Saturday, October 31, 2015

Picture from another missionary mamma

Received this picture from Val Meade, a local member who likes to take pictures of the missionaries and send them home to their parents...  Thanks Val!

The local ward had a Halloween event and Garrett went disguised(?) as a Portland hipster!

Monday, October 26, 2015

It's so hot in Lausanne city, so hot in Lausanne town...

It's been a week y'all! Let me explain:

No, is too much. Let me sum up: Tuesday we went to Gex and did an hour-long exchange so that Elder Walters and Elder Jenkins could teach a lesson (that never ended up happening) and Elder Stephens and I could put up English class flyers at bus stops. We put up two flyers and promptly got lost, but we had a good time learning about each other's lives as we walked for the entire hour trying to get back to Gex!

Wednesday we put up English class flyers at bus stops in St. Genis sector, which meant riding our bikes all the way to Val-Thoiry. It wasn't really that bad, but it was warmer than normal and I'm not used to riding bikes anymore. We talked to an old Protestant lady who wasn't interested and accidentally went off roading testing out a path that did eventually lead back to our house, straight through the middle of nowhere.

Thursday we had zone training! We did that in the Geneva Institute and had hamburgers for lunch. Super awesome. We learned some new ways to contact and discussed teaching super super simply so that our amis (investigators) will understand everything and feel the Spirit. Great advice!

Friday relates to the title of this email: We went to Lausanne! We found out a few weeks ago that there would be a special conference in Lausanne for Geneva and Lausanne zones, so we got to go! Sister Linda K. Burton, the General Relief Society President, was speaking so we all got to meet her and her husband as well as Elder and Sister Holmer (Area Seventy). It was awesome! She focused a lot on unity and truly aligning our will with God's because this is His work. Also, be bold! Nowhere in the Bible or the Book of Mormon does it say, "If you have time, you could maybe go out and try to talk to a few people about church, but if you don't feel like it that's fine." NO! It says:

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  -Matthew 28:19-20

There you have it folks! Don't be selfish with the Gospel! If you have such a wonderful gift, share it with people!

Il est le chef,

Monday, October 19, 2015

Two Mormon missionaries, two chocolate salesmen, and two Africans meet in a driveway...

Yes that legitimately happened. It was funny and we all wanted chocolate but in the end, no one got any :( actually that's a lie, the branch gave us missionaries Swiss chocolate after church!

Here's our week: Tuesday I was on mini exchange in the morning with Elder Herf, which means we were speaking all in French. It shouldn't have been that weird considering I live in France, but most of us missionaries just speak Franglais together, heavily leaning towards the English side. Elder Jenkins and I will be setting some language improvement goals, worry not! That morning we hopped on the tram and went to the gare to pick up our new companions, Elder Ahlemeyer (who is  exceedingly German) to be serving with Elder Herf in Bienne. There were people in the gare handing out free bananas, so that was our after-breakfast snack. It's a fun gare :D I'm running out of time so here we go, quick! I also found out on the way back to St. Genis that Elder Jenkins is from the same home ward as Elder Clark from my MTC district, currently serving in Taipei Taiwan. Crazy small world! He's been serving since I believe May of last year.

We went to go pass this family who met the church like 20 years ago so they've been through tons and tons of missionaries, and we happened to be walking the same way as two high school age kids with a clipboard. We figured they were salesmen of some sort but they seemed really unconfident, so after arriving in the same neighborhood as them we asked what they were doing. They were doing a fundraiser for school and we were tempted to buy some chocolate, but we didn't. The family we wanted to see wasn't there, but they drove up as we were starting to walk away. We turned around and headed toward them just as the chocolate salesmen did the same thing. I started laughing when I
realized what was happening, and we let the kids go first to have a shot at selling something. We know how hard going door to door can be! We stood awkwardly on the side until they finished and then talked to the family to fix a rendez-vous or at least share a spiritual thought and a prayer. It was funny :)

Wednesday-Saturday was just a lot of walking around! Sort of. We tried to fix rendez-vous but they kept falling through, so we got really tired from walking everywhere and it made it really easy to lose faith and get discouraged. However, I know the Lord is on our side! I've seen enough miracles both before and during the mission to know that no matter what happens, we do have the right to divine help! I think we both needed a big dose of patience and humility this last week. We just have to keep praying and working and praying and working and all will work out :)

Sorry it's been a short letter today, but I love you all! 1 John 4:20 is awesome!

Elder Jensen

Monday, October 12, 2015

French pants (sorry, trousers)

Sorry about the confusion, transfer calls were last Friday, the 9th, so today is the first day of the new transfer. Put that on your calendars folks! Every six weeks, so the next one will start November 23rd.

This week was good! We had our first rendez-vous with a friend of a member. They're trying to keep their distance a bit because they're more about understanding right now than believing, so we're definitely trying to respect that. If there's one thing we shouldn't do as missionaries, it's force people into baptism. Once a person is baptized they've accepted a new responsibility from God. If they're not ready or don't fully understand what choice they're making, we're doing them a huuuuge disservice by baptizing them. Work on the Lord's time, not your own. He knows best!

On Thursday night we stayed in Gex. We do that a lot so it's not that special. Oh well. Friday Elder Pien and I hopped on a train to Chambéry which was fun. The branch had an activity going on that night where the Elders were putting on a musical program of singing, piano, and guitar (Elder Beck does all three) so they invited Elder Pien and I to join them. It was fun to help them out with singing hymns and to get to meet the members down there. We had delicious kebab too before the activity at a place owned by an Arab guy named Bob. Also I went on a quick exchange with Elder Beck while Elder Pien and Elder Spencer were eating. We went and taught Tony, the guy that got baptized at the beginning of last transfer in the swimming pool by the storybook house on a hill in Aix-les-Bains. He's doing really well! It's great to see converts that stay when you see so many less-actives and just wish they could've stayed active in the first place.

Backtracking a little bit, Friday morning we got our transfer calls! We thought I'd be leaving to Lyon or Toulouse or something, so it was a bit of a shock when President talked to Elder Pien first and told him he'd be going to the Chinese équipe in Toulouse! It's basically the opposite of what we expected. Whitewashing is becoming more and more rare which means I'm staying in St. Genis! My third transfer here, which isn't bad. It's a nice place and there are still plenty of things for me to do here :) I'll be receiving Elder Jenkins who is from Atlanta, Georgia and has red hair. I thought I was going to meet him today, but apparently he doesn't arrive until tomorrow morning (odd). It's been a crazy day, I tell you that. We woke up at 5:00 this morning to get Elder Pien to his 7:30 train to Lyon along with a bunch of other missionaries including Sœur Kehl and Elder Price who are now finished with their missions :( I stayed in the gare with people from Geneva and Lausanne Zones until two minutes before the next train to Lyon when Elders Walters, Loosle, and Kettler finally got tickets. We sprinted while pulling suitcases up to the quai/voie whatever it is in English and got those three on their train literally 10 seconds before it pulled out. Soooo crazy! But yep, we got some exercise today :) that left just two missionaries, me and Elder Hladky who is currently Lausanne Zone leader, from Austria, and super awesome. It's his last transfer too, along with Elder Tihopu and Elder Rosas. All three super awesome people, I'm going to miss them a lot :(

About the title, Elder Pien left me some of his proselyting pants which are normal French style, a.k.a. slim fit. It's like whatever. And I corrected it to "trousers" because, due to the craziness of this morning, I've spent the day with Elder Tihopu who learned British English at home in Tahiti, Elder Smith from Doncaster England, Elder McKee who is English but has lived basically everywhere in the world, Elder Herf from France, and Elder Rosas who is from Argentina/Ireland. Who said all Mormon missionaries were straight outta Utah? :D

We told a lot of pictures at church yesterday so that Elder Pien would be able to remember people, he loved loved loved the branch and the zone here, it was hard for him to leave but we both trust in the Lord that he's going where he's needed and that all will be well! My spiritual thought of day is as follows:

The Lord will provide, and He will do so in His own time. Sometimes that means when you least expect it! Today all six of us were shopping for food at the mall and a random woman walked up, greeted us in near perfect English, handed us a bunch of Toblerone, told us to keep smiling and left. It was crazy, so we casually chased her down to find out who she was. As it turns out, she's an inactive member who we've been wanting to see for a long time but never got ahold of her. All of a sudden, here she is in the mall on preparation day handing us chocolate! We all talked about sports for a long time and just before leaving I got her number so Elder Jenkins and I will definitely be meeting with her soon :) the Lord is aware of His servants, watch for His blessings in your life and you will see them, I promise!

Return with honor,
Elder Jensen

Monday, October 5, 2015

Shipshape and Bristol fashion

If you watched General Conference, you might notice that I did too! If you're not sure what General Conference is, shoot my parents an email or go to and you'll figure it out :) It was super awesome, the only session we didn't watch was Sunday Afternoon so we'll have to catch that one later. We went to the Geneva chapel for it, on Saturday we watched the Women's Session (because why not) and then live feed of Saturday Morning, and Sunday we saw Priesthood, Saturday Afternoon, and live Sunday Morning. It was weird to hear them talking about the nouveaux apôtres in Priesthood Session before actually sustaining them later that day, but ça va. We were mildly freaking out about who the new ones would be, and finally most of us cheated and looked it up on our iPads. I approve! I would've approved of anybody the Lord chose to call, but I was really impressed by all three men's testimonies even though it's a little tough to tell myself that they're members of the Quorum of the Twelve now. Plus also Elder Stevenson is super young, he actually has a son on a mission... O.o in Taïwan no less! :D I encourage you all to go watch Conference, it really was super edifying and wonderful advice for your life and mine.

The rest of this week was good too! We were doing legality for Elder Pien early in the week so we were in Gex, then we had district meeting in Gex, then exchanges with our district leader Elder Walters in Gex, then Conference in Geneva but it's easier to get there from Gex than from St-Genis so we slept over. Basically we've been sleeping in the Gex apartment for about 5 nights in a row. It's crazy. I'm really hoping we can get a good productive week in starting tomorrow since this is the last week of the transfer (yep, calls are this Friday) and you never know what's going to happen!

While I was on exchanges with Elder Walters we talked to a less active guy who had been a professional footballer (soccer player) when he was younger. We originally just went to deliver a Bible he'd requested and when we rang the doorbell he said he didn't have much time, but we told him our purpose in coming and we ended up chatting with him for about 20 minutes and then praying with him at the end! He was super cool and nice, all you have to do is talk to people! Go talk to people, everyone! People are good! Lots of people need love and support, so why not be the one to give it to them?

We're emailing from the Institute again since we had an unofficial zone preparation day in Geneva. Elder Ambursley and Sœur Kehl from our zone are finishing their missions this transfer, which is sad but that time comes for everyone. They're both super cool and great missionaries, we just wanted to get everyone together with them one last time. We didn't do much but get kebab together, but kebab is delicious so no worries :)


Elder Jensen