Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Snow, Exchanges, & Stake Conference

Dear Family,

It is snowing like crazy here! I think the past couple of days we have gotten the winter that McCall is used to and hasn't gotten this year. I really do love it when the snow is falling, I get kind of sad when it stops snowing. 

This week I got to go back to my old area in Meridian! I went on exchanges with one of my old companions, Sister Moa-Sam Fong, who is now my STL :) She is in a different area in Meridian, but President said that I could go visit a few people while on exchanges. I only caught one family we visited and the family I lived with, but it was still fun and really took me back to being in Meridian. I've been so blessed with all the areas that I have served in, its hard to believe how much Heavenly Father has blessed me. Also, the morning before we exchanged back, Sister Moa-Sam Fong and I taught seminary in Eagle! It was really fun, the youth really are so amazing here. We had the whole class time, but the time actually went by really fast. We had them come up with an investigator for us then Sister Moa-Sam Fong and I role played planning a lesson for this investigator. Then, we gave them an investigator which they planned for then taught. Then we opened it up for questions. It was cool though because the teacher of the class is the Elder's Quorum President in one of the wards in Middleton that I served in. It was such a fun little exchange :)

On Saturday one of the ward members called us and invited us to a funeral for a less-active member in one of our wards. This man that passed away was only 34, he passed away due to some injuries that he received in a tree trimming accident. It was sad, but it made me so grateful for the gospel and the reality of forever families. Then we went to the Pancake House and had lunch with a nonmember who just really loves the missionaries. Then that night we enjoyed attending the adult session of stake conference.

The session of stake conference today was really awesome. The temple president and his wife spoke, it made me really excited to regularly attend the temple again. We had a Seventy come, his name is Elder Bowen. He spoke on my favorite topic: MISSIONARY WORK!!!! He said that Elder Ballard made a promise in conference once that if we pray to share the gospel with someone, Heavenly Father will send someone to us. But we are usually to afraid to pray for that opportunity in the first place because we are too afraid to open our mouths. So when we pray for those opportunities we need to do so sincerely, determined to open our mouths. 

Honestly, it has been hard these past couple of weeks because all the people we were working with are sick with the flu. Every other house that we go to seems to have caught it. I am trying to do my best to continue pressing forward and work as hard as ever. I am praying to see some more miracles and find more people to teach here in our wonderful little area. I know that Heavenly Father loves His children here so much, and I am so grateful to serve them.

Sister Jensen

Snow Shoes-Feb 12

Dear Family,

These P-days are just coming faster and faster, I can hardly believe it. Last P-day we went snowshoeing and is was so fun! I want to buy a pair of snowshoes when I get home. One of the members took us and our district to a place near their house where we basically just climbed up a mountain, though we didn't make it to the top. We went up to this little spot under some trees and had some hot chocolate, lots of fun :) 

That night we went and visited a family in New Meadows.  They were happy to see us and we talked a lot, and they said we can come back and teach them some lessons :)

There is a member in Donnelly that we have visited this last week and we had a great visit with her too. What made the visit so great was that she was just so receptive to the Spirit.  We watched my favorite Mormon Message, Because of Him and she teared up. I just love when people choose to open their hearts to the Spirit. 

We went to Riggins on Thursday and had lunch with a lady who is married to a member of the church.  She doesn't have any interest in joining the church, but she was just really interested in our lives and wants to take care of us. I just love people like that! We went to a little town farther north of Riggins called Lucille, it is even in a different time zone. We tried to visit some people that literally live in the mountains. They weren't home, but we still got some good pictures. 

We are still loving life here in McCall, it's amazing how quickly the time slips away. But I am so thankful to be here with these people, they are the best! I am grateful for the opportunity to testify of the Savior all the time, it just makes me so happy :)

Sister Jensen 

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 :)
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!

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 :)

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.

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. 

Sister Jensen