Sister Mckenzie Madsen
California San Diego Mission
7404 Armstrong Place
San Diego, CA 92111

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sister Madsen's First Email

Hi Everybody!!! :)

I'm a missionary! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!! :) I have so much to tell you and so little time.

First of all, HOLY SMOKES. I cannot even describe you how much of a crazy learning experience this is. Everyday I go to my room to write in my journal and I'm just amazed at how much I learn each day! I wish I could write each and every awesome principle I'm learning. The biggest thing I've learned so far is to teach people, not lessons. Sounds simple, I know--but it's a lot easier said than done! I've also learned a lot about myself and I've done tons of growing and stretching already... but I also know I've got a lot farther to go. Heavenly Father is definitely showing me my weakness so they can become strengths... (Ether 12:27). ;) I've got to become my own convert before I can convert others!

My companion's name is Sister Riggs, and she is incredible! She just came from singing and dancing at Disneyworld for three years. She is super talented and funny and silly, and she keeps me laughing and having a good time. :) We've also figured out a lot of things we have in common: we both HATE olives, her birthday is December 27th (funny, huh?), and we both have super long eyelashes and people are always asking us if they're fake. :) She's also super cheery and bubbly... our personalities are pretty similar. Crazy story though... Sister Riggs went through a lot of physical trials to get here. She is diabetic so it took extra work. Then, on the day after we got here, we were in the doctor's office for a good part of the day because she was having chest pains and a hard time breathing! She's feeling better now, but she has gone through so much and she is such a good example to me of being strong.

My branch president's name is President Gubler and he's awesome. He has a huge, permanent smile on his face and lots and lots of smile lines. I love it. :) He's also very inspiring. The first meeting we had with him really strengthened my testimony that this is where I'm supposed to be, and the way he talks about missionary work makes me feel like everything will just be okay, no matter how hard it gets. He is very comforting. I also had my first interview with President Pearce that night, and he told me I would do very well because I'm what he calls a "sparkle person." Ha ha. :) I also love the wives of our branch presidency! They are so sweet and loving... they come into our room at night every once in a while to tuck us in and give us hugs. They're our MTC moms. :)

Guess what else is really cool?? This just happens to be the only week of the whole year that they train new mission presidents, so ALL OF THE QUOROM OF THE TWELVE AND THE FIRST PRESIDENCY HAVE BEEN ON CAMPUS ALL WEEK!!! :D We're not allowed to go where they are so they don't get overwhelmed with excited missionaries, but there is definitely a powerful feeling here. Also, today we get to have a devotional with them and one of the twelve is going to speak to us!! I'm sooooo excited. Since it's preparation day (we're not supposed to use abbreviations like P-day--funny, huh?) we've gots loads of time to make sure we're extra early so we get good seats.

I have seen so many people I know here! It's been so fun. So far the list is: Megan Stone, Hannah Belnap, Sister Hodges, and Brenton Webb. :) Brenton even made me a bracelet and wrote me a little letter, and he says thanks for the tie, Hannah. Haha. He also sang in a really awesome speical musical number at the devotional on Sunday and he did sooo good! It was just him and two others. How did I never know that he sang?? It was fun to watch him. Oh! Also, some elder named Matt Jones stopped me the other day and asked me if I was Easton and Hannah's sister...? So Matt Jones says hi. Oh, and Rachel Uppencamp, who works here. :)

I just want to tell you that I love you all so much and that I'm doing great! It's been pretty emotional here and there, but I have really come to love the gospel so much more even though I've only been here 6 days! I cannot tell you how strongly I feel the spirit ALL THE TIME! :) It's the best. There is honestly no other place I would rather be in the whole world than where I am right now. I am loving it.

Thank you for everything. For all of you reading this letter: you are part of what helped me get here! I wouldn't be here without you, and I am soooo grateful that you have been a part of my life. Share the gospel! And love that it's a part of your life!

Until next week,
I love you,
Sister Madsen

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