Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Busy Busy

Dearest Mother,

Charles sounds like the cutest kid in the whole world. I am so excited to really get to know him for myself when I get home from my mission. It will be a lot of fun :) I sent home a picture of my wall in my apartment. Pretty much the only pictures I keep out are those of my two little darling nephews :) they make me so happy!

I don't know if I have told you about this or not, but I thought I would share this week about something that my District here is doing that I think is super sweet and awesome, and is called "The Chair." Basically the idea is that every week, at least one member of our district gets to sit in a chair at the head of the table, and we go around the room and each person gets to say why they love that person. Things they think are admirable or unique to that person, and the effect it has had on them. I have begun to make sure that there are Kleenex in my bag for these occasions because everytime I am crying because of all the things people are saying to each other. It is some of the sweetest things I ever saw, and especially when it comes down to those Elders who don't speak very much, and they were told about how awesome they are. I did find certain people to be a little harder than other people, but it worked really well anyway, and the Spirit was there so strong each time. It really has unified our district at least and I thought it was perhaps one of the best things to do to build someone's self-confidence. Super awesome and very touching. I am sorry this weeks email is super short, I don't really have a whole lot of time to email today and I had a lot of emails that I needed to catch up on due to my continual pushing them off. Know that I love each and everyone of you, even if I don't know you, or haven't seen you in a long time. You are all special to me, because you are special to our Heavenly Father.

Here is a condensed version of something that happened this week that I sent to my mission president. Enjoy! :)
This week has been good for Sister Maher and I in relation to the people we have been able to see and help. There are some really amazing people here that are so willing to do what they need to do to help grow their relationship with Heavenly Father. I love to see the progress they make as they accept and complete the invitations that we extend to them, and in so doing see the positive affect it has on their lives. We recently had an investigator very nearly drop us because she had "issues" with the Book of Mormon that were very minor, and honestly questions that had never occurred to me before, and frankly didn't really make a whole lot of sense to me. However, because she was willing to do as we asked and pray about it, she told us that despite her reluctance to meet with us again, Heavenly Father pretty much slapped her in the face and told her that she needed to hear from us, because we had something really important for her to hear, and that she needed to read the whole thing before she could say it wasn't His word. It was really interesting that she would say that, and it made me feel very inadequate because I know that I do have those answers that she so desperately needs, but finding out how to teach them to her is a very difficult process and will go very slowly, because in her words, "it will be like going through a steel wall." It will be a test of my ability to have the spirit at all times, and it will definitely be something that will help me learn to really rely on the Spirit and try my hardest to put myself in a position in which (like was mentioned at the missionary broadcast) I can be used as a tool by the Spirit to help her be in the optimal place for the Spirit to teach her of the truthfulness of the things we speak about. 
Love you all!!
Keep up the good work!

-Sister Monica Walker

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Encourage People to Come Up

Dearest Mother,

I love the pictures you all sent me of Charles and Henry!! They are super cute!! I printed a bunch of them out so I could see them every day:) Thank you so much for the pictures!!! I love them so much!! I can now sympathize for Josh when he was on his mission and you had Charles.. But the pictures are definitely appreciated:) Ps I'm totally printing these out and putting them on my wall.. I have a Prince Charles wall in my apartment all of pictures of my nephew. And now there will be an add on for King Henry.. Cutest pictures in the world! I love pictures of you guys! They are all super awesome!

A member who lives in a retirement home because she has Alzheimers. We visit her at least once a week since missionaries are some of the few people that she can recognize anymore.. Super sad but she is so sweet:)
It's interesting that you said that you learned something different about Lehi's dream the other day, mostly because I was reading that the other day and noticed a lot of things I hadn't known before. One of the things I noticed, was how when Lehi had partaken of the fruit, he immediately wanted his family to taste it, and instead of waiting for them to come over to him, he shouted at them and waved for them to come over to where he was. He actively worked to help them get closer, he didn't wait for them to see him. At the same time however, it wasn't like he left the tree, and went and pulled them over to the tree, he let them come at their own pace, but he stood at the tree waiting for them to come to him. It was an interesting parallel I thought with how we should be an example today. We shouldn't be going to someone else's level by lowering our standards, but by encouraging them to come up to the level we are at. Continually being that example for them, never degrading, but always encouraging. 

The lady with the green jacket we surprised on her 90th birthday.. (we actually crashed her birthday party Wednesday night and then crashed her birthday on Sunday.. Didn't actually plan that, it just happened.. We didn't even know that it was her birthday until someone came in and gave her a present.. Whoops.. Super funny though).
I also looked at Nephi's record of the same vision and I noticed something I hadn't before. In 1 Nephi 11:25, it talks about how the iron rod leads to the "fountain of living waters, or the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God." I knew that the tree and the fruit on it represented the love of God, and how sweet it was to behold, but the way this was worded made me think of an even further analogy. In the New Testament, Jesus tell the woman at the well that He is the source of living water. When you put that with this vision, and how it was said that it was the fountain of living water-fountain being the source-literally it is saying that Christ is the representation of the love of God! How true that is! Heavenly Father has done what he has done to help us His Children, and Christ is the focus of it all. It is through Christ that we experience this joy and happiness and peace. By no other name nor any way can we feel that eternal bliss we so desire! And then further in that same chapter, it talks about Christ'd life, and how He was judged of the world (v32). Compare that to how the great and spacious building judged those who went to the tree, they are essentially mocking the tree and belittling it, just like the world did to Jesus in His mortal life. There are so many other things that I gained from reading it this time around, and one day I will have to show you all my notes on it, and we can have super long conversations about everything that you and I have learned while I am on my mission. For now though, I just wanted to give you that to think over.

The lady with the pink blanket is our 96 year old investigator Willie Mae.
I really do love the scriptures! There is not enough time in the day to do all that I want to do to learn and grow from them. Every time I study them I really get something new out of them. Things that I skimmed over, things that I never connected, all of it suddenly making sense. Speaking of, real quick since I have to go in a minute, there was a member who was able to go to the temple for the first time last Saturday. It was super awesome and so spiritual because this persons journey to getting there are led her to some really rocky roads. On Sunday when I saw her after that, we were having a regional broadcast from Salt Lake for all the South Eastern area. Before we tuned in for the broadcast, we sang Hymn #6. During the broadcast for the intermediate hymn, we sang... hymn #6... again... Later the next day, we went and visited her, and she pointed out something to us that I had never considered. So for those of you who have been to the temple, you will probably get it, but the rest of you wont. Go look at the hymn though and read through it thinking of the covenants we make. It's super cool when you figure it out. :) Its interesting to me that I have sung that hymn so many times and I never really understood its potential worth to me. The same works with the scriptures but a hundred times over:)

Love you all! Hope all is well with you:)

Your favorite child, and the most excited Aunt in the world,

Sister Monica Walker
Me trying this ab wheel workout thing the elders gave us and failing miserably.... and comforting myself with donuts after:)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Dearest Mother,
I love you!! And everyone else in our family:) It's strange to not be there for all the fun things you guys do, but it's pretty cool to hear about it from all of you and also to have all the fun adventures here too. For example here's something that I told my mission president today about last week. It's a pretty crazy story, even if you don't have all the details.

So a miracle that happened this week, but it requires a bit of back story. When we were on exchanges a few weeks ago (Sister Dayton and I) Sister Dayton went to go try to visit a referral we had been given by the Elders, and happened to stop and talk to a lady named Vicky. They got talking, and at some point during the conversation it came about that this lady has great faith in the Lord. She told Sister Dayton that she had just lost her car, but it was ok because God would take care of her, and that she had enough faith that the Lord would give her another car, since she really needed one. But not any car, but a brand new one. She told Sister Dayton to come back, gave her her number, and her address on a piece of paper, and then they left. When Sister Dayton left, she handed me the piece of paper, which I then promptly lost, and freaked out about for about two weeks because I couldn't find it. So New Year's Eve rolled around and Sister Maher and I were reading our scriptures and the Ensign when we get a call from an unknown number, and it was Vicky! She had dug through her trash to find our number because she really wanted us to visit her. She also told us to guess what was sitting outside her apartment. "What?" We asked. "A new car!" Stunned silence for a few moments. It was an absolute miracle how she got it, and I don't really understand all the details, but suffice it to say that she got the car for a lot less then she should have. We went to visit her the next day and taught her the Restoration, which she loved. When we invited her to be baptized, she said as of right now, no, but if God tells her to then she will. We then told her a little bit of what we were going to teach her the next time (The Pan of Salvation), but didn't really tell her everything, just told her that it would answer a lot of the questions she had, and then told her we had to leave, she said "You can't leave now! You have to tell me what comes next!" She's so excited for our next appointment. She's pretty amazing though. And we are super stoked to teach her:)

I love that about every member being a witness. It is so true though. We actually have an investigator that is going back and forth on when she wants to be baptized, but she knows she wants to be eventually, its just the when that is iffy. We had her go over to a member's home for a lesson (the member family is really close to her already) and we basically had a testimony meeting where everyone was bearing their testimony of the things that they knew. We went through the baptismal questions (which I will list in a second) and after each question I asked them what it meant to them, or how it would change their lives, or why they thought that way. It was pretty amazing to listen to their answers, and I found out later that one of the girl's boyfriend who was there was a recent convert, which surprised me because more often than not he was the first to answer to the why. It made me wonder how often each of us asked these questions for ourselves, and not only would answer the way that was expected but really thought about WHY we answered the way we did.
  1. Do you believe that God is your Heavenly Father?
  2. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your Brother and your Savior?
  3. Do you believe you have repented of all of your transgressions/sins?
  4. Do you believe that the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith?
  5. Do you believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God?
  6. When we are baptized, we promise our Heavenly Father that we will take upon the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ. What does that mean to you?

After each of these questions I always followed up with what does your answer mean to you? It was pretty amazing to feel the Spirit that was there as we were talking and how strongly we were each testifying of the truthfulness of everything we were talking about. It was so powerful mostly because each of us really had to think about the answers we gave, and couldn't just say yes. It's something I'd encourage each of you to do for yourselves, with or without other people it doesn't really matter, but it is amazing to see the change that can happen because of it:)

I love what I do here! It makes me so happy to see somebody making further covenants with Heavenly Father, because I know how much He loves each and every one of these people. It's crazy how blessed we are. 

Thank you for all that you have done for me and for how you have prepared me for this. I would not be here if not for you and the rest of my family. You guys show me what it is like to be in a loving family and thats the best part about you:) It makes me super sad to see all the broken families here and how most of them grew up in single parent homes. I have been blessed to have a family like you and I love you for it! Thank you for being such a great example for me:)

Love you all,

Sister Monica Walker