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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

time is even weirder without seasons...

"hola todos!" (-martha sharp, mormon battalion)
welp. mostly i cant believe it's the end of october. it still feels like august down here.
GEORGE is INCREDIBLE. he is going to be the best member of the church ever! he is still progressing very well. this week we had a lesson at the harrell's, our ward mission leader's house. we watched "joseph smith, prophet of the restoration" with him. that movie is a miracle worker, let me tell ya. he was so appreciative that we showed it to him, things made much more sense to him and it really touched his heart as well. (humankind... i swear that movies are the only thing left that really get people's attention. :P good thing heavenly father can use technology too!) the spirit was strong. during the closing prayer, which he offered, he said, "i do believe that this is christ's true church." :D GEORGE HAS A TESTIMONY! and then, the next day, the harrells brought him down to the mormon battalion and we got to give him a tour! he loved it. he kept saying, "i had no idea that the mormon church had such a rich history." and THEN, they took him to the temple grounds! he had a night full of the spirit and he just really enjoyed himself. the next day at church, he brought us a HUGE flower arrangement to say thank you!! it was SO sweet. he brought one for the harrells as well! (i don't know if i told you, but any time we have a lesson at a member's house and they provide treats or whatever, he sends them a thank you card. and he remembers the name of every single person he meets.) i was going to take a picture of it to show you, but i forgot. :( but i will send one with us and the harrells and him. i am so excited for george! last hurdle to overcome is coffee... we're teaching him the word of wisdom tonight. pray that his testimony is strong enough that he will be willing to give it up!
something else really awesome happened this week. we received a referral from usually those don't turn out very solid. but we always contact them anyway. we showed up at this guy's house--his name is ryan--and he invited us right in. that was the first shock. we sat down and started talking... and there were a couple of words he and his wife used that made me wonder how much they'd been around the church... like "ward" and "bishop." it didn't take long before we figured out that they were actually already members. i was kinda disappointed at first--i thought this was going to be a really solid investigator! haha. but then they told us what brought about the referral, and it's super cool... ryan is a convert, but he converted with his older brothers when he was like ten, so he never really gained a solid testimony. alyssa is a life time member. after they got married (they were never sealed), they went totally inactive. they've been inactive for about 10 years now. however... they also have two little girls. (kendall, the 6 month old, is SO. STINKING. CUTE. i get really distracted by her when we try to teach them. :P) and lately they've been thinking about what will be best for their family... so ryan put his own name in the referral system to request a missionary visit! this a change stemming directly from their own desire. we don't even have their records on our ward list, so we never would have contacted them. they asked us to teach them discussions... they really want help to get going in the right direction. HOW COOL IS THAT?? all day, every day, we ask people to change... we plead with them to make changes in their lives so they will be blessed. and here are two sweet people who want to gain a real testimony all on their own so their family can be happy! man. so amazing. we are so excited to help them back to the fold. :)
there's another man named bruce who is less active--can't remember if i've written about him before--that we're also teaching. when we showed up at his door, his first reaction was, "man, you guys just keep finding me!" but he warmed up to us after a while and told us we could come back. "when the boys come, i send them away," he said. "but i can talk to girls." :) bruce just needed sisters. so cool to know and feel that i am NEEDED. and that i could be an instrument in the lord's hands specifically for bruce. so we've taught him 3 or 4 times now... and guess what? :) this sunday, bruce CAME TO CHURCH for the first time in 50 YEARS. :) :) :) heavenly father was definitely smiling down on that one. (also, bruce needed some help putting up his brand new ping pong table, which i gladly agreed to... :) he he. that was fun.)
i had an awesome "i can't believe i'm really a missionary" moment this week, too. last week we stopped a guy named randy on the street and talked to him for a minute... he said we could come back, but we weren't sure how interested he really was. he was really nice though, so we gave it a shot. on sunday night, we went back to his apartment, and he had TONS of questions, as did his roommate. they were truly curious though, and respectful--they weren't like "trying to prove you wrong" questions. suddenly, as i was just sitting there, it hit me how cool this was: here i was, sitting in a COMPLETE stranger's HOME, having a religious discussion and sharing my testimony with two men who had no idea who we were, but who let us into their house simply because we stopped them on the street and had the spirit in our countenances. THAT is the power and authority of my calling. THAT is why it's so cool to be a missionary. THAT is why i love what i do. and after i leave, i will never be able to do anything like that again. :( i'm really, really sad about that. i will miss those experiences with all my heart. but holy smokes, i am so grateful that i'm here! :) :) randy and ramon did not decide that they wanted to keep learning. but they said they would read the book of mormon we left with them, and i know our visit was a critical part of their eventual conversion. i have no doubt they will both find the truth someday. how amazing to see their journey from heavenly father's eyes. and all because we said hello and asked if we could pet his dogs. :) I LOVE THIS WORK.
so things are going well. we have some other investigators too that have a lot of potential. we're working on them right now, i'll let you know how they progress. :)
i love you! so much! :) thanks for all your love, prayers, and support.
with love,
sister madsen

Sunday, October 20, 2013

i can't really remember what happened this week... i'm thinking about paris...

October 15 ,2013

hi everyone!
i don't have much to write about this week. mostly because i just got my brother's video that he is going to PARIS FRANCE ON HIS MISSION and i can't really focus on anything else. :) but just for quick updates:
1. tomorrow is the start of another transfer. (i keep trying to avoid talking about how it's my last. i'm in denial.) we found out this morning that SISTER BROWN AND I GET TO STAY TOGETHER! :D that will be four transfers for us! that's the longest i've ever been with a companion... that will mean SIX MONTHS together! a third of my mission! i'm really grateful. i love sister brown. she is my best friend and i wouldn't want to finish out my mission with anyone else.
2. george is doing well! he is sensing a lot of peace and understanding come in to his life. he believes that the book of mormon is true and that joseph smith was a prophet... we're just now getting to teach him about the commandments, which shouldn't be a problem for him. the only thing now is that he needs a witness that this is god's ONLY true church on the earth. but i have no doubt it will come. it is so gratifying to watch him progress in the gospel! what a blessing to be a part of this sweet, humble man's conversion. (if all goes well, he could get baptized before i leave! :) hope so.) the ward is doing great at fellowshipping him... he feels very welcome, and they all love him. MEMBERS PLAY SUCH A CRITICAL ROLE IN BRINGING OTHERS INTO THE GOSPEL.
3. funny story: we got a random text message yesterday from an unknown number. it was a man named cliff. he told us his friend john referred him to us because we do bible study. the kicker is, we have no idea who either of those people are! but he wants to meet up! so we might have this random new investigator who appeared literally out of nowhere... its an exciting mystery. we're gonna meet up with him tomorrow. :) (don't worry, we'll bring a responsible adult to make sure he's not a creeper. ha.)
4. we had a rainy day last week! probably the only rain i'll see til i leave. but it POURED. it reminded me of home, and it was so fun being out on the streets with out umbrella! and cool how it happened... we didn't realize it was going to rain, and we weren't prepared. so what did we do? we called the closest person we knew and asked to borrow their umbrella. that happened to be our member louesa, whose non-member husband we are currently teaching... he wasn't there when we showed up, and it was the perfect opportunity for louesa to tell us about some of his concerns so that we knew how to teach him better. :) revelation comes in a multitude of different ways. that was definitely needed revelation--and all because of the rain! :) when we taught him again yesterday, we could tell he was much more comfortable. heavenly father works in the coolest ways.

that's all for now! CONGRATULATIONS EASTON! :) best. news. ever. and it makes me SO HAPPY!
i love you! stay strong and smile and love your life! cause i do!
sister madsen

welp. life is full of surprises. :)

October 8, 2013

oh hey.
so. last week i wrote some good news about baltasar and some bad news about george. welp... surprise! now it's the opposite. :) haha. baltasar decided he doesn't want to learn after all, which is a bummer... but he's still really young and he's got a lot to figure out about life, so i'm sure he'll get there someday. plus, his great grandma, who is 94 years old (but thinks she's 91) stood up randomly in the middle of conference and said that she wants to be baptized! haha. she decided she wants to be a mormon like the rest of her family now. she has no idea really what it's all about... she can barely hear or see. but somehow we're going to try to teach her... president says as long as she can answer the interview questions, she can be baptized. :) so that should be interesting. we're just gonna get that whole family into heaven one at a time!
and george... man. i wasn't very hopeful when george randomly told us there was stuff happening at work and he would call when it was over. but guess what? he actually did. and although i feel really sad for him because he ended up losing his job, i know that's what needed to happen in his life right now because that's what has been taking him away from learning about the gospel. hopefully he'll be able to find a job elsewhere soon. so we taught him twice this week! the second lesson was on the plan of salvation... he told us he hasn't really thought much about life after death because it scares him. so when we showed him the plan of salvation outline... he said, "wow. that was really... moving." he was totally feeling the spirit and he didn't know how else to describe it. and he's finally been reading the book of mormon. and last but not least, he watched both sessions of general conference at bishop's house with us on sunday! he's really putting in the effort. :) and all he needs now is to recognize the holy ghost telling him that this is god's true church. it's often difficult to help people recognize their answers, when to me, they're clear as daylight! but he'll get it soon.
and speaking of conference... wasn't it FABULOUS?? :) i loved it. my favorite talks were elder soares's on meekness--that was totally an answer to my prayer--elder ballard's of course, elder uchtdorf's (i have half a mind to just print 50 copies of that talk and drop it off at the houses of our less actives).... well. i had a lot of favorites. i can't name them all. but suffice it to say that conference is the BEST and i can't believe it's passed already. luckily i get 60 some-odd more years of conference--and twice a year at that! :) i hope you all took good notes and got answers to your prayers. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. i have a testimony of that. and when your answer comes directly from his holy servants... there's nothing more powerful.
that's all i have time for today. everything else is going great, life is just fabulous. this might be the last week i have with sister brown! sad. (we are planning to write to president to make him think we are still having troubles and so we still need time to sort through them and learn from each other... :P ha. jk.)
anyway, sorry it's a short one. but i love you all and happy october!
sister madsen

All Is Well In Zion :)

October 1, 2013 

hey hey.
so. i'm just gonna come out and say it. we had a pretty stinky week this week. but guess what? all is well in zion. :) why? because the lord is in control. and i have faith in him.
george left a message on our phone saying something came up at work and to please be patient while he figures it out--until then, he can't investigate the church anymore. he gave us no idea how long it would take... he just said to wait for his call. and christine... man. after our miracle with her last week, i thought she'd be good to go... but she, too, has stopped responding to our calls/texts--again. so i've been praying for a second round of miracles with her, but nothing's happened yet. even if nothing does, i'm comforted in the knowledge that she is not lost for good. i know she'll join the church eventually, and that will be a very happy day. :)
so that left us with... well, no investigators to teach. :P (we have a few others that are kind of wishy-washy here and there... nothing solid.) and it seemed like everything just kept falling through! our plans to go visit less actives, our back-up plans, even... we did a lot of running around and not much teaching. but for some odd reason, i still feel happy. :) i guess i'm getting better (a little late, i know :P) at looking at the bigger picture.... the grander scheme. for example: our stake president has really been making a push for the members to do missionary work by inviting people into their homes. not even to teach them the gospel--just to have them THERE, in a place where they feel the spirit and the love of god. that's the easiest piece of cake missionary work anyone can do! you don't even have to talk about the church! just have a party at your house and invite less actives or nonmembers. :) so that's been catching a little... our relief society president is really stepping up. and our ward mission leader. and once the MEMBERS are doing the work... heck, we won't HAVE any dead weeks. that may not happen in the next two months i have left... but like i said, in the grander scheme, it's going to be awesome! :)
another miracle of the week was baltasar morrison. :) he is the 18 year old son of our recent convert family, the mendiolas. he's the only one in their family that didn't get baptized with them. in fact, he didn't even take the lessons--he didn't really want anything to do with the church. well, his family have been praying their hearts out for him, of course, and recently he had a run-in with the law... so heavenly father has been softening his heart. :) he agreed to meet with us on sunday! we couldn't believe our ears. so we went over and taught him... once we established that we weren't there "just to make him one of our followers," he warmed up to the idea of learning. he understands about free agency and that no one can make him do anything... he also understands that man has highly corrupted the doctrines of spirituality, and he doesn't know what to believe because of it. (this is everything he's been thinking about on his own, btw--not anything we explained to him.) so it will be SO COOL to explain that yes, man HAS corrupted the truth--BUT IT HAS BEEN RESTORED TO ITS FULLEST, PERFECT FORM, and he can KNOW it. :) :) :) (we didn't really have time to get to that part--his dad talks a lot. ha.) so we're excited. please pray for baltasar!
oh!! i also wanted to share something from a couple weeks ago that i totally forgot! (or maybe i did share it...? haha i dunno. you might be getting this twice.) when i went on exchanges with sister lehmitz, she shared this with me during study. it was EXACTLY what i needed at the time. and i just think it's a powerful concept. we've been talking/sharing a lot about god's love with people lately... in fact, sister brown and i both bore our testimonies about it on sunday. anyway, here it is:
bible dictionary under "fear": "...fear is spoken of as something unworthy of a child of God, something that “perfect love casteth out” (1 Jn. 4:18). The first effect of Adam’s sin was that he was afraid (Gen. 3:10). Sin destroys that feeling of confidence God’s child should feel in a loving Father and produces instead a feeling of shame and guilt. Ever since the Fall God has been teaching men not to fear, but with penitence to ask forgiveness in full confidence of receiving it."
i LOVE that. and i have been learning this lesson SO MUCH on my mission. i hope it gives you as much encouragement as it did for me. :)

i love you all SO MUCH! :) hope you are doing great. the gospel is true and its mind-blowing! KEEP LIVING IT. (and remember that to live it is to share it. :) )
love love love
sister madsen