Monday, March 28, 2016

Blast from the Past

Hey y'all hey y'all. Today is transfer day! Hence the reason I just went on a pizza hunt with an Italian, Elder Battezzato from Sicily. (The pizza was too expensive, so we settled on a panini instead). It's been cool to see people I haven't seen in sooooo long, like a whole two weeks since the Christofferson Conference. Which brings me to my next item on the agenda...

I totally forgot to write about the conference. We had an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ visit our mission and I forgot to talk about it in my weekly letter home. Anyway, it was super awesome! First Président and Sœur Brown spoke to us, then President and Sis. Dyches (wasn't he Portland Mission President or something?) and then Elder and Sis. Christofferson. He's an incredible person and a scripture master! After he finished speaking to us he did a Q&A and after every question, whether simple or complicated, he knew the right scripture to turn to and then would expound on it and bear testimony. I need to get better at that in my own teaching, I don't use the scriptures nearly as much as I need to.

We had hot pot again last night! For transfers, 71 of the 90 équipes in the mission changed, so a bunch of people from our zone are leaving. We all saw it coming, so we'd already planned hot pot night. A bunch of missionaries and Chinese amis were there, and they didn't spare the poor Americans that had never tried the slightly more hardcore Chinese food. Along with tofu, bean sprouts, and beef, there was kelp, octopus, and cow stomach. All good :)

It was sad to hear about the terrorist attacks in Brussels. The MTC companion of one of the missionaries in our mission was injured, and our current district leader knows his companion. The world of Mormondom is a small one, for better or for worse! Hope and pray that the Lord will, once again, turn a bad situation into a blessing for as many people as possible.

That leads me into my spiritual thought! Ever wonder why the early Mormon pioneers went through such bad times? They hadn't done anything gravely awful, but they still got kicked out of anywhere they tried to settle and were pretty much hated by everyone they met. They needed to be tried and refined in order to become what the Lord wanted them to be! In order to make Zion "of one heart and one mind," they had to go through trials and become truly united. Sometimes that happens to us too. Trials have an incredible side effect, uniting anyone on the receiving end of the catastrophe. When life gives a ton of people lemons like in Brussels right now, don't worry. Learn from it, grow from it, and trust God. It'll all come out well in the end.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
-2 Timothy 1:7

Oh, and about the title... here's what happened for transfers.

We in a TRIO!


Elder Jensen

Monday, March 21, 2016

This transfer has been a good transfer

I had a lot of stuff to email about, but I've forgotten nearly all of
it and I'm sooooo out of time. Sorry. We had a good week though! Life
with Elder Zhu is still fun. We just got done with President's P-day,
which is the last preparation day of the transfer when all the
missionaries in Lyon and Ecully Zones get together at President's
house. It's so awesome. We played pétanques (should make my high
school French teachers proud of me), volleyball, ate hot dogs and
chatted with a real American family since President and Sœur Brown's
daughter and her family are visiting.

The moving équipe went to Toulouse for a couple days to help move an
apartment, but they had an electrician coming the next morning, so we
and Porte-des-Alpes got to stay in their apartment! We slammed Tim
Tams and drank hot chocolate and got freaked out by one of those
really old, scary, European elevators.

To all my siblings: please write me! I want to know what's going on in
your lives! I love hearing about the family as a whole, but I want to
hear more detail from each of y'all :)

The biggest news is of course Tian's baptism! Which you already heard
about, but ça va. It went off without a hitch even though I totally
forgot to ask anyone to play the piano until we were about to start.
Tian was found when our friend Sandy (whom everyone called Potato or
土豆) left back to China in January. Tian came to see her off and we
invited her to play cards the next week and yep she's a new member of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints :) she's awesome,
hearing your amis near their testimony at the baptism is always the
best part because its when you fully realize that they've actually
changed and learned, all thanks to God.

My spiritual thought this week is about an experience I had, in which
I made a mistake and learned a lesson because of it. We went to see a
less active and had a good chat, and I honestly mentioned to him that
I don't often get to meet with less actives and hear their
perspectives and how I was trying to respect his thoughts when they
were different from my own. He looked at me for a second and said,
"Why don't you love me?" I asked what he meant, and he explained that
if I really loved him the way I should as a representative of Jesus
Christ, I shouldn't have to work to respect him. That should come
automatically. He doesn't agree with everything in the Church, but he
believes very strongly in love. He taught me a really good lesson that
day. I was worrying too much about what to say and how to convince him
to pray and read his scriptures, but I wasn't doing what I should have
been doing, which is helping him because I love him he way God loves

Love one another the way Jesus loves you. That's all. Have a good week :)

Your son, grandson, brother, cousin, nephew, and friend,

Monday, March 14, 2016

"If miracles cease, it is because faith has ceased."

Jello everyone! Before coming into the mission, I heard that the France Lyon Mission was full of miracles. I want to let you all know that it's true! Even our mission's weekly newsletter is called "The Miracle." :)

On Tuesday I had a really good interview over Skype with Président Brown, and the next day we had a crazy lesson in which our amie committed to a baptismal date! That night, we got a text from another amie who said that she had finally received an answer to her prayers and set a baptismal date for herself. The next day we had two lessons planned and in both of them, Elder Zhu was able to commit them to baptismal dates.

I didn't know if it could be done, but we trusted in the Lord's plan and in just two days we had 4 new engagés! It was incredible, and thanks to that and the success missionaries are seeing around the mission I KNOW that God is aware of us and our challenge to get 187 new engagés before Christofferson Conference. The said conference is tomorrow morning, it's so exciting! The list of engagés a few weeks ago was about a page and a half, and today when we checked, it had reached 4 full pages. The mission is blowing up! It's so cool!

We went home teaching once this week out in St. Priest, it was good. The family's daughter has so much energy, it's crazy.

In other news, we had a phone lesson because skype wasn't working, so Elder Zhu and I just called our amie, put it on speaker phone, and had a good 20-minute lesson :) We also went to this Chinese student's house super far away in St. Genis-Laval, down southwest of Lyon. He played the bamboo flute for us which was super awesome, and then he played the guqin which is kind of like a zither. It's sooooo traditional Chinese, I loved it. Apparently practically no one plays the guqin anymore, which is sad but cool that we got to meet one :) Hopefully we'll be able to start teaching this guy!

WELCOME HOME KIRSTEN! Shoutout to my older sister who went home from her mission this week! That's super exciting, it was cool to hear about it and see the pictures and everything :)

Have faith! You'll see miracles if you ask for them!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pics: Scenic river, missionaries, and a unique birthday cake...

She was turning 23 and we had to improvise...

An Historic Day

Today is March 7th! One year ago today, I opened my mission call :) and what an adventure it's been since then!

Just today we went wandering around Vieux Lyon looking for secret passageways behind old doors and actually found a few... so awesome. A couple went underground, but apparently a lot of them are locked in the afternoon so we'll probably go back next Monday morning to check it out. Also the past couple weeks we've been severely lacking in food in our apartment, but this month we got smart and planned out money a little better and now we have a ton of food! Hooray!

On Wednesday it was our engagée's birthday so we went and got hot pot with her and some other amis, yum yum. Then we went and saw our DMP (ward mission leader) who gave us cake and guava juice like he does every single time we go over. Guava juice is the nectar of life, it's so unbelievably delicious. That night we watched Meet the Mormons with our amis and Elder Tomlinson, the man of many talents, made a wonderful lemon cake for the birthday party. The movie was dubbed in Chinese which was interesting and hard to understand, but no matter. They liked it and now they know that Mormons are normal and don't all have to wear a suit and tie and go to sleep at 10:30.

On Thursday I went on exchange with Elder Walker, one of our awesome zone leaders. He was with me doing Chinese work, it was fun :) we taught two lessons, the first in a pretty equal mix of French, Chinese, and English since we were teaching with a French member who speaks pretty rough English, and the second lessons we taught with our recent convert so they communicated in Chinese and we taught our bit in English.

On Friday we went to Master Tacos with a cool potential, hopefully we'll be able to start teaching her soon! The next day Elder Carlson (Elder Zhu's MTC companion) and I went on a short exchange to see a less active who gave us soda and lemon cake. Nice.

On Sunday we had a good time at church! A quote I heard there led to my spiritual thought for the day: "Dieu nous donne des bénédictions en fonction de nos besoins du moment." That means, "God gives us blessings according to our needs of the moment." For example, God didn't part the Red Sea from miles away, He parted it when Moses and the Israelites got there and needed to escape from the Egyptian armies! It's true that we might get concerned sometimes by the situation we're in, but always remind yourself that if you're really trying to do what you know is right, God will never abandon you!

Elder Jensen