Monday, December 11, 2017

Bless Them that Curse you

As Christ taught the sermon on the Mount, He taught the people to not only love those who were kind to them, but also those who were UNKIND to them:
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" (Matthew 5:44)
I had to laugh when this was the #LighttheWorld scripture on a day it fit my situation perfectly.
Background: Our zone was doing a unique fast where each companionship took a turn to fast, instead of all fasting at the same time. We were fasting for the success of the zone and of the mission.
So Sister Rust and I were fasting on Friday, the 8th. I am not a good faster, I do not do well when I am fasting, so it's already hard for me, many of my companions have told me I get really hangry when I fast... I can't deny it.
Along with doing our fast we were asked to send out a pump-up text to the zone. Pump-up texts are not my forte, so we were wracking our brains trying to come up with something to say. We looked at the clock and realized it was lunch time, so giggling, we sent out a text to "Pump everyone Up" for eating lunch. We joked about how they should all eat a little extra in honor of us.
As we were giggling, a set of elders texted back with a message about how we need to skip lunch breaks (because apparently eating is a waste of time?) and just knock doors instead.
I knew they just wanted to provoke me, but I unfortunately took the bait and told them to "swallow [their] stupid pride." Yep... that got me in big doo-doo trouble. Moments later a text went out to the whole zone, meant to tear down everything I had said in my "pump-up" text.
I was humiliated, heart-broken, and angry. It seemed inconceivable to me that another missionary, a servant of the Lord, would purposely do something so unkind and purposely targeted. 
So, naturally, I cried.
I soon remembered the scripture of the day, "bless them that curse you... pray for them which despitefully use you..." My anger and my humiliation was not magically dissipated, but I was able to think more clearly. I remembered that those who are hardest to love need love them most. So I got on my knees and prayed for them to find success in their proselyting and to be able to feel the love the Savior has for them.
I can't tell you that forgiveness is easy, I can't tell you that I don't still grit my teeth a little whenever I have to pray for someone I don't exactly like, but I'm working on it. The Savior asks for us to try, and that is what I am doing.
All my love to you,
Sister Megan Monson

Monday, December 4, 2017

It's Not How Much You Have

And so begins the Beginning of the end. I entered my final transfer this week, and I am still shocked that it really does end! The day I entered the mission field, I was shocked as I realized that I had signed myself up to do this for 18 months straight with no breaks. Every single day felt like an eternity, I watched other missionaries prepare to go home and I thought my time would never come. And yet I'm realizing that it really does end, I really will go home.

President Uchtdorf said something last night at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional that really struck me. He taught, "It's not how much you have, it's how much you love." He was speaking of material things, such as toys and Christmas gifts, but I related that to my mission.

 "It's not about how much [time] you have [left], it's about how much you love [the time you do have]."

 Five weeks from tomorrow I will walk onto and airplane and I will run into the arms of my amazing family, probably crying and totally drained from giving my all every day for the last 18 months. BUT I still have five whole weeks. And what will I do with them?
I will LOVE every second I have left as a full-time missionary. I will work my hardest, wear out my rain boots and trash all my clothes. I will serve my companion and give my very best ever single day. That's what I have tried to do for the last 17 months, and that is what I will continue to do for my last 5 weeks. I love this work, I really truly do, and I love the Lord, and I will give Him my everything.

As for me: Sister Rust and I are killing it here in Brookdale. I was only gone for four weeks, so hardly anyone noticed my absence, but I was surprised how many people I actually know in this ward! I thought I didn't really know anyone! It has been so much fun to get back with Sister Rust and give each other an update on our missions and what has all happened in the 5 transfers we have been apart.
Not much else happened this week! Just a lot of knocking doors!

All my love to you,
Sister Megan Monson
 Light The World!

help make quilts in Gig Harbor

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tears on His Feet

Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks, eating much more than we need to, and spending time with loved ones. This holiday was a great one, we were asked not to proselyte by our Mission President, so I got a Thanksgiving nap! Basically my favorite part!
While I was studying in the New Testament, I came across this passage in the book of Luke chapter 7:
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
This woman KNEW who her Savior was, and she wanted to give him thanks, so she did everything she possibly could.
Naturally, the Pharisees were not happy about Christ allowing such a "sinner" to wash His feet:
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it,he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
Christ took this as a teaching opportunity, to help the Pharisee understand, rather than chistizing him, the Savior taught him.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgavethem both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
I love this story. Even though this woman had been carrying around a load of sins, the Savior forgave her. Because of her sins, she loved the Savior more than he who had few sins. This story taught me a lot about gratitude. Gratitude leads to action, we cannot just be grateful and do nothing in return. The Savior has done EVERYTHING for each and every one of us, He knows us perfectly, loves us perfectly, and carries us through our sins and imperfections. I am eternally grateful for His sacrifice for me.
This principle is amazingly demonstrated by a couple I met in my first area, the Bakers. Before they joined the church, Brother Baker was a drunk. He was not a good person, (I can share this all because they told me I could) Sister Baker was on the brink of leaving him, and their life was in shambles, and then the missionaries came knocking on their door. These are two of the most incredible people I have ever met, and this week they took my two companions and I to lunch and I was reminded once again how anazing they are. People like the Bakers are the reason I am serving a mission!
As for transfer news, this one is super exciting! I am going to go back to Brookdale ward, where I was emergency transferred from, with my amazing trainee, Sister Rust! It will be a great trasnfer, crazy that it will also be my last, but it will be good!
All my love for all of you, Sister Megan Monson

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Things I do not know...

Yesterday we got a text from our amazing mission president, he encouraged us to go and view the broadcast of the Face to Face with Elder Dallin H Oaks and Elder M Russel Ballard. What a treat! We don't normally get to go see things like that because we are doing our missionary work, but he felt like we needed to go, so we did!
I had so many of my questions answered and so many of my fears calmed. Elder Oaks shared a thought that really struck a chord with me, he said, "I do not know the answers to all questions, but I do know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God who restored the fullness of the gospel on the earth." 
That really made me think.
I do not know why a 14 year-old boy was the one to restore the truthfulness of the gospel. I do not know why polygamy had to be a thing. I don't really understand a lot about Kolob. I do not know why it says in Revelations not to add or take away. Let's be honest here, I really don't fully grasp al of the gospel.
I was reminded of a quote by Elder David A Bednar:
I do not know why some people learn the lessons of eternity through trial and suffering—while others learn similar lessons through rescue and healing. I do not know all of the reasons, all of the purposes, and I do not know everything about the Lord’s timing. With Nephi, you and I can say that we “do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17).
But some things I absolutely do know. I know we are spirit sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. I know the Eternal Father is the author of the plan of happiness. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know Jesus enabled the Father’s plan through His infinite and eternal Atonement. I know that the Lord, who was “bruised, broken, [and] torn for us” (“Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King,” Hymns, no. 181), can succor and strengthen “his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:12). And I know one of the greatest blessings of mortality is to not shrink and to allow our individual will to be “swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7).
Though I do not know everything about how and when and where and why these blessings occur, I do know and I witness they are real. I testify that all of these things are true—and that we know enough by the power of the Holy Ghost to bear sure witness of their divinity, reality, and efficacy.

Though there are so very many things I do not understand, at the same time I understand what is most important. I understand that Joseph Smith is a Prophet. I do know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, he is my Redeemer and my friend. I do know that the Book of Mormon is true. I do know that families are eternal. I do know that this is the greatest work we could ever be involved in. So why would it matter if I don't have all the answers? I know that this Church is true, and that is all that matters to me.
All my love,
Sister Megan Monson
PS Happy Thanksgiving!

riding in the car

selfie, what else am I to do while sitting in the back?

Pudget Sound

Monday, November 13, 2017

Today is the BEST day of your Mission

What an incredible week! So many, many things happened, and I could tell you so many stories of this week, but I'll limit it to one, the best one of course!
Elder Kearon, companions, Elder Stevenson
This past Saturday our mission had two very special visitors, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke to our mission. What a blessing! As they each spoke I felt a renewed desire to fulfill my calling and to work as hard as I can until I go home. I was invigorated to work and to find those who need the gospel. What a blessing. Elder Kearon spoke on retaining our recent converts and I nearly started crying as I realized that every person I have taught and baptized has stayed active in the church thus far. What a miracle. I love my recent converts with all of my heart, and I am reminded of a verse in Alma 17. Alma sees his friends for the first time in years, this is how he describes it:
2 "Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord..."
What a blessing it is to know that those who the Spirit has used me as an instrument to touch have not fallen away from that!
Before the meeting, we were able to shake hands with each of them, as I shook Elder Stevenson's hand, he spoke of my Grandparents and how much he loved them. When I shook the hand of Elder Kearon, he spoke of my parents and told me to meet him after the meeting because he had something for me from them. So after the meeting my companions and I rushed to find Elder Kearon. Our sweet mission president beckoned us into an office, where we found not only Elder Kearon, but also Elder Stevenson. What a treat to spend time with two incredible servants of the Lord. We spent just five minutes together, but they are five minutes I will never forget. Elder Kearon handed me a letter and some candies from my sweet parents and told me of how much he loves them. Elder Stevenson talked about my grandparents and how his father was their bishop when my Grandma Diana passed away.(editors note: no coincidences, the Lord knows each one of us no matter where we are or what we are doing) Their example taught me a lot about focusing on the ONE. They came all the way to Washington to meet with thousands of people, and yet they chose to spend a few minutes of their time with a sister missionary who needed a boost. That is how the Savior worked; while he taught the multitudes, he would stop to heal the one person along His way, or to teach the one person who needed a little more encouragement. It was truly an incredible experience to be that one. How incredible this gospel is!
All my love, 
Sister Megan Monson
Lunch with Sister Lee
cute companions

doing missionary work

doing more missionary work

trying to stay warm
Zone Conference-comp unity

view of Seattle from Gig

Monday, November 6, 2017

To Love Another Person...

Thursday morning at 7:15 I hugged my sweet companion, Sister Ramazetti, good-bye and wished her luck. After a constant battle, God told Sister Ramazetti it was time to go home to get better. So she flew off to California, and I was transferred to Gig Harbor, in the Crescent Valley ward! My new companions are Sister Jennings (from Georgia) and Sister Peterson (from Lehi, Utah) and we are quite a dynamic trio!
I learned a very profound lesson from Sister Ramazetti that has really had me thinking. Elder David A Bednar once said "Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of others when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward."
It always amazed me that whenever Sister Ramazetti was feeling absolutely horrible, she would be more concerned about me than about herself. She was constantly worried that I would be bored, so she bought me puzzles to keep me busy. She was always thinking of ways to help me endure HER illness, instead of thinking about herself. She wanted my happiness more than she cared about her own. And when she decided to go home, she was constantly apologizing that I would have to switch companions yet again, when she was the one who would be going home.
Olaf on Frozen says "Love is putting someone else's needs above your own." And Sister Ramazetti, despite debilitating illness, put my needs above hers.
Elder Bednar teaches that "Ultimately the gift of charity possesses us--we do not possess it." If we are truly charitable then it becomes who we are, we can't just have a Christ-like love, that love has to compel us to act and to do things that we normally would not do.
Jean Valjean (from Les Miserables) says "to love another person is to see the face of God." Love truly changes the way we look at others, we are here, amidst the children of God, do we see them that way? Something to think about.
All my love to you,
Sister Megan Monson

Here is the talk from Elder Bednar that she references to:

new companions Sister Jennings and Peterson

temple trip with recent convert and comps

for you Sister Plume