Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I was asked me to go to Cuyotenango to translate in the fire station for some gringos from Kansas City.

Dear Family,

I don´t know how I can type out everything that happened this week but I am going to try to capture it as best I can!

Well, I got a call at the beginning of the week from the Mazate stake president saying that there was a group of people from Kansas City in Cuyotenango that needed a translator to get a water purification system installed in the fire station. I got the chance to go and help translate so that they could train the Guatemalan firefighters how to use it and get everything installed. It was a little strange because I haven´t tried to speak really formal English for a while and I kept forgetting words in English when I was talking to them but it was a cool experience. Some of the women who were there who are moms kind of flipped out when I explained what I do as a missionary and how long I have been here in Guatemala. It was pretty entertaining to see all their reactions.
Elder Jolley and I saying goodbye, emergency changes again.
I think the craziest part of the week was when we found out that same night that Elder Jolley had emergency changes! I think we have the strangest companionship story.  We were companions a year ago but only for 2 weeks because they took me out in emergency changes and then we became companions again for a second time and just 3 weeks together and then they took him out in emergency changes. How strange?! Now I am with Elder Gavarrete. He is my 3rd Honduran companion and I am excited to get my Spanish back to top notch (after about 6 months with gringo comps). He is super excited to work hard and help elevate our zone here in Mazate. He has 21 months and wants to finish super strong! Before the mission he played in the professional league of soccer in Honduras so he is more than good at soccer. We are going to have a blast as companions!
Elder Gavarrete and I on the way to San Fransisco to baptize one of the investigators.
We had 2 baptism in our area this past Saturday. V. who has been attending church on her own for the past 3 weeks was baptized and also M. who is the sister of somebody that we used to teach and then he referred us to her. It was such a miracle because the baptism was scheduled in the morning and them M.´s mom got very sick with Chinkunkunya and M. had to stay to help her. We felt we needed to go to their house to help everyone feel a little better and see if the Lord could work a miracle to help M. get baptized that day. At first the dad got very upset but we were able to explain to him the importance and M. began to tell her dad how much she had been waiting for that day to be baptized. We could see the Spirit touch his heart and M. was baptized that afternoon. Also that same day (in between those 2 baptisms) we had the chance to go to San Francisco to baptize É., who we had interviewed for baptism the day before. The Sisters, who taught him, were so excited when he decided to be baptized and be courageous despite the negative comments of his family. This really was a week of miracles!
Baptism of V.

Baptism of E.

Baptism of M.

Sadly rain season has started and yesterday it rained so hard that water somehow got into our window and got Elder Gavarrete´s bed all wet! The raining was just relentless. Luckily in our house there are some extra sleeping mats for when far areas have to sleep in our house. My faithful poncho that has served me so well broke during that rain storm so I will maybe have a little funeral faithful friend. It has saved me so many times!

I am so glad that we are not alone in this work. There have been moments where the stress of leading a lot of missionaries can get the best of you but I have seen time and time again that the Spirit is always there to help us and turn stress into comfort and hope! I will never take that blessing for granted!

Elder Jensen

Giving a message at a ward activity we planned.

Enjoying Wendys after 17 months of not having it.

Trying to catch a bird that got in the chapel.

Watermelon eating contest that I lost.

Friday, March 27, 2015

La Máquina

The classic Mazate deer mascot (but more buff).

Dear Family,

Super fun week despite the first few rain storms of the year. It is not supposed to rain until May! Why does Mother Nature have to tease us like this?

Despite the rain we had a great time this week. The biggest news was that W. and A. who were married last week got baptized this Saturday! It was as huge miracle because their daughter also got baptized and we had thought all along that she was really a member but it turned out that it was a different sister who had been baptized already. When we invited her to be baptized with her parents she was super excited and was so happy on Saturday. This is a really special family. They worked so hard to get everything ready for their marriage and baptism and we can feel a huge difference every time we go to their home, the Sprit is there! They love reading the Book of Mormon and they mark things so that they can share with other people as well!

We also have found some very, very prepared people in this past week by doing small surveys with people. It gets them excited to talk with us and it is easy to tell if they want to really learn more about the church or not. It is also kind of funny sometimes too. I have asked several people ´When I say The Mormon Church, what is the first thing you think of, one lady responded ´pigs´. I was super confused and a little offended but I guess it was because she thought we don´t eat pigs. Another lady told us ´basketball´ which was another sort of strange answer. But it has been fun to use this survey technique and it has helped us so, so much in the center of the city. 

One other really different things about the centero of the city is that there are a ton of bars. At night we always here the bar music playing.  But I´ve found it actually helps a little bit to keep us awake enough to be able to take the daily stats of all the missionaries, so it does have its advantages.

This Saturday we are planning on having 3 more baptisms. J. (22) went to talk to the parents of his girlfriend yesterday and was able to get permission from them to marry their daughter which was a huge miracle! We are going to help them this week to have their legal marriage and they can celebrate with a big wedding later. We are going to work to help him prepare for his baptism this Saturday. He is really cool and has had some very spiritual experiences as he has read the Book of Mormon.

Oh, I am starting to love seafood! I can´t believe that before the mission I didn´t like it! It may just be how the Guatemalans prepare their seafood but it is so delicious. This is why I have just loved being in the coast my whole mission!

Eating some delicious fish with a ton of plátanos in the background.

I am just so excited for another awesome week. Maybe I will get to go and work in some other areas this week. This past week I worked in a place called the La Máquina (the machine) and it was super, super hot and dusty there, but fun to get to help out the missionaries there. I just love Guatemala and am so glad to get to serve among the people here every day!


Elder Jensen

La Máquina, an area in the zone. I went and did divisions with Elder Peterson there.

Cutting wood in the morning in La Máquina

Elder Peterson and I on our way back from the La Máquina

The dusty road from the La Máquina.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rolling around Mazate

Dear Family,

Today I learned that roller skating is definitely not one of my God-given talents. I ended up on the floor about 15 times today and I am pretty sore right now. But it was a lot of fun!

I think one of the notable things that happened this week is that mango season started! Here in the center of the city there are so many people that sell fresh cut and prepared mangos and they are so incredible! I am not sure how I could live 18 years without knowing about these mangoes! This is why I love Guatemala so much.
City Park
Mango Season!

We have been working really hard to teach various families that attended church this past Sunday and we have seen a lot of miracles. One family, W. and A., has been progressing a lot in the gospel. We had originally thought that W. was already a member of the church but after we taught them about the organization of the church he realized that he had never been baptized in the church and told us that he wanted to be baptized with his wife. Since then they have been making a lot of changes in their life. Since A. is younger than 18 and they needed to get married, she went all the way to visit her parents and bring them to Mazate so that they could be there to sign for her marriage and she did it all! Her mom even came barefoot all the way from where they live (30 minutes away). They were married this past Saturday and we are going to help them to prepare for baptism this Saturday.

W. and A. signing marriage papers.

We also had some really really cool moments with another family whose names are E. and P. Another Elder found them when he got his watch fixed. He started talking to the watch fixer and gave us the reference. Well, last Sunday they came to church and have been so excited to read the Book of Mormon. We left them the chapter when Christ comes to visit the Americas (3 Nephi 11). When we came back to talk about the chapter they were so excited and they told us all the things they read in the chapter and it was incredible how much they had understood and remembered. I felt so happy and excited for them because of how much they love reading the Book of Mormon! We continue to visit and help them get closer to a baptismal date.

Christ visits America, as recorded in the Book of Mormon

Being in the center of the city lets us get to see some of the weirder stuff that Guatemala has to offer. There is a man that walks around here in the center and that just walks and walks all around without a destination. He actually served a mission for the church many years ago but somehow he lost his mind and now he just sings in random public places. He showed up to the church when we were playing volleyball today and started singing really loud. We all seemed to enjoy it.

I am so glad that the Lord gave me the chance to have my ankle back to normal and be working hard again to help all his children return to his presence. I am also so happy to be here in Guatemala! I have grown to love this place so much and all who live here!

Elder Jensen

Mazate 2

Saying goodbye to papi Coello.

Dear Family,

You won´t be able to guess where I am right now. I am back in Mazate! It kind of feels like coming back home! I just love this place!

Earlier in the week President Ruiz gave me the news that I was going to be leaving the office during the changes. I am super grateful for the time that I got to spend in the office. After it was all said and done I really did see why the Lord sent me there with my cast.

I have really enjoyed my new area here in Mazate.  Almost all of my areas have been a little bit rural (the houses are a little spread out and there aren´t so many businesses) but my new area here in Mazate is much different! We have the whole center of Mazate, the biggest city in the mission. I think sometimes the hardest part is finding houses where people actually live because there are so many businesses. Plus, I am continually trying to not get hit by a car because I am just not used to so much traffic. I kind of envision myself in the movie ´Elf´ when he is crossing the street and gets nailed by a taxi. But I am being careful, don´t worry. I guess a lot of the members had told the Elders that in this area it would be way too hard but we are seeing a lot of miracles! This Sunday we had 3 families come to church and they all came just on their own! Our class in the second hour of church for all the new members and visitors had like 40 people! It was quite the sight.

I am not sure what I am going to do when I get back to the cold, icey weather in the states because even just the mornings here are a little chilly and make me so, so cold. I am just so used to always sweating! Maybe someday I can get a home here in Guatemala so that I can live here for 6 months during the winter and then when the rain starts here in Guate I can live in the states for the other 6 months. Future dreams of Elder Jensen.

I am so grateful to be here in the field again! I really learned a lot from my experience on crutches and for my time I got to serve in the office. Now I am ready for a new challenge! After all, there is no growing in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growing zone! Thanks for all the prayers always!

Elder Jensen


Members of the church in Reu


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Las Palmas Zone

Dear Family,

I am walking again! Wooooh! I can´t tell you how awesome it is to be able to walk normally again and get back to the work I love!

Well Tuesday was the big day when I got my cast off. We went all the way back to Malacatán so that the same doctor could get my cast off. It was fun because I got to see a lot of missionaries that were in my district and that made me happy. Also I got to see some members that I never got to say goodbye to because of my surprise change from the area. Man I miss that place.

It hurt a lot to walk when the cast came off. I have to do this really silly exercise that is kind of like doing squats. Each day I my ankle gets stronger and I am pretty much walking normally again (I even played a little bit of volleyball today).

This week there are changes and it is going to be a little crazy because 19 missionaries are leaving and only 14 are coming in. Also my mission ´dad´ is leaving this change (Elder Coello). That is going to be really strange to not have him in the mission anymore but I guess the time to leave always comes at some point.

My ´brother´ in the mission Elder Najar (Elder Coello trained him in Calahuache after me).

We have seen some super huge miracles this week even working on crutches. It was pretty funny to see my shirt all untucked as I crutched around Reu. But, the members of our ward have worked really hard to help us find people to teach and thanks to them T., A., and M. are getting baptized this Saturday. T. (about 20 years old) has been learning about the church for about 2 months now and she is very excited for her baptism. She is a good friend of one of the members of the ward and she loves the church! M. (12 years old) was invited to church by his friend and after playing soccer at a few activities at the church he accepted to attend church and he is also very excited for this Saturday (he is also helping his cousins to attend church for the first time). A. is another youth that the members had been inviting to church and after one invitation to her to be baptized she accepted and has progressed really fast in the gospel as well. Her mom was baptized a long time ago and because of A.´s excitement she is coming back to church again. These are huge miracles!

I have absolutely loved the food here in Guatemala except for just one dish that I just really don´t like. There is this soup called leg soup where they chop up the legs of the cows with an axe and put little pieces of the leg in soup. Well, this past week we got some leg soup but for some reason in my soup they only put chunks of the cow´s fat. So I basically was eating cow fat in soup. It was pretty strange and made me very grateful for other food like beans and eggs (which i just love!).

My animal adventures this week were cool too! We happened to find a rabbit in one of the members house. It was kind of fun to mess around with until it did it´s business in my hand and then I was just upset with it. But oh well, I should have seen it coming. Also we ran into a great dane this week. Usually the dogs around here are tiny because they just eat people´s left over tortillas but this great dane was like the biggest dog I have every seen! Just huge!

Holding a rabbit with Elder Gaunt

Well, it has been a super fun and happy week (because I am walking! Woooh!). I am so grateful that the Lord gave me this trial with my ankle to learn patience and learn to accept his will. It is through small trials that he molds us into better instruments in his hands!

Elder Jensen