Monday, March 30, 2009

Meet Ophelia and Leo!

Elder Jensen sang a solo in Sacrament Meeting last week with Ophelia as his accompanist. Here is the description of Ophelia from a recent letter--"Ophelia is an old lady that was batpized a few years ago. And by old, I mean we go to the old people home to pick her up and put here 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 becuase sometimes she starts playing faster and slower."
Leo's baptism---see the blog below for the details of this occasion.

The news from Taylor

Hey all!

I'm on a bit late today... we went out to the chacra (the country) to have an asado (argentine barbeque) with the missionaries here in Trelew. It was fun... we saw a lot of sheep and pigs and cows and fields. The food was so so but that's the fault of our zone leaders! Americans cannot cook asados like the argentines! Haha.

We had an adventurous baptism on Saturday. Leo did end up getting baptized, but it was not without its problems. First, we got there to fill up the font and the door was locked to the font and the levers. Luckily, I am a rock climber and the front doors were open, so I climbed up the glass and jumped down in and turned on the water and then skillfully climbed back out. Another problem was discovered in this first problem... no hot water! Oh no! We have since fixed it, but we couldn't before the baptism. Next problem- the first counselor came 25 minutes late with the key to the closed with white clothes. We opened the closet to find no white pants for Leo. Oh no! Carlos drove us back to our apartment to grab elder Cox's white pants which were a bit big for our 11 year old Leo. Needless to say, it was an adventure. Oh. And I burned the 2 cakes I made. Blast. But, it was a great baptism. I got to baptize him because his grandpa had an accident a few days before the baptism and couldn't get in the water and exert himself. That was alright with me, despite the cold water!

The service was really good. I got to play the piano too... I really like playing! Elder Cox gave a talk and did a good job with it. Our big news in this email is that Leos little brother is getting baptized in between sessions of conference, and so is another little 10 year old in our ward! 2 more baptisms before the end of the transfer! We are really excited, and so are these little kids. Elder Cox is baptizing Lucas and I am baptizing Agustin, so it will be the perfect way to end our 2 transfers together as father and son—baptizing together!

OH OTHER BIG NEWS: We hit the standard again! We put one fecha and had a bit of a miracle having 5 people show up to church yesterday. It was great... we were really excited. Our district leaders hit it last week, so we now call ourselves the district of excellence. We both are baptizing this weekend, so there is a good chance we'll hit it again together. We are doing some good things here in Centenario and Rawson

Transfers are this coming Saturday night and I will have 6 months here. I have only heard of a couple of times a missionary has stayed more than that, so I am about 90 percent sure I'm leaving. I am so sad. Last night we had a good meeting with Carlos and he said the closing prayer and started crying as he gave thanks for the influence I have had in his life. I couldn't help but choke up too. Its incredible the people I have been able to meet and help here and I am so sad to leave them all. Yesterday in church, I blessed the sacrament and Ivan, Bryan, and Matias were passing it. It is just such a joy seeing my boys every Sunday happy and helping people now. This past Sunday they all wore sweaters, so I took a picture with them. Its stuff like that I hope I never forget.

I think that's all I'm going to write today... I'm crunched on time a bit. I love you all and hope you all are doing well. I hope you all know how much I love being a missionary and love the members and the people I am working with.  These past 6 months have been the time of my life.

Elder Jensen

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Still lovin' Argentina!


This coming week is going to be a great one. We finally are getting into the baptismal waters again—Leo is good to go! He is going to get baptized this coming Saturday by his grandpa. We are really excited, and it was been too long since weve baptized here. We also had a nice surprise or miracle yesterday at the chapel... there is a family whose mom is a menos activo but the daughter and 10 year old son come every Sunday. Turns out this little guy hasnt been baptized yet! He wants to get baptized this Saturday with Leo, but we are probably going to have to wait and do it inbetween sessions of conference on the 5th of April. We also are probably going to baptize Leo´s step brother, Lucas, on teh 5th as well. Lucas is 8, weve baptized 2 9 year olds, this new kid is 10, leo is 11, ivan and matias were 12, and bryan was 14. Can you say youth movement? And the best part is is that these kids are just sticking and loving the church. Yesterday, Ivan was sporting a new sweater he had bought, Matias also was wearing a sweater with his shirt and tie, and they were just so reverent and so willing to help the bishop and set up chairs and do whatever they needed to. It is such a joy every Sunday to go to the chapel and see my boys thriving. I told them that next week im wearing a sweater too so we can take a sweater picture 

This week we are going for the standard again. We have a baptism and 2 fechas, so we need to put 2 more fechas this week and get 5 people to go to church. Our district leaders hit the standard last week, so now its our turn, and then we are both going to do it the last week of the transfer. We are really excited and hopefully we will be able to do it! It was a bit of a tough week this past week. For whatever reasons we were a bit down on animo and didnt accomplish all of our goals. This week, we are really going to push it and get the standard!

Yesterday i sang my solo in church. It went great! We have about 24 seconds of it recorded... then my camera ran out of memory! Whoops. It was fun though and i think was one of the few solos i have ever sung in my life. Ophelia wants me to sing another solo, but (un)fortunately, i am probably leaving the 6th of april.

We also started our first weekly english class. We had 3 people show up, and 2 of the three spoke really really well. One is an investigator who said (in inglish when she was introducing herself) i first let you in because you were talking about God and He is a big part of my life. Then you came and invited me to english and i felt somethign... all my life i thought God wanted me to learn english, that He had some special reason for me to learn english, so when you came and invited me, i wasnt going to miss it! I was pretty happy to hear that. She does video web chats every Sunday with her sisters that live in minneapolis and they do a little church thing in english. But we´ll see what we can do with her. It was fun teaching english, and my companion was on cloud 9 because he could speak english! Haha. We made a new rule for him that he isnt allowed to speak english infront of spanish speakers anymore. Im a bit releived, because it was tough listening to him say something in english in an investigators house and then continue teaching in spanish. But now... we are cranking out the spanish!

Im trying to think of what else i have to say for this week. Today we are heading off to the beach! There is a beach pretty close to rawson, so we are going to go throw a ball and hang out a bit.

We had a fun visit with Carlos Busselli yesterday. He keeps having some spiritual experiences that he loves to tell us. It is fun watching him figure this stuff out and continually ahve the drive and passion to keep reading and studying. He went out on a big vending trip to esquel (hes a salesman) and he met a few good mormons out there and had a really neat experience with one of them. He was staying in a hostel and he pulls out his bag and teh first two things he unpacks are his book of mormon and bible. The guy on teh bed near him says Dont tell me youre a mormon! Me too! And they started chatting. Carlos a couple of days later was in a store and saw 2 big pelones ( i think they are called nectarines in english?) and this guys face popped into carlos´s head and said im hungry! And so carlos bought these 2 fruits. He then went back to the hostel and the guy was still laying in his bed sleeping, so carlos set the fruit on the guys bag and left to work some more. When he came back, the guy gave him a big hug and said ´howd you know?´  carlos says know what? The guy says ´i ran out of money and wasnt going to get paid till tomorrow and wasnt going to have anything to eat, so i stayed asleep to fight off the hunger´  Pretty neat experience for our new member, huh?

Well family im off to the beach. Take care, i love you!!

Elder TJ

Feeding Elder Jensen

Eating with Hermana Blanco. We cant go in because there isn't a male at home, so we have to eat outside. It's so funny and we love it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Update from Argentina

March 9, 2009


Hey all!

Still hangin in here in Trelew. Leo went to church yesterday and is getting pretty excited for his baptism the 21st. It's sad because his dad won't be able to baptize him because he has some issues to take care of. But they are both excited, and we are hoping that this will give the dad a bit of a push to get working and get back to being active in the church. Leo loved church yesterday- he is lucky in that his two cousins and aunt live a block a way and were baptized back in December (Monica and her daughter and son). He has got a good support group in the church there, and his family is working on coming back. We eagerly await more progress with them!

This Sunday was a good one- Vanessa gave a talk in church! When I first started teaching her, she wouldn't read out loud or pray in front of us. Now she is giving talks! That's the way! She was pretty nervous and hadn't written anything down, so she forgot most of what she was going to say due to nervousness. Luckily she grabbed a Principles of the Gospel book and used that to look at the main points and talk about that a bit. I was so proud of her!

We also had 2 people confirmed as Elders and receive the Melchizedek priesthood. Carlos received it, as well as a kid named Jonathon who is my favorite member here. Carlos is our baptism 3 months ago and still just loves reading and learning, and Jonathon is the only active member in his family. He is pretty much perfect! I love that kid! Both of them were really excited about receiving it.

I'm going to share a few non spiritual things this week. I have so much funny stuff happen that I forget to share too! Here is my funny moment of the week—

I make a lot of pancakes in the morning to eat for breakfast. Normally I use a different pan, but they were dirty, so I was stuck with this monster pan. We had been talking about flipping pancakes and the skills needed and I was about to show off a bit and be the best pancake cooker in the apartment. I gear up and give it a flip. And it doesn't come out because the pan is so big. I try again... still no. Then I give it a big flip and BOOM! It its me in my face and then falls back down perfectly flipped into the pan. I kind gave a little yell and say `oh no! It hit my face

This week, we had Elder Audikitis come and give us a zone conference. It was really really good! He talked a lot about the promises that are in D&C for missionaries. The thing he stressed is that we have to complete with all of the requirements on our part for the Lord to work miracles on His part. It was interesting. He gave us a lot of dropping the cane for not baptizing weekly when the ´Lord had promised that the Field is White. We are stepping up our game! At zone conference, we redefined a lot of our numbers and that made it a lot harder to do each one. One of them was new investigators. Before it was just a return appointment and a lesson, so it would be oh I don't have time! When can we come back? Thursday. What time? Oh 330. Ok! Perfect. Boom new investigator. But its not like that anymore. Now we have to enter their house and teach them something with a prayer to start and end it. I was a little concerned the next day because in my mission I think I've gotten into about 5 houses. I was like oh no! My numbers are going to just drop to nothing! But we decided to put our faith in the Lord and to raise our expectations. Then something incredible happened- we got into 2 houses that night! One of them wasn't a good one, but his neighbor let us in and we taught him and his family and answered a lot of their good questions. We are going back tonight... wish us luck! So we got into those 2 on Friday, then we got into 1 more on Saturday, then we got into 2 last night! It is pretty incredible the change that has happened. In 3 short days, wave gotten into about as many houses as I had my entire mission previously. I wish I would have learned how to get in and how to put my Faith in the Lord earlier. And the best part is that I can only continue to increase my faith and my teaching skills to get into more houses! Watch for miracles to start happening more and more. It is really interesting as well, because the Saturday afterwards I woke up and was just like oh no. I worked real hard yesterday and got into 2 houses. I don't want to have to go and work that hard again! But, you have to do what you have to do.We have to be constant on our effort. I can't get into a house one day and slack the next! So we are trying to go with constant efforts.
Elder Jensen

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fw: hi!

Queridos hermanos y hermanas míos:

Im running out of creative ideas on how to start my emails. I apologize.

This week was alright. It gets a bit frustrating because sometimes we dont
feel like we really accomplish much. We had a lot of good lessons with
gabriel and Noelia (who probably wont get married till i am home) and they
are progressing nicely. It just takes time to get divorced and remairried.
Their two kids should get baptized while i am still here in Trelew though,
so that is exciting. We have started to do a lot of work with the members.
We have had a lot of noches de hogar and have a few more set up this week as
well. I have a couple of really fun games to play at the NDHs so it makes it
real fun!

Im trying to think of what happened this week that was notable... We found a
new investigator who let us in to teach him a lesson 1. That hasnt happened
in a long time for me! It was great... he had a lot of interest in prophets,
so that was great. Our two return visits didnt go through because of some
random stuff that happened to us and to him, but we are going back Tuesday
morning. Hope hes there and ready! He told us he read and prayed about what
we left him, so that makes him better than about every other one of our

We had 2 fun contacts that same day. The first was right around the bend
from this guy. We were talking to this lady and i pulled out the Bible and
read about Christs baptism. Then i said now it says here he was baptized,
but it says nothing about the actual baptism. He went straightway out of the
water, but what does that mean? She says i dunno. Tell me. I say hey we have
this other book, the Book of Mormon, that helps us understand these things
<she interrupts> The book of mormon?! Get out. Leave. Go! And then she runs
away (it was almost an actual run). We just kinda stood there confused, then
gave a big smile and left.

5 minutes later, we were talking to this lady who was catholic and she was
telling us all this random stuff that wasnt even catholic doctrine. I forget
how it came up, but we were talking about God and where He was. Then she
started saying how he was in the trees and teh Bible says that. I told her
nope. Hes in heaven waiting for us to make the right decisions and come to
him. She then told me im nuts and that people that read the bible are nuts.
I say well, i may be nuts, but i read the Bible and know that God is not
here in the trees. She says well come back later when you have the answer. I
throw my arms in the air and say I have the answer! Come talk to me! And
then she walks away. It was a really funny, energetic contact. Elder Cox was
embarrased to be standing next to me i think. She was standing in her yard
and wouldnt come to the fence to talk to us, so in the middle of the
contact, elder cox sticks a folleto (pamphlet) through the fence and says
Come here! We have a present for you! Its wacky contacts like that that keep
me sane sometimes!

Elder Scott came down to the mission last week, but he could only go to
neuquen, so only the people close to neuquen went. Our zone leaders got to
go, so they have relayed some of his message back to us and it sounds pretty
incredible. We have zone conference this Thursday, so im sure well get more
of what he talked about. }

At our zone conference, Elder Audiukakis is coming! And the bad thing is is
that he is going to inspect some of the apartments! So we spent a good chunk
of time cleaning this mornign because we live with the zone leaders so he
will almost 100% be checking ours. Blast! But i am really excited to meet
him and listen to what he has to say.

Today we are going to Rawson, either to the beach or the Zoo, and then
playing soccer with this family of 8 the elders there are baptising in 2
weeks. Matias is coming with us, so its going to be fun. My comp is lame and
wants to sleep and write letters and stuff, so im with Elder Romero, our new
Zone Leader, for the day. Its going to be fun!

This week, ive been doing some good studying. I have learned a lot more
about the atonement and what that means for me. I especially learned a lot
from Alma 42:22-31. Those are some really good, clear verses that explain
really well Christ´s role in our lives. It is interesting that the more and
more i learn about that, the more i have interest in being better myself and
in helping all the people here in Trelew get better too. It is such a
pleasure being a Missionary and being here to serve the people. I love you
all and hope all is going well. Keep on fighting!

Elder Jensen

Im going to see penguins in jail (the zoo) today.