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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2 Investigators :)

i finally have investigators to write about this week! haha. i always feel bad when i don't have investigators to write about... this area is just really, really slow. but i promise it's not because sister brown and i are slacker missionaries! ;) heavenly father finally blessed us for our diligence this week. it was actually a really cool story... and it just goes to show how important it is to always be worthy of the spirit!!
so wednesday was a pretty interesting day... we read our schedule wrong and missed our morning temple shift--we thought we were on the night shift. so basically we ended up having a full day in our area and 6 plan-less hours. :( when that happens, it can be difficult for me to keep a good attitude. in addition to that, sister brown wasn't feeling very well, and it's always harder to get things done when you're companion's distracted by her bodily complaints. but i decided to work hard anyway, and do my best to listen to heavenly father and figure out what he wanted us to do with our time that was completely up in the air. because of that, i kept the spirit with me, and we ended up having a pretty good night... and when we went home and planned for the next day, we were still in tune with the spirit.
we were in the middle of setting back-up plans for the next day when i felt unsure about a name we had chosen. it wasn't a huge prompting or anything, i almost just ignored it and moved on, but then i thought, "it's better safe than sorry, and it's just a back up plan..." so we chose a different name. well. turns out that appointment cancelled, so we ended up visiting our back up plans after all. it was like 8:10 pm, 20 minutes before we were supposed to head home, and i kinda just felt done with the day. but when we stopped at this woman's house (a less active who lives with her non-member family) something awesome happened. her husband let us in right away, something we weren't expecting. and then as we were talking to her, this woman's granddaughter appeared. she started asking us questions, and then explained that she was just in saint george at her friend's sister's farewell. that was the first time she had ever been to a mormon church... her friend was less-active for a long time and had recently decided she wants to get back into it. we asked her if she wanted to join us for the lesson, and she said "sure." :) and at the end, when we asked her if she wanted to learn more, she said yes. :) :) yay! it was SO OBVIOUS that heavenly father had been preparing this girl to meet us. it is not a coincidence that we came to her house and this random time in her life where her good friend decides to be active again. and just to think... if i hadn't kept a good attitude the day before, if i hadn't listened to that TINY little prompting... we never would have found her! you'd never guess that the actions of one day lead into the next, but they DO. every choice we make affects our opportunities in the future. HEAVENLY FATHER IS SO GOOD. :) :) and we are excited to keep teaching kim, we really hope it goes somewhere promising. :)
the other investigator that we picked up is a guy named rick that the ASL elders ran into. :) he's not deaf though--they just knocked on his house looking for a deaf person and he was there instead, and he said we could come back. :) he's pretty skeptical, but very nice and willing to listen. i just hope he'll listen long enough for the spirit to get the chance to work on him. yay for the chance to REALLY teach again!! i love teaching. it's my favorite part.
it's such a privilege to be a part of this work. when i sit here to write about my week, i go back through my planner to remember the experiences i want to tell you about... and just hit me how many people, members and nonmembers alike, that i have the opportunity to love and influence. and i'm eternally grateful. i dunno... especially when time is running out, you really appreciate each experience more than the last. (i hit my 4-months-left mark this week.... gah.)
my motto of the last couple weeks, in order to more fully utilize my time as the lord's servant, has been "don't listen to satan." it can be easy to think about the last year of my mission and wonder if i did everything i was supposed to... and it can be easy to entertain those discouraging thoughts. but i read a quote from elder holland that really stood out to me: "god doesn't care nearly as much about where you have been as where you are going." so every time i start to live in the past, i make myself stop and focus on the present. and it's amazing how much of a difference it makes. :) i would encourage you all to do the same.

other fun things: we went to the zoo last week! :) san diego has the coolest zoo ever. much better than the hoogle zoo. we had a blast, and our recent convert family came with us, so it was great. i'll attach pictures.
elder ballard is coming to speak to us tomorrow! he's here every summer. :) we're pretty spoiled. i'll have to tell you all about it next week!
i love you soooo much! and the gospel is the best thing EVER! :)
sister madsen

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

another soul brought unto Christ!! :)

hi everyone!
welp. we... baptized our only investigator on saturday. ha. :) donna is the sweetest, most innocent, child-like old lady i've ever met. really. she melts my heart. i wish you could have been there to listen to her testimony after her baptism. in her timid little voice, with her eyes on the ground and her daughter sarah at her shoulder, she simply thanked the man who baptized her and said, "i feel better now. name of jesus christ amen." OH MY GOODNESS I LOVE HER SO MUCH! the service went great (she was triple dipped cause of her toes... haha poor thing). afterwards we all went over to her house for enchiladas, and many of the ward members came to support, for which i was very grateful. donna and her humble family have taught me SO MUCH, and i'm so grateful for the chance to be part of their lives.
and now... haha we have ZERO investigators. no one to teach. :) so yesterday, guess what we did? we spent 4 straight hours on the street just contacting people. and going to previous contact's houses. and it surprisingly went really well. usually full-days are not my favorite... but everything went sooo smoothly yesterday, we both knew we were being led by the spirit the whole time, and now we have 4 potential investigators. :) it was such a good day.
we also went to a less active's house who hadn't been to church in years... usually those kind of people arent all that friendly to missionaries cause they don't like the attention from the church. but as soon as this man opened the door, he said, "hi sisters!" and came out to talk to us. we talked to him for like an hour. he has an incredible life story... just had some rough life experiences and hard trials that got him down and he slowly stopped coming from there. but i couldn't believe how excited he was to see us. the lesson that i learned from this visit was this: HEAVENLY FATHER IS SO AWARE OF HIS CHILDREN. last fall, this man was in the hospital for pancreatic cancer. and he survived. shortly after that he drove to the church building on a weekday and looked for a sign or something that told him what time the ward meets but couldn't see anything... she he kind of chickened out, but has been thinking about things every since then. and then we show up at his door. also, this man's records had been lost for a while, so no one knew anything about him... and we happened to find them right at this turning point in his life.   .....? i repeat... heavenly father is SO AWARE.


now to get the area moving. :) it may be snail's pace right now, but even snails can gain momentum... ;)
i love you! hope you've had a fabulous week!
sister madsen

p.s. i'm sending pictures of some fun things: pictures from beautiful balboa park, which we visited last week, and these two cute little member girls who wore their missionary tags from primary when we came over for dinner the other night :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"and the rocket's red glare..."

oh, hello. :)

sounds like you all had a great 4th! mine was good too! :) i can't believe that last year for the fourth i was watching the stadium fireworks from the MTC... gah!! so weird! this year for the fourth sister brown and i went to our ward's picnic... don't worry. we were DEFINITELY dressed in red, white and blue. :) (that's my favorite part. but i forgot to take pictures! darn...) and then we worked the night shift at the battalion, where we had ANOTHER barbeque (hehe--so spoiled), AND, after closing, guess what we got to do?? we got to crawl on the roof of the battalion--yes, all of us in pioneer dresses--and watch the fireworks on the beach! :) :) (haha... i promise i'm a real missionary and that i don't just do fun things all the time... :P)
this will probably sound a little cheesy. but it's crazy how you come to appreciate events in the world's history the more you understand the gospel. i mean, the revolutionary war is prophesied in the book of mormon!! so awesome. god is in everything. and WE LIVE in the promised land!! how cool is that?? i'm so grateful for a free country where the gospel has been RESTORED, and i'm humbled that i'm blessed enough to be a part of it.

well. the only two investigators we've been teaching regularly both told us to go away this week. (donna's the only one left and she's getting baptized on saturday--i forget that she's even our investigator because she's been set for baptism since we got here and she's practically a member already.) so... yeah. that kinda stinks. :( so we're just in the process of finding again... meeting with a lot of members and encouraging them--well, committing them ;)--to invite their friends! we have a lot of great members who seem willing to help so hopefully we'll see some growth here soon. peter doramus, for example, who is only TWELVE, and who is reading the book of mormon all by himself and is now in mosiah, walked over to his neighbor's house with us the other day to give him a book of mormon! :) "shall the youth of zion falter...? NO!" sooo cool. kids like that make me feel like there's hope in the world afterall. :)
a similar little miracle happened on sunday... magnus, one of the mendiolas who got baptized a couple weeks back, passed the sacrament! (he's also 12.) this young little boy, who had no previous knowledge of the gospel, now holds the power of god. it gave me chills to watch him. :) such a neat experience. i'm so grateful to be a part of this work! even in the times when it seems like there's not much happening.
also it was sister brown's birthday on sunday! she is SO SPOILED. :) our ward mission leader fed us dinner that night... they asked sister brown what she wanted and she said cafe rio. ha. so they made us homemade cafe rio!!! man, it was SO GOOD!! :) (the best thing about going two by two is that when your companion gets spoiled, you get spoiled too. :) ) AND they made this huge white cake with raspberry filling. mmmm.... (and here i am complaining about the need to lose weight... ha.)
lesson of the week:  2 nephi 9:29: to be carnally minded is death, and to be SPIRITUALLY MINDED is life eternal. i've realized, a few times now, that even on a mission, when you're about the lord's work 24/7, it doesnt come naturally to be constantly spiritually minded--its something we have to work toward. and unlike what i thought before my mission, i still won't have perfected it by the time i go home--turns out a mission isn't like some poof of fairy dust that magically makes you who you want to be. :P but it sure does get you closer, so long as you're willing to work at it. :)
think that's it for now! I LOVE YOU!! hope you have a great week!
sister madsen

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"for of such is the kingdom of god..."

dear everyone,
okay. I LOVE KIDS. and i love that i get to work with them now! yesterday we did a family home evening with a sister who is working on coming back to church (and her two kids--her husband is not a member and wasn't there... but hopefully we can start teaching him soon). her daughter's name is emberly. she is the SMARTEST 6 year old i have EVER met. i couldn't believe my ears. she can read scriptures. like right out of the book of mormon. every word. and when she doesn't know a word she sounds it out and says it perfectly the next time. she can read scriptures better even than some adults i've met! and she has the cutest, biggest, cheesiest smile you've ever seen. i should have taken a picture... next time. anyway. i just might have this woman raise my children. :P
so we taught the lesson on the plan of salvation, and we used a white board. we had a cut out of a sun to represent the celestial kingdom. after the lesson, emberly wanted to draw pictures on the white board, so we erased it all and she started drawing. a couple minutes later, she had drawn a huge sun with 5 people standing inside: her, her brother, her mom, her step dad, and jesus. "look! we're in the happiest place," she said. she totally understood that only in the celestial kingdom do we get to live with our families, and with christ, forever. and then before we had to go, she said, "okay, i'll erase it for you..." so she started erasing, but didn't erase it all the way.  "i figured you wanted me to leave jesus," she said. (yes, she really used the words "i figured.") :) :) gah! i love this! i love kids! i love the gospel! i love the plan! i love teaching the plan! 
other than that, there's not much else to report... sister brown was sick this week. :( this was the first time on my mission i've ever stayed in because of a sickness... she was throwing up all day saturday and recovering sunday. i learned two things: 1. that i hate having to stay home--i get so itchy to get out and be a missionary 2. that i like taking care of people. there's just something so fulfilling about taking care of someone who's sick. why is that? :) haha she was so surprised that i was willing to clean up her throw-up for her... good training to be a mom, we decided!! :P (sorry that's kinda gross to write about.) but she's feeling much better! 
lesson of the week: repentance is a constant process. sometimes it can be annoying because we have to do it so often. but if we're not doing it, we're not keeping our covenants. and if we don't keep our covenants, we don't get our promises, and we're not happy. "Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest." (alma 12:34)
i love you all!!
sister madsen

Mendiolas & Helen (June 25)

hey fam.
not much to report on this week... whitewashing is basically starting from nothing, so we're just working on getting things going. we have met with a lot of members... so fun to meet with entire families. :) there's such a strength of the spirit that comes in a family setting. also... i dunno. grown people are much less emotional. ha. :) i feel like i've become a lot less emotional/dramatic in my teaching because i'm teaching less emotional/dramatic people. plus, that's just sister brown's teaching style. she just says it like it is. :) she doesn't hesitate to say anything, either... she has no fear. its pretty great. and it's cool how you become a different missionary in every new situation... styles of teaching, contacting, and just working in general, have to be adapted to the circumstances.
i'm already in love with two of our people we're teaching: the mendiola family and helen. the mendiola family was the family that got baptized last weekend. they are the sweetest people... we still go to their house frequently, seeing as they still need new member lessons and donna (their mother) is yet to be baptized. every time we go over we just feel so much love from them, and on our last visit, sarah started crying because she felt the same thing: "i've just never felt so loved and supported in my whole life." and they really need it. especially sarah... she holds that whole family together. i dunno... this means so much less in typed words. i can't really do it justice. but its just amazing how you get to feel heavenly father's love for people. and how much you grow to love them personally. they've taken so much of my heart.
helen had a breakdown this week. she has had some serious struggles... i feel so bad for her. she tried to cancel our dinner appointment, but our incredible ward mission leader convinced her to come still. and she was really glad she did in the end. we shared the story in the book of mormon when the lord lightened the load of the people of alma, that they were able to bear their persecutions and submit cheerfully to their trials until the lord delivered them from bondage. it really hit home to her. (that's got to be one of the best passages in the entire book of mormon, by the way. mosiah 24.) the spirit was super strong, and she followed through on her commitment to attend church the next day. i think she's slowly starting to recognize that we are the help at the "end of her rope"... that heavenly father has allowed all of these trials to happen so that he could then place us in her path and show her the way out, the way to happiness and peace. i hope and pray that she will continue to work with us--she gives us hope quite easily. pray for helen.
yet again this week, we saw little clues and hints here and there with different people that have been such a testimony to both me and sister brown that this area really needs sisters... which is humbling and slightly daunting. it just means that there's a lot to do, and it can be difficult to know where to start, but we're trying!
hope you all had the chance to watch the world wide leadership training on sunday! that was pretty incredible. all of us "oldies" are wondering if the new technology changes are going to be put in place before we leave... i hope so! that's going to be epic. such a motivating meeting! i love re-boosts. :) 
i had two visits at the battalion this week! one from two of my deaf friends back home, and another from my branch president in the MTC!! SO FUN to see them all. :) my branch president is one of the most incredible leaders i know, and he majorly impacted my life. it was cool because sister rasmussen, sister riggs and i were all in the same district with him and we were all on shift together that night--so we took a three-man tour! :) that's never been done before, but we all wanted to do the tour for them together, and it actually worked pretty well! we had a blast. :)
think that's it. sure love you all. :) i hope you are taking opportunities to do missionary work. even in utah. :) there are plenty of less active people that really would come back to church if they were simply invited. i hope you'll all take the challenge to find someone who desperately needs the gospel, and invite them... to an activity, to church, to read a scripture, to watch a video, anything. don't worry, if they don't accept the invitation, you were still successful!! you did your part! they need you. please try it. :) i promise you blessings. the cool thing about being a missionary is that you can promise people blessings. :)
sister madsen