Monday, May 29, 2017

Phillips Lake

Phillips Lake

Dear Family,

We had an exhausting, busy, long week! But being busy really is the best as a missionary.  I would rather be busy and exhausted than anything else. I continue to treasure my time in this area and enjoy the beautiful spring, which I hear is when Baker is the prettiest. 

Last week we had a fun time hiking around a lake. I really like my district, but we are definitely suffering from a lack of sisters. The closest sisters are more than an hour away. The assistants came to our district meeting this week, so it was literally us and nine other elders. But it is all good because a flood of sisters are supposed to be coming in these next couple of transfers. This week we don't have a preparation day because I am going to the temple! The temple trips are on Thursdays so when you go they just ask that we designate that day as our preparation day and do work on Monday. But we do get to email and shop and do laundry today, which is seriously needed. I am so looking forward to entering the Lord's house once more

When we went to teach one of our investigators this week, we ended up getting to teach a family member as well. We taught them about having faith, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. When we taught about baptism our investigator said, "I want to be baptized! When can I be baptized?" We excitedly told her that she could be baptized and set a date for July. When we asked the family member if he wanted to be baptized that day as well, he told us he wasn't sure yet. But I hope that if he starts going to church and reading the Book of Mormon, he will be ready too.

We are still putting in preparation for C.’s baptism this week. He is super excited to be baptized. We taught him in the park again and he continues to be very prepared and ready. He has a strong desire to be active in the church after his baptism. He came to church on Sunday as well. 

On Wednesday we got to teach J., an lady that the sisters had been just visiting for the past couple of months. We asked if we could teach her the lessons and she said yes. As we were teaching her we found out that she actually took the lessons about 30 or 40 years ago, and wanted to join the church. But her husband was really against it so she decided not to. It was just a testimony to me that no effort really is wasted to share the gospel. She seems open to the idea of baptism, and I believe that as we go over the lessons again she will feel the Spirit and desire to join herself with the restored church.  She is a kindred spirit and just one of my favorite people, I love her. 

On Friday, a member came and picked us up in the morning and we made the hour and a half drive to John Day. This little town of 1,000 really is in the middle of nowhere. This member originally called us because she had someone she wanted us to teach. While our initial plan did not work out, we were able to meet R., who has been asking his neighbor a lot of questions about the church. She invited him to meet with the missionaries and we taught him the restoration! He is really prepared and already knows tons about the church. We taught him and he said that he had a lot to think about and would definitely read the Book of Mormon and prays. 

Then we went to Halfway the next day and met with another investigator there. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she loved it. I could tell that she was really touched by the knowledge that we lived with Heavenly Father before and that He created this wonderful plan for us. We set a baptism date for her for July 22.

Like I said, busy week. But I am so so grateful to be here doing this work, it really is humbling and makes my love for the Savior and my Heavenly Father grow every day. 

Sister Jensen 
There is this bus in town that has been converted into a taco place.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Blessed by Service

Dear Family,

Just another great week in Zion, despite some difficulties. We got to teach most of our investigators and see great progress. 

First off, we had two lessons with C. this week to go over the Plan of Salvation. The second lesson we got to do in the park and it was just gorgeous outside. I thought to myself that I could definitely do this for the rest of my life, just sit in a sunny park and talk about the gospel. He is still set on being baptized in early June and has his interview this week.

We had a cool dinner this week with a man that joined the church about three years ago.  I think that he is one of the kindest people that has ever lived. He has a health condition which prevents him from being able to talk or eat solid foods.  He takes a notebook around with him everywhere to communicate with people. Anyway, he invited us over for dinner, so we went over with another sister in the ward to eat this wonderful home cooked meal for us that he couldn't even enjoy himself. I think it is just one of the most pure instances of Christ-like love that I have ever experienced. 

On Saturday we got to go to Halfway again. The branch mission leader and his wife are both teachers at the school and have a student that they are close with. A month or two ago the student just asked them if she could go to church with them. She has been to church several times and finally asked her mom is she could take the missionary lessons, so we got to teach her the restoration on Saturday. It was probably one of the best lessons of my mission. And I think that was because of the members in the lesson and the testimonies that they were able to bear, it just really brought the Spirit. We asked her to be baptized at the end and she accepted, but wanted to talk to her parents first before we set a date. We are going back next week to teach her the next lesson. 

I am really grateful for this week and to be in this area at this time. There is so much work for us here to do, and I have been blessed with an obedient and hard-working missionary with tons of greenie fire. I am sorry that I didn't take many pictures this week but we should be doing a fun hike today so look forward to next week. I love you all so much and am thankful for all of the prayers and support. 

Sister Jensen 

Transfers, again...

 Dear Family,

What a blessing it was to talk to you on Saturday! I loved seeing your faces and hearing you voices, how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family. My last week with Sister Moa-Sam Fong was really good, if not a little hectic. 

We met with a new investigator on Tuesday, his name is C. He has taken the lessons before.  He called us a week or two and asked to take the lessons again and be baptized. We set a date in June.

We got our transfer calls Saturday morning. I was such a anxious wreck, because one of the sisters in my district met with President the week before and he told her that our area was going to be turned over to elders. I knew that this was going to happen eventually because all the sisters are going to be in the city areas to work with the temple open house, but I didn't think it was going to happen so soon. Anyway, I was super thankful when the transfers came and I found out I was staying! My new companion's name is Sister Soelberg, her family is military so she has moved around a bunch. She has been out for 3 months. :) She is super sweet and I can already tell that she is a dedicated and hard working missionary. 

I think I updated you on literally all of things I already told you in my Skype call, but that is all I can think of for now! I am super excited for this next transfer and hope that we can find, teach, and baptize many people! 

Sister Jensen 

Waiting at the park before Moa was picked up by the transfer van.

When you have to leave Baker...

From our hike last week

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cattle Branding

There is this really pretty walkway that runs by the river and goes throughout the town.

Dear Family,
This week flew too! We did so much service this week. There is a part-member family in one of our wards who is moving to a different house in town, so we have been over there helping in their yard and just painting a ton. Since I week was so service-filled, I am going to make this shorter than usual so I can have more time to get back to everyone. 

Earlier this week we got to take out a girl in one of the wards here out with us. She is leaving on her mission at the end of the month, and this was the first time she has ever gone out with the sisters. Luckily, we got to do several cool things with her. We received a referral from a less active member a couple of weeks ago for this guy in her neighbor hood, and we tried him on Easter Sunday. He told us we could come back, and since we finally had a third female we tried him. We taught him the first lesson, and that went really well. We are going back to tomorrow, so hopefully he started reading the Book of Mormon. We also went to this old less-active guy's house that the missionaries have been trying to get to church for forever. He really softened up with the future missionary, and she invited him to come see here give her farewell, which will be the same Sunday that her sister gives her coming home talk, which I am super excited about because how often does that happen?

This week we also got to go to a member's calf branding. It was super cool, I wasn't brave enough to wrestle one down to the ground for it to be branded, but I did give a couple of them their shots. It is just so fun to watch the families do their thing, even the littlest kids. Some of them are just born cowboys and cowgirls. 

Again, sorry for the shorter update! But this coming week Sister Moa-Sam Fong and I are going to try and set baptism dates with 6 or 7 of our investigators, so hopefully we will see some miracles! I continue to absolutely love my time here in Baker City! 

Sister  Jensen 

Sister Messer and I (She is serving in an area close by.)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Busiest Week Ever

Dear Family,

This week was crazy and went by so fast! I think I will just have to go day by day.

We went to Ontario for P-day and with the zone. We played Ultimate Frisbee and about 30 minutes in it started pouring, so I was soaked for the rest of the day. Also one of the elders got hit in the face with the frisbee and half of one of his front tooth was knocked out. 

In the morning we went to go do service for a lady who recently had neck surgery. She has three horses in her backyard so we got to brush down two of them. It was super fun, I loved just brushing them down in the beautiful weather, mountains in the background and that fresh country smell. I kept on saying to Sister Moa-Sam Fong, "I just love my mission, don’t you just love your mission?" That day we also taught J.  We talked about the restoration and Joseph Smith. She has a good testimony of it, and it was cool to hear her share it. 

We had zone conference in Ontario this day and had to leave around 7:45. Baker City and La Grande are in a different time zone from the rest of the mission so that makes timing a little hard sometimes, but I love it here because it is light when we wake up. But it does get darker earlier than in Idaho, hopefully that will change soon. Anyway, we had a really good zone conference. We received some training about how to help the members invite their friends to the temple open house. After zone conference we went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. I went to Middleton with Sister Sellar for the day. Middleton is one of the best places in the mission to serve, though it is not quite as pretty as Baker City. But I hope to serve there someday.

I was in Middleton in the morning. We tried contacting former investigators and didn't have much luck. We went tracting before going into lunch, and we were about to knock on this one door when this man opened the door, saw us, and urgently said, "I don't have time to talk right now, we have an emergency!" and then he just stood outside talking on his phone. We went to the next house and then in a couple of minutes the fire truck and the ambulance showed up. We didn't really know what to do with ourselves after that, but you can just come across all sorts of things when you tract. We left for Baker around 1:30 then exchanged back. We then had a lesson with the W. family about the temple. I am seriously so excited for them to be sealed! And they are excited too, I will write more about them when I get to Sunday. We also got to go to Addiction Recovery with one our investigators. Addiction Recovery is one of my most favorite things ever, definitely one of the hours in my week where I feel the Spirit strongest. I would encourage everyone to read and study that manual, even if you don't have an addiction to drug and alcohol because it is just all about overcoming the natural man through the atonement of Jesus Christ. 
A family we visited got chicks and let us hold them! They were soooo soft.

We taught J. again. We talked about the apostasy and watched the restoration video. This time one of J.’s older children joined us for the lesson.  Later, J. told us that he has been asking her a lot of questions. He seems like a really good kid.

We had to leave Baker City around 6:30 pm because we had mission conference in Nampa that began at 8 the next morning. So we went and stayed with a couple of sisters in Meridian that have a really nice house with tons of space in it. So it was super fun to spend time with them, I just love our sisters. 

We were waiting for a train to move off the tracks for 15 minutes while trying to get to an appointment.

Okay, I am not sure if I mentioned this super exciting news in any of my letters, but ELDER BEDNAR CAME TO OUR MISSION!!! That is what the mission conference was for. It was Elder Bednar, Elder Sores, Bishop Waddell, and Elder Erekson. I wish I could put this meeting into words that accurately describe what it was like. We heard short talks from the other general authorities for about the first hour. Then Elder Bednar spoke for the remaining hour and a half of the meeting. A month before this, we were asked to read four of his talks in preparation for this meeting. We read Ask in Faith, Converted unto the Lord, Seek Learning by Faith, and Always Retain a Remission of  Your Sins. He talk to us a little bit first, and talked about in the church we have a lot of really stupid cultural norms. He told us that one thing that people in the church do is take tons and tons of notes during talks and then never refer back to them. Then he set a guideline for the meeting that we were not allowed to write down anything that they said, we could only write down things that the Spirit taught us. This was so hard for me, because they made so many great comments but I did my best. Then he had us stand up and share what we learned from studying and applying these talks. After a missionary who had volunteered explained what they learned, Elder Bednar would ask them how they had learned it. This went on for a while, then he had us share what we were learning from this pattern of learning. Then, he opened it up for questions. And he told us that if we had a question already prepared to just throw it away and not ask it, he wanted us to ask things that we felt impressed upon by the Spirit to ask. I had tried to come up with a good question in the month leading up to this, and just couldn't so I didn't feel too chastised. The whole time though I really wanted to ask him a good question but felt I couldn't come up with anything good. I know it was just my fear stopping me. But the questions asked by the other missionaries were really awesome and there were some really good insights shared. Elder Bednar is so funny, there was so much laughing. And he just tries his hardest to be so real with us, I really appreciate that about him. After questions he asked again what we were learning from this teaching model. I was just really impressed upon about the importance of the Spirit in our teaching. The Spirit is so vital, and we should never get in the Holy Ghost's way by drawing attention to ourselves. Also, it really hit home to me how acting and not be the object that is acted upon is so essential to our conversion. Afterwards we got to shake hands with all of them. And I also got to see Sister Shurtleff! It was so good to give her a big hug and spend a little time talking with her. She is an amazing missionary, I was so blessed to be trained by her. 

At zone Conference with Elder Wheeler (he was in my MTC district) and Sister Messer (she came out with Sister Shurtleff and is serving in La Grande right now and is in my district.

This was fast Sunday for us because we have Stake Conference next week. I love how this is my third stake conference on the mission. Anyway, taking the sacrament three times was just as wonderful as ever. On exchanges Sister Sellar shared with me something that she read in an Ensign article. She had read that the time we spend pondering and remembering the Savior during the Sacrament is like the hour that Christ asked His disciples to watch with Him in the garden of Gethsemane. I just loved that insight and applied it this Sunday. In our third Sacrament meeting one of our recent converts got up and bore his testimony. It was the realest, sweetest, most sincere testimony I have ever heard in my life.  He basically just got up there and talked about how he always felt so good when he came into the church building these past couple of years for scouts. He was so impressed by how happy all of the church member were, and how he wanted that happiness too. He then expressed how he is the happiest he has ever been. Later that day he and his brother were ordained to be deacons in the Aaronic Priesthood. 

Obviously, I had a really awesome and jam-packed week. I just can't believe how fast my time as a missionary is going, it is just crazy to me. But I am so thankful for this enormous blessing I have to share the gospel, to help people come to know their Savior. I know with all of my heart that it is true!!!


Sister Jensen