Thursday, March 18, 2010

On the road again....

March 15, 2010


Surprise! I've got 4 hours of p-day today-- I am here in the costal city of Comodoro, having driven 9 hours in the past day and a half. Elder Crandell and I are driving our own gira, and its been a blast. He is a funny, humble, goofy kid and we just mesh so well together. Activities in the drive down include: talking about our upcoming zone conferences, mourning and having a little funeral for the armadillo he ran over, chasing guanachos (llamas), drinking Terma (an argentine drink that you pour in and then squirt some soda water in and it is really good!!! its really bitter, but I am addicted. we brought a cooler with just Terma for our drive, and we are convinced that we are the only assistants ever to do so. it was a great drive down. Last night, we stayed with my old companion, elder Taylor, and his old companion, Elder Perez. It was fun-- it's always great to see your old comps. Elder Taylor now has the time that I had when I finished training him. Don't worry-- he's not old yet--he still doesn't grow facial hair :)


This past week was real tough-- I talked about the cut in the ruta. That about killed us because we had people coming up for zone leader consejo and to pick up their new missionaries that couldn't get here. Luckily, the zone leaders were able to get here by Thursday, so we just sent the companion-less refuerzos on the bus back with them. In the mix of the grand disaster, we only worked 15 hours this week and just couldn't escape for more time. But in that 15 hours, we were able to teach 12 lessons and put a fecha, so I feel sad I wasn't able to get out and do my job more, but happy that we were able to really focus on our fechas and get them moving. Now those people are sitting in the hands of the office elders to visit them this week and I'm terrified. Last time it was bad, so hopefully this time, they'll make it through okay!


We gave the familia Sepulveda some white shirts and ties this week. They strolled into church looking really good on Sunday. Lazaro kept asking which tie was for him. The more I tried to explain that they were big people ties, the more he didn't care. It was really funny. Luckily, his mom, Jacqui, saved me. They are just an incredible family. This week we went by and they had one of the boys from the ward there. It's a boy whose parents just had a brutal separation and he is kinda an odd ball and didn't have many friends. Now they have taken him in and welcomed him to their home. They are always telling us to send our investigators over to hang out or to read together, or offering to swing by and pick up investigators to go to church. They are like the perfect family! The members here get a bit lazy, like showing up 30 minutes late and not helping the missionaries. But these are like super members! We put a fecha with their cousin this week. Its a kid who wants to change, and they have just been pouring their testimonies on him left and right, so he is interested now. We are baptizing their grandma next Saturday, so we are all really excited about that. They are just incredible.


I'm happy to say that I've been thinking about my future this gira too. Elder Crandell keeps asking me good questions that make me think, so i think I've got it narrowed down to three fields at least now. I'll probably get that class thing you sent next week when I get back.


welp, I'm going to go. Have a grrrrrrrrrrrreaaaaaaaaaattttttttt week!

Elder Jensen

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This is long one!

March 10, 2010


Well, it has been a long long long week. Here we go!


Friday-- we woke up to president calling us at 12 am. A missionary was being taken to the hospital here in Neuquen for appendicitis. We went, and were in the hospital till 2:30. Turns out it wasn't appendicitis, but rather just some bacteria or something. I don't really know. It was a funny funny moment-- Elder Camacho gets the call and wakes me up and then he leaves to go get dressed. He heard that I didn't get out of bed so he walks back in and wakes me up again. I just kinda mumble something I don't know. I then speak a bit louder and then I woke up. He left while I started getting out of bed, and I basically slept walked to where he was changing and asked what was going on. He told me, and then I went back to our room where my clothes were and got dressed. I then walked out into the kitchen and said ´I know you already told me, but what is going on??´ He then explains it again. I then went and used the bathroom. I guess I fell asleep in there again because the next thing I remembered is Elder Camacho laughing and saying ´elder Jensen! Wake up! President is here to take us! Did you fall asleep? ´ It was a funny night, and i guess that its a good thing we don't have to wake up in the middle of the night too often!


Later that day, at 10 AM, Jaqui and Fernando got married! it was great-- we had a lot of members of Fernandos family there that we hadn't met, and they were pretty nice people. The wedding is kinda anti-climatic.-. - Its just a legal thing. They read the laws that talk about marriage, and then they have to sign some papers and their witnesses have to sign some papers. But it was good. We threw rice and everything, and within 30 seconds the place was filled with pigeons! I had always wondered why there were so many pigeons in that specific block of our area, and now I understand! They are just there to eat all the rice when people get married! Ha!


Then, at about 11, we went back to the hospital to check up on our missionary there. He was having a lot of studies done to find out exactly what was going on. We drove his companion back to his apartment to shower and change and stuff, and did that for a while. That night, we had a dinner reception for Jaqui and Fernando. Mom- i cooked an awesome cake. We decorated it all up and put balloons around and we had good turnout. The ward was really excited for them. And they were really excited too. One of them was having problems with smoking still--he had cut down from 40 per day to about 3 that week of his baptism. We talked to the bishop about it and he basically told us we had to baptize him, that this was his moment and that we just had to help him understand that when he gets baptized, he's making a covenant with God that he isn't going to smoke any more. President said if we got that kind of support from the bishop, go for it! So on Saturday, we had a good chat with Fernando to explain that to him. While we were talking with him, his HILARIOUS 4 year old son comes running over and yells ´This guy is a liar. One day, we were walking and he saw a cigarette and he picked it up and smoked it in his mom's house! SMOKER SINNER SMOKER SINNER!!´ It was really awkward and really funny at the same time. But he said ok and that from Saturday at 6 onwards, he was done smoking. We are still going to work with him on it, but he has changed so so so much. It's incredible. We had a fun lesson with the Sepulveda family the morning of their baptism and they all just talked about all the changes they had made and all the differences in their home. It just always amazes me to see the faith of these people as they take giant steps in changing their lives for just the small whispers of the spirit. They have completely changed the way they live and work for what they have felt this past month or so.


The baptism was great. We had 7 in total-- 2 little 8 year olds from the ward got baptized with them. The baptismal room was so full that many of the members couldn't even fit in there to see it. Hermano Sepulveda baptized his 4 kids and yerno, and they were so happy. And we, obviously, were too. I've sent some of the pictures-- this family is a missionaries dream.


Sunday we picked up my new companion ELDER CRANDELL from the terminal and went straight to church. I'm so excited to be with Elder Crandell. He has been in Trelew as a zone leader the past 6 months, and I've been in charge of the Trelew zone, so we are good buds. He is a pretty small guy, but he is just packed with energy. I think he also is one of the humblest guys i know as well. I am kinda hoping i stay 2 more transfers in the office just because I love him so much! We are going to have a great transfer-- we have 2 really solid fechas now-- one with the Sepulveda's grandma, and the other with a 16 year old kid named Ezekiel. He is the son of a menos activia, and he is so solid. We taught him the other day and he gave the first prayer in his whole life and was just incredible!! He asks for help being more responsible, that his mind could be opened so he could understand more of what he reads, for just really touching things. It was probably one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard. It was really neat. He is scheduled for April 3rd, and Rosario (the Sepulveda's grandma) for the 27th of March. They both came to the baptism and to church for the first time this weekend. We also have another menos activo family that is reactivating now-- they have 2 sons who also aren't members that we are going to baptize this transfer. We have another lady named Teresa who is about 65 and just a goofy lady, but she has come to church 2 times now and really likes it, so I think that here with the assistants, we are going to go back to back transfers baptizing 5 people. I am really content with that because between the assistants and office elders, they only baptized 1 person the entire past year. Now we've got a really productive area. I give a lot of credit to elder Camacho-- we worked really hard up until the end, and that missionary went out on top. Baptizing 5 your last weekend is just an incredible way to end. He was kind of sad to leave, but just because we have these 5 more people to baptize. He left knowing he had done what the Lord wanted him to do, and he left with the respect of the whole mission. I'm going to miss that kid, but I'm sure we'll keep in touch. We have already planned some of the pranks he is going to play on us in the office from his house. (I don't know why I was part of planning pranks against myself, but it's going to be funny!) I'm going to miss him dearly, but Elder Crandell is a great missionary.


Elder Taylor is now in Elder Crandell's spot as zone leader in Trelew, and elder Argueta is a zone leader now in Bariloche. That's perfect because I'm in charge of both of those zones, so I get to talk to those guys a lot.


Monday was transfer day. It was also a nightmare. There was a huge rainstorm and it washed out a section of the major highway from the south to neuquen. The going home missionaries got here about 14 hours late, and the transfers have been so messed up. I think I've spent more time on my cell phone the past two days than I have my entire life. We have to re route everyone through Bariloche and we've had to reschedule meetings because the trainers couldn't get to neuquen and it's just been a disaster. Hopefully they'll finish repairing it soon!! It's just been a really really stressful two days, and my poor companion doesn't really know what's going on. It takes about a week or so to understand all the going abouts of the office, so he'll be caught up soon.


On Friday, we are heading on south on the Gira. We are doing it early this time. Its going to be a blast—I'm excited for the time I'm going to spend with Elder Crandell- He is such a fun little guy. And he can drive! So I won't have to drive the whole gira like the last times.


We've got a lot of excitement for this transfer-- we are ready to do some incredible things here in the mission, and I am excited for the things we've planned to do in zone conference because they are things I've really felt inspired that the mission needs to here. We love our stressful life, and mission Elder Camacho, and its starting to turn into winter a bit too!! Wahoo.


I love you all. It's about time I wrote a nice long email with pictures, huh?

I'm off to train and inspire the new missionaries--- have a great day!!


Elder Jensen



(Editor's note:  I tried to attach photos but couldn't get them to send)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 2, 2010


Hi all


It's been a great week down here. We had a lot of setbacks and problems in the office and such, but we have had some great successes this week too. The familia Sepulveda all passed their baptismal interviews last Saturday. President came and did some, and Elder Nilsson did some too. It was such a sweet peace as they all walked out happily, and they are so excited to get baptized on Saturday. On Monday we went over and brought 5 bars of soap and had them all carve a big B for Bautismo--now they are going to remember how their baptism is gong to rinse them clean! haha. It's a fun idea. We have seen some incredible changes in them these 6 weeks. Fernando stopped smoking and robbing, and they boys have dedicated themselves to being good. Jaqui and Fernando are getting married at 10 this Friday, and we are going to have a fun little reception on Friday night in the church. Mom--you remember that Pillsbury cake mix you sent for my birthday? I think that might end up going to this wedding reception. I hadn't gotten around to using it yet, and if figure this is a great chance to do it! we are going to go over tomorrow and decorate a little and make it really nice. The ward is excited for them--our ward has about 45 active people, and the Sepulvedas will now be easily the biggest active family in the ward. And they are all so excited to be there and to learn. Every time we go there, I am just blown away. we leave little hints at what we are going to teach in the next visit and when we come, the hermano just assigns the song and prayer and then calls on some of his kids to share what they've learned and to basically teach the lesson to us. It's pretty incredible. Tonight we are going over for a noche de hogar-- we are going to watch a video and I'm making ´peño corn.´ I am professional making it now—I've mastered it. the first couple of times I burned it really bad in our house and the senior couple yelled at me, but then if figured out I have to use a different pot. Now it's good.


In Chile there was an 8,8 earthquake. It was felt here, but not strongly. It hit at about 3:45ish in the morning. I slept through it, but some missionaries woke up and the people who were awake here in neuquen all felt it. There wasn't any damage here or anything, and all of our Chilean missionaries are alright. Elder Camacho is from Santiago and just found out his family is safe, but their house isn't doing well, but all the parents and everything is alright with the Chilean missionaries. Then 2 nights ago, we had a little earthquake here, but again I slept through it, and again it didn't do any damage.


This is week 6, so we just are finding out transfers. I am really really really excited about my new companion. I'll tell you who it is next week when transfers are official, but I am really excited. I'm sad to say goodbye to elder Camacho though. He has been a really good bud for me and has really helped and taught me a lot. He is just a fun guy who is really professional when he needs to be and always has a good joke to crack when we have a lot of stress.


Im looking a little bit forward to see what changes will happen. Sometimes I get frustrated with people because of dumb disobedient things they do and the lack of focus some people have. But we do our best to animate the people to live better, to be better, and to work better. Its fun. Yesterday we planned out our plans for next transfer and for the next gira and everything. We are going to do our workshop about the atonement of Christ. That will be a good one-- we've been studying it a lot as a mission. Last Gira, president challenged everyone to read the book of Mormon before Easter. Im just starting Mosiah today-- a nice pace of about 12 pages a day. It's been fun looking for ways the atonement gives us strength and helps us keep going strong.


Dad- thanks for sending me your notes from Grandma's funeral. It was touching to read them and reflect on all the memories grandma has given me and for all the incredible things she has done. Dr. Peterson told me there are two kinds of people- people that see a tough situation and change it and make it good, or people that see a tough situation and let it stay tough. Grandma is definitely in the first category and has been an incredible inspiration to all of us to keep working, to live your testimony, and to serve everyone.


We are in a bit of a funk right now--we haven't found any new investigators in about a week. Hopefully we'll break out soon! And look forward to some great pictures next week-- the wedding and 5 baptisms!!


I love you all--

nesneJ nalA rolyaT redlE