Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week 17--Sept. 21, 2015

Week 17--Sept. 21, 2015
"19" by taylor swi-..jensen
FAM! do you get the title? feels like im 22... the song by taylor swift... whatever it was a stretch
I added graham and nick carrigan to this because they are on their missions and wanted to get my weekly emails. just a heads up. you all know graham and nick left after first semester to Sweden but was a really good friend of ours.
It was so weird to think of mom and dad off doing their things this week and lydia and natalie holding down the fort... when natalie said that lydia was driving everyone everywhere and she was getting everyone ready for school i just about questioned mom and dads sanity. then i remembered that lydia and natalie... you two arent the little girls who i used to jump on the tramp and play with! its clear you have grown up so much. honestly i think you have surpassed my maturity level already which is a little depressing
So fun to hear from Benjamin and mandy too, sounds like you had an awesome week. Benjamin keep those lizards alive!!! and mandy, thanks so much for offering to let me play your new ukelele when i get home! we can jam out together. mom- i wish that i had known great grandma Tanner better. but i am glad that one day i will! from what you say about her, she sounds a lot like you. Dad- thanks for the words of advice. how are things with Yiwei and his wife? anything new? have they come to church? sounds like a sweet time at the ucla byu game... can't believe we lost though... jack heer must have been so happy. sorry to hear about the drunk guy though, seems like there are people like that everywhere
THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE BDAY STUFF! The package made my week mom thank you so so soso sosososossosososos much and i loved every single thing! you could seriously not have sent more perfect gifts. I have been wanting some american socks so badly.... its like you knew exactly what i wanted. and the ties?!!?!? They are SICK!!! Im sure you will see me wearing them in pictures in the future. your note made me laugh so hard mom :) and to the rest of you, thank you so much for the cards, each one of you. i felt so close to you all reading your notes. my birthday was great! it fell on the day of interviews with the president, funny enough! we played volleyball as a zone in the chapel for exercise that morning and the zone leaders elder leite and tinao (our flat buddies) left super early to "run" but really went a bought a cake. they surprised me with it and sang to me with the zone and it was really fun. Then during personal study, president jordan called me and him and sister stevens sang to me which was sweet of them. That day we went upstairs to the mission office before interviews to check the mail and the packages and sister williams who is just the funniest most hilarious woman ever had all the office missionaries sing for me wearing the bday stuff because elder wood told them even though i made him promise not to. the good thing was i got to hear elder williams' personal rendition of the birthday song which is legendary here in the mission and it was awesome. they insisted on taking a photo and she sent it to me so ill attach it. interviews went really well! you know, president stevens is a very good man, and very smart too. it was an honor to talk to him one on one for a little while. and sister stevens... wow she is really just the most amazing mission presidents wife. both her and sister jordan were incredible and both president jordan and stevens are also incredible and all in such different ways. it makes me realize that leadership in the church is always changing, but different people bring equally good things to the table. even though saying goodbye to one is very difficult, the next will be different and amazing in their own way. I feel very blessed to have met the Jordan's before they returned home. Sister STevens made brownies for interviews and they were so good...... nice bday treat. That evening we went to augusto's to do some service but didnt have time so just had dinner with him. he had made avocado and mango and shrimp (called prawn here) because they are all my favorite things. quick note about augusto. he showed me yesterday that he had gotten a temple recommend and is going to the temple with the ward this saturday for endowments, and is making such enormous progress. it is amazing to me and fills me with joy. i love him so much and would do anything for him... elder chronister and i feel so blessed to have been a part of his life and seen him come back to the gospel. that night while i did call-ins with the sisters in the district, elder wood made a carrot cake with cream cheese (i picked it out in honor of dad) frosting. he also gave me a tie that morning which was so nice of him to do. i couldn't ask for a better companion. he has made it a tradition to bake on the nights i do call-ins which has been making it so hard to fit into the right belt loops anymore. ill try to send some pics i took on my camera of the following night when we had time to put the banner up and balloons and had peanut butter oatmeal cookies (courtesy of Elder WOod of course) and used the candles. Thanks so much for those mom! 
So yea, that was my bday! it was wonderful and for a large part due to you guys, so thanks :) youre the best family ever.
Other than that, some interesting exciting things happened this week but ill just mention a few! to answer your questions mom, chris has gone missing, and being a trainer entails what it sounds like. basically i am now in charge of the area and what we do and we have an hour a day extra to study a program by the church to help new missionaries learn what and how to do things. its called 12 weeks and you do it the first 2 transfers of your mission, which means i get to do it all over again right away! maybe the Lord knew i wasnt always paying close attention the first time and gave me a second chance.. hahaha and being a district leader just means that i call the two pairs of sisters in the district (visitor's centre sisters) and go over their areas breifly and then report it all to elder leite(the zone leader) 3 nights a week. also, i organize a district meeting once a week and trainings for the 8 of us. It's been such a blessing! the district is incredible and we are all super super young. If you add up the time me, elder wood, and the four sisters have been on our missions...... elder leite has been out longer. hahahahaha so we are all fairly new which makes it a ton of fun! the sisters are super hardworking and really do such great work that its a privilege to serve with them and i learn a lot from them and their examples.its weird not doing calls with any elders cause i feel like im at home with all my real sisters and benjamin is elder wood...just 2 on 4 plus the zone leaders who are like mom and dad. ive always been outnumbered i suppose.
We were teaching a mother and her two sons (18 and 24) got in a huge fist fight and shouting match and it was really really tough because everyone was yelling at them to stop and for the older one to get off of the younger one but there are no other guys in the home so they couldnt do anything to stop it and we were in a different room and i got up and ran to the door because out of instinct i wanted to go try to break it up but then stopped just before opening the door and realized that maybe i shouldnt... i just stood there praying to know what to do and almost instantly they stopped and apparently the 18 year old just left the house and ran so that was that. i thought a lot about it since and i think it would have been very bad to get involved at all and probably against the white handbook too and just in general an ugly situation so i was so grateful that it broke up before i had done something
anyways thats all the time i have. Im only ONE YEAR AWAY FROM BEING 20 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a bit of an epiphany the night before my bday and realized it was my last time in my entire life of being 18 years old... ill never get that year back!
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week and keep being so amazing. you inspire me! ill send you some pics mom because they are on my ipad and im on the computer
Elder Jensen
This is the beloved senior missionary crew in the mission office... They are something else! Sister Williams is the one between me and elder wood and elder Williams is the one to the left of Elder Wood. They are so much fun and I love going up to the office and seeing them. Elder and Sister Gale are really wonderful too, they just arrived recently and are on the outsides. Oh and I'm wearing the tie elder wood gave me! The light blue one.. I love it!

This is a photo taken at the conference with Klayton Christensen and his wife. They are on the stand he's the super tall one. This is the ELM! Im in the aisle on the right at the back with the short black elder. He's one of my friends from the MTC... I don't know if you'll be able to pick us out hahah but I'm wearing a brown tie.

This is the district! With president and his wife at interviews.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week 16--Sept. 14, 2015

Week 16--Sept. 14, 2015

Hey fam! i have almost zero time today. this morning we went to our usual traditional restaruant that Carlos is a chef at. we went with augusto and elder chronister and his companion. It was so nice to see them and spend time together it felt like normal. Then we had a zone badmintton tournament and potluck in the gym at the chapel all afternoon and played some chair football and basketball after the sisters left. it was a ton of fun... Our zone is like a big family and because geographically we are a tiny zone, we all see each other quite often! for example, we all met up at the chapel this morning for zumba and yoga together with a senior missionary who leads it. Tons of fun... 

but yea so combined with everything we had to get done today and the fact that we are having fhe tonight means i have no time. But to summarize, we havent seen much success this week and it has been frustrating. I have been learning to let go of my grip on the outcome and instead trust God a little more. I just work so hard and expect results and when they dont come i get mad... i love to not worry and just work though. its a great feeling and even though sometimes nothing good is coming of it, I feel happy. I learned that when I get discouraged my faith starts to go down. But when i just work hard and let go of my worries, my faith increases and my doubts fade. I think all of our lives we have to choose to believe and to fight our doubts and make sure they dont get the best of us. 

Anyways, thank you so much for the birthday wishes :) you guys are the best fam out there i love you so much. visiting members and families here makes me realize how happy i will be when i can sit down in the kitchen with all of you again. i dont want to boast but we have an incredible home and the best family.  j-squad for life!#

love you all! #finally19 #gettingfatandoldalready

-elder J swizzles

ill send some pics seperately mom!

dad- i have a copy of the stories. ann and matt sent it to me and i absolutely loved it. so yea i know what youre talking about. Also, about yiewei really briefly. That is incredible! what i wanted to tell you was that one thing klayton christensen  did with his friend was ask him what his biggest questions were, assigned him 2 BOM chapters that contained the answers, then told him to pray, read, write a 2 paragraph summary answwer to each question, pray, read again and revise the summaries, and then pray to know if it was true and what he read was true. he came back with incredible answers that shocked even them and a testimony and desire to be baptised. all because he found the answers himself! you are the best teacher explainer i know but he will have to find his answers in the quiet alone time that he spends. something to bear in mind. Tell him i said hello!!! I miss him and the lab, he is such a great guy

Elder Bender elder Ammermon and elder Chiwara (im the one with the hops)

Basketball for exercise in the morning! 

My favorite kiddos. Ella and Lucho

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 15-Sept. 8-2015

Week 15-Sept. 8-2015

Sup fam!!! so guess what, i got my new companion and we are doing just fine. We had three people come to church plus a recent convert who we accompanied to church because she didnt know how to find it. We have our work cut out for us in terms of progressing investigators now though because the one man (Chris) we put on date we let the YSA elders take over so he is no longer ours. That was sad because i worry they wont love him as much as i do because he's a bit of a tough cookie and takes some patience.. We'll see how it goes. Other than that, we had a bit of a miracle and not only did our buddhist investigator Nimi come to church but so did an Iranian man we taught months ago when me and Elder Chronister just started here. he had fallen off a bit, but randomly called us up and said he was coming to church with his friend! Sure enough, him and an iranian doctor came and promised they would be coming next sunday as well. The friend was a man who had met with missionaries and went to the LDS churches in Japan many many years ago and when he found out Khohrow (the guy we taught a few months back) knew mormon missionaries he got really excited and so they came and here we are, hopefully going to be able to teach these two men. ill attach a pic of them because oour zone decided to make a shared album on icloud where we would all take selfies with our investigators and post them to the album so the whole zone could see them.

this week was wild because of the transfer, so we didnt get to do that much work. on wednesday for our last hurrah and salute to our wonderful 2 transfers together, Elder Chronister and I made the run of a lifetime. We got up extra early, at about 5:50, and ran all the way from our flat to buckingham palace, trafalga square, then to the river Thames and followed the river all the way to St. Paul's cathedral and millenial bridge. And the sunrise that morning was beyond description... We stood on Millenial bridge (almost out of our mission) and looked at the sky and the skyline for probably 15 minutes before taking the tube home... it was just incredible. one of the most surreal moments either of us had ever had. Ill attach some pics because Elder Chronister has a GoPro and took some sweet pictures.

Basically transfer day was a roller coaster of emotions but it was a very good learning experience. My old MTC companion and really good friend Elder Withers (from BYU) is training too AND so are our two original trainers! so me and Elder C, elder withers and his trainer Elder Cook were all there waiting for our new missionaries, i thought it was really funny hahaha. Also, ill attach a really really cool four generation picture that we took with our family tree

So a quick bit about my new companion before i finish. His name is Elder Wood, and we are getting along great. He is from Mississippi and is an artist and an actor! He is really smart and good at explaining the gospel really simply and sincerely and im learning a lot from him.. and guess what mom.. he bakes!!!!! Also we have a new zone leader in our flat now that elder jackson left named Elder Tinao who is from New Zealand and is half samoan and half tongan and the flat has been a party. to the girls: we played big 2 last night and i didnt win once..... all that practice and i lose!? it was beginners luck on their part.. me and elder tinao were together on saturday for an exchange which was SUCH a blast we just talked to everyone and had a fantastic day teaching lessons and visiting a couple of less actives and such. 

I took over all of Elder Chronister's stuff basically his side of the desk, his bed, everything... elder wood doesnt like to run much so it looks like ill be getting swole instead this transfer hitting the weights. heavens knows i could use some of that. The transition of this whole transfer has been tough, but I have learned a lot. It has really humbled me and it has caused me to ask Heavenly Father for help. Luckily for me though, my district is full of sisters younger in their missions or as old in their missions as me and they are such understanding hard working missionaries and the zone leaders are such a help that i could not be more blessed as i struggle to learn how to fulfill my new responsibilities.

KLAYTON CHRISTENSEN CAME TO OUR MISSION! he spoke to the whole mission about member missionary work and it was incredible. the man is on another level, he reminds me of Dad. he's the dean of the Harvard business school and the most influential business thinker in the world.. you guys know who he is. But anyways I got to see all of my old MTC friends which was so amazing. Brother Christensen was inspiring let me tell you... it was really something.

One of the highlights of my whole mission was last night when we had an FHE with some members and some missionaries at the chapel and Augusto told me that he had accepted a calling as a ward missionary from our Bishop on Sunday and that he would be sustained this following Sunday... Its hard to describe how much this meant to me and Elder Chronister but it is splendid news. 

also blake sent me a video of the byu play..... SO sweet

Love you each so much. I pray and think of you always. Have a fantastic week and pray for missionary work and for opportunities to share the gospel. Mom youre gunna be legendary as YW president i just wish i were there to mess around and cause trouble still. 

HAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYYY BIRTHDAY MANDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <333333333333333  I LOVE YOU!!!! Have a super dooper day homegirl. Ill be thinking of you on friday. Ill be sending you a letter so hopefully it gets there soon! 
ill send some pics from my ipad. the gospel is true and its worth sacrificing for. love you!

The family tree is growing. elder fanga -> elder Chronister -> me -> elder wood 

The MTC group reunited at mission conference

The whole zone at Big Ben today! Had to show all the new missionaries
the sights.

Our last supper (breakfast actually) 

The new companion elder Wood. Stud 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Week 14-August 30, 2015

Week 14-September 1, 2015
New Transfer
Hey fam! if there is one thing i learned this week, its that somehow since leaving california and america and flying over the Atlantic Ocean I now love my family a lot more. your pictures and emails become my ipad wallpapers and i think of each of you in my prayers every night! I also am so sad that i dont have much time to email. from now on with my new companion i think ill get more time but with Elder Chronister we have super busy pdays. super sad news: elder jackson is going home tomorrow and i just said goodbye to him for the last time. it was really really sad... he has made me laugh more than almost anyone i know and being in the flat with him for 3 months has been so helpful to me. an example of a goofy humble hard working missionary who accomplishes so much by being humble and loving. I will miss him a lot and until him and ashley get married youll probably never see him either.
This week was good! Dad, you asked about Chris, the man we spoke to in the rain. he is on vacation, but has said he wants to be baptised in the beginning of october and so this week he's getting back and we will see how he progresses! I am super excited for him- but as much as i want him to progress i know itll be up to him ultimately. Thats the thing about being a missionary- we do what we can and then at a certain point each person has their agency. And thats the way it needs to be! this week me and elder chronister and augusto strangely enough talked about how seeing angels or having visions doesnt garauntee anything. many of the witnesses in the beginnning of the book of mormon fell away from the church.. laman and lemuel spoke to angels.. and the list goes on. Then it occurred to me that it is their pride that kept them from eternal life. They knew in their hearts that the gospel was 100% true, they knew god exists.. yet the chose to distance themselves from it all. And that must be because their pride prevented them from humbling themselves to God and to the leaders of the church and recognizing their own mistakes. That brought me to the idea that ultimately, thats what Satan personifies. He, of all people, knows who Jesus Christ is. Heavenly Father is his father too, and he knows very well who he is, but he's the devil... because of his pride he has seperated himself. He's also the perfect example of what happens when we do that. Anyways, just a really interesting thought that was on my mind.
This week we had a lot of goodbyes because we knew one of us was leaving so every time we visited someone it was a little bit sad. The big news of the week is that Joey Folwell (a 24 year old guy whose mother is a member and who was baptised as a child but hasnt gone to church in years and years since he was a kid. he now has a 9 year old daughter and a partner and a 4 year old boy who he is basically a father too as well) came to church!!!!! his brother Andrew is our YM president and told us it would be a miracle if we got him to church. anyways, we have over the months gotten really close to him and talked a lot about church and God and scriptures and faith and he has softened so much. He came to church 3 hours late (yes thats after church ended) with his partner Steph and the four year old, Lucho. we went to the YSA sacrament meeting with them at 1 and he told us yseterday that he has been thinking and talking with Steph about going again, possibly every week. Steph is not a member and she told me church helped her feel at peace with herself. I love this crazy family so much... i cant help but see what they could be if they accept the gospel and joey leads the family through the craziness they face as a real Dad. Side note joey got a ukelele and so he has been learning it and they think im some sort of professional because i played guitar and so i can play the ukelele a bit. They ask me to play whenever we visit now and it has made me wanna buy one myself! Hahaha. anyways this was a highlight of the week for sure.
Another huge highlight was that a man named paul cardall ( the son of a senior missionary couple that direct the Visitors Center here) gave a devotional on sunday evening. He is an incredible piano player, look him up. he wrote the score for ephraim's rescue! anyways we invited augusto to come to it that day at church because he was supposed to be going camping but it got cancelled so he was around. the devotional was one of the most incredible experiences. it was incredible. the way that he played his songs and told the stories of how they came about were inspiring. the best part of all though was that after the devotional, augusto told us that Paul's testimony had made him decide that he was going to come back for good. and not come back in the sense of just coming to church, but the whole shebang. Completely come back.. this has been the culmination of me and Elder Chronister's entire time together, and it means the world to elder Chronister. We had lunch with Augusto today and cooked altogether in a super super nice flat he watches over, and it was a tender experience.
So the big news is that Elder Chronister is leaving! He is going to train another new missionary and he's literally in the area just above Hyde Park 2, still in London, just up the street. So we are going to be able to see each other quite often still which makes me so happy. I will be taking his place as district leader here and I will also be training a new missionary. pray for him.. i dont know how im gunna do this
mom, i spent 90 pounds on some jackets from elder chronister for super good prices because he doesnt want them anymore and so im set for the winter! also, a few things.. augusto reminded me that i need to tell you that i have changed! I love vegetables and fruit now! what is happening to me... Hahaha also, im finally going to have to learn how to cook rice and do real cooking stuff now cause who knows if my new companion will have ever cooked either. Maybe we'll just have cereal for every meal. Side note: theres an american food store that me and elder chronister go to all the time and we know the worker super well at this point. i bought 8 boxes of chocolate chex.. they were on sale for 50 pence a peice............. i had to...

I love you each so much! Lydia, good luck in school this year, tell brother rossiter i said hello for me, would you? also, you are growing up and look so much older now. to think of you driving and being a junior is so crazy.. Stop turning into a full fledged woman!!!!! youre supposed to be my little sister. Natalie- sounds like youre enjoying being the top dog in Foothills now as an 8th grader. And hahahaha i sure hope mr. mcculley doesnt call you Taylor... that'd be uncomfortable because that means either you look like a boy or (more likely) i looked like a pretty blonde girl. good luck in web! Mandy, YOU"RE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! I love you so much :) you'll be just fine don't let yourself worry. Benjamin... I drew a picture for you ill send it to you soon. i think you'll like it. love you little broski! keep up the good work in soccer and cub scouts!
ASHLEY!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU DA BEST OLDER SISTA EVER! I hope you have a great day.. love you and miss you sis <3
Have a great week everyone! eat some peanut butter and think of me
 you are in my thoughts every single day! i dont know what i could do without you all. J-squad for life

Elder J 
Last weeks pday- throwing the football (american football) at Olympic
park in the rain!!! 

Me, Augusto, Carlo, and Elder Chronister having a farewell barbecue before Carlo and his family left for the philipines for a month.
he district for the last time.. The two in the front are leaving tomorrow to go home. (Elder Jackson from Alabama and Sister Phillips from southern England)

The final pop tart. The last time we keep the tradition of eating a pop tart together once a week on Friday. 

Scotch bonnets. Flat 17 yo 

Joey and his family (missing Ella his 9 year old daughter)