Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Family,

The first week back to "normal" missionary work was not quite as normal as I expected it to be. But it has been nice to be back in the area full time and see more people as well as trying to find more people to teach. 

On Tuesday we had to go to Nampa to get new tags on our license plates. We also had to take our car to the dealership because our audio system is broken. During the time while we were waiting, we got to talk to a member from Boise who is getting ready to send her daughter out on a mission. After we got back from Nampa the rest of our day was filled with teaching all the recent converts in our area. 

Wednesday was probably one of the craziest and weirdest days of my mission. We had district meeting in the morning. Then we went to Nampa again to meet the Sister Training Leader and her companion so that we could do exchanges. I was going to stay with Sister Ramirez for the day, and as we started to drive towards Middleton I realized that I didn't get the phone from Sister Blocker. We drove to Sister Ramirez's house because she thought they would go there first, but they didn't. We then went to a member's house to use their phone to call the other sisters, and then we waited for them to come and give us the phone. Finally, we were able to go to Middleton and start working. We had a visit with a member, dinner with one of my favorite couples, a lesson with another family, and then we tried to visit another family. To backtrack a little bit, we had gotten all these delicious iced cupcakes and brownies from our dinner appointment that were just sitting in this open box. I set them on the floor in the back, which is where I usually set my purse. Well, after the lesson we had I totally threw my purse on top of all those cupcakes and brownies. As we got out of the car for our next appointment, I pick up my purse to find two or three cupcakes sticking to the bottom of it. I threw my keys on the back seat and start laughing as I wipe off the icing with some tissues. I closed the door and used the lock button on inside of my door to lock the car, something I do often because the battery in our key fob is broken. The family we were going to visit was busy, so we come back to the car and I realize my massive blunder. Both the phone and the keys were locked in the car! I don't think I had ever felt more stupid in my life. It was dark and raining as we walked a street over to a member's house where we made a few calls. We were lucky to catch them because they were just on their way out. It was almost 8 so we decided to let the member take us home. Luckily, the other sisters that we live with were home because one of them was sick, so we were able to get into the house instead of waiting until 9. The next morning, the vehicle coordinator was able to find an extra key to our car, another blessing since only about half of the cars have duplicates. They drove over to Nampa, picked us up, and we got our car back by 10am. Considering all of the circumstances, we were very blessed in all aspects of the situation. And Sister Ramirez and I got some good laughs out of the whole thing. 

Throughout this week we worked a lot with two of our investigators, A. and S. We went several evenings this week and read with S. and her in-laws. It has been a wonderful experience, immersing ourselves in the Book of Mormon with them. She has really enjoyed reading in 1 Nephi and I have been quite impressed by her understanding and how well she gets it when we read together.  I love the Book of Mormon and the power that it has to bring the Spirit and change our hearts. 

On Saturday we were able to go to the Stake Center and watch the broadcast of the Youth Cultural Celebration. It was a wonderful production, and it even made me miss being in the youth program, but just a little. They did lots of dances on the history of Idaho, everything from pioneers to rodeos and railroads to irrigation. They even did a song about family history that started out old fashioned and then turned into a rap. Then we had the dedication yesterday. We went to the 9am session because it was the only one that had the cornerstone ceremony. President Uchtdorf was his usually funny self, when they were outside it was really cold. He said to all the people out that that when you wanted to make something last forever you put it in the refrigerator, so the all of them were going to stay young and the temple would last forever. Everyone got a good laugh out of that one. All of the talks given in the Celestial Room were wonderful; I think my favorite was the Matron's talk. She talked about the possibility of seeing the Savior in this life, which at first made her nervous. She then asked one of her grandsons what he would do if they told him that Jesus was waiting in the Bishop's office and wanted to see him. The grandson said he would run very, very fast because he really, really, wanted to see Jesus. She then said that we should all work to have this attitude and desire in our lives. It was a beautiful dedication and I am excited to go to the temple, hopefully soon. 

It was a good week and I am looking forward to another here in Zion! I have been so richly blessed in this area and will be heartbroken to leave it. Thankfully, I still have time left to see many more miracles :)

Sister Jensen 

Meridian Temple Open House Week 4

Dear Family,

The temple open house is over and I am so sad! I have been looking forward to it for more than a year and it is funny how quickly it has come and gone. But I hope that during this remaining time of my mission, I can continue to see many miracles as a result of this beautiful temple. 

Last Monday we taught one of our investigators (S.) again. The week previous we had asked her if she would like to be baptized on December 9th, but she wasn't quite ready to say yes to a date yet. Well, we got to the member's house where we usually have the lessons and waited for S. to get there. That is when the member tells us that S. is telling everyone that she is indeed being baptized on December 9th. We were pretty surprised!  While she still has some concerns, I think she is excited to take this step. We also went over to her home on Saturday and read the Book of Mormon with her and her in-laws. Her in-laws are just the sweetest couple. We read the first and second chapters in the Book of Mormon with S. and she really enjoyed it. She felt the Spirit, and it just reminded me of the power of the Book of Mormon in this work. Please pray for S. and that her baptism date of December 9th will go well. :)
On Tuesday we had zone conference and they showed the new Light the World video to us. It is so crazy to me that it is almost Christmastime again. And that Thanksgiving is next week. Where has the time gone??? I am excited for the Christmas initiative and hope that we can use it to serve many people, especially by sharing the gospel with them. After zone conference we had our second l
esson with another investigator (K.) and we taught her the Plan of Salvation. Again, the friends that she invited did an awesome job of sharing their testimonies of Heavenly Father's plan for us. We invited her to be baptized, and her response was positive.

Another one of our investigators, A., is planning on moving soon to another town. We went over on Wednesday and helped her paint some of her walls, She was pretty grateful! I think painting is one of my favorite service opportunities, it is just so satisfying to paint a room. After painting, we headed over to the temple for the evening and we were there for the next two days. 

On Thursday I had some of my favorite miracles. I was in the tent really hoping and praying that I could talk to someone who was really touched by the open house. Well, I approached these two ladies, one of them was a member and the other wasn't. I asked the nonmember lady how the temple was and if she had any questions. She said that temple was so wonderful, and her head was still spinning that she couldn't think of any questions at the moment. After we talked for a few minutes about some of her previous religious experiences, I was so grateful for the opportunity that I had to testify of the Restoration. I told her that after the Apostles died, people did change what Jesus had taught and that the true gospel was lost from the earth, but that God reached out when the time was right to call a prophet to restore the church. Her eyes were wide as she nodded in agreement. I asked if she would like a Book of Mormon and she said, "Of course!" I ran to grab one, then came back and told her about this precious book. She was so excited, she said she was going to read it that night. When she asked me my name she said that she would never forget me. I was pretty much on cloud 9 after that, when I felt a tap on my shoulder and turn around to hug a sister in one of our wards. She was with her husband.  They raved to me about how wonderful the temple was, and their desire to get sealed as a family. It was cool to see how plainly their hearts had changed by entering the temple. I am so grateful for these miracles that Heavenly Father blessed me with. 

On Friday I got to see Sister Shurtleff, my trainer! She came through in the morning and luckily I was in the tent and we got to visit for a little bit. I miss her tons and am excited to spend time with her when we are both living in Utah. The only other highlight that I can think of from that day was when someone asked us to come answer questions for a friend they brought through. She is visiting from Australia, so she had this super fun accent. All of her questions were about missions, and what it is like to serve a mission. She was very inquisitive, she just had one question after another. I was glad to meet her.
Then Saturday was the last day. And the major miracle of the day was seeing the Wood family, my recent converts from Baker City! They were volunteering at the temple in the morning and afternoon and actually left right when we got there. But there was another member from Baker that had their phone number, so we called them and they turned around so they could see Sister Moa-Sam Fong and I (she was also there at the temple that day). We had to run all around the parking lot before we finally had our happy little reunion with them. They loved the temple and are looking forward to getting sealed. Missionary work brings so much joy :)

The very end of the evening was not as busy, so the sisters got to take a more extensive tour. They took us to the Bride's room and we got to see the place where the children wait when their family gets sealed. We also got the chance to sit in the some of the sealing rooms for a while. It was just special and wonderful and one of those times where you wish everything would stop and stay that way forever. But we eventually left and had to end our time at the temple open house. Now we get to look forward to President Uchtdorf and Elder Christofferson coming to do the dedication, then we get to go inside and hopefully do a session soon. And like I said earlier, I hope to see many fruits from the labor at this beautiful temple. I am grateful for this specific time that I get to serve a mission. I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. 

Sister Jensen 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Meridian Temple Open House Week 3

Dear Family,
The hardest part of writing these emails is always coming up with the first sentence. The week was great! It is pretty sad because we only have one more week of open house. I will miss the daily little miracles that come from the temple, but I guess that means I just have to look for them more in here, in our little part of the vineyard. 
Last week we taught our newlywed investigator again. We watched the Restoration video, which she really enjoyed. When we asked her if she believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet she told us that she does. We invited her to be baptized, and while she does have a desire to be baptized, she is not ready to commit to a day yet. On Thursday morning we went through the temple with her, which was a neat experience. At one point, she was walking in front of me and I could picture her returning to the temple, dressed in all white. She told us that she could picture herself returning as well.

We also got to teach a new investigator for the first time.  Four of her friends came, so we were really able to have a great discussion about the restoration of the gospel. Since being here in Middleton, I have been so impressed by the youth and how strong their testimonies are. We first got to experience it with a young man as his friends came to the lesson and helped teach him the gospel. And now we get to do it again! This young woman seemed to understand everything we taught and was quite accepting. We are excited to go tomorrow and teach her about the Plan of Salvation. 

The rest of the week we seemed to be at the temple. I got to talk to a man from Taiwan who lives in the Boise area now. He likes to going to all of the open houses in the area, even though he is not a member. We had a really nice conversation, and it reminded me of being home in Japan. I also got to see Corrie and her family, some of my favorite members from Baker City.  It was wonderful to see them and catch up a little bit. It was interesting that every person that I talked to at the open house always commented on how they felt peace in the temple. They felt God's presence, especially in the Celestial Room. And while many are not interested in accepting the invitation to learn more right now, things will happen in their lives where they will desire to feel that peace again, and they will remember being in the temple and they will know where to come. And I am so grateful to have a little part in that.

Sister Jensen 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Meridian Temple Open House Week 2

Dear Family,

I am staying in Middleton for another transfer! I was quite surprised, along with everyone else in my district. We thought for sure that I was going. But I do get to stay for a whole 6 months! I am so glad to stay, though it could mean that they will shotgun (bring in two new missionaries at once) our area again since Sister Blocker is for certain leaving after this transfer for Temple Square, and I doubt that they will keep me or another transfer. And so continues the trend of being shotgunned out of every area. That's alright though, I am so happy to be here and continue teaching these sons and daughters of God. 

Of course, we continue to be richly blessed at the temple open house. I have been thinking lately about what a great opportunity this is. People not of our faith great this opportunity to see a house of the Lord, to feel the beautiful feeling that is present there. They get to learn about Heavenly Father's perfect plan for us and our families to return home to Him. And after having this experience, we get to talk to them and answer their questions. I am so grateful that I was called to this mission at this time. 

I got to see a couple of sisters that have gone home in the past year, including my old companion Sister Eckery and one of my Sister Training Leaders. It was so fun to see them at the temple, but a little strange to see them not as missionaries. The biggest tender mercy was seeing the first person I helped teach that was baptized on my mission. I was just sitting in a video room, waiting for the next group to come in when I heard someone say my name. I looked up and saw her and her fiancee. I was so happy! They are getting married in December in the Meridian temple. Other than that, the other experiences I have had the past couple of days have been small but precious. I love hearing people talk about the peace they feel in the temple. One lady just commented to me that she knew that it was all about the Savior as she looked at the beautiful artwork and had this feeling in her heart. It was her first time having any sort of experience with the church. I am so excited to still have two weeks left to witness these miracles.

As far as work in our area, we had another lesson with our newlywed investigator and she is still working on reading the Book of Mormon and praying. We have a lesson with her tonight. Our lesson with the foreign exchange student is tomorrow afternoon, and we are very excited to teach her.

I am sorry this one is short, since I just emailed on Wednesday there isn't a lot to talk about. I am happy to be working at the temple and excited for another transfer in Middleton!

Sister Jensen  

They took a ton of pictures at our last zone conference, enjoy!

Meridian Temple Open House-Week 1

Dear Family,

I am so grateful for the many miracles I have been blessed to witness over this past week. This open house is truly a choice experience that puts many in our path who are being prepared. 

Since I wrote last we have taught our investigator that recently got married. The big miracle here is that her new husband also came to the lesson and that really helped. We talked about where she is at with everything that we have taught her. We focused our lesson on asking and receiving answers from God, so we read with her from Joseph Smith history. I love reading this because investigators can usually relate to Joseph's search for truth amidst chaos. And the Spirit always fills the room when we read the account of Joseph seeing the Father and the Son. We talked with her about what it means to be a member of the church. Her friend that was with us during the lesson also talked about the possibility of them going to the temple and being sealed for eternity. This brought tears to her eyes.  Her husband also told us how everything seems to be going better with them since she started meeting with us, and how he feels they really do need to come to church. They are just really sweet, humble people and I love them. 

Saturday was the beginning of the general open house and it was packed. My favorite person that I talked to all day was fifty year old man. He came up to me and another sister and asked if we were the ones answering questions. He then asked us about how exactly we do baptisms for the dead. Once that made sense to him, we also explained how we also do sealings for our ancestors so that those have passed on can also be with their families forever. He didn't want missionaries to come and teach him, but he did ask for a Book of Mormon. 

We were on our normal schedule on Sunday, and we had a huge miracle! A couple of weeks ago we ate with a family that has a foreign exchange student, I think she is a junior or senior.  She has been coming to church with them for the past couple of weeks, and this last Sunday there was no teacher in their Sunday school class. The other youth in her class, being the amazing missionaries that they are, asked her if she had any questions. She did have tons of questions and after talking about them, they asked her if she wanted to meet with us and she said yes. We talked to her after church and set up a time next week to teach her the first lesson. She even asked if we could make it a group discussion by inviting the other kids in her class, which we readily agreed to. The Lord is always preparing people, and it is amazing to see them brought to you. 

We have been at the temple all day Monday and Tuesday, and I am pretty wiped out. But again, so many miracles. I will start with my favorite. Earlier this year, I had the chance to go to a Christian school and help give a presentation about the church to a comparative religions class. It was a really awesome experience, especially because of the teacher. He was really open-minded, he even came to our ward to see what a church service was like. He also told us that he was just sticking to sources put out by the church which really amazed me. Well, I was in the reception tent, when a group of teenagers came through. They really looked like a seminary class. Once I start talking to them, I find out that none of them are members and that they are all in this comparative religions class at Christian school. They asked me a ton of questions, then their teacher came out from the tour and he remembered me. He took his class out of school because he just didn't want them to miss this experience. They hadn't done the unit on the LDS church yet because this was different class. It was just such a tender mercy because I was only scheduled to be in that tent in an hour, and tours go through so quickly that it is easy to miss people. God really is orchestrating this whole thing for people to meet who they need to. I also ran into a man from Bellefontaine, Ohio. I had a couple from Okinawa come through my video room that are now stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base. I ran into some parents of a family that we lived with in Okinawa. I also was in the video room that a YSA ward that I served in when I was in Meridian came through, and I got to see some people I was close within that ward. It is humbling, all that the Lord has blessed me with. 

Sister Jensen   

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A wedding, a 5K and the Meridian Temple Open House

Dear Family,

I am sorry that I won't have as much to report on, since I just emailed on Wednesday. But I do have several happy things to talk about so no worries. 
We had another lesson on Wednesday with one of our investigators. We received the happy news that her and her boyfriend of 26 years were married that day! We were very happy and excited for her! We read 3 Nephi 11 with her that night, but before we did we watched a short video called "My Joy is Full".  I think it is just a beautiful portrayal of the Savior ministering to the inhabitants of America, His other sheep. She seemed to think so too as she shed a few tears. I was happy that we could help her feel the Spirit. On Friday was her reception and that was fun to attend for a little bit. Then yesterday, she came to church! It was the primary program, so that was perfect. We hope and pray that she will feel comfortable enough to attend next week too. We have another lesson with her tonight.

On Friday we had our zone conference, and it was unlike any zone conference I have been too. They told us sometime in the summer that we would be doing a 5K in October, and that is what we did. They split the mission in half, and we did ours on Friday. I was just planning on walking it, because I was too lazy to train for it. I ended up walking with Sister Smith, the sister that Sister Moa-Sam Fong trained. She is really funny, I love her. Anyway, somehow we motivated each other to run for parts of it. They had us do 6 figure eights around the stake center, and we decided to run for the last one. We did the whole thing in about 45 minutes. Many of the elders showed up in all sorts of onsies. Elder Wheeler, my MTC buddy, came in an inflatable dinosaur costume. After the race we had lunch then went into the gym to do minute to win it sort of games. We did a brainteasers, we knocked over water bottles with tights and tennis balls on our heads, we did the cookie on the face thing, and we even played corn hole, which I scored a couple of points in, surprisingly. It was a super fun zone conference. Also, we did have a training at the very beginning. President Sorensen talked to us about the Book of Mormon, since it was a major topic at conference. He challenged us all to read the Book of Mormon in three months with a question or topic in mind. In the front of my fresh copy of the Book of Mormon I wrote this:

Matthew 10:39 
She that findeth her life shall lose it: and she that loseth her life for my sake shall find it. 
How can I lose myself in service to Heavenly Father?
So that is the scripture and question that I will be pondering as I read the Book of Mormon once again. 

Saturday was spent at the temple open house. The three days I have been there were really slow, since it actually hasn't started yet. They have just been doing tours for the members and other VIP tours. But there were several people who just saw that something was happening in the temple and came to check it out, and they end up just walking in to take a tour. Several of them have been neighbors of other faiths, so that has been fun and a good preview of what is to come. One couple came through and watched the video, and we found out they were not members when the husband asked if there was coffee at the end. They were very friendly and I enjoyed talking to them. Later, I heard a tour guide mention that she took them through the temple, and the wife just kept on turning to her and telling her how peaceful it was. At the end of the day we were scheduled to be at the reception tent at the end of the tour. I was a little sad about this because then we couldn't jump onto the last tour like we could if we were in the video room. However, when we were in the tent, a set of sisters came out of a tour, and told us how they had been in the video room, but due to the lack of people they closed it and told the sisters that they could go on a tour. They then asked if they wanted to take our place in the tent so we could go on a tour, and we said yes, of course. So we just walked to the front of the temple, and they let us go in and wait for the next tour to come. We had to wait about 10 minutes, so we just sat by the recommend desk and enjoyed the peace of the temple. Then we took another tour, which was wonderful. I am so very grateful to be serving a mission here at this time. And I am so excited for this Saturday, for the open house to officially begin :) 

Sister Jensen 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Meridian Idaho Temple

Dear Family,

Since it has been longer than usual, I am not completely sure what happened this past week! Last week we got some really good news from one of our investigators. She is finally getting some of her health concerns taken care of and definitely wants to get baptized before she has some medical procedures done!  She has been meeting with the sisters for about a year, so this was a very happy development. Earlier that same day we had our meeting at the chapel next to the temple and they did indeed give us all a tour. I was sitting in front of Sister Campbell, who is notorious for her intense love of the temple. When President Sorensen announced at the very end that we would get to go through the temple, I turned around to see her teary eyed. Such a sweet moment to go into the house of the Lord with all these wonderful sisters from the Nampa and Boise mission. 

On Saturday we went and did service at a nursing home with our district.  We went to a living room type place with the few residents and had blast with them. One lady used to be a singer, and they say she sang at Carnegie Hall. She is deaf now, so we had to write what we wanted to tell her on a doodle board. But she would practically yell when she responded, in a sing song sort of way. She kept on asking us what makes us happy and what we do to make other people happy. She encouraged us several times to sing, and even got us up to dance. It was quite fun :) 

We didn't have to report to the temple until 4 on Monday, so we also served a lady we met about 2 weeks ago. She is older and has some memory problems.  I think she is rather lonely and enjoys us coming. She goes to a different church very regularly, but it still kind enough to let us come help her. After that we were able to stop in and say hello to another couple. We had a wonderful visit with them.  The husband was in Okinawa in the 50s and the 70s, so we had a fun time talking about that. Then it was off to the temple! We got there and they had our dinner scheduled first, so we had sack lunches at our little area on the stage. A different stake is taking care of our meals every day. The rest of the night we spent in the chapel showing the video that the people watch before going to the temple. Right now they are just letting a few people go through, and there just aren't very many. It was a little slow at times so I started reading the New Testament and memorizing the Living Christ, while Sister Blocker was busy drawing. She is quite gifted. Towards the end of the night, around 8, I asked if we could join in the last tour. They ended up just giving all the sisters in the chapel a tour of our own, which was very nice of them. 
Yesterday, we were at the chapel by the temple at 11 for lunch. We were in a video room for 3 hours. A few members and their families from our assigned congregations came, so it was fun to meet them and their friends. Then we got to go to the reception tent for a couple of hours before dinner. That is where everyone comes out of the tour, and I enjoyed being there and talking to people. I asked three different kids what their favorite thing about the temple was and they all said the stairs. I also talked to this other 11 year old girl who was with her grandparents and cousins. She told me that her parents won't let her be baptized until she is 18, but that she really wants to be. I was happy for her to have such a wonderful experience at the temple that will strengthen her resolve to choose the right. After dinner, we spent the rest of the night in a video room. This time they just let us jump in on the last tour, which we were grateful for. I think I will just go through the temple as many times as I possibly can. It is such a sacred and beautiful building, I know that it is the house of the Lord. 

Sister Jensen

 This is us at the temple Monday night, our battery died and they couldn't even jump it :( Thankfully some sisters that live close to us have a van so they took us all home, and the car was fixed the next day.