Thursday, December 15, 2016

Snow Days

Me faking happiness about the snow.

Dear Family,

Winter just came out of NOWHERE. We just woke up one day and the ground was covered with snow. We went out and worked the first day of the snow, but then a couple of days later it snowed again. One of the sisters that we live with called the office to ask if it was okay to drive, and everybody told her no. So we kind of had to stay inside that day. Fortunately, it was planning day, so we still got to get a lot of work done despite being home. But we were pretty bored after we finished planning. We have a couple of portable DVD players in our apartments so we were able to watch The Testaments, which was really good. But we have been able to brave the weather the rest of this week, careful to drive very slow through all the snow and ice. 

The other sisters decorated, they are the best!

Our improvised Christmas tree

Nothing too big and exciting happened this week, so this update might be a little sparse. We continue to meet with J. a couple times a week. It is so fun to watch her learn and grow in the gospel. She tells us that she wants to learn so much more about the gospel so that she can teach and testify to everyone.  I know that she will be an instrument in the Lord's hand to bring many, many people to the gospel. Her daughter, D., has started coming to our lessons with J.. She mostly just looks at her phone, but we have the suspicion that she is listening. I showed her my scriptures and personal progress ribbons and I thought she thought is was totally dorky. But then the next day J. told me that D. said she wants scriptures just like mine if she is baptized. Just pray that she will want to listen and feel the Spirit as we teach her! I am super excited because we are planning on bringing J. to the family history center this week so she can get some names to bring to the temple. I love how much joy missionary work brings!

This week, I have seen the Lord's hand in leading us to people to teach. A couple of weeks ago, we had several of the missionaries tract in our area. The assistants were tracting in one of our neighborhoods and found these two guys, and one of them had already read in the Book of Mormon up to Helaman. We tried for a couple of weeks to meet with them, but it didn't work out until this past Monday. We went and found out that the one reading the Book of Mormon, B., is actually a member that lives with this cute couple that has two little boys. So we read the scriptures with the B. while the family was eating dinner, so hopefully they were able to hear and listen as well. We will continue to visit B. and hopefully will be able to teach the family.

Then we got a referral on our snow day! A brother in our ward called us and told us that his neighbor wanted to take the lessons. We called him the next day and set up an appointment to go and visit him. His name is R., we call him Brother R. He is 76 and lives alone. He went to the church when he was younger but never joined. It was funny because he was very good at keeping us on track, which isn't usual among the older people. He just told us that he wanted us to talk about Christ, and we were like "Great!". We taught him the restoration, but it might of been a bit much for him to take in at one time. He did tell us after we prayed that it was very nice. We set a time for us to visit him every week. 

Then, yesterday in one of our missionary correlations, one of the ward leaders told us to go visit this guy named J. He briefly mentioned that he has a girlfriend. We visited him last night and she is now our newest investigator! Her name is C. and she is SO SWEET. She was like, "Do you have classes at church? I would totally come to them" and "So how does it work when you teach people if I want to learn more about it? Do I have to go to the church? Can you can a certain time every week?" We were like, "Yes, of course we can come and teach you in your home!" So we set up a time to come and teach her on Thursday. It was funny because she was telling us how she eats oreos with a fork and puts reeses on her smores and I was like, "Me too!!" (Forgive me for saying like so many times) The Lord prepares you in weird ways to connect with those you teach haha. She suggested eating peanut M&M's with popcorn, so that is a new one I will have to try.  

I love being a missionary during Christmas! I do get hit with bouts of homesickness every once in a while, it is hard not to. Christmas time has always been my favorite time to be with family and loved ones. But I know that this is a sacred time that I have to bless other families with beauty and love of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary, even though it is the hardest thing I have ever done, I know that it is Heavenly Father shaping me into who He needs me to be. I love and miss all of you and am so thankful for everything you do for me!
Sister Jensen 

Amazon is fancy and "wraps" their presents. Thanks mom and dad!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Tissues

Dear Family,

I got a Christmas package! I love having a present to open each day this month, and yesterday's was a real tender mercy. So...I haven't been feeling too hot the past couple of days. I have a cold or a sinus infection or something. But I was really feeling it yesterday morning as I groggily opened my present for the day. And my present was nothing other than tissues. I laughed and thanked Heavenly Father for inspired parents, as I was running out of tissues. 

I am sure you are all dying to know that J. did get baptized on Tuesday! It was incredible, a day filled with the Spirit. She was having a really tough day. She called us and broke down in tears. And she wasn't worried that she was making the wrong choice or anything like that. She told us so was so afraid that she would let the church down, and we wouldn't want her anymore. We did our best to reassure her that that would never happen, and as long as she tried her best she couldn't fail. I had the prompting that we should invite her to our dinner that night, which was with some of my favorite ladies, Sister P. and Sister D. They are the two older, single sisters that we ate with the first week here, and they really lifted my spirits during that rough transition. We texted her the address and invited her, but she didn't show up for the first half hour. But she called while we were eating and assured us that she was on her way but couldn't find the address on her phone. We gave her directions and she made it! And it was the best thing that could have happened before her baptism. Sister P. is a convert, she joined the church in Chile when she was 17. She was able to bear her testimony that being baptized was without a doubt the best decision that she had ever made. She told her how much the restored gospel of Jesus Christ had blessed her life, especially in the hard times. Sister D. as well was able to bear her strong testimony of the the truthfulness of the church. I was so grateful for the opportunity to be in that Spirit-filled home and hear these amazing women bear their testimonies to J. We soon realized that it was time to get to the church. When we got there we learned that we actually had plenty of time because the font was barely filled. That was a little stressful, because there were a lot of people there, but it was alright because J. got to talk to all of the missionaries that had taught her the past year. We eventually started with the font still filling, which was a little noisy, but could there be a better sound? Well, the font filled in time and J. was baptized by the bishop. Her face was just glowing when it came out of the water and we could hear her squeal with happiness as she walked out of the water. She told us a couple of days later that she felt so light after her baptism, like she had been carrying a ton of weight and it had taken away. We met with her the day after the baptism and it was amazing to see how full of hope she was. She just kept telling us that she knew everything would work out and that she was very content with her current situation, however tough it is. She was confirmed yesterday and she showed up with her daughter! We hadn't met D. yet, so we were very excited. We had a lovely baby blessing and then J. was confirmed by the bishop, and the Spirit was of course very strong as she received the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was testimony meeting, so she got to stand up and bear her testimony last. It was incredible because she addressed most of it to her daughter, testifying that this is the true church and that everyone wouldn't be working so hard against it if it wasn't. She asked us in her testimony to pray for her daughter.  After the meeting, they were both swarmed by ward members who wanted to talk to them. D. met the Young Women's president and some of the girls, and was able to go to the youth classes with her mom. We had invited them to come to our dinner yesterday. It was with a super sweet older couple, but then another family with a girl D.'s age invited them, so there was bit of a tug of war between the dinner invites, all in good fun of course. They ended up going to eat at the other family's house, which is a huge blessing and answer to our prayers for D.  I can't wait to see how she continues to progress in the gospel and I am so thankful that I got to have a small part in the process. 

We taught the B.’s again this week.  I often think of the missionaries that taught Sister B., a set of sister missionaries and a set of elders, and the joy they would have if they only knew that she has come back to her loving Heavenly Father's arms. We may never know on this earth the full impact of our influence, especially when it comes to missionary service. Our numbers can never measure the lives that we can touch with the beauty of Christ's atonement and gospel. I am so thankful for this short time I have to fully commit myself to this work. 

I love you all so much and thank you for all the emails, letters and packages! I am so lucky to have so many loving and supportive people in my life. I know Heavenly Father loves you all so much!

Sister Jensen

Monday, November 28, 2016

Light the World

Dear Family,

Now that Thanksgiving is over, everything can be Christmas! Since deciding to serve a mission I have looked forward to being a missionary during this special time, especially with the Christmas initiative. It is getting colder here and people are putting up their lights, but no snow yet. People say that it doesn't really stick when it does snow, and though I love a white Christmas, I won't really complain if there is a lack of snow. 

We moved J.'s baptism date to tomorrow! We are so excited for her! Earlier in the week, we watched Finding Faith inChrist with her. It was just one of those really good mission moments, when everything catches up with you and you realize that it is the Savior's work that you are doing. These souls that He has trusted us with are so incredibly precious to Him.

Thanksgiving was super awesome! We could treat it as a P-day, but we still did some missionary work. We weekly planned in the morning, which takes a few hours. After that, we went over to Bro. W.'s house (J. was introduced to the missionaries through Bro W. and his wife) and helped him put up some of his Christmas decorations. We then went over to a member's house for a delicious dinner. Then we went to another member's house for desert. We ended up watching most of the Studio C Face 2Face, which I have been really wanting to see so it worked out well. After that, we went to have a lesson with the B’s. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it went over really well. I think that is my favorite lesson to teach, it just rings true to the people. A.'s husband is reading the Book of Mormon and they stayed for all three hours of church yesterday. We will meet with them again this week.  We then went to a three story church building here in Nampa and did a Nerf gun war with our district.  We play with one person starting out as a zombie and then they have to tag people to become zombies. It was really fun, especially because it was already dark outside and we turned off most of the lights. It was a good way to run off all of the food we had packed in earlier in the day. 

The family we ate with on Thanksgiving had this giant teddy bear.

I don't have much else to report on, we are struggling with finding people to teach right now. But I know Heavenly Father is preparing people in our area to receive the restored gospel, and we just have to let the Spirit guide us to them. 

One of my favorite talks from this last conference is called "God Shall Wipe Away All Tears" by Elder Evan A. Schmutz. It is all about our trials here on earth and how we can learn and grow from them. Here are my favorite parts:

"God invites us to respond with faith to our own unique afflictions in order that we may reap blessings and gain knowledge that can be learned in no other way. We are instructed to keep the commandments in every condition and circumstance, for “he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.” And as we read in scripture, “If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.

As we acquire this eternal perspective in our lives, our capacity to endure grows, we learn how to succor those in need of succor, and we come to appreciate and even express gratitude for the experiences God allows us to have as tutors in the path to eternal life.

I have observed in the lives and examples of others that exercising strong and abiding faith in Jesus Christ and His promises provides the sure hope of better things to come. This sure hope steadies us, bringing the strength and power we need in order to endure. When we can link our suffering to an assurance of purpose in our mortality and more specifically to the reward awaiting us in heavenly places, our faith in Christ increases and we receive comfort to our souls.

We can take strength in knowing that all the hard experiences in this life are temporary; even the darkest nights turn into dawn for the faithful.

When all is finished and we have endured all things with faith in Jesus Christ, we have the promise that “God shall wipe away all [the] tears from [our] eyes.”

As I have mentioned in previous letters, there are so many people here who have to endure so much. That is why I am so thankful for the beautiful message of this gospel, for the bright hope that it shines to dispel the darkness. I have a testimony and conviction that this gospel is true and that Jesus is the Christ. 

Sister Jensen  

This is the sugar beet factory, which makes everything smell like burned peanut butter. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Family,

Today will be a quicker update because this P-day has been CRAZY. But life is still amazing here in the Nampa! We are still working with some wonderful people that I love so, so much, and they make all of the hard times worth it.

J. continues to be a big part of the work we are doing here. She is such a huge blessing to me, and the challenge of teaching her helps keep me motivated and excited about missionary work. Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged when literally no one wants to talk about you. But then we have a lesson with J. and I am reminded that the Lord is preparing people all of the time. And, like with J., the gospel will change their lives so dramatically, in the best way possible. We are continually working with her to prepare her for baptism in the coming weeks, and my love for her just continues to grow. I am so glad that I will be in Utah after the mission because I will be blessed to see these dear friends often. 

A. and her husband, J., are also doing well. It has been really cool to see A. discover the gospel again. We have been bringing sisters from the ward to our lessons and A. is always so excited to meet them and learn that they live so close to her. I think that this ward family will be so good for her.  We taught her husband the first lesson on Saturday and it went really well. They are such nice people and it is fun to learn more about their culture. 

One highlight of this week was our zone conference, where we learned about the Christmas initiative for this year. I am so excited!!! We got to see the video, which doesn't come out until Friday, and it was seriously stellar! The theme is "Light up the World" and is focused on the service we can do that the Savior did. It is like an advent calendar, with new ways and ideas to serve each day leading up to Christmas. I am so excited to share this message of service and love with all those we talk with this Christmas season. 

Sorry this week's letter was so short, we seem to always be running all over the place on P-day, but next week should be better. Just know that I am loving these people more and more every day, and am trying my best to be the missionary that they need me to be. I love this gospel, so much. I know that Christ is our Savior and that He lives. 
Sister Jensen

Blessed with Baptism

Dear Family,

Thank you to everyone who has sent me emails and letters! Being on a mission has helped me realize that I have been so blessed to have the family and friends that I do. I am so grateful to have each of you in my life, thank you for your love and support!

The most exciting news from this week is that A. got baptized! We got everything worked out for her to be confirmed right after the baptism due to stake conference, and it was so wonderful! It was very stressful leading up Saturday, everything just seemed to be thrown at us at once. But Sister S. told me that it is always like that before a baptism. Everything worked out and the sweet spirit that was felt there made it all worth it. I loved hearing the talks and testimonies from her friends, and feeling their perfect happiness to have their dear friend enter the waters of baptism. We watched Mormon Messages about Christ (including my favorite-Because of Him) which was probably my favorite part. All of this is because of Christ, it is all about bringing people to Him so that they can have full access to His atonement. Also, side note, but I played the piano at the baptism! I was so nervous and didn't have much time to practice, but it actually went off alright. Of course, it wasn't actually me, being an answer to prayer and everything. 
Secretly took a picture of Sister S. while we were tracting.
We have been so blessed to continue teaching J.. I really love teaching her because she asks hard questions that make us think. I am continually pondering over my own testimony, remembering my past experiences with the Spirit when I first learned or relearned these things. It has helped me see that we have to work for our testimonies sometimes, and we have to be continually growing it or else it will die. We have had many moments with J. where the Spirit was so strong. In one of our lessons earlier this week, after our closing prayer, I did my best to express to her how much I love her, which can be a challenge for me sometimes. But with help from the Spirit, I hope that she understood just how much we love her and desire her eternal happiness. She has been reading through gospel principles (I know, she's incredible), and there were a couple of doctrines that were bothering her so we set up a time for us to all meet with the bishop yesterday. I wish I could convey what happened in that meeting, but I won't be able to. But the most important thing is that the Spirit was there as the bishop testified to J. about Heavenly Father's love for her and the plan that He has in place for her. After we went 30 minutes over the time, bishop boldly suggested that she pick a date and she did! We are so incredibly excited for her, I know that she has so much in store for her. But pray hard for her, she will need the support and protection from Heavenly Father!

In the middle of the week we received a self-referral from the office for A.. They told us that English is her second language, so we were worried that we would have to turn her over to the Spanish missionaries. But we met with her on Thursday and found out she is Hungarian! And no missionaries speak Hungarian here, so we get to keep her! But her story is really cool. She was actually baptized by missionaries in Hungary over 20 years ago, but her family did not support her at all so she stopped going to church. She married her husband, who is also Hungarian, a couple of years ago and he already lived here for a long time, so she left Hungary to live with him. She told us that she always hoped that she would find missionaries on her street or that they would knock on her door, but they never did. Well, not too long ago, she and her husband were taking a walk and they walked by our building, and she recognized that it was the church. So she referred herself and finally found the missionaries! It was amazing to hear her story and think of those missionaries who found her years ago in Hungary, and how their service as missionaries impacted her life so much at the time, even if it wasn't the right time. We taught her about the restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon. During one point in the lesson, she told us that she believed that she couldn't be forgiven for something she did years ago. We testified that she can have forgiveness because of Christ's atonement, and the Spirit was there confirming what we were telling her. She started to cry and we could clearly see the relief in her face. It made me so grateful for Christ's atonement, and really brought home the fact that His suffering can make us clean again. She came to church on Sunday with her husband, J., who isn't a member but is super awesome! He made some great comments in Sunday school and we are hoping to teach him as well. 
Speaking of church, we are really starting to get to know the wards and enjoy the love and support of the members.

I just love my mission! I love this area and the wards and the people and everything! I hope that I get to stay here in Nampa for a while, there is so much work here that I am so excited to do. There are ups and downs of course, but it is so worth it. 
Sister Jensen

This is where we do studies in the morning.   Notice the base heater that I turn on every morning and warm up my feet on.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Teach the Atonement

More Idaho Sky

Dear Family,

Another week gone! It went by so quickly, and I realized this morning that I had no idea what I would share in my email today. Luckily, I have been somewhat consistent with my journal, so I still have some wonderful things that I can share. 

One highlight from this week is that while we were tracting, someone actually let us in and teach the restoration! It was unbelievable, no one does that. But we had about 15 minutes before our appointment so we decided to just knock on a couple of doors, not really expecting much. Thankfully, the Lord has greater expectations for us than we do, because we knocked on S.'s door and she let us in. She is this super sweet lady, all of her children are grown and have a couple of kids of their own. Family is really important to her, and she is a pretty strong Christian, so she was open and receptive to us as representatives of Christ. We taught her the whole restoration, and even though she has lived in Idaho for a many years, she never really knew who Joseph Smith was or what the Book of Mormon is about, so it was cool to introduce her to it all. When we asked if she wanted to learn more, she said she had to talk to her husband about it, but she said we could come back the same time next week. We will follow up with her probably tomorrow, so I will send updates on that. 

Also, we are planning A.'s baptism! The real miracle is that she told her family and they did not get angry or hostile. We have been praying for this a lot, so it is definitely an answer to prayer. They don't support her decision, but they are going to come to the baptism. Please pray that the Spirit will touch their hearts and they can see that this church is not bad, but a glorious blessing from Heavenly Father that He has given to us to return to Him. I feel like we really haven't had a hand at all in A.'s conversion, she has just been so blessed with friends who love her enough to share this message with her. I am just so thankful for this opportunity that we had to teach her the lessons and help her get to baptism, I know the Lord has so much in store for her and that her choice will bless countless lives. 

Another miracle from tracting is T. and M.'s family. When we tracted into them, T. told us we could come back another time and we were like, "We totally will." When we knocked on their door a week later, he was a little surprised that we had come back but invited us to come in anyway. Their whole family was there, just making zucchini bread, and we ended up staying for a really long time, just talking to them and getting to know their family. The zucchini bread was almost finished baking by the time we got to share a message with them. We shared John 3:16-17 and Alma7:11-13 and talked about God's love for us, as manifested by Him sending His Son to save us. M. told us about how she has felt God's love significantly for her, and we felt the Spirit really strong. We were able to leave a Book of Mormon with them and T. committed to read it. We will go back and see how they are doing this week, but we already have such a great love for their family and can see how greatly the gospel will bless their lives.

J. was a huge focus this week.  As she has learned more and more about the church and has come closer to learning and knowing the truth for herself, the adversary has been working really hard on her. People have been trying really hard to keep her away from the church. But, the incredible thing is that all of these bad influences that have popped up since we started meeting with her have only made her believe that this is the true church. I could hardly believe her when she said that. We didn't have to tell her that there is always opposition where the truth and the good is, she already made that connection for herself. And she is just pushing back harder, continuing to meet with us and continuing to learn about the truth.  It was funny because in one of our lessons, she went off on a rant on how we need to stop calling ourselves Mormons because we don't worship Mormon, we worship Jesus Christ and we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We totally agreed with her and said that our leaders have been doing their best to get us to call the church by its real name. She also asks some really hard questions sometimes, and I am just getting a testimony of how we need to let the Spirit teach. If we try and answer all of her questions with our own reasoning and our own words, she is not going to get the truth. But, if we trust that the Spirit is going to teach her, then she will get answers from the only real source of truth, which is Heavenly Father. I love teaching her so much, it is really helping me to rediscover my love for the gospel as I think about what it must be like for her to learn all of these things for the first time. The truths that we have thanks to the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith are so simple but also so profound, they are the answers to some of life's most profound questions. This morning, I read President Uchtdorf's talk, "O How Great the Plan of OurGod!" and it was a little life changing, as President Uchtorf's talks always are. I love how he points out these simple truths of the gospel:

 "We are surrounded by such an astonishing wealth of light and truth that I wonder if we truly appreciate what we have.

Think of those early disciples who walked and talked with the Savior during His earthly ministry. Imagine the thanksgiving and reverence that must have flooded their hearts and filled their minds when they saw Him risen from the tomb, when they felt the wounds in His hands. Their lives would never be the same!
Think of the early Saints of this dispensation who knew the Prophet Joseph Smith and heard him preach the restored gospel. Imagine how they must have felt to know that the veil between heaven and earth had parted again, shedding light and knowledge upon the world from our celestial home above.
But most of all, think of how you felt when for the first time you believed and understood that you are truly a child of God; that Jesus Christ willingly suffered for your sins so that you may be clean again; that priesthood power is real and can bind you to your loved ones for time and for all eternity; that there is a living prophet on the earth today. Isn’t that wonderful and amazing?"
I just have so much love for this, and could never really say it better. Teaching J. has helped me so much to ponder and appreciate the beautiful truths of the gospel and I am so thankful for that. 
One thing that I am seeing as we teach and serve more people, is that I have had very little pain or hardship in my life. And so many of the people that we talk to have a lot of it. While I would never ask for a different life or ask for these hard things to have happened to me, it has been really hard to listen to these people's stories and have no idea what comfort I could give them, because I have no idea what they are going through. They always say that you are prepared for your mission and that there are very specific people that you are supposed to meet and teach. But I felt like I had no preparation for these people. I soon realized after thinking this that there is something infinitely better that we can offer than anything I could ever have. And that is the atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ suffered for all of our sins, pains, sorrows, and afflictions. He knows exactly what these people are feeling and He knows exactly how to comfort and help them. And so its okay, I don't have to know what these people are going through because someone a lot better already does. 
Sister Jensen
I finally decorated my planner.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Endless Possibilities

Dear Family, 

What a week! It went by pretty quickly, which is good because it means we had more work to do than last week. I am getting much more adjusted to missionary life and really starting to enjoy the work and our area. One thing that I love about missionary work is that you never know what will happen at the beginning of the day. You could meet anyone or do anything. It is especially this way with tracting, which is actually one of my favorite things to do. Knocking on doors opens the possibility to meet anyone. It could be someone who is organizing an outreach to save the Mormons. It could be someone from Ohio who has been to your favorite book store inColumbus. It could be someone who will talk to you for 20 minutes on the doorstep about his beliefs, pulling out scriptures and everything. It could be someone who closes the door in the next two seconds. The possibilities are endless, and all of these have happened to me.

One highlight of the week was our lesson with J. on Monday night. For the first 30-40 minutes of the lesson, she told us about her story and how she had gotten the point of meeting with the missionaries. She is a member of another religion and also said no to the missionaries when they came to her door. But, after going through some really hard things, she met the missionaries when she was taking care of that older couple who joined the church about a year ago. The elder who is currently our zone leader gave her a priesthood blessing and said everything that she was thinking and needed to hear. I think she really felt the spirit and the reality of the restored priesthood. After that, she started coming to church and investigating the church. I am not sure how much the missionaries taught her before us, but Monday night was the first time she had heard the restoration lesson. The First Vision was kind of earth shattering because she has always been taught that God is a spirit and this was the first time she had heard of Him having a body. I am so thankful for the knowledge that we have about the true nature of Heavenly Father, as restored by Joseph Smith. We are His children, and He loves us more than we can comprehend. J. came to church yesterday and we are so excited to continue teaching her about the restored gospel. 

We met this super sweet lady named B. this week. The missionaries have visited her in the past, but have never really taught her the lessons. She is of a different faith but loves to visit with us and talk about the gospel. She has member friends who watched General Conference with her, and she really enjoyed it. She also has a granddaughter who served a mission in Germany, so we know she has family members in the church. She is quite lonely and will talk with us for a long time when we come. During our first visit, she told us that we were just glowing with the Holy Spirit, and just wished we could come every day. We visited her again yesterday and started to teach the Plan of Salvation, but didn't get to far because we get to talking. But she thinks a lot about her husband and mom who have passed away, so we are praying that further knowledge of God's plan for her will bring her comfort. 

We also taught A. again. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and it went really well. I think things are just starting to click in her mind with the gospel, because she has been really exposed to it, but hasn't been presented the whole picture until now. She made really great comments in the lesson. She told us how she decided on her own to take out all of her piercings and quit coffee. We were so impressed by her desire to keep the commandments, even before the missionaries or even her friends asked her too. She is really amazing, we are still just worried about her family being hostile towards her decision to be baptized, so pray hard for their hearts to be softened. 

As we continue to do this work, I am realizing more and more that it is all about the people, the children of Heavenly Father that we are helping. I think, as a missionary, you are blessed with a special love for the people that you are serving. I continue to be so grateful that Heavenly Father has called and trusted me to do the work here in Nampa. 


Sister Jensen

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Nampa West, Nampa Best!

Dear Family,

I'm here! I finished my first week in the mission field! Thank you all for your emails, it was so fun to finally get online and read everyone's updates. I really do have the greatest friends and family in the world! 

Before I get to all my adventures here in Idaho, here is a quick wrap-up from the MTC. The day after I wrote last, we had our in-field orientation, which is just a long day of workshops to prepare you for the field. It really helped me get excited and start thinking about my first area, companion, and all the people I would meet and love in the next few months. Sunday was probably one of my favorite days in the MTC. It was our last day, so the emotions were running a little high. I taught relief society to a small group of sisters. It was about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. I thought it went really well, I didn't have trouble filling up the time or getting people to participate. Sister B. and I were the branch music coordinators for that last sacrament meeting, and we requested to sing "How Firm a Foundation", ALL of the verses (which is like 7). It's been one of my favorite hymns since Elder Bednar talked about singing it in Liberia. Singing all of the verses reminded me of when Dad was bishop and always had us sing all of the verses. Like father, like daughter :) Then our district sang "ComeThou Fount of Every Blessing" for the special music number, and it was indeed special. I just have so much love for every one of those missionaries.  I loved my time so much in the MTC and am still a little homesick for it. But, I know I have a work to do and I wouldn't be anywhere else. 

The next day, I left the MTC around 4 in the morning for the airport. After riding a bus, the Front runner, and a train we finally made it. We had trouble checking in, because there was a problem with our tickets. But we were able to make it on a flight only 3 hours later. I was just so thankful that we didn't have to drag our luggage back to the MTC. And I got more time to talk with family, so it actually worked out better. The flight was great, and we were greeted at the airport by President and Sister Sorensen and the AP's. I love the Sorensen's! Sister Sorensen is very sweet and warm. President Sorensen reminds me a lot of grandpa, so that's the best thing ever. 

They took us to the mission office and I met my companion! Her name is Sister S., and I am seriously so blessed to have her as my companion. She has been out for 9 months and is such a great trainer. She works hard, is super obedient, and is fun to be with. Everything I could have asked for. 

Within a couple of hours, we were out tracting. We went to this trailer park for about an hour, and it was actually super fun. The people were really open and willing to talk to us, or at least most of them were. We talked to this lady who didn't speak any English. Sister S. knows a little Spanish, so she was able to talk with her a little bit. She was so sweet, she gave us all these apples. We couldn't exactly tract with them, so we just stuffed them in our bags when we walked away. But the lady was still watching us I guess because came and gave us plastic bags to put the apples in. She was so sweet, I loved her so much. 

That first day was so long, I remember being so tired. The Sorensen's took us to dinner, since it was a small group. Only four new missionaries came in, which I hear was nice compared to the 20ish that came in last transfer. After dinner, we drove home! Our area is Nampa West. Also, Sister S. is new to this area, meaning we are "shot gunning" or "whitewashing". Since we are both new, it has been a little abnormal. We have spent a lot of time visiting people. We have visited members, less actives, and past investigators.

One investigator we have is J. She was a caretaker for this older couple that joined the church about a year ago, and she is also pretty golden. We met her at church yesterday and are hoping to teach her tonight. She is really funny and personable. She changed around her work schedule so she could come to church, so we already know that she is awesome. 

Since we cover two wards, we go to five hours of church on Sunday. Taking the sacrament twice was really uplifting. I am so excited that I get to do that every Sunday. We continue to meet people in the wards, everyone is really so nice and really motivated to help the missionaries. We have gotten several referrals from the members already, which are really the best people to teach. 

While I am still adjusting to missionary life, this past week has been really great and I am so happy to be a missionary! I am still figuring everything out, and probably will be for a while, but for now I am doing my best to enjoy every experience and live up to my call as a representative of Jesus Christ. My love for my Savior has grown so much and I just desire for everyone here in Nampa to feel His love for them. 

Sister Jensen

Saturday, October 15, 2016

FALL at the MTC

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying fall, even in Okinawa. I am loving the colors and the smell of the leaves, and am completely incredulous about the fact that I leave on Monday. The first couple of days here in the MTC felt like an eternity, but after that, time has flown. I am really sad to leave this place, but I know that I have so much waiting for me in the field. 
We literally live in these seats.

Last Friday was our final visit with J., and she accepted our invitation to be baptized! It was such a good lesson, Sister B. and I could not believe how she went from not being baptized to committing to follow the example of Jesus Christ. This week, we started to teach L. and . L. just graduated from BYU with an English degree. She grew up with a member friend and just wants to know more about the church. We really like teaching her, she asks us challenging questions that make us think and search for answers. We only have one more lesson with her. A. is half Japanese, so the first time we met him we just ranted about how good Japanese food is for the first ten minutes. It was really fun, and we like teaching him, though he doesn't know yet if God is really there and if he is receiving answers to his prayers. Sister B. and I are doing our best to be patient and to teach by the Spirit. Learning to teach by the Spirit has been my major goal for these last few days in the MTC, and I know I will be learning how my whole mission. 
​There is this really small door next to a normal door it's my favorite​.

Tuesday was probably my favorite day out of this whole week. It started out with a really good lesson with Ll. We were not really sure how it went, but the investigators comment about the lessons online, and she commented that she really enjoyed talking with us and feels like we are genuinely interested in her. I was really grateful for this, because I have not been sure to show my investigators how much I really do care about them during the lessons. We had class like normal, but we were all looking forward to the devotional that night. We had gone to choir practice on Sunday, and the director told us that singing at the devotional on Tuesday would be a life-changing experience. We of course all assumed that a general authority would be coming to visit. When we got to choir practice that night, the excitement and anticipation in the air was tangible. The director told us that the devotional would be broadcast to all the MTC's around the world. As soon as I heard this, I got really excited, because my dear friend, Abby, is currently at the Mexico MTC, so if the camera ever landed on me during the song, SHE WOULD SEE ME ALL THE WAY IN MEXICO. The director wouldn't tell us who was coming, so we just practiced our song. The song we sang is called "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer", and it is a newer arrangement than maybe some of you are familiar with. It is an amazing song, really beautiful and powerful. 15 minutes before the devotional began, the audience started singing hymns, like we usually do before devotionals. I saw the doors open, and the first person I recognized was Sister Bednar, which of course meant that Elder Bednar was speaking to us tonight. I was so excited, Elder Bednar was on our list of people we hoped would come that night. 

Singing "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer" really was a life-changing experience, it really is a honor to sing for an apostle. For the devotional, Elder and Sister Bednar stood side by side at the pulpit and talked about general conference. Elder Bednar taught us how he watches conference and studies the talks after conference. For each talk, he looks for the doctrine/principle that is taught, the invitation given, and the blessing promised for accepting that invitation. We then watched snippets from some different talks to practice this approach. It was a great devotional which gave me an increased desire to really dig into the conference talks for the next 6 months. After the devotional, our district leader, who wasn't in the choir, told us that my companion and I were put on camera during the song (they have big screens which project what is being recorded and sent to the other MTCs). This of course got me really hoping that Abby saw me. So, when I checked  my email, the first thing I see is an email from Abby with the subject line "I SAW YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!", which of course made me super happy. I love her so much!

I have completely loved my time here at the MTC, and it is so bittersweet to be finishing up. I have not regretted for one moment to serve a mission, and I am so happy that I still have so much time in front of me to dedicate myself to the Lord's work!

Sister Jensen
​The District.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Missionary Training Center

Dear Family, 

It's hard to know where to start, it seems like I have lived here for years and years! I am still absolutely LOVING the MTC. Even since the first couple of days, I have gotten so sad when I thinking about leaving this incredible place. (But I'm so excited for Idaho!) I've made so many great friendships and had so many life changing experiences in the short course of week. I guess the best thing to do would be to go through it day by day. And, by the way, there are some elders in here speaking Japanese. Love those little tender mercies. 

As Mom and Nathan know, I was a little ball of stress and anxiety the morning before they dropped me off. I was going into something so unknown. I told myself that I would love it and there was nothing to be afraid of, but, you know me, always worrying. And of course, I was right, this experience is nothing to be stressed about. After saying goodbye to Mom at the curb and walking away with my host, all that anxiety was washed away. It might have been due to the whirlwind of getting checked in, receiving my name tag, going to class, and meeting my district, but I think it was mostly just the abundance of the Spirit here. It is so real. I went to class right after dropping off my luggage, where I met most of my district. I LOVE my district so much! We have all been so blessed to be put together. But more about them later. First, Sister B. Sister B. is my beautiful companion. 

Our favorite study spot.
She is from Honeyville, Utah (cutest name, I know) and we are seriously so similar. We are both kind of introverted and enjoy not exercising. Don't worry though, we still exercise, which honestly feels so good when you sit in a classroom most of the day. Sadly, Sister B. is not going to Idaho. There are two other sisters in my district (who we room with and are best friends with of course) and all they are going to the California Irvine mission with Sister B. I am going to be so sad to leave them, but I know they are going to bless so many people's lives in California. We have four sets of elders. 3 of the elders are going to Irvine, 3 of them of going to the Ohio Cincinnati mission (woot woot!), and 2 of them are going to Nampa. So at least a few of the elders are going to Idaho with me. 

The best district ever

Sisters of District

My teachers are Brother A. and Sister G. Brother A. went to Puerto Rico and is now attending Utah Valley University. Sister G. went to Taiwan and is going to BYU. She was pretty jealous when I told her my family might be going for Christmas. They are both super great. I decided as soon as I met Sister G. that I want to be a teacher at the MTC after my mission. I think it is a good goal to reach for. After class, we had a meeting with all the new missionaries. When we walked in, President Burgess (MTC President), shook our hands, so that was pretty neat. We see him and his wife a lot and they are super good with the missionaries. We heard from most of the MTC presidency in this meeting. The special musical number was "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing", another tender mercy. Then at the end, we sang "We'll Bring His World His Truth", and there is this one part where we sing, "We are now the Lord's missionaries" and it was just so powerful! Definitely one of my favorite moments of the first day.

So I have already spent way too much time talking about the first day, so I am just going to go through my favorite moments this past week. Sister B. and I have been teaching two investigators. I am just going to write about J., because this email time literally flies. We have met with her twice and I have learned so much from it. She is from Korea and she took a pass-along card from the missionaries in the subway because she felt bad no one was taking them. Then she moved here with her husband to learn English. When we first got in there we asked her if she believed in God, to which she answered no. We were kind of shocked, most everyone here that we practice teach has somewhat of a religious background. So we talked about how you can know God is there through the Holy Ghost and shared with her Joseph Smith's first vision. I did not feel too great about it, but we did ask her to pray to ask if God was there. When we went back yesterday she said she did but didn't really feel anything. She then explained how, most of the time she prays, she is just doing it to fulfill her promise to all the missionaries that teach her. But, she has every once in a while prayed "deeply", as she beautifully puts it, and she feels that same comfortable feeling she gets at the MTC, and when she watched conference a couple of days ago. So we read with her Moroni 10:4-5 and talked about how, when she prays with a sincere heart and real intent, she can receive an answer. It was a really great lesson, I think it was because we were focused on teaching by the Spirit, not just teaching the lesson we had prepared. I am excited to teach her again tonight!

Wasn't conference great?! I absolutely loved gathering together with all of the missionaries and listening to the prophet and apostles of the Lord. I can't wait to dig into these talks the next few months, though I don't really have time now. The biggest surprise about the MTC is that I don't have nearly as much time as I want to study. But we are just so busy all of the time studying and teaching, I am not sure how that is possible! It was so fun to see the MTC choir, everyone was so excited and kept shouting out when they saw people they knew. Then standing up and singing "Called to Serve" was the best! On Sunday, after the afternoon session, we had a devotional. Vocal Point came to talk about their missions/life and of course sing to us. It was super cool! Though we were all hoping Elder Holland would pop buy so that was a little bit of a disappointment. Then, on Tuesday, Sister Linda K. Burton came for the devotional! It was incredible, obviously. Her husband spoke first, and he called up their granddaughter to join him, who is here preparing to go to Korea. It made me miss grandma and grandpa so much! I wish I could write more about what they said, but you all with just have to read my journals when I get home, which will like never happen cause I want to be missionary forever.

Not only is this the most spiritual experiences I have ever had, it is also the most fun! That is mostly due to my awesome district. We were kind of awkward on the first day, but by the end of the second day we were seriously all best friends. This is great, but it is also bad when we have to be focusing on something and we just want to talk and laugh together. But my favorite moments are when we are just together as a district in our class talking about the gospel. We have had such great conversations and every single one of them brings their own unique talents and perspectives.

Also, I went to the temple today for the first time! It was so uplifting. I loved being there with the district, all dressed in white. Then we went to the temple cafeteria afterwards and that was also very uplifting after all the MTC food.  

Temple + Fall=Happiness

The rose bushes are the best.

My Favorite mountain!

I love you all so much! I have like ten minutes left, so I am so terribly sorry if I don't reply to all of your emails! I just want to end with a plea for you all to take advantage of the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It will truly bless your life by bringing you peace in this life, and eternal life in the world to come!

Sister Jensen

Sister Peacock and I. She is teaching me to sing alto.

I found Val! She was my roommate in college.