Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm Getting Transferred - 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.

I'm getting transferred to North Carolina!!!

Hey y'all, after 7 full, amazing transfers in Newport News, Virginia, I'm getting transferred to Wilson, North Carolina on Wednesday. I'm going to be the Zone Leader for the Goldsboro Zone with my new companion, Elder Benedict. And it's a Spanish area that has lots of exciting things going on. This was probably the most exciting news in the world, due to the fact that the area I was trained in, Albertson, is in the Goldsboro Zone. I'll be able to see the lands of my humble beginnings. I love Carolina so much!!! I've just been all smiles for the past day, despite the heart wrenching goodbyes in Virginia. I'll be back to visit after the mission and possibly get to see Ed** and M**'s baptism in January. Praying it all works out!

Tonight we're teaching a family that has been taught for 3 years but haven't been married. We're inviting them to be baptized tonight and are hoping to get a plan all together. If they say yes, all 4 of them will be baptized in January!!

We had a big Thanksgiving dinner party this Friday for our branch. It was a lot of fun and we came home with a whole turkey. Let me tell you, it was the best turkey I've ever had in my whole life. A Guatemalan member made it. I'm going to get her recipe and possibly make 20 of those turkeys next Thanksgiving and live off them for months. Hahaha!

Transfer meeting is on Wednesday! I'm having a lot of despedidas (goodbyes) and having my heart break time after time. I'm going to miss the amazing members and investigators here in Newport News and Hampton. I know that this work is the Lord's work and that it has changed lives here. Without a doubt, our Savior loves all of His children and His plan for us is incredibly detailed and centered on us coming back to Him.

Les quiero mucho!!
Con todo mi amor,

Elder Remund

Elder Remund's First Baptism  (November 10, 2014)

These ladies, from Ecuador, feel us every week!

Just Because God Loves You That Much - 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 friends and family!

It's been a crazy week this week! To start off, we had transfers! Hermana Martinez left me this week and I got a cute new companion named Hermana Evans. She is a brand new Sister Training Leader, 20 years old, has 9 months in the mission, and is from San Diego, California! Let me tell you, after MONTHS of basically straight up Spanish, I am thrilled to be able to speak a little English and fix up this horrible "Nacho Libre" English accent I have going on here! haha! We are already great friends, laugh every 5 seconds, and have seen some amazing miracles this weekend that we have been together! We both want to work out hearts out :)

Well, we found 7 new investigators in 2 days this weekend, and they are all really great! We are hoping to have some success with them and are excited to watch them grow and progress as they learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I just LOVE getting to know new people, hear their life story, and help them get to know themselves and God better. It's been an incredible journey, and I feel on FIRE this transfer! It reminds me of a quote that I love that says, "Be of good cheer, your future is as bright as your faith." I couldn't say anything better than that for the moment we are in right now! Faith moves mountains, works miracles, and shapes us into better people and disciples of Christ :) So, if you have the faith, the future will be everything you want it to be and MORE, just because God loves you that much! (...and more than you will ever imagine!).

We did have some hard things happen this week too of course. Yesterday, we called L** (our investigator with a baptism date scheduled) to get him awake and going for church, and he answered right away and said,"I don't want to go to your church again, and I want to return your Book of Mormon." When we asked what happened and why he changed his mind, he just said, "I didn't like the idea of temples and don't want to be a part of that. I'm sorry," and then he hung up. You can imagine how heart broken we were after having taught this man for weeks and preparing his baptism! That lesson about temples was the last one before his baptism interview this week. Of course, Satan tends to be very hard on investigators the week of their baptism, so we knew something would happen eventually that would try his faith and testimony. We are planning to visit with him this week and try to help him understand the wonderful blessings that come from the temple, and why they are so important. Please keep him in your prayers! We hope to have the chance to talk to him so that he can still be baptized.

G** (daughter of our friend who died last week) is doing well but, sadly, wasn't able to come to church yesterday either. But, she is coping well with the loss of her mother and really has become close to us as a result. Her testimony is amazing, and I hope with all my heart to see her be baptized.

Well guys, that is all that I have for this week! I will make sure to get some pictures with my new companion this week so you all can kind of "meet her." Shes great! :) I hope that you all have a great week and I will talk to you all next week! I love you!!!

xoxoxoo Hermana Avery

God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again (November 17, 2014)

Thanksgiving, Chilean Style  (December 1, 2014)

Our Savior's Love - Elder Joshua Avery

Written by Elder Joshua Avery, training at the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will report to the Singapore Mission December 15, 2014, speaking Mandarin Chinese

 Family and friends!

I love you all so much. This week was awesome. Our investigators are doing great and I have a super cool story. But first, I can finally tell you that Elder Harmon and I  are the new zone leaders. We've known for over a week but, weren't supposed to tell anyone. We are going to be super busy this week. For Thanksgiving they are doing a huge service project and the zone leaders are in charge of set up, take down, and teaching our zone how it's going to work. So that is crazy. An elder in my zone is a really good singer. He, a sister in my district, and I will be auditioning for a musical number in hopes that we will get to play in the Thanksgiving devotional.

Elder Avery, Elder Sedrick, and Sister Halcom
Now, for the highlight of my week. As you know I have "investigators" here at the MTC. Some of them are members, some are not. One year ago Elder Ostler was here. He taught an investigator named Sh***. She is not a member, and has a really rough background. After being in an abusive marriage for years, she came to Utah. She said that Utah was just a point on the map and it was far away from her husband. Elder Ostler and his district were the first missionaries to teach her after she got the job here at the MTC. She got really close to Elder Ostler, and she said that when he went home he was on her mind a lot. She said that when she saw him back here, it was the first time she had prayed in months.

My district and Elder Ostler taught her on Saturday. I don't know if I have ever felt the Spirit so strong. I wish I could share the whole experience, but there is just too much to share. I will give you some of the highlights. One of her concerns in life has been all of the trials she has gone through. One of which was the death of her son. He died when he was 2 months old. She said that she prayed he would live, but he didn't. I shared with her about Jonathan (baby brother) all of us prayed that he would live, but he died. I told her about how Dad gave him a blessing and he knew that Jonathan would die, but blessed him not to feel pain.

Sh*** said that it seemed unfair that God says, "Ask and ye shall receive," and that she doesn't feel like that is true. One of the sisters in my district, Sister Crowell, told her that God promises that we shall receive when we ask Him, but He doesn't specify what we will receive. She told Sh*** that although her son did not live, God gave Sh*** His son to provide her with strength and comfort. Sh*** said that she had never thought of that before.

After that, Elder Ostler shared one of the most powerful testimonies of our Savior that I have ever heard. Everyone in my district was truly speaking with the Spirit. It was obvious that we shared God's words, not our own. Sh*** said that she would pray for gratitude, but not ask for anything because she doesn't know if she trusts God yet. She loves the Savior and is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She goes into surgery, so tonight we are teaching her again and Elder Ostler is giving her a blessing.

That's all for now. Love you!!

Feng Zhang Lao

Let God Do His Thing (November 17, 2014)

Thanksgiving in the MTC  (December 1, 2014)

Little Sister is Called to Serve - 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.

Elders Madsen and Ogden

Well, well, well, you saw my reaction (Kolby's sister, Maren, received a mission call to the Arkansas Little Rock Mission, speaking Spanish. A family in Denmark allowed him to watch the video of Maren reading her call letter while they videoed Kolby's reaction). My thoughts were, "This is not Denmark!" Just kidding, didn’t even cross my mind. I was just so happy. It was way different because, first of all, Maren’s voice has changed. She sounds like a women now. Second, I just could not believe that was my little sister reading her mission call. It was way different, but I loved it. I am way excited for her. I actually had to watch it like four times for it to sink in.

The best part is that she will be leaving on April 8th...almost exactly 2 years after I left. Crazy how that works. I mean, obviously it could not be exactly two years because it has to be on a certain day,  but it was great to hear. I am so excited for her. It will be good for her to go to Mexico for training. She will pick up the language faster that way. Learning Spanish from people who are native Spanish speakers makes a huge difference. It's something we don’t have as Danish speakers.


After I watched Maren open her call, I had to call President Sederholm right away because he comes from Arkansas, but he lives in the Oklahoma Tulsa mission.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she runs into him at some point though. Anyway, he told me over the phone that I have to go home on the 25th of March, so I can see Maren before she leaves. He was very convincing, plus I want to see her and have the family together for the last time for a while again. So yes, the 25th of March I will be in Salt Lake City with ya´ll. It's way hard because I really thought I had six months left, but it's okay. Everything happens for a reason. Don’t let her go to Hang Time. It’s not worth it!!! (Elder Madsen tore his ACL at Hang Time 6 weeks before leaving on his mission.)

With training and trainers. When you train, it’s like having full responsibility over this person.  You have to make sure they learn how to teach, learn the language, and make sure they are okay at all times. For some reason, as a trainer, you feel like you are responsible for the rest of what this missionary is going to be, what kind of missionary they will be, the fourth missionary or the third missionary. It’s actually quite stressful, and it's funny because you never really fully appreciate what your trainer did for you until you become a trainer. It’s a lot like life in that sense, like parenthood, I am guessing, but don’t know yet. It's another thing that happens on the mission that prepares you for life.

Here's another reason why anyone who has the opportunity to serve a mission should. The Lord works with you in so many ways that you cannot even understand. But yes, training is great, and yes, the relationship is hard at times. But overall if you rely on the Lord and love your companion, the companionship will be a lot better. And you are 100% correct, companionship is everything. The work does not go forward without a great companionship. When it comes to prioritizing as a missionary,  its goes Heavenly Father, mission president, then companionship, then family, and all the other things. The companionship is like the family, the basic unit in which we learn the most and where the most comes from.

We will be spending Thanksgiving with Mark, the American.  It's going to be great. I am really looking forward to it. It's going to be so much fun. Elder Zalewski is my district leader now, and he will be there.

Elder Ogden is doing way well. We have been working way hard this week. So many good things happened. To start off, me and Elder Child contacted this lady who is a priest here in Denmark, for the Church of Denmark. She was way nice. We had a great chat with her.  She said she wanted to have us come back and meet with her, so we did (me and Elder Ogden).  It went way well.  She had some questions about little things, the main differences in our church and the Church of Denmark. It went well, and then we asked her if she had any other questions and she asked, "What do you tell people when they ask you why bad things happen in the world today? Because all around the world people ask this, but here in Denmark they say they don’t believe because of all the bad things that happen to people in the world."

So we told her about how when Adam fell we came into the world in this state and, long story short, we described how in this fallen state we go through hardships to learn and grow, and it's all okay because through the atonement of Jesus Christ everything is made whole. Right after we described this, the Spirit was so strong that we could all feel it. She even said herself that she knows that to be true and that is was well put. Then she said, "Well, I will have to share that when people ask me." My first thought was, well I am glad that we just taught a learned priest how to do their job. But I was completely okay with it because I realized that if this answer will help some other people have faith enough to start following a church, like the Church of Denmark, then when these people run into some Mormon missionaries down the road, they may feel the same truth in the words that are said. It was a great eye opener for me. It’s like we could see that no effort is wasted by having a glimpse of what could come from this little conversation. It was great. She said she is way busy because it's Christmas time, but she wants us to visit afterward and continue meeting with her.

We also had an appointment with our friend, M**.  She had a pretty rough week, but she was excited to come to church and it was great. We talked about her baptism and how she will have to come to church, and we still have something to teach her.  She said she was actually going to ask us if we could move the date, so we did, to the 13th of December. She is so solid, came to church yesterday and she loved it. She even set up an appointment with us today so we can meet with her again. She has a really good relationship with the members as well. Again, member missionary work is the only way this works!

Such  a great week! We got some serious work in. I have never taught so many lessons in my life in one week. It was so great.  The hastening, again, is just going forward. We are super excited for the things to come. Maren is entering the mission at such a great time. She is going to see so many great things happen. I am so excited for her. I know that this church is true.

We actually came across  a Mormon Message the other day that I would like to invite you all to watch. You can YouTube it or watch it on Mormon Channel. Here's a link.

Consider how this reflects your life and apply the principles of what you can do with your challenges!

Med Kærlig Hilsen,

Ældste Madsen

Just Another Way of Saying Opportunity (November 17, 2014)

Following the Spirit  (December 1, 2014)

Read, Pray, Serve - 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.

Elders Cather, Burgess, Mendoza (companion), and Araujo (previous companion)
Hey everyone,

This week we had our zone meeting. We did a combined meeting with the other zone here in Fuertes because of a special presentation we had from a brother and sister from the stake who are called to the job center. President Christensen wants the missionaries to know how to help investigators who don't have work, so we invited Brother and Sister Quiñonez to come show us. Basically it was like giving a zone conference to my old zone again, just this time with 4 zone leaders. haha. I had fun. It was a great experience.

We found out that a couple people in our zone have transfers and the transfers meeting will be tomorrow. My companion and I will stay together. It will be our third transfer together. January 6th are the next scheduled transfers. So I will stay here through Christmas.

This week on Saturday we will have Elder Toris, a Seventy, come and talk to us. We have a lot to plan to get it all ready for the zone. I hope it all goes well!

Then today we had a huge zone activity in the church. We played soccer and ate pizza and we were about to watch a movie, but we couldn't get the DVD and TV to work in the church. So after about 3 hours trying, we finally got it going! :) Then we looked at the clock and realized time was slim for our P-Day. So we just left. haha. I will try and send pictures of the day!

I love you all! The church is so true! Read, pray, serve.

Elder Burgess

Hello, Zone Activities! (November 17, 2014)

Thanksgiving in Mexico  (December 1, 2014)

Zone Leaders with Brother and Sister Quiñonez

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Meet Sister Maren Madsen

Sister Maren Madsen was born in and grew up in Utah where she graduated from Herriman High School in 2014. She is the second child and oldest daughter of Soren and Marianne Madsen, and sister to Kolby and Sabrina.

Maren has planned to serve a mission for years, so when the prophet announced that the mission age would change for young women from 21 years old to 19 years old, she could hardly wait until it was her time to serve. She watched her brother submit his mission application immediately after the President Monson's announcement, and shortly after that he received his call to serve in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission.

When Kolby left on his mission, Maren knew there was a good possibility that she would not see him again until the end of her own mission, three an a half years later. What a blessing it was when Maren learned she would enter the Missionary Training Center two weeks after her brother returned home!

"Dear Sister Madsen,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. It is anticipated you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Mexico Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. You will prepare to preach the Gospel in the Spanish language...."

Sabrina, Kolby, Maren Madsen
Leaving for the Mexico MTC (April 8, 2015)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Let God Do His Thing - Elder Joshua Avery

 Written by Elder Joshua Avery, training at the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In December he will travel to the Singapore Mission, speaking Mandarin Chinese.

Ni Hao!

So everyone is asking how the food is agreeing with me. I am fine. I have maybe lost 3 pounds tops, and I am starting to eat normal food every now and again. We get all you can eat BYU Creamery ice cream on Wednesdays and Sundays, so I get plenty of dairy. I drink chocolate milk too! Thanks a ton for the bread and the Nutella, Mom. My dinner is at 4:30 p.m., so I am always hungry at night. Don't send me anymore bread for a little while though, because I don't plan on farming mold. 

Elder Avery and his friend from Virginia, Elder Gingrich
The MTC is awesome, but I find myself getting more and more excited to leave it behind. It is pretty much the same thing day to day, and I've never been too good at sitting still in class. Don't worry though, I am behaving myself...even when it is hard ;)

My district got to host this Wednesday. I was really hoping that I would get to host Jordan Sedrick, but I didn't find him. When they were teaching us how to host, they said that the elders might have to host a sister missionary or two, but it would be very unlikely. I ended up hosting three sisters and one elder! Haha! :) We also got a new district this week, and I love the new elders. None of them are going to Singapore, but we love them anyways ;)

We also got a new elder in our district named Elder Ostler. He is the oldest out of all of us and he is so awesome! He reminds me a lot of Kolby

I have given a lot of priesthood blessings since I got here. Last night I gave a blessing to one of the sister missionaries in my district. It was awesome. The Spirit was so strong! It is getting easier and easier for me to give blessings. I'm not nervous anymore, which is great. The trick is not to think about what to say, but to completely clear your mind, and let God do His thing.

Elder Avery and his grandmother pointing to their missions.
We have the best teachers at the MTC! One of my teachers is from Singapore. He has only lived in America for 8 months. He is here going to school at BYU. While we were doing service on Thursday, I ran into an elder. I started talking to him but realized he couldn't understand me. I said something in Chinese to see if he could understand that, and he could! He said that he was from Beijing. I asked him what the church is like there. He said that the church is not supposed build chapels there, so they rent other buildings for sacrament meeting. I asked him where he is going, and I forget where he said it was. But it was sooo cool!

On Sunday
we watched some of the "I'm a Mormon" videos on in Chinese. We were amazed by how much we could understand. I know the language will be rough when I get to Singapore, but my confidence is growing and I know that I will learn this language. I was talking to one of my teachers and she said that one day I will look back and not remember being unable to speak Chinese. I can't wait for that! I know it will still be a long road to get to that point though.

The best thing that I learned this week is that saying a lot isn't always the best thing to do in a lesson. The other night one of our investigators only had time for us to teach a five minute lesson. That was the strongest I have felt the Spirit in any lesson I've taught so far.

The hardest part of this week is just staying focused. You really have to fight to stay focused and to not fall asleep, but you can do it. I keep a notebook on me at all times of Chinese words that I don't know. I go through the notebook during my free time and it helps a lot. During four square (a game) I read over it, book in one hand and play with the other. All of the elders get mad because I study while I play and I still win. I think it's just God blessing me in small ways for trying to go the extra mile.

Love you all!
Feng Zhang Lao
The Fourth Missionary  (November 10, 2014)

Our Savior's Love (November 24, 2014)

Setting Goals - Elder Jacob 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.

Peru Lima West Missionaries - Avery and Estrada on the right
So it feels very weird. My companion has officially finished his 12 weeks of training. I can hardly believe that he's been on his mission for more than 3 months! It made me reflect a little bit about how time passes by so quickly, but also how ''efficient time usage'' is a key for productivity. We've been focused and working for 12 weeks and at the end of it, Elder Estrada is a ready, capable and intelligent missionary. This has happened in such a short time because we dedicated so much effort, energy and organization into that specific goal. If we think about how much we achieve personally every three months, we might see that we don't do that much or that we don't change ourselves as much as we could have. I believe that one of the hardest things we have to do in our lives is learn to use time effectively and efficiently.

In Preach my Gospel there's a quote from Elder Ballard (I believe) where he says that he's convinced if we don't master the skill of making and completing goals, we'll grow old and look back realizing that we fell very short of our real, full potential. I remember hating making goals with Dad every New Year, and even skipping out on it a few years. What a dumb thing that was to do! Preach My Gospel also says that our goals reflect the deepest desires of our heart. If we don't want to make goals, then that kind of shows that we have no desire or direction in our lives, or that our personal perspective of our existence is kind of pointless. I never got super motivated to make goals until my mission, but now I've seen how crucial they are to achieving things.

Going back to my companion. The Brethren have indicated that the goal to completely train and teach a new missionary is 12 weeks. With that in mind and diligent follow-up, we were able to do it! I just want to encourage those at home to find a desire to make goals and to learn how to keep them. Goals bring direction and greater purpose in life, and also satisfaction in ourselves and the Lord. He, of course, helps us complete all of our righteous goals.

Next week, the Z** family is going to be baptized. They're a family of seven who I've been teaching for several months. On Wednesday they're getting married and the following Saturday they're getting baptized. The oldest son has decided many times that he will not join his family, but we're still praying and hoping that he'll change his mind and listen to the missionary lessons. Being baptized is a huge, hard goal to accomplish. It required effort from us, the ward, and every member of their family. But because we made baptism a goal, and we have the temple as our next goal, everything fell into place. Families can be together forever, and I hope that this is always our biggest and most important goal.

What you have to understand is that being a missionary is super rewarding, but it is so much work! Not only are you working very hard all the time, but you're also supposed to do it in a Christ-like way, receive revelation (no pressure!), write to your converts, train your companion, learn Spanish, memorize scriptures, find people in the street and yah....let's just say that the missionary mantel is very heavy. I can't imagine how an Apostle feels!!

I was loved the package, which got here this week....even though I was bummed out that the majority of the contents cannot be opened until Christmas :P I love you though! I miss you guys and I'll have a bunch to tell you when I get back. There's a bunch to read in my journals too.

Oh, P.S., my camera is out of commission. I was super sad. I put in the new batteries you sent and was so happy for one day. I'm gonna take it to get fixed and if I can't I'll let you know :) I think I can though. It probably won't be very expensive either.

I love you guys! Have a great week! I'm very jealous that you get to enjoy the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons together, but you should all be jealous of our mild temperatures and sunshine here in Peru :)

Elder Jake Avery
Peru Lima West Mission

The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain Without Hands (November 10, 2014)

Official!  (December 2, 2014)

Just Another Way of Saying Opportunity - 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.

Mor (Mom),

Yes, I just got him about an hour ago (he's referring to his new companion, Elder Ogden). He is excited, and yes, he says that his dad works with Brother Anderson. Fun stuff! I will send a picture next week. We just got together. Don’t worry, I know the drill :)

The latest I can stay in Denmark is the 5th of May. No longer, unless the First Presidency would like to have me out longer, which I would love, but probably won’t happen, haha. I have not gotten my dead letter yet (the letter that says when he will be coming home). I think President is waiting for Maren (his sister) to get her call because I told him that was my only concern. I would like to see her before I go. When I find out about her mission call, I think he will send the letter. I don’t know. Everyone else in my group going home has already gotten their letters. So far, from what I've heard,  two are staying until May, the other five I have heard from are going home in March, so that leaves two spots for May and one for March. We will see. I think, in all honesty, it will be the 5th of May when I will be home...which is fine because when Maren comes here, I will just see her here in Denmark, haha! It works for me. You are right. The Lord’s will, will happen. It’s not the first time someone has gone without seeing their siblings in 3-4 years. It’s all good.
Light in the darkness!

Well the Jeppsons should have fun. That should be a great cruise. They will enjoy that, and Lindsey can use her mission language. I am way jealous of that because I can only use mine with like 6 million people in the world, and they all live here. She knows a language that a ton of people speak.   Anyway, good stuff.

This last transfer was so much fun. It was a crazy call to get from President last week. We all thought that if anyone left, it would have been me. Just because Elder Child only got here five weeks prior. But the Lord has other plans, and I am so happy with that.  I love Slagelse so much that I could stay here for the rest on my mission. It won’t happen, but man that would be great.

We have been having some great things happen.  We got in touch with some of our friends that we have not been able to meet with in a while. Unfortunately we had another funeral this week for our friend form Kalundborg.  She was only less active on paper because she had no possible way of getting to church. She just could not handle it physically. She is such an inspiration. She had a huge support system. There were so many people there to wish her off in a peaceful, meaningful way.  Her daughter gave an amazing talk about the spirit world and the plan of salvation. It was great. The Spirit was very strong.

Best family ever!
We had some really good stuff happen with our friends who have been recently baptized and are a little less active. We went and had a pizza party with them and saw Ephraim’s Rescue.  That movie is great. I really like it. We also had a good time meeting with the people that Elder Child wanted to say goodbye to.

It was great to see that everyone in our zone has been stepping up their work load, and things are happening. I know I say it every week, but it is true, the hastening is now.  It's so great to be a part of it, and it goes fast and keeps picking up speed.

Unfortunately S** could not come to church yesterday. He has been having anxiety problems. He has had that the whole time but ironically, after he gets baptized, it gets worse. Satan really knows what he is doing, but the Lord is better! Our patience and love will pay off. He promised to come next week and I feel like he means it.

We actually got to play soccer this week.  It was way fun. S** came. It's been a while since we played here because all the members have been busy.

We had a good time working KBH with the elders up there. I also got to see some of the members who I worked with while I was up there. It was so great to hear that one of the members, shortly after I left, decided to come to church every week and she has been doing that. It was neat to see she even recognized me form a year ago. She has a new light about her. It's amazing to see that happen in peopled. She has a goal to go to the temple in the near future, so that should be way good.

I also got to see Tr**.  I love him so much.  He was so happy to see me. We had a great lesson with him, and it was so much fun to talk to him. The best part was that the last time I saw him I could not really speak Danish, and this time the whole conversation was in Danish. It was crazy! He actually commented on it. It was great to hear (and see) that I have made some progress in my mission. The gift of tongues in real.  It may be frustrating at first, but it comes in the Lord's time, like always. He needs us for certain things at certain times. We just need to do our best to be ready to act when He calls, or when the opportunity presents itself.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints is just another way of saying opportunity,"  said Ephraim Hanks. Truth!

Med Kærlig Hilsen,

Elder Madsen

I May Have Done Some Flips and Stuff...I Don't Remember ;) (November 10, 2014)

Little Sister is Called to Serve  (November 24, 2014)

Hello, Zone Activities! - 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.

Wow, it's Monday...once again.

Tuesday we had interviews with President Christensen, then a meeting with the stake president and President Christensen at night.

Wednesday we had the district meeting and two lessons.

Thursday was weekly planning and one lesson.

Friday we had leadership council at the mission home (we ate spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread!) and a ward activity that night.

Saturday we did service by helping a sister sand some window frames to paint them again. I prepared a talk for sacrament meeting on Sunday, and then had a planning meeting with the other zone in the afternoon. After that we had coordination meeting for the ward mission's progress.

Sunday they didn't call me up to the stand, after planning a sweet talk.... their loss. Then we walked around our area, trying to get our heads back in place, after hardly working in our area throughout the entire week.

HAPPY NEWS! About 6 months ago the Area Presidency in Mexico made a rule saying we can't be in groups larger than four on Preparation Day. Friday, at the leadership council, President Christensen read us a letter from the Area Presidency saying that we can now get in large groups on Preparation Day at church meeting houses. Hello, zone activities and soccer again!! Best news I have heard in such a long time.

Elder Garridos birthday celebration!
Today is Elder Garridos birthday, so we invited some wards to come play with our ward. About 50 people were at the church today, and we played soccer and basketball all day. Only the sister missionaries from Alamos came over, but it was fun. We ate cake to celebrate Elder Garridos birthday.

After such a different week, I realized I need to take advantage of literally every second I have to teach a lesson or a gospel principle. Time runs like water and the week is over again. It's a busy time in my mission, but I love teaching and being able to help my investigators. Even if it's only about once a week...Life is still amazing!

I love you all!!!

BRIAN....... Elder Burgess

Hit by a Car, Broken Window, and a Good Game of Soccer  (November 10, 2014)

Read, Pray, Serve  (November 24, 2014)

Miracle of the week: Sister Christensen gave me a Fruit by the Foot as a reward for doing my language study. I went to open it, and amazingly found TWO Fruit by the Foot candies! INSIDE A SINGLE WRAPPER!! I took a picture, cried a little bit, and decided to share the experience with you all :)

God Be With You 'til We Meet Again - 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.

Hermana Avery overlooking Vina del Mar, Chile
Hello family and friends!

I hope that you all had a great week! This week has been one of the hardest, yet sweetest, of the whole mission for me.

We started out the week normal. Teaching, contacting, etc. Super great. We got to Wednesday, which was R's 70th birthday (our investigator with a baptism scheduled for the 30th of November). She came home from having dialysis and felt horrible, so the little surprise party we had planned for her ended up not happening. We decided to have it Thursday afternoon.

Vina del Mar, Chile
Well, we woke up Thursday morning and went to visit G** (R's daughter, who also has a baptism scheduled) and she wasn't home. So, we called her and she said that she was in the hospital with R** because she had felt really sick all night. She said that she would call us with news, and let us know what we could do to help.

We waited all day long to hear from them. We ended up in N's house (a recent convert) and as we walked in the door, G** called us in tears and said, "Hermanas, I need you! Please, my mom is going to die tonight or tomorrow. There is nothing the doctors can do..." We were like, "whoa, what?!," and called our district leader to see if we were allowed to go to the hospital to see her. It was 9 p.m. and we have to be home by 9:30, so we were shocked that they gave us permission. We ran over there as quick as we could, saw R** in a hospital room packed with about 10 other people (in beds), and she looked awful. They were injecting morphine to help with the pain. I am not sure what she had, but she looked bad. We stayed there to try to held calm G**, and then we had to go home. We told her to call with any news at anytime during the night.

Friday afternoon, we were anxious and not able to find anyone to teach. We visited with J** (our convert) and got a call from G**, telling us that R** had just died 5 minutes earlier. We were in shock, cried, etc. It was crazy. Like, I had just seen her, taught her for the last 4 weeks getting her ready for baptism, and then she just died. Out of no where...

At first, I was angry. I thought, "This area is so hard to work in and we FINALLY had a baptism scheduled, and then she died?! How could this happen?!" I was really beating myself up, because I thought, "I didn't baptize her, and now she is in the spirit world waiting for her baptism to be done in the temple. How did we not get this done sooner?!" I was really upset. I had gotten attached to R**, and I loved to teach her. She understood everything perfectly, and was an angel. We had to yell when we taught her because she couldn't hear very well :) But she wanted to be baptized and understood everything we taught her. She clapped her hands for joy when we told her about Joseph Smith's first vision, and that we had a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. She had tears come to her eyes and was so excited and happy when we taught her the plan of salvation and how she would see and could get to live with her dead husband again. She said she would do anything to be baptized like Christ was. She quit smoking and drinking tea and coffee on the spot..... I couldn't wrap my mind around how someone so wonderful and willing could be taken away so suddenly, especially before her baptism...
My area of Chorillos

I prayed. I prayed day and night, and told Heavenly Father how I felt. I told him that I was sorry for not finishing teaching her, and for not baptizing her. And then I felt that overwhelming peace that I love, the Holy Ghost, telling me that everything would be okay.... "My will is not always your will. Trust in me".... I told Heavenly Father at that moment that if I couldn't finish teaching her, to please pass her along to my sweet baby brother, Jonathan, to finish the work that I started so that she can be ready to recieve the covenants of the temple in a year. Since then, I know for a surety that R** is okay, in a much better place, and that she will be ready for baptism, just like we were working on before she died.

G** told us this week that she wants to be baptized no matter what, because it's what her mom wanted and what she needs to be able to enter the temple and do the baptism for her mom in a year. Blessings come from hard things! We don't always kow why, but the Lord does! We are doing better, and trusting more and more in the Lord everyday <3

Well guys, have a great week! I will talk to you all next week! I love you soooo much!

xoxoxoxo Hermana Avery

 15 Months (November 10, 2014)

Just Beccause God Loves You That Much  (November 24, 2014)

My dear family and friends, PLEASE read this book!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Fourth Missionary - Elder Joshua Avery

Written by Elder Joshua Avery, training at the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In December he will travel to the Singapore Mission, speaking Mandarin Chinese.

Elder Avery and Elder Harmon

Earlier this week my district got our Chinese name tags. I wanted to send a picture of it, but I forgot to bring my camera to the lab. I also have pictures of Max (Wimmer) and I, and him getting ready to leave for Singapore. I'm sure Sister Wimmer wants those, so I will do my best to get those to you next week. It's so cool that Max is in Sibu! Let me know how he likes it. 

So now for this week, it was awesome! I felt really good this week and my chest isn't hurting anymore. I only eat the salads, which is a drag...but at least it will keep my tummy from being sick. 

The night I was packing to leave for the MTC, I went through my mountains of papers I have held onto for years. In that stack I found a talk titled, "The Fourth Missionary," which Jake had mailed to me but I'd never read before. I felt prompted to bring it with me, and it is life changing! I'd say that has definitely been one of my biggest learning experiences this week. I'd tell you all about it, but you really just need to look it up yourself. 

Our Tuesday night devotional is being broadcasted to MTCs around the world. So I think that means a General Authority is coming. YEAH!!!! My companion and I are singing in the choir. The choir is singing a really cool arrangement of "Praise to the Man". It's the same arrangement they sang when David Archeletta sang with the MTC choir at General Conference.

I was released from being district leader yesterday. It was bitter sweet. Elder Harmon and I were called as Sacrament coordinators, which means we pick who blesses and passes. I am excited to say the sacrament prayer in Chinese!

So this week I broke two watch and my oil vial. But no worries! We have an Asian elder in my district, so my watch is now good as new! He can fix anything! My oil vial could not be fixed though. The glass shattered everywhere...I think a piece of my heart shattered with it. Just kidding! But it was a bummer. I bought a new, more durable one at the bookstore today. Hopefully this one holds up.

I went to the MTC barbershop today. They have a vacuum that sucks up all the hair so it doesn't get on your suit. It's pretty cool, but I still only think I'll go on P-days.

Oh! and this week I was reading the bible dictionary and found some interesting things. Read what it says about the Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha, Pseeudepigrapha, and the last paragraph of what is says about Enoch. I want to study more about these things when I get back, but those books are not in the missionary library :)

As far as things to send me, letters are my favorite. Packages are cool, but letters are the best. The hardest thing about the MTC is probably staying awake. Haha, some days during personal study time I'll look around the classroom and see that I am the only one awake. My favorite part about the MTC is the devotionals. They find the best speakers!!!

Love you all!
Feng Zhang Lao
Elder Joshua Avery
2007 N. 900 E. Unit 2
Provo, UT 84602

The Galloping Elder  (November 3, 2014)

Let God Do His Thing  (November 17, 2014)

Hit by a Car, a Broken Window, and a Good Game of Soccer - 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 y'all.....

So I had a great week... just a few funny stories...

So I was crossing the street with my companion the other day, and this car totally saw us crossing the street.... actually the car was parked.... but as soon as we got in front of the car he hit the gas.... wow... I was in front of my companion, so I pushed off the hood of the car and did a cool James Bond spin and all was good. My companion did the same. The guy slammed on the breaks, glared at us in shock (as if he hadn't seen us), and drove off.... We are totally fine and alive and, as of right now, we haven't seen the same guy since. haha! 

Another story... I bought a soccer ball... a very cool Wilson ball. My companion was teaching me some sweet moves and I broke part of the window to our apartment. I talked to the landlord and she said that there is a glass store that will fix it for 20 pesos.... like a little more than a dollar....I was pretty scared to call her. But all is well.

So after my practice session at home, we got together today to play soccer. Elder Mendoza and I verses Elder Hartvigsen and his new companion, Elder Garrido (he was also my companion for 3 months), and we had a sweet soccer battle... I have never played harder in my life... we won!! By two points. But we won! It was fun!

I love you all. I love this church! Some investigators didn't go to church this week, so their baptismal dates fell through. But this week we will be working hard with them. And I hope they progress.

Tomorrow we have interviews with President Christensen and a meeting in the night to talk about the monthly report with the stake president. Then Friday we have a leadership council at the mission home. I am excited for this week. And pray that my investigators start to progress more!

I love you all!

Elder Burgess

Hola, mis queridos! (November 3, 2014)

Hello, Zone Activities!  (November 17, 2014)

Elder Remund's First Baptism!

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

Elder Remund's first baptism
Hey y'all!

I'm going to try to keep things short because I know I go off on tangents. Let's keep it short and sweet. Oh boy, I'm already making this too long...

Anyways, we had the most amazing weekend!! I had my FIRST baptism in the mission field!! I've been out almost 18 months and I have finally been blessed to see one of my investigators enter into the covenant of baptism. JW was baptized this Saturday and confirmed yesterday. It is such an incredible experience to have seen J** come a very long way. He said, "You know how my baptism felt? You know when you are super sweaty and dirty and you've been working for hours and you go home and take a hot shower? That's what it felt like." He said he feels a lot of joy. Elder Cannon and I keep on talking about how awesome J** is. He's going to do great things. The next step is their sealing in a year! I'll be able to see that one!

We had a really big party with the branch. Dia de la Hispanidad. There was tons of food. I'll send lots

I'm doing great. Looking forward to finding some new investigators!! Also putting extra emphasis on fighting off the "natural man." Anything like extra sleep, spending money, and excessive food eating (that's a hard one to avoid in the Hispanos' homes) is getting booted. Keep me accountable on that one. I don't want the natural man to take over when I get home, so I'm going to put him off the best I
Hermana Garcia y Elder Remund
of pictures. It was amazing. If we could just get all the Latino members' friends who went to the party to come to church, we'd be a Spanish ward!

I love y'all so much. Thanks for all the emails, letters, and packages. I got a lot this week. I'm even more grateful for the prayers. Thank you for praying for my investigators, too. I am certain the Lord has answered those prayers because I see miracles in the lives of these people every week.

Con tantisimo amor,

Elder Remund

Chilly November Days (November 3, 2014)

I'm Getting Transferred  (November 24, 2014)

Pupusa, empanadas, an amazing Panamanian soup, tamale, Belizean rice and beans, and a sope. Some of the best food I've eaten in a while. It was authentic Hispanic food from all over Central and South America. Heaven!!

Mexican rice, paella, carrot and cabbage slaw from Belize, gallo pinto from Costa Rica, taquito, and a flauta.

I May Have Done Some Flips and Stuff...I Can't Remember ;) 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.


Dang that is crazy. I hope she gets it soon (he's talking about his sister, Maren, submitting her application for missionary service).  I was thinking about it. If she gets her call to Denmark and she leaves in March,  I could see her in Denmark. It would be great! Or she could just get her call for after May, and that would work too. Any way she is European bound,  I can feel it.

And yes, M** is still on track for baptism on the 29th.  She is looking forward to it.

I got your package right in time for Tuesday, which was the turkey bowl. It was so great. We had so much fun. The knee brace is perfect. It worked great. Thank you again. I also have to buy new pants today because I have worn through my other three pairs. I am satisfied though, because they lasted me eight months. So I will just get two more, they should last me to the end.

This week was great. I will start off with the bad news first. We can end with the best news. Bad news is that my companion, Elder Brycen Campbell Child, will be going to Frederiksberg, where I started.  He will be an assistant to the mission president. It stinks that I have not had a companion for longer than six weeks for the past five transfers. That's like 7 months, haha. I guess I am not good with people or something. Way sad though. I love Elder Child.

We had two members pass away this week. One of them the sister missionaries worked with, and the other the one we worked with. Way sad. The one we worked with was the most steadfast lady, and used to ride her bike to church every week. Almost 30 km every week. Then she started to get really sick and old, so she could not do that anymore. I think she stopped doing that when she was about 70. She was the same lady who, every time we would go visit her, she would ask who we are teaching and then ask when they are getting baptized. Then she would write down the dates and tell us if she can find a ride. She always wanted to talk about our work and about the ward, not about her pain or the fact that she said "no" to chemo therapy. We found out the last time we went to visit her that she refused chemo. She was in pretty bad shape. Then when we went up on Saturday, they told us she died on Tuesday. It was way sad, but there was a peaceful feeling. She was really fighting towards the end. We could see it in her eyes every time we visited. Her funeral will be next week. On the bright side, she is in a better place. She is without pain. Her faith was a defining characteristic and will be a very good force on the other side in bringing the lost back!

S** came to stake conference. It was great to see him there. He is really starting to do the things he knows he should, patience and love. He has been reading every day and it's looking up. He is going to be moving to southern Jylland in January, so that should be good. He will be without his girlfriend and will be going to a higher level of education. Way good.

We also had the opportunity to meet with some of our less active friends who came to stake conference as well. Such a  blessing.

Denmark Copenhagen Mission - Football
 We had our turkey bowl this week. It too was perfect. I love football. It's been awhile and my knee held up 100%. It's such a testimony builder for me because I remember when I was set apart as a full time missionary, I was promised that as I forgot myself and worked hard and did the Lord's work, focusing on the things that matter, that my knee would be back to 100%.  I have been taking it easy my whole mission, but I decided to try and do some of the things I used to, like jumping with both legs and maybe some flips and stuff.  I can’t remember.... ;) but I had no problems! ACL surgery six weeks before leaving on my mission, two days of physical therapy, and a mission full of walking and riding bikes. Priesthood is real. It is the Lord's power here on the earth. His love is eternal. I know it!

We also had a baby shower in the ward. We got to see the Plan of Salvation in one week. Our life on Earth is just a step on the path of happiness.

The last thing is that my new companion will be Elder Ogden from South Jordan, Utah. He has been in my district in Randers, and is one of my good buddies. It's going to be great! Elder Zalewski will be our district leader, down in Nykøbing.

Speaking in Zone Conference
We had our zone training this week. Everyone was so great. We followed up on our zone goal from last month. It really stretched us. We came super close, and it was great I stand up there and tell everyone of the great success we had. After all, we are the smallest zone and ended up, as a whole, teaching the most lessons this month. It was great to see. The faith of the missionaries in Denmark is rising. And the faith of the members in Denmark is rising. The hastening is now, and we can see it everyday. The time is now!

Med Kærlig Hilsen

Ældste Madsen

Deja Vu  (November 3, 2014)

Just Another Way of Saying Opportunity  (November 17, 2014)

The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain Without Hands - Elder Jacob 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.

Elder Avery is on the ladder (Peru Lima West Mission)
Before I start complaining about how many more baptisms I'd like to see, I need to remember people like Joseph Fielding Smith and Gordan B. Hinkley. They had zero and one baptism in their whole mission. My mission president's wife baptized 16 people in 18 months, while most good elders in her mission baptized 2 or 3 people their whole mission. President explained this to us in our training a few months back. I realize numbers of baptisms are not the whole reason we are here, but it is measurable, so it's hard to not think about that.

President also told us about a fireside (devotional meeting) he assisted years ago, and the only thing he remembered from the talk was ''God loves a champion.'' President explained to us that we can be normal, or we can be amazing. He told us that he hopes none of us left our houses thinking that we were going to be normal missionaries or normal people in general. Some people are born with this drive, but the majority of people who have this drive develop it during their lives.

I think one of my favorite examples if this is Caleb. That guy was 85 years old, but as he entered the promised land he said that he felt as strong as he was when he had first entered 40 years earlier. Of all the land in Palestine, he found a mountain that was still inhabited by many cities and said, ''Give me this mountain!'' Sure enough, that 85 year old and his small army defeated the previous occupants of the mountain. The thing is, some people just have a drive and desire to be champions, and sometimes we need to dig for it inside of ourselves. But I'm convinced that anyone can be a champion if they want to be.

Jesus said that we are the light of the world and that we are the yeast in bread. In other words, He told us, ''I want my disciples to be champions!''

Well, that's my spiritual thought for the week. I just want to let everyone know that I love you guys and I'm grateful for the overwhelming love and support I feel from home. We're doing our best here to get the ball rolling and see that stone cut without hands come rolling down the mountain. Have a great week! :)

Love, Elder Jake Avery

Our Course Towards Home (November 3, 2014)

Setting Goals  (November 17, 2014)

The Stone Cut out of the Mountain by Gordan B. Hinkley

15 Months - 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.

Hello friends and family!

Well, 3 months from TODAY I will be back to the USA.... crazy! I feel like I just started my mission, blinked, and the time is gone. We are working our tails off everyday and trying to do everything that we can before we leave Chile! My companion, Hermana Martinez, goes home in 6 weeks! Crazy! We both are on edge and just working like crazy! And, we are seeing results! :)

We had a great week and found some great investigators this week! :) We found a man named L**, who is 85 years old and lives alone. We have to visit him with a married couple since we can't go in the house with him without another woman there. He came to church yesterday and loved it! He will be baptized on the 23rd of this month :) We are sooo happy and excited!

We did have a little bit of a scare with him, because he said that he had a contagious skin condition that was similar to herpes, but worse. Well, we called our mission nurse, mission president, and looked over his doctors' records and in the end, he was just confused :) He doesn't have anything like that, and doesn't have to be in isolation (away from contact with other people, etc.) like he thought! We almost DIED when he told us that, haha! Anyways, he is happy, healthy and received a priesthood blessing on Saturday to be healthy too. So we have lots of faith in him, and we're helping  him progress toward his baptism!

Our other 2 scheduled baptisms are for G & R, a mom of two recent converts who is about 40 years old, and her mom who is about 70 years old. They both didn't come to church yesterday because R**, the grandma, got really sick Saturday night and ended up in the hospital. She is doing better now, and we are going to go see them both tonight so that we can reschedule their baptisms for the 30th of this month. Please keep them all in your prayers!

We also had our monthly leadership meeting with our mission president, and all of the other Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders in the mission. It was AWESOME and I learned a lot! When I have more time, I will try to tell you all what we talked about :) But, the thing that was SUPER hard was that it was the last time I will see Hermana Mori and Hermana Puertas for a long time! They both go home NEXT Wednesday! AHH! We were all crying...blah! hahaha! But, they promised to take care of Jake, and take him treats, LOL! So happy to have such amazing companions that will take care of my baby brother! :)

I spoke in Sacrament Meeting again yesterday about the Book of Mormon and how we need to read it daily (not just once a year like many get in the habit of doing! haha!). It's the 4th time I have spoken in the branch in 6 weeks..... that's what happens when there are only 30 active members in the branch! And the crazy part is, that there are over 300 members registered in the area! Where are they?!?!? We have some serious work to do.....

Well guys, I hope that you all have a wonderful week! :) Always remember who you are, sons and daughters of the creator of the universe! It is too amazing for me to think about and fathom. You guys are the best! Talk to you next week! I love you!

xoxoxo Hermana Avery

I Can Be Superwoman (November 3, 2014)

God Be With You 'til We Meet Again (November 17, 2014)