Friday, April 30, 2010

Hey from Argentina

April 28, 2010


Hi family!


It's been a great week! I last wrote on Monday, so I've got a bit of catch up to do! Transfer week went really really well. We prayed for no floods or famines or earthquakes or diseases or any other kind of pestilence that may imide the busses, and if something does happen, that the busses can quickly get around it. Our prayers were answered! The flood didn't wash out the road or anything, and everyone got to their new areas on time. wahoo!


We said bye to the old missionaries and hi to the new ones on Tuesday. The group we got was awesome. we had 1 argentine who is a solid solid missionary, 1 Paraguayan who is good and really excited, a Costa Rican who is hilarious and will be great (he went with Elder Nilsson to Trelew...I'm really excited about that one!) and 4 north Americans--3 hermanas and 1 elder. It was a good group, and they are all eager to be here and start working. I love doing the new missionary trainings. I remind president that I've attended more of them than him :)


On Friday, we had the zone leader council. This transfer, we've decided its time to get our goal of 100 baptisms. So starting about a week ago, Elder Crandell and I started talking about 100 with everyone. It's time to get that done. We are making a big push. In the zone conference, we are doing workshops on being devastated, using the book of Mormon, and putting fechas. Elder Crandell and I also have a 40 minute chat on obedience where we review the doctrine of obedience and the small and simple things we have to do to focus and work hard here on the mission. We feel like it's gone really well, and the missionaries have commented that this zone conference has been really good and spiritual. I feel good about it so far-- on Monday we had Neuquen 1 and on Tuesday Zapala. Thursday we are going to Roca, Friday to Neuquen 2, Saturday we leave on the gira. Then next Monday Bariloche, Wednesday is Puerto Madryn/Trelew, Friday is Comodoro/Caleta Olivia. It's a pretty quick gira, but I'm excited to get back to my own area and work hard to finish out my time here in the office.


On Sunday, I baptized Matias Gonzalez. It was a good baptism-- started on time, a good turn out from the ward. We couldn't get Samuel to want to get baptized before the ceremony, but before he left he came up to us and said he'd get baptized on May 25th. That falls on a Saturday, so we asked if we could bump it up to the 16th when we were baptizing another young man. He agreed-- and so now he is on to get baptized. wahoo! I knew that that would happen. I had extra clothes with me and everything because I knew that seeing his older brother get baptized would help him overcome his fear of water. Now he is ready to go for the 16th. Excellent! At the beginning of this year, the bishop put a goal with the other elders to baptize 12 in the ward this year. Well, the familia Sepulveda was 5, their grandma was a 6th, Matias was 7, and now Ezequiel and Samuel will be 8 and 9. I really want to get that baptismal goal here before I go! Next transfers are the 30th of May, so hopefully we can come up with 3 more baptisms beyond those that are already planned. We share a ward with Elder Pederson and Elder Henrie, so I know that they may have some people who are close. We'll see.


I was talking to the bishop on Sunday after the baptism about the familia Sepulveda. He turns to me and goes ´elder Jensen, you have no idea how much you've changed this ward. The Sepulveda's have given us a spark! The ward was struggling and without any energy whatsoever, then all of a sudden there are 9 more people attending, and the adults in the family all have callings and are all worthy and just LOVE every moment they have in the church. Now you've brought Matias and Samuel, 2 people that they tried to baptize a couple times in the past years, to membership in the church. You better hold onto that key i loaned you! (referring to the key to the baptismal font-- i was going to give it back after the Sepulveda's baptism, but instead said ´I'm going to hang on to this because we're not done yet.´ It was just really neat talking about the Sepulvedas with the bishop as we watched them serve cake to everyone in attendance, as the strongly bear testimony of their willingness to serve in whatever moment, and the strength of their obedience and testimony. I am continually awed at them-- they still have 2 or 3 family home evenings every week. Matias goes out with us every time we visit Ezequiel, and hno Sepulveda has completely embraced his role as ward mission leader. they are just one incredible family.


One thing I have reflected on this week is something I read in Laura's letter in the Voices of the Valiant is the need to baptize your replacement. My companion and I were talking about some of the people that we've baptized on our missions and I realized that I've baptized a lot of young, future missionaries. Literally in each of my areas, when I got there there was not a youth program, and in each of them by the time I was transferred, we had a large number of young men. I really became excited for the day that i hear from them, telling me their papers are in, or that they've gotten their call. I know that some of my young boys have fallen into inactivity, but I know that there are others that are pushing forward valiantly. I also know that in families like the Sepulveda's and the Azocars, one day in the next years, I will hear that they've been to the temple, that they've sent out missionaries, that they've become bishops or other things. It just made me reflect a lot on the amount of good a missionary can do. Then yesterday when I went to Zapala, I talked to the missionaries in Junin. I feel bad that I never baptized a convert there (I baptized that one 8 year old). The missionaries there picked up where I left off-- they baptized one of the people elder Henrie and I found, and now have a fecha with his mother. They have a fecha with another one of our investigators that we had tried so hard to get baptized. Fabian the druggie attends every Sunday and is fighting to get baptized; Cesar and Juliana are attending regularly, and are very devoted. We are still just waiting for them to get married so they can get baptized. I got a call from my friend elder Balinski in Centenario Trelew on Monday telling me he's put a fecha with Noelia Azocar´s mom, and that they are just the most incredible family. I never imagined, 20+ months ago when I started this adventure that these things were to happen. It's hard for me to believe it. I just feel very grateful that the Lord has blessed me and made me an instrument in His hands. I am starting to believe the promise of President Hinckley that serving a mission will bless you for every day for the rest of your life.


President is taking his first p-day that I've ever seen, and we're cooking an asado right now, so I've got to go live it up. Tell the YM/YW that I got the box they sent and loved the treats! I wore the ´census 2010´ shirt and hat all night and today—it's my new favorite shirt/hat combo. And the skyline chili can was great! I'm just waiting for the perfect moment to open that bad boy up. I'll write them a letter soon--- don't know when, but soon!


I love you all and am still waiting for Putz's pictures!!


Elder Taylor Alan Jensen

No comments: