Monday, March 31, 2014

Goodbye, Cedar Falls! Hello, Davenport!

first things, first! My new address for all you faithful writers is:
4846 Jersey Ridge Road. #7
Davenport, IA 52807

transfers are fun! I am serving in Davenport, one of the "quad cities" here on the river.
I have not one, but two new companions! Sister King, who has been out for about 15 months and Sister Stephens, who has been here, in Iowa, waiting for her visa to Brazil for 11 months. It is a fun adjustment. :)
So far, I like the area. I am excited to get to know it and the people this week- starting with how to use a bus system! We are in a car share, and on the off week, we take the bus everywhere. Should make for some fun conversations. Wish me luck!

I am definitely missing Cedar Falls and my sweet Sister Sumsion, as well as many others. This week I said goodbye to Hannah, Mick, Angie, Julie, Ashley, and SO many members, less actives and investigators. It was tough. Cedar Falls has a piece of my heart!

 Wayne & Angie. Oh, and that cat on the table is butterscotch.
I will miss Angie a lot, we were sad to say goodbyes!

 The Gabels! Sister Gabel is the relief society president, and I absolutely love her.
She is the sweetest lady, and they have the cutest little family.

 This is Sister Benson. She is awesome- she served a mission in French Canada,
and is an English education professor at UNI. She feeds us once a month,
and taught some really great Relief Society lessons.

 This is Marilyn, I paint her nails every week. She has provided a lot of
good laughs and conversation in my Tuesday afternoons. :)

 Wayne being a goon, and Me an Angie laughing at him. I love this picture. :)

 The Tanners. They are fantastic members who feed us once a month.
They are the funniest couple I've ever met. I love them.

 Mick...what it's really like. :)

 acting professional

 Mick! :)

 This is Nichelle. She is one of the four YSAs in our ward. She came to a lot of lessons with us, and was a great help. She served a mission in Seattle, spanish speaking,
and one of her companions was Aubrie Moore, who's in my home ward! So random!

 Elder Schubert, he was really excited about the cupcakes I made. :)

 Surprise Sumsion love. :) <3

 The Willsons, they are so awesome. Sister Willson has been an angel. She does a ton for us.

 Mama Willson. :)

 The Shores minus Brother Shores. They are a wonderful family,
and they feed us about every other week. We love them.

 The Wright's- He is the Ward Mission Leader, and She is
a ward missionary/meal coordinator. We worked a lot with them, and I will miss them a ton.

 Sister Wright and I just love each other. :)

 HANNNAH!!!!!!! Oh, how I LOVE her!

 Best friends for life!

 We get a little silly sometimes. It's my favorite. :)

 aaand again. :)

 Elder Curtis- who went home this transfer, I will miss him, Sumsion, Ashley, and Me.

 I'm really hoping to go to Ashley's baptism. I have loved teaching her. 

 We rode with the Elders to transfers, in a four passenger car.
It wasn't actually this bad, but we did have to stay separate! :)
Elder Shubert de-tagging and de-pocketing Elder Curtis. It was pretty funny.

I am really grateful for the things I learned, and how much I grew in Cedar Falls, not to mention all the people I got to know and love. I am excited to see what Davenport holds. I know I am where I am supposed to be!

Love, Sister Monroe

Monday, March 24, 2014

My life is a gift, my life has a plan...

There are a handful of things I could tell you about that happened this week, but instead, I'll just tell you the thing that meant most, because it changed my life.

Yesterday, just two months after we met her, we went with Hannah to receive her Patriarchal Blessing. She invited us to come in with her, and the blessing itself was absolutely incredible. There is not a hint of doubt anywhere in my soul that our Father in Heaven does not know us perfectly.

On the way back, she told the story of how we met her, from her side of things, which was more miraculous than we knew. As she told it, and told us that she knows that she needed the two of us specifically, it hit me that Father in Heaven is truly in the details of our lives.  Hannah and I will be friends for the rest of our lives, and Heavenly Father knew that we would need to meet each other so that could be possible. He has actively shaped my life, with not too much help from me at some points, so that I would serve a mission in Iowa, starting in July 2013, and be in Cedar Falls at exactly the time I needed to be here. Not only that, but he's done that for each of the people I needed to meet too, my companions and investigators, and many ward members included.
My testimony grew a lot yesterday at this realization. My mission is a miracle, and I know my Father in Heaven wouldn't have me anywhere else right now. I already knew it, but I know it now more than ever. I am so so blessed.

I am SO very on edge about transfer calls (which we will likely be waiting for all day long), but with this burst of testimony, I have the assurance that whatever comes will be His will. I will go where He wants me to go! I love Hannah, I love Sister Sumsion, and I love a whole lot of people in iowa! I know that I am where I am supposed to be, and that I will love people in my next area just as much, whenever I get transferred. (So anxious to find out!!!)

Thank you, each of you who read this, because you are most likely connected to my life in some way, large or small, for being a part of my life. Thank you for helping me get here, it is a miracle.
Love you so much!
-Sister Monroe

Monday, March 17, 2014

I love to see the temple!

We went to the temple on Tuesday!!! It was the most incredible trip. I love the temple so much, and have had many wonderful experiences there, but I have to say that this was the best yet.
The reason we got to go, and one of the things that made it so great, was that Sister Dunigan got to go after a few years of inactivity in the church, in very small part- but directly because of work that I did. I am so blessed, and was thrilled to see her enjoying the blessings of the temple again.
Another reason it was so great, my dear sweet mama Reynolds came from Dubuque to be at the same session as me. It was absolutely wonderful. I was in pure awe and joy, as I realized that this is what the life after this will be like. We will be reunited with people who we loved dearly. It was just the smallest taste for me of what Heavenly Father's plan really has in store for us, because I've only known mama Reynolds for a short time, and been separated form her for only months, but seeing and talking with her again was just an amazing blessing. I love her SO much. She even brought Sister Graham with her, who I also love and missed. Best day ever.
It was also such a great blessing to go to the temple with Sister Sumsion as my companion. I love her a whole lot, and we are so close. It just made the over all experience even better.
I think that the overall feeling that made this one trip- these few hours- so sacred to me was how much love I felt, both from others, and for others.
Sometimes you have to move all the way to Iowa so that Heavenly Father can introduce you to your friends. He is so aware of me, and each of us. I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now, and this was all again confirmed to me on Tuesday. Sister Sumsion and I were filled with pure joy for days. I will treasure that trip to Nauvoo for the rest of my life.

We had Zone Training the next day, and it was really great. Our missionary meetings ALWAYS provide me with the revelation that I need to be a little better, more effective, and more able to teach. I love it.

Hannah is doing incredible. She has come so far, spiritually in the short couple months since we met her. This Sunday, we will accompany her to receive her Patriarchal Blessing. She is so excited, as are we, and last night she sent us the sweetest text thanking us for all that we had done for her, and for being her friends. Again, I feel so blessed. I know that Heavenly Father is working with His children, through me.

Mick, Angie, and Julie are doing well. We love them, and are just trying to help them adjust and stay active.

We have been working with the Elders to "team teach" a woman named Ashley, who lives a couple buildings over in our apartment complex. She is struggling a lot with a busy, overwhelming life, but is so excited to be a part of this gospel. We were able to spend some time with her this week, just helping out around her house and talking with her. She is incredibly strong, and we are excited to see how this gospel will change her life.

A few others we are working with, Ruth, Paige, Summer & her daughter Jayden, Jessica, and Zach. They are all doing good. If you can, please pray that they will progress in the gospel.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I am feeling so loved and watched over, and have seen a lot of tender mercies in my daily life. I know that those come, in part, because if the faith and prayers of my loved ones. Thank you.

We will be celebrating St. Patricks day with a bit of laser tag today... so excited. I love being a missionary! Haha. :)

Sister Monroe
 We were at Ashley's on "pi day" so naturally, the elders dropped by with some pie. They couldn't come in, so they stood at the door and served it to us, which was pretty funny. Luckily, no one got hurt. Ashley is funny and did not want to be in the picture. Haha.

 Sister Graham and Sister Reynolds. I love them so much.
And I love the temple so much. It was basically just my favorite day ever.


Froyo and a lesson with Hannah! Both so good! :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring is (hopefully) Springing!!!

This week has been SO GOOD.

We had exchanges this week, Sister Hill and Sister Cannon came up from Cedar Rapids, and it was wonderful to have them. Sister Cannon loved our new apartment. :) I worked with sister cannon for the whole exchange. She had worked with Sister Sumsion last exchange, and my last exchange in Dubuque was with Sister Hill.
We saw a lot of miracles, and had a ton of lessons. It was the best exchange of my mission, seriously. Sister Cannon and I had some really good talks about listening to the Spirit. because I've been studying it a lot lately. For the first time on my mission, we stayed up late talking and laughing. I definitely paid the price for a couple days, but it was fun! :)
 I love exchanges.

We taught not one, but TWO new investigators this week! Their names are Paige, who we met when she was our cashier at walmart, and Summer, who we found on our last exchange. They are both such sweet girls. Paige is our age, just living at home, working so she can go to school soon for culinary arts!!! Summer is married, and has two adorable little girls. We taught each of them the restoration, invited them to study the pamphlet and pray about what we taught. Please pray for them!

Our ward had ward conference this week, which was incredible. Our stake president is an absolute powerhouse. The most incredible thing was that during second hour, we had ward council (which we always attend-so cool), and instead of the usual meeting, President Hodgman just had a discussion with us. He is HUGE on families, so that is a focus of basically all of his talks/comments. It is amazing.

Mick is back!!! We had a great lesson with him this week, and he came to church! He has been feeling "disconnected" from church and God as he has been away, and not reading the book of mormon or attending church. That was the focus of our lesson, and we promised him that if he reads, prays, and comes to church, that the Holy Ghost will be present in his life, and he will be able to receive confirmation of all that he has been learning in this gospel.
Hannah was at church too, and is just amazing. Her countenance has changed so much since we met her. I love it.
Julie is also doing well, she hasn't smoked in almost two weeks, and she's been reading the Book of Mormon. She prays a lot, and has wonderful friends in the ward, which has been instrumental in her transition into the church.
Angie missed church again, but she says she misses it a lot and she knows she needs to come. She's just been having a hard time getting there because of work.

I have had some really incredible, personal experiences with the Spirit and revelation this week. In one of them, there was a moment with a member yesterday that gave me a whole new understanding of Christlike love. I was completely filled with charity for this sister, who I have had a hard time completely loving up to this point. In a few short moments, Father in Heaven touched my heart, and I touched hers. That sounds super generic, but I can't explain it any other way, it was incredible.

I am so grateful to be a missionary, in this mission, at this time, in this area, serving with those who I am. He truly knows each of us, better than we do ourselves.

Love you all,
Sister Monroe
Corinne moved back to Orem on a whim job promotion from her boss. It broke our hearts to have her leave, but I'm so glad she was here for this short time. Sometimes two people have to go to IOWA to meet each other so they can be friends forever! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Zone Conference, Cold(s), and a BAT in the Chapel!

Obviously, it has been an eventful week here!

Probably the most exciting thing this week was Zone conference in Iowa City. There were 4 zones at ours, and I got to see a lot of people I love! Not to mention, It's where Sister Sumsion was "born," so she was in heaven.
We received a lot of great training. I learned a ton, from those, and from the spirit! It is amazing how much Heavenly Father speaks to us at our meetings.
A tender mercy (one of many) of zone conference, was that I got to drive us to and from Iowa City, about an hour and a half each way. I LOVE road tripping, and I felt so at home behind the wheel on the highway. :)

Cold: Sickness- how I dislike sickness.
My cold has gotten worse, but after the most incredible blessing (as far as Priesthood blessings of comfort or for sickness) of my entire life, I am feeling better each day!
There is a lot that I have been learning in my ailed state, however, that I am grateful for. One of them is allowing Heavenly Father to use me as an instrument, and give me strength. While it is uncomfortable and requires a whole lot of faith, He can use me even more when I am weak. Whether it be emotional or physical, it is in those situations that He literally becomes my whole strength, because I do not have my own. In studying it, I was reading Ether 12:6, and then cross-referenced 2 Corinthians 12:9. It is such a blessing to see My Father, and my Savior working with and through me. I become a new creature through Christ. (See Moroni 10:32-33) As hard as it can be, I absolutely LOVE being a missionary. :)

Cold: weather- it is FREEZING here!
We had four days where we were grounded from walking but our cars were not, one day when our car was but we were not, and one day when both cars and us were grounded.
The day when we were completely locked in was wonderful in its own way though. We saw it as a tender mercy.
I spent a lot of time catching up on journaling, we cleaned up our apartment, and when the evening came, I had an awesome experience. It was pretty simple, but basically, we made a thai meal, start to finish, with actual raw ingredients. I got to be completely back in my element. I didn't have to worry about time, or stress about a lesson we'd be teaching later. It was so so nice. Again-huge tender mercy- He knows just what I need.

Bat in the chapel is pretty self explanatory. We attended Julie's sacrament meeting with her (still just trying to support her as she transitions wards) and before it started, I noticed a furry brown clump in the top corner of the chapel. I was so grossed out, and just hoped it wouldn't move. I showed one of the elders, who showed the bishop, but they weren't too worried. Then, half way through fast and testimony meeting, it took flight. This happened intermittently for the rest of the meeting, with no screaming or anything from the congregation. All the little boys were on cloud nine. It was actually pretty funny. A few minutes before the closing hymn, one of the members caught it (yes-with his hands) and took it outside. ONLY in Iowa. :)

Julie is doing well. but smoked again. She is weening herself back off. It is so hard for her. She is doing great otherwise!
Mick and Angie both missed church yesterday, each for the third time, each because of work, but both are still reading and praying and plan to be at church this week! Pray that they will come!
Hannah and Corinne are both doing fantastic. I love them so much!
Please pray that we will find people to teach, as that is what we are struggling to do right now.

I love you all! Have a good, warm week! :)
-Sister Monroe
 Sister Nye from my MTC room. I love her so much! This is the first time we've seen
each other since we got to Iowa. We had so much fun catching up all afternoon.

 Turns out the Warners, who are serving full-time in my mission are from Ramona of all places. I named everyone I could think of, and they knew them all, of course. Including Jeremy! What a small world! They are serving in the Nauvoo zone, so it was a miracle to see and meet them.

 Sister Cannon and Sister Hill (who is my sister training leader AGAIN- yay!) wanted
a picture with all the sisters they are over. :)

 A package from Lacie. I was so thrilled to get it. It came on a particularly challenging day, just when I needed some love! A scarf for me, and one for my companion, a letter and chocolate. Pretty perfect!

 A March package from my mom! I loved it, and will definitely be
passing a bunch of these cute goodies to members.

 Tada! Thai peanut sauce chicken satay! It was AMAZING! 

A delicious meal in the making!