Monday, June 29, 2015

Interfaith Meeting and Miracles - 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,

This week has been so awesome! We went to a spectacular interfaith meeting last night, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime event. We were the representatives for the Christians which was such a cool experience. We couldn't share to much about our beliefs because there were Muslims there, but one of the Zone Leaders and  one of the sisters shared some great thoughts. We also had the privilege to sing some hymns for the meeting. Elder Hadley has some pics of the meeting (you can view the article from Mormon Newsroom here: We got to hear from Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Christians. It was really awesome, and I felt a good spirit among them. I am amazed by the faithfulness of the people here.

I was a little bummed that during the closing remarks they shared that perhaps we live in parallel universes and all of us are right, but whatever. This is why the Restoration is so important. Because of the Restoration we are not left to the understanding of men to figure out why things are the way they are. We know that God does more than answer prayers. He talks to us individually and dang strait you can ask Him if this is the true church on the earth, and if you exercise faith in Christ and put some work into it, dang strait God will let you know it is true and you won't be stuck reading the same words everyone else is reading on a page written thousands of years ago conflicting with other people's biases while building your own opinions.

I have been a little bummed with our lack of success with our goals. This week I felt that we really did what was required to achieve them, and so it was no surprise when miracles happened. This weekend I was looking at our goals thinking how can we get this!? Then a member gave us a referral out of the blue, and a potential investigator came to church and wanted to meet afterwards. We also got a family we have been teaching in Klang scheduled for baptism, and a member on Sunday came up to us at church and invited us to watch the Restoration with his Chinese friends who are a family of five. It was awesome! The witness never comes until after the trial of faith. And I really get excited when my faith is being tried, because it always means something awesome is just around the corner!

Love You All!

Elder Avery

Working in KL (June 22, 2015)

Miracles with Rough Edges  (July 6, 2015)

Baptism in Mississippi - Sister Maren Madsen

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

Well, sounds like madness with trek and the new and returning missionaries and wedding planning!

So this week was just amazing! Just thinking about it makes me smile! Today when we read the weekly email from our mission president, he had quoted mine and Sister Ponce's weekly email from last week! (we feel like pretty cool kids :)
All the prayers I can muster will be sent your way! I am so glad to hear that trek was good/hard. But mostly good right? :)  These are exciting times. We were supposed to get transfer calls this morning, but it turns out the we are both staying, so that's a relief. But we are still not sure if we will be in a trio or not because the girl who Hermana Ponce trained last transfer is supposedly coming back to the Memphis side, and we are the only Spanish sister missionaries east of the Mississippi River.

So we had yet another bike week and I will tell you the numbers of our diverse roadkill at the end of the letter. We got burnt to a crisp! (I just got more freckles) We biked to P** and L**'s house (which is super far) in 105 degrees with good ol' southern humidity! Man, was that a treat. And when we got there we taught them a lesson in their cute little trailer (which doesn't have air conditioning, but it was awesome!). I love teaching lessons to them because they always have so many questions! Although we ended up giving them away to the English elders (but obviously it doesn't matter who they hear it from because it's not about the missionaries, but about their salvation!).

We also were able to go on exchanges this week, for the second time this transfer. But it was actually very different from the last time with the Bible basher! I went to the English area and Hermana Ponce stayed in our area. It was a very good experience because I was able meet this lady who is "very happy with her church," but her testimony is so strong! We taught her about the necessity of a prophet and the Spirit was super strong. She found out that I was actually a Spanish speaking missionary and wanted me to bear my testimony in English first, and then in Spanish... we cried. I told her I would go to her baptism though. So at least I get to see her again.

Okay, now for the main event!! ONE OF CHRIST'S SHEEP JUST REENTERED THE FOLD! Our investigator N** (we call him Nefi) got baptized this Saturday! It was so exciting and very peaceful! There is a special spirit present when there are convert baptisms. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to see his conversion and the changes he has made in his life! Words cannot describe the joy I feel for him and his life in the gospel. I was sitting next to him yesterday at church when got up in sacrament meeting to receive the Holy Ghost, and as he sat back down and they proceeded with La Santa Cena I remember thinking how amazing it was sitting next to someone who is "brand new," just absolutely clean from the sins of this world. And then it occurred to me... I am just like that, if I use the atonement and partake of the sacrament worthily every week, I am just like him!! So we were just a couple of "freshly" cleansed Mormons chilling in sacrament meeting. Oh, how amazing and merciful the the gospel of Jesus Christ is! I love it!

Love y'all and talk to ya next week.

Hermana Madsen

Elect of the Lord (June 22, 2015)

TrioTastic!  (July 6, 2015)

snakes: 1
cat 1
armadillos 2
rabbit 1
raccoon 3
turtles 2
(and I haven't eaten any road kill yet, gotta love Spanish speaking)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Elect of the Lord - Sister Maren Madsen

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

So this week was a little rocky, but turned out very good in the end. Sunday night (I think it was), we were talking to the woman who was super born again Christian and very nice, but "knew that the Book of Mormon wasn't true" (I feel really bad for confused people). My trainer was struggling to the max! She said that she hadn't gotten bashed her last two transfers (I am her second baby and her first companion was her trainer.. She has only been out 2 months longer than me). She hasn't been anti-ed at all. But I guess I am the bad luck charm because it seems like every other person is more than happy to tell us we are wrong. In a weird way, I am grateful for it. I can see my testimony growing stronger because of it. But my poor companion was struggling big time, and that was hard. But after a little council from President, a priesthood blessing, and lots of prayers and personal study, we are back on track. It was hard for me to trust her in some parts of the lesson because she wasn't able to testify, but we are working through it. I have just been feeling like a slacker missionary lately because I just think that we could be working harder and stop visiting the the people who are clearly not ready to hear the gospel. :) I love to hear their excuses. They make me laugh pretty hard. But I think we have gotten better at it.

Well towards the end the week we went to a trailer park I hadn't been to before. But Hermana Ponce had told me a story of how (with her trainer) they were driving and just felt like they needed to tell somebody they were loved. But they weren't sure who. So they went to the trailer park and decided after a little bit to go to 53 because that was the number that Hermana Ponce had kept thinking about. They knocked on the door and a lady answered. They told her that they didn't know why, but that they felt like they needed to tell her that God loves her. I guess she started to cry and she told them that they would have to come visit her sometime.

Two months later we went to that same trailer and turns out she has a daughter, age 11, who is very elect. She has been begging her mom to be baptized and her mom has been telling her that she doesn't want her to do it just in any church, she wants it to be for the right one... well here we are :) It was such a good lesson and we were able to talk about the Restoration and the priesthood and go into a little of the plan of salvation and prophets. It was one of those lessons where if we had all the hours of the day, we could teach them everything. It was a very spiritual lesson. More than once, all of us cried. The best part though, was when we showed a video about struggles by some of the apostles and the prophet, and I felt the spirit so strong. After the video the mom had asked if we had ever met him in person. Neither of us had, but we told her that there is always a sweet feeling of peace when we have gone to General Conference. She then told us that the reason she was asking was because she felt something when he was speaking (President Thomas S. Monson)... it was a beautiful lesson and L** (the daughter) ended up coming to church yesterday. She is so cute!

The only thing that is really sad it that they are English speaking, so we have to give them up to English missionaries.... que triste:'( but they are elect!

Love Y'all! Que Tengan una buena semana.

Con Amor,

Hermana Madsen

Doubt Not, Fear Not (June 15, 2015)

Baptism in Mississippi  (June 29, 2015)

Working in KL - 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.

The elders in our apartment in Kuala Lumpur
Dear Family and Friends,

I'm trying to think about what I should share and not too much is coming to mind. This week was my lowest (as far as numbers go) that I've had on my mission so far. I thought that would make me feel down, but I am feeling better than I have on some really good weeks.

This week I have found a lot of joy in my study of the scriptures, and as I have tried to understand the Spirit more. Earlier this week I was reading in Joseph Smith History and felt the Spirit really strong. There are truly so many voices in the world trying to pull us in different directions. These different voices use the scriptures and the knowledge of men, but not the Spirit. That ultimately is the difference. They keep God out of their study about Him. It's interesting. Since I have read that, I have felt a renewed sense of wonder and awe in the gospel. This is truly the same church that was on the earth during Christ's ministry, and the same that has been since the beginning.

We taught a lesson with the Ku** family in Klang this week. The lesson was alright but the mom really wants to know why the Bible wasn't hidden but the Book of Mormon was. It really doesn't matter. All that matters is if it is true and that things happened the way God knew they needed to happen. She had a lot of interesting questions that ultimately will be solved as she strengthens her faith in Christ. The family is doing well but they didn't come to church. It was a bummer.

I have officially studied Chinese characters and I am getting better at recognizing them...but it is hard, to say the least, haha!

Love you all,
Elder Avery

A Unicorn on the Train (June 15, 2015)

Interfaith Meeting and Miracles  (June 29, 2015)

My study area

Hotel in Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Welcome Home, Elder Avery!

Elder Jacob Avery returned home after serving two years in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

My Last Week in Peru (June 8, 2015)

Elder Avery Leaves for the Peru MTC (July 3, 2013)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Doubt Not, Fear Not - Sister Maren Madsen

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

Sabrina is going to be a CNA? Wow!! That is a huge change of plans! She will be great at it. She has always been really good at helping people. Yeah.. Mexico was.. interesting. I haven't eaten too many strange things, just some fish tacos (which were surprisingly really good, but probably because it was deep fried) and I did have cow intestine.. I think it would have been better if I didn't know it was cow intestine, but I just drenched it in homemade guacamole and pico de gallo so it was good:)

It's funny because we have 4 sets of missionaries in our branch (which is Spanish) and they have a meal calendar for each set. So they pass all four calendars around Relief Society for people to sign up to feed the missionaries... needless to say I think people prefer elders over sisters. Besides that, our area only has a few active members, so our less active friend Ma** feeds us every week and then Hermana Tu** (she is amazing) feeds us twice. But sometimes they cancel, so we end up eating at the apartment. But last week one of the English members fed us (he is so kind). I never realized how much missionaries really need help from the members.

I feel like my Spanish is improving slowly... ever so slowly...but it is getting better. I can't really complain because I have only been at it for two months.

Well, here in the South we definitely run into "antis," like every other day. It really affects my companion sometimes, but I take it as a learning moment. I figure if they aren't willing to accept what I have the say, then they aren't ripe and ready to made into the perfect guacamole. I also take the time to ponder about my testimony.

Just last night we were talking to a hardcore "born again Christian," and she was telling us that she knows that ONLY the Bible is the word of God, and that the Book of Mormon is just a really good story. I remember praying that I will be given a sign or something so that I can speak and testify with power. But the more I thought about it, the more I was able to think about my purpose as a missionary and think about how many countless times in my life I have been given spiritual confirmation that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that I am called to share what I know, not to have my testimony stroked. I know these things are true! Why should the Holy Ghost have to slap me in the face with a spiritual experience every time someone questions my beliefs?! "Doubt Not, Fear Not." Then I could feel my blood pressure rise, (not sure if it was because I was nervous or because I was feeling the Spirit) and I was able to testify and explain to her that we are not trying to take away her beliefs, and that we are only there to share what we know to be true. I think that the Lord was blessing me with an experience of confirmation. I know these things, and I need to recognize when Satan is tempting me.... I hate that guy...

But just for every bad there is a better. Our investigator Sa** (Ma**'s daughter) and her mom came to church yesterday, and she even had us give her a Book of Mormon to send to her dad. It's crazy, she hasn't been this excited about the gospel since I have known her. She reminds me so much of Sa**. One thing she told us this week is that sometimes when we teach, she can see that we have a glow, or a white light around us... I have never had any experience like that, so that was very cool. Then we talked about how it was likely some of her family members or our family members cheering her on as we teach her gospel truths. She then set a date for baptism on July 11. We are going to work hard to get her ready for that day!

I love the mission. There is so much we learn on a daily basis and so many people we meet. I love the trust that the Lord has in us and the hand he has in this saving work.

Thanks for everything and I love you so much!!

Hermana Madsen
P.S. It has gotten up to 100 degrees every day this week...go humidity!

Exchanges, Bashers, iPads, Bikes, and that's just TWO MONTHS! (June 8, 2015)

Elect of the Lord  (June 22, 2015)

A Unicorn on the Train - 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,

Last week we talked to a Chinese girl on the train who was coming back from work. She was very friendly and willing to meet with us during her lunch hour on Wednesday. We taught her about the restoration of the gospel and her main concern (like most Malaysians) is why is this any different from any other religion? They all teach us to do good. I still have not found a good way to answer that, so we testified of the restoration and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon.

After we gave her a copy, we were surprised when another girl who had been sitting nearby asked if she could have a copy as well. We had no more copies on us, so we got her number and met her two days later. We asked her why she came up to us and she said, "If you see a unicorn walking in the forest, wouldn't you go up to it?" She said that she had studied in the United Kingdom for her masters degree and that she is so surprised that there are Mormons in Malaysia. At the moment her interest level doesn't seem too high because she is very secular and feels that religion is purely cultural, but I know that we were placed in her path for a reason and if she acts on what we teach she will feel the Spirit, which transcends all cultures.

Then later this week I got locked in the bathroom for an hour. I went in and did my business, and when I tried to come out the door wouldn't unlocked. The other elders tried a lot of things, but it was tricky because it is a glass sliding door. Then a repair man came for the other broken things in our apartment and he was very amused by me being locked in the bathroom and left me trapped in there (thanks buddy!) haha! Luckily, Elder Li was finally able to find a screwdriver that was small enough to slide under the door.

I think one of my favorite things about Kuala Lumpur is just being able to talk to everyone on the train. No one wants to talk to us if we are at their door, but you can actually talk to them on the train. And the trains have air conditioning!! That's the best. I love you all. Let me know what questions you have for me!

Kuala Lumpur (June 8, 2015)

Working in KL  (June 22, 2015)

Our kitchen in Kuala Lumpur
A determined lizard

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Last Week in Peru - 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. 
Elders Aldana and Avery, Peru Lima West Mission

So after my two years as a missionary, I want to share some of the important things I've learned. I'm going to do it in a sort of chronological order.

In the Missionary Training Center (MTC) my main lesson was that of true repentance, and especially of putting God above everything. I remember making the commitment with the Lord that I would not think about rock bands, but rather about hymns. That would be the way I would show the Lord that I love Him and desire His Spirit. I haven't been 100% perfect, but I now know the words to all of the hymns. I also remember promising the Lord that I wouldn't be mad if something happened to a member of my family while I was on my mission (then actually having that happen was so hard). I promised Him that I would strive to be obedient. I began a mighty change of heart in the MTC.

In Rosales I remember having my testimony burst out like a redwood in a rainforest. One day I was real frustrated when so many people were telling me that Saturday was really the sabbath day, and I didn't know how to respond to them. I prayed that God would help me know what to do and fortify my personal testimony. I felt inspired to read "True to the Faith," and found a scripture that answered my question to my satisfaction (Acts 20:7). When I told my mission president what I'd learned, he said something to the extent of, ''That is great and all, but really it simply depends on if you believe the prophets. If a prophet says that the sabbath is on a Tuesday, that's how it's gonna be because he's a prophet.'' Reading that changed a lot about how I taught, and it fortified my testimony of Joseph Smith.

I learned the importance of families, and I trusted my mission president when he told us to stop baptizing children and to begin baptizing families. Not surprisingly, the mission baptisms have gone way up since he trained us on that. The retention and sealings have also gone way up too. It's because the family is eternal and is ordained of God.

In Yungay I learned a lot about how to be open and have a good relationship with Elder Aldana. He was definitely the most hyper and funny companion I've had, but also a spiritual giant and a very wise person. He taught me how to speak openly without getting offended and how to love people. I have only good things to say about Elder Aldana. He had some rough times too, and I saw how important it was that I had other experiences earlier in my mission that gave me the testimony I needed to keep things moving forward. We worked hard together.

In Los Olivos I learned how important it is to sustain your leader. Sometimes it is better to lose one than to lose the whole flock. Due to huge social issues in the ward, I had to call my mission president and see what to do and how to react in some delicate social situations. A few people went inactive and were offended because of the things we stopped in that area. We stopped visiting single women and houses with all women living there. We also stopped unnecessary visits with active members. A few people even called my mission president and asked him to take me out of the ward, but he kept me in there even longer. We had 10 baptisms there, six of them were in one family.

In Vegueta I learned to accept the will of the Lord. Sometimes he didn't want me to have a huge baptismal statistic, but he needed me to nurture a struggling branch. I also learned how to plan really well and how to love "not so lovable" people. I learned patience. I didn't baptize anyone in that area. There has been one baptism there since November last year (it was the kid of two less active parents), and there's still no baptisms scheduled. It was hard to get up every morning, and it was embarrassing because I was a district leader and supposed to be the example to the other missionaries. But the Lord knows why he does what he does. He needed me to be humble.

In my last area I've learned that God gives His children a chance to change. Some of the people we're teaching have had very different pasts, but I've seen how the Gospel enlightens their minds and makes them want to change. I've seen how happy they are to know that God loves them, and that He forgives those who repent.

I can't explain in a few paragraphs everything that I've learned on my mission, but I do want to testify of things I know for a surety. God lives and loves His children! He answers prayers and has answered mine. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and the Son of God. They are both resurrected, exalted beings. Joseph Smith was God's prophet in the last days, and Thomas S. Monson holds that prophetic mantel today. Families can be together forever when they will make and keep sacred covenants through priesthood authority.

Thanks for EVERYHING! I LOVE you all so much! I hope I can measure up to what you all make me out to be ;) Be safe and follow Christ's gospel!

Elder Jake Avery

Two Years Is Not Forever  (June 1, 2015)

Elder Avery Leaves for the Peru MTC  (July 3, 2013)

Kuala Lumpur - 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. 

Hey Family and Friends,

It's been 2 weeks, so I will have to give you the Reader's Digest version (he couldn't login to his email last week).

My last week in Melaka was exciting. Elder Earl and I had been trying to get So** to church, but he couldn't get work off. We'd also been trying to get Shi** on date, but he didn't understand why he needed to be baptized again.

Sunday night was Elder Earl's last real proselyting day, and God was blessing us a lot. First we went to teach Shi** and only a couple minutes in he said, "I need to be baptized again?" We told him "yes", he asked "when?"!! So now he is scheduled to be baptized this month!

After that we were feeling pretty stoked and went to So**'s house. As soon as we got there he smiled and told us that his friend is taking 4 hours of his Sunday shift so that he can come to church. We were so excited! After the lesson, So**'s family fed us an amazing meal to celebrate Elder Earl finishing strong. I know that meal was really expensive for them to make, and they put a lot of work into it. It seems like it is always those who have the least who give the most.

I don't have a ton to say about Kuala Lumpur, but I really enjoy taking the train instead of biking in the heat! haha! I love the food (as always) and Elder Li is great. I am glad that I can actually contribute in lessons now :)

This week we were boarding the LRT and I noticed that there was a man sitting down reading the Bible. That never happens, so we made sure that we talked to him. His name is Mic**, and he is here visiting from Sarawak while he attends a Bible College. We gave him our card and he realized we were Mormons. He was excited and started asking us questions about which Bible we use and what we believe. He graciously accepted an English Book of Mormon and he gave us his number so that we can give him a Malay Book of Mormon. It was awesome!

No pictures because I left my phone at the apartment. Sorry! Tell Abigail that the hotels and apartments here don't have 4th floors. They have floor 3, 3a, and then 5. The word for 4 in Chinese is si with a fourth tone, and death is si with a third tone, so 4 is bad luck. Funny huh? Love ya'll, bye!

Elder Josh Avery

Email Problems (June 1, 2015)

A Unicorn on the Train  (June 15, 2015)

Exchanges, iPads, Bashers, Bikes, and that's just 2 MONTHS! - Sister Maren Madsen

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

Bike Week!
So how does if feel... you will never be a mom with kids in high school again?? Surreal, I bet.

So we are currently standing outside the library (it doesn't open for 20 more minutes) bumming off their wifi and huddled around a trash can while emailing home for just a bit... gotta love the mission life. We are emailing and then we have service for a couple hours, and then I will be back to finish up emailing later on today.

So this week was just packed full of stuff. We got iPads on Thursday... it's weird. So we have/get to use Facebook so if you see me on it, don't think I am apostate :) It's really convenient and also very scary at the same time. Now I actually have to worry about being robbed. I think I liked it better when I had nothing valuable. :) At first I was terrified when I heard we were getting iPads because I know what a distraction they can be. But then I realized that having an iPad on the mission where I am in a more structured environment will help me to learn how to better use my technology when I get home. So really it's just a scary blessing in disguise. We still have lots of training to do with them, but it's great because we have already shown some "Mormon Messages" to investigators.

On Monday we found out that we were doing exchanges on Wednesday, and I WAS NOT HAPPY!! Because, not only would I have a new companion who have no idea about any place in the area, but she didn't know any Spanish, other than the usual, "hola, bien, adios" that everyone knows. So I was in charge of the area for the day. Plus, it was bike week, which was probably good because I don't have a license or know the area as well as a I need to. So that meant that all the Hispanics we teach would be listening to my broken, conjugated can imagine the stress!

We turned out only having time for a couple lessons and one was in English. The Spanish one was with a guy we had previously contacted the week before but had never taught. Once we got there and started to talked to him, we found out very quickly that he was just trying to Bible Bash... but in Spanish... So I am only picking up about a quarter of what he is saying, and he is talking about the marks of the devil and how he is a prophet for his family and he doesn't need a religion... So, what do we do in a situation like that?! Testify of truth and leave. So I started to testify to him how I know that there is a prophet and that Christ's church is restored on the earth, and that I know that Joseph Smith was the chosen prophet for the restoration. The guy made this face like he was appalled at what I just said and went off for ten more minutes.... yeah, so I just told him that we would come back in the next few days when Herman Ponce is with me and we can answer his questions. Yeah... exchanges...

So we ended up going back on Saturday and talking with him. Well he was more talking AT US, but whatever. It was pretty much the same thing, him just telling us that sometimes when we think we have answers from God the devil can heal. I actually really felt bad for this guy because he was so set in his ways and wasn't willing to just listen with an open heart. Well, I felt bad for him up until the point when he cut me off in my testimony... not once, but for the second time telling me I was wrong for saying that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and is also the word of God. There were many times I just wanted to shake him and testify of truth, but I could tell the Spirit had left and it was just an argument. We cannot teach without the Spirit. So we had him say the final prayer and invited him to go to church the next day, then just left it at that. I was honestly thinking I would never see that guy again.

Then Sunday... Fast and Testimony meeting, and guess who is sitting on the back row?! Mr. Strong Beliefs, himself. We were freaking out. He ended up staying for all three hours of church, and I couldn't think of anything except how horrible it would be if he stood up and started to contradict the teachers in Gospel Principles Class with all the investigators there ... but he didn't.

I learned a lot from that experience. I think my testimony was strengthened in the simple truths of the gospel, and I think I also learned to never argue. That is probably why I am called to a mission where I speak a different language and don't have the words to argue. But I was definitely humbled from that experience.

I know that this is the ONLY church on earth that is lead and directed by Jesus Christ himself, and it will never be corrupted. That is the beauty of the Priesthood. I know that He directs the church through President Thomas S. Monson, and I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father AND his Son, Jesus Christ, in the grove of trees that Day in 1820. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for me in the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as for the rest of humanity. This is the church that is going help us return to our Father in heaven. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior, Amen.

Hermana Maren Madsen

P.S. Since it's bike week, I thought I would give you the tally of road kill we saw on our bikes:

Snakes/Boa Constrictors: 3
Armadillos: 2
Raccoon Carcass: 1

I love the south.. :)

And I Love you Mom!

Eventful Week (June 1, 2015)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Eventful Week - Sister Maren Madsen

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

Lost my water bottle and had to improvise....
This week was very eventful. I hate that I don't have much time!!

We had a really cool experience this week. I felt like we needed to stay in the neighborhood and tract while we were going to visit one of the investigators. I was scared to ruin the plans of the day, but I ended up telling my companion and we went back. A couple families opened the door and told us to come back later. So we did. The one guy who I thought for sure was going to blow us off totally let us in and confided in us. He has four sons and they were very interested and wanted to come to church on Sunday...they didn't, but it was still way cool. I loved to see the expression on Hermana Ponce's face when we left. We taught the little boys how to pray and about the restoration of the gospel. They had all sorts of questions, and I know that if we didn't listen to that prompting then we never would have found them.

I am just going to have to write out a list of what happened and then hand write the rest.

-Drunk guy at church

-Soda Baptism

-Flat tire

We had a good time this week. I know that this is where I am supposed to be, and I love to have that confirmation when times are tough. I have been thinking about the wedding and graduation and just everything that I am going to miss out on, and then I think that no amount of memories at a graduation or wedding will ever compare to the change and growth that comes from a mission. I love you guys so much and hope you take time to have a breather. I can only imagine the stress y'all are going through.

I sent you a letter. You'll have to tell me when you got it.

Thanks for all the support and love. I pray for y'all daily and Love you!

Hermana Madsen

Horn Lake, Mississippi (May 25, 2015)

Exchanges, iPads, Bashers, Bikes, and that's just 2 MONTHS!  (June 8, 2015)

Two Years Is Not Forever - Elder Jake 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 was interesting. We had to get our new room ready because we moved in on Saturday. We painted the room one day, went one more morning to finish, then had to do the move. Temporal things like moving and room hunting are my least favorite activities in the mission because they feel like wastes of time to me. Especially when the parties involved are already members of the church, so we can't use moving as a way to start teaching them.

We took almost all Saturday to move our stuff, went out to teach, and then were up late organizing because we knew we wouldn't have time to do it today. Sometimes you get tired working a lot, but there's a scripture that I really like that talks about working in the Lord's service D&C 84:80.

"And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst."

My companion and I have had a bunch of problems to handle, from missionaries breaking their keys in the door to shootings in other missionaries' wards, but after working non-stop for all this time I've realized that the Lord gives his servants what they need. Without exception. I've had miracles where a bus driver gives us discounts, we're perfectly awake after a few short hours of sleep, I pray the words ''HELP ME,'' and in less than half an hour it comes and sometimes someone gives us food out of nowhere.

I noticed at General Conference  in April that Elder Perry still had tons of energy, especially for a 92 year old man, Elder Hales didn't have his oxygen tank last conference, and President Packer has been old for a long time. Where does it all come from? The Lord! 3 Nephi 13

"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith."

So we're getting towards the end of this. I remember asking President Archibald for an interview to renew my temple recommend the other night after a meeting we had with he and the stake president. President told me, ''It's already taken care of,'' and I thought ''Aye aye, Captain.'' I can't believe how fast two years went by! I remember getting my first recommend and thinking that it'd be forever before I needed a new one. But I was wrong....two years is not forever.

I love you all and I'm so thankful for your support until the end. We're ready to crank things out and give it our all. Thanks so much for the prayers!! I know that God loves and watches over us.

Love, Elder Jake Avery

Money and Honey (May 25, 2015)

My Last Week in Peru  (June 8, 2015)

Email Problems - 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. 

Sent from his companion's email account:

"This is Elder Avery. This week was awesome, but despite my many efforts to login to my account, it is not working. Transfer news is here and I am going to Kuala Lumpur to serve with Elder Li again. Love you all! Bye"

Traveling (May 25, 2015)

Kuala Lumpur  (June 8, 2015)