Monday, August 14, 2017

Little Miracles



Dear Family,

We had a week filled with little miracles. I am so grateful for this life that I get to live. I am thankful for this special opportunity that I have to consecrate all I have to serving the Lord by sharing the gospel.

One of the biggest miracles has been teaching a mother and son. We have taught them twice now and set a baptismal date for September 9th! We taught the Restoration on Tuesday, and the son told us that he has already prayed to know I f the Book of Mormon is true, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if the church is true. And he told us that he received his answer that it is all true. We taught them the Plan of Salvation on Friday and that went great as well. We have been extra careful to involve members of the congregation in the teaching process, especially the young men. It has been really cool to see these teenage boys rise to the challenge of teaching their friend the gospel. When they go on their missions, they will truly be prepared, they will already love the work of the Lord.

The other big highlight from this week was hearing from Elder Rasband and Elder Wakolo. The whole mission got together in Eagle, which is where Elder Rasband was attending Stake Conference this weekend. First we heard from Elder Wakolo, who had quite the story. His is from Fiji and joined the church when he was 27. He married a member but never let her even have a copy of the Book of Mormon in his home. He took the missionary lessons 4 times in 8 years and had 24 sets of missionaries. It was a question that the last set asked that really changed his heart. They asked him what his family would call their grocery store if they happened to own a grocery store. He said that they would call it after their family since they owned it. They then related that to Christ’s church, and that if it was really Christ’s church it would be called after his name. This pierced his heart, he felt the Spirit, and he agreed to be baptized. Within a year he was called to be the branch president. And now he is a new seventy and this was his first assignment, because he just finished up being a mission president in Little Rock, Arkansas.

After Elder Wakolo, Elder Rasband spoke to us. He spoke to us about a lot of things, and I won’t try to relate them all. He gave us the assignment beforehand to study his talk, “Let the Holy Spirit Guide”, and the Spirit was our main discussion. There is one cool story that he told us from when we was a mission president in New York. At the end of their missions, Elder Rasband had the missionaries come to his home and have a testimony meeting, like we do here and in many other missions. They were having a testimony meeting and this one elder was bearing his testimony about how wonderful his mission was, except the end. He was sent to the Spanish branch in Stanford, Connecticut and said that all he did was hand out copies of the Book of Mormon on a street corner, and nothing else. Elder Rasband said this just broke his heart. Well, 18 months later, they were having another testimony meeting. This one elder stood up and said that he has the most wonderful mission, especially the end when he went to the Spanish branch in Stanford. He then told this story. One night, the received a telephone call from a woman crying. She told them how she was a single mom with many kids. One night, she was sitting alone in her living room when she looking up at her book shelf and saw this book that just seemed to shine at her. She looked to see what it was and saw that it was a Book of Mormon. She started to read it, and read it every night until she finished it, and she knew that it was true. At the very end of the Book of Mormon there was stamp, with the name of two elders and their number. She was then baptized along with many, if not all, of her children. Elder Rasband asked the missionary bearing his testimony what the names of those two elders are, and one of them was that same elder who bore his testimony 18 months before. Elder Rasband then bore his testimony of how we do not know the future consequences of our actions today, we do not know the lives that we will affect.

And the final tender mercy that I want talk about is the application of that very principle in my own mission. Right after hearing from Elder Rasband, we went to Nampa for the baptism of C., who I had taught just the first lesson to back in December. It was a beautiful baptism. C. has many of extended family members who are faithful members. I got to see these grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who were so excited for C. to take this step. She was just glowing, so ready to be brought closer to her Heavenly Father.

I also got to see many people that I love from the Nampa 12th ward. One of them was Sister S., my ward mission leader’s wife. She told me that I just had to go see A. She was baptized 20 years ago in Hungary, went inactive shortly after that because of her family, but is now very active. We aren’t really supposed to be going around and visiting people in our areas because we need to be back in our current areas. But, thankfully, the assistants were at this baptism because they brought an investigator. So I asked them for permission to see this one person and they said that I could. So I got to see A.! I don’t think I have ever met a more righteous, sweet, and humble person. Her daughter has been here for the summer from Hungary and has actually been taking the missionary lessons! We got to meet her, and she is just like A. 

I was thankful for these experiences because they have helped me to see my mission on a larger scope, rather than just focusing on the day to day. And I am trying extra hard to see the little miracles that Heavenly Father places in our path every day here in Middleton.

Love,
Sister Jensen  




Monday, August 7, 2017

Good-bye to Sister Shurtleff




Dear Family,

I said goodbye to my trainer yesterday, Sister Shurtleff. She will be going home tomorrow morning. It was one of those moments where you just really stop and realize how quickly time really does go by. I love and admire Sister Shurtleff so much, and it will be strange to not see her anymore. Thankfully, she will just be living in Utah, so I will get to see her after the mission. This area that we are serving in is her first area, so yesterday she came and we all had dinner with a family in the ward. It was so fun, and we took many pictures. Super sad to see her go, but super excited for all the possibilities ahead of her!





It was a great week; we have a lot of good things happening. The highlight is that we have some people that are ready to be taught by the missionaries! It is a mom and her son.  The son has some really good friends in the ward.  We haven’t met with them yet, but we are tomorrow at the Bishop’s house. We are really excited!

I get to attend a baptism this Saturday in Nampa! Sister Shurtleff called me earlier this week to tell me that someone we taught together accepted to be baptized and that she really wants us to be there. I remember she answered the door and just welcomed us in. That first visit was really good, she expressed a sincere interest in taking the lessons. I loved her right away, she is literally the sweetest. We got to teach them about the Restoration, and she received it really well. Then, all the crazy winter stuff happened, they got busy, and then both Sister Shurtleff and I got transferred. Thankfully, the elders were able to continue teaching her. Elder Wheeler, who came out with me from the MTC, got transferred there a couple of months ago and really connected with them. They got married a couple of weeks ago and now her baptism is on Saturday! I think one of the most rewarding parts of the mission has been seeing how those little seeds that I have helped sow have grown and been harvested by other missionaries. It is a really humbling experience in which you can really see the hand of the Lord. And you feel so thankful that you were able to play a small part in it.


Also, we went on exchanges this week. Our Sister Training Leader, Sister Sellar, is training a new missionary in addition to being the STL. Usually we have companionships in which both sisters are STLs but with the large amount of sisters that have been coming in, they are having the STLs train. Sister Tukumoeatu stayed in our area with Sister Sellar and I went to be with Sister Abbott, who came out the same time as Sister Tukumoeatu. It was really great, we got to teach a recent convert in a park. I love teaching in parks, it is my favorite. At this particular park there is just this random tank, so we took a picture on it. Then we got to teach their new investigator. This guy just showed up at church with a friend and asked the sisters if he could take the lessons. Sister Abbott and Sister Sellar were telling us about him earlier in the week and told us about how he has a friend serving a mission in Japan. Well, I didn’t connect the dots until I was there teaching him the Plan of Salvation with Sister Abbott and he told us that his friend’s name was Elder Yeakley, who served in our branch in Okinawa! That was a fun connection.

We got our transfer calls on Saturday and Sister Tukumoeatu and officially get to stay together here in Middleton for another transfer! Not really a surprise and it’s what I wanted to happen. I feel like I might stay in this area for longer than three months this time. At least I am hoping. But I am very, very, very, excited for the temple open house, which is happening next transfer! I have just been thinking lately about how inspired mission calls really are, because this is the perfect mission for me, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the 
world.

Love,
Sister Jensen