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

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 


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