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

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


April 21, 2014

Last week I reached my one year anniversary since I started my mission.  It feels really strange saying that.  In addition to that, I’m approaching six months in the area that I’m currently serving in (by area I mean ward - every ward in this mission currently has at least one companionship of missionaries).  I’ve been with Elder Farr for about four and a half months out of those six, so I don’t really feel like I’ve seen much change lately.  This is my second zone but based on what I’ve seen throughout the mission-the biggest change is probably dependent more upon your companion than your area here in Las Vegas.  Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about getting along with different people - that definitely encompasses that most important and difficult lessons that I’ve learned on my mission.  
Here the standard of excellence is one baptism per ward per month.  So far I’ve been able to meet that for the most part.  (I think I’m at 11 if you include today’s baptism).
My mission has been a series of lessons on gaining new perspectives when really not much changes around you.   I've had to learn how to become the one who make change happen.  Las Vegas is really a pretty boring place when you are a missionary.  What I mean is, that not many exciting things happen unless you really work to make them happen.  It is a big city and it is a desert.  It’s the ugliest and the most unfavorable place I’ve ever been (in terms of the weather and scenery).  But when you begin to develop the capacity to see the good around you, it can become a beautiful place.  The key to that is in the people (as I am sure that you have found on your own mission).  I love these people so much, It’s such a blessing that I get to serve them.  It really doesn’t matter where I am when I get to spend my time serving those around me.  The spirit of the Lords strives even in Las Vegas, the city of SIN!  It is such a blessing to be able to fell that spirit so strongly every day.

One of the hardest things about serving in the area that I’m in now is that it is so hard to find people to teach.  Nearly every investigator that I have taught more than two lessons to has been baptized.  We just haven’t taught many people.  Here are some reasons:

  • Everyone has excused before we even confront them (they’re already familiar with missionaries and the church)
  • They’re all to wealthy and on’t think they need, God, or think they already have found Him.
  • They all drive cars-you can only find people in garages.
  • They keep to themselves-they’re as anti-social and cautious as I am!  No, they aren’t going to allow strangers into their house!
  • They are catholic -that seems to be a popular excuseI just want to say, “it’s all right you can repent!”
I could go on but I won’t, nothing gets done when I make excuses.  I’ve been working really hard to improve my street contacting as well as my finding through members.  Although I have seen little success come from my efforts, the Lord has helped me to find peace and joy from the small success that I find each day that I serve with my whole heart, might, and strength.  Today I talked to every single person that I saw (even the people who were talking on their cell phone) and I still only talked to twenty people.  (We literally spent an entire day just knocking on doors and talking to people-only one person let us in).  Today was a really good day, we have had much worse days than today (normally talking to everyone means talking to 5 people).  Out of all of those people, they had all spoken to missionaries recently, they know who we were, and all of them declined our offer to even say a prayer with them (or accept a pass along card). Despite our lack of success in finding people to teach (anyone-not just solid investigators) I was filled with the Spirit and the Lord blessed me with a positive attitude as well as an abundance of energy throughout the day.  Those are blessings that I have often missed out on in my life.  I am so grateful that the Lord has given me a chance to serve a mission.  I am so grateful that He has trusted me to work in His vineyard for a season.  Even though I have remained a junior companion my whole mission, I often feel inadequate even for the assignment.  I am grateful that the Lord is more patient with me than I am with myself.

I often call Las Vegas the “Furnace of Affliction”(alluding to Isaiah)  because it truly is the place that has changed me the most in my life while at the same time it has caused me to sweat more than anywhere else (seriously 120˚ weather with 0-5% humidity is just ridiculous).

Elder Kyle Jensen