Monday, March 31, 2014

Marriage and Baptism

My computer is failing me today so it will be a short one.  I've had a really great week here!  We finally finished our last exchange of the transfer!  The Sisters forgot to get more mattresses so we put 2 mattresses together and slept all 4 very close.  Today we went to Centro and I bought new sandals because my chacos finally bit the dust.  While we were there, I heard someone laugh really loud and it sounded like Sister Prater.  Turns out that it was Sister Prater!  She looks so Brazilian!  Seriously, everything she was wearing today she bought in Brazil.  She is so funny.
Erika's wedding and baptism week!
This week we were able to witness the marriage and baptism of Erika!  She has been taught by Sister missionaries for almost a year now and finally she was married and baptized this week.  It was really special.  Although the marriage was civil, I could feel the spirit because she was finally keeping this important commandment.  There were many non-members there too that stuck around to watch her baptism.  During the meeting I kept thinking, "Wow, there are soooo many non-members here...we need to teach something!"  Then the idea came to teach the Restoration while she changed her clothes.  Sister Freitas liked the idea so we grabbed the pamphlet and started teaching.  A few people were obviously not interested, but others listen very carefully.  The Spirit was very strong as I recited the First Vision and I knew everyone was feeling it.  It is one of those sacred moments on the mission when you know that you are teaching with power and authority.

As I studied Preach My Gospel this week I learned something interesting about my calling.  I learned that I received my authority when I was set apart, but I earn my power when I serve my mission diligently and obediently.  This really touched me and motivated me to work even harder.

I'm so excited for General Conference this week!  We should all make the effort to listen to Conference with spiritual ears and with questions we want answered.  As I've done this on the mission, Heavenly Father has not failed me.  I always receive my answer.  The leaders of the church were called of God and they will teach us with power and authority.  We will be motivated to change, and we will change.

I love you all.  Have a great conference week!

Sister Jensen

Monday, March 24, 2014

In the Strength of the Lord

Dirty hard working feet!
It was another good week here in Manaus!  I had the privilege to travel this week and perform 2 exchanges with other Sisters in the mission.  I learned a lot and it left me very tired.  I remembered this week a little quote my mom sent me about the Atonement.  It is from a talk by Elder Bednar titled, "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality".
"I suspect that many Church members are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement than they are with the strengthening and enabling power. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us."
"Nephi is an example of one who knew, understood, and relied upon the enabling power of the Savior. Recall that the sons of Lehi had returned to Jerusalem to enlist Ishmael and his household in their cause. Laman and others in the party traveling with Nephi from Jerusalem back to the wilderness rebelled, and Nephi exhorted his brethren to have faith in the Lord. It was at this point in their journey that Nephi’s brothers bound him with cords and planned his destruction. Please note Nephi’s prayer: “O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound” (1 Nephi 7:17; emphasis added).
Weird looking, but good tasting hairy fruit
Do you know what I likely would have prayed for if I had been tied up by my brothers? “Please get me out of this mess NOW!” It is especially interesting to me that Nephi did not pray to have his circumstances changed. Rather, he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances. And I believe he prayed in this manner precisely because he knew, understood, and had experienced the enabling power of the Atonement.
I do not think the bands with which Nephi was bound just magically fell from his hands and wrists. Rather, I suspect he was blessed with both persistence and personal strength beyond his natural capacity, that he then “in the strength of the Lord” (Mosiah 9:17) worked and twisted and tugged on the cords, and ultimately and literally was enabled to break the bands.
The implication of this episode for each of us is straightforward. As you and I come to understand and employ the enabling power of the Atonement in our personal lives, we will pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather than praying for our circumstances to be changed. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14)."
I know that was a long quote, but it really impacted me this week.  When I was exhausted each morning, I thought to myself, "All I have to do is get on my knees at 6:30"  As I did this, I received strength to do everything that I needed to.  I'm grateful for the enabling power of the Atonement.  All we need is a little faith to get on our knees in order to receive that power instead of waiting for the power to come.  We need to ask for it.
Hayle and Sister Freitas
This also inspired me to fast this week with my companion.  As we fasted, worked!  That is not an easy thing to do here either because we are constantly climbing hills and walking long distances.  Today we continued our fast and while we were shopping it started to rain.  And when it rains here, it pours!  Literally.  We waited for the rain to stop in a small hair product store.  I began talking with the two young adults working there and they expressed interest in what we were doing.  After a little chat about the gospel I thought, "what the heck, let's teach them the Restoration right here right now".  It was an excellent lesson.  They asked many questions and listened carefully.  I felt that I was teaching with real power and authority.  The Spirit was strong and I invited the
m to be baptized.  They both accepted!  We walked away feeling super good about the way we spent our p day.  Even though p day is our time to prepare, I just can't pass an opportunity to teach.
Our investigator Marcos unfortunately wasn't baptized this week.  He still has some problems to work through.  I'm happy though because he still has the desire to be baptized.  This week I called him and asked him about his progress with coffee.  He was so excited to tell me that he didn't drink coffee all day!  Sister Freitas told me that it was better that I called him because my reaction of excitement is always more dramatic. :)
I'm so happy with the things I'm learning on the mission.  It has been a huge blessing in my life.  With only 6 months  feel the urgency more than ever to find, teach and baptize.  To bring my souls unto repentance!  There doesn't exist greater joy!
I love you!  Have a good week and be thinking of questions you want answered during this next general conference.
Sister Jensen

Monday, March 17, 2014

Don't forget to laugh!

Bom Dia!

Winter in Manaus is ending because everyday we are getting less and less rain!  I never thought I would miss the rain like I do right now.  It's freaking hot!  

This week was tiring, but really awesome.  We had a leadership meeting with President Klein and a division with the Sisters in our zone.  I learned a lot and witnessed a lot of miracles.  One miracle this week was with a man we found on the street named Marcos.  He works as a Moto Taxi and called us over to come talk to him.  Honestly, I thought to myself,  "Not again".  Because this week we have received a lot of unwanted attention from men.  On one hand we can laugh because some of them are crazy, but on the other hand it leaves me feeling sad.  Unfortunately not everyone will take our work seriously.  Mostly, because they don't understand.  So we started talking with Marcos and I was surprised that his first question was about baptism!  We talked a little, but we had to leave quickly for another appointment.  When we returned yesterday he was at home!  We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and he just wanted to hear about baptism.  At the end of the lesson, we didn't even need to invite him.  He said, "I know that I want to be baptized in your church.  I don't know why I'm making this decision now becaue many churches have already invited me to be baptized, but I feel that I should be baptized in this church".  It is amazing to me how the Spirit works within us.  He was feeling the Spirit, but could not explain it.  I know Heavenly Father prepared Marcos a long time to receive the restored gospel.  He is suficiently humble and willing to obey.  He will be baptized Sunday!

Another miracle was with our recent convert Lucas.  He is only 11 years old.  This Sunday he caught a bus and came to church by himself because his grandparents weren't feeling good.  What 11 year old does that?  I don't know 17 year olds that do that!  He comes from a really humble family and still doesn't have good sunday clothes.  My goal is to see him in a white shirt and tie before I get transfered because by the end of the year he will be passing the sacrament.  I like to imagine him being a great missionary some day!

Finally, this week we taught a less active and her sister Cristiane.  Cristiane lost her husband in a car accident 4 months ago and it is still really hard for her.  We started teaching the Plan of Salvation but realized this lesson was not right for her in that moment.  We then started talking about the Atonement.  At the end of the lesson, I felt impressed to share my experience when I was saying goodbye to my family in the airport.  Just before I entered, my mom called my name one more time.  The last thing she said to me was, "Hayley, don't forget to laugh".  She knew that I was about to leave for a good long time and that I was going to experience hard things.  Is it possible that it was the same experience with our Heavenly Father?  Just before we passed the veil of forgiveness, is it possible that he said, "Don't forget to laugh", "Don't forget to follow my Son", "Don't forget to be an example to your siblings", "Don't forget to come home to me."  

He gave is only perfect Son to die for us, to suffer like no other so that we could have eternal life.  I think then it is simple to do as He ask in the scriptures, to offer a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  To repent and be baptized so that we can return to His presence.  It is simple.  I love the simplicity of the gospel.  I love the time I've had to share this message with others.  I'm sweaty, exhausted, a little achy, but I've never been happier.  And I have never forgotten to laugh.

I love you all soooo much!  Have a great week and don't forget to laugh!

Sister Jensen

Monday, March 10, 2014


This week was eventful.  Both Sister Freitas and I didn't feel too good, but we managed to still work a lot.  Yesterday we received many referrals with a lot of potential that we are excited to contact this week.  I have a really good feeling about this week ahead.  It is going to be a week of miracles!
I had the opportunity to do a temple session again this week and it was exactly what I needed.  I love the celestial room.  I entered the temple with a million things on my mind and left with a peaceful heart.  It is a huge blessing to have the temple here in Manaus.  Especially in my area.

One miracle this week was with a referral that we have been waiting to contact for a month because she was traveling.  Her name is Kátia and I haven't been able to get her out of my mind.  We finally visited her this week and she told us that her cousin is a member of the church and that she was in the hospital.  She told us that she already visited the church one time and that she was interested in our focus on the family.  She told us in the first contact, "I want to be sealed in that temple of yours". We are so excited to go back tomorrow and teach her more.  She is golden!

We've spent a lot of time this week with a less-active family.  They are such good people and we still don't know why they are less active.  The mom wants to return and so does the son because he wants to serve a mission, but the dad is a toughy.  He always says, "I will return when I want".  But he LOVES the missionaries and wants his son to serve a mission.  I don't get it.  Today, we ate lunch with them again and he was happen to see us there when he got home.  He always says, "Anyday you need, pass by and we will feed you".  It finally hit me.  He loves the feeling we leave in his home.  It is the same feeling that motivated him to do good and be baptized.  I know by that same feeling he will return to church.  Tonight we are going back to have a Family Home Evening a their house and I'm super excited about our message.  We will also be teaching their relative who lost her husband in an accident 4 months ago.  Heavenly Father is constantly blessing us with opportunities to teach.

Finally, this week I've been loving my reading in the Book of Mormon.  I always love reading the Book of Mormon, but especially this week.  I've been reading in the middle of Alma which is full of stories.  But Ammon, upon returning home from his successful mission says something very interesting, Alma 26:22

22 Yea, he that arepenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringethforth good bworksand prayeth continually without ceasing—untosuch it is given to knothe cmysteries of God; yea, unto such itshall be dgiven to ereveal things which never have been revealed;yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls torepentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these ourbrethren to repentance.

We receive many blessings when we repent.  But I think the best blessing of all is that we also will have the power to bring thousands more unto repentance.  I feel like Alma in Alma 29:1,9

 that were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart,that might go forth and speak with the atrump of God, with avoice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and glory init. do anot bglory of myself, but glory in that which the Lordhath commanded me; yeaand this is my glory, that perhaps Imay be an instrument ithe hands of God to bring some soul torepentance; and this is my joy.

I'm so filled with joy when I see my investigators sincerely repenting.  I wonder how our Heavenly Father must feel also.  This gospel is a blessing.  It really doesn't matter how bad we have sinned because we can still repent.  Even some of the most worst sinners in the Book of Mormon repented and became even greater men.  It's like a broken bone that heals stronger.  I have a testimony of this.  My mission has taught me a lot about repentance and today I love to repent!  I know that I'm different because of the repentance I've done on the mission.

I love this gospel.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that He is real and walks in His temples because I can feel His presence there.  It is hard for me to leave the temple because I just want to linger in his presence a little longer, ya know?  I love you all so much.  Repent and be worthy to enter in the temple.  Have a great week.

Sister Hayley Jensen

Monday, March 3, 2014

I will not get trunky!

 I can't believe I'm already done with the first week of the transfer!  Every week passes by faster and faster.  I didn't even realize it until I got a new companion that likes to count down until the end of the mission.  She goes home one transfer before me, but she will not leave me trunky!  Her name is Sister Freitas and she is actually the trainer that trained my trainer.  It's a weird circle of companionships.  She really likes to work hard and she is a good teacher.  So far, so good.

This week we baptized an 11 year old named Lucas that was going to be baptized last week, but he got sick.  The baptism was really special.  We had a RM baptize him and you could tell that he looked at the RM with such admiration.  After one or two lessons with us he began to talk with his family about the mission he would one day serve.  He lives with his less active grandparents.  The are really humble people and don't have the means to come to church every sunday, but have a firm faith and to this day talk about the missionaries that baptized them.  When Lucas began to talk about a mission his grandpa wept in gratitude.  I know he will be a great missionary one day.  Just looking at him you can tell that he is a special kid.
We contacted a referral this week that lives in a house that sits on top of another house.  I get really nervous sometimes to use the stairs here.  When we finally made it inside, we taught her the gospel.  She told us that she can't read, but has a strong desire to read the word of God.  She really wants to be baptized, but I only fear that her family will influence her to be baptized in the church she is now attending.  She is really sweet and left me feeling grateful for the ability to read.  Can you imagine life without the ability to read?  Sometimes we ask each other, do you like to read?  Is reading one of your hobbies?  I think reading should be something we take advantage of in this life.  A blessing that we don't think of very often, but it is definitely a huge blessing to be able to read the Word of God.
This week I finally saw Sister Prater for the first time since we got here!  It's been at least 8 months and we only spoke Portuguese.  I was happy to see that she was so happy on the mission.  So many good changes.
Finally this week we had to drop an investigator that we had been teaching for some time now.  It was hard to let him go and he could tell I was sad.  Even I was surprised by how sad I was.  I can't even imagine how our Heavenly Father must feel when we use are agency unwisely.  Because truely, this is the path to eternal happiness.  I have never been so sure in my life.  My desire to help others find the path leaves me feeling sad sometimes when they aren't willing to repent and change.
Mas eu sei que o reino de Deus está aqui na terra hoje e que realmente Jesus Cristo está dirigindo a igreja hoje por meio dum profeta vivo.  Eu fico feliz porque eu tenho um conhecimento e testemunho do evangelho.  Eu sei que Pai Celestal nos ama.  Eu consigo sentir o amor Deles cada dia.  Isto é uma grande bênção para mim.  Eu amo meu Salvador.
Espero que tenham uma boa semana!
Sister Jensen