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. 

Love, 
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.

Love,
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.

Love,
Sister Jensen 


Birthday Time!



Dear Family,

Another wonderful week filled with miracles here in Middleton has come and gone. It is so unfair how quickly the time goes by, but I guess I just have to learn to be grateful for the time that Heavenly Father does bless me with.

The eclipse last Monday was pretty cool. We went to this member's home that lives on a hill so you could see most of the valley. Leading up to the eclipse things started to get slightly dim. One unexpected thing was the temperature dropping. It got the darkest around 11:30, and it was cool to see the lights come on throughout the valley. It got pretty light quickly after that and it was over. I wish we could have been somewhere that had the total eclipse, because just with that little bit of sun still shining it was pretty light. But it was still an amazing experience that makes me think of the wonder of God's creation. 



We found a new investigator this week! He lives with a member of the church and the sisters taught some of the other family members about a year ago. This week, about the fifth or sixth time that we have talked to C., we asked if he would be interested in us coming and teaching him. He told us that he isn't really interested in the church, but that we could come over and talk about our beliefs. That is not a response that we get very often, so we were pretty excited. We went a couple of days later with a sister in the ward and taught most of the first lesson. C. has read the Bible 5 times over that last 15ish years. When we talked about God's love for us, we asked him if he has felt that love in his life. He told us about how the birth of his son was one major time that he felt God's love for him. We had a great talk about Christ and His earthly ministry. One thing that I love about this mission is that 9 out of 10 people that you talk to have this strong belief in Jesus Christ. We were running out of time and we could only briefly teach the restoration, but what we did teach about it was well received. We were also able to tell him that we believe we have a prophet in our day, and that he leads and guides us through direct revelation from Jesus Christ. We were able to set up a return appointment for this next week, stay tuned for how that goes!

We also found a couple of potential investigators. There is this girl in our ward who just got back from her mission. We went out with her about a month ago and went over to this family that she used to know. We talked to them about the Meridian Temple and invited them to the open house, which they seemed excited about. Then we told them what we do as missionaries, and asked if we could come back and teach them, and they both said that we could! We are going back tomorrow.

Sister Helm moved back to Middleton after her mission! I lived in the same apartment with Sister Helm for 6 weeks back in Nampa during all of the crazy winter weather. Now she is back and I am trying to make myself call her Jenni. I am very excited for her to be here, she already has brought me Costa Vida for my birthday and she is planning on driving me to a baptism in Halfway, Oregon in October. And my birthday was good! We did service for most of the day so that was fun. In the morning we helped a less-active lady in her garage, and in the afternoon we helped clean out horse stalls for these other less-actives. This older couple lives in this upstairs room in a barn, which is actually nicer than you think it would be. We had dinner with them later in the day, and they knew it was my birthday. They got me one of those huge chocolate cakes from Costco that are super rich. They sent it home with us, and we were about to drive away without it, but I remember and ran back up the stairs to their apartment to take that cake. More than half of it is left so I am going to try and share with some of the elders today. 

Thank you to everyone that sent me stuff for birthday! It was a good day and I couldn't ask for anything better on my birthday than to be a missionary.

Love,
Sister Jensen







Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse



Dear Family,

It is hard to believe that another week has flown by. It is also hard to believe that after months and months of hearing about it, it is finally the day of the eclipse. People talked about it all the time in Baker City because they are right in the path. Here in Middleton, we will get about 99.5% coverage, so it will still be pretty good. I am not sure how much everyone is hearing on the news, but it is kind of crazy the effect that it has had on the people here. Hotel prices are ridiculously high, and people are renting out their homes for thousands of dollars. I hear the main concern in Weiser, Idaho (where they will get the total eclipse) is that there are not enough toilets for all the people they will be expecting. There is a nice foothill in Middleton, so we will just be going to a member's house on the foothill to watch it with our glasses that are for sure certified.  Luckily, all the members have extra pairs so we got some from them. So that has been the big excitement around here. 

But nothing can be more exciting than missionary work, right?! This week we continued to teach a mother and son. We have the most wonderful, Spirit-filled lessons with them, mostly thanks to the wonderful young men in this ward who have really risen to the challenge of teaching their friend the gospel. I feel really thankful that Heavenly Father has allowed me to be a small part of this journey for them, just like He has for people throughout my mission. 

This has been kind of a short update, but I don't believe I have anything else to report! Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me in whatever way, whether it be emails, letters, packages, or simply prayers. It all means so much, so thank you.

Love,
Sister Jensen 


Sister Tukumoeatu decided to document us picking
up pizza for our district after district meeting.



Monday, August 14, 2017

Little Miracles



Dear Family,

We had a week filled with little miracles. I am so grateful for this life that I get to live. I am thankful for this special opportunity that I have to consecrate all I have to serving the Lord by sharing the gospel.

One of the biggest miracles has been teaching a mother and son. We have taught them twice now and set a baptismal date for September 9th! We taught the Restoration on Tuesday, and the son told us that he has already prayed to know I f the Book of Mormon is true, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if the church is true. And he told us that he received his answer that it is all true. We taught them the Plan of Salvation on Friday and that went great as well. We have been extra careful to involve members of the congregation in the teaching process, especially the young men. It has been really cool to see these teenage boys rise to the challenge of teaching their friend the gospel. When they go on their missions, they will truly be prepared, they will already love the work of the Lord.

The other big highlight from this week was hearing from Elder Rasband and Elder Wakolo. The whole mission got together in Eagle, which is where Elder Rasband was attending Stake Conference this weekend. First we heard from Elder Wakolo, who had quite the story. His is from Fiji and joined the church when he was 27. He married a member but never let her even have a copy of the Book of Mormon in his home. He took the missionary lessons 4 times in 8 years and had 24 sets of missionaries. It was a question that the last set asked that really changed his heart. They asked him what his family would call their grocery store if they happened to own a grocery store. He said that they would call it after their family since they owned it. They then related that to Christ’s church, and that if it was really Christ’s church it would be called after his name. This pierced his heart, he felt the Spirit, and he agreed to be baptized. Within a year he was called to be the branch president. And now he is a new seventy and this was his first assignment, because he just finished up being a mission president in Little Rock, Arkansas.

After Elder Wakolo, Elder Rasband spoke to us. He spoke to us about a lot of things, and I won’t try to relate them all. He gave us the assignment beforehand to study his talk, “Let the Holy Spirit Guide”, and the Spirit was our main discussion. There is one cool story that he told us from when we was a mission president in New York. At the end of their missions, Elder Rasband had the missionaries come to his home and have a testimony meeting, like we do here and in many other missions. They were having a testimony meeting and this one elder was bearing his testimony about how wonderful his mission was, except the end. He was sent to the Spanish branch in Stanford, Connecticut and said that all he did was hand out copies of the Book of Mormon on a street corner, and nothing else. Elder Rasband said this just broke his heart. Well, 18 months later, they were having another testimony meeting. This one elder stood up and said that he has the most wonderful mission, especially the end when he went to the Spanish branch in Stanford. He then told this story. One night, the received a telephone call from a woman crying. She told them how she was a single mom with many kids. One night, she was sitting alone in her living room when she looking up at her book shelf and saw this book that just seemed to shine at her. She looked to see what it was and saw that it was a Book of Mormon. She started to read it, and read it every night until she finished it, and she knew that it was true. At the very end of the Book of Mormon there was stamp, with the name of two elders and their number. She was then baptized along with many, if not all, of her children. Elder Rasband asked the missionary bearing his testimony what the names of those two elders are, and one of them was that same elder who bore his testimony 18 months before. Elder Rasband then bore his testimony of how we do not know the future consequences of our actions today, we do not know the lives that we will affect.

And the final tender mercy that I want talk about is the application of that very principle in my own mission. Right after hearing from Elder Rasband, we went to Nampa for the baptism of C., who I had taught just the first lesson to back in December. It was a beautiful baptism. C. has many of extended family members who are faithful members. I got to see these grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who were so excited for C. to take this step. She was just glowing, so ready to be brought closer to her Heavenly Father.

I also got to see many people that I love from the Nampa 12th ward. One of them was Sister S., my ward mission leader’s wife. She told me that I just had to go see A. She was baptized 20 years ago in Hungary, went inactive shortly after that because of her family, but is now very active. We aren’t really supposed to be going around and visiting people in our areas because we need to be back in our current areas. But, thankfully, the assistants were at this baptism because they brought an investigator. So I asked them for permission to see this one person and they said that I could. So I got to see A.! I don’t think I have ever met a more righteous, sweet, and humble person. Her daughter has been here for the summer from Hungary and has actually been taking the missionary lessons! We got to meet her, and she is just like A. 

I was thankful for these experiences because they have helped me to see my mission on a larger scope, rather than just focusing on the day to day. And I am trying extra hard to see the little miracles that Heavenly Father places in our path every day here in Middleton.

Love,
Sister Jensen  




Monday, August 7, 2017

Good-bye to Sister Shurtleff




Dear Family,

I said goodbye to my trainer yesterday, Sister Shurtleff. She will be going home tomorrow morning. It was one of those moments where you just really stop and realize how quickly time really does go by. I love and admire Sister Shurtleff so much, and it will be strange to not see her anymore. Thankfully, she will just be living in Utah, so I will get to see her after the mission. This area that we are serving in is her first area, so yesterday she came and we all had dinner with a family in the ward. It was so fun, and we took many pictures. Super sad to see her go, but super excited for all the possibilities ahead of her!





It was a great week; we have a lot of good things happening. The highlight is that we have some people that are ready to be taught by the missionaries! It is a mom and her son.  The son has some really good friends in the ward.  We haven’t met with them yet, but we are tomorrow at the Bishop’s house. We are really excited!

I get to attend a baptism this Saturday in Nampa! Sister Shurtleff called me earlier this week to tell me that someone we taught together accepted to be baptized and that she really wants us to be there. I remember she answered the door and just welcomed us in. That first visit was really good, she expressed a sincere interest in taking the lessons. I loved her right away, she is literally the sweetest. We got to teach them about the Restoration, and she received it really well. Then, all the crazy winter stuff happened, they got busy, and then both Sister Shurtleff and I got transferred. Thankfully, the elders were able to continue teaching her. Elder Wheeler, who came out with me from the MTC, got transferred there a couple of months ago and really connected with them. They got married a couple of weeks ago and now her baptism is on Saturday! I think one of the most rewarding parts of the mission has been seeing how those little seeds that I have helped sow have grown and been harvested by other missionaries. It is a really humbling experience in which you can really see the hand of the Lord. And you feel so thankful that you were able to play a small part in it.


Also, we went on exchanges this week. Our Sister Training Leader, Sister Sellar, is training a new missionary in addition to being the STL. Usually we have companionships in which both sisters are STLs but with the large amount of sisters that have been coming in, they are having the STLs train. Sister Tukumoeatu stayed in our area with Sister Sellar and I went to be with Sister Abbott, who came out the same time as Sister Tukumoeatu. It was really great, we got to teach a recent convert in a park. I love teaching in parks, it is my favorite. At this particular park there is just this random tank, so we took a picture on it. Then we got to teach their new investigator. This guy just showed up at church with a friend and asked the sisters if he could take the lessons. Sister Abbott and Sister Sellar were telling us about him earlier in the week and told us about how he has a friend serving a mission in Japan. Well, I didn’t connect the dots until I was there teaching him the Plan of Salvation with Sister Abbott and he told us that his friend’s name was Elder Yeakley, who served in our branch in Okinawa! That was a fun connection.

We got our transfer calls on Saturday and Sister Tukumoeatu and officially get to stay together here in Middleton for another transfer! Not really a surprise and it’s what I wanted to happen. I feel like I might stay in this area for longer than three months this time. At least I am hoping. But I am very, very, very, excited for the temple open house, which is happening next transfer! I have just been thinking lately about how inspired mission calls really are, because this is the perfect mission for me, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the 
world.

Love,
Sister Jensen