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.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Happy General Conference!

My new companion!

Dear Family,

Conference was basically Christmas. I love conference time because you feel such a sense of unity with the saints all over the world. I am so grateful to be a part of the Lord's kingdom one the earth. And I am so very grateful for our wonderful leaders and the divinely inspired counsel that they give us. 

We started teaching new investigators on Monday! A sister in our ward invited her friends to take the missionary lessons. They are both probably in their early 60s. We taught them the restoration and it was pretty well received. This lesson was just a reminder to me of how important the members are in missionary work.  It really does create the ideal situation for someone to learn about the church. I just love the members here in Middleton! 
The other day we were tracting the street that our dinner appointment was on. We had to go to the member's home for dinner before we finished, but we decided after dinner was over to knock on the last couple of houses. I knew there was a member that doesn’t come much in one of the houses, but I forgot to check and see which house he lived in. We ended up knocking on his door he told us that he is a member. I realized who he was and we started visiting with him at the door. He expressed a desire to be active in the church again, and said that it was kind of funny that we had stopped by, as he was just sitting and thinking about returning to the church. We asked if he wanted to take the missionary lessons as a refresher and he agreed. We said a prayer with him at the door, and I was just so grateful to be an instrument in the Lord's hand. Like President Monson always says, there is nothing more sweet then to follow where the Spirit leads and be the answer to someone else's prayer. 

Throughout this week we were really trying hard to set up times to watch conference with investigators and members.  Sunday morning was really fun because we watched it with one of our investigator. She made us biscuits and gravy and hot chocolate. Sunday afternoon we went to the member's house where we were having dinner. They have a big projector so we watched it on that and had some Idaho potatoes and ham for dinner. We are treated quite well here in Middleton. 

On Wednesday we have a meeting with all of the sisters about the temple open house. We are having it at the new building next to the temple, so I am really hoping that they will give us a tour. President Sorensen did say in my interview last week that they have some surprises for us :) The open house officially starts on the 21st, but there are VIP tours before that, so our first day at the temple with be next Monday, the 9th. We will also be there on Tuesday and Saturday that week. Which means that I won't have p-day on Monday, we will have it on another day that week that we are not sure of yet. I am bursting with excitement, I have been waiting for this open house since the day I got my call and now it is finally here! 
Thanks everyone for the support you give! I truly am so blessed. 
Sister Jensen 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Temple Square Missionary

Dear Family,

I have had quite the week! Sister Campbell and I were together until Wednesday, bouncing between Nampa and Middleton to get everything ready for our new companions. Missionaries always talk about miracles happening on exchanges, and we had a few of our own. First, we got a referral from some elders in Caldwell for a woman who is going through a really hard time right now. We stopped by her home and met her grandma and aunt, who also live there. We were not able to find the woman we were looking for, but got to talk with the aunt. She has a really good LDS friend in the ward that she works on family history with.  

The other cool thing that happened was when we visited some members to ask about their neighbors only the wife was home, but we were able to figure out that her and her husband served a mission in the Palmyra temple, where Sister Campbell is from. Siser Campbell worked in a gas station near the temple, and the husband would come to the gas station all the time to say hi to her and buy her donuts. Just one of those crazy connections that really remind you how small the world really is.

On Wednesday, we went to district meeting then picked up our companions around 12. President and Sister Sorensen took us all out to lunch at Cafe Zupas and then we came back to the office where he assigned us our companions. My companion is Sister Blocker and she is from Dallas, Texas. She entered the MTC a week before me and left a week after. It is a welcome change to be companions with someone who has been out the same amount of time, I am really enjoying it. 

We had our baptism on Saturday! Our ten year old investigator got baptized on the 23rd. He was just beaming the whole time, and he had some pretty happy parents and grandparents. There were many sister missionaries there that had taught him over the past year, so it was really fun to see all of them. He is a really special kid, and it is cool to see how the children in a family promote and encourage their parents to be better disciples of Christ. 

Women's conference was really amazing on Saturday, and I felt like I needed to hear so many things that were said there. I felt like I kept on hearing over and over again to remember who we are, that we are sons and daughters of the most High. We have a divine nature and potential, every single one of us. I feel like I sometimes forget this, especially when I am being really hard on myself and comparing myself to other missionaries. But that is a tool of the adversary, who wants us to forget how special we are. So I am learning more about putting my trust in the Lord, and relying on Him rather than myself. I just love this gospel so much, I know that this is the Christ's restored church on the earth today. And I know that Heavenly Father does have a plan for us to be happy. 

Sister Jensen  

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Companion

Wearing lavalava in our new apartment.

Dear Family,

I am going to break my three month streak! I finally get to stay in an area for longer than 2 transfers. We got our transfer calls on Saturday morning and they were pretty surprising. If there is one thing I can count on about transfers is that I never see what's coming. First off, Sister Tukumoeatu is going to Meridian and she is going to train! I am super excited for her and know she will do an amazing job. I am staying and my new companion will be a temple square missionary! There are only two of them coming to the mission, and I think they will be helping out a ton with the open house, giving us trainings and what not. They are not coming in until Wednesday, so I will be companions with Sister Campbell, who is getting the other temple square missionary. I love Sister Campbell, she is from Rochester, New York and has the most beautiful singing voice. I told her at zone conference that we were going to be companions one day and look what happened. I am so excited about being with a sister from temple square! I honestly just can't wait to ask her tons of questions, like if they travel through the underground tunnels and how many general authorities she has met. I would never have guessed that this would happen, along with all of the other changes I have been through on my mission. 

I don't have much to report since I just emailed on Thursday. Our move on Friday went really well. The four other elders in Middleton helped, which was really awesome because our apartment is upstairs. It is probably the nicest place I have lived in on my mission. We have two bedrooms and one bathroom, and we have a washer and dryer in the bathroom. The kitchen is nice and spacious. And I just love living with another set of sisters, it is really fun. 
We had stake conference yesterday and is was good as always. President Sorensen spoke about conversion, and related the story of Peter and the process of his conversion. It is pretty incredible that Peter was in the presence of the Savior, witnessed His miracles and teachings, and still wasn't converted. He had a testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, but wasn't always true to that testimony at first. But, after denying the Savior, feeling that intense sorrow, then being taught by the resurrected Savior about being a true disciple, Peter became converted. He moved mountains and shaped history. All of us need to go through our own process of conversion, laying our broken heart and contrite spirit on the alter of sacrifice in order that Heavenly Father may shape us into the person He knows we can become. I love this scripture that I read this morning: 
"I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will." Words of Mormon 1:7
I am so grateful to be here in Middleton, doing the will of the Father. 

Sister Jensen 

Baptism and Homecoming

Beautiful Idaho Sky

Dear Family,

Change is coming! Time on the mission really is so strange. I feel like I was just called as a trainer, given the challenge of a new area. But now it has almost been three months and we find out on Saturday if one of us is leaving. I am hoping to break my trend of only being in an area for three months, but we will see what Heavenly Father has in mind! 

We had the most wonderful baptism on Saturday.  Our investigators are really special people and I feel so grateful that we have been able to play a small, small part in their journey. That is what I love about missionary work. Ultimately this is all the Lord's work, but He is willing to let us help because He knows that is what will allow us to become more like Him. Heavenly Father really is so good. As they were being baptized, I had that familiar burning in my heart, felt at every baptism. It was also great to see the support from the ward, we definitely should have held the service in the Chapel. It was funny because we had the baptism in the evening, and it happened to be the same evening as homecoming. So there were a big group of homecoming goers that showed up to the baptism before going to the dance. I have just loved working with and seeing the youth so excited in this process. I am also very excited for these new members and this new life they are beginning, and I know that it already has brought them so much happiness.

The baptism was definitely the highlight or this past week. Other than that we have been busy visiting families and getting the members excited about inviting people to the open house. We finally made contact with a family whose son is 13 and not baptized yet. We had a great talk with them and the son told us that he really wants to be baptized, so we are going to teach them the first lesson tomorrow. And yesterday we had zone conference, and we focused on planning on finding new people to teach. That really is the hardest thing about missionary work, is finding. We have many, many hours open that could be used in teaching if we can just find the people. For me, I have learned that it is all about having faith that Heavenly Father is preparing people for us to teach, and then doing everything within our power to find those people. As we do that, Heavenly Father will bless us. There is so much I can improve on, and I know that I can't become the missionary Heavenly Father knows I can be unless I rely on Him. I love this gospel, I know that it has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Savior stands by us as we testify that He lives and that He loves us.

Sister Jensen  

Monday, September 4, 2017

A visit to Baker City

Dear Family,

We have had just another wonderful week here in Middleton. I feel like I don't have any major updates, so this might be shorter than my usual email. We did have good things happen though. We met with new investigators that the sisters started teaching a year ago. A couple in our ward have befriended these people and we have started to teach them again.  We went on Wednesday night and told them about the temple. We also asked them if they want to take the lessons again and they said yes! So we are looking forward to that this week. 

We also taught C. again. We taught him more about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He was really interested by the Book of Mormon and said that he would try to read it. I have been thinking a lot lately about the power of the Book of Mormon. I have heard so many people talk about their conversion story and the Book of Mormon's key role in that conversion. I know that if someone with real intent and faith in Christ reads that book, they will receive a witness from the Spirit that it is the word of God. On the other hand, when people I have taught don't read the Book of Mormon, they don't feel that Spirit and don't find answers to their prayers, and it is really hard for them to progress. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it works together with the Bible, they go hand in hand to accomplish the purposes of Heavenly Father in bringing His children back to Him.

The highlight of this week was returning to Baker City for a baptism! I taught E. when I was there. E. has other members of her family that have already joined the church.  It was really cool because I got to see their family start coming back to church when I was there. And E.'s dad actually got to baptize her, which was really special. I love, love, love the Spirit that is always present at baptisms. It is always a confirmation to me that this is the Lord's work that we are participating in a work that is more important than we can comprehend. I love this gospel and I love my Savior.

Sister Jensen