Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Royal Palm Beach November 27, 2017

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week. We sure did!

On Monday we had a district activity, we played some glow in the dark games in our gym. It was really fun. After that we had a normal night of knocking doors, and visiting some former investigators.

Tuesday was zone conference. They introduced the Light the World video, and we were all so excited about it. We had some great training on how to set inspired goals, and then achieve them. We also had a short break off where all of the Sisters met with Sister Garns in the Relief Society room while the Elders were with President. Sister Garns just shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon, and told us some amazing experiences she has had. She encouraged all of us to have our own experience with the Book of Mormon, and by the end of the conference we were all in tears. The spirit that radiates from her is absolutely amazing. The whole time I thought to myself, if I could be like Sister Garns one day, I would definitely be on the right track. She even made each of us an individual loaf of delicious pumpkin bread. I love her, and she is a great example to all of us. So is President. I feel so blessed to be able to serve with them!

Thursday was a fantastic thanksgiving! We did a little bit of knocking in the morning, and a lot of people were busy. We had a delicious dinner with Freddy and Darlyne. It was a mixture of the typical American Thanksgiving, and Hispanic food because of Darlyne's background. We had turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing, rolls, spanish corn, rice, collard greens, yams, and so much of it! Needless to say we were very full. We had it in their trailer, there was not much seating and no air conditioning, but it was such a great experience. Darlyne's sister came as well, so we got to talk to her a little bit. We also had fun teasing Jaylin and Macho (5 yrs and 4 yrs). After Thanksgiving dinner we met up with our district in our area to do some Christmas caroling, that was so much fun! We saw some good success with it too, and ended up with 2 potential families to teach. Then we switched and went to the Wellington sister's area for a while. We sounded pretty good, and we had a lot of fun with it. Lots of people cried, and everyone recorded us with their phones. At one house there was a large party, so about 25 people came and stood on the porch to listen. Every single one of them took out a phone to record us, it was pretty funny.

On Friday we were out knocking doors at a spot we had felt as we prayed the night before, and I was getting eaten by mosquito so I requested a return trip to the car for some bug spray. On our way back Sister Carling saw a man standing outside his car, and suggested we talk to him. As we approached he immediately recognized us as Mormons, and was only surprised that we were girls instead of boys. He explained by saying that he had been meeting with Elders in Oklahoma for a while, but had lost contact with the church when he moved to Florida a few months ago. We were able to share the Light the World video with him, and invite him to church. He is super busy right now, so he was not able to make it, but it was a great miracle to be right where the Lord needed us. 

Saturday we did a full day exchange with the Wellington Sisters (we live with them). I went with Sister Long to Wellington, and we had a great day. I have a lot of respect for those sisters, their area is very wealthy, and we got yelled at more than once, but they just press forward! We had a great day together. That night we visited a less-active family in their ward, they are from Haiti and there are so many people living in that house I could not keep them all straight. The night before they'd had a sleepover with a few friends, and it totaled to 36 people in the house, and it wasn't all that big! I loved seeing how close their family was, that is something really cool about the Haitian culture. 

Yesterday Freddy was sick, so they were unable to make it to church. We had a fairly normal day, but we ended up having a great visit with a less-active guy in our ward. He knew that God had sent us to him at the right time, and he is very excited to come back to church. 

Overall it has been a great week! I just love missionary work, and I love the people in Florida. I know that the Savior's love is real, and I am so grateful for it!

Love, Sister Monson

Royal Palm Beach November 20, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I hope this email finds you all well and excited for a great Thanksgiving week! 

On Tuesday of this past week we had a District Training, and our whole district counseled together to get some ideas of things we can to do help Freddy and Darlyne quit smoking because they are having a hard time with it. We got some great ideas, and we decided to do a fast as a district on Sunday. We also talked to our Bishop who headed up a joined fast with our ward council as well. So our district and our ward council fasted with us and Freddy and Darlyne yesterday. We are going to see miracles come from it! We also had interviews with President Garns on Tuesday, and it was awesome. He is so inspired, and I can tell that he has given his whole heart and soul to this mission. 

On Wednesday we were biking and got stuck in the pouring rain on our way home. By the time we arrived at our house we looked like we'd jumped out of a swimming pool. It was lots of fun. We also found a sweet couple that day, the husband was very interested, but we made the mistake of only taking down the wife's phone number. Turns out she was not as interested, so we have not been able to meet with them again. 

On Friday we had a full day exchange, and Sister Gates came to be in Royal Palm Beach with me. She has been on her mission for 3 months, and is such a sweetheart. We were on bikes that day as well, and it was her first bike day! Their area is not normally good for biking, so we had fun with that. At one point we went to visit a former investigator that wasn't home, we talked to the next door neighbor who was outside on the driveway. He would not hear anything we had to say, and told us that we were wasting our time because no one would be home at that time of day. We walked back to our bikes, but felt that we should knock on a door a few houses down. A lady named Tarrell answered the door, and loved our message. She said she feels a lot like Joseph Smith in her search for truth, and it didn't even matter that her neighbor (the man we'd talked to) was shouting at her not to listen to us, the spirit drowned him right out. We are going to be teaching her again this week. 

Saturday was a little crazy, after we exchanged back Sister Carling and I attended a baptismal service for some sisters in our Sisterhood, then we made the long hour drive back to our area. We had a meal appointment with a sweet couple in our ward who took us out after dinner so we could help them round up the chickens and put them in the coop for the night. 

That night we called Freddy and Darlyne to start our special fast with a prayer. They were so excited, and determined to do better this week. At the end of our phone call Freddy told Darlyne to go inside because he needed to talk to us for a minute, which made us slightly nervous. However, he told us that he wanted to propose to Darlyne to make things official. He wanted it to be a secret, but he also wanted to do it at church the next day so that it would be on holy ground and so we could be there. He coordinated with our ward mission leader who teaches Gospel Principles. The next day during Sunday School the lesson was on Eternal Families. At one point during the lesson our ward mission leader turned to Freddy and asked "Freddy, what are you doing to strengthen  your family?" He responded by getting on one knee, turning to Darlyne, and saying "I'm going to start by asking my woman to marry me." Darlyne was pretty emotional, but she said yes. It was pretty cute. There was only one other couple in the class with us, and they were very surprised and excited for them. The ring was beautiful, we forgot to ask Freddy where he got it, but they were just so happy. I am so excited for them. It made for the most interesting Sunday School class of my life. 

That is all for this week! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sister Monson

                                              P-Day adventures - nail painting and cookies!
                                                                     Our twinklie lights!
                                                                 Biking in the rain.
                                                              We made overnight oats.
                                                               Florida is just beautiful!

Royal Palm Beach November 13, 2017

Hi everyone!

I hope this email finds you well. It has been another fantastic week in Florida, I just love this place!

The week started off with the transfer call, and I found out that I will be paired with my trainee (Sister Carling) again for this transfer. I went to go pick her up at transfers on Wednesday, and it was lots of fun to see all the other missionaries. It was a long hour and half drive back to our area, but we made it. We went out to work that night, and it was almost like we never even parted. It has been so fun. 

On Thursday we had a District Training, and we talked about plans for the upcoming transfer. We talked about going Christmas Caroling as a district, and I made sure to request we do it early in December. We have a great district with very focused and hard working missionaries. 

On Friday Sister Carling and I left early to carpool with some other STLs for MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference). We drove to the mission home, and met with all the STLs and Zone Leaders for a training. We talked a lot about the goals that we are setting, and what we can do to become more converted to our goals. If we are converted to our goals, and know they were inspired of the Lord, then we will have the faith necessary to hit them. It was great! Sister Garns always makes us lunch, and she is quite the chef. It was a long drive back to our area again. By the time we went out to work that night it was pouring rain, and Sister Carling had not yet put her umbrella in the car, so we huddled under one umbrella and entertained ourselves by running from door to door. 

Sister Carling as telling me that the day before transfers she was at Chick Fil A for lunch, and someone came up and introduced herself and her husband as President and Sister Smart. Turns out it was the mission president and his wife from the Puerto Rico mission. They bought Sister Carling and her companion lunch, and talked with them for a while. A lot of the missionaries from Puerto Rico have been transferred into our mission, and they had some pretty crazy stories to share about getting them all to safety before the hurricane hit. 

On Saturday we did two exchanges with two sets of Sisters, and it was lots of fun. In one of the areas the sisters are feeling overwhelmed with all of the referrals they need to contact so we split up and contacted as many people on their 2 sheets of referrals as possible in 2 and half hours. They felt a lot better after, so we were glad we could help. We were supposed to meet with Freddy and Darlyne that night, but Freddy had received some startling news about his mom's health so they took their family on the bus to go visit her, but then they got stuck because it was downpouring rain, and the bus station was not that close to her house. Our ward mission leader went to pick them up and give them a ride back to their house. Brother Dietz is awesome and has been really great about fellowshipping them. 

Darlyne was sick yesterday, so we didn't get to see her, but Freddy came to church. We were also able to meet with him for a little bit after, and it went really well. Freddy is determined to stop smoking this week, and we are praying that he will be able to do it! Darlyne is right behind him. 

It has been a great week. We have not found many new investigators, but we know there are great things ahead! Talk to you next Monday!

Love, Sister Monson

Royal Palm Beach November 7, 2017

Hello everyone!

Another week gone by, and it has been great! Monday started off as a pretty normal P-Day, nothing too exciting. On Tuesday we had a normal day, knocking doors (we made sure to do that earlier in the day so we weren't confused with trick or treaters), and visiting people. We got pizza for dinner, then came home around 7 to watch Meet the Mormons and carve pumpkins. We had fun with the other sisters, but they are all artistic geniuses so they were a little out of my league in the pumpkin carving. It was a great time. 

On Wednesday we had a lot of things fall through, but we still had a great day. We were in a part of our area called Loxahatchee. Loxahatchee consists of dirt roads, farms, mud, and lots of trees. My GPS was trying to take us some back way and we ended up on this road called "little gator lane" which was next to a large canal. Right before we had turned on to this road we had called a former on the phone, and he was speaking to us on bluetooth. He had been visited by missionaries a few years back, but had stopped taking lessons with them because a lady in church commented on the Jews being the "chosen people." He had decided to go to a Jewish synagogue instead, and apparently he was disgusted with what he found. He ranted to us on bluetooth for about 20 minutes about the Jews, meanwhile we are driving on little gator lane. Little gator lane consisted of hill, dip, hill, dip, hill, dip. The hills were ridiculously rocky, and our car was almost too short to handle them, clearly it was a road meant for large trucks. The whole car would vibrate every time we went over one. The dips were filled with muddy water, and we had no way of knowing how deep they were beforehand. We did our best to stick to the edges of the puddles, but our car got soaked in muddy water. Eventually we were too far in to this road to turn around, so we were trying hard to keep from laughing as we listened to a rant about the jews and did our best to maneuver this ridiculous road. Finally the conversation ended, and we hung up at the same time we finally turned off the road. We just stopped, looked back, and started laughing. It was absolutely ridiculous!

On Thursday we had dinner with a sweet couple named the Aloisios. They always take such good care of us, and they had fun showing us their Disney pin collection. That night we had a chapel tour with the Henry family, the family we have been teaching for about two weeks. They had not been making time for us, and we were trying to figure out the best way to help them understand how important these things are. We decided to set up a tour of the chapel, and start by watching the short video The Restoration. It went so well! They felt the spirit so strongly, and they were all excited to come to church. Unfortunately only the mom and the 15 year old daughter were able to make it, but they enjoyed it. Hopefully we will be able to keep teaching them this week. 

Friday we did a full day exchange, and Sister Callister joined me in Royal Palm Beach. We spent most of the day visiting former investigators, talking to people in the park, knocking doors, and visiting some less-actives. We did not see much success, but it was a fun day. Sister Callister is really sweet, she has been on her mission for about one year now. I felt bad though because we met a lady that was so rude to us, that we couldn't even say goodbye. Eventually we had to walk away while she was still screaming. I felt bad for her, because you just can't be happy when you treat people like that. We were a little shaken up after that, but I was impressed with how quickly Sister Callister bounced back, and we still ended up having a great day. 

On Saturday we had a lesson with Freddy and Darlyne, and we talked about the Brother of Jared. We spent a lot of time preparing the lesson, and felt that it did not go quite the way we had wanted. However, we were grateful we had prepared it because on Sunday the Gospel Principles teacher texted us 5 minutes before class started to let us know he wasn't going to be there, and asked if we could teach. We already had a lesson prepared on the Brother of Jared, so it worked out well. Freddy and Darlyne were not able to make it because their ride (Freddy's brother) bailed on them. They are really struggling right now, and any prayers in their direction would be appreciated. They are getting discouraged, so we are doing our best to help them keep the faith. 

On Sunday a recent convert from our ward, Eric, had us over for dinner with another couple from the ward. He is single, around 50 years old, and the most amazing convert! He was baptized in April, and has already read all of the standard works. He is so awesome, and just loves the gospel, so that was a lot of fun. 

Last night I found out that I will be staying in Royal Palm Beach this next transfer! I am excited to stay, although I will miss Sister Peterson who will be headed to Fort Lauderdale. However, I will be companions with Sister Carling again!! That will be great. 

Until next week! Love you all!
Sister Monson

Monday, November 6, 2017

Royal Palm Beach October 30, 2017

Hi everyone! 

I hope this email finds you well.  I have had a wonderful week here. 

Tuesday we had Zone Conference, and it was fantastic. One of my favorite ones from my whole mission! I loved Sister Garns's talk. She talked about the name we wear, and how we need to do our best to represent Him. President Garns talked about following the Spirit, having urgency in the work, and how we all need to be a little closer to our Father in Heaven if we are to do His work in His way. He talked about leaving everyone we teach or talk to with a feeling of "exquisite wonder." It was awesome. Then the Assistants to the President gave a training about being truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through sacrifice. I learned a lot of things, it was great!

On Wednesday we went on a full-day exchange with the sisters in West Palm Beach, and I went with Sister Healy to their area. Sister Healy is from California, and she came into the mission at the same time I did. We had a great day together, and I loved being in a Spanish area! We got to teach their investigator that has recently been through back surgery. It was awesome to see how that has humbled him and prepared him to receive the gospel. The Elders came to give him a blessing, and he loved that.

Thursday we had an awesome lesson with the Henry family. We found them last week, and on Thursday our goal was to help them set a baptismal date. Erica (the mom) is very busy with school and work, and she feels pretty attached to her other church "Acts 2." Terrence (the dad) and Jessica (the 15 year old daughter) are both very receptive to the gospel. We had planned to teach them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but before the lesson we were praying and I felt that we should teach them the Plan of Salvation because it would be new information that would leave them with "exquisite wonder." Sister Peterson agreed, and the lesson went very well. At the beginning we asked them what they believed about where they came from, and they all had a different answer and really were not sure what to think. The Plan of Salvation cleared up a lot of their questions, and they were all excited at the prospect of returning to the Celestial Kingdom. However, when we extended a baptismal date Erica was still hesitant. Jessica was so excited about it, and so she was quick to agree when we asked if we could kneel and pray about the baptismal date. We asked Terrence to say the prayer, he did, and the spirit filled the room. When he finished praying we all waited in silence for a few minutes, then Terrence asked Jessica if she would like to pray. Jessica's prayer was perfectly specific. She pleaded that God would help them know if they need to be baptized on Nov 25, and the spirit amplified times 10. Before we had even sat on the couch again, they had all agreed to be baptized because of the way they felt. It was awesome! We were so pumped when we came out of that lesson!

On Friday we spent the day visiting less-actives and inviting them to come to the ward Halloween party. We were so excited when one of them showed up, with his non-member wife. The Halloween party was lots of fun. Freddy and Darlyne came, Freddy was dressed up as "Where's Waldo" and Darlyne was dressed up as "Darlyne." Their kids looked adorable in their costumes, and they had a great time. Another miracle we saw that night was that a young man we had met in the park earlier that week randomly showed up. We were showing him around the chapel, and when we were nearly finished he admitted that he had met with missionaries many times before and been to church! We had a quick lesson with him, and left him with a Book of Mormon. It was great!

Saturday it poured rain all day. Turns out it was a tropical storm. We laughed because we would have had no idea if Freddy had not mentioned something when we stopped by to see their family. They are doing well, but we are still waiting for Darlyne's divorce to go through. Freddy always has the right answers for everything, and they can't wait! Most of our appointments ended up cancelling due to the storm, so we ended up knocking doors in a lot of rain. It was fun. 

Sunday we had church. Freddy and Darlyne were the only investigators that came, but we were happy to see them. In Gospel Principles we were talking about staying faithful in the church. The teacher asked why someone might fall away from the church. Freddy raised his hand and said he believed someone would fall away because they forgot the covenants they made when they were baptized, and how that was something that they had wanted. I just love how much they have changed, and  how badly they want to be baptized. We are still praying for a miracle, and we know that it will come in the Lord's timing. After church we went to go see the Henry family again, but it turned into a pretty tense lesson when Terrence's brother who was visiting was intent on picking apart everything we said. However, I know that he felt the spirit because we both did our best to be bold in our testimonies. It is never easy to look someone in the eye and defend your faith, but I love the quote that "the truth is like a lion, if you set it free it will defend itself." That makes our job easier, because all we have to do is testify with love and with the spirit. 

Have a great week! I love you all!
Sister Monson
                                                                           Zone Conference
                                                                     Ward Halloween Party

Royal Palm Beach October 23, 2017

Hi everyone!

Hope it's been a great week for you all! We have been very busy this week, but it has been great. 

Last P-Day was lots of fun because we had a barbeque at the park, and then a water balloon fight with the missionaries in our zone. It was funny because we had the hardest time finding water balloons, all the Walmart employees told us it was a seasonal item, but there is really only 1 season in Florida! Anyway, it worked out well, and the water balloons we finally managed to find felt pretty good in the 80 degree weather. That night we were able to have an awesome lesson with our investigator Jenna. She is really sweet, and has a lot of questions, but is not ready to act at this moment. However, Sister Peterson and I came away feeling really good about the lesson, and knowing that the spirit was the one in charge. Our last visit of the night was to a less-active woman who used to be an Alaskan Eskimo. She told us all about her tribal life, she grew up as a hunter-gatherer and it was really interesting to get to know her. It was a little difficult to focus because she had 3 huge dogs that seemed to love me, and by the time we left my pants were drenched in dog slobber. Gr-oss! It's ok though, she was sweet, and she needed a visit. 

On Tuesday we had a district training, those are always great. After that Sister Peterson and I went to get icecream, then watched the Sunday morning session of General Conference. We are slowly, but surely, making our way through! After dinner we went to a park and drew out the Plan of Salvation in sidewalk chalk. Then we talked to a few guys that were hanging out in the park. Most of them didn't have much time to talk, but it was lots of fun. We are going to try it again this week at a different park. 

On Wednesday we saw a cool miracle because we decided to return to a street that we had passed earlier in the week, and had wanted to knock, but we hadn't had time in that moment. When we were there we ended up running into Shaina, a lady that we had been teaching, but had decided to drop because she was not keeping our appointments. We hadn't been able to get in contact with her for a while, but then we ran into her on that street when she was walking her kids home from school. She felt like that wasn't a coincidence, and ended up coming to church yesterday because of it! We knew we had been put in the right place at the right moment. 

On Thursday morning we made a few phone calls, and found out the startling news that Freddy and Darlyne will need 4 hours of marriage counseling in order to get their marriage license. We were not sure how they would get money to pay for that, but after a few more phone calls we ended up on the phone with a man who used to be in the mission presidency. He said that 3 of the missionary lessons would count towards those hours, and that he was willing to drive up to give them the last hour of marriage counseling, which would be a class on the Family: A Proclamation to the World. Not only would he give them a certificate that would allow them to get their marriage license on the same day they presented it to the court house, but it would reduce the fee of a marriage license from $90 to $60. It was definitely a tender mercy that we were able to get in contact with him. The class went well, and now, all we are waiting for, is Darlyne's divorce to go through! We would all appreciate continued prayers for that.

Friday we went on an exchange with the sisters in Port Saint Lucie. I ended up going to their area to work with Sister Noftle. She is really sweet. We ended up spending most of the afternoon is a sweet lady's house that had just been through knee surgery, and LOVED to talk! It was a good day though. 

Saturday we exchanged back, and then did another short exchange with the Sisters in Stuart. I knocked doors with Sister Callister who is training right now. She was in the middle of telling me about how she is feeling discouraged because they have not been able to find any new investigators, when we knocked on a door and the man let us right in to teach him and his fiance. They were very interested in learning about the Book of Mormon, promised to read it, and became 2 new investigators for the Stuart sisters. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father provided that miracle right when they needed a little boost. That afternoon we drove back to our area, made a few quick visits, and then went to a baptismal service for the Sisters in Palm Beach! They were baptizing a cute little 90 year old Haitian man, he had a hard time getting into the font, but he was just as determined as ever to "follow his Jesus." 

On Sunday church was only 1 hour because they had to do some mold remediation in our building. Hurricane Irma strikes again. That's ok though, we had a great rest of the day. We went to the park and talked to a lot of families and invited them to the ward party this Friday. We also had a great lesson with another family we are teaching, the Henry family. It is a mom, a dad, and their 17 year old daughter. They all have very sincere desires to know if our message is true, and they are very excited to read the Book of Mormon. 

Overall, it has been a fantastic week. I know that Heavenly Father blesses us if we move forward with faith, and put our shoulder to the wheel. It's like the quote that says "Pray like everything depends on God, and then work like everything depends on you." I hope it is a great week for you all!

Love, Sister Monson

Royal Palm Beach October 16, 2017


It has been another great week in Florida! You would think it would start cooling down for Fall, but it is as humid as ever. I love Florida! 

Last Monday night we tried very hard to follow the Spirit in choosing a place to knock, and we saw some cool miracles come from it! We ended up in an apartment complex, and felt to knock a certain building. On the top floor we met an 18 year old girl that loves the bible, but is looking for more direction in her life. She loved hearing about the Book of Mormon, and promised to read it. On the second floor we found a woman that is not sure if she believes in God anymore, but wants to know what happens when we die. She loved hearing about the Plan of Salvation, and agreed to meet with us this upcoming week. On the bottom floor we found a man that wants to get baptized after recently converting to Christianity. He loved hearing about Priesthood authority, and agreed to meet with us this upcoming week as well. It was awesome! We knew that was exactly where God needed us to be. We will be meeting with a few of them this week, some have since fallen off, but we know that some great seeds were planted for future harvesting! 

On Wednesday Sister Peterson and I put on a "Sisterhood Conference" for all of the Sisters that we serve. We were able to talk about our goals, establish expectations, and do a fun activity where we decorated baby pumpkins with scriptures, quotes, and mormon.orgadvertisements to give out to people. We also talked about how we are in a war and "victory at all costs" is imperative, so it is up to us to find people looking for the gospel! It turned out really well. That day we had another lesson with the man that was excommunicated. We talked with him about keeping the sabbath day holy, and making sure he is at church every week so that he can have that foundation for his testimony. He is still struggling to make sure commitments, but he promised to do his  best. They also ordered us pizza, which was very sweet of them! After that we went to visit a less-active family that is not ready to come back to church right now. However, they were very nice, and after we got them talking for a while they ordered us pizza too! Needless to say it was a lot of pizza, but we had a couple of great visits so it was worth it!

On Thursday Sister Peterson and I had a companionship study with the assistants to the president (they do it with all of the STLs once per transfer). We talked about counseling with the people in our stewardships, and it was great! That is a big focus that President Garns has for the mission right now. That night we had a lesson with Freddy and Darlyne, and we brought a sweet sister from our ward with us. We were so excited when we heard that Darlyne's friends had mentioned that it might be possible for them to get the $400 fee on their divorce waived because they are "no income." The only problem was that Darlyne still had no way to get to the court house, but the member that had accompanied us offered to take her the following day. They went to the court, got the fee waived, and her divorce is FINALLY being processed!! The only problem is that they said it could take 2-5 months for the entire process to be completed. We still need a miracle to get it processed faster so they can be baptized on the date they picked for themselves (November 11). Any prayers in that direction would be much appreciated!

On Friday we went on an exchange, so Sister Goldstein came to Royal Palm Beach with me. She is 25 years old, and has been on her mission for 2 months. She is so sweet, and we had a great day together! We ended up spending a lot of the day doing service for a lady named Ivonne. She is not a member, and she lives alone so she really appreciated our help cleaning her house. She has some family that will be moving in with her from Puerto Rico. The bonus was that she made us lunch, and gave us cheesecake for dessert! 

On Saturday we had a great day! It started off with a temple tour with Freddy and Darlyne. A sweet couple from our ward, the Aloisios, picked them up. We were so grateful for their willingness to help out, and to take 2 cars the 3 hour round trip drive in order to fit everyone. Freddy and Darlyne loved the temple, and are excited to go back in a year! It was a great experience. It downpoured for about 20 minutes in the middle of the tour, so we had to take shelter in the little waiting area outside the temple doors. It was very peaceful, and they said they could definitely feel the spirit. 

Yesterday we had a fantastic Stake Conference. The best part was that President and Sister Garns came, and they were able to meet Freddy and Darlyne! I think it meant a lot to Freddy, so that was pretty neat. Last night we had dinner at the Aloisio's house, and they are so sweet! Sister Aloisio bought us little scarecrows, and then drew little missionary name tags on them with our names. I just love the members in this ward, they are fantastic. 

I hope you all have a great week!
Love, Sister Monson

1. Temple tour with Freddy and Darlyne
2. Dinner with the Aloisios and our scarecrows
3. Sisterhood Conference

Monday, October 9, 2017

Royal Palm Beach October 9, 2017

Hi everyone!

It has been another fantastic week in Florida! We have been getting back to normal, and I must say that has been kind of nice. 

We have met with Freddy and Darlyne several more times this week. Freddy was finally able to get a little bit of work with one of our ward members, but then he injured himself when he tripped over something and dropped the heavy vase he was carrying on his hand. Now he can't work for a while. It seems like one thing after another is  being thrown at them, but they are still going strong! They love reading the Book of Mormon, and they loved church yesterday. They were able to look into getting some financial help, which will hopefully help things get moving with their divorce and then marriage. 

On Tuesday we were able to teach a man in our ward that was excommunicated a long time ago, but he has made some huge changes in his life, and would like to be baptized again. It was a very cool experience. The atonement is just so real. It is truly able to purify the sinners and perfect the saints. 

On Wednesday we did a full day exchange with the Wellington Sisters (the sisters we live with). I got to go to the Wellington area with Sister Johnson, who is one of the sweetest people I've ever met. We met a couple of potentials and had a great day. We were also able to watch on of the sessions of Conference, which was awesome, of course. 

On Thursday we had a cool experience while we were knocking doors. We have been meaning to visit a particular former investigator for a few weeks now, but we could not find the street she lives on. Well, on Thursday we were driving around looking for somewhere to knock for a few minutes that would be close to our next appointment, and we found the street that she lives on! We did not have her teaching record with us, so we had no house number. We decided to knock one or two doors and then come back another day to visit the former. As soon as we got out of the car I felt like we should knock a particular house, but I almost shrugged it off because there were no cars in the driveway (everyone parks in the driveway in Florida) and no lights on. I mentioned it to Sister Peterson, and she agreed to knock it. No one answered, and just as we were about to leave we heard the door creak open behind us. We ran back, turns out we had accidentally knocked right into the former investigator we had been wanting to visit! She was excited to see us, and had lots of questions about the Book of Mormon. We ended up teaching about the Book of Mormon, and it was a great lesson! She has a lot of things going on in her life right now, and is not sure she is ready to make the commitment to meet with us or come to church. However, she will definitely  be more open to future missionaries after having some of her concerns resolved. I am so grateful for the guidance of the Spirit that led us to her door, but also gave us scriptures to use, and things to say when we were talking to her.

On Friday I had my first MLC. It was awesome! All of the zone leaders, STLs, and Assistants to the President met together at the mission home. It was a training focused on Christlike leadership and how we can better serve the people in our stewardships. I came away feeling like I have 50 bajillion things to improve on, but also very inspired. We barely made it back to our area in time for a recent convert in our ward to take us to dinner. He is a single man, and he is just awesome. He was baptized in April, so we had fun talking to him, and we also had some great barbeque. 

Saturday we had a meeting with the Zone Leaders in the morning, and then we spent a lot of the day in the car in order to have some fire exchanges with 2 companionships of sisters. They are both so sweet! I love getting to know the other sisters. We got to our area just in time for a quick lesson with Freddy and Darlyne about callings, and serving in the church. They both agreed to prepare for a calling, and we are pretty sure that with all the trials they have been going through Heavenly Father has big things in store for them!

Yesterday it was great to go back to church again. We had not had normal church for a month, so it was great! Freddy and Darlyne loved it, and it was good to see all the ward members again. After church we went to visit a sweet Jamaican less active member that lives with her son. Her son was not home to take care of his dogs, and she is scared of them, so she had us sit in her bedroom to share the message and eat lunch. We all crowded in and had a pretty comical message with the dogs barking at the door. She was very touched though, and we are hoping to continue working with her. That afternoon we ended up teaching a few lessons to people that very obviously need the gospel right now, and the spirit was there to confirm it during the lesson, but they still chose not to accept it. We know they will be ready one day, but it is heartbreaking to know the happiness they are choosing to forgo. 

It has been a very busy, but a very good week! I know that our Savior lives, He knows, and loves us. He is the source of true hope and happiness. I love you all!

Love, Sister Monson

Monday, October 2, 2017

More Pictures from The Keys October 2, 2017

Trash Mountain
                                                           Selfie with Sister Petersen

                                     Storm surge line....up to 5 or 6 feet in some places.

Royal Palm Beach and More Clean Up in the Keys October 2, 2017

Hi everybody!

I hope you all had a great week, and especially a great conference weekend! I will start out with the disclaimer that we did not get to watch Conference this weekend because we were in the Keys. We will have to watch in whenever we get time over the next few weeks, so I don't have too much to say about that yet :).

Last Tuesday was our P-Day, and then we went out to work at 6:00 like normal. We saw so many miracles that night which was a huge blessing because we had been in the Keys all weekend and we hadn't had much time to work in our area. We knocked into a sweet girl named Ciara, she is 17, and she is trying hard to regain her faith. She said she has felt such a difference since trying to learn about Jesus Christ, and then she was so surprised when we showed up at her door! She loved the lesson, and was excited to learn more. It was so cute because in the closing prayer she thanked Heavenly Father for sending his angels to talk to her. Unfortunately we haven't been able to meet with her since then, but we are trying hard to get back in contact with her this week! 

After that we went to go and visit a potential, but she wasn't home. However, her two younger sisters were, and they loved our message. They are twins, and they love going to church so they said they would definitely be willing to give our church a try. Hopefully they will be able to come next week. They weren't broadcasting Conference at our chapel because a lot of people were going to the Keys to help, so we will have to make sure they are at church next week. We came home that night feeling so blessed to be able to find 3 new investigators in one night, Heavenly Father was definitely making up the time that we spent serving in the Keys. 

Wednesday was a fairly normal day, we drove around to visit a lot of less-active members. We tried to meet with Fitore again, but she wasn't home. We were able to meet with Freddy and Darlyne and talk about temples. I love visiting them, I just always come away so much happier. Freddy always loves to tease us so we started teaching the lesson, and he says "Um, sisters, I learned all of this on my first day at church." He told us that they'd talked about temples in Priesthood, and he remembered a lot of what was said. They are excited to go to the temple after they are baptized. 

Thursday we had our first District Training of the new transfer. We have an additional set of Elders in our district now because they opened the Creole area for the Winter (apparently all the Haitians leave in the summer, and return in the Winter-no one is really sure why). Anyway, that was great. Most of our lessons that night fell through as well, but it was a good day. 

Friday we did our weekly planning, and we were both feeling a little off. It was just one of those days, but thankfully we had another lesson with Freddy and that lifted our spirits right out of the slump. Darlyne was gone to help her sister, so we taught Freddy a little more about the Priesthood. We had an awesome couple from our ward that came with us, and they helped a ton. Freddy was telling them about how he'd lost his job, and they can't get married because they have to have money to get divorced first. Brother McFarlane just expressed his own testimony, and so much love for Freddy that it was just what he needed to hear. Freddy said the closing prayer in which he thanked God for "his sisters" and "his new friends" and then he said "until we talk again" before he closed his prayer. It was so cute, and it made me think of how that's really how prayer should be-an ongoing conversation with Heavenly Father. I love Freddy and Darlyne so much! They were supposed to be able to watch conference with a ward member this weekend, but we are not sure if that worked out or not. If not, we will make sure they are able to see it this week!

Saturday morning we woke up at 3:30am and met at the home of a couple from our ward. They loaded up their 15 passenger van with 8 people and a lot of camping gear, then we made the 4 hour drive to the Keys. We arrived, set up camp, and set out to work. They gave us a bunch of work orders to fill with our group which consisted of the sweet old couple who drove us, 3 other brothers from our ward, a few teenagers, and us. We spent all morning pulling branches, seaweed, and debri out of people's homes. The Keys looked a lot better than they had the week before, but there was still so much destruction. We drove down one street that had been hit really hard, one of the trailers had completely blown away and all that was left to show it was once there was the tile floor. It was crazy. People were so grateful, especially a spunky little 86 year old lady named Mary Ann. She really couldn't do the work for herself, so she was very glad to have help. Sister Peterson and I noticed her neighbor across the street needed some help as well, so we went to go rake her yard as well. She told us it had taken her an entire week to rake the seaweed off of one half of her yard. We helped her finish the other half in an hour or two. She was so grateful.  We spent most of the day outside doing tree/branch/seaweed/debri removal so by the time 6:00 rolled around we were thoroughly exhausted. We all headed back to the campground, and thankfully they had portable showers. I don't think I would have been able to sleep smelling the seaweed on myself all night. They allowed the missionaries to sleep in the same museum again (we were so grateful because none of us have tents or sleeping bags). They broadcast Priesthood session, and re-broadcast women's session so we got to watch that before bed. 

The next morning we woke up, got dressed, had some breakfast, and we all set out to work again. When we arrived at the church they decided to send our group further south because they needed more help in some of the other islands. The further south we got, the worse the destruction was. We arrived at a Boy Scout camp on the beach where they had headquarters. They didn't have any more formal work orders, so they just sent us out and said "see what you can find." A lot of the houses are built on cinder block stilts, so the house itself is raised off the ground about 10 feet. We ended up helping one man muck out his garage, which was underneath his house, and it got filled with garbage and mud. We cleared everything out, trying not to slip on the mud, then shoveled mud into wheelbarrows, and dumped it in a pile for the city to pick up. Sister Peterson and I got so muddy, but it was fun. Next we went to his next door neighbor, her yard was knee deep in seaweed and trash. There was a hot tub, a refrigerator, a desk, a sopping wet mattress, and a fence in her yard that weren't even hers. We couldn't even begin to move the hot tub, but with all of us working together we were able to clear the rest of the debri out, and we made some good headway on the seaweed before we had to head back to the campground and return our supplies. We were all smelly, and so so tired for the drive home, but we made it! It was another great weekend in the Keys. I have learned so much from being able to serve these people. 

It really helps you prioritize, and it has given me a whole new perspective on attitude. Some people are absolutely hopeless, self-pitying, and bitter. Others are so full of faith, and are so grateful for the help they receive. Those are the people that are happy, they know it is in God's hands, and they are able to move forward. I hope to be able to emulate that attitude, because I have definitely seen that it makes all the difference in the world. 

I hope it's another great week for you all! Love you!
Sister Monson
                                                               Her District
                                                     President and Sister Garns

                          Museum where they were able to sleep.  Sister Peterson and Sister Monson
                                                               Portable Showers

                                                                      The Beach