Monday, April 29, 2013

Love This!

Hi there family! 
It has been another week and I am nearing my 6 month mark here in the mission. I cannot believe it, I remember thinking in my first weeks out here in the mission that I couldnt survive until May... And here it is, 2 days away from being May. I have no idea where April went, and now I realize when it says in Preach My Gospel that our time here to serve the Lord full time is extremely short. I understand now. 

Mom... Trios are not common, but just like you guessed, it is because we are getting tons of new missionaries. 50 new missionaries are entering the mission field here in Santa Cruz this week and we are receiving a lot of temporary missionaries that will be sent out to Venezuela since they have problems getting visas. Elder Caro, my companion is one of these temporaries. 

This week, I was deeply humbled. Wednesday, the District Leader called and said that there would be changes again. Elder Beltran would be transferred to my last zone, Montero, and I would be Senior Companion and finish the training of Elder Caro. 
Which means, with less than 1 week in the area, I am expected to lead and to teach a new missionary. I immediately felt this burden on my shoulders, and now I can only imagine how it feels to be called Bishop or Stake President. This calling has humbled me a lot, and it is exactly what I need to learn in the mission. 

Elder Caro is good. He has desires to serve and to work hard, but sometimes is a bit lazy and is always hungry. So, when people invite us to eat, he always says yes, super fast, even when we have other appointments and work to do. So, now that I am his trainer, we have spoken about it, and he knows that the work is more important, and we are working more to have more unity in our lessons too since his last companion just taught the entire time every lesson. It is a good thing, changes.

We are talking with everybody and anybody that will listen to us. Here in the city the people are a lot less receptive and so we dont teach that much, which is completely opposite to my last area. But, I have faith that there are people here waiting and that have been prepared to hear this message. 

I have really found more desire to read the scriptures more than any time in my life. I love the Book of Mormon and how at any moment we can study the scriptures and find specific answers. At the time when I needed more help in my mission, I found comfort in the scriptures, in John chapter 16, verses 1 through 15 or something like that. Where every branch that wants to bring forth fruit goes through time of cleaning and that we need to look to Christ even more. I know The Book of Mormon and the Bible are the words of God and we can learn infinite things from them every time we read. 

Do you know how lucky we are? We are so blessed to have this truth in our lives. I will forever be grateful for the missionaries that taught you mom and for those that taught our family. I love this work and it is amazing. Hard, tiring, but I love it. 

Until next week, with pictures and a great story and cool stuff. 
'Elder Jensen

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Area!

Okay, basically first things first....
Mom, I got your package today. I love the tie and it is so great. I already ate the gummy bears waiting for a free computer. THANK YOU!!!
Also, mom, you cant start out your letter with something like a BOMBING!!! I have no idea what is going on in states or this whole thing... So give me at least a little background before explaining what is going on over there, thanks!
Okay, now for me, this week I got a call on Wednesday that we would have interviews with President Calderon and inspections of our daily agendas by Sister Calderon. Which, isnt anything to worry about.. But, twenty minutes later I got a call that I would be moved to another area. Which means I packed up, said goodbye to Elder Chub my very good friend and trainer and I am now here in main city Santa Cruz, area Canoto, and my area is El Fuerte... which means the strength. 
It is anything but strength. This area, Canoto is the largest of the mission with 24 missionaries here but it is by far the weakest with the least number of baptisms and lessons than another area in the mission. 
I didnt realize it but my last area, Montero is one of the strongest and best areas, baptism wise. 
I am now in a trio... with Elder Beltran, from Las Vegas, he only has one month more than I have, and with Elder Caro, from here in Bolivia. He only has 1 month and is still new and being trained.
They are really good, a little bit quite and more reserved than I and they teach way differently than I am used to, but, hey, here in the mission we learn how to work with tons of different people. So, I know I am here in this new area to work hard and to raise the level of work here. I know I am nothing, but I have been blessed with this desire to speak with all people about what I know.
Freak!!! Family. We are so blessed to have apostles and prophets in these days. Elder David A Bednar came here to Santa Cruz and spoke to us missionaries. He is definitely a man of God, no doubt about that. He knows exactly what to say and do to invite the Spirit and to allow the Spirit be the teacher. That is part of what he spoke on, not just talking to our investigators, but allowing the spirit be the teacher. We were assigned three talks to read by him, Ask in Faith, Being Truly Converted and something else. 
It was awesome because it wasnt just a talk to us, but he talked with us. Allowed us to ask a lot of questions and he asked us questions. He asked us what we learned from these talks, and I raised my hand and gave my answer. I learned more than anything that I need to act. To have more faith, we act more.He asked more to explain more of what I learned and he talked to me. So basically I spoke one on one with the Apostle of God.
 He also spoke on Sunday just to this stake, my new area, so I was really lucky. He spoke then on the characters of Christ and as we turn outward as Christ did in every situation, we will have more faith and act more.
FREAK!!! So, amazing! 
I know that a lot of times my letters may sound negative or something, but it is because on Mondays I am thinking what I need to improve on and this feeling comes out in my letters. And sorry, no fotos today. 
I really am enjoying my mission and I LOVE IT: I dont regret it for one minute and I have been strengthen and I have learned of the love that God has for me than I could have ever learned there at home. I love you guys and I will write next week!


Monday, April 15, 2013

No More Rice!

Hi there! Still here in Guabira, 1 hour north of Santa Cruz. Still with Elder Chub, my papa, even though we should have had transfers 2 weeks ago, but whatever. 

This week, we had to go to Santa Cruz a lot for immigrations and as a mission, our numbers are really low for our work, so we all met with President Calderon and recommitted ourselves to the work, and he said some other stuff about when Elder Bednar comes Saturday. 

Umm... I dont know. This week I am starting to realize that we cant do everything, even though we have the power of God with us, these 2 years are just too short to do everything that we need to do as missionaries. Help the members, strengthen the ward, find new people, teach, baptize, strengthen the new members. It is a lot to do with so little time and I am starting to feel, sometimes overwhelmed by all of it. Overwhelmed because I know, even if I have desires to do everything, which I want to do, I cant do it. 
But, it is crazy how much I keep realizing that my farewell talk was exactly what I would need in this mission... 
Remember when I spoke about the apple, peice by peice... That is all it is. Doing all we can day by day and then at the end we will be able to say that we did all we were able. 

This week, I baptized Jessica. She is the neighbor of Hermano Isaias and she is a single mom with a little 2 year old kid. She was super nervous and felt really dizzy and lightheaded after coming out of the water, to the point where she had to wait a little bit before changing her clothes. Hahah. But, after everything was fine and she told me that she felt a really warm feeling in her chest. She asked me why... And I told her the Holy Ghost and that this choice was so right and that Heavenly Father is so happy for you. I could feel that warm feeling, like a fire, in my chest too and it is crazy, when we have the Holy Ghost, we have feelings that we need to change and improve. I LOVE IT...

Umm... whatelse. I hate rice. Please, mom, never make rice again. Rice every day with chicken. Rice with everything. we need to change our pensionista because her food makes me have diarrhea. Bleh!!!!

Still here doing good and wanting to work and work hard. Here we go for another week in the mission!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

April Already?!

I cant believe that is it April already. Or that I now have 5 months in the mission. 5 months!!! What is the world? It feels like forever but at the same time, so short. I have no clue how that is possible, but it is. 

Conference was amazing. I didnt get a whole ton out of it, since it was all in Spanish and the translation was boring to listen to and sometimes I zoned out, but how crazy is it that we have Prophets and Apostles like in the times of old. And how blessed we are. Sheesh. 

So, this week was so so. We had a few hard days not finding anyone to teach and just contacting all day, and then we had a few small successes, like when we brought Christian Claros to the chapel to watch conference. It has been raining here a ton and the streets are super muddy, of course. So, we went to get him at his house, arriving late there because I slipped and fell in the mud... My long jacket thing took all of it, so I was okay. Anyway, we walked in at the last 10 minutes of Elder Holland´s talk, and I so wish we couldve seen all of it, because after when we asked Christian which he liked best, it was Elder Holland´s last 10 minutes. 

Unlike Chase, we werent in jail for Holy Week. It isnt super crazy here like Elder Chub tells me it is there. The Catholics just all got in a parade and followed the cross to the local church. As we left, our house, the parade passed by, and we had to walk fast through the parade, they smiled and laughed at us, as if to say, look at us, we are so much bigger than you. You are just two young kids, what can you two do. 
Little do they know that we have the truth and we have Christ on our side. 
I just realized I might have told you this story already, but whatever. 

Umm... I am definitely so happy. My zone leader just barely gave me my package mom. I hope nothing was taken out. But thank you!!!

I am definitely improving with Spanish and with the gospel. I can actually feel my faith and my testimony. It feels like a firm brick wall that I know will always be there in my life. 
I have experienced a new way of looking at the church. Here in Bolivia, the church is still relatively new and with the old Catholic lifestyle of the members, a ton of them are lazy and still need to have a conversion of heart, for example, I have seen how a member and a ward should be, like the example of the 4th ward, and how it shouldnt be, like the ward here in Guabira. We are having problems working with the members and the bishop, but we will still press on, even with this problems. 

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for this mission and for the millions of things I have learned and improved in these short 5 months. We must press on always, being followers of our Lord and Christ. 
In the words of Yoda, which I need to actually apply:
Do or do not, there is no try.

I need to act, and it is what I am learning right now.

Until next week!
Elder Jensen

Monday, April 1, 2013

Realization Week

So I have a lot to write so here we go.
This week was a week of realization.
1. I realized that we are so blessed by God to be members of His church. There are so many people here that just believe that it doesnt matter what church you go to, because they all talk about God. It is incredible that even when we explain that we need the true teachings of Christ to be saved and to be truely happy, they still think it doesnt matter. We spoke to a teenager here with his mom and after a 25 minute lesson all about this point, he still couldnt see why we need one true church. We asked, so do you believe that there needs to be one true church. He said yes. We asked him if we showed him the true church would he join it. He told us no, because the catholic church doesnt have rules and the only thing different are the rules of the church. I dont even know if that made sense but, basically, logically he knew the truth, just missing faith to join it. We have that problem a lot.
2. I need to be myself. I realized this when Wednesday I had to go to immigrations, because I have been living illegally in Bolivia for the past month, okay not really, we just had to pay a small fine, it is how the church works, and our lawyer. I dont even know the details. But as my MTC all came together to live legally in Bolivia for the next year, we spoke a lot about our experiences and the things we can improve. In reality, we spoke a lot about how the mission is and how our thought processes are different than our native companions. We spoke on how a ton of missionaries just get numbed into thinking that they have to be the perfect missionary, with doing the same things and having the same answers. But, God called me to here, Elder Jensen 2.0 to be here in my area, not Elder Super Missionary. Therefore, I need to open up and not be afraid to be myself and laugh a little and try new things that might work.
3. We have people. I realized we are doing better work here. This week we have cambios or transfers and it is more than likely that Elder Chub or I go some where else. So, we were really thinking about it, and I realized that I am doing great for only speaking Spanish for 5 months this week and working as a missionary. I realized we are finding more people. We have a family, Family Velazgo, who have a lot of problems with their family and need the gospel and more love. We have Christian Claros who is 21 years old and has found a hunger to read the Book of Mormon, but has problems going to church, and Ademar, also is 21 years old, who lives alone and needs to know that God loves him. I realized that there are always people prepared, I just have to work my hardest to find them.
I didnt get your package mom yet, but maybe because my Zone Leaders havent given it to me yet... Also, My debit card isnt working in the ATM here... I had to go to the hospital and I had to pay with my own money for my tests... I had a stomach infection... Nothing major and it was like 3 weeks ago, but the mission hasnt reimbursed me yet, and I need to buy scripture cases because they are getting trashed.... So, I need personal money...
So, my card isnt working. Why not?
Ummm... Whatelse.... There were a lot more things that I realized, but I cant put them in words. I will be sending letters soon so, in like 4 or 5 weeks, you will get them depending on when I send them.
You are all the best, and our family is so great!
Talk to you next week...
Elder Jensen!!