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. 

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