Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Disciples of Christ in the Digital Age

Dear Loved Ones,

Our mission has now been officially approved and will be receiving Ipads this next month. This last Saturday we had a special mission wide conference where Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to speak to our mission. The whole mission gathered in Fukuoka...except us in Okinawa. We gathered in one chapel to watch it. 

I was a little sad at first to miss out on this one chance to meet an apostle on my mission. But then I realized the real gift isn't to shake the hand of an apostle, but really it is to be taught by one, to have the blessing of prophets seers and revelators today to bless us with God's counsel. So I'm simply grateful for that marvelous gift!

The training we received on using technology for missionary work was powerful. I was especially hit by the trust the Lord has in us, and the vision of how focused they expect us to be in being completely focused on the work of the Lord despite possible distractions these could become. 

It is so easy for technology to distract us from the things that matter most, instead of enjoying face to face conversations with the ones we love we let phone calls and texts and games and music distract us from that which matters most. We let ourselves get caught up in hours and hours of watching meaningless entertainment or news or things that really don't matter. 

In our training one safeguard they taught us that I think will be really helpful for me after the mission as well was to always clarify what you purpose is before you use the technology and the internet, if you find yourself using it without a purpose stop. Clarify and think how what you're doing will either make you a better person or help others. 

I had a powerful experience right after the meeting that drove home what was taught. To return to our area we took a taxi, and us 4 elders in our district got in a taxi with a 40 year old Japanese woman drive. 

While we were driving back I started reading one of the books we received about using facebook and such for proselyting. I was reading it and then I heard the taxi driver start talking about her troubles in life and how she felt like she couldn't find real peace. Then it hit me, "What am I doing here reading about using the internet to help people find the gospel when there is someone right next to me that needs it right now!?" So I quickly closed the book, put it in my bag and began to teach and bear testimony to that wonderful woman about how the gospel would truly bless her life. 

She had 3 kids and was a single mom, working so hard everyday to provide. She was filled with stress and worries in life. She would go out once a month with friends to drink and her worries would leave a little just a few moments, but then the would come right back and she would never find what she called "real peace" 

"So how do I get it?" She asked us.

I bore testimony to her of the unending power  of Christ and the Atonement, how He loved her more than she could ever imagine, and gave His life for her. She told us at the end that she felt peace in her heart just from talking with us.

And also because she said my voice was so calm and relaxing, I think though that was just the spirit. We ended up exchanging numbers and hopefully will get to meet her again and help her. 

I know this gospel is the only way to find real peace. I know that the Atonement is real and will lift the burdens of all those who come and lay them at the Saviors feet.

Love you all,

Elder Walton

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Sacrifice of Grandma's

This Saturday Hiroko Shimai got baptized! There were so many people that came to see her get baptized and support her! I am so grateful for all of the amazing members here. Looking at all the people she asked us, "so who else is getting baptized?"
"Just you."we replied
"All these people came just for me?!" She was so surprised, but felt so much love.

Its amazing to see how much her heart changed as she felt the spirit and Christ's love. She is so great!

After the baptism we went out to eat sushi with her and two other relief society sisters. It was two 20 year old elders, a 35 year old sister, a 50 year old sister and a 70 year old sister, so we were definitely quite the interesting group!

Then amazingly the next morning she came to church for her confirmation and told us she had had to work the night shift so she only had 1-2 hours of sleep, but she was just peacefully happy as ever to be here at church and to receive the Holy Ghost.

Yesterday I had an experience where I learned what it meant to walk in Christ's footsteps. Last night me and my companion had finished planning and I went over to our study room to read some old testament while my companion was in the other room. While I was reading though, I just had this feeling that I needed to go be with my companion, that he needed me. I went over and found him laying on the bed looking sad. He told me he had been struggling with feelings of loneliness and homesickness.

That day I had been feeling pretty sick, and at that moment I didn't feel like I had enough in me to help my companion, I felt a part of me that wanted to not care about it being full with my own problems, but I remembered the example of Christ, how even in his darkest moments he thought of others and lifted them up, healing the soldiers ear, praying "forgive them for they know not what they do", and remembering his Mother even on the cross in excruciating pain.

Remembering His example I summoned the strength and love to simply talk with my companion and love him, to ask about his scouting trips as a kid and his life and just listen to him. Finally there was 2 minutes left and I still had my shirt and necktie on and had to hurriedly got ready for bed.

That night I prayed to God, and despite feeling tired and the normal stresses of life, I felt so good being able to tell God that I followed the example of His Son.

We all have trials in our lives, but I know if we will raise our eyes and our prayers to heaven to seek and find those that need our loving helping hand, God will guide us and use us to be an answer to someone else's prayer.

Pray and ask God to be guided to someone who needs your help and I promise He will.

And in your times of need He will guide those people to you too! Because He loves you!

Elder Walton
Okinawa Japan

Pictures: Temples in Space! will build one one day!
Me and Shin chan Hiroko Shimai's grandson
Hiroko Shimai's baptism
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Scottish Grandma

So I have now been in Okinawa about a week and a half and it is so great! I feel now , partly from not being a zone leader and partly from just being here in the islands and not the rush of the city I am able to just refocus on the basics of being a missionary and of missionary work. It is such a peaceful good feeling.

Despite being in an area we can bike across in 20minutes (the smallest in the mission) we have been seeing many miracles and actually finding some really good people that havent talked to missionaries 15 times. Woot!

But we really have been just seeing how much it isn't us, but how much God is guiding us even to knock on a single house that turns out to be someone who will meet again, or even guiding us to know which members we should visit and encourage to do missionary work.

Currently our most important investigator is Hiroko san!

She is a 65 year old grandma! She always wears this beret and talks with so much personality I swear she has scottish in her blood. She is so sweet and so fun to be around. Every lesson we have she comes in with sandwiches and snacks she bought from the local convenience store. She is so great!

Before I came in she had loved the missionaries and hanging out with them, but she didn't really have interest in the gospel even when she took the lessons. However one day sitting in church next to a missionary she reads on the program "baptism" and she says, "I want that!" And from then on she has started progressing. When I first came in she didn't really have a testimony of God or relationship with him, but we have been able to help her have her own spiritual experiences especially with Christ.

Her favorite was when we showed her the picture of Christ holding the little sheep. She saw that and felt so much love for Christ and that picture told her a thousand words of who Christ is. She told us "Sono hitsuji ni naritai!" (I want to be that little sheep!)

And now she has progressed so much! Her heart has done a full 180 degrees and totally changed. She is so wonderful. And she will be getting baptized this saturday! I am so grateful to have been apart of helping her come to Christ, even if it was just a small small part.

I love the gospel!

Elder Walton

A okinawa alcohol special "Habu Sake" an alcohol brewed by sticking a highly deadly poisonous snake. No thank you.

Me and my companion!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Haisai! (that means hello in Okinawan!) 

I got transferred down to Okinawa, for those who aren't familiar, it is like the Hawaii of Japan! 

I got off the plane Thursday to palm trees, warm humid weather and wonderful island life! 

I am now a district leader in Shuri. My new area is the smallest in the whole mission. Wereas I am used to biking as far as I want and never being able to leave my area unless I biked 6 hours, I now bike across my whole area in 20 minutes or less. 

The church here is amazingly strong. Our ward is huge. It is full of returned missionaries and families and young people, I was so amazed when I came here. I am used to smaller branches with more old people, but this is amazing to see and work with a full ward and see what that is like. 

The missionary work has been struggling here though, there hasn't been a baptism in either of the areas in my distict in the past year and a half. But with the Lord's help we will change that. 

My new companion is Elder Chung. He is chinese, we taught a man in chinese together on the street the other day and set up an appointment for today. Pray for Ni Jian Zhan!


Elder Walon

The Professor the Plane and the Power

Dear Loved Ones,

This last week has been truly wonderful! There were so many small moments where I couldn't help but rejoice at the thought that I was a missionary declaring His gospel. There are so many trials as a missionary, but there are also so many amazing moments where I return home feeling absolutely amazing, feeling like I'm floating on clouds from feeling the spirit so strong. 

This week we had so many miracles where I felt that way.

-One night me and my companion were planning on taking a bus an hour away, but part way there we found out there were no buses to take us all the way there. So we had 3 hours of nothing planned and weren't sure what to do. In those decision points our mission president has taught us to always ask the Lord what we should do, so we prayed right there on the street to know the next step.

While we prayed I felt like we should go housing near this former investigator, Dawn and Te's house 30min away from where we were, but I was for some reason hesitant to say it, I asked my companion "what do you feel" and then he left me flabbergasted by saying, "I feel like we should go house near Dawn and Te.

He had felt EXACTLY what I was thinking. It was crazy. So we get down there and begin housing. We do the bottom part of an apartment, but no one was home so we decide to move on, about 20min later though I just got a strong feeling that we needed to go back to that apartment, so we went back and housed the top part of it. 

The third door was a bright young college student who seemed interested and made an appointment for us to come back and then the last door was a young mom who spoke english. We told her our message and asked if we could come back, she said essentially, "Yeah I have heard about God from my Mom you can come back, how about tomorrow?" 

 "Yeah sure!" we said. This was no normal night for us! We left just feeling on clouds for how God had used us to do His work and guide us by the spirit. It was amazing. 

-Then the other miracle was a few days later, we were biking on the street and my companion saw a couple he felt like we should talk to, the husband was a professor who it turns out had actually been to Salt Lake and seen the temple! We asked if we could share our message, but he told us he was too busy, we left him with a flyer and went on our way, but the next day he called us and said, "Hello, this is the gentleman you met yesterday" (He spoke fluent english)

He wanted to meet us that day at 5pm at his office! (people almost never call us from flyers) so we go down to his meeting room and sits us down at this big table and he brings some of his staff to meet us, an associate professor from Nepal, a PHD student from Ghana and then another Japanese associate professor a lady about 25. He sits them all down at the table and then after simple small talk he asks us why we would give up 2 years of our lives to come here? 

To be honest I was terrified, I have never taught such a large group of people all much smarter than me, but with my companion at my side and the spirit in my heart I felt the spirits promptings and pulled out 2 Nephi 2 and had them read

"Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

 7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

 8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah,who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise."

Then my companion and I bore a sincere testimony of Jesus Christ, of our Savior and the amazing atonement he has performed for us. Immediately the spirit came into the room and we were able to share what we believe and why it is so important, and leave them with a pure warm feeling and 2 book of mormons for them to ponder themselves. 

It's amazing how the Lord has used me as an instrument in His hands. Some times Satan tempts me to doubt myself, to think that I am a failure for this or for that. I think he does that to all of us. He tries to pull us down into the darkness in dark thoughts and dark places. But Christ has paid the price that we could rise to the light. Whenever I feel trapped in that swamp of darkness I know that through the Saviors light I can be brought through and return home. 

Tomorrow will be my last day in Nagasaki. On Thursday I will take a plane down to Shuri in Okinawa to be a district leader down there. My new companion is named Elder Chung! He speaks chinese! And I am determined to be able to do the same at the end of next transfer!

My time is winding down here as a missionary, but I am loving and savoring each precious day as a disciple of Christ.


Elder Walton


Me and Elder Murphy in traditional japanese clothes

Two high school kids who live near the church (nonmembers) who came to our waffle party. 

President Gustafson is always watching

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