Monday, December 29, 2014

Shepherds, Why this Jubilee? - 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.

Renzo, Elder Jake Avery, Hyrum
Christmas in Peru isn't the same as in the States, but I passed what will probably be my last Christmas in South America. It was filled with turkey, fireworks, panteton and Inca cola. At 12 a.m. all the people light off fireworks and it's impossible to sleep, but a cool thing that happened is a family from the ward came by our room with a Christmas turkey dinner!

We were going over some ward goals with the bishop and he was very happy for the progress and the success we've had this year. There are several new families that have been baptized, nine missionaries in the field, 120 temple recommend holders and Sunday attendance is nearing 200. It's really nice to see success after weeks of feeling like the whole world was falling apart.

This week I got to appreciate and learn more about Jesus Christ. I think that we, like Nephi, don't yet fully understand the condescension of God. It's a deep concept. The condescension of God entails that God Himself came down to live in a physical body among men, whom He had created, and who would eventually betray and crucify Him. I find it interesting that as Nephi beheld the baby Jesus, he said that he then understood the meaning of the tree of life or that it signified the love of God.

''How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness? He sent His Son a new born Babe with peace and holiness.'' Another song says, ''Shepherds why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?'' Angels had told shepherds that the Babe which they would find was their Savior, but the question is, how could these shepherds have explained this all to the people? How can you put into words this deep and powerful testimony?

The concept of the condescension of God is something very spiritual, but I believe very important to comprehend in order to have a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ. I have found that one of the best ways to understand it better is through scripture, prayer and song. Yes, I said song. I don't find it surprising that Luke records angels singing, nor that Alma asks us if we have felt to sing the song of redeeming love.

Speaking of singing, my companion and I went Christmas caroling a few times this week and it's very fun to see people's eyes light up, and how our testimonies can be carried by song. Even understanding of very deep doctrines like the condescension of God can come by song. It invites the spirit of God.

I love you all! I wish the best! Thanks for the support, love, packages, emails and prayers. The work of the Lord is moving forward!

Elder Jake Avery

Dadiva (December 22, 2014)

Summer Vacation  (January 5, 2015)

Mom sent all the makings for smores in my Christmas package. You can't find anything like graham crackers here. Elder Estrada and I roasted our Christmas snowman smores with a candle! Delicious!

It's an Amazing Life - 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.

(Click on photos to enlarge them.)

District Relay Race Winners - We kicked the elders' trash!
Hey family and friends! :)

I hope that you all had a great Christmas and it was white! Ours was HOT, sunny, and full of ice cream to cool us off :) Hermana Evans and I really tried to make this Christmas the best one yet, and it really was! Here is what we did to make it one to remember:

Christmas Eve Tacos
1. We dressed up in red and white and were matching on Christmas Eve and Christmas. If two American "gringas" don't stand out enough, we sure did on Christmas, haha! We spread the Christmas cheer by giving people the "He is the Gift" cards and trying to sing Christmas hymns with people that we got into the houses of.

2. Christmas Eve we made tacos for lunch (not Christmas-y, but we were craving them! haha!) and my daddy's famous "cake mix brownies" with ice cream. For dinner, we went to our ward mission leader's house and had a really nice dinner. Turkey, potatoes, and this really AMAZING homemade ice cream cake that I have to make for you all one day.... it was soooooo good.....

3. Santa's cookies got burnt, so we ended up eating Danish cookies with hot chocolate..... WAY yummy.... and, we can't have men in the house anyways, so I guess the burnt cookies was a sign that we needed to be obedient missionaries and NOT let Santa in the house, LOL!

Christmas Jammies!

4. I opened my Christmas Eve "jammies" and turns out that I was matching with a few other cute girls in sisters and mom! :) haha! thanks mama :)
Christmas breakfast :)
Presents from HOME!
5. Christmas morning, we opened up presents from our families and then made cinnamon rolls :) Who doesn't make cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast?! Just because we are in Chile??? I don't think so..... you betcha, we ate those :)

Our Christmas feast!
 6. We had Christmas lunch with a wonderful family and then went upstairs to Skype with our families! It was SOOOO wonderful talking to everyone and catching up :) It's hard to believe that this was my LAST Skype call from the mission.... time just goes by too fast!

We had TURKEY!!
 Well, we really did do a LOT of other things, and it really was memorable :) We tried to make this a "home away from home" and it worked! It's especially awesome to have Christmas as a missionary, and remember Christ more than the presents and celebrations! It really has been special for me, and it will be something I never forget!

So, we have transfers again this Wednesday, New Years Eve! PLEASE pray that Hermana Evans and I stay together for one more transfer! We are praying our hearts out for that, haha :) I will let you know how things go when I write next Monday!

Well guys, I hope that you all have a great week and New Year's celebration! After all of the things that I have looked back on from this year, I just can't adequately express my gratitude for all of the blessings and miracles that I have seen and received this year. I never would have imagined my life anywhere else, and just can't believe how much we can learn and grow in such a short period of time! It's an amazing life :) Have a great end of 2014, and I will talk to you in 2015! :)

xoxoxooxo Hermana Avery

Merry Christmas from Chorillos (December 22, 2014)

My Final Transfer  (January 5, 2015)

Christmas in Mexico - Elder Brian Burgess

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

Hey Gang.... so picture time.

Since I talked to my family on Christmas day, I will just attach some pictures and explain them.

So, on the 23rd, Christmas Eve Eve, Elder Hartvigsen, Elder Garrido, Elder Mendoza and I bought Tacos Arabes from the Oriental (AN AMAZING TACO PLACE!). Sure, it was the most expensive, but we planned that day since the beginning of December.

Then, on Christmas Eve, it was a Wednesday so we had our District meeting as normal. But afterward we made some Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thanks to Sisters Jensen and Dapper, and COSTCO! And we had a little Christmas party there. After that we ate at 2 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm, and 8 pm. with a couple families... :)

 Christmas Day we slept in late. Everyday on my mission, 365 days a year for 2 years, we have to get up at 6:30 a.m. President gave the mission an amazing gift ... We didn't have to set an alarm! Such an amazing feeling! Sadly, my mind set an alarm, so I could only sleep till about 7:50 a.m. But still, such an amazing sleep! Then we opened presents! :) And went to a member's house all day to eat and use their laptops. Fun experience talking to my family again!

I love you all! I hope you all had a super Merry Christmas, and that you´ll have a happy new year! And an amazing 2015.

I love this Church! I testify that it is true!

"You is loved."

Elder Burgess

Christmas Conference (December 15, 2014)

Miracles and Transfers  (January 5, 2015)

Feliz Navidad de Wilson, NC - 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.

Hello! Wow, I actually have a little bit of time to write out a big email! This hasn't happened in a while, since I got out to Wilson!

I had a BLAST this week and there was also quite a few miracles.

Let's start out with the miracles.

A couple of weeks ago Elder Benedict and I were at Walmart and Elder Benedict talked to this guy named Jo** while I was printing pictures. We got an appointment set up with him and it fell through the next week. Well, on Saturday we decided to knock the door and we ended up teaching him about the Restoration. He said that he would read the Book of Mormon and be baptized if he got an answer. It was awesome! He's American, but the sister missionaries are already teaching a lot of people, so we'll be teaching him. He is super nice and we're teaching him next week, so we're pretty excited.

The other one! Right now we are teaching a part member family, the P**'s. The mom and the older kids are less active members, and the younger kids are all unbaptized. They are so golden and they have changed from criticizing the church and being doubtful, to becoming super reverent and teachable in the past month. Most of the kids are on track to be baptized in February, and the whole family should be getting back into church in the next few weeks.

Well, the oldest kid in the family is a member but hasn't been back to church in years. He has a wife and three kids and is super awesome. He has some doubts with some anti-Mormon material he has come in contact with, but he really admires the church members and he wants to learn more about the church. We are pointing him to the correct sources and helping him gain a testimony from God and not from random websites. His wife is not a member and she went to a church activity here in Wilson and really liked the unity that the ward members have, and it's something they want for their family. We're scheduled to have dinner and a lesson with them.

It amazes me to see how much the Lord has prepared the whole P** family, down from the unbaptized kids, to the returning less active mother, up to the oldest son and his whole family. They are being prepared in a marvelous way and they have a lot of faith. I'm really excited for the upcoming transfers here in Wilson and excited to see all the other ways they'll progress in the gospel.

Now, for the less miraculous but fun stuff!

As a zone leader, I get to go on exchanges around the zone. After a really big Christmas conference in Kinston, NC, I went down to Albertson!!!! I had the time of my life down there. For those who don't know, I started my mission down there. I saw about half of the ward members throughout the exchange, and I had some great reunions. I got to see a past investigator down there and introduce him to Elder Garcia and they should be meeting with him again. He needed some time to progress a little bit. The kids had grown a little bit too, which is unsettling. Have I really been out super long on the mission??! Anyways, it's changed a bit down there. The elders live in a trailer now. They moved them out of the Chicken Coop, which made me a little sad. I walked into the old Chicken Coop that I used to live in and it was empty and there were a lot of bugs. Desolate! Haha, but the trailer the elders live in is on a street where a ton of the members live, so that's a plus.

Christmas was great. We had breakfast with our bishop and did a little service project at a Methodist church, feeding some people Christmas lunch. Then I got to Skype, which was AWESOME! I miss the family!! I can now officially start singing, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and mean it!!! We ate a gigantic Christmas lunch and we played some soccer with all the Hispanics in the ward. I stink at soccer, but I'm getting better. Really slowly, but still better. Haha! We had a little bonfire with the YSA (Young Single Adults) Christmas night. I got to see my good RM (returned missionary) friend from the mission, Cameron Sanchez, who married one of the Hispanic family's daughter from this ward. He's the bomb. It was a great Christmas.

Well, I'm so glad I finally got to email y'all. I love y'all a ton and hope y'all have a great New Year! This next week is going to be insane being a zone leader. My companion is finishing his mission, we have Mission Leadership Council up in Virginia tomorrow and Wednesday, zone meeting, transfer calls, and all the logistics that come with that. I will be going insane and making a ridiculous amount of phone calls! Really excited to figure out who my new companion is going to be!!! I'll make sure to at least include that information in a short email next week.

Shout out to Sister Brakey and Sister Johnson who are coming to the Chesapeake mission next week! They both went to Herriman High with me and they're MTC companions right now. Hoping I'll get to be their zone leader, haha!!

Feliz Ano Nuevo! Les quiero.

-Elder Remund

Adventures of a Zone Leader (December 8, 2014)

Greenie Fire  (January 20, 2015)

Jule Gaver - 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.


It was way good to see you all on Skype.  Well, I feel bad that I kept it way short, but we did not need longer in all honesty.  It was a great week.  I actually just heard form Elder Wilsher that Sa**, from Aalborg, just got baptized on Saturday.  That was way good to hear. He is great. It was some great Monday news.

I had the opportunity to read the letter I wrote to Christ.  It was way fun.  I am very happy with the experience. While reading the letter, I remember the feeling I had while writing the letter but, more than that, I had the overwhelming thoughts of, "wow, I wrote that." Not in a boasting way, but more like this: I have told so many people out here about my relationship with Christ, how it came, what I do to help it grow, all of these things, but when I read the letter it was almost like I bore my testimony to me. The things I needed in the instant that I needed them.

To focus on the Savior on His day was a great experience for me. It was fun, and I really enjoyed seeing that the Lord loves me through the gift of His Spirit. It was my gift to the Lord, but it has helped me more than I could have even imagine that it would. Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer, brother, and friend. Watching over us, helping us, and comforting us!

Med Kærlig Hilsen

Ældste Madsen

Merry Christmas! (December 22, 2014)

Drunk People and Flaming Explosives  (January 5, 2015)

Jule gaver

Merry Christmas from Malaysia! - Elder Joshua Avery

Written by Elder Joshua Avery, serving in the Singapore Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Mandarin Chinese.

Current area: Ipoh, Malaysia

Elder Li and Santa, Sister Chris, and the cute kids!
The Relief Society gave us presents too!
Hello Family and Friends,

Yesterday at church the members said that I look much better. I guess my first Sunday I was a little out of it.... :)

So, I have the coolest Christmas story. On Christmas night, Elder Li had the impression to visit a less active member in our branch. We went over to their home, and we quickly realized that they had nothing. Their house was in poor condition and there were no Christmas presents to be found. The mom has breast cancer and isn't really there mentally. It is quite sad. I was able to share a brief Christmas message in Mandarin. Yay! Before we visited them, we'd had dinner at another member's house. Those members had given us cookies and marshmallows, and the investigator we visited before them had given us presents as well. Our bags were full of presents! After I shared the Christmas message, we emptied our bags and watched the kids get so excited. I could see behind the dad's eyes how grateful he was. I imagine it would be hard to have nothing to give your kids for Christmas. We invited them to come to the branch Christmas party Saturday and they said they would try. Sure enough, they came!! It was the best!

I loved getting to Skype for Christmas. It was the best, but it went by so quick. I feel like it was over when it started, haha!

I** is still struggling. His mom is really worried about him. She is fasting and praying for him. I will keep you updated.

Ipoh pretty much has the best members in the world! I don't know if I have received so many Christmas presents in my entire life. They just keep giving and giving. Sister Chris alone got us like 5 presents each, including badminton racquets. Amazing!

Last night we had dinner at a member's house. They had the cutest house! They are Chinese, but the
mom wants her house to look like an American house. She asked me if it looked like a Chinese house. When I told her "no" she was so relieved! haha! They fed us so good. We are so blessed. The people here take such good care of us!

We had the church Christmas party Saturday. Lots of our investigators came. I got to be Santa. The kids were freaking out, haha! At the Christmas party a potential investigator from China came. She told me my Chinese sounds like garbage. Ouch! Oh well, it's getting better, and people telling me my Chinese isn't good makes me want to work harder.

I love you all! The pictures took a while to upload so I couldn't write as much :/

Feng Zhang Lao

Sister Chris's husband owns a restaurant and
lets us eat for free! They are so great!

Ipoh, Malaysia (December 22, 2014)


Our apartment is really nice (and a little messy...)
Our kitchen

That little box makes our water warm...
I didn't know that for a few days, haha!
Our Christmas FEAST!

The kids were so excited!

This little guy is so cute :)

Last Sunday of 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dádiva - 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
So if you guys don't already know, there's a kind of huge missionary campaign with ''He is the Gift'' video that the church posted. We pass out little cards with the webpage and talk to people about it. Well, the word ''dádiva'' means gift, but it's an old word that is only used in the scriptures. So many times, when we're passing out cards that talk about the new video, I find myself explaining to native Spanish speakers what the word ''dádiva'' means.

The interesting thing is that there are many churches here that don't celebrate Christmas. I'm not talking about Muslims or Jews. I'm talking about Christian churches that don't celebrate Christmas. The Christian Church, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses and other evangelist churches in Lima are convinced that Christmas is not acceptable before God because the word isn't found in the Bible. The words car, computer, and Easter aren't in the Bible either ... but they seem to be able to justify those things....

It's been a really great week. We found three new families to teach. Two of the families are cousins in the same building. That makes it very easy to teach them and to make sure they're keeping their commitments. The first family has 5 members, and they've always been at a loss with what to do concerning religion. The husband is Catholic, the wife is Evangelist, and they haven't baptized any of their three children because they don't know what church to baptize them into. I'm pretty happy with their progress! They're going to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. L** was actually pretty excited to receive a Book of Mormon and to read it.

The other family listened to the missionaries while they lived in Trujillo, but they don't remember ANYTHING about the church so we're refreshing their memory. They're a family of 4. The dad of that family read the whole beginning of the Book of Mormon and 3 Nephi 27. He's a stud. We're taking them both to the church to do a tour this week and just praying that they go to church for the service.

I had three goals to finish before Christmas. One was 10 baptisms, which is still in progress... but the other two were to read the Book of Mormon one more time and finish Jesus the Christ (which is a thick book). I finished the Book of Mormon this morning and I'm finishing up the other. And I have to say I've surprised myself because before I left on my mission I hated reading and didn't like studying either. However, in the course of my mission, I've found so much joy and enlightenment in something as simple as reading the scriptures.

I'm just rambling now, but I've also found that I'm much more happy and feel the Spirit more when I think about my investigators during the day and how help them solve their problems. It's like a spiritual run-through before doing it physically. Like we read in the scriptures, all things were created spiritually before physically... so this makes sense.

Just to finish up. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and I hope that we all find ways to serve and find something to give Christ for Christmas. I know that He lives! That He, the Great Jehovah, taught us a lesson by the humble circumstances in which He was born. I hope we can keep Him close! I love you guys!! #SharetheGift

Elder Jake Avery

I am a Chess Piece (December 15, 2014)

Shepherds, Why this Jubilee?  (December 29, 2014)

Merry Christmas from Chorillos - 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 Hannah Avery - Chorillos, Chile
Hola familia y amigos! :)

First off, I wanted to wish you all a very FELIZ NAVIDAD! :) haha! I hope that you all enjoy your time together as a family and that you are enjoying the cold weather, hot chocolate and Christmas music! I am here in the sun, with reggatone and ghetto Santas :) Christmas in Chile will definitely NOT be something I ever forget!

Well, to start things off, L** was confirmed a member of the church yesterday! The sweet thing waddled up to the front of the congregation and was just smiling ear to ear :) He is one of the BEST gifts I think we could have given Christ for Christmas this year! He is just too cute! We are going to visit him on Christmas Eve, take him Christmas cookies, and sing him carols so that he isn't alone for the holidays :) We will also be visiting the rest of the recent converts of the branch. It should be lots of fun :) We aren't the Tabernacle Choir, so I hope that they don't mind our singing voices :P

So, this week went by pretty quick. We have LOTS of plans for the upcoming week too! Tuesday Hermana Evans and I will be making homemade Christmas cookies and baking the night away so that we have things to take people the next day. We should be busy! Wednesday (Christmas Eve) we will have a cookie exchange with the elders in our district, and will be visiting the converts in our branch. Then, in the evening, we'll be having dinner with a family in the branch (our ward mission leader!). They cook amazing food, so it should be way good! :) But, still not as good as my mamas cooking! :) Christmas day, we will have dinner with a less active family who we are re-activating, and will Skype the family! WOOHOO! Other than that, we will just be spreading the gospel and the "gift" of Christ with everyone we can! :)

Remember.... "The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing LOUD for all to hear!" (Buddy the Elf!), AND bringing people to Christ and reminding everyone that it's really all about Him :) Well guys, have a fabulous Christmas, and I will talk to you all SOON! I love you!

xoxoxoxo Hermana Avery

Dare to Stand Alone (December 15, 2014)

It's an Amazing Life  (December 29, 2014)

White Christmas!! Abigail's paper snowflakes are hanging from our ceiling :)

These are some photos from the area where I live. Even after all this time, I'm still surprised when I see clothes hanging in the forest to dry.

Ipoh, Malaysia - Elder Joshua Avery

Written by Elder Joshua Avery, serving in the Singapore Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Mandarin Chinese.

(Clicking on photos will enlarge them!)

Elders Jones, Roundy, Li and Avery
The plane the brought us from Singapore to Malaysia
Dear family and friends!

Malaysia is awesome, and so different, haha! This week was crazy. First off, immigration is tough. I will tell you about that on Thursday...but I made it through, yipeee!

The first day in Malaysia we went to get my bike. We went to the ATM, I put in my pin, and it kept saying that I was putting in the wrong number. I tried my ATM card and debit card at two different ATMs, and neither were working. What a drag! So we didn't know what to do. We called the number on the back of the card, and the lady said that I had four more tries to get it right before it locked me out. After a huge set back we prayed, and I messed up again. Then we found another ATM and it worked! So, I don't know what that was all about.

On the way to get my bike, this Chinese guy ran out to us yelling, "Tell me about your church!" We talked to him and gave him the address to the building. He didn't come Sunday, so we will see what happens.

Then, I got my bike for 712 ringot!...which included the lights and mudflaps! In US money, that is only about 200 bucks! So sweet! A real miracle!! After that it poured, and I have never been so soaked in my entire life.

The next day was also crazy. One of the Sisters' investigators needed help moving. The lady they are teaching is a little different. Her car is plastered in Playboy bunnies and... yeah...While we were moving, a guy she hired to help broke a pipe and her old house started flooding. That was rough! The moving was supposed to be 3 hours, but then it took 5 and a half. That was a little annoying, but she has no one else to help her.

We are teaching a guy named I**. He and his mom have baptisms scheduled.

I've never been so soaked in my entire life!
I am amazed at how many Chinese people there are here. Elder Li and I decided that our vision for what we want to do here is to lay the foundation for us to one day have a Mandarin Branch in Ipoh. By the way, it is pronounced EE-POH.

I am struggling with the Mandarin language. Every Sunday they have Elder Li and I translate for the Mandarin speakers at church. I feel bad because he has to do all of the translations. The members compare me to the elder who was here before me. He goes home in 6 months so, of course, his Chinese is better than mine! haha! Oh well, I am sure the language will come in time.

I will Skype Christmas day around noon, which will be Christmas eve for all of you. I got the Christmas package and I guess I had stuff from Heather I am supposed to open. Didn't know that! Woops! But now I have something fun to do tonight!

Love You All,

Feng Zhang Lao
Our Christmas tree and packages

Zai Jian (Goodbye) December 15, 2014

Merry Christmas from Malaysia!  (December 29, 2014)

Arriving at the airport in Malaysia

We received a warm welcome!
Everything GREEN for the GREENIES!
"Hairy Fruit"

These little guys live in my apartment!
Raining cats and dogs!....
Merry Christmas!!
Imagine biking in this! Fun times!

Merry Christmas! - 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.


Hey, that’s great to hear that Maren had a great time going through the temple, and I am happy that she had people from both sides of the family and the ward to back her up.

I got your package and it's sitting on our couch. We don’t have a Christmas tree this year. Elder Ogden wants to buy one, but I don’t want to spend money on something that we will use for one day and let it be. Anyway, we will be finding out about transfers in a little bit.  I will just add it to the email or send a new one.

Sorry it's later than usual. The sisters (female missionaries) have to email first and they come from another area. Elder Metcalf just sent me an email, and we got our travel plans for home already. So the tickets have been purchased. I can't believe they buy them so early. We have so much time left.

Well, this week was great. We had some great things happen. We talked about the temple with Ma** and it went well. She wants to go to the temple and do dåb for de død in the near future, so that’s great. We are excited for that. She has been doing so well. I am really hopping to not get transferred.  We find out today, so I will send a quick email after I find out about that. Anyway, good stuff.

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year. It’s so crazy that the sun just comes up for a whopping 5 hours and then it goes down again. It's funny though, because of all the rain, you just never really see the sun due to cloud coverage. I love it here. It’s the best.

We started a new thing this week and hope we can keep it going. We had Family Home Evening with Ma** and her two daughters, and we invited the young single adults in the ward to come too. We had a ton of fun. Definitely something that we are going to keep up. The ward is really involving Ma** in things and it's great to see. She shared her testimony about trials in our guest class. She talked about how the Lord came through and blessed her right after she had her twins because they had no money and they had no idea how they were going to pay for food. People pulled through and everything worked out. Thanks to experiences like that, she has found a new faith in Christ.  Because of that experience, she was looking for the truth and she found it!. The church is true!!

Since I have been here, I have met with many people. One of them is a young man named Jo**.  He is great. He's about 25 years old and went less active right before I got here. We started working with him and he said he was ready to come back, but he never really did. We never stopped working with him, and one day we needed a member to come with us to teach Ma** (because she is a single lady). We called Jo** out of the blue because we felt impressed, and he said he would love to go but he just had a headache. We told him that if he did this with a willing heart, his headaches would be lessened. So he said okay. We picked him up 20 minutes later... no headache.

Our appointment went very well. Jo** expressed some great feelings he had about teaching. Then the next day he came to her baptism. After the baptism he was singing with some of the members of the ward, in preparation for the Christmas concert we had yesterday. Last Sunday, Jo** said he could not come to church because his migraine was way bad. He wanted to receive the sacrament, so we brought it to him (with permission of course from the bishop). While we were there, he expressed that he had been praying and has been really confused about what to do with his life. He said he was actually talking to one of the sisters we serve with about school, and she said she has plans to something or another after her mission. In that instant, he felt deeply impressed to serve a mission. We were with our ward mission leader (his home teacher) and he said, "Jo**, if this really is a desire of your heart and it is God’s will, let’s do it. I am inviting you to come to church every week. It’s going to be extremely hard. The devil will work on you and make you feel sick. But, as you push through, you will be able to come and you will be able to submit your missionary application."

Jo** said he would, and he was in church yesterday. He talked to the bishop and now he gets his assignment next week. And he came and taught with us again. He is so great. He is super excited to serve a mission. He will be great. He has made a full 180 degree change.  He writes us every morning to tell us about his personal study, even before we wake up, haha! He is great!

It’s been a great week. We also heard from one of our friends who has been taught by the missionaries for over seven years (dubbed "eternigator"). He said that he has one question about the Book of Mormon. He said that if we can answer it, that would solve most of his problems. He asked, we answered, and then two days later he asked the bishop for a priesthood blessing. He told the bishop that he wants to learn more about the priesthood authority, and that he feels like it's missing from his life! way good!

We have some great things going on. Two of four recent converts want to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead, and some good things happening with Jo** and G**. Anyway, great week.  I love you and we will talk on Thursday!

Merry Christmas!

Glædelig Jul!

Ældste Madsen

Come Unto Christ (December 15, 2014)

Jule Gaver  (December 29, 2014)

Elder Ogden's study chair....the fourth chair Elder Madsen has broken....

AND...the toilet....greeeaaat!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Come unto Christ - 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 Ogden (left) and Madsen with Ma** and her daughters
Mor! (Mom!)

Well this week, as you know, was Ma**'s baptism.  It was great! She is just the best! She wanted Elder Ogden to baptize her, and she asked me if I would confirm her. We actually had President Sederholm interview her, and he said she was ready and was very excited for her. Ma** was a little sick but after the baptism, even though she was still feeling sick, she looked so happy and just bright. The ward has just taken her under their wing.

After the baptism we talked to Na**.  She was way excited for the baptism as well. She had her birthday this week, and is getting closer to choosing a date to go to the temple. It will be so great. We are excited for her.

We had some great stuff happen this week. We actually went to eat with a family in the ward after the baptism and when we got there, Marie was there. It was way good. We had a good time. Then we heard from the guy who was feeding us that two people called to cancel speaking in Sacrament Meeting.  Naturally, me and Elder Ogden received the opportunity to talk, haha. It was great!

It was funny because we started out with Elder Ogden’s talk, then we had a lady in the ward speak, then a choir performance. I have tried learning how to sing so when I come home I can impress you all, but I have come to the conclusion that I just don't have it in me to sing. Sorry about that. Anyway, it went great. Then directly after the song, I had the chance to give my talk. It was pretty good. I like that I only had ten minutes because it turned more into testifying than just trying to fill time.

Because of the late notice, I had all of personal study to prepare the talk. Before, I started of course with a prayer, and then reading a little, then went straight to the talk. So while I was studying, I had the impression to talk about Christmas on three levels. We heard a talk in a Christmas concert about the three levels of Christmas, and I kind of just expounded on it, to make it my own, then related it to a different way of thinking at this time of year.

Level ONE is the Christmas tree, Santa gifts, etc. All very symbolic things, if you try to make them.   It's just a time to be charitable. These things are temporal, material things.

Level TWO is the birth of Christ, the baby that saved the world. The fact that he was born to a virgin, human mother, Mary, and that He is God’s son, sent to the Earth, is a fantastic message. Very spiritual.

Level THREE and, in my opinion, the most important. The adult Christ. Too many times we think of Christmas as that time of year where we give gifts because it's Christ's birthday. Even though He was born in April, we celebrate it in December. That’s great, but the gift of Christ was noting until his later years when, as a man, he started performing miracles and set an example with His life of what we are to do and how we are to live. The season of Christmas is a time of year to be with family, to remember the things that we cherish most, and to remember his birth. But the third level of Christmas is to remember Christ as the man who saved us from our sins. The man who gave His life so that we can return to our Father and be happy forever. A big portion of the third level of Christmas is to think of Christ all year long, not just at Christmas time. We need to remember what He gave us, that was the ultimate gift. He is the gift of life and through Him we can receive eternal life.

I would like to invite you, and anyone else who reads this, to write a letter. Only you will see it, but write a letter about your gratitude for Christ, a letter of your testimony, a letter to Christ. On the 25th of December, when we celebrate His birth, read what you wrote again.  As you do this, I can promise you that you will be thinking of Him more on that day. You will feel the power of His love and His atoning sacrifice for you. The letter does not need to be long, but it does need to be about Him. When you read your letter to Christ, write down your thoughts, feelings, and impressions. Then, re-read those thoughts and feelings throughout the year to help you live the third level of Christmas.

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He gave His life for us to gain our own. He is the gift!   #ShareTheGift!

Med Kærlig Hilsen

Ældste Madsen

He is the Gift
(December 8, 2014)

Merry Christmas  (December 22, 2014)