Monday, July 17, 2017

last one, people. He's comin' home!

What I sent to my mission president.

Dear President Bingham,
Well this is only my third email to you but it looks like it is my last. I am so grateful for the time that I have got to spend here in the Sydney South mission! I have learned more than I thought I would, and I have truly been changed by the Gospel, my mission, and my Savior Jesus Christ.  I have had many sacred experiences throughout my mission that have wrought this mighty change upon me! I can't really say that there has been one single event in my mission that has caused me to change, but it has been many different occasions and experiences that have changed me slowly but surely. Without my mission I know that I would be nothing. This experience has shaped my life for the eternities. I have come to learn how to live the Gospel more fully in my life and I have seen the blessings that have come from it. I have gained a strong testimony of the small and simple things. I am a lot more prepared to live a Gospel centered life than I was before my mission. I have always had the tools to live it, but now I have the knowledge and the experience which I was lacking. I have turned my testimony of this Gospel into a knowledge. I truly know that the Lord restored His church on the Earth today through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that this is the truth. I know that because I have put in the work necessary to obtain that testimony. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I have had so many spiritual experiences with the Book of Mormon, time and time again. The Spirit continues to testify of its truthfulness to me. I know that Jesus Christ truly did live and die for me. I have truly felt the power of His Atonement in my life. When I repent I truly feel the weight of my sins taken off my shoulders, and a sense of calm peace comes over me. There is no way I would feel that way if there wasn't actually an Infinite and Eternal sacrifice. One of the greatest things I was able to experience was working with a man named Byron in one of my areas. This man had been living a life completely opposite to what we teach in our church. When we met him he was on his way back to living a good life.  We gave this man a blessing to help him quit smoking and what do ya know, it worked. At that point I was like wow, the priesthood is so real and Heavenly Father is right beside us helping His work move forward. Then time went on and he got baptized and received the priesthood. One day I was with my companion in a fish n chips shop that Byron's mom worked at. She told us how grateful she was for our help in Byron's life. She went on to say that they had tried everything with him, they had even taken him to other churches and what not but nothing seemed to work. She said that she could see a complete change in Byron and that he was a new person. I remember I just wanted to cry while she was telling us about Byron's life and who he used to be. I was blown away with how much of a miracle that this guy had been. At this point I had realized how true this Church really is. Only the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Priesthood could bring to pass such a mighty change in someone like this. Through this experience and countless others I am certain that God and Jesus Chris do live and they love us so much! I have fallen in love with this Gospel and all it has to offer. I really geek out when it comes to the Gospel. I am grateful that I have learned how to study and increase my knowledge. I have a firm testimony of learning through the Spirit. Without the Holy Ghost my studies would be nothing, but with the Holy Ghost I have been able to learn more than I ever could on my own. This skill is something I am so grateful I have acquired! President I truly would be nothing without my mission, I can't say that enough. I have given the Lord a bread crumb and in return He has given me a loaf of bread. I feel like I have received way more from my mission than I ever put in. I am truly converted to Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I will always remember your advice you gave me, to be the person I have become. I will remember that and I will continue to keep doing the things that I have learned for my mission. I refuse to let these things I have learned go to waste. I will apply what I have learned. I will cherish these 2 years forever. I love you President and I sustain you with all my heart. 
Elder Jenson

Monday, July 10, 2017

two weeks, people...

Far out two weeks left.

- We went and played some mini golf for Pday which was pretty fun not gonna lie haha. I won too so that was cool.

-Had a FHE with the Perry family on the southside of Canberra which was really nice because it was last second haha.

-Drove up to Sydney for a meet and greet with the Binghams! It was so good to get to meet them and hear about them and who they are. Sister Bingham is pretty homesick and I felt bad for her haha I just wanted to give her a hug! We all got interviewed by him too which was sweet. The guy loves eye contact and he just stares into your soul haha he told me that he can tell I will be good when I go home and that I will do just fine, so that was comforting to hear. 

-We had a solid lesson with Layne and we committed him to baptism on the 29th of July and to come to church. He accepted both and he came to church on Sunday so that was sick! 

-We had a huge turnout to institute which was really good. It is good to see some progress with the YSA.

-We had a good lesson with Jordan Amosa about the Sacrament. Elder Lammi and him just went song for song on the piano so that was fun to watch haha they are both way good at playing piano and guitar! Jordan is self taught too. He can just listen to a song and then play it. 

-We did a big service project for David Amosa (Jordan's dad). We wheel burrowed heaps of wood chips, rocks, and dirt into his backyard so that was a good day of some manual labor! 

- Had dinner again with the Perry's on the southside and we were able to meet with the whole family this time which was good. We played a fun game before our lesson with them called "Speak Out". I definitely want to buy that when I get home haha. Look it up, it is crack up.

- We had mini mission over the weekend so we had Tj Sione with us for the weekend. We took him to do some service, door knocking and we tried to do some teaching but no one was home so that was a bummer. He seemed to enjoy it though so that was good :) 

Some awesome advice I got from my mission president this week in my interview was "to be the person I have become when I get home". I loved that advice and it is exactly what I needed to hear! I know that if I just be the person that my mission/the Gospel has formed me into, then I will be just fine. The Gospel has shaped me into a much better man and for that I am eternally grateful! I love this Gospel and what it can do for people and I love my mission and what it has done for me and taught me. Next  week is my final group email and I will just send you the one I send to my mission president because I have to send a big one to him reporting on my mission so I will send it to you guys as well! Love you have a good week! 

Elder Jenson

Monday, July 3, 2017

how many days? 22.

We are halfway through the transfer... I think I can smell Utah ;) Here are some highlights from the week.

- Had a solid visit with the Sione family! One of their sons (Fa'alelei) is one of our YSA that we have been trying to work with. He is such a solid guy, he just has footy all the time which is why we aren't able to meet up as much as we would like. He had footy off this week so we were able to catch up and share a meal and a lesson with him. 

- Had a final DTM with President and Sister Back. They toured around the whole mission for their last 3 weeks and met with each district. We had such a solid training by both of them and it was so good to get to see them one more time before they go. I love them and I am grateful for their service these past 3 years. They definitely deserve a rest haha.

- We trained at the gym with David Dwyer which was so sick! Later that morning we met back up with him after studies and had a good lesson with him about service and reaching outside himself. The dude is a beast at the gym too just so ya know hahaha.

- A new YSA just moved down to Canberra from Brisbane. He is cousins with Ezra and Julius. He hooked us up with some mean haircuts so now I look way more presentable haha.

- We were able to finally sit down and have a lesson with Ezra and Julius. We were more trying to focus it on Ezra because he goes on his mission a week before I come home. We are wanting to re activate Julius too because he is the key for YSA success down here. He does everything he should be doing, he just chooses to work on Sundays, so hopefully we can fix that. The next day he took us out to dinner and dessert too so that was sick.

- We had a good FHE with the Belconnen ward YSA at the new YSA parent's house. We played some good games which I was cracking up at haha and we had 2 non members there that we are hoping will be keen for some lessons soon! 

Here is some of the best advice I have received on my mission. This is the recipe for activity in the church from the main man Pres Back himself. Here ya go,
1. Pray every single day, multiple times a day. Always keep a prayer in your heart!
2. Read the scriptures every single day, especially the Book of Mormon. Hold on to the Iron rod and you won't go astray in the mists of darkness.
3.Seek first the Kingdom of God. Fulfill your duties in the church and the Lord will provide for you.
4. Attend the Temple once a week. The blessings that come from that are incredible! I already had the experience of that before I came on my mission so I know it works and I want to continue that when I get home. the temple is the place where we can go with our problems and questions, and receive the answers/direction that we need from the Lord. Live too far away from the temple? Here is a solution for ya :) Make time once a week to go to a solitary place that is like a "temple" for 1-2 hours to pray and ponder so that the Lord can direct you more in your life. 

I know that this recipe is going to work so it is exactly what I am going to follow when I get home. It really isn't that hard and if you set goals, make plans, and do all you can to make them happen then you will be able to do these 4 simple things. The Lord lives and this is truly His church. Love you all have a good week :) 

Elder Jenson

Monday, June 26, 2017

ONE more month.. ONE

Man what a quick week that was... I will be home before we know it ;) Here are some updates for ya.

-We put our investigator Layne on date for the 15th of July! We are hoping we can get him to church so that we can actually get him baptized on that day so pray for him! 

- Worst thing ever happened, freakin MLC got cancelled so we didn't get to go up to Sydney for a meeting with Pres and all the other ZLs. The next one we will have is in two weeks with President Bingham. President Back had kidney stones so I guess that is a good excuse to cancel it... haha he is all good now though! 

- We did some service with some other elders where we helped a non member lady move. They are teaching her ex husband and they need her to give permission for her ex to bring their son to church. Hopefully it softened her heart haha if not she definitely got a good use of our free labor :) 

- We had a good dinner and meeting with the YSA parents from Tuggeranong ward. We were able to meet with them and the bishop to see what we can do to help strengthen the YSA in that ward. 

-Had good success with our sport night. We had a non member and 2 less actives come to it so we were happy about that! 

- Went to a ward BBQ in the morning on Saturday and it was a decent turnout haha it was freakin cold as during it though. 

- Got to go watch a few of our YSA in their rugby game and we ran into one of the less actives we have been trying to see for ages so it was so good! It is nuts here with the rugby comps though because no matter how old you are you can come play. They have so many different comps for people to play in. I really wish it was like that with football in Utah haha.

- We met with Jono and his family for dinner and a lesson. The lesson was about repentance, and it was a good object lesson. They seemed to enjoy it. Then Elder Lammi serenaded us on the guitar because he is dang good at the guitar and has the voice of an angel. He plays songs for us in the flat all the time which is sweet haha.

I am loving it here!! My comps are the best and so is my area! President Back leaves this weekend which is sad, but we get to see him one more time this week so that will be our goodbye to them until we meet again in Utah haha. 

My spiritual thought this week is from Mosiah 4:9,
"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."

If we feel like we need some more hope in life all we have to do is follow the counsel here from King Benjamin. I truly know that God is there and I can't even begin to tell you how much better that makes my life! I would be nothing without my faith. The Lord knows all things so if there are things we don't understand in this life, just be patient because one day will come when all things will be made known to us. Stay strong in the faith and press forward. Love you all!

Elder Jenson

Monday, June 19, 2017

1 of 6

It is scaring me how fast the weeks are going by... its good though.. but I hate it at the same time haha! Some good things that happened this week are,

- Had a good p day spent at the Australian parliament  house. Did some good site seeing! 

- Met with our new investigator Layne. The sisters were teaching him but they got pulled out of the YSA program so we took over some of their work. Layne is a good Christian kid who really loves the Bible. He isn't bashy or anything which is so good! We try our best to use the Bible and the Book of Mormon while teaching him. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation which was super good.

- Did a lot of finding this week. Mostly door knocking again. I love my companions and we have a dang good time while we do it so I don't even mind at all! We have a fun game where we carry around a dictionary with us and then we give a random word to whoever's turn it is. The best part is we increase our vocabulary while we do finding haha.

-Had a cool miracle while trying to visit a YSA. His little brother was home who is like 17 and he had his friend over who happens to be 7th Day Adventist. He was super nice and we just played pool with him. He had a lot of good questions and is really trying to find the truth in his life. We are hoping to go back to the family's house and teach him so we will see what happens! 

- Had a good lunch appointment with a young mexican couple in the ward and it was such good food! They made us some bomb burgers and we tried some of her spicy guacamole and it was hot!!! 

- Met with Jordan Amosa this week and had a good lesson about repentance with him, his younger brother and his brother's friend. They both came to church the next day too so I guess something might have stuck with them and motivated them to come.

- Had a dinner with the Barber family again and we got to talk to Josh more about preparing for his mission and just cracking some jokes with him. We have gotten pretty tight with that family so it has been good! 

I love this quote from Elder Ballard from the last General Conference,

"I have observed that those whaccomplish the most in this world are those with vision for their lives, with goals to keep them focused on their vision and tactical plans for hoto achieve them. Knowing where you are going and how you expect to get there can bring meaning, purpose, and accomplishment to life."

Coming to the end of my mission has really made me contemplate goals that I have and where I want to be in the future. I truly have learned to love setting goals and trying my best to follow them. I have been able to write down a few for when I get home and I know that they will help me to stay on the pathway back to my Father in Heaven. As we prayerfully set and keep goals, we will progress more than those who don't have goals. Love you all and have a good week!

Elder Jenson

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ugly tie transfer

Far out what a week it has been! I STAYED IN CANBERRA!!! I am with Elder Hunt still and we added a solid companion into our trio! His name is Elder Lammi from Bundaberg, Australia! He is the man and we will have some good fun with him! I am so stoked to be staying down here in Canberra and to finish my mission with these guys. Here are a few highlights of the past week.

- We had a sick zone pday which was a lot of fun! We played tons of sport at the chapel and I didn't even get competitive!;) 

- Srijit came to Brett's house last night for a FHE and we had the best curry ever! Then we had the best lesson ever with him too! We talked a lot about trusting and following the Lord.

- Had a solid lesson with Jordan Amosa and his family during the week which was something they really needed.

- We had to deep clean the flat this week and so that was a miracle to have a nice clean flat again haha.

- We did service at Vinnies

- Did a lot of door knocking due to the semester just finishing at the Unis haha so we will be doing a lot of tracting most likely this transfer which will be some good fun! 

- Elder Hunt and I got called to be Zone Leaders again for our final transfer so we are stoked about that! We will get to go to a couple meetings in Sydney this transfer. Some will be with the Backs and the others will be with the new Mission President, President Bingham! 

- Elders Hunt, Cummings and I are wearing the same ugly tie every day this transfer. Probs gonna wear mine home too haha.

- I am also challenging myself to read the whole Book of Mormon in 6 weeks.. should be good.

Things are really good here though and I know that I am going to finish my mission really strong down here! I have good comps to help me work hard and I have awesome people we are working with to help keep me focused. I love my mission and I am so stoked to give it all I got to finish off this great ride! One little thought I have is from our lesson last night with Srijit. We talked a lot of Nephi's go get em attitude and how it is so important that we trust in the Lord and follow the path that He has for us. He promises us that He will not leave us on our own, but He will lead us, guide, us and walk beside us. I love you all have a good week! 

Elder Jenson

at the parlament

the backstreet boys

maybe 'Nsync

definitely 'Nsync

They're gonna wear the same ugly ties this whole transfer.... 

Monday, June 12, 2017

golfing is missionary work....RIGHT?

Far out what a good week for us here! Lovin life down here in the cold city of Canberra! We are about to go into the final week of the transfer so this Saturday we find out our final transfer details. I will see if I finish my mission here in Canberra or if I get shipped somewhere else to finish. I really hope to finish here though. So yeah just a heads up next week I will be emailing on a Tuesday, so that is Monday for you back in the states. Well here are some deets from the week.

-We went to the driving range for Pday so that was a lot of fun! (pics will be in another email.)

- We had a really solid lesson with our investigator Srijit. We watched to Restoration video with him and he really liked it! He has been reading the Book of Mormon, he came to the ward curry cook off and to cap it all off he came to church this Sunday! He really enjoyed his time with us this weekend and the Ward did so good at fellowshipping which was awesome! 

- We have increased our finding this week. We did a lot of finding at the universities and also some door knocking. President really wants us to find some investigators to teach and baptize! We are pushing ourselves and doing our best to find the elect haha.

-We had a good dinner with the Barber family! We issued them a missionary challenge for the month of June so it will be fun to work with them for the next month and help them get involved in the work of Salvation.

-Had some solid lessons with a few of our less actives. We met with David Dwyer again this week and we discussed getting a patriarchal blessing with him. Then we met with Jordan Amosa and read Alma 32 with him and discussed faith. Then we got to see Nigel Ah Wong and teach him more about the Spirit. He even took a selfie with us for his snap chat story which was pretty sick because he plays on one of the professional rugby teams down here haha.

-I got a flu shot this week too. (this is just to make my mommy happy.) :) 

-We held a sport night at the chapel and man it was one of our best turnouts we have ever had with it! We had a few of the less active boys come to it and so that was a lot of fun getting to connect with them more. 

This week was really good and I am grateful to be here! One thing that stuck out to me in sacrament meeting yesterday was someone gave a talk on the parable of the prodigal son. He talked about how when the prodigal son returned home, the father was so happy to see him and he showed him so much love! It really hit me when he said that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us even more than that who is always there waiting for us to return to him. It is hard to imagine the love that Heavenly Father has for us, but that really helped to paint a picture in my mind of how much he truly loves us. He loved us enough that He sent His son to die for us. God is good and he loves ALL of us! Have a good week!:)

Elder Jenson