Thursday, January 28, 2010

Missionary update

January 25, 2010


Hey family!

It's a Monday. We are catching a quick break and I think this is the best time to email, so here we go!

This week was a bit tough. Getting back after that huge week we just had was great, but we just didn't have the best week here in our own area. It was tough. On Sunday, I decided I needed to get myself to 300 contacts so that I am setting an example and doing what I should be doing. That meant I had to do 106 on Sunday. I got them done, but barely. It was 106 here this weekend. That's toasty! But we did find a couple of good new people. Just not 43. I just hope that we can work really hard here and teach a lot and find a lot here.

We have 6 people going home and 7 coming in. I'm excited for these trainers—there are always a couple of my old companions that train these days. Elder Arguetta is coming up to train, and Hermana LeGrow who was in Allen with us for a long time. It's interesting to see what happens in a mission after the area seventy comes in and throws down the gauntlet. There is always a spike, and then everyone just seems to return to the normal. It's disappointing, and I really am trying to help everyone stay up and work harder, but even most of the zone leaders went back down. I can't complain too much.—in my area we fell in terms of lessons and news. But we are sure trying really hard!

This week we have all of our big meetings—old missionaries go, new come, zone leaders, and then we are doing divisions on Friday. We are starting the local zone conferences next Tuesday, and then the gira starts the Tuesday after that.  We are doing a lot of divisions again this transfer, but not on the gira. The gira is only going to be 8 days because we are going with the doctor of this area South America south. Mom- don't worry. I'm going to have a lot of time in the car to talk to him about my problems… we are taking one car with the 6 of us. I had another problem this week, but now I'ts all good. I think I can't eat potatoes anymore---I think those get my stomach every time. Weird huh.

We finished this transfer with 51 baptisms as a mission. We've improved by 6 each of the transfers I've been here. I hope we can keep going, but jump it up a lot. It's just hard because I know that if we do what Elder Bowen taught we'll get there, but not very many are doing it, so we aren't going to get to our goal of 100 baptisms until everyone commits. We'll just keep pushing them. I hope we have some more roger banisters stand out in the crowd so that it can raise everyone up.

Elder Taylor missed the standard by 1 person in church. Poor guy. He was sick today so when I called him he sounded so bad. Elder Henrie is doing well. He's staying in Junin. His companion just ended…and he has been telling me that elder Henrie has loosened up and is joking more and doing better. I'm happy—I haven't seen him in a long time.
It's going to be a good challenging transfer. No one of the 6 of us in the office left, to we hope to work even harder. Elder Camacho goes home at the end of this transfer, so we made some good goals to work hard until the end. I hope it doesn't wear off on me. I am his ´trunky police´. People aren't allowed to say anything trunky around him or else I bust them. It'll be fun.

Sorry I don't have much to report—I'm pretty burnt out and there are a lot of people that just walked in here. I need a good relaxing pday!!

I love you all. Thanks for your support and for always being positive and uplifting and sharing all the stuff you're learning and doing with me.

love you!

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's been a long time

January 21, 2010


Hey  Family!!

Well, it's been a real long time since I've written you! I'm 2 Jinches taller and a lot better looking The Gira was incredible. Here is what we accomplished: I did 401 contacts, found 43 new people, taught 34 total lessons, and put a fecha with someone. That is easily the best week I have ever had in my mission. It was absolutely incredible. But I think even more than the numbers we accomplished, me and elder Camacho proved to the mission that there are no limits as to what we can accomplish. When elder Bowen first said we had to do 50 contacts a day, I wasn't sure if it was possible. Then we went out and did it, and now I think its easier to do 50 a day than 22 because sometimes with 22 you pick and choose and don't go out of your way to contact, but with 50, the choice is already made. You are going to go and talk to every single person you see. Elder Camacho did 504 contacts this week. That's absolutely unheard of. Im really excited for the changes we are seeing already in the mission. There are some that have taken this new challenge and run with it. Elder Taylor did 350 ish, elder Argueta was above 300 as well. Then there are those that are hesitant, that are comfortable with what they were doing before. Its going to be interesting to see how all of the missionaries grasp this new era of the mission. There is some fear, there is some hesitancy, but there  are also many who are doing it and seeing huge results. Elder Bowen used Roger Bannister (the first guy to run a mile in less than 4 minutes) as an example of someone who took off artificial limitations. He then asked us ´Who of you is Roger Bannister? Who will it be?´ I know that this week, me and elder Camacho and a pair of zone leaders were the roger banisters of the mission. I'm excited to see what happens now. We have put a lofty goal of 100 baptisms for this transfer… And I know that if we as a mission put this stuff in practice, we are guaranteed to get it. Now its just getting each companionship to believe it and do it!

So we spent 2 days in Puerto Madryn, 2 in Trelew, 2 in Comodoro, 2 in Caleta Olivia, 1.5 in sequel, 1 in Bariloche, and then came home. It was quite the journey. I drove for more than 30 hours doing the Gira. It was fun though. Elder Camacho is so funny—I think there are very few missionaries I could drive around with for 30 hours. I wrote a post it note that said ´I am roger bannister´ and stuck it on his name tag. He then put it on the mirror on the passenger's side and every couple of hours he'd flip it down and proclaim ´I AM ROGER BANNISTER!´ It kept me laughing the whole time. In each zone, we arrived and the zone leaders were kinda wondering how this whole thing would happen, what exactly Elder Bowen asked of us. It was great because we just set right out to work and did huge amounts of lessons and contacts. And it was incredible what happened. With each zone leader and in each area, we set out and got into a lot of houses to teach. We did a lot of contacts. We found families to bring to Christ. It was really special the spirit we felt the whole time, just knowing in the back of our mind what we were going to do in each city as we arrived and seeing the look on the zone leaders faces a bit unsure of how it was going to be. We left confident from each place that the zone leaders got it and that they´d be able to do it with their district leaders and everything.

On Monday in Trelew, we took a 2 hour p-day for the zone leaders to write to their families and shop and for me to go visit  the flia Azocar and Matias, 2 of my converts from Trelew. The Azocars cooked us an asado and it was really good. I love going back to that house because they just RADIATE the spirit. They are so happy now and so calm. They had had a baby a couple months ago, so it was fun to see them playing with her and stuff. They are planning to go the temple in bs. As., and they both had callings. That was exciting for me. I also saw Matias. He had gone a bit inactive and that made me sad. But, now the elders are starting to teach the rest of his siblings that I tried to baptize and they are having a bit more success, so in the process, Matias is being reactivated. He was waiting outside for me to get there and had grown like 4 inches. It was fun to go in and see their family again too.  One thing that always impresses me as I work with different missionaries (I worked with 13 in the past 2 weeks) is the level of dedication they have. I saw it all, working with some very dedicated zone leaders to some struggling elders. I think that my time as assistant has helped me learn more than any other time in my mission about the importance of taking this seriously and working hard.

We have transfers this weekend and there are a lot of strange changes. One though I m very happy about—elder Camacho is staying a third with me here! Its his last, and president likes his presence, so we are going to have a third together. I'm excited about that—I love the guy to death. He just always is doing goofy stuff.

Dad- I'm trying to think of a good example of the spirit magnifying us for you. I'm not going to lie, there have been a ton. I think I have 2 examples in my mission. 1—we all know my health problems, and for me it is a miracle that I have missed only ½ of a day of work despite all the stuff that's been gurgling inside of me. I absolutely feel something pushing me to keep going. Last night is an example. We left the house to work and about 15 minutes later I was having some pretty serious pain, to the point that I was about to ask if we could go back. But there is always something, someone pushing me to keep going. Something in the back of my head that makes me keep putting one foot in front of the other. At the end of the day we were able to talk to more than 50 people and get in and teach one man and his 2 little kids. By the end of the night, my pain was just gone. I absolutely think every time I have a moment like that ´well, there are 2 teams at play here. One that wants me to stop, another that wants me to keep going.´ Then its always my decision which I'll follow.

My other example is in my calling here as AP. I came in never having been a zone leader or anything; not really knowing how things are in the office, and in the trainings, in the zone conferences, and ESPECIALLY in this last Gira, there was just such a strong spirit present as I got up in front of groups of missionaries and just radiated a message. It wasn't the natural Jensen; it was absolutely the spirit making me more than I am.

I love you all a whole lot. Next week is week one, a new start, new missionaries, new hopes, and a new adventure.
Elder Jensen

Friday, January 8, 2010

Get Ready!

January 7, 2010


Dear family—

It's been a good one!!! We had the two conferences with Elder Bowen and they were powerful. A year ago, Eder Adukitis came to our mission and it literally changed my mission. After that conference, I figured out how to enter into new houses. Now, my mission has been changed again. My vision has been lifted and I've got a new drive to do this thing.

We had a meeting with Elder Bowen for about an hour and a half on Monday. It was me and Elder Camacho, and the 4 office elders. He told me and Elder Camacho we need to be teaching about 28 lessons every week. Ooh. The most I've ever taught is about 34 ish. In the office my average is about 10 to 12. But I'm so ready. I was so bogged down because I wasn't accomplishing much, and now I'm stoked to go out there and do it. He talked a lot about having faith, because where doubt and fear are faith cannot exist. We can take what he is saying and go with it and get the blessings, or we can have doubt or faith and not. It was cool.

We then had a leadership meeting in which we asked questions and he helped us become better leaders. He also went through exodus 18 and talked a lot about delegation and trusting those you work with.

Then in the conference, he talked a whole lot about covenants. He had asked us to study the oath and covenant of the priesthood, the baptismal covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, and the endowment to prepare ourselves. He then went through and taught us some really powerful stuff. He says, after this meeting, I won't ever have to worry about your obedience again. He dropped it on us a little bit, but I absolutely loved it. He told us as a mission we need to use our time better. The average number for lessons taught is about 11 or12 in a week, which is weak. He says we have to get that up. And how?  Finding more people to teach. And how? Contacting! He then says 22 is weak. We need to do about 50 a day. He then said we had to double our contacts. My jaw dropped because last week I did 207.  Ha! I'm well on my way this week though. It was just an incredible conference and I'm not doing justice explaining any of this stuff, but I'll tell you later.

Monday night we had a really special lesson. We went out and taught this lady---do you remember a few weeks ago the lady we found that her boy friend had walked behind us and entered the house while we were knocking our way there?? It's that lady. She's great. Me and Elder Briggs taught here twice, and then elder Camacho went and taught her one time. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and had asked them to help her have more charity and love. So they read Moroni 7. She then went on a 2 week vacation to Junin (which, by the way has 2 fechas now). So she comes back and we met with her on Monday night. She tells us how happy she's been and how much better she feels after reading that chapter. I told her that's just the beginning. As she follows more and more what Christ teaches and learns more and more, she's just going feel better and better. And she knows it. So then Elder Skousen explained clearly what the Book of Mormon is, then elder Camacho gave an example of what we can learn from it from 3 ne 27 where it talks about faith, repentance, baptism, the spirit, etc. Then it comes back to me and we put a fecha!! It was so perfect. The spirit was absolutely present, and she was so ready to accept it. After we put it, she says, so now what do I have to do? Perfect, I say. You need to read and pray daily and come to church on Sundays. She says great. I'll do it. So after we had put our next cita for Thursday, I say so what are you going to do between now and Thursday? Read and pray!! And when are you going to start?? Today!! And are you excited?? SI!!! (she kinda threw her hands up in the air and everything on that last one.) it was just so perfect, and im really excited.

When I got here there really wasn't anything going on. We had 2 good investigators and that was it. Now we are just bursting with people. It's so exciting!! It makes me really not want to leave on this gira because I'm so excited to be teaching these good people.

Yesterday we were in Zapala. It was a good day. At first, I didn't really want to go because if I'm going to somehow get to 28 lessons a week, I feel a lot stronger pushing for it in my area than in someone else's just because I have not too much control on the citas and plans they make. So we set out and worked on Wednesday. The plans were bleak—we had a maybe cita in the morning that wasn't there, and a maybe cita at night, also not there, and a cita with members right after lunch that was there. The rest of the planned time was called ´encontrando´ which is ´finding´ which a lot of missionaries use to label dead time in which they go through the motions because the APs are there. So I was a little nervous of having so much encontrando time. But I knew that the purpose of us doing these divisions is to put into practice what Elder Bowen taught us and to get these zone leaders to do it to, so with a smile on my face we put some high goals—6 other lessons, 5 new, and 55 contacts. And we set out. We found one new guy in the morning who was GREAT! He let us in and we had a great lesson with him, and they set up another cita for today with him. He was good. We then contacted and tried to get in more, but didn't get in anymore. We then went and ate lunch and set out again. We went to a member's house to do an activity to get them to set up a time to teach a friend or someone in their home. It went okay. The hermana had just gone through a hard time of losing 2 brothers within a week 2 months ago. My comp got a little frustrated because they wouldn't commit to have us teach something in their home. I felt the spirit or something because I started talking to the hermana and how Christ has helped her come through and is strengthening her and how this is helping her get closer to Him. Then I asked what it would be like to try and go through this without Christ and the church. She says ´impossible.´ Then I said ´think of someone who is also going through a situation like yours. They don't have what you have hermana. They don't have this church.´ I then paused. A second later I asked ´who came to your mind that we can teach here in your home so they too can get through their struggles?´ the husband responded first, trying to excuse his wife again from trying to share the gospel, but she piped up the name of someone. She says when he comes over to get paid on Friday, I'm going to talk to him because his mom is really ill and he could use this.´ I was overjoyed. The spirit works!

We set out again. We found another man who wants to change and recognized that his baptism wasn't done right. We were going to invite him to get baptized, there on the spot during the lesson, but decided it would be better if we do it next Friday when they go back to teach his family of 5. He was a great guy, and I'm really excited to see if they will (they easily can) put a fecha with him on Friday!

We set out again, and found another new. He was a so so guy. We set out again, and got into a house of someone named Mara. We sit down she says ´we have a big family. I am one of 13.´ My jaw dropped. Awesome!!! We started teaching, and it was great. She told us she was strong in her church, but as we taught and testified of the gospel truths, we felt a change in her. She almost fell off the couch she was sitting on she was leaning forward so much to hear us. By the end of the lesson, she said I've felt something special. Something that tells me you guys are right.´ even though we wanted to tell her ´yeah we know´ we told her to pray about it. One of the things Elder Bowen taught us to do is to basically force them to say the last prayer, so we started doing it. We taught her how to pray, and about 8 words in she was just balling. She is going to get baptized, I know it! She felt the spirit so strongly testify of the things that we said.

Yesterday I was a different missionary. You should have seen the smile I wore literally all day. I want you to know how much I love these people. I absolutely love being here and teaching people. I wish you could see me in action—it's different than you've ever seen me before. I know that the spirit testified through me yesterday. It's a feeling I cannot explain—walking into someone's house and teaching them what God wants them to do. Testifying of His love, His plan, His mercy is something I just get real emotional about doing!! I love it. A lot of times missionaries say ´there is no other place I'd rather be right now.´ I don't agree—I have 1 place I'd rather be—getting on an airplane to arrive here and start my 2 year clock over. Knowing what I know now, I can only imagine the things I can do. I am so excited to keep working and give this my all. We talked a lot about magnifying our callings, and sometimes I get nervous because there are so many tiny little things that we need to do to magnify it as missionaries. I get stressed because I'm not perfect and so I have times when I don't think I'm magnifying it. Yesterday I absolutely did. We taught 5 lessons, found 5 news, and did 67 contacts. That's exactly what Elder Bowen taught us to do, and I know that Elder Camacho and I helped these zone leaders to know that they can do it too. I felt the spirit confirm to me that I had given it all, and to be honest I had never really sought that confirmation before. I felt it really strongly that even though I'm not perfect, I'm going to be able to go out on this Gira and get the Lord's work done. What a feeling of peace I felt.

It's hard for me to go on the Gira because I don't want to leave these investigators in the hands of other missionaries for 2 weeks, but leaving Zapala yesterday was just as hard!! Haha I was so excited for those people.

I just love this.

Elder Jensen.