Thursday, March 16, 2017

Mineral Wells Week 1 March 13, 2017 Week Eighty-eight

Hey y'all!

If y'all didn't remember, this last week I was transferred from Flower Mound all the way to Mineral Wells, which by far is the biggest transition I've ever had to make on my mission! Flower Mound was the epitome of suburbia, and Mineral Wells looks like it was ripped straight out of a Pixar movie about race cars...I'll let you guess which one that is. The town embraces its craziness and even advertises it! The people here are absolutely insane and I love it.

My new companion's name is Elder Rowley, and he's been out about 7 months. He's from Walla Walla, Washington of all places, so we're able to talk a lot about things back in Washington that none of my other
companions have understood. We've hit it off pretty well, and we're seeing a lot of success here in Mineral Wells. Because we're both new to the area, we get lost pretty much all the time, but sometimes it works to our advantage as we're able to find people we weren't planning on stopping by but apparently needed to talk with the missionaries right when we pull up.

This is a great area, and Elder Rowley and I both feel confident that we'll see miracles here in the crazy town of Mineral Wells.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

P.S. Here's some photos of the central landmark of the town, the Baker Hotel. The first skyscraper every built outside a Metropolitan area, in its heyday it was a sight to see. Famous guests include Ronald Reagan, LBJ, Charlie Chaplin, Helen Keller, and more. However, it closed down in the 70's and is now allegedly one of the most haunted places in America. They offer tours of it...but not at a time when we can go. :(

Flower Mound Week 30 March 6, 2017 Week Eighty-seven

Hey y'all!

After five transfers, the time has finally come for me to say goodbye to the town of Flower Mound. It's been a difficult place, but I wouldn't trade my time here for anything in the world. As I'm leaving the missionary I trained, he in turn is training a new missionary! I never met my trainer's trainer, my trainer never met his trainer's trainer, and that goes back as far as we all know. Finally, somebody will meet their "mission grandson." As for me, I'm shipping off to the crazy, crazy town of Mineral Wells, which is right next to the town of Graham, my 3rd area. Mineral Wells is likely going to be my last area, which is a sad thought. It's not that I don't want to go to Mineral Wells; on the contrary, I'm stoked out of my mind to be going there. Rather, the idea that I likely only have one area left is a sad one, because it means my mission has almost come to a close. My new companion is somebody named Elder Rowley; I've never met him, but he hasn't ever been in Mineral Wells either; we're whitewashing in!

Once again, I don't have a whole lot of time to write this week due to the choir practice my companion is in, but I want you all to know that I'm doing well and that as good as things have been, I know there's more good things to come.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

P.S. Here's my new address: 3001 Northeast 2nd Street #208, Mineral Wells, TX 76067

Flower Mound Week 29 February 27, 2017 Week Eighty-six

Hey y'all!

This week could've easily been a hard week. Because we had lost our phone last week during weekly planning we didn't have many appointments set up; we mostly did finding. However, we weren't able to even find a lot of new investigators! However, the ones we DID find I feel were pretty solid, so I'm not complaining a ton.

The new key indicators have really changed the nature of the work, or at least it has in this area. Instead of trying to milk stagnant investigators for lessons, we're trying to help people progress and trying to find more investigators of a higher quality. The upside to that is I think we'll see more success in the long run. The downside is all the short term losses we feel. We find people who we help progress and grow close to, but then they drop us sooner than they normally would, allowing us to build friendships to be broken faster than ever. I'm not trying to sound pessimistic, because this WILL lead to finding people who are truly worth our time, but that being said, it was heartbreaking to see Elder Petrucka's reaction when our two most progressing investigators dropped us this last week. We found them through our own efforts, we taught them, we helped them overcome obstacles in their way, and we were still dropped by Ingrid and Ryan about a month after first finding them.

All this is to say you could probably understand if we were feeling down this week. In the contrary though, I feel great. Maybe I've been sleeping better than usual, or maybe there's something in the water that wasn't there before, but I feel like there's still hope for this area, like Christ is still working for the salvation of God's children in the Flower Mound 3rd Ward. It's still not going to be easy going forward, but it will definitely be worth it once a willing soul is found.

I don't have much more time to write this week; my companion is in an acapella quartet our mission is putting together for an unnamed event, and the practice is about an hour away. In between driving and the practice itself, the practice takes up about four hours of our P-Day, and we still have to accomplish everything else we would have. I'm sure the song will be great though!

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

Flower Mound Week 28 February 20, 2017 Week Eighty-five

Hey y'all!

This week was definitely one of the stranger ones I've had on my mission. Early on in the week we were helping a member of our congregation move, and then we went immediately to our dinner. While eating, we discovered that our phone had gone missing! We retraced our steps, but our phone was nowhere to be found. We reasoned that it was either in this member's now empty home or sitting in a moving box in his home in Denton, which is in an entirely different Stake! Missionary work now became much more difficult, as in order to confirm all of our appointments we had to knock on the door of every person we were going to teach the day before we did it. We had no idea if anybody was trying to reach out to us, we couldn't plan super well, and we were terrified by the prospect of calling and collecting numbers without any means to do so. Needless to say, there was much praying this week. Then, wouldn't you know, after having exhausted every possible resource, a member of our congregation knocked on our door ten minutes before we needed to call for numbers to give us our phone! He had heard of our plight, tracked down the man who might have our phone, and they searched through all their boxes to finally find it.

Other than that, there's not a whole much to report about this week. One of our investigators died while we had lost our phone, and five people ended up dropping us, but we were still able to find a fair amount of success. We didn't have a lesson with Ingrid and Ryan, but we have one tonight. Hopefully it will go well!

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

Flower Mound Week 27 (I think) February 13, 2017 Week Eighty-four

Hey y'all!

I don't have a whole lot to report on this week. We went on exchange with our Zone Leaders, and I was the one that was sent over to their area. While we were on this exchange Elder Petrucka went with one of our Zone Leaders to go teach Ingrid and Ryan, and so my limited knowledge of what happened then came from the two of them. Ingrid had been reading in the Book of Mormon, but apparently it was all flying over her head because of the way it was written. They tried to help her understand the older English that was used, but then they realized that she had several basic misunderstandings when it came to the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They went over it again very simply, and apparently she understood it a lot better. She got really excited upon hearing certain parts of it, because she has a lot of apprehension and mistrust when it comes to many large churches because of the scandals and corruption that follow them; when she learned that they didn't have the fullness of Christ's Gospel, it all began to click together in her head. They left them with a pamphlet that goes over the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a simple way, and we're hoping that it will help them in their fledgling testimonies.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot to report. We had almost all of our appointments cancel on us, and so we spent a lot of time knocking on doors. On the bright side, most of the week the weather was fairly nice, but on Saturday it was almost 90 degrees with high humidity! Elder Petrucka with despair in his voice, said at one point, "At least now I have a taste of what summers are like here." I laughed so hard, because that is going to be NOTHING compared to what summers in Texas are like.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Love, Elder Jensen

Flower Mound Week 26 February 6, 2016 Week Eighty-three

Hey y'all!

I don't have a whole lot of time to email this week, so I'll keep it to a bare bones minimum. Elder Petrucka and I saw a lot of success this week as we continued to follow up on people from the Book of Mormon Blitz. There was a lot of people who told us to come back in an hour or so, and when we did they had cleared out completely. By this point in my mission this doesn't even faze me, but Elder Petrucka, being fairly new, still didn't appreciate being stood up by so many people. It's a sad reality of missionary work that some people will appreciate what we do and others will do their best not to speak with us, whether they hide underneath their car, pretend to be busy on the phone, literally run into their homes in fear, or jump in their car and peel out (all of which I've seen on my mission). However, the people that listen to what we say and consider the doctrine taught by the restored church truly make it worth it, because we are able to see the joy of the gospel enter into their lives.

We did get a chance to see Ingrid and Ryan this week again. We probably won't ever see Stephany again, since she's moving to Houston, but we're confident that if she's able to find the LDS missionaries down there that she'll listen to them. Ingrid had been reading more in the Book of Mormon, and she's truly feeling the truth of it impressed upon her soul. When we spoke with them this week, she opened up to a verse that had particularly impacted her: Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. (Alma 40:11). It's incredible to see how just a simple verse testifying of the resurrection, life after death, and the premortal life can have such a huge impact on people. The Book of  Mormon really was correct when it said that by small and simple things are great things come to pass.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

P.S. Here's a picture of our mission at the worldwide missionary broadcast a few weeks ago

Gathering the elect January 30, 2017 Week Eighty-two

Hey y'all!

This week was definitely an interesting one, filled with lots of highs and lots of lows. To start off, let me tell you about one of the more noteworthy things that happened this week. Many of you may have heard about this, but for those who didn't, this past Wednesday, there was a worldwide missionay broadcast that centered on topics such as teaching repentance and baptizing converts, as well as some changes to our schedule and the things we focus on as missionaries. Because Wednesday was our transfer day, we instead got together on Friday as a mission to watch it and then ask President Whitney about the new changes. One of the biggest changes is the flexibility we now have with our schedule. Originally, all missionaries worldwide were supposed to arise at 6:30, go out to proselyte at 10, return at 9 PM, and be in bed by 10:30. Now, we're able to change our schedules as local circumstances allow (missionaries in Latin American countries get up later and stay out later, missionaries in Africa get out earlier and get back earlier, etc). One of the larger changes that was universally hailed by missionaries around the world as inspired is an extra two hours in our preparation day! No complaints here!

The other big change that was announced was what we would report at the end of each week. Prior to this broadcast, there were nine "key indicators" that allowed us to measure our progress and see where we needed to improve. Now, however, after studying for years and determining which indicators are truly key for measuring success, they've cut the list down to only four! It's giving us a lot of focus as missionaries as to what's truly important, and we'll definitely see increased success because of this.

We're already starting to see this success begin. Due to the high number of copies of the Book of Mormon ws handed out last week, a lot of our time was dedicated to following up on these people. Out of the fifteen people we gave copies of the Book of Mormon to, five of them told us they weren't interested and never wanted us to come back (this is in addition to inactive members and random passerby who also told us the same thing this week). In addition to this, several other people dropped us too, which could have made this week a very gloomy one, especially since Elder Petrucka has such little experience as a missionary. However, there was still some success this week. In order to fully understand, y'all need to understand a situation we were in with our Book of Mormon Blitz last week.

We had set a goal of placing 15 copies of the Book of Mormon by the time we turned in on Sunday night, and it was now 8:00 PM on Sunday night. We had placed 14 copies of the Book of Mormon, and with about an hour left to place our last copy, we prayerfully considered where we needed to go. We decided to go to an apartment complex that we had already placed 7 copies of the Book of Mormon in, and we began knocking doors. We met lots of interesting people, but nobody particularly wanted to talk with us. However, we had time for one last door, and this had to be the one. We knocked on the door, and a woman who looked just a year or two older than us. We began talking to her, but she didn't seem too interested. Elder Petrucka felt prompted to ask her if we could share a quick message from the Book of Mormon (she said yes), and so he shared with her 1 Nephi 3:7, which reads: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." Now interested, she invited us in to talk with her and her boyfriend who she lives with. When she asked us to share another scripture from the Book of Mormon with her, we shared Helaman 5:12, which reads, "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." They really liked the scripture and gladly accepted their own copy of the Book of Mormon. We left their home grateful that God has led us to somebody who would take a copy of the Book of Mormon so we could reach our goal, but we were unsure how receptive they would be in the future, since we weren't sure if it was then that was talking or the alcohol they had been drinking.

This last week, as we were out and about one evening, we decided to check in on them and see how they were doing. The couple, named Ingrid and Ryan, answered the door (fully sober) and invited us in. We had planned to share with them the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but they had another friend over named Stephany who was going through a really hard time in her life. We taught them about the  purpose of our life on Earth and the role that trials have in that. We didn't have time to share the message we planned on, but we did express to them that we had a message we wanted to share with them about the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon hearing that, they told us to come back again and gave us their phone number so that we could schedule an appointment. Stephany told us, "Make sure you text them and set up an appointment, because want to be here when y'all come back." 

Here in Flower Mound we are seeing a literal fulfilment of prophesy. President Russell M. Nelson once said, "The Book of Mormon is central to this work. It declares the doctrine of the gathering [of Israel]. It causes people to learn about Jesus Christ, to believe His gospel, and to join His Church. In fact, if there were no Book of Mormon, the promised gathering of Israel would not occur." President Ezra Taft Benson said, "The Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to 'sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect.' (Moses 7:62.)" Despite all the setbacks we are seeing, we are still seeing success. Though we have found many, many tares, that does not diminish the value of the wheat that we find out here in our labors. Ultimately, even if Ryan, Ingrid, and Stephany were to drop us right now, we still would be blessed because we are laboring with all our heart, might, mind, and strength in the Lord's Vineyard. We'll do everything we can to help them progress, but that isn't up to us to determine. We will work our hardest and leave the harvest to the Lord.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen