Monday, September 30, 2013

I Had to Whack Him and Start Running! - Sister Hannah Avery

Written by Sister Hannah Avery, currently serving in the Chile Vina del Mar Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Hola familia y amigos! (Hello family and friends!)

How are things in los Estados Unidos (the United States)?! I hope that you are all doing fabulous and that you had a great week. Thanks for keeping me updated on things! I feel like I am at home even though I am VERY far away. This week has been a crazy week! Here is what happened in my crazy life as a missionary:

I was transferred to Ovalle, which is up north (up towards the top of our mission boundaries). I knew that I was going there too! The night before we found out where I was going, I knew that I was going somewhere up north...and here I am! Crazy, right?! I can feel the Spirit with me always, and it is super cool and such a blessing!

This is a pretty poor area, and I always pray that I won't get pulga bites (fleas), or get sick from the food. Things aren't cooked very well. But the people are amazing and very generous! And everyone LOVES that I can speak English, haha! Everyone here loves Rush and One Direction (bands in the USA), and they always ask me if I have met them in person, simply because I lived in the USA. LOL! No, I don't know them, but I do know their songs!

The people love hearing me speak English and they always ask me to say things that they say in Spanish, in English. I am going to be teaching an English class every Tuesday with another missionary (an Elder) from the USA. I don't remember the Elder's name, but it should be really cool! AND a great way to get more people to teach! The work is moving along, for sure.

We don't teach a lot of new people (investigadores). Rather, we teach the menos activos (less active members of the church). There are SOOOOO many here in Chile, so we are trying to get them and their families to come back to church. So far, we have four families coming back to church. It is really neat!

Guess what?? I invited my first people to baptism! It is going to be a DOUBLE baptism. Two sisters, ages 11 and 12. Their names are Sophia and Catalina. I am so happy for them! We are hoping to hold the baptism between sessions of General Conference on Saturday. We will see how it goes!

My new companion's name is Hermana Mori. She is from Lima, Peru, so Jake may know her family! I told her that he is in the Lima West mission, and she said that her family is pretty close to there. So maybe they will run into him at some point in time! I don't think they are members of our church, but I could be wrong.... she speaks really fast and confuses me sometimes, haha! But she helps me a lot with my Spanish and is so kind! She is 19 years old, was baptized about 3 years ago, and is now on a mission!

While we were out shopping for groceries last week, a homeless guy tried to steal my watch off my arm! AHH! I have worn a jacket or long sleeved shirt ever since, just so people can't see it. So scary! He literally was tugging on my arm, and I had to whack him and start running! LOL! I didn't hit him hard, just a little tap and flung my arm so he would go away. It was super scary though, for real....

They are going to offer General Conference in English (I think) for the Americans! I am praying for that to happen. I do understand a lot of Spanish, but I love Conference and really want to be able to soak it all in. Pray for me that I can listen in English! I would be soooo happy :)

I get to play the piano here a lot too. That simplified hymn book is super helpful a lot of the time! No one here plays, and they can not sing on tune for the life of them, so I am glad to get to help out in that way :)

Well, that is all that I have for this week! Sadly, we hardly have any time to write emails, but I promise that letters will come your way soon! The Chileno postal service is just really slow, so be patient! I love you all so much and hope that you have yet another wonderful week! Stay safe, be smart, and keep the Spirit with you always! I pray for you all every day and think about you always! You are my heart! I LOVE YOU! Until next week :)

With ALLLLLLLL my love (forever!!!!!!!!!!),

Hermana Avery

Hola from Chile! (September 23, 2013)

"Doubt Your Doubts Before You Doubt Your Faith" (October 7, 2013)

Hermana Mori and Hermana Avery
Ovalle, Chile

Preparing for the long bus ride to my new area of Ovalle, Chile.

Before transfers, we attended a few classes
(Sister Avery is in the raincoat on the right)

Hannah's Mission President posted this photo on his blog....that's our
crazy girl! It does our hearts good to see her so happy!

The Lord Puts His Servants Where He Needs Them, When He Needs Them - Elder Jake Avery

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, currently serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Hello everyone! Well, this week has definitely been an improvement. Elder China and I were able to baptize Keila and Jabier (yes, Jabier, he's been an investigator since March and nobody knew his name was with a ''b'' not a ''v''). It's exciting to see our investigators progress. Jabier was my very first appointment in the field, and he did NOT believe in the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, and now look at him! Keila is Paul's 17 year old sister, and because of their example, their parents want to learn more about the Gospel. We taught them about the Plan of Salvation last night.

I want to talk a bit about the M*** (omitted for privacy) family. This is a family that we met two weeks ago, with a mom who's 42 and a daughter who just had her first kid a few months ago. They are one of the most amazing families I've seen. Hermana Roxana (the mom) has always been religious. She prays desperately for her kids, especially her son in Santiago, Chile, and also to know the truth about the gospel. She kind of shrugged us off at first. We met, talked, and taught a lesson, then nothing really. We were hoping to teach a second lesson, but she didn't really want one. Then one night as we were walking home, we stopped by her house, and I'm not sure how the subject came up, but we offered to do service for her.

When the morning arrived, Elder China was sick and in no mood to do service. We almost didn't go, but we thought together about it carefully and went to help her out. That day was probably the hardest I've ever worked in my life. We leveled out her back yard so she can extend her house. We chiseled and dug out the hill, moving the dirt to the front yard for a future patio. We worked hard! We filled five gallon buckets with dirt and rocks, and we took back countless loads. We were able to do a considerable amount of work for her. She made us lunch and let us come over a few hours later to teach about the Restoration of the Gospel. Long story short, both of them accepted the invitation to be baptized, and we're working toward a baptism date of October 12th. They came to church, they're reading their scriptures, and are coming to watch General Conference this weekend. It's really a dream come true.

I learned two things from this experience. First, the Lord puts his servants where he needs them, when he needs them. If you're following the Spirit or simply just doing what you're supposed to, you'll find the people who are ready to come to Christ. You'll find the people that are honestly looking for the truth. Second, you need to really love someone to be an effective servant/disciple of the Lord. Those missionaries just looking for numbers of baptisms don't have the capacity to help CONVERT someone to Christ.

My thought of the week is about the Spirit. We got to hear a different Christian group yell, sing, and preach for a good two days straight. They happened to be about 50 yards from my house, and continued into the late hours of the night. So let's just say, I had the opportunity to observe them a great deal, haha! They're great people who really get excited about God, but they don't understand the nature of the Holy Ghost.

When Christ spoke to His Apostles about the role of the Holy Ghost, He said that it would be a comforter and speak of truth. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that the Spirit invokes loud laughter, shouting, or reckless dancing. The Spirit is soft and still. Joseph Smith taught that the Spirit edifies, enlightens, and inspires. It speaks of peace and love. It speaks of change and repentance. It's a gentle, yet stern, companion for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so long as they are true to their covenants. It can lead us and prompt us where to go.

But this doesn't mean we will be lead in ALL things. God has also given us the ability to think, and reason, and choose what is best, according to our beliefs and the doctrine of the Gospel. We can feel the Spirit in moments when it is present, but we cannot "command" the Spirit to prompt us when it's convenient for us. We walk by faith, not sight. Remember Christ, as he was being tempted, told Satan, ''It is written...'' He didn't say, ''No, Satan, the Holy Ghost has appeared before me and said I shouldn't do it.'' Rather, Christ used the gentle promptings of the Spirit and the teachings He knew from the scriptures to guide his actions.

I'm so happy to hear that everyone is doing well. I hope you all have a fantastic week, and I pray for you daily. Thanks for all the love and support. - Elder Avery

Teaching People to Pray in Peru (September 23, 2013)

The Lord's Ways are Simple (October 7, 2013)

Remember, you can click on the images to see them larger!

Elder Avery at the seashore on P-day
Yes, that is Brad Pitt on the right.

This little light of mine....

Elder China (with the blue glasses) LOVES to play ninja
with the members of our church congregation.




Let the Spirit do the Heavy Lifting

Written by Elder Dallin Remund, currently serving in the Virginia Chesapeake Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Que tal, y'all? (What's up, ya'll?)

I skipped writing a big email last week because I was busy writing individual emails!

But I am still alive and having the greatest time serving down in Albertson! Transfer calls happened yesterday and we didn't get a call, so I'll be staying in Albertson for a 3rd transfer with Elder Knott. That usually doesn't happen too often (to stay with your trainer) but hey, transfers are inspired, so I'm excited!

I think back to when I first showed up to North Carolina until now, and I have learned so much! So much about patience, about the Spirit, about diligence. Humility is essential in missionary work! If you go into situations only thinking about yourself and what you should do, you're wrong! When you're humble you can acknowledge your weaknesses and then let the Spirit do the heavy lifting.

Sergio is still doing really well, but he is struggling to find rides to church. We might have to send him to the missionaries in his actual area. But no matter what happens, he is making steps towards Heavenly Father, so that's the most important thing!

Usually every Sunday, we get one or two Hispanic families to church. Yesterday, we had about five! It was so great to have them out at church so they can receive that light they need for the week! There are a good amount of Hispanic members in the ward, but for one reason or another, they don't get to go to church too often. Elder Knott and I have been focusing on getting these families rides for the past two transfers and it's been working out great, thanks to a member of our congregation who picks them up each week! Selfless members are the best. I would encourage all of you out there back home to find ways to help less active members or recent converts in your ward boundaries. You will not only help them come closer to God, but you will make friends and maybe even change their future! Member missionary work is the BEST!

It's another time for change. It's a new transfer, the leaves are starting to go yellow, it's colder, and General Conference is this weekend! I'm so excited!!! Exactly 4 months ago, I woke up my first morning in the MTC (Missionary Training Center). Time is flying and the mission field is so great!

Yo quiero compartir mi testimonio con ustedes. Se que La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias es la iglesia verdadera en la tierra hoy. Se que Presidente Monson es un profeta verdadero. Yo se que nuestro Padre Celestial ama a nosotros mucho y que Jesucristo sufrio y murio asi que podamos vivir con nuestras familias otra vez. Yo se que el Espiritu es super importante para nuestro bienestar!

(Translation: I want to share my testimony with you. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on earth today. I know that President Monson is a true prophet. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, and that Jesus Christ suffered and died so that we can live with our families again. I know that the Spirit is super important for our well-being!)

Mucho amor (much love),

Elder Remund

Almost Heaven, Albertson, NC

Remember, the Lord Loves You

Coke or Pepsi...?

Written by Elder Brian Burgess, currently serving in the Mexico Puebla North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Elder Lebron and I. Cool guy! I've done a lot of intercambios (day changes) with him. We just struggle on the Coke or Pepsi topic. There is about 99 percent Coke down here, and 1 percent Pepsi. It's rare. Not as rare as Dr. Pepper. But I'm representing my Red, White, and Blue (Pepsi). Grandma would be proud.

Look at the little guy dragging a suitcase in the background.

A catholic cathedral. I thought these things were only in Italy. This one is called the Golden Cathedral. I think it was just painted gold. But it's very different than a Mormon church house, right?! We went to it because it's in the center of Puebla, along with MANY more. And the center of Puebla (close to the South mission) is where I had to by my shoe implant.

Golden Cathedral
Puebla, Mexico

Me, singing in Spanish... it's funny I've heard more English songs down here than Spanish. The church doesn't have a lot in Spanish music. And the buses play mostly English. People down here follow Justin Bieber and Beyonce, the bigger singers in the States. I about cried the other day on the bus. They were playing some 80's songs. I was in heaven. I'm screaming the lyrics (In my mind of course.... missionary rules) haha!

Y'ALL HAV A GURD WEAK NOOW!

-Elder Burgess

Chocolate Cake from an Angel

Emergency Surgery for Elder Burgess

Singing in Spanish


A Week of Revelation - Sister Lindsey Jeppson

Written by Sister Lindsey Jeppson, currently serving in the Arizona Mesa Mission / Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors' Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Hola Mi Familia!

I'm SOOO happy you went and visited Sister George and Sister Gannon. They are amazing missionaries!!! On my second day, while my day trainers were in a meeting, Sister Gannon and I took a car to a carwash and had a little bonding experience. Then when she left, sister George came. She's AWESOME! We've had some good laughs.

Mom, there was something that jumped out to me. You say that you guys have been blessed with me being out on a mission. I definitely think that is true, but there was something else that jumped out. You say that you pray together EVERY night, and try to read the scriptures together every night. That right there is what is bringing the blessings. There is an undeniable power that comes from praying as a family. Keep it up! Because I definitely feel the power of your prayers. Prayer also builds up strength to fight against the evil things in the world. Remember to put on the Armor of God every day!

Como Entonces, como esta?? This week was FILLED with revelation! I'll break it down for you,

THURSDAY
Our Zone went to the Temple! It was amazing. I absolutely LOVE the Temple. All of my fellow Utahns, we have about 15 temples, so I hope you are all going often! Temple work is part of the work of Salvation! Make sure you are attending :) I absolutely love the spirit and peace that is felt in the temple.

FRIDAY
We had Zone Conference. It was amazing. We talked a lot about repentance and being disciples of Jesus Christ. We've made a goal to study more the life of Jesus Christ. Our Mission President also has this thing called “The 10%”. That's where 10% of our meeting is spent talking about things pertaining to Post-Mission life. Last time it was marriage (culture shock) and this time it was about education. He pretty much got stern with the Elders and told them that they need to fulfill their responsibilities as the main provider by getting a solid education. His wife then got up and told us that when we look for a house, make sure that the garbage disposal is in the right side. It was kind of funny. They are the sweetest people! I love them so much! I am so blessed to have such an amazing Mission President. Missions are just great!!

SATURDAY
The Relief Society Broadcast was just amazing! I love the theme of keeping covenants.

The work is going well! We're still having struggles with balancing time, but it is what it is. We are working a ton with the members.

JOHN (18 yr old boy) is just the best. The other day he said, "Hermanas, my prayers are getting good." I'm so proud... Is this what being a mother feels like?? He is the sweetest thing. He's a little hesitant about committing to baptism, but that's why we've stressed prayer so much. We told him he HAS to pray and not go off of what we say.

HAVE AN INSPIRING, AMAZING WEEK! ReMeBeR! General Conference is this weekend! You'll get more out of it if you prepare! How blessed are we to have a living prophet? So BLESSED!!

Le quiero mucho!

Hermana Jeppson

Miracles Come from Talking With Everyone (September 23, 2013)

Going Full Field (October 7, 2013)


Sisters Jeppson and Leon at the Mesa Arizona Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Sister Jeppson and Sister Leon

The Book of Mormon in Danish and Spanish,
the languages of the Love Our Missionaries
Blog missionaries!


A Monumental Week in D.C.

Written by Elder Nate Jensen, currently serving in the Washington D.C. South Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking English.

This week was an awesome week. First we went to D.C., which was awesome. And we saw most of the monuments, which was way cool. I have a lot of pictures that I will send. We also had a way great week missionary work wise!!

First, we put our two Ethiopian investigators on date for baptism the 26th of October, which is so exciting. We have been working with them for almost two months now, so it is exciting to see them take this step!! She is teaching me a little bit of Amharic, which is their native language. It is such a confusing language, but it's fun haha!

We also met a "golden" investigator this week. We tracted into her. She used to live in Maryland, and she went to "the Mormon church" up there for two years, but then she moved down here and didn't ever see any Mormons. She didn't know where a church was, so she stopped going. Anyways, a couple days prior to us knocking on her door, she had actually been talking to her mom about there not being any Mormons and how she wanted to get back to church. Long story short, she realizes that us showing up is not a coincidence at all, and she wants us to come back and meet with her!! It was so awesome!

We also got one of our less active members, who has not gone to church in over twenty years, to think about coming back. This is a huge step, considering that when we first met him he said there wasn't any reason for him to go back to church. So that was awesome.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to ordain Randy (the kid we baptized about a month and a half ago) to the office of a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday. It was so awesome!! He was so happy. He is nervous to pass the Sacrament this week.

Anyways, this week is transfers and I am about 99 percent sure that I am leaving my companion. We got the news that he is training, so that means one of us has to go, and my guess is it will be me. I am sad to leave this area, but excited to see other parts of the mission! I love you guys lots, and thanks for all the support!!

Love,

Elder Jensen

Elder Jensen + Washington Nationals = LOVE

Elder Jensen Loves Manassas, Virginia

Elder Jensen at the White House

President Lincoln!
Elders Brown, Shimono, Staples, and Jensen

Elder Jensen discovered the deliciousness known as a
"mango gelati" at Rita's Italian Ice. Ironically, this place was
Sister Hannah Avery's first job, as a 14-year girl in Maryland! 

There's no place like home!

Thrust in Your Sickle and Reap - Elder Kolby Madsen

Written by Elder Kolby Madsen, currently serving in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Danish.

Things are going great! My new companion, Elder Francis, and I are getting along well. It's been way fun. I did take the language test, and I think I passed. If not, I will be home in three weeks haha! No, I think I passed.

It’s actually been raining a ton here. I heard some weird stuff is going down in the States with the politics. I don’t care to know details, but I am glad to hear the Broncos are doing as planned.

This week was way fun. It was very hard to say goodbye to Elder Hansen, but I know that is just how it is. So far, me and Elder Francis get along great. He is a way fun kid and super funny as well.

When I got here to the mission, there were 65 missionaries. By the end of December, we will have 104 missionaries. So crazy!

We had some way good opportunities this week to look through all of our former investigators and make some phone calls. We actually have 2 or 3 appointments tomorrow just from contacting those people. So that will be great.

We actually had a way good finding opportunity this week as the Zone Leaders invited us to a concert that one of their new converts was in charge of. So what happened was their convert is from Africa, but has lived here for a couple years. His country has a way cool band that travels and aren't super big yet, but could very well be. So he took these guys around Denmark and really talked to them about the church. Long story short, they talked to the Elders and had a good time, so they came to YSA (Young Single Adult) fireside (devotional) and liked it. They invited us to the concert, and because it was outside, we got to do some finding while we were there. It was way fun.

We talked to a couple of people at the concert who were not really interested in learning about the church. But afterwards on the train, we overheard a girl talking and wished her a happy birthday. It was also cool because right after that we talked to some Chinese students who were visiting from Sweden. They gave us their phone number to pass along to the Elders in Sweden.

We have called countless people in our area book and narrowed our list down to those who don't have a phone number, and those with a phone number who want us to visit them again. So next week will be full of fun, talking to those people that we have just found that have already been taught before.

Eva and Ellie (names changed for privacy) came to church again yesterday. Their father dropped them off. Juliet was not able to make it because she worked a night shift and got home around 6 o'clock in the morning, after working 12 hours.

So to get the story straightened out, we went to Ward Correlation Meeting and talked with the Ward Mission Leader about Eva. He gave us some suggestions and we tried them out. One of his suggestions was to show Eva a little break down of the things that we teach as missionaries because she showed some concerns about wanting to know everything was true before she committed to a baptismal date. So I wrote down a list for her and she was really excited. She expressed concerns about not knowing fully the story of Joseph Smith and wanting to understand more. So we invited her to watch "The Prophet of the Restoration." She agreed, so we will be watching that with her at her school tomorrow.

We also got Cecilia (name changed for privacy) to come with us to the musical. She really enjoyed it. She talked with Thomas Kofod (the actor for Jesus in "Finding Faith in Christ"). She knows him form acting school. She really enjoyed that, and wants to talk to him more about his conversion story in person.

This week I have had some time to really ponder what is going on, and what I need to focus on. I think I have hit this point in my mission where I have forgotten why I am here. It’s been kind of hard to really see the work, and how it's progressing, but it is. I know that the Lord has a special place in is heart for the Danish people. The first time the church sent missionaries over here, they returned with 20,000 saints. It will happen again. The work is hastening and we all need to do our part. God has trusted us in the latter days to bring his sheep back into the church. Missionaries and members are all the same in purpose. We need to thrust in our sickle and reap. The Lord has prepared people to learn about the Gospel, and wants us to act on the opportunities He gives us to teach.

Love you! Have a great week.

Med Meget Kærlighed,

Ældste Madsen

Goosebumps Mean the Same Thing in Danish (September 23, 2013)

Recognizing Miracles and Blessings (October 7, 2013)

Elder Madsen and his new companion, Elder Francis


Beautiful Nyhavn in downtown København


Elders Madsen (left) Elder Francis (right)


Monday, September 23, 2013

Chocolate Cake from an Angel

Written by Elder Brian Burgess, currently serving in the Mexico Puebla North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Dear Everyone,

Quick message before I log off. So cool story...while I was on my way to the back doctor this past week. We waited and waited for the doctor...but he didn't come. When we found his number and called him, he said he´ll be a few hours. That's frustrating when I need to be working. So I prayed for peace, and me and Elder Lebron walked downstairs to the cafeteria in the hospital. We were just looking for a water or muffin, something that wouldn't break the bank.....

We sat down and grabbed a menu...120 pesos for a slice of cake? That's like 10 dollars! Then I realized with a mission budget, it was too much. While I was looking at the menu, the waiter brought over rolls and butter...we were too deep now. We had to buy something.

Then I heard the best sentence I'd heard all day, ¨Hello Elders, how are you two doing? What ward are you guys in? Why are you at the hospital?" (Clearly a member of the church.) "Whatever you want, I´ll pay for it.¨ That's a huge deal, because the cake wasn't cheap.

After trying our best to say we were fine, he brought out some chocolate cake for me, and cheesecake for Elder Lebron. Just look at the picture. Well worth the 120 pesos. Even though I didn't pay a dime....or a peso.....

With Love and Prayers,

Elder Burgess

Elder Burgess is Released from the Hospital in Mexico

Coke or Pepsi...?


Miracles Come From Talking With Everyone - Sister Lindsey Jeppson

Written by Sister Lindsey Jeppson, currently serving in the Arizona Mesa Mission / Mesa Temple Visitors' Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Hola mi familia (Hello my family)!!!

Things have been good here in MeSa.

So cool story, on Tuesday we went on exchanges. So we were in the other Sister's area. She covers the YSA (Young Single Adults) in our neighboring stake. So we were out visiting people in an apartment complex. As we were walking to the apartment, we saw a Native American man, his daughter, and wife, so we went to talk to them. When the wife saw us, she sped up and walked into her home, but her husband and daughter talked to us. We told him that we were missionaries and used our, "How to Begin Teaching" skills (found in Preach My Gospel under teaching skills...very useful for your future missionaries:), and he invited us into their home. So we went in.

We talked to him a bit and found out that he has been looking for a church. He has had a rough life and wants to change so he can be the father his daughter deserves :) So we started to talk about prayer and the power of prayer. By then his wife came out, and guess what... SHE’S A MEMBER! She got baptized when she was 8 years old, but since then has fallen away. She told us that she would like to get back into the church. The whole thing was just so surreal, I couldn't even believe it. They agreed to continue to meet with missionaries so we sent the referral to the mission office. It was so cool!!! Being a missionary is pretty amazing! Brothers and Sisters, MIRACLES COME FROM TALKING WITH EVERYONE!!!

This week, in our training meeting at the Visitors' Center, we talked about HOW important the ATONEMENT is! We were shown a video that changed my life, or at least refined my perspective. I'm going to write more about it then post it on my blog. But if you want to look up the video now, it's called "The Atonement and How it Applies to Missionary Work."

This is salvation. Not just something you do on Sunday. This Gospel is a 24/7 thing. Share the Gospel at all times! And when necessary, use words :)

Yesterday, we decided to go to Young Women's so we can get to know the Laurel aged young women better. Their lesson was on language. And I received revelation!!! Why is it SO important to use clean language? Because it shows that you respect yourself and those around you. It shows that you know who you are, a Child of God. Fowl language really does hurt your spirit. In the Missionary Training Center (MTC), you don't hear fowl language. I remember the first time I heard a curse word after leaving the MTC. It was almost painful! I couldn't believe the difference.

Another thing I realized is how important it is to speak kindly about everyone! Speaking negatively about others gets you nowhere. It literally is a waste of time. Spend your time wisely by lifting others rather than bringing them down. I promise there is a reason for these standards. They're not there to constrain us, but there to guide us.

Things are going great here! It's super hard, but super worth it! Some "menos activos" (less active members of the church) not only came to church, but brought their grand kids, and believe me, that was a mile stone. When I saw them at church, my heart leaped out of my chest and I wanted to cry :)

Have a great week!!!

Le quiero mucho (I love you so much)!

Hermana Jeppson

P.S. You know you're a Spanish missionary when you refer to referrals as "references" :)

When is it not crazy?! (September 16, 2013)

A Week of Revelation (September 30, 2013)

Teaching People to Pray - Elder Jake Avery

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, currently serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Another amazing week in the mission. This week marks the end of my first transfer which means only about 22 months left! We've baptized four people so far, and have plans to baptize more this week.

We had a huge Baptismal Service as a stake this week. I'm not even too sure how many were baptized because Paul and I were first. His mom, who isn't a member of our church, came with us to the service and had a good time. One of the things she told me when she left the service was that she felt happy. She told me that the times she has gone to her own church, she would always leave feeling sad.

This made me think. Why would anyone go to church if it's sad? Everyone knows that Heaven is a happy place, and it's the home of Heavenly Father. So why wouldn't church be happy too?? If you're not happy in your church, you might be in the wrong church. This is a place where we learn that Jesus Christ blazed the trail so that everyone can return with their Father in Heaven. This is where we learn that our families can be together forever. There's hope and light in this message.

One of the saddest things I experience out here is that a stunning majority of people do not know how to pray to their Heavenly Father. Other churches teach memorized prayers, and sometimes only the pastors pray. Some churches don't teach their congregations how to pray. I find myself teaching my investigators how to pray almost everyday. It's a wonderful experience to see them grow in the following weeks. Their prayers grow more personal and sincere, and they begin to feel the love that their Father has for them individually. A personal, intimate relationship with God is a right of every single one of His children. We should express our deepest feelings with our Father, frequently and openly. He is there, He always listens, and He responds. He has responded to my prayers, and I know He will respond to anyone, if they are willing to listen.

I'm so grateful for the Gospel in my life and for my wonderful family. I can't wait to tell everyone all about Perú, but for now it's a little every week.

Love,

Elder Avery

****************

Dad, I've realized how awesome movies are in conversion. They invite the Spirit, no matter how many times you watch them. It's like the scriptures, you learn something new every time. I'm using Mormon Messages at every house with internet.

This week I got to learn patience again. It's one of my favorite lessons to learn. This morning, I learned that one of our investigators with a baptismal date set for this Saturday hasn't been taught the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and some of the other important lessons. I don't want to be confrontational, but I also know this can't continue. Nearly 2/3 of our ward are inactive members, and I know it's because there are missionaries baptizing without making sure the people understand the doctrine.

Well, I hope you have an awesome week :) I'm just chilling out, trying to work hard, and trying to get my Spanish down.

Google map this location if you can!! This is my house :) If they have street view, you can get an idea of where I live and what it's like. I love you!! Remember that the Spirit speaks softly and edifies the hearers.

Buenos Dias, America! (September 16, 2013)

The Lord Puts His Servants Where He Needs Them, When He Needs Them (September 30, 2013)


Elder Jacob Avery with Paul, a wonderful boy
who was just baptized on Saturday.

Stake Baptismal Service
Peru Lima West Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Hola from Chile! - Sister Hannah Avery

Written by Sister Hannah Avery, currently serving in the Chile Vina del Mar Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

¡Hola from Chile!

How are you guys?! I am doing absolutely awesome!  Thanks for talking to me on the phone Thursday evening! AHH! It was soooo good to talk to you and to hear your voices!

I arrived to Chile on Friday morning at about 8:30 a.m. I was hoping to be able to email or call to let you know that I arrived safely, but that did not happen. The flight was about 9.5 hours, and I slept the whole way! It was a pretty empty flight, so I hiked up my skirt and went to bed LOL! I woke up drooling, so you know it was good sleep ... ahhh.

Anways, as soon as we got here, they put us straight to work! My mission president, Presidente Kahnlein, and his assistants (the APs), picked us up at the airport. We drove from Santiago to Viña del Mar, which was about an hour and a half drive. I arrived with four other missionaries; Hermana Page (my companion from the Mexico MTC), and three Elders (I don't remember their names).

As soon as we arrived in Viña del Mar, the mission president took us to the overlook where we could see the whole area of Valparaiso and Viña. It is GORGEOUS here! I am with temporary companions until Wednesday, since we arrived a week early. So I have no idea where I am going or who my companion will be, but I hope that it is as good as it has been so far!

When we finished pictures at the overlook, we went to the middle of Viña. They literally dropped us off with nothing but a Libro de Mormon and told us to get to work! WOAH! It was nuts! We talked to an older couple from Santiago who now live in Viña. They are Catholic, and the man was not interested AT ALL. But the lady was super interested. They helped us find the mission home, and then said goodbye. They didn't give us their contact information, but at least we planted a seed. The mission president said it takes about 8 seeds to get someone interested in learning more, so that was number one!

After we found the mission home, we had lunch and were interviewed by the mission president. He basically was just getting to know us and what our goals are for the mission. After that, we were all picked up by our temporary companions.

First, I was with Hermana Pereira and Hermana Zimmerman. Now I am only with Hermana Zimmerman, because Hermana Pereiras' last day in the mission was today. We dropped her off this morning. It was really sad! I have gotten to know and love her, even in just the three days that I have been here. She returns to her home in Paraguay on Wednesday, but they are going to Santiago for the next two days to finish paperwork and go to the Temple.

Alright, so about Chile! It it literally amazing. I love love love it!!! Our apartment is in the area of Mirador. It is pretty chilly right now, and I have never actually walked outside without a coat! Surprising, I know, but they say that it should be warming up here pretty soon.

Chilean Spanish is HARD. They talk SOOO dang fast, and I can hardly even understand them. But I am doing a lot better than the first day, and my companion Hermana Zimmerman is helping me a lot! They call your first companion your "mama," so I got lucky and had two! They are the best, really.

We had Family Home Evening at a convert's house that night, and she taught us how to make sopaipillas. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I am making these things for you when I get home! They are seriously heaven. It's basically flour, pumpkin, some Spanish thing I don't know... I will have to get a recipe one of these days. So you cut them into circles (once the dough is made) and you fry them. Then you put powdered sugar on top. They seriously are SOO good. And everyone makes them here. So I can see how everyone gets fat! AUGHH!

We literally walk everywhere, and we exercise for about 30 minutes a day. I hope that helps prevent me from gaining 500 pounds here, LOL! The second day felt really long, and I was so exhausted that I went straight to bed without really getting ready for bed. The streets are straight up and down, no joke, and I have sore muscles in my legs that I didn't even know existed! It is so crazy. But I so love it, and I know that one day when I get home, I am going to wish that this was my life. I am enjoying it, even though it is painful right now haha!

We do ride the buses when we go into Viña to see the mission president, which costs about 50 cents. Literally, everything is SO inexpensive here. I am really surprised. I do have to pay for my internet though, which is lame. But it's only about a dollar for an hour and a half, so I am not complaining!

I bought my groceries for the first time as a missionary on Saturday. I got the Chilean equivalent to Special K and some fruit. The fruits and veggies are so good, and they don't make you sick! You just have to wash them, and you are all set. The members here always feed us, and it is a big dishonor if you don't eat what they serve you. Just another reason why I am praying to not get fat ... blah!

An amazing family that we have been talking to is the MB (abbreviated for privacy) family. The dad was active in the church when he was younger, but he did some things he should not have and fell away from the church for years. He and his wife separated, and she was living on her own with all the kids that whole time. Now they are back together, and stronger than ever! I feel the Spirit SOO strongly every time I am in their home. They have so much faith, and so much love for the missionaries. The husband will receive his Priesthood again this November, and they will be sealed in the Temple next August. It is a really happy time for their family, and I am so grateful to have been part of it, even if just for a week! It is things like this that make me so happy. When we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God. And yes, it is the best joy that you will ever feel in your life! Being a missionary is absolutely the best thing ever.

Sunday was good, and the ward was really nice to me. Everyone is honestly awesome, and they are really patient with my poor Spanish. They speak mas lento (more slowly) just for me to better understand. I love these people so much. The Lord has truly blessed me with so much, even though I have given so little. It is wonderful.

We have taught a lot of families, but no one that isn't already a member or less active in the church. They say that most of our mission will be reestablishing contact with people who were already baptized at one point, but haven't been going to church or lost sight of the important things in life. So my job is hard at times, but seeing the light of Christ back in these people's lives is one of the greatest blessings that I could ever ask for.

This morning, after we dropped off Hermana Pereira at the mission home, Hermana Zimmerman and I went to Lider, which is like Walmart. It has Great Value brand and tons of American things, so I am feeling pretty good about life here at the moment! Our apartment is super nice too, with three bedrooms, but we only sleep in one, obviously. And we have our own bathrooms! They really take good care of us here, so never worry about me! I am good as ever :) And no earthquakes yet, but they will happen for sure! And possibly tsunamis they said, but that doesn't happen too often either. Mainly it just floods sometimes in Viña if the tide gets to high by the shore, but nothing major.

Well my family, that is all I can write for now. I am so sorry! If you have specific things that you want to know, list them in an email and I will respond to those in my next email. I love you all soooooo much, and I hope that you all have a great week! Keep the letters and emails coming! They really make my day! I LOVE YOU!!! Talk to you next week!

Con mucho mucho amor (with much much love),

Hermana Avery

*************

Hello Mama! I am doing great and I LOVE Chile! The keyboards here stink, so you will have to edit a lot. Sorry! I am trying, haha!

Anyways, I have not gotten any mail yet. We are supposed to get mail on Wednesdays I guess, so I am just waiting until they get here and hoping that they even arrive (the postal workers are still on strike!). Make sure you send everything to the mission home. They sort everything from there.

The flight was super long, but it was pretty empty. And the plane was huge! We were on LAN Airlines, which is probably better than JetBlue, which says a lot! The leg room stinks, but their service was awesome. They gave us free blankets and pillows since we were on a long, overnight flight! I slept almost the whole time, but was absolutely exhausted for about three days after getting here. Today is getting better.

I have been SOOO sick with a cold or something! I think I've gotten whatever garbage those kids in my MTC District had...blah! But I am better and better everyday, and I love it here soooo much! The people are amazing. I already have pulga bites (fleas!) and yes, they are annoying. I hate that the dogs know more Spanish than I do... haha!

I loved talking to you on the phone. That was so helpful for me, even though I was really sad to get off... cry baby! haha!

Keep me posted as always... I am SOOO excited for Charming Charlies at The District!. You have to send a photo when it is finished! ahh!

I love you my mama! You are  my heart!!!! te amo mas que todo!!! (I love you more than everything!)

Hermana Avery

****************

Hey Dad! I don't have a lot of time to write, but thank you for the email! Chile is great, and I got here safely. I will include much more detail for you in the big letter home that I am working on right now. I don't have half as much time to write here as I did at the MTC, and we have to pay for internet, so I have to go fast! ah!

Hermanas Avery and Page
Vina del Mar, Chile
My address for the mission home is: 4 Norte 1112, Viña del Mar, Valparaiso V Region, CHILE. I don't get to my "real" place until Wednesday. Right now I am with temporary companions in Mirador, Chile.

Thanks again for the email! I hope that you are doing well, and I will talk to you soon! It was so good to hear your voice on the phone! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hermana Avery (Hannah!)

Sister Avery's Last Week in the Mexico MTC (September 17, 2013)

I Had to Whack Him and Start Running! (September 30, 2013)



This is taken at the historic clock in Vina del Mar. Pictured  from left to right:
Me, Hermana Page, Sister Kahnlein, their daughter, President Kahnlein,
and the three Elders who I don't remember ... sorry!

Hermana Avery with President and Sister Kahnlein
Chile Vina del Mar Mission

BEAUTIFUL Vina del Mar, Chile! 
The view from my apartment in Mirador, Chile.
The room I share with Hermana Zimmerman
in our apartment in Mirador, Chile

This young man was not dressed modestly,
so Hermana Page and I helped him out :)

Proof that you don't have to worry about me withering away!
I have a microwave to kill all the bugs, and empanadas to
my heart's content!


Goosebumps Mean the Same Thing in Danish - Elder Kolby Madsen

Written by Elder Kolby Madsen, currently serving in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Danish.

So this week we had a great Zone Conference. We learned how to talk WITH everyone, not to or at them...very big difference. We have been told the most effective way still is to work through members, so keep up the work. But we did learn new and better ways to contact people.

Well, while sitting in the Zone Conference, a thought came to mind regarding our investigator, Cecilia (name changed for privacy). The thought was that we should have all the people in the ward that she feels very close to, or has respect for, write down their testimonies in a little journal and give it to her. That night, we went and talked to her, and she expressed that one of her concerns about joining the church is that she does not feel that she could fit in with the members. This just solidified that what I had received in Zone Conference was a prompting from our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost. So we are going to do that as soon as possible!

The great blessing we received this week came Friday night when we had a our second dinner appointment with Familien Birch. This was the first time we were actually able to have a lesson with the family because that last time we had an appointment, the youngest of the three children was picked up in an ambulance and taken to the hospital. This time we went thinking that we wanted to invite the 12 year old to be baptized.

After dinner we sat down with all the kids and started to talk to Juliet and her daughter, Eva (name changed for privacy) about Juliet's conversion story. She told us of the peace and comfort she received after hearing the lessons and ultimately getting baptized. The Spirit was so strong, and you could tell that everyone in the house could feel it. Then Juliet told Eva that is why she wanted to introduce her to the church, not to force her, but to let her find out for herself.

After that, we talked to Eva and asked her if she would like to be baptized. She answered, "Yes." But she said that she does not want to get baptized until she fully feels that she believes in everything. So we started to talk about the Restoration (to start somewhere). She kindly stopped us and recited the whole first vision, and the testimony of Joseph Smith. She then told us the story of the Book of Mormon. Elder Hansen and I were very shocked! She told us that she had read the whole introduction, the testimonies of the witnesses, and everything at the beginning of the Book of Mormon that most people don`t read. Then she said that she has started 1 Nephi.

After all that, we asked Eva what questions she had, and she just asked how she could know things are true. We told her, "By the Spirit." She was beaming and told us of an experience where she was learning about the Plan of Salvation in church. When the teacher was talking about it, she said she didn't know if it was true or not, but the more she thought about it she describes feeling "goosebumps," and now she knows it's true. We ended our lesson with her giving a very good prayer. Then I gave her a pamphlet and two scriptures.

On Sunday Eva and Ellie, her little sister (names changed for privacy), came to church. Eva read the scriptures and told me exactly what the chapters meant to her, and asked for more. So I gave her another pamphlet and more scriptures.

This is just proof that God really knows all, and that He places people in our way. It's not all about finding, because the people will end up in your hands if the Lord really needs them to come unto Him. This also tells me, and I bare testimony, of the importance of how the Lord places these people in our way. He is trusting us with them, and wants us to keep looking to Him and to keep following His impressions.

I am glad to hear that everything is going well. I know time is flying. I need to really start to focus. By the way, this is my last week with Elder Hansen. He will be going to Esbjerg on Jyland. My new companion will be with me here in Frederiksberg. His name is Elder Francis, and he is from Mapleton, Utah. Way cool kid. I am excited! He actually loves to lift and workout, so we will get along great. He also likes to wake up at 6 in the morning to work out, so maybe I will lose some kilos and get some muscle back!

Well, it's going great. I love you. Husk det Jeg Elsker Dig (Remember that I love you).

Med Kærlig Hilsen (with kind regards),

Ældste Madsen

Menace to Society?! ...Nah :) (September 16, 2013)

Thrust in Your Sickle and Reap (September 30, 2013)

I have wheels!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Elder Burgess is Released from the Hospital in Mexico

Written by Elder Brian Burgess, currently serving in the Mexico Puebla North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Well here's my week:

Monday, the 9th of September:
P-day (preparation day).....Cool

Tuesday, the 10th of September:
Went to the doctor. You know those simple tests they do with the rubber mallet when they hit your knee and you kick? And your elbow, and it'll bend. Well, I failed that test..... It didn't work on my right arm. Hahah. You should have seen the doctor's face....So he set up an appointment for x-rays. I guess he thinks something could be pinched. I feel confident he is a good doctor. He said he just got back from a doctor meeting in Miami. And he went to Disney World. Hence, the pictures on his office wall. So at least he is well known, and I'm not going to some hole in the wall. That was in the hospital, Puebla Angeles. I was glad Elder Lebron went with me, because the doctor didn't know English, and my Spanish can't communicate medical terms.

Wednesday, the 11th:
We had some appointments. Raul, one of our investigators that has been coming to church for a little over a month now, talked to the bishop and set up a baptismal date for the 21st. We found out through the grapevine, and we're the missionaries....huh.... Also found out I was scheduled to speak in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday....in Spanish. I tried convincing the First Counselor to let me do it in English. But he said no.

Thursday, the 12th:
Went to the doctor, thinking I had x-rays.... nope.... not till Friday, the 13th..... great day for x-rays.

Friday, the 13th:
X-rays. (Now I've been to that hospital three times this week.)

Saturday, the 14th:
Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on the 15th. Since that a Sunday, the ward did their annual party on Saturday. The food was different, but I ate it.

Sunday, the 15th:
So, I gave my talk, and I actually thought it went well. We reviewed the baptismal interview questions with Raul for when our District Leader does the legit interview. And then we went to the comida (lunch). It was rainy, and I was cold. The Sister fed us outside because she has a fire cooker she can't use in the house. I didn't feel right for some reason, so I told her I can't eat a lot. She gave me some soup. And I sat there, feeling worse and worse. I had my elbows on my knees, leaning forward, then all of the sudden, I felt a hard core chill down my back. My hands fell asleep, then my feet fell asleep. So I'm thinking, "Crap! I am getting sick."

I told my companion we had to go, like immediately. We didn't even share a message or lesson with the family because I was in pain. We walked home, and it hurt to hold my backpack. That's weird...it was different then my normal back pain. I got home, and I was freezing. So I doubled my socks, and pants, and jacket, and laid in bed. I went to the bathroom and threw up, then I called the doctor and she said to get medicine. I was thinking, "This is worse than needing medicine." So I call Sister and President Christensen, and they said go try to get the medicine and see if it helps.

Then my hands locked up, I couldn't move them, and they hurt. Then my wrists hurt. Then my feet. And my calves felt like charlie horses, times 10....Oh boy! I was, at that point, beyond pharmacy medicine. Elder Rodriguez helped me to a taxi, as I was in pain. We called President and Sister Christensen, then the doctor, and they said to go to the Puebla Hospital.

When we got there, they rushed me into the Emergency Room and I threw up again. My face started to feel weird, and my stomach was growling....No one knew English, and President and Sister Christensen were still in their car on the way to the hospital. Finally a nurse came in and spoke the sweetest English I've EVER heard. I can now communicate beyond, "I can't move or feel my hands." They took my temperature, and I had a high fever. They tried putting in an IV, but they couldn't find a vein.

After trying four or five times in each arm and in my hand, they finally found a vein that would work. They massaged my arm to get the blood moving. President was there at that point, and helped me communicate more. They took blood and said it would be a few hours until they had the results. They took me to a room (actually a nice room, kind of like a Marriott, with a TV and all....I still don't know if that TV works.....but it doesn't matter. We never touched the remote....missionary status.) So the tests came back. The reason why I was locked up is because I had some kind of infection, and when I threw up, I lost a lot of electrolytes and potassium. And the infection killed a lot of the good cells in my body.

Monday, the 16th:
It's P-Day...
I sat in my hospital bed all day. The doctor, who is a Gastro-someting (I don't know the word in English), I needed knew English. What a blessing! He said I have an infection in my intestines. So they had to pump me with IV antibiotics all Sunday night and Monday. I guess that food I ate Saturday at the ward party wasn't good. Some Elders came and visited me, as I laid miserably in bed.

Today (Tuesday, Sept. 17):
I found out I could go home. The infection is killed and my bowels will soon be normal....Great joy!
I have medicine to take for this week. And here I am, writing to you all.

So, I have been to one hospital three days for my back. And a different hospital for three days for my stomach. What a fun week! Oh, and I go back to the back doctor tonight because they have my x-rays. So I still don't know what's up there......

Love,
Elder Burgess

Elder Burgess is in the Hospital

Chocolate Cake from an Angel