Monday, August 25, 2014

Normal Stuff Missionaries Do 8.25.14

Dear Family,                                                                                                     August 25, 2014

It sounds like you had quite more excitement than I did this week! A 6.0 earthquake? That's nothing to be shy about! I'm glad that you were all okay and that no serious damage was done. I hope those people who are in the hospital will be okay. Hearing about your experience just strengthens my resolve to be a HAM operator....

My week wasn't quite as exciting. About the most exciting thing that happened this week was getting kicked out of an apartment complex haha. We had torrential downpours that was quite fun to walk through (bad day to wear my toms...), talked to a couple of intoxicated people, got called "the most beautiful woman I have ever seen" twice in one day, went on trade-offs, participated in zone conference and did all the normal stuff missionaries do.

Being a campus missionary is like serving a completely different mission. When I was in Rockford, everyone had a religion based on faith in Jesus Christ. Since being on campus, I have run into Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, all Christian denominations, and "spiritual" people. In a way I've had to relearn being a missionary! Instead of just assuming people have a faith in Jesus Christ, I have to begin talking to people by asking people if they even have a faith in God. It's a lot harder than my last area, that's for sure! It's been a tremendous learning experience and an incredible blessing for my testimony though. Things that I never thought about or questioned I now I have to find answers to everyday. Not only do I have a testimony that this church was established by Jesus Christ through a prophet named Joseph Smith but I am gaining a testimony that this is the only true religion on the face of the earth, that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that Heavenly Father has a plan of each of us. I never thought I would have such a diverse mission experience in little ol' Michigan! I have yet to meet that person I'm "supposed to meet" but I think more and more that my mission was for me to have experiences that were necessary for me to become the daughter Heavenly Father wants me to be. Being here at WMU is another step forward in that progression. 

This quote by President Joseph Fielding Smith stood out to me this week: "The Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with heavenly beings." Isn't that incredible to think about?? The greatest witness we can receive is from the Holy Ghost! A lot of people we talk to want "proof" that God is real. When we tell them that we've gained our testimonies through the Holy Ghost, it never seems good enough for them. We live in an age dominated by science and man's understanding and a lot of people tell us that we can no longer trust our feelings. But I bear witness that the Holy Ghost will speak to us in a way that is clear and understandable. I know that the only proof we can trust is the witness of the Holy Ghost. Even Alma who saw an angel (multiple times even) said that he gained his testimony through the Holy Spirit (Alma 5:45-46). The Holy Ghost is incredible and we are so blessed to have it in a day where people are confused. If you don't believe it, go and watch the news. ;)
 I love you all so much! You are such a wonderful and fantastic family. I feel your prayers and support every day. I couldn't do this without your help! Please help the missionaries in your area when you can! 

Have a fantastic week!

Sister Jensen :)

It's a Small World 8.18.14

Dear Family,                                                                                                     August 18, 2014

Let's begin on a scary thought: there's an activity in Chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel to read your ministerial certificate and record your feelings about it. Last Tuesday, I pulled it out, read it, and looked at the expiration date: 12 August 2015. One year exactly until it expired. Where is my mission going?? At the end of next transfer I will hit my half way mark! There's no way that my mission is going this fast!!! Scary.

This week was full of adventure! On Tuesday the elders got kicked of campus by the police and they called us right after and told us to get off campus or we'd get arrested. Thankfully we had just gotten on the bus and had no plans to go back. Wednesday we were a little hesitant to go back but it's now Monday and we haven't been arrested yet, so the coast must be clear. Weirdly enough, the weather was significantly cooler this last week. Like, I was debating wearing my coat, but nobody does that in August so I just froze. When we got home on Tuesday, we put on sweaters and drank some hot cocoa. It was a weird week but the cooler weather turned out to be a blessing.

Thursday was a grand adventure. We had an appointment at 3pm with a less active member on the outskirts of our branch and decided that we were going to be resourceful and take the bus to get there.  We were doing some personal contacting on campus and talked to a guy longer than we should have and got to the bus port just in time to our bus turning to leave. We looked at our watches: 2:05 pm. We knew that a bus would be outside the church (a 25-30 minute walk from campus) at 2:30 pm. Sister Cunningham looks at me and says, "We can make it." So we took off for the church. From this experience I gained a new appreciation for professional speed walkers. Do you know how hard it is to walk fast without running and not look like an idiot?? I can almost guarantee that we looked absolutely ridiculous. Once we reached the downward slope of a hill, we just let our legs loose. We were more concerned with catching our bus and getting to our appointment than how we looked. We made it to the bus stop at 2:22 pm. Our bus didn't come for 10 more minutes, but do you know what? It was an experience full of tender mercies: it was a cooler day so we could breathe and run without too much difficulty; we hit all the crosswalks at the right time; the last leg of our journey was downhill rather than up hill; and we made it to our appointment! I would call that pretty miraculous. :)

We met with two of our investigators this week. We had a lesson yesterday with an investigator named Marcus and we committed him to be baptized on September 13th! We're really excited! Marcus has had a rough life and there's a lot of things going on right now that aren't the best but he has faith and he stays positive. We are really crossing our fingers and praying hard that we can help him understand why having God's church on earth is important to him. We met with Bin this week and he came to church yesterday. I really hope we can get him to progress more towards baptism rather than just meeting with him. Every investigator is unique and it's been interesting trying to find the best ways to help them progress. Bin is interesting but I know that because he is a child of God, his salvation is just as important to Heavenly Father as mine is. We'll get the inspiration we need.

Do you know how crazy small the church is? Really small. Yesterday at church I was standing in the foyer waiting for services to begin when this guy walks in and it's my anatomy TA! I even went to the temple with him and a mutual friend! I freaked out. I forgot that the last time I saw him was 9 months ago and I look drastically different so I think I freaked him out... But that's okay because we're friends now. He's out here to go to the new WMU medical school. The other crazy thing that happened was after sacrament. I was standing on the stage and the high council speaker's family came up to me to thank me for the talk I gave. I looked at the girl and said, "You look familiar...." She says back, "Yeah! You were my sister training leader in the MTC!" What??? Who knew that I would be at WMU when she was home for medical leave and she would just happen to come with her parents to hear her dad and brother speak the same day I was speaking?? It was crazy!! Yesterday was just mind-boggling. It's fun when those things happen. :)

I'm doing great. Sister Cunningham and I have made it a goal to enjoy the next two weeks and not just endure it. I think that's a good lesson for life: we're here to enjoy life, not just endure it. 2 Nephi 2:25 says, "men are that they might have joy." We are here to have joy! Don't forget to enjoy this time on earth!

I love you all! This is God's church! Have a wonderful week! 

Love from Kzoo,
Sister Jensen :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week Two in Kalamazoo 8.11.14

Dear Family,                                                                                         August 11, 2014

This past week FLEW by. I can't believe all that happened this past week! When I first entered the mission field, I was told that missionary work is a lot of meetings. Boy, were they right! Thankfully, I love meetings because the Spirit there is always amazing!

We had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) on Tuesday which was great. We got a ride in the Zone Leader's truck and headed out to East Lansing for our meeting. It was great to be surrounded by so many powerhouse missionaries! I love their wisdom and it definitely helped me see how I can do better as a leader and as a missionary. (It was nothing new but sometimes we just forget the little things. :)

I went on my first trade off this week! What an experience. It was very eye opening to say the least. I learned several very important lessons: 1) All people really need is someone to listen to them. 2) Happiness and fulfillment as a missionary, in life, etc. come through exact obedience. 3) When in doubt, point people to Jesus Christ. I feel like Heavenly Father put me in this position so I could learn more than anything; learn how to be a better missionary, learn to listen to and use the Spirit, learn to love people/other missionaries, learn how to give correction, learn to be more obedient. I am noticing more and more how much further I have yet to go as a missionary and a person. Thankfully I still have some time left. :)

Sister Cunningham and I are doing great. Not going to lie, trade offs made me appreciate Sister Cunningham five million times more. She is such a diligent and obedient missionary. We are struggling right now to have people to teach. We found a person door knocking this week which was a miracle. We don't have a lot of success door knocking, but with nobody being on campus, we have no choice but to spend all day, every day door knocking. We were knocking a complex and we met Alycia. We taught her the first part of the Plan of Salvation last week and we're going back tomorrow to finish it. I have some high hopes for her. 

We've been teaching Bin (pronounced "bean") as well. He came to church yesterday which was a relief. He wants to know if God is there. No matter what our lesson starts out as, we end up talking about how to receive revelation through the Holy Ghost. We're hoping that we can help him see how God has been answering his prayers. Bin knows that baptism is important but we don't think it's clicked in his heart yet. He asked us yesterday if he should get baptized and we told him that we want him to get baptized not because we want him to and because he should but because he feels that he should. I am praying so hard that his heart is open to the feelings of the Spirit. The Spirit really is the only way to know truth. Even Alma who saw an angel needed the truth confirmed by the Spirit (Alma 5:45-46).

I love my branch! I wish that every unit in the church could feel what I felt as I attended church yesterday. I have never seen as much faith and love as I have in this branch. I am in constant shock because these people who have only been members for a couple months speak with the Spirit and have so much faith in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I count myself more than lucky that I get to be strengthened by their testimonies every week. 

I'm still sweating a ton and I have blisters on my feet from walking so much but I count myself lucky to be here at this time. My mission will mean everything to me! It has changed me forever. I love you all so much! Enjoy your last pieces of summer! This is Christ's church! This is his work! Keep calm and trust in the Lord! 

Love from Kzoo,
Sister Jensen

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kalamazoo, First Week 8.4.14

Dear Family,

I love Kalamazoo!!!!! I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I couldn't get over how much I loved it here!!! I just want to tell you everything about my area so feel free to skip the next paragraph if that's something that doesn't interest you.

Kalamazoo is AWESOME!!! We have a branch nicknamed "the K.U.B" (Kalamazoo University Branch) and about 80% of the branch consists of members of less than a year! I have never felt so much faith!! These people are incredible and I love asking them how they found the Gospel or in most cases how the Gospel found them. I have SO MUCH respect for converts and I already love the people in my branch. I feel so blessed to be in this branch! Sister Cunningham and I spend a lot of time personal contacting (PCing) on campus which is a really different kind of experience coming from an all door knocking area. You pretty much walk around campus and stop people and talk to them. There's a saying on our mission that "missionary work is 99% awkward." Definitely making up for that now... But I love it! I actually prefer it over door knocking. Summer classes are in session right now so there aren't too many people on campus so we've been door knocking the apartments around the campus. Which leads to the next part of our adventure: we don't have a car. So we walk. A LOT. In 80 degree weather with 1052% humidity. I have never sweated so much in my life! We are taking an adventure tonight and going to try to learn the bus system so we can expand our door knocking possibilities. The fall semester begins on the 2nd of September and Sister Cunningham and I can't wait for the semester to begin. Between the elders on campus and the low population, we talk to a lot of the same people. In the summer there should be 25,000 people on campus so there is some positive potential energy coming our way. :)

A little bit about Sister Cunningham: Sister Cunningham is from California. She's the middle of five kids, two older brothers and then a younger brother and sister.  She loves sports and cereal. Sister Cunningham will hit her year mark this transfer. She is actually a visa waiter (her original call was to Brazil). Sister Cunningham is a very diligent missionary and I know that we will learn a lot from each other. I am really excited that I get to work with her this transfer. :) 

Being an STL is an adventure (hooray, adventures!). Sister Cunningham has only been an STL a transfer longer than me so we have a lot of fun figuring things out. Sister Training Leaders are in between zone leaders and district leaders in my mission. We attend the Mission Leadership Council and we teach at Zone Training but we don't record numbers for our sisters.There are six companionships of sisters in this zone and we do trade offs with each companionship once a transfer. I never knew that planning trade offs could be so tricky! We have four companionships training this transfer and that is a determining factor in who stays in their area and who comes here to work. We also have two companionships on car rotations which means there are weeks when they don't have cars and with our lack of car, it becomes a problem. Some areas are an hour away which means we have to think about miles and times and when to start and end trade offs. We thought we had an infallible plan until we called the first companionship and they couldn't do their trade off this week. Back to the white board! We think we have it figured out. One of the greatest things I'm learning is that the Lord's Plan matters most and I'm just here to do just that. I can't tell you how often this week I have quoted D&C 123:17 to myself: "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; then may we stand still with the utmost assurance to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed." I need that reminder: it's up to me to do my part (cheerfully!) and then get out of the way so Heavenly Father can do His. Whenever things fall through I think, "Well, I guess that just wasn't God's plan today." My mission is teaching me to let go of what I think is best because I definitely don't know what's best haha.

We don't have any solid investigators right now which is a slight problem so this week we've set the goal to find 5 new solid investigators. It's really amazing to pray and go to work and watch Heavenly Father work miracles. I know that if it is His will, we will find some incredible people this week. Be prepared for some awesome stories next week!

I'm very happy to hear about your vacation in Texas. It sounds like the Texas Jensens and Shirley showed you a good ol' Texas time. :) I'm a little envious of the BBQ and I wish I could have been there to see mom freak out about feeding a sting ray at a Children's Aquarium. And of course, I wish I was there to see my adorable niece and nephew! We'll just make up for it when I get home.

That's probably all you can stand to hear me say about my amazing area. I really do love it here and I know that there will be some amazing miracles this transfer. The Church is true, is true, IS TRUE!! I love this Gospel with all of my heart and I love my Savior Jesus Christ! Have an amazing week! I love you Dad, Mom, Stephen, Stephanie, Jayden, Kylie, Angela and Tim!

Love from KZoo,

Sister Jensen :)

Get Your Kazoos Ready. . . 7.28.14

Dear Family,
I'm being transferred to Kalamazoo!!! I was FLOORED when I got the call. Let me tell you the whole story: I told Sister Brockbank that if we're both staying the Zone Leaders would call before 10am and we would continue with our weekly planning. Sister Brockbank is only halfway trained so I wasn't expecting any changes. So imagine our confusion when President Jacobsen called at 9:30am. We answered and he said, "Sister Jensen, you are being transferred to Kalamazoo to be on the WMU campus." In my head I'm thinking, they only send sisters to campus to be Sister Training Leaders. And then President Jacobsen said, "Oh, and there's a note here that you are going to be an STL." I lost it. I didn't know whether I was laughing or crying. I feel SO under qualified to be a Sister Training Leader. The transfer before I got Sister Brockbank, I decided I never wanted to be a STL and I didn't want to serve on campus. After stewing that over for a couple weeks I decided that was completely selfish and shortsighted of me. By placing limits on what I wanted and was comfortable with, I was limiting my effectiveness and how God could use me to accomplish His plan for His children. So I repented and now this happened. Oh boy. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father doesn't allow me to get comfortable on my mission. He answers my prayers when I ask Him to keep me humble. I am so excited that I get to learn and grow and serve the sisters in the Kalamazoo Zone.  Sister Brockbank is a little overwhelmed at the thought of taking over Rockford but I have absolute confidence in her. She has taught me so much this transfer and I am so thankful that Heavenly Father allowed me to work with her. She will be trained by Sister Jensen (look at that consistency. ;) and they are going to have some awesome success this transfer!
Rockford District

This week was great! We had probably one of my best/favorite lessons this past Saturday. It was the best not because it was perfect but because the Spirit was there. Isn't that the best?? Isn't feeling the Spirit just awesome?? How incredible is the Spirit! We were teaching TJ the second half of the Restoration lesson and it was just awesome. We had two of our ward missionaries with us and they added SO MUCH to our lesson! We cannot do this work without the members! We left that lesson happy. That's how you can tell how your lesson went. It was FAR from perfect but we left feeling peace and happiness. The Spirit was felt by all of us and TJ is excited to read the Book of Mormon and know if it is truth. All credit goes to the Spirit. When Elder Holland visited our mission, he said that the Holy Ghost is the most undervalued and unappreciated gift that Heavenly Father has given us. I have definitely gained a greater desire and appreciation for the Spirit on my mission. It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. "Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth... Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?" (D&C 50:13-14, 17-21, italics added) I am so so so grateful for the Spirit! I couldn't do this work without him!
Dad asked what the most unusual or unique thing that happened this week. Probably the most unusual thing that happened this week was our investigator coming to church without us asking. We have been trying for two months to get one of our investigators to come to church and yesterday she decided she was coming to church! Being transferred has some swaying power it looks like. ;) Plus she had a great time! She believes that one of the talks was for her deliberately. What a blessing!
Just a quick funny story: People cross the street deliberately not to talk to us. It's awesome! That's when I turn to Sister Brockbank and I say, "We must be doing our job right if people are avoiding us." People are really silly sometimes. It's really fun to go to the grocery store and watch people avoid the isles we're on or not make eye contact with us. It's funny what a little black badge can do. ;)
Where's our sign?

I'm doing so well and I am SO grateful for all the things Heavenly Father does for me on a daily basis. I know that the Book of Mormon is true! I have felt that witness again and again. I love reading it and I love those prophets for sacrificing so much for us. I hope you all have a fantastic week in Texas! I love you all!!
The Michiganary  

The "Sister Code" 7.21.14

Dear Family,
You have sisters in your ward?? That's awesome!!! I didn't think it was safe enough to have sisters in Pittsburg. Get the laurels to go out with them! I wish there had been sisters in the ward when I was growing up. And yes Mom, we hug A LOT. It's part of the "Sister Code". It was a huge adjustment for me when I first came on my mission but now it's pretty natural. Same with telling everyone that you love them. Missionaries are weird. Just deal with it. A lady in our ward told us that you need 8 hugs a day to be healthy and boy, do we fill that. I am so jealous that y'all get to go to Texas this week! I wish I could be there for Kylie's baby blessing but I'll just wait a year to meet her. Please be safe driving (or flying?) and have a wonderful time. I'm expecting to see pictures when I get on the computer next week. :)

This week was good. Just in case you didn't know, missionary work is emotionally complex. I have never felt so many extreme feelings before. I never knew that you could develop instantaneous love for people you didn't know. But you can and it's a wonderful and incredible thing. With those people you experience the greatest joys but also the greatest sorrows. We had an appointment fall through this week that was really hard for me. We have been trying to set up a time for the past couple of weeks for the elders to come and give a blessing to one of our investigators. Our appointments have never been consistent with her but it seemed like this time everything was going to line up and she was finally going to get this blessing. I was so hopeful and I had the faith that everything was going to line up and she was going to get this incredible blessing, something that she obviously needs. And then she called and cancelled. What else can you do but bear testimony and hang up? I was a small distance from my companion and when I hung up, I took a moment to collect myself and then delivered to the news to Sister Brockbank and the elders. These kinds of experience always make me reflect. Whenever I have these experiences, it makes me appreciate the love that Heavenly Father has for us. He feels this way probably constantly, watching us knowingly or unknowingly turn away from blessings He's waiting to give us. Yet He still loves us. Elder Wheat asked me to name three things that I was grateful for to try and cheer me up and one of those things was: "I'm grateful the Heavenly Father doesn't give up on me the way I want to give up on my investigators sometimes." It is so tempting sometimes to just give up and throw in the towel. People/Satan push your buttons in ways you can't even imagine. But even I, Sister Afton Jensen, am human. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father still loves me even though I fall short. He truly is an amazing person and I love Him very much.

Inspite of the not so happy things that happened this week, we had an awesome experience! It shows me how God can truly work in mysterious ways. We were door knocking a street and we didn't have much success going down the side of the street we were on. We had made plans to drop by a less active family before we went to another appointment so we decided to forgo the other side of the street. We were walking back to our car when I got this impression to talk to this lady who was outside watering her flowers on the other side of the street. One of the goals that I have set for myself is to always act and never delay acting on positive thoughts because they're probably from the Spirit. When the thought came, I instantly thought, "No way. That would be super awkward. She's watched us knock and be rejected on all of her neighbor's doors and I'm pretty sure we made eye contact a couple times." But the thought and my goal came into my mind so I said a simple prayer praying for the courage to talk to that lady. The next things I know, I'm telling Sister Brockbank, "I want to talk to that lady." and I'm crossing the street to go talk to her! That was most definitely the Spirit. So we went and tried to talk to her. She wasn't too open but as the conversation was winding down I got a distinct thought: ask her for a referral. So I did. She thought about is and said to try the door two houses down. She thought they might be interested. We said thanks and started walking back to our car. We had made it about 20 feet down the street when I got the distinct feeling that we needed to contact the referral right now. I looked at Sister Brockbank and said, "We need to go contact it right now." So we walked back past the lady we had just talked to and found the house two doors down. We knocked and a lady answered the door. Sister Brockbank asked her if she knew what her purpose was and the lady thought about it and said, "Yeah. Want to come in?" I had to keep my mouth from dropping open. We talked with this lady for next hour. It was awesome! We have a return appointment with her tomorrow and I am super excited. This showed me that we don't know how Heavenly Father will answer our prayers but if we do our part, He can do His. :)
I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has given me this opportunity to serve a mission. I have nothing but gratitude for this experience. It is so hard and there are days when I am pushed to my limits of patience but I love being a missionary. It is the small things that make this all worth it. I am so blessed to see His hand in this work every day. I know that prayers are answered and that He is always in charge. We are victorious because "greater is he that is in [us], than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4) We are so blessed!
I love you all. Thank you so much for your prayers! They really do wonders for me and for the people here! Have a wonderful week and be safe!
Sister Jensen

Rockin' in Rockford 7.14.14

Dear Family,
I am so glad that everything is calming down for once! Except for you Dad. You never seem to catch a break. But summers are supposed to be a time to just enjoy being outside and being lazy. That's probably why our door knocking numbers are so low: Everyone is enjoying being outside instead of in their homes where we need them to be. Michigan is too beautiful so I don't blame them.
We had a wonderful week this week. One thing that our district leader challenged us to do a while back was to do a 40 Day Purification Challenge. There's this neat little story we read about the benefits of spiritually purifying ourselves and then we fast and write down the promptings from the Spirit about things we need to purify ourselves of(worldly songs, thinking about home, casualness, not getting up on time etc. by the way, this is not my list, just some ideas). Then every morning and every night we pray for specifically for those things we need to purify ourselves of and pray for specific help to overcome them and report back in our evening prayers. It has really brought an increase to my spirituality and it has been a great blessing for me to have so many wonderful spiritual experiences this week. I'd like to share some with you.
Sister Brockbank and I were doing our nightly planning on Wednesday and we were planning out a street to go door knocking on. I was reading off some names and one street I had never seen before popped out at me. Sister Brockbank said that she felt really good about going to that street. So Thursday we went to that street and started knocking. Nothing. Very few people were home and the ones that were weren't interested. We made it down one side of the street and stopped to talk about the more effective use of our time: seeing a less active member or finish door knocking the street before our appointment. I'm not one to leave a project half done so I said that we should finish the street. The next door we knocked on let us in! He told us about all of his challenges and asked us what we believed and why we believe it. We were able to bear testimony to him of the Book of Mormon and the Atonement. We then said a prayer which really touched his heart. He told us that in all the time he's been in that house, he's had missionaries knock on his door twice a year and we are the first two he's ever listened to. We got a text from him later that evening. He said: "Thanks for stopping by ladies. Whether or not it works for me long term is yet to be seen... but u brightened my day! Best of luck." I looked at Sister Brockbank and said, "That's why we needed to door knock that street today." I am grateful that God allowed us to visit that man and touch his life for good that day. :)
Another neat experience happened while we were walking back to our apartment. Michigan has breathtaking skies. The clouds are so picturesque and awe-inspiring. Every time I look at them I can't help but feel God's love for me. We were walking and I looked up at the sky and thought about how good Heavenly Father is to us and as I thought that, I had the biggest feeling of pure gratitude that I had ever felt. It just filled my whole body. I felt so much gratitude for just being a missionary and for meeting all of these incredible people in Michigan, people I wouldn't have met if I hadn't served a mission. I felt so blessed in that moment that Heavenly Father sent me to Michigan. I love being here because of the people I meet and serve.
I'll share one last experience, one that meant the most to me this week. I was asked three weeks ago to speak in church this week about the Plan of Salvation and how it has been meaningful to me. When I got the call, my impression was, "They want me to speak about my experience with Chris." The thing is maybe three people in my ward know that I had a brother who passed away, let alone the person who assigned me the talk. So for three weeks I have been debating whether or not I should even tell the story. I don't like telling the story for several different reasons but I just kept feeling like I needed to tell that story. As I sat in the stands before my talk, I prayed, "Heavenly Father, I feel like I need to tell this story today. Please let it touch one person today." I looked out at the audience and looked at every person and I just knew that everyone in the audience was experiencing trials. So I got up and I told the story. I didn't even make it through the first line of the story before I started crying. Thankfully my whole talk wasn't just me telling this tragic story but more about everything I gained from the truths of the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for knowledge of the resurrection. I am grateful that I can find joy through the mission of Jesus Christ. And I am grateful that the Plan of Salvation gives me an my eternal perspective. After Sacrament meeting Bishop came up to me and said, "If I could hug sister missionaries, I would hug you. They should make an exception for bishops." Then the counselor who assigned me the talk came over and told me that when he was thinking about this talk he felt really impressed that I needed to give the talk, which was confusing to him because I had just spoken two months earlier. And now he knows why I needed to give that talk. Throughout the rest of church, people came and told me about their losses and how my story really touched them. As people came up to me, a quote from President Eyring came to mind: "I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself." Chris's passing was horrible and it's still something that makes me cry and makes me sad. But I'm glad that God has given me an experience that then allows me to turn around and lend comfort to those who need it. I am very grateful for God's Plan and how it has helped me and others navigate and find comfort in our journeys.
I hope you don't mind that I've shared a lot with you today. It says in the white handbook to share spiritual experiences with our families and I have seen so many this week so I thought I would share some. I am so grateful that Elder Wheat asked us to purify ourselves. It has opened even more the channels to God in my life. I love being a missionary and I love being in Rockford. This is God's church and Jesus is the Christ.
I love you all!
Sister Jensen