Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bronze Elephants and Ugly Ties

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

(**Note to reader: Clicking on the highlighted words will link you to additional information about the phrases Elder Burgess uses in his letter. Also, clicking on the photos will enlarge them.)

Hey,

I spent this week trying my hardest to just "work". It's challenging at times, but is turning out to be a good experience.

A cool investigator family makes these bronze statues. I'll attach a picture. It's kind of a crazy set up because his job is very low key. So in our area book we don't write where he works, and what he does for work. It's to keep him safe. I guess these puppies (elephants) aren't cheap.

Also, for the Christmas party in December, there is an ugly tie contest. I was very proud to find seven new ties this week. Some of them are just absolutely ugly. BUT to a missionary, they are very cool. Please write me back (EVERYONE) about what tie is the ugliest, so I know what tie to wear to the Christmas party in December.

Also with my last companion, Elder Alejandre, one day we were contacting on the streets and we started talking to this lady who just went off on all the facts of the Book of Mormon...She said she was a member of our church and gave us her address. I never could find the house with Elder Alejandre. I thought it was a joke. But this week I did find it with Elder Cocon. It's a whole family of members. They just haven't been to church in years, and their records aren't in the ward. It's a little miracle that made my week. I hope they can once again come back to church and unto Christ.

Not a lot more this week. Ya'll have a good week now!

With love,

Elder Burgess

On the Mend

Just Working Hard in Mexico

Elder Brian Burgess, Mexico Puebla North Mission
My ugly ties for the Christmas party

Milagros! Sister Lindsey 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.

(**Note to reader: Clicking on the highlighted words will link you to more information about the phrases Sister Jeppson uses in her letter. Also, clicking on the photos will enlarge them.)

Hola!!!

So this week has been one of the best weeks of my mission!!!!

Tuesday:

We got to day train a new misionera!!! Se llama Hermana Toboada!! Ella es de Bolvia!! So many miracles, all of our plans worked out! It was great!! The greatest one, however, was with "Juan's" mom!!! (Can't remember if I gave her another name yet) so we'll call her Carmen. We took Carmen to the Visitors' Center with one of our amazing members. We watched "Finding Faith in Christ" and went into the "Teaching of Modern Day Prophets" exhibit. In there, Hermana Leon extended the invitation to be baptized...And she said...YES!!!

However, she works a TON, so we hardly ever see her...

Yesterday, we had meetings, so we couldn't stop by her house to remind her about church, and she wouldn't answer her phone. So we got a member to go over to her house and get her...SHE CAME!!!! She loved it! Her favorite part was Relief Society. We had to leave early because we had a shift at the Visitors' Center, but we got a text from her that said, "Hermanita perdón la pregunta cuando dijiste que es la fecha para bautisarme? Y que se necesita??" Hermana, forgive the question, but when did you say was the day that I would be baptized and what do I need? After we read that, we both started screaming!!! Happiest day ever!!

We also got three other investigators to church and the Elders got two. In total, there were six investigators at church!! It was amazing!!

On Saturday, I woke up to a lovely text message from the Executive Secretary asking if I would give a talk on Sunday (the next) day because the person that was suppose to couldn't... Yes, in less than 24 hours I was given an invitation to speak, prepared a talk, and delivered a talk.. In a language that is not my first... And the fact that it was a missionary's homecoming was the cherry on top...It went well.

In the Visitors' Center, we are suppose to clean out our online area books in preparation for Christmas lights. Because I was full field, I transferred most of my contacts. But I did have a few who were marked as "other." So I started calling, and found out that one was progressing and another is getting baptized this week!!! MILAGROS (Miracles)!!!!

We also opened the Nativity exhibit!! There are 115 different nativities from all around the world. I'll take pictures and send them next week!!! One of the rotations is the nativities, so for about an hour a day, I get to be in there... It is so peaceful and the Spirit is so strong!!! Love it!!

Something I realized this week..... I use about three different proselyting methods...
1) Tracking - knocking on doors, asking for referrals from members, non members, etc.
2) Visitors' Center/phones - I call and email people all around the world
3) Online - we use Facebook

I can get to anyone, or get other missionaries to anyone. If you have someone you would like me to contact, with your help, I would love to do it!!! Just email me or send me a message on Facebook!!!

This is the work of salvation!! And it's hastening!! Do not hesitate to share the gospel with the people you love!!

Oh, and Mom, for Thanksgiving we are having a dinner with the Beckstrands and dinner with some members in our ward.

Tenga un buena semana (Have a good week)!!!

Le Quiero (I love you!)

Hermana Lindsey Jeppson

Transfer News (November 20, 2013)

Thanksgiving in Mesa (December 3, 2013)

Testing Christmas Lights
Hermana Leon and Hermana Jeppson

Making cookies!




Zone activity!! It was a ice cream relay race. Our teams were
 our districts. There are 3 districts in our zone. Most districts
have four companionships. Ours had two. Anyway, one of
our events was the "sundae" one. Sis Leon stood over and
made an ice cream sundae my dropping the contents in my
mouth. Who's ever was the cleanest won... We won!!

From the Chilly Fields of Albertson, NC

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

Buenos dias! Como estan? (Good day! How are you?)

I am starting to realize how truly strange it is to be a Spanish missionary out in the country in the South. There's really nothing else quite as interesting. You're surrounded by farms, fall leaves, and thick Southern accents and you're spending all your time speaking to Hispanics. The Hispanic families that attend the ward are faithful, great members, and great member missionaries.

Elder Lovell and I were just out teaching and teaching and teaching this week. Missionary work is work! Each day, my old dispositions to be shy, scared, or doubtful are thrown away and I am finding more and more that I can talk to people I really don't know.

One of our investigators, J** (name omitted for privacy), committed to baptism on December 21st! He might be baptized into the other ward nearby, but nonetheless we are extremely excited for him.

I am out of time for my email session, but I will include more information in the next email and hopefully get some pictures from Thanksgiving too!

Much love,

Elder Remund

The Winds of Change

Hispanic Thanksgiving in North Carolina


Twelvety Twelve Miles - 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.

(**Note to reader: Clicking on the highlighted words will link to additional information about the phrases Elder Avery uses in his letter. Also, clicking on the photos will enlarge them.)

Dear Dad,

Thanks for your letters! :) I'm doing better this week. We had a teleconference with several of the Area Seventy about how to carry out the Work of Salvation. We had several members of our ward counsel go! It's nice to see our ward is willing to help out in this very important cause.

One of the things that really struck me was when one of the Seventy taught using Matthew 25. When the King gathered all the just on his right and the unjust on the left, he mentioned nothing about obedience to the commandments. We learn from the Book of Mormon that ''Salvation doesn't come from the law of Moses (commandments) alone.'' It is necessary that we help others out, and don't let service opportunities pass by.

We have three baptisms this week! One is J** (name omitted for privacy). He's awesome. He's been investigating the church for about a month, and he's already coming with us to appointments because he wants to preach with us. He's 25 years old, so we're trying to work with Presidente (we live with the stake president) to get him out on a mission. It's very exciting to have investigators like that :)

This week I've been thinking a lot about everything. You really get tried in every way possible ''out here in the field!'' Speaking of rock music from your day, there's a city called Huacho (Wah-cho) out here, so you'll hear my companion singing, ''A Huacho me fui...I want to break free.'' It means, "I went to Huacho."

I'm getting along with my companion better. Half of it has to do with he's the district leader so we have splits once or twice a week, and the other half is the Lord answers prayers. We've both changed to work more as a team, and not as tweedle dee and tweedle dumb. We also bought a George Foreman grill for breakfast, and it's amazing!

Well, I'm glad to hear the family is all together. I'm there too as long as you have my ''peligro de muerte'' picture ;) Have a great Thanksgiving. They don't celebrate anything like that here, so I'm just going to be grateful on my own. Play some football for me, and save some of Mom-mom's stuffing. I love you twelvety twelve miles.

Elder Jake Avery

Almuerzo y Cena (Lunch and Dinner) (November 18, 2013)

You Will Not Be Confounded Before Men (December 3, 2013)

Obviously, We Don't Have Thanksgiving 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.

(**Note to reader: Clicking on the highlighted words links you to more information about the topics and phrases Sister Avery mentions in her letter. Also, clicking on the photos enlarges them.)

Hey, Daddy! Thanks for your email, as always :) I am sitting here fighting back tears after reading your email because everything you said is exactly what I needed to hear! We had a rough week and were not very successful. But, we keep on going on! Thanks so much for your advice! You are the best, seriously!

Hey family and friends!

How are you guys?!? We have had a rough week this week, but we are still out here in Ovalle, working our tails off, trying to progress the Lord's work! :) And guess what?! We have exactly ONE month until Christmas! I will be talking to you soooo soon! yayayay!!!

So, this week we didn't do very much. We had Family Home Evenings scheduled and they got cancelled. Then we had appointments with investigators and...they got cancelled. And then we invited people to come to church...and they said they would come, then didn't. Anyways, the end of story is that we had a lot of commitments made and none that were kept. It has been rough, but Hermana Puertas and I decided we want to work super hard this week, and try to find more people to teach because we don't want to feel this way anymore! There are always people ready to listen to the gospel...we just have to find them!

My experiences this week had me thinking a lot about my purpose as a missionary. There are days when I come home with swollen feet, sore muscles, and a lack of confidence because we work so hard but sometimes don't see a lot of success. Then I came across something in Preach My Gospel, in the section that talks about our purpose as missionaries. It said that even when we don't see progress, or we feel discouraged, we are always planting seeds in people's hearts. And they are always being more and more prepared to receive the gospel later! Discouragement leads to a lack of faith, and we need all the faith that we can get! If we can act on even the teeniest bit of faith, the Lord can grow it into something that we would have never imagined! :) I am hoping for a much busier week this week!

Oh, my sweet family and friends, you are my heart! I miss you all sooo much, and love you more than anything! I apologize for the short email this week, but we really did not get any lessons this week and it was really hard to find work. We did lots of contacting in the streets, but that was about all. I hope to have much more to tell you next week! I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and that you enjoy this time with your families! Obviously, we don't have Thanksgiving here in Chile, but I hope you all enjoy yours! ¡ciao!

xoxoxoxo,

Hermana Avery <3

My "Beautiful" Feet (November 18, 2013)

Poop on my Shirt (December 2, 2013)

I love you so much! I blew up my hair dryer
and straightener, so I'm looking like a hot
mess. There are electricity surges, haha!
The flowers in Chile are Beautiful!

These look like flowers, but they are leaves!


The gorgeous vineyards





Sacrifice Brings the Blessings of Heaven - 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.

(**Note to reader: Clicking on the highlighted words will link you to more information on the topics and phrases Elder Madsen refers to in his letter. Also, the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Hej Mor (Hi Mom),

Good news! The Lord has really been watching out for this area. We had some really good stuff happen this week.

First things first, we had an appointment with an old investigator that had been dropped. Well, if you thought I was a procrastinator, then you would be blown away. This guy is funny. When we met with him, he told us that he is going to come to church in January...so we will keep working with him :) But he was our new friend for the week.

So that appointment we had set up with S** (name omitted for privacy) and her three boys got canceled because her middle son had a birthday on Friday, and his father did not call from the states for his birthday. She sent us a text and said he is very upset and it would probably be best if we didn't come over. But she told us to come by another day and we could teach them.

We had already planned to go visit her neighbor, Coach, so we did that while over there. S** sent a text to Coach and asked him if we were there. When he said, "Yes," her three boys came over to say hi and just chat with us. It was great. When they went home and started to get ready for bed, the little 8 year old asked his mom, "Hey, are we going to church tomorrow?" Unfortunately they really couldn't, but it was the best feeling in the world to know that this little 8-year-old boy is wanting to come to church, and we hadn't even taught him anything yet. This family is so prepared. The Lord really knows what his children need. Right after I heard him say that, the scripture popped in my head of humbling ourselves even as a child. There is much wisdom in the children...more then we can imagine. They are all born with the light of Christ, and they are much closer to Him then we know.

Then we had an appointment with C**. She is a wonderful, older lady who has had some struggles really finding out if this is what she wants to do. She recently had a grandson born in July, but her son won’t let her see him because she was investigating the church. So her brand new grandson is almost 4 months old with no grandma to be loved by. This had been something that she has really struggled with, but she punches through none the less.

This week we decided to change things up and invited the branch president and his wife to the appointment with C**. Right away, Sister Amdi (Branch President's wife) just clicks with C**, and they really start talking about all sorts of things. Me and Elder Zalewski just got really lost in the stories and in the Danish, so we just decided it would be best to listen for questions. Next thing we hear, she starts talking about baptism. We think it’s our cue, but Sister Amdi just runs with it. Then I hear the words, "C** will you be baptized and follow the example of Jesus Christ?" C** pauses, my heart stops, and then she starts crying and says, "yes." We shared a short message and left to get home on time. C** will be baptized on the 15th of February. Member missionary work is way more effective!

Well, C** came to church for the first time ever yesterday, and she sat next to Sister Amdi. We had fast and testimony meeting because of branch conference next week. And with only 11 non-missionaries in church, we have the opportunity to bare our testimonies all the time. It's great!  After sacrament meeting we have a  class where we teach investigators. The plan was to talk with C** about tithing, but for some reason it wasn't really coming out. Then Ældste Johansen (senior couple) just starts talking about temples. C** just starts crying, telling us how much she loves church, and how she knows she needs to be baptized even though she might have to give up her family and new grandson for it. But she knows it's true.

C** is truly an example to me. Her faith and strength to put the Lord first, even though for now it could mean the end of seeing her family and grandson, all to be baptized and to take that next step that Christ is asking us to take. Our Father has a plan for us and we need to follow it. C** has learned this for herself. Even though it will be very hard, she knows that it is the right thing to do. The Lord will bless her in her efforts to do what is right.

The Lord has come out and said very plainly that member missionary work is the Lord's work. We need to follow this. I know it works! The Lord does not say these things just for your neighbors or for the missionaries. He says it for ALL members of His church!

Jeg elsker jer (I love you),

Ældste Madsen

The Lord's Hand in All Things (November 20, 2013)

Thanksgiving in Denmark (December 3, 2013)

Danish art ~ Pig Man ~ with my name tag :)

The Stewart Family

Our district does a thing where whoever has the most lessons and
new investigators wins this suit. It's pretty amazing that we won,
considering they are all in wards and we are in the second smallest
branch in the mission. The Lord loves us, and the suit is all ours!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Last Week in the MTC

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

(**Note to reader: Clicking on the highlighted words and phrases in Sister Oliphant's letter will take you to more information about that topic.)

So I didn't really plan out what I wanted to say this time. Sorry if it's all flustered. I am pretty hyped up today because, since it is my last P-Day here at the MTC, I have to get everything ready to leave--including packing my bags, weighing them, cleaning our apartment, and we had to go buy some stuff up on main campus after attending the temple this morning. Every time I go to an endowment session at the temple, I am reminded of that first day, July 5th, that I went through with my parents, my grandparents, and my best friend, Hannah Avery! It was such a neat experience, and its still neat every time I go. It only gets better!

I received a blessing on Sunday from my Branch President, President Shallenberger. I was really struggling last week and I needed some extra help. I felt really alone and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't feel the love from my Savior. As soon as he finished the blessing, all of my fears and doubts left and I have had an awesome week! Hermana Taylor and I are the Sister Training Leaders in our Zone (like Zone leaders for the Hermanas), and we welcomed our newest missionaries in our zone last night! It's been a really fun assignment to check up on all of the Hermanas in our zone!

I still am in shock that I am leaving the country this weekend! It doesn't feel real. I was so sad to see Hermanas Jepperson, Reid, Harmon and Evans leave last Sunday and now it is my turn! It's so awesome how many new friends I have made while being here. It is so much fun and I really do learn things every day!
At our devotional on Tuesday, the member of the Quorum of the Seventy (I'm not even going to try and remember how to spell his last name) talked about the different degrees of glory and told us that it is our choice which one we want to end up in--that we need to make the decision NOW! He told us to make the decision and then write in in our journals IN BIG LETTERS so we can always find it easily! I challenge each of you to study about the different degrees of glory and then make your choice! Once you make the big choice, all of the smaller choices will be easier to make. I hope that makes at least a little sense to you. I loved his message!

It has been raining a ton down here in Provo. I love the rain, but it also can put a damper on your day. Hermana Captain (one of my teachers) told me something I absolutely love! When you are sad, or homesick, or not feeling well, focus on other people. Serve others. She promised that if we did that, our pains, and sadness would go away. And It really does work! Hermana Taylor and I have been reminding each other to do that and I think that doing that has helped our weeks be so awesome!

I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to be here, learning Spanish and learning how to be a better teacher, and how to serve the Lord to the best of my abilities! I have neat experiences every day! I learn so much and my study habits have started to finally click. I just love learning so much!

OH I ran into Kaeli Willis this week (from BYU-Idaho's choir From the Heart)! She is roomates with Sydney Forman from Chick-fil-A! It was SOOOO good to see both of them! They are both headed to Reno, Nevada on Monday!

I'll try and get some pictures uploaded... hopefully they work! I love you so much! Thank you for all of your prayers!

OH, and tell Wade Staley thank you for his letter. It really picked me up and encouraged me to keep trying even though this isn't easy. I am so thankful to have the wonderful Staley family in my life! They are all so wonderful to me!

AND I got the awesome package from the ward! Thank everyone for putting that together! It really meant a lot to see all the children's fingerprints and messages! It was so cute!

Next time you hear from me, I'll be in MEXICO! Which is soooo weird to think about! Have an awesome week!! I can't wait to call my wonderful family at midnight on Saturday!! From the airport! woot woot!!

Love,

Hermana Oliphant

Another Week Bites the Dust

Hermana Oliphant and Hermana Taylor



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Lord's Hand in All Things - 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.

(**Note to reader: If you click on the highlighted words and phrases, you will link to more information. To enlarge the photos, just click on them.)

Hey MOM!

Ok, first things first, they invited me to sit by them. Not my fault. (Note from Kolby's mom: I was giving him grief about sitting with the Sister missionaries and not with the Elders at their zone Thanksgiving dinner. I saw the pictures on the mission blog. See below.)

It was a great Thanksgiving week. I really enjoyed the food and the day. It reminded me of home, and we had a great zone training. I learned a ton. I love it here. It's way fun. We had a great week, and the Lord is blessing this area so much. He is very mindful of the branch and the people that live here.

The Danish is going great. It's weird being the one that has had more experience with the language now, but I have seen that I have grown a ton in Danish. Ældste Zalewski and I are getting along great. Just working hard.

The Lord's hand is in all things. That's what this week has shown me. To start off, we met an American guy who coaches the local basketball team. The team is one of the best, and he was actually hired because he was American. I call him "Coach" because it just fits him.

So we were in another "Let's meet the new missionary appointment" on Monday night, which is standard to all transfers. While we were in the appointment, his neighbor came over and needed to talk to him. While sitting there, she said "hi" and talked to us about how she lived in American for 15 years, loves that Americans talk to everyone and have respect for everyone, and stuff like that. Then she told us that she loves the church and attended in America, but she said she didn't know they had them in Denmark. She said she wanted to learn more about our church, so we gave her our card because she said was busy and would just call us.

On Tuesday we started our day like a normal work day, which in Herning is way different because we are traveling all the time. It takes hours to get to one house, so if an appointment falls through, we get to knock! We ended up knocking pretty much all day.

So Wednesday comes around and we had a great day at our Zone Training/ Turkey Day! It was great. I loved it. While we were there, they talked about how we need to take advantage of our referrals and try to contact them as soon as possible. Right as they said that, it hit me really hard that we need to not wait to contact that lady that lives by Coach. So after the Zone Training, because of the distance to travel home, it was bedtime, lights out.

The next morning we had a pretty good schedule, but we couldn't go into Herning. We had to go into Ikast and spent the day working there.

Friday came around and we still couldn't make it into Herning. Saturday, we started our day and didn't really have anything planned but a lesson at 2 o'clock. So, we went to that appointment and she was not home. That wouldn't be too bad except we had a 2 hour trip out there, so we decided to visit a less active member of the church. We looked at the guy's name and the first thing that pops in my head is, "This guy is not Danish. That has America written all over it." I thought it was a joke, but we went to his house and rang the bell. A lady looks at us, calls for her husband, and in English says, "One minute." He came out with this feisty, 20 pound dog, says he was going to walk the dog, and asked if we would join him. We found out he was a missionary in Denmark about 20 years ago, moved back for his ex-wife, and now he is remarried to a non-member who came with him to church for a year, but felt like she was going nowhere. He kept coming until about 6 months later, when they were learning about families, and he felt like a failure because he knows everything about the gospel and could not hold on to the one thing that we hold near and dear to our hearts as members of the church. Families.

He told us he feels guilty for his divorce, not because of how it ended, but that it ended. He feels like a failure that he did not do all he could to hold on and push through. About an hour into our conversation, he said, "You know, guys, if you were to receive any inspiration to change my mind as to why I am not celestial material..." As we started to walk back his house, I felt impressed to tell him a little about our family. I told him that sometimes we don’t know why things happen, but I know that there is a reason for everything. We have the atonement. Then I told him that my parents are divorced, so I have been on the other end of what he is going through. He said it hurts him so bad because he can see what his daughters go through, and that's what makes him hurt the most. The Spirit was really strong, and things were said that I can't remember. He said that he just can't let it go. We told him that sometimes people feel guilty, when in reality, the Lord has already forgiven them. A way that Satan can work on us is by making us feel guilty for those things that we have already been forgiven for. What is done, is done. But the Lord does not give up on us. Elder Zalewski and I bore testimony of the things we can receive from our Savior, and told him that he needs to not be so hard on himself. At the end of the conversation, he said that he has some things to think about, and that he hadn't heard things like that before. That’s how we know it was the Lord.

So Saturday, after that bomb day with the guy above, we said we will not go home until we meet with Coach and his neighbor. The way we felt best to go about it was to go to Coach and just straight up ask him to take us over to her house. At the time, we were super scared because that's really forward, and might be taken as rude. But we really felt that is what we should do. So we rang his bell, he let us in for 3 seconds, just enough time to say, "Hey! I am going over to my neighbor’s house for dinner. Come with me."

1 Nephi 3:7: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

The Lord provides a way. We went over there, she talked to us, we went into her family room, and there were pictures of her kids and family everywhere. I felt like I walked into a home in Utah. It was crazy. She told us that she really loves her family, but wants to keep her boys in a good family environment. We told her about families and the blessing that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Coach started to tell her that the church would be great for her and that she needs it.

Well, long story short, we softly invited her to be baptized and she said yes. We have a return appointment on Saturday to teach her and her boys. The Lord truly works with us and has His hands in everything. We have about five appointments set up this week which, for Herning, is unheard of.

The Lord is hastening His work. He is bringing those who are ready to Him, and we need to do our part in bringing them back. When the door opens, we need to keep it open. Take advantage of opportunities. When the Lord calls, he qualifies. And He has called every single one of us to preach His gospel, and to bring any and all from all ends of the earth unto Him!

Med Kærlig Hilsen,

 Ældste Madsen

In Denmark Trains Magically Split in Half (November 11, 2013)

Sacrifice Brings the Blessings of Heaven (November 26, 2013)

Waiting at the train station
Still killing it with my cooking skills!


Zone Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving...again :)


The Winds of Change

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

How're ya'll doin?

I'm going to keep today's email nice and simple!

Elder Knott left to Virginia Beach on Thursday and my new companion, Elder Lovell came in! Elder Lovell is great! Super friendly and personable, and a hard working missionary. I am having fun with the change and adjusting to all the new things that come in getting a new companion with totally different personality and mannerisms! It has been nonetheless exciting and from what I've seen so far, the lessons have been good and our companionship unity is great!

On Saturday night, we met up with R** (name omitted for privacy), one of our investigators that has been going to church every week. She got a little emotional as she expressed her doubts and the troubles that she's had while investigating the church. She grew up in the Catholic church, so it's all new to her and she said she feels faithless when she reads the Book of Mormon. Her honesty with us brought up a really spiritual lesson where we were able to testify of the Book of Mormon and read with her. She was able to feel the Holy Ghost and we explained that she would be able to feel that all the time if she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism. It affirmed my testimony that the Holy Ghost has power to touch anyone, but it can only be felt in certain circumstances for those that do not have the gift of the Holy Ghost. We invited her to continue to press forward and read the Book of Mormon and pray for faith to overcome her doubts. We're also going to put a greater effort into meeting up with her more often, because it had been a good two weeks since we'd seen her and nothing goes well with the passing of time!

I love this work! It is exciting, it is tiring, it is invigorating! There is nothing else I would rather be doing right now. This is His gospel!

Tenga una buena semana (Have a good week),

Elder Remund

Member Missionary Machines

From the Chilly Fields of Albertson, NC

Transfer News - Sister Lindsey 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.

(*Note to reader: If you click on the highlighted words, you will link to more information about the words and phrases Sister Jeppson references in her letter.)

Hola!!

So my mission got new iPads, and mine was a little outdated, so they gave me a new one. Anyway, I lost everyone's email addresses, except for the ones who emailed me today. So if you could all send me an email so I can get your address that would be great! You too, Dad!

TRANSFER NEWS!!! ( I decided waiting for transfer news is like the Hunger Games,)

Ready.....

I am staying with sister Leon (3rd transfer together) and we are staying in Arboleda!! (My 5th transfer in Arboleda)...AND we are going back to the VC (Visitors' Center)!! I'm so excited!!

There are 33 nights of Christmas lights and we will be there 26 of them!! Which means we only get about 7 days of the whole transfer in our area...So this last week leading up to the lights, we will be organizing our area, so the ward missionaries can help us. I heard that the Lord blesses the areas of VC Sisters during this time of the year...

The last Friday of the transfer we have farewell prep meetings to say goodbye to the Sisters who are leaving. Anyway, Sister Beckstrand divided The Living Christ into parts and gave them to each companionship. We then got into a huge circle and in order, we recited our assigned parts...Probably one of the most powerful moments of my mission. The Spirit was incredible. There are no words to describe it. Since that day, I have been making goals for the next transfer, and one of them is to memorize The Living Christ in Spanish.,

Another one of my goals is to study more about the life of Jesus Christ.. How else can we become like Him if we don't even know Him? I am so excited! Words can't even describe it!! I love being a missionary because I get to feel like this ALL them time!

We have had some miracles this week! We have almost set a baptismal date for our investigator Juan (name changed for privacy). He is super smart. He told us that he would pray about it.. We are hoping to set a date with his mom tomorrow! We just have to get her to church. We are day training one of the new missionaries tomorrow, so we'll have her do it :)

With Christmas lights, we had to give up Escondido :( When we told one of our investigators, she was super sad!! So she made us dinner, and gave us flowers. It was super sweet. Our ward mission leader also told us that he would miss us. He said that Hermana Leon and I work well together.

Well, I'm so sorry this letter is all over the place. Good luck understanding it! I love you all!!! The Church is True! Jesus Christ lives! How amazing is this time of year! Thank you so much for all your love and support!!!

Le Quiero mucho!!!!

Hermana Jeppson

Sent from my iPad (November 11, 2013)

Milagros! (November 26, 2013)

Monday, November 18, 2013

My "Beautiful" Feet - 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.

(*Note to reader: By clicking on the highlighted words, you will link to additional information about the words and phrases used in Sister Avery's email. Also, clicking on the photos will enlarge them.)

Hola familia y amigos!

Another week has FLOWN by, and guess what?! This Wednesday I hit my 100th day in the mission! Wow!!!! I can't believe it! It seems like just yesterday that I was in the MTC (Mexico Missionary Training Center), and now I have been in Chile for close to three months!

So, Ovalle is starting to get HOT! Summer is coming and we are getting lots of big spiders in the house too... ewwww! I am sending a photo of one of them. Literally, they are all huge and I hate that we find at least one everyday!! I am buying bug killer this week, for sure!

We found seven new people to teach this week! We are really seeing the fruits of our labors! As for our investigators with baptism dates, we have ZERO baptisms this week, and this is why..... for one, P** (our friend scheduled for baptism this week who was getting married to L**) is now no longer getting married because her dad died last week, and she can't receive her inheritance if she gets married. So they are postponing that, which means her baptism with her mom is postponed too. We are SOOOO bummed!

And as for M**, she told us that she had a dream about the First Vision and wouldn't tell us many details. But she did tell us that she knows without a doubt that the church is true and she wants to be baptized...BUT, she wants to be baptized with her family. Soooo...we are now going to try to teach her entire family! Woo hoo! Things are sad in some areas here, but the work is still progressing. And I always try to focus on the things that are going well rather than on the things that could be better. The Lord always blesses us. We just have to look for the blessings and miracles, and focus on the things that are going right!

Funny story: I have had about five people this week tell me that I don't look like I am American! haha! They all tell me that I look like I am Chilean. But then when I start speaking Spanish, they say, "Oh yeah, you are gringo!" haha! I guess I can still improve in that area. But the sun is making me super super tan, and I am starting to fit in here for sure! It makes me so happy! haha!

Yesterday, I gave my first talk in Sacrament Meeting. I spoke about missionary work and how members and missionaries should work together to share the gospel! It is the best way to go! I had sooo many people tell me that they have seen a significant improvement in my Spanish from Day 1 in Chile to now. That really boosted my self confidence! Hard work pays off, my friends!

I encourage you all to try to invite one person to come to church before Christmas. Remember that talk in General Conference?! If every one does this, we can touch millions of lives together! You don't have to wear a missionary tag to be a missionary! You are all disciples of Christ! Let's get this work going together!! :)

Well you guys, that is all that I have for this week since I am short on time. Sorry! Know that I love you all so much and as always, am thinking about you and praying for you all everyday! I LOVE YOU sooo much and hope that you all have a great week! I will talk to you next week! ¡Ciao!

xoxoxoxo,

Hermana Avery <3

Three Months in the Mission (November 11, 2013)

Obviously, We Don't Have Thanksgiving in Chile (November 25, 2013)

We walk everywhere...in dress shoes...everyday. So my
poor little feet look like fat potatoes! I remind myself what
Isaiah said, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet
of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;
that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation;
 that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" My beautiful feet, haha!
The city of Ovalle, Chile


Overlooking the city of Ovalle, Chile


Our room

The Ovalle sky! It always looks like this!

Our very large, unwelcome guest who met his maker
right after this photo was snapped!

Our study area in the house

These trees are everywhere, and I LOVE them because they'
remind me of Dr. Seuss trees!

Almuerzo y Cena (Lunch and Dinner) - 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.

(*Note to reader: If you click on the highlighted words, you will be linked to additional information about those words and phrases used in Elder Avery's email. Also, if you want to enlarge the photos, just click on them.)

Well, I'm glad for the update! I didn't have time to really respond to the updates, but I'm glad that I get them.

This week we got to see two families in church. M**'s (name omitted for privacy) family and a few from the B** family went to church this Sunday! We are planning the 7th of December for M**, his wife, and his son to be baptized. I can't tell you how excited we are to see them progress so quickly. He said that he loves how members of the church aren't judging them because of their circumstances, and that he feels like his heart and attitude are changing. The R** B** (she's the mom) told us last night that she believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Napolean Dynamite, ''Yessss!'' We're waiting for her husband to hear more of the lessons, but little by little he's being more receptive. He just doesn't trust organized religion in general, which makes it a little more difficult.

Can I tell you how glad I am for prophets and apostles?! We talk to tons and tons of people who are confused because of what the Bible says. Because the Bible has been translated many times, and now has many "easy" versions, its language and message have become unclear to some people. The Bible is awesome, but just like John said in Revelation (ironically, this is the book written before many of the other books of the New Testament, but placed at the very end when King James decided to compile the book together), the Bible is only a part of God's infinite word to only a portion of His children at one point in the history of the earth. For this reason, God has called prophets throughout all of history, has revealed His gospel, and commanded His prophets to record His teachings as scripture for His children.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know that what Paul told the Ephesians is true! "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." God, our Father, has given His word AND His Son to EVERY one of His children. This is why the Book of Mormon is such a gift. It is one of the records of God's prophets in another ancient land, and is in complete harmony with the Bible (the record of His children in Israel). It's teachings are the same, which is further witness that our Father is unchanging and He loves ALL His children. Sadly, nobody else has this understanding besides the members of our church. When Jesus told the disciples in Jerusalem, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (John 10:16)," why do people think He wasn't serious?! How can people think He wasn't going to go teach those other people like He promised? How can they believe He wouldn't tell those "other sheep" to write down what He said? How do they think Jesus wouldn't want them to preserve His gospel for their children and the world, just like His prophets in the Holy Land did?

Remember that I love you all, and I miss you all! Have a great Thanksgiving season. We're raising our chickens for Christmas as we speak. They're very cute right now, but I decided to name them Almuerzo y Cena (Lunch and Dinner) anyways.

Remember that the Gospel blesses the lives of all those that live by it. It's a promise irrevocably decreed from heaven.

Love,

Elder Avery

Super Massive Black Hole (November 11, 2013)

Twelvety Twelve Miles (November 26, 2013)

Elder China and Elder Avery on Preparation Day


Elder Howell and Elder Avery


Monday, November 11, 2013

On the Mend

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

(**Note to reader: By clicking on the highlighted words, you will be linked to information on the topics and phrases Elder Burgess mentions in his letter. You can also enlarge the photos by clicking on them.)

Hey Everyone!

On a little late tonight, but it's because we had to go to the offices to pick up a new Elder to spend the night in our house. But I'm back, and on the computer.

HOW ARE YOU ALL?!

My week was amazing!

A member in a different ward had a referral for us in our ward (congregation)! We went with him, and they are soo cool! The are soo accepting, and just have many doubts with their religion. They don't understand how they can read a verse in the Bible and their pastor (or friends) can read the same verse, but have a completely different opinion and interpretation. They are so cool, and I'm so blessed to have found them!

I also spent a few days this week looking for old investigators from our area book....no luck...but I was blessed, because a family of three (grandmother, daughter and grand-daughter) got the grandmother's husband to take the lessons. So we found a few new investigators this week.

Saturday was probably one of the best days of my mission! I baptized D** (name omitted for privacy)! She was soooo nervous, and I was a little too. I've never baptized anyone before, in English or Spanish. But it went amazing! I have a photo I'll attach.

Also Saturday night the Zone Leaders called with changes announcements (transfers). My companion is changing after only six weeks here with me. I guess one change is all he needed here. I will stay here in Antequera at least until December. I think the 10th of December is the next change. So I'll go six months in my first area, and I'll receive my 3rd companion tomorrow.

I want you all to know that I have a testimony of this amazing church. Joseph Smith translated and gave testimony of the Book of Mormon. His testimony went with him to his death, and with his amazing faith, and power from God to translate the plates we are blessed to have a second testament of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love you all. Keep in touch.

Elder Burgess

I'm Alive!

Bronze Elephants and Ugly Ties

I went on this cool double-decker bus tour with my zone today. We went to the older parts of Puebla, and got some cool pictures. This photo of me is in front of the most popular Catholic cathedral in Puebla, and it's taken from the top of the double-decker bus.



My first baptism!

Sent from my iPad - Sister Lindsey 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.

(**Note to reader: By clicking on the highlighted words, you will be linked to the topics and phrases Sister Jeppson mentions in her letter. You can also enlarge the photos by clicking on them.)

Hola mi familia!! Como están?

This week went by crazy fast! I can barely remember what happened. First, I would like you to realize at the bottom of this email it says, "Sent from my iPad." That's because we get to email on our iPads now! Technology is great!

"Christmas Lights" starts very soon. We are finishing up our training and getting ready. Almost all the lights are up! It looks so beautiful. I am so excited, it's not even funny. We will be there every night! It starts the day after Thanksgiving and goes until New Year's. We will be able to bear testimony about our Savior multiple times every night. I've heard from many Sisters that their testimonies are strengthened so much during this time of year. I was thinking about it, I don't think it is coincidence that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas. During the month of November, we think about all the things that we are grateful for. And we get to express gratitude. And then we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I get chills just thinking about it.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Thursday we received a call from the second counselor in the bishopric of our tiny branch (congregation). He has been sick and unable to attend church. But this week he came, and he was little bit behind, so he asked Hermana Leon and I to give talks in Sacrament Meeting. It was my first Sacrament talk of my entire mission. For some reason, he thought there were three missionaries in our companionship, so he planned for only the two of us to speak. It went well. I wrote my whole talk in English and then translated into Spanish. When I got there, I just read it. I was so nervous. But at the end I was able to bear my testimony without hesitation in Spanish. It was a miracle. The gift of tongues is a real thing. Our topic was gratitude, so I expressed all the things I was grateful for, including my family and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Many people came up to us afterwards to express their gratitude for our spirit and our talks.

This week we experienced many ups and downs with our investigators. Some were very receptive and others were not. For the first time, I had a door slammed in my face. It was sad, but it happens.

We are teaching this mother and her son. They had investigated the church before and were not very interested. But they're willing to listen to us. The son has made some mistakes in his life and wants to change and be better. So we taught about the Restoration. It went very well.

Afterwards, they expressed how much it made sense.  The mom, Maria (name changed for privacy), told us that it now makes sense. She was very confused about what prophets were. She thought that we worship Joseph Smith! This is why it is important to teach about dispensations and apostasy. Hopefully we will be setting a baptism date very soon.

We had zone training meeting this week. We have a tradition that whoever is going home this transfer shares their testimony at the end of the meeting. One Sister who is going home said something that impacted me. She said that she is not ready to go home, she loves being a missionary, and  can not imagine not being a missionary. I thought about it. I love being a missionary. I have never had experiences like this before. There is a quote from Preach My Gospel that I want to share with you. It is in chapter 8, "Use Time Wisely." It says, "The attitude you have towards your mission experience is a reflection of your love toward your Heavenly Father and His Son and your respect for the priesthood." Just think about it.

Well, until next time. I love you all! Thank you for all your love and your support!!

Le quiero mucho!

Hermana Jeppson

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

Transfer News (November 20, 2013)

We have a Zone Training Meeting once a month. There are six companionships
of Elders and four of Sisters. It's the first time in my mission where we've been
outnumbered! Unfortunately, most of our zone left before we could take a photo.



Answers to Prayer

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.

(Note to reader: Clicking on highlighted words will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

With Facebook and Skype, I think we can have our families sit in on "member present" lessons. But I don't know yet. We get trained on it tomorrow, so I will find out all the details.

Well, this week has been okay. We had a lot of lessons set up with people that ended up falling through. We keep track of them as a district, and we had five scheduled appointments that didn't happen. So that was a major bummer.


Washington D.C. Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
But, we did have an awesome experience Saturday night. When our scheduled lesson fell through, went to our Plan B, then C, then D, and none of them were successful. So at 7:30 we basically had nothing to do (knocking doors at that time is sketchy because people go to bed pretty early to make it to D.C. in the morning). We felt we should go visit a member who joined the church about three years ago. When we got there, he invited us in and talked about all these struggles he is going through. He also said his wife is becoming more open to learning more about the church. He talked about how he knows that the Lord will provide, and his faith is SO strong that he really is an inspiration. He went on to tell us he had been praying for help, and he felt like we were the answer to his prayers. It was so cool. Elder Massey offered to give him a blessing, and he said he would love one. It was an amazing blessing! The Spirit was so strong. It was a great way to end the week, especially since this week was a tough one.

Elder Massey and I have also been sick this week, which was a bummer. We ended up staying in on Wednesday because we were so sick. Not fun at all!! But thanks to a TON of Airborne and Emergen-C, we are all better.

And....my new wheels!

We weren't able to meet with J**(name omitted for privacy) at all this week. She was too busy. R** is doing good. We are still just waiting for his wife to be on board.  He sure loves the church though. D** was really flakey this week. We had two appointments set up with him, and he didn't show up to either one. Brother S** (the retired Army General) is doing good. He's planning to come back to church whenever his wife supports him. But he's a great guy.

So that's my week. It was okay, but like I said, it had a great finish to it!!

Love you guys lots. Transfers are this week. I think I am staying, but you never know. I'll tell you on Friday. Also, we went to the D.C. Temple this morning. It was great.

Love,

Elder Jensen

Wheels, iPads, Facebook and Skype

Elder Jensen in Fort Belvoir




Super Massive Black Hole - 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.

(**Note to reader: If you click on the highlighted words you will link to the topics and phrases Elder Avery mentions in his letter. You can also enlarge the photos by clicking on them.)

Hi Mom,

There's a magical, super massive black hole that sucks time away on a mission.

Elder China stayed with me and has been made the District Leader. It's an awesome opportunity for him and means that our workload is doubled. He visits with missionaries in other areas twice a week, so I get to plan and basically run the show two days a week...in Spanish...oh, ya!

Moses got a job!! But he has to work on Sundays :( His family went to church though, and they had a great time. It was the Primary program, and I think their kids got rounded up to perform with the rest of the Primary children. It was very cute.

Paul and Brisa made a dynamic duo for their talks in the Primary program. They talked about service (Mosiah 2:17), and Brisa explained that she feels good when she helps her friends with math homework. Paul threw in a great testimony about Joseph Smith. He always loves talking about Joseph Smith. It's awesome.

I need you to keep my Facebook up. Will you just accept everyone? People are getting offended because I'm not accepting their friend requests, but I can't use Facebook.

I'm working and working. And I'm doing better this week because Josh told me how to be happy ;)

Really, I'm doing great and very busy. Have a good week. Remember to, "Follow the prophet and don't go astray!" haha! Look to Nimrod, the mighty hunter as an example. Love you, bye !!

Received Packages from Home (November 4, 2013)

Almuerzo y Cena (Lunch and Dinner) (November 18, 2013)

This is the wonderful family who feed me every single day!
Awww, tender. Elder China loves me ;)


A group of friends in my area.

Dinner at Hermana Eva's house!


Mom, this is my contribution to our annual family
Christmas card. I know how you fret over this, so
I followed your instructions to the letter. As you
can see, I wrote Peru in large letters on a piece 
of paper like you asked. Feliz Navidad!