Sunday, April 24, 2016

1 cat 2 months and 3 Jerrys(2) April 18, 2016

I don't know what it is about me, but the animals LOVE ME. I'll be sitting there minding my own business at someone's house and the cats just flock to me. It's a curse. But I am grateful for modern medicine. I think Heavenly Father was thinking about me when he was helping it be invented. In case you aren't keeping track, as of yesterday I have been a missionary for two months!!!! Crazy. Only 16 more months left. We had a member of the 70 Elder Martino come to our mission and it was so cool! General Authorities are so wise.. I love it. I love being a member of this church. He said a lot of really cool things but one thing that stuck out to me when he was talking about our personal conversion. He said some people call the mission the best two years (18 months) of your life. But I don't think that's true. I think for a lot of missionaries it is definitely not the best two years of their life. But I do know it is the best two years FOR your life. Oh snap. And it's so true!! He went on to talk about all the different benefits of going on a mission. And he is so right. I know the person who I want to become, and I know that I could have never become that person without going on a mission. I have learned almost an embarrassing amount since being out just these two months I can't believe it. A lot of the things I should have known before I left.., but I am just so grateful to be a missionary. And that I get this time to learn more about the gospel (to the point where I can actually teach it) I have never prayed more in my life and I am grateful for the relationship I have with Heavenly Father. Some cool things happened this week while tracting but I only have enough time to talk about one I think. So the Hermanas had this cool idea for all the missionaries In the ward to go tracting with service. So we picked a street and borrowed some supplies from the members and went knocking on doors asking people if we could do yard work for them. FOR FREE. I emphasize this because it is amazing how many people said no to free yard work.. Then we came to a house and met a man named Jerry, I think we may have interrupted an afternoon nap or something because he was not very happy to see us. So we went to the next house and met a man NAMED JERRY. And he was remodeling his whole house and said he would love some help. Jerry #2 is probably one of the nicest mans ever. Afterwards he offered us some waters and asked us to share our favorite scripture with him, the Hermanas came in clutch with Moroni's promise and testified of the Book of Mormon and how it applies to our day. Then they asked him if he wanted one and he was like YES OF COURSE. and they were like ok great we will drop one by tomorrow and tell you a little more about it. And then while we were walking away to the next house THE HERMANAS GAVE HIM TO US. because he is English speaking. Even though they found him and it was their activity. I love their Hermanas. Anyways the next house was also a man named Jerry which was crazy but he didn't want any help either. Fast forward to the next day sister smith and I call up a member who just happens to live on his street and we go over to introduce them and give him a Book of Mormon. We teach probably the briefest restoration lesson ever and then we all testified of the Book of Mormon and how it has helped us. AND THEN. he looks at us and says "this could be exactly what I have been looking for" MY JAW DROPPED. honestly I thought he was being sarcastic, so it didn't really sink in at first and then I was like wait you are serious?!! (All in my head obviously) like did you just hear yourself. I couldn't believe it! It was so cool! We have a BBQ with his family and the members family scheduled for this weekend so we will see how it goes! I am really excited for him and for what the future holds, transfers were this week and sister smith and I are staying so hopefully we will be here long enough to see this area start growing!! I love you all and hope you have another great week. And I hope the weather is as good where ever you are as it is here because it's amazing!! Sister Madsen

Mawage is what brings us together today April 12, 2016

Hello!! I would apologize for emailing so much later BUT our zone got to go to the temple today ay for our preparation day so I don't feel too bad. Not a lot has happened this last week that I can remember. We had our last district meeting before transfers which was great, I am in an area with a lot of great missionaries and I feel so blessed!! I'm sad to see them go but excited to see who comes into the area. OH NEVERMIND. I do remember something. Sister Smith and I got Bible bashed. It was great! Which is weird to say, and I'm not saying it sarcastically I am being for real. It was a cool experience. Sister smith says it was the most positive bible bash experience she has had so that must mean something. We started talking to this guy Freddie and he was like "I'm not super religious, but I do try to read the bible everyday" and then he said he only really knew the Spanish version of the Bible and let me tell you guys something, he was LYING. We were just talking to him about the restoration and then Sis Smith pulls out a Book of Mormon and he is like NO I don't need that I won't read anything that contradicts the bible and we were like ok WELL IT DOESN'T. And then he was like ok and took it from us then we started explaining about Joseph Smith and we were telling him about the First Vision and he freaked out. He believes in the Trinity and could not get past it which I can understand because growing up I've always been taught that they are three separate beings and I couldn't imagine them being the other way around and he is the same way. BUT that is when the bashing began. He pulls out his bible phone app and is showing us all these verses and is like WELL EXPLAIN THIS. And some of his questions we could answer but some of them we couldn't. I'm pretty sure he is an Pentecostal. He says he has experienced the gift of tongues and healed blind people and all this other crazy stuff. So in other words he was LYING AGAIN. He is pretty much a youth preacher or something. Anyways it was really cool. He asked a lot of questions about the Bible that we couldn't answer which frustrated me because I think a lot of people think we don't believe/read the bible BUT WE DO but sister smith and I did not help with that stereotype at all. IVE READ IT. IM STUDYING IT RIGHT NOW. I am familiar enough with it that I know what people are talking about but not familiar enough to answer questions. In the end he was trying to convert us and we were trying to convert him and we both realized it was going no where. And it had been like a three hour long conversation. Yeah sister Smith and I are working on a goal to be better at time management. Anyways he said he loves us and is going to pray for us and he hopes we are safe and is grateful that we are bringing people to Jesus. It was really cool and it just made sister Smith and I want to know the answers for ourselves. Because we believed in all the things we told him but we didn't know why if that makes sense. It was a great testimony builder for me. And we both had like the best studies of our lives the next day. It was awesome and a great learning experience. There is this Italian woman named Evelyn who is in her 70s and has been a convert for about 5 years and she has been going less active lately so we have been stopping by every week or so. I love her, I think if we had been born at the same time we would have been best friends. Even though we are already almost at that level anyways. last week we called her to set up our next appointment and she told us loved us but was leaving the church and going back to being Catholic and that she loves the Mormons and is so grateful for them AND THEN SHE HUNG UP. Evelyn always tells it like it is. And It was awful. And right in between conference sessions. So his week we just decided to stop by and tell her we love her and make sure we hadn't done something to make her leave. We pull up to her apartment right as she is leaving to walk her dog and she asks us to go with her and we get to talking and sister smith and I quickly realized that SHE COMPLETELY FORGOT THAT SHE TOLD US SHE LEFT THE CHURCH. Miracles are real. I was so happy. We had a good chat with her and showed her Pres. Uchdorf's talk from conference which was great because 1 it was an amazing talk and 2 she has a huge crush on him. I love her. We had a really great lesson with her and she told me that I remind her of the Virgin Mary and I look just like her. It made my entire life. I love that woman. If I didn't ever baptize or convert anyone to the gospel but got to talk to Evelyn every week and got her to start coming back to church I would be a happy missionary. She kept talking about how she wishes she had a Mormon husband and Sister Smith and I are thinking of setting her up with Brother Rann (the guy who fosters dogs/works for uber/plays the organ). That would be my dream. We won't actually do anything obviously but I know that it is possible. The Hermanas have been trying to set up this guy Roberto with this new lady in the ward who is named Josefina. She is blind so they asked if he would walk her to all her classes and sit by her at sacrament and he was like ok. I had just come into the area when all this was happening and it was obvious he had the biggest crush on her. And this week at Church she told the Hermanas that Roberto is her boyfriend. THE CHURCH IS TRUE ETERNAL MARRIAGE IM SO HAPPY. I love this ward that I serve in Have a great week! Sister Madsen

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mission A-Conferenced! April 4 2016

Not much happened this week, the highlight was definitely General Conference. I wish I had my notes with me right now so I could talk more about it but I know that my favorite talk was President Uchdorf's it was AMAZING. Just what I needed. I feel like every message and training I have gotten since being a missionary has been about obedience and it has really annoyed me to be honest. But the way he said it helped it make more sense to me and help me realize that I need to be more humble. A LOT MORE and submit to the will of Heavenly Father. I have been getting the same message for weeks and now it has finally made sense/stuck with me. Conference on the mission is the best. Every talk is applicable to some part of either your life or the life of your investigators. Ahhh I loved it. For those of you who are wondering YES Bunch watched conferred on his phone. His favorite talk was by Elder Andersen!! Which is awesome because Sister Smith and I and some other missionaries and people thought of him during that talk!!!! I'm so glad he watched it. He said that he felt a lot of comfort and questions answered from Conference which is amazing!! I love the Gospel, I love the peace that it can bring to people's lives. We still text Bunch all the time and give him things to read or watch. This morning he texted us and asked if he was allowed to put that he was Mormon on his ACT paperwork. And then he told us he did it anyways, And it MADE MY DAY. He's awesome. Still no progress with his parents. But he is prime. Not much else happened this week, just a lot of looking for people to teach I did have a brief but intense interaction with a cat that led to a slight overdose on benedryl which then led to us getting permission to go to bed a half hour early on account of it being physically impossible for me to keep my eyes open The next morning I woke up and had a slight cold and all we had was DayQuil, so I took some of that but I must have taken too much because I felt weirdly dizzy and jittery for about 4 hours and sister smith was freaking out because she kept overdosing me. Im fine now ALSO As everyone knows, dogs love me, but I found out this week that not only am I allergic to cats, but also chihuahuas? Hopefully the list stops here. I will keep you posted Sister Smith and I have been cleaning all day and our apartment looks great now and we decided to spruce it up with some plants. In my life time I have only been able to keep a plant alive for a couple of months, BUT THE MISSION CHANGES YOU so we will see how this goes

New Missionary Training: March 28 2016

We had new missionary training this week and the Sister in the middle, Sister Halliday is my "grandma" (she trained my trainer my trainer is my mom. So she is my trainers mom so she is my grandma) and she wanted to take a posterity picture with all her children

When it Rains it Pours: March 28th 2016

Hello hello This week in Illinois has been very rainy. Both literally and emotionally. Something I learned very early on is the highs and lows of being a missionary are very frequent. Often times especially at the MTC I would feel the entire range of emotions in one day. On the plus side this is exhausting and I have no problem falling asleep at night. This week has been a roller coaster full of highs and lows For example One day we are talking with Bunch and he asks us if he can get baptized even sooner and the very next day we get a text from him saying he doesn't know if he can get baptized or be taught anymore. My heart SANK when I read this because we thought maybe he had gotten into some anti-Mormon stuff and hated us. So we called and we're talking to him and he told us that some people at his Mom's work told her that Mormons were evil and going to brain wash her kids and all this stuff and now she has forbidden him from coming to church or being taught by us. I am still devastated to say the least. But this was both a relief and a disappointment. A relief because Bunch still has a testimony of the church and still wants to come and learn. A disappointment because he can't. We were all crying on the phone together and sis smith and I decided to teach him about fasting and asked him to pull out the pamphlet on tithing and fasting and he said he had already read it and I just started crying even harder. HE IS SO GREAT. I am so sad for him and sad there is nothing we can do for him except fast and pray. But I know that Bunch is strong, and so is his testimony, he knows that this Church is true and that it makes him happy. He has the gospel library app and still texts us all the time asking what more he can read and asking us to explain things and he is going to watch conference on his phone. Bunch has a lot of faith and desire, and I take comfort in that and I know that he will be baptized someday. Whether it be when his parents come around or if he has to wait until he is 18 and doesn't need their permission. IT WILL HAPPEN. In other news the very next day after all this happened we got messages from not one, but ALL of our investigators, saying that they were no longer interested in learning more about the gospel and didn't want us to talk to them anymore. It's been great. So we are back to square one Since this week was Easter sister smith and I went to visit some ladies in our ward who are in nursing homes. These were definitely the highs of my week. They are so cute. And almost ALL of them asked us to sing something for them. When you are set apart as a missionary you are blessed with help from Angels as you serve the Lord and I know this is true. Neither sister smith or I enjoy or are good at singing but you can't say no to the elderly!!! And every time we did it we didn't sound nearly as terrible as we usually do and I could feel the spirit so strongly I know that somehow there were angels helping us and carrying our voices in some tune that those Women would enjoy. I hope you all had a great Easter and take time this week to ponder and realize all that Christ has done for you and all that you can do because of him. Whether it's singing for old ladies, or being given the strength to do things that you don't want to, or even something as simple or as important as being able to repent and be forgiven of your sins. That's another thing I've learned more this week. As I have been surrounded by all these amazing missionaries I can't help but feel somewhat inadequate in my knowledge of the gospel among other things. But the gospel, just like life, can and should be simple. The simple things are the most important and most fundamental and if we lose sight of those simple things we can't and won't understand anything else. (Jacob 4:14) that and my Sister Training Leader told me that if I am comparing myself to other missionaries I am spending too much time thinking about myself. Which #1 was a huge call to repentance and #2 IS TRUE. I GOTTA LOSE MYSELF IN THIS WORK. I loved what they said in women's conference, it was all about service and charity. (Especially the little story about the mirror vs the window) and I am SO excited for conference this week and I hope you are all preparing!! I love and pray for all of you Sister Madsen

Pie Day! March 21 2016

On Pi day we spent the majority of our pday searching for a pie. We didn't want to go to Walmart because it was far away so we tried all the local grocery stores. This took over two hours. I don't know why no one here had pie. We ended up having to go to Walmart after the two hour search because we were desperate and had passed the point of no return. We were not going home without a pie. We got to Walmart and bought our banana cream pie and got outta there, we got home with just enough time to clean our apartment and have a slice of pie and take some pictures before we went back out for the day. It was worth it. We were pumped. Also the sunsets here are A+

A Bunch of Miracles: March 21st 2016

This week was madness!!! ~A disclaimer before you read this. I'm sorry that my English is terrible but this story was so crazy and I had to just hurry and type it all our before I forgot stuff and now I am too lazy to go over it and make it sound better and less like it's one long sentence but I don't even care IT WAS SO GREAT it doesn't even matter what it sounds like bc that's how great the story is.~ Looking back it was actually kind of terrible, but the weekend was so great that I completely forgot. On Friday we had a lesson with our investigator Bunch (his real name is crazy and we asked him how to pronounce it and he said don't worry just call me bunch. Like a bunch of Bananas . Bunch is a referral with a crazy backstory. Ok so my first week in the field this young women Emily bore her testimony about how how she had been praying for missionary opportunities and she finally had one bc this kid was like why are you so happy all the time?? And she told him about her church and showed him and the gospel library app and that was the end. SHE THOUGHT. fast forward one day later and we get a referral that says someone has requested missionaries come teach him. So we call him up and he's like hello I am in high school and we r like ok we need your parents permission and he didn't want to ask and so we kind of teach him and get to know him better over the phone and he says he contacted us bc there was this girl at the high school he goes to who was just really happy and has this "killer vibe" (I love the teens) and he wanted to know why and she told him bc of her church and he wanted that so he figured out how to request missionaries and he did it and we were like WHO IS THE GIRL and it was Emily and we were freaking out. Bc we couldn't teach him we gave a Bom and some pamphlets to Emily that she could give to him and we prayed that something would happen. Fast forward to last Sunday AND HE COMES TO CHURCH. All on his own without having someone ask or invite him. It was amazing and sister smith and I were doing amazing at keeping our cool. Even typing this I am freaking out. I love bunch I don't know what we did to deserve him. Anyways he stayed for all three hours and he texted us the next day and said he loved it. We called him and he said he asked his parents and they said we could teach him!! So we had a lesson on Friday with him and it was great and I invited him to be baptized AND HE SAID YES. I about died. Then we committed him to be baptized on the 9th of April and he was like sure. Every time we commit him to read the scriptures or pray or come to church he is always like "sure, I'm already doing that but I can do it more I guess." He's awesome. I seriously can not believe that this is real. The whole thing has been way too easy which makes me suspicious. I'm nervous to see how Satan tries to get him. Anyways we scheduled our next lesson for this Wednesday but when he came to church on Sunday he asked us if we could have another lesson after church and we were like YES and then he left to go talk to Emily and sister smith and I turn to each other bc we have no idea what we are going to teach him and we have no time to plan anything bc we are at church and all I know how to teach is the restoration but we already taught him that. But we figured we could give him a brief overview of the plan of salvation. I had no idea what was going on or what I was going to be teaching but like when Nephi going back into into Jerusalem for the plates , we also went in there with pretty much no plan, but we knew that Heavenly Father would deliver us. And like Nephi killed Laban we killed that lesson. Well actually sister smith did. Like I said before, I've never taught the plan of salvation. Anyways. It went great and afterwards he was like listen I have nothing going on today can we just have another lesson right now? I CANT BELIEVE THIS PERSON IS REAL I LOVE HIM. But we couldn't because our member had to go home and we can't be alone with him also I seriously would have had no idea what was going on in that lesson. But I'm glad he hasn't picked up on our unpreparedness yet. So then he asked if we could schedule the rest of the lessons that he needed before he could be baptized. Miracles are real and I don't know why we are deserving of them. We now have all of Bunch's lessons planned out and he is on date and there aren't any foreseeable obstacles. I am so happy. And hearing bunch's testimony about how he has seen a difference in his life since he started coming to church makes me so happy. I hope everything works out for him. Sister smith and I are honestly in disbelief and are always asking ourselves "what is going on?? How is this happening??" and we don't know why or how Heavenly Father let this happen to us. Some ppl say it's new missionary luck and if it is I don't care I am thankful. Sis Smith was saying how we need to say thank you to Heavenly Father by finding even more people to teach. But every person we find is someone that Heavenly Father has put in our paths. It is just this endless cycle of Him blessing us and we can never repay him. I love him and I love Jesus Christ. I hope you are all thinking of him this week as we come close to Easter. Even though a lot of people here are different religions we all believe in Christ and I love that He is someone that unites so many people who otherwise have a lot of differences. I love him and everything that he did for everyone. Whether they chose to use the Atonement or not he did it for them anyways. I hope you all have a great week and pray for your own missionary opportunities!! Sister Madsen ** not much else happened this week besides a last minute indeclinable invitation from the bishops wife to be the entire soprano section of the ward choir during sacrament because no one else showed up. Me and my zero years of musical experience would say it was brutal and that I am definitely not a soprano but bunch gave sister smith and I a fist bump and said it was sick so who cares