Saturday, January 31, 2015

Meetings and More Meetings 1.26.15

Dear Family,
When I first got on my mission, my trainers told me that missionary work is a lot of meetings. Boy, were they right! I feel like we go to so many meetings! But thankfully they're always good meetings. I always leave feeling like I accomplished things and that I got reprimanded by the Spirit in the right ways haha. I've learned that we don't go to meetings just to attend meetings, but we go to meetings to change. When you have that attitude, meetings become a lot better. At least the church ones do. ;)
This week we had a training from Brother Hemmingway and Brother Radford from the Church Missionary Department. All of the zone leaders, sister training leaders, and district leaders assembled and we discussed effective proselyting. They are really pushing to use Facebook as a tool in the Work so we got permission to use our Facebooks from home to do missionary work! That's a scarey thought but I think I feel confident that I can use it wisely now. I didn't really like Facebook  when I started using it 6 months ago (in fact, I loathed it) but I've come to see the useful tool it can be to stay in contact with investigators, less active members and recent converts. So you'll be seeing my posts and feel free to like/share them!
Sister Morrison and I are doing great! We have found a couple new investigators in the past week! I know that they say that tracting is the least effective way to do missionary work (which trust me, there are better ways than tracting) but 41% of the baptisms in our mission come from door knocking. We found one of our investigators through tracting this week. We went to this street that the sisters didn't knock because it said "no soliciting" and knocked there anyway. We found Becky! And not coincidentally, she is the daughter of a less active member of the ward! She isn't a member and she invited us to come back this week! We're super excited and we know that there is some potential there. :) We're seeing some amazing things happen and I'm grateful for the training because it has really helped us be more effective.
I'm doing well. My foot still aches a little but it's definitely not broken anymore. Sister Morrison and I have been exhausted this week. Between meetings and seminary, we've been getting up kind of early. We had the opportunity to teach seminary this past week with the other missionaries and that was neat. I had forgotten what that was like and it scares me to have teenagers one day. But I loved the Spirit I felt there and I am grateful for dedicated seminary teachers who work so hard to be happy and upbeat in the mornings.
Please also pray for Ian. He's struggling with somethings and being in a biker club isn't helping. We really want him to feel prepared to be baptized next month and it will take some changes in his life to get there. Please keep him in your prayers!!
I know this is short but I have got to run! I love you all!! This is the Lord's church!
Love, Sister Jensen

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm Not Dead Yet 1.13.15

Dear Family,
I want to assure you that I am completely fine and healthy. Yesterday was a CRAZY adventure and I ended up not having time to email so I was allotted some time today to send you a quick letter.
So the thing you may all be wondering is, "What was my adventure yesterday?" I have news: I GOT TRANSFERRED! I am now in Wyoming, Michigan, about 40 minutes south of my first area! I'm actually back in the Grand Rapids Stake so I'm really looking forward to stake conference so I can see my past ward family. It should be great. :)
While waiting at the mission home, Pres. Jepson gets his ping-pong mojo going.
So the assistants wanted to do all of transfers in one day (usually they do it in two because the mission is so big) so I got on the transfer van at 8:50 am, rode all around Michigan and wound up in East Lansing at the mission office, stayed there for a couple hours, then hopped back in the transfer van and got to my area at about 5:45 pm that evening. It made for a long day but even longer for the assistants so I can't complain too much. It was fun to see other parts of Michigan even when they're covered in two feet of snow.

In missionary work news, we had 5 investigators at church on Sunday!! It was super amazing. I kind of rolled my eyes, looked upward, and said, "Really? Really?? Right when I'm getting transferred??" Anyone who's been a missionary knows that that's how the cookie always crumbles. Miracles start and then- TRANSFER. Sister Carter and Sister Chatman are going to have so many incredible things happen this transfer! It blows my mind to think about it. We have so many solid investigators there! I am really hoping that I will be heading back to Kalamazoo twice for the baptism of Bin and Taylor. Maybe more? That would be really cool. :)
Sis. Jensen with Taylor

My new companion is Sister Morrison. She's from Flagstaff, Arizona. She's been out almost nine months and she's super cool (as far as I can tell from the past 18 hours) and I think we're going to have a great transfer together. :) We only have to go on one tradeoff this transfer which makes being a STL super relaxing. I don't feel as stressed here in Wyoming and I'm taking that as a good thing. I am stoked to be in Grand Rapids again and I am really looking forward to some awesome things happen in this area. 

This week was EXTREMELY cold. Our car told us that it was -5 degrees at one point and people keep telling us that with the wind chills, we have been getting down to -20 or lower. At the beginning of the winter as was kind of bummed because I bought that heavy duty coat and boots and it seemed they were only good for only last winter. HA JUST KIDDING. I cherish them with my whole heart and I frequently wonder how the pioneer crossed the frozen plains in nothing but holey shoes and worn blankets. It's a very sobering thought and it stops me from complaining. I am SO GRATEFUL for long skirts because they hide my pajama pants really well. I've also been going through those hand warmers like popcorn. I don't think they last as long when it's this cold.

I hope I didn't cause too much worry yesterday. I am quite well and I'm looking forward to serving the people here in Wyoming. I love this work and sometimes I wonder if I can extend my mission for another five years. Being a missionary is the best thing ever! I would recommend it to everyone. :)
Love you all! I will send some pictures next week!
Sister Jensen

Way out West! 1.19.15

With the WMU Bronco
Dear Family,
"The purpose and central blessing of life is change." (Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge). I've had to remind myself of this quote A LOT this week. Change! And a lot of it!

Wyoming is wonderful. It's almost a 180 degree difference from Kalamazoo.Yesterday we had over 200 people at church! I think the past couple weeks at the KUB we had an average of 20 people. Everyone is extremely nice and there's definitely a warm and inviting Spirit in the Wyoming Ward. I had forgotten how loud family wards are and also how wonderful it is to hear the Primary sing. Hearing the primary sing brought tears to my eyes, mostly because I was laughing so hard. The children were singing "A Child's Prayer" and the girls were singing the first verse while the boys sang the second. You can tell who felt comfortable up there because the girls were strung out in a row along the front of the wall while the boys all clumped together for strength and support. Hearing the boys sing was like listening to a bag pipe warming up. It was THE BEST. I love that song and I tried to be reverent but my thoughts were making me laugh so hard. Hopefully it came across as the new sister being overcome with emotion. I had to wipe away some tears that were leaking out so that may have convinced some people. I know that I will love this ward.
Wyoming is also a door knocking area which has been a pretty big adjustment. I felt lost for the first couple of days. I had totally forgotten how to talk to people with families! Sister Morrison has been so patient with me and I really appreciate it because it's been a bumpy ride on the struggle bus. Heavenly Father has so graciously reminded me of how weak I am and how much more I need to rely on Him. He's definitely not letting me get comfortable haha. I've been praying more earnestly for charity and love for these people as well. It's so hard not to get frustrated with people when you've been as clear with them as you can be and they still choose to reject the truth. Sometimes I ponder the quote by Elder Holland as I door knock:

 "Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it 
go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church?... I am 
convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was 
easy. We are The Church of JesusChrist, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we 
believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy forHim? It seems to me that missionaries and 
mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries andmission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary." I have tried to do as the apostles did and "[rejoice] that [I am] counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." It is a special experience to represent the Savior.

Sis. Jensen and Sis. Carter

Although finding has been rough, there are a lot of things to be happy for: we have someone on date!! His name is Ian and he's pretty awesome. He has had a pretty rough life but ran into the Spanish Branch elders back in August and has been learning ever since. Ian is on date to be baptized on the 21st of February and we're doing all we can to prepare him!
Also, the BEST NEWS EVER came last Saturday: BIN IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!! Sister Carter and Sister Chatman called me on Saturday to tell me that two of the people we were teaching at WMU are on date!! It was the happiest moment of my mission probably. I was bouncing up and down in the slush squealling. Yup, squealing. Bin asked the sisters what more he needed to do to be baptized and their mouths just about dropped open. I am so so so so so happy!!!!! Also, Taylor set her date!!! We felt really impressed that she needed to set her own date so we invited her to pray about it and she told them that she wanted to be baptized on February 21st! Looks like I'll be making a couple trips to Kalamazoo this transfer!! Seriously, I could not be more happy. It's one of the greatest feelings/experiences to watch people grow and progress in the Gospel. :)

But that's about that. Funny experience real quick. My first dinner appointment in Wyoming was probably the best one ever. Sister Morrison is allergic to almost every food except meat, rice and potatoes, so we had "Meat Treat" for dinner: Chicken wrapped in bacon and covered in gobs of barbeque sauce. My arteries exploded just looking at it. It was so good though and I don't regret eating it. About halfway through the dinner the nine year old boy gets a serious look on his face and asks us, "Do you ever wonder how Mexicans get to Africa?" Why yes, I've been contemplating that very thing. I just about died laughing. I know I'm going to love it here. ;)

The Church is true and Christ is at its head. Remember that.
Love you!
Sister Jensen

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cold But Bold 1.5.15

Dear Family,

Winter has finally set in. The week of Christmas we enjoyed a pretty cozy 50 degree week. I was starting to wonder if Jack Frost had shoved our whole winter into a week last November and we were enjoying and early spring. Haha so much for that thought. Our car told us this morning that it was 9 degrees outside. It snowed all day yesterday to make sure we knew that it was really winter and not an early spring. Too bad it was a week and a half late. Everything looks so much prettier when it's flocked in snow. It makes me want to celebrate Christmas again.

And you read the last paragraph correctly, we got a car!!!! Well, for like all of last week and the rest of this week. With the "mini transfer" happening last Tuesday, it left two extra cars in Kalamazoo to collect snow on them so we asked if we could take one of them. They took pity on us and let us drive one haha. We have been in heaven all week! And it came right in time! We got our car and it decided to drop 30 degrees. Plus with campus still not living, we've been having to walk farther and farther to our door knocking areas. Having a car has been the biggest blessing and I hate to say it but we've seen a lot of tender mercies this week (more like miracles to me at least).
                                                    (Sister Carter brushing off our car.) 

We picked up two new investigators this week, Taylor and Tang. Taylor is seriously amazing. She showed up at church one day a couple months ago because the missionaries knocked on her sister's door. We called her the past couple weeks to invite her and she has always been busy (which most of the time translates into "not interested") so I hadn't thought too much about it until she showed up at church a week ago! We picked her up as a new investigator and we've taught her a couple times and I don't want to jinx anything but she's pretty much GOLD. She's asked us what she can to do be forgiven and she's had a lot of questions about baptism. When we explained that the upcoming Sunday was Fast Sunday she told us that she was going to fast without us even explaining it. Taylor is seriously awesome. Please keep her in your prayers!

Tang  (sounds more like "wrong" with a long A sound) is our new Chinese investigator. She has been in American for about a month and she doesn't know anything about God or Christianity. She wanted to read the Bible (I think Chinese people look at the Bible like we read Greek Mythology) but after reading to her from the Book of Mormon she said, "Perhaps I read this one first, yes?" She's great! We've had to start our really basic with her on who Jesus Christ is so we began with Luke 2 and His birth. When we read about the angels appearing to the shepherd she said, "It's magical." Definitely never used that word to describe it but it totally works! We love Tang and I know that she has felt the Spirit as we've talked to her. It will be interesting to see how she progresses once the school year starts.

So to explain more of the title of the email, something that we were trained on at our Half-Mission training was effective finding. Elder Green, one of the assistants, gave us a list of ways to be an effective finder and it was been working MIRACLES in our area and in our mission. This was his list of qualities of an effective finder: great attitude toward finding, eliminates half truths and approaches that don't create a need, works to eliminate weak words, limits the use of the card, and works to limit how much we talk by asking effective follow up questions. I've really been working on eliminating half truths because that is something that weakens the power of the Spirit. The Spirit can testify when we are bold. Sister Carter and I went out door knocking and tried to implement these into our finding. It was INCREDIBLE, we were on fire!!! We got three return appointments in just that little span that we knocked! We felt so much better about our use of time when we were bold and we didn't hold back. We felt so much better when we let people know exactly what we were offering. It's been SUPER cold (thank you SO MUCH for the hand warmers!!) but we're being bold. :) You will love missionary work when you put everything into it!

                                                                       (Smile! God loves you!)

I've learned a lot about my testimony this week and the importance of turning to God for answers to our questions, especially questions about doctrine. We will never be happy if we turn to man for the answer. God is our loving Heavenly Father and He knows what is best for us. I know that as we seek Him, He will answer and "the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto [you], by the power of the Holy Ghost" (1 Nephi 10:19). God does hear and answer prayers but it's up to us to "open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view." (Mosiah 2:9)

I know that this is Jesus Christ's church on the earth. I love the Lord with all my heart. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Jensen

PS Signs of a true Michigander: pumpkins from Halloween still on your door step. 

PPS I just heard the librarian say that it's supposed to be a high of 12 today

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Merry Christmas to All! 12.29.14

Dear Family,

First off, I need to apologize for my awkwardness on the phone!! I feel so bad!! I blame being a missionary haha. I've forgotten how to talk to people about not gospel related things. Second, I need to apologize for my lame stories!! As I was telling you about things I realized something: I have been a missionary waaaay too long if I find playing with cats underneath doors the funniest thing to happen to me. Sorry I don't have any cool stories about ax-murders. And I think I just get on the phone and forget EVERYTHING I was going to tell you about. So I apologize for a less than par phone call. (Editor's note:  We had a GREAT phone call with our Michiganary.  The "guard cat" would swipe at anything near the front door. :-)

This week was great! We had Half Mission Training on Tuesday at the Grand Rapids Stake Center and I was going bonkers being back in my old area. I LOVE GRAND RAPIDS!! There's something about your first area that always stays in your heart. There are now elders serving in Rockford and I asked them about everyone and everything. It was so nice to hear about the ward and people they're seeing.
Sis. Jensen with Sis. Baham and the "miracle violin."
 I loved training from the Assistants and President and we had a blast making gingerbread houses. The missionaries only had ten minutes to make a "house" so we got a wide variety of dwellings. It felt like a Food Network Challenge as they concluded building their hovels and then we told them that they needed to take their house from the table to the display table. The anxiety in moving their houses was almost palpable at times. I think they all had fun though. 


Christmas Eve was an evening to remember. The Williamsen's went all out to make sure we had the best Christmas ever. To begin our tale you need to picture nine missionaries and six civilians in a two bedroom apartment. We had a full Christmas dinner with oven roasted turkey, homemade stuffing (from homemade bread even), green beans, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, creamed spinach and dinner rolls. Half of us sat at the table and half of us sat on the floor haha. We watched a skit called "Six to Eight Black Men" which we were told was approved last year but I have my doubts haha. Now I know more about Christmas in the Netherlands..... Then we had a Nativity. I don't know if Luke would approve of the changes we made to the original casting but it was definitely memorable. We watched "Mr. Krooger's Christmas", sang songs, and had a visit from Santa. It even snowed a little bit to make the evening more magical.

Christmas morning we woke up at 6am to open presents. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the gifts that all of you gave to me! I can't express enough of my gratitude! I think the thing I loved most about opening presents was not the presents themselves but the feeling I had as I opened them. I felt so much love which I wasn't expecting to feel. I am SO appreciative for everything that I got but I mostly just love that feeling that I had. I think that's what made this Christmas so wonderful to me, the feeling of love that I had all day. I felt so much love for all of you and I felt your love in return. After opening presents, we had a "heart stopper breakfast" all thanks to Chasity who the day before gave us bags of more than just toast to eat for breakfast. After breakfast, we had a very powerful testimony meeting between the three of us. I will remember that forever I think. Then we spent the day at the Rock's and the Griswold's homes, eating ourselves silly and playing games. You don't know how much more exciting spoons gets when you replace the spoons with Duplo blocks and put those on a smooth surface. This was one of the best Christmases I've had in my life. I feel so blessed to have had this experience.

Yesterday, we had twelve people total at church. Stephen can probably relate to how that feels haha. Even though it was small, it was still a great block of meetings. Church is always great because we get to partake of the sacrament and fellowship with others, even if there's only a few of them. We even had an investigator at church! That was a miracle. Let me just say though, I am really looking forward to the end of break. I miss my amazing branch. They are some of the most incredible people. 

Something I am making as a goal for the upcoming year is to better recognize the Spirit. I just watched "On the Lord's Errand" and hearing about President Monson's experiences makes me want to be a better tool in Heavenly Father's hands. Why can't Heavenly Father use me to help others? I think the Spirit is always speaking but I'm don't pay attention like I should. So I want to work on that. How have you been able to notice the Spirit in your life? What has helped you recognize and follow His promptings?

I hope you are all recovering well from Christmas. Thank you again for being patient with me on the phone. I love you all so much!! It was such a blessing to talk to you last week! The Lord loves you and I do too!

Peace and Blessin's,
Sister Jensen      
                                              L to R:  Sis. Carter, Sis. Jensen, Sis. Fehlman