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

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