Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Snow Already 11.3.14

Dear Family,

What a week!! It's been a big week and looking over it, it's hard to know where to start. On a high note, we had an awesome week numbers wise and we "hit standard" for the second week in a row! It's been good to see that we've been filling our time with meaningful activities that are bringing forth "good fruit". The other good news is that we had three investigators at church! It was AWESOME!!

I need to tell you about one of our investigators. His name is Greg and I don't want to jinx it, but he's pretty golden! We met him on the bus about two months ago. We got his number and put it in our area book and kind of forgot about it (yeah, I know. Not the best follow-up....). On tradeoffs this past week, Sister Koch and I were making calls and she  called him and set up an appointment. We met with him and it could not have gone better! And then what made it better, he actually came to church and liked it! It's pretty miraculous! I am so excited to be teaching him and there is the great possibility that we could have an investigator on date to be baptized!

So as the title of this email suggested, we got our first reminder of what is awaiting us this Winter. I'll admit, I'd forgotten about those lazy winds! I can't remember if I told you what Sister Hess said when we got off the plane in Michigan earlier this year. She said, "Have you ever heard of 'lazy winds'? They're winds that are too lazy to go around you so they go right through you!" If it wasn't for the wind, the snow would have been quite enjoyable! We and the members joke about "The Evolution of Coats" and I'm sadly on my big winter coat now. Some people have one more coat in their evolution  before the final one and once it starts getting colder, I'm going to be adding A LOT more layers. Why do sisters buy really big skirts: so our pajamas can fit under them.

Something I have been thinking a lot about recently and I feel like my whole mission is repentance. It's caught my eye in the scriptures and it's something I don't think I understood before my mission. I always thought of repentance as "hell fire and brimstone" but it's actually more than that. It encompasses healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In Preach My Gospel it says, "Ideally, repenting of a specific sin should be necessary only once. However, if the sin is repeated, repentance is available as a means of healing." In 3 Nephi 9:13, Jesus Christ invites us to use the power of the Atonement to be healed from the effects of sin: "Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" What an amazing invitation! I feel so imperfect as a missionary, to the point that it hurts sometimes to realize how human I am! Sometimes I want to lament as Nephi did in 2 Nephi 4. But I am reminded over and over again that "repentance is progress, not perfection". Perfection is our ultimate goal but Heavenly Father doesn't expect immediate results. Don't be too hard on yourself because of your imperfections but turn towards our Heavenly Father each week and "try a little harder to be a little better" (President Gordon B. Hinkley). 

I love you all soooooo much!! You are all so wonderful! I feel so blessed to have you as my family!! Have a wonderful week!!

much love,
Sister Jensen :)

PS   I knew I had an amazing story to tell you and I just remembered it! I have a testimony of fast offerings! It's the best!

So we had NO MONEY last week. I had $0.57 on my missionary card and Sister Fehlman had a little more than that on her's. In addition to that, the elders had also called us two weeks ago to say that they had four boiled eggs and no other food so we gave them a big bag of our food. So last Monday we were up a creek with no money and not a lot of food (spaghetti, spaghetti and more spaghetti). Sister Fehlmand and I talked about it and I expressed my thoughts, "Sister Fehlman, I paid my fast offering yesterday and we gave the elders our food because it was the right thing to do. Heavenly Father will provide a way for us to eat this week."

Because we had no money, we decided that we were going to buy tortillas and milk and yogurt and eggs and live off of that and whatever random things we had lying around our apartment for a week. As we were going home, our "taxi driver"/member Chasity said, "Sisters, that's not a lot of food." We told her that we were going to tough it out for a week and that we would be fine. About an hour later, Sister Fehlman and I are standing in our kitchen and Sister Fehlman says, "What is Chasity doing here?" We walk outside and Chasity walks up with five bags of groceries! We were blown away! We felt SO BLESSED and just humbled that Heavenly Father had answered our prayer. But it didn't stop there!

This last week we had three dinner appointments (something that NEVER happens to us) as well as enough leftovers from one of the dinners to feed us for the rest of the week! Then we had a friend buy us dinner on Friday night. So not only had Heavenly Father met our needs, but He poured out blessings that we really didn't have room (in our stomachs) to receive it! We were so blessed!! It showed me how aware Heavenly Father is of us and how much He really does love us. It also showed me how real blessings are when we choose to keep the commandments. I know that there are blessings for keeping the commandments, sometimes even immediate blessings. 

I hope this gives you a little more faith in Heavenly Father's timing. I know He loves each and every one of us and He will answer our prayers!
Our Michiganary, Sis. Jensen
Sister Jensen :)

Happy Halloween! 10.27.14

Querido Familia,

It is so good to hear from all of you! You are just the best bunch of people. Thank you so much for the pictures!! I laughed looking at all of them. I'm making an executive decision and decreeing that if a zombie apocalypse ever happened, we should all pick Dad for our team because he's proven himself worthy of turning anything into a weapon and using it accurately. Seriously Dad, can someone say hidden talents?? Plus, Tim. When did you grow up?? Will I even recognize you when I get home?? Can you grow a beard yet? Geez, I don't even know you anymore.... It was so good to hear about the Spook Alley. I think I know where I get my OCD tendencies from. Reading about all the preparation made me understand my companion's point of view a little more haha.

This week was GREAT. Number wise, it was probably the best week I've had on my mission. We have been teaching significantly more lessons. We have been feeling that shorter, more frequent lessons are the way to go (especially with college students) and it's been amazing to see the difference it's made in their progress. We have four (almost five!) progressing investigators and one with a date (Bin!!). Our investigator Forest is praying about being baptized on the 22nd of November and today we asked our investigator Alex if he would be baptized and he said that he needed to read a little more of the Book of Mormon. But I am pretty sure that he will be. He and his friend Shane are AMAZING. I was on tradeoffs with another sister when we met Shane on campus. Then Shane brought Alex to the lesson and we've been teaching them for the past couple weeks! It's been great!! They've been keeping commitments and today Alex gave our closing prayer which was HUGE. It's so incredible to see God's hand in it all!!

This next comment might be a little weird and I might not phrase it right so bear with me: I am very grateful to have experienced a personal loss in my family. It has been an incredible testimony builder for me and a powerful missionary tool. When Sister Lindeman and I first contacted Shane, I felt really prompted to ask him if he'd ever wondered what happened after we died. He replied that he had because his father had just died from cancer two months ago. Because of my personal loss, I was able to relate and immediately testify of the Plan of Salvation and how it's comforted me and my family. My mission has given me so many opportunities to bear testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the eternal nature of family. Because of the loss in our family, I feel like I can connect with people and understand their point of view and offer the comfort I have gained through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I read a talk from April General Conference and this quote closely describes how I feel about losing Christopher, "I would never have asked for this trial, but I would never give it away." I miss Christopher so much it aches sometimes. But I would never give that experience away because of the testimony that it has built in me. I am grateful for parents who were married in the temple because with the loss of Christopher, I won't settle for anything less than a temple marriage because I want that security in my family. I want my family to be sealed with eternal power that can move mountains. I am so grateful for Eternal Families and for God's Plan of Happiness. I am grateful for the ways in which Heavenly Father has prepared me to be an instrument in His hands. We are so blessed and I love Heavenly Father so much for all He has given me.

This last week we went on blitzes with the St. Joseph sisters. Sister Fehlman and I went on splits with them for the day in their area and did some training with them. It was great!! I love missionary work! I went door knocking with Sister Baham and we had some wonderful experiences which taught me a lot of things. One experience that we had really stands out to me: We knocked on the door of a pastor which is always an interesting experience. I remember when I first came on my mission, I wanted people to bash with me so I could prove to them with my infallible logic that I was right. There are so many things wrong with that last sentence and I have come to realize that over the course of my mission. This pastor was not a nice pastor and thankfully he was sick so he didn't want to spend time talking to us, but he did make sure to tell us his thoughts on the Book of Mormon. We bore testimony, invited him to read and ask God if it was true, wished him a speedy recovery, and went on our merry way. As we walked down the street, I felt bad for that man. It truly made me sad that he thought that way about the Book of Mormon because I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it is "good fruit". Heavenly Father loves us and wants to talk to us and it's us, His children, who choose to limit Him by telling Him He can't talk to us because the apostles are gone now and the Bible is all we need. We are SO. BLESSED. to have the Book of Mormon- SO BLESSED!! Everyone NEEDS to read this book and ask if it is true because IT IS and it will only bring further light, knowledge, truth, and happiness into their lives! I could go on forever about this. Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now. Just don't ever doubt your testimony of the Book of Mormon. EVER.

Things overall are going well. We are incredibly blessed. That's it. I feel so blessed to be in the Michigan Lansing Mission. Where else in the world would I get this experience? I feel so lucky to be here. This is probably the best decision I have ever made. 
Happy Halloween from the Pittsburg 1st ward!

I love you all!! Thank you so much for your love and prayers! They help SO MUCH!!

Faith in Every Footstep 10.20.14

Dear Family,

I feel like the title of this email is pretty clever and pretty realistic haha. When I went to the ER two weeks ago, the doctor said to not put any weight on my foot until I could see the orthopedist. Thankfully, some elders found a wheelchair for me and a lady in the branch gave me crutches so for a week Sister Fehlman pushed me up and down every hill in Kalamazoo. You don't realize how many hills actually exist until you're in a wheelchair and poor Sister Fehlman is half my size so it made for a very interesting week. I had an appointment with the orthopedist last week and all I wanted from her was the ability to walk on my foot. She walked in, talked to me for about three minutes, and walked out. And then another lady came in with Frankenstein's leg. Actually, it's an air cast but I am pretty sure I can walk on the moon with this thing. It's HUGE.
The doctor told me to use crutches and then move to one crutch and then walk on it as I can tolerate but all it translated into in my head was "DOBBY IS FREE!!!" So I've been shuffling along for the past week. Honestly, I look ridiculous because the moon boot has about a two inch thick sole and all I have are flats so I teeter from side to side as I walk. And just when you thought missionaries weren't weird enough.... Haha it's good. I only broke the 5th metatarsal which honestly isn't a huge deal but it's been a weirdly huge trial. It's such a little thing but it's made this past couple weeks a trial of patience and faith. For a while I felt like a lame horse and really wished someone would just shoot me because I really felt unproductive as a missionary and as a person. I felt like I had let a lot of people down- my companion, the mission president, my district, the sisters in my zone, the people in my branch, etc etc etc. It created a lot of stress and tension between me and my companion which led to a billion other things. But it's taught me a lot about humility and pairing up with the Lord to face trials. I've learned a lot about patience and I think my companion is learning a lot about patience as well. My foot still hurts a lot and there is still a long way until the end of it but I can have faith in every footstep, in spite of the pain and difficulties. I can choose to have faith in Heavenly Father. :)

Probably the biggest news and the best thing to happen this week was that Bin was set on date!! We're going to have a baptism!!! We almost lost our brains, we were so happy! His date is for the 29th of November! I am so excited for Bin! And ever since we set the date I can't stop picturing him as a member of the church. I really, really, really hope that everything works out. Bin has come so far since I started teaching him and I have seen a tremendous growth in his faith. He is awesome and I am so grateful that I've been able to teach him. The Church is true, guys. Never forget it.

If you haven't already, you need to Google "fall in Michigan" because it is BREATHTAKING. I LOVE TREES. Seriously, the colors are incredible and I haven't taken any pictures of the trees because it won't capture the mere splendor of it all. Michigan is SO. BEAUTIFUL. I am forcing my husband to come back to Michigan in the Fall. True story. The only sad thing is that the trees are beautiful for about a week and then over night all the leaves fall. So about a third of the trees are naked now. Looking at them makes me nervous for the Polar Vortex that's approaching. Bin told us the other day that it was 30 degrees at night. Ladies and gents, help me now. I'm already strategerizing (pretty sure I just made up a word) for this coming Winter. There will probably be snow by the end of the transfer. 

Something I have been thinking a lot about lately is Elder Klebingat's talk from this past General Conference. I have had one part in particular go through my head frequently and it's this: "Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, 'I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn’t it?' Then partner with Him to endure well to the end....  'often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into [your life] because of what [you] are doing right'" There are times when I've been really discouraged in the past couple weeks but this talk has been a great reminder that this life is a testing period (a test that I was not passing well these past couple weeks), but that Heavenly Father expects us to turn to Him and rely on His wisdom and strength to make it through. "But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen." (I Nephi 9:6)

I love you all so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your prayers in my behalf. I have never felt more supported by prayer as I have in the past couple weeks. I can without a doubt say that it is because of your prayers that things are going better. I love you all so much and I love this Gospel with all of my heart. Have an incredible week!

Sister Jensen

Happy Hump Day!! ;

Left Leg, BROKEN! 10.13.14

Dear Family,

Actually, it's my left foot but the Brian Regan reference seemed more appropriate haha. I became that missionary last Monday, the missionary to ruin it for all other missionaries. I broke my foot playing ultimate frisbee. Classic, right? I went up for a catch and came down on the side of my foot. I couldn't catch myself fast enough so my foot kept rolling to a chorus of popping and snapping. I looked at the sisters close to me and said, "Did you hear that??"  They looked at me with horrified faces, "Yeah, are you okay??" Honestly, it didn't hurt that bad so I stood up and walked of the field. I started doing stretches and what not, thinking that I had just rolled it, and continued to watch the game. The longer I sat there, the more it hurt. By the time we were leaving I couldn't walk on it. When we got home I discovered the nicest goose egg on the side of my foot (see picture one).
 I called Sister Jacobsen who then told me to call President Jacobsen (being a football/athletic director for his career, he's seen quite a few foot injuries). I described the injury and he said that I probably had a bad sprain and that he would look at it after MLC the following day. 

After MLC (Tuesday) he asked, "So it hurts through here and here?" And I said, "No, it actually hurts here and here." He was not too happy about that. He re-wrapped my foot and told me to go to the doctor in a couple days if it wasn't feeling better. 

On Wednesday, my foot was all pretty sort of colors, swollen to the size of a small wiener dog (see picture 3), and I still couldn't put weight on it. I looked at Sister Fehlman and said, "I think we should go to an urgent care today."
Thankfully, we found a member who could drive us and the urgent care wasn't busy so we were seen right away. The doctor took one look at it and said, "You probably broke it and we don't have the facilities here to treat that. You need to go to the emergency room." Our member had left to go do some errands so we had quite the adventure crutching our way to the ER across the street. We eventually made it and got to spend the afternoon in the ER. Eventually they took films and dun-du-duh! I broke the fifth tarsal or metatarsal of my foot. I now have a fancy shoe to wear while the swelling goes down and I have an appointment with an orthopedist on Wednesday. Fun times, right? 

I have to keep reminding myself that Heavenly Father knew that I would break my foot and He's provided ways for me to still be productive. It's been a trial this past week and it will probably be a trial for a while longer. But this morning I read this scripture in Mosiah. Mosiah 23: 21-22 reads: "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day." It's funny that a broken bone would try my patience and faith but it's been the perfect trial to do that haha. Sometimes I think it would be better to just shoot me (President told me that they do that to lame horses) but there has to be a way for me to make it through. Today's trial is tomorrow's triumph; today's test is tomorrow's testimony. :)

The work is going well! The elders had two baptisms on Saturday which was nice. I don't remember much from my baptism so it's a great opportunity to ponder on the significance of that covenant and the blessings that are available to those who enter into that covenant. Sister Fehlman and I are doing a lot of finding and we're teaching a lot of first lessons. We have three first-lessons planned for today and we are trying hard to find our covenant keeper. Bin still won't commit to a baptismal date but we're getting really hopeful that something will happen soon. Bin told his girlfriend that he's thinking of being baptized (news to us even though we've asked him like five times if he'll be baptized...) so maybe there's a lot more happening that we don't see. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, always in His way and His timing. 

I am so grateful to be a missionary! I can't help but feel gratitude for all of the lessons I'm learning and all the experiences that I get to have. I feel so blessed to have these precious 18 months to work so closely with Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful for the trials and sacrifices He asks of me. I know He always has my back.

I love you all so much. I am so grateful for all of you. I couldn't imagine the work without your support. You don't know how much I truly need it. I gloat about my amazing family all the time. You truly are the best of the best of the best.

Have a wonderful week!!

Sister Jensen :)