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" <>
To: <>; <>
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

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.