Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Letter #22 (Texarkana, TX!!!)

Wow, I feel a little ripped off with this short letter but I guess I should just be grateful that my 19 year old son took the time to write home! Last Tuesday was his first transfer since he arrived in the mission field. Hr is now in Texas!!! He has a new companion who speaks english but has been called to serve a spanish speaking mission and learned spanish in the MTC. So Steven has heard a lot of spanish lately! We sure miss him but have great faith in what he has chosen to do and are so glad that he is there.

Hola has become common in my daily slang this last week or so! Its been crazy, and I haven't understood a lot of it, but it has been a spirit filled week to say the least. I apoligize in advance that this will be a short letter, but I don't have too much time. There is always something going on here. The ward is very excited about missionary work, and are pushing us to work harder and longer. They are so excited for Ashdown to be opened up next transfer, and I am already getting teaching appointments up there. Ashdown is about 30 minutes away from Texarkana. I haven't been up there, but will be there Thursday for the teaching lesson. Looking forward to learning the area and learning all about Texas and Arkansas life style! It has been so much fun here living with three other missionaries, its a non stop party. Theyre all on a diet though cause theyre all going home within 6 months! I am the youngest around here by over a year, so I have to grow up real quick. I will write more next week, but dinner with the Whittington's is done! Take care Yall!
~Elder Maddox!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Letter # 21 (Shreveport, LA)

Texr bound!
Well its official as of Friday, I am bound for Texarcana Texas. While there my companion will be Elder Parker, who is one of the Spanish missionaries down here in Shreveport for the four and a half months while here. So here is the reasoning behind me going with a Spanish missionary. There is a city about 20 miles outside of Texarcana on the Arkansas side called Ashdown. The plan for this coming transfer was to have me train a new missionary, and open up the new Ashdown area. But for whatever reason the missionary who I was set to train, ended up going home from the MTC due to injury. So in responce to that, President McDounaugh assigned me to Texarcana so that I can go and work Ashdown once a week with Elder Parker, and get set to open it, and train a new missionary in the transfer following the coming one. It should be awesome because the apartment I will be staying at in Texar is the Zone Leaders apartment as well, which means four missionaries in one apartment! Should make for some good fun!
As far as work goes, this week was a difficult one. It's amazing just how each week changes. Every day you're placed into a moral delima. Go work, or stay inside. Some days, ten in the morning can't come early enough, your so excited to get after it. Other mornings/weeks, you catch your self pretending to have a head ache, or some other bogus reason as to why you can't serve the Lord. If nothing else, the mission will teach me how to work, even when not wanting too. Even when there is nothing going on. No appointments, no members to see, nothing. It teaches you how to make something happen. In my studies as of late, I have been studying Jospeh Smith's life a little bit. Often times we, as missionaries, get told that the Book of Mormon is an opinion, and should be treated as such. Other times, were told how the Book of Mormon is a book written to make Joseph rich. How far from the truth this is, I can not describe. After finishing the Book of Mormon for my second time in my life, I can say, to whomever asks, that this Book is true. This Book, translated by a modern day Prophet, is the word of God, and any man who reads from its pages will truly draw closer to God, more so from this book than any other book in existence, and that includes the Bible. The Book of Mormon is perfect, in each and every way, and if there is an error to be found, then it is the error of man. Each page, each sentence, each verse, was designed for us right now, in this day and age. Never mind the fact that it was written hundreds of years ago by men long since deceased. Take an un biased look at this Book, and you will see its devine origin, and devine intent. To make us better people. Elder Holland gave a talk, entitled Safty For The Soul, with the Book of Mormon as the main idea, or focus point. In this talk, he very boldly proclaims that "I want it absolutly clear when I stand before the Judgement bar of God that I declared to the world...that the Book of Mormon is true." Today I wish for my testimony to be added to that of Elder Holland's. And that is that the Book of Mormon is true. No matter what is said about it, no matter what deragatory musicals are written about it, and no matter the scrutiny that will come from being associated with it, I can not deny the God sent witness that I have of its pages.
Elder Maddox

Monday, September 10, 2012

Letter #20 (Shreveport, LA)

This past week has been one of the most amazing miracles I have seen so far in the mission! With the weather still hot and humid, reaching upwards of 100 degrees for much of the week, this week was one of many doors knocked, and many doors opened. Due to an injury to his companion, Elder Ensign and I spent a lot of time this week on exchanges. So we have been splitting the time between the two of our areas, and I can honestly say that both areas have taken a boost. We ran into people who were more than willing to hear and accept the gospel, so it will be exciting to see where those people progress too, and to see how the Gospel will change their lives. It has truly changed mine. The Spirit has been in an abundance in so many ways. The gifts of the Spirit have been in an abundance in so many ways. It continues to blow my mind when ever we are teaching just how the Spirit works. For example, while we were teaching a girl named Sarah about the restoration, I felt like I should ask her a specific question. The question, to me at least, seemed so crazy to ask. It seemed like I was letting my mind wander, and I got frustrated with myself for it. But then the question came to mind again, so I decided to just ask. The question hit her hard, and made her consider, that maybe there was more to the message that we were sharing. It was so amazing how I questioned myself, and the Spirit allowed me a make up for my mistake, and allowed me to have that question in my mind, and allowed me to speak it. That was just one of the many miracles! Little miracles were in an abundance as well! Like we were teaching a lesson outside yesterday and the AC unit next door was SO LOUD! But right as I started to teach the first vision. It was silent....there was peace, it was tranquil. It was amazing how the silence allowed the Holy Ghost to work over the lady we were teaching.
Something that I have been studying in my own personal study has been the life of Jesus Christ through both the New Testament, and a book written by Elder James E. Talmage called Jesus the Christ. Through this book, and my studies of the Bible, my understanding of the Atonement has been enlightened. While I will not pretend that my understanding is perfect, its far from, my testimony of the most incredible act preformed on this earth has been increased. And with an increased understanding of what my Lord and Savior did for me personally, I feel more desire, more fire to go and help his work go forward. It is amazing what a bit of understanding can do. With a better understanding of Christ, we become more grateful for what He did. If we all had this better understanding, there would be no problem with each and everyone of us sharing the Gospel with our friends, and family.
Elder Maddox

Monday, September 3, 2012

Letter #19. (Shreveport, LA)

That was nothing short of a let down! Not even a power outage! For any of you who have followed the news the past two weeks, you will have realized that a hurricane was supposed to be felt here in Shreveport. While many sections of the coast in our mission were hit, we here in Shreveport got a frustrating amount of rain. By frustrating I mean that it rained just hard enough to keep us inside, but not enough to say "that was an epic rainstorm!" I heard Utah got better rain than we did! Either way it was a rough week, often interrupted by the rain, and the lightning. It was hard to get into a flow, which is crucial as a missionary. But hey, its all about the hard work.
I wish I had something crazy new to report, but its been pretty slow. With the interruptions of the weather, and the constant knocking of doors, its been a slow week.
~Elder Maddox