Friday, June 9, 2017

Miami Lakes North June 5, 2017

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all doing well wherever you may be :). This has been a great week! We have not had too much exciting happening, but life goes on.

On Monday the other Sisters in my house took me to a little mall for my b-day, and then we went to get cookie dough flautas. It was a lot of fun. As we were about to leave to go proselyte that night, we checked the mail and saw that I had gotten a little b-day package from my family. I didn't have time to open it just then, so I set it on the back seat of the car and we went to go knock doors. Our appointments for the night had cancelled, so we decided to go to the very border of our area to knock because we didn't have to be back for anything. Well, we knocked some doors, nothing too exciting happened, until we went to get back in the car. Our car is probably the nicest one I have ever driven, it is the kind where you can leave the keys in your purse and just push the button to start it, and I forgot that it is an automatic locking car! I put my purse in the backseat, shut the door, then went to open the driver's door, and realized that the car had automatically locked and so now the car keys were inside the car! Thankfully Sister Smith still had the phone outside the car with her, so we had to call our vehicle coordinator. At that point it was getting late, so he said if we could get a ride home he would drive up the next morning to bring us the spare key. We called the other sisters that we live with to come pick us up, they said they would come. However, since we were on the very edge of our area it would be a little while. Well, we decided that we must be in that area for a reason, so we went to knock doors again. On the very last door we knocked, we ran into a lady named Margaret. Turns out she was baptized when she was younger, but she has not been to church for a long long time. She really appreciated the visit, and said she knew it was a sign that God wanted her back in church. She speaks English, so she won't actually attend our ward, but we knew that Heavenly Father wanted to us to stay in that area to find her. That was the only consolation of my blonde moment from locking the keys in the car! Well, we made it home alright, and the next morning our vehicle coordinator (bless his heart) drove up from the mission office with his wife, and took us to our car with the spare key. We were so happy to get inside, and I was so happy to open my long anticipated b-day package! It was super funny, thankfully our vehicle coordinator was very understanding. He says he gets this kind of stuff a lot.

On Wednesday we went to visit a recent convert family in our ward. They were baptized back in November, and I love them!! The mom is named Gabby, and she is pregnant. Then the dad is Jimmy, and they have a son (Manuel) who is 12. It is actually a cool story because they missionaries knocked on their door, and they started listening to the lessons. They knew it was true, and decided they wanted to get baptized. However, when they submitted their named to get baptized, Gabby found out that she could not get baptized because she had already done so when she was 8! She was raised by her grandparents who were members of the church, so she was raised in the church, but she didn't even know it! She had moved out of their home when she was young, and had not been to church since. Her husband and son ended up getting baptized, and now they are all coming to church together. They are so cute. 

On Thursday we saw a cool miracle. We were out knocking doors, and we saw some people standing in a driveway with the hood of their car open. We went to go talk to them, turns out it was a mechanic, and the owner of the car. The owner of the car was named Agatha, and at first she wanted nothing to do with us. She was super stressed because she was supposed to be at work, but her car had broken down. We asked if we could share a prayer with them, the mechanic accepted immediately, so Agatha was forced to agree. After the prayer her countenance changed completely. She opened right up to us, thanked us so much for the prayer, and started asking all about our church. She told us that we radiated peace, and that she had been looking for peace. We told her exactly how she could find the peace she had been searching for, and she agreed to listen to the missionaries! She only speaks English, so we had to pass her to the English missionaries, but it was really cool to see the Spirit work in her and help her recognize truth. 

Other than that we have had a pretty normal week with LOTS and LOTS of rain! It is beautiful! I am just loving this area, and the wonderful people here. It is such a privilege to be a missionary, and I feel so humbled for the chance to help others learn about our Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all!

Love, Hermana Monson

Just something I loved from her letter to me:
This week I heard from Angela finally! I have been really bad at remembering to email her, but she said to tell you and the rest of my family hi and that she loves you. She said she has had a couple more job interviews, that she is loving Georgia, and that she has been able to make amends with her son Carlos. She also said that she has been going to the ward in Georgia, and sharing her testimony. She has been working on her family history. She also said the Bishop has helped her get a place to stay, and helped her get some food and everything. I was seriously so happy to hear that. I have been worried about her, but it sounds like she is doing great! She said the temple picture you sent her is hanging above her bed, and the other pictures from her baptism are on her nightstand. I miss her, but I'm so happy she is doing well!!

Miami Lakes: Week 1 May 30, 2017 (Happy Birthday Hermana Monson!!)

Sadie's companion and the other sisters they live with made her yummy crepes and decorated for her birthday!

Hola everyone!

I hope you have had a wonderful week! 

It has been great in my new area so far! I love it! It has such a wide range of people because some of our area is extremely nice, rich, gated communities and another part of our area is composed of the biggest trailer park I have ever seen! 

I have absolutely loved my new companion, Sister Smith. She has been so sweet and so much fun! We live with our STLs, Sister Call and Sister Diamond, so that has also been lots of fun! 

Wednesday was a super long day, and mostly consisted of transferring from one area to another, knocking, etc. 

Thursday we had District Training. My new district is composed of 4 sisters and 2 elders, which is weird. It is so small! But we had a great time. We found out that our specific stake has been selected to test a new program from the General Authorities. This program is where members will be going on splits with the missionaries to make rescue visits to less-active members. When we are there, the members will ask the less-actives if the missionaries can "practice" teaching them the lessons. So that way the less-actives will be hearing the missionary lessons again, the members will be involved, and we get more practice teaching! Apparently we will be having more trainings about that to come, so it should be cool! That night we had ward correlation, and I am pretty sure my new Ward Mission Leader will be one of the most effective ones I have met so far! He is an adorable old Guatemalan man, and his wife came too. I just love them already, Hno and Hna Ortiz.

On Friday and Saturday we ended up teaching a couple of lessons to people while we were knocking doors. It was crazy because there were 3 lessons that we taught that we felt were going so well, the spirit was so strong, and we thought for sure they would at least come to church. However, at the end, all of them said they were just not ready for this. We couldn't understand it. They said they believed everything we were saying, and felt so good about it, yet they were not willing to act. One of them, Juana Maria did end up coming to church though! She is an adorable little old lady, and she was immediately fellowshipped so well by the amazing members of our ward, so she had a wonderful experience. At the end of the day, she still is not ready to keep learning or be baptized, but she will be one day!

On Sunday we went to visit a less-active member, and when we first opened the door she did not seem very interested. We asked if we could just share a quick prayer with her, she reluctantly agreed. Next thing we know, she opens right up to us and ends up telling us her entire life story for an hour and a half. She even promised to come to church next week! She invited us to come back again, so we will be visiting her tonight. It is amazing how the Spirit can touch people's hearts! 

Yesterday we got special permission to use the computers and work on something called the "Blackbird." Since we don't have ipads, we used the computers to create a specialized map for each of our areas that includes less-active members, members, former investigators, etc. These maps are going to be so awesome! They help us use our time way more effectively, so we are excited about that. It took us 5 hours to do it, and we will have to finish them tomorrow, but it will be worth it. I have used them in past areas, and they are very helpful. 

Last night we had a cool experience where we had just a couple of minutes before an appointment, so we decided to knock some doors. In the few minutes that we had we ran into an atheist, and another man that believes in God, but "stays away from religion because they all claim to be right and he really just doesn't even know what to believe." We had the chance to testify for just a quick minute that God really does live, and that He loves them. We came away knowing that Heavenly Father had put us there to help his children in that moment. 

It has been such a great week! I know that Heavenly Father lives and loves all of us!

Love, Hermana Monson

              Saying Goodbye to Coral Reef:  Hermana Carling and the other Sisters.

Last Week In Coral Reef May 23, 2017

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all had a wonderful week! It has been another great week here. I found out last night that I will be transferring to a new area, Miami Lakes North. I am excited to be staying in  Miami, and I am excited to be back in an all Spanish area. My new companion's name is Sister Smith (Monson and Smith, haha, that should be fun to explain). She has been out for the same amount of time as Sister Carling, so this will be her third transfer. That's about all I know at this point, but I have heard good things about my new area, so I'm excited!

This week started off with a super fun P-Day. We went with the other sisters in our house to get Sister Tueller's ears pierced at the mall. She had never done it before, and decided now was as good a time as any! We had fun with that, and then we spent about an hour in bed, bath, and body works. We are pretty easily entertained. 

On Tuesday we had DT, and I always learn so much about how to be a better missionary. This transfer Sister Carling and I have been working on planner covers for our zone leaders (we share a ward with them). They were replete with inside jokes, and they laughed for 20 minutes straight after we gave them to them after DT. All of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into these planners were so worth it! That night we had dinner with one of our ward members, and she ended up opening up to us a lot. She told us a lot of things she has been through in her life, and it made me feel so much love for her. This is such a fantastic ward. That night we had another lesson with Ellen and Kiana, it went really well! They told us that they love it when we come over because they feel better afterwards. Talk about the Spirit working in people!

On Wednesday and Thursday all of our appointments fell through. We were exactly sure what Heavenly Father wanted us to do instead, but obviously He had another plan for us. We decided to visit a bunch of less-active members, and we ended up finding a really cool less active part member family. Juan has not been to church for a long time, but he still knows that it is true. His wife Rachel is not a member, but she listened to our lesson. She did not seem too interested, but Juan ended up coming back to church on Sunday, so that was awesome! That night I got a text from Sister Richardson telling me to call her when I got a chance. I was freaking out a little, but I didn't have the chance to call her until it was too late, so she said to call her the next morning. When I called on Friday morning she told me that my Grandpa Monson had passed away. Of course I was sad to hear the news, he was an amazing man, and I will never forget his example of faith and devotion to the Lord.

One miracle we saw that same day that I received the news about my Grandpa Monson we went to go visit a member of our ward named Sister Gibson. She is an older lady that lives alone, and she was supposed to go to the dentist's office to get 3 teeth pulled last week. She  has been feeling so nervous, and she asked us if we could come visit her beforehand. She ended up rescheduling the appointment to this week, so we went to go visit her on Friday around 12:30. She ended up just wanting a quick prayer before her appointment, so we said a prayer with her and shared a scripture which she really appreciated. Then she left for her appointment. We were debating about what to do next, when we decided we should go visit a former investigator in the next neighborhood over. However, just as we were leaving, we felt like we should stay and knock some doors in her apartment complex. So, we stopped and started knocking the building right next to her. Of course there were not very many people home at 12:30 on a Friday afternoon, and about 20 minutes in we thought about leaving, but for whatever reason we decided to knock just a few more doors. At one particular door we knocked twice, waited for a while, and when no one answered we turned away. However, just as we almost rounded the corner of the building we heard the door open, so we turned back and ended up meeting Robert. I tell all of this background information because there were so many miracles that led up to us meeting him (Sister Gibson's appointment rescheduling, we would not have been in that neighborhood except that we had a visit with her, we don't normally knock doors at 12:30, etc.). 

We asked Robert if we could share a prayer with him, and he agreed. As we started talking to him, he opened up and told us that he wasn't sure if he believed in God. He doesn't understand how a loving God could allow so much suffering to take place in the world. He told us he considers himself a Pagan, but that lately he has been searching for something more. He said his wife is visiting her family right now, and he has noticed that  her family is always so happy. That even though they still have trials, they are just always happy, he told us he is pretty sure it is because they are "church people." He has been thinking about that a lot lately, and wondering if maybe there really is a God, and what he needs to do to have the same happiness as the "church people." He decided to try saying a prayer, which he had not done for many many years. He wasn't even sure if he would get an answer, and he felt really awkward talking to someone that he wasn't sure was even there. However, as soon as he finished his prayer  he heard a knock at the door. He normally wouldn't answer the door to strangers, but when he peeped out the window and saw missionaries he decided that God must be trying to tell him something. 

As we were listening we both felt the overwhelming impression to teach the Plan of Salvation. Normally we teach about the Restoration of the gospel when we knock doors, but without even needing to communicate Sister Carling and I started to teach him the Plan of Salvation. He was so intrigued. He asked lots of good questions, and the Spirit was unbelievable. One tender mercy was that in the midst of that lesson, I ended up teaching about the spirit world and life after death. With the news of my grandpa fresh on my mind I testified to him that we will see our family after they die, I could hardly get the words out, the spirit was amazing. It really brought me a lot of peace. At the end of the lesson, Robert opened up to us a little more and without giving us any specific details made a lot of comments that led us to believe that he has recently lost a loved one. We came away from that lesson and just said "wow." We could not get over it. That was one of the most powerful Plan of Salvation lessons I have ever had. There was not denying that Heavenly Father placed us right there, in that moment, on that particular day to help Robert resolve some of his concerns. Robert did not end up coming to church, and we have not been able to see him since, but I know that he will not forget that lesson, and maybe one day he will decide to come and see for himself why the "church people" are always so happy. 

Another cool miracle that we saw this week was that when we went to teach Kiana and Ellen the law of chastity we were feeling a little nervous because Ellen is currently living with her boyfriend Rick, so it was bound to be a sensitive subject. We were surprised when they kept agreeing with everything we were saying, no matter how straightforward we explained everything. Finally, Ellen admitted to us that she knew that what she was doing was wrong, and that she had literally talked to Rick that morning about getting married. They set a date for June 20th. They have been together 5 years, and they choose that morning to talk about getting married?! Sister Carling and I were so amazed. Especially because we had tried to meet with them 2 times earlier in the week, and they kept having to cancel last minute. Well obviously they needed to have that discussion first, we know that it made a big difference. It was a huge miracle, the lesson went really smoothly, and now they are excited to get baptized right after the wedding! I am sad I won't be here to see it, but I am excited for them! They still weren't able to come to church because of Kiana's ankle, but she is going back to the doctor this week and we are praying for good news.

This week we also had a funny lesson when we ended up teaching a lady named Nicole that lives in a one bedroom efficiency with her 20 pet cats,  her dog, and her bird. No joke. Literally 20. I still have cat hair on me, and that was 4 days ago! But she is super sweet :).

Something that was a little strange that happened this week was that we went to go and contact a media referral that we had received, but when we called to talk to her it turns out that she had passed away, on the same day that she had requested a bible. We spoke with her son on the phone, and he said that he would still appreciate the bible, and that we could bring it to him. When we pulled up to their house, I recognized it as one that I had knocked before, and I realized that I had met Angela (the lady that requested the bible) before! She was a sweet old Haitian grandma with 10 kids, and over 50 grandkids. I had shared a prayer with her and her family, so when we went to give them their bible a lot of them recognized me. We were able to share another prayer with them, and it really meant a lot to them. We are hoping we will see some fruits of that seed!

It has been a great week, we have truly seen so many miracles. I am so grateful for the gospel, I am so grateful for a knowledge of God's plan for His children. I love the Savior, and know that He lives. I will be excited to write you next week about my new area!

Love, Hermana Monson

Coral Reef Week 17 May 15, 2017

                                                                        Fun P-Day Activity!
Hola everyone!

I hope it's been a great week! I hope that everyone enjoyed mother's day as much as I did! It was so good to talk to my family, they are awesome!

On Monday we had a combined zone activity, we played ultimate Frisbee, soccer, and volleyball. It is officially determined that our zone is the "best of Miami," so that was a lot of fun. That night we were biking, and trying to decide where we should knock doors. Well, we were led right into Ellen and Kiana! Kiana is 21, and Ellen is her mom. Kiana was in a car accident in April, she broke her ankle and dislocated her hip. She told us that she has been really humbled ever since the accident, and we can already tell that she has been prepared to receive the gospel. Ellen told us that she does not normally does not open the door to strangers, but she let us right in and even escorted us back to Kiana's bedroom so that we could say a prayer with her. She said she couldn't describe exactly why she let us in, but we knew for sure that she felt the spirit!

On Tuesday we enjoyed some mango for breakfast, yay mango season! We went to go visit a potential investigator, a cute little old Cuban lady that is missing a few teeth. After talking with her for a while we could tell that her elevator doesn't stop on all of the floors, if you know what I mean. However, her grandson Bryan was very interested in our message. He asked if we would come back the next day again. We ended up teaching him a couple of times, but he is living with his mom in Homestead (about 30 minutes outside of our area), and he only visits his grandma sometimes. We won't be able to keep teaching him, but we know that a seed was planted. He said he will definitely try to go to church with his mom in Homestead! 

On Thursday we had a new member lesson with our Cuban family in the home of the Enriquez family. The Enriquez are some of the most missionary minded members I have ever met, they are absolutely amazing! They made us all a delicious dinner of rice, pork, and maduros. Then we taught the plan of salvation to Yudenia and fam again. They all understood it really well, and the Enriquez said it was a great review for them too (they were baptized about 3 years ago). It was great!

On Friday we had interviews with President Richardson, he is amazing. He has such a strong testimony. I always feel more resolved to work harder after I talk to him. That night we went to go and visit a less-active member named Tarri. She is wonderful. She told us during our last visit that she does not think she is ready to come back to church right now, so we told her that we just want to help her take baby steps. She agreed. Mostly she just needs a friend, so we ended up chatting with her for about an hour while eating popcorn, trail mix, and ice cream (she LOVES to feed us when we come over). At the end we shared a scripture with her about the beauty of God's creations and how much he loves us. We ended up on the topic of our favorite flowers, and when I told  her that mine is an orchid she says "wait." Next thing we know she jumps up, and returns a few minutes later with a beautiful purple orchid in a little flower pot. She hands it to me, and won't take no for an answer. Now I have an orchid sitting on my study desk :). 

On Saturday a family from our ward fed us the most delicious breakfast I have had on my entire mission. It was orange scones, sticky buns, crepes, waffles, ham, and omelets. The Elders from our ward came too, and we were pretty much all on cloud 9. That day we also had ward correlation with our crazy ward mission leader and we spent at least half of it with him on a tangent about how he discovered that he did not like drugs in his "old days" back in Cuba. We love him, he is so funny. 

Sunday was great! We had church, and our Cuban family all came. We were relieved because most of them missed church last week. Relief Society was great because they had a special mother's day lesson and at the end they had a huge buffet of treats, so Sister Carling and I were happy to partake. That night we had dinner with the Nilsens, an AWESOME couple from our ward that lives in a mansion. Their kids are all grown up and moved out of the house, so it was just the 4 of us. They are so sweet. Next we skyped our families, and afterward we had fun making cookies with Sister Nilsen. 

Overall it has been a great week! We are excited that Kiana and Ellen are progressing so well. They weren't able to come to church this week, mostly because Kiana can't walk, but they are both reading the Book of Mormon every day. 

I am so grateful for the chance to be a missionary and feel just a small part of the love that God  has for His children. I know that this gospel is true, it is what will bring us happiness. I am so grateful for the Savior, and I know that following Him is the best thing we can do!

Love, Hermana Monson

Happy Almost Mother's Day Coral Reef South May 8, 2017

                                                              Chikira got baptized!!

                                                        Yudenia's son Yariel

Hello Everyone!

It has been a great week here in Florida! 

On Monday we went to a place called Mamma Mia with the other sisters that we live with, we ordered a pizza and were pretty surprised when it pizza game out as big as the table! It was huge! That night we went to go see some former investigators. One of them was an old Cuban lady named Lucy, and she talked our ear off for 2 hours! She is so sweet, and we were so pleased with ourselves that we could understand practically everything she said. 

On Tuesday we had DT, which is always awesome. It is fun to see the other missionaries, and learn how we can be better. One miracle we saw that day was when we stopped by to see a former investigator, he was just getting home with his family when we got there. He invited us right in and we were able to teach him, his mom, his sister, and his mom's friend. His mom's friend is visiting from Colombia, her name is Marcela, and she cried the whole time as we shared the Restoration. The Spirit truly touched her. She is going back to Colombia soon, so we can't continue to teach her, but a seed has been planted so she will be ready for missionaries in Colombia to knock on her door!

On Wednesday we had fun doing exercises with the other sisters in the morning. We usually do it separately as companionships, but we convinced the other sisters to do some circuit training with us. It was fun, but we were dead tired after! We were able to see Yudenia, Yailen, and Yariel that day. The others were helping their uncle paint his house. We shared the Restoration video with them, and they loved it! They were excited to share it with the rest of their family. That night we had dinner with the Nilsens, a very sweet couple in our ward that live in a HUGE mansion. We felt pretty fancy, and plus, they fed us icecream tacos. Sounds weird, but they were delicious!! After that we went to visit another old lady in our ward, we talked about family history and we had fun showing her our photo books with pictures of our families. 

On Thursday we did weekly planning. Sister Carling and I made brownies, next thing we know half the pan of brownies is gone. It is pretty much a fact that some type of indulgence is necessary for weekly planning. We also went to visit a less-active member named Jorge, he is in a wheelchair and he LOVES our visits. We were also able to teach his wife (who has been less-active for about 20 years), and their non-member friend who is an adorable little Colombian woman. 

On Friday we had a little "mini mission" with some young women from our ward. Two of the young women came with us to knock doors and visit Marcela. We did not have much success knocking doors, but they didn't seem to mind. In fact, our young women's president came up to us at church on Sunday and said they had been asking her when they could do it again! We were glad to hear that.

On Saturday we did service at a food pantry for a few hours, then we had a companionship study with our district leader, then we had our ward correlation at a different chapel, then we had to help our ward mission leader clean the baptismal font because it is having problems draining. Our ward mission leader is so happy with us, he is a crazy 72 year old Cuban man, and he is thrilled that we have seen so many baptisms as of late. He loves to come teaching with us, so the Elders in our ward made him his own little missionary name tag, and Sister Carling and I brought him a cake. He loved it! By the time Sister Carling and I had lunch it was 4:00in the afternoon! We were starving so we decided to treat ourselves to some chicken tenders sandwiches and coconut road icecream from everyone's favorite grocery store in Florida, Publix. 

On Sunday we had church. We did everything we possibly could to get our Cuban family to church, but they had stayed out late with their uncle and did not get home until 3:00 am. The ward member who went to pick them up only ended up bringing Yailen, who didn't care how tired she was, she was still coming to church. I love that girl so much. She was dead tired the whole time, but we were SO happy that she had come. That night we went to go see the rest of them, and we had a good talk about how part of keeping the Sabbath day holy is making sure they get home in time on Saturday night to come to church the next morning. They all promised to come next week. We had dinner with our Relief Society president who is from Costa Rica, she made us some type of delicious beet salad. Her daughter Falon was there, she is 26 years old, and she served a mission in Texas so we had fun talking with her. 

I am so grateful for the chance to be a missionary and to testify of Jesus Christ. I know that He is our Savior, and I am so grateful for His gospel that is on the earth again. It makes all the difference! I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Have a very happy mother's day to all of you wonderful mothers out there!

Love, Hermana Monson

Hit and Runs, Humidity, and Baptisms - Coral Reef South May 1, 2017

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all doing well. It has been a crazy week here, but so good!

Monday started off with a nice relaxing P-Day. We treated ourselves to Coldstone, and at the end of the day I had Sister Carling trim my hair. She has never cut hair before, but it turned out pretty good! 

Tuesday we had a pretty normal day of studies, knocking doors, then we visited a less-active family. They are so so sweet! They invited us to come back to their house some time for a barbeque cookout! Then we went to go visit our Cuban family, and they are doing great! It is so cute when they all gather their chairs in a circle to listen to our lessons. Usually the 5 year old little boy has a hard time paying attention, so one of us tries to entertain him while the other one teaches. Our favorite thing is that this week he has started calling us "mi hija" (my child). He hears his parents say that all the time, so now any time he finishes a sentence he says "oiste my hija?" (You hear my, my child?) So funny!

On Wednesday we had zone conference. I love zone conference! President Richardson has such a powerful testimony, and so much knowledge of the gospel!! He also announced some exciting news that now we are allowed to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead when our recent converts go through for the first time! We are so excited about that!! On our way home from zone conference we were at a stoplight turning right. I was about to make the turn, but a car switched lanes, and was therefore in our lane of traffic so I stopped, and the car behind us ran into us! We pulled over into a parking lot, and the truck that had hit us followed. There was very minimal damage on the car, but when we called the mission office they told us we had to file a police report anyway. We explained to the man who had hit us that since it was a missionary vehicle we would have to file the police report. He admitted that he had not been paying very much attention, and then said "let me grab something." Then he jumped in his truck and sped away!! Luckily his tires screeched on the way out of the parking lot, which caused one of the sisters sitting in the backseat to notice that he was leaving, so she was able to write down his license plate number on one of our Jesus pass-along cards! Apparently we should have taken his info before we told him we were going to call the police. Well, about 45 minutes later the police officer shows up, and another 45 minutes later we leave the parking lot with the "hit and run" police report file in hand. We had to make tons of phone calls to our mission vehicle coordinator to get everything sorted out. We were surprised when we got a letter in the mail the next day saying that they had found the man that had hit us, thanks to the license plate number we had managed to write down. 

On Thursday we got a call from our Ward Mission Leader, Hermano Sanchez. He told us that he had already pretty much set up our entire baptismal program for us, which was a nice thought, but it ended up causing a whole lot of problems because we had already talked to several people about doing things, so we had to call and cancel half of the ones that he had set up. It turned out to be a huge headache, but he was just so excited. We think it is because he is Cuban and our investigators are Cuban too. We had lunch that day with two awesome ladies in our ward who help us out a ton, Sister Sant and Sister Gorman. That night we had the baptismal interviews with our Cuban family. It was so funny because the District Leader is the one who does the interviews, but his companion has to come too (obviously). So Elder Boss, is our district leader's companion, and he is brand new. He hardly speaks Spanish at all, but he made our whole family cry from laughing so hard. Yariel was pretending to shoot him and he was pretending to die, and it was hysterical. We were a little upset because Reinaldo was not home, and we had told them that they would all have to be interviewed in order to get baptized! It was not easy to reschedule because the District Leader lives pretty far away. I love these Cubans, but sometimes they are so flaky!! Half the time they are not home for our appointments, so it was pretty stressful trying to make sure they got taught everything before Sunday! It turned out alright because we were able to do his interview on Sunday, right before church. Good thing he passed!

On Saturday we were mostly trying to get everything set up for the baptism, making lots of phone calls, doing the baptismal programs, etc. That night we made cupcakes, so that was fun! The zone leaders came with us to teach our Cuban family because they wanted to demonstrate how the baptism would work. Of course, only half of the family was there, but the best part was when Yailen the 8 year old girl wanted to prove to us she understood so she "baptized" our 6' 5" zone leader, she is probably about 3' 6" tall, so it was pretty entertaining. 

Sunday morning we woke up early, went to our Cuban families house, watched them all run around trying to get ready as we kept trying to rush them, but we made it to church in time for Reinaldo to have his interview! Then we had normal church services, except for during Relief Society Sister Carling and I went to get everything set up for the baptism. After church we had the baptismal service, and TONS of people came! It was awesome! The ward was so supportive, and so helpful! It was so sweet watching all of them get baptized one by one, and then watch the rest of their family get baptized. The Spirit was SO strong when Yailen got baptized, and when Yudenia came out of the font she just sobbed into my shoulder for a couple minutes. She was so happy! I just love them!! Our ward mission leader was so excited to baptize Reinaldo, and then Elder Jones did the rest of them. We also had their confirmations right after. After the baptismal service was over a family in our ward invited all of our recent converts to their house for dinner. We would have gone too, but we already had an appointment with our Relief Society President. She made us ceviche, which is kind of like fish soup. I was little grossed out by the thought of it, but it turned out really good! 

It is such a blessing to be a missionary! I love you all!

Love, Hermana Monson

Coral Reef South April 24, 2017

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry I did not have time to write a group email last week, but it has been a great couple of weeks! 

First off, one piece of SUPER exciting news is that Chikira got baptized on Saturday! Chikira was an investigator that we were teaching about a month ago, but then she moved to North Miami and we lost contact with her. We were so sad because we love her! However, after receiving her new address we were able to send some missionaries from North Miami to meet her, and they helped her be baptized! We were SO SO SO happy to hear it! I wish we could have been there, but I am so happy for her.

This week has been pretty crazy. On Friday we literally went from 3:00 in the afternoon until 9:30 at night without even pausing for dinner! It was such a crazy day, but so worth it! We have spent most of our time focused on helping our Cuban family. We have had a lesson with them almost every single night this week, and we have had to make sure to bring lots of ward members with us, because it is so hard to understand their Spanish! In fact, one night Sister Carling and I were feeling so overwhelmed because we had taught them the Word of Wisdom, but when we tried to ask them how it was going the next day they gave us a huge long story, we could only understand part of it, so we really weren't sure if Renaldo (the dad) had quit smoking! At that moment our Zone Leaders (who share a ward with us) called to ask a question, and we were telling them what had happened, and so they offered to come to our next lesson with us. We gratefully accepted. One of them is Mexican, so he speaks fluent Spanish. That helped a ton! So we ended up having another great lesson with them, in which we learned that Renaldo had quit smoking! We went over the baptismal interview questions with them, and we believe that they are ready! 

We were SO stressed yesterday when they were late to church, and they missed the Sacrament, because they have to see that sacrament at least once before they can be baptized, and they are getting baptized this upcoming Saturday! They missed the sacrament in our ward, but thankfully there is another ward that meets at a later time, so we were able to go to that ward so that they could take the sacrament. We LOVE this family, and I am so excited to help them get baptized this upcoming Saturday! The little 8 year old girl, Yailen, loves us. Every time we come over she is waiting for us at the doorstep, and she always runs up to give us a big hug. The 5 year old boy is also super cute, and I love his Spanish. He has so much energy, but as long as you show him where we are reading from the Book of Mormon, and help him follow along, he will hold still for the lesson. 

This week I was also able to go on an exchange to Riverside with our STL Sister Leslie! It was a great time! I love the area of Riverside because there is a ton of Spanish. It was funny because they had a correlation meeting with their ward mission leader, and he was asking if any of the missionaries play the piano. They all said no, so he asked if I did, and when I said yes he told me that from now on he will be praying that I get transferred to their ward so I can play the piano for them. I will be praying too! Sister Leslie also taught me how to make flan! 

One cool miracle we saw this week was that one day we were our knocking doors, and we talked to a man outside his garage. He did not want anything to do with us, but he told us that his neighbor might like a prayer. We go knock on this neighbors door, and it turns out that  a less-active member lives there. His name is Jorge, he is confined to a wheelchair due to lots of health problems, and he has not been to church for a long time. We were able to visit him, and his son David a few times this week, and they ended up coming back to church yesterday! It was a total miracle that we ended up in their neighborhood because we had no idea that they even lived there.

We had a crazy experience on Saturday when we were stopped at a red light, and suddenly right in front of us there was a huge crash. Mostly the sound is what alerted me, so I looked up in time to see a white semi spinning onto the on-ramp of the nearby turnpike. A little black SUV was also spinning through the intersection, then it crashed into a stoplight, and then the stoplight fell over. We just looked at each other in shock, pulled over, and called 911. Lots of people ended up stopping to help. From what we could tell no one was hurt, we weren't able to stay for long because our car was blocking traffic. The paramedics showed up a few moments after we left, so we are hoping everyone was ok. 

The funny story of the week is when we were out knocking one day we ran into a little old Indian lady. She grew up as a Hindu, but she converted to Christianity when she was 17. She told us about all of these visions that she has had, and didn't even pause for breath! We listened to her for about 20 minutes, when she declared that she would like to "bless us." Before we could say anything she puts one of her hands on each of our foreheads and declares a blessing upon  us. The funniest part was when she wanted us to repeat after her and "accept Jesus" and "truly mean it." We weren't entirely sure what to do, we felt like we shouldn't repeat after her, so she just kind of told us that "when we were ready to accept Jesus" that we could give her a call. She was so cute! Her name was Goldy, and now we have her phone number "in case we ever need anything." 

Just one quick thought, I have been studying a lot about peace this week. I don't have a lot of time to write all of the scripture references, but one thing that I learned is that in order to have peace we have to become more like Jesus Christ. He is truly the Prince of Peace, and it is as we are striving to do as He would do that we can find peace within ourselves and our families, even in the midst of a crazy world. I know that He is the Savior, and I know His gospel is here on the earth to bless us, and I am so grateful for that!

Love, Hermana Monson

100 Montaditos is a Spanish Restaurant we tried last P-Day (the food is from Spain), oh me word!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Staying in Coral Reef!! April 17, 2017

Here is a bit that I loved from Sadie's letter to me:

I love that thought about the Book of Mormon bringing us closer to Christ. I just barely started reading the Book of Mormon again, and this time I am going through and highlighting all of the times it says His name. I was so surprised at how often His name is mentioned, even within the first few chapters! It made me realize how truly involved He is in the story of the Book of Mormon, it really is another testament of Him. Something that made us laugh was that at the beginning of this week we had an unusual amount of people deny that we were Christians when we were out knocking doors. It usually goes like "Oh, you're Mormons? Well, I'm a Christian."  "We are Christians too!" "But you believe different Jesus, right?" "No, we know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, the only one." "So then you believe it is only through Him you can be saved? No other way?" "Yes." We seriously had that conversation at least 15 times in 2 days, which was weird. We honestly thought that maybe something had happened on the media to make everyone believe that Mormons weren't Christians, but then I got the letter you sent in the Easter package where you said you had been praying that I would have extra opportunities to testify of Christ. IT WORKED! Your prayers were answered! So thank you! That is one of my favorite things to testify of, it is so easy to testify of Jesus Christ.
Hello everyone!

I hope it has been a great week! We found out last night that both Sister Carling and I will be staying to finish training in Coral Reef South, we were so relieved. I love this area and these people! I'm excited to work here for another transfer!


After P-Day had ended we went out to knock doors. We had been praying to find a hispanic family of four, with one son that is baptismal age and a younger daughter. Well, first door we knocked on that night we ran into Ana. She let us right in to share a prayer with her, her 7 year old daughter, and 11 year old son. She is from Cuba, but also speaks perfect English. Her husband came home part way through the lesson, and so an hour and a half later we walked out of their house having taught them the Restoration. They loved it, and are just the sweetest family. The other part of that story is a little bit sad. We went back to teach them on Wednesday, and Ana answered the door. She apologized for making us come all the way back to her house, but that ever since we had started teaching them things had not gotten better, but that they had gotten much worse. She said that she did not feel like she should continue learning with us. We were heart broken, they are such a cute little family! We testified to her that just like God is real, and Jesus Christ is real, the devil is also real and he does not want these blessings for her and her family. She is not ready at this time, but we know that she will remember the message that we shared, and that one day she will be ready! If nothing else, they will remember the way they felt the first night we taught them as a family, and they all sat on the couch to watch the new "Prince of Peace" video. I love that video! It was still a really cool miracle that we knocked right into our vision family at the very first door that night. 


I woke up on Wednesday morning, walked into the bathroom, and was startled to see my eye was super super puffy and swollen. I couldn't even open it! I called Sister Carling, and the other sisters in our house. None of us were sure what that would be from, so I decided to take some Benedryll and see if that would help. Well, an hour later I still couldn't open my eye so we called the mission nurse who told us to go to the nearest walk-in clinic. The doctors at the walk in clinic took one look at my eye, and said I would need to see an eye specialist, or at the very least go to the urgent care. So, we went to the urgent care. The doctor determined that I had some type of allergic reaction in my eye, he wasn't sure from what. I had to get two shots, and they gave me a prescription. The shots were not very fun, but they worked! About an hour later my eye was starting to return to normal size again. I was pretty drowsy from all of the medication, so we had to take a quick nap. Plus, I think I would have looked a little scary walking around with my eye swollen shut. Thankfully, by the time I woke up from my nap it was pretty much back to normal. We still aren't sure what caused it, but I just had to take pills for a few days, and all is well now :). 

That night we met with Angela briefly, she is doing well. She LOVES "the word" (which is what she calls the Book of Mormon, conference talks, etc). My family sent her a picture of the temple, and of Jesus Christ which made her cry. She loved it! She will hopefully be going to the temple next week!


We went to give service for a man who is selling his parent's old house. The house has been abandoned for five years, and so there were mouse droppings GALORE, and cockroaches all over the place. It took Sister Carling and I an hour and 45 minutes to clean one bathroom. We could smell nothing but bleach cleaner for the rest of the day, but boy did that bathroom look better by the time we were through with it!

That night we went to visit a less-active member named Tarri Bauer. She LOVES animals, and loves to tell us about her horse. He is pretty much like her child, so we spent an hour looking at horse pictures on her phone and eating pizza. It was a good visit, and she promised to watch President Monson's talk from conference.


We went to give service at a Farmshare distribution. It was a drive-through style food pantry, so our job was to register all the cars. Almost all of them spoke Spanish so it was good practice to go down a HUGE line of cars and get people registered for their food. We were there for 5 hours, and we gave away so much food! Bonus: there was a bunch of left over food so we got a ton of frozen chicken, tomatoes, green beans, and cheesecake!

That afternoon the Elders in our ward had a baptism. I was playing the piano, so we went to help them set everything up. It was a really nice service, for a young woman named Kay Kay. She had to be baptized 4 times because her dress and her hair kept flying up!


Angela received a calling as "door greeter." It was so fun to watch her stand outside and tell EVERYONE (old, young, male, female, missionary, investigator, etc) that she was "givin' out hugs today!" So, everyone got a hug from Angela as they walked inside, it was so cute. 

We saw an awesome miracle at church. One of our ward members brought a friend to church. This friend's name is Judenea. Her and her family arrived from Cuba 1 week ago, so they are brand new! They loved church, and we were able to go teach them yesterday! Judenea, her adorable 8 yr. old daughter, and her two teenage sons all accepted baptism. We are so excited to keep teaching them this week!

That is all for this week! I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend, and remember that it is truly only through our Savior, Jesus Christ that we can find hope and happiness. I love Him, and I love His gospel!! 

Love, Hermana Monson

1. Sister Adams transferring out
2. Yay! Easter Package!
3. Sister Carling's mom sent me a little easter bag
4. and 5. Easter Sunday
6. We printed off this picture and we are going to send it with a letter to Chikira