Monday, April 6, 2015

叫喚書到了! It's finally here!

Dear Elder Jensen,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the France Lyon Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Mandarin Chinese language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.

You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president. As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized.

The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place our confidence in you and pray that the Lord will help you become an effective missionary.

You will be set apart as a missionary by your stake president. Please send your written acceptance promptly, endorsed by your bishop.

                                                          Thomas S. Monson    

   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   

So there's my call folks! I'm going on my mission! I opened my call here at BYU-Hawai'i on March 7th 2015, precisely 127 months to the day from the day I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you watch the video of me opening my call (psstt click here), you'll see that I read the call from the bottom up so I'd see the language first. That was partially because I love foreign languages, but partially because I was about 60% sure that I would get called to speak Mandarin. During my first two semesters of college I've been taking Mandarin classes and had some experiences such that I didn't expect per se that I would be speaking Chinese, but I knew it wouldn't shock me. So of course, I was elated when I read "in the Mandarin Chinese language," but not blown away from surprise. The real shocker was when I read the top part of the call, the part everyone wanted to hear. I had heard of Chinese-speaking missionaries in France my first semester of college and thought to myself, "Wow, wouldn't that be just perfect??" (side note: to those who aren't aware, I studied French at school every year from 7th-12th grade) However, I quickly put the thought out of my mind because it was such a specific thing to hope for and I didn't want to be disappointed. In the weeks leading up to my call arriving, I thought I was seeing signs in my life pointing to Taiwan, in particular the Taipei Mission (see my next post for more detail about that). Therefore, when I read on my call that I'd be speaking Chinese I thought, "well there we go, it really is Taiwan." But no! The Lord saw fit to give me something I'd never dared hope for, and now more than ever I have no doubt that the Lord loves me more than I'll ever know.

I'm SUPER excited to be following in the footsteps of my faithful family! People like my Grandpa (who served in Florida), my dad (Florida Jacksonville Mission), my older brother (Australia Brisbane Mission), my older sister (Belgium/Netherlands Mission), and many others have all been great examples to me as I've been growing up and preparing for this experience, though I didn't always realize it. Merci beaucoup!

"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"
   Ephesians 3:8-

I know without a doubt that this is the right thing for me to be doing in my life, and I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to do it. Yes the lives of my friends and family will go on without me, but for the next two years our Heavenly Father needs me in France serving His children.

Here are the boundaries of my mission. All of Southern France!

 The French flag (above left) and emblem of the city of Lyon.

My actual call!

While I'm out on my mission, the family back home will be updating it with my weekly letters, pictures, and various news.

,Avec beaucoup de l'amour

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