“May Christ Lift Thee Up”

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

It’s been a short three days since my last email, and I can’t think of any particularly significant events that have taken place since then, so this might be a little shorter. However, I suppose that leaves more time for me to share some personal thoughts this week, which is nice.

For the past while as I have been studying the scriptures I have been focusing on how to be a better teacher – in other words, what did great teachers in the scriptures do that made them so great? In my recent scripture studies I read a man’s letter to his son detailing the perverse wickedness that had engulfed his people and was dragging them down to destruction. However, at the close of that letter he says this:

“My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.

“And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever.”

As I read this I thought of many of the difficulties that we or those we love may go through. Those difficulties, if we allow them, could potentially “weigh [us] down unto death”. However, Christ is always there, reaching out, wanting to lift us up. As we continually place our thoughts on Christ we will be lifted up out of death and despair, for there is nothing that Christ has not overcome.

I know that this is the Lord’s work, and I love it!

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

Love,

Elder MadsenπŸ™‚
γƒžγƒ‰γ‚»γƒ³ι•·θ€πŸ˜Š

#ASaviorIsBorn

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ζ˜Žγ‘γΎγ—γ¦γŠγ‚γ§γ¨γ†γ”γ–γ„γΎγ™οΌHappy 2016!

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

This week has been quite wonderful! Yesterday we had training and interviews with President Egan, which was very good. I learned many great things from training, and one that struck me a lot was something that Sister Egan shared concerning prayer. Whenever I think of prayer I often think of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane as he suffered for the sins and sorrows of the world. "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly" (Luke 22:44). If Christ who was perfect can pray more earnestly then we, being imperfect, definitely can. Throughout my mission I have wanted to pray more earnestly and have heard many times in various trainings the importance of "wrestling" with God in "mighty" prayer, which I have wanted to do but have not been completely sure what particularly I needed to change in order to do so. However, Sister Egan taught us a very simple method for praying in faith that her son received during his mission 15 or so years ago. This method is drawn from various scriptural examples of faithful prayers:

1. Admit your weakness.
2. Express your desire.
3. Explain why you think it is important (as Sister Egan put it: "Plead your case").
4. State clearly and specifically what blessings you need from the Lord.
5. Tell the Lord what you will commit to do in order to receive those blessings.

I have definitely already witnessed a difference in how earnestly I pray as I have applied this method. I know that we can pray in faith just like our scriptural heroes did, and that as we do so we will be able to "bring down the powers of heaven".

This week we Elder Rowley and I met a young mother named Youko, an almost-new (we have not been able to set another appointment because of New Year’s celebrations) investigator who has expressed great interest. When we first met her she said mentioned that until two years ago she had not really thought about spiritual things. However, she married an American some years ago and they have lived in Malaysia for a while, during which time she has been opened to various religious and cultural beliefs and practices foreign to Japan. She is definitely much more curious and receptive than most people we meet. She mentioned that she liked the feeling at previous Christian churches she has gone to, so we are praying that she will come to church on Sunday and feel the Spirit there.

I know that this is the Lord’s work, and I love serving Him! I know that through the Spirit, God called me to serve; through His living prophet, God called me to serve in the Japan Fukuoka Mission; and through His President Egan, His chosen representative here, God has called me to serve in Hofu.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and an awesome 366 days of this year!

Love,

γƒžγƒ‰γ‚»γƒ³γ€€ι•·θ€
Elder Madsen

Merry Christmas!

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

Merry Christmas!

Today’s email will be a bit shorter since I will be talking to my family later today. Last week I transferred from Shimonoseki to Hofu, and my new companion is Elder Rowley. He is pretty quiet, but a great missionary! I look forward to working with him this transfer.

This week has been a lot of finding. It has been a big change from Shimonoseki, as this area is a bit more rural (in a country where a city of 100,000 people is considered rural; even Shimonoseki was considered rural, and its population was 300,000). However, we have been able to meet some great people. The other day we met a young mother named Takeda who was baptized Catholic when she was young – apparently her parents are Catholic – and we taught her about the Restoration and she seemed very interested and said we could come back. However, they will be returning to her parent’s home for New Years celebrations – which are very big in Japan – so we will not be able to meet her again until January. However, I have great hopes for her!

I am grateful for the opportunity to focus even more on the birth of the Savior this Christmas! Not many people in Japan recognize the true meaning of Christmas, so it is a great opportunity to testify of their Savior!

I love the Savior and am grateful to be His servant. Even though this work is often difficult, it is great!

I love you all, and hope you have a great day, a superb week, a happy year, and a Very Merry Christmas!

Love,

Elder MadsenπŸ™‚
γƒžγƒ‰γ‚»γƒ³ι•·θ€πŸ˜Š

#ASaviorIsBorn

Another Transfer Has Come And Gone

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

I can hardly believe that yet another six-week transfer will soon be drawing to a close! The time is flying by! We just received our transfer calls, and I will be transferring to Hofu, which is about 1 1/2 hours away by train. I have learned many great things with Elder Colton. It will be a bit sad to leave him and Shimonoseki behind, but I know that the Lord has called me to the part of his vineyard where He needs me to be.

Last week was superb! One of the main highlights was on Monday when we had Family Home Evening with Arisa (one of our college student investigators who has a very good relationship with the members of our branch) at the home of a young couple in our ward. We gave message about God, had some snacks, chatted a bit, and played a game called “Pass the Pigs” (which was very nostalgic for me, as we used to play that game as a family). Then we met with her again during the week for a lesson as well as rehearsing for a musical number on Sunday, which was quite superb. Elder Colton played piano, Arisa played flute, and I sang with two other sisters in the branch to a medley of “Silent Night”, “The First Noel”, and “Joy to the World”.

I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, a very Merry Christmas, and a happy remainder of this year!

Love,

Elder MadsenπŸ™‚
γƒžγƒ‰γ‚»γƒ³ι•·θ€πŸ˜Š

#ASaviorIsBorn