Thursday, July 28, 2011
Madeleine's family has a Morse family reunion every other year usually at the beaches of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Madeleine was missed this year.
In an effort to include in her in the reunion, her Grammy (Linda Morse) organized a Family Home Evening to make a care package for Hermana Bailey. Everyone brought things to include in the package (candy, scarves, journals, shirts, hair accessories, etc.) and then every family member wrote her a note.
"Our mission is doing a fast for 40 days and 40 nights where one companionship has an assigned day to fast. We had our assigned day this week and it was amazing. We saw miracles. Right after we said our prayer to begin our fast, we left the house, turned the corner and a man came up to us and wanted to know more about the church! Then after we talked to him, we were talking about how we wanted to give a Book of Mormon to a new contact today and then a man came up to us and asked us for one! We met tons of people that day who were prepared for the Gospel and most of them came up to us...which never happens! It was amazing. Later in the week, we had one of our investigators ask to be baptized before we could even invite her. It was so wonderful. Definitely a spiritual week!"
* in this photo: Azucena and her daughter, Christina (recent converts)
"For most of my life I have not really appreciated the blessing of fasting and normally just begrudgingly did it every month. But, I am happy to say I now have a firm testimony of it. Chileans speak really, really fast and drop any hard sounds. Its really difficult to understand, even for native Spanish speakers. It would be like a person from Germany, who just learned English two months ago, going to the deep south. Its insane. Anyway, for the last few days it has been difficult to communicate with people, so I fasted all day yesterday for help and I witnessed a miracle. Last night we took a member with us to visit some families. I was able to understand her and have a full conversation with her for the entire time we were out. It was amazing! I had tried to speak with her before and I could not understand her. But last night, I could. I have a firm conviction that it was because of my decision to fast that I recieved such an amazing blessing. Things are still hard with the language. I cannot understand most people. But now I know with an assurity that Heavenly Father can help me, that he loves me, and is aware of my difficulties. With Him, we can do anything. Even speak Spanish."
*In this photo: Madeleine's companion, Hermana Hudson, from Missouri. Madeleine loves her!! (And her blond hair gets them in lots of doors in Chile!)
"Chile is super different and but super similar at the same time. We are in an area called Nunoa. And half of it is wealthy, there are neighborhoods that look totally normal and could fit right in in the states, and then the other half is super poor and it amazes me the way some of these people live. Its crazy. We walk EVERYWHERE, so I´m SO grateful for those awful ugly shoes that you sent me last minute. There are tons of American things too. Like for lunch today, we ordered pizza fro Pizza Hut. And we went shopping at the local grocery store called Lider, its own by Walmart, so I was able to buy like peanut butter and sun chips and everything. Its great. Its fairly safe, there are some areas that are a little ghetto that we avoid at night. And I´ve only been flashed once...my third day...welcome to Chile!"
Photo: Madeleine greeted by her mission President and his wife at the airport in Santiago. She and the other missionaries had been traveling for 24 hours.
"This week has been amazingly spiritual. Which is saying something, because everyday in the MTC is spiritual. But this week we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Kikutchi of the Seventy. It was amazing. I know he told his story in conference, but he gave more background that I would love to share with you: Elder Kikutchi's father was a successful fisherman in Japan before WWII. He owned a small buisness with over 50 employees. At the beginning of WWII, he was called to fight and he left his family for several years. During the war he was injured and returned home. Upon returning home he found his family and the families of his employees in desperate conditions. In order to feed the families, Elder Kikutchi's father took Elder Kikutchi and his employees out to fish. While they were fishing, they were attacked by an American submarine and everyone was killed but Elder Kikutchi, including his father. With his father gone, Elder Kikutchi's family became very poor and could not afford for him to go to school, so he was forced to move away to find work. He worked awful hours in poor conditions. He eventually became very sick and was taken to the hospital. The doctors could not help him and told him that he would soon die. That night in the hospital, although being raised a Buddhist, he prayed to Heavenly Father and asked that if there really was a God, that his life would be spared. Elder Kikutchi slowly recovered and was able to move to his grandmother's house near by the hospital. It was there that two American missionaries, on their P-day, knocked on his door. He was immediately angry because these men were Americans and America had killed his father. He told them to go away, but one of the missionaries told him that they had a story of a boy his age. Elder Kikutchi gave them 10 minutes, and the elders immeadiatly testified of the boy prophet Jospeh Smith and Elder Kikutchi's heart was touched. His whole talk was just amazing. It was amazing to see how even in a langauge you can barely speak, the Spirit testifies and teaches the truth. It was amazing to see how powerful the testimony of the First Vision was. And it was amazing to realize that those two missionaries found this great man on their P-day. They didn't have to knock doors that day. But they were going the extra mile and now millions of lives have been touched. It was just so amazing. We all walked away so touched.
**Note: From Robin: Madeleine attended my institute class with me one day before she left on her mission. The teacher told the above story of Elder Kikutchi. When she finished, an older gentleman on the front row raised his hand. When the teacher called on him, he said, "I was Elder Porter, one of those missionaries who knocked on Elder Kitkuchi's door that day." He told us the story from his point of view. It was amazing."
"Yesterday I was able to be whats called a "host missionary" which means I was able to greet new missionaries as they were dropped off at the MTC and help get them situated in thier bedrooms and classrooms. It was so fun. We are definitely getting more and more missionaries every weekYesterday we had over 400 arrive and next week we're getting over 600 more! Its crazy. But it was fun to look back and remember my first day two months ago. Its amazing how much we all grow in such a short time."
"Spanish is coming along really well. I feel really good about it. We practice all day long and I feel like I'm slowly getting better everyday. I think it will be a lot different in Chile though. We practice teaching a lot, always in Spanish. About a third of our time is actually learning Spanish grammer and the rest of the time is learning and practicing how to teach. We work straight from Preach my Gospel. There is hardly any memorizing and there is a definite focus on teaching to what the investigator needs. We spend most of our time sampling different situations and planning what we think each person would need in each situation. While I'm feeling confident in my Spanish when talking to other novice Spanish speakers, I'm really nervous to talk to native Chileans. I hear they speak a mile a minute. But I have noticed a side effect...as I'm sure you've noticed, my English spelling and grammer have gone sufficently down hill. It gets harder everyday to switch back an forth between the two languages."
"I just got called as
our Zone Coordinating Sister. Which means, I'm the sister equivalent of a zone leader. Basically i just help all the new sisters out, answer questions, and have a MILLION meetings on Sunday (seriously, like 4!)"
"I'm done with my first week in the MTC! Its been crazy, but so fun. My comapanion's name is Hermana Reeder. She's going to Spain and is absolutely wonderful. The Spanish is coming along really nicely. Our teachers are great and it's amazing to see the gift of tongues in action. I feel like I can learn and remember things so much more quickly. The Spirit here is amazing. Its great not to have to worry about anything but the gospel, learning Spanish."