Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jan 22-Ice Skating



Dear Family,
We had a good, exhausting week. We drove a lot, so I don't have too much to report on this week. But everything is still going well, and we see the work picking up in small and simple ways every day.

On Tuesday we got to teach one of our new investigators. We taught the Restoration, and while she wasn't very talkative, I could tell she was listening very intently. She is so sweet, I really like her. We saw her at Subway the next day and she told us she was blocking off her work schedule so that she can continue being at those lessons, and that was encouraging. I love teaching the youth, they are just so vibrant and faithful when they gain a testimony that this is true. 

On Friday we had district meeting two hours away, then we went to a doctor's appointment. That ended up taking 3 hours, so we didn't get back to McCall until 7pm that night. Then on Saturday we went down to Emmett to attend this awesome baptism in Sister Smith's old area. Needles to say, we had plenty of car time this week. But that is alright, just comes with being in an area like McCall. Every day, Sister Smith and I remark on how blessed we are to be in this area together. I could not have a better situation for these last months of the mission, I feel so grateful to my Heavenly Father. 

Sorry this is short, but that is all I got for this week! Thank you to everyone who prays for me and writes to me, I am so very appreciate it!

Love,
Sister Jensen 


January 15






Dear Family,

It is so good to get home from a day of missionary work, thoroughly exhausted but satisfied with the service I've done for the Lord and His children. I am still constantly praying for strength beyond my own to carry me through the days; I know I have your prayers as well. And everyday, I am carried through. I am so thankful for that :)

We got a new investigator this week and she is the best. She is friends with a member of the church, who introduced her to us when they came to the church to play basketball.  Our new investigator went to the temple open house, which she really loved.. She is quiet but very intelligent and kind. She has great desire to know and follow her Savior. We taught her the Restoration the very next day at her friend’s house, and it was one of the best Restoration lessons of my mission! She was so open and receptive to the Spirit. As we were teaching, she told us that everything was becoming more clear to her. It was that day that we had a good snowfall. It was such beautiful moment when I got to recite the First Vision as I could see snowflakes gently falling out the window and tears welling up in our investigator’s eyes. We talked quite a bit about the Spirit and how she can receive an answer directly from her Heavenly Father if this message is true or not. She accepted our invitation to be baptized if she does receive that answer. After the lesson, she probably thanked us 5 times for teaching her. We are teaching her again next week and I cannot wait to introduce Heavenly Father's plan to her :)

That same night we got to visit a family that we have been trying to see ever since we got here. It had stormed pretty bad that day then started raining, so the roads were less than ideal but we made it to their home around and I am so glad we did! While we were there, they had a friend that agreed to take the discussions.  We learned that she had even bought a dress already so that she could go to church with her friends.

On Friday we got to watch President Monson's funeral with our district after district meeting, and that was really nice. I loved having him as a prophet, I could always here the Lord's voice whenever he spoke. And I know that isn't specific to President Monson, we live in a wonderful time when there are prophets, seers, and revelators on the earth. I know Heavenly Father will call a new prophet and qualify him as He qualified President Monson. I am so grateful to serve not only as a missionary for this church, but for the Lord :)

Love,
Sister Jensen


God's Country-January 9th






Dear Family,
Sister Smith and I have thoroughly enjoyed another week in God's Country. We count ourselves blessed everyday as we take in the unbelievably beautiful surroundings.

On preparation day we had the time to walk around the little downtown area in McCall, which is situated right next to the lake. We walked out on a dock and took some pictures. I am always slightly frustrated when I take a picture here because it doesn't come close to the reality. We hope to continue exploring McCall on our P-days. 

Our days are mostly open time, but it is amazing how quickly the days pass by. On Tuesday we went out with one of our Relief Society presidents and tried to visit some of the sisters that haven't been contacted at all. On Wednesday, we contacted a potential investigator! Yay! We have been hearing about this investigator who went to the Thanksgiving dinner and was talking to a member about the Book of Mormon. She has really poor eyesight, but wanted to read it and said she would accept a large print copy. We got her address and took one over to her, and she was so nice! She let us come in for a moment and visit with her for a bit. She was so appreciative of the Book of Mormon, but told us that her work schedule is very crazy right now and wouldn't commit to meeting with us right now. But she is a sweet lady, I hope that won't be the last we see of her. 

We had an amazing experience on Thursday. The elders who were here previously had told us about these kids of a member that want to be baptized. On Thursday we were finally able to get a ride to the area where they live and teach them. It is a pretty remote where they live and they only have a branch up there. Sacrament meeting attendance can be as low as 15 people, though they get a lot of visitors that go up there to fish. I have never met kids more prepared to accept the gospel. When we got there one of the kids was sitting on the couch with a Book of Mormon, excited to be taught. We taught about the Restoration, and the dad also participated a little too.  We were on such a spiritual high after our lesson with them, I felt ready to go out and find every prepared soul in our area. 

On Friday we had dinner with a couple that lives in our community. They are the best! They remember the first and last names of all the sisters they have ever had in their home. They are very active in a nondenominational church here in town. However, it is very easy to find common ground with them and we talked a lot about Jesus Christ. We hope to have dinner again with them in the future and enjoy some more uplifting conversation.
On Saturday we went to Cascade, and it was the most beautiful day we've had here. It was blue skies and high 30s all day, I even took off my coat for a few minutes outside. It was especially beautiful because the clouds were low on the mountains and the lake was frosted over, sprinkled with excited ice fishers. Every few minutes Sister Smith and I would exclaim and express awe at the beauty of it all. We took several pictures, though they don't come close to the real thing. While in Cascade, we visited a 90 year old member who let us wash her windows. She sent us off to her neighbor to offer to wash her windows as well, but we were disappointed to not find her home. It was still a fun opportunity to give simple service.

Sunday we were at church from 7:30am to 5pm, and it was a long day. They are starting up mission prep after church and we have been invited to come to that. After that, we got to go over to have dinner with a family and enjoy some delicious roast. We spent Christmas Eve and New Year's with them as well.

Looking back on what I have written, it incredible to see how blessed we are in just one week! Every week we have here is just so precious and packed with small, daily miracles. As we put diligent effort in, we are seeing our area being changed in small in simple ways, and it is so wonderful to witness.

Love,
Sister Jensen 


Christmas and New Year's-Jan 1st





Dear Family,

It has been 2 weeks since I emailed, so it is hard to know where to start! So much has happened and I really cannot remember any of it, but I will do my best to hit the highlights.

Last week we had Christmas zone conference. It was weird to be there thinking about what happened at last Christmas zone conference, and then even stranger to look around and realize that I was the sister that had been out the longest. About half of the mission gathered together, so the few were older sisters were missing. Regardless, it was a fun zone conference. There was a talent show, a white elephant gift exchange, and some good training. I have to say though, the best part was having lunch catered by Costa Vida. I haven't been around anything like that since leaving Meridian in March. It was a good zone conference :)

We were able to catch more people at home on the days leading up to Christmas. It is always good to start getting to know people in your area, you start to feel more settled and more love for the area. One night we were not sure who to visit and so we looked in our area book in the potential investigators section. There was one family we decided to try. We had to park at the bottom of this hill and walk up to their house. Right as we got out of the car this dog started running towards us, but the owner was near by and was able to calm it down. Walking up the hill we joked about how hard it was to get up this single hill, and how tough we had it. It is hard to believe how blessed we are here in this mission with our car, housing, and members. Anyway, we get to this house and we meet this super nice family, and the mom told us that there was a member in our ward who was telling her that there are sisters again and she was going to have us meet her. We had never met this member, so it was cool that we ended up meeting her friend anyway. We are planning on teaching them in the future :)
Another time, we went to visit with some other members. They couldn’t let us inside because a pile of wood was blocking their entrance, so they talked to us outside for about 30 minutes. Finally, at the end of our conversation, they mentioned that they have been helping their neighbor, an older lady. We went over and she was really nice and and we plan to visit her more another day.

Christmas Eve and Christmas were wonderful because the members are so welcoming here! We spent time in a couple of different homes just enjoying their families. I think my favorite parts were playing a board game with an 8 year old and sledding right on the edge of a frozen lake. I just can't think of a more perfect place to spend Christmas.

Usually I am a bit depressed after Christmas because its my favorite holiday and I am just kind of sad when it is over. That was not the case this year because Heavenly Father blessed me with the best post-Christmas sealing. On Friday I had the opportunity to attend a sealing in the Meridian Temple with Sister Shurtleff. A. was sealed to her now husband, J. A. was the very first person I taught that was baptized. A. really didn't need the lessons, she already knew everything was true beforehand, the lessons were really just a formality. But I am not complaining because I love her and it was the best experience to teach her. Her husband, J., was just a friend then and he helped us to teach some of the lessons. Sister Smith and I came down from McCall on Friday morning and we attended the sealing at 1pm. This was the very first sealing I had attended, and it was everything I imagined! A. was so beautiful and seemed to glow with happiness. The Spirit is so strong in that temple, and I felt it in abundance as A. and J. were being married for eternity. And of course it was even better because I was with Sister Shurtleff, or I guess she is Kathryn now, who is one of my favorite companions. Later that evening, Sister Smith and I also got to attend a baptism in Emmett for someone Sister Smith taught. Baptisms are also my favorite thing, so it was really just the best day ever. I have felt so very blessed recently and am doing my best to express gratitude to Heavenly Father for such an outpouring of love. 


Yesterday Sister Smith and I gave talks in one of our wards, and we were the only two speakers. On top of that, it was packed all the way back to the end of the gym with vacationers. The cherry on top was that Elder Erekson, the area authority, decided to show up. It was a bit stressful, but we filled our time and many people came up and talked to us afterwards, so that was good. We went to the same family's home that we spent Christmas Eve with and had a big breakfast for dinner and taught them the Restoration. We couldn't be out driving around, so we came home, drank sparkling cider, and had some deep life talks. That was on New Year's Eve. It is quite unbelievable to me that it is now 2018. It is really scary but also really exciting to think of what the coming year holds for me. Again, I am just so grateful for this chance to serve a mission, I have had more blessings and joy than I could have ever imagined. 

Love,
Sister Jensen 



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Winter Wonderland-Dec 18




Dear Family,

So much has happened and I can't remember any of it. When you shotgun, you learn so much in one day and all the days seem to blur together with the people. But I am loving it here in McCall! It is the most perfect little Christmas town. People are saying that they haven't even gotten real snow yet, so we are holding out for the feet to come. The homes that we have eaten dinner at here are these spacious cabins that are beautifully decorated for Christmas and usually have a warm fire going, it is so great. Most of the members that we have had dinner with have also given us lots of potential investigators to work with, so that is a huge blessing as well.

On Tuesday we had dinner with one of the counselors in the bishopric and they told us about their friends who may be interested in learning more about the church.   These friends have been coming to church and mutual for the past year.  We went by and met them that night. They are such a great family, the older boys were offering us food right away and treating us like friends. The mother is the nicest person, really put together and friendly. We set up an appointment on Friday but it fell through because they had something going on. They are very involved and super busy. But I am super excited to work with them and teach them! 

We have also been trying to visit people that the missionaries have worked with in the past. It is kind of a challenge to have an area so spread out and to have limited miles. On Saturday day we went to Cascade, which is a ward of its own and is about 45 minutes south. We also cover the Riggins branch, which is about an hour north, we are hoping to make it up there this week. We have zone conference this week so we are most likely driving to Middleton, which also takes a lot of the miles we are allotted. I was so used to knowing where everyone was in Middleton, so I could be pretty scarce with our miles. Not here, especially when I don't understand the layout of the town yet. So I am struggling with that and just the other general things of being in a new area of not knowing anybody and missing all those people I was close to in my last area. But I am super blessed to be here and cannot think of a better place to be at Christmas time :)

Love,
Sister Jensen 





McCall-Dec 12




Dear Family,

I am currently sitting in the family history center in McCall, Idaho! It is almost 5 and we are just now getting to emailing because of how crazy this day has been. When I heard the transfer call on Saturday evening I was seriously so shocked. I was sure that I was going to spend these last few transfers somewhere in Nampa or Meridian and that I wouldn't be lucky enough to go out to the La Grande zone again, but here I am! And on top of all of that, I get to be companions with Sister Smith, one of my favorite sisters in the mission, she is so hilarious and I love her! But I didn't think we would ever be companions because I wanted it really bad. It is a huge change, but a good one :) I have been hearing about this little resort town since the beginning of my mission, since my trainer served her for 6 months before she trained me. I didn't think I would ever get to serve here because they put in elders instead of sisters right after I was trained. But here I am! And it is beautiful, it was like driving into a winter wonderland. First, I will backtrack and right about my last week in Middleton :(

The highlight from this last week was, of course, one of our investigators getting baptized! She was so nervous the entire time, but she got all the way under the first time and everything went great! There was good support from the ward and she said that everyone made her feel at home, which is the main goal so that was a relief. It was fun to sit next to Sister Blocker. She has taught people online and helped them get baptized but she has never been to one of her baptisms in the live. She was grinning ear to ear. The Spirit was as special and sweet as it always is. Sister Blocker and I were asked to give the talks. We decided that I would give the Holy Ghost talk, since I have already given a baptism talk before. Well, I totally spaced that and for some reason I thought that I was giving the baptism talk, so I prepared the whole thing and didn't realize my mistake until the night before the baptism. That was a little stressful, but I got it all together and everyone seemed to like our talks. She was confirmed the next day, and we had our last lesson with her last night. We taught the Restoration, and it was just cool to see how hungry she is for the gospel and how ready she is to fully immerse herself in the church. She is a wonderful lady and I am so grateful I have gotten to know and love her!

The last few days in Middleton were so hectic, trying to see everyone and get the area ready to be shotgunned, yet again. Sister Blocker is going back to Temple Square tomorrow, so she won't be in the area either. My curse continues because we are being shotgunned by elders. Literally every single area this has happened and I don't know why. But I have become very good at leaving notes and what not. It was pretty heartbreaking to leave everybody that I have become so close to in the last 6 months. I am so grateful that I got to serve there for 4 transfer and really get to know the people. 

Today, I woke up at 5:30 to get everything ready to go. We ended up running around everywhere before leaving for the transfer spots in Caldwell. We drove to Ontario on the transfer van to get our car and drive to McCall, but the elders were actually not showing up until a couple of hours later, so we ended up driving on the van to the farthest away spot and then coming back when they were there. And that farthest away spot just so happens to be Baker City! I didn't get to see anyone, but if was fun to be there. We came back to Ontario, went shopping, got lunch, bought some winter gear, then went on the two hour drive back to McCall, a drive we have to make once a week for district meeting in Weiser. Like I said before, it was cool to drive out of the foggy, brown valley into the mountains and snow. It is so gorgeous here, just a picturesque little town. And we cover a big area that will be so fun to discover. 



I am super excited about these next two transfers, I can't wait to get to know everyone here and hopefully find some really good people to teach! 


Love,
Sister Jensen 

Light the World with Service-Dec 7

Dear Family,

I feel like it has been forever since I emailed! So much happens in just a few short days when you are a missionary, and sometimes it is hard to remember all of it. I will do my best to hit the highlights.
Last Friday was the first day of Light the World and President Sorensen asked us to do 4 hours of service in the community with our district. We have a sister in the ward whose husband is really involved in the Parks and Recreation department for Middleton, so I decided to contact him and see if there was anything they needed help with on Friday. Luckily, Saturday they were having a showing of the Nutcracker and they needed help setting up on Friday. This may be one of my favorite service opportunities on the mission. We went and set down carpet squares on the gym floor at the community center then set up the chairs. We did quite a bit of cleaning and got to set up the stage a little by taping down wires and fluffing out a Christmas tree. It all reminded me of being in my high school's musicals :) We worked with two people from the department. We noticed that onen of them had the reference Mosiah 2:17 tattooed on his arm, so I asked him if he was a member. He told me that he was and that he has been less active for a while. The person just graduated from high school this year and the community center was her senior project, and now she was basically running and renovating it. We got to share Light the World and she invited us back to help out whenever they needed it. It was an awesome experience.

We did more service on Monday by going to a member’s home and helping decorate for Christmas, it was the best. She actually lives in a finished loft in a barn, and I think it is just the most charming little place. She has a race horse that was home from the races, as well as several other horses. That same night we also got to have dinner and family home evening with a really special family.  We asked if  we could do FHE with her family. Since it is Christmas time, we decided to talk about Samuel the Lamanite and what it was like in the Americas when Christ was born. During our study time we crumpled up tin foil to make "rocks" then the kids took turns being Samuel while we threw the tin foil balls at them. It was quite the hit, they loved it.

This last Tuesday was one of the more interesting days of my mission. We were tracting right before dinner and I experienced the best exchange at the door that I have ever had. So we knock on this door, and this tall ginger guy with gauges opens the door.  We can see that one of the kids in the house is giving us this death stare from the window.  He tells us he is not interested in learning more about the gospel, but he was in awe that we were outside in the dark and cold knocking on people's doors. He starts asking us all sort of questions about what we do, and at one point just exclaims, "Where do you come from?!" and kept on saying, "Its cold! Why are you in a dress!!?" He was really funny and we had a good conversation, but since he wasn't interested we moved onto the next door. That girl wasn't interested and as we were leaving her house we see the guy from the first house, standing outside, and he yells over to us, asking how it went. We tell him that she wasn't interested, and he tells us that his daughter is interested. It turns out that she just asked him what we were doing, so we walked back over and talked to her for a bit. We asked again if we could teach the family and he said no, so we moved on. We are a ways down the street when a pizza delivery car comes and gives him his pizza he was waiting for. He yells over to us, asking if we want any pizza. We debated, but ultimately decided to go over and eat some of his pizza. He invited us in, but his wife wasn't there so we couldn't. We ended up just eating a piece of his cheese pizza on his doorstep. It was so bizarre but also wonderful at the same time. We kept on saying, "Let us teach your family!" and he kept saying "No!" It was quite sad, because Sister Blocker and I just want bless his family with the gospel. But I guess it isn't his time, but we were so blessed to meet him. I wish I could give full justice to this experience, it was really the most hilarious thing I have experienced here  in Idaho. That same night, we had dinner with the member family. The husband is an avid hunter, so for our last dinner he fed us a mountain lion. It was fine, it tasted a lot like pork. We were both excited to have it. I think he was surprised when we ate it like it was nothing. I love their family and am really going to miss having dinner with them.  After dinner, we went to see one of our investigators. She has been having trouble with her shoulders and arms. She told us the day before that she can't wash her hair because it hurts too bad, so we volunteered to help her. She just leaned over her kitchen sink and we washed it. She was so incredibly grateful, and it felt good to serve her like that.
  
We were so busy yesterday, it was wonderful!  We had district meeting first then a lesson with one of our investigators. She is getting interviewed this morning and baptized on Saturday, if all goes well. She is extremely excited to make this commitment in her life. Then, we had companion study to plan for a lesson with another one of our investigators, and after that we went to Nampa for Sister Blocker's departing interview with President Sorensen. After that was done, we went back over to Middleton for dinner, then from dinner we went to our lesson with an investigator.  We invited some young men and they took him to mutual after our lesson, he also made a firm commitment to come to church, I really hope that this is the beginning of him progressing. We had to run to mutual ourselves after that because the Priests in 8th ward asked us to come talk about our missions. They gave us the whole hour, and we really hadn't prepared anything. I think one difference between me before the mission and me now, is that I can now easily fill time teaching and talking about the gospel. We read some of the My Purpose as a Missionary chapter and just talked about stories in our missions that related. We also had one of the leaders tell his conversion story. We easily filled time and had a good time with the boys. After that, we went to see a member we have been working with the whole time I have been here. She has started coming to church more frequently and is interested in receiving the lessons from us. She is leaving for a cruise tomorrow, so we said our goodbyes. And that took us to 9pm, it was a full day! 

Well, Sister Blocker is flying back to Salt Lake next Wednesday, and Monday is our last day in the area. I don't know for sure if I am being transferred, but President did tell me to expect a change. He rarely keeps people in one area longer than 4 transfers. I have loved being here in Middleton with Sister Blocker. These past few weeks we have been laughing almost constantly. I am really going to miss being companions with her. I think that is about all for now, I love you all so much!

Love,
Sister Jensen