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
. 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

Baptisms- March 4, 2017

Dear everybody,

I think that the title there is pretty much my favorite word at the moment. On Saturday Dolin, Claudia and Arthina were finally able to get baptized. They are Clovis and Jaqueline's kids by the way. The baptismal service went way well too, other than the 45-minute wait for the white baptismal clothes. Even that was ok though, it gave more time for people to show up. We had a combined baptism with a bunch of other missionaries and so there were 12 total baptisms. Clovis and Jaqueline were also able to attend! After the service, the 1st counselor of the district presidency came up to them and asked them why they weren't baptized with the kids. It turns out, he has a son who lives in Toliear where all the papers are and he is going to get all of the things we need! We are hoping that it will all be done in time for them to be baptized on April 1st, but they might even catch March 18th!

On to my next story of the day, and that would be my friend Jean Yves. He is a 20-year-old kid and is just a total stud. Elder Leo and I tracked in to his house on like my first week here in Tamatave and he has been learning ever since. It was a really cool experience teaching them for the first time. When we started the first lesson, I asked if he had ever seen our church before. Yeah it's right here he said as he pulled out his Book of Mormon. He had never learned from the missionaries before, his dad just brought him the book one day, a few months ago and he has been reading it ever since. He has now prepared and is hopefully going to be able to be baptized on March 18, hopefully with Clovis and Jaqueline. I love that guy.

So I read a scripture the other day in 2nd Nephi 9 about purity, and it hit me pretty hard. You see, to be clean and to be pure is not the same thing. If something is pure, that means that it is completely clean through and through, there is no bad left. When we are baptized, I think we are made clean. All of our sins are washed away. Us being human however, we're still going to sin. Our goal here on earth is to become pure, which happens through repentance and renewing that baptismal covenant. We have to change and become better and better until we are completely pure, like our heavenly father is. It's sure a long way away, but through the Atonement of Christ it is made possible. Anyways, that's my thought for the week.
Love you everybody,

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the week: 2 Nephi 9:14

Just Another Week in Paradise- February 27, 2017

Dear Family,

This week was a very eventful one. I woke up last Monday with a bit of a headache, which progressively just got worse and worse until I was feeling really crappy. I took a nap and it escalated pretty quick. I don't think I have ever been so sick as I was those couple of days, I was completely out until Friday, when we finally got back out to work. It was a brutal couple of days though to be honest. But, I'm better now and we are all good again.

Another thing that happened this week, TRANSFERS!!!! So we had ours a little bit early. I got a call on Thursday from the APs for transfers. My new companion is Elder Koncurat, who is from Maryland. He is already with me now, Elder Leo left yesterday and things are pretty much back to normal now.

In other news, BAPTISMS COMING UP!!!! We should be having 3 this weekend. A couple of weeks ago, we were teaching Clovis and Jaqueline, and we talked again about baptism. They all really, really want to be baptized, the only problem is that they are not married. The kids really really don't want to wait though. We placed March 4th as a hard-baptismal date and told them that we would push for that, but if the parents weren't married yet at that point, at least the kids could get done. We then got into contact with some friends in high places and are currently working out a way to get ahold of their papers without having to go clear to Toliear, 2 days away. It doesn't currently look like we are going to be able to pull of the marriage in time, so the kids will be baptized this week and the parents here in a week or two, just as soon as all the papers get here. Either way, we are way excited.

So, this week for studies I spent some time looking at a talk by Elder Richard G. Scott called The Transforming Power of Faith And Character. It talks all about how our acts of faith are what build our character. Now, I don't mean the really big trials or temptations that we have in our lives. If we wait until that point we are too late. We build our faith and character through all of the little things that we do each day. Example, praying morning and night, reading the scriptures daily, consistently trying to be honest in all we do. All these little things are what add up to build our faith and our character. Elder Scott said:

"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming."

I love that quote. All of life is about choices. Who we are is just the sum of all that we do. In that sense, we become the person that we be by constantly striving each day to be who we want to become. I know that with a sincere effort, we can become not only who we want to be, but the kind of people that our Heavenly Father knows we can become. Love you all so much,

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the Week: the talk... The Transforming Power Of Faith And Character, by Elder Richard G. Scott

Progress- February 20, 2017

Dear Family,

This week has been great. We had some great progress come through and a lot of investigators who are just doing great.

So this week we had some really clutch moments and a lot of things lining up really well for a bunch of baptisms in march! We are finally getting close to Clovis and Jaqueline's marriage. They are the ones from Toliara, which is about a 2 days ride from here, all the way on the other side of the country. All their paperwork is still there, and that has been the problem. We finally found the solution though! We have been working with a member who works with the government and she is getting it all handled. Now we just pray that it will all be in time for their baptism on March 4! Also, Donne and Mihary are still doing great.

This week with studies I have done a little bit of research on ol' Joseph Smith. I can't wait to get home and just have so many more resources to use to find out about this great man. I just love how much The Lord prepared him line upon line, precept upon precept, until we are ready to complete the work that he has for us here. I know that He has a plan for each of us and that if we can just trust him, he can make a lot more out of us than we can out of ourselves. Love you all,

Elder Jensen

Scripture of the Week: Joseph Smith- History 1:25