Monday, April 28, 2014

Personal Conversion

Every week passes by faster and faster.  I can't believe that it is monday again!  This week was a good one.  We had an exchange with some Sisters in our zone and it was really fun to work in a different area.  Afterwards we bought pizza and icecream.  One thing I learned on the mission is that you can't survive running around constantly stressed out.  I felt like I started my mission really stressed and worried all the time, running from one appointment to the next.  This transfer with Sister Freitas has taught me that we need moments to sit down, laugh, and eat icecream.  The mission is a lot more enjoyable and it takes away contention that can drive away the spirit.
This week we took Michel to the temple to take pictures.  We walked around the garden and showed him the lodge facilities to the right of the temple.  He loved it.  He was taking pictures at every angle of the temple.  We sat down with him to show him our recommend and what it means to us to have a temple recommend.  Then, a newly wed couple came out of the temple.  He turned to us and said, "I want to be the next".  There is nothing more he wants than an eternal family.

Yesterday I gave a talk in church and asked Michel if I could use his testimony.  It is very powerful.  I will try and translate a part of it:

"After passing through many sufferings and thinking about a purpose in my life, two missionaries appeared in my house.  Sister Jensen and Sister Freitas started to talk about the Book of Mormon and scriptures and was a skeptic of what they were teaching.  I didn't give much importance to it all, but when they continued teaching about baptism my life began to change.  I learned that baptism meant death and rebirth to a new life.  That all that was morally incorrect I could leave in the past.  After my baptism I felt new and I know that it was the happiest day of my life.  I read the Book of Mormon and prayed to Heavenly Father and I felt that everything is true.  What I felt was undescribable.  I felt something hopeful and a comforting warmness.  An imense happiness.  I am on the path of righteousness to become a better person.  What is more important is that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church."

Nothing beats the testimony of someone you taught on the mission.  After church on Sunday Michel received the Aaronic Priesthood and next month he will receive the Melquisedeque Priesthood.

Truely the Spirit has a huge role in missionary work.  The Spirit is what motivates us to become converted by living the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And conversion is a process we live constantly, even after our baptism.  This sunday I spoke in sacrament meeting about personal conversion and I used a quote by Elder Howard W. Hunter, 

“What does the Atonement have to do with missionary work? Antime we
experience the blessings of thAtonement in our lives, we cannot help but have concern for the welfare of others. … A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others.”

Are we really converted?  If we are helping the missionaries share the gospel, then we truely are converted.  When we love the Savior Jesus Christ, we will help in this work. Our blessings of eternity depend on it.  Like President George Albert Smith said, 

“We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom only on the condition that we sharwith our Father’s other children the blessings ofthe Gospeof Jesus Christ and observe the commandments that will enrich our lives here and hereafter”

 I love this gospel.  I'm so grateful for the blessing it is to sit front row and watch the conversion of others.  Heavenly Father loves His children.  Trust that He will answer your prayers and that when you invite your friends to read the Book of Mormon and pray, the Spirit will touch their hearts.  3 Nephi 7:21

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Sister Jensen

Monday, April 21, 2014

Source of Joy

Drenched by the rain
It has been another wonderful week!  My greatest source of joy has been because of our investigator Michel.  He is progressing so well and so fast.  Last Monday we had a FHE with a family in the ward and Michel.  Michel shared his testimony with them about how he was converted.  He talked about the Book of Mormon and his prayer.  He said that when we had found him, he was depressed and uninterested in God, but when he prayed, he felt something.  He felt light, happiness and hope.  He couldn't explain the feeling, but we all understood.  In the same FHE the head of the household gave him 2 ties and Michel was really excited.  He likes wearing his church clothes because I think it makes him feel special.  We planned to take him to the temple this next Saturday to walk around and take pictures.  He asked if he could wear his church clothes. :)
Yesterday we went to visit him after church and when we arrive he was watching last October's conference in English (he speaks English fluently).  We are so impressed with him.  He then started showing us pictures of all the temples in the world because now he is obessed with temples.  He made us swear to him that we would return to watch his sealing one day.  This week he will receive the Preisthood and we don't want to delay much longer to teach his family because they really like the changes they are seeing in Michel.  His cousin and her family are going to a church called Restoration.  Funny huh?  It is a huge church that many go to.  When people tell me that they go to the church Restoration, I love saying "Oh perfect!  We have a message about that!"
The other highlight of my week was the baptism of William.  He is the son of our investigator Jacqueline that we have been teaching for centuries!  When we went over there Saturday  to confirm plans with William, Sister Freitas and I were worried that many people wouldn't be able to watch the baptism.  Everyone is traveling because of the holiday.  When we got to their house, Jacqueline was really torn apart because of many things.  She has been through so much in her life and the trials never seem to stop.  She has a strong desire to be baptized but needs to repent and get married first.  It's hard to see her struggle.  A friend of hers sent some anti-Mormon material and told her not to let William get baptized.  But of course, she cannot deny the way she feels.  The spirit is stronger then any anti-mormon youtube garbage.  She said, "Even though I'm getting trial after trial, I cannot give up because I feel like I'm so close to my blessing".  I've learned so much with my investigators.  Jacqueline is a woman with a lot of faith and hope for the future.  Sister Freitas and I both felt that we should not cancel the baptism and reschedule for the next day, so we baptized him that night.

It was a beautiful baptism.  Few people showed up, but the few that did gave a lot of support.  Jacqueline was taking pictures at every frame of Jesus in the chapel.  Their only request was that I make cookies that I had been promising them.  While the tank was filling I whipped up some cookies and William was interviewed.  It was a really special moment.  After his baptism, William told us that he was nervous because he was feeling different.  He said, "I feel light."  We explained the feeling to him and he started to cry.  The next day he was confirmed and that afternoon he went out with us to teach his friends.

I'm amazed everyday by the miracles I see.  I know that because of the gospel of Jesus Christ we can experience true happiness.  In this world, everything is short term.  Everything dies, but those that live in the next life will live because of Christ.  Because of His sacrifice for us and because He overcame death.  I love this new video:

Christ lives!  He loves us and He is real.  I love Him.

Sister Jensen

Monday, April 14, 2014

Feliz Páscoa!

It's been another awesome week here!  I love my area so much!  It has been getting better and better every week here.  This transfer we are working really hard to bring less actives back to activity and to retain those we've already baptized.  Our Mission Presdient has asked for 50% of our time to be spent doing work like this.  Amazingly enough, this is something we have already been doing.  I love working with less actives and recent converts.  They bring me the most joy because they are the members that are repenting and changing the most!  And always always always, we some how manage to find someone that needs to bebaptized when we do this kind of work.  It's incredible.
This week we were able to baptize Michel!  He was our athiest investigator that turned into a Mormon.  That is a mission first!  He has progressed so much the past 3 weeks.  I truely believe that he was athiest only because he hadn't found the true church yet.  He loves church because he feels good there.  He loves the hymns and enjoys the reverence. (Most churches here are super loud with bands and yelling).  He is really interested in having an eternal family one day.  His baptism was really special.  He brought his cousin with him to watch the baptism.  Right before the meeting started we noticed a dead cockroach in the font.  Ew!  We tried to descretly close the font doors to fish him out before Michel could see.  It was kind of funny because the RM that was going to baptized though it was a fish.

The next day Michel came to church in the standard white shirt and slacks and he brought his family with him.  It was a testimony meeting and the spirit was strong.  Many investigators were there to listen.  Michel was confirmed and so was Luis Fernando.  Luis Fernando is learning portuguese really quickly because he is reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese.  This week we taught him about the priesthood and I told him that if he prepares well, he could baptize his family when they arrive from Colombia.  His face lit up and he was so excited!  It's amazing the number of people that don't know their  own potential.  I'm grateful that Heavenly Father has used me to help people understand who they can become.

I really love my mission.  I learn something new everyday.  Sometimes from the scriptures, other times from investigators and sometimes members teach me something new.  I love what one member said this week to us.  He said, "After your mission, just when you think Heavenly Father has forgotten you, another blessing comes.  You dedicated 18 months to 2 years to serve Him.  That is not something that Heavenly Father forgets."  I know that is true!  I'm so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.  I'm grateful that He lives!  He overcame death so that we could too.  But more importantly, He overcame spiritual death.  A blessing that is conditional acording to our obedience and application of the Atonement.  I hope that this Easter season we can remember more clearly what He taught us.  I hope we can remember that He is real and really loves us.  I know this is true.  I love His true and LIVING church.  Have a Happy Easter!


Sister Jensen

Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm staying one more transfer!

Looks like I'm staying in the area!  I'm happy that I've spent a good amount of time in every area.  It is easier to get to know the people and get some good work done.  Sister Freitas will continue as my comp and we will have to perform 4 exchanges during the transfer.  I'm really excited!
This week we baptized our investigator Luis Fernando.  He arrived in Brasil only 10 days ago.  He is Colombian and his son Fernando was already baptized 4 months ago.  There family is sending every member one by one because they don't have money to come all at once.  They had to leave because of some difficulties in the part of the country where they were living.  Luis Fernando has an excellent knowledge of the scriptures and listens very carefully to understand all we teach.  My little bit of Spanish has helped during our lessons.  Maybe that will be the next language I learn.  Last week he started reading the Book of Mormon on the tablet because the text is much larger and he has bad vision.  In one day he sat and read until 1 Nephi 8 in Portuguese and started telling us about Lehi's vision.  He said, "I've never read this book, it's really good!"  He also told us how he had requested missionaries from our church to visit him in Colombia, but they never got there.  It is amazing how Heavenly Father prepares His children to hear the gospel at the right time and in the right place!  Right now Luis is sufficiently humble and was ready to accept baptism.  

His baptism was really special.  It was funny also because he is short, but a little chubby.  When the bishop baptized him the water flew out of the font and hit the viewers in the splash zone!  It was a little scary though because President was there also and he got mad at the Elders for filling the font so high.  Afterwards we cake with the members and Luis felt really special.  His coutenance changed and he seemed a lot happier.  I LOVE baptism!

Our other investigator is a miracle also.  His name is Michel and it is kind of weird how we found him.  We were actually teaching his sister Monica, but he demonstrated more interest so we started focusing more on him.  His first experience with the church was a Talent Show ward activity.  Then he came to church the following Sunday and again this Saturday and Sunday to watch conference.  He watched all 4 sessions of Conference!  I have never been so impressed.  He spent the night at a friend's close to the chapel so that he could return the next day.  The day before conference he accepted baptism.  During conference he asked us what we would teach in the next visit and we said, "Well, we were planning on teaching about God´s plan for us" then he replied, "No, you are going to talk about my baptism".  He is a miracle because the day we met him he didn't even believe in God.  Something changed in him.  He started to read and pray.  The members embraced him.  He felt good and accepted.  He will be baptized this week.

Finally, a family that I've been teaching for 2 transfers finally decided to get married!  They are planning a wedding in 2 months so Sister Freitas and I will be on top of this entire month to get the wedding papers in as fast as possible.  It has been a miracle!

I loved this past General Conference.  I'll be honest, there were many things I wasn't able to understand.  The way the apostles talk is a lot more formal than everyday words I hear here.  I will have to read the talks in the ensign.  But I do know that the things they said are true.  I could feel it.  My questions that I prepared were answered.  I have a renewed desire to change even more on the mission and live worthily of the blessings of the Atonement.  As I've studied the Atonement all week long I've learned many new things about the character of Christ.  He truely is the Son of God.  I know that He lives and loves us.  He is real and He still speaks with His servants.  The heavens have not been closed to our people in the last days.  We need Him more now than ever.

I also learned that one thing I need to do even more is strengthen my love for the scriptures.  I heard a story this week about an Elder that served in our mission that spoke with one of the indians that live here.  He started conversing with him in a way that reminds us of the story of Ammon and King Lamoni.  The Elder started by asking, "Do you believe in the Great Spirit?"  And the indian replied, "Yes.  Our fathers believed in two Great Spirits that cleansed the Earth.  They were very good.  One of the Spirits visited our fathers in this land."  This left the Elder a little emtional because it was a testimony to him that the Book of Mormon is true.  He replied, "That's correct.  And this book tells the story of your people and about the visit of that Great Spirit".  The Indian could not read, but he accepted the Book of Mormon and held it closely to him.

I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  It contains a record of the visit of Jesus Christ.  It is said to contain a "fulness of the gospel" because  it speaks of Christ and His Atonement more than any other book.  I love these people.  There is a history here and every once and a while I can't help but feel their ancestors directing me to those who are prepared.  The church is true.

I love ya!  Have a great week!

Sister Jensen