Sunday, January 12, 2014

One-Hundreth Week Email

   Well I want to start this off by saying thank you so much for all of the e-mails and advice for me to come home and get going in life. I really appreciate the love from everybody and I am excited to be talking to all of you soon.
   Wow... I'm completely at a loss of words for today. This felt like a day that was never going to come but now it's here. This week was a mix of everything and it doesn't help that I've been a complete wreck all week. My days are all planned from here on out, and I don't have time to do anything so that's been helping with all of the goodbyes. But I never could have imagined what this is like. I gave my last talk in church yesterday and the sadness I felt when i said I don't want to leave Korea and the happiness I felt when i said I want to see my family. I never thought that I could have this big of a conflict in my head haha.
   I wish I knew enough English to explain how I feel right now. And don't get me wrong because I definitely don't know enough Korean to do it. I'm somewhere in between right now. But I really just want to tell you what I have learned over the past couple of weeks. The first thing is that I can't sum up what my 2 years has been. I said that in my talk yesterday at church but that's because it was just a day to day thing. I woke up everyday, studied, and went out to experience something completely different everyday. Some days I couldn't stop smiling before falling asleep, and some days I just wanted to end. Sorry that's not a complaint but everyday wasn't a walk in the park over here. But there wasn't a lot of those days. The thing I noticed with those days was as soon as I stopped thinking about myself and opened my mouth I found some of my best friends. The day that Sister Kim (my twins Tim and Kevin's mom) called we were completely torn apart on a bus by a drunk man who hated religion. We met a preacher from a church who would just wanted to bible bash and get us frustrated. We also dropped two of our investigators but Elder Gibbons and I just knew that we were only in control of opening our mouths to everybody we saw. And sure enough Sister Kim called that night and showed up to english class the next day with Tim and Kevin. And last week we were playing a game where you write sentences on a paper and pass it around and Tim wrote that he really likes this church and Kevin got it and said I really love this church in all capital letters haha. Those two little punks brighten my week up especially when they fight to say the closing prayer for english class.
    That's just one example of seeing how much it takes me to stop thinking about what Elder Jensen needs and start thinking about what others need. And it's always easy to know what our Heavenly Father wants, He wants his Children. President Shin wrote the word Joy up on the board one day vertically and wrote Jesus next to J, others next to O, and yourself next to Y.  And told us that that was the key to obtaining Joy in our lives. That's been so true in every happy moment I have ever found myself on my mission and I have been nothing but blessed being here and learning the things I have learned.
   I also realized how much I love my family. Especially thinking about what my ancestors have done for me. I love talking about my Grandpa. I realized that in a Taxi ride across our area last night with an older man driving us. We had the normal conversation of how we speak Korean and why we're here but occasionally it can turn into how much I love Korea. He asked me if I even knew about Korea before I came here and I told him about Grandpa coming here for the war. And the Taxi driver started to tell me what Korea use to be like especially at the time of the war. He told us how he was in Vietnam as a marine for Korea. And he said something that was so simple but for some reason as soon as he said it I just felt just such a deep understanding for it. He said that "nobody wants to go to war and see those things, but they did and now his grandchildren don't have to go through what he did growing up." It can surprise me to think about everything that has led up to me being here and me being this happy and I owe so much of that to my family. That ride ended with the Taxi Driver telling me to tell Grandpa thank you and he drove off with his Book of Mormon.
   Well I'm out of time... that's ironic. But That was my last week here in Daejeon. I don't want to leave Korea. I don't want to leave these people that I love. I have met some of my best friends here. Sister Kim from Suwon, Brother Kang in Jeonju, My mission mom Sister Jang in Jeonju, Ienseo, Seominsung and the twins here in Daejeon. I get to call all of them this week and it's going to be so hard but I can't wait to talk to them. And I can't wait to see all of you. I don't know how I would have done any of this without  all of the love and support from home. Everything that Tawns, Dad, and Micah did for me every single week. Can't wait to see my favorite Brother Travee (He's my only brother). And It feels like so long since I have seen Ash and Mom. I can't wait to see the two little princesses Isla and Kai. I'll be over to eat all of your food Grandma and Karla. I love all of you so much and I'll see you soon.
   The Gospel is true
   Elder Jensen

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ninety-Ninth Week Email

   Well like I was telling Tawns today I'm not really sure what to talk about today. We had a pretty good week in Daejeon. We spent most of the week with our investigators and they are all so amazing. Last week was really interesting. We went from having the most baptismal dates in the mission to now having none and for some reason 4 of our investigators are moving this week or next haha. I kinda just sat there last night when we reviewed our week and I honestly don't know what happened but we still had an amazing week with all of them.
  Our biggest focus these days is brother Iem. He is our Senior in High School and he is such a punk haha. He calls me Hyung 형 which means big brother in Korean and he is a pretty funny kid. They just make fun of us so much whenever we meet but I have met about 15 of his friends in the past month. We are teaching 5 of them right now and Brother Iem is in Mosiah right now with the Book of Mormon. We have been able to meet his parents a couple of times and they just love us. They are pretty strong Budhist but they love what we are doing. His mom loves teaching us the strangest Korean and we can't leave their house without a full stomach and food in a bag. It doesn't help when they are all pretty fluent in English so they tell me what to do in my native language. But Brother Iem has been asking some amazing questions lately and whenever we talk about him getting baptized he says that he still just needs some time. He did say that Praying before bed just seems comfortable now and it gives him some time to think about his day a little more and in a more positive way. So we have been focusing on giving him the more specific commitments with praying for specific things and really excercising his faith. He's still not sure exactly what kind of answer he's looking for but we told him just to take his time and he'll find it.
   Brother Iem is just one of the people we have been working with lately and it has been so much fun. I'm pretty sure that Elder Gibbons and I went to a high school party last week along with 2 business parties. I promise that we're not party missionaries but we have been able to meet so many of our investigators friends and we have started to meet them as well. We have been averaging about 3 appointments a day lately and suprisingly we are teaching half of them english and the other half the gospel only. I feel extremely blessed these days but there's just the giant elephant in the room wherever I go and it usually starts with a question about when I'm leaving. Also Brother Iem and his friends learned the term dying missionary from some of the missionaries here in Daejeon and that's one of their favorite things to tell their friends. I still have no idea what to think right now. Church was so much fun yesterday and at the same time it was super sad. I went to a ward council meeting and when we talked about missionary work it was like a 30 minute question and answer time with Elder Jensen. And I still live by a very strict rule of being sick and not telling the relief society president. Well that backfired on me yesterday and I was in a lot of trouble. But the presidency of the relief society came over yesterday to do the monthly cleaning checks on our apartment and filled our kitchen and our medicine cabinet while talking to me like I was a child haha. I feel loved here so much though and Daejeon has been one of the greatest parts of my mission so far.
   Well I have to get going but I love all of you so  much. I guess I have one more of these e-mails and I'll try to make it good. Have a great week!
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ninety-Sixth Week Email

   Well hey there. That week seemed a little too fast. But last week had to have been one of the best so far. We didn't have a second to think and it was just amazing. And it's finally starting to feel like christmas around here.
   We have just been out and about meeting everybody we can. It's one of those times on my mission where our main plan takes about 3 minutes to plan everynight. We have just been really blessed lately and we really need to keep it going this week. We have had a really big focus lately on referrals lately and it finally came together this last week. Brother Iem our highschool student brought 4 of his friends to our lesson last week and we have seperate appointments with 3 of them now. And these have to be some of the funniest kids I have ever met. They kind of give me the feel of hipsters in a korean high school. But Brother Iem's parents have always encouraged him to find a religion for himself and everything has just been making sense to him for these past couple of weeks. We're really excited to meet with him this up coming week.
   I honestly can't explain really how this week was though. Everybody we have been meeting kept commitments and it feels like the commitment that we gave to each of them fit perfectly for this week. We would even get text from Brother Iem in the middle of the night again having a conversation with himself like he does occasionally. He gets excited and ask us a question about Nephi and then about 30 minutes later he will say nevermind and tell us his answer that he thought of. And for being so funny and non serious all of the time Brother Iem has some amazing questions.
   All of us missionaries also recieved phone calls this week from our favorite little 11 year old twins while they were at school and I personally had to talk to 10 elementary school students this week because Tim and Kevin wanted their friends to hear a "foreigner speak korean in a funny way." Still not sure how to take that but we are still meeting with our little family. We are just a little stuck still until we can meet with their Dad one of these days and talk about the boys coming out to church. Sister Kim their mom has to work on Sunday mornings but she still thinks that if her sons had a relgion it wouldn't be a bad thing. She also packs a back pack with a small pharmacy store incase one of us missionaries isn't feeling to well. She would honestly be perfect in the relief society.
    Another thing that was going on this week was our 20 minute role play visits with members. We have 5 family "investigators" in that program these days. And members still think it's pretty fun to give us everything they have when we go to meet them but we always leave by warning them that we will be inviting them to baptism next time we come.
    Well that was basically what is going on right now in Daejeon. We have a couple christmas parties this week and absolutely no time. So I'm really hoping we can just build on what we did last week and keep the momentum going right now. I really do love it here in Daejeon and I hope my family knows that I'm still getting picked on enough. My entire sunday school class thought it would be fun to talk about their last transfers of their missions in english.... just so we understood perfectly I guess. But I guess all that time with the old man and the siblings (I still survived my childhood) prepared me in a good way.
   Well I have to get going but I love all of you. Have a great week!
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No Ninety-Fifth Week Email

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ninety-Fourth Week Email

   Another transfer call day and..... Elder Gibbons and I are staying. That will make 3 transfers with Elder Gibbons.  And I couldn 't be more happy about being here in Daejeon.  It's nice because all of our investigators know us really well so I'm excited for another six weeks.
   We did have a pretty interesting week with all of our appointments. We had to go with our back up plans and we were calling some pretty interesting audibles and making some back up back up plans as part of our planning sessions. But for some reason we ended up at home at the end of the night doing things we had absolutely no idea about before the day started.
   But lately we have still just been so happy with the change in everything over here in Korea when it comes to missionary work. Every week I get up in priesthood and talk about our past week, investigators, and our plans for the upcoming week. Well this last week after I talked everybody started to speak up about who they were working on bringing to church, and less active members they were reaching out to. Well we took up 30 minutes of the hour long block with nothing but missionary work and the Priesthood holders making plans together and with us for when we will meet these people. I still remember when I stood up just a couple months with a schedule for visits and it was completely silent haha. We also got completely random phone calls from some members telling us to get to there house becuase it was too cold outside haha. One thing you have to make really clear in Korea is that your meetings do need a missionary purpose or else members will kidnap us sometimes to have fun. President Shin has been trying to put a stop to that since he came but some of these members have too much fun with it. Especially in the smaller country areas like my second one. That branch president had too much fun with missionaries haha. But we as a mission have been keeping track of our gospel teaching time and that's what President Shin has made up a lot of programs for. So we have just been spending a lot of time role playing and then going out to our members houses for member role plays and members love to put us through the ringer. We taught a family where the son was budhist, the mom was catholic, and the father was a member of one of the Korean churches here in Korea that is pretty famous for finding our missionaries and not being so nice haha. So I feel like our members are really finding a lot of fun with all of this missionary work going on lately especially at the expense of the missionaries sanity haha. There's nothing like telling a member that you had plans to go out to the church to make some flyers and go put them up and they just laugh at you while they bring out fruit and hold you against your will. The Korean people have that gift and they really enjoy using it some times on these foriegn missionaries in their wards.
   Other than all of that I went on a split with Elder Barney who is in my district this last week and it was so great. We met a young high schooler name Cheol and this kid is just too much fun. He and his family have to be some of the nicest people I have met in a long time. His parents are very strict budhist but they have strongly encouraged Cheol to find his own way that makes him happy. And after we met him out on a bridge we have just had so much fun with this kid. I wake up to the funniest text in english with some pretty interesting questions like, "why did Nephi and Lehi leave gold and silver behind?" and about 20 minutes later just a text that said, "nevermind! found out why. haha see you tomorrow."
So Elder Gibbons and I just laugh at the text we have been waking up to lately. And we have still been meeting our little families weekly. Pretty funny story there though. Sister Kim (The twins mom) works at a old person hospital as a nurse. Well just like you are never suppose to tell a relief society member that you are feeling sick, you should never tell a Korean nurse that you're not feeling well haha. She brought a back pack that we called a pharmacy and right there in the church she pulled out a needle with, "pain reliever." in very broken english. So after not being able to refuse this unlabeled syringe from this woman I met a little over a month ago the Sister missionaries thought it would be funny to call President and have him to talk to Sister Kim about it and they did that strange Korean thing where they speak really fast and the next thing I know I'm getting a really big shot.... not in the arm. Anyway that was my living in a foriegn land moment for the week. But Tim and Kevin our little twins are just hilarious. They fight over who gets to say the closing prayers during english class and they pray for the strangest things sometimes like the sandwich that they ate at school earlier that day haha. It's great and they actually asked their Dad if they could come out to church but we're still working on that entire thing these days.
   Well it was a little scattered but we had a great week. Never really have a clue with what's going to happen. For example I just got called by my zone leader saying that we are changing our zone meeting tomorrow into two meetings and he is going to the other one out in the country side and I have responsibility over this one tomorrow..... fun. Well I have to get going so I love all of you. I pray for all of you all of the time and I hope you are all happy.
Elder Jensen

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ninety-Third Week Email

   Well we had another fun filled week here in Korea. We saw a lot of great things this week and met a lot of great people. We had a Stake Activity and a few missionary meetings so we were pretty much busy all week. The winter is definetely here in Korea. Last monday when we went hiking we did it in the snow and it was such an amazing day. And we also got hit by the Christmas fever here in Korea. Sorry we don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to start the Christmas Season.
   One of the great parts of this week was meeting Brother Lee and his daughter. Working in the Sunhwa Ward has just been so great. Between the Sisters and Elder Gibbons and I we have 3 families we are teaching. It's pretty funny because when ever Elder Gibbons and I put up flyers for english we have women call us and whenever the Sisters put up flyers they have men call them. And whenever we aren't able to get a priesthood holder for lessons the sisters just can pick it up. And to add to the teamwork our ward mission leader is just amazing. He works at the church so he has met all of our investigators multiple times. Our Bishop makes sure to stop by our english classes and he gets to know everybody well. And like I have said the theme of the past month has been the work of salvation so we have been working really well with the members and church has been the highlight of our weeks here in Daejeon.
   Well back to Brother Lee and his daughter. The office Elder's found him while talking to people on the street and He really needs help. He has gone to every church here in Korea and has a pretty strong opinion about all of them so he was very honest when he said that this was his last stop for churches and he would be really honest with us about everything. Well we went over to find his house and Korea is in the middle of switching address systems because it is impossible to find addresses here. So we didn't have his phone number and we ran around his neighborhood for 40 minutes and finally found his house. We got there and taught his daughter english and had a great lesson. His wife was from Russia and right now she can't live in Korea so that has seperated their family and with everything in life right now Brother Lee doesn't have a lot of options. And through all of this he's still trying to come closer to god.
   We also had to pass off the twins this week to the Sister's because we couldn't find a Priesthood Holder to meet with us but the Sisters did a really good job. It really makes a big difference when everybody works together. And right now Sunhwa Ward seems like a completely different ward. We're still trying to make the big push that President Shin wants us too but I'm just so happy to see the progress.
   Sorry this is a short one but I have to get going. I love all of you so much. Have a great week.
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ninety-Second Week Email


   Well another week has flown by here. It was a pretty good week though. We spent the weekend at the church for stake conference and the rest of the week was filled with meeting new people and all of the people we are already meeting. It is always nice to have the entire stake together because you can always see the strong relationships that the Korean Saints make here. Most of them have lived in a couple different wards here in Daejeon so everybody knows everybody.

   We did find some pretty sad news out this week. We went over to visit our Investigator Brother Shin on Tuesday but he was running late coming back from the Doctor. So we were walking around putting up fliers for english class when Brother Shin walked up and he just looked sad. He talked to us a little bit and told us to come to his house after we were finished. So we finished up and headed over and usually Brother Shin opens up his door with a big smile on his face and yells hows it going but he was silent. We sat down and since we are his foreign missionaries who know nobody in his life he just told us that he got back from the hospital and he was double diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and a special lung cancer. But he kind of cracked a small smile and told us that if he studies hard that he can fight the Alzheimer's and the doctor said that the lung cancer was early enough they could work with it for a while. He said the doctor gave him about 10-15 years if he did everything right but he just looked at us and said that he was already 80. His sons and daughters were all grown up and had families of their own, and his wife passed away 8 years ago. He told us that he was planning on passing away sometime during those years anyways so he had to realize that everything was fine and he was just shocked that he could find out such news. And Brother Shin has such strong faith in God. He has now been a Jehovah's Witness for 40 years now and still takes his small bag out full of magazines a couple times and week and talks to people on the street. He also has to be on of the most patient people I have ever met. It has been pretty interesting to meet him because he gives us our time to talk and he listens and reads everything that we ask him to but once we pass a part in the lesson where we bring up other church's, such as talking about the Great Apostasy, it just sets him off haha. He will go off for 20 minutes straight about every church and everything he feels like they do wrong. Elder Gibbons and I just sit and patiently listen because of the culture and He is a Grandpa (that is his title that people will call him in Korean if they don't know his name) and we are so young. So not that we ever focus on "how every other church is wrong" (because we don't and there's enough people in the world to do that) we have just been focusing more then ever on receiving our own answers from Heavenly Father. And it has been nice because we have had some great discussions with Brother Shin and he is one of the happiest old men that I have ever met. He told us the other day that believing in God is saying this church or this church is the best but he believes that outside of his own religion that Mormons are the best haha. And then he said, "Number 1" (for some reason Koreans love to say that) and it made all of us chuckle a bit.

   It has been really nice to spend time with Brother Shin though because he has seen so much. He speaks four languages right now and is working on English. He remembers very well when the Japanese were here and what life was like under the military government. He's full of the strangest knowledge about a lot of subjects that you would never think about. He taught us about Ginseng the other day and how there are two places in the world that are the best place for growing Ginseng haha. He has his little Desk in the corner of his room where he loves to study all day these days. He is also very determined to fight the Alzheimer's off by doing something he has always loved.

  I have just met some amazing people on my mission like Brother Shin.

   Well our little family is doing great and we are meeting with them tonight. We are also going hiking today on the coldest day of the year so far... it doesn't make sense to me. But I hope all of you have a great week and I love all of you.