Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm not frozen-yet!

It has been the COLDEST week of my life. Sometimes when it gets really cold, President Jensen just grounds all of us missionaries. It happened 5 times this week! I am glad that we don't have to be out in the bitter cold though, and we get a lot of extra study, cleaning, and talking about life done when we're stuck inside. :)

Great news- Julie has a baptismal date!!!!
We had an appointment with her on Tuesday, and the most amazing miracle happened. Right when we got there, she told us she had a present for us and handed us a grocery sack. I opened it, and inside were her coffee, cigarettes, lighter, and ashtray. It was all I could do not to burst into tears, I was SO happy. She said, "I'm done with all of that, I'm serious now, I want to get baptized. I haven't smoked since Friday." So incredible! We had planned to go in to set a baptismal date with her- so this was perfect timing. She expressed to us that she wanted to be baptized in May. We had prayed for a week leading up to this, and knew that the Lord could help her be ready far sooner than that- not to mention, she has been taught almost everything. We had a powerful lesson about how baptism is just the beginning of the path to eternal life, and that we don't have to be perfect to be baptized. Sister Willson had come with us and bore powerful testimony to Julie that by delaying baptism until May, she is only delaying the blessings that Heavenly Father wants to give her. The spirit was incredible, and Julie felt it. We told her that we had been praying about a date for her, and that we know that she can be ready for baptism by February 15th. She accepted the invitation to prepare for that date. We have seen her just about every day since then, and she is doing well. It has been a full two weeks since she last smoked. She is so strong. Pray that all will go well leading up to her baptism, and that she will have strength to continue living the word of wisdom. Her baptism will be different for us, because she actually lives in the neighboring ward, and we will have to get everything arranged for it through them, and help her get adjusted to that ward. The bishop and members there are great though, so we know that everything will work out.

We have had quite a few other miracles this week. We found a lost sheep (less-active whose records are floating around in her last ward) while we were looking for a former investigator. Her name is Hannah. She is about our age, is really sweet, and has been less-active since she was 14. We had a really great conversation with her, and she happily agreed to let us come practice teaching the lessons. We are so excited to work with her, and I just love her already.
We also found a new investigator, also named Julie, at one of our weekly service activities. She is a sweet older lady, and was really receptive to our message. She is reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.

Angie and Mick are both doing well. Mick will get the Aaronic Priesthood this week. I know this will give him additional strength, and help grow his testimony. They will both be going on the ward temple trip Feb 8th to do baptisms for the dead. We aren't allowed to go, but I don't mind- the ward is embracing them so beautiful, and that is what matters.

Sister Sumsion and I just love each other. We get along fantastically, teach and work well together, and have a ton of fun. I am very blessed to be serving here with her as my companion. I know that the Lord is aware of us and is waiting to bless us as we continue to work hard.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers. I am always able to feel them, which is a pretty incredible experience in and of itself.

I love you all.
-Sister Monroe
We had both been craving ice cream for a week, and found these delicious gems while we were grabbing some things at the store one night. It's the little things that make us happy. :)

Elder Keeley, Elder Musick (our district leader), and Elder Allred at district lunch.
We found a place with actual delicious, authentic-ish tasting mexican food!
I was so happy, the midwest sucks at mexican food. Anyway, Elder Allred innocently
ordered the house burrito, and it was the biggest burrito I've ever seen in my life.
The Elders in our district and zone are awesome. They always make us laugh.
I was a minute behind Sister Sumsion in moving to the table for
companion study this morning. She said "Look! I made a cocoon!" I LOVE her! :)

Monday, January 20, 2014


Nothing too crazy has happened this week, and I am basically out of e-mail time, but I'll give you a run down of the week:

Monday was a fun zone p-day, we went bowling with all the elders, which was a ton of fun. They love to tell us that we're the best/their favorite sisters in the WHOLE zone. :) Sometimes being the only sisters in the zone is fun. 

Tuesday we got grounded due to ice on the roads and cold weather. So, we just studied and talked and read scriptures and cleaned our apartment all day. It was so weird not to be working. Apparently, the mission has been grounded more in the last month than it was the whole last year- summer included. This has been the coldest- but not stormiest winter that Iowa has had in 20 years! 

Wednesday we were excited to get out and work! We did service, visited a couple less-actives, saw Angie- who is doing fantastic- and had dinner with a member. 

Thursday, we had interviews with President and Sister Jensen, which are always wonderful. Sounds like I'll be here with Sister Sumsion for a full 12 weeks. We are both delighted at this prospect- I can't even tell you how much we love each other. Thursday night we got to see Mick. He is also doing great. 

Friday's fun event was that we spent a few hours with the Zone leaders, Elder Aiasau and Elder Curtis, looking for a new apartment. Our lease is up next month, and President Jensen wants us out of our shabby little place. We are excited to move. :) We also got to see a couple less-actives, and then helped out at the ward's blood drive in the evening. no- I did not give blood! :) 

Saturday, we saw Angie again. That evening I was feeling really sick, and my migraine was really bothering me. We headed in a little early and called less actives from the apartment.

Sundays are my favorite. Church was wonderful, and after we got home and ate lunch, we took a little road trip to Reinbeck about 30 minutes away to deliver a Book of Mormon to a lady who had requested a free copy online. We also took the time to do a bit of tracting while we were there, and were able to meet a couple of potential investigators! It was a great day. 

We are working hard to find people to teach- and I know that we will. Julie is doing well- please pray for her. She really wants to be baptized, but she needs to quit smoking. We love her, and she loves us. We are planning to set a baptismal date when we see her tomorrow. Also, we were just at Sister Willson's and she says hello. :) 
Sorry for the lack of exciting news and cool stories- Pray that we will have some soon!

Sister Monroe
 A sweet little package from Deanna Pennock for
me and my companion. Thank you so much! :)

 My silly companion- I love her so much. We ran through
McDonald's for lunch and her ice cream had two cones.
Naturally they needed to be stacked.

 This is what happens when you've had a migraine
for 6 days. You try anything that the members tell you.
Supposedly putting your feet and hands in hot water
and putting something cold on your neck does something
to the bloodflow to your brain and helps. It seems to have worked.

 Iowa just keeps stealing my heart.

Again, stealing my heart.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Fun and Freezing Week!

Oh man, do I love my mission!
I am so happy to be serving in Cedar Falls, the people here are amazing. I always feel so blessed and loved at the end of the day.
Also, I have the best companion ever. Sister Sumsion and I are doing so well together, and learning so much from one another. I love it. We can't wait to see the miracles that happen while we are companions. We are already hoping that they'll keep us together for a full 12 weeks (2 transfers).

Mick and Angie are both doing amazing. We actually dropped by Mick's work today, just to say hello, and he was happy to see us. He told us that things have been hard, but he is doing well. It's great how the gospel can do that for each of us as we have faith and rely on the savior.
When we met with Angie this week, she told us that she can really feel the spirit as she reads, and she is seeing the blessings of her baptism. She is such a different person from when I got here. The atonement is just a miracle!

This week we had zone training, which is always great- and it was even better this time. In trying to set new goals for our mission this year, President Jensen received amazing revelation. With first presidency approval, he decided that we will not set a mission wide numerical goal. We will follow the counsel of the living prophets by taking on the goals of our wards and stakes. Our goal is to work equally with the members to meet the goals that they have set. I know this all sounds very logical, but it is unheard of that a mission doesn't have it's own goal. He felt inspired, however, that having our own goals that don't align with those of the units within our mission is something that continues the pattern of missionaries seeming separate from the church. We are now a pilot mission. I know we are going to see so many miracles by shifting our way of thinking and our approach to goal-setting.
Anyway- that was the biggest news we got at zone training. Pretty exciting. During the meeting, we got a little bit of freezing rain, and the whole zone-our sister training leaders included- got grounded in Cedar Falls. President gave us a 30 minute window to get home, and for the elders to get food and clothes to stay at the church, and our cars and us were grounded after that. 22 elders slept throughout the church building over friday night, and Sister Cannon and Sister Egbert got to stay at our apartment with us. It was unexpected, but great! :) We love them so much.

We are having a hard time getting a hold of our investigators! Julie, Gabriel, and Brandy are all so difficult to reach, let alone to make appointments with. Please pray that we'll be able to contact them. In the meantime, we are also working through less- actives, members, and our own efforts to find people to teach. Only a couple of potential investigators so far- please pray that we will be able to find those who are ready to receive us and the gospel!

We went bowling for zone p-day this afternoon, and I bought a new camera to replace my broken one, so it's been a good p-day, plus it's a balmy 31 degrees- woo! So nice- never ever thought I'd say that. :)
Thank you for all the love and prayers. They make all the difference.

Sister Monroe

 We had an etiquette training at Zone Training Meeting, and I sort of owned
everyone at table setting. :)

 Sister Cannon. I love her.

 The Zone Leaders followed us back to our apartment to be sure we were safe,
and then we took a few funny pictures in our crazy little house.

 Crazy Zone leaders- oh, and Elder Ackley. They are all so hilarious.

A box of sunshine to warm my soul! I loved it! thanks mom!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Best 6 months of my life. Seriously.

Hello from freezing Iowa. When I say freezing- I mean it. It's -53 today with the wind chill. SO COLD! President Jensen has asked us not to work for the next day or so, except for driving to nearby urgent appointments. I am now a master of layering- I am currently wearing thermals, fleece lined tights, fleece lined leggings, a slip and skirt, a long sleeve shirt, short sleeved shirt, and long sleeve cardigan, plus two hats, a scarf, boots and a coat. Don't even talk to me about bathroom breaks. :)

Well, Sister Boone was transferred this week, and I got an incredible new companion. Her name is Sister Sumsion (like gumption) she is from Park City, Utah, has one older sister and two younger brothers. She is 21, and just finished her 12 week training in Iowa City, so I am senior companion. It's so weird to think that I've been out 6 months. It seems like I've been out for no time, and also like I've been out forever. Time is very skewed on a mission.
Anyway. Sister Sumsion and I love each other already. It helps that we have had a solid day of no- work, in the apartment bonding time. We are already learning so much from each other, too. I love it. I love her. I love my mission!
The only thing I have mixed feelings about as being senior companion goes is that I am now the driver. That's just how it goes. I know, however, that Heavenly Father has called me to this place, calling and companionship at this time for a specific reason. I trust that as I am obedient, he will keep us safe. Driving in the snow has been just fine so far. Pray for me to adjust, and for our safety.

Mick and Angie are both great! Mick is finally back in town. We saw him Friday night, and he was at church yesterday, in his white shirt and tie. :) Angie was unable to make it- but has been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy, and seems so different in such a great way. Julie is also doing very well. She has decided on her own that she WILL be baptized. She really wants to, now it's just a matter of helping her to quit smoking and get ready. She is such a strong person, but I know that this will be very challenging. We are going to talk with her about when she thinks she can be ready for baptism and set a date with her this week. Pray that all will go well for her and that she'll be able to quit smoking.

We are having a really hard time getting a hold of our other investigators- it makes me crazy. We are going to be focusing a lot on finding people to teach, so please pray that we will be able to find those who are prepared to receive us and the gospel.

I love this Gospel so much. I am so happy to be doing the Lord's work, and I grow closer to him each day. I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Being a missionary is the greatest thing I possibly could've done with this time in my life.

I love you all, and I'll see ya in 1 year and 10 days!
-Sister Monroe

 My new year's package- Thanks mom, you're awesome!

 my adorable view on the ride to transfers with the Koch family. She is so funny. 

 Sister Boone and I were twins for transfer meeting. Also, I made us
matching planners since we were getting split up. :)

My new companion, Sister Sumsion.