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Hello, everybody! How are you all doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Rexburg, Idaho.

If you haven’t guessed by now, you may realize that I finished my two-year mission in Fukuoka, Japan. Yes, I know this post is a bit late. After all, it’s been nearly nine months since I finished and returned home. I keep intending to write my “final” mission post to tie it all up, but have been putting it off. Well, this is it. I am finally taking the time, and have just a few parting thoughts that I’d like to share.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity which I had to serve as a missionary in Japan. I cannot say that I really wanted to serve a mission before I did it. I am not one of those people that had that desire since childhood, when I sang “I Hope They Call Me On a Mission” in church with all the other primary children. Growing up, those words never really struck a chord with me. Not that I didn’t think that I shouldn’t have that desire, but there were a lot of things that I had fears about being a missionary. However, I knew that it was something that I needed to do, and finally – after laying aside my fears (I didn’t really overcome them at the time, but just decided to ignore them and hope that the Lord would take care of things – which he did) and taking care of some other things that were holding me back – I eventually found myself on the way to the MTC. Then I was in Japan, with no idea what was going on, but grateful for my wonderful, amazing, hilarious, fun trainer. Then I was training a new missionary myself. Then I was on my way home. Obviously there were a great many things that happened in between those, but I realize now that one thing the Lord taught me on my mission was that my fears and worries were unfounded. Those things really didn’t matter by the end.

I would say that for any of you who are reading this and feel that you should serve a mission (or know somebody else who is at this point), but have fears, worries, doubts, or anything else that is holding you back, just go. Serve a mission, put your life in the Lord’s hands. I promise that if you are willing to try, work, and pray as hard as you can – perhaps harder than you ever have before – by the end you will be grateful for the experience and the great blessings that you received as the Lord’s representative. It is a great opportunity to allow the Lord to make more of you than you could ever make of yourself during that time. Certainly there are great difficulties and trials as a missionary, but through those trials there is also great joy. It is hard work, but it is worth it.

Thank you to each of you who have been part of this great experience. I enjoyed reading your emails to me. I hope that you have learned something from the experiences that I shared during those two years. Thanks for being such great friends. I look forward to sharing the next two years with you – and many more following those.

I hope you all have a great day, a superb week, and a fabulous year!

Love,

Tyler Madsen

タイラー●マドセン😃

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Snow Is Falling All Around

Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Hofu, Japan!

Last week I mentioned that I may end up being the Lord’s popsicle by the end of this transfer. Well, lo and behold, we had the coldest day and most snow Hofu has seen for the past 20 years (this is relatively speaking, since it doesn’t usually snow much in Hofu). This picture, the view from our balcony, is actually from last week before the “big” snowstorm (probably 3 to 6 inches, it’s pretty much all melted by now) that we had the other day.
Before I received my mission call to Japan, I knew very little about this country. For example, I did not think that it would get very cold, nor that I would see any snow. When I was in Kumamoto last winter my companion and I got excited when it snowed a few flakes while we were out tracting; and then it snowed a few more flakes when we were at the castle for the New Year’s sunrise. Ah, the memories. 🙂

Anyway, the other day I was talking to my previous companion, Elder Colton, and he mentioned that Muraishi – and investigator that we found together – is progressing toward baptism next month and has determined to follow the Word of Wisdom for at least the next two weeks! It is interesting thinking back on how we met him. We were riding our bikes toward downtown Shimonoseki, contacting people on the street along the way, and he was one of them. We found out later that he had just arrived back from work and was simply walking the short distance between his car and house when we stopped and talked to him in the street – and now he’s progressing toward baptism! God really does know what He’s doing. He works in very mysterious ways.

Thinking back on the people that I have contacted who were later baptized, I don’t think that any of them were people who would be immediately identifiable as a “金人” (“golden person”).

About one year ago in Tsuboi there was a 60-something-year-old lady that Elder Yanagida and I contacted who was baptized after I left. Our first contact with her was at night, and she asked why in the world were we knocking on her door so late? That was definitely not what I would term a “golden” contact, but she agreed to meet the following day (at a more reasonable time of day), and was later baptized.

Sister Miyamura was an 84-year-old lady that Elder Klein and I contacted while housing some run-down apartments and meeting a lot of old people – who may be in their golden years, but not exactly the “golden” youth we were searching for – and she was really just another usual contact that we invited to church…and then she came…and then kept coming…and then was baptized. When I talked with him Elder Colton mentioned that she and Sister Fukatani, another recent convert, are going to the temple next month. Yay!

Brother Tanaka was just a street contact with whom the other missionaries talked and gave a leaflet, and then because Elder Flippo was nice Brother Tanaka decided to come to church a week-and-a-half later…and then kept coming..and then was baptized.

The Lord really does work in mysterious ways. I have met and taught various people that seemed “金人” but have not yet been baptized (but they will be!), and then most of the people whose baptisms I witnessed or who I helped teach and were later baptized definitely were not initially “金人”. This really is the Lord’s work. He is in charge, and I am grateful for the opportunity to become an instrument in His hands.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!

Love,

Elder Madsen🙂
マドセン長老😊

#ASaviorIsBorn

Work Hard. Work Smart by the Spirit. Be Strictly Obedient. Have Fun! Come Home Tired.

Serving Others

Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Hofu, Japan!

This week has been pretty great! Elder Rowley is getting over his cold. I have a cold now, but that’s alright. We went to the doctor the other day and he gave us some medicine, so we’ll see how it turns out.

Last night we went on splits with our Branch President and his executive secretary. We were searching for less-actives, and Elder Rowley and President Best were able to visit and have a little lesson with a part-member family whose 10-year-old boy comes to church – but the executive secretary and I were not able to find the less active we were looking for. However, we housed a bit in the apartment building and contacted some interesting souls, one of whom seemed a bit interested and actually asked for pamphlet but with whom we weren’t able to make a return appointment.

You may or may not remember Ishioka san, the young mother that I mentioned last week that we had a lesson with on Sunday. We had another lesson this past Thursday, and it was going to be with her – she was initially there – but then her child ran off to play and she had to follow, so we ended up having a lesson with her father instead. He likes talking with American missionaries – apparently they came over to his house fairly often about twenty years ago – but we are not yet sure how interested he is in the gospel. We also met his wife for a moment, and she seemed quite nice. They even pulled out their old photo albums to show us pictures they had taken with the sister missionaries whom they had previously met with. Unfortunately the young mother was unable to come to church this week because of a school thing her daughter had on Sunday, but we will try to meet with them again and help them see the great joy they can find in coming unto Christ!

There haven’t been too many other significant events this past week, just missionary work. But missionary work is really never just missionary work – hardly a day passes (and those pretty swiftly) without something interesting or unexpected happening. Last night it rained quite a bit – which wasn’t really unexpected, and may not be that interesting. However, I did find it interesting when I looked at the weather forecast today to see that this week it is expected to be colder in Hofu than it is in Spokane. Hopefully I’m not a popsicle by the end of this transfer – but if so, I am the Lord’s popsicle. Of course, I definitely am blessed. I could be in the Sendai or Sapporo missions (or Russia or Canada, etc.). Then I would be a snowman!

This morning as we were studying together Elder Rowley shared a scripture from the Beatitudes: "And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." It reminded me of the baptismal covenant found in Mosiah 18:9, which says that we should be "willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort". As I thought about that, I thought that Christ’s statement that all those who mourn shall be comforted doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody who is sad will receive relief from their sadness – at least perhaps not in this life. However, as we keep our baptismal covenant to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who need comfort, we will be able to find comfort ourselves. I have definitely found that that is how the gospel works. That is what Christ means about losing ourselves. As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we truly will find ourselves. As President Kimball said, "the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others–indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!" As a missionary I have definitely found that to be true. When I focus on myself there is very little joy in this work, but when I focus on others I find greater happiness than I have ever experienced.

I know this is the Lord’s work, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be serving his children – through whom I am serving Him.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!

Love,

Elder Madsen🙂
マドセン長老😊

#ASaviorIsBorn

Miraculous!

Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Hofu, Japan!

This week has been miraculous! Well, Elder Rowley caught a cold, so that’s unfortunate, but other than that it has been quite joyful!

The other day we met a man who had met with sister missionaries in Hofu about 20 years ago. We talked with him a bit – a lot in English (he is a retired Japan Air Force pilot he lived in Texas for a year during his career). We weren’t able to set up a specific appointment, but he mentioned that he lives with his daughter and said that we could come over sometime. So, we gave him a flier and intended to visit again soon.

On Saturday night we met a 78-year-old man named Tamura who said he isn’t interested in religion, but is interested in seeing what church is like and promised to come the following day.

The next day, since Elder Rowley was sounding quite miserably sick I was wondering whether we shouldn’t stay home and get him some rest. However, we decided to go to church, and while we were waiting who should show up…? Not Tamura! However, somebody else came! Ishioka, the daughter of the retired Air Force pilot, showed up around 9:50 along with her two daughters 4- and 7-year-old daughters. As everybody was introducing themselves they soon discovered that Ishioka’s older daughter is the same age as our branch president’s seven-year-old daughter, and what’s more they also attend the same elementary school! They sat together throughout Sacrament Meeting and became fast friends.

After sacrament meeting Ishioka’s two daughters went to primary – where they discovered that Ishioka’s younger daughter is the same age as our branch president’s four-year-old daughter (they also became instant friends). We would have brought Ishioka with us into gospel principles class, but instead President Asato (our mission president’s first counselor, who was visiting our branch), in his very exuberant manner (I love him!), insisted that we have a lesson. Well, to be short(er) in writing, we had a lesson with Ishioka, President Asato, and two other members of the branch, and set up another appointment for Thursday. The Lord works in mysterious, miraculous ways!

My sister Kimball recently sent me a little message that reminded me of something I have realized more and more throughout my mission, which is that God really does want us to be happy right now. I believe that somebody said at some point in time (sorry, not very specific, but I imagine it has been said by more than one person, anyway) that eternity is now; it doesn’t start after we die. Therefore, we can find true eternal joy right now! That is really the core of the message that we share with people. Not only can you have incredible joy in heaven, but God can help you make heaven out of your current circumstances, no matter what they may be. And that truly is miraculous.

I love the Lord’s work!

I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a happy year!

Love,

Elder Madsen🙂
マドセン長老😊

#ASaviorIsBorn