Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16th
Hey Yall!

   This week has been WILD!!!!! I don't have a ton of time today so I'm gonna try to condense it all and still hit everything. 
   Starting Monday, we had our Zone Pday/STM. We have an awesome family in our ward (The Boger Family) that has a bunch of land and a really cool house. They let us all come out there and play games and have fun! It was so awesome! It had been forecasted for bad weather that day but it didn't look too bad outside. Well we were about to leave to go change and eat and all in prep for our zone meeting and Sister Boger came out and said that we all needed to come back inside because we were on a tornado warning. So we all headed back inside as it started to rain. In the distance off to the west there was a BLACK wall cloud. So all 20 of us were in their Pool house where their 30 man safe room is, and Sister Boger came out to talk to us. She said that there was an F3 tornado coming straight at us from the west and that it would be there in 15 minutes. So we all as missionaries got together in a big circle and said a prayer that we would all be safe from the tornado and the storms. Then we all sat down and started singing hymns. It was angelic to hear 20 missionaries all singing hymns like that. I wouldn't be surprised if there were other angels there too singing with us. There have been very few times on my mission that I have felt the spirit so strong. I was overcome with a feelingof peace and I knew that everything would be okay.I was still nervous though. Sister Boger said that the Tornado was getting bigger and moving faster towards us. We continued to sing and let me tell you what, we could give Motab a run for their money! It was amazing! Well Sister Boger came out of the safe room and with tears in her eyes said that the tornado had changed its course and would miss us by a half mile or so. I knew that wasn't by chance! The storm passed and we were all safe. There were a few home destroyed and 3 people killed but all the members of the Pauls Valley ward were safe.
   THEN, another tornado came out of a storm about 30 miles south of us in a town called Sulphur. That one was an F4 tornado with 220 MPH winds. It was 1 1/2 miles wide on the ground. That was a BIG one! It did tons of damage but surprisingly killed no one! So the next 2 days consisted of us cleaning up after the damage. Homes leveled, livestock killed, trees shredded, cars thrown. Some lost everything and others a stone throw away were untouched. Absolutely amazing the power that these things have. I have never seen anything like it in my life. I was truly humbled by the power of a tornado. I felt about 6 inches tall as I looked at miles upon miles of destruction. It made me realize how precious life is and how easily we all could have been hurt in that storm. The Lord was truly watching out for us that day and answered our prayers. What a blessing! 
   So that was most of the week! But on a lighter note, on Saturday we went and worked on a ranch that one of our investigators owns. Carla Stokes. We had finished our work and she was cookin us dinner. She heard something outside and went to go look and saw a opossum on top of her trash can! Well she had a few ranch hands that she had fired that left a cooler full of beer cans. We were pouring them all out and missed one! So Elder Riffenburg grabbed it and rounded the house to the where the opossum was. He threw the can and drilled the opossum right in the head and knocked it out. With the help of a 2X4 and a shovel we took care of it! It was a wild and a crazy shot for sure! Fun times! Its been a crazy week and now its time for some fishin (:

Love yall and have a great week! And look out for Naders!

Elder Walker 

So here is the tornado that hit sulphur. And some of the clean up and the oppossum!

May 9th
Hey Yall!! 

   This week was amazing! The weather has been great and the work is moving forward! It was a crazy busy week though. We had two exchanges two days in a row! Thursday with the AP's and Friday with the Ada North Elders. So that was fun! Especially because I don't know this area very well. I guess I gotta learn it somehow! Anyhow, things are going good here! 
   Mothers day was pretty good! Both me and Elder Riffenburg gave talks in sacrament meeting so that was fun (: We got to skype with our families too! That was a highlight for sure! Its so nice to see everyone's faces and see how much they've grown! And this was a milestone because that was my last time skyping home! Its crazy how fast time flies! 
   Oklahoma has become my home away from home. Oregon is still my home obviously, but I have learned to love Oklahoma so much. The people, the landscape, the bashers, the members and many other things. It has and always will have a special place in my heart! I love this place so much! I do miss the mountains like crazy though. Anyhow, all is well here in Oklahoma and I'm happy as ever! 

Love yall and have a great week! 

Elder Walker

May 2nd
Hey yall!  

   This week has been a wild one! We were super busy all week and had soooo much success! I'm glad its finally over because I'm tired.  So a little about Pauls Valley, it's a pretty small town and we also cover 9 or 10 other small towns. We have Paoli, Wayne, Stratford, Elmore City. Mayseville, Erin Springs, Lindsey, White Bead, Payne and Wallville. Its hard to balance going to all the other places but most of our work is here in Pauls Valley so thats nice. The people here are amazing. I LOVE the small town feel! We meet in a double wide trailer for sacrament meeting and have a super tiny building. Its about the same size, if not smaller than Blue River! Fun stuff! Every body literally knows everybody and are all somehow related. Its crazy. I still gotta figure out the network of it all. 

 Anyhow, I know that yall complain about weather reports but this week was crazy! We had 2 severe storms that produced tornados! Starting Tuesday we got a call from Elder Drayton who is the Mission Vehicle Coordinatoor and he told us that we needed to tell all the missionaries in the zone to park their cars somewhere where they wouldn't be damaged in the storm. Apparently he had gotten a phone call from Salt Lake saying that the same storm that was coming our way had TOTALLED 29 mission vehicles in the San Antonio mission. So we spread the word! That meant that we had to do the same, so we called the Hancocks in our ward and asked if they had some room in their barn that we could park our truck. They told us to come help move some things around so we did! Then we parked it and said thanks! Well the Hancocks live about 7 miles south of Pauls Valley in a town called Wynnewood. So we were wondering what we were gonna do for the rest of the day. It was about 2:00 and the storms were supposed to hit anytime, so we hung out at the Hancocks for the day! We planted their garden, went 4 Wheelin in one of those Yamaha Rhino things AND his SICK Bronco (Dont worry he drove), cleaned up their yard and fished in his pond. It was a super fun day and let me tell you what, I havent had so much adrenaline pump through my blood as I did when I caught the first fish I'd caught in over a year and a half! Plus it was a bass which made is even more fun (: But anyhow it was a good day (: The storms came, knocked the power out and did lots of damage. But we were safe and sound!

   Then another storm came on Friday and did some damage too but not as much. Anyhow, things were great this week and I love Pauls Valley more and more every day! "And Jesus said unto them, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men"(and fish) (: Love yall and have a great week! 

Elder Walker 

April 25th

Hey Yall! 

   This week has been amazing! I had a few wonderful days in Quail Creek before I left for Pauls Valley Oklahoma. I have loved every second of it here because this place feels like home. I have served in the heart of the City now for 19 months and I have the wonderful chance to be here with the saints of Pauls Valley. They are so amazing. Very different than city people. Everyone is so down to earth and willing to do anything for you. They make amazing food and have no shortage of work to do. So if you ask if you can help they actually say yes!! Thats new for me! My new companion is Elder Riffenburg and he is an awesome guy. He was one of our District Leaders up in Edmond when I was still in Quail Creek and about 2 transfers ago he became a Zone Leader so now I get to serve with him! Im so excited! I am grateful to have had all great companions! Well mostly. Some weren't so great but that's not important (:
   The ward is amazing! It was a branch about 4 months ago and then was made a ward. The work is moving forward here! In my 5 days here we have worked on 3 different ranches, been fishing, got the truck stuck, and helped build a house! I love it! Oh, for yall that know who Toby Keith is, he has a huge ranch out here and, yall remember the movie Footloose? It was filmed in one of the towns here in our area called Elmore City! Theres even signs up that say no dancing! Its pretty cool! I am on the last stretch of my mission and I am so happy to be here! 
   I want to apologize for not responding to everyones emails. We are going fishing on a members private pond today. (: They live out there a ways so it takes a while to get there. 
   Anyhow, Life is great! I am full of gratitude and am grateful for all yall who love and support me! I hope that yall have a wonderful week!

Elder Walker 

Here's my new comp and the pond we hit saturday morning. This place is gorgeous!!

April 17th

Hey Yall!

   This week has been a good one for us. Nothing too crazy happened though. The weather has been amazing and we aren't complaining one bit! Except for this weekend. It got stormy! But before I get to that, We found this lady who is super cool! Her name is Debra and she lives pretty close to our place. She was out in her yard so we stopped to talk to her and she invited us back! We went back on Saturday night and had a great lesson with her! Her husband was in the house runnin around doin stuff but he said that when we come back he wants to join in with us! So cool!
   Things with the Moreno family are going good. We had an awesome lesson with them at the church and they seemed to love it! They are still on track for April 30th and we are soooooo excited for them!!
   So the highlight of the week. First off, I want to talk about our stake president here in the OKC stake. His name is President Tom Gray. He is the CEO of an extremely successful oil company but if you didn't know that, you'd never be able to guess! He is one of the most humble men I have ever met in my entire life. He is such a good example and is such a righteous leader. I have had the chance to serve around him now for over a year! I have been in this stake since April 1st, 2015 and have loved every second of it! But anyhow, yesterday we had our Stake General Priesthood meeting. We got to hear from several brethren and then the stake presidency. Listening to President Gray speak is like listening to an apostle speak! I am glued to him the whole time! Last night He spoke about being men of Valor and how we as priesthood holders have a wonderful and powerful calling.
   Meanwhile, during this meeting, there was a really bad thunderstorm that was happening . There was lots of thunder and lightening but kind of in the distance. It was pretty cool cuz I love thunderstorms! So at the beginning of President Gray's talk, he defined what valor meant. Basically meaning, powerful and courageous. Then he looked out at everyone and with so much power he said, "We are men of Valor." As soon as he finished that sentence, there was a huge clap of thunder that literally shook the entire building. Holy smokes. I don't know if him and God had some sort of deal goin on or what but that was probably the most powerful statement I have ever heard made. The thunder definitely helped out there! It was amazing!
   Then he talked about how as priesthood holders we need to do things every day to sanctify ourselves ( Sanctify means to make holy) He said that the opposite of sanctify is dishonor. Then he said, " If there is anything that you are doing to dishonor your priesthood, Stop it. " Followed by another huge clap of thunder. The spirit testified to me of the power of the priesthood and the power that this man has. He has been such a huge influence to me and I am so thankful for the chance that I've had to serve around him! I hope someday to have the power that he has! That power comes from strict obedience to the commandments and also heeding the promptings of the spirit. It is possible!!

I love yall and hope that you have a great week!!

Elder Walker