Monday, September 29, 2014

The Family is of God!

It was an incredible, exhausting week, as per usual. Except, this time it was topped of by an amazing general women's meeting and then the primary program- plus, we did a mission fast!
I want to tell you all just a couple of the things I learned this week as I studied exclusively from the Book of Mormon and Chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel (You all had better be studying both of those!). The first thing that I realized was that just about everything I understand about my relationship with my Savior I have learned, from my infancy, through the Book of Mormon. I absolutely love the New Testament, and it teaches me who the Savior is, what He did, but the Book of Mormon tells me what I am supposed to do with that wonderful knowledge- how it all applies to me. The other thing that I realized is that you simply cannot have a firm- or really any sort of lasting testimony of the restored gospel without reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. It truly is the keystone of our religion, and "it contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel."- BofM Intro page. This is why so many people, member and non-member struggle so hard with their testimonies! It doesn't matter what you are struggling with, be it the principle of grace, or the commandments, or how the spirit works, or why the Priesthood or the temple are so important- it ALL comes back to the Book of Mormon. If you read it, pray about it, and receive an answer that it is true- everything else will fall into place, your questions and struggles will be resolved. I promise! Do me a favor- I'm serious about this, Read the introduction, and then moroni 10 from the Book of Mormon, then take the time to heed moroni's promise. Pray to know if the Book of Mormon, the gospel, the church, Jesus being the Savior, the Priesthood being on the earth today, are true. He will answer you, and you will have a stronger testimony all around.

Okay, now I'll tell you how people are doing. :)
Herb and Carolyn are... well, they're are Herb and Carolyn. I love them, and they are doing good- not great, but good. We continue to have really powerful lessons with them, and they say they will do things, and then they fail to act. It is sad. There is always something in the way. This week they left on Sunday morning to visit their daughter in Michigan, so they obviously weren't able to come to church. On the up side, however, Carolyn did come with us to the General Women's Meeting, and she seemed to really enjoy it. We are really really hoping and praying that they come to church this week.
That broadcast was incredible for me, exactly what I needed to hear. I especially loved President Uchtdorf's talk. The spirit washed over me as he testified of Heavenly Father's perfect love for us- and for me.

We had exchanges, and I got to work with my beloved Sister Nye. She is awesome, and we had a lot of fun. I have sure missed her since we parted ways after the MTC. It was a blast to have her as my companion for a day. So much Joy. Later this week (Sunday) Sister Browne and Sister Nye had a family get baptized, and we got to go because I've taught them twice on exchanges and Sister Jensen and I taught them last week. Sister Barker had come down from Des Moines with her companion, Sister Whipple! Remember her? We served together in Dubuque. :) Let me tell you, we were so happy to see each other. I didn't get a picture with her, but it was seriously great to see her, and talk with her.

Lastly, I just want to share how grateful I am for my family. Yesterday, to close the primary program, they sang the new song "The Family is of God," and I was just overcome. NO, mine is not perfect, but I am eternally grateful to have had such a great upbringing in my incredible family. These words really hit me- and not just because the children were yell- singing them at me. :) "God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God." I am just grateful. So grateful. I am who I am because of my family, and someday I will have a little family of my own to love and teach the gospel.

I love my mission so so so so much. I am learning more than I ever thought I could or would each day! I cannot believe that I will be home in 3 and a half months. I am both excited and terrified. I never want this to end.

I love you all so much.
-Sister Monroe

 Same as last year, the missionary department in salt lake requires that we get a flu shot. We forced ourselves to just get it over with on Tuesday, and rewarded ourselves afterward with blizzards. :) We got a text from Sister Jensen the next day telling us that we won the prize for most obedient missionaries, we were the first to get them and report it! High five.

 I am slowly growing an addiction to blizzards and orange julius.
That happens when it's literally one of 2 fast food establishments in your area.

 Sister Nye came to our area on exchanges with me, and our companions worked in their area- it was awesome! Sister Nye got to meet and teach the infamous Shallenbergers. :)

 Elder and sister Warner went home yesterday morning! :( We made sure to stop in
and say goodbye on Saturday night. I love them so much, I will miss them!
The couple that replaced them is wonderful too though!

My companion. She's a goob, and I love her.

Monday, September 22, 2014

News from the Field

My, oh my, what a week it's been! The work right now is seriously slow- the Shallenbergers will be the death of me, because I love them so much, and because after the most real, spiritually exhausting lesson of my life with Carolyn, they skipped out on church again. Gah, everyone just needs to go to church! Haha. It's okay though, we'll get them there. Not too much has changed with them, keep praying for them please!

Sister Jensen and I have been having a lot of fun. This week, we found a panini maker in our apartment, a member gave us a giant whiteboard, 7 strings of multi-color Christmas lights, and a revolving, color changing fiber optic Christmas tree- they were just getting rid of them! :) We also got a sweet package from Sister Jensen's last companion's mom! People are so kind. (that's the above photo)

Oh, we did have a miracle, one of the recent converts we have been working with who hasn't been to the temple yet because of not paying tithing, paid her tithing!!! Hooray for keeping the commandments!

Also, we had zone conference this week, and it was wonderful. Just the spiritual boost I needed- as zone conference always is.

I am at a loss of what to share with you all. I am learning so so much, and I just can't explain it! I will tell you though, that we are doing a mission fast this saturday, to know how we can better use the book of mormon. In preparation, we are studying strictly the book of mormon, and ch. 5 of preach my gospel in our personal studies this week. I am excited to once again strengthen my testimony of the divinity of the book of mormon, because I love it. I have been hitting a spiritual wall lately as I am studying it for the 4th time on my mission, and I know this week and the fast will push me through that. I can't wait.

Well, I love you all so much. I know with all of my heart and soul that this gospel is true- I know it more strongly each day. Thank you for supporting me on this journey.

-Sister Monroe

 Sister Jensen fell asleep literally in the middle of our nightly planning session.
One second we were talking, the next she was out cold.
Missionary work is the best, and it's incredibly exhausting. :)

 It's the most beautiful time of the year! :)

 You better believe we went again this morning.

 What a beautiful place.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy fall Y'all!!!

So, the pictures I've sent tell you the most fun, exciting things of the week, but I guess I'll fill y'all in a bit more. :)
It's been a good, busy week. The Shallenbergers (Herb and Carolyn) are progressing pretty well. This week we taught tithing, and it went really well. I love them so much. Our only struggle has been getting them to church. Things keep coming up that keep them from going, like relatives coming to see them, herb working, etc. Other than that they are doing really well. Please pray that they will receive an answer to their prayers, come to church, and be baptized!
We have had a tough time getting a hold of our potentials this week, and we weren't able to see Liz or Jenny, but we see Jenny tonight and hopefully Liz this weekend or next week sometime- she is seriously so busy.
Oh! one crazy thing- this week, the weather completely flipped. One day we were blasting the AC in our car and cooling our house, the next we were heating both. I think fall is here, which means winter is coming- which totally freaks me out. I come home this winter, people! So crazy!!!
Anyway, things are going well. I love it here. This is a hard, I mean hard area, but it is the best. There are so many blessings of serving- and even more of serving here.
I love you all so much.
-Sister Monroe

This last week, the Warners, who usually drive us to things, asked us for a ride to district meeting while their car was getting worked on. It was so backwards and fun.
I love them to pieces. They go home this month! :(
A sweet package from my sweet mom and her sweet friend. :)
 There was a huge rain/thunder storm Tuesday night. Just as we were going to bed, there was a really huge lightning that sounded super close to our little house. Well, sure enough, we went out in the morning, and saw this... The lightning struck right into the center of our neighbor's tree across the street, it split right at the base and fell over, hitting their neighbor's car in the process. So insane!

 You could see where the lightning burned the tree inside. I don't know
if you can tell, but this tree is massive.

 The gutters were like tiny rivers, this is like a foot of water. I was perfectly happy, I
love the rain and thunder and lightning. Just call me a true mid-western-er.

 President Jensen lets us take a district temple trip at the end of each transfer.
So wonderful. ( Sister Barker- on the far right, got transferred. Guess who replaced her! Sister Nye from my MTC zone/room!!)

 We went to try one of our potential investigators. She wasn't home, but this
huge dragonfly was on her porch light!

 I love the bugs here. Haha- no, I don't, but some of them are really cool looking!

 Sometimes you just need a cookie ice cream sandwich, and then you need to make weird faces and take a picture while you eat them. Ya know? 

 Stuck behind a tractor on a two lane road? You must be in the mid west. :)

 I love my companion, so much.

 I got two birchboxes that had been waiting for me at the mission office, the warners brought them back from transfers. Thanks again, Air! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

14 reasons I love my mission

So, on my 14 month click day (that's what we call them around here) I made a list of 14 reasons
that I love my mission. It was really wonderful to just sit and think about that throughout the day.
There are many more reasons, but I want to share my list of 14 with you:

1) I get to wear a black tag and represent Christ each day. It's the best.
2) I am set apart from the world, and endowed with Spiritual power.
3) I get to help people find, use, and be changed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
4) President and Sister Jensen- I just love them. :)
5) Missionary meetings- I've never felt the spirit as strong or learned as much as I do in our meetings, it's incredible.
6) The people. I would never have met so many of them if I didn't serve- but I did, and have gained lifelong friends.
7) The blessings that my family is receiving are immeasurable.
8) The trial, learning, and growth- I am forever changed.
9) Every single day is significant.
10) The scriptures have totally new meaning.
11) Companions- they are just so much fun!
12) The talks I never would've known about that get passed from missionary to missionary.
13) The rules and schedule- they give me true purpose and motivation.
14) The Iowa Des Moines Mission, it's the best mission in the world. :)


I am doing much better.Sister jensen and I have resolved to give our wills over to Heavenly Father and consecrate ourselves to the work, both as individuals and as a companionship. We have seen immediate blessings and miracles from this effort. This week, we set a baptismal date with Herb and Carolyn. They are talking and praying about it, but really we feel that this is the most committed/the closest they've ever been to being baptized. Please pray for them that their hearts will be softened (especially Carolyn's) and that they will really work toward being baptized on October 18th!
We also taught a new investigator and committed her to be baptized. We had met her briefly before, and she told us that her brother is a member who recently (like 18 months ago) got home from a mission in Africa. Well, that brother came into town this week, and he invited us to Liz's house for dinner. He asked us to teach about the Family Proclamation. It went really well. Liz is a new mom, and she said that this wouldn't really have meant anything to her before, but now it seems so important. She had been taught by missionaries before, just a little bit while her brother was serving his mission, and we asked her if she would be willing to meet with us and learn about it again- she said she would! She is really awesome. The only thing that will be tough is that she is really busy, so please pray that we will be able to make and keep appointments with her!
We did some finding yesterday, and we found a few really solid potential investigators, so that is exciting too!

I am just so happy. My mission is hard, really hard, and this area is hard, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. We get transfer calls today, and we are pretty sure we'll stay together one more transfer, which will actually only be 5 weeks this time. They do this once a year to line up with the mission call and MTC report date schedule. Anyway, I love each of you. Thank you for your support.
-Sister Monroe

Monday, September 1, 2014

I believe in Christ!

Wow, so many awesome things happened this week. Let me just tell you;

We taught seminary at Carthage jail!!! (Are you kidding me? I can't believe how cool that is!) Brother Raisor is the teacher, and when he was called a few months ago, he asked the stake president if he could teach at the carthage jail visitors center this year since it's doctrine and covenants. Stake president asked the area authority... and eventually, Bro. Raisor got First Presidency approval to do it!!! So awesome. Anyway, he was going to be teaching about the first vision on Thursday, and he asked us to do it. What an incredible privilege. It was great, the spirit was really strong.

I toured carthage jail for the first time in my life! We took Herb and Carolyn, they've been plenty of times, but we felt it would be good. They had a good experience. Carolyn said she learns something new every time. I loved it. The Spirit is strong, and so different than in other places, it testifies of the martyrdom of the prophet with undeniable clarity. That night, Herb and Carolyn had a breakthrough. Herb bore his testimony to Carolyn that he knows the church is true, and that they should be baptized, he told her that he wants to be sealed to her. It was so tender, and it took a couple days, but the next time we saw carolyn, the spirit had softened her so much. They are so close to baptism. Please pray for them- carolyn especially that they will accept and stick to a baptismal date!

 I had amazing interviews with President and Sister Jensen. To top it all off, we went to the temple this morning! I have been struggling, spiritually and emotionally, and this week I hit rock bottom. Now I am headed back up. Heavenly Father is building me, refining me. I am beyond words to express my gratitude for my Heavenly Father and my Savior. It is a painful but beautiful process to be a part of. I am helping others change, and He is changing me, so much for the better.

I am so happy and grateful to be here- so grateful.
Thank you for your prayers and love. I need and feel them!

All my love from Nauvoo,
Sister Monroe

 I love this place.

 Crazy teenagers- gotta love 'em

 Through the original bullet hole made by the shot that killed Hyrum.

 This is the window that Joseph jumped out of as he was shot. 

 Herb and Carolyn Shallenberger. :)

 Carthage jail. There just aren't words to explain how it feels to be there.

 Nauvoo sunsets are just so beautiful.