Monday, June 22, 2015

Work is Going Forward

This week has been super crazy. Four of our investigators are preparing to be baptized. One is being baptized on the 11th of July, and the rest are on the 18th. We are going to finish the 5th lesson with them this week, but its super fun because we are helping them plan the specific parts of the baptism itself, like who performs it, who is speaking, witnesses, etc. I'M SO EXCITED!! The three being baptized on the 18th are a family, the mother Rhonda, and her two boys Eric and Carlos. Eric is 12 and about Robert's height, and Carlos is 9 and about Spencer's height. Its hard remembering they are so young because Eric looks so much older, and Carlos asks questions that make him seem a lot older than he actually is. For example, when giving the Plan of Salvation, he asked if when we go to the Celestial Kingdom if we will have all our memories back from the pre-existence. Adults don't even know to ask that sometimes!

President Cottle gave my companion and I a shout out in the weekly letter he sent out this week. That was pretty awesome. He congratulated us for getting 8 out of 9 goals every week (for the past 4 weeks for me, and 6 for Sister Applegate) while also exceeding the Standards of Excellence he has set for the mission. It is honestly the Lord's doing and not ours though, because he has made sure that we were led to some awesome people. Next transfer I think we have at least one baptism scheduled for every week, and it is because we have been guided to those who are ready all at once. I have a feeling that after they get baptized that the amount of people that we will see every week will drop. Hopefully not though. 

We met this one lady who is actually a referral from a member. Its the member's dentist. Her name is Jo, and when we showed up at her house with a Book of Mormon for her, she about cried. We talked to her for about ten minutes and in those ten minutes she hugged us about 50 times. Plus she has a fascination with my last name because her grandfather's last name was Walker. So she keeps mentioning that. We taught her the restoration last Friday, and she loves the idea that prophets exist today, but she not quite sure if she like President Monson being the prophet. We invited her to listen to one of his talks, to see what she thinks of him. I think she will love his talks. He is super funny when he talks, and she would love that about him. She's a very excited lady, and she always has huge reactions to anything we tell her, so it takes a really long time for us to bear our testimony, but I think she will really enjoy the rest of the message that we have for her.

I really do love it here! It is awesome!
Sister Monica Walker

PS Remember how I said it was really hot here? Well apparently it is the hottest it has been for about ten years, and the heat is picking up faster then it has in previous years as well. Lame. Sometimes I pray for doors to be opened so I can feel a nice breeze of ACed air. The worst is when we are teaching a single male where we have to stay outside because there isn't another female there. Those lessons are really exhausting.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Principle of Faith

One Month
IM SO EXCITED ABOUT ALEX AND BJS SECOND CHILD!! She told me last week, and told me not to tell anyone. I still told a few people, but its not like they can tell anyone because they don't know my family. My companion and I have been talking about it, because her sister also just had a baby and when she goes home in a few months she will get to meet them. Its all pretty exciting.

This last week has been insane. We went to the stake center 4 days in a row for different meetings we had. My Zone Training Meeting was first, my Zone Conference was the next day, and then we had Stake Conference. CRAZY! Anyway, because of it, I learned a lot about the principle of Faith. Here's what I told my mission president.
This week really has been a lesson in diligence, faith, and keeping commitments. Last week we set lower goals than we might have otherwise set, because for four days in a row, we had to go to Macon for different meetings. It really cut away from our time and planning. We did however set a higher goal than we might have otherwise done but did it with a prayer to Heavenly Father that we would be able to teach enough people to reach it. A few days later, the Zone Leaders called and asked us to commit to getting a member out every single day. We said yes of course, but we began to frantically plan when we could invite members out and who would benefit from having them out, while still being able to achieve our goals. We didn't make the member present goal as high as we might have otherwise done because our other lessons and our RC/LA lessons were high. We had talked about possibly having a day or two where we wouldn't have members come out with us, because we still needed to meet investigators without members as well. After we decided this, it didn't sit very well with me, because we had committed to get a member out with us every day. It even penetrated my dreams, and my dreams were focused around the commitment we had made. I realized that as important as it was to reach the goals, it was more important to do our best to keep the commitment just because it was inconvenient. After all, if we didn't, how can we then expect our investigators to do the same? We had prayerfully considered the goals we had set, and we knew we would need to rely on the Lord anyways, and what was this but just a test of that faith? The next morning, Sister Applegate and I talked about it, and we came up with a plan that would fulfill both goals. We prayed everyday that our appointments would work out, so that we would be able to teach and share this beautiful gospel and Spirit with everyone who needed it. The results are astounding. Up until Saturday, every single lesson we had planned worked out, or else the 1st backup did. We had nearly every single goal hit, and we had managed to invite members to come out with us every single day as well. It came to the point that our member lessons nearly tripled our goal, and we were still able to reach all of our goals. The very last one occurred on Sunday night at 8:15, and that one was special because the Sister we went to go see has a baptism date for July 11th, and the spirit was so strong as we sat there, and she bore her testimony to us of her belief.
That sister that we saw last night we have been worried about since before I got here. We haven't been able to really tell whether or not she is prepared for baptism, and we didn't want her to get baptized until we felt she was completely ready. We have been trying to figure out how to get her to share her testimony and to get her to keep her commitments, and it has been hard. Last night when she bore her testimony, it made us all cry, and now we know that she is basically ready for her baptism, we just have to teach her the rest of lesson 4 and lesson 5. IM SO EXCITED!! July is going to be awesome. We currently have 11 people on date for the month of July and the beginning of August. 5 of whom I am pretty certain will be baptized on their current date. Its going to be so awesome. I can't wait:)

One thing I did want to share with all of you was the topic of most of the talks from stake conference. It was about member missionary work. It was also the topic of some of the lessons at the missionary meetings I went to before, so it is being stressed a lot recently. President Cottle showed us some stats in our Zone Conference about two different missions with different success rates. The main difference was member lessons and church attendance. Most of the other things were actually less for the mission with more baptisms, but to me it really showed the importance of members at lessons. This goes for all of you as well, because it isn't something that just applies to the Macon Mission. It is hard sometimes to go with missionaries to lessons. I understand that, but the effect it has on the investigators is amazing. It is so important to help them understand that it isn't just the missionaries who love and care for them, but the people in the ward as well, and as we focus on their needs, both members and missionaries, the work will increase. I invite all of you to go out with the missionaries at least once a month. I can tell you that they would certainly appreciate it. Also understand that the missionaries are the ones who know about these investigators, and receive inspiration on how to approach them. If the Spirit prompts you to say or do something, do it, but understand that sometimes members can be over bold in their eagerness to share the gospel. When you do go out with the missionaries, try to find out all you can about the person before seeing them, so that you can better know what to expect when you meet them.

Love you all!! <3
-Sister Monica Walker

PS This guy who was 84 was watching me type up this email just now, and made me jump because he started talking to me about why I was emailing this really long letter. I told him I was serving a mission for my church and that I was from Modesto CA. Turns out he went to MJC for half a semester back in the 50s. Haha. I thought this would be a good missionary opportunity, so we talked for a little bit. Also turns out he dated a Mormon back in high school. What are the odds! He said he was too old to be taught, but we said he wasn't, we gave him a card, and asked if we could come visit him sometime, and then he told us he was already a member, but went back to his other church years ago. He was super nice, and we asked if we could move his records over here, but his wife told him it was time to go so he left. He didn't tell us no, but he also didn't tell us yes. We didn't get his name though, or his address which stinks. I don't know if anything will come of it, but he does have a card, which has our number on it, and I'm glad he has fond memories of us. Maybe he will call us for a visit:)

Monday, June 8, 2015

"Love Each Other As Brothers"

I meant to email home Happy Birthday to Josh and Alex last week and I forgot! But I did think about them while I was here, on their birthdays.

Last Friday I'm not sure if you saw it, but President Cottle gave us permission to watch the funeral for Elder Perry. I loved it. It actually reminded me of something I had read earlier that day in Jesus The Christ. In that book, it talks about how often the 12 fought and squabbled over who was more righteous than who, and who would have a higher position in the Lord's kingdom. It also said how much it made Christ sad that they would fight over this all the time. So after He died, and came back to visit them as a resurrected being, he commanded them that they should love each other as brothers, so much so that the world would see them and remark on how close they were together, that they were to try to love each other as much as Christ loved them. It was really cool reading about this, and how they did become famed throughout the land for their closeness, and then seeing the funeral for Elder Perry, a modern member of the 12 apostles, and how much the quorum loved him and each other. All 14 of them were honorary pallbearers, and you could see in their faces that they really loved each other. It was cool to see that and realize that the command from Christ for His Apostles to love each other deeply wasn't just for the ancient times, but also for the modern times, and it was so awesome to see that it was still in effect and being followed.

Speaking of, two weeks when I started personal study in the field, I started Jesus The Christ, and I finished it today. It really is an amazing book. I love the things it talks about. I think everyone should read it, Mormon or not, because it gives such a great insight into the Savior of the World.

I also started True to the Faith this morning. Something I realized when reading the definition of "body piercings' is how it says something to the effect of not piercing the body except for medicinal purposes. (And women and girls can have one in each ear.) It surprised me that it said except for medicinal purposes, because I couldn't think of any reason why a body piercing would be considered medicinal, but then I realized that it isn't so much the piercing as we generally think of it, but also with needles in the case of drugs or other non medicinal substances, cutting of any kind, etc. If you think of the word piercing, it really is if anything penetrates the boundary of the skin. So the counsel to not have body piercings has more to it then what we generally think about.

As to this area, I absolutely love Warner Robins 1st ward! It is a lot smaller than more the wards in the mission, and some of those "wards" are really branches. There is a lot of work to be done here that we haven't done yet. We have 9 people on date to be baptized in the month of July (3 of whom I invited to be baptized). I think that 3 of those are a for sure date, 2 are a high probability, and the rest might get pushed back a little. We had 7 investigators at church yesterday, which is the most it seems like has ever happened in the whole mission withe the responses we are getting from everyone when we report. It's pretty crazy.

I still wake up every day at 3:55 to help a recent convert in the ward, and he managed to go without cigarettes today so far, which is an improvement because most often his smoking occurs in the morning when he first gets to work. We hope he can quit completely soon, because he is preparing to go to the temple with his wife in the near future. (His year date is in July).

Life really is awesome here! The only thing I don't like about Georgia is the bugs. I have at least 20 bugbites on my legs, and it almost looks like someone stuck the burning end of a cigarette on my leg. Plus they are super itchy, but I'm dealing. Unfortunately, it only gets worse from here, because we aren't even in the summer months yet.

Love you all and I hope everything is going well!
Your favorite missionary daughter
-Sister Monica Walker

I love that Sister Applegate is always pushing me to do better. Every week we are supposed to think of something our companion can improve on, or let them know if there is anything that is super annoying that they do, and I have honestly thought of absolutely nothing since I got here. I also learn so much from her every week that it is hard to think of something that I can write that I learned. I guess the most prevalent thing she has taught me this week is that it doesn't really matter what my skill level is, whether I know the doctrine or not, or whether I'm super good at teaching or not, because really, it just matters if I bring the Spirit.

Living Section:
So I actually live in a really nice apartment that is in a gated community. It's apparently one of the nicest places in the mission. Its a good spot though because it is in the middle of my area and so it makes it a little bit easier to travel to all the places that we have to go. A lot of the people here work at the Air Force base, so there is a lot of diversity. There are lots of Asians, Europeans, Southern, and African people here. There are also a billion churches. (even more than Utah). We joke about how in Utah there is a church building on every corner, and on here, it is true. There are even roads named Church road that has churches spanning the length of it. There are even signs that warn drivers to "SLOW CHURCH ZONE" haha its pretty funny. We actually went to a Mexican Restaurant that was pretty good! Its called El Bronco. I still like California Mexican better, but this wasn't bad.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Mother Dearest,

Wow, Roberts pretty busy. Isn't it summertime now? Also how did his track go last Saturday? I want to hear how he did in the competition!

I honestly forgot Sean was getting married last week. Being a missionary you forget that the world you left behind continues to move on when every day here both feels like an eternity and a millisecond. Its kinda strange. I love it here though. the people are really nice. Well most of them anyways. My companion really is pretty awesome and she has taught me a lot in what I can and can't do. The first few days I didn't really want to talk much or contribute a whole lot because I was so nervous that I might say something that wasn't right or that it was too hard or complicated for them to understand. One thing I have been working on is trying to simplify my teaching and my questions so that I can teach more effectively.

There are so many people that I have met that I try so hard to remember, that I honestly try to pray for them in my nightly prayers, and I end up telling Heavenly Father to bless "this family", "them", or "this person" because I can't keep their names all straight, and I know Heavenly Father knows who I mean since I try to picture them as I say it. It's like I am sending pictures along with my prayers.  Haha they're prayer attachments! Like email attachments? Get it? I thought that was funny.

We had 6 investigators at church yesterday. 6! This is apparently a record for Sister Applegate and she is almost done with her mission. What a great way to start off the mission. I know and understand that the mission won't always be like this, but I am going to try my hardest to reach this point every week of my mission. It's going to be so great.

One of the investigators Rhonda has two boys who are also investigating. They are so strong in their efforts to go to church and their desire to know the truth. They will be baptized in July and I'm super excited for them because they are so ready.

I have learned that here, there are some huge issues with smoking. We currently have one less active who is trying to quit, and we try to get her to stop for a week, because if we can, using this stop smoking program the church has, she is guaranteed to be able to quit. She keeps relapsing though and its kinda sad. She actually made it all the way to day 7, but then she smoked that morning, so she didn't make it completely.

We have another recent convert family in the same boat. They are approaching their year mark, and they want to go to the temple, but due to a lot of stress in their lives, the father has started smoking again. We are trying to think of all these ways we can help him to stop smoking. One of the things we are currently doing is calling him every day before he leaves for work, and during his breaks. We have to wake up at 3:55 in the morning to call him before he goes to work. Its crazy hard, and it does drag on me during the rest of the day even though I'm only up for a few minutes, but my hope and prayer is that it will make a difference. (Don't worry though, President Cottle did give us permission to do this since normally we aren't allowed to use our phones before 6:30.)

The bishop of this ward and his wife are pretty great. She is Thai, and he is black, and they actually met in Germany when he was there on assignment (he used to be in the army). They actually weren't members when they first met, but became members later. They got married and eventually came back to the states. When they came back to Warner Robins (where he grew up and where I am now) he wanted to go back to his old church but kept feeling like it wasn't right for him. He eventually ended up praying for God to help him and tell him what to do and where to go, and he said he would. Two days later the missionaries knock on the door. At first it was only him talking the lessons, and later his wife joined them, but he was surprised that she could answer all the questions that the missionaries asked. Turns out she had joined the church when she had first gone to the states, but had since gone inactive. Haha super funny.

I have also learned that the Lord really does answer prayers according to our faith.

Here's an excerpt of the letter I wrote to President Cottle explaining some of the things that happened.
One thing I have learned in abundance this week is that faith really does bring blessings. Its amazing what we as missionaries can do if we have faith. For example, Sister Applegate and I debated on whether or not we should go visit this potential investigator, but we were a little, well a lot worried about their dog. Sister Applegate said that the last time they were there with a member, the dog was barking and growling like crazy, and it is a big dog, so they never got out because they were so nervous about it biting them. Understanding this concern, I didn't really want to go there either, but I remembered it isn't really up to me where I go, because my time is not my own, but the Lord's. So He decides when and where I am to go somewhere. I can have trust in my Lord that he wouldn't send me somewhere where I wouldn't be protected if I was doing all that I was supposed to do, and even if I did, it would be for the betterment of myself. So in we went, and yes we saw the dog and it approached us, but this time it was very calm and didn't growl or bark at all. It truly was because of the Lord. 
This is something else that happened, and according to Sister Applegate, people aren't usually this rude when you are teaching them, and she feels bad this happened my first week.
However this week wasn't all good fun times either. We met with a sister last Saturday who has been taught before, and never has been super receptive of the missionaries, but certainly needs the gospel in her life. When shown the picture of the happy family in the Restoration pamphlet, she said the family was fake because no one is that happy. We tried to testify of the atonement and the redemptive powers it has, but she was mad with God because He doesn't answer her prayers. We continued to try to teach her, and at one point she told us that first we weren't to bring up her children or her family again, and that we were boring and seemed to be a waste of her time. It was hard to hear, and it made me really sad that this sister who really could use the gospel would shut us down so hard. I understand that this might not yet be the time that she is ready to hear about the gospel, and I can only hope and pray that sometime she will be willing to try the things we invite her to do. She never did say that we couldn't come back though, so we will probably try visiting her again.
I understand that there will be people who wont accept the gospel when we teach it, but it is sad when people find it "boring." This is the best news anyone could ever receive!! It's salvation for our soul! It gives us eternal families and happiness! Hopefully one day this sister will have her heart be softened enough that she will be receptive to more.

Well this letter is long enough, just know that I love it here, both the good and the bad, and that I am super excited for the rest of it!

Love you!
Your favorite Missionary Daughter
Sister Monica Walker

PS When you send letters to me, you have to send it with my first name as well because there are 3 Sister Walkers.

New companion:
Sister Applegate

New area: 
Warner Robins Georgia
There are a lot of African Americans here. I don't know why this surprises me. There is also an Air Force base in my area, so a lot of the people I meet have some connection to the army.
I actually had Thai food for dinner last night because I ate at the Bishop's home and his wife is Thai. It was ok, but I like restaurant Thai food better.

We are doing so well!! We had 6 investigators at church yesterday! Thats so many! We were also able to reach 8 out of 9 of our goals, which if you ask Ben and Josh is really hard to do. They weren't easy goals either.