This week was awesome! I felt like i was at Disneyland. Going through all the lines with Elder Ramirez, I almost felt like a little kid. My companion is awesome! Elder Harper is 25 and from Arroyo Grande which is a couple hours north of Santa Barbara. He served a mini mission in the California Ventura Mission for about 6 weeks so he knows the in's and outs of missionary work which is very helpful to me. He gives me tons of advice on missionary work and helps give me a little taste of what it's actually going to be like when we're out there. He has so many stories that are so powerful that sometimes I just cant wait to leave the MTC. Unfortunately, he hurt his left knee playiong volleyball. What's even more unfortunate is that he's had knee surgery on his right knee so now he has had two bad knees. He feels bad because he feels like I have to drag him around everywhere but it's not a big deal to me because I'll do anything to keep a companion this good. We've had to leave the MTC three different times to go to the hospital which has not been fun for me because everytime we go out, we always see BYU which makes me think of last year and how much fun it was. But luckily I keep my focus by studying my scriptures and Preach My Gospel. He had his MRI today so I'll let you know how that goes and whether or not he'll be able to go to Calgary.
This is a good group of missionaries in our district. Everyone has a powerful testimony and we all have our unique talents which help us build off of each other to become better missionaries. I take so many notes in my study journal. I already have 30 pages filled up but I read what I write every night so that the lessons I learn can stay fresh in my mind. The teachers are awesome. You can tell these men put their whole hearts and souls into the work and that's something that I've promised the Lord I would do. One of the ways I can put my whole heart into the work is by keeping all of the rules. There are ALOT of them. But I know they're for our benefit. I hear a lot of "Man, why do we have to do this?" or "Well, that might apply to some missionaries but not me!" I tell myself, "Wow I am really impressed that there are 19 year old men who know better than the prophet!" I do my best to keep all of the rules because I know that the rules are for my benefit and that I can have an added measure of the Spirit as I teach. Oh man do I need every ounce of th Spirit I can get. The MTC president said that as you find yourself becoming less resilient to the rules, you will find that you are experiencing a change of heart. That was a very powerful statement.
I've seen Elder's Ramirez, Garner, Bean and Brother Springer which has always brightened my day. I also saw President Hacking and his wife. When I first said hello to them they were like "Who is this kid?" but then I told them I was Sister Madsen's brother and I had met them at the wedding. They then recognized me. I guess there's a lot of Elder Madsen's up here. I saw one on our floor and was wierded out but it was funny. We had our MTC devotional last night. Elder Foster of the Seventy spoke. The power of 2000 missionaries singing is overwhelming. We first sang "Called to Serve" which made me feel important but then we sang "A Child's Prayer" which made me feel loved and humbled. Elder Foster spoke about the power of prayer and how the Lord has all of these blessings he wants for us but all we have to do is exercise our agency and ask and then act upon those blessings we receive. Very powerful spirit. After the fireside, Sister Jensen (wife of the first counselor in our branch presidency) gave an icredible insight on the first vision about when Joseph called upon God and then was seized upon by Satan. God was there the whole time and noticed the trial and suffering Joseph went through but because Joseph had asked... Heavenly Father was able to deliver him from his trial. It's the same way with us. Heavenly Father knows what we're going through but if we do not ask for His help, we are withheld from those blessings that He wants to give to us.
I love you all and want to let you know that although I'm having some struggles, I'm also experiencing great joys through the gifts of the Spirit. The mantle is real. It's amazing how 19 year olds can perform miracles in people's lives and I can't wait to be a part of it but it will only happen if I'm obedient, faithful and put my companion first.
Love Elder Madsen
P.s. Tell my friends to use Dear Elder. Its faster and qucker and I'll be able to spend more time writing e-mails than reading them. oh and mom, my companion and I passed on our room check so that should give you some comfort. If you want, send some hard candy like lifesavers or werthers because they last longer and taste good during lessons.