Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Greatest Gifts

Merry Christmas Everyone! A day late, but at least I said it!

This Christmas as I reflected on some of the gifts my Heavenly Father has given me, a few stood out in particular. More specifically, 14 stood out to me, the 14 companions I have had over the past 18 months. I have truly been so incredibly blessed with the companions I have had; I love and adore each and every one of them so much and I have learned so much from each of them, as my mission draws to a close, I want to write and publicly thank them for all the wonderful things they each have taught me.
Sister Belliston and Monson
On day one of my mission I met Sister Marissa Belliston, my very first companion. Our time together in the MTC was characterized by learning. We learned so much from our teachers, out district and each other. Sister Belliston taught me how to truly, deeply love the Gospel. The way she talked about the gospel was inspiring and always invited the Spirit. I learned to love the gospel for all that it has done for me and I really came to realize how blessed am I to have it while I was with Sister Belliston. She loves her Father in Heaven and she truly had a desire to serve Him.
Sisters Bird and Monson
When I got off the plane in Washington I met Sister Kennedy Bird, my trainer and still one of my best friends. We were "doubled in" to Lincoln, meaning both of us didn't know the area, but we immediately went to work. Sister Bird taught me everything, and it is hard to just choose one thing. What I learned most from Sister Bird was to love working. She gave the work her hardest every single day; she never gave up, even when we weren’t seeing success. I learned that the gospel is more important than how tired I am or how much I want to quit. The work became my passion while I was with Sister Bird. My companionship with Sister Bird was definitely inspired, as my mission president said, "God definitely knew what He was doing when He put you two together."
At the end of our 12 weeks together, Sister Bird moved on and I stayed in Lincoln getting 
Sister Monson and Webb
Sister Kalynn Webb as my 3rd companion. From Sister Webb I learned to find the simple pleasures in life. We would take pictures in puddles and laugh at our botched-up door approaches. She helped me see that there is joy in the journey and that there is nothing wrong with having fun while you are serving the Lord. She taught me that while it is all about the work, God doesn't expect us to be robots while we do it.
Sister Monson and Philippi
After 4 months I left my beloved Lincoln ward, and went into the great unknown of Shelton, Washington. Sister Sheli Philippi was my companion and she was truly inspirational for me. With Sister Philippi I learned to continue pressing forward, despite difficult circumstances. Her whole mission was hard, and yet, she finished strong. We didn’t always get along, but she taught me that we are not to stand in the way of the Lord’s work. She exemplified the phrase “Forget yourself and go to work.” She never faltered in her resolve to serve the Lord, she knew why she was here.
Just after Christmas last year I got a great gift. I got 
Sister Monson and Ireland
Sister Taylor Ireland as my companion. Sister Ireland was definitely one of my very favorite companions. We were the ultimate dynamic duo. Sister Ireland taught me how to be diligent. We worked so ridiculously hard, and saw little success, but she taught me that we don’t deserve success until we have done everything we can. She never tired and hardly ever stopped for air, but she was always working, always giving her all to the work of the Lord. I may or may not have cried at losing Sister Ireland.
Sister Rust and Monson
After a short six weeks with Sister Ireland, I got the call to train Sister Kaitlin Rust, Sister Rust is basically perfect for me. She is literally from my hometown, we know a lot of the same people and we are just the best of friends. Sister Rust exemplified faith. She didn’t care that she had no experience as a missionary; she knew that something would happen because of her coming on a mission. She showed me that “greenie faith” is not limited to new missionaries, but the faith to find should be in every one. She taught me how to expect miracles and count on God’s hand to help us achieve our goals. After 12 weeks, Sister Rust and I were both transferred, and my heart broke when we were separated.
After six months in Shelton, I was thrust back into the city life up in Manette Ward in Bremerton with 
Sister Plum and Monson
Sister Hannah Pluim, I adore Sister Pluim. To be frank, we sometimes struggled, but we ended up as best friends.Sister Pluim taught me that “without the Spirit you shall not teach.” One morning, when I was grumpy, she told me “we cannot go out to work until we can be friends.” And we didn’t, until we were able to work in harmony we knew we couldn’t go out and save anyone’s souls. She taught me about compromise and about loving each other enough to correct each other.
12 weeks later Sister Pluim and I both left Manette and I headed further north to Silverdale. Sister Paige Stallings. 
Sister Monson and Stallings
From Sister Stallings I learned that there is no shame in asking for help when you need it. She taught me that it is okay to have something wrong, even expected, and getting the help you need is necessary and healthy. Sister Stallings was with me at the hardest time of my mission and she was always there to support me.
Sisters,Larson, Monson Peterson
My stint in Silverdale was nothing if not brief, six weeks later I found myself in Parkland, with Sister Ashlyn Larsen and Sister Cassie Powell. Sister Larsen exemplifies charity. I have never heard her say anything negative about anyone. She was my shoulder to cry on, my cheerleader, and is one of my greatest friends. She is always there to talk, and her love never falters. Sister Powell taught me that the gospel is far more important than someone’s “no soliciting” sign. She talked to everyone, and she loved them from the moment she met them. There is no harsh bone in her body, she shared the gospel with everyone, not just those who were already ready to hop in the font.
As quickly as our companionship started, it ended. 11 days later I was emergency transferred to Brookdale with Sister Caitlin York.
Sister York and Monson
Sister York is amazing and I love her dearly! Sister York taught me that life is fun. She never let the opinions, thoughts, or actions of others get to her. She always had a smile on her face and joy in her heart, she didn’t care who you were, she was happy to see you. There was never a dull day with Sister York. She never let me down, she always did what she said she would. Sister York helped me out of a pit I had found myself in, and taught me how to be happy.
Sister Talia Ramazetti 
Sister Ramazetti and Monson
was next in my long line-up. Sister Ramazetti amazed me. She was incredibly ill, but she kept going. With Sister Ramazetti I learned to diligently seek the Lord’s will and to do His will, rather than my own. She so desperately wanted to finish her mission, and she didn’t want to quit. When she realized that she had to make that decision, she immediately began to fast and pray to know what the Lord would have her do. In the end she went home, but she didn’t view it as a sign of failure. Sister Ramazetti served valiantly to the end.
Sisters Monson, Jennings, Peterson
When Sister Ramazetti went home, I found myself Emergency transferred again to Gig Harbor in yet another trio. Sister Kelcie Jennings and Sister Kaela Peterson were my new comrades and they invited me into their companionship with open arms. At the end of her mission, I got to serve with Sister Jennings, she is an incredible example of enduring to the end. Although she only had a few weeks left, you wouldn’t know it. She was diligent and faithful to the very last day of her mission. She never talked about going home and she never wished to go home, she knew she was where she needed to be. Sister Peterson showed me that you didn’t have to report the best numbers to be successful. At 6 months into her mission, she hadn’t had a baptism, but that never slowed her down. She was successful in her mission because her whole heart was in it. Sister Peterson reminded me of myself when I was 6 months in without a baptism, and I knew that her first baptism will be the sweetest one. She showed patience by waiting for the Lord, and diligence by continuing to work.
Sister Monson and Rust
My last transfer has been spent back here in Brookdale, with my beloved Sister Kaitlin Rust, I love and adore her more than anything I could ever describe! The second time around with Sister Rust I learned just how much the mission has changed me. It had been almost 8 months since we were companions the first time, and we both changed so much in those 8 months. Being close to the Spirit truly helps you to develop into the person God wants you to be, and I saw that change in Sister Rust, and she helped me to see that change in me. In the end we will have spent 18 weeks, almost 1/4th of our missions together, and we have definitely changed a lot. She has changed my life and I am forever grateful for her!

What tremendous gifts my Heavenly Father has given me, He must love me a whole lot to bless me with 14 amazing people who have shaped and changed my life forever!
All my love to you,
Sister Megan Monson

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

He is the Light of the World

This week Sister Rust and I had two awesome experiences with #LighttheWorld both of which helped us to feel the Spirit of Christmas and to spread that to others.

It all started on Thursday, we were weekly planning and we realized that we had $20 from our mission president that was given to us specifically to use for #LighttheWorld, and we hadn't touched any of it! What were we to do with this little wad of cash that was burning a hole in our pockets? We we pulled out the calendars we have for the initiative and said a little prayer to ask Heavenly Father what we should do with the money we had been given.
The first thought I had was to give scarves to homeless people, because they need something warm for the holidays! This coordinated perfectly with Day 16 "I was naked and ye clothed me." Sister Rust agreed with that idea and we agreed to go get scarves from the Dollar Tree down the street and tie them around posts down Pacific Avenue, the main street near our house. We figured we could do about 5 of those, leaving us $15 to do something else.
We were stumped for a few minutes, but we read on Day 15 "Blessed are the Merciful" accompanied by a suggestion to do something special for someone in need. We thought about it and came up with a name of someone we thought we could do something nice for, but we also wanted our Bishop's input. So we texted him, and he replied with the exact same name we had come up with! Can you say "Revelation"? It was perfect!

So we went on a $20 spending spree at the good old Dollar Tree, and got scarves and presents for this family. We gave them a copy of Joy to the World and some popcorn for a movie night, toys for the kids, and pampering stuff for this sweet single sister. We stuffed all these things into individual stockings and dropped them off on their porch.

What we gave was nothing big, we only had $20, but it was something that those kids will probably remember and be grateful for.
I love this opportunity we have to #LighttheWorld. Our Savior, Jesus Christ is the light of the world, and as we share that light with others, everyone is blessed. This world needs a little more Jesus, so we all need to go out and share His light!

All my love and a Merry Christmas!
Sister Megan Monson

Sister missionaries Sister Monson and Rust

Home of Almond Rosa

#lighttheworld day16

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