Saturday, February 3, 2018

Winter Carnival



Dear Family,

Whenever someone asks Sister Smith and me what we have been up to lately, the answer that immediately pops into my head is always, "Driving!" I have never driven so much in my life, we probably average around 100 miles of driving every day. Some days it is around 250 because of our district meeting in Weiser. All of this driving time does give us plenty of time to ponder and talk about everything, and we get to appreciate all of the beautiful surroundings, so I will try not to complain too much :)

On Monday night we had another lesson with the one of our investigator families. They are a super busy family and we have been trying to meet with them for a while, and we finally had a lesson last week. We addressed some of their concerns and just talked about the lessons. This last Monday we were miraculously able to meet again and teach them the Restoration. It was the first time they had heard it, so it was really fun to teach them and see some things click in their brains. They are such a great family, the type of people that you just know will be a huge blessing to the church.

Last Sunday we did a fast for another one of our investigators. We did this mostly because we just forgot to fast at the beginning of the month, but we really were concerned about her. We taught her the first lesson and she is just so golden but she cancelled our lesson last week. So we fasted that she could continue meeting with us. We texted her on Tuesday to see if there was another time we could meet with her, and she responded saying that she thought we were meeting that day, and so we did! We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she was again just so receptive. We we hope she will continue learning and receive a witness that this message is true.

We have been going through some names on the ward list that haven't been visited in years. We tried this one name and got to the house and found out they had moved (which is the case for most of these). So we talk to this lady who lives there now, and it turns out her husband's mom is a member, but was away for the winter. Her husband wrote his mom and said that us simply stopping by made him remember how much the church had done for him and that he has a desire to give back.

Friday was the beginning of Winter Carnival, which is a huge deal. Sculptors from all over come here and make these elaborate sculptures out of snow and ice. There was this big parade on Saturday, so we went to volunteer at the community center, which was doing a pancake breakfast. I was on egg duty, cracking the eggs and whipping them up in the mixer. I think I cracked around 60 dozen eggs, it was quite a lot. But we got to meet several people we were volunteering with or serving. After the breakfast was over, we couldn’t leave because all the roads were blocked off, so we decided to go down and watch the parade. We met some members who brought their friends from India, who were extremely friendly and shared some Indian snacks with us. Then we met another member family from Meridian who had a prime spot so we went and stood by them. Their daughter, who was not there, just got called to the Nauvoo mission so it was fun to talk with them. The parade was Wizard of Oz themed, with the tagline "There's Snow Place Like Home" and it was quite a long parade, I thought it never would be over, standing there in the cold. We were able to easily get out of town and the traffic wasn't nearly as bad as everyone hyped it up to be. 




We had a wonderful week and I am looking forward to more weeks here in McCall :)
Love,
Sister Jensen 


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