Monday, December 30, 2013

Last letter of 2013

This week feels like a blur!   I know I did a lot of things, but I'm having a hard time remembering because it all went by so fast!  First of all, I loved Christmas.  Mostly because I got to talk with you all.  It was so good to see your faces!  Irmã Rose said "Nobody in this family is ugly" haha.  They had a lot of fun seeing the snow there too.  These people have never seen or felt snow in their lives!  They were so amazed.  To be honest, I'm grateful for a break from the snow this year. 
This week it was hard to get a lot of work done because we spent a lot of time in the new chapel to help with the open house.  The people in this area are beginning to notice that the chapel is functioning, but they want to attend our services at night.  Last night we watched the Christmas Devotional by the First Presidency and as we were leaving the chapel a family pulled up and asked, "When do you have your services here?  We are looking for a church to join". often does that happen?!  Never!  We convinced them to come in for a church tour and a convert couple in the branch bore testimony at the end by the baptismal font.  It was super awesome.  But although it was a great tour, they want a church to attend at night.  Everyone has church services at night here.
This week we also had a lot of miracles working with members.  Every time we have a Conference or Zone Training here they are always training us on working with the members.  I'm doing my very best to fulfill this counsel because I know its origin is our Prophet.  So really its origin is Jesus Christ.  As I've focused in on accomplishing this this week, I've found that we had a whole lot more investigators at church as well as less actives and recent converts.  Sister Acevedo and I didn't know what to do with ourselves this Sunday because our chapel was flooding with new faces!!!  We now have a lot of follow-ups to do this week.  I'm really looking forward to it!
This week my heart has been especially full of gratitude.  Every Christmas I find myself remembering Christmases of the past and this year especially I realized how blessed I've been.  Especially since I began serving here I've been so so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I'm so grateful I was raised with the gospel in my home.  I'm grateful for parents that love me.  I'm grateful for those who have helped me on the mission.  You know who you are and you are in my prayers.  Thank you for your help.  Most of all, I'm thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ.  Despite all the ugliness and sadness in the world, the gospel of Jesus Christ is here in its fullness and it is changing lives one by one.  I know it, because I'm witnessing it.
I love you all.  I want to leave you with the words of our prophet Thomas S. Monson in which he speaks of gratitude:
"My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love."
And I can promise you that we don´t want to miss an opportunity to feel His love.
Have a Happy New Year!

Com Amor,
Sister Jensen

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas and New Chapel

Merry Christmas!

Feliz Natal!

It sure doesn't feel like Christmas here.  I think this will be the first Christmas I will be sweating in the hot sun since I was born!  I'm used to my Michigan Christmases!!!  But it will be a good Christmas :)  We are going to spend Christmas with Irmã Rose and I'm excited because she is planning a big Christmas feast!  Also I get to skype you all!  That will be the best part!

This week was so good!  We had a Zone Conference with President and Sister Klein and during the conference we took a break to visit a zoo.  So the zoo was pretty lame, but it is all that Boa Vista has to offer.  The cool part was getting to play with a jaguar.  Actually, only the Elders petted the jaguar because he didn't like the sisters. I was nervous and President Klein said that the jaguar didn't like me because he could smell my fear!

I have ever better news: our new chapel was finally dedicated!!!  It is so so beautiful and it was an emotional day for many members that have waited for years to have a nice meeting house.  16 years to be exact.  I know that Heavenly Father has a timing for everything and He really wants Boa Vista to grow.  I don't know if I've already told you this before, but Boa Vista is the only Brazilian capital that is still a district, not a stake.  Wow, right?  That knowledge leaves me feeling even more grateful for the privilege and opportunity to serve here.  I know that this new chapel will bring many miracles!  And I'm grateful to be the missionary to witness so many wonderful changes here in preparation for the work to accelerate even more.

I also made the decision this week to do personal progress again, but in Portuguese!  I hope to finish in 9 months before I come home.  Mom I want you and Alli to do it with me!  You don't have to do as fast as me, but you can write to me about your experiences (because a lot of personal progress has to do with talking to someone about your experience) and we can even do some experiences together!  After reading a little bit today about the Personal Progress program I realized, oh my gosh this is so great!  Everything in the program helps young women keep a temple focused mind and helps them prepare to be good wives and mothers.  I think when I was in the young women's program I thought personal progress was optional, but I did it anyways because I wanted to.  Of course we have our agency, but I don't view this program as "optional" today.  Personal Progress is a great opportunity to become better and strengthen our testimonies of Jesus Christ.  It helps us develop habits of scripture study and prayer. We SHOULD complete personal progress.  It is not only for young women of the church, but for ALL women!  And for women above the age 18, we can complete personal progress to help others also complete personal progress.  So Alli and mom, are ya with me?

This week we've been sharing the message of Christ's birth with the members here in Bos Vista.  I especially love the account in Luke 2 with the shepherds that received "good tidings of great joy" from an angel of the Lord.  And after they received those good tidings, Luke records:

 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 16 And they came with ahaste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
I love the shepards reaction to the good news.  They did not say, "First let's take a nap" or "How about tomorrow we see the Savior".  The shepards did not wait, but the left their flocks imediately and went "with haste".  They said to one another "let us go NOW".  Today the good news we have is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His life and atoning sacrifice was the greatest gift ever given.  This Christmas season let us be like the angel sharing good tidings of great joy with our neighbors.  Let us work and share and serve with haste and enthusiasum like the shepards!  

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
 18 And all they that heard it awondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
People will wonder at the things you tell them about the gospel.  About the unique message we share about the Restoration of the gospel.  About eternal families.  About priesthood blessings.  As members of the church we are the ONLY people that have the gospel in it's fulness.  I think the greatest gift of all that we can share this holiday season and in the year to come is to share the gospel.  We need to be examples.  Seek opportunities to serve.  And when we do, others will feel the love of Christ.  They will want to know Him because they know us and in turn we will be blessed.  And we do not want to delay those blessings.

I know that this church is true.  I cannot deny the feeling in my heart.  Truly the Holy Ghost testifies of truth even when we already know.  I love that.  I finished the Book of Mormon again on the mission and to be honest I felt silly kneeling in prayer to fulfill Moroni's promise again because I already knew it was true.  But we should never cease to seek spiritual confirmations, even when we know.  I love the Book of Mormon.  I love how it compliments the Bible.  I love my Heavenly Father and I'm grateful for how merciful He has been with me in my life.  I'm grateful for one Christmas as a missionary.  There is no greater job in the world!  I'm grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.

I love you all!  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Com Amor e carinho,
Sister Hayley Jensen

Monday, December 16, 2013

I am my own convert

I feel like this week I have been a witness of a lot of little miracles.  Finding those who have had great former afiliations with the church, showing up to a reference's door right in the nic of time and having the ability to explain the gospel clearly and simply.  I feel very blessed and very humbled in knowing that I cannot do this alone.  That Heavenly Father is working right along side us.
This week we finished teaching the son of a recent convert of the church.  His name is Natan and he is 14 years old.  When we started teaching him, he didn't have much knowledge of anything related to religion.  But in the course of 2 weeks he has really progressed well.  Yesterday his dad baptized him.  He wasn't baptized before because he was living in the another state called Pará.  What was even more special is that his dad baptized him on the same date he himself was baptized last year.  His dad is a man that really experienced great changes because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was a priveledge to be the missionary that taught his son.  When we told him this week that this was his final lesson before baptism he was really upset, "You guys won't come back to teach me more?"  Natan still is a little embarrassed to pray, but during the closing prayer of our final lesson he said, "And bless the Sisters that they will never stop teaching me".  I thought that was really sweet.  Although he has the support of his family and he has been integrated well with the young men, our presence in his life still mattered to him.
This week we've encountered a lot of people ready to Bible bash.  Man, I hate Bible bashing.  I've gotten to be much more familiar with the Bible throughout my mission which makes it a lot more tempting to prove people the false doctrine they are preaching, but really the best thing to do is just bear powerful testimony.  We went to go visit Solange our recent convert and her friend was with her so obviously was started teaching the Restoration.  It was all good until another women showed up at the First Vision and just wanted to fight.  For a while I tried to help her understand until I realized her heart was just too hard.  Sister Acevedo and I managed to cut in with our testimonies and before they could say more I asked to offer a prayer.  After we left we realized we left Solange in a den of lions!  So I deviced a plan to pour out all the water in my water bottle and go and ask Solage to fill it.  This worked really well and as we talked with Solange it was like talking with a different person.  Nothing they had said shaked her faith in what we taught and I know it is because of the gift of the Holy Ghost.  When we live worthy of his companionship, we cannot be shaken.
I'm so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life.  He has been a comforter and a friend.  He has guided me and my decisions and he is still testifying to me of the truth.  If anyone has been truely converted as a result of my mission, I would have to say that the convert is me.  I know with a surety that the Church is true.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ. 
Love you all,
Sister Jensen

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Come Mais Sísteres!"

The food here makes me want to cry somedays. Sometimes because it is so dang good and other days because they make me eat too much.  In our branch here it's become a joke to say "Eat more sisters!  Ya'll walk a lot!"  But really we know that they are not joking...ya HAVE to eat more.  Sister Acevedo and I were on bed rest for a day because of how awful we felt.  One day last week  Irmã made us fish and it was sooo good!  But I was struggling to separate the meat from the bones.  She was really concerned for me so she started taking out bones for me.  Then I accidently swallowed a tiny bone and she really became concerned...she said, "I knew we should have made chicken.  You Americans don't know how to cut fish huh Sister?"  After that Sister Acevedo started to cut my fish for me.  I felt like such a child but I just had to laugh because I thought it was so funny.  "Don´t worry Sister, next time I will make chicken".
It's also been kind of rainy this week which always leaves the dirt on the roads really slippery.  You already know where this is going...I slipped!  TWICE!  The first time was in front of a Restaurant full of people and of course they are already staring at me because I'm different.  It was a humbling experience.  I was like "Sister Acevedo!  I can't even walk away in secret to hide my identity...every knows the white american missionary in Boa Vista!"  I'm having a lot of fun serving with Sister Acevedo.  She is a really good missionary and her personality is easy going and fun.  We are working really well together.

Yesterday we were asked to give talks in sacrament meeting.  She only had to give a 5 mintue talk and I had to give a 10 minute talk!  It was my very first talk in sacrament meeting here in Brazil, but I was surprisely calm.  I even went over my time...oops!  I'm not sure our members understood everything we said, but we understood each other so I think we´re safe.

This week we taught a family that needs to get married.  The week before we taught them the Law of Chastity and invited them to get married.  This week we followed up and the wife wants to get married, but the husband was reluctant.  We taught them the Law of Chastity again with baptism in mind and told them they can only be baptized after marriage.  Then it all clicked and they asked us, "So right now we are living in sin?"  Sister Acevedo and I replied in unison, "yes".  It was strange being so bold, but I realize that we have to be bold when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And as a representative of Jesus Christ, it is my responsibility to cry repentance to this people.  After all this, he still wasn't sure about marriage.  So I said, "Well, then I don't think we can come back and teach you anymore.  We are only here to teach those with a lot of faith who are willing to obey God's commandments and be baptized."  That did it.  We are now planning a wedding!  It will take some time for them to save money, but we told them the members would help with the reception to make it really special.  They were really happy.  And I was really happy!  After we left Sister Acevedo said, "Wow we really do have power and authority in our calling!  Two really young girls from different countries convinced a young poor couple to be broken portuguese!"  Seriously, this is true.  Either these people are nuts or we have been called of God to do this work.           

I feel so blessed to be a part of the work of Salvation.  There is no better work to be involved in and no greater priviledge.  Remember that people are watching us.  We need to be examples above all else.  And we in return will receive blessings.  I really like what Jeffery R. Holland said in respect to blessings:

Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.

I know that the church is true.  I know the Savior lives and is very much involved in this work.  I know people are being baptized today because of the Spirit they feel.  Jeffery R. Holland also said:

People do not join the Church because of what they know. They join because of what they feel, what they see and want spiritually. Our spirit of testimony and happiness in that regard will come through to others if we let it. As the Lord said to Alma and the sons of Mosiah, “Go forth … that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.” 5

Let us pray that we can be instruments in the hands of the Lord.  I know that as we do this, we will be so much more satisfied with our lives.  His plans for us are always better than our own.  I love you all.  Have a happy week!

Sister Hayley Jensen

Monday, December 2, 2013


Guess what?!  I'm staying in Boa Vista!!!!  That's right!  I will spend a third of my mission in Boa Vista, but that is okay because I love this place.  It's really grown on me and I feel really close with the members here.  I also can't believe that I will reach my 9 month mark.  Wow the mission goes by way too fast.  I think the only problem I have these days is not having enough time to do all that I want to do! 
First haircut in Brazil
He offered to do highlights but she said she can wait to have
Katie Machala do them.
This week we had the confirmation of Solange and João.  It was so special!  Afterwards João bore testimony and was in tears at the pulpet.  I can't believe I had a part in helping teach this 64 year old man about his Savior Jesus Christ.  He bore testimony that during his life he had visited many different churches, but the day we showed up at his door he felt something different.  He knew our church was true!  I sat in the congregation like a proud mother.  I don't know how the explain the feeling.  It's like a little taste of what Heavenly Father must feel when we are doing something good.
We also baptized a 17 year old girl Juliana.  At first I wasn't sure if she had real intent because the Sister she was living with really wanted her to be baptized, so I asked her, "Why do you want to be baptized?" and she said "Because I want to feel clean from my sins."  From the tears on her face yesterday as she came up out of the water I could tell she felt relief.  The gospel is beautiful and because of it we can be clean.  We can be happy.  I am a witness of that.  So grateful for what our Savior did for us.  I know the church is true.  I could not be happier in doing what I am doing!  Love you all so much!  Live the gospel and you WILL be happy.  It's simple. 
Until next week (already out of time...)

Sister Hayley Jensen

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! (almost)

Yummy fruit!
This week has been a highlight week on my mission for sooo many reasons!  Reason number one...we received news that our new chapel will be ready next transfer!  I'm so excited!  I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I will be here next transfer.  Sister Acevedo has one more transfer of training and I think President Klein will keep us together.  I really hope so because I'm loving it here in Boa Vista!  It's dang hard sometimes, but I feel like Boa Vista is my little home now.  We also have a new Branch President and he is super excited and has a lot of great ideas to help accelerate the work here.
Everything in missionary work nowadays is all about working with members.  If the prophet said it, I know it's important so I've been working really hard to have good experiences with our members and finding people.  Our efforts this week are really paying off!  All 4 of our solid investigators have close contact and friendships with members!  One man named João is neighbors with a family in our Branch.  He lives with his sister in a bairro far from us.  After lunch one day we taught him and his sister.  Thanks to our member, the sister already knew a lot about the church and during the lesson everyone was teaching each other.  It was a really awesome experience.  Before we could even invite him he said, "I would like to come to church on sunday".  I thought, Freak!  I love working with members!  Our very own investigator invited himself to church!  He was there and he really liked it.  We are going to walk to his house wednesday morning to teach more and mark a baptismal date.  His house is far away, but I can't help but think it will be worth it.  Really, it's an act of faith...and a good workout. :)

Hayley and Sister Acevedo
We are also teaching a women named Solange.  She is so solid!  She has a friend in Fortaleza Brasil that is a member of the church and Solange has always wanted to learn more.  I met her over 2 months ago with Sister Crane when we were trying to make visits one night in an apartment complex.  That night, everything was going wrong.  Nobody was home, nobody wanted to talk to us and just as we were leaving we met Solange.  At first I thought she invited us back because she liked that we were Americans, but now I can see a real thirst for knowledge in her.  When Sister Acevedo and I returned for the first time to try and teach her, she was absorbing every word.  She was at church 2 sundays ago and really loved conference.  Yesterday we marked an official date for baptism and taught the commandments.  The hardest commandment to teach was tithing.  She told us that right now she is trying to recover from a financial crisis.  There are many things she once had, that she is living without and I think it's been hard for her.  She said, "Oh sister...I think I can live tithing every once in a while.  It's not the 10 percent, but the desire of our hearts and I dont think I can because I'm still recooperating".  At that moment I took confidence in the promise in Malachi 3:10.  I told her that she cannot deny herself the blessings that come from tithing and I promised her that she would recover much faster if she would live this commandment.  I then shared a story about you mom when you were deciding whether or not to pay tithing when you and dad were poor newlyweds, and the blessing you got from paying it.  That little story helped a lot!  The spirit was there to testify this truth and she accepted to live it.  Her baptism will be Sunday after church.

Finally this week, we were teaching a friend of our recent convert Simone.  Her friend's name is Loraina.  At first, Loraina didn't want to be taught because our church was too far away, but we continued.  Monday last week we had just left the home of an ex-investigator and I was feeling a bit frustrated and really discouraged because he decided over night that he didn't want to be baptized.  After that lesson we taught Loraina.  It was rough!  She wasn't understanding us very well, but she was paying real close attention.  She especially liked the part of the Plan of Salvation when we explain the Celestial Kingdom.  After reading the little part of the pamphlet I asked, "Where would you like to live one day?"  And of course she replied the celestial kingdom!  I told her that was a place we can go through baptism and invited her to be baptized.  She was still hesitant to accept the invitation so we asked her to pray and asked Heavenly Father.  About 15 seconds into the prayer she stopped.  At first I thought she was embarrassed or forgot how to pray, but then she looked at me and her eyes were full of tears.  Then I felt it too.  The most powerful presence of the Spirit I have felt on my mission so far and I could not stop myself from crying.  After the prayer we explain the feeling and invited her to be baptized again.  She accepted!  The only sad part of this story is we havent been able to talk to her since.  Everyone else has been talking for her and so we are really hoping we can talk with her this week.

I have so much more to write about this week!!!!  And so little time.  I want you all to know that I know these things are true.  I have seen miracles this week.  I'm seeing miracles with members!  I'm feeling the Spirit giving me the support to do this work and I cannot deny that this is the work of the Lord.  

I want to leave you with a funny scripture I found this morning during my personal study.  In Luke 10:8 Christ is talking to His seventies about how they should go about preaching in various cities and I thought this verse was funny:

And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you

Christ commanded that His missionaries need to eat all the food set before them!  It's in the New Testament.  I promise you that I'm doing that too.  One day this week we ate 3 lunches due to some confusion with our lunch calendar.  I wanted to cry I was so FULL!  But at least the food is super good.  Anyways, on that note, have a Happy Thanksgiving!  Even though I won't have thanksgiving this year, I can promise you that I will be eating just as much if not more here in Brazil.  Love ya'll!

Sister Jensen

Monday, November 11, 2013

Morôni é o cara!

We have a new chapel!  Not "our" chapel, but the Sisteres of Buritis have a new chapel and we had the dedication last night with Presidente Klein.  It was so awesome.  At the start of the dedication the chapel was well-filled, but as it continued on the chapel was over flowing!  All the missionaries gave up their seats and we were squeezing chairs into every open space we could find.  Everyone wanted to see the new chapel.  It was really beautiful and it was exciting to see what our chapel will look like when it's finished.  We are thinking it will be ready by December and I hope that's true!  When we drove past it Saturday they were planting and putting in lights.  It is so big and beautiful and not like any other chapel in all of our area (and there are many chapels).  A lot of people here call it a temple.  If they only knew what the temple is like!!
Presidente Klein passed through a few days here this week.  The first day we had interviews in the morning and a special musical fireside at night.  We attracted a lot of non-members to the musical fireside.  Everyone really liked it and in our area alone we received 4 referrals.  An Elder in our zone and I started the fireside with the song "Vinde a Mim" or in English "Come Follow Me".  I may or may not have forgotten the words a little during the performance, but can ya blame me?  It's not my first language!  Saturday night we had a special fireside with Presidente Klein and the adult members of the stake.  I'm sure you can only imagine what this was about...members and missionaries of course!  I really liked something that one member said in her talk.  She said, the main thing that is frustrating this work is thinking that we've already arrived.  Although we are doing a lot, we are capable of doing far more.  

This thought has really stuck with me this week.  And I've been thinking a lot about how I can help our members get excited about doing missionary work.  One thing I noticed is that members get excited when we are excited and likewise, missionaries get excited when members are excited.  I was talking with one Irmã about her neighbors this week and all of a sudden she was thinking of all kinds of people to introduce us to.

Sunday we had a District Conference.  (Like a Stake Conference, but we are not a stake yet.)  It was really well attended and one of our investigators came!  Her name is Solange.  Sister Crane and I found her one transfer ago but never had an opportunity to go back.  We finally went back and had a really good lesson with her.  She has a lot of questions about the church and religion in general.  At first I think she was excited to talk with us because we were Americans but now I think she is really thirsty to learn more.  During our lesson with her this week she asked many questions and every question ended in a follow up question, "Is that right?"  This leads me to believe that she is open and ready to believe in our message.

Another investigator is Wendel.  He is 19 years old and is the grandson of one our members.  He is a really good kid and wants to be baptized.  We taught him the commandments last week and he was willing to live all of them!  The only thing that has been difficult for us is marking a date for baptism.  We will be meeting with him tonight to do just that.

This week I made a cool discovery while studying the scriptures.  I LOVE Alma 48 where it talks about Moroni:  

 11 And Moroni was a astrong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect bunderstanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;
 12 Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the awelfare and safety of his people.
 13 Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had asworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.
17 Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto aMoroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the bdevilwould never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

I love these scriptures!!!  Then my discovery in verse 19.  He makes a comparison between Moroni and other righteous men in the scriptures:
 19 Now behold, Helaman and his brethren were no lessaserviceable unto the people than was Moroni; for they did preach the word of God, and they did baptize unto repentance all men whosoever would hearken unto their words.
Helaman and his brethren were like Moroni because they preached and they baptized unto repentance.  Then I realized, hey that's what I'm doing!  Don't we all want to be like Moroni?  Don't we want to be firm in the faith and defend righteousness?  Do our hearts swell for joy in the freedom from sin for our brothers and sisters on the earth?  This scripture is telling us that we can be comparable when we are preaching the gospel and helping our brothers and sisters receive a remission of their sins.  
I have a testimony of the importance of this work.  I have the wonderful opportunity to wear a name tag everyday, but all of us can truely have a name tag written on our hearts.  In fact, it is already there.  When we were baptized we took His name upon us.  As Latter-day Saints, we are is representatives.  Share the gospel.
Com amor e carinho,
Sister Jensen

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Little Things

This week has been a lot more chill.  Sister Acevedo is beginning to adapt to the heat and all the walking we do and that has been a huge blessing!  I hate being stuck inside...even when it's for a health reason.  This week we've been doing a lot of finding.  I've been working really hard to obey spiritual promptings immdiately when I receive them.  Sometimes I'm tempted to think, "Was that a prompting...or just a thought I created in my head?"  What I'm beginning to understand more clearly now is that spiritual promptings often come as thoughts in our heads and as I've followed them this week, we've started to find a lot more solid people.
Yesterday we found 2 families with couples that were legally married!  That is such a miracle here!  A lot of people don't get married here in Brazil.  On the one hand they don't want to pay and on the other hand they don't have a reason to...but I'm going to give them a reason!  We actually had 2 baptisms scheduled for this week and they both fell through because their mom wouldn't let them.  I actually haven't even met these investigators yet because they were a referral from our zone leaders.  I'm really hoping we will find them at home tonight.

Tonight we have an appointment with a 15 year old boy named João Carlo.  He was a reference from a member in our Ramo.  We taught him once and it was super awesome until his aunt joined in on the lesson.  She liked our message, but she didnt like that we were sharing it with them.  She offered the closing prayer and prayed that God would guide us to people who don't have Him already in their lives.  I see where she is coming from, but people don't understand that we are here to offer MORE!  I was talking about this with our district leader last night and he just told us that we need to be more bold  and direct with people.  They need to know that our purpose as missionaries is to help them come closer to Christ through baptism by proper authority.  I guess my only fear is that I will scare them away.  This morning I was reading some old notes I took during a mission conference in washington spokane that said, "Expect miracles, then go find them".  I loved that.  I need to expect that people will say yes!  Where is my faith if I'm always nervous to hear their reply?  

Isn't it the same in member missionary work?  We need to expect miracles...then the action part...go FIND them!  Obey promptings or "thoughts" that enter into your minds and we will be surprised to find that our Heavenly Father is more intimately involved in this work than we know.  When we are doing His work, we are entitled to His help.  I think that is a beautiful promise and I try and remember that all the time.  Especially on the days when finding people becomes super discouraging.

I know the church is true.  I know Jesus Christ is at the very head of it all directing His work.  I know we are blessed when we assist in this work.  I'm so grateful to be serving here.  I'm grateful to be a witness of so many miracles daily.  It isn't easy, but how can I expect it to be easy when it was never easy for Him.  I've also strengthened my testimony this week on the importance of doing the "little things".  The things our Heavenly Father asks us to do are simple and because of that we sometimes tend to slack off.  Yesterday I was teaching a family that is preparing to go to the temple next year.  We were talking about the importance of prayer.  Personal prayer, companionship prayer, and family prayer.  Even when we are doing things right, we can always be doing better.  We are always in constant progression.  Constant progression is what we wanted before we came to Earth anyways, right?  I have a testimony that when we improve on the "little things"...the big things in life will be handled with greater strength and wisdom.

I love you all so much.  Thank you for your prayers and e-mails.

Sister Jensen

Monday, October 28, 2013

Minha novinha

Sister Acevedo
I have had quite the week.  First of all, I received my new companion early Wednesday morning.  Her name is Sister Acevedo and she is from Peru.  Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm really training after 3 months here.  The days leading up to her arrival I could really feel the influence of Satan reminding me of my inadequacy.  Our mission received 12 new sisters on Monday and we have plenty experienced Sisters to train, but somehow I'm training.  It's funny, I really had such a naive view of missionary work before the mission.  I thought for sure after 6've got yourself a well-rounded, experienced missionary, but that is so far from the truth!  I've had to rely a whole lot on the Spirit this week and because of that I've seen miracles in my language ability.
Sister Acevedo and I have had difficulties communicating.  She is speaking Portuguese with a Spanish accent and I'm speaking with an English accent so sometimes we misunderstand each other and its really funny.  She is cool though.  I'm glad that she just laugh with me when we can't communicate because let's be real, it's funny.  Sometimes she says things in Spanish because for some reason she thinks I will understand.  After 3 years of high school Spanish...I got nothing.  Portuguese has taken over my brain!  This week she was asking me about "tiendas" and "tiendas" is Spanish for stores.  I heard her in Portuguese (because how was I supposed to know she was speaking Spanish?!) and I thought she said "tendas" which means tents.  Anyways, I stopped at a couple stores for her to see if they had tents.  I didn't know why she wanted a tent, but I wanted to help my comp, ya know?  Later that night it all clicked and we had a good laugh.
I actually got to teach in English yesterday.  There is a country near here called Guyana and the people there speak a funny sounding English.   We were knocking on doors and found this older couple from that country.  They understood English best so I taught the Restoration in English.  Man, it was hard.  I've been going strong in Portuguese for a week now and making the switch was confusing to my brain!  Please don't make fun of me when I come home.  

One lesson we had this week was when we were knocking doors.  An old lady answered and let us in.  We sat down in their backyard with her, her husband, her friend and about a dozen puppies.  When I began to talk the old man (her husband) was like, "I'm sorry, I don't speak English".  And I replied, "I'm speaking Portuguese" and he said, "bad Portuguese".  This is normal here.  I'm probably the first American he has ever talked to.  Then they let us share a message with them and at this point I was a little annoyed.  But I thought, will be good practice for my new comp.  So we started the Restoration.  By the end I could feel the spirit testify strongly that the things we were saying are true.  The friend that was visiting accepted baptism and will are going to visit her next week.  After we finished, I was surprised to hear that man rehearse everything we taught back too us....he even understood the memorized first vision!!!  I was shocked!  I left their house feeling a lot more confident in myself and having a lot more confidence in the spirit.
This week we've returned to Pedro, Simone, and Silmara's house several times to keep them firm and excited about the gospel.  I just think the world of these kids.  Every time we come over they get so excited.  They run and grab their Bibles and their Books of Mormon because they know our role as missionaries.  They know we are there to teach and they are ready to learn.  One night this week we watched the Restoration on DVD.  I love that DVD!  It lays out the message of the Restoration really well and the spirit is always strong.  Silmara, the 8 year old, said something really cute after watching the Restoration.  She said, "I really liked it, I just thought it was a little short.  I would like it to be a little longer".  Sitting in church with them this Sunday during Pedro's confirmation I was so filled with joy.  Not only can I feel my own love for them, but I can feel our Heavenly Father's love. I'm grateful that I was the missionary here when they were baptized.  Their parents really like us too.  We invited them to learn more, but the mom said she doesn't have patience.  I tried to dig a little to know what she meant, but never got a direct answer.  However, they are going to feed us next Sunday so we will prepare a really good message about eternal families!

I've really learned a lot this week and I'm so grateful that I'm here.  I have so much to learn and I've learned so much, ya know?  Right now our only challenge is my companion's legs and feet.  She is not adjusting very well to the climate and bugs here so please pray for her so we can work more.  She can barely put on her shoes.  Her feet are super red and swollen.  I feel really bad for her.  I'm healthy and normal.  My only challenge this week has been with ants.  I was sitting on my bed 2 days ago and noticed an ant so I flicked him off.  Then I saw the time I saw the 3rd ant I lifted up my sheets to find hundreds of ants!  Oh my was awful!  I promise you that I never eat on my bed so I really don't know what started it but after a lot of Raid and washing I think I've got it under control.  My prayers at night are a lot different now.  I never thought I would be asking Heavenly Father to keep ants off my bed while I sleep.

Despite all this, I am still extremely happy to be a missionary.  It's really weird, but it's true.  It's like what President Hinckley's dad said, "Forget yourself and go to work".  Whenever we forget ourselves, we can always expect to be happier.  I know this is true.  I love you all.

Sister Jensen

Monday, October 21, 2013

Transfers and Baptisms

Bom Dia!

I've had quite the week here in Boa Vista!  Sister Crane and I have focused a lot of attention on the one family we found on my Birthday a couple weeks back.  They are so awesome!  We've been there every day this past week to teach them.  First we started teaching Simone the 17 year old sister, then Silmara the 8 year old.  They both accepted baptism and love learning!  After their interviews were completed, we went over to practice some primary songs with them so they could sing at their baptism.  We invited their 13 year old brother Pedro to learn about the church too and we were surprised when he stuck around after the lesson to learn the songs with us.  He said he would be baptized too after he visited the church once.

This past Saturday was Simone and Silmara's baptism.  Right before we left to pick them up, it started down pouring!  I've never seen so much rain fall so fast and so heavy!  The roads literally turned into rivers!  When it finally slowed down, we left and waded through the water all the way to their house.  I do not want to know what was in that water!  All the kids were out in the streets splashing around and playing in it.  We got to their house a little late and Pedro told us that Silmara (the 8 year old) had been crying because she was afraid the rain would cancel her baptism that night.  She is so precious!  I love these pure sweet kids that we found.  I know Heavenly Father had been preparing them for some time now.  They are all so kind, so innocent, and really have a strong desire to follow Jesus Christ.  The next day Pedro was baptized after church.  His young men's president baptized him and he received a really warm welcome from the ward.  Now our task is to help them integrate by working through the members.  We also want to start teaching their parents.  Their parents really like us and I think that is because of the feeling we bring to their home.  You just cannot deny that Spirit!

Yesterday we received transfer calls.  We were both pretty shocked because we got the call so late and we both thought for sure we would be staying in Boa Vista together.  But Sister Crane was transferred to Porto Velho.  After the call we just started crying.  It was one of the hardest goodbyes I've had here on the mission.  I will miss her a lot!  Early wednesday morning my new comp will arrive.  She is a greenie and I'm going to train her!  The catch is...she is spanish speaking and I don't know if I remember a lick of Spanish.  I'm not sure which country she is from yet.  It will be challenging for sure, but I'm up for it.  I'm excited to stay here in Boa Vista!

Meanwhile I'm with Sister Melo.  She is waiting for her comp too and it is sister Melo's final transfer her.  Her Portuguese is really tough to understand, but I'm getting it.  A lot of the time I just guess what she is saying.  I can't believe I have 3 months in Brazil already!  The culture shock has long passed and Brazil feels like home now.  I'm so grateful to be here.  I'm so grateful for all that I'm learning and I'm so grateful for another opportunity to grow and learn this transfer.  I hope you all have a good week and remember to look for opportunities to serve others!  Love you!

Sister Jensen

Monday, October 14, 2013

Birthday Miracles

Wow, time is flying by so fast!  Sister Crane and I were talking today about how fast these past 2 transfers have gone by.  Today is most likely my last P day with Sister Crane.  We think she will get transfered because she has been here a long time, but we won't know for sure until Saturday.  I can honestly say that I've loved serving with her.  We've had so much fun and I'm going to miss her a lot.  That's one of the cool side effects of the mission, you make some really solid friendships.  It's nearly impossible to not love the person you are serving with and with Sister Crane it was easy.  We spent the day in centro doing a little shopping and we ended up finding nothing.  Boa Vista is a dead place when it comes to shopping.  Most people here travel to Venezula to buy clothes.  But oh my gosh...literally every store we went in today, we were stalked by the workers.  I'm not sure if they thought we would steal something or if they thought they would make a big sale with Americans in there store.  It was so annoying!!  I started making it into a game.  The minute we entered a store, I started counting to see how long it would take to pick up a stalker.  The average was about 7 seconds.
Thank you for the Birthday e-mails!  It was so fun to read them all today.  Sister Crane and I celebrated our Birthdays in centro today.  After trying to shop, we decided to just get pedicures and milkshakes instead.  It's been a fun day.  On friday (my actual b day) Irma Rose made me and Sister Crane a Birthday cake and gave us a little present.  A lot of members were there to celebrate too.  I never expected getting so much attention on my mission birthday, but when you have a lady in your ward that loves to make cake...birthdays get celebrated!!  Thanks Irma Rose!

Alright, so this week was awesome and we've been seeing a lot of miracles.  We found out this week that we had 3 other investigators at general conference that we didnt even know about!  We havent been able to talk to them yet though because they live super far away.  We also had a chance to talk with Dennis this week.  We had a really great lesson with him where he finally opened up to us and we found out the real reasons why he didn't want to get baptized.  He feels a lot of pressure from his mom to continue in the church she attends, but he told us he knows our church is true.  He said the one sunday he came to church with us, he did really well on a test at school that he wasn't expecting to do so well on and he said he knew that it was a blessing he received from coming to church.  Then he started having lots of questions about the priesthood in the church.  We answered his questions and in the end I felt prompted to ask him if he wanted a priesthood blessing of comfort and his answer kind of surprised me.  He said, "Who wouldn't want a blessing?"  So this past sunday after church a priesthood holder in our branch offered a beautiful blessing.  This week it is our hope that the blessing helped calm his fears so that we can mark another date for baptism.

Another miracle this week happened on my birthday.  It was a Birthday miracle!!  We had some extra time after some appts fell through and I felt prompted to visit this girl named Simon that we found a few weeks back that we could never find at home.  Well on my birthday...she was home!  We felt prompted to teach the lessons a little out of order with Simon so we taught the gospel first.  Sometimes, the Restoration is a big lesson to swallow on the first visit and the gospel is a little easier to understand.  Not always, but sometimes.  We taught her the gospel and when I invited her to be baptized she said yes!  She is really excited!  She is 17 years old so she is in young womens and we are trying to help her intregrate with the girls there.  Her and her sister were at church on Sunday and they both really liked it.  I'm really ecited about teaching them.  We will baptize them this coming weekend.

Since coming to Brazil, I've been really diligent about my language study, but I've been slacking at reading the Book of Mormon in my mission language everyday.  This week I've been going strong everyday and I've noticed a clear difference in my fluency and understanding of the language.  I know that I didn't gain that on my own, but it is the power that comes through reading the Book of Mormon.  There is power beyond our understanding in that book!  We may not have a perfect comprehension every time we read, but it is the mear action alone that gives us power.  When we read, we are being obedient.  And when we are being obedient, Heavenly Father promises blessings.  It is just that simple.

I love the blessings that I've received since being on a mission.  My heart is full of gratitude everyday for the things that I'm learning and for all that the spirit is teaching me, while I'm teaching Heavenly Father's children.  I love my job!  The church is true!  Jesus Christ lives!  I love you all!


Sister Jensen

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sandal tan lines

My life is so good!  I love being a missionary in Brazil!  This week I had my first encounter with a lizard in our house.  I walked in and he was crawling up the wall.  He got so nervous when he heard us come in that he fell down and I started yelling some Portuguese at him, then he ran outside.  You have to speak Portuguese to Brazilian lizards.  They understand way better that way. Sister Crane found a big cockroach in our sink while doing dishes one day this week.  She screamed and I tossed her the Raid.  We are basically pros at this now.  I also ate capivara again this week.  I'll be honest, now that I know what it is a lot harder to eat.  I think I like eating in ignorance better.
This week we've been teaching a woman named Camila pretty consistently.  We met her one day when we were walking by a less active/recent convert in our ward that was out talking with her.  The less active/recent convert's name is Maria and Camila is her neighbor.  I've had some of the best lessons this week with Camila!  She loves our visits and Maria has been at everyone of them.  I'm convinced there is no better way to reactivate than helping others feel needed and important.  I think it was Elder Utchdorf during conference that said, most people want to do more than just sit and listen to sermons.  That is the truth!  This week Maria has felt so important helping the missionaries.  She has helped bear testimony, teach parts of the lesson, and best yet...she HERSELF invited Camila to be baptized! 
We really do see miracles when members are involved in the work.  It is even better to help recent converts and less actives be involved in the work.  Maria is receiving the lessons again and in turn is strengthening her testimony.  I just beam when I see our members and our investigators getting it.  I can feel only a portion of what our Heavenly Father must feel for them, and trust me..He loves us a lot!

Making peanut butter cookies
I hope ya'll felt that way during conference.  There were several themes talked about during conference, did you notice that?  One of those was obviously missionary work.  Elder M. Russell Ballard told us that it is impossible for us to fail in doing missionary work!  Many of us in the past have viewed sharing the gospel as a burden and it is not.  It is a priviledge!  Just invite with love.  Even if the answer is no, they will never forget the feeling.  You might be one of the "stepping stones" that lead them to finding the truth one day.  Think about it!  We are the only church on Earth that has authority to share the fulness of the gospel.  We are a missionary church!  We broke 15 million members!  Now let's break 16 million!

Another theme was the Atonement.  Let's be honest though, the Atonement is central to everything we do.  Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered all, so we would not have to suffer alone.  Because of the Atonement we can repent.  Because of the Atonement we can be healed.  And because of the Atonement, we can become more like Him.  Richard Maynes said something that was very profound to me, but I don't remember it word for word.  He said, our testimonies can't get into shape from just sitting and watching conference.  Don't we do that sometimes?  We receive spiritual promptings and then there is zero action.  I'm inviting you to act!  I'm so guilty of this.  Last night I set some personal goals to help me improve so I don't become a lazy conference coach  potato.

It is true what Elder Russell M.Nelson, Heavenly Father has known us for a very long time.  He loves us.  I can only imagine how terribly frustrating it was for us sitting in the pre-mortal existance just dieing to progress.  Our Heavenly Father wanted us to know the fullest joy, so He created this plan.  Try not to be upset if sometimes it's not easy.  I have to tell myself that every week here.  Missionary work is not easy.  Sometimes, He requires us to endure patiently.  I so have hope though, that I will one day be like Him.  One day, the pains and trials of this life will be a thing of the past.

I like bringing this message to the people in Brazil.  Trust me, we have it so good.  Our lives are so comfortable.  I am absolutely humbled when I walk into some of the homes here.  The people of Brazil are really special.  There are so giving, kind and close to our Heavenly Father.  I just have the sacred calling to help them find His complete doutrine.  I love being a missionary.  Thank you for your love and for your prayers.

Love (Your Favorite Sister in the Amazon),

Sister Jensen

Monday, September 30, 2013

For my thoughts are not your thoughts

Tudo bem!  It's been another busy week here in Boa Vista.  Sister Crane and I are always busy and we always have a lot of appointments.  Nothing here ever ceases to be exciting.  For example, this week we had a trio for a day with a Brazilian missionary Sister Nunes while her comp went to take care of some things in Manaus.  It was really fun being in a trio and talking in Portugese for a full 24 hours.  (Believe it or not, it's really hard to speak Portuguese when you have an American companion.)  We went to one appointment with a women we met a couple days ago.  This women could not understand anything we were saying...mostly because she wasn't listening.  By the end of the lesson, we found out she really wasn't interested so we asked her to send us out with a prayer.  We really werent sure if she understood us because she started fanning her face with her hands until she evetually bowed her hand and closed her eyes.  Then we sat in complete silence.  At this point, Sister Nunes starts laughing uncontrollably.  Then she snortted and Sister Crane and I lost control until we were all laughing.  Oh my heck, I promise I was trying to be reverant, but some situations we get caught in are just too funny! 

Another downpour
This week we've been really praying hard for some miracles.  We actually even fasted for miracles here.  Everyone we are finding lately just want to learn and are not interested in keeping commitments.  During our fast we tracted into a woman in one of the poorer areas.  She told us to come back the next day.  When we went back, she said she was talking with her husband the night we came by.  she told him that she felt something different when we were there and that she was feeling the same feeling in that moment!  That was a huge miracle.  Another was with a girl that we had been teaching that came from a very wealthy family.  She is 13 years old and likes our visits.  She says she can feel something good every time we are there.  We are sifting out the prepared and the unprepared.  I'm always so grateful when our investigators recognize the Spirit because it helps me to know who Heavenly Father is preparing for us.

We passed by some old investigators this week that work at a restaurant.  They are really dedicated to their current church, but they told us that maybe some day they will want to join our church.  I don't understand the logic.  Anyways, all they know is that they really like us.  They think that what we do is beautiful.  They even gave us referrals!!  They said, "Sisters!!!  You really need to go visit this guy over here.  I will introduce you.  He wants to learn about your church."  They even were talking to their co-worker about us and told her that she needed to mark a time to meet with us.  Hey, we'll take referrals in any form they come!

I'll be honest though, it's taking everything inside of me not to be frustrated.  I never expected the work to be this hard in Brazil!  Didn't we all just imagine that everyone would want to be baptized here?  No, it's not that simple.  I don't know how I can have 50-70 lessons a week and still no one is progressing towards baptism.  Only Heavenly Father knows why.  All things will be done in His timing because He truely knows best.  I just need to have faith in Him and do my part.  Isaiah 55:8...

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord"

Last night we had a family home evening at the home of a recent convert that just lost her father.  It was really special because a lot of people from the branch came to support her.  Sister Crane and I shared a message on the Atonement and there was a really special Spirit there.  I know that the Savior knows us and loves us perfectly.  The only perfect person to walk the Earth, suffered and died so that we could return and live with Him in perfect happiness.  This life is not the end, but it is the testing period.  We need to do all that we can to come to know our Savior in this life, so that we can live with Him in the life to come.  I love the knowledge of the gospel.  I love the peace and joy it brings to my heart and the source of my frustration is that I want so badly for others to have what I have.  Because I know it's true.

I love you all.  Share the gospel this week! :)

Sister Jensen

Monday, September 23, 2013

Work with the Missionaries!

Hey family and friends!
It's been another great week here in Boa Vista!  We've been walking a lot and teaching a lot and now we are just waiting and waiting for the fruits of our labors.  Boa Vista is a fun place to work.  It's actually really tranquil, especially in our area.  We also have a lot more wind than Manaus and a lot less hills.  One thing that is kind of scary sometimes are the random power outages.  They happen all the time!  We had one yesterday during church.  We were in gospel principles and all of a sudden it was dark.  It was funny though because we could hear the primary kids screaming in the other room so we ran over there with a flash light to calm them down.  Luckily the power outages never last too long.
I love our primary kids!  They are so cute and right now we are teaching them the song "A Childs Prayer".  It's funny though because they have to learn it from 2 girls with funny accents.  They are going to sing in sacrament meeting in a couple weeks for "Dia das Crianças" (Children's Day).  Yep, that's a real holiday.  In the states we have Halloween and I guess this is their day to pay tribute to children.  I'm not sure what it will be like yet, we'll have to see!

This week we went to visit a woman named Mosinha in a city far from where we live.  (Well, not far...just a long walk).  Sister Crane and her last companion had been teaching her and she couldn't be baptized because she wasn't married.  They left her with a date to work towards for marriage and a heart shaped box to save up her money.  When we returned this week, she told us they were still planning on getting married and they saved the money so that they could get married by October.  We were so excited!  A lot of couples in Brazil aren't married because it is so expensive for them, but Mosinha wants to be baptized and for the past 2 months she has been working towards marriage on her own without the help of missionaries.  She was our miracle this week!

We also had an investigator at church!  Trust me, that is a miracle!  I'm not sure why, but it's been really hard getting people to church lately.  We walk around all sunday morning picking people up for church and they all have new accuses.  We also invite everyone we see.  A lot of people say, "Oh when your new chapel is ready, I will come".  But this Sunday our investigator named Rafael hussled to make it for sacrament meeting.  It was a really good meeting and the talks were all really inspired.  He told us that he really enjoyed it and he is excited to learn more.  But it is so vital that he continues coming to church!  That's where the members play a huge role.  Fortunately, we had a lot of members talking with him after church and welcoming him.

Our role as members is so important!  And the role and the vision for member missionary work is changing.  It's more than feeding the missionaries and receiving a nice message, it's about working side by side with the missionaries.  We had a Zone Conference this week and our Mission President spoke a lot about how we can improve our work with the members.  Why is that so important?  Because Heavenly Father cannot trust our wards with new members if we don't strengthen what we already have.  Our home ward has been so blessed!  I was so happy to hear that you now have 2 sets of missionaries!  Use them!  Find people for them to teach!  Heavenly Father has blessed the Brighton Ward tremendously to give ya'll 2 sets of missionaries.  You will see miracles as you earnestly try to work with the missionaries.

Remember that we ourselves our testimonies to the world that the church is true.  In Matthew 6:22 it says:

 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine aeye bebsingle, thy whole body shall be full of clight.

If our eyes are single to the glory of God, others will see the light of Christ in our eyes and they will want to know what we know.  I'm so grateful for the gospel in my life.  I'm so grateful to be a missionary.  There is no other place I'd rather be right now.  I walk, and sweat, and eat until it hurts because I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I have never felt His presence so much in my life as I do right now.  I know the church is true!  The Priesthood is restored and I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  I know with a surety that God lives and loves us.  He is aware of every detail of our lives.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I'm so grateful for this opportunity to share this good news!  I love you all!  Choose the Right!

Sister Jensen

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Character of Christ

This week was my first week into the next transfer and I'm staying here!  Sister Crane is staying with me also to complete my training.  We are really happy to be here another transfer and I'm super grateful to be with Sister Crane.  The work is so much more fun when you have an awesome comp.  Last week I had my first exchange here with a Brazilian companionship and I was really surprised at how well I could understand and communicate with her.  Learning a language is such a rollercoaster experience.  One minute your words are flowing and everyone can understand you and the next minute people think you are a complete idiot.  I take a lot of faith in knowing that the Lord will give me the words when I need them.  My favorite people to talk to are the kids.  They can always understand us and they are so sweet and innocent.  There are some gorgeous little Amazonian children here.  The little girls have sooo much hair and they are so dang cute!
Our focus this week has been finding families.  We do not go home at night until we have at least found one family.  Some nights, it is a real test of faith.  For 2 days last week we were in a trio with Sister Nunes because her companion went home.  One night we went out tracting and it felt like everyone was telling us no.  That doesn't usually happen to us, but continued working until we finally found a family.  I've been trying to be the best missionary I can because I really want to see some miracles in this area.

One family we met this week lives in a city just north of us.  It's about an hour walk there so we only go once or twice a week.  When I first arrived in Boa Vista, we ate lunch at their restaurant and the women said that she had met sister missionaries before.  We had been meaning to go back for a while, but never did until this week.  It's hard to catch them at a good time because they are usually busy working the restaurant.  Luckily, we caught them as they were taking a break to eat and they told us to tell them a little more about our church.  Sister Crane and I jumped right in to teaching the Restoration.  When it was my turn to talk about Joseph Smith I could feel the Spirit really strongly and I could tell that they could too.  I pointed out the Spirit in the middle of the lesson and they were really impressed and invited us into their home to teach more.  At the end of the lesson, we invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true.  The 19 year old daughter told us that she already knew that it was true because she read some before.  She said one day she was researching prophets and needed more study material.  She said, "Yeah, so I used some stuff I read from the Book of Mormon to finish my research and I shared what I learned at church".  They said they would be baptized if God told them it was true.  They came to church yesterday and I think they had a good experience.  It will be a change for them.  They are really dedicated to their current church and they keep trying to get us to come to their church.  It's so uncomfortable saying no to people.  It's hard for many of them to understand our purpose I think.  

A lot of people here think we just go around "spreading the good word of God" and what they don't realize is that we offer so much more than that.  We are bearers of good news!  The gospel has been restored and because of that families can be together forever.  I love my job!  I is really hard and sometimes discouraging, but it is the most rewarding feeling when I can help others recognize that our message is true.

Another thing I love love love about the mission is the constant need for self-improvement.  I never feel stagnant because there is always something I can be working on.  One thing I've been reflecting a lot on lately is the Character of Christ.  As I've been studying the New Testament along with the Book of Mormon, I've come to understand the Savior's love and example even more.  I love how Elder Bednar defines the character of Christ:

"Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us. Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward. If such a capacity is indeed the ultimate criterion of moral character, then the Savior of the world is the perfect example of such a consistent and charitable character."

I'll be the first to admit that I am far from attaining this perfect Christ-like love.  There have been several times in my life where things haven't gone the way I've liked and I've focused completely inward on my own suffering.  Even now on my mission, I pray everyday that I can recognize my prideful thoughts and eliminate them from my mind.  Often we sin in ignorance.  We justify our suffering and our anger to satisfy the natural man.  But this is not what Christ would do.  Even in His finally moments of suffering on the cross, bearing the sins of the world, He asked Heavenly Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do".

I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice that allows me to improve everyday.  I'm humbled to know that He loved me enough, an imperfect person, to pay the price for my sins so that one day I might be like Him.

 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be dpurified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:48)

I love you all!  Have a good week and read the entire talk "The Character of Christ".  Here is the link: 

Sister Jensen