Monday, February 24, 2014

Puppies - 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; Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on highlighted words will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)


Wow, what a crazy fast week! Seriously, we are coming to the end of the transfer again! Wow! I can't believe it… and the hard part this time is that I think that I am leaving Ovalle this transfer. This girl has been cookin´ here for a long time! The good thing is, that it is always an adventure in the mission, and there are people in other areas waiting to hear the gospel!

We found an investigator who is GOLD!! She is amazing… Literally. The PERFECT investigator! Her name is M**, and she is about 45 years old. We found her as we were knocking on doors last week and have taught her three times already! She is reading the scriptures, praying, and even came to church on Sunday! She only has to come to church two more times, and she can be baptized! We keep talking to her about her baptism, and she is getting more and more excited. She investigated the church about three years ago, but stopped going when she felt that she didn't have any friends in the church. When she came this Sunday, EVERYONE talked to her and she felt soooo comfortable! She told us that she feels like the people in the branch are like a family, and she just barely met them this week! Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how the Lord truly prepares people's hearts at the proper time to receive the gospel!

It is starting to get colder in the mornings and nights here. It has been cloudy all day today. We had another district activity today in the Valle del Encanto again! It wasn't new for me, since I have been once before at the very beginning of the mission, but it's a fun hike, and we had “asada” afterwards! (basically, the best BBQ of pretty much every meat you can every think of!) hahaha! Chileans surely know how to eat! Hermana Puertas and I didn't have hardly anything, but the Elders ate like eight chicken legs each, beef, and at least four chorizos (sausages) a piece! They reminded me of three boys at home... Hahahha! The boys would love the food here!! I am trying to learn how to make lots of different things, but it's hard to do sometimes. They prepare food for hours here, but it is amazing :)

Well, you guys are awesome! Thank you for all  you do for me, and for all of your thoughts and prayers! They never go unnoticed! You are all in my every thought and prayer! Have a great week, and I will talk to you next week!! Les quiero mucho! ¡Ciao!

Con mucho amor, Hermana Avery

P.S. Sofia's and Catalina's dog Perla had six black puppies this week! haha! They just barely found out she was pregnant like two weeks ago! Whoops! LOL! They are sooo cute! Just the size of my hand!

Strength of the Lord (February 17, 2014)

The Power of Prayer (March 3, 2014)

The Secret to Missionary Work - 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.

I apologize for not writing last week. There simply wasn't enough time...My days are blurring together and I can not remember what happened on what day.

So a few weeks ago we had zone training meeting. We have it once a month and it's where our Zone Leaders tell us goals and give trainings from our Mission President. In the beginning, each district leader gives an overview on how their district is doing. At the end, the zone leaders said, "Sister DeMille and Sister Jeppson, your area has, by far, made the most dramtic improvement. Can you come up here and explain what you are doing?" We were shocked. So we got up there, and told them the secret to success...

Here's the secret: Have faith, exercise exact obedience, and apply what you learn.

There seriously isn't a huge secret to success in missionary work. If you are doing what you are suppose to be doing, and trying your best, the Lord will make up the rest. I have experienced that SO much the last transfer. Sister DeMille and I are both gringos. We can't speak Spanish well. But, with the Lord on our side, we can do anything.

Some of the people we are teaching are not progressing. So this week, we dropped a lot of people. This makes me sad because I love them all and I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ can help them... But I have to be patient. They just aren't ready yet. 
A member of our ward has a boxing ring and invited
us to have a "boxing experience" on our P-day.

There is this one investigator that we have. Her husband is a member of the church, but she is not. She just got a new job and kind of disappeared. We could never get in touch with her or find her at home. So we decided to give her space. Yesterday we stopped by their house to invite them to church. She opened the door dressed in Sunday best, ready to go to church! She was not happy that we hadn't stopped by all that week. She came to church for the first time in 3 months!! And they invited us over for dinner last night!! She kept saying, "I get my work schedule tomorrow and I’ll call you when I get it and we can make appointments for the rest of the week, and I PROMISE I won't forget." YAAA!! I was so happy!

Miracles happen daily here. Something that I do is write down the tender mercies. That has helped me feel the love that Heavenly Father has for me. He is so aware of each of us. It is amazing!

I love you all!!

Thank you for everything!


Hermana Jeppson

Obedience Brings Blessings (February 10, 2014)

The Book of Mormon Changes Behavior (March 3, 2014)

King of the Mountain - 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.

As far as things I need, Long Johns is a negative. I'd like Pilot G-2 pens though. And another pair of athletic shorts would be great because I only stole one pair from Jared before I left :)

Well, I don't have much to talk about either... I put most of the details of my week in an email to Dad. When I get home, you won't be able to shut me up though, I guarantee it. Tell Jared, Brigham, Braden, and Josh to be good. Thanks for everything! Love you and will see you on Mother's Day!

Poco a Poco (February 17, 2014)

I Feel Spoiled (March 3, 2014)

Elder Jensen in Fort Belvoir

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: Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on highlighted words will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

Making Mom's fried potatoes!
I will catch you up. No, I am not in Manassas any more. I was transferred about two weeks ago, and I am now serving in the Fort Belvoir Ward in Alexandria, Virginia. I am loving it!! My new companion is Elder Adair. He has been out for about 3 months and he is 3 inches taller than me. Super weird!!

This week was a really good week. S** is awesome and is still scheduled for baptism on the 15th. We were both a little nervous, wondering if she was actually going to be ready. But we had two awesome lessons with her this week, and when we arrive at church 20 minutes early, she was sitting there ready to go!  Now we just need to get her less active husband to take charge of the family!

We were not able to meet with Y** and S** this week. They work a ton, but Y** did come to church with us this week, which was so awesome!! We had four investigators at church. That's the most I've had so far on the mission.

We met with E** and D**. I don't remember if I have talked about them yet. The first lesson we had with them was rough. E** is a 50-year-old black lady from Louisiana, and she says what she is thinking. We had another lesson this week, and it went sooooo well! She committed to reading the Book of Mormon every day, and she said she would make D** read every day as well. She also committed to come to church, and she actually came! The topic of sacrament meeting was, The Family: A Proclamation to the World." She leaned over to me after every talk and said she really liked it. She was only able to stay for sacrament meeting, but said she will come back next week and stay for the whole time.

Awesome sign
We were unable to meet with C**. He had to work a lot again, which is a bummer. Elder Adair got sick this week, so we had to stay in one night. We came out of a member dinner and he almost lost everything he had eaten. He was pretty green, so we called it a night and he just went home and slept. He is doing a little better, but is still feeling a little sick.

I definitely had one of the most interesting tracting experiences this week as well. I knocked this door and I am convinced this guy was a vampire. He had on this cloak thing and combat boots, all these weird tattoos, and his teeth were black. I treated it as a normal door approach, and talked to him about the apostasy and how we have proof through the Book of Mormon that Jesus is the Christ. Then I bore my testimony. He went off  about science and how I couldn't know these things through a feeling because feelings are changed by dopamine and all these other factors. So I asked him if he had ever felt like he had a spiritual experience. He said yes, that he had worked at a funeral home for 8 years. The conversation lasted another few minutes, then he just quietly shute the door while I was mid sentence.  It was definitely weird!!

The squirrels will come in our apartment
This upcoming week we have a night that we are going on a full split because we have so many teaching appointments. It will be great! Oh yeah!!!

The stake I am in did this mini MTC (Missionary Training Center) thing and it was being held up in Shirlington, my first area. Part of it was to take the kids out and actually do missionary work. Since Fort Belvoir is so far away, I told the guy in charge this was my old area and I could take them around. He agreed, so I got to serve in Shirlington for about an hour and a half. We talked to S**, who is a less active member I was working with. He still hadn't come to church, but he had been reading the Book of Mormon a little, and he has gone to a couple of fire sides. Then we went to H** and B**, and I asked them why they hadn't been baptized yet. We talked for a little while and set up a lesson. Please pray for them!

Thanks for all you do. I love you guys lots and miss you!!

Elder Jensen

Answers to Prayer

Work Hard, Play Hard! - 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: Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on highlighted words will link to additional information.)

If I were to title this week it would be: Work hard, play hard! We started off with a normal weekly preparation day and all that. Monday night we got a call from J**, asking for help moving some things around.  We told him we could only come for little bit because we had some people to see. So we went over and did the service then had a great day of appointments with T** and Coach.

T** was great. He got a little heated when he started to read from the Book of Mormon. He did his homework, and we were really excited to answer the questions he had. When we got there he pulled three verses from the 2 chapters we gave him to read, and he read them to us. These three specific verses talked about how we all need to have faith in Christ, in a nut shell. We told him, yes, we definitely need faith in Christ, but if you read further, we also need to be baptized in Christ's name with faith that we will be clean from our sins and a promise to take Christ's name upon us. Then he went on for a bit and said, "I found it in your book. All we need is faith and we will be saved."

It's really hard to teach someone about the restored gospel, and the important step we need to take in order to live with our Heavenly Father again. When they believe only through faith in Christ, without works, without showing our faith by going to church and others things, it's very difficult. We have been praying about what we need to do, and we are going to implement it this week.

With Coach, again, whenever we start talking he brings up homosexual relationships. But this week we got a little further. He was asking about Christ and we talked about his birth and his life and death. The hard thing about Coach is that he believes that the Bible is just a bunch of stories. So we just continue to show him the truth, and it's going with him, slowly but surely.

Wednesday came around, and we had some really good plans for splits. We went to our district meeting, then we met with G**, a man who took his name off the records of the church, but loves missionaries and helps us out with the people here. He set up a basketball game with the college team in the area, so we went and played against them. We thought it would just be a pickup game, but they had refs and the works! Even fans came. It was funny because it was me, Elder Metcalf, and Elder Meacham, representing America. Obviously Elder Wilsher played, but he hasn’t played much. He did good for only ever playing once in a real game. We had a Dane on our team as our fifth man. Long story short, at half time they started to play man on the Americans and left the Englishman and the Dane alone. I don’t know why they even tried to block me. I am terrible, especially since I still don’t trust my knee fully, so I taking it way easy. Well, we won. It was great!

After the game, we just talked with the team and made some good friends. We got a couple phone numbers and we are going to try and meet with a couple of them that were interested in hearing more about the church. Missionary work at its finest. Playing ball and teaching lessons. Total of six hours; one for travel, three for basketball, two for dinner with the team and travel home. Needless to say, we were all dead after that.

We woke up bright and early the next morning, and all four of us went to J**'s house to dig out his whole basement. We only got one room done. It took us  five hours and we had to leave because of another appointment with a little girl who will be getting baptized in April. After our appointment, we had a great time with her family. Her mother and father own a hotel with a kitchen, so they made some really good Danish chocolate covered marshmallows.

We went out Friday to help G** move out of his apartment. Six hours later, we arrived home. Just after 7 o'clock Coach called us up and asked if we wanted to come and help him coach the receivers at his football practice. I could not pass that up, so we went and had a great time. We got to teach Elder Wilsher how to play football, and I got to talk to a couple of the players. They love Americans here, especially when it comes to football and basketball. After practice we went home to bed, after three really long days of work.

We had previously made a breakfast appointment with Coach, so we woke up got ready. When we showed up, Coach said we looked like to zombies. After breakfast we went home and did weekly planning. After three long days of hard work and play, our bodies were so done and we felt it. Now we're good, and ready to work hard this week. We have been very blessed with service opportunities and teaching opportunities. Our Heavenly Father is really watching out for us.

God has a Plan (February 17, 2014)

Sometimes We Get Side Tracked (March 3, 2014)

We Are All Enlisted - Elder Dallin Remund

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

(Note to reader: Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on highlighted words will link to additional information.)

Hey y'all.

I'm going to have to make this email a little shorter. We're short on time. There are some preparation days where there is just too much to do!

We had a great week. We had three of our progressing investigators come to church. E**, M**, and their nephew, R**. The group gets bigger and bigger each week. M**'s about to have her baby this week, so we've been working with the branch to have them help out their family when the baby comes. Their whole family is an absolute miracle. We found them from a referral. Never doubt those pass along cards because that website might be just what a truth seeker needs to find the missionaries. We go lots of places, but we can't hit everywhere!

We had a blast today, by the way. Six of us missionaries went out to Tucano's for the birthday of an Elder who lives in our apartment. It's the first Tucano's restaurant on the whole East Coast, and it happens to be in Newport News. It was all you can eat Brazilian churrasco and lemonade... A little bit of heaven on earth there, for sure.

It's starting to warm up a little bit. I'm getting really excited for spring! It should be pretty amazing out here on the East Coast. I think one of the biggest things I feel grateful for this week is Preach My Gospel. That manual has helped me so much. When I first picked it up, I really struggled to see its purpose. It seemed like a big book of stress that I had to memorize to be perfect. Now it is my daily study guide to help me understand the gospel super simply and help others and my own personal testimony grow.

I've been getting lots of letters lately and I so appreciate it. Forgive me if I don't write back right away. Preparation days are a bit busier up here in Virginia. I love each and every one of you. Thanks for your love and prayers.

Con mi amor,

Elder Remund

Happy Valentine's Week

Pray, He is There!

My Week in Tlaxcala, Mexico - Elder Brian Burgess

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

Hey gang,

So this week has been a lot of fun. We found some more people to teach, then Thursday we had divisions (exchanges) with the Zone Leaders. I went to their area, which is about 2 hours from my area, and it is very pretty up there. I attached a picture of me in Totolac, the Zone Leaders' area.

I feel a little sick today, so I hope I can get back working in full speed this week. Today we have interviews with President Christensen, my mission president. And I am excited for my interview. It's always is great talking with President Christensen.

I don't really know what else to write. Send me an email with questions or anything you would like me to add to my weekly emails. I'm just enjoying life here in Tlaxcala, Mexico. I pray for you all every day. Send me an email when you get a chance.

I hope you all have a great week!


I'm Not Lazy...

African Safari in Mexico (March 4, 2014)

Monday, February 17, 2014

God Has a Plan - 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: Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on highlighted words will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

This week has been different. We didn’t have as many teaching opportunities as others, but it’s all good. We had a great zone training this week about effective studies. I was happy to learn that I have a ton to improve on to make my studies more effective and use that time to the fullest.

Elders Wilsher and Madsen
Denmark Copenhagen Mission
We had a great opportunity to visit the family who moved in right above us. Last Saturday we came home from a couple of "stop-bys" (no one was home) to eat food and figure out the rest of our day. While sitting there eating, we heard a knock at the door and it was a family moving in upstairs. They asked if it was our car that was parked out front. We said no and began to clean up dinner. After that Elder Wilsher suggested we see if they needed help, and they did. We had a lot of good chats with them, and found out that the guy is actually family to one of our less active members. He was born into the church, but his mom is no longer a member and he fell away as well. They thanked us for the great help and said that they would like to feed us. We could not decline food! So we gave them our number and they know where we live, so we just went on our way.

Tuesday night we were getting ready to go meet with Coach, and we were fixing up our bikes because of some mishaps from last week... ;)  While doing this, the girl from upstairs said that she would like us to come over on Wednesday night for dinner. We were open, so we did. It was great Danish meatballs (Frikideller). We answered their questions and talked about everything. It was way fun. They are very nice and they always say hi to us when they see us. It's not the usual Danish culture to do that, but it feels like they care and it helps. We are trying to meet with them some more, just to see if the girl is interested in learning more about the church.

We were not able to visit T** this week due to him being a little sick, so we gave him some scriptures to read over the phone, and he said he would. Then he called and said he has some questions, which is way good. We are excited to meet with him tomorrow.

On Thursday J** called and, yes, he needed help with his house. We nicknamed it the house of missionaries because we are the ones who build it, haha! Anyway, we went over and it was great. Then he told us he has another big project planned. We were very anxious to hear what it could possibly be, and then the word "dig" came out of his mouth. I laughed...THEN he said that he wants his ceiling to be a meter higher in the basement! You can't just pick up a house, so he wants us to dig down a meter all throughout his entire basement. This is when I stopped laughing because I realized he was serious. So, I told him we will be over Thursday morning :) We plan to bring the Kolding elders on splits that morning. Four missionaries, twice the work...oh yeah!

The highest point in Herning. The lake reminded me
of Daybreak (Oquirrh) Lake.
Friday came around and we had a long biking day to see one of our referrals. It was okay. We found a cool lake, so we snapped some pictures. Then we went on and talked to them. They said that they are Pentecostal and are not interested in learning about our church. But it's all good. They took a card, so sometime in the future things will happen. After that we went home, and by this time the day was gone.

We had some good times riding though, looking for people to talk to. The hard part about this week was that all of Denmark has the seventh week of the year to go on holiday, which means people just don’t work and they don’t do anything but stay home and relax. And they don’t really go outside, which stinks. It's all good now...because it's over.

I am excited for this week. We tried to set up an appointment with C**, but she was gone all week. I'm not sure how because she doesn’t have a car, but she wants to meet this week.

We also had a great meeting with Coach again. He wanted to talk about gays and the church. I think he just does it because it's a controversial subject in the world :) He already knows the stand of the church. It's always just hard to get the subject changed after that.

It was, in all, a great week. A less active family has come to church twice in a row, which is good. They both served missions for the church, and their niece is in Lindsey's mission. They are way nice and funny. They've lived in Utah, Florida, and now Denmark. It's always fun to speak with them.

This week I have had a little bit of an internal struggle, really trying to do the Lord's will. It's been a little rough figuring it out. Through study and prayer, I have received the same answer over and over again. This is not my work. No matter how bad I want things to go my way, it won’t change the fact that people have their own agency, or the fact that God has a plan for people. It's His plan in His time and His way, not mine. I just need to submit to his will and push forward. I would like to challenge ya´ll to do the same. Move forward with a good attitude and do the Father's will. Life is always easier when we do what is asked of us.

Med Kærlig Hilsen,

Ældste Madsen

Hit by a Car (February 10, 2014)

Work Hard, Play Hard! (February 24, 2014)

Happy Valentine's Week - Elder Dallin Remund

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

(Note to reader: Some names are omitted for privacy. Highlighted words will link to additional information.)


I hope y'all had a great Valentine's Week.

I learned a lot about this new area and I am really starting to fall in love with Virginia. It has been an ongoing process adjusting to the fact that I still don't know much of what's going on, but I am having lots of fun! I'm learning how the work is the same everywhere, but the way we do it is specifically different in just about every situation.

To give you an idea of where I serve, (if any of you know Virginia) I am serving in the southern half of Newport News (the big city, a little bit more sketchy and run down) and then all of Hampton ,Virginia. We work with all the Hispanics we can find. We're serving in a completely Spanish speaking branch that also has two sets of Spanish speaking sister missionaries who cover the central and northern half of Newport News, Poquoson, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg.

The branch is amazing! The members are really close to the missionaries. Like I said last week, the members feed us every night. It is unbelievable. It's also great for my grocery bills. Really haven't had to buy too many groceries. The sweets have been nonstop. Elder Bradshaw and I were talking about how glad we were that Valentine's Day is going to be the last holiday for a while...We walked into Wal-Mart and saw signs for Easter and looked at each other in horror. We forgot about Easter. Food is a problem for us Spanish missionaries up here.

Every Wednesday, the missionaries eat at Abuelita's (an old Ecuadorian sister in our branch) house for lunch. She starts off with this big pot of something she calls 'Quacker' (Quaker oats in a Hispanic English accent). It's basically blended oats with spices and fruit juice with big chunks of pineapple. She keeps telling the missionaries, "Toma mas Quacker!!" Which means, "Drink more Quacker." We do throughout the whole meal... She then brings out a big bowl of vegetable cheese soup that has all sorts of corn, peppers, potatoes, and squash. Way good, and you feel pretty full after that bowl. But THEN comes a giant plate with a mountain of rice, vegetables and a big thing of fried beef. She tops it off with a plate of fried bananas. I about died. So this will be a continuous adventure every Wednesday. I pray that my workouts will compensate for all this food that the members are giving us.

We had a great miracle with our PROGRESSING investigator, E**. He is from El Salvador and he has previously been taught by missionaries over there. He has had Word of Wisdom problems and is also living with his girlfriend right now. He knows the church is true and has a desire to be baptized. We are working with him right now and hope to see him and his girlfriend get married as well as help quit tobacco. They both came to church! Having an investigator come to church out here is a big deal. We are excited for him and I'll keep you updated on his progress.

Our missionary efforts have gotten a lot busier since we got our car back and we can actually work in our area! We still haven't taught many lessons, but we should be getting busier this week with potential lessons. We'll see!

Yesterday, I got to see my aunt and uncle and go out to lunch with them in Colonial Williamsburg! It was so much fun. They live over in Hampton, so it was just a couple minutes up to Williamsburg. We talked and looked around the old sites and buildings. Amazing! Virginia is so rich with history and it's beautiful, too. Like everyone that lives in or visits the East says, there are tons and tons of trees. You don't get that out in Utah.

Well, I could go on and on about how everything is going, but my time on the computer is about up. I want to share with you how grateful I am for the mission. It has changed and is changing me every day. Every day, I receive countless affirmations of truth from the Spirit. I know that missionary work is a work of salvation. The feelings that you experience are so very potent. It gets so discouraging and, on the other hand, so encouraging. You are dealing first hand with people's eternal progression. There has never been something so confusing, yet so crystal clear. I love being my Savior's representative in proclaiming the gospel!

With much love,

Elder Remund

Commencement of Adventures in Newport News (February 10, 2014)

We Are All Enlisted (February 24, 2014)

Poco a Poco - 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: Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on highlighted words will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

When I told Hermana Eva (the kind woman who feeds the missionaries every day) that my debit card number was  stolen and used in Miami, it didn't surprise her one bit. Miami is a popular destination for Peruvians in the United States. I've only used my card 3 or 4 times my entire mission, and the only time it wasn't at an ATM was at the most modern store here called Tottus. In fact, I still have the receipt from that day. Well, I'm sure glad the bank could flag it immediately and shut it down.

Elder Avery, Hyrum, Elder Calderon
Hyrum is a good friend. He actually doesn't live here. He lives near my mission office, but Hermana Eva is his grandma and Renzo (Stake President A***'s son) is his cousin. Those two are always together, especially now during vacations. They're Jared and Brig all over again. They did a dance performance that's on Facebook for a youth activity

I got two birthday parties!! One was held by the Bishop and the other was with the A*** family. I ate a bounty of cake and other goodies. Regrettably, I had already eaten all the Dove chocolate you sent, but I shared a piece or two.

Renzo's Birthday Party
Yeah, I got so sick on Tuesday. At 5 o'clock, I called it quits until 7 (I slept the whole solid two hours), then I went to teach English classes. Then we taught J** a lesson for the Melchizedek Priesthood. He's going to be ordained this month! My companion got sick that night too. I just don't like eating food that's not from a bag or prepared by Hermana Eva.

We finally returned to Hermano L**'s land to help build his house. We leveled out rocks, chiseled away boulders, and carried a bunch of sand over there to make a smoother base for the house. On Friday, we may actually build the house. As you can see in the picture here, I got very dirty.

Two dirty missionaries
The work is progressing here. Steadily, but surely. I've been thinking about a saying that exists in the culture here, ''poco a poco'' (little by little). This saying doesn't sit well with me. It implies patience, which is great. But it also implies little or no action. For example, sometimes people will tell the new American missionaries that the language will come, ''poco a poco,'' or they'll tell missionaries with little success, ''poco a poco.''

In English we'd say, ''Keep studying and you'll get it,'' or '' Keep at it, and you'll start seeing success.'' I guess I just prefer how we say it in English. Although, in the United States, I think we fundamentally lack patience, we know that nothing happens until somebody makes it happen. I hope that all you kids in school keep it up, and stick with what you're doing. Don't let the seemingly endless tasks discourage you. Have patience and keep going.

Elder Calderon and Elder Avery
Peru Lima West Mission

I've been in this area almost seven months and I've seen two types of people. Those who wait for something to happen and those who make things happen. The people who make things happen always progress, while those who merely wait without acting are carried all over.

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. I'd love to check my Facebook, but I don't want to get struck by lighting, haha! I love you guys and miss you!!

Elder Avery

Happy Birthday to Me! (February 10, 2014)

King of the Mountain (February 24, 2014)

I'm Not Lazy...

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

....I just don't have much time. I pray for you all and love you all so much!

Have a great week!

Elder Burgess

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

My Week in Tlaxcala, Mexico

The Strength of the Lord - 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: Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on highlighted words links to additional information. Clicking on photos enlarges them.)

Hello my sweet family and friends!

Well, we had a crazy busy week! We found four more new investigators to teach, and taught over 20 lessons! Whew! We are tired, but the strength of the Lord keeps us going every day!

Hermana Puertas and Hermana Avery
We visited with Hermana B** (our Relief Society President here), and she is washing our sheets and towels today so that we don’t have to wash them in our tiny sink by hand! They need a good washing for sure. Thank heavens for her washing machine! She is the best. Seriously! I am so grateful for her. She is a really amazing woman, and has gone through a lot of hardship in her life. Her mom died before she was 10 and she was raised by her aunts and grandma. She now has 2 kids and was sealed in the temple to her husband. She told us countless stories last night about how she and her husband started off from really humble means at the beginning of their marriage, but thanks to paying tithing, they have never been without the things they need. In fact, they are getting ready to buy a second house and rent out the one that they are living in! Her testimony of tithing is incredible, and strengthened mine too!

So, we had some crazy adventures this week! First off, Fia, the old lady that we sing hymns to, is really starting to lose her memory now. She is almost 90 years old. When we sang to her this week, we asked her if she liked the song, and she said, “Dejenme aqui, para que yo puedo hablar con mi mama!” (Leave me so I can talk to my mother.) Her daughter then told her that her mom died years ago and wasn’t there. Poor thing. She cried a lot. Super sad. At least she will get to see her mom in the eternities <3

Hermana Puertas and I were walking home last night and a little puppy followed us the whole way! We gave him cookies and water, haha! (That is all that we had at the moment!) He is super cute, and we gave him to the Branch President to take to the fields this week on his ranch. We named him “Elder” since he is a boy…. And will soon serve his “mission” in the fields! Haha! Anyways, I sent Mom a video of him so that you all can see!

We had district conference this week and learned a LOT about the need for members helping missionaries in missionary work! Here is a great video that we saw, that really helps open the eyes to the importance of your help in this great work! You don’t have to have a name tag to be a missionary!

Click here to see the video

And for all of you kiddos who are getting ready to serve missions (Aka: JOSHIE!), here is an article that I love that I thought you would like too! It talks about covenant keeping. Really awesome!

Keeping Covenants: A Message for Those Who Will Serve a Mission (Click on the link to read the article!)

Well guys, have a fabulous week, and thank you for ALL of your love and support! I am lucky to be here, and super blessed! Here is a scripture that was on my mind this morning:

Book of Alma, Chapter 26, Verses 35-37 (from the Book of Mormon)

35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.

37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

Until next week! ¡Ciao!

Xoxoxo, Hermana Avery

Chilly in Chile (February 10, 2014)

Puppies (February 24, 2014)

Transfer Week - Sister Justyce Oliphant

Written by Sister Justyce Oliphant, serving in the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

(Note to reader: Clicking on highlighted words links to additional information. Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on photos enlarges them.)

We had such a good week! Hermana M** R** was baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday! Also, a family that I taught when on companion exchanges was baptized as well. What a neat day and soooo many miracles!

M** R** has been very sick, VERY sick, but her testimony is so strong and she has so much faith!! We picked her up and her daughters weren't there. They support her but don't want to have anything to do with the church. When we got to the church house, they sent us a text and said to wait because they were on their way!! What a miracle to see them come to their mom's baptism!! She was scared that the water was going to be cold, and the truth is, our boiler doesn't work in the church. The service was supposed to start at 5:30, but the water was freezing. We brought our stove and a pan and started boiling water and dumping it in. We also bought water heater things (metal pieces that you put in the water and plug in the wall) but it wasn't doing much. Finally, we got the boiler to work a little and said many prayers. The water was still cold when we started the service. M** R** went first and I stood ready with a towel for when she got out of the water. When I put her towel around her, her clothes were warm!! It was a miracle!

Pedrito brought gifts because I am leaving!  He was baptized
in November and goes out on teaching appointments with
 us while he waits to go on his own mission.
On the morning of her baptism, we went to her house for her interview with Elder Northtrup, our district leader, and she was so happy and LOOKED better! Sunday, after her baptism and confirmation, she ate real food and didn't get sick. I know it was a miracle and part of her baptism!

Members of the ward - the Hermano played the piano for
me and I sang in sacrament meeting yesterday! He
served his mission in Salt Lake City and speaks English!)
Today I am being transferred. I am sad to leave this beautiful area of San Cristobal, but I know that the Lord is sending me where he needs me! My new area is in Tuxtla and is called Jardenas. It's really hot in Tuxtla, but I am excited for this new part of my adventure! I got everything all packed up this morning and we are just waiting for the elders to call and tell us when our bus is and what the plan is. All they told us was that Hermana Perez is going to be training a new missionary here in this area and that I am going to a new area! I will have more information next week!

I love you all and just want you to know how much I care for you, and think about you, and pray for you! I sure am loving this. It's hard but I love seeing the positive changes in the people's lives!!

Hermana Oliphant

Bipolar Weather in Mexico

My New City (March 10, 2014)

San Cristobal Zone
Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me! - Elder Jake Avery

I'm so glad you sent my REAL clothes in the
birthday box! That suit I have to wear
everyday really cramps my style!
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: Highlighted phrases will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

We went to pick up my birthday box in customs today. It was kind of a mess :P The Elders in the office forgot to pick it up when it arrived IN DECEMBER! So I got to pay a $20 fine (grrr!) to get it out. Yeah, I don't want to talk about it. BUT, I'm so very grateful for all the kind thoughts that went into packaging and sending it!

You can't believe how caring and generous
these wonderful people are to me!
Long story short, this might be my letter for the week, but I love you guys and I'm having a fantastic birthday. It'd be better if we found more families to teach and had more baptisms, but ya know, that's life. Love you guys!

Elder Avery (a.k.a. Superman)

Happy Birthday, Mom! (February 3, 2014)

Poco a Poco (February 17, 2014)

My dear friends in Los Rosales

Chilly 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!

We had a crazy week this week! First off, we had intercambios (interchanges) and I was with the new Sister Training Leader in our area, Hermana Lucas. We had a great time! She is 19 and from Guatemala. Her accent is amazing! Seriously! It's weird that I can tell that there are different accents in Spanish now… I must be getting the hang of this language! Haha! She rolls her “R”s like a charm! Oh! Speaking of rolling “R”s…. I can officially roll mine when I say “arroz” (rice!) haha! Step by step, guys, and patience! One day I won't sound too American :)

These are surprise photos I received from my very first
companions, Hermana Zimmerman (from the USA)
and Hermana Pereita (from Paraguay). We were only
together for one week in September, before I moved to Ovalle.
We went to Hermana M** house yesterday and when we walked in, she had the news on. They were raving about how Dodge Chargers are officially coming to Chile! Haha! I was like, wow, I see those everyday of my life in the USA, here in Chile they think it's like a Lamborghini! Wow, we are seriously blessed guys!!

J** has been super sick this week, but with lots of prayers, she was able to come to church yesterday to be confirmed! Woohoo! She is still sick, but at least she has completed the baptism process!

So, its been really hot, right?? Well, we woke up to the alarm this morning at 6:45 to exercise at 7 a.m., and we thought it was like 4 a.m.! It was super dark outside and super, duper cold! And to this moment, we still have clouds and chilly weather! Wow! This is a nice change though… we are not complaining!
Me and cute Hermana Pereita right before
she left to travel home to Paraguay at the
end of her mission!

We found seven new investigators this week! WOOHOO!! Two of them are kind of sad stories, but I hope that the Gospel can help them in their lives. The first is a girl who is 15 years old (as of 2 months ago) and has a 3 month old baby. She is a less active member of our church, but she said she wants to try to go to church again. It's hard on her to not have friends and now have a baby in the mix of things too… poor thing. Another girl that we met is 19 years old, and she has a 3 year old and an 18 month old. She is an investigator, and she and her boyfriend are amazing and super receptive! We are thinking we can get them to set a date to get married soon, and then be baptized! The Gospel can help anyone guys, no matter what their situation!!

Well, yesterday Hermana Puertas hit the half way mark in her mission! It feels like just yesterday that she got here, a super newbie in Ovalle with me, and she only had 6 months in the mission! Time is flying…I cant believe it!

OH! By the way…for all of you who don't know, it's my super cute baby brother's birthday today! Happy Birthday, Jakey!! My little brown baby! :) I hope you get spoiled rotten for your birthday! I remember the days when you were my sidekick and played dress up with me…And now we are serving missions in Peru and Chile! AHH! When did we get sooo old?!? Haha!

Well guys, that's all I have for this week! The church is true! Remember that anything that we need or ask for will be given to us if we ask with a sincere heart and real intent! Have faith, stay strong, and I will talk to you in a week! Love you!


Hermana Avery

Birthday Week Surprise (February 3, 2014)

The Strength of the Lord (February 17, 2014)

Hit by a Car - 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.

Well this week was way good. We had some really good experiences, and some way good lessons with people.

For starters, we went to go visit C** real quick on Monday night because we hadn’t visited her for a while, and she is supposed to be baptized next week. When we got there, she told us that she was not ready to be baptized and that she would like to wait. She said really likes the church and the people, but she has her own faith. She will still be friends but doesn’t know if she wants to join with us right now. We just bore testimony and told her that we are here for her and that we would love to see her in church this week.

The painting Coach gave me
On Tuesday we met with T** and C**.  T** told us that he had to work and would not be able to come to church this week, but he is hoping to come next week.

The appointment with Coach went well. He has been painting some art and gave me and Elder Wilsher some first prints. It's way cool because we are the first to ever get them. He says he really like us and that he is happy we go see him. We talked a little about choices and how free agency is gift from God. But, in every choice there is a consequence, whether it be positive or negative. We are going to give him hair cut tomorrow, haha.

Wednesday came around and we had district meeting. We had a good time. After that we went to visit some people who, unfortunately, were not home. While cooking dinner that evening, the thought came to go deliver this children’s Book of Mormon Stories to J**. We followed the prompting, even though we know that he works at night.

After ringing the door once, the window opened and J** was like, "Hey guys, come in!"  We gave him the book and told him it was a gift, and that he could read to his girls about Jesus. He loved it. Then we asked if he needed anything and he said he needed some beds put together. We looked at each other in our suits, laughed, and went to work. It's crazy how much service one man can use, but it's also way good because he is super busy, and he said it would have taken him weeks to get it all done. We did it in 3 hours. Then, the next morning he needed help tearing down part of a wall, so we gladly accepted. Demolition is always fun, haha!

Later we were riding to the bus station on our bikes, knowing the bus would be coming at the 55 and it was about 50, so we had to go fast. I had my big coat on and the wind picked up, so it felt like I had a parachute on my back. Elder Wilsher made the light, but I didn't. When the light turned green, I stuck my hand out to make a left turn (both lanes turned left) and started to go. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a silver Ford barreling towards me with no intension of stopping. I slammed on my worn out brakes, but it was too late. He hit my handle bar, throwing me into the side of the car. Luckily, the Lord was watching out for me and helped me push myself off the car. After the initial contact the car started to stop, and by the time they reached the end of the intersection I was able to keep my speed and ride away. Everyone just paused and stared as I rode away smiling. Elder Wilsher says the car was going about 40 miles per hour, but I think it was closer to 30 :) I was definitely being watched over! No harm, no foul, but I was on a crazy adrenaline rush for about 20 minutes after that!

When Saturday came around, we had planned to visit some people who live in a city that hasn’t been visited by missionaries for about six months. Not many people wanted to listen, so we visited some less active members and got some potential appointments.

On our way back to Hernig, I heard a screech and turned to see Elder Wilsher rolling on the ground! His bike tires slipped because it was raining. He got up, shouted to me, jumped on his bike like a champ, and just kept riding. Handled it like a pro!

Sunday was a bit crazy. I spoke about Christ again. It was okay, but I feel like I repeat myself. Right before I spoke, Sister Amdi gave me her phone and had me read the text message that she received. It was from C**.  She was on her way to church and got in a car accident. Just another testimony to me about how hard Satan is working on her. She is okay, but her car is totaled. She walked away without a scratch, but obviously, she didn't make it to church.

After church, we went home, made lunch, then went straight to C**'s house. She said she was grateful and told us that she was so happy to know that her Heavenly Father was watching out for her. We also talked about her father and mother and how much they meant to her. We felt prompted to tell her that her father is out there, with our Father in Heaven, watching over her. She said she knows that, and that her dad told her she needs to be baptized. We are going continue to meet with her, and she even picked the place she wants to be baptized when she gets her answer.

Crazy week...three crashes and some crazy good working days! In all of it, we learned that our Father in Heaven loves us and wants what’s best for us. But, even more importantly, He is watching out for us more then we know. I know that God's hands are in everything. There is always something to be learned from our choices and our actions. The Lord blesses us so much, and most of the time we don’t see the good in what is happening. Looking for the good in everything not only makes it easier to handle the situation, but it allows us to really see why we are going through it. There is a reason to everything.

Med Kærlig Hilsen,

Ældste Madsen

Kristus (February 3, 2014)

God Has a Plan (February 17, 2014)

Obedience Brings Blessings - Sister Lindey 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!

This week has been fantastic. We received transfer news Saturday. Can you bleieve that the transfer is ending? I can not.


We're staying together in this area, AND we're going BACK to the Visitors' Center! I am super excited to be going back. I am anxious to see how all of my contacts from Christmas Lights are doing.

In the ward I am serving in, there are three companionships of missionaries. Us, our district leader and his companion, and another set of sister missionaries. Guess who the other set of sisters are... Hermana LEON and the sister we day trained together two transfers ago, Hermana Taboada! I am so excited to be serving with them! It will be a great transfer.

Our area is going really well. We are finding many prepared people. I am blown away every day by all the miracles I am seeing. We talk with everyone, it is getting to the point where I can walk down the street and know and recognize the people that we pass. There was one time that I accidentally called this guy that we were teaching. As I called him, we actually were near his house turning into another subdivision. All of a sudden he appears out of nowhere, freaking out. He was like, "Are you ladies okay?" "Ya, we're fine, why?" "I just received a call from you and no one answered. Usually when someone is in trouble, they call someone and leave the phone on speaker." I looked at the phone, and sure enough we called him...Well, I am glad there are people here who have my back:)

There's something from my personal study that I would like to share. Mosiah is awesome. King Benjamin's sermon is a call to repentance. I love chapter 4. Today I was studying it and I found three verses that I will adopt into my life: 26, 27 and 30. Mom look at verse 27, that one is for you.

I also have been preparing for General Conference by studying talks. Each week I focus on an apostle, and read as many talks as I can from him before the next week. I just finished Richard G. Scott and I am starting on M. Russell Ballard. I LOVE Elder Scott! I have learned so much from him. I suggest you do the same:)


Espero que tengan (p.s. this is called subjunctive, and it is the death of me) una buena semana!

Hasta Luego!

Hermanita Jeppson

Gilbert Arizona Temple Open House (February 3, 2014)

The Secret to Missionary Work (February 24, 2014)

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

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

Interesting week....

We had a conference Wednesday in the morning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one of the lessons we have in Preach My Gospel. It was taught by Elder Richards, one of the assistants to the President.

Then Friday night we had another conference about the Book of Mormon by President Christensen! It was one of my favorite conferences so far in the mission. I have learned so much more about the Book of Mormon. Every time I study and read from the Book of Mormon, my testimony grows. I can't imagine life without it.

A member in my ward has one of the first generation Books of Mormon printed in Spanish. And he gave it to me! WOO!!

At the Friday night conference with President Christensen, we got there a little earlier then expected. Some Elders and I were sitting there in the foyer when a man came in... it was cold this night, and all he had was a backpack and a t-shirt and pants and some old shoes. He didn't look alright. I have talked to many drunks on my mission, so I thought this man was just another one. And I had a bitter attitude talking to this man. I then had a humbling experience. He tells us he has cancer, just got out of jail, and was trying to get back to the state of Veracruz to his family. He hadn't eaten in two days and had no money. He asked us to pray, so we went into a room and knelt in prayer. After the prayer he asked for the water I had in my hand. I gave it to him, and then I remembered the bag of oranges I had in my backpack that a member had given us earlier that day. I gave them to him too. We all gave him 20 pesos each. And then Elder Hernandez gave him his jacket.

At this point, I didn't know if he just robbed us blindly, or if his story was real. That night, when Elder Hernandez and his companion got on a bus back to their area, they told me that the man was on the bus. He had a ticket in his hand to Puebla bus station, to catch another bus to Veracruz, and he was wearing the jacket. The man was reading the pamphlet we gave him about the Plan of Salvation. I was very touched by this man's genuine desire to get back to his family. If he was in the jail or not, it doesn't matter. This man thanked Elder Hernandez with tears in his eyes. And made an impact in my life.

Don't judge a book by its cover.

Elder Burgess


I'm Not Lazy....

Commencement of Adventures in Newport News

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

Well hey, y'all!

Like I mentioned in last week's letter, transfers happened. I went all the way from the middle of nowhere in North Carolina, bottom of the mission, serving in an English speaking ward to going up to a big city in Virginia, top of the mission, serving in a Spanish speaking branch.

Needless to say, I am still recovering from shock. The work up here is totally different. It is exciting!

We took a three and a half hour drive from Albertson, NC up to Portsmouth, VA on Thursday. Long, long ride. We had a big transfer meeting and there were just tons of missionaries. I got to see my trainer, Elder Knott, and meet my new companion, Elder Bradshaw. It was a great day of reunions! Elder Bradshaw was in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) the same time as me, but we were in a different MTC district. He is super fun. Very humble, and he has picked up Spanish really well. I feel a little behind, but I know that being surrounded by Spanish members and being in this branch will help me like it helped him!

We're staying in some pretty nice apartments. I really like the set up. We are staying in the apartment with the Zone Leaders. It is a ton of fun having two other missionaries to talk with all the time. So fun. Up here in the Newport News zone, there are TONS of missionaries. The gospel is getting preached like crazy up here.

We haven't been able to teach hardly at all because our own personal car is in the shop from a car accident that happened before I came in. So next week I should have some actual teaching/preaching stories. Right now I have just been settling in and trying to take in all the changes that come with city missionary life.

The branch is amazing. The Hispanics are so loving, and they feed us a ton! We have a dinner every night this month besides Valentine's Day... I am praying I can still eat all this food and have the workouts to keep me continuing to lose weight, haha!

Well, my time is just about up! The gospel is true! It is universal. That same Spirit I felt down in North Carolina is just as strong up here.

I hope y'all have a great day.


Elder Remund

From Country to City

Happy Valentine's Week