Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hello from Taylor

Hello my friends.

a little low on animo... sorry if its boring or random...

It has been an eventful p-day… we went fishing! The problem is is that rio
negro is about 12 km away, so we borrowed some bikes and biked for a half
hour, then walked an hour. We went with 2 members of our ward- oñate and
hector matus, who was baptized this past Saturday. It was real fun, but we
didn't catch a thing. Oh well.

This week was a bit of a tough one. We had a really good district meeting on
Tuesday and left really excited to go out and work. But I think literally
every cita that we had planned no-showed us. It was a very disheartening
week. But—we had a baptism. Hector Matus was baptized this past Saturday. It
was a very tender moment. He has overcome a lot to receive this ordenanza.
His family are members but are menos activos and he got kicked out of the
house 4 or 5 months ago for the way he was acting. He realized he needed to
change, and that's when he met the missionaries again. They started teaching
him, and he gradually made the changes in his life to put the things in
order and receive a baptism. It was a great moment. We had elder Argueta
baptize him—it was his first! Afterwards, they hugged in the font and
hector, through his tears, said that the church is his family now. We are
working hard with him to keep himself worthy and take the next step to
receive the priesthood. The church is a continuous process!

At one point this week, elder argueta and I took ourselves to a bridge that
overlooks the big canal here in ashen and took a quick break to watch the
sunset. We had had a really tough day. We were sitting there looking at the
sunset and the canal and were joking around about whether we should just
throw ourselves over the railing. Then all of a sudden, some lady rides by
on her bike and says ´hola elderés!´ We turned and had no idea who it was,
so we decided it was an angel and we went back to work. Still to this day we
have no idea who it was, but the kind voice and greeting was just what we
needed to finish out the night. Afterwards we went and taught 3 lessons, so
it was a good ending to the day!

The district is going so-so right now. We baptized this past weekend, and
now we have 0 fechas in our 4 companionships. Elder argueta and I are
determined to go and work really hard this week because we didn't accomplish
what we wanted to this past week. I think we´re going to have a good week.
I´m going on divisions tomorrow in Roca…this will be my first time as
district leader doing so. I always like doing divisions because you can
learn a lot from other missionaries, and hopefully they learn good things
from you.

Sounds like things are pretty busy back there—eagle courts of honor, prom,
earnings report, babies! Something good is always going on back there!

This week I have a lot of hope. We have some really good contacts and
references that we have citas with. We are really hoping to get some people
going and progressing… this is a difficult part of missionary work. We found
a ton of new people the first few weeks and now we are struggling to see
them again and get them progressing.

I´m glad last week is over and that we started a new week today… I´m going
to study a lot harder in the morning and really use that to prepare me for
the day. For a few reasons, we haven't been able to do personal study a
couple of mornings this week and I really think that affected us. This week,
if our citas don't show we are also going to cut of a finger, so hopefully
that´ll get the message through that we´re here to work and teach

Taylor Jensen

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's getting colder in Argentina!

Week 2 from Allen: a bit tougher than week 1.

We had an incredible week. Incredible in a few senses of the word. To start, incredibly good Monday and Tuesday. We found 6 new people, and each of them were really good. We taught some really good lessons and felt the spirit. And I am starting to recognize it when i teach! I think the key is humility—we have to accept and recognize that our thoughts really are coming from God when we are teaching, and that we must do all that we can beforehand to be prepared to have the guidance of the Holy Ghost when we teach. It was exciting because we have carried on the success we had week 1 together.

Wednesday we had a Zone conference. It was good. President was proud of the work we had already done and told me that already there was a huge difference in the performance of my district. He noted our 14 new investigators from last week and said that the rest of the District is following suit. He then talked about some specific issues in the district and gave me a few ideas of what I can do to help them. I love my interviews with president! He is always so positive and uplifting. I also have to give interviews as district leader, so I'm going to have to follow that example.

The next part of the week we'll label as incredibly hard. At zone conference, we talked about obedience and I feel like every time we talk about obedience we become so stressed about doing everything exact that we forget what our focus is and where our heart should be. If we are more focused on starting studies at 8 instead of 8:00:01 than feeling the spirit and learning, we struggle. And that happened with us on Thursday Friday and Saturday. We fought through a tough weekend of disanimo, as they call it here. It was capped off by our zone leaders showing up an hour and 15 minutes late for our baptismal interview and everyone in the ward no showing us for our weekly noche de hogar in the chapel. It was a tough Saturday for sure. But the only thing we can do is keep pushing through. Somehow, despite our disanimo, we ended the week with 17 new investigators. That's an real high number! This week we have a lot of return citas and I hope it'll be a good week. We have one new that is named Javier. He has already been to church 3 times 7 months ago. We have taught him 3 times and he is reading and feeling the spirit. It is really a joy to teach him because he gets it and wants to learn. He is also 16 years old. Adding on to my youth movement. He is a really mature kid, and we had a very good chat about how to feel the spirit and he recognized that he had had those feelings when he read.

This week looks like it'll be good. One thing that we (I) changed from last week is that when we planned, we basically made a list of the people that we knew and went around seeing if any were home. That's not good because chances are very low. This weekend in church, we set a few citas and from today through Thursday night, we are booked from 6-9. Hallelujah. We are going to do a lot of good work this week.

Its also a bit tricky now because i think i have 2 hermanas mad at me because we aren't going to stay in there house for hours eating, and the other lives far out in the country and wants us to eat with her on Sundays, but i tried to rearrange it to eat on a weekday with her because we cant afford to lose that time traveling, especially on a Sunday. We'll see how . We may not be perfectly obedient, but we can try and do our
Jthat plays out best!

I haven't taken a picture of me and my new companion yet, but I'll be sure to send that out soon!

I love you all, sorry its short today—my fingers are freezing and I can't type fast! Winter is finally coming! I haven't had one for a year now...

Until week 3!
(oh and we might have a baptism this Saturday. Hopefully we have warm water!)


Monday, April 13, 2009

A new city in Argentina!

Greetings from Allen!!

(its said ash-en. Darn accent.)

I don't like transfers, so I am going to start praying I just stay here for
at least 6 months! I just don't like changing and leaving the people I knew
and the area I knew to come here and learn a new area and start loving these
people. We´ll get it done, though. But let it be known I do not like being

In Allen, the ward is pretty bleak. For now. The bishop went inactive 3
months ago, so we have a ´ward leader´ from Roca (a bigger city just a bit
away). Our elders quorum president went inactive 2 months ago and has no
desires to return. We have 600 people on the ward list and 40-50 attend each
Sunday. There are 4 active men, none of which are endowed. One of the 4
leaves after the 2nd hour because he was never taught to stay the three and
doesn't feel like changing. Its bleak right now. But there are 4
missionaries in the ward, so I have a feeling like we are what is holding
this ward together a bit. We have 2 hermanas—one has 8ish months, and the
other just got to Argentina last week. They seem like pretty good hermanas.
We also have 4 other elders in our district that live in Roca. One is from
Santiago, has 1.3 years and is in transfer 2 of training his companion, who
is from Colombia, and in the other companionship, one has 4.5 months and the
other is being trained. My companion just finished being trained by a very
poor trainer. Needless to say, we are a very young district.

Our area is a lot poorer than Centenario, and we have to be a bit more
careful because there are a good number of drunks that give us a hard time.
There are also dogs that give us a hard time. I got bit twice yesterday.
Luckily neither got skin—one I blocked with my scripture bag and the other
got the cuff of my long sleeve shirt. What an adventure!

This area is very fertile. They grow TONS of pears and apples and grapes
here. Basically everyone works out in the Chacra—where they grow the fruit.
Its kinda fun because everyone gives us fruit to eat. I don't have a problem
with that

My companion is named Elder Argueta (ar-get-uh) and is from El Salvador. No,
he doesn't know uncle rick. He is a great guy. He is a short, stocky, round
face, hair slicked back kinda guy. His mom passed away when he was 13 (1
year after he joined the church), and his dad passed away from cancer 2
years ago. He is a pretty incredible kid. I love him! We are working to well
together. Already we have had VERY enlightening conversations during
companionship study (something I really haven't liked before now) and we
have a lot of faith walking around these streets. Its showing, too—on Friday
we entered 5 houses and got 7 new investigators, and Sunday we entered 4 and
had 5 new investigators. Something is clicking with us, and we are going to
achieve some great things together. Its also fun to speak Spanish all day.
We just started speaking English in the house, so that's been fun too. He
knows all the basics—hommie, we are men of faith, lets go work, yeah
baby—and is eager to learn more and more. I have learned so much from him
already in terms of the Spirit and Faith and it is really exciting to put
these things in practice.

This area is a bit tough because it went through a long stretch of
missionaries that didn't follow the rules. One rule we have is eating lunch
for only 1 hour. Yesterday was a bit tough—we had to explain to a family
that we could only stay one hour and they said are you serious? Normally you
stay and watch a movie and are here for 3-5 hours. I couldn't believe it.
We have a recent convert who also is used to the missionaries being in her
house for 2-2.5 hours. This kinda stuff is not good. It holds back the work,
and is flat out disobedient. Needless to say, we´ve made a few changes and
elder argueta is really excited to start being obedient. Unfortunately, he
had a siesta sleeper companion. But that's alright because now there are
even more people for us to find and baptize!

I feel kinda like I did in High school at times defending what I believed
in. Its kinda funny. I actually really feel like I did in high school in
standing up for what I am supposed to do and explaining why. It's a bit
ironic that I have to do it with members, but that's alright. And it makes
it tough because they say well so and so did it! The elders always did that!
I never want to leave the members used to ´my´ way of missionary work. This
work is the Lord´s and we´re going to do it His way.

We have one solid investigator who is working on getting baptized the 25th
of April. Other than that, we don't really have anyone who is solid. We have
done a lot of finding and entering, and so we have a nice little pool of
people now. Hopefully some of them will progress!

One thing we´ve changed is our vocabulary—the word encontrar means ´to
find.´ Weve taken that word out of our vocab and replaced it with entrar—to
enter. We don't go finding. We go entering. And this change in mentality has
helped us a lot.

I learned something really neat this week. We were talking about the spirit
a lot the first few days together. We were then planning a Lesson 1 and I
said I usually like to start off explaining how the spirit works (kinda
funny because this is the part I struggle with the most!) but Elder Argueta
told me Elder Jensen—that was personal revelation to you to start off by
explaining the spirit. No one else does that. He then pointed out some of
the scriptures we had read that morning and it flowed exactly in line with
it. We talked about it and analyzed it a bit and it just opened my eyes a
bit that I am having spiritual experiences, I just am not good at
recognizing them. The thing I learned is that I need to humble myself and
recognize that my thoughts and ideas and things I do are not my own—they are
from the spirit to help the people whom I am serving.

Dad—I take comfort in your words that there are great people and friends
here waiting for me—I just have to find them. That is true. And I know i´ll
develop similar friendships like I had back in Trelew. I just have to work
for it. I keep flashing back to my first few weeks in Trelew and remembering
it took a bit for me to be friends with everyone in the ward and everything.
It´ll be easier this time through, so that's good. And my welcome was pretty
good. I (and the new hermana) was asked to give our testimonies first on
Sunday. One recent convert/menos activo/ guy who leaves after the second
hour/ family who expected us to stay 4 hours yesterday kept saying to elder
argueta ´im glad they sent a capo (stud)! Just what I asked for!´ so far so
good with them. And its cool because Elder Argueta has changed a lot already
too. He now has desires to go and work. He had a really bad experience with
his trainer, but now he is loving it. And the members can tell. They say
´what happened, Elder? You are excited to leave and work?` and he just looks
at me and smiles and says `they sent me a capo.` It´ll take some time to get
this area up and producing like it should be, but we´ve made GREAT strides
from where it was a week ago. I´m excited to keep going!

This is going to be a fun transfer. Elder Argueta and I are really gelling
and helping each other. I´ve put some life into him, he´s taught me how to
recognize the spirit. I am teaching English, he is helping with Spanish.
This is how a companionship is supposed to be. There is hardly a difference
between me as comp mayor and him as comp menor. We both carry equal weights.
That's what its supposed to be like. And its refreshing to be with someone
who can speak Spanish already

We have zone conference this Wednesday. President has challenged each
companionship to baptize 2 this transfer. We`re going to do it. Our mission
underachieves and I don't know why. We just have to work and good things
happen. There are a lot of missionaries who don't get that. Or don't like
that whole working to have results. We have to remember that it is us that
thrusts in the sickle. We don't just receive baptisms.

Mom—you bailed on opening day? Youre getting soft! That sounds so fun being
with those little kids—I have their pictures on my desk because its april
now in my calendar. I love seeing their fun little smiles!

Hope all is going well up there. We still are waiting for winter here… its
been about a year since i´ve been cold. Sometimes its chilly at night or in
the morning, but never cold. A couple more weeks and i´ll get to
re-introduce myself to winter!

I love you all. Thanks for all of your prayers--they were needed this week.
(what am i saying...they are always needed!) It was a tough transition going
from a great ward to a struggling one. But its time to start baptising in
this area again.

Onward Ho!
(yep. im still weird.)

Elder Jensen

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sit down for a long letter!

April 6, 2009


Wow I have a TON to say so I am going to write as fast as I can and I'll try to keep it detailed but brief.

ON Wednesday, we were walking down the street and we haven't been doing as many street contacts as we used to. Something told me as I was crossing the street ´hey Jensen get street contacting! ´ So I did. Our first contact... nothing. Second... Nothing. Third was a long haired beer bottle in hand guy. We both were like oh great. Elder Cox did the contact and the guy stopped and listened and said you know what, me and my wife were wondering why there are so many churches and so many bibles. Can you come over now? We were like SURE! So we went over to his apartment a fourth of a block away but his wife was sick, so we set up a cita for Friday. We then went back on Friday and they let us right in and we started talking. Her first question was if we believe in angels. Justo I had been studying Moroni 7 and reading Elder Holland's talk about angels and their modern day ministry. HMMM. Coincidence? Keep reading. We then talked about the apostasy and explained that that is where all the bibles and religions come from, and then into the restoration. The loved it and were so excited to read the book of Mormon. They asked us about why people make bad decisions, why people die (they had a young child die) and more questions about death. We answered them and it was easily me and elder Cox's best lesson ever together. He did an incredible job explaining what the book of Mormon had done for him and was articulate in explaining the Holy Ghost. We invited them to conference the next day and they immediately accepted.

Conference on Saturday afternoon was INCREDIBLE for them because it literally answered every doubt and concern that Graciela had. At the end I looked over at her and she was just balling. It was incredible. I had told our zone leader about finding them and he came up to me after conference and just said Jensen that answered every question she had! Go put a fecha! We couldn't put a fecha because they aren't married and are going to have to wait a bit because they have to divorce their previous spouses. But we invited them to come back for Sunday morning session and to stick around for our baptism in between. They did, and it was awesome again. They know its true, they saw a baptism, and they are convinced the church is true. Now they just have to learn a bit more of the doctrine and get divorced then married and they'll get baptized. It was an incredible experience to meet them and see how ready they are. It strengthened my testimony that there are people out there in the world that need the gospel and are just waiting for us to come knocking for them to accept it. WOW. What an experience.

Next experience. BAPTISMS! We had 2 on Sunday, and it was a bit of a miracle. We swung by Lucas's house to check up and make sure everything was alright for Sunday on Saturday between the sessions. Gabriel was leaving to go play soccer and asked if we could move the baptism to next Saturday because he had to work on Sunday. We almost started crying. We went and said a prayer and went back to conference. We were just so sad. We then went back after Saturday night and he was cooking an asado sitting outside behind his house. We sat down and just started talking. He told me how hard his life had been, he told me about the problems he's been through and I just gave him all the support i could. It was a touching experience. When we had to go, we asked if we could swing by and pick up his boys to take them and he said nah. I'll take them. We said what? He said yeah ill just not go to work tomorrow because we want you to be here for this baptism, Jensen. I was so touched and so happy! It was great, and Lucas was thrilled to hear the news.

The baptism itself was great. It was the perfect way to end our time together me and elder Cox. We were both dressed in white, baptizing. The service was great... Carlos Buselli gave an INCREDIBLE talk about the Holy Ghost. It was really really touching. I had my doubts if he'd be able to adapt his message for an 8 year old and a 10 year old, but he nailed it. It was perfect. He taught with power, and bore the sweetest, purest testimony about what his baptism meant to him afterwards. I couldn't hold back my tears watching him and listening to him talk about how his baptism changed his life, and what it meant to him to have the Holy Ghost. WOW. I cannot think of a better way to end my time in Trelew than to hear the testimony of that man. It was neat because when we were teaching him back in November, I told him before his baptism that he would rise and be a great leader and teacher in the church. He came up to me after the baptism and said, Elder Jensen I have always remembered those words you told me about becoming a great leader and teacher. When you said it I doubted and didn't understand what you meant. Now I do. I smiled and gave him a hug. It is so neat watching your investigators grow in the church.

Next part. My memories book. I have a book that I have all my friends, missionaries, members, and converts write in while I'm down here. It has been really touching to read what people say to me and tell me the difference I have made in their lives. As I read their comments and testimonies, I feel very humbled. The things we do as missionaries are incredible. They are things I never will understand the significance of. Gabriel, for example, wrote about his lack of friends and how I came to him at a time in his life when he needed someone. He said i have brought him again to God and that he never wants to distance himself again. It is incredible the things we are able to do as missionaries, and I will never understand the true impact that i have on the people here in Trelew. It humbles me and makes me not feel worthy of bringing these great things to pass here. They all write and tell me ´don't forget us! ´ and I would say that that would be literally impossible. The moments I've had with these people are unforgettable. I will cherish the moments and friendships I have made with these people forever.

Next cosa. General Conference was amazing. We went to all the sessions but priesthood. They start at 1 and 5 here, and priesthood started at 9 so we couldn't go. I listened to both the Saturday sessions in Spanish, then on Sunday I started listening in English in the room with all the missionaries, but then left to listen in Spanish when Graciela and Hugo )the 2 new people we found mentioned earlier) came. Then I got to relax and listen in English to the last session. I understood pretty well everything, it just didn't have as big as an affect on me as it would have in English. The messages were all great, and I loved it. For lack of time, I'll stop my G.C. analysis there.

Next. We ALMOST hit the standard this week. We missed it by 1 fecha. It was devastating. We would have been the first companionship to hit it back to back, but we barely missed it. Blast.

Next. I am OUTTA HERE. I am going to Allen in the zone Roca. Allen (said ahsh-en) is about 40 minutes north of Roca and was opened to missionaries a year ago. There are 4 missionaries there. Me and my comp, a native from El Salvador who came in with elder Cox, and 2 hermanas. I will be the district leader up there. There are 2 companionships sharing that ward. I am looking forward to meeting new people and having some new experiences. I am devastated to leave Trelew, and the members here are sad I'm leaving. People have given me all kinds of cakes and socks and a sweatshirt. I feel really good leaving and looking and knowing that I have made a big difference here in the lives of not only my converts, but also the members. It has been a blast, and I can only hope to have the same experience in my new area. It is really hard saying goodbye to these people, and it is hard expressing the feelings I have for them and the impact we have had on each other's lives. They will be dearly missed, but I know I am going to try and come back down here some day and if not, I will just hope that we will see each other after this life.

Sorry that I have been so short of words this letter.  

I hope you all know how much I love being a missionary, how much joy I feel. I will kinda quote Alma 26:30ish

And now behold, we look and see our fruits and are they few? Nay they are many!

That's how I feel, and I feel some great joy.

Funny story. I am leaving here 12 baptisms happier and also 12 pounds heavier. In my next area, I think ill try and lose a pound for every baptism. Well see how that goes! Haha

I love you all. Take care!

Taylor Jensen

Elder Cox is great and sad to see me go. He'll be a great missionary.

Elder Cox and Elder Jensen at the baptism of Lucas and Augustin.

Hermana Benegas with my new socks! how cool! shes kinda kooky.