Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Letter #27 (Ashdown, AR)

Wow!  I can't believe it...Elder Maddox has served in 3 states in 6 months!  The Mississippi, Jackson Mission is so large that we weren't sure how much of it he would get to see.  But so far he has served in 3 out of the 4 states that his mission covers!  Lots of fun...and I already received a picture from one of the wonderful ward members in Ashdown, AR! Thanks Sister Miller and of course thanks for feeding my boy!  It's so nice to know people are watching out for him.  And I have updated his new mailing address to the right on the blog page for any and all who would like to write my Boo, he loves to get those letters!!!

Happy Halloween everyone!!
Another crazy week has came and gone in what seemed like seconds. I still struggle to wrap my mind around time out here. The best description would be that days feel like weeks, very long and non stop, but the catch is that weeks feel like days. Just a few short hours here and there. To think that my six month mark is now past, is nothing short of mind blowing. Over 25 percent done. I don't want it to be so, but it is. And to think that my good buddy Elder Van Dyke not only turned twenty years young this month, but also turns a year old in missionary life. Scary to think that almost a year ago, we said good bye, and parted ways. Before I know it, life will be back to what I used to define as normal. Something else that is hard to explain, but I think all missionaries could agree with is the feelings of what is "normal". What I mean by that, is for me, as a missionary, I feel like this is what I have always been doing. It is difficult to explain, but it seems like a missionary is all that I have ever been. It makes probably no sense to anyone who hasn't served a mission, but it is a reality. I love what I am doing and wouldn't change it for the world.
I apoligize for the late E-mail this week, but I have a good excuse! For the third time in just six months I got transfered. This transfer I will be opening up a new area, about twenty miles away from Texarkana. And to add to the excitement, I got a brand new missionary! I will now be traing Elder Jasperson who hales from Payson, Utah! He is an awesome missionary who is very excited to be a missionary! He is very knowlageable and is bringing what we call greenie fire to our companionship! I hope that I can keep up with it. Ashdown is where a lot of the members of the Texarkana ward live, and so I am very excited to start to work with them and to work with the inactive list. There is so much work to be done here, it is exciting. The last time missionaries were here full time was twenty years ago! So the both the Ward, and the Missionaries are excited to be here! Which will equall success for all of us! Be ready for amazing stories this transfer!
~Elder Maddox!

Elder Jasperson and Elder Maddox on their first day together!

Letter #26 (Texarkana, TX)

Hey Family
So it has been a long few days. They have been action packed, and miracle filled. The after effects of last week's zone conference have been many. The overall attitude of the mission has been changed, as far as I can see, and new hope has been installed in each of us. It has been a week full of finding for Elder Parker and I, with eleven new investigators. One of them in particular was especially amazing. His name is Marquis. He was found by the sister missionaries here in Texar. When the sisters talked to him in Sam's club, he told them he had a book of mormon, and that he had been reading it. Now here in the South, a lot of people will say that, just so they don't have to deal with us. But this guy was seriously interested. So the sisters set up a return appointment, and Elder Parker and I went to see him. Once we were there, we talked a bit, and taught him the restoration. Now personally I felt like it was the worst lesson I have taught! But for whatever reason it worked. Because right after the lesson, he looked at us and said"I don't care what else you have to teach me, because I know that this book is true, and whatever comes from it, I need to be apart of". It was such a testimony builder to me. The true power of our church is the power of the Book Of Mormon. It is how this work will go forth. The only way for it to go forth. The missionary's only power is for them to present the book. After that, we can do nothing, other than follow up. I had another cool thought this week. All four of the Maddox family cousins are in their areas now. And with in a year, seven of us will be out doing the Lords work. It truly is a blessing for me to be here now. The knowledge that I have received over the last six months has been invaluable. Ya, thats right. I also will have been out for six months come wednesday! Crazy thoughts! Time is weird! And time is short today! Sorry!
~Elder Maddox

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Letter #25 (Texarkana, TX)

Hey Everyone.
I apologize for the late letter, but it seems like everyone including myself has a zone conference of some sort this week. This is my excuse as well! We had a zone conference yesterday in Monroe which is just about four hours from up here in Texas. So I had a cool opportunity to spend time in Shreveport for a day. It all started out on Sunday evening. We had to be in Monroe by 8:30 so we got President to autorize a sleepover in Shreveport so we could make it on time! The next day, we got up early and all caravaned to Zone Conferance. But this Zone Conference was unlike any other I have been a part of. Because we had a quorum of the 70 member attend and throw down! He taught us so much in just a few short hours. He pounded into our heads over and over again just how important our calling is. He called us out, and gave us our new calling. To attack the less active lists that each of our ward's have. He told us this will lead to hundreds more baptisims, so this is the new route that well will be taking. It was absolutly amazing to see Elder Nash, walk in, not know us, and tell us the best way to improve. And more than that, to be able to discern our hearts, and tell us exactly what we needed. It was truly amazing. Then I had the chance to spend some time in Shreveport and to visit some of the families I spent so much time around.
Sorry for the short letter, but we only had a few minutes to come to the library. This week was an amazing one, and I will give a much more detailed account tomorrow, or when ever I find the time to get back! Love you all!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Letter #24 (Texarkana,TX)

What is up world! Hope all is well on the home front, and that everybody had an amazing conference weekend like I did. I enjoyed it more as a missionary than I did as a civilian. The impact that it had on me was amazing. Walking away from conference, three things were pounded into my head over and over again. Number one is missionary work. The thought of "Every member a missionary" kept running through my head, as General Authority after General Authority stood up and pounded that over and over again. Next was the importance of the family. Every day I see the important role that my awesome family played in my life. I also see what can happen if the family is not a unit on a daily basis. How is it possible to tell though that family is important? Look around, and see what Satan is trying to attack the hardest. He will always go after what is most important with all that he has, and the family is under his hell fire right now. We must fight back. Family Home Evening must be implemented in each home, in order for Satan's attacks to not be felt. Through making FHE a necessity, we circle the wagons so to speak, and keep all hostilities out. The third thing emphasised at conference I felt was the idea of Priesthood Responsibility. It was made very clear that we must not place anything in the way of our Responsibility. No more can we allow work, money, "our busy schedules", friends, or people to get in the way of fulfilling the Responsibility given to us from on high. We simply must put the Lord first, and take whatever earthly consequences follow. It is easier said than done. While yes, it is sometimes easier to put off our Home Teaching, or other callings, if we can manage to make the progression of God's earthly kingdom our top priority, everything else will seemingly fall into place. I have seen it time and time again in the last six months, that when the Lord is first, we can not fail. It is as easy as that. No complication. Other than that I think the only other thing I heard was some small announcement about the missionary age or something!!! Holy cow! Could a bigger bomb shell have been dropped?! I doubt it! I can't wait! In just one year there will be 7, yes 7! missionaries out from the Maddox family! What an amazing blessing this will be for both our church, and our family! This announcement will likely add 25000 missionaries to the field over the coarse of the next two years, and I look forward to meeting these new younger missionaries. To everyone back home who's mission time was suddenly cut in half, prepair. While yes, your farewell will be sooner, keep in mind that the Lord will make up for all you can't do on your own. I have seen it over and over again. Pray for blessing and they will come, I promise you. Take care y'all!
      ~Elder Maddox!

        So for those of you who may be a little lost as to what Steven was referring to in his last letter, let me explain...  Every 6 months our church has a world wide General Conference.  Our church leaders give gospel based talks over a 2 day period on varying topics.  They also made an announcement that all worthy young men may now serve a 2 year mission as early as 18 years old and all worthy young women may serve an 18 month mission as early as 19 years old.  The minimum age for young men use to be 19 and women was 21.  So not only is this a big change within our church but within our own family.  Steven has a younger brother Travis that will turn 18 in 8 months so will being preparing now.  He also has two other cousins that will now leave in less than a year!  So before Steven and his cousins return from their missions, their younger brothers will be heading out on their own missions!  Yes, I cried hard for just a minute, not quite ready to have my house empty yet...well relatively empty I guess there will still be 4 more at home with the way Steven's cousin Zack finally left the MTC in Provo today!  He has spent the last 2 months there learning Spanish and leaves today for Paraguay!   Now there are 4 first cousins in the mission field with 3 more  on their way in the next year!!!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Letter # 23 (Texarkana, TX)

Hey momma!
So this week was a weird one. Time becomes so weird on the mission, because you get into a routine, and this week was a big routine. It flew by. But the good news is that I was able to go up to Ashdown for a day on Sunday. For those of you who don't know, I am currently living in Texarkana, Texas. In four weeks, on Halloween actually, I will be moving to Ashdown, Arkansas to open the area. Texarkana is about 15 miles away from and my companion Elder Parker, and I have been working it a little bit when we had a few hours to spare. When were not in Ashdown, where here in Texar trying to find people to teach. A lot of the people who we are finding, and teaching speak Spanish. Which doesn't work too well because I don't speak Spanish. Elder Parker is fluent, and I am trying to learn, but Spanish is hard! I am trying to learn it the same way the guy on The Other Side of Heaven learned his language. Haha by reading one verse in spanish, then reading the same verse in English out of the Book Of Mormon. I am starting to be able to understand bits and pieces of the lessons', and can usually tell where he is as far as the lessons are concerned. From being around spanish speaking people both in church and out in the field, I am starting to understand very common phrases. Elder Parker is teaching me as best he can, but I am a pretty hard student I guess. He tells me you can't try to translate everything directly, or something I don't really know, I think he is just playing Jedi Mind tricks. Glad to hear that everything is going solid back home. Happy birthday Big Al! I sent you a letter, that you should be getting very soon, like today. I missed you by a few days, but please forgive me. Its hard to believe that 14 years has gone that fast. I can only imagine how fast these two will go., Crazy thought for everyone, I know I say that a lot, but this whole mission thing has been crazy! Any way, at the end of the month I hit my 6 month mark. Feels like I just left home yesterday. It's going by way too fast!.
~Elder Maddox