Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Year mark!! whoop whoop

August 18, 2009

Well, this is it. The Year Mark Email. Wow. I´m officially old in the mission.

This past week was probably the hardest in my mission life. I was sick sick this week, and was with Gonzalo during the day and a member at night until Gonzalo got home from school. It was a really tough schedule and it just killed me. It was hard working because my poor companion had 2 weeks as a member and is 16 years old, so when we did contacts, he was so embarrassed that he would just keep walking or he'd turn and pretend he wasn't with me. Teaching lessons, he didn't really want to contribute more than 2 or 3 sentences. I can't fault him—he's got 2 weeks as a member and 16 years of life. But trying to do what I do was a lot harder this week. I ended up doing literally 154 contacts by my self. It was a big struggle. It made me really want to have my new missionary. Tamara did GREAT this week. She literally wants to turn in her papers now. She is going to serve a mission no matter what. I was talking to her the other day and she says ´you know, I've been kicked out of my house, my sister doesn't talk to me, my mom doesn't like it that I'm a member, but imp in the right path and that's all that matters.´ I had her write her conversion in a little book for me and she says that when we knocked, they never answer the door in their house and she felt something pounding inside of her and she said i have to go get it! Her mom said ´I'm going to kill you if you open it!´ and she ran down the stairs to get it saying ´i don't care I have to answer it!´ and when she did and saw me and Argueta's smiling faces, she says she just felt a wooosh and just wanted to give us the biggest hugs. She had been praying to know where to go, and then we came. It is pretty incredible to talk to her.

I went up to Neuquen on Saturday morning to go pick up my third kid. When I got there I asked president to have an interview while we were waiting to start. We went in and had a really good 10 or 15 minute chat about some things, and then as we were leaving, I asked him about what special things he wanted me to do in Allen this next transfer or 2. He said that he had a really special experience in it. He said that originally he was going to bump me up and have Elder Taylor train, but he had something lingering. He said that he switched it up (elder Taylor is with a missionary in his last transfer now, so he'll probably train next transfer) and put me to train. He told me I have a gift of making people work hard, love the work, and feel real good about themselves, and that I was going to need these skills with the new missionary he is assigning me. With that assurance, he added ´and it means that you could be in Allen for a very long time. We'll see when next transfers come around.´ but he said that when he did divisions with us, it cemented the decision, and he got emotional talking about the process. So, now I know a little more about why I'm staying put!

My new companion is Elder Henrie from Bountiful Utah. He's a good guy. He's a really really analytical and technical guy. The first thing he did when he walked into our house was analyze the electrical wiring and water hook ups. Hehe. President told me he's a bit more complex than Elder Taylor, and that is true! He's a very bright kid, and he'll learn the language fast (I hope!)  He is struggling understanding me, so we've got a ways to go. But, we put a language plan in this morning, and we'll get him rolling. We have a couple investigators who also have expressed that they are really happy that I stayed and said that if Elder Taylor stayed they may not have kept coming to church. So I am starting to see why I am staying here, and I'm sure it will continue to unfold as the weeks go on.

We had zone conference yesterday and it was my absolute favorite in all my time in the mission. I'll write about it next week though.

It has been interesting to reflect on what this year of missionary work has meant to me. I think I have learned a ton. I also think every missionary says that, so I'll delve into some more specifics.

I think I've learned more to love people. To be patient. I've had the opportunity to train 3 new missionaries (I've done the math and have time to train 4 or 5 more before I go home...I'm trying to set the record!! Haha) but being with them requires patience. But there is a difference between patience and pushing the work forward. I think I've found that line. I feel like I'm more selfless and that I have moments where I put others needs before my own. I think that's a big thing that has changed.

I've learned to be fearless. I've learned what it means to be diligent. I'm not perfect at either, but I have grown a lot in those two aspects. I know a lot more now about the blessings and the power that exists in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have seen so many things happen here in Allen alone that really make me emotional to think about. Last Monday, we were in the Marquez house and they shared Alma 5 13-16ish and i just started crying as they made me read it and then answered yes to the questions and described the joy that has entered their life and how they honestly can imagine being raised up to dwell with God in heaven now. It was an incredible experience, and one that I will never forget. That family has taught me so many things. Faith, love, and the importance of the gospel.

I've learned to love people. It all starts with my companion. Last transfer I learned what it means to love your companion. I have the goal to get to that point now with Elder Henrie. Its going to be a bit more of a struggle because we are programmed really differently, but we have a couple things in common. But if you just always think positively about people, you have to like them, right? That's something me and Elder Taylor learned last transfer.

I've learned about determination. On my mission, I've been determined to baptize every transfer and with every companion. That's something I set my mind to and have done. I've done it with getting 154 contacts. I've done it with getting along with my comps. When we set our minds on something and its God's will, we'll get it.

I've developed the habit of feeding my spiritual needs everyday. There is a HUGE difference between the days I study and the days I don't have a good study. That's something I want to carry with me.

I've learned about the mercy of God. I feel like I am not worthy of the blessings the Lord has given me on my mission. I have come to help a lot of people enter the waters of baptism and confirmation. I have helped a lot of people change their lives around. And I know that its not me thats doing it. I don't feel worthy of all the things the Lord has blessed me with in my time here.

I've learned how to smile and make the best out of every situation. I, how to cook, how to live and manage, have learned how to speak Spanish  yourself.

But I think the thing i have learned most is that the church is true. It is God's path, and also happens to be the path to bring the most happiness possible in life. I love being a missionary and I am sad that I am at the halfway point because that means I have more time served than time left. It's passed really fast, and I still am kinda laughing that I'm only in my 2nd city. But, I know it's where I need to be. This second half will be even better than the first half! I want you all to know that I am happy (even if the first part of this email describing my past week don't express that! Haha) that I am working my hardest, that I am not ´on a mission,´ but rather ´have become and am striving to become a better missionary,´ that I have zero regrets in serving a mission, and that I love this. I think that that's the best way I can sum this up. I am happy, i love what I am doing, and there is no other place in the world I'd rather be right now. My hope and prayer is that I can continue learning, being humble, bringing lots of people to the waters of baptism and activity in the church. I know that the more I put my faith in the Lord, the more he helps me out. The natural Taylor Jensen can't do this. I have been taught that. I give my glory to the mercies of the Lord in allowing me the privilege to be led to find these incredible people, to help them come to Christ, and to help them be happy. There is no greater thing than doing this. I've seen missionaries going home, and I can hardly imagine what I'll feel. I'm going to cry myself dry!

Thanks for everything you've done for me, family and friends. It gives me great joy every time I hear from you and hear how well you're all doing. I know that we're a family that will be together forever. Isn't it incredible to think that? Your testimonies have strengthened me, your examples have led me, and your smiles have warmed me. I know that I am the man (I do turn 21 in a bit!) because of you and the examples you've left me.

We've got 1 more year till we see each other. I look forward to the things that I'll learn, that I'll do, that I'll see, that I'll experience, that I'll love. I know that we are experiencing these things as a family, and that your faithfulness and prayers have blessed me so much down here. I hope I can repay the favor.

I have so much more I want to say and tell, but my cold little fingers can't do it fast enough! I'm trying to write as much as I can in my journal so I'll remember all the good stories when I get back! I love you all so much. Have an incredible week.

Elder Jensen

No comments: