Thursday, February 9, 2017

Coral Reef: Week 3 February 6, 2017

Hello everyone!

I hope it has been a wonderful week!!

My week started off with a fabulous P-Day, we went to a place called Fritanga for lunch. Such delicious food! We ate queso frito (fried cheese, as if cheese isn't already unhealthy enough, you fry it and then put it in a corn tortilla with cream on top). 

Then on Tuesday we had dinner with one of my most beloved ward members, Hermana Stand. She is in a wheelchair because she only has one leg. She is really struggling financially right now, but she is always trying to give us extra food, shampoo, soap, cleaner, and she even wanted to give us her night light! She is so adorable!! She also has a granddaughter that is 2 years old, and she loves us, so that is pretty fun. That night we had a relief society activity, which we were excited for. However, as we were waiting for the activity to start we were told that there was a man outside the church that wanted to know more. We were so excited, we ran outside, and met Brandon. He told us that God had led him to this church, and that he wanted to become a member. We welcomed him inside, and sat down to teach a lesson. About fifteen minutes into the lesson Sister Hernandez and I look at each other just like "we don't think he is entirely there in the head." An hour later we had sent "Brandon" (he told us his real name was Gabriel, the God of Love and Destruction) on his way with a pamphlet, and some food from the Relief Society activity. It was definitely one of our more interesting lessons!

On Wednesday we went to visit our investigator Charo. She is wonderful, and we love her. She is still searching for her answer about the Book of Mormon, and still coming to church. We brought our ward mission leader, a crazy old Cuban man named Hermano Sanchez. Well, Charo is a crazy old Cuban lady-so they hit it right off!! Sister Hernandez and I hardly got two words in, although we did manage to read 3 Nephi 11 together, which Charo loved. Eventually, we had to excuse ourselves to be home in time for curfew, but the two of them just kept talking for another hour and half after we'd left. One thing I am learning is that Cubans, and most Latins really, they LOVE to talk!! They are the best :). On Wednesday we also had a Zone Conference where we discussed the World-Wide Missionary Broadcast from the week earlier. I always love seeing the other missionaries, and especially President and Sister Richardson. They are just amazing!!

On Thursday we went to teach a woman named Jennifer, but when we got to her house she asked us if we could come back because she wanted us to teach her girls as well!! We stopped by about an hour later, and taught Jennifer (a single mom of 4), her two adorable daughters, and Marcus (the cutest little black baby you have ever seen!!) I love that family. Jennifer was pretty impressed with the message of the Restoration, she said "I've never even heard of that before!" She is excited to learn more! That night we went to teach another former investigator named Rafaela, she invited her mom and her sister to join us, so we ended up with 3 new investigators! They are all so sweet, and even though they were out of town this weekend, so they couldn't come to church, we are excited to keep teaching them!

On Friday we stopped by a ward members house to do some service for her. She has 4 little kids, and so she is pretty stressed. Her house was very messy, so we helped her clean. I wish we had taken a before and after picture because it looked so good when we were done!! My back hurt from mopping, and we were both exhausted, but she was so grateful. It was awesome because she told us that she'd been thinking the previous day that she just really wished she could clean, but it is hard for her with all of her little ones. It's almost like we were "an answer to prayer", such a good feeling!! That night we stopped by a less-active members house. She asked Sister Hernandez to show her how to make authentic Baleadas. Next thing we know we are cooking up a storm in the kitchen, and an hour later we sit down to some seriously delicious Baleadas with her and her family! It was great!

Saturday we went to give service at a food pantry called Feeding Southern Florida. It is so awesome to be able to see how many people this place helps, and some of them you can tell are in a really tough spot. We are usually in charge of registering people, and some of them only speak Spanish, so that is fun! I love service!

Yesterday Sister Hernandez was sick, so we only went to sacrament meeting and then came home. She slept all day, and I tried to entertain myself, but there is only so much you can do in a house with no tv on a fast sunday ;)!! Thankfully she is feeling better today, so we will be able to get back at it this week. Even one day inside the house made me realize how much I love missionary work!! I love this gospel, I know it's true, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share it with my brothers and sisters here in Florida! 

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Love, Hermana Monson

Coral Reef: Week 2 January 30, 2017

I hope that everyone is doing well, this has been a great week :)!

Last P-Day we had an amazing zone activity where we filled up water balloons and then used them to play capture the flag ("quidditch"). 

On Wednesday we had a great world-wide missionary conference, and we got to hear from some of the apostles. I loved it! I loved how they talked about teaching repentance to everyone that we meet, because that is how they will come to know the Savior. In order to be able to preach repentance we have to make it a daily part of our lives. It is such a blessing to be able to repent each day, and strive to be better! They also made some changes to the missionary schedule, which will allow us to choose when we do our studies, rather than having them at a fixed time. I think it will be a weird adjustment, but hopefully it will allow us to use our time more effectively.

On Friday we went to give service at a place called Habitat for Humanity. That was fun because we met a lot of new people, there was a girl visiting from Finland, and also a super cute old couple from Puerto Rico that call themselves "mami and papi". We had to help move a bunch of refurbished chairs out to a big truck so that they could be shipped to a church. It is a pretty cool place. 

On Saturday we had a fire exchange with out STLs, Sister Woods and Sister Jess. We started off with lunch at a place called Fritanga, they had the most delicious carne asada! After that I got to work with Sister Jess for a little while. She is AMAZING! She is so fun, and has a way of showing so much love to the people, I truly hope I can be more like her. It was so great to get to work with her for a little bit. We were able to pray with a couple of black sisters named Tina and Yoshmina. Tina's son was shot and killed just a couple of months ago, and so she really appreciated the prayer. She has amazing faith in Jesus Christ, and she told us all about how it has been hard for her to forgive the person that killed her son, but with Christ's help she was able to do it, and now she feels peace. She was an amazing example of forgiveness, and it was an amazing witness to us of what the Savior can do in our lives, if we will let him. 

Later on Saturday night an adorable member couple took us out for hamburgers. They are from Mexico, and they LOVE missionary work. They were baptized about 4 years ago, and they are always ready to invite their friends and family to hear our message. It was pretty hilarious because the Elders from our ward came as well. One of the Elders will be going home in about 4 weeks, and so the Enriquez family was trying to do him a favor by setting him up with their friend, a cute waitress that tended the bar! Elder Pineda was so uncomfortable, and it was really funny for the rest of us to watch!!

Yesterday was a great day at church. Elder Pineda gave an amazing talk in sacrament meeting about God's love for us, and it really touched a lot of church members. Charo came to church, all on her own, and we were very happy about that. She is still reading in the Book of Mormon, and praying, but she still doesn't feel like she has received an answer. We aren't exactly sure what else we need to do to help her, but the Lord does, and I'm sure He will let us know!

After church we went out to knock doors and it was POURING rain. We got soaked, and were pretty sure that we were going to catch pneumonia, then when we got back inside and looked at the thermometer it said 57 degrees, then we felt a little wimpy ;). I think it's the humidity that makes it feel so cold. 

That is all for this week! We were not able to find any new investigators, but we have high hopes! I know that this is the Lord's work, and that as long as we are doing what He would have us do, we can't go wrong. I love you all :)!!

Love, Hermana Monson

Coral Reef: Week 1 January 24, 2017

Hola everyone!!

I hope you are all doing well back at home. I am doing great! My new area is wonderful :)! It is a huge mixture of people: Jamaicans, Haitians, Americans, and people from every Latin country you could thing of. That is probably my favorite thing about Miami, it is so diverse!! The new ward we are serving in is bilingual, which definitely creates a big of a language barrier for the members, but they are great. Of course, I am the new ward chorister, which is a little interesting because half of the songs are in English, and the other half are in Spanish, so only half the congregation sings at the time. Sometimes I feel like I am doing a solo, but esta bien :).

This week we have not seen much success with finding new people to teach. The only person we are currently working with is an investigator named Charo. She is from Cuba, and she has a Jehovah's Witness background. She is very very cautious to accept the things that we are teaching her, but she truly wants to believe that they are true. She is currently reading in the Book of Mormon, and praying to receive her answer. We are hopeful that she will be willing to move forward this week and set a baptismal date. It was quite the miracle because when we went to teach her on Saturday we brought another ward member with us. Charo was having a really hard time understanding what we were trying to teach her about temples and baptisms for the dead, but the ward member was able to jump in, explain everything perfectly, and bear her testimony about eternal families. It was really just what Charo needed to hear. Now the two of them are great friends, and the ward member that came with us (Sister Wilson) is giving Charo a ride to church every Sunday. Charo really enjoyed church yesterday. She especially loved the lesson we had in Relief Society about faith, we are hoping that will help her to understand how she doesn't have to know everything in order to know that the church is true, she just has to have a witness of the Book of Mormon. She is very sweet, and I just love her. When we went over to her house one night she made us "crema de malanga." I am not entirely sure what a malanga is, it looks kind of like a potatoe, but this crema stuff was so good! I was similar to the best potatoe soup you have ever tasted. I will definitely be needing the recipe from her!

That is about all I have time for this week. Just know that I am doing well, and that I love being a missionary. It is such a blessing to be able to represent our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for him, for everything he did for us to make it possible for us to be better each day. I am grateful for this gospel in my life, and I know it is the way to happiness in this life, and in the next!

Love, Hermana Monson

At first I was sad to leave Fountainbleau, but my new area has been great so far! It is back to being more like it was in Fort Meyers, with a big mixture of black people, white people, and Spanish. We have this one city called Goulds that we knocked in yesterday, and it is GHETTO. It is a neighborhood full of mostly black people, and some of them are pretty scary, but most of them are really humble and really sweet. There are always a bunch of kids just "chillin' on the screets" (Ghetto slang, I'm getting pretty good at it if I do say so myself ;)).The ward is bilingual, which I thing is really hard because there is such a language barrier between some of the members. However, we have met some really great members so far, and I love them! There is one little old lady that is especially cute, her name is Sister Stand. She only has one leg. She has diabetes, and all sorts of other health challenges, she struggles to pay the bills because she can't really work, she lives off of food stamps, and yet, she ALWAYS wants to give us food! It is so adorable! After church she came up to me and said "if you don't have any deodorant, or soap, or milk, or if something is bothering you-then you call me!" It was adorable (she speaks Spanish).

My new companion: Sister Hernandez. She is the most adorable, sassy, cute, sweet little latin of all time! I just love her! She is so much fun! She is originally from Honduras, and speaks fluent Spanish. Her family currently lives in North Carolina, and she lived there for about 7 years before her mission, which means she also speaks fluent English. She only has one transfer left after this on her mission, and the only reason she is excited about that is because she has a boyfriend that will also be getting home from his mission I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious. She is just wonderful, and has a lot of love for the people.