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

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