Monday, October 26, 2015


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 this is kinda hard to remember, haha we have all these great experiences and then by P-day all I want to do is sleep and can't remember the difference between this week and the last. #thestruggle... :) so with the forty day fast that we started, I have come to realize that even though we are doing all these things to sanctify us and consecrate us, the Smart work is still required. Something I heard this err that stuck with me was to not just work harder, but work smarter. Because I can recognize that I am a pretty hard worker, but I am not seeing much growth just frustration. So we have decided that it isn't necessarily about knocking on doors when all your appointments fall through, but rather  using the Lord to help guide us to the most successful activity that we could do, and si, a veces that is knocking. But I have quickly realized that there is a fine line between doing activities that are most effective and those that just take up our time. Any advice? Creative finding methods. I am fresh out of creativity. :) 
    So the beginning of this week we had a lady in a trailer park that dropped us because she wasn't interested, so we knocked on some of her neighbors doors, because often when someone isn't ready, the Lord has been preparing their neighbors and you may have just knocked on the wrongly door in the beginning. Haha no but sometimes it feels like that.... Better put, we are lead to each area for a reason, so try all the options. Then that's when we found Adrian, she answered all the questions perfectly and is truly converted to Christ! We thought she was our prepared sheep... Haha yeah... Well we went back for our return appointment and it seemed as though she had already made up her mind that what the gospel of Jesus Christ offered is not in accordance to her baptist upbringing. But Santa vaca did we bring it! We testified and we were really bold with our questions and I was really trying my hardest help her feel that the reason we were teaching her was because we love her and this is it. But what a let down. She just could not accept that there were going to be three degrees of glory (even after reading 1 cor 15:40-41) and she was not about to believe that Christ would be her advocate and that she would have a resurrected body... Hermana Hudson was poppin out inspired questions and asked her if she had prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book Of Mormon. She said she did, and got her answer. Then her follow up question was if she had done it with an answer already in mind, or if she had an open heart. She told us that she was praying with a bias..... Well... There's your problem... But she told us she was content with her 66 books and she knows that by following that book (the bible) she will get to heaven. It was really sad.. But she also kind of aggravated me by moving around the cute pictures of the spirit world, the three kingdoms of glory and placing them on top of each other and telling us that there will be no division, just one heaven and one hell. Like woah lady, this is Gods plan... Don't mess with the plan. But it's safe to say that even though we left on good terms, we probably won't be getting any return appointments with her unless she prays with an open heart. It was a real bummer. 
      I think that was one of the times I really felt l gave my all in a lesson. There was nothing I could have testified more of and there was no bold questions left unasked. I felt like a real missionary. Why can't I just do that more often, because although it was incredibly sad to leave her once again going back into the traditions of her fathers, it felt good to leave it all there. To feel that. Missionary work is cool. I feel as though there is a better way to do missionary work and I am starting to see how. 
    Happy day! On Sunday Abigail Eades will be getting baptized! She is so amazing. I am really excited for her although her having no concerns is a little concerning. Como, que? Nadie progreso como este! Pero Si! Es Verdad! 

Well. Suppose I can talk about the deer we saw on the road since I haven't had a good roadkill count in a while. 
We had to drive to Warren a few too many times this week and the first time we saw this giant deer in the median... Muerte.. And Every time we past it it got smaller and smaller and more... Mangled it was actually really gross and sad, but it's really common for large animals to be just lying in the road... Here they don't really clean it up like they do in the city! But hey we also saw a huge Vulter/Falcon (I don't know the difference between my birds) eating who knows what in the road. I'll send a pic! 
Well I love y'all and am really grateful for the emails and support! 
This Vulture was as big as our Cheeba! 

Our investigators' Babies

This House was definitely Latino

Hermana Maren Madsen

Giant Mushroom!! Nov 2,2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

I guess they don't have Laser Tag in Fiji, Our Mission President is the Best! -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
Presidents response to our asking to go play laser tag
   This week turned out pretty good! We went over to a small town called Warren and it is supposed  to have lots more Hispanic people than just the few that we see in Monticello. (Fun Fact: I found out yesterday that there is a Monticello,Utah) We were supposed to be fasting to receive inspiration on what to give up for the 40 day mission fast for consecration. Which led us into an interesting day. We begin our fast just before proselyting and we headed to Warren. (About a half hour drive) and we got a hold of some CES talks from John Bytheway and Truman Madsen and other general conference talks to listen to as we drive, we are kinda running low on new ones though because we listen to them so often. :)  One of the talks was discussing how we need to listen to the spirit and it's promptings. As we headed off to knock on some doors and contact referrals we were talking about how the hardest part really isn't getting promptings but having the courage to do what the prompting tells ya. So we were walking down the street and we were walking to a referrals house and for no reason at all I decided that we should knock on the door next to our referral. Soon as they answered the door we hear Spanish!!
It was music to our ears, we have the hardest time finding Spanish investigators and the fact that getting out of the form and trying on a random door (well the spirits knows) and us Running into a Hispanic family was a huge blessing! The mom welcomed us in and she was even excited that we spoke Spanish because she was telling us that it is hard having her family live in Mexico and not knowing the language of the which the country she lives. What a blessing! After that I realized that Satans a real punk and let's me tell myself that nobody is ready and those thoughts aren't from the Holy Ghost, well, what, No Hoy Satanas! I think that this is something that I am going to have to perfect over a long long time. But I know that when I do, miracles happen!
    This week was also cool because our friend Abigail decided that she wanted to get baptized on November 1!! She is so solid and she is just one of those people who were made for the gospel! (But isn't everyone?) Fits in so nicely plus she is kinda shy and awkward like us so we get along pretty well!
Well family, I hope all goes well this week and y'all stay safe! Thanks for the emails and the inspirational thoughts, and funny stories!
    This week I realized that not only are the people super chill but also the wildlife, you wouldn't believe how much road kill is on the roads, I just stopped counting, sometimes animals need to learn that they can't take to short-cut across the road to the bathroom... Also I have swallowed a few bugs and without fail, every time I ride my bike, a bug flys into my face or helmet.... Haha come on bugs just fly a little higher! No low-lane flying!

Hermana Maren Madsen
Say Yes to School and No to Jerks Oct 12,2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pancakes, Sunshine, 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,

Wow! The weeks just fly these days. There is always so much to do and so much to learn, and never the hours in the day to make it happen.

Monday was the branch's combined FHE (Family Home Evening). Wow! It was awesome. The lesson was inspiring and the food was sedap! It was awesome getting to interact with the members. The YSA (Young Single Adults) and Youth here are the best!

Tuesday we met with a member named Sister P**. She hasn't been able to attend church because she has to take care of her elderly and sickly mother. She is just a ray of sunshine. She has been a member from a long time and I found out that I know her brother that introduced her into the church from when I was serving in Kuala Lumpur.

After Sister P**'s we visited D** and N**. Their lesson was alright but they need to talk to their parents before we can teach them anymore (they are 14).
That night we visited Mr. Z**. He is a middle-aged Chinese man with family problems, debt, and depression. It was my first time meeting with him. Before the lesson I asked Elder Lee about him. Elder Lee told me that every time they follow-up with him all Mr. Z** says is "meiyou ganjuedao" which means "I didn't feel anything". Then I got a prompting of what needed to be said that night. We followed up with Mr. Z** as normal and he said "meiyou ganjuedao". I then asked him "what changes have you had in your life since you met with the Elders?" He responded "nothing". Well there was the problem. "Why haven't you been making changes in your life?" I asked him. He looked a little confused. I then explained that was what we were here to do. To help him change his life so that it is in harmony with God's teachings, and that unless he changes his life will continue to be sad. I explained that he won't feel anything until he exercises enough faith to make the changes the Elders have been inviting him to make whether he has a feeling beforehand or not. Hopefully he understands better now and will make the choices he needs to in order to be happy.

We had 6 new investigators this week. The first two: Mr and Mrs. T**, a middle aged Chinese couple. Christian, but not sure if they are willing to exercise the faith and humility required to gain an answer from God about the Book of Mormon.

Number three: Mr. K** from Korea. He is young and works at the power plant here. He has a four year old daughter and a wife in Korea . He is out of Korea for months at a time and takes two weeks when he can to visit them in Korea. He is trying to find a solution so he can live with his family (sound familiar). He is not religious but his wife is Christian. We think he will progress well, but he is gone a lot and will be in Korea the next couple weeks.

The last three: Al**, Pl**, and Jo**, three young guys from Myanmar, but there is a good chance they are illegal. If they are legal they are on date to be baptized January 2. Yay!

Sunday was awesome! K** came to church. I translated for him during sacrament meeting and he bawled for a lot of it. He looked at me and said "I feel The Spirit". It was so awesome. At church he told me "When Elder Lee and Elder Geilman started teaching me Elder Geilman asked me ' what do you want in life?' and I told him 'happiness'. Will you please tell him I found it. I am so happy!". That was the best news ever! We also had a great lesson with him later last night. He also cut some sugarcane with his machete for us to eat. He is awesome. He is reducing his smoking and we are hoping he will be ready for baptism in December.

So I didn't understand priesthood session of Conference very well, since it was in Chinese. To give you an idea of how little I heard a story of someone who had questions about the church regarding Mary. I assumed it was probably something about the worship of Mary and he was able to respond to the question using he Book of Mormon. I whispered to Elder Lee asking if I was understanding right and he just laughed and said "No, it is about two members on a train who didn't know each other were members and started sharing the gospel with each other. They later find out they are members when they see one another flipping through The Book of Mormon. They get married a while later". HAHA so Chinese could use some practice, but Elder Lee said he was able to understand a lot less from conference  in Chinese, so i can't get too down haha :)

Well that's my week. Love you all!

Elder Joshua Avery

Sitiawan (October 11, 2015)

Conference in Singapore  (November 1, 2015)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Say Yes to School, and NO to Jerks -words by our investigator Gary- 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.

Loveless Lane is a Dead End

So this week was kinda strange, I feel like we kinda up hit a wall, we planned full days and EVERYONE was gone. Que en el Mundo? gente, saben que este es salvacion?? Pues necesito tener paciencia. 
    But despite all the missed appointments and lack of people to see we were forced to Spiritual Harvest (which is like the fancy new word for trackting). And I hate that I have to think of SH as a punishment when nobody answers, like it's the bullet we have to bite in order to have success. So as soon as I realized that that was the way I was viewing it, of course we weren't going to find those who are elect! So I changed my attitude about it and we ended up running into a guy who wasn't super interested but had lots of really interesting theories. He said he wouldn't call himself an atheist but as he was talking I could tell the adversary had had a good time twisting the truth to make this guy agree with the the times rather than with his feelings. But I felt like we should give him a Book of Mormon. And I started to pull it out to give it to him and he said that he probably wouldn't read it, so I kept it as the conversation continued and somehow it wrapped back around and he said that he loves to read.... Well ya stepped right into that one buddy.. He looked at me as I held up the book and he kinda chuckled a little bit and realized that he was going to be getting one. From the way this guy was talking I think he'll read some of it. But not only with him, but with other people I have realized that people are too dang lazy to accept the answers and do their own person study to figure out if what we are telling them is true. Flojos..

But other than that the Lord has shown me lots this week that I need to stop looking for the people who are ready to jump into the church and start focusing on those who have quiet progression. Suyapa and Lilian are so great (plus I am a little bias because they are our only solid Spanish investigators) but I am sure that they have such faith and are progressing. Poco a poquito! 
Well love you family and thanks for all the news! 
Haha I was wondering if there was going to be a week with no news at all... Yep that wasn't today.. Haha not that I don't enjoy it! 

Hermana Madsen 

Southern Peeps Oct 5, 2015
I guess there isn't Laser Tag in Fiji (Oct 19,2015)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sitiawan - 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.

Hello Everyone!

Well I have now spent most of my email time getting only a few things done. Sitiawan is in the middle of nowhere, and the internet speed is awful. Sorry if I'm not able to write and send as much as usual.

Tuesday Elder Pearce and I made sure to teach T** one last time before I left. We taught him about prophets and reminded him about General Conference that upcoming weekend. He said "no" to coming to Conference but after some persistence he said yes to coming to one session. I called Elder Pearce last night to follow up on T** and Elder Pearce says that he loved it and came to every session and was soo happy! That made me so happy! Elder Pearce said that T** afterwards told him, "This doesn't mean I'm becoming a Mormon," but to that I say, Too bad!, you are baptized, on the records, and come to church every week...You are a Mormon!

Wednesday I flew out to Ipoh. I did not see Elder Schwemmer, but it was so great to be picked up at the airport by Sister Chris. I felt right back at home in Ipoh. Sister Chris was so nice and took Elder Lee and I out to lunch and on the way surprised me by picking up LiJuan. I had been hoping I'd get to see her, so it was such a tender mercy. Best of all she is doing great! She said she has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying, and she goes to church every week. I asked her what she was doing Saturday and she said, "Going to Conference!" so yay!  :) Then Sister Chris dropped us off at the bus station so that we could go to Sitiawan. It was only about 90 min ride, so not too bad.

Elder Lee is awesome! I feel so lucky to have a native companion. He works hard and understands the languages and cultures in ways I can't. It's cool to work with him in the field. He was always so helpful while I was serving in Melaka and was probably our most used member at lessons. He and I speak Chinese the whole time that we are out of the house which is nice.

So from what I have learned so far, Sitiawan was originally called "setia kawan" meaning loyal friend. I guess the story goes that back during the tin mining days here an elephant carrying the tin got stuck in the mud. Another elephant ended up staying with its stuck elephant friend. The tide came in and drowned both the elephants and the rest is history. Cool! Sitiawan is in the middle of no where but is a nice quiet place. There is a lot of Chinese here and a lot of them are Christians.

We found three new investigators this week and lots of potentials. That is really exciting. The youth and YSA (Young Single Adults) in Sitiawan is what's keeping the branch alive. One of the YSA named T** goes out with us almost daily. He leaves for his mission to Sydney in a week though.

Saturday was a little sad because a half hour after we were supposed to start Conference we were the only ones at the church. Thankfully the branch president and two other members showed up later. They had one room in English and the other in Chinese. It was such a treat to listen to it in English. We watch priesthood session next week but that will only be in Chinese. The Sunday turnout to Conference was better, and I got to meet some more members.

That evening we taught an investigator named K**. He is on date for December. He could be baptized sooner but he has a smoking problem, but other than that he is golden. He has such sincerity. He reads, prays, and earnestly seeks to improve.

Sitiawan is awesome! I am so excited to work here :) I feel so lucky to get to go to every Chinese speaking area in west Malaysia! woooo! If only we could get some fiber optic here, haha!

Love you all!
Elder Avery

Moving Again (October 5, 2015)

Pancakes, Sunshine, Miracles  (October 18, 2015)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Moving Again - 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.

Yes, that is a chicken foot!
Hello Family and Friends!

This week was so awesome! It had a lot of miracles this week and I will be pretty sad if I have to leave. I've gotten cozy here for sure.

This week the only lessons we had were with new investigators. No idea where our other investigators went this week, but whatevs. haha! On Tuesday we met with V**. She is on date for the end of this month, but we are going to have to push it back because she has not been able to come to church and it is hard to teach her because her Chinese is not too good. But this week when we taught her, we were also able to teach one of her friends from work who is local so she speaks Chinese well. That helps. Her name is X** and she has some exposure to Christianity already, but now that is another investigator who has to ask the same boss for Sunday's off of work. haha!

We also met with a woman named Mrs. L** and her son. She has never learned about any religion which made things very difficult. We had to teach very simply and it had been a little while since we had taught the Restoration in Chinese, but she is cool. A member has been coming to English class for a while and loves the elders, I guess that was the only reason why she started learning. He is a smart kid and could explain the concepts to his mom during the lesson. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said "Oh, I could finish this in a day or two." I don't think she actually did that, but I think she has been reading a lot. We will find out this week :)

We then met with a Philipino named Gi**. He is a Catholic but has not been active in his church. He is here working as a cook. We taught him the Restoration and at the end he said he would be baptized, but I don't think he understands the commitment behind that. He didn't seem too interested until we pulled out a Tagalog Book of Mormon. Then right away he asked, "when is your church service? I'll ask my boss to change my off day." That was a blessing because it is so hard to  get people to church .

T** came to church again. It has been really cool to watch him grow. Every lesson he shouts things like "You'll never make a church goer out of me", but then he is always happy and smiley at church on Sunday. Each week he dresses nicer. His first week he came in jeans and a t-shirt, then jeans with nice shoes, then slacks and a t-shirt, and now on this "you will never make a church goer out of me" 5th or 6th week at church he was wearing a dress shirt, slacks, and shoes. I am so happy for him :)

The work is so real! Anyone can change :)

Love you all,
Elder Avery

P.S. Just got transfer calls and I am going to Sitiawan. I will see L** and my recent converts in Ipoh, and my companion will be a kid from the branch when I was in Melaka. So cool!

Where God Wants Us to Be (September 28, 2015)

Sitiawan  (October 11, 2015)

District in Johor Bahru

Hard to say goodbye to these guys!

Sister Chris met us at the airport in Ipoh!
New companion, Elder Lee
Delicious lunch before we head out
It was so awesome to see LiJuan and Sister Chris!

Southern Peeps - 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. 

First of all, Congrats Sabribri! (Maren's sister decided she wants to serve a mission next summer.) I am so excited for you! Sweet is the work! Now you gotta prepare!

General Conference was so amazing! We had the opportunity to watch all of the sessions (Priesthood and Women's sessions included) loved it! There were so many talked that as I was listening I kept thinking,"man, I hope this person is listening because this would totally help their life," or "man, that is the answer to this person's question." I have such a strong testimony of a living prophet! He and his apostles really are the mouth pieces for God. It really is a stressful honor being set apart by that same apostolic authority.

Bike Week
This week I was able to think a lot about how different the ward is here and how much work still needs to be done. "Till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say, the Work is Done" (Standard of Truth by Joseph Smith).

Hermana Hudson and I decided that we need to be more disciplined. I can see why this area has a reputation of being too laid back. I can see how that affects my mood and our progress with investigators. It's really one of the worst feelings thinking about how much work needs to be done and feeling like you are being ineffective, but hey, I know I am in this area for a reason and I am motivated to get to work more efficiently! Man, the mission teaches ya so much.. It really is like a life time worth of leading crammed into 18 months.

Yeah, yesterday was a scary realization for me... Just a year from yesterday I am going to have to take off my tag... Wow no me gusta. It doesn't feel like it should be like that. But I guess we will never understand time because we are not meant to stay in a place where time is kept.. God is so smart, he really knew what he was doing when he created everything. And for that, we have no reason not to trust Him.

We are working with a lady and she is so awesome! She has so many pretty funny questions. She asked us when there are twins and they have a different body, do they stay in the same egg before they are fully developed while they are still in their mom...... Uhhhhh... Sure... Haha, she is so awesome. She has so much potential. She says that she wants to be baptized by proper authority! She just doesn't want to be a Mormon. Haha! We had to explain a few things to her, but she is progressing nicely.

These southern peeps are hilarious! Except I think I am picking up some of the drawl... Haha està  bien conmigo!

Love y'all so much and hope that all continues to go well!

Small and simple DAILY brings about miracles!

Les quiero!

Hermana Madsen

Arkansas (September 28, 2015)
Say Yes to School and No to Jerks-Sister Maren Madsen (Oct 12,2015)