Friday, March 14, 2014

Only two more weeks...

Hola Everyone!

I can't believe that time is moving so quickly.  It's an interesting thought to know that I only have 2 weeks longer before I go home and my time as a full-time missionary comes to an end.  It's been a crazy adventure and I'm excited to see what happens in the next 2 weeks.  Lot's of things are starting to happen here, so hopefully we can keep things rolling.

Angel and Banica are continuing to progress.  They've continued struggling in their relationship, but they seem to be doing better and working toward their goals.  I still think it will be a little while until they get married and she can get baptized, but they're progressing and that is what is important.

Olga is continuing to make progress as well.  She's more and more happier everytime that we see her.  She found out that I'm leaving in a couple weeks, so she's been giving us a hard time about that one.  But, luckily she gets along with Elder Gothard too so she's not too bummed.  Plus, she knows that's the mission way of things too.

We're continuing trying to work with the members, however, they can't seem to get into gear.  Our new goal is to visit them and try to invite them to act in some way.  Visit a less-active, talk to their friends, stuff like that.  Guess we'll see if it works.  I sure hope so, because I want to live this area with alot of work for Elder Gothard and his new companion.  However, I can't complain because we've seen the blessing of the lord alot here and he's been very good to us during the last 3 months.  It sure hasn't been easy, but he's made it possible.

So, things continue forward.  I'm grateful for this gospel.  I'm grateful I'm able to share it with the Dominican people.  I know that Christ lives.  He loves us and wants us to succeed.  I've been reading along in Romans and I really like something Paul said to them.  He said, "Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)  If we follow Christ and all that is good, we can overcome evil and receive eternal life.  I know that light always defeats the darkness.  So I hope that we can all fill our lives with the life of Christ.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Que vaya con Dios!  Buena suerte en esta semana.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Jensen


Hola a todos,

Wow!  If Utah can get rain like Nagua gets rain, I don't think we'd ever have a problem with water again, haha.  Last weekend, we had so much rain!  It poured all night Friday and pretty much all day Sunday.  Seriously, it was alot of rain.  However, I didn't get too wet because I was stuck in my apartment all day Friday because my companion has been having some stomach problems.  But, he's doing alot better and I'm happy to be out and about sweating like a horse again (minus the sweating part, haha).

Well, things have been really slow for us in Nagua this past week.  We've encountered alot of difficulties with Angel and Banica.  They've seem to have hit a rough patch in their relationship and it's been a struggle trying to do a lot with them right now.  I was really hoping to see them get married and Banica get baptized before I went home, but I think they are going to need alot more time to get everything worked out.  I have faith that she'll get baptized one day, but I don't think right now is the right moment.  However, we continue to teach and pray that they can resolve their problems.

Olga continues to progress and is reading alot more and is really gaining a strong testimony of the gospel again.  I'm very happy that we've been working with her!

Juan is too busy right now with work, school, and life to meet with us anymore.  I'm sad that he chose to not take time to meet with us, but it's his decision to listen or not.  We can invite, but we can't force people to change.

The work of salvation continues forward.  Nagua is a difficult area, but I have confidence that with the lord's help things will improve.  I'm probably not going to see many fruits of my labors, but I'm going to try to plant as many seeds as possible these next 3 weeks.  I know that this gospel is true.  Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer.  He loves us and wants us to be happy and follow his example.  I'm grateful I can continue to share that message for a short 3 weeks longer.  This is his work.  I've seen his hand in the Dominican Republic helping the message roll forward.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Que vaya bien a todos.  Espero que tengan una buena semana!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Jensen

Happy Independence Day...

Hola everyone!

Happy Dominican Independence Day!  (Well tomorrow anyways)  It's one of the biggest days in the Dom. Rep. because it's the last day of the annual "Carnival" which is the 2nd largest in the world (next to Brazil).  So, it should be an interesting day tomorrow.  Lot's of music, and lots of beer.  But, we've planned a big inter-ward activity too, so hopefully that will help the members come and stay out of "Babyolon" as we say in the mission.

Wow.  I can't believe that I'm officially a real deal adult now.  Yesterday was a good day, but a normal day too!  I had cake and icecream at a members house last night, but other then that it was a normal day.  It's weird how the older you get, the less exciting birthdays are.  But, hey!  It's still fun to "birthday boy!"

So, this past week went by really quickly.  We've still struggled finding investigators, but we're having tons of success with the less-active members.  We've begun teaching a in-active sister named Olga.  She's 26 years old, single mother, and has been struggled with life.  She was baptized about 5 years ago, but went in-active over some things the missionaries said/done.  She's been making alot of progress and has started accepting more invitations to visit with us.  The best thing though was that she even attended Church last Sunday!  And the best part was she even showed up early!!  I was really happy!  Then, last night she told us that when she went in-active she told herself that she would never come back, but when my companion and I ran into her on the street and stopped by her house a few days later, she felt important again.  She said that our visits have helped her find her lost testimony and have a desire to feel "the song of redeeming love" as (Alma puts it) again.  So, I'm really happy that I'm living my life in a way that she can feel the savior's love through me and know that the missionaries can be trustworthy representatives of Christ.  It's a really good feeling.

So, things are continue to push forward in Nagua.  The church attendance is going up, and my companion and I are starting to receive more referrals from the members.  I'm hoping that the activity planned for tomorrow can help the members realize that helping with missionary work doesn't mean leaving with the missionaries from 3pm to 9pm, but it is something as simple as inviting a friend to an activity or mentioning one of our beliefs.  When it comes right down to it, being a "member-missionary" isn't rocket science.  I know that alot of times we're a little nervous to say something, but the lord promises us he'll fill our months with what we need to say.  I know that missionary is important.  The world is full of wickedness and the powers of darkness.  We've been blessed to find the light and it's our responsibility to share that light with others.  I know that Christ is the light of the world.  He's our savior and he's always ready to carry our burdens and lighten our world.  This gospel is true and this is the lord's work.  I hope that we can all do our part in building his holy kingdom.  Full-time missions only last 2 years, but sharing the light of Christ lasts a lifetime.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Que vaya con Dios a todo!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Jensen

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Hola everyone!

Well, here I am writing a day late because yesterday we were in Santiago buying some things and there wasn't power in Nagua all day, so we were able to sneak in an hour right now and write the families.  I'm glad to hear that everything is going well and everyone seems happy.  I hope Holli enjoyed her time in cheer and I'm glad I can tell people my little sister was a cheerleader, haha.  It also sounds like everyone is busy with work and just trying to get everything done; which is good I suppose!

So, this week has just flown by again.  It was the first week of transfers which usually always drags on, but it just seemed to fly by this time.  My companion and I are still busy trying to find more people to teach, but I feel like we'll start seeing some more investigators popping up soon.  Juan has still been busy with the University, so we still haven't had a chance to teach him again.  The couple Angel and Banica that we've been teaching are progressing slowly.  Angel is a less-active and Banica is an investigator who's ready to get baptized.  But, they aren't married!  They have plans to get married, but what to get some "personal" matters in order first.  So, there is nothing we can do but wait and pray that things come together soon.  But, they will both be strong members once she can get baptized and start preparing to go to the temple.

We have made some progress with alot of the members and I feel like my companion and I are more "welcome" in the ward.  The members are inviting us over more, asking to leave with us, and showing more interest in how the missionary work is going.  We still haven't received alot of referrals, but I'm confident that things we really start to move along now that the members are a little more open to us and excited to do missionary work.  I might not see very many fruits of my labors, but I'll be happy if I can at least get some seeds planted.  I've found that is more what missionary work is; lots of planting and leaving the harvest for the next in line.

Well, things continue to move forward and life continues on.  Next week I'll enter the last full month of my mission.  I'm looking forward continue working with Elder Gothard and try to build up God's Kingdom here in Nagua.  Things are moving along and I hope that we can witness some miracles here and do our part in working in the vineyard.  I know this work is true.  Christ is the good Shepard and he invites all of us to come and participate.  He is our savior and redeemer.  I'm so very grateful for this chance to be a missionary.  I love the work and I'm grateful for what I've seen and done.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Have an excellent week everyone!  Que vaya con Dios.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Jensen.

It's the final countdown...

Hola Everyone!

Well this is it!  I just entered into the last transfer of my mission.  I can't believe how quickly it's rolling to an end.  One of my good friends finished up the mission today; and it's weird to think that I'll be in that position in a few short weeks.  But, I'm glad I still have a little bit more time to try and make a difference.

Well, not much has really happened this past week.  We've had several changes in our district, but nothing changed with the missionaries in our house.  2 elders were transferred and 1 sister was as well.  It should be exciting to see what this changes can bring.  But, things are still moving along for us in Nagua 1; Elder Henriquez, Elder Morgan, Elder Gothard, and me.

These past 7 days for us were some very trying days.  All of our appointments seemed to fail, nobody came to church, and the members haven't been too enthusiastic about helping us.  Where ever we went, nothing seemed to happen.  Juan entered into the University so we haven't seen him for over a week and some how we just can't seem to find him.  It took a lot of patience and diligence for my companion and I to keep on swimming last week...

The good news is, is that this week has started off alot better.  Almost all of our appointments have been kept, and alot of less-actives are getting excited to attend church on Sunday.  We've found some less-actives to teach, but we're still struggling on new investigators.  I really what to baptize a couple more people before I come home, so I'm really praying and hoping that we find some people this week.

So things are moving forward.  We're trying our best to help this little ward become strong and thriving.  It's taking alot of work and patience, but I trust that Heavenly Father is preparing the people to do their part.  This is the lord's work.  He is in control and I know that he has many blessing in store for the people in Nagua.  I'm grateful that I can serve the people here and I'm grateful to be a missionary.  The church is true, and god wants us to be happy!  Christ lives and he loves each and every one of us.  I hope that we can all remember that!  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Have an excellent Valentine's Day everyone!  Que vaya con bien.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Jensen

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hola Everyone...

I hope everyone had a great week and enjoyed the new layer of snow.  Everyone said that Utah hasn't had any snow (well hardly any) and that Brigham City and the northern part of the state are in need of some serious water.  Hopefully some of the water will come do some good.  I'd give you some of the water here, but it's of the salty variety, haha.
Well, this past week has been a pretty slow week for us.  Juan continues to progress, but is having a hard time attending church.  We haven't figured out why he doesn't come to church, but I hope that we can get to the bottom of it because I think he'll be a great member to this ward if he can get baptized.  He continues to read the Book of Mormon and likes the things that we teach, but just struggles making commitments to come to church.  However, he's not the only one though.  Everyone we've been teaching has committed to come to church, but never comes.  Need less to say, it's frustrating to be waited at church for 7+ people and no one shows up.  But, we continue teaching and praying that they can realize the importance of attending church.  Other than that, the area is slowing improving, well with the members any way.  We still don't have alot of people to teach, but I'm hoping that we find a couple of families soon because I'd really like to baptize a family before I go home...
So today has been really fun day.  We went to a tourist city about a hour and a half away called Samana.  It was really fun and it had a some really pretty beaches.  There was a little island in the harbor which had a bridge to it, so we hiked over and took some pictures.  There was also a Cruise Ship in for the day so that meant lots of gringos, and even more Dominicans ripping them off.  I feel kind of weird seeing so many Americans and so many people talking English.  It'll be really weird when I get home I imagine.  But, it was really fun and I got some great pictures.  Then for lunch we got invited to eat at a members house, but not just any member.  It was an American couple who have a winter condo and live here in the colder 6 months of the year.  They came to church last Sunday and invited us over when they heard we were planning on coming.  It was really pretty at their house because their condo is right on the beach.  What is even cooler is that this couple grew up in Brigham City.  Their names are Brother and Sister Hacking.  He said he moved over 30 years ago, but it was cool all the same. It was very nice of them to invited us over and we had an amazing time at their house.  Overall, really fun day and an excellent way to blow off some steam of missionary work.
Well the work continues forward and I believe I only have 7 more weeks to go!  This truly is the lord's work and I am grateful I've had the chance to participate in this marvelous work.  Thanks for everything everyone!  Have an excellent week!!  Que vaya con dios.

Elder Jensen

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Adios Enero...

Hola everyone!

Wow.  I can't believe we're already one month into 2014.  It's weird to think that in 4 weeks I'll be 21.  We're all getting so old.  But, things are going great and I'm loving my time here in Nagua.

Things are continuing to progress in Nagua and I'm starting to see a slow, small progress with the members.  We've received some invitations to "Noche de Hogares", members have volunteered to leave with us, and some less-actives are starting to come to church again.  It's a very far away from where we could be, but all the same its a step in the right direction.  We still don't have very many new people to teach, but the people we're teaching are doing great!  Juan is loving what he's learning and is always ready, waiting, and excited for our lessons.  It always makes my day when we have a lesson with him.  He gets what we're teaching, and he feels that its true.  I hope he continues and can get baptized at the end of February.  That'd be an awesome Birthday present.  I'm very grateful that we were lead to him and have the opportunity to teach him.

Well, Nagua is great and it's probably turning into one of my favorite areas in my mission.  It's a hard area, but it's been really fun with Elder Gothard and the other missionaries.  It doesn't have a lot of "luxuries" that Santiago has, but it's a nice little, beach town.  It's alot harder and more humid then my other areas, but there always seems to be a nice breeze in the afternoon and late evening.  So overall, it's been a great couple of weeks.

Thanks for all the support everyone has given me.  I love reading how things are going and what happening with the family.  Thanks for everything!  I know that I'm busy doing a marvelous work and I know that God blesses us when we do as he commands.  This church is true; and the work is moving forward.  I know that I'm a missionary of our Heavenly Father and I'm grateful that I can share this message with the people of the Dominican Republic.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Have a great week!  Que vaya con Dios a todos!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Jensen

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy Thursday...

Hola everyone!

Sorry I didn't write home yesterday, but I couldn't.  The power left around 1:30 here and didn't come back until a little after 6pm, so I wasn't able to come and use Internet.  But, here  I am; alive and well.

This past week has honestly just blurred by.  I can't believe we're already back to Thursday again.  My companion and I really tried to focus on finding some new people to teach over the past couple of days.  We've walked around alot and tried to meet with lots of members to get referrals.  We haven't had a ton of success with that, but we did have a really neat finding experience late last week.  My companion and I were trying to follow the spirit and end up where we needed to be.  So after walking around for a while we ran into a guy named Juan.  He was standing in front of his house right by the beach so I just started asking questions about the beach, cruise ships, tourism, and stuff.  We talked for a while and then he asked us if we were "Mormones."  I told him that we were and he agreed to let us stop by and visit with him a couple of days later.  Well, when we passed by for the visit he was outside waiting for us and happily invited us in.  We began talking about bible, prophets, and then we ended up on the Book of Mormon.  HE JUST LOVED IT!  He kept saying, "this makes sense.  God would have had more prophets and scriptures then just the bible."  It was a really cool experience finding him and having him just get it and see the connection with all of it.  He's really excited to come to church and he's been reading alot of the Book of Mormon, so it's been really neat meeting and teaching Juan.  We are hoping to set a baptismal date with him soon and help him continue gaining his own testimony.  It was a really great experience running into this guy.  I feel like God has prepared him for this gospel.

Well, everything is going great!  The area is coming together and we're continuing to find more people to teach.  The members are progressing starting to leave with us more.  The bishop is working alot with less-actives; and the people are just ready to learn.  I'm so very grateful that I'm able to finish up my mission here in Nagua and see the progress of the area.  I love being a missionary and my companion and I are having a great time trying to help build up the kingdom in this little town.  I know that God loves us.  This work is rolling onward and I'm grateful to be a part of it.  God has called a prophet and he is leading the church today.  I know that Christ lives and he's our savior.  The gospel is true and if we live it, God with give us all that he has in store for us.  I know that to be true.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Have an excellent week everyone!!  Que vaya con Dios.

Elder Jensen

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hola Everyone...

Hola everyone!

Holy Cow!  I can't believe that another week has already gone by.  It's weird to think that we're already have way through January.  Pretty soon we'll be entering into February and then moving along to march before that; where's all the time going?  But, it sounds like everyone had a great week except poor Charcoal; I feel bad for the poor dog.  Losing your manhood has got to be a blow to the ego.  Oh well, at least everyone else seems to be doing well!

So, this past week has been interesting.  We've done a lot of walking and not a ton of teaching.  President Douglas is stressing working only with members and referrals, which I think is a great idea.  However, that all depends on the attitude of the members and the members here need some motivation or something because they aren't getting the whole "Hastening the work" or "every member a missionary" yet.  The four of us that are assigned to the ward are doing our best to help them realize their roles as members of the church, but we're inching along you could say.  More members have started to commit to leave with us, and we've started some different weekly activities, and the bishop is really excited about the work; so I'm confident that we'll see some good changes soon!  I think the members just need to see that the missionaries are excited about the work and ready to do their part to build the kingdom and then they'll see that we're serious when we tell them that we need their help.  But, we're moving along and the work does too!

So Nagua is turning out to be a nice little place.  I like the beach, the people, and the small town feel.  It's better then when I was in Fantino because it's bigger, there's always power, and tourists pass through here, so the buses are big greyhounds (which are quite comfortable).  Right now there is 10 missionaries in Nagua.  8 elders and 2 sisters.  6 Americans 4 Latinos.  And I'm the district leader for all of us.  We all kind of feel like we're off in our own little world away from everyone.  Haha, it's actually a very funny feeling...

So, we're continuing to find people to teach and I hope that we start seeing some people progress to baptism soon.  I really want to finish up my mission strong and see alot of progress in the area and leave knowing that I helped the lord build up his kingdom in Nagua.  I grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary in the lord's work.  I know the church is true and that I'm doing a marvelous work.  God lives.  He loves us and wants us to be happy.  I'm grateful that I can share that message with his children everyday.  Being a missionary isn't always easy, but I feel it's very fulfilling experience to serve heavenly father's children.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Have a great week everyone!  Que vaya bien.

Elder Jensen


Hola from Paradise...

Hola everyone!

Wow, I can't believe that it's already Wednesday again.  I honestly don't feel like I've been here a whole week.  Time seems to be flying!

So things in Nagua are going great!  I'm starting to get down the area, so we're not getting lost all the time anymore.  It's funny that I some how always seem to run into the beach when I get "lost", haha.  The beach in my area really isn't even that pretty, but I just like seeing all the waves and the beauty of the ocean.  It's a pretty cool site to see.  The house here is a little small, but we're all having a good time trying to make it work.  Our food is scattered all over the place until we get cupboards and our refrigerator broke last weekend, so we've been using the neighbors to keep the important stuff cold.  Did I ever tell you guys how much I like cold water?  It's a pity when it's gone.  But, all the same things are going well at home.  I feel like I'm all settled in for the most part.  After all, it's going to be my home for the next 3 months.

Well, the area is an interesting place.  We have a little chapel that currently is plenty big for this ward.  The average attendance is about 75-80, so it definitely has room for improvement.  The leaders are a little scattered from each other and don't really believe there's a "unity" in this ward. But if everyone is thinking that, of course there's not going to be any unity.  So, we're working hard to help the leaders band together and get excited about missionary work.  They all talk about the growth this area can have, now we're just trying to help them realize it can happen if they all join together and work alittle bit.  So, there's hope of seeing a lot of progress during my time here, but this ward (especially the members) is going to need to step up and do what needs to be done.

I'm still trying to get to know the investigators and get to know more members to get myself established here in Nagua.  We have a couple investigators, but this next week will be alot of trial and error trying to get more help from the members.  President Douglas is really pushing working with members and less-actives to get the work of the lord rolling.  The days of tracting and contacting are over and missionaries just can't have success unless they are working hard with the members.  It's important to reach out to those who just need a friend in the gospel to help them find their way.  I've been reading alot in the bible lately, and the savior constantly teaches his disciples the need to share the gospel with others.  He invites all to come unto him, and it's up to his followers to share that wonderful message!  I hope that all of us can reach out and help all people, whether they'd be members or non-members to "come unto Christ and be perfected in him."  I know that Christ lives.  He's our savior and redeemer and he wants us all to be happy.  This church is true and we are lead by God's chosen prophet here on this earth.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Have a great week everyone!  Que vaya con Dios.  Adios!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Russell Jensen

Friday, January 3, 2014

I made it...

Hola everyone,

Wow.  I´m the outskirts of my mission.....again.......but I do have a nice beach about 5 minutes from my house this time(:

After a long, long day yesterday we´re finally here and alive in Nagua.  We waited a long time in Santiago for the bus to take the missionaries to a city called San Francisco.  From San Fran we had to take another bus to Nagua, which was another hour and half ride across the countryside.  Finally, around 6:30 we reached Nagua and headed to our house.  There are currently 2 other elders living in our house, so it was nice that they came to find us.  However, the house is really, really small and we can´t figure out house 4 missionaries can all live in the house.  So need less to say it should be really interesting to see how this plays out.  

As most of the family knows, I´m here in Nagua opening an area and training a new missionary.  My new trainee is named Elder Gothard from Goodyear, Arizona.  He´s 18 years old and is really excited to be a missionary.  He´s really laid back, so he hasn´t been really stressed out like I was at the beginning of my mission and he seems to be doing really well!  I´ve only been with him for about 24 hours now, so I don´t know too much about him, but I look forward to training him and working hard out here in Nagua.

Well, here I am.  I just entered my last two transfers of my mission.  I´m in a really neat area (with the beach down the road, haha), I have a nice companion, and I´m really excited to work hard here in Nagua.  It should be a great last 3 months, and I hope to see lots of good things happen here in Nagua.  It´s been an adventure getting here, so I´m excited to see the crazy adventures Heavenly Father has planned for us here.

Have a great week everyone!  Happy New Year!

Elder Jensen