Monday, November 13, 2017

Week 66 November 13, 2017

Before I get into telling you about my week I want to start off by saying how much I love this Ward that I’m serving in. There’s always something exciting happening and the members really are great, truly. There’s a lot of diversity in Southern California  with the members. This week we had dinner with a couple and they met while they were going to Harvard, both are straight genius and grew up in good homes.  Then we had dinner with this other family, I’ve always seen this lady and she has always been super nice, you wouldn’t think anything crazy about her. Then at dinner she told us  a crazy or how she got shot a couple times awhile back, because she used to be part of a gang?! I love this Ward.  Plus even though everyone comes from different backgrounds, they really go out of their way to help other people and it’s so cool to see how everyone just gets along. Everyone goes out of their way to introduce themselves to new people coming to the ward or coming back to the ward. 
       Also I talked about unexpected things that happen in this area I’m serving in. Something unexpected that happened a couple weeks ago was when a guy name Jay came in Investigating the church from Arkansas. This week they asked him to say the closing prayer in Sacrament Meeting. That was really cool and he killed it. Also it happen again. A lady and her daughter walked into church this Sunday wanting to join the church. She’s been looking at the different religions in Christianity and really liked the LDS church. There’s a lot that she likes about the church and she hasn’t really heard of the Restoration yet, which is weird because that’s the whole point of this church, but we will be teaching her and her daughter about that. They live about a block away from our church building and they are really excited to take the lessons. Well that happened AND a man came into church this Sunday from New Mexico and he was baptized in October. He moved over here and now Eastmont is his new Ward. He’s pretty cool. He talked to us on Sunday and told us that his wife is also investigation the church and he has some friends who are interested also. These are the things that happen in Eastmont! 
    Transfers came this week and I’m staying and I will be having the same companion. 6 weeks from now will be Christmas so the Mission President shortened this upcoming transfer to 5 weeks so this will be a shorter transfer. I forgot to take pictures this week so I’ll try and take some today to send home.

Elder Madsen 🐡

Week 65 November 6, 2017

I had a pretty eventful week last week. I had lots of fun as well as progress in our area. Last P-day I went to the driving range and had lots of fun there. I had the chance to go on two exchanges and on the first one I went with the Glendale YSA Elders and their Ward actually goes outside the Mission boundaries so I had the chance to go into downtown LA and Hollywood to teach some of their investigators. That was a pretty cool experience, and a chance to escape in a way out of the tiny mission boundaries. For the other exchange I went on I went back to my old area and I got to see Corey who was just baptized. He’s doing awesome.
     As for the work in our area things are looking better. There is this Mom and her two girls that want to come back to church. Jackie the Mom is pretty cool too. She’ll admit it and in her own words she “was a punk” and messed around too much when she was younger and she’s trying to straighten her life out now. She’s going back to school, coming back to church, and preparing for the army as well.
     Something else that happened this week was that we had interviews with our Mission President. During interviews the President’s wife, Sister Wells, had a big meeting with everyone else waiting to be interviewed. In the meeting she told us that in February every missionary will be getting a smart phone. That’s not the only crazy thing though. She said that if we were teaching anyone a lesson or a certain topic like tithing for example, and let’s say Grandma has an awesome story or testimony about tithing we could Skype or FaceTime Grandma into the lesson to teach with us. You all can be a missionary and help teach my Investigators!

Week 64 October 30, 2017

 I've always heard  stories of missionaries having people walk into church and ask to be baptized, and I never thought that would happen to me until this week. We came to church this week and some members met us at the door and told us that a man had came to church and wanted to take the missionary lessons and was looking for the missionaries. Crazy huh? The guy’s name is Jace and he super cool. He’s from Arkansas but unexpectedly got moved over here because of work. He’s planning on getting baptized in February by his family down in Arizona. He’s going to be down here in California until April. He hasn’t met with the missionaries too much back in Arkansas so mine and Elder Xu job is to teach him the lessons then he’ll go down to Arizona in February. I’ll tell you what, this guy has got things figured out.
     It’s a good thing that that had happened because it really balanced the week out. This week was not full of progress. I gave myself a bad haircut and there was this big hole on the side of my head and it was really embarrassing to walk around with a hole on the side of my head. Also  Elder Xu and I were tracting and contacting on the end of one of our areas that we don’t get to go to too often, when I got a bloody nose. I didn’t want to leave because we don’t get a chance to be down in that area too often so we kept on going. It wasn’t too successful, I guess because it’s very offsetting to have missionaries knocking on your door when the sun has gone down while one of them has a bloody nose... Our area has been struggling with teaching some one consistently. Well this week we established that with a girl named Anna. She is super cool and is very interested about the Restoration. We found out this week that her husband wants to learn too but he only speaks Spanish. We had to pass them off to the Spanish missionaries. We also found out right before we passed them off that this set of missionaries have been teaching English people and for some reason won’t pass them off to us. I was a little upset about that and  didn't want to pass off this perfect family to them, but my angelic companion helped me to do the right thing and we passed the family off to those missionaries. Butttt that’s what happened to me this week. Oh! A grandma also helped sneak us into an apartment building we were trying to get into and she acted like she was helping us escape nazi Germany. It was funny.  Other than that, I love what I’m doing and it is defiantly rough at times but I love what I’m doing and love teaching people the Gospel.

Elder Madsen 🐡

Week 63 October 23, 2017

A General Authority came to our mission this week, his name was Elder Dyches. There was a lot  of things that he taught us while he was here that we never knew before that could help us become better missionaries and to see more success through our efforts. He also corrected us on a lot of things that we thought we were doing right. Now I actually have it written down but I just summarized his job when he goes on mission tours. He’s supposed to teach and correct and he did a pretty job on both things. 
We got a new bishopric this week and it’s with cool guys in the ward that love to help out with missionary work so hopefully we can get some stuff moving with that. Our bishopric is pretty young too. The bishop is in his early 30’s and his 2nd counselor is 27. They’re pretty young. 
There’s not a whole lot to report on for what’s been going on in my area. Lorenzo is really busy and basically only has time to do things Sunday mornings, so he is available to go to church and he did come this week which was really exciting but we can't teach him at all. That’s the next step we have to work on and figure out. 
Also I’m sorry this email is so short please forgive me.

Week 62 October 16, 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Week 61 October 9, 2017

Transfers came and I stayed in the same area, my new companion is Elder Xu. He’s really cool. We get along really well and we push each other to work our hardest. I love it! We’ve been seeing a lot of success from working our hardest too.
This is kinda what’s been happening this last week. We started this Transfer with nobody but now we have a couple people in our teaching pool. We have Lorenzo who stopped meeting with us last transfer. I don’t remember if I told you guys his story but basically his cousin referred us to him and said that he was really looking for a change in his life and that he was interested in the church. We got through all the lessons with him and there was one final thing stopping him from getting baptized and he decided that it was too hard for him to do it and it was easier to stop meeting with us instead. It was really sad to see because I could see that he wanted change in his life and it was right there, right in front of him but he was kinda passing it by... I do understand that what he had to do was tough for him but I knew it was a lot better for him to face his problem. We haven't had good contact with him for about a month because he wouldn’t meet with us. This week Elder Xu and I called him and invited him to church and through the phone call you could tell he wasn’t really up for it. We told him we would call on Saturday to check again and when we did call on Saturday he wanted to come back and he asked for a ride. He came to church this Sunday. He wants to come again next week. We’ll see what happens next week but I was so happy to see him at church on Sunday.
Another person we found this week was Shannon. She’s pretty cool too. We found her in our Area Book and saw that she was living with some members so we gave her a call and she invited us over. When we were there she really opened up to us and told us about her past. She split with her husband and is now by herself with two kids while her husband has the other two kids. She not a member but they went to church pretty frequently when they were together but after they split it was hard for her to come alone. Aside from that she is so ready for change too! There are a couple challenges she has to overcome but she wants to over come them .She wants God in her life and she’s done living her past life. She asked us to come again, she asked us to leave a chapter for her to read in the Book of Mormon. 
Veronica is kinda sad story though, but I think I learned an important lesson from it. She is someone we stopped and talked to on her front porch. We introduced the Restoration to her and set up another time to come and see her. The next time we saw her we taught her the whole Restoration and she understood it, it made sense to her. We gave her a Book of Mormon and told her that it was evidence that the Restoration had happened and she could know by reading and praying about it. She told us she would read it and then we asked her if she could say the closing prayer. She did and in her prayer she opened up and said how she had been going through some trials and she had asked God for some help and thanked him for sending me and Elder Xu. I know everything sounds awesome so far but the next time we saw her she barley opened the door and handed the Book of Mormon back to us and said she wasn’t interested anymore. We asked why and she gave us fake excuse and we left. My companion felt like we needed to go back and try again, to get the real reason why she suddenly wanted nothing to do with the Book of Mormon anymore. I didn’t really want to go back. I guess I felt like we had tried everything and she was just another person who wasn’t interested or ready. Well we did end up going back, and we talked with Veronica. We talked things out with her and she didn’t change her mind about it. She never told us her real reason to why she wasn’t interested anymore. After we left though I felt a lot better about the whole situation. Even though it didn’t end up the way I would have wanted it to go I still felt good about it. I think that has to do with that I tried my hardest. And the take away from this is that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect in all that we do but he wants us to do our best.

Elder Madsen 🐡

Week 60 Oct. 2, 2017

I’m sorry this email is gonna be a little short. Today was pretty busy. The highlight of the week was that the Beltran’s got baptized! These two kids probably had the potential in having the most obstacles put in their way leading up to baptisms. But it was a miracle to see that after each thing came up, something out of nowhere came in swept the problem away. Elias got interviewed for the priesthood on Sunday. He’s the only youth too so he has some big shoes to fill but it’ll be good for him. He’ll learn a lot and grow from it. Also this past transfer we could not find anyone to teach. Well that’s not totally true, we found a couple people and we’re able to invite them to be baptized and set them with a date. Then they didn’t follow through so we had to drop them.  It’s gonna be a lot of finding this week. Also next week is transfers!

Elder Madsen 🐡

Week 59 Sept. 25, 2017

Some pictures of leadership training at the temple.

Week 58 Sept. 18, 2017

This was another good week. Gary got baptized. Everything went so
smoothly for him. The Lord definitely had  been preparing him for some
time. It the few baptisms I've been apart of, there has always been
something that comes up that we would have to work around but not with
Gary. He was someone who was willing to put the forth the effort to
come close to God and did whatever he needed to do to be baptized. Our
next steps in working with him is to help him get the priesthood and
then to get a temple recommend to do baptisms for the dead. He also
shaved his shaved his beard which is kinda sad, but now he looks
pretty classy. A member showed us a picture of an the old Batman and
Gary looks like him. He also kinda looks like a Mission President at
the same time.
This week President Wells decided to have a meeting at the L.A.
Visitor Center. It's was so fun and I really learned a lot, I loved
it! It's out of our mission so it was a trip to get everyone there.
Actually we spent a lot of time at the temple this week because we
took Gary there a few days afterwards. He had a good time and the
Sister showed him around and then had someone help him start his
family history. Gary is so pumped about that.
The Beltrans are on date for next week so hopefully all goes well. The
only thing in their way is their baptismal interview.

Elder Madsen 🐡

Week 57, Sept. 11, 2017

 The longer I'm here the more I love this Ward. I really don't
know how to explain it but I think this is the best way... Picture a ton
of primary aged boys that drive their primary teacher insane during
class. It's like that but with a bunch of 40 year old single guys to
the Bishop. Now they don't really do anything wrong, they just don't
do anything the Bishop tells them to do. They're all pretty close
together and very active in church activities. They have family home
evenings and splits just to help out the missionaries. Its a lot of
help and they're a lot of fun too. We took this one guy out named
Bobby with us to visit some families and I don't know how but Bobby
worked his magic and got a part Member family interested in going back
to church. They even came this Sunday.
We have a couple progressing investigators too. The first guy we're
teaching is named Gary. I love Gary! He sought out the missionaries.
His friend introduced him to the church and Gary watched all the
church history videos and he wanted to learn more. He really likes the
church and wants to become a member. Another Family we're teaching is
the Beltran family. I'm pretty sure I told you guys about them last
week but this Elias actually had some youth to go to class with on
Sunday. We taught the class and Elias was such a stud. He participated
and got all the question right.

Elder Madsen 🐡

Pic with Gary

Week 56, Sept. 4, 2017

I know this is a little last minute and I am so sorry. Here are some
pictures of the week. I went on exchanges with the Chinese Elders and
it was a blast.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Week 55, August 28, 2017

My first week in my new area has been pretty fun. The ward
members are pretty nice and really take care of us. The Bishop is a
funny guy too. The first time I met him he emphasized to me that the
missionaries only responsibility is to preach the gospel. The members
can do everything else. Then I got a call from his counselor and he
asked me to give a talk in sacrament meeting.
      Even though I spend hours each day talking to people about the
gospel I have a really hard time speaking in front of people.
Especially when you're talking nonstop for 15 minutes. Yea I can't do
that quite yet. My homecoming talk will be pretty interesting when I
come home and still can't talk in front of a group of people.
      We have some pretty fun people that we're teaching too. There's
this older guy named Lorenzo Carlos. His nephew referred him to us and
he's been taught for about two months now. We were able to take him on
a Temple trip this last week and he loved it. Like all people he has
some things holding him back from being baptized but, we've made plans
with him this week to be able to fix them. There's another family that
we're working with that have been inactive for a couple years and we
were able to get them to church for the first time yesterday. It's
just the Mom and her 3 sons. We have big primary program in the ward
but zero 12-18 year olds. One of her sons is 13 and it's really hard
to get fellowship for him. Hopefully we can figure things out for him
this week.
Ok so something crazy happened this week at church. There's
this family that the Elders before me had been working with, and they
have been able to get them coming back to church pretty regularly. The
two boys were baptized the Sunday before I came in. They've been doing
pretty good too until church ended on Sunday. As their family was
walking down the stairs one of the sons was playing around and ended
up tripping their dad (Christian) down the stairs. He was crying and
wailing, he was screaming at the top of his lungs. It was really
painful for him to move around so they called an ambulance to come and
pick him up. It kinda took a long time for the paramedics to come. It
might have been 20-30 minutes but he kept on crying as hard as he
could. It was pretty sad. We called them afterwards to see how they
were doing and his wife told us that the doctors said he sprained his
shoulder.  Agh Christian! I really hope he comes back next Sunday.
      Also we got a parking ticket. The first day we moved into our
new apartment too. That was great. There was a lot happier things that
happened this week I swear, I'm just having a hard time remembering
them. I've literally had a blast this last week, it's been so fun.
Also Lorenzo is having a good time in the picture. Don't let his
thugness fool you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Week 54 August 21, 2017

Transfers came and I got put into a new area. It's kinda sad to
leave all the people you grow close to but change is good. A new
companion, a new area, it's all good, I'll get used to it. I'm in the
Eastmont Ward now, and we are living in Boyle Heights. It's like right
in East La, it's cool because you don't even feel like your in the
United States anymore. Everyone speaks Spanish and plays their Spanish
music. There's these guys that go around with carts honking a bicycle
horn selling corn with mayonnaise on it like from Nacho Libre. It's so
fun down here.
I'm sorry but that's all there is to write about this week. I'll write
more next week.
Here's a picture of me and my new companion Elder Sanders

Week 53 August 14, 2017

I really don't know how to describe these last couple of weeks because
I haven't been doing a good job of writing, but on a good note things
are looking pretty positive with the work here in Alhambra. We found a
couple new people a day before church and invited them to church and
they were like "Yea I'm down!". We found them rides, and THEY CAME. 
On top of that we recently dropped some people
earlier in the week because they didn't show any desire to change and
then what do you know. They came to church on their own with out us
inviting them or anything. That was pretty cool to see.
Our main investigators right now are Corey, Felipe, and Christine.
Corey and Felipe are people we have recently been teaching and
Christine is the one we dropped. We were teaching her and her
boyfriend and it seemed that their interest had kinda fizzled out but
it turns out Christine really wants the gospel in her life, and wants
it for her two kids as well. I don't think her boyfriend is too
supportive of it and she's actually trying to find a new place to stay
because "that's what God wants her to do". This is a complete turn
around from the way she acted before and I'm grateful for that.

Elder Madsen 🐡

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Week 48 July 17th 2017

Not too much has happened this week with missionary work. Just a lot
of finding and our current investigators have kinda hit a wall with
their progression in the Gospel.
Elder Kim, my companion is also returning home next week. He has
medical issue with his feet that make it very hard in him to get
around. It's really sad, the pain he feels in his feet make it look
like he's walking around with nails in his shoes. There was a couple
nights when I took him home a little bit early because I couldn't
watch him walk around so painfully. He's only been a convert for two
years and has a great desire to serve the Lord.  After a lot of
interviews between him and President he has decided to return home. It's
really sad, he's been one of my favorite companions.
This week is also my year mark! I don't know how I feel about that.
I'm kinda excited for how long I've been out but sad that my mission
is halfway over. There's so much that I want to accomplish and I'm
really going to push myself this next year to become even better.

Week 47 July 10th 2017

Week 46, July 4th 2017

I had the chance to meet the new Mission President and his wife.
They're both super cool, and I'm really excited to see how the next
year will be serving with them.  President Wells has a hard time
reciting the mission scripture and even the purpose but that's OK.  I haven't
been out a year  so I'll be serving most of my mission with the new
President, President Wells. He had a chance to speak for a little bit
to introduce himself and his wife and he has a pretty impressive
background. He was pretty high up in his career it seems like, and did
a lot for the church as well.
I don't have too many things to talk about with the investigators
we're teaching. There's not too much change than from last week.
Michael one of the people we're working with is dating a member and he
came to church and signed up to feed us today. We were really
impressed that he did that so we went up and thanked him. He told us
that he wanted to show us how much he appreciated us and wanted to have
fun with us by shooting off some fireworks. I don't think we can do
that as missionaries so hopefully he doesn't get upset if we just
I was able to get a picture of my old Mission President and a picture
of the new Mission President with our Zone. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Week 45 June 26, 2017

It's definitely been a memorable week on my Mission. I've made
sure to write it down in my journal so that I can remember it in the
future. We had our last Zone Conference with the President of the
Mission. Going into Conference I really expected President and his
wife to talk about getting us ready for the new President coming in.
Nope. President's wife talked about conversions and then testimony and
what we had to do to grow a testimony. I thought and I'm pretty sure
everyone else thought that she was teaching us about our investigators
and what they have to do to gain a testimony. We talked about the
basics, going to church, reading The Book of Mormon, and prayer. She
then told us to stick to the basics when we go home so that we (The
Missionaries) don't fall away.  I sat there for a little bit because
that really stuck with me. The last thing Sister Vill wanted to tell or to
teach us would be probably what was most important to her or what
she'd think would be most important for us and it was that. For us to
stay to the basics when we get home so that we don't lose our
testimonies. Then after that, President went up there and emphasized
the same thing. It was so cool. You could tell that he really cared
about us.
Anyways the new Mission President, President Wells will be coming on
Friday. We will get to meet him the week after that. He has a lot of
stuff to adjust to and to get settled in.
 OK so a little update with our investigators. We're teaching a
couple people say are more flakey than others but that's OK. A lot of
the current investigators I don't think I'll be able to see the fruit
of everything I'm working with them on. A lot of it is in the long
run. We have to work on getting a couple married. Sometimes
one of them is more ready to commit than the other but that's OK it
all takes time. The desire is there with at least one of them each
time we go over. They saw a baptism in the Chines Ward today and they
had a really good time getting to know everybody at church today as
I went to a ARP (addiction recovery) meeting with a different investigator this week. It
was dope. It wasn't cool because I was at the actual meeting but
that I was with someone that wanted to change so bad and willing to
work at it. I'm happy that I'm there to help him and have his back in
this tough time in his life. It'll be hard for him for sure but he
really is putting his faith into the Lord and I'm excited to see how
much Heavenly Father can help him.
We also got a new investigator this week.
She just got back from Madrid and she was over there playing soccer.
She's pretty cool and the missionaries that had been teaching her in
Spain really did a good job teaching her. She is ready. She came home
to be baptized but her family isn't supportive so she's going to keep
on meeting with us until she figures it out. She knows the right thing
to do is to follow the Lord, but her family isn't making it easy for
I'm doing a lot better too. For a long time I was in a rut it felt
like and I wasn't progressing in any way. I was just kinda stuck. I was
having a hard time learning new things and remembering the old things.
It was really weird. But with actually studying the Scriptures instead
of reading just to read pulled me out of that I think.

Elder Madsen 🐡

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Week 44 June 19, 2017

We had 3 baptismal dates two weeks ago.  They were Michael,
Eugene, and Christie. Michael has been investigating for years ,but
he's never been able to be baptized because he has a drug problem
which is pretty bad. We were working with him
for a week and then he fell off the face of the earth. We could not
get a hold of him. We tried to get a hold of him by contacting his
girlfriend who's a member.. Anyways she told us that she can't find him
either and when that happens that means he relapsed.
Now last week we were down to two. That's Eugene and Christie.
They're living together and they aren't married but they have a couple
kids together so we can't split them up. They've been investigating a
long time from another ward. They recently moved over here so we
started teaching them. They're in a tough spot financially. They used
to be homeless and they were jumping from motel to motel. We have been
working with them to get them baptized and married and they were all
for it. We set up a time for them to meet the Bishop and talk about
This week we found Michael again at his girlfriends house and it
was pretty sad. He likes to go to the gym and work out and the week
before he was looking good but now he was so skinny. It was kinda scary. 
We talked a lot to Michael about his problem and his desire to quit. He
expressed how much he tried to give it up that I feel like he doesn't
think he can do it.  He told us that he wants to quit and that he has a 
desire to change but I don't think he has faith in himself. 
He came to church last week. He comes on his
own without his girlfriend who is a member. It was so cool to see him
come. I think he wants a better life and is trying to find it.

Some training pictures