Sunday, February 23, 2014

A trip to Champerico

Overlooking Calahuache

Dear Family,

I think it is so interesting how many ups and downs you can have as a missionary. It really is one of the best and craziest experiences you will ever have!

This week we were trying really hard to find some really great people to teach. We are doing an activity in the whole mission where we´ve taken a picture of the members of the church and put their picture in a Book of Mormon. Their job is to write their testimony with the picture and give the Book of Mormon to another non member family or friend. I think it is such a great activity because I know the miracles that the Book of Mormon can work in people’s lives (because it did for me). We are working hard to help the members have the courage to hand out these Books of Mormon to their friends and I really hope that we can help them do this. I am really trying to think of some new and creative ways to find people and I am finding more and more that I really just need to get rid of all of my fear and not be lazy and talk with just about every human being I see. I am really far from that point but I am trying to improve each day.

This week we had a couple really amazing lessons with the V. family. M., her husband O., and her kids. M. and one of her 15 year old daughters, B., went to church yesterday and they said that they really liked it. Earlier in the week we had taught the Restoration to M. and some of her kids and it was one of the most powerful lessons of my mission. I just knew in my heart that the message of the Restoration was true and that Christ´s church has been restored to the earth. When I bore my testimony of the Restoration I felt the Spirit testifying so strong and I think I almost shed a tear. We also taught an amazingly powerful lesson yesterday after church. We taught to the whole family and we read 2Nephi 31 with them. We could feel the Spirit telling each one of them that this baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost is the path that they have to take to have eternal life. I have read that chapter with various investigators but yesterday I felt the Spirit so so strong. The Spirit guided us to make the invitation to be baptized and after we invited all of them to be baptized several times we got a yes from everyone except the O. (the dad) who said that he will give permission to the family if they really want to take this step. We are going to visit them tonight and probably every day this week and I really hope that the Spirit helps us to do our best so that we don´t lose them and we help them the best we can to take the most important step in their lives.

Today we got to go to the beach in Champerico and it was so cool! I haven´t seen the ocean for over 3 years so that was a lot of fun for me! I loved smelling the Pacific Ocean and remembering all the great times we had in Japan at all the beautiful beaches. It doesn´t really compare to Japan but I still loved it!

 I have still stayed steadfast in my two goals to memorize a scripture each day and also read the Book of Mormon in Spanish. I have gotten to Alma 8 and I hope to finish the Book of Mormon in the coming weeks. Each time I read I can´t tell you how much I feel the Spirit but also how much my desire grows to share this Book with everyone! I love the Book of Mormon so so much and I can´t wait to help as many people as I can learn of its truthfulness. It really makes me want to make better choices each day and invites the Spirit into the work so strongly. I also have noticed the power of memorizing scriptures each day. I always feel ready for the day when I know that I am armed with the words of eternal life. It really helps me have more love and excitement for the work and I grow to love the scriptures even more with each scripture that I add to my collection. 

I grow each day in my thankfulness to the Lord for allowing me to be one of his special messengers of light and salvation. I know that I have a lot of weaknesses but I can see the Lord helping me overcome those and turning them into strengths each time that I cry out to him for help. I know that the Lord wants each one of us to succeed. That is why he is willing to help us! I am so grateful for this gospel and I just know that it is true! 

Elder Jensen

Lunch in Champerico!

I am surprised but I actually really like the fish here like this!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Dear Family,

This week was kind of tough but I have really felt the Lord carrying me and giving me the energy and hope to keep working hard. I realize every single day that this work is impossible without him but with him every single moment is completely worth it.

This week we also found a really cool family! The mom of the family is named M. and she has five or six kids. We have only taught the whole entire family one time and they really liked the visit. They said that they have heard a lot of negative things about the church but that they say that all of that wasn´t true when we visited. The mom is the most interested in the gospel and she actually went to a baptismal service of the other missionaries in the ward this past Saturday and she went all on her own! She said she would go to church but something happened Sunday morning and she couldn´t make it but we are having some really good visits with here and some of her kids. They have a lot of doubts about the Book of Mormon and about Joseph Smith but we´re going to help them this week.

I am so grateful for all that I have learned this week. It was pretty hard but as I am learning, we are so blessed to have trials because if we endure them well our testimony and love of the Savior will grow so much.

I also realized this week that it is really hard for missionaries to find people to teach all on their own. We decided that we are going to start visiting the members and encouraging them to do everything possible to share the gospel with their friends. We know how scary and hard it can be but we are going to do everything possible to ¨Trust in the Lord¨ just like Elder Ballard talked about in this October 2013 conference. I love that talk and I shared the ideas of that talk as I spoke in Sacrament yesterday. I really want the members here to feel the amazing joy of sharing the gospel so I will do all I can to help them.

I am so grateful each day for all that the Lord has blessed me with and all that he teaches me here on my mission. It really is amazing what happens when your mind is centered in the gospel and in others all the time. I hope you all have a wonderful week and keep enduring those cold temperatures!

Elder Jensen

Elder Jensen's Desk

Sleeping quarters

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Surprise Visitor

Dear Family,

I think you would all be surprised how many ups and downs you experience as a missionary. There were a lot of extremes this week of really awesome experiences and a couple disappointments but luckily the Lord helps me keep serving him with a great attitude and with many blessings.

This past Saturday we had a nice little surprise in the morning. As we were about to start our companionship study we saw President Ruiz (mission president) out the window. He was coming from Xela and felt impressed to come and visit us for our companionship study. It is kind of one of those things you joke about but it actually happened. We were a little nervous but it was a great hour of study and we really learned a lot from him. He challenged us to read the whole Book of Mormon. I started doing it that day and I can see already how inspired that challenge was!

Like I just said I have set a goal to read the whole Book of Mormon in spanish. I have already gotten to 1 Nephi 8 and I can´t tell you how much I love the spirit of the Book of Mormon. I have just fallen in love with it and with the spirit I feel each time I open its cover. I just love the prophets and their stories and their hopes, like mine, of eternal life and salvation through the Savior. I have also kept my goal of memorizing scriptures each day. I am so grateful for the guidance of the Lord in my life in helping me set these goals and reap the blessings in the process.

I love this gospel so much and my love grows for the Savior each day as I testify of him with all my heart to as many people as possible!

Elder Jensen

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What Wave?

Dear Family,

¨What wave?¨ That´s how you say ¨What´s up¨in Spanish. There´s a lot of fun things like that here in Guatemala. I continue to love all of your emails and letters and I can always feel your support!

My companion Elder C. said something that I really like this week. In spanish the word for faith is ¨fe¨(fay). He gave our area the new name of Calahuafe (Calawafay). That made me laugh a little bit. We really enjoy working hard in the area and sharing this gospel with as many people as we can.

This week in the work we had some pretty awesome experiences with a man named J. He is an older man and his wife passed away in October. He lives alone but he is very very open and receptive to the gospel. Last week we tried really hard to teach him how to pray. He´s only done memorized prayer his whole life so talking openly with his father in heaven is a really new thing for him. We had a lesson this week when he gave the closing prayer and he gave a very heart felt prayer. It was so simple but we could tell that he knew that he was talking with God. The sprit was pretty strong and we could really feel God´s love for him as he gave that simple heartfelt prayer. 

I thought you all might like to know a little bit about our schedule of the day. In the mornings we get up at 6:30 and I always do a little bit of exercise in the house and then get prepared for the day. I make some breakfast and I usually have some cereal, yogurt, toast, or oatmeal and when I feel up to it, some days I will make pancakes which are super yummy. We study in the morning from 8 until 11. Since I´m newer in the mission I do an extra hour to learn more and do some training. We work for a couple hours and then we go to the cocinera´s (cook´s) house at 1 to eat lunch. She is very nice and always makes us Elders something really good. We go back to the house to study for another hour and then head out to work at 3. We will visit some of our investigators or contact people from house to house. We eat dinner at a families house at 8. They are really fun and we are basically part of their family. We usually head home at about 9 and plan for the next day and then get ready for bed at 10:30. I really love the schedule and it is so perfect for us!

This week I´ve had some awesome experiences with the scriptures. Before I left for the mission I had memorized some scriptures in spanish. I think it has really helped me up to this point because my pronunciation has gotten pretty good. While I´ve been in the field I haven´t really memorized any more but early this week I really felt the impression to start doing it again. I´ve now challenged myself to memorize a scipture in spanish every day for the rest of my mission. I think I have done it 6 days in a row so far and it blesses me so much! It really helps me have desires to work hard and love the work and I really feel so immersed in the words of life. We´ll see if next week I can say I´ve memorized a scripture each day but I really hope I can do it! There are so many scriptures that say that if we study and have the scriptures in our hearts we will always know what to say to the people. I really think this will bless me with the Spirit each day and help me know what the Lord wants me to say to these wonderful people here in Guatemala.

I can´t tell you all how much I just love this gospel. I must have said that too many times already but it is so true! I am so grateful for the Atonement of our Savior and that I am one of his choice servants to carry the news of hope and forgiveness to God´s children! I love you all so much!

Elder Jensen