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.