Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fw: Merry Christmas!

Wow. Is it really christmas? It is a nice, toasty, shortsleeve day here. My
tan is looking good, ive got tan lines all over, and i carry around a water
bottle sometimes because its so hot. Anyone care to trade climates?

Christmas Patagonia style is a bit different. The big holiday is christmas
eve, which is called buen noche here. Its basically like the fourth of July.
We live on the 4th floor of our apartment building, so later tonight, well
be venturing up on the roof top not for reindeer paws nor santa claus, but
for a night of fireworks and eating food. It will be fun! the typical
holiday dish here is called an Asado (bar b que) its basically a big thing
of meat that they grill for a while on rebarb over the coals. Its pretty
good. But typical argentine food-- tons of salt, tons of fat. I feel like a
surgeon most meals as i delicately slice off all the enormous chunks of fat
to get to the good stuff. I am surprised people here dont just have heart
attacks here left and right-- all they do is eat fatty beef, bread, oil,
salt, and more fat. haha.

Right now in our zone, we have 10 elders and 2 hermanas. None are latinos,
so we are going to have to figure out a way to cook our Asado. I am
nervously anticipating what it is going to taste like...

News for this week before i get back to christmas and such: We had 3
baptisms this weekend!!! Bryan Cabrera (brother of ivan, son of vanesa) was
baptized by yours truly on saturday and confirmed on sunday. Monica passed
her interview on saturday and was baptized on sunday with her daughter,
Selene. Both were great experiences. I was especially happy with brian´s. He
is kinda a goof ball who dresses up like a rapper for fun and i was kinda
nervous about his commitment and desire to be baptized. As we were changing
afterwards, we were talking and i just said well you are the newest member
of the church. How does it feel? he said great, really peaceful, that he had
been nervous but now he feels good. I told him thats the spirit. a minute
later he said im also the most perfect member of the church now too, huh?
yep. another few seconds. And probably the wettest! haha. I love this kid. I
am nervous to see what the next two days will bring for their family because
the mom wants to go to Buenos Aires to be with her new boyfriend Maxi. Its a
tough decision because she thinks thats whats best for her and her family,
but my companion and i disagree, and so do the boys. Its a delicate thing
because we cant get into that too much, so we have to sit on the outside and
pray that they make the best decision for their family. Its turned into a
bit of a jerry springer affair with this whole family. The ex husband got
inot a fight with his nephew this past weekend and it was really bad. We are
just really hoping and praying for peace and love between these two families
and that both will reconcile and do what is best for everyone. It is a hard
time right now for both sides. Well see what happens.

Other news, We got the standard again last week!! weve now done it twice,
and we are the only ones in the mission to have gotten it. It is truly a
blessing i dont feel worthy of recieving because we have many weaknesses. I
am not a great teacher or a great spanish speaker, we have a few issues with
obedience, and yet somehow the Lord has decided to bless us with these
baptisms and has allowed us the privledge of helping these people enter in.
It is something i take very seriously and is something that daily i strive
to better myself so that i can merit more and be a better tool in His hands.

I am so greatful for this opportunity i have to be a missionary at this time
in Patagonia. It is an honor, and a blessing to be sharing this gospel. It
is always an adventure, every day i wake up more tired that i was when i
fell asleep, but thats the way it goes. We are allowed to stay out until 9
working or 930 if we are teaching a lesson and i think every night this week
we have stayed out till 930. Thats something that i like. We are maximizing
our time and finding a lot of good people to teach. We are running out of
good progressing investigators though because we are baptizing them all! its
also tough with the vacations here. a lot of our people are out of town till
the first week of january. But we are always progressing, always striving,
and always have a lot more to learn. I take very seriously my calling as a
representitive of Jesus Christ, and i know that the things i am doing here
are better than anything else i could be doing at this time with my life. It
is so worth all the feelings of exhaustion, hunger, thirst, homesickness,
and discouragement to have people like Carlos who was baptised on the 9th.
He is set to recieve the priesthood this coming sunday and we talked to him
on monday night about it. He said he had his interview with the bishop about
it and then came home and cried because he felt so privledged to hold the
power of the Lord. What a man! how many converts respect it that much and
are that excited about it? how many members? It has been a privledge to work
with him, to see him quit smoking in 4 days because he knew this church is
true. The work is fantastic. Not everyday is great. Monday and tuesday here
were really tough. But is it worth it? always. Always.

In mosiah 4 or somewhere around there, it talks about us not running faster
than we have strenghth, but being diligent in all things. Or something like
that. that scripture has really hit me this week. I have been stressed about
the missionary i am and who i am becoming and expecting myself to just be
this incredible book of mormon type missionary or somthing. But thats not
who i am called to be. The Lord called Taylor Jensen to be a missionary. And
yes, i sure have to do my part in diligently studying my scriptures and
ensign and stuff in teh mornings (which, by the way, may be one of my
favorite parts of the day), but i am me. I just have to do the best i can
and that is what He asks. I will grow and learn and speak better as i go on,
but i am not expected to be a book of mormon type missionary now. That will
come :) I can stop stressing and calm down and listen to the spirit as i
teach rather than worrying about what i am going to say or what words i am
going to use as i say it. Ah what a blessing and relief the scriptures are
for me.

I think i am about out of time, so take care, have a wonderful christmas, go
sit in the snow for me, tell your families you love them, and be sure to be
in bed by midnight or santa wont come!

I love you all. Thanks for your support and prayers.
Until Monday,
Merry Christmas!
Love, Taylor Jensen

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fw: Helloo!!!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen" <tajensen8@myldsmail.net>
To: <njensen@cinci.rr.com>; <kjensen@gaic.com>
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 9:58 AM
Subject: Helloo!!!


Is it really almost Christmas? What happened to thanksgiving? and Snow?
someone told us it touched 30 something centigrade. It gets HOT down here!!!
i wish there was snow... but thats alright. Itll be a fun christmas walking
around sweating in my short sleeve shirt.

News this week... Well we had a Zone Conference on friday, then a saturday
night and sunday morning session of Stake conference. It was great. We had
Pres. Cook and his wife, the Temple President and his wife, and Elder Shayne
M Bowen of the 70. The three meetings were all very powerful and made me
realize changes i need to make. It was great. We werent able to have a
baptism because it is stake conference, but we got everything else in the
key indicators! Id call it a success. Elder bowen came up to me and elder
valencia and said ´just want to let you know, i was sitting with Pres. Cook
and he leaned over and pointed you out and said ´see those two elders? they
are obedient with exactitud and they are successful and they are baptizing.
They are an example for our missionaries´Thats what the Lord wants from you.
its what He expects from you. We both didnt really have anything to say
other than wow. Thanks. We are trying with all our might. It was a good
conversation to say the least!

One thing i learned twice (once in a testimony during zone conference and
again during elder bowens talk) is that every meeting, we need to learn
something. If we dont have something we remember weve learned or something
that we are going to change, we havent been listening to the meeting and
more importantly the Holy Ghost. Heavenly father is trying to teach us,
trying to have us learn something and if we dont come out of a meeting
having learned somethign new or changed something about us, the meeting
didnt have any value. I need to work on that, especially here in spanish
land! haha. (my spanish, ps, is getting a lot better. I am being pretty
diligent about learning and working on my vocab. I can do better, and i will
the coming weeks so that by the new year, i can be fine in any conversation.
We are getting there. WE being me and my spanish brain. haha.

Right now we are preparing for a big weekend... we had 4 baptisms lined up,
but Julia decided to go to the beach instead of church. Its really hard
sometimes teaching people the importance of church when it just hasnt been a
part of their life before. It is all too easy to find excuses for why not to
do something. And i dont have too much of a problem with her going to the
beach with her family. We just need to stress really strongly the importance
of coming to church in the morning and then heading off to the beach. We
have a cool new sheet that is kind of a path or map to baptism with all the
things you need to learn on it. its kind of like a check list type of thing.
We started that with her, and she was all ready to go to both sessions of
conference, but last second pulled out. It was a bit disheartening, and
showed us we just have to teach it more strongly, with more importance,
because it really is that important that we go to church.

Other people- We had a mother and daughter lined up for this weekend, but we
ran into a little problem with interviews, so hopefully that will get
settled out and they can get baptized this weekend. We´ll have to see. The
mother was really down yesterday afterwards, so we really hope we can get
this resolved so she doesnt build a wall in her head against the church.

Our last one is Brian, older brother of Ivan and son of Vanesa. We are
working really hard with him to get him baptized now because his family
situation is up in the air with where his mom is going to go and if they are
going with her. He is a good kid. He just needs some guidance. Thats what we
are here for, right? They as a family have been really fun to watch. For
years, they have struggled in family unity. Now, with the gospel, they are
saying prayers together over their meals (which are pretty sparing because
they dont have a fridge, stove, or anything besides a sink anymore) We are
just trying to get them reading as a family. Its interesting being a first
hand witness of the changes families make as a result of the gospel and of
the blessings those changes bring. By next week, we hope to have a lot of
change in terms of respect one towards another. This week, we are really
going to focus on helping them build una casa del espiritu. WEll see how it
goes.

Elsewhere, hmmm. the week hasnt had too too much going on. We are working
with the baptismal dates we had. We are working now on getting some new
people to teach. We are really going to work on using the members because
they are the key in getting good investigators. Our efforts contacting do
not work that well in getting solid investigators. The member references are
so much better. We really love setting up Noche De Hogars with people and
using that to get people teaching new investigators and such. Which leads me
to ask you, my fellow readers, What have you done to help the missionaries
this month?? Ill give you a couple of options-- Family home evenings (these
are key) Inviting them to a ward activity, or going on splits with the
missionaries. It is the Members responsibility to find, the missionaries to
teach and baptize, and the members to retain. And of course the members help
teach and baptize, and the missionaries help retain and find too. but it is
very effecient to have members giving solid references. Escecially now in
Christmas time, it is easy to work something in about Christ and His love
and the restored gospel. Go For it!!

I really dont have too much more to say this week... Onwards and upwards
always!! Its always so much fun realizing i have so much to learn and that i
can never hit a plateau on the things i am learning or on things like faith
and patience. I can always get better! (sometimes thats a little daunting
too). But the work is good here. We are happy, and excited for Christmas,
and excited to have a white christmas--baptism style!

i love you all, and i dont know exactly what our plans are for next week in
terms of christmas and such. I think christmas eve is a Pday, so i may get
on and write a bit after my phone call home. Ill let you know for sure in a
bit... i may have to get on and send a quick email later this week when we
find out for sure. I love you all, have a good winter break, and play in the
snow for me. But my white christmas is going to be more fun :)

With Love
Elder Taylor Jensen

PS. Big news. Hedwig had 2 eggs a couple weeks ago. One hatched halfway and
then disappeared, and hedwig was sad. We hadnt seen her for 2 weeks, so we
assumed the worst. We actually saw like 5 dead pigeons and every time we
were like áww hedwig! but big news! shes back, with another new egg, so we
have 2 again, and she and her husband, pidwigeon, are building a better nest
so their new babies cant escape. Its a joyous day for us! our friends are
back! the end.

Friday, November 21, 2008

News from Argentina

----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen"
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2008 10:40 AM


Hey All!!

Greetings from Rawson today-- we are having a zone activity. We were
supposed to go to see the penguins, but it was way too expensive. BLAST!
probably a good thing- i have 80 pesos in my wallet and 0 in the bank (i am
in deep trouble this month!) 80 pesos is about 25 bucks. WEll see how i do.
rice, cheap cereal and pasta here i come!!

It has been an incredible week this week. Last week i think i talked a
little bit about vanessa? i hope so. she is the awesome one who was living
with her x missionary boyfriend. Well, he left the house, and we swung by on
tuesday to talk to her. We talked (we set up three chairs on her front door
with us outside and her on the threshold--we dont break rules!) and talked
for a while. She expressed a deep testimony for an investigator and just had
a fear of going to church. When i heard that i was like oh yeah im all over
this! we had practiced this SO many times in the MTC with me and elder foye.
So i started talking and just helped her realize it doesnt matter what
members think of you, if you are doing whats right they have nothing to say.
It makes it hard because her boyfriends dad is the 1st councellor to the
bishop and mom is the relief society president. We presented her name at
ward council to be baptized and the bishop wasnt there and it was just the
1st councellor and he just shook his head and said no no no no. it is going
to be an adventure getting her baptized, but anyone who has their head on
straight knows she had a stinkin SOLID testimony and knows everything she
needs to. WEll see.

The next day, we got a call from her while we were getting dressed. IT went
about like this-- elders i have something to tell you. (we were both about
to cry) Ivan ( her 12 year old son) wants to get baptized too! ( at this
point we both burst out yelling, in english of course, about how excited we
were. Haha. its going to be a great day on the 29th when they can be
baptized and enter into the Lords fold.

We then went out on thursday and talked with Julia. We had a really good
discussion on baptism and the spirit and invited her to be baptized the 29th
with vanessa and ivan, and she accepted!!! we were all really happy. She is
going to love it. She didnt come to church this sunday because she was in
teh campo, so we have to move her date back, but thats alright. We are going
to visit her later today i think.

Friday and Saturday, we didnt get a fecha (baptismal date). But we did on
Sunday! There is a 9 year old girl who comes to church all the time and we
always are like hey tamara when are you getting baptized? and she responded
oh on the 30th of november with Rocio (another 9 year old girl who is in a
reactivated family) and we were just like wait what? So we now have 5 (if i
am counting right ) baptismal dates. WOW! what a week.

We have a new investigator named Carlos. HE is a stud. He has read the first
6 chapters of the Joseph SMith manual before we even met him. He had a
Family Home Evening with a family (sorry this story stinks. He is renting a
room from a member) and they had a Noche de Hogar with another hilarious
family and they got him started. When we met with him a few days later, hed
read a ton. We then had lunch with him on thursday and on saturday he was 8
chapters into the book of Mormon. The man is rolling! he is just excited to
learn EVERYTHING! he flips open to random pages and just says teach me about
this. i want to learn this. ITs so awesome to have an investigator who is
taking big steps at a time towards baptism. HE came to church this week and
liked it, so hopefully next email we'll have another fecha story!

We have been meeting with Osvoldo less and less. When i first got here, he
had a fecha and was the best investigator they had. It was weak. He hasnt
read anything or progressed at all and is a bump right now. we would have
dropped him, but his wife is a menos activo, so we still go over there to
talk and try to get them to church. They came last sunday so that was fun.
But it is always so interesting talking to all of these people. ONe of my
favorite things to do is to bust out the Family proclaimation to the world
and talk about families and how to sustain a family and keep it working. I
never realized how hard it is! vanessa has issues, Julia has issues with it,
Osvoldo and Manuela have issues with it. This week has just really
strenghtend my conviction on what a family is supposed to look like and more
importantly what my family is going to look like. It is so important to read
the proclaimation to the family and live those principles. Its just like no
brainer! even if i wasnt mormon, those principles are like what your mother
would teach you about how to treat people and be nice. Read the
proclaimation and LIVE IT! thats our commitment to a lot of people this
week.

What else is going on.....Elder Valencia and i are EXHAUSTED this week. WE
average 12 miles walking a day. We hit 16 one day this week. Man. ITs
ridiculous. We work our buns off and it feels so good to hit the mattress
and fall asleep within 5 minutes every night. I wouldnt want it any other
way. We are always running around trying to find our people and teach them,
trying to contact every person we see and invite them to listen to us. IT is
WORK! sometimes its tough because for some reason we arent allowed to conact
ladies on the street so its tough during the day when everyone is working.
We zig zag accross the streets all the time when we see people. Its a fun
game we play. And it is great because we get ridiculous amounts of contacts
and lessons taught each day.

We had Zone Conference on Thursday and it was great. WE talked about
contacting and about involving the members in our work. One new activity we
are doing is sitting down with the members and writing down every single
person or family they know that is not a member. It takes a while! we then
write it really nicely on a piece of stationary and bring it back a couple
of days later and do a nice presentation on ways they can share the gospel
with people on the list. WE then kneel and pray and invite them to be
receptive to see if anyone on that list comes to their mind and then tell
them to go share and well check up to see how it goes. Apparently in some
south american missions, it has multiplied baptisms by 100. It'll be
interesting to see how it works here! im excited!

I think thats about all i have for this week. No pictures-- im in rawson and
dont have my cord. Sorry!! Oh and i got my first batch of letters today! i
got ones sent between oct. 28 and Nov 2 ish. the oct 31 mailed one from mama
got here today, and the dear elders got here too from oct 28 through nov 1
ish. NOt too bad! thats only 2 weeks! i can handle that!

Anyways, i love you all, and i hope all is well in the States. I hear things
are crazy. Stay strong and smile!!!

Love always
Elder Taylor Jensen

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hey All!!! I am alive and well in Argentina. The Work goes on! It is really cool to see how the Spirit can work here in me and in the people that we teach. Every day i am striving to learn more and more how it works and how to keep it with me so it can work more and more.

We visited Julia on Tuesday afternoon. It was incredible to see the change she had had! On Saturday, she told us she had thought about killing her self and even had the knife out (i missed that part.. elder valencia filled me in on that on Tuesday) and that her family life was miserable and her daughter hated her and all this stuff. Then when we were there on Tuesday, her family was all there packing and they were going out to the campo together! We were a bit bummed because she is ready for a baptismal date, but we were a bit shocked and very pleased to see her family is coming back together. Her daughter even made her a cup of coffee while we were there! We´ll take it. But her countenance was way different and she was smiling and happy and we knew it was because of church and because she met some awesome people there who immediately became her friends and she wanted to go to enrichment but was going to be in the campo but she gets back tomorrow, so hopefully all goes well. We were stoked!

So last week we set some incredibly high goals for our companionship. Way higher than anything elder valencia has ever done before. And we accomplished most of them! We had a HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!  Day on Wednesday. We contacted 65 people, got 10 new investigators, and taught 35 other lessons. Those easily were the biggest numbers of the week in the mission. It was so easy—we just talked to everyone we saw. It was almost like a game- we´d cross the street to talk to people, we´d be smiling and bubbly and talk to people, and we found some good people. We have been trying to follow up with the people and its been tough. Some of them gave us fake addresses, some werent there but we taught...4 i think in the past 2 days and they have been pretty good. One was kinda a nut and didnt really accept what we were saying, but we´re going back with our elders quorum president this week to talk to him. We had 2 ladies who were very nice and receptive, and one family who was AWESOME but werent that interested. This family was probably the first normal family i´ve met here, including members. People here are nuts. Weird. I love it though!

We only had 1 investigator in church this week, and it was the 9 year old friend of a member, so it was a pretty weak one to count for us. We were bummed. We had spent a lot of time talking church up and getting people excited for church, but no one came. We are going to have to work harder this week. Its been fun seeing how things change here. Sometimes i kinda question who is the trainer in our companionship. There are so many ways we can become better missionaries that every night during companion planning i kinda throw out an idea- hey why dont we focus on this tomorrow? Why dont we study this and put it in practice tomorrow? And so far it has really changed how successful we are and how much work we get done. I had a fun experience with it Saturday that i want to share too—

We have a part member family that we are working with. The boyfriend is an ex missionary and his girlfriend is an AWESOME lady. They have a daughter together and 2 kids from previous marriages. We just found out this week that the hubby has been drinking and thats been causing a lot of problems with their ´marriage´ and the vanessa just left the house and got a new place this weekend. We are DEVASTATED because they are stinkin AWESOME! Weve been trying to figure out what to say to them that will help them. WE were walking back from a Noche de Hogar (FHE) and e valencia was asking me about movies and my favorites and stuff and i was kinda annoyed because he always wants to talk about that kinda stuff and in the MTC we NEVER did because we were trying to focus and stuff, but here i havent really put my foot down and told him i didnt want to yet. I had wanted to stop talking about it and talk about stuff that would bring the Spirit but didnt  ´man up´ and do it yet. Then along comes vanessa down this random street. We had really really wanted to see her that day because we had talked to Ariel, the boyfriend, and really wanted to talk to her too. So she comes and tells us all this stuff thats going on and we really didnt know what to say. Afterwards, Elder valencia was like man! Why didnt i know what to say!? Why didnt the spirit tell me? And i was just like Its because we were talking about movies. We werent ready for it. We hadnt prepared ourselves. It kinda sunk in a little bit, but he always wants stories from my life and stuff still. I just need to tell him to forget it! Haha. We´re missionaries, not story tellers! I felt guilty, almost reprimanded for not being ready to act. I am not letting that happen again.

Now a bit on trelew. Everyone here is obsessed with the US election and they all hate Boosh (bush) (it cracks me up how they say it) and they all assume e. Valencia is black (hes a light brown) and that because of that he voted obama, and because im white i voted mccain. Sometimes we mix it up and say i voted obama and he voted mccain. Its fun. But i´ll be glad when people stop thinking were spies and eleccion counters and who knows what else.

Our apartment is pretty nice. We have carpet! I think were the only ones. We also have a nice balcony and e valencia and i like to eat  a bowl of cereal every night out there to relax and decompress. We eat cereal for breakfast, eat with members most every lunch (lunches are HUGE!) and then cereal for dinner. Its great. Cereal here just isnt the same though. Feel free to send Chex, Honey bunches of Oats, or Crispix. I like those! 

What else.... i just bought a ping pong paddle. Every chapel here has a table, and we play that and basketball and soccer every pday! I love my life here. This place was made for me! The work is going on. We worked our bums off this week. One day we walked 25000 steps (!) thats ridiculous. But its all good.

On the very end of our area, we have a new neighborhood. Its great because they open one block of 30 houses every week, so this week we had the first batch! And we beat the jehovah´s witnesses there! Ha! (there are a lot of testigos de jeovah here) but we have about 10 more blocks that will open in teh coming months. Its great! We have had a few member families move in and its sweet because they are really nice dirt cheap houses that only families can move into. Its prime! We are heading back over there tomorrow morning to open the next block. I love it! I hope this week we can keep working hard, keep being diligent, and get some good investigators! I am starving and my hour is about up, so i will try and stick on some pics, but i dont think it´ll work on this comp. We´ll see.

I love you all, thank you so much for your love and support. I got 3 dear elders that were sent while i was in the MTC last week and that was fun, but none this week. I hear its about a 3 or 4 week delay ish. I hope its not too bad! I love you all! Be strong and smile at someone.

Elder Jensen

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

News from Argentina

November 3, 2008

 

Well, it has been a blur of a last 2 weeks since i last wrote!!! so much has happened! my last week in the MTC was filled with fun-- birthday, colonoscopy, sweet devotionals, sad goodbyes. But it was time to go. For sure.

Monday I left bright and early as you know from my itinerary. I landed in Buenos Aires and we kind of just hung out for a while at the Buenos Aires Temple (it was closed for renovations so we couldn't go in. Blast!!!) And then we went to the airport at around 3. Unfortunately, the 4 o'clock flight was cancelled so we just had to sit around and hang out until about 915 when our flight to Neuquen left. It was really fun trying to talk to people in Spanish and actually have them understand us!! We met one guy who is a park city chairlift mechanic and was originally from Neuquen and who was investigating the church pretty seriously. WE talked to him for like 2 hours. He was way cool. We ended up meeting his parents in Neuquen. Good man.

We met Pres. Cook, ate some empanadas and then went to bed on some bunk beds in the mission home. I've never slept so well in my life!!! It was awesome. As you know, I cant really sleep on airplanes, so I had maybe 2 hours of sleep since Monday morning (and that day I barely got any because we got up at 4 and went to bed at like 1230.) The next day, we did some legal stuff and then had a little orientation. We met our trainers (our 1st companions who kind of show us the ropes) Mine is Elder Valencia from Reno, but he was actually born in Peru. But he isn't a native speaker. He is kind of a little bit quiet, but he is smart. He got a 34 on his ACT, so we've taken a guess that we may have the best combined ACT as a companionship on the mission. haha. Hopefully brains will turn into successes together.

I am assigned to the Trelew area. It is a city about half way down in my total mission. I had to take about a 12 hour over night bus ride to get here, but hey I'm here. Our area is ENORMOUS! The rest of the Trelew areas are pretty small, but ours is huge. It's like the city is a hamburger. The buns are divided into 3 or 4 areas each, and ours is the entire meat. It's big and wide. It's the richest area though, so that's nice. We walk 10 or more miles a day (trust me, my pedometer knows :)) but it is good here. We also have the downtown area too.

It's a little tough because we really don't have many people that we are currently teaching. Elder Valencia likes knocking doors, and I think that just stinks to be honest. It doesn't do anything. I've been working really hard to figure out other ways to find because knocking is a waste of time. E. Valencia even said he's never had a baptism from knocking doors.

Missions are tough. I never realized just how hard they are until now. Trying to find people, trying to bring the spirit into their homes, trying to feel the spirit and figure out how it works in me, trying to plan and be efficient. We walk a lot more and teach a lot less than I hoped or thought we would, and that is really discouraging for me. I'm going to work way hard this week to change that.

Spanish wise I am actually not too too bad. People can understand me pretty well, except for the occasional time I say the wrong subject or when I'm asking a question and am not clear and direct. But really my Spanish is ok. Everyone is way impressed with me abilities!

Listening, however, is a different story. They talk so much faster than they did in the US!! haha. And the accent isn't bad. I understand it and can do it. No big deal. But we were at one house and these two girls about my age were just sitting there laughing at me because I was just looking at whoever was talking kind of smiling trying to figure out what they were saying. They made fun of me and were asking me if I was on drugs. Oh well. We're going back there tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to it.

One challenge I am having is getting along with the new way of doing things here. in the MTC we were told not to stay at members houses too long, not to chit chat with investigators too long before we got down to the point and started sharing the gospel. We (well not me because I can't speak Spanish) struggle with that and really need to work on that so that we can work harder and with more people. It's just really hard to figure out how to be a missionary. I know the missionary I want to become and how i want to be, but not very many other missionaries share the same vision because they are too worried about it being too hard or too much work to plan or not fun or basura like that. but each day during planning I'm trying to pipe up and say how I feel about things (like last night--point blank Knocking stinks and is a waste of time. lets find another way to contact)

We've only taught one real lesson since getting here on Thursday(osvoldo). It went pretty good. I did really well at explaining the book of Mormon. But the people didn't drag themselves out of bed the next day to come to church. I've found that the people here are really lazy and not doing stuff almost all day, but some how they are always occupado. always. interesting.

We taught another lesson on Saturday afternoon to a lady (Julia) and really dropped the hammer on her about coming to church and how that would really help her with all the problems she was going through. Early Sunday morning, we got up and went 2 miles away to osvoldo and he was sleeping and then 2 miles back and then out to Julia's and she didn't answer, so disheartened we went to church empty handed. But to our surprise, she showed up like 15 minutes later!! YES! She had been in the shower when we rolled by, so she couldn't answer the door. But a lot of the ladies there talked to her and we think she felt really welcomed. We are going to swing by later tonight or tomorrow to check up on her. Hopefully all is going well!

Other news--we contacted an absolute NUT on Friday. He talked to us for an hour on the street and wouldn't let us say a word or leave. He talked about a flaming sword God had given him and a fiery cart he was baptized in. He tried to get us to come to his house but we were terrified and had a lunch appointment. We swung by the next day and his house was way nice! But he just kept talking and talking about biblical prophets and all this crazy stuff. He was nuts. His wife brought out a 7up and cups and he yelled at her and was like they don't drink 7up! And on the tray the wife brought out there was a knife!!! haha we thought he was going to kill us or something. But we had to leave and invited him to church kind of half heartedly. Well, he showed up! haha. We heard Sunday school was a bit strange, but he talked to me after sacrament meeting and was way normal. it was kind of weird! Maybe he is normal while in church. Anyways... I think we may just kind of avoid him for now.

Its hard being down here and not getting mail on a daily basis! No one here writes letters anymore so I don't know what the best way of doing it is yet. I tried to mail stuff from LA but they didn't have any mailboxes. I'll get some out today, don't worry. Hopefully they'll get there soon! I'm throwing some pictures on here too... give me a sec. The food here is alright. Pizza is good, bread is good, noodles are alright, I've only had a little beef and chicken and they've been alright. Its fun because they all eat huge lunches and then no dinners so I like eating that way because then in just fall into bed and sleep so so so soundly. It's good to get a good night sleep every night.

Sorry I don't have any good pictures of trelew yet... next week I will for sure! it is hot, dry, dusty, dirty, no clouds, and warm borderline hot. So far so good. I'm already working the tan a bit!! haha.


I love you all. Smile!
Love,
Elder Taylor Jensen

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fw: hey friends!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen"
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 4:01 PM
Subject: hey friends!


Hola Amigos!! LAST EMAIL FROM THE UNITED STATES FOR 2 YEARS!!!!!

i'm pretty pumped, if you couldnt tell.

Lets see here. What do i want to write about in my last email here? i have
been thinking a lot about how different i am from the kid who reported here
2 months ago. Not so much different as in personality (i'm still a goofball,
no worries) but in terms of my knowledge and understanding of things that
are important to me. I learned so much here in the past 2 months.More here
than i probably did in at least a semester, probably two semesters at
school. But unlike memorizing artwork and stuff, this stuff actually is
important to me. I have felt so good here. So loved! and its so weird
because i dont really have a social life anymore, other than meals and the
45 minutes before bed. I love it here! it is almost a little hard to leave.
I NEVER thought i'd say that. I am glad for my time here and for the
opportunity i have to be on a mission. I am so glad i have the opportunity
to go to argentina and help people understand the things i know and feel and
help them change their lives. I cant wait!!!

i just got out of our meeting with the consul. It was supposed to be 2
hours...it ended up being 3! my p-day was shrinking away! i was devastated!
but its alright. I learned so much about argentina-- it looks like i'm about
to put on a ton of weight because he kept talking about the food and how
good and how cheap it was! like steaks, pastas pizzas, and icecream! what
more do i need in my life? maybe orange juice? i'm excited.

I have my flight plans and am ready to go!! i leave at 5 AM from the MTC,
fly out at 825 to LA, land at 9:25AM there. I then take off at 120 from LA
and fly to Santiago, Chile and land there at 625 AM. i then leave chile at
725 and land in Buenos Aires at 10:25 AM. WE then will be greeted there by
somebody and finish up our visa stuff or somthing, then we will either fly
another 2.5 hours or take a 600 mile bus ride to Neuquen. YIKES!!!!
basically, we leave at 5 am on monday and wont get to neuquen until late
tuesday night/early wednesday morning! that is a long long long day of
traveling, my friends!

Its been a bit of a sad weekend because Elders lytle and Najac left
yesterday morning at 6. It was pretty bittersweet-- i LOVE those two to
death. It was so lonely going to bed last night without our two boys in our
room with us! our room is so big now though! haha. It was so fun being here
in the MTC with them, but there are bigger and better things, like paraguay
for them and argentina for us. I'm looking forward to the letters i'll be
sending those two! haha. i cant wait.

I'm trying to think of a crazy story from this week. I'm struggling to get
any! i am ADDICTED to 4 square now though. During gym i am always diving on
the floor while we play and i've gotten in trouble for it 2 or 3 times now.
People here just dont understand that diving is a part of who i am!! haha. I
guess i better play it safe this week... i dont want to stay here any longer
than i have to!!

Hmmm. Other news. Manny now has 11 plants. WE are giving him up for
adoption, so hopefully he'll live for 2 years, right? haha. THAT is going to
be a sad parting!

I have reflected a lot on how fortunate i am to be here, serving the Lord
and doing His work. It is honestly a miracle the amount of spanish i know
right now, the amount of scripture knowledge i've developed, and the amount
i have learned about myself and about my savior. I love every day here, and
cannot wait to get to argentina to start using what i've learned to help
people come unto Christ, to help them find peace, happiness, and joy in
their lives. I am so blessed to have come from an incredible family and
group of friends who supports me through their love, letters, cookies, and
prayers! Thank you so much, I hope i am able to talk to you all again soon,
but who knows when i'll get to a computer again! Could be this next week,
could be 2 weeks, could be never. WE'll hope not on that last one.

I love you all, take care, smile, read the scriptures, do good things with
your lives, and send me letters in argentina!!

Con Fuerte y animo
Elder Taylor Jensen

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fw: Hey Friends!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen"
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 6:44 PM
Subject: Hey Friends!


Hola Amigos!

Its been another whirlwind week here at the mtc. They seriously fly by so
fast! i feel like i was just sitting in this chair emailing a few days ago!
its hard for me because i never remember when things happen here so
hopefully i dont repeat any of my stories!

Hmmmm. What unique happened this week? well, It SNOWED HERE! I was so
pumped. it is really funny because there are all these goofball kids who put
on their thermals and their parkas and their snow boots and their scarves
like its the next iceage. I still rock the short sleeve dress shirt until
this monday when they said we had to wear our suits all day. Bummer. I still
love being out side in the cold--its training for my mission in the southern
part of Argentina! we can get sack lunches and breakfasts instead of going
into the cafeteria, so me and Elder foye do that every day and eat at a
picnic table that we can freeze our buns off at and look at the mountains
at the same time. So worth it.

Speaking of argentina-- Visa update-- We did not get our flight plans last
friday (but the rest of my district did-- not fair!) but we went to the
travel office and they said we will get ours this friday. We leave on the
27th of october-- the rest of the argentina missions are leaving on the
23rd, but our mission president cant pick us up till the 28th. Bummer. I
hope we get a lot of free study time that extra week we have to stay
because i have so much i still need to do here. It is so crazy--i have way
too much to do and not enough time to do it!! i guess its a good thing that
i am too busy rather than not having enough to do!

Manny El Manzano update- i havent given one of these in a little while. We
now have 10 manny's. Most of them are about 2 inches tall or so and have 4
or 5 leaves. They are such a cute little family. It has been a pleasure
growing them. We are working out an adoption right now so that they can have
a good parent looking after them when we leave (we've debated taking them to
Argentina with us! haha.)

Its kinda weird right now because we are now the oldest district in our zone
in the MTC. Its strange. We dont feel like the oldest, but we are. Its fun
though. We know how it works here, and we actually are a REALLY good
district because we work really hard and dont screw around. I have been
extremely fortunate to have gotten to know and associate with the fine
missionaries in my district here.

Gym time still rocks. I am now addicted to basketball and 4 square. They
just instituted a new rule about diving though- apparently we arent allowed
to dive after a ball in 4 square. Are you kidding me? Sometimes i do it
anyway because i just cant control that! its just built in to my system.
Anyways.

Crazy story of the week- me and elder lytle built a bobsled the other day on
my bed. we were cleaning our room and i threw all 4 of our chairs into his
bed (i always throw all of my stuff in his bed just because its funny and we
always joke about it) and so he takes them and starts sitting them up on my
bed like a bobsled. We then went out in the hall and did the 'feel the
rythm, feel the ride, come on jamaica, its bobsled time!' from cool runnings
and then ran into our room and jumped on our bobsled. It was a blast. But it
lasted about 20 seconds. haha. We like our strange activities.

I'm trying to think of what else new or profound i have learned here...
nothing is coming to mind. I get kinda stressed on preparation days because
i only get a half hour to email so i have to type SO FAST! oh well.

Oh i thought of something. I decided that i was going to read the Book of
Mormon straight through during my time in the MTC. I finished it this past
sunday and it was incredible. I seriously learned so much more this time
through than i ever have in any other time i've read it. I guess i just read
things in a different light as a missionary and a representitive of Christ.
There is no doubt in my mind that it is true. It answers deep questions of
the soul that i've had this past month. It has answered prayers. Its
incredible. Thats what new and profound thing i've learned this week is. The
book of Mormon is TRUE!

Alright i need to go off to choir--i hung with it after singing in general
conference just because i like singing in english so much! I leave the 27th,
so dont send me letters that will get here later than that! (oh and my
birthday is the 24th. Just thought i'd drop that out there :))

I love you all, have a great week, go byu football, go missionaries, go
mission work, go book of mormon, and go mail for taylor!

Elder Taylor Alan Jensen

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fw: Hey Friends!!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen"
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 2:46 PM
Subject: Hey Friends!!


Wow. What a week. It has been super busy preparing for conference last
weekend and learning spanish and doing crazy things to keep our sanity. I
cant believe i only have 2 weeks left! AH! I get my flight plans THIS
FRIDAY!!!! i cant wait. I am so stoked. I think i have learned and grown
more here than at any other point in my life. its been a whirlwind-i can
hardly remember my pre-mission life (well, until i look at the mountains
(WHICH HAVE GORGEOUS SNOW RIGHT NOW!!))

Anyways, New stuff this week:

-I got a paper telling me i was meeting with the visa people on thursday and
then again on the 21st of october. I wont get my visa till then (i was
suppossed to be out on the 20th) so i'll hopefully be out on the 23ish. Some
people have said we wont leave till the 27th though. I'd actually be alright
being delayed a few days because then i'd have so much free time to study
and mark my spanish scriptures and stuff! I'll let you know next week!

-We had a sweet campout last thursday night. Thursday we have night gym and
have an extra half our of getting ready for bed, so we made a quick blanket
fort in our room, put flashlights in elder foye's orange laundry bag for a
fire, and had a pot luck type campout. Dont worry-we were all in jeans and
sweatshirts, i had my headband on and headlamp on, and we had a really long
spiritual thought by our zone leader. IT was great! i cant wait till next
thursday....

-Pretty much the coolest thing that has happened to me here happened this
weekend. We had General conference (5 2 hour meetings held and broadcasted
by our church general authorities) and it happens every 6 months. I had the
chance to go be in the choir that sang at the saturday night priesthood
meeting. It was INCREDIBLE!!! it was so much fun, so much energy, so much of
the spirit. It was a really unique experience. It was incredible seeing all
the people there, looking out from teh viewpoint of the apostles and prophet
at the priesthood body of the church. It was also fun to be sitting behind
the aforementioned apostles and prophets-- it was like we were literally
following them. The songs we sang were powerful - Called to serve, Lord i
would follow thee, and Hark all ye nations. I loved it! and i heard i was on
camera a few times too... we get to watch it tonight, so i'll figure out the
final count and see if i can settle the debate about whether my eyebrows
were in in the last song or not :)

-ANOTHER sweet thing that happened while i was at conference is that
inbetween warming up in the conference center and conference, i ran out to
the bathroom with about half of the choir. I waited like 10 minutes so i
didnt have to wait in as long of a line, and i went to a bathroom farther
away than the close one to avoid the line. ON my way there, i was greeted by
a nice man named L TOM PERRY! he shook my hand, said 'what are you up to?'
"just running to the bathroom to get the pre-singing jitters out" "Good luck
out there!" "Thanks" and i patted him on teh back and went on my way. How
incredible! (L Tom perry is an apostle in our church) Definently made all of
the personal study time lost, the long practices, and the long bus ride up
there worth it just for that. Singing my heart out was just icing on teh
cake.

Well friends, i need to head out. Anna-i got your letter last tuesday night
and couldnt get back to you till today, so one is on the way. Take care, i
love you, write me letters because i only have 2 weeks left!!

Taylor Jensen

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fw: Dear Friends:

Taylor wants all of you to know that he is singing in a MTC Missionary Choir
at the Priesthood Session on Saturday night at General Conference this
weekend. Watch for his smiling face on the broadcast!!


----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen"
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 2:38 PM
Subject: Dear Friends:


Hello from sunny provo utah!!

I officially have 3 weeks left...i am so ready to go!! YEAH! it is so crazy
because all of the friends i have made here have started to take off, so its
kinda sad but so exciting at the same time. Next friday is flight plan
friday!! I cant wait...i think it is going to take about 27 hours to get
from provo to Neuquen. I cant wait. (sarcasm).

I hate to say it, but nothing too too exciting happened this week. I almost
killed elder foye and he probably wanted to kill me, but now we're great!!
Najac and Lytle wanted to kill each other yesterday but now they are good. I
think we've all gotten our tough week out of our systems and will be able to
live with each other for the next 3 weeks!

Yesterday in gym, Elder najac and i were playing volleyball and he landed on
my foot and got his ankle pretty bad. At first, we all thought he was just
kinda playing it up for attention, but then last night he took off the ace
bandage and his ankle was HUGE!!! We were really worried about it last
night. He went in to the trainer today and they said it was just a bad
sprain and they didnt think it was broken/ligament damage, so that was a BIG
breath of releif!

Funny story that i forgot to put in last week even though i said i would: So
i eat soy milk still, partially because i have come to like the taste,
partially because i am still scared of real milk, and partially because it
is SO MUCH fun to go and get it! I have to walk back into the big ol'
kitchen and into one of 7 walk in freezers to get it. We can see our breath
and stuff in there! haha. Elder foye is on the soy, and so is elder palmer
(he was our Zone leader and knows the strikes from harvard) because he's
lactose intolerant, and Elder Wooley (who is from orem and we found out two
nights ago that we are basically the same person. We ski the same runs at
snowbird, climb the same walls in rock canyon, go to byu, and hike the same
trails on the mountains! how sweet?!) and he has had the exact same problem
i did his first few weeks. Needless to say, its quite the fun expedition go
go get our milk sometimes. One day last week i said ' hey elder foye-- want
to eat a bowl of cereal IN the freezer??' of course he said yes, so we
marched proudly back there with our coco roos in hand and share a bowl in
the freezer. It was great companionship bonding. We were freezing by the
end! We told Palmer and Wooley about it and the next night we went in and
had a Partay! it was hilarious though because 4 different people came and
opened the door 4 times and it was hilarious because there are these 4 boys
in there eating their cereal! haha. We love it. Its preparing us for the
southern tip of Argentina for sure.


What else happens here? i saw mitch jergensen on wednesday as he was walking
into the MTC-- we were taking a quick break from class so we go and people
watch on wednesdays because our classroom building is right were people come
and hang out and cry and take pictures before going into the MTC. We stand
and watch through the doors--its like TV! I always keep my eye peeled for
people i know. Low and behold--there is mitch! i ran out and gave him a hug
then told him to go say bye to his fam and we'd talk later. I see him once
or twice a day... its so fun seeing people i konw here!

The beginning of this week was super hard as i said in last weeks email. One
thing that i could not have made it through without is prayer. Seriously,
God is listening and WANTS to help us. We just have to ask! It was such a
great experience seeing how his hand works in my life and how it can help
guide and direct me in what to do and say. I couldnt have made it through
this week without Him!

All else is well. I love you all, write me letters! (dearelder.com, box
#185!) OH PS IT TAKES THREE WEEKS + TO GET MAIL IN ARGENTINA!! YIKES!!!

Anyways, the church is true, Utah is beautiful, I am learning SO SO SO much!
Keep working hard and writing me letters :)

Elder T. Jensen

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fw: Hey Friends!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen"
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 1:47 PM
Subject: Hey Friends!


I am officially more than halfway done here! woot.

in emails past i have said i am 'begining to like it here' and am starting
to enjoy it here more and stuff like that. Well, i finally LOVE it here. It
is incredible the things i am able to learn, the spirit i am able to feel,
and the fun i can have. I really wake up each day excited about going to my
incredibly long classes and my long long day of work. Over the past few
weeks, i have felt like a firework with a wet fuse...it takes a little while
for that fuse to dry out, but then it will eventually catch fire. My fuse is
about all the way dry and igniting now... look for some sweet fireworks to
come!

My discovery of the week: Ro-Sham-Bo (formerly thought to be a slang way to
say rock paper scissors (thanks to my favorite TV show, Rob and Big)) turns
out to be japanesse for Rock paper scissors. Who knew!?

Medical update for the week: No e coli, salmonella, i didnt die from my 2
bottles of milk last week. I am tired of going to doctors, so i just eat
what usually keeps me healthy. More to come on that later.

We had a celebration a few days ago that was entitled 700. That is how many
days we had left to serve our missions. We also played kickball friday
morning-- you'd all be proud of me because i havent lost my flair. I dove
around 5 or 6 times, had a bloody knee, grass stained shirt and shorts, and
a big smile. I miss playing in grass :)

On thursday night, i had way too much energy ( we have night gym on
thrusdays... i am still undecided on if i like it or not) And so to release
my energy i ran. And ran. and ran. 2.5 miles -- 13000 + steps on the day!! a
new record!! haha. i guess i am a dork.

This week i was made our district's district leader. I am really excited
about this calling because i felt like it gave me a second wind of
enthusiasm. I had the chance this week to review my progress over the past
month and i realized that i am not the missionary i wanted to become. I have
so much work to do to get there. I have so much to learn! i set a lot of
goals for the next few weeks to get me to that missionary i know i can
become, and i am looking forward to the coming weeks to see how different i
will be. I am also holding my breath for the next 4 weeks as well. Our
district was really close, but as of this weekend, every companionship has
an issue within the companionship, and there are some issues between
companionships. I have a feeling like we might have some problems this
week.... i hope we dont though!! its silly to let personal issues get in the
way of our work here.

In Manny El Manzano news, we have another new sprout!!! we now have 6 plants
(and we believe they are tomatoes because they smell like tomatoes). Manny,
Borbujas, Guillermo, Pilar, Esperanza, and we have not yet named plant #6.
If anyone has any good spanish sounding names, PLEASE SEND THEM TO ME!!! if
we select the name you send in, not only will we name the plant that name,
you will get a prize!! good luck. Be creative. multiple entries are allowed.
but they must be different days because we like mail. :)

I am looking forward to see Mitch Jergensen and Brik anderson report this
week!!! i saw kevin prier a lot and it is so much fun running into people i
know here!!

I love you all, keep on being good people, keep on sending me
letters/pictures/drawings/cookies/love. It makes my day :)

Taylor Jensen

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fw: hey friends!!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen"
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 2:51 PM
Subject: hey friends!!


Hola Amigos!

First note of business i have for you today is...

59-0!?!?!?!?!?! what!?!?! thats incredible. i could hear all the cheering
and cannon blasts and i was going nuts on friday! congrats, cougars. Ranked
number 11 i hear? thats well done!

I am just about half way done here... its felt like its been FOREVER! the
days are so long and we pack so much into each day that it really feels like
we've been here for so much longer than 4 weeks. I like it here, its a good
place. We work real hard, and each day we seriously go to bed knowing so
much more than we did when we woke up.

Elder foye and i taught our first lessons in spanish. It was tough, but we
made it through. We have 6 (dang thats a lot) lessons this week plus our TRC
on saturday morning. We are teaching 4 of them in spanish, so we really have
work to do in learning all the tenses and conjugations and such. Our first
two went well, but we are going to really try and teach great lessons this
week.

Friday was a fun day for us-- elder foye woke up sick so we didnt go to gym
(ah! killer!) or class and instead we went to the doctor. the MTC doctor was
full so they sent us to the BYU one and had a doctor appointment there.
While i was there i saw rachel foutz and that was fun. While we were there i
also went in to get checked out and the lady wanted a few tests to be done
on us. more on that later. So after that we came back and went to lunch and
then we had another foot appointment for elder foye and then we had to go
pick up his anti biotics... it was a busy day of doctor's appointments! We
both are doing better now, so keep your fingers crossed that that continues!

We try to study outside as much as possible because we are couped up in our
classroom (aka the petri dish) for so many hours each day. I noticed
something about utah--the sky is ALWAYS perfect blue. Its rained a few
times, but seriously every day is just gorgeous skies and gorgeous
mountians... i cant wait to see patagonia! haha.

We talked to someone who went to our mission and they told us about how they
could hang out with flocks of penguins and chase ostritches and stuff. i am
so pumped!!!!

Other than that, everything is still about the same here. I found the Soy
milk in the cafeteria (i have to go back into the freezer and get it--its an
adventure and its preparing me for the freezer that is southern argentina)
and that has been keeping me feeling good. The doctors think it is a lactose
intolerance and they need me go over today to have a test or two done-- i
have to drink a whole bunch of milk, get sick, go there and have them tell
me not to drink milk, come back, be sick still, and then hopefully get
better real quick. Hopefully all goes well and they dont find that i am
infected with salmonella or e coli or whatever else the doctor said can
infect the intestinal track. Funny story- me and elder foye have very
similar symptoms, so they are mix and matching our tests to diagnose us.
Fun, huh? i thought that was weird.

OH! one last cool thing. Elder foye got a new alarm clock this week-- its a
princess one with those bells on the top! it is awesome and does a great job
of waking us up. The first morning it woke us up, someone asked me about it
and i responded in spanish: yo casi ir al bano en mis pantalones cuando
nuestro nuevo reloj grito a mi (i almost wet my pants when the alarm clock
yelled at me) so since we dont know how to say ring or anything, we always
talk about how the alarm clock yells at us in the morning. we think its
funny...maybe we're going insane? perhaps.

Anyways, i love you all, keep in touch! sorry if my letters this week are a
bit short--i am planning on being sick this afternoon and am trying to get
as many out as i can!

Taylor Jensen

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fw: Hey Friends!!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen" <
To: <njensen@cinci.rr.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 3:10 PM
Subject: Hey Friends!!


Week three is done at the MTC! i'm almost halfway out. crazy.

BIG NEWS THIS WEEK: on saturday, i found the sprout of MANNY EL MANZANO!!!
we think he is a tomato, but we really dont know since we planted apples,
oranges, cantalope, and tomatos. He is about 2 inches tall and has two
leaves now. All it took was faith. haha. BUT last night i looked in the cup
again and what did i see---another sprout! We named it borbujas (bubbles)
and its manny's girlfriend. how sweet. We are hoping for them to have some
more friends pop up because we have some sweet names for them. We take manny
outside with us when we study so he can get some light... he doesnt get out
much. Seriously, it made us so happy that our plant actually is growing.

anyways, in MTC news, we are doing really well. Elder Foye and I started
practicing teaching lesson 2 en espanol today and we are goign to give it in
a TE (teaching evaluation) on friday night. We actually felt pretty good
about it. We've started working hard on vocab--we memorized 78 words last
night and put on about 95 more today. We are starting to get a hold of what
we know and what we dont know and we're starting to work on knowing what we
dont know. follow? :)

We wrote a dear jane letter this week in our class. We all wrote individual
ones breaking up with english. Our teacher told us to make them as nasty as
we could. Mine was pretty good...i sealed the deal by busting out my crayons
and drawing a picture of me and espanol holding hands and ingles crying with
a broken heart. we are supposed to speak spanish basically all day. Our
district speaks english in the bedroom and cafeteria and gym, but in the
next week or two that will definently change.

Companionships are hard work here. We have one elder in our group that has
mannerisms that drive the other three of us nuts. We are as a group really
trying to be patient and loving with him, but sometimes it is so hard.

Um. Hilarious story:

so at 4:42 this morning i woke up to the sound of people talking in my room.
I looked down from my top bunk and saw some kid standing in just a t-shirt
in the middle of our room. Turns out it was a brazilian kid from the other
side of our hall and he was sleep walking. So he came in and sat on the end
of elder lytle's bed and mumbled about how he needed to get in bed and elder
lytle (literally) kicked him off. He then kinda knelt on our brown flece
blanket (BYU kids- yes we have a brown!) and just kinda sat there for a
minute. He then got up and sat on elder foye's bed right beneath me. The
whole time we were like Elder Horrshcett you're in the wrong room! go find
your bed! but he barely speaks any english and kept muttering about how he
needed to go to bed. Then he curls up in a little ball on the end of elder
foye's bed. Elder foye, about as patient as i have ever seen him, kindly and
calmly says come on elder i'll walk you back to your room. He then gets out
of bed and kneels on the floor, and then puts his head on elder foye's bed
again. Elder foye helps him up and they start for the door when we see this
elder's three roommates there. They start talking to him in portuguese and
convince him to go with them. He then turns back into our room and goes for
elder lytle's closet and starts looking for his pants (hahahaha). his
roommates then grabbed him and took him back. He left at like 6 this morning
for Chile or something, so we never got to talk to him and see if he
remembers any of it! how priceless is that though? we just laughed for about
20 minutes before any of us could fall back asleep.

In other news, i think in my last email i guessed that i had lost between 2
and 5 pounds. well i weighed myself the following day and had indeed lost 6
pounds in the first two weeks. I am feeling better now, but still cant eat
milk. I talked to my Zone Leaders last night and they one said his brother
and the other said his cousin had had the exact same symptoms/experiences as
me as they discovered they were lactose intolerant. I have a doctor's
appointment tomorrow, so we'll see if i am or not! (ps i weighed myself
yesterday and i am now down 10.5 pounds in three weeks! yikes!) But the good
news is i know what food i can eat that wont make me sick and what food
makes me sick, so the ball is in my court i guess.

I've been asked what i miss most about home and i think my honest answer
right now is my shower. The showers here are a bit better than a rainstorm
and a bit worse than a faucet. And they are TINY! Saturday nights are the
worst here because BYU plays their football games and we hear them sometimes
but we always get updates somehow. (yeah 2-0)!

I really love all the people here. It is so much fun learning and growing
with these unique people and learning what they know and teachign them what
i know. I have been really blessed with the good people in my district and
in my zone (branch). Our branch presidency is AWESOME too. they are such
nice men and they really care about us all and know us by name and stuff.
its great!

I started playing soccer outside. Its a ton of fun, but not as competitive
as volleyball and i am not allowed to play goalie either. but i think i'm
going to be doing that saturdays because we have 11 o'clock gym and its so
nice out on that field. The other days i am running/playing
volleyball/lifting weights. It still is what keeps me sane!

Friends, take care. I'll write to ya in a week. Write to me before then!!
dearelder.com box 185!

Have a GREAT week

Taylor Jensen

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Taylor's Second Self

Taylor realized that all of us here at la casa de Jensen would miss him terribly. To compensate he made this copy of himself so he'll be included in every Jensen family event. Its so realistic that its been known to actually be mistaken as Taylor. That why when put in closets and behind doors he can make people scream (ask mom). Jacob upon first sight of the cutout began a conversation until he decided he was fake. I sure you'll be hearing from skinny Taylor a lot in the next two years.

Fw: Friend Email

Week 2 from Taylor! Sounds like he is getting into the pace at the
Missionary Training Center. He requests that letters come through
DearElder.com. He has limited time to do e-mail each week and with
DearElder they are printed and delivered on a daily basis. He loves hearing
from you!


----- Original Message -----
From: "Taylor Jensen" <tajensen8@myldsmail.net>
To: <njensen@cinci.rr.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 2:03 PM
Subject: Friend Email


Hey friends!

Another week has passed here...it feels like forever!! its almost hard to
remember my life before being here just because my 16 hours of being awake
are PACKED with studying learning and classes. I have learned so so much.
Its fun learning spanish and it is a struggle. i've finished two weeks in
the MTC (which, also happens to mean i have finished about 2% of my mission
(52 weeks in a year, 2 years... think about it.)) Week two has gone SO much
better than week one. Instead of that overwhelming feeling i had first week,
this week has gone a lot more smoothly. We are all settled in and oriented
and everything now, so that is great. Elder Foye and I have been practicing
our teaching a lot. We have found one teacher who we love practicing with
because he is incredibly smart, reverent, and loving and teaches us so much.
Just little things- how to ask good questions, how to talk showing love
instead of just conveying messages. its been great, and although our
teaching still isnt very good still, we have made a lot of progress!

We have been to the RC (referrel Center) several times to work the phones
and call to make sure people recieved the missionaries or stuff they ordered
from pass along cards. Its a little scary at times, (especially when you are
calling people who havent been called since, like, 1997) (that only happened
once) but most of the time you get answering machines, so all is well! i've
talked to several people on the phone and some of them have agreed to talk
to the missionaries. its pretty exciting! just wait till i do it in
espanol...THAT will be the scary one!

I feel like ive been learning so much here. There is so much to teaching
that i have yet to learn (see above paragraph about Teaching Evaluations
(TE's). Preach My Gospel (the missionary handbook/teachign guide) is just
loaded, and we have only skimmed the surface. Spanish is going well. Its
hard to focus on listening so intently for so long each day in class, but i
feel like its really been paying off. i feel like i am doing a pretty good
job of observing sentence structures and such, so hopefully my speaking will
catch up!

I have been pretty sick basically since i got here. I've pretty much been
limited to Rice, water, sometimes a bowl of cereal, and delicious wheat
rolls. I also have delicious oyster crackers and pumpkin cookies (thanks
mama!) and nilla wafers (thanks to adrianne!)to get me through. I am pretty
sure i've lost between 2 and 5 pounds... crazy! i guess i have to fit into
my suits somehow and putting on weight wont help, so i may as well lose it!
haha. Needless to say, i'm getting a bit tired of eating that stuff (except
the rolls--they are way good!) I have a suspicion its just the food they
serve here, so i'll just have to figure out what works for me. We've also
had a bad headcold/sore throat going around our zone, and i came down with
that this week too. I just cant wait till i start feeling good all day every
day!!

Gym period is still the best. Volleyball is so much fun to play. I am
starting to pile up a few bruises and floorburns, but the pain is so worth
it!!! It has been absolutely gorgeous here. We have some snow on timp from a
rainstorm yesterday, and the weather is like mid 60s. does it get better?
nope. The mountains are always gorgeous. The clouds are nice. The snow on
Mount Timpinogas is awesome. Elder Foye and i take a long route back to our
room each night (we actually just walk a loop around the small MTC campus)
and i found two spots that i can see my stars relatively well. Its great! I
have a pedometer that i keep with me too. I've put in about 6500 each day
(which is so WEAK!!!) that number is going to jump so much when i get down
to argentina.

The advanced spanish missionaries that entered with us leave in a week or
so, and i am really sad about that because they are SUCH FUN PEOPLE! I love
the natives because most of them are so nice and will talk to you for as
long as you want and help you figure out the language and stuff. Its so much
fun!

Saturday night was a bit rough on me. I was sick and tired (see above) and
really wanted to be in the mountains rather than the white classrooms. We
got back to our rooms and i started venting in my journal and then finished
by saying basically i just need to forget all that stuff and focus on what
i'm here for. I finished writing and looked down from my top bunk and say
Elder Najac (the convert) sitting on the ground folding elder foye's clothes
(elder foye is sick too and had already fallen asleep). It was so touching
to me to see that. Here is this kid who has recieved just one letter since
being here taking time and loving us and helping us in our time of need. His
mannerisms can be a bit annoying at times, but with love, who cares? Me and
Elder Lytle jumped in as soon as we saw what was going on and started
cleaning all of elder foyes stuff up. It was definently a unique, bonding,
touching experience for us all.

Dearelder.com rocks. my box number is 185 in the provo mtc. send me some
love.

Love you all
Fuerte con Animo
Elder Taylor Alan Jensen

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Well hello there fellow blogians. This is Taylor's dear brother Andrew. Over the course of the next two years i will be providing narration to the pictures and letters Taylor will be sending us. So i proudly present to you the first pictures of the mission: entering the MTC.
These are my lovely parents with Taylor before he entered the MTC. They spent the night in Provo before taking Taylor in and returned the following night. Taylor will write soon to fill in the details but I (my mom) thought you'd like to see the pictures.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

See ya in two years!!

Friends, romans, countrymen, americans, citymen, and whoever else: i am leaving on my two year mission today. you all will be dearly missed, and i hope to hear from you over the next two years. My mama is going to keep the ol' blog running with pictures and such, so check in every now and then and write me some letters!


Hey friends! As many of you probably know, i am serving a two year mission for my church. I will be in Neuquen Argentina, which is the southern 1/3 of Argentina. Its the second largest mission in the world! The area goes through the Patagonia area and down to Tierra Del Fuego. My work there will include serving other people, teaching people about my church, and serving the people some more.

I'm not going to have a phone or computer or anything, but once a week i should be able to get to an internet cafe, so i would like to put together an email list so that i can email you guys while i am there! what will happen is i'll write a group email for everyone on the list to read and i'll give some updates on what i am doing and some experience i'll be having. Hopefully i'll be able to get one out on a weekly basis. if not, at least once everyother week or so. (hopefully!) You wont be able to email me back, so...

If you would like to write me back (and i'd LOVE it if you did!) you can do it in one of three ways:

1. EASIEST. go to DearElder.com and click the Pouch (FREE) button on the lefthand side. Then click the toolbar and select the Argentina Neuquen Mission. Simple. my profile page is www.dearelder.com/taylorjensen and the site to get me at is http://www.dearelder.com/index/inc_name/mission_selection/


2. send a letter through the pouch system. this can be better (or worse) than the 1st option because you can color me pictures or handwrite it and make it more personal! this is a service because argentina mail isnt that good or something. If you do this option, you need to have it be a single sheet folded into thirds and a single piece of tape on the top (no envelopes). you then mail that to:
Elder Taylor Alan Jensen
Argentina Neuquen Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT, 84130-0150

3. Send letters/PACKAGES to Argentina: I've heard the mail down there may not be the best, so dont send perishable stuff!

Elder Taylor Alan Jensen
Argentina Neuquen Mission
Zapla 24
8300 Neuquen
Neuquen
ARGENTINA

Before i go to argentina, i'll be in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. If you want to hit me up there, you can use DearElder.com again and just click the Provo MTC instead of the pouch and then type in Argentina Neuquen in address thing. you can also send me letters/packages/food:

Elder Taylor Alan Jensen
Argentina Neuquen Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT, 84604

http://www.dearelder.com/index/inc_name/letter_sender/mission/Provo%20MTC/

I'll be in the MTC for 6-8 weeks, so i'll have putz put the day i leave up here so you'll know when to switch addresses.

SO after all that info, i'd like your email address and street address! if you are comfortable leaving it on the wall here, thats great. if not, you can message me on facebook or email it to me at tajensen8@gmail.com. I leave August 20th and will need this stuff by about the 16th, so dont delay!!

Contact Info

Email:
Website:
Location:
Neuquén, Argentina

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Can life as a missionary be as stressful as the two weeks leading up to it?

here are some twists we've had this past week:

Mama orders 6 long sleeve shirts from brooks brothers that should be delivered on friday. We had nothing by monday, so mama calls and they havent shipped them and they only have 5 in the store, so dad goes to pick them up.

Mama goes to about 500 different stores looking for short sleeve white shirts (i need a slim/athletic fit because i have big shoulders, and no one makes them/they never fit me) and finally finds a nice one, so she orders 6. the packages shows up and there is only 1 in the box. 5 more are being overnighted now.

I get my suits and stuff in the mail from Mr. Mac on monday and try them on, only to realize one of them is real big. we took both of them to the tailor to have them slimmed down (see slim fit issues above) and we find out one of my suits is the wrong size. Mr. Mac overnighted a new one to us and we got it this morning and have to go get it tailored asap.

I'm sure we'll have some more issues in the coming days. hopefully i'll make it onto my mission! haha.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Not to sound like i'm going off the shallow end here, but...

this is my first ditch effort at writing this post. so. here is the story. Amber begins this whole thing on cliches and improperly used ones, then we both butcher one in the same week. I said separating hairs and i forget which one she messed up. So then it turned into 'lets see how many we can butcher!' now, 150+ butchered cliches later (oh the probabilities are endless on cliches), comes the epic story:

I woke up that morning, happy as an oyster to be alive. I wasnt always the sharpest tool in the barn, but if you cant beat 'em, stick with 'em, right? anyways, we're just separating hairs. I went downstairs for breakfast--the usual bowl of cereal for me. It was a good thing too because i got the last bit of milk! You know what they say- the early bird gets the slug. Me, cereal, and milk go together like three peas in a pod. I even went the whole 8 yards and put my dishes in the dish washer! my mom was on cloud 10. We're not always on the same airwave when it comes to cleaning up and spitting on the spots. Sometimes i get into a cucumber because i want to go hang out but my room isnt clean. Not happening today.

Anyway, i was just putting on my shoes to go outside but just then it started pouring cats and geese! I tried not to get my underwear in a heap about it, but i figured every cloud has a golden lining. i went to find putzer to see what he was doing. He was sleeping. Of course. He is always late to bed, late to rise. I hate to throw him under the taxi, but he looks dead as a doorknob when he is sleeping. I guess every rose has its leaf.

"Putzer! Putzer get up! lets go do something." He is hard as thumbtacks to wake up. "Putzerrrrrrr come on." This is getting out of foot. "Putz. i am going to tickle you till you get up!" no movement. i sat on him and tickled him and said "you going to come hang out with me now? huh? huh?" he mumbled something. "Speak now or forever hold your pee!" he couldnt get a word in side-ways, so i let him up.

"Tbone i feel a bit under the storm" he muttered. I may not be my brother's guard, but i'll bet my top dollar he just wanted to hit the case again.

"You dont stand a choice against me. come now, get out of bed. what do you wantto go do? shoot the air in the basement? go head over to K-Rogers?"

"Quit bustin my chips Tbone i want to just hit the straw" I was stale out of ideas. something caught my attention right quick.

"WOAH PUTZER!" I cried. "DID YOU JUST SLICE THE CHEESE?!" He was laughing like a jackal. He really caught me on guard with that one. He gave me the duckbumps with that one. I hate it when people pull the carpet out from under me like that.

"Better keep your fingers curled that i'll ever hang out with you again after that one" I know he's got a heart of silver inside. "This aint over till the fat guy sings!!." mama heard my yelling through the paper thick walls and came fast as thunder to see what the commotion was.

"andrew out of bed. T will go to the library with you." Me? go to the library? that was below the buckle, but thats the way the muffin crumbles.

I usually protest when i have to read, but my hands were bound. today i felt like going above and below the call of duty. I should have nipped it in the stem and said i couldnt read and sat around at hue, but i didnt want to be a bump on the stick all day. I decided to go become a booksnake and find something to read. we raced to the car "last one there is a rotten apple!" we jumped in the car--the thing can turn on a quarter--and drove to the library

I looked at all the books and couldnt decide what to read! I guess the grass really is greener on this side, under your own feet! everyone knows you cant judge a book by its pagenumbers, so i had to read a few pages from all of them. Needless to say, none of them were my cup of drink. i went to find putzer and found him picking a cartiledge with the librarian.

"Tbone i need two bucks!"

"you ripped a nasty one on me this morning. i'm not giving you two bucks."

"But Tbone my book is two days late and i'm two dollars short!"

"better never than late" muttered the librarian amidst our argument.

"put a top on it, lady." we both said. i guess great minds to think twice.

"and dont speak until your spoken for" putz went on.

"i'm just trying to make ends meat here." she quipped.

"anyways, Tbone, thats just water under the road." i went out on a stick on this one and gave him the two bucks. I always have money on me because i never get caught up the creek with a paddle.

"you better pay me back or else i'll throw my cap in the ring and get you back." hey, a dollar saved is only a penny spent!

on our way out, Putzer said

"she doesnt sit a chance making ends meet as a librarian."

"well arent you the coolest thing since sliced tomatoes."

"I'll keep garbage talking if i please" he said.

"Youre going down a slippery soap with that attitude. the stars are the limit for you, putz. Just bloom where you landed and you'll be a foot in to be rich one day."

"You think so?" he asked.

"Easy as cake. piece of pie. i'll let you pick my mind about it later. we've got go get home now."


To be continued....

(for my sisters account of our cliche saga, click here)

The Conversion Process

Just like people, it can happen to blogs too. My blog realized it was missing something in its life--a tight title bar and some reconfiguration to colors/fonts-- and so it sought help. Now it has found joy in looking pretty sweet.

I also figured out that i can email my blog and it will post it automatically, so i will include my blog in my big email list so it will be updated along with my friends. sounds great, huh?




12 days. Ps. its 8/8/08.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Me Vs. Christian Bale

I head about 500 times at school that i look like christian bale. i beg to differ. christian bale looks like me. here is a 10 point in depth analysis of why:1. we have similar shaped mouths/lips. same size, same whatever.
1a. our smiles are similar
2. similar colored eyes. i claim my eyes are ROY G BIV (the colors of the rainbow). his are a similar cluster of colors.
3. we both have large eyebrows
4. we both have widows peaks
5. we both have low hair lines in the back of our head
6. our ears are similar in size, shape, and how much they stick out
7. our chins are very similar.
8. the hair on the sides of our head both naturally go horizontal instead of straight down.
9. our cheeks are about the same size and structure, and
10. we both are super heros who look good in suits.

agree or disagree?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I know its been a long long long time...

...but this is completely worth it. this may be the best story to appear on my blog.

Characters: Putzer and Tbone

Setting: After a delicious dinner at the jensen house, putzer and tbone are asked to go get their laundry and bring it down. Taylor stays in the kitchen to help clean up, while the putz goes straight up to his room.

Perspective: 1st person, as told by taylor

So i am walking up the stairs to grab my laundry for mama to do before our big trip. I am about to pass putt putt's room on the way to my room when i begin hearing this strange sound coming through his open door. curious, i peek my head slowly around the door. to my dismay, I see putz pacing around, claws out, and making raptor noises! yes. dead on impression. i begin to laugh a bit and he whirls around and sees me. by then i had fallen to the floor laughing. without breaking character, the raptor cocks his head, curious at this laughing creature, and walks out the door to the hall. he bends low, and gives a shriek at my face. he then stomps me out with his foot/claw, insuring that i am dead. he then proceeds to eat me. yes, i was eaten by a raptor. the raptor, hearing someone else coming up the stairs, immediately turned and fleed into tbone's room for safety, abandoning his prey in the hallway.

needless to say, this was about the funniest thing that has happened since i've been home. perhaps in years. perhaps my life. it was incredible.



video

Thursday, May 1, 2008

ive been thinking

about that name thing again and how bootleg it is. i typed in some of my friends names and half the stuff that popped up were the exact same as my name. regardless, it fits a little bit. i think the letter A means type A personality and that you are generally the best at everything you do.

however, i did the guess your weight thing on that same page, and it tagged me at 165. i weigh 165. weird...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

i usually dont do these kind of things

because i think they are generic and apply to everyone no matter what your name is, but i found this one to be pretty specifically true to me... towards the end its a little more wild than i normally tend to be though. but still pretty good.



What Taylor Means



You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life.

You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home.

You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.



You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.



You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.

You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.

You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.



You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.



You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life.

You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you.

At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.



You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm coming home

its crazy to think that the time for me to come home is here! the past month of my life has been the busiest, fastest, and most fun of my life! here are some quick hits of my activities in April:

-Skiing with the fam
-Rock climbing and being in the canyons/mountain honestly at least 4 times per week for the past 3 weeks
-Hiking
-sleeping in a cave up the mountain
-random snow storms (its snowing right now)
-sunburn and bad farmers tan on the 14th followed by snow on the 15th.
-gauntlet in the hall
-jumping out our windows
-Hiking the Y at 1 in the morning
-documentaries

needless to say, it has been an incredible last month, and its going to be so hard for me give up my cinderblock abode. i guess im going to a new house, so that will be great!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mission Call:


I have been called to serve in the Argentina Neuquen Mission!! I'll throw some more stuff up here later. i have to go to class