Thursday, December 27, 2012

Skyping with Elder Maddox!

Wow! That was amazing to see Elder Maddox yesterday. We got to Skype when he called home for Christmas It was an awesome day, we even hooked the computer up to the big screen so we could see him really well! It was so good to hear and see him. He seems happy and looks great. The kids were so happy to see him too. Sabrina even sang him a song with her sisters help. It was very sweet. It sounds like he had a wonderful Christmas and was very well cared for. He spent Christmas Eve with the Miller Family and Christmas day with the Bowman family. We are so grateful that these families were willing to have our missionary in their homes and share such a special time.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Very Special Christmas Card!

Today we went about our family Christmas traditions...on the first day or so of Christmas break, all of the Maddox cousins gather together and make "Christmas Trains" which consist of lots of mini candy bars fixed on a paper plate with frosting. Then decorated with lots of different candies. There were at least 29 cousins participating today, so needless to say it was crazy and fun. While we are often missing a cousin or two, today was especially hard.. missing 4 of our missionary cousins. For me, things seem just a little bit off not having Steven home especially during these family activities. This Christmas was the first time in years that I didn't send out our family Christmas card mostly because it made me too sad to not include him in the family picture. Well, when I got home this evening and began to open the mail, there was a Christmas card and I didn't recognize the name so I assumed that it was from a business associated of Steve's. I started looking at the picture that came with the card. As I looked at each person to see if I recognized any one...I gasped, I was so surprised at who I was Boo (Elder Steven Maddox)! He was standing right in the middle of this family! I was so excited! Then, I remembered him mentioning in a letter last week that he would be spending this Christmas with the Bowman Family and how much he liked them. And they had just sent ME a Christmas card with their family and the missionaries in it! I cried when I saw the picture and cried again when I read the special note in the card. I will share it here..

"Dear Bro. and Sis. Maddox,
          We wanted to wish your family a Very Merry CHRISTMAS!! We have truly enjoyed getting to know your son, Elder Maddox - what an Awesome Missionary! His excitement for the Gospel has truly touched our family. We have ALL grown to love him as a part of our family. Thank you for teaching him the gospel and for sharing him with us. We pray that your Christmas and New year are full of Blessings!"
                                               ~The Bowman Family

Wow!   That letter and picture made my day and helped ease, if just a little bit, my sense of missing him so much during these special days.   I am glad to know that he will be sharing Christmas with such a wonderful family and again that there are so many kind and generous people watching over my boy.

Making Christmas trains...

The Bowman Family and Elder Jasperson (back left) and Elder Maddox (back center)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Letter #32 (Ashdown, AR)

Whats up world!
My heart is full of gratitude as I reflect on the past few weeks and months of my life. The gifts of knowledge and blessings from Christ have given me a new outlook on the Christmas season. No longer is life about what I receive, or what I can send to try to one up someone. Rather these last 8 months of my life have been about sharing with people the happiness that only the Restored Gospel can bring. One of my favorite things to do when meeting new missionaries is to ask them why they serve a mission. My follow up question is always why do you continue to serve. See each day as missionaries we have opposition. It comes in many forms, but not a day goes by when we don't have people doing their best to discourage us. Saten is a constant. That is why I absolutely love what most missionaries response is. Almost each missionary I have asked this question of, has responded by with something to the effect of "to see the happines I help bring into their life." And that happiness is a closer relationship to Christ. Something that so many people fight for, but many can't find simply because "they know not where to find it." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained what I am feeling. "As we watch the excitement and wonder of children at this time of the year, perhaps we can remind ourselves to rediscover and reclaim a precious and glorious attribute of children—the ability to receive graciously and with gratitude." That is what I am learnig. How to recieve. And more than that, what to do with what I have received! It is amazing what I have the opprotunity to give a little bit of myself each and every day!
Elder Maddox

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letter #31 ( Ashdown, AR)

What up World!
Alright so first of all, I would be a terrible friend if I didn't give a shout out to both Zac Larsen and Zach Wade. For those who don't know, these two, two of my dearest friends, just received their mission calls within the last two weeks. Both headed to Ghana! And on the same day! Ghana doesn't know what is headed their way. You both will do so well! Look after each other you two! Ahh so cool!
Alright so I want to share an experience with yall that was a very eye opening experience for me. See for me when I walk around here, I assume most people aren't Mormon. Now since almost everyone who I speak too is not, they walk around and assume the same thing, that most people are not Mormon. Well the other day Elder Jasperson and I were throwing the ole' pig skin around in the parking lot of our apartment when a middle aged man walked up and started to talk to us about who our favorite football teams were and what not. Now since it was seven in the morning, we weren't dressed up. So he was kinda shocked when we let him know just how uninformed we were. But once we started to talk to him, and he found out we were missionaries, he looked at us and said "O y'all are in the mission field"? Haha as it turns out Jim has family that lives in Roy, Utah, and has two nephews that are preparing to serve. As we quickly taught him a quick restoration lesson, and departed, he looked at us and said "I just knew there was something different about you two." It was a truly humbling experience for me. That this individual could tell that there was something different with us, and then to have something positive to say about "us Mormons". The work truly is hastening, but not just by the missionaries. The influence of those around us, who don't wake up each and every day to put on a tag, is what will make this work go forward.
~Elder Maddox

Monday, December 3, 2012

Letter #30 (Ashdown, AR)

What up world!
First of all, Merry Christmas! I am a fan of Thanksgiving so I generally refuse to say it until December which it is! It is crazy to think that we are so close to Christmas. It is truly an amazing time to be a missionary, and I thank my father in Heaven for this opportunity on a daily basis. One thing that has been very amazing is the out poring of love from my family both extended and immediate. It seems that on a daily basis I receive multiple letters. It is hard to be homesick when you have so much love and support. Thank you for it, and keep it coming. I will do my best to return the letters, but it may take a little while, I have received that much. Ashdown continues to be my favorite place to serve. The members are absolutly amazing and take the best of care of us. I have heard that home life is going well. With 3 more "Maddox" cousins prepairng, and 4 serving, this Christmas will be an interesting one I am sure. I am all to happy to be here. I am thankful to be apart of this work, that will not be stopped. Congrats to Elder Wade for his call to Africa, and Larsen for his call coming Wednesday! Can't wait to have yall out here!
~Elder Maddox