My dearest family, February 24, 2014
Let me answer your questions right now so I don't forget: I did get my package! We ate the M&M's for comp study last week and I'm testing out the warmers this week (there is supposed to be another polar vortex this week). Thank you Angela and Tim for taking time out of your very busy schedules to write me a sentence in your own hand writing. It was much appreciated. Also, you can address letters as "Sister Afton Jensen" or "Afton Jensen". It doesn't really make a difference. If people tamper with my mail, I can sue them. Just kidding. I don't think Jesus would do that....
Last Monday was CRAZY. My trainers warned me that the first Preparation Day in the field is the most stressful and I think that jinxed the day for us. We started off as usual going to the library to write our emails and it was PACKED so we got kicked off early from the computers. I didn't get to finish writing my email and the only other place to use computers is the Family History Center at the church 25 minutes away. We decided to go do our grocery shopping while we were still in our area, run home and then go to the church to finish our emails. Well, while we were at the grocery story. a man told us that a storm was coming. Awesome. When we left the store, the wind was picking up and snowflakes were starting to fall. When we left our apartment, they were really starting to fall. By the time we got to church, there was about an inch of snow on the ground. Thankfully, the FHC was open and we finished writing our emails and started our drive back home. I was in charge of the phone last Monday and about halfway home I realized that I no longer had the phone in my possession. Sisters, we need to turn around. I felt awful. I'm pretty sure we were all praying that we would find the phone. Thankfully we saw the phone lying facedown in two inches of snow. We figured that I had put the phone in my lap and used my skirt as a catapult to launch it off my lap when I got out of the car at the church. Everything was hunky-dory. OR SO WE THOUGHT. We got home and again I realized, "Sister Jensen, you are in charge of the phone today. Where did you put the phone?" Cue sinking feeling in my stomach. We looked all over the car and couldn't find it. Then it dawned on us: When we were driving home, ice had been forming on our windshield wipers making it really hard to see through all the snow that decided to grace us with its presence. I, being the co-pilot and having seen my dad do this a thousand times on snowy roads, told my companion that at the next red light, I would quickly get out of the car and flick the windshield wipers the get the ice off of them. What I didn't remember and sadly didn't learn from my experience 30 minutes earlier, was that the phone was in my lap again and when I got out of the car quickly to flick the wipers.... And that is the story of how I lost the phone on my first transfer. Can you say "green"? We even went back later that evening to look for the phone but a policeman told us that it wasn't smart to be looking through snowbanks at 8:30 at night in dark clothing. Go figure that one. Thankfully my companions laughed it off, our neighbor let us use her phone for calls the next two nights and we got a new phone at Zone Conference.
Speaking of which, we had a powerful Zone Conference this past week. President Hess talked about "The Parable of the 10 Virgins" and related it to our spiritual preparedness and how we can help other people gather oil for their lamps. He told us that we can't give people the oil from our lamps. It takes years of going to church, family home evenings, scripture study, temple attendance, service and so many other small and simple things to have the stores of oil that will prepare us for the Second Coming. I've thought about it a lot this past week, especially when we've been door knocking. Every time someone turns us down, I want to just yell, "You don't know what you're turning down! You need what we have to offer!" People need the oil that the Gospel brings. Are we doing all that we can to put oil in our lamps? Are we helping other people put oil in their lamps? We can't expect that when the Savior comes that we can just run out and fit years of church attendance, scripture study and service into our lamps. We need to do those things now. We also talked about being a "master talker" versus a "master teacher". The difference is that one relies on his own knowledge and the other knows where his power lies. Think about that one for a while. ;)
The mission is hard, I will admit it. I know plenty of people told me before I left that it would be the hardest thing you ever do. I understand why. I would really advise anyone planning to go on a mission to get a FIRM testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. If Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet then this isn't the one and only true church. He didn't translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God. He didn't restore the priesthood authority to the earth that allowed us to partake of ordinances that are essential to making it back to Heavenly Father and for families to be together forever. If Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet, Heavenly Father isn't the same today, yesterday and forever. If Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet, then I am wasting my time. BUT if he is a prophet, well, then I am doing the work the God would have me do. If Joseph Smith was a prophet, then God loves His children because through Joseph Smith, the way back to our Heavenly Father has been restored. It is only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we can make it back to our Heavenly Father. God wants all of us to be there and He called a prophet to help us make it back to Him. Joseph Smith was a man called and qualified by God to restore the fullness of the everlasting gospel to the earth.
I am grateful for all that my mission is helping me learn. I am weirdly grateful for all of those people who tell me I'm wasting my time and who tell me that what I have is not of great worth because I now see that what I have is of great worth. I am blessed to have what I have.
Have a wonderful week! Thank you so much for your letters, love and support!