Monday, April 28, 2014

Stuff Keeps Happening - 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.

Yes, I got the Easter box and I was very, very happy. We did an Easter egg hunt after district meeting. Thank you so super much for all the stuff and goodies. We have consumed everything edible!

We scheduled two more baptisms. It's a young couple with a 2 year old kid (he was a lunatic in sacrament meeting, haha!). They asked us what they could do to get closer to God. That morning was probably one of the roughest mornings of my mission, but the day ended with finding them and visiting two other great families. Sometimes you never know who you're going to meet or how the Lord will put them in your path.

I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing well at home. This week was a great week for me, and it looks like we have great weeks ahead this month. We're going to get a visit from a member of the Quorum of the Seventy and my mission president, we have 4 baptisms scheduled, and the ward leaders are helping us so much.

I don't really know what to write this week, I'm sorry! There's a lot of stuff happening, but it's really just stuff. We're going to end up leaving a lot of investigators that aren't progressing and looking for new people to teach. Baptisms will help keep energy flowing, but conversions, of the members and investigators alike, is what will change our area. Our problem is that people forget. They forget what it was like to read the scriptures, go to church, and feel the Spirit. If we allow ourselves to forget things we once knew, we're not going to progress.

After everything, I can sum it up with the Church is true, Jesus Christ lives, and He is our Eternal Head. He won't forget us or abandon us as long as we are faithful to the faith we do have. Miracles happen, families can last forever, and sins can be forgiven. Nobody said life was supposed to be easy, but it is definitely worth it. We have been given agency and are here to be tested. All we have to do is make the right choices and we will find ourselves becoming more Christ-like and loosing our unChrist-like desires.

Have a good week! Thanks for all the support! See you guys in 2 weeks!

Elder Avery

Happy Easter from Peru (April 21, 2014)

Disappointment is Part of the Journey (May 5, 2014)

New Companion for Sister Avery

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

Hey family and friends!

Okay, I have lots to tell this week! First off, Hermana Stewart left the area and I am now with Hermana Giron! She is from Guatemala. She is 20 years old and is going home in 3 months! ahh! Crazy.... She is super sweet, and we get along great! She is new to being a leader this transfer, so I have to train her in the ways, LOL! Not sure that I am quite ready for that, but here we are.

Hermanas Avery and Giron
We had a REALLY busy week, with almost 30 lessons! We were really blessed!! We started teaching a 17 year old girl named Connie this week. She lives on the outskirts of our area, but we decided a few days ago to go up there, and we found her! She accepted a baptism date immediately, and is working towards being baptized on the 27th of May! WOOHOO! She is really prepared. I never cease to be amazed at how the Lord prepares people to be taught at this very moment! AMAZING! Wow... is the church true, or is the church true??? :) But really! We are so blessed <3

Other than that, I am just FREEZING my buns off here in Mirador... LOL! It was warm two weeks ago and then....BAMMM! Here is the cold.... and it's SUPER cold! Lots of wind from the sea, and well, I sleep with LOTS of layers and blankets and still wake up in the middle of the night from how cold it is! haha! But, we are working with it, and still seeing miracles everyday. People always ask us why we are outside all day and night in the cold teaching the gospel....well, it's because it's TRUE! haha! The Lord never sleeps, and well, His missionaries really don't either. LOL! Rain or shine, people! And we still aren't stoppin'! :)

Well guys, have a great week! I will talk to you all next week, hopefully with more great news! :) Love you!

xoxoxoo Hermana Avery

Happy Easter from Chile! (April 21, 2014)

Dark and Cold (May 5, 2014)

Changes and....Another Trip to the Hospital - 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.

So crazy week!

Monday.... normal day

Tuesday....normal day

Wednesday.....Normal day

Thursday.....Special conference in another part of the state of Tlaxcala, to the stake of Chiautempan Apizaco. Sweet conference! Then the zone leaders let me know that Elder Insaurralde has changes. So Elder Garrido and I will stay in this area and work together another change. Basically every change of my mission, I've had changes or my companion has. So it will be a little different to stay with the same companion.

Friday....things get interesting....we had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader....about 30 minutes into the meeting, I felt like throwing up....I ran to the bathroom and for the next hour and a half threw up like 5 times. I called the doctor, and she said go straight to the  hospital because of my history with infections. A member took us there, and about 11 o' clock at night I was good to go. I guess I threw up everything, haha.

So then we were driving down the road and the member's car died....he let off the clutch while we were stopped, and it wasn't in neutral, so it died. It wouldn't turn over....we pushed it to the side of the road. I still felt very sick. His gas pump had broken, so we found a mechanic, after MANY PRAYERS, and he fixed the problem. We got home at about 1:30am....WHAT? I am on a mission that is hard core breaking the rules. But of course, it was out of our control, and just a crazy day for a "journal experience."

Saturday....normal day

Sunday....normal day.

Today....normal day.

So basically two crazy days, and nothing else. Don't worry, I am fine and still keep on walking and working.

This church is true! The sky is blue! And I love you.

Elder Brian Burgess

Happy Easter (and Happy Birthday!) from Puebla, Mexico (April 21, 2014)

Cinco de Mayo Where it Began! (May 5, 2014)

Missionaries in my area

Oh, There's Sunshine! - 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.

Hey y'all!

This email's going to have to be a faster email. Y'all are too good at emailing me a really full inbox!

Newport News! Hampton is on the other side of the sign.
I have had a really great week. Remember the lady (Al**) that I mentioned in the last letter that felt the Spirit way strong? Well, the next night we visited her neighbors and taught them. They were super nice and had lots of good questions. We found out at the end of the lesson that the guy is Al**'s brother. He said that his sister talked about how we came over and she really liked what we taught and how she felt and that she wants to go to our church sometime soon. We were so excited. Those little chats that we have as companions on the car ride home are so energetic. We will do anything to help these people to understand how the gospel really can bless their family!

We got transfer calls.... I'm staying to be the new district leader and Elder Bradshaw's going down to Goldsboro, North Carolina. He's gonna love it down there. Elder Bradshaw's MTC (Missionary Training Center) companion, Elder Barber, is coming up from North Carolina to be my companion. Elder Bradshaw and Elder Barber were in the MTC the same time I was, and I actually ran into them a couple times. Now we'll all have been companions. So fun. I'm looking forward to the next couple transfers!
This is what the drive up to Williamsburg looks like. Virginia
is amazing in the springtime!!
 The whole mission is anxiously waiting for this weekend. Elder Bednar is going to be speaking at a mission conference in Richmond on Saturday. He's also speaking to the stake I'm serving in right now, so I'll get to see him the next day down in Newport News. We are so excited!!

The mission is going wonderful. I'm about to hit 11 months in the mission tomorrow. Really hard to believe! The time is flying as I continue to be swallowed up in this awesome work. It's worth every bit of struggle I've been through so far! I love y'all! Hope y'all have a great week.

Con amor,

Elder Remund

More pictures!

Happy Easter from Virginia! (April 21, 2014)

I FEEL GOOD! (May 5, 2014)

Taquitos from an awesome recent convert family.
Ellos saben cocinar bien!

Baptism - Sister Lindsey Jeppson

Written by Sister Lindsey Jeppson, serving in the Arizona Mesa Mission / Mesa Temple Visitors' Center, speaking Spanish.

Hola mi familia!

It has been a great week! I love being a missionary. So many great things happened!

First off, Alberto got baptized!!! Let me remind you who he is. I met him with Sister DeMille. We were walking around our area about 8:45 p.m. one night with a member of the church. We saw this random guy on a bike and decided to go talk to him. We gave him a Book of Mormon and testified about it. We asked him if he wanted to learn more, he said yes, and gave us his contact information. We didn't go back after that.

Fast forward a few weeks, and we saw him again. We talked then left. The next day was Sunday and we visited a guy who lived near him and wanted to go to church, but the guy wasn't there. So as we were thinking of who to invite to church, Alberto came to mind so we sprinted to his house. We knocked on the door, invited him to church, he got ready in 10 minutes, and we left. He has gone to church every Sunday since.

After a month, he ended up moving into the Elder's area. We were so sad, but he needed the Elders. Yesterday he got baptized, I played the piano, accompanied a special musical number, and gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. At the end, he bore his testimony and I felt like a proud mother. He told of his experience meeting us and how he read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. He said that he was so happy to be baptized. I was so happy too!

My brother, aunt, and friends came to see me!
We had interviews with our mission president this week. He usually gives us some questions to think about then we answer it when we get in there. But, he didn't this time. We had something similar to a district focus interview. It was our entire district and president. He asked us questions about what we learned in our studies of the atonement. After that he interviewed us individually. When I went in he said, "Okay, Sister Jeppson, what do you want to talk about?" "Um..." We talked about lots of things. It was great. I love talking to President. He said, "If you want to know what Sister Jeppson looks like, just look at her mom. A good friend of mine said, if you want to know what a calf will look like just look at the cow. If you are dating a girl and want to know what she'll look like in 20 years, look at her mother. Sister Jeppson is in great shape." Mom, according to everyone, we are like twins.

At the Visitors' Center, this lady came in and asked if she could take a picture of the Christus. Is was obvious that she wasn't a member of our church. I asked her if she wanted to hear the narration. She said yes. I explained that what she was about to hear were words of Christ, taken from the Bible and Book of Mormon. After I asked her what she thought, she said, "I couldn't tell what words were from the Bible and which were Mormon." She thought we were a cult. I spent the next hour teaching her about the restoration, about temples, and about prophets. She just took it all in. She accepted a Book of Mormon and all the pamphlets. She wasn't too thrilled about missionaries coming over just yet, but she added me on Facebook! So cool! I love being in the Visitors' Center!

 I love you all!

 Hermana Jeppson

Happy Easter from Arizona! (April 21, 2014)

Following the Spirit (May 5, 2014)

I Got Stuck....Elder Kolby Madsen

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


I am still in Randers and with Elder Brindley, yay! So, pretty much, I can’t believe that Lindsey got to see all of you. That is ridiculous, and Braden is freakin' big!  How tall is he now? Why was she allowed to hug all of you anyway? I am not bitter...just kidding! That’s good that you got to see her! She is looking missionary-like and only has six months left, crazy. 

This week was a little different. We had a good opportunity to go out and visit a ton of less active members. It stinks sometimes because we end up doing things that the branch should do, but when someone goes unnoticed for 10 years, it’s hard to give them to someone as a family to visit for home teaching. I am going to do my best when it comes to home teaching in the future, because it just is not fun to be the first contact in a while as a missionary. It’s so much more effective to have members do it, but it happens.

We had a great appointment on splits with the zone leaders here in Randers. I learned a lot and am very grateful for our zone leaders. We had a great lesson with Jakob. He is a young guy who started working at 18, worked a lot for his age, saved up for an apartment for himself, and now at 20 years old is working for the Danish Air Force on base. Great guy! We taught him about the restoration of the church and it went well. Elder Earl and I taught pretty well together. We have a return appointment in two weeks. I have a really good feeling about this.

We had a great opportunity to have a district activity here this week. We went to an old castle and got to see the progression of the farm equipment in Denmark. It was really fun to see the progression of the Army here as well. I love that the history here goes back so long ago. We actually have an apartment building down the street from us that is older than our country.  It's kind of funny, but really fun to learn about at the same time.

We were able to get some really good service in at the church this week as well. We had to take out some old hedges and then replant them elsewhere to block off walking space in the backyard of the church because people just kind of cut through the back.

Yesterday at church we were able to make some appointments with some members who need some service done, which makes me happy. I really enjoy service.  It’s a good time to show the members our work ethic and gain their trust.

Photo credit to Disney Studios, "Winnie the Pooh and the
Honey Tree," 1966. Based on the book by A.A. Milne.
While we were on splits that morning, we woke up to go on a run. As we got outside the apartment, we tried to see what time it was so we all looked around and none of us had a watch on. Both me and Elder Brindley forgot our keys, so we had to go around back and scale the building to get in the apartment. Fortunately for us, we always leave a window open. Unfortunately for me, the one climbing the building, the window was above our back door, and it’s not very big....but it was our last hope, so we had to do it. I climbed up (don’t know why I had to go up....I am the biggest one...), and while trying to squeeze my rear end through the window, let’s just say, like Winnie the Pooh, I got stuck. So I am just sitting there, looking like a big dumb, stuck in  a window. Fortunately, I am very blessed to have long arms, so I tried to reach in and open the door. I managed to get it cracked open then, silly me, I forgot my legs were still dangling there, so I tried to just slide down out of the window. Well, this is when it happens....Think of a door, open right below a window, and just keep in mind my butt was stuck above the door in the window, with my butt facing upward (and I am a guy...). So, while sliding down, the door closes. Luckily, it does not shut all the way because a part of me was still in the door. Needless to say, I cut myself where I have never cut myself before! I  got it out, and managed to not do some terrible harm, but showering hurts....

Well, I love you and am grateful that you guys are safe. I am happy to hear that Bree scored. Tell her congrats. This week has made me realize I have a ton to work on as a missionary, when it comes to the language especially. I need to be better. The Lord has blessed me with so much. I need to be more grateful.

Have a great week. Work hard, stay safe, keep praying for those in need and for good missionary oplivelse!

Med Kærlig Hilsen,

Elder Madsen

Happy Easter from Denmark (April 22, 2014)

We are a Team (May 5, 2014)

Receiving Answers - 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.

Hello!!!!! So, I made crepes last night; seriously best idea ever!! They were soooo yummy!!! And I ate fish last Wednesday.... not sure how much I loved it, but I ate every last bit! We finally had investigators come to church with us yesterday! First time in this area for us! We had two brothers, and another man. We have been teaching him at his work (his family owns an internet cafe) since before conference weekend! We were thrilled that he could come with us!! And we also have just started to teach his family. We went to his house for the first time on Friday (he is basically our neighbor!) and his mom expressed her gratitude for teaching him. She said he has been changing and she loves it. He is the oldest child of 5 children, and he is 24 years old. He has a baptism date scheduled, and he is working on receiving his answer. We are always soooo happy after teaching him! He is awesome.

We made crab soup!
The two brothers are the grandsons of a member. One is 16 years old and the other is 18. They are trying to decide if this is all true, but they haven't said no to their baptism, scheduled for the 10th of May! It's next week!! Their mom supports them with whatever they choose to do and they liked church yesterday, so we have our fingers crossed.

I have been working on being comfortable with talking and contacting. I contacted a lot more people this week, and even talked to two whole combies of people! I am really starting to see progress from all my practicing each day!

I have learned to just have patience with myself and with the others who are trying to understand me. I have been frequently asking if people understand what I said, or if I need to say it again (especially with questions that I try to ask). If they don't understand, I used to get frustrated, but this week I have been really good at just repeating for them or changing how I say something and using different words. It works! Hermana Rodriguez and I try each day to contact more people than our District leader (he calls us almost every night). We won 3 days this week!! And for the first time here in Tuxtla, we contacted more than 100 people in a week.

Oh, I almost forgot, I spoke in church yesterday. I decided to speak about prayer. I didn't write out my talk. I just wrote down some quotes from "True to the Faith," and Presidents Monson and Uchtdorf , marked some scriptures and then went for it! Mauricio and Mario (brothers in the ward who speak English) said that they understood everything! BAM! que Padre!!

Well my time's about up. Just one more announcement! I AM CALLING HOME IN 2 WEEKS!!Does Sunday work for you? We are going to ask our bishop if we can call from his we aren't sure what time, but I will let you know the time for sure next week. How awesome that G&G will be there too! Make sure Damon will be there, too, because I didn't get to talk to him at Christmas.

I love you all soooooooo much! Can't wait to talk! Each of you think of one specific question to ask (anything, food, how's my house, the church, the roads, be creative). That way we can use the hour more productively! Deal? I don't want to just ramble on about nothing!! haha! Hasta la próxima


Hermana Oliphant

Scorpion! (April 27, 2014)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Scorpion! - 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.

Hermanas Oliphant and Rodriguez
Tuxla Gutierrez Temple
I don't have a ton of time because I wrote a lot to my mission president today. Sorry guys! But
I am so happy to hear that you are all doing well. I am also! I had a really good week. It went by so fast! Thursday and Friday I was on divisions with my Sister Training Leader. I usually go to the other area and my companion shows the area, but I was asked to stay back this time and I showed her around and introduced our investigators and planned for them all alone. It was so awesome, and it helped me realize that I really can speak the language! It was such a good experience for me and I learned so much from Hermana Favila.

A few other high lights from the week:
I saw my first scorpion! We were talking with an investigator and he killed it by stepping on it. Augh! I played the piano for sacrament meeting yesterday (I was also supposed to speak but our Stake President came to our ward and asked to speak, so I got booted for a different week. Good thing because I didn't feel prepared!).

We had two investigators come with us to the baptism on Saturday. They both had a good time and are progressing. One has a baptism date scheduled, and the other investigator we are hoping will accept a date when we go to his house tomorrow!

I love you all so much. I pray each day for you and your safety and happiness.

Until next week, I love you!

Hermana Justyce Oliphant

Patience in Affliction (April 14, 2014)

Receiving Answers (April 28, 2014)

Baptisms on Saturday
My washing machine! Our broom handle shoved
inside a soda bottle. Better than washing by hand!
Hermana Justyce Oliphant
Literally NO ONE was in the streets on Friday. No stores were
open. It was Viernes Santo (Good Friday). The only people
in the streets were drunk...yup, fun times.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Easter from Denmark - 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 highlighted words will link to additional information. Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

Well, I hope you guys had fun. Sorry about the late email. We had to switch our week around a little, but hey, all is well.

Yes, it's a very large bear
This week we had kind of a slow week. Here's the thing about Danes and their holidays...they work 34 hours a week or less by law, and then they get these holidays that, around the world everyone maybe gets two or three days off, but they get a whole week. People just do nothing all week. They sit home and do nothing or go with family. It's great, except when you are a missionary and you try to make appointments and want to teach people. They say, "No, it's a holiday week." It’s funny. Then all we can do is knock doors, which is always a fun time, and people get mad because you are knocking on their door on a holiday week. You can’t please them all.

We had a great time with the Elders in Vyborg. We were on splits and they, luckily, had some good appointments set up. We got to be with them and see how it goes in their area. It was way fun. I met with their friend who is going to get baptized, and he is very prepared.  I was happy to learn more about him and his conversion. Plus, it’s nice to get to know someone before you interview them for baptism.

Curiosity got the best of me....
We got to talk to a couple of less active members as well. Everything went great. They were all very friendly, but just don't want to visit. They still believe in the message but can’t make it to church because they are getting old, they say. I can understand. It’s got to be hard in the older years to take five to six hours out of your day to get ready and travel by train to the city, then walk to the church, stay for three hours, and get yourself back home.

We had some really cool companionship studies this week as well. Elder Brindley’s aunt sent him a little countdown to Easter, and it included everything in the last week of Christ's life and His opstandelse (resurrection). We had a good spiritual time reading those.

Just reading those things has strengthened my testimony of Christ and given me more understanding about what he literally and spiritually did for us. As we read about the mockery and the spitting on Him, it made both of us cry. Then the pure love of Christ to forgive them, who tortured him and put him on the cross...He just forgave them. Then when He hangs there on the cross, the convict beside him, sentenced to death for his actions, gains a testimony of Him and can see His glory and His truth. As he asked what will happen to him, Christ lovingly and tenderly says, "You will join me in paradise." The faith to ask the Lord, and His loving answer, amazes me.

Planners from the 10 transfers of my mission. The one on
the far right is the one I'm currently using.
As I was here being frustrated that no one would make appointments with us, and as no one would talk to us, it was humbling to read about how loving Christ was when he could have been resentful. He showed the utmost love and compassion to those around him, even those doing awful things to him. Charity is my focus for this week; to see others how I think God and Christ do. I know that Christ suffered and died for us. He paid the price for every person who lives, has lived, and will ever live upon this earth. He did it so that we can return to our Father in Heaven and live as eternal families, in His presence of perfect love.

Love you all! Have a great week and work hard. Love you.

Ældste Madsen

Fifty Years Randers, Denmark (April 14, 2014)

I Got Stuck... (April 28, 2014)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter (and Happy Birthday!) from Puebla, 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.

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

Hello my friends and family! Still here in Mexico, just saying hello!

Our Easter Baskets
So, last Tuesday we had a conference with our Mission President about the Restoration of the Gospel. Amazing conference. And amazing notes! In the afternoon we went to an appointment with a guy who's a barber. It was sooo funny! We invited him to be baptized. He was so happy, and he said yes! Then he started pulling out his doubts and questions, and as we were answering them, he said, "I know you have a lot of people to teach, and you are only in Mexico a short time. I just need you to be patient. But if you have any requirements to fulfill with a number of baptisms, I will help you out! I will be baptized, if it means I am helping you out. I just need more time to clear up my doubts." I almost started laughing. WHAT? He would be baptized to help us complete a goal...just to have the number because he was worried we got paid or something for baptisms?! Haha! We then explained to him, very clearly, our PURPOSE for being here. Funny story, and nice guy. Time will tell what happens.

Wednesday. We were on day changes with a member in the ward, so Elder Insaurralde was in one village and Elder Garrido and I were together in another village. We were walking down the street, casually...then BOOM...I TRIPPED. My face just smacked the concrete, haha! Came out of nowhere. After my companion laughed a good 20 minutes, wiped away his tears, I started breathing again, and we got back to work.... Sometimes random things happen on the mission, and your companion just makes fun of you. That happened to me, haha!

Thursday. We left the house, and found a dog in the street! And no one claimed him, so we gave him to our converts, Isaura and Teresa (because they wanted him)

Friday. I had a district leader meeting in the center of Puebla at the offices. It took about an hour and a half to get there. But President talked about our roles as district leaders and taught us about temples. Very interesting talk! Then, in the afternoon, the churches down here started throwing water on everyone as a tradition of the church. Something to do with the "Sacred Week" before Easter Sunday.... of course the white boy and his two friends in white shirts and ties with name tags on, from a different church, became the targets. We got in Army mode, sprinting through fields and orchards to dodge the cars driving by with buckets of water, ready to soak us. Surprisingly...we are good soldiers and made it the whole day DRY. :)

Saturday. As missionaries we regularly/daily are talking to random people in the street or in buses about the gospel. I started talking to one man who lives in the Mexican state of Coahuila (Northern Mexico and different mission). I explained to him we have missionaries in that state and they could visit him. Then he pulls out his Canon (big zoom camera) from his fancy bag, and takes a picture of me as I am talking to him and writing down his information, haha. WHAT??! He is a tourism reporter and thought it would a good story... About the white boy that invited him to talk about religion, haha! Good guy, but awkward.

Sunday. My Birthday and Easter! SWEET!!!

I testify that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the ONLY true church on the face of the earth. With the restored priesthood keys essential, in fact crucial, for the saving ordinances of the gospel. And that through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord restored His church.

I love you all so very much. I hope you ALL have a killer week, and enjoy the gospel everyday.

Your friend,

Elder Brian Burgess

Glasses (April 14, 2014)

Changes and....Another Trip to the Hospital (April 28, 2014)

McDonald's in Spanish

Happy Easter from Arizona - Sister Lindsey Jeppson

Written by Sister Lindsey Jeppson, serving in the Arizona Mesa Mission / Mesa Temple Visitors' Center, speaking Spanish.

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

Dearest Family,

MOM and DAD!!! What an amazing week! I can't believe you were here!! I wasn't suppose to be at the Visitors' Center (VC) Friday night, but at the last minute someone asked if we could switch, so we did. I suspect that the time you came I was in the back of the VC. I was either at God's Plan for his Family or in the prayer meeting. When we rotated, I went to the break room to get a drink and saw your package, and I thought immediately, oh my parents were here! That was cool.

I saw President that night and he shook my hand and said, "Guess where we're going tomorrow morning. You can still go, if you want." I seriously considered it. I thought I could just sit in the back and leave immediately after. I'm happy you went.

Last night there was a fireside we went to. President was there. When he saw me, he waved me over. So I went up on the stand while he told me how amazing the baptism was. He said it was one of the most spiritual baptisms he has been to.

This week was amazing. We didn't have any time in our area. The one night we had off, we went on exchanges. I have seen the Easter Pageant every single night. I can't even begin to explain the miracles that we have seen. I have met so many people who are prepared. One member brought his intelligent non-member friend and we talked for 45 minutes. We taught all three lessons and then some. I would say something, then the member would testify about it. So cool. I also found a former investigator and he told me he decided to get baptized. So we set a date and sent the local missionaries.

I also met Elder Zwick (he spoke in General Conference). I was outside the VC waiting for a missionary, he came up to me, shook my hand and said, "Hi Sister Jeppson, it's nice to meet you. I'm Elder Zwick." I just looked at him and said, "How come you look so familiar to me?" The other guy with him said (who now I think was his body guard), "Because he spoke in General Conference." I felt dumb, but hey, I met a general authority. And now that I think about it, I am pretty sure he spoke at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) while I was there.

 I love you all so much!! Thank you for everything! I just want to share my testimony that I know that the church is true. I can say with a stronger conviction that I know that Jesus Christ lived and died for me personally. And for every person who has ever and will ever live here on Earth. I wonder how much blood was spilled for me. I love Him, and because of Him, I am here serving.

Hermana Lindsey Jeppson

Happy ONE YEAR in the Mission, Sister Jeppson! (April 17, 2014)

Mesa Easter Pageant (April 14, 2014)

Baptism (April 28, 2014)

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


I'm sorry I didn't get to y'all last week. The inbox was full and I got a little carried away typing up emails. Nonetheless, I'm doing really good.

Easter dinner with the Ramirez family
 The past two weeks we've stayed busy, busy, busy with lots of service opportunities. Some days we're moving out boxes, other days we're painting walls, and others we're mowing a lawn and putting in floors. On Saturday, we helped out with the Bishop's Storehouse. Really neat experiences. I love service!

Besides our regular appointments with E** and M**, who are so solid, we had some really neat teaching appointments. We met up with F** once again and invited him to be baptized. He said he would do it with his eyes closed! He should be coming to church this week. When we brought up Joseph Smith in the Restoration lesson, he talked about how he had already learned about him from his member friends in Puerto Rico. He said that he has felt like Joseph a lot with his religious questions.

Enchiladas con mole - so good!!
We went tracting yesterday in Yorktown the last hour. We weren't exactly sure where to go, but there happened to be a half-Hispanic, half-Vietnamese family in a trailer we thought was American. The woman's name is A*** and she's from Mexico. She is Baptist, but really open to listening to our message. We were teaching the Restoration and we got to the point where we share Moroni 10:3-5. Right after I read verse 5 where it explains that the Holy Ghost will tell you the truth of all things. She said "Oh, is the Spirit when you get those good feelings?" We explained that it is and that it's God's way of telling us something is true or not. She said she felt it when we read verse 5 and also when she heard the story of the First Vision. The Spirit was very strong and you could tell that she was being taught by the Holy Ghost. She said that she would read the Book of Mormon and keep meeting with us. It was so amazing. Missionary work is the best!

Happy kids from the Spanish congregation, getting ready for
the Easter egg hunt. They are so fun to be around!
We had a little Easter Egg Hunt and lunch with some members of our congregation yesterday. We also went over to a recent convert family's house for dinner. They made us enchiladas with mole. Basically tortillas with chicken and 'mole'- a sauce used in Mexican dishes. This sauce actually had a tinge of chocolate in it. The Hispanics know how to cook! The family that made them is so solid. We had a wonderful lesson with them. Their testimonies are so strong.

Well, I hope y'all have a great week. Can't wait to hear from y'all.

Con mi amor,
Elder Remund

We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet (April 7, 2014)

Oh, There's Sunshine! (April 28, 2014)

Right next to the James River...Yes! That's a river!

Happy Easter from Peru - 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 highlighted words links to additional information. Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

This is our 21 year old Elder's Quorum President!
(Referring to the photo of the burro he sent last week, his baby sister said she will give Elder Avery "a little more time to find a llama," haha!) I've seen a llama but yeah, I'm not a real animal person. There's pigs, llamas, 1 horse, chickens, donkeys, cows, bulls and absolutely no wildlife. Everything is domesticated, besides the dogs of course, haha!

My two investigators are on track but they're ''snakes.'' Snake is the term we use for serpents (serpientes) know, the ones who beguiled Eve :) You need to say it with a Spanish accent though, ''esnakes.'' They're two young adult women, so we need to bring a member of our congregation every time we visit them. The went to church, so they're on track to be baptized. They're a little shocked that they can't drink tea or coffee, but I've lived 19 years without either and have nothing to complain about. I'm sure they'll get baptized in May though. We'll finally get to go to the river!

My companion, Elder Aldana, is really awesome. His last companion was Elder Larsen (my companion from the Missionary Training Center). He loves soccer, Chile, and good food, so we get along great! Some might consider him immature, but he's hilarious and puts a little sunshine in these people's lives. He's focused in lessons and teaches very well. He's good at remembering people (I'm descent, which isn't very good because if you don't greet someone you know in the street in this country, they will hold a grudge against you to their death bed, haha!). He likes English music and likes to practice English and Quechua. To sum it up, I'm very happy he's not leaving this transfer!

Street art during Holy Week
We got to move 500 bricks! We were walking by a house and saw two kids moving bricks (brother and sister). We offered to help them but they said no. We didn't care. We went by our room to grab t-shirts and moved all the bricks with them. Service in Peru is awesome! In Lima you get to chisel away boulders, and in Huaraz you get to move bricks. Their dad came home and fell in love with us. We made an appointment with them at 6 this afternoon. They're just so curious about what kind of organization gets young kids from all over the world to voluntarily read the Bible and help people move bricks :)

I'm reading the Book of Mormon twice a day now. I'm following the Area Seventy's counsel by reading fifteen minutes a day starting from the beginning. And I just got to the war chapters in my personal study, so I'm not stopping that!

Holy Week Parade
I never heard that story, Dad (Doug shared a story from his mission in his letter to Jacob this week). We had an anti-Mormon in priesthood meeting. I didn't argue with him, but he kept trying to move the lesson away, so I steered it right back. We read about how the church is the kingdom of God, so I found it sad that this guy felt compelled to destroy a meeting that is supposed to be led by the Spirit. Something really important, that I'm trying to never forget, is that love is everything. Even if someone feels like railing on a church that is led by volunteers, it's better to just be nice to him than show him he's wrong. The Spirit really does leave when there's contention, so I try to avoid it. It's a work in progress ;)

I missed Easter a ton. My companion did too. The celebration of Easter doesn't exist here. They have what's called "Holy Week," and they do re-enactments of the crucifixion of Christ and parade around town with idols. It was a great time to find our old investigators we haven't seen in a while (they were in the parade). On Easter Sunday, they all go to the market to buy and sell vegetables all day, then they go to Mass at night.

This was the middle of the night on Easter Sunday. We
couldn't sleep because people were carrying the figurative
"body of Jesus" through the streets, blowing trumpets.
They finished with fireworks at 5 a.m.
This might sound impossible, but I lie not, there are 0 Easter eggs, 0 marshmallow peeps, 0 fake grass, and -12 chocolates. They ask us, ''Does your religion keep the Holy Week?'' Keeping the Holy Week means you don't eat meat (only fish), wash your feet on Thursday, parade through town with a statue, and go to Mass. Our answer, ''We celebrate the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but not the same way you do.''

My companion and I were so home sick (in Chile they celebrate Easter like we do), and we craved chocolate. Sister Carr got Easter eggs and Reese's from her family and shared with us. It was the nicest thing ever. I ended up making a German pancake in the microwave that morning :)

My package hasn't arrived, nor my ATM card. I'm fine though. I love you a ton! Wish everyone good luck at home. Tell them to work hard and play hard. See you guys in 3 weeks!

Love, Elder Avery

Esto es Guerro (This is War) (April 14, 2014)

Stuff Keeps Happening (April 28, 2014)

These are missionaries from my district. The Sister and
Elder on the far left are being transferred today.

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

Hey guys!

This beautiful woman is blind and makes
candy to sell from her front yard. I helped
her make chocolate bunnies for Easter.
Just a quick email this week since this keyboard is AWFUL and I can't type well for the life of me, haha! We had the baptisms of M** and M** this week! It was beautiful. They are on the way to having their eternal family! They are the first complete FAMILY that I've taught who have chosen to be baptized in Chile, so they are truly special to me :) I love them soooo much!

I hope that you all had a great Easter weekend too! Mine was good, but know that the Chileans don't celebrate Easter like we do, haha! But Hermana Stewart and I did make an Easter breakfast and bought Easter candy in the store for $6, haha.... a little bag of peanut butter egg M&Ms.... YUM!

Well, I promise to write more next week, but for now, this is what the keyboard is allowing me to do. I love you all so much and will talk to you next week! xoxo

Love, Hermana Avery

P.S. Changes are this week! I may get a new companion. BOO! I will let you know next week!

FIRST Lesson in English! (April 14, 2014)

New Companion for Sister Avery (April 28, 2014)

My first FAMILY baptism in Chile! So special!
This mother and her son joined the church about
fours months ago. They are lovely people.

Our Mission Leadership Council

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy ONE YEAR in the Mission, Sister Jeppson!!

Sister Lindsey Jeppson, currently serving in the Arizona Mesa Mission / Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors' Center, speaking Spanish.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mesa Easter Pageant - 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 highlighted words links to additional information. Some names are omitted for privacy.)

Hola Familia!!

This week was a good week. We were at the Visitors' Center every night for Easter Pageant. Guess who I saw the first night... Maria Christensen! I'm sure you saw the picture on Facebook. I'm surprised it took me this long to run into her. During the actual performance, the Visitors' Center closes so none of the lights are on. So we have the option to watch it, or stay inside and make calls for that hour. We have chosen to watch it every night. It is very cool, because each time that I have watched it, something different has stood out. And this past month, we have been studying about the atonement, so it means something new every time. Studying about the atonement has changed me. My testimony has strengthened so much.

P and P decided that they are going to get baptized next month!! Now they're just deciding on a date. Now he just has to get to church! They invited us over for dinner yesterday and we talked about the atonement, and you can just see the testimony of the atonement in their eyes. It is so special. They came with us to the Easter Pageant on Saturday. They loved it!

Saturday night was the Spanish night. So ALL the Spanish missionaries from all the neighboring missions came and served as hosts. They all were assigned to different sections of the audience and talked to all the people. During Pageant we have averaged less than 10 on sites (people who request to meet with missionaries) every night, and about 15 member referrals or less. On the Spanish night, we got 36 on sites (goal was 35) and 7 member referrals. Is what a great night. I heard so many comments from people of how amazing it was and how great they felt.

So I haven't eaten anything weird on my mission... Until Tuesday... We had a zone meeting, and at the end we had a little zone "activity." We all ate grasshoppers. It actually wasn't bad, it was like seasoned chips. But when they were holding the bag open for me to take one, it looked like they were all moving. Kind of nasty, but hey now I can say I have eaten a grasshopper.

Well, I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Hermana Lindsey Jeppson

Happy ONE YEAR in the Mission, Sister Jeppson! (April 17, 2014)

Covenant Keepers (March 31, 2014)

Happy Easter from Arizona (April 21, 2014)

Fifty Years Randers, Denmark - 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.

This week we had some really cool things happen.  I have talked to you a little about ældste Hicks. He is an ægtepar missionær (senior couple missionary).  He and his wife take care of us and tease us to keep us from feeling home sick and stuff. They are great. We were on splits with another set of Elders last week and we met with a less active member named H**, and we made a return appointment with the Hicks and her. We went out to visit her this week and when we sat down I could see that Elder Hicks was studying H** and she was doing the same. We found out a little more about her and then he asked what her maiden name was and she said Jacobsen. Elder Hicks asked,"Do you remember me?" You see, Elder Hicks was a missionary in Randers 50 years ago and would ride to church every week with H** and her family. It was so much fun to build that connection, and see the stories and memories just light up their eyes. It was fun.

Elder Hicks at an old Danish church
We are hopping to have some service opportunities coming up here soon. The next day was the big one. It's been an official year since the time I gave last hugs and never looked back, and it’s been an amazing year. So much has happened. So much has changed. It’s like looking back after puberty, haha! Just kidding....not that bad. Spiritually, my relationship with Heavenly Father is so different and so much better. I was able to look at some old pictures on my camera from the MTC (Missionary Training Center) when I could not run and things, and to see how freaking small my leg was. It was hilarious. Good times. The funny thing is my left leg to the eye is not smaller, but when I measure it, it is still smaller.

Looking back at my journal from when I entered the MTC, and reading every day what I was doing the year before is really fun. I started to get to the point in the MTC when I was stressing so much about the language. I even wrote some Danish in my, it was bad, haha! My grammar is still bad, but back then it was terrible.

Breakfast in Denmark is always amazing!
We had a district meeting and then we had the opportunity to go to a steak house for the big day. It was not the same. I wish I would have spent less money and made myself a good steak, not that little cheap crap I ate. But it was fun to go into the centrum and eat out. We then went to support a guy in our branch who plays for the professional basketball team. While we were there, we started taking to a guy and, long story short, he was interested and we have an appointment with him tonight. I'm way excited. After that we went to a little town out in the very far edge of our area and met with some part member families and some less active members. Elder Hicks felt impressed to go and visit a guy that has not been visited for a while (years), so we went and he dropped us off then turned the car around.  As we walked up, we saw him walking into the house and we said, "Hi."  He came out and we introduced ourselves, and then we talked with his wife as Elder Hicks started to talk to him. They invited us in and we talked about family history. They brought out these big books with a ton of pictures and we talked for about 45 minutes. It was really fun and inspiring. We found out that Elder Hicks knew their nephew from the States, and we talked about that as well. After that we went home and had a great meeting with our græns mission leader.

We had a great opportunity to meet with P** again.  He is doing better. He said he can feel the difference, but he said he does not know if that because he fixed his lucky squash or if it’s his praying. We told him it was his praying. He laughed and said he knows.

This week has been great I have had a ton of things to think about. I feel like I have so much to improve on and so much to do. I feel like I can’t express myself in Danish the way I want, but that is only my fault. I haven’t been applying myself the way I want to either. I am very grateful for the blessings I have received and the help the Lord has given me in all things. I know that our Heavenly Father answers prayers and that he connects with us through this line of communication and through scripture reading. I know that Christ is among us and wants us to follow Him. I know through sincere prayer, the Holy Ghost will reveal all things as Moroni promises. I will add my testimony to it.

I hope you all have a great week. Have fun and don’t forget what Easter is all about.  It's funny, the two biggest holidays in Denmark are Easter and Christmas, the beginning and end of Christ’s ministry on earth. Love you.

Med Kærlig Hilsen

Ældste Madsen

General Conference (April 7, 2014)

Happy ONE YEAR in the Mission, Elder Madsen! (April 10, 2014)

Happy Easter from Denmark (April 21, 2014)