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