Monday, October 28, 2013

Emergency Surgery for Elder Burgess

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

Written by Brian's mom, Cheryl Burgess:

This week, Elder Burgess returned to the hospital to have an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday night. The doctor who took care of him, and hospital he was in, were great and gave the best care to Brian. President and Sister Christensen were away until Saturday night, so Brian and his companion, Elder Alejandre, have been handling surgery alone. He was released on Friday and he is trying to heal. Here is an excerpt from Elder Burgess's letter home today, as he writes about the healing process:

Hey. I'm alive!  Mom, I'm happy. Ya, I'm in Mexico alone.... but I'm not alone. I have the Lord right by my side. I have my companion, who is sweet. I have a lot of Elders I see and am great friends with. I have President and Sister Christensen, and I have all my investigators. I've been teaching Dee (name changed for privacy) EVERY week, the whole time I've been in this area, and I've been here my whole mission. She is going to be baptized on November 9, and she wants me to baptize her. So I have to get better to be able to do that. I'm excited for this week to read "The Continuous Atonement," by Brad Wilcox, a book President gave me. And I'll take time to study and study and study "Preach my Gospel." I pray my testimony will grow personally a lot this week. And I pray I don't go insane in a house all day.


Brian has been given permission to teach lessons to current investigators, but other than that he is to study and rest while he heals. He has been in a lot of pain, but he's feeling better. His picture shows how he is feeling. We love you, Elder Burgess! And are grateful to Elder Alejandre for being so patient all week at the hospital.

The attached photo -- (Note from Brian's mom: President and Sister Christensen went to see Brian and his companion today, and Sister Christensen made Brian a taste of home: pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. She asked me for the recipe of his favorite treat. Canned pumpkin isn't possible to find in Mexico, so she cooked down a pumpkin to make these. I'm really touched that she'd do this. President and Sister Christensen are pretty amazing.)

Coke or Pepsi...?

I'm Alive!


My First Baptisms in Chile - Sister Hannah Avery

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

Hola familia y amigos!

What an awesome week we have had! Lots of really great spiritual experiences, and..... my two cute new friends got baptised this week! YAY!!! It was beautiful! Their mom was there too. She had not been active in the church for a long time, but she has been coming to church for weeks now, and has a goal of going to the Santiago Chile Temple with her girls at the end of this month with the ward! AHHH! Amazing things are happening! Our goal now is to get their dad baptised. Last night was the first time he actually stuck around for the lesson! The Lord is working miracles here in Ovalle! :)

After the baptism, we had a ward activity. It was a scavenger hunt for scriptures! It was really fun. Not many people came to it, but the people who did come enjoyed it! Sadly, I don't have pictures of that activity any more...we had a little accident last night. Hermana Mori (my companion) accidentally deleted all of the photos on my camera! We were so sad. But, thankfully, I have emailed the ones that were most important to Mom from the previous weeks, so we still have those! So all is well. The pictures that I sent today are from the mom of the girls who got baptised on Saturday. The Lord provided lots of ways for me to still have pictures!

Hermana Mori has really been an amazing companion. She is a convert of two years and none of her family are members of our church. She has trained me so well, and I pray every day that the next transfer (in a week) will not separate us, and we will stay companions. She has become one of my very good friends, and I look up to her so much! She is so patient with me, with my Spanish, and we really do have a lot of fun together! She says everyday that she wants me to teach her more English so that she can come to the United States one day and visit me in Utah, haha! She is so sweet. I look forward to one day returning to Chile to visit my mission, and hopefully go to Peru to see Jake's mission, and visit my sweet friend, Hermana Mori!

Other than that, we had a super busy week with lots of teaching. We had 20 more people attend church this week than last week! And they were all people we had taught during the week! WOW! Super amazing!

Anyways, sorry for the super short email this week! I don't have a lot of time. Please know that all things are well here in Chile and that you are all in my thoughts and prayers! Thank you for all that you do for me and for your prayers! I am definitely seeing the blessings! I hope you can too! Have a fabulous week guys. I love and miss you SOOO MUCH!!!

Con mucho amor (with much love),

Hermana Avery!

 70 DAYS! (October 23, 2013)

EeAaRrTtHhQqUuAaKkEe!!! (November 4, 2013)

Hermana Avery, Catalina and Sophia, and Hermana Mori


Silly girls! Catalina, Hermana Mori, and me

"Don't ever give this up."

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

Wow, time is flying by! I have already been out for 4 months, and we only have about 2 weeks left of this transfer. It feels like we just started this transfer last week!!

Anyways, this week was a little bit slower. We had a lot of scheduled appointments fall through, which is always a bummer, but it is all part of missionary work. We have one investigator who is so ready to be baptised. He is just waiting for his wife to be on board, which is totally understandable. He is awesome though.

We had to pass off one of our other investigators to the Spanish speaking Elders, which is bitter sweet. Her parents want to learn, but they only speak Spanish, so it's awesome that her whole family wants to learn. At the same time, I guess I just wish I could speak Spanish, haha.

Well, I will end with a cool story. So a couple weeks ago one of our less active members came to General Conference (he hasn't gone to church in about 50 years!). After the session he said, "That was everything and more than I expected." He then went on to say, "Don't ever give this up. I did 50 years ago, and I regret it. You don't even know what you have."

It was so awesome. He is a retired Army General and very successful, but he was, in a way, envious of what I have. I think sometimes we really don't understand what we have as members of this church. But we truly do have something amazing! Thank you for all the support!

Love,

Elder Jensen

Another Great Week in Virginia

Wheels, iPads, Facebook and Skype!

Elder Snell, Elder Massey, Elder Cannon, Elder Jensen
Great Falls, Virginia
Elder Massey and Elder Jensen at
Great Falls, Virginia


Lots of Work and Good Mexican Food

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

Hello all!

I have been staying quite busy and happy this week! This Monday I got to go to Cliffs of the Neuse again with a bunch of other missionaries! Really fun to get outside.

We found three new investigators this week. One of them is the spouse of an investigator who we have been teaching, the other is a brother of a member in the Mt. Olive Ward, and the last is a girlfriend of an inactive member who has been returning to church.

The latter investigator is particularly elect in the way she has received the Gospel. She says she feels like she is actually growing when she hears from us. She says that she feels something different that she hasn't felt in other churches. She is a Hispanic woman and her name is Flora (name changed for privacy). Our first lesson with her and her husband was in a member's home. The Spirit was able to be present in the lesson and a feeling of love was there as well. Throughout all these new experiences, I have grown to realize how each person has their own challenges and difficulties that can prevent them from fully accepting the gospel, however, it is not impossible for them to accept it. There is a way for everyone. That is the marvellous concept about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel.

We have been continually working with less-active members and encouraging them to take steps that will help them come closer to Heavenly Father. We have encouraged them to share the gospel, prepare for the temple, and sometimes even help them understand the importance of a patriarchal blessing.

A lot of Hispanic people have fed us this week. I have had pozole, doblitos, mole, and lots of rice and beans! Lots of Mexican food. It's so good!

This week we got to put giant sheets of plastic covering over a member's greenhouse for a service project. It took us two days to finally make it happen. The first day, we were trying to hold the plastic down on one side while the other side was being stapled down. The wind picked up and I was holding on for dear life to this giant piece of plastic. It ripped out of my hands and the Relief Society president on the other side was holding on for dear life to that plastic. I thought she was going to fly away. She ended up having to let it go, but that moment was just about the funniest thing that has happened to me in a while! I was going to die of laughter. Everything ended up well and now they have a nice, covered greenhouse with a pool and a ton of tropical plants. Paradise!

This week should be filled with great opportunities to strengthen investigators and members! Remember the importance of sharing the gospel and don't have fear of hastening the work to all God's children. This is His gospel!

Much love,

Elder Remund

The Lord's Hand is in His Work

Member Missionary Machines

Elder Dallin Remund
Virginia Chesapeake Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We're Not Here to Herd Goats - Elder Jake Avery

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

Hi, Mom!!

Thank you times 12 or 16 for all of the music you sent!! I'm pretty happy :) Yes, I took out 100 soles and bought a USB converter thing because I'm using one of my 8 GB sticks for General Conference and other material for my investigators (and music for me! ;)

We are having a rough time finding the lost sheep. ''There are tons of goats,'' says President Archibald. ''We're not here to herd goats, and we were never here to herd goats. We are here for the sheep.''

I realize how true that is now. There are tons of good people in this world, but only a few are willing to change their lives for Christ. I'm sure their time will come, at one point or another. We are really trying to focus on just getting people active and involved in church. I'm so happy that we have been active all our lives because the fight to attend church is probably the toughest fight for these people. ''Friends, just go to Church!''

On another note, if you've ever doubted that the Church is true, you have have to learn about and attend other churches. The Spirit just isn't in the other churches of the world. I have a growing collection of apostacía pamplets (they're from Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and the Israelita church). It reminds me of 2 Nephi where it says, "And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance." I have felt the Holy Ghost a lot this week, mostly when I bear my testimony.

We were tracting (street contacting) the other day, and I specifically recall this one house. We asked a woman if she wanted to hear our message about how God has prophets and apostles living on the earth, and that her family can live together forever. She told us, ''We already participate in a church.''

We told her that's okay, and that we still wanted to talk with her and her family. We were a little confused because she wasn't being direct with us by saying, ''yes" or "no.'' Finally, she said, ''Well, we believe in the same God.''

I said, ''Sister, we believe in a living God who speaks to men. We believe in the God of Jacob. We believe in a God who continues to reveal His word to men. We do not believe that God left us a Bible and told us figure it out for ourselves. Christ's ancient church is restored to Earth, and God speaks to us again through prophets, just as he did in biblical times.''

Mom, I cannot deny the strong Spirit that was there in that moment. Still, she insisted she did not want to learn more...It kills me when people don't understand the importance or significance of the restored gospel. I have faith, though, that God is merciful and all will come unto Him in due time.

Thank you for your stories, Dad. They really help a lot. This week I've really been mastering my patience...more or less. We had two non-members go to church out of the blue, and we're visiting them both tonight!! All it takes is a bit of patience and luck, you know, haha?! I'm ready to go to work this week. We've made a lot of contacts, and now it's time to visit them and find the lost sheep!

It's really cool that you're still helping with the missionary work in your ward (congregation)! We have a few members like you that help us, and it makes me want to be like you when I get home. I've realized that the missionaries help the ward, not the other way around. The ward members bring their friends to the missionaries and baptisms happen.

I wish I had more time to study. Scripture study is very fascinating and very fun. We should do it more often. I'm hoping that my Jedi senses become more in tune so that I can receive inspiration. I know that I already have received inspiration, but it's always a work in progress.

The picture is of Elder China during personal study time. It was hilarious! Poor kid was very tired.

Family, I hope that you all are doing well!! I really pray for you guys, and I thank my Heavenly Father that I have all of you in my family. I hope you have a happy Halloween :) I'm pretty excited for Halloween. I'm going to dress up as a missionary, haha! Send me pictures of the pumpkins and Abi's costume. Have a fantastic week and remember to make good choices. I love you!

One other thing... Remember when you are doing God's work, you are blessed to reap where you did not sow. But, you must be sowing every chance you get to earn that blessing.

Love you!!!!

Men Are That They Might Have Joy (October 23, 2013)

Received Packages from Home (November 4, 2013)

video


Poor, tired Elder China!
Being a missionary is hard work, haha!



Good Things Come from Plan B - Sister Lindsey Jeppson

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

Hola mi familia!!

Thank you for the package!! It was really good to hear from you! I promise response letters are on the way:) And thank you for sending something to Sister Leon. It really meant a TON to her. Do not hesitate to write missionaries!! Really, a letter showing your love and support goes a LONG way. Show your love by writing a missionary!!

So this week was crazy, but good. Having another ward is awesome. It's just a little tough to balance time and to find members to come with us because our plans are hardly set. But, we're getting a rhythm. I have a ton of experiences every day, I just don't even know what to tell you...

So last Sunday, our lesson fell through. We went to our backup, which was visiting an investigator we haven't seen in almost two months. She works a ton, so she's rarely there. Well, she was there, AND we found out that she's been trying to get in touch with us because she wants to come to church!! We sat on a picnic table, just outside her apartment, and chatted with her a bit. As we were talking, her car alarm went off. Her 17 year old son (who's been having some rough times) came sprinting out, thinking something was wrong. When we realized it was just the horn, he grabbed the keys, turned it off, then came and sat with us. They said they were interested to learn. So we set another time to meet, said a prayer and left.

The next day, we visited her son. He said,"Sisters, the craziest thing happened. After you left, the car went off two more times. So I went and (actually I'm not sure what he did...he took something out so the horn wouldn't go off)...I opened the glove box and in there was the Book of Mormon and that one yellow book (the Restoration Pamphlet)." It was a sign, haha. Anyway, we talked to him about his expectations from us and our expectations from him. He really wants to change his life, and he's really interested. We were so happy!!

In our new ward (congregation), we went and visited a less active member. She is so sweet. I actually didn't know she was less active until after we met her. Anyway, she called and asked that we come by because she has a few questions about the church and she didn't feel comfortable asking the other missionaries. But she likes us so she's willing to talk with us!! WHOO!! One soul at a time!!

This church is true! With the Preach My Gospel challenge our Mission President gave us, I've learned so much. Reading it strengthened my testimony of the Restoration. I'm understanding more and more the importance and the need for a Restoration. I'm also understanding more and more how to explain it so OTHERS can understand the need for a Restoration. My eyes are being opened to things I've never thought of before. I feel that growing up in the gospel, I've gotten bits and pieces, and now they're all coming together. It's making more sense and my testimony is being strengthened every single day.

I have a testimony of this gospel. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that God loves EACH and EVERYONE of His children. I feel the love He has for EACH of His children. It is amazing.

I hope you all take the time to study the scriptures and words of the Prophets so you can build your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

I love you all!! Thank you so much for your love and prayers!!

Le quiero mucho!!

Hermana Jeppson

Another (yes, TWO!) Area for Sister Jeppson (October 23, 2013)

God is the Same, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (November 4, 2013)



The Lord's Work is Never Bad - Elder Kolby Madsen

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

I know I haven’t sent pictures. We have been really busy lately, but its okay. I got some from Tivoli Gardens. It’s the second oldest theme park in the world. Disneyland was inspired after it. It was way fun. They have this ride that Elder Francis almost threw up on every time we went on it. Actually that was the goal, but none of us did :( Maybe next time :)

This week was great. I know I say that every week, but it’s true. The Lord's work is never bad...not always easy, but never bad. We had a great opportunity to be blessed with four more new friends to teach. We were sitting in Zone Training three weeks ago, and while there we both received the impression that we should start to go through all the old potential investigators and call them, so we did. Well, as we have done that, we have had many people say, "Yes" (and "no"), so we just set appointments and chat with them.

While in that Zone Training, we were learning about listening to the Spirit and following it. We began to think about what we should do when we have these appointments. Do we talk about the Book of Mormon? What we both just decided that we were going to do is treat them all as if they were already our friends, and just talk with them. As we have done that, we have seen that within 10 minutes of talking they start to ask questions about the gospel or missionary work. All we do is answer their questions. We don’t try to force the first lesson down their throats or throw a Book of Mormon at them. We just answer the questions, and almost every time they ask more and more, until we have taught the first lesson just by answering their questions.

This has been working very well for us, and the Spirit is helping us know what to say or when to share personal stories, and through that they feel the Spirit. The Lord is very mindful of what his children need, and the only way to feel that inspiration is by having all the things the Spirit needs to be present. There needs to be a level of comfort, and when it’s there, the Spirit works on them.

Well, we had to move Kevin's (name changed for privacy) baptismal date because he could not make it to all of church yesterday. It’s not that we don’t think he is ready because he is. We just really want him to gain the love and support from the ward, and he can’t do that if he isn't there to talk to everyone. This is way important because the missionaries are only in the area an average of 4 months (unless its me, then it's closer to 5 or 6 months haha!). The ward will always be there for him, but they can’t be there for him if he hasn't met them.

We had some way good appointments with Kevin this week. We were able to visit with him 3 times, and 2 out of the 3 we were blessed to have Edward (name changed for privacy) there. Edward also comes from Ghana, and he also lived in Italy for a little bit. He is one of the best missionaries I have ever seen. He is 53 years old, and wasn't able to serve a mission because he was too old when he got baptised. But the man knows how to talk to people, and he is really good at teaching them. Every time we bring an African to church, he will speak to them in their African dialect and just makes instant friends. So we have been very blessed to have him in our congregation.

One of the new friends we've had an opportunity to teach is Jordan (name change for privacy), and he is good friends with Ivy (name changed for privacy). They were previously investigating the church and had a baptismal date in July, but they just weren't ready to make a commitment yet. So, we thought we would stop by. When we got there, Ivy let us in. They are both over 60 years old, so their Danish is already a little bit hard to understand. On top of that, Jordan had a stroke within the last five years, so he slobbers while he speaks. But the Lord blessed us to understand them.

We started talking to them about the Book of Mormon, and Ivy pulled out this neatly folded bag and very gently took out her copy. We asked her if she had read it, and she said yes, she is actually in 2 Nephi now. She told us that she really likes it, and that she had been reading even after they stopped meeting with the missionaries. She then told us that she has a reading disorder and she has to read it five or six times to understand what it's saying. After that, we bore testimony that the book is true, and that it has blessed us. She stopped us and said that she knows it's true and she loves reading it because she gets a good feeling. She said that she reads it to Jordan because his eyes are bad.

Just seeing how well Ivy took care of the Book of Mormon, as though it is something she cherishes deeply, not being a member of our church, and having so much respect for the book, really opened my eyes. I have this wonderful gospel and was blessed to grow up in the church. I have this tool that our Heavenly Father has given, to help me learn and know what I should do follow in our big brother's footsteps. I feel like I have taken that for granted. The Book of Mormon is the most correct and true book on the earth, and with the Bible holds the testimonies of what our brother, Jesus Christ, has done for us. We need to remember this.

Thank you for your support. I love you and hope all goes well. Have a great week. Look for things to help others. I know you do already, especially at this time of year, but yeah, I love you.

Med Meget Kærlighed (with much love),

Ældste Madsen

Disciples of Christ in our Day (October 14, 2013)

Elder Madsen is being Transferred (November 4, 2013)

I tried to do a hipster pic at Tivoli's and
posed like the Little Mermaid. I nailed it! :)

Eldste Mig (Elder Me!)

The burger I ate before getting on that ride.
It was way good!

Just waiting in line with the other guys.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sister Oliphant's First Week in the MTC

Written by Sister Justyce Oliphant, training at the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When her training is complete, she will serve in the Mexico Tuxtla-Gutierrez Mission, speaking Spanish.

Hola!!!!! Wow...I just don't know where to begin! This last week has been so fantastic! It was kind of hard to wait over a week for our first P-day (Preparation Day) though.

So, I am on the MTC West Campus. My companion is Hermana Taylor from Alpine, Utah. She is 6 feet 2 inches tall, and so adorable. I just love her. She is so sweet, and our personalities work out awesome together. You know me, I'm pretty loud and crazy, and she is quiet and soft spoken. So she helps calm me down when I get crazy!

We have two other Hermanas in our district, Hermana Park from Korea and Hermana Davidson from Arizona. We are only the second group of Sisters to be heading to Mexico. Our Branch President said that it was nice to finally have Sisters at church on Sunday.

The picture I've included is our District, just after we went to the Provo Temple this morning. This temple is so awesome!! We missed the bus after our session, so we all just walked back to the west campus.

We are living on the west side of the football stadium, and so we walked all around that and up to the main campus. Our Zone was also invited to attend the devotionals Sunday and Tuesday up on the main campus, so we walked up there those days as well. I guess it's just good practice for when we get to Mexico!!!

SO neat thing, all of the Sisters in my district are going to Tuxtla-Gutierrez, Mexico as well!! I love how much we have all been able to bond!

Yesterday, Wednesday, we went to the Mexico consulate in Salt Lake City. We rode the Front Runner and then took Trax. It was so great to be up in my normal neck of the woods even just for a few hours!! We we able to talk to some neat people while we were on the train, and had some pretty cool conversations.We have been learning about connecting, not contacting, meaning to connect with the people and not just trying to get the numbers.

Hermana Taylor and I have been teaching lessons to an investigator named Javier. It has been difficult to try to communicate with him, especially since he doesn't even know any English!! My espanol is definitely improving. I can´t wait to get home and talk to all of my Chick-fil-a friends in Spanish!!!

Us apartment pals (the girls in my district) sang in the MTC choir at the Tuesday fireside! We got some sweet camera time because we were in the front row! AND! Sunday I saw Makenzie Brown! She left Monday morning for the Philippines!

Well I don't have much time, but I do want you all to know how much I love you!!! I have been having an awesome time here, and I hope that you are all having a good time at home!

USE DEAR ELDER TO WRITE TO ME!!! We get them the same day, and it's easier for me to read your letters and take time to write hand written letters to reply! I have sent you a few letters already. I hope you got them!!

Give everyone hugs from me!! I love you all!!! And hope to hear from you this week!!

A Peak into my Life at the Provo MTC

My district at the MTC. The Sisters from left are Hermanas Davidson
(Arizona), Park (Korea), Oliphant (me!), and Taylor (Alpine, Utah).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another Great Week in Virginia

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

Well, this week was a little bit slower. We are really just stuck in a rut with Randy (name changed for privacy). He loves the church, but he doesn't want to make any progress until his wife is on board. She is currently living in Bolivia until December, but the missionaries got in contact with her on Friday. We did take Randy to the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors' Center this week, which was awesome. He loved it. We watched the Joseph Smith movie, which is such a powerful movie.

We also met Randy's mom and sister at a company barbecue that he invited us to (we had steak and Alaskan king crab legs...the best dinner on the mission so far!). The next day, she came to church, so who knows. We invited her to come again, and she said that she would think about it.

We did a decent amount of tracting (street contacting, knocking on doors, etc.) this week, and it actually yielded some results!! We have two solid appointments on Tuesday, so I am pretty excited about that. It should be good.

Unfortunately, Karol (name changed for privacy) had to cancel our appointment this week, but we saw her at Panera Bread on Thursday when we went with Randy. So we set up another appointment with her for tomorrow.

The less active members who came to church last week came again this week, which was awesome. We are going over for their Family Home Evening tonight. She said her husband (who is not a member of the church) is probably going to sit in :)

The members of the church out here in Virginia are awesome. We did three member invites last night (that means teaching a short lesson, then inviting the members to do something missionary related). Our ward has a party on Saturday, so we invited people to invite their friends to that. Every single family we spoke to had the names of the people that they were going to invite. One of the families asked us for all of our investigators' names so they can pray for them by name. That follows right along with the council given at General Conference. They feed us really well too, which is great. I am putting the pounds back on that I lost up in Shirlington, haha!

Well, I think that pretty much sums up our week. Love you guys tons and miss you!! Oh yeah, one last thing...Today Broken took us to Great Falls. It was awesome. I will send pictures next week. It is in a way nice area, and someone actually has a house designed exactly like the White House, just scaled down smaller, haha! And it's for sale right now...only $4 million, if you want it, haha! Just kidding! Love you!!

Elder Nate Jensen

Elder Jensen Loves Manassas, Virginia

"Don't ever give this up."

70 DAYS! - Sister Hannah Avery

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

Hey family and friends!

Guess what?! I have been a missionary for 70 days! CRAZY right?! Time is flying!!! How are you all doing?? We had a VERY busy week, and I saw many miracles and blessings too! Here`s the scoop!

First, we had "entrevistas" (interviews) with our Mission President on Tuesday. It went super well! Thank the heavens, he speaks English, haha! I am getting better with Spanish, of course, but I was happy to not have to worry about trying to say everything in Spanish for once! These interviews only happen every three months, and it is just to see how we are doing. President said he can tell that I'm happy here in Ovalle, and that Hermana Mori is teaching me everything I need to know. He is a great Mission President, and is so helpful to the missionaries! Just so you know, we are super safe and are loving the work in Ovalle!

I FINALLY received my checking card! Yay! I can buy food now, haha! Nah, I had money before, but now I don't have to have my money transferred to my companion's card anymore. It's much easier now :) We did have a tough week with showers...we didn't have gas, so we showered COLD! UGH! Yah, this girl does NOT like cold showers...but, you have to do what you have to do... you can't smell like cows when you're preaching the Gospel, haha! We are getting more gas today, so this week will ROCK!

Shout out to my cutie girl, Justyce, for going into the MTC (Missionary Training Center) this week! I am SOOOO proud of you, girl! Remember who you are, your purpose, and stay strong!

We had Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with Sofia and Catalina again this week! They will be baptized this Saturday! I can't wait to send photos so you guys can see! They are super excited, and I am too! I am super excited to see them baptized... it makes me think about my baptism :) What a sweet memory! Entering the waters of baptism and making covenants with our Savior to always follow Him, and do what he has commanded...what an amazing gift! Have I mentioned enough times that I LOVE what I do?! Really though, it is a beautiful work!!

We also had "intercambios" this week, which is where we trade companions for a day and go into another area. I am not going to lie, I actually don't like doing this because it's teaching with someone that I am not used to teaching with, and the area is a place that I don't know. It is tough, but it always turns out to be okay. And it is only every two weeks...not too bad. And, I do learn a lot of good things, like how to improve in teaching, etc. Good things do come out of it, but I just like my normal routine with my companion :)

I am so glad to hear that Rebekah and Abigail both had good birthdays! I am sorry that I could t be there, but I am so glad that you guys had fun! I was singing for you here in Ovalle! haha!

On Saturday, Hermana Mori and I stopped by a place where they sell hamburgers and fries...OH MY GOODNESS...In my delight, I called it Heaven :) The guy who owns the place is from Brazil. It was super greasy and salty...YUMMM, haha! We never eat stuff like that, so it was a treat!

The most interesting thing we ate this week...this wonderful lady in our congregation (of very humble circumstances) made chicken insides. No, I could not bring myself to eat it. I gave my portion to Hermana Mori while the lady wasn't looking because Hermana Mori is used to eating that (she ate it in her home country of Peru all the time), and I didn't want to hurt the lady's feelings by leaving it on my plate. I am super grateful for her willingness to prepare lunch for us in her home. Although she doesn't have much, she gave us what she could. What a sweet lady :)

We had a district activity this morning, and we went to this super cool place. I think it's called Valle de Corazon or something...**Note from Mom: It's called Valle de Encanto). There are lots of ancient pictographs on the rocks from 500 BC! I took pics for you guys. Seriously, it was really cool!!!!

Well my family and friends, as always, I hope that you all have a fabulous week! Please know that I love and miss you all so much, and that you are always in my prayers. And, thank you for all of your prayers, love and support! You are the best! I will talk to you next week! Ciao! :)

Con mucho amor (with much love),

Hermana Avery <3

"I was praying to my God!" (October 17, 2013)

My First Baptisms in Chile (October 28, 2013)

The greasy pizza place called Heaven :)
Beautiful flower shop near our house in Ovalle, Chile.
This is one of the pictographs from
Valle de Encanto - so cool!!
On the way to Valle de Encanto...look at that sky!

Another photo from our drive to Valle de Encanto










Hermana Mori and me on Preparation Day, the one day a
week we get to wear jeans!


Men Are That They Might Have Joy - Elder Jake Avery

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

I'm doing well. I'm always busy and ready to go do something else. The people in my area are doing good, more or less. It's very hard to got people to go to church. We're getting better at helping them get there though. We have transfers in two weeks, and we think Elder China is leaving. It'll be sad, and I'm kind of scared to find out who my next companion will be :P But, I'm sure we'll do great together.

We had interviews with the Mission President this week. He told me that we should be baptizing every week. It's a hefty goal, but it's totally possible. The people that are ready are ready. I had the opportunity to baptize Hermana Roxanna (she's actually my 4th live, meaning I baptized her myself, and our 7th as a companionship). We don't have enough investigators that go to church, or that are married, to baptize anyone this week. We are working on that.

I hope you guys know that I'm doing great, and that I'm perfectly happy! Dad, you've been anything but a drill sergeant :P I look back at all the lessons you've taught me, and I'm so thankful that I had a dad that taught me those lessons when I was so young. If you knew how much you've helped me in my life, you'd never doubt yourself again. I hope you guys are doing well and are happy. I feel your prayers out here everyday, and they help a lot.

Elder China got jealous when President Equije (the Stake President we live with) had all of his house painted, except our room up on the third floor. After a few days of convincing from Elder China (I totally did not care at all if our room got painted or not...there is so much dust here, things get dirty when you breath on them), he finally sent the painter to our room. The painter is a cool guy. He's in our ward (congregation) and has two kids. One is just ten days old. So, we took all of our stuff outside, where they are at the mercy of the elements, while he painted our room. It was an adventure.

Thanks for the updates, Mom!! I actually read them, but then I have no time to talk about them. How's Lisa? And how's Dirk and Naomi? I've gotten mail from Mom-mom, your post card from Park City, and letters from Hannah. That's it :P I'm waiting earnestly for anything else, haha. Christmas and Halloween will be greatly welcomed days! Everyone is already old! Abi is 7, Bek is 14, and Mom-mom has hit her 30's. What will we ever do?! I'm excited for all the cool things going on in everyone's life. Wish Josh luck on the ACT and driving test. You'll never regret a good ACT score.

As for music, it should be in harmony with my calling as a missionary, and should not dull spiritual sensitivity due to loudness or beats. Tabernacle Choir is okay. The Nashville Tribute Band, Coldplay (Streets of London and Death and to all his friends). You can email songs, Josh! You know what I like, and you know what's appropriate. Email some over this week!

I love the Nacho Libre quotes, Dad. I wonder when you'll run out. There are so many things I have to tell you guys! Overall, I love you and I'm so happy that we spent time together. I'm so glad we read scriptures and books together, had Family Home Evening, went to the duck pond, the Getty Museum, St. George, the Muse Concert, Temple Square, and everything else. Remember, ''Men are that they might have joy.'' Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Avery

We Have the Answers (October 14, 2013)

We're Not Here to Herd Goats (October 28, 2013)

Hermana Roxanna and her family at her baptism.

Here's the picture of my "sweet face"
that you asked for, Mom :)

Another (yes, TWO!) Area for Sister Jeppson

Written by Sister Lindsey Jeppson, 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!)!!

Sooo...I’m glad that you got that video. Three different people told me that you called them. 1) the Visitors' Center 2) the family that sent it 3) my Zone Leader's parents... did you call anyone else?? HA! HA! It made me laugh. Dad, I know it's hard, but I'm only like 12 hours away :) It made me feel loved!!!

This week as been off the wall crazy. A few weeks ago, we had Zone Conference. And basically the whole thing was about repentance and being clean. Within the last few weeks about 10 missionaries went home. I think that is so brave! I look up to each of them. They are using the Atonement and making decisions to be better. So with this change, we got call on Tuesday from the President (a week after transfers). My heart was racing. I answered and he said, "Hi, Sister Jeppson, what time does your church start?" I told him and that was the extent of the conversation. I was thinking, "Huh, well the President's coming to our Sacrament Meeting on Sunday...... mmmm... not quit two hours later we got a call from the Assistants (to the Mission President). Oone of them is from New Zealand and has a really cool accent- just picture it as you're reading what I'm about to write :)

"Hello, Sistas. How are you today?"
"Very good, Elders. How are you?"
"Very good, Sistas. There's been some changes and we've got the assignment from President to inform you about them."
--my heart sinks, and my mind is racing with all the possibilities--
"Ummm...okay."
"You're in the Arboleda South area, correct?
"Yes."
"Well in addition to that area, you and your companion are getting another area, Escondido Branch."
"Wait, so we'll have two areas?"
"Yes."
--WHAT??!!--

So, along with our first area, we are white washing another area!! White washing means that BOTH missionaries are new to the area. Having two wards in Spanish is very rare because the ward boundaries are huge. But we're excited! Maybe this is why we went full field. The Lord as put tremendous trust into us, and I feel so blessed and humbled by it. We went to church with them for the first time yesterday (two wards = 6 hours of church!). They are amazing. I feel so much love from them! They are so receptive to us. A number of the members came up to us and gave us their phone numbers, and told us when they are free they will come out with us. I wanted to cry.

This week we have seen SOOO many miracles from planning, setting goals, and working to meet those goals. It is amazing to feel the Spirit work through you.

Yesterday, there was a fireside (devotional meeting) that we were planning on taking our investigator to. It seemed so set in stone that we didn't make back up plans. Lesson learned: ALWAYS HAVE BACK UP PLANS because it fell through. So, we decided to go visit members in a trailer park. As we were driving away, we passed a member's house, and in my head I heard, "Stop, and go visit them." I ignored it, then was reminded of a commitment we had given to members an hour before..."Always yield to the promptings of the Spirit." I stopped the car, and turned around.

My companion asked, "What are we doing?"
"We're going to visit this family."
"Why?"
"I have no idea."

We found a Mormon Message we could show, then went in. Their friend (who is not a member of our church) was there. We kind of ruined "boys' night," but I felt so inspired to go. We shared our message, I bore my testimony, and we left. We'll see what happens.

I'm running out of time, so I'll share more miralces later!! Have a great week!!! I love you all soooo much!! Thank you so much for your prayers, love and support!! This is the Lord's work!!

Le Quiero Mucho (I love you so much)!!!

Hermana Lindsey Jeppson

Proselyting in Arizona (October 14, 2013)

Good Things Come from Plan B (October 28, 2013)

The Lord's Hand is in His Work

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

Hello everyone!

I have been uplifted and strengthened in studies, in planning, in finding opportunities, and in the interactions with the ward members.

We had the opportunity to meet up with a man named Javier this week. We have had two other lessons with him and we frequently bring members over to meet him. We find lots of success in bringing out members to our lessons. We brought a brother from the Elders Quorum with us, and he personally invited them to church to hear him speak. Javier's wife, who is terminally ill, who we had never seen until then came out to the living room and asked a little bit about who we were and what we believed in. She is thirsting for answers on the role of Heavenly Father in her life. Having the member there strengthened the Spirit and we will begin to start actively teaching her along with Javier. A tremendous blessing!

This weekend, I received a prompting to give the sister missionaries in our area a less-active sister referral we had given them before during my second week in the field. They had previously called her months ago in which she said she wasn't too interested. I suggested they should go down and personally talk to her. Yesterday, they found out that she recently discovered she hadn't been baptized as a child, explaining why her records weren't in our ward. The Sisters set up an appointment for this upcoming week! This experience strengthened my testimony of the Spirit, the importance of tracting, and the importance of working together.

Last Monday, I got to go to a state park for preparation day called Cliffs of the Neuse! They have a bunch of hiking trails and it was so nice to just get out in nature for once. We're going again today with a bunch more missionaries, so we'll be taking more pictures. I will for sure send pictures next week!!

Last week I started realizing that I didn't have much money left for groceries, and my cupboards were starting to look a little empty. I was praying that I would have enough food to last me for the month. This weekend we were piled with food from members. Unplanned meals have just started happening! Blessings keep pouring out!

I love this area! I have been in Albertson for quite a bit of time, and it really feels like home now. The ward is a second family. There are times where I will miss home, but the members here are so kind and always willing to help with the missionary work. Speaking of family, I started to make a family tree for the ward and it is insane! And it all started from one woman named Amanda Sparrow who was baptized in 1909. Her husband wasn't a member, but now because of her conversion, there are hundreds of members! There is a reason to protect the family!

I'm just about out of time, but I love all of you. I hope your lives are going well. Remember to center your lives on Christ. Do all you can to study the scriptures daily and say your prayers. It is so simple, yet the effects are profound and lasting!

Mucho amor (much love),

Elder Remund

Three Months in Albertson - Going Strong!

Lots of Work and Good Mexican Food

Monday, October 21, 2013

Disciples of Christ in our Day - Elder Kolby Madsen

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

Well, we had a freaking crazy week. I am not going to lie, the Lord has blessed us so much here in Frederiksberg. I can’t believe what has happened! The Lord is very mindful of this area.

So, I'll start with last Monday. We were trying to decide which library to go to (to email home) because we found out there was a library closer to our flat (apartment). So we just felt like we should try it out and see how it is, because it’s a ton closer. As we were sitting there, this African guy sitting next to Elder Francis taps him on the shoulder and asks for help making the "at" sign on the computer because it is different here. So Elder Francis helped him. Then, the guy leaned over, tapped him again, and asked us how we can believe that we have the proper authority from God to baptize, saying that that the authority was lost with Moroni. Elder Francis asked him who he is, and asked him if he had time for us to meet with him and talk to him about it. He said he didn't have time right then, but that he would give us his number for us to call him. So we just went through our day like normal after that.

The next day, Tuesday, we had an appointment with a new lady named Carla (name changed for privacy). She is about 30 years old, and is a doctor. She brought her boyfriend along, which was fun. He had some questions, and she already knows all about our church because she was an investigator a while back. She actually knows the previous Mission President really well, but she doesn't want to change her drinking habits. She truly respects and loves the church, so that is good. Her boyfriend was interested, but didn't want to have us contact him. He said he would call us. So later that day, we went and visited some less active members of the church and had a great day.

Then Wednesday came around, and we'd scheduled an appointment with the guy who is not a member of the church anymore, but still loves the missionaries. At 1 o´clock we rushed over to his house after lunch. He told us that he forgot about our appointment, so we made a different one. Then we returned home to grab the map so we could go contact some more people.

When we got home, Elder Francis decided to just give that guy from the library a call. We had a pretty open day, so we called him and he answered. He said he was back at the library, so we went over there ready to give him a Book of Mormon and teach a little about priesthood authority.

Well, we got there and he told us that he had just moved to Denmark the week before, and that he'd been living in Italy before coming here. He said he met with the missionaries in Italy, had learned a ton, and he was looking for missionaries here in Denmark. He couldn't find any until he saw Elder Francis, and although he doesn't speak Danish, he could recognize a missionary name tag.

He told us that he loved the temple that is being built in Italy, and he talked about how beautiful it is. So we told him that we actually have one really close by, and we asked him if he would like to go to the temple and see the church building because they are right next to each other. He gladly said, "Yes!" We walked and talked along the way, and started to really build a good relationship.

When we got to the temple, we showed him the outside, then we gave him a church tour. At the temple here in Denmark, they have an open garden area. So we went took him there and taught him more about the Book of Mormon, and gave him the book. He was super happy because he had left his other one in Italy. He said he had been reading it and had some questions, but he moved and could not find the missionaries. As we talked to him, he asked us what the Lord would have in store for him if he decided to be baptized. We told him of the love God has for him and his family. That's when he told us that his whole family is dead, except for his wife who lives in Ghana where he is from. He was in Italy until he got laid off because of the economy there, and he came here looking for work. By this time, we were both crying. We told him that there is a reason for everything, that we will help him, and the Lord will bless him as he follows the plan that God has for him. As we spoke with him, we felt prompted to invite him to be baptized, and he said, "Yes." He is scheduled to be baptized on the second of November!

After that way good appointment, we received a referral for this man named Adam (name changed for privacy). He lives on a street close to us, and all we really knew was that he was from Nigeria and he plays soccer. When we got to the address, we realized these were the nicest apartments we have ever seen in Denmark. So we buzzed in (ring the doorbell), and this 6 foot 5 inch African man wearing all Nike gear says, "Welcome, Elder. Come in."

As we got to know him, we learned that Adam is a professional soccer player here in Denmark (I am leaving out some details in this blog post for privacy). He was awesome! We talked to him about sports, and what his schedule is like as a professional athlete. He told us it’s pretty crazy, and that it’s hard to come to church because of travel. But he said he will come whenever he can. Then he told us that he wants us to come over every week!! We gladly accepted, and told him that we wanted to come support him at his next home game. He said it will be on November 2 at 7 p.m. We explained about the baptism scheduled for that morning, and he was way excited for Kevin (name changed for privacy). Then he told us that he will be giving us those tickets to the game for free!! SUPER excited!

That was probably the single greatest day of my mission, so far. We were blessed to set a baptismal date with a very willing and loving man, and we met one of the nicest, most humble people I have ever met...who just happens to be a professional athlete.

Well, fast forward to Friday night. We received a phone call from Kevin, asking to meet with us. When we met him, he said the lady he is living with has just told him that she will be having family over for a wedding, so Kevin needs to find a place to live for the next three days. We told him we would do our best to help him out. We called a family in our congregation, and they said they had no idea what we could do. So we told Kevin that we needed to include our Heavenly Father in this. So we had him pray and ask for help.

Kevin's prayer was amazing. He was just genuinely grateful for all he has received, and for all the Lord has done for him. Then he asked for someone to open their home to him and allow him to stay. So, we called our Ward Mission Leader, and he said he had no room because they already had someone staying over, but he felt that we should ask Adam (the soccer player). Elder Francis and I looked at each other and said that we both felt that way too, but we didn't want to bother him. In the end, we decided to do as our Ward Mission Leader asked because he and the Bishop have stewardship over the missionary work in this area.

When we called him, Adam said four words that have changed the way I will look at him for the rest of my life..."Just bring him over!" We told Kevin that we had place for him to stay, and we explained what Adam does for a living. We could see that Kevin began to get a little nervous. After we dropped him off at Adam's house, we went home for the night. Adam called to tell us that he had training the next day, and that Kevin was welcome to come, but he hoped we would help him find a job. We made arrangements to pick Kevin up the next morning and take him job searching.

The next day, we woke up and headed over to Adam's house. When he let us in, we noticed that Kevin was wearing a new sweater. Adam told us to sit down, then he fed us some Nigerian breakfast that was so good. He said the next time we come over, he wants to make us dinner!

After breakfast, we took Kevin to start looking for a job. As we were walking, he told us that after we left the night before, Adam treated him like a brother, like he had known him his whole life. Kevin said he had woken up at 5 a.m. to go to the bathroom, and he saw Adam reading his Book of Mormon. Kevin explained that the culture in Africa is that when a man reaches the point where Adam is, most people forget about their family and everything but the worldly things. Kevin feels that Adam is the exact opposite.

Adam will forever be an example to me of a Christ-like man; someone who has been blessed with a talent, and is a professional athlete, yet he forgets himself and takes in a man he has never met. He gives that man a bed and a place to stay, gives him new clothes, feeds him, and makes sure he is doing the things his Father in Heaven asks him to do.

I found out Adam was baptized three years ago. He has been playing professional soccer since he graduated from high school, and he joined the church in Slovakia, while playing for his first professional team. I am so inspired by the faith and devotion of this man, caring for someone who many people would not even give a chance. He cares for those in need, he serves his Father in Heaven, he knows what he has, and he knows who gave it to him. This is the attitude all members of the church need, no matter how much or how little they have. We all need to be the good Samaritan. I will never forget that day, or the example of Adam, a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

I love you and hope you have a great week. The Lord's work will continue to move forward, and that is more obvious every week I'm here. I know He is hastening His work, and I know that the time has come for us to do all we can, to serve Him, and help Him in His efforts to bring all His children unto Him.

Med meget Kærlighed (with much love),

Ældste Madsen

Moving the Work in Denmark (October 14, 2013)

The Lord's Work is Never Bad (October 28, 2013)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meet Sister Justyce Oliphant

Sister Justyce Oliphant was called to serve in the Mexico Tuxtla-Gutierrez Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She reported to the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) on Wednesday, October 16, 2013, where she will prepare to preach the Gospel in the Spanish language.

Justyce is the daughter of Lisa and Eric Oliphant. She was born in American Fork, Utah, but has lived in South Jordan for most of her life, except while attending college at BYU-Idaho, where she lived with her grandparents in Rexburg.

Justyce is the oldest of six children, and is the only girl in her family. She says it's always been fun growing up in a house full of boys.

Justyce graduated from Paradigm High School in 2011, and has worked at Chick-fil-a for three years. Before her mission, she enjoyed working there with her brother, Damon, who just received a call to serve a mission in Guatemala. Justyce also enjoys singing and playing the harp.

In her own words, Justyce explains her feelings about her mission.

"When I was little, I always thought a mission would be something fun to do. And that if I wasn't married or something by then, I would go. But towards the end of high school, and when I was at college, I had no desire to serve. I guess my life wasn't put together the way it needed to be so I could serve. When the age change happened, I was 19 years old, and technically could go. But, my parents only asked me once, I replied, "No," and they never asked again. Looking back, I am so glad that my parents didn't bug me about going because I probably would never have made that choice for myself.

When I was living with my grandparents this Spring, I had the opportunity to be in a choir called, "From the Heart." It was a fireside choir, and we sang at many different places. All of our songs focused on Christ and letting our light shine so that others can see us and come closer to Christ. How amazing that experience was! I didn't know it then, but it was because I was singing every week, and testifying of Christ, that my own testimony was strengthened. That led me to the decision to serve a mission.

I got my confirmation that I needed to submit my missionary application on the day that Hannah Avery opened her mission call. We went to the temple before work that morning, and it was in the temple that I saw us, Hannah and I, as sister missionaries together, and I knew that it was the right thing for me to do. Now, as she is serving the Lord in Chile, and I will be in Mexico, I know that we are being blessed. I know that I have always needed to serve a mission, and I am so excited to learn and grow through serving others."

Follow Sister Oliphant's Mission by Visiting Her Blog HERE! 

Sister Oliphant's First Week in the MTC

Sister Oliphant and her parents at the
Provo Utah Temple of The Church of
Jesus Christ  of Latter-day Saints.
The Oliphant Family at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



One last goodbye to her sweet daddy.
And she's off! Hello, MTC!