Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Adventures in FLMTH Week 14: "They Stuck Us In The Boonies With A Subaru, What Did They Expect Us To Do?"

Previously on Adventures In FLMTH .....

*cue highlight reel of various activities from last email*

*cue theme song, opening credits*

For the first time in awhile, I actually have a lot to talk about! This has been a fantastic week for us over here in the good old Philomath Ward. Not only did we see a lot of miracles and success, but we also had a ton of fun doing it.

So, funny story. Our vehicle coordinator, Elder Mabey, sent us a text that said our car was in for an oil change and a tire rotation. So we being the prompt Elders we are, drove into Corvallis to get everything checked out. We waited for a good hour for everything to get done, but they had free popcorn so all was well. The man at Les Schwab said he couldn't do a tire rotation at all because our tread was so worn. We called our vehicle coordinator again to get approval for an alignment adjustment and a new set of tires. Keep this all in the back of your head.

On a more missionary minded side of things, we had a number of awesome lessons this week. And I'm talking like actual sit-down doctrinal PMG discussions with a good portion of our investigators. If you remember Kay, the former investigator we talked to off the street last week, then you'll be excited to hear that we taught her the first half of the restoration. The spirit was super strong and we were able to help answer most of her questions. We talked about how Christ, through his Atonement, has felt all of our pains and trials. Kay seemed to really connect with that; getting emotional even.

We also had some good lessons with our usual bunch, and a few others. We found this guy named Steve who's really seeking to turn his life around. We promised and testified to him that the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon will help him through anything and everything.

We also were able to see Mark a few times this week. He had been extremely upset about something and actually fasted from cigarettes for a whole day; the longest he's gone without smoking in years. He even came to church this week! Baby steps.

One of the things Elder Searcy really wanted to try this week was getting out to some of the nethermost parts of our area and find people to teach out there. So, we drove out about 10 or so minutes to this little blink-and-you'll-miss-it "town" called Wren. We decided to travel down this road a bit to see what the door knocking scene would look like round these parts, so off we went. We thought that, eventually, the road would circle back around into Wren and we could get back to work, but it just kept going and going and going and going and going for MILES. After much confusion, picture taking, and driving, we end up in a place where we could finally identify where the heck we were. Turns out, we were in the city of Burnt Woods, which is roughly 20 miles outside of Philomath and out of our area. Whoops. This week's title is a quote from Elder Searcy about the whole escapade.

Speaking of Elder Searcy, it was his birthday on the 29th. Everyone wish him a happy birthday!

So, back to our car story. We go back into Les Schwab to get our stuff all sorted out, and somehow they take even longer this time. But again, free popcorn so it's all good. After everything is said and done, the guy says to us that the tires we were driving on were SUPER unsafe and they were practically showing wire and ready to give out pretty much whenever. That would have been nice to know before we, you know, drove out into the middle of where-the-freak-are-we nowhere. But, we survived to tell the tale.

Finishing out our week was actually really special. We had interviews with President Russell on Monday. Now, one of the things that I've been struggling with as of late is knowing whether or not I've been making a difference out here. I've felt like the lack of success, or whatever it is you want to call it, is based off of me and what I'm doing or not doing that's wrong. I spent a lot of this week praying about it, asking Heavenly Father if I'm really doing what I'm supposed to and if I'm making a difference. In my interview with President Russell he said something to me out of the blue, completely out of context. "I see a new light in you."

The spirit confirmed to me very quickly that that was my answer. Showing the light of Christ through our examples isn't something we can fake; there's no counterfeit to being a vessel of the spirit. My testimony of God being able to work through us, no matter how small or insignificant we may feel, has been something I've treasured on my mission thus far. If you're struggling with thoughts of self doubt or questions of whether or not you're doing what the Lord wants of you, know that you're doing great! Far more than you think or can even see. So, let your light shine forth!

I love you all so much! Good luck in school for all those who are back in action. I'm praying for you all! Thank you for all that you're doing.

Give 'Em Heaven,

Elder Jensen

I have no idea where I am

He has no idea where we are

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Adventures in FLMTH Week 13

How the heck is everyone doing this fine day? Well, I hope. I'm sure you all look fantastic.

This was a crazy week here in Oregon. And I mean like an actually crazy week, not a sarcastic crazy week. We were all over the place.

So to bring everyone up to speed, we left off with Elder Johnson peacing out and Elder Thompson and I meandering around Philomath and Corvallis for a few days. And what a good few days they were. We stopped in on this man in the 4th Ward named Joseph to see if he was reading from the Book of Mormon. A short check-in turned into a long discussion and we actually talked to him a lot about baptism. We told him that if he were to find out that the Book of Mormon is true, then he could be baptized by his son who recently converted. He got pretty choked up about that, and accepted a date to be baptized! He said that he felt like this was something he's been waiting for his whole life. It was a pretty special moment and I'm glad that I got to be a part of it, even though it wasn't in Philomath.

On Wednesday, we drove down to the Stake Center in Eugene for the trainers meeting. It was good to see a bunch of friends from the mission who are also training. They kinda singed our eyebrows a little with saying how great we need to be as missionaries and how if we screwed up we'd ruin these poor missionary's missions for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. Needless to say, there were some nerves there.

The next morning however, the nerves were gone and were replaced with excitement. Like, I haven't been that excited for a while. They had all of the trainers and some of the missionaries from around the valley meet in the chapel and sing the Bring the World His Truth medley as the new missionaries came in. Holy Spirit Batman, that was powerful. Such a simple song could bring such a powerful feeling. It was amazing.

After those fun shenanigans were over, they lined us up in the gym and assigned us to our trainees. "In Philomath, Elder Jensen will be training Elder... SEARCY!!!!"

We embraced in the manliest of ways.

Elder Searcy (Sear-See) is a really cool kid. He reminds me of Elder Redding and Elder Carter kinda mixed into a little redheaded kid from Madison, Indiana.

Upon arrival in Philomath, we got right to work. We started knocking doors for a while, as missionaries do. When Elder Searcy got to his first door, it got slammed right in his face. Welcome to the mission field!

We actually did experience a lot of miracles in our first few days together. Elder Searcy got aquatinted with most of the people we teach and is super excited to get to work with them. On Thursday, we went around doing our thing right? Knocking doors, talking to people and whatnot, the works. Elder Searcy decided that he wanted to give out all of the copies of the Book of Mormon we had. So, there's like 15 minutes before we go in for the night, and he had one more Book of Mormon left to give out. So, we set out for adventure. We accidentally knocked into two members, walked around, and ultimately we both get the same prompting to go and knock on this door. We knock on the door, and nothing. So, kinda defeated, we start to walk home. Lo and behold, here walks up this lady that I'd seen once or twice. We actually ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and getting a return appointment with her. It goes to show that the Lord works in mysterious ways!

Honestly, it's been an fantastic week. It's great to get a little bit of the fire back under my wings. I've really seen the Lord work in my life this week with comforting and strengthening me. I know this church is true and I'm excited to keep serving!

Love you all so much!

Stay over easy,

Elder Jensen

PO Box 765
Philomath, Oregon

My boy in front of his first door

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Adventures in FLMTH Week 12: What to Expect When You're Expecting

Howdy Ladies and Germs,

Another week has come and gone here in the magical land of middle-to-northern Oregon. Elder Johnson and I have had a week, consisting of about 7 days, filled with just the most ACTION PACKED and EVENTFUL days of our entire lives! Just kidding, it was a whole lot of the same stuff. But still good nonetheless.

We had good lessons with a lot of people this week. We were able to teach the entire Restoration lesson to a member in the ward named Ramona. She really seemed enjoy having us over and liked the things we talked about. She also had a ton of different question about the organization of the church and stuff like that, so it was good to help her out.

We had quite a few lessons fall through this week, so there isn't a whole lot of action going on in that regard. Something that we were trying to focus on a lot was to teach the members actual discussions and lessons during dinner appointments. It was a fantastic opportunity to spread the gospel around in new ways and help bring the spirit into their homes.

Friday rolled around and transfer calls came up. President Russell decided to pull a fast one on us and actually transferred Elder Johnson to Coquille to be with my trainer, Elder Redding. I, on the other hand, am going to be staying in Philomath and training a new missionary again. Wahoo! I'm beyond excited and humbled at the opportunity to be able to help someone beginning their mission journey. It's going to be a fun few weeks. I'll be staying in Corvallis with Elder Thompson for a few days until we go to the trainer's meeting later this week. Then, come Thursday, I'll have my posterity continue!

That's about all the news from good ol Elder Jensen for this week. Thank you all so much for all the love and support you've given me. It means the world. Remember that Jesus loves you and I do too! 

Talk to y'all on da Flippity flop,

Elder Jensen

The best district ever - pardon my looking like a dork

A little piece of my heart left to Coquille today

Instead of obscene hand gestures like other less spiritual people use, Elder Johnson and I opt for the thumbs up whilst softly whispering "I hate you"

*note* I don't hate Elder Johnson, he was easily one of my absolute favorite companions in the entire world!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Adventures in FLMTH Week 11: Have Referral Will Travel

As of August 8th 2016, Elder Johnson and I have yet to accidentally set fire to the city of Philomath, so we've got that going for us.

It's been a pretty good week for us, lots of attempting to get things done with not a whole lot to show for it. The talking to everyone approach hasn't yielded us any new people to teach yet, but we're definitely still working on it. There were plenty of things this week that we did to help others out though, so that's good.

So a little while back, we helped some members of the ward move their pigs and sheep in preparation for the fair, and this week it was fair time. We channeled our inner farmhands and loaded them up to be shown. Things went a heck of a lot smoother this time considering we didnt have to freaking pick up any of the sheep this time!

A member of the ward gave us a referral to go out and contact this week. Turns out, he's the same guy that we split all that wood for a while back. The problem, however, was that the member couldn't remember what his address was; just the general direction of the house. So we being the courageous young exploratory types that we are, decided to head out anyway. We traveled like 10-15 miles down these barely paved roads in the middle of Nowhereville, USA trying to find this guy's house. Luckily, I remembered what the scene of the Great Wood Massacre of 2016 looked like, so we were able to find his house after long hours of searching. We run up his driveway, knock on his door, he answers and says..."Sorry guys, not interested." BUT we gave him our card so it wasn't a total waste.

We also had some pretty good lessons with our usual crew. We've been going back over the lessons with Mark and he seems to be taking it all in very nicely. We also went over and talked with Clifford several times this week and extended him the offer of a priesthood blessing. He said he'd have to pray about it to see if it was really for him, but he's open to it. We also had our ZTM on Friday. Lots of good things taught and principles learned.

Other than that, we kicked a soccer ball around with a less active kid, did magic tricks for toddlers during dinner, and went to the coast. All in all, not a terrible week. We'll see what the news regarding the transferring of missionaries around the good old south of Oregon here is later this week, so stay tuned for the next, and possibly final, week of Adventures in FLMTH!

I hope everyone has a great week. Love you all!

Stay Fresh, even unto Death,

Elder Jensen

Smiles quickly dashed by stubborn and moody ewes

King's Valley, Oregon: population prolly like 12 MAYBE a soft 13

Tumor Head and The Old Man, two of our favorite puppers 

Another day in paradise! (my feet were very cold)


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Adventures in FLMTH Week 10: It's Hot, Miles Shot AKA Pizza Delivery Service

Friends, Mormons, Countrymen, Lend me your ears, (I think I may have used this intro before in the past. If so, carry on)

Lambor-feety Mercy, I'm super thirsty (get it, because it's been hot and we're on foot) ((I'm going to stop making jokes now))

So, it's been hot. Also, we've been walking around everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Because we are in an outlying area we have a car but we only get 900 miles for the month and that runs out pretty quick. I shouldn't be complaining though, there are missionaries other places who'd kill for a car. After this week, I feel your pain car-less friends, you're in my prayers. It's been a good thing to be out on our feet though. It gets us seen, which is something I'll get to later.

We've had another slow week out here in the good old FLMTH. Elder Johnson and I are still getting after it. We had a few good lessons with people this week, some not so good lessons with others, but lessons nonetheless. We've been focusing our efforts a lot on meeting some of the people that the ward needs help with (less actives, part members, stuff like that) which has been good. I've seen throughout my time here in Oregon that when members are involved in missionary work, blessings abound. Like, it's raining blessings when that happens. And with a great ward like the one we have, there's plenty of people giving us people to talk to. Hopefully it'll pay off here soon!

We had a specialized training in Eugene on Friday with the Corvallis, Eugene, Santa Clara, and Springfield zones. I got to see a bunch of friends from around the mission which is always a blessing. Those are the people that keep me sane out here. The things we learned about were also very helpful. We talked about Christ's atonement, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Spirt, and what it really means to be a successful missionary. It was very insightful and an overall good meeting.

Almost immediately after, this guy in a van painted with Danny Devito's face (cleverly called the Vanny Devito) cut into our lane and flipped us off. Go Oregon.

A better story for ya. So I mentioned walking around, well we were walking home from dinner, left over pizza in hand, when we ran into this guy. We talked about dogs of all things for a while and then casually shifted to the Book of Mormon. He didn't understand it super well, so we explained it to him. At this point, his dog starts losing his mind, so he says he needs to leave. Not on my watch Jeremiah. We asked if we could walk him home, to which he said sure. So, we're trotting down the streets of Philomath, Oregon in a train of 4 individuals; one dog, one man walking said dog, one missionary attempting to flip pages of the Book of Mormon, and one missionary holding a full box of Figaro's pizza. It was the funniest little parade you've ever seen. Long story short, Jeremiah said he'd read from the Book of Mormon and we could come back. Cool little blessing we saw there.

Other than that, we're just out in the field, hoping to harvest for our Master. It's been great to be able to serve the people of Oregon for the past year. I'm so grateful for the chance to be on a mission. I don't know where the heck I'd be without it.

I hope you all have a great week. Look Both ways before you cross the street!


Keep it CCC,
Elder Jensen

Helaman 5:12 

Attempting to make friends with the gift of pizza

Obligatory sidewalk graffiti squat pic

Pot pancakes. Desperation or ingenuity?
(Note, there is no actual pot in the pancake, merely pancake in the pot).