Monday, September 4, 2017

Called to Serve September 4, 2017

A lot is going on inside my brain and I don't know what to say about any of it!! 
Today is a good day and this week was a good week and this 18 months has been a good 18 months.
Ahh! I don't know how to type this email without crying!! 
I am sad for the door that I have to close and a little bit nervous and excited for the one I'm about to open. But God is good! I'm trying not to be weird or corny 🌽 (#illinois) but I love my mission. It has changed everything about everything . I will thank Heavenly Father everyday for calling me to go on a mission. I don't know what I would have been doing for these last 18 months if I had stayed home, but I know for me it wouldn't have been as meaningful, purposeful, life changing, and rewarding as being in the middle of these corn fields talking to the craziest people, inhaling a bunch of cat hair, and getting to think and talk about the Savior every day. You literally lose nothing by serving a mission. There are a lot of hard things about serving a mission and staying on a mission but I can't even remember what they are right now. This is the best thing in the world!! I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for putting the right people in my life. That you have been able to strengthen me and support me so that I was able to take this leap of faith and come. I didn't know what was going to happen but it turned out better than I expected. And weirder, and a lot harder, and a lot more work, and a lot more fun, and a lot less complicated. But I have learned that. That when you put your life in the Lords hands He makes it work out. OK. As I typed that I realized I'm being dumb about being sad to leave and scared to go home because Heavenly Father has got this! I feel better. Anyways I don't really know what to say except that if you can, YOU SHOULD GO ON A MISSION. 
I have been able to see how following the commandments brings peace in to people's lives that they have been looking for all their lives but haven't been able to find. Only Heavenly Father knows us, and only he knows what will bring us peace. It's not in the world! 
I have seen how when you spend your time trying to help and fix other people, Heavenly Father fixes you. 
I have come to know for myself that WE NEED THE BOOK OF MORMON

I love my mission so much I could cry about it. I am, I have been, I will! 
I don't know really what else to say, life is cool. Life as a missionary is cooler but I'll try to manage 
Life is good and I wanna be a missionary forever so I think I will. IN MY HEART
OK bye see you someday 


Finally! A picture of Sister Prisbrey!!!! Now you all can see just how next-level-cool she is 
And here is a picture of my soul senior sister missionaries 
We had a dinner party 
Sister Greene being sister Greene 

My last ever exchange got to be with sister Corbett. You already know what happened. I cried.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I have been using my brain for 18 months straight and I can't do it anymore Aug, 28, 2017

I gave a talk on Sunday and I'm pretty sick of talking about myself to be honest. Missions do many things. And change you in many ways.
I still don't like giving talks
Anyways this week guess what???? It was crazy. Always
We have dropped everyone besides Carol. Who is FOR. REAL. being baptized on September 9th at 11 a.m. She told us that she wasn't going to be at church the Sunday after the baptism so she would need to wait an entire week to get the Holy Ghost and be confirmed a member of the church because if you are baptized over 8 they wait until Sunday for confirmation. So we decided it would be best to have them back to back as close together as possible so we moved it. I won't be there but it's ok! It's happening and that's all that matters. And I've planned for it 3 different times so I feel like I've already seen it and I know what's going to happen. Our ward hasn't had a baptism in a year so that is exciting! We went on exchanges with the Belvidere Sisters. Who I LOVE. I went with sister Prisbrey and we didn't take any pictures but you will just have to take my word for it when I say she is the coolest person alive. ALIVE. Intimidatingly cool. But she's so nice and then you aren't as nervous to be around her. But you still are a little bit because she's just that cool. Then we went to Elgin and went on exchanges with them too and it was so fun! We went out and talked to people all day and it was good because I haven't gotten to do that for awhile. It was really fun!! It made me feel like a real missionary if that makes sense. I'm always a missionary but we do a lot of different things every day and some feel more missionary-y than others. So it was good to be able to feel like a missionary for the entire day. And we saw some miracles!! The second person Sister Ward and I talked to became a new investigator! His name is Edgar and he was trying to help us find a house and he was walking all up and down the block looking for it and we ended up talking to him for a long time. It was so fun! And it was cool to be with them and see their relationship because they have a lot of charity for each other and are so unified!! I loved it.  Sister Jardine used to serve in Elgin so she knew about this awesome donut place and we had them for breakfast the next morning because we had to drive to Naperville for a meeting and apparently didn't have time for real breakfast. They were super good though. Needless to say I am not as fit as I was last summer.
I thought I was done with this email but there is one more thing and it is that JIM came to Rockford. Crazy!! His work sent him back here for at least a week. We got to meet up with him and talk, we were really tempted to ask him if he wanted to be baptized next weekend but didn't end up doing it because he would just disappear again. He said he likes the missionaries in Indiana though so that's good! 
Ok, we saw some miracles this week but this email is already really long and I'm sure your mondays are all busier than mine so I'll just go write about them in my journal
I love you! 
SISTER madsen 

All the other pictures that Sister Jardine and I take together are in the car with food and it's fine


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I'm illegal now Aug. 21, 2017

ok quick things that happened this week ready go

- Carol confessed two things to us this week. #1 she is in a bowling league #2 she drank some coffee. so we are pushing her baptism back a week (no happy bday mom, sorry) just so she can feel super ready and prepared

- I hit 18 months

- sundays here are really just killing me because for some reason we always plan on seeing of bunch of people who have cats and by the end of the day I keep being a puffy eyed runny nose Benadryl mess. But I slept really good

- we walked out of the Walmart parking lot and a lady asked us if we wanted to use her glasses to see the eclipse so we did and it was pretty cool. She was probably the happiest lady in the world. 

- and the greatest of all, my friend RANDY GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEK. We got a call from the Peoria sisters letting us know about it and we were able to go! every sister that has ever taught him was able to be there and it was the funnest reunion IN THE WORLD. I was so happy for randy. He has been waiting so long and he looked so excited to finally be baptized 

Heavenly Father is good and I am glad to be here

sister madsen 

Randy's baptism!! And all the sisters!
Randy again ft investigator Kathy, who we all have also taught. She
came to the baptism

we have only had time to eat lunch twice this week Aug. 14, 2017

We went on exchanges this week with the Elgin Sisters as well as the Belvidere sisters and just like every other exchange with me, THINGS HAPPENED. 
With the Elgin sisters I got to go with Sister Willes who(m?) if we had gone to the same high school we definitely would have been friends. A lot of people weren't home that we had plans to see but we were able to talk to their neighbors so I would say it was a success. I wish they were closer so that we could see them more. I wish everyone could be in Rockford
our exchange with the Belvidere sisters was pretty crazy! But so fun. I love Belvidere. It reminds me of Freeport a little bit and those sisters crack me UP.
I went with sister Reynolds and we walked EVERYWHERE. I am still sore from it. we started off our morning kind of loco. OK very loco. so we needed the apartment keys because we were going to come back after doing some work and do some additional studying. So the plan was Sister Jardine and Sister Prisbrey would take the car keys because they could drive and give us the apartment key so we could get back in the apartment and not be stranded in the middle of Belvidere. Well they left before us and we were sitting there and we realized that they had taken the apartment keys so I run to go grab the phone to text them and GUESS WHAT they left their phone so we had both phones and couldn't get ahold of them SO we ran out to the parking lot to give it to them but we missed them. we walk back to the apartment and WE ARE LOCKED OUT. And we had nothing besides our phone. No bag no map no cards no copies of the book of mormon no pamphlets no nada nothing. just our shoes and our phone. Sister Reynolds and I brainstormed and figured we could maybe possibly walk and try and find our way to the sisters teaching appointment and crash it. But that would be a really long time and we couldn't even give anything to anyone or write down peoples info if we met someone who was interested on the way. Well the Sisters live above this Pizza Place and they are the landlords so we went down and asked if they had a copy of the key and they did BUT IT DIDN'T WORK. we go back down to tell them and explain our situation and that we will give him the key to make a new copy when we finally get the key. He asks how we will get the key and we explain and he says NO! in his awesome Italian accent and then says/yells (its hard to tell the difference sometimes) to this lady Rose and she walks up to us and asks if we need a ride and CHORUSES OF ANGELS WERE SINGING at that moment. So she drives us to the sisters lesson and we are trying to figure out what to say to make it not weird when we go in and interrupt their lesson but there was really no way to not make it weird.. so we knock and the investigator opens the door and says HEY! come join the party!  and we show up and the Sisters faces were probably the funniest thing I have ever seen. Utter confusion. It was hilarious. We just tell them we are locked out and need the apartment key. Then we handed them the phone and got outta there. 
After that insanity we walked all around Belvidere talking to people. Literally everyone. everywhere. FOUR HOURS. I wasn't prepared but it was really fun as well as painful. We found one of their investigators that they thought had gone to jail but actually he didn't so that was awesome. But sister Reynolds just cracks me up and I am glad we got to go on exchanges together and she taught me how to  make fried chicken
In other news Carol is doing awesome. she PRANKED us a little by going off on the word of wisdom and how she drinks coffee to support the hard working Colombians and Sister Jardine and I are freaking out. and then She looks at us and says "girls.. I have read your pamphlet.. and I have no problem with any of this" and our faces must have been priceless. We had brought the senior sisters with us and they were just cracking up at us because we had been so worried about it. It was a good week
in other news I lost my watch and sister jardine's ankles disappeared because she had so many mosquito bites they swelled up and she could only fit into one pair of her shoes
that's pretty much it I think
have a good week!  
-sister madsen

Elgin Exchange!

still alive but barely breathing Aug 7, 2017

In explanation to my title I was playing volleyball a couple of weeks ago I went for it and DIVED on the gym floor and skinned my knee. I smashed my finger in a bike rack hitch thing on exchanges with Sister Corbett (more to come BC that isn't even the craziest thing that happened) and then this morning I'm not sure how but I walked into the wall with my elbow and it started bleeding so currently I am essentially a walking human bandaid.

Emotional update: I cried a lot while singing called to serve at a meeting this week

We had zone conference which was a lot of fun but not as much fun as usually because we had to train. But it was still fun. For whatever reason BROTHER MULNIX - FREEPORT WARD MISSION LEADER came so that was awesome. He gave Sister Jardine and I candy that he had in his pockets. Also Sister Halliday came for fun! She was one of my first sister training leaders and she has been home for about a year now so it was a weird full circle thing because it was my last zone conference and she was at my first and my last one.

Ok I have two more things to say then I will be done

first. EXCHANGES WITH SISTER CORBETT. It was so fun to be with her. It was a lot like old times for many reasons. In the first hour of her and her companion Sister Epps arriving we accidentally locked ourselves out of our apartment at 9:30 p.m. And then when we got back I fell off and slightly broke my desk chair. When I was training her I thought I was just insane and goofing up all the time but I think Sister Corbett has some sort of effect on me I'm telling you. Every thing happens when we are together. It was also a lot like old times because it was cloudy and cold outside when she came and we talked to a LOT of old people. It was great
We had a cool little miracle. The elders gave us a referral, Terry,  and we went to go see him for a lesson they had set up for us. But we went and no one answered the door. Well. When we pulled up there was this guy out on his porch smoking. So we turned around and decided to go talk to him. He went back inside by this point but we knew he was home. So he came out and talked to us and it turns out he was Terry!! I had just gotten the address wrong. We would have gone back to that home looking for him so many times am never would have found him! But Heavenly Father made it work out.
Another thing I liked that I learned this week is the importance of keeping things simple. The gospel is simple and we have the answers but the Devil puts complications and questions into our mind that we feel like need to be solved but once they are solved we just come up with more questions. So have faith and keep your faith and discipleship simple
We are teaching Carol the word of wisdom this week so prayers would be much appreciated 

Love you all
sister madsen 

Me: don't get too close I'm still a missionary
Brother MULNIX: what are they going to do, send you home? 
Bird eggs in a tree by the church

My companion
We made bird feeders last Monday 

Exchange with Sister Corbett. We used to drive a red car exactly like this together 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

World class July 31, 2017

This week I don't even know what happened but there was a lot of it. I got attacked by cats multiple times. I picked up someone's dog while they were in the middle of walking it and I forgot that it wasn't a normal thing that you do. But we got to share the Book of Mormon with him so it ended up being ok. 
A LOT of people came to church this week, it was crazy!! Carol told us she was going to be out of town but she surprised us. As well as a another investigator and some less active members. Church was awesome
We have met multiple witches this week.
 I don't really know what else to talk about but I just want you all to know that I love my mission. It has CHANGED me and changed me for the better. I am so glad we have the opportunity to change because of the grace of Jesus Christ. He empowers me so much and motivates me to do better and to work harder. He has and continues to change my heart. I know that there is a person that Heavenly Father needs me to be and I know that I personally could not have come close to being that person without going on a mission.
Love you! sister madsen 

S/O to sister Corbett's legs
A really hard sounding church
The corn and wind things 
And more mission bear pics for old times sake 

All sister Jardine and I have is different pictures of us with ice cream
One of them was ONE DOLLAR. We were in the elders area and this man was pushing around a cart with ice cream and we ran to him and bought some Mexican Ice cream and gave him a picture of Jesus Christ and he kissed it. We were walking away and turned around and he kissed it again.

El Libro De Mormón July 24, 2017

I have a lot of pictures this week so hopefully this makes up for lack
of words! Transfers are this week and Sister Muhlestein is leaving me
for Naperville. Rude. BUT my new companion will be Sister Jardine and
she is a lot of fun!! When we went on exchanges together in Peoria it
was a party so I am excited to spend this transfer with her!! Also
this means that I will have been companions with the two sisters in
this mission who went to my high school, so I guess high school really
never ends hahaha.
CAROL is doing great. The best. She's on date to be baptized on August
26 (happy bday to u mom) and we also met this guy Ron who lives on a
street we aren't really supposed to go on but we felt like we needed
to and it was like 3 in the afternoon so we decided it was ok and that
if it felt bad we would leave. But there was this lady who lived there
who had been taught everything and was planning to be baptized but she
lost contact with missionaries and so we really wanted to find her.
But when we pulled up and there was this guy just sitting on his steps
and so we decided to talk to him and he just immediately started
talking to us about how he wants to get closer to God and all this
stuff and we teach him about the Book of Mormon and set up a time to
go back. And then we went and saw the lady and she was SUPER not
interested. So we left and then when we came back the next day for our
lesson with Ron HE WAS THERE!! And so we taught him and it was awesome
and he had a lot of great questions. We were sitting on chairs outside
and Sister Muhlestein was teaching and I'll be honest I was doing the
math in my head for how soon this man could get baptized because he is
PREPARED and then it started POURING RAIN and he asked to reschedule.
So we did. But he has been reading the Book of Mormon and really likes
it. He said it helps him to know what path Heavenly Father wants for
him and what he needs to do to be ready to meet God.
That was awesome.
The Book of Mormon is awesome and I know that Ron's testimony of it is
true! It can guide us in the right way and helps us to know the Role
that Jesus Christ plays in each of our lives. I love that book it is
the best missionary ever. Hermana Ward and I went on exchanges this
week and it was so fun! And I very much don't know Spanish.. but that
is ok we still were able to work really hard and find two new
investigators! One is named Polo and he was really cool. We knocked on
his door and he immediately let us know he was Catholic and he was
good to go and didn't need help from us. So Hermana Ward asked him if
we could share a scripture with him before we left and he said yes and
she had him read it in Spanish. I have no idea what he read but he
kept pausing after he read a line and would think about it and then
keeps reading. He just kept pausing. And then he read the next verse
as well. He looked up and told us in essence that it sounded beautiful
and he asked us what it was and if he could have the Book. The Book of
Mormon changed that mans heart SO FAST it was crazy. The spirit was so
strong and we were able to teach him about the restoration and how we
got the Book of Mormon and I literally had no idea what was going on
but I felt the spirit so much! I bore my testimony at the end and the
Hermana translated it and it was awesome and he asked if he could come
to church and he is just the coolest and the Book of Mormon changes
hearts and it CHANGES LIVES
Have a good one
sister Madsen

The Rockford Stake sisters and Sister Griffin!
The storms knocked down trees and made us stranded in our car

Sister Reynolds and I
Sister Reynolds and I are super united
We went to Giordanos deep dish pizza

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

deja vu July 17, 2017

Today is my golden month mark because I hit 17 months today (which.. is the 17th) and it is weird! Time just cruises on by and I'm not really sure when it will hit me but that will not be a fun day.. and this transfer in general has gone by really fast. I can't believe the next time I write you July will pretty much be gone. I don't know where it went! I think it has to do a little with the fact that Sister Muhlestein and I are so busy and we get along so well. I have never felt so unified in my life! I say this every week but I really can't figure out how to explain it other than we are just the same. But different enough that it works. But pretty much the same. Ok. You still don't get it but I DO and some day I will be a better explainer. 
I am just going to cut to the chase and let you all know that Jim is actually not getting baptized. Yes.. this is for real happening to me.. again! I don't even want to count how many times someone has almost gotten baptized and then like a week or two before it doesn't happen. There is a quote about how no one is going to know if they have endured to the end until they are safely dead with their testimony burning inside of them. And I think you can say the same about baptism. Missionaries can not know for sure if their investigators are going to be baptized until they are safely dunked 
A little background is that Jim was only here in Rockford temporarily for work and they kept extending his employment because they needed him and THEN on Wednesday, HOURS Before his baptism interview he texted us and told us he was going to move back to Indiana this Friday. And that his employer had told him that he was done in Rockford and they didn't need him anymore And Sister Muhlestein and I were like "Lol Jim so funny stop pranking us" and it turns out he wasn't.. 😑 we had a final meeting with him that night instead of his baptism interview. Tears were shed. But I know it is for the best. It will be good for him to get baptized where he actually lives and can already have that support from that Ward to help him and welcome him when he gets baptized. But it is sad we won't be able to be there
I will never laugh again when I hear a story about one of the Hermanas investigators moving to Mexico a week before their baptism
But we made two Elders in Indiana very happy this week so that was cool.
Besides that this week has been pretty crazy but pretty fun! We went on exchanges to Elgin and Belvidere! It was weird being in Elgin because I served in that area last summer when I was in the YSA and the whole time I was a little freaking out in my brain but sister Willes helped me keep my cool haha! And the Belvidere Sisters just crack me up so that was fun. Belvidere is a little tiny crazy town so it was fun to go back there too.
Carol came to church again this week and stayed for all three hours! She loved it. She also told us she was thinking about becoming Mormon and asked us if she was good enough or worthy enough in the middle of a lesson and Sister Muhlestein and I lost our minds. So we are working with her on that. She also talked a lot about the Beatles again and how much she hates Yoko Ono and it killed me 
Something I thought about a lot this week was that we knew what our life was going to be like before we even got here. And we were PUMPED. Even though we knew how hard it was going to be. And my spirit knew I needed to go on a mission. I'm still not sure why, but I'm glad I'm here. But now I hope I can remember that when I am going through something hard, that in the life before this one I knew this was going to happen, and I still came down here! So there has to be a reason for it and something better is just around the river bend 
Before I end this email I just really want to make sure everyone knows that I love sister Muhlestein A LOT and we have had such a fun transfer together and I hope we get another one together. But we will see
sister madsen 

Elgin exchange! We were teaching this lady Sally on her porch and I said a prayer at the end and I opened my eyes and her cat was just sitting inside my bag
And this is Sister Willes! She is awesome! Her and I both like roller and ice skating and it was fun to spend the day missionarying with her! 

Look at this persons YARD. 
The Belvidere Sisters live above an Italian food place and we got cannolis 
And Belvidere is just insane 

💥🌪☀️🇺🇸🌽July 10, 2017

Hola!! This week we went on exchanges with the Rockford Hermanas and I learned how to introduce myself in Spanish. Also I love Hermana Ward because she is so HARD CORE. We shared Galesburg together when I was there and I was sad I wasn't able to be around her when I got transferred but now HERE WE ARE and we got to be companions for the day. She cracks me up. 
The two most important things that happened this week was we had a lesson with Carol and she misunderstood an announcement that was made at church and thought it was going to be closed but in reality it was the temple that was going to be closed. When she realized that and that she could come to church this Sunday she quietly said yesssss to herself in the middle of the lesson and I was dying. She's the greatest. Hopefully we can talk to her more about baptism soon. AND THEN when she came to church there was a member talking about the Book of Mormon and he was talking about the different styles of writing and he was going off on the things it talks about in 1&2 Nephi and Carol turns to us and tells us it says "and it came to pass" sooo many times and then the speaker says the exact same thing after her. I was DYING!! We all were. She liked his talk so much she clapped afterwards. She is awesome. She is in Mosiah right now. I love her. She is a widow and we are so excited to teach her about the plan of salvation and temples this week!! 
Jim is still steadily working towards being baptized on the 22nd I don't know if I have talked a lot about him but some background is that he requested a Book of Mormon because of a Facebook ad. He had a lot of common misconceptions that Sister Muhlestein and SISTER WALLACE (mvps) were able to clear up and then he asked if the could come back and teach him more. And then every lesson that he has been taught has been about something that he had been struggling with or was something he had questions about that very same week and then the sisters would teach him about it. And it freaks him out how on point the lessons always are. But in a good way.. anyways he is being baptized and it is very exciting and cool and the Ward loves him! The bishop came back in town this week so I got to meet him and he is awesome. We had a great lesson with him and Jim on Sunday and the spirit smacked all of us. He will be interviewed this week and baptized the next. Jim is cool because he helps me to realize how small our role is as missionaries. Most of missionary work is character building I have decided haha. And we work and work and try to get people to a certain point where they will do something but it is literally all just Heavenly Father. He has such a hand in everyone's lives and is doing so many things to prepare these people. We just picked the lessons to teach Jim and Heavenly Father helped him during the week to have things happen that would make him have the desire to know things about the word of wisdom or tithing or whatever. And the spirit is all testifying and he is like "you sisters are something else!!" But we literally did nothing.
Heavenly Father is awesome and we just work here. I have been out for this long and I still don't know what we do to be honest haha
In other news on the fourth we had to be in by 7 pm BC Americans are crazy and sister Muhlestein and I partied HARD CORE we went crazy it was wild!!
Actually. we both just wrote in our journals the entire time and then went to bed as early as possible. Wild!!!!!!
Stay cool 😎
-sister madsen

Selfless selfies. A gift for you 

Exchanges! With Sister Jagielski and again with the Hermanas