Due to lack of time, I thought I'd make this email more interesting by including part of what I wrote to my mission president today:
I loved General Conference! I seemed to have a keen ear for hearing things about prayer. I particularly liked Elder McConkie's (of the 70) story similar to Thomas S Monson's story about setting the field on fire. Prayer is so powerful. When we are sincere, God does answer us immediately. Sometimes the answer we get is "you're not ready yet," or "not now," however I would dare say that most of the time, we don't find our answers simply because we don't have enough faith. Does God want to heal us? of course he does! Christ came to the Nephites and healed everybody. While we do frequently learn patience and to put the will of God before our own, God still wants to give us blessings and he will.
I will have the Book of Mormon study finished before I drive up to the mission home next Sunday, I am excited to discuss it with you, I love the Book of Mormon. I really do. I read 3 Nephi 26 today and I found that the plates of Nephi contain most of what the savior taught the people from the "beginning" till the earth shall melt with fervent heat and the heavens and earth shall pass away. Wow! that's amazing. He then taught the children and they taught the people greater things than Jesus spoke and all were forbidden to write those things down: For I will "test the faith" of my servants (3 Nephi 26:9). I've also come to love the chapters of Isaiah. How did he fit so much about the last days in a one page chapter? (3 Nephi 22). Joseph Smith was on a spiritual High for a week straight after the first Vision... The people with Christ were visited "oft" and he broke bread and drank wine with them "oft". What a blessed time they were in. They lived the law of consecration and were very blessed. What a blessed time we live in! I believe a speaker in conference talked about how we were foreordained to be here in this time with the fulness of the gospel available due to our exceeding faith and good works in the pre-existence. And now we get to share it with everybody.
What a great mission I've had, and to end it with General Conference doesn't get much better. Something I am going to do (since I'm a normal member-missionary next week) is take the challenge of reaching out to share the gospel with someone (although I've already got several I'm already planning to share things with) before Christmas. What a joyous time to live on the Earth!
I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that we have Prophets, Seers, and Revelators today. I love the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true. My mission has meant so much to me. I have learned more than I ever have before about the gospel. I've come to realize the rate of acceleration the Atonement changes me as I am obedient. I love talking about the gospel, I love to emulate the Savior. I love being a missionary! and I plan not to stop being one forever more.
Love you lots President Cottle!
Love you lots Sister Cottle!
I'll see you in a couple days.
~Elder Benjamin Ray Walker
I love sharing the gospel. It is something that I'll never want to stop doing; it fills my soul with joy. President Monson started his last talk with something to the effect of "My heart is full of joy" and I can say the same. I have loved my mission. I thoroughly have enjoyed this experience; It has certainly built a foundation for me in my life that I will look back to for support for the rest of forever. I don't know how anyone could serve a mission such as this and ever fall away. I've also come to learn that Christ arms of mercy are always open, however, and no matter what we may have done or where we may have fallen short no matter how far, we can always come back. We have never drifted away too far. He is always there for us. We just need to have our eyes focused on the savior, and our whole being will be filled with light. Where can we go wrong if our whole being is filled with light? you can't, for all things will be made known unto you where you should go. It is a process, but it's more than doable. If fact everything is in our favor for us to succeed. I particularly liked the talk about being overwhelmed with responsibilities (given in priesthood session focusing of priesthood responsibilities but pertains to all callings and assignments). Sometimes we come to walls where it seems that we need to take two different routes but cannot do them both. He taught us so plainly. I thought it was a wonderful talk! He spoke on the responsibilities and the importance of finding a balance between family, callings, and our job. He gave us the process we should take to find answers to our seemingly impossible situation that we are in. He gave an example of a member that is moving himself and hurt his back mid-saturday and needs to move everything by saturday. He calls his EQP and the EQP already has things planned out for the day with things he promised his children that he would do with them. Knowing the the other Quorum members were probably in similar situations, not being able to help, as it is mid-saturday already, what do you do? I loved that talk.
President Monson is surely the Lord's prophet today. He speaks with power and authority and so sincerely. Having met several general authorities on my mission thus far (and just barely missed another one coming next week =-( ) they certainly live the gospel and they are happy people. They live happy lives. You can see it in them. They have testimonies of the gospel, their priorities are right and they know that what they are doing helps move the work of the Lord forward. And they all have a good sense of humor. I was amazed at Elder Bednar's and Elder Anderson's sense of humor. You don't see it as much on TV. President Monson's you do sometimes, but not so much the rest of them.
I love you all! I'll see some of you in a week.
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker