Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow....

So, when your Mission President tells you that this will most likely be your last week in the area you have spent 9 MONTHS laboring in, it makes for a pretty crazy week. :) Even though I am not 100% sure I am leaving yet, I decided to still make this the best week ever since it is about a 99% chance I am.
Monday: On Monday, it rained. All day. Wanna know whats near the top of my "things I love list?" Rain. Yep! I was in heaven! We got to do a little work before we headed to the library to email, so we went and saw Sister Costello. We just sat and visited with her for a little bit, and shared a message and then went on with our p-day.  I was kind of a little bum though cause I kept thinking about how it was most likely my last p-day. DON'T DO THAT FUTURE MISSIONARIES!!! After games at the church, we headed to the Christensens. We got some awesome home-made food and then got to play with the boys for a little bit. And I got to make mom noises to their 2 month old baby girl. It was perfect. :) After that we headed to the Arzanis so I could get a haircut. Sister Arzani was so ashamed of me... word to the wise... don't wait 6 months to get a haircut. Woo.
Tuesday: Sister Koboldt took us out to lunch today. She is just so cute! For some reason we always make her cry! Haha I think they are good tears though. :) Then of course we had our weekly bingo, which was awesome. No one yelled at me to call louder this week. TENDER MERCY! Then I had a really cool experience... we were at the Greens having a lesson with them and we had decided the night before to just read the Book of Mormon with them. Well, we started reading and the spirit told me so strongly that that was not what they needed. So I asked for their computer and I pulled up this video (https://www.lds.org/youth/video/our-true-identity?lang=eng). We just talked about how much Heavenly Father loved them, and it was truly what they needed to hear. Karma was in tears by the end of it. Folks... this is why I am grateful for the spirit. Because it was the the end of the month, we had tons of left over miles so we got to drive to the BOONIES to visit this less-active. She was actually home! It was my first time meeting her, so I know Heavenly Father had a hand in that.
Wednesday: We got a new investigator today! Her name is Judy and she is awesome. We actually found her last week, but neither Sister Cole or I felt good about extending her a baptismal invite. Luckily, our district leader understands that the spirit trumps all. :) But, we did invite her today! She is excited about baptism. Now, it is just getting her to church! I never knew before my mission that that would be such a hard thing to do. After meeting with her, we got to go do crafts. I was the "hot glue gun girl" as they liked to call me. We decorated these little fences... made me feel pretty crafty. Then we got to go do service for this non-member family in Van Meter. It was so fun!!!! We got to wipe down all the wood in their house for like 4 hours, cause the mom was starting chemo the next day. We honestly walked into their house and it was like we were instant friends. Here's the catch... We never would have found them if our Bishops wife didn't give us her number and told us to call her. MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK AT IT'S FINEST! Your help matters people. On our way home, we got an interesting phone call... Binky told us that she was pretty upset about the date we extended to her last time we were there. I took about the next 20 minutes and tried to talk her off the ledge. I asked her one question, and I knew what her problem was. I asked her if she had prayed and asked her Heavenly Father about that date and what he thought... she was silent for a moment and finally said, "no." Counseling with our Father in Heaven is so important! When we do that, He will bless us with clarity and comfort. That is something Binky will have to learn through her own experiences. Luckily though, she didn't drop us she just told us to give her a week. TENDER MERCY!
Thursday: Today was kind of a crazy day! After studies we headed to Kathys house and helped her paint for a couple hours. I don't know for sure that I am leaving, but I decided to tell Kathy that it was a possibility just to prepare her. She immediately broke into tears and basically broke my heart. I feel so very blessed to be able to serve in a place that is so close to home, because I was able to tell her that I will be back next year. What a blessing! Dang, I just love her. After we got cleaned up, (yes... Kathy had a paint war. With my clothes.) we headed to district lunch at Costco. Haha that made me a little trunky... District meeting was awesome! Sister Cole gave her first training and she did so good! It was a proud mama moment. :) We had  plans with Linda and Ann tonight so we headed there after district meeting. We got to talk to them for a while, and then headed home.
Friday: Today was a weird weekly planning session... because this week is transfers, we weren't able to plan for much. After planning, we headed to Winterset and helped this member who just moved into our ward move some furniture. She is a hoot! She had us laughing for hours! :) Then Sister Capps was so sweet and took us out. I LOVE THE MEMBERS HERE! We got to decorate Brother McCalls car with gum so he can quit smoking... Saint George Temple... here comes the McCall family!! I am so excited for them!!!!!! :)
Saturday: So Friday night we planned and had our whole day planned out. We were suppose to spend most of the day today doing service for this family in our ward. No joke... Friday night at like 10 we get a call that we can't go cause the Elders were going. Well, there went all our plans. Luckily, we spiritually winged it though. :) We helped the Prices with yard work for about an hour, (their mulch looks great!), and then headed to Kathys again. After that we headed to Earlham so that I could see some members there and get some pictures. Then we had another awesome lesson with the Greens! We taught about faith and used fire. Yea... it was pretty sweet. :)
Sunday: One of the best Sundays I have had in this ward. Testimony meeting was amazing! I started bawling in the first testimony, and I looked over at Sister Cole and she too was just sobbing. We looked like blabbering fools, but we don't care. Then in Relief Society, we had the most amazing lesson on visiting teaching. I just love this ward, in case you didn't know already. I don't think I have ever hugged so many people than I did at church on Sunday. Wooo. After church, we took some time to just go around and visit members. The Barbers invited us over for dinner, so that was fun. A good send off from them. Saying bye to them literally broke my heart, But... I'll be back. :) Then we headed out to the Erdmans to say bye to them. We got there and they were pickin ticks off their dogs and squishing them. Haha that's ma Erdman fam. :) Then we headed to Winterset to say bye to the Penners. I am just going to miss all these people so much!
Well, that was my (last) week here in good ole' Winterset Iowa. My love for this place began day 1 and has grown so much with each day. All the people that I have net here, and the experiences I have had have truly changed me for the better. I have no doubt that All that I have done here has truly helped me more then the people I have helped. I read a talk this week called "Waiting on the road to Damascus." (http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages/topics/jesus-christ?v=1452683656001) It talks about the story of Saul and Joseph Smith and how a lot of people believe that they need to have an experience like that to know that this is truly the Lords Kingdom. That was me before my mission. Growing up, I always heard people talk about their "big experience" of when they knew the church was true. For a long time, I was mad that I was not having a "Joseph Smith" experience. I was truly waiting on my road to Damascus. In this talk, President Uchtdorf counsels us to not spend too long on our road to Damascus and to do something to get going. Winterset was that thing for me. I will always have a special place in my heart for this area, because it was here that I had my ah-ha moment. I do not need an experience like Saul or Joseph Smith to know that this is true... it is the simple, little whisperings of the Spirit at different times that confirms to us and grows or testimony that this truly is the Lords kingdom. The Lord himself taught that we learn line upon line, precept on precept. Why wouldn't a testimony be the same? While here on my mission, I have truly come to know with a surety, without a doubt in my mind... that Jesus IS the Christ. That He performed a very perfect atonement for his imperfect people. I know that God the father lives and that He loves us with a love we cannot comprehend. I have felt glimpses of that love for his children here in Winterset on many occasions. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that he, by the grace and power of God, translated the Book of Mormon. He was the first prophet of this dispensation, and we are still led by a prophet today. I am grateful for all that I have learned in my 9 months as a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ. He has pushed me, led me, carried me, and let me fly and those are the moments I am eternally grateful for. 
I hope you all have a wonderful week. This weekend is mothers day and I just need to rant on my mom for a minute... She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She is kind, funny, brilliant, beautiful, a bit sassy sometimes, and truly just wonderful. Mom, happy mothers day. :) And that goes to all you other out there too! I pray that you may each feel of your divine role as a mother and truly feel of the ones you have touched so deeply. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!
-Sister Jensen
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa."
HAHAHA! We laughed for days about this one. :)
Our companionship in a picture. :)

Round-about cemetary? Sure.
Joan. She will be a member ONE DAY!!!!! :)

Beverly  :)

Ma Erdmans. :)
The Barber Clan!!! :)

The Johnsons! Basically the cutest family ever! If I could choose one baby in the ward to hold.. it would be Jameson. Cause he reminds me of my Zainers. :)
Sister Ratliff (sitting down), and Sister McVey!

Only in Earlham. :)
Brother McCalls car!!!!!! :)
Sister Capps and Quentin!

When you are serving in the town where John Wayne was born, ya gotta get a pic with his statue. :)
My dearest Linda and Ann. :)

The district. :)

Top row: Elder Deering (ZL), Elder Hoskins, Elder Garner, Elder Blackburn, Elder Aston (ZL), Elder Bolinder, Elder Dickson, Elder Dragon

Bottom row: Sister Cole, Elder Jensen (WOOT WOOT!), Elder Hollan (DL)