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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Week #6: Elder Ballard, photos

Hey everybody!
Missionary work is CRAZY... all kinds of crazy. Good crazy, happy crazy, spiritual crazy, and... well, crazy crazy. :) That pretty much sums up everything I've been feeling over the past week. I'm still working on eating the elephant one bite at a time... and I'm making progress, slowly but surely! But hey, that's what life's about: constantly making progress. We will never reach a point in this life in which our progress will be "finished." There is no "arrival point." So keeping that in mind is helpful. I don't have to perfect NOW. (Thank heavens.)
I gave my first tour all by myself last Tuesday! I was so nervous! And, surprise, surprise, it had to be my very first tour that the technology malfunctioned. I was pretty flustered and embarrassed, because it totally threw off the tour. Luckily, though, my guests were all members and they were super nice about it. :) I ended up just laughing it off, and now I'm practically a pro at tours. (Okay, not really. :P But I've given a lot!)
We also went on to the Marine Base for the first time this week to teach one of our less actives! My companions had never been there either, so we were all nervous about it... we'd heard some tall tales about all the mean security guards. It was a silly thing to be nervous about though, which we realized once they let us in. ;) I never realized how big Marine bases are! They're like little towns in themselves! It was fun... and we got lost a lot. We made like 25 U-turns but eventually we found him. :) Jonmikel just turned 21 yesterday, and I guess a lot of Marines drink... so he's struggling not to drink now that he's legal! So pray for Jonmikel!
Anyone ever heard of flicker ball?? It's ultimate frisbee with a football on a basketball court. You shoot the football in the hoop instead of having and "end zone..." and IT IS SOOO FUN! We've played it multiple times this week with all the Battalion sisters during our exercise time. Surprisingly we have a lot of athletic (or at least capable) sisters. :) So, even without softball, my need for some kind of athletic competition in my life has been satisfied. Ha.
Three deaf people came into the Battalion the other day and I got to show them around! (They didn't take a full tour cause they didn't have time, so thankfully I didn't have to interpret that... I just got to sign as myself instead. :) ) Everyone was right--the promise that I'd have a chance to use my ASL on my mission came true! It felt sooo good to sign again! I miss it being part of my life everyday! I hope I'll have many more opportunities like that while I'm here.
Lastly, Elder Ballard was here this weekend!! He gave a fireside on Sunday for our whole mission to bring investigators to! He gave an amazing talk about the restoration, and I don't know how every single investigator there wasn't converted right on the spot. Oh... and I sang. As in, there were 8 of us who sang a special musical number in front of hundreds of people who were there to listen to an apostle, and I was part of it. !!! Can you believe that? I was pretty much the only one who didn't have some kind of vocal/choir experience, but they roped me into it anyway. I'm glad they did though, it was a really beautiful arrangement of Joseph Smith's first prayer. I wish you could have heard it. :) And then, the next day, we had another meeting with Elder Ballard that was just for the missionaries. :) It was amazing. (In case some of you didn't know, my mission president's wife is Elder Ballard's daughter... so we got a special treat. :) )
We also got a few potential investigators this week: Hannah, Brett, Moises, Tyler, and William. We haven't met most of them yet, but we're going to try to add them as investigators this week, so keep them in your prayers since we only have one right now!
I love you all! Remember that as long as we do our best to follow Christ in this life, Heavenly Father is proud of us!
Love,
Sister Madsen








Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Week #5...Beautiful San Diego


 Hi everyone!

Aren't you jealous that you're not in San Diego like ME?? :) Everyone
was right, it's GORGEOUS down here.
Unfortunately, I thought I'd have more time to write out here than I
did in the MTC. Turns out I have even less cause there's so much to do
on Preparation Day! (I thought P-days were the days we could relax a
little... boy was I wrong!) But that's okay.

My new companions (the ones in the Battalion Picture) are sister
Burden and Sister Ortez. That's right, I'm in a trio. Heavenly Father
gave me TWO great people to learn from instead of one. :)
They are both amazing! They are very experienced
(Burden goes home next month and Ortez has been out for a year!)
and are teaching me a lot about how to be an obedient, hard working
missionary. And they both like to laugh!

The Battalion site is SO COOL!!! I love it! It is super interactive
and fun. I wish I could describe every little detail to you! And I
wish everyone I know could come down here and see how cool it is! And
actually, turns out I like wearing my pioneer dresses a lot more than
I thought I would. (Don't make fun, Cory Bylund. :P) All of the girls
serving at the Battalion live in an apartment building right next to
it, too! Including my roommates from the MTC, which I LOVE! I'm
definitely going to have to get used to being around so many girls all
of the time... ;) but there's plenty of love and support to go around.
It's quite the party!

My mission is the coolest mission ever because, as Jeff Davis will
tell you (wink, wink), we do absolutely no tracting. We do ALL of our
work through the members! That means each of our "areas" is simply a
ward! And my ward is called the Black Mountain YSA Branch. :)
Heavenly Father gave me the best of the best--I get to teach people my
own age, people I can relate to! On Sunday I met so many of them and
made so many new friends, and they are all mission oriented!
California wards are so different than Utah wards because the members
here are constantly placed in missionary opportunities, and it's
wonderful. In addition to that, our YSA ward gets a lot of "stripling
warriors" : marines! They are constantly flowing in and out because
there's a base down here that our area covers, which means we teach
them as they come... then when we've converted one troop, they leave
and we get a whole new troop to convert! :) (Okay, so I'm not sure how
often they come and go, but it's still sweet!)

So basically what I'm trying to say is that I've been sent to the best
mission ever. :) Right now, though, we spend a lot of our time
teaching less actives and recent converts--in a YSA ward, there's a
lot of that to do, which is great because it's been helping me get to
know the ward... but we also need new people to teach who have never
heard the gospel before. Currently we only have one progressing
investigator. Ah! So please pray that we will find new people to
teach!

I have definitely felt overwhelmed with everything... but I've also
begun to see why I'm going to love serving a mission! It's going to
take some time to get used to, I'm doing my best to not get stressed
and just take it in a bit at a time... and I know that by just doing
my best every day the Lord will be happy with me. I've got a long way
to go before I'm the kind of missionary I want to be, but as Bob says
(Easton), "baby steps," right? :)

I really do love being a missionary! One night when I was slightly
discouraged, Sister Burden drove us home and surprised us... all of
a sudden out of the dark, there stood the one and only beautiful San
Diego temple. It was glorious. I couldn't believe I was seeing it in
real life for the first time. :) I know that was a tender mercy from
the Lord--He was aware that just the sight of the House of the Lord
would remind me that He is THERE and He is REAL and that everything is
going to be okay. Better than okay, it's going to be the best time of
my life! And it's already started!

Do everything you can to show the Lord you love Him! I love all of
you--thank you for the great letters/packages that I got in the MTC! I
will eventually respond to you all, I promise! ;) The gospel's true!
Love,
Sister Madsen

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EASTON! I sent a package in the mail for you! I love you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pics with the President


Dear Brother and Sister Madsen,

We are so excited to have Sister Madsen serving with us in San Diego.  She arrived in great shape, and we wanted you to get this photo as soon as possible.  She will also be sending a letter today by regular mail.  Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.  We love your daughter already!

Sincerely,

President and Sister Clayton
California San Diego Mission






Where in the World is Kenzie? San Diego!


So, we received a phone call this morning at 7am from the SLC airport! We talked with Sister Madsen for about 30 minutes. She was happy & excited to be leaving for San Diego. She is so grateful to all of you for your letters and packages while she was in the MTC. She will be able to download & send photos to us soon. Maybe we'll get to see some as soon as next week. You can now use her mission address:

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

We're so grateful for your prayers & support!

Week #4 (Friday, July 13)

Hello again.

We get to write twice this week because our schedule is a little weird... since it's our visitor center training week, we happened to get two preparation days. But today is a very sad day. :( I will explain why in a minute. But first, I want to tell you about visitor's center training! It has been a rollercoaster! Wednesday we got to go up to Temple Square. It was so fun to leave the prison (:P) and get out into the real world and go to a place that I know and love! Also, since it was early in the morning, there weren't very many people there... we mostly had it to ourselves. I cannot even tell you how strong the spirit was!! We took a tour as if we were visitors, just to get a feel of how it's done. We went to the Christus statue and everything, which I haven't seen in a few years. I loved it. And we get to go again tomorrow... only this time we really have to teach people! AAAHHH!

After the tour we stuck around for a while and had a little seminar about why being a visitor center missionary is so awesome. ;) (I think they have to try and make us feel better since many VC sisters open their call and think, "dumb, that's not a real mission...." ha.) But let me tell you, it was super motivating, and it made me really excited for my call!

People are getting more and more reluctant and uncomfortable to let strangers into their home who just knock on the door--they are much more willing to learn about the gospel online. The world is changing, and we get to be part of the change.

We actually had our first internet chat yesterday as part of our training! We got to talk to a REAL investigator! My very fist one!! Her name was Michelle. And get this: the very first thing she says to us is, "I'm interested in being baptized. What are the steps?" I thought, ARE YOU KIDDING?! It's not supposed to be this easy! :) She was really sincere, too, and she signed up to have missioanries visit her house! We get to chat with her again on Monday! I can't even tell you how many butterflies I had in my stomach.

But even through all the excitment... Man, I'm even more scared now to get out and serve than I was before I got here. I have SO MUCH hard work in front of me. And I'm not very good at teaching yet. That part's going to have to come in the process. I just wish I was perfect at it now! :P But I know it has to come with time, and Heavenly Father is going to teach me how to do this little by little. I have never had to have so much faith and a positive attitude in my life! It is so easy to get discouraged, but I'm getting better at pushing it away and just trying to do my best for the day.

One more fun fact: As of the most recent poll, the Mormon Battalion site is number 4 out of 181 most visited tourists spots in all of San Diego!! Number FOUR! It supposedly even beats Sea World and the San Diego Zoo! What???So that's the crazy fun exciting stuff.

So... last week we were sitting in class, and all the sudden somewhat shouted to our teacher from the other side of our room... and I looked over and Sister Kunz was having a seizure. (She's one of my roomates... there's four of us--my companion and I and Cassie Rasmussen who I worked with at La Jolla Groves and then Sister Kunz.) I rushed into the hallway and called an EMT down... turned out she has epilepsy and she never told any of us. :( I don't know if any of you know the rules about seizures on missions... but if you ever have one you're sent home the next day and you have to go 6 months without having another one before you can come back. Well... Sister Kunz hasn't had a seizure in 3 years, and she said her seizures usually last an hour, and this one was less than a minute. So they tried a few different doctor's appointments to see if it was just a change of medicine that was needed or something... so she stayed another week while they figured it out and had a few meetings with people... but they still decided to send her home. She left just half an hour ago. :( It is so, so heart breaking. We all became so close and she has been such an example to me. The worst part is that it makes me feel sooo ungrateful. She wanted to be here more than anything, and there was nothing she could do about it. It made me think, "I bet she even wants to be here more than I do, but she has to go and I get to stay." :( It has really humbled me and makes me realize how lucky I am to have a properly functioning body... and it makes me want to NOT WASTE TIME. It is a privilege to be here that can easily be taken away. Please pray for Sister Kunz. She has had a really great outlook on the whole thing--she's a rock. She knows that whatever the Lord wants to happen will happen, and I strongly admire her. But she can always use the extra prayers.

I love you all! I love the gospel! Jesus Christ is REAL and he is POWERFUL. He is my savior, and I am coming to love Him more than I ever have.
Count your blessings.
Love,
Sister Madsen

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Week #3...one week until San Diego!

Hi everyone!!
I cannot believe I have been here three weeks already. I only have one week left til I'm in sunny San Diego!! (What????) Time has flown. All the days kind of blur together, too, so I'll try to write what I feel like I can remember. ;)
Our 4th of July was a lot more holiday-ish than I thought it would be. :) We had classes and everything like normal, but at the end of the day we had a special fourth of July program with fiddlers and bagpipes and a speech about the holiday and lots of flags... so it was fun. :) Then to wrap up the night they gave us icecream bars and let us go outside to watch the stadium of fire fireworks from the MTC grounds! (I know, hard to believe, right?? They even let us stay up past our bed time to watch them! :P Haha.)
On Friday we had something called in-field orientation. We spent the whole day in a conference/workshop kind of thing where they taught us about working with members, settings goals and figuring numbers, finding people to teach, etc. It made me excited but super nervous at the same time!! It hit me that soon I'll have to be contacting and sharing the gospel with real people--not just my fake investigators! It's kind of a scary thought. Actually, this week is the very first time they're going to let us really talk to people, because this week is different than the last three: we're headed up to temple square a couple times for training, and they're going to put us on exchanges with the temple square sisters! AAAHHH! We're also going to spend a good chunk of time in the referral center this week on the phones... with real people who have real questions about the gospel... I guess I'm so used to it not being real that I don't feel ready to talk to real people! It'll be okay though. :) I have to start sometime.
Sister Riggs and actually taught our last lessons with our "investigators" (our two teachers) this week, and on our last lesson with "Elliot" we finally committed him to baptism! I believe that we were the only companionship in our district to commit both of our investigators to be baptized. That's a pretty good feeling... our teachers are always telling us that we're too hard on ourselves and that we need to recognize how well we've done, so I guess I should be proud of that. :) But I definitely should still recognize that the only reason we were successful is because the Lord did all the work, not me. 
Our district elders left this morning! We four girls feel so lonely without our elders. They have totally become our family, and we're going to miss them so much! It's amazing how much you grow together and how well you come to love people that you spend all your time with over a period of only three weeks. Those elders were all strangers to me three weeks ago, but I truly consider each of them a blessing now and I know that Heavenly Father put us together because there was something I needed to learn from each of them.
The biggest thing I am still working on is having faith. I always thought I had faith before I got here, but it has become quite clear to me while I've been here that I need much, much more faith as I go about this work than I realized! I know that those of you who served missions will totally understand what I mean. ;)
Oh, and my ASL friends keep showing up to firesides to volunteer as interpreters!! This week I saw Sarah Anderson!! It was so great to see her, she put a huge smile on my face! I miss my ASL ward... and signing all the time!! I feel like I've been without it for soooo long!

Anwyway. I love you all. :) Thank you again for your letters, they mean the world to me. Remember that Heavenly Father loves you!
Help out the missionaries in your ward, wherever you are!! They need all the referrals they can get!! :)
Love,
Sister Madsen

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Week #2 Email

Hi friends and family!

I can't believe it's preparation day again already! Time is weird when you're on a mission. I feel like one day takes years, but a week goes by so fast!!

So I know I already mentioned this, but I have to write about it again because it was SO COOL!! We had a devotional last Tuesday with the quorom of the twelve--as in, 10 of the 12 apostles (all except for Elder Packer and Elder Hales because of their health) were sitting on the stand only 20 yards away from me! We were in like the ninth row!! It was so powerful! Elder Perry was the one who spoke. I love him. :) He spoke about why "those mormons next door are so happy and successful." They let all the apostles go after the meeting, but as all of us missionaries stood to watch them leave, Elder Scott waved to all of us and we waved back, and then Elder Holland blew us a kiss. It was very special. I'll never have another experience like that again in my life!

I am still learning like crazy! In the MTC we have "investigators" that we teach multiple times (it's fake, but we treat it very real). It has been an incredible experience to teach the gospel and really feel the spirit as I do so--and even better, to have my investigators feel it and see their desire to make a change in their lives! I can't tell you the joy I feel when I share the gospel and it really makes an impact! It makes me SO EXCITED to be a missionary. I am really learning to love people and to love this work. :) One of the things I am working on the most right now is learning how to recognize the spirit and follow its promptings. As a missionary, teaching with the spirit is essential. Even though we've taught many lessons with the spirit very present and strong, we have also had lessons where it is absent, and they are very disappointing. But the good news is that every time we have a lesson like that, we learn a TON from our mistakes and we are able to see how we can improve for next time.

Something else I learned about the spirit this week (that I wanted to share because I think it is really cool) was from my branch president, President Gubler. He said that one of the many things the spirit can do for us is manifest our standing before the Lord. If we have felt the spirit today, that means that as of today, we are worthy to be in the Lord's presence, for the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead, and if we are worthy to have a member of the Godhead reside in us, our standing before the Lord is good. :) Cool, huh? He also says that the spirit is Heavenly Father's way of giving us hugs. :) I loved that.

I've come to realize that Heavenly Father tries us all in different ways, and the way I am being tried is NOT what I was expecting. I was expecting the MTC to be hard because of the normal things: homesickness, hard work, lack of sleep, etc. I've actually been doing really great with all of those things... instead, Heavenly Father is strongly testing my faith and my testimony. There were a couple days in a row that I really struggled. Then I talked to President Gubler in an interview and he put all my worries to rest. He also gave me an INCREDIBLE priesthood blessing. The promises I received were amazing. But he also reminded me that I have to have faith in the power of the priesthood for them to come true. As I have been putting my trust in that blessing these past couple days, I have been incredibly blessed, and my struggles have been reduced to almost nothing. :) This gospel blows my mind!

The saddest news of the week is that the only weeks I am here just so happen to be the only weeks of the whole year that the temple is closed for cleaning... so I won't get to go to the temple as an MTC missionary. :( I was super sad about that. But I can't wait to go to the San Diego temple instead. :)

Sister Riggs is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Her ability to teach and follow the spirit is unbelievable. I am SO LUCKY to be her companion. In addition, she sang a solo in front of the whole MTC on Sunday and blew them all away!! (Remember how I told you she's a performer??) I feel like I'm famous now because I'm her companion... you wouldn't believe how many people have thanked her and complimented her and praised her for her performance. She brought the spirit so strong. I love her!!

Last cool thing--Kristi Grover came to the MTC to interpret for a fireside and I got to see her!!! She gave me a HUGE hug and chatted with me for a bit and made me feel like I was on the top of the world! It was the best part of my day. :) I love you Kristi!! You're amazing!

I love you all SOOOO much!!!! Thank you for everyone who sent me letters this week--if I don't get to reply to them all, I'm sorry, I will do my best! But your support has made such a huge difference!!
I am so grateful to be here and for everything the Lord has blessed me with!! Everyday I recognize how good He is to me and I can't thank Him enough!! Count your blessings, everyone!!

Until next week,
Sister Madsen