Sunday, January 31, 2016

14 Day Challenge

I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. I think it is a stupid holiday. In college, my friend and I used to call it That Black Day. I largely ignore it. However, I do appreciate 50% off chocolate the next day. Valentine's Day seems to me to be less about love and more about romance. I am not an especially romantic person. I just have a hard time appreciating it. It is all well and good in books and movies, but real life is just not always like the stories.

Romance may not be big on my list, but love is an entirely different matter. I believe in love. Love is important. I am taking the  "Love One Another: 14-day Challenge"

"Love is not about one day, it is about everyday."

I already believe that I am doing most of these things. Sometimes those things we do in small ways everyday are ignored. Perhaps in paying attention to one thing each day I can determine if I really am doing as well as I thought. Maybe then I can improve my capacity to love. We'll see. Anything that could potentially improve my capacity to love cannot be bad.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Santarem, Obidos

The latest news from our missionary! 

Alright. This week was rather complicatedish. Mostly cause lots of travel. So we for one had our infield training/orientation thing Monday. All the missionaries leaving that week were put together and there were different activities we did as they had us prepare. Then afterwards there were a few pictures taken. Then the next day we all headed out. My companionship meet all of the different people in our district downstairs and helped them with their bags to the place they were supposed to go. Except Elder Lewis cause he left at around 3:40. So yeah. But we arrived in Belém and were met by the mission president, his wife, the assisstants, and the executive and financial secretaries for the mission. We went to one of the church buildings in Belém to meet and open and whatever because the mission presidents home was apparently too small for all of us. Then we got our assignments and ate pizza. The next day we had a training devotional for all missionaries which I think I understood most of but I know i didnt understand all of it. It was broadcasted to us in portuguese. then the next day I left for Óbidos, my area. My companion was in field and its like an hour plane ride to Santarém and a 4 hour boat ride to Óbidos. SO I met him at Santarém. But boat ride, slept in a hmmock, woke up at 2 to get off of said boat, and discovered that my shoulderbag/satchel thingy, was gone. It was there with the rest of my stuff before but poof. So its been stolen or something. Oh well. But Fortunately a lot of the stuff that i thought was in there that I really cared to keep wasnt, except my journal. My journal was in there. Now I dont have it and thats kinda annoying. Fortunately I had the forsight my last p-day in São Paulo to buy another one of the same kinda just a different color for when the first one ran out. So really. All that I lost with that was my writings in the journal about the MTC and stuff, and also my patriarichal blessing was in there. But that also is replaceable as I can order another copy. Everything that was in there I either had a replacement for or have found something that replaces it. Really our Heavenly Father works miracles. My only hope now is that assuming it was taken, since it would have to be, is that whoever took it reads the scriptures that were in that. It would be awesome if I was in Brazil for some reason around this area in a testimony meeting in some amount of years and someone got up and talked about how years ago they stole a bag on a boat that had a book of mormon in it that changed their life. But oh well. Who knows. But for church here in this ward they do meetings in a different order so that was kinda strange at first, it was the exact reverse of what I was used to. Its fairly hot.Really its just texas heat though. Like its pretty much the same. Im surprised that it isnt more humid though. Because the town is literally right next to the Amazon. Although we are a bit of a distance away I think.Not too far though. The only time I saw it was when we were on the river on that boat. Also the chapel is oddly far away I think so at least. Its a ways an all the members are pretty much right around it and the investigators are in the same area as members or farther, just depends on the people. Also I got a hammock. So far it has exactly one use. I bought a fairly decent hammock for 20 rais which is about the equivalent of 5 bucks. But it worked its sturdy and only been used once as of now. Only need to use it specifically when I take those boat trips cause thats where people, myself included, sleep. So yeah. All is good. I think. probably
But thats all for right now. I love all you guys. Have fun. 

Also I forgot to mention earlier but apparently according to the member whose house we were at the meat we had for our almoço was macaco which is monkey. So evidently I ate monkey. It didnt taste that bad. So yeah. Random fun fact. Love you all

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

In The Mission Field

Daniel is out of the MTC and into his first area in the mission. We wondered if we would hear from him today. We got an email with pictures from the mission president. Here are the pics and the letter:

Dear  Family Monzingo,
With great pleasure we inform you that Elder Monzingo arrived here in the Brazil Belem Mission on January 19, and is currently serving in city of Obidos, with his trainer Elder S. Oliveira.
Sister Stasevskas and I, along with the rest of the mission, are very excited to have your son serving here with us.
He has a great missionary spirit, with faith to do whatever the Lord commands. We would hope that you would, whenever possible, write letters to strengthen him and to encourage him in his missionary service. We give our sincere gratitude, and hope to keep in touch.
Yours truly
Sister and President Stasevskas

Obidos is on the Amazon River. It is west of Belem. Google maps couldn't give me directions so I can't tell you how long a trip it is. Google maps did tell me that current weather conditions are rainy and 77 degrees. Quick facts: Obidos is a muncipality in Para, Brazil located at the narrowest and swiftest part of the Amazon River. It's as old town founded in 1697. Population is 49,254. Thanks, Google.

UPDATE: (email from Daniel)

 So  yesterday I shipped out and and right now in the city Belém proper. But my area is actually a plane and a boat ride away. So I think I'm headed out within the next 2 days. but not sure other wise. My actual trainer is already in the area so I'm just kinda floating around with the people. I'm currently with an Elder that´s been out here for a while. Elder Black. But yeah. We had a change in the MTC presidency in the last week and a couple others in my MTC district and I got to go up to the MTC Presidents room because we were helping the current one at the time get the new ones bags up there. That was kinda cool. Today there was a missionary broadcast that was a training type thing that we got to watch which was truthfully rather cool. There were definitely times when I didn't understand and probably at least half of what I did was out of the context of the words that I did actually know. But my area if is pronounced like Obidos although I  doubt its spelled that way. I will figure that out eventually. So yeah. The flight out here whenever we were getting close to landing was rather cool. Looking out the window you could  see this massive expanse of water that was the river. It flowed around these smaller patchs  of land and such and was crazy. t was interesting to see. But that's really all for now.  Ill talk to you guys whenever P-day is. I love you guys .

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Star Wars The Next Generation

May 25, 1977. I was in second grade. Our family was living in Odessa, TX. Mom took me and my sister to the movies. We saw Star Wars. It was amazing. This is one of the very few movies that my mother would see multiple times. My sister and I (and our friends for that matter) were obsessed. We had t-shirts. We played Star Wars. I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. I didn't want to be a boy. I just wanted to be a Jedi.

Fast forward a few years. I have kids that really like Star Wars, but none quite as enthusiastically as our second grade boy. He is Star Wars obsessed. We had to have a Star Wars birthday party. I found many wonderful ideas online and we had "Jedi Training Camp". It was wild and loud and those kids had a good time. They had almost as much fun as Elizabeth and I had getting things ready.

First there were invitations to invite them to Jedi Training.

Next we made a pinata. A Death Star pinata. Thank you Google for pointing us to some good tutorials. It took us nearly a week to finish it.

One of the suggestions I found was to make light sabers out of pool noodles. Pool noodles are not available in North Texas in January. My pool guy husband thought he could get some for us. He could get them, but shipping was cost prohibitive. They aren't in season. We used insulation used for winterizing outside pipes. Worked great. The best part is the kids could whack away with their "light sabers" and no one really got hurt.

I was informed that Jedi robes were definitely required.  Everybody wanted robes. I only had time for the birthday boy.


The robes were really not that difficult to make. I may end up making more for the rest of the family. Maybe.

We had several games planned for them. Most of this was supposed to happen outside. It was a cold and drizzly day. We tried to have them run a bit, but most of it had to happened inside even the pinata. That was stressful. Kermit was very concerned about the TV. At all times either Hannah or Joseph had to act as a shield between 8-year-olds swinging a bat and the tv.

The kids had a good time. Lots of sugar. Lots of hitting each other and Joseph with light sabers. More than a little bit of wrestling. Yes. They had fun. Almost as much fun as we had putting this party together.

Last Post From the MTC

Got this from Daniel last Wednesday. 

This week our roommates left and now it is only my companions and I in our room and it looks like it might be staying that way which would be sweet. I don't know that it will happen though. Not that I don't like having Brazilian roommates but its nicer when its just us. Also yesterday was President and Sister Swenson's last devotional here as MTC president and stuff. Their calling ends this week and then they are going back to Utah.

Also this past week, for those that don't know, My youngest brother got baptized. That is pretty cool and I'm sorry that I missed it. One of those things you wish you could be there for then you're like, oh well. Also my sister Elizabeth is in young womens. Not just this week but I think I just realized it. That's also kinda strange. I half wonder if I'm gonna get back and not recognize my siblings. Probably will be so. 

This week we had class outside one day, I think it was Thursday, and we got these plastic tools and a little discussion with one of our instructors, Irma Fabiana who is really awesome, and after a small gecko fell on Elder Hiller's head. That was cool. We kept him, took pictures then let him go. He walked straight off the windowsill and tumbled and fell three-ish stories. No Idea what happened to Larry. But oh well.
We have 6ish days left in the MTC. Our Branch president has said a few times that the temple may be the house of the Lord, but this is the house of the Holy Ghost. i think hes got that right. Im gonna miss having that. But yeah. Next time I email Ill be out in the field. No idea when Im going to get to email actually. So could be a while. I love all of you guys.

Elder Monzingo

It's Great to Be 8!

Our youngest is eight. That means he is old enough to be baptized. Kermit mentioned that of all our kids he was the most excited for this day. He is not a kid that shows his excitement on the outside. He plays it all very close to the chest. Baptism day was a week ago Saturday. Jacob asked his brother, Joseph, and Grandpa Monzingo to speak. Joseph was not too very thrilled. Public speaking is not his idea of a good time, but he did well. He took time to prepare and he spoke clearly. Uncle Miles came a little late. Jacob was very happy when he saw him. After we asked Jacob how he felt. In his small whisper voice he gets when he is almost too excited he told us, "I. Am. Awesome."

Grandma and Grandpa Monzingo have given each of their grandkids new scriptures with their name engraved when they were baptized. Jacob loves his new scriptures. He has been so happy to have his own scriptures. He decided that he was going read them all from the beginning. One family scripture study we let him pick the scripture. He just shared the verse he was on. Someone begat somebody who begat someone else. It's quite a wonderful thing to see the evidence of your child trying to do what is good.

All of our kids are baptized now. I admit that I leaked a little from my eyes. I didn't know I was going to be so emotional. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that I would be. This is the last kid hitting milestones. Sometimes in the day to day process of our family growing it is hard to see how the dynamics are changing. These milestones are important for the kid and the parents. Check points to see how we are doing. Someday Kermit and I will be the grandparents handing a brand new set of scriptures to child. That someday is getting closer and closer. I think that. Is. Awesome.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year in Brazil

Letter From Elder Monzingo:

So the MTC President, President Swenson, and his wife are actually leaving the MTC around the same time as us. Their calling is ending. For the MTC Presidents its a 2 year calling. But its kinda fun cause I was talking to them and they were like, yeah we just liked you guys so much we had to leave with you. Sunday though was fast Sunday and it was really awesome. We had an MTC conference and then did our testimony meetings individually in our branches. But that was probably the best testimony meeting that I've ever been in I think. That was really awesome.

We got a new sister this week, Sister Smith, she came from Provo. But everyone in our district has some sort of sarcastic/sassy streak and she fits right in with the rest of us.

New years we got more ice cream which was really nice. Ice cream is always welcome. I didnt get icecream on my shirt this time which makes it even more welcome. Actually beter than that there were brownies. THAT was great. But the fireworks didn't really start up until after I was asleep, but some of the other elders said that it was super loud sounding like thunder right there in your ears or something and have no idea how I did not awaken from my slumber. Cause I was out pretty quickly that night actually.

And today we saw this green parrot at the temple. That was pretty cool. But yeah. Teaching is all going well and stuff, but not much else has happened. Weve talked kinda as a group about things in the MTC and actually most of them feel like we dont have enough time for personal study or whatever, but honestly I think we have the schedule we have for a reason and we may not think it will but it is going to help us.

But yeah. I love all you guys. Have fun. Don't die. Cause that would be bad

We got some pictures from him this week. I've created an album on Flikr: