Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Long update from down south

July 26, 2010


Here come some miracle stories... maybe the best of my mission....

So, I told you all last week how we found Alberto, the guy who was looking for his kids and such here and found them and then we found him and had an incredible chat with him and put a fecha. See last week's email if you don't remember. So, we had a cita with him for Wednesday. We went out to km 13 to meet with him in his sister's house again, and we got there at 7, the time of the cita. We knocked and he wasn't there... no one was there. So we sat on a little trash bucket outside his house and waited. We were absolutely devastated to be honest. Wednesday, we had no citas and had been knocking literally all day with less fruits than an apple tree in winter. So we sat. And hoped he was just getting there a touch late. And we kept waiting, and kept hoping. Then, we saw him walking down the street. We were so happy. But he came to see if we were there and to see if he could shower at his sister's house. He has now moved to a tiny little place in km 23 (we live in 4.2, and the church is in 4,7. We take lots of busses) So he couldn't let us in and didn't really have time that night. So we said okay-- we set up a time to go out to 23 to teach him. He had read Alma 36 (i love that chapter for people who are trying to overcome bad decisions in the past) and had liked it. So we set ourselves a cita for Friday at 8. He had done a test on Wednesday for his cirrhosis and would have the results on Friday. So then comes Friday.....

I was on divisions with my bud Elder Skousen in Centro, so this is the story that my companion called to tell me Friday night. They were getting killed again-- another day of straight bitter contacts. so they decided to go to 23 to work. We haven't ever worked out there because of distance and time and such, but they went out to knock a bit before the cita. So they go and they get in a bunch of houses- like 4 houses. They ended up finding 10 news-- incredible. They were just teaching and getting in left and right. Then it came time to meet with Alberto, so they go down to the bus stop to wait for him. they waited. and waited. and then came 2 busses. He got off of the second bus and started walking up the path to the top of the hill where this neighborhood is. My companion chases him and calls his name 3 times. He doesn't respond. They caught up to him and took him a touch by surprise, and he was just so down in the dumps. They asked about his test, and he says it didn't come out well. Oh no. He didn't tell us how bad it was, but its bad. So my companion starts walking with him and talking and trying to animate him a little bit. Alberto says `I'm going to take you to my daughter's house so you can visit them when I'm gone. So they went over and met his 15 year old daughter, Malina. They start talking and its going well. my companion had contacted her earlier in the day and she was begging her mom to let them in, but the mom didn't want to. But now we figured out why-- she had taken the charlas in Buenos Aires and was about to get baptized, but then her parents got separated and she came down here and lost touch with the church. My companion goes-- you know what? We are going to have a baptism on the 14th of August. you know who is getting baptized? She goes... who?  My comp says `ask your dad.` she looks at him. He goes errr..... me. And she looks at him with such awe and happiness and just goes no!!! really!?! And my companion told me when she said this, Alberta just kinda perked up, content that his daughter was happy with him. My companion then says `and Malina-- you know what- you can get baptized with your dad on the 14th as well. She goes `of course!` They then finished talking and arranged transportation to go to church on Sunday. My companion was at the point of tears when he called me, and me listening got there too. It was such a spiritual moment for all of us. I felt so strongly the love of God and how He created that situation to help Alberto in his great moment of need. Really, Alberto was planning on going back to Buenos Aires to die because he doesn't want his kids to see him die. his kids don't even know he is sick. But now, with this, we think he is going to stay here, just so he can be with his daughter and get baptized with her. If there was ever a man who needs the church in his life, it's Alberto. He is so down right now, and this is what he needs.

So then on Saturday, we were getting everything worked out for rides and such. we were going to go out there with a member in his car because the busses don't run as often on Sundays. We were preparing for 5 people in the church-- Alfredo (we taught him with the bishop on Thursday and it was great-- he is so analytical and really is learning. but he starts teaching school again and is going to be really busy.) Damian and Jessica who said they'd come but they are painting and remodeling their house, and Alberto con Malina. We were so excited, and had everything worked out how they were going to get there, and who was going to be their friend and everything. So we start rolling with the plan on Sunday. we leave super early to go out to 23 with a member. we were knocking on Malina`s door and no one answered! blast!!! we then went to Alberto's and found him leaving his door, so it was perfect. we jumped in the car with him and then went back to Malina`s. After knocking again, we decided to just go to church. So we went. We got there about 10 or 15 minutes early, and Alberto was really hesitant to go in. but I said `come on!` and he came in. We were sitting in the sacrament room together and chatting and we found out he had taken the lessons in Buenos Aires and had gone to church some times too. Awesome! we are about 5 minutes before the meeting he leans over and says `I'll be right back—I'm going to run and buy some hard candy to get me through the meeting. I say okay... and he left. And he never came back!!!!!!! I was shocked! I have never even heard of that- having someone 5 minutes before the meeting and then they ran away! BLAST!!! We think he just felt uncomfortable because of all the stuff that's going on and just got overwhelmed. We are going to teach him again on Tuesday-- we went over to 23 and talked to some menos activos to set it up so that we teach Alberto and his daughter in their house because Alberto and his daughter both have really small uncomfortable house. We've got all sorts of stuff worked out for them, to teach them and bring to them to church and everything. I've never done this much work with 2 investigators before, but they are both incredible people, so it is well worth it.

I put some goals for the end of my mission my last transfer in Neuquen and I'm doing pretty well with them-- I wanted to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish my last 2 transfers, and I'm more than halfway now, so I've got about 12 pages per day and I'm there. I've also hit 300 + contacts most of the weeks and am going to do it for sure these next 4 weeks. I also want to baptize again before I go, so we are planning a whole lot for Alberto and his daughter.

Oh!! Big news. Next week we are going to Neuquen for 3 day training on the new stuff they are doing with missions. Luis Tagle was going to get baptized this Saturday, the 31st, but Elder Taylor is working with the hermanas there to get him baptized next week, like the 5th or 6th, so that me, Elder Taylor, Elder Henrie, and Elder Argueta can go back to Allen to see his baptism. I'M SO EXCITED!!!

Other news is that Elder Taylor got some of my old investigators to church this week. We talk a lot and he asked me how I baptized there and who he can baptize there, and I gave him some names and such and he is doing so well. He is an incredible missionary. Whenever we talk, we always joke about how the tables have turned and such. It's great.

Hope you have a great week, family!!!

Elder Jensen

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hello from Taylor

July 19, 2010


Hi family!


It was a fun week of transfers and getting everything set up for this transfer. I am really excited because the majority of my district from Allen are back in the zone, and we are going to play soccer today like we did back in the day in Allen. It's going to be great!


Things are going alright here. We didn't have much time to work today because we had to be in the terminal basically all day on Monday and Tuesday ushering people in and out, and Friday we had a zone meeting and then drove with president down to Esquel to have a zone meeting there on Saturday. We got back to our area at about 5 on Saturday, so we had a couple things that ate a lot of our time this week. But--- we had some miracles happen.


My companion and I are getting along better. In my interview with president, I talked with him about it, and I was talking it became obvious why I am still with him-- he respects me a lot and I realized that we, despite our differences, have a very special bond. I get through to him when I talk, and he's gotten a lot better these two transfers. And he knows me really well and is the one who is going to help me finish my mission well. I really got a testimony in that interview that it's the Lord's will we are still together.


Another miracle we had happened last night. We both during the week felt a bit prompted to go and start working in km. 13. So on Sunday (when we finally had time) we went and got going. We were knocking and not having any real success. We finished this one set of blocks and decided to go to another. In the way, there was a string of 5 houses, so i say lets knock those on the way over. We start and we get to one house that lets us in. (finally!!). we got in and saw a articles of faith card stuck on the mirror in their entry way and we both raised our eyebrows and said ´hmm...´ We started talking with Alberto and he is a pretty incredible man. For the past year and a half, he's been looking for his 7 kids. His wife went crazy one day and ditched him and took his 7 kids, and he has been searching and searching all over the country. He got wind a month ago that they may be here in Bariloche, so he came and has been living with his sister. He didn't have money to make it through his journey, so sometimes he stopped and worked small jobs to get money to eat and to travel, and so now he is here. On Thursday, he found his kids and ex wife. He was just overjoyed. He openly expressed his gratitude to God and got pretty emotional. He said he knows it was God that led him here. He then said ´I'm looking for a church—that's why I let you in.´ So we started. We taught about families, about God's love, about the atonement of Christ and how that can erase all sins. We asked him if he believed that, and he said ´no.. I don't think so.´ We then read parts of Alma 7 and bore strong testimony about how we've been washed clean, and told him he could experience the same. It clicked with him, and the spirit bore powerful testimony that it's true. We then read 14 and 15 in Alma 7 and challenged him to take the steps to repent and be baptized for the 14th of August. He accepted. We then verified it and asked him why he wants to and he said ´I just really want to be clean, to be pure, to get rid of all the bad that i have.´ we asked again if he wants to be baptized and he responds ´´ absolutely.´´ It was a pretty incredible lesson. This man has cirrhosis-- I don't know what it is in English, but its when you drink a lot and it kills your liver. He's quit drinking and the doctors told him a bit ago he has 6 months left. He says ´I've got more than that. I've got to be here for my kids. I'm going to be here for my kids.´ He's a strong guy. A really powerful guy. and we are really excited for him. Hopefully we can stay in contact with him and that he doesn't slip away!


We've got Alfredo as well—he's the 55 year old guy we found last week. We taught him twice this week and both times he was waiting for us with a Fanta and cookies and a notebook to write down the things he learns. We tried to put a fecha with him on Tuesday, but he declined saying he wants to learn more. I don't blame him. I'd say the same thing. But he is reading and loves the book of Mormon. I'm almost certain he is going to be coming to church this Sunday. We've got another young couple named Damien and Jessica who also are planning on coming. This Sunday we didn't have anyone, but next Sunday we are looking at having at least 3 or 4 people there. It's going to be great. We've got a bishop and a ward that really supports and helps new members stay and feel welcomed.


Remember in about January one time I was on divisions here in Bariloche and we found the guy who waved us back to his house and let us in and he had gone to church in Roca, and then 3 months later I was here on divisions again and we taught him and eliminated his doubt about stuff he had read on the internet about the church?? They finally got baptized in a week ago. I love hearing things like that, and it makes me want to work harder because we never know when we are going to find the next familia Guzman (this couple) or Alberto or anyone. 


I love this work. I love this life. 


Elder Jensen  



Friday, July 9, 2010

Update from Argentina

July 5, 2010


Sorry that my letter didn't go through last week! You'll just have double for today.


This week has been so so. We didn't get much forward, and I kinda feel like if you're not moving forwards, you're moving backwards. We have had a lot of challenges this week that made it hard to buckle down and get it done in our area. Monday and Tuesday we were in Esquel and Trevelin working with some missionaries there. They were tough divisions down south-- some elders really struggle because they choose to not like the situation they are in and as a result shut down as a missionary.


Wednesday we were back here and working. This week I think I've had some of the best studies in my entire mission. About a week and a half ago, I put the goal to read the whole book of Mormon in Spanish before I go home. I still haven't done that yet-- and i need to read about 10 pages everyday. I've been doing it, and I'm actually ahead of schedule. And I have learned more this time through the book of Mormon than any other time I have read it in my entire life. It's been really incredible for me because I've really had to pay more attention as I read in Spanish and I am finding a lot of little things-- words that have a bit different translation or connotation in Spanish that just bring the scriptures alive. Then in our companionship studies, we just sit and talk about what we learned for an hour and we debate some stuff and try to figure stuff out. It's easily the best studies I've ever had in my whole mission. Even on the bus ride back from Esquel I pulled out my triple to read-- I love it!


We had a fun Saturday here. Argentina got crushed by Germany in the mundial. We were instructed to either stay in the house and study or go to the chapel to do something productive. We went to the chapel in Centro to be with the other missionaries. This weekend (the 10th) we are having a `white baptism.` we've got  a baptism in our ward, and three others in the other wards in Bariloche, so we are all getting together the next weekend and baptizing the 4 in 1 ceremony. It's going to be really good. Everyone already has passed their interviews and is all ready to go. So we were in the church Saturday morning preparing a musical number for the baptism. Then we realized the hermanas weren't filling the font for their baptism that day, so we rushed over to the font to start filling it. It was filthy, so I took off my shoes and socks and got in there and gave it a good Nan Jensen scrubbing! Luckily we got it going-- the poor hermanas don't get any support from their ward. We missed our lunch doing that, and then ran over to our chapel to have our fecha interviewed, then ran back to Centro because the baptism of the hermanas asked me to baptize her. After that baptism, we went over to another chapel in Bariloche to attend another baptism and do an interview for the district leader there. It was a crazy crazy day.


The rest of the days this week have been filled with snow and rain. It gets really cold here! It's gorgeous as it snows, freezing cold as it rains, and terrible when its windy. But this is the best looking area in the entire mission-- I have zero complaints. I'm willing to get a little chilly and wet if it means working here in this area!


Today we are going up a mountain-- its going to be gorgeous. Get ready for some incredible photos.


Stomach update of the week—I'm going to get my parasite test done next Thursday or Friday when im in Neuquen. The transfer ends this week, so next week I'll be up there for zone leader conference. I've been having pain these past few days, but i think it has something to do with what I've eaten-- pasta with sauce that has tomatoes. The doctor told me to avoid that, but it's a touch difficult to avoid when you're with members. I've also gone completely off milk-- I am back on my soy milk with cereal. A member gave us a big glass of milk last Wednesday, and Thursday morning I about died, so I'm going to wait a bit to try milk again. Like 2 or 3 months ish :) one elder told me if I have a parasite I've got to get a bowl of milk and put my head close by it with my mouth open and the parasite will come crawling out. Gross. I think i might try it just for fun! Elder Crandell wrote me a note in my journal the other week and he put a sticker of a worm and said `thanks for all that milk you drink-- its great down here in your gall bladder!` ha. My parasite is the zone's mascot.


Anyways, this week we are going to teach 20 lessons. We are going to just go out and get it done. Our zone has really dipped these last 2 weeks and I feel a bit responsible because we haven't been as constant in animating the zone as we have been in past weeks. But we've put some good goals for the zone and we are going to work really hard to help them have a good week 6 so that we start next transfer out well. As a zone we've had 5 baptisms so far and we are looking forward to 5 in total this weekend. Our meta was 15 but we'll get 10. I'm nervous for next transfer because we only have 3 fechas for next transfer. It's kinda like we're just fading out and dying. President got some new instruction on preach my gospel from the general authorities this week, so I really hope that is going to spark us to know what to do to have more success. Onwards and upwards!


Elder Jensen