Thursday, December 8, 2016

More pictures from December 5, 2016 - Miami - Calle 8

These pictures are from a place Hermana Monson visited on her P-Day.  It is called Calle 8.  It has lots of Cuban restaurants, gift shops, and even a Mariachi band.  Herman Monson and Hermana Whitney tried cream cheese, guava, and Maria cracker Cuban ice cream.  Sounds like fun!

Pictures from December 5, 2016

                           Herman Monson and Hermana Whitney on their P-day in Miami.

        Random man on a bike.  Herman says she sees a lot of random things like this in her area!

       Large toad they found outside their apartment door when they returned home one night.

December 5, 2016

Herman Monson did not do a group e-mail this week, but she wrote a beautiful response to request that I want to share.  Brother Cameron Clark in our ward is Dallon's Teachers Quorum advisor.   He asked if Sadie would tell the Teachers how she prepare to teach the gospel each week.  Dallon gets to read it in his class on Sunday.  I love what she wrote!

One of the most important things I do each week to prepare to share the gospel is to study the scriptures every day. As missionaries, we get 1 hour to study from the scriptures, and it is awesome! Sometimes it can be hard to focus on studying the scriptures, but I know that if we try to have the Spirit with us as we are reading there is so much we can learn. In D&C 11:21 it says "seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men." If we want to teach the gospel to other people, we have to learn about the gospel for ourselves first, and not just learn about the gospel, but gain our own testimonies.

Another thing that I do each week to prepare to share the gospel is to take the sacrament. The sacrament has some amazing promises! We promise God that we will always remember, and try to follow Him. In return, He promises us that we will always have His spirit to be with us. Having the spirit with us is absolutely essential when we are sharing the gospel. The Spirit can help us know who to share the gospel with, He can help us know when to share the gospel, He can help us to have the courage to bear our testimonies, and He can bear witness of the truthfulness of what we are saying. It is pretty pointless to share the gospel if you don't have the Holy Ghost there to help you. Taking the sacrament each week can help us to qualify to have the Holy Ghost with us all day, every day!

Something else that I do each week to prepare to share the gospel is to pray, a lot. My companion and I usually pray at least 30 times every day! We don't always know the best way to share the gospel with the people around us, but Heavenly Father does! He knows His children, and He wants ALL of them to hear about the gospel. I know that if we will pray to have missionary opportunities, and the Lord will bless us with little things we can do everyday to share the gospel. Even if it is just a simple act of service. 

Scripture study, sacrament, and prayer are so important! In order to share the gospel with other people, we ourselves have to be converted first. I know that if we will do the little things each week (prayer, church, and scripture study), we will strengthen our own testimonies, and then we will qualify for God's help as we look for opportunities to share the gospel.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Little excerpts......from the past 3 weeks. November 2016

I wanted to add in just a few little things from Sadie's letters to me over the past 3 weeks.  I think they are fun additions to her group emails.  Sure do love my Hermana Monson!

November 7, 2016

Mari is doing pretty well, she has a lot of pain from her disease. One day this week we felt like we really needed to go visit her, and we were glad we did because when we went over she was trying to clean her house, and she was just sobbing. We watched a conference talk with her, helped her clean her house, and put her kids to bed. I think she felt better after that. She bore her testimony last Sunday, and it was super cute! She just said that she is so grateful for the sister missionaries that knocked on her door a month ago to bring her the gospel. That was one of my favorite experiences of the week. 

The other was that we were able to do an exchange on Wednesday. I got to go with my STL Sister Kronmiller and work in her area for 24 hrs. It was such a blast! Riverside is the name of the area, and oh me word. It felt like I was back in Mexico, I loved it! Sister Kronmiller is a super boss missionary, and we were able to teach tons of lessons in one day, and it was super fun! I love teaching lessons, even if I can't always say what I want to say. I feel like my Spanish is definitely getting better, it is just so hard to remember all of the past tense conjugations! But, I'm working on it. Anyways, on the exchange we went to a super hole in the wall little Latin restaurant and got some super authentic Baleadas for dinner, oh me word. So good! It was also lots of fun because the STLs live with another set of sister missionaries, so it was super fun to be in a house with 4 people. It was kind of like having roommates again! I really hope that I can live in a house with 4 sisters at some point, it is just so much more exciting! I also loved the attitudes of the other missionaries, they have all been on their missions for a really long time. One of them goes home at the end of this transfer. It gave me hope that they all talk about how much they love being a missionary, and how they don't even want to go 

November 21, 2016

The best part of my week was probably yesterday when we were able to find 2 new investigators. On Saturday night I had been feeling super un-motivated. I woke up Sunday morning, and just prayed that Heavenly Father would give me the charity that I needed to get through the day because I knew we would be spending a lot of time knocking doors. Well, He definitely followed through because we found 2 awesome potential investigators, and the time went really quickly. 

The worst part of my week is probably feeling a little more homesick than usual with the holidays and everything. I miss you! Thanksgiving will be a normal proselyting day. We have two meal appointments with families in our ward, and I'm not sure if it will be the normal Latin food or if they will do something Americanized. Either way I will definitely be missing your sweet potato casserole, so please eat some extra for me. 

Sister Whitney is from Taylor Arizona. She went to a small community college there before her mission (doesn't know what she is studying yet), and she has been out for one year. She struggles a lot with her Spanish, so sometimes I am able to speak/understand more than her, but she is trying so hard! She's awesome! She is pretty shy, and that makes it hard to get to know each other super well, but we have fun. We are both super excited for Christmas, so we always love looking at the Christmas lights and listening to MOTAB Christmas songs in the car. 

November 28, 2106

Ok, I forgot to write about this, and I'm not entirely sure how to incorporate it into a group email, so....

Anyways, I think it was on Wednesday? I woke up, and had to write down this dream that I had, because it was pretty amazing. 

So, in this dream I had just come home from the mission. I had completed my entire mission, but I had only been gone for 6 months (I'm not entirely sure how that works, but hey, it's a dream). It was a spring morning, and dad had already gone to work. The boys were getting ready for school, and I was helping mom cook breakfast. I didn't have anything else to do (no work or school or anything) so I decided to walk the boys to the bus stop, and mom decided to come too. 

Pretty normal, right? However, for whatever reason, I was SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I felt like I couldn't look any of you in the eye, and I couldn't talk because there was a lump in my throat. In the dream, I felt like something was weighing on my shoulders, and I had a sickening pit in my stomach. Even though everyone was super happy that I was home, and it was really good to see the family, I felt so awful. The reason I felt so bad was because I knew that I had not done everything that I could have on my mission. I felt so many regrets about the 6 months that I had served because I knew that I had only given a half-hearted effort, and I felt sick about the fact that there was no do over, and I had failed on my mission. 

I woke up from the dream like: "wow. Ok, now I know how I DON'T want to feel at the end of my mission."

I don't know if Heavenly Father was trying to tell me something or what, but let me say that I have been feeling pretty motivated since that dream. 

Thanksgiving Week! Fontainebleau November 28, 2016

Hola everyone! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week! I did!

First of all, we found 5 new investigators this past week! On Monday (11/21) we had just finished knocking doors, and we had a little bit of time left before we had to go home. We were debating about whether we should stay in the area and knock doors, or go to see a potential investigator that we had met a few days earlier. We both felt like we needed to go see this potential investigator named Pablo. Well, Pablo was busy, but his granddaughter Lily was happy to listen to our message. She has been going through a lot of really hard things in her life lately, especially with her health. She wonders if God even loves her and why bad things happen to good people. It was honestly pretty hard to come up with an answer as to why she has been experiencing so many hard things, even though she is trying to be a good person. However, it was so awesome to be able to testify to her that God really does love her. He has a plan for her. I have been thinking a lot about her question: why do bad things happen to good people? As I have tried to come up with an answer, I was reminded of a talk by Elder Bednar that talks about how sometimes we need a burden in order to help us move forward. Like the truck that was stuck in the snow, but once it was loaded with firewood it had enough traction to move forward. I know that sometimes life is SO hard, and we wonder if Heavenly Father has just forgotten about us. However, I know that He is there for each and every one of us, in every second of the day. We just have to look for His hand in our lives. Really, every opposition is an opportunity to prove to ourselves, and Heavenly Father who we truly are. I love being able to testify about the love that God has for us, because that is something so basic, and something that I really know to be true. 

Unfortunately, all of our investigators have slowly been dropping like flies, and we ended up with only 1 investigator at sacrament meeting. Jose is a super adorable, awkward old man. He LOVES reading church material, and he pretty much has the Restoration pamphlet memorized by heart. He reads from the Book of Mormon everyday, and says that he has a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. We were so excited when he came to church! The only sad part was that after church we went to go visit him, and even though he had really enjoyed church, he would not commit to be baptized. He feels like he is not ready to make the changes in his life, even though he knows everything is true. It was sad because we tried everything we could think of to help him overcome the fear of baptism, but he would not even commit to a return appointment. The only investigator we have left to work with is Juana, we will meet with her tomorrow. She is great!

Tip of the day, if you play the piano, or lead music, don't tell anyone! I am now the ward chorister, the primary pianist, and the relief society chorister! Not even sure how that happened, but it's a good time :).

Our Thanksgiving day was great! It was a normal proselyting day, other than the fact that we had 2 Thanksgiving dinners! It wasn't quite the same as an American Thanksgiving, even though it was all the same food. It was such a good time to be with the members though, they are so nice to the missionaries! We felt SOOOO full that night, we thought we would pop! We were pretty much waddling around trying to knock doors after dinner, it was pretty funny. 

Satan is trying so hard to work against us! First of all, my bike tire has been flat every single morning this week. Depsite the fact that I bought a new tube, and have patched up every single hole I can find. I am officially a pro at removing a bike tire and then putting it back on again :)! We finally got my bike tire fixed, and a piece goes missing from Sister Whitney's bike. We barely make it home with her bike wobbling everywhere, and my tire slowly going flat the whole time, but hey, we made it! I guess we will be using the car until we can get that fixed. 

Also, I LOVE the new Light of the World video! If you haven't seen it, please watch it! It is such an amazing reminder of what this holiday season is really all about. I have seen the video probably 20 times already, and I still love it! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that through following His example we can find more peace and joy that we could ever create for ourselves. I hope it is an amazing week! 

Fountainbleau November 21, 2016


I hope everyone is doing well, and has some amazing plans for Thanksgiving!

This week was great! We ended up finding 3 different families when we were knocking doors this week, and we were able to share the Restoration with all of them! They all promised to come to church, so that made us super excited. None of them did, which was a major bummer, but that's ok because we found 2 more potential investigators last night!

We were knocking doors and we ran into a woman named Juana. She invited us into her house to share a prayer. She started tearing up almost as soon as we walked in. She is facing a lot of health challenges and she is really worried about her son. After we prayed for her she was crying, she kept saying that she could feel something, but she didn't know what it was. We explained that is was the Spirit there to testify of the truth. She listened attentively to the message of the Restoration, and accepted baptism! We are going back to teach her again this week, and we are super excited! Usually when we ask people to say the closing prayer at the end of the lesson, they won't do it. She is from Cuba and doesn't have any religious background, but she agreed to say the prayer. It was super short, but really sweet. She just said "thank you for sending me your missionaries." It made us so happy to be recognized as the Lord's missionaries! She also gave us a banana from her tree in her yard, and it was the most delicious banana I have ever tasted, so that was great. 

After that we went to visit a former investigator named Jorge. He has been taught by tons of missionaries in the past, but he was never baptized. We shared a prayer, taught him the Restoration, and then committed him to be baptized on Dec 10th. He said yes! We are excited to keep teaching him, and we hope that we will be able to help him understand the need for a baptism by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God. 

This week we also had a zone conference. There were a couple of zones there, and also President Richardson and his wife. We received some awesome training from President Richardson where he just asked us to think about the question: Am I trying to impress others or am I trying to impress God? He talked about the reason for everything we do should be because we love God and we want to serve Him. It was awesome! We also learned about the new Christmas campaign that the Church has #lighttheworld. We got a sneak preview of the video that will be released on on November 25th and it is AMAZING! I loved it! Now we have a bunch of pass-along cards, and President told us that our whole objective is to get people to We are excited to start handing those out, and watching the Christmas video with people. Another cool thing we learned at the conference was how we, as missionaries, can help church members have missionary opportunities. Now we have these "Member Missionary Game Plans" that we are using to help members think of friends and family members, and then come up with one small action they can do to share the gospel with them. We haven't really had the chance to use it yet, but that should be awesome!

Sad story of the week, my bike tire is completely flat and now I have to buy a new one. We have been driving everywhere this week, which has been kind of nice. 

Thanksgiving will be a normal proselyting day, but we do have two meal appointments with members in our ward. We aren't sure if it will be the usual Latin food, or if we will eat a turkey and everything. Either way, it will be awesome :)!

I hope everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving week! I'm grateful for you all!

Fountainbleau November 14, 2016


Hope it has been a great week for everyone! It has been a great week here! 

We had a super awesome Zone Training this week about how to teach at the doorstep, and it helped us to be able to find 5 new investigators in our area this week! None of them came to church, so we will be starting over again this week, but that's ok! We are planting seeds!

This week I got to go on an exchange with the STL's, so I got to work in the area of Riverside for 24 hours. Riverside has TONS of Spanish, and it honestly feels like another country. It was super cool. We were able to teach lots of lessons, and we saw a couple of miracles that day. One of the miracles was that we were trying to get into an apartment building to teach an investigator, but it was locked. We ended up having to go back to the apartment building 4 times in order to meet with this person, and miraculously, each time, someone was either leaving or going in, so they unlocked the door for us! 

One cool experience we had this week was with a Recent Convert named Mari. She was baptized about 3 weeks before I got here. She suffers from a disease that gives her lots of pain in her legs, so sometimes it is hard for her to stand for very long. She has a 13 yr old and 5 yr old twins. One day we felt like we needed to go and visit her, and we were so glad that we did. When we got to her house she was trying to clean, and she was just crying. She said she was in a lot of pain, but she was sick of not being able to cook or clean or do the things she needs to do. We sat down with her, talked, and watched President Nelson's talk from this last general conference about finding joy. She really enjoyed it. After that we helped her put her kids to bed and clean her house so that she could rest. When we left you could tell that she was feeling much better, and that the Spirit was in her house. We were so glad for the opportunity to serve her when she needed it!

Another cool thing was that we had a community service project this week and all the missionaries in our zone went. We were weeding out and then re-planting a community garden at Senior living center. It was super fun! There were lots of Spanish ward members there, so we got to talk to them for a while. Also, we spent about twenty minutes trying to rescue a lizard from a nearby pond because one of the Elders had accidentally flinged (not sure if that is a word?) him in there. It was pretty funny, but we saved the lizard! By the end we were dripping with sweat, and we smelled like cow mulch, but the garden looked really good!

Nothing else too exciting. Pretty much we are biking like crazy, knocking doors, and looking for people to teach. 

Something I read this week in Moroni 7: 4-5. "And now my brethen, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men. For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also." 

The phrase "peaceable walk" stood out to me, so then I went on a scripture referencing spree trying to find an answer about how to have a peaceable walk. Well, 30 minutes, and lots of scriptures later, I discovered that in order to have a "peaceable walk" we have to take the yolk of Christ upon us. Which, in essence, means that we are going to walk AS He walked. We are going to do what He would do in every situation. We are going to go about doing good, and blessing the lives of the people around us. Sometimes it doesn't make sense that if we stop thinking about ourselves we will find more happiness, but that is something that I am learning. The only way TO find happiness and peace is by continually doing what the Savior would do and serving those around us!

I hope it is a great week! I love you all!
Hermana Monson

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fountainbleau Miami Week 1 (November 7, 2016)

Hola everyone!

I hope it has been another great week! My week has been great :)!

On Wednesday I said goodbye to Hermana Root, and Fort Meyers! I got to meet my new companion Hermana Whitney, and my new area of Fountainbleau South! Hermana Whitney is very sweet, she has a lot of love for the people, she is super gentle, and a great example! She's awesome! My new area is really pretty, there are tons of palm trees, and our house is right across from Florida International University. Some of the streets look like they are from another country! There is a lot of Spanish here, almost everyone speaks Spanish, you even need it to check out at the grocery store! Super cool :)! We have been on our bikes everyday, so that has been fun. It is really easy to stop and talk to people when you are biking, even if my bum is feeling a little sore!

The members from the ward have been super welcoming. There is a recent convert named Mari, she invited us over to her house for dinner on Friday, and I love her! She has a super rare disease that I can't pronounce, let alone spell, but she has a lot of pain because her muscles get really really tight? Anyways, she said that she had prayed in the morning for the strength to cook us dinner, because she hasn't been able to cook for a long time, and she really wanted to cook for us. Well, she made some delicious chicken, rice, and tostones with chocolate cake for dessert! It was really sweet of her. As soon as I walked into her house she gave me a bear hug, and her family just welcomed us right in. It was cool because at the dinner we got to teach Mari's mom, sister, and brother-in-law who aren't members. Mari was able to share a really sweet testimony with them, and even though none of them seemed very interested in learning more about the gospel, we know a seed has been planted!

Right now we are working with an investigator named Alberto. He is living with his parents, he is around 30 years old, he is separated from his wife, and because of that he can't see his son very often because he lives in Mexico with his mom. Alberto feels really lonely, and he really wants to get married. He was able to come to church on Sunday, and he really loved it! Especially the gospel principles class on eternal marriage, it was perfect! He has a baptismal date of November 19th :)! We are hoping to help him work through the Word of Wisdom, and teach him all the lessons by that point.

That's about all I have for this week. I just want to say that I know that God answers our prayers! It was pretty hard adjusting to a new area, but it is always a relief to know that I can pray whenever I need help, and that God is always there willing to help us when we need it. Espero que todos tienen una buena semana! Los quiero!
 Hermana Monson's new apartment in Fountainbleau - notice the newly required pants!  She has to wear them except to church and mission meetings.

Herman Monson's new companion - Sister Whitney - Sadie says she has a real love for the people.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Good Bye Fort Myers! (November 1, 2016)

Hola everyone!

I'm hoping you are all doing well, and that you all enjoyed Halloween :)! This week has been pretty crazy!

First of all, on Sunday the two doors on the passenger side of our car broke. They wouldn't latch closed, and so we had to tape one, and hold the other one closed as we were driving. Well, we took it into the shop on Monday, and they said it looked like someone had tried to break into our car, and that it would probably take 1-3 days to fix it. 4 days later we finally got our car back! We biked on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and part of Thursday totaling 75 miles. It was pretty exhausting, but lots of fun! We weren't able to visit very many people because it took forever to get anywhere, but we were able to talk to lots of random strangers on the streets. We were just glad that the Elders took pity on us and car-pooled so that we could drive their car to District Training on Wednesday instead of waking up early and biking for two hours to get there at 8:00 in the morning. 

Last Sunday we got a call from a woman named Carmen who told us that her sister-in-law, Elizabeth, is interested investigating the church. We went to visit Elizabeth, and she is super great! Her daughter (Vanessa) is currently living with Carmen and her husband (who is a bishop). Vanessa was baptized last weekend, and Elizabeth really felt something at the baptism. She really wants to be baptized! She can already feel the Spirit so strong that she cries during every lesson. After our first visit we committed her to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon before our next lesson. When we came back, she'd read it twice! She takes notes during our lessons, and she says the sweetest prayers. We taught her about the Word of Wisdom, and she didn't even flinch. She committed right then and there to start living it. She is hoping to be baptized on November 19th! She is so sweet, and I just love her! It is really great to be teaching someone that really wants to have the gospel in their life, and it just makes me realize how grateful I am to have it in my own life. Everyone benefits from receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives, and it is great to be able to try to help people see that. 

We had a great time at the ward Halloween party on Saturday. It was really fun to hand out candy to all of the little kids, and to listen to Halloween music! Yesterday we had to come home early because of Halloween. Sister Root started packing all of her things because she already knew that she would be transferring. I had already been informed that I would be staying. Psych! We had our "transfer call" and I nearly went into shock when they told me I would be transferring to Miami! I am going to be serving in Fountain Blue Miami, and my new companion will be Sister Whitney. I will be sad to leave some of the ward members, and Elizabeth. However, I'm excited! More details to come on that next week! 

I also want to include some of her letter to Scott and I - I think it had some fun details.  I love the story with the chicken in the back of the truck, and I can't believe she has to wear pants!  It is so great to share her mission with her through emails and letters.  I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for Sadie in Miami!!

This week was honestly so crazy. We had to bike everyday, and it was fun, to some extent. We were both ready to be done by the time our car was fixed, but luckily the weather has been perfect! 

I finally had my interview with President Richardson this week on Wednesday. I love President and Sister Richardson, they are awesome! Sister Richardson is really sweet, and she is always so concerned about us. President Richardson is still somewhat intimidating, but he is amazing. He talked to me about the atonement of Jesus Christ, and how we can utilize it each and every day to become better. It was something that I needed to hear. I keep demanding perfection of myself, but then I'm overwhelmed with trying to be a perfect missionary, speaking perfect Spanish. So it was a good reminder that we are meant to make mistakes! He also told me during the interview that I would be staying in Rio Vista and taking over the area, that's why it was such a shock to me to find out that I'm transferring. I guess he changed his mind? Right after the transfer call I was feeling really nervous. I really didn't want to transfer, and I didn't want a new companion. However, the more I think about it, the more excited I get. It will be fun to get to know a bunch of new missionaries, to serve in Miami, and to have another companion. I'm still feeling pretty nervous, but we have transfer tomorrow, so hopefully I will be feeling a little calmer by the end of the week! I hear that Miami might as well be Cuba, my area is Spanish speaking and biking. Woot woot! Sister Root is going to an English area that is really close to where she served before Rio Vista, she is excited. 

I forgot to mention in my group email that we have an investigator, named Miguel, that invited us to his daughter's birthday party. He made us his "specialty tacos", and oh my goodness. They were SO GOOD! He took a soft shell tortilla, spread the best guacamole I have ever tasted on it, and wrapped that around a hard shell chicken taco. Oh me word. Also, he cooked breakfast for us when we went to see him yesterday, and he made crepes. One had cheese, bacon, eggs, and the like. So good. The other had strawberries, bananas, nutella, and sweetened condensed milk. We need to make that a thing! Nutella with sweetened condensed milk, so yummy! 

Also, funny story. On Sunday, we were supposed to have a meal appointment with a member that lives WAY out in the boonies. They called us last minute and said they wouldn't be home, but that they would leave the food outside in the back of their pick-up truck, so we could come pick it up. Sundays are always pretty busy and long, so by the time we got to their house we were both really hungry. We looked in the back of the pick-up truck, and just started laughing. This member had left us a rotisserie chicken. That's it. It was just sitting in a little plastic container, like you would buy from the store. No utensils. No napkins. No drinks. Nothing else. We didn't have anywhere else to eat it, so we sat down on this members driveway, prayed that they wouldn't be home anytime soon, and ate this rotisserie chiken like barbarians with our bare hands! All the while fending off the neighbors dog who kept trying to steal our dinner! Luckily the street in front of their house wasn't very busy or lots of people might have gotten the wrong idea about the Mormon Missionaries! It was so funny.

I will be sad to leave Elizabeth, it is really unexpected that they are having us both transfer because we finally have some investigators that are progressing, butt, we can't really do anything, so oh well. 

Also, another thing I forgot to mention in my group email. This week we found out that it is no longer a suggestion for the sisters in our mission to wear skirts. WE HAVE TO WEAR PANTS! What? It is so crazy! They said that the Church could get sued if one of us goes home, not knowing that we have zika, gets pregnant, and then has a baby with birth defects. Supposedly zika is only in your system for about 8 weeks, but they just want to play it safe. Anyways, Hermana Root and I will be spending the rest of today scouring Florida for dress pants that meet all of their requirements. You know the old lady dress pants that come just to your ankles and have a crease down the front and the sides? Yep. That is pretty much what I will be wearing from now on. Poor Sister Root, she is 6 ft. tall, not really sure how she is going to find pants that long. They still want to us wear skirts to church, and meetings, and things like that. However, we have to bring a skirt with us so that we can change because we have to wear pants at all other hours of the day! It is going to be SO HOT in the summer, but for now it will be perfect. Apparently we are the only mission in the US where the sisters wear pants, because there are a bunch of active cases of zika in Miami, which is wear I'm headed, so anyways.......They are giving us $150 to buy dress pants, so hopefully I can find a couple of pairs for that much? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pictures from October 24, 2016

Explanations: Our car door that is taped shut, a papaya that a member gave us (Sister Root thinks it's gross, but I really like it), making cookies for our neighbors, us feeling super fat and sick after we had 3 meal appointments in one day! A "red dragon" is a drink that missionaries are always dared to take, pretty much it helps with constipation and causes some serious bowel movements. I lost a dare with our district leader, and so I had to drink one. I decided to do it after our day with 3 meal appointments, and let's just say: it worked! And I felt way better after that ;). 

October 24, 2016 Fun Stuff!!!

Hola everyone! 

This week has been great! Last P-Day a member took out entire zone bowling, and she bought us pizza because it was one of the Elder's birthdays. It was the best! The next day we had District Training and at the end we had a "funeral" for one of the Elders who is "dying" (going home) at the end of this transfer. Of course, Hermana Root and I had to do the musical number because we are the only Hermanas in our district. So, we decided to sing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again," in false vibrato voices. Super funny, thankfully we aren't allowed to use the video recording settings on our cameras or the Elders would have some serious blackmail material. 

Wednesday was great because we found 3 new investigators!! We decided to go and visit Maria, a former investigator. Hermana Root had taught her for a few months before I got here, but they decided to stop working with her because her boyfriend wasn't willing to marry her, and she wasn't willing to make changes in her life. Well, when we went to visit her we found out that her boyfriend is in jail. He will be there for another 6 months. She has four little kids, no job, and no way to pay the rent. Thanks to some friends, she has enough food for the kids, but she is really struggling. This situation has really humbled her, but also her boyfriend, Lelis. Before, Lelis did not want to get married or baptized. Now, as soon as he gets out of prison he wants to marry her, and then be baptized. We aren't sure if we are going to be allowed to teach Lelis at the prison yet, but we are really hoping that they will be able to take that step together, we know it would really bless them. 

Later that night we were knocking doors, and we had just finished sharing a prayer with a man named Travis. He didn't want to learn more about the gospel, it was dark, and we knew we needed to leave soon, but we decided to ask him who else he knows that might be in need of a prayer. He referred us to his next door neighbor. We decided to knock on their door real quick before we left, and we are so glad we did! We found Miguel and Olga, our other 2 new investigators. They are looking for a church right now, so we were able to teach them about the Restoration. They had a TON of questions, but they were really receptive. They were so excited to set up a return appointment so that we could teach them more. They weren't able to come to church this weekend, but we are planning to see them this week. 

Yesterday was a pretty crazy Sunday. We accidentally slept in, because our alarm never went off! As nice as it was to have an extra 45 minutes of sleep, we nearly missed ward council! However, due to our amazingly quick showering/getting ready skills, we were only 20 minutes late. Church was good, as always, although sometimes it takes a lot of brain power to translate everything in my head for 3 hours, but it is getting easier :). After church we decided to go see if we could visit Lelis in the prison. However, Hermana Roots door (that had been perfectly fine before church) would not latch closed when she tried to shut it! It would just swing open again. We called the mission office, and they just told us to wear our seatbelts and hold it closed until we could get it fixed. So, now we have to roll the window down and Hermana Root has to hold the door closed so it doesn't just fly open while we are driving! Anyways, so we go to the prison, after accidentally interrupting the inmate picnic at the labor camp, we managed to find the front desk of the visitation center. Turns out we have to call the ministry office and set an appointment, so we will do that this week. After that we had a meal appointment, combined with the Elders from our ward. After dinner, we asked if they could come look at the door to see if they could fix it. Bad idea. 

Next thing we know, the other door on the passenger side of the car is broken too! We had to go ask the members if they had any duct tape. Hermano Freire came and took a look at the doors, and said it looks like someone tried to break in and that's why they won't latch closed anymore, because a piece was broken off. Well, there wasn't much we could do to fix it, so we just duct taped the back door closed, and prayed that it wouldn't fly open. We drove home, and spent the rest of the day biking, thankfully the weather has been absolutely perfect this week!!

That's all for this week! Next week is transfers (November 2nd), I will probably be staying in Fort Meyers, but I will most likely be getting a new companion. Hope it's a great week for everyone! 

October 17, 2016

I wanted to share Sadie's letter that she sent to just Scott and I.  Mainly I share it, so that she will have a copy of it, and because it is one of my favorite letters so far even though I cried for her as I read it.  It is amazing what the Lord will make of us, as we try to do His will.   There are some great life lessons that she learned in this very difficult week.  Lessons that I am still learning.  I love that whatever the circumstances, she looks for the lesson and continues to apply faith.  I sure love our Hermana!  Missionaries are brave, strong, and wonderful.

-this week has been WAY hard. You both know that we have been working hard and trying to find investigators. Specifically we have been looking for a family of 7 to baptize in the month of October. We drew a picture of "our family" and taped it to our door, and we have been praying everyday that we will find them. 

We knew that this week was pretty much the last week we could find our family, and still be able to baptize them in October because they have to come to church at least twice before they can get baptized. Anyway, we decided it was "do or die" this week. We decided that we were going to do literally everything we could to find them. So, we decided to sacrifice talking/singing/thinking about wordly things (no movies, no worldy songs,etc). We decided we were going to talk in Spanish everyday. We even started calling former investigators while we were driving in the car so that no time was wasted. We were exactly obedient to all the rules of the mission. 

On Friday, we have what's called "Find a Family at Five Friday". That is when the entire mission spends one hour knocking doors from 5:00-6:00 in an effort to find a family. We decided that Friday would be the day to find our family. All morning we thought about a specific prayer that we could say that would help us to find our family. We decided to pray that we would find our family of 7 during the hour, they would all be home, the mom would answer the door, they would invite us in, and that they would agree to say a kneeling prayer with us. We were so excited. We cut our dinner hour short so that we could start at exactly 5:00. We started off the hour strong, only knocking on doors we felt impressed to knock on, talking to everyone we met in the street, and being super excited. 5:30 came and went. 5:40. By that point we were feeling a little desperate, so we LITERALLY ran from door to door. We knocked on all the doors with latin lights, suburbans, mini vans, and Santa Maria statues, but to no avail. Eventually 6:00 came and went, but we didn't stop. We stayed positive. Finally, at 7:45 (almost 3 hours later) we decided to call it quits. We had invited a couple of people to church, but we hadn't been able to teach anyone the Restoration. We were super disappointed. I was so tired, my feet hurt, my head hurt, and my voice even hurt from talking to so many people. We did not know why God had not answered our prayer when we felt like we were doing literally everything we could to qualify for his help. 

Well, yesterday we had church. We didn't have any investigators there, and so all hopes of a random family showing up were gone. We came home after church and we just cried for a little while, but then we made cookies for our neighbors, and I felt better after that, but we still couldn't understand why we hadn't even been able to find one person to teach when we had worked SO HARD this week. Not only that, but we haven't had any solid progressing investigators for the last 10 weeks. We know that no effort is wasted, and we are planting seeds, but we really want to baptize someone. Especially because all of the missionaries around us are baptizing in the month of October. We have fasted and prayed, our families have fasted and prayed. We just couldn't understand it.

Last night we called to account with our District Leader on the phone. We expressed to him how we were feeling, and after thinking for a while he told us to ask ourselves the difference between these two questions: "how much must I pay?" and "what can I give?" At that moment I realized that my mindset has been all wrong. I know that the Lord promises to bless us when we obey him, but the mission is not about sacrificing enough that the Lord feels obligated to bless us. It is about asking ourselves what we can give to the Lord because He has already given us so much. 

We really don't earn anything, because no matter what we do we would still be unprofitable servants. In the end, we find more happiness by asking what we can give because as Christ promised "he that loses his life for my sake shall find it." I have really been working hard since the very beginning to give my heart and mind to the Lord, but it was a great reminder for me to continually ask "what I can give?" rather than "what must I pay?". Even though I'm still feeling sad that we won't be able to baptize anyone in October, I feel like I have learned more about humility in the last 2 weeks than I ever have in my whole life. The chance to see how people live here makes me really grateful for everything that I have. I really am grateful for the chance I have to be serving a mission, and even though knocking doors for 4 hours a day isn't always fun, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

October 10, 2016 Hurricane update

Hola everyone! 

It has been another great week here in Florida. It was pretty crazy with the Hurricane! Rest assured that all is well here, and thank you for all of your prayers. 

Originally it looked like the Hurricane was heading straight for our mission, and that it would hit Miami pretty hard. We received a text on Thursday morning telling us to pack a bag with essentials, fill our bathtubs with water, pack our non-perishable food, and secure the apartment. We ran around all morning trying to get everything ready for a potential hurricane. Then we had a big mission-wide conference call for President Richardson to give us further instructions. They had all of the other zones in the mission take refuge in the chapels, and they evacuated the missionaries from Miami. We kept working like normal because our zone is on the West Coast, so we were just supposed to get hit by a tropical storm (it would have been nice to know that before we spent all morning packing our apartment...oh well :).) However, at the last minute the hurricane took a turn and hit Orlando instead. We heard that there was some pretty bad damage done in Orlando, and some ward members left to help with the clean up efforts. Of course Cuba and Haiti got hit by the hurricane as well, so we are keeping them in our prayers. We did not really see any damage in our area, but there was a lot of people at church on Sunday. I think the fear of a hurricane reminded people about God. 

Other than that on Thursday and Friday, it was a pretty normal week. We have been knocking doors like crazy trying to find our family, nothing yet, but are going find them this week! On Friday I had my first exchange! Our Sister Training Leaders met us at the chapel, and I left with Sister Hebdon to go work in her area for 24 hrs. We ended up handing out some flyers for a family history event at the mall, and that was fun. We got some free samples from the food court as well, so that was a plus. After that we spent all day contacting some former investigators. However, for some reason all of them had faulty addresses. At one point we walked four miles to get to a house, only to find out that the address was faulty, major bummer. However, it was a great day! Sister Hebdon is really sweet, and I had a great time working with her. She caught a huge toad, and I got to hold it, it was pretty gross. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera to take a picture, but let's just say it was the size of a cereal bowl. 

Just a quick thought, I was reading in Alma 7:11-13. In verses 11 and 12 it talks about how Jesus Christ will go forth suffering pains, and afflictions, and temptations of every kind. The beginning of verse 13 says "Now the Spirit knoweth all things, nevertheless the Son of God suffereth." It caught my attention that the phrase "now the Spirit knoweth all things" was inserted in the middle of these verses about the Atonement. It seemed a little random, but the more I though about it the more I realized that Jesus Christ could have known, through the power of the Spirit, how to have sympathy for our sorrows, pains, and worries. However, because He truly loves us and wanted to be able to know EXACTLY how to help us, he suffered for us. It was a great reminder to me that Jesus Christ really does love us, he not only has sympathy but he also has empathy because He actually experienced everything that we go through. The atonement is about so much more than just receiving forgiveness, although that is a HUGE part of it. It is about Jesus Christ being able to comfort us in EVERY affliction, and that is something that I am so grateful for. I am so grateful to be a missionary and to spread the love of Jesus Christ with the people here in Florida. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! 

Love, Hermana Monson

October 17, 2016

I hope you are all doing well :). Nothing too out of the ordinary happened this week, just lots and lots of knocking doors. I love meeting lots of different people, it is pretty awesome.

It is so cool how often we get to meet someone, and they say that our visit was an answer to prayer. One night this week we were out knocking doors, and we ran into a woman named Sarah. She was helping her son move into a new house, and we could tell that she was really stressed. We talked to her for a while, and I think it was just good for  her to have someone to talk to. After that I offered to pray for her, and she accepted. It was amazing how strong the spirit was during the prayer, I can't remember anything that I said, but it must have touched her because she was crying at the end. She could hardly even speak. She just gave us both a big hug, and thanked us over and over again. That is probably my favorite part of being a missionary, is helping people to feel the love of God. It is so real. He really does know each of us, and He loves us. He is aware of each of His children. 

Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Florida (October 3, 2016)

Hola everyone!

This weeks was great, and I especially loved watching conference as a missionary. It was so much easier to pay attention and receive personal revelation! One of my favorite talks was from President Uchtdorf. I loved how he cautioned us not to take the gospel for granted. I also thought about how I should not take my mission for granted. Even though the daily routine is the same, and it is sometimes easy to fall into the habit of going through the motions, I need to remember that this is truly a privilege! As Elder Oaks said in his talk "what could be more joyful than sharing eternal truths with God's children?" It is so true!

Right now I am reading about the story of Ammon in the Book of Mormon. I love reading about the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, they are incredible! I love that after they had become truly converted to the gospel, nothing would deter them. They would rather die than commit sin again, they were so humble, and later on when some of the Zoramites came to them for help the people of Ammon welcomed them with open arms. It is such a testament of what being truly converted to the gospel will do for you. We experience the greatest joy in becoming who we have the potential to become, and the gospel of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to do that. 

One miracle that we saw this week was that due to a mix up of telephone numbers, we accidentally ended up visiting a lady who lives in our area, and speaks Spanish, but usually attends the English ward with her husband who only speaks English. It was a testament to me that God is aware of His children because she really needed a visit. She was sobbing, and feeling very depressed when we arrived. However, by the time we left she had calmed down and she was feeling much better. She even took us over to meet her non-member friend. We were able to teach her friend about the Restoration. It was a great experience to be able to be in the right place at the right time to help this lady feel better. 

Another cool experience happened one night while we were knocking doors. It was dark outside, and the street we were knocking was pretty creepy. It was time to head home so we started walking back to the car, but there was a big stray dog sniffing around between us and our car. We were feeling a little more nervous that night because it was dark, and this dog was really big. So, we decided to wait at the end of the street until the dog walked away. Well, we waited and waited, and eventually the dog moved. However, because we had waited for the dog we ran into a man on our way back to the car. We told him that we were missionaries and that we would like to share a prayer with him. He said his name was Gus, and that that would be fine. We asked if there was anything we could include in the prayer and he mentioned how his ex-wife and child were living in Miami, and that he wasn't able to see his child very often. He also mentioned that another child of  his had passed away a few years ago and he was looking for peace. The way he was talking you could tell that he was really struggling with life, and confused about his belief in God.

 He told us that he had gone to school to be a pastor, but that he had not been to church for a while. Well, I said a prayer for him, and he was very touched. He in turn offered a prayer for us. We tried to share our testimonies and at first he wasn't very receptive at all. He just kept trying to preach to us. Finally, we were super bold and straightforward with him. We just said "Gus, we know that we have the only true church on the earth. The only way to return to live with God is through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Well, that got his attention. He listened to a little bit of what we had to say. He told us that he'd heard of our church before. We testified of the truthfulness of the gospel and God's love for him. He was absolutely shocked that "a couple of girls as young as ourselves" were so sure in our testimonies. At the end of our conversation he said "I will take one of your bibles now." (Referring to the Book of Mormon). He was so touched, he promised to read the Book of Mormon that night, and to come to church. We didn't hear from him again, but he said that "whatever you ladies set out to accomplish today,  you did it." It was so amazing to know that we had been able to help him feel the love of God, and learn a little bit more about God's true church. 

That's all for this week! I love you all!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Florida....September 26, 2016

We had a special fast yesterday for Hermana Monson and her companion, that they will be able to find people to teach.  We are excited to see what miracles unfold - especially as her Mission embarks on their Hunt for 100.  I am continually amazed by Sadie's positive attitude and the courage she displays.  I learn so much from her!

From Hermana Monson:

 I joined you all in the fast on Sunday, and I am sure miracles will come of it. We are not longer working with Damian or Veronica because someone from their Catholic church came over and told them to stop taking our lessons....bummer. Maggie we aren't too sure about, she is really sick right now, but she also works a lot, so it is hard to find a time to meet with her. However, we are hoping that this week we will be able to determine if she is really an elect investigator or not. Our big goal for this week is to find a family to baptize! We are dying to contribute to the mission goal of 100, and we are running our of time to find someone to baptize because in order for them to be baptized they have to receive all the lessons and come to church at least two times. We are doing everything we can to follow the Spirit and work hard so that the Lord can bless us with miracles. 

In fact, one day this week we took a huge leap of faith. Each month we are allotted 1,400 miles to use with our car. Other than that we have to bike or walk. So, there was one day where we were really praying for guidance about where we should go in order to find our family and Sister Root thought of a family that we had shared a prayer with a few weeks ago. This family was not super receptive when we knocked on their door a few weeks ago, but we figured that maybe the thought was from the Spirit. The problem was that this family lived in Fort Meyers, and we had some other people to visit in Lehigh that afternoon. We knew it would take a lot of miles to drive to both cities, but we wanted to show the Lord that we were doing everything we could to find our family. So we went. We weren't really sure what to say, and it felt really awkward to knock on their door again when they'd already told us they weren't interested. Well, it turns out that there was only one member from the family of 7 that was home. He said we could share a message with him, so we taught him about the Restoration. At the end, we invited him to be baptized, and he Well, we tried really hard to testify and promise blessings and everything, but he just wouldn't have it. So, we decided that maybe there was another reason that the Lord had sent us to that area. 

We decided to knock some doors on a nearby street. We ended up sharing a prayer with Stephen. Stephen is a HUGE black man, super tall and buff. He was out mowing his lawn when we offered to share a prayer with him, he wiped the sweat off his face, and said "sure". He expressed his desire to find peace because his brother was murdered a few months ago, and he has a desire for revenge on the people who did it. He also wants happiness for his wife and kids. I said a prayer for him, and the Spirit was way strong. This huge black man started crying during the prayer, turns out he was really just a big teddy bear. He was so nice, and he said he would try to come to church this Sunday. We aren't sure if he was able to make it because he would go to the English ward, but it felt really good to be able to brighten his day. We also ran into this adorable little Haitian grandma that was wearing a turban and didn't have any teeth. She was so pleased that there were "such lovely young people going about and standing up for what they believe in". Her motto in life is "everyday is a holiday", and her name is Catherine Simmons. She was so CUTE! Even though our original plan didn't work out the way we wanted it to, we believe that maybe the Lord sent us to that area because he knew Stephen and Catherine needed a prayer. 

I loved listening to Women's conference as well, but unfortunately the only people that showed up at the church to watch it were ladies from our Spanish ward, so they didn't have it playing in English. I was actually surprised at how much I was able to understand, so I was excited about that. However, I didn't really get quite as much out of it in Spanish. I'm hoping I can go back and read it in English, but I'm so glad that it was great for you. From what I could understand of President Uchtdorf's talk, it was amazing! Our plans for conference will be to watch it in the chapel with the other missionaries and whoever else from the stake shows up. We should be able to watch the other sessions in English, so that will be nice. 

Another fun thing this week was that it was Hermana Root's birthday yesterday. On Saturday we made a huge pan of frozen lasagna and we tested our baking skills by attempting an angel food cake, it actually turned out pretty good! We had fun, even though it was just the two of us. Then yesterday I made her muffins for breakfast, and I totally burned myself on the oven and took off a couple layers of skin, for some reason it didn't really hurt, maybe blessings? Anyway, now I have a super cool burn mark scar thing on my arm. She also opened a birthday package from her family. Other than that it was a normal Sunday, and she had to speak on her birthday. Poor thing. After church we got together with the Elders from our ward to discuss how we can help our ward. Our ward is seriously struggling right now. Home teaching and visiting teaching practically don't exist. There are 300 less-active members, and most of them are less-active because they were offended that they never received a visit from anyone in the ward during a hard time. For instance, one lady left because she was offended that no one from the ward visited her when her mom died. How people in the ward were supposed to know that her mom died, we aren't really sure, but a lot of these people seem to use the smallest excuse to leave. They just aren't truly converted to the gospel. So then we are left with the problem of, how do we convert 300 less-active members while still trying to find new converts? Our poor bishop has a LOT on his plate, and a lot of the members don't like him because when he was called he laid down the laws regarding tithing and the humanitarian aid from the church. We have an FHE activity planned with the bishop tonight, so we are going to discuss some things that we hope will help the ward. We have been trying to visit lots of the less active members, and we have seen a little bit of success from that, so that's a good start :). 

Something cool that happened this week was that Hermana Root and I have decided to come up with a new "spiritual creation". We created a vision of the family we want to find to be baptized in October. This family has 7 people, and the youngest one is 8 yrs. old (kind of like our family). They are Catholic, the parents are married (which is a rare occurence in Latin culture), and they will recognize us as servants of the Lord. We know this vision seems a little too good to be true, but we had a district training this week about raising our expectations and having deeper faith, so that is what we are trying to do. Well, we were out knocking doors yesterday and we talked to this lady who was out getting her mail. She invited us into her garage to share a prayer with her because it was sprinkling rain. After the prayer we did our usual invitation to invite her to be baptized, and she explained that she wasn't interested because she's already been baptized in the Catholic church (which is pretty much true of all the Latins). We explained the Restoration, and why she would need to be baptized again, but she wasn't interested. However, just as we were about to leave it started DUMPING BUCKETS. It was raining super hard, so she said we could stay in her garage for a little while to wait for the storm to calm down. Well, while we were waiting we got her talking about life and her family. She told us that she has a husband (which may or may not mean that they are married, Latins usually use the terms husband and wife whether they are actually married or not), and 6 sons. Get this, the youngest son is 8!! We were like "wow, this might be our family!!" After talking with her a little bit more about what we believe, and about our missions she seemed more interested. I think she was probably interested because we explained a little bit of what mission life is like with all the rules and everything, she wants to know why anyone would want to do that. So, we got a return appointment :)! We aren't sure if Rosa and her 6 sons are the family we are searching for, but we have hope that things will go well on Wednesday when we go back to visit her.