Thursday, December 27, 2012

Man I love mission holidays!

Dear Family,

Agreed, Skype is the best. Also agreed about my comp- Sister Wester's pretty fantastic, I'm really really grateful I'm yet to have a crazy or awful companion.

So Sunday ROBIN GOT BAPTIZED! It was such a sweet baptism too, the Spirit was so so strong. It was so reassuring to know that even though teaching him didn't at all go along the "normal" way missionaries plan their investigators to progress, the Lord took care of him and it was definitely the right time for him. His wife was so cute too, she had a bag packed with everything he needed like a week early and every time his baptism was mentioned she'd reach over and grab his hand. Ahhh I love families! I can't wait for them to get sealed in the temple, I really think they'll do it in pretty much exactly a year since that's been their goal for about 9 months now lol.

Things were hectic getting ready for it though, especially since we lost our phone over the weekend..... So we couldn't make the last minute calls we needed to. When I got my stitches out we used the phone in the doctors office, then that night we got home and realized it was missing. So the next day we went by the office to look for it...And they were closed until January 7th. Awful. Thankfully our amazing branch president loaned us one of their phones that they don't use much so we survived, but we didn't have about 90% of the phone numbers we needed. We got a new phone on Monday, and then Tuesday a less active/investigator family we're teaching called us and said they found it in their drive way. So we're going to try to dry it out and then see if it works. It would be nice to get all our investigators' numbers again.

Kelsey unfortunately missed church on Sunday, so her baptism is going to be pushed back a bit. We haven't talked to her in a while, due to the afore mentioned phone fiasco, but we're hoping to see her this weekend and reset a date.

So like I told you, we had a Book of Mormon Read-A-Thon for Christmas! So Christmas Eve from 1-9 and Christmas Day from 8-2 we read it as a zone and got just a little over half way through it. So we'll do the rest New Years Eve and New Years Day. It's SO much fun! District meeting yesterday we just shared insights and talked about how much we loved it. Perfect combination of much needed socialization with other missionaries and getting pumped full of Spirit. I love getting the big picture too, we talked about how complex the time lines and stories are, and what a miracle that book is. The patterns and words and themes that are repeated are incredible, and getting to just rip through the book just shows how impossible it is for a man to make that up. It's also added a whole new level to the study of the New Testament I'm doing right now, ever since then I have all these new connections being made as I read the Bible. Sister Wester talked about how the Book of Mormon is promised to bring us closer to God than any other book and so when we're reading it we're able to grow closer to him more easily in everything else we do. I LOVE IT!

The rest of Christmas was really sweet. We went and visited 2 older woman. One is a woman we tracted into, Barb. She's a staunch Roman Catholic who lives alone and is super lonely, so we just went by and sang some Christmas songs and read some scriptures with her. She said we can come teach her, so we're praying she's open to our message and not just company- but either way, we feel really lucky to have met her. She told us after we sang with her that earlier in the day that we first knocked on her door she had prayed that God would send her someone to talk to since she has pretty much zero human interaction, so she knew we were an answer to her prayers. We also went to the hospital and sang for an older member of the ward who's there sick, who's family was also sick so unable to visit her. It was a really special experience to spend the evening with 2 people who had no one else to spend Christmas with.  Man I love mission holidays!

I think that's pretty much it....Love you all. It was awesome to see you :) Hope the rest of everyone's holidays are awesome, and going back to school isn't too terrible. Bye!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The long awaited appendix story

Well hello, long time no email! Haha so I have about a billion things to email about, not surprisingly, so sorry if I forget anything.

Okay, so here's the long awaited appendix story: (It's funny cuz at first I was like, ugh I can NOT tell Mom this story till post-mish but then you got a phone call so now you get all the juicy details! Sister DeRuvo literally photographed the entire thing so one day I'll show you the slide show of it lol) So it's funny because actually either Sister DeRuvo or I were sick every single day that week, but I guess it started Thursday night at a dinner appointment, my stomach was killing me which was pretty standard so I went to the bathroom just to relax for a second and keep up the happy face for the members and I ended up getting sick. I didn't tell Sister DeRuvo till we left and got home, she almost killed me haha then the next day my stomach was again really upset so I decided I needed a nap after lunch and ended up getting sick again and finally decided to just take the day off. It was kind of a weird decision since I usually sleep till I can function again and go back to work that night but I think I was just exhausted from feeling sick constantly so I finally listened to Sister DeRuvo and took a day off and just layed around.

Then Saturday morning we had our studies and towards the end of our training hour my stomach started hurting again but I decided I wasn't going to tell Sister DeRuvo because she'd make me stay in again and I didn't want to take 2 days in a row off. But then over the course of the next 10 minutes it went from hurting to being kinda excruciating so after we closed training I went and layed down, and 10 minutes later was curled up in tears on my bed and throwing up from sheer pain. Thankfully right at that moment my district leader called, he said he had thought about calling the day before several times but never did and then felt bad when he found out that night I'd been sick so when the thought came to call us he decided he better not ignore it. So he and his companion drove over and gave me a blessing, and then Sister DeRuvo and I went to the ER.

I got really lucky, it was only like a 2 hour wait and the pain was coming and going in waves so I was able to survive until I got an IV in my arm. The funny thing is everyone kept asking if the pain was on my right side and it wasn't, it was in the center right under my rib cage. But the doctor came in and was pushing on my stomach and when he pushed on my appendix it literally made me cry. So he said it was probably my gallbladder, possibly an ovarian cyst, and maaayyyybe my appendix so he booked me to come back Sunday morning for an ultrasound (When I told that to the mission nurse she encouraged me not to change it to keep the sabbath holy and even though it's too bad go ahead and get it done in case they can't do it for a few more days and I was like, are you nuts?? I"M NOT DOING THAT!! I hurt here! I'm getting looked at NOW! lol she thought I'm way more righteous than I am....)

So Sunday we went for what we thought was just an ultrasound and maybe get some drugs, and at this point I felt a little silly cuz the pain was gone unless you pushed on my stomach and I was worried I was over reacting, then after I got the ultrasound We sat around for like another 2 hours waiting for results and feeling bad we were missing church. Then finally a nurse came in and was like "Well it's your appendix so let's get you on some antibiotics and prep you for surgery!" and we were like WHAT?! Haha and I think that's when Sister Scott started calling you. They said just one end if it was swollen on the ultrasound, but after surgery the doctor said the whole thing was really infected so good thing they got it out. (Sadly no, no one showed it to me or offered to give it to me in a jar!) I'm just lucky they even found it, I've heard so many horror stories this last week from people who's appendix burst and I'm so grateful the doctor found that despite my claims that my right side didn't hurt.

Side note, Sister Scott told me my parents seem very obedient and now they understand why I'm such a good missionary :)

And I've seriously been a walking miracle ever since then. I got home from the hospital Monday afternoon, went to Branch Council Tuesday night, and have worked almost a full day ever since then. We usually have either spent some time in the apartment working where I can kinda rest as we do stuff, or I've had to come back and nap for about an hour, but other than that I'm back up and running and yesterday we did totally full day so I'm pretty happy. In fact President and Sister Scott came to Woodstock for church this Sunday (that was a major shock haha) to check up on me and Sister Scott told me I was looking better than President so don't worry about me at all. I'm still a little tender sometimes but I'm pretty much fine. I get my stitches out on Thursday.

The really crazy thing is how amazing this week has been, it's seriously been like the best week I've had in over a month and we spent half of it in the apartment! But God's a God of miracles, and I told that to President and he said "Well you're doing what you're supposed to so he's going to bless you!" And so true. Mostly though I'm accrediting the awesome week to my new rockstar companion, Sister Wester, who's just this giant ball of faith. She's a convert, she joined the church about 2 years ago and is the only member of her family. (In fact, most of her family is pretty anti the church and her being on a mission). She came out with Sister DeRuvo and was actually trained in my zone so I knew her a little bit. But she is so excited about everything and wants to baptize everyone we meet- the branch presidency is already calling her a "firecracker".

We had some amazing miracles this week. There are 2 part member families Sister DeRuvo and I tried to see the entire 3 months we were here and couldn't, and we saw both of them this week and are now teaching the non-members in the family. One of them would have not happened if Sister Wester wasn't here, we invited the husband Ryan to meet with us again like 5 times before he said yes, and after time number 4 I was like fine so what you want stinker and ignore the Spirit I know you're feeling, but she asked AGAIN when we could come back and he finally said if we came back on Sundays he'll listen. It was a cool experience! The Spirit was crazy strong, he doesn't believe in God but there were several times when we were talking he would really focus in and his face would change and you could tell it was hitting him what we were saying. He's just trying to play it cool and not admit it, but we're really excited about him.

We're really pumped now to go work with more part member families more seriously, I love seeing families be united through the gospel. And Sister Wester seems to have a special passion for it, especially because she came from a YSA ward and hasn't ever worked with families before, so I think we'll have alot of success with her faith.

This week we also moved up Robin's baptismal date to this Sunday, the 23rd! And Kelsey reset a date for December 30th, assuming she gets work off- if not January 6th. Both of them are doing so amazing, Kelsey is the cutest. We asked how praying has been and she said "I can just feel now God is with me, and never understood why people said they knew things about God but now I get it because I know this is real!" We were beaming, to say the least.

Did I tell you Sister DeRuvo went up to Owen Sound? So she'll spend Christmas where I did, I'm so excited for her! I gave her a list of my formers with instructions to pray about and baptize them.

Well, this is now crazy long, I think that covers the gist of these last 2 weeks. I won't even get in to everything that's coming up the next 2 weeks, I'll just update you on skype/next email. Love you all! Talk to you on Christmas :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sister Jensen Update

Dear friends & family,

There will be no weekly email from Sister Jensen this week.  Instead she will be spending her p-day recovering from having her appendix removed. 

For the past couple of weeks Rachel has had some stomach issues that could not seem to be explained.  It was originally thought to be an acid reflux issue.  The mission Dr called two weeks ago telling me he tried to get her something for it, but it wasn't available over the counter in Canada.  And since he isn't licensed to prescribe medicine in Canada, he called it into our pharmacy and I put it in her Christmas box I was mailing the next day.  If the online tracking is correct, her box should be delivered tomorrow.  I am assuming she will no longer need the medicine. 
Anyway, yesterday she went into the Dr. again because of her stomach and they did some blood work that showed her white blood count to be elevated.  They decided she either had a problem with her appendix, gall bladder or ovarian cysts.  They sent her home that night and told her to come back in the morning for some more tests.  Today they did an ultrasound and decided it was her appendix and it needed to come out.

Rachel's mission President and wife called us several times to keep us informed of what was going on.  We also received several emails from a Sister in the branch Rachel is serving in which contained more details about her day, including the fact that Rachel was seconds away from getting into the OR but was bumped due to an emergency c-section.  But it all worked out and the surgery took place this evening.   And once she was out of recovery and moved into her room, we were able to call and speak to her.  Rachel sounded really good, and said she didn't feel any pain even though they hadn't given her any main medication.  (We didn't point out to her that we were pretty sure she was being given pain meds through her IV.)

Rachel should go home tomorrow.  Transfers are on Tuesday, and Rachel will be staying in Woodstock but getting a new companion.  We are told the branch will help out so that Rachel can recover from her surgery and assume her new companion will be sent out on splits during the day.
We are very grateful that Rachel received so much love, support and care this weekend.  The Lord truly looks after his missionaries and their families!   

Have a great week!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pictures, pictures and more pictures

Sister DeRuvo, lighting a paper towel on fire by holding it to a hot burner so we could light my birthday candles hahaha!

When she dyed her hair blue- see the streaks?

Sister Tuia, when we instructed at leadership conference

Melted strainer # 2 

We get a lot of spiders in our parking garage.....

The morning we woke up to snow!

Perfect snowflakes


Ann (member wife of Robin) making us a carmel-pineapple dessert thing after one of our lessons involved pouring rum on it and lighting it on fire.

American smarties vs. Canadian smarties

Decorating our Christmas tree!

Companion picture

Hilarious panoramic picture with Sister DeRuvo and the double rainbow that was over the chapel.
...look closely at her arms hahahaha

Hope that's enough photos to make up for not sending any for 2 transfers :)

This week was great!

Dear family,

First off, I find it SO hilarious that Dakota is in every family picture you send me these days. Approved.

So it's probably about time to start coordinating when I should Skype home on Christmas.... It will probably mostly be based around Sister DeRuvo's schedule, since Italy's time difference is slightly larger than Texas', but if you know already any time that isn't good let me know so we can start planning that. (We won't finalize yet because transfers are this weekend so we have to see if we're even still comps, but the sooner I know the better anyways.)

This week was great. Robin came to church for the second week in a row, the most he's been since we came here! We reset him with a date for December 30th and are exciting that he's actually working towards it this time. Sister DeRuvo and I are both determined to not get transferred this weekend, we're baptizing way to many people the next month or two to go anywhere! He, Shane, and Kelsey are all doing so great. We also had one of our former investigators, John, randomly come to church again, which was great. We still aren't meeting with him, but it's good to see he still feels a connection to the church.

This transfer's going to be crazy though... Every comp in our zone is finishing up training except 2, and 2 Elders are going home, so there's only 1 companionship in the whole zone who is most likely not getting changed. NUTTY.

This morning I finished the Book of Mormon again, which was awesome. I've never deep studied it like I did this time, and I love that even after that I feel like I only just scratched the surface of what that book has to offer. It's been really cool studying these last 2 transfers because every district or zone meeting we've had they've expounded no a principle I had just been reading and pondering about. I love how the Spirit always teaches you exactly what you need from the scriptures right now, it's always perfectly relevant to me personally. And now I can start studying the new testament again for the Christmas season :)

I think that's pretty much life. I'm going to FINALLY email some pictures, so I'll end now and do that. Love you! Talk to ya in a week!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Morning Houston!

We got our first SNOW! I mean, it's snowed a few times but never stuck, so this is the first one that counts. And we had our first great snow adventure! So we're doing this thing called the living Christmas card that involves us going singing to the members friends, so we were going to the church to type up the cards for it and other things like that, and the snow is falling so perfectly so we decide to take a few pictures in case it stops by lunch time. So we throw our stuff in the church, take a few pictures, and head back in only to discover I forgot to pop the lock open and we just locked our church keys, car key, and phone inside the building. Awkward! We had to walk to the nearest member's home to borrow their phone and ward directory and get a member of the branch presidency to come let us in. In this hour of wasted morning we made learned that Sister DeRuvo does not own water proof boots haha she was a little wet....Then she slipped down a hill and got REALLY wet.

Thanksgiving was well celebrated! I think I should have 5 Thanksgiving dinners every year from now on.
This week was pretty exciting, we had several people at church and set a couple of people with baptismal dates. We're really excited about Shane, who we found last week and who set a goal after church yesterday for the 23rd. He's working on his brother and her mom as well, and we're slowly worming our way into his mom's heart so we have high hopes for that. (I don't know how I'll ever do missionary work without Sister DeRuvo as a companion, she can sweet talk her way with everyone! It's awesome!) We also started taking our recent convert, Jody, out teaching. That might be the best thing I've ever done. He got so excited after the first time he texted us specific days he was open asking us to make an appointment he can come with. I BAPTIZE THE BEST PEOPLE IN CANADA.

Wow, I can't believe Dad's not Bishop anymore. I guess I'm not gonna write an email about the ward mission process now lol sorry for never answering that one Dad. And oh my gosh I can't believe Sophie's going on a mission! Love it! Sounds like the entire Silver Pines young women is shipping out- GOOD.
Sorry, that's all I've got this week. I'll add a hilarious conversation with Sister DeRuvo and close up. Love you! Talk to you later!

S.DeRuvo: "Is it itching of scratching?
S. Jensen: "Itching. Unless it's scratching."
S.DeRuvo: "No, it's itching."
(I'm the world's greatest English teacher.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

'Ello chaps!

'Ello chaps!

Don't worry, I'm feeling much better. But sickness is flying around Ontario, pretty much everyone I know and meet are either sick, recovering, or catching something. Yikes.

Totally forgot my camera btw, so pictures next week? Maybe?
Sister DeRuvo melted a second strainer this week, again by putting it on the burner she just used to cook. Thankfully she caught this one pretty fast so it didn't burn all the way through and is still usable.

Leadership training this last week was so good! Most of my favorite missionaries were there, though not all because turns out they had 2 and so only half the mission was there- so no Sister Williams. Sad. Elder Kenning was there though, we had a fun fight over whether we'd been out a full year yet (silly kid was counting the MTC, but really my year mark isn't for another week and a half.) Instructing for the conference was SUPER weird though, usually just President Scott and the assistants speak but we did an hour and 2 of the zone leaders did an hour. Don't know if anyone else got anything from it but I learned tons- that was probably the reason I got asked to do it lol. Weirdest part was when we broke off into groups to role play and I realized I was supposed to walk around and listen to people and give feedback like the mission president and APs always do. Sister Tuia and I were like, are we allowed to do that? Basically I went and just sat in awe at how some of the Elders teach, it was really fun.
THIS week we having a sisters exchange, and all my worlds are colliding. I'm going to serve in Guelph (one of Sister Casners old areas she always talked about) with Sister Brown (who SIster Williams trained) while Sister DeRuvo works in Woodstock with Sister Loar (who Sister Tuisku trained). MIND BLOWN! I'm excited.

This week we found 2 AWESOME new people to teach. Kelsey is Kathleen's friend, the one I mentioned last week. She's super cool, super open, and has awesome questions. We're also teaching Shane, a guy in his 20s we've actually passed several times walking down the street and everytime there's been someone else there as well that we end up talking to instead of him (none of which were ever interested). Finally we stopped him and he let us come by. We're hoping to get his mom and 2 brothers he lives with involved as well!
We also set Bill with a baptismal date in December, and he continues to be fantastic. We taught about the restoration and he got so excited about the Book of Mormon and can't wait to read it. He loved the cross references to the Bible too, I get the feeling he's going to be very deeply studying it- GOOD.

No I am not ignoring American Thanksgiving- in fact, we're being fed I think 4 Thanksgiving dinners this week. We only got 2 for Canadian Thanksgiving hahaha. Apparently my American pride is a little less subtle than I flatter myself, I thought I do so well playing the Canadian role but everyone is super excited to feed me this week. I'm making fruit salad like we always do for one of the families, and he's making green bean casserole for me even though he thinks it's the most pointless dish ever. I haven't managed to convince anyone to have a pie night for me though. Ah well.
I'm STOKED to be getting a package Mom, thanks!!

Have y'all heard about the Christmas campaign the church is doing? Basically they're gonna flood facebook, youtube, and with Christmas. One of the best parts is they're adding an option on for people to request the missionaries to share a Christmas message with them. They emailed us about how to make the Christmas lesson plan and it's going to be amazing. You guys need to get everyone you know to let the missionaries come by and do it! Seriously, start asking your friends, it's really non-intrusive and really beautiful. You should have someone over like every week of December for the missionaries to do it with!

Oh and don't worry Mom, I've planned out recording blessings. I'm going to keep a journal for each of my kids and write every blessing they ever get in it until they're old enough to have it themselves and write down what stuck out to them after the get a blessing. I'm a little obsessed with the priesthood lol.

Hmm, I think that's all my life right now. I keep having dreams about Erin, last night I dreamed I was her trainer on her mission. We wasted alot of time though learning trapeze acts and missed a few appointments. Maybe it's a premonition that she'll get called to Toronto! Or maybe it's a prompting I need to start practicing circus acts with my companions. Not sure which yet.
Anywho have a great week! Love you lots!

Monday, November 12, 2012

My life is pure comedy!

Hey family!

Good emails this week :) haha hopefully I can respond to everything! First of all, loved the pictures, thank you for those. It's literally the highlight of my week when i get photos from people.  Btw.....There's a new James Bond movie??? I only JUST found out about the new spider man movie! I'm officially an old, out of the loop missionary. Good thing Megan Hanlon sends me updates on Snoop Lion to keep me hip :)  It actually hasn't been too bad this week, and this weekend has been amazing except it's raining again today- if we get rain for 3 weeks straight we ought to get a few weeks of sun to make up for it! Ah well.

I realized I have not communicated anything about my companion at all to you- she is the funniest thing in the world. Literally, my life is pure comedy! All the missionaries around us look for excuses to call so they can talk to here, and I do not blame them one bit. Best moment with her this week was probably when she accidentally dyed her hair blue. TRUE STORY. I forgot my camera cable but I'll send you pictures next week. We were having personal study and all the sudden she screamed. I looked up and she was staring at her straightener in HORROR. She's been straightening her hair and set it down too close to one of her crayons she was marking her scriptures with and it melted onto the iron. We spent the next 15 minutes scrubbing the streaks out because we had a zone meeting that morning, and even though she looked like a little rock star and in any other circumstances I would have made her leave it for the day, we figured it may not be totally kosher as a missionary. Add that crayer to a list of things she's destroyed the last 2 months, like our pasta strainer that she melted on the stove LOL.

This upcoming week we're having a leadership training for all the zone leaders, district leaders, and trainers, which is exciting for a few reasons. First of all, I'm trying not to see it as a giant reunion but there's like 10 missionaries I'm so excited to see, including Sister Williams and her new baby! Second of all, I've been asked to do part of the instruction so me and another sister, Sister Tuia, are presenting part of the training. (No, I don't know her at all, we've been putting it together over the phone lol) So that's not intimidating at all.....It's only all of the leadership, so the best missionaries in the mission. Cool! Haha I am excited though.

This last week we started teaching 2 new people, 19 year old girls who are roommates. They have pretty much zero exposure to God and religion of any kind, so we're starting from square one, which is always a pretty special experience to see someone go from no faith at all to building a relationship with their Heavenly Father. I'm super excited.  This next week we're meeting with Kathleen and one of her friends. This is going to be the FOURTH person she's introduced us to to teach. She's 17. What the heck?? I swear, Canadian youth are the most inspiring thing!

Yesterday the son of a member back in Bowmanville was baptized. I never taught him officially, but Sister Williams and I were working pretty hard to soften him up while I was there. He was determined to NEVER join the church because he hates organized religion, so I'm pretty much dying of happiness! Sister Williams would be the person who got him too, one time we were talking to him about how many missionaries have tried to start teaching him and she looked him dead in the eye and said "Josh, I would never teach you. You don't want to know yet so it would be a waste of my time. When you're finally willing to stop talking and start listening I'll teach you." HA! He looked like she'd stolen his candy and was so insulted we were going to ask him to learn like the last hundred sets of elders had. A month later they started teaching him. That girl's a genius...
Why do I get the best companions ever?

Yesterday was also stake conference. The best and most insane talk ever was given by one of the ward primary presidents hahaha she spoke on how parents should use the primary music to teach their kids, and how singing the songs in context of the principles the songs teach will help them learn the gospel. The talk was seriously brilliant and I took tons of notes about teaching in the context of the gospel-reminded me of Cheryl A. Esplin's talk in April, my favorite talk from that conference- but the woman was a bit nuts. She sang a bunch of songs and acted things out. Afterwards the member who drove us to conference told us she's wanted to be an actress but couldn't afford the training so she'd become a teacher instead and had used her acting abilities there hahaha! Conference was great though, highlight was the fact that it was on Remembrance day (Canadian Vet's day, and it's a much bigger deal here) so we had a minute of silence and then sang all 4 verses of Oh Canada. That song has officially become soul stirring, I can't wait to glue it in the back of my hymn books like they do here.
Other than that, life is good. Had a bit of a stomach virus but I think that's going away now. This is probably way too long of a letter, but thanks for enduring it anyways.

Love yall bunches!!

Monday, November 5, 2012


Oh, that weekly email time, when as usual I don't know what to say.....

Well, this week we had an AWESOME miracle finding a new investigator! His name is Bill, and I actually talked to him like my 2nd week in Woodstock. Sister DeRuvo and I were at a park waiting for someone we had an appointment with so I told her "Go talk to that man over there" and she said "NO WAY, I'm talking to the nice looking couple over THERE!" So she talked to the couple and I talked to Bill. He met with the missionaries probably like twice years ago with his ex-wife so when I walked up he was like "No thanks, not interested at all" but was friendly and chatted for a while. Eventually he opened up about his life long search he's been on for the truth in religion and aid he'd actually like to come to church sometime, so we swapped numbers. Called him the next day and it was a wrong number, I was so sad. (And the appointment we had after talking to him was not a good one, so bummer day.)

Then this week we were having a day where all our appointments fell through, we were going to drive to another town but everyone cancelled so we were just driving and walking around Woodstock dropping by some less actives and Sister DeRuvo pointed out Bill down the street. So we ran over and said hi- turns out he accidentally gives out the wrong number all the time and had been really disappointed we never called. So we swapped numbers for REAL and set up a time to meet. We taught him the plan of salvation on Friday and he loved it, he'd start to ask a question about it like "well then why does God send some spirits here on Earth for such a short time and then they died as babies?" and then immediately answer himself perfectly like "well maybe actually that spirit didn't need to stay here and be tested, they just need to gain their body and then they've fulfilled their purpose." We were like, how long did you meet with the last missionaries? Only twice?? He also had some cool connections, like he studied native american religions for a while when he found out his mother was native and he really liked their beliefs about Spirits and how we existed before this life, and so we got to explain about how the Nephites had the gospel on the American continent as well but it had been lost through apostasy so you can still see parts of the truth in their beliefs. Awesome conversation.

Unfortunately, I think day light savings messed him up a bit so he wasn't at church, but we'll see him again tomorrow.

BUT it was a cool testimony builder that the Lord really knows what he's doing- the appointment where we met Bill and the day we bumped into him again were both rough times where you could look at it and think it was a waste of time or a pointless day when in reality it was just part of a grander plan. You can't see how the Lord is arranging things to put you in the right place at the right time, so you just have to be open to the Spirit so you're able to recognize those chances when they happen.

Sorry to hear you're still down Mom, hopefully this week you'll recover totally! And glad Dad's first week of work was peachy.

Yeah, Sandy didn't affect us like at all, I'm way more distraught about the tiny bit of snow we had the other day than the hurricane rains lol yesterday was the first day in about 3 weeks though without any rain, Sister DeRuvo and I have been rejoicing in the sunlight!

I think that's the extent to my exciting news. Oh, except my new district leader gave us some crazy news (he was like "I don't know if I can tell you this...BUT I'm not a ZL anymore!" (and it's his last transfer so he spilled pretty easy)). He told us that there are SO many sisters about to come into the mission President asked all the ZLs what areas they wanted sisters in and told them about how they're going to probably have some all sisters districts- meaning there will be sister district leaders. It's gonna be like a temple square mission lol! It's nuts, but there's such a huge influx of sister missionaries that it's going to start being way more common. He said they "probably" won't have a whole zone or sister zone leaders, and we were like I HOPE NOT, no priesthood in your whole zone?? SHEESH! That also means pretty soon just about every sister in the mission is going to be training at some point. So Erin, I don't know if my mission is unusual or if that's going to be world wide, but brace yourself for some potentially cool leadership callings!

Well, loves ya lots! Talk to you in a week!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Obedience brings happiness

Cioa & bonjourno!

So since you sent me some fun missionary stats, here are some I learned this week:

Before the conference announcement they average I think 700 new application started every week; since the announcement they've have I want to say 4000 started every week.

Before conference, 14% of all applicants were sisters. Since conference, more than 50 % are.


Thank you for the move update, all you had told me so far is you were moving lol so good to know. I'm glad you're on board with a Texas tour because I was definitely planning one. Unless I'm successful in my new campaign to convince everyone I know to move to Utah with me.

DAD, I want juicy exciting details about your GA interview! Come on sir! And mommy I'm so sorry you're sick! No bueno :(

LOVED the pictures hahaha!

And no about the book Mom, President Scott is 100% by the book, if he can't find it in Preach My Gospel or the white handbook we don't do it. Except I recently found out the Farcee Elders in our mission have permission to watch Disney movies on p-day in Farcee as language training.  lol jealous.

It was been raining for about a week and a half now, it's really starting to depress Sister DeRuvo but I'm been totally fine with it- probably because rain means it's still too warm to snow. But it's starting to dip below 10 degrees so I'm not sure how much longer we'll get to swing that.  This week...I'm not really sure what to tell you about it. It was good! Lol we survived transfer calls, which is always happy but was no surprise- usually you get to stay if you are 1) training 2) white washing or 3) Sister Jensen, because I don't move much, and since this transfer I was all 3 I would have been shocked if we'd been called.

Sister DeRuvo and I have had some pretty cool spiritual experience recently with being prompted together by the Spirit. It's quite the learning process about how important it is to always be worth of the Spirit, because alot of our experiences lately have been a result of little decisions we made that we didn't realize until later were promptings, like to print off a certain talk when we're at the library. It's also showed me the importance of surrounding yourself with others who can have the Spirit and being careful about who you're connected to (Ugh, I hate when my mission gives me marriage lessons. Gross.) But yeah, I've been so grateful this week to have been blessed with so many amazing companions throughout my mission and to be able to work with Sister DeRuvo especially, I'm so glad we're staying companions another transfer!

Sorry, I really can't think of anything else to share. Oh, except this morning I had the BEST study of Mormon 9 and how faith yields miracles. It was a pretty pointed study too- I was thinking about how obedience is a direct result of or show of our faith, so if you read that chapter thinking of being obedient every time it talks about having faith it throws a new light on it. I realize this is probably true with most missionaries, but I have developed SUCH a love for obedience and trying to follow the commandments and Spirit exactly! I'm still not the best at applying it, but the difference in my days when I strive to and when I don't is so obvious, obedience brings happiness :)

Anywhos, guess I'll end there. We're meeting up today with our district for a last huzzah before half of them are transferred away. So have a great week! Feel better mom! good luck starting your training dad! Love you all!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Bonjourno! Cioa bellas!
Haha so this week was BAPTISM WEEK! Jody was baptized on Saturday and confirmed Sunday! Afterwards he shared with us alot of stories of how doubts would come flying at him throughout the week and each time he would pray and open either the Book of Mormon or the Bible and find a perfect answer to his concern. Amazing how the Spirit takes care of us when we're being sincere. His friend came up from London to support him, and John came to the service which was super cool because he had told us the day before he couldn't come.
We had a couple of exciting things this week, other than the baptism. First of all, Robin came to church! I dunno how much I've told you about him, he was referred to us by the Branch President when we first came in. He wants to be baptized but his job requires him to work every Sunday, and he put his name on the waiting list back in March to get his Sundays off and was told it was about a 3 year wait! So his fiancee Anne, a less active member, has some pregnancy complications a few weeks ago and ended up in the hospital. She knows everyone at Robin's work so his boss asked if there was anything she needed and he said no just my Sundays off so I can go to church with her because she can't go alone....So his boss cleared him right there to have all his Sundays off! So yesterday they came to church together, and left right after sacrament meeting to go home and get married. SO CUTE! We helped Anne carve pumpkins for her wedding decorations Friday night, which was Sister DeRuvo's first time carving pumpkins. So this week we're hoping to meet with him and set a date for him to be baptized, probably the beginning of November.
We also talked to Nika, the 12 year old girl we're teaching, about being baptized. Her mom's a member, her dad isn't. When she was 8 her dad said she was too young to decide and needed to grow up a bit before being baptized, so Nika and her mom are going to talk to him again about being baptized. We're praying with both of them that his heart will soften and he'll let her make her decision! John's doing really well too, we had an awesome lesson with him and the Elder's Quorum President about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he was so open and bold about his questions. He's becoming more and more determined to find out if what we're saying is true, and why he feels so good when he meets with us and comes to church. We also started teaching a guy Chris who I actually OYMed weeks ago when we had sisters exchange, who had met with missionaries years ago and remembers preparing to be baptized. He's had a rough couple of years and is recovering from alot of things still but he really wants to make changes in his life and remembers the things the missionaries teaching him being really positive. He won't set a date as a goal for baptism because he feels he has too many changes to make still, but he really wants to be.
Other than that, I'm just enjoying the good cold fall here. There are MASSIVE amounts of leaves on the ground here! Maybe we'll start walking around with rakes and try to do some service for people :) This branch is in love with us at this point, and the feeling is completely mutual, it's just so good here!
Hope everything's been for y'all this week. Thanks for the pictures of Zeke mom, they are both SOOO CUTE! Btw where exactly in Utah are y'all moving? I've had like 8 missionaries ask me and I have no idea lol
You sent those emails just in time, I was literally about to send this when they showed up in my inbox :) Thanks for the mail! Good luck with all your moving projects! And Dad, cool, have fun in your interview! I'm surprised you're even included if your moving, you have to give me the details of that's that's like.
Love you all!

Pictures of the week:

Us, him, and his girlfriend who introduced him to the church & her kids
The pumpkins we carved

District meeting on "burying our weapons of rebellion"

Monday, October 15, 2012


It was an EXCELLENT week! Jody is being baptized on Saturday, so we have been finishing teaching him the commandments and preparing him for that. Not that he needs us at all, I think he just likes us coming over to ask random questions and show off how much better he knows the Bible than us. He went off about Samson one day, and I told him about Porter Rockwell having the same promise placed on him. He went online that night and ordered a book about him haha!
Had a cool moment teaching him this week- we were teaching about tithing and offerings, and the blessing we receive from paying them and how those blessings come in many forms. Suddenly I had a vivid memory of a tithing settlement we went to where the Bishop told us how he hoped we knew as kids how great are parents were and how you payed a full tithe each year and donated a good chunk of money to other funds as well. He specifically talked about how you had donated money to the missionary funds of the church. Earlier this week someone had told me how crazy it was our family had 3/4 kids serving a mission when the statistic was 1/4 go, and now Erin's planning to make it 4/4. Probably not a coincidence that happened when you two contributed to missionary funds and always payed a full tithe. :)
We also had some AMAZING member work happening this week. A member took us around one morning to drop by several of her friends and invite them to meet with us. We're going to set up an appointment with one of them. Another one we dropped by was an Indian family, who invited us in to meet their spiritual leader- I think they said he was their guru. So we had this deep discussion with him about who God is and he agreed with everything we said. Who knew Hindus and Mormons have the exact same belief?? (We only talked for like 10 minutes, didn't have time to get to any of the differences lol)
We also met with a 17 year old girl in the ward and 3 of her friends from school, we had like a Q&A forum. They all are open minded about God but not really sure what they believe, so we talked about life after death, a little about the restoration of the gospel, and the word of wisdom (of course, 17 year olds, the no drinking came up pretty fast.) It was really fun and they all agreed to meet with us again and learn what we believe.
Well, I think that's pretty much everything....Things are great in Canada! Though it's getting way too cold too early for my taste. Mom you would DIE to see the leaves here though, it's unreal how many shades of red there are.
Love you all! Talk to you in a week :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Get ready to see the work explode!

Props to the GenCon camera man who found that kid with his mouth hanging WIDE open in that announcement! Loved it! Yeah, that was INCREDIBLE, Sister DeRuvo and I were punching each other and freaking out during conference, and trying to hold super still and not alarm our investigator. Awkward thing to do. But it was amazing because I was trying to figure out why that made me SO happy when it didn't affect me at all. I decided it was just that I was excited to see more missionaries go out because I knew the numbers were about to jump. It didn't even OCCUR to me it might be because Erin was deciding to go! I did write down all my advice to her about how to decide to go in case she asked, but I thought she would be in a huge inner debate. Guess I grossly underestimated the Spirit!

Seriously though, that's amazing that boys can now go at 18 and girls can go at 19. The Lord must be ready to have his full number of missionaries out- there must be some prepared areas! Get ready to see the work explode!

Yes, I watched the district before my mission-and every day on it during companion study. You should have taped it so I could watch it when I get back too :)

This General Conference amazed me so much. Our investigator, John, came to the first session and was so touched he left in tears. It was awesome. And Elder Holland of course didn't disappoint in my expectations to have my soul burned- man! I really feel the Lord is extending a wake up call to the members of His church. He has a work to be done and he does not want us sitting around not doing it. I LOVED when he paraphrased the conversation between Jesus and Peter "Do you love me? Then why are we here Peter? Why are we having this same conversation on this same lake? If I need fish, I can get fish! What I need is disciples!" Goes perfectly with the call for more missionaries, and the constant theme of needing to serve others. Mom, I thought about you alot during it and abut how it must be giving you so many answers to your life right now, so it's cool to hear that's exactly what happened.

This week was again fantastic. John and Jody are both doing so well, Jody can't wait to be baptized but it looks like he'll have to- an 8 year old boy is being baptized the same day so we may push his date back a week to the 28th. John has a date but for far off in the future, he feels it's far to soon to commit. I didn't tell him last time an investigator told me that he was baptized a month sooner than his date :) I'm definitely planning on the Spirit working on John similarly, people often feel like baptism is too large a commitment to plan on anytime soon but the truth is when we're sincerely repenting and building faith we desire to be baptized- after all, it's the first fruit of repentance! You can't fight it for too long.

Canadian Thanksgiving is not quite as great as American Thanksgiving-most people had about 5 dishes on the table, not 10- but it seems to be celebrated over a 3 day period so that was fun. Also, since it's Sister DeRuvo's first Thanksgiving ever I'm introducing her to stuffing and left over turkey sandwiches. YES!

Okay I got a billion emails this week so I gotta try to answer them/ print some off to respond to. But I love you tons! OH and i got my birthday stuff! Mom I died at the Spanish birthday card, loved it! Thank you so much for the scarf, I am SO excited to have 2 to choose from this winter! And the cds are more appreciated than I can say. Pretty much it was the perfect box :) Thanks! Love you! Have a great week!

Pictures of the week:

With my new Bimba DeRuvo (Italian for Baby DeRuvo)
My generation shot with my 2 babies and my grandbaby

Love my new companion!
Birthday box! 

The view from my apartment

Monday, October 1, 2012

Woodstock is the PROMISED LAND!

Dear Family,
Yeah, I'm pretty sure I wrote several dumb things in that email- like I said, it was crazy trying to get a computer, you only got one for about 45 minutes. The worst! But we learned and got here plenty early today. And Sister DeRuvo is from Italy. Dunno where Spain came from.

Cleaning the apartment is going slowly, but some awesome discoveries have been found. We found a checker board with no checkers, and were about to chuck it away when some of the elders told us they also had a checker board but had only had half the pieces and found the other half and the missing board for their battleship in our apartment. Looks like some of the elders played checkers and battleship over the phone once upon a time, so on Wednesday we are reclaiming our half of the games and starting that up again.

Woodstock is the PROMISED LAND! This last week has been incredible. We're teaching 5 investigators now, our district leader called in disgust after we texted in our numbers for the week to ask how we had members at so many of our appointments. Sorry Sisters are more awesome Elders. Just jokes, the real secret is find members who have nonmembers living with them and it's easy to have members there. lol. The most exciting is Jody, he came to church last Sunday with a friend and we started teaching him this week. He has a baptismal date for October 21st and loves the gospel, he even got up yesterday in testimony meeting and bore his testimony. John, the man we met in the library last week, also came and is incredible. After church a member told us he has a masters degree in theology-he did NOT tell us that! But teaching him has made me I might be a little too excited when I teach because every time I speak he grins and gives me that "well aren't you passionate about this look", so I feel a little silly. But he seems really touched by everything we share so I guess I can't complain. We also had a former investigator BJ come to the Relief Society Broadcast with us, which was really cool. We haven't started teaching her yet but she told us to call her after the weekend and she'd love to come again, so I'm pretty stoked about that.

We had exchanges this week with the Sisters in London, that was fun. I stayed in Woodstock and Sister DeRuvo went to London. I always enjoy when my babies go on exchanges because they realize they can function on their own, which is good, and they also come back loving me even more. When I said goodbye to Sister Demill, my exchange comp, and got in the car Sister DeRuvo got in and look at me all offended and said "I'm still your favorite right? You missed me? You don't love her more than me?" I died laughing.

The Relief Society Broadcast was AMAZING, if we hadn't had someone there with us I probably would have bawled but I kept it in somehow. The first speaker just struck on everything I've been thinking recently. See, my mission has made me realize something and also grown a huge fear in me. First of all, I've realized that I am in fact AWESOME. Seriously. Not that I didn't know that before my mission, but since coming out here I've really felt like I am who I'm supposed to be and thus am pretty much . (And humble, I promise.) But this has also made me a little terrified of when I get home. I'm worried everything I'm passionate about will fade and I'll slip back into old habits I don't like and I'll lose the person I am. So I've been praying for about 6 months that the Lord would really change me permanently, and that the things I'm learning would be engraven on my heart (that's been my phrase of the year). So then sister Burton gets up and talks about how we need to and can engrave the Atonement on my heart, and it was like wham! Answer! It all comes down to the Atonement. When we're regularly applying and developing our faith in the Atonement, everything else follows suit. The prophets and scriptures have taught that the more our understanding of the Atonement grows, the more we want to share the gospel with others, so as long as I'm continuously relying on the Atonement my missionary fire isn't going to go out. As long as I keep developing my faith, I'm not going to reverse any changes I've experience over the last 10 months. I had such peace and the Spirit was SO STRONG, it just set up for the rest of the broadcast to just swamp me in the Spirit. Loved it!

Mom, i got you letter this week- thank you! Dunno when I'll respond because I owe about 10 people letters and have to scrub a ceiling fan today, but I will eventually. And I love that picture you sent of Joe's EQPresidency, what exactly is that for? Cards? And Elder Roberts definitely sounds really familiar but I'd probably need a face to go with it.  Glad to hear everyone is doing well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for dad! I should be getting my packages on Wednesday Mom so thanks in advance for that.
Love you all!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

HUZZAH! P-day miracles!

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh so much to say right now, and I'm shaking a little bit from adrenaline because I just had the best experience about 10 minutes ago and I'm not over it yet. Whoo, gotta calm down....

First of all, my companion is FANTASTIC, and she's another great addition to my collection of international companions! So along with Finland, England/Australia, America, and Canada, I now have a companion from SPAIN! Sister De Ruvo is from a town near Milan, and is very clear she is NOT from the south hahaha. Her English is great, her dad served a mission in Utah so she's been speaking it her whole life, but I still get to laugh at her- I mean help her occasionally. She thinks I'm crazy though, one of her first questions to me was if I really commit people to be baptized in the first lesson. I told her "Every time!" and she gave me a devastated look. She keeps saying she has an Italian mindset and hates 90% of what I do, but she's a good sport and does it anyways. She is a great teacher, the Lord is keeping me in my place because she's been out a week and English is her second language, but she teaches better than me. Fact. It's gonna be a good transfer!

Best story of her so far: I told her to just tear something and she asked what tear meant. So I said, "you know, rip, cut" and mimed tearing something. And she said : "Oh, you mean like 'It's tearing up my heart when I'm with you!'" I died laughing, from now on I'm just going to sing NSync and Backstreet Boys whenever she needs to know a word.

Okay, here's my AWESOME experience I just had. We've been fighting all day to get on a computer at the library, because we have to go home and clean (ugh, more explanation about that later!) So we've come to the library 3 times and all of them have been taken, so we went and did something else and came back. So the 3rd time we went to ask about reserving computers, and I'm seriously unhappy at this point because I'm realizing I'm not writing any letters today, so we're standing in line for the desk and I say something to Sister De Ruvo and just call her Sister. So the man behind me laughs and asks if she's really my sister, so I explain how we're missionaries and that's our title. So he asks what denomination, we say the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he asks if we have another name and I'm like uh oh...Yes, the mormons. Sure enough, he gives us that "oh you have lots of wives" look and goes quiet. But then he asks if we believe we all have the potential to have the same divinity as Christ. I'm super surprised, it's not a normal question I get asked in a library, so we start talking about the plan of salvation and how our purpose in coming to Earth is to eventually become like God. We finally reserved computers for half an hour later, he asks the front desk his question, and all 3 of us sit down. He came to the library to check out a book about the physiology of spirituality, so he tells us how people now think someone's crazy if the say they have a vision so he's studying the science behind spiritual experience, then he asks what we believe about prophets. So we teach him about how God always calls prophets and about the great apostasy after Christ's death and about Joseph Smith having a vision and being called to be a prophet. Coolest moment- as I was reciting the first vision from memory he started grinning at me, and when I finished he said "That really means alot to you. I can see it in your face." So I bore my testimony of how much it means to me to know God loves me enough to still call prophets, and I just beamed at him the rest of the conversation. We taught him the restoration and the plan of salvation in 30 minutes, we're going to see him on Thursday and he's coming to church on Sunday. HUZZAH! P-day miracles! I'm seriously so happy, I need a nap.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes, Mom that email of everyone that wrote on my facebook almost made me cry I was so happy. Yesterday I didn't say a word to anyone, Sister De Ruvo almost killed me when Sister Scott (my mission president's wife) called and wished me a happy birthday because I hadn't reminded her. (I told her but like 3 days before) But it's just awkward to tell a bunch of people you don't know that they should be treating you special (even though they should) especially since I'm training, so all the attention right now is on Sister De Ruvo so extra awkward. Anyways, it was still a good day but I REALLY appreciated all the birthday wishes today. I love everyone :) Best part though is definitely cory- "She's going to kill me!" Yes, I am.

I'm already in LOVE with Woodstock. It reminds me alot of Owen Sound, but it's a little bigger of a town and a smaller congregation. The branch here is amazing though, and they've never had sister missionaries here (at least not in anyone's memory) so we're extra loved.There were no investigators when we cam in, but we were immediately given some amazing referals. One is the fiancee of a less active who asked the bishop a few weeks ago if it was possible he could be baptized, and the Bishop said he needed to wait for some missionaries. Another is a man who came to church on Sunday with a friend who told us he's just been looking for more in his life and searching different churches. We've also had a few former investigators that we've contacted who said we can come by, so the work is taking off fast! This week is going to be really exciting. It's also fun here because my favorite zone leader, Elder Bean, is my zone leader again, so I plan to have this zone wrapped around my finger by the end of this transfer. Win!

Yeah it seems like white washing and replacing Elders is the theme of my mission, it is a little crazy that's all I've ever done but I don't think that's a sign of my abilities as a missionary. President Scott really likes to white wash it seems, half of the trainers this transfer are also white washing and there were probably like 25 of us. And he white washed at least 10 areas the transfer before too! So while I'm a little unusual to have done it so often, it's not too far above the norm.

The apartment here was an adventure though....It should be the nicest apartment ever, it has a balcony, a pool and jacuzzi (which would be awesome if we could use), a weight room (again, awesome if only it was open early enough), underground parking, a giant living room- sweet apartment! But, it's also had Elders living here for 50+ years. And the last set of missionaries that were here had an emergency where one went home and so the just pulled the missionaries out, so it's been sitting untouched for a month. There were dirty dishes in the sink, hair in the drains, broken glass in the kitchen and balcony....It was foul! We opened the door and Sister De Ruvo almost went home haha we had to SCRUB the bathroom with bleach that night before bed in order to shower or use the bathroom. And someone had hung a picture of President Gordan B. Hinkley right in front of the toliet so he stared at you- that was taken down fast. So we've been sterelizing it slowly over the week during meal times, and today we're shampooing the carpet. Ugh.

Unfortunately I have no time for pictures, but next week I'll send you some of my Italian baby and the dreadful apartment. Love you all, thanks again for all the mail! I'm write some real letters to people soon, I promise. Mom I haven't goten my packages yet, I must have just missed them at the office, but the ZLs are going to the office next week so I'll get them then. Thank you for trying though. Talk to you all later!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Crazy Night!

So, transfer calls....Not what we expected!

We made that unfortunate mistake of high fiving ourselves for surviving calls, because we'd gotten texts from our whole zone so we knew they had finished the calls for this area. (Shoulda learned last time with Sister Casner!) But just as we were saying we were amazed the Lord was letting us stay together because we're aLOT crazy, we got a call. We'd forgotten training calls always come later.

So, I am going to Woodstock! I'll be white wash training, and Sister Williams is training here in Bowmanville! So needless to say, NOT a very sleepful night and a CRAZY rushed day!
It was really cool though because there was one point in the day where Sister Williams and I prayed together before heading out the apartment to work and Sister Williams told me she felt a feeling of peace come over here about transfer calls, and I had been thinking the exact same thing- I was at total peace. (Honestly, I thought that was the Spirit preparing me to stay another transfer so I wouldn't start to feel overwhelmed by serving in one place for almost 8 months.) But we were both so calm and comforted. And then we both got calls to train, which neither of us expected- I was pretty sure I was going to be a junior companion again because I felt the Lord needed to retrain me a bit lol! But that feeling hasn't left, I'm so excited to go to this new area and see what the Lord has planned for me. I know He always prepares us for any calling he gives, and when we accept He prepares the way for us to fulfill and magnify it!

This week I had one of the best miracles of my mission, I'm really sad to leave Bowmanville THIS WEEK of all weeks! We dropped by a former investigator of Sister Casner and I's, Adam and Tasha, last weekend and Adam answered. He was friendly and said we could come back next weekend but I was totally braced to never be able to catch them because we hadn't for 4 months! But we went by on Saturday and caught them just as we were about to leave for a bike ride, but they immediately invited us to the backyard to talk and put their ride off. They agreed to come to church, but on Sunday they didn't show up so we dropped by again last night and once again they invited us in. Turns out they didn't have gas money to go but they asked us to share a lesson before we left so we sat down and read Alma 32 about faith with them. It was just amazing to me because I have prayed for this family ever since we stopped teaching them, that some day they'd be ready and we'd be able to see them again, because the only reason we dropped them was they fell off the map and we could never catch them. So I'm so grateful the Lord heard me and let me see them start being taught again before I left. But I'm so jealous I'm leaving Bowmanville with 2 of my favorite families in the WORLD being taught by Sister Williams! Bah! Whatever, I'll catch up with them in the Spirit World eventually.

So, I'll write to you in a week and tell you about all the AMAZING things that are happening in Woodstock! And send you pics of my growing mission family- I have a grandbaby already! Adorable! Love you all, hope you're having another fantastic week. Mom, hope you and your favorite daughter Dakota continue to get good bonding time together. Talk to you soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good Monday!

Good Monday! (I dunno what time of the day you actually read this...)

Okay, firstly, transfers- we get calls on Sunday night and leave early Tuesday morning if we're going. So I dunno, your call if you want to send it or not. Depends on how long it usually takes. If you want to play it safe and send it to the mission office, I can tell anyone from the district who does get transferred to grab it for me if I don't get transferred. If you want to risk it, I can have Sister Williams pass it along the zone leaders if I'm transferred and miss it. But I think packages usually get here fairly quickly.

Thanks for the pictures! Nik's wedding looks gorgeous, where was the reception? Where are they living now? Soups weird that he's married.... I'm glad everyone survived travel and such. Bummer Mel couldn't go, but probably best. I definitely made a few trips I shouldn't have and it always ended up hurting later, so well done showing some self restraint!

It's been a GRAND old week for B-ville, ON! Miracles are abounding :) We have 3 new investigators- Holly, the niece of the people we live with; Noah, the 9 year old of a less active family in the ward that loves sister Williams and I; and Tracy, Brian's wife! So we're teaching his entire family now, though it's hit and miss with them- basically whoever is home when we come sits in. But that was the first time his wife really sat in and listened, and agreed to be there when we came back. And his mother-in-law came to church and told us she thinks this is what she needs, and agreed to a baptismal date for September 30th after. She's still hesitant, but she's making alot of progress and LOVED church. We're thrilled at the image of that whole family being sealed in the temple in a year :)

Holly also came to church, she's really interested on explanations and actually understanding why we do and believe what we do, so it was fun explaining things to her. In one of our lessons this week we explained about how Christ died not just for our sins, but for everything we go through in this life so he can understand and succor us. She isn't sure if she believes in Christ or if it's just a nice story, but she was fascinated by that and said she's never heard Christ died to understand us. She kept saying how beautiful it was. I love seeing the fresh perspective from people who learn something for the first time- it IS really beautiful what the Atonement means and does for us!

I had the best conversation this week with Jeff, our recent convert. He likes to tell us all his conversations with his friends and warn us about the things that might make it hard for us as missionaries to teach people- he genuinely is concerned we don't know people will find it weird or hard to have to give up coffee lol. But he was talking about how one of his friends who he knows from one of his old churches he attended and he asked Jeff if we think our church is better than other churches. He said he wasn't sure what to say. He told us he didn't think less of other churches but he knew that we were the only church with the Book of Mormon and so no other church had the understanding and knowledge we did. Then he said he realized everyone has to eventually take a stand on what they believe, that they are backed up to a wall of faith (practically quoted Preach my Gospel!) and there's no room for fence sitting with the Book of Mormon. So he told his friend our church wasn't better but it did know more and was the only true church. I was beaming, it was so cool to hear that from someone who 3 months ago threw away the first Book of Mormon he was offered. He tells us all the time how now that he knows what the Book of Mormon offers he can't cut it out of his beliefs- he always goes back to 2 Ne phi 2 and how the teachings about how Adam and Eve had to fall is lost from the Bible (and he''s been to alot of churches and is well researched). Reminds me of Jeffery Holland (so jealous you got to hear him Erin!) talking about how anyone who leaves this church must do so by crawling under, over, or around the Book of Mormon, and how it is what Jesus Christ himself was said to be- a stumbling block to those who don't want to believe. Jeff has an amazing testimony, he's such a faith builder to me that the Book of Mormon is true and is the only full record of Christ's gospel. He came with us to teach Brian last week and told him the more he read the Book of Mormon the more things in the Bible would connect and it's holes would be filled. I love how much my investigators teach me!

Also, cherry on top, Sister Williams and I graded for our first stripe in Jui Jitsu! I probably could have done that after my second week, but we finally did it. Since we don't own a gi or belt Brother Lafrance, aka Henshi, put the stripe on the pull ties for Sister William's pants. Sadly my pants had nothing, so I just got a hand shake. He said if he has any extra belts in the dojo he'll give us one, or I may break down and buy one. But I now feel like I've gone 6 months without it, I probably shouldn't get one now. The point is I'm, officially lethal and prepared to serve in downtown Toronto!

Love you all! Thanks in advance for the box if it comes this week, and I'll see you on the other side of transfer calls!

Sister Jensen

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

baptism baptism baptism dance!


We had holidays yesterday, but zone conference isn't until Thursday so we're in the clear. So thank you for not procrastinating writing me :)

Glad to hear everyone is surviving the various changes going on. Mom, if you want something awesome to do, look into Jui Jitsu. Sister Williams and I are finally going to grade this week and get our first stripe (our sensi is delighted, we're his favorite students.) So we can do JUI JITSU TOGETHER NEXT SUMMER! Fantastic!

It was a FANTASTIC WEEK! Brian was baptized on Sunday and his whole family came, it was really special. We're going to begin teaching his daughter this week, she came down at the end of one of his lessons last week with her copy of the Book of Mormon (which I didn't even know she had snagged from her dad!) and it had a bookmark sticking out of it. So I asked if she'd started reading it, was able to share Moroni's promise about reading and praying about the Book of Mormon to know if it's true, and set up a time to come back to see her. So between that and her being able to see her dad be baptized we're hoping to see her be baptized by the end of the month. HUZZAH FOR ISRAEL!

We also had a great miracle yesterday. I was having a rough day, I was exhausted to the point of feeling sick and was really whiny about it since normally it would be p-day and I could take a little nap but thanks to the great holiday of labor day I had an appointment every hour and no nap time. So I was dragging my feet internally but trying really hard to still work my hardest. Half way through the day we had a meeting with Holly, the niece of the family whose basement we live in. Ironically she was not a referral, we OYMed her on the street. But we had the best lesson with her! And why? Because that morning for training we'd started studying teaching skills, for the week 11 plan. We watched a district video we'd watched about 10 times and did not want to watch at all, but we obediently watched and role played and learned a ton. Then we applied it to Holly, had such a powerful lesson which included our upstairs neighbor crying about her testimony (this woman does not ever show emotion btw) and Holly committing to baptism September 23. HUZZAH HUZZAH HUZZAH! So after that I had to do a bit of repenting for murmuring, because if we'd had p-day that day we still would have met with her but wouldn't have had the hour of training, therefore wouldn't have had such a powerful lesson. I left there full of the spirit with my headache gone and a magical new wave of energy. The Lord is good, even when we barely have any faith in him.

I'm all excited to have a spiritual overload this week though, we have zone training tomorrow (a new monthly meeting we're asked to have by the first presidency in which the zone leaders pump us full of their knowledge) and zone conference the following day (where the APs and President Scott will pump us full of all of their knowledge). Always a bitter sweet experience where I walking away full of the spirit but aware of how far I have to go as a missionary. But miracle ought to be flowing this week with such a great combo of meetings!

I got Nik's wedding announcement this week, cute! Def send me pics from the wedding, I'm a little weirded out by the number of people I'll be related to when I get home that I've never met so the more details the better. (Good thing none of my siblings are getting married or I'd freak, please prevent any elopements or quickie weddings. Lookin' at you Joe.)

Pictures of the week:
Brian's baptism!
His wife, mother-in-law, 2 daughters, and future son-in-law came.
Me and Brian with this hilarious eagle statue he tried to force me to take as a gift.
I finally convinced him that it would be far too large to carry around with me for the next year in a suitcase, and just a picture would suffice. Afterwards he belted out "God bless America" for me.
Have I mentioned Brian is hilarious?