Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sis. Jensen, March 17, 2014

Dear family,                                                                                                                                          March 17, 2014
I can't believe it's Monday again! ("No, I specifically remember Monday being last week." Anyone, anyone? Tangled.) I look forward to Mondays. It's nice just to feel connected to the world in a small way. You all sound SO BUSY! What happened to the simple life? Applause to mom for being the miracle bus driver and meeting goer. Geez. And congrats to Tim for your victories! I am so proud of you! You little stud, you. Hopefully Angela and Dad get to see you more than just the mornings.  
This week has been... good. We have been facing a lot of challenges here in Rockford. This last week I told my companions, "You know all those missionary videos you watch before your mission, with the great "Called to Serve" music in the background and you want to cry because you imagine yourself like that? I have discovered that they are all a lie." Not really but I catch myself thinking sometimes, "This is not what I saw on Youtube or The District videos." Lessons you teach in person rarely happen like the ones you seen in the videos, they're definitely more awkward than you would think. I wish contacting and getting referrals was as easy as they make it look in the videos. Plus bizarre things happen ALL THE TIME when you're a missionary. You just attract weird. Maybe because we're a little peculiar ourselves that we're naturally just drawn together. Missions are always a grand adventure.
The troubles we have been facing for the past couple weeks is that EVERY THING has been falling through. Our backups to our backups to our backups have been falling through, that's how bad it's been. We had a training meeting a couple weeks ago and someone said that "your plans should be good enough that people's agency isn't a reason that plans fall through" which made us feel like terrible missionaries because sometimes that's what happens. If people's agency wasn't a reason that things fall through, we wouldn't need backup plans. Or in our case, backup backup backup plans. One of the funny Michiganderisms (Michi-gander-isms: quirky things that the people of Michigan do) is a thing called "West Michigan Nice". Translation: Yes! we'd love to have you come back. *two days later* We love our church and we're not interested. It happens all the time. We've gotten pretty good at telling which people are being honest with us and the ones who are just being "West Michigan Nice". I think the purpose of it is to not appear rude and offend people when you first meet them but then they end up doing that anyway the second time around. In my mind, it's kind of the equivalent of "Bless her heart" in the South. 

In spite of the Michiganderisms we run into, Rockford is a great community. I have met so many great Christian people here. We sometimes like to drop in on a potential investigator named Christi. She has a wood working shop/garage thing called "The Garage of Wonders" (look it up on Facebook). Christi is seriously awesome. She is so full of love for people and loves to rocking out to Christian music. She always welcomes us in and loves to talk with us about the church. We wish she would stop reading anti and let us teach her. Maybe someday we'll reach that step. We also have a  potential investigator named Carol. She is super into family history and her Finnish ancestry. We have been trying to get her to come with us to the Family History Center and do some research but weather and life has been getting in the way. She loves to have us over though and feed us. We're trying to introduce the Gospel more and more and hopefully by coming with us to the FHC, we can make some progress.

I think part of the missionary calling is being able to eat. Seriously, there are no bounds. Even if you're full to the max you still find ways to fit down another helping and dessert. We had a couple days where we got double booked for meals or a person we visited would feed us right before a dinner appointment so we learned to shimmy it down and thank our host. You are also able to eat weird things as a missionary. When you visit a member in a poor part of town, you know what it means for them to be feeding you and you better eat what's on your plate, honey. I am really looking forward to it being above freezing in mornings so I can go outside and run around.
Funny story: it's been killing us that we been using our car so much so I proposed a brilliant idea: let's plan things to do in the area around our apartment so we can walk to places instead of using our car. Things have been melting and so I thought the sidewalks should at least be clear enough to walk on them. I was wrong. There was instead all the snow from the roads on top of the sidewalks. So we hiked up our skirts and climbed on top of the drift and started walking on top of the snow. I assumed that it was all packed snow. Instead it was a thin layer of ice and then melting snow underneath so as we walked we would sometimes stay on top of the ice but more often we would break through the ice into knee deep, dirty snow. This is how our steps went: Step, step, step, step. THWUMP, shriek, step ste-THWUMP, step, step, step, TWHUMP, THWUMP, THWUMP. I don't think Sister Anderton was very happy with my suggestion by the end and I'm pretty sure everyone who saw us walking thinks that those Mormon girls who knock on their door are even more strange. Oh well. I made it up to her and suggested that we go and get peanut butter pie to celebrate Pi Day. Always a good choice.  

The work is slow but we're starting to see some blessings poke through. We got a referral from a member without asking! It was awesome! A guy researched our church and went to Sacrament meeting yesterday because he wanted to. He's not even a member! A member told us yesterday that our presence is noticed in the community and people are warming up to us being here. It's starting to warm up so more people are willing to talk to us at the doorstep. The priesthood blesses lives and that's always a good thing. My companions and I have been talking about the trials we've been facing recently and we've come to the consensus that even though we walk through thorns now, we will look back and only see roses. This work is hard but I can see the roses starting to bloom, especially in my personal life. The Lord's hand is everywhere and as President Monson promised us this last General Conference, "He will not fail thee nor forsake thee." I know that Heavenly Father loves His children. He loves us individually. I know He knows me and my needs and He blesses us as we do those things that please Him. We just need to trust His timing and know that everything will work out for our good.
I love you all so much and I am grateful for your prayers. I know it is silly but it is definitely the prayers of His people that allows imperfect and weak things to do such a great work. Have a wonderful week!
Sister Jensen
PS My companions and I were brainstorming FHE games awhile ago and I brought up the squirt bottle game that we used to play on Monday nights. We've played it with a couple families and they've LOVED it. Everyone looks at me weird when I explain that getting squirted in the face is a good thing but they all love it and we have some great laughs.

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