Monday, April 22, 2013

Letter #42 (Byram, MS)

Hey Mom!
So first of all, congrats to my cousin Spencer, and brother Travis on receiving their mission calls! Both the D.R. and Argentina are so lucky to be getting you guys! And your going out within a day of each other! So cool! I can't believe that all of us have received our calls! Its crazy to think that within 6 months we will all be out! And these mission calls just added to the festivities of the week! We also had two baptisms on Monday, which went so amazing, and Sunday, their confirmations took place, which was just as equally amazing. And what is even more amazing is that we found two people who agreed to be baptized on the forth of May, and they are SO AWESOME. So things are really starting to roll here in Byram, Mississippi. Many people are coming out of the wood works. From investigators to less actives, to members catching fire. Part of the reason for this is Sister Gladys Knight. Yep, thee Gladys Knight. She, along with her Grammy winning choir is coming to Clinton Mississippi, which is about twenty miles up the road from here. Her, and her choir, will be putting on two firesides on May 16. They are completely free, and the whole focus of the fireside is to get non members and less actives into a dedicated building, and to feel the spirit that comes from being inside. And from what I have heard, Sister Knight is not shy when it comes to sharing the Gospel. She is very forward and very open about her conversion, and the Book of Mormon is mentioned more than just once in an evening. On thursday of last week, we as a zone went up to Clinton and met with Brother Johnson, who is on the board of directors for "Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices." There he shared with us the expectations of the missionaries, as well as what we could expect from this event. He promised us that if we did our best in having non members come, we would see a change in our mission, and we would revitalize our wards. He shared an experience that happened when this fireside took place in the San Jose California mission. They had 900 referrals in just one day. We are hoping to have the same effect. It is anticipated that 1200 people will come to 1 fireside, and we have two of them. It is also expected that of the 2400 people who come, half will be investigators. It is then our job as missionaries to talk to them, and teach them the Gospel! But members are starting to invite friends and family members, and the missionary spirit is alive! Its a great time to be a missionary. I am so thankful for the amazing year of transformation that has just taken place, and I look forward to the coming year with just as much excitement.
~Elder Maddox

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Letter #41, (Byram, MS)

Hey Mom,
Another amazing week in the books, filled with amazing times, and many memorable experiences. One of those experiences happened on Wednesday, my first full day in the new area. Here in Florence, there are two people, a mother and a daughter who are preparing for baptism, and I had the opprotunity to interview them to make sure that they were ready. I first talked to the daughter who is 9 years old, and she was the sweetest little girl ever, who has such a love of the Savior, and can already notice how his Atonement has affected her life, and needless to say she passed. I then had the chance to sit down and talk to her mom. I went through the normal questions asked prior to baptism. I then asked her to share with me her testimony of the Gospel, and how she had seen it effect her. What she said brought tears to my eyes. She said "her husband had always been less active, ever since they were married, and she never chose to ask him about his beliefs, and religon was rarely brought up. But then times started to get difficult. They noticed that something was missing in their family, and couldn't figure out what it was. Then the missionaries came knocking on our door. They were trying to find my husband, so I invited them in. They then taught us about the Book of Mormon, and how the Gospel blesses families. They taught the message that I needed to hear! It was as if God had heard my prayers, and sent his servants too us to help our family." It was the most amazing story I have heard so far on my mission, and helped me to once again refocus on exactly why are here! I love how she testified of the ability of the Book of Mormon to strengthen families, and to change lives. I have seen it time and time again on my mission. For anyone who wants to change their lives, member of The Church, or not, read the Book of Mormon, and you will see miracles happen! Needless to say, both passed the requirements for baptism, and their baptismal service is set for later this evening, and they could not be more excited. Ahh! So amazing. We have a few other people who we are working with, and that should progress over the next couple of weeks! We also found a whole bunch of new subdivisions that have never been knocked so we are looking forward to a fun filled week of knocking doors!
Y'all be good
~Elder Maddox

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Letter #40, (Byram, MS)

Well, he did it! He has served is all 4 states in the Mississippi, Jackson Mission! It is a large mission and covers parts of Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Elder Maddox was transferred to Mississippi this week which means in less that one year he has served and lived in all 4 states! That is pretty amazing. He is having a great mission experience. He has met so many wonderful people that have touch his life in amazing ways. It is so fun to read his weekly letters and to hear how serving has changed his life. It makes our missing him just a little bit easier.

Hey Momma!
So so so sorry for my lack of letters for the past few weeks. These last few weeks have been nothing but totall chaos, but in a good way. A lot has happened in the last two weeks, all ending with me in a new area. After two of the BEST transfers of my mission, president called to tell me Friday morning and told me that I was finally heading to Mississippi, to the area of Florance. While the area is called Florance, we live in a suburb of Jackson called Byrum. We actually have part of South Jackson in our area, so I will let you know why Johnny Cash wanted to get here so bad! But its getting hot. Its 85 right now, plus the famous southern humidity cranked up right now. But Byrum is great so far. We, my new companion Elder Anderson from Bountiful Utah, we were able to sit down with Bishop Young and his family last night once we got here, and he is a very energetic bishop, and I look forward to serving with him to help the Floracne ward grow! Another amazing thing that is happening to me that has not yet happened is I am walking into a few baptisms. On Monday, ya its a random day but it works, we have the Baptism of A family here. This family already has grand plans for a trip to Baton Rouge next year to go to the temple and be sealed for time and eternity as a family! Ahhh! I can't wait for the upcoming months, there is so much potential here, I got a great companion, and the Stone is going to roll! Speaking of a rolling stone, did anyone notice how AMAZING conference was! I loved each and every second of it, from Saturday Morning to the final farewell of President Monson, it was all so amazing. There were two or three reoccurring thoughts that seemed to be on the minds of the individuals who spoke. The first was preparation for what is to come. We know from the scriptures that the time prior to the Second coming of our Savior will be havoc to say the least. But with proper preparation, such as food storage, and emergency know how, we will be okay, as long as we have a firm foundation in Christ. What I love is that many of the speakers followed up talks of doomsday-second coming chaos, with the word peace. What an amazing thought, that if we do what God's modern Prophets and apostles council us too do, these days that many look at in a fearful way can be peaceful to us who are prepaired! Loved the talk from Elder Uchtdorf entitled "the Hope of God's Light." I don't want to take parts of it and post them here, but anyone who is stuggling, come listen to a phrophets voice, and you will find comfort! The other major idea that was talked about, was member missionary work! Now I am proably a bit biased because of my calling right now, but the apostles were very quick, and very bold in extending invitations to all to do missionary work, and help all of the growing missionary force. If you do blessings will come! Sorry momma, I know you wanted a bunch of stories, but with the transfer happening it was hard to do, give me a week!! Talk to you next week, love y'all!
~Elder Maddox