking why I couldn't get ahold of you. I fugured there might be a reason, maybe there was somebody I needed to talk to or something. So I looked around on the bus and saw this guy that looked about my age, but he had a bunch of lip, eyebrow, and earings and stuff. But I felt like I should talk to him. I went up and told him that I felt like I had to talk to him. He was pretty cool, and told me he had already spoked to the Elders at his house before. He said they used to come and teach him. He said he was interested in having us over anymore, but he was cool, and we sort of just talked about life. I don't know what will happen, but when stuff like that happens, you know it's not just coincidence. Then last night, we were on a bus again, and I was looking around for somebody to talk to, and saw this girl who I had actually seen on a bus before, and felt like I should talk to her, but sort of chickened out. But I saw her again last night, sitting in the same seat as before! So I knew I had to talk to her this time. Turns out that she already knew the Elders too, but was also not interested anymore. We ended up giving her a Book of Mormon. I don't know what ends up happening with these people. But stuff like that doesn't just happen. There is a purpose in everything. It just strengthens my testimony that I have about this work. It is definitely not a work of man, but definitely the Lord's. Cool.

I am enjoying the Christmas presents. Thanks again for all of them. The sweaters are perfect, exactly what I was thinking of. I finally have more white shirts, which is awesome, and will be especially awesome in the summer. I have been pigging out on candy and need to stop, but that's really good too. I really like the book that I got, about the Catholic and LDS church. It is really helpful, and is exactly what I was wanting. Thanks fam, for the presents. They are way awesome.

I don't really know what else to write. I feel like I have already said everything, since we already talked this week.

Today we are going to Lisbon for P-day. I don't really know what we are going to do. It is really cloudy, and foggy and humid, but really warm. The weather is really weird here. I don't know if it will rain today or not.

So is everyone going up to the cabin this week? I can't believe I am not going. It will be the first time I haven't gone to the cabin after Christmas since I can remember.

How is everyone else doing? How are the Von Hills, and the Burke Hills? How are Grandma and Grandpa Hill? How are Tracy and Chris and Alex? How is Liz?

Well, I love you all. I am glad I got to talk to y'all on the phone. Next time will be in about 5 months. I will admit that talking to you guys made me a little bit "trunky," but just a little bit. Well, I am out of stuff to write, so see ya later. Tchauzinhos!

Elder Walker

P.S. Supposedly, from what Brennan told me, David Baker finally got his mission call, and I STILL haven't heard where he is going. It's driving me nuts! If anyone hears anything, let me know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14, 2009

I finally got transferred! I got moved to an area called Costa da Caparica. It is south of Lisbon on the other side of the river. Supposedly it is sort of a big vacation spot, because its just a huge beach. But right now, in the winter time, its pretty dead. The area is pretty cool. We are right across the river from Lisbon. It is seriously right on the other side of the huge bridge. We can see the brigde and a lot of Lisbon from our area. There is a big monument on our side of the river called "o Cristo Rei" which means "the Christ King." We can also see that from our area. We got the transfer calls on Monday and I was out of there the next day. I had to say goodbye to some people and it was pretty sad. I was really close to some of the recent converts. Especially Colombo. I have 2 companions! We are in a "tripla." My new comps are Elder Ronson and Elder Lobo. The reason there are 3 of us is because Elder Lobo is going home about 4 weeks early so he can get back in time for school. So he leaves next Tuesday. And then it will be just me and Elder Ronson. Elder Ronson was already in Costa da Caparica, and Elder Lobo was in Monte da Caparica, a litte further South. They used to be 2 areas, but they were combined this transfer, so we have a big area now. We actually live in Monte da Caparica. I like the area so far, but still like my last area a lot better. I just have to get used to living here. My comps are way awesome. They are way cool and funny. Elder Lobo is from Oregon. His dad is actually from Brazil. Lobo means wolf in Portuguese. I found out he is cousins with the Murrays in Mapleton. Golden Murray is Elder Lobo's mom's brother. Small world. Elder Lobo speaks the language really well. He is cool and funny. He is a bit lazy. I think that he thinks, since he is going home, he doesn't really need to work as hard. He gets up late, and doesn't really study. It is kind of hard to work with 2 other Elders. It is hard to be as unified. Especially with an Elder that doesn't work as hard. I don't really know, but it seems like he and his last companion didn't do a whole lot of work, because when I got here we didn't have one single investigator. So this whole week has been finding time. We have knocked a ton of doors. Elder Ronson is way cool and funny too. He is from Cedar Hills, Utah. He is actually younger than me by about 2 months, but will hit his year mark on the mission this month. So this is my new area. I already miss Sacavém. There are a lot less African people here. Almost none in the ward. It's actually a ward here and not a branch. They seem to be really cool people, and it is going to be a lot different working more with Portuguese people. It is also a little hard to understand. I am used to the African accent, and haven't really dealt much with native Portuguese speakers. It seems to be a good area. Hopefully we start teaching lessons! I don't really know what else to write. This week was pretty crazy. Mostly just knocking doors. We even went caroling. That was a failure. We were completely rejected almost everytime. The ward had their Christmas party on Saturday. We sang Angels We Have Heard On High in Portuguese. And then they wanted us to doing something less spiritual, so we sang Feliz Navidade, which is Spanish and English, not Portuguese. We put it together in about 2 minutes so it was bad. But we danced around and they all laughed really hard so it was good. I am hoping this next week is better. On the 23rd, the entire mission is meeting for one big Christmas themed Zone Conference. It will be really cool. Every missionary in the mission will be there, except for the missionaries in the Azores. Well, I'm glad everything is going well at home. I'm sorry to hear about Grandpa. It seems like there is always some new health problem that comes up with him. I hope he is OK. How is everyone else doing? Is everyone going to be home for Christmas this year? Are you all going to go to the cabin at all? Are Tracy and Chris going to be there? Well, I don't know what else to write. I love you all. Have a good week. You're in my prayers. I still don't really know anything about calling home. For sure I will let you know next week. I think we actually just call from our cell phones. I dont know though. It's soon though. I am excited. I love you all. Tchau!
Elder Walker

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November 30, 2009

You ARE a crazy mother, mother. Ha ha. Sounds like the usual going on there around Christmas time. I definitely missed out on the Thanksgiving. Me and Elder Thomas put our lunch and dinner breaks together and made a Thanksgiving feast with rice and beans, salad, and Jordan sent me a box of stuffing, so it was sort of Thanksgiving. We also made a cake, but it wasn't very good. I am really craving some turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy. This week was pretty slow and didn't go very well. We lost some good investigators and some pretty crazy stuff happened. Alberto, the guy we have been teaching, whose wife is really Catholic, has been banned by his wife from us meeting in their house. We invited him to think about living in seperate rooms from his wife until they could get married, and we aren't sure, but we think that is when she lost it, is when he talked to her. He is way awesome and would have been completely willing. But she won't let us teach them in their house anymore, so to teach him, we will have to teach him somewhere else, probably at some member's houses. But he is still progressing, even though he wasn't at church yesterday, and we still don't know why. Also, Paulino and Tánia have already gone inactive. I don't know how it happened. But we are pretty sure it is the dad, Silvino. He is a crook. Supposedly, our Branch President had told them that the church could pay for things. We think that is why he started letting us come over. He talked to our branch president later, and wanted money, and of course our branch president couldn't give it to him, so we think he got way mad. I believe that Paulino and Tánia were baptized for the right reasons, but Silvino won't take them to church. He will only take them to the Catholic church. We talked to Tánia, and she said that they will be going Catholic every other week, and to our church every other week. They haven't come the past 2 weeks. Anyway, so we talked to Silvino, and he doesn't want anything more to do with us. It is way stressful, and we are going to try to get the members over there talking to them. This week a lot of lessons fell through, but we also found some really good people. We are still teaching Mauro, and we feel he can probably be baptized this weekend, but we will see. We have been teaching this guy from Brazil named Adenilson, who me and Elder Dean found about 1 month and a half ago. We thought he had moved to Spain, but we decided to call his wife's phone and turned out he already returned. So we went to teach him and his wife Maria, and found out that they already knew they Elders in Brazil before they moved here, and used to have them over all the time. So we reviewed the restoration with them, and asked Adenilson if he had read anything from the Book of Mormon. He said he had read a little part in 3 Nephi 11, when Jesus Christ appeared to the Nephites and established his church. He read the part about being baptized in the name of Christ, and then Maria asked if they could be baptized! It was crazy! We told them that we were here to baptize people in the same way that Jesus Christ was baptized. We will be teaching them tonight and setting a date. Way cool. A miracle! We also found another family, Verônica, her brother Kelton, and her sister Patrícia. Verônica is 21, Kelton is 18, and Patrícia is 23. They are all from Cape Verde and way cool. We have only taught them once, but we have a way good feeling about them. Also, this week, I applied something we learned in Zone Conference with Elder Kapishky from the Seventy. He told us to set the alarm 5 minutes early, and dream for 5 minutes about finding people we could baptize. So I tried it one morning this week. I dreamed of a woman about in her early 20s, probably african, walking up a hill in a place called Catujal carrying groceries. That day, we were in Catujal, and I saw the exact person I dreamed about. She was about that age, african, carrying groceries, and walking on the exact street I imagined. It was amazing! So we hurried and walked up to her and asked her if she needed help with the groceries. She said no, so we told her who we were and asked her for her phone number. She was hesitant to give it to us, so I told her that we felt that we had to talk to her, and so she gave it to us. We still haven't called her, but are sure something good will come from it. Another miracle. The mission is full of miracles like that. So, anyway, it was a really good week, but really bad week at the same time. I am trying really hard to have more faith, and work a lot harder at trying new things and improving. Its going really awesome though. Transfers are next week, and we are pretty sure that I am leaving, as much as I would like to stay. I would like to, but I think it will be good to leave as well. I will miss the area, but it will be good to be somewhere new as well. The weather here really changed this week. It is really cold. Way colder than I expected for Portugal. Its cold, and rainy. I am really glad I have a rain jacket. Well, it sounds like everything is awesome at home. I am way glad to here that Uncle Richard is doing better. And Grandma Walker. Thanks for the package. I should be able to get it before Christmas. Supposedly the Elders in the office are going to dress up like Santa Claus (Pai Natal) and hand out packages to everyone. I am sending y'all a package today as well. I don't really know how much shipping costs out here, or how it really works, but we'll see. I am excited to talk to you all on Christmas! Is everyone going to be home? That will be awesome. I don't know the details for calling yet, but I will let you know when I find out. Well, I love you all and am thankful for your support and prayers. You are all in mine. I love you. Boas Férias! Tchau!
Elder Walker

P.S. David Baker got his mission papers in. If you here anything, let me know!