Tuesday, February 28, 2017

But if not...

Dear Family,

It has been a great week! I feel like we are finally seeing some fruit from our labors, as well as the labors of past missionaries. I love how in the work of the Lord, we never do this alone. We have our companion, we have other missionaries, and most importantly, we have the Lord Himself laboring right beside us. 

During the week one of our teaching appointments was cancelled. So it was kind of like, now what? I read this article on the
 lds.org blog last week about prayer and how we should pray. The blogger talked about how sometimes we pray for righteous things and Heavenly Father doesn't give them to us because He has something better for us. Does that mean we should stop praying for our righteous desires? Well, ideally our desires should be the Lord's desires, and those are the things we should be praying for. But I know I am definitely not to that point yet. The article went on to explain that it is fine if we pray for those things, but doing something simple in addition to asking for those things will help our prayers significantly. After asking, we can add "but if not" then ask for something we KNOW He wants for us.. Anyway, I put that into practice on Thursday. In one my prayers earlier in the day, I asked that everything would work out with the our appointment and that we would be able to teach them. But, being used to cancellations as all missionaries are, I asked that if that didn't work out, we would be able to make best us of that time by finding that son or daughter of God who needed us then. Well, we tried a person or two then decided to text the A.’s and see if the were available for a lesson. To our great surprise, they were! We were able to go and teach M. the first half of the restoration! It was awesome, though we had a lesson scheduled right after that so we couldn't finish. We are planning on going back tomorrow :)
Our lesson right after the A.s was with the R. We taught about House of Israel in that lesson. We explained how it was established, how it was scattered, and how it is now being gathered. It was really cool because how R. had always been taught never really made sense to him. It seemed to him that there were just random tribes in the Old Testament and then they weren't talked about at all in the New Testament. But we were able to teach about how God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his seed which is still in effect today. I love how, all around the world, there are many coming to the knowledge of this covenant and most importantly of their Savior, Jesus Christ. Also, a super cool side note, R. taught our gospel principles class on Sunday! It was on the Holy Ghost and it was amazing! I am super thankful for a ward mission leader who has inspired ideas on how to help and strengthen those who are new in the gospel.
I think my favorite part from this past week is teaching I. again! We last minute met with her on Saturday night, which was another time when we had a lesson fall through and we were blessed to be able to teach someone else instead. We taught her most of the Restoration, and I don't know if I have ever felt the Spirit that strong when teaching that lesson. When I. feels the Spirit, she gets goose bumps, so every couple of minutes she was like, "I have goose bumps! Can't you see them!" Then, when Sister Eckery recited the First Vision, you could almost see it. I. looked up from reading it in the pamphlet and you could just tell that she knew it was true. It was indescribable. She said she would come to church, and we were really excited to see her there until she texted us the morning of saying that she was thinking about taking her daughter to the hospital. My hopes weren't too high after that, but I was proven wrong because she came anyway! She stayed through sacrament then we went with her to bishop's office to get a blessing. Another cool experience right there. 
It was a great week, and I am so thankful for every minute. I decided this morning that I am going to be a greenie for the rest of my mission. I don't want to lose the sense of enthusiasm I have, I just want it to grow. I want to do my absolute best out here, to completely rely on the Savior's atonement to carry me. 

Sister Jensen  

Valentine's Day

We heart attacked 14 people on the 14th.

Dear Family,

I am staying in Meridian with Sister Eckery for her last transfer!  It was what we were expecting, so it was nice not to be surprised. I am pretty content about it, I just love this area. The members are so loving and supportive and willing to do missionary work. We have decided to focus more of our efforts on working with the members, mainly by developing family mission plans with them. We are very excited about it, we know that if we work effectively with the members, we will find those who are really prepared to receive this message. I know there are people here that Heavenly Father needs us to touch, and I am determined to find them. 

We finally got to meet with and teach I. again! I was thinking about her one day and was worried because she hadn't responded to our texts. I just prayed that she would reach out to us, and the next day she called us and wanted to meet with us! We talked with her at the church for a while, she has a lot of hard things going on right now, but whenever we testified about God's love for her and the hope that the gospel brings, the Spirit was so strong. She told us that she wished that she would have joined the church when she was younger so that she could have served a mission like us. While I know that would have been a great blessing for her, I also know that God has His timing, and that we are supposed to be teaching her now. 

Last night we also had a really good lesson with J. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. J. has probably been one of my favorite people to teach, just because he ask such good, honest questions, questions that I have had and questions that I still have. We talked so much about the purpose for us coming to this earth, why we would leave God's presence in the first place. And I think it is summed up so perfectly in 2 Nephi 2:25:
“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”
All of this is about us having joy. Heavenly Father loves us so much, and us being happy makes Him happy. That is why this is a plan of happiness. It is definitely not easy and perfect all of the time, but if it was it wouldn't be worth it. I am so thankful for God's plan for me and this chance that I have to teach others about it. We testified of that quite a bit in J.'s lesson.

Also, side note, we were planning on the morning of Valentine's day and I was feeling a little hopeless because surely no one would want us to visit them on Valentine’s Day. But then this great idea came to us that we could just heart attack all of the people we are working with. So we did that, and it was really fun, many people that we have talked to since were really appreciative. 

Thank you to everyone for you emails/letters/packages! I love being a missionary and I love having so many wonderful people to support me. 


Sister Jensen  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Nail polish, Cafe Rio and the Meridian Temple

Meridian Temple!

Dear Family,

The weather has been so nice, 50 degrees never felt so good. The warmer weather and melting snow are definitely the highlight of my week, a real tender mercy from the Lord. Just pray that this is the beginning of spring and that we don't get hit with more winter. 

Jump time was super fun last Monday, but goodness was I sore. Everything just hurt, so you can imagine that there was a lot more complaining than there should have been. But Heavenly Father is just so good, because even when I do things grudgingly, He still blesses us, especially when I know that I don't deserve it. It is truly humbling. Another humbling experience that we have weekly is doing service at a retirement home. I don't know if I have mentioned this or not, but every Tuesday morning we get to go to a retirement home and paint the ladies nails. I absolutely love it. I love their sweet spirits and apparent love of their families. They tell me about their children, and more than once some of these women have told me about taking in children that were not their own and raising them. They become their own, and I am happy to offer that little service to women who are beloved to many. 

As I look through my planner to remember who we saw this week, I can see many small blessings from God. We got an appointment scheduled with the B’s, something we have been trying to do for weeks. We got to go to lunch with a couple of girls in the YSA. Someone bought us Cafe Rio (it is out of our mission so this is actually the over arching tender mercy for the week). I got to testify about the power of the atonement and of the sweet spirit we feel when worthily partaking of the sacrament. We met  three or four potential investigators, people who have told us to come back. Our ward mission leaders have been so awesome in supporting us as we have planned together how to work better with the ward members. 

Another highlight happened on Saturday night. We had a change of plans and ended up trying to contact a couple we had only heard about.  When we arrived, A. opened the door and welcomed us right in. We talked with them for a long time, heard a lot about their lives. They are truly humble people who love the Lord. A. told me that she was surprised by how much she opened up to us, and asked if I enjoyed being a missionary and talking to people like this. My answer was yes, absolutely. I love being able to just knock on a stranger's doors and leave their home feeling a little bit of God's love for them. There is just nothing like it. 

As always, thank you to everyone who has written me, you are the best and I love you all! I pray that my missionary service will bless your lives, especially with missionary opportunities! 

Sister Jensen 

Monday, February 6, 2017

I saw grass today!

Dear Family,

The fact that it is 46 and we saw patches of grass has already made this day a really good day. Then of course, I get to read all of the wonderful emails that you send me. We are going to a trampoline place later today with the zone, so basically just another day in missionary paradise. 

This week we met I.! I. is someone that the missionaries have worked with in the past.  She is incredible, and already has a strong desire to be baptized. Her family moved her from Bosnia about 17 years ago. When she was 12 or 13, they were living here and they had some neighbors who are members of the church. Her dad had cancer and they accepted the offer to receive a priesthood blessing for him. I. explained to us how she felt when they were giving the blessing, she described how different she felt and how peaceful and powerful it was. I could feel the Spirit so strong when she was talking about it. Then, a couple months after getting the blessing, her dad's cancer just disappeared. It has come back within the last couple of years. She has had a really hard life, and I think she knows that the gospel will bless her life. We will pray that she will have time to meet with us this week. 

We had our lesson with L. this week! We had a dinner with her at a member’s home. We had a delicious meal and then taught her while all the kids went downstairs to play. We taught her the first half of the restoration lesson, and how the gospel can bless our families. It was just so amazing to me because the church members were able to testify of how the gospel has blessed their family.  To see them testify to L. of the blessings they have received was really special, there was a strong spirit there. It is a blessing to be able to work with L., she has a sincere desire to learn, and is just kind of soaking everything up right now. She told us that she does want her oldest daughter to take the lessons and make the decision on her own whether to be baptized or not. So we were happy to hear about that :)

It was a good week, and I continue to love being a missionary. I love gaining a greater appreciation every day of how real and beautiful the gospel is, and how important it is that we share it. I know that we all have people placed in our lives that we can share this good news with. And while it may be a little scary, you are really just placing it in God's hands when you invite someone to enjoy the blessings of the gospel. We have the responsibility to invite, and after we do that we don't have to worry about it, because God will take care of it. That is a reminder that I need ALL of the time. I love this work, I know this church true and that our Savior, Jesus Christ, lives. 

Sister Jensen 

Sister Eckery and I being funny.

Exchanges with Sister Olson!