Sunday, April 27, 2014

4.21.14 Sis. Jensen

Dear Family,                                                                                                                         April 21, 2014
Say hello to Utah for me! There are times when I miss that place. I never thought I would ever miss Utah but I kind of do. I'm glad you're able to take full advantage of the week. You all really need a break. 

WHAT A WEEK! I love love LOVE being busy! As a companionship, we have been trying to implement a new way of planning (rather, planning as suggested in "Preach My Gospel") and we have had a MUCH better week because of it. Our days are a lot more full and we have better plans. Instead of getting to the end of the week and realizing we haven't visited 8 of the 10 people we wanted visit that week, we use weekly planning to schedule specific times on specific days to see less active members, potential investigators and times to door knock. There have been several times this past week when I have said to Sister Mortensen, "Why weren't we doing this last transfer?" You would think the Brethren were inspired or something when they wrote "Preach My Gospel"....
(Volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House)

Are you ready for the best news of the week?? WE HAVE TWO INVESTIGATORS!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! :D :D :D This is the best thing to ever happen to me thus far on my mission! We have been so blessed by the prayers of our district, the members and our families! We know that it is not just our faith working miracles! We met with Larry last night and he's reading the Book of Mormon. AGAIN. I think that Spirit is working with him and I can really see him accepting the gospel this time. He and his wife are truly amazing and we love them already! The other investigator we have is a lady named Sherisse (pronounced like "Charice"). We met Sherisse when we were meeting with a less active member and Sherisse came over to pick up a child for a play date. Jodi (our less active member) just blurted out, "Hey! Want to learn more from the sister missionaries?" Awkward? Yes. But a miracle? Yes, definitely yes. We taught a lesson to her yesterday which was really entertaining. We got lessons mixed up and what started as the first lesson didn't finish as the first lesson. The whole time I was praying that she would just feel the Spirit because even if we didn't make sense, hopefully the Spirit did. We have a return appointment with her so maybe it wasn't all bad? The moral of the story is communication with your companions is key.
Probably one of the harder things of the week was our "breakup". We have been trying our darnedest to work with a part member family. Sister Mortensen and Sister Anderton found them the transfer before I got here and they were able to teach a lesson to their family who showed interest in learning more. It has been a goose chase for the past three months. We finally got the members of our ward involved and we were sure that this was going to start really progressing but when we went over to their house this last Thursday, the news came out: the church was not for them. Missionary work is one of the most heart breaking things you will ever do. You spend months pouring your heart out in prayer and doing your hardest work to help people accept the Gospel and then they use their agency to reject something that you KNOW FOR A FACT will bless their family in ways they can't comprehend. People don't understand what they're turning down. Our experience with this family reminds me of Jeffery R. Holland's talk from this past General Conference: "Sadly enough, my youngfriends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much,comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, thentell us to run along and pick marigolds." Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ requires people to work hard. It requires us to sacrifice. It requires us to be better than what we naturally are as humans. But it is SO. WORTH IT. Why can't more people see that? We bore our testimonies to him and walked away with heavy hearts. Sister Mortensen and I were really bummed the rest of the night. But do you know what? God doesn't close one door without opening compensating doors. (See "Trust in the Lord" Richard G. Scott, October 1995) There must be some great miracles ahead!
I have felt nothing but gratitude this morning: gratitude that I didn't have to wear a coat yesterday or today; Gratitude for my Savior; Gratitude to be a missionary in the best mission on earth; Gratitude to have the Holy Ghost as my companion in addition to my two amazing companions; Gratitude for the difficult things Heavenly Father asks me to do; Gratitude for charity; Gratitude for the sunshine. I am seeing that there are a lot of things to be thankful for. What have you been thankful for recently?
(An object lesson gone awry, and awfully cute!)

I love receiving emails from all of you every week. I always read my "business" emails first and save the best emails for last. I savor each one and I am grateful for your love and support. I have the best family ever. I love you all so much!
I hope you all have a fantastic week in Utah. Please stay safe!

Go forth with faith!

The Michiganary

4.14.14 Sis. Jensen

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                           April 14, 2014
The subject line is actually kind of ironic because there is a dam here in Rockford but we should hope that it doesn't break. That would be bad. I'm talking about the Missionary Work Dam! Whenever we ask our mission president what he would like us to do in Rockford he tells us to keep working hard and that "it only takes a few cracks in the dam for it to burst". We have seen a couple cracks this week!
Thursday was a MIRACLE DAY. We had a long day of planning and we were worried about getting the most out of the time we had left. So we said a prayer and headed out. Because the snow has melted, we decided to save some miles on our car and walk to the area we wanted to work in. As we were walking we came up to a street and I asked Sister Mortensen, "Has this street been done?" She was like, "I don't know. Let's knock it." First person we meet: "Yeah I had a friend 15 years ago who talked to me about the Mormon church. The Book of Mormon? Yeah, I've read parts of it." The second person: "The Book of Mormon? Yeah, I read it with my Bible. When I don't understand something in the Bible, I pull out the Book of Mormon to clarify it. My friend used to take me to your church." What?? That never happens! People usually don't like it when we bring up the Book of Mormon but out of the three people we talked to on that street, two of them had positive experiences with the church AND the Book of Mormon! 
This was the CRAZY part. So we continued our "Knock and Walk" and we decided to turn down a street we had done a month ago to get to another street we hadn't knocked yet. As we reached the corner on the end of the street, this guy in a car passing us frantically waved at us and pulled over. We were close to a member's house so I thought it was a member and waved back. Suddenly this man appears and I have no clue who he is and he asks, "Are you those Mormon girls?" Usually when we hear that, someone is about to bash us. We said "yes" when really what we wanted to do was cover our name tags and run away. He says, "I haven't seen you in years! I love the sister missionaries! They used to come over to my house for dinner."....Wait. WHAT. It turns out that this man and his wife were best friends with the sister missionaries ten years ago and still keeps in contact with them. He then told us that he's read the Book of Mormon twice, been to church, and we could come over and "talk religion with him" because he had questions. Excuse us while we pick our jaws up from the sidewalk. Things like this don't ever happen to us. We are hoping that this is a miracle we have been praying/working for. Last night he told us that he gave his two copies of the Book of Mormon away to other people and he wanted another copy. Larry is incredible. He says that he won't become a Mormon but I can tell that he is honestly seeking truth. 

What really baffles me about all of this is the timing. There have been elders in Rockford who haven't met them. When the sisters opened Rockford last October, they knocked just about every street including that street and didn't find them. Sister Anderton, Sister Mortensen and I knocked the street LAST MONTH, even knocking on that house and talking to a person in that house, and yet we didn't meet them. And then we happened to be walking down Ogden Street at just the right time to catch him as we has going to a meeting and he recognized us. CAN ANYONE ELSE NOT SEE HOW INCREDIBLE THIS IS?? There are no coincidences!!! Prayers are being heard!!! God is orchestrating this work! It still blows my mind to think about it. I am hoping and praying that this is a sign that the timing is right!
I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. I think Easter is probably my favorite holiday. Not only are there really pretty happy colors everywhere but we have a day to be grateful for the resurrection of our Savior. When he rose, no longer would death be an end. With the resurrection, he gained victory over the grave and allowed God's plan to move forward, for us to return "home to that God who gave [us] life." I am so grateful that the Savior chose to suffer for me. He didn't have to suffer for any of us. He being perfect would have made it back into God's presence. But because of God's love for us and because of Jesus's desire to do the will of the Father, he suffered so that we could be free; free from death, sin, sorrow, pain, anger and all other human imperfection. I know that my Savior lives and loves me. I know that it is only through his grace and mercy that we can be healed. It has stuck out to me this morning how often in 3 Nephi  Jesus Christ asks us to come to him so that he can heal us. I know we can be healed through his atonement. Because of him, I have been healed. 

 There are a lot of good things happening here in Rockford. We are making progress, slow but still moving forward. We have a lot of potential investigators we are planning to see this week and we are praying that we will see some good fruit soon! Thank you for your continued prayers! They are producing miracles!
Love always, the Michiganary

4.7.14 Sis. Jensen

My dear family,                                                                                                                      April 7, 2014
Thank you for the pictures! I laughed really loud when I saw Tim with the umbrella and then I had to quiet myself because I was in the library. Thank you for the good laugh. I didn't think turkeys could be so ugly.

(Three toms in the back yard.  We sent Tim  to chase them off.)

Wasn't General Conference AMAZING?? When the last session ended I looked at Sister Mortensen and said, "Can we watch these on repeat, please?" Wow, we are so blessed to receive such amazing counsel! I don't know where to begin because I got something from EVERY talk I watched. We missed the first hour of Saturday afternoon because we found a less active member that we've been trying to contact for over a month. That was a miracle and I'm grateful we found her but admittedly, I am a little bummed that I missed half of that session. Anyway, this session of conference I really wanted to do an experiment: pray about some questions and listen for the answers. My questions were "How can I completely give my heart and mind to God?" and "How can I deepen and strengthen my conversion?". I also wanted to know what "treasures in Heaven" meant. ALL THREE OF THEM WERE ANSWERED. It was amazing! It's not so much that there were talks specifically about conversion or giving our heart and mind to God but when we got to the end of the Sunday afternoon session, I thought about a reoccurring theme I noticed: obedience. How often did the speakers talk about obedience to our covenants, principles/doctrines of the Gospel, etc? Like multiple times every session. How do we strengthen our testimonies and give of ourselves to God? Obedience. I loved Elder Hales's talk about obedience: Do we use "Natural Man's Obedience" or "Selective Obedience" when it comes to God's commandments? There were powerful promises given to us this General Conferences. I plan to experiment on their words and work as hard as I can these next six months to be better. I loved President Monson's invitation to be a little kinder. Out of everything Heavenly Father could ask us to do, great or small, He has asked His prophet to tell us to be a little kinder. Wow, it blew me away. A little kindness goes a long way. Plus you just feel awesome knowing that you've helped someone along their way. Awesome. awesome, awesome. I wish we could spend the next couple hours just talking about the insights we gained from General Conference because I know we all saw something different and all of it is important! Isn't General Conference AMAZING! And Sister Linda Reeves talk about pornography? Loved every minute of it! What a bold, loving lady. I LOVED THE BOLDNESS of this conference!  
This week was really good! Our district leader went home last transfer so we got a new district leader this transfer and I don't think he likes that none of us have any solid investigators. So this transfer he wants us to find 15 new investigators as a district which would mean 15 new investigators as a ward. I will be honest: I was a little apprehensive at first because I don't think that we should make goals based on other people's agency. BUT I am willing to exercise more faith and do my best to reach this goal. If he has prayed about it and feels like this is the goal is in accordance with Heavenly Father's will, Heavenly Father will place people in our paths and I need to have the faith and hope that He will do that. It's definitely a stretching goal but we are calling upon the faith of our ward members and the faith of our district to reach this goal. Thank you for your added faith and please keep praying for us!
I love you all so much! I have felt my love for my family increase while being out here. I am so blessed to be a part of a strong family and I love you all for your support. We are so blessed to have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we are blessed daily through our knowledge. I love being a witness of God's love for His children and I love having the Spirit with me every day as I am worthy of it. I love my mission and I am so grateful for all of my experiences here. I am really looking forward to the next 16 months!
Have a wonderful week! Don't forget where your strength lies!
Pineapples for Peace!
The Michiganary
PS Who was the first prophet to go through the MTC?
Moses because he was the first to cross through the Emp-Ty Sea!  
I know, lame missionary humor. Just laugh and move on.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sis. Jensen March 31, 2014

Dear Family,
You don't know how incredibly happy I am to have SUNSHINE. Why must I be codepnedent on the sun?? And it's 50 degrees outside!! That's always really nice. I love my boots and my polar expedition coat but I also love being able to wear flats and a light coat. I'm enjoying it while I can.

This week was pretty good! We picked up Sister Harris on Monday but Sister Anderton wasn't leaving until Tuesday morning so for about 18 hours we had a quadpanionship. The fun part about that was our sleeping arrangements for Monday night. We have to sleep in the same room as our companions and we already have three beds in a tiny room. What's one more at that point? The Johnsons were kind enough to let us borrow a blow up mattress and for a night, there was a chorus of heavenly snores in that room. Missionary work is an adventure!
Sister Harris is fantastic! She is "most recently" from Kaysville, Utah! It seems that everyone I meet has some connection to Kaysville. There is a missionary in the zone over who is from Kaysville and a member's daughter is marrying a guy from Kaysville. Apparently, Kaysville is not as small as I thought it was.... Sister Harris is the second youngest of 10 kids and was going to Weber State before her mission. She's been on her mission for 13 months and will be heading home in September. She's only had two other areas before coming to Rockford but she has a lot of experience which has been extremely beneficial. Sister Mortensen and I have a great time with her. We all feel so positive about this upcoming transfer!

We had a great week this past week! We've seen a lot of tender mercies and miracles. We did a lot of door contacting and met a lot of really good people. I think we planted a lot of good seeds. One that shows a lot of promise is a man named Mark. We talked with him for probably 7.2 minutes about the Gospel and the Book of Mormon. It was wonderful! He was interested in getting a copy of the Book of Mormon and so we brought back a copy with verses marked in it. We are praying that good things come of it. Please pray for him! (Also, if you could pray for Carol, Jeff, Debra and Rick, John, Dylan, Tori, and Holly we would really appreciate it! We need some progressing investigators!)

One of the many things that I love about being a missionary is working with the members. In Preach My Gospel it defines one of the characteristics of a successful missionary as one who "helps build up the Chruch (the ward) wherever you are assigned to work". I have been so blessed with a great ward, I love the people in this ward! They are putting in a great effort to help up and we can feel their love for us. There are always strong members of the church wherever you go and I greatly admire the faith of the people here in Grand Rapids. It has been a strength for me to work with such wonderful people. I love working with the less active members especially. They have such a strong testimony of the Gospel and if you're patient and you ask the right questions, you can help them see it too. I have been touched by their sweet and simple testimonies of the Gospel.

Because we're missionaries and get really nerdy about the scriptures, here is some fun trivia for you!
1. Where in the scriptures does it talk about Santa Claus?
2. Where in the scriptures is the first food fight?

Yes, they're pretty bad but when you're a missionary, they're HILARIOUS. Just giggle to make me feel better about myself please. Thanks.

I love you all so much! I am so blessed to have a great family! I hope you enjoy the week that lies before you. I know the Lord is mindful of us. He loves us more than we can comprehend. As Elder Pace says, "Is your chin up? Keep it up!"
The Michiganary,
Sister Jensen    
ANSWERS! You thought I forgot. Ha!
1. Zechariah 2:6 "Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord." (I DIED when I read this one)
2. Zechariah 5:1-2 "Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits." (That's a giant piece of bread)