Sunday, February 22, 2015

WHAT a WEEK! 2.19.15

Dear Family!!
I promise I am safe and well and that everything is alright! Due to my temple trip today, we had to change our P-Day with Monday and I forgot to mention that. Sorry 'boot that. But today was INCREDIBLE. I have a testimony of temple attendance, brothers and sisters! (I feel like my inner Pentecostal is coming out....) Did I need it or did I need it?? I LOVE THE TEMPLE!!! So amazing. So, so amazing.

Okay, let me see if I can accurately describe my week to you:
We moved Ian's date. We went over the baptismal questions with him and did not feel good about going through with it. After praying about it and talking with our ward mission leader, zone leaders, and mission president, we decided we needed to change it. Apparently, Ian felt the same way too. So it works out when you please God before pleasing man. ;)
Last Saturday was COLD. I don't think I'll ever be as cold in my life as I have been this winter. Holy cannoli, it was COLD. We weren't allowed to leave our apartment until noon. Why, I don't know. Maybe to let it "warm up"? I don't know. But it was around zero and with the wind chill probably around -25. Also on Saturdays we have a "car fast" in our mission (our mission has the highest accident rate East of the Mississippi) so we couldn't use our car. So we layered, layered, layered and ventured out! There were some apartment type things that were indoor close to our apartment so we decided to knock those. The first guy we talked to we talked to for an hour and he committed to coming to church. And then, he actually came to church!! It was AWESOME!!! His name is Brian. He's going through a divorce right now so it's great that we met him when we did. He told us that he even prayed the night before we met him that God would help him find another church. What?? Is this real life?? We taught him this week and I think we have a solid new investigator! Another interesting thing about this the timing. As we talked to Brain, our phone kept going off. We checked our phone after we were finished and the zone leaders had called and texted us to tell us that we could use our car. They could have called us sooner but they didn't. I sincerely believe it didn't happen sooner because we needed to meet Brain. God is in control, my friends.

Sunday was stressful but memorable! Sister Morrison is a SAINT and made me breakfast (gluten, dairy, soy, nut, fruit, and vegetable free. Impressive) and served me all day. Her parents sent her a cake mix (GDSNFV free as well) so we could have cake together on my birthday! It was such a kind gesture and I need to write them a thank you note. We also had Zone Conference on Sunday (It was supposed to be Thursday and then it got moved to Saturday. And then with the weather it got moved to Sunday) with Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Seventy. I never thought a meeting could be so stressful! They packed at 8-hour meeting into 3 hours. But it was still great and I learned a lot. After that we had to eat cake! I had been dying to eat it all day. But then I thought about how lame it would be for us to just eat it so we called our investigator Elizabeth and asked her if she would like to celebrate with us. Who turns down free chocolate cake? No one. (Jim Gaffigan: What is this? Cake? Well I guess I'll try it. OM-NOM. The only thing you're doing during the song is wondering what kind of cake it is: HOPE IT'S CHOCOLATE FOR ME!) I couldn't have ended my birthday any better. Sharing it with my friends and talking about God. :) #mishlife #mishbirthdaysbestbirthdays  

Yesterday we had an AWESOME day of lessons! It was almost stressful because we had back to back lessons. We were running a tight ship, that's for sure! The Spirit was strong and it still baffles me all the success we're seeing this week. It is amazing to see what happens when we pray, have faith, obey the rules, and work hard. When we do those things as missionaries, the Lord can bless us. I have seen this area grow and so many of my prayers me answered this transfer. I don't feel worthy of so many blessings! I am grateful that the Lord trusts us with His children. Tomorrow will be a busy day of appointments as well. I am SUPER excited. :)
Today we went to the temple. President Jacobsen changed the rules and we can now go to the temple twice a year, six months apart. There are other special circumstance that will allow us to go but as soon as I heard that we could go, I knew that I NEEDED to go. I have been praying and asking people all transfer to help us get to the temple. Sister V. (the lady in the picture with me and Sister Morrison) is amazing and decided that she was going to take us. I am SO grateful that the Lord worked through her to bless us. I am so grateful to have been able to attend the temple today. I have a greater desire to help others make AND keep their covenants. Those covenants we make in the temple are real and serious. We need to do our best to walk up to those covenants. They are a source of power and safety. "In the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest." I felt that today! I feel like this is what I need to help me be strong for the last couple months of my mission. I want to give it all to the Lord. I loved being dressed in white- purity and victory. I saw and felt my potential as a daughter of God. I love the temple and I will go for the rest of my life!

I love you all! I have been praying all week that you have been comforted and know that I'm okay. I love being a missionary and I am so grateful for the blessings that I have seen in my life over the last 13 months. This is the Lord's work! This is His Church!
Love, Sister Jensen
PS The transfer ends this week. Predictions? ;)

There's "SNOW" Better Work 2.9.15

Dear Family,
It's P-Day again. It always sneaks up on me.
This week was great! I feel like if a week was ever boring, I wasn't doing my job haha. I love adventures!
Tuesday we didn't have our car and had to walk all day. MAN, was I sore!! Wearing snow boots and walking through the snow is akin to walking through sand with ankle weights! But do you know what? I loved it! I loved walking through the beautiful snow and talking with my companion about spiritual things as we walked. We planned to stop by a potential investigator but she wasn't home so we went to a street nearby to knock. We had some great talks with people there, one of them really standing out to me. During studies that morning, I was thinking about how I should approach people that day and something in PMG stood out to me. "Even when people do not accept theopportunity to learn the gospel, your service and words are evidence of God’s love for them" and I thought, how often do I tell people on their doorstep that we're knocking on their door because God loves them? Worth a shot. So as we knocked that street, we got to a door and I felt very strongly impressed to tell the man that we were there because God loved him and I asked him how he'd seen God's love in his life. He said that he didn't because God didn't answer his prayers when his daughter was dying of cancer. Sister Morrison and I were able to share with him the Plan of Salvation and testify of God's love for him. It was neat to see how the Lord had prepared me that morning to answer the need of one of His children. I know that Heavenly Father can do the same with you and you can bless lives as well if you ask for it and act on the promptings you receive. :)
Wednesday was crazy. Nothing went according to plan (does it ever do that?) but we still had a good day of crying repentance. We went door knocking and started talking to this lady. After a minute or so of talking to her, her father came up and started talking to us. The Spirit left REALLY fast because he was not interested in hearing what we had to say and he only wanted to prove us wrong. Thankfully that morning in district meeting we talked about using the Book of Mormon when people get contentious, so Sister Morrison and I bore our testimonies of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and left it at that. By the end of the encounter, the lady we initially talked to even told her dad to stop arguing with us. As much as I dislike bashing, I learn a lot every time. I gain a stronger testimony of this work and of this Gospel.
We had our tradeoff this week. Tradeoffs are always an adventure! The sister I was with this time is extremely bold and it was a little shocking sometimes to listen to her say things to the people we were talking to. I've been pondering the Alma 38:12 and 2 Nephi 26:29-30 since that tradeoff. In everything we do, love needs to be our motivation. Paul told us in Corinthians: "Though I speak with the tongues ofmen and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." As missionaries and members of the Church, we can't condone sin or apostasy, but we can love them and with the aid of the Spirit help people find the right path again. This sister has been out 5 months so it let me ponder how far I've come since the beginning of my mission and I know that she will change as well.
Saturday was AMAZING!!! We went with Elizabeth to a baptism in Grand Rapids on Saturday. We have been talking about baptism with Elizabeth since I got here and she has had a lot of concerns about it. She wanted to watch a video of a baptism but we had something better: a live baptism!! Two of them in fact haha. We got to the church about 30 minutes early and I remembered (definitely the Spirit bringing things to my remembrance) that the Grand Rapids stake center had pictures through the hallways. So I suggested we have a picture tour of the building and talk about the pictures before the baptism. We walked around and talked and we stopped at a painting by Simon Dewey. Elizabeth stopped and looked at it for a long moment. I felt really impressed to ask Elizabeth how she felt. Tears welled up and flowed as she told us her feelings as she looked at the picture. It was a powerful moment and the Spirit was strong. I am so grateful that we had that time to look at the pictures because it set the tone for the whole service. She cried through most of it. She felt the Spirit so strongly and she felt the peace of the Spirit. It was incredible to see the Spirit change her heart and it was a powerful testimony to me that the Spirit is real and it is the converting power of the Gospel. Elizabeth needed a spiritual experience and our prayers were answered as she got that experience on Saturday. I am really hopeful that we can set a solid date with her soon. We went over the baptism interview questions with her last night and she is so close to being ready! PLEASE pray for Elizabeth!!
I also got to go to Kalamazoo to see Bin be baptized!! Oooooooh, HAPPY DAY!! I thought I was going to die of happiness on Saturday night!! I got to see my two past areas and wards, watch the heart of our investigator soften, and see a person I had taught and prayed about for so long be baptized!! THIS my family, is happiness. The Gospel is happiness. Even thinking about it right now is making my heart almost burst with happiness!!! Where else can you find this happiness?? Nowhere else!! This is why the Gospel is so important!! This is why we do missionary work!! This Gospel is the only way for us to be happy in this life and happy in the life to come!! What can I say more? The Gospel is true. The end.
Man, life is good. I love this work. I love being a missionary. It is SO HARD all the time, but it is SO WORTH IT.
I hope you don't mind me going on for so long. I am grateful that I could share with you some of the special experiences I've had on my mission. They mean so much to me and I hope they mean a lot to you. :)
I love you all and I hope your testimonies are burning bright! The Lord loves you. He died for you. He will help you though whatever comes your way.
Love, Sister Jensen

It's Hard to Teach Lessons When Your Keys Are Locked in the Glove Box 2.2.15

Dear Family,
Just so you are all aware, it is still winter out here. We got at least a foot of snow yesterday! I think it's the first time in my life that church has been cancelled. We thankfully still had sacrament meeting but they cancelled the rest of the block. It was weird driving home after sacrament. I felt like I was ditching church. I'm pretty sure a lot of the ward didn't know what to do with themselves having so much time....

As the title of my email states, it's hard to teach lessons when you're car keys are locked in the glove box of your car. We had the craziest Wednesday EVER. We are on a car rotation (two weeks on, one week off) and Wednesday was the day we were giving our car to the elders. We had to leave district lunch before them so we could get to a lesson and I asked Elder Palmer where he'd like me to stick the keys so he wouldn't have to disturb our lesson. He said to stick them in the glove box. So we got to the church, put the keys in the glove box, and locked the doors. It didn't even dawn on me what I had just done until Elder Palmer comes into the church and says, "Do you have the keys?" Horror. That was my first thought. Immediately I looked at Ian and said, "Do you know how to break into a car?" He said, "Psh, yeah!" and jumps up and leaves. While Ian and the elders are figuring out how to get the keys, Sister VanHorn is using Ian's phone to contact her car company because her car wasn't fixed properly and still having problems. Then Ian comes back and says that he has AAA and he's going to call them (because he left his "tools" at home). So Ian and Sister VanHorn play phone tag with their car companies for a little and finally we get to a point where we feel like we can start our lesson. I'm super frazzled by this time anyway ("women drivers" jokes get really old really fast) and I decide that I should say the prayer to get the Spirit back. In the middle of my prayer, Ian's phone starts going off, which by the way, his ringtone is not missionary approved music. I decide that I'm just going to keep praying and Ian quickly silents it. Then Sister VanHorn says(in her best black woman voice), "Answer it!! It might be my people." We all died. We couldn't control ourselves. I felt so bad about that prayer but the Spirit was gone and there was no way of recovering from that. Eventually we had a lesson and the elders got the keys. Sometimes when life gives you lemons, you must humbly drink the lemonade.
This week was alright. Sister Morrison and I got a touch of whatever has been going around. We're better now but this week was a little hard because of it. Being sick on your mission is the worst but we've been trying to make the most of it.
Bin will be getting baptized this week in Kalamazoo, Elizabeth might be getting baptized next week, and Ian should be getting baptized on the 21st. It should be a really good month baptism wise. :) It feels so good to see people progress towards baptism. It's hard to tell people about the blessings that the Lord will pour out upon them as they get baptized because they have to take that step first. It's so great to see faith in action!!
Have you read General Conference recently?? I LOVE IT!! I have been trying to read more and more of it because every time I do, I feel the power of their words. I feel a desire to be and do better. One talk that I really loved was one that I read this morning. Sister Morrison and I have been talking with Elizabeth about the importance of being baptized (we've invited her at least a dozen times to be baptized) and I was studying about covenants and why their important. This really stood out to me from Sister Stevens talk "Covenant Daughters if God": "Covenants with God help us to know who we really are. They connect us to Him in a personal way through which we come to feel our value in His sight and our place in His kingdom. In a way we can’t fully comprehend, we are known and loved individually by Him. Think of it—each of us holds such a place in His heart. His desire is that we will choose the path that will bring us home to Him." Doesn't that make you feel SO GOOD about the covenants you have made??? I LOVE IT!! I pondered about that and I have seen how my covenants with God have drawn me closer to Him. I have seen how real my relationship with Heavenly Father is, especially on my mission, and it all stems from the promises that I have made with Him. Covenants are a blessing. :)
Thank you all so much for your love and prayers. I am truly so grateful for all the support I receive from you. I hope that the Lord is blessing you and that you see His had in your life. I know He is watching over you. He loves you. :) I love you too!! Have a wonderful week!!
Love, Sister Jensen