Monday, November 21, 2016

Last Letter

Dearest Mother!

I can't believe this is going to be the last weekly missionary email that I will send to you! It has seriously gone by so fast, but yet somehow this has felt like my whole life.

This last week was pretty great! We had a Zone Conference last Friday and we were taught so much! It was strange though because normally when we receive trainings there is a lot that I think about on how to not only improve as a missionary, but who I can help in the upcoming time. This time it was so strange because the only people that I thought about were the ones that I know at home. For a few minutes it didn't feel like I was a missionary, but that I was a normal person again. It did make me super happy though because it was proof to me that the spirituality that I have been feeling here on my mission doesn't have to change or lessen when I get home. There is still a lot of things that I can do to not only work on but keep doing so that I can be as happy at home as I have been here:) We had interviews the next day with President Grayson, and it was so strange because there wasn't too many interview questions due to the fact that I was going to see him again in a week for my departing interview. Mostly he just asked me how I was feeling about going home, and if I had a lot of things planned for this week. It was so strange to think about. Honestly it still doesn't feel like I am going home. As far as my mind is working right now, I will be back at this computer next week emailing y'all all over again, but in reality I will be on a plane headed to California!! It is so mind blowing.
I have loved my mission so much! I am so glad for the opportunity to serve the Lord in the South Western half of Georgia! The Lord really knows what He is doing when He put me here and when He sent me to the people who have become lifelong friends to me. I love how detailed His plan is, and how nothing is ever a coincidence or a mistake. The tender mercies that He gives are so real! And He only does it because He loves us. He loves us so much that He makes sure that you get a phone call right when you need it, or a cool breeze, or a smile from a stranger. This message that we share is AMAZING!! Didn't you know that HE LIVES? Don't you know that HE LOVES YOU? Don't you know that MIRACLES HAVE NOT CEASED! He is speaking to a living prophet, just like He did in the Old Testament. Just like He did in the Book of Mormon. GOD IS REAL. And He is so aware of all of us. Even if you don't think He is, He is. How grateful I am to know that! I love being a missionary!

Be safe y'all and I will see you in a week!!
Love you lots!
Sister Monica Walker

Monday, November 14, 2016

Short email

So Dearest Madre,

This email is going to be really short...... I'm sorry. Today We are going to Callaway Gardens. A member couple is taking my companion and I before I go home. And since it is an all day thing I won't really have time to email today, but I just wanted to let you know how much I love you! And that I am super excited to see yall in two weeks!! Be safe and remember to pray everyday and read all the time:) Also fun side note, I hit 18 months on a mission yesterday!!!!! that is so crazy to me. Anyway, I really do have to go now.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Close To Returning

Dearest Mother,

Is it bad that the closer I get to the end of this transfer, the less I want to tell you because I know that I will be able to tell you myself when I see you again? Not that that means that I won't be emailing you.. I'm pretty sure if I didn't email you would worry forever and a day until I did, or you saw me.
This week was a pretty emotional week. There were some people that I had to say goodbye to because they are leaving to go out of town and don't get back until after I leave. These are people that I have already said goodbye to once. I[It] was right though way back when my trainer went home. It is a lot easier to say goodbye to people at the end of my mission then at the beginning because at least the people at the end of my mission I can call/text/message right as soon as I get home, whereas those that I knew from the very beginning of my mission might not even remember who I am. Or it will take them a moment. Yesterday was my very last Fast Sunday on my mission. A tradition of the missionaries here, and one that I have always tried to do, is that if you think you are leaving the area, or you are leaving, you bear your testimony to the ward about Christ and His restored gospel. My companion nudged me at one point and asked me if I was going up. Then she poked me and said ti was the Spirit telling me to go up. Well the Spirit already was telling me to go up, and so up I went. I tried to keep it simple and honest, and I tried not to mention anything about how long I had been serving or when I was going home. I left the podium and I started crying. My companion had kleenex ready for me when I came back to sit down. It was really awesome though especially, because we even had an investigator there that day. This is the investigator that has been in and out of the hospital, and fell asleep on us the one time, and to whom we sang the wrong song. She loves church. When I came back down, she had to stand up so I could sit down, and she gave me a hug and told me that she loved me and that she was super grateful to have me as "one of her girls". She [w]as crying too.. and then of course that made me cry even more. It really did make my week though because every single person that she spoke to she said how thankful she was the the sisters keep teaching her and inviting her to church. How at home and how peaceful she feels when she walks into the doors of church, and even how she tells everyone about us! She already is trying to get all her friends to come over to her house when we come by, or to get them to let us come by their house so we can teach and sing to them too, since we sound like "heavenly angels sent by God to give her peace".

I really will miss Georgia when I leave. There isn't much else I want to say this week, but just that I love all of you! Keep being the wonderful people that you are, and keep putting that trust where it belongs! (in God in case you didn't know)

Love you lots!!
Sister Monica Walker

PS. I only have two more emails after this one.. say what?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Dearest Madre,

First order of business.. Next week I hope to email a little sooner then normal, because a member is taking my companion and I out to lunch and to a place called Callaway Gardens next Monday. Since it is a little further away, emailing will be cut short a little, or else we will email a little bit earlier so that we can get actual emails to family and friends. But this is just a forewarning in case my email is really short next week. Its not because I don't love you. In fact I love you lots and lots:):) there just isn't enough hours in the day.

This last week all inclusive was pretty fun. We were trying to pass on an investigator to the Rivercrest Sister's last week, and so we went to a baptism in that ward and then went out to lunch with them, and had a wonderful time! But then the appointment fell through. It was really sad.. That appointment was strange though because it looked like the girl we were trying to teach had moved. Her truck wasn't there, and instead there was a car, there was a dog that was there that hadn't been there before, and there was a basket full of empty alcohol bottles even though we know she doesn't drink. And her phone the one we had texted her on the night before was disconnected.. It was so strange because this person wasn't one that would just up and leave without telling us, and she wouldn't lead us on like that at all.. IT made me little sad though. That night however we got a text from a random number telling us that it was that particular investigator and she was sorry she missed us but she had just gotten a new phone because her old one broke. She also told us her truck was replaced with a car because her truck broke and she was dog sitting. She felt bad about all the confusion, but we were just grateful that she hadn't run away like we feared. That was pretty awesome.

Oh! and then on Sunday we were standing at the door greeting people, and I kept nudging my companion because we should go sit down. She told em we needed to wait a little longer. Well we waited for a few more people and I gestured again for us to sit. She leaned around the corner of the door and said there is someone who doesn't look familiar, who looks new and said we will wait for her to come in and then we will come in. So she comes in. We introduce ourselves. She introduces herself. She looks lost. We tell her she can sit wherever she wants. We then glance at the Elders to see if it was either of their investigator. None of them knew who she was. We felt prompted to go sit by her, but when we noticed that there wasn't a whole lot of space left over there we asked her if she wanted to some sit by us. She did. Come to find out she was not a member, this was her first time coming to church, and it also turns out that she was the referral that one of the Bishopric members had given us that we had been trying to see for about a week now. It was really cool to just see her walk through the doors. She couldn't stay much longer afterwards, but she said we could come by and see her sometime this week. I love blessings from the Lord. They really are super awesome.

I love you lots family!! And all my friends too! :)
Be happy this week and remember to look for the Lord's hand in all that you do everyday:):):):)
Sister Monica Walker

Monday, October 24, 2016

Singing to the Tune of the Holy Ghost

Dearest Mother,

Due to unplanned service this morning, I don't have too much time on emailing today, so my email will probably be on a little bit of the shorter side. There is just way too many things to do today!! It's kind of exciting though:) I learned this week the importance of having the Spirit with you all the time, and the power that the Spirit has in helping people come closer to Christ.

So... We are teaching an older lady who has a lot of health issues. She at one point had a surgery on her heart, but then recently her heart started leaking again (because I am not a doctor I know know the terminology so I might be accidentally making it sound worse then what it is) and so she has been back and forth to the hospital for high blood pressure. Her ankles are extremely swollen and so the doctors also gave her some medicine for that. We went and visited her this last week, and we were lucky to have caught her because she had just gotten back from the hospital that day. She was pretty sleep from the drugs they gave her, but she told us to come inside and talk to her anyway. We decided to teach her about the Word of Wisdom because of previous issues that she had with it, and we knew that if she'd commit to follow it that she would feel a lot better. We had also been teaching that to a lot of people because of the realization that all of us can work on it. But I will get to that part later. Anyway, we were in the middle of sharing a part of it, when she fell asleep on us. I stopped talking mid sentence, and my companion and I looked at each other. We tried a few times to wake her up by just speaking a little louder, but that didn't work. About a minute later she woke up. She felt so bad about it, but we told her it was ok, and that we would come back another time. We always end with a hymn though because she loves to hear us sing. So we decided to sing "Did You Think to Pray?" For whatever reason, my companion and I BOTH IN SYNC began to sing the words but to a completely different tune. We are looking at the little hymn book I carry with me, and we are confused as to why the notes don't match what we sing. But we go with it. We somehow transition to the actually song about halfway through, and we only do one verse. So we ended singing the right hymn. We have absolutely no idea what just happened, and we have no idea how we could not only be off, but off together that we were having a really hard time keeping our faces straight. The whole lesson just made us giggle. I've never had anyone fall asleep on me before when I was teaching them. The lady after we finished was crying and she told us we sounded like angels. She wanted us to record it so she could listen to us sing all the day long. Considering we sang the wrong song, and it isn't really supposed to work well that was funny to us. Well we said a prayer, and then we head out to leave. When we get to the car, we bust out laughing. We figured out the tune that we were using was "Israel, Israel, God is calling" and we tried to reproduce what we did and failed miserably.. I'm not sure why we ended up doing what we did, but I do know that the Spirit definitely guided both of our voices. There was no other way we could have done that, and had the Spirit touch her so strongly. Plus the fact that both of us did it and we weren't ever singing different notes was pretty amazing too. And then you add to it that neither of us have heard that tune in a few weeks and it is pretty amazing that that was the one that came out of both of our mouths. I love the way the Spirit works. :)

So the thing about the Word of Wisdom that we both realized. First we heard that President Monson spoke about the Word of Wisdom in the Priesthood session of conference. There was also quite a bit of attention given to it in the other sessions as well. So rather then say that we are perfect at the Word of Wisdom, we dug a little deeper into it. Realization #1-The Word of Wisdom is more then just Thou Shalt Nots.. There is more to it then don't do drugs, or drink tea, coffee, or alcohol. There are lots of thou shalts. The easiest way to break it down is by saying to eat healthy, get adequate sleep, and exercise daily. Too many people focus so much on the negative things of what they shouldn't be doing that they ignore the things that we should be doing. And then people get discouraged when they can't seem to stop whatever it is that God wants them to stop, and so they give up. Especially when they see other people who seem to be living it perfectly, and even though we shouldn't, they compare themselves to them. Realization #2-ALL OF US have something we could work on in the Word of Wisdom. For example, me. I hate exercising, but the Word of Wisdom says to exercise daily. So that's what I need to do. Some people have trouble with eating healthy. Eating healthy means not so much fatty foods and sugar, but more grains and fruits and veggies. Some people, like me, will either over sleep or not sleep enough. Any of those three things are important and are part of the Word of Wisdom. So we decided to teach it to everyone, and help all of them understand that there is always somewhere that we can improve. Its pretty awesome sometimes when you realize that there is so much more for us to learn. I love learning!

Love you all!! Be safe:)
-Sister Monica Walker

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Testimony: Never too little, Never too small

Dearest Mother,

So its interesting how things work out sometimes.. I will of course keep Grandma (and Grandpa but specifically Grandma) in my prayers. I did however think about them all this morning, and the first thing that I did when I got on today was send them an email about how much I love and appreciate them. And then I read your email. I love the way the Spirit works sometimes:)

Patiently is usually the best way to answer questions that people have about the church. As I am sure you faced as well coming on a mission, there are a lot of people with a lot of question. Not all of them are nice. Most of the not so nice ones are only trying to get a rise out of us as missionaries and argue with us. And then when that happens, the Spirit will not be there. After all it does not stay with contention. I think that was the best response that you could have given to them, even if you physically couldn't be as strong as normal. I imagine it is very similar to the way the Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency feels every time they get up to speak, especially those that are more advanced in age. There is a power to the Lord using us in our weaknesses. I'm sure the younger man was impressed with you even if he decided not to agree with you. I always am impressed with people's commitments when they express their beliefs here in the south. As long as they aren't trying to tear my beliefs down, I love hearing about their own. I wonder what they thought when you sat down? I wonder if they felt the power in your voice, the testimony that you had when you bore your testimony to them? I'm sure that even if they weren't in a position to hear it, you did exactly what Heavenly Father wanted you to do. I can't help but think of Abinadi. How sad it is that he died thinking that no one heeded him. Little did he know that one priest, one of the company of his accusers heard and listened, and repented. Look at the magnitude of people Abinadi was able to affect by his act? You would think that by the miracles and the signs that were shown to the people that more would have been affected by Abinadi, and maybe they were and we don't have that record, but among the rulers of that group of people, her only affected one, but that one affected so many others! No effort to further the Lord's work ever goes unused or wasted. Every small gift of a testimony, every action, every word, is recorded. Everything is used. Whether to plant seeds or to harvest, each have a part in the conversion. You have an affect in mine, and through mine, my companions, my friends, my investigators, the members here. It is never too little. It is never too small. I wish we could sometimes see the big picture so that we could understand the full scope of the decisions that we have and will make, but alas, that is a part of this life in mortality. We will never understand exactly how our choices will affect others while we are still living them out. Prophetic counsel is always a wise thing to listen to. Especially since it will always help you in ways that you would never know. They really do know what we need to hear. The Lord is clever to be helping us from all sides.
That's pretty smart to bribe Robert to stop completely.. Was it really that scary with all of us? I would have liked the whole bribery thing too. I promise I am better at driving now.. Granted we have monitors hooked up to the car, and I still get yelled at occasionally, but 98% of the time its due to incorrect speed limits in the tiwi, or ones that are really annoying, like the fact that our apartment complex has a speed limit of 5 miles an hour and there is a big hill to get up to it. That one gets me when I drive up it. MY companion always gets that one too. 

Love you lots Mother!! You are in my prayers all the time as well:):)

Sister Monica Walker

Monday, October 10, 2016

MY testimony of the gospel

To My Favorite Mother in the Whole Wide World:)

Actually there really wasn't anything that happened here because of the hurricane. The missionaries that were in the Savannah and Augusta areas were evacuated to Macon, but there we didn't really see any affects aside from it being a little windy. It was cloudy in the sky but hardly any rain. I love rainstorms here, and I was a little disappointed we didn't get one, but it is ok though. We were safe here:) Funny/cute story about the storm. So everyone was talking about the storm, and everyone was saying that it would be a really big one this time (as opposed to the last one that we had. We were at Dollar Tree trying to get a present for someone's baby shower, when we were outside writing on the card. A mom and her young son and daughter walked out. They happened to be talking about the hurricane with the cashier, and so the little boy walks outside singing "Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Matthew.. Mom? I love Hurricane Matthew. Can we go see it?" Which was cute by itself, but then we heard the mom say-"Watch out Matthew there's a car!" Haha This little boys name was Matthew, and he thought the hurricane was named after him.. It reminds me of a little girl who thought everyone that was at Great America on her 5th birthday was there for her 5th birthday. Because obviously the world revolves around her. :) (Its true though.. My world does revolve around me:))

Isn't it amazing the little things that we do that can become such great things? Mom you impress me so much with everything that you do! Too often I see people in the church and in my life who express a belief in something, and then never do anything about it. Granted, I am far from being perfect at that too (prime example being my love of letters, but my terrible response time), but it amazes me to know that there are people out there who are working every day to help other people come closer to Christ in their every day life. Not that they have to be name tag wearing missionaries who go knock on people's doors, but just who take the opportunities that life gives them to share what they believe. I am so grateful for your example to me because I think you are awesome at sharing your testimony everyday with everyone, and then when the opportunity arises, you speak to them too:) I want to be like that when I get home and when my kids are on missions too.. And who knows about that guy! You planted a seed, perhaps it will grow later in this man's life!

Yay for Robert!! that is so cool that he is driving now! He is probably super happy. Wait a second... He is seriously the only one of us that will never have to drive the van! You should have kept it for him to drive to school. I did it! Granted I understand why he wouldn't want to, but still.. He is a lucky kid.

Josh will do well in that field. I'm proud of him:)

I am so excited to go to college with Ben! Even if my classes are undergrad classes, and he is in graduate school.. It will be so much fun!

I AM SO EXCITED TO MEET HENRY!! and to see my cute little Prince Charming too:) I love my nephews:):):):) <3

You should let me know if that is a hereditary thing being tired. Cause I might get it too.. I am amazed at how much can be accomplished on such little sleep when it is being done in the service of the Lord. Don't worry though about my sleeping. It is getting better, it has just been a lot of late nights. The downside to having such a great companion is that is it hard to stop talking when it is time to go to sleep:)

I'm excited to see Alex and BJ too:):) I miss spending time with my sister and brother-in-law. they are pretty legit:)

DADDY I LOVE YOU! He is the best Dad in the whole wide world. So that means since you are the best mom and he is the best dad, y'all did a good thing getting married. Now you both are my parents:) You had the best child ever, so obviously I had to have the best parents, and the best siblings too;) Basically I'm telling all of you that I love you and wouldn't trade you for anything.

I don't have too much time left, but because I know you wanted a testimony I will try to finish with just a quick one.

First and foremost, this is MY testimony of the gospel. Not my Moms, not my Dads, not anyone's but mine. I have worked very hard to get it, and it isn't perfect yet, but it is a work in progress:) I absolutely love the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I love the sacrifices that are required of me, even though it is hard in the moment to give, I know that it is all worth it after. Everything that I do I want to be for my Heavenly Father. I want to see all my family and friends with me with Them in the Celestial Kingdom. I know that everyone can get there if they really want it. It is an individual choice and not a group decision. I know the Savior has given each of us responsibilities to help nurture and support each other as we grow, and I am so thankful for each of them! I know that Joseph Smith Jr. is a prophet, that he began the Restoration of the fullness of Christ's gospel, and I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet today. I know that following the teachings of the Savior found in the Bible and the Book of Mormon brings a glorious change to anyone who is willing. He never will force the change on anyone, but how wonderfully glorious it is to see it happen in your own life and then watch it happen in others. I know prayers are answered everyday. Mine are answered every minute. He is there. He is watching. He loves me. He loves you. I love you. I am a witness of His divinity! In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

I love you all.
-Sister Monica Walker

PS. Consider this- what is the difference between a witness and a testimony? Which do I have? <-This was a question that came to me during General Conference. I thought it was a really good one to make me think. Enjoy!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

General Conference

Dearest Madre,

What a week it has been!!! I'm not even sure how it is Monday already. It has seriously just flown by. This week was a little more difficult in missionary work since it seemed like no one was home, or no one wanted to answer, but the different meetings we have had this week have been a huge boost to me. It was awesome:) I really do love being a missionary!!

Oh! Here's a story I thought was very sweet. So we have this investigator named Victoria. When we first met her, we were actually focusing on teaching her roommate. She declined sitting with us and talking and at the end when we asked her if she wanted to join us in the prayer she said no because we weren't Christian we were Mormons, and then she walked out so we weren't really able to tell her that yes we really do believe in Christ. Her roommate laughed and said she knew we were Christian, and to just ignore Victoria. Obviously we didn't. The next time we came by the roommate wasn't there, so we sat and talked to Victoria. We were able to share with her our beliefs in Christ and how everything that we teach is focused on Christ. Anyway, fast forward to a few lessons later, and we get talking about missionary work and what it is that we do all day (I may or may not have been falling asleep). We basically gave her the daily schedule of a missionary, and she was in complete shock. We saw her last week, and after the lesson she told us that we needed to make sure that we are getting the sleep we need because she is worried for us. It was super cute! We assured her we were fine, but I can honestly say it is the most tired I have been in a long time. That's why I need two weeks of sleep when I get home. Hahaha.. We joke about that all the time. However on a serious note, I honestly believe that the Lord is helping me everyday to be able to do everything that he requires of me. It is the best!

Yes we do get to watch all of conference as long as nothing else is going on that would stop us. For example, the Elders in my ward had to miss most of the Sunday Morning session because they had to go on Post and have the normal Sacrament meeting with the recruits. Since they aren't allowed to watch TV, church was like normal for them. Other then things like that though, we get to watch it. We usually go to the church to watch it, but if we don't have it being broadcast to the church, then we go to a member's home. I realized though that I really like going to the church to watch conference. There is a different kind of Spirit there when you don't have distractions, and you are sitting in the chapel watching it. BEST. THING. EVER.

It was an interesting conference this time, because I had the realization that this would be my last conference as a full-time missionary. The next time conference comes around I will be back in school!! So it was interesting the mix of things I was getting as I was listening to conference. A huge theme for me was the joy of the gospel. I seriously loved that part about how as missionaries, we teach everyone, and we are supposed to teach them in a like manner to teaching our own children. Not treating them like a child, but being careful with giving them too much before they have had time to swallow what we have already said. And then I thought about the reverse too, how as a mother, I want to teach my children the same way that I have been teaching my investigators and the less actives here on my mission. All the messages I got were a strange combination of being a missionary and also being a mother. I now have goals that I want to accomplish in my last few months of being a missionary, but I also have goals of what I want to do when I am a mother. I want to continue that tradition of making everything a gospel related event, like how you have done all my life, and how grandpa has done to you. I think that is a wonderful tradition that I want to keep for my future family. A huge thing that I learned for my life in the long term is the real fact of my mission being a prepatory time for the rest of my life. I have discovered that there are many trials that I go through not because I have done anything wrong or that other people do something wrong that affects me (although there are my fair share of those) but because I need to experience so that I can understand someone else better and be able to help them. One thing I have never lost through anything is the hope that Christ gives us. The hope of a brighter tomorrow, the hope of peace, the hope of eternal family, etc. Hope is key to happiness and joy. I can get through these hard trials not because I am strong, but because I have hope in a Savior and a wonderful glorious Plan of my Father. These two things cause me to continue to act in a way that will get me to where I want to be despite the many hardships that I might be going through at the time. Hope is wonderful. I love hope. 

Alas, time again has got the best of me. I love you so much!!

-Sister Monica Walker

Monday, September 26, 2016

Women's General Conference Session

To my Wonderful Favorite  Mother in the Whole Wide World!!!

I love you:) Like a lot:) 

We had the opportunity to go watch the Women's Session of General Conference this last Saturday, and there were so many wonderful things that I learned!! One really important thing that I knew, but I was reminded of was how grateful I was to you and the example that you have been for me. I am so grateful that you have had a firm foundation in the gospel and that you helped build that in me. I know for a fact that I would not be here on a mission if it was not for that example to me. I love how you have taught me to be the best I can, and you expect me to do the best I can because you know that I can be like that. You pushed me to learn and to grow into who I am today. I am also so grateful for Daddy in teaching me (and then reminding me all the time) what a young woman should be. How I should act. He taught me to value myself and hold firm to my beliefs. He taught me not to be proud, but rather just remember my divine heritage as a daughter of a Heavenly King, and as such how I should act. I love you two for the things you have taught, for the character you have helped me developed, or the many other things I cannot even begin to describe of the effect that you have had on me. I love you two for being MY parents. I wouldn't have anyone else. :) I think all the time about how my actions would change if you or Dad were there, and many times I try to think of what you both would do and I try to do it. I had the sweetest compliment the other day from my companion about this, which is also why I was thought about all of this. 

Once upon a time, we were driving along in the car and she was telling me about an instance she had with someone who she had previously had a hard time talking to. Not because she doesn't like talking to people, but because this person sometimes can be rude or frustrating in conversations. We both recently made a goal to be this persons friend, and to help them understand that the way they speak sometimes is not appropriate for conversation, and even though we know they don't mean it, they are an adult and are capable of speaking nicely. Anyway, it was really cool, because when we were in the car, my companion leaned over to me and said something, but I didn't catch much of it because I was distracted, so I asked her to repeat it. She told me that in the last interaction she had with this person that they said something that upset her, and she was going to react in the way she normally does, but she thought in her mind "What would Sister Walker do?" and then changed her response to what she thought I would do in that situation. It was seriously one of the nicest compliments I have gotten ever. I honestly don't know what my response would have been in that same situation, and I know that I don't have an endless supply of patience like I sometimes wish I did, but it was really cool to have her tell me that she thought of my being patient with people when she was trying to be patient. That made my heart happy.. and then she and I cried because we love each other. the end... haha.. it was pretty funny, but very sweet of her. I really do love her a lot for it.

She and I have talked a lot in recent weeks about the image that we give to others. What is the first impression that people have, and what is the things that are most apparent and that they will remember? For example, to me the things that I noticed about her right off was her love for people. Whether it was mutual acquaintances that we have, or people I didn't know that she did, she loves everyone! She doesn't judge anyone for anything that she hears. She bases her judgments off of the interactions that she has with them, and even then she gives them the benefit of the doubt. She is funny, she is sweet, she is always happy and smiling. She gets excited about the randomest things and it will then make everyone else happy. She radiates with her testimony and from the other things that I have seen of her, and the stories that I have heard from her about her life, I know that she has a very firm belief in this gospel. She loves the Book of Mormon, and is seriously wiling to go through a lot of ridicule to keep it. She is awesome.

She told me that the image I give off is slightly intimidating... haha... not because I am scary or anything, but because she can tell that I hold myself to a high standard, and that I am intelligent. She said its intimidating because most people aren't like that. It just reminded me of the different scriptures that talk about the Lord's people being a peculiar people. How we will be set apart from the world, and it will be noticed. I am far far away from perfection, and I know there are many things that I have to work on, but it is cool to see all the different people that I meet, and I see the same things in others. My companion being one of them. The is most definitely a difference in the people that truly are followers of Christ and those that are just the Sunday worshipers.

This is where everything ties back in. The talks that were given during the Women's Session reminded me a lot of this conversation that I had with my companion, and who we are and who we are representing. They encouraged all of us to continue to grow our testimonies, and to do our best to secure them in the bedrock of Christ. So that when storms beat down on us, that we will be able to hold firm in our beliefs. We were also told to be that example to others that the Lord knew we could be. We were admonished to be the best mothers we can and the best daughters and the best wives, etc. Whatever the role that we have now is what we need to be working on. Promises given by the Lord will come to fruition if and only if we keep doing what we are supposed to do! Faith and trust in the Lord is so key! We must at the very least understand that the Lord is only ever trying to help us, and anything that He asks us to do is because that will be the greatest for us. I really do love the gospel. I'm so excited for what will happen in the future!! So much potential!

Love you all! I hope you have a wonderfully fantastic week!!
Love, your most favoritest child in the whole wide world,

Sister Monica Walker

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Back in Columbus!

Dearest Mother:)

I am back in Columbus!! This was the place that I left 6 months ago to go to Albany, and now I just left Albany and I came right back! This time though it is in the other ward in Columbus, so it isn't exactly the same, but its still pretty close. We had stake conference this last weekend and it was kind of funny because I knew more people there then my companion did. Three people in the other ward I was in even offered to feed us dinner or lunch sometime.. Haha it was nice to know that I was missed and that people still remember me here:) The ward I am in now if the Flat Rock Ward, and my companion is Sister O'Brien. She is from Hawaii, and I'm pretty sure this is the first companionship I have ever had where one of us is not from Utah or Idaho.. Really all we need is to be in a trio with someone from Florida and then we have all the vacation states.. haha I thought that was funny. It has been pretty cool though, because this companionship is a lot like the one I had with Sister Danible. With Sister Danible, it was cool because she left the Rivercrest Ward 6 weeks before I got there, and then when I got to my new area in Albany, she was my companion, and we could talk all day about the Rivercrest ward. Here my companion is Sister O'Brien, and again, she had just left Albany 6 weeks before I got there, and my next area, which is ironically Columbus again, she is my companion!! So it has been fun to catch up with her about Albany and also to hear some of the updates of the Columbus wards.. I love Sister O'Brien though! We became friends almost within an hour of meeting each other, and we are still friends a week later.. haha.. so I am excited to see where this is going to take us in the next few weeks. It is entirely likely that she will be my last companion and that she will be the one that will see me off, and I love it. She is pretty much obsessed with Star Wars. I gave her a Star Wars puzzle and she almost freaked out on me. It was funny. She is an awesome person though, and we already have found a good rhythm in our teaching where both of us are teaching and testifying and participating pretty equally in all the lessons that we have. She makes me happy:) I have decided about this area though that I haven't seen as many sketchy areas as I did in Columbus. Perhaps that is because the Elders cover those areas here, but it does make it seem a little bit different, even if I recognize a lot of the people.

Alex sent me pictures of all of them, their family pictures are adorable! I love them so much. I can't wait to see them again! It will be fun to meet Henry for the first time. I love my family:)

That is so cool that all of you got to go to the Sacramento temple! I vaguely remember going there for the open house. I know I remember thinking the ceilings were really high, but I was also smaller, so I don't really know how tall they are.. haha. Didn't Alex go through the Sacramento temple for her endowments when the Oakland temple was closed last time? And did something happen to it to need major repairs? or did it just get old? 

This last weekend we had the opportunity like I said before to have Stake Conference. The cool thing about this Stake Conference was that there was going to be a General Authority there. This is the second time in a short span of time that I get to meet not just one but three of the General authority 70s. The one that spoke this last Stake Conference that I attended is a recently called General Authority named Elder Peter F. Meurs. He is from Australia, and he gave wonderful talks with his wife on the Atonement and the power of it. His wife shared a story that I thought really put into perspective for me repentance and how it works. Forgive me if I tell it wrong, but the general idea of it will be the same:)

-There was once a boy named Johnny who had recently been given a slingshot to play with. One day he decided to practice using his slingshot and spent a long time trying to hit his target of the trees. He continuously missed, and eventually got tired so started to make his way home. He had almost made it all the way home when he spotted a duck. Thinking to try his luck one more time, he shot at the duck. Surprising to him, he managed to hit the duck. Sadly, the rock hit the duck and killed it. Devastated, and knowing that he would be in trouble for killing the duck, he took the duck and hid it behind the woodpile in their backyard. After hiding it, he looked up to see his sister, Sally, watching him. She told him she saw what he did with the duck but that she wouldn't tell. Later that evening, his grandma was asking Sally to come help her with the dishes, Sally responded with "I would love to come help you with the dishes, but Johnny told me earlier today that he wanted to help with the dishes tonight." and then leaned over to her brother and whispered "Remember the duck!" Grudgingly, but a little guiltily Johnny went and helped his grandma with the dishes. The next day their family was going fishing, but the grandma told them that she needed Sally to stay home with her to help her prepare dinner. Sally again told her grandma that she would, but that Johnny had expressed a desire for him to help earlier to her. Again she whispered "Remember the duck!" After a few days of Johnny not only doing his chores, but Sally's as well, he finally went up to his grandma and confessed what he had done with the duck. His grandma looked him lovingly in the eye, and said "I know, I was standing at the window and saw it all happen. I was just wondering how long you were going to let Sally make a slave out of you." 

I thought that was a wonderful story! Because how true it is. Heavenly Father is much like the grandma who is watching out the window who sees it all happen, but is waiting for us to come to him to tell him. If this boy had only gone to his grandma earlier, he would have been spared the anguish of doing so many more chores. He would have been able to do all the fun things that he missed out on because his sister made him her slave. If only we would learn to immediately turn to our Father in Heaven when we do something wrong. We cannot hide it. He has already seen us do it. Our hiding it only causes more pain for us. What a powerful example of repentance though. Although I knew it, and I understood its significance, this made it hit a lot more home then usual.

I wish I had more time to tell you more about it, but again, time has run out. Remember that I love you all and I appreciate everything that you do for me everyday:)
Make today a great day!

Sister Monica Walker

Monday, September 5, 2016

Last Transfer

Dearest Mother,

News of the week-I'm getting transferred!! Both sisters in my area will be leaving because my companion went home today. I am currently sitting in the family history center in Perry, GA with Sister Danible and Sister Blackburn. I get to crash with them until tomorrow morning when I find out who my new companion is and where I am going. That's why I get to email today even though it is still a holiday because they have a key to get to the Family History Center computers. Yay!! 

Yes there was a "storm" last week. I was honestly kind of excited for it, but it really didn't come my way at all, we just watched the clouds move over us, and then it rained one night. However as a precaution, our mission president told all of us in the mission that we had to stay in our apartments until about 2 or 3 Friday morning, which made that day super hectic because we had appointments about an hr away at noon, so we had to push them until after President's lockdown ended, and before our other appointments that we had in Albany later that afternoon and evening. It was pretty amazing though, because even though we were rushed for time, we were able to see three of the referrals that we had there in Cuthbert, and every single one of them not only accepted a Book of Mormon, but also really wanted us to come back. I thought that was super awesome! We somehow still managed to see everyone that we planned on seeing, which was awesome too. Despite everything being pushed back about 4 hours. That was definitely a tender mercy, and something the Lord really wanted us to do. Other then that though, there wasn't really any other affects of the storm. From what I hear, there was a lot of worry about it, but it really didn't hurt anyone or anything.

Sister McCulloch arrived at the mission home ok and as now boarding the plane as I type this. Her flight leaves shortly after 11. In a few hours her family will be welcoming her home! Super exciting for her:)

I can't believe you sold the van!! that is so crazy to me!! Do you two just drive the truck and car now? Or is there another vehicle? I remember either last week or the week before you were talking about how both vehicles had been damaged by some form of a wreck.. I assume those two you are still keeping?

It is interesting that you mentioned the notes you took on a scripture that you don't remember anymore. I had a member that I knew in one of my areas who had lost a good part of his memory, but he still writes down his thoughts and impressions of his reading of the Book of Mormon, and he still tries his hardest to continue learning everything because he knows that eventually he will get all this information and knowledge back, but as long as he is learning something new everyday, when he finally gets to remember all the things he learned he says he is going to be pretty well off in intelligence.. I thought that was funny, but also a really smart idea.

Not much happened last week other then that because we were saying goodbye to a lot of people. I didn't get to say goodbye to very many people even though I had been told about 12 hrs ahead of everyone else because we already had plans for a good majority of the day. So that was sad, but it is ok, I will be able to find them all later when I get home from my mission. I was also hard to say goodbye to some people because many members went to Louisiana to help with a cleanup service there. So there weren't that many people at church on Sunday or home of Saturday either.

I will send a better email tomorrow when I have more things to talk about, but for now, I love you all!!

-Sister Monica Walker

Monday, August 29, 2016

Strengthen Those Around You

Dear Mother,

Have I ever told you how cool I think you are? Seriously. I have been trying on my mission to learn Spanish, as I told you a few months ago, and in large part is it because of you. I talk about you all the time. You are awesome! I remember throughout my life how you have been called to visit teach the Hispanic members of our ward, and how your visiting teachers were often Spanish speakers. I remember you being worried because it had been so long since you had spoken in Spanish on a regular basis that you found it hard to communicate with those sisters, and you always just hoped that they would forgive you for the mistakes you made and to help you relearn to be fluent. I remember listening to you in the other room, or making some excuse to walk up the stairs just so I could hear you speak to them in a language I couldn't understand. It fascinated me. I took Spanish for three years and honestly still couldn't speak it very well. Mostly that's because I didn't study as much as I could have, but whatever the case I was a little disappointed because I always wanted to be able to speak another language fluently. I kind of hoped to speak another language on my mission, but I was sent to Georgia (granted they do have their own form of English which I love, but at first it disappointed me). When the opportunity presented itself to me that I would be able to teach someone here in Spanish I was so excited!! Finally I would be able to learn something, even if it was small.. Sadly, they ended up moving a few weeks ago, so there hasn't been much in development of fluent Spanish speaking for me. It's still a goal I have, and I'm working on the patience and the diligence needed to learn it, but I think it is awesome that the Lord has used you in such a way that talents and skills that you learned years ago when you were my age!! are helping you now. And through you, others are also being blessed. How cool is that! The fact that you can still use those talents means to me that you have used them in the way that Heavenly Father wants you to, and He is going to continue to use them far into the eternities. How lucky you are for that! I want to be like that when I am your age:)

Yesterday at the dinner I had with some of the members of the ward I was so touched by some of the things that was shared that it left me, and pretty much everyone in the room in tears. One of the members who was the ward secretary, spoke about how it is hard for him to sometimes encourage missionaries to bring new members into the ward, because he sees all these people that are already in the ward that the ward isn't taking care of (as it is with every ward) and he worries that adding more will not help. However, he knows that the Lord has a better plan then what we might know, and so he and one of the other members here who is on the high council decided (all on their own!) that they were going to go on splits with the Elders for a few hours every week so that the investigators and the less actives can come back into the fold. He then bore a powerful witness that it doesn't happen due to how people teach, or how things are done, or even what is said. The only way that people will come closer to Christ is through the love that they show for them and for Christ. He then started crying and said that to him the most devastating thing is watching your friends slip away from the truth that they know and quit coming to church, but the happiest moments are when they come back. He wants so bad for everyone to feel that and for everyone to love them as much as he does and as much as Heavenly Father does, and to hear the marvelous choir of angels shouting for joy each time someone comes into church, whether for the 5000th time in a row, or the 1st time in years. Remember that email I sent a while ago about the less active that came to church for the first time in 10 years and how I screamed with excitement? Yep. Totally should happen every time, but maybe with more reverence.. haha. My question posed to you, is how many people do you know in your ward at home? How many people are perishing with want for help, and none are there to help? I'm not saying its up to one person to fellowship and bring everyone back to church, but at the very least we could love them! I looked at our ward roster a few weeks ago, and I don't know hardly anyone! I know there will be lots of new faces that I will learn when I come back, but I think of the people that we don't know. Our ward boundaries aren't very large, especially considering places like here where the ward boundaries are 7 1/2 counties. My goal when I get home to to find time to visit at least one family I don't know a day. I have no idea if it will work out, but I want to try. I want to do more then just fellowship at church. I want these people to know that they are loved even if they have never come to church. All of us are children of loving Heavenly Parents, and because I love and respect my Heavenly Parents, should I know love and respect those that they love too? My brothers. My sisters. MY family! I don't even know the lengths I would go to help you or Dad or any one of my siblings. Should it not be the same for everyone else? Granted, I, nor anyone else is perfect, so understandably we will never be able to love everyone as much as they need, but even if I can learn to love one more person, and they know it, they can in turn help another person, and they another until eventually everyone is taken care of. Thats what I want to be able to do. We shall see if this conviction of mine stays when life not as a missionary come back to full force. 

There is so much more I want to say, but I keep running out of time. Remember I love you lots!
Oh, some housekeeping items:
  • Transfers are this next week.. My companion is going home Sunday and I have no idea if I am getting transferred or not, if I do get transferred, I will have the three hours at church to say goodbye to everyone I want to and then I will be gone. Kind of strange. 
  • Next Monday is a holiday and so I don't know if I will be able to email home. It all depends on whether or not I will be in an area where they have a key to the Family History Center or not. We shall see.. And then with transfers, and my not knowing if I will be transferred or not..
  • I ONLY HAVE ONE MORE TRANSFER AFTER THIS NEXT ONE!!! That is absolutely mind blowing to me...


Sister Monica Walker

Monday, August 22, 2016

Peace, Trust, and Raindrop Blessings

Dearest Mother,

I love that idea that going to the Savior heals us. I have honestly come to appreciate the Atonement so much for that!! The sacrifice that our Savior gave wasn't just for the sins of the world, but for all the heartache and suffering that we could possibly go through. He is there wanting to heal us, but He will never force it on us, we must reach the depths of humility and admit to ourselves, and to Him that we need help, that we want it, and then we must act on that to receive His help. This is not because He likes to watch us suffer, or because He wants us to feel a little of what He suffered for us. I am sure if it were somehow possible for us to learn all that we were here to learn without having to go through pain, He would somehow make it possible. But He knows, that we still have agency, that it is all our decision on whether or not we will accept help, and He knows there are some things that we can only learn through those tests and trials. Its a lot like learning at school. As much as you can pass a test on the knowledge or theories of how something should work, it isn't until you practice applying it that it will make sense and work better for you. I think better explained would be to compare it to learning to play an instrument. I don't know how to play the cello, I would love to learn, and I think it is beautiful. I know the theory behind it. I know how to read music, and so some might say that I could play, but I have no idea how to make my fingers work the way they should to make the notes sound beautiful and not off. I don't have the strength in my fingers to hold notes with my hand stretched without my hand cramping or giving way. There will always be an instructor there to help guide me and show me the better way to learn, and to reduce the pain, but only if I am willing to listen in my humility. That doesn't mean He can do all the work for me and I am automatically a world renowned cellist. I must put the work in for myself. The same works with our lives. The Savior is there waiting on the sidelines, the most glorious epitome of humanity. He knows exactly what I must do in my mortal state to create the most beautiful harmony of my life, and here I am struggling to find the melody in my life, and finding myself with sore arms and fingers and blisters and lots of other not fun things that come from learning something new, but He the Master Musician is waiting to help bandage my injuries to soothe my aches, and to show me by example how to perform life to its fullest. I must turn and watch Him. That is the only catch. If I am not turned toward Him and watching, and trying and emulating, then I will not improve, I will be frustrated, I will quit. Sorry this thought might be all jumbled together, but I really do love that idea that the Savior is there to heal us if we but turn to Him. There is so much power in that statement He said quoted in the New Testament "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18) or even later in that same chapter He tells those around Him who are listening "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid." It is in Christ that we can find that peace. No matter where we are or who we are with or what we are doing. It is only through the Savior that true lasting peace can be found.

At the Zone Training Meeting we had two weeks ago, one of the Sisters gave a training on trust. Trust in the Lord, Trust in our companions, and Trust in our leaders. I have felt like there are been lots of trainings on trust in recent times. I know I have mentioned it before in past emails, but I still think that all of us can learn something new every time we are taught about it. Honestly if we all had perfect trust in the Lord then we would never do anything wrong, because we would trust His word that this was what was best for us. One of the Elders mentioned this idea too, but he proceeded it by asking us who our favorite scripture heroes were. Every single one of them is trustworthy, and that is a main reason why many of us look up to them. We then discussed the different reasons why missionaries are considered trustworthy or not, to the members, the mission president, or even to the Lord. It all boils down to obedience, which of course if we trusted the Lord, our obedience would be a much easier decision to make then if we had no trust and either had to make a leap of faith or trust in our own capabilities to make up for it ourselves. As is with many things in the gospel, trust is seriously one of main foundation blocks to building a better life, to being happy and having that peace previously mentioned. Faith plays a huge part as well, as does love and repentance, and lots of other things, but trust for me seems to sometimes be harder then all the rest of that. Mostly because as humans we will all experience at least one moment in our lives where we trusted and someone breaks that trust, whether maliciously or naively, and we begin to doubt the possibility of ever being able to fully trust someone ever again. We become hardened to the idea, and even begin to keep parts of ourselves secret and close, so that it wont get hurt again. Of course Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do not want us to be like that, they do not like to see us hurt or bitter or holding back, because when we are, we will not be able to receive the fullness of the blessings that He wants to give us.
One of the other things that we learned was about the symbolism of "the Cross." Many in Christian faiths wear crosses around their necks or have them prominently displayed in their places of worship. We are asked often why we do not, or why our churches do not have crosses in them. Especially being here in the south that is a very common thing for people to wear or see when they are of a Christian faith. I always would tell anyone who asked it is because we do not focus on His death, but on His life and His resurrection. We were trained a little bit on that idea, but rather then because we focus on His resurrection, which by the way is still true, the idea was proposed that it is because we carry His cross in ways that are not visible to those around us. I think of that man that was a stranger to Jerusalem who was commissioned by the soldiers to help Christ carry the cross when after immense suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the torture and suffering, inflicted by the guards when they held him imprisoned, and then the mockery and other cruel things they subjected Him, the Savior of even them, His mortal body pushed beyond anything asked of anyone else, He could no longer lift His cross. The only person I can think of during His mortal ministry that was able to physically help Christ, was that stranger who lifted the cross and endured the humiliation and degradation known only to those judged traitors. We are each asked in our own way to bear a part of that cross. Would we have been willing to carry that cross for Christ with hundreds if not thousands of people spitting and swearing and belittling us all along the way? Did we answer honestly? I will not ever know if I would have or not, because I was not there, but in a small way, the Savior has asked us to bear our own crosses in each of our lives. There will be humiliation, suffering, torture, confusion, and many more trials for being Christian. I cannot even count the number of doors that have been slammed in my face or people who mock my beliefs, or say crude things to me because of the things that I believe, or because of the things they incorrectly belief I believe. Through it all I am honored to in some small way bear His cross. I in an infinitely small way get to help lift the Cross of Christ. How honored I feel for that opportunity!! How wonderful this whole plan is! How glorious and exciting it will be to see the whole picture and see the hand of our Loving Heavenly Father in all that we do!

This last week for me was rough. Not for any particular reason, but it was (as will happen in life, some weeks are worse then others). One of my leaders committed me to write down every night three blessings of the day in a little book. I have named these blessing the raindrops of my day, mostly because I have come to really learn to love rain and the cool rain on a hot summer day. Some of my raindrops are simple things, like when my ward mission leader's wife made us treats for our Ward Correlation Meeting, some of them are more earnest like not crashing when I fell asleep driving. (Trust me, I take 5 mins every once in a while when I am driving far to get up and walk around or to take a short nap so that I will not be tired when I drive.) Each one of them, whatever the reason they are one of my raindrops that day, have a significant memory of that day for me. I am reminded of the hymn "Count Your Blessings". How true that is! The more you count your blessings, whether great or small, the more happiness and peace you will find in your life, no matter how hectic or crazy your day may be. Sometimes we have to live day by day not week by week, or month by month. But each day we must find those blessings, and really rely on the Lord when we are down that it will go away! We can find happiness!! It is not hidden and only VIP members can find it, but it is out in the open for all! My having happiness does not prevent you from being happy, but rather it somehow will augment others happiness. How great our happiness can be when we are all focused on being happy and helping others be happy! It will be awesome, and it is awesome. 

I love each of you!! You are all amazing individuals:)
Sending my love, forever and always,

Sister Monica Walker

Monday, August 15, 2016

No Perfect People, But True Church

Dearest Mother,

This week has been so crazy!! So many awesome things have happened.

First things first. I told you last week that we found out that we were moving last Wednesday. We literally had two days to pack up all our stuff and clean the whole apartment so that when we moved out, the Elders that moved in wouldn't have too much to complain about. Although we didn't have time to vacuum so I feel bad about all the hair they will find for the next little while.. Granted it has been a sister apartment for the last I don't know how long, so its possible that the hair will be forever ingrained in that apartment! Haha.. They said it would be ok though, and they appreciated us cleaning the rest of it for them. So Tuesday evening, the mission office couple over housing came down here and they took us out to eat. Wednesday morning, the four other Elders, us and the Senior couple got all of our stuff out of our old apartment and put the elders stuff in the apartment, and then went over to our new apartment (which by the way is literally just around the corner. Its the same apartment complex just a new number) and unpacked our stuff and our furniture and "new" stuff that the missionary couple brought us. (Their names by the way is Elder and Sister Grigsby.) Our new mission president's wife, Sister Grayson thinks that all the missionaries here should have a "home" to come home to, so she is making sure that we all have pictures on our walls and the like. It is very sweet of her, but it meant that we spent a while trying to make our apartment look like people lived in it, and not just stalkers with giant maps and people, and tons of church supplies.. I thought it was funny.. Very much appreciated though!

We had a awesome Zone Training Meeting Thursday. I cried through the whole thing. The Spirit was there so much! And everything was so uplifting! Saturday and Sunday were awesome too, because we had our Stake Conference, and we had a visiting General Authority come. His name is Elder Sitati, and he is from Kenya. He is a member of the first quorum of the 70 and he is over the area that I serve in. Im not sure how they classify this area, but that's all I really know. 

And sad to say, but I am again running out of time. I was hoping I would get the opportunity to write more about it, but it has been a crazy day, and we still have so much left to do! We have to fun over to Tifton in a minute for our interviews with our mission president, and so sadly I don't have as much time as I wish to to be able to write as much as I want to. I will bring my notebook with me next week too so that I can tell you all about each of those meetings:) But for now, just know that it is awesome to know that this church is true! It doesn't matter what people around you say, or whether they are seemingly of influence. No one ever claimed this church had perfect people, we just claim to have the fullness of the truth of Christ's gospel.

One question posed to me by my ward mission leader. If for some reason, something drove me away from coming to church, what would I then do with my life? Where would I go to find the spiritual nourishment that I need? Knowing what I know about authority, and the priesthood, and modern revelation, if I deny this church, I would never be able to find any other to even begin to compare to the spiritual power found in this one. If this church is not true, then the true church cannot be found anywhere on the earth!

However, I do know that this is the only church in the whole world that is led my God's loving guidance. I know we have a true and living prophet that receives revelation that helps each and every one of us every day! I know that we are loved by Him, and that he takes care of us even in the smallest of ways. I know that the Book of Mormon was written by Him through prophets that lived in America, and has the same power as the Bible in convincing people of His existence. I love this gospel!! And I will never allow anyone to convince me to leave. Because it is the source of all my happiness. Without it, I have no promise of a forever family, I have no promise of peace, I have no promise of love or of really anything. This gospel is my life. It is who I am. I will never ever regret that. I hope you never will either.

I love you all! I will talk to you next week!

-Sister Monica Walker

Monday, August 8, 2016


Dearest Mother,

I am sorry I shocked you when I told you I played the organ in church.. But ready to be shocked again? I did it yesterday too!! But I probably wont be doing it again just because the lady that normally does it will be back in town this week. Plus this next weekend is Stake Conference and I will definitely not be playing then.. There are people in this Stake that play better then me. Plus there is a 70 coming. That would be so scary to play at Stake Conference, even though its a stake that really doesn't know who I am, and I will be leaving soon.. About my playing yesterday though.. Apparently whoever was doing the programs misheard the hymns that I was told, and so they announced the hymns and one of them was one that I hadn't practiced!! I nearly had a heart attack. Thankfully though, the hymn that was replaced was the one that I was having the hardest time with, and it was replaced with a hymn that I could sight read pretty well.. Trust me I was praying the entire time that I played that I wouldn't mess up too bad. I didn't play with the feet, because I'm not very good at that part, and I can't practice very easily on the organ at church, usually when I practiced it would be at night before I went to bed and in the morning when I would wake up on the electric piano I borrowed from the seminary room. It has an organ setting so I was able to practice playing it on the "organ". And then it was nice because Sacrament Meeting went over by like 20 mins and so I only had to play the last song one time through. It was kinda fun though and I would love to do it for real except that I honestly don't have a whole lot of time to practice on my mission.

News of this week- We (the sisters) are moving to a new apartment on Wednesday, so I'm not sure if I have given you our direct address or not, but if I have, make sure you are sending everything to the mission address:

400 Northside Crossing
Macon, GA 31210

I don't know where exactly we are moving yet and I don't think I will know until we are moving stuff.. It is in the same apartment complex though, it is just a different one. In case you are wondering why in the world are we moving apartments- so we have two new Elders here in this ward. They are currently living with the other Elders in the spare room that is in their apartment, but because President Grayson doesn't like more than one set of missionaries to an apartment, they have been trying to find these two new missionaries an apartment since. For whatever reason, this morning they decided we were going to get the new apartment, and the Elders were going to get ours. I think its because the new apartment that we are moving into is further away from the other Elders apartment.. I don't really know though. So today we are going to have to pack up our entire apartment to prepare to move on Wed to the new one. Its going to be crazy..

Also fun story!! So Saturday night we came home to our apartment after our Ward Correlation meeting, and found our smoke/CO alarm going off.. There wasn't any smoke though and nothing there to have made CO so we tried turning it off. Eventually we got it off, but we did call our mission nurse Sister Finlinson to let her know, and she told us that we needed to air out the apartment, but that if it hadn't gone off again then it probably wasn't anything. But she said to call Elder Grayson (the housing missionary). So we did, and they told us not to worry and just to let them know if it went off again. So we were getting ready for bed, when Sister Grayson (our Mission President's wife) calls us and tells us that we have to get out of the house immediately, and to go to the nearest Sister's apartment. When we told her it was an hour away, she told us to go to a members home. Just in case it was a real alarm and not a malfunction. So we called our Ward mission Leader, and he said we could come crash at his house for the night. And then we were headed out the door, and Sister Grayson called us again and said she had spoken to Elder Grigsby and that we should be safe there for the night, but as soon as it goes off again we need to get out and call the fire department. It didn't go off again so we were safe, and I had to call our Ward Mission Leader back and call off our crashing at their place. That made me sad, because I thought that would have been so much fun! Even if all we did was sleep there..

That's really it for this week:) There will probably be lots next week with Stake Conference and everything.
I miss you lots and lots and lots:):)
Love you!

-Sister Monica Walker

Monday, August 1, 2016

He Loves Everyone and So Should You

Dearest Mother,

This week has been so amazing!!!! There is so much I want to email you about and I probably wont even get to most of it because there is so much!

Jazlyn is the one that got baptized:) She is the one in the blue skirt:):):):) The rest of them are her sister and her mom and the member family they are good friends with:):)
First things first. Jazlyn was baptized on Saturday!!! It was so exciting! She asked us not to tell to many people about the baptism because she didn't want a whole lot of people there.. It was surprising pretty full though, and when the rest of the Ward found out the next day that she had gotten baptized many of them came up to us and told us they were disappointed they weren't able to go because they would have loved to come!! I thought that was super sweet of them, and I feel a little bad I didn't tell them about the baptism, but I also know she is a very shy person. Her nonmember family came and the Bishop and the Young Women's president and her family and the main member family that had been fellowshipping. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but when you put together all the extended families in those, then it was a full room (plus 6 missionaries and our Ward mission leader) oh and an investigator of the Elders. The best part was before the baptism when I was talking to her mom who we are also teaching, and she told us that when she gets baptized, the water had better be hot. I thought it was cool, because even if she isn't ready now, she can envision herself doing it sometime in the future!! It made me so happy! And then! Her mom's boyfriend is a less active that hasn't been to church in years and years and years, and since we have been teaching this family, he has been coming to church with them when he can, and he has joined us in most of our discussions, and of course was there at the baptism. Afterwards he thanked me for all that I have done for him and for Jazlyn and her family, and I told him it was completely worth it. And for him not to worry. That even though Jazlyn was baptized, and we have gone through all the discussions with them, we weren't going to forget him, and his own family. We have been, and will continue to work with this family for a while, and I loved seeing the steps that each of them are taking to be closer to Christ and each other. I love all of them so much!!!

Yesterday at church was also super awesome!! Mostly because the missionaries basically made up most of the program. All 6 of us spoke, and I played the organ. Yes Mother. I actually played the organ in church. This I think is the first time I have played the organ (or the piano for that matter) in Sacrament meeting.. It was super nerve wracking.. also don't think I really thought it through very much because I had to play the intermediate hymn right after I spoke, and of course I was crying and so I couldn't really see the music. Needless to say, that hymn wasn't the best, but the ward members thought it was very touching.. so at least there is that! I will be playing next Sunday as well. I don't know what the songs are yet though.. I will have to call the music person to find out today so that I can practice.. haha.

Three of the Elders were new to Albany so they each just bore their testimony to the ward. (One elder was replacing another, and the other two were opening an Elders car area here to help us with the vast amount of people we have to see) The other three of us spoke on the phrase "What would Jesus do?" I was surprised that no scriptures were repeated, and the thoughts were so different. Mine was a lot more focused on the Character of Christ, since before you can answer that question, you have to know who Christ is, and how He reacts to different situations. In a nutshell I said that when things get hard for us, many of us will ask why me? Why now? Why is it so hard? I need a break.. etc. We focus inward. We focus on ourselves. When Christ suffered, He focused outward. He focused on others. When He was being tempted in the wilderness (when He was fasting for 40 days) He did end up calling angels to Him, but not for Himself, instead He sent them to His cousin John who was suffering in prison. Later after He had just suffered the effects of the suffering in the Garden, and was very likely still feeling some of the after affects of it, and then on top of it, one of His closest companions betrays Him to the very people that seek His life, but when Peter cuts off the ear of the soldier who is trying to take Christ prisoner, His first thought is not, you deserved it, but rather to just reach out and heal Him. Because He could not stand to see the soldier suffer. How many of us could do that? How many of us will reach out to the people who hurt us, or whom we know intend us harm, and love them? All Christ has asked for us to do is love everyone. He never said we had to like them, but that we had to love them. Everyone in this world I am sure has felt at some moment in their life that they are utterly alone. Many times they seem to be the most alone in the middle of a huge crowd. We will all feel worthless, unworthy, and ashamed of who we are. We will each feel discouraged and down. I plead with you, just as I did the the ward here to never forget that if you ever feel like that, remember there is at least one person who loves you! That is Christ. He loves you unconditionally!! 

He is always there ready to give you a hug when you need it. And if you can't remember that, and you need a more physically there person, you can know that I love you. I may not like you, but I will love you. One of the things I have been most grateful for in my mission, is the love that I have been able to feel for so many people! I know it would be ten times harder to love these people if I wasn't here on my mission, but I am so glad I have been able to learn to love them here. Many of my favorite people here are those who many look at and will walk across the street to avoid. I might have even done the same. There are many people who I see who others will tell me to stop seeing because they look scary, or they aren't worth my time.. I can tell you that everyone is worth my time. I wish I had more time to see all of them!! It is true that many people are scary looking, look rough or dangerous. Many times people who come to church have very large visible stains on their reputations and image. Visible or not, is it my place to judge? Nope. Its not. I love everyone. That is what I am supposed to do, and that is what I will try to do for the rest of my life. In no way am I perfect at it, and I don't think I will be perfect at it in this lifetime, but I can find as many people as I can to let them know how much I love them, and hopefully help change their life for the better. If they have no one else, they have me. I don't want anyone to be alone. Ever. It makes my heart hurt to much. However, I know that I am only one person. And I am in no way near as powerful or as awesome as our Savior Jesus Christ. He could do all this work if He wanted to all by Himself. But He has allowed me to be a teeny tiny part of it. So that I can feel His love for these people. I feel so blessed to be able to have that part, and I feel that responsibility weigh heavily on my shoulders. If He needs me to, I will continue to do this for the rest of my life. That's how much I love each and every one of you. I'm not sure I can convey my sincerity as well over email, but I really do believe this, and I have made this my life goal. I am excited to see where it leads me!

Anyway.. Then I cried, and shared some more stories, and the whole ward was crying too, and three or four came up to me after and said that talk was meant for them, and one person told me that it was General Authority status.. Which I thought was a very nice compliment. :) Not sure if it was that good, but maybe to him it was since it was so personal and it touched him greatly. At least that meant that the Spirit was there:) I really do love giving talks!

Oh! and then after church the best thing happened, this 10 year old girl came up to me and said "Excuse me, but I'm going to get baptized, and the Bishop said I needed to talk to you" It was the cutest thing ever.. Her dad is a member but has only been recently coming back to church. She decided she was going to get baptized, and later when we visited them, she asked if she could get baptized tomorrow, we told her she had to wait a little longer, so she immediately responded with "Ok, so I can get baptized in 2 days?" haha it made me think of me when I was younger and the things you would tell me when I thought 2 days was so long. Loved it. Turns out the Bishop had already talked to my companion about it, but since I didn't hear that conversation, I didn't know that it had gone on, and it had really surprised me when the little girl came up and told me she was going to get baptized but needed to talk with me first. So cute!

I love you lots! (sorry I had to leave out some of my week that I wanted to tell you, but this is a really long email already and now I am out of time). I hope you are having a wonderful week!!
Love your favorite child,
Sister Monica Walker

PS When does school/seminary start back up? The kids here start tomorrow..

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Still here!

Dearest Mother!
I am staying in Albany for another transfer! And my companion is staying too!! So This means I get to send her home which is cool because she was my MTC companion:) I'm so excited for the next 6 weeks!

You have Sister Missionaries now? Awesome!! That is so exciting! I hope they keep sister missionaries until I get home! That will be so fun to get to know them! :) Tell them when I come home, they should feel free to use me for miles and member presents (as long as it is ok that I use the car while I am home:)) I think that is it awesome that the visiting general authority encouraged y'all to have "gospel discussions" with your non-member friends! If nothing else, it will definitely increase your testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel! I hope one day everyone will do that.. It would make it so much more fun to be missionaries:)

President Grayson decided that he was going to put two more elders in our area! And they are going to get a car!! So then we will be able to go to the far away areas more often:) I am so excited for it because it means that there will be so many more people that will be able to be affected! President Grayson officially announced it during transfer calls last Saturday night, but we knew earlier in the week because he would call us what seemed like daily to ask about the area and where a good place for them to be living would be. Its been a pretty hectic week, but it is so worth it! 

I'm glad people are still thinking about me:) I think about all of you all the time and when I get the ward newsletters from Brother Martinez each month, I am just so amazed at how much everyone has grown since I have been gone.. Its crazy how the world changes when you are away from it for even a short while!

I remember at girls camp we were always warned about bears, but that bears never actually came close.. I'm amazed that they did come closer though. I have learned that sometimes it is needed so that we can learn the importance of obedience.. (Gospel tie in ready?) Sometimes we are told so many different times the dangers of the "bears" in our lives. Gossip, bad language, laziness, etc. They don't always hurt us, but the potential is always there.. Until it hits closer to home, or it walks in on you at camp, we think we are still doing good! So what if it isn't necessarily 100% right? everyone else is doing it! We start to roam at night, we start to leave our companion. There is a reason there is the buddy system whenever you are in potentially dangerous places. We can get lost, we won't know where to go! Hope is there! First, know that Heavenly Father is always there, if we but just listen. Understand commandments aren't meant to confine, but to protect and free.. Your choices become very limited if you decide to break the rule of not going into the deep forest at night and you come across a bear. That works the same in life.. It's amazing what Heavenly Father sees in our lives that He tries to warn us about, but because we are too stubborn we don't listen and we trip.. A lot. He is always there though ready to pick us up and help us move forward:)

In some good news!! One of our investigators is getting baptized on Saturday! I am so excited for her! I will talk about it more next week, but I wanted to let you know that because it was so exciting when she passed her interview last week!!! Yay!

Anyway, I love you all and I hope everything is going ok with life:)
Remember to always count your blessing, especially when you are down, to choose happiness, and always TRUST the Lord. He does know you and He knows what is best for you:)
Always and forever my love,

Sister Monica Walker

Monday, July 11, 2016

Missionary Thoughts

Hello dearest mother!

I am so glad to hear that you had an awesome fun time up in Idaho with your children, and also that you were able to have a super awesome fun time with Dad's family, and your family:) I think that it is awesome that James was able to baptize his little brother! How cool is that? But it also makes me feel old, because I remember him as a little kid, not as a priest. How time flies by when you aren't around to see someone grow!

I am so glad to hear that Courtney is going to be a missionary! That is super exciting! You will have to let me know when she gets her call and where she is going to go:)

You probably got your thought on coincidences from Gospel Doctrine yesterday, if you didn't then what a coincidence! Because I was going to mention a little bit about that in my email today too:) We ended up going to Gospel Doctrine class yesterday because we didn't have anyone other then the missionaries and the teacher in the Gospel Principles class. We talked about the four sons of Mosiah and Alma the Younger, and one of the things that really stood out to me was the coincidence of Alma meeting his friends (the fours sons of Mosiah) on the road, when they were coming back from a 14 year mission, and he was journeying from place to place on his. How wonderful and awesome Heavenly Father is to orchestrate that chance meeting! I take it from the perspective of a missionary (because I am one) and how there are times where I am pushing along, and things get tough, and then someone or something just happens to come by, and suddenly I can remember why I am doing this! Alma was so excited to see his friends! And to top it off, they were all still firm in the faith! They had all experienced great conversion, and none of them had decided that it was too hard to follow the Lord, despite the crazy hardships they each saw. I can't help but think of the time that I was in Provo for college, and Josh served his mission only a few minutes away from where I was living for my first semester, and then all the cool things I got to do with him because of that! Mainly the opportunity for Ben Josh and I (And Ben's roommate and Josh's companion and investigator) to be able to attend a session of General Conference together. I remember them meeting for the first time since Ben had left on his mission almost 3 years prior, right outside the Conference Center, and they both started crying:) I remember how hard it was for me to not give Josh a hug, but I knew it probably wouldn't be the best idea if I did since no one else knew that I was his sister, and it might look like something else.. And then the awesome opportunity that Josh, Dad, and I had to fly home with him from his mission! That was super awesome and cool:) Granted that last one was most definitely not a coincidence, but really the other ones aren't either, but it just so happened that I was involved in the planning on this one:) I can't wait to one day see the whole scope of His plan. All the tender mercies He gave to each and every one of us every day! I'm pretty sure I will cry for a super long time when I realize exactly how much Heavenly Father planned to give me those blessings and everything else, and how much exactly He spent (in time and love, etc) trying to make my life easier, even in the smallest of ways.

I heard also in Gospel Doctrine something else that I really liked. The teacher was commenting on the scriptures and the power that they have in reading them, in the words that were used, and not just paraphrasing, when someone else mentioned that they had been told something a long time ago, that really stuck with her. The idea was this: We have our own personal scripture, created just for us, it is called a patriarchal blessing. The scriptures were written for all of us as a whole, but at the same time, there will be a scripture somewhere that will have been written just for me. Like Joseph Smith and James 1:5-how that scripture struck him to the core, and it cause him to act on the impression, and thus change his life completely (and in consequence the rest of ours as well). We each have a scripture somewhere in the scriptures whether it is in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Pearl of Great Price, that was written specifically for us. Word for every word for us. Our job is to find it! That is part of the reason why it is so important to study our scriptures, because if we are not studying our scriptures then we will not be able to find it! Many people don't know that Joseph Smith actually did a lot of studying of the Bible before James 1:5 struck him like it did. Granted the study of a 10 year old might differ from the study of a 50 year old, but the intent is the same. Joseph spent years searching for his answer. He attended many various different churches, and asked each of them to answer his questions. None would answer them, and many told him it wasn't for us to know, or else there was no answer to it, but he persisted, and continued asking. That can be each of us as well! We must be doing all that we can to search out the answers. Heavenly Father loves us so much He doesn't want to hinder our progress. He wants us to learn, not to just coast. He created us to be curious people. He wants us to ask questions. He wants to answer. But He also wants us to use the answers that we have already been given. That is why sometimes it takes a long time for the answer to come, because He wants us to study what we do have first, but He wants us to continuously be asking questions of Him, because it is an outward sign of our desire to learn. To grow. Just like a child with his parents, the parents teach them step by step 1+1=2, principle by principle, line upon line. That is how He works! We keep learning, and He keeps teaching:) I love it so much! There are so many things to learn about the gospel:)

I actually just finished this morning a study guide for the Elders. I went through the Book of Mormon and wrote down a bunch of different things that would be fun to study about. Some of them were the stories that we all know and love, like Ammon and protecting the sheep, some were more obscure things like the power of wisdom. I ended up writing 100 different ideas down, and gave them these rules (oh I listed them from 1-100) the first thing they had to do was pick a number 1-100, the second thing they needed to do was study whatever the topic was, whether it was a story, or a characteristic, or a person, and read about it in the Book of Mormon (and other resources if they so desire), and then they had to ask themselves, why that particular thing was important, what is the significance of it, and why it was included in the list in the first place? Then they had to do something creative with it-whether it was act it out, draw a picture of it, build something, whatever they want to do. And then finally they have to ask themselves why it matters to them, what can they take from it? How can they apply that topic to their lives? Honestly I was writing this out, and my companion said I had better keep a copy for myself because she wants one too.. haha I'm not sure how much it will work in practice, but in theory I think it will work super well.. And in doing so, it will help me begin to dig deeper into the scriptures than I have before. It is going to be awesome!

Oh! and a member proposed yesterday that we do a ward missionary day where the four of us, plus like 20 or 30 of the ward members would go out and try to find people to teach! It was so awesome that a member came up with the idea, and not us! Usually it is us pushing the missionary work, and it was awesome to see it flipped around this time. Part of it, was the fact that we have almost 300 media referrals, and the elders have about 150, and we can't possibly see all of them like we would like to. We can contact each of them, and most of them by this point have been contacted at least once, and received what they asked for, but it is really hard to go back and teach them when we have so many others that we want to go and try to see. Doing the ward missionary activity will be awesome because it should allow for us to spend less time trying to contact each of these and setting up appointments, and rather more time teaching. Plus then we can take the members with us that went to each of those places before, and it will be super cool to be able to help them see how awesome it is to be doing missionary work too! Yay!

Anyway, this email is long enough, just remember I love all of you:) and you are my favoritest:)
Love forever and Always,

Sister Monica Walker