Friday, July 7, 2017

Miami Lakes July 3, 2017 More px

                                    President and Sister Richardson with Hermana Monson

Miami Lakes July 3, 2017

Hello everyone! 

This has been another great week!

On Monday Sister Smith and I spontaneously bought a "flan" pan and learned how to make homemade flan. It was pretty good if we do say so ourselves. Sister Smith has continual moments of realization that she is a missionary, and that time is passing quickly, and she usually just has a miniature freak out and I just sit there and laugh. 

On Tuesday we had to spend a lot of the day at home because we were waiting for a plumber to come fix a leak in one of our pipes. The garage ceiling had been dripping water, so we had to get that all figured out. It made me appreciate running water going without that for a few days! During that time we were at home we did a serious study session with the other sisters we live with. We studied lots of deep doctrine about the Plan of Salvation, and the Priesthood, and we had a great time. I love learning those kinds of things. That night we went to have dinner with a sweet family from our ward. We felt so bad because everything seemed to go wrong in the kitchen, the smoke alarms went off, and a bunch of oil spilled all over the floor. The food was still delicious, and we texted Sister Morales that night to tell her thank you so much. She sent us back the sweetest text about what a privilege it is to have missionaries in her home. Members are just the best! I love them! Especially because a lot of these Latin members were converted by missionaries, so they love us!

On Wednesday I hit my one year mark! I can hardly believe it! That morning we were on our usual morning run, and I was just thinking about how one year has gone by. I just feel so blessed for this last year I have had as a missionary, I wouldn't want to spend it any other way. That day an adorable little Cuban sister in our ward took us to lunch at a Chinese buffet. It was so fun to be with her, she is so cute! Plus who doesn't love all you can eat sushi? Sister Smith kept laughing at me because I am so used to speaking Spanish to anyone that doesn't speak English that I kept saying "gracias" to all of our Asian waiters. Haha, oops! That night we went to go visit a less active member, she has been really sick, and she just got released from the hospital. She lives with her husband, who is very old and not very functional, her daughter who has some mental challenges, and her granddaughter who also has mental health problems. I felt so much respect for this woman taking care of 3 other people, when she should probably be the one being taken care of. She said she wants to come back to church so we are going to try to help her with that. Her husband is just adorable, he did not really understand what was going on, but he told us at least 5 times during the visit. "Gracias por la visita, mi casa es su casa." (Thank you for the visit, my house is your house). 

On Thursday we saw a HUGE blessing. We had just parked our car and I was grabbing some supplies out of the trunk. Suddenly Sister Smith calls to me "Sister! Don't shut the trunk!" She had left the car keys in her bag, and closed the door, forgetting it was an automatic locking car. We had already had to call the mission office for locking our keys in our car a few weeks ago, and also earlier in the week for getting our pipe fixed, so we did not want to call them again to come rescue us! We spent the next 25 minutes sweating bullets in the trunk of our car, trying to figure out how to get inside. We finally figured out how to unlock the back seats, so we could push them forward, and get the car keys. We were so sweaty, but so grateful! We ended up knocking into a really cool black man named Mr. Walker. He is a minister from a Presbyterian church, and he ended up talking for about 45 minutes straight. We didn't get a chance to say much, but he has a really cool story about how he turned his life around completely. He used to be a big athlete, only cared about money, and involved in drugs. However, when he suffered from a stroke, and had a heart transplant in the same year he was forced to turn to God. Now he lives his life focused completely on God, and helping other people. Such a cool story!

                                          Sister Kutomi and Alideisy at the Aloha Dance

That night we had our usual "ward missionary night." So we went on splits. Sister Smith went and taught one of the recent converts in the ward named Paula. I went to teach our investigator Alideisy. She is set to get baptized on July 8th! It is coming up so fast, and we realized that we needed to teach her the 10 commandments, word of wisdom, law of chastity, and prophets as soon as possible. We decided that if everything seemed to be going well we would combine them all into one lesson that night. I ended up being paired with a sweet little Cuban lady from our ward. It was a pretty nerve racking lesson trying to teach all of those things, and all by myself. However, the Spirit helped a ton, and Alideisy accepted everything! She had already read about the 10 commandments in the Book of Mormon because her 2 year old little boy had moved her book mark, so she ended up reading in Mosiah instead of the chapter in 3 Nephi where we'd left her. It worked out so well! She is progressing so well, and we are so excited for her to get baptized this Saturday

It was so funny because when we were explaining about our living prophet earlier in the week, she got really confused. So, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and Thomas Monson is a prophet? She just looks between us both, and looks at our name tags. We assured her that it was just a coincidence, and that not everyone in the church has the last names of the Prophets. She thought it was pretty funny. 

On Friday we had a zone wide exchange and I got to work with a Brazilian sister named Sister Kutomi. We had a pretty normal day, we did some good less active visits and visited Alideisy again. She spent all day trying to teach me some Portuguese, but she said my accent is still too Spanish. I will have to keep practicing I guess. That night there was an "Aloha Dance" at the church. We were so surprised when Alideisy showed up! We had invited her earlier, she said she wasn't sure if she was going to make it. It was supposed to start at 8, but according to Latin standard time it started at 9 so we had to leave almost as soon as it started, but she said she had a good time!

On Sunday we had a great day at church! Alideisy came, and she was even so excited to tell us that she was fasting (we had taught her about that the day before). It was a little crazy because on her first full Sunday at church the fire alarms went off during Relief Society and so we all had to evacuate the building. I guess some people were having a little too much fun in the kitchen. However, she enjoyed church and is so excited for her baptism next Saturday! I just love her so much! She loves learning about the gospel, and reads everything on We went to go teach her the tithing lesson, but she said she already knew about tithing because she'd read all about it on That was an easy lesson! 

That is all for this week!  
Love, Hermana Monson

Miami Lakes June 26, 2017

Hi everyone! 

I hope you are all doing well, it has been such a great week here!

Monday we had a combined zone activity for P-Day it was right next to Calle 8, so we decided to make a quick stop. We had tons of fun eating Cuban icecream (I got nutella and almond) and browsing the little tourist shops. After that we went to our zone activity where we played ultimate frisbee in a muddy field for a few hours. We all got covered in mud, but it was so fun! That night we were out knocking doors and we found Shantae and Patricia. Shantae was literally preparing to have a visit from some people that would determine the custody of her child about 10 minutes after we showed up. We shared a prayer with her, she cried the whole time, and felt so much peace after. She knew for sure that God had sent us. She doesn't speak Spanish, so we had to pass her to the English sisters, we aren't sure if that went anywhere, but it was still a great experience. 

On Tuesday we had the weirdest MPL (Member Present Lesson) of all time. We have a recent convert named Paula who is a super sassy little lady from Cuba. We love her to pieces. She know s that the church is where God needs her to be, but she has been really struggling lately with her testimony of Joseph Smith. Her husband is not a member, but he came to a Father's Day Activity last week, and then came to church. We set up a lesson with him, but when we went over there it turned out to be a little disastrous. We taught him the Restoration, and at the end we invited him to pray about our message. However, Paula kept telling him that he really shouldn't bother praying because she still hadn't got her answer, and she has been praying for a long time. We really were not quite sure how to handle that situation, we testified as best we could, but in the end he did not want to learn more. We came out of there and just had to laugh, usually the point of having a member is to help you testify, but in this case it was a little counterproductive. We have been thinking a lot about how to help Paula regain her testimony, and so we will continue working on that. This is just one example that lessons sometimes do not go as well as you hoped, but you just have to do your best, and pray that the Spirit will really touch their hearts!

On Wednesday we had Zone Conference, and it was the last one with President and Sister Richardson. I am honestly so grateful for them, they have strengthened my testimony and helped me to grow in so many ways. They are so dedicated to the Lord, and we will miss them! President Richardson talked about some mind-blowing doctrine with resurrection, translation, and transfiguration. I love that kind  of stuff. Then we all had a nice break when Sister Richardson talked about how much God loves us, and all that uplifting kind of stuff. They balance each other out really well. Like I said, it is sad to see them go, but I am also excited to meet President Garns soon!

Saturday was a pretty crazy busy day. We had a companionship study with our zone leaders. One of them, Elder Jones, was baptized just a few years ago. They decided to share his conversion story, and point out some principles behind it. He has such an amazing story, and it is easy to see the hand that God played in helping him find the gospel. One of those ways being that before he had even really heard about the church, he really felt like he needed to go to BYU. He had heard some high school friends talking about it years before, but that was the only time he had ever heard it mentioned. He miraculously made it in, and ended up living with 5 returned missionaries. The rest is practically history, but it was a cool story. That night the Elders in our ward had a baptism for a man named William. He speaks some of the most Cuban Spanish you will ever hear, and it is nearly impossible to understand him, but we just love their family. His wife has been a member forever, and he has an adorable 5 year old girl. It was so special. Right after that Sister Smith and I had to run and grab some dinner because we hadn't had time to eat. We were driving along, and we spotted this little place called Los Verdes, and we decided to try it because we didn't have much time for anything else. The food was disappointing,  but we knew that God needed us there because our waiter ended up being a less-active member that had recently moved from Colombia! He recognized our badges, and told us that he was baptized a long time ago, but hadn't been to church since coming to the US. He was YSA age, so we gave his information to the YSA sisters, but it was so cool that we randomly met him at this little place. That night we had another baptism to go to for an 8 year old girl in our ward. Her mom is a less-active member that we have been working with, that has slowly been coming back to church. Her name is Giselle, and she is so sweet. We are hoping that this baptism will help her return to church full-heartedly!

On Sunday we saw a huge miracle when our Cuban investigator Alideisy showed up to church! We had taught her once this week, but had lost contact with her when she wasn't home for an appointment, and stopped answering our phone calls. We were so surprised, but so happy to see her. She had to leave after Sacrament meeting, and her little 2 year old boy had SO much energy that we weren't sure if she really got anything out of church. However, we went over after church and she agreed to be baptized on July 8th! She is probably around 48? And she has a 2 year old boy. She also has a 24 year old daughter. Biological. We were a little confused, she had to explain it to us a few times, but we got it all straightened out. She is just great, and her little boy is adorable! We saw a huge miracle last night when we were knocking doors. We came across a house with a huge fence, and we managed to get inside. We knocked on the door, no one answered. Then we got distracted by the beautiful sunset, we ended up staying on the doorstep for a little while just talking and looking at the sunset. No one was home, so we left a card. On our way out we closed the gate behind us, and literally the second we close the gate 2 HUGE dogs come tearing around the side of the house barking and growling at us. It surprised us so we both jumped back, and they slammed into the fence because of how fast they were running. They continued to bark and growl at us as we walked away, they were probably some of the scariest ones I've seen on my mission. There are dogs that are all bark, no bite, but we both agreed that it was not the case with these ones. We were both shaking, and we just looked at each other and said a quick prayer of gratitude. We have no doubt that Heavenly Father protected us at that house, we aren't sure what kept those dogs away while we were standing at the doorstep (for even longer than usual), but we were so grateful! 

That is all for this week! 

Love, Hermana Monson

Miami Lakes June 19, 2017

Hello everyone! 

This has been another great week in Flordia! It has definitely been slower than some weeks, but we have still seen miracles. 

On Monday we had a fun P-Day. Sister Smith and I went to breakfast with the other sisters we live with, and after that we went to a flea market! It looks exactly like Mexico, and there were tons of little shops selling homemade night gowns, beauty supplies, hats, jewelry, exotic birds, etc. It was cool to look around, and at the end we tried some delicious Guatemalan corn on the cob. 

On Tuesday we had a lunch appointment with the Elder's investigator. His name is William, and his wife (Sara) is a member. They LOVE having the missionaries over, so we have been to their house a few times. Right after that we went to help a less-active member in our ward. She is preparing to move, but she lives alone and needs help packing her things. We went and boxed up tons of rusty old dishes. She does not have very much work right now, so she is not able to pay her rent. Yet, when we were finished helping her pack she set the table with a ton of food that she made special for us. We couldn't say no to that! It was so sweet, she is so amazing. Even though she does not have much she is always inviting people over to her house to give them a nice meal. She is actually friends with our investigator, Terry, and he does not have much work either. He told us that whenever he is hungry, he knows he can count on Maria Belen to give him a little something. She is a great example.

That night we met with our investigator Terry. He randomly showed up to church last Sunday, so we started teaching him. He has been taught by missionaries in the past. He is from Colombia, and is struggling right now because he can't find much work. His wife is still in Colombia, and he hasn't been able to see her for 7 years. It is such a sad situation, but we were glad that he also came to a Father's Day activity in the church. He was able to meet more members, and he came to church again yesterday! 

On Wednesday we met with our sweet little investigator Celia. She LOVED church when she came last Sunday, so we thought that it would be easy for her to keep progressing. However, no matter how much we tried to explain the need for Priesthood authority, she did not understand why she needed to get baptized again. We reviewed it all with her again, and some scriptures from the Book of Mormon. When she started to read those scriptures, she began to cry. The Spirit filled the room, and the lights flickered (which she took as a sign that God was trying to tell her something, not sure if that was true, but we will take it ;). We thought she would commit to baptism after all of that, so we waited silently while she cried. Finally, she told us that she would pray that night, and if God told her she needed to do it, she would get baptized again. We thought for sure she would get her answer, so we were surprised when we received a call from her the next day. She thanked us a million times for coming to her house, inviting her to church, and praying for her and her family-but she said that she would not be getting baptized again, and that she already has her own church. We were disappointed, we just love her! However, we have faith that one day she will be ready! 

On Thursday we went to eat dinner with the Chavez family in our ward, they are so sweet! They are from Ecuador, and Brother Chavez came to the US to work ab out 15 years ago. He left his wife and kids in Ecuador, they ended up getting baptized while he was gone. Eventually they joined him here, and he was baptized too. They do so much to help the ward, and I love them! It was so cute because one of the Elders in our ward had his birthday that day, and Sister Chavez made him a little homemade birthday mug. She had written Happy Birthday Elder Starley in sharpie, and drew some balloons. She was so embarrassed about it, but we thought it was the cutest thing ever! She also made the best pupusas I have ever tasted in my life! So it was a good time. 

That night we met with 4 sisters from our ward at the chapel, and we went on splits. I went with two sisters to visit our investigator Karenia, the lesson went well, but she doesn't really have desires to learn right now. Sister Smith went with two other sisters to visit a less-active member in the ward. She didn't even know until she arrived at the house that this less-active member is the grandmother of one of the sisters who went with her! She said it was awesome that the granddaughter was placed in that kind of setting where she could easily share her testimony with her grandmother. It was so weird being away from Sister Smith, we haven't done splits like that for a long time. It made us really appreciate one another when we were reunited!

On Friday there was a Father's Day activity for our ward. It was supposed to start at 7:30, but according to usual Latin standard time it actually started at 8:30, which meant we had to leave 30 minutes into it. It was good because a lot of non members came with their friends and we were able to meet them, and 2 of them ended up coming to church on Sunday as well! So that was an awesome miracle! We will be teaching them this week :)!

On Saturday we went to visit a less-active member named Rita. She let us right in, and was so excited that we came to visit her. Her and her husband have been stuck at home for a long time because there is a woman living in their efficiency that has not been paying her rent. They are trying to have her evicted, but she has not been very cooperative, and so they are afraid to leave their house because they don't know what she would do while they are gone. Needless to say, she was happy for some visitors. She talked without pausing for breath for 50 minutes straight! We finally managed to cut it, share a quick message, but before we could leave she insisted on feeding us grapes and icecream. She is a sweetheart. 

On Sunday we had a great sacrament meeting for Father's Day. Some of the Relief Society Sisters in our ward wrote lyrics to the song "Be Still My Soul" for Father's Day. It is not actually a song in the Spanish hymn book, so it worked out well. I ended up playing the piano. It is really just a fact that Latins have a hard time with singing, and so we had to transpose the song into a lower key for these sweet little sisters. It was definitely an interesting musical number, but I loved it!

That night we had dinner with our bishop and his family. To describe the food we ate in English terms it was sea food rice with mayo on top and corn juice. The juice was made from a purple corn that you can only find in Peru, and the rice ended up being really good, especially if you added sufficient amounts of Mayonesa on top. 

Later on we were visiting some former investigators and we felt to knock around one of them. We found Alicia, who let us right in. She is from Cuba, and her husband passed away about 9 months ago. It was heartbreaking to hear that she lived in this giant house all by herself. She told us that she wants friends, and when we invited her to church she was so excited to come! We will be going back to see her later tonight. 

I hope it's a great week! Love you all!
Love, Hermana Monson

                                                 These are all at the flea market we visited on P-Day.

June 12, 2017 Miami Lakes

Hello everyone!

This has been another great week! I just love my mission, it is such a blessing!!

On Monday we had a nerf gun war as a zone for a p-day activity, it was tons of fun. That night there was a huge tropical storm headed our way, so we got a text from the office around 7:00 saying that we all needed to go home. We headed home, changed into our pajamas, and had just melted butter on the pan to make some icecream tacos when we got another text from the office saying that we could actually go out and keep working because the storm wasn't supposed to hit until much later. We changed back into our regular clothes, went out and visited 2 more people (weren't home), and then came home for our icecream tacos. It was pretty funny. 

On Tuesday we did service for a woman in the English ward. Sister Smith and I were in charge of setting up a desk that she had bought from Walmart. We spent two hours reading the instructions, trying to put in the screws, and at the end we had nearly set it up all by ourselves. We were pretty proud of ourselves. That night we went to go visit Jaqueline, a less active member of our ward. She has been less active for a very very long time, but she was telling us that she still remembers the feelings she had in the temple. She really wants to have those feelings again. We brought a super awesome couple from our ward, and they just ended up talking in Spanglish for about an hour, so we didn't have to do much, but it worked out really well!

On Wednesday we had our District Training, and interviews with President. It was our last interview with President Richardson, he will be going home in 3 weeks! It is so crazy! I love President Richardson, he has such an amazing testimony, and so much love for the gospel. Later that day we were knocking doors in a trailer park. It has literally been raining so hard every day this week, and the streets were covered in water! We had to roll our pants up to our knees and practically swim through the streets to get to the doors. It was a lot of fun. 

On Thursday we found an awesome new investigator! We saw him sitting outside, so we went to talk to him. He said he would like a prayer, and agreed to listen to our message. I wish I could have recorded his face during the lesson! He is from Cuba, believes in God, but has always been really confused by the different religions. When we told him about Joseph Smith and the 1st vision his eyeballs were as wide as dinner plates. When Sister Smith told him that she had received her own answer through prayer, he was so excited, and just kept saying "wow." His name is Yesmel, he practically invited himself to church. We were so sad when he was not able to come. He has a super random work schedule because he works in construction, and he ended up getting called in for work that day. That night we went to visit some less-active members, and we brought another lady from our ward with us. Her name is Maida. She has the most amazing story, and so much love for people. She is awesome, and her testimony really strengthens mine. She was baptized about 18 years ago, but at one point she fell away. She became addicted to drugs, alcohol, and had such a difficult family situation. However, she was found by some sister missionaries about 2  years ago, and they helped her to completely turn her life around. Now she just loves life, is so so happy all the time, and does not do anything without mentioning at least once how grateful she is for the Lord. She is preparing to go to the temple and be baptized for her mom. I just love her. We ended up running into the mother of one of our less-active members, named Maria (I wish I had kept track of how many people I have met named Maria, the number would be sky high). Maria was a cute little old lady that talked our ears off, but Maida just loved her and loved the visit. It was great!

On Friday we had a cool experience when we were supposed to be visiting some former investigators, but they weren't home so we decided to go visit a recent convert that has been MIA for almost 4 months now. No one has been able to get in touch with her. She happened to be home!! We were able to talk to her, and find a lot of really useful information for the ward. Looking back, we aren't even sure how we decided to go visit her, it was not part of our plans, we just sort of ended up in her neighborhood, and happened to be there at the right time! The Lord works in mysterious ways!

Saturday we ended up having a 2 hour correlation meeting with our Ward Mission Leader who is the most adorable old Guatemalan man you have ever seen! He is on fire with missionary work, and he is so excited to get things moving with our ward. That afternoon we had a tour of the church with our investigator named Celia! We brought another church member with us, and it worked out really well. Sister Munoz took 10 years to get baptized, but she was able to testify about how her baptism has really changed her life. Celia loved everything, but still does not feel like she is ready to take that step. 

On Sunday Sister Smith ended up playing the piano in Sacrament meeting, which was slightly stressful because that meant that I couldn't leave the chapel, but we had a bunch of people show up late to church! I enlisted our Ward Mission Leader to go greet them outside and bring them in. Celia ended up coming to church, loved every minute of it, but still feels like she needs more time before committing to anything. We will keep working with her on that. Jaqueline, the less-active member we have been working with also randomly showed up. On top of that, there were 4 other people that randomly came to church that were not members. 1 of them came with a member, 1 of them was a former investigator, and another couple just randomly walked in off the street! This ward is so full of miracles! We will be going to visit a lot of them this week!

One last cool story. Yesterday we were visiting some less-active members that live in a pretty sketchy apartment building. The doors all of have bars over them, and the entrances were all locked. We weren't sure how we were going to get in, but there was an adorable little old lady sitting out on her back porch that offered to come let us in. After sharing a card with her we went for our visit, but they turned out not to be home. After knocking for a little while we decided to leave. One our way back to the parking lot Sister Smith noticed a sliding glass door that was slightly open, and a lady sitting on the couch inside. It was a bit of an awkward situation with the bars over the door and everything, but we ended up getting her attention and she let us inside. She ended up listening to our message, and accepted the invitation to be baptized! Her name is Kardenia, and she has never been baptized before (which is a miracle in and of itself because almost every Latin I've met was baptized as a baby in the Catholic church). Because of that it was easy to explain that baptism is a commandment from God, and easy for her to accept our invitation! 

That is all for this week! I love you all :)!

Hermana Monson

This is the trailer park flooded with water!