Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Missionary News

June 28, 2009

 

Hey all

All is well here in Allen. I just wrote like 4 days ago, so I don't have too much to say other than we had 8 in the chapel this past Sunday, and we have a baptism this Saturday, and then the 18th, then the 25th, then the 1st (who is currently sitting behind me playing counterstrike haha. How random)

President cook is leaving on Wednesday. Its kinda sad, but I'm excited to meet the new president too to see how the work will be with him. I don't know how much will change... we'll see. We ended this past week with 28 lessons. We're still cruising... in the running back and forth sort of way. It was a different week. We gave a lot of service—I didn't bring my camera today, but i have some cool pictures of me 30 feet up in a tree chopping down branches with a machete. Its pretty cool. We also helped the same family build their house. (its the familia Millequeo- their 22 year old is the one playing counter right behind me.) It's been good to do that because now we have a better relationship with Edgardo and can help him more. He's taken a lot more interest and is listening attentively all the time when we come. We've seen his personality change, and it will continue to change as he puts these things in action. In priesthood yesterday, recent convert Juan Carlos talked with our ward leader from Roca about doing some gardening and clipping branches on the trees and hno Mansilla asked for volunteers and Edgardo raised his hand to come, me and elder Taylor did, and then 16 year old Gonzalo (brother of Octavio) raised his hand. Perfect. We had 12 hermanos and the only ones going to help are the new member, the missionaries, and the 2 future new members. Haha. Oh well!

This morning we painted our house. It was an adventure. We had all of our district and the zone leaders come as well as our new awesome investigator, Luis. It was a lot of fun, but we had to work hard ( we still have a lot left to do... I suspect painting and cleaning will be our morning exercise and after-planning at night activity... bummer) it was not a day of rest, but now our house looks a lot better. I got up and cleaned the tank again because we finally got a lid but the tank was already dirty. I know that the second this house is back and running well I'm going to get transferred. Oh the things we do.

In our district, we threw down the gauntlet with another companionship who got the standard last week and we said we were going to average the standard for this transfer that just started. It was interesting to see what happened this week. Our zone leaders and this other companionship (who both got the standard) didn't come close. Me and Elder Taylor had everything minus a baptism and confirmation, which we'll have this weekend. Its fun when you get your area up and running how it should be. We're working hard, and liking it. Elder Taylor is going to baptize Octavia, so I'm excited for that. I've been here for Elder Cox's first in the water baptism, same for Elder Argueta, and now Elder Taylor. Que bueno! Its fun!

Everyone here is sick. I'm not kidding in every family there is someone. Luckily my comp and I are still alright. We're washing our hands a lot, and they read an announcement in church about washing hands. It's got a lot of people here scared. The hospital is full full full. There is a line outside sometimes, and the world wide flue got here—there are a couple of cases here now. One of the hermanas in our district came down pretty hard with it this week too, so we're hoping she can overcome it quickly

Look forward to some fun 4th of July pictures--- I know all of you will be swimming, but me and my companion will be. Maybe we'll have an American barbeque after the baptism or something too.  I'll definitely be wearing a red white a blue tie.

I love you all. Sorry this was short. I'm a bit burnt out, and I wrote 4 days ago.

And thus I end mine epistle
Elder Taylor Jensen

Our favorite missionary in Argentina!




Taylor the Argentine


Baptism of Juan Carlos and Tamara



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Missionary update

June 24, 2009

 

Ready, set....Go!

This week was incredible. I have seen many incredible miracles pass, and I have started writing in my journal a lot because this is stuff I never want to forget. We'll start with last Tuesday (boy its been a while since I've emailed!)

We had an activity in the church with the familia Marquez (octavio, gonzalo, karen), Tomara, and Juan Carlos to watch the restoration together before the baptisms. The familia Marquez didn't come, but it was a good movie. I can almost quote the whole 20 minutes! But it was good. We swung by the Marquez's apartment afterwards to see why they didn't come and Octavio had had a seizure and he has a tumor in his brain that moved a little bit and he lost a lot of his memory. This had happened 6 years ago when he was 5 and it came back within 10 or 15 days, so we were hoping all would turn out well. We showed up and talked with his mom for a bit and she was having a tough time. She says he doesn't remember he has a bike, doesn't remember his teachers name at school, what grade he's in, he doesn't remember family friends that are here all the time... then he walked in and sits down at the table and looks at me and my companion in the eyes and then turns to his mom and says ´I know them... Elder Jensen and he's elder...Taylor!´ He then told us that he remembers everything we've taught him, all the things that happened in 1 ne 1-10 (what he's read so far) and how excited he is for his baptism on July 4th. It was pretty incredible. Of all the things he `happened´ to remember, all the stuff from the church that he had been taught in the past 2 months was still there! It was pretty miraculous. (he's still getting baptized on the 4th...we're really excited for him. He is such a great little guy and is so mature! (and he has started having seizures again... we're hoping he can settle back down so that his brain doesn't suffer damage again))

Next. 2 Sundays ago, we had to do 66 contacts to hit the 140 that we are supposed to do each week. There was a promise made that you would double your baptisms if you did 140 every week, and my trainer taught me that ´you're a meathead if you don't do 140,` so I do! Every week of my mission I've done at least 140, and no one believes me because there aren't too many missionaries that hit that, let alone literally every week of the mission. But we were doing a lot of contacting 2 Sundays ago, and we ran into someone named Luis. Last Friday we went and taught him, and it just clicked. I could see it in his eyes that this was exactly what he was looking for, that he knew it was true, and that he just loved it. He came to church on Sunday, and recognized our ward mission leader Octavio from a few years back. They chatted, and Luis has been looking for work for a while and justo in octavio´s department they needed an electrician, so today actually he is going over to pick up the job. What a great thing! I read him my favorite Scripture—Mosiah 2 41. And the thing is that he basically quoted the scripture to me before i read it. He says you know I'm on the right track here, and I know it. I challenged him to be baptized and he immediately accepted. His wife said she'd think about it, but that's okay. She used to go when she was 10 but never got baptized. I know they both are going to. But it built my testimony of doing 140 contacts—even though it stinks sometimes, there are grand blessings in store for doing what we should.

Next. We had the interview with Juan Carlos and he passed! Yay! He then says  `elders—I have a reference for you...lets go invite my friend to come to my baptism.´ We went and justo his old pastor was there waiting for this couple to go to an asado in the church. We were our normal happy selves and Juan Carlos says I came to invite you to my baptism on Saturday. The pastor then asks if he can talk to Juan Carlos for a bit in private. I talked to the couple, but kept my eye on those two talking. The pastor turned into a ´wolf dressed as a sheep´ and told Juan Carlos we were of the devil, that he still had to pay tithing, that he had come to rob the people away from his church. It was a pretty powerful, intense moment, but Juan Carlos calmly bore his testimony and told this guy that he knows the church is true, that there is a prophet and that he knows it. We were so proud of him.

We had 2 baptisms this weekend (well, 3...the hermanas had one too). It was so great. We had a great turnout and a lot of our investigators came. I had the privilege of baptizing Tamara and then on Sunday confirming Juan Carlos. Needless to say, it was a great weekend. They both were just so content. Tamara had a friend and her mom come in from Beltran, about 4 hours away, and they both really enjoyed it. The friend is now taking the discussions, and Tamara is now teaching with us (she's coming with us to the flia. Marquez in a couple hours). It is such a joy to see these people enter and grow in the church.

I am continually awed at the things that go on down here. Last week, we hit the standard of excellence. It was an incredible week. We literally ran between citas a few times... George Benson send me your bike! But I'm alright with that. I'd rather run across town like we did yesterday twice to teach people who are progressing than not run across town to teach people who are progressing. We ended up teaching more than 30 lessons—a new record for me. It is really a great time to be here in Allen---far better than when I first got here!

We had transfers last night. Me and Elder Taylor are sticking together another transfer. Hna. Pincock from here in Allen is heading out to Bariloche, and everyone else is staying put. We're really excited because 2 of the elders in our district are SO good together and they are staying a third transfer together. Look out Roca and Allen!

I've learned how to make a lot of good food now too... I've made ├▒okis, empanadas, home made bread, and all sorts of delights! Just you wait till i get back to the states to cook it for you! It's delicious!

I think that's about all I've got for now. I'm out of time! I love you all and am having a blast!

Taylor Alan Jensen

Which is funny because my comp is Taylor, I'm in Allen, and I'm Jensen. I get confused sometimes.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hey all!!

June 15, 2009


This week was GREAT. We had so much success. We had 6 people come to church this week (it was a satellite transmission from salt lake—it was good). We taught 23 lessons and found some good new people. And the best news is that we are going to have 2 baptisms this Saturday! Tamara passed her hour and a half interview (she is incredible. She just started bearing her testimony as soon as they shut the door and kept bearing it and she got very emotional. Its very special to see someone like her or like Carlos. We only saw her Tuesday this week (and yesterday of course) because she went out to Beltran—about 3 hours away where her mother lives. She is still doing great. She told us that we came to her house that day and that these things are things she's believed all her life but never found anyone else who believes them. She says she's always tried to keep the Sabbath day holy, she's always wanted a good relationship with Christ, and she always wanted a place like the church where she just feels good. Its increased my testimony a lot that there are really good people here that are just waiting to find a place that they are looking for (even if they aren't looking!)

Our new fecha for this Saturday is named Juan Carlos (he always tells us to call him John Charles, baby! Haha)  But he was there when Tamara finished her interview and he told us we was getting baptized on the 20th too! Surprise! Its great—he's come to church 4 times and we could never teach him because he never told us where he lived, but this past Sunday i got smart and told him we'd teach him in the church. And he comes, a half hour early, to be there and learn. He always tells us how much he loves the church and how he knows its the true church. He asked our ward leader 2 weeks ago for a tithing slip even though we hadn't even taught about it! Its interesting with him. He used to be an evangelical preacher and still has a bit of that running in him. When we teach, we tell him the doctrine and then he says ´hold on, boys. I'll explain it to you.´ And it works great because we can check and see if he's understanding the doctrine or not. We have to work with him on being more tranquilo in his prayers, but other than that, he's doing great! The members like him too, and that helps a lot.

On Friday, I had my last zone conference with Pres. Cook and it was good. Their last talk, they talked about enduring to the end. He gave us a lot of advice, and it was really tender as they bore their testimonies about wanting to go to the celestial kingdom and wanting to see each of us there. I was sure to give my thanks to him for all he's done for me. In my interview, he just talked about how I'm being a good leader and how the baptisms in my district are a result of that. I like being a district leader. When we get back to the house, i used to just change into pjs and eat and go to bed, but now I stay in my suit until 1025 making calls and organizing and verifying—I feel like I'm working really hard, and I hope its paying off!

On Friday, we stayed in Roca to give a baptismal interview for the zone leaders. We ended up just staying the night there, then I gave 3 baptismal interviews in the morning for 2 elders in my district. We then came back to Allen and I gave another one to the hermanas fecha for this weekend. Then we started working again! It was a really run experience giving 5 interviews within 16 hours. It didn't get boring or anything. I love talking to people and asking why they decided to get baptized or why they decided to listen to the missionaries. It always helps me in my testimony, hearing how these people came to know its true. I always like to give complements and advice. I love that part of being district leader.
We started our jogging early this week. Usually we wait till Sunday to jog in the morning gathering all our people to go to church. This week, we did it on Saturday. We ran to a bunch of different houses and ended up teaching 11 total lessons. It was an INCREDIBLE day. I had a few really special lessons we taught this week. 1 was to a man who has Parkinson's and literally flops around in his chair. He's a guy we found with Elder Argueta and never went back to teach, but we went with elder Taylor and it was a really touching lesson. I shared with him some stuff that helped me have peace when dad was diagnosed. I felt the spirit testifying to me this week exactly how it did a year ago—overwhelming love and peace. I shared Romans 8 16-18 ish and as I looked into his eyes to tell him he is a child of God and his spirit is still in good shape, I knew it was true. It was really neat. He asked me to pray to end, and it was maybe one of the most heartfelt prayers I've said in a while and it was incredible to see what happened to him. He stopped moving. Completely. And stayed that way. We chatted for another 2 or 3 minutes, and stood up and left. He didn't get up to come show us to the door because he said ´elders—this is the most tranquilo I've been in months. I'm just going to stay in the chair and not break it. My door is always open for you two.´ It was a very powerful experience for me, and I know we touched him and brought him a lot of joy that day.

Another one was with the family Marquez. They are so good. They open right up to us and we are just great friends. And its not like friends friends. Its friends that brought a huge change in our home and we want to thank you friends. Gonzolo (16) is having a few issues in deciding if he wants to follow the church or the world/friends. I had a fun moment—I took off my plaque for a second and talked to him as his friend instead of as a missionary and told him about high school for me and how I passed through the same exact situations. I told him how worth it it is, and exactly the specific blessings I'd received. I then put my plaque back on and said ´as a servant of the Lord, I can promise you that you too can experience the exact same things.´ It was a really good moment. I love having teaching experiences like that, and i really feel like I'm having more and more as I try to figure out how the spirit works.

In other news, the house is 100% functional now. Hallelujah. My companion is doing GREAT! He is starting to come out and show his personality, which is Jreally hard to do when you speak another language. He is smiling too

We had a nice little asado today—its flag day, and the argentines will take every opportunity to not work they can get. It was a fun asado- we ate it with 3 members.

P-day next week is a Wednesday—we have transfers on that day too. Its 5 days early to get us ready for our new president. I am terrified I'm getting transferred. I am really torn if I want to or not. We have some really great people we are teaching now and I don't want to leave them. I also have 2 people who have told me they want me to baptize them in July...I don't want to leave that! But I know it's not my choice, so I'll just keep working and do what i do!

I'm out to go shopping. Thanks for all the love and all you do. I'm glad you had a good trip to Minneapolis...I'm going to go visit someday too! And Clayton will have to give me 1 Nephi 3 7 too! Haha. Take care!

Elder Jensen

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hey all!!

June 8, 2009

 

Hey all

I'm sleeping laying down again, so i guess that means I'm feeling better. I just decided last weekend I was done calling hermana cook because basically all that's going to happen is me taking crema de bismuto, immodium, or Ja stomach relaxer. All is well. Most of the time

This week has been a great one. We did a lot of good things. I feel truly blessed, and i feel like I'm breaking through a little bit and really learning and feeling the spirit. I have had about a million great experiences this week, but I'll save you all and only write a few.

This Sunday morning, we went out early to go and pick up some investigators. For the past 3 or 4 Sundays, I've gotten a workout in by running. Running from house to house, waking people up and (trying to) get them out the door. My jog normally includes a 2 km sprint to the chapel when we realize the meeting is about to start, so it's always fun. It keeps us warm too! This Sunday, we walked with 2 people to church, and were blessed to have 5 more of our investigators waiting for us there!! It was a huge blessing and I know its because we have been really pushing ourselves to teach better and to help others grow their faith more. I was so happy! Something happened in our jog though that was really funny. We went with victor to go grab our families and we left him with one family then we sprinted about a kilometer to another investigator. On the way, (we were fasting and I was tired!) I pulled something very un- tjensen8—I tripped and totally bit it. Hahaha. I was running like a football player with my scripture bag tucked under my arm and I fell and basically did a somersault and popped right back up and kept running. I brushed all the mud and dirt off as we ran and I just laughed the rest of the morning. It was great. I was in my nice Sunday suit and had just polished my shoes and my companion thinks I'm nuts. Laugh or cry. I laughed. Hard.

Tamara is awesome. She wants to be a missionary and is already preparing. SHE ISNT EVEN BAPTIZED YET! But she wants a missionary manual, she reads, she prays, she bears her testimony and teaches her sister who has no interest everything she learns. She is the Carlos Busselli of this area. It is so fun teaching her because she is just like a sponge. And she's like a mix of my cousin Megan Kern and Erika Koth—always smiling and laughing and happy. She's fun to teach, and yesterday she told us that I was going to baptize her and Elder Taylor was going to confirm her. ¡Que bueno! Its fun when you don't have to push and verify and push and verify with your investigators. She just does it on her own!

I hope everyone read the Liahona from June--- I LOVED the article about Heavenly Homes. IT was great—I have a lot of room for improvement in my slang and in what entertains me. It was a great article. Ps have you gotten the May Liahona with the conference talks? We're still waiting!

Oh! Big news! WERE GETTING A WASHING MACHINE!!! I am so happy. Its basically a bucket that spins your clothes, but its better than the bucket that doesn't automatically spin your clothes that I've been using. Yay. Also- the tank is still green, and Hector Matus (who ( I have a lot of sadness) is inactive. He hasn't been for 4 or 5 Sundays now and it really breaks my heart. He is still reading—he and I are having a race to finish the book of Mormon. (I'm winning by 12 pages—in Alma 17 estoy) But it just breaks my heart. But hector is fixing our broken pipe as we speak, so little by little things are getting better. And we get to paint the apartment! What fun.

Its chilly here. I like wearing my sweater under the suit, but we haven't had to use the huge jackets too too much. That's fine with me.

I have a huge testimony of choosing to be happy. I said my comp thinks I'm nuts—its because I have chosen to always be smiling. Friday we had a tough day and walked around literally all day. We were sore from soccer the night before and it was tough. But you just have to choose to have energy and be happy with whatever comes in life. I give  a bit of credit to my cousin Megan for teaching me that

Victor is doing alright. He wants his mom to wait till October for some reason. I'm going to have a chat with him tonight. His mom needs to get baptized and wants to and victor is ready to do it, he just wants her to wait. I talked to pres. Cook and he basically said ´that makes no sense to wait!´ we'll see what happens. Their family is doing great though; Victor has really taken it in stride.

My new companion is doing alright. I think the problem with a lot of new elders is that they don't smile enough, because they're tired or don't understand or whatever. He speaks really well though! A lot better than my last new missionary. I'm just trying to get him to be happier and smile! I like training a lot. I feel like I've done it my whole mission so far—2 being trained, 2 transfers training, 1 re-training elder Argueta, and now (at least) 1 training elder Taylor. I like it. Is it easier the second time around? No---its still tough. And it might of been harder this time because i wasn't in love with the area when he first got here (i like it better now).

Our district is going to have about 6 or 7 baptisms. That's pretty good—this past week we worked on being REALLY bold and getting into houses. It works. I basically walked into 2 houses this week. Its fun, but it takes guts to do. Really fun. But when it doesn't work, its really awkward. Oh well.

Thanks for everything you do for me and for all the love you send me! Enjoy reading Carlos´s letter... its really touching for me. Tell aunt Corrine that i was working in the Taylor the argentine picture—you just cant see the multitudes of people gathered around! Haha.

Love you all. Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hello from Taylor

June 1, 2009

 

Hellloooooooooooo family!

It's been a strange week. Here we go.

On Tuesday, our good friend Victor's dad died. He fell into a coma last weekend and passed away this Tuesday. They had the funeral for him on Wednesday and buried him on Thursday. We ran over for the viewing Thursday morning (they do viewings for 24 hours straight here) and we got there just 5 minutes before they carried him out. It was really good that we went---victor was really appreciative. He's handling it really really well. He is such a great guy. And now, his mom is able to get baptized (they weren't married). I really want to be here to see victor baptize his mom. The Lord works in mysterious ways sometimes, but i think seeing that baptism would be incredible. His mom has come to church faithfully for the past 8 years. I really want to be here to see that.

This past Friday, we ate lunch with a member and got SO sick. It hit my comp right away, and hit me that night. So that made Saturday an interesting day. We woke up and went down to Roca to give a baptismal interview. We got back, taught a lesson to someone named Betti who is really good. It was a funny lesson because when I opened my bag, I realized it wasn't mine and that we had accidently switched with some of the elders in Roca. Unfortunately, my keys are in my scripture bag. More on that to come. We then we were walking to our next lesson and we both felt so bad, but I stuck a smile on my face and we kept going. Our next 2 appointments no-showed us, one was 3 of our fechas who are now not going to get baptized when planned because they were going out of town, so 3 dropped fechas, our lunch with the ward mission leader no showed us, and by then we were about to die because of our stomachs. At this point it became crucial to have our keys to go to our house to eat. We tried breaking in for a little while (we broke in last Monday) but we were unable to today because we had locked the door when we left. We (luckily) had the cell phone and called up the zone leaders who told us the elders in Roca were in their chapel. We jumped on the bus and went and switched and came back and went to bed. It was a tough tough day. After one of the citas no showed us, i made a list of all the things that went bad in that day. This list included our stinky (hahaha) house situation, the owner not doing anything about it, my lack of shower because of gross green water, and so on. It was a list of about 15 things. But then I made another list of things that were good on the day. I put one thing—I'm still smiling. Then I wrote in red underneath it ´That means I win!´ Thats one thing I'm really happy with—I just forced a smile and it made all this bad stuff durable. I think that's the attitude we have to take with our lives. It's like elder Wirthlin's last talk—we just have to smile and laugh stuff off. It would be very easy to get bitter, but that doesn't do anything.

I had a funny night last night. I woke up 2 or 3 times with stomach pains and the 3rd time, I couldn't lay back down because it hurt. I then set up my pillows and slept sitting up! Haha. It was funny to wake up sitting up—its really weird. When I woke up, I put on my soccer shoes and started kicking a soccer ball around the house. It was the best morning workout yet! I was dribbling around singing along with my music. It was funny. (I'm not sure if ) but it was a good way for me to relax and say this is going to
Jmy comp agrees  be a good day. I think I'm going to be playing soccer more in the mornings now!

Speaking of soccer, we're going to start playing on Thursdays now. We have a lot of people here who love it and it's a great opportunity to meet the people and the church. Yay.

Tamara is progressing incredibly well. We only had that one charla with her, and she has come to church twice and institute twice. The members all LOVE her because she is a happy outgoing girl that's filled with energy. Its been great to see how the members all take her under their wing. I wish that would happen with every person we bring to church! But yesterday, the teachers were all calling on her to answer questions and share her favorite scripture and stuff like that. Its so fun having incredible investigators. She's like Carlos Buselli from Trelew (ps I got a letter from him explaining a class he gave and a talk he gave—that guy is incredible. He is so good. I wish i had time to translate it for you all!) Tomara is going to get baptized the 20th.

Our other fechas all fell this week. We're going to try and help them come to church so they can get baptized. Normally I try to put my fechas for within a month ish. They have to come 3 times to church, and if like moving quickly because if you draw it out, Satan has more time to fight against them. But I feel like if they will keep their commitments, they can easily get a testimony and get baptized in three weeks. Example: Tomara. Other example: Carlos. There are people who need more time too and that's okay.

Question—what is the difference between the law of the harvest and receiving blessings for what we do? I know that if I study Spanish, I'll be able to speak it. So where does the study it and God helps us come in? I didn't explain the question well... sorry.

Other question—why is it so hard to find the gospel in the world today? It is so hard. Is it our pride? That's what I think, but its really hard!

I love you all—

Have a great week!