Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Great Week

This week was indeed great. We have seen some great things happening and a lot of really cool moments. Also, it was my last week of church here in tamatave. I am so very grateful for all of the cool people and places that I have met and seen here. Now for the weekly update.
So do you remember my guy Aristad and his wife? Well the week after I told you about him he went on vacation and wasn't planning on getting back until after I was long gone. I was very sad when we found that out. Then, on Tuesday I was going over the area with Elder Van Zyl, just making sure that he knew everyone and where they lived and all of that fun jazz, and we felt like we should go check on him. We hadn't been back in a couple of weeks, but we went by anyways. It turns out, he had just gotten home that same day. He had been trying to call us, but he had somehow typed our number in wrong to his phone. Anyways, he was super excited to see us, we were able to teach him, and he has agreed to get baptized!!
So I have been studying a lot this week about weaknesses and most especially about overcoming them. We all have weaknesses, some more than others and some bigger than others, but we all have them. For me personally, in my own prideful self, I have always been hesitant to admit to mine, and even more so to ask for help with them. I guess I have allways just assumed that I could figure it out on my own. This week I have learned that that's not the point. Our Heavenly Father doesn't give us weaknesses so that we can man up and power through them on our own. I love the way Paul explains it to the Corrinthians in 2 Corrinthians 12:

5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
The Lord gives us our infirmities (weaknesses) that we might be humble. There are weaknesses that we as mortals cannot overcome on our own. He has, however, promised us help. He has promised that if we will come unto him in our weaknesses he will make us strong, stronger than we could ever become on our own (Ether 12:27). Therefore I, like Paul, joy in my infirmities, for I know that when we are in our weakest moments, if we will lean on Him, He will make us strong. Strong enough to withstand any heartache, to weather every storm. I am so very thankful for The Savior and His grace in my life.
Love you all so much, so grateful for all of your support,
Elder Jensen
Scripture of the week: All those mentioned above.
Cool Panorama with Elder Van Zyl


Morning Beach Soccer Crew
Ocean Sunrise
Me and Mah Boy Elder Van Zyl

Zone Activities at Foul Pointe (That's a coconut)

Elder Ulrich, my MTC comp/current Zone Leader

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Life is Great


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 in to 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, mankind 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

Just Another Day in Paradise- July 24, 2017

Dear Family,

This week was great. A lot of our investigators have been going on vacation lately since their school just got out, and most of them won't be back until after I am home, but hey, that just gave us time to find even more cool people!!!

Some of my favorite people that we have found this week were Dino and Clemondine. They are siblings, Dino is 20 and Clemondine is 14. They are living here in Tamatave going to school, but their parents are about 100 kilometers away. They are both super smart, but they live in a really small house and are kind of just scraping by. Dino is actually in his second year of medical school. Like I said, really smart. We went to visit a less active bebe (bay bay) (grandma), and she wasn't home, but the neighbor's door was open so we went and talked to them and they let us right in! I guess Dino has been coming to our English class for a while now and even already has a book of Mormon that he's been reading, even though he has never taken the missionary lessons. They weren't able to come to church this week, but they have accepted to be baptized! They are progressing very well and I am super excited for them.

That's all I have to say this week, I'm kind of short on time, love you all so much,

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the Week: Ether 12:4

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Picture Overload!


Hello everyone,

This week has been just a little bit hectic to be honest. It was transfer week, which for me means a lot of meetings, a lot of driving people around, and mostly just not a lot of sleep. Living the good life. I'm sorry that my emails have been short lately but I've just been getting really lazy with it I guess. Today I will at least make sure I send pictures. 

So this week was, as I said, transfer week. Because it is so chaotic trying to get everyone moved around we didn't do any splits. We also didn't get a ton of time out working, but that's life I guess. Yesterday though I had the opportunity to go back with Elder Bassett and visit the Ambohimanarana branch for church, the branch that we worked in together. We were able to see Salim, the Muslim guy who's house we just walked right through, and also John, the guy we found drunk in the street. Both have since been baptized, and it was amazing to finally get to see them again. Love you all,

Elder Jensen
 
Scripture of the week: Mosiah 2:41
 Back with the Fam!
Elder Lake and I with the Mahajanga Elders 

 Road to Mahajanga
  Tena Cool Sail Boat
 The Legendary Mahajanga

 WE FOUND A SLUSHIE MACHINE!
A Wicked Nasty Spider on our Car!
 Beach Mahajanga
Beach Pano

Operation Smile 2


So, since I have already skyped home and talked to most of you, I am just going to use this week's email to talk a little more about operation smile. Operation Smile is a charity which provides free surgeries to those who were born with a cleft lip or palate. On Friday and Saturday, we screened 532 patients, meaning that we basically took down all their information and gave them a checkup to make sure that they qualified for surgery and did a basic diagnosis. Actually, the doctors did that part I just kind of took down information and translated for them. Saturday night the doctors stayed up all night going over the records and made a program for the week. Sunday was rough, we screened 532 but only had time to do 160 surgeries, which meant that some just couldn't be done.
We spent the day Sunday telling people whether they were getting surgery, which was rough because many more couldn't be done than could. The rest of the week was spent taking care of patients and such, and I even was able to watch a few surgeries. All in all, we were able to finish surgery for 166 patients. It was a really really great experience and I was so grateful for it. Love you all, that's it for the week,

Elder Jensen



Scripture of the week: D&C 18:10

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Operation Smile


So, this week has been great. I started it in Mahajanga where we left off last week. Then, on Thursday we spent 12 hours in a bus on our way back to Tana. Friday, we left with president for District Conference in Antsirabe. Antsirabe, if you all remember, is the city where I started my mission. Then President left us here for the week in order to help out with a project called Operation Smile. It's been a week of a lot of travels and a lot of translating, but it's been a lot of fun.

Operation Smile is a charity which brings in Plastic Surgeons to operate on people here with cleft lips and cleft palates. It started on Thursday, but we have been there working on it since Friday, and they still need us there now, so I'm going to leave it at that, but I will explain a lot more next week. Love you all,
 
Elder Jensen
 Scripture of the week: Mosiah 2:17 

MAHAJANGA


Dear everyone,

So, I started this week driving around missionaries who have been transferred early, which meant a lot of trips all around Tana, mostly in the middle of the night. Have I ever told how scary driving is in this country? Well when you drive at night you have about a 200% higher chance of getting stopped by the cops. They don't really have any reason to stop us, but they do anyways. Then they look through every piece of paperwork we have while I pretend to have no idea what he's saying (they don't speak English and we are really good at pretending we don't speak Malagasy). That language barrier is usually enough to frustrate them in to letting us go. They really have no reason to stop us, they are just looking for a bribe. If anything is wrong with the paperwork they just start asking for money and threatening to arrest us (which they also can't do), but they like to act all big and powerful. For the most part they are no problem though. I've only actually been close to being arrested once, and that was a long time ago. After all of the early transfers, we have been on the road a lot this week. I am currently in a place called Mahajanga. It is the northern most place in the mission. That also means that it is the hottest place in the mission and I am dying here right now. We are here going on splits with the elders and trying to help them boost their programs, also trying to sort out some things with the struggling branch, that sort of stuff. It has been a great couple of days out here and I am sad that it is coming to a close, but hey, there are more adventures ahead.

So this week in studies I have continued my study on repentance. Earlier in my mission I talked about a talk given by Brad Wilcox called "His Grace is Sufficient", which gives a very different spin to the final judgement, and through studies this week I have come to understand what he meant. You see the the atonement has 2 parts, the cleansing power and the enabling power. Christ suffered for our sins, and therefore we can be cleansed. However, through this same act he enables us to overcome our sins ourselves. That is repentance. It is us overcoming our sins. Our final end goal is to live with our Heavenly Father again in the Celestial kingdom, to become like Him. He won't force us, but we are enabled to choose that as we choose to repent and overcome our own sins, to become better people. If you spend lifetime in a dark room, an entire lifetime, before finally stepping in to the light, all it will be is blinding, and you will want to return to the dark. If we live our entire lives in the darkness of the world, being distracted by this and that, it won't work. We will come to the judgement bar at that last day, and the glory of Our Father will be blinding. I don't think it will be Him casting us away. Rather, it will be each of us asking for a glory that we are able to handle. Our loving Heavenly Father would never force us to be with Him, especially if it hurt us. Therefore, He created the other to Kingdoms as a place where we can dwell and be happy in spite of our love of the dark. One of the things that I have learned out here however, is that the greater joy is from the greater light. Let us all choose to change, repent, and turn unto the light.

Love you all so much,

Elder Jensen
Scripture of the week: Mormon 9:3-4

 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Splits


The editor of this blog had to find a picture of a rainstorm so that the blog would upload correctly. This picture was not taken in Madagascar. 
Dear Family,

This week was great as always. We had a lot of splits. Since there are 4 of us we spend most days with 2 elders in our area and then 2 of us spend the day with another companionship in another area, just doubling the work and trying to help them to build up a program. It has been going great so far, and we have an exciting couple of weeks ahead.

Tuesday was a great day, I got to spend it with Elder Leo. I don't know if you remember him, he was my first companion out in Tamatave, we served as zone leaders together. When he left, he whitewashed an area in Tana, and so we could get together again here now. The day went great, we tracted most of the day and found 5 new families for them to teach. One of the problems with splits is that we only really see people for the first day, and never really find out what happens afterwards, but it was great to be with Elder Leo again. 

So, every Thursday we make a 3-hour drive through the jungle to a place called Moramanga. It is a tiny little branch of about 40 people and there are currently no missionaries serving there, but the members worked so hard at finding referrals for us that once per week we go out there to teach. The road is narrow and winding up and down mountains and through the jungle, and I would say that there are more potholes then there are actual roads. So, driving home from Moramanga was my first experience behind the wheel since being a missionary. As you could assume I was a little rusty. So, we skipped town at around 4:30, a little later than we were supposed to. About an hour down the road it got very very dark. Then the rain hit. Now when I say rain I mean thick Madagascar rain that comes down in waves and threatens to wash you right off the road at every second. And then came the fog. At this point I could no longer see the road, and we had to simply follow the taillights of the guy ahead of us. I'm not going to sugar coat it, I have never been this scared while driving in my life. So, there we were, in the deep jungles of Madagascar feeling about as lost and insignificant as we could, when a very unexpected calm came over me. I can't really explain it. I felt that our Heavenly Father was there. I knew that He knew me, and that He loved me, and that he was ever so aware of 4 of His missionaries, even in the deepest corner of His world. Somehow, we made it back to Tana safely. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us. He took care of us that night. I know that He knows us, each of us, by name, and that He is pulling for us to make it always. I am so very grateful for all the experiences that I have had so far on my mission.
Love you all,

Elder Jensen

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lundi de Paque


So here in Madagascar, there is this holiday called Lundi de Paque. That's French for the Monday after Easter, and in Madagascar, they celebrate that. Because of that, pretty much everything in town is closed and so I don't really have a lot of time today, but here is a summary of my week.

So, Monday I rode down to Tana with President and Sister Foote. That was about an 8-hour drive through the winding jungle, not so fun, but it was still great because it was with President. On Tuesday, we picked up all the new missionaries coming in this transfer. There are 5 of them, all from South Africa, and they are doing great. They got all the paperwork taken care of for visas and such and then took them back to our house for the night. We spent the rest of the night delivering people around for transfers, and picking up the 5 new trainers. Most of Wednesday was spent in a training meeting for all the Trainers and trainees, and the best part of those is that Sister Foote cooks all the meals. I have almost forgotten how great a home cooked meal is. On Thursday, we drove out to a branch called Moramanga, which is about 3 hours outside of Tana. We work there on Thursdays. I have been slowly remembering how to drive, but I'm a little bit rusty. It doesn't help that there are really no traffic laws here in Madagascar, and the traffic is insane! My first time back on the roads was home from Moramanga on Thursday. Other than that, it was a pretty normal week.

Love you all so much,

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the week: JST Mark 3:22

Monday, April 10, 2017

Conference, Broken Toe and Transfers



Dear Everyone,

Yes I really did mean to put that as the subject and yes I know that I am a week late. Conference is just a little bit slower getting to Madagascar, so we finally got to watch it this weekend. As for the broken toe, don't worry it wasn't mine. And the final news of the day, I've been transferred!!
So first off conference was great as always. I loved all of the talks that were given. I think some of my favorites were the ones by President Nelson, Elder Choi, and also Elder Sabin. I think that the thing that impressed me the most about conference was all of the talks about the family, and how a family has to work together and help each other so that we can all receive eternal life, and I guess that I finally just realized how much that the family really is central to our success. That was just one of many things, but conference all together was amazing.
Now for the broken toe. Due to a tragic accident involving a falling chain in our home, Elder Koncurat broke his toe on Tuesday. He broke it pretty bad too. We spent the day at the hospital getting x-rays and checkups and such, only to find that he is going to need surgery. Well, surgeries cannot be done here in Madagascar according to church policy, and since he only had one transfer left, on Thursday Elder Koncurat was put on a plane and is now in America. We were pretty sad to see him go, but I guess sometimes life just comes up fast. 
So we thought that because Elder Koncurat had to leave that I would be staying in Tamatave. Well, we were sorely mistaken. On Friday I got a call from President Foote saying that I was moving back to Tana. I will now be working in the Anjanahary ward. That's right, my first ward of my whole mission! I am way excited to get there and get started. I am actually here in Tana now. 
All in all, it's been a pretty great week. That's all I got for now, love you all.

Elder Jensen

Close Call




Dear everyone,

Life is still great on the other side of the world. After a very long and stressful couple of days, Clovis and Jaqueline's papers finally came in at the last possible second and they were able to get baptized on Saturday, that was a great day.

So Tuesday we already had their baptismal interviews, which they both passed. Then all that was left was to wait for the papers to arrive. They were sent from Toliara last Thursday, so we were in for a nailbiter. Thursday night, very late, a full week after they were sent, the papers finally made it here to Tamatave. That made for a frantic Friday morning of trying to put them all together and make it work out, only to find that one was missing. All of this work and we were still missing a paper. Then somehow, almost miraculously, we found in their old cupboards a diferent paper that had the same effect when we got to town hall. It all worked out and we were finally able to get them married on Saturday morning before being baptized on Saturday afternoon. Baptizing Clovis was interesting because he is as tall as I am and the water was only just above knee deep, but we made it work. I love this family so much. They have been learning since before I got here and wanted so badly to be baptized but thought it would never happen, just because of all of the problems, but the Lord always finds a way.

So in my studies this week I looked a little bit in to self mastery as a part of repentance. It is a very hard part of repentance. Some old habits are very very hard to kick. I really like the scripture of Mosiah 3:19, it's one of my favorites. As it says, we must be able to put off the natural man if we are ever going to be able to return to our father in heaven. That means having enough self control to be able to change and put off the natural man.

Love you all,

Elder Jensen

Monday, March 27, 2017

Progress- March 20, 2017



Dear everyone,
This week was great. Jean Yves and Christian were able to get baptized and the service went very well. The spirit was great and their testimonies afterwards were awesome. We are now looking forward to Clovis and Jaqueline's marriage this week and hopefully at least 5 more baptisms next week.
I would say that the highlight of this week was definitely the baptisms. The service went great and pretty much without any problems. One of the speakers didn't show up so Elder Koncurat got to improvise a talk about Baptism, but he did a great job. Then, after church on Sunday we went over to Jean Yves' house to teach him and his brothers. He was really, really excited. We asked how he felt when he received the Holy Ghost and he gave an awesome answer. It doesn't really translate into English so I'm not going to tell you exactly what he said, but just trust me that it was good. Anyways, his younger brother and also his cousin have been coming to church with him for a couple of weeks, and we commited them to be baptized on April 15, just under a month away. They both accepted and Orellien, the younger brother, even said that he wants Jean Yves to perform the baptism! He will have received the Aaronic priesthood at that point, and we are way excited for that service to come! In other news, we are now only missing 1 paper for Clovis and Jaqueline's marriage, which means that they should be able to catch their goal for being baptized on April 1st!! In other news, I had a big first this week! For the first time in my mission, we were able to clearly teach all of the first three missionary lessons at in one lesson. That's the restoration, the plan of salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ all at once. We had a lesson with Allen, the son of Modeste and Soazara, who are recent converts. Allen is 18 years old and learned from the missionaries with his parents last year, but due to some questions he had that were left unanswered he still hasn't been baptized. We had a great first meeting with him and are excited to see him start to progress well soon. We are way excited for the things to come and the direction that the work is headed in here in Andranomadio.
So this week in studies I read and looked more in to repentance, and more specifically a deeper understanding of why we need to repent. I studied a lot in to the fall of adam and also some in the encounter that Moses had with our Heavenly Father in Moses 1. I actually did learn some great things. With the fall of Adam, man became estranged from Him. We ended up in a fallen, carnal state (see 2 Nephi 9). Then we go to Moses 1, where moses is taken up and sees the whole world, and he then speaks with Heavenly Father. When it was over, it took Moses several hours to recover at which point he said "Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." He has come to understand the insignificance of man when compared to all that God is and has. Then Satan shows up to tempt Moses.
12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
14 For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?
At this point we see the diference between God and Satan. Satan has no glory. Heavenly Father's glory is so great that if we look with our natural eyes, in this carnal state in which we now live, we really can't look at all. For this cause must we repent. We have to overcome temptation and sin and become saints as it says in mosiah 3:19. This is the only way that we can return to him. His whole work and his glory is to bring us back, but that is a path we have to choose for ourselves, and the only way we can do that is through repentance. This is why repentance should be a happy thing. We should want to change so that we can return to him. Love you all so much, hope that makes sense because it makes sense in my head,
Elder Jensen
Scripture of the Week: Mosiah 3:19

Life is Good- March 27, 2017

Dear everybody,
I don't really know how many times I have used that same subject for my emails, but I guess it never ceases to be true. Life is still good.
This week went great. Clovis and Jaqueline's papers are complete. They are currently on the way here from Toliear, and they should be here on Thursday. We just hope that we can push them through the government fast enough to get them baptized on S
aturday
. I really really hope that it works out, and so do they. They might be one of my favorite families that I have taught. They come to church every week rain or shine and are just the greatest people ever. Everyone else is doing great as well. Donne is on his way back from the middle of nowhere but he's not going to be back in time for Saturday, hopefully in another 2 weeks. We actually have a lot of people who should be ready in 2 weeks time. Things are going great here in Andranomadio!
So this week my big repentance study shifted to focus on what it takes to repent. Over and over again in the scriptures we are asked to bring a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That means humility. Ezra Taft Benson once said that Pride is the greatest stumbling block of Zion. It is rooted in competition. The thing that we have to remember is that there is no such thing as rightious pride. It is allways a bad thing. It means pitting our own will against others or maybe even our Heavenly Father's. In this way, we are unable to repent because we are unable to accept the faults that are in ourselves. It's something that I have been trying to work on a lot lately, I think it's something we all struggle with from time to time. Anyways, love you all, that's all I got.
Elder Jensen
Scripture of the Week: Acts 20:19-21

Monday, March 13, 2017

CYCLONE- March 13, 2017




So this week was... exciting to say the least. Last Monday night I got a surprise call from the one and only President Foote. He informed me that they would be unable to have a zone conference with us in Tamatave because his flight had been cancelled. In fact, all flights had been cancelled due to the incoming CYCLONE!!! We were a little bit nervous to hear about that one for sure. We filled up all of the pure water bottles we could find and first thing Tuesday morning ran to buy food and supplies enough to hunker down for a couple of days. We were put under strict orders to not leave the house until we were sure the storm had passed. After 2 long days stuck in the house with no power or water and a lot of phone calls to other missionaries in the zone as well as constant updates to President Foote, the storm finally passed. We finally made it back out to work on Thursday. I was actually very, very impressed with how well that all of the buildings held up in the face of a storm like that. Most of the damage that was done has already been repaired and things are slowly getting back to normal. The actual brunt of the storm hit just north of us here in Tamatave, so we havn't had it near as bad as some others. On the brighter side, Donne is coming home!! Do you remember how I said he had to go away for a while for work? Well that work was building a bridge up north. The cyclone destroyed all of their tools and most of what they had finished is now under deep water, and so he will be on the first boat back here to Tamatave! I guess sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways.

In other news, do you remember Jean Yves? Well he has officially passed his baptismal interview and is getting baptized on this coming Saturday! He and Christian, who is also a stud, but I don't know if I have told you about him yet. He is doing great as well. Clovis and Jacqueline have talked to some people and pulled some strings and we think that they should have a very good chance of catching April 1st. I just pray that I will still be around at that point. Anyways, that's all I've got for the week. 

Love you all so much,

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the Week: 3rd Nephi 5:13