Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 17, 2017 Last Week in Fontainebleau!

Hola everyone!!

I hope you are all doing well :). I found out last night that I will be transferring out of Fountainbleau, I will definitely miss this area, the people, and especially my companion Sister Whitney. However, I am super excited about my new area! It is called Coral Reef South, and my companion's name is Hermana Hernandez. I don't know much about my companion, or the area, except that it is still in Miami, yay :)!

Last Monday we had an amazing zone activity. We met at a huge park that was right along the beach, it was so pretty. Then we took of a bunch of socks and nylons and filled them with flour. We used them to throw at each other for capture the flag and "hunger games". It was so much fun, by the end we were all covered in flour!

Towards the beginning of the week we had a lot of lessons fall through. It is especially frustrating when we bring a member to the lesson, and the investigator is not home when they said they would be. We ended up dropping a lot of our investigators at the beginning of the week, but that left us a clean slate to work with! 

We have been biking pretty much everyday this week because we don't have a lot of miles left with our car. On Friday the craziest thing happened, both Sister Whitney and I got hit by a car! On two separate occasions! No worries, we are totally fine, it was just so crazy! We were biking along next to a really tall hedge, and all of the sudden the hedge opened up into the entrance of a parking lot, a car came zooming out of the parking lot, and so I yanked on my brakes, but I wasn't fast enough. The car hit my front tire, and sent my handlebars flying, I nearly tipped off my bike, but I managed to stay  up. The man got out to make sure I was all right, I assured him it was all good, and we kept biking. A few minutes later, the exact same thing happened to Sister Whitney, only she got clipped on the back tire. Thankfully there was no damage done to her or her bike. We know that the Lord was protecting us that day, the only repercussions was that my thumb was pretty bruised for a few days from being hit by the handlebars of my bike, so we are very thankful that Heavenly Father was watching out for us. 

One amazing miracle that we saw this week was that we knocked into the most adorable old lady named Lupercia on Saturday. Hers was the first house we knocked on, and she let us right in. We taught her about the Restoration, and she agreed to come to church. Well, we waited and waited and waited, and we were so sad when she didn't show up! We went to go visit her on Sunday afternoon to see what had happened. Turns out, she had gone to church, but once she got to the parking lot she was too afraid to go inside! She has a prosthetic leg, and she told us that the church was much farther away than she'd thought. Her daughter drove her on Sunday, but she told us that if she couldn't walk to church every Sunday, she didn't want to commit to come. We assured her that the members would be happy to give her a ride, and she happily promised to come next week, and go inside. We promised to bring a member to our next lesson so that she could know someone from the church, she readily agreed saying that she would need to know the members because she was going to be one! We taught her about the Book of Mormon on Sunday as well. She loves it! She has lots of memory problems, but when we went to visit her on Monday she was so excited to tell us all about the chapter she'd been reading, and she really understood it well. She says the most humble, and heartfelt prayers. She had never been taught to pray before, so it is very special to listen to her pray. She is always sure to thank God for sending her the "dos angeles hermosas" (two beautiful angels), to teach her about the gospel. I love her so much!! I will be so sad to be leaving her, but we will make sure that the new missionaries will continue to visit her. 

Another funny thing is that Lupercia lives right next to a HUGE Catholic seminary, and during our lessons there are always Catholic priests walking home from their classes. We always just smile and wave, but be sure to let them know that Lupercia is OUR investigator. So funny!

Last night we were able to teach a young mother named Aumara. It was an amazing experience to be able to teach her because she is extremely set in her ways, but she also has a lot of faith in God. She told us right from the beginning that she was simply there to learn about what we believe, but that she would not be likely to change her mind. Well, by the end of the message of the Restoration, she had agreed to come to church, and accepted our baptismal invitation! The Spirit was so strong during that lesson, and we know she felt it. She has studied almost every religion you could think of, and finally ended up choosing to be Catholic, because that is what she grew up with. She told us that she doesn't really believe what the Catholic church teaches, but that she felt the need to have religion in her life. We promised her that this is what she's been looking for, and she wholeheartedly agreed. We were a little confused because for a moment she seemed really upset, she told us that "while you were teaching you made me have doubt, and I don't like doubt." We then realized that she was doubting what she thought she knew to be true about God, and accepting the truth, that he is our loving Heavenly Father! She wants us to come back and teach her whole family, so cool! Once again, I am so sad to be leaving her, but I know the new missionaries will do great.

Another wonderful thing that we saw on Sunday was that our recent convert Mari is being fellow shipped so well by the ward. We have been really worried about her  because she is going through a lot of challenges in her life right now, including a lengthy court case with her x husband. On Sunday, the bishop made sure to get her a temple recommend interview, and the family history coordinator sat down with her to help her find some names. Now she is ready to take her grandmother's name to the temple, and she is so excited! I love Mari, and I will miss her a lot, but it gives us peace of mind knowing that she is in good hands.

That is all for this week, I will be excited to let you know about my new area! I just want to end with my testimony that I know that God answers prayers. I can't even tell you how many times this week I was absolutely exhausted, and didn't think that I could keep going, but then Heavenly Father put a little something in our path to make it all worth it. He loves us so much, and I am so grateful to have that knowledge. I love you all, and I hope it is a great week!!

Love, Hermana Monson

Palacio de Los Jugos, the most amazingly delicious Latin food.
Our zone activity on Monday, such an amazing view of the ocean with the Miami skyline. Mari, our recent convert.
Sister Whitney and I drinking Coco Frio, a Latin drink where they just drink coconut water straight out of the coconut! It didn't actually taste that good, but hey, it was super cool.

Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017

Hola everyone!

I hope you are all doing great! It has been such a great week here :)!! It has been surprisingly cold, well, it's been around 60 degrees, but we have been freezing! I had to bust out my sweaters and my jacket, and we have been blasting the heater whenever we get in the car! I know, we're a little wimpy, but the humidity just bites when it gets cold. 

We have seen tons of miracles, and we ended up with 7 investigators this week! Lots of our investigators from last week dropped off, but we are really excited about some of the people we are working with currently.

One of the people we are working with right now is named Angel. He is an older man, and he lives alone. He runs some sort of a tax business from his home, and he always has plenty of coca cola and bananas to hand out to customers and the missionaries. Kind of a weird combination, but we are getting accustomed to it. He loves to tease us, and loves to laugh. He is such a great person, and he really has desires to learn more about God and to follow him. We were excited when he accepted baptism at the end of the Resto, but our concern is just that he genuinely loves everyone and accepts all religions. In some ways that is good, but we need to help him understand that he really only needs one baptism as long as it is done by the proper authority. We were sad that he did not come to church yesterday, but we are going to bring some ward members with us this week to visit him, and we are hoping that will help him. 

Another person that we are working with right now is Raul.Raul lives alone, works all the time, drinks, smokes, and loves reading the Book of Mormon. He did not come to church yesterday either, so we went to his house last night to follow up and see what happened. We were surprised to see that he is already in 2 Nephi, and he has only had the book for about a week. He is still praying about it, and doesn't feel like he has received an answer yet. We are trying to help him recognize how he is going to get his answer. We talked last night about the importance of coming to church to receive an answer, we also talked about the importance of setting a goal of baptism. He was very very hesitant, at first. However, we would not give up on him. We used scriptures, testimony, personal experience, and everything we could think of to express the importance of these things. We know that the spirit was definitely guiding what we said because 45 minutes later he accepted baptism, and even set himself with a date of February 4th! He told us "uds son buenas misioneras" (you are good missionaries!) because we would not leave until he had accepted a baptismal date. He is super cool, and we are praying that he will be able to recognize the answer he is looking for!

Our other investigator right now is named Caridad. She has been taught by missionaries before (actually all of our investigators right now have been taught by missionaries before). We decided to teach her the Plan of Salvation because she had a lot of questions about it the first time we met her, and she expressed to us that she is really afraid to die. She is probably around 75 years old. When we went to teach Caridad her sister was there as well, so we invited her to join in on the lesson. Somehow we ended up way off topic and talked about eternal marriages for quite a while, but when we invited them to be baptized Caridad's sister (who is exceedingly Catholic) declined. We tried to explain to her the difference between this baptism, and infant baptism, but she wouldn't have it. However, Caridad spoke up and told us that she wants to be baptized. We were so happy! It is going to be hard for her because she lives with a couple of her sisters, and her husband, and they are all very Catholic, and not super happy about the fact that she wants to get baptized. On top of that, her husband is having an operation this week, so it will be hard for us to meet with her. However, she is a sassy little fire ball, and we know the Lord will be there to help her!

Those are all of our investigators for now. Yesterday a man that we had talked to on the street a couple days ago randomly showed up to church. He loved sacrament meeting, especially because it was fast and testimony meeting, and he gets very passionate about his testimony. He kept saying "Si" and "Amen" during the testimonies, which was super funny. Well, about half-way through the meeting he turns to me and asks if he is allowed to share his testimony. I wasn't really sure what he would say, but I told him yes. We held our breath as he walked up to the podium, and proceeded to bear his testimony about the New Testament. He actually did a great job, even though some of the things he said were not exactly what we know, the ward members were really good sports about it. It was kind of a relief when he sat back down. After sacrament meeting we were able to teach him the Restoration in the chapel, which allowed the spirit to be there in ABUNDANCE. It was a very powerful lesson, and we were surprised when, at the end, he simply said "thank you, but I don't need those things." He believes that the only thing he needs for salvation is the New Testament. We tried to testify, but eventually the spirit helped us to recognize that it really is not his time yet. However, he really enjoyed church, so we know a huge seed has been planted. He is a really really good person, so we know that one day he will be ready!

It has been a really busy week trying to meet with our investigators, especially because we had a bunch from last week as well that have since dropped off. I love feeling so busy, we know that the Lord is blessing us with so many miracles. I love being able to share this gospel, because I know it is what brings happiness into our lives. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that His church is here on the earth, I feel so blessed to be a part of it! 

Love you all!
Hermana Monson

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 3, 2017!!! One of my favorite letters so far!

Hi everyone! I hope that it has been a great week for you all, and that you enjoyed your New Year's festivities :)!

To start off the week, last Monday Sister Whitney and I decided to do a special fast because we have not been able to find any investigators for a while. Missionary work is hard when you don't have people to work with. Well, last night we counted, we currently have 8 investigators! The Lord answers prayers, and fasting works!!

On Thursday we had a District Training about how to help our investigators come to church. They can't progress if they don't come to church! So that was really good, plus a Brazilian sister in our district made these delicious Brazilian chocolate/carmel treat things, and I can't remember what they are called, but they were so good! That night we had a lesson with a man named Omar. We had met Omar a few days earlier, he seemed pretty set in his ways, but he just seemed so close to the truth that I felt we needed to set up a return appointment. Anyways, we went back on Thursday, and he was ready for us. He had some chairs set up, and his huge bible on the table. We were worried that all he would do was bible-bash, but he allowed us to teach him the message of the Restoration. The Spirit was definitely there. At the end, he started asking some questions, which we did our best to answer, but it quickly turned into a bad situation. He just wanted to bible-bash and deny our testimonies, and it was rough. Sister Whitney does not like those kinds of situations, she gets really anxious. However, I prayed that the Lord would help us know what to say, and I just felt peace. Even though this man was denying our testimonies, and mocking everything that we believe, I felt perfectly calm, and just listened contently. After a while he paused for breath, I snuck in a quick testimony, said that we needed to leave, and asked he would say the closing prayer. He agreed to say the closing prayer, we thanked him for his time, and left. It was a super frustrating lesson, but I know that the peace I felt was the Lord confirming to me the truthfulness of what we had just taught, even if he did not want believe it. He has now heard the message of the Restoration, and we know that a seed has been planted. He has desires to follow the Jesus Christ, and I truly hope that one day his heart will be softened so that one day he can understand the best way to do that.

On Friday we had exchanges with the STLs! It was so fun! Sister Livengood came to our area, so I got to stay in Fountainbleau and work with her. Her Spanish is great, and she is a really good missionary. The highlight of the day was definitely our lesson with our investigator Raul. It was our first time being able to teach him, so we taught the Restoration. We also brought a couple from our ward, Brother and Sister Laguna. Their testimonies were just perfect because they were converted to the church in Honduras about 30 years ago, and they were able to share their experience of coming to know the truthfulness of the gospel. Raul was definitely touched. When we asked him if he had been reading from the Book of Mormon we'd left him he said "a little," but then he went on to relate the entire story of 3 Nephi 11 and 12, and he even said he'd started from the beginning as well! We were so shocked, usually it is a miracle if the investigator makes it all the way through one chapter in between lessons. He said he felt like he just couldn't put it down. Raul definitely has desires to know the truth, and it was an amazing lesson. The Spirit was so strong that afterwards Hermano Laguna said "if he didn't feel that, he must be dead!" 

That night we also went to visit our recent convert Mari. She has so much crazy stuff going on in her life right now, but she was so happy to see us. She was in a car crash this week, and luckily no one was hurt, but her car was totaled. She was so excited to tell us about a missionary experience that she'd had. One day she was in the courthouse, and there was a young girl there who looked really sad. Mari said she decided to go talk to her, and this girl opened right up. Her name is Jessica and she is really struggling with a lot of things right now. Mari got the chance to bear her testimony, and she invited Jessica to church. Turns out, Jessica doesn't live near here, so she can't come to this church, but we will get her the address of the church by her house. It was so fun to hear Mari tell us her story because she was so excited! I love her!

On Saturday we exchanged back, so Sister Whitney and I were back together. We had a district "blitz" (all the district meets together and knocks doors on one street). It was super fun because I got to go on a short exchange with Hermana Louissant. She is from Haiti, and we were in the CCM together! We had a great time knocking doors, and it was super cool because we got to teach the lesson to Ilda, one of our new investigators! Ilda is Pentecostal, and she had heard some things about "the Mormon church" before, but after we cleared up a few misconceptions she agreed to learn more. Her husband is Catholic, and she really wants religious unity in her home. Let us help you with that! 

Saturday night we had dinner at the Relief Society President's house, with the Elders, so that was super fun. Then we had to be in our house by 6:00 because of the all the New Year's Even partying! It was definitely super loud! We did face masks and pedicures, so that was super fun!

On Sunday morning we were shocked when a man that we had visited about 3 months ago randomly showed up to church! His name is Petronio, he is super old, and he really does not want to be pressured into baptism, but he loved church! He kept telling us that the atmosphere was sacred, and that it was unlike any other church he had ever visited before. We will be going back to teach him again!

Sunday night we had another lesson with Raul. It was super short, but we talked about the importance of coming to church, because he hadn't come. We shared John 7:17 "if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." We shared our testimonies about the importance of keeping God's commandments, in order to gain a testimony of their truthfulness. He expressed his desires to change his life, to stop smoking, and he even said "I know coffee isn't a drug, but I feel like I should probably stop drinking it before I get baptized". We haven't even taught him the Word of Wisdom yet!! That is what reading from the Book of Mormon will do to people! He is still reading from the BOM, and after we promised that the Savior would help him with all of his challenges, he agreed to come to church next Sunday.

That night we were able to visit some other recent converts named Mari Elena and Ana. They are so sweet, and we just love them!! They are having lots of health challenges right now, and that makes it hard for them to come to church. We reminded them about daily scripture study, and they promised to do it this week. It made our day because they told us that they had been worried that we'd been transferred, and that they hadn't gotten to say goodbye. We explained that transfers won't be for another two week, but it made us so happy that they would have noticed if we'd been transferred! Sometimes the members don't even notice because they are just so used to the missionaries transferring, but Ana and Mari Elena said they would miss us. They are the best!

Yesterday was "Pros Monday" because of the holiday. After studies we got in the car, and prepared to go to our first appointment when we suddenly got a bunch of phone calls and text messages within the space of about 10 minutes informing us that every single one of our appointments fell through. We were looking at a long day, we weren't really sure where to go or what the Lord wanted us to do. Well, we ended up going to visit some former investigators and in the course of looking for a former investigator named Jose, we met another Jose, that has never heard the missionaries before, but he agreed to listen to our lesson. Now he's a new investigator! After that we went to visit another former investigator, and she and her husband agreed to listen as well! We aren't sure if they really understood the message of the Restoration, but they agreed to come to church, and be baptized! Investigators 6 and 7! We didn't have much time left before we had to be in our house, but we decided to visit one more former investigator. We managed to catch him right on his way home from his Sunday night walk. His name is Angel, he lives alone, and he was so happy to have visitors. He showered gifts of coco-cola and bananas upon us, and was so happy to share a prayer with us. We committed him to pray about baptism, and he agreed, he really believes that he will get an answer! Investigator number 8!

It was so cool to see how all of our plans fell through, and that led to us finding 4 new investigators yesterday. With a total of 8 investigators we are super busy, super stressed, but super happy!! We are hoping that we will be able to help all of them progress this week, and that we will be able to get them to church!! 

I love being a missionary! It is so wonderful to be able to share such a happy message with the people here in Florida! I know that this is God's church, I know that Book of Mormon is His word, and that we can find more happiness in living the gospel than in any other way! 

I hope it is a wonderful week for you all!

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Monson

Christmas Pictures 2016

 Hermana Whitney and Hermana Monson did a gingerbread house together on Christmas Eve.

                         Hermana Monson gave Hermana Whitney a haircut!  Such talent!!!

                                                      Christmas morning pictures!

                                       Christmas Day!!!  Loved talking with our Hermana!

December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas!!! I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday season :)

This week has been great! Once again, all of our investigators dropped off at the beginning of the week. If people do not keep their commitments we can't keep working with them because we know that there are people who are ready to receive the gospel, and we need to find them!

Last P-Day Sister Whitney and I had a great time decorating a gingerbread house together. We bought the kit from Walmart and entertained ourselves for a few hours, we were pretty proud of ourselves-it turned out pretty cool. It was a little crazy because Sister Whitney has the most long, beautiful hair. With about 1 hour left in our P-Day she comes up to me and says "Sister, I need you to cut my hair!! I can't take it any more!" After lots of begging and pleading on her part, I reluctantly agreed. We didn't have any hair cutting scissors, and I didn't have ANY experience with cutting hair, so I nearly had a panic attack when we finished and the two sides were of different lengths. Somehow we managed to get it all straightened out, and she says she loves it! It was quite the adventure, and I have decided that cutting hair is definitely not my calling in life ;)!

On Thursday we had a huge Christmas conference with half of our mission. We all got together, and it was so fun to see the other missionaries! I finally got to see my trainer, Sister Root, whom I haven't seen since we transferred. We got to hear an awesome talk from President Richardson about the light of the gospel. It is truly light to everyone that hears it, we are eliminating darkness from the world by spreading the light. I also loved Sister Richardson's talk about tender mercies that the Lord gives us. She showed some super close up photos of snowflakes, and pointed out that God must really love us to make each and every snowflake so unique and intricate. Each zone did a musical number, and it was great to hear so many of the hymns sung in all the mission languages (Spanish, Creole, Portuguese, and English). We got to watch some Christmas videos, and have a delicious Christmas lunch! Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes (I was so happy, I missed sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving!). After lunch we did a white elephant gift exchange with the people sitting at our table, it was so fun! I got some playdough! I gave some fingerpaint bathtub soap, and pepperoni pizza chapstick. The funniest gift I saw was a huge throw blanket with a huge image of the Virgin Maria on it. So funny!

On Saturday we went to our ward Relief Society president's house for dinner. She made us a delicious Peruvian dish with pork and potatoes for dinner, so that was good. Then we had to be in our house by 7. Sister Whitney and I made some cookies, and watched The Testaments, it was a great way to spend Christmas Eve! 

Sunday morning we woke up and opened our gifts!! That was lots of fun! Then we had sacrament meeting, the primary did a Christmas program, and it was so cute. I love Latin kids! After church we had a normal day of proselyting. It was so great to get to go and serve people on Christmas day, it is exactly what the Savior would have been doing if He were here. It was great! People's hearts were definitely a little softer, and even though we didn't find any investigators, I think people really appreciated what we were doing. The highlight of the day was skyping with my family that night!! It was the best to talk to them for a little while, I just love them!!

Because of the holiday, yesterday was a "Pros Monday" (meaning instead of P-Day it was a normal day of missionary work). We knocked doors ALL day! Every single one of our appointments cancelled, so we ended up just contacting a lot of people. Something super cool was that earlier in the week we had had a lesson with a woman named Rosie who is the niece of one of our potential investigators. When we had gone to see our potential investigator (Juanita), she wasn't home, but we ended up teaching Rosie instead. Well, teaching is a relative term. Rosie just wanted to bible bash with us, and it was not a fun lesson. We came out feeling frustrated and upset, she was not very kind to us. Fast forward to yesterday, we stopped by again to see Juanita, but she wasn't home. Instead, Rosie answered the door. Our first instinct was just to get out of there as quick as possible, but Rosie was super sick. We asked if there was anything we could do for her, and she said she would like it if we could pray for her. We hesitantly entered the house, sat down, and she started to talk to us. She was very weak, and tired, and humbly just asked us to bless her with health. We prayed for her, and left so that she could get back to sleep. She was very grateful. It was amazing how much love we were able to feel for her after that prayer. It just goes to show that the best way to love someone is to serve them!

I love being a missionary, and it is such a blessing to be able to share the gospel! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and I am so grateful for everything that He has given to us. I love you all and hope it is a great week! 

Love, Hermana Monson

December 19, 2016

Hola everyone!

I hope it has been a great week! 

This week has been really great! Almost all of the new investigators we found last week have dropped off, except Julian! When we went to go teach Julian this week, he wasn't home and his wife told us he was in the hospital. He wasn't answering our telephone calls, and so it was really unexpected when he called us right before church to say he would be coming! 

He is an old man, with a gray beard, and a walking cane. He loved church, especially gospel principles class where we talked a lot about families. He was making us laugh because he kept telling all of the members that these 2 angels (referring to Sister Whitney and I) had knocked on his door this week to bring him to church. We talked to him after church, and he agreed to be baptized! We are very excited! The only problem is that he loves ALL religions, and believes that they are all true. We were laughing because he was wearing a rosary AND a star of David at church yesterday. One of our conversations went like this:

Julian: Do you know where I was last night?

Us: No, where?

Julian: I was in a service with the Jehovah's Witnesses, they have been teaching me too!

Us: *mental face palm*

It will definitely be a challenge to help him understand that there is only one true church, and that after baptism he can't keep going around getting baptized in every church he comes across. We will be focusing on the Restoration of the gospel, and baptismal covenants with him this week, but he is super cool. He is also a war veteran, and he made us laugh because he said "if you have an emergency, don't call 911....call Julian!" We were just like "Ok...for sure." So funny!

We also had our ward Christmas party this week, which was a lot of fun. They had the primary put on a pageant, and it was super cute! They even had a live band in the background to accompany them. I love the ward members, and it was a great night! 

I am excited for this week! We will be having a big Christmas Conference as a mission, complete with a white-elephant gift exchange and everything! It should be super fun! Of course, Christmas will be great. I love this time of year that we have to focus a little bit more on our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, and that He loves us. He is there for us in the good times, and especially in the bad. He sets the perfect example for us, and we can find joy in following what He has asked us to do. I will be forever grateful for everything that He did, and continues to do for me. I hope we can all remember Him this week!

I love you all! Feliz Navidad!

This is part of her letter to me:

What a great week! Sometimes I forget that normal Christmas things still happen back home, but I'm glad you had fun at the Christmas breakfast, and everything!

Tell the boys good job on all of their recitals, how fun :)!

This week has been pretty good. Once again, all of our investigators have dropped off (except 1!), so we are still looking for people to teach. However, we have had a lot of experiences with ward members this week that have helped me to love them more than ever before. There are so many awesome people here, and I can't even explain how I love them because I don't even really know them, and sometimes I can't even understand what they are saying!

One of the experiences was the ward Christmas party. There are just some really awesome members, and it was a lot of fun. They had the primary do a pageant, it was the most elaborate pageant I've ever seen at a ward Christmas party-super cool! 

Another experience was when we went to visit a member named Hermana Rodriguez. Her daughters (24? and 13), are not baptized. Her older daughter is married, and has an adorable little 2 year old boy. She was super busy, so we were not able to teach her. However, her younger daughter (13) was able to listen to our lesson. We shared the Restoration video with her (I LOVE that video), and talked to her about Joseph Smith. She said that she believes Joseph Smith is a prophet, we started to talk to her about baptism, and she agreed to learn more and prepare for baptism! We were super excited, but something changed, we really don't know what happened, but the next second she changed her mind and wouldn't set up another time to meet with us, and didn't want to get baptized. It made us so sad. After the lesson, her mom (Hermana Rodriguez) told us a little bit more about her story. Hermana Rodriguez met her husband just about a year after being baptized into the church. Her husband taught her a lot of about the gospel, he even taught her how to pray. Her husband was a super faithful member and a returned missionary. However, after being married for about 20 years, something happened (she didn't say what) but it caused him to lose the spirit. The way she explained it, because he no longer had the spirit, he lost his testimony. Not just that, but he turned anti. Now, it is a constant struggle in their home because Hermana Almeida Rodriguez is super firm in her testimony, and her husband is super anti, and her daughters are caught in the middle of it all. It is such a heartbreaking situation, and I felt so much love and respect for her when she told us her situation. I wish there was more we could do for her, but all we can do is pray.

Another cool experience with the members happened last night. We have been super worried about our recent convert, Mari, because she is in so much pain all the time that she can't take care of her kids, so she calls us, but there are lots of rules as missionaries, and we aren't allowed to help her with her kids. She calls us probably 7 times a day, but there is really just nothing we can do. She is already in contact with the Relief Society president, but she was really struggling this week. When we showed up to visit her, we were overjoyed to find a sister from the ward in her home. This sister had brought her two daughters with her, and together they were feeding the kids dinner, helping them get ready for bed, and cleaning up the house. I felt so much love for this sister who had just taken the initiative to serve Mari, not because she had been asked to do it, but because she had seen a need and had decided to serve. It was such a relief! Mari was doing much better. 

Also, last night we went to visit a super cool less-active recent convert named Herber. Herber is 21, and he lives with lots of his cousins who aren't members. We could hear them drinking and partying in the back yard during the lesson, but Herber is so amazing! He doesn't come to church because he works so much. He is working for his family, because his parents and siblings are still in El Salvador. He is the only member in his family, but he has an amazing testimony. He knows that he needs to come back to church, and he promised to come this Sunday. After the visit we were secretly planning to send him on a mission, and then to have him find an adorable little Latino mormon girl and get married in the temple. It's going to happen!

Anyways, I was just feeling a lot of love for our ward this week, which helped a lot because our investigators have not been progressing so we have had to drop them. 

I will write a little more in the group email too. I hope that it is an awesome week! Good luck with everything :)!! I'm excited to talk to you on Sunday!! 

December 13, 2016

Hola everyone!

I hope that you are all doing well, and enjoying the holiday season! Things are going great here! It is so weird to have it be December and still be super hot! We are still sharing the Light the World campaign with everyone, and lots of people really love the video. Even if they don't accept the message that we bring, we are still helping them to think about Christ.

We had an awesome day on Saturday. It was full of so many miracles! First of all, we went to go teach a referral that we had received, she was a 17 year old girl named Cynthia. When we got to her house her two best friends were there as well. Angelica and Karina both agreed to listen to the Restoration as well. At the end we were explaining how they could receive an answer about the truthfulness of the message through the Holy Spirit. As we tried to describe the Spirit, Karina said "oh, so that's what I'm feeling right now." We were like "YES!" In the end, they all agreed to come to church the next day, and they all agreed to be baptized! We were so happy! 

After we visited them we went to go and visit a former investigator named Julian. He said he would listen to the Restoration. At the end, he agreed to come to church and be baptized, he would just need to "straighten things out" with his Presbyterian Pastor first! So cool!

Then we went to go and visit our investigator named Jadira. Unfortunately she wasn't home, but her mother-in-law was! At first she was super reluctant to have anything to do with us, but after we got her talking about her family she opened right up to us. Turns out that her parents and her siblings were all baptized into the "Mormon church" in Honduras a long time ago! She wasn't baptized because she was already married at that time. After hearing the Restoration, she wonders why she was never baptized, and accepted our invitation! By the time we left, she had given us gatorade, and cake, and little plates from Mexico! She loves us, and she is so cute!

It was such an awesome day! We found 5 new investigators in one day! I know that Heavenly Father was helping us to be where we needed to be in the right time. Unfortunately, none of them came to church on Sunday, and they are not answering our telephone calls. So, we will be looking for new investigators again this week. However, it is so awesome to be able to spread the light of Christ with people, even if all we do is plant a seed. 

After church on Sunday, there is an ADORABLE little old lady in our ward that invited us over for lunch. Her name is Beatriz Diaz, she lives alone on the top floor of a huge apartment building. She has an amazing view from her balcony, and she loves blasting her Christian, Latin, rock station loud enough for ALL to hear. It took me quite a while to get "El es el rey de mi vida" out of my head. She kept apologizing that she didn't know how to cook. She made us eggs, toast, and "quick" (Nesquick heated up so it tastes like hot chocolate). She also bought us empanadas and cheese rolls, they were so yummy!  She is a convert to the church, and they tend to be especially sweet to the missionaries. We were laughing at the funny mixture of Catholic and Mormon pictures she has hanging around her house, but she has the sweetest testimony. She was sad when her two "angelitas" had to leave, but we promised to visit again soon. She is so cute!

I found out last night that I will be staying to Fountainbleau for another transfer, and Sister Whitney and I will be staying together. We were so relieved! 

This week I have been reading in Mosiah 26. One of the verses that really stood out to me is verse 30, which says "Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me." This is such a comforting scripture, because we all fall short each and every day! I also looked up the word Repentance in the Bible Dictionary which says something like "a turning of one's heart and mind to God, and a renunciation of the sin to which we are naturally inclined." I love that! We have the opportunity each day to turn to God, and renounce sin. As we do that each day of our lives, we will slowly become more and more like God until the last day when we shall be perfected. I love this gospel! I love the Savior, and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be a missionary to share that message! I know that God is aware of each of us, and I know that He answers our prayers. It is always in His way and timing, but it is also in our best interest. 

I hope that it is an amazing week! Love you all!

Love, Hermana Monson

This is a fun paragraph from her letter to me:

This week has been good. The weird thing is how many ups and downs there are. One moment I feel exhausted, discouraged, and homesick. The next moment Heavenly Father puts someone in our path, or something happens to help me feel happy again! As far as people being more or less receptive with the Holidays, I would say that most people are a little more receptive, especially when we share the Light the World campaign with them. However, there are still plenty of Christmas Scrooges out there. Last night we bumped into this ADORABLE couple from Trinidad. I loved their accent. The wife's name was Mala, she had just been going outside to pray when we knocked on the door. She could not get over the fact that we showed up at her door to share a prayer, right when she was leaving to pray! They are the most humble couple ever! She kept telling us that nothing she has is really hers, because God gave it to her. She asked us about our missions, what we do, for how long, etc. She was so amazed, "that is such a love for God. I just love that." She kept saying, it was so cute! Unfortunately, they only speak English, so we had to pass them to the Elders from the English ward, but we will see what comes of that. She kept saying "I want to stay in contact, can you write me?" We were like "Umm.....I mean we've only just met you, but I guess maybe we will see you at church?" Super funny.