Thursday, December 25, 2014

Feliz Navidad 2014

Dear Family,

Feliz Navidad! I´m not sure where the month of December went because it is almost gone. Time flies when you are on the Lord´s errand!

It has been another great week with a lot of more crazy things. My new companion probably still has a crazy view of Guatemala. This week we went to teach F. (our recent convert) and his family and he told us that they were having some problems with a crocodile. I thought he was joking around with us but when we got closer to his pila we looked in and sure enough there was a crocodile in there! I was pretty shocked and it was super entertaining. 

Another fun thing for me was that for one of the lunches I got to try chicken feet for the first time. Here what they do is they throw the chicken foot in soup and you suck the toes off of it. Basically a ton of fat and skin comes off.  My companion told me I was super weird. It was really funny! 

Today for P-day we did a fun Amazing Race type of scavenger hunt but with pictures. We ran around all over Malacatán looking for stuff to take pictures of like a bull, a video of us making tortillas, catching a chicken, a picture with the police, with a Christmas tree, a human pyramid, a video of us being bus workers, and other funny stuff. It was super awesome and I would love to do that again some P day in the future.

This week we were working really, really hard to try to help some of our investigators to be baptized in this month of December. We were a little sad when M. didn´t come to church last Sunday but we had some very spiritual lessons with him this week and we read him some parables in the Bible about how we need to leave everything temporal behind to follow the Savior (Mark 10 with the rich young man) and how we will receive 100 times more what we leave. Well, he really felt the Spirit and came to church this Sunday and we are preparing things for him to be baptized this week. It was a huge tender mercy and we also made him a Christmas tree with ornaments with scriptures on them to read leading up to the baptism. We may also have another miracle baptism this week but I will tell you more about that if it actually happens.

It looks like for Christmas Eve we will be eating dinner with about 4 or 5 families so hopefully my stomach can make room this week. I am so grateful for this time of the year to remember the Savior and also to talk with all you guys! I am so grateful for the chance to be a missionary and I hope you all have a wonderful and white Christmas!

Elder Jensen

Monday, December 15, 2014

A new companion for Christmas!

Dear Family,

I got an interesting gift for Christmas this year, a new companion! 

We had changes this past week and my companion got sent to a different area. But the crazy news was that I was going to train a new missionary! My new companion is Elder N., straight from the CCM. It looks like I am a ´dad´ again, as we say in the mission. He is so awesome and he brings a lot of excitement coming out of the CCM.  Elder N. and I figured out that we have a super weird connection. His older brother served in the Columbus, Ohio mission when I was preparing to head out on the mission. After seeing a picture of his brother and talking a little bit more about him I remembered that I met Elder N.´s brother when I served the mini mission! He was always famous for a big dimple he makes in his tie and that made me remember that I had met him! How weird! Also his brother served in Huber Heights I think so that was fun to figure out. We are getting along great and working hard.

I think Elder N.´s first day had to be quite interesting for him because leaving the first house we went to go visit a super drunk guy comes up and started grabbing me.  We also had signed up last week to go help a sister in the ward extend a part of her house since she lives on a hill and we had to like mine out part of a hill with pick axes and then throw the dirt in the extension they made and we had some good blisters after. I am pretty sure Elder N. won´t forget his first week with all this crazy stuff that happened.

This week we put together a ward activity where we presented the ´He is the Gift´ video and it went awesome. A lot of people came and we actually had some members from our area bring some friends. We had dvd´s made of this video and have showed it to a lot of people in our lessons and it is so fun to teach everyone about this gift that our Heavenly Father gave us, the gift of his son. Also a huge Christmas choir came this Sunday and it lead to a pretty big miracle. F. who was baptized last month has come to church every single Sunday without fail (and he usually walks). The problem is that he comes alone and none of his family has supported him. Well, I decided that we really, really needed to reach out to his wife and some of his children (who are all married) and we invited them to this choir activity. His wife and one of his daughters came to see the choir sing and I was so so happy and grateful for that miracle! I am excited to continue working with his family and helping them follow F.´s example and come taste the sweetness of the gospel as well.

I am so grateful for the chance to serve a mission. I can see Heavenly Father´s great mercy each day in my life and in the life of all of his children here. He helps us so much in our missionary efforts and we will need a lot of his help in these coming weeks but I trust in him and in this work. It is hard to think that this is my last Christmas in Guatemala, but I think next Christmas I will definitely throw off fireworks and eat tamales to bring back these fun memories!


Elder Jensen

´I love Malacatán..!´

A big drawing of our zone.

They mispelled my name at Dominos on my order.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Taking corn off the cob, this is always
 fun and painful service (painful on the fingers).

Dear Family,

We are starting to feel some Christmas excitement here in Guatemala. The smell of fireworks and tamales is in the air.

We had a fun week with a mission trip to Xetulul. Always really fun to meet up with all the missionaries and ride some rides. This time we had some good pictures as a group on the rides making silly faces and poses. I always love visiting that place, gives me a little taste of those Ohio roller coasters I miss.
Sleeping on the roller coaster.


The Zone

This past Sunday we were so blessed to see 3 people come to church and I was just so, so grateful for that miracle. One of these people is R. who we found a few weeks ago when somebody referred us to him. I guess he used to be like a former mayor of the small neighborhood type place where he lives and he is such a believer.  He doesn´t doubt in God and was grateful to us for helping him get close to God again. Another person that came was F. who a very less active member. I felt impressed this week to go visit him. and help him to help us in the missionary work. He used to be the secretary of the branch in our area many years ago and when we asked for his help he started visiting people with us and he still has an incredible testimony! He helped another friend come to the Christmas devotional this Sunday and I was so grateful for that.  The other person that came was H. who we have visited since I arrived who is an awesome friend of ours but studies every Sunday in the morning. After the Christmas devotional we threw up some lanterns into the sky with him and the other people who came and it was really cool. That was a big tender mercy this week to have all of them come to church.

There is also a lot of excitement about the church video ´He is the Gift´ and we are really trying to help more people discover, accept, and share this Gift that our Heavenly Father gave us, the gift of a Savior. I am excited in these weeks to find new ways to share this video and this message with everyone. 

I notice more each day that it is so important for me as a missionary not only to represent the Savior, but really work to become like he is. I have seen how much I´ve grown to love these people here in Guatemala and really serve them. I am always learning to be more humble but also be more diligent. The Lord helps me a lot as I seek to gain all these attributes and I know they will help me all my life.     

Elder Jensen

Eating some very random fruit that someone found, I liked it a lot. 
Painting with Elder Heyrend (new missionary in San Rafael) on divisions.
A rabbit ready to cook, yummy
 (we didn´t eat it, just showed up to see the preparation).

A P-day party, eating cereal.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Moving to a new living space.

Dear Family,

Hopefully you all had a great Thanksgiving! This year I missed the food just a little bit more since my companion and I spent a lot of the day talking about our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. I guess our family isn´t the only one that makes pink jello, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, homemade rolls with jam, and other fun stuff. 

I guess the big news this week is that we decided to finally change houses. We got a little tired of all the crazy stuff in our last house and we moved in to a member´s house this week. I wish I would have taken some pictures of our pickup truck trips because somehow we got our stuff in only a few trips. It´s a good thing the police aren´t too picky about that kind of stuff because we had a lot of stuff crammed in the back of that pickup truck. It all turned out all right and we are now enjoying having a better shower and other better conditions. It is a little tight in the couple rooms that we live but I guess we will never get all we want. 

Like every other Sunday morning we did divisions with members this Sunday to go bring our investigators to church. My companion, Elder Cook, went to get an investigator named M. that we have been teaching for over a month who has said that we will go to church but has never gone. He is a great guy and a good friend of some members but he has never made it to church. Well, yesterday Elder Cook decided that he wasn´t going to leave the M.´s house unless it was to the church with M.. After a series of intense conversations with M.´s wife and a lot of waiting I saw Elder Cook walk in with M. right before the sacrament. It was so cool and M. felt so happy in church as his friends came over and hugged him after the meeting. I am really excited for him and I know that he will progress a lot more now that he has gone to church and felt good there. He is about 50 years old and it turns out he is a good friend of F., who was just baptized so we hope to see miracles with him.

Since our ward is divided in two areas, we have decided to start to focus on strengthening our part of the ward. We actually had some cool moments with our recent converts (V. and F.) where they came and visited their friends and family members with us. It is so nice to see these new converts getting excited and involved in missionary work and I know that will really help the church to grow down in our area. It takes a lot of hard work and patience but I know that we will see a lot of cool miracles if we have love for the people here. 

It sounds like this week we will return to Xetulul! This is going to be our mission Christmas activity so I am pretty excited for that and also to see some more of my mission friends from other zones. Sorry I forgot to take pictures this week but I´m sure there will be some good ones this week.

I know that Heavenly Father is so merciful with us in our area. Even though we don´t always give it our best effort the Lord always blesses us and makes up for the difference. I really want to improve each day and try to serve more effectively to the investigators and missionaries that I serve. I am also thankful for my perfect example to follow, Jesus Christ.

Elder Jensen

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Making brownies for the distirct! They were so so good!

Dear Family,

I`m not really sure how to sum up everything that happened this week but I will see how much I can cram in.

I had some really fun interviews in the past few weeks were I went and interviewed a very old blind man when it was raining very hard. I kind of sat right up next to his ear and had to shout a lot but I hope it was a nice experience for him anyway, he has a lot of faith. Also I had the chance to interview a women who is deaf and also mute and can`t read. I was kind of anticipating this interview and did some good practices with my companion about how I could cover each part of the interview using gospel pictures and hand motions. It actually turned out really well and she was able to understand everything. I will just say that I have a lot more respect for people that can do sign language. She was able to be baptized with her daughter which was really neat.

A group ward baptism. The mom with her daughter is mute and deaf. F. is next to us.

We also had a wonderful experience with F. who we have been teaching for about a month. I remember when we first met him I really felt that he was a spiritual giant and since then he just continued growing in his testimony. I had the chance to baptize him this past Saturday and it was really cool moment. I know that he will be a pioneer for his family and we will do our best to help the rest of his family enjoy the blessings of the gospel as well. I really think that all these people that God puts in our path were good friends of mine before we came to earth.

The Christmas lights and decorations have started to come out here and a few missionaries get annoyed because it is pretty early still. I guess it´s because there is no thanksgiving so they have nothing to wait for. It has been fun to see the Christmas trees come up and as the weeks go on they put some fun stuff on their trees (like crazy fruit). Hopefully I can get some good pictures in December of that.

Guatemalan christmas lights.

There have been some special visitors in our house this week. We ran across a few small gecco lizards and a some giant butterflies. I guess it`s nice to know that we are not alone in our house. After a couple struggles to get some insects out of the house we decided to change where we live. An older member of our ward invited us to come and live at his house because he is almost never there and the house is way better where we are living. We should be able to move over this week and say goodbye to all our little critter friends.

As we were shopping this week we came across some brownie mix in the grocery store. We got a little excited and decided to make brownies for the district meeting this past week. Everybody really appreciated that and it was such a great feeling to eat nice soft brownies again! Not to mention we used small disposable dishes so that every piece was  a corner piece, so so good! 

This week I have been so grateful for each moment that I have to share the gospel with everyone. I was studying and pondering a little bit this week about how much it cost the Savior to overcome the consequences of our mistakes and about how important it is that we as missionaries help everyone experience the healing that comes from the atonement. We are the ones that can bring this healing power to peoples lives and that always motviates me to work a little harder and talk with more people. It is such a wonderful calling and I thank the Lord for that each day!

Elder Jensen

A really rich neghiborhood in our area.

A dog shaved to look like a lion.

San Pedro

A cool valley we found in our area.

Dear Family,

Well, I got to know how the cold part of our mission  is for the first time today! We had a fun trip up to San Pedro to play soccer with the missionaries up there and buy some fun stuff. The bus ride up is pretty scary after doing about 100 switch backs but the views off the mountain are so so cool and beautiful! Guatemala is so pretty! Also the weather in San Pedro is just awesome. Not to mention I bought this amazing piece of Guatemalan fabric called ´corte´ and I am going to make some sweet ties out of it.

We had a fun trip to San Pedro today. First time in the mountains!
I bought some beautiful ´corte´ or Guatemalan fabric to make some cool ties.

This week we also had a great experience with a missionary activity in our ward. The past few weeks us and the sisters have been filming all of the members dancing for a few seconds and we made a fun video of all the families dancing and put it to the song ´Happy´. This was something one of my past companions did and we thought we would give it a shot to build some unity and excitement in the ward and the activity went great. We had the ward prepare some games and other fun things and after we presented a little act and the video. Everyone looked so so happy and we felt great afterwards. Not to mention some members brought new families to the activity. A really fun time even though a member dressed up like a clown made me do a silly dance in front of everyone, but oh well, I enjoyed it.

An activity we did. We presented an act and also made a
dancing video of all the members to the song Happy.

We have had some great progress with F. He continues to come to church and do all he can to be ready for this Saturday for his baptism. He actually walked to church for the Stake Conference this Sunday and I am so so grateful that the Lord has helped him gain a testimony of the truthfulness of his church and also of the Priesthood authorty so that he can be baptized by an authorized servent of God. He is so cool and we really hope that he can help share the joy of the gospel with his family after he is baptized.

I am so grateful to be part of the Lord´s work in a time when it is moving faster and faster. I can see each day that the Lord is hastening his work and that each day he helps us find people to teach and helps us know what to say in the exact moment so that everyone may know that Jesus is the Christ and that they can be cleansed from their guilt and sins if they follow him. Thanks for all the prayers and support!

Elder Jensen

Friday, November 14, 2014

Member Missionaries

A day of the dead grave all dressed up.
Dear Family,

I am learning a lot about how important it is to love the people that we serve. I have enjoyed developing

more and more love for the people that I serve and people that I serve with. It makes me a happier person!

The really, really awesome part of this past week is that we got to work and have a lot of support from the members of the church. We had so many powerful lessons with the members at our side as they gave powerful testimonies of the truth and invited many people to attend church and learn more about the restored gospel. I have grown to love to work with the members of the church and sometimes I even feel a little sad when we have lessons with people all by ourselves without a member. Luckily that doesn`t happen too much. The members who had to find the church in there lives always bring a powerful spirit to the lessons and each time I am with them my testimony and love of the church grows so so much! Not to mention the people that we are teaching that get to feel this spirit as well.

We visited F. with several members that work in the stake who have incredible testimonies and amazing teaching skills. He really felt excited about the gospel and accepted a baptismal date for the 22nd of this month (since this Saturday and Sunday are stake conference ... maybe we will have a special visitor). I am so grateful that we get to teach F. and see his testimony grow. I feel that he is going to be a great member of the church and really help us a lot in our area to find new people to teach. 

Also this week we had a crazy service project in the zone. We went up this huge hill to find a new convert family that needed some help with their house. They live on the side of a really steep hill and they wanted to take out part of the hill so they can make their house bigger (their house is a few sticks with plastic sheets as walls and a lámina roof). We worked several hours in the sun and it was a lot harder than it looked. I now respect Guatemalan construction workers a lot lot more. It was a little funny because after a while everyone was covered in dirt and sweat and it was an interesting smell since we were all bunched up in this little spot. But it was good to build the unity on our zone. 

So the Guatemalan weather tricked us again because right when we thought the rain was gone for good a couple huge rainstorms nailed us out of nowhere. Good thing I am getting to be a pro at expecting random weather because I stayed fairly dry with my struggling and rusty umbrella. I will always be so glad for my Ecco Boots because they are basically like tanks and hold off everything. 

I hope to continue gaining more and more abilities from the Lord as he helps be become a better missionary and a better person each week. He really does mold us and help us learn from every experience. I am so thankful for this and hope to work hard this week!


Elder Jensen

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Elder Cook and I in the middle of nowhere.

The district! We had 20 baptisms with 2 families!

Dear Family,

The Lord`s work goes on here in Malacatán! We had some changes here in our zone but Elder Cook and I survived and we will keep on working hard and having fun as we help people come to Christ!

We kind of had a strange experience today. We were all in the chapel today to play some volleyball when a couple of Elders went in the elevator of the chapel to get on the first floor. I was outside when I got a call from one of the Elders in the elevator saying they were stuck on the first floor and the door wouldn`t open! What happened next was a crazy 2 hours trying to find some way to get this door to open! We called a few people with keys but nobody seemed to have the right key to get this thing open. Also, Elder and Sister Wetzel (President´s Ruiz´s counselor) stopped by out of nowhere just in time to help us out. I guess they just stopped to use the bathroom and do other things here but they were able to help us and eventually I got a hold of somebody with the key and we went and rescued the Elders. It was a little crazy.
2 Elders were stuck in this elevator for 2 hours as we tried to find a solution.

This week we had a lot of members of our ward accompany us to some really spiritual lessons with someone named F. that we found a couple weeks ago. We found F. one day when we were a little down and didn`t know where to go and we just came across this little path that lead us to a neighborhood we had never found before. We began to ask the neighbors who would be good for us to visit in this place and they told us about F. When we showed some members where he lived they were amazed we had somehow found him because he lives pretty hidden in this place. F. is a very prepared person. We visited him and he has really become excited about the gospel and always is reading his Book of Mormon. This Sunday he came to church for the first time and he felt great and everyone was greeting him and making him feel very welcome. This work is so powerful when the missionaries and the members work shoulder to shoulder! Lives are changed and more people come to Christ!

We finally caught our rat but somehow it flew out of our trap into our big sink pila thing (it was empty) and we started throwing some little fireworks at it and that is when it went down the drain. He hasn`t returned since so hopefully that means it was successful. 

I am really realizing how important it is that we just love the people here in Guatemala. It really is what can drive us to work even harder, testify even more powerfully, and lose ourselves in this great work of salvation. I have really grown to love these people as my brothers and sisters in the year that I have been here. I still have a ways to go but I am glad that the Lord has helped me have a place in my heart for these people and serve them the best I can!


Elder Jensen

Elder Fifita leaving (he is now a district leader too).

Crossing a crazy bridge in our area, it was fun!

A cool view in Malacatan of the volcanoe Tajamulco.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Good-bye October

A giant cross in the outskirts of our area.

Dear Family,

This month of October has been so cool! I feel like almost every day I was giving my best to the Lord and it feels so good to be satisfied with my work to the Lord.

This week we had an incredible member missionary experience. In our ward there is a school teacher who has been attending church for about 2 years. About a month ago we went and taught him the importance of sharing the gospel in every moment and he really was touched by what we shared. About a week ago he came up to us and told us about a man he had talked to in a taxi. A. (the school teacher) started up a conversation with his taxi driver about the church and the taxi driver (J.) accepted the invitation for A. to visit with the missionaries. A. took us to J.’s house but he wasn`t there. J.`s son (named J. as well) answered the door and we started to visit and teach with him. We found that J. had a lot of spiritual needs and had a desire to grow closer to God again. It was such a spiritual lesson and A. taught so well (he is a professional teacher after all). It was one of my favorite member missionary experiences seeing how somebody had the courage to open his mouth in a taxi to share the gospel and how that led us to somebody the Lord has prepared.

We also had another crazy moment this week when we were in the middle of a lesson and a call came in to our cell phone. I didn`t want to pick up in the lesson so I hung up. The call came urgently back and I though it must be pretty important. I answered and one of the missionaries here in Malacatán told me that there was a very sick old sister who asked for a blessing from the Elders immediately. She thought she might be at the point of dying. We just kind of left our investigators with a prayer and left running as fast as we could. It was totally dark so we were kind of falling down a little bit in the mud but we just kept going. To our luck there was a tuc tuc passing once we made it to the highway and we were able to make it to the sister but the Bishop had beat us by a few minutes and gave her the blessing. The sister is still in the hospital but she seems to have improved in these days. It was a fun experience to be on the Lord`s errand running as fast as we could to give this sister a blessing! It felt good at least to give her some spiritual support.
Baptism of D.

Also we had a little miracle baptism in our area! During the conference week we were looking real hard one morning for someone to bring and hear the prophet. We remembered about a friend of some young members of the church and went to invite him and he was excited to join us to conference. His name is D. As the weeks went on we got to know his family and they supported him as he decided he wanted to be baptized! He was baptized Saturday and we hope to see more miracles in his family! Thanks to a few youth from our ward we were able to find D. I guess every member of the church can help in missionary work, young or old.

We have been having some fun in our house trying to catch a rat. I guess the Guatemalan rats area pretty sharp because every single homemade trap we have set doesn`t seem to work. It feels kind of sad getting out smarted by a rat but one of these days we will get him and enjoy not having our bread get eaten. Although it has entertained Elder Cook and I as we try to brainstorm all sorts of crazy traps.
our homemade rat trap

Sometimes I wish the time wouldn`t go by so fast and that I could remember all of these great moments sharing the gospel but I always feel happy knowing I have given my all and I hope that this week I can be better than the last. We`ll see what Heavenly Father has in store for next month!


Elder Jensen

a really cool view of a valley at Malacatan