Monday, October 6, 2014

We Thank Thee, Oh God, For a Prophet 10.6.14

Dear Family,

This has been, hands down, the BEST. CONFERENCE. EVER!!! I loved it!! I was ready to just keep going!! Maybe if I write the prophet we could make it an all week thing. Think that would fly? 

Conference is such a source of power. We've been teaching a lot of people about the importance of prophets and so I've taken a lot of time to study the importance of prophets. I found this awesome scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 21: " Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory." Isn't that the best promise ever?? Who wouldn't want that in their life? We're pretty much promised that if we listen to the prophet, we will NEVER LOSE. Who wants to be on the winning team? All in favor? I am so so so grateful for a living prophet and I know without a doubt that Thomas Spencer Monson is a prophet of God. 

One goal that I have set for myself as a result of this past General Conference is to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I read a talk Saturdaybefore conference called "The Fourth Missionary" and Elder Corbridge talks about not trying to be "a great missionary" but rather to become a disciple of Jesus Christ- it's more lasting. From this past General Conference, I have gained many tools and much counsel as to how I can be a better disciple and "walk as Jesus walked" (President Monson's talk). The apostles have thrown a shadow and we can and should choose to follow them because they "will not and cannot lead us astray." (Elder Ballard's talk). 

I think what made this conference so powerful was hearing people speak the words that the Spirit placed in their heart in their own language. It's SO POWERFUL. It has been a blessing to go English speaking on my mission because I can tell people exactly what's on my heart in my way rather than changing my words to fit my limited vocabulary. This church is a global church. No matter where you go, the church will always be true. :) Admittedly, I freaked out during Elder Klebingat's talk. We were in the same branch in Ukraine. Also, was Aunt Martha in the choir?? I thought I saw her....

If you haven't already signed up to get "Meet the Mormons" in your area, DO IT NOW. We watched it after zone training and OHMYGOODNESSTHATMOVIEISAMAZING. YOU NEED TO WATCH IT. YOU NEED THAT IN YOUR LIFE. CAN YOU NOT TELL HOW IMPORTANT I THINK THIS IS?? I'M TYPING IN ALL CAPS FOR THE GOOD MAJORITY OF THIS PARAGRAPH. But really, this is an incredible missionary opportunity. I LOVED this movie and the Spirit is so strong. My burly College Football Coach Mission President cried. I cried. That's how good it is. Please, please, PLEASE watch it. You won't regret it. :)

Treasure the words from this past General Conference. I know without a doubt that they can and will change your lives. I have such a testimony that their words are true and that they will lead us to our Savior Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to have a prophet in these latter days. :)

I love you all!! Be safe and have an incredible week!

Love and charity,
Sister Jensen :)

Another Week in the Life of Sis. Jensen 9.29.14

Dear Family,

I will never covet leadership positions ever again. There. I said it. It was a rough week for the sisters in the zone. Being the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Fehlman and I had to handle a couple of things while President and his wife were up north (he's the district president over the Traverse City District). The two take away lessons are that you will never please everyone, and it takes a lot of courage to stand up to your peers. I have also learned the value of prayer. I have been singing "Did You Think to Pray" a lot this week. The second and third verse have guided me a lot this week. I am so grateful for prayer! It is an amazing way to give our burdens to God and then resume your journey. It has healed my heart and lifted my Spirits in so many ways. So when life gets dark and dreary, don't forget to pray. ;)

I LOVED LOVED LOVED WOMEN'S BROADCAST. I didn't want it to end!!! It was like eating hot apple crisp and ice cream: every bite just gets better and better and you're sad when there's no more deliciousness in your spoon. I will admit, it made me ache to be in the temple. I miss the temple SO MUCH and I am SO grateful to hear that Mom and Dad are taking advantage of the temple! The blessings of the temple are incredible!! Everyone just needs to go there. I loved the emphasis on covenant keeping. It's made me ponder a lot more on what I can do to be a better covenant keeper and how I can rise to the standard Heavenly Father has set. Sometimes I wish I could go to the temple to remember exactly what I promised.... but no matter! Heavenly Father wants us to do our best and that's what I plan on doing. :) 

So to answer your question from forever ago, I do indeed know Sister Baham! I actually went on trade-offs with her this past week in St. Joseph! The start of our trade-off is a really funny story. Sister Baham is new to St. Joe so she isn't super familiar with the area and she doesn't have her driving privileges which meant that I was driving (guess who hasn't driven in three months??) and relying on a GPS (one of the elder's GPS's. This is an important detail). Well we got in the car at 8:20pm, hit "home" on the GPS, and went on our merry way. We're about 20 minutes into our drive when I started noticing that all the signs are saying "Battle Creek" on them. The wheels start turning: Battle Creek is east of Kalamazoo. St. Joseph is on Lake Michigan which is east of Kalamazoo. "Sister Baham, where exactly is the GPS taking us?" I pulled off the highway (probably shouldn't be hurtling at 70 mph in an unknown direction) and we checked the GPS. Apparently, whichever elder owned this GPS had just finished serving in Jackson (south of Lansing) and we were heading "home". I am reminded of mom's infamous words: technology is only as smart as its user. Our little GPS was only doing its job haha. Thankfully we made it to St. Joe before midnight- Just kidding. We made it there at 9:45pm. Late but we were in one piece! Got to keep things memorable, right? 

Thank you so much for telling me about your "missionary moments" this week! They're awesome!! I look forward to being a member missionary when I get home. There are so many great ways to share the gospel. Preach My Gospel has an incredible section on how we can be better member missionaries (Chapter 9 section "The Importance of Members"and I could not sit still in my seat reading it this past week! What an awesome opportunity you all have!! Just keep being awesome. "Preach the gospel always; Use words when necessary."

My missionary moment that came to mind happened when I was on trade-offs with the Kalamazoo 2 sisters. We went door-knocking (reliving the glory days in Rockford ;) ) and we were using Family Search as our approach. It's a great approach and not as intrusive but it's not as action packed as bearing your testimony and reading scriptures to people. But that's what they've been focusing on in their finding so I went with it. I learned a lot of funny things. But my favorite part of the day was when we knocked on this door and the guy wasn't interested in family history. But he asked us if he could ask us a question. We said sure. He hesitated and then asked with we taught people about Jesus Christ, inferring that what we taught wasn't based on Jesus Christ. I couldn't hold back and I just blurted out, "Can I share a scripture with you?!?" I was itching all day for this opportunity. I read to him a scripture and bore testimony that the Book of Mormon testified of Jesus Christ and that by reading it we would come to know more about Jesus Christ and his atonement. As we talked I noticed how the Spirit came and bore testimony of what was said. I hadn't noticed that the Spirit wasn't exactly there but I definitely noticed it when it bore witness of what we said. When we walked away, I was pumped! Sharing the gospel is one of the best feelings!! You will never regret opening your mouth. You should try it sometime and just feel the awesomeness. 

I see that I have typed too much. There's no way that I could tell you everything I have felt, seen, and heard. I can't give my experiences to you but I know you can have these experiences for yourself! Pray for these opportunities and then sacrifice to have them! Heavenly Father can use all of us for good. :) 

Have an amazing week. Never forget that you are a Child of God and that He loves you. :) Also, please thank the wonderful sisters in the Pittsburg Relief Society for me! I loved their notes! 

Sister Jensen :)

Proof that I met Sister Baham. She had Bowman grocery bags in her apartment and I about went bazerck haha

Adventure is Out There! 9.22.14

Dear Family, 

Can I just say that a mission has been the best adventure in my life so far? It's been crazy!! I love it! The highs, the lows (not so much but they help me appreciate the highs that much more!), and everything in between. I LOVE all that I have learned on my mission so far and I LOVE being a missionary!

This week was great! We taught more lessons this week than I have in whole transfers. Embarrassing to admit but WMU is such a different area! We taught 9 lessons this week which was an adventure in and of itself! They are all different people with different needs. On top of that Sister Fehlman and I are working on blending our teaching styles so it was a blessing that we got so many opportunities to teach. Right now we're working on finding some solid progressing investigators. We may have gotten one or two from this past week's work. I have really high hopes for our investigator Tyler. 

Tyler is just awesome. Sister Cunningham and I taught him the Plan of Salvation a couple weeks ago and he loved it. The Spirit was SO STRONG and Sister Cunningham and I were pumped after that lesson! We probably could have karate chopped bricks or something because we were so pumped. Sister Fehlman and I taught him this last week about the Restoration and again, we couldn't have asked for better answers to our questions and comments during the lesson. It was AWESOME. He is just so prepared!!! I want him to be baptized SO BAD. The only hitch is that his girlfriend is Catholic and if he wants to marry her, he needs to be Catholic or agree to raise their kids Catholic. Hard to do when you're a member of the Church, right? ;) We committed him to read Moroni 10 and pray about it. We're praying for good things to come! 

Other exciting news of the week: we got hugged by a boy and "Sin Awareness Day" was last Thursday. Sister Fehlman and I were talking to this guy and as we're closing our conversation he spreads his arms and says, "Bring it in team, bring it in." and draws us in for the most awkward huddle hug EVER. It was one of those moments where you have so many thoughts coming into your head all at once (most of them consisting of "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" something like that....) that you just end up not doing anything. Just sitting here typing about it makes me feel incredibly awkward. I have officially become that missionary who just can't even process hugging boys. Heaven help me when I get home. Handshakes, anyone?

"Sin Awareness Day" is when this street preacher comes and tells everyone how they're sinning. People have been warning us for about a month now that he would make his debut  and we finally got to witness it first hand. Let me throw this out there: the Gospel of Jesus Christ is 100% true. I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit that brings feelings of love, peace, long-suffering, and joy. I admire the prophets and apostles of old who could stand in the streets/walls/etc and declare the Word of God because it requires a lot of courage. I admire this man who felt it was his mission to help people be aware of their sins. I just wish it didn't bring a sick feeling whenever we had to walk by it. I often think about how the prophets in the Book of Mormon taught the gospel and how Christ taught the gospel. It all has to be done with the Spirit and with charity. Apparently he comes around often so it should be interesting to see what else happens this semester.

I remember telling you about the fast that Sister Cunningham and I had at the beginning of last transfer where we fasted for 5 new investigators and I don't think I ever told you what happened. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. For that week at least. At first, Sister Cunningham and I were a little discouraged and wondered why our fast didn't work. I felt like we should keep praying for it and every week of that transfer we set 5 new investigators as our goal. Still, no 5 new investigators. Well, transfers came and went and Elder Baker, the district leader, called me one night to talk to me. He knew that we had fasted for 5 new investigators and obviously he knew that we hadn't reached it any week. But what he said shocked me, "You reached 6 new investigators last transfer. I just totaled up your numbers for the transfer and you got 6 new investigators." I was dumbfounded. I didn't know what to say. I felt instantly humbled because not only had Heavenly Father answered our prayers but He had blessed us with even more. That's just unfair. I feel like I don't deserve the blessings He gives me but He blesses me each and every day with more than I deserve. I know that fasting is the means of obtaining blessings and I know Heavenly Father hears AND answers every prayer. Don't lose your faith when answers don't come right away because I am positive that what Heavenly Father has for you is better than what you've even asked for. 

I know this is a long email but I finally had some time to write a little more. I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your prayers! Have an amazing week!!

Love, Sister Jensen
Hmmm.  Time for some "sole" searching.

WMU Missionaries 9.15.14

Dear Family,

It's always intriguing to hear about what happens in just a week! You all seem to be having quite the experiences. Thank you for keeping me informed. It's so nice to hear what is going on with my family. I feel just out of the loop with normal life stuff, I'm glad that I at least hear what you're doing. 

This week was AWESOME. I'm sensing a reoccurring theme on my mission: Heavenly Father makes things miserable so I feel nothing but gratitude when things change. I think it's just a reflection of my pride haha. I've seen on my mission that I have quite a bit of pride and then some. Let me tell you flat out that Sister Fehlman is the miracle that WMU needs right now. She is a fireball! I don't know what it is about short people but they're either extremely shy or extremely forward and Sister Fehlman could take on an army. She's awesome and I am so grateful that I get to work with her. I've seen changes in the way I do missionary work in just the past week. It is a definite answer to my prayers to be able to work with her. 

Here's a little bit about Sister Fehlman: She's from Arizona. She is the youngest of six girls. She was a cheerleader in college. Sister Fehlman originally got her call to Brazil but had visa issues and was reassigned to the Michigan Lansing Mission and then decided to spend the rest of her mission here. She has three transfers left. Sister Fehlman has a fire for the Gospel and loves to tell people how it is. 

We spent the week personal contacting which normally makes me a little uncomfortable. I don't have the easiest time with it, but Sister Fehlman changed my whole perspective. We had amazing conversations, a lot of them being inspired by the Spirit. We saw miracles all week: a person had a copy of the Book of Mormon given to them years ago when they talked with missionaries and keeps it with them when they move; another girl saying, "I feel warm and happy about the things you've told me."; doing our weekly planning and having to plan out 12 lessons for the upcoming week; running into two former investigators that we've been trying to contact. There have been so many wonderful things in the past week! We are definitely seeing blessings and I am SO GRATEFUL for them. I just can't help but glory in my God! It feels so good to feel useful!

What else happened this week.....? Oh. The saddest thing ever: I had to wear a coat. ALL. WEEK. Can you believe it?? It's been FREEZING all week! We've had our heater running in our apartment! I put on thermals one day! What gives Michigan?? If there weren't green leaves on the trees I would think it was October and the snow was on it's way. I keep telling Sister Fehlman that it feels like Christmas in California. Heaven knows what this Christmas here will truly be like this year and if Michigan is giving us a preview, I guess I will finally know what Han Solo felt like. 

But really, everything is good. :) I love being a missionary. I love my life. I feel so blessed to be here and to be serving the Lord. There really is nothing like the peace and happiness that is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe I've shared this before but I really love the scripture in Mosiah chapter 2. It's the last verse, verse 41 and it says, "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual." I've experienced this personally and I've seen it in the lives of others. I know that we will be happy as long as we keep God's commandments and let Him be the focus of our lives. Nothing can go permanently wrong when we put Heavenly Father first. :)

I love you all so much. I hope that you are seeing the blessings that Heavenly Father is pouring out on you. I know that "God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth" (Alma 26:37) and I know He loves you. "Look to [him] in every thought; doubt not, fear not." (D&C 6:36) :)

Not yet Frozen but Nicely Refrigerated Sister Jensen

School Has Begun! 9.8.14

Dear Family,

Welcome to the opening day of Transfer #6! It's bound to be a fun and exciting transfer, brothers and sisters! You will be guaranteed daring adventure, moments of heart breaks and heroic tales of courage and faith. Be on the look out for exciting tales of the Sisters at WMU! With that fantastic introduction, hello dearest family! I have exciting news: today I received my 8th companion, Sister Fehlman (pronouced "fell-men"). Sister Cunningham got transferred to Wyoming and I get to train Sister Fehlman on being an STL here at WMU! I can honestly say that it is the blind leading the blind but President Packer (maybe it was him?) has promised that as long as we are on the Lord's errand we cannot fail! I'm pretty sure President Jacobsen sent Sister Fehlman here to help me be a better missionary because I need all the help I can get! Sister Fehlman just transferred from MSU where she was a normal campus missionary for the past 7 and a half months. I can definitely learn a lot from her! I want to be a better missionary and this is definitely an answer to prayer to have her here!

We had a MUCH better week this week! With school starting, there is a lot more people to talk to and that means more things to do and more people to teach. The amount of lessons we taught saw a significant spike and will hopefully stay that way throughout the transfer. We picked up a couple new investigators and there is some great potential in them. Probably my favorite lesson was with a guy named Tyler. We met Tyler door knocking a couple weeks ago and we got an appointment with him. We planned to teach the Restoration but after a solid "How to Begin Teaching" we felt like his concerns and questions were more along the lines of the Plan of Salvation. It was the most solid lesson I've had on my mission. The whole time we taught Tyler would say things like, "I've never thought of it that way before but that totally makes sense!" It was awesome to watch the Spirit work and see him connect the dots as we talked to him. When we got to the end, Sister Cunningham and I bore powerful testimonies of what we had taught and the Spirit was there. It wasn't a burning in the bosom or a this huge heavens opening thing, but things just made sense and felt right. It was an incredible lesson for me to participate in and I feel blessed that I got to experience that. We have a return appointment with him this Wednesday and I'm really looking forward to it.

I won't lie: being on campus has been the hardest part of my mission so far. It has brought out a lot of insecurities in me and I feel as though I'm starting my mission all over again. So this week I decided to make a "Pump Sister Jensen Up" scripture chain! People listen to music to get them pumped before they work out or before a game, I read my scriptures. :) One scripture that I really like that has helped me see the kind of missionary I want to be at the end of the day/end of the transfer/end of my stay at WMU/end of the mission is 2 Timothy 4:7 which says: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." Every time I read it, I imagine myself victorious over the things of the world. It's hard to fight that good fight every day! But I want to be able to stand before Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and say that exact phrase to them, especially the part "I have kept the faith." Won't that feel good?? One of the other scriptures in my scripture chain is John 16:33: "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." It's a great reminder to me that Jesus Christ has overcome the world. As long as I have faith in him, I will overcome as well. :)

Thank you so much for sharing with me pictures and adventures and your love. I need it every week. It reminds me to be strong and continue forward. I love you all so much. :) 

Have an incredible week! I love more and more!

The Kzoo Michiganary :)

Howdy! 9.3.14

Dearest Family,

First off, I am not breaking mission rules: the library wasn't open on Monday so we couldn't check email. We spent most of yesterday in East Lansing (MLC) and then had appointments (YAY!!!) so I couldn't write yesterday. So I am writing today with permission.

Second, I wrote a handwritten letter to the Fam on Monday so please look for my weekly letter in there. 

Third, I was going to take today to send pictures and I grabbed everything but my camera. HA. Hard to send pictures that way.... 

But I wanted to share with you a quick experience I shared with my friend. We are seeing MIRACLES. I have never worked harder on my mission than this transfer and we have not seen any success. It has been rough. But we are seeing miracles already happening with the beginning of the semester."School has FINALLY started here too!! It's SUCH A BLESSING!!!!!!!! This transfer has been really rough because of the lack of people, new calling, new area, and new companion. But it's ending on a high note which makes the trials all worth it. We are trying to fill our teaching pool. We actually just had a miracle: we stopped a girl and talked to her and asked her if she had time that we could teach her more. She had time so we sat down and talked to her about the Book of M
ormon and the first vision. She liked it and we were drawing to a close and she said, "So what's the next step? What do I do next?" Our mouths almost dropped open but we set up a return appointment for Monday instead. Heavenly Father is truly blessing us!! I am so excited to see the miracles come. :)" Heavenly Father will bless us and I know that there are some good things to come!

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

The picture is from the last MLC we had. Sister Cunningham is the one right next to me, towards the middle.