Monday, January 27, 2014

Loving New Area

Sisters Jensen and Santos at Manaus Temple
This was a really great week for so many reasons!  First of all, we had our first baptism in the area.  Sister A. Santos was especially excited because it was her first baptism.  We found this investigator through a less active we had been helping last week.  It was so awesome to see the less active member help her friend enter the waters of baptism.  I don't think there is a better medicine than this to help less actives.  They have opportunities to bear testimony and be a strength for the new member.  The less active even sang at the baptism, but she was really nervous so I sang with her.
Yesterday was a day of miracles.  All week long I had been really worried about our work with the members here because I'm so new and my comp is still fairly new.  It was a blessing to be able to speak in sacrament meeting to the members.  After I spoke, 2 more spoke about the work of salvation.  One speaker being a recent RM.  At the end of the day everyone was excited to give us referrals and help us make visits.  I feel really blessed to be serving here and I can already see that Heavenly Father wants to answer my prayers.

I really love my area.  This week we ate at a really rich member's home.  Seriously, there was a pool with a juice bar built in.  The entire house was practically made of glass and to the right of the pool was a little home theater.  And obviously the food was amazing.  Another day this week we ate with the temple President.  Yep, he is in our ward.  They live on the temple grounds in a house built into the side of the service building.  We ate lunch with the temple as our background.  I'm so priviledged to be serving here.

One thought I've had this week is found in Ether 12:27:

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I am a person with many weaknesses, so I find a lot of comfort in this scripture.  One thing I've learned on the mission is that repentance doesn't have to be for something big.  We can repent even when we are being good.  That is why the name of the church is the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day SAINTS.  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, little by little we are becoming like Him.  What an excellent promise!  I always tell my investigators that they are repenting as they read the scriptures, come to church and say their prayers.  Sometimes repentance is doing good in place of doing nothing.  

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have never seen it fail.  Not once.  It is changing lives of those I'm teaching and at the same time it is changing mine.  I love you all.  Shout out to my cousin Danielle for her mission call to Baltimore, Maryland!!!!!!:)  I could not be happier for you!


Sister Jensen

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Area in Manaus

Hey Family!

I'm in my new area!  Kind of, we are actually living outside of our area while some problems with our apartment are being fixed.  So far it has been a great experience.  Our ward is super big and we are working in the temple area of the mission!  I love it!  Our only difficulty has been finding our way around.  Sister Santos knows the area more or less but it is really difficult without a map.  The roads have no street signs and some houses don't have numbers.  Also, the roads are all hills!  I like to think that I'm getting a good leg work out everyday.

Street in Hayley's new area
Right now, we are teaching a lot of people.  Really, a lot of new people.  One new investigator is Sarah.  She is 19 years old and really bubbly.  She is in love with me because I speak English.  It is so funny.  She came to church once but it is hard for her to come because of work on sundays.  I'm pretty confident that we will be able to baptize her this week.  She is basically a member already!

I wish I had more to say this week, but really this week has been a week of a lot of searching and finding new investigators.  I know we will have a lot of success here.  And it all starts with the members :)

I love you all!  The church is true!

Sister Jensen

Sidenote: The little problem with their apartment she is referring to is that it was broken into.  The landlord is fixing the door and locks.  Glad it happened before she got there.  Keep her in your prayers.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm Being Transferred!

I'm being transferred!!!  My new area is in Manuas.  My Zone is Ponta Negra and my ward is Nova Esperan├ža.  I'm really excited and at the same time really sad.  Boa Vista has really become like home to me.  I remember when I arrived I felt kind of like a tourist.  Everything was totally different, I didn't speak the language, I didn't know the I can walk down the street and run into somebody I know and carry on a conversation.  I know my area better than the members here and I've seen a lot of change.  I'm forever grateful for the time I've spent here and for the people I've known.
This week we had a baptism.  A 9 year old girl named Jennefer.  She is so so sweet and really knows the church is true because of the way she feels there.  She even had the courage to sing and bear testimony at her own baptism.  All the members were super impressed!

This week we taught a couple that have been coming to church frequently, but need to be married.  The wife is baptized, but her husband is not.  We asked them directly what was stopping them from getting married and they just shrugged their shoulders and said "umm we just need some effort".  They have been delaying marriage for years without any real sense of urgency.  They just had a new baby 4 weeks ago and being guided by the spirit I started asking them questions.  I said, "Do you love each other?"  They replied "yes".  I said "Do you love your new little baby boy?"  They replied, "Yes of course".  Then I asked, "Do you want to be with him forever?".  They replied, "yes".  Then I said, "Then that should be reason enough,  because right now your family is not sealed and you won't be together forever after this life".  

One thing I've learned on the mission is to preach boldly and by the Spirit.  Sometimes, I even surprise myself because I say things I wouldn't normally say.  But I'm so  grateful for my calling.  After that conversation with this couple, I made them mark a day to start the wedding papers.  Now Sister Acevedo will have to see that it gets done.

With others, I am completely amazed with their faith.  Two women we are teaching, Anne and Dalila, are so willing to do it all.  They only lack legal marriage because their husbands don't want to get married.  This week we taught them tithing and invited them to pay tithing after their baptisms one day.  It was almost like our question killed their excitement about tithing.  Dalila asked, "We can't pay our tithing now?"  They are so anxious to be obedient and do what is right.  I love them so much because they have taught me as well.  It brings me back to the question, Who saves who?  Does the missionary save the investigator or does the investigator save the missionary?  I think sometimes I get more out of the lessons than our very own investigators.  Many of my investigators, unknowingly, have taught me.

Finally, this week we taught a young man named Willians.  He is from the Seventh Day Adventist church and always has really good questions.  This week we answered more questions about the Plan of Salvation.  At the end we learned that he still hadn't asked God if Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration.  We invited him to pray with the intent to follow up.  But then I changed my mind last second because I was able to discern that his heart was good and that he really wanted to know.  I said, "Ya know what Willians, how about you say a prayer right now.  I know Heavenly Father will answer right now if you sincerely ask with a lot of faith".  We entered into the sacrament room with him and his member friend, knelt down, and Willians offered a very sincere prayer.  I spent the entire prayer pleading with Heavenly Father to help him recognize the answer.  At the end we sat in silence and I wasn't sure if he was feeling it because I didn't feel much different. Finally he looked up and said, "Wow, yeah that's different.  It's like a burning right here".  Even the member friend was amazed at the immediate and powerful response.

When Sister Acevedo and I walked home we discussed the lesson and we both felt that the feeling of the Spirit during the prayer didn't change for us.  We learned that the feeling Willians had, was the feeling that was with us the entire lesson.  I learned two things.  Heavenly Father will answer prayers immediately to the honest seekers of truth.  And second, that the gift of the Holy Ghost is such a precious gift.  I don't remember what it was like not having this gift in my life so sometimes I don't recognize the difference.  But it is true, as long as we remember to keep our baptismal covenants...we have the promise that His Spirit will always be with us.

I love Jesus Christ.  I love my job.  I love Boa Vista.  The Church is TRUE!  

Sister Jensen

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!   January 6, 2014
 2014 already?!  Last March I was entering the MTC.  I feel like this has been the fastest year of my life!  New Year’s Eve was way chill.  We stayed inside our little apartment that night and watched church movies.  There were fireworks going off on both sides of our house and really loud music.  The next morning there was hardly anybody outside.  I'm sure everyone was way super hung-over.   
This last week was really great!  We finally got someone on date for baptism and were really excited to plan a baptism this week.  She is the sister of a member and she is really progressing well.  She is 13 years old and kind of timid, but I think she is warming up to us.  Sunday, she wasn't at church and her brother said that she doesn't want to be baptized so soon.  This concern in non-members always confuses me.  It's like, "here's the blessing...what are ya waiting for?"  Luckily, we will have a Sister training leader here tomorrow to help us out.   

The highlight of this week was teaching Dalila and Anne.  Dalila is the mom of a young man in the branch and Anne is the young man's cousin.  Anne and Dalila are both middle aged women that have had exposure to the church already but are just now gaining more interest.  We met Anne when she showed up to a relief society activity called "amigo doce" or "sweet friend".  It's like a secret Santa gift exchange but you give each other sweet treats.  All the women enjoyed the activity and before it started we took Anne on a tour of the new chapel.  She liked it a lot.  Then we marked a time to return and teach.   
With Dalila, we pretty much just showed up at her house one day and started teaching her.  She liked it and the next visit, Dalila and Anne wanted to be taught together.  We unfolded to them the plan of salvation and eternal families.  They paid close attention to every word and the spirit was really strong.  We taught the importance of marriage and the law of chastity and invited them to get married to their husbands.  Then we talked about the Book of Mormon and I was surprised to see that Anne already had one.  I said "Anne, who gave you a book of Mormon?"  And she told us that she picked it up on her own at the church the day of the activity.  She said, "Sisters...I don't like to read, but every time I open this book my desire and will to read grows stronger and stronger."   

Yesterday we met with Anne after church to talk about how the conversion about marriage went with her husband.  She said she was really nervous, but his heart was open to it.  The only problem is he wants to wait a YEAR!  She said that her 6 year old daughter loves the church and last Sunday was crying because they didn't go.  She said her 6 year old had the following conversion with her dad:

Anne's daughter: "Dad, you need to marry my mom"
Anne's "husband": "Why do you want me to marry your mom?"
Anne's daughter: "Because if you don't marry my mom, I can't become like the girl missionaries that are teaching her someday"

When Anne recounted that story I wanted to cry!  Even a 6 year old that has been to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ONE time recognizes the truth.  She knows that she will progress better in the gospel with a family united.  I'm so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I'm grateful for the Spirit and its power in conversion.  I'm grateful for members that give us referrals.  I'm convinced that this work cannot exist without member referrals!!  All our work right now is because of member help.  I'm grateful for the power of the Book of Mormon.  This church is true.  I know it.  Let's invite the New Year in with a strengthened desire to help others come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel.  I love you all.  Happy New Year!  2014 will be the best year of my life!


Sister Jensen