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

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

you won't BELIEVE it. :) ONE YEAR MARK!!

Sister Madsen, Sister Brown, Mendiola family

boy oh boy do i have news for you...
okay. maybe it's just extra exciting to ME. but guess what?? I GOT TRANSFERRED BACK TO MIRA MESA! thats the same area as black mountain branch!! only now i'm in the family ward!! haha... its crazy! i already know the ENTIRE place! same streets, church building and everything! and black mountain meets right after us, so i get to see them all the time!! :D haha we were going through our ward list and i knew so many families already because i served with their YSA kids! nuts. nuts nuts nuts. and i LOVE it! i guess mira mesa was just meant to be my home. :) haha everyone in my zone just laughed because i'm back after only 3 transfers! oh my word it was so WEIRD going from a branch to a ward! the whole chapel was completely full... i'm used to just 3 or 4 rows being full! and usually i know everyone's names by the second sunday! there's so many people now that i don't know who to talk to. ha. but it's going to be great cause that means there's going to be more people to work with! also... i miss having little kids around. i miss the noise during sacrament meeting. it took me back to the pioneer park ward. :) and the primary got up and sang for father's day. (i may or may not have teared up. slightly.) it's just cool.... even though i have absolutely LOVED serving in YSA wards, cause i just fit there, being in a family ward has already helped me remember the real purpose of why i'm out here: so that others can be with the people they love FOREVER!
the other piece of GREAT news is that my companion is none other than sister brown!! :D i don't know if i've written about her before, but we are SO SIMILAR. in so many ways. she's been serving with me at the battalion almost my entire mission, she's just one transfer behind me... way back in october we talked about how cool it would be if we got to be companions someday... and now we are!! haha heavenly father is too easy on me. i have yet to get a companion that i don't get along with. or that isn't amazing. sister brown is a go getter. and she's ultra silly. :) i think heavenly father also knows that i need companions who can make me laugh. :) we are SO EXCITED to work together!!! (oh, and i actually fit into her clothes... hehe. first companion i can finally share clothes with.)
piece of incredible news # 3: WE HAD FOUR BAPTISMS ON SATURDAY. hahahaha... we white washed into our area (they haven't had sisters in over 10 years) and an entire family was getting baptized 3 days later!! cesar, sarah, julene and magnus mendiola are 4 of the sweetest, most humble people i've ever met. oh, and donna, sarah's mother... who would have also gotten baptized but she has a pickline in her arm that cant be submerged in water for another 3 weeks. so there's another baptism coming. (funny thing is, cesar and donna are the same age! sarah married really young... but hey, if it's true love... :) ) so cool to baptize an entire family!! guess they how they got introduced to the church? sarah walked onto the san diego temple grounds. she requested missionaries right away and they were baptized like 3 months later. :) AMAZING. she was so prepared.
yesterday we went and taught this investigator that the last elders had taught a couple times. her name is helen, she is 69 years old and she is so sweet. she has a lot of medical problems though and her husband died last year. he happened to be a member of the church, but not active. it was really cool because she totally opened up to us and told us how she knew god was there, but he was giving her a lot of road blocks at the time and it was really difficult... she started crying and said that she feels like there's something she needs but doesn't know what it is. we explained how we were it!! that we were there to help her and god had sent us to her in her time of need!! so cool. and then she told us how "the boys were really nice... but it's just different talking to females..." 3rd day in our area and heavenly father was already showing us why mira mesa needs SISTERS. :) it was a really neat experience. i wouldn't doubt that her husband is really the one pushing this all along on the other side of the veil... hope we can get her to feel that soon.
something else that is kind of fun is that we have roommates! we were told that with all the influx of missionaries we were going to have to share one of our tiny little battalion apartments with another companionship for a few weeks... we were not too ecstatic about that. (4 sisters, 1 shower, and only an hour to eat breakfast and get ready... yeah.) but now i LOVE it! haha it's just a party all the time. and sister amendola and sister silva are hilarious. :) its so much fun. there's stuff EVERYWHERE in our aparment. but other than the completely unorganized living space, its a blast.
welp. i think that's it for now. :) change is exciting. hard, but exciting. :) oh, and the battalion is getting CRAZY. so many visitors. must be summertime. :) but it's really fun.
i love you all and i appreciate your prayers! pray that i don't gain like 50 more pounds cause i'm in a family ward now and we have dinner appointments EVERY night! hahaha.
love love love
sister madsen

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

area # 3, here i come!!

hi again!
aaaahhhh!!!! i'm leaving santee!!!! :( i totally knew it was coming. it was weird. also, it's crazy how much you grow to love people. you don't really realize how much you love them until you have to leave. :( i'm going to miss my little area and our little institute like crazy!! and my samoan! :( she is so loving and so, so good to me. i'm so grateful that heavenly father gave me the chance to be her companion. i really needed her... she is one of the most christlike people i have ever met. (btw, i told her she could come live at our house when she comes back from samoa to go to nursing school at UVU... so you might be adopting a beautiful little samoan, mom! ;) )
i don't find out where i'm going til tomorrow... i don't believe i'll be leaving the battalion... but i could be transferred to a family ward!! that would be nuts. can you believe i've only taught 18-to-30 year olds my whole mission?? i'll let you know next week what the new area's like!
this week was a great way to end my time in the area. we added another solid investigator who is also being brought into the fold by a member... that makes two that we found right before i leave, of course. :P her name is becca... she could easily be baptized like next month. so, even though i'm sad i don't get to teach them, i'm glad that i'm not leaving sister mulipola with nothing. she's got some great things to start with her new companion.
also, we went to a baptism this saturday!! (i'm still counting it as one of OUR baptisms, even though she was baptized into our branch... :P) it was mary!! i don't know if you remember her, but we taught her for a long time and committed her to baptism right before we realized she didn't technically belong to our area, but the neighboring one. so, she had three sets of missionaries that helped her along the way! here's a picture with all of us. :) she is soooo solid! i'm so excited for her. she's already doing member missionary work, too... incredible. i love that girl. it was so great to be a part of her conversion.
i also had another great surprise at the battalion this week!! sidney elliot came to visit!!! i got to take her on tour! it was so fun to see her sunshiney face, she's the sweetest girl ever!! and she's going on a mission!! WAHOO!! she's gonna be incredible, i'm so excited for her. love you sid!!
last, but not least, we passed joe off to the family ward missionaries this week. sad that we had our last lesson with him... but excited that he is going to get married and BAPTIZED! i think joe might be one of the biggest miracles i've been able to be a part of on my mission. and here's the coolest thing--he sent this text last night: "i just wanted to let you both know, in case you're assigned out of SD that i thank god that he put you both in my life even if it was for a short time. you both will be in my prayers as you continue your missionary work. i would like to still keep in touch. i travel all over the world frequently so no matter where you guys are i most likely will be going through. god bless you both and thank you for everything." :) it meant SO MUCH to me... especially coming from him--he's not really a touchy-feely kinda guy. and THAT is the greatest reward of this work. RIGHT THERE. :) i cannot even explain how rewarding and humbling that feeling is. it is INCREDIBLE. i'm so, so grateful that we randomly found him that day and that i got to be part of his journey. (also, i can't wait to be with freddy, his son--the CUTEST little 3 year old you've ever met--in the celestial kingdom. :) )
missionary work is AMAZING!! remember that there is nothing better than helping others come to christ! 
i love you!
sister madsen

Saturday, June 8, 2013

.....JUNE.... it's june. transfers next week!

**Thanks for the pic, Sid! What a fun surprise :)

welp. it's JUNE.
...yeah. that's all i'm gonna say about that.

how's everybody doing??? :) i hope fantastic.
we had another great week. missionary work is the coolest. (i think i'm gonna have a hard time loving regular life when i get home... ha.) GUESS WHAT??? remember that guy joe that i wrote about last week? how we taught him the law of chastity and he said he'd pray about it? haha are you ready for the coolest miracle ever? :) we saw him four days later for another lesson. we started off by asking how he is feeling about his situation with his girlfriend and if he'd prayed about it... "still praying about it," he said. so we went on with the lesson on the gospel of christ, finished up, and left. WELL. about fifteen minutes later we got a text from him, and this is what it said:
"well. cheryl (his girlfriend) just sent me a text saying she made an appointment to get married. i didn't tell her about what we had talked about on monday, either. how's that for a sign from god?!?"
haha isn't that CRAZY?? he didn't even tell her about anything!!! they're getting married on june 19! and his baptism is june 29th! haha heavenly father is SO DETERMINED to make this man a member of his church. it's ridiculous. :) and incredible.
also, we added four investigators this last week. :) i dont know if i've ever added that many in a week before. (of course, we add a couple investigators every week... but many of them don't follow through for the second appointment. it's a lot easier to add than to retain.) hopefully these ones will be a little more solid! one is the friend of a member, and those are always the most solid investigators. so we're excited about her. she's from south africa. i love her accent. :)
so. i've been thinking a lot about the concept of desire lately. like, a ton. and about how to increase one's desires. to be honest, even though i've been out almost a year (GAH) i still feel like my desire to serve a good mission largely stems from my desire to be obedient to god. which isnt wrong. but i'm trying to figure out how to increase my desire to serve because i simply WANT to. (and this goes for more than being on a mission.) like, even if the celestial kingdom was a given--even if it was something we didn't have to work for--to get to the point that i'd do it regardless just because i sincerely WANT to do it. entiende?
i know that one's desire to do something increases as you see the benefits that come from doing so. but sometimes it can be easy to forget those blessings. so, the only thing i've come up with is to be grateful, and to look back on your past experiences and remember how great they were so you want to do them again. however, i'd like to open it up to the class. :) what do YOU think? how do you increase your desire? i'd love to hear your thoughts. ALL of you that read this. por favor. :)
and please don't get me wrong. i LOVE being on a mission. i really, really do. and i do want to be here. :) i'm just trying to figure out how to push myself to do more, instead of giving only whats required. and i think that if i can first figure out how to increase my desire, thats what will really make a difference.
transfers are next week!! ah! so crazy. i will be sad if i have to leave sister mulipola, or santee--and the most sad if i have to leave the battalion to go full-time proselyting!!! actually, i'm terrified of that last one. there's a darn good chance, too... yikes! i'll let you know!
i LOVE you ALL with ALL my HEART! :) happy summer!
sister madsen

Monday, June 3, 2013

Heavenly Father takes care of things... (May 28, 2013)

um... let's see... this week... haha i feel like there were a whole bunch of good things that happened but they were all just random! hmmm... what is worth your reading time...
first of all. teaching the law of chastity is easy. it really is. i've never had a hard time teaching it, or been nervous about it, my whole mission. until yesterday. :) it's much more intimidating teaching it to someone that you know is going to have to make some HUGE life changes before he can be baptized--which might break his decision to be baptized. but here's the cool thing. when people are ready for the gospel, it doesn't matter. if they've felt the power of the truth, they're willing to do anything. :) and joe has definitely felt the power of the truth. if i had to make a list of the most prepared people i've ever met on my mission, joe would definitley be at the top (along with lily, my first convert.) so. he agreed to live it, and to pray about how to fix his sitaution so he can prepare to be baptized. :) heavenly father just takes care of things. it's awesome.
secondly. sunday was INCREDIBLE. we had two investigators there, and a third who showed up for the after church activity.... but that's not all. :) we had SIX less actives, THREE of which brought their nonmember friends/girlfriends. :) one of the nonmember girlfriends made an incredible comment in sunday school... you better believe we'll be seeing her this week! haha. AND one of our members came up to us and said her friend agreed to meet with us! this is the first time since i've been in this area that a member is bringing US someone to teach. (keep in mind that we only have like 20 active members.) so i feel like our efforts are starting to pay off. :) and all this happened in one day! yeah. this work is the best.
lastly. (is that a word?) one of our investigators at church was one we met through a less active who... kind of... well, could have a better lifestyle. the first time we taught him he agreed to meet with us again, saying something about how he had turned his back to god and that he wanted to change. which was good. but it's always difficult to judge sincerity. so. we taught him the restoration, and it didn't go very well, but he still agreed to read the book of mormon. i wasn't sure if he really would... but we went back for another lesson this week and he had read FOUR chapters. not only that, he recited everything back to us... he totally got into it! he was talking about nephi, lehi, laman and lemuel... he even used the word "murmur." ha. and he talked about how nephi cut off laban's head and how his servant followed him... i couldn't believe my ears. it was incredible. but the best part was when we explained more about the purpose of the book of mormon: that it taught the gospel of jesus christ, and THAT'S why we value it so highly... and he got really happy. :) heavenly father can make miracles happen in those you least expect. :) (i don't know if that's a real sentence. ha.)
yup! think thats all for this week! love you MUCHO!
sister madsen

eLEveN??? (May 21, 2013)

welp. it was another week full of miracles. :) here goes:
1. we had MTE's on Wednesday last week (missionary training exchange) where we get together with like 4 zones (60 or so missionaries) and have a 3 hour training meeting... then we go out to our areas with a "coach"--a third companion who's in a leadership position--and apply what we learned. guess who got to come with us?? sister miller! :D yay! i loved every minute of that day. she is SO POWERFUL. so, we're out and about, and the first cool thing that happens is we talk to this Hispanic guy who lives out of his van. but he didn't speak English. so sister miller and i spoke Spanish to him!! haha we both know enough to kind of have a conversation. (sister mulipola was just lost. haha.) i spoke SPANISH!! it was fun. :) and then we sang a hymn for him. he LOVED it. he kept putting his hand to his heart and looking up at heaven. and we directed him to where he could go to church on sunday and talk to people who really knew Spanish. :) sweet, sweet guy... hope he went.
and then we went to this less active's house. she wasn't home. so i thought, maybe we should stop at this other less active's house who lives in the same complex. but he wasn't home, either. so we started walking away.... and lo and behold he was a couple blocks down on the other side of the street. :) so we stopped him and had a little curb side lesson with him. at the end we asked him who he knew we could teach... he mentioned his friend cole, who we had actually met before because he had joined in on a lesson once upon a time. so we said we'd keep in touch and set something up, and then we left. WELL. then we're driving around looking for an address for a random contact... our appointments had both cancelled. we drove down the street for a while before we realized the address wasn't valid. so we picked another contact on the same street, and we drove back up the street, and then we PASSED it, so we turned around AGAIN... and as we were pulling into a parking spot, COLE--the friend who our less active had JUST mentioned--was RIGHT THERE on the sidewalk. can we just look at how precise this placement was, please?? we drove up and down the street like 4 times. and cole said that wasn't even a street that he normally walks down... and his bus had been late, so it wasn't the same time he'd expected to be in the area, either. he doesn't even live in that area, his brother does. i have no idea where he even lives. it was CRAZY. :) i just laughed. heavenly father is the PERFECT planner. so we had another little curbside lesson with him and explained how evident it was that heavenly father was trying to speak to him. awesome miracle.
2. lily, my very first convert who i LOVE with all my heart, came down to visit the battalion this week just to give me the news that she started her own mission papers! and that she's going through the TEMPLE in September, which means i get to go!!! :D i am SO EXCITED! it is going to be such a neat experience to go through the temple with someone i helped bring into the gospel.
3. we FINALLY had two investigators at church this sunday! :) it's been 4 weeks since we've had ANY. joe loved it--he texted us afterward and said how much he enjoyed himself and that he was looking forward to next week. oh, and he signed up to bring food for two different activities. ha. he's so solid. i was really grateful to have investigators there... sunday can be a really disappointing day when no one shows.
4. last but not least--in fact, BEST--GRANDMA CAME TO THE BATTALION THIS WEEK! :D :D :D yyyaaaayyy!! it was SO GOOD to see her! i had no idea she was coming, she TOTALLY surprised me! i was walking up the street to the battalion for my shift on Thursday afternoon and i saw a few people sitting on the porch from a distance... "that looks kinda like my grandma," i thought. but it didn't really register until i got closer and looked again. and then i realized it was her and i screamed super loud (i actually scared a few people i think--ha) and i dropped my bags and ran up the stairs to give her a big hug! :) oh i was so happy!! sister Rasmussen and i took her on the tour and we had a great time. (grandma is friends with sister Rasmussen's mom, so she knew her too. :) ) thanks for coming grandma, I LOVE YOU!
yesterday was my eleven month mark. (what?!?) an elder was talking to me at the battalion who's going home at the same time as me and brought it to my attention that i only have FOUR transfers left after this one. for some reason, that BLEW my mind. I've only thought about how much time i have left in months... transfers go by like nothing. ah! good motivation to make each one as special and full of hard work as i can.
i love you! the gospel is TRUE and its INCREDIBLE!
love love love
sister madsen