Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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

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