Thursday, June 29, 2017

Medford 21: Roooooooad Trips!

Our week was really scattered and hectic, but great nonetheless!

On Tuesday night, a few other Elders from the south and I all buckled down and drove up to Eugene for our last temple trip as missionaries. We stayed the night in the Assistants apartment (which was a blast - 12 or so Elders in one apartment is hilarious.) and then the following morning, we met up with everyone else and drove to Portland! It was such a great session and it was awesome to see everyone I'm going home with one last time.

The temple is so great. It was also the last time I'll see President and Sister Russell before they go home, which was a sweet experience.

On Saturday, we helped a less active member move some stuff out of his apartment, and then we geared up for a road trip to Yreka, California so Elder Searcy could do a baptismal interview. It was the second time I've been in California on my mission, and it's crazy how much a group of people can change in less than 50 miles. The drive down there was gorgeous though, and we didn't even get asked any fruit smuggling related questions when crossing the border! Wahoo!

Because of the excessive amounts of road tripping, we didn't get a whole lot of things done, but we were able to find some great people to teach and get out and about a bit.

It's really been a great last few weeks and we're seeing the Lord's hand in our lives everyday.

I love being a missionary!

I love you all so much! Have a great week and talk to you soon!

Elder Jensen

The 26 missionaries leaving July 18

President and Sister Russell

Poor quality picture of the MTC group

Oregon ------> California

Not sure if the thermostat is broken or if it's just that hot!

Medford 20: A Lot of Lasts

My week was really good. It's so hot over here, my goodness.

It's been really nice to get to know the ward and the area and everyone in Medford. The ward is great. The area itself is way nicer than Phoenix, but there are still some less well to do areas, but overall it's way nice. There are some really gorgeous houses.

Being with Elder Searcy again has been really fun. It's kinda like we just picked up where we left off, but we've both grown a ton. He's a good stinking missionary now. We've been tearing it up!

We've seen a lot of miracles and have really been living the missionary life. There's a ten year old girl named Pheona who hasn't been baptized yet (her parents are both members) so we've been meeting with her fairly regularly. We've set a baptismal date with her for the 1st of July (but it might be the 7th) but we're super excited for her! She's a pretty solid ten year old and her family is super great.

On Wednesday we had Zone Conference in Central Point with the Medford, CP, Grants Pass, and K Falls Zones. It was really nice to see a large number of missionaries in one place. It was really surreal that it was my last one. It was also President and Sister Russell's last Conference too, so the spirit was super strong. I had lots of thoughts and memories from my mission come flooding back. I'm really going to miss this place when I'm gone.

On Saturday we did some volunteer service at the Special Olympics. It was SUCH a blast! We helped officiate the Bocce tournament for all the athletes that were there. It was really swell to get out and help. We also leaned that I'm garbage at bocce.

This upcoming week we're having a lot of fun too. On Wednesday we're going to Portland for the last temple trip and then on Saturday we're going to Yreka, California for a baptismal interview. It should be a blast!

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week and talk to you soon!

Elder Jensen

Zone Service at the Special Olympics

Beat the heat

Medford 19: Running Through the 6th

This week has been really good! The move into the 6th Ward apartment was easy for me, I didn't even really need to pack at all, just get it there.

We've had the ZL's living in the apartment for the last week, so that was super fun. The place is a mess from having six Elders living in it within two weeks, but we're going to get that taken care of here pretty soon.

More on the work side of things. The transfer has started so well. It's so good to back with Elder Searcy again. I was his first companion, and he's going to be my last. It's a good feeling! We've both grown a ton over the past 10 or so months and the change has been so good. We're both working hard and seeing miracles already. It's been such a blessing and such a humbling experience. We're also both still huge goofballs, so I guess some things never change.

But our week. The ward has been awesome with the double transfer in. We've met a ton of the members and have really connected well with a lot of them. Our Bishop and his family are some of my favorite people I've ever met. We had dinner with them on Tuesday and have already started working with some of the referrals we've gotten from them. There's also this Ward missionary named Margie who's the sweetest old Southern lady in the world. We had a lesson with her next door neighbor and she was just a gospel rockstar during the whole thing! So we're hopefully going to keep working with her and her neighbor Kim on baptism.

We've also found a ton of really cool people to teach. Elder Searcy had a great rush of inspiration and shouted under this guy's garage door asking if he wanted to talk to us. We ended up teaching him the Plan of Salvation for an hour and we're going back to teach him more. Better yet, he knows the Bishop's family well so there's an in there.

We were walking down the street when I spotted a dollar in the bushes. I picked it up and this guy from across the street says ,"Did you just pull that dollar out of that bush?" To which I said "Well...yeah?" He thinks for a moment, obviously mesmerized by my ability to create money from my fingers and says "Woah...spend it...wisely." I was cracking up.

Also, we went down to Klamath Falls for a baptism that Elder Searcy was a part of. We drove down with a recent convert from 5th Ward to watch his (the driver's) sister get baptized. It was so good to go back to the old stomping grounds! I haven't been there for like 18 months and it was great to see members of the ward again.

We had our last round of interviews with President Russell. It was really tender. He's been such a great mission President and I've been so thankful to have him there for me. We also talked about going home stuff, which was weird. It flies by so fast kiddos!

That's about it though! Have a great week. See you soon! 😉


Elder Jensen

Young Man on Small Creek (2017)

The Peterson Clan

Monday, June 5, 2017

Medford 18: Medford ---> Medford?

So, we've got crazy mission news as always.

Earlier this week, Elder Zilles' companion had to go home for some surgery, so he was stuck with us for the rest of the week. I've been Elder Zilles temporary companion for almost as long as I've been with real companions now.

On Friday we got transfer news, the last call of my mission! And things went down. They took Elder Green and I both out of Phoenix and now we'll only have one set of missionaries in the First Ward.

Elder Green is going to go to Gold Hill, and I'm going right across the street to the Medford 6th Ward. And my companion? Elder Searcy, my trainee! It's super weird, but it's also going to be super fun!

The rest of the week was spent cleaning up our apartment and moving everything into the 6th Ward apartment.

On Saturday we did something really cool though. There was a service project that involved us building really small houses. It was a blast and it was a great opportunity to get out and in the community.

That's about it.

Elder Jensen

Medford Zone!

Medford 17: I've Been Here Forever!

Things have been going well, but still super slow. We're walking and talking and knocking all day long, but not a lot is happening. We haven't found a lot of new investigators and no one is really getting ready to get baptized, so I'm not sure if they'll keep us around here. It's a bummer because Phoenix is a great place! The people down here are so great and there's so much good, but its a small area and not a lot of people are interested.

It's started to get really hot. Like upper nineties hot. In May! Our central AC doesn't work too well either, so we huddle around the swamp cooler thing we have whenever possible. We're back to running between shady spots to keep cool.

We also stop in at the local Jack in the Box to get water. We're like regulars, it's really funny.

We've gotten back in contact with some of the people we've been teaching lately! Patrick and Southern are doing well! They've both been reading and praying, now we've just got to get them to church. We also got back to seeing Chris! He's another that, once he's at church, he'll be hooked. The poor man just lost his job on top of all his medical baloney, so we're really hoping to help him out however we can.

A man in a pirate costume rode by on his bike and shouted "You boys from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? GOD BLESS YOU." It was fantastic.

I've been doing a lot of reflecting on the mission lately and I'm just so grateful and happy that I decided to serve. There have been so many blessings that I've seen and the growth I've felt both spiritually (and pretty much all other 'allys) has been amazing. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world, even if it's hard sometimes. The church is super true. There really isn't a way that it isn't!

Elder Jensen

This is pretty much the entirety of Phoenix for you

R-L: Patrick, Southern (asleep we think), Bruce the dog, and Shai. 

Medford 16

Hey there everyone. It's Elder Jensen.

Things have really been heating up down here in Oregon (not the work though, the weather. It's gotten up to like 95 already.) But really, things are going great.

We've been really getting after it lately and even if results aren't raining in, we're still working hard! 

Thank you all for the birthday wishes! It was a great day. It's weird to think that 2 decades have already passed. I couldn't think of a better place to celebrate than in the service of The Lord! We spent a lot of the day acquiring free food and doing normal missionary stuff, so nothing too exciting.

On Wednesday, we wandered for MILES out in the sticks of our area looking for people to teach. That kind of thing happens when you've pretty much talked to everyone in your area already. We traversed up this dirt road looking for this lady who was a former investigator. We found her house, but didn't find her. Instead we found her daughter, a professional artist. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and set up a time to come back! When we came back on Monday, she wasn't there. But her mom, who we originally went out to see, was! So now we've got a family to teach.

On Friday after district meeting, we went on exchanges with the Elders in 6th Ward. I got to go out with my main man Elder Zilles again. From day one we've been chugging along and it's been great to be around him this much. We got Sonic shakes at the end of the day, so it was a blast!

On Saturday and Sunday we busted our buns looking for people to teach without too much success. We received a list of members to visit from the ward and that's been really great to go through. We've found a lot of people who want to get back in to the swing of the gospel which is great!

On Monday, we had Zone Conference. We had the Klamath Falls Zone come up and we were very spiritually uplifted. It was a sweet meeting, even if it did take 8 hours to get through all of it.

Other than that, not too much to report on. Transfers are in two weeks, so we'll see what gets shaken up and where. Then only one more six week stint! Time sure flies.

Have a great week everyone. Be safe and love one another and Jesus loves you.

Until next time,
Elder Jensen

Springfield reunion 

The Medford Zone in red 

Medford 15

Hey there everyone, it's your old pal Elder Jensen coming at you live from Phoenix!

Things have been going well the past few days. I've started to feel the effects of being in an area for a while, so we're shaking it up a bit and getting out into places we usually don't get to all too often. And as always, we've been walking a ton. It wouldn't be a week in Oregon without walking a few dozen miles every few days!

But first, let me take a second and give a shoutout to my Mom on this the day after Mother's Day. My mom is the best, plain and simple. I'm so grateful for her and all the selfless devoted service and sacrifices that she makes for me and for everyone around her. You rock Mom! Thank you, and I love you so much!

We also had the opportunity to give the lesson in Relief Society this week, which made me think of all the wonderful women in my life growing up. Thank you for all you do too!

Ok back in it. We started the week off with interviews with the mission President. He's getting to the end of his mission too, so it's been really evident of the love that he has for all his missionaries. We had a really good chat and the training beforehand was great too. It set the mood for the rest of the week.

We did a lot of work for the cemetery this week. The guy who runs the service, Stan, is the man. We were able to have ten Elders come and work on Friday morning and that graveyard is looking fresh. Just in time for Memorial Day!

We did a lot of finding and contacting this week, but everyone disappeared? Maybe it's just Phoenix, but NO ONE answers their doors. We hear people all the time behind doors say "Oh (darn it), it's those (lovely) Missionaries again." And then they won't open. Such is the life.

We ventured out in to the east side of Phoenix this week which was an adventure. Both of us really, really had to go to the bathroom, so we wandered for a while attempting to find the proper facilities to do so. After a miracle that is a random gas station, we knocked around and found a new investigator! Inspired bathroom search = Success in proselyting?

On Saturday, Phoenix did a city wide garage sale.  We spent a lot of the day walking around talking to people as they perused the neighborhoods. Note: people like you a lot more when they're selling you things and not when you're knocking on their doors. It was really fun though!

This pday, we finally did the hike I wanted to. It's a big old peak called Roxy Anne. You could see the whole valley from the top. It was marvelous!

That's about it for me. I hope all of you have a great week and remember just how much Heavenly Father loves you! Talk to you next week.

Look both ways when you cross the street,
Elder Jensen

Oregon is very adamant about dogs and their bathroom habits

Phoenix isn't all too bad ;)

In case we forgot which state we were in 

Golly I love this place 

Medford 14: Spring? Summer? Both?

These last few days have been good. There's plenty of walking to do and lots of people we're talking to. I've been doing my best to try to break up the monotony and keep looking for ways to keep my head up. I've had a lot of really good experiences that have helped me as things have been winding down. I'm kinda understanding the whole "Enduring to the End" thing for sure 😉 But things have been good.

We've been really getting after it and seeing a lot of success. We've been trying to sort through our investigators and seeing who's really invested in, well, investigating! While it's been sad to let some people go, I know that it's for the benefit of the work.

We had good lessons with a few of our investigators like Ben and Anthony and a less active man named Tom who's SUPER great. He bought us lunch one day. It's been great to see as we've been getting out and about, there have been blessings coming from it.

Speaking of which, we found some swell new people to teach. We were walking around and we were both just DEAD tired, but we decided to make a final push before dinner. We were able to find two really solid investigators in about 2 minutes! Diligence pays off!

Small talk: the weather. The weather in Oregon has been just ridiculous lately. We went from 92 degrees one day to 35 a day later. One day drowning in sweat, the next, drowning in a torrential downpour. I've never experienced all four season in a week until I've been here. It was nutso.

I need to mention this before I forget again. This happened a week or two ago, but it's vital information. We saw a high school girl fight in the cemetery. I looked over and all of these teenagers congregated in a circle, phones out, and WHAMO. Hair pulling. Cut foreheads. I was completely in disbelief! I walked over there, weedwacker in hand, and told them all to break it up. We didn't really know what to do after that, so we went and got pizza.

Ok back to the week. This Sunday was incredible! The spirit was just super strong and the classes were great. It was just a really positive way to end a less than exciting week.

And last but not least, crazy Oregon story of the week! So we were walking down the street Sunday night and we see this couple hanging out of the side of the road. To paint a picture, this guy has no shoes, a big floppy hat, and is holding an vapor cigarette, so your typical Oregonian. He says something like "I want the two of you to feel the energy out in this situation and give me just one sentence. That's all I want. Huddle up!" So, we huddle up and talk amongst ourselves trying to figure out what the heck is going on. We decided on a quick message and said proudly: "Men are that they might have joy!" The man thinks for a second and says: "That's beautiful man. Bring it in." We proceed to hug it out. It was a good time.

Love, Elder Jensen

What season is it?

Zone Hike