Monday, December 28, 2015

12/28/2015 First Monday after Christmas.

Is that the first time my dog has been in the snow? AWESOME! It was super windy here in California. Fortunately I already know how to walk with a skirt in the wind. We had a white elephant thing with the zone at Christmas and someone (probably one of the Chinese Elders) put in tickets to Star Wars. We decided they were going straight to outer darkness.  

So we decided to team up with the elders to do 12 week the other day since Elder Center is also brand new. Sister Shober and I taught a lesson to Elder Center and Elder Dayton. It was really awesome and we could feel the spirit so strong. The Elders all said that it was me that brought the spirit and they all reassured me that even if I didn't lead anyone to baptism on my whole mission that I've touched them and helped them become better missionaries. I think I said that in my farewell talk and also at the MTC and in the letter where I accepted my call. Elder Center was the worst, he for some reason thinks that I'm like this spiritual giant. He said that I don't even have to say anything people can just look at my face and feel the spirit. He also said that I will help every missionary I serve with and everyone at the MTC will always remember my testimony. He said every person in our zone is a better missionary because of my testimony and later he told the zone leaders that I a the most powerful person they would meet on their missions.

I told them there's no way that's true because I'm only 5 feet tall and they fired back will all these scriptures that say "and thus we see that by small means...." Seriously look those scriptures up though because they're all really good.

Anyway it feels super weird to see everyone looking up to me and talking me up to everyone all the time because I have so many shortcomings and disadvantages. I just keep thinking about how I've only been a member for a year and a half and the elders teach lessons to people all the time, but Sister Shober and I haven't taught anyone yet. I know it's bad to compare yourself to other missionaries but I just think it's weird that they think so highly of me when they're doing so much better. I wish they could realize that if I'm a good missionary the only reason is because of the strengthening power of the atonement. There's a scripture in D&C 84 that says "88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
I wish everyone would realize that this promise is not more for me because I'm a convert and I have experiences that help me relate to people, but it is for every missionary. I wish they would realize that their testimonies and experiences are just as powerful as mine, or rather just as powerful as they will let the Lord make them, and the Lord has infinite power to do his work.

I've also been thinking a lot about how Elder Center said that you can look at my face and feel the spirit, and about how people tell stories about people stopping them in stores and saying they look different than other people in the world, or they stand out, or they have a different light about them. I realized that this is what it's talking about in the scriptures when it talks about receiving the image of God in your countenance.

So this is y'all's reading assignment for this week: Read third Nephi chapter three and look for all the ways that the epistle of Giddianhi is exactly like the ways Satan tries to get at us. Then think about how Lachoneus prepares to defend the people from the robbers and think about verse fifteen. I think Jenny has an object lesson related to this that I didn't understand until I was reading this morning.

Elder Dayton said that I don't have an accent and also that I don't say y'all. I literally say y'all all the time so I don't know who that guy was listening to.

OH! So you know how I said it was windy the other day? So in the morning we cleaned up or phone and texted all the investigators and potential investigators in it asking if we could set up a time to meet with them. Well we had a window planned at this park and we were sitting out in the cold wind for an hour with no one talking to us shriveling up and freezing to death when 3 PEOPLE TEXTED US BACK AND SET UP MEETINGS. Blessings! So anyway we have 3 scheduled lessons with people who were dropped or quit taking lessons for whatever reason.

Anyway that's my life right now.

Love Y'all!
Sister Madeleine Atchley

Monday, December 21, 2015

First letter from the field. 12/21/16

  • Madeleine Grace Atchley <>

  • Tuesday, December 15, 2015

    She is in California now. 12/15/15

    I got this letter this afternoon.

    Hey I will send photos from the MTC eventually. I was orphaned this morning because my MTC companion's visa didn't come so she had to go back to Canada. We all made it safely through the airport, but I slept on the plane. We had to drop off Sister Oikle at 2:30 or something ridiculous so I basically didn't sleep last night and I slept on the plane. Also I dressed to get off the plane not to get on it so I basically died in the snow in Utah. BUT I SAW REAL SNOWFLAKES AND BEAUTIFUL SNOW MY LAST DAY AT THE MTC. They were actually snowflake shaped. Neat

    She sent these two pictures, I have no idea who any of these people are and I assume it is in California, though I may be wrong.

    A little further research on his name tag makes him the Mission President and his wife for the Irvine mission.

    This is her with some other random people and the mission President and wife.

    She has left the MTC and is California bound. 12/15/15

    Madeleine has left the MTC and is bound for sunny southern California. She said that the whole group that they hauled to the Airport was mostly from Texas going to California and Arizona and all of them were freezing to death. I was not expecting a phone call. It was great to hear her voice. I will put up a new physical address as soon as she sends me one.

    Wednesday, December 9, 2015

    First long letter from the MTC 12/9/2015

    I got this beautiful email from Sister Atchley (I keep wanting to call her Madeleine)


    so much has happened since I've been at the MTC it's hard but it's also awesome so don't worry about me at all. I don't really know what to share so I'll just share a bunch of experiences a lot just from my journal. 

    First some serious ones: 
    "As the plane took off there was a moment that I felt like I could see all of Midland and Odessa IT was like seeing all of my people, my good memories and my life outlined by the window. I noticed that a mist was creeping over the town so as to obscure my view but just about the horizon was a bold strip of color and the brightness of the sun barely obscured by the clouds. As we overcame the cloud layer I looked up again and saw that everything was beautiful and white and illuminated by the sun. It reminded me of the Temple and the sacred spirit that is there. I can already feel the mists of my old life settling, and I see the bright light before me. I know that as I serve I will break through my own personal cloud layer and be exposed to all the light, truth, hope, love, and glory that my Heavenly Father has to offer.' - I wrote this on the plane

    The first day I was here I saw this Elder that looked like a baby version of Elder Severson and it made me cry a little. 

    I got back to our residence after the first day and realized that my shoulders were killing me. I wondered what weight I was carrying on them. They've been fine ever since though so maybe it's just because there are thousands of stairs at the MTC. Utah is beautiful with all the mountains I love it. 

    I wrote in my journal that I am so thankful that the Lord prepared our Elders to teach us. I wondered if we were introduced in the pre-existence I wonder if they were told that they were going to have the opportunity to be born into righteous that had the gospel homes but I was not. I wonder if we were told  that we would be able to trust them when we met them on the Earth. I wondered if that's why I felt so comfortable around them. I've learned a lot since I've been here that it doesn't matter what you teach because nobody will remember that, but it matters who you are and how you make people feel. One of our teachers said that our children are looking down on us and rejoicing at our decisions to serve Missions. 

    The other day I was having the worst day. I felt like every time I opened my mouth to start teaching my personality would just leave.  I couldn't stop crying and I finally was able to tell the teacher how I was feeling. Right after I got it out the Elders in my district came in, and Sister Oikle, my companion, asked if a blessing of comfort would make me feel better. I asked our district leader, Elder Bowman, to give me one and he agreed. So the trio in our district gave me a blessing and it was so amazing. You could tell it was from God and I think that they were able to realize the power of the priesthood that they have. One thing in my blessing was that The Lord trusts what I have to say. I asked if Elder Bowman had heard me say that I felt like I was forgetting who I am. His response was "why did I say something?" It was just a really amazing testimony builder. 

    I was feeling like I had so much to teach everyone here, but I was too stubborn to learn from anyone. I prayed and fasted about it and I realized that it felt like months since I had taken the sacrament. After I took the sacrament it was like just people's actions testified so much to me. I've definitely had to humble myself a lot and try to put myself in the position of others. I've also had to remember what it was like to be an investigator. It's like before you go on a mission Satan tries to tell you you're not good enough, but when you're here Satan tries to tell you that Heavenly Father wants you to be perfect, or better than you are able to be. That was a hard thing to realized, but I learned it from my companion and the other sisters in my district. 

    We watched a video by Elder Bednar called the Character of Christ. It was about turning outward when everyone else would naturally turn in. One thing he said was that if you just write down everything people say when you take notes you're just making large plates. If you write down your thoughts and feelings that come to you when you're listening you're writing down your revelation and making small plates. 

    And some silly ones: 

    The Elder that was in Midland who always yelled TEMPLE SQUARE at me was working in the Cafeteria the other day and I was all like GUESS WHERE I'M NOT GOING!!!! 

    They made me and my companion the online coordinators even though almost none of my computers have worked since I got here. 

    I was sitting in lunch the other day and I realized that just a little over a year and a half ago I didn't know anything about the church and at that moment I was sitting at the Missionary Training Center as a missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints eating green jello, how far I've come. 

    There is an Elder named Elder Pinkney and he is literally 6' 6" what is my life? Also he says his spirit animal is a killer whale. 

    One of the teachers who isn't assigned to our district came in the other day and I asked if he had a band-aid. He proceeded to pull out his wallet and hand me this miniature band-aid. I was like "aww wow this is a tiny band-aid!" and he goes "Well... you have a tiny finger...." it was pretty much the cutest thing. (all the teachers are returned missionaries so I don't know if that makes it more or less awkward.) 

    some quotes (you're not getting any context for these): 
    "sometimes you just gotta dump some dumpage" - Elder Bowman 

    "Slap a salmon, slap a salmon, punch a bear, slap a salmon, slap a salmon punch a bear, grab a bald eagle and fly to freedom!" - Elder West
    "This fell, is that ok?" - Sister Fullmer
    "Well it fell that men may be and men are that they may have joy." -Sister Oikle 

    Anyway I wish I could write you all day but I'm actually out of time. I love you and I miss you! 

    Wednesday, December 2, 2015

    She entered the MTC today.

    How cool it must be to teach and baptize a person into the church, then get to see them enter the MTC. We had great missionaries that taught us with care. Both of them got to see Madeleine yesterday before she entered the MTC today.

    Thanks for posting this Brother Severson.

    Elder Whatcott and Elder Severson were both good missionaries. What they really had going for them was that they were a great team. I hope Sister Atchley is blessed with many good companions.

    Special thanks to Momma Whatcott (our missionary's mom) for delivering Madeleine to the MTC and showing her around Salt Lake City. Here is a picture she sent me.
    Waiting for an email. Will post more as I get more.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2015

    She is there!!!!

    She is there. Madeleine at the Salt Lake Temple on temple square. I am hoping she will get to email soon and let me know how it felt to be in that place.

    Thanks to Brother Whatcott and his family for getting her to the MTC.

    She is gone

    She is now officially on her own. I took her to the airport today and she got all checked in and past the security people. I am reminded of the verse Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.