Elder Jenson Christmas Day 2013 in Lo Prado 2
Our family was successful in skyping Elder Jenson today at 5pm Chile time from the Familia Venegas's home. At 4:58pm Chile time Trevor skyped Elder Jenson..."We're on and ready to go!" within a minute Elder Jenson typed ..."I'm ready to skype now!" Our hearts raced with excitement and within a few seconds Elder Jenson popped up on the computer screen smiling from ear to ear so happy to see his family. After quick "I love you's and Feliz Navidad's" we enjoyed an incredible 70 minute conversation with Elder Jenson. The following are highlights from our Chistmas call...
We began by asking Elder Jenson.... "How's Chile?" "It's awesome! Best place to serve on earth."
Elder Jenson then started the call by talking individually with each of his siblings asking them about school and life in general and asked if they were "estas feliz"? (HAPPY)
We then asked Elder Jenson to tell us how Chileans celebrate Christmas to which he replied..."Chileans celebrate Christmas on the 24th and stay up until the wee hours of the morning celebrating, eating and opening and exchanging gifts. On Chistmas Eve my companions and I went to a lot of members and investigators homes to leave messages with them. We also went to Susana and Angelina's for dinner which was great."
While we were on the topic of investigators we asked Elder Jenson to give us an update and to tell us what the "secret" to his success has been as a missionary.."We get the Priests in our ward involved early on in our teaching so when it comes baptism time, the investigators know the Priests and want the Priests to baptize them. Another bonus is that the new converts now have a friend at church from the beginning (Priest who baptized them) so the chances of our new converts staying active and always involved is great. We also hold every baptism, if possble, after church at 1:15pm so members (usually 40-50) stay and support. I love Lo Prado 2!"
We then asked Elder Jenson how being a mission "Baptizer" was going to which he replied..."Nuts! I do 24 hour exchanges where different Elders come to my sector to learn how to teach more effectively and baptize. I'm definitely not perfect but love helping others gain a vision of baptism. I'm averaging 3 exchanges a week."
What's better...missionary work or golf? "I love my personal study time for an hour every day, then companion study is focused on how we can help our investigators. I'm always thinking about baptism and others instead of myself. I know if I do this, I'm going to feel the spirit always. It's the best...even better than golf!"
Taylor lighened things up a bit and asked what Elder Jenson did on P-day to which he replied..."SLEEP, go to the downtown market, visit "Chilean garage sales" and different sports."
Trevor then asked Elder Jenson to describe a typical day of a missionary in Chile. "I wake up at 730am and exercise until 8am. Then I eat and shower so I'm ready for personal study from 9-10am (30 minutes Book of Mormon and 30 minutes Preach My Gospel). From 10-11am we pray as a companionship and share with each other what we learned in our personal study and then read the missionary handbook and our mission rules time permitting. At the end we go over our plans for the day and what we are going to teach our investigators. From 11-12 we have language study. It was during this time that our family learned that Elder Jenson is currently being taught how to sign and that the Lo Prado 2 Ward is the only ward in the CSN mission that is able to now baptize deaf and mute people. Elder Jenson said he is taught sign language every Saturday at the church building by Matias and that there's currently 5 deaf/mute members in Lo Proado 2. After only a month of sign lessons, Elder Jenson has "mastered" signing the first lesson and says "Signing is way cool!" From 12noon to 2 my companions and I leave the house and go visit people or do contacts. From 2-3pm we have lunch. From 3-10pm my companions and I are proselyting every hour with a different visit. From 10-10:30pm my companions and I plan for the next day. From 10:30-11:30pm we have free time, eat, write in our journal or make calls to motivate other missionaries. 11:30pm sharp I'm in bed and asleep by I'm sure 11:31!"
We asked Elder Jenson to tell us about a favoite missionary experience to which he replied..."there are so many, too many to mention. Every day is my favorite!"
Elder Jenson then told Taylor to put his mission papers in for like the middle of June. "Get out as soon as you can." Elder Jenson then gave some advice to Taylor, Tarryn and Tallyn..."Get ready for your mission now! Prepare now! I was on course but didn't really realize why preparing was so important. When I got to the MTC, I felt a little lost. Get ready! Nothing better now than to gain knowledge now so you're not behind. Read and study the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel. Prepare today. Better to be ahead of the game than behind."
We asked Elder Jenson what he likes us to write him about to which he replied..."Family news...EVERYTHING! Thank-you so much for all of your support. I realize being away how much it means to me to hear from all of you and to be a part of everything. Today we got mail (Christmas Day) and I got my birthday packages from the family, my Thanksgiving package (finally) which was awesome because I got double the family messages which was so cool, Bishop Stewart's package, Allen's letter and Rafie Christmas card. Wow, it was great hearing from EVERYONE!"
What do you love and admire most about President Essig? "He's so knowledgeable about the Savior and scriptures. I love attending Zone Conferences and being taught by President. The scriptures say to "become as a child again" and President Essig has achieved that!"
What's your favorite area you've served in? "El Salto because all of the members were involved in missionary work."
How are all your converts doing? "So good. They all are doing great and all went to church this past Sunday."
We asked Elder Jenson how his health was to which he replied "Always good!"
What have you been doing today? "Well, we had a special Zone/District Conference this morning where I taught a special Christmas message on the Savior. I actually brought mom's "tree" with me and put it up in the room were I taught. I asked all the Elders to think for 10 minutes at the end of my message what gift they could give to the Savior and then one by one each Elder came up and either wrote or drew their gift to the Savior on the tree and shared it with us. My gift I gave the Savior this year was Javiera Osorio :) It was a really powerful meeting. My "tree" served many purposes this year!"
Out of the blue Elder Jenson said..."My official release date is May 19, 2014!!!!!!!!!!! I want you to come at the end and meet everyone. I'd love it if at least the parents would come and I could show you my sectors. You can stay at Sergio's home. He's now the Young Men President. He's doing so awesome. Sergio got baptized May 5th last year. I get released May 19th so I'd like to stay a week or so so dad and mom can go to Sergio's family sealing with me. Can't think of a better way to end my mission."
We closed our call by listening to Elder Jenson bear his testimony...
Being on a mission has been the best experience in my life. Nothing better than serving the Lord. It's hard to explain the daily experiences you have, miracles you see and having the Lord help you daily with His work. There's no better joy you can feel ever. Daily the Lord is using me to help someone and teach them the gospel so that they too can live with Heavenly Father with their families forever. I'm set apart to help others progress in His gospel and help the people of Chile come to Christ. I know Christ lives and wants us to have a forever family. I'm thankful for all of you and for your love and support. Joseph Smith was a prophet and through him, I know the gospel was restored. Helping others come to Him is the best. Being a missionary is the best. This is the best time of my life! I know this gospel is true. Pray always as a family and we can press foward and progress in this life. It's all worth it. This is His work and no one elses. I share this testimony with you from the bottom of my heart and with deep love for each of you. Hasta que nos vemos y encontramos tra vez en cinco meses. Estamos mundos!
*When we arrived home from the holidays we had a family letter waiting for us from Elder Jenson written all in Spanish.
Espero que tengan una MUY feliz navidad y que recuerden el "por que" de la navidad. Les quiero muchisimo y espero que lo sepan. Estoy tan feliz sirviendo al Senor El vive y nos ama a cada uno de nosotros. Tenemos que siempre recorder que queremos una familia eterna todos juntis papa siempre. Ninguno se puede perder. Tenemos que trabajar juntos para que esto se logre. Yo se que podemos hacerlo! Apoyomonos los unos a los otros. Si se puede. Los Amo!! -Elder Jenson (TAN)
Translation by Trevor:
I hope you all have a VERY Merry Cristmas and you remember the why or reason for Christmas. I love you alot and I hope you know that I am so happy to be serving the Lord. He lives and loves us, each one of us. We have to always remember that we want an eternal family, all together forever. No one can be lost. We have to work together so this can be achieved. I know we can do it! Let's support one another. I love you!! -Elder Jenson (TAN)