Family and Friends everywhere,

ANOTHER GREAT WEEK IN SUNNY CALIFORNIA!! Only because of a loving Heavenly Father (:

First of all... I want to start with this. Alma 26:12.

And now... We saw miracles this week! My favorite one... one that Sister Lee and I have been fasting and praying about for about 6 weeks now. I don't remember how much I shared last week.. so I'll share from the beginning. First, it started out with contacting a media referral. She was not home... but of course other people are! She lives in a gated community with a gaurd who you have to speak to in order to be let in. We introduced ourselves as Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ and told him who we were there to see, and he let us in. The next time we stopped by he was there again. And he remembered who we were! "The missionaries!" he said, "Here to see the same person?" This is how it went the next two or three times. Then, he said "Hey, you're back!" and opened the gate for us. He had been on Sister Lee and I's mind quite a bit, so after that we knew there was no way we could see him one more time without saying something more than our friendly greetings for the few seconds we get to chat through the window. So, we sat outside Iris' house and contemplated how we should go about doing this. We knew we couldn't do it alone... so we said a prayer of faith seeking to know the "how" as well as the courage to do so. We ended up parking around the corner and walking back to talk to him. This way we could talk for longer than through the window and he would be able to still do his job when more cars came by. We told him that we couldn't keep seeing him without officially introducing ourselves, especially with how nice he had been to us. We shared our names and with no hesitation the first question out of his mouth was, "So, what is it that you guys are always  doing here?" This is the conversation we had been praying for! We told him and shared a card with him, giving him a brief introduction, but was unable to talk for too long before his boss started to show desire for us to leave. BUT this was still progress. After this instance we couldn't stop being drawn back to him even more... so we started to fast and pray for the opportunity to be able to talk to him outside of work. This was before p-day last week, so when we were going out to run all our errands we were keeping our eyes pealed for him, hoping this is the way our prayers would be answered. They weren't that way... but we knew they still would! (This MIGHT have been where I got to last week??) There just must've been some other way he had in mind. Perhaps we needed to do more on our part to make it happen, right? So we said more prayers and decided to write him a thank you note and drop it off for him specifically, not to see Iris this time. He was really surprised when we told him we didn't need the gate open. And then he said, "I'm actually really glad you guys stopped by. I was thinking I'd like to talk outside of work?" Now THIS is what we had been praying for! He told us he still had the card we gave him and that he'd give us a call to set up an appointment by the end of the week. He literally waited till the end of the week... Saturday evening... which tried our patience... but he did it! And we taught him yesterday afternoon! He is a very young nice man, very intellectual and eager to learn even more. We got to know his background and his life outside of work. We are very excited to continue teaching him. He isn't sure he believes in a God... but that is one of my favorite things to help others understand-- that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father who sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for the world so that the rest of us may be happy now and forever! I'm seeing the blessings from excersizing GREAT faith and MIGHTY prayer, and am very excited. And I'm very excited for General Conference this weekend too! We invited him to attend with us, and he said he'd think about it... so we're going to keep following up with him. Because I have a testimony of being able to hear from prophets, seers, and revelators! I'm excited for our investigators and I'm excited for myself too. I will be going seeking much revelation and strength. It's my favorite time of year.

Mom mentioned the relief society broadcast in her email to me this week. Mom, you're correct! I was indeed watching it (: I too loved ALL of the talks (of course;) especially since they all mentioned covenants! Which I have been studying so much about recently. Covenants are just SO important, ya know? So it's important to know how to keep them!

So... I continued to study and ponder this week... and so of course, more thoughts came. I was thinking... the Lord doesn't require us to be perfect.. but He DOES require us to be clean. (It is true that He cannot look upon sin with any degree of allowance- D&C 1:31)  And He DOES require us to do all we can do. Because we can't be saved in our sins, but we can be saved from our sins. (Alma 11:37) And like I said.. that's After we have done ALL we can do. (2 Nephi 25:23) But then I was thinking... it's nothing to allow yourself to get stressed over. Your best is your best, and He makes up the rest. (The only hard part is making SURE you really ARE doing your BEST and not just rationalizing or something...anyways...) Which is why I think in Mosiah 4 (which is a LOT of instruction on what to do and what not to do) he stops randomly and is all, "it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength". (vs. 27) When I read that I thought... well that's kind of random... but then the more I thought about it the more it clicked... Hey! He doesn't want us to get overwhelmed with all that is expected of us being children of a King and all! He sure wants us to labor dilegently though! And take comfort in the fact that we don't have to be awesome all by ourselves... because we ARE children of a King, and have a Savior, He's here to help us (: So are angels! On both sides of the vail. And that's something I pray for everday! For myself, for those I work with, and for all of you! Here is a great passage I would like you to look up... it's incredible. 2 Nephi 4:15-35. (vs. 31-32... one the most powerful things to pray for. One of my favorites! Actually... while we're on the subject... another favorite thing to pray for... 1 Nephi 7:17)

HERE!! I have some more homework for you all too (: Read these here talks! They're incredible. (Some of what I studied this week.)

The Justice and Mercy of God

His Grace is Sufficient

The Transforming Power of Faith and Character

The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality (again, if you read it the last time I sugested it... and DEFINITELY if you forgot before)

Well, my beloved brothers and sisters... I love you an incredible amount and hope you know that that's possible because of our Savior, Jesus Christ!! I feel closer to you all every day (: Thanks again for your continual prayers and support! Prayers sure go a long way (:

Have a great week, and remember to not just watch/listen to conference... but go with an open heart and an open mind and a question you want to be answered too!! (here are some more tips on how to prepare... trust me, it'll add so much more to your experience if you prepare!!)

I LOVE YOU!! Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do too (unconditionally), and the church is still true... I learn that more and more each day (:

PRAY ON!! (3 Nephi 19:26)

Sister Madisen Elise Busenbark (:


Hi there (: How are you this week? I'm doing mighty good!
First of all, I wanted to apologize for last weeks letter... I didn't get to finish because I had to run with my companion to el banjo and when we got back our time was almost out... we missed the que to get to push the "extend time" button on the computer. So anyways, I wanted to finish talking about obedience real quick... I wanted to say that the main reason obedience was on my mind so much was because (besides transfers being a time of change...) I once shared a saying with you that I heard and loved... it was that obedience brings blessings, but EXACT obedience brings miracles. Well.. then I heard President Van Cott say something recently that stuck out to me even more. He said that... EXACT obedience is MEDIOCRE! That hit me hard.. I was thinking, but wait? Mediocre? I've been striving to be mediocre this whole time? That's not what I want at all!! Is it? He said that it is mediocre because that is what I have been ASKED to be. That's what I AGREED to be. That's what's EXPECTED of me! It is my RESPONSIBILITY. My DUTY. I have covenanted with the Lord to be exactly obedient. That is the bare minimum. Anything less in unacceptable. Exact obedience is mediocre, it should then turn into sacrifice, then consecration. That's what the real goal is. And basically... never again will I think of obedience the same. (President sounds hard, I know... but it does nothing but good for me. Both now as a missionary, and for when I return home.)  Aaaaanyways (: Let's all try a little bit harder every day to be a little bit better, shall we?
Now for a few updates... well, I didn't get to tell you last week that I got to go to the temple on the 13th! And that was absolutely amazing (: It seems as though every time my head is about to roll off my shoulders due to exhaustion or sorrow or something... well then I get picked right back up! Always by the strength of the Lord, this time specifically by the blessings of the temple and the spiritual upliftment there (:
A few more random things... Delores called me the other day! Remember her? From Bloomington? The one I knocked on her door my first time ever tracting, and loved her from the start? Yeah! Her! She called the mission office looking for me and so she left them a message telling me to give her a call. I haven't been able to get a hold of her yet, but I thought it was really neat that she would give me a call to update me on where/what she's doing and such. I still think and pray about her often. She'll always be one of those, I think. I come across them every now and then.
Like this guy named Devlin who lives here in this area. We see him often (he is the gatekeeper guard guy for a community we visit a couple times a week. Did I tell you about him already? Oh well, if I did... I'm telling you again. haha.) and he remembers us every time! The first time we said who we were and who we were visiting, and let us in. The next time he said, "The missionaries!? Going to the same place?" and opened the gate. The third time he said the same thing. The fourth time he said, "Hey! You're back! Have a nice day." and opened the gate. After that time, Sister Lee and I were like... ahhh! We HAVE to talk to him! Because guess what? He is one of those ones! The one's you never stop thinking about. And then we sat there for a good amount of time and tried to figure out how we could go about talking to him. We said a prayer. Calmed our nerves. And decided to park the car and walk over to him so we could talk longer, not through the window. He was working so we couldn't take too much of his time, especially since his boss was there. But we officially introduced ourselves (because we see him so often and he's always so nice to us, we told him) and the first question out of his mouth was "So what is it that you guys always do here?" DING DING DING! Let me tell you (: haha. And THEN the next time we came he remembered our names! And NOW (I know I know... how is it taking this long? Good question. It's killing me too. Trust me.) where we're at is... we're trying to figure out how to go about talking to him outside of work! But, I am telling you right now... I know it'll happen. I have the faith! I just have to trust in the Lord's timing. If it were up to me... he would walk into the library right now and I'd send this email right where I'm at. But... I believe in the Lord's timing. He knows better than I. Much better than trusting in the arms of the flesh. Sooo... I'll keep you updated (:
Patricia... She is getting baptized next month!! She is more than ready and now we just have to wait till the date... we love going over to her house to learn and grow with her (: She's great. And like I said, ready! Everyone forgets that she hasn't been baptized yet even. She was asked to teach the gospel doctrine class and she had to remind them that she couldn't! Haha. I thought that was funny. She is going to be such a great contribution... she already is. I am more than happy for her decision, for now she will be able to experience the full blessings the gospel has to offer! My favorite...well, one of my favorites... the gift of the Holy Ghost (: It's going to bless her so much. I don't know what I'd do without the companionship of the Holy Ghost!
The Bullock's are doing great too! We watched the Joseph Smith movie with them (it's one of my favorites... can you tell? We watch it all the time...) and Bishop (who is GREAT, by the way. He loves the work and he is so sincere when he talks!) and it brought up a lot of great questions. A couple days later we went over and taught them the plan of salvation/happiness/redemption/etcetc... and it brightened my week. We talked about temples and the blessings of being able to continue the work beyond the vail because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, and being able to be sealed to our families forever (: I told them that that's why I am here... to spread the good news that Jesus Christ broke the bands of spiritual and physical death so that we can be saved in both aspects... and live with our families forever (: It made us all cry (; haha jk... but practically.
I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent me here to gain a body and experience this life on earth so that I can continue to progress and live with my family for eternity... including them, my brothers and sisters (:
Anywho... the library is about to close.
I love you all!! And I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do too... because families can be together forever (:
~ Sister Madisen Busenbark



Drum roll please..... I AM STAYING HERE IN PALM DESERT!!! Yay (: I am very pleased with this. Not only because I have so many lovely people I am currently working with and have big plans for, but also because... well I will admit, I haven't been the missionary I want to be this past transfer. But I am very grateful for the opportunity to fix that, especially while I am still working with Sister Lee, so that I can leave this ward and this training opportunity on a good note. I don't want to leave a taint anywhere I go, so now is my time to get back to how it is expected to be. I love transfers because they are a time of change... where change is needed, it's the perfect opportunity to do so. Although I am in the same area, with the same companion, and the same roommates, I am confident that I can do it with the help of the Lord. I have already started to make the necessary changes and we have seen great success come already. This week we were able to teach exactly 20 lessons. Not to mention all the people we talked to and have plans to follow up with. (which is another reason why I am pleased to stay here in the Desert. Despite the heat. I think I can continue to plow through it and make it to the autumn time (: And see the blessings! (see what President shared below.)) Now, I don't mean to say that I have been a bad missionary... but I don't mean to justify myself either... Here's the deal. I have had very bad headaches since being here... like, the constant never leaving kind. And so President advised me to basically take it easy when I need to, and don't do anything too stressful. So that is what I did. And eventually it just started feeling TOO lax. It was good the first couple weeks, and we didn't really even see the work hinder. Thankfully. I just couldn't help but wonder how much MORE success we could be having if I was giving it my ALL (which is what I covenanted to do, when I accepted my call to serve) and also couldn't help but feel like I was taking the easy way out.... when maybe sometimes it was needed, sure, but other times I knew I could probably just toughen it up because that's what I've been doing my whole life. I have very high expectations of myself, and I tend to get really hard on myself when I don't live up to it, and it effects my work, and then I get hard on myself even more... and it's just this vicious cycle. But I am ready to break this cycle. By simply pressing forward. Which we have already started (working on a little at a time...) to bring back to how it should be. I really just grieve at the thought of not doing all I'm supposed to, ya know. I need more than anything for my actions to line up with my desires. And I am recommitting myself right now, and each and every day, to this great work. Anyways though... enough with that ramble. I suppose I just want all of you to know that I'm going to be doing my best (including managing my internet time!) at making SURE that none of your sacrifices will go to waste. K? K (:

Aaaand... I just wanted to share something that President Van Cott shared with us today... He is very inspirational. No doubt he is a man called of God to help the work move forward here in the Redlands mission. I love reflecting on the hope of the Atonement, and although President was referring to missionary work... I know that it can be applied to each of us, so I wanted to share.

"In Alma 17:5 it states, "Now these are the circumstances which attended them in their jouneyings, for they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in BODY and in MIND, such as hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much labor in the spirit." Alma 26:27 states, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

These are two great scriptures. They help us understand that the greatest missionaries suffered in body and mind. The work has always been difficult...that is why there are so many blessings attached to it. Also the Lord will always comfort us and will give us success if we turn to him in our trials. Sometimes the success we experience is because of our willingness to continue working even when we are troubled in body and mind. The Lord is mindful of us and will open the windows of heaven as we sacrifice."

I love you all,
remember to put on your pj's tonight!! (say your Prayers, write in your Journal, and read your Scriptures!!:)

~ Sister Busenbark


Hi Family and Friends (:

How are all of you on this fine day? This past week? (These past 6 months if I have not heard from you?;)

This week was really great here in the Park View ward area! I believe I mentioned to you that our Bishop, Bishop Brown, referred us to his friend Dr Richard Bullock and his wife Jackline? They work together and have been friends for years now. Well we finally got to teach them and it went very well! It was neat, first of all, to see the Bishop set the example of entrusting us with his friends, inviting him to talk to the missionaries, invite them over for dinner with us, and introduce them to another member in the ward who lived in their same neighborhood. It was also neat to get to talk to them because these are people who Bishop never thought would be interested, but the more and more we talk the more and more he is surprised. He says he realized that the worst that could happen would be they don't accept it... and not have the gospel in their lives, which is where they would have been without the invite too, but at least they had the chance to hear it now. Anyways, both lessons went great and we have another appointment set up for this week! They are hoping their 16 year old son will join them this time. Upon our first meeting with them we were able to talk about something we all have in common... Jesus Christ. We had a very nice discussion on who He is and what He means to us, and how great it is that we have Him for our example of how to live our lives striving to be more like Him. During our second meeting with them we answered a few of their questions about the Bible comparable to the Book of Mormon. We were able to bear strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and the blessings that come from studying it, and they accepted to read and pray about it. So Sister Lee and I are really excited to meet with them this week and follow up. The members who were there were such an asset and it went very well. I am learning more and more about how to use the members more effectively in meetings as well as in our finding efforts. It is going really well and I'm excited to see the gospel change these lives.

I believe I have shared this quote with you before... But I am going to share it again. Because that is how important it is!

“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67).

What a beautiful promise that is! I am so glad we have been blessed by a loving Heavenly Father who knew we would need help in this life so He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the way. And that He then set up His gospel and had the authority to do so. And that after many years of being taken away from the earth, that same authority, known as the Priesthood, has been restored to the earth once again through the modern day Prophet, Joseph Smith. And that with that authority we have been  blessed to have access to such a beautiful and holy scripture as the Book of Mormon. Which I know will bless our lives, as President Marion G. Romney stated, and President Benson reiterated. There really is something special about having such a valuable resource of peace and happiness readily at hand. To be able to come to a greater understanding of, appreciation for, and relationship with my Elder Brother, Jesus Christ has been my most favorite thing (: How can you come closer to Him and not experience the natural effect of having more peace in your heart and desire to do and become better by following Him?

Anyways... enough about that. You all know how I feel (: It is just such a great opportunity to be able to testify so frequently of our Savior and His restored gospel! And it is always such a nice reminder to me that it's true... every time I say it to someone new (or type it for the umpteenth time) having it confirmed to me that the words coming out of my mouth are true. And that, my friends, brings me never-ending happiness (: So it was a pretty good night there with the Bullock's. Jackline, from Brazil actually (:, was shining a big bright smile the whole night and thanked us for the Spirit we brought with us. She is very spiritually in-tune and it's amazing to experience. I'm really excited to keep working with them!

With Patricia too! She is doing great! I don't remember how much I have told you about her... but she is incredibly sweet. Like.. the sweetest thing ever. haha. She has us over a few times a week and we have a great time. She is insanely intelligent and has more questions than I thought possible. Questions about deep stuff too, nonetheless, because she has been going to church for 7 months straight now. She loves learning everything there is to know! More than I myself even know, so it's been really neat to learn along side her!

Dave and Rena are doing well too!! They both received priesthood blessings and couldn't help but share with us the Spirit that was felt while they were seeing the blessings of the priesthood at work. Rena loves to learn too, and it's neat to see how excited she gets over even the little things! She had a bunch of questions about what it means in the scriptures when it councils to be as little children... I thought this was particularly special because that defines her! Humble, submissive, meek, full of love, willing to submit to the Father, SO ready and willing to learn (: It's neat. Simple as that.

Transfers are coming up already! I can't believe it. I can honestly say it feels like I just got here... and I have a TON more work to do. So I hope I stay (: But of course, wherever I go I'll be more than happy, and I'll let you guys know where I end up as soon as I know (: I don't want to jinx it.. so that's all I'm going to say (: haha

Sister Lee and I are having a bunch of fun and pushing each other to do better every day! I think I have mentioned how open she is? Well, she's helping me learn how to show my feelings rather than being a robot (; haha

Anyways... I don't want to bore you, everything is just so significant to me! haha But hey, just know that I am loving the work and loving the Lord more and more each day (:

Speaking of which... they turned one of my most recent favorite talks into a series of Mormon messages!! Look up Daily Bread: Pattern, Daily Bread: Experience, and Daily Bread: Change (: And if you didn't do it last time (or even if you did!) go read

Well my dearest dears (: I love you all!! And I'm loving life out here in sunny California, because I LOVE seeing the change the gospel brings, to my own life as well as to those around me, and I can't help but SMILE knowing that it's all because it is true (:

xoxo ~ Sister Busenbark (:

P.S. here are some pictures of my dear friends, Sister Nina Nighimofrad and Sister Beverly White!! (: A very very special day. August 31, 2013. This is how I celebrated Berkley's 1st birthday (;


FAMILY AND FRIENDS!! Hi (: How are you? It's been a while since I've heard from all of you. I hope you're doing as well as I am!!
Once again I have very limited time... because of Labor day being yesterday and the library being closed, we got to come today. But not for half as long as we usually get to stay. And so once AGAIN... I apologize. And re-make my promise that next weeks email will be sooo good (; haha (:
But anyways...
This week was awesome!! Ended in Beverly and Nina's baptism (: Sister White and Sister Nighibimofrad! We spent much of the week meeting with them, and preparing for the big day! And it all paid off quite nicely! They were both very prepared themselves, and the day ran rather smoothly! We had such a nice group of people come to support them in their decision to follow Jesus Christ. I am still very impressed with this ward. It was a very special day, thanks to all the help we got (: There was an amazing talk given on Faith... it's the first principle of the gospel, and I've heard about it all my life... and yet I still gained so much! It's incredible how that always happens (: (also, it was on Beverly's birthday!! Which was perfect (: We made her cupcakes and she loves dolphins... so we had fun with that (: she was taught by the elder's a couple weeks before we got here. She says she loves teasing the elders, but she loves us sisters (: she's a doll!)
We went to a member's home to wash are car last week (and this week too, actually) because we needed a DEEP clean in the carpet... we spilt some soup back there, from loving members who sent us home with left overs! And if you want to know what that does in 120 degree weather... well you don't want to know. But if you want to know how to fix it... let the members serve you by letting them borrow you their wet and dry vacuum! haha. Our car... the Lord's car (: ... looks (and smells;) better now than when we got it! So I suppose it was a blessing in desquise? I suppose the reason I share this with you is because a) it is funny b) we are intrusted with great things at the Lord's hand, and it's our responsibility to take care of the things we have stowardship over (cars included, in my case) and c) there is just something special about allowing people to serve you! I will tell you over and over again... service is one of my favorite things to testify of!! Service WILL make you happy, and you WILL be able to FEEL HIS LOVE!!! Because of His Atonement (:
Annnnyways, tonight we are eating dinner at Bishop Brown's house, and he has invited some friends. So it should be really good! We're thinking we're going to talk about family... my favorite topic (: I'm excited to let you know how it goes, next week.
Oh! We watched The Testaments last week. I forgot how great of a movie that is! Very touching. If it's been a while since you've seen it.. watch it for family home evening or something!! There comes such power in knowing that the Lord loves ALL of us, and desired that we ALL get to experience His love and miracles (: AND not to mention the great power in having TWO testimonies of Jesus Christ. And I'll give you a third... He lives!
I found this set of scriptures and just had to share... John 15:10-13... made me think of all of you (:
Have such a great week! I pray you find the peace and joy the gospel brings (: There is seriously no greater thing than that which makes up the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have lived it, I know it, and I love it! And I sincerily wish the same for you (: I LOVE YOU!! Remember that Charity Never Faileth! Because Christ is perfect, and so is His love (:
xoxo ~ Sister Busenbark