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