Monday, July 11, 2016

Halfway Point..... :(‏ July 11, 2016 Week Fifty-four

Hey y'all!

As you can probably surmise from the subject line, one of the worst days in a missionaries service came this week- the halfway point. From here on out, every day will be my last on my mission (last July 20th, last July 21st, etc.). Actually, that's not entirely true, because while I did leave on the 8th of July, I'll actually get home on July 13, 2017, which means I'll have a few days that I'll experience three times as a missionary. Hooray for serving slightly over two years!

This week was super busy! It started off with an Independence Day, where we had tons of appointments (and we were fed at all of them), and then we had normal P-Day things like shopping and laundry to do in top of that! The rest of the week we've been rushing from service to lessons, to meetings, to meals, and more! We've definitely seen some miracles this week too. We've had lots of solid investigators drop off the face of the earth for about a month, and all of a sudden they all answered their doors, answered their phones, or texted back. All things considered, they had pretty legitimate reasons, like going to Houston for a month, going to California for a month, tearing their MCL and ACL, being eight months pregnant and sick, and being hit by a car. All things considered, it's pretty incredible that they were even able to speak with us at all! God really has blessed both them and us, because otherwise there's no way all this could work out the way it did. We're just hoping and praying we'll be able to stay in contact with them.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

Happy Independence Day!!! July 4, 2016 Week 53

Hey y'all!

First off, HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!! I'm so happy to be able to celebrate the birth of this country where we can live and worship as we please. God founded this country upon the same principles that the Plan of Salvation revolves around: freedom to choose and our love for God and His Son. I got to play the National Anthem on the organ in both Wards yesterday, and I figuratively (and literally) pulled out all the stops (except for the tremulant stops, because those are just the worst). The best part about it was that 90% of everybody there is serving or has served in the armed forces, and so they all sang their hearts out. It's definitely going to be one of the highlights of my mission.

President Ames went home this last Thursday. We were all really sad, but we knew his time had come. We got to meet our new Mission President on Saturday, and while he's very green around the ears, he's super excited to work with us.

I don't have a lot of time to write today, since we're going to be running nonstop today until about 8:30 PM, but in the meantime, may God bless America.

Elder Jensen

Friday, July 1, 2016

Transfers.......?‏ June 28, 2016 Week Fifty-two

Hey y'all!

This week was an interesting one. Elder Hughes and I have been together for two transfers, and it's pretty rare to stay together longer than that. We knew one of us was going to leave this time, but neither of us wanted to go. When we got a phone call from our Zone Leaders this morning, we mournfully answered. Turns out- we're both staying. For a third transfer. WWHHOOOOOO!!! We've got some great stuff lined up in this area, and we're truly going to see miracles this transfer.

Elder Hughes and I picked up another solid new investigator this week. A less-active member invited us over to his house, and we didn't quite know what to expect. Turns out, his (wife? Girlfriend? We don't know) wants to get baptized! We taught her the the first lesson and now we have a lesson scheduled with them every week. The only problem is that she has short term memory issues. So, she's like Dory, but not quite as bad. It's going to be super interesting teaching the both of them.

My Mission President, President Ames, also goes home on Thursday. Booooooooooooo......

Today is an especially special day, because 172 years ago Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were shot and killed in the Carthage Jail. Being out here in Texas, we're daily surrounded by people who fight against us daily, who seek nothing but to tear is down. I can't count all the Anti-Mormon arguments that have been thrown at us, or all the people screaming at us that we're going to hell, or all the hatred towards Joseph Smith and what he did. Every day that we go through things like that, I reflect on how Joseph and Hyrum knew this work to be of God, and how this belief of theirs was so strong that they were willing to die for it. Wicked men believed that by killing them, they could end the "Mormon cult," but here we are today, boldly testifying that this church is true, that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, and that Joseph Smith was indeed a Prophet of God called by Him to usher in the last dispensation. Hot dang, I love being a missionary.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

The Refiner's Fire June 20, 2016 Week Fifty-one

Hey y'all! 

 This week was definitely an interesting one. First off, Elder Hughes
turned twenty on Wednesday and I turned nineteen on Saturday. Yup.
Another year older. We each got a phone call from the Mission Office
telling (singing, actually) is happy birthday. Yup. Everybody in the
area found out it was our birthdays, but everybody was super busy, so
we got about a dozen meals dropped off to us. 

 You're probably wondering why this email is called the refiner's fire.
There's actually a couple of reasons why. Starting with the small
trial, (actually a double entendre on the word fire) it was HOT this
will. Killeen has always been super humid, but now it's pretty
intense. If we have a few hours open in our schedule, we usually just
try and walk around to try and visit some potential investigators
we've met in the past. The problem is, we'll walk around from 1
immediately after lunch time until it's time for dinner in 100+ degree
temperature with 100%+ humidity.....I might have been exaggerating
about the humidity, but it's still pretty bad (about 80-90%). It
wouldn't be too bad it we knew that this was the worst that it would
get, but this is nothing compared to August down
here......yaaaaaaaayyyyyyy........ Oh, well. I've gone through one
summer here, I can go through another. 

 The other reason for the title is something that taught me that
walking around in the hot sun isn't too much to handle at all. One of
our Investigators who was close to getting baptized told us this week
that that would probably be the last time we spoke with her. When we
asked why not, she told us that she was getting kicked out of her
house, which means she'll be living out on the streets.....and she
lives DEEP in the hood.......and she had the toes on her right foot
amputated.......and they're infected. Yeah, she's got it hard. We gave
her a blessing, and then we taught her about trials instead of what we
were planning on. God could easily provide a way for her to
immediately be healed and keep her house, but she feels like this is a
trial that God wants her to endure. It brings to mind a quote from
Joshua 14:12: Give me this mountain. God gives us all problems that
aren't fair at all, but He isn't necessarily punishing anyone- He's
giving us a burden to strengthen us and prepare us for greater things
in the future. While I pity Mary for being in the situation she is, I
wish that I also had the strength to say to God, "Give me this
mountain to climb." 

 Hope y'all have a great week! 

 Elder Jensen

Miracles in Killeen! June 13, 2016 Week Fifty

Hey y'all! 

 We have seen some incredible things happen this week! We were super
busy all week, and some crazy stuff went down. On Tuesday, we went on
exchange with the Spanish Elders in our district, and I actually
managed to retain quite a bit of my Spanish-speaking skills......Until
we went to a Cuban family's home. Turns out Cubans speak a completely
different dialect of Spanish than all other Hispanics, and I was
completely lost. Who knew? 

 We saw another awesome thing happen when a less active member came up
to us this past Sunday and asked us to come to his house and have
dinner. His wife is not a member, but she wants to come to our church.
Before she comes she wants to be taught more about our church, which
happens to be exactly what we're here to do. We ended up teaching her
the first lesson that we teach, and at the end of the lesson we
invited her to be baptized. She answered with a resounding yes! We
haven't spoken with them about when she will get baptized yet, but we
are still very excited. Her name is Ceci (pronounced like Stacy
without the "s"), and his name is Hunter. It's weird to be teaching
someone so young. Hunter is 20 years old only a month older than Elder
Hughes. Ceci on the other hand, is 19 and they're expecting a child in
about three months so their family is already beginning to grow. 

 We had zone Council this week, and it was awesome! We spoke about
goals we wanted to set for the month of July. After long deliberation
we determined that we would shoot for a goal of six people baptized in
our stake in the month of July. Almost everyone had a name to put
forward which adds up to almost 6, but not quite. However, in the next
few days we were, as Nephi would say, "exceedingly blessed." An
investigator of ours came to church, and he said he loved it so much
that he was going to bring his entire family next week. He said that
he wants to join this church and is willing to do whatever it takes!
We also had another less active move in, and she has two grand
daughters that have already taken all the lessons and are interested
in getting baptized! We also have another investigator named Mary who
wants to get baptized very soon. The only thing holding her back is
the fact that she recently had all of her toes on her right foot
amputated, and she needs the doctors approval in order to submerge it
in water. All were waiting for with her is her OK from the doctor to
be baptized. Our goal for the zone as of Friday was six for the month
of July but now, Elder Hughes and I could potential he baptize eight
people in July just by ourselves (and with the help of the Lord, of
course)! 

We are truly seeing miracles down here in Killeen, and we're hoping
and praying that nothing changes anytime soon. 

 Hope y'all have a great week! 

 Elder Jensen

A sad week.....‏June 6, 2016 Week Forty-nine

Hey y'all!

You're probably all wondering why the subject said this week was sad. There's two major reasons. To be honest, this week was actually pretty great, but there were two things that happened that were pretty sad. The first was when an LMTV (troop transport similar to a bus) rolled over on base into a river swollen from recent storms. Out of the twelve people in the vehicle, nine were killed, and the other three are critical. Everybody here is praying for the families of everyone involved, because they're undoubtedly in need of some help and comfort at this time.

The other sad thing that happened was that we had Stake Conference yesterday. Normally, that would be awesome (yesterday's conference was one of the best I've been to), but it was the last time I got to see my Mission President before he goes home, unless I get called to leadership for the next transfer, in which case I will see him the day before he goes home.

There was some good news this week though. My companion, Elder Hughes, has some painful lumps growing in random places all over his body. We went to the doctor to get them checked out, and we were told that he has lyphoma and has tumors growing all over his body. We were terrified until she explained that he had lyphoma, not lymphoma. Lyphoma is when you have fatty benign tumors growing on yourself because your body doesn't know how to store fat properly. So yeah, we're super happy he doesn't have cancer. 

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

President Ames' Last Zone Conference!‏ May 30, 2016 Week Forty-eight

Hey y'all!

This was a really great week. We had our quarterly Zone Conference, and in my opinion, it was the best one so far. The Spirit was so strong! At every Zone Conference of ours we have a part near the end where any Missionary who will be home before the next Zone Conference can bear their testimony to the other missionaries, and this time was really special for a number of reasons. First off, I got to hear my trainer give his departing testimony, which almost made me cry. Then, our Mission President and his wife gave one, during which we all cried. Also, about half of us were recording it, and so we all rewatched it multiple times.

I'm pretty drained right now to be honest. Over the past four days, we've spent about thirty hours at the church for random Missionary meetings, which really took the energy of of Elder Hughes and I. I'll tell y'all more next week!

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

New Transfer! May 23, 2016 Week Forty-seven

Hey y'all!

This week was relatively uneventful. Sadly, the trio has left us; Elder Hughes and I are staying together here, but Elder Winterbottom has left us to head up to Keller, right next door from where I was trained. I'm excited for him, especially since he's going to be a district leader, but we are going to miss him. It means that we're going to have to find more exchanges to go with us into the homes of people, but that's not a bad thing. It'll force us to push ourselves, and that can only lead us to further success.

We had a really cool experience with one of our investigators this week. He's this nine year old boy named Nicholas, and he's one of the funniest people I've ever met. He's high functioning autistic, and he has a disorder that will make him refute whatever information he is presented with. Once he latches onto something though, he will never disbelieve it. His family is all members, but they're less-active and haven't gone to church in years. We went to go teach him this week, and he remembered everything that we had taught him PERFECTLY. He has always had this issues where he believes that Jesus was a zombie because he died but then came back to life, but this week he made quite a bit of progress. He latched onto the concept of faith, saying things like, "We don't actually know if there's life after death, but we have faith that there is, and so we do good things just in case there is," or, "Jesus might have been a zombie, but we have faith that he isn't, and we'll find out when we meet him some day." He still has some issues wrapping his head around evolution vs. creationism, and the trinity, but he's made some huge progress and is very close to getting baptized.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

Transfers! May 16, 2016 Week Forty-six

Hey y'all! 

 We had a great week down here in Killeen! Unfortunately, Elder
Winterbottom is going to be leaving to head up North, but both Elder
Hughes and I will be staying, and we'll be staying as a normal,
two-man companionship. Fortunately, my trainer, Elder Griffin will be
coming down here to be companion to Elder Mohrmann, who is also down
here. It's going to be great seeing him regularly, since I've only
seen him a couple of times over the past few months. The crazy thing
is that Elder Griffin follow up trained Elder Mohrmann, and then a
transfer after Elder Mohrmann had left, Elder Griffin trained me in
the same area! Now, Elder Griffin is coming down to be with Elder
Mohrmann again right next door to me, and he'll probably stay here
until he goes home! 

 The highlight of this week was definitely the Baptism on Saturday!
Penelope got baptized, and she was so happy! The crazy thing is she
was taught for the first time about three weeks ago, and she has
already read the entire Book of Mormon, and she completely believes
everything we tell her! She's such a happy old lady; all the
missionaries love her. 

 Hope y'all have a great week!

 Elder Jensen

Penelope's Baptism with the Hermanas (who originally found her)



Happy Mother's Day May 9, 2016 Week Forty-five

Hey y'all! 

First off, yesterday was Mother's Day, one of the most universally
looked forward to cause for missionaries! We all got to call/Skype or
families, and we had a great time doing it. I love my family so much,
it's not even funny. 

 This week was definitely an interesting one. We had to drop Violet's
baptismal date, for a very interesting reason. She quit smoking and
drinking tea cold turkey, but she's having a lot of struggles giving
up coffee, because according to her, coffee is a sign to us from God
of the love Christ has for us. Yeah. This is going to be an
interesting experience helping her to understand the Word of Wisdom. 

 This week, we had an awesome meeting all about how we can use family
history in our Missionary work! We have an app on our iPads that allow
us to view/edit or family history and to teach others about it. I was
reading through the life story of my great grandpa Brown because I
didn't really remember much of him, and there was so much I didn't
know! He met his wife ON HIS MISSION, which is also where he courted
her, proposed to her, and gave her their first kiss and engagement
ring! They were married less than a week after he returned from his
mission by Spencer W. Kimball, a newly ordained Apostle at the time.
So cool, and so funny! 

 Hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Jensen

Where did all the rain go?‏ May 2, 2016 Week Forty-four

Hey y'all! 

 This was another great week here in Killeen! Unfortunately, all that
rain we were set to get in the forecast disappeared. Where did the
weather that was predictable down to the minute go from Back to the
Future II? :) 

 I've got a little more time to write this week, so I'll start off by
telling you about the people that we've set baptismal dates with.

The first one is a nine year old boy named Nicholas. He's autistic,
but he's actually really high functioning. The hard part isn't
teaching him, but teaching him in a way that he understands. When we
taught him that if you got baptized you would go to heaven, he got
really excited, but then he asked a strange question. "When somebody
gets baptized, how long do they have to be held under water?" We told
them just a second or two, which just confused him more. He said, "If
they only get held underwater for a second, how are they supposed to
drown and get to heaven?" It's going to be a struggle teaching him,
but he's always so happy and fun to work with. 

 The next person is somebody named Penelope. She's like every
stereotype of a grandmother there is. We were teaching her about the
Restoration of the Gospel, and she asked something about Moroni. We
showed her a picture of the angel Moroni visiting Joseph Smith in his
room, and this was her reaction: "I like that quilt that that young
man has. Have I shown you my quilts? I love to quilt in my spare time,
and I've made quite a few. I guess I've got too much spare time! You
boys look hungry. Do you want a snack to eat? I just made a cheesecake
that you can eat." Sometimes it hard to keep her on topic, but she's
super excited to get baptized, and she loves this Gospel. Also, she
makes a mean cheesecake. ;) 

 The third and final person we've set a baptismal date with is a woman
named Violet. She flagged down the Spanish missionaries and told them
she wanted a Book of Mormon and to get baptized. Talk about a golden
investigator! The Hermanas (Spanish Sisters) referred her to us, and
we've been teaching her for about two weeks now. She doesn't have the
greatest health, but she has incredible amounts of faith, so we're
hoping and praying that she'll be able to get baptized soon! We had to
push her baptismal date back a week because she missed a week of
church due to illness, but she's still doing her best to prepare
herself! 

 We had interviews with our Mission President this week for the last
time. President Ames still has about two months until he goes home,
but all the missionaries are already starting to miss him. We know
almost nothing about the person who's going to be replacing him, but
we can trust that God has been preparing him to lead this Mission in
the direction that God intends. 

 Hope y'all have a great week! 

 Elder Jensen


Andrew (the investigator I taught, but was 
transferred before he got baptized) and Brother Silveira


Where do I begin? April 25, 2016 Week Forty-three

Hey y'all! 

 I honestly have no idea where to start this week. Everything has been
insanely crazy, and we're all feeling really worn out because of it
(in the best way possible). 

 
I guess I'll start with our dinner last Monday. We had helped this
family with yard work the week before, and they had asked us what we
wanted to eat. Elder Hughes and I both said that we didn't have any
particular requests, but then Elder Winterbottom jokingly said filet
mignon. Later, when we actually went to go eat dinner with them, we
walked in to see steak on the table....at only Elder Winterbottom's
seat. Everybody else she oatmeal, because all of the meal budget was
spent on the steak...... Turns out the whole thing was a prank, and we
all ended up having steak for dinner. Elder Winterbottom was so
embarrassed at first, we were all rolling on the floor laughing at
him. 


The rest of this week was jam packed with teaching appointments and
meetings. The Spanish missionaries in our Zone have us a couple of
English referrals that have been AMAZING. We've started teaching them,
and they absolutely LOVE the Gospel. Our Key Indicators have shot up
as well (not that the numbers count, it's what they represent that
counts)! At the beginning of this week, we had no progressing
Investigators, no Investigators with a baptismal date, and no
Investigators at church. However, because of our consistent hard work,
the Lord had blessed us- we now have six progressing Investigators
(usually one or two is normal for our mission), eight Investigators
who came to church, and three Investigators with baptismal dates! I
know that this is God's work, because there's no way that three
nineteen year old boys would be able to do that in a year, let alone a
week. 

 
Hope y'all have a great week! 


 Elder Jensen

Lots of water! April 18, 2016 Week Forty-two

Hey y'all! 

 This week was fantastic! We just about got rained out, but we're surviving. We've got thunderstorms forecast with no end in sight.....so according to the forecast, only about two weeks. Still, it's more than Killeen has had in years. 

 I forgot to tell y'all last week, but here in this area we have this great family that had been preparing themselves for baptism! The dad is deployed in Germany, meaning he obviously wasn't able to be baptized with his family, but his wife and eight year old son were able to get baptized on Saturday. They looked so incredibly happy as they came up out of the water! They have a six year old daughter who is looking forward to the day when she can get baptized, and hopefully
her dad will be able to do that by that point. These people have so much faith, it astounds me that they've only been members for two days! I'm glad to be a member of Christ's church and to experience the fruits of His love for us. 

 Hope y'all have a great week! 

 Elder Jensen


Left to right: Elder Winterbottom, Angel, David, 
Brother Miller, Elder Hughes, and yours truly


Greetings from Killeen!‏ April 11, 2016 Week Forty-one

Hey y'all! 

 This week was great! I'm down in Killeen, Texas, the furthest south place in the mission. We've got a lot of military people in our area because we have Fort Hood down here, the biggest army base in the country. The members are super great, and they feed us a TON! 

 I'm in a trio with Elder Winterbottom, who came out on his mission the same time I did, and Elder Hughes. We've been having a great time, and we teach really well together. 

I'm really busy this P-Day, and so I don't have much time to write, but I'm doing well and loving life! 

 Hope you have a great week! 

 Elder Jensen


This is what about half of our area looks like. The other half is pretty much just Fort Hood, the biggest army base in the United States; it's a super cool place with a lot of history to it.


Oh my gosh.......Texas is so flat.......


Selfie with Elder Winterbottom (taking the picture) and Elder Hughes


General Conference! April 4, 2016 Week Forty

Hey y'all!

I've got a lot of news this week. Hopefully I won't forget anything!

The first thing that's important to mention is General Conference! I loved the chance that we had to listen to our prophet and apostles and to hear the words that God wants us to hear. I'm so grateful to know the things I do and to be in a church that receives direct revelation from our Father in Heaven regarding our affairs today. A great example of that was the talk given by Patrick Kearon about the refugees that are being displaced around the world; we could find useful principles from the scriptures that could help with that, but not direct revelation from God about that.

It was so good to hear from President Monson, both in the Priesthood session of conference & the Saturday morning session. He didn't speak very long in either of them (I think his talk in Priesthood session was less than four minutes), but every time he spoke, the Spirit bore a powerful witness that he is God's prophet on the Earth today. We had several investigators watch conference, and they all left knowing that God still speaks to us today.

Unfortunately, with all of this good news, there is also some bad news. We got a phone call from the Assistants to the Mission President, and they told us that both Elder Nielsen & I would be leaving Graham on Wednesday to be replaced here by Sister Missionaries. I was hoping to at least stay for one more transfer, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I'm going to be heading to the Kileen 1st & 3rd Wards. I'm going to be on a bike again, which I was really looking forward to until I found out something important- I'm going to an area that's bigger than many of the areas that have cars. It'll be tough biking around there, but it won't be impossible. I'm going to have not one companion this time, but two! One of them is named Elder Hughes, and I've heard nothing but good things about him. The other is Elder Winterbottom, somebody that was in my District in the MTC! I'm very excited to be serving with them.

I'm sad that I have to leave Graham, but I know that I'm going where the Lord wants me to go.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen

Saying Good-byes in Graham. Sister Dodson, the branch Relief Society President


With Elder Nielsen at Addie Hill's


#Hallelujah March 28, 2016 Week Thirty-nine

Hey y'all! 


This week was incredible! We had the chance to celebrate the most
sacred holiday of the year- Easter. 


Usually, we try and hit a standard of twenty lessons a week. This is
compiled from lessons with a member present, lessons in a member home,
lessons to recent converts/less-actives, lessons to active members,
and other lessons. This week, our other lessons almost exceeded
twenty! In total, we taught thirty lessons! We did our best to use the
Easter Initiative to its highest capacity, and I think we did a pretty
good job of doing so. 


Another awesome thing that happened this week was with Andrew. This
week he has completely stopped smoking and committed to be baptized!
He's getting baptized on April 30, and hopefully we'll be around for
that. Since it's next transfer, Elder Nielsen probably won't be here
(it would be his fourth transfer here), but I'll probably be here.
It's been so amazing to see him change over the past weeks that I've
been here; witnessing conversion is truly one of the best things as a
missionary. 


Sorry, but I can't write much this week. I'm actually writing this at
a Zone activity that we're having almost two hours away from our area,
and we're headed back soon for an appointment. 


Hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Jensen

This first picture is a prime example of what life is 
like in Graham,TX. "Masonri."


This manufactured home actually isn't home- it's a church! Texas, especially 
Graham has so many churches that some of them are just shacks or trailers!


This week after our district meeting, we had an awesome lunch. One of the missionaries, Elder Harding (who, coincidentally was in my MTC District) is from Louisiana, and he loves to cook. We all pitched in a few ingredients, and he made us this awesome shrimp gumbo!


Typical Texas mentality. "Texas is special because it's Texas! This important thing
happened, and the world needs to find out about it, whether it's pertinent or not."
 At least they're able to hold about their attitude. :)


St. Patrick's Day!‏ March 21, 2016 Week Thirty-eight

Hey y'all!

Elder Nielsen and I had another great week here in Graham! Andrew started the 7-Day Quit Smoking plan on Thursday, and we're hoping and praying that he stays strong! Watching him progress in his understanding and testimony of the Gospel is incredibly rewarding. I love being on a mission so that I can see people make these changes in their lives.

We had our Zone Conference this week on Tuesday, and it was a great experience! It was different than any other Zone Conference I've ever had for two reasons. First off, it was just our Zone. My two previous Zone Conferences were with three geographically small Zones that are all right next to each other, so there was about a third of the amount of people there this time. The other reason is that President Ames didn't really discuss a ton of doctrine with us. Instead, he spoke to us about many of the rules. He worries that way out here in the Weatherford Zone, some missionaries are being disobedient since there really isn't any missionaries nearby to make sure that we're being obedient. Hopefully if anybody was being disobedient they were straightened out by that!

Sorry I don't have much time to write today- Elder Nielsen and I are heading out to give somebody out of town a blessing!

Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Jensen