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