Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Week in the DR...

Hola Everyone!!

 This past week has been pretty slow.  The rest of the Latinos showed up,
so currently there is 39 missionaries piled into the 4th floor of the CCM.
Let's just say its very, very crowded!  My companion and I (along with the
rest of the missionaries) got to go contacting at the local university.  I
must just have rotten luck, because every person we talked to was a devoted
Catholic.  But oh well, hopefully we planted a seed that can grow and
develop into something bigger!  We had the President of the Este mission
come and speak to the CCM last Sunday.  I feel pretty good about my
spanish...I can understand 1 out of 10 words rather then just 1 out of 15!
Hopefully soon I can understand 1 our of 5 words...
  Nothing else too exciting really happened this week.  We did a lot of
studying, and a little more studying.  The weather is getting hotter, and
there isn't quite as much rain, but I've heard that Santiago has the most
rain, so I'll be able to be in water after all, haha!  People continue to
have stories about what to expect on a mission and things to make sure not
to do!  Most of the time I just nod my head and say "Yep, ok I'll try not
to."  When people start preaching to you about things to do and not to
do before you're actually out in the field all it does is confuse your
 This past week I've spent a lot of time reading Jesus the Christ by James
Talmage.  He was one spiritual man, that Talmage guy was.  Anyways,
something that really caught my attention is when Talmage analyzes the
different Apostles of Christ's ministry.  When he spoke of Peter, Andrew,
James, and John it really increased my faith in those servants of the
Lord.  You see, those four men were fishermen when Christ came and said "Ï
will make you fishers of men."  Most people know that, but what they don't
realize is the status of the 4 as fishermen.  They all owned their boats,
and had a paid crew aboard each boat.  That right there is big!  Back in
the day that was quite well off!  And we find out Peter owned
his own house, and they all had material possessions.  I always thought that
the 4 of them were just poor fishermen trying to get by, but I learned that
these mean were very well off "physically" anyway.  And yet when Christ
came and called them to follow him, the four men dropped their nets and
followed Christ.  How much faith and heart would that take to drop your
whole life and devote yourself to following the master?  These were rich
men, who gave up everything to serve the Lord.  I wonder about all the
things I've given up to come out on the mission for 2 years.  Yes, I've
given up Work, School, Girls, Money, Movies, etc, but looking at the
sacrifice that those 4 Apostles gave to serve the Savior, I haven't had to
give up that much at all!  These men gave up their whole life on earth to
serve the lord, I've been asked to give only 2 years of my life to be a
full-time servant of the Lord!  Peter, Andrew, James, and John are amazing
examples!  I want to be able to have the amount of faith they had, so when
the Master calls me to work I can be there to answer the call!  I challenge
each of you to continue building your faith and serving the lord.  Magnify
your callings a little more, attend the temple more often, give a little
more fast offering, have a little more charity for people, and thank your
Heavenly Father for everything he has given you!  Most people haven't been
asked to devote their life to the lord, but we can devote a little more
time to serve him and help build up the kingdom.  I know with all my heart
this church is true.  Jesus lives and he is the Savior of the world.  Put
your faith is him and he will always be walking by your side.  In the name
of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Keep the faith and have an amazing week!  I'll talk to you all next

Elder Jensen

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hello again...

Hola Everyone!!
    How's life back in Utah? It was soooo good to hear from all of you on Sunday! It sounds like life is just trucking along! I hope Ashley's wedding goes through alright today! I wish you all the best at surviving the day!!
   Dad thanks for the picture of the temple!!  It looks so nice!!!  Sounds like planning commission is really heating up.  Who new of the excitement that could happen over something so small in the grand scheme of things.  Try not to make too many enemies, haha:)  By the way, I did make that purchase here in the DR, so not to worry.  However, I don't expect to make any purchases for the next 3 weeks, so be watching just in case.
    I really don't have a whole lot to say this week.  I seemed to have covered most it over the phone.  Just 2 or 3 things to mention back to my fans at home!  The Haitans left early Tuesday morning, so all day Tuesday and Wednesday, there was only the 10 of us from Provo.  However, these next couple days will be quite interesting!  We have 22 new Elders and 7 new Sisters arriving from different countries.  Most are from Peru, but on sister is coming from Spain.  Let's just say, the CCM will be really full!  
     On Tuesday morning we had were able to take a trip to the Market.  It was kind of like a Dominican Walmart.  It was quite different.  But it was so good to buy American candy and chips.  I found some Hershey's dips Cookies & Creme style for $5.  I figured if I can get American Chocolate for $5 I might as well buy 2 of them, haha.  I do enjoy my food!!  I also bought same necessary items like an Umbrella, wash clothes, chocolate, tie, oreos, did I mention chocolate?  Haha, it was pretty fun to get out and look like a bunch of little kids lost with no idea what to do.
     I know this church is true!  I know with all my heart that Jesus lives and is the savior of the world.  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can all be cleansed from sin.  The Atonement is so must more than that.  I testify that through the Atonement, we can all be made perfect throught Christ.  Not just with sin and afflictions, but with all aspects of our lives.  Christ can make weaknesses into strengths, imperfections into perfections, and help us become the people we need to become to enter into the Celestial Kingdom at the last day.  I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, and we currently have a prophet on the earth today, President Monson.  I know I've been called of God to serve the people of the Dominican Republic and help all to come unto Christ and enjoy the fullness of the gospel in this life.  I love you all so very much and I am truly grateful for all your prayers and support you have given.  In the name of our lord, savior, and redeemer, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Que vaya con Dios!!

Love Elder Jensen

P.S.  I attached some pictures of the CCM and the Temple.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Another week in the DR...

Hello Family!!

Life has pretty much fallen into a pattern here in the DR CCM.  I get up out of bed and get ready.  Next I have breakfast and then usually take a walk around the temple.  After that, we head to class for 3 hours.  Next, we have lunch.  It is still pretty good, but it's the same thing everyday.  Rice, chicken, beef, potatoes, and fruit.  Oh well.  Let's see, after lunch we have language study for 2 hours.  Then we get to go outside and have gym time!  After gym we have dinner.  Guess what's after dinner?  Yep, 3 more hours of classroom instruction.  Then at 9 pm we plan and have CCM Prayer with everyone.  I go to bed and get ready to repeat the process over the next day.  It is definitely a pretty crazy life here, ha ha.  However, occasionally we do get variety.  On Mondays, we get to do service.  Tuesdays, we have devotional.  Thursdays, we have P-Day so we go the the temple and then the President takes us to different sites throughout Santo Domingo.  Fridays, we get to leave and do some real contacting at the local university.  So that's always exciting!  So overall, my days are pretty much the same.  They kinda run into each other.  If I didn't have a calendar, I'm not sure I would know what day it is here.

This past week, I had some very exciting things happen!  Last Thursday afternoon, President Glazier took us the the Colonial Zone next the the coast.  It was where Christopher Columbus and his son settled after he discovered the new world.  There is really old buildings, artifacts, and stuff like that.  It was really fun learning about a colony that settled here 500 years ago.  I have a ton of pictures, but you'll have to wait to see all of them.  That was overall, very exciting!  We got ice cream and it tastes very different from the US ice cream.  But its super yummy!!

On Friday (May 4), we walked to the local university and did some contacting.  The gift of tongues is an amazing gift.  My companion and I could understand what they were saying, and they could understand our Spanish!  It was so much fun to do some really contacting.  We met a young sister who was willing to help us practice our Spanish.  We just had small talk conversation, and then it eventually turned over into religion.  We shared our belief about Jesucristo as our redeemer and explained a little bit about El Libro de Mormon.  It was very exciting!!  We offered her a Libro de Mormon, but she said she had one at her house.  So we asked her to read it and call the mission numbers when she has questions.  Next we found a young brother, who was just kinda chillin.  We did the same thing with him to.  He seemed very interested and had some questions for us.  We did our best to answer them and shared our testimonies.  We asked if he ever read El Libro de Mormon and he said he couldn't because he never had one to read.  So guess what we did?  That's right, we have him a copy!!  He said he would read it and call the mission numbers when he wanted missionaries to come back!  Last, we talked with another young brother who was waiting for his girlfriend.  He had a lot of questions about the gospel.  We gave him a pamphlet and he read a lot of it right then!  He then asked questions and wondered where he could go to learn more about El Libro de Mormon and the Gospel of Jesucristo.  We told him he should call the mission numbers and missionaries will come and give him more information and a copy of El Libro de Mormon.  Overall, contacting was really fun and I can't wait to get into the field and do it some more!

Love always,

Elder Jensen

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First week in the DR MTC...

Hola Everyone!
This week has been a very interesting week! The Dominican Republic is very different from the United States. The culture, food, weather, and atmosphere is completely different. In order to keep from getting all jumbled, let me just start from the beginning.
Elder Nelson and I woke up at 1:45 AM to make it to the bus by 3. Once we departed in the van with a group of 7 of us headed to the DR, we made our was the SLC airport. It was quite the ride. We made to the airport and began the process of checking in. Let me just say, I hate how American Airlines does its check in. It is completely non-productive. Anyways, we made into the airport and began the journey of flying to the DR. The plane rides sure do go quickly when you are asleep for the majority of them. We went to Dallas, then to Miami, and finally to Santo Domingo. It is very interesting to fly over the different cities. In Dallas, it seems everyone has a swimming pool in their backyards. Miami is also super close to the airport. Once we got off the plane in the DR, I was terrified!! My eyes were probably huge, and I was sweating like crazy. No one spoke English, I had not clue how to pass customs, and I didn't know where to go. Looking back, I think the lord was trying my faith to see if I would not worry and rely on him help be get to the CCM. Like I said earlier, a complete stranger came and told us to follow him. He was dressed in regular clothes and drove a beater van that wouldn't pass inspection in the US. Anyways, you know the rest of the story. We finally made it to the CCM and met the President and some other senior missionaries. I was assigned a new companion and sent to bed. My new Companion's name is Elder Fassett and he is 21 and from Rupert, ID. He's a very interesting fellow.
A little about the CCM for you people back home....It is part of the temple grounds and is very, very small. The CCM is on the 4th floor of a four story building, known as the "House of Guests." The purpose of this building is to provide housing for temple patrons who travel a great distance to attend the temple. A third of the CCM Floor provides housing quarters for missionaries. Another third is classrooms for teaching. And the last third is the apartment for the President, and offices. The Cafeteria is on the bottom floor. After one week here, it seems like everyday the CCM is getting smaller and smaller. But that's the idea of the CCM. Let me know of anymore questions.
The food here is much different from the food back home. We eat rice & beans everyday, and this sweet juice call "BON." Its really good! We have cereal, hamburgers, tacos, different soups, and a lot of variety too. The fruits & Veggies are amazing here! They are all so sweet and very tasty. Bananas are in no short supply and I heard mangos are just coming in season, YUM:) Plantanos (Plantans) are a weird type of food. They honestly have no taste at all. Very weird indeed.... Also, the food isn't really spicy, I heard that the Dominicans don't really like spicy stuff...
My teachers are pretty chill and good people. One is a big Harry Potter fan, and he super funny! Others don't really speak English, so they repeat themselves a lot. Also, I've never heard people talk so fast in my life!!! It's crazy!! I love the people here though!! Everyone is so friendly and kind. They know I can't speak Spanish very well yet, so they are very patient and willing to repeat themselves. From the little bit I've seen I can't wait to leave the CCM and begin serving my Heavenly Father and the people of the Rupublica Dominicana.
So how about the weather!! I have never seen it rain so hard in my entire life! It was a complete downpour of water for like 4 hours yesterday!!! After a while, it seemed like the streets became little streams of waters and I was waiting for fish to start appearing... and President Glazier said it isn't even the "Rainy season" yet. Oh great!! The humidity is also really high. Every time I go outside, its like a blast of hot mist encompassing me with water. But, I'm getting used to it. However, its really bad when it rains a lot and such. But all is well!
So we went to the temple today and did Baptisms for the dead and a session. Its really hard to try and baptize a big Elder in 2 ft of water. For some reason the font had been emptied and not refilled. Also, I'm having a hard time finding white clothes, so I wish I would have brought mine with me, but I believe I got it figured out now, so don't worry. The temple is really pretty and really small.
Love always,
Elder Jensen

Pictures from Provo...

Elder Nelson and I with the big Map

My companion at the Provo MTC, Elder Nelson
My District.

All my Spanish material.