Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mighty Miracles and Frozen Noses

HOLY GUACAMOLE. I think the title of this post explains our week in a nutshell. SO many amazing things have happened, all while it was below zero outside. :) Yep. Welcome to Iowa. :) Okay, so before I go any further I need to send a shoutout to one of my favorite nephews... My little (big) Zaine turned 3 on Sunday. SO WEIRD. I remember very vividly the first time I held my little guy. Tears of joy. Literally. I remember my Dad looking at me and saying, "Gabs, why are you crying so hard?" )(Haha its an Auntie thing Dad. :)) I loved my Zainers from the moment I first met him. He is seriously a beacon of light in my life. Everyone give him and extra squeeze for me! Okay... now on to the week...
Monday: It was a pretty regular p-day. We decided to do some work during the day when it was a little bit warmer so we could be inside when the cold night hit. Totally inspired because this less active that we have been trying to meet with for weeks finally let us in. Then we got to go see Joshua. He is just awesome. :) After we got home, he called us to check if we were still alive. Apparently right after we left, his grandma told him it was -20 degrees outside and all the weather channels were saying that someone would get frostbite in about 10 minutes of being exposed. Well, we walked home which was like 30 minutes away and both of us had all body parts. Tender Mercy of the Lord? You better believe it.
Tuesday: Oh my goodness it was just a crazy day! Haha lots of people to visit and so little time. I felt like we were literally running all day. Those days are fun though. :) The best part of the day though was after dinner with the Higgs.... WE FINALLY GOT TO MEET ALISON'S FAMILY. They hadn't been super open with meeting with us, but we figured that Alison was getting baptized the next day and we NEEDED to meet them. It went great! We were able to have just a big testimony meeting, and share with them a little bit of the message of the Restoration. They seemed actually pretty excited for the baptism. It was awesome! Alison is such a good missionary. :)
Wednesday: ALISON GOT BAPTIZED TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a miracle! She was literally beaming. The entire night. It was a really awesome baptism. Kind of crazy though... Haha Bishop Campbell called like 10 minutes before the baptism was supposed to start saying he was sick and couldn't make it. Uhhhhh.... no presiding authority=no baptism. So... we stalled for about 40 minutes until one of Bishops counselors got there. I have a few extra gray hairs from that experience. :) It really was amazing though. I feel very blessed that I was able to be apart of this with her. Her testimony is truly inspiring! Plus, her family was able to come and you better believe they were touched by the Spirit! I love this church. :) After the baptism, we had a ward potluck dinner and it was fun to just be able to all get together and celebrate. Great night!
Thursday: We got to have interviews with President and Sister Jensen today. I love those two!  You know you have been on your mission too long when President actually lets you have input for your own transfers... Haha weird.  In my interview with Sister Jensen, she started crying when I told her I go home in 3 months which then made me start crying so it was just a big cry fest. It's a good thing she gives her contact info to the missionaries when we leave! :) That night we had dinner with the Wards and it was so fun! They are so awesome. Hahaha in the middle of dinner, Sister Ward literally started screaming because they had a bat in their house.. For the next 20 minutes, Brother Ward tried to catch it with a shoe and a box. So hilarious. 
Friday: Tonight we got to have dinner with Sister Maughan (Bro. Maughan was working) and it was awesome! I love that lady! She is so funny, and she made us Cafe Rio. I mean... cmon. We had the coolest conversation though... at Stake Conference last week, Elder Schwitzer talked about how each one of us has movies, books, TV shows that we like where we say, "Well, there is that one part, but everything else is good and clean!" Yep. A certain media just popped into your head didn't it? Well... we talked about that with Sister Maughan. She talked about how her and Brother M came home and mentally went through all the TV shows and movies they liked and realized how many they needed to cut out because of that comment. WE CANNOT RATIONALIZE EVEN A LITTLE BIT OF SIN! I made me think of the verses in Luke 14:25-33. Look it up. Okay. Everyone hold on to your seats because I am going to share with you a humongous miracle. So... in my interview with President Jensen yesterday, he asked me about Pam and I told him she was doing good and had a date for December 20. Well... he basically told me we needed to move her date up. WOAH. So we saw her tonight with Sister Higgs and basically told her that when she is done smoking, she can be baptized exactly 2 weeks later. She said she would be done of Sunday. Well... when we got home that night we called President and updated him a little. Guys.... he approved Pam to keep the word of Wisdom for 11 days so she can be baptized the day before transfers. PAM IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON DECEMBER 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are still in shock a little. We called her after we got off the phone with President and told her if she would stop smoking right there and then that she could be baptized in 11 days. She didn't even hesitate... she immediately said, "Kay, I am done. I'm throwing my cigarettes away right now." That is pure faith right there people. Just pray that she passes her interview tomorrow! :)
Saturday: I got to chill with Sister Rogers all morning and watch basketball. No joke. Haha our zone and another zone got to help out at the Iowa Games and so from 7-1, we got to watch and score a bunch of basketball games. Talk about being spoiled. Both Sister Rogers and I were pretty sports trunky... haha. It was way fun though! Plus, I got a free t-shirt. WOO! We saw Pam later that day and Joshua again. It was a good day. :)
Sunday: Pretty awesome Sunday. I MISSED THE SACRAMENT SO MUCH! There was totally a difference in me this week because I didn't take the sacrament last week due to stake conference. People. The Sacrament seriously works. If you don't believe me, just go read the 700 talks about it from the last General Conference.
I am just so happy. With Thanksgiving being this week... I have so much to be grateful for. The Gospel, the Godhead, my family, my little black badge, the scriptures, all my mission companions, my testimony, our investigators and recent converts.... I literally could go on forever but I will spare you the hurt eyes. Being grateful is a commandment, and one I am grateful for. :) Please take some time this week to give a prayer of thanks to your Father in Heaven and those around you. I love you all very much and I pray that you may have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!
-Sister Jensen
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa."
SUCH a great day. :)

Alison and Tyler. :) (And Elder Kinikini being Elder Kinikini in the background.)

Just being the best basketball scorers you have ever met.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A New Truck, SNOW and Wise Men...Whadda Week!

It has been quite the adventurous week here in Boone, IA. I love weeks like that. :) I'll try to collect my thoughts as much as I can...
Monday: Pretty regular p-day, but we did get to have lunch with Sister Anders. She is a doll! Seriously the sweetest lady ever. She is my little Argentinian friend. :) Plus, she makes BOMB chili.
Tuesday: We had the truck this week, and we utilized it today. Uhmmmm.... 150 miles later. That is what happens when you live in the boonies and only get the truck every other week. :) We had service in Ogden and then we decided to visit Sister Slawson. She technically lives in another ward, but comes to ours. She seriously lives FOREVER away. But, it was worth it. We got to have lunch with her and then we shared the Restoration movie. It worked out well. We had made a goal this week to contact every less active on our side, so we decided to try each one on the way back to Boone. SUCH A MIRACLE! We were able to meet some that have not seen missionaries in years and although they didn't want us to teach them, at least they know who we are. :) Tender mercy. Also, I literally drove on the road that takes you to Winterset. Happy day. Also, it snowed today for the first time. And when I say it snowed... I mean it snowed. IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!
Wednesday: Well. It snowed all day again. Pure bliss. :) It was a pretty normal day just full of awesome mormon.org time, dropped lessons, hot chocolate, and coordination. Plus, the Wards surprisingly took us out to dinner. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. They are awesome!
Thursday: We did quite a bit of service today which was awesome. I got to clean a little girls room and pick up all their toys. Did I sit there and play with the cool ones? You betcha. We were planning on doing weekly planning today, but when we came home to do it, the spirit pretty strongly told me to ask Sister Samford if she was okay cause she seemed off. We spent the next 2 hours crying and talking about the Atonement. It was a really cool experience... It is at those times that I am so grateful for the spirit and for His perfect promptings. I see so much of myself in Sister Samford in the fact that a lot of the things that she is struggling with, were things I struggled with at the beginning of my mission. It makes me so incredibly grateful for the Atonement and for the missionary it had helped me become, and that I am now able to share what I have learned with my sweet companion. The Gospel is so true.
Friday: Such a good day. I got to go home today. Well... to Des Moines at least. :) It felt so good to be back and a little crazy at the same time. We had a mission tour today with Elder Cardon of the Seventy and it was totally awesome! He is a very wise man. (Please go and look up his two talks. They are awesome!) He shared a lot with us, and really inspired us. I also, got to see so many people that I love. Doesn't get better than that. Oh... and we were also sent home with a brand spankin new truck. It literally had 7 miles on it. I'm still a little freaked out to drive it cause it is so nice, but it is working out well. :) Oh and fun fact... I AM 15 MONTHS OLD TODAY. Uh... how did that happen? No idea. Did I sing the Taylor Swift song all day long? Absolutely. That seriously freaks me out... I have learned a lot in these last 15 months and I am excited to see how the Lord will continue to stretch me these last 3 months. :)
Saturday: Super crazy day! We got to go to a baptism today for a girl in Ames. It was a pretty special thing actually cause she was one I taught when I was on exchanges in Ames. :) I LOVE BAPTISMS!!!! Plus, Alison got to come. (Oh and hello... Alison is getting baptized in 3 days. What-e-who-tee-what-e? We are stoked.) After that we headed to Walmart because a kid who is doing his Eagle-Scout project asked us to pass out fliers for the coat drive there. Yes it was snowing and yes, hot hands were our best friends. :) After that we headed back to Ames for Stake Conference. IT WAS SO GOOD! Elder Schwitzer of the Seventy came and he is just hilarious. Both he and his wife spoke, and they pretty much had the congregation in tears. SO funny.... yet so spiritual. I love that. :)
Sunday: Back to Ames again for the last session of Stake Conference. It was way good! We got to sing in the choir, Elder Schwitzer spoke again, and I received revelation. The best. After wards, I got to receive a blessing from Elder Woolley, one of my Zone Leaders. 2 things:
1. I am super grateful for the Priesthood. Seriously. I just sat there as they had their hands on my head and could not help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for the Priesthood power. We are so blessed!
2. The last time I received a blessing from Elder Woolley was the last night in the MTC. It was very cool to see how much he has grown and matured on his mission. It just made me excited to one day marry a return missionary and hopefully send my children on missions because so many blessings and growth come into your life through that sacrifice.
We also got to see Pam tonight. She is doing so good, and she now has a baptismal date of December 20. WOOOHOOOOOO!!! We are excited. Just praying really hard that the Lord will soften her husbands heart... according to His will of course. :)
Whew. What a week. Seriously. So many good things came our way and I thank my Father in Heaven so much for those things. One key thing I have learned on my mission is that humility and gratitude are key in this mortal journey.
I just want to share a very eye-opening experience with you this week. It is something that hit me very hard... We had driven to Des Moines with some of the Sisters serving in Ames and Sister Johansson had gotten permission to stop in Waukee and visit one of her investigators. Waukee is literally 15 minutes from Winterset. I wanted to so badly just ask if we could stop by some peoples houses that I missed so I could say hi for a minute, but I knew that I had not gotten permission. That hurt, because I knew we were SO CLOSE to all those people that changed my life forever. As we drove back to Boone, I couldn't help but relate that to Judgement day. I thought about all the people who during that time, will still reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They still will not understand how it could bless them. They will know someone though, someone they love dearly, who will have embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ completely. That person of course, will be blessed to reside in the Celestial Kingdom. For that person who did not accept the message, they will be so close to that same glory, but they chose not to get permission to enter. They will not be able to reside with those they love.
I don't even know if that made sense... but I hope it did. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and that I have a knowledge and understanding of everything that I need to do in order to walk back to the presence of my Father in Heaven and my Savior. I am grateful that I am a worthy Temple Recommend holder. I am grateful that I am a worthy Representative of Christ. I am just grateful to have the Gospel in my life and to know that I am on the straight and narrow path that leads to Exaltation. This is the hope that Mormon talks about in Moroni 7:41. It is the hope that can carry you through anything. I promise you that.
I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week!
-Sister Jensen
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa."
So... we were just driving through Ogden (one of our towns) and I see this sign. PEOPLE!! I was standing 29 miles from the Raccoon River ward (my first area) boundaries. Yes. I freaked out a little.

...conquer the world.... or just Boone, IA for now. :)
My Swedish Roots! Oh the towns you find in Iowa. :)
Pretty typical picture. :)
Left to right: Rogers, Zendaas, Rasmussen, me, Ramsey, Barker, Barney
Ma girl Sister Rasmussen. This is our relationship in a picture... Sister Jensen does something weird and Sister Rasmussen just looks in horror cause she can't believe she knows me. :)
My mamma is going home in 3 weeks... way to weird.
Mission tour with Elder Cardon. :)

It was a must.
Father is Heaven spoils us way too much here in Boone...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Lord Is My Light

Not going to lie... this has been a rough week for me here in Boone. SATAN SUCKS. Seriously though. Now with that being said... no one worry. I am not having a "end of mission" crisis. Sometimes... you just have some bad weeks. It happens. I have learned to be grateful for those though because those are the times I feel the Saviors love and grace the most. I look back on last week and wonder how I got through it because each day felt like 10000 years long. I think the only way to describe how I am still smiling today comes through a hymn... "The Lord is my Light." (https://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/the-lord-is-my-light?lang=eng) He is my strength. It's as simple as that.
Monday: Pretty chill p-day... We did some goodwill shopping and some service and then had dinner with the Lauritsens and walked home. Super exciting stuff!
Tuesday: We were able to pick up some extra weekly service last week so this morning we got to go to the Assisted Living place her in Boone and paint nails and play Dice Bowling. Totally fun! We get to work in the memory care unit so I got to hear a lot of repeated stories. My favorite. :) The rest of the day was pretty slow... There were two highlights though... 1. WE GOT A NEW INVESTIGATOR!!! Her name is Pam. She is awesome. She was all ready to be baptized last year (had her interview and everything) and then her husband changed his mind and wouldn't let her. She already knows the church is true and just needs some encouragement to keep going. We promised her that if she would prepare for baptism again and stop smoking, that the Lord would do his part in softening her husbands heart. Pretty cool promise! 2. I received pretty clear revelation last week that I am here in Boone specifically for Sister Samford. So we got to talk about that today... I told her about why I felt I was here and she agreed so we spent the next 2 hours talking about how we are going to please the Lord in our companionship. Super cool experience! She opened up to me more than she has in the last 3 weeks combined, and we were able to set some goals for the rest of the transfer. I LOVE THE SPIRIT! I am just so grateful that the Lord trusts me to be her companion, especially her "Polisher." :)
Wednesday: Every Wednesday, we get to go to the Birthplace of Mamie Eisenhower (that is Boone's claim to fame) and do service for a couple hours. The girl has been out of town, so I got to do it for the first time. It was way fun! The rest of the day was pretty slow.... With the cold weather coming, the town is really just dying down. We had coordination and then helped with a ward project for a kid in the ward who is doing his eagle scout project.
Thursday: I think that I experienced the MOST awkward District Meeting in the history of District Meetings today. Haha with only three companionships in our district, it gets pretty quiet sometimes. It felt like all of us were having an off day cause we were just silent. The Spirit was there though, so that is all that matters. :) Totally awesome things happened today though... ALISON PASSED HER BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW TODAY!!!!! I am so excited and happy for her. She is doing so well. She is getting pretty pumped... especially cause her baptism is in 2 weeks. I feel very blessed to be a part of this journey with her. We got to have dinner with the Tall Johnsons tonight. THEY ARE AWESOME! They are a super cute newlywed couple and absolutely hilarious. They made us laugh the whole time and gave us WAY more marriage advice than we could ever want. Hahah yep.
Friday: We just did weekly planning today and then some finding. We got to have a girls night with a different Sister Johnson and Sister Peterson. They took us to the Mexican restaurant here in town and it was just really fun. Sister Johnson served a mission in New Zealand and Sister Peterson has a son serving in Provo so we got to talk all about missions. My favorite topic. :) After that we stopped by Joshua's and just read the Book of Mormon with him. And prank called the Elders. Sometimes you just need to act like a teenager again. :)
Saturday: Pretty long day today... Sister Samford and I really came to understand the pioneer children song first hand. We walked... and walked... and walked. And then walked some more. And we even tried to sing... The highlight of today was that I got a package from my Mom that totally made me smile. I don't know how she does it, but she always seem to send me mail and it gets to me on hard days. I love the Spirit.
Sunday: We had the MOST INCREDIBLE lesson with Alison and the tall Johnsons after church today. very neat experience... she is so ready to be baptized it's insane. 10 more days! :):) I have to give a shout out to one of my favorite people on the earth. My Mom. Today was her birthday. :) Folks... in case you didn't know.... I have the best Mom in the world. Seriously... this lady is incredible. She is funny, smart, totally adorable, and full of so much love. I am so blessed.... Mom, I LOVE YOU. :)
Well. There is my week.... The video I want to share this week is one I absolutely love. Even the title touches me... "Hope ya know... we had a hard time." I have prayed so much this last week, and it is something that helped me more than anything. I have learned to not just expect help. We are commanded to call upon God for the things that we need. When we pray to our Father In Heaven in humility, understanding that we CANNOT make it through this life with joy without Him and His son Jesus Christ, we are blessed. I know that to be true. PLEASE watch this video and then kneel down before your Father and plead for his help... for whatever you may need at this time. He WILL listen, and He WILL respond.
I love each of you very much. Thank you for being such great examples in my life. I pray that each of you has a wonderful, grace-filled week!
-Sister Jensen
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa."

"Lets get down to business... to defeat... the cold... (and Satan.)"
Its hard to tell but my right (left in the pic) pinky swelled up to about 3x the size of my left. Spider- 1 Sister Jensen- 0
So... my camera broke at transfers 3 weeks ago and my awesome brother Taylor donated his to my cause.  REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD!
So the Elders called us this afternoon and asked if we could help them with something... Yes. They found a couch on the side of the road and wanted to keep it. And yes... Elder Baxter is creepin in the background. And yes... we like to ride in style here in Boone. :)
Thank you for the heads up Open Bible Church.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sister Pumpkin Thrower

What a week here in Boone! I feel like I blinked and all the sudden we are 11 months into 2014. SUPER CRAZY! November brings with it so many wonderful things.. candy hangovers, falling leaves, Christmas music (why yes... I did listen to David Archuleta and MoTab Christmas CD all week. :) ), and lots of sweaters. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! Seriously... this is my favorite time of the year. Especially as a missionary. People just seem nicer around Thanksgiving and Christmas. :) It was a good week though. There was so much to do and I feel like we just didn't have time to do it all.
Tuesday: On the weeks when we have the car, we drive to Ogden (Yes... our mission touches Utah. Kidding!) and we get to do service at an Assisted Living place there. Today we played Kickball. With a GIANT exercise ball. I got way to into it. When you start hitting old people in the face, ya know you need to calm down. After that we visited a less active member in Pilot Mound and then had lunch and emailed. We got to teach Alison at the Ballard's house tonight! The lesson went really amazing. The Ballard's had just put their kids to bed so the Spirit was really able to fill the room. At the end of the lesson, they fed us some cake of course and Brother Ballard went into the basement to look for something in his mission box. He came up with a laminated leaf from the Sacred Grove. He said he had been saving it all these years for someone. He didn't know who though... he gave it to Alison. It was just a really tender moment and it took me back to my experience in the Sacred Grove. :)
Wednesday: Just lots of visiting today... I think the craziest part of day came after coordination. Haha so us and the Elders decided to stay for mutual... bad choice #1. Well the activity was carving pumpkins. So all four of us were just standing around looking at the pumpkins. Then all the sudden I hear my name. It was Brother Johnson telling me to catch the pumpkin. So he proceeded to throw one at me. Well, he wanted me to throw it to one of the kids sitting across the room. My inner softball player came out at that moment. Pumpkin= launched. Bad choice #2. SMACK!!! Hit a 12 year old young women right in the head. IT WAS HORRIBLE!!! Haha luckily it was a pretty small pumpkin but still. I shall forever be known as Sister Pumpkin Thrower in the Boone ward. It's fine.
Thursday: We got to spend most of the morning doing service for Sister Lauritsen. I love that Woman! She is definitely one person that I was specifically sent to Boone to meet. I feel like she is like my literal Sister already. Plus she let us make snacks and goodie bags for her daughter's school party. CRAFT OVERLOAD. I loved it. I felt like I was Pinterest-ing again. :) In Iowa, they have something called Beggars night, so we had to be in by 6 tonight unless we were with a member. So we ended up spending the night at the Wards with the Elders and Joshua (recent convert) eating Pizza and watching "Prophet of the Restoration." It was awesome. :)
Friday: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! It was such a good day. We had a Zone training meeting today which was super amazing! We got a training from the STLs, APs, and ZLs. It was awesome! I really love my zone. :) Plus, to celebrate Halloween we all went to lunch at Texas Roadhouse. I WAS IN HEAVEN!!! Seriously though. Want to know the hot topic at the Table? Pumpkin throwing. Perfect. When we got back to Boone, we spent the night at the Higgs carving pumpkins, scaring kids, eating way too much candy, and just laughing. It was the perfect night. :)
Saturday: Because of all the time we lost with Halloween, we worked our butts off today! Which is always good. :) We did some service and just saw a lot of people. We also topped the day off with Jambalaya at the Ward's with the Elders.
Sunday: I was strugglin today... I was so exhausted. Haha...good thing I guess. Church was awesome! We met with Alison again and we have some big news... her baptism will now be on the 19th! It actually works way better because the ward was planning a big Thanksgiving pot luck that night so she can get baptized and then we can all celebrate. That means her baptism is 16 days away!! SO CRAZY!!! We are so excited. :)
It was a really great week!
I want to share with you a little bit of what we learned about at our zone training meeting. The Assistants gave a very powerful training that really touched me... They talked about how as missionaries sometimes we get caught up in trying to convince people to join the church. Kind of like a "our church is better than yours" kind of thing. I think the same goes for most members of the church. But they reminded us to really think about the Doctrine of Christ.
Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to end.
These are the ONLY way to return to our Heavenly Father. Every person who walks by you on the street WILL not live in the Celestial Kingdom unless they accept the Doctrine of Christ. We are the ONLY church on the earth who has the complete doctrine of Christ. I am not explaining it very well, but this hit me really hard. I think this video helps in what I am trying to explain...
2 Nephi 9:23
23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.'
I love you all and am so grateful for each of you. Thank you for all you love and support.
-Sister Jensen
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa."
*Tag line is officially back. :)
This is what mutual activities the teens of Boone like to do. "Pin the scar on Harry" anyone?
This is how real missionaries do their hair...so people can recognize us from the front AND the back.
It was a good Halloween! Thank you Mom and Mandy and Gavin! :)
I got really into it....

Killer Missionary? I think yes.
Halloween with the Higgs. :) These people are incredible! Sister Higgs reminds me so much of my Grandma Cookie so I love spending time with her. She is the Relief Society president and also does our laundry for us every week!