Sunday, August 30, 2015

Farewell Talk

For those who asked for a copy of Chase's Farewell Message.

Good morning brothers and sisters. I’m very grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to speak to you today. In the back of my mind, I always knew this day was coming, but I never thought it would get here this fast. That being said, I can’t think of a better time for me to fulfill my priesthood duty and serve a mission. Today, I will be speaking on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it can be used in missionary work.

The Atonement of Christ is the most important event in human history and one of the key foundations of the Gospel and life on earth. Christ took upon him the sins of the world so that we may return to the presence of God the Father. While I’ve been preparing for my mission, I have studied the Atonement and had some realizations that I’ll share with you.

The first realization I had about the Atonement was it’s sheer magnitude. We have often heard of the Atonement referred to as the infinite Atonement because Christ took upon him the sins and pains of everyone that’s living, has lived, or will ever live. I don’t think that we understand the sheer amount of pain the Savior went through to fulfill His calling. I want you to imagine every sin that you have ever committed in your life: every unclean thought, every lie, and every hurtful word you’ve ever spoken. Now imagine every sin that you will ever commit in your life; if you’re anything like me, that’s a lot of sins to have. Now I want you to look at everyone in attendance today and factor in all of their sins and misdeeds. It seems almost like too much for any one person to go through, let alone endure, but Christ went beyond that. Let’s expand a little bit. 

According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of the state of Utah is roughly 2,800,000 people. That’s 2.8 million unique individuals each with their own set of sins and trials. The same census puts the population of the entire United States at just over 308,000,000 people, which for it’s enormous size is only a small fraction of the population as a whole. Worldwide data collection estimates the population of the planet around 7,300,000,000 people. Imagine, seven billion people just like you, putting all of their faults and flaws onto one man. A task of such quantity seems almost impossible for our brains to understand, but we must remember that Christ took upon him the sins of ALL. Estimations of population growth put the number of people to ever live on this earth at approximately 110 Billion people, and that’s a number that is growing at an exponential pace for everyone of god’s children that have yet to live on this earth. 110,000,000,000+ sons and daughters of God, all with lives full of sins, pains, and trials that were put upon the shoulders of the Savior. Such a volume of action and emotion seems almost impossible to imagine, it’s a number so large that we cannot grasp it, it seems never ending. Infinite. The infinite Atonement. The Atonement was an act so incomprehensibly difficult that it took the Son of God to perform it, and even this God, the architect in the creation of the world, ask His Father if there was any other way, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

The needs for this infinite Atonement are explained in 2 Nephi 9:7

Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.

With the Atonement’s reach in perspective, it may be difficult to understand how the Savior must have felt and what he experienced while he suffered, but this leads me to my next realization, which is how incredibly personal the Atonement is. We have been taught in this church that God knows us personally; he knows us so perfectly that he knows every choice that we will make; he knows our strengths and our weaknesses better than we do and will give us comfort and strength when we need it. God loves us so much that he sent his only begotten, the only person who lived without sin and could return to live in his presence, to suffer and die so that all mankind may have the opportunity to repent and return to live with him again. 

D&C 18: 10-11 we read:
 10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.

When Christ took the sins of the world upon Him, He felt everything that you and I have ever felt, every instance of physical pain, every outpouring of emotion, every sickness, every hateful thought, every trial, and every single sin ever committed by everyone who has ever or will ever live. Man or woman, young or old, good or evil, Christ took EVERYTHING on his shoulders. This event was so great that the physical pain caused Jesus to sweat great drops of blood from every pore, but the love of God and the love of the Savior is so great, that Christ endured it for us. In the book of Luke, Christ gives the parable of the one lost sheep. This parable reads:
Luke 15
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance

This parable reflects one of, if not the most important aspects of the gospel, love; love for one another, the love that God has for his children, and the love the Christ had to take the ultimate sacrifice. This principle of love is explained wonderfully in Elder M. Russell Ballard’s 2004 General Conference talk titled “The Atonement and the Value of One Soul”

Brothers and sisters, I believe that if we could truly understand the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we would realize how precious is one son or daughter of God. I believe our Heavenly Father’s everlasting purpose for His children is generally achieved by the small and simple things we do for one another. At the heart of the English word atonement is the word ONE. If all mankind understood this, there would never be anyone with whom we would not be concerned, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, or social or economic standing. We would strive to emulate the Savior and would never be unkind, indifferent, disrespectful, or insensitive to others.”

The last realization of the Atonement I want to talk about came to me at the temple. About a month ago, I had the opportunity to take out my endowment at the Bountiful temple with my family in attendance. Being able to more fully understand the gospel of Christ in the house of The Lord was one of the greatest experiences that I have ever had in my life. Before our session started, I was able to meet with President Garff, the temple president, where he shared insights of symbolisms in the gospel. He noted that everything that we learn about in the temple, and every aspect of the church leads back to the atonement. The one symbol that the president shared with us that struck me the most was that of the olive. When an olive is put under extreme pressure in an olive press, it yields oil. During Christ’s ministry on earth and even today, olive oil is used to anoint priesthood acts in the name of Jesus Christ. President Garff explained that the olive represents the savior and his atonement. The oil shed by the olives is representative of the blood the Savior shed and the sacrifice he made for us. By using his blood, or his atonement, and having faith in Christ, men might be healed, comforted, and reach eternal salvation. At this moment, I realized that we should not be ashamed to use the Atonement of Christ.
When I’ve learned more about the Atonement, I at first felt a sense of guilt. I felt that the Savior had to suffer pains because of me and my unworthiness. These feelings caused me to not feel like I could use the atonement to repent and better myself. This is not how we should treat the Atonement. We should never feel like we are too unworthy to utilize the great power of the Atonement. The Savior’s Atonement and the sacrificing of his life was the greatest gift ever given to mankind. Without using the power of the Atonement, not one person could be made clean and return to the presence of God. Without the Atonement, the Gospel as we know it is not possible. We would not be sealed to loved ones for time and all eternity, we wouldn’t be able to use the power of the Priesthood, and we would not be able to repent of sins we’ve made and achieve eternal salvation. To not take advantage of Christ’s sacrifice for us is to not be grateful of that sacrifice. One of my favorite Hymns, I Stand All Amazed, reflects how we should treat Christ’s sacrifice for us.  From the third verse and the chorus,

    3. I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt! 
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
 Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me! 
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

Brothers and Sisters, the power of the Atonement is not something we should shy away from, rather, we should use it’s power to perfect ourselves in Christ and treat is humbly as the great gift it is. The Atonement is, like stated in the hymn, wonderful, and should be a key part of our everyday lives. I am so excited to be able to teach the people of Oregon the Atonement. Acting as a representative of Christ, I can show people the light of the gospel, and bring families, and souls back to God. 

I bear my firm testimony on the power of the Atonement; there is no way that we can survive without it. Without the Atonement, I would not be standing in front of you today. The Atonement can and does change lives; I’ve seen it. I know that because of the Atonement, all other aspects of the Gospel, the restoration, the ordinances in the temple, the Book of Mormon, and every aspect we believe in is true, because the Atonement is true.

I would now like to take a moment to thank those that got me to this point. I would like to thank my wonderful leaders and teachers for always keeping the gospel focused in my life, and all of the members in this ward that have extended hands of fellowship to my family and myself. I’d like to thank all of the elders who have gone before me, like Elder Hall, for setting such a great example for me. I hope that my example can touch those around me like theirs have touched me. I would like to thank my great friends and Wardies for always being there for me and keeping my life on the track and keeping me close to the iron rod. I would like to give a special thanks to my family, to all of my grandparents, aunts and uncles, for being such amazing examples of Christ in my life and teaching me so much. There’s no way that I could be here, the almost-man I am today, without my loving family; my brothers and my sisters, for giving me a reason to better myself always, my dad who’s been the greatest teacher and example of the Priesthood in my life that I could ever ask for, and to my amazing mom, my rock and my best friend. I love them so much and am so grateful for the sacrifice Christ has made so that we could be together forever.

Brothers and sisters, I know this gospel is true and I’m so grateful for the guiding light it has been to me. I know that my mission now is what our Father in Heaven has called me to do and I couldn’t be more excited to serve. I know these things to be true, and share them with you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2015

My Friend Coleman

Many of you know that Chase's good friend Coleman Treadwell was involved in a serious accident on Thursday, August 20th. After Chase heard the news he had some thoughts he wanted to share with Coleman and the Treadwell's and he said we could also post it here on the blog.

I'll never forget the last time that I saw Coleman Treadwell before I left on my mission. It was Sunday the 12th of July. A few of the SBOs that were still around decided to get together one last time before we parted ways. I remember a feeling of overwhelming love and appreciation for the friendships I had made during high school, and that feeling reached its pinnacle when I said my goodbyes to Coleman. I remember the deep connection we had forged and when I said "I love you man" I meant it with all the sincerity and truth that a friend could offer. I told Coleman that he was going to do many great things and would help and inspire so many people. I believe that with all my heart.
One of the most impactful things Coleman ever said to me was that in the 8th grade he remembered that I went up to him and, without knowing him at all, acted like we were the best of friends. He told me that meant a lot to him and inspired him to be the best type of friend he could be. He absolutely reached that goal and beyond. Coleman is one of the most Christlike individuals that I know. Besides his extremely gifted mind, amazing musical talents, and lust for life, Coleman has a gift that I hope to be able to one day exemplify, and that is his way to connect with people and make them feel important. As we went through senior year together, Coleman was the empathizer; he always would go out of his way to help anyone in need no matter the circumstance. I remember the two of us had lunch with a member of the special needs class and Coleman made it his goal to make this boy feel loved and listened to. Not only did Coleman turn outward to his fellow students, he also turned outward to help me more than I can explain. Coleman was one of first people I felt comfortable telling my problems and concerns. There isn't a man that I would want to have a heart-to-heart with more than Coleman Treadwell. We were both two kids just trying to figure ourselves and the world out, and we connected with a bond that transcended just being officers on a student council. We were, we ARE brothers, and I love Coleman with every ounce of feeling I have. 
I first heard of his accident on the night of August 23rd when my mission president called me to alert me to the news. As he told me of what had happened, my heart sank. I thought to myself as I hung up the phone, "How could this happen to such an amazing person with so much to offer the world?" As I thought this, a feeling came to my heart that gave me comfort, and that is what I want to share. 
God is good. 
In life, we aren't going to understand the things that happen to us. There's no way that we can. Our minds cannot comprehend the infinite complexities of God's plan for us. But God doesn't leave us comfortless. God has made us promises that with faith, prayer, and hope, nothing is impossible before us. To quote D&C 122: 9 "Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever." 
When things happen in our life that cause us pain or misery, remember always that God is there for us. Christ tells us in John 14 that "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." We have to hold on our way. Hold on to hope, hold on to prayer, and hold on to the knowledge that God is going to bless those that come unto him. 
I know that Coleman is going to be an example to everyone. He's the toughest man I know, and if anyone can pull through, it's him. Coleman, when you read this, let me tell you that I love you, so much. You've been in my prayers long before the accident and you're still in them now. Never. Give. Up. You taught me that there is always going to be something good to look for, and always someone to uplift. I hope I can do that now. I love you, and want you to know that no distance can separate our bond. You've got this. 
To the Treadwell family, you are in my thoughts and prayers continually. You've been nothing but amazing to me over the past year and I cannot begin to thank you for everything. 
To all of our friends back home, keep sending your prayers to Coleman and his family. Be comforted in knowing that God works miracles among his children. The love and support that has been shown already is outstanding, and there has been an outpouring of blessings and miracles. Please stay strong. Hold on thy way, and remember that through faith, "nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Adam, Coleman and Chase
Dear Old Davis High School 

Bible Bashers & Pizza Golem

Hi All!

This week was significantly more successful that last week. We were able to teach way more lessons and got in contact with lots of people. It's been a week of hard work and a week of blessings from Heavenly Father.

Our investigator Amanda that is getting baptized has been able to get us into her home and start teaching the lessons there. This is BIG news because not too long ago her mom didn't want anything to do with the church. Now after a few lessons she said she feels like this is the right path for her and she wants to convert over! It's been such a testimony builder for me to see the impact missionary work has in the lives of others. It's kinda like a spider web; with each person we teach they reach out to others around them and they in turn reach out to those around them. It's really awesome to see the Lord's work hastening and it's even more awesome to be part of it.

We were also able to get in contact with investigators that we thought were not interested or not keeping their commitments and have had great spiritual lessons with them. We might be having some baptisms here soon!

With so much good going on there was bound to be some bad and that's the Bible Bashing. I got my first experience this week with those that want to discredit us, saying we aren't Christian or that we preach false doctrine and are going to Hell. I'm not going to lie, it was hard to hear some of the things people said, especially when I know what we are doing is right and true.  Even during all of these exchanges (there were 3) I felt "they draw near unto me with their lips, but their hears are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof" Coming back from the bashings I felt even stronger that the church is true and that we are here preaching the truth. One talk that really helped me was President Uchtdorf's talk The Gift of Grace. I highly recommend it.

Now, don't worry, I'm having some laughs too. I don't think I've accurately described how the inhabitants of this area look. I'm attaching a picture of two locals and a guy we saw crouching down eating a pizza on a street corner - Pizza Golem.  Funny stuff. I really do love it and it can be very pretty.

All in all it's been a good week. Thanks for the prayers and support!

Elder Chase Jensen
Oregon Eugene Mission

Roseburg from above

Typical Rosburgians

Pizza Golem

Knocking doors

Monday, August 17, 2015

Service with a Smile

Hello from Roseburg, 

This week was actually rather slow, but we've been trying our best. Out of the nine scheduled appointments we had for the week, only two actually followed up. Everyone else either canceled, rescheduled, or just straight up didn't answer the door. Elder Redding likes to refer to these people as "Frosted Flakes". 

Even though we haven't been teaching a whole lot, we've still been rather busy. On Friday, I went on my first ever exchange to a little town called Sutherlin with our district leader Elder Scott. It was cool to be able to go into another area and talk with and teach the people here. On Saturday, we went down to the Medford LDS pear orchard and did some service. Besides the having to wake up at 3:30 am, driving two hours to Medford, and picking pears in the heat for six hours, it was still a really fun experience! It was awesome to know that the work we were doing was helping people in need around the world. 

We've also been making a lot of contact with new people, just not anything scheduled. It'll pick back up in a few days I'm sure.

I can share some thoughts and impressions that I've had this week. We've been able to teach a lot of small/young/growing families over the past few days and it's really grown my testimony of just how important family is. I've seen so many dysfunctional families while I've been out and I know just how vital families are to God's plan for us. 

Lead and Live by example. Don't ever be afraid to bear your testimony about things you know are right and things that you believe in.

Until next time,
Elder Jensen

A bunch of pear picking fools

A couple of the Elders doing a ceremonial one-year shirt burn

LIVE from P-Day!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 2

Hey Everyone!

The people of Roseburg are all very humble (and kinda scary looking) but some of the nicest and most sincere people I've ever met. There are a lot of homeless people here. I think that I've taught as many people without houses as those with houses. It was weird to get used to, but I've loved talking to everyone. There are like 50 different churches in the Roseburg area, so lots of the people we teach kinda jump from church to church sometimes. That's been really helpful in teaching because we can share that Joseph Smith was doing the same thing and looking for the truth. 

The first day that we were in the city, we walked over to the public library where a bunch of homeless people hang out. (Which is super illegal but ehh who cares) We talked to this woman who was sitting down on the steps. She said she was Christian and when we said that we were LDS, she said "Are you those crazy Mormons? My preacher said not to talk to you and you weren't Christian." So we buckled down and talked to her about our beliefs. She came out of the conversation with a better knowledge of our religion and questions about the church, which was awesome! 

We had this cracked out guy come and knock on our door at like 10 o'clock at night asking for a Book of Mormon. After we gave it to him, he just went off on how Roseburg is an ancient Indian burial ground, how the surrounding cities made a pentagram, how he'd punch a 7 foot tall black man if he was insulting a woman, and a variety of other topics. He took off his shirt, had us call his "grandma", threw the Book of Mormon halfway across the parking lot, picked it back up and then gave Elder Redding a hat. We locked all the windows that night. 

It's been fun being here. The saints are all super strong in their testimonies of the Gospel! I love all the time that I've had so far to get to know everyone and the people around me.

Elder Jensen
Oregon Eugene Mission

Some nautical nonsense
Downtown Roseburg

Town Center

Home Sweet Home

Missionary apartment - looks about right

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Greetings from Roseburg

We received an email from Elder Jensen this week. He told us a little more about his new companion and what they've been up to...

Elder Redding is a really awesome guy! He's been out for 9 months and has served in Roseburg for about 3 months. He is from Wahoo, Nebraska and we work really well together. It's been a little weird adjusting to everything, but I'm doing well. We live next door to the Zone Leaders, Elder Myers and Elder Earl. They're the coolest cats in the entire world. We spend the evenings hanging out in their apartment. Great guys.

The first actual missionary thing that I did when I got here was dinner with a member family. At the dinner we taught a girl named Amanda and got her on date for Baptism. September 12th! Since then we've walked around Roseburg and gotten some potential investigators. We have taught some less active members and basically traced all day, every day.  It's been super fun and I love it so much.

Sunday was cool. It was great to see the ward interact with missionaries in a way that was beneficial for all our investigators. The ward is awesome. They didn't have me introduce myself or anything but I've met so many good people. I have loved my time here so far.