Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

Hey everybody,

So I'm pretty sure yesterday was one of my favorite days on my mission so far! Thank you for the packages and I got the mail yesterday (First time in 5 weeks!)!!! Thank you so much! But that was more of the icing on the cake.

So we had an appointment with Ericah (the black canadian from kenya) but she cancelled on us. So Elder Stevens and I stopped by her place and just talked a little bit on the doorstep and chatted. She said she wants a church that is more than a "Sunday" religion and that she wants to the "know the truth". Did Heavenly Father lead her into our church or what? We talked about how our church is not just a "Sunday" church as we talked about home and visiting teachers and relief society and activities that go on. Of course those aren't the only reasons but we'll get into that when we actually teach her. Her friend Thandi is from Zimbabwe and has a girl who loved primary. Thandi wants to be taught as well so we'll see how this lesson goes this week.

Now it gets even better. So at church, Elder Stevens and I are sitting on a pew and a returned missionary comes up to us and says she brought 2 investigators for us. Sure enough, these 2 filipino teenagers sit with us. Their mom is a less active member but the dad is not. But anyways, the rm served in the Phillipines so they were speaking Tagolog with each other. We were talking and stuff and all of a sudden, the power goes out in the church. The girls laughed and said "This happens all the time in the Phillipines,". Haha i was laughing. Anyways, the power went back on and we got their info and we'll be meeting with them on Thursday (Keep me in your prayers... and them as well).

So many good things are happening in this area but I'm really nervous. Transfers are next week and I do not want to leave. But I know I'll go where the Lord wants me to go which is something I'm totally fine with. It's just hard to leave this area where I've put so much work into and I want to see the fruits but it's the Lord's work, not mine.

All right, now I want to let you know why your testimonies are so important. The ward had a BBQ and Carrie, our investigator, was there. She was talking with members and having a great time. We saw empty seats next to her and she saw us and wanted us to sit next to her. We were eating and for whatever reason, I started up a converstation with one of the members sitting across from me. We were talking and for some reason, I asked her how long she had been a member. It turns out she said she was a convert when she was in her twenties (Keep in mind, Carrie is right next to us and listening). So Elder Stevens and I asked her about her past and she bore testimony about how she was trying all sorts of different churches because she was looking for the truth. She said she found it in our church and said, "and now, I'm home." Twenty minutes after the bbq was over, we got a call from Bob, her fellowshipper who is working his way back into the church, and he said that it was great seeing us at the picnic and that Carrie is really interested now. She's reading everyday and praying about the Book of Mormon. It's so awesome!!! The first thing Elder Stevens and I said after we got the phone call was, "Who was that person who bore her testimony again? We got to get her in the lesson!" And we will.

You never know what a smiple testimony can do for someone. You don't have to preach or give a sermon, you just have to be yourselves. I noticed that as Elder Stevens and I gave talks in the Forestry ward yesterday. We were both ourselves. We weren't trying to be general authorities, we were being 19 and 20 year old boys, simply sharing with the ward experiences we have had on the mission, being led by the Spirit, and bearing His sacred name. Be yourself. There's a reason why everyone is not like President Monson. It's because we are all different people and we've all had different experiences which have brought us to where we are. Don't be something you're not. You don't have to wear the nametag to share the gospel. The Lord has shaped you to become what you need to be to so that you can be of great service to Him. This is His work, not ours. We are the tools and we are all different instruments. Find out your strengths and make them of use. Find your weaknesses and come unto Him so that they may be strengthened. Don't use excuses. "A strong missionary finds a way... a weak one- an excuse."

I love you all and hope that you are able to find the strengths the Lord has blessed you with. I hope that you use those strengths so that you can be of great service in His kingdom.

Elder Madsen

August 23, 2010

Hey everybody,

Thanks for all your e-mails and letters. Sounds like you're having a good time... too bad you're not having an awesome time like me!

This week was pretty slow. All of our appointments with our investigators canceled ( We had about 4 of them) so this week's letter to President was pretty bland. So what we've been doing a lot lately is helping show the members that missionary work is not as scary as they think it is but also that it can be very rewarding as well. I've told you about the 7 day challenge before where we go to members and challenge them to invite a non member friend to have the missionary lessons in their home within a week. Do you think this sounds like something impossible or something that's pretty scary? Before you answer this question, ask yourself, "Have I ever done that before?" If you haven't done this challenge before, then how do you know you can do it or not? I can testify to you that this is something that is possible. Moroni 7:33 teaches us that if we exercise our faith in Christ, we can do anything that is expedient in Him. Inviting people to come closer to Him is expedient in Him. So with that being said, this challenge is not something that is impossible, it might be scary, but the blessings that come from inviting others to come closer to Christ overwhelm those feelings of fear that we have. In 3 Nephi 27, the Savior is talking to the 3 Nephites. These men wanted to tarry on the earth so that they could share the gospel with others. The Lord promises them blessings in verse 10. Read that verse and see how those blessings could help you in your life. How could those blessings help you individually? How about your family? How about those around you? I testify that those blessings are not only for you but are there for others as well as you show your Heavenly Father you have that desire to bring souls unto him. Well, are you up for it? Do you think you can do it? I could go on and on about how this challenge could benefit you and those you're around but don't take my word for it... take the Lord's word for it. You can read in the scriptures all about the promised blessings He has in store for those who bear their testimony of His name.

So for those of you who decide to take this challenge, remember who this is between. This is an experience where you will be able to strengthen your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Tell Him about how scary it is and how hard you think it is and the people you're thinking about to invite. Ask Him for help and for strength to be able to overcome your fears and to be guided as you bear your testimony of your Savior Jesus Christ. He does listen to your prayers and He will answer them. He does not want you to feel like you're alone in this. In D&C 84, The Savior promise He will be on your right and on your left as you bear testimony of Him... If that doesn't motivate you, I'm not sure what will... I know that He will guide you to those lost sheep who he desires so much to bring back into His fold. He loves them and loves you as well. He will be there for you.

I know that after you take this challenge, you will come to a greater understanding of your relationship with Heavenly father and Jesus Christ. Your faith in them will increase as you put yourselves in the shoes of the Savior for these 7 days. I am excited to hear your experiences and your testimonies.

Elder Madsen

August 16, 2010

Hey everybody,

Miracle happened yesterday... but Elder Stevens and I weren't there to see it!

So we cover 3 wards and yesterday we decided to attend all the P.E.C. meetings because we have to report back to the zone leaders on how well the wards are doing with their mission plans. So in the second ward that we cover, 3 African Americans (well, i guess theyre candians but whatever) came to church and stayed all 3 hours! Everybody in the ward noticed we weren't there, so the members basically did the fellowsipping and inviting and all of that good stuff. We didn't hear about it until about 9:20 last night when we were helping a future missionary with his teaching skills. Wehn Brother Heyland said "Yeah, there were three black people in church today... Were you guys there?" At first I thought he was joking but it really happened. We sped off to the ward mission leader's home and he had brownies and milk for us and gave us their information. In the Fairmont ward, there has only been 2 weeks since he's been a wml (only since I've gotten there though) where there was not an invesitgator in the ward! You know what's funny is that their ward is really catching onto the Elder Perry Model... Hmm, could that mean that when you listen to the apostles that you can see miracles happen?

We've got a pretty big teaching pool but the problem is that it's summer right now. That means everybody is on vacation. It's pretty annoying when families tell you that they're going to places like Hawaii and Europe but it's even more annoying when they tell me they're going to San Diego! Maybe annoying isn't the proper word but home does run through my mind when they say that.

I'm sorry this is a short e-mail but I want to let you know that the work of God will never cease. It's amazing to see his hand play into the lives of others when they follow Him. We were with a less active last night. He was baptized about 20 years ago and joined the church for someone else. He had been keeping the commandments, reading, praying, paying his tithing but said he wasn't able to feel the Spirit or anything. He also felt like God wasn't answering his prayers. I then asked him why did he keep the commandments. He said because somebody told him to. We taught about doing things of our own free will and I bore my testimony of how I knew the church was true because I wanted to know it for myself. I didn't want to know it so that I could make mom and dad happy but I wanted to know it because i wanted to know if the Book of Mormon was true and if God really was there. i exercised faith in Him by reading my scriptures and by praying everyday. Keeping the commandments to the best of my abilities brought the Spirit into my life so much stronger than it was before. I know that we can only strengthen our testimony if we want to benefit ourselves, not to make us look good in front of others, but to strengthen our personal relationship with our Savior. I love him and I know He is real. You are all in my prayers. Keep pressing on and I will do the same.


Elder Madsen

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010

Well hey there!

So this week was pretty interesting. I thought it was never going to end but it did eventually. Elder Stevens and I said bye to Jade this week. That was pretty hard. She's in Slave Lake right now. I heard the bishop in our ward told her it would be best if she got baptized up there with her new ward instead of the ward down here. I kind of wished he told Elder Stevens and I that... Now it all makes sense why there was less motivation for her to get baptized these past couple of weeks. It's frustrating but at the same time, I realize that Elder Sanders and I did all that we could and that's what matters. All I can do is hope and pray that she will be baptized up there. This isn't my mission, it's the Lord's mission.

We met with a former investigator this week. He's living with his two girls and his girlfriend who is less active (obviously). He's on parole until November so he can't go to church until then but he still has a good heart and wants to raise his girls right. What better place than this gospel to raise your children? Elder Stevens and I challenged them to have family scripture study and also family prayer each day. We'll see how that goes with them on Wednesday.

We're meeting with a ton of less actives now. Some of the wards are catching onto the Elder Perry Model (Those are the wards where the missionaries are most involved in... Hint, hint!). I'm telling you that the model works when it is done the way Elder Perry has asked us to do it. It is more effective when the members are involved with the less actives than when the missionaries simply knock on their door and ask if we can teach. Follow the counsel of the Apostles! Your ideas may be good but Theirs are right.

We met with Carrie last night. It's been a while but it was good to go over there again. Her friend Bob is excommunicated and her other fellow shipper is a less active. It's good because it's 3 people benefitting from the lessons. Anyways, Elder Stevens and I were going in planning on teaching about the Book of Mormon but it turns out that the Word of Wisdom got brought up so we taught that instead. The Spirit was very powerful. Carrie said she feels like she can't give up coffee because it's the only thing that will cure her headache. We told her about the blessings that come from following the Word of Wisdom and how this is something that came from a prophet and it is something Christ wants us to do. Following the Word of Wisdom shows that we're willing to follow Him and that we want to keep His commandments. We taught about the Book of Mormon eventually but it was kind of interesting how we went in there thinking that we were going to teach one thing but how the Spirit totally helped us teach something completely different than what we were expecting to teach. Man, that's awesome!

Elder Stevens and I are working hard but having a blast at the same time! The Spirit was so strong in that lesson with Carrie. It's an incredible feeling that I feel I can only have wile being a missionary. But guess what! You too can have the Spirit with you. The EQP in one of the wards asked me to give a spiritual thought to the priesthood right when the meeting started. I opened up to 3 Nephi 12 where it talks about being the Light. When you were baptized, you received a special gift and that gift is the Holy Ghost. Because of your righteous choices and remembering your baptismal covenants, you can have the Holy Ghost be with you at all times. Not everybody has that. Not everybody has those feelings of joy and comfort testifying to them that they have a Savior and a Heavenly Father who loves them... but you do. Let them have a taste of what that knowledge can do for them. Let them feel the love that you have been able to feel in your life by following the Gospel. When the opportunity comes for you to tell someone why you are different or why you are so happy, do NOT put the reasons under a bushel. Let them shine because when you do that, you are glorifying your Father who is in Heaven. He loves you and wants all of His children back into His presence. I love you all. Take care!

Elder Madsen

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 3, 2010

Hey everybody!

So I got my new companion! He is pretty awesome and has an awesome sense of humor. He said last November, he had Thanksgiving with the Natives, so he felt like it was a "legit" Thanksgiving! haha

Wow, time is flying! It's already August! I cannot believe it... and guess what? in 5 weeks, there'll be another transfer! I can't get over how much time flies out here!

So, Jade is moving either today or tomorrow. It's really unfortunate she wasn't able to get baptized but I know that as she continues to read from the Book of Mormon and pray and attends church, she will find that strength and that comfort from the Holy Ghost to get baptized. If all the Lord wanted me to do was to plant that seed, then I'm DEFINITELY okay with that... but there's always that part of you that wants to see her baptized but I guess i need to work on some things in my own life to make my will according to what Heavenly Father's will is. We're teaching Carrie on Sunday! She's reading from the Book of Mormon and praying and is asking questions to her fellowsippers. She hasn't really developed that strong relationship with us quite yet but I have a feeling that she will soon open up to us as we work with her. There are also other investigators we're working with and praying for that we can help bring closer to the waters of baptism... a.k.a. im busy and my mind is racing all over the place.

So, how did your Book of Mormon challenges go? I gave you till the end of the month but the only reason I do that is because if I don't give you a time frame, then you won't do it until I come home so I thought I would give you a generous amount of time. What helps is when you teach each other the backgorund of the Book of Mormon (with the pictures and everything) and testify to each other of how it has helped you in your life and how you were able to gain a testimony of this testament of our Savior. The reason you teach each other before your actual "investigator" is because not only will it help you get rid of the choppiness and the verbal statics in your delivery but it will also strenghten your testimony before you actually share it. I promise you that the Spirit will be with you as you testify of this Book. They might not recognize it but the Holy Ghost will be there. It will guide what you say in the "very moment" (D&C) you will need it.

There's another program in the mission called the 7 day challenge. Basically, we invite familes to share their testimonies with a non member friend in 7 days. This one family (Toth's) were 7 dayed about a month ago with Elder Sanders and I and didn't invite anyone BUT they fasted and kept this challenge in their prayers and their son Austin in Waterton had a 2 hour discussion with his friend about the gospel. The missionaries came over and are now teaching him! Guess who gets to each him now? Yep! Elder Sanders got transferred to Cardston as a zone leader and now he gets to teach the Toth's friend. That's so cool! He gets to teach somebody that came from a seven day challenge he gave! Oh man but now there's this family... the Wetterstrand's! We 7 dayed them and they've been working with 2 people and Sister Wtterstrand taught her hair dresser the plan of salvation while she got her hair done!!! Prayers are real and Heavenly Father is listening and he WILL answer them.

I love you all and I appreciate the e-mails and letters. Some pictures would be nice! Keep me in your prayers as I am keeping you in mine!


Elder Madsen

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July 26, 2010

Hey everybody!

Good news and sad news... Good news: I'm staying in Lethbridge (I love this area) Sad News: Elder Sanders is being transferred to Cochrane (I love him as a companion). My new companion is Elder Stevens so I will tell you all about him next week (p.s. i cant email you till next tuesday cuz august 2nd is a holiday so the libraries are closed)

So this week was kind of interesting. We weren't able to meet with Carrie but we had an awesome lesson with Jade. We taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of Wisdom. The Spirit was so strong and she was answering questions about how our church views the Atonement in a much more different way than any other church on the earth (In my mind, I was jumping!!!) She cant get baptized till this Saturday though because she drank coffee on Tuesday abd she has to be living the Word of Wisdom for seven days but she wants to get baptized which is awesome! Hopefully Elder Sanders and I get to see her tonight because we really do love her and Elder Sanders is leaving. Jade is moving to Slave Lake on August 3rd (never thought i would be sad on Grandma Madsen's birthday). Jade will get baptized though... whether its in Lethbridge or in Slave Lake, I know that. She has way too powerful of a testimony but I'm worried the adversary will continue putting worries and doubts in her head just like how he put worries and doubts in my head right before my mission.

So on Sunday night, there was a special youth fireside with the coach from the movie "Forever Strong". If you havent seen it, WATCH IT!!! (Rudy is in it :)) There were lots of non mebers going so guess what that means... the missionaries got to go! Coach Gelwix has a son that is serving in the Canada Calgary Mission as well. He had some awesome things to say. He said everybody on this earth has a testimony. Everybody who chose to come to this earth stood before Heavenly Father in the Pre-Existance and accepted the plan he had for us. This should change our view and approach around our fellow men. We need to view them as people who already have testimonies but simply need to be reminded of what they already know. How do you remind them of what they already know? Well, how did the Savior remind people of who they were? He reminded everybody that they were a child of our Heavenly Father through love and service. He continues to remind us of who we are even today because the Atonement was not simply an event in the Garden. The Atonement is infinte and eternal (Alma 34) and is always there for us. How are you going to allow the Savior to remind you of who you are? How are you going to change the way you look at other people knowing that they too have a testimony. It may not be as developed as yours but it is there.

I thought it was a cool fireside. Afterwards we got to shake his hand, and he asked me what I learned. I froze. Talk about a deer in the headlights. I took good notes though and pulled out my planner and told him what I just wrote to you. He's a pretty awesome man. It was a great experience.

K, cool experience. We extended a challenge to a family to invite somebody to learn more about the restoration in 7 days (Pretty bold huh?) but this family's faith is incredible (Wetterstrand family) and they actually came up with someone to focus on. Brother Wetterstrand told us we could stop by there (P.s. dont tell a missionary to go ahead and do something just for the sake of telling them because they'll do it. Why? cuz thats what Elder Sanders and I did.) That afternoon we stopped by his house and his neighbor goes, "You dont want to stop by there! His wife just died so he's not up for small talk!!" Elder Sanders goes, "Silly Satan! Get thee hence!!!" nah im just kidding but we did ignore him and John (the man) let us in and we talked for about an hour and he gave us cookies and pop (new term for me). We talked about salmon (thank you mom for cooking salmon because we talked for about half an hour about how we love salmon and we talked about different ways to cook it and i talked about plank salmon and stuff). Anyways, he said he was very impressed with our church on the importance of families to us. We asked if he would like to learn more about it and he said, "Not really," but hopefully he'll let us keep going over there and talking some more so we can develop a realtionship.

So moral of the story, you have the power to cast Satan away. Had we listened to the neighbor, we would have never been able to enjoy that experience. I love you all and continue building your faith. Read Helaman 5:12 (Awesome scriputre when dealing with Satan.


Elder Madsen