Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Settling In

Well. I would just like to start out by saying this was the longest week of my mission so far. SOOOO LONG! Sister Barker said it was for her as well. It just seemed to go on forever! I felt like I haven't emailed home in weeks! Time is so crazy on the mission...
I have just one shout out this week, but it's a pretty important one. This one goes out to my amazing brother Taylor. He submitted his mission papers and should be getting his call this week or next I think. How awesome is that?? My mom wrote that in her letter, and my heart just rejoiced! A little selfish thought came to mind too... I get to serve a mission at the same time as my brother. How blessed are we Tay?? :) He is an amazing example to me and Tay, I know that this will be one of the greatest things you will ever do. I always say this... but a mission is hard. really hard, but it is worth it. Make sure you all give him a hug for me when you see him and tell him I am proud of him!
Time for my usual week in a nutshell:
Monday: Monday is always good. I get to talk to my family, do my wash, take a nap, and play air hockey. So, life is usually pretty sweet. We switched it up a little this week though and got haircuts! Our sweet Bishop's wife has a salon in her house and does free missionary haircuts. Haha it was awesome. She even washed it and mom, you know how much I love that. :)
Tuesday: If I had to pick a day on my mission where there were so many ups and downs.. today would be that day. It started out fantastic with a trainers meeting with President and Sister Jensen and the AP's. They gave some awesome instruction and really just got us pumped up to get out and work. Afterwards we went to lunch and of course, it was Chipotle again. Haha I have an addiction people. No shame. That was when my homesickness hit me. I have been feeling so much better these last couple weeks and this week for some reason was just hard. Especially Tuesday. Of course though, we still had to go out and work. Well, because I have a loving Heavenly Father who loves to humble me, we found a new investigator. Our first one in 3 weeks! We are blessed here in Iowa! I also got a package from my mom that night. I just have to say that all moms are great, but I am pretty sure mine is the best. She always seems to know when to send letters and packages so they arrive just at the right time. :) There was one thing I heard on Tuesday that really stuck out to me, and something I really want to apply to everyday. YOMO. You're only a missionary once. YOMO!
Wednesday:  Very slow day. Nothing too exciting. But, I heard a quote that I wanted to share. "We don't know who is on the other side of that door, but the Lord does." Cool right??
Thursday: Every Thursday is district meeting which is always great! For reals, the best Elders are in my district. We can laugh hysterically together and then also have some amazing spiritual experiences together. Since I was still feeling homesick, I asked my district leader Elder Leavitt for a blessing. It was awesome because one of my zone leaders Elder Maughn, and then Elder Van Woerkam (AP) particaipated in it. How cool is that?? Definitely a blessing I will never forget. On fun thing was that this week it is homecoming at the high school in Winterset. Well, this is such a small town that everyone and their dog gets involved in high school stuff. So Thursday night literally everyone in town got toilet papered by somebody....including us! Haha the house was destroyed by toilet paper! Even our car! It was so fun, even though we had to maintain the dignity of our calling and not participate. Haha it took some restraint people. I just remembered my glory days of toilet papering the Burr family... life was good. :)
Friday: Slow day... again. The town was just dead cause people were getting ready for the big game that night! Our dinner appointment fell through so a sister in our ward was so darling and took us out to eat at Panda Express. Aren't our ward members awesome?!? When we got back to town, the game had started so there was literally NO ONE around. Haha we kind of just walked around aimlessly. We could hear the drums from miles away. So sweet! I also got a letter from my Uncle Kyle that night. Thank you so much Kyle for the amazing talk! I read it and just love it.
Saturday: Lots of ups and downs today. One of our investigators who we thought was doing so well, asked us to not contact her for a while. My heart was literally crushed. She said she just needed some time to figure out if this was what she wanted. Missionary work is so great and at times so heart breaking at others. Gotta find a balance I guess. Because it was kind of a rough morning, Frostees for lunch again. Haha I am pretty sure they know us by name there. Once again, no shame. :) That night we got to watch the General Relief Society Broadcast meeting. How amazing was that?!?! The messages that were shared inspired me so deeply. And just seeing the choir full of missionaries was overwhelming. Every once in a while it just hits me that I am a missionary. It's cool. :) If you didn't watch the broadcast.. DO! So uplifting and inspiring! This was also the day I received the letter from my mom telling me Taylor had submitted his papers. Lets just say, it was a great night. :)
Sunday: Fast Sundays are always fantastic! Especially in my ward! The testimonies that people share are just incredible! I used quite a couple tissues during that sacrament meeting. Shocker, I know. We also were asked to work in the nursery for second hour. What a hard thing to do when you can't hold children! Haha Sister Barker and I didn't quite know what to do. Quite the experience. Since it is the end of the month, we were running a little low on miles so we ended up doing our studies at the pavilion by our church. Haha we got some weird looks for sure. We always just seem to laugh a little louder and smile a little bigger when people who are not members walk by... I wonder why... ;) We had dinner a little early since we were starving. The family who had us join them is just darling! They are an older couple who are taking care of their 5 year old granddaughter. Dinner was exceptionally good! I guess though on fast Sunday, it usually is. Haha! On our way home, we stopped at our neighbors house. They are a wonderful family! They are not members of the church but we stop by about once a week to just say hi. They aren't quite ready to hear our lessons yet, so we are just going to love and friendship them into the church. Great plan I know!
Well, exciting week right?? We have better plans for this week so hopefully I will have more to tell you next Monday. Man, I miss all of you! I am so blessed to have a family that loves and supports me in all that I do. Heavenly Father must love me a lot because he sent me to be apart of the best family ever! Just know that I am constantly praying for you all! Remember to always thank your Father in Heaven for the things that you are privileged to have. Remember to thank him for the hard times as well. That sounds weird I know, but he is giving you the chance to draw nearer to him and to your Savior. What a blessing! I love you all and am so grateful for each and every one of you! 
-Sister Jensen
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa."
First day wearin the rain coat. I absolutely love the rain so it was awesome! Luckily, we had a store in town that had a good sale. That is the court house behind me. Gorgeous right??

How I like to do weekly planning. I like to keep things fresh here in Iowa. :)

Our pet bird Oscar came and stayed with us again this week. We love him. :) Haha there is a couple in our ward and whenever they go out of town, the Price family birdsits for them. We love it.

The wise words from our panda excursion. They are taped to our car dashboard so we never forget them. :)

Me and Sister Barker with the AP's (assistants to the President) Elder Saunders (right) and Elder Van Woerkam (left). Elder Van Woerkam actually goes home in 2 weeks which is super weird. They are both just amazing people and missionaries!