Monday, February 23, 2015

The Whole Shabang - 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.

Hi Mom!! I'm sorry I don't have much time for dilly dallying!

Tonight we're going to do a Family Home Evening with a less active member who is home from the mine this week. His wife and kid are going to church, but he still needs to be ordained a priest, so we'll get that done.

My companion and I are doing good. We haven 't cried yet but, I kid you not, I have fallen asleep during my night time prayers every night for more than a month. Every single night! We took a nap today!! haha!

My companion is a hard worker. He grew up on the farm and loves to help people out. We've cut corn together, dug trenches, harvested sweet potatoes, etc. It's fun!

My birthday package is going to get to me tonight, just so you know. I lost faith in it, but it showed up!

Mom, I love you sooo super much! I can't wait to tell you everything! Just hang in there because there's a few more people I gotta baptize :)

Hey Dad!

Va**  and An** are doing okay, but they aren't getting married yet. They go to church still, and Va** even gave the prayer in Sacrament Meeting (pretty sure the red manual has something to say about that...) I wish they would get married!

Things are coming along. My new district is the bomb! The other guys had a baptism last week. We all went there and the ward was super supportive. The bishop was there, Elders Quorum President, the whole shabang. The other elders are teaching a family that's getting ready to get baptized, and we're working with a 80 year old dude. Things are rolling.

I'm super happy that Hannah is doing well. I'm at such a loss for what I'm doing when I get home. Well, I need to get married, study and work.... wow....... Dad, is it okay if I just be a Rock Star when I grow up?? LOL!

I'm so happy that you guys are good. I'm so glad that I'm here. And I'm so thankful for the life you've given me and for the Savior's Atonement. Who knows where I'd be without it?!

I love you so much, Dad! We're going camping when I get home!! But in the meantime, I've got to baptize some amigos!


Love,
Elder Jake Avery

We Are Here To Baptize (February 16, 2015)

Building Skyscrapers  (March 2, 2015)

New Companion and Coyote Burger - 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.

Elder Concha and Elder Burgess, Mexico Puebla North Mission
Everybody!

I hope all is well! I was transferred last Tuesday, and now I am training my new companion, Elder Concha from Chile. We are in the ward, Camino Real, which is in walking distance from my first ward, Antequera. I feel weird knowing that this could be (high chance) my last area in the mission. We spent the week walking around and finding some investigators in the area book. The ward is amazing, and the members want to work. I feel like it's in the nicer part of Puebla, so everyone offers us rides in their brand new cars, and we eat in some pretty nice houses!

I COMPLETELY FORGOT to tell you all, that today with the zone we saw the movie, Meet the Mormons. It has been officially translated and is in the theatres in Mexico. President Christensen was sent a  copy, and today we saw it in the stake center. I highly recommend the movie!

We found the Coyote Burger (the closest to an American burger I have found in the entire mission...) just down the street from our house, pure sirloin and other meat. This one is called the "Monster Burger."

I want you all to know that i love you, and hope all is well on your side of the world. 


Love, Elder Burgess




Stellar Week (February 16, 2015)

Good Trade  (March 2, 2015)




My district... well it kinda is. Two sisters had emergency transfers and so the zone leaders are now in the district.

Chinese New Year - 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.

Dear Family and friends,

Sorry if any of you were worried. We have Zone Conference and I have been traveling all day. We took a train to Kuala Lumpur and a plane to Singapore. The train ride was so pretty and I got some good pictures. Flying Air Asia is a joke....that was not my favorite. I think I might miss Southwest....just kidding, it wasn't that bad, haha!

This week was so awesome.  Two weeks ago the Spirit led us to a young man who was out playing badminton. I forgot what I said to him, but after I said it I remember feeling like I said the wrong thing. Thankfully, Elder Li jumped in and knew what to say. We ended up being able to set up an appointment with him for this week. When we went to his house, he invited his whole family for the lesson. They were Christian and were very receptive to the message. They believe all that we taught is true, and they are so amazing. They always try to feed us and give us money, when they are poorer than poor. They are from Myanmar and had to flee to Malaysia because the Myanmar government was killing Christians. All together it is 2 uncles, an aunt, a mom, a dad, and 3 kids in the house. They speak Chin but their young kids have decent enough English so that we can teach them. Since we found out they are refugees (and are in a legal program here by the United Nations), we probably can't teach them anymore, which makes me sad. But I know the Spirit led us to them. They are moving to Springfield, Missouri, USA, in July. We will have to make sure the missionaries find them there.

We made progress with L* J**, but it could be better...I don't know what happened to Jo** :( Earlier, I had ruled death out of the possibilities because his phone was still on, but it has been dead since the beginning of last week now. I am worried. No one would know if anything happened to him.

Elder Li has been really nice and has been trying to help me with my stutter. He feels like that is probably the biggest thing keeping me from communicating with the people here. The Asian people here don't understand what a stutter is and just want me to speak normally. They tell me the dumbest things about it...it drives me insane!

This week was really great. Chinese New Year was cool, but the Malaysian government made fireworks illegal....so that made things less exciting. Had some great food. Can't wait to tell you about Singapore next week!

Love,
Elder Avery

Happiness and Prosperity (February 16, 2015)

Trains and Planes  (March 2, 2015)

President and Sister Mains and Singapore Mission Elders




Elder Joshua Avery

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover - 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 Mor,

This week was great.  It started off with a bang.  We had some great things happen.  We were on splits in Holbæk with the elders up there, and we had the opportunity to give a baptismal interview to a family that got baptized on Saturday.  It was great!  They come from Albania, so we had to have the mom translate for the father, and the kids were younger, so we did them all at the same time. The best part was that every individual in the family answered differently to the same question.  They truly had their own testimony of the gospel.  It was one of the best and most powerful experiences I have been a part of. They are so great! They will be going to the temple in the next couple of weeks to start family work by doing baptisms for the dead. It's so great and inspiring.

This week, because we were not in our own area, we missed two days of work here. But it's okay because the Lord has blessed us so much. We had a great time finding this week. We were out banking (knocking doors) and we saw this house that looks like it is straight out of West Valley- eight cars on the lawn with three of them missing windows, and with trash and glass bottles everywhere. The first thing out of Elder Wrights mouth was, "You are knocking that. You are bigger than me. I am pretty sure that is a drug lord's home!" So, I did.

But, before I get into what happened, we had an extra two hours to fill our schedule and we needed to get some finding in. We had already knocked the majority of the Opgangs (apartment complex) in the area. So we looked in the bank bog (book) and found a house with a kom tilbage (come back) on it. We looked at where it was, and it was about 5 minutes away. I remember the area it was in, and it is an okay area for knocking. The only problem is that the majority of the area is very highly populated with people of the Islamic faith. Whenever I get into those areas, I feel as if I am a Jehovah's Witness in Utah, going around talking to people about God. But Muslims are very faithful in their religion and not really willing to talk or pray with us. So, I quickly said, "Let’s find another area."

We found this page that had a city written at the top and saw this one house that said "kom tilbage", so we looked it up on the map. It was a 30 minute drive from where we were, but we felt impressed to go. So we drove out there and knocked on the door of the only people who had been interested. The guy who lived there answered. He was smiling, but his eyes were whizzing back and forth 100 miles per hour, I had never seen that before. He said he was not interested, and I figured he was most likely high on something.

We knew we felt impressed to go out there, so we just continued to knock on all the doors. Then we saw the house with the cars, and it made me feel like I was in West Valley again. Elder Wright gives his famous speech, which I have titled, "Not me." Now we are back to that moment when we knocked on the door. The second the door opened, we both got a feeling a peace, and even though we had received the "Not me" speech, we were very excited to see what happened next. A woman opened the door, and a huge feeling of peace overcame us. We started the contact by telling her what church we represented and asked her if she had heard of it before. She said no, so we asked, "Do you believe in God?" She said yes. We then went on to talk about how our Heavenly Father (as we call Him) loves us so much that He has blessed us with many great blessings, one being our families. She stuck her hand out, waited for us to be quiet and said, "Come in!"

We walked into a very clean, organized house. She had us sit down and said, "One second," then she called for her kids to come down.  Her daughter came, then some of her grandchildren, then another daughter about our age, and then a brother our age. Then she asked us (in English) where we were from. We told her that we are from the USA. Then we asked her where she is from, and she said Bulgaria, but she has lived in Denmark her whole life. Then she tested our Danish and said that she is impressed with how well we can speak.

Well, we talked further about God and His love, and about prayer. Afterward, we prayed and she invited us back to eat dinner with them today. She wants us to teach her son and family. She said that their house outside is a mess because her husband just got a brain tumor while they were in the process of remodeling, so they have had a rough time finishing. But, she was happy to see that there are young people that care about religion. It was so great. I have yet again learned the valuable lesson of not judging a book by its cover. It was a great week! We are looking forward to eating with them tonight. You will see how it goes next week. Well, love you! Have a great week! Read D&C 18: "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God." Never forget that!

Med Kærlig Hilsen,

Ældste Madsen

Valentine's Day in Denmark (February 16, 2015)

Praying Specifically  (March 2, 2015)

Monday, February 16, 2015

We Are Here to Baptize - 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.

They closed one of the areas in our district, so we're only six elders. Well, they just combined 2 areas together. That makes me kind of sad because we used to be the biggest district in the zone, and now we're the same as the rest.

The new elders are Elder Quezada from Chiclayo, Peru, and Elder Meyers from Idaho. They came with some very much needed positive energy. I'm so happy that they're here, and I'm super happy that they're going to have a baptism this week!

The other new elder in the district is Elder Harne from Hagerstown, Maryland (I know where that is!). He's had kind of a rough start to his mission due to some very poor choices by his other companion, but he's super happy to have a nice companion and an area that's ready to explode.

Things for me are getting really intense because I'm watching the time tick down. There's still like 25 baptisms I need to reach my mission goal, and that could happen if we do things right. An** and Va** told us that they want to get married!! We taught them the law of chastity, and it was really funny because they were sitting on opposite sides of a bench when we started. As the lesson went on, they got closer and closer until they were holding hands by the end. That means that the Spirit was present! We celebrated by getting our hair cut with An** (which he did for free!).

We found a new family to teach named the Go** family. We met the wife doing service by sweeping porches. We got to her restaurant and she told us to not sweep there because the dust would get in the food. Two days later we knocked on a door, and it was her. She was already interested as to why we were sweeping, and we told her that we'd visit them when her husband gets back in town. On Saturday when we went back and the husband answered. So we got an appointment for the next day, but mid sentence the guy was like, ''Yeah, just come in now and explain it to me.'' We explained everything to him from Adam to Joseph Smith. He had a question about angels because our friends, the Evangelists, like to use Galations 1:6-8 to defraud the visitation of the angel Moroni. So I explained to him that an angel is only bad if it tells you to do something contrary to the gospel. For example, the angel who talked to John in Revelations was a good angel, and taught John new things, but they were pertaining to the gospel. The husband took the Book of Mormon and we talked about getting his whole family baptized. We came by the next day and did a family home evening. It was awesome!

Well, this week was great, but we're ready for the baptisms. My companion and I are ready. One of the things that Elder Uceda told the brethren in South America is that missionaries aren't glorified home teachers, but we're here to baptize. Without baptism, there's no gospel of Jesus Christ. Our call letters all say that we will be led to people who are ready to be baptized. I know that the ordinances of salvation are necessary, and I know that priesthood authority is here on the earth to do it. Jesus commanded all to repent and be baptized. He doesn't ask all of us to die for Him, but asks us to LIVE for Him, and it all starts with baptism.

I had a few surprises for my birthday. My companion woke me up with fire crackers before 6:30 a.m.
Elder Salas and Elder Clouse (we were in a trio that day) gave me 20 birthday spankings.... hard. They also egged me during lunch, so I had to shower and change.

Birthdays are pretty brutal in Peru....

I went out to lunch with my companion too :) We also found a  new investigator for Elder Salas that day. My companion was thirsty, so we looked for a store. I had a good feeling about one but it was far, so they looked for another store but the other stores didn't have water.... so we went to the store that I had a good feeling about, and the guy said that my companion was buying the last water bottle he had. I was like, ''this dude is chosen.'' We started a conversation and he accepted to be baptized a day or two ago. Birthday miracles!!

Life is too short ot not have fun! Have a great week! It's time to get to work and to get 'er done! I love you guys and I'm so grateful for your prayers and support!

Elder Avery

Happy Birthday, Elder Avery! (February 9, 2015)

The Whole Shabang  (February 23, 2015)

Stellar Week - 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 EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry I am on late, we went to Puebla today to look around and got back late...

So Tuesday was our monthly forms meeting with the stake president and President Christensen. We set some nice goals and the zone and stake should be progressing quickly! Then Tuesday night I got a call from the Assistants to the President. I guess 6 weeks have passed up and it's time for another transfer in the mission. I will be training for the first time in my mission, the last 12 weeks (2 transfers of my mission). So in missionary language I am pregnant, and will be having a son! I will train him his first 12 weeks, in my last 12 weeks.

Thursday we had another zone meeting! And we talked about baptismal goals and dates with investigators. President Christensen came and talked about members and some other stuff. Very nice conference!

Then on Friday we went to Puebla (my area is in Tlaxcala) to the new trainers meeting!

Saturday! MI** GOT BAPTIZED!!!! WOOT!!!!! Amazing day and amazing spirit there! My companion baptized her and I confirmed her on Sunday! Thank you for your prayers and support!

My simple but strong testimony.... short, sweet, and to the point. I testify that the church is true! I love you all!

Elder Brian Burgess

Best Week So Far (February 9, 2015)

New Companion and Coyote Burger  (February 23, 2015)

Happiness and Prosperity - 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.


Elder Joshua Avery - Singapore Mission
Hey Family and Friends,

This week was awesome and I owe a lot of the success to my brother, Jake. He sent me some really inspired words that really rekindled a fire for this work. I am so lucky to have such great examples to follow.

I am worried about Jo**. We have not been able to reach him in 2 weeks, so I am worried he is dead in a ditch somewhere...I don't know if anyone other than us would know or care that much if he was. We are going to try and hunt him down this week.

I** was on date, but we feel like he has not been honest with us, so we are postponing his baptism so he can get his act together. He and his mom are taking a trip to Indonesia to find out what ever happened to I**'s dad. They have been out of touch for 20 years. They think he is probably dead. Hopefully this trip will bring them together.

Elder Li and I have felt prompted to thoroughly go through all of the potential investigators we have information for. It looks like no one has reached out to them in years, so there was a lot of gold to mine in there. One of the potential investigators we called was named Tha**. We set up an appointment with him at the church for Friday and he was so excited that he brought his daughter so she could learn too. He told us about the first time he met the elders, about two years ago. He was getting some food and something told him to go and talk to them. He met with them once and they gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He said that he loves the book so much that he gave one of his relatives who lives in Russia his copy because it teaches about Jesus Christ in such great detail. He was so excited to when we gave him another copy and he committed to read it and pray about it.

Zh**'s husband is visiting from China, and she is so much more happy. They have the cutest kid who is Abigail's age. She has been coming to church and all the other activities since November, and is more than half way through the Book of Mormon, but she still has not had a spiritual witness that it is true. That will be a focus this coming week.

Love you all!

Elder Avery

P.S. The color red represents happiness and prosperity. It's important in all celebrations (Chinese New Year is this week). Sunrider is a health and make-up store. One of our ward members opened a new store, so that's what the celebration in the mall was for.

Trust God (February 9, 2015)

Chinese New Year  (February 23, 2015)

Photo bomb
Elders Li and Avery with Sister Chris
Ipoh Malaysia Relief Society

Valentine's Day in Denmark - Elder Kolby Madsen

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

Elders Madsen and Ogden

Mor!

That will be so great to hear about Braden!  I am way excited to get the email.  I thought for sure I would be​ getting a video of Hannah’s homecoming, but hey, it’s good to hear that all is well with everyone and that she had a great homecoming.

That’s crazy! I did not know that Maren was willing to sing in front of the ward like that, but that sounds way good. It's good practice for her.  I have had to sing five or six times in front of a ward on my mission. You have to do that kind of stuff all the time, even if you're tone deaf like me. Haha! I have heard that Danish missionaries never leave Denmark, they always just want to come back. It's the best mission on earth! No joke, all 104 of us are in agreement, haha! I am so happy to stay in Slagelse.

Well, this week was so great. We had a good time.  Elder Wright is way funny and we get along great!  We had a ton of stuff to do this week, so that was good.  We were really busy. Somehow, more and more people found out that we are coming back to Denmark and they are way excited to meet the woman who had to put up with me for 18 years! We will be pretty busy in Sagelse when we come here. I guess that’s what happens when you're are blessed to live in an area for 7+ months, haha!  That's where I will be...a little over 7 months when it’s all said in done here in Slagelse!

Well, we had a fun time with some pictures we took with me and Elder Wright.  I hope you all like them. We were aiming for hipster pics, haha! It was way fun.

We actually had another one of our friends get reactivated this week. It was great.  We are hoping to get him a calling and get him to the temple soon, but we will see. Good stuff!

We had a rough start of the week though. We found out that Gø** was talking to Bishop and was looking forward to talking about the Book of Mormon a little more. But there was some confusion, and when we showed up to his house he was not even willing to really talk to us.  He said we can't talk to him anymore and that he can’t believe in the Book of Mormon and/or Joseph Smith, so we respected his wishes and told him if he needs anything that we are always willing and ready to help. It was a little sad, but it's okay. We found a couple of potential friends to teach, so that was good. That’s just how it is some time. He will come around no doubt.

We then had some fun things go down while teaching the law of chastity to To** and Ri**.  We taught them that they need to move out. It was funny because To** just acted like they don’t have an intimate relationship. We asked them both if they would be willing to live the law of chastity, and he said, "Well yeah, of course." So we asked what their plan was and they replied that they are not teenagers anymore, and they don’t need to be intimate and won't be.... so, they plan on moving out and getting everything settled and ready to separate, and then when they can get married, they will. It was a very good experience.

Well, Valentine’s Day is usually full of love and tender feeling towards one other. We had a great day doing service for some of our friends. We helped someone move and then helped someone else with his house, and it was great because his wife was there and they stayed the whole week together. It was great because by the end, they were in church together and had a great weekend.  He said he is ready to get things going on the house so they can sell it and he can move back in with his family.  It was a tender moment for us after all this time of getting him to stop seeing his mistress to now being with his wife for a week and getting all back to normal. Now they are in the process of making the steps necessary to get the family back!! It's so good!!

The Lord's love and mercy are all around us. In my opinion, the best calling anyone can accept in the church is that of missionary! Big or small, from our 8 year old freshly baptized members to our senior couples, the title of missionary is something we all commonly share as members of the church. It is a gift to share the Gospel. Some of us physically wear a name tag on our chest daily, and others on their hearts. Either way, it does not matter. We all have the opportunity to share the gospel at any time. Our mission call as members of the church is as great as the calling of a "full time" missionary." The only difference is that we (full time missionaries) have been set apart to give it our all for a time, and it is our only focus. Personally, I think it's easier for us because we only have one focus, and that’s missionary work. Others have work, family, school, and missionary work. We understand. We are ready when you are. Every member a missionary! The work can only go forth in a combined effort!  It’s the Lords work, not ours!

Love you all! Have a great week! Work hard and preach the gospel at all times. If needed, use words!


Med Kærlig Hilsen,

Ældste Madsen

Happy Wall (February 9, 2015)

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover  (February 23, 2015)


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Welcome Home, Hermana Avery! - Sister Hannah Avery


Sister Hannah Avery arrived home on February 11, 2015, after serving 18 months as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Following is a link to her final letter from her mission:

The Hardest Thing I Ever Loved To Do (February 2, 2015)

Sister Avery Says Goodbye for 18 Months (August 13, 2013)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Happy Birthday, Elder Avery! - 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.

Birthday Mango!
Dear Mom,

I haven't gotten the package yet. We'll see when we get stuff up here from Lima.

I cannot believe that I'm going to be 20 tomorrow...... I feel so old. Especially with my 18 year old companion. I got my call on Valentine's day in 2013, and this week will be 2 years since I got my call. Woooow. Hannah's going home too. It's just like the end of the world when I think about ending my mission. Sometimes I just need a pause button.

This transfer was soooo rough!! Can I just say that? I called President on Wednesday and we talked for a bit about the area, the district, and me. He told me that we have to be happy and edifying. ''The Spirit always edifies,'' he told me. He also talked about being consistent. He told me that we have to be constant and persistent. It's kind of tough when I have people looking to me for answers and I don't really have anything to offer. My companion is a fireball, which helps tremendously. We're having baptisms this transfer, no matter what!

I'm glad that things are going good at home. I just feel overly spoiled with all the blessings and privileges I've had in my life. Going without a shower because there's no running water is hardly a setback when I consider all of the blessings the Lord has given me. I'm trying to get through all of Preach my Gospel again and do all the activities at the back of each chapter, and I'm realizing that I will never get done before the end of my mission. It's a great book but there's so much to it. That's what I love about it. It helps a new missionary learn how to do simple things, but it helps more experienced missionaries appreciate the gospel, rather than just teaching it.

Anyways, I can ramble forever.

The Ga** family is being disagreeable. We're going to try to save them this week. We had a night to talk to their 30 year old kid who is a Catholic missionary. I don't know whose side this kid is on because sometimes he says that the Catholic church is bad, then sometimes he says that he'd never get baptized again, but either way I can't wait until he goes back to Cusco.

The Si** family is super interesting. The mom, Ca**, is super interested in why there are so many churches. We taught them about the first vision and they were soooo blown away. I was just thinking, ''Finally! Someone understands the magnitude!'' They had questions about how the Spirit works and how they can know if Joseph's testimony is true. We didn't even get around to teaching them about the Book of Mormon, but next time we will.

We helped one lady named Em** harvest sweet potatoes, and helped another lady chop down corn, then we played jump rope with a huge family. We're visiting them this week!!

Mom, share this with Dad. I just decided to make this my weekly report. I love you so much and I'm so grateful that you and Dad have been so valiant and have taught us so much about the gospel. Most moms aren't like you. I remember you reading to us for years and years, and I remember seeing you be at the top of your bio chem class and just thinking that I wanted to be super smart like my mom. I love you so much and hope you have a great week!

P.S. I'm spending my birthday money today!!

Love,

Elder Avery

Put the Lord First (February 2, 2015)

We Are Here To Baptize  (February 16, 2015)

Best Week So Far - 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 Everyone!

So on Friday we went to another leadership council at the mission home! Super amazing and spiritual conference! Always amazing breakfast and lunch as well, thanks to Sister Christensen!

But I heard some of the best news thus far on my mission on Tuesday....I was on divisions with the elders from Tezoquipan (our district leader) and President Christensen calls me..... so normally on the mission after we leave an area we can't go back. Even if it's for a baptism of a convert... But President Christensen called me and said he talked to Lo**, an investigator from my last area, Resurgimiento. And that he also talk to the Stake President and he invited me to go back to my area to be able to baptize Lo**. As a special once in a mission opportunity. So I took it!!!!

I went back to Resurgimiento on Saturday to baptize Lo**! She was and is one of the best investigators I have ever had. She is what we call a Golden Investigator. And I am so happy and privileged to have baptized her! She was crying to see me walk into the church again, and cried again to see Elder Mendoza my last companion show up as well! A very amazing day for her. A life changing moment that she decided to share with us again!

Then yesterday was the stake conference in Tlaxcala! Amazing day. I was able to see members from Zacatelco and Teotlalzingo (my two past areas) at the conference. And including the members I saw Saturday at the baptism. I was able to see three past areas in two days! I am so blessed!

Mi** is progressing toward her baptism this next Saturday. Pray that everything will go as it should. She is so excited!

I am so grateful for every single day and minute and second I have to be a missionary!  I love being a part of this great work.

Know that you are loved.

Elder Burgess

Mole: Not the Animal (February 2, 2015)

Stellar Week  (February 16, 2015)

Trust God - 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.

Elder Josh Avery - Singapore Mission
Dear Family and Friends,

This week I can't wrote as much because I failed to listen to the advice of my Mom and countless others who told me to learn to type.

I am really starting to like the new elders in our apartment, especially Elder Baker. He is sooo funny. He served in the Army for two years and gets deployed to Afghanistan 3 months after he gets back. He is an awesome district leader!

Things have been great in Ipoh. Yesterday Elder Li and I taught a recent convert after church. This lesson was in Mandarin and we were told that we only had 15 minutes. I was a little worried because my stutter has been really bad when I try to speak in Chinese. I said a little prayer in my heart and went into the lesson feeling confident. I was amazed as I taught. I didn't even have to think about the language as I taught because the words just came out and she understood almost all of what I said. The biggest miracle of all was that I didn't stutter in the lesson. I was so happy that we could be edified by the Spirit without my stutter getting in the way.

I have learned a lot about Asian culture, and one of the big things is Chinese people (specifically, the men) like to keep to themselves. When you knock on a Chinese person's gate, the last thing they are thinking is, "Please, white guy speaking broken Chinese, baptize me." It's a miracle that from time to time we find someone prepared who will let us in. The gospel overcomes all cultural and racial differences. The bond that comes from knowing we are all children of our Heavenly Father can soften even the hardest and most introverted hearts.

Love you all!

Elder Avery

We Are All Broken (February 2, 2015)

Happiness and Prosperity  (February 16, 2015)


The little creature Elder Li is holding is a chichoc, which is Malay for lizard. They are everywhere!

Happy Wall - 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!

I was just in Copenhagen today because I dropped  Elder Ogden off to be the new Assistant to the President. Haha! Two in a row! I am so blessed to have the opportunity to stay in SLAGELSE!! It's great. My new companion is Elder Wright.  He is great and we will do some great work.

Well, this week was hectic. We had a ton of stuff to do. It ended up being way good! We started off with some great appointments and kept tabs on our friend Jo** to make sure that he got all his stuff taken care of for the temple. We will get to that later. But the week was way good!

We had a good time with our friend Na**.  She took us to play badminton and it was good. Badminton is way competitive here. It was great, and we had a blast. Next week we are hoping to go boxing, so that should be fun.

We had a good day on Wednesday, but somehow I got a bug because I was way sick. I threw up like five times, but it takes more than that to keep me down, Satan! We just bounced back and taught the people any way.

After that, the Lord blessed us and we were able to have some great lessons with people, as well as some great experiences. One of them being that we were able to go to the temple with Jo** as he received his endowment. The change in him has been so amazing - from not going to church because of a headache to the morning of his big day at the temple.  His head was hurting, but he was not going to allow a little head pain to hold him back. The next day he had another head ache. But he powered through, came to church, and taught an amazing lesson. This is the same guy that should not have left his house three months ago due to head aches. Does the Lord bless His children? YES! Does He help those who help themselves and rely on Him? YES! Does he endow his children as they have made the decision to serve a mission and prepare by going to the temple? YES! We had a great time in the temple with him. He was so happy and smiling from ear to ear. He was so grateful and excited! He told us that he was so happy to have his eternal friends with him in the temple.

It was a very touching moment to see how much he has grown and the strong spirit he has with him. Just being allowed to be with him through it all makes inviting others to come unto Christ have a whole new meaning. Through his example, he has invited me to come closer to Christ. It’s never too late! His arms are always open! We had a great zone training this week. President Sederholm gave us live transfers and told us what was going to happen again - really bitter sweet.  I was so happy to hear that I was staying and that Elder Ogden was going to be the new assistant to the President, but it was bitter to see him leave. I love that kid! But hey, time to love Elder Wright! It's way good.

Well, it's been a great week. Many great things!  It started out great, got a little sticky, but throughout it all very good.

Well, sorry this is short. We had to get everything going and get Elder Wright from Copenhagen, so yeah. Love you! Have a great week. The church is true!!!

Photo: What happens when you give four missionaries two hours to walk the streets of Copenhagen on a preparation day, while waiting for their new companions? #DisciplesofChristMission

We made this on the big green wall in the center of Copenhagen - it was way fun! #happywall

Love,

Elder Kolby Madsen

I Am Not Trunky (February 2, 2015)

Valentine's Day in Denmark  (February 16, 2015)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Put the Lord First - 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.

I have some good news! V** told her relative that she wants to get married this Valentine's Day. It's hard to find people to teach because they work all day! J** and D** did a tour of the church with us and basically accepted our invitation to be baptized the 28th of Febrero. I say "basically" because they said yes, but they aren't committing to attend church. Faith, faith.

We had interviews with President Archibald, and he told me a few interesting things. Before I share them, I want to explain that these things are not to offend, but to get an idea of what we're really doing as missionaries in this part of the world. President told me that the people here work too much. A burro can work all day, and can even work harder than a person, but that's all they do. Animals sleep and eat, just like people. A dog can get drunk and you can even teach a monkey how to smoke a cigar. All these things that people think is "life" is the same that stuff animals do. We're human, and we're children of God. It takes a child of God to think about spiritual things and to do other human things. When was the last time you wrote a poem? When was the last time you even read a poem? So, when people are working all day and night trying to put a 3rd floor on their house, they should remember that it's better to stick with 2 floors and live like human beings.

Well, I guess that sums it up. As missionaries we can help people realize what they really are. We are not animals at all, but I feel like we sometimes live like them. I'm trying to find a good way to share that with investigators.

Vi** is a newer investigator we found. I've only taught him twice, but he's such a good guy. He gave us a ride in his motor-tricycle. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he was excited to have it.

Ve**, a rescued member, got her first few ancestors added to her family history account. The branch is starting to understand how to retain converts and help less active members better. All in all, I'm doing okay. But, like President told me, ''you're in for the long haul.''

I love you so much! I'm not trunky yet (**this means to be excited to come home), but I have had dreams about the family several times this last week. I also had a dream that I was trying to get a guy to pray. Like, insisting relentlessly. Welcome to the mission ;) I hope things go well :) I can't believe how fast time flies! Let's put the Lord first and He won't put us last :)

Love,
Elder Jake Avery

Beans, Water Balloons, and Old Folks (January 26, 2015)

Happy Birthday, Elder Avery!  (February 9, 2015)

We Are All Broken - 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.

Elders Lallemant, Avery and Li
Hello Family and Friends!
This week has been another great week full of miracles. We got two new missionaries because the previous English speaking elders were whitewashed (that means they were both transferred out at the same time). I am so impressed by these two new elders. They work so hard and are full of gratitude for the blessings God has given them. I could talk about a lot of different things this week, but I think I want to focus on what I have learned from the members this week.
We have a very old man in our branch named Brother On**. He has been in charge of teaching the priesthood class since I got here and I hate to say it, but he is not the most lively teacher. He is monotone, talks really softly, and sometimes says things that are not exactly church doctrine. I must confess, I had some unkind feelings towards him because of this.

I was humbled this week when we helped an older lady in our branch scrape the old paint off of her gate. After we helped her, she told us how she has been a member of the church since her kids were small. While her kids were still little, her husband left them. She lived far away and had no way of getting to and from church. Brother On** and another guy in the branch (who I have also struggled with) were the two men who would always come out of their way to give her family a ride to church.

So, this week Elder Li and I invited Brother On** to come to two of our lessons, and he enthusiastically accepted. The first person we visited was Iv**. Brother On** shared a powerful testimony of the priesthood and what it means to hold the priesthood. I thought it was so great for Iv** to hear that, and we made sure to let Brother On** know how much it meant to us that he would take the time to come with us.

Frogs - YUM!!!
Two days later, Elder Li and I were helping at the church with the institute class when Brother On** knocked on the classroom door. Elder Li and I walked out of the class to see what was up, and noticed there was another man with Brother On**. The man introduced himself as the owner of a multimillion dollar bed and breakfast under construction next to the church. He said that he wants his daughter to meet with us, and he wants her to come to English class with us. I don't know how Brother On** talked to him or what happened before that, but it was a miracle!

I want to tell you that I know God truly does love broken things. Yes, Brother On** is the same every Sunday. Yes, his nose hairs are far out of his nose and some of the things he says aren't perfectly in line with church doctrine...but, so what? Aren't we all broken in some way? Had I not let go of my pride, I would not have had the privilege of getting to know a great man. Every person has a part and place in the kingdom, and God uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise. Those weak things are you, me, and the guys in our branch/ward who we struggle with.
To answer your question, I am not dreaming in Chinese, but it is getting better. I wake up in the middle of the night praying in Chinese, so that's different, haha. This past week I memorized Ether 12:27 in Chinese. It is a great tool. I can understand people pretty well now, but it is hard for me to talk to them still. I stutter really bad in Chinese :/ Don't know why.
Feng Jun Jie
The photos: The white stuff on my bag is the salt from how much I sweat, haha :) The food with all the green stuff on it is sting ray, and the one in the bowl is frog. Stingray is great, but doesn't have much meat. The writing is Feng (my last name) and Jun Jie (my first name).
Love you all!
Elder Avery

Transfer News  (January 25, 2015)

Trust God  (February 9, 2015)

Elders Sanford and Avery

President and Sister Mains came to visit us in Ipoh

Stingray

Elders Avery and Li, Singapore Mission

Sunset in Ipoh, Malaysia

View from our balcony in Ipoh

I Am Not Trunky - 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.

Elder Kolby Madsen
Mor,

Well for starters, I do not have any information about transfers. President sent out a message saying we will be getting the call on Friday, so I am guessing we will find out right after zone training. I will just tell you next Monday. I could be somewhere else... I guess that is just how it is, haha.

That’s so great to hear about Maren and Lindsey. I'm excited for Maren. The experiences she is getting now with be a strength to her throughout her life. (**Maren is serving in the temple until her mission to Arkansas.)

This week was super fast, but a little slower work wise. We had some people who were sick, and we had two days this week that we had to be in Copenhagen, so that was okay.

We also had some crazy things happen. Elder Peterson finally got out of the hospital and went to the mission home with President Sederholm. He will be going home early this week instead of next week, due to his health problems. Pretty sad, but he is in good hands and everything will work out. He is fighting through it all, just like a champ. It’s great to see that his last week in the land a lady that he has taught and been able to talk to almost weekly got baptized after about four years of telling the missionaries that she did not believe in God. And she was able to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead on Saturday, so that was way good. We are way happy for Elder Peterson.

We had a great week, despite people being sick. It all went well. We were able to have Jo** in church yesterday. He blessed the sacrament, bore is testimony, then talked to bishop. We found out that Jo** had already been through the temple preparation class, and he came out of his interview with a big smile and his endowment temple recommend in hand. He plans on going to the temple to receive his own endowment on Saturday, so that should be way good. Making covenants. And to think that he was completely inactive about two months ago! The Lord knows His sheep!

We had a meeting in Copenhagen and it was the last time I will see Elder Earl until I go home. That was way weird, saying good bye. He leaves next week.

We had a good time meeting with Na** this week. We were able to talk to her friend again, and we were able to get her to give us her address. We are excited to get the information. She will one day be baptized. She believes in many of the same things, just has a problem with the "rules" of the church. But she will one day get it all figured out. No doubt.

We had another opportunity to see "The Other Side of Heaven" this week, and it was great. I recommend that you all watch that movie because there are parts in that movie that are very relate-able to most missionaries. It’s funny to see the struggles that he goes through and to think, "Wow, that reminds me of so and so," or of a similar situation.

There are at least three things in that movie that I know I will experience. They just come later on in life. One that hit me was at the very end when he is saying goodbye to everyone on the island. I could not help it....the thoughts just came. I AM NOT TRUNKY. I could just see how hard it was for him to leave, and it was not a fun feeling thinking that will be happening to me at some point. But it's just a part of life. It was hard to watch this time because I put myself in his shoes, and it was not fun.

Well, anyway, as I watched the movie this time, I thought of Moroni, chapter 7, in the Book of Mormon. It's a very good chapter, and there is a section of the chapter that talks about how anything that is good comes from God. As I was watching this, I was thinking about this scripture and how it's going to be hard, but it’s also going to be good. There is a reason that we come out here, get so attached to a new place, new people, and a new us, then get thrown back into a mixture of who we are at that moment and a life that seems to be the same as it was before, but in all reality is much different. In all phases.

I am trying to accept the fact that it will all come to an end, without being negative towards going home. I'm going to roll with the punches. I think the hard part is when you get transferred, for example, you get a new companion and new people to find and teach, but you have the same focus, the same work, and the same guide. The same purpose.

Our purpose should always be the same. Rely on the Lord, involve Him in our lives and our actions, and always preach the gospel. We should preach the gospel at all times and, if we have to, use words! Show charity to those around us, always thinking what Christ would do. It does not matter what their background is, their story, or their family situation. They are God's children, just like us. God loves us all the same. I know he does, and he wants what is best for us!

Med Kærlig Hilsen

Ældste Madsen

 Temple Trip (January 26, 2015)

Happy Wall  (February 9, 2015)

The Hardest Thing I Ever Loved To Do - 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, Chile Vina del Mar Mission
Friends and Family,

As I write this email, I feel the greatest sense of peace and joy in my heart. Eighteen months ago, I left my home and heart in Utah and made my way out into the world, not knowing what exactly would happen in that year and a half, but trusting in the Lord with all of my heart that no matter what, it would all be worth it.

I entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Mexico City with excitement, but a few short hours later, realized the intensity and importance of my calling, and I felt unqualified. I spent my mornings praying in tears to find the love of Christ in my heart to go help the people waiting for me and this Gospel, here in Chile. Days of unceasing prayer brought answers from my Father in Heaven. The words that got me through were from Elder Richard G. Scott. He said, "Remember, the Lord has called you to succeed, not to fail. Sometimes, it may seem terribly hard, but He wants you to grow. He will not abandon you. He inspired your call. He knows who you are. He knows what you need. He knows what He wants you to become, and the mission experience is an opportunity He has given you to discover things about yourself that you never knew... capacities you never knew you had, and the capacity to love and serve which will sustain you throughout the rest of your life. Remember, you have been called, and He will fit the task to your capabilities." To this day, I remember feeling like the Lord really was with me and would truly walk every footstep that I was preparing myself to take.

There are many life-lessons and amazing things that I have learned here. Everyday of the mission, I have come home with dirty, sore and swollen feet. But you know what? The physical pain that I feel after walking around all day doesn't even come close to the joy that I feel when teaching others about the Gospel and watching their lives change for the better. As I look at the pair of shoes on my feet right now, that I have used every single day of my mission, I see not only the wear and tear that Chile has put on my shoes, but I see how every step that I have made here has helped me become the person and missionary that God needed and wanted me to become. For me, it was only possible to do here. I have grown to love these people and this country so very much.

I thank my Heavenly Father without ceasing, for my converts who received the word of God, which they heard from me and my companion, but "they received the word not of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in them to believe," (see 1Thessalonians 2:3-13).

My second birthday in Chile :)
Seeing the Holy Ghost testify to others that our words were true was something I will never forget. It's something I can't explain, and a joy that I hope to relive one day. I have seen broken lives made beautiful and whole through the Gospel and love of Christ and our Heavenly Father. I once heard the theology that we as human beings, are like a wall. Over time, our wall gets cracked, colored on, and broken. With the Atonement of Christ, our wall is made clean, and the cracks filled in. His grace and mercy are sufficient enough to save any soul who has the desire to know Him, and accept Him in their lives.

I've walked paths I had never set foot on before. I went to strange places, beautiful places, and left my heart in four small cities in Chile, hoping that my efforts would make the difference in the lives of some of the people there. My heart once belonged to my family, my friends, and my home in Utah. Now, my heart belongs to my Lord and Savior, my Heavenly Father, and his sweet children that I love so very much here in Ovalle, Achupallas, Chorrillos, and Tierras Blancas Chile.

A once unqualified sister missionary, I now come home to you as a witness and firm believer that Jesus Christ lives. Thanks to a year and a half serving along side my Savior, I understand the worth of each and every person in the sight of God. I understand what it feels like to be mocked, humiliated and ridiculed for testifying of the truth. I understand what it feels like to see someone's life changed, thanks to the love of the Savior. I testify that He lives! He KNOWS us and loves us more than we can imagine.

Jesus wants us to be happy, and for that, He calls young missionaries without experience into a world of sin and sadness to show people everywhere that He is the Christ, and that there IS hope and a second chance at life. There IS life after death, and we all have the opportunity to live with our families and our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, if we are willing to take up our cross and walk with Him (see Mark 10:21). I took up my cross, and everyday of my life I plan to carry it until I can place it at the feet of my Savior, and tell Him that I did the best that I could.

Hermanas Avery and Moreno, Chile Vina del Mar Mission
I know this church is true. I know that this Gospel saves lives and makes us happy. I am forever grateful and indebted to my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ for these 18 months of pure blessings and happiness. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it :) The mission truly was, the hardest thing I ever loved to do.

Have a wonderful week guys! Thank you again for all of the love, support and prayers that you have given me and my family throughout my mission. May the Lord forever bless you all for the things you have done and sacrificed for me to be here. I'll see you from the top of the escalator :)

With all my love, Hermana Avery

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feeling 22! (January 26, 2015)

Welcome Home, Hermana Avery!  (February 11, 2015)

MOLE: Not the animal - 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.

MOLE: Not the animal!
Hey family! Hey friends! Hey you!

Amazing week! So we were able to go on divisions with Elder Hernandez and Elder West in Texmelucan on Tuesday. I went to Texmelucan with Elder Hernandez (he was actually my companion for about 3 weeks in Zacatelco, very funny and cool elder). Then we also did divisions with the Assistants on Wednesday. I was with Elder Araujo, working in my area (Tule). It was nice being with him again. Very fun day working! Very spiritual lessons! He was also my companion for 2 changes once in Zacatelco and once in Fuertes. So I guess it's been a week with past companions!

My companion and I visited a couple members throughout the week as well. We showed up at the Relief Society President's house and she was making MOLE! Not the animal! Just Google search it. Here in Tlaxcala they have these huge pots to cook in (looks like a cauldron!). In that pot there are 4 turkeys, 4 chickens and 4 ducks. Mexicans sure do know how to throw good parties! A lot of food and music! Haha. They invited us to stay and eat (we couldn't resist) MUY SABROSO EL MOLE!

Today, in a the early afternoon, we traveled up to one of the branches in the mission. The branches in the mission (branch of the church, not a tree) are so pretty! Very green landscapes and a lot of unique stuff. I took some pictures and I will attach them.

Ni**, an investigator from one of the wards in our district, invited to take us up to look around. She has a couple pharmacies and a couple nice cars. She called us and said, "Elders should I take my Cadillac, my Dodge Ram, or my SUV?" I told her, "The Cadillac will be just fine!" haha!

So she drove us up, Elder Olea and I, and Elder Enos and his companion, Elder Ayala.  There was a lot of fog in Chignahuapan! We were going to go all the way up to Zacatlan, but we didn't have time. Because in Chignahuapan we bought some famous (mission fadish) Chignahuapan shoes (picture attached, of the store). I remember some bracelets back in high school made out of nylon or a similar fabric. Well, these shoes are just the same material. But even cooler!

In Chignahuapan there is a famous Catholic church with a guge Mary and Jesus from floor to ceiling made out of wood! So we went and took some pictures!

I am so happy! I hope you are as well!

"Be yourself, and let yourself be Christ-like. That way you can be your best self" - Brian Alma Burgess

Know you are loved,
Elder Burgess


The Amazing Adventures of Elder Burgess
(January 26, 2015)

Best Week So Far  (February 9, 2015)