Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Transfers! 6.16.14

Dear Family!

I am shocked that you found that I am training! President Hess stealing my thunder.... When President told me I was training, I cried. I knew there was a chance that I would be training but I dismissed it because I'm so young on my mission. I don't feel the least bit qualified to train- I'm still learning how to be a missionary! But I know how to be obedient and I know how to work so I'm hoping all goes well. Heavenly Father doesn't call the qualified- He qualifies those He calls.

Mom, you can be rest easy knowing that I'm being fed. From Saturday the 7th to Saturday the 14th I ate 12 dinners, sometimes eating three dinners in one day. I think when I was set apart as a missionary I grew a fourth stomach. It's one of those gifts that missionaries get that they don't mention beforehand. It's come in handy because sometimes we would go straight from appointment to appointment. The elders were a little disgruntled when they found out- they have trouble just getting their week filled. Thankfully, all of it was really good food, it was just a lot of really good food. Sister Richardson and I just about cheered when one of our dinner appointments cancelled. #fatandhappy #missionarywoes #thisiswhystatesidemissionariesgainweight

All in all it's been a good week. I feel like we keep getting busier and busier. There are times when I wish we didn't have to sleep or eat because there is just too much to accomplish in a day. No wonder the sons of Mosiah took 14 years on their missions- there was just too much to do! Our ward is so big and there is just so many people to see. We picked up two new investigators this week which brings our total investigators to 8. That mixed with the less active members and recent converts we try to see, we barely have time to go door knocking. It's hard to balance everything. I caught myself wishing several times this past week that God would clone me so I could do everything that I felt needed to be done. I just read over this paragraph and it sounds like I'm whining. Sorry. I am really happy that I'm busy! I am glad that there is work to be done! I just wish there was five of me and our car had infinite miles on it.

It's been a stressful week. Sister Richardson is finishing her mission on Wednesday which I think has been my challenge of the transfer. A lot of people say that they love working with "dying missionaries" but I find it really distracting. Every member/missionary we talked to wanted to talk about going home. Sister Richardson was really good about not wanting to talk to me about leaving but there were times when I really wanted to run away from people when they came up to talk to us. I have been praying a lot more to be focused so I can be better in tune with the Spirit which naturally means that Heavenly Father allows opposition to follow (like me praying to take better care of my body and getting 12 dinner plus ice cream meetings this whole week). Hence, this transfer. I guess the blessing is that it has opened my eyes to how much more focused I can be. I have definitely come a long way since the beginning of my mission and my goal is to be able to give my heart and mind to God 100%. I want to work hard and teach my new missionary to work hard. Not psychotically, but I want to use this time wisely. :)

One of the elders just chastised me for "writing a novel" so this is where I'll probably end. Sister Richardson and I still need to go to the post office before we hop on the transfer van and head to East Lansing. I will be in East Lansing until Thursday when I get my new companion! This will be a week of adventure! 

I know this is God's work! This work is TRUE! I love you! Have a FANTASTIC week!

Sister Jensen

Salutations! 6.9.14

Dear Familia,
Congrats on making it to the end of school! Sorry Dad and Stephen but you're not done quite yet. ;) Good thing there's weekends, right?? I hope you all have some great summer plans, like reading the Book of Mormon or going door knocking, maybe even personal contacting if you feel up to it. As for me, summer just means shirtless people everywhere and that's proving to me really.... interesting. Oh, missionary life!
This week was good! We had the super fun opportunity to go to Holland, Michigan. It's a city here which is really confusing. Imagine my confusion my first day in the field when President Hess told my companions that a sister got transferred to Holland. (I was really impressed with transfers in this mission haha.) Twice a year the mission has a Half Mission Activity Day and half the missionaries gather at a time for a half day of togetherness. This one was an outdoor picnic which, let me tell you, gets five times more fun when it pours rain all day. By the end we were all covered in mud and grass. Sister Richardson thoroughly enjoyed herself, taking half the field home with us on her clothes. We all had fun and it was definitely a needed break! Sadly for most of us, this will be our last time seeing President and Sister Hess. President and Sister Hess have served their three years and we will be getting President and Sister Jacobsen at the end of the month. I will definitely miss them but I'm excited for the new president!
Part of the day's activities were group games, one of which being a "Tug-A-War". To make the rounds go faster, the zone leaders in charge put two districts on end of the rope. Before the first round, Sister Richardson said, "Watch the missionaries break the rope." My district went in the second round and we started pulling when all of the sudden there was a SNAP and we all went tumbling down. We broke the rope! That effectively ended that game.
We've had a great week! Our investigators are making progress! We watched "Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration" with Debra on Saturday. She has been wanting to watch it; Joseph Smith is a touchy subject out here. I don't know who benefited more from watching it: Deb or us. Sister Richardson and I were crying by the end. What a powerful movie! I am so grateful for the prophet Joseph Smith. His life is a testimony of the Truth. He wasn't perfect but he was called of God to restore His church and to usher in the last dispensation. What a tremendous calling. Deb has accepted to be baptized and we asked her to pray about a date. We are trying to work with her health problems and get something consistent going. We have two other investigators who have accept to be baptized and we're trying to help them progress as well.
I had an epiphany this week. This may not be one to you but it was to me. I've been studying the Atonement this transfer and I have all of these notes and scriptures and talks but I was kind of lost when I came to the "applying" part. How could I apply the Atonement outside of repentance? We talk about using the Atonement to become what God wants us to be but how do we do that? As far as I can remember, no one has ever told me HOW to apply the Atonement. They just say TO apply the Atonement. I was reviewing my notes this week when all of the sudden it clicked. Applying the Atonement is changing. That is the beauty of God's plan- it's for us to CHANGED to become like Him, physically and spiritually. The Atonement allows us to change from our natural man into the person Heavenly Father wants us to be. Brad Wilcox says, "All of us are saved by grace. But have you been changed by grace?" Are we praying to change every day, to become better? When we're faced with opposition great or small, are we praying that God will help us change to overcome that challenge His way? Are we actively working to overcome our natural man tendencies? This epiphany has changed how I see things. I want to be changed. I want to become that person that Heavenly Father sees is me. I know I can be changed. I know you can be changed. Jesus Christ not only made it possible for us to change, but he wants us to change and he wants to help us change. I hope that I can apply this principle the rest of my life.
This Friday is transfer calls! I'm pretty sure that I will be here for at least one more transfer, possibly two. Sister Richardson is going home next week so I'm 99.999999999% positive that I will be getting a new companion. But God can do whatever He wants so.....
I love you all so much. Your letters mean so much to me. I am so blessed with a Christ-centered family. Keep up all of your hard work! "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!" (D&C 128:22)
The Michiganary

June is Busting Out All Over 6.2.14

Dear Family,
I love hearing about your adventures!! It's so fun to hear about what you're doing! I am glad that everyone survived Gualala and that the weather cooperated. Truthfully, I was expecting to hear something about someone missing some eyebrows what with last years experiments with white gas. I'm glad everyone came back intact.
Where to start on this week?? Memorial day was awesome! We had a WONDERFUL ward picnic. There were a lot of faces I didn't recognize and I got to meet a lot of people. The ward did a great job and everyone had fun! I don't know who was more weirded out about us being in our P-Day clothes at a church function: the ward members or Sister Richardson. Either way it was great to enjoy the sun and have a ward picnic.
We had quite a busy week doing service. Everyone in Michigan has yard work that needs to be done and thankfully Mom and Dad taught me how to pull weeds and work in the yard. On Tuesday, we were out knocking on a street and came across a Romanian woman pruning her 8 foot tall bushes. She was 5'4". So we ran over and offered some help. She put us right to work! We spent the next hour pruning her bushes. It was so fun! I got to talk to her about Eastern Europe which was really enjoyable for me. She attends an Orthodox church out here and she's heard about Mormons. She wasn't too interested in learning more but we really enjoyed leaving a good impression. On Thursday we went out to a less active member's house and weeded her forest. Yes, FOREST. She has two acres of trees and wild things and we helped her weed out the garlic mustard that was growing there. Garlic mustard smells DELICIOUS. The more we plucked it, the more I wanted guacamole. I learned from that experience that service opens doors. And it's a great way to talk to people about church without staring them down haha. On Friday, we donned our work clothes again and walked to another house to do some service only that when we got there she had forgotten and wasn't there. So we called an older lady in our ward that lived by us and asked her if we could do some yard work for her. Thirty minutes later we were pulling maple tree seedlings from her flower beds. I wish I had had this zeal for yard work as a child! I think Mom would have appreciated it, too. Service is a great way to soften people and show our love for them. I read Elder Rasband's talk about "The Joyful Burden of Discipleship" and he puts it beautifully: "Focusing on serving our brothers and sisters can guide us to make divine decisions in our daily lives and prepares us to value and love what the Lord loves." You want to become more like Heavenly Father? Serve His children! Pure religion is service! (See James 1:27)
We started teaching a new woman this past week. Her name is Patricia. She's from Jamaica and her husband is from Africa. Pat was introduced to the Gospel by a member of our ward. Pat is an incredible, incredible woman. Her husband was diagnosed in February with Stage IV cancer. Sadly, they haven't been able to locate the source of the cancer because it is so widespread. I can't imagine what Pat and her family have been going through but Pat is nothing but love and charity for others. We taught Pat the Plan of Salvation and she loved that Heavenly Father has prepared three kingdoms for His children. She says it shows His love for us. Sister Richardson and I feel so blessed to be teaching her. She told us something that has really impressed me. She said, "The other women would say they are Christan but would do other things. With Lisa, she didn't have to tell me she was Christian because I saw the way she and her family lived." I hope that I can be that example one day. I am so grateful for members around the world who "preach the gospel always [and] use words when necessary". True to the Faith says, "The most powerful missionary message you can send is your own example of living a happy Latter-day Saint life." SO COOL. And now we have a solid investigator because of it! The only kink in this tale is that Pat's son Spencer who's an attorney-turning-doctor told her not to join anything before he gets a chance to talk to us. So please pray for us.
And if possible, we would appreciate it if you could pray for Sharrisse and her boyfriend Eugene. He called us yesterday and wasn't very happy with us. We asked if we could meet him on Thursday and we're hoping that he will let us continue to teach Sharrisse and the kids. We know how much this message can bless their lives and we know that Heavenly Father can produce miracles!
This week has been a good week and there's so much I wish I could tell you about. I have seen God help us in so many ways. He has been answering my prayers and we are seeing Him guide and direct us. It is a blessing to be an instrument in His hands. I love being apart of His work. He has allowed me to be a laborer in His vineyard for this the last time. What a blessing.
Thank you for all your emails, faith and prayers. They really mean a lot to me. I look forward to hearing from you next week! The church is true!
The Michiganary