Monday, August 27, 2012

Laura the Lamanite

Well . . .

This week was good!  No baptisms and a couple of rough moments but, overall, it went really well.  We have some great new investigators and four baptisms this Saturday  J  We met a family of five, but only three live in the house right now . . . Really sad.  The Dad was in a car crash a few years back.  He can’t walk, talk, or use his right arm.  And he also doesn’t really know what is right or not right.  He’s suuuuuuper nice, though, and I can tell he likes us (plus his wife said he likes us J).  I don’t understand how that family can be so happy, but they are.  It’s a really cool and humbling thing to see.  The wife, Adriana, and their daughter, Wesliane, are both awesome and really willing to learn.  I think they will be baptized in about two or three weeks.  Reeeeeeeally awesome people  J

Just a few funny stories . . . One is about spiders.  At this point, you may be thinking, “We all know Elder Jensen is deathly afraid of spiders”.  Well, my friends . . . The Lord truly is a God of miracles.  The other day I felt something on my arm and I looked to find a spider.  And, what did I do?  Nothing.  I realized it’s just very normal to have spiders on me around here.  So, yea, I flicked it off, but I didn’t flip out at all!  I am truly improving!  Yes!  #winning. . .

Another story is about the Lamanites.  I met two this week.  One by the name of Laura and one . . . Well, I never learned his name.  Laura the Lamanite, however, gave me quite the laugh.  We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation and the three kingdoms of glory and she proceeded to inform us, “I believe all of those things, but not about the three kingdoms”.  Well, of course, we already had 1 Corinthians 15 prepared to teach, sooooo . . . When she said, “I want to see that in the Bible.  If it is says something about that in the Bible, I will believe it”, we were sooooo ready for her!  We read it to her (not Bible bashing because it was already planned to read) aaaaaaaaand!!!  She said she wanted to see somewhere else in the Bible where it says that and THEN she would believe.  Laura the Lamanite . . . I really learned from her that for some people signs aren’t enough.  I finally understand why the Lord doesn’t give signs to people, but rather tests their faith more often.  Because many times, people are so blind that a sign doesn’t change anything.  It was really an . . . Interesting experience.

The other Lamanite . . . I don’t know his name so I will just call him Perdition.  We knocked on his door and he wouldn’t look at us.  Just wanted to talk about how we worship Joseph Smith.  Basic flaw that people have when they think about our religion, so I wasn’t really surprised.  But, when we tried to explain . . . Gah!  #ineedmorecharity . . . Anyways, when we tried to explain, he pulled out his military badge like . . . Trying to threaten us!  Anyway . . . I won’t speak too much of Perdition . . . He will have his time . . .

Other than the Lamanites of Sao Miguel, nothing to exciting, haha . . . Baptisms for Edilane, Edison, Gilbeno, and Cicera this week!  All very firm, so we will just keep following up and I feel confident about that (knock on wood).  Everything is really great!  I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!  Thank you so much for your prayers and support!  J

Love, Elder Jensen

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sarcasm doesn't really exist here . . .


Well, two down!  Many more to go!  Baptisms, of course!  Edvaldo and Gabriela were baptized this last Saturday!  I knew Edvaldo was ready, but the whole week my Companion and I were praying a lot for Gabriela.  I’m so happy that the Lord blessed her to be ready for baptism.  I finally like I’m here!!!!!  Finally feel like I’ve really started what I came here to do!  I had a couple rough days this week, but those baptisms really lifted me up.  HUGE blessing!!!!!  We might have another baptism again this week for Edlane who is the sister of Edvaldo, but that’s not a “for sure” thing.  Depends if we get the chance to give her all of the lessons.  I think it’s possible, but it’s not a for sure thing.  I will pray for it, though!  And I know you all will, too!  I know because of your prayers, I can have success and help others come unto Christ  J

Suuuuuuper excited that Gilbeno and Cicero will be married on the 31st of this month!  Then, the next day is their baptism!  Crazy to see a whole family (of four) accept baptism and to see how happy it makes them!  My goal for my two years here is to baptize a family of six in one day.  A big dream, but what other way to do it?  I pray for that opportunity every day!

My Portuguese is comin’ along great !  I learn new words and things to say (or not to say) every day.  For the most part, I can communicate just fine.  It also depends on the accent of the person.  For example, people who don’t annunciate or don’t have teeth?  Not happenin . . . Maybe a little but, but not much.  I can communicate with my companion about anything!  No problems there!  He isi also really good at helping me understand and learn.  So, if I don’t understand something, he is patient and explains another way.  He’s smart and really cool J  Door contacts are a little difficult sometimes.  I don’t really know why.  It’s just communicating and holding a really solid conversation is hard ‘cause I can’t fully express myself and, even more so, I can’t fully understand them.  So, I get nervous that I’m going to say something totally off topic . . . Hahaha . . . Not always, but sometimes!  I think in Portuguese now.  Not always, but every once in a while, I’ll be doin’ something in English or speakin’ English with Elder Denna and I find myself switching to Portuguese without thinking about it.  I tried praying in English with Elder Rodrigues the other day and it was suuuuuper hard!  How weird is that?!?!?

All of the other Elders were very jealous this last Zone Conference when I received nine letters!  Hahahaa!  I loved it!  So, please keep ‘em coning!  I know I’m gonna love the big ol’ piles I will receive from now on  J

A few funny stories . . . Elders Denna and Izquierdo are teachin’ a lady and her family and one of the girls has sent texts to Elder Denna totally hitting on him!  Hahahaha!!!  I don’t know why it’s so funny, but it is.  She’s always calling him “bonito” or “lindo” . . . Hahaha . . . So funny. 

Another strange thing . . . Sarcasm doesn’t really exist here.  For example, we were walking to this place where we send e-mails and this guy tried to go over a curb with his motorcycle, totally just showing off ‘cause he was giving a girl a ride . . . And . . . His bike stalled RIGHT in front of me.  Soooo, I said, "Parabéns", which means “Congratulations” and the other three Elders were laughing but were also worried for me.  I guess you can’t do that here?  Oh, well . . .

Other than that, nothin’ too special to report . . . We had our fair share of ups and downs, just like every other missionary!  Everything is great!!!!!!!  Lovin’ every minute!  I love you all so much!  Be good, be safe!  J  I love you all!!!

Love, Elder Dylan Miles Jensen

Elder Rodrigues, Edvaldo, and Elder Jensen

Elder Rodrigues, Gabriela, and Elder Jensen

Edvaldo, Elder Jensen, Edison, Kayky, & Juninho
These kids are so much fun . . . Haha!  I love 'em!
Edvaldo and Edison are brothers, as are Kayky and Juninho. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

We have pictures!!!!!!

This is a view of the city of São Miguel from my house.  
I would love to show you all that is above my house, 
but I can't get a picture of that!
When we're together, 
we recite the missionary purpose in our mission.
At the end, we yell “Baptismos!”  
So I, of course loving sports, had to put it on paper 
and attach it to the wall right where we walk out.  
So, when I leave I kiss my hand and tap the paper . . . 
Excuse my chubbiness . . . 
But this is a walkway along the side of the hill. 
We walk it almost every day ‘cause most members 

live on the other side of this trail. 
Super pretty view though . . . 
Just a random alley close to our house
  I had to take a picture . . . Dunno why!  
I would send more pics but . . . 
For example . . . 
When I took this one, 
this guy was EYEING my camera!  
So, I don’t take it out of the house very much!  
Just me and Elder Rodrigues 
Here’s my picture for the wedding cut out! 
Thumbs up for Derek and Emily!  

Happy Birthday to my dear Palmer!

Familia . . .

Happy birthday to my dear Palmer!  I was thinkin’ about her a lot yesterday . . . Must be so big and even more annoying now!  J

This week went very well!  Some days can be really, really hard and tiring, but every time I get tired, I get this thought in my head that I just gotta keep pushin’ and trying.  And, when I do, very soon after, we find a new investigator or at least someone who is willing to talk and learn and all that!  Pretty cool stuff.  The Lord is really blessing me. 

Last night, right as I was getting’ tired, we knocked on the door of an 82 year old lady named Maria.  We taught her the Restoration and all that good stuff and she was crying!  She said she had been to other churches but that she had never felt the joy she was feeling right then.  Pretty cool considering I’m guessin’ she has . . . some experience with life.  Then I felt like I needed to talk about the Book of Mormon so I did and I gave her one and she just about flipped out!  Hahaha!  I was laughin’ so much.  I think my companion felt a little unsure about it, but I was absolutely lovin’ it.  I think she really believes and wants to learn  J

Gilbeno and Cicera are getting’ married on the 31st of this month!  So . . . They signed the papers and everything and will be getting’ baptized on the 1st of September!  They are an awesome family . . . And they have two boys, Kayky and Juninho – both are really, really cool and fun.  Love that family and am super pumped for them  J

We would have had a baptism this week, but it was Stake Conference so we couldn’t.  Hard part is that the girl we were going to baptize, Gabriela, really struggles with smoking.  So, we go by her house every day and check in and what not.  Prayin’ that she will stay ready!

Edvaldo is 15 years old and his baptism is set for next week.  He’s totally ready  J  Deborah is ready, but she can’t find time to get off work right now.  She does political stuff and it’s the craziest time of the year right now with elections.  Also super annoying time of the year ‘cause there are cars with the music for each candidate and all the songs are ANNOYING!  But, oh, well!  I hope she will find time soon . . .

Other than that, just lots of individual lessons here are there.  The LZs came this week and took Elder Denna and Elder Rodrigues with them which left me and Elder Izquierda.  I wasn’t the happiest at first ‘cause the LZs took our companions which meant they taught all the lessons and everything we had planned and they told us “Just go make contacts”.  Hahaha . . . I’m such a complainer . . . Anyway, it ended up bein’ really good.  We taught this family with four ladies and they were all way into it.  Got them all to commit to baptism!  Except they aren’t in my area . . . They are in Elder Denna and Elder Izqyuerdas’ area . . . #bummer . . . But, it’s all good!  It was really cool!!!

Ah . . .One more funny thing . . . The doors to the houses here?  Way too small.  Seriously.  I struggle so much to get through those things.  I always have to turn at an awkward angle to fit through . . . LOL . . .

So . . . To answer some of your questions . . . Our house is actually very nice.  Except we don’t have carpet.  Derek knows what I mean . . . Haha!  I miss carpet so much!  It’s a great house, though.  Everything works great and it’s clean and . . . Yea! 

For meals, we have lunch with a member every day.  Breakfast and dinner are up to us.  I’m learnin’ what’s cheap and everything and what’s good to cook.  We eat a TON of bread.  It’s like $1 for 5 fairly large pieces . . . Super cheap.  But, so bad to eat this much!  I’m going to send some pictures so you will see my chunkiness . . . I just started runnin’ again and I’m gonna be more careful about what I eat.  Haha . . . I really don’t want to gain any more weight!  I gained like 5 kilos in the CTM! 

The weather here is beautiful!  Besides the humidity, it’s a lot like Gilroy.  We have hot days, but because we are close to the ocean, we get a lot of clouds that cool everything down.  It rains a lot, too!

São Miguel is a small town about 45 minutes to an hour south of the city of Maceio.  I can’t really explain any more than that . . . Haha . . . I’m sorry!  It’s gotta be on a map somewhere, though!  Super pretty . . . Wayyyyyyy out there, but super pretty!

So . . . We have Nash and Howard now?!?!?  And I’m not there to see it?!?!?  Ahhhhhhh such a bummer . . . So sad . . . We better do work, Ma!  Cheer lots for me!  SO PUMPED!!!!!!!

I’m not sure when I will be receiving the mail you all send.  It depends on when we go to Maceio or if people are coming here maybe they will bring it.  I really don’t know  J

I can’t believe Derek and Emily are off takin’ Engagement pictures!  Can’t WAIT to see that  J   BTW . . . Can you say, “Tall, sexy, ATHLETIC kids”?  Jealous . . . Oh, so jealous . . . I love you more than you know!

Everthing is goin’ great, though!  The Lord is blessing me a lot with . . . Well, anything you can think of He is giving it to me (spiritually).  I love you all so much!  Be good!  Pronto Sempre Pronto!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love your son, Elder Dylan Miles Jensen

Monday, August 6, 2012

“I ain’t in Checotah anymore!”

Well, hero!

How’s everyone doin?  Mom . . . I’m still not going to type with proper grammar . . . It’s too much work.  I have an hour on here so I’ll fill ya in on as much as I can think of!!!

Tuesday was a very weird day ‘cause I was the only Elder in my District leavin’.  So, I woke up, finished packing, and just kinda wandered aimlessly around the CTM . . . Haha . . . It was weird not havin’ a Companion or anything.  But, I left there at 8:30am!  I went straight to the airport with two other Elders (one from Uruguay and one from Sao Paulo) and got on the plane.  I also met one other Elder there who was headed to Maceio, but he never even went to the CTM ‘cause of VISA issues.  He learned some Portuguese at the MTC in Provo, but was then sent to Louisiana Spanish speaking . . . He was kinda lost with the Portuguese, but I know he will learn quickly.

On the way here, I gave away a Book of Mormon on the plane.  The gal I gave it to seemed super interested . . . She read the whole introduction and then started prayin’ about it right there!  Haha . . . It was a pretty cool experience, and fun, too!  So, then we arrived in Maceio and President Gonzaga and his wife were there with their Assistants (Elder Langlois was there!) to pick us up.  We went to the Mission Home and ate and all that good stuff . . . Except I felt kinda like Katniss . . . They are giving you all this super nice stuff but underneath it all . . . You know you’re about to die . . .Hahaha . . . Totally different world out here than the picture we got at their home!  But, it was really cool to get comfortable in the area and to get to know them and everything.

So . . . I have my first Companion!  Not FIRST, but you know what I mean . . . His name is Elder Rodrigues and he’s from Rio Grande do Sul.  He speaks ssssssuuuuuper limited English and lots of Portuguese . . . Thanks, Heavenly Father?  Haha . . . It’s a blessing though.  I am learning really fast from him.  He has only been out for about four months, but he’s my Trainer!  Pretty cool stuff!

The first week here was pretty insane.  The first day, we walked onto the street and Elder Rodrigues said, “Agora, vamos andar muito” which means, “Now, we are going to walk a lot”.  Haha . . . He was not lying!  I was dying!  Two months of sittin’ around and gaining weight will get to ya, but it felt reeeeeeeally good to finally get out and work.  So it began!

I can’t give ya the play-by-play, so I’ll give ya the overall . . . We were supposed to have a Baptism on Saturday for Gabriela, whose entire family are members, but she smoked again this week so she wasn’t ready.  We have one family, Gilbena and Cicera, who have two little boys.  The boys are members who my Companion recently baptized, but the parents aren’t married.  So, this week . . . We are having a wedding!  Haha . . . How cool is that?  They are getting’ married so that they can be baptized  J  So pumped!  And excited for them!

There is another girl named Deborah who is ready to be baptized but has been on vacation so I’ve only met her once.  We also found another family of four.  The little girl, Gabby, is three and the boy, Simon, is seven (eight next month J) and the parents are Ana and Monoel.  They seemed really interested and really cool.  We taught the first lesson and they committed to pray and be baptized and all that good stuff.  Pretty cool!  I feel good about them.

Honestly, though, a ton of stuff here are just lessons here and there . . . Knockin’ doors and explaining . . . Getting turned down, or getting asked in . . . All in a day’s work, right?  It’s been good, though.  The people here are really ready for our message.

Sheesh!  I didn’t say where I am!  Haha . . . Sorry!  The city I am in is Sao Miguel!  Pretty poor area . . .But cool and GORGEOUS!  We are surrounded by green hills and open space.  After being in the CTM for two months . . . This is perfect . . . Exactly what I wanted.  We have four missionaries in our District – Me and Elder Rodrigues and Elders Deen and Izquierda.  Elder Deen is from Sacramento  and Elder Izquierda is the Elder from Uruguay.  Both are really cool guys.  So, our area of Sao Miguel is kinda divided by a big mountain.  Whenever we need to go to the other side, we will cross over the mountain on a random dirt trail . . . Haha . . . It’s really cool.  Way different than being in Gilroy, for sure!  Crappy / cool part . . . We live on a huge hill.  Good news . . . We have a gorgeous view of the entire city!  Bad news . . . Of course, we have to walk to our house up that hill every day – not cool.  But it’s worth it once we are at the top!

This week has been a roller coaster.  Some things can lift you up and make you so happy and other things can bring you tumbling straight down.  Those “down” moments are the moments in which I’m really having to learn the most.  Because if I’m not happy, I start thinkin’ about home and wondering why I’m here and thinking of how much more comfortable I COULD be.  But those “up” moments, those moments when I remember why I am here and what I am doing, those are the good moments  J  I’m learning a lot about trusting in the Lord and knowing that He will lift me up.  And I know that is how it needs to be for the next twenty-two months!  Doin’ work, son!  I love it here.  It’s beautiful and I am learning SOOOOO much.

Well, other than that, I could type forever on specifics but I won’t . . . Haha . . . Too much.  I love you all so much and I hope everything is going GREAT!  You are always in my prayers and I know that the Lord is helping, protecting, and blessing you all.  I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  J

Love, Elder Jensen