Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week 1

Meine Familie!!!

So first things first.....I hope you are checking the mail because I've sent like 3 letters home already and it doesn't sound like you've gotten them already :( I hope they made it!!! Also, thank you so much for the package!!! Seriously made my whole week.

Thanks for the package!!!
And please tell everyone, thank you! for sending all the letters. My district and zone is a little jealous of all the mail I get haha! It really helps receiving letters and Dear Elder seems to be working really well. Keep them coming....even if you just tell me a funny story!!

Can you believe I finished my first week in the MTC!! Every time I look down at my nametag I freak out a little because it's still a little surreal.

Name Tag
The first day was crazy and within just a few minutes I found out that I was going to be at the new West Campus!!
So I am living at Wyview (just a few buildings down from where I lived my freshman year) and we have classes at Raintree.

Branches laying everywhere from the storm (literally Raining Trees)
I feel like that was such a tender mercy of the Lord because a lot of my worries involved the living situations at the main campus. But it is so comfortable here! I walk by Mack's old apt every day and I think about how mom and I stayed there one night and mom threw up all night haha!!
Bless those missionaries who use that bathroom.

Where we spend the majority of our days studying
I'm in a trio which means I have two companions.
They are Sister Hamner and Sister Fowlke.

Companions on the first day
Sister Hamner reminds me sooooo much of Jaclyn Brim (ps I saw her new husband here like the second day--congrats Jac!!!).
They are really great!!!
We seriously laugh all the time together.

Typical Sister Hamner Face
On the flip side trios can be really tough. 
We seriously have companionship inventory every day (the elders make fun of us for that) but it really helps. Sister H and Sister F butt heads a little and I'm kind of the mediator. It's special.....

In my district there's the three of us and then two elders, 
Elder Garrett and Elder Black.

Elder G & Elder B
They are hilarious. I think they secretly love having the sisters in the district. Elder G is from Payson and we always make fun of him that he is a cowboy because he is from Payson.
Elder Black is a little more quiet, but he can be sassy at times too.

We have about 17 missionaries in our zone. Some are going to Frankfurt and some to Berlin. And that's pretty much who makes up our branch.
Such a small branch.
We won’t get any new missionaries in our branch until we leave in 5 weeks.

Me & some Elders from our zone
Our district laughs all the time together. When we eat in the cafeteria, we are spitting chocolate milk out our noses because we are laughing so hard. Sister H and I joke that we laugh to hide our can be stressful here.

Our district waiting for the bus to the main campus
I really like our zone and there are some great Elders!
I am the oldest in our zone but it doesn't feel like it.
They are great!

Our zone leaders, Elder Randall & Elder Hogan
We have 3 teachers- Brother Alston, Brother Davis, and Brother Brogden. We pretty much spend our whole days in the classroom with our district. Our teachers are great and 
I can't believe how much German I have learned so far.

Our special district :)
Luckily our whole district has had previous German experience so we have moved pretty quickly. I can say a prayer and my testimony in German and we have already taught 4 lessons to our "investigator" Hans in German. I've really learned to get out of my comfort zone and make mistakes. We speak a lot of Danglish (Deutsch and Enlgish)'s really hilarious. Elder Black, in his lesson, said in the prayer: "Wir danken dir fur Allah"....he meant to say 'alles' which is like 'all' or 'everything-ish' and he said 'Allah'.
Hans was like "Allah?" Wa? haha so funny.

Brother Davis can't look at me without laughing. Apparently I make funny faces....and sounds. We also made a rule that if you say 'guys' or 'dudes' you have to do 15 push ups. Sister H is up to like 215 haha!! 
Let's just say, she is sore.
Sister H doing some of her 215 push-ups haha!
The days are crazy here. We wake up at 6:30 and then usually don't get back until 9:30 or later. I shouldn't be able to stay awake during the day, but it really hasn't been that bad. I haven't cried myself to sleep...yet haha! But I warned my zone that I am a crier. I cried once in front of my district after we had a little one on one meeting with our teacher, Brother Alston. I don't know what it was, but it was nice to have him talk in English and to know he cared. I walked out of the room and just started bawling.....
......oh special.
Elder G was like, "if I cry too will that help." "No!"
All our books! So many! (Elder G)
Sundays are like general conference. It really is great!
Our Branch President served his mission in Germany about 50 years ago. 
He is really soft spoken but is nice and kind of old.

Each week we have to prepare a talk in German and then he randomly picks three of us to speak in sacrament meeting. Sister Hamner has had a hard time speaking German. She gets nervous to speak so she doesn't, which is the worst when you are learning a lesson. So we made a goal with her that she would learn how to say a prayer without any notes. Then on Sunday our President asked her to bear her testimony and the Zone Leader asked her to say the closing prayer. She did both of those without her notes. 
I was like a proud mother....I was crying of course.
Sister H & I
For some reason I keep getting bit by bugs. I have 10 bug bites! What the?! Do you remember that one time I got a bug bite on my hand and it was soooo swollen like a balloon? Well that happened...except on my ankle. So hideous! I think there are a lot of mosquitoes outside. Could someone send me bug spray? I get a new bite every day.

Today is our P-Day so we get to go up to the main campus and run some errands and then go to the temple.
I am so excited and it is definitely much needed.

Sister F & I on P-Day
I am so thankful to be a missionary. I feel so blessed and trusted to be able to teach the people of Germany. Sometimes I feel like a newborn who has so much to say, but can't say it. I have so much I want to say to our investigator but I can't find the words in German. But then I take a step back and realize that I just taught about the plan of salvation in German on my third day here. Crazy! I know the gift of tongues is real. I know it will take work but I am definitely putting my trust in the Lord to help because 
there is no way I could do this on my own.

Me & my companions
I know this church is true with all my heart. I am learning so much about myself and working with others. But most importantly I am learning so much about my Savior. He lives and loves us. I am so excited to share a message with people that has brought so much happiness into my life.

I love you all so much!! I love hearing from you! I miss you dearly! The work I'm doing is important and I'm thankful for the sacrifices you are/have made so that I can be here! You will be blessed because of it. 
I know I have already!!!

I'm a missionary!
Auf Wiedersehen for now!

Sister Madsen

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