Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Update from Elder Jensen

February 23, 2009


Hellllllllllllllooooooooooooooooo World!

Another week has passed down south. They just go faster and faster it seems like! It's crazy because we have pday on Monday, district meeting on Tuesday as well as ward coordination, then weekly planning for 3 hours on Thursday, then we play soccer on Saturday. The week is so full and it goes by so quick! This week we are really excited because we have a noche de hogar every night… we are trying hard to get the members involved in the work because we really struggle finding people on our own. People like listening to their friends better than us Americans!

Today is day 1 of the new transfer (already number 4!) I am staying put in Trelew with elder Cox. Elder Evans, one of our zone leaders who lived with us, went home last night. It was sad. But I am a bit happy he's gone—now I will stop thinking about home and what that feels like! I have a few ´´new` ties from him, so that's pretty nice! But he was a great elder and I learned some good things from him. We only are changing 3 elders in our zone this transfer. I am really happy with that—our zone is so much fun and I didn't want any of them to leave!

Mom- funny thing you ask about me playing piano and singing in church—we have an old lady named Ophelia who was baptized a few years ago. And by old, I mean we go to the old people home to pick her up and put her in a tiny little truck to take to church. I sit by her on the piano and hold the music close to her face so she can see it, and I always sing loud in her ear because sometimes she starts playing faster and slower. So after one Sunday, she says elder Jensen… you have a beautiful voice. Come over to the clinic and well put a song together for sacrament meeting! So I think I am singing this coming Sunday… wish me (and her little old fingers) luck!! I am kinda nervous, but more so about her ability to play the song. Well see! I also play when she is sick, and I play in our district meetings as well as baptisms. All that piano playing time is slowly coming back to me, and I wish I would have stuck with it!!!

I'm excited about everyone going to BYU and on missions. I like to say I live with very few regrets, and I know that both BYU and my mission are two things of which I have no regret! What fun experiences!

Today we are going to take a chill day. By chill I mean we cleaned our pigsty apartment in the morning, we are writing now, and later we are going to go back and write letters and nap. I haven't written a letter in WAY too long, so I apologize, but know that they are on the way! I need a little recharge day today… I am absolutely exhausted- mentally, physically, and mentally again. I'm ready to sleep a bit of that off!

Noelia her Menos Activo future husband and her 2 kids all came to church yesterday!! They are going to get baptized this transfer. They have to! Gabriel, the future husband, has a hearing today in court to get his divorce, so we are hoping and praying that goes through, and that they can get married this coming month so we can see some baptisms! It has been a real struggle this past transfer to work and have success in terms of baptisms. We have been working really hard and doing tons of contacting and trying to teach as many people as possible, but just nothing comes through. I was doing some math this morning, and I have done 2570 contacts since I have been here. 1 of those contacts got baptized (Matias) that is .003891% (if I remember right). That kinda goes to show that contacting is not the best way of baptizing.
I have done divisions a few times in the past 2 weeks and those have been REALLY refreshing for me. It is really weighing on me sometimes this whole training business. I am not about to complain about it, but it just has been a really trying time! I have had to rely on the Lord more than I ever have before. I have had to be more patient than I ever have before. I have had to learn more than I ever have before. But through all of that, this has been one of the most rewarding transfers I have had, despite only having 1 baptism.

This past weekly planning session, we decided something had to change. We decided that we would suck it up (for lack of a better phrase) and be 100% obedient. This is a TALL order, but we are trying. And that's what the Lord requires. Elder Cox still reads 24/7 ( I had to give him a chat about not pulling out his book and reading during comp study) and so the effort is there. This transfer, we are going to see miracles. We put the goal of 4 baptisms. When Noelia and her kids pull through, that's 3, so that means we have at least one person out there waiting for us to find and baptize this transfer. I am excited to go do it!

I have been doing a lot better during my personal study recently. Before I would read and read and it wouldn't get me anywhere. Now, I have really started to pay close attention to all the little details, to look for things to apply to me, and to write them down. Right now I have a determination and focus in the things I am looking for (how to become a better missionary by following the example of BofM stories) and I read a lot about Moroni´s character this morning. It's interesting because all their attributes we can apply to us today.

I go through my moments of hardship and doubt. Everyone does. But I have 2 awesome parents who taught me how to live my life and that the church is true. And more than their words, they taught me by their actions. We have a sense of peace in our home. We live really tranquil. We are different from the world, and it is because our parents put their lives in order and lived the commandments. I cannot deny that either of you have a testimony, and sometimes that is all I need to have a testimony of my own. I can look at your works and know the church is true. Now its time for me to go to battle. I will be true at all times. I will be firm in my mind, and put my trust in God continually. I do not have a doubt that both of my parents have an incredible testimony, and that is what is pushing me through right now. Thank you so so much.

I wish I had more than 40 minutes to write. I have so much I want to say, but I have to go! I guess ill just write it in my journal and tell you all later. The church is true. You know it and I know it.

Letters are coming!

Love, Elder Jensen

Monday, February 16, 2009

Elder Jensen in Argentina

Another week done down south! Its been an alright week. We have 2 new kids that we are going to hopefully start teaching. They are the grandsons of the lady that Carlos is renting his room from and they come over to her house every Saturday and Sunday. He told us he wants to get baptized and pass the sacrament. That sounds good to me!

Noelia and Gabriel are coming along nicely. We still have a few issues to work through with them, but they are always asking really really good questions and things during our lessons. We just have to get them to commit. They want to be baptized, but they all have to do the things they need to get there. Its always a fun preparing people and helping them come to the gospel.

Elder Cox is getting better and better with his Spanish. He works real real hard all the time on studying. (to the point where we hardly talk in the apartment because he is always reading! Luckily the zone leaders live with us or I'd go insane). We are setting ourselves up pretty well to have a good next transfer.

It's still hard down here because we don't have very many people to teach. I had to give an impromptu talk in sacrament meeting yesterday, and I dropped the cane softly to get a little more help out of the ward. We've decided we would start visiting members a bit more in the coming weeks, as well as using the area book more to find old investigators and good contacts people have had. Hopefully the combination of these things will come through and well get into some people's houses!

One thing President Cook told me a couple weeks ago is that as long as we are doing our part and working hard and getting the good numbers we get every week, everything else will come in time. I have a lot of time thinking throughout the day walking around and trying to figure out why missionary work is so hard. I decided that it has to be this way a bit. Opposition in all things, no? I think I am glad for these hard times because they make me grow and stretch so that when I get success, I appreciate it more. It also forces me to fine tune my teaching skills and depend upon the Lord more. Its a tough time down here, but I know that we will be getting wet again soon!

Speaking of getting wet, we had a mini flood here the other week. It was exciting! The streets were just soaked! And so were we! It was so fun contacting and talking to people just soaking wet. I have some fun pictures from it. We also have Elder Scott coming to our mission, but unfortunately, he is only going to Neuquen, so I wont be able to see him. But Elder Auidukakis (however you spell it) is coming, so that will be good too!

I am excited to hear about our new mission president! That will be really neat to have him! I love President Cook, and I'm sure I'll love our new one. Hermana Cook called this morning to tell me that Sister Bowen had talked with her and asked how I was doing.  Told her I was one of their stars and that I was doing great and that they loved me and had a lot of trust in me. Then she called me to make sure she wasn't lying haha. She said Sister Bowen was going to email you or something. I like having people back here vouching for me! Haha  (Sister Bowen is Nan's cousin who is living in Buenos Aires with her husband while he is the Area President for the Church in Argentina)

I'm glad to hear all of the random things my little nieces and nephews are doing. I always talk about them down here too! We have 2 sets of twins in my ward here, and they are just a bit younger and a bit older than the twins and its so funny being with them. We pick up a lot of little friends down here. We have a kid named Eziquias who comes tracting with us in one neighborhood. I have another little 6 year old girl who draws me pictures and brings them to church. Its fun being a missionary and having people love  you even though you can't understand them! It makes up for all the rude old people we run into. I've officially changed and am from Canada now. It makes dealing with Obama and America go away because no one has problems with Canada. My comp though will not even play with the thought about not showing American pride, so we get the heat anyways. Well work on that.

Well, I'm off to go play some more speedball. I love you all! Thanks for the recipes and the food and all!! Take care!

Elder TJ

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Visit to see the penguins









Argentina Update

Hey all!!



I went and saw the penguins again today, so I'm a bit late. It was so much fun! We rented a little mini bus with our whole zone this time and went out. Unfortunately, 3 of the boys were real sick, and my Imodium and Metamucil wouldn't help them too much. But we all enjoyed it, and I touched a penguin again and this time I have evidence because my camera is still in my possession!


All is going well down here. The Zone leaders moved in with us a week and that has been fun having them in with us. Its a lot more messy, but it is a lot easier to unwind at the end of the day and have a good laugh before bed hearing stories and telling about good contacts and stuff.


We've been working hard still down here. Friday I went on divisions with Elder Evans, our zone leader who ends his mission in 2 weeks. He was really good to work with for a day because it let me be the junior companion for a bit and not have to do everything. It was a good recharging day, and I was able to learn a lot from him and the way he does his work. It was a great day.


We found a lot of new investigators this week and I am curious to see what happens with all of them. Normally, 95 percent of them no show us on our appointments or just tell us to come back another time or tell us to go away. But we got 17 new investigators this week, and some of them are really legit. I hope this is kinda the burst through we need and have been waiting for. Its really tough when you don't have many people to teach. Our fechas went up to neuquen for the weekend, so we didn't get to see them for about a week. Other than them, we've started with Julia again to see if she can start progressing. She has read 7 chapters of the Book of Mormon in the past week and a half, but she hasn't been to church in a long long time. Were always trying with her, and I know her life can become so much better with this gospel but she just doesn't understand that no matter if its us teaching it or the 3 different members we have brought over to teach her. We'll see what happens with her.


Having a new companion is tough work. Its week 5 and we still haven't really connected yet. We are pretty different personalities, and he is still learning the language, so its always a fun experience everyday. We´re working on getting closer and loving the people and positive attitudes. Luckily, basically every missionary wants to succeed, so we both have the same end goal in mind. We´re probably going to have one more transfer together, so we are just going to have to do some team building or something!  

Dad- Sounds like a fun experience splitting the ward. That's a big change, huh? I'm glad faethy stopped by. I hope he's doing well—I miss that kid! There is an elder down here that reminds me of him. But he isn't quite as cool. Ha-ha. I'm looking forward to hearing from him!


Mama—that's tough about the economy... hopefully everyone survives these cuts! Sounds like I picked a good time to jet out of the country. We feel some of it here... our prices rise pretty frequently too. I loved the Noche de Hogar package!! There is some really good stuff in there that I'm really excited to use. We've played the flour game and the animal game.... its always really fun!


Big news of the week and most exciting thing for me—Matias always wants us to come over and this week we challenged him to read the whole book of Mormon. I was ready to set the goal for the end of the year or something, but he said he will do it before I leave in April. That's about 10 pages a day, and I was a bit skeptical. But as of yesterday at church, he was way ahead of schedule! He was on page 57, which is about 9 pages infront! I am really excited for him. He just keeps wanting to learn and learn and learn. He also really wants to go on a mission. It makes me appreciate a lot the influence I can have on people here, that people will completely change their lives for the message we share. It keeps me humble, knowing that at any second someone could be in our path that is ready to hear the Gospel and change their life too. It is such an exciting work, even when we aren't teaching that many people!


We had a noche de encuentro this week and it went well. We had about 15 members and 1 investigator and we taught a lesson one with 4 or 5 member testimonies scattered throughout. It was a good spirit we felt, and all the members really liked it. Hopefully it will help animate them to get out and start sharing a bit of the gospel with their friends! We've gotten about 6 or 7 references in the past month, so were doing better in that regard.


Other than that, not too too much is different. Still learning, still teaching, not as hot, still loving life!!


Elder cox with his dorky fanny pack that he wears everyday, and me in my sweet boca jersey and gora



Love, Elder Jensen

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fw: lovin life.

Hey all!

Sounds like you all are having a good time up north! Snow and cheap gas!
What could be better? Haha.

Im writing a day late because we had Zone Conference yesterday. It was a
great one! It was an answer to my prayers, actually. All week i have been
praying to know how and where to find new good investigators and that was
one of the things that was talked about in depth a bit during zone
conference and also during my interview with President Cook. When he started
our interview he said, ´well hows it going, elder jensen?´and my reply was
´i am sure glad its really hard rather than really easy´ This experience of
training is pushing me more than any other calling i could possibly have
here. And i am glad! I figure a lot of missionaries get their growth over
months of being junior companions and then get a tough bump when they get
bumped up to senior companion. Me? I took it in one big hit. Its been a bit
painful, but when i look back and see how far ive come in these 3 short
weeks, it has been so worth it. Ive been very grateful for the blessings ive
recieved from the Lord, and this week ive recognized more His hand in my
learning spanish. President Cook helped me see it a bit yesterday as we were
talking and he said its not very often people get spanish as quick as i did.
I am just always being reminded of little things that the Lord does for me
daily that i never really saw before. Its a process, and im sure there are a
lot more out there for me to recognize!

This past week was alright. We painted another house one morning, we had 2
or 3 really good lessons with Noelia and Gabriel. They both came to church
Sunday and loved it. The ward did okay welcoming them back. We also had 2
menos activos we had been working with come. Our chapel is starting to fill
up!! This coming Saturday night, our ward is having a night of finding
(noche de encuentro). The members are supposed to bring a friend and it is
supposed to be an introduction to the church. And we got put in charge! Oh
no! Tonight we are getting some people together to throw together some
little sketches and a spiritual thought or two. It was kinda tough because
we only have had about 10 days to throw this together. We´ll see how it goes
and if we get any new investigators!

The heat carried on last week a bit. It wasnt as hot, but i had a rough
thurs fri and Saturday with the combination of food i ate and heat outside.
Im doing better now though, and we have a bit of cool weather now too. I
have a list of reasons why i know my call here to neuquen was inspired of
God and i added my second reason this week—

1. I get to sleep in a sleeping bag for 2 years
2. if i were any further north than here, with any more heat, my stomach
would never make it.

Ill be adding more to that list in the next two years.

We are going out to play speedball today. Im really excited—third week in a
row of speedball!! We tried to go to the penguins again, but we didnt quite
get it all together. Next week i think we´re going again. Ill be sure to
guard my camera with my life so i can send home pictures!

The work is going on. Elder cox is having some growing pains, but i still am
too! We are getting along fine, and its kinda fun just being patient with
him and watching him grow. It makes me appreciate my trainer a lot more
now!! We are working hard on the language and on loving the people and on
being happy. Its fun. We always have something to work on. And right now its
finding people to teach!

Sorry i dont have too too much to say about this week. Im kinda brain dead
and am getting excited for speedball. I love you all and really appreciate
the spiritual experiences and insights you send. At times, its tough to go
out and work because its tough, but as we do it, we recieve blessings and i
am always learning more and more about these blessings we recieve in our
lives and how much this gospel really does mean to me.

Take care,
And thus i end mine epistle
I am Taylor Jensen, Son of Keith Jensen.

Fw: hey family!!

Wow. That is about all i have to say about this week.


This is week one of training. It also happens to be one of the hardest weeks of my mission. I know ive only been out a little while, but this is by far the toughest. It would be very easy for me to sit here and whine and talk about the 107 degree heat we had here Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (!!!!!!!) or the people who didnt show for citas, but thats not fun for me or you. Instead, i am going to describe some of the blessings and the things ive learned this week, because those are the things that will stay with me far longer than the sweat stains and discouragement


This week was really tough. We had 0 fechas, 0 progressing investigators, and 3 months in argentina between my companion and i. We had work to do. In District meeting, we were challenged by the zone leaders to set 5 fechas as a district, and bring 5 people per companionship to church. Hmm. Thats a bit tough to do in 1 week. But we put our minds to it, and went off to work.


We set 3 fechas that same day with the familia Asocar—the dad is a Menos Activo, and the wife, one of her kids, and one of the Dads kids are not baptized. They have been reading a good amount. The day we set the fecha, they had stayed up till 3 the night before reading about ammon cutting off arms and Korihor the anti-christ. We went in and read 2 Ne 31 about baptism, and invited her to be baptised. She readily accepted. Now we are working with them to quit smoking (they both really want to, esp since she is pregnant) and we have a marriage date set with them too. They are coming along great, and it has been such a blessing to teach them this week. Weve had 3 good lessons with them, and each time it is great. It doesnt matter how hot it is, how many people no-show us, because whenever we are in that house we feel something. Excitement that they are readily trying to change their lives so the dad can baptise them. Peace in knowing that all is well. Im going to quote a scripture real quick that explains pretty well how my week has been, and a little bit of what i experience when i teach: Alma 26:27-37

 27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to aturn back, behold, the Lord bcomforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with cpatience thine dafflictions, and I will give unto you success.

  28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.

  29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their asynagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been bstoned, and taken and bound with cstrong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.

  30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our ajoy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.

  31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the afruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are bmany; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.

  32 For behold, they had rather asacrifice their lives than even to take the life of their enemy; and they have bburied their weapons of war deep in the earth, because of their love towards their brethren.

  33 And now behold I say unto you, has there been so great love in all the land? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, there has not, even among the Nephites.

  34 For behold, they would take up arms against their brethren; they would not suffer themselves to be slain. But behold how amany of these have laid down their lives; and we know that they have gone to their God, because of their love and of their hatred to sin.

  35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all apower, ball wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a cmerciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

  36 Now if this is aboasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a bbranch of the tree of Israel, and has been clost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, dwanderers in a strange land.

  37 Now my brethren, we see that God is amindful of every bpeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever.


Setting that fecha with this family was definently a tender mercy of the Lord. He prepared them, maybe reminded them to read teh scriptures like we had asked a week ago, and they were ready for us to set that fecha. They have been the bright spot in my week, and i am so greatful for the challenge we got in district meeting to set fechas, as well as for them for following the promptings of the Spirit and reading the Book of Mormon


Another tender mercy of the Lord i have seen this week was yesterday in church. Although we had zero people in church, i was so happy because i saw Ivan passing the sacrament in a white shirt, tie, and dress pants. Right before the sacrament, he ran out in the hall to tuck in his shirt without anyone telling him to. There is a difference in these kids, and i can see it. The ward sees it. Their parents see it. Bryan, who normally dresses up like a gangster with chains and an earing, also was dressed in shirt, tie and dress pants. Matias had gone out and bought or found a white shirt, tie, dress pants, and dress shoes. I was so proud of my boys. There they sat, in the front row of church, silently listening to every word of the meeting. 3 of our baptisms dressed in shirt tie and dress pants, and 2 other of the youth of our ward, also dressed up. It just made me so greatful for the influince this gospel has had in the lives of these 3 kids, and also in the lives of the other 2 young men, previously inactive, who now are just this group of 5 great friends. Im bringing my camera next week to church to take a picture of this almost heavenly sight. All the things that have discouraged me this week left my mind at this moment in church, because i was enjoying a bit of the fruits of my labors. It was an incredible experience.


This week also has been challenging because i have had to step up and be a trainer and show another missionary how to be a missionary. I know i am not perfect, and im sure i am feeling some of the things Elder Valencia felt with me. But through this experience, i am being forced to learn a couple of things, and im sure i will have some more tough experiences in the weeks to come until i humble myself and learn what i am supposed to learn in this moment. A few quick hits of things i am learning and have learned—


Patience. With myself and with my comp who doesnt say more than 10 sentences in a lesson. I have to be patient and positive with him in his efforts—and i know he is trying. I was in his shoes just a bit ago—and i have to be patient with myself because i feel like im still being trained and figuring out methods of teaching people. I am learning not to live in past mistakes or let a poorly taught lesson get me down. I just know i am learning and the next one will be better!


Love. It has been really important for me to love my companion and to build him up when he does well and constructively help him when he needs it. It has been a privledge to be his trainer and i know he wants to be a great missionary. I just hope i can set a good enough example for him, and that he can look back at this first 2 transfers of his mission with good, fond memories like i do with my trainer.


Trusting in teh Spirit. We are 2 gringos and cant explain ourselves very well in spanish. But there is one language that everyone speaks. Its the universal language of the Spirit. We dont have to speak with perfect spanish for these people to feel the importance of our message. They can feel the spirit even if we are speaking gibberish. This goes hand in hand with patience—We are doing the best we can to learn the language, and in turn, the spirit is taking our message into the hearts of our investigators. 2 Ne 32:1—the spirit carries our message. I know it does. I have felt it. I think that is a greater gift than the gift of tounges that we can get. I would 100 times rather speak and have the spirit testify to the people rather than teach with perfect spanish.


All is well down here. I feel like elder cook´s son reporting back ´hope you know, we had a hard time!´ but there is so much i can learn from this experience. I know i just need to humble myself and rely on the Lord, and as i do this He will give me success. I am so greatful for the ability i have to call upon the Lord, and for His tender mercies i have seen in my life this week. Hay que trabajar. Hay que luchar. Its not going to be easy, but it sure will be worth it. Diligence in all things. Those have been my slogans this week.


With all that said, i really hope next week is better!! Haha. But i have been praying to learn the lessons i need to, and so i guess i need to be careful what to pray for, huh? I know i have SO much more to learn, and am ready with my armour on to go learn it this coming week. I am greatful for the things i am learning, and i know i am just scratching the surface of what i have yet to learn. I look forward to what i am going to learn in the coming week, regardless of if its a good week or another week like this week.


Im going to go make skyline chili for my zone now, and then play speedball at the church. What a day this is going to be, huh!?! I figured i needed a little kick to get this coming week going good. Spanish is coming along really well. Ive been thrown into the fire and honestly i am understanding about 85 to 90 percent of what people are saying to me. That has been a miracle too. The Lord qualifies who He calls? I think so. Elder cox has been working hard on his spanish, and it has gotten a lot better this past week. It is a pleaure kneeling in prayer and humbly asking for help with him. I think as new as we are, we are still humble. That is going a long way for us.


Im going to head out, but i love you all and i appreciate your prayers in my behalf as well as in the behalf of my investigators, my area, and my kid.


Have a great week, adn enjoy the cold!! It touched between 107 and 111 here!!!!!!


Love you


Taylor Jensen