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

Friday, September 20, 2013

christine at church and george with a date :)

hey fam,
hope you're all having an awesome week and a fabulous september. :) i'm missing the changing of leaves around here! i remember writing about that last year... don't worry mom, i still have the fake leaves you sent me, i'm going to break them out soon.
we had another great week this week! christine and george are progressing really well. george goes out of town for work a lot, though, so it's hard to keep him steady... but he was finally back in town yesterday and sister brown and another member (we were on splits) met with him last night. they said the lesson went really well and he accepted to work toward baptism at the end of november! :) you know, it's pretty crazy how sometimes, one companion's strengths are needed more than the other's. sister brown is more bold than i am, and she does even bolder things when i'm not around. ;) but i know that's how it was supposed to happen!
in the meantime, i had a great lesson with a less active family in our ward. i just want to say that often the people you least expect to change can really surprise you! this was the second lesson we had with them... the first lesson was pretty... difficult. there were 4 kids under the age of 5 who were pretty distracting... the chargers game was on, too. (don't worry, i only peeked at the screen twice. :P) so we weren't sure, when we walked away, how much they got out of it. but i was happily surprised when i returned last night and found out that both of the sisters had actually read in the book of mormon! our visit really did have an impact... and these girls, who are both single moms and who haven't been active for years, ACTED on what they felt. :) what a humbling experience!
christine came to church for the first time this sunday, too! she enjoyed it, and she really took something away from it... the very first talk was about searching for answers through the scriptures and the holy ghost! it was perfect for her. she also has a goal set for baptism. :) and after church she told us she had read 8 chapters of the book of mormon the night before! we are so excited for her. please pray for both george and christine, that they can continue to be strong and overcome any obstacles placed in their path to receiving the gospel.
we did a really unique finding activity yesterday... he he. :) we took our ward mission leader's puppy to the dog park! (we didn't really think about asking permission... we realized after we got in the car with her that our fleet coordinator might not approve of a canine in a mission car. oops.) poor abby actually hated the park... haha. she's not a social dog AT ALL. she loves humans, though. :) anyway, we got to have some great conversations with the people there... they're all really friendly with each other, and were even friendly with us--because we had a dog with us, of course. :) but now that we know the ropes a little better we'll probably try it again and see if we can turn the conversations into added investigators! (oh, and in case you were wondering, EVERYONE in san diego has a dog. it's NUTS.)
last but not least, I went on an exchange with a sister at the battalion named sister lehmitz this week. she has only been out about 3 months... and i can't even tell you how great she is. she has the PUREST heart of any missionary i've ever met. she serves strictly out of love for her savior and the people she teaches. she is the kindest, sweetest, humblest sister i've ever served around, and we had some powerful lessons that day. and it made me want to be a lot more like her. i love how heavenly father places other people in our lives at just the right time to motivate us to be better and change our weaknesses into strengths.
that's all for today! keep up the good work in your own lives and in the lives of others! i love you!
sister madsen

Thursday, September 12, 2013

i'm really getting bad at this... :P sorry!

hey all,
so... i'm struggling to write good emails lately! haha. i feel like i've been out for so long that it's just normal life to me now and so... writing about normal life doesn't seem as exciting. :P i'm trying to think of good things from the week to write about...
first of all, i got to go through the temple with LILY last week! :D it was soooo cool. we got to the temple and changed, and then when we walked to the staircase that leads up to the session, there were a couple people from the black mountain branch that were there waiting for her to finish initiatories. so we waited with them. when she walked out with nicole, her escort, there was a group of 5 or 6 of us there to greet her in her white dress... ah! she looked unbelievable... glowing from the inside out. she had kind of an apprehensive look on her face at first--not in a "what am i doing here?" kind of way, but just in a soaking-it-all-in kind of way... and then she turned to nicole and whispered, "am i allowed to hug them?" :) she's so cute. nicole nodded and lily came straight over to me and gave me a HUGE hug!! oh my goodness... how special that was. and then we went to the session and to the celestial room... i wondered what was going through her head, of course--being a missionary you're ALWAYS worried about how your investigator/convert is receiving new information :P--but she was just smiling like nobody's business and saying, "that was amazing." :) ah! this will always be one of the most special memories of my entire mission. i am SO GRATEFUL for LILY!! she is one of heavenly father's choicest daughters. i can't believe it's been a year since she was baptized! and now she's the ward mission co-chair. oh--and engaged to be sealed for time and all eternity. :) :) THAT is what missionary work is all about! (take note, family... i WILL be heading back for her wedding in april... so in case you want to plan a vacation in advance or somethin... ;) )
let's see, let's see... other good things that happened this week... most other things pale in comparison to that. :P george went out of town, so we didn't get to teach him this week... and christine had jaw surgery, so we didn't get to teach her either... we will tonight though. the mormon battalion is doing good, just way slow now... when school starts it goes dead for a couple of weeks. :P but then fall breaks/holiday season it picks back up a little. oh! i had a really cool conversation with a kid from germany who is agnostic... i could tell by his reactions during the tour that he kind of thought the whole "believing in god" thing was a joke. he was cool enough, though, that i could be pretty blunt-but-still-friendly. :) i looked him straight in the eye, and i promised him that god would TRULY manifest himself to him if he sincerely prayed and asked. the spirit was definitely in my words, because his little smirk fell off his face... he knew and felt that i meant what i said, and he humbly nodded. i challenged him to pray that night, and he said that he would. i don't know if he ever did, but i know that was a solid seed planted.
one more sweet story: i went on splits with sarah mendiola, my recent convert, on saturday. we were just doing some contacting and went to a former investigator's house... we were halfway up his walkway when all the sudden his neighbor was waving excitedly at us. that's really abnormal for random strangers to be excited to see missionaries. usually they run in their house, shut all the screens, lock all the doors, close all the blinds, board up the windows, and hibernate for 42 hours until they're sure we're gone. :P so i wasn't surprised when sarah suddenly shouts, "christie??" and runs over and gives this lady a huge hug. turns out she was her co worker... they live 2 miles away from each other and never knew it. i also doubt that christie knew that sarah is now a mormon. ;) so we get talking, and guess what?? just the DAY before, there were two sister missionaries that were in the doctor's office where christie works... they had a long conversation with her and told her to come visit them at the mormon battalion, which she agreed to. (yes, they were sisters i work with!) isn't that crazy?? first at her work, and then a day later at her home! and this was sarah's first time on splits! NOT A COINCIDENCE. heavenly father has PERFECT placement. :) this also happens to be a hard time in christie's life... she's going through a divorce. so it's even more obvious that heavenly father is trying to reach her... hopefully she'll pick up on these signs!! she and sarah are going to plan a day to come visit us and we'll go from there. :)
okay. i think that's sufficient. :) THE GOSPEL IS TRUE! i refuse to believe i only have 11 weeks left to share it. :( it's too good to stop!!
i love you all (that is, if there's even multiple people reading this. ha.)! :)
love love love
sister madsen

p.s. san diego has these crazy weird spider seasons... we found this one walking back to our car the other night. they're everywhere! yuck. :P (you should see sister brown freak out... haha. i thought i was bad.)

miracles still happen :)

hey howdy hey,
we got transfer calls this morning. sister brown and i are staying together in mira mesa! no big changes. :) we are excited to be together still. she is seriously my best friend! we've gone through so much together (including a DEAD area) and our relationship is so strong because of it.
we had SUCH a great week this week! :) we finally saw some changes in the area... we had two investigators at church after having 6 weeks in a row of zeroes! that was a miracle and a half. :) we are especially excited about 2 of our 4 new investigators that we added this week! they seem solid-- the first is george, the second is christine. we met george during our blitz a couple weeks back. he was a former investigator, and odds are when you show up at a former investigator's door, they don't really want you back. but for some reason unbeknownst to us, george said we could come back! but just to give him a call first. he wasn't really willing to talk right then though, so we didn't know how sincere he was being... but when we called him, he set up an appointment, and kept it. :) during that appointment, we found out that he has a long history of involvement in different christian religions, and lately there had been a couple things happening with the churches he had been attending that made him second-guess if he should be there... and then we showed up at his door! he said he took that as a sign from god that it was time to move on and try something different, and hence, he wanted to listen to what we had to offer. :) SO FASCINATING how people are prepared at different times! the last time missionaries taught him, he didn't want it... and now, through a series of events, god has prepared his heart and placed missionaries in his path again. :) george is so, so, so nice. he is filipeno, very soft-spoken, in his late 40's and never married. he's also a navy seal doctor, so that's pretty awesome. :)
christine is also amazing. she has been renting a room from one of our members for quite a while, and she too, has slowly been prepared. she is an excellent cook--went to culinary school and everything--so she's fed us dinner twice before, but we still didn't have the opportunity to really teach her/ask her if she wanted to learn. however, now that we look back on it, we know that was because christine is one of those people who needed to build a relationship with us first before she would listen/trust us. finally we went back this sunday to visit, and we just straight out told her how much we loved her and that we felt prompted that we needed to give her the lessons. for some reason, we were so nervous! it's interesting--we talk to random strangers on the street everyday and ask them if they want to learn, but we felt so much more nervous asking someone who was already our friend! i think it's because we fear rejection more so from people who REALLY have potential. and christine really has potential. "this house is different," she said. "i've been to plenty of other homes where people claim to be christian, and this house just has a sense of peace... and i really think it must be your religion." :) ah! we're so excited.
fun things:
1. we had a ward luau this week that was a HUGE turnout! :) lots of less-actives and nonmembers. and great food. :)
2. we went pedaling around coronado island last week for p-day! it was so beautiful, and SO FUN! i'm sending pictures. :) YES, this is where i LIVE!! :D
3. i'm going through the temple tonight with LILY! my convert from a year ago!! :D aaahhhh!!! so proud of her. and so honored that i get to go and be a part of her endowment. what a special thing!

TWO MORE TRANSFERS. that's 12 weeks! for some reason, 12 weeks sounds like a lot less than 3 months. i dropped sister mendez (one of my lovely battalion sisters) off at the airport today to fly home... and it totally weirded me out to be there! GAH! don't make me leave!!! i SWEAR sister madsen will be my name for life!
i love you MUCHO. mucho mucho. :)
sister madsen