Tuesday, August 30, 2016

More from August 29

The following is a bit from her letter to Scott and I.  I really loved the story about the man who is a "hugger."  Wish I could have seen Sadie's face!

I forgot to tell you! I spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday, in Spanish. Yep. Actually, everyone was super impressed with my Spanish. They said I don't even have a gringo accent! That made me feel good because I still feel like I don't know what's going on half the time. I was super nervous beforehand, but once I got up there and started to talk about the importance of missionary work, I think it turned out pretty well. 

Also, one more funny story. Last night we were knocking doors and we ran into this super tall black guy. He went on about his belief in God, and how he wants to do His will, and how we just need to have faith, and we didn't even really get the chance to say anything. It was super funny because at the end he just said "well, I'm a hugger." And before either one of us really knew what was happening he just gave us this big bear hug, and we just sort of stood there awkwardly. Sister Root said the look on my face was priceless, and then before we could even say anything else he walked back inside leaving us a little dumbfounded on the front porch with his deodorant marks on our shoulders because that's how tall he was. It was super funny. 


 This is Sadie and her trainer  
Sister Root from St. George, UT!

More from Florida! (August 29, 2016)

It has been another great week here in Florida! Thankfully there is a tropical storm moving through, so the humidity really hasn't been too bad the last few days, which has been super nice. 

This week we had Zone Conference. I love being able to see the other missionaries, and the best part was at the end when we all sang the song "We'll Bring the World His Truth" together, I got so many goosebumps! In Zone Conference we learned about how important it is to share the message of the Restoration with everyone that we meet, and that is so true! The Restoration is what makes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints so unique. It is such an important message because everyone needs the ordinances and the knowledge that come to us because of the restoration. It was such a good reminder, and I would just encourage any who have not received a testimony of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith, to get one!

One cool experience that happened this week was one night we were out knocking doors. It was raining super hard, and we were drenched from  head to foot. We finally found someone who was willing to share a prayer with us. Madeline said that she is originally from New York, but she has been vacationing down here in Florida in hopes that it would help with her depression. She shared some life experiences with us, and told us about her faith in God. Then we prayed with her. The Spirit was super strong, and she said to us that our visit was a confirmation to her that God really knows her and that everything will be ok. It was awesome to know that we were able to make someone's day a little bit brighter, even though we won't be able to teach her, she promised to look up the Church and the missionaries when she gets back to New York!

Another cool experience we had this week was with one of our investigators named Yesenia. We have been over to her house a few times, and we love her and her adorable little kids. She has a 5 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. We were able to teach her the Restoration, and the Spirit really touched her heart. She agreed to come to church, and come to a chapel tour so we could show her around. She doesn't have a car, so we told her that we would find a member that could come and pick her up to take her to the chapel tour. So, that night we frantically tried to call 5 different members and figure out a ride for her. After a lot of complicated shuffling, and stressing, we were able to find a ride to the chapel tour, only to have her text us and not only cancel the chapel tour, but ask us to not to come by and teach her again. We were devastated! The next day, we decided to go visit her anyways. She let us right in, and when we tried to find out a little bit more about the situation, she told us that she suffers from bi-polar disorder, and that is why she cancelled on us. We were so relieved! We gave her a video about the Restoration, and she promised to watch it that night and again the next morning. We are excited to go back and teach her again this week. It was a reminder that we need to be persistent!

Another miracle we saw this week was that on Friday we were able to find 7 new investigators in one day! That never happens!! We found two families that let us in to share a prayer, and we were able to teach both of them The Restoration lesson. Neither one of them was able to make it to church this week, but we are excited to go back and teach them. Especially because we know they need this message! One of the families consists of some 70 yr. old parents with their special needs son who is probably 50 years old. The dad just had his leg amputated at the knee, and he is in a wheelchair until he can get a prosthetic leg. There is also the mom's sister living there, she is 73 years old, and her 50ish year old daughter has cancer. They all believe in God, but we are hoping that we will be able to help them see why the Church and why baptism will be able to help them in their lives. 

That's all for this week! I hope you are all doing well!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A bit more from the week

This is a bit from Sadie's letter to me.  I love the last thought she shared!

1. I am in Fort Meyers, Florida. My area is the Rio Vista East area, and mine is the Rio Vista Spanish Branch. 

2. My mailing address is: 11490 Villa Grand #220 Fort Meyers, FL 33913. You can send letters or a package there if you would like. 

4. We are supposed to eat with the members every night for dinner, but this week we have mostly been on our own. The members here are not overly enthusiastic about missionary work, so even if they do feed us they usually just drop the food off at the church. Oh well. This week we have lots of meal appointments, so that should be good. 

5. I'm not really sure what the biggest surprise has been. I didn't really know what to expect. However, probably the level of poverty. I was not expecting there to be so much poverty because I'm in the U.S. Obviously it is nowhere near a third world country, but there are lots of people who live in some pretty old, smelly, rundown, places. However, we have been blessed with a beautiful apartment, and I feel a little spoiled, but I'm not complaining.

We read a talk this week called the 4th Missionary, and it is amazing! It talks about how there are 4 types of missionaries. The best type is the one that gives EVERYTHING to God. If we are willing to give all of our time, talents, thoughts, everything to Him, he will bless us. In the end, it is easier to give everything to God, rather than struggling to hold on to our own will. I loved a phrase in there it said something like if we give everything to him he will take it and "he will create a God." Meaning that we will be able to become like He is. It was pretty awesome. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fort Meyers, FL (August 22, 2016)

We got our first hand written letter from Sadie today.  Seriously, I might sleep with it under my pillow!!

Hola everyone! 

I hope everything is going well. It has been a great week here in Florida! It is still very hot and humid. Between that and the bug spray I am getting used to feeling pretty sticky all the time. Especially on bike days. We have a car, but we have limited miles on it so we usually end up biking a couple days a week. 

Anyways, this week we met lots of people who LOVE to talk. It is hard to be punctual anywhere because the Latins are super friendly, and once you get them talking they don't like to stop. We have also met lots of Southern Baptists who like to praise Jesus really loudly when we are sharing prayers with them, and it is pretty funny. There are so many people here who are very humble, and very kind. We did meet a couple of bible bashers, so that was interesting. However, for the most part there are lots of really humble Latin families down here, and they are the best! 

Something that happened this week that was pretty crazy was when we went to visit a lady who is less-active in the church. She had called us to see if she could get a blessing for health. We sent a couple of Elders over to her house, and then we visited her the next day. We arrived at her house, and she invited us in. She didn't have electricity in her living room, so it was pretty dark and musty. She is suffering from lots of health challenges right now, and she has to take medicine to help her. However, her medicine also makes her SUPER drowsy and she gets shaking spasms. We were talking, and trying to teach The Restoration, but she kept falling asleep. We just waited, then she would wake up, and we would remind her why we were there and we kept going. Halfway through the lesson her boyfriend brought her half of a watermelon and a huge kitchen knife. She cut us a piece, and then settled the rest of it on her lap and used the knife to cut smaller pieces for her to eat, but she kept having shaking spasms. We were relieved when she was finished, we were worried she was going to accidentally cut herself! Luckily, when we went to visit her a couple days later she had gotten some new medicine, so she was feeling much better. It was a pretty crazy lesson, but she is super awesome. 

We also found a new investigator named Modesto! Modesto lives with a Haitian man that doesn't speak Spanish or English, so they can't really communicate. Modesto can't read, so we are going to see if we can get the Book of Mormon on CD so he can listen to it. We are super excited to be teaching him, he has lots of sincere questions, and he is great!

This week we did a lot of knocking. We just knock on people's doors and offer to share a prayer with them. Some people accept, and some don't. However, when they do accept it is always an awesome experience. They usually say something like "your timing could not have been more perfect" or "I'm just so glad you came." We found lots of potential investigators this week, we were sad that none of them came to church, but we are hoping to visit them all again and be able to teach them more about the gospel. 

I know that the gospel has the power to change and to bless lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that if we will read it and pray with real intent we can know of it's truthfulness for ourselves. I know God answer's prayers, I have seen that many times while I have been here. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love, Hermana Monson

Saturday, August 20, 2016

More from week one in Florida

Here are some extras from Sadie's letter to me.  I love to hear about her experiences.  I am truly amazed at the amount of courage and sacrifice a mission requires.  

So, Tuesday was pretty crazy. I actually miss my district from the CCM a lot more than I thought I would, we all were such good friends, so the goodbye was rough. Thankfully I made it to Atlanta pretty easily, but from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale was hectic. We had to run all over the Atlanta airport trying to rebook a flight because we missed our flight because the first one was delayed, and it's a little tricky to communicate with Church headquarters when you don't have a phone, and payphones aren't really a thing anymore. I was bummed that I didn't get to talk to you, but we barely made it one flight to Fort Lauderdale, we ended up running across the entire Atlanta airport at top speed trying to catch a flight that ended up being delayed for an hour and a half. Anyways, apparently all of the missionaries had problems that day. Somehow I was lucky enough to be one of the 7 missionaries that actually arrived on Tuesday even though there was supposed to be 23. I ended up staying the night at a Senior couples house because I was the only Hermana! They were super cute, so I was fine with it. 

The first day we had some training meetings, and then I met my companion Hermana Root. She is 6 ft. tall, from St. George Utah, and she is lots of fun. She has been out in the field for 9 months now. It is just us two living in the apartment together, so it has been an adjustment from the CCM where there are tons of missionaries everywhere, but now there's just us. 

I am still trying to adjust, and figure out how to understand Spanish with all of the different dialects here in Florida. However, the people here are super nice, so many people are ready to talk your ear off if you just let them. We only have one investigator right now, so we have been working a lot on finding this week. We have spent lots of time knocking on doors. One thing that we do differently in this mission is that instead of sharing the message of the Restoration at the doorstep, we just ask if we can share a prayer with them. Lots of times they are willing to share a prayer, but don't want to hear anything else. However, we have had a couple of people say we could come back to teach them so we will be visiting them this week. 

There are so many people down here that are living in absolute poverty, and it is kind of cool to see how the Latinos are so humble. I would rather speak with them than with any of the English speakers down here. They are super sweet. One of the members that I met this week is named Cristal. Her husband is not a member, and he has a drinking problem. She has just recently been reactivated in the church, and her determination and her faith is awesome! She is even allowing our investigator and her 4 kids to live with her because our investigator's husband is pretty  much crazy and she needed to get out of the house. We went to visit Cristal and Maria (our investigator who is living with her). Inside their house they have 8 kids, 3 adults, a bunny, 2 dogs, and a chicken. Inside the house. It's a little crazy, but we love visiting with them. Maria's children, Ricardo and Armando, were recently baptized and so we are teaching them the new member lessons. Maria has not wanted to listen to our lessons yet, but we are hoping that now that she is away from the situation with her husband she will be more receptive. 

Another cool thing was talking to the man who lives in the apartment next to us. His name is Manis. He is from Greece, but he speaks Spanish and English. He is always outside smoking and looking depressed when we walk by so we decided to talk to him. Turns out he is a hard core atheist, but he is very open minded. It was so cool to be able to testify of the existence of God, and of how we can know He exists through prayer. We gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet, which he promised to read, and so we will see if that goes anywhere. He is super cool to talk to. 

Final Pictures of her District

Florida Week 1 (August 15, 2016)

Hola Everyone! 

I don't have very much time to email today, but (after a crazy day on Tuesday trying to get all of the flights figured out) I am here in Florida and it has been pretty great so far! My new companion is 6 feet tall and her name is Hermana Root. She has been out for 9 months, she is from St. George, and she is lots of fun. 

We have had to do a lot of finding this week because we don't really have any current investigators. I have definitely had to adjust to some serious humidity walking, and biking, and (thankfully) driving around in the sun. I love the people down here, and there are so many people who need to hear the gospel. We have not found any investigators yet, but we have a couple of potential ones that we are excited to visit this week. 

One miracle that happened this week. We are supposed to come up with a "spiritual creation" or an idea of someone to teach, and then pray that we will be able to find that person. We prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help us find a family of 5 from Mexico, that speaks Spanish, and is ready to hear the gospel. We prayed for 1 one of the kids to be above baptism age, one to be just barely under, and another young one. Lo and behold, we had been knocking for a few days with no success. We really weren't sure that we would ever find anyone from Mexico around here, because most of these people are from Cuba. However, yesterday we knocked on a door and we shared a prayer with the mom of the family, and her 3 adorable little Latino children. She speaks Spanish, and she invited us to come back to teach her more about our message. We were stoked. Then we asked where she was from, we nearly fell out of our chairs when she told us she was from Mexico! I think they are the first family I have met from Mexico, and they truly have the cutest kids right around the ages we prayed for. It was awesome to see how the Lord was able to answer such a specific prayer. 

I'm still trying to learn Spanish, and the Cubans don't really put spaces between their words so that's a little tricky. However, it's been pretty great! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love, Hermana Monson

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Final Week in the CCM!!

Final Week in CCM!!!  (August 4, 2016)

It has been an awesome week here in the CCM. It is going to be hard to say goodbye to my companion and my district this upcoming Tuesday, but I am very excited for the field. It will be nice to be able to put the things I have been learning to use. 

Last P-Day we challenged another district to a game of kickball. It was super fun, and even though we are´nt technically supposed to keep score, we all know that my district won. It was especially fun because it started dumping buckets on us again. The weather in Mexico is perfect jacket weather all the time, and then every afternoon it has a huge rainstorm that floods the roads a little bit. It was super fun to get soaked again, and the mountains are super pretty when the sky is grey and there is lots of fog.

Every Friday we do a service project somewhere in the CCM as a district. Last Friday we were assigned to work in El Comedor (The Cafeteria). We mopped the floors, and cleaned the tables. When we finished with that we still had a lot of time left, so the workers had me and 5 other Hermanas come help them prepare dinner. Looking ridiculous in our hair nets and gloves, our job was to cut open 800 bags of raw fish, and dump the fish into a big pot for dinner. If any of us had liked fish before, we certainly wouldn´t after that. The smell was awful, the fish were disgusting, and I never want to see another Talapia again in my life. It was fun to talk to the Hermanas though, and it was a good service. The only problem was that we had a large tray on the counter to catch all the fish juice. Another Hermana accidentally dropped one of the bags of Talapia on the tray, and a mixture of fish water and blood splashed all over me! It was all up my arm and on my pants and my shirt. It was super funny, but I had to take a twenty five minute shower after that to get rid of the smell!

Sunday was a super awesome day. One of my favorite parts was listening to a devotional recording of Richard G. Scott. He talked about how important it is that we turn to the Lord for everything, and how our prayers need to be a conversation with God. I loved that he said sometimes the prayers we offer when we are tired and would rather be in bed are the most heartfelt prayers. So, the times when we might not want to pray are the times we need to pray the most! It was a little ironic because President Call who was conducting our meeting here in the CCM had just finished explaining that even though Elder Scott had already passed away, we were going to listen to a recording of one of his addresses. The first thing Elder Scott said when the recording started was "I feel like I´ve died and gone to Heaven." (speaking about his opportunity to address missionaries) We all weren´t sure whether it was appropriate to laugh or not, but it was pretty funny. 

We were also able to watch the video The Restoration on Sunday night. That video always gets to me every time. It reminds me how important it is to have a testimony of the Restoration, because if you don´t have a testimony of that, you can´t have a true testimony of anything else in the church. This week we were teaching our investigator Mariano, and we had an experience along those lines. We have been teaching him for two weeks now, and we have taught him the Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Christ, and a couple of commandments. For this lesson, we decided backtrack and assess his testimony of the Restoration. When we asked him if he believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that he had truly had a vision of God and Christ, Mariano answered that he wasn´t sure. It was an awakening for us that we cannot gloss over the message of the Restoration, we have to have a firm foundation of that. It was awesome to be able to share more about the Joseph Smith story and bear testimony. Something I heard in one of our devotionals here was that "If you don´t have a testimony of the Restoration, kneel down, pray, and don´t stand up until you have one!"

On Tuesday we had our usual weekly devotional. Hermana Bowers in my district was conducting the choir, Hermana Hirschi (my companion) was playing the piano, so I ended up turning pages for her. I was pretty nervous, and I wasn´t even the one playing! It turned out really well though, the song was Praise to The Lord The Almighty. I loved the speaker, he was an Area Seventy, and he spoke about how being a missionary is a great blessing. Sometimes it is hard to think of it that way, but it truly is a blessing to be wearing the name of Jesus Christ on my tag everyday. After the devotional we had a district meeting to review the week and talk about the devotional. A couple of the Elders in my district shared some really cool experiences about how they completely turned their lives around in order to come on a mission. It was awesome. I really love my district, we have all become great friends.

Last night we had TRC again. This week Hermana Hirschi and I were able to teach a young woman named Valeria. She was one of the sweetest people I have ever met! She was baptized 10 months ago and her enthusiasm for the gospel is so cool. She shared with us that before she found the church she was always very sad. She lives a very hard life with her mother and her older brother who is mentally challenged. She has some amazing faith, and she shared with us that she is so excited to serve her mission in 2 years! We were also able to meet her grandmother last night. Her grandmother will be baptized on August 30th, this month, due to the missionary efforts of Valeria. Her faith was so inspiring, and I just loved her!

This morning we got all of the Hermanas in our zone together for a game of soccer. Even though most of us weren´t very good, it was a lot of fun. We are heading to the temple in about an hour and I am super excited! I just want to say that my experience here at the CCM has been a life changer. I have learned more than ever to rely on the Lord, and I know that He is always there for us. He DOES answer prayers, and He wants to help us, all we have to do is ask Him, and put our trust in Him.