Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wedding planner

Dear Family,

Super big highlight of the week is that in our area we got to help prepare a family that we were teaching get married and baptized on Saturday. The husband was already a member (baptized back in California) and his wife and son were baptized Saturday. It was super fun and felt great to be a part of a baptism again! Their wedding was super awesome. Elder Walton and Elder Dial, who we share the area with, had prepared a ton of awesome stuff (since they wanted a big wedding). The cool thing was this big bell that we ripped open over their heads and a ton of beans and rice came out (representing always having food in the home). It was a good time.

Triumphant after preparing the wedding.

The interesting thing about our house is that random missionaries pass through at times for trips to Guate for the visa or they are stuck the night in Reu, things like that. Well the other night an Elder had a full out ping pong set so with our creative 20 year old minds made a huge ping pong tournament in the house which was super entertaining and I never thought people from El Salvador can be so beast at ping pong because I got smoked!

I am getting a lot more comfortable with driving because now I don´t flip out when I see random motorcycles pop out of nowhere or dogs in the street in stuff. I am almost a pro Guatemalan driver now.

I am really starting to enjoy the training sessions we get to run at times. This week we had all the new missionaries come to Reu and we did some cool workshops to help them get their teaching skills up and it was super fun to be with them and teach them. We did some funny practices with me answering the door of a ´house´ and reacting differently to the missionaries at my door. It was a lot of fun.
An example of rotten bananas we did for all the new missionaries.

I now have a super strong testimony of how important it is to constantly master the scriptures. Sometimes when we go visit investigators throughout the whole mission that are struggling to make the decision to be baptized it really helps to know the scriptures because often the spirit gives me the exact scripture that helps people trust in the Lord and take that important decision! It is such an important thing to master!

This week we will be doing some big conferences in the mission with several zones so it should be really cool and we´re excited to get the whole mission excited and working hard this next month! Hope you all have a super week as well!!

Elder Jensen
In a place called the Blanca near the beach with a big pig.

We made chili dogs on Sunday! So so so so so so good

Cool palm tree and sky

Skating with Elder Merrill

A Return to the Beginning

Dear Family,

My companion and I have had some interesting times as we travel throughout the mission. We had the chance to go back to San Marcos and San Pedro to work on Tuesday and on our way up we came up on a very strange scene. It was one of the big buses but it´s wheel axels were super, super misaligned. I mean super misaligned! It looked like the bus was going to fly off the side of the road but it was going straight! It was hysterical but we also hoped that the bus had no passengers because that was not fit to be on the road. We just wondered how hard it would be to park that bus all crooked like that.

We started the week with some really successful trainings for the leaders of the mission. The Spirit helped both of us out to give powerful messages and inspiration and I am amazed at how comfortable I am now talking publicly. That is a huge blessing. But I was definitely more calm when it was all over. On Thursday we got to go up to the mountains again and I worked for my first time there! Wow the air is thin there! The Elder that I was with decided to take me up a massive hill in the area and I was just amazed at how much my body is not used to working in the high altitudes. Let´s just say I had to yell a lot ´slow down!¨ It is amazing at how different the culture is up there. I also lost the feeling in my fingers various times. 

On the way back we stopped in Xela to buy some bikes for one of the big areas in the mission. 

The Quetzaltenango Temple at night

Something that Elder Merrill and I have figured out is that a great way to pass the time on these long drives is to listen to a ton of talks and devotionals which has been fun and made the trips feel a lot quicker. I am starting to love the teaching style of Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, Elder McConkie and many others.

I had 2 big highlights of the week. Number 1 was that we got to work in our area on Friday and Saturday. Well on Saturday I got to be with Elder Walton (my old comp!) and we were working super hard the whole day to find new people that could attend church the next day since they had been struggling in the area. Well we worked super hard and talked to a lot of people and at about 8:30 at night we knocked the door of someone that Elder Walton had met one time at the gym. Well he was super excited to come and know the church on Sunday and he ended up attending. Then at about 8:45 we knocked another door of someone that turned out to be the brother of a member of the church. He had listened to missionaries a long time ago and he also came to church the next day (2 miracles since church starts at 8am). It felt so awesome to bring people to church again and get to work in my assigned area! The Lord blessed us a ton in those few hours since we never get to be in our area.

The other number 1 highlight of the week was that on Sunday we went and worked in Calahuaché, my first area!! It was a blast and I got to show the missionaries some of the people I used to teach that had come to church in the past and it was fun to actually teach some of them once again and see a new excitement to come to church in them. It was so fun and the best part and one of the sweetest parts of my mission is that I got to see the B. Family again. This was the family that my companion and I found back when I was here and they ended up all being baptized in the church and now many of them have callings. The oldest son is now the branch mission leader and he is waiting his mission call! Right when they saw me they yelled ¨Elder Jensen¨ I was happy they recognized me so fast and they just kept saying how grateful they were for all that we did to teach them and I felt so happy to see that all our work in Calahuaché really had a big effect. I love this family so much and I am just carried away in joy to think of the amazing souls that I have met here in Guatemala! I love this work!

We´ll see if this next week matches with this past! I hope it is a blast and I know it will be!


Elder Jensen

Celebrating July Birthdays, below...President Ruiz taking the picture.

My CCM group, we all started our missions together.

E Merrill´s shoe broke so I enjoyed seeing him play with one shoe.

Eating at Wendy's in Mazate again!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Step by step

        Missionary work is for all ages!

Dear Family,

I think this week I finally learned what Lehi experienced when he talked about the mists of darkness that were before the tree of life. As we drove back down to Reu after dropping off a missionary in the mountains out of nowhere we ran into a super thick fog! I don´t know if it was a cloud or just fog but wow it was hard to see! I was just driving as slow as I could because I know some of these mountain roads just have shear drops on both sides (according to my companion but maybe he just exagerated it so I would drive better) so that was pretty intense! Luckily it didn´t last too long and we made it out ok, but I am now paranoid to drive the truck up and down the mountains!

         My new companion, Elder Merrill

Besides our experience in the mists of darkness things have been pretty calm. On Tuesday we welcomed in the new missionaries and share some messages with them which was fun. I still feel like I was in their spot just a few months ago. We were up all that night getting the presentation of the changes ready. Before the assistant´s would make a powerpoint of all of the changes in the mission but Presidente wanted the meeting to be a little more calm so we just did the presentation of the new missionaries and he just read the changes and the furthest zones left as he read the changes. My new companion is Elder Merrill from Canada. The good thing is that he has been a long long time in the mountains so luckily we didn´t get lost in Xela or in San Marcos.

We also got to work in some really cool places this week. There is a place called ´El Codo´ (The Elbow) which is on the way to Champerico from Reu and we got to meet and help some really cool families that have gone to church there and are getting ready to be baptized. It is a pretty remote place and the Elders use bikes but it was really fun to meet the people and families that live there who have a lot of faith! Also I got to work on Sunday in Colomba which is a place with so so so many stairs! I think my leg muscles must have doubled!

The Reu stake planned an interesting activity on Saturday morning with all of the primary kids (like 5-10 year olds). It turned out to be a success because as we went to go visit some less active members I would stop them all at times to contact people in their homes and we learned that little kids singing primary songs does wonders! Several people accepted the invitation to attend church just listening to all the little kids sings! Who knew?

It was really hard to say goodbye to Elder Gavarrete this week as he finished his mission and it made me so grateful to think how many exceptional people I have met and gotten to work with! I know have life long friends all of the world and I feel so blesssed for that!

It should be a great week of work and we will be giving a lot of training this week to the leaders in the mission so we are ready for the challenge! Oh, and I totally forgot that my birthday is tomorrow, Wow!

Elder Jensen

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Where ARE you from?

Dear Family,

The question ´Where are you from?´ has been tough for me to answer lately considering that you all live in Japan now! It is definitely more fun to tell the Guatemalans that I am from Japan, of course they always respond ´you´re not chinese!´.

I have pretty much spent the whole week trying to adjust to my new assignments in the mission. It is definitely a much slower pace but it is a lot more mentally demanding. We really do a lot of planning and brain storming to find ways to help the mission as a whole. I guess before the assistants had an area they could work in a few days of the week but a little while ago they took that out and now we just work sometimes with the Elders in an area called Pedregal here in Reu. The fun thing is that Elder Walton is in that area so we get to reunite as companions again at times!

Almost all of our travels are in the buses, so I am getting to see a whole lot more of crazy things happen on the buses. I was enjoying a nice little nap when all of a sudden I was woken up by some super loud yelling and a ton of spit in my face from a crazy guy who was basically screaming right in front of my face telling the whole bus to repent. On the same trip I also got surprised as a tiny little dog appeared under my seat! I guess it had chewed it´s way out of the little cord that it was tied up with. Hard to be bored on those bus trips.

I haven´t noticed, but a ton of people keep saying that I look a lot skinnier and I am starting to notice that with my older pants it is a constant struggle to keep them from falling down! The problem is that I have reached the last hole on my belt and it doesn´t help me anymore. I guess it is time to invest in a new belt and in a tailor to fix those pants. But, don´t worry, I am super healthy, just skinny.

On Sunday we had the chance to go help with the dedication of the new stake center chapel in San Felipe (one my first areas).  The chapel is amazing and it blew my mind that they built it in only 6 or 7 months and it is a beauty! Afterwards, we got to stay close by and go with the Elders in a place called San Andres. 

Tomorrow we will be receiving the new missionaries which will be a fun experience, a lot of deja vu as well remembering the first day I got to the mission field (I fell in a river that day).

I really have learned the truthfulness to the phrase ´There is now growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.´ It has been a tough week as I am growing and learning to do demanding things but I know that my whole life will be just like this, always learning to do new things and failing a little at first and then reaching success. I am so grateful God gives me the chance to push myself and do new things that I never thought I could. It is the best!

Elder Jensen


Our Fourth of July celebration...roasting hot dogs in the back yard

Visiting Elder Merrill


                       Zona Mazate