Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baptism of Karen and Gonzalo

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hey from Argentina

Hey Family!

We had a GREAT week. It was a blast—so many good things happened. Ready, set, here we go.

1. We got the standard. They recently raised the levels to get it, and we persevered to get it. On Sunday, we got into a house or two and got some new investigators. We wrapped up all of our contacting, had 10 lessons with a member present and 20 other lessons. It was an incredible week, and we just loved it. Me and my companion are on an all-time high. We just love each other and have so much fun teaching. It's funny because we can read each other so well. I don't even have to look at him to know exactly what he's thinking or what he's going to do while we're teaching. It's really ´one voice´ when we are together teaching. Transfers are Aug. 10, and I think I'm outta here. Half of me doesn't want to go, just because of how well we are doing (not half…just a part ofJtogether. The other half still doesn't like allen  me)

2. We got our washer!!! It's nothing special. It's a bucket that agitates the water. But, it's better than the bucket that didn't agitate the water I used before! I was so happy to have it. Now I'll be able to wash clothes more often. That's a good thing

3. We had a bit of a surprise on Saturday. We went to Roca to do an interview on the 2 kids who didn't pass last weekend to see if they were doing better (more on that in a sec), and we got back to Allen and went to the Marquez to take them across the street to the chapel. Hna opens the door and says frantically ´elders I've been trying to call you all morning! ´ Not good to hear on baptism day. But then after we say uh oh what's going on? She says ´Gonzalo wants to get baptized today too! ´ We then said hmm. Okay. Perfect. Luckily the zone leaders were coming up to interview Gonzalo for the 8th of august and Mariano for next Saturday. So, they came up, interviewed him, we threw white clothes on him, and he got baptized with his sister! It was really good, and actually what we had wanted all along. He originally wanted to get baptized by himself, but something happened that changed his mind. Keep reading.

4. We had a GREAT noche de hogar with the Marquez family on Friday night. This one was a Taylor Jensen special. We climbed up onto the roof of their apartment complex with the flia Marquez and Tamara. We then proceeded to stargaze for about 5 minutes. I then stood up and opened up my scriptures and read some scriptures that I had read while in the mountains in Utah and deciding if God really exists and if I should serve a mission that really had a huge impact on me. I shared those with them, we stargazed a bit more and came down, had a game and a treat and left. It was a huge success. That night, at 1 in the morning, Gonzalo woke up his mom to tell her he felt the spirit really strongly and wanted to get baptized tomorrow with his sister. It was really good.

5. We started up the home teaching program in the ward. Now that we have an Elders Quorum president, we have home teaching organized and we left to do it on Wednesday. I went out with my companion, hno. Arevelo, and my comp went out with Ariel. It was really fun and brought back really good memories of me and Brother Bang. I tried to put in practice what he taught me… leaving challenges for the kids to memorize scriptures and showing tons of love. It was a good experience.

6. I drank root beer this morning for the first time in more than a year. I also made popcorn (I was SO EXCITED when I found pop corn kernels in the store. I think I was almost running down the isles to show my comp. it was a really weird sight for the people there probably. But I like popcorn.) and I also ate Oreos with my comp to celebrate the standard. All things I haven't had in a while.

7. I'm almost out of stuff and time. We're going to the river to have an asado and play soccer

8. I like this number, so of course I had to stop on 8. We had 2 more baptisms next weekend. I'm really excited. It's a fun time to be here. All the members keep saying ´elder you are baptizing like crazy! ´ I like hearing that

I love you all and thanks for the love and support. Sorry if I don't write as many letters anymore… we can't send them through the pouch anymore so I have to mail them from Argentina to the states. That means I will be sending out a batch every couple of weeks or so. Sorry!!

Elder Jensen

Friday, July 24, 2009

Two weeks of Argentine news

July 13, 2009


Hey Family!

I understand I have a bit bigger audience than normal, so I'm thinking of what I can do to spice this letter up! Unfortunately, Argentines don't like spicy food at all, so I'm struggling to come up with something good!

This week was a good one. We didn't teach quite as much as normal, but that's because we had a Zone conference on Wednesday. It was a good conference. Our new president is a great guy. He is a bit more relaxed than President Cook, but that's alright. It allows us to have a bit of fun as we are learning and putting things in practice. He is going to be a good president and do a lot of good. He was struggling a bit with his Spanish, but I can certainly relate thinking back to my first week here in Argentina! His wife is pretty shy, but they are great.

It's been interesting here with all of this swine flu panic going on. People are still pretty nervous about it. (I still say its just winter, wash your hands!). But people have started walking around with those SARS masks on. I really want to get one, but my companion has made it clear that if I buy it he will be walking on the other side of the street from me. Maybe I'll get it to get some alone time.

This Saturday, Victor baptized his mom. It was a very tender service—she has been waiting 8 years to get baptized, and was very excited to do it. Afterwards, she bore a very sweet testimony, and she is very excited to go to the temple with Victor to do the temple work for her husband. I know that that will be a very special experience.

Sunday was a good day. We were able to have church (we have been telling all the missionaries and members and investigators to pray for it, and we were able to have the sacrament meeting) It was a very good testimony meeting. Tamara got up and bore her testimony, and it was really good to hear from her. It was her first testimony meeting since being baptized, and I continue to marvel how prepared she was to meet us and accept the gospel in her life. She now leaves with the hermanas 2 days a week, and we call her to go to a few appointments with us. This week, she has basically lived at the Marquez house. I think she slept there 3 nights this week. It's been great for them to form this friendship, because there aren't many youth in the church here in Allen. She has been great in helping Octavio as new member, and in helping nurture Karen and Gonzalo as they prepare for their own baptisms. Gonzalo is in a state of flux right now. He hasn't decided if he wants to get baptized now or not. Its a bit tough for me because I know he has felt the spirit and I know he knows its true. We'll keep working with him.

On Saturday, we went to the church again to cut branches on the trees. It was great—we had Juan Carlos and Gonzalo. Its funny to see them together. To be honest, Juan Carlos is a strange man, and Gonzalo is a bit of a strange 16 year old, and some how they have forged a strange friendship and Gonzalo is always excited to go and work when Juan Carlos is there. But, a friend is a friend, and we're hoping that this will help Gonzalo as he decides when he gets baptized.

Tamara is doing great—she has the relief society lesson this coming Sunday (we're crossing our fingers that we're having the 3 hours next Sunday!). Juan Carlos is doing alright. He's come a long way since his baptism. The man has a lot of energy to work. Unfortunately, he has not received the priesthood yet because our ward leader went on a 4 week vacation and he still needs to be taught a little bit more.

It's been a full week because with our ward leader out of town for a month, I've assumed a lot of the responsibility here in the ward. Assigning talks, doing tithing, and directing the meetings are the basics. But it puts a little bit more on my shoulders in addition to training and being a district leader. But as more is on my shoulders, the stronger they get!

Yesterday, we were out working and we ran out of stuff to do about a half an hour before our next appointment. I say ´companion. Where are we off to?´ He says ´lets just go close to the next cita and find some people to teach.´  So off we go. About the 6th house, we were greeted by a little kid who said hi elders! Come in! We hesitantly stepped through the door and found it was the house of one of the members of our ward and it was her grandson who opened the door. He says ´did you come here to teach me so I can get baptized? ´ hesitantly, knowing it was too good to be true, we said yes… and he said perfect. He was going to have an interview with our ward leader to get baptized, but the ward leader went out of town (and it's a missionary interview because he is 9). So now we have 2 baptisms planned for the 1st of august. Putzer—I know you are turning 18 (wow are you serious) that day, so I am 16 baptisms short of getting 18 haha. But that was a fun experience, and I'd like to have that happen more when we go out finding new people.

Edgardo is going great. He finished 2nd nefi this week and is just cruising. He told us—elders. I have to read 300 pages in 3 weeks, so that's 100 a week, so that's about 14 a day. I'm going to do it! We are so proud of him. It's really been a 180 degree turn around that we've seen in his life. Its great being a missionary!

With much love!
Elder Taylor Jensen


July 20, 2009


Hi Family!

It's been an interesting week. I was going through a bit of a slump. Doing divisions with an elder in Roca who is not doing well didn't help, neither did cold weather or rain. But—I have come out of it, thanks to a good chat with my comp where we decided the only way to get out was to work and love working. We started with a game—don't make the same contact twice in the same day (it's hard when you are doing more than 154 every week). If you do, you have to buy a couple penny candies for your comp. That was fun. And it helped us have a good day. And then the next day, also a tough day, was better because we were smiling. And ever since that Thursday, me and my comp have become the best of friends. It really really helps working and doing this work when there is a good relation between you and your companion. Contention is of the devil and drives away the spirit like none other. I always talk about that when I do interviews with my district, and me and my companions never have really had contention problems, but we've never been the best of friends till now. And it makes it a blast to go and work.

This coming Saturday, Karen Marquez is going to be baptized. We're really excited. She (as have the others I've baptized) has developed a testimony of the church. She has prayed to know if the church is true and if the book of Mormon is true, and has received a miraculous response. It's really a blast to work with people and see that as they do what we ask them to, that they receive responses. We've seen it happen with Octavio. With Edgardo. Even little 9 year old Mariono has been reading and praying. Its great having people doing what is asked and receiving the blessings.

I guess I got a testimony and went off on that schpeel because I went to Roca to do 3 interviews this Saturday. We were supposed to have one at 9 and the other two at 12. We had a whacky day and had the 2 at 130 and the other at about 445. I didn't get back to my area till 630! Not good, especially since Saturday is our day to get people to church. I think the Lord knew our intentions and blessed us because we worked hard in Roca doing contacts and teaching with the other elders because we had 6 in church yesterday. But- it was an interesting day for me. I didn't pass 2 of the interviews, and it was one of the hardest things to do for me. So much of missionary work is baptize, baptize, baptize, so when you take someone to an interview you have it in mind that they'll pass. It's almost like it's assumed. I don't like it, but it happens. But these two...I just couldn't! And it was even harder because they were from the 2 elders that are really struggling in my district. But, I told them what they could do to help get these two kids ready and we are going to try again in a couple of weeks. It was difficult for me, but I went back into the room after the interviews to think and I prayed long and hard and definitely got an answer through the spirit. It was a really neat experience.

Today we woke up and gave our house a good cleaning. It hasn't been cleaned since we painted, so there was still paint on the floor and dirt everywhere. It was gross. But now we've got it all cleaned out and ready to feel the spirit again! Haha. But we also reorganized all the furniture. And by furniture, I mean our bunks and closets. It's a change, at least!

It's raining here and it's gotten cold cold cold. I now wear thermals underneath the suit and a hat and gloves every day. I cut my hair short so I can wear a hat without having the nasty hat head afterwards too. Except now I sleep with a hat because my head is cold. In other news, I played with an armadillo this week. That was fun too!
We're looking forward to this week. We are going to hit the standard again. It's really really hard to do, but after how we felt last week, we're ready to do something great. We've got our house reorganized and ready to do it, we've just bought our food and are going to eat super healthy this week, and we've both cut our hair. Everything is in line to have a great week with a lot of success.

Mama- I got your package too!!! Thanks!!!! I'm really really excited to have some root beer. And rice crispy treats. And fruit snacks. And hot tamales. Yum!

Thanks for everything!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Group photo for Octavio's baptism in Allen

Octavio's baptism

July in Argentina!

July 6, 2009


Hey all.

Welcome to Flu World! There are still SO many people sick here. We didn't have church yesterday and they've passed some ordinances that we are not allowed to have meetings or sports events or anything with a lot of people around. Makes working interesting, huh? Saturday night was the first thing we heard anything from the mission about it—they just said try to avoid shaking hands, hugging, and kissing (argentine kisses, of course!) I tried it for the first half of Sunday and it was so hard. People would just keep walking if we didn't shake their hand in the street! We normally try to ´roadblock´ them so they can't just walk by and blow us off, but without the handshakes our efforts are feeble. I couldn't do it and started shaking hands again. Its pretty incredible that me and my companion are still as healthy as we are. We shake hands and hug and all sorts of stuff, and neither of us are sick. I call it divine intervention. Yesterday after lunch I was feeling like I was coming down with something and it turned into a mental game where I said I'm going to ignore the pain in my head and stomach and keep working. I'm not getting sick. It just doesn't matter. I'm not getting sick. And...I didn't get sick. Who knows if it really was mind over matter, but I'd like to think so

We missed the standard by 1 fecha. My night was a bit rough last night. A refresher on what the standard is: 1 baptism, 1 confirmation, 4 fechas, 5 in church, 8 lessons taught with member, 16 other lessons, 12 new investigators, and 140 contacts. We crushed every one of those, but just could not get another fecha. I was sad. There are normally about 3 companionships to get the standard every transfer, and to my knowledge there are 2 people who have gotten it more than thrice. I was really sad, but looking at the rest of our week, we taught 34 lessons—10 with member. That's the most I've taught in a long long time. It's been a pretty miraculous change I've had here in Allen. When I got here it would be a joke to say we were going to teach 34 total lessons. I'm grateful for the hard work me and my companions have put in to find people to teach and to be diligent even on those days when everything is going wrong.

Octavio´s baptism was good. They had about 20 people there from his family and friends, and that is always good. We didn't have much of a turnout from the ward because we were told not to invite many because of said swine flu problem. (ps. My response to people talking about it like it's a big epidemic is: maybe someone should tell these people its winter) but it was a good baptism. I've got some good pictures, but can't send them because I'm on a bad computer (all the good cybers are shut down because of said swine flu). But I'll get those out. He bore a sweet testimony afterwards, and was just so happy all day. We are now working with his older brother and sister who are programmed for the 18th and 25th... his brother is having doubts, but we're working with him. Tamara has been great with this family. She basically lives there or with our ward mission leader. She has been taken in SOOOOO well in the ward. I think she may have slept at the Marquez's apartment last night actually. But she's doing great. Juan Carlos is doing alright. Still has TONS of energy for the church, but the members have a bit of fear for him because he still has a lot of evangelical mannerisms and characteristics (esp. in the way he prays. He's gotten better.) But Octavio (our ward mission leader) sat him down and had a good nice blunt chat with him and they both came out smiling so I think everything will be alright now. Hector Matus quit coming almost 3 months ago, but I've kept passing by and passing by and finally Octavio had him over and hector is going to come back to church. In the meantime, Hector read the whole book of Mormon. Hmmm.

We have another investigator named Edgardo. He's great. We challenged him to read the whole book of Mormon before his August 1st baptism. We went back on Sunday, and he had been sick with the said swine flu all weekend, but was already in 1 ne 17. He's going to do it! It's been pretty miraculous to see all the changes in his life. When we first started passing by with their family, he would run away and hide. But then he almost drunk himself to death, and started listening. He's completely changed now. He tells his friends No! I can't go out tonight I've got to go to bed early! Tomorrow is Sunday! He's funny. He's 22 and we played ping pong with him this past Thursday (we play soccer one week, ping pong the next. Am I in heaven or what?) But it is always really interesting to see the path people take to come to the Gospel.

We have a zone conference this Wednesday. I've already talked to President Peterson 3 or 4 times on the phone with some problems we were having here. He seems great and I can't wait to meet him in person! The problems we had here was this... our ward mission leader is going out of town until the 27th, and we have 4 baptisms between last Saturday and the 27th and someone has to sign the confirmation paper. But we got that figured out. It's going to be a fun 4 weeks though because he called and asked me to direct the meetings and assign the talks. Que tal.

The district is doing good. I had an idea this past district meeting. We have the standard of excellence and everyone tries to go for it when they have a baptism planned. But what about all those weeks when you don't have baptisms? People never go for 140 contacts unless they're going for the standard, and so we tried to fix that. We put in a district ´standard of effort´ (it sounds a lot cooler in Spanish). Basically its to try and help the district pick it up a bit. We have us and another companionship of elders who are really diligent and have a lot of success. The new hermana is great and is going to be a good asset here. And the other elders... yep. So we were hoping this would help the two struggling companionships pick it up, but it didn't change much in the bottom half of the district. I think we may rearrange it and try and get it more achievable for them. The prize—home made goodies from Elder Jensen!! It's a pretty coveted prize.

We're about to go have a little grill out with the hermanas to celebrate the 4th of July. Yum. Sorry yours was chilly—ours was nice—we almost went out without suit coats! Winter isn't very cold here... yet. We are lucky and don't have much wind. I'm proud of you guys for taking me to the reds game.  (editor's note:  the cardboard cutout that of himself that Taylor left at home for us!) It was a fun one to be at, even if I had to sit and listen to it in the car. Hahaha. If you ever take me anywhere cool, you have to send me pictures so I can know the cool things I'm doing.

Thanks for all your love and support. I'll stay healthy, don't you worry.

With all the love I can smuggle through customs,
Elder Taylor Jensen


Editors note:  There are new pictures posted on Taylor's