Oh how much I loved seeing all of you on Christmas last week!! It was so awesome to be able to see all of my family. I really did love seeing Charles walk, and I know he has been doing so for a long time, which is partly why it made me cry, and is still making me cry every time I see it, because the first time he walked was the day I entered into the MTC. So I really never have seen it. And then it made me think of all the things that I am missing, but then I remember all the awesome things I get to see here and I am happy again. I am certainly super thankful for being able to serve the Lord in a manner that will help others and myself grow. But I always appreciate pictures so that I can kinda see what life is like for y'all while I'm gone:) Those are the things I cherish the most on my mission. that and my scriptures (which I lost the Bible I was studying in at the end of last transfer and can't find it anywhere..:( ) its all good though, because I still have my other nicer bible that we got before I left:)
Something I was talking to a less active about, that I never really realized until I came on my mission, is the affect of the simple things we do every day in our lives. It's interesting to me that there are a lot of people that I come in contact with that think I am just a wellspring of advice and gospel knowledge. I am so often reminded how little I know, and it scares me sometimes how much trust people put into what I say especially as I am aware of the faults I have. At the same time, I know that I do have a lot of knowledge that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with so that I can further bless those around me. I might have told you this already, but I feel like I need to share it again anyway.
This member has been struggling with her testimony of the gospel, especially concerning the modern day prophets. As we were talking to her, I felt prompted to tell her of an interesting situation that I had found myself in in my teenage years. All throughout my earlier teen years, I had heard warnings of people who would say things like in the moment when you feel like you are doing great in your testimony and you don't need to pray, read, or go to church, that's when you are the most vulnerable and your testimony will be the weakest. I found myself in that situation during my later teen years, and my personal reading of the scriptures (ironically enough) ground to a halt. My prayers became less and less frequent and I found myself sad for reasons I didn't really know. I of course still went to seminary every morning, church every Sunday and mutual/institute etc, but spiritually I was lacking. It really wasn't until my mission, and I really began to study the scriptures myself and not just read them like I kinda wanted to do that I realized how long it had been since I had done something like that for myself. Last transfer was really hard for my companion and I due to some crazy circumstances in the area, and there were many nights I spent with tears streaming down my face and my head bowed in humble but earnest prayer. I have learned that life gets immensely harder when I forget to pray or read my scriptures. I have since I left on my mission, completed the Book of Mormon once (well technically twice when I read the standard works), the entire standard works once, the mission library twice, and years and years worth of Ensigns. I have learned that even a few moments of reading my scriptures and praying about it, makes me happier every singly day, despite the things that tumble around me in my life.
Basically I told this member that it was interesting that when we forget to do the simple things like read or pray or go to church, our world begins to fracture, and pretty soon it will tumble all around us, and we are left to pick up the pieces. I then asked her if she had been reading or praying, and she said that no she hadn't. I encouraged her to read, and then promised her that if she would that she would being to see many blessing in her life. Since then she has been coming to church nearly every single week, and her husband and her have even begun to reconcile and are trying to establish their relationship again that had been lost so many years prior.
Blessings come when we do what the Lord has asked of us. Even when it seems impossible sometimes, the Lord will always provide a way for us. I know that the Lord is there watching over us every moment of every day, and we may not be able to see Him, or even feel His influence, but He is there waiting for us to turn to Him. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, despite the faults we may see in ourselves. He gives us such great gifts and all He asks in return is to follow His Son. It's not going to be the easiest thing because it was in no way easy for our Savior. His sacrifice was to make it possible for us to bear it, not to make it a smooth road. Life will not be easy. But it will be possible, and it most definitely will be worth it. I cannot wait until the moment I get to enter into the presence of my Eternal Father in Heaven and I can give Him a hug. Meanwhile, I have a work to do, as do all of us, and I can only work to do my best so that I can feel worthy to be in His presence. I love this gospel! I can't say it enough. I have learned so much from everyone I come in contact with. My friends at home, my family, my companions, and even the random people I talk to on the street. I love my Savior and all that He has done for me. Christmastime is awesome because I can talk to everyone about how much I love my Savior and they will all listen and tell me the same. Super awesome.
I am giving a training at my District Meeting this week on how we can establish personal relationships with each member of the Godhead. Should be interesting. I will tell you next week how it goes, but meanwhile, I challenge all of you to think of how you'd develop a relationship with each member of the Godhead, and then email me or write me about what your thoughts were. I'd love to hear your thoughts, even if I will have already given the training:)
Love you so much!
Sister Monica Walker