Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week 26-November 23, 2015

Week 26-November 23, 2015
Goodbye Hyde Park

Hey fam! 
I wish i could have gone and hiked mt wilson with Dad Lydia and Mandy! Way to go making it 10 miles Mandy! did you take any pictures? also,  WAY TO GO LYDIA! already inviting all your friends to church and inviting them to play piano for you and kylie and natalie?! you are incredible! if it makes you feel any better, being dissapointed that all the people you invite to church dont come is actually something you will face on your mission believe it or not. Natalie, i got a letter from you and you asked if i would ever write you back... i am so sorry that i havent yet. i just never seem to have any time on our preparation days so i decided to do it today so hopefully you will get it before long. Also, mandy i love your face paint! and well done Benjamin!!!! i get nervous even just to say a prayer in sacrament meeting so way to kill it and do a 5 minute talk! also thats so good to hear that you all were able to make those boxes for your christmas project. i am sure the kids who get them will be so happy. Dad, are yiwei and amanda considering baptism? have you talked it over with them yet? one scripture i love is john 14:27 and when i read about amanda's question for you and the sister missionaries thats what came to mind. never in life are we without trials and struggles; peace isnt the absence of hard things in your way it is what we find when we believe in the Saviour. it allows us to make it through those hard times and still be happy. to me there is a big difference between peace as most people perceive it and then peace that comes from Christ. just some of my thoughts. super happy to hear that they are progressing though and by the way congratulations on the new microscope and raise. hows bishop daines doing? how much are the sister missionaries in our ward involved in ward councils and with you and brother card and bishop daines? 

Mom, i am sending a package home and hopefully it gets there in time for christmas. just some stuff for the kids basically and some letters! and MAN i am so jealous of you all. eating eating and more eating... that sounds like exactly my type of vacation. Good luck to lydia and her wisdom teeth! i remember passing out with all my friends there after getting mine pulled... 

Well, Transfers have come! today is my last day in central london. Tomorrow i am going to Romford- i think the city itself i will be in is called Basildon. Its in east london so i will still be in london and i will be close enough to continue practicing to be in the missionary christmas choir! that was a huge blessing. This is huge news because this will only be my second area! i have spent this entire past six months here in Hyde Park 2!!! i am going to miss it so badly. to describe how sad i am to leave a few certain people would be very hard but luckily i will see them all again; Hyde Park is the center of everything and once a month at least i will be returning for something called MLC so i will be back quite often. president has asked me to serve as a zone leader so i will have some different responsibilities this next transfer; ive met my soon-to-be companion before but not for more than a couple of breif words so i will have to wait till next week to tell you about him. I will also wait till next week to tell you anything about the new area too. i drove for the first time this past week! i did a three hour lesson with this member  who helps out all the missionaries cause he is a driving instructor. it was pretty nuts but it felt SO good to be back behind a wheel.i miss it SO much

Other than that, i don't think i have much to report, other than the fact that as i wa packing today i felt pretty overwhelmed by how blessed i have been in my life. It seems as if the Lord has a soft spot for the Jensens or something from what you all say as well. I appreciated that you each said we have so much to be thankful for... id add my own voice to that and say that we truly do have so much and we ought to be full of gratitude... Im with lydia and i know dad has told me this before too.. Some crazy trial must be on the horizon because life isnt supposed to be this good! hahahahaha just kidding. i dont wanna jinx us. but really. id like it to stay this way hahahaha

I love and miss you all more than i can say. take care and keep being missionaries- one of the best ways is by letting your light shine so be strong and stand up for what we know and believe! i am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EEEEEEEEXXXXXXXXCCCCCCIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDD for CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder J

p.s. ill send some pic s from my ipad and i think elder murri has some on his camera as well

p.p.s. mom i am ditching my black suit... the one ive had since i was like a priest... maybe ill burn it :)

Just smooth chillin in a cemetery. I run here all the time and I just
love it so much... It's so beautiful the picture doesn't do it
justice. Sorry for the eyes it was early in the morning and I was
still tired...

This was our last district meeting!!! It was amazing. I will miss these missionaries so much... I love them- they're such a great group of people. We were like a family and it breaks my heart to leave them. I feel so honoured to have been serving with them this past transfer!
I think elder murri has some more pics and if I get them I will send them also in a bit!

Elder Hesen, Elder Andrews, Taylor, Elder Convey
Pictures sent by Bishop Nicholls of Basildon ward
Thanksgiving in Basildon 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 25-November 16, 2015

Week 25-November 16, 2015

SUP DAWGS! sorry for the excessive slang- i am actually trying to work on it but i can never think of a good subject for my email and theres nothing like opening with a good "sup dawgs".

All kinds of fun and exciting and hard stuff happened this week but i took some extra time to email some folks individually this week and im sorry but this one will be short this week.

all is well in hyde park 2! we had zone conference this week which was really cool and we also had an exchange and all sorts of good stuff. man- one day i will just tell you all my stories from my mission but i just hate typing for ages and ages! I finished my journal so now i need to go and buy a new one!!! that was a cool feeling. the transfer is ending next week so this will be most likely my last week here. i dont know if thats for sure or how i feel about it but its crazy to think that i have now spent a quarter of my mission here in this ward .

couple funny experiences:

me and elder murri (my zone leader) had an amazing day together on saturday for our exchange and had so much fun. hes from utah and played football and wrestled and we have become good friends since he moved into our flat. it rained all day and we spent the whole day in the rain walking around talking to people and just contacting people in their area. we were soaked- we came across a man raking up all the leaves from off of the sidewalk and i said hello and we started talking and he told us, "Leaves??? I LOVE leaves! (he was a bit nuts) My NAME is Leaves!!!! Im John LEAVES!!! HAHAHAHA!!!!" at which point he started shouting and laughing all kinds of strange stuff and he told us he was from poland- then he started saying how people litter all the time and that leaves arent litter, they are beautiful ( i agreed) then he started ranting about how there are too many dang immigrants in this city........ to which i said you're from poland!!! what are you talking about? and me and elder murri couldnt contain ourselves any longer and were laughing so hard we had to just walk away as he kept shouting and picking up piles of leaves, unaware that we were walking away. we later passed the street some time later and he was still shouting and ranting. crazy immigrants

another funny experience: that same day, we got on a train and i saw an open seat and nobody standing up so i sat down and then was talking to elder murri and looked to my left and noticed the women sitting to the left of them, a group of four or five it seemed like, were looking at me funny so i looked at them again and smiled and said hi and one of them said "are you from the play?!" and i said "nope were the real ones!" to which they all laughed and were so amused and asked us to sing one of the songs and do the dances to which we politely declined and we had a really funny conversation before we got off a stop later. we left them witha passalong card- hopefully theylll study up on what real mormons do. 

it was elder tinao's bday yesterday and so me and some other elders threw a surprise dinner for him at our flat- we cooked him chocolate pancakes and put butter pecan cake frosting on them and had ice cream to boot. it was super ghetto and last minute cause it was sunday and we couldnt go out to buy anything. it was awesome though. 

couple quick questions for dad

we got stopped by some jehovahs witnesses and they were asking some really contentious questions and i just totally joked around with them cause i didnt know what else to do and i knew if i talked seriously i would get out of hand angry cause i was already getting really angry. 

if Jehovah is the true name of the Saviour, why don't we use it? namely, why doses the book of mormon prophets and our modern revelation and scriptures say Jesus instead? 

when did the ordinance of baptism begin? if it is truly so necessary, adam and all the old prophets must have been baptised. is that true? if so, where do we read that they were? if not, did it begin with JOhn the Baptist and the Saviour? was it part of the law of moses?

Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder J

Super cold brisk day. Cool church

After a call from Sister Cornwall for our email, we got this pic sent from the Hyde Park visitor center where Pres. Cornwall and Sarah had stopped to see Taylor at the conclusion of Sarah's study abroad trip around Europe.  So fun to see!

"What a great missionary!" Sue Cornwall
November 18, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week 24-November 9, 2015

Week 24-November 9, 2015
Tie so fly you die eating pie (im just trying to one up lydias cool title)

wasssssssssssssUP fam!? sorry for the title, i was trying to make up a rhyme and we had pumpkin pie and i wear a lot of ties and that was all i could come up with (given i didnt spend much time thinking)

First of all WOW lydia and natalie look like theyre ready to head off to college and take over the world when on earth did you two start looking and getting so old? You both look beautiful though, almost a little bit too much so... mental note to self to start praying harder that no boys in arcadia get the wrong idea. Mandy, you wouldnt believe how jealous i am of you reading by the fire this week a lot. We have started listening to christmas music and i wish so badly we had a fireplace to lay by. It is getting cold here in the UK! Benjamin, way to go winning all your games this week. always remember.. if you arent first, youre last. So always be first. Mom, way to be! elder murri plays the downloaded GC talks in the morning at times while we shower and eat bfast and i love it. also, hyde park 2 had their christmas program this week sa well! i can totally see you sitting there bawling while the kids sing. because i almost did myself! there are two things i love and they are children and primary songs so it was an amazing sunday for me.

We have had the really neat opportunity to teach a 9 year old boy who is the son of a recent convert to prepare him to be baptised and this sunday i had a special moment. I was sitting next to him, the boy (his name is Alister kinda like the one in dad's lab) during the sacrament meeting, and he was in this really nice neat suit all dressed up nice and with his long hair combed and everything. he looked so dashing, but i knew inside exactly how he must have felt while his mom forced him into nice clothes and combed his usually crazy hair because heavens knows me and ben have been there before. (youre the best mom) anyways as we sat there together, him taking up so much less of the bench and his feet hanging off the ground, the primary started singing one of my favorite songs and i suddenly looked down to my side at alister and felt a strong feeling of love for him- i already loved him but in that moment it was so strong! then i realized why, and felt very humble and blessed. I felt like i was in arcadia, sitting next to benjamin at the end of the row in sacrament meeting. they are about the same age, and he reminded me of the little brother i have many miles away. I leaned over down to him and whispered, "i love this song" to which he looked up at me and gave me a big grin and said excitedly, " me too!" i gave him a fist bump (always appropriate no matter the situation) and he smiled really big and i felt my heart melt as i realized that the Lord had blessed me with the friendship of this little boy to remind me just how much i love children and especially my own siblings. I know i am in the right place and i am not often homesick but in that moment i really missed you guys. Its cool to hear that the arcadia ward had their primary program this week as well. 

the other really cool experience i want to share is that we were asked to sing altogether as the missionaries in our zone for a pair of sister's baptism yesterday. A guy named patrick who is 19 years old and who i have gotten to know playing basketball with on friday nights and talking to in the chapel at times was baptised and i learned things i will never forget. His story is incredible- he had tons of questions about 3 years ago and began to do some resesarch. one of his big questions was why modern revelation supposedly didnt exist and why there wwere no more prophets in these days. he was searching for answers when he stumbled across Joseph Smith on the internet. he read all about him and his life and his death and he said that he knew at that time that Joseph Smith was a prophet. things progressed and miracle after miracle led him to read the Book of Mormon and finally he decided something had to be done and he walked into our chapel one day about a month ago and told the sisters he would like to be baptised. His testimony was incredible- and it brought many questions into my own mind. would i be as strong as him and have the faith to be baptised if i were in his shoes? he and I are similar in personality and the exact same age and i love the guy. If i had not been raised in the church, and stumbled across it, would i have walked the same path he had walked? I feel confident that i would. i sat there thinking over my life and realized that not a day goes by that i am not compelled by one reason or another to be a better person because i decided to be baptised a member of the true church -i have never once regretted that decision and my life is infinitely different and better because of it. It was a special experience and when i gave him a hug after the meeting it was a tender moment and i was able to tell him what an example he was to me.

We are teaching a woman named Maggie who is columbian and in her 50's or 60's and is the sweetest lady ever. She is Jehovahs witness but is so sincerely interested in finding out about the Book of Mormon and is willing to join the church when she receives a confirmation that it is true. Besides her and Alister, we are still looking for more people. It is incredible the things you learn as a missionary. to begin to say it all would take ages! but I LOVE YOU EACH SO MUCH ! there is nothing like leaving your family to teach you just how much you love them and cherish them. i am always praying for you all. Thank you for your support and for your examples to me. you are each such an example to me on how i can do better and on what i need to improve. I finished my journal this morning and skimmed over it... reading over my entries in the MTC and while in LAX almost 6 months ago almost gives me goosebumps. it has been so long and i have learned so much, and yet the days and weeks and months pass by like signs on the side of the road on the I-15 on the way to Utah. It's like im already in Las Vegas and i will be through the first quarter of my precious time out here pretty soon. unbelievable.

Elder J

p.s. mom ill send some pics from my ipad.
p.p.s. yea i got the package from the primary. loved it :) please send lana my thanks! 
p.p.p.s. natalie keep up the letters! I look forward to them so much. 

My MTC bud Elder Chiwara from Zimbabwe. Plus sister hannig (in my district)

Me and Elder Wood in front of the ice rink outside the Natural History Museum! Too bad we can't go ice skating I want to so bad

Elder wood snapped some pics of me and this SUPER cute puppy that a less active and his wife have at the moment.. The daddy dog is on the bottom of the pic. The puppy would drive Mandy and natalie and Lydia and ashley nuts... It s cuteness is unimaginable 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 23-November 2, 2015

Week 23-November 2, 2015
HAPPY HALLOWEEN J SQUAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ashley, did those three people get baptised saturday!? I hope so! How was your halloween?

Our week was nuts! to begin with, yes the UK sort of celebrates halloween and it is beginning to become more and more popular. but it is nothing like american halloween. i missed decorating our front yard and house and making all those ghosts out of bed sheets and soccer balls and scaring people with the microphone and hiding in the bed of the truck. we had dinner at a members home on halloween and they gave us a ton of candy which was super super sweet. but the real halloween celebration didnt happen until we got home after planning that night... Elder Tinao, my super cool buddy from australia brought a full bunny suit from australia and it has a mask and everything- he put it on and him and I went downstairs and onto our street and tried some trick or treating. didnt really work out too well but he scared some people and i was just about dying from laughter hahaha so we did what we could to celebrate but we werent able to do much. still a super fun great halloween! i was ranting to my companion though becuase people here in england dont know how it is supposed to be done... there are just tons of creepy people in their 20's who paint their faces and walk around being creepy. halloween is all about little girls dressing up as disney princesses! i was so angry. i only saw ONE disney princess the whole day.. i got on a bus to go home and behind me was a young girl in a princess costume and i was so happy ( i had all the candy the member gave us) that i turned around and gave her a big peice of candy. she made my whole night the way her face lit up and she smiled at me. I am going to teach england how halloween is meant to go down! her mom said it wasnt fair so i had to give her a peice as well.. 

So last week was super super crazy because we were supposed to have the baptism for Mike, but he didn't go through with it. It taught the sisters and I a very powerful lesson about the adversary- when he came to have a lesson at the chapel he asked me to be there for it during the week and he talked about our interview and how he had thought more about it since and decided he didnt know if the Book of Mormon was true or not yet and he didn't want to do it until he knew. basically he wasnt himself at all and we were all devastated. it was really sad the way you could see all of his doubts overpowering his faith. it makes me realize that what president uchdorf said in the last conference is very true- it takes no honor, no strength of character, or integrity to live a life of unbelief and skepticism. the mark of a truly great man is one who decides to believe in something and to live according to it. 

this week was full of crazy exchanges! i did a lot of street contacting for other areas and for other companionships and we had some good success finding young single adults which was cool. i also spent some time in a portugese speaking area which is a long story but for the first 3 or four days of the week i didnt spend much time in our area. i really enjoy being with all kinds of missionaries though and my zone leader and i had a ton of fun contacting the other day- we worked super well together and it was really productive. i think that unity is a very important thing. 

i really think that i am getting extremely awkward. i am now way too comfortable tlaking to people all the time and in all kinds of places and i think i am developing an immunity to feeling the awkwardness i create and that worries me- but oh well it is serving me well as a missionary!

to tell you all about my week would be impossible- in terms of investigators, we are struggling and it is hard but we are getting super close to many of the members and that has been a great blessing. also, I CANT WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS!!! I will almost surely be leaving Hyde Park in the end of november because it will be 6 months which breaks my heart. i also hope that i can serve somewhere in london during christmas so i can say i was in london for christmas. 

Dad- the picture i sent is of me wearing trousers from home- they are a little baggy in english missionary terms! i have some tighter ones that i wear a lot as well that elder leite gave me when he left the flat.and i started wearing a cardigan another missionary gave me and some sweaters (we say jumpers) that i found as well so i think that i am looking more and more english each day... someone told me i have a nice twang in my accent though, that was funny. i still sound american but some of the rougher edges of american accent is getting smoothed off i think. also, i cant tell you how much it helps to remember the good that I can do simply by standing on the street sometimes. i know that everyone is watching and looking at us and that they way i conduct myself is very important... i focus on being Christlike and then pray that it will make a difference on someone, somewhere, but my selfishness makes me wish i could see more results now- not hope that they will happen one day in the future and i will never know about it.

The more i study the scriptures, the more true i see that they are. also, i begin to understand that this life and the gospel and what we do is far more important than i ever before realized. it used to be a nice thing that made me happy and made my family happy- now i realize that this is a much more serious matter. "wherefore men are free according to the flesh... and they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil, for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." 

I know that Heavenly Father is more than the Creator of the Universe- he is our father! how willing are we to listen and trust Him? for me, not as often as i wish that i would. but all we can do is press forward with a steadfastness in Christ and rely on the mercies of him who is mighty to save. 

I love you all so much! i hope that the wedding goes really well and that Grandpa is really happy! Have a wonderful week!!!!!!!!!!! praying for ya'll. best family ever

with all the love in the world,
Elder Jensen

p.s. jonathan reeves (from duarte ward) is in my ward here! also i gave a blessing to Ezra Taft Benson's great grandson... pretty neat. his wife knows trevor schramm and is from los alamos! dad, i dont know her maiden name so i doubt i could tell you what family she is from... sorry!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Week 22-October 26, 2015

Week 22-October 26, 2015

hey fam! Great news about all of your weeks! super exciting and fun to
read. i dont have a lot of time and i dont have a lot to report but
this week flew by and we spent tons of time just street contacting. i
swear.. i feel like i have gotten really good at talking to people and
introducing the gospel and then getting their phone numbers but they
never ever pick up or answer the phone. frustrating stuff.

This week something really really cool happened though. I was able to
interview a man who has been investigating the church for almost a
year for baptism and it was a very memorable experience in the most
wonderful way. I have been struggling to come to grips with why more
people don't decide to follow the Saviour and be baptised. At times
the question has crossed my mind, " if it really is true, why arent
people just lining up to be baptised?" Elder Holland has given a talk
and personally spoke to our mission about this very thing but it
continues to be something that i grapple with in my mind at times. To
be able to firsthand speak to this man, a magician (he's coming to LA
in 2 weeks and said he could get you all free front row seats and free
dinner and go backstage so I'll send you his email address because he
said to tell you guys to hurt email him and he can set it up) and an
extremely intelligent deep thinking spiritual man and hear his
testimony and see his courage and desire to take such a big step was
such a neat experience.  What a blessing! What dad said this week
about faith really rings true to me. There is no way that God could
have set things up differently- we have to walk by faith not by sight.
If it was any other way, then people would keep the commandments and
believe out of common sense. This way, it is truly a test and a
learning and growing experience. Many moments so far on my mission
have been very difficult- but they pass and the next day is better.
Perhaps this life will have been a very stretching, trying, difficult
and yet amazing and joyful moment in eternity in which we (like we do
in our day to day trials) experienced huge growth in a short span of
time. When I bore my testimony to Mike at the conclusion of our
interview, I felt the spirit guide my words and heard myself tell him
that I knew he was making the right choice. That he was joining the
Lord's true church. It was a very memorable moment.

Other than that, we had tons of stuff happen this week! No major
updates but I think that I am learning loads. We had a great district
meeting this week! It is such a joy to be involved in other
missionaries lives and to love and help them and I feel like I am able
to make a difference and contribute in small ways to the Lords work by
serving other missionaries, not just investigators in our area. Oh!
Cool fact! My old american heritage professor, David Kirkham, lives in
our ward and we are good friends and we were able to visit him this
week and talk over some smoothies while we were on our way to an
appointment. He is working at the BYU london center and was just
called as the bishop of the Britannia YSA ward here!

dad- thanks a ton for the info and also for your thoughts about faith
and your journal. i wonder what it would be like to be companions with
the 19 year old grant... can you guys imagine that? me and dad being
companions? mom would probably know best what it would be like because
she knew dad as a 19 year old and she knows me. i would like to think
wed be the best of buds and talk about all kinds of stuff and
contemplate the mysteries of the universe and work super well and hard
together but who knows hahahahaha its fun to imagine though.

mom-  yea we meet members all over the place (like you and dad ran
into misionaries at hyde park) and this week we got our picture taken
and they asked if i wanted them to send it to my mom so i said
absolutely! hahaha. no she isnt related to us. miracle lady.... Came
to the church on a night randomly we were there!!! Then she said she
would come to church... But she didnt come to church. and she still
didnt give us her contact info. yes i have cut elder woods hair! and
elder jacksons and elder tinaos. i just got mine cut today and for the
first time since getting here paid a barber to do it. i have been
cutting my own. As for meals, until recently, nobody in the ward ever
really fed us so we were on our own and elder wood did almost all of
the cooking. Lately, we are getting lots of meals because they called
a ward mission leader here and that is is focus. Otherwise my favorite
thing to do is get some cheap subs or just eat at home. Lots of
chicken and cereal and pasta. I have enough mission funds to cover
everything. I did spend about 100 bucks on winter jackets and a suit
from elder Chronister out of my bank account... It shouldn't have been
touched other than that really though.. That's weird. Should there be
more? Hahahahahahaha it's funny you asked if my pants still fit for
two reasons- "pants" here are your underwear, we call them trousers
here. That was one I took ages to get used to. I compliment a woman's
pants once when I was really new and she gave me the strangest look
And walked away so quickly and then elder Chronister explained it to
me. My trousers almost all fit... My waistline has definitely grown
but so far so good I haven't had to rule any trousers out yet. They
are getting awfully tight though... We don't have bikes and we take
the buses and underground trains everywhere. We could honestly walk
from one end of our area to the other in just a few hours or so though
because it's tiny. So densely populated though.

Love you all! Have a fantastic week! Keep doing missionary work and
keep being the best family out there!

Elder Jensen

Here's our pday activity: we went and bought elder wood paint supplies
(he likes art) and since I am absolutely in love with the fall colours
and trees and grass (I'm seriously turning into dad) we went to hyde
park and we are sitting against a tree for a couple of hours while he
paints and I enjoy the leaves and the grass and the peace. I seriously
am so content right now... I want to live somewhere I can have a ton
of land and plant tons of trees and where there are real seasons. I
love the cold! Elder wood hates it.. Anyways I took a panorama picture
to send you guys of mY view right now, enjoy !

And here is my new car. I thought natalie and Mandy might like it