Monday, February 23, 2015

8 Days in a Week?

Elder Fifita and Me

Dear Family,

I am becoming really, really good at getting around on crutches! Some people have actually told me to slow down because I can get around pretty quick now!

Well, this week went pretty well despite all the craziness of being in a cast and with crutches. Despite the cast and everything I have been able to go and work hard in the afternoons and it has been tough because now my hands and armpits are pretty sore but I much prefer working hard in the field than being in the office. Plus, maybe I will have stronger arms after this!

Eating a ton of watermelon with a member in our area
and with the zone leader, Elder Lloclle (we were on divisions).

We had a temple trip this week which I really enjoyed. I managed to make my way around all the temple on my crutches which was definitely a personal accomplishment. The visit to the temple really bumped up my spirits and got me wanting to work hard!
My companion right now,
Elder Oporta from Nicaragua,
our ties matched.

My first companion, Elder Coello

Life in the office has been alright. I think the only really hard thing is that since a lot of Elders live in our house (6) plus all of the extra Elders that pass through (emergency changes and trips to Guate to sign visas) it seems that all the food I buy just kind of disappears in a few days. I am getting good at finding hiding places to hide my food and not suffer hunger. Maybe this is karma from always stealing my brothers’ and sister’s food back at home.

I had a pretty awesome spiritual experience this week. Our work area is very, very small compared to all the areas that I have had. We have a lot of really cool members of the church in our area that bring their friends to church. I decided to do a fast on Saturday to be able to have a lot of new people in church Sunday and through a big miracle we had 4 new people there on Sunday! T., a 21 year old young woman that the Elders here have been teaching accepted to be baptized the 7th of March! We are going to be helping her get ready and look for more miracles this week!

My work here in the office has been to put all of the baptismal records into the systems of the church. It seems kind of like a simple job but a few months ago there were some records that didn´t get put into the system and I have had to be looking for them like crazy to get all that information! It is pretty tricky to go through all the records and be calling a ton of areas hunting down these records! Maybe this was one of the reasons God sent me here, to search out all these lost records!

One funny little culture thing I wanted to share this week, for some reason here in Guatemala when they talk about doing something in one week they say ´in 8 days´. It is kind of silly because, well, the week is only 7 days. Or when they talk about 2 weeks they say ´in 15 days´. Now, here comes the weird part. When they talk about 3 weeks, they say ´in 20 days´. What?! Yeah, I think it is pretty silly but it is one of those culture things that I like.

Here in the office there are 4 of us. My companion is Elder Oporta (Nicaragua). He got sent to the office the same way as me, he fractured his foot and got a cast. He will be leaving here in about a week and I will get a new companion. Also Elder Gaunt (Utah) and Elder Sandoval (Canada) are here in the office. We are basically all companions because I have gone to work with all of them. Usually Elder Sandoval and I go to work together. He is super awesome because he was baptized 3 years ago so he is really new in the church but his testimony is super, super strong of the church and he is an awesome teacher of the gospel. It has been really fun to be with all of them.

This week I will probably get my cast off and be walking soon! I am excited and glad for this experience. It has definitely helped me to be able to throw things better (so I don´t have to get up and walk so much). Thanks for all of the prayers and support!


Elder Jensen

 Eating a very sour lemon before another Elder finishes (I won).

Monday, February 16, 2015


My new post in the office.

Dear Family,

I got a huge curve ball thrown to me this week!

Right as I finished writing my email last week something crazy happened. As I was crossing the street I hopped up onto the curb. Well, I guess I didn´t step very good because my foot slipped off and I landed right on my ankle! I twisted it so bad that I just fell down on the road because of the pain. I knew something wasn´t right because it hurt so, so bad to walk and I had heard a little noise as I fell. When we got home it had swollen up so so huge! Almost the size of a tennis ball! (Ok maybe that is a little bit of an overreaction but it was so big!) That night we had 2 really important visits with F. and with J. (who both were going to be baptized that Saturday). Despite the pain I decided we needed to go.

J.´s house is very very deep into our area but we went all the way in a tuc tuc. We were able to teach her and help her be ready for her baptism Saturday. But we had one problem, I realized I couldn´t walk at all! It hurt so bad I couldn´t put any pressure on my foot. What did we decide to do with no tuc tucs near at all? Well, I hopped onto Elder Walton´s back and he piggy backed me! It was incredible! We had to go pretty far and I´m not sure how Elder Walton carried me all that way but we made it! We also gave some good laughs to all of the people who saw us go by (I´m sure that made their day to see 2 gringos doing something silly). We then took took a tuc tuc to F.´s house to talk with her and her mom so that she could give permission for her to be baptized. Well it was a great lesson and F. received the permission of her mom! I couldn´t pay any attention to the lesson because my ankle was hurting so much but I am so glad we went because it turns out that that was the last time I would see both of them.

The next day President Ruiz came to do interviews with our zone and he sent us to the hospital to get my ankle checked out and that when I got the news. I was going to need a cast! They put my cast on me and President got things ready for me to leave Malacatán the next day and head to the mission office. And now I´m here in the office of the mission!

Playing Jenga in the house before they came to get me (I had no crutches yet).

Sayting good-bye to the hermanas of the ward.

It is very different not being able to walk much. I have crutches to use but it is still a little tricky. The past few days I was getting pretty board and I really wanted to go work so I have gone out to work with my crutches. It is kind of funny because I used them so hard that I keep breaking all of the crutch grips that are on the bottom. I guess they weren´t made for missionaries.who go out and work a lot. The area here is very small but there are a lot of strong members of the church and I am looking forward to being here for a while. My work here will be to take care of all the equipment in the missionary homes (phones, stoves, beds, things like that) and also all the Book of Mormon´s and pamphlets, things like that. I also will do a lot with all the statistics of the mission (get them together and send them to president). I also am in charge of all of the baptismal records (putting them in to the church´s system). 

The best news I got was that both F. and J. were baptized 2 days ago and that made me super happy that I got to visit them Monday (even though it cost a lot of Elder Walton´s energy). I am so so grateful for my time in Malacatán and for all of the miracles that I was able to witness as a missionary. I know the Lord has a plan for me here in the Retalhuleu. I think this is a chance to submit my will to His and have patience as I pass through this small trial. I think that soon I will see what the Lord wants me to accomplish while I am here in Retalhuleu!

Elder Jensen

Monday, February 9, 2015

Elevator meetings?

Baptism of A.

Dear Family,

I think Guatemala has taught me so much to enjoy the small conveniences in life. These past weeks we started washing our clothes with a member that has a washing machine and dryer and it is fantastic! Fresh smelling clothes out of a dryer! Who knew?

My companion and I had a small bonding moment this week. as we were going down the elevator in the church to start our weekly planning we realized that the door wasn´t opening. A few seconds later it opened but just the first set of doors. The second set of doors were still shut and they wouldn´t move! We were stuck in the elevator! Sadly both of us had to use the bathroom and it was a tough half hour.  On the positive side we had all our things to start planning and we got to plan a little bit in the elevator. We were going to make a small video to you all just in case we never made it out but one of the church leaders came and saved us with his key. I don´t think I will step foot in that thing again while I am here in Malacatán.

I love Guatemalan people so much but sometimes they don´t have the best memory. A few weeks ago we had member of the church give us the reference of his uncle who used to visit with the missionaries. He decided to go ahead and take us to meet his uncle. Well, after finding out that the uncle did not want to see us we were a little confused and the member was confused too why his uncle had been so negative. But then he remembered that his uncle who was interested in the church had died about 5 years ago and that he took us to the wrong uncle! We had a few good laughs with him because of that.

We also saw a lot of Heavenly Father´s hand in the work this week. The first big miracle was that A. was baptized this week! She is such an amazing person and despite all the doubts that she had when we first met her she has been able to receive answers from God about her doubts and she has a strong testimony of the church. She even got up after her baptism to share her testimony and I felt the Sprit so strong. I know there are thousands of prepared people just like her! Also the member who took us to meet her bore his testimony. He is an older man and very humble but the Lord used him to help us find A. and he was very happy for that. Now A. is helping us to teach her Granddaughter (J.) so that she can also be baptized this next week.

This week I had another really awesome experience. A while back my companion and I started talking to one of the tuc-tuc drivers that was taking us down to our area. We got to talking and we started to talk to him about the church. We found out that he had attended the church a few times in the states but right now he and his family had stopped going to any church for a long time. He invited us to come to his house and meet his family but we always had trouble finding him in his house. Well, Saturday night we had the blessing to find him and his family all at home. His name is Á. and his wife is C. and they also have two children. We had a really cool lesson with them using the Jenga tower to explain about how Christ´s church is on the earth once again. They really felt the Spirit and accepted the invitation to come to church the next day. Well, as the meeting started and went on we didn´t see them and we were a little sad. But, about halfway through the meeting I felt a pat on the back and it was Á. with his family! I felt so much joy as we sat with them and I knew that this was a huge miracle. This is why I know the Lord wants us to open our mouths to share is gospel always, even in a tuc tuc.

Well, it has been a fantastic week. I also found out that pig legs and feet are really not that gross. Despite the fact that it is just pure fat around a ton of joint bones, it still tastes all right.  Also we had some more fun today as we tried on some silly cow costumes at a thrift store. I just couldn´t resist the temptation, The owner of the store just died laughing and I think we really made her day!  I really am enjoying every minute of my missionary service and I know we will see many more miracles in the weeks to come!

¡Viva Guatemala!


Elder Jensen 

Eating an awesome granizada.

Monday, February 2, 2015


A trip to the waterfalls in San Pablo (Tocache)

Dear Family,

I am really really enjoying this part of my mission! I wish the time would just slow down a little bit.

We have worked really hard this week to teach some very positive people we have found. Last Sunday we were able to bring an older lady named A. with her granddaughter J. Well after some very spiritual visits with them they came to church again this Sunday and also A. brought another grandson, M. and he wants to start attending early morning Seminary! We had a very cool lesson yesterday where we challenged them all once again to be baptized. We had originally thought about the 21st of this month but the Spirit gave us the impression that A. was ready for this Saturday. I said a prayer in my heart and as we challenged her to be baptized this Saturday she said yes. She explained that as she prayed she had heard a voice saying she should be baptized in the church. She also had a spiritual moment taking the sacrament where she almost began to cry and decided she wanted to be baptized. It really was a miracle and I know that we aren´t the ones that have converted A., it is the Lord.

We are also teaching one of the students of a high school teacher that is a member of the church. Her name is F. and she has really enjoyed learning about the church. She came to church for the second time yesterday and she wants to receive an answer from God to know if she should be baptized. We have brought several members of the ward with us to help her feel comfortable in the church and we continue to pray that she will feel the Spirit tell her that she needs to join the church.

On Thursday we had an awesome visit from Elder Adrian Ochoa from the Seventy. He taught us some awesome ways we can improve and find more prepared people to teach. I always am amazed at the spirituality of the general authorities. It just makes me want to live a better life and always study my scriptures to be able to have that kind of knowledge and testimony.

One Guatemalan snack I am starting to love are Granizadas (extreme snow cones). Granizadas are shaved ice mixed with a ton of flavored syrup, fruit, and a ton of other things. The hard thing is that most places that make them don´t use clean water for the ice (some tell us that it´s boiled river water). Luckily this week we found an awesome place that makes all types of granizadas and it is safe! (Well I think so) I will have to learn how to make these so you can try them, they are an explosion in your mouth!

We had a super funny experience with one family we were visiting. They have a ton of little boys (a lot like our family). Elder Walton was trying to explain to these boys what a moose was (there are a lot in Wyoming). The problem was that we didn´t know the word in Spanish for ´moose´ and they had no idea what we were talking about. The boys brought out like 5 or 6 of their school books trying to figure out what this animal was and we were just laughing at how hard it was to get these kids to figure out what a moose was. Just one of those weird things you can´t explain to Guatemalan children who have never seen a moose.

I am so grateful for another fun and productive week in the Lord´s service. I am learning each day to be humble and realize I am not the person that converts God´s children, it is the Lord. I am so grateful for that and remember it always!

Elder Jensen

Pictures of our trip to the water fall today.