Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19, 2010

Hey everybody,

Well, the adversary is real. We met with Jade and she was getting nervous about her baptism. She is afraid of what her friends will think about her new lifestyle and also is afraid that she won't be able to keep all of the commandments. We weren't able to teach her the 3rd lesson because we couldnt find preisthood (how does that make you feel brethren... next time the missionaries ask you to go to a lesson with them, if you have free time then GO!!! it seriously can make a difference is someone's life). We could only talk on the doorstep but we did tell her that those feelings of doubt and concern are totally natural and that we were grateful that she was taking this seriously. We told her after her baptism that she would be able to enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost which would help her (that's part of the third lesson, so I guess we gave her a little preview of what we were teaching). But what she said was awesome! She goes, "Well, I guess I'll just keep reading this." SHA-WING!!!! She totally has a testimony but I'm not sure if she recognizes it yet. I can't wait till Tuesday and she also said her husband would be there and that he would go to her baptism! So the family's behind her!!! YESSSSSS!!!!

Now the opposition was working very hard with Elder Sanders and I with Carrie. We taught the third lesson. Her member friend said that she was feeling pressured about baptism so Elder Sanders and I thought of some ways to bring it up without pressuring her during our companionship studies. So after teaching about baptism, Elder Sanders delivered the invitation in the kindest, most heartfelt way that made it seem like this was a decision between her and God and that it was up to her. She said she couldn't do the 31st because she is having surgery in September...

Alll we could do was encourage her to continue praying. She said she feels the Spirit as we teach and we notice that she really pays attention as we teach. But there has been a difference between the way she reacted during our first lesson and this past one. Who do you think has been in her head? That's right, before every great spiritual moment, the adversary steps in. He is real and wants to put doubts and worries and concerns in our heads to make us feel like we're inadequate to be able to keep the commandments our Heavenly Father has set for us. It's not just with investigators though, it's with all of us... even prophets. Look at Moses who had the devil appear before him or Joseph beofre he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The adversary tries his hardest to keep the work from going forth. The question is how are we going to face it? During this week, I'd invite you to think of experiences where you have been able to overcome Satan and his forces and how you are going to deal with those trials in the future. Tell me about them. I want to hear your testimonies and solutions to this because Saturday was a rough night for Elder Sanders and I and discouragement was overwhleming us to the point where now we are studying to find ways to be able to overcome the devil and bring hope into other people's lives.

I love you all and I care about each and everyone of you. I find out next week if I'm gettting transferred or not. You are all in my prayers.

Love, Elder Madsen

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010

Hello everybody!

Man time is flying by! I'm already halfway through my first transfer. I really hope Elder Sanders and I stay together because we are starting to see success after success. We're purging the area so I'm pretty sure President will let us stay but who knows... i got the package form the Leavitt's. Thank you so much!!! That was definitely a bright spot in both of our days because Elder Sanders was very grateful that I shared some of the goodies with him.

So do you wanna hear about the craziest and most awesome day of my mission so far?!!! So last Monday, we had two investigator appointments set up after P day (you only have time for 2 appointments on P day anyway so this was perfect). Our first investigator, Carrie, was actually a referral form a guy who's been excommunicated (working his way back into the church now). He told us that she's very spiritual and wanted to learn more about our religion. So we went over and there was another lady who is actually inactive but still has a testimony... i think... anyway we got to know her and taught the first lesson. The Spirit was so strong and we shared our thoughts about the power of prayer and it was going AWESOME!!! Then Elder Sanders talked about the restoration and gave the first vision... the spirit was SO strong! I added my testimony and I asked her how she was feeling and was identifying feelings of love and warmth. I testified to her that those feelings were the Spirit testifying to her that what were saying was true and I invited her to be baptized on the 31st. It was quiet and she said, "I think so." My heart jumped!!! And I wish you could've heard the tone of her voice because it wasnt a " Well if you really want me to..." it was a more of a "This is what I want to do" response. Aww it was crazy!!! We gave her a marked Book of Mormon (Mom, youre going to have to ask Elder Owens for a copy of his Book of Mormon Challenge and you'll find out why in a second) and talked about why it was important and asked her to read it. She's such a nice lady and it was incredible feeling. You shouldve seen Elder Sanders and I in the elevator... pounding it and smiling up the ying yang!! Aww it was incredible. So really quickly I offered a prayer of gratitude that the spirit would be there and it totally happened.

Now for the second best part of my day! So Jade is probably the most prepared person to hear the gospel in my life... sorry kevin. We came in and taught her the Plan of Salvation and it was SO awesome because the whole time she was telling us "Wow this makes sense!" and "It's so awesome that now I know my purpose in life." (Why we didnt baptize her that night is still a question to me). You know what else is awesome is that she reads the Book of Mormon everyday and every morning!!! Members don't even do that! Aww she is so amazing and prepared it's awesome!!! She's in our prayers everyday. So after we taught, we asked Jade about her schedule and asked her if the 24th would work for her to be baptized. She said yes!!! She was worried about her husband because he isn't religious and she was worried that he might not go to heaven. We taught her that God looks on the heart and not to make those judgements. We shared ideas and she told us he was a good husband and a good father and tries his hardest to provide for them and we told her how blessed she was to have a companion like that. I told her about Grandpa Slagle and how he wasn't a religious man but how he was still a great father and hard worker and a man of character and integrity and then I told her, "God will recognize those traits and they will stand on his side at that Day". That gave her a lot of comfort and we stressed the importance of following the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it is only through the gospel that we can be eternally happy and where we will dwell with our Heavenly Father forever. She had a big smile on her face the entire time.

When Jade said "This makes sense", something at that moment made sense to me as we were teaching. The reason the Plan of Salvation (probably the most complex doctrine in the church) made sense to her is because we really were all there in the Pre-Existence with Heavenly Father. We chose to come to this earth to gain a body and to be tested. We are tested on how well we follow the Gospel and how much we were able to apply the Atonement in our lives. We are on this earth so that we can prepare to meet God again. He wants us back into His presence but we have to make the choice to do so. This all made sense to Jade because she was there when the Plan was presented... just like you were. Although there was a veil placed over us so that we could not remember any of our pre-earth life, the Spirit can bring things to our remembrance. I have a strong testimony that the Spirit brings back to us our remembrance of where we were before this life and testifies the truth of the Plan of Happiness to all of us as we strive to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is exactly what happened to Jade on Monday and it can and does happen to all of us as we live righteously.

Now, we as members of the church are so lucky to have this knowledge. What do you think it would be like if the Spirit brought somebody else's remembrance of the plan into their mind? Another cool thing Jade said was "I dont know what makes me read this everyday but something keeps me interested in it." That interest is coming from the Spirit. Jade is reading a marked copy of the Book of Mormon which highlights the key points of it and allows the Spirit to work more effectively with her. I'd encourage each of you by the end of the month to mark up a book of Mormon in your daily studies and give this copy to a friend by the end of the month. We challenge our members to do it in a week so there's no excuses for you. I know that as you do this, not only will other people benefit from reading the Book of Mormon, but your testimony of its truthfulness and power will increase as you share your testimony and this challenge will help you as you prepare to meet your Heavenly Father. I love you all and you are always in my prayers


Elder Madsen

P.S. Mom, ask Elder Owens for his copy of the Book of Mormon Challenge and read it. It's incredible and there's a purpose behind the marked book which you will find out as you invite people to read it. Find out what it is