Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Last Christmas in 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. 

Christmas Skype Home
Dear Family and Friends!

I feel like I learned a lot this week. I keep remembering a kind rebuke given me in zone conference by my mission president ... "Ammon was not looking for sheep when he met King Lamoni." I have really been trying to take that to heart. This week I feel that Elder Brown and I have had multiple moments that we have taken care of a sheep or two that have reaped great rewards. It is an act of faith and at times scary because we always want the activities to directly effect the key indicators, but if the Spirit and your mission president tell you to not neglect taking care of sheep you best do it. The following is a miracle that Elder Brown and I had because we took care of sheep.

We had a really awesome investigator last transfer named K** who was progressing wonderfully. He kept his commitments and came to church weekly. He would even hang out with some of the members during the week because he made good friends. Sadly, the end of last transfer till this past week, he has kind of slipped under the radar. We have had occasional contact with him, but every time he has said he is too busy. This past week after teaching a member's older brother (who was found by taking care of sheep), the member we were teaching asked if we could go visit K**. We had a little bit of time so we headed over later that day. We wanted to have a lesson of course because that would help us reach our goals, but I felt it was not what he needed. We talked to him for a little bit. He told us work has been really stressful and that he has also been busy taking care of his mother who is very elderly. We asked him if there was anything we could do for him. He told us that his mom's room is really dusty and bad for her health, and she keeps getting bitten by bugs that live in there. We offered to help and he accepted the offer. He came to church yesterday and later in the afternoon we came with three members to help him. The room was in really bad condition. I am still sneezing dust out today. Even though I wanted to teach a lesson, a helping hand is what K**needed. After we finished helping him he asked us if he could offer a prayer before we left. As he prayed he was very emotional because of the help we were able to offer him.

We also were able to take a less-active member and his non-member girlfriend caroling with us. They both like it. They also came to the Christmas party and church on Sunday. It was so cool! We are hoping to start working with them more soon.

Oh! and one of the Nepalese guys came to all 3 hours of church yesterday. Don't know how much he understood, but he was a trooper through it :)

Most of the branch seems to be back in town. It is going to be nice to have a Branch Mission Leader to work with again. We were able to teach the older brother of one of the youth in the branch. The elders have never been able to meet with any of her family before because her mom says our church is "evil." The opposition in Sitiawan is also a blessing. This sister's brother wanted to meet us because all of his friends when they hear that she attends our church say that our church is evil and he wanted to know why. We were also able to give a blessing to a different member's mom who is not a member. I think we might be able to work with her more in the future. We have also found a lot of potentials who are friends of the members. That makes it much easier for us to help the members get involved.

We visited another member last night. As we talked to her we asked her what she feels was the difference between the elders last year who had a lot of success verses this year as we have reaped little. She said that although the elders this year have done their part and in many aspects have been more obedient, but they have been working on their own. The previous elders were always working with the members. I am hoping that I can find the proper balance between the two. It seems that the admonition in the scriptures to be "Temperate in all things" is becoming more clear. There is a way to have the members fully involved while being exactly I have to keep trying it till I figure it out.

Thanks for everything!

Elder Avery

Feeling Love from the Members (December 20, 2015)

New Year  (January 3, 2016)

This is our church building and Elder Brown has the light!

Helping K** clean his mom's room

Elder Brown was a little sleepy :)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Feeling Love from the Members - 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.

Dearest Familia and Friends,

This week we have been increasing our faith by trying to discern people's needs as we talk to them. I feel that often I get the same cookie cutter contacts. This week Elder Brown and I have been praying for the gift of discernment to help us discern specific needs of the people we meet. We have had some miracles accompanying it, and even those who don't end up having interest are at least left with a warm feeling. I have loved singing for people this week and observing people on the street who we help learn what Christmas is about for the first time in their lives.

Earlier this week Elder Brown and I were walking by some shops. Elder Brown began talking to a girl outside one of the stores. As he was talking to her he was able to ask the right questions to find out that half of her family was Christian the other half is Hindu, she works every day, she used to go to church weekly, and the anniversary of her dad passing away was around the corner. We then had a very clear direction of where to go with the contact. We bore testimony of eternal families and Jesus Christ. That was one of a few experiences that we were able to find very specific concerns that people have. We truly need the Spirit to discern the things concerns that others are not anxious to have us know.

We finally got investigators at church. Early Sunday morning we went to invite K** to church but he kindly said "no" (we are worried about him). Then we went to visit some Nepalese men who live across from the chapel. They got dressed in the best clothes they have and came and invited a friend. Their English is not that good and the members at church go in and out of Chinese and English the whole meeting, so I don't know what they understood...but hey! Cool! Mr. Z** also came. He seems a little more happy than before. He also came to 2nd hour. I think that might have been a first for him.

This week we visited two part member families and are visiting another this week. After contacting a couple of the member's friends the members seem to slowly be more open to giving referrals. We were able to get a couple of high potential referrals this past week. We visited two less active families this week, that we have not seen in a while. We are hoping to get one of them on the branch caroling list if the family is free that night. We have also had multiple members reach out to us elders and serve us this week. I am always touched by the kindness members show us elders and I hope they feel that same love coming from me and my companion.

Love you all!

Elder Joshua Avery

Exhausting Week and Exchanges (December 13, 2015)

My Last Christmas in Malaysia  (December 27, 2015)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Exhausting Week and Exchanges - 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. 

This week I have been increasing my faith by learning to be more patient. Elder Brown and I have been talking to everyone and have been struggling to find solid people. We have found multiple people who received the word gladly at first and then rejected it or have just been flaky. I was absolutely exhausted physically, mentally, and spiritually by the end of the week. I was definitely beginning to stress because I felt that all of our finding efforts were not being as fruitful as I had hoped. Sure, we are planting seeds but I want Sitiawan to be a baptizing area.

Church and the sacrament was the refresher I needed for sure. We made sure to fast and get to church an hour early so that we could talk to everyone on the street in hopes we could get someone to church. If not that, we'd at least let people know we have a chapel and where it is (the location is not the greatest). In 3rd hour we read the last chapter of The Teachings of President Benson. It goes hand in hand with what we learned about going from self-centered to Christ-centered. It spoke of many Christ like attributes given in the 1st chapter of 2 Peter. While we were reading I was looking at all of the attributes and it reminded me that we can't develop these attributes without opposition. How could we be patient if we never had to wait for anything? How could we develop charity if there was nothing or no one that was hard to love? How could we increase our faith if it was never tried? I am going to be learning a lot here, haha! :)

This week we were going to visit two of our investigators, but they ended up having to go to a wedding. While we were in the area we saw a big group of men with construction caps on. We went to them and tried talking to them. I went up to one of them and said "Hello!" He gave me a funny look and said, "Wo tingbudong". We started talking to him in Chinese and found out that he and a bunch of his buddies are working here from China the next little bit. We were able to give him a Chinese Book of Mormon and give him the Chinese link to the website. He gave us his contact information so hopefully he pulls through. There are a lot of other guys from China there, so hopefully we can start teaching them too!

The branch keeps thinning out. Our Branch Mission Leader and his family are in Taiwan and a lot of people are gone. We only had 4 of us in priesthood meeting this Sunday. E**, who is getting ready to serve a mission, didn't come to church again this week. Since I have been in Sitiawan, he has definitely been at church less times than he has missed...not what you would expect from someone who is going on a mission in a couple weeks. I wish there was more we could do to help him. He has canceled multiple times that we have tried to visit him, but he has gone to help us visit people a couple times. I'm not sure what to do for him at this point. He tells us he reads his scriptures every morning and night to prepare for his mission, but I don't see how you would skip church almost every week if you are reading your scriptures every morning and night. We planned a caroling activity with the branch so that we can visit the less-active members. I think that will be a great way to reach out.

This week Elder Perrit and Elder Schwimmer came for exchanges. It was a good moral boost and good to get to serve with Elder Perrit for a day. We have some awesome leaders in the mission. Elder Schwimmer seems to be doing good, and I think he and Elder Brown had an awesome day while they were here and saw a lot of miracles.

Love you all!
Elder Joshua Avery

Christmas Zone Conference (December 6, 2015)

Feeling Love from the Members  (December 20, 2015)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Zone Conference - 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. 

This week was trying in a lot of ways, but I know God is still blessing our efforts and we are seeing miracles. The Christmas Zone conference was so awesome. I loved the training, the music, and the food. I am always amazed by the sacrifice of the members in the church.

This past week we have been able to talk to many people who have expressed some interest. I feel like every week we get better at talking to people. I will admit that it is hard to have most people look at us with fear and try to run away, and that the number of people who are honest with us when we talk to them is probably less than 10%. People will do just about anything to get away from us. On the way to the internet cafe we talked to a man who, without looking, nearly pulled himself and his wife into oncoming traffic twice before his wife stopped him.

I didn't realize before my mission that disciples of Jesus Christ are so disliked by the world, but now it's kind of like "duh!" of course they don't like us. We make them do things. Coming to church is more than dancing and listening to a band (other churches do this). It requires effort on the part of the participant. We come to church to reflect on our week and the Savior's sacrifice, and then do our best to sacrifice more of our will to His will for us.

Casual listening is frowned upon in our church. In our meetings, we must listen closely to not just the speaker but, most importantly, the Spirit. Sometimes other people/churches want their answers right now! Most don't take their efforts further than asking their pastor and they exclude the hours of prayer, study, faith, patience, and long-suffering required to get answers from God. Rather than seeking to achieve greatness all these things, many people are just looking to avoid pain. They don't care about returning to live with Heavenly Father (or know that's important). They just don't want to go to hell and have consequences for their choices. I am increasing my faith by not giving up on these people. Christ has never said me or anyone else here is beyond help. I don't now how to help these people care about their salvation and eternal happiness, but I am sure through greater prayer, scripture study, patience, and experience it will all make a little more sense. We are finding people who let us teach, but none of them are showing any real progress.

This week Elder Brown and I were by the church when we saw a Chinese family walking into the restaurant by the chapel. We tried to talk to the parents but they ignored at us, then told us off. I was going to leave and try and find someone else, but Elder Brown saw their teenage daughter walking a little ways behind them and talked to her. She ended up expressing mild interest and even gave us her contact information while her father was shouting at her. During fast and testimony meeting one of the girls in our branch told us that was a good friend of hers, and she has always wanted to share with her but was scared because of her friend's parents.

During fast and testimony meeting nearly all of the members talked about missionary work. It was so awesome, even though we ended up finding two of those members at a food court last night... :( Then, 3rd hour we helped teach Sunday School. The topic was on sharing the gospel. The members seemed into it. We even picked some of them to come role play with us. At the end we gave them all the new pass along cards to give to a friend this week. Our branch mission

Earlier this week we also were able to bring a member to teach a less-active member. We were surprised when that less-active member brought a friend to teach! It was cool. They also took us to get some great Chinese food. Sadly, they didn't come to church either. We will keep working on them and maybe organize a caroling activity so we can reach out to other less-active members.
leader leaves this week and I don't think we will be seeing him till January. We rely on his family a lot in our branch, so this will be a good opportunity to see which other members want to step up to the plate during their absence.

Thanks for everything!

Elder Avery

Miracles and a Cute Dog (November 29, 2015)

Exhausting Week and Exchanges  (December 13, 2015)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Holiday DIeting.. Coming Soon --Sister Maren Madsen

Written by Sister Maren Madsen. Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Serving in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission, Spanish Speaking

Hola Familia y Amigos! Espero que todos tuvieran un buen Dìa de Gracias! Yo si!
To answer your questions... Referring to page 17 of the missionary white handbook "spend as much time as possible proselyting.. Holidays are excellent opportunities for finding and teaching because many families are together and are at home" yeah... This is what it says but if also forgets to mention that while spending time with the family (at least this has been my experience with holidays) missionaries are less welcome because  it's family time. But maybe we will just have to give it a better try at Christmas. But no we mainly spent Thanksgiving with members. I'm really bummed cause we didn't get any pictures:(   We first started off the day with some soccer! It felt so good to play again! We had lots of fun and my team won! Woohoo.... I mean.... It wasn't too competitive;) That was us and the elders and the Owens (pretty cool family in the Branch) Hermana Tester even played with her broken foot! (granted she couldn't do lots of kicking:)
Afterward we played some basketball with Angel who is an investigator. She's pretty funny, but she definitely needs a good example in her life. Later we had just enough time to shower and drive over to Warren to enjoy a thanksgiving feast with The Bryant's and later some pie with the Worthens! It's pretty nice being a missionary and getting to see lots of members on holidays. Plus we got to try everyone's different food. :) yum!
           The only difference from a southern Thanksgiving and a Western Thanksgiving is that first of all they use giblets in the gravy and nobody would tell me what that was but I think it's something gross having to do with chickens. And second everyone kept on talking about "dressing" and I just assumed that was gravy; but finally (about halfway through the dinner) someone pointed at the stuffing and said, did you try the dressing?? Click..... that was kinda confusing for a little while.  Just to clear things up for everyone when Southern people say "Dressing"  they really mean Stuffing....               Steven Taylor has been telling us since October that he makes the best dressing, he says that he has had people who hate dressing "desire" his dressing the way he makes it. It was kind of a bummer we didn't get to try it:( But after Steven was telling us that he rubs the turkey for a half hour and then cooks the dressing inside the turkey....yes inside the turkey. So I was a little relieved that I wouldn't be tasting it.... I'll stick with Betty Crocker stuffing.                    
        Then on Friday we went over to the Cochrans.....she is so awesome! Her house is amazing and so organized! That was the best food ever! She invited her friends over who are pretty much gourmet chefs.... I was stuffed and still went back for seconds just to keep tasting it. Man... I could eat that again! Then we had pumpkin cheesecake.. That was pretty scrumptious as well. I'll send a video of what we did after we ate.. It was pretty funny and Sister Cochran gets real sassy! Love her so much!
We had a really cool experience yesterday. We have been trying to get in-touch with one guy Edgar. We had a really hard time finding his house and so we ended up just having to go back before it got too late. But last night we found it! We were just going to head home after spending much of the day in Warren. But we decided that we had better try to find his house otherwise we'd never see him. It was kinda crazy how many times we drove past it trying to find it, but a huge blessing that we did and didn't just drive on back to Monticello. But he pulled up behind us and we were able to talk to him a little bit. The lesson kind of started off a little awkward and we could tell he was uncomfortable. He didn't really want to read because he was clearly overwhelmed. We found out that he is divorced and having lots of problems with the shared custody and his Ex. He told us that he doesn't have much faith. He feels like he is lost and stressed. We shared a little about how the Book of Mormon has changed our lives and how Jesus Christ is our rock. We invited him to look for tender mercies in his life to help strengthen his faith. He started to cry a little and suddenly we knew that he was an answer to our prayers and we were an answer to his. We showed him the Because of Him Video and bore our testimonies. It is so amazing how much God uses us to get to His Children. I'm not sure I'll ever stop being amazed at how much love He has for each of us. It's times like these that make me super nervous that Spanish will be taken out of the area, because people like Edgar need us! But I know that President Wakolo is an inspired man and only does what God would have him do with this mission. I love the Savior, and I love missionary work! Hurrah for Israel!

Missionary work is so hard, Hermana Tester and I came up with an acronym... Now we just need to make them into t shirts..
P- Preaching
I -Is
...yeah we are piles:)
But we don't regret it!:)
Les Quiero!
Hermana Maren Madsen
Three Dinners= Holiday Dieting!--November 30, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Miracles and a Cute Dog - 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.

This week was pretty awesome. We saw a lot of miracles and I am sure that we were led by the Spirit to many of the people we were talking to. This week we have increased our faith by setting an expectation for baptism to everyone. This week we taught about baptism in about 60% of our contacts with potential investigators. I guess that might sound intimidating, but that is a key part of our purpose and is the next step for those we meet. We have found more people to talk to as we talk about baptism and feel like the contacts go better when we talk about baptism.

This week one of our lessons fell through so we began contacting in his area. We saw a guy sitting outside of a car repair shop and talked to him about baptism. He told us he wasn't interested, but afterwards we were approached by some teenagers who are part of some charity group that seemed fishy and they were just asking for money. We offered to volunteer an hour or two a week at their place but they didn't seem too thrilled about that. They talked to us for too long, and after we were able to get away from them something miraculous happened. The guy we had talked to at the car repair shop came up to us and said that he had changed his mind and asked us more about baptism. We met him a couple days later and now he is on date for the end of January. Cool! The change in him from the first time we talked to him to the second were so dramatic that we are worried that he might have some other hidden motive. But for now he says, "all I do is work and go to sleep, and then start it over. I feel like there is something more".

We found 9 new investigators this week.
5 from a big Indian family
1 Vietnamese lady who speaks Chinese
2 from an Indian couple
1 from the car shop guy

K** couldn't come to church again...I'm a little worried about him.

We have a new Branch Mission Leader who is close to our age. We met with him and read through Preach My Gospel, Chapter 12, where it talks about what a branch mission leader's responsibilities are. I think he will take his calling seriously.  We have been struggling with teaching less active members, but this week a member at church was able to help us get to know who they are and what their situation is. Getting member present lessons has been hard lately because many of our potentials and investigators can't confirm their time until a couple hours before we come, and most of the families here have only one car which is being used by another family member. I think we will try and set up more appointments at the church. I think that will be easier for members to come.

Love you,
Elder Avery

Goodbye, Elder Lee (November 22, 2015)

Christmas Zone Conference  (December 6, 2015)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Saved by the Power of Prayer--Sister Maren Madsen

Hola mi familia! 
This was an eventful week! I'll just start off by saying sorry I haven't really had much time to answer all your emails and questions! But hey gotta do whatcha gotta do. :) this has been a week of tender mercies and Tornados! (Well almost tornados) Monday and Tuesday were pretty rainy so it was not surprise when mid-Tuesday we got a text message from the office telling us to head inside for tornado watch, well that was super convenient because we were on walk week, my companion has a broken foot, and we were not at all close to the apartment. But despite the tornado warning and the stress or walking back a few miles home we had a great lesson with one of our investigators, who accepted a baptismal date! She is working on quitting smoking and wants to "find her own church" after the lesson with her we started walbling (I walked she hobbled) home. Then is started to get hot and I hear that's a tell tell sign of an oncoming tornado is "the calm before the storm" and heat. After about half a mile her leg started to hurt and we were just praying to make it home before the storm and the rain hit, because having a wet boot is nasty! Not two minutes later a lady pulled over and offered us a ride! We gratefully accepted. Not one minute after we got into our apartment it started to pour down rain... Buckets and buckets! I have a video I'll send, but you can't really tell. What a miracle! Really helped remind me of how blessed we are, did Heavenly Father have to wait until we got into the apartment to let it rain? He could have just let is started raining while we were in the car, but He waited for us to "get home" so there was no doubt about it that our prayer was being answered exactly. Now neither of us will forget that experience and our testimonies of prayer are that much more strengthened. 
    Then we had Blitz on Thursday and Friday, but we had specialized as well. I love the meetings that we have, we get learn more and they help give us instruction on how to be the most effective we can. The ride situation was a huge mess and it ended up being us two, the Monticello Elders and the Spanish STL's! It turned out to be a really fun road trip! We ended up getting lost and started to head toward Little Rock instead of Monticello from Hot Springs where the specialized training was. But just after about a half hour of going north instead of south(wouldn't really have been a problem if there were mountains here), we were back on the road! Good thing we don't plan appointments on meeting days because ain't nobody knows what's going to happen, especially when there are a bunch of missionaries piled into a van, not really sure the directions with no GPS.It turned out to be really fun especially since we stared to do some riddles and we got pretty excited as we figure them out before the smarty-pants elders, they took quite a while to get them... Hehe.. 
   After the STL's left we realized that our phone was missing... Uh oh! So it's been interesting getting ahold of district leader and President Wakolo until we get it mailed back to us. But overall good blitz! Since Hermana Ponce is an STL now I was more excited to do blitz! I realized that from the beginning of my mission to now, I really have changed in lots of ways that weren't clear to me before I got to be back with my trainer for a day. It's crazy this mission life, but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I love seeing Gods hands in people's lives is humbling. We really are nothing here on earth, sometimes our significance to the world seems microscopic, but the significance that each of us are in the heart of our God is beyond belief. Because of him in our lives we are something, and one day we will stand before him and plead our case to have Him see what we did for His plan. Did we make it harder at times? Did we help it? How are we going to respond? Would we make excuses for ourselves? Hermana Hunt (a member in Horn Lake) was one of the best member missionaries I know, when was bold and she told us that the reason she was that way is because when she stands before God and He asked us why we didn't take the opportunity to change ourselves, or help someone, or teach an intimidating person, she said that "I was scared" just isn't a valid excuse. God is the only one we should fear. The more I think about that, I realize how dumb society is. I will forever be grateful for this 18 months I get to  escape society and have a clear mind to focus my efforts on something eternally important. Thank you Hermana Hunt for helping me understand that fear is not a fruit of Godliness, and I am also learning that never is Awkward.. Satan is the one who makes us feel that way. Telling myself that "I'm awkward" is like saying "I'm just a liar" it shows that I am giving up and just accepting myself as a sinner. But I want to be a "Saint; or a Sinner who keeps trying." 
Thanks for all the love and support and everybody have a yummy THANKSgiving  and be grateful for the Atonement that has to power to better us daily. 

Hermana Maren Madsen

Roadkill count

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Goodbye, Elder Lee! - 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.  

Haha, well this week was a roller coaster! Between Elder Lee leaving and getting stuck in Ipoh till Thursday night, many of the weeks plans went down the drain. I did have a pleasant time in Ipoh, and we were able to find a lot of potential investigators there, including a group of 6 Christian women from Indonesia who attended a school of theology.

This week Elder Brown and I increased our faith as we set a transfer vision our first day in Sitiawan. Our vision statement is, "The future is as bright as your faith". We know that the zone is 11 baptisms away from our year goal, and if you divide that by 3 it comes out to roughly 3 baptisms per district. Elder Brown and I are looking for four baptisms this transfer, and we feel we will need to find 2 "golden" investigators by the end of this week or middle of next week to make that goal. I have really come to find goal setting to be an act of faith, and increasing goals is a great way to increase our faith.

Yesterday was full of "finding" miracles. We were on the way to the church for an appointment with a less-active member and his soon to be an investigator girlfriend. I looked down at my watch as we were biking and noticed we still had some time to spare, so I slowed down and decided to bike by the shop lots rather than the main road so we could talk to more people. As we passed a bank I noticed two people out side. One was a very well dressed Chinese lady and the other a slightly ragged Indian man on a moto.

Maybe this was slightly judgmental of me, but I knew that Chinese lady had a higher chance of saying "no" but she also seemed to be fairly successful and I imagined she would be someone who would be able to manage her time so we could meet and more likely to have a way to progress and come to church. Despite the Chinese lady being more intimidating to approach, Elder Brown and I went up to her. It was a great choice! She is a Christian and we were able to introduce her to The Book of Mormon. Not only that, but after asking what we do here, she said, "Let me give you my number so if you ever need anything you can call me." She shows good potential and we are meeting with her this week to follow up on her Book of Mormon reading and teach The Restoration. I've learned that contacting is often like investing, those with a higher chance of saying "no" often have the resources to produce a higher return. I know where I could find a lot of people who will give me their numbers and say they can meet, and I also no where I can go to find less "yes" responses who will be committed to what they say.

The other day the branch president and his wife took us to meet some of their friends. I was so happy to get that phone call from them when they invited us. Being fed by members is great, but I'd give up every well-cooked meal by members for every member to be actively engaged in missionary work, and more importantly the gospel.

Love you all times 12,
Elder Avery

This is Handsome Boy (November 15, 2015)

Miracles and a Cute Dog  (November 29, 2015)

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Book A Norman-- Sister Madsen

Written by Sister Maren Madsen A missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Serving in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission, Spanish Speaking

It is seriously so funny! Ya know people are so bored when missionaries say they are from Utah that anything other than there gets a bigger reaction. But when your companion is from Alaska this is typically the reaction
"ALASKA!?!?! Really? What part? I have a ----(fill in the Blank)--- Who lives there, is it true that it's dark all the time there? How often does the sun go down in the summer time? Man I bet that's beautiful! Can we come visit you when you go home?
Me: "Utah has snow too!"
Ya know, I really am starting to think that the reason I didn't have lots of friends growing up was because I wasn't from Alaska! hahahaha But we are going to have to take a trip to visit her!
That's so crazy that November has already come and soon it will be gone! I DON'T UNDERSTAND TIME!!
So this week was pretty good. We were able to commit Joseph to Baptism.The more I am here in the South, the more I realize how lucky I was to have a good established church to support me. Because Joseph and all of his siblings just seem kind of lots.They do not have that good moral compass in their home life. But I know that the church can offer that support, and if we let it, it can be our family. What a blessing. I also get to continually see how necessary the Book of Mormon is to compliment the Bible. We were talking the other day and the people in the BOM had a hard time accepting the Bible! It just blew my mind! And even Nephi (a Book Of Mormon Prophet) quoted from the Bible to help the people see the need for both.
We turned a huge corner with Angel this week. She came to church with us and she started crying. We were so happy because we know that it the Spirit testifying to her and she wouldn't listen to us but then she said to us "I'm starting to get attached to y'alls church, where you used the Book a Norman" (hahaha she calls it the Book a Norman no matter how many times we remind her it's Mormon, with an M) We are just continually learning lots and I love this work! To be able to see people like Angel progress makes the text messages on our phone of being dropped, worth it.
Well love y'all and hope everything plays out well this week!
Hermana Madsen

Saved by the Power of Prayer Nov 23, 2015
Teaching with Tester Nov 9, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

This Is Handsome Boy - 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.

I'm such a sap for puppies!
Dear Family and Friends,

This week we were biking in an area that we had chosen to street contact. Though the feeling was really subtle, we felt guided down a couple streets and to make the story short, we landed ourselves in front of a green house with a large picture of Mary in front of it. We knocked the gate, despite the fact that I try to avoid knocking houses. Out came a very happy Indian man who recognized us. The man introduced himself as D**. Elder Lee, with his impressive talent of recalling of names, dates, phone numbers,etc. remembered a teaching record of a former investigator with nothing but a house number as an address with the name D** Jr. and asked, "are you D** Junior?". The man said "yes!"

One of the young men in our branch decided to come finding with us, so when D** invited us in we were able to have a member present for the lesson. We taught D** the Restoration lesson and at the end he said, "Yes, I have always believed God would send prophets and apostles before Christ comes again/" He is heavily involved in his church and hard to get in touch with, but it was a spiritual lesson, and we made sure to get his full address after the lesson.

That same day we found a Buddhist, I think...or maybe BaiShen....who's husband was baptized Christian. She said we can come to share with her. It was really interesting because the conversation started sour, but improved to a good conversation, and ended with "okay, when you call just tell me 'this is handsome boy' and I will remember"'s funny because that was the only part of the conversation I didn't understand because it was in English and my brain was still in Chinese mode. She had to repeat that part about 3 times before Elder Lee told me she was speaking English, haha!

We also taught an awesome 15 year old named Y**, which is Chinese for Eternal Life. Cool! He seems pretty prepared and is scheduled for baptism the day after Christmas.

We didn't get to see K** at church this week because he got in a moto accident Saturday, but he was fine. Just one day in the hospital, pain medications, and some cuts and bruises. I'm worried about his smoking. We have fasted every Sunday this month for him...yikes!

That is all for now. I am waiting for transfer news.

Love You All,
Elder Avery

Birds of a Feather (November 8, 2015)

Goodbye, Elder Lee!  (November 22, 2015)

Notice, I got the Thanksgiving tablecloth you mailed!

Elder Lee cooking

These bad boys are everywhere, haha!

Dinner time with Elder Lee

This just made me laugh!
Working hard in Sitiawan, Malaysia

Monday, November 9, 2015

Teaching with Tester-Sister Maren Madsen

Written by Sister Maren Madsen, serving in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.  
Hermana Tester and Hermana Madsen

Well this was a pretty good week! Hard to believe that I have only been with Hermana Tester for just four days! Time is something I just will never understand. Hermana Tester is from Alaska and served 10 months of her mission in Mexico. She got sick and had to go home and then got reassigned to the best mission is the world. She actually follow up trained  Hermana

Hermanas Tester, Hudson, Macfarlane, Ponce, Madsen
Hudson and when she got reassigned the transfer she came in was with my generation. We get along pretty well and she has been able to help me understand Spanish and plus she is a bomb teacher. I'm going to learn lots from her. 
  Thursday we set Four dates!! It always shocks me how stuck in the form I am until a new missionary comes into the area and all of a sudden it's easier to see the progressing and of course the growing to love the investigators more like my own. It's a humbling experience. 
   We were able to teach the cousin of one of our investigators (both have decided on baptism the 21 of this month) and that was just a very good lesson. We went into that lesson planning to teach the Law of Chastity and came out with two baptismal dates. It was a memorable experience as we invited Deandra to baptism and she smiled big and you could see something change. Ya know I've realized that I make it all too difficult as I talk myself into the idea that everybody has a counter argument and nobody wants to listen to what a lifelong Mormon girl from Utah has to say because that is all that she knows. When in all actuality nobody even needs to care about me, I am not the issue, and that when I start to think like that my tongue is bound and I cannot fully testify with the power the investigator deserves. (Once again., I hate that satanas) but I am learning how to overcome that and I am hopeful that soon I won't even think twice before being bold and answering questions. Because I am starting to realize how much I let satan influence me. (Seriously.. Hate him) 
ALL the Hermanas in the ALRM Minus 2 
  Missionary work is the most insane experience! But I am loving every minute of it! My testimony grows stronger daily as I read the Book of Mormon. I am lucky to have this book. Also I am eternally grateful to be a member of Jesus Christ's church on earth, and take part in the knowledge it brings! 
Book of Mormon challenge! We started one as a mission on October first to finish before the end of the year. But for Y'all Finish the Book of Mormon before the end of January, this book is changing my life and (my companion and I were talking this morning about this) every time I read the stories something new pops out, it's because the Holy Ghost is so cool and he can personalize ANY situation! Just give him the attention he deserves. Because really he just wants us to return to our Father and I don't know bout y'all but I can use all the help I can get. 
Les quiero mucho y cuidense. 
We found some fish in the road.... Yes ... fish... God has sent all the crazies to the south... I swear.. 
Hermana Maren Madsen
Giant Mushroom!! Nov 2, 2015