Monday, August 25, 2014

Missionary Opportunites

I'm currently sitting next to this guy in the internet cafe that has his head phones in and he is singing out loud.  It's really....nice.  I love Brasilians, they are completely shameless.  haha

So today, we got up dang early to drop off our wedding papers in the mission office.  That's right!  Aida and Paulo are getting married!  The only sad thing is, today I realized that I won't even be here for their wedding or for Aida's baptism and that makes me super sad.  I don't even want to tell them.  This week was a tough one with their family.  On a split, Sister Chatwin went over to teach them and during the lesson Paulo walked in drunk. Paulo had been going strong for an entire month without drinking and he relapsed this week.  He was SO embarrassed and felt so bad.  Aida was sad too.  I was impressed that they still went to church on Sunday because many times Satan will try to use our sins to make us feel guilty and not do what is right.  After church on Sunday we went by their house and taught them about repentance.  Paulo obviously felt terrible and promissed to never do it again.  Then the sweetest thing happened, Aida turned to him and said, "In the past I think I would have given up on you by now, but I really do believe that you won't ever drink again.  I won't give up on you."  

What gave Aida the confidence to say that was nothing less than her new testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the 3 weeks I've known them , they have grown sooo much.  We talked about the steps of repentance with Paulo and focused on the Savior's role.  Some may think that Paulo had made a step backwards in his progression, but I see it as a step forward.  I'm grateful Heavenly Father allows us to fall sometimes so that we can learn to rely on His Son.  Something Paulo said that he learned in church on Sunday was that Heavenly Father allows Satan to tempt us to test our faith.  That is so true!  I know we are tempted on a daily basis, but when we have the faith to be obedient, we feel powerful!  

Another cool thing that happened this week was when a Seventy came to visit our mission.  I think his name is Elder Maynes.  It was awesome!  I learned so much and it has given me a new perspective on missionary work.  Lately we have been going on a lot of splits with the Sisters and I always pray really hard that I will be able to help them find new prepared people to teach.  We had a lot of success doing that, then we would come back to our area and it would get more difficult.  One thing Elder Maynes said that caught my attention was, "Are you guys praying for missionary experiences?"  I thought, "huh, I don't think I am!"  I usually think, well I'm a missionary, obviously I'm going to have missionary experiences.  But this week I realized that the key is in praying for them.  Cool thing to learn at the END of your mission.  As I've done that, we have had a lot of successful in finding.  This is also something I want to pray for everyday when I get home.

To be honest, we have spent a lot of time in other areas of the mission helping the other Sisters with their difficulties this week.  It has been good though.  I can feel that Heavenly Father has taught me a lot of valuable lessons on the mission as I've shared my testimony and scriptures with the sisters.  I know that this is the Lord's work.  I'm grateful for the gospel.  I'm grateful that He listens and answers my prayers to have missionary opportunities.  If we don't ask for it, He probably won't give them to us.  We need to show our faith in asking so that we can receive.

Love you all!!!

Sister Jensen

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sister Barbie

What a crazy week!  This one really flew by.  It started out with mission cousel which I always love, especially with President Castro.  He really is the best and all the little changes he is making really are inspired for our mission.  The week before I had my first (and last) interview with him.  I was really surprised and happy that he spent 1/2 hour talking with me.  Usually mission presidents like to get the interviews done fast.

You are probably wondering why I titled this e-mail Sister Barbie.  That is because I've officially had this nickname in every area I've served in now.  I don't even think people know my real name.  Even everyday people are calling me by my nickname.  I was walking through a big super market last week and a little girl called out to me, "Hey!!!  You look like a Barbie!"  It's because I look so different here compared to everyone else.  Even compared to the Americans!  Almost all the americans are either dark or red.  It will be weird going home and being just average again.  You would be proud though mom, I use sunscreen everyday and I walk with an umbrella to shield the sun. :)  Just don't make fun of me when I get home and I'm all white still...because for me I can either be white or RED!

This week we finished teaching our investigators Monique (13) and Kaio (9) and they were baptized Saturday night.  Their baptism was so special.  Early last week their mom was talking about the tremedous different she had seen in her kids during the past 2 weeks of teaching them.  She said, "Usually Monique is a little rebelious, but lately she has been so helpful and kind."  We explained to her how the gospel of Jesus Christ changes us.  We could feel the Spirit so strong in their baptism and after they changed clothes Kaio wanted to bear his testimony to everyone.  He said something that I thought was so sweet, he said, "It's always been a dream of mine to be baptized".  The next day they were confirmed members of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  In his confirmation he was blessed to serve a full-time mission, be sealed in the temple and teach his children the gospel.  I love being reminded of that vision!  It's more than just one baptism.  It is countless generations of his posterity and people that he will baptize on his mission!  Kaio really is special though.  

The other night we invited his dad to pray and he didn't want to.  We started explaining the steps of prayer to him and he was still not too excited about praying.  Then Kaio, 9 years-old, wrapped his arm around his dad and said, "I'll help you!"  He began whispering the prayer in his dad's ear as his dad spoke the words out-loud, like a father would normally do for a child.  Some children were truely sent to this earth to teach their parents.  Even their mom said, "Watching them get baptized gave me a strong feeling and desire to get baptized as well".  We are going to start working with their parents, especially their dad so they can get married and baptized as well.  

So many miracles this week that I don't even have time to tell them all!  Heavenly Father really is helping us in this work.  I'm so grateful to be here.  I love being a missionary.  I know the church is true.  Hope ya'll have a great week!

Sister Jensen

Monday, August 11, 2014

Noel Nutells


It's weird how quickly I'm able to adjust to change now.  It took me less than a week to get comfortable in this new area.  My companion is really awesome too.  Her name is Sister Chatwin and she is from Oklahoma.  She still has about 6 months left on the mission. We have a lot of fun together and we have been working really hard this week.  Seeing that this is my last area, my personal goal this week was to make a really good impression on the members, especially the leadership.  The first great opportunity we had was when we went out with the bishop to do visits.  Our bishop is awesome!  In Portuguese missionary talk we would call him "super nova era" which basically means that he likes to baptize.  When we went out teaching with him, he helped us mark our baptismal dates.  We love him!  We also got to give 2 talks in church this Sunday.  One talk in sacrament meeting and another talk in a special missionary fireside.  I think everyone knows who we are now which is really good because we are going to need their help!  We are going to do something crazy this transfer!

This area has a lot of families to marry and baptize.  We are working with one family right now where the husband is a member, but the wife is not.  They are both really excited about the church and about marriage and baptism.  Tonight we are going to teach them how to have a Family Home Evening.

Another family we are teaching is really special.  Every time we come to teach, everyone participates and they look forward to our visits every night.  It's very rare to see a husband and wife together participating.  The parents need to get married still, but their kids have been going to church since they were little and have a great desire to be baptized.  This week we went over to their house with the bishop and their parents gave permission for them to be baptized.  This week we are teaching a commandment everyday and it is fun to watch their excitement and willingness to obey God's commandments.  Especially the 9 year old, Kaio.  He is so special.  He loves saying prayers and going to church.  Friday night we taught them about tithing and as usual I shared personal family experiences about tithing.  At the end, they were all super excited to pay their tithing!  So yesterday, while sister Chatwin was giving her talk, I saw Kaio walk up to the bishop with his little tithing envelope.  I was so proud of him!  I'm also really excited for Monique (his older sister) because at first she didn't want to be baptized.  But as we have continued teaching, her desire has grown.  

I'm so grateful to be serving here.  I know that Heavenly Father has allowed me to serve here my last transfer for a reason and I don't want to let him down.  I'm grateful for the restored church on the earth today.  I'm grateful for the Spirit that testifies of the truth.  I had my final interview with our new mission president this week and he gave us a training and in that training he said that we need to bear our testimonies with conviction.  He said, "The reason why we were born on the earth, was so that we could here the message of the Restoration."  I know that is true.  Bear testimony more frequently and bear it with conviction.

Have a great week!  

Sister Jensen

Monday, August 4, 2014

Transferred to Manaus!

Happy Monday!  And Happy Birthday Dad and Uncle Alan!  Hope it's a good one!

So word on the street is that I've been transferred!  Today I had to leave Itacoatiara in the middle of the night with 2 other Elders.  It was hard to leave that place.  I can't believe how much people can touch our lives in such a short period of time.  As I said goodbye to Carla and Lorencio, Carla's eyes filled with tears.  She expressed her gratitude for helping them with the wedding and baptism.  She told me that it had brought so much joy to their little family and that they are planning on being sealed in a year from now.  I could not hold back my tears as I reflected on how I found their family.  I didn't do anything that wasn't first inspired by Heavenly Father.  His hand was in every step of finding and teaching that family.  It could have been any missionary, but I'm really grateful that Heavenly Father gave that special mission to me.  I love them so much and I want to come back in a year to watch their temple sealing.  She also told me to give my mom a hug for her.  Like Carla, I'm also grateful for the sacrifices you are making that allow me to serve here mom.  Love you so much.

It was also hard to say goodbye to Irmão Miguel.  He is the most happy excited and willing member we have here.  When he knew that I was leaving, even he started crying.  I couldn't believe it.  I love that man.  He is a convert to the church who was once very active in another church, but had a heart willing and open to find out if the Book of Mormon was true.  When President Castro came to Itacoatiara, he hugged Irmão Miguel and told him, "I'm really going to need your help".  And without a doubt Irmão Miguel will always be an example to me because of his tireless service and love.  This last week he drove by us and stopped to ask, "What can I do to help you girls out?"  I hope that I can be a member with that same attitude after my mission.  Always seeking to serve and help.

Before I left, I went to visit some of my recent converts to say goodbye.  To make the story short, I found them doing things that they shouldn't have been doing and it broke my heart.  I thought back to the moments in the Book of Mormon when the prophets rebuke the people and cry, "oh how quick are you to forget!"  I saw the reality of Satan's power right in front of me.  There is absolutely nothing more terrible that exists.  I was devastated, but I know that I left them in good hands because Sister Lomonte was there too.  

It is completely obvious that wickedness never was happiness.  That is why I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because it brings happiness.  Carla said, "My recent marriage has brought so much happiness in our lives!" because she fulfilled a commandment from God.  And in the same sense, I have never felt so much sadness like I have felt when I see someone disobeying God's commandments.  I know that if we put our feet firmly on the path and obey we will be happy.  I know God loves His children.  I know that He has a work for me to do in Manaus before the end of my mission.  I'm grateful to do His work.  It brings me happiness.  Let us be more obedient to God's commandments.  I love you all.

Sister Jensen

Monday, July 28, 2014

Festa Junina

Hello Family!

It's p day already?  What a fast week!  This letter is going to be a quick one because I got caught up e-mailing today.  Today was kind of fun because every member of my family was online while I was on.  I felt like I was chatting with everyone today! :)  Love you guys so much.  Miss you all.

So this week was a lot of fun.  We helped a lot with our Ward Activity called "Festa Junina".  For two nights in a row the youth had a rehearsal to practice a dance they were going to perform at the party.  The first night no one was prepared.  Not even the leadership.  There wasn't any music and no one wanted to teach.  Sister Lomonte and I got worried because we had brought a lot of non-members there to dance and we didn't want them to go home without a fun a experienced.  Out of no where Sister Lomonte was like "Alright, everybody hold hands and form a circle".  And basically started making up a dance that doesn't exist.  It was so funny.  Every dance move we taught was made up on the spot.  I was laughing so hard, but hey...they had a good time. One kid was like, "This isn't the dance they taught last year" and Sister Lomonte told him to shut up haha.  But  don't worry, the next day someone who knew the dance came and taught them  and it turned out really well at the party.  So many non-members came to the party and everyone loved it!

This week we have been also teaching a family.  Remember when I told you about that one family that liked in a shack in the middle of the swamp, well about a month ago the members got them out of there and after a series of events the husband left and the wife and 7 kids were put in another house in a county on the edge of the forest.  We walked to their house everyday this week to teach the mom and kids and the mom commited to be baptized!  We marked her date for this saturday and even planned to do a special service project at her house the day of her baptism.  Clean house with a clean start after baptism, but the morning we showed up to clean the husband moved back in. :(  Our district leader talked to them both and he promised again that he would change and get married to her.  It was frustrating because he has done this so many times, but we really hope he does desire to change.  Because we aren't here to break up families, but to bring them together.  In the end, we cleaned up their house and sang a hymn.  The other Elders and Sister were there to help too so we got it done really fast.  I felt like there was a better spirit there.  If I had a lot of money, I would have done a lot more there because I love those kids.  They are so sweet.  There are seven and the oldest is 12 years old.  This house is a lot better than the other shack so they seem a lot happier.  It makes me feel so grateful for all that my Heavenly Father has given me.  When we take a minute to help others and count our blessings, it is so humbling.

This week I've been reflecting a lot about my future.  Not in a trunky way, but in a spiritual way.  This might be embarrassing, but for me, all the plans I had made before the mission are so different now.  I have no idea what I will do with every little detail such as school and where and what, but what always comes to mind is my family and future family.  As I was reflecting the Holy Ghost helped me remember a scripture 2 Nephi 32:3...

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Chriswill tell you all things whaye should do.

It helped me remember where I can find these answers for my life.  In the scriptures!  The Book of Mormon was written specifically for our day.  It is the word of God.  I was like "Duh!"  I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that wants to answer our questions.  I LOVE the scriptures.  I will be reading them even more intently during the final transfer of my mission to receive special answers and personal revelation for my life.  I know the church is true.  I'm so grateful to know truth.

Love you all!

Sister Jensen

Monday, July 21, 2014

More Miracles

It's been another great week here on the mish!  Sister Lomonte and I are working super hard and by the end of the week we literally find ourselves passing out from exhaustion.  This week was a miracle!  We had to travel to Manaus for 2 days to go on splits with 2 companionships of Sisters there.  And when we came back we only had one day to prepare our investigators to be baptized.  Our one investigator, Jonny, was super excited.  He is 8 years old and his grandma is a member already.  The Elders found him while they were working in our area and passed him to us.  He is super cute and his baptism was really special.  The other girl that was baptized is Adriane.  I have been teaching Adriane for a long time now and she hadn't been baptized yet because her dad wouldn't give her permission.  While we were in Manuas, he signed her baptismal form!!!  A lot of members came to support the baptism and it was a really special moment.  Afterwards in the bathroom Adriane said, "I feel so good!  I feel like I've been freed."  

We are also still teaching Raquel.  Every lesson is a spiritual experience, but we can't help but wonder why she hasn't gotten her answer yet.  She is the most honest, humble seeker of the truth I have ever met on my mission, why wouldn't her answer be more obvious.  We are praying really hard that God answers her prayer.  We love her so much and want her to know the truth.

I'm unfortunately already out of time, but I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity I have each week to write to ya'll about my mission and my testimony.  I know the Church is true.  I know Christ lives.

Love you all,

Sister Jensen

Monday, July 14, 2014

I got "THE CALL" this week!

I got "THE CALL" this week.  The Elder in the mission office asked me what airport I wanted to fly into.  For a minute I felt really happy and excited, then a wave of sadness came over me with the realization that I really am almost done.  Just thinking about it makes me real sad.  But don't get me wrong, I'm really excited to come home to ya'll.  That will be a happy day too!

This week was an exciting week because I got to play with a monkey!  That's right, there is a house in my area that has a pet monkey named chico and he is super cute and fun to play with.  He likes stealing our name tags and picking bugs out of our hair.  I'll send ya photos of him.

Also, I'm sure you all heard that Germany won the World Cup.  They also killed Brasil in the semi-finals.  It was embarrassing.  4 goals in 6 minutes.  We didn't even feel like watching the second half.  Sad day in the history of Brazilian futbol.

This week we started teaching a woman named Raquel.  I LOVE teaching her.  She is super smart and knows the Bible really well.  At first, that intimidated me, but after about 3 lessons with her she could not deny it.  Our most powerful lesson was when we talked about the Plan of Salvation.  She loves the emphasis the church has on the family and she especially loved learning about  the 3 Kingdoms of Glory.  She said, "That makes so much sense.  I've always believed in a merciful God, not a God that would send so many children to hell".  I told her my take on hell.  That hell would be where my family is not, and that is why we seal our families for time and all eternity.  I also told her that God would not make a plan that wouldn't bring home a majority of His children.  This plan is meant to work.  Then I bore testimony of the pre-existence.  I said, "Raquel, is it possible that we knew each other there?  Is it possible that you and I both knew that I would teach you these things here on the Earth?"  Then Raquel started to cry.  The spirit was way strong and we know that she knows that it is true.  Our only conflict is that she isn't married and her husband wants nothing to do with the church.  We hope that she will be able to get baptized and that he will soften his heart.

While we were teaching her this week, Jobson, our most recent convert would play with the other youth in the chapel.  One day he asked, "What do you guys do in the room?"  And we said, "Remember when we taught you before your baptism?  We are teaching this woman the same things."  Then he said, "Well does she know yet?"  
"Know what?" 
"Does she know that it is all true?"
I thought that was so precious of him to say.  "Does she know yet?"  Jobson is 12 years old and was only confirmed a member yesterday, but he knows the truth.  We can know the truth.  When he was confirmed, the Priesthood holder blessed him to serve a full-time mission.  When Jobson was being interviewed before his baptism the Elder asked, "How many people do you want to help?"  And Jobson said, "One thousand".  

Is it possible that Jobson's baptism changed generations?  YES!  Just imagine the difference one baptisam makes!  Not only generation in front, but everyone behind also.  This week we invited all our members to invite a friend to church for Sunday July 20th.  I invite everyone that reads this letter to invite a friend to church too!  Not only will the missionaries in your ward LOVE you, but you will allow your friend to feel the sweet spirit we feel every sunday at church.

I love you all.  Thanks for your letters and prayers.  The church is true.  Share the gospel!

Sister Jensen

Monday, July 7, 2014


It's been another great week in the AMAZON!  I've already been in Brazil over a year now and I still think it is crazy that I'm working in the Amazon.  I feel so blessed to have been called here.  I LOVE my mission so much!  This week we traveled to Manuas to have a meeting with the new mission President.  President and Sister Castro are awesome!  I love them so much.  They shared with us their conversion stories and their love for missionary work.  I felt the spirit so much as they talked and I know that they were called by God to serve in this mission.  Unfortunately, we couldn't travel to Parintins because the sisters were going to come to our area instead.  We were really sad about that, but it was good having extra help this week from the sisters to make visits.

This week we continued teaching Jobson, a 12 year old boy that we found as we were teaching Fernando and Yan.  He is soooooo smart!  We were shocked when we passed by his house earlier this week to teach him and I asked, "So have you read more in the Book of Mormon?"  and he replied, "Yeah I read Joseph Smith's testimony and how he saw an angelic messenger 3 times in one night...."  and he told us the entire story.  We were like, this kid needs to get baptized!  Then we went to get permission from his parents and they are super protective of him.  That was our biggest challenge this week, getting permission to baptize Jobson.  During an exchange Sister Lomonte went there and had Jobson bear his testimony to his parents.  She asked him, "Jobson, why do you want to be baptized?"  He replied, "Honestly, because I feel like I'm a lot like Joseph Smith.  I have been to many churches and I have never felt that they were made by God until I found the church of Jesus Christ.  I want to be baptized because I want to wash away my sins."  You can imagine how proud we were of him!  His parents gave us permission.  Yesterday he was baptized and it was a sweet moment.  After his baptism I asked him how he was feeling and he said, "Awesome!"  We are convinced that he will be a general authority one day.

A member from another branch brought her friend to watch the baptism.  A young mom with 2 young kids and a super hard headed religious husband.  She wants to receive our lessons in secret to learn about the church without any commitment.  She told us there are many things that interest her about the church that gives her reason to research and learn and she loves our focus on the family.  We have our first lesson with her tomorrow and I'm excited to teach someone none judgemental and humbling seeking the truth.  I feel super inadaquate to teach her, but we are so grateful for the opportunity.  I can already feel that she will be baptized in the church.  I'm also super grateful for my companion.  She is super good at teaching in a way that makes sense and I'm learning a lot from her.

Finally, I want to share something cute that happened on Sunday.  After Yan's confirmation, he sat down with me and was looking at the pictures in the front of the Book of Mormon and was asking my questions about the stories (he is only 9 years old).  Then he started looking at the details of the chapel and said, "Did men make this church or did God?"  I said, "What do you think?"  and he said, "I think God, because this church is so beautiful.  Men can't make things this beautiful".  Then I showed him a picture of the Manaus temple and told him that God made that too and he was so excited!  He grabbed the photo and started showing it to his friends, "Look guys!  God made this building too!"  I love the logic of a 9 year old.  It is so simple.  Why don't we think more simply?  Of course this is God's church!  That is why it is SO beautiful!  Look at the temples, who can deny that they were created by Christ?

I know that the church was created by God.  Literally.  I'm grateful for the role of the Spirit in conversion.  I'm grateful for the sacred ordinance of baptism and my role in that process.  The church is true.  I hope you all have a great week!

Sister Jensen

Monday, June 30, 2014

Restoration......We are living in it!

This week was really awesome!  I love my new comp Sister Lomonte.  She is 21 years old, she sing really well and she is from Maine.  My first American comp in a longggg time!  And actually, I'm her first American comp.  It has been awesome with her because we just sing all the time.  Literally every lesson we sing and invites the Spirit so well.  That's something I have missed a lot.  So the good news is I'm continuing in Itacoatiara!  

We also got a new Mission Presidente this week and I will meet him tomorrow.  Tonight we will travel to Manaus and after our meeting we will fly to Parintins again for an exchange.  I'm excited to work in Parintins again!  Yes, our mission is THAT big. We need planes to go on exchanges.  It's fun.

By the way, did ya'll watch the Chile va. Brazil game?  It was soooo good!  I never thought that I would love futbol sooo much.  I think it is fun watching it with a bunch of Brazilians because everyone gets so excited.  I'm a different world here.  The excitement they have for the world cup here is one million times greater than the excitement Americans have for the super bowl.

This week we baptized two boys.  Fernando and Yan.  They are so cute!  They are relatives of a member we recently activated.  And while we were teaching them we met a 12 year old boy named Jobson.  Wow, he is smart!  He understands the message of the Restoration better than the adults we teach.  When I look at him, I think of how Joseph Smith must have been as a child.  Really curious and smart.  He was asking questions about the Plan of Salvation that left us thinking.  When the other kids weren't paying attention during the lesson, he would get frustrated and ask them to shut up and pay attention.  He watches us teach and absorbs every word and he has a strong desire to be baptized.  Sunday he came to church with us and he asked me, "Has Jesus ever talked to you?"  Then I explained the gift of the Holy Ghost to him.  We only need to talk to his mom for permission and we are a little worried, but this kid needs to be baptized because I believe that one day he will be a prophet.

Also, I received good news this week!  In my old area, Nova Esperança my investigator Jacqueline was baptized!  She separated from her "boyfriend" and could finally be baptized!  I'm so happy that all that time and teaching and crying finally led to the beautiful day of her baptism.

Finally, yesterday we had a family night with our recent convert Lorencio and his wife Carla who is returning to church.  He had a lot of questions about Joseph Smith so we watched a movie about his life and it was very powerful.  At the end of the movie we shared our testimonies about Joseph Smith and they were both crying.  The life of Joseph Smith is a testimony to me that he was a prophet of God.  He truely suffered to bring about the Restoration.  I know that since his time here, the Restoration has not stopped.  We are living in the Restoration!!!  

I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.  The church has been restored on the Earth.  God loves His children and He REALLY loves his children here in the Amazon.  I can feel it.  The church is arriving in places of the Amazon that no one could ever imagine!  The Lord does not forget His promises.  The gospel WILL fill the Earth.  I know these things are true, because the Spirit confirmed it to me.  I love you all and invite you all the gain our renew your testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith.

Happy 4th of July!

Sister Jensen

Monday, June 23, 2014

Go Brasil!

This week went by so fast!  I can't believe it is already Monday!  Unfortunately, we got to the internet cafe a little late today so this letter will be really short because it will close until tomorrow because of the world cup game today.  Brasil has to win!  

Unfortunately, Sister Tancara was transfered...we were hoping to stay together a little bit longer.  It was sad to see her go.  I really loved that girl.  She is a sweetheart.  The good news is I will be with Sister Lomonte now!!!  Sister Lomonte already did exchanges with me 2 times on the mish so I already know her really well and she is a great singer.  I think we will spend a lot of time singing together and that makes me so happy!  It has also been a long time since I had an American companion.  Weird to think about that, but don't worry, we will speak portuguese :)

Last monday night we had a Family Home evening in the house of a member that doesn't have a lot of confidence in us as missionaries because of missionaries that served in my area in the past.  The FHE was great!  We invited a ton of youth last minute and everyone came!  More than we expected.  We even invited some young men that aren't members and told them where the house was, but the directions weren't very good.  When we left the house for a minute to see if more people were coming, they walked past us the very moment we left the house.  I was shocked that they even came AND that they walked right past the house where we were having the FHE.  It was a miracle and they loved it.  They asked us this week if we will have another FHE monday in the same house.  The member, also gained a lot of confidence in us and enjoyed the FHE as well.  We are going to do a lot more.

We also baptized a young man named Manuel.  He watched a baptism a week ago and afterward wanted to be baptized.  There truely is a powerful spirit in a baptismal service.

Well, that is all I got for ya!  I'm happy to be staying one more transfer here in Itacoatiara!  Who knows, maybe I'll finish my mission here?  Only 2 more transfers.

Go Brazil!

Sister Jensen

Monday, June 16, 2014

Marriage Civil vs. Eternal

Hello Family!

This week I watched the first Brasil game for the World Cup!  It felt weird watching's been such a long time!  And as we all know, Brasil won!  Seriously, the city shook when they scored.  it's fun watching the game in the country.  This week I was walking on the bridge (we have a great network of bridges in a part of our area because the water from the river flooded the houses) and we saw a group of men grilling a turtle...I think that is something I'm not willing to try.  EW!

This week we baptized Zequias's brother Eziquiel and it was really special.  We could tell that he felt different.  The day before his baptism we had his interview and the Elder was delaying to arrive, so I took out my dice (I walk with 2 dice) and we played that dice game with the youth.  Remember that dice game that Aunt Christy taught us?  Where if you role 7, 11, or doubles you get to start writing numbers until you reach 100?  Well everyone loved it.  Days later they were still talking about that game.  There is nothing to do here in Itacoatiara, literally nothing, so they really liked learning a new game.  Last week they also start rehearsing to dance in a branch activity next week.  the dance is called Quadrilia I think.  It was really fu nto watch every happy and dancing.  It also called the attention of many non-members.  I will try and record the dance for ya.

This week we had the wedding of Lorencio and Carla!!!!  They were married really fast and there were at least 15 other couples present in their wedding.  They said, "john, will you marry sara.  and sara will you marry john" and went down the list.  Afterwards he said, "okay you all are married now" and everyone was like, "WHAT?!"  Although it was a happy day for them, I could not stop thinking about hiow happy they will be the day they enter the temple.  Because the truth is civil marriages are until death do you part.  God wants eteral marriages.  He doesn't want us individually, but as a family.  I love His plan!  Saturday Lorencio was baptized and Carla was so happy.  Although she is less active, she has a strong testimony of the temple and they are preparing to go there a year from now.

I don't have much time to write today, but I want you to know that I know the church is true.  The church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints is for the sick and the weary, not for the strong and obedient, but certainly that is the purpose of our church attendance.  Let us refrain from judgement and learn to love how the Savior taught us.  Let us pray to have more charity.  I love this gospel.  I love my savior Jesus Christ.

Have a great week!  And happy late Father's Day dad!  

Sister Jensen

Monday, June 9, 2014

Perfect Knowledge

Hello Family!

This week started off great!  We had been worried about a couple we are teaching because we palnned to go to the Cartório with them Tuesday and we spent all day Monday calling them to confirm.  Then when Tuesday came, they still weren't answering the phone.  Just before lunch, we got a call and they said they were in the Cartório waiting for us.  We practically ran there in the hot sun to get there on time.  When we arrived, they were finishing and asked us to be the witnesses at their wedding.  My first time being a witness!  They will be married tomorrow!!!  And we would like to baptize Lorencio Saturday.  Despite the lack of support from Carla's mom, they are getting married and I'm so happy for them for making the right choice.

We also went to visit Eziquiel this week to get him back on track for his baptism, but he was sick and then he traveled.  I don't know how many times we passed that young man's house this least 20 times!  Unfortunately he wasn't baptized, but I still feel like he will be.  

Finally, this week we were able to baptize a young man named Kennedy.  He is 14 years old and was baptized a little over a year ago, but was never confirmed and registered in the church's system.  After a year, you have to be baptized a again.  Don't ask me how he got lost in the process, I don't know...but I am grateful that we were able to help him be baptized again and confirmed Sunday.  That was truely a miracle.  I feel like he is a lot more prepared now than he was a year ago.

It is truely a blessing to be a missionary.  This week we found a lot of great families to start teaching and with the wedding of Carla and Lorencio, I'm super excited for this week.  I'm grateful for the greater testimony I gained this week of the Book of Mormon.  I started reading it with the Manual they use in institute and it has helped my study a lot!  I loved reading about the Brother of Jared this week and his great faith he had in the Lord.  The Brother of Jared was able to do many marvelous things because of his faith.  And the Brother of Jared worked by faith until the day he asked the Lord to touch the 16 stones he gathered so that they could have light in the ships.  And his faith was so great that the scriptures say th following about his experience:

17 And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites.
 18 And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him.
 19 And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.
 20 Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him.

The Brother of Jared no longer had faith in the moment he saw the finger of Christ, but a perfect knowledge of God.  To the point that he could not be kept from wthin the veil.  I love these scriptures.  The Brother of Jared began with faith and one day arrived at a perfect knowledge.  We too can gain a perfect knowledge of these things.  But first, we need to walk by faith.  We can even doubt sometimes because "doubts create space for faith to exist".  I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I'm grateful to have the precious gift of the Holy Ghost to guide me in the right direction.  I can't imagine my life without this precious gift that confirms to me that what I'm doing is right.  I'm sure that is why baptizing and confirming people makes me so happy because they get to have this precious gift too.  I look forward to the day when, like the Brother of Jared, I can't be held within the veil any longer and my faith will be a perfect knowledge.  Like the Brother of Jared, one of my greatest desires is to see the face of Christ.

I love you all.  Have a great week!

Sister Jensen

Monday, June 2, 2014

Exchanges in Parintins!

This week was so awesome!  First of all, it was decided that we can watch the World Cup!  There are 3 big games that Brasil will play in and we get to watch them.  If Brasil enters the second phase, we will discuss what we will watch or not watch.  I think it will be a fun way to bring investigators and members together.  I can feel the excitement for the World Cup just walking down the streets.  Everyone is repainting their houses in the colors of Brasil and putting up streamers on the electrical wirers.  A little dangerous, but it looks cool!  I will take pictures for ya.
I also got back this week from our exchange in Parintins.  I loved Parintins!  I want to finish my mission there.  24 hours was not enough time to get to know the island, but it was enough time to teach the people.  I  worked with Sister Nina from Bolivia. We taught a deaf girl and it was the first time on the mission I've done that.  But mostly, we taught the deaf girl's mom because her mom didn't want to let her get baptized.  In the beginning the mom was rough with us, but she invited us in and we taught the plan of salvation.  The spirit was strong and she changed during the lesson.  I love seeing what the spirit can do to people to change their hearts.  On the way home we were hungry and we wanted to eat at a little place close to home, but the power was out so we resolved to eat at another little restaurant.  We started talking with the girl that worked there as she studied for her driver's test.  We taught her the Restoration and she wanted to be baptized.  The Spirit was strong again in this lesson and at the end I felt prompted to telll her that God made the power go out so that we could find her.  At the end we said a prayer and literally at the end of the prayer, the power came back.  I looked at her and Sister Nina and we all knew that it was true.  I'm anxious to call the Sisters today to see how her progress is.

We got home this week Wednesday night and started working in our area again thursday.  We felt like we passed a lot of time out of our area.  We began to fast thursday for our investigator that will get married.  Her mom didn't like the idea of marriage, but the miracle is they will get married anyways.  This might be the first time on my mission I have seen a couple firm in their decision together.  I explained to them that marriage and baptism are only steps that we are helping them make so that they can reach the real goal: Exaltation.  The woman is a member so she already has an understanding of these things.  We are super happy with them and we are excited to start their papers this wednesday. 

That same night we met a young man named Zequias and his friend Jefferson who says he is a member.  We met them right before the lesson with the couple that will get married and they waited to for us outside the entire lesson.  The next day we returned to teach them.  We taught Zequias (19 years old) and his brother Eziquiel (21 years old).  they listened closely to every word we spoke about baptism and the Resoration.  At the end Zequias said, "Well, I guess we need to be baptized again".  The day before his baptism we talked more about the plan of salvation and Eziquiel wanted to know about marriage in the church.  So we started to talk about the temple.  Every time I talk about the temple on the mission, and people are listening, the Spirit is always strong.  Then Zequias said, "It is so strange that you both came from so far away to the small city Itacoatiara to teach us about the gospel.  I feel like God sent you guys here to save us."  That night Sister Tancara and I walked home in tears.  I thought back to the question, "who saves who?"  I even doubted this last week, "How will we baptize this week with just a few days left?"  But Heavenly Father proved again that He is working along with us.  Sunday was Zequias's baptism.  He was so happy and Eziquiel is excited to be baptized next Saturday.

I know that this is the true church.  I'm grateful for the Spirit to confirm the truth to the people I teach.  I have a strengthened testimony of fasting and that when we fast we can receive special blessings, and Heavenly Father wants to bless us.  Thanks for your letters and support.  I love you all!

Sister Jensen

Monday, May 26, 2014


I just finished a meeting here in Manaus and I'm about to fly to the island of Parintins tonight to do exchanges with the Sisters there.  I heard that I'm the second companionship of Sisters to go to the island of Parintins so I'm really excited, but I'm more excited to apply the things I've learned today.  I LOVE mission trainings!  I always leave feeling 100% better and more excited to work.  The Spirit is always super strong in the mission trainings.
This week was a really good one.  I feel like I'm starting to know the area better and we are teaching some awesome people.  This week we focused in on 3 people to be baptized and everything went well.  As we were on our way to the chapel with one of our investigators to be baptized, we passed a little boy we had been teaching and his mom.  This little boy already has a sister who is a member of the church,  but the mom didn't want to let him be baptized.  We stopped to talk to them and I was shocked when she said he could be baptized that very night.  Our 3 baptisms turned into 4!  It was really special to see the fruits of our labor that night as everyone of them had their sins washed away and started a new life to follow Jesus Christ.

We also were able to bring several investigators to church to support the confirmations of the recently baptized members.  We are also teaching another family that we found when we were searching for an ex-investigator.  A woman named Carla and her boyfriend Lorencio.  Carla was already baptized many years ago and to this day has a firm testimony, but feels guilty for the errors she has made since she was less active.  She wants to repent and wants to have an eternal family with Lorencio.  Lorencio is a miracle also because he is really humble and wants to learn.  He has a desire to get married and be baptized.  Our only challenge will be Carla's mom.  They said that she doesn't want them to get married, but we are praying and fasting this week so that her heart will change.  We planned to talk to her with them when we get back from our trip.  I just have a good feeling that she will support them.  They are a really special family and I feel that Heavenly Father has a special plan and purpose for them.

This week we confirmed Marcelly.  She told her mom the night before that they needed to go home early so they could wake up for church the next day.  Marcelly started to talk about a mission to her mom and how she would like to be a missionary one day like us.  She told her mom that she only wants long skirts from now on so that she can be more modest.  This little girl is only 10 years old, but she already has a very firm testimony of the gospel.  We also had a Family Home Evening with her less active family and taught the Plan of Salvation.  After wards I taught them that game we play with 2 dice when you roll 7s, 11s, or doubles and you write numbers on a paper until you reach one hundred.  Remember that game?  They had a lot of fun with that.  Laughing and playing that game reminded me of playing and laughing with my own family.  I always thought it was interresting that The Family a Proclamation to  the World talks about wholesome recreational activities.

Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. 

To have successful families, we need to have fun...while living the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In that moment I thought back to the fun times with my own family.  It is so important to have family home evenings every week to strengthen the family and to teach.  I know that Heavenly Father has a special love and extra care for families.  I understand also, more profondly than ever, just how much He loves the little children.  We are constantly attacked by little children hugging us on the street.  Many of these children have nothing.  The house of 2 little girls that we baptized sits in the middle of swampy black water on stilts.  The house is the size of a shed.  There is a beat up dirty mattress inside, an old stove and a hammock.  The house is made of wood and between every block of wood there is a little crack.  A family of 7 lives there.  My heart aches to see people living like this, especially little children, but what makes me happy is the love the children have for the gospel.  I know the church is true.  We can have nothing in this life, yet with the gospel, we have everything.  I love this church.  I know it is the true church of Christ.  That is something I will always be thankful for.  The little girl that lives in that house sat with me sunday.  she is only 4 years old and really sweet.  She asked permission to sit on my lap and even though we can't really do that as missionaries, I could not say no.  I feel like I felt for a minute how the Savior feels for the little children.  They are pure in heart.  We need to be more like them. More submissive, humble and loving.  It is something I strive to do everyday.  I love you all.  

Sister Jensen

Monday, May 19, 2014

Itacoatiara, Pedra Pintada-New Area

It's been a great first week here in Itacoatiara!  It's a lot different here that Manaus.  The roads here make a lot more sense and there is space for 2 cars to pass by each other.  It's very calm and reminds me a little of my first area in Boa Vista.  I had lunch the other day in a members house and when I used the bathroom, there was a parrot on the metal bar where you would put the shower curtain.  It was totally cool until the parrot started talking to me and and cat calling me while I used the bathroom.  Our house here is really big!  We live with 2 other sisters which I thought would be difficult, but it's been good.  Each companionship has their own bedroom and bathroom.  We live in he central part of the city so everything is close and convient.
But, the most important part is the work in this area.  I'm serving in a district again that has not yet turned into a stake.  When I arrived, the sisters didn't really have a lot of investigators or people to be baptized.  In situations like this, what I've always found useful is talking with people.  We walk from appointment to appointment, plan to plan and I try to focus on talking to people in between.  Our investigator people has increased significantly and we are working with some really great families now.  We taught a family this week that we found while we looking for someone else.  Carla is a member less active for about 6 years.  She has a strong testimony of the gospel, but fell away and is now living with a young man and his daughter.  We started teaching her boyfriend Lorencio and it's been awesome.  I am suprised at how well he understands and tries to learn.  He said one time, "I like to ask questions and to learn about these things because I feel like I've missed a lot because in the past I didn't ask questions".  In our last visit we spoke about the Plan of Happiness, Eternal families and temples.  My companion Sister Tancara bore testimony of the temple and right after Carla bore testimony of the temple in Manaus.  In the moment the Spirit was very strong.  I felt Heavenly Father's love for them and His desire for them to be an eternal family.

We also visited other recent converts and members whose records needed to be verified.  We visited one young man to make sure he was really confirmed and found that his whole family was less active.  His sister had not yet been baptized so we taught her this week and she was baptized yesterday.  They are a really special family too and I really want to help them return to activity in the church.  As I've worked in districts on the mission I've felt the great need to help bring families together in the gospel.  To help the growth of the church, we need families and to help the growth of the family, they need the church, or better, the gospel.

I'm so grateful for the things that I'm learning in every area.  I feel that Heavenly Father knows me and knows what I still need to change and work on before the end of my mission.  Choosing to serve a mission was the best choice I ever made.  The church is true.  Jesus Christ lives and if we live His gospel we will be blessed and changed.  

Sister Jensen

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Dear Family!

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!  I hope you have a fun b-day with your fam.  And HAPPY BIRTHDAY WESTON on May 15th.  Love you guys.  It was so fun to chat with you all yesterday.  Everyone seems happy!  I can't believe that was my last phone call home on the mission.  Today I'm being transferred to an interior of my mission called Itacoatiara.  Everyone tells me that my area ia awesome so I'm really excited.  My new comp is Sister Tancara from Argentina.  I already know her from doing exchanges and she is really cool.  It should be another great transfer.  Also, I will travel to do an exchange with Sisters on the island of the mission.  I think it is called Parintins.  I have to catch a plane to get there.

Yesterday I was reflecting on a lot of things.  It started when I said goodbye to one recent convert Luis Fernando.  He took my hand and his eyes started to fill with tears.  I couldn't help but feel grateful for every experience here.  I think I don't yet understand what my mission has done for others, but I have felt and recognized what it has done for me.  Nova Esperança will always be a sacrad place for me.  I learned a lot there from every companion and from the people I taught and served with.

I also reflected on my mom and family.  But especially my mom because it was Mother's Day.  She is the most hopeful, loving, strong woman that I know.  I'm grateful for example of faith.  I'm grateful for her example of service.  Many things I'm learning to change on the mission are attributes that my mom naturally has.  I'm grateful for her sacrifice and help she has given me on the mission.  I have seen many blessings on the mission and at home because of her diligent prayer and fasting.  I cannot do enough to thank her for the truths of the gospel she taught me.  Especially for what she taught me about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I think about the 2,000 stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon and their mothers:

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

I love that even in the Book of Mormon we can read about the influence and importance of Mothers.  They truely are the heart of the home.  I hope that I can one day be half the woman my mom is.  I will love her forever and I'm eternally grateful to walk this Earthly journey with her.  Happy Belated Mother's Day to all moms!  

Love you,

Sister Jensen

Monday, May 5, 2014

Great Potential

Yesterday was a really special day for Sister Freitas and I because our recent convert Michel blessed the sacrament.  He said every word perfectly and it made me feel like a proud mama.  He also baptized our investigator Maria.  Her baptism almost didn't happen because during the sunday meetings the font stopped filling because the water box was empty.  I don't know how to explain the Brasilian water system, but our chapel has 4 water boxes that fill up randomly.  The water box that fills the font drained quickly so we had to hussle and fill up various buckets of water from the other water box on the other side of the chapel.  The font in our chapel is HUGE!  After an hour of filling, the font was ready and Maria was baptized.
We've been teaching her through-out the week and she has really enjoyed our visitas and has felt the spirit.  She lives with a family that employed her to work and live in their house.  The woman she works for doesn't treat Maria very well, so she has found a peace and comfort from the gospel of Jesus Christ.  She feels important and loved.  I'm so grateful that the gospel does that for us.

Yesterday during a church meeting, discussing the needs of members, I began to feel the weight of other people's difficulties.  There are so many needs and obstacles.  We began to discuss the situation of a family in the ward and I felt my heart breaking for them.  But then the thought came to mind, maybe a spiritual impression, "there is no other organization that exists, that sits and talks about the specific needs of every individual and makes plans to help them like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints".  This comforted me.  There are thousands of people with trials and problems, but at least this family has the blessings of the gospel to help them.  It is a huge blessing to be a member of the church.  The church is perfect!  It is organized and run by imperfect people under the direction of Jesus Christ.  He trusts in us immensly.  I love the scripture in Moroni 6:3-5

 And none were received unto baptism save they atook upon them the name of Christ, havindetermination to serve him to the end.
 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and acleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, theywere numbered among the people of the bchurch of Christ; and their cnames were taken, that they might be remembered andnourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the righway,to keep them continually dwatchful unto prayer, erelying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.
 And the achurch did meet together boftto cfast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.
The habit of meeting and discussing the welfare of others was always a part of the Church of Christ.  But I think my favorite verse is in Moroni 6:1,

And now speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests,and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized savthey brought forth afruit meet that they were bworthy of it.

The members were baptized Elders, Priests and Teachers.  Now, obviously they were not ordained before baptism, but the verse is telling us that everyone of them was baptized with this potential.  I had an exchange with another companionship this week and we taught one of their investigators with a date for baptism.  He said that he has a strong desire to serve in the church and maybe even one day he could be bishop.  This is the vision we should have for everyone of them.  I love looking at the potential of every person.  I know Heavenly Father loves everyone of us and He knows our potential.  He loves us.  I know the church is true because it is too perfect to not be true.

Yesterday we were teaching a young man 16 years old.  We taught him the Restoration and at the end we asked him how he felt about of teachings.  He said, "I feel happy to know the truth".  He will be baptized next Sunday and I know that he has the potential to be a great missionary.  I love this church.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ.

Sister Jensen