Monday, October 28, 2013

The end of October

Friends and Family,
Hi. I love you. :)

First of all- I need to tell you about a miracle we had this week:
We received a referral from our Zone Leaders through the mission office on Wednesday night. On Thursday, we called the guy, and he was so glad to hear from us- he told us we could teach him that night at 8! Here's what we knew about him, his name is Mick, and he just moved here from Boise. He was taking the lessons from some Sisters up there, and loved it. He had a baptismal date at one point, but backed out because he felt like he was moving too fast.
Anyway, our lesson went great. We got to know him and found out a little more about what all he has learned. We asked him if it would be okay if we just started at the beginning and reviewed- so we taught the restoration. He was so involved, and he loved it. He told us a lot of really important, personal things that will help us a lot to teach to his needs. And, he said he'd love to be baptized at some point. Also, he was so nice. He spoke very highly of the sisters who taught him in boise, and of the ward and fellowship there. We had a member pick him up for church (Get this- when he moved out here, he looked up where the church was on so he'd know where to go on Sundays) and our ward embraced him very well! We are so excited and blessed to be teaching him. Please pray that he will receive a witness that this gospel is true, and accept the invitation to be baptized on a certain date! I will keep you all updated on how things go!

Mick was one of our TWO investigators at church! This is huge for me, I only ever had one come to church my entire two transfers in Dubuque. The other one who came was Angie, she is so fun. Angie is a 6-years and counting investigator, married to a member, Wayne who is not active, and doesn't really have a testimony. He got baptized with a friend, and was never really invested. Nonetheless, he is very supportive of whatever she wants to do, so that's incredible. Wayne and Angie both have a lot of health concerns, and live in a humble mobile home with their 7 cats. (They are in their 50s and were never able to have children, so they have cats instead!) We see them about twice a week, and usually just read from the Book of Mormon with Angie. It really helps her, she has been doing great at reading on her own. Right now, we're focusing on helping her understand why baptism is so important for her, as she is confused because she's been baptized before. Please pray for her to receive and answer to her prayers about that- and for her and Wayne's health.

Those are the biggest things! Sister Boone and I have been working hard, and getting along so great. We have a lot of fun and laughs together. I am so grateful for her. The members here are great too- I am getting to know and love them more and more.

Thank you for all of the love and prayers, especially in the behalf of me and our investigators. I feel so blessed to have so much support. Have a great week!
Sister Monroe

 It randomly snowed for a day this week! It was pretty great because it looked really pretty, but didn't build up on the roads or sidewalks at all, and it was all melted within a day. :)

This thing cracks Sis.Boone and I up. It's an announcement board that one
of the local lutheran churches uses (Lutheran is the dominant religion in Cedar Falls),
it was donated to them. It is massive!

Monday, October 21, 2013

First full week in Cedar Falls

I don't even know where to start, but here it goes!
This week has been great! We have had so many awesome experiences.
So, Sister Boone and I are getting along so well. I love her! We are already so close- and not just by proximity in our little apartment. Haha.
Oh, our apartment! We live in what I'm pretty sure is the classic missionary apartment, extra shabby and full of character. It's pretty awesome, I strangely enjoy it a lot. We are in a little apartment on what is pretty much frat row right across from campus. We have a tiny kitchen, which is really fun, and the best part is our recliners! Dad- you'd love it. :) We don't have a couch, nor do we need one! Our apartment is very humble, and very fun. I'm sure I'll have more stories for you later!
Investigators! Oh man, I love teaching the gospel.
Gabriel is our most progressing investigator. He is a grad student at UNI, and is originally from Togo, Africa. (That's right next to Ghana) Teaching can be a little challenging, because his native language is french, but his english is very good, so it works out! Sometimes he just isn't sure if we're making a statement or asking a question, but we work with it. He is actively reading the Book of Mormon, and loves it, and has been taught about baptism. He is hesitant to be baptized though, because he has already been baptized, as an accountable adult- by immersion no less. He is praying to know if baptism is the right thing for him, so you can pray that he will receive an answer, and understand why it's so important.
We had a very special experience this week, of finding a "lost sheep." We were knocking doors, and the very first one we knocked on that day, an older, african-american lady opened the door and invited us in before we introduced ourselves! When she sat back down, and we started to introduce ourselves, she got so excited and said "Oh! you're missionary girls! I'm a missionary too! I mean, I'm a Latter-Day saint!" She told us she has her patriarchal blessing, and a temple recommend, but that she hasn't been to church in a few years, because she moved here from Chicago without her car, and didn't know anyone. Anyway, she was SO happy we found her, and said she wants to come back to church, and take us out to dinner. She had lost her Book of Mormon, so we gave her one, and she was very excited to start reading it again. She told us that we were the first missionaries she's seen since she moved here, and when we left she was gonna call all her family and friends and tell them! Her name is Elaine, or Sister Dunigan. We got all her information so the ward clerk can get her records. Such a miracle that we found her! Pray that we will be able to get her a ride to church and that she'll come!
We had zone training this week, which was great. I feel very blessed to be a part of this zone. I'll have to tell you more about members and investigators as I get to know them.
Mom, you are incredible. Thanks so much for being my mom, and raising me in righteousness so I could be prepared for this experience. Surely, you get some bonus blessings for that, maybe you can cash in on some this week. :)
I love you more than you know!
Thanks for all of the prayers, love and support!
-Sister Monroe
 The Cedar Falls Zone. I am a floating head in this one, unfortunately. My companion is on the end in the blue shirt and black sweater. :)

 A lovely package I got this week. Thank you so much, whoever sent it. There was no identifying information, but I was thrilled to get it nonetheless.  (I think it might have been Sister Pennock? Or was it you, mom? It did not look like your handwriting!)

 Sister Boone, oh how I love her. This was before bedtime one night. We get a little ridiculous at night sometimes.
 Recliners! Behind us is our kitchen and dining/comp study table, and front window. Also, what would missionaries do without self-timer function? Haha. 

I LOVE this tree outside our front window. Sidenote- I think Sis. Boone and I consume more apple cider than average humans, that and cereal are my favorite two things right now. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Transfer Time!

Hello all!
Well, I am so grateful for all the e-mails I received today. Thank you! Most all of you have the same questions and whatnot, and time is short, so I will do my best to give you all the scoop.

On Monday night, after waiting all day, we received our transfer doctrine phone call. Much to our surprise, we found out that Sister Oman was staying in Dubuque, and that I was to be transferred. I have to say, it was bittersweet news. I am excited to get out and see other areas of the mission, and I know Heavenly Father has people I need to meet wherever He sends me, but I had grown to love Dubuque so very much. I knew this would happen. Haha. I do not have too much to tell about Cedar Falls, so I'll tell what I can, and then tell you a little bit about the people I love in Dubuque. :)

Cedar Falls is totally a college town. In fact, we live on College St. just off of University Ave. exactly across the street from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) go panthers! We take our morning walks on campus. Speaking of "we," my companion is Sister Boone. She is from Yukon, Idaho, is one of 17 kids, came out in the same MTC district as Sis. Oman (So, she's been out 6 months), and is awesome. We are getting along great so far. The ward here is awesome, I am excited to get to know everyone better. And... guess what! We have real live, actual, progressing investigators! No baptisms on the calendar yet, but it is so nice to be teaching. I don't know our investigators too well yet, but I will tell you all about them when I do!

 Everyone, meet Shannon! She has already stalked my mom and family down on facebook, so it's safe to say we will not forget each other. :) Shannon is amazing. We have a really special bond, and I just hope that she is able to find her testimony soon. We went to lunch with her and sister Reynolds the day we waited for the transfer doctrine, and she was freaking out. She wanted to know just as bad as I did if I was getting transferred or not. She was sad to see me go. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet, teach, and make a lifelong friendship with her.

 This is Bro. and Sis. Holt. She is the Relief Society President, and would always offer to
drive us places. They are moving to Utah soon, and the ward will be loosing a
powerhouse member missionary.

 The Graham family is fantastic! Sister Graham is so sweet. They would feed us every single week, and sometimes twice! They are the members who introduced us to Greta.

 Sister Graham and I

 Sister Smederovac, oh how I love her. Her and her family are moving to
Scottsdale, Arizona after being in Dubuque for just 6 months. She told me
that the reason she thinks they needed to live here was so that she could meet me. So sweet.

Elder and Sister Thomas. They are fantastic. This was from their Marshallese farewell.
They headed home to Utah the day of transfers, after serving in Dubuque for their 1-year mission. They were so helpful, kind, loving, and encouraging. I will miss serving with them.
 Sis. Buss, she is the sweetest. She fed us every other week, and was incredible at sharing the gospel.

 Sister Hart- she fed us every week without fail, came to Greta's lessons with us, and always had such great advice. She served a mission in Russia.
Sister (and baby Honest) Leigh, they are such a sweet little family. We would go visit her pretty often, and she loved to bake us things!

 Sister Whipple and Sister Call, I am so grateful for them. These sisters have been so fun
and such a blessing to serve with. (Note the dead corn, that was not quite ready
for harvest when I got here- crazy!)

 Greta! I don't think words can accurately describe Greta. She is such a fun,
loving, spiritual, amazing, hard-working lady. I will sure miss her.

The Jolet family. We went to tell them I had been transferred, and say goodbye, and they gave me a crown, a bracelet, a hair flower, and three pairs of earrings, all hand crafted in the Marshall Islands. The marshallese are incredibly loving, humble, and giving. They have a special place in my heart.

All 3 pictures above are Last, but certainly not least, Mama Reynolds. I cannot even tell you how much I love this woman. We were absolutely meant to live with them. She and I had the best before-bed chats, she would always rescue us and give us rides on our week with no car, she gave awesome back scratches, switched our laundry,and much more. Separate from any of that, I am so close to her. The Reynolds family are just what I needed when I got to Iowa. I will surely be back to Dubuque to see them, and mama Reynolds has promised to be at my wedding someday, with the whole family if possible. :) (I don't know why I don't have a picture with all of them, but she does on her camera!!) this last picture was her idea. Yes, I love her so much. Who else would just make you a thanksgiving feast on conference Sunday? Oh, how I miss her. :)

Here is my new address for the next 6 weeks or so...2610 College St. #2, Cedar Falls, IA 50613. I am so excited to be in a new area. I know that Heavenly Father has people here prepared specifically for me to come in contact with. I am excited to see what the next six weeks have in store. Love you all!
-Sister Monroe

Monday, October 7, 2013

Let us All Press On!

Well, Hi all!
Let me tell you, this week has been GREAT. If General conference wasn't enough- we had an incredibly productive week as the work goes... we got a new investigator- Shannon Armstrong's sister, Lacey! Shannon was telling us the other day about how Lacey has been thinking about joining the Jehovah's Witnesses, and told us that she doesn't have a testimony of their beliefs. As her sister she was worried about her, so she told us we should go visit her, and see if she's interested in being taught. (I love that even though Shannon has her own doubts about the gospel, she recognizes that it is important and brings a lot of joy to people's lives. Incredible, right? all she needs is to figure out how and why it applies to her! She'll get there, one day.) We were able to contact Lacey, and then teach her, and invite her to be baptized. It went well, she has a LOT of questions, but it keeps her involved in the lesson. Lacey is so sweet, and is a lot like Shannon, except she does have more faith, which is a big deal. Hopefully, that makes the difference. She said that if she came to know that this was the true gospel and church, she would be baptized. Can you imagine how huge that would be for Shannon if her sister got baptized?! Um, yeah, I think the lord has a plan here, If we can just do our part as missionaries great things are going to happen. We are very hopeful for her.

Greta has been hard to catch. She's got a lot of things going on in her life right now but we contact her as often as possible, she is doing well- just not progressing!

I absolutely loved conference. If you didn't watch all the sessions- do it! This conference was so incredible. Every talk was packed full of revelation and guidance! Let me tell you one of the coolest things ever- you know how in almost every prayer offered in conference, they bless the missionaries? I have NEVER felt the power of a prayer like that before. The feeling that encompassed me was almost palpable. When nearly every active member of this church joins in a prayer for you- your world changes. I am so blessed to be a missionary, I can't even count the ways.

Last night, after the last session, we ate dinner with the Reynolds. (The family we live with.) Sister Reynolds had mentioned when we got here, that she makes these really good pies from scratch around the holidays. Then, last week when she realized that one of us won't be here for the holidays, (a thought that brings her to tears, she loves us so much, and I love her too) she decided that she HAD to make us pie, and what better to make with pie than a THANKSGIVING FEAST. So, yes, she made one. Seriously, this lady is amazing. It was a wonderful way to finish out the week.

We are anxiously awaiting our phone call from president to find out what transfers will look like for us. One of us will definitely satay here, and one will leave. We just have no idea who has to pack or if we'll be training or opening a new area, etc. The suspense is killing me.

I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us this week. Pray for Lacey that she will read and pray about the Book of Mormon, please! Thank you for your continual support, everyone.

All my love,
Sister Alex Monroe

 Coolest striped rose we saw while tracting- yes, we
knocked on her door and told her how much we liked it.
 I just love Dubuque- look how gorgeous it is!
 A package from my sister, Abby! This was such a highlight of my week.
My district! They are so great- I can't even tell you.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Exchanges & Illness

Well, this week was interesting to say the least. It is insane how Heavenly Father knows our limits, and tailors our challenges and blessings to us so we can learn and grow the most!
On Tuesday, we had exchanges with our new Sister Training Leaders- I cannot even tell you how fantastic they are, I am sure that I was friends with both of them in the pre-existence. Haha.
Sister Murphy and Sister Hill are serving an hour and a half south of us in Clinton, the same ward as our zone leaders. ( Also the ward that our "called to serve" sister, Ashley Keller is in, remember her?)
We had a wonderful exchange. No crazy big miracles with investigators, in fact, Clarea dropped us via Sis. Hill and Sis. Oman, but the exchange was a miracle in that I learned so darn much, and came away from it a better missionary. I spent most of the day with Sister Murphy. She is from Utah, and has been out 8 months. She is so funny, and we had such a good time. Much like my last exchange, we walked and walked and walked. We actually ran into Shannon! She was us walking out of our neighborhood (which is quite the hike, I must tell you) and she turned around to pick us up! She seriously loves us. She gave us a ride closer to our dinner appointment, which was great. Anyway, Sis. Murphy and I talked a lot about the work. She has pretty much the exact same experience as I am having- it was so nice to hear that. She too, has a lot of faith and doesn't see her work reflected in the numbers or investigators. What she taught me- what she has had to realize- is that I am here for a certain person, but that may not be an investigator. It could be anyone, including my companion. Heavenly Father sees how hard I am working, and he has a plan for me and everyone around me. He puts me in the paths of certain people to help and change and lift them, and I need to know and be okay with it if that person is not changed by way of baptism. I know that I am supposed to be here in Dubuque, and I can see now that it does have a lot to do with His plan for each of us- I know Sister Oman and I have learned so much by being together- and maybe that's why I am here-for her. Sis. Murphy and I are very similar, and had such a great time together. I hope I get to see her throughout my mission!
Exchanges are such a blessing- I am so grateful for them.

The other big thing this week-Sister Oman was sick with the stomach flu for two days. (Mom-you'd be proud, I took good care of her. (: ) It was a curse, but also a blessing. I was days behind on journaling, i know, terrible, but I caught up on that, read a ton of scriptures, deep cleaned our bathroom the second day while she was sleeping, and spent a lot of time praying and relaxing. Through that experience, Heavenly Father helped me be humble, and have compassion. Oh, and Silver lining- I didn't catch it! Woohoo!

This week should be exciting. Have a good one!
Love, Sister Monroe

 Sis. Oman and I, Sis. Murphy and Sis. Hill. We love them like crazy.
 Sis.Murphy and I. We spent most of the exchange together- she is so great. I love her!
 Sis. Hill and I. She is also great, and awesome, and amazing.
This is called- "When your companion is ultra-sick..." So much studying!