Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks

Sister Jensen's Mission President has asked that all letters and packages sent between now and Christmas be sent directly to the missionaries as it creates a back up of mail at the mission home. So...just for the next month, please send any correspondence to:

Sister Gabrielle Jensen
c/o The Price Family
2169 148th St.
Winterset, IA  50273

Now...on to Sister Jensen's letter.... :) 

What a week... definitely a lot slower than the past couple weeks.. Just gotta start of course by giving a shout out to my now TWO year old nephew! :) My Zainers turned 2 on Saturday, and I seriously cannot believe it. It feels like I was just holding him for the first time yesterday. He has been such a light in my life. I remember the first time I did hold him... I just sat and smiled. And cried. And then cried some more. I didn't understand how I could love this little boy so much right from the beginning... he has truly given me so much joy from the moment he was born. He is a sassy, funny, and crazy kid but that is why I love him so much. Please give him and extra squeeze from his Aunt Gabby when you see him (even if he tries to push you off... which he probably will.) :) Anyways, here is my week in a nutshell:
Monday: Because of transfers this week, Monday was not my p-day which was so weird! Not sure I liked it..we are used to kind of relaxing on Monday so we had a hard time gettin work done. Haha We were able  to go see Beverly Clark. She is about 86 years old and was baptized about a year ago. She is a champ! She lives in the Assisted Living home that we do service at so we visit her about twice a week. We usually just share a scripture and then leave, but today we decided to just listen to her. We found out that she really remembers nothing about what she was taught. That was so sad, but it was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had when I was able to testify of the Plan of Salvation to her and to see her eyes light up when she realized she could be with her family forever. I am so grateful for His plan, and for the opportunity that I have to tell people about it for the next 15 months. That night we were invited to have dinner with the Thomas family. Their house is HUGE!!! We chickened out and didn't ask for a tour... we totally regret that. Haha It was fun though! They have a son on a mission in California so we just talked a lot about that and it was great. To top the whole day off, I totally stepped in deer poop on our way back to the car. Haha our car still smells....
Tuesday: Kind of a weird day... the Elders in our ward invited us to go to breakfast with them and some of the ladies that work at the library in Adel. Most awkward breakfast of my life!! Haha we talked about dinosaurs the whole time. It was quite interesting... we did get a free breakfast though so we weren't complanin. :) After that, we headed into Winterset for some Bingo. WOOO! It was hard not to fall asleep, but I made it. No worries. We went and tried to see one of our investigators but she wasn't home. Again. We haven't seen her now for 3 weeks. I am about to lose my cool people. Kidding, I'm not. But, it is frustrating. We were suppose to have a lesson with a referral that night but she called last minute and cancelled so we ended up going to the McCall's who were baptized in June. They are awesome! We had a great lesson on the restoration. They are just fun! 
Wednesday: Finally... p-day. But, Heavenly Father likes to humble us so the day didn't quite go as planned... we started doing our wash in the morning and the Prices washer flooded... again! That is the third time! Haha so we ended up having to bring all of our clothes to a members house here in Winterset! That took a long time, no napping today. Haha After we did all that and bought groceries we headed home to write a couple letters and then headed out! We decided to meet up with our district at the mall because apparently they had little baby wolves and bears that you could hold for free. Of course, we all were like heck to the yes. Yea... psych. It's not free and ya can't hold em. I was super sad. After that we decided that mall was totally lame so we all headed over to the Jordan Creek mall and just walked around. We were suppose to meet with the   Canovas that night, but all of their kids were sick so Brother Canova took us all out to dinner. We were totally sad though because it was a going away party... the Canovas have officially moved to Wisconsin. It really is so sad... the Canovas were awesome! I'll just have to "facebook" em when I get home. :) That night, we decided to drop by and see Joey cause it had been a while. He just is not doing good... I have not seen him at church once since I have been here and its been 13 weeks. He is stressin us out. We will just need to work extra hard with him and help him remember why he was baptized.
Thursday: The cold officially came today! It actually rained ice... haha. Yea it sounds as fun as it was. We were just a slippin and a slidin everywhere! It took us forever to get anywhere so we weren't able to do a lot. We were able to see the Greens though! They are doing okay. It is so hard to see all of them and get them all together. We are still hopeful for Dec.14th for them all. I am just grateful we believe in a God of miracles. That night we drove to West Des Moines to have dinner with a member. She took us out and we just sat and laughed... it was just fun. :)
Friday: VERY slow day! The roads were still very icy so we weren't able to get around very well. We had time to do weekly planning, get into town and do Mormon.org time, and then head to our dinner appt. It
was with the Forbes and it was awesome like always! They are so smart so I love going to their house cause I learn sooo much. And she is a good cook. :)
Saturday: CRAZY DAY! I was kind of off my game cause I was just thinkin about my Zainers and Sister Barker was not feeling well at all. She ended up staying in bed till about 11 so our whole day was thrown off.
She eventually got a priesthood blessing from Brother Price and our Bishop and felt much better after that. I just have to say that since being on my mission, I appreciate the Priesthood so much more now. I am really beginning to understand it better and the role that I play in the priesthood. It is a marvelous thing. It just reminds me of the man that I want to marry. One that will always be worthy to uphold his Priesthood. Anyways, she got the blessing and felt better so we headed out. Because of transfers, we had district meeting today so we drove to the church and we got to meet the new Raccoon River Elders! Elder May and Elder Whiting! They are just fresh out of the MTC little 18 year olds. Haha we are trying not to scare them too much... ;) It was our "get to know you" district meeting today so we played a fun game! Afterwards, we stuck around the church for a bit and did some studies and then the Sisters in our Zone came and picked us up and we went to dinner together. Then of course... since we are girls... we walked to Scratch Cupcakes and got some chocolate. :) Then we headed over to the Stake Center for the Adult Session of Stake Conference. It was amazing! The speakers were totally inspired and it was just great. The topic was missionary work so it was fun to hear all the things the speakers had to say. It was just crazy though... the amount of adults that were there from the stake was like the amount of people in just my ward. Sometimes I still just get hit sometimes with "You aren't in Utah anymore Sister Jensen." It's weird... They did have us do something very cool though. The closing song was "Go Forth with Faith" and they had all us missionaries go up on the stand. Then they had the RM's sing the first verse, everyone sing the second. and then just us missionaries sing the third. It was so powerful and definitely a moment I will never forget.
Sunday: We got to drive to the Stake Center again for the Sunday session on Stake Conference. It was just as great as yesterday! It was fun to talk with all the missionaries in my Stake after cause we don't see each other very much. After, Bishop Arzani had invited us over to eat lunch with his family so we headed there. The Arzanis are just so great! They truly just love us so much and it means a lot. They had their son and his family over too and it was so fun cause they have a daughter entering the Provo MTC in 2 weeks. It was awesome to talk with her and give her all of our advice. She is going to be serving in Brazil and that is actually where her dad served as well so he of course just told us all his horror stories of getting gunned down and giant spiders. She was super excited to go after that. Haha Dads. :) That night, we went into Winterset to see Deloris cause it had been quite a few days. It was completely inspired cause she was having a really hard time. She had some crazy things happen this week and she just really needed us. We just prayed and read the Book of Mormon with her and it was amazing to see how much her countenance changed. The Book of Mormon is truly powerful and Heavenly Father blesses us when we read it. We went home early and watched some PMG videos. Good day.
Well folks, that was my week. Super exciting right?? Haha :) I hope you all have some wonderful plans for Thanksgiving this week! I do, but I will save the details for next weeks letter. :) In the spirit of the season I wanted to share with you a a passage on gratitude from the True to the Faith book:

"Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. We should regularly express our gratitude to God for the blessings He gives us and to others for the kind acts they do for us. The Lord has promised, “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious” (D&C 78:19). Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful. We should be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are ours and for the tremendous opportunities we have. We can be thankful to our parents, family, friends, and teachers. We should express appreciation to everyone who has assisted us in any way.We should thank our Heavenly Father for His goodness to us by acknowledging His hand in all things, thanking Him for all that He gives us, keeping His commandments, and serving others. We should especially thank Him for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, for the Savior's great example, for His teachings, for
His outreaching hand to lift and help, for His infinite Atonement."

I know that was long, but I just love it. It reminds me that expressing gratitude is a blessing. Sure, it may take time and your prayers will be longer, but you will be blessed. As a missionary, I feel like I am learning about gratitude. I am recognizing more and more the Lords hand in my life everyday and I just want to give thanks
because of how it is changing me. I want to invite you all to really focus on gratitude this week. Not only gratitude to your Heavenly Father, but to your spouse, your children, your parents, your family, your friends, your teachers. All these people around you are precious gifts from your Heavenly Father. Kneel down and thank Him. He is good and he will continue to bless us. I am grateful for each and every one of you. Each of you has been an example in some way to me and you have helped me get to where I am. I am grateful for this Gospel. Looking back on my life, there were times when I really didn't understand what I had so I just overlooked it. This gospel means everything to me now. It has brought me here to Iowa for 18 months to serve my God and King. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for the growing testimony I have of it and of the power that is found in reading it. I am grateful for a companion who loves me despite all my weirdness. I am grateful for a mom who is my best friend. I am grateful for a dad who took me on dates every month. I am grateful for a sister who is an example to me of the mom I want to be one day. I am grateful for a future brother in law who teases me every chance he gets. I am grateful for nephews who have helped me learn pure love. I am grateful for a brother who is preparing to serve a mission and who is an
example to me. I am grateful for my testimony. Without my testimony I would be no where. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is VERY aware of me. Most of all, I am grateful for Jesus Christ. He is
my rock and my Redeemer. He is my Savior. He is my Friend. He is my strength. He is my everything. I know that this was long, but I hope it inspired you in some way to just be grateful. I love you very much and I pray for you everyday.
I hope you have a marvelous week!!
-Sister Jensen
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa.
Awkward bathroom pic is a MUST. :)

Sister Missionaries Girls Night is the best!