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missionwrw1 (Elder Walker)

Elder William R. Walker, Emeritus General Authority

Tuesday devotional,  July 16, 2019


Elder William R. Walker, Emeritus General Authority.  President LeSueur introduced Elder Walker.  He shared the following story.  Elder Walker was the managing director of the Temple Department when the Gilbert Arizona Temple was dedicated, and President LeSueur had been selected as the first temple president.  During the morning and afternoon of the cultural celebration that preceded the temple dedication, the rain was torrential and continuous.  Hundreds of young people and their leaders had spent countless hours preparing for this special event.  President LeSueur was concerned about the youth and their disappointment if the event had to be cancelled, but he was also concerned about having President Monson out in the elements for an entire evening.  President LeSueur asked Elder Walker if the event would be cancelled.  Without hesitation, Elder Walker responded that the event would precede and that all would be well.  The evening was glorious despite the inclement weather.

1/ Elder Walker

  • I loved my mission as a young elder in Japan.
  • I would like to share 10 (he actually shared 12) things that will ensure that you are a happy and a successful missionary
    • Number OneFocus on the Lord
      • Focus on His gospel plan.  Remember that you have been called by the Lord’s prophet.
      • Alma 39:13 — “…turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength…”
      • Alma 37:36 — “…let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and withsoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.”
      • Helaman 5:12 — “…it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation…”
      • Matthew 6:33 — “…seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”
    • Number Two Love the scriptures
      • I read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover six times during my mission.
      • 1 Nephi 19:23 — “And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses. but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.”
      • Elders and sisters, protect and utilize your scripture study time every day.
      • President Hinckley reminded all of us, even the general authorities, that we should should study the Book of Mormon, bu that we should not neglect the other scriptures!
      • Read your patriarchal blessing often.  Your blessing is another section of the Doctrine and Covenants for your personally.  It is your personal scripture.
    • Number Three:  Learn to love the leaders of the Church
      • Their words are scripture to us.
      • President Lee told all of us that the conference talks should be our “walk and talk” for the 6 months following every general conference.
    • Number Four: Forget about yourself
      • Gordon B. Hinckley, as a young elder, wrote home to his father and said that he was wasting his time and his father’s money.  His father wrote back: “Dear Gordon, I am in receipt of your letter.  I have only one word of counsel — forget yourself and go to work.  Love, your father.”  The next morning he and his companion read Mark 8:35 in their scripture study.  The words of that verse seared into President Hinckley’s young soul.  That day became his ‘day of decision’, and a new joy entered his soul and it blessed his life for the remainder of his life.
      • Mark 8:35 — “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
      • 2 Nephi 2:2 — “Jacob,…thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
      • Your prayers should not be all about you!  You should be praying primarily about others – the people you are teaching, your leaders, the leaders of the Church, the people of the country in which you are serving, your family!
      • Alma 8:10 — “…Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in might prayer, that He would pour out His Spirit upon the people who were in the city, that He would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance.”  He was praying for the very people that would soon spit on him, chastise him, and throw him out of their city.
    • Number Five: Love the people where you are called to serve
      • Learn to love the people, the land, the culture, the food, everything around you.  I had to learn to love eating squid and octopus during my mission to Japan.  My mission president bragged about me to other missionaries because loved eating squid.  To my president, it meant that I had immersed myself in the Japanese culture and adopted those wonderful people as my own.
      • Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 — “Let thy bowels be full of charity to all men, and to the household of faith…”.  We might not express things just that way, but the Lord is admonishing us to love every good thing about the people we are serving.
    • Number Six: Love your companion
      • Doctrine and Covenants 30:6 — “And be you [Peter Whitmer] afflicted in all his [Oliver Cowdery’s] afflictions, always lifting up your heart unto me in prayer and faith, for his and your deliverance…”.
      • My son’s mission president asked him to serve with an elder that no one else could tolerate.  This was to be the challenging missionary’s last chance before being sent home.  Elder Greg Walker loved him and helped him and he was able to complete his mission.  I had the chance to meet this elder many years after his mission, and he said to me, “Your son saved my life, spiritually and emotionally.”
      • Have the courage now to do something that no on else might be able to do.
    • Number Seven: Follow your mission president
      • Alma 37:35 — “Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.”  Early in your missionary service, learn to obey the missionary rules.
      • I am going to tell you a great secret of service in the Church — if you have a question about something or if you don’t understand or agree with a decision, don’t tell other people [missionaries] about it.  Take your question or your doubt to your mission president [or other presiding authority]. Don’t be a pot-stirrer.
      • Doctrine and Covenants 105:37 — “And inasmuch as they follow the counsel which they receive, they shall have power …to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion.”  Follow counsel!
    • Number Eight:  Learn the language of the Spirit
      • 1 Nephi 4:6 — “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.”
      • President Nelson tells us that knowing the language of the Spirit if more important than knowing the foreign language you are called to learn.  Even if you are not fluent in the language of the country to which you are called, you can still be a forceful, effective missionary.
      • Alma 5:46 — “…they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God.  I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself.  And I do know of myself that they are true, for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit, and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.”
      • Mosiah 2:32 — “…beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, that ye list to obey the evil spirit…”  You cannot have success in this great work if there is contention between you and your companion.
    • Number Nine: Work hard
      • Alma 37:37 — “..when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God…”
      • Alma 37:34 — “Teach them to never be weary of good works…”  Never weary!
      • Mosiah 4:27 — “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order, for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.  And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize, therefore all things should be done in order.”  Missionary work is not a competition.  Simply be able to say at the end of your mission, as my son told me, that “I did my best!”
      • Doctrine and Covenants 123:17 — “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”  This incredible admonition was given while the Prophet Joseph was in Liberty Jail!  Cheerfully?  Incredible attitude!
      • Elder Walker was set apart by a general authority, as was the tradition in the 1960’s.  There were 6 missionaries going to Japan, and they were all set apart by the same authority.  Elder Walker was the last to be set apart.  All of the other 5 were promised that they would return safely from their field of labor.  Not one word about a safe return was mentioned in Elder Walker’s setting-apart.  He said to himself, “Well, since I am going to die in the mission field, I might as well give it my all!”
    • Number Ten: Be obedient
      • Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 — “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.”
      • 1 Samuel 15:22 — “…to obey is better than sacrifice, to hearken than the fat of rams.”
      • Alma 57:21 — the stripling warriors obeyed with ‘exactness’.
      • Keep all the rules, all the time, with all your heart.
    • Number Eleven:  Be a ‘Preach My Gospel’ missionary
      • Study and follow every instruction given in Preach My Gospel.
      • 1 Timothy 4:16 — “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.”  This was one of President Hinckley’s most favorite verses.  He quoted it often.  Take the message of this great counsel to heart.
    • Number Twelve:  Be a faithful member of this Church for the rest of your life!
      • In speaking of missionaries that drift into inactivity or apostasy, Elder Walker said, “Their inactivity is an INSULT to their companions, to those they taught, to their families, and to the Lord!”
      • Doctrine and Covenants 18:15 — “If ye should labor all your days and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with them in the Kingdom of my Father.”  Even if that one soul is YOU, your joy shall be great!
  • I asked that we sing “How Firm A Foundation” as our closing hymn, and I asked that we sing verse 7.  This was President Monson’s favorite verse of that song.  Pay attention to its meaning as we sing.  [I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!]
  • You have been called to serve as a full-time missionary for 2 years, and you have also been called to be an active, contributing member of this Church for your entire life time!

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