Saturday, August 30, 2014

Missionary Drive-by Sierra Vista #2

Hi Everyone,  
The first week here in Sierra Vista has truly been a blurr. I can't believe tomorrow I have been out for three weeks and in the field for a week and a half. I have been able to meet quite a few people from the ward, LA, RC and Investigators and other Elders in my zone. This is a truly blessed area, and I don't know what I did to be able to be here in my first area. Truly, I don't deserve this great of a place. 
The members are extremely kind and very engaged in the work. 
I had a moment the other night while we were driving around that I felt completely overwhelmed, and I just pulled over to the side of the road and said a prayer and out loud, I don't know what to do. I defer to your seniority in every way. I was talking to my companion out loud. But I was truly talking to the Lord. I felt so powerless. It was probably the most humbling experience to feel that powerless. I was reminded how much the Lord was in charge of the work. How great is that gift? Since then it has been a moment by moment effort to submit my will to His because who am I to think I know what I am doing in any way? God directs His work on this earth. I am only here to help Him in the task of hastening the work. 
There are such daily miracles here to help keep me humble too. And I am reminded of the sacrifice of Alma the younger when he gave up the judgment seat to go and preach the word. He almost gave up on the people at one time and the Lord responds and basically says, Go back. I will tell you when to give up on someone. I have had this testimony throughout my life grow but in the past week it has blossomed. 
Oh Sister Barton! Brother Frost! I was able to extend my first baptismal invitation on Friday and we have a date set. It was such a powerful moment to help this man realize how God was preparing him for that time to come unto Christ. Such miracles that you helped me to learn and internalize. Thank you. 
I truly love you all and pray for you all. 
Sister Walter

MTC pictures

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sierra Vista # 1 Aug 19, 2014

Hello Everyone! 
I am now in Arizona and in an area called Sierra Vista. We are about 15 miles from the border :) Also we live close to the Ft Huachuca military base for those of you who are familiar. We are right in the middle of monsoon season and have already had three small rain showers today. 
I have to admit I was a little nervous when I got off the plane yesterday but I immediately felt SO much love from President Passey and Sister Passey. They took us to the van and we loaded our luggage. Then we waited for the others from the Mexico MTC to come and join us. 
After we had this great adventure to the Mormon Batallion Memorial where we started at the bottom of this hill and they gave us copies of the Book of Mormon and talked about the hastening of the work and then we RAN to the memorial! Haha! It was great. I feel so much joy and happiness being here. I admit I greatly miss the sacred safety that the MTC provided but everyone here who I have met so far are really amazing. We have a zone conference with Elder and Sister Maun (spelling) of the 70 next week and that should be amazing. We also get to go to the temple 3 times a year and one of those times is next month! Yay temple. Really. I love that place. 
We had interviews with Pres Passey yesterday and that was great. He is so kind. He also is so passionate about becoming who the Lord wants us to become! That resonated so much with my soul. 
My trainer is so sweet. Really, I feel such love from her and for her already. But I am ready to work. I feel like my head is swimming a bit but I know that is good. I feel I remember sis Barton at the MTC talk about that. We have a lot of families we are teaching. I am excited and admittedly a little nervous to start working with them but I know that the Lord with direct the work as I stay worthy of the Spirit and as my trainer and I strive to be unified through obedience and worthiness. 
This is the Lord's work my dear family and friends! I know that Lord is looking after you because that is what I am trusting from Him and more importantly that is what the scriptures say. I pray you all are so well. Its almost time to head out. We have work to do so soon. Time to go! 
Oh man! Such joy and happiness fills my heart. Till next week. 
Sister Walter


Just have a few minutes authorized from the Branch President to write. I dropped a letter in the mail on the 6th. Hopefully you get it soon! I actually have gotten settled in pretty well. Getting to know the campus and enjoying the time here. I feel like there is never enough time in the day to learn everything. I have felt much energy of spirit and body. Sometimes when I wake up I am tired but it fades quickly after a shower or gym time. The classes are great. I truly am changing daily. I have never relied more on prayer or had such significant experience with the Spirit in changing and correcting me. The Lord is really the one directing this work. I am only a mere facilitator of His message. 

My whole district is heading to Tucson. There are 8 of us, 4 Sisters and 4 Elders. But we got our travel itenerary last night and will be heading out on the 18th with 22 others. Wow! So only 9 more days here. I wish it was more. I truly do. 

Our first day the mission presidency of the MTC spoke to us. That was wonderful. I didn't meet the Elder but I saw him. I flew American on the way to LAX and Alaska on the way to SLC. 

Wanna try DearElder? It would be cool to hear from you there too! But I'm also not in here long enough either. You choose. 

My companion is from Georgia. She has a fierce testimony. We are learning how to operate together. It has been...interesting. Good moments and not so good but it is in the Lord's hands. My whole district is under 20 so that is an adjustment as well in things. I am striving to be obedient to all the things though it makes me somewhat unpopular at times. 

I love you all but we need to get back to study and were only given 10 minutes anyway. 

Love you. 

Sister Walter. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Leaving on a Jet Plane!!

Off she goes into the clear blue yonder, seeming excited, a bit nervous - at least that is how she appeared, to begin a new adventure in her life. She left me, her Mom, in charge of posting on her blog each week.  We'll see how that goes. I'll do the best I can do. When I figure out how to post her pictures from the airport, I'll put them here also.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mission Information

I leave for the MTC on Tuesday at 1:55pm CST from Lambert. I feel ready though my heart is truly heavy at the change I face yet again. But I have more peace in this change because I know it is where the Lord has desired me to go next.

My family should hopefully be posting updates here while I am away.

Here are the address you can write me at while I am gone.

The MTC (will only be good for about 12 days :))

Sister Katherine Gail Walter
2009 N 900 E Unit 145
Provo UT 84602

The Mission Home. This will be the address to use once I leave the MTC.

Sister Katherine Gail Walter
Arizona Tucson Mission
939 W Chapala Dr
Tucson, AZ 85704-4516
United States

Solitude (lonely) by Ramin Karimloo

I first came across this song a few months ago. I'm grateful I did because it is one of those that just connects to my spirit.

It's 4am in the morning, I'm just getting in
Seem to be doing this, a whole lot again
I'm a contradiction of myself, where to confide?
Is it solitude or company, I can't decide

Lonely, on my own
Lonely with folks I know
Lonely, on my own
I'm lonely, with folks I know

Certainly it's hard to find a side on the go
Trying not to over think, allow chance to grow
Patience lets sit in me, hey what do you think?
Let's see if we can co-exist over a drink

Lonely, on my own
Lonely with folks I know
Lonely, on my own
I'm lonely, with folks I know

Now if I had a penny for each time I hear
Somebody whispering "Jesus is here"
Well it's hard to think about the Savior's son
When all the dreams we set about are coming undone

Don't sit and tell me the fault lies with me
Failures of mine, yeah I concede
I sure love my two young boys, give them all I can
Despite all my faults they make me a man
Despite all my faults they make me a man

Lonely, on my own
Lonely with folks I know
Lonely, on my own
I'm lonely, with folks I know

Lonely, on my own
Lonely with folks I know
Lonely, on my own
I'm lonely, with folks I know
I'm lonely, with folks I know

a supportive shoulder

Sometimes we aren't meant to know everything, or anything about the struggles someone is experiencing.

However what we can do is offer a prayer for the person or persons, love them and offer a supportive shoulder if ever it is needed.
Where there is the deepest suffering there is always the greatest opportunity for compassion

the human experience

Saturday, August 2, 2014

i advocate for compassion. #palestine #gaza #peace #israel #westbank

I’ve told myself to write this blog over and over again. But for a fear of what some friends or family members might say, I have held back. However the voice in my mind and in my heart tells me I need to. And the lesson I have tried to pay heed to the most over the past two years is to give voice to my heart. With that in mind, the following may not be as eloquent as I hope.

            The current war between Hamas and the Israeli government/military has been going on for weeks, since early July at least. How it began? Depending on the news outlet you watch that timeline will vary for you because American media didn’t cover the story right off. Here are a few extremely brief and general points from differing news sources over the past 5+ weeks. (There is so much more to this)
            -Three Israeli boys were kidnapped. The Israeli gov’t took this time to have an operation to ‘search’ for the boys.
            -The boys’ bodies were found. Some Israelis called for Palestinian blood.
            -A Palestinian boys body was found. Sometime during or after his funeral a clash occurred that sparked.
            -Fire was traded between Israel and Gaza by means of rockets and missiles for some time.
            -A ground invasion was launched into Gaza to confront Hamas. Hamas is a small fraction of the Palestinians living in Gaza.
            -Cease-fires have tried to be put in place only to be broken by one side or the other.
            -The UN has tried to set up safe places in Gaza to only have them bombed. A UN school was bombed.
            -IDF set up a hospital to treat Palestinian wounded.
            -MSNBC reporter got close to telling what was actually happening and the network removed him from the area for a few days, he is now back still giving a raw look at the inhumane conditions faced by Palestinians in Gaza.
            -Some Palestinians in the West Bank are being negatively impacted by the conflict either through advocating for the rights of those in Gaza and other things.
            -Part of the Iron Dome in Israel was damaged.
            -Families are literally being torn apart by this.
-Today, though as I write this I am sure the number grows, there are over 1,400 Palestinians dead and some over 50 Israelis. (Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC World News, Electronic Intifada, NY Times, FoxNews, MSNBC, AP and Reuters)

The vast majority of the Palestinian deaths are civilians, women, men, children, just like you and me. With each reported death my heart has broken for them and their story. I imagine they had jobs, likes, dislikes, religious devotion, or not, loved ones, fears, hopes, best friends, laughter, favorite places to play and ways to cope with hardship, just like we do.  Yes, I just humanized these individuals who live so far away from us. And they truly are like us.

 I say this because in a conversation I had with someone earlier the response was the usual, short sighted, American response, “They are all terrorists and hate us. Why should I care about them or what is happening to them?” Really? Generalizations like that one are easy. They make it so you don’t have to really think and struggle with the humanity that exists.

The vast majority of the Israelis who have died are military. They are someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister…they are people too. They have homes, jobs, fears, hopes, friends, laughter, religious devotion, memories, and methods to cope with hardship. When the first Israeli civilian died, my heart broke yet again.

As with any conflict, I imagine there are individuals in each group who believe the worst of their other. For example, all Palestinians must leave Israel because of some unrealistic notion that Israel belongs to the Jews. Or all Jews must leave Israel because it is not their land. I realize these are somewhat juvenile generalizations, but you get the point. There may be further examples of othering with negative attributions of each group. These things can be learned from childhood, stereotypes…they exist in every type of culture. They are socialized through education and family learning as well.

These beliefs can drive conflict. I’ve studied it. I’ve seen it first hand though not on as violent of a level. But the beliefs are real and truly do fuel actions. Again, such hasty beliefs are easy and when they are so negative towards others, the beliefs do much more harm than any good.

Looking at what is going on in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank it is so much more than politics. Though I have continually evolving opinions on the politics of what is happening, or not happening there, I am choosing to not write about those here and at this time.

After all that I have written, what I want to look at is the struggle I feel. It is not easy to hear about people dying each and every day. It is not easy to know where I stand politically in the region yet feel compassion and sorrow for everyone involved because each life lost is another gone far too soon. Each life lost belonged to a family. Each one was loved.

I feel first it is so crucial to consider each life being their own human self. They are unique and have such great value. Each life, the worth of each and every soul is great in the sight of God.

If you are a believer then isn’t that enough to struggle with the ease that some seem to cast aside another human life? If you aren’t are believer, does your conscience struggle when you hear of rising death tolls either in a foreign land or in the gang wars in our own country?

It took me years to get to a place where I feel such love and at least some compassion for all those in this world. Yes, some days…some moments are much easier than others. But I have come here through education, belief and experiences. Not all of my experiences have been positive but I still have learned the importance of loving another. My education has definitely included some dark times but for me I know that each thing that I took with me from those years has shaped me in to who I am meant to be.

I am one of those Conflict Resolvers who believes that solutions will come when we become educated about those around us. It will come when we listen with an open heart. When we are ready and believe through trial and experience what we are learning. Also, through faith that though the experiences may be negative, there can still be a good person there. I was one of those Americans that fit the description of Islamophobic post 9-11. I feared what I did not know. But when I got to school in Rexburg I took all the classes and chances I could to learn more about my Arab brothers and sisters whom I did not know. This because my conscience could not sit with accepting this Us v Them ideal any more that Western media was trying to sell.

I fell in love with the Middle East viewing it through three teachers’ eyes that lived and worked there. I took their classes and studied every word about Arab culture, politics, foreign policy, and history, some of the language, Islam and more. I felt disheartened learning about the violence committed by some Muslims in the name of Islam though they speak out of turn for a truly peaceful religion. I felt saddened learning when US soldiers would be killed because it is a life gone too soon, one serving in a way they knew how. I felt torn learning when Arabs and Muslims would be killed because they were just considered “collateral damage”. These people, all whom we travel this life with, are children of God, our brothers and sisters. They are fellow humans in our life journey. 

This life is a struggle. It should never be easy to decide when someone ‘should’ die. When those words come out of our mouths, we should step back and truly evaluate when the moment was that we became someone to speak so harshly of another’s life. Its happening everywhere, but I feel we need to check ourselves because we are talking about the value of another person.

I truly do have optimism for the road ahead. Optimism at least for individuals to step forward and act in compassion, to toss the beliefs aside that divide and serve others. That is one of the jobs I read in to being in the conflict resolution field. It is one of the reasons I went this direction because people who can’t speak for themselves need an advocate. Here, in this moment I am advocating for compassion and love for the Palestinians who are left in Gaza. The Israelis who truly want to move past this divisive life in Israel. The Palestinians in the West Bank with no more than their voice to fight for their brothers and sisters in Gaza.

#palestine #gaza #peace #westbank #israel #foreigngovtsconsideryouractions