Monday, April 28, 2014

Ciao, Irma Stephens!

This week has been a blast.
So much packing, laughing, goodbye-ing, picture taking, Portuguese, and more packing.
We drive her to Iowa City today at 5pm, it's an hour trip. She flies to Brazil from Des Moines tomorrow! So crazy!

This week we mostly just visited as many people as we could. We had lots of member dinners, and less-active lessons. It was a good, busy productive week! Plus, more beautiful, and then crazy weather. Oh, Iowa.

I am glad to say that I think I am finally adjusted to Davenport. The more people I get to know, the easier it is, and there are some wonderful people here. I love the ward, the area, the district, the sister training leaders, and our companionship. A couple people I especially love, and will tell you more about soon: Marianne, a recent convert who was taught by the Sisters about a year ago, she is a single sister, my parents' age, hilarious, and loves us to pieces. Brother Sanford, our ward mission leader, he is a machine. His desire to help us move the work forward is insane, and he does everything he can to help us and our "key people." (all the people we're working with- member and non)

But, as usually happens in my life, and especially my mission, when ever I feel like I'm fully adjusted to my situation and comfortable, Heavenly Father creates change so I remember to rely on and turn to Him. This time, the change is much more obvious than usual. Am I nervous for the next couple of weeks as a normal companionship with Sister King? Yes, very. Do I know that Heavenly Father is aware, in control, and wants to help me? Yes. So, I know that everything will work out. There will be hard moments, which may sometimes outweigh the easier ones, but I am fully confident that everything is in the Lord's hands. He has called us here together. He knows our challenges, as well as our strengths. Everything is going to be okay-- extremely hard, but okay. If any of you have been thinking, "maybe I'll write Sister Monroe a quick note one of these days" - it would be much appreciated these next couple weeks.

Something that I've been fascinated with these days is finding examples in the Book of Mormon of how God gives tender mercies, strength, and deliverance from trials to His children, as Nephi proclaims he will show us in 1 Nephi 1:20. I have been flipping through looking for this theme, and my testimony of these principles has been so strengthened. not only that, but I have a renewed assurance that the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture that can help us, teach us, and allow us to feel God's love. It gives me so much peace. i am so blessed to be able to do everything I can to share it with those around me each day as a missionary.

I love y'all so much.
-Sister Monroe
 BEST package ever! I love this pillowcase so much!!!

 My mom is the best, hands down!

 Sister Stephens is not happy about the ninja turtle. :)

 This is our less-active, Grace's little girl, Delilah. She is so cute.

 Me and the Mississippi

We took a pizza down to the river for our dinner on Monday. It was absolutely gorgeous.
The river was actually overflowing from the snowmelt.

 We just like to be ridiculous.

Pure, freezing cold bliss.

 I'm gonna miss this girl.

 The Quad Cities bridge.

 The sky bridge. A fun, free attraction in downtown Davenport.

 Space mountain, anyone? :)

  I love this place

 Mihna Companera

 Just too beautiful.

 There are flowers everywhere, I am in love with spring.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Daffodils, Easter and Brazil

So, I don't have much time, or too much to say, but this week was great!
Spring is actually- in real life- here! There are flowers and trees blooming everywhere, and the weather is absolutely perfect. I was extra grateful for such nice temperatures since we didn't have the car. I had almost lost all faith that ideal weather, and living plants existed, but after a long, freezing, miserable winter, I am so happy to see a real spring.

Easter was wonderful. We had a nice dinner with the Despain family. They always take such good care of us. Members make such a difference in how much you love your area. Afterward, the bishops family showed up and all the kids had an egg hunt. We shared an Easter scripture with both families before heading home for the night. It was lovely.

The night ended with a wonderful- and very unexpected phone call from President Jensen. I answered, and he asked how my Easter was, how I was liking Davenport, etc. Then he asked if he could talk to sister Stephens. We were all about freaking out at this point, because President doesn't just call... Well, after a year long wait, Sister Stephens got her visa... She's going to BRAZIL!!!!!! So exciting, and crazy. She leaves us next Monday, on which day we will be driving her to Iowa City, so don't be surprised if/when we don't e-mail until Tuesday or something... :)

I will miss her a lot. It's crazy how you can come to love someone in such a short time. Missions- they're so awesome. I am so excited to see what the rest of my mission holds. I'm liking Davenport more and more. It's crazy to think I could only have one more area!
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Don't forget about Christ just because Easter is over! He LIVES- and loves us more than we understand!

Love you!
-Sister Monroe
 Sister King buried Sister Stephens and I in balloons.

 We celebrated Sister King's birthday this week! Streamers, balloons, cake, the whole deal.
She was pretty excited. It was a good day. :)


Sweet little easter "basket" from Sister Despain. :) Yum!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Illnesses, Interviews and Interrupted spring!

This sure was a fun week.
As foreshadowed, my week unfortunately started with sickness. I came down (in a matter of like 2 hours) with an awful case of cold/cough/sore throat/sinus congestion. The mission nurse told me I was not only unsuitable for working, but also contagious. Our Tuesday and Wednesday were spent inside. But, we made the best of it.
After two days in, we had interviews with President and Sister Jensen, wonderful as usual. I felt very strongly, as confirmed to me by both of them in our interviews, that I am in this area, district, and zone for some very specific reasons. I know I will be blessed to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to work miracles here.
That night, our Sister Training leaders, Sisters Dixon and England arrived so that we could have a full day exchange on Friday. It was great to have them. Sister Dixon is my mission grandma, as she trained my trainer, Sis. Oman. She also trained Sis. Stephens, making her my aunt. We had a nice little family reunion. :) It was a good exchange, and I was really glad to get to know our STLs better, as I had never really met either of them.
The weather this week was gorgeous... until yesterday and today. we had a few wonderful spring days, one summery hot day, then a rainy, sticky, humid one, and now... a light snowfall. Gah! I want spring back, to stay for a little while! Haha.

Well, the work is still slow here. We have a lot of great plans this week and month, so I know that we will start to see miracles soon! For now, you can pray for Mike. He is our only investigator. he is a great, humble, former catholic. He is married to a less- active sister in our ward. He is not progressing at all, but he is willing to learn. Pray that he will read the book of mormon and feel the spirit of it!

I hope you lovely people have a great easter week. What a great opportunity to celebrate my Savior by serving him. I love it so much.
From Iowa with love,
Sister Monroe

Monday, April 7, 2014

How great is my calling

I am sure blessed to be a missionary right now. I absolutely loved conference, it was incredible. We are so blessed to be able to hear the words of prophets and apostles.There was one moment in yesterday's conference that hit me really hard, it was just the tiniest moment when one of the Seventies in the last session was talking about the early saints. He said that they went through Iowa... and it hit me, I thought of my family, and how you were sitting at home watching the very same thing at the very same time, and thought of me. In that moment, I felt so overcome with the spirit, I was completely enveloped in pure love and approval. I knew that I missed all of you, and you missed me, and that I am so blessed to be in this situation of being away from home and loved ones.  This was a sacred moment, a tender mercy for me. it was exactly what I have been needing.

Anyway, Davenport is great! The work is slow right now, (winter is very tough on us Iowa missionaries- nobody to talk to!) but I am absolutely sure that as we work diligently and faithfully, we will see miracles. I am also grateful, and proud, and shocked to say that this is the greatest 55 degree day of my life. The weather is great. I left the house without tights or a coat today!!! So happy! This spring weather will make it a lot easier to talk to people- they are much happier too, and they're actually outside! :)

I have to say, the bus is not as awful as I had dreamed it up to be in my head. Having never ridden a city bus before, I was pretty skeptical of how this week would go, but everything went well. Getting places took a lot longer than with a car, but it was alright. And, guess what- I did it, I actually had a conversation with a nice, interested lady on the bus, which ended (by plenty of help from the Spirit) with me basically teaching the restoration. I gave her a card with our number, and invited her to take a look. Whether she will or not, I don't know, but I do know that I felt how proud Heavenly Father was of me as we exited the bus. I had done exactly as he asks me to do "Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled." It was a wonderful experience.

I was very grateful and felt very loved this week when I got a couple cards and a cute little stuffed camel on my "hump day." :) I cannot believe that my mission is half over!!! At the same time, I feel like I have been on my mission for so so long sometimes. I never want to be released, I never want to go home, I love being a full- time missionary so much. I had a two minute freak out this week as I thought for a moment too long about college and working when I get back, and how it will all work out. The blessing and miracle of this precious time in my life is that for nine more months, I don't even have to think about it. Nothing else matters but doing my Savior's work right now. Of course I miss home and family and friends, and there are things I can't wait to do and see again, but all of that is in Heavenly Father's hands. I don't have to do anything but be the best missionary I possibly can right now. I have 9 more months to give my whole self to this incredible work, and I intend to make the best of every single day.

Thank you for your prayers of love and support- I feel them, so often, and they mean the world to me. 9 fast sundays! ;)

So much love,
Sister Monroe
 We love the bus! This was while we were waiting at the transit center before the bus routed back to our apartment. Sister King is in the back, and Sister Stephens is next to me. 

 I made a fake Sister Stephens while she was in the bathroom before bed. It took her a minute to notice, but she thought it was pretty funny.

  "hump day" mail. I was so happy! So fun!

 A sweet box of happiness from my Evie. :)

Sometimes you put your stuffed animals in the corner of your bed in the morning without looking, and then you go to get into bed and find them like this. Too funny.