Monday, December 19, 2016

🎶I'll skype home for Christmas, you can count on me 🎵

Holy cow, Oregon has infinitely more snow than Grenoble right now... 还没下雪

We've had a crazy week! (And so have you, from the sound of it) Taught some good lessons and the highlight was Multi-Zone Conference in Lyon on Thursday. We had a visit from Elder and Sister Sabin of the Europe Area Presidency and it was soooo good. Their talks were really fast-paced and jumped around a bit, but everything that was said was exactly what I needed to hear. I was really captivated and took a ton of notes! Tell you more about it when I skype this Sunday for Christmas ;)

Grenoble is going to be baptizing a bunch next week, just so you know. Shoot some prayers this way to make sure all the amis will be ready and be able to resist those last minute temptations that Satan loves to throw at them!

Also instead of whatever Disney movie we wanted to watch on Christmas this year, President said we could watch Finding Dory once during the Christmas season. Joanna (Chinese recent convert) was visiting Grenoble today so we and the other Elders watched it with her at the church. SO GOOD and so feelsy. We almost cried. Maybe that's just because we haven't seen a movie in a year....

I'd like to finish with a short message about Christ (the Reason for the Season, as you know), borrowed from the Book of Mormon.

"And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye--for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words." (2 Nephi 33:10-11)

Christmas is the time for giving, and I'm so grateful for the gift of the Book of Mormon. I love He Bible and the Book of Mormon, as they are both the words of Christ. I know that this is true! As you read and pray about them, you can come to know that as well, and you'll be ever so grateful you did :)
Joyeux Noël everyone! See you when I see you :) 
☃️⚜️🇨🇳🇺🇸🇫🇷🇨🇦🇲🇨🇨🇭


Elder Jensen
江长老

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bare tretten dager igjen til Julen kommer til Blåfjell 🇳🇴🎄🏔

No avoiding it people, I'm old. I passed my 18 month mark a couple
days ago and all the sisters I entered the MTC with are either already
home or heading that way this week. I'm so glad I'm serving 2 years
though because I'm nowhere near experienced enough to be a "returned
missionary!" I still have so many memories left to make and so much
work to do, I don't know how the sisters cram it all into a year and a
half.

Last week was pretty cool, Tuesday night it was freezing cold outside
but we talked to a super cool guy who was out jogging, he has family
in Montreal and listened to the whole message of the Restoration!
Lemme tell you, speaking French bien comme il faut is really difficult
when your face is so cold it feels like it's going to fall off. In the
end he wasn't interested, but he took a card so maybe we'll see him
again. Right after that we went and got poutine again! We went with
the non-member son of the old Italian member, some of his friends, and
a couple JA (jeunes adultes), both of whom served missions in
Montreal. Had a great time, got to talk about what it's like to be on
a mission, why we're here, and talk about temples! :)

Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I acknowledged it.
That night we went with a member to try and visit a less active
Chinese family, but they didn't answer. We left a note in their
mailbox and some gifts on the gate and a lot of prayer in our hearts.
Part two of this story is that Elder Alvarenga was able to get ahold
of them when we were doing calls yesterday. He did a great job
testifying in a blend of French and Chinese, but to little avail. God
has a plan for them!

This next week we'll have a conference with Elder Sabin from the
Seventy and we've been challenged to teach as many lessons in the
presence of a member as possible before that time. It's been going
really well! This past week we managed to have all our lessons be in
the presence, the members here are so willing to help and they help so
much with encouraging our amis. Definitely going to keep this up the
rest of my mission, it works soooo much better! The last lesson we
taught this past week was because we went out contacting with a member
and found this really cool girl, we shared with her the Eclairez Le
Monde video and had a good discussion.

One of the greatest things about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is its
simplicity! Just know that God exists. He loves you and wants you to
be happy. Life can be hard, but don't stop going to church, reading
the scriptures, and regularly praying and everything will be fine.
It's true it's true it's true I promise! Don't forget that, you'll be
sooo much happier!

Love you! Que Dieu vous bénisse!

Elder Jensen
江长老

Poutine

Proverb in a little chocolate truc


video
Chinese-speaking JA and one of our favorite members, 
we hung out with him on p-day

Monday, December 5, 2016

More pictures & videos





We saw a Hummer!

The Paris Temple President was driving us to his house in the
mountains and I saw some Christmas cheer.

Us doing 12 weeks


I burned the rice today (dishonor on my family) so I put it out on the
windowsill to smoke for a while. It's actually still there.

video
Self-explanatory


video
Also self-explanatory




"What if"s are for fools

For a couple reasons: when referring to the past, "what if" does no good because le passé est passé. When talking about the future, you have to be careful because saying "what if" might actually make it come true. For example, transfers! We made a lot of jokes about Elder Eberhard going to Corse (Corsica) but we never actually meant it. Lo and behold he's been shipped off to Ajaccio, which is indeed on Corsica. Lucky duck with his Corsican Christmas, but he was honestly so sad to leave Grenoble, he loved it here because it's the best.

Yes we're staying :) my 6th time staying at least two transfers with a companion! How do you like that. Elder Alvarenga and I are here for another six weeks with the rock-solid members, beautiful mountains, and frigid temperatures (though mysterious lack of snow...). I hope you've all been able to go on Mormon.org and get started becoming more Christlike this Christmas season! If not, go there right now and Éclairez le Monde!

This past week, it was December 1st and the focus was on helping bear other people's burdens. Thus, we found ourselves helping the Harding family empty out their apartment in preparation for their move back to the States. They went back yesterday morning, church wasn't the same without them :( oh well, Brother Harding told us to keep in touch so it's not the last I've seen of them!

Saturday I was on exchange with Elder Mason. He's a SoCal boy and really good at French, especially for his third transfer. He's also staying, so we get another transfer together in the apartment eating spicy pasta every day (Elder Alvarenga's favorite, he loves sriracha).

We got transfer calls at the home of an older Italian member (the one who knows Elder Alvarenga's family) who lives up in the mountains, we were doing service for him and it was freezing cold. He had a bunch of angels and swords and paintings (that he painted) in his house and he cooks like a pro. His food was so so so good. His son hasn't been baptized, so we shared a spiritual thought with them and found out that the son is so nice and so cool, so we're planning to go get poutine with him and some other bros this week :)

Remember everyone: Jesus loves you! Our Heavenly Father loves you! No matter how fallen you think you might be, before you were born you chose to come here and learn and grow. Despite all your imperfections, God knows you're worth saving :) that's why Christ came down and paid the price for your sins. He didn't do it for fun, that's for sure. He did it for you! Trust Him :)

Thanksgiving dinner

Us over Grenoble

Artsy shot

江长老

Monday, November 28, 2016

Le Grand Remerciement

We were trying to figure out how to say "Thanksgiving" in French and I came up with "le Grand Remerciement" which literally means "The Big Thanks." My companion, a native French speaker, pointed out that the real name is "Action de Grâces," but I liked mine better so I kept using it.

On Tuesday we were in Lyon for Zone Conference, it was fun. We all got to watch the #LightTheWorld/ÉclairezLeMonde/光照世人 video together for the first time, it was so so so so good. And still is, in fact. That's why we've been running around sharing it with members and soon people on the street as well :) also both districts in our zone had to create a skit to perform after conference, so we (Grenoble, Valence, and Chambéry) did our own version of "Silent Night." We turned the lights off, came on stage in pajamas and carrying pillows and blankets, and silently laid down for a good night's rest. It was so hard to keep a straight face (read: I didn't keep a straight face). We just laid there until the other district and President and Sœur Brown started clapping, but we didn't react so they stopped. Then it got awkward, but we just kept laying there. Finally after a few minutes they actually started singing Silent Night, so we took that as our cue and got up. It was dumb, but pretty good considering we'd come up with the idea the night before and hadn't even told the whole district what we were doing until about 20 minutes before show time.

We had interviews with President after that, that's always a good time. He's amazing, and it's been so cool to see him progress and become more confident as our Mission President since he only arrived in France a month before I did!

Wednesday we taught our best ami about tithing. We expected it to be a little tricky, but it actually went pretty well! Yay for blessings. Our second lesson with him this week didn't go as well, but not necessarily too bad either. Nothing a little faith won't fix :)

Thursday was Thanksgiving! It took us a little while to realize it, and we didn't really even celebrate much. We did have a long conversation with a homeless guy though, and eventually gave him a Book of Mormon because Elder Alvarenga has no fear.

Friday was Thanksgiving Day for us, simply because all six of us missionaries went to dinner with two American families! We were at the home of the other Grenoble Elders' ami and his family, who are (believe it or not) from Utah! Not born and raised, but they lived there for quite a while before coming here to France about 4 months ago. He's been an ami for 10 years O.o the Hardings (Joseph Smith and clan) were there too. We grilled hamburgers and had chicken and ham and stuff since France only believes in having turkey on Christmas. It was a good night :)

Saturday all six of us (again) went to the bishop's house for lunch. It was cool, there were a bunch of people there including the bishop's brother who currently lives in New Caledonia and their father who is an 88 year old rather deaf Italian man. When he's in a hurry though, he can actually run! It was an incredible sight. That night we saw our ami from Wednesday again and then went straight over to a recent convert's place. He's from Ghana and was baptized in the Philippines last year and now he's studying business in Grenoble. Makes sense. Super cool guy.

On Sunday there was a special ward lunch after church for the Harding family and another American family who are both moving back to the States this week. It's sad to see them go, but the Lord needs them elsewhere!

My thought for you this week is simply this: pray. Pray too much. You never know what might happen, whether in the world around you or in yourself.

Love you!
江长老

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pics: Museum, sunrise, and the Hardings


A Local Museum

Incredible sunrise this morning (#nofilter)

The Hardings - aka Joseph Smith and his family

Joseph Smith made me pancakes

Hello hello hello hello hello

This week has been a week. It has been a good week. We have done
things this week. They were things that missionaries do. Some things
were things that everybody do too. Missionaries have good lives :)

Monday night we had Soirée Familiale (FHE), it was fun.

Tuesday: started out kinda slow, but we had a lesson with our awesome
awesome ami! In about a month of being taught, he's almost finished
with the Alma in the Book of Mormon. He's committed! He knows he'll
receive an answer through sincere study and prayer, and he's very
willing to acknowledge that it's the Lord's timing that counts. He's
incredible. That night we had dinner (raclette, so good) with a family
in the ward. Their dad is Portuguese which I didn't know until that
night, I always just thought he was French and had served a mission in
Portugal or something. He speaks Portuguese, French, and English, The
Mom speaks English, French, apparently some Italian and German, and
their sons speak perfect English and one of them also speaks Spanish
and Chinese (he served a mission in Montreal and ended up serving a
year in Chinese, 6 months in Spanish, and 6 months in French. Crazy).
Awesome family.

Howeverrrrrrrr since we went to their house which was really far away
we all took the train back and my collègue had forgotten his carte
jeune (gets young people like us half price on train tickets) so when
the controller came to check his ticket he got slapped with a fine of
35 €uros. To get it reimbursed we went to the gare the next morning
with his carte jeune, but we'd been fed some misinformation and ended
up running around Grenoble and wasting a lot of time and being sent to
several different official people to help us and it was a big fiasco.
Train travel in France is great! Just don't forget your carte jeune.

I don't remember what we did for the rest of that day.

Thursday we taught our amie the Rétablissement (Restoration) with yet
another one of our incredible members and it went well. More about her
later.

Friday I was on exchange! I was with Elder Eberhard, our fearless
district leader whom I hadn't spoken to in 9 transfers by the time I
arrived in Grenoble. He's awesome, really really great guy and super
good at presenting in district meeting, despite it being his first
time as DL. We had one tombez-vous (Our lessons fell through) and then
a really good lesson, actually with the same member whom we had taught
with the day before. At night we had Ward Council which went really
well, I'm so so so so glad to be in a ward with such amazing members.

Saturday we did Weekly Planning, it was good. We did other stuff too I
guess....?

Sunday was a really really good day! We had two amis at church (the
two that we taught this week since neither of them were working this
Sunday) and it went super well, we were able to teach both of them
after church and it was cool, although the second one was laughing and
joking a lot during the lesson and it was hard to keep her focused. Ça
vaaaaaaaa

After that lesson, the really cool member who helped us teach (who is
an undercover cop by the way and has such awesome stories) drove us to
the home of yet another amazing member family. The dad of this family
is our Elders' Quorum President and just happens to be the guy that
played young Joseph Smith in The Restoration. No joke. He's told us
before what that experience was like and last night he and his wife
and we all told a bunch of mission stories and his family is adorable
and amazing and ahhhhhh. So awesome. Oh yeah and they fed us pancakes
:D

For the past month, there's been a challenge in the mission to testify
of the Apostasy and subsequent Restoration every day to your companion
in your mission language. Elder Alvarenga and I have only missed one
day and it's been great to see not only how our capacity to speak
Chinese has grown, but also the depth of our testimonies. Testifying
of it more means thinking about it more, and that makes us more ready
to receive revelation as to its truthfulness, leading to an even
stronger testimony. Genius, huh? Try it! This week, take 5 minutes a
day to think about a principle or doctrine of the Gospel and try to
figure out what it means for you in your life. You'll see connections
and blessings you never knew were there, I promise :) love you all!
我爱你们!Je vous aime tous!

Elder Jensen
江长老