Monday, August 31, 2009

The news from Argentina

August 31, 2009


Hey family

Life is a bit better. It's like going from overcast storm clouds to no rain and you think you can see the sun. But, the threat of rain is still there. I'm hangin in here. We got more work done this week, and we did manage to get out of the house on time 2 days! But, there is still more climbing to do. (I just remembered I LOVE climbing, so I guess that means I should look forward to what I still have left to do, huh?)

This week was interesting. We haven't had any fechas in a while. We had 4 when Elder Taylor left, but they all fell for one reason or another. But the 4 still will get baptized—we just ran into some problems we didn't see before. So we've been about 2.5 weeks without fechas—way too long for me. This week, I had a good chat with the zone leaders to give me some motivation. They told me that I just had to go do what I've been doing my whole mission and not let the new circumstance take me off my game. I agreed. They said ´Elder. You go put three fechas this week¨ My mouth said okay I'll do it, but my brain was telling me otherwise. We started working. We had some good things happen and some really bad things happen. But we ended the week with 2 fechas! One for the 26th (next transfer) and one for the 19th (last week of this transfer). I was REALLY excited. I have this determination (this is something the zone leaders reminded me of) to do 154 contacts every week and to baptized at least once per transfer. Up till now, I've done it. And now, I am really excited because its going to continue!!! For the 19th is Christian Etchegoray, the son of a menos activo family. His older sister got baptized 2 weeks ago, and he and his brother Alex (look for his fecha soon) have started to come as well. We had our first discussion with him yesterday after church, and it went perfect. To the point of Joseph's first prayer playing in the background just as we were doing the first vision! (we were in the church teaching and the ward secretary, who couldn't even hear us, decided he wanted music. Hmmm.) He readily accepted the fecha, saying ´I want to be a member of the true church of Christ!´ he went straight home and told his family, who were really excited for him.

We had a cool experience on Wednesday. We have some apartments in our area and we had an appointment in one of them at 4. He wasn't there. One thing my comp always says is that we have to contact or knock the first door we see when we get no showed, and that came to my mind as we went down the stairs (half as a skeptical idea that I'd been annoyed of hearing, but you'll see in a sec it wasn't). We knock the door and it's a guy named Marcos. He let us in, and told us we had contacted him last week and given him a brochure about the plan of salvation. He had read the whole thing and loved it. We taught about the restoration and invited him to church, and he readily accepted. Unfortunately, he slept in. But we'll get him this Sunday. God always puts people in our paths, and we have to accept it. It was funny because he kinda kicked us out even as we wanted to end with a prayer, but he said he really had to go. Just as we walk out, our appointment that lives on the floor above was walking by the door, and we went and taught him. Maybe it wasn't a coincidence that we got the boot without a prayer? We wouldn't have gone back up to check if he was home...

We had 6 people in church this week, so that was exciting. We have another girl that we just started teaching whose family is a member and she just never has been taught and baptized. She gave a talk yesterday in church, so I don't think she's missing much to get baptized. We also got a reference from an hermana in our ward that her grandson never got baptized and she wants us to go and teach and baptize him. We'll see what happens! The area is livening up! Yay!

My companion still struggles a LOT with the language. He doesn't focus because his mind is literally always running. We get back to the house and he goes to write down all the electronic designs he's thought of during the day. But I think he's starting to realize he has to focus and learn because he blew up yesterday during lunch. He got in such a frenzy. I just hope that these experiences when he gets worked up serve to get his desires to learn up instead of breaking his fragile self esteem. I've been working hard to figure out what it is I'm supposed to teach him and how I'm supposed to help him through this.  We'll see what the coming weeks have in store.

We had a good experience on Sunday. Gonzalo got the priesthood and was not excited to pass the sacrament. He was really shy about it and I had to drag him into sacrament meeting. But when it came time to do the sacrament, he looked over at me and gave me this look like. ´well, Elder Jensen, are we going to go pass it or no? ´ So we did. It's a fun experience when you get to do things like that with your converts.

What did Carlos say in his letter??? He's such a good guy. I miss him! Tamara went down to Beltran where her mom lives and is trying to figure out where she is going to live. She has some medical issues and is going to have surgery down there this week, so we're keeping her in our prayers. She is in a tough spot. The members here need her dearly—there are 2 families that Tamara has helped a lot staying active and being more faithful, and in the past 2 weeks they've fallen a bit, but at the same time, her mom has started progressing little by little in the gospel, and she would have a place to live down there. It's a tough decision, but she knows how to pray and get answers, so I told her just to do that. She told me something cool too—she said you know Elder Jensen, I've heard a lot of bad stories about missionaries and what they do. I know that you're not perfect, but I want you to know you're an incredible missionary. It's not that plaque wearing that makes you who you are, it is what's behind it (the heart) that makes you who you are.´ it was funny. There we were talking about what she can do to overcome all of her challenges, giving her a pep talk and all, and then she turns it right back on me and starts trying to help me get over my challenges. In my mind I was like ´wait a minute. I'm the missionary here! ´ haha.

Another plaque story—hermana Marquez (mom of Gonzalo, Karen, and Octavio) told me ´you know elder, that day you took off your plaque to talk to Gonzalo, I noticed something. Nothing changed. You are the same person with or without that plaque.´ Those two comments gave me a little bit of the boost I needed to keep pushing through.

I hope that the sun pops out soon (its been so warm here—that was definitely a tender mercy of the Lord to help me be happier! One day when we left, I literally smiled for the first 23 minutes because of how nice of a day it was).

Elder Taylor Jensen

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