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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 26 :)

hey all,
nothing too much to report on this week. we had a big miracle though... both of our golden investigators that we've found/been teaching are unfortunately not in our stake boundaries, so they have to be passed off to other missionaries so they can be baptized into the appropriate ward. :( its hard when the only solid people we have to teach don't belong to us. but i put my faith in heavenly father, the day that we passed david off, that he would provide prepared people for us to teach. well... coolest thing ever: that night we got a text from some other elders that said they have the most solid referral for us that we'd ever receive! :) i just smiled up at heaven and thanked heavenly father for blessing my faith. he's SO GOOD. we met her the next day, and she has since been to all three hours of church as well as family home evening, and we have another appointment with her tonight. her name is sarah... guess how she came in contact with the church? she requested a  missionary visit on :) SHE found it HERSELF. oh, and she's already read three chapters of the book of mormon. so she's pretty awesome. we're hoping to set her with a date for baptism tonight.
the other investigator we are the most hopeful about has made a pretty big turn around... she is pretty strong in her christian faith and the church she attends. the missionaries tried teaching her a year ago, but she just wasn't budging. however, since then, she has spent LOTS of time at the institute, and it has softened her up a TON. we've taught her a couple times, and SHE was the one who basically stated to us that she knew all she needed to do was read the book of mormon and pray about it... and that's how she'd find out if everything we teach, all these additions to the beliefs she already has, are true. :) super cool. i was really nervous to teach her at first, because she seemed like a touchy one... but now i feel like we're sincerely friends. she opened up a lot about things she's struggling with at home yesterday... and those aren't things she likes to share with people. so keep elisabeth in your prayers. this is going to be a great opportunity for her to see how the restored gospel can bless her life.
that's all for now! i love you all and i hope your life is peachy keen. oh, and SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH OTHERS. please and thanks. :)
sister madsen


dear family,
tomorrow. is. nine. whole. months. holy. MOLY. that's. CRAZY.
we had some good experiences this week. this was the first week that i actually felt the booth at grossmont college did something for us... we got six phone numbers! third time's the charm i guess. :) they may not all follow through, but there's potential! it was so exciting. i'm grateful that heavenly father prepared people to talk to us while we were there so it didn't feel like a waste of time.
one of the boys i talked to was named david. he was walking past, with no intention of stopping, but i impulsively jumped up to talk to him, and immediately he stopped to listen. i started explaining about institute and asked if he wanted to come over and check it out after his class... he said yes. he seemed like kind of a shy, quiet kid, so i thought he might have agreed simply because he felt intimidated... but we walked out of our apointment an hour later at the institute and there he was, talking to the institute director! we helped him register for institute and then sat down and added him as an investigator right then! he was just so open and said yes to everything! it was crazy. he soaked up the attention like a sponge... i think he's looking for friends. so it's an awesome opportunity. heavenly father is SO GOOD! i know that impluse to talk to him came from the spirit, and i'm so grateful i paid attention! david came to church on sunday, AND linger longer afterward, AND fhe last night, and we haven't even taught him an actual lesson yet. ha. he's golden. he grew up roman catholic... so he has a basic belief in christ. i'm excited to see where he goes.
we had two other investigators at church on sunday too! so that was a relief... last week we had zero. sundays can be pretty discouraging when no one shows up to church. that is the single hardest thing to get investigators to do.
also i found something pretty cool during personal study yesterday. i was reading in jesus the christ where talmage talks about jesus walking on water during the storm to come save his apostles. at first, when the apostles saw him walking on water, they were really afraid, thinking he was some kind of ghost. then he calmed their fears by saying, "it is i." talmage goes in to the spiritual implications of the incident... he says something like, "too frequently we mistake the saving aid for a greater terror." and it just hit me how true that was. too often i think of my savior as someone i have to answer to... someone that will hold me accountable for the sins i committed and whether or not i've repented for them. i often have a guilty conscience because of my weaknesses. i subconsciously regard christ primarily as my judge, instead of my loving advocate and my friend. and i don't think he would have me see him that way... or any of us. so i want to work on seeing him as someone who is willing to help me with my weaknesses, instead of him being my motivation to overcome my weaknesses simply because he'll be displeased otherwise. (i don't know if that makes sense...)
anyway. i'm out of time for now. but i love you all and i hope you had a happy saint patricks day! i'll have you know i made sure to wear my green skirt for the occassion... i had to be festive somehow. ha.
love love love,
sister madsen

Sunday, March 17, 2013

hi all! it's me!

hey everyone!
i hear the weather up there is getting better! :) that's good.
i feel like things in santee are taking an interesting turn... we had an awesome jump start because we were new and we were able to use that as an excuse to get to know everyone and meet all the investigators that the elders were working with. but now that they see that we actually do our job by committing them to change... they kind of shy away from us. i feel like it's similar to getting a new manager at work. when the new manager comes in, all the employees have to shift the way they've worked in the past... and those that don't keep up just get let go, and new people are hired in their place. well... i feel like it's time to let go of a lot of people and just find new ones. so it's still coming slow. but we have 4 with a date for baptism right now (one that we have to pass off to other elders) so that's great... they haven't had anyone with a date for a while. we are being cautiously optimistic. :)
we saw a really cool miracle last night! we had just made a really big mistake by flip flopping plans of who we were going to visit and instead we missed BOTH of them. so i was feeling pretty put out. and i felt bad for not following the plans we had made the night before... heavenly father can't help us if we dont stick to the plan he helped us make! anyway. we prayed for help and forgiveness and moved on with our list of former investigators to visit... we showed up at one door, and surprise surprise, she didn't live there anymore. the man that answered informed me that we had the wrong place, and was on his way to shut the door, but i just kept talking and tried to engage him in conversation. he ended up being really nice. as we kept talking, he was gesturing to someone on his couch, so we peeked our heads in and it was his wife with their week-old baby! SO cute. :) that gave us a great opportunity to fawn over their cute family... and all by himself, without us even asking, he said, "you girls should come back sometime and teach us more about what you believe. i don't really know much about mormons." !! i couldn't believe my ears. so we are going back to see the tomorrow night. heavenly father made up for our stupid mistake instantly. just goes to show he's in charge. yet again.
so... i don't know how many people actually read this anymore. but i know there's quite a few of you going through some hard times... and if any one of you happen to read it, i will feel better. i just want to tell you that i love you and that i pray for you and think of you often. there is NOTHING--i repeat, NOTHING--that the savior cannot fix, heal, or help you out of. please... i plead with you with all of my heart, please turn to him. i have watched as the savior's light and love has totally reshaped the lives of people in san diego... and some of them have pretty ugly, sad lives, too. i KNOW it can do the same for you. i KNOW it. and even if what you're going through isn't heart wrenching--maybe it's just more of questioning what you believe--he can help with that, too. he will show you that he's there. he will. he has promised that he will. pray sincerely, and he will. 1 nephi 21:16 "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."
i trust that he will take care of you. it's hard for me to leave that trust in his hands because i love you all so much and i just want to solve all of your worries myself! but he can do it way better than i ever could.
thank you for your love and support. please remember there's a missionary out here that's cheering you on!
sister madsen

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MARCHing on to victory... :)

howdy. hi. hello. hola.
i just got back from the temple. :) we're allowed to do a session every 90 days, but i hadn't gone in much longer than that. so it was very much needed! i love the temple. it was also my companion's very first time going through! so that was super exciting for her. i love watching people's faces the first time they come through the san diego temple... they're always struck with awe. ;)
events of the week:
we did our very first booth at grossmont college across the street from the institute this week. they'd like us to do one weekly. it was kind of a cool experience, watching people's different expressions/reactions when they saw us there with our huge poster of jesus christ... you can definitely tell those students who are completely opposed to us--they take one glance and then walk as far on the opposite side of the walkway as possible. then there's those that approach willingly and ask us questions out of curiosity. but i think the most fascinating are the students who kind of watch from a distance... and sometimes they start to approach, but then they hesitate. so they walk away, and then a few minutes later we see them again over on the other side of the courtyard, trying to not make it look like they're interested. it's so obvious that the spirit is trying to work on them!! :) haha. hopefully those students will work up the courage to approach us one day. we're not allowed to approach people ourselves, unfortuantely. just be there to ask questions and offer to teach them more if they're interested. we had a total of four people talk to us, and only 3 of the 4 engaged in substantial conversation. hopefully it'll become a useful tool for finding... we'll see.
we had a fireside just for missionaries on sunday! it was cool. a member of the 70, robert c. gay, came to speak to us. he told us so many crazy stories about missionary work... he's served in like 5 different missions around the world. did you know missionary work got started in spain because the missionaries there did something illegal and then won the court case? they were called street boards. haha. :) he basically was explaining how this work is a revelatory work, and that there's no "silver bullet." boy is that true! sometimes i wish there was, but then other times i realize how fulfilling it is to receive specific revelation for someone, and then watch it work! revelation is the coolest thing ever.
i think the best news of the week, though, came from sister miller who informed me about a member of my last area who i worked with for a while... he was baptized last year, but never really gained his own testimony. (there were other people involved that had a big influence on his decision to be baptized.) so he didn't come around for a long time after his baptism. well... we started working with him again in like, october, i think. but we still had a lot of difficulty helping him grasp true conversion. WELL, sister miller told me on sunday that he passed the sacrament for the first time and then he got up in sacrament and actually bore his testimony! he explained how he had had such a hard heart... he'd always viewed god as someone just "above" him that he had to pay tribute to... and he even got a little teary-eyed as he explained that for the first time, as he passed the sacrament, he felt that god was not just above him, but WITH him. :) :) :) it was SO COOL! i cannot even explain to you... i wish you knew him like i do, cause that would make the story mean so much more. suffice it to say that NOTHING could ruin my day after that. :) it was wonderful.
santee is still coming along, slowly but surely. we have a lot of investigators who are just on the brink of progression... we're just trying to figure ways to push them over the edge. ;) it's kinda funny though, i feel like my teaching is getting in the way lately... i think i've gotten too confident in my ability to explain and teach, because i go too far to that extreme. it doesn't matter AT ALL if someone can repeat the restoration backwards and forwards if they don't have a clue why it matters for THEM, personally. so i've got to do a little less teaching and a little more loving.
that's all for this week! happy march! i love you!
sister madsen

Saturday, March 2, 2013

week 2 in santee

why hello. :)
this'll be just a short one, but just to recap: week 2 in santee went really well! we had a lot more lessons than expected, and we added 3 new investigators. :) our teaching pool is now up to 6 (all of varying degrees of commitment, but there's potential). we're feeling pretty good about it! but there's still a lot of work to do.
our branch members are simply amazing. they're so loving and willing to help us out with whatever we need. i already feel so loved and accepted there, like i've already got a handful of new best friends. i'm extremely grateful for that. i still have a lot of trust to gain, but i think we're off to a good start. :)
one of my favorite investigators is one that the elders added just a couple weeks ago. his name is russell. he has a pretty rough background... he has a ton of health problems. he has a really skinny, deformed body, and i think that because of this, the only place he felt like he could really fit in is with the druggie/drinker crowd. it's super sad. but he's a really humble, sweet kid, and he's willing to read the book of mormon and pray and ask if it's true. he prayed outloud with us for the first time in his entire life this week. can i just tell you how humbling being a missionary is?? you see so many people from all walks of life who have no idea that there's a god out there who loves them and can stop their suffering.
we also had a really great experience that turned into a really awful experience... one of the worst experiences i've had on my mission, in fact. we met with two children (YSA age) of a less-active mother. the kids aren't members, but they've had missionaries come around their whole lives, so they know a lot about the church. during the lesson the spirit was super strong and the daughter even cried... i thought it went really well and that they were excited to finally learn the full truth so that they could be with their families forever. well... we went back for the return appointment and neither of them were home... instead, their mom answered the door and talked to us for a full 30 minutes about why she didn't want us coming back to her house. i won't go into details, but suffice it to say that i felt AWFUL. and so confused. i was sure that i felt the spirit in that lesson.... and that they were excited about finally getting into the gospel for themselves. i dunno. anyway... it was pretty rough. just one of those things that we have to turn over to the lord... it's in his hands now, so i just have to have faith that he'll fix the situation. (it's just a sickening feeling to think that i might have done something so wrong that they've turned away from the gospel forever.)
i'm learning a lot about faith again... a lot of mornings i wake up and i'm pretty scared to face the day. it's different now that i'm the senior companion. but immediately i pray for help to turn my fear to faith, and i start feeling better... and the day always turns out alright. :) i don't know why it's so easy for us humans to forget that he's in charge and that he'll take care of everything so long as we do our best. :)
for those of you who may be reading this that are struggling lately... i just want you to know that i love you. and that we are promised that "one day we shall rest from our afflictions." look forward to that day, and as our savior says, "look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." (D&C 6:36) believe that he has power to overcome anything and everything. he is the almighty, the all-knowing, the true redeemer and peace-giver. please open your heart to him.
i love the gospel. and i love the lord. and i'm in good hands... the mormon battalion's, the santee branch's, and my savior's. :)
try not to freeze to death before i get home!
sister madsen

8 months tomorrow. can't believe it. (Sister Madsen's email from 2/19)

dear family,
there's been some crazy changes! sad news first: i had to leave my wonderful, amazing, all-that-i-could-ask-for, love of my life, black mountain branch. :( i will miss them soooo much. but sister miller is there still and i know i can trust her to take care of them! that's the other sad thing... i had to leave sister miller! :( sad, sad day. she is my best friend... and so incredible. maybe someday i'll be half the missionary she is. good news is that we're both still at the battalion so i'll still get to see her all the time, and she can update me on how the branch is doing. it's not TOTALLY lost to me. ;) BMB FOR LIFE!!! can you believe i've been in one area for almost half of my mission?? oh, by the way, did you realize that almost HALF of my mission is OVER??? tomorrow is my eight month mark... and mormon battalion sisters end up on a transfer rotation that cuts our mission down a month... hence, if i don't extend at the end of my mission, my half-way mark is march 5!!! that's in like 15 days! holy SMOKES. that is CRAZY.
good news next: i'm in another amazing YSA branch!! i was so terrified to leave my area that heavenly father decided to soften the blow a little bit and put me in something i'm familiar with: another singles ward. THANK GOODNESS. i cannot tell you the relief i felt when i found out that's where i'd be. it's called the santee YSA branch, and it's about the same size as black mountain. the cool thing about this branch, though, is that they have an institute! black mountain doesn't have one... but it's like our home base! there's a college right across the street, so lots of nonmembers wander in wondering what it is... and all of our branch members hang out there all the time. it's going to be a really good tool for us to use. and the branch is a well-oiled machine! they have activities like every other night, and they're super close-knit. our branch president invited us to his home and fed us like the second night. and our branch mission leader is INCREDIBLE. he's so on top of his calling it's not even funny... he's soooo helpful. ESPECIALLY... since we're white washing!! for those of you who don't know what that means, it means both of the old missionaries were transferred out of the area and me and my companion are both new to the area. we don't have anyone to show us around... we're just starting from square one. it's challenging, but since we have such a great branch, it's going a lot better than i thought it would! so far we've mostly just met with the ward leaders... this week we're going to meet some of the nonmembers and less-actives the other missionaries were working with. so it's coming along, slowly but surely.
the other thing heavenly father did to soften the blow was give me another great companion! sister mulipola is her name. she's been out 4 months... and she's samoan :) can i just tell you how much i love polynesians?? it's just in their blood to be happy and easy-going all the time. there is not a single negative bone in sister mulipola's body. :) i love it. and i NEED it, so badly. i think that's going to be one of the biggest lessons i learn with her: how to simply be happy, despite the stresses of missionary work. she has so much faith and such a strong testimony... and she's the complete opposite of high-maintenance, so she just goes with whatever i say. ha ha. she's also really good at following the spirit... i can trust her instincts and depend on her decisions.
it's been a good experience to have to step up and be the leader... i've never been the senior companion before. it definitely has made me focus better and depend on heavenly father more. so i'm grateful for this chance to grow. pray that we can get the area moving! as amazing as the branch is, the one thing they struggle with is finding new people to bring into the fold. they only had 2 baptisms last year... just to give you a little perspective, black mountain had 8. so. it's gonna take some work. but we'll get there eventually. :)
i love you so much and i hope you had a great valentines day. pray for missionary opportunities. (yes, even in utah. :) )
sister madsen