Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Taylor's last letter from Argentina

August 16, 2010


Every new beginning comes from some others beginning's end---


Dear Family-

This past week has been great. We did 331 contacts this week-- I haven't shut up yet! And we were able to find 8 people and teach 12 lessons. Not bad for our area. The best though is that we put two fechas!! One is with a lady named Lys who we have been teaching for about 2 months. She was the one who went to Disneyworld for 3 weeks (well she actually couldn't get a visa so she went to Rio de janero in Brazil). She came back and came to church last week, and last Tuesday we put a fecha with here. She is really funny because she is super firm. She has such a strong personality and when she makes decisions, she is really strong in them. So when we challenged her, at first she didn't want to, but putting in practice what we learned last week in Neuquen we were able to bring the spirit and have her accept a fecha. It was a really spiritual experience. We were teaching her in the house of Rosa and Luciana- our converts. They have become friends and really help each other. Lys is funny-- one time she told us `I don't understand why Rosa cries all the time when she talks about how the church changed her life. to me that seems really pathetic and weak!` haha. We told her she'll understand. And it's just a way for them to express themselves. But she is incredible-- we left her a reading calendar on Saturday with some questions of the soul and a chapter to read each day. We passed by Sunday night and she had already read 10 days. She says `I was bored and didn't have anything to do, and i like reading. ` It's been a great experience for us, watching her develop a testimony. I think she fits the word `investigator' better than any other convert I've had. She is really analytical and really wants to know for herself.

Her fecha (baptism) is for the 18th of September. The day after we put the fecha, her sister came up from Bolson and she invited her sister to the baptism and it turns out the sister was baptized a couple of years ago in Bolson! What a small world. Lys smokes a lot, but last night we challenged her to quit. She loves challenges and I have no doubt she'll quit smoking really fast. It's fun to see the spirit work in people. I know that in the process of teaching her, I have been prompted to say and ask things that I wouldn't normally ask or say. Things really bold. And it works! It's exactly what she needs to hear. I am excited for her, and we've already set it up that I'm going to call her on the 18th- the day of her baptism

It'ss been a tough week with my companion. He has a really tough personality-- we were talking about it yesterday. He treats people really bad and this week was like a black hole sucking out all of our animo. We talked about it and he just kinda laughed and said yep that's how I am I like to do things to make others suffer or get mad. He' nuts. But I've really felt like I've had the backpack this week. I expressed that to him after church on Sunday and he said `I know I've been doing it on purpose.` but this week he promised to work hard so we finish really well together.

So with that in mind, I've learned a lot this week. On Thursday, I was really frustrated because we hadn't been teaching or finding this week, and my friend acted as if he couldn't care less. I studied really hard Preach My Gospel chapter 9-- how to find. I was struck by the amount of times it talks about having the faith to find. It reminded me of what Pres. Cook taught-- contacts show work, new people shows faith. I went to bed Thursday night decided to find people the next day, and to have the faith that I'd be able to. Friday morning we get up and go. And you know what? We get into the first house we knock. We taught a really good lesson to a couple of guys from Buenos Aires and it was a really good lesson. I was so happy. Friday we had a fantastic day-- we ended up teaching 6 lessons, finding 5 and doing a bunch of contacts. I realized the importance in having faith to find. It was something that for me has bee wavering a bit this transfer. But now I've realized the importance of having it and being determined to get into a house. It requires confidence. It requires animo. It requires faith. I love it.

The other thing I learned this week is prayer. I have finally begun to understand the importance of prayer. These past 4 nights, I have knelt and prayed for literally 5 or 6 minutes. And it makes a HUGE difference. I feel great doing it, and I know its what I am supposed to be doing. I am really hoping I can make this a part of my regular life. I know that it is through these prayers that I have received revelation personal about the things I should do in my area, do in my companionship, and do in my life to be a better representative of Christ. Its through prayer that we receive personal revelation, and it's about time I started learning that, huh?

On Sunday we were knocking in a neighborhood that doesn't have a single member. We were talking about that and at one point we said `well, its time to get members in coihues!` The next house we knocked, we got in and taught a lesson. After 11 minutes in the lesson, the investigator had a fecha. And after 20 we prayed and left. It was awesome. It was exactly what we learned to do in NQN last week. We were really excited, and this area is coming back to life.

We are excited for this week. We are going to Esquel today and tomorrow for their district meeting, and we are going to work with some elders that are struggling down there. Then Wednesday we'll be back here for a district meeting with those in Barilo. then we're going to work our hardest and get 300+ contacts and teach and put some more fechas. Last week I was really preoccupied with how I was finishing—I'm devastated I'm not baptizing this last transfer-- and I've been worried that we haven't been finding or teaching as much as I wanted to. But these past 3 days I have felt the confirmation of the spirit that I am finishing well. That I am working hard. Elder Argueta talked to me about that-- that no missionaries do 300 contacts their last weeks, that no one has so much desires to teach and work as I have, and no one avoids being trunky like I have. It felt really good to get that confirmation that what I am doing is acceptable for the Lord.

It's snowing a bit today-- and it couldn't be more gorgeous.

It is with great emotion and tenderness that I write this letter today. It is funny how in the MTC one waits with so much anxiety to receive their flight plans, whereas here at the end of my mission I have been dreading that envelope with flight plans. I have about 100 different emotions right now as I enjoy my last p-day here in Bariloche. I've felt a lot of anxiousness, wanting to get out and talk to as many people as I can this last week. I feel a lot of nervousness, thinking about the transition back to life without a plaque. I feel stress thinking about packing my life of 2 years into 2 suitcases!! I feel really awkward already!! It's hard to put into words what these two years have meant for me, the things I've learned, and the person I've become. I am excited to be able to see you all next week, and I'll try to sleep as much as I can on the plane so I can spend time with you all! I have a lot of mixed feelings-- on one hand, I never want to stop my service here in Argentina, and on the other I am ready to see my family again. (and sleep past 630! ha!)

Dad-- thank you for your advice. I think I feel very much the same-- I firmly believe that being a missionary is the absolute best calling in the church, and the best thing that could happen to me. I'm going to miss it dearly. But I'll just have to adjust and to the things I've learned here in a different style of life.  I am preparing my talk-- sorry i forgot to tell you that I'll do it. i am also preparing to spend as much time as possible with the fam—I'm excited to see my friends, but I'd really like to spend most of my time with you all.

I want to share my testimony one more time through email that i know God loves us and that we are His children. I know that the families can be eternal, and I know that we must have faith in Jesus Christ to make that possible. He died for us. He took every error that I have made upon his shoulders so that I can come back to His presence to be judged and if I do my part I'll go to that judgment without spot or sin. I am eternally grateful for His sacrifice for sin and cannot wait for the day in which I can look Him in the eyes, feel for myself the marks in his hands and wet his feet with my tears. He is my Savior, and has redeemed me from my errors. I love this gospel. I love life. I love knowing that God loves us and that we will live with him again. There is nothing that brings more peace to my life than this. And the Spirit I have felt and learned to love here in Argentina will be something that I treasure for the rest of my life. I can feel such a difference in the moments that I have the spirit and in those that I don't. I have a new resolution to live my life in such a way that I will always have His spirit with me, so that I can live this life in the best way possible, so that I can be happy and help lift the burdens of others. I testify that these things are true, and leave these 2 years as evidence that I know they are true.

I love you all, and thanks for the letters today from Camie Jared and Putzer. You are all awesome. See you next Wednesday at 9 AM

Elder Taylor Alan Jensen

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Forgot to send this last week!

August 9, 2010


A GREAT week! As you know, we were up in NQN for 3 days for the training and the zone leader consejo. We were in meetings from about 8:30 till 5 or 6 every day. It was a lot. But i LOVED it! All of my best friends in the mission were there-- my buds from the office who are now zone leaders, elder Taylor, the office that is still in the office. It was just a blast. And luckily I was so excited to see them-- if it wasn't for that excitement, I'd have been toast. Monday night I couldn't sleep-- i got 4 hours of sleep. Then on the all nighter bus ride Tuesday night, I slept an hour and a half. But I had more energy those three days in Neuquen than I've had in a long long time. It was so fun!


The training was really good. I was really intrigued because nothing was new--- everything we read and practiced came straight out of the scriptures or predicad mi evangelio. There were 8 sessions-- (lets see if i can name them all...) 1. Doctrine of Christ. Revelation through Prayer. Revelation through the book of Mormon. Revelation through attending church. How to begin teaching. asking inspired questions. Oh no... I am forgetting two. Oh well. But it was really good-- there was a big push in not falling into a routine when teaching. We talked a lot about questions and asking inspired questions, and in leaving silence while teaching. I loved it because those things were things I had already started to work on as a teacher. It was a blast, and we all participated a lot. I was struck as I looked around the room.  thought in my mind `wow. How many times am I going to sit down for hours with 20 of my best friends and talk about the scriptures and how to teach like this? It's incredible that 20 20 year olds would gladly do that. I know I don't have much time to put it in practice, but I'm working hard on doing the things we learned. The mission is going to be a lot better, and we are going to be such powerful teachers if we can get this going. It's at times like these when I say `aw man why couldn't I have learned that two years ago??? But everything has there time.


On Wednesday, we went and saw the Sepulvedas. Matias showed me his `mission carpeta (folder) where he has all his papers that he is filling out. He's planning to leave next year. It's incredible to think he's going to go on a mission. I am so happy for him, and he is excited. He's preparing himself very well, and is teaching with the missionaries a lot. He is actively teaching and working with his brother who still hasn't been baptized yet. I love that family so much. And they basically run the ward now. hno Sepulveda is the young men's president. Hermana is the relief society president. Jackie is the primary president. Fernando is the ward mission leader and gospel doctrine teacher. they run the ward. It's incredible how solid they are.


Thursday we went and visited Ezequiel. He's doing great-- he has a suit and tie and his mom bought him a bunch of church DVD`s and scriptures. He is a good kid.


Friday, me elder Taylor, Argueta and Henrie went to Allen. We saw Luis and his wife (who got married that morning. They ended up getting baptized on Saturday). We saw the oƱate, Gladys, Edgardo Millequeo, and the Etchegaray with Gonzalo Marquez, and Octavio Moreno (the WML.) it was awesome. I have a lot of friends there, and we helped a lot of people there too. It was great to go and see all of them one more time.


Love you!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Elder Jensen will arrive back in Cincinnati on August 25th

August 2, 2010


Hi all--


It was a tough week. We had some challenges health wise between me and my companion. We took turns waking up sick. We are back to normal now, but its tough to work when you're sick!!


We have been really struggling to find and teach these past 2 weeks. We really haven

t taught much or found many new people. We are still working hard-- we did 321 contacts week 1, 305 week 2, and 317 this week. That was one of my goals-- get lots of contacts. But I almost don't want to count them because in doing almost 1000 contacts, we've found about 15 people this transfer. That's probably the lowest ratio I've had in my whole mission! But we are still trying hard.


Teaching Alberto was pretty rough this week. We went out there several times, but couldn't really teach him. On Tuesday, we went out there to teach Alberto and Malvina. We knocked the door of the house where he was staying, and he came outside and talked to us for a while. He told us he had gone to the doctor's for some problems he was having, and they did a whole bunch of exams for free. Turns out he isn't sick at all! He doesn't have any blood in his liver or anything! He was just crying as he told us this. He was so happy. And we were too. Then out comes the guy that owns the house where he was staying and the first thing the guy says to us is `i believe in a living Christ. ` and we say ... we do too... and then he just goes on a tirade just killing us and saying whatever thing about us and how its not good that we are outside at 8 o'clock working and that we knock doors at 2 in the afternoon and how Joseph Smith isn't the savior of the world and just all this trash. We kept our cool and just said `okay. Great! Yep. Good for you.` just taking all these blows. It was incredible. He told us several times how he was very bothered that we were talking to Alberto, and how he was trying to heal Alberto and didn't want any `turbulence` in the process. It was awful. Absolutely a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. Then when he was done running his mouth he went back inside, and we arranged to meet Alberto in the house of some menos activos to teach him and his daughter. Alberto is looking for a new place to live because he doesn't want to be with those crazies either.


So the next day we went back and gosh it is so hard to find those two. The situation is so hard. Finally we got the two of them together and went over to the MA house and taught for just a quick little time because it was already late. We agreed to meet again on Friday to do the same, but when we got there Friday, neither of them were able to do it. We went to pick them up on Sunday, but neither was there again. All in all, we probably won't be going out to KM 23 very much more just because its expensive and is a lot of time, and the situation just is not stable enough to teach the gospel for now. It just broke our hearts. We probably are going to go out and see if we can find them one more time, but it just really is stretching us way too far and the situation just is not good for now.


In other news, we are going to NQN Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for a special training with all the changes. I'm excited to learn some new stuff that will help me this last little bit, and I'm also excited to see my Neuquen converts and also go to Allen to see Luis's baptism. That's going to be so great!!!


Me and my companion are getting along so well. We are just such good friends-- we've finally come to the stage where we just get along no matter what. And the best-- he said `please` for the first time the other day! haha. And he told me he was going to cry when I left! aw man... we're just good friends. We've already got a deal or two worked out—I'm going to send him beef jerky and he's going to send me alfajores. We finally started learning English together too. We had a long chat the other day about his future. He just doesn't have one in El Salvador, and so he wants to go the states. I told him he had to learn English to have a chance to get in and he got really excited about doing it. Its fun-- I like talking to latins in English. It's fun.


Have a great week!!


Elder Jensen