Thursday, April 16, 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers But What About April Floods? 4.13.15

Dear Family,

I love Michigan. It just expands the realms of possibilities. I didn't know that it could rain for DAYS straight. I knew it could snow for days on end (found that out last November) but you would think that the clouds would run out of water eventually. I guess that's part of being surrounded on three sides by water. It made for an adventuresome week. The earthworms were in abundance and the robins are getting fat (baskin' robins, anyone?). The grass has turned AMAZINGLY green and the buds on the trees are getting bigger and bigger. The flowers are poking through and the promise of a wonderful Spring and Summer are on their way! I am so glad that I get to have a complete Spring and Summer before I leave my mission. :) Blessings!

This is going to be a BUSY transfer. I think between trade-offs and blitzes and meetings, about a third of our time will be spent not in our area. President Jacobsen wants us to work more closely with the missionaries in our zones and he wants there to be a better feeling of trust and unity in our mission so he's asked us to "blitz" areas or work in other companionship's area for the day. Blitzes have had a negative connotation in our mission because usually an area tended to get blitzed by zone leaders or sister training leaders when a companionship isn't doing well. But President hopes that we can change that by using blitzes to lift, inspire, and train the missionaries and let them know we love them. :) So last week we went to Holland for a day. The Holland sisters are "pink-washing" the area (taking over an elder's area) and they're both young in the mission so we went out to make sure that they and the area were getting situated. When we got there we also found out that they didn't have a car because their "zombie car" was in the shop. so it was actually inspiration that we went when we did because we got to drive them around and help them out. Sister Morrison and I got there Wednesday night and had probably the worst night's sleep on the couch (see accompanying picture) but what's missionary work without adventure? It poured rain from about 6:25 am-5:34 pm the next day so Sister Morrison and I had an adventure door knocking while the sisters were in lessons. That's when we discovered what really lives below Michigan's soils and how many holes our rain boots had. Holland has a lot of nice people though. I really enjoyed talking with them. :) 

Our area on the other hand is going through some rough patches. We are in a season of finding. I don't think I've done this much door knocking in a really long time and honestly, sometimes it's hard to want to go door knocking. But I want to find investigators and I want to help people receive the blessings that Heavenly Father wants to give them. I was reading my journal this past week and I read through my experience at the temple and that was a great reminder of why we do missionary work. Heavenly Father wants all of His children to receive the blessings of the Gospel. He intends for all to receive these covenants and blessings. So I need to put on my "big girl skirt" and go to work. I am grateful that I get to work with Sister Morrison who also wants to work hard as well. I have a feeling that the Lord is preparing people to receive His message and I hope to be the branch that can bring forth fruit. 

Saturday was our car fast and I feel like I earned two achievements: my first blister of the year and my first sunburn of the year. I broke out the flats and apparently I haven't walked 7 miles in them in a long time because I have a lovely blister on my big toe. I think I need to look into some new shoes.... It wasn't really warm on Saturday but it was a cloudless day and my cheeks got red and I have a little red triangle on my chest. I really didn't expect that to happen. I wore a knee length skirt without tights yesterday and at one point I looked down and thought, whoa, I forgot how white I am. I also wore a black shirt at church which really doesn't help me look tanned and one of the ladies at church said, "Don't worry, black-and-white is in style."  Looks like I need to get some color on me again.

I'm doing well. I feel like I'm exhausted every day but that just means that we're working hard. I love seeing the Lord's hand every day and I know that He does miracles every day. :) This is His church and I know He loves us!

Have a wonderful week!!

Love, Sister Jensen

April is Here! 4.6.15

Dear Family,

April is here!! I remember thinking in January that April is forever away and that it was never going to come, yet here we are! Time is a weird thing, especially on your mission. Six weeks have never gone by so quickly! I was looking at the accumulation on my planners and came to the realization that this is the start of my 11th transfer as a missionary! When did I get so old (in the mission)?? This will be a strange month for us because General Conference was this weekend, and then we have back to back weekends of Stake Conference and a broadcasted Stake Conference from Salt Lake City. We will only have one week of regular sacrament meeting which will be odd. It will be hard not being able to partake of the sacrament but it will just make the first week of May that much better!

We got transfer calls last Friday and both Sister Morrison and I will be staying in Wyoming for another transfer! WOOHOO! Sister Morrison will be my longest companion, beating Sister Fehlman by 2 weeks. I can't believe that I've been with her for two transfers! It's flown by! I guess that's a good indication of our relationship as a companionship. We also got news that we will have another set of sisters in the zone now which is pretty sweet! When I first got here there was only one other set of sisters in our zone, but now we have three sets! It will be fun to go on tradeoffs with them and learn from them and their areas. One of my favorite things about being a Sister Training Leader is that I am ALWAYS learning, whether that's because I DIDN'T do something I should have done or because I DID do something I shouldn't have done (I'm guilty more of the former than the latter). There are so many tricky calls to make sometimes and thankfully with the aid of the Holy Ghost and repentance, we can change who we are in whatever capacity we serve in to become the Lord's servants. I'm grateful He hasn't lost His trust in me! 

This week was slower and we did a lot of finding (aka door knocking). We had a pretty cool finding miracle: We went to door knock a street and no one was answering. We kept door knocking anyway. We ran into a girl who told us to come back later and a lady who wasn't interested, not a lot of promising things. We knocked on another door and a lady answered. Honestly I gave one of the WORST door approaches of my mission. It was EVERYWHERE, no focus at all and I think I covered every restored truth in Preach My Gospel. But the lady asked us what book was in my hand. We told her it was the Book of Mormon and asked her if she had heard of it before. She said she had but only negative things. Well, we're here to tell you the positive things! We asked if we could come back and talk to her and her  family about the Book of Mormon and she said yes! She shined us (meaning our appointment fell through) but we are definitely going back this week to follow up. Later that day we were driving back to our area from a dinner appointment and I said, "Sister Morrison, let's go back and check up on that lady who told us to come back later." So we did and we got a return appointment! It was awesome! We're seeing her and her family tomorrow at 2pm. :) It was pretty cool to see those two finding miracles happen in the same day. It makes me want to have better faith in the Lord and His plans because He sees the big picture, even on a seemingly empty street.
We see a lot of "No Soliciting" signs but this is the best one yet.

I LOVE CONFERENCE!!!!! I loved it SO MUCH!!!! I learned a lot from it. I am SUPER SAD that you didn't get to watch the Saturday session because it was AWESOME. There were so many talks about the family. It made me really want to have a spouse and kids haha. I don't think I could pick a favorite talk. I felt like the Spirit talked to me through every talk and gave me answers to my prayers. Today I am putting the talks on CD so we can listen to them in the car as we drive. I want to digest it ALL. I love all the doctrine they expounded upon and I loved the feelings from the Holy Ghost of truth. We told Elizabeth to think of questions she wanted answers to and then listen to conference and boy, she got her answers! It was amazing to see how our prayers are answered through the Lord's servants. Heavenly Father definitely heard my praying and pleading for a talk that would answer Elizabeth's questions. I am so grateful that He heard and answered it. :)

We have some good things heading our way! I know that Sister Morrison and I are staying together because we still have a great work to accomplish here in the Grandville/Wyoming area. I am so grateful to be a missionary now and I know that I will be eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for who I've become because of my mission. I love you all so much! I am so grateful that you got to spend time together for Easter! We'll all be together again before you know it. :)

Love, Sister Jensen

No Anti- Allowed! 3.30.15

Dear Family,
I am very grateful that I get to email you today! I was worried for a moment that I wouldn't be able to. The MyLDSmail server was down and I'm pretty sure that every missionary and their mothers were praying for it to come back up. Looks like it worked!
Thank you so much for your prayers over Brian and Ian! Here's an update on them: We dropped Brian this week. He won't answer any form of communication and we dropped by his residence and he didn't answer the door when we knocked (it was very apparent that he was home). So we decided sadly that we needed to drop him.  We suspect that there was some anti involved somewhere. President Jacobsen committed us to "inoculating" our investigators- warning them that they are going to face anti and opposition and committing our investigators to ask us their questions instead of their neighbors or the internet. Right after we "inoculated" Brian, he dropped off the face of the earth. It's sad but that's life.

Ian is.... Ian. There's actually a chance that we might not be able to teach him anymore for certain reasons. It's been heartbreaking as well. We've come to love Ian and we don't want to give up but sometimes there are things that we can't interfere with no matter how much we wish we could. I was reading in "True to the Faith" this morning and this brought me a little comfort: "Mourning is one of the deepes texpressions of love." I have mourned for my investigators. Sister Morrison and I have had many experiences when we drive down the road after lessons and such and our hearts just feel so heavy. I guess it just shows how much love we didn't know we had for them.

With all the sad things going on, Heavenly Father gave us a miracle. :) We walked out of Brian's apartment complex and started walking to another building to knock before an appointment with Ian. This guy was walking toward us and I stopped walking to talk to him. He told us that he was looking for his cat and then asked us what we were doing. Well, let us tell you. We invited him to learn about the Book of Mormon and he said that he would be interested! So we asked when we could meet with him and then I blurted out, "Do you have time right now?" He was like, "Yeah, I do." So we stood on the sidewalk and taught him the Restoration! It was great! We got to the end and committed him to reading 3 Nephi 11, praying about it, and meeting with us again. We got his number and set up an appointment for two weeks from now! It was SWEEEEET!!! As we're finishing up this guy walks over to "check his mail". He stops and introduced himself to our friend Taylor. Then he says, "When you read the Book of Mormon, make sure you compare it with the Bible because it doesn't agree with the Bible." NO WAY. HOLD UP! NO WAY ARE YOU COMING TO ANTI OUR NEW INVESTIGATOR IN FRONT OF OUR FACE. I was shocked. He then proceeded to bash us and say a lot of terrible things to us. I will let you in on a big secret to bashing. I call it "Bashing 101": Just don't do it. I have learned and I have a testimony that the best thing you can do when people want to bash is to bear your testimony that you know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. You will get nowhere pulling out the scriptures when someone is elevated and isn't open to hearing the Gospel. So just be respectful and bear your testimony. Eventually, Sister Morrison interjected and told him to stop arguing with us and that we were going to leave. Taylor even stood up for us! He turned to the guy and said, "I appreciate your concern," and he turned to us, "I appreciate your concern as well. But I think I will read and decide for myself what I think about it." Praise the Lord. We said goodbye to Taylor and got into the car. We were drained. We just sat for a couple minutes trying to get the Spirit and our nerves back. As I've looked back on this experience, and as awful as it is, I think it needed to happen. Taylor knows for sure now that the only way he's going to find out truth is by praying and asking God because that's all we bore testimony of. He also knows what the Spirit feels like when it's there and when it's not there. So maybe there are some good things that have come from this. :)
This is week 6 of the transfer so transfer calls are this week. Hopefully by the end of next transfer I can send my winter stuff home. :) It snowed a couple times this past week (no bueno) but it's sunny and in the 40's today. Rumor is is that it could get into the 60's tomorrow. I am definitely praying sincerely and with real intent about that haha.
I love my mission. I really do. I have had some of the hardest, most heart-wrenching experiences, but I would never trade my mission for anything. I am so grateful to my supportive family and my Father in Heaven for letting me go on a mission. It has changed my life. :)

I love you all so much. Can you believe that I get to call you next transfer? That's weird haha. Where has time gone?? I hope that everyone is doing well and "not burying their testimonies" (see Woman's Broadcast). You are all so wonderful!!
Love, Sister Jensen

LAND HO! 3.23.15

Dear Family,

Spring is creeping it's way into Michigan! Most of the snow has melted by now and the trees are starting bud! I am SO HAPPY!!!!! It's a blessing to see ground and not have to wear ankle weights every day (aka my snow boots. Seriously I was getting some weird muscle soreness from wearing those every day). The temperature is slowly creeping up and I keep encouraging the good weather every time I step outside- give it some good positive affirmation. ;) 

This week was a weird week. I think every one was on Spring Break last week because we would go door knocking for hours and only talk to three people. Either that or the "snow birds" haven't returned from their treks south for the winter. Whatever the reason is, we have decided that this week is going to be a let better than last week. So far it has! We went knocking yesterday and got more invitations to learn in 2 hours than we did all week. #embarrassing #mishprobs

A trend that I have noticed on my mission is that nothing will ever go smoothly. Ever. Maybe that's just life but really, Elder Richard G. Scott was right when he said that "This life is an experience in profound trust." Brian has fallen off the face of the earth. We haven't had contact with him in over a week. He won't answer our calls, texts, or Facebook messages. It's been heart wrenching. But I have confidence in the Lord. He knows all things and He knows that we just want to help Brian. Please continue to pray for him!

But let's talk about the positives. :) Ian came to church yesterday in a white shirt! Sort of. It was button up and white for the most part.  He told us yesterday that he is determined to make his date on May 2nd, which is awesome when you're investigators are excited for their baptismal date. On Saturday we went to Kalamazoo to watch a performance of the oratorio "Lamb of God" by Rob Gardner. Music combined with scripture can be powerful and when you have a 200 piece choir and a 100 piece orchestra it's just monumental. I feel blessed to have such a great connection to music. It's been a powerful influence in my life, especially in feeling the Spirit. I feel bad for Sister Morrison who had to sit next to me and see me get all emotional. It was so moving to see these people sing their testimonies of the Savior so powerfully. It was a great experience. 

I hope that everyone is doing well. It's overwhelming to see our house changing so much. I hope that you're having fun in the process! :) Don't let it get to stressful. ;)

Love you all, Sister Jensen

Monday, March 16, 2015

You Have to Have the Spirit 3.16.15

Dear Family,
I am pleased to inform you that I have not worn tights or leggings in two days. My legs are freaking out a little bit from being so exposed but mentally I feel on top of the world. That is all.
Well, it's Monday again!! It's been a LONG week with so many things happening but we made it! Last Wednesday we had Zone Training which meant that the Zone Leaders and us, the Sister Training Leaders, had to conduct a training session. It went pretty well I think. I felt the Spirit and I know that the Spirit guided those who taught. Sister Morrison and I trained on "Obtaining and Teaching by the Spirit" and I have been doing my best to implement it into my missionary work. 

According to Joseph  Smith, “No man can preach the Gospel without the Holy Ghost” and for anyone who has been on a mission, that is one of the quickest lessons you learn. I am grateful for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and I hope that it's each one of our greatest desires to be worthy of that gift. :)
Since the Ludington sisters were at the Grand Rapids stake center for ZT we decided to go on tradeoffs with them then and then switch back Thursday evening. I got to go to Ludington with Sister Brockbank (my baby!! who's half way done with her mission......) and getting to Ludington was an adventure. Ludington is 2 hours away from Grand Rapids and so the sisters hopped from car to car to make it to training and we got to do the same thing going back. We went from car to car to car to area. It was great though. Ludington has been a struggling area and the sisters just "pink-washed" the area this transfer so they're starting from nothing. But we saw a couple of finding miracles.

When we got to the area, we checked up on a less active member but she wasn't home so we decided to knock the street. We weren't having much success but when we prayed in our car, we prayed that as we knocked we would be able to teach someone about the Restoration and gain a new investigator so I was determined to help that come true. We were walking down the street and there was a person walking toward us. I said to Sister Brockbank, "Let's go talk to that dude." We walked over and turns out the dude was a woman. Ha. Well we talked to her and ended up walking back to her home and doing her dishes and teaching her about the Restoration! And when we were done she asked for our phone number so we could come back! MIRACLES! It felt SO GOOD! And she gave me a bracelet and a pair of earrings that she made that I'll probably treasure forever. So it was a pretty cool door knocking experience. :) Miracles do happen but they happen according to our faith and faith means action most of the time, not just passive belief.
Grandville/Wyoming is going alright. We are having some trouble getting in contact with some of our investigators which is a little sad but I think this week will turn out pretty good. Ian is still doing really well. I've learned from teaching Ian that the Book of Mormon is a powerful teacher. I've learned that when you let the scriptures be bold for you, people take things a lot easier haha. We moved Ian's date to May 2nd now because he should be "retiring" from the bike club soon and he could possible be prepared by then to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Ian has changed SO MUCH since we've taught him and he told us that the greatest changes he's made in his life in the seven months he's met with the missionaries has been while Sister Morrison and I have been teaching him. That makes you feel good. :) The Gospel truly changes people.
I love you family. Isn't it great that we can be together forever? I hope you're as excited as I am to be an Eternal Family. I love you all for your uniqueness and the way you help me become a better person. I especially appreciate how you show me through your examples and faith how to become a more devoted and faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. I am so blessed to have you all in my life. :)

Well, that's it for me. I'm including a picture of Sister Morrison and me at Old Country Buffet to celebrate Chris's birthday. It had the most food options for Sister Morrison (like french fries and Jell-O! YUM!). Thanks for letting us celebrate! And the other picture is Sister Brockbank and I trying "Bacon Pop". I'm pretty sure it was left in the apartment by the previous elders. One taste was enough.
Love always,
The Michiganry :)
Bacon Popcorn


If I could make the subject of this email bigger and bolder I would.....
Dear Family,
I am so so so happy to announce that we have broken the 40's!!!!! YAAAAAYYYY!!! I do not think you can comprehend how extremely happy I am about this!!!! This is the first time in probably three months that I haven't worn my snow coat or snow boots outside. Saturday was the first day that things got warm and I was so happy I almost grabbed my hairdryer and ran outside to encourage the melting process. However with all the melting it makes the roads pretty slick in the morning after it drops below freezing at night....

Random occurrence:  found a forged dollar bill!
Life just keeps getting better and better and I do not mean that sarcastically. Sister Morrison and I  taught the most lessons we have taught as a companionship since we've been together this past week and that's even with missing a day due to MLC. Heavenly Father is so good to us. Brian is determined to meet his date next week which means we get to meet with him every day until he gets baptized! He's doing very well and I can't believe how much this Gospel can change people in such a short time. It's amazing. Ian is making progress slowly, but it's progress. We are doing our best to help him gain a church family because if he's going to quit his club he needs a family that will love him. Elizabeth has been struggling with some things that are happening in her life but she received a priesthood blessing this week. The priesthood is such a blessing!! And the great thing is that it's here to bless ALL of God's children. :)
We had some really cool "finding miracles" last week. In our mission have cards that we hand out to people with our number on it. We usually give them to people who are don't have a lot of interest or said that they would be interested in doing their own research. In the whole 13 and a half months of my mission, no one has EVER called us back. Until last Wednesday. Someone ACTUALLY called us ON PURPOSE because he was interested in learning more about the Gospel!! We have an appointment with him this Wednesday!!! Our other "finding miracle" was pretty much all of Saturday. Heavenly Father put us in the right places and we got four potential investigators from it, three of them with specific return appointments! I am just filled with gratitude. It feels so good to be a tool in His hands! He is so good!!
I'll share a little highlight with you from one of our lessons this past week. We were teaching Brian and we asked him why he should read the Book of Mormon. I was thinking he'd say something along the lines of "to know that it's true" or something like that. But no. He said, "I should read the Book of Mormon to help me endure to the end." BOOM. It kind of blew my mind a little bit. Did you know that the Book of Mormon would help you successfully endure to the end?? I did but didn't at the same time. But seriously, the Book of Mormon is all about enduring to the end and keep our covenants and preparing to meet Heavenly Father again. Read that book, people. You need it. I need it. Everyone needs it.
I love my mission so much. I understand why it has to be hard, because if it wasn't it wouldn't be so worth it. I am so grateful to be serving the Lord. I love this Gospel and I know that it is true. It just is. It's so simple and wonderful and beautiful and it just makes sense. Don't ever forget it. :)
Love, Sister Jensen

The Push 3.2.15

Dear Family, 

Having been out for 13 months gives you an interesting perspective on the mission. I've been thinking a lot about last March and how hard that was. And now it's March again and I am trying to stay mentally sane. Thankfully it's working so far. March is hard because it's a long month after a short month and Spring isn't for another two months instead of three weeks. Sitting at my computer I can see out the window and stare at the piles of snow..... I just keep reminding myself that it will be worth it when the Spring comes because the Spring cannot be beat! It is the BEST!!!! Everything gets so green, people are a lot happier when you knock on their door, and the sun stays out longer! All good things to look forward to! :) And I'm looking forward to NOT wearing my winter coat. I don't even take it off anymore when I go into people's homes, mostly because I forget I'm wearing it. It's just apart of me now......

Hopefully that doesn't sound too whiny and depressing. I'm actually doing pretty well. :) I really feel charged spiritually from my temple trip a week and a half ago and I am really hoping that I can maintain that. We're seeing a lot of success from the work. 

I think I told you a little bit about Brian so let me recap and give you an update: We met Brian on Valentine's Day. He was the only person we talked to in the 15 minutes we were knocking doors before we received word to get out of the cold because it was too dangerous. We committed him to coming to church when we talked to him and he came the next day! We taught him that week and he told us in one of the lessons that the night before he met us he prayed to that God would help him find a new church. And then we showed up! We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon on Wednesday and on Friday he told us that he finished it. Awesome, right? We invited him to a baptism of another lady that first week were teaching him and he thought we were inviting him to be baptized on Saturday. We cleared that up and he came. Sister Morrison and I were helping the elders and our ward mission leader clean up the baptism when we got a text from Brian that said, "So maybe we can talk tomorrow about me getting baptized as well" We were BLOWN AWAY. WHAT?? This never happens! So now, Brian is on date to be baptized March 21st. :) He is so receptive and he understands so much. Every lesson we have with him I am just blown away. We're praying that we can help him be ready on the 21st. It's only three weeks away so we'll see what happens. Please keep him in your prayers!

Ian gave us a heart attack last week. Ian is part of a motorcycle club (Hell's Angels status. Not the hobby kind) and the club been a challenge for us in teaching him. It is not a good influence and they don't like how the gospel has changed him (we LOVE how the gospel has changed Ian). Well last week, we didn't have contact with him for a couple days and his fellowshipper texted us and asked us if we had had contact with him because she hadn't had contact with him either for days and they talk pretty much every day. I was pretty sure Ian was dead in a dumpster somewhere or in jail. I was freaking out. And then he called us randomly one day and I just about choked on my pancake. IAN IS ALIVE!!! He was sick with the flu and had some complications which was why didn't hear for him for a couple days. He came to church yesterday which was good. There's still a lot of things that need to change before he can get baptized but I have faith that if Alma can do it, anyone can do it. The Atonement can handle the nitty-gritty. :)

I had a crazy "small world experience" yesterday. So we had dinner with the F. family. We were probably halfway through dinner and I asked Brother F. where he was from. He said Northern Califronia, Sunnyvale. I was like oh! I know where that is. We talked about the Bay Area and as we were talking my brain started turning. I had a roommate named Kelli F. from Sunnyvale, California. He's older so maybe they're cousins or something. So I asked Brother F. if he had relatives in Sunnyvale because I had a roommate my freshman year that was from Sunnyvale and her last name was F. He asked me what her name was. I said Kelli F

. He said, "I know Kelli. Kelli is my younger sister." NO. WAY!!!! I know missionaries are supposed to be professional but my freak out probably wouldn't qualify as professional. How small is the Mormon world??? I was having dinner with my roommate's older brother!!!!! It was so great!!! We had a great time swapping stories and talking about Kelli. It was so much fun haha. I am so grateful for those small world moments. :)

Oh look, the sun came out. That's nice....

I love the Gospel so much. I am so grateful for it. It is the way to last peace and a full measure of the Atonement. Remember to doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. :)

Love, Sister Jensen