Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dear Family,

I think it is so interesting how the actual mission experience has compared to my expectations before I came. I think I´ve found that missionary work really is work. I really am grateful for the chance to work hard for the Lord and see him helping me during the process.

I´ve also realized here how important it is that we are always acting on the gospel. It is so important that we act so that our testimonies can grow. I am able to see so much that people really begin to feel the truth of this gospel when they begin to act on the message and really see that the Lord blesses those who are willing to keep the commandments and invite blessings into their lives.

This week was really cool because we got to do interviews with President Ruiz. I am so grateful for all that he does for the mission and I can really see that he cares about each one of us. He really wants us to have success and I am so grateful for his advice and council. We also got the chance to hear from a General Authority this week. Elder Soares from the seventy came and spoke to the whole entire mission. His native language is Portugues so I thought he did great speaking spanish to us. I can´t tell you how grateful I have come to be for the living prophets and general authorities. It is such a testimony to me of the truthfulness of this gospel and the love of the Lord for each one of us.

In the work this week I really tried hard to put on a smile and be happy in every single moment of the day.

I am trying so hard to convey the joy of the gospel because I really want eveyone here to have a chance to be a part of this happiness. It also really helps me to have love for the work and the people and I am so much happier when I try to convey the joy of the gospel to others.
I don´t think I´ll ever be able to thank the Lord enough for all the blessings of this mission. I am so grateful to be a part of his work and to be a tool in his hands to bring his children out of sadness and darkness into the love and light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder Jensen

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blessing Others

Dear Family,

I realize every single day why it is that the Lord wants every worthy person to serve a mission! There is just nothing like it and there is nothing that can help a person grow closer to their Savior like serving a mission.

This past couple weeks have been just a little bit different because there were transfers and one of the elders in our house left. Elder G. from Mexico left and an Elder J., from Utah came in. I was kind of excited to have another english speaker but we´ve kind of decided to only speak spanish so that our spanish doesn´t go downhill. I´ve also noticed that since this past transfer that the unity on Elder C.'s and I´s companionship has grown a lot. We are starting to really be good friends and we are learning to teach better as one voice. I´ve noticed that when we are able to align our wills and have the same goal the Spirit helps us a lot more despite our differences. 

This week there was kind of a miracle in the work (like there are every day). Our investigator R who we have been teaching since I arrived in the mission and who we have helped come a long way came to church for the first time yesterday. He had always had some work to do or some other commitment but he actually made it to sacrament meeting yesterday! He even shaved before the meeting and brought one of his sons who is about 8 or 9. I was so so happy to see him there and I could tell that he really is starting to see that this is the true gospel as restored by Jesus Christ. Afterwards he said he really liked the meeting and even talked to his wife about some of the messages. I really am so grateful to have known him and to have been a helper in helping him overcome some of his challenges. We are still helping him find an answer about the Book of Mormon and I really enjoy getting to share my testimony with him every time we meet and helping him come to have that great gift of knowledge from his Heavenly Father that each one of us can have.

I´ve noticed that even though there aren´t a whole lot of physical evidences of the work that I´ve done here I realized that I really have helped a few of Heavenly Father´s children to have more faith in him. I have seen how people have grown in their desire to pray with their Father in Heaven and how people have grown to realize all the blessings that they have.

This week I have grown to love the words of living prophets so so much! We got the coference ensigns about two weeks ago and I have just been eating them up! I wish I had valued this huge blessing earlier in my life! We teach many people about how today on the earth the Lord has a prophet and apostles and how much of a blessing this is. I think this week I really have grown to know that as truth and have seen that studying and applying the words of living prophets in our lives really helps us see that the Lord speaks to us today and that he really loves us and wants us to return to him.

I am so eternally grateful for this time to be a missionary and that I still have a little bit of time to continue in this service. I know this gospel is true and I know that it will bless us more than anything else!

Elder Jensen

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Counting My Many Blessings

Dear Family,

How are you all? I hope you all can survive the icy cold weather this week! I will try hard to enjoy the beautiful weather for you all! Sorry this email is a day late, I had just about finished this email when the power went out in the internet cafe but luckily today I found that it had saved.

I will never stop being amazed at how fast the time passes by hear on the Lord´s errand. When I try harder to use this special time to serve the Lord the best I can it seems to go so fast. I really to try to make sure that I don´t waste a second of this time because if the time moves as quickly as it has, I will be finished very soon! I hope I can continue to make the most of it and find all the people that Heavenly Father has prepared for me to bless their lives with this incredible message of joy and happiness.

I realize more and more each day that this gospel really is the only thing that will make us happy. And not only does it make us happy but gives us strength in every aspect of our lives. Without the gospel and the knowledge that I have of it´s truth I would never be able to get up and work each day. But I know that this gospel is true and I can see and feel everyday what a blessing it is for each one of us and how much every one of God´s children need this gospel. I guess that´s what gives me the strength to keep trying, is the hope that I can help these people taste of this joy that I get to have every day!

I think I am finally starting to get a feel for the culture here. The food doesn´t seem so strange anymore and know I expect to eat every meal with tortillas. The other day I had my first pescado (fish) and it was a little intimidating at first because a looked down at my bowl of soup and there was an entire fish there but it actually tasted really good (even though it was king of hard to find all the little spine bones). My spanish also continues to improve and I am so so grateful that I have the chance to live with 3 other spanish speakers. It is so amazing how the Lord can help us grow. I think I´ve got spanish down enough that I can talk to my companion about anything and I can get along really well in the lessons (understanding and speaking). The only time I get lost is when people are talking really informally or when people are talking about random subjects with a ton of weird vocabulary.

In the work this week we didn´t really get to see a lot of tangible success.  We are working really hard to find new people to teach and it is a little bit of a struggle but I think we are going to start working hard to work with the members. It is so important that the people who know the joy and blessings of the gospel get involved in sharing it with everyone! I´m looking forward to helping some of the members get involved here and experience the joy that we missionaries get when we see people make changes and receive blessings in their lives!

I will never be able to thank the Lord enough for this mission experience! Sometimes it´s hard to see the blessings and other times I can´t even count all the blessings! I just know that this church is true and that the Lord really will take care of us and listen to our prayers. I love you all so much and can feel your support, love, and prayers carry me each day.

Elder Jensen

Noisy Navidad

Dear Family,

What a week of highs and lows! I think I pretty much experienced it all this week! I also got a really good taste of the Guatemalan Christmas (and it tastes a lot like Tamales).

Of course the biggest highlight of this week and my highest high was getting to skype with you all! I can´t tell you how much it lifted my spirits just to see your faces! I was hesitantly hoping to use skype but it was looking pretty unlikely as I had no idea where to find a camera when all the internet places are closed on Christmas. Luckily the Lord helped us out and we found out that the family where we eat dinner has a laptop with a camera. I was so happy and even more happy and blessed when the internet and skype all worked ok! I was really amazed how fast the time went by though! How wonderful it was to see you all and to know that you are in deed seeing many blessings in your lives from my service! 

It was funny because the night of Christmas Eve is extremely noisy and loud. The days leading up to it everybody is selling fireworks and firecrackers and everybody saves them up for midnight on Christmas Eve. It felt like a war broke out in the city with all the flashing and cracking but it was kind of fun to see. Also we enjoyed eating a lot of tamales the days leading up to Christmas (which I was surprised to find that I kind of like).

We also enjoyed a really fun Christmas activity yesterday with the Ruizes and with a couple other zones. The highlight for me was seeing Elder P. and Elder W. from the other zones and we just a great time together sharing our experiences and thoughts on our our missions so far. I don´t think I can wait until I´m in the same zone as any of the missionaries from my CCM district! The low of the week was just that during the activity I got kind of sick and felt miserable for a while but luckily that kind of stuff always passes and I´m always able to see blessings from every single experience!

I also got a few more letters from you all and I can´t thank you enough for taking the time to write me some letters! I can´t tell you how much it lifts my spirits to read your letters! I am trying to send a letter but it seems like every time we are in San Felipe the post office is closed but we´ll see if I have some luck getting it sent sometime soon.

We have had some really cool experiences in the past two days with a sixteen year old named J. I realized the other day that he is exactly like me when I was his age. It has been so cool to share my testimony and experiences with him because he is exactly like me! I am so glad for all the experiences that I have had in my life, good and bad, that have made me who I am and have helped me grow in my love for the Lord and my testimony of his gospel because now I get to share it with people like J. and help them see that this is really the only way to a happy life! J. really has desires to change his life and we are working hard to help him do that through the Savior just as I did! I am so grateful to be out here on a mission each day! Even though at times it would be easy to be discouraged and sometimes it happens, I always try to see the infinite amount of blessings I have and I can always find strength and peace in this gospel!

Elder Jensen