Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mexico MTC Week 3 - Sister Maren Madsen

Written by Sister Maren Madsen, training at the Mexico Missionary Training of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She will be serving in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission, speaking Spanish.

Europe sounds and looks like a blast! Definitely get some sleep, I'm sure you are pooped! Seriously, my hair is not that red, everyone is crazy! No, our whole zone consists of 5 sisters still, which is alright because we get along great! I really feel like they are my temporary family. We will get new people in a couple weeks...maybe.

So this week was pretty good. We have been teaching our investigator Patricia, and she is a hard one to crack. Her son is a member and wants to serve a mission, but she is a catholic school teacher. Hermana Siler hates teaching her because, unlike the other investigators, she is very sullen and serious lots of the time. I really enjoy teaching her because I feel like if I were an investigator, we would be similar. Besides that, I always feel the spirit in the lessons with her. Yesterday was especially good because we invited her to baptism and she said yes!! I was so happy because the lesson before she was showing us scriptures about one baptism, and one God in Ecclesiastes, and it was easy for us to give her the answer because we know the the truth about how baptism is supposed to be. I also had to tell her that when she was baptized as a baby it wasn't done with proper authority. Needless to say, it was awkward.

Our lessons would be nothing without the Holy Ghost, and if there is one thing I needed to learn this week it was that. President Holland gave a talk at the Provo MTC about the companionship of the Holy Ghost that is amazing. It was given in June 2009... certainly worth listening to. I love it because it not only applies to missionaries but all members. This is Jesus Christ's church and He does lead it through revelation. I know that this the ONLY way we can be eternally happy, and for that I am forever grateful for my amazing support system at home, who understood the importance of this gospel and the necessity for its membership.

Hurrah For Israel!


Hermana Madsen

Mexico MTC Week 2  (April 23, 2015)

Mexico MTC Week 4  (May 7, 2015)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Baptism! - 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!

First off...Happy Birthday to my Mom!!! Love you!

Alright, so Saturday was Brother Gi**'s baptism! So great! He originally was going to be baptized with his daughter F** as well, but she got really discouraged. My prayers are still strong for her! And if now isn't her time, one day she will accept and be baptized!

It was an amazing experience seeing our ward mission leader baptize brother Gi**. He is my companion's first convert, and I am very excited that I could be there with him at the baptism! Brother Gi** is super happy and progressing even more in the gospel after his baptism, with faith that one day his daughters will accept the gospel! His family (members) from Veracruz and the Federal District went to his baptism as well! It was an amazing day! I still am sooooo happy!

In the picture Gi** is standing next to me, then brother Uriel (ward mission leader) is standing next to Elder Concha.

I sure love you all! Know that you are in my prayers!

I don't wanna get trunky, but... I will see you all in two weeks!

Elder Brian Burgess

Miracles and Tears (April 13, 2015)

Last Full Week in the Field  (May 4, 2015)

Interview with Presidente - 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.

So this week we had interviews with President Archibald. I explained to him a few of the issues and concerns I had. One was the lack of success in Vegueta while Huara had started baptizing. He told me ''Huara was never Vegueta... Huara was never Vegueta.'' That was kind of a wakening thought. Oh, so I am in a tough area, well then I'll stop worrying so much.

I think that if I had known that I was going to be here for six months I would have started a little more calmly. I was looking for opportunities to get quick baptisms, but something I needed to learn about Vegueta is that the people all move together. ''That ship ain't gonna turn on a dime,'' President told me. I told him how we wanted to squeak in just one baptism, but he told me that there's going to be consequences for doing things the wrong way. Especially when it comes to teaching families and things like that, you gotta do it right instead of dragging someone to the font. ''Now I understand that there's wanting to add to your personal profile of 20 sum baptisms,'' (I'm in shock that he knows how many I've had) ''but you have to do things right.''

We talked a bit about the elders in my district, and I was surprised that he knew them so well. I'm expecting some changes this transfer but I don't know who goes or who comes. But I do know who I want to go and who I want to come ;) Just kidding! I have a great group of elders, but they make me feel old. There's one companionship of two 18 year olds.

Today I'm going on a change with the Zone Leaders (that means I'm loved)!  Elder Picuasi is going to manage the area alone! He's doing a lot better this week. I think that getting used to things around here is helping him a lot. He's still not used to Peru, but whatever. I love sleeping in a mud house with a sugar cane roof ... ;)

I'm feeling good :) which is great! I'm sure it has to do with you guys :) I love you all and can't wait to tell you all of my good stories. I filled up my second journal. Well, I have 4 journals and 2 are full and the others are about 80 percent full. Aren't you glad that I wrote? Love you guys.

Elder Jake Avery

El Arte de Aprender Callarse (April 20, 2015)

Cambios  (May 4, 2015)

Melaka - Elder Joshua Avery

New companion, Elder Earl
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,

Melaka is so awesome! I love it here. It is so beautiful! I have never seen so much exotic wildlife in my life, and it is all right outside. It is also very ethnically diverse. Most of Malaysia is comprised mainly of Indians, Malays, and Chinese. But here they have Arabs, and people from Sudan, Pakistan, Africa, Iraq and all over. It is pretty cool. Melaka's infrastructure is also pretty comparable to the U.S., that was a little bit of a surprise.

Elder Earl has been out longer than any other missionary in the mission and this will be his last transfer. His Chinese is way good and he can teach very simply in Malay. He isn't the quiet type, but he is quiet. He knows where to go and what to do and is teaching me a lot. He is also from Orem. He and Elder Wadsworth (my previous companion) go home at the same time.

On Friday we met with this very elderly member named La**. He wanted us to put him in his wheelchair and walk around, so that's what we did. As we were walking he wanted to pray, so he just started praying loud for everyone to hear as we pushed him through the neighborhood. I was a little worried the Malays would be upset by that, but I think they all know he is old and a little crazy.

We have a Nepali recent convert here named Mo** who has been a great help to us. He has a group of 5 friends that he wants us to teach. After he finished work on Saturday night, he hopped (he is so short he literally has to hop to get on his little bike) on his bike and biked with us for about 45 minutes to get to his friends' house. I was worried the little guy was gonna die going up the hills, but somehow we made it. Elder Earl, Mo**, 5 of his friends , and I squeezed into the smallest little room and we taught them. Mo** then stayed overnight at their house so he could take them to church the next day. About fifteen minutes before Sacrament Meeting started, Mo** and one of his friends came into the church dripping sweat. They told us that the bus never came so they had walked 45 minutes to church. It was crazy! The members here are amazing.

I love you all!

Elder Josh Avery

Baptism and Transfer News (April 20, 2015)

God's Love for Us  (May 4, 2015)

A member in our ward

Elder Earl with Mo's Friends
A beautiful church in Maleka

Biking home

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mexico MTC Week 2 - Sister Maren Madsen

Written by Sister Maren Madsen, training at the Mexico Missionary Training Center. She will serve in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission, speaking Spanish.

Mexico City Temple

Denmark looks so awesome. Sometimes I forget I am in different country because the CCM is crazy different from anything you see on the streets of Mexico. We were able to go to the temple this morning and I have pictures. It was cool and I got to see the sister missionaries in the Visitors' Center trying to learn English and having to bear their testimonies and talk in a different language. I felt their pain. It's kinda sad that I get so excited when we are allowed to speak in Spanish, but at the same time, I feel guilty, like I am not practicing with the knowledge the Lord is giving me. #thestruggleisreal#

I really truly can see how much I have been blessed, although sometimes it is hard because I see how much further I need to go. But we get by just fine. I love the feeling we get after coming out of a lesson that was pretty good for people only really learning Spanish for two weeks. It's so peaceful, and we get a such a spiritual high that all we want to do is teach more.

We taught a lesson yesterday and it wasn't really planned at all, which is a big no no. But as we were teaching I had a thought that we should invite her to read the title page of the Book of Mormon. Just as I turned to my companion to tell her that, she started to extend the invitation to the investigator. I was shocked! I have heard countless stories about this happening to missionaries, but I have never realized how special it is until I was able to experience it myself.

We teach our first TRC on Saturday, which is an actual inactive member from one of the stakes in Mexico. SCARY!! I know that if we put forth effort and give trust in the Lord, He will provide!

Something I need to tell you, I have been asked by several different people if my hair is red.... what the heck?! I take ten minutes every morning looking in the mirror in shock....what is Mexico doing to me?! I also found out that we might be able to call on Mothers' Day, but I am not 100 percent sure. I'll keep you posted.

I hope Sabrina is doing good. She needs to write me on  missionary package MX!! Also, we still haven't finished any of the packages. As much as I love getting them, I would prefer letters. I just know that they cost money, and we get fed so well here that we never have time to eat the food.

So Thursday and Friday last week was horrible. I was not focused at all because it was my first time writing home and I was pretty homesick. Then Hermana Siler and I were able to talk our feelings out and cry a little and all was back to normal... mostly. But I know that there are always rainbows after the storm and there have been countless rainbows this week. He is so merciful. I am so grateful for this experience and all the blessings I have received thus far. This church is true and I feel I can't say it enough. I love to teach with my testimony, and learn by the spirit. I have homework for y'all and don't complain, just do it. Go on YouTube and listen to the January 2013 talk given by Elder Holland at the Provo MTC. I think every single missionary in the room was crying when we watched it. It is so powerful and encouraging, not only for missionaries but others too.


Hermana Madsen

First Week in the Mexico MTC (April 16, 2015)

Mexico MTC Week 3  (April 30, 2015)

Mexico City Temple Visitors' Center


Monday, April 20, 2015

El Arte de Aprender Callarse - 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 (he left his camera in Lima, so I'm using old photos).
"The Art of Shutting Up." That's the art I'm going to have to learn this week. My companion and I get along well and are learning together how to do the work of salvation. Our only problem is that my companion loves to talk...a lot. Talking is essential to being a missionary. That's how we we contact, teach, invite the Spirit and share experiences. But another crucial skill is the art of learning to shut up.

Preach My Gospel advises us to not be afraid of silence because it helps people analyze, feel the Spirit, and learn things by themselves. The fear of silence often comes when missionaries think that they are there to teach a lesson, and forget that they're there to teach a person. We need to understand that we don't need to answer every question, touch every point, and share every bit of information in our heads. That is not how people learn.

Can you imagine the Savior trying to teach us all that He knows in a 30 minute lesson? Of all that He knows about the restoration? That would be impossible and completely unnecessary. As missionaries we teach the gospel to help people come unto Christ, but that journey is traveled step by step, as is any other voyage we embark upon. The steps are only achieved if a person obtains knowledge and ACTS on that knowledge, so it does no good to teach the restoration in so much detail that it takes an hour and a half to finish. We need to focus on the first step someone needs to take to come unto Christ, and help them learn and act on that first step.

 After accepting a first lesson, an investigator's next step will be to pray about the prophet, Joseph Smith, then read and pray about the Book of Mormon. That's all. To help them understand the importance of these two steps we'll have to explain the restoration, ask them to ponder about it, and bear our ONLY saying what they NEED to know to help them take those steps. Anything else is fluff, and they'll forget about it the next day. I've found that taking pauses and reading their facial expressions helps me know what to say. There's no crime or shame in taking two seconds to talk. Jesus, even though He knows everything, would pause just to help people learn. So, if He's taking pauses knowing everything, how often should we take pauses if we're learning together with our investigators?

In another note, this week I'm going to have interviews with my mission president, and I'm hoping to learn a lot from him. I'm still wondering what the Lord wants from me, given that he's put me in two of the roughest areas in the mission for more than half my mission. On top of that, I'm training a companion who I feel completely unqualified to train.... I keep telling myself that God must really trust me ;)

We found a new investigator named Ro**. She has a cousin who was baptized a few weeks ago and now she wants to learn! I'm very optimistic about her. I'm just worried that her family will cause her problems because she's still in her 20's, in school, and depends on them. We'll see.

Our mini Zion area is working out, I think, because all of the old people say hi to us and are nice to us. Hey, that's improvement! Now if we can just baptize them all and make a señors' singles' ward ;)

So, there's the updates this week :) I can't wait to send baptismal pictures, but until then I'm going to have to find someone to baptize.

I love you guys! Thanks for your support, help, and especially your prayers. Have a great week!

Elder Jake Avery

Bold and Valiant Fish (April 13, 2015)

Interview with Presidente  (April 27, 2015)

Baptism and Transfer News - 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,

I have witnessed many miracles, but I would say the biggest and best of all is the one that happened in the Avery home. Jared got a hair cut!!! haha!

We are waiting for transfer news and I am so excited but nervous also! I love Ipoh, and I hope I stay. The members, investigators, food, and everything is the best. Jesus Christ can truly allow us to adapt to any circumstance. (I'm being transferred to Malacca! My companion will be Elder Earl. He is super experienced and goes home next transfer. Elder Lallemant will be my district leader! I'll still be in West Malaysia, so I should be good for Skype on Mother's Day!)

We had so many miracles this week! Here are 3 awesome ones :)

1. We were planning the baptism for Li** and I had a feeling we needed to invite someone, but I couldn't think of who it was! Then it clicked. Jo**! I called and he said he had been in Penang, so that's why we hadn't seen him. He walked to the baptism, and then to church the next day. Not only that, but he brought a friend to church for Elders Baker and Cocq to teach!  :)

2. On Saturday we were busy getting ready for the baptism, but Elder Wadsworth and I felt like we needed to go out finding. The Spirit prompted Elder Wadsworth to go visit a woman who he and Elder Baker had met on exchanges earlier that week. When we went to visit her there was no answer, but we were sure that the Spirit had brought us there for some reason. We began knocking in that area and the Spirit led us down a road we hadn't thought of going down before.

Every door we knocked rejected us, until we met Lin**. We knocked on her gate and she was excited to see us! She told us that she had met elders before, and she asked if the church had sent us. We told her yes (haha!) and shared a short message about the Plan of Salvation. She explained that her husband had died only a couple of years ago. She was sad because he died a Buddhist and she is a Christian. We explained to her that there is hope still for her to be with her husband for eternity.

She invited us to come back yesterday so we could teach her and her 14 year old son. The Spirit was strong in the lesson and afterwards the son told us, "Wow! I have learned a lot today!" He told us that he would read, ponder, and ask God if the Book of Mormon is true. We are excited to continue to meet with them.

3. Li**'s baptism was amazing! I have never been at a baptism where the Spirit was stronger. Everyone was crying! After the baptism, Li** shared a wonderful, heartfelt testimony about Jesus Christ and eternal families. I am so grateful that I got to teach her and watch her grow!  :)

Love You All!

Elder Avery

40 Day Fast (April 13, 2015)

Maleka  (April 27, 2015)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Week in the Mexico MTC - Sister Maren Madsen

Written by Sister Maren Madsen, training in the Mexico Missionary Training Center (CCM) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, learning Spanish. She will serve in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission.

Hermanas Madsen and Siler - Mexico MTC

Sorry if I use lots of these < random carrot symbols. It's in place of the shift key on English keyboards and I am just too lazy to go back through and fix all of them. :)  Just know, if there is a < it means capital letter.

The plane ride here was not too bad. There were 11 of us in our "generation" (got here the same day), and there are only 6 hermanas in our district. The elders who flew in with us are part of another district that has 2 hermanas and 3 elders. So we are super small compared to what it will be like in the summer when all the missionaries who are Sabrina, Braden, and Michael's age come in.

Mi compañera es Hermana Siler. She is seriously so awesome! We quickly realized that we were the most perfectly paired companionship in the district. We both want to work our hardest for the next five weeks and we study a lot. Although sometimes I get distracted, which is so unlike me ;) She is 21 and has only been a member of the church for 18 months. We get along so well! I am especially grateful because she knows how to take my sarcasm and has no problem throwing right back at me, which I love. Although there is one catch, she is kinda "granola," as Heidi would put it, because she is from Oregon. I am also learning how to be more punctual and organized because her OCD-ness is one of her stronger traits. :) I love it...most of the time :) I love her so much!

We taught our first investigator, Isaac (eee-sack), in Spanish the second day we were here. That was probably one of the most crazy experiences I have ever had. It stunk. The lesson was terrible and we sounded like hillbillies attempting to speak Español while suffering from tourettes. But after the first lesson we kind of had a base, and the following lessons were much better.

Our lessons were very planned out, thanks to Hermana Siler, and the Spirit is so much stronger than the words that needed to be said. That is super good because, although our Spanish is getting better, we still kind of sound like idiots. Good thing investigators only want to hear the Spirit.

We were told Isaac was a real investigator, so naturally we were super nervous for his salvation, because it was in our hands. We prayed for him in almost every prayer for the the last week, and we committed him to baptism which was not as scary as I thought it would be. But yesterday we found out that he is actually a member of the church and will be teaching our class for this upcoming week. I should have known! I used to be so good at finding garment lines on people.

Saturday night Hermana Chapin (roommate in our district) started to have stomach pains, and she ended up spending all Sunday at the hospital with appendicitis. So instead of having Hermana Pouliot stay with her all week while she recovers, they had each of us take 12 hour "shifts" at the hospital. That way no one person would miss all the work. I got Monday night to Tuesday morning, and that was super lucky because I didn't miss any classes. I got to know her pretty well, and all about her family and her missionary (every hermana in my district has a missionary out), so that meant more travel to and from the CCM (say-say-em-ay) in the dirty city. The more I look around the city, and hear guns going off (they told us they are fireworks, but nobody does that during the day...and they always seem to be followed by policia sirens), and hear music all night because the city is way loud (but super unique and pretty at the same time), I am glad that my mission is in the States. I guess I'm just a home body :)

There is an elder in our zone that had us convinced he was from Germany for the whole week until last night when they told our district, then we all felt way dumb. He spoke Spanish the whole time and even kind of looks German, so how were we supposed to know?

I have been reading my scriptures in Spanish and translating the words like you said, Hannah, and that really helps out a lot. I have already learned so much. Thanks for that advice! What casa were you in?

Lindsey, I will look for them! Pinky promise. The first week was hard only because I was worried about you guys so dang much! I'm hoping you all were okay. I have thought about coming home, but not enough to actually make a plan, just because I know that this is part of my calling in life and I know this is where I am going to find the most happiness for the next 18 months. But hey, it's only the first week. You, Kolby and Hannah helped me learn so much before I came out, so I think that is why my experience will be less unexpected.

Kolby, thanks for the scripture. I don't have it with me, but I will write it down and look it up when I get the chance. Gracias, mi hermano :)

I'd like to keep up on everyone, Padre, and whatever else you would like to tell me is fantastico :)

Tere, tell Micheal that all the rumors about the food are nothing. I eat everything and haven't had any problems. But then again, he is pretty picky so maybe it will be different. I ate a tamale for breakfast yesterday and it was so stinking good. Lime flyin´out the wahzoo!!

Deann, thanks so much for the bike and support! I did get the package and it made my day. Hermana Siler keeps drooling over the chips and salsa because we haven't had any time to eat it. Perhaps today. It'll be gone so quickly.

Mom, I hope you guys have a great time in Europe. Take lots of pictures and send them to me! I want pictures. I don't know if it's possible, but Hermana Siler has a water bottle similar to mine and wants a straw because she lost hers, but mine is too big and her water bottle is a cantigo. I know it's a long shot, and if you can't get it, no worries. I kinda like the dolphin sound it makes every time she takes a sip.

So the meeting was good then??? I definitely miss you and I need to learn independence. Thanks so much for everything!!

I love you all so much and I wouldn't be opposed to a few hand written or "Dear Elder" (missionary package Mex) letters. But who am I to complain? I didn't hand write a single one of you :) Take care, and hopefully next week I will be better at typing, but I doubt it.

Con amor,

Hermana Madsen

Hurrah for Israel (it took me a second to spell that correctly)!!

Leaving for the Mexico MTC  (April 8, 2015)

Mexico MTC Week 2  (April 23, 2015)

Branch 13 - District A

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bold and Valiant Fish - 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.

It was really funny. The other elders had a baptism with a 78 year old lady, and she was super nervous for her baptism. Both of the elders went down in the water to help her get baptized, and as she came up she was super excited and said, ''Que rico!'' That's like a way of saying that she really enjoyed getting baptized. I'd enjoy getting rid of seventy something years of sins all at once too. She got confirmed and received the Holy Ghost in that very moment. I think it's so funny when she talks about how she thinks our church is so much better than other churches. I'm just left to wonder, ''Why do you think we're all members?''  :)

Je** went to church with her 3 year old tornado kid and her 11 year old. They liked church a lot, but her husband couldn't go. He went to Lima because his mom got really sick this week :/  Hopefully everything works out okay. I think God is really nice sending missionaries to their house to teach them the plan of salvation right before something bad like that happened. It just helps important things become relevant, and keeps irrelevant things out.

I'm doing super good. I'm working hard and sometimes I feel like a fish swimming upstream, but that's the way it needs to be. That's why I liked the fish thing that they put in Thomas S. Monson's message this month. I just want to be a more bold and valiant fish.

I don't have a ton to say. I'm learning quechua and trying to win people over by speaking quechua to them. It works pretty well. They always laugh when they hear a gringo speaking quechua to them. I try to think about how Enoch did his mission. God said that his area was the most wicked of all of His creations in all the eternities, but then they became Zion and went up to heaven. Why couldn't we replicate that in Vegueta? I think we could.

I just hope that you all know that the gospel is so splendidly and undoubtedly true. Families can be together forever. This is God's plan of happiness for His children. I don't see what would be so much fun in heaven without our family. Sometimes I ask people from other faiths what they think happens when we go to heaven...what's so great about it? We just kick back and do nothing until the end of eternity? THAT sounds like hell to me. God has a much better and bigger perspective. It has to do with our eternal progression. We can eternally progress and we can have eternal families.

I want to find a few others to baptize before I go home. My goal was 25 in the last 6 months and right now I'm in big doodoo. We'll get it though, eventually.

Well, family, be good and don't get trunky yet! There's still a lot more work to get done out here! I love you all and hope that you have a great week!

Elder Jake Avery

General Conference (April 6, 2015)

El Arte de Aprender Callarse  (April 20, 2015)

Miracles and Tears - 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.  

My dear friends and family,

So to start off with, something fun... Today I went to the world's smallest volcano and walked inside of it. Its called Cuixcomate about 30 minutes from our apartment. Super funny, because it's in the middle of a park in the city, and there were a bunch of swings and kids running around the little volcano like it was something normal. haha! I paid a whole 10 pesos. 65 US cents to walk up the stairs and go down inside. There is no lava, just some flower pots and a little pond. hahaha! But at least I can say I went inside the world's smallest volcano.

So my week:

Wow, where to begin..... F** and Fa** are two of our investigators, as well as their father Gi**. F** is 16 and Fa** is 12. To be honest, we really haven't seen a lot of progress with F** and Fa** throughout our two months in the area. But, this last week we saw a miracle!

In a lesson we talked very openly and directly about the importance of prayer. The blessings it brings, and why we need to pray daily. F** and Fa** have been sad and discouraged because of personal family problems, but we were able to commit them to pray about the Book of Mormon and our message. F** PRAYED! She called us the other night at about 11 p.m. and said, "Tengo mi respuesta y se que la iglesia es verdadera." That means she received her answer and knows that the church is true. WOOOTTTT!!!!!!!! Fa**, her younger sister, didn't pray but we have faith that she will as well! We will see them again on Wednesday. They and Gi**, their dad, are progressing and excited for their baptisms on the 25th of this month!

Do** and Er**.......

So... on Saturday in the afternoon we went over to see Do** and Er** and to invite them again to church on Sunday. Do** said that two of her grandchildren needed to go to the Catholic church in preparation for a catholic ceremony that is coming up. Do** has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the church and her faith is amazing! I was surprised that she had committed to take her grandchildren to the other church when she had committed to the Lord and to us about being in the church in preparation for her baptism on the 25th of this month. She let us know in the lesson that she wanted to go to our church but didn't want to make her daughter mad by not taking the grandchildren to the Catholic ceremony.....

In the lesson we shared a few scriptures and were listening to the Spirit and letting Him guide our lesson. We had no clue what to tell our investigator!... Then out of the blue..... her daughter walked in the door, and with horror in her face told Do** that her son J** had just committed suicide......

Do**, our dear investigator, fell apart... My companion and I stared at the ground with tears in our eyes, in complete silence. Seconds felt like minutes. A cold startling feeling took over the room in an instant. Her other son, JL**, who just so happened to have been over visiting with her, held her as the family screamed and cried. I have never been in such a situation, especially as a missionary. I had NO CLUE what to do. I said a prayer.... I looked at my companion and he was doing the same. An impression came to our minds, and we told Do** a few inspired, calming sentences to help her at the climax of her pain. She soon made her way out the door with two of her children and the traveled across the city to the house of her son, Ju**. We stayed at the house to talk to her brother Er**, who can't walk or move very due to some health problems. We invited a neighbor member to join us as we sat there with him for a few hours. The return to our apartment was depressing, as we slowly dragged our feet on the ground, still in utter shock.

At about 4 o'clock in the morning, my companion Elder Concha was still awake. I had somehow managed, after many prayers, to get some sleep. He told me that at 4 a.m. he said a prayer, and the second he said the word, "Amen," the cell phone buzzed with a message. He didn't think anything of it because companies normally annoy us with announcements. Then a 6:30 a.m. when we had to get up, like every day on the mission, he read the message and threw the phone at me, saying "¡Léalo!" or "Read it." It was Dolores explaining to us her gratitude for our words and message. She then said that she NEEDED to go to our church again. My companion and I made our way to her house at about 7:30 a.m. to make it to church at 8 a.m. The Lord strengthened her in her affliction as she made the courageous decision to go to church after less then 12 hours of receiving some of the worst news of her life. She then whispered to me that she was fasting and slowly walked to the side of the bishop's door and grabbed a tithing/fast offering slip and envelope. She paid a fast offering.

The faith of Do** is truly a testimony builder to me, to know that the Lord is with her and helping her as she passes through this phase of her life. The Lord knows how she will be, and if she will be able to accomplish her baptismal goal of the 25th of this month. I testify that the Lord lives and strengthens everyone through His atoning sacrifice! Do** is a role model of faith to me! She is in my prayers.

I love you all! I pray for you all!

With love,

Elder Burgess

Popocatapetl says, "Amen!" (April 6, 2015)

Baptism!  (April 26, 2015)

My trip to Cuixcomate:


40 Day Fast - 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
Dear Family and Friends,
This past week we had a super awesome Zone Conference. The Zone Leaders challenged us to do a 40 day fast. We wrote down everything that keeps us from having the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we will fast from those things for 40 days. The fast started today.

Preparing myself for the fast has involved fasting, prayer, scripture study, and reviewing what was discussed in conference. Last night, as I was taking what I thought would be the final draft of my list to the Lord, the Spirit filled my heart and I was surprised as my list doubled in size. All the things on that list are completely beyond my ability to overcome. I am unable to do this fast, but this is my offering to the Lord. This is my act of faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and I am confident with His help I will triumph.

On the way to email today, our taxi driver made some awkward comments and I will admit I did not want to talk to him anymore and made some judgements against him. But, Elder Wadsworth was not deterred and continued to talk to him. Not too long into the conversation, the taxi driver shared some horrific family tragedies. Though the taxi driver didn't tell us straight up, Elder Wadsworth and I both felt that the taxi driver was burdened with guilt, regret, hate, depression, and all sorts of other destructive feelings. He hinted that he was thinking about ending his life. Elder Wadsworth taught him about the nature of God and set up an appointment to meet with him. We told him that he can have a new start, and all these feelings can be taken away. He didn't seem super interested in meeting with us again, but it was a miracle. Never judge. We don't only talk to everyone because we hope for baptisms, but because these are our brothers and sisters and they need love.

The members of the church in Ipoh are as awesome as ever. We go with them to teach, they provide referrals, they are willing to pick up investigators for church meetings and activities, and they fellowship them. We try to visit the members regularly and provide service in small ways for all they do to help us. Ipoh is on fire right now, and I strongly believe we owe the bulk of it to all of the help we receive from the members!
Li** is doing great! She is getting baptized on April 20th because it is her daughter's birthday. It will be the day of transfer news...

We met a nice 80 year old guy who sports his gray and black briefs around the house and is a tai chi master. We've taught him twice and hopefully will be progressing soon.

I have a feeling I will leave Ipoh with transfers, which is really hard, but it feels like it is time. Maybe we will all be surprised and I will get to stay a little longer. Who knows? Only 6 months into my mission, and I've already seen so many miracles!

Thanks for all you do!

Elder Avery

Easter in Malaysia  (April 6, 2015)

Baptism and Transfer News  (April 20, 2015)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Leaving for the Mexico MTC - Sister Maren Madsen

Written by Sister Maren Madsen, training in the Mexico Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, learning Spanish. She will serve in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission.

Sister Madsen and brother, Kolby, at the airport.


Hermana Maren Madsen
May 19 Branch 13- District A
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

Meet Sister Madsen

First Week in the Mexico MTC  (April 16, 2015)

Sister Madsen and her sister, Sabrina.

Monday, April 6, 2015

General Conference - 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.

We had 6 people go to General Conference! That is what one calls éxi-flipping-to! So, four of them were part of a family we found this week. Their names are Je**, Al**, An** and El**. The esposo is Ri**, and I'm a little cross with him for not going to conference and not wanting to be present in our last lesson (which we cancelled). The problem is that husbands who don't get baptized with the rest of the family rarely ever get baptized. The statistic in the church is very ugly if you're talking about the odds of a kid's parents getting baptized after the kid is baptized alone, and even uglier if one spouse is baptized without the other. We don't even want to go there, so we explained to Je** last night that her husband will have to attend in order to continue teaching the family. The bright side is, they went to conference and they loved it. The wife is also starting to read the Book of Mormon.

 Another lady we are teaching is An**. I think you remember her from a few weeks back. She taught me how to count to ten in quechua... huk, iskei, quinsa, etc. Her family is doing great, but they couldn't make it to conference :( There's always next week :) Well, for 10 more weeks anyways.

One funny story is about one of the other elder's investigators. Her name is Em**, so I always remind her that she has to get baptized because that's Joseph Smith's wife's name. She's like 70 something, so she wasn't up to going to Huacho to see the Conference, but the elders explained to her that the guys who would be talking are older men. They convinced her to go, and she loved to see all the old people so much. I was like, ''oh yeah, old people still got fire in them!'' Her daughter is a member, and we're all praying that she'll be baptized.

So, my companion and I are doing well. In conference I realized that I need to work more by the Spirit. President Eyring said, ''Human reasoning and good intentions are not enough,'' and I was like, ''Yes, sir.'' So it's going well. I'm trying to polish myself as a missionary, but I'm seeing that time is flying like a super sonic jet. Oh, I also liked where the member of the Seventy talked about a missionary who had a sluggish companion and came to the realization where God said, ''Compared to me, you two aren't that different.'' I also liked when President Monson announced three new temples! I did not see that coming by a long shot. That's when you know that the Lord, not Thomas Monson, is running the church.

Today is Christ's 2015th birthday and the 185th anniversary of the Church. I can hardly believe all the work that has been done in such a short time. Sometimes you have to stop and look at the church's growth and say, ''If THIS is not a great and a marvelous work, and not the very work of God, then no such thing exists.''

I know that THIS is the work of Salvation and that this is the Church of God. He appeared to Joseph Smith, not only once but several times. I hope and pray that we all can follow His plan and return to live with Him.

Have a great week! I love you guys!

Elder Avery

New Companion (March 30, 2015)

Bold and Valiant Fish  (April 13, 2015)

Popocatapetl says, "Amen!" - Elder Brian Burgess

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


SO a few pictures and stories!

This last week on Tuesday was the transfers meeting for the mission. My companion and I didn't have transfers but I was able to go and say goodbye to Elder Hernandez and Elder Mendoza, two of my last companions. I am attaching a picture of me and a few of my companions I saw there. After the picture I saw Elder Insaurralde, Garrido and Hernandez, so they weren't in the picture.

So General Conference Saturday, right after the first session, we left the stake center to go to the store for some water when we saw that Popocatapetl erupted a little. I believe it erupted on the Amen of the closing prayer.... ;)

More stories and pictures to come in the next email... Sorry my camera had the quality of the shot on a higher resolution, so the file size is bigger than I thought. So just a few pictures in each email.

I sure loved General Conference weekend! I sure hope you all watched it and took notes! We have 3 investigators come to the Saturday morning and Sunday morning sessions.

Gi** is so ready for baptism! Him and his daughters F** and Fa** have baptismal dates for the 25th of this month! F** and Fa** didn't make it to the sessions, but we were happy to see Gi** there! 

Do** and Er** also made it to the Saturday morning and Sunday morning sessions! They are so GOLDEN! They are both sooooo happy for their baptisms on the 25th! 

I sure love you all! I testify of the truthfulness of this church! President Monson is the prophet of God, despite anyone's comments or argument. The Spirit testifies of that, and the Spirit never lies!

Elder Burgess

Bittersweet (March 23, 2015)

Miracles and Tears  (April 13, 2015)