Hello my most favorite Mother in the whole wide world!
Happy early Birthday!! I sent you a card:) I hope you got it. Also, I hope you know I only sent it to you because I thought it was funny (not because it is true), especially since I aged my father on his last birthday..
My companion is super awesome! Her name is Sister Dietz, and she is from St. George, Utah. She lives near the house there too! so if I ever visit St. George, then I can visit her, and we can go do something together:) Sister Dietz is a very happy person. She smiles at every person she meets. She always sounds so cheerful when she is talking to others and she is going to be such an awesome companion:) I love her already! It will be different for sure for me to adjust too, because I am so used to having Sister Applegate with me, but it will be good for me as I try to get acquainted with having to work without someone to tell me what to do when I forget. Sister Dietz has only been out 6 weeks longer than me, so we are both fairly new to Georgia, but we are working everything out and loving every second:)
Its so crazy to me that Robert is almost driving. Does he have his permit yet? or does he have to wait? That's going to be weird for me when I get home and he is driving with a license.. Crazy crazy..
So last Tuesday during our transfer meeting, Jon Schmidt from the Piano Guys was there with his daughter (who was going home from her mission), and he played a song for us on the piano before we started the meeting. It was super awesome! Later that night, we had the opportunity to go to a night of Music and Testimony with Jon Schmidt that he was doing at the stake center. That was so awesome! Between songs that he played, he would bare his testimony of something, and then have the song be about that. It was so cool to see him play in person. I didn't get a picture with him, because I forgot to earlier in the day, and I needed to leave to get back to our apartment by curfew. I did however thank him earlier in the day, and shook his hand, for the music that he has been a part of and that I listen to in my car every day. That I thought was really nice.
So yesterday I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting. This ward has the missionaries be the youth speakers, because they don't have many youth, so my talk had to be around 8 minutes. I discovered that that is actually kinda hard to plan for, especially when I have so much I want to say about it. My topic was prayer and missionary work. At first when I received it, I thought of the way that prayer helps with missionary work. I thought to focus it on missionary work, and tie in prayer with it, but as I planned I learned something really interesting that I will try to explain after I tell you what my talk was.
I started off with 2 Nephi 26:15. Yes the first part of it is doom and gloom, but I thought it made a good point. "After my seed and the seed of my brethern shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten." Prayers are powerful. If we are praying for others to hear about the gospel, those prayers are heard by God, and those people are not forgotten. I have decided that the Bible Dictionary, as cliche as it is to use it, is a magnificent resource for gospel terms. there is so much to learn from there that we might not have known. One day I am going to read through the Bible Dictionary so that I can better know what it is talking about when we are referring to certain things. Anyways, I know I have told you this before, but in the Bible Dictionary under prayer, it says "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand towards God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once, prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part." Heavenly Father wants to know what our day was like, just like parents want to know when their kids come home from school, or they come home from work. I remember all those times Dad was always asking me how school was and I wouldn't tell him very much, because by the time he got home from work, I had been home from school for a few hours, and I had already told you all about my day, and didn't really feel like saying it all again. So when I would respond with a short answer, he would nudge me until I told him more about my day. That is like Heavenly Father. Granted, He already knows about the day we had, but He likes hearing it from us anyway. He wants us to tell him about the things we struggled with that day, the things we accomplished, the goals that were reached, and maybe the goals that weren't reached. He wants to know how we felt when we were yelled at, and he He wants to know how we felt when someone prayed for the first time. He also wants to know what we will try to do to make the next day a productive and good day. He has promised us, that as we pray for these specific things that He will help us achieve it. However, it is important to remember that if we are asking for things that are contrary to His Will, then we won't get the answer that we want. In the Bible Dictionary, later under prayer, it says "We pray in Christ's name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ" Our Father wants to hear our prayers, and He wants us to ask for things because He wants to bless us, and make us happy. When there are things that we are having trouble with, we can ask Him for help, however when we are asking for things that we think we might need, but really don't He might not give it to us. Our prayers have to reflect the desires of Christ. What is the desires of Christ and Heavenly Father you might ask? Well guess what! He told us. In Moses 1:39 "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man." Therefore the things that He does for us are so we can return to Him. That is what His ultimate goal is. So our prayers should reflect that. Our prayers should be how we and others ARE, CAN, and WILL come closer to God. Then something crazy starts to happen. The more we get closer to Him, the more we want others to be closer to Him. I can't help but think of the fruit in Lehi's dream. 1 Nephi 8:12 "And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit." Lehi knew what the love of God felt like, and instead of basking in it, and keeping it all for himself, he turned to his family and wanted them to have it too, because he knew that it would not decrease the joy he felt if he shared it with his family, in fact it would make him feel more joy. We too will feel that the more we share it with those that we know around us. So here is the crazy part I never understood about prayer. Our prayers get us closer to God, which help us bring other's closer to God, which help us be closer to God, which helps us bring even more others closer... Get it? Prayer isn't just about telling Heavenly Father about our day. It is a continual circle of increasing love for Him and His Children. My mind was blown.. Especially since in my Patriarchal Blessing there is a line in it that tells me to learn the importance of prayer. I always thought it meant because prayer is how we talk to Heavenly Father, and the peace that can bring us sometimes, but I'm beginning to understand that there is so much more to prayer that I ever thought I knew before.
Crazy right? If I found something so simple as prayer to be so mind blowing to me, then I'm kind of excited for what I might learn about the other "primary answers" like church, scripture study, etc.
I really do love my mission and all the people here. I am learning so much for myself, and am looking forward to when I can have more time to study things out in my head at home since I won't be left with only an hour for personal study, but can have lots of hours of study. In the meantime, I love teaching the people here the basics of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. I LOVE JESUS AND MY HEAVENLY FATHER SO MUCH!!!!! They are truly the most important people in my life. (Sorry family but you are second..)
Love you all!
Sister Monica Walker
(Mom and Dad's favorite child, because I gave them birthday cards from across the country:))
PS. my countdown starts in 2 months:) [Editor's Note: Monica starts a daily count down to her birthday (April 21) every year six months prior to the event.]