Hello Family and Friends,Well, this one sure tugged at my heartstrings… Please pray for my boy. I know he’ll be okay, but the reality is setting in and I can only imagine how difficult this journey will be. Difficult, but ever so worth it!
Here’s a beautiful quote from one of my favorite apostles, Jeffrey R. Holland:
“Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.”
Thank you all for your love and support! Have a beautiful week! Smiles, Marsi
Another week down. I can’t quite tell if it went fast or slow, but it’s been another week of growth to say the least. As the knowledge sinks in that I am here to stay for two years, I get all the more excited and all the more scared. The two sentiments seem to grow together. I’m striving to not let it get to me. At present, I’m silently in pain as I desire more than anything to share the gospel and to bring others unto Christ, and I can talk decently, but it is unbelievably difficult for me to understand the people I interact with. I always expect more of myself than is reasonably possible, but nevertheless, this slow growing process eats at my confidence and it is only through diligent and frequent prayer that I find myself able to get through the days.
In reality, I simply just try to keep myself busy at work 100% of the time, because its in the moments I’m not working I have the time to analyze my weaknesses and the pangs of homesickness hit. I am so far from home. It only makes my faith grow stronger though, because I’m confident that if we could see how far we are from our Heavenly home, the desire to return would overwhelm us. As the Lord’s missionary, I have been commissioned to help his children take the necessary steps to find that path home. Two years is but a small sacrifice to assist in accomplishing this salvation of souls.
Mom, feel free to omit anything I say directly to you or the rest of the family. I don’t know how often I’ll get around to physically writing a letter, so for the time being, this will have to suffice. I love you all dearly. I miss you more than I can find words to describe, but I am where I need to be now, and although I am weak, exceedingly weak, the Lord will strengthen me in time. I know it. It’s a lesson in patience and perseverance for me.
Other exciting things that happened this week. We finally got moved into our own pención. It’s a pretty run down little place, but it’s shelter. When I’m not chasing out tree frogs, geckos, or killing cockroaches (there’s no end to them), it’s an all right place. The other day while we were buying furniture, the song from Tangled came on in the store. Even though it was in Castellano, it still plucked some heartstrings and a little wave of homesickness hit. If anything, living in South America really makes you a more Patriotic individual. I love America.
Conference was fantastic. We got to watch it in English too! The stake set up a TV for all the gringo missionaries so we could watch it in English. I was pumped. President Monson really dropped some cane on the men during priesthood session essentially demanding that they don’t waste any more time getting married. It kinda makes me a little glad I’m not at BYU right now. The place is going to go dating/marriage crazy. But yeah, I love conference. So many good lessons learned.
We had another baptism this Saturday in between sessions. It was more stressful than I could have ever imagined. We had 13 people set to be baptized between all the missionaries in our area. Everyone was there except for our investigator. She didn’t show up until we were halfway through all the baptisms. It was hectic, but she got baptized and that’s what counts.
Other exciting story, I almost witnessed a machete murder. We were standing on the side of a street waiting to meet some other elders from our zone for lunch and we hear screaming across the street. We look across to see a girl trying to hold back some guy who’s just tearing up some other guy with a wooden pole. Two girls pull him back and the guy getting beat runs over and picks up a machete, bleeding from the mouth all over his neck and shirt, and goes to charge the other guy who had been wailing on him with the pole. Not having a machete, this other guy pumped up on adrenaline starts tearing pieces off the nearest motorcycle and throwing them at the machete wielder. It was ridiculous. Anyways, no one died, there was blood, and the lovely passers-by of Argentina did absolutely nothing more than ignore that anything was happening.
I’m sorry this email is a little short and boring, but I’ve got a lot on my mind and I simply wanted to get a little message to you all letting you know that I’m safe and loving the challenge. Next week I’ll try to get some pictures to you.
I love you all, and may God be with you as you remain faithful to his commandments.
Elder Steven Reid Walker