Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 27: Hearts Knit Together

Standing in a forest on Christmas Day

This week a wonderful member of my ward here asked me about my hobbies, I told her about how I knit, (because on the inside I am a 72 year-old lady!) and her eyes lit up. "I have something for you!" she told me, and then proceeded to pull out bag after bag of YARN. My eyes opened wide and my mind started racing with possibilities of what I could do with all this yarn. What did I come up with?
    In the past week and a half I have taught three people how to knit. One was my companion, I will not even hide the fact that she and I struggled with unity this whole transfer, but knitting was something we could relate with. I knit to relieve stress in a productive way. It has been my outlet for a year now and it has helped me in so many ways. And now it is helping my companion.
    The scriptures talk about knitting only one time, but that's more than they talk about my other hobbies! (i.e. Snowskiing, wakeboarding, etc)

     Mosiah 18:21 And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.

     Knitting brought us unity, and gave us a greater love for each other. And now I will be making room in my heart for another Sister! Sister Philippi will be transferring to Olympia and I will get Sister Ireland! I have known Sister Ireland since the beginning of my mission and we will have so much fun! I am very excited to get to work with her!
     Christmas was great, I got to talk to my family! How I love them! That was the most bittersweet present I have ever received. Sweet because I just love my family and love talking to them. Bitter because I had to say goodbye all over again! But families are forever, because of Christ, and that makes everything okay!
    I love you all! Happy New Year!
     Sister Megan Monson

Bingham Missionaries, pick and shovel Elder Devenburg, Elder Pipe, Sis Monson

Christmas day with a wonderfully kind women

Christmas Eve present, sent with love

Christmas Eve with district


beautiful location

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Standing in a forest Christmas Day

Christmas Day: phone call

Really and truly we could not ask for a better Christmas present than to SEE and HEAR our daughter, after 6 months of missing her like crazy! She sounds so good, so happy and doing well. Missionary work is hard and can be discouraging and yet she does find the joy in sharing the gospel in whatever way the people around them will listen. She enjoys serving in the local food bank each week and said that they spend 10 hours a week doing service, up to 25 hours a week tracking the streets of Shelton and Union. Sister Monson said the ward does so much for the missionaries. They feed them every night, stock their pantry with food, refurnished their apartment with newer furniture, drive long distances to pick up a new box springs for her bed, and provide space heaters and lots of blankets so they can stay warm in their old little house. She mentioned how much she has learned from each companion and how much they mean to her. Sister Belliston taught her how to deal with girls, Sister Bird was a wonderful trainer who really helped her learn about herself and what she was capable of and how to be an excellent missionary. Thanks to her! Sister Webb was a very hard working companion and they trained each other. From Sister Philipi she learned compassion and love. She told us that missionary work is HARD, harder than she could ever imagine and harder than anyone ever told her. 
She has 1,400 miles per transfer to drive on her car and it is not nearly enough to see her whole area. She spends time mostly in Union and Shelton. Lots of miracles and special experiences. Working with Ben and Chantelle and Becky. Or the funny experience where they (Sister Bird and Sister Monson) had to ask the homeless man leave from the door of the church where he was charging his cell phone. Scared them to death. She tells it much better than I can write it. 
We laughed at stories and cried at others. She was too emotional at the end to share her testimony, she said she would cry, that it was too tender and too special not to. We ended with a family prayer, grateful for a chance to have John pronounce a blessing on her. By that time we were all bawling. That is when we just had to push the disconnect button... the hardest part of the day! We love our Meggins, Meggers, Meg, Megan, Sister Monson so very much! It was a choice experience to talk to her and we can't wait until Mother's Day! Merry Christmas Sister Monson! Love you to the moon and back.

waiting for the call
She's on!
enjoying the special addition for Christmas!

Darn she is so cute!

This family could not be more happy!
Sister Monson sent us a package with little gifts for each of us! A Seattle Seahawks hat for Jaymes, a stuffed bear for Tyler, a Space Needle pencil sharpener for Brayden, a snoopy figurine for John, a handmade hand band for Me and some fun home listing papers from streets she tracked in Lincoln. A small glass lady bug from the glass museum a little elephant and coloring book. A WATAC ornament and Marvel book. Special time opening hand picked presents for each of us!

gift from Megan
special package

WATAC ornament

family picture Christmas Day!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 26: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Of all the songs of Christmas, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is my very favorite. It was written by an incredible poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow soon after his son passed away. Longfellow had a terribly tragic life, losing three wives and a few of his children, and the time he wrote this poem was one of the lowest points of his life.

There's an clock tower that chimes Christmas songs in the middle of Shelton, and it made me think of the words of this beloved song.

1. I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

2. I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'un broken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

3. And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

4. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

5. Till, ringing, singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

This week is Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Savior. It is a holiday of family traditions, the giving of gifts, and the spreading of Holiday cheer. Amid the hustle and bustle of Holiday shopping, decorating, cooking, baking and making things just perfect, let's all take a minute to think about the reason for this incredible season. This world is a troubled place where it seems "there is no peace on earth... for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men." But aren't we lucky that there is another verse! 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men. 

What a blessed knowledge! God is NOT dead! We are not left alone in this world, we have a loving Father in Heaven and a Savior who came for us! We are just so blessed! 
Merry Christmas, my Friends! May we all remember the Savior at this wonderful time of year!

All my love,
Sister Megan Monson

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 25:Tender Mercies

Christmas party
    When it's freezing cold outside the natural inclination is to stay inside and stay warm but missionaries don't really have that luxury. We knock on doors even if it's utterly freezing! And it is! The biggest problem I have faced with that is cold toes, I hate having cold toes, it is one of my absolute least favorite things. Little known fact: rubber rain boots suck in the cold rather than repelling it and my toes were becoming icicles. I was on my knees every night this week begging for a way to keep my toes warm, I couldn't knock without taking a toe warming break! Turns out that the boots that will keep your feet dry won't keep them warm, but the ones that will keep you warm won't keep you dry. I finally figured the perfect way to position toe warmers and exactly how many pairs of thick socks to wear (2 plus a pair of regular socks) to keep my toes from getting numb, and life was okay, but it was still a struggle to keep my toes warm enough!
   But last night we felt super prompted to go and visit the Deacon family, and what do you know but Sister Deacon accidentally bought a pair of warm, water-proof boots in the wrong size, my size. And she gave them to me! I literally almost cried. It may seem like something small but the Lord really does answer prayers! I am so excited to have warm toes!
     Another tender mercy, we aren't allowed to knock this one particular street because it's a gated community, which is really sad because we kept thinking that there might be some really solid potential investigators there. Then we got a call from a member with a referral on that street! And it turned out to be a way solid investigator. We sat down at our appointment and asked about her interest in religion, and she says "I wasn't interested at all until now, and you know, I've really been thinking, I need to read The Book of Mormon." That is incredible!
     The Lord truly has great blessings in store for each one of His children, Nephi says
"But behold, I,Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." (1 Nephi 1:20) If we have faith in Him, He will bless us. It is incredible to see just how much He will! What are the odds that Sister Deacon would buy a pair of boots that were just perfect for me and even in my size? So slim, but the Lord made it happen because He knew I needed it! The Lord loves us!
I love you all!
Sister Megan Monson

Sister Monson and Sister Pen
Snow fall fun with companion

absolutely beautiful

Zone Conference

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 24:Comincia che Dio Provede al Resto

The only Italian I can speak is "spaghetti," "lasagne," and "pizza!" I am no linguist, but as we were knocking this week I came across this phrase that really struck me. "Comincia che Dio Provede al Resto," now to me that would mean absolutely nothing without the translation, "Begin, and God will provide the rest." What a profound statement, "begin, and God will provide the rest." Often it is hard to start a day, knowing that you will work your hardest and you will be exhausted by the end of the day. It is hard to start a project, knowing it will fill your thoughts incessantly until you finally finish. It is hard to start anything, especially when you know how hard it will be. But all you really need to do is... begin. This morning it snowed in Shelton, I am not one for snow and I was so looking forward to a winter without it, but as I gazed out my attic window I saw the glittering snowflakes and just thought about how beautiful it is. A new beginning, a fresh start.
     Picking up all that I have and coming to Shelton was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, I would again not know anyone and I would again be in a foreign place. But as I have been here, I have been so grateful for a new beginning, a chance to start fresh and to enlarge my heart to include so many new people. I can always agree that beginning is hard, I often don't want to start cleaning in my little old house because I am scared of the disgustingness that I might find. Yet, as I remember that when I start something, it will eventually get finished and then it is over. If I chose to begin something, it will eventually end, and the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing something is incomparable.
      Philippians 4:13 states, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Christ can make anything possible, there are no limits to what we can do as we trust in God and learn to do His will. My favorite scripture is Alma 26:12 " 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea,behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." As we choose to trust that God knows better than we do, we come to understand that we are better off as we do as He asks. God knows us perfectly, and He only gives us as much as we can handle. 
     This week I met a woman named Brittany. Brittany is a less active member who desperately wants to come to church but has so many stumbling blocks getting in her way. She has four children, ages 9, 6, and two 18 month-ers, and her husband has brain cancer. Because the cancer was so bad her husband had to have a huge chunk of his brain removed to defeat the cancer. So she is raising four children on her own while taking care of her husband. I have never met a stronger woman, God only calls us to bear what we can and I am in awe of her, and the faith that she has to get out of bed each morning and face the world head on.
     I know that as we have the faith to simply begin, God will truly provide the rest. We just need to take that leap of faith and it will all work out in the end.
    I love you all!
     Sister Megan Monson

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Week 23: Bonus Photos

A beautiful spot to live with wildlife and water and boats and Sister missionaries!

Sister Philippi and Sister Monson

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 23: An Attitude of Gratitude

Beautiful place to live
Sometimes it is so easy to focus on the negative things, the pain that my bed causes to my back due to an un-supportive mattress, or the fact that I literally had to spend an entire week staring at the walls of my little house. But something that I have realized is that when you focus on the negatives you can only get more negatives. Pessimism is a sad trap.
On the other had you have optimism, the opportunity to recognize the blessings that you do have. In Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 we learn "And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more." When you focus on the positive things then you can only gain more positive things. That's a great truth that I learned this past week. If you think about it, missionaries really have a lot to complain about: they are away from home, they don't get to talk to their families, and they have an intense schedule and have more on their plates than they can handle. But we're happy. God blesses us so much that it's just crazy! I love this time of year, Thanksgiving, the opportunity to thank God for all that he has given us, because we are truly so blessed.
So Now I am thankful, my gratitude list is extensive so I will only include a little bit.
I am grateful for:
  • My wonderful family! They are my rock and my motivation.
  • The Shelton 1st ward that has literally welcomed me with open arms.
  • The wonderful people In Lincoln who I miss like crazy.
  • The incredible opportunity I have to be a missionary, it truly is a blessing.
  • A fourteen year old boy who had a simple question and was willing to act on whatever the Lord told him.
  • My little house in the most beautiful place in the world.
  • My rain boots, raincoat and waterproof everything! Definitely a necessary set of equipment!
  • The rain because it makes everything so green!
  • My wonderful Mission president and his wife who are so awesome at helping me out when I need it.
  • The Gospel, because I would be so very lost without it!
  • The Book of Mormon, my absolute favorite book in the entire world.
  • And, most importantly, my Savior, Jesus Christ, who is my best friend and my older Brother, the one who would do anything for me and who already has.
I Love the opportunity to get on my knees and thank my Heavenly Father for all the many blessings that He has given me, this truly is a wonderful life!
All my Love,
Sister Megan Monson
Christmas decorations


Shelton Washington

Shelton Washington

Shelton Washington