Monday, June 20, 2016

Pour six semaines de plus, je vois la ville en rose

I have a bunch of stuff to say!

First off, Happy Father's Day! I'm super super grateful to my wonderful earthly father for the sacrifices he's made for me and the love he's shown me throughout my life. I'm also super grateful to my Heavenly Father for everything He's done for me. As I look back in my life, I can recognize a lot of blessings that have come directly from Him, it's a great feeling :)

Second off, Sweden. This past Friday was the Sweden-Italy game in Toulouse, there were soooooo many Swedes in Toulouse. It was ridiculous. I didn't get a good picture, but just imagine yellow t-shirts as far as the eye can see. It was just like that the week before, but with Spain instead of Sweden (so red shirts), and again today with Wales! Again red shirts, all over the place. There were a decent number of Czechs, Italians, and now Russians too. Nothing like a continent-wide football tournament to make a little money off the tourism business :) The Wales-Russia game is here tonight, so if you want to hear maybe a bit about Toulouse/feel a little connection with me even though I don't get to watch the match, go ahead and watch it!

Yesterday we had the confirmation of the 9-year-old kid who was baptized last Sunday! He asked Elder Peron to baptize him and me to do the confirmation, so that's how it worked out. It was cool, and the kid is suuuuuper classy. He came to the baptism in a colorful plaid shirt with a blazer (wish I had that much style), and then a week later came to church in an all-white tuxedo with matching shoes, belt, vest, everything. Whatta boss.

The Paris Temple is nearing completion! Woohoooo!! They just called the new temple president, it's going to be Frère Giraud-Carrier, who has a really cool story. One of the members in our ward here remembers greeting him as an ami here in Toulouse back when they didn't even have real church meetings. All they had was Sunday School, and they would distribute the sacrament during that meeting. Only an hour and a half of church every week, wouldn't that be nice? ;) Frère Giraud-Carrier and his wife were baptized four weeks after taking the missionary lessons. He was called to be the first stake president in France over the then newly-formed Paris Stake, I believe he was the first Area Seventy from France, and he is now the first president of the first temple in France! He's quite the pioneer :D

Apart from all that, we got transfer calls and I will be staying here in the Concorde Ward with Elder Peron. In fact, all the missionaries in the city of Toulouse (so 8 of us) are staying! Fun times. However, they did some zone realignments which is crazy. There used to be two zones based in Bordeaux, but now Talence Zone has been eaten by Bordeaux and Toulouse Zones. It might seem trivial to you, but it's big news for us! I'll send you before and after mission maps so you can see for yourself.

Before that we were in Montauban on exchange, it was cool. We had pizza :D Before that we had district meeting, which was also cool! For lunch Elder Peron made chili that was pretty spicy but really delicious. We went to Grépiac to visit a member family who had one of the coolest properties I've ever seen, there were a ton of fruit trees in their backyard and a chicken coop and their house was old and beautiful and he grilled sausages for us and oh man it was one of the best mangez-vous of my mission. Also he's really funny and moved to France from Austria when he was 9.

On Tuesday (yes backtracking still) I was on exchange with Elder Smith, the British kid whom I met in the MTC and whose call is officially in Spanish. We did a bunch of Spanish work that day, like seeing a potential from Guatemala who had some kinda hippy-ish ideas about the world and religion and seeing a member family whose dad is from Ecuador and giving him a Quichua Book of Mormon because he speaks Quichua.

Spiritual thought! At the end of district meeting we discussed what it takes to succeed. Anyone who's learned a thing or two in their life will tell you that you won't do everything right on the first try. You're going to fail, and you're going to do it a lot. That's normal. Getting up and keeping on keeping on can be hard, but it's totally worth it. Even if you fall right back down every time you get up, you'll find someday that you're a lot stronger than you used to be. Someday, things will work out! Just think about the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ:

"For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows,and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." (Isaiah 53:2-4/Mosiah 14:2-4)

That's awful! The Son of God Himself, "despised and rejected of men." However, look in verses 11-12:

"He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death."

We are imperfect. We can't atone for anyone's sins or conquer death just like that, but we can suffer trials and come out stronger because of it. We can bear one another's burdens and show love for others even when no one seems to be showing love to us. That's what the Savior taught, and, more importantly, that's what He did. You'll never regret working harder to be more like Him.

Avec amour,
Elder Jensen

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