Florida Elder Has a Relatively Normal Week

As the title says, I can’t really remember much happening this week. Maybe I need better notes. Maybe I’m getting to used to this mission thing in these seven-and-some-change weeks.

But some things I can remember are: English exchange in the weirdest part of the mission, St. Pete. Met a man who loves to tell tall-tales. Met a man who was watching anti-mormon videos. The usual.

We talked to some drunk people who really loved Jesus.

I had my second baptism for Juanita. A New Yorican (New York Puerto Rican). She was so ready for the gospel. I met her on my first day in the field, and she just progressed with no problems.

This week I just want to recommend a talk by Elder Bednar “Quick to Observe”. It’s a BYU speech. It is about both definitions of the word observe. As in to observe a detail or observe a commandment. It is an important trait and a very useful one for religious and non-religious reasons. It helps you turn outward. It shows your diligence and willingness to do what you should. Very good talk.

Sorry for the short email. Hope it finds you all well.

Hasta próxima semana

Kind of an odd angle. It almost looks like they are in a fishbowl. 😛 This was posted on the Tampa Florida Facebook Page when their new companion, Elder Doney, joined them. 

Elder Doney is brand new out of the Provo Utah MTC. His Visa still hasn’t arrived for him to get to Brazil where he is to serve. Walker said it can take a very long to time for it to go through. Six months or more is fairly typical for Brazil! Sometimes they don’t even go through. That’s crazy!

He’s from north of Seattle, Washington in a small town called, Snohomish. He’s a Portuguese missionary, but since he’s there in Florida in a Spanish-speaking mission, he feels he needs to speak Spanish. Walker and Elder Oren keep telling him that he can speak Portuguese. Most Spanish speakers there understand it.

Walker and his companions moved this week. They were living in Largo at Bal Harbor apartments.

Now they are living in Pinellas Park. It’s about a 10-15 minute drive apart. Walker likes the new place better, but it seems to be hotter since they have more windows.

Last week, he was very busy and wasn’t able to chat much. He had gone down to St. Petersburg to check out Fort De Soto Park.

“Fort De Soto Park’s Historic Fort and Museum
 At the heart of the park where the Gulf meets Tampa Bay, you’ll find the historic fort and Fort De Soto Batteries that give the park its name.

At ground level, enter old artillery holds and firing galleys that make up the base of the coquina shell fort. You can also view mortar battery cannons aimed over the top of the fort and pointed at Tampa Bay, where invaders would have approached.

Climb the steep stairs to the fort overlook to see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the world’s longest cable-stayed concrete bridge. Before leaving the fort area, stop in at the Quartermaster Museum. Housed in a reconstruction of the fort’s old postal building, the museum tells the story of the fort through historic photographs, military documents and Spanish-American War artifacts.”


It was pretty cool. They didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but it was fun to get out and do something different. 🙂

He’s been really busy and we weren’t sure if we’d get to talk today. We were really happy when we got a phone call. We only got to chat for about 30 minutes, but it was SO good to see him and talk to him! <3

We updated him on some of the things going on around here. I just got a calling as a Relief Society Teacher.

When we went to the Ward BBQ a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to Sister Winfield. She was asking about him and said how much she loved having him in her Sunday School Class several years ago. She remembers how much he loved marine biology! They would talk and talk and talk during class. She loved learning all about it from him and was fascinated by how much he knew! I told her that it was so funny that that’s what she remembers about him. We were just talking about that the last time we talked. He was all excited that he’d found some frogs and turtles out in Florida! <3

He took this picture last week of an interesting car. He said it looked like someone had taken a Sharpie and drawn all over their car. He thought it was cool! LOL!

Sadly, Istella and Duro aren’t taking lessons anymore. However, Walker mentioned in his letter that Juanita was baptized, and that’s so wonderful!! They are teaching a man who is engaged to a member. His name is Elliot Davide. They have gone through all of the lessons with him, but he says he still has questions. They have explained all they know to him, but he still says he needs to know more. He doesn’t ask questions, so they aren’t sure what more they can do to help settle his mind.

We got the chance to discuss more of what he and his Mission President spoke about last week. It went well, and he’s helped him get some things in order to make a plan. If he feels like he needs to check in, he can call him and discuss things whenever he needs to. The biggest thing is that he wants him to write up his plan and if it’s not working, adjust it and try it for a while. If that plan doesn’t work, write up a new plan and continue to do so until he finds that things that help him and work well for him.

Missions are hard. There are so many things these young men and women deal with every day as they serve the Lord and do their best to live, teach, and love the people they are called to serve. It’s exciting and rewarding, but it is also trying and difficult. They are far from home, living with companions they don’t know, learning new languages, teaching people they don’t know, and are doing all they can to adjust to these new things. They are still just 18/19/20-year-olds trying to figure out who they are and trying to do what is right. They are human, and they have insecurities and things they are dealing with as we all do!  There are days they feel like they’ve given all they have and still come up short. But, anything worth having and doing is going to take work, trial, and error. It’s how we learn. They say that to fail is to
It takes messing up and struggling and messing up again to become better at anything. No one is born an expert. It takes years and sometimes a lifetime to achieve our goals. I love this quote from Elder Holland,

Our weaknesses draw us closer to Heavenly Father. The natural man in us has a large ego. When things are going well we tend to forget the One who has blessed and given us all that we have. In times of struggle, pain, and heartache is when we remember our Lord more because we usually need help. Hopefully, we get to the point of that not being the case, and we seek Him and remember Him always, not just in times of hardship.

The scriptures give us a little more insight as to why we have weaknesses.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 2:9

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Ether 12:27

Even though we are weak, the Lord’s grace is sufficient to help us and turn those weaknesses into strengths. Through the power of our Savior’s Atonement, we can be made perfect (one day). All He asks is that we try!

We must not quit trying. If we do, then the natural man has won another battle, and we are, in effect, acknowledging that the doctrine of Hope does not amount to much.
Neal A. Maxwell “Moving in His Majesty and Power” page 79

Sorry for being long-winded this week. I guess I felt a little passionate about the subject. 😛 Please keep our missionary and all of our missionaries who are serving in your prayers. They sure can use them!

To end this week’s post I’ll try to lighten the mood. 😉 I found this little beauty in his pictures. It made me laugh! I guess these are the “important” things he’s also learning out in the field! Girlfriends are Evil. Haha! 

And this one was on the Mission Facebook page! He’s cute! 

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