Thursday, April 16, 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers But What About April Floods? 4.13.15

Dear Family,

I love Michigan. It just expands the realms of possibilities. I didn't know that it could rain for DAYS straight. I knew it could snow for days on end (found that out last November) but you would think that the clouds would run out of water eventually. I guess that's part of being surrounded on three sides by water. It made for an adventuresome week. The earthworms were in abundance and the robins are getting fat (baskin' robins, anyone?). The grass has turned AMAZINGLY green and the buds on the trees are getting bigger and bigger. The flowers are poking through and the promise of a wonderful Spring and Summer are on their way! I am so glad that I get to have a complete Spring and Summer before I leave my mission. :) Blessings!

This is going to be a BUSY transfer. I think between trade-offs and blitzes and meetings, about a third of our time will be spent not in our area. President Jacobsen wants us to work more closely with the missionaries in our zones and he wants there to be a better feeling of trust and unity in our mission so he's asked us to "blitz" areas or work in other companionship's area for the day. Blitzes have had a negative connotation in our mission because usually an area tended to get blitzed by zone leaders or sister training leaders when a companionship isn't doing well. But President hopes that we can change that by using blitzes to lift, inspire, and train the missionaries and let them know we love them. :) So last week we went to Holland for a day. The Holland sisters are "pink-washing" the area (taking over an elder's area) and they're both young in the mission so we went out to make sure that they and the area were getting situated. When we got there we also found out that they didn't have a car because their "zombie car" was in the shop. so it was actually inspiration that we went when we did because we got to drive them around and help them out. Sister Morrison and I got there Wednesday night and had probably the worst night's sleep on the couch (see accompanying picture) but what's missionary work without adventure? It poured rain from about 6:25 am-5:34 pm the next day so Sister Morrison and I had an adventure door knocking while the sisters were in lessons. That's when we discovered what really lives below Michigan's soils and how many holes our rain boots had. Holland has a lot of nice people though. I really enjoyed talking with them. :) 

Our area on the other hand is going through some rough patches. We are in a season of finding. I don't think I've done this much door knocking in a really long time and honestly, sometimes it's hard to want to go door knocking. But I want to find investigators and I want to help people receive the blessings that Heavenly Father wants to give them. I was reading my journal this past week and I read through my experience at the temple and that was a great reminder of why we do missionary work. Heavenly Father wants all of His children to receive the blessings of the Gospel. He intends for all to receive these covenants and blessings. So I need to put on my "big girl skirt" and go to work. I am grateful that I get to work with Sister Morrison who also wants to work hard as well. I have a feeling that the Lord is preparing people to receive His message and I hope to be the branch that can bring forth fruit. 

Saturday was our car fast and I feel like I earned two achievements: my first blister of the year and my first sunburn of the year. I broke out the flats and apparently I haven't walked 7 miles in them in a long time because I have a lovely blister on my big toe. I think I need to look into some new shoes.... It wasn't really warm on Saturday but it was a cloudless day and my cheeks got red and I have a little red triangle on my chest. I really didn't expect that to happen. I wore a knee length skirt without tights yesterday and at one point I looked down and thought, whoa, I forgot how white I am. I also wore a black shirt at church which really doesn't help me look tanned and one of the ladies at church said, "Don't worry, black-and-white is in style."  Looks like I need to get some color on me again.

I'm doing well. I feel like I'm exhausted every day but that just means that we're working hard. I love seeing the Lord's hand every day and I know that He does miracles every day. :) This is His church and I know He loves us!

Have a wonderful week!!

Love, Sister Jensen

April is Here! 4.6.15

Dear Family,

April is here!! I remember thinking in January that April is forever away and that it was never going to come, yet here we are! Time is a weird thing, especially on your mission. Six weeks have never gone by so quickly! I was looking at the accumulation on my planners and came to the realization that this is the start of my 11th transfer as a missionary! When did I get so old (in the mission)?? This will be a strange month for us because General Conference was this weekend, and then we have back to back weekends of Stake Conference and a broadcasted Stake Conference from Salt Lake City. We will only have one week of regular sacrament meeting which will be odd. It will be hard not being able to partake of the sacrament but it will just make the first week of May that much better!

We got transfer calls last Friday and both Sister Morrison and I will be staying in Wyoming for another transfer! WOOHOO! Sister Morrison will be my longest companion, beating Sister Fehlman by 2 weeks. I can't believe that I've been with her for two transfers! It's flown by! I guess that's a good indication of our relationship as a companionship. We also got news that we will have another set of sisters in the zone now which is pretty sweet! When I first got here there was only one other set of sisters in our zone, but now we have three sets! It will be fun to go on tradeoffs with them and learn from them and their areas. One of my favorite things about being a Sister Training Leader is that I am ALWAYS learning, whether that's because I DIDN'T do something I should have done or because I DID do something I shouldn't have done (I'm guilty more of the former than the latter). There are so many tricky calls to make sometimes and thankfully with the aid of the Holy Ghost and repentance, we can change who we are in whatever capacity we serve in to become the Lord's servants. I'm grateful He hasn't lost His trust in me! 

This week was slower and we did a lot of finding (aka door knocking). We had a pretty cool finding miracle: We went to door knock a street and no one was answering. We kept door knocking anyway. We ran into a girl who told us to come back later and a lady who wasn't interested, not a lot of promising things. We knocked on another door and a lady answered. Honestly I gave one of the WORST door approaches of my mission. It was EVERYWHERE, no focus at all and I think I covered every restored truth in Preach My Gospel. But the lady asked us what book was in my hand. We told her it was the Book of Mormon and asked her if she had heard of it before. She said she had but only negative things. Well, we're here to tell you the positive things! We asked if we could come back and talk to her and her  family about the Book of Mormon and she said yes! She shined us (meaning our appointment fell through) but we are definitely going back this week to follow up. Later that day we were driving back to our area from a dinner appointment and I said, "Sister Morrison, let's go back and check up on that lady who told us to come back later." So we did and we got a return appointment! It was awesome! We're seeing her and her family tomorrow at 2pm. :) It was pretty cool to see those two finding miracles happen in the same day. It makes me want to have better faith in the Lord and His plans because He sees the big picture, even on a seemingly empty street.
We see a lot of "No Soliciting" signs but this is the best one yet.

I LOVE CONFERENCE!!!!! I loved it SO MUCH!!!! I learned a lot from it. I am SUPER SAD that you didn't get to watch the Saturday session because it was AWESOME. There were so many talks about the family. It made me really want to have a spouse and kids haha. I don't think I could pick a favorite talk. I felt like the Spirit talked to me through every talk and gave me answers to my prayers. Today I am putting the talks on CD so we can listen to them in the car as we drive. I want to digest it ALL. I love all the doctrine they expounded upon and I loved the feelings from the Holy Ghost of truth. We told Elizabeth to think of questions she wanted answers to and then listen to conference and boy, she got her answers! It was amazing to see how our prayers are answered through the Lord's servants. Heavenly Father definitely heard my praying and pleading for a talk that would answer Elizabeth's questions. I am so grateful that He heard and answered it. :)

We have some good things heading our way! I know that Sister Morrison and I are staying together because we still have a great work to accomplish here in the Grandville/Wyoming area. I am so grateful to be a missionary now and I know that I will be eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for who I've become because of my mission. I love you all so much! I am so grateful that you got to spend time together for Easter! We'll all be together again before you know it. :)

Love, Sister Jensen

No Anti- Allowed! 3.30.15

Dear Family,
I am very grateful that I get to email you today! I was worried for a moment that I wouldn't be able to. The MyLDSmail server was down and I'm pretty sure that every missionary and their mothers were praying for it to come back up. Looks like it worked!
Thank you so much for your prayers over Brian and Ian! Here's an update on them: We dropped Brian this week. He won't answer any form of communication and we dropped by his residence and he didn't answer the door when we knocked (it was very apparent that he was home). So we decided sadly that we needed to drop him.  We suspect that there was some anti involved somewhere. President Jacobsen committed us to "inoculating" our investigators- warning them that they are going to face anti and opposition and committing our investigators to ask us their questions instead of their neighbors or the internet. Right after we "inoculated" Brian, he dropped off the face of the earth. It's sad but that's life.

Ian is.... Ian. There's actually a chance that we might not be able to teach him anymore for certain reasons. It's been heartbreaking as well. We've come to love Ian and we don't want to give up but sometimes there are things that we can't interfere with no matter how much we wish we could. I was reading in "True to the Faith" this morning and this brought me a little comfort: "Mourning is one of the deepes texpressions of love." I have mourned for my investigators. Sister Morrison and I have had many experiences when we drive down the road after lessons and such and our hearts just feel so heavy. I guess it just shows how much love we didn't know we had for them.

With all the sad things going on, Heavenly Father gave us a miracle. :) We walked out of Brian's apartment complex and started walking to another building to knock before an appointment with Ian. This guy was walking toward us and I stopped walking to talk to him. He told us that he was looking for his cat and then asked us what we were doing. Well, let us tell you. We invited him to learn about the Book of Mormon and he said that he would be interested! So we asked when we could meet with him and then I blurted out, "Do you have time right now?" He was like, "Yeah, I do." So we stood on the sidewalk and taught him the Restoration! It was great! We got to the end and committed him to reading 3 Nephi 11, praying about it, and meeting with us again. We got his number and set up an appointment for two weeks from now! It was SWEEEEET!!! As we're finishing up this guy walks over to "check his mail". He stops and introduced himself to our friend Taylor. Then he says, "When you read the Book of Mormon, make sure you compare it with the Bible because it doesn't agree with the Bible." NO WAY. HOLD UP! NO WAY ARE YOU COMING TO ANTI OUR NEW INVESTIGATOR IN FRONT OF OUR FACE. I was shocked. He then proceeded to bash us and say a lot of terrible things to us. I will let you in on a big secret to bashing. I call it "Bashing 101": Just don't do it. I have learned and I have a testimony that the best thing you can do when people want to bash is to bear your testimony that you know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. You will get nowhere pulling out the scriptures when someone is elevated and isn't open to hearing the Gospel. So just be respectful and bear your testimony. Eventually, Sister Morrison interjected and told him to stop arguing with us and that we were going to leave. Taylor even stood up for us! He turned to the guy and said, "I appreciate your concern," and he turned to us, "I appreciate your concern as well. But I think I will read and decide for myself what I think about it." Praise the Lord. We said goodbye to Taylor and got into the car. We were drained. We just sat for a couple minutes trying to get the Spirit and our nerves back. As I've looked back on this experience, and as awful as it is, I think it needed to happen. Taylor knows for sure now that the only way he's going to find out truth is by praying and asking God because that's all we bore testimony of. He also knows what the Spirit feels like when it's there and when it's not there. So maybe there are some good things that have come from this. :)
This is week 6 of the transfer so transfer calls are this week. Hopefully by the end of next transfer I can send my winter stuff home. :) It snowed a couple times this past week (no bueno) but it's sunny and in the 40's today. Rumor is is that it could get into the 60's tomorrow. I am definitely praying sincerely and with real intent about that haha.
I love my mission. I really do. I have had some of the hardest, most heart-wrenching experiences, but I would never trade my mission for anything. I am so grateful to my supportive family and my Father in Heaven for letting me go on a mission. It has changed my life. :)

I love you all so much. Can you believe that I get to call you next transfer? That's weird haha. Where has time gone?? I hope that everyone is doing well and "not burying their testimonies" (see Woman's Broadcast). You are all so wonderful!!
Love, Sister Jensen

LAND HO! 3.23.15

Dear Family,

Spring is creeping it's way into Michigan! Most of the snow has melted by now and the trees are starting bud! I am SO HAPPY!!!!! It's a blessing to see ground and not have to wear ankle weights every day (aka my snow boots. Seriously I was getting some weird muscle soreness from wearing those every day). The temperature is slowly creeping up and I keep encouraging the good weather every time I step outside- give it some good positive affirmation. ;) 

This week was a weird week. I think every one was on Spring Break last week because we would go door knocking for hours and only talk to three people. Either that or the "snow birds" haven't returned from their treks south for the winter. Whatever the reason is, we have decided that this week is going to be a let better than last week. So far it has! We went knocking yesterday and got more invitations to learn in 2 hours than we did all week. #embarrassing #mishprobs

A trend that I have noticed on my mission is that nothing will ever go smoothly. Ever. Maybe that's just life but really, Elder Richard G. Scott was right when he said that "This life is an experience in profound trust." Brian has fallen off the face of the earth. We haven't had contact with him in over a week. He won't answer our calls, texts, or Facebook messages. It's been heart wrenching. But I have confidence in the Lord. He knows all things and He knows that we just want to help Brian. Please continue to pray for him!

But let's talk about the positives. :) Ian came to church yesterday in a white shirt! Sort of. It was button up and white for the most part.  He told us yesterday that he is determined to make his date on May 2nd, which is awesome when you're investigators are excited for their baptismal date. On Saturday we went to Kalamazoo to watch a performance of the oratorio "Lamb of God" by Rob Gardner. Music combined with scripture can be powerful and when you have a 200 piece choir and a 100 piece orchestra it's just monumental. I feel blessed to have such a great connection to music. It's been a powerful influence in my life, especially in feeling the Spirit. I feel bad for Sister Morrison who had to sit next to me and see me get all emotional. It was so moving to see these people sing their testimonies of the Savior so powerfully. It was a great experience. 

I hope that everyone is doing well. It's overwhelming to see our house changing so much. I hope that you're having fun in the process! :) Don't let it get to stressful. ;)

Love you all, Sister Jensen