Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Transfers Again!

Dear Family,
So this week was once again transfer week in Madagascar. Elder Lake has safely arrived in Fort D and Elder Bassett arrived on Wednesday. We had a great week and it was even Stake Conference on Sunday!! Always a good time in Madagascar.
So Elder Bassett is from Katy Texas, but also he lived in England for like 8 years. We have been doing great here in Ambohimanarana. He is probably one of the most consecrated and hard- working missionaries that I have met here in Mada thus far, and we have a great time. We started doing a lot of things now that I wasn't super good at before. We walk down the street and literally just talk to every single person. Even just passing people we just say hi to everyone and have a blast all of the time. I have learned an awful lot the last couple of days, and the work is blowing up. We had 14 investigators come to church on Sunday, 5 more than I have ever had in this area, so it was a pretty great week.
So I am a little bit short on time but I will add some pictures and it will be all good, I will do better next week.

Love you all so much,

Elder Jensen
Scripture of the Week: Alma 38:5  (Elder Bassett won't stop sharing it with people)



Transfer Week

Dear everybody back home,

Life is still great out here in Madagascar. This week was kind of crazy! We had meetings, splits, and even some visa problems, all with transfers looming over our heads, and all of that made for a pretty crazy week out here in Madagascar. 
So we went into this week knowing that it was going to be a crazy one, and it only got crazier as we went. We started out Tuesday with a district leader training meeting, just a little thing we do to try to better keep in touch with each of the district leaders and help them out with their whole gig. After that we got a phone call from the AP's. I always hate getting phone calls from those guys, it's just never good news. Also their ring tone on our phone is this really mean sounding German song so it just scares the crap out of me. Anyways, Elder Lake's visa had expired, along with about 20 other Elders out here. So the next day (Wednesday) we took a 2 hour bus ride in to the center of town to get it renewed. That killed our day for sure. Thursday was more or less normal I guess, but Friday we had a split with the Ankorondrano Elders. I had Elder Bauer with me in our area for the day, which was a ton of fun. He is from Texas and has been here in Madagascar for about 6 weeks. We talked about football for most of the day. On Saturday we attended a wedding for some members which was a lot of fun. We shortly afterwards received news on transfers. Elder Lake is heading out for Fort Dauphin to work in my old area. Needless to say he is very, very excited on that one. I am getting Elder Bassett, who just finished training on the other side of Tana. He is actually the guy that I replaced down in Tanambao, so it will be really good to see him again. Also, we were trained by the same missionary, so it's going to be just 1 big family reunion out here in Ambohimanarana. In other news, there are 13 new missionaries coming in this transfer and because of that, every single companionship in our entire zone will be training this transfer. Except for me and Bassett of course. It's going to be a lot of fun and we are looking forward to good things to come.
Because of all of the different things that happened this week, I actually didn't get much done for studies. I did however read a talk that I liked a lot. It is called Living the Gospel Joyful by Pres. Deiter F. Uchtdorf and it was very, very good. It talked all about how the commandments and really just the gospel in general is sometimes viewed as a great big checklist, and once you cross everything off you then get a ticket straight to the celestial kingdom. In all reality that's not it at all. You have to look at the why of the gospel. They say that life here on earth is a big test. Thing is, You take a test after you have studied, after you have prepared. The point isn't to find out what you already know, it is to make you push yourself to learn and understand the things in the test. It's kind of like that with life. The point isn't to keep every single commandment every single time. We physically cannot do that, we're all people here. No one get's 100% the first time they take this test. It's a refining process. It's all about learning and growing. Heavenly Father doesn't care that you have 100% attendance at church every week. What he does care about is you getting that opportunity to feel the spirit and learn of Him, and you can't get that opportunity anywhere else. He doesn't care that you pay your tithing every single time. What he does care about is that we learn to trust Him in a way that we can't without paying that tithing. So I guess that people are right, life is a test. But it is an open book test, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we all get to answer every question as many times as we need. He knows no one will get it right the first time, all he cares about is that we try, because when we try He can help us, and eventually we will get it right. What a great day that will be. Love you all so much,
Elder Jensen
Scripture of the Week: Matthew 5:48


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Year Mark!

Hello everyone,
So in case you didn't catch the title of the message, I did indeed hit my year mark this week. I am officially over the hump. Crazy right? Time sure does fly, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. This week was good. We had 2 baptisms on saturday of people who have been waiting far too long. It was a really sweet moment when the were finally able to make such a great step. The work is going well. All is good.
So let me first off tell you about my friend Nary. We found him just a few weeks ago. Elder Lake and I were tracting and we walked in to this little yard with a little 2 story wood shack in it. We could here somebody moving around on the second floor so we yelled up at them. No answer. So we yelled again. Still no answer. We yelled one more time and waited a bit, still nothing. This kind of happens a lot. People feel like Jesus would be mad if they came and told us to go away so they just ignore us instead. Anyways we were just about to turn around and leave when this random guy came walking in off of the street. He was wearing really old beat up clothes and had dread locks and just looked like a really shady character but he asked us what we were doing so we told him that we just wanted to talk to whoever was in the house. He then went running up the stairs and into the house, and came back out with whoever had been up there. The mysterious man then left and disappeared. We had never seen him before nor have we seen him since. The man who he brought out of the house's name was Nary. Thing is that it wasn't even his house, he was cleaning it for his grandmother. It was pure chance that we even caught him there in the first place. We talked to him for a minute about his life and then just sat down right there on the front steps and taught him a first. He had originally been a part of a local protestant church, but had left when he finally got fed up with all of the money talk involved. I swear the fastest way to make money in Madagascar is to just start a new church. Anyways he hasn't been to any church for about a year now just because he couldn't find one that he thought was true. It was an awesome experience to be able to tell him of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and to tell him that God had sent us to him because he wanted him to come back. I have never met anyone as prepared for the gospel as Nary, he absorbs every lesson like a sponge and allways waits for us at the gate of his house. Isn't it amazing how things just seem to work out sometimes?

So now the reason I was late. We started off the day with a mission wide ping pong tournament at the office. It wasn't quite mission wide I guess, just all those here in tana, but it did cover about 2/3 of the mission. We divided it all in to 2 brackets, one for North Zone and one for South Zone, and then the winners played each other. I am proud to say that I have not lost my game yet, and after about five rounds I was crowned North Zone Champion. I guess I was a little bit too proud, because I definitely got myself humbled in the North Zone/ South Zone all mission championship game. Second place is good too right?
So this week I spent a couple of studying all about the Jaredites. One of my favorite people in all of scripture is the Brother of Jared. Poor guy, he couldn't even get his own name into the book. Anyways I especially love his interactions with the Lord as he is preparing the boat to cross the sea. There are a couple of things that I like about it. I like how the Brother of Jared isn't given the exact blueprints of the boats. He is given some basic guidelines and told to go to work. Every time there is a problem he goes to the mount and the Lord tells him to figure it out and bring him back a solution. It's kind of like that in life. We aren't all robots out here, God doesn't control everything we do. He gave us the basic guidelines and told us to go to work. If we have a problem, we can't allways just wait for him to fix it because he won't. We are here on earth to learn and to grow and we can't do that if he gives us all of the solutions. He will help us along the way, but we have to take some responsibility as well. In that way he is able to mold us in to what he needs us to be.
 Love you all so much,

Elder Jensen
Scripture of the week: Ether 12:4