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
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).