Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's HOT!

Dear family,
It has been another awesome week out here in Madagascar. We had some awesome moments with some way cool investigators and things just went great. It's summer right now, so it is pretty hot here. By that, I mean it is really, really hot here. I come home every day and can seriously ring the water out of my shirts. It's nuts!! That being said, I love Tamatave.
So we have some great investigators out here. Some of my favorites are Clovesel and Jaqueline, plus their three kids whose names have slipped my mind at the moment. They are way cool people. They have been learning from the missionaries for about 6 months and are super smart. Last week we went in and talked about repentance was. For them, it just meant confession. I don't think I could count on all of my fingers and toes all of the times that I have heard that. We talked about how much more repentance is than just that. It is a change of lifestyle, and even more than that it is a change of heart. As we repent we come closer to the savior and the way he lived. Christ told His apostles in the Americas that they should be even as he is. That's the goal. It is also a long ways off, but that's ok because as we repent we come closer to that ultimate goal of returning to live with Him. Also one other funny story, we had dinner last night with some way awesome members (beans and pig fat over rice, my favorite) and they gave us a referral for the man's sister who lived next door. We went straight over and taught them. The funny part is that their kid's name is John Cena. Anyways we got a kick out of that one. I have also met a kid here named Joseph Smith. Good times.
So this week I did a little bit of a study on the Christmas spirit because I absolutely love Christmas time. I read the Christmas story in Luke 2, which was great as always. I love the words of the angel to the shepherds. "Behold, I bring good tidings of great joy. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord." Such a simple statement, and yet it is hard to understand the real gravity of it. The entire history of the world until that point were building up to this one great event. The prophets spoke of it, the psalmist sang of it, and all of mankind looked forward to this one moment. They found Him, The Son of God, asleep in his mothers arms. That is the greatest gift ever given.
Love you all so much, Merry Christmas,
Elder Jensen


Dear Everybody,
Life is still great here in Madagascar. I absolutely love Tamatave. It is the second biggest city in Mada, about 200,000 people. It is way out on the farthest west coast of the island. We speak a dialect here called Betsimisaraka. It's not quite as bad as the dialects from Fort D, but it's a bit different for sure. There are 5 branches out here, and we are currently working towards making it in to a stake, which requires 6 very strong branches. Hoping that sometime this year we can get it done. Anyways, on to other news.
My area here is called Mangarivotra, which means blue breeze. Or mango breeze. I'm not really sure, you say it the same either way. The branch is great, the area is awesome, and things are just going fantastic. I would say that my favorite people right now are Frederick and Eleanore. They have been learning from the missionaries for 9 months now but the problem, as allways, is that they weren't married. So anyways, they surprized us on tuesday with their marriage certificate!!! They are getting baptized!! Currently we are planning on the 7th of January. Another cool thing! Elder Leo and I were out tracting when we walked into this little yard. There was a little girl pumping water out of the ground so we went and talked to her. Her parents weren't home which normally throws up red lights, but she was struggling way hard with the water pump. I felt bad so I took over and started pumping water. About 2 minutes later the little girl's sister Judy walked in. It turns out that Judy is a very less active member. She got baptized here in tamatave but moved to Tana for a while and when she came back just stopped going to church. She is now married and has a little kid, and she was way excited to see us. We set up a time to come and teach her husband, Alain, and left. Alain turned out to be a stud and the lesson went great so we are very excited to see where this one goes.
So this week I spent a little bit of time reading in Alma, when I came across something that I hadn't noticed before. It is in Alma 20, where Alma and King Lamoni are travelling to Middoni to free Aaron and his brethren from prison. This is just shortly after King Lamoni's conversion itself, but that's a different story. On the road to Middoni, they bump in to King Lamoni's father, who is King over all of the Lamanites. Well, Lamoni's father wasn't necessarily too happy to see his son travelling with a Nephite. To be honest, he was furious. He (king of all the lamanites) commanded King Lamoni to kill Ammon and go back to the land of Ishmael. Now in Malagasy, there are 2 ways to say "go back." There is miverina, which is to return, and mihemotra, which is kind of like to digress or fall back. Anyways, I wasn't sure which would be better to use. I started thinking about what it would mean for Lamoni to go back to the land of Ishmael. It would be like going back to his old life. It would mean forsaking Ammon and the whole new belief that he had found. Rather than returning to his old life, Lamoni defies the king and his father, knowing full well that his father will try to kill him for it. When you are trully converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, you realize that there really is no going back to the life you had before. It's just not appealing any more. To be honest, the thought of losing the joy of the gospel is downright scary. I think that Peter said it best in John chapter 16. Many of Christ's followers were leaving him, and he looked to the 12 and asked "Will ye also go away?" Peter answered him "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." Once a person comes to this realization, there is no going back. King Lamoni would rather die than go back. This is the type of conversion that we are looking for, in both investigators and in ourselves. Love you all so much,
Elder Jensen
Scripture of the week: Alma 20:15

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Dear family,

Today has been kind of crazy just because of transfers and a bunch of stuff I have had to do and all, so I really have almost no time left. That means I am probably going to have to kind of send a short email this time. I'll just kind of explain what's going on and write a much better email next week.

So I don't know if anybody remembers, but I have been out here in Toamasina (tamatave) for about a week and a half now just doing splits and cool things like that. Anyways, the transfer ended just yesterday. That means that my companion Elder Walker is going home in 2 days and I am in need of something new to do. Since I was already out here in Toamasina, they have just decided to leave me here. My new companion is Elder Leo, who is from American Samoa. He's a way cool guy. Anyways, we are here now and I am once again living on the beach. This time though I can't quite see it from my house. Anyways, I am way beyond stoked to be out here and the work here in Tamatave just seems to be blowing up for the moment, so we are looking forward to great things to come. Because of all of the things going on with transfers, we have been pretty busy today. I now have one hour to finish up emails, do some shopping, and also get dressed and out to work, so I'm going to have to sign off for now. Love you all tons, the church is true,

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the week: Matt. 5:48
Elder Jensen's 20th Birthday

District Conference in TAMATAVE

Dear Family,

So this week has been kind of all over the place. I have been in 3 cities, done about 5 splits, and basically just ran everywhere all the time. So here's the story.
It all started on Tuesday. We got up in Antsirabe and did studies as normal. Then at about noon we loaded up in a car with the Pascaud's (a mission couple from france) and headed for Tana. That meant 4 1/2 hours of only French with a little bit of Italian mixed in. I thought I was going to die. Did I mention it was a little French car? Not very comfortable to sleep in. On the bright side though, I did get to brush up on my French!! I am still not very good at French... It was an interesting ride to say the least. When we got to the office my man Jules was there!! Jules is a member here in Tana who is deaf. He has developed his own version of sign language but, is trying very hard to learn ASL so that he can go to the temple. He skypes from the office to the ASL missionaries in Salt Lake, and they teach him ASL, but we translate it for him and help out when we can, so I have picked up a lot from him and help when I can. So that was a blast as always.

Wednesday we had a split and I was with Elder Allen, who has been here for about 2 months. I love working with young missionaries.

Thursday we had a split and I went with Elder Tainter, who is a baller. We had a way awesome day.
We were supposed to leave Thursday morning for Tamatave, but due to complications with flights, we ended up having to pick up Elder Mdletshe, the area seventy, from the airport at around 4 in the afternoon on Friday, at which point we started making our way to Tamatave. It's about a seven hour drive through the jungle, but it was way cool to just have that much time to talk to a Seventy about the work and the church and really just life in general. We stopped for the night and finally made it to Tamatave on Saturday about 30 minutes before Elder Mdletshe had to speak in District Conference. Most of Saturday was spent translating conference for President Foote, who met us in Tamatave, and Elder Mdletshe. Translating is a lot of fun but also kind of stressful. A lot of things don't really translate super well in to Malagasy, so we just kind of have to explain things as we go.

Sunday was great!!! It was another morning full of translating and talking with members and just all those sorts of things. We finished the day on a split with Elders Monson and Chounlamany. Elder Monson is about 4 months in to country right now and is training Elder Chounlamany, who is just over a month in country. It was a great day. I took Elder Monson and we hit the program and also found a couple of way awesome families to teach. It was just a great day all around.
So studies were a little weird this week but I am going to talk about a conversation that we had with Elder Mdletshe on the way to conference about the sacrament, and it kind of changed my perspective a little. As we all know, we are commanded to take the sacrament. It is indeed a commandment from God. By taking it we renew our covenants with him and are able to become clean. That makes it in to a continuous cleansing process. It is the only ordinance that we are able to repeat over and over again, and yet it is a saving ordinance. Without it, we can’t be cleansed from sin. That is why we are commanded to take it. If we decide that we won't go to church for a week or that we aren't worthy to take the sacrament, then we are placing other things ahead of the savior's atonement. It's like saying to the Messiah "Thanks for all you did for me, ya know suffering and dying and all, but I really need to work right now. Maybe next week." That's really direct and hard and all, but it's true. We need the sacrament. It becomes our job at that point to prepare throughout the week in any way that we can to be able to take the sacrament come sunday. Love you all so much, that's all I got this week,


Elder Jensen

Scripture of the week: Moroni 4:3 and 5:2