Elder Kyle Jensen

Elder Kyle Jensen
I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am serving and sharing the Gospel in Las Vegas, Nevada until April 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

10 Days Until Elder Jensen Comes Home!

Message From Mom:

As you have noticed I have not done a good job the last 5 months on keeping Elder Jensen's Blog updated.  I guess you could say I have neglected my duty and failed to endure to the end!  But despite this, Elder Jensen has not neglected his duty and he has endured to the end!
I am sure many are wondering…Is Elder Jensen coming home?  Kyle's original return date was April 15, 2015.  However, Kyle was able to get an extension on his mission so his new return date is now May 5, 2014, 10 days from today.  We are all very excited about his return.  I thought I would share a few recent e-mails and pictures, so you can get a picture of how he is doing on these last weeks of his mission.  Thanks for all of your prayers and support that you have offered Elder Jensen on his mission.  I know that it has meant a great deal to him and to us as well.  We are not only looking forward to seeing, talking and hugging Kyle in a few short days, but we are also excited to witness his growth in every aspect of his life.  We know that this opportunity to serve a two year mission as been a great thing for him, as well as for our entire family.  Thanks again for your support.


This week we had to take our car in to get it repaired (a couple months ago Elder Simms got in a car accident with his other companion and it's just now getting repaired). So, we're back on bikes except now we have an enormous area (it used to take 25 minutes to drive from one end to the other, but now it takes us 50 minutes to bike it). It's really weird biking in the down town area. In a car you just zip by everything and everyone, but when you're on a bike you pay more attention to how bad the area is. We were also reminded of this when we were at interviews with our mission president this week. When we left the chapel, one of the missionary cars had been vandalized (the hood was all smashed up) and the church building had been tagged with graffiti and the windows had been scratched with keys. I'm not sure if all of that happened during interviews but it all happened the same day. 

Other indicators that this really is sin city:
There is a Lesbian, Gay, Queer, transvestite center in the middle of our new area. I'm not sure exactly what it is but it's definitely an abomination, and I feel like I need to bike past it very quickly every time we pass it (if this city was struck down like Sodom and Gomorrah then that's probably the first building that would catch fire). 
There's a whole street in our area that is lined back to back with "drive thru weddings". It's exactly what it sounds like, people actually get married like that here. Ironically that same street is also lined with law firms and divorce lawyer advertisements just a few blocks down.
We showed up to a member's home last week to meet up with them and have them come to a lesson with us and we discovered that he was drunk. Instead, one of his roommates came out with us. We had some great lessons and then as we returned back to the members house we were chatting with him and we learned that he has a gambling addiction. These are active members of the ward - members that administer the sacrament. Las Vegas is crazy.

Well, things are kind of wrapping up on my mission. I'm really struggling to stay focused and engaged in the work until the end, but Heavenly Father has heard my prayers and He's kept me very busy so that I don't have time to get distracted thinking about going home. I'm really looking forward to these next few weeks and I'm going to do all that I can to ensure that these many baptisms that we have planned actually go through. This was a rough week and we've had to postpone some baptisms, but hopefully they will still happen before I go home. If not, then I pray that the Lord will provide a way for them to be baptized one way or another. 

April 13, 2015

This week was kind of crazy. 13 year old Gordon Leonard was baptized. Elder Simms baptized him and I got to confirm him. Yesterday at church he almost didn't get confirmed because he was late to church - so that caused me to panic a little. We had to confirm him after the sacrament was passed. Then during the first speaker's talk the air conditioning unit in the church caught fire and the building filled with smoke and so they had everyone evacuate after the alarm went off and the fire truck showed up. That was the first time my whole mission that church actually got cancelled. The sad thing is that we got our investigator Hellen to come to church for the first time since February and this was her experience. Hopefully she'll come back... she's supposed to get baptized on May 1 before I go home. 
It was kind of weird having my final interview this week. President Snow basically just talked to me about dating and getting married for 20 minutes, and then he gave me a priesthood blessing. 
83 year old Brother Baysinger fed us "survival Goolash - Wyoming style" for dinner this week. He calls it survival goolash because he says we have a 50% chance of surviving. I'm starting to get pretty tired of pasta (that's all we got fed last week and it's also what I ate 2 weeks ago when I got food poisoning). The whole time I ate it all I could think in my mind was "I came so far - I almost made it" followed by the determined statement "No, I'm not dying in Las Vegas!". The Vegas Manor ward had me speak in sacrament yesterday. I also got to teach gospel principles - the ward is getting as much use out of me while they still have me. 


This week I got to go to the departing missionary temple trip. That was a really neat experience (I'll send you a picture of me with my MTC companions). While I was at the temple that morning I saw at least one member from each of the stakes that I served in on my mission. My former ward mission leader was even in our session with his wife. I haven't seen him since I was with Elder Siilata in North Las Vegas (October 2013). He still remembered me and I got to talk to him for a few minutes in the celestial room. It kind of gave me the impression that this experience will be similar to the experience I will get to have when I complete my life - I look forward to being reunited with the people I've been blessed to meet on my mission. Afterwards I got to go to the departing missionary testimony meeting and it was good to see a few members from my past area there as well. I think that the Eastermans sent you a picture from that meeting (last Tuesday). The Eastermans are an incredible family that I met in Henderson in the Heritage ward. Brother Easterman was called to be the ward missionary while I was there. They committed me to invite them to my wedding. So hopefully you'll get to meet them someday (they really will come if I invite them, they would love an excuse to come to Oregon). To finish up the day I got to have dinner with President Snow at the mission home. I didn't sit at the same table as President Snow so I really didn't get to talk to him very much. But now that Elder Farr is an Assistant to the President, he was there so I got to have dinner with him one last time - just like old times (he was the longest companion I ever had - we were together for almost 5 months). Elder Farr might also get the honor of driving me to the airport as well. I sort of hope that he doesn't though because he's a crazy driver (he's not used to driving in the city - all they have is small dirt roads where he's from and they don't have any stop lights or lanes). 

Monday, October 13, 2014


My week was somewhat of a roller coaster. It seems like everything always goes wrong in the work we are doing and I'm really worn out. But I've also seen a lot of blessings as well. Your letter really helped. Then I got to go to the temple and that helped. Then there is Elder Haddon who has been a real companion for me - someone who will stand by my side even if he has to suffer with me. There has been no shortage of blessings in my life. I think the greatest determining factor towards my overall happiness has simply been my gratitude. Is it present or is it not? Based on my roller coaster comment, you can probably tell that my gratitude has been changing a lot throughout the week.
Brother Easterman is the ward mission leader in Heritage - his wife sent you the picture. They are amazing - you will get to meet them eventually (they are lifelong friends - they already made it clear that we cannot lose them -and they said that they will be at my wedding whenever that happens - if they're still alive).

We are allowed to go every 3 months to the temple (I didn't quite wait that long but my companion hadn't gone and I went over a year without going before my last visit so I figured it was ok). That rule varies in every mission though (I know that my roommate who served in Florida wasn't allowed to attend at all and my roommates in El Salvador didn't even have a temple to go to when they were there).
Right now we are teaching a lot of children and we will probably have some baptisms in November.
p.s. Yesterday Elder Haddon and I got to teach Lesson 39 in Gospel Principles. Everyone got a good laugh when they opened up their books and saw that the topic was the law of chastity. What are the chances that the one lesson we teach in like 6 months turns out to be that lesson (to a room full of adults who all are married and have kids).

Have a good week!
Elder Kyle Jensen

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Elder Haddon is my best friend. He is the funniest companion that I've had my whole mission, I need to write and tell you some of my stories with him. Yesterday at church he forgot his name tag so he borrowed another missionary's tag and then he was asked to give the opening prayer - and since he is new nobody really knew his name - and they introduced him as Elder Shaw to the ward. It was pretty funny (there was a lot of confusion yesterday). 

We have been seeing a lot of progress in our missionary work lately, but we still don't have anyone committed to baptism on a specific date. We've also really struggled with getting people to church. I love the people we are teaching so much, but it can be so frustrating sometimes when they fail to do the things that they know they should do (over and over again despite our efforts to help them). I often have to go through the same challenges as my investigators, and I feel that I am experiencing that right now - I don't know how to explain it but I just feel worn out. I often lack the hope and motivation to change - I lack faith in myself to change and faith in others to change. My testimony of the gospel is firm, but I just feel like a less active - I just want a break (the "I just am not cut out for this" fallacy) I hate when I feel like I make it past a road block and then it comes back - again and again.

Monday, August 4, 2014


"It's been super hot! But fortunately we've had a couple days this month that rained. It was so weird to see clouds in the sky (I actually felt like I might need to put a jacket on even though it was still in the 90's). Last night it rained a little as we got home. Elder Adams was bummed that we had to miss most of it while we planned. Speaking of Elder Adams, he is getting transferred tomorrow! It's crazy he's been here for only 6 weeks and now he's going to serve in the Warm Springs Stake (that's where I was before I came here). Initially he was really mad because he really loved this ward because it was full of "rednecks" like the guys on duck dynasty (that's everyone's favorite show here - if we don't catch it on their tv in their house then we hear about it in fast and testimony meeting). He was already making plans for us to go fishing on P-Day next month and for members to take us to The Bass Pro Shop. He also requested elk and deer from half of the ward for dinner so we''ll probably get a lot of that this transfer (even though he won't be here to eat it). But he was happy because one member gave him some frozen deer to take with him. Despite the part about him having to leave this area, he is excited because he is going to get a car in his next area (he will be covering two wards). In the 18 months he's been out he has biked his whole mission! My next companion is going to be Elder Balif - he's only been out for 6 weeks so I get to finish Training him! I'm really excited for that experience, I've wanted to train my whole mission and I was beginning to believe it wasn't going to happen. Also, we are going to be covering the Heritage ward in addition to the ward we have now (Newport) so the work should really pick up - especially since the sister missionaries who were serving there are really good missionaries. I'm excited for this transfer, I think it will be really fun even though it will also be challenging.

This Weekend the Lake Mead Stake had an activity called "Camp Preach My Gospel" where 50 young men and women in the stake over the age of 16 came out with the full time missionaries for a whole day (6:30 am until 9:30 pm). It was really fun to participate in that experience and help inspire the young men to serve missions. We saw so many miracles when we had them out with us - The Lord was really working to make it a good experience for them. Towards the end of the day on Saturday, the Spirit testified strongly to me that I was going to have the opportunity to train on my mission. A voice inside me said "I can do this" - and I realized that this experience was what I needed to confirm to me that whatever challenges I may face next transfer I will be able to overcome them if I rely on The Lord. About 5 minutes after I got this impression, we got our transfer doctrine and I was informed that I had been assigned to be a trainer. It was really neat."

Elder Kyle Jensen


This week was Elder Adams' 18 month mark so he set fire to a pair of old pants (missionaries have a weird tradition where they burn a tie at 6 months, a shirt at 12, pants at 18, and a suit at the end of the mission - I don't participate in these wicked traditions but it was fun to watch). We video taped him lighting the pants on fire in the desert so we'll have lots of memories of this historic event. He also picked up the pants after they cooled off and they had turned into a puddle of plastic melted to a bunch of rocks (it kind of looks like Texas). Then he brought it home and pinned it to the apartment wall and labeled it "The Remains of Elder Adams' 18 month mark". It is now on display in our hallway for future missionaries to discover.
It got up to 116 degrees in the shade at one point this week. The summer has been brutal - but the ward has been very good to us. Our Stake President lives in our ward and we stopped by one day and discovered that they have a soft serve ice cream machine in their house! I have a feeling we will be visiting them more frequently now...
Yesterday we got a break from the heat. It started raining for about 10 minutes and we got a ton of lightning! I've never seen such cool thunder storms before my mission. A lot of people saw us walking and offered us rides but Elder Adams kept insisting that he wanted to walk in the rain. I didn't blame him - it felt so good to get rained on even if it really doesn't compare to home.
As you may have noticed, I mentioned we were walking. That is because earlier this week I finally wore all of the way through my bike tire. It started to fall apart and then on Friday night it finally exploded! It sounded like a gun shot. It was a little frustrating because I had to patch up a new record of 5 flat tires in 1 week leading up to the event. So when it finally exploded I felt like I had finally lost the battle. There was no choice but to walk. I'm planning on buying new tires today so I'll probably just have to use the debit card to do that.

We saw some success this week from a part member family. We started teaching Erin, Michael Green's girlfriend. Michael Green is a less active member who I've been working with since my first week here. He is probably one of the weirdest people that I ever met, but he is very friendly so we keep going back. This week he asked us to give his girlfriend a priesthood blessing which led to us teaching her the first two lessons. We realized that Michael really does have a testimony of The Gospel even though he may not be keeping the commandments. His girlfriend actually turned out to be very interested in our message and I have a lot of hopes for her. She said she is going to make a commandments jar for Michael that requires him to put money in each time he breaks a commandment. She'll probably put it next to the profanity jar she made for him. Unfortunately he is missing the concept of it since he's been prepaying ahead of time for the words he intends to use. Hopefully he won't apply the same principle to the commandments jar.

Elder Kyle Jensen

Happy Pioneer Day 7/21/14

First- two weeks ago we had a BIG rainstorm. Although it only lasted a few minutes, it was really intense and it caused some damage to my scriptures (even though I wrapped them in a plastic bag). It was almost as crazy as the storm last pioneer day. There was lightning everywhere and the roads instantly became rivers. The sidewalks were under inches of water and as we biked through it water sprayed all around us. Yep, we biked through it. We just kept on working through the storm and surprisingly people were not any kinder to us (they just made remarks like "looking a little soggy - keep on biking" as we approached them)! Some people took pictures of us, but we still couldn't get anyone to talk to us (we looked ridiculous drenched in water). I'm a little tired of the way that many people treat us here. But I suppose it has helped me to really appreciate the few people who don't reject us so much more. I have never felt so much love for a people before in my life. I really desire to help them. These last few weeks I believe my prayers have been more for these individuals than they have for myself. That is perhaps the greatest miracle.
This week was probably the first week this transfer that neither my companion or I have had a flat tire. Instead, as we biked Elder Adams lost his whole pedal! The whole thing just fell off right before dinner. Fortunately Elder Farr had a similar experience in North Las Vegas so we knew exactly what to do about it. Elder Adams took a clothes hangar from the closet of the family we had dinner with and he bent the metal wire around the single pedal so that he wrap it around his foot. Then he biked with one leg for the rest of the night! Actually, he only went a block down the road to a different member and we borrowed his allen wrench to put the pedal back on. But it was hilarious to watch him pedal with one leg even for a few minutes. Missionaries do the dumbest things.

We saw a bee this week the size of a humming bird. It was called a taranchula(incorrect spelling?) wasp. It lays eggs on tranchulas and the babies eat it. It was really scary so Elder Adams stepped on it three times (it wouldn't die because it was so big). I didn't realize that missionary work could be so dangerous!

I made it through week 4 of the companionship (I don't know if you've noticed the trend, but usually about this time I start to really get irritated by my companions). But we made it through the week by working on our communication skills (it's always so hard). There are still some challenges in my companionship but The Lord is teaching me how to work with Elder Adams.

Our ward mission leader fed us peanut butter and pickle sandwiches yesterday. They were surprisingly good. But then again there is a spiritual gift that I invented called "the gift of not being picky about the food you are fed as a starving missionary" and I think that this gift helped to mask the flavor a little bit (I don't know if I would recommend the recipe to non-missionaries). Also, I made Top Ramen Stir Fry this week and it was super delicious! I even used some leftover chicken from a previous dinner. I am going to become a Top Ramen chef when I return from my mission. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Update 5/5/14

I get my transfer call on Saturday and I'm pretty sure that I'll be leaving to a new area next week since I've been here for 6 months and with Elder Farr for 4 and a half months.
 We've continued to work really hard at finding more people to teach. We gave a blessing to Carolyn (who we had to stop teaching for a few weeks due to her getting shingles) and we hope to resume teaching her this week. We've picked up a few more investigators through our efforts and it will be sad that I won't be around to teach them (once again I'm pretty set on leaving - I could really use some change). I want to build up this area as much as I possibly can before I leave so that the ward will have a lot of enthusiasm when the next missionary comes in (unlike when I came in and everyone kept wishing Elder Smith had stayed - one kid even told me "you'll never replace Elder Smith" - that kind of sentiment always makes it hard on a new missionary). It is always hard to leave behind a ward when you develop friendships - and it is hard to leave those behind to enter a new ward where you have no friends (especially when your companion isn't even your friend). So I hope that I can prepare this area so that it will be a good experience for whoever follows me here. 
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a baptism in the Shadow Creek ward for Patience McCarty (Craig's daughter that he got custody of before I left). It was so nice to be able to see the McCarty family and many of the other ward members as well. Brother Keser was especially happy to see me - his wife exclaimed "there's the one that never talks!" as they greeted all of the missionaries in attendance. Then Brother Keser came up and said "welcome back Smiley!" (that was what he nicknamed me some time ago).

Also, we had interviews with President and Sister Neider this week. They made it very clear to everyone that they felt that I had changed so much. They are so proud of me :) - President Neider even told me he thinks I'm finally ready to be a senior companion (that's good news I think). Sister Neider exclaimed, "you don't even look the same - you've grown up"  - they might just be confusing me with Elder Jenkins or something, sometime I'll tell you the story behind that one). One way or another, my perceived improvement these last few months are clearly not just in my head. Other people are noticing it too, so I figure that must be physical evidence of The Atonement in my life.
Rumors about the coming iPads were dissolved by President Neider at our interviews. Although the leadership have been mentioning that they are coming soon - he explained that soon meant sometime this year (probably not for a few more transfers). He said that out of the 21 missions in our area, we were the highest baptizing one. Which means that we are in the top 5 highest baptizing missions in the United States. That means that when the church implements changes - like iPads - we are also going to be in the last 5 missions to get them. I'm excited to see how they change things (supposedly I'll get to email on a personal iPad instead of these computers - which would mean I might get to send pictures?). 

Elder Kyle Jensen