Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Life is Good




Dear everyone,

This week was another one for the record books. No, we didn't set any records, to be honest it was a little rough for work, but I wouldn't trade the things that I've learned for the whole world.

The one bright spot work wise was a new family we found, Aristad and Rina. We tracked into them late at night, at that time when you start getting dirty looks from people and everyone starts yelling or locking their doors. Aristad met us at the door and let us right in. He is a very faithful and smart guy, but confessed to us that he hadn't been to church for a few months. I asked if missionaries had ever taught him before, and he said no, but he told us how he already has a "Mormon

bible". We asked him to get it, and he came out with one of the oldest and most worn Book of Mormons that I have ever seen. I instantly recognized it as one of the very first Malagasy copies ever released, clear back in 2004. It had no references and no topical guide at the back, which made it really thin. Anyways, the lesson went great, he seems very prepared and loves to learn, and so hopefully we will be able to see him progress and move forward over the next couple of weeks.

Other than that, in studies this week I started reading from the Pearl of Great Price. First, in chapter 1, Moses sees the savior Jesus Christ. He is taken up and beholds the glory of the Lord, and when they conversation was over he fell to the earth and said of the experience "Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." Later, after the devil had tempted him, The Lord again appeared and showed him this world, yea the whole earth and everything in it. He saw mountains and rivers, forests and oceans, and all that the Lord had created here. He and the Lord spoke for a moment about it all, the beauty and the power of all the Lord had created, and then the Lord said something to Moses which hit me just a little harder this time.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

I thought about that for a long time. I thought about the eternal life of man. I thought of our Heavenly Father's plan for us, and the wonderful potential we each have to become like Him. As He says here, man kind is and always will be the greatest. All of the mountains and the oceans, the tempests and the great storms, all of the power and majesty of all that He has created is nothing compared to the potential of  a single soul. We are His greatest creation, and He loves us more than we could ever understand. I am so grateful for this opportunity to come here to earth, to learn and to grow. I am especially grateful for the Atonement of our savior that enables us to return to him again. Love you all so much

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the week: Moses 1:39

The Mission Life


Dear everyone,

This week was great. We have had some success finding new people and have had some very interesting lessons, but especially the last couple of days have been really great.

So one of the interesting parts of the week was our lesson with Jean Claude and Elizabeth. The are an older couple, maybe in their fifties, and they have met with the missionaries once before. In fact, my trainer Elder Koplin found them before I had even gotten in to country. Needless to say it has been a while. They are very very devout in their FJKM church (The Church of Jesus Christ here in Madagascar), in fact, Jean Claude is a mpiandry in the church. I honestly don't know what the translation for that one is, but he's pretty high up. Anyways, we have taught them once or twice, but this time was very different. I might have kind of accidently approached the topic of Priesthood authority in not the most tactful way. I swear I really didn't mean to, but it happened. Before we knew it he had grabbed his bible. I promise that I really do try to avoid Bible bashing with people, but every once in a while my pride still gets the better of me and pretty quick he and I were going at it. We fought and shared scriptures back and forth for about 40 minutes, but it was strange, it was not like most arguments I've gotten in to. I realized that he wasn't trying to fight, he was just caught between what he had been taught his whole life and trying to understand this new concept. We brought it back to Joseph Smith, and pretty much just layed it all on the line for him. I told him "Look, the two of us don't both have the authority. Either you do or I do. Either you are called of God or I am. Don't you think it's important that we find out which? In the end it all comes down to the Prophet Joseph Smith".  He agreed fully and we both humbled ourselves a bit and he agreed to pray about it. Then we promised we would come back and bring him a Book of Mormon, which would help him to know. As we were leaving, he said to me that he hoped that he hadn't upset me, that this was just a very important thing that he felt he really needed to understand. Of course he hadn't upset me, but I was so impressed with how much that this man sincerely wanted to serve the Lord, no matter where or when.

I am so very grateful for the Prophet, Joseph Smith, and the restored Gospel here on the earth. I am grateful that our Heavenly Father loved us enough to restore it for us, even though we had rejected it so many times. Love you all, have a great week,

Elder Jensen
Scripture of the week: Articles of Faith 1:5

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Whitewashing


Dear Family,

This week was great. I finally got my new and final companion on Wednesday, and we got started. We are here in Toamasina, still on the coast, and we are whitewashing. I don't know if anybody knows what that is, but it basically just means that we are both new to the area and are pretty much starting from scratch. The branch here is great though, and they have helped out a lot. We have already found some pretty great people and started building up a program, but we still have a long ways to go.

One of my favorite new people is a man named Didios. I first contacted him while tracking a couple of weeks ago, and he came to church the second week of being taught. I love teaching him he is always looking for answers. He loves the principle of God calling modern day prophets and apostles to lead and guide us today. This past week we were able to start teaching his wife with him. I say wife, but it's really just his girlfriend that lives with him. We will deal with that hiccup along the way. Anyways she is not quite as easily accepting as he is, but you can tell that she really just wants to understand it all before she commits too much to anything. I am really excited to see where they go in the next couple of weeks.

So in personal study I have set a goal to finish the Book of Mormon before I get home. I started a few weeks ago, and now I am in the Book of Helaman. I love the Book of Mormon. It really is another testament of Jesus Christ and the keystone of our religion, and I know it is true.
Love you all so much,
Elder Jensen

Scripture of the week: Moroni 10:3-5

Happy Independance Day


Dear everyone,

I know that you are all thinking that I am a week early on that email, but I promise I'm not. I'm talking about Malagasy Independence Day! Tratran'ny 26 e!!!!!! It's pretty much the biggest party of the year here, which really just means a lot of booz. Legitimately everyone gets drunk. We had a 6 p.m. curfew on the 24th, 25th, and the 26th, which made working really hard because that's the only time anyone is home. Also, we got transfer news! I have officially been released from being an Assistant to the President and I will be staying here in Tamatave for my last transfer. I know, crazy right? I'm on my last transfer already. I will be whitewashing an area called Toamasina and my new companion will be a guy named Elder Van Zyl from South Africa. He is fresh out of training, two months into his mission, and the driver will be bringing him up in a few hours. At that point, we have about 7 weeks (transfers were early this time around) to tear it up out here and I couldn't be more excited. Anyways, because of the parties yesterday not a single cyber cafe was open, so I am emailing on Tuesday and I'm going to keep it short. Love you all so much,

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the Week: D&C 11:21 (I love scripture studies)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TAMATIVE


Dear everyone, 

That's right, I am officially back in Tamatave!! I love this place. We had splits every day last week and have splits again every day this coming week. Tonight I am going out to visit some recent converts, to that is exciting. The best part of the week was probably yesterday. It was District Conference, so everyone that I know from every branch was all together in one big meeting. It was amazing. I wasn't able to sit with anyone because I had to sit on the stand and translate the meeting for President Foote. I was however able to see and talk to a lot of people. I talked to Done and Mihary, who were finally able to be baptized last week! I saw them after the meeting, and Kenzo and Morgan came running up and gave me a big hug. I was so excited that those two remembered me, I missed them a lot. I was also able to talk to Clovis and Jaqueline, as well as Frederik and Eleanore. It wass absolutely fantastic. I love this place so much. We played soccer this morning so I don't have a ton of time, but I love you all so much!!

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the Week: 1 Timothy 4:12

Travels- June 5, 2017


This week was great. We did a little bit more traveling again, which I talked about just a little bit last week. Sunday we left right after church for Antsirabe, did a zone conference there and then spent the night. Then we left for Ambositra the next day. We did a zone conference there that morning, even though there are only 2 missionaries there, and then president left Elder Lehnardt and I there for splits while he went on to Fianarantsoa and Toliara. I was able to spend a couple of days on splits with Elder Smithson and Elder Christensen, which was awesome they are both great missionaries. President came back earlier than expected so we weren't able to work there as long as we had hoped, but, we were able to get a lot done anyways and we came back up to Tana Thursday. It ended up taking us most of the day to get back. The rest of the week was pretty normal. Next stop, Tamatave!! We are going out there for the district conference with President. I can't wait to see all of my old friends again, but we will talk about that next week.
In other news, Marcelin came to church again! He is still very excited to be baptized on July 1st. This week we were able to get his family involved as well. We taught him with his sister Olga and her husband Francois, their son Valimbavaka (that means answer to prayer), and also Marcelin's other 2 sisters, Lany and Helia. We taught them about Joseph Smith one night, prayer the next, and the Book of Mormon the third time. At the end of the second lesson, we invited them to pray, and Olga said possibly the best prayer that I have ever heard from an investigator. I have heard some very strange prayers over here. Some pray to Jesus, others pray to the Holy Ghost, once in a while we even get someone praying to Mary. Once or twice I've even had people just not understand the first at all and pray to Joseph Smith. That was before I spoke Malagasy. Anyways she said the most amazing prayer I have ever heard. The spirit was so strong, and afterwards she agreed to be baptized. All in all, just a great week.
This week for studies, I have been looking a lot into the priesthood, more specifically what it means to be a worthy priesthood holder. The priesthood is a great gift from our Heavenly Father. He gives it to us in order for us to be able to better help our fellow Bretheren. Being a priesthood holder has a lot of different parts to it. Part of it is knowing the scriptures. Part of it is fulfilling church callings and responsibilities. A very big part of it is serving others. We are called to represent Him and to carry out His work. It's a big responsibility. So very grateful for the priesthood and it's influence in my life. Love ya all,

Elder Jensen



Scripture of the week: 121:41

Ambositra- May 29,2017



Dear Family,

This week was once again great. I am currently in Ambositra (aka the middle of no where) praying that at some point the internet decides to work long enough to get the email out. We are currently on a series of zone conferences moving down south. Yesterday we did a conference in Antsirabe, and first thing this morning we went down the road to Ambositra. Even though it's a small place, it is famous for wood carvings and paintings and stuff like that, which is pretty cool. 
So one other cool story, we were out tracting last week and we met marcelin, who let us in to his home. He promised us when we left that he would come to church the next day, which wasn't super abnormal. We left and as we talked about it later and figured we'd never see the guy again. Well, he didn't come to church but we weren't super surprised. Then last week we went back to see him again. He told us that he had searched all morning sunday and just could not find the church. Yesterday we met him down the hill from his house and walked with him to church! He has already accepted a bap date for July 1st and is on the right track!

Ok sorry everybody, this bad connection is getting annoying. Love you all! Congrats to everyone who graduated this week!

Elder Jensen



Scripture of the week: Ether 12: 25-274