HEY FAM!!oh my goodness it was SO GOOD to hear all of your voices on sunday! can i just tell you how i felt afterward? first of all, like i could conquer the world. :) but secondly, it helped remind me of what really matters: everything i go through and struggle with, all the frustrations i face when people don't progress, amounts to nothing when i really think about my family. in the end, i won't look back on my mission and think of all the little things that went wrong--i'll look at it as a whole and think of a year and a half of great service to the lord, and since i've given him that time, and if i continue to live faithfully afterwards, i get to be with MY family forever, and that's all that matters. everything else is so insignificant. I LOVE YOU GUYS SOOO MUCH!! :)we had a great mothers day. even though we're not mothers, and even though i'm in a singles ward, all the boys treated the sisters with chocolate and roses. haha. :) but the best part were the tender mercies from heavenly father: we were expecting 4 or 5 investigators at church that day. well. none showed. :( so i was tempted to be disheartened. but then our ward mission leader's less-active mother came to hear him speak in sacrament meeting, and when she showed up, we were able to reach out to her and have her sit by us. (she had us over for dinner the other week and we just came to LOVE her.) and for some reason, it just felt GREAT that she was there, and it didn't matter that none of our investigators came. and THEN, we didn't have any lessons scheduled--no one wants to set appointments on mother's day. so we went contacting, which is always draining--especially in 99 degree weather. but we ended up having three whole lessons, one with a less active who we were sure was going to reject our visit--but he came out and talked to us, and at the end of the lesson when his mom walked us to the door, she was SO grateful we had come. so it felt wonderful to make HER mothers day by helping her son. :) i love tender mercies.also, another lesson i learned in personal study this morning is that my voice needs to match the voice of the spirit. sometimes when i'm teaching i get so overly excited to explain things that my voice and attitude is too... much. too forceful. the spirit speaks by a still small voice. i, too, need to speak humbly, simply, and with love. and that's when the spirit will back up my words and help my teach-ees feel the truth.lastly, i want to testify that the power of the atonement is REAL. i still haven't figured it out all the way, but i feel like i experienced it this week. and it made EVERYTHING better. pray for the atonement to help you in whatever aspect of your life that you need--not just with the bad things, but with the good things, too--and i promise it will work.i love you all soooo much! next time i talk to you it will be IN PERSON! ah! that's crazy. where is my mission going?? SLOW DOWN, MISSION!!love,sister madsen
Friday, May 17, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
so. this funny thing happens. when you set a goal to write about a miracle that happened in your journal every day, all of a sudden you start noticing more miracles. weird, right?
biggest miracle of the week: we contacted a guy named joe on the street two weeks ago who said he'd randomly had a thought the day before that he should get involved helping the youth somehow, so he agreed to come check out our YSA branch and the institute. he showed up the day we agreed on and we had a short intro lesson and showed him around. he seemed to like what he heard and agreed to come to church. well... he didn't show last sunday. and he didn't respond to our texts or calls all day. :( so i was disappointed. BUT. he did text the next day and said we could meet whenever. so there was hope again, and i was relieved. :) WELL, we met him on thursday, and it turns out there's a much more than hope. he had read the whole restoration pamphlet, the intro to the book of mormon, and the testimonies of the witnesses (the last part we hadn't asked him to do). he agreed to everything we taught and it all made sense to him. and then, near the end of the lesson, we talked about what he would feel as he received his answer. he responded by saying that's how he already feels--that every time he talks to us, every time he walks in to the institute, when he reads what we give him, he feels peace and strength and GOODNESS. !! :D he said he's had a lot of experience with different churches in the past, but none felt like this one. and that when you're at church, you should never feel alone. he then went on to explain how it was so weird that we happened to run into him right after he'd had that thought, which he knew had not come from himself. and he accepted to be baptized in june. :) um. can i just tell you that my mind was BLOWN and i was screaming with joy that whole ride home??
THIS IS NOT MY WORK. THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD. and i just get to sit back and watch it happen. :)
also. what if we had never talked to joe?? what if i had given in to my fear and just let him pass by? he isn't someone i'd normally feel comfortable talking to... he has tattoos and all that... but he was walking a long with his son freddy who's three and that gave us courage--an excuse to start a conversation. divine intervention, really. and how many people have i let pass by that were THAT prepared?? it makes me want to talk to EVERYONE, so i don't miss a single one of them.
miracle number two: crutches. :) there was a young family who came to the battalion and the father decided to sit out while the rest went through the tour because he had done something to his foot and was on crutches. so he sat on the rocking chairs on the front porch. well. i decided to sit by him and talk to him.... just casual conversation. but guess what casual conversation turns into, ESPECIALLY when they can't get up and walk away from you very easy? :) it turns into an ENTIRE lesson on the restoration. and him wanting a book of mormon at the end of our little chat. :) SO COOL. and i didn't have to do anything.... just relax and start talking. ha. 10 points to heavenly father, yet again.
last miracle: we went to contact a less active who we'd met once before but was clearly into some yucky stuff... well, his mom, who we'd never met, was outside in the garage. when we walked up to her she almost started crying. i thought, uh oh... and was tempted to walk away. ha. :) but she said, "you are JUST the people i need to see today... that was like watching two angels walk up my driveway." she then went on to explain how she had a 22 year old son that she'd been butting heads with all day and she'd been having a really hard time... we explained that that's who we came to see, and she said it was a miracle. "go right on in," she said. we had a pretty good lesson and he agreed to come to church on sunday... his dad was there and said he'd take him. to be honest, i kind of doubted the boy would follow through. but their whole family came to our branch on sunday! he actually showed up! and then his mom got up and bore her testimony about us coming to her door exactly when she needed it, calling us angels again. can i just tell you how good it feels to be a servant of the lord and know that i was EXACTLY where i needed to be RIGHT when i needed to be there?? he is SO GOOD!! he knew the whole situation, and we were just trying to go about our day the best we knew how! ha. if you can't tell, my mind is still blown.
welp. that's all for the week. :) i might not have seen any baptisms in three months, and we may only have 1 progressing investigator who might end up in the family ward, but missionary work is more than baptisms and numbers. it's little miracles that all add up in the end. :) and i love it.
love you all, have a fabulous week!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
it was an adventurous week! on wednesday we were on our way to our area--as in, on the FREEWAY-- and our care broke down! it started shaking and all these lights and messages started blinking on my dashboard and when i pushed on the gas it wouldn't engage until i reached like 5 thousand RPM. so i got off immediately... i was so scared that our car was going to explode or something! haha :) but we made it off the freeway alive (thankfully no one ran into us)... and even though that could have ruined my day, i actually enjoyed the adventure of it all! it put me in a better mood than i was already in! haha. i just got to enjoy the prospect of the funny situation we were about to be in and see what heavenly father had planned for us. :) we pulled over on a random road while we waited for our fleet coordinator to come save us... and outside of the little house we parked by was a little old man doing yard work. welp. naturally we decided to talk to him, considering he was the only human being in sight. :) he was such a SWEET little old man. his name was frank, and it just broke my heart talking to him. he lived alone, and it was his brother's birthday, the only family member he has thats still alive, but who lives on the east coast. he talked about how he always has panic attacks, and about how he felt like he wasn't worth anyone's time, that he just tries to do his best to live what they teach at church and not hurt anyone. we testified about the plan of salvation and about how he really COULD find happiness, that it didn't have to always be "elusively around the corner." he didn't give in to letting missionaries come by, but he expressed how glad he was that we came to talk to him... "that makes two good things that happened to me on my brother's birthday. someone offered me a puppy, and you girls came to talk to me. that makes it a good day." !!! it was such a blessing to talk to that sweet man... we left him with a chapter of the book of mormon to read. (he already had one.) i just can't wait for frank to see how much he really means to heavenly father... that he really has worth, despite his shame-filled opinion of himself and his life.
and guess what? since heavenly father's perfect, the two appointments we would have missed because of our break down fell through anyway on their own... you know me. i would have been real stressed to miss a lesson. :) but he took care of it. he's just so good. we got dropped off at our institute and still were able to have 4 lessons, despite the set back. one of them was with elisabeth, one of our investigators. she told us she didn't want to learn any more. oddly enough, i felt really good about it. i know that i did everything i was supposed to with her. i know she felt the spirit and right now she's just afraid of the truth. and i feel like her friend... like when she sees us around she'll still be excited to see us. and i will still be excited to see her. i LOVE that girl. and in the end she'll come around, because ultimately she wants to do what god wants her to do. so i'm not worried. :) it's a GREAT feeling, knowing that i accomplished my labor in that area of the vineyard, even if it means the fruit isn't fully grown yet.
guess what else was AWESOME? :) we had a special YSA fireside with the whole region. they're called mission president's firesides, and they are composed of a missionary choir, special musical numbers by missionaries, mormon message videos, and testimonies of recent converts. oh and a message from president clayton. and they are always SO GOOD. the spirit is soooo strong.... they're specifically for the purpose of inviting nonmembers so they can feel the spirit testifying of the truth. well, we had two investigators there (one was sara, who we lost last week, but she still wants to come around to the activities). so it was great. AND, the best part of ALL, i got to see all my friends from my wonderful black mountain branch!! josh, lily, courtney, meaghan, tori, heather, oliver, paul.... oh my heart was so happy. I LOVE YOU BLACK MOUNTAIN! (i know you're reading this. ;) )
i often have the thought come to mind--and maybe i've already written about this--that i wish an apostle could be my companion. like, i think to myself, "man, if elder holland were in that lesson, there's no way we would have lost that investigator." and then it hit me. even when JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF was testifying to people, they didn't believe him. the savior of the world, the master teacher, the son of god--and people didn't listen. it's not that. it's simply people's choice to harden their hearts or ignore the spirit. if i am living worthy of my calling, i am a representative of jesus christ. i stand in his place. and i just have just as much power to influence people by the spirit as if he or elder holland were standing right beside me. :) CRAZY, huh? (haha so i guess now the pressure is just to make sure i'm living worthy of my calling! sometimes i'm pretty sure i'm not. but i just have to keep trying.)
also, i'm grateful for inspired leaders. i had a pretty crazy doctrinal discussion with elder seegmiller, the battalion director... he loves those. the discussion basically turned into him seeing straight into my soul and saying something that i really needed to hear. (talk about root cause analysis. :P) i know he spoke directly by the spirit.... it was really strong. very powerful experience.
so. it's been an eventful few days. we finally got a couple good contacts this week, too... hopefully they'll turn into solid investigators soon! we're really in need of those. so those contacts were a huge blessing from heavenly father. (he was mostly blessing sister mulipola's faith... when i get discouraged cause we don't have people to teach, sister mulipola doesn't even question. she just says awesome faith-filled prayers and things turn out. :) good thing we have companions to make up for our weaknesses!)
sorry this email was a novel. ha. so much stuff to write about! but i love you ALL and i hope you've had a great week!