Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week 8-July 20, 2015

Week 8-July 20, 2015

miss you all! this week so much happened but its always so hard to
think of everything and even harder to type it out.... ill do my best
but just some important information, we got our moves call and ill be
staying in the same area and with the same companion and neither of
our zone leaders (who we live with) are changing either so really,
nothing is going to change for us. Elder Alvey who is a really cool
guy and we hang out with on pday a lot is leaving but thats about it.
this week we had the most successful week of our transfer it was a
really good week and we saw some good things start happening, things
have started to get rolling. we got to teach some lessons, agusto came
to church for all three hours and met lots of people including the
bishop, and our two iranian and persian friends Khohrow and Shahab (60
year old men) came to church. technically... you see we didnt see them
once all sunday but when we called to ask them where they had been
Khohrow asked me where WE had been!! they showed up to the sacrament
that starts right after ours and sat in the front and everything!!!!
so here i was sitting there all sad that nobody had come except for
agusto (which i was super happy about) and it turns out they actually
did!!! let me tell you, that was hilarious.

So me and Elder Chronister get along super well and we have tons of
fun together. We have realized that the theme of our companionship is
food and missionary work. anything we ever do has something to do with
one of those two things. and most of the time they have to do with
both of them. we have been getting fed left and right by
investigators, street contacts, less actives, and members. we get
discounts and free food at restaraunts all over the place because
people somehow know that we love food and i guess they like us enough
to want to feed us! It has been soooooooooo funny to see time after
time how we have been getting delicious food everywhere. its a little
like the story of the five loaves. most missionaries shop for
groceries every week but we are going on something like 3 or 4 weeks
and still have plenty of food if we need it.

One highlight and funny story (there are far too many to email but one
day i will tell you the best ones) was going to see Norman Mitchell
again. We called ahead that morning to make sure he knew we were going
to lunch right after at Agusto's filipino food stall on the street
market so he shouldnt make us food and he just laughed at me and said
in his funny way "no no no.." to which i said "No really we are
serious. dont make us any food!!" and he just laughed again and said
nooo noo no.. and so we didnt know what to do and just laughed and
prayed he wouldnt cook us anything. we visited for a while, and he had
something on the stove in a pot but we assumed it was something for
dinner or something. then randomly he got up and said "im making you
guys dumplings." and started laughing.. anyways i asked him to teach
me how and so he did and kept telling me to tell my mom that some
funny old man taught me to make dumplings. He is jamaican and 94 and
is like a grandfather to tons of people who just come in and out of
his home taking care of things for him and visiting. he has an adopted
son (not legally) who stays there and is named Silah, from Guniea. we
were able to set up a time to meet him at the chapel aafter his work
one day last week but he didnt show up so we'll try again. anyways we
read out of the book of mormon with him and then he told us a lot
about his life and the many roles he has played in his church as
pastor, district pastor, all kinds of leadership in Jamaica and he is
seriously a legendary guy. i think ive told you about him already but
we also got to go to a lunch club thing he has on thursdays with lots
of senior citizens from his church. he had saved us seats next to him
and fed us oxtail (so good..) and cake and ice cream and we got to
hang out with a lot of old jamaican ladies and men for a while. we
didnt fit in one bit but it was a great time and we all had fun. two
american young mormon missionaries with lots of old jamaicans just
having a good time while eating some good old oxtail. I don't think i
mentioned this last week but we also had cow foot which is a jamaican
and russian dish. its like a chewy jello that is actually meat and
usually its really bad but it was good when norman made it for us.
anyways when we talked to norman at his house after the dumplings he
kept ssaying that there is a reason God had us cross paths. I
explained it already last week but it really was a miracle that we
met, on both ends, ours and his. he told us also that he had
missionaries over many times in his life here but that never had he
talked with any of them the way he talked with us. we dont really know
what the best way to go about trying to teach him is but we have
actually considered that maybe the reason we met was for our benefit.
We want him to know the truth of course but he is so set in his ways
and such an incredible man that it is hard. i have faith that the book
of mormon will be the key, because it can do things to a person that i
know we cant do.

the other week i played pick up ping pong in a market against a lot of
arab and black folks who are really good (or so they think) but who
really arent THAT good and so i played quite a few of them because
they all wanted to beat me but it took a  while and while i was
playing elder chronister got to talk to all of them and we made some
good friends and i love wearing my badge and wearing a shirt and tie
because i am reminded that people are always watching us and wondering
what we are about, and at times all we can do is smile and be nice to
people and that is all it takes to cause them to wonder, and then they
will be more likely to receive our message and learn the truth of the
gospel for themselves.

my good good friend Elder Jackson (one of our zone leaders who lives
with us) is determined to marry Ashley and it is constantly the joke
of our flat. the other day we sing i love to see the temple and elder
jackson replaced some of the words to say hes going there someday to
marry sister jensen and i wrote it down in my notes cause it was so
funny and i thought id warn you all in case he is going to be the next
member of our family...

There is always way too much to tell but know that I am doing great
and learning loads! it seems like everything teaches me something and
it is the most incredible experience to talk to people here in London
everywhere we go, learning about hteir lives and living in every part
of the world through the stories i hear here. for instance i met a man
from india who is young and his wife and son live in india but he
sends all his money home to them, calls her twice a day, and only sees
them once every year or two. People like him make it easier to think
of not seeing all of you for so long! I love you guys all so very
much, and it was spectacular to hear about everything this past week,
its crazy to think its raining there in cali... crazy

Take care this week and do something crazy and tell me and ashley
about it next sunday!


Elder Jensen

Hey did Benjamin get my letter? Tell him I said happy birthday and
that there should be a letter from me coming it's been in the mail for
quite some time. Also I thought perhaps if anyone has time and wanted
to see what kind of place I'm in i realized you could go on google
earth and if you start at exhibition road and Cromwell road's
intersection and follow Cromwell road East until you get to Wellington
arch and then Buckingham palace and then on to Big Ben that's part of
our run that we do sometimes like this morning for instance. It might
be cool just to see what it feels like to run down those streets and
see the buildings towering all around you and the architecture! I know
you've been here but perhaps the kids would get a kick out of it?

by the way i gave a book of mormon and we are going to try to teach a
mute person named Angela!!! i whipped out a passalong card and we
started writing stuff back and forth, i would ask a question, and she
would write her answer real quick and it was so cool! she was from

this is julia and she absolutely loved the photo booth app on my ipad,
this is one of thousands she wanted to take... hahahaha

what pancakes look like here in england...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week 7-July 13, 2015

Week 7-July 13, 2015
Hey fam!
This week was one of the best I've had out here. We saw a lot of good
things happen and also had a really fun week. I'm super jealous of you
all getting to go to Island park and have the family reunion!! It
sounds like it has been spectacular in every way. How is grandpa
doing? Lydia it's so good to hear that EFY was amazing and that you
grew so much in spiritual ways, that's fantastic! What are your
thoughts on serving a mission? You would be an incredible missionary,
have you started to think about it yet? Natalie Mandy and Ben didn't
email this week but I hope you're each loving Idaho!!! Enjoy the
jetskis for me!!

A quick experience to share with you happened on Wednesday. We decided
to fast and were praying for new investigators because we aren't
really teaching anyone. The night before, while planning where to go
to find people, i suggested Warwick Avenue and elder chronister said
that'd be fine. He later told me he thought about saying no cause it's
a lot of travel time. The next day when we walked out of the tube, I
talked to one lady but she was Russian and couldn't speak English so I
gave her a pass along card and then a well dressed older Jamaican man
with a cane turned the corner, saw me, I smiled at him and he shouted
"missionaries!!" He said he hasn't seen missionaries in Warwick Avenue
for quite some time and wondered if they didn't go there anymore! He
invited us over for dinner Monday evening and was the funniest man
ever. He would laugh so hard at everything we said and it was the
funniest thing ever. He was so excited to have us over and has
confirmed that we can come tonight. For that to happen on the one day
we fasted is unexplainable by any way other than the Lord's hand.

We don't have much time for emailing today because a good friend of
mine from my MTC group and his companion (who is going home in one
week) are coming into London today (other missionaries can only come
into London on pday once a transfer) and we're going to meet up with
them and we also have a zone picture scavenger hunt and then dinner
with Mitchell today but I'm praying and thinking of you guys always.
Have a wonderful remainder of the reunion if anyone asks, I'm doing
well and wish I could be there!

Love you all with all my heart!

Elder Jensen

P.s. Dad I have more questions coming but I'll send them next week for
lack of time! Thank you so much for your answers last week I was more
excited than you could imagine to hear your thoughts and they helped
tremendously. I shared some of them with my companion and the other
elders in our flat and it sparked some great discussions.

Mom I'll think about recipes! Thank you so much. I'll send some pics
as well in another email. Love you! Sorry I know you asked some
questions... I'll try to answer them next week! But yes prescient and
sister Stevens are incredible and yes I see them in the chapel often.
The mission home is technically the chapel I think but they live next
door, on exhibition road but not in the Visitors centre

Week 6-July 6, 2015

Week 6-July 6, 2015
Great week guys! and to be honest i dont have time to read all the family emails before sending this so i cant respond to them but i will read them later today on the tube and tonight when i get the chance but i need to use this time to write you guys instead of just read the whole time. im sure you all understand.

This week we met PRESIDENT AND SISTER STEVENS!!!! THey are incredible. i can already tell that i am going to love them. president stevens is super legit and completely different from president jordan. craziest thing, last monday night (president and sister jordans last night here) we got to go up to chapel roof THE ROOF OF THE CHAPEL ON EXHIBITION ROAD and make smores with president and sister jordan and the AP's and one other pair of elders and some senior couples. it was surreal, because president jordan for the first time i have seen him was totally chill and laidback and just grilling and laughing and all of a sudden was a regular guy. confession: ive hugged sister jordan probably at least 5 times now because i see them all the time and we act like it was going to be the last time every time so she hugs us. totally illegal. back to president and sister stevens though, sister stevens is the recent counselor on the general primary presidency! and wow is she incredible. it will be so much fun to get to know them

ok i really have to be breif this week but a quick story is that we have found a filipino family to teach in the funniest way ever!!! this week it was hotter than it has ever been here since 2006... let me tell you i kept thinking of dads stories of new york. worst thing ever to be in a tie and white shirt and SLACKS walking around in humid hot weather just DRIPPING sweat and feeling it run down your back and legs every time you stop moving... my laundry has never smelled so rank as it did this week lemme tell you it was pungent as heck today when i put in in the washer. anyways it was on this one crazy hot day that we were trying to visit some member and there was a filipino family next door just sorta hangin out in the shade so we asked them for some water and they filled our bottle twice and we just downed the whole thing a couple of times. we kept talking to the father named Matt and he eventually offered to have us over for dinner next week so that he can cook us this really good filipino dish hahahaha we were so pumped. thats this saturday so we are going to try to have a filipino teach us how to sing happy birthday in tagalan before then and well make him a cake cause its his birthday

tongs of appointments fell through this week but it has been an incredible week for my confidence in finding and stopping people. i feel that i am finally making some progress and it is getting easier.. i am also more comfortable with peoples stares and glances and strange looks and feel at home with it all and am coming to love being a missionary even when it means standing out. it makes me constantly concious of how i am acting and how i treat others, which is good.

this week a bunch of us missionaries in our zone sang for a girls baptism yesterday and it was beautiful!!! we practiced a lot and every day in companionship study with other other elders in our flat. it turned out really really well and it served as a very sweet spiritual experience for me. we sang come unto christ and ill try sending lydia a video later idk if itll send but maybe it will. 

weve been visiting lots of members and less actives because we just arent having much success finding people who will show up to appointments. we can get a lot of phone numbers on the street but they never amount to anything. this week we got some appointments lined up for the upcoming week though so im hopeful. starting to get to know the ward better. my american heritage professor from byu is in my ward now and he'll be here for 3 years so that has been a lot of fun to talk to him and all the other people in the ward. but when it comes down to it, the funnest is talking to other missionaries and mainly in our flat at nights and mornings. 

WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY AWESOME PART! happy july 4th!!!!!! first independence day spent in the loser's country. it was awesome we barbecued on our balcony and make cake and no bake cookies and just pigged out like crazy. ill attach a pic. also we bought a bench press for our flat and weve been using it. me and elder chronister ran 18 miles last week total and some of our runs were amazing.... just incredible sights. hyde park one morning had mist from the rain the night before and the sun was barely up so everything was magical and it was almost like i was in a dream as we ran through the quiet gardens.. it has been incredible to see londons sights in the morning when it is packed with tourists and people. 

love you all so much!!!! pray for you each every night and miss you dearly! good luck in everything that you all have this week and god bless america! mom ill send the pics in a seperate email thats easier. also tell ben that im sending him a letter today that he cant open until his birthday

Elder Jensen

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Week 5-June 29, 2015

Week 5-June 29, 2015
You went to a drive in theatre?!? yo what's up with that fam??? Why couldn't we have done that before I left!! Sweet though it sounded fun.. 

Quick question I want you to think of an answer too: How long do you think it would take to grow your hair long enough to put them in dreadlocks and have them touch your ankles when you're standing up? 

Benjamin are you serious? You slept in till 8:30?! Woah man... Careful or you might turn into a teenager bro! Staying up late and sleeping in late? Sounds like the life. Mandy I'm sorry you were sick but good luck in nationals this week! I know you'll do great! Keep working out those thumbs, typing on an iPad is the same way so we'll have a thumb war when I get back.. Natalie that's so cool you went to Youth conference, I miss that! Sounds like it was a ton of fun. Also could you make one of your CDs and send it to me? There is a CD player in every missionary flat and I'd love to listen to you and Lydia! Also happy to hear your speech is coming along! Lydia, I'm so pumped you're working at Caltech! Thanks for the picture. I thought about you this week while talking to new people and knew you would be meeting all the smart scientists and I know they will all love you. They're each a little quirky in their own way so you've just gotta give time to get closer to them and you'll love them all! Dads lab is full of super nice great people. Not to mention smart... And yo chill out sis take it easy with the homework and work and being the next prophets wife don't stress yourself out too much! It's summer!!!! You're in my thoughts and prayers and I know you like to do a lot just don't work yourself to death :) 

This week was a crazy one and involved a ton of finding which is the toughest part of missionary work because you literally just stop everyone and try to talk to people. It has been a learning experience because it is hard but I'm starting to see some progress and it's getting a little easier. I expect it will always be hard but that it will get easier over time. We are teaching a girl and she constantly has so many questions and they are always very good questions that are hard to answer, but strangely i find it always strengthens my own faith when she asks these questions. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense but somehow I leave having many questions and not knowing what the answers are but yet I feel a little more sure that this gospel is true then I did before. Any ideas why? 

While walking out of the chapel one day I saw some folks taking a pic on the other side of exhibition road with the chapel in the background and as I looked closer it was Nate Austin, the byu basketball player!! He waved at me so I waved back but didn't go talk to him (kinda regret that but it's alright) 

A story I thought I'd tell you guys was a miracle to me because I was having an especially hard time while finding and was very discouraged and then a guy caught my eye as we walked past and asked if we were Mormons to which I said yes and then we began talking to him. Turns out this guy has always felt a connection to the Mormon church and although he was a little drunk and very strange, he was extremely sincere and said there were many things he wanted to change and wanted to know about our church and felt like he could be useful. He is an artist, and a self proclaimed theosophist.. Which is a cross between theology and philosophy. He spent 10 years in jail, and has a heck of a crazy past. He began to cry when we told him we would help him and he kept saying that it was no coincidence that we crossed paths, and he knew we were Mormon without seeing our badges because of the way we looked and the feeling he got around us. He said that we were almost divine.. And that we look like twins hahaha but anyways he was SO determined to make sure we would meet at his home that I realised although 100 people could turn us down, somebody might just need us and actually want us to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ. His name is Mark David Alexander Luim.

We had a 3 week missionary meeting so I got to see all the missionaries from our MTC group and it was the greatest reunion ever!!!! I didn't realise how much I love those other missionaries even though we only spent 2 short weeks together.. I can already tell every time I get to see them will be so happy. I hope I get a chance to be companions with one of them 

This week I am incredibly sad but excited at the same time because President Jordan and Sister Jordan are leaving tomorrow. I cannot wait to meet president and Sister Stevens though and I feel incredibly blessed to have met and gotten to know the Jordan's before they left, because they are simply amazing. They have transformed this mission and made it what it is and every missionary here respects and loves them so much. It would take so long to describe them but President Jordan is sure to be a General authority or something because he is the most loving and yet intimidating man you'll meet because you can feel his powerful presence and testimony. He is something else... But he knows just what to say to you and for the small moments he speaks to you personally you feel like he knows everything about you and you just feel how much he loves you. Sister Jordan is so funny... She is so motherly and loving and so sassy it's hilarious! They are perfect for each other and I have gotten to know each of them just well enough to know that I will never forget them! They made a real impact on me and I'll always remember what they taught me. 

We've been running lately in the morning exercise time and the other day ran past Buckingham palace, through the Marble Arch, some beautiful parks, and finished at Big Ben, hopped on the tube and went straight home. It was incredible to think that on a morning jog, we could do that.. So sweet!!! I feel very blessed to be serving in such a remarkable area. 

My toenail has been dead and basically hanging on just barely for quite some time, ever since the marathon it has been messed up and it finally fell off. Thought about sending mom a picture but I figured that would be a little too gross

Legend has it that Kiera Knightley lives right behind the chapel in this secluded neighbourhood. Also David Beckham owns a house on Bishop's street! One remarkable thing is that there are so many poor, homeless even, people living amongst some of the richest people in the world here in the heart of London. It's fascinating the diversity here, you never know who you're going to meet!!

As Lydia says, LOLAP! (Lots of Love and Prayers)

Elder J-swiggley big daddy Jensen 

P.s. It takes 54 years! I asked, and when it starts dragging on the floor he still isn't going to cut it! Makes me think... In a way Rowland (the guy) is like an older, blacker, way less pretty version of Rapunzel :) 

Week 4-June 22, 2015

Week 4-June 22, 2015

First and foremost Happy Father's Day Dad! I thought a lot about you
yesterday and I am so grateful for everything you have done throughout
my life to put me on the right paths, teach me what it means to be a
good father and husband, and been my number one role model all my
life. It wasn't until I was in BYU that I began to notice how much I
have learned Sent from my iPad

This week was wonderful and I am starting to get to know the ward much
better now! They're great and I spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday
and we had an investigator and a less active guy we really want to
bring back there with us. There were a ton of byu students who are
going to the study abroad London program who came to our ward as well.
The chapel always has overflow because it's so constantly packed with
visitors especially this time of year. The bishop told us sometimes
it's more than 50% visitors on Sundays. Isn't that crazy?!? I spoke
about my fav scripture story and also why I love reading the
scriptures and it is crazy how hard it was for me to pick a story.. I
have been reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning and I'm just
starting alma now and there are already so many things I have loved...
To the kids, tell them my new fav Book of Mormon character might be
Gideon and to look him up he's in mosiah.

We did a lot of finding this week which is just talking to everyone on
the street and for the first time did split finding where me and elder
chronister split up and found separately for a couple hours. Let me
tell you, it sucks to be ignored and brushed off by strangers over and
over.. I feel like a salesman sometimes. I hate that feeling so
instead I try to be myself and instead walk up to people and
compliment their nike's or ask them about their fav restaurant on the
street and then talk about the gospel once we have already started
talking. There are some crazy people here. Me and elder chronister
call the wackos and they're all over the place. When I see or meet
older folks like that I just feel so terrible that they are on the
streets smoking and drinking and their kids probably don't care
anymore and they're alone and I just hate to think of what that would
be like. I spoke with an older man named Philip who calls himself "the
law" and wasn't playing with a full deck of cards and once I realised
that and he told me he lives in a care home, I stopped asking him to
come to church with me and just asked him all about his life and then
he asked me for a couple of pounds so he could buy a drink. I gave him
all my change and as I walked away he kept saying goodbye elder Jensen
over and over and was so happy that I felt better about being rejected
by so many people. I did get some numbers and an appointment and gave
away a couple of book of Mormons so it wasn't fruitless just a tough
learning experience. I did an exchange on Tuesday with Elder Leite who
lives in our flat and is a zone leader on Tuesday and we had a great
day and I learned so much from him, I just love that guy. Our flat is
so much fun and the evenings are a blast.. Someone is always randomly
trying to work out with our tiny dumbbells and the rest of us are
eating and messing around. IMPORTANT: I'm gaining a lot of weight.
Elder C is inspired by my marathon story and ever since he has been
wanting to run so we ran through Hyde park a few times in the mornings
and it is beautiful. I feel very blessed to be where I am. Although in
the city itself I have learned that even though I'm really growing to
love London, I do not picture myself ever living somewhere like this.
I want a lot of grass and a huge yard and a pickup truck. I have seen
maybe 5 pickups since getting here and that is not an exaggeration.
It's not a money issue because we live in one of the richest most
expensive places in the world.. There's a Lamborghini shop down the
street and I've seen more ferraris (one tinted gold) and amazing cars
here than in my whole life. But the standard of living is so
different! People are so cramped and live in flats not houses! It's
totally different style of living.

Loved reading the kids emails!! And mom you should know that I've been
cooking for myself and learning a lot.. Could you send me an email of
some basic recipes for things? I can refer to my emails anytime just
not send them except on p day just like the sisters said

Holy cow there have been some insane people we've met and not just
crazy people but people with absolutely incredible life stories! We
met with a recent convert whose a little less active but has a
testimony like none other....... He's like the most interesting man in
the world! Has over 400,000$ worth of stamp collection and spent most
of his life as a miner and housing orphans in the jungles of the Congo
and so many other stories that were very powerful about his conversion
and prayers being answered. Made me and elder c want to talk to every
single person we could!!

Lydia I can't wait for your letter and it's good to hear everything is
going so well. You sound like you learned a lot about service this
week and that's great. I'm proud of you! That's a valuable lesson to
learn and we all can work on that!

Lots of things but I don't have time to write them all so just know I
love you guys and missed you a lot this week thinking about Father's
Day! I don't think I've ever been more grateful for you guys, I have
often taken our wonderful family for granted but truly it has been the
greatest blessing for us to have each other and personally for me you
all mean the world to me. Mom I love the pictures!!M hahahaha
Benjamin's face is so funny.. And congrats on making it to summer
everyone!!!!! Good luck in New Hampshire dad and good luck with the
kids mom.

Love you all!!!

Elder Jensen