Monday, September 12, 2016

Much has happened, yet some things stay the same

Heyo family! We had transfaaaaaaassssss

We're staying. Elder Preator and I had a fun transfer together and now we're going to have another one :) The new Chinese Elder should be at the Salt Lake airport as I write this, but as I'm not training I won't be serving with him yet. Maybe soon....

A sincere "Fare thee well" and "Godspeed" to my dear trainer, Elder Pien! He goes home today and I will always be grateful for our time together, both in St. Genis and in Lyon. Probably means I'll be road tripping it out to Montréal sometime in the next couple years.

But you remember Elder Tomlinson, who is from Medford, Oregon and has been in my zone my entire mission? We were in the same district my last transfer in St. Genis and the the same apartment in Lyon for six months and then the same district for four more months with me in Toulouse and him in Montauban. This transfer we were sure he was leaving far away, like to Nice or somewhere. He did leave Montauban, but against all odds he came right here to Toulouse! We're actually serving in the same ward, good old Concorde. It's a good time :)

Speaking of Concorde Ward, we had 163 people at church yesterday. For my ward back home that's not too many, but in France that is a TON. We have one of the biggest chapels in the mission and it was full to bursting. It was a good day!

Little story time about Sunday: It started out pretty normal. We started planning out goals for the transfer but then had to do some other stuff. On the way to church we realized that we had missed the last reasonable bus, so we took the tram. At Palais de Justice where we got off, we found that due to a triathlon in ville, the bus didn't come by there. We walked a little ways to another main bus stop and the bus wasn't coming by there either (the street was all blocked off for cyclists). Then we walked a long ways to another main bus/metro stop and found that the bus wasn't coming for 22 minutes. Church would be starting in 20 minutes, so that wasn't an option. We walked the rest of the way, and I just found out that in all we walked 4 km to get to church! Took us almost an hour and we walked in not 30 seconds before church started. Success. However, due to bus struggles, we weren't able to meet our amazing trilingual ami and bring him to church so we asked if he could find his own way. I didn't realize he has a bad habit of getting lost. He got lost and was half an hour late, but he came anyway and had a good time and after church we taught him about the Plan of Salvation and a bit about temples and engaged him to baptism! Elder Preator extended the baptismal invite like a champ, it was awesome.

But wait, there's more! We went back to Pau to pick up my Carte de Séjour, which is super cool to have. I am bien legal in the République Française and I have an awesome pink plastic card to prove it. We were sitting down eating lunch and a dude came and sat next to us and asked if we were American. We got talking a bit and he said he doesn't believe in chance. That was surprising already, but then we got talking about big problems in the world and he literally said the words "free agency" before I could bring it up. It was cool. Hopefully the Pau Elders can help him! We passed them his phone number just as we were on the train pulling out of the gare.

My spiritual thought this week is in the form of an experience I had while at church yesterday: We walked into the salle de culte (chapel) and Elder Shimazaki asked if we would be willing to go sit by this one older woman, he wasn't sure if she was a member or not. We did so and got talking with her a bit just as the meeting was about to start. She informed us very quickly that she was a member, but hadn't attended church in 45 years! I realized who it was, a less active woman who we'd been asked to visit, but hadn't been able to yet because she lives super far away. We will do it though. Anyway, during the hymn "O My Father," she got partway through the first verse and suddenly whispered to me, "Oh! I remember this!" And then sang the rest of the song just fine. After the closing hymn, she started flipping through the hymnbook and showing me hymns she remembered from 45 years ago and letting all those wonderful memories come flooding back. I will forever treasure that as one of the best moments of my mission, when I got to see a woman who hadn't been to church in decades realize that, while a lot had changed, she was home and that the Gospel was still just as wonderful as it ever was. And that is my message to you all! A wise man who served in this mission once told me: "The Spirit never gets old." It's true! No matter what, feeling the Spirit will never be bothersome or less joyful than it always has been. It's never too late to come back :)

Love you all!
Elder Jensen

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