Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ellos dijeron que sí!

Baptism of A.

Dear Family,

Elder Gavarrete and I have just had a great time together. We have also had some very spiritual experiences that have just grown our testimonies so, so much! During this past week we were working hard during the morning to find new people to teach. It was super hot and we both had wet shirts from our sweat. It was almost time to go to lunch but we both decided to work a little bit more until the last moment. My companion suggested we try to contact at the very edge of our area limit. We went and came across an older lady who we just invited to church at her door. She said her name was F. and she accepted right away the invitation to come and visit church on Sunday. She said it is hard for her to walk but she was going to make it Sunday.

On Sunday we were both so surprised when we saw F. making her way slowly up the stairs of the church! It turns out that she actually had some good friends there in the ward and she had a wonderful experience. We felt impressed to go and visit her later on Sunday and invite her to prepare for baptism for the 9th of May. Well, we went and taught powerfully with the Spirit and right in that moment she even set the time of day she wanted to be baptized! It was so incredible! But even more incredible, she told us that she wasn´t married yet with her current husband. We explained that we could help and that there was a member of the ward that is a lawyer that would do the marriage. Well right as we were talking about that her husband entered the house from work. His name is L. C. We got to meet him a little bit and then boldly invited him to be married and baptized with his wife and he accepted! He even is going to change his work schedule to not work on Sundays so he and his wife can be faithful members together!

This family is so special to me and as we left their home I remembered a scripture from Alma:

“Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.” - Alma 32:16

Well, that was definitely my spiritual high moment of the week. We are also excited for E. and P. which is another family that I have gotten to teach since I got to Mazate and right now they are finishing their puzzle that we made for them so that they can me baptized the 2nd of May (this Saturday)! We will pray hard for them and continue to visit them with more families in the ward!
I have become a fanatic of this amazing blue dust that we have found in the book stores. The baptismal font in our chapel always spits out green water and it looks really bad. Well, we discovered this blue dust that you can throw in the water and it changes to blue! We had always used a light blue colored but I wanted to get creative this week and use a really really blue shade. It sure worked and the water was so blue but so were my arms and my shirt! Oops! I think next time we will stick with the light blue because I looked a little bit like a smurf that day as we filled up the font.

Baptism of A.

I had a fun time giving an inspirational message to the zone this week. I had a DVD made of the scene from “Facing the Giants” (a football movie). It is the ´Death Crawl´ scene from that movie and it is super inspirational. I showed it to the missionaries and applied it to the work, that we need to give everything to the Lord in these short 2 years and that even though we think we might not be able to achieve a lot we really can work miracles if we give our all! Some Elders even did some push-ups which was fun.

I am so glad to be on the Lord´s errand and helping him touch the hearts of his children! There are thousands of people waiting for us, F. and L. C. are just a small example of that. I am excited to go and find more of these prepared souls!


Elder Jensen

Apartments we discovered in our area.

Suchi stadium

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blessings pouring down in Mazate

Baptism of O., she was a miracle and she has such a cool testimony!

Baptism of J.

Dear Family,

Well, nothing quite as exciting as last week with the big climb up Tajumulco but there were still a ton of miracles!

The only body part still suffering from that climb is my lower lip which is still pretty burnt (it has some blisters early in the week) but I think with these mysterious Guatemalan remedies that I am using it should go away soon. In Guatemala it is better not to tell someone that you are sick because they start to offer you a ton of questionable pills and then start suggesting 10 types of medicine to buy. Just a funny culture thing here.

Everyone´s face peeling from our sunburns from Tajumulco(my lip is still pretty burnt)

We also had a fun experience with the rain here in our area. I was on divisions the day it rained super, super hard and me and Elder Weltmer (from California) found ourselves clinging onto houses and pretty much making our way along mission impossible style that way the current of water wouldn´t sweep us away. It was pretty fun and probably entertaining for the people watching as we clinged and climbed on the sides of houses like Spiderman.

As we got closer to Saturday many missionaries in the zone were seeing some challenges with their investigators who were preparing for baptism this Saturday.  We all fasted and right after there were miracles right and left. My companion and I spent several days in other areas trying to do all we could so that the Lord could work some miracles in all the areas and it really worked. Afterwards, 2 of the Elders told us that the fast was so powerful for them as they were blessed with a couple of baptisms in their area when it seemed that nobody would get baptized. It was a huge testimony builder!

This week O., an older women that we had found a few months ago doing some surveys, decided to be baptized. She really got a strong testimony of the need to be baptized in water but also by the Spirit. The story of the people who were baptized again in Acts 19 to receive the baptism of the Spirit really helped her. When she came up out of the water in her baptism she began to cry because she was so happy and she even expressed thanks to the Lord for the chance to be baptized. It was a really cool moment!

We were also blessed to help J. get married and baptized this week as well. He really did his part to be able to do all this because he went all the way to Samayac (on the other side of Mazate) to ask permission from his in-laws to be able to get married and helped them come to Mazate to see the marriage. After his baptism he got up with his wife in front of everyone to thank us and thank the Lord for all he had achieved in these past weeks and that was also a really special moment. 

I don´t think there´s ever been a time in my life when I get to take a front seat to see the Lord work wonders among his children each day. Us, the missionaries, really we are just his hands, he does all the work! This week as well he has helped us find A. (15 years old) that has come to church with his cousin several times and absolutely loves it! He is preparing to be baptized this coming Saturday!

I am excited to see what other things are to come this next week!


Elder Jensen

On our way to play minigolf (we passed our weekly goal for baptisms
so we got permission to go over near San Felipe to play minigolf.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Volcano Tajumulco-the HIGHEST point in Central America

Elder Gavarette and me on the hike.

Dear Family,

Yesterday we climbed to the highest point in all of Central America! It was incredible!

Our zone got the chance yesterday to climb the Volcano Tajumulco, the highest volcano or mountain in all of Central America! We had to wake up at 3 a.m. to head out to the volcano and we started our ascent at about 5 a.m. 

There was a pickup truck that took the sister missionaries up a good ways and we went up a little part in the bus we came in. 

Luckily, we had been able to find some super cheap clothes for the cold (because in Mazate nobody buys that stuff because it is stinking hot) because it was pretty cold in the morning.

 As we went up we realized it was going to be a lot harder than we thought. The views we saw were just so incredible, I don´t think my camera really could capture how incredible it was.

One of the funnier parts of this whole experience was that this little black dog that we found at the start of the climb started to guide us up the volcano and pretty much stuck with us the whole way. We kind of fed it and gave it water as we went up so it wouldn´t die and it was super faithful. I gave it the name of Encarnación (from Nacho Libre), just because it sounds kind of silly, but the name stuck.

Luckily I had thought to bring sunscreen because we were a lot closer to the sun and there was no clouds to protect us from the sun. We eventually made it to the very last ascent where we kind of rested for a while. About an hour later everyone was together and we started the final climb. It was super fun! At about 12 p.m. we made it to the top (and of course Encarnación made it as well)!  It took us a few minutes to find the actual crater of the volcano but we found it and it was amazing! It isn´t active and you can actually climb down into the crater (which we didn´t do because of time limits). 

The clouds had come in by then and we were above the clouds. It was unforgettable!

By the time we were back in San Marcos everyone had burnt and exhausted faces but it was so, so worth it!

We also had some other awesome moments this past week. M.´s older sister was baptized on Saturday. M. was very happy to see her sister also enter the waters of baptism and take those first important steps in the gospel.

 I also got to go to La Máquina during the week to help out the Elders there with an interview and boy, did we walk a lot there. La Máquina is just a ton of dirt roads and it is super spread out (and hot). It would be a good area for bikes, maybe someday.

I have also really enjoyed being creative with our zone meetings. This past week I talked to them about giving our investigators hamburgers instead of tamales. Tamales just have a little piece of meat in the middle surrounded by a ton of dough that you have to eat. In turn, hamburgers have meat in every single bite. The meat of our message to the world is that we can all be clean from our sins through Christ if we repent, are baptized, and keep the commandments. I explained that we need to always be mentioning the meat of our message in every single lesson and always giving hamburgers to our investigators and not tamales which just have a tiny bit of meat at the very end.

We hope to see more miracles in our area this week and to see some more baptisms as well. I have just seen the Lord´s hand in this work so much here and I can´t wait to see more in the coming months!


Elder Jensen

More pictures from our hike:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Small and Simple Things

I look like a giant!

Dear Family,

It feels like the holy week this year was a lot, lot calmer. It is crazy to think that last holy week I had emergency changes here to Mazate. Where has the time gone?

Judas came out this week begging for money or bread from all of the businesses. The different thing this year was that here in the center there were a ton of marimbas out playing marimba music. As they played marimba in the streets Judas would dance and let´s just say it is quite a sight. The only part I didn´t like is that a group of like 3 marimbas parked outside of our apartment and were playing music with huge speakers until like 1 or 2 in the morning.

A marimba right outside our house.

We worked so so hard this week to find and bring people to hear the apostles and the prophet in the conference and we saw so many miracles. The members of our ward got excited as well and one sister of the ward who has a husband that isn´t a member was able to bring him to the conference. He came to conference and accepted an appointment with us for this week to teach him a little but more about the church! There were also many other members who brought friends and we were able to bring some people that we had also found.

One thing that helped a lot was that some of the sisters thought to do a carwash the Friday before conference. We were able to get a ton of tuc tucs to come into the parking lot and as we washed their cars we gave a tour of the chapel and at the end had them watch ´Because He Lives´ in the chapel. I ended up giving tours the whole time.  Itt was a really cool experience and helped me appreciate more the sacredness of the the chapels of the church. Plus it was also fun to get a little wet washing tuc tucs and a few cars.

The sad part of the week was that in the Sunday morning session of conference (where we had a ton of investiagators) the satelite signal failed and we couldn´t see the conference. They had to send everyone home and it was pretty heart breaking but things like this always happen for a reason. It kind of helps us to accept God´s will and learn from it. One really cool thing that happened was that on Saturday I ran into one of the converts from Santo Domingo, Analy! She got baptized August of last year and she has been going so faithfully to church! She is even saving up right now to go serve a mission and has been helping the sister missionaries do divisions! How cool!? It is like when Alma gets so happy to see the faithfulness of his bretheren that he falls down from happiness.

I have really, really enjoyed being with a latino companion again. The awesome part is that he also loves to work hard and we just have a blast together (and my spanish has had a noticible difference). It is always the best when you have a companion who helps you to work harder and give a little more of yourself.

I have the goal to work hard to be a more humble servant of the Lord. I was reading a little bit about that and it is important to give all the honor to the Lord when something is achieved and to always recognize our need of his divine help. I am so glad for His heavenly help each day and that like Elder Anderson said in conference, his hand is always seen in this work.

Elder Jensen