Tuesday, April 30, 2013

After a Little Blog Stalking.....Elder Kolby Madsen

...this is what Elder Madsen's companion wrote about Kolby in his first letter home:

Written by Elder Wawro, Elder Madsen's MTC companion

"Luckily, when I got there I found out my companion was none other than Elder Kolby Madsen! Elder Madsen was the one who tore his ACL in February and had surgery on it only about a month ago. We went to the Danish consulate together and he was the one I hung out with the most while there. It has been such a blessing to have him as my companion, and even though we have our differences in interests and opinions we work very well together.

A little bit about my district...I couldn't have asked for a better group of guys. We are so vastly different in so many ways but we have so much fun together. I'll talk a little bit about each of them:

Elder Madsen: My companion is very athletic and can pretty much out lift anyone at the gym. We help each other stay on task, but we mess around with each other at appropriate moments as well. We kind of make fun of each other because of his fanatics about sports and mine about music. We have pretty contrasting interests, but I think that's one reason we get along so well."

Yes, that's the Kolby we all know and love! <3

Second Letter from the MTC  (April 26, 2013)

Hamburgers and Double Fries...Anytime! (May 5, 2013)

Inside the MTC with Elder Madsen  (May 5, 2013)

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Letter from Elder Madsen

April 26, 2013

Hey Family,

Well, after the second week of being here in the MTC, everything is going great. We found out that our investigator was an employee of the MTC and is actually teaching the other Danish district in our zone.

Everything is great. I am so grateful to be here. I can't really imagine how things would have been if I would have had to wait. I just found out that if I would have had to wait, I would not have been able to come until July. By then I probably would have hurt myself again.

We have two investigators we practice with. One is Makkel and the other is Søren. Makkel is our current teacher portraying an investigator he had. He had to teach because he has a ton of questions that I just don't know how to answer in Danish. I could do it in English, but not Danish. My companion and I get along great. I am grateful for his love and patience with me.

We just got done washing our white shirts and we noticed white fluff on all of our shirts. Ældste Wawro forgot to check his pockets. His rule book ("white Bible") was in his pocket. LOL! That's why I love him. Never a dull moment.

Well, the lessons are going great. We just have to do our best and listen to the Spirit. My knee is doing great. Gym time is really hard because when I play things I can't run or jump, so I have resorted to all time setter for volleyball, and for kickball, all time pitcher. I take it easy.

I see how the Lord has affected me in many ways, starting with the chance to be here and learn with a great group of future Danes. I have the opportunity to serve my district by being the District Leader. All of these things that have happened before, and while I have been here, just testify to me of the truth...that I am supposed to serve in Denmark. I don't know why, but I know it's where I am supposed to be.

The Lord has a great amount of love for all of us, and I see it every day with the tender mercies. I know that this Gospel is true and that everything in the world is possible through our Lord and Savior. I know that everything happens for a reason and that things may not be happening the way you want them to, but the Lord knows best. I know that through faith all things can and will be made known...not on our time frame, but according to the Lord's will. I love your support and love.


 Ældste Madsen

Hamburgers and Double Fries....Anytime! (May 5, 2013)

Inside the MTC with Elder Madsen (May 5, 2013)

After a Little Blog Stalking...(April 30, 2013)

Elders Wawro and Madsen

Elder Madsen's MTC District at the Provo Utah Temple

More missionaries from Elder Madsen's MTC District

Sister Jeppson's Second Week at the MTC

April 26, 2013

Written by Sister Lindsey Jeppson


I don't know where to start on this. Throughout the week I think of what I want to say, then when I sit down I forget. But luckily, I wrote down all my thoughts this time.

So my third day at the MTC we taught our first investigator, in Espanol!! His name is Claudio. And we've been teaching him almost every day. And let me tell ya, teaching in a language that you barely know is the most humbling experience. My companero y yo had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We taught him the first discussion (attempted...epic fail), then about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, then about prayer, then about baptism. If you stood in that room as a fly on the wall, you would be embarrassed FOR me. But all is well, I'm taking it as a very valuable learning experience. This is why... after each discussion I was getting super discouraged and I was thinking "peace out, I'm going home." But then, yesterday in class we watched a clip from "The District". It was a baptism. And, oh my word, the Spirit was SOOO strong. I realized how much faith I was lacking, and I was reminded of our purpose as missionaries, "to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (totally typed that with out looking at my book!). I broke down into tears and gained that excitement again. SIDE NOTE- starting today, Claudio won't be our investigator anymore, he instead will be our teacher. THIS is gonna be interesting.

My companion is from Tonga, as previously said. And in their culture, they are super friendly and super laid back. So she's always stopping to talk to any missionary who is (or looks) Tongan, and we're always late. But we're learning from each other. I'm learning not to be so uptight with the time, and she's learning the 'American Way' (how she says it) of doing things. We are definitely getting closer and more united. She is so so so funny and has such a strong testimony. She's like a walking scripture. She can give a scripture from any book for any situation. Love it.

I have a love, hate, and hate even more, relationship with Spanish. Everything I learned from High School is coming back!! But, it gets kind of overwhelming when I'm studying. On the positive side, I think we've finally established a routine for studying more effectively. I'm understanding Spanish better and better every day. It's quit amazing that gift of tongues. Also, Spanish has definitely helped strengthen my faith in Heavenly Father.

So this Wednesday, all the new missionaries came in. Such a relief not being the new bee anymore.  When I saw them, I got a sense of anxiety. I'll be honest. The first three days at the MTC are hard and overwhelming. But come Sunday, it's the BEST place ever!! I love the MTC! Such a strong spirit. It truly is amazing. So all you new missionaries out there, don't be nervous. The MTC does take time to adjust to, but it's an amazing place!!

The sister's in my district are getting super close. Because we spend so much time together, our personalities are coming out strong. We laugh together, cry together, and best of all, share testimony together. I love these sisters. The elder's on the other hand... Just kidding, I love them too. Some take a little more effort to love than others, but never the less... love them all... We're one big happy family.

Seriously, I love being a missionary. I've been so blessed. Heavenly Father is hastening His work and it is so exciting to be apart of it. I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us. We are so precious to Him. And all He wants is for us is to follow the example of His son, Jesus Christ, so we can return home to him. We can always do something more to be a little better. Love your neighbor. Be an example to all of your peers. Let the light of Christ shine so bright in your countenance. This gospel is SOO AMAZING!! It has brought so much joy into my life, and I can not wait to share that with God's children in Arizona. Remember, you don't have to be a full time missionary to share the gospel. EVERY MEMBER A MISSIONARY!! (totally have chills running up and down my spine!!!)

I love you all SOOO Much. I absolutely love receiving and reading the letters you send me. It gives me something to look forward to after studying all day. I encourage you to support the missionaries by sending them just a simple note of encouragement.


Hermana Jeppson

Sister Jeppson's First Week at the Provo MTC  (April 20, 2013)

Photos of the Cousins  (May 1, 2013)

We All Have the Responsibility to be Missionaries  (May 3, 2013)

Left to Right: Hermana Call, Hermana Uele (way-lay), Hermana Jeppson, Herman Rosen and Hermana Huffman

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What that first letter means to a Mom!

Written by Holley Jeppson, Lindsey's mom

Those first few days after Lindsey was in the MTC, before I got the letter, were really tough, which I hate to admit.  There are so many different emotions going through your mind.  On one hand you KNOW they are in the right place, probably doing good and not even thinking about home.  But on the other hand, you just never know.  I also have heard from SO many people that the first letter is so incredible to get.  BUT, you just don't know what that feels like until you get it.  Because Kolby's first letter came in the mail, I assumed that maybe she would write before e-mailing, so I kept checking the mail box, not knowing when her P-day would be. Saturday there was still no letter. It wasn't until late Saturday night that I just happened to check my e-mail and THERE IT WAS!!!

I opened it up and just sat in gratitude and tears as she told of her incredible experience and the emotions she was going through.  Even though some of those emotions were hard and overwhelming, it's shaping and molding her.  After reading it, there was no question in my mind that I wanted to go on a mission some day and that I'm going to do everything I can to get my other kids and every youth that I have an influence on a mission.  There is just NOTHING that can compare.  My testimony of this missionary work was strengthened in one letter!

There is not better confirmation that your child is in the "right place" learning incredible "hard things" that will shape her to be the most incredible mother, wife and woman.  I'm so thankful for this gospel and the church and the opportunities we have in it.  I understand what it means when we say, "The peace and joy the gospel brings."  SO TRUE!!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sister Jeppson's First Letter Home

Saturday, April 20, 2013


mmmm... I have no idea where to begin. Elder Madsen hit it spot on when he said the MTC was like catching 50 kids at the bottom of the slide. BAH SOOO overwhelming, but honestly each day it gets better and better. I love it here!! (except at 9 pm when we're still studying!) The spirit is so incredible. I definitely feel the Lord's help. The only time I felt home sick was the first day. The Lord has helped me so so so much. I feel like this is where I am suppose to be. I do get overwhelmed at times, but I just take it one day at a time, and that helps.

The first day was a blur, my host brought me to the main office where I got my tag, schedule, and study materials. I then went to my apartment, dropped off my suitcase, and then went straight to class. That's where I met mi companero, Hermana Uele. She is from Tonga and Spanish will be her third language. She is going to LA California. There are eight missionaries in my district and most of them are going to DC South. I have not met anyone that is going to Arizona... yet...

Our teacher's name is Hermano Stevenson, and guess where he served... MESA ARIZONA!! He is super animated, and such a geek, but we love him anyway. You can tell he has a sincere desire to help us out.

I have seen soo many missionaries that I know! Like Elder Nestman, Elder Smith, Hermana (Brooke) Bateson (best friend from middle school).... and finally,, I SAW ELDER MADSEN!! It was on my second day and I just about cried. I was just about to hug him, but then I realized that probably wouldn't be the best because the rules are so strict about touching the Elders.. so he gave me a nice firm, 3 second handshake.

We met our Branch president. El nombre es Presidente Tyler. I love him!! He is so great. When he first talked to us he just gave us a motivational message and I just about cried. He always has a story to tell. He takes about 10 minutes to get a point across, but I enjoy it. We all had the chance to tell a little about ourselves then share a brief testimony. Afterwards President Tyler took us out individually and interviewed us. He told me, "Sister Jeppson, you are going to be a great missionary. I could feel it in my bones when you were baring your testimony." Tears?? of course there were!!

Espanol es muy dificil!! We taught our first lesson yesterday to our investigator Claudio.... ya it was..ummm...well not great. I could understand what he was saying for the most part, but I could not reply at all. And my companion was just lost. It got to the point where he pulled out his iPad and used Google translate. WE get to teach him again tonight.

I know why I got called to a Spanish speaking mission... because I get so caught up in teaching the doctrine correctly, I neglect the importance of the Spirit. Learning another language forces you to take a step back and teach like a child would teach...very basic and with the Spirit.

Quote of the week from President Tyler, "Obedience brings blessing, but exact obedience brings miracles."

I love reading your letters!! And I will do my best to respond to all of them. But when missionaries say they don't have a lot of time, boy are they right!! I have like no time, but I look forward to mail time!! Oh, and by the way, my P day will be on Fridays from now on. Oh and another thing, my whole district leaves in 6 weeks, but I'll be here until about June 4, because of Visitor Center Training. I get to train in Temple Square... don't even think about coming up ;)

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! The Church is true. Next letter I'll bare my testimony en espanol!!!


Hermana Jeppson

PS: Tell Hannah congrats!!!!!! That's so so so so cool!!!!

Sister Jeppson Reports to the Provo MTC  (April 17, 2013)

What That First Letter Means to a Mom (April 24, 2013)

Sister Jeppson's Second Week at the Provo MTC (April 26, 2013)

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Heart of a Missionary's Mother

April 19, 2013

Written by Holley Jeppson, Lindsey's mom

Everybody warned me about what I would go through when Lindsey left on her mission, but I wasn't prepared for what happened.  I suspected it would be emotional, but I was shocked at why.  She had left for college for a semester and we really only talked to her a couple times a week any way, so I didn't think it would be hard or that I would be homesick because she had already been gone.  But I got hit with a lot of different emotions and would suddenly burst into tears at any moment.  The morning after we dropped her off I was laying in bed, crying again, and the therapist in my head would not shut off and I tried to figure out what I was feeling. I wasn't really sad or even fearful -- she is going to Arizona, for heavens sake.

 I really didn't want her coming home because I was excited, even jealous, for her experience.  But I was feeling a loss and that word just felt real.  So I think I figured it out.  When she was first born, I felt this incredible responsibility -- similar to a "really big" calling.  For 19 years, I have always had her on my mind.  When she was little she was with me constantly, but even through the last few years, I always felt the "stewardship" of her.  Tuesday night, when she was set apart,  I felt I was released of that particular part of my calling as her mother. I know I will always be her mother, but our relationship will always be different now. There was some relief knowing that I did my best.   After all, she had made it to the temple AND on a mission -- I don't think I can take credit, but it still feels good.  I had gratitude for how well she turned out despite my mistakes. But also a loss for the responsibility.  There was comfort knowing that she is in the Lord's hands and if I can trust anybody with my precious daughter it would be Him -- after all she was His first before this life.  When she returns it will just be different -- which is good.

Another thought that came was that I got a SMALL taste of what Abraham would have felt when he made the decision to offer his first born Isaac on the alter. Our friends had described that feeling when they sent their son on a mission and I felt it strongly as well.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that I've had to raise her and learn from her incredible spirit.  I love her very much and know she is going to make and incredible missionary.  They tell me these emotions will subside and  believe it, but it will not be something that I ever forget and will always stay imprinted in my heart.

A Mother's Love - Holley says goodbye to her baby girl

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Sighting!

The news is that Elder Madsen saw Sister Jeppson at the Missionary Training Center (MTC), but she didn't see him! Today is Elder Madsen's preparation day (P-day), so he was able to shoot out a couple of emails. This is the one I received:

April 18, 2013

Thanks for the email. It means a ton. Well, yeah, it's crazy here. Two days in and we have our first discussion in Danish. Crazy town! But we did well and he is "coming to church with us", and we invited him to be baptized. We will see how it goes.

I was asked to be the District Leader, so I have these extra meetings and stuff, but it's great! PLEASE HAVE YOUR BOYS WRITE ME! I want to talk to them.

Jeg Elske Dig,

Elder Madsen

Sister Jeppson Reports to the Provo MTC!

It's been a busy week! On Sunday, August 14, we had the privilege of listening as Sister Lindsey Jeppson delivered her farewell address at the Founders Park 9th Ward in South Jordan, Utah. Lindsey spoke about conversion, and gave beautiful examples from her own personal conversion and decision to serve a mission. In glancing around the chapel, the entire congregation was riveted. Lindsey has a glowing countenance and wonderful, engaging personality. She will be a phenomenal missionary!

Following church, the Jeppsons welcomed Lindsey's friends and family at their home for an "open house." They served yummy refreshments (as always!), and well wishers got to spend a little time talking, laughing, and reminiscing with Lindsey.

Lindsey and her friend, Nate Jensen - Nate will be serving in the Washington D.C. South mission, beginning June 26.

Tuesday evening, April 16, President Mike Cottle, President of the Founders Park Utah Stake, set Lindsey apart as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Close friends and family joined the Jeppson family in their home to say their final goodbyes as she embarks on 18 months of service in the Arizona Mesa Mission/Temple Visitor Center. The next day, Lindsey's family drove her to the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) where she will prepare to preach the Gospel in the Spanish language. Lindsey will be at the MTC for about six weeks.

This is a text I received from Lindsey's dad, Brad Jeppson, just before 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. I'm adding this to the blog because I feel like it will mean so much to Lindsey to get a glimpse into her dad's heart in the moments after he sent his baby girl into the Lord's service.

From Brad Jeppson at 12:54 p.m.: "Our offering is on the alter. Today was the first day in the history of the church that there were more sister missionaries reporting to the MTC than Elders."

Those words speak volumes....sacrifice, love, history. That's what it's all about.

Brad and Holley Jeppson Family

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Meet Sister Hannah Avery

Hannah Avery is the daughter of Doug and Shannon Avery, and the sister of Elder Jacob Avery who was recently called to serve as a missionary in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hannah and Jacob have three other brothers, Joshua, Jared, and Jonathan (deceased), and two younger sisters, Rebekah and Abigail.

Hermana Hannah Shay Avery

The Avery Family
Jacob, Rebekah, Jared, Joshua, Hannah, Shannon, Doug and Abigail

Hannah spent most of her life in Maryland before moving to Utah as a freshman in high school. She was in the first graduating class at Herriman High School, attended Salt Lake Community College and Utah State University, and is an avid lacrosse player. Something she doesn't like to share with people is that she also plays piano and sings like an angel (in her mom's humble opinion). Right now she works at 1-800-Contacts as a live chat agent.

Just after her 20th birthday, and right around the time her brother submitted his application for missionary service, Hannah made the decision to serve a mission. Being a missionary has never been something Hannah planned to do. As a matter of fact, she would get downright hostile if the topic was discussed (I can say that because I'm her mom haha!). She explains now that the idea of a mission could not settle in her mind until she recognized her fears of inadequacy and anxiety about approaching strangers with the message of the Gospel were the only things that were keeping her from serving. She says that she came to understand that the Savior's atonement is not only for our sins, but also overcomes our fears and weakness. She realized that she can do all things through Him, and that is what gave her the courage, and ultimately the desire, to serve.

Since making the decision to serve a mission, Hannah has been overwhelmed with support from family and friends. Even her leadership team at work has been very encouraging and supportive. Because Hannah doesn't want to leave for her mission until August, she waited until April 2nd (120 days before her availability date) to submit her application to Church Headquarters.

Hannah's mission assignment arrived as expected, on April 17, 2013. She had many friends and family present when she opened her letter, including her parents, all her brothers and sisters, and her grandmother, Linda Mullins. By cell phone we also had Grandma and Grandpa Avery in Texas, and Aunt Naomi in Virginia. And via Facetime on the iPhone and iPad were Aunt Dawn in Texas, and Aunt Shay and Uncle Eric in Kentucky.

Sister Hannah Avery anxiously waits to open her letter with family and friends

Her letter was sent from the office of the First Presidency, dated April 16, 2013.

"Dear Sister Avery,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Chile Vina del Mar Mission. It is anticipated you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Mexico Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, August 14, 2013. You will prepare to preach the Gospel in the Spanish language...."

To say we are THRILLED to have this experience a second time within two months is a true understatement! We are so happy for Hannah. Her excitement for her mission and her enthusiasm for the work is contagious. There is no doubt, she will do great things in Chile!

Hannah and Me (her mom)! So excited!!
AND her Daddy! We had to take turns holding the camera :)

AND her grandma, Linda Mullins...

AND last, but certainly not least, her brother, the soon to be Elder Jacob Avery.

 Sister Avery Says Goodbye for 18 Months (August 13, 2013)

Welcome Home, Hermana Avery!  (February 10, 2015)

Learn more about what Mormons believe

Learn more about why Mormons serve missions

Receive a free copy of The Book of Mormon

The Jeppson Family on Lindsey's Report Date

Written by Holley Jeppson, Lindsey's Mom

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

OUR OFFERING -- The "Dropping Off" Experience

It is done!  We have offered our sacrifice on the alter!!  Lindsey is now in the MTC preparing to serve the people of Arizona.  Tuesday night, we each were able to give her some advice or give words of appreciation It was so incredible as a mother to hear others testify of who she has become and the example she has been to others.  Even though she was called the "boring one" by two of her cousins because she would always be working on Personal Progress on Sunday's instead of playing with them. My favorite was when bishop shared when he was in the worthiness interview with Lindsey for her mission, he was asking her about all of the standards that were in the Strength of Youth and part way through Lindsey stopped him and said, "Bishop, you don't ever have to worry about my standards."

 It was a special experience with a lot of tears and an incredible spirit.  Then President Cottle set her apart as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She said later that she was comforted by her blessing because President Cottle covered the things she was having anxiety about. One of my favorite parts said that people will be shocked at how well "this little blonde girl speaks Spanish," and she was blessed to speak fluently.  After she was set apart she bore her testimony for the first time as a missionary -- it was strong and solid -- filled with the spirit.

That night she was exhausted and said that she woke up at 2:30 a.m. with anxiety to the point that she felt that she was going to throw up.  She was up at 6:30 a.m. and we were up together (because I was her temporary companion) and we just talked for an hour an a half about all the spiritual experiences from the weekend.  What a special experience, she has truly become my best friend.  Time went REALLY slow for her that morning, she kept getting waves of anxiety and felt like she was really going to throw up.  We started heading down to Provo at 11 am.  We went to lunch at Zupas because it was the only thing that Lindsey could stomach.  The time went really slow and she kept checking her watch.

We decided to go to the Provo Temple, take some pictures and say goodbye there.  Lindsey was really trying not to cry.  In fact, there was a sister missionary there hugging her mom for a long time and Lindsey said -- hugs can only last 10 seconds.  We got out and took  pictures, then each of us gave her a hug with a group hug at the end.  She held tough until Brad and I hugged her, then we made her cry and of course I was crying.  We were still early, so we just decided to get in the car and drive by.  We were directed right into the MTC.  As we drove by there were missionaries lined up at the curb waving and smiling.  We pulled into Station #10.  Lindsey was SO ready to get out and get going.  She met her host, they got the luggage out of the back of the car.  She gave one last quick hug to all of us (I was still crying of course) -- then she took one of her suitcases, her host took the other and she walked into the MTC never looking back.  Braden yelled, "Harrah for Israel."  (As a dare for Maren who yelled it for Kolby).

We got back into the car pretty solemn.  Taylor was taking pictures of everybody and the rest of us were crying or solemn.  We dropped Brad off to go to St George and we left to go to Airborne to distract children.  What a day.  It was really emotional, but the start of something incredible.  CAN'T WAIT FOR THE FIRST E-MAIL!!!!

Sister Jeppson Reports to the Provo MTC  (April 17, 2013)

The Heart of a Missionary Mother (April 19, 2013)

Sister Jeppson's First Letter Home (April 20, 2013)

The Jeppson Family at the Provo Temple on Lindsey's Report Day

Holley, Lindsey and Brad Jeppson
Jeppson kids at the Provo Temple

Sisters, McKinsey and Lindsey Jeppson

A sister missionary from the MTC greeted Lindsey at the curb.

The whole Jeppson gang at the MTC

And she's off! God speed, Sister Jeppson <3

A picture is worth a thousand words ...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Elder Madsen's Miracle

Written by Soren Madsen, Kolby's dad

On February 19th Kolby tore his ACL, two tears in his meniscus, and a fracture on knee of his left leg. He found out he would need surgery to repair it. He was originally told that he would need to do physical therapy and wouldn't be completely healed for 6 to 9 months. He was upset and received a priesthood blessing and the family and friends held a special fast for him on March 3rd 2013, that he would heal quickly. He talked with his father about why he was having to wait so long to serve his mission when he first got his mission call. He was told to remember the tender mercies of The Lord, and that it was all for his good. When he tore his knee, he talked with his father again about waiting. He again was reminded of the tender mercies of The Lord. They discussed that maybe this is why The Lord had him wait in the first place. The Lord knew that he would tear his knee up. He needed him to be 100% and that would not be possible if he would have left even one month earlier. He would have to probably come home for treatment and possibly get sent to another mission. Kolby said maybe he needed to learn patience. He listened to several conference talks for strength and understanding. He went to Idaho to visit his father on April 5-7. He was waiting to hear when he would enter the MTC and if he still would be going to Denmark. On Sunday he found out that he would meet with the Bishop on Monday April 8th. They would go for a bike ride and a walk, and the Bishop would determine if he should enter the MTC on April 10th. Kolby had the surgery performed only one month earlier (March 7th 2013). He had been blessed in his priesthood blessing that he would heal quickly. On April 9th 2013 around 11:00 AM, he discovered he would be entering the MTC the next day at noon. He is now in the MTC, where he is teaching and learning in the Danish language. His Branch President is the father of his father's friend and next door neighbor.

Elder Madsen's First Letter Home

(I'm inserting my own comments and his mom's comments italicized in parenthesis.)

April 11, 2013

10:00 p.m.

Well, the first couple of days, I'm not going to lie, I feel like I am trying to save fifty kids at the bottom of the slide at the same time. It's a ton to take in. (Remember, Kolby is a lifeguard.)

I feel really blessed though. My companion is none other than Elder Wawro, the funny kid from New York! (Kolby and six other missionaries flew to new York in Januray to meet with the Danish consulate, so he met Elder Wawro then.)

We got to meet with the Branch President tonight and I was called to be the District Leader over the Danish District F. All it means is more meetings and I "get" (have) to get everyone's mail.

By the way, my P-day is Thursday.

Hej, Hej, (good bye)

Love you,

Elder Madsen

Elder Madsen Reports to the Provo MTC (April 10, 2013)

Second Letter from Elder Madsen in the Provo MTC (April 26, 2013)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Elder Madsen Reports to the Provo MTC

The miracle that we all witnessed surrounding Kolby's knee surgery is certainly worth sharing! So before we get to the photos and celebration, let me tell you how this whole thing rolled out.

As you know from my previous post, a month before Kolby was scheduled to report to the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) to begin training for his mission to Denmark, he injured his knee. A day after the injury, when it became apparent that it was more serious than he initially thought, Kolby asked for a Priesthood blessing. It was a relief to hear Brother King pronounce a healing blessing. He said Kolby would experience a complete recovery from his injury, and that if he had enough faith " it will not affect the timing of your mission."  I assumed that meant that Kolby would not need surgery...

A few days later, Kolby met with a specialist and underwent a MRI. That is when he learned he would need surgery to repair an ACL, two menisci, and remove a bone fragment from his knee. The surgeon explained that Kolby's recovery could be anywhere from three to nine months. To say that was a very depressing day would be an understatement. This eager young man faced the reality of having to wait even longer to leave on his mission, or be assigned another mission altogether.

Surgery went well, and Kolby was up and about within a couple of days. He surprised everyone by refusing pain medication and not using crutches within the first week after his surgery. As he began physical therapy, Kolby continued to surprise everyone by having significant increases in his range of motion and mobility from day to day.

Exactly four weeks after his (major!) knee surgery, Kolby walked into his doctor's office without a brace or even a limp in his step. The surgeon said in all his years, he has never seen anything like it. That very day, Kolby's doctor released him from physical therapy and cleared him for missionary service!

You can imagine the wave of excitement and complete chaos that unleashed (haha!)! Immediately, phone calls were made to the Bishop and Stake President. They asked to meet with Kolby on Monday (it was the weekend of General Conference) to discuss the possibility of him leaving for his mission on time. On Tuesday afternoon, after calls to everywhere, including the Missionary Department of the Church, Kolby was cleared to leave for the MTC the NEXT DAY...his original report date of Wednesday, April 10, 2013. We had all witnessed a miracle, right before our eyes! Prayers were answered and testimonies were strengthened. It was just a further witness that Heavenly Father knows each of His children by heart.

On Tuesday evening, after boxing up his room and packing his suitcases for two years of service, Kolby welcomed family and friends at his home for a couple of hours to say goodbye. Usually, missionaries have a "farewell" where they speak in church the Sunday before they leave, and some have an "open house" so people can come and visit before they report for their mission. With less than 24 hours notice, Kolby didn't have the "normal" farewell experience, but I dare say it was even sweeter than most. This incredible, faithful, virtuous young man was prepared and ready to serve at a moment's notice.

Another tender mercy is that Lindsey was still home, her report date to the Provo MTC having been pushed back to April 17. So the two cousins were able to share that very special and exciting day together!

Elder Kolby Madsen and Sister Lindsey Jeppson, cousins reporting to the MTC one week apart.

After Kolby's friends said their goodbyes, President Mike Cottle, Stake President of the Founders Park Utah Stake, set him apart as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Cottle gave everyone present the opportunity to share their testimony of the Gospel and their feelings about Kolby. Then he gave Elder Kolby Madsen the opportunity to share his testimony and feelings about his upcoming mission.

The next morning, Kolby's family and close friends shared their last meal together before they drove him to the MTC. At 1:36 p.m., I received a simple text message from his mom and my dear friend. Knowing how much I love him too, she knew what her words would mean to me..."He's gone."  In mom language that translates to, I just watched my only son leave to serve his Savior for two years. The laughter and tears and worry and prayers, all our happy and sad times, culminate in this moment as I watch him walk away from me a strong, worthy, dedicated young man. And although I don't feel like I can breathe right now, I wouldn't change it....and I will miss him....so...very...much.

Elder Kolby Madsen ~ Denmark Copenhagen Mission

Kolby with him mom, Marianne and sisters Maren and Sabrina, before reporting to the MTC

Big sugar before he leaves! He won't be getting that action for a while haha!

Surrounded by people who love you...no better way to embark on two years of service!

Elder Madsen Needs Surgery (March 4, 2013)

Elder Madsen's First Letter Home (April 11, 2013)

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