Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 25, 2014

Brittany got baptized this week! It was such a wonderful and special service. She really wanted her grandpa to give the opening prayer, he is a baptist preacher. Boy, that prayer was awesome! Haha.

 ​rest of the ​
program was very spiritual and afterwards Brittany got up and gave her testimony. It was so sweet and pure, she talked about how the water felt different to her from normal shower or pool water, and how she knows she made the right decision. Afterwards we had cookies and punch :) It was great!

One day last week we hit a slump in our time. It was really hot and the middle of the afternoon, but with no one home we had no other choice but to start knocking on doors. I admit I wasn't as excited as I should have been to do it, but I knew that it was the best use of our time. The first house we went to already had people outside, I was prepared to attempt a small conversation and ask for referrals, yet was surprised to realize that the lady outside really wanted to hear our message! She gathered her daughters together and they ate up everything we taught them about the Restoration! They asked such wonderful and inspired questions, and the feedback/answers they gave us were so spot-on. They truly understood the message we were teaching, they felt and recognized the Spirit, and they really want to be baptized. It was the ideal lesson that missionaries dream about! We left them with a Book of Mormon, the mom told us the she was so excited to read it! We hope and pray that this family will be protected from opposition so that we can continue to teach them.

You are glorious! Be safe, and be smart!
-Sister M

August 18, 2014

WOW. What a wonderful week we had! We were blessed with so many beautiful opportunities!

Friday we had interviews with President Cottle. I had this brilliant idea to invite him and Sister Cottle to our lesson with Brittany! It was such a great idea! We asked them at interviews, and then about an hour later... we were nearly having a nervous break down! Haha, but the lesson was awesome! We taught Brittany about the symbolism in Lehi's dream. The spirit was very strong and we were able to teach well. Sister Cottle said that Brittany is the best prepared investigator that they have seen yet! It was humbling, I am so blessed to be able to help her be baptized. 

This weekend Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the quorum of the 12 Apostles came to speak to the Tifton Stake. He called a new stake presidency. It is beautiful to me how smoothly we can transition between leaders. Here in the south a new church leader will result in many changes and opinions, even in the formation of new churches! But in Christ's church, we know who is the Head so it does
 ​ ​
 t matter to us who he calls to be His representative. It shouldn't matter. I am so grateful to be a part of His restored church with its awesome organization!

I got to shake Elder Oaks hand twice! One of the High council members had an interview with him Saturday, he said the he was going to give Elder Oaks a picture of us. We thought he was kidding...but he wasn't! So now Elder Oaks has a picture of us, our signatures on the back of it. He said he wanted to meet us, so Brother Keanon took us up to the stand and introduced us to him after Saturday night's meeting. And then the next morning he came around and shook all the missionaries hands in the choir. That was so cool! And I was surprised to see how well he got around, for being 82 years old. He was hopping up and down the stand and maneuvering through the crowd, he shook at least every single person's hand who was in the chapel, and I know he shook more than that later. It was so neat to see him go 'one by one' to each person. He taught me a lot about representing the Savior. 

​Here are some of my notes from his talks, his focus was on helping the stake become better member missionaries:​

"As your understanding of the Atonement grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase." ~ Preach My Gospel pg 2

How to be member missionaries-
- Talk about religion. Find ways to relate subjects to the gospel
- Bear testimony. "I know that God answers prayers", testimonies are best when they are short and simple!
- Give reading material. Ex, Mormon.org, or a Book of Mormon
- Invite others to church. They will never be offended by an invitation.

The way to measure your success as a missionary is not by whether or not someone comes to church or joins it, but we must measure success by 'whether or not we asked'. People will not change unless they are invited to do so. It is up to us to provide that invitation, and be there for them should they accept it! "The Lord's plan has us doing something. So we can become something !"
Matthew 7:26 "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:"
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15
"Lovest thou me? ..Feed my sheep." John 21:17

Here is some other highlights that President Cottle talked about in his letter:
"Elder Oaks taught many things during his time in Douglas. One that I thought I would relate to you came from the general session on Sunday Morning. The principle taught was that revelation comes to us from TWO sources, and not just one. To demonstrate, he asked me to come to the pulpit and asked that I bring one of our missionaries with me. Not knowing what we would be asked to say or do, on the spur of the moment, I asked Elder Stewart, one of our Tifton Zone Leaders, to come to the front with me. Elder Oaks simply used us to show that one avenue of revelation was what he called the Priesthood line of revelation. Direction from the Savior to his Prophet, to a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, is given to the Mission President who in turn gives that same counsel and revelation to his missionaries. He taught that this Priesthood channel was the same for every member through their Stake President, Bishop, Quorum President, RS President, and to the individual. The other source, he indicated, is the revelation that comes directly from Heaven through the Holy Ghost. He called it the personal channel of revelation. Then he taught this VERY "revealing" doctrine that unless one is "in line" with the revelation that comes in the Priesthood channel that we would not be ready, or worthy, to receive the revelation that would come from the personal channel. Obviously, the Holy Ghost can and does testify to truth and inspire people everywhere to do what is right, but that personal revelation would come to those who were first receiving revelation as it comes from the Priesthood channel. "

Elder Oaks quoted Elder Eyring: "The more you know Jesus, the more you will trust Him." and Elder Maxwell: "We are completely safe to submit to Him who is all Surpreme."
We must entirely submit our minds to the Lord, are we holding on to anything that prevents us from knowing Him?
The faithful will see the face of the Savior!

We are excited for Brittany's baptism this Saturday :)
I love teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
-Sister Karely Madsen

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11

This week has been great! Sister Chidester and I made it through
another transfer and we're still serving together! She is a great
companion. She is very patient and accepting of others, including
myself. We have lots of fun together! I am very happy to be serving
with her because we teach very well together.

Currently we are so blessed to have lots of people to teach! Some of
our favorites are a beautiful family with lots of foster children, a
new bride, and a sweet couple with brand new twin babies! The field is
white here in Douglas, GA. Literally.. the cotton fields are starting
to bloom!

The next few days hold lots of excitement for our little town and our
band of missionaries. Elder Dallin H. Oaks will bless us with an
appearance this weekend. They are changing the Tifton Stake
Presidency, and everyone will be traveling to the Douglas building to
hear the Apostle speak. They've been talking about it for months! We
have been worried about how we will manage to get there early enough
for a seat, but this morning we just found out that we will get to be
a part of a special missionary choir for the conference! What a
blessing! President Cottle will conduct the choir, of course. He is
very good at it. We will be singing High on the Mountain Top, and This
is the Christ! I love those songs :)
The Zone Leaders also asked me to arrange a musical number with some
elders for Zone Training Meeting this week. I'm so nervous, I think
they will be singing "I Believe in Christ". I have to come up with
piano accompaniment for it. Wish me luck! Even better, pray for me!

Lately I have been thinking more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
I think about it a lot, because that is what we teach everything
around; but I want to be better at applying it to myself. Just last
night we were visiting with a sweet member who is battling
fibromyalgia. She is in such terrible pain all the time, and life
obstacles are being put in her way on top of it all. But I know she
has a great understanding of the Atonement and a personal relationship
with Christ because of the incredible love she has for others and the
sweet spirit that is about her!
I cant wait for the day that I can meet my Redeemer!

Here are my favorite scriptures:

D&C 19: 16-19
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they
might not suffer if they would repent;
 17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
 18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all,to
tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer
both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup,
and shrink—
 19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook andfinished my
preparations unto the children of men.

D&C 45: 3-5
 3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading
your cause before him—
 4 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no
sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which
was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be
 5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name,
that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.

I know Heavenly Father loves me, and that he loves you too! I hope
that you have a wonderful week!
-Sister Karely Madsen

July 21

This week has been great. I really really love Douglas! The people are
as sweet as the peaches and my companion, Sister Chidester, is

Last week we found a few more investigators and reconnected with some
former investigators. We also got a few referrals from members, that
was great! Our best investigators are always the ones who have a
friend or family member in the ward. One sister wants us to start
teaching her grandson, and another YSA girl is leaving on a mission in
a couple weeks. She has been introducing all her nonmember family to
us. We are teaching her aunt tonight at the church. I think she would
really love LDS once she gets past the "we dont speak in tongues like
that" and the stillness of the sacrament meeting. She is holiness

We are teaching a sweet lady named Fannie. She is 90 years old. She
still cooks and cleans her house. Sometimes she has nurses come by
that help with groceries, but she said they steal from her a lot so
its risky for her to let them in much. We read her the Book of Mormon,
she says she understands it, but when we ask her questions her answers
prove otherwise. But, she loves it when we read to her, so we keep
going once a week or so. We are helping prepare her for the spirit
world I guess. I was asking her about her youth and she said she only
went to school through 5th grade, then she had to work in the fields
and keep house. I forget that all the civil rights stuff happened in
the prime of her lifetime. I wonder if she ever thought she would have
two white girls sitting on her sofa having 'bible study'. I think she
was uncomfortable when I asked if I could fix her supper for her.
Please pray that I dont get sick! We have been going to Brittany's
house a lot because she was on date for baptism this Saturday. She and
her husband, and the whole farm got sick. Its a bad flu virus. We dont
want to spread it around Douglas. But if there's an epidemic, then we
know to blame Some guy named Chauncey who works on the farm with them.
We had to move Brittany's date to later in August because she hasn't
made it to church for awhile. She was on the verge of tears when we
told her because she was so excited. I was really sad too. But it will
be better this way, now she understands the importance of church
attendance and staying active after her baptism. Please pray for her
Last week we were going to see a member and one girl stepped out of
her apartment for literally 10 seconds. She was about to go inside but
we asked if she wanted a picture of Christ. She said yes and we asked
her if she was 'very religious'? She said no. We asked if she would
like to be; she said 'yes!' and let us right in. We taught her the 1st
lesson and put her on date for baptism in August. We are the Georgia
Macon Miracles Mission :)

-Sis M

July 7 & 14

July 14

Thinking of you. Wishing you a great week!
Here is a wonderful scripture that I found this morning:

D&C 45:3-5
"Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading
your cause before him—
Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin,
in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was
shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be
Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name,
that they may come unto me and have everlasting life."

Sis M

July 7

This Fourth of July took me back to last year on the 4th. That's what we did, we hiked MILES --(in the pouring rain) in some nasty weeds! --to get to a neighborhood that my trainer wanted to tract. I had to really hold on to my purse and scriptures under my little umbrella so they wouldnt get soaked. By the time we got there the rain stopped long enough for us to ring out our skirts and our socks and start knocking. No one really cared about how the Book of Mormon prophesied about the Revolutionary war, (I thought it was a good idea). Its not. We walked home. The sketchy little BBQ shack that we wanted to try wasn't open anymore, so we made up something else for dinner. It was a good day.

But this year, we were way more productive! We planned out our whole week with things to do every hour of every day, then we went out to do some teaching before our lock down at 6pm. We met lots of Less Active members, found some new investigators, talked to a Jehovah's Witness, and had a super spiritual lesson with a lady named Melvis. We were reading the 1st chapter of Nephi with her and she said she had a vision like Lehi, she's coming back to church. It was cool. And then we went home and celebrated Sis C's half bday by making fireworks pancakes and omelettes for dinner. The zone leaders somehow tricked us into making some for them too, and the Spanish elders brought us some hamburgers that they grilled. It was super good :)
We met a cool hispanic guy names Adalberto. But I call him Fernando because I cant say his name. He prayed for us in the first visit, which is a MIRACLE because hispanics are always catholic and never want to go to church or say anything other than the Lord's prayer! But he understands the importance of prayer and wants to have a more personal relationship with Heavenly Father.
We have a baptism coming up on the 25th, for a young lady named Brittany. Last night we taught her and her husband about the Atonement. I LOVE teaching about the atonement! It is so wonderful and special to know that we can always have hope, no matter what our past has been like, for the future! I am so grateful for Christ's sacrifice for us and the opportunity I have to share this wonderfulness with others!
May your week be blessed :)

June 23 & 30

June 30

So I was transferred. I am currently serving in the Douglas, GA 2nd ward,Tifton stake. Its the deep south! The accent here is way stronger, and the people are super country. I love the country! I am serving with Sister Emily Chidester from Sacramento. She came out with Sister Wheelwright. No new sisters came to the mission this transfer, so there wasn't anyone to be trained. That's okay. They call me the "greenie buster", because I am usually assigned to sisters just out of training. Or to those who need to learn better habits. 
We live in the same apartment complex as 3 other sets of Elders. That's new. Our neighbors are the Zone Leaders, they like to pull pranks. Lame pranks, like putting frogs in our apartment... and a horse skull in our living room. We haven't gotten them back yet, but I am determined to prank them with warm fuzzies. Cookies or something. Unless I have another great idea. MY CAR IS SWEET! Its a new Toyota Corolla, just like my beloved last vehicle. But it's red! :) Sis C is the driver for the area because she knows it better. So I get to relax in the passenger seat. 
This week we got to teach so many people! We had 3 times as many lessons than I usually do, and set 3 baptism dates for really solid people. I am so excited to see the miracles here in Douglas! 

Here's some updates from Sis Wheelwright about Jim's baptism and some other people​:

Dear Sister Madsen,
The day after you left we were at Vicki and Jim's. Vicki kept leaving the lessons saying they just for Jim right cause he is the one getting baptized so she could go smoke instead. I stopped her and told her it was for both. The day of his baptism he came and we took pictures. President and Sister Cottle came with their son. There were so many people the relief society room was full. The whole family came, even Shannon and her boy friend which on Friday Jim said we were going to convert. and he was telling all his friends about his baptism, " with news this good I can't help but share it". then he was baptized can you believe it?! It was such an amazing thing to see! bro day had to do it 2 times, jim said because it was he had all that sin to clean. later that night he wanted to serve and help others. He was confirmed sunday it was great too! he explained though that he was worried to be late so he got frustrated and he didn't want to be baptized like that so he almost didn't go through with it. but he didn't want to flake out on God. he said he felt so peaceful and had confidence when he was being confirmed. at his baptism he heard bro day "praying for him" and though of jesus christ praying for him and was so humbled and felt so clean. He said her would right it all down for you. also they didn't even give him time to bear his testimony at the baptism They all came to church and stayed the whole time! Vicki even commented in sunday school. Shannon got a calling, Ryshenna gave a great talk, and so did Sister Weir she did such a great job and talked about us and how we helped her quit smoking! I wll do my best here. I hope your having a great time there.
Much love, Sis W

Love you, 
       Sister M

June 23

You wont believe the miracles we saw this week.
Last Sunday we sang as a missionary choir for stake conference, led by our Mission President. It was super fun! We sang "This is the Christ". At the conference President Cottle spoke about the prophet Samuel, and how he was so young, yet God used him to do much good! He pointed out that many other prophets were called in their youth; including Joseph Smith. Why did God do this? Because they had so much faith! As we get older and gain more experience and knowledge it is easier to explain away miracles as coincidences. We must always strive to be as little children - full of faith and easily guided by the Lord's hand. It was a wonderful talk!

Our investigators Vicky and Jim Grove came to stake conference! (Held at the Stake center over 30 minutes away) That of itself was a miracle. Jim really benefited from hearing the speakers. He was struggling with how young Joseph was when he saw Heavenly Father and Christ. But that and many of his other concerns were resolved! I wish all of our investigators would come to church services so that they can learn and grow their testimonies! Do we ever think of what we are missing out on when we dont attend all of our church meetings? Also this week Jim read the account of Christ's visit in the Americas. He told us that he knows the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

We watched the Joseph Smith movie with them. This is the highlight of my week, because the spirit was so strong! My own testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restored gospel was strengthened. Afterwards we asked Jim and Vicky if the believed Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Jim beat around the bush a bit, but they both said that they knew he was a prophet! My eyes teared up a bit, I'll admit. It's been quite the process with them! Vicky needs to quit smoking first, but Jim is solidly committed to be baptized this Saturday, the 28th! He is so excited! What an amazing miracle! God truly changes hearts. They both are ...were... very solid in their other religious beliefs, being Evangelical, born again Christians. Now they know that we have the Restored gospel on the earth, and that they can be cleansed from all of their sins through baptism, and be sealed together for eternity by the priesthood power!
So I just wanted to share that with you :) Thanks
I'm also being transferred after 7 months in Warner Robins, GA. Whew! I leave tomorrow morning for my next area.
Love, Sister Karely Madsen

March 31 & April 14

April 14

 So Sister Russell got her visa to Brazil! I got a new companion 2 weeks ago. Sister Wheelwright is from Lindon, UT and fresh from the MTC. She is already making a fabulous contribution to the work here in Warner Robins! I love her already.

This week was awesome! We found many new people to teach and saw lots of miracles!
Earlier in my mission I was looking at our area map and wished that there were glowing dots in the places where the people are ready to accept the gospel. If only, right?
But just last week we had an awesome experience! We went to visit a member, but she wasnt home. Instead of just going back to the car and heading off somewhere else, I felt like we should keep walking through the neightborhood a little longer. My intention was to talk to people who were already outside their homes.
We didnt get too far when I saw a porch light turn on and off 2 times down the street. It was really weird, because that light was shining abnormally bright for it being 3:00 in the afternoon. I was reminded of the thoughts I had a few weeks earlier, and I knew that that light was a sign! So we went and knocked on the door and a sweet woman named Juanita let us in. We were able to share the 1st lesson with her, invite her to be baptized, and set up a return appointment for the next week! What a cool miracle!

Also this week we had the blessing of seeing a Less-active member come back to church!! she hasnt been to church in 35 years! I got a picture with her outside the building for proof :)
So many good things are happening in this area! We are so excited! And the members are excited too!
I know that blessings come with obedience. And the best way to show your faith is to live it! Obeying the commandments is what we need to do in this life to have happiness and strength. And we will be so much more blessed in the life to come because of our obedience. I also know that Charity is the key. It is the strongest, noblest, purest kind of love there is. Miracles happen when we have Christ-like love for the people around us.  
Thank you all for all your prayers and encouragement, I know that they make a big difference!

March 31

It has been nice and spring like here for the past couple weeks. I really love it. I will surely miss it when it starts to get hot. I'm pretty nervous for this next summer. I was blessed to be here last summer, because it rained in abnormal amounts. Almost every day it was raining. So it was cooler than normal. But this summer I dont think I will be that lucky. Everyone keeps trying to warn me. 

Fast Sunday was good for us :) The whole ward fasted together for those who are struggling. And I shared my testimony in sacrament. Also, Kevin was baptized Saturday and confirmed yesterday! And his nonmember mom came to both. We invited her to take the lessons, we have an appointment to teach her at the church this Wednesday! Wow. And that is how missionanry work is supposed to be done! Finding new investigators through the help of the ward and part-member families. And the teaching them in spiritual atmospheres. Like member homes or the church. :D
Did you like the Women's conference?

We had our transfer calls on Saturday. My current companion, Sister Russell, is leaving the country tomorrow (visa waiter for brazil), so I am getting a new companion. I'll be training a new sister! I'm so excited and scared to death!  Wish me luck. And pray for us. I just want to do a good job for this sister.

I love you lots! Have a good week :)
Sis K Madsen

March 24

Things are crazy here this week. Last week of the transfer, and my companion is being shipped off to Brazil! Wish me luck :)
Yesterday was quite eventful! I decided to do a special fast yesterday for the people in the area. So that made church really nice and spirit-filled. We met with the Ward Council yesterday, and confirmed their approval for a 9 year old boy to be baptized (there's been some drama with his family recently) But they said they wanted to go forward with it. 

We taught the Gospel Principles class also. The lesson was on "The Church of Christ Today". Which is basically the Restoration, and first missionary lesson. No investigators or less active members came to church :/ But there were some recent converts in there that I hope benefited from the lesson. I asked them to share their testimonies of the restored gospel at the end of class and that helped us end on a positive note. We emphasized how important it is to share the gospel with everyone because we are the only ones who have the whole truth! And the only ones who have the correct authority and power of God. No one else can claim to be the exact same church that Christ organized.

At the start of RS yesterday the Bishop pulled us out of class and asked us to follow up on a situation. The lady was so sweet and surprisingly calm and collected considering the trial she is facing. She asked us to pray with her. I said the prayer... that was really hard. But my testimony grew as I was reminded of the healing power and blessings of the atonement. So I called on those blessings to help her through. I am so grateful for the knowledge we have of the gospel and the spirit world and the Atonement. 
We also got to help get some food for another family yesterday. We originally called one member in the ward for info about Food Banks, and she ended up giving the family 5 or 6 big paper bags of food. Grains, meat, lettuce, yogurt, etc. Bless her heart. It made that family so happy. they are having a hard time right now.
It truly is the errand of angels.
Hope you have a week that is not too stressful, and do lots of fun things!
Loves to my shlebs! =D
- Sis K Madsen

March 10 & 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

Caption Contest!! Who's got the best caption??

This week went pretty well. We saw lots of progress with Less Active members and Investigators! No one came to church, but we are still hopeful for next week. This area has taught me lots of patience. With my companions, and with the people. Progress is made very slowly, but it is sure! I may never see the day when some less active members walk into sacrament meeting, but I know that their faith and understanding of the gospel has grown significantly while I am here! 

One of our most exciting moments this week is when an investigator realized that he did have a testimony of the book of Mormon, and with that, he also knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet! Its beautiful :) He is still unsure about joining the church, but he has made so much progress! In the same lesson I was able to recognize one of the key indicators of the Spirit that Elder Holland mentioned in his talk "The Divine Companionship". This one was "Missionaries learn in moment of delivery". Edd asked us some questions from his reading, and we were able to expound on the verse with info that we didn't know ourselves! But I knew that what we taught was true. And He knows it too. 

Looking forward to doing lots of finding this next week. 
Love you lots!
Sis K Madsen

March 10, 2014

A lady in the ward had our whole district get a picture for the local newspaper.