Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Through snow and cold........

June 22, 2010


This email is going to be about a 180 degree turn around from last weeks.

It was an incredible, miraculous week. In our area, pioneros, where the work is hard and the people are mean and it gets dark early, we mustered 16 total lessons (7 with members present!) and found a whopping 25 new investigators!!!!! What? That's ridiculous. It was a week of many events, and trials, and challenges. Here we go:

Tuesday- district meeting in Esquel-- it went very well. We presented our zone plans. We talk a lot about desires and use D&C 11 to do it. I felt really prompted to base our plans in that, so with the help of elder Argueta we put together a nice presentation talk type of thing. Then, afterwards, we did interviews with the missionaries there. It was really good-- we weren't planning on doing them, but when I woke up I had a big push that I needed to do them today. I did one in particular with a missionary who is just melting down. He just told me he's depressed, doesn't like his area, members, companion, nothing. It was a tough one, but I gave him some stuff to read that had helped me in my `meltdowns` He's doing okay-- he had a transfer to start week 3 and has had 1 week with his new companion. And in that week they completely changed their dead area into one that is thumping. They put a fecha their first day together. They are great. So i was really glad for that prompting to do interviews because if we hadn't have done them, we wouldn't have known about his problems. It also was a confidence gainer—he's called us several times to talk and to complain and it's been good because we have his confidence.

We then jumped on our 5 hour bus back to Barilo and got here about 5. We got to Rosa and Luciana's about 20 minutes early. my companion was kinda walking slow up the hill to their street and saying `what are we going to do these 20 minutes?`  Get in a house! I say. We started knocking and got in a house and found a family of 6! Awesome. They were having a birthday party and invited us in for a piece of cake. We gave them a DVD finding faith in Christ. It was good-- we haven't been able to get back into their house because they haven't been there the times we've tried, but they were really nice.

Wednesday was the first day we had worked together that we didn't get in a new house here in Bariloche. But, we did 123 contacts, so it's not like we weren't trying! We talked to some people who were really good and who we ended up getting into their house later in the week

Thursday- we woke up and it was freezing cold and snowing. But that didn't matter. In the morning we were knocking in a richer part and got into 2 houses in the morning!!!! Wow. It was great-- they both were really good and we've taught one of them 3 times now. It was a blast-- we started that day so good. Then in the afternoon, we taught 3 with member and 1 other. We ended that day with 3 with member, 3 others, 6 news and 51 contacts. That's as many lessons as they were teaching in an entire week here for the past couple of months. I keep telling my companion we can change this area in 1 week. He is hesitant about that, but these past 3 weeks have absolutely proved that. We have a good new family that we are going to try and put a fecha with this week. I'm so excited!!

Friday-- Friday was probably one of the hardest days in my life! On Thursday, the police killed a 15 year old kid here. His friends and gang and family revolted and started throwing rocks at the police station and that kind of stuff, and the police came out and by the end of the day 3 teens were killed. That got all the teens in Bariloche fired up and it just started a little war between the police and the `pibes` (guys). That shut down our city to missionary work for a couple of days because it was dangerous to work because we didn't know what was going to happen or where the disturbances would be. So, the other 8 missionaries had to stay in on Friday. Our area is so tranquilo that we could keep working. The hermanas had a member who died earlier this week in their ward, so they asked if they could go to the funeral. We let them. We then get a call about an hour later that they were walking back from the chapel and everyone started running and screaming, so everyone ducked into the mall there. Then some pibes went running through and the police were chasing them and yelling `everybody down! ` So the hermanas ducked into a store where they turned off the lights and hid with a group of other people. They were terrified and called us and were just telling us how there was a shoot out going on in the mall and stuff like that (the police are shooting a lot of rubber bullets) so we were frozen-- we were 15 kilometers away and the bus wasn't going to come for another 30 minutes. We called a taxi and went flying in to Centro to `rescue` the hermanas. We were scared too-- we had no idea if it was a real shoot out or rubber bullets or anything. But, turns out, it really wasn't a big big deal what happened in the mall. We got to Centro and the hermanas were able to get out and go back to the church. We met with them there, and they were absolutely fine. It wasn't too too much danger, but they were scared. We were terrified- it was absolutely our fault they were out. So we dodged a big bullet there (pun intended :) ) Things are more or less calm now, so the missionaries were able to get out on Sunday and work. But that was a big scare. I also went to the doctor on Friday to do the test-- I am going to pick up the results today at 6, so I'll be letting you know next week what's going on. I hope i have parasites-- my stomach is really achy. I haven't had the runs all week though, so thats a huge blessing. But at this point I want it to be parasites so I can take some medications to kill them. It's turned into the zone joke-- my parasites are now the zone's pets and everyone is making sure I feed them and stuff. Pretty funny. So we'll find out today.

Saturday was an interesting day. We woke up and had a big conversation about changes we need to make as a companionship. Friday about killed the both of us. We talked a lot about consecrating ourselves to the work and really dedicating ourselves. Doing what we should. I was pretty frustrated with a lot of things my companion was and wasn't doing, so I just put it all on the table. He was pretty down and we just had to make some changes to be the missionaries and leaders we need to be. So he said `if the 2 fechas pass their interviews, I'll be 100% obedient and do what I'm supposed to for the rest of my mission.` The interviews passed, and my companion took seriously his promise. He is a new man, and I am so excited because he is putting aside his stubbornness and pride and really growing as a leader. We are working really hard, and had some big miracles this weekend. The fechas are great-- they are getting baptized on Saturday. We have 2 members of our ward who go with us to almost every visit and just are so supportive. This is by far my best ward on the mission-- we have the whole stake presidency, Pres. Petersons 2nd councilor, and 2 or 3 other returned missionaries. Solid, solid group who do great welcoming people in.

The assistants were in for the weekend. I worked with elder Crandell-- I miss that guy! He's so good. I also worked with the new assistant. He is so polished and bright and good. He's a 27 year old Chilean who has already graduated as a doctor, so I talk to him about my stomach a lot. He is a really humble spiritual guy. He is a solid solid assistant.

Yesterday we had zone conference. It was incredible. Hermana Peterson talked about sacrifice. President talked about faith in a very powerful way. It was exactly the chat I had with elder Argueta and just cemented the changes we've made. We are doing a mundial (soccer tournament) of Bariloche and we gave out some fun prizes to all the companionships. We recognized something great each companionship has done, and the most incredible part is that our weekly key indicators have gone up in every single category in all three of the weeks!!!!! The zone is on fire right now-- we found 111 as a zone last week. That's INCREDIBLE.

Today we have zone p-day and got permission to watch the mundial. I'm pumped! It's going to be a blast. It's been a crazy week and I've learned and grown a whole lot. Elder Rasband said the apostles saw where we were going to end our mission. Here I am—I've been prepared my whole mission to come here and end here. We're changing this area-- we're changing lives.

I love this area. I love this work.

Elder Jensen

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Belated weekly letter from Elder Jensen

June 14, 2010


hi family!


I'm back on my feet-- on Friday I was finally able to get out and work. On a day of pouring rain-- I was a bit of a zombie, but I think that getting out and working was the only thing that was going to make me better! I felt so dead and out of energy on Thursday that elder Argueta told me he was thinking about not even letting me out on Friday. He said `if you were my brother, I'd have you here in the doghouse another 3 days! ` But it felt good to get out and work-- i missed it! We were so bored. Between long naps and study sessions, we found a chess board and so between those three things, we kept our sanity. But the bronchitis and laryngitis and sinus-itis and all the other itis`s are out. I'm still on the anti-biotic for a couple more days. This week we'll have another fun medical week i think—I'm going to go have a parasite test. I've had the runs for 5 straight weeks and the AP that replaced me has already graduated in Chile as a doctor and said I should go get that test--it costs 100 dollars—I've still got some money left over from buying my robbed stuff back, so I'll just use that. I'll let you know how it goes next week!


So far, Elder Argueta and I have entered in a new house every day we've worked. Its only been 6, but here in this area that is quite the run. We've got 3 fechas that are really solid for this transfer, so that is helping us keep going. 2 of them are getting baptized on the 26th and the other on July 10th. They all have come to church the past 3 weeks, so they are doing very well. The 2 that are getting baptized in 2 weeks are really interesting. its a mom and her 22 year old daughter. Supposedly, the mom has been on the verge of getting baptized 3 times already. She's the one me and elder Argueta found a month ago. They have been overcoming a lot of problems, and it's been really fun to watch them and how the gospel has helped them find peace and calmness as things around them crumble a bit. That's the magic of the message we are sharing!


This area is easily my hardest that I've had so far. I came in with the mentality that it's going to change and become an area where we are teaching a lot. I need to keep that in mind and just have patience with the area-- we have a lot of really really big houses in our area and those houses are not the nicest to be knocking! We have 2 `normal` neighborhoods of normal argentine houses and the rest are huge houses and mansions and cabins and touristy stuff. Those 2 neighborhoods have been knocked for years by missionaries, and they aren't too big. Last night we went out to one of the other `bigger house` neighborhoods to knock. In 2 hours, 11 people opened the door. Of those 11, I think about 3 actually listened to what we said. It was very frustrating- the people don't even listen to us. at one point I threw my arms up in the air and said `what are we doing here if no one is even going to listen to a thing we say!` I felt like we were just wasting time-- just walking and knocking without a chance. I am trying to have faith in this area. Like I said, we've entered in a house each day we've worked, so that's really good. I just want to be able to teach in this area. We taught 10 lessons this past week--elder Argueta went out on divisions on Wednesday for 3 of those-- so 7 in 3 days is not bad historically in this area. But that's the thing-- I don't want to just keep going along with the norm here in pioneros. I don't like hearing that it's a tough area, or that we just don't teach as much here. I know I'm going to be frustrated for a bit, but we'll just keep working hard and get through it. I've asked myself what's more cold-- the weather or the people. Hopefully the weather because its about to get really cold here!


The mundial began. In the states, that's no big deal. But here, its insane. I love it. But we can't watch any of the games, so that makes it interesting to figure out what to do, especially while Argentina or big name countries are playing. Luckily, the games are at 830, 11, or 330, so it doesn't interfere with `prime time` work in the evening. It's so much fun seeing how this country (and every other country) absolutely lives for soccer. I wish it were like that in the states!


Today we are in Esquel-- we are here to do divisions and p-day. It'll be fun. It's hard being a zone leader. It's a fun experience trying to motivate elders with all different kind of levels of commitment and excitement. Some jump right on whatever you say, and others you have to really push. We're trying to figure out how to jumpstart the zone-- we've got 12 fechas as a zone right now. We really need to baptize at least 10 this transfer as a zone, and so we are really trying to get the missionaries to put fechas and accomplish their goals. We are having our own little `mundial` here in Bariloche. Its fun----it's animating the missionaries to achieve their daily goals and get as much done as they can. We'll see how many fechas we can put as a zone this week!


Next Monday we have zone conference. I'm excited to see elder Crandell again. I miss those office elders a lot-- luckily I can call them up and we have to work with them a bit as zone leaders. But it will be good to get the zone together and talk about what we need to do specifically here in Bariloche to have success.


*trunky moment of the week* elder Argueta and I were falling asleep and he slaps his forehead and says `I've got only six months left!` then he paused and said `maybe I shouldn't have said that... you have 10 weeks left!` it took a little while to fall asleep after that!


Have a great week, family! I'm excited for a week of finding and going back to the basics. It's super fun with elder Argueta because this area is super hard, so having a friend already really helps. We have a good time together.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Recovering this week.....

June 8, 2010


Hi family!


I know, it's weird that I'm emailing on a Tuesday afternoon. I'll explain shortly. We just finished a district meeting with the district here and we put the challenge with them to baptize 5 between the 3 companionships. They have been struggling and not baptizing, so that's a big challenge for them.


Week 1 in Bariloche was everything I hoped it to be. Tuesday we went out and got in a house and taught. Wednesday, the same. Thursday, the same. When I got there, I asked for what their goals were for the week-- 3 with member, 4 others, 4 new investigators, and 335 contacts. I (I already knew this was going to happen way before I asked) said `nope. Not acceptable. We're better than that. Next week, we're putting higher goals. `` And with that, we left and worked. Between Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we taught 3 with member, 4 others, found 6, and put 3 new fechas. We saw some miracles, and we are changing this area. My goal is to teach 20 lessons in a week here in Pioneros. That's probably never been done before. I'm really excited-- I know we are going to change this area. It's interesting being with elder Argueta again. It's tough. He's got a lot of bad habits that we are going to change. He became really negative with his last companion and they fought all the time and that vibe killed the zone. Now we've got to change that. And he's changed already. In the calls he makes, he is more focused. But we still have some ground to cover.


Our very first new investigator came Tuesday morning. It went about like this <clap clap clap> (a guy comes out side and yells come in) we look at each other saying ¿really? He says `come in` again. So in we go. As we go up the walkway, he says `I fed a Mormon to my dogs for breakfast this morning. Right this way.., ` we entered into his home and he was just a nice old man who told us in the nicest way how big of sinners and liars we were. It was so nice though! He had a library of everything the Jehovah's Witnesses had ever written in Spanish, English, and German. He'd read everything. He then told us they are the biggest liars, even bigger than us. He, at one point yelled at my companion for not respecting the Sabbath, then turned to me with his finger still pointed at my comp and said `should i hit him now or later?` `later` I said with a smile. He pulled his finger back and said `okay. I'll save it for later.` needless to say, it was a crazy first investigator to find, but he was fun! We went back on Thursday and he took our jackets and gave us juice and was just such an interesting guy. He reads the bible literally 10 hours a day. Crazy. You can visit his site-- www.hermegedon.com or something like that :)


We had a good experience on Wednesday night. We were walking and it was 7:55. We were knocking a street, and it was cold and rainy and we had a cita at 8. There was one house left, and elder Argueta and I look at each other like `well, that one is far from the street, should we just go to the cita? elder Argueta feet were soaked and freezing. But then something kicked me so that we walked over. We knocked, and they let us in. we taught Claudio and Maria a bit of lesson one and put 2 fechas right there on the spot. Interesting. Wasn't Pioneros a tough area where you couldn't teach and find and baptize?  think NOT! We had a cita to go visit them again Saturday but couldn't leave so we are going to have to go verify that fecha this week. We now have 5 fechas in our area. 2 are Claudio and Maria-- they aren't too firm of fechas but we have 3 that are strong strong. They went to church and everything, so they are going to get baptized for sure. But I'm excited just to change this area and make it what every other of my areas has been-- a baptizing one!


Thursday night we went up to Neuquen for a conference with all the leaders of zona. It was great-- it was really interesting and relaxing to be there without the AP mantle.--- it was so much more fun and tranquilo. And I love elder Taylor-- he is incredible. haha. Every time I see him I am just so happy. The meta is 100 again for the mission. I feel good about our plans-- I read a lot about desires in D&C 11 and am teaching that to my zone.  I think that's been the difference in my mission. It was fun presenting our plans because I got sick and had no voice at all, so they made fun of me and such, but it was fun. Afterwards, we went out and cooked tacos with the Sepulveda's and saw some people. Its fun having worked in the office because I get to go back every now and then!


Now, we got back early early Saturday morning. Like at 5:30am. And it's a bit tough to sleep on these busses. But I told elder Argueta we were going to get up and work anyways. But when it was time to do it, we just couldn't. We slept in. when it was time to leave, I felt like I was going to die with my throat and cough and headache, so we called hna Peterson and stayed in house. At about 5 we went to the doctors, where we found out I had severe bronchitis, laryngitis, a sinus infection, and a 103 degree fever. She told us to get some drugs and I had to rest rest rest rest and rest. So we did. I was like unconscious at this point-- we had waited about an hour and a half in the doctors and I was just toast. So we rested. Saturday, Sunday, yesterday. Today we left because we had a cita with the doctor and a district meeting. I'm doing a WHOLE LOT BETTER. I'm doing fine. But she is making me rest through Thursday from the missionary work because she says I was at the point of picking up pneumonia. So, I'm going back to the house to rest some more. I've slept so much these past days, and I feel exhausted right now. So it's probably a good thing that I don't die here in the mission. I feel bad because I wanted to come in and just jumpstart this area and zone, but looks like we're going to have a couple trials of our faith. Elder Argueta lost his wallet and some money so he's already passed his. But we're going to make it through and baptize. I'm taking more than 4000 mg of drugs per day! haha. It's crazy. My companion wakes me up to give me pills and stuff. He's taking such good care of me. The poor guy is bored out of his mind. Our pension is super clean though-- he has had too much time and not enough to do!


On Sunday, the stake president came to see us, the stake mission leader and his wife (who also went to the hospital with us), and some converts from this area that take care of us. They all brought food and it was SO nice to have people come and visit it made a big difference. Don't worry too much about me-- I've already passed the worst. Just keep praying, and hopefully Friday I'll be out working again!


I have 2 favors on my companion's part. His family doesn't write him much. Like once every 5 weeks or so. We have some Spanish speakers in the family and I think it would be good for him to know that someone is interested in him. jesus.argueta.man@myldsmail.net is his email-- maybe could someone send him a note or something? There is another elder in the mission who has been writing one of his comps families for the past year because his family doesn't write him. Elder Argueta also loves beef jerky...


I love you family. Thanks for supporting me. I'm trying to sprint to the finish--- even if this body of mine doesn't want to cooperate; we're going to get it done.


love you!

Elder Jensen

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Writing from a new city in Argentina


Transfers are going to happen this weekend. I won't say much today (because I don't know anything yet) other than that I'm going to Bariloche as a zone leader and I'm going to be with elder Argueta again! Wow. What a surprise. Bariloche hit the fan these past two transfers and completely fell apart. Elder Argueta basically shut down because he didn't like his comp. He loves me, and when we were out there he told me he was praying I'd come out there and we could run the streets again. Well, my friend, I guess God answers prayers! This is going to be a bit of a bear for me. After the first time I did divisions in that area in Bariloche, I said ´I think that is the one area in the mission I wouldn't like to be in.´´ the area is 27 kilometers long and just the rich rich richest part of all of the Patagonia. I'll be sending some pics in the coming months. It is incredible how much money people have out there. And they teach about 6 lessons per week. For the past year, they've been teaching just 6 a week. That's awful, and not how I'm going to finish my mission. It's time to go and turn that area around, and turn the zone around. The zone can be very good... and I think that's why I'm going out there--to turn it around. Cool story-- when on divisions, me and elder Argueta found a lady who had been taught before. That lady has been progressing, and they were planning on putting a fecha with her for next transfer. Is that poetic or what? I'm excited to be with elder Argueta-- he is a champ, and I feel like we really had a special bond. I think we learned a ton from each other, and I know I can be a good influence for him to turn him back to how he should be working.



May 31, 2010


Well, here I am, sitting next to my El Salvadorian friend, typing. It's been a strange turn of events these last couple of days. Yesterday I officially ended as AP. it was strange. Handing over the phone and keys and binder were kinda tough-- I had really grown attached to the calling and have loved serving in that capacity. But, it's definitely time to move on and to go do something else. Bariloche has really struggled the past 2 transfers and so we had a lot of changes in this zone. Almost every companionship changed. This place has the potential to baptize a ton of people-- we just need to prepare ourselves to do it. There have been big problems with disobedience and lack of focus in this zone, and now I think I've been sent here to help get this zone back together. Elder Argueta is a good guy—he's a lot different from round 1. He's not as full of faith as he once was-- he really struggled with his last companion and that has left him not as strong as he'd like to be. He couldn't be happier I'm in as his companion-- he says he's just been waiting for a companion he gets along with to get things going again. Today i got in around 4-- we spent from 4 until 745 cleaning the pension. We literally took all the furniture out and cleaned the place out. We said we were taking out all the bad and negativity-- we cleaned it so well. We then changed all the location of all the beds and desks and it looks way different. The place was a mess, but now it's pretty nice. It's a small pension, and its got a couple of mold problems in the bathroom, but oh well, we'll get through it.

I've got a lot of mixed feelings-- I already miss the office. There I lived with 5 other elders who were just so much fun. I also could call anyone in the mission, and I knew everything that was happening. Now, separating yourself from that is a bit strange. I'll get used to it. Elder Argueta and I found a lady and her daughter 3 weeks ago when I was here on divisions, and the 2 of them both have fechas already. We have another little girl who is going to get baptized as well this transfer, so we are looking pretty good. I really want this zone to turn around and become the force it needs to be. If we are going to get to 100 baptisms as a mission, we have to baptize at least 15 or 20 here in Bariloche. There are 10 companionships. you'll have to MapQuest this-- we have 2 elders in Trevelin, 2 elders and 2 hermanas in Esquel, 2 elders in el Bolson, 2 in villa la Angostura and then 4 hermanas and 6 elders here in Bariloche. It's a very big zone, so we'll be doing a decent amount of traveling to go on divisions and to district meetings and such.

I feel like I've got a big challenge right now. The zone knows why I'm here. But baptizing is what I do and that's what we've got to do here in the zone. As a mission, we only baptized 49. I am happy that Elder Crandell and I got our goal of 3-- Samuel ended up getting baptized yesterday. He was great. He was really excited--- he's come a long way from that shy scared of water little boy I first met. He asked me to baptize him, and I tried to talk him into letting a member do it but he refused, so I gladly did it. I realized that in each of my 4 areas, we've baptized the last weekend I was there. I hope that continues!

The goodbyes weren't too bad. I didn't really have a strong connection with this ward like I did in Allen or Trelew. We only had 2 of the families that lived on our side, and with our limited time we didn't pass by the members too much. With he converts it also wasn't bad at all because on Friday I go back to Neuquen for the zone leader council. The council ends at 5 ish and then we can go and visit people if we've worked there before, so I'm going to go visit Ezequiel and then go make tacos with the Sepulveda's. the goodbyes were really just `see you on Friday!` and then it will be `see you in 6 weeks!` and then it will be `see you in six more weeks!` so it really wasn't too bad.

I've got to spill the beans on something too-- this past month I've been pretty sick. I have had the runs every day for about 4 weeks now. They convinced me to go to the doctor and I did 2 weeks ago. He gave me some pills that were supposed to regulate me and help out my guts a bit. They didn't do anything. So I went back in the last Friday. He was shocked they didn't do anything, so then he gave me some antibiotics and decided it was an infection or something. The next day i couldn't even leave.  went to the bathroom more that day than some missionaries do contacts in a week! I was nervous about traveling like that, but it's settled down a lot and I'm doing a little better. Its not back to normal yet though so I think next Friday when I'm in Neuquen I'm going to go back to the doctor. It actually turns out the first pills he gave me were pills for anxiety problems---he says a lot of problems like the ones I've been having are caused by anxiety and stress. I say `hmm that's funny. Why would that happen the last couple of weeks of my 5th transfer as AP? It's got to be something else. But they relax you a whole ton, so I've slept real well this week! And I've had some pretty crazy dreams too! Haha. But just thought I'd give you the heads up so you can throw a little health line or two in your prayers so I can sprint to the finish and not to the toilet!

I'm down a little bit right now, just for the circumstances in which I've found myself. But, like I said last email, I've done this before in Allen. In Junin. In the office. So, now it's just time to write the chapter `Bariloche`

I love you all. Take care.
I love snow ;)
Elder Jensen