Thursday, December 29, 2016

Springfield Episode 13 I think? (I'm so bad at this): Holiday

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to everyone!

It's crazy to think that at the end of this week, I'll have gone the entirety of 2016 being in Oregon as a missionary. Time really flies. I know that the most important and best months of my mission are ahead of me, and I'm excited to see what happens!

This week was wonderful from pretty much everything but a proselyting standpoint. We had very few lessons, but the lessons that we were able to have were great. We read from the Book of Mormon with Ken and Sister Moxley, which was wonderful. They gave us a Christmas card which was signed "From Brother and Sister Moxley". He's SO close! We're going to get him there I swear. We were also able to find a few new faces to teach, so that was swell.

The holidays were super fun. We had a Bethlehem dinner with the Walkers, from the ward, and then went to a Zone Testimony meeting afterward. The spirit there was so sweet and I really appreciated everything that was said. We also read the night before Christmas, so that was fun.

Christmas Day was awesome. We woke up and partied with the First Ward Elders for a bit and then went to Sacrament Meeting. It was so special to have the opportunity to take the sacrament on the day of the Savior's birth. I'm so grateful for him and his atonement for me. The comfort to know that when I mess up, I can be forgiven and become better is the best gift ever given.

It was looking pretty sparse gator wise for a while even though we invited EVERYONE to church on Christmas. Just when all hope was lost, BAM Tim Goff comes in from out of nowhere and saves the day! Christmas miracles man.

Later that day, we spent some time at the mission home with President and Sister Russell, Skyped with our families, and had dinner with our Bishop's family. It was a great way to spend the day.

This week we don't have too much going on at all. Just back to normal proselyting for a bit. We're hoping the get back into the swing of things here, so look out!


Crazy drunk homeless man!

We were just trying to start up a friendly conversation with this guy on the street. He wanted us to feed him, which we were unable to do. After conversations about costs, ladders, the Gospel (kinda), lack of teeth, him calling us gay several times, and cussing us out for being missionaries, we decided to leave. Good luck crazy homeless man.

That's a wrap folks! (Get it? Christmas.) I hope you all stay safe and enjoy the rest of this year. Thank you all for the prayers and thoughts, it really helps immensely. I love you all. Take care!

Don't say, "New Year, New Me", that's just silly,

Elder Jensen

Merry Christmas!

O Little Town

Away in a gingerbread manger 

'Twas the Night Before Christmas and all the Mission 

The Sisters gave us a Santa Costume


Springfield Episode 12: Ice Storm and a Gneit in Shining Armor

Merry Christmas everyone!

What a wonderful time to be celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. I hope that everyone's having a great Christmas season and enjoying the spirit that accompanies.

Oregon has been great these last few days. We've seen so much success and so many miracles that it'd be hard to write all of them down in an email, so I won't bore you with a travelogue or whatever. But it really is amazing that the Lord is able to work through us to accomplish His purposes. I feel so small sometimes in the scale of the world, but being a missionary really helps me to know that I'm making a difference in the lives of others.

Anywhosies, transfers happened on Monday and I have a new companion. His name is Elder Gneiting (pronounced Knight-ing) and oh man, he's just incredible. He's from Grant, Idaho and is the first companion that I've had that's taller than me, so that's cool. He's been on his mission for about 3 months, making me his first companion after his trainers. He's got spunk and a way with people that I really admire and appreciate. It's also SO SO SO nice to have someone to share the workload with. We get along super well and have been just tearing 2nd Ward apart. It's been a really blessing for sure.

So, ice storm. It doesn't really snow a lot in Oregon, but we do get freezing rain sometimes. And it came DOWN MAN. HOLY COW. We had trees and telephone poles and everything everywhere and the world was just frozen solid. It was beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. I'll attach some favorite pics.

When people can't go out and do stuff, the likelihood of them being home increases drastically, so we made some great contacts. We found some people to teach and had some appointments set up for next week after the holiday, so it'll be awesome.

We were also able to have some really good lessons with some of our investigators. We FINALLY got in contact with Tim again! He's doing well, but he's getting BOTH knees replaced at the same time?! The crazy. He inquired about a blessing though, so he's still building his faith. We also taught Xavier some of the commandments which really went well. We're hoping to get his whole family to come to church on Christmas.

The coolest thing I'd say that happened this week was during sacrament meeting. We were sitting in our pew looking around for people we had invited to church with no luck. Just as all hope is lost, BAM in walks Ken all by himself to come to church, and he stayed for Sunday School too. It's a Christmas miracle

Over the past few weeks, we've had the opportunity to study about the Savior and how we can grow closer to him. I've really felt my love for Him and His sacrifice for us grow as we've approached the celebration of His birth. I love Him, and I know He lives. I couldn't think of anything I'd rather be doing than serving Him as a missionary!

The Crazy Oregonian Spotlight for this week goes out to... Brother Perkins, our landlord. He's just the funniest guy that I've ever met in my entire life. We were having all sorts of technical issues at the trap house this week, so we called him up to help us out. This old guy just says he most off the wall stuff and it kills me! "I would have gone down there to fix the pipes myself, but doggone it if I get down that low I'd throw up everywhere and that wouldn't help anyone." 😂😂 He's a great guy though, and we really appreciate him looking out for us.

That's it for this week, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays! I'm so excited to talk to my wonderful family on Sunday, it'll be the best gift ever. Thank you all so much for the prayers and support. See you next week.

Don't eat the yellow snow,

Elder Jensen

You know you're serving in a rough area when .... 

I love Oregon!

Ice storm. Now imagine everything looks like this.

Chase vs Tree Part 2 ...

Chase won!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Springfield Episode 11: The Saga Continues

Hey everyone! How's everything going? Is everyone having a good holiday? I hope so! It's transfer week in the good old Willamette Valley, so you KNOW that things are happening. But I'll save that for later. I know, I'm evil. My bad.

We actually had a very nice week to finish the transfer out. Along with some really good lessons, we also were able to enjoy some more of the Christmas cheer. We were able to meet with a lot of our investigators and contact a lot of people. We had a great lesson with Xavier, where he remembered most of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That kid is pretty bright. We're really working to get around the obstacles that come with being a ten year old boy, and we hope we can get back into the baptismal discussion again.

We were also able to meet with Ken Moxley. It was a very spiritually led discussion. I asked Ken, "Ken, straight up what is your reservation about being baptized?" To which he said that he still wasn't quite sure if it was right or not. We were then able to discuss the small and simple things and recognizing the spirit. He is making good progress. He asked us for a priesthood blessing, which we feel was really beneficial to him. Once he gains his own personal testimony, he's going to be a rockstar member.

The ward Christmas party was this week. Let me tell you, the Second Ward knows what they're doing over here. They know how to have a party! I was a little unsure on the whole "Cowboy Christmas" theme that we were going for, but it turned out really nice. It was well attended and a whole lot of fun!

We also had the Stake Christmas concert on Sunday night. There was no devotional or anything, just good music. It was lovely.

And transfer news! So my transfer sixth sense was pretty accurate. Elder Wikan is shipping out to the Eugene 3rd Ward and my companion is now Elder Gneiting (pronounced night-ing) After just a few hours with the guy I'm already super excited for the transfer. He's only been out for 3 months, but he's incredible. We're going to do some amazing things here in Second Ward!

That's it for me though, I hope everything is going well for all of you. Thank you so much for everything and anything that you do, not only to help me, but also everyone around you. The world needs more of that!

Much love from Oregon!

Don't be dumb.

 Elder Jensen

We definitely did CHILL OUT because it was like -1500 degrees outside
(ok not that cold)

A nice field of Spring




The "Crazy Oregon Story of the Week" goes to.....
this picture of Organic Gatorade. Only in Oregon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Springfield Episode 10, I think? #LightTheWorld

Happy December Everyone!

The holiday season is in full swing over here in Oregon, but instead of snow, we have rain. So it's a little different, but it's all still good.

We had a pretty slow week work wise (say that ten times fast) but there were some aspects to it that were just awesome. We met with a few of our investigators this week (the one's not too wrapped up and busy) and had some good lessons.

We got back in with Shellie again. She's doing pretty well and is focusing her Christmas on trying to be happy and help others. You know what that sounds like? The new #LightTheWorld Christmas initiative! We showed it to her and she loved it. We're going to see if we can wrangle her in to coming to church with us on Christmas Day, but we'll see.

Speaking of the initiative, isn't it great? I LOVE the approach the church is using this year with service and active participation. It's been a really great tool in talking with and teaching people. Plus, the advent calendar is just the BEST idea ever. I hope everyone is taking advantage of it.

Back to bidness. We also met with Xavier this week. After our train wreck of a lesson with him last week, we had a very pleasant time reading from the scriptures with him. He's a good kid, but we're working on developing the habits he needs to build his own testimony. It'll be a process, but the results will be great.

In the month of December, the Springfield Stake puts on what's called the Crèche exhibit. It's this HUGE nativity festival with live music, lights, and hundreds of nativities that were donated or volunteered to be shown. We got to help set up and go and see the finished product too. It was spectacular! There were so many gorgeous nativity scenes and it really put me in the Christmas spirit.  That topped off with the First Presidency devotional made for a special weekend.

There was also a parade. It was the most eclectically assembled ensemble I've ever seen, but it was still really fun!

So, I don't know if I've ever quite painted the picture for everyone of just how Coconuts Oregon is, so we're starting a new segment called:

Spotlight! Crazy Oregonian Story of the Week! (I may have stollen this idea from Elder Joey Merrill)

This week's spotlight goes to two people; Cat Kid and The Bus Master. We had this kid who was probably no more than ten years old get up and bear his testimony on Sunday and it was 10 minutes of him talking about his Mom's relationship issues and cats. The bishop had to tell him to get to the point like three times. It was hilarious. Also, there was this guy at the bus stop who would, very loudly mind you, state that he knew EXACTLY where the bus was, 24/7. 365 days out of the year. He said something about a sixth sense he had. It was weird. Also, update on Ghost Homeless guy, we still haven't found him...

That's about it for me. Transfers are also this weekend, so we'll see if things get shaken up or not. Thank you all for the love and support. I hope you have a great week and stay warm. Much love all around!

Elder Jensen

Caution: Chase Crossing (the bottom says living green which is funny because Oregon)

2nd Ward Gang

Le Creche

Springfield Zone Gang

Only in Oregon would you have a special section of your parade dedicated to Volkswagen busses

Willamalane Service Crew ft Ann

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Springfield Episode 9

Hey there everyone, it's Elder Jensen in Oregon!

This week was...different? I'm still trying to decide if it was good, or not to be honest with you. It was just kinda odd. I think odd is the best way to describe everything that was going on.

So, our progressing investigators are dropping left and right. Shellie isn't able to meet with us, Xavier is too busy being a 10 year old to pay attention to lessons (I don't really blame him, but still), Tim has kinda fallen off the complete face of the earth, and Laura just won't come to church. It's been rather frustrating trying to rally everyone together, but we're sticking to it!

As stated above, our lessons this week weren't the greatest in the entire world. Xavier just would NOT pay attention if his life depended on it. It was the first lesson that I've had where we had to cut it short because he was there, but his head wasn't. We're hoping that we can keep working with everyone going forward though.

Thanksgiving was wonderful! I've really been reflecting and pondering lately about how truly blessed I am with everything I've been given; much of which I do not deserve. My amazing family, friends, and those I serve with, constantly astound me with how loving and caring they are and how much they truly bless my life. I'm so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who gave his Son for me, and for all of us. I'm grateful to be sharing that with everyone in Oregon.

For dinner (at 3:00, does that still count as dinner?) we went over to the Luke's house. They must have had like 25-30 people there, full house (plus, not all of their kids made it, so they were expecting more!) It was kinda weird to be there with so many people, but it was still awesome and I was so thankful for them inviting us over.

The Christmas initiative launched this week. #LightTheWorld. It's absolutely INCREDIBLE and I love it so much, I've had the little piano riff stuck in my head for days. I love how the church is making it so interactive for everyone; really putting an emphasis on serving and helping others is a great idea. I've seen the best way to appreciate and become more like Christ is to serve those around us, so this initiative will be great.

Fun story time. Walking to Thanksgiving dinner, we met Nathan. He seemed like your average Oregonian homeless man: friendly, talkative, weird things on his feet, the works. As we're passing him, we start to have a conversation. Long story short, he was interested in coming to church. Cool we say, and give him the details. Coming back from dinner, we meet him again. We start talking a little bit more and this guy is just absolutely cuckoo for coca puffs. He starts going OFF on some dot matrix algorithm about heaven and hell and angels and giant space cubes and the rainbow and all this jazz. We're drawing massive blanks here. Then, to top everything off, he asks if we could baptize him. We were super confused, but said that we'd talk about it at church.

Saturday night, we're leaving the church when we see a large blue lump on the front steps. Great I think to myself, a homeless man. (It's not uncommon to see this, especially in Eugene) We go to open the door and tell him he can't sleep there when he all of a sudden pops up and starts talking to us. It's the same guy! He was just SO excited to come to church the next day that he decided to crash right there. We told him we didn't want him to get in trouble, so he agreed to scamper off to somewhere else.

The next day at sacrament meeting, nothing. No Nathan to be seen. And we haven't seen him since. He may or may not have been a ghost, so hold tight.

The end.

Anyway, we're excited for this next week. I hope that you all have a great week as well. Thank you for all the love and support, it means so much. I'm thankful for YOU! Yes, you!

Much love! Keep it real.

Elder Jensen

Aptly named

Oh yea, we had exchanges this week too. It was fun.

Springfield Episode 8: Raining Cats and Dogs (and goats and horses...)

Howdy Folks! It's Elder Jensen here in the good old OEM.

It was another pretty half-decently-ok not too bad week in Springfield. There are a lot of good things that could start taking off here pretty soon, but right now we're on the grind. Looking for people to teach in the pouring rain can be pretty fun when it's not the worst thing ever. But we press on!

The holidays are apparently super rough for investigators over here. We had quite a few people who said that they're just too busy to meet with us over the next few weeks. Shelli said that she wasn't going to be able to see us until January so that was kind of the pits. The lesson that we had with her was still nice though. We also had a few other random and scattered lessons. We met with Ken again this week, he also said that the next two weeks or so would be rough, so it's kinda slowing down with him. But he's RIGHT THERE when he decides that he's ready. It's all just a matter of time.

Holy cow we walked just absolutely EVERYWHERE this week. In the rain, in the dark, in the cold, in the park. Over here, over there, we seem to walk everywhere! We also tracted out this entire apartment complex in one day, and no one yelled at us! So that was dandy.

Let's see what else happened this week... Oh I gave a conducted a baptismal interview. The sisters in the 5th ward have an 11 year old girl on date for baptism next week and I got the chance to interview her. It was an awesome experience. She's super solid and it was awesome to help her out.

We also talked to this crazy lady on a bridge he other day. The conversation was muffled but one in that I did get out of it was the quote, "I believe that Jesus Christ walked across the Atlantic Ocean!" There's Oregon for you in a nutshell. That's about it though.

This next week should be more exciting, so stay tuned.

Thank you all for all that you do. Love you all. Don't do drugs.

Elder Jensen

Not a shabby view

Watch out for random bridge ladies