Thursday, March 16, 2017

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

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