Monday, December 28, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 41 - Merry Christmas to You All

It was awesome talking to you on Christmas day. It was truly a pleasure hearing and seeing all of you again. I soon realized how much I miss you but that my place isn't to be at home right now, but over here working. This is what I am supposed to do right now and I am happy doing it. I love you all and I know that I will have plenty of opportunity to spend time with my wonderful family after my mission. Now is not that time and I am way to busy enjoying myself here, so I don't feel trunky or homesick at all. I hope that dulled your fears.

I received so much attention at Christmas that I feel terribly spoiled and really wish that I could have reciprocated faster and to a much greater extent. But I feel in my heart that you all understand that I am not throwing my time away on lazing around in the sun. If I am slow in responding to your kind prayers, thoughts, encouragement and NICE treats it is NOT that I don't care. You're all with me in my heart and prayers and I feel stronger knowing that I (and the work that I do) has a place in your heart and prayers. I try hard to put my mission first in the time that I have available here. Two years is a very short time and it will soon be all spent, leaving me with only the memory and I want to make it a GOOD memory. I want to thank especially Grandma, the Meline family, the Price family, the Esbjerg Junior Sunday School and you, Mom & Dad for your special attention at this time, Thank you!

Christmas has indeed proved a time of being Christ centered for me. For the first time ever, I honestly didn't care what I did or did not get but what I could give, regardless of the size of my offering. Elder Marsh and I have done a small little Christmas shopping for our investigators, to show that we appreciate them. We made some cookies as well. The cookies didn't turn out as great as I may have wanted, but they were all right. We anticipate people might appreciate the thought more than the cookies themselves.

Christmas, in a whole, was wonderful. I enjoyed every little bit of it, and we all had a lot of fun and opportunity to get to know some of our investigators on a different level end they us. There were also so many wonderful members that also made Christmas a wonderful experience for us by getting some small Christmas stuff that they they thought we could use. We had Christmas dinner, SEVERAL TIMES and I was asked to carve the turkey. I thought "They spent hours preparing this wonderful meal that they enjoy only once a year and they ask ME to carve it??? I took a long look at the turkey. I really didn't want the responsibility and I didn't want to ruin their Christmas meal with the next chance a whole year away. The turkey both looked and smelled as perfect as possible for a turkey at Christmas and I finally thought: This will taste great no matter how I cut it. I still don't know the right way to carve a turkey, but every last bite of it tasted fabulous.

The weather here has been perfect weather for Christmas. It finally got down to -10° Celsius (14° Fahrenheit) again today while it was averaging in between -2° and +1° Celsius before, which isn't cold at all! I finally had a WHITE Christmas again, it probably snowed every day all through Christmas! This meant of course that there were plenty of opportunities to serve by shoveling driveways. Needless to say, my body is sore now.

Something that I really enjoyed was the opportunity to see the movie "Joy to the World." I have lost count of how many times we've seen it but the message has sunk in by now, I hope. I am grateful for Christmas and more importantly the spirit of Christmas, which essentially is the spirit of Christ. Remembering Christ should never be necessary, if we never forgot Him in the first place. So many things in our lives are impacted by the degree that we manage to retain, nourish and nurture that spirit so that it stays with us all year round. The world would be full of better and more unified families and packed with tightly knit caring friends.

You can't be much of a missionary without Christ-like love (charity) and I have so much to learn about just that. As missionaries we are in a very privileged situation, allowing us to focus all of our available time and attention on serving God, remembering Him in all we do to always keep His Spirit with us. It's the only way to truly represent the Lord and it leaves you with an absolutely GREAT feeling. That is why we are here and that is what we do. It is our calling as missionaries to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places. But everywhere around us are people struggling with everyday lives, problems and obstacles that can be not only difficult, but sometimes overwhelming. How different people handle different problems in life varies from person to person; I am not in their shoes and I don't think I would last long if I was. Yet it is so easy to judge things from afar, although I know I have no right to judge. I am to love unconditionally, share my testimony and teach the gospel, then the Lord in time will judge me and those around me. The gospel holds the directions for accessing God's help and mercy and I know that we have all been promised that if we stay close to the Lord, He will stay close to us. With God by our side, we will never have to face bigger challenges in life than we can handle, WITH HIS HELP. Life can take your breath away, but is anything too hard for the Lord?

Happy New Year, love y'all.

Elder Lee Jepsen

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas - What Shall We Give... ?

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 40 - Merry Christmas to you all!

Thank you for all the mail. It's been wonderful and I feel both spoiled and appreciated. It's good to know that I have all your love and prayers with me and it warms the heart nicely on days when the cold bites to the bone. I really try to do my best, knowing that you're all with me here on my mission. For the weather update, the coldest temperature we've had so far is -22° Celsius or -7.6° Fahrenheit (that's NOT counting windchill and Lake Superior gives the wind a LONG flat stretch to pick up speed).

I feel so privileged and grateful to be here on my mission at a time of year when many parts of the world are celebrating the birth of our Saviour. I can't imagine a better way to celebrate the Saviour's birthday than sharing His message. Everywhere people seem to be rushing around to find gifts for each other, or wondering what they are going to get. Yet, I wonder if Jesus really likes His birthday and is He happy with His share in all the presents? If I had a birthday party and all the guests just gave presents to each other and none to me, I would be disappointed. But, mostly people are happy and cheerful and it's a good time of year for reminding people that Jesus is the Christ, that He lives and that's worth celebrating.

When I was first transferred to Thunder Bay I was told by other missionaries that an average Thunder Bay turn around usually is six months. While I kept thinking that I might get transferred sooner, when I heard of other transfers in the mission. I was wrong and I have now been informed that am definitely staying in Thunder Bay for another seven weeks. I WILL then be transferred to somewhere else in the mission, and I will have been in Canada for six months and on my mission nine months. Not that I am counting, I like it here and time flies by far too fast. There is so much to do and just not enough time.

We are allowed one phone call home to family at Christmas and I expect to be making my Christmas call around 10 AM, Thunder Bay time on the December 25. but double check the time difference, PLEASE? It might take me some time to find my Skype info again, but what I can do is log on my MSN account and Eric can log on his to sort it out, and we can work it that way. Is your audio working?

I love you all and stuff. Take care and have a Merry Christmas! I don't have much time, gotta go! Sorry about the short mail this week. But I'll try to make up for it when I call for Christmas.

Love you all!!!!!

Elder Jepsen... in a Christmas'y mood!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christmas Message from Missionaries Worldwide

May you all have a Merry Christmas, a Blessed and Happy New Year!

Jepsen Family

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 39 - Thunder Bay -18° Celsius (-0.4° F).

Christmas greetings from the now colder Thunder Bay with a chilling temperature of -18° Celsius (that's -0.4° Fahrenheit) this morning. Well it's cold, but we love it. We're working hard and life is good. But things freeze when it's cold, so we thought we'd check if Lake Superiour was walkable yet and it is! I walked on Lake Superior! If it hadn't been walkable it would have been a really dumb way to find out, I know, I know--probably not the smartest thing in the world to do. But hey, who said I was a genius?

In a another few weeks they'll start building whole villages on the ice, that stays up for the whole winter. Each hut is there for one reason only and that's for housing a fishing hole and themselves. They bring out their comfortable chairs and start fishing. If that's where everybody goes for the season, I wonder if we will end up knocking doors on Lake Superior this winter???

As cold as it sounds, it's not bad. I believe my skin is getting thicker, or maybe the outer layer of my nervous system has simply lost all feeling. No one knows and I am too numb to find out.

Waking up in December is a special treat with the Christmas calendars waiting to greet me. Every day, they're there to remind you how great an idea they are and every morning I smile thinking of the people with me here in my heart and yet so far away.

I know I can't expect more than I have received, as I have already received much more attention than I ever could hope for and I feel so spoiled. But because of some rumours coming my way that it's not over yet, if anybody asks then please ask them to send cards and greetings for Christmas to my Thunder Bay mailing address:

Elder Lee Jepsen
1216 Walsh Street E, Apt. A
Thunder Bay, ON

A couple of weeks ago I began changing my approach to addressing the Lord on the subject of missionary work. My thought was that serving the Lord we ought to include Him more in our work and consult Him more on how to direct our efforts. Now we are experiencing a little wave of miracles coming our way. We have no less than seven people with baptismal dates for our companionship, and the other Elders in the district have five! January is looking good, a wet month with plenty of baptisms. It seems that time spent on knees are rewarded with having to spend more time on our knees, in gratitude! We feel extremely blessed and we have so much to be grateful for. It's like I am on a whirlwind tour of a mission where everything that just happens to fall into place perfectly? But then, with God in charge why shouldn't they? I just work here--lucky thing too or I could mess things up real quick. Our success is really just an indication of God's love for the people we teach. I know and feel it deeply in my heart, that God loves every one of these of His children and wants for them to learn more about what He has in store for them. It's exiting to be a part of it.

A Merry Christmas to you all, I love and miss you. You're a great bunch!

Elder Jepsen

Look Mom, HEALTHY food!

Look Mom, HEALTHY food and I prepared it myself! You know--an army of Elders travel on their stomachs. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 38 - White December in Thunder Bay

So much for my supposed immunity to cold that I suggested might be the case in my last email. December is here, the temperature dropped below comfortable and snow came right on time this year. On the first day of December, Thunder Bay was WHITE.

I decided last week to revise the time and approach spent on my knees and once again it turns out, that it is what I should have been doing all along. It's a valid request to seek God's help in how serve Him best and sure enough, time spent on my knees is once again promptly rewarded as if to send me a message: We had forgotten our phone at a members home and went by Robin's Donuts to pick it up when we met this guy that we began telling about the church, he mentioned about a friend that might be interested as well. We set up an appointment to teach them both at a nearby rehab center where they were staying. His friend has battled serious addictions for thirty-five years and has now been clean for the last two years. As he has learned about God and let that influence his choices and priorities he has been rewarded with the strength needed to fight the obstacles facing him. Thanks to God and one person's faith in Him, a great change has happened and this man has gradually been able to find a purpose and take charge of his life again. The lesson turned out to be an awesome experience, the Spirit there confirmed everything said and he is committed to be baptized in January.

It is amazingly obvious sometimes to see how the Lord works. It is almost embarrassing that we don't consult Him in ALL THINGS and then follow His directions in every last detail, every day and every second. But, somehow we get confused and think that we are doing the work and not God. We carry on with our daily routines thinking that our effort is what brings about the results when in reality our effort would have no worthwhile results without the inclusion of God in every step of the way. He prepares His children to hear the gospel and accept it in their lives and leads us to them. We begin our day by praying for direction and yet get so surprised when stumbling across His intervention... If we had failed in being our usual short-sighted, forgetful and easily distracted selves and hadn't forgotten our phone, or if we hadn't tried to pick it up at that time and taken the chance to contact seemingly random people coming our way, we would have never met this man. How grateful I am for the Grand Architect (even He sometimes counts on our imperfections).

A couple weeks ago we went by a former investigator and left a sticky-note on her door offering our help in her move. We just happened to be in the area and thought nothing of it other than being the thing to do at the time. Well, I guess there is not much inspiration involved in accepting extra hands for helping in a move so she calls us up and accepts the offer. We helped her move and amazed by our sacrifice she loves us! She will be taking the lessons as soon as possible. She is a really awesome and fun Italian lady with a son and she makes great food. Hopefully we'll be getting her to commit to baptized in January as well.

Another person that is showing promise beyond our expectations, is the boyfriend of our recent "1-800-Dial-A-Baptism!" He is a very timid guy that doesn't say much, but the Lord has blessed him tremendously in the time the Gospel has been in his life and the changes are amazing! We taught him about tithing last week and he paid his tithing this week. He visits and makes friends with ward members on his own accord and is helping out with service projects in the ward! I did NOT see that coming, but then who am I to know what the Lord has in store for us? But, WOW!

A great big happy birthday, Grandma! I heard you're thirty again! Please share the trick with me, I think I am going to need it after my mission. Just remember, that even though I am miles and miles (kilometers sorry, this is metric Canada) away, I love you, Grandma! You're awesome! You raised my mother and that's something! Keep it going!

Love y'all
Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Copenhagen Road

As you can see, our area is a lot BIGGER than I first expected.

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 37 - Grateful to you all!

WOW! Did I get a lot of mail... oh, yes I did! I feel so appreciated. Christmas calendars, chocolate, chocolate Christmas calendars, a box of wonderful cards and letters from my Sunday School Class. I loved it all and I will be reading it over and over through Christmas and what a Christmas! From beginning to end I smiled, cried and laughed out loud. It brings a great big smile to my face through the day, when I think back to some of the stuff I have received. You guys are all so great. I am beginning to see the mailman so often that I have wondered if we might not as well teach him the gospel as a sign of gratitude for all the good stuff he has been bringing my way. Thank you so much, I laughed so hard when I saw the dry roasted onions and remoulade.They are a prized possession of mine and I can now easily find the remaining items to prepare myself a truly Danish experience, building myself a hot-dog with all the Danish fixings. What a trunk-out, I have to admit that I now realize how much I miss that little country that I call Home.

We're working hard to get some of our investigators to more fully understand the importance and significance of the message. Still, missionary work is not just walking from one success to another. People make their choices based on a variety of reasons and they don't always consult God prayerfully before making a choice. We just had a depressing call this morning from a fellow we've been teaching, saying that after looking over the Book of Mormon he and his wife decided to stay where they were... it's hard to describe the deep pain one feels at such a time. It not only hurts, but stays with you while wondering what you could have done different to give them a better chance. My heart goes out to these people as I know for myself what the gospel has to offer and they just turned it down before even really tasting it. Elder Marsh had a good talk with him trying to save the situation, but to no avail. It's a sad, but far to common part of life as a missionary.

Things have been going slow. We haven't been able to meet with some of the people we really want to be teaching, as it seems they're just too busy living their regular lives to think of God. It is as if many peoples spiritual health becomes an optional afterthought, for when it is convenient! Imagine when the big things in life come our way, turning everything upside down while leaving us confused and scared, if God was to consider us and our problems an optional afterthought, saving our deepest concerns for some time when it is convenient? Well, days have been turning into weeks and we just never seem to meet with them. I've decided to apply some serious kneeling to the problem and see what the Lord has to say about it. He'll probably tell me to listen to Him more often, instead of running around without a head like a decapitated chicken, to trust in His arm rather than my feet. That's just so typical. I should have listened sooner and better, He's just always right! I have to wonder how long it's going to take me to learn how to get it right?

The weather is getting colder, but then again, so far I don't really care much. The Lord is continually blessing me, that the weather seems surprisingly mild. Most of the time I'm walking around with just my suitcoat if it gets to around zero, but other than that it's just my shirt with my sleeves rolled up. Maybe I'm thick skinned or maybe it's just that I am thick. That would explain a lot more than just my resistance to cold.

Last sunday Elder Fonua and I had the opportunity to speak again in sacrament meeting. I spoke on ''the Standard of Truth", on how important truth is to our church, the source of truth, etc. I think it turned out really well and people seemed to like it. Elder Fonua spoke on adversity, basing his talk on Joseph B. Wirthlin's talk, "Come what may , and love it" and he did a great job.

Love you all, thank you again!

Elder Lee

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Listen to Scripture or Church Publications at your Leisure.

This may be old news to you or you may have thought that audio files were strictly for the visually impaired, they're not! You may already have used the link:

"Church Publications in Audio for Download"

at the bottom of this blog to access the downloads. But if you haven't tried it yet, you're in
for a real treat.

You can download all the scriptures, church manuals, church magazines or General
Conference talks on audio files... FREE of any charge. If you're new to this, you'll be amazed how easy it is.

After downloading you may organize and listen to these files as suits you best on your
Windows Media Player, iTunes or other similar program on your computer, iPod, car or
home stereo, where you may have a compatible playback format.

You will be amazed how fast you can listen your way through the scriptures and how fast
you can become familiar with segments that often before was as a "closed book." You can
listen to next weeks lessons while driving to work or school, can it be any easier?

Do yourself the favor and give it a listen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 36 - Grateful to be here!

At a talk at the Missionary Training Center in Provo,Utah Elder M. Russel Ballard was speaking of the attitude that follows a dedicated missionary with a sense of humor in trials: "If you get up and it's snowing and a cold wind is blowing and it's -25 degrees where you are, you can say to your companion, "Elder, Look! We get to be persecuted all day! Isn't it wonderful?! We get to get out there and see if we can stay alive, declaring the message of the Restoration!""

I thought it to be inspiring and entertaining at the least, but I will have to save that thought for later, because thankfully the weather still allows us to walk around in the same attire as we did five months ago. I've learned that
Canada actually only has two seasons: Touque or no touque (touque is Canadian for a small woolen hat or beanie with no brim). I am learning all the time.

We're teaching some awesome people that I would tell you all about if I had more than the five minutes that I have now. There is one though, that I would like to squeeze in there. She's just a few years older than us and she just happens to be awesome. Like we should as missionaries, we love and care for the people we teach and we've been doing our best to teach her the tools to get through some of life's obstacles. I have learned a lot from teaching her, as she has become a good and true friend. She has a genuine conviction of the gospel, is working towards baptism and will be a valuable addition to the church here. I feel that I am the one that comes away as the most blessed to meet the people I do. As people begin to read the scriptures and the Spirit touches their heart, they catch the vision, seek out the Lord in humility and prayer for help and a witness. Suddenly they are as spiritual giants in leaps and bounds passing obstacles that others continue to battle. It inspires me, lifts up my Spirit and broadens my horizon immensely. Feeling the love for the people we teach within me, as we teach helps me appreciate my Saviour's love for me.

Canada had their Remembrance Day (some call it Veteran's Day or Armistice Day) on November eleventh. After playing "Last Post" all of Canada and probably all of the Commonwealth had two minutes silence on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, in the eleventh month, tocommemorate the men and women who died while in the military service. After the two minutes silence, they played "The Rouse" (I sounded the same as Reveille) and later some other stuff. It's a time where respects are paid and flowers are placed on the unknown soldiers grave. We attended and it gave me a lot to think about besides the obvious such as "Where would Europe or the World be if Canada, the US and the Commonwealth hadn't stepped up and paid the ultimate price?" I couldn't help it, I found it very moving and wrote a poem (no need to fear, I didn't bring it).

Other than the missionary routine that can be expected as normal for every other missionary in our mission this time of year: Freezing, teaching, praying and studying, we sometimes have the opportunity to do something a little out of the ordinary. The South Side missionaries visit a member of the church at a care home from time to time. A couple a weeks ago they had a clergy meeting with the other ministers that attend to the needs of the people from their own denominations. A task that had to be taken care of was a memorial service that had to be conducted, planned for and arranged. The memorial service is for those of the care center that have passed away. Now since all the other ministers had various tasks and excuses for the given day, they as missionaries ended up with the task... and then me. Well, it had to be done and it's important to those remaining when someone has passed away. Being much too thick to think of the awesome responsibility in handling someone last memories of their loved ones I took on the task. Tomorrow, I will then be conducting a memorial service, with some scripture readings and a poem by T. S. Eliot (We Shall Not Cease From Exploration) and my own little thing. it's been quite the task and I'm actually glad I could help.

I wish I had time to write everybody all the time, but I just don't have that kind of time. If I was to take the time I would unjustly take it from the people we are to find and teach and they're the real purpose for me being here. I am only out here for two years and then my chance to reach these people is spent and the time all gone. I will try my best to get some words off to everybody some time, but my time is short and I hope you just all read the blog where my Dad posts my mails, that I can share what I have with all of you. I love you all and with your support and your thoughts in my heart I can be strong in my service to the Lord.

Paul, you're a great big brother. Thank you for being such an example to me and being there as my brother when I need it. Thank you for your words, it was good to hear from you. I am sorry I don't have more time, but know that I love you, bro.

I have the greatest Bishop, please thank him for allowing me to focus on my mission and his willingness to help me out of my well-marinated pickles.

Some people can't be named more aptly than priceless, they truly are in every way of the word, I am learning so much while on my mission. Please let Anita and her husband know of my deep gratitude for their regular greetings and encouragement, thank you.

Love you all!

Elder Jepsen

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: How Do I Love Thee?

Interview with Writer/Director Kieth Merrill

There are many ways to do missionary work. Keith Merrill is an American filmmaker who has worked as a writer, director, and producer in the film industry since 1967. He is a an Academy Award winner and is also the man behind "Mr. Krueger's Christmas," "Legacy" and "The Testaments." Hear what he has to say about using God-given talents and ability for the purpose of helping people appreciate the gospel:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 35 - Life is Good in Thunder Bay

Here I am, still in Thunder Bay! Elder Whitehead left and we got Elder Fonua instead. He's from Provo, Utah, but his ancestry is from Tonga. He's a cool missionary with a great attitude and I like him a lot.

I was called to be the DL (District Leader) again, giving me a little bit more responsibility. But since everybody here answers to the Lord first and hence tries to lead themselves accordingly, there is probably little left for me to do. The concept spoken by Joseph Smith can just as easily apply to the situation here as at his time: A member of the Legislature asked Joseph Smith how it was that he was enabled to govern so many people while preserving such perfect order (remarking at the same time that it was impossible for them to do it anywhere else). Joseph Smith answered that it was very easy . "How?" responded the gentleman; "to us it is very difficult." Joseph Smith replied, "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves." Well, the missionaries here have already learned correct principles long before they came on their missions, so...

As you can guess, life is all good here. I'm more cheery and I'm getting along with myself really well for once (as I am finding it increasingly difficult to find anything to disagree on, no just kidding a little there). All kidding aside, I have actually had a little battle with myself, as I have had a hard time feeling that I measured up. Everybody around me was such great examples of what I thought I should be and when I couldn't be as them I thought myself insufficient for the task at hand.

I have of course had a lot of talks with the Lord about this and in time He and some people He knows really well, helped me realize that He already had one of every one of those other people I admired so greatly and desperately wanted to be like, doing their missions. What He really needed now was one of me. While I don't have the qualities that I so admired I apparently do have something, even of value, qualities that also are needed. I understand that I yet have a lot to learn on this idea, but I am getting there a little at time.

So as you can tell, all is well in Zion!

Yesterday was an intense day of feeding! Following the usual meetings that one can expect on a Sunday, we visited some delightful members to administer a blessing as they have surgery scheduled for this coming week. They gave us Root-Beer Floats and I shamelessly ate till I was full. No, I wasn't making a pig of myself but I did enjoy it.

An hour later we had a dinner appointment with a family of Finnish descent, they're an awesome family and they make REALLY GOOD food. Being the great people that they are, fellow Scandinavians and all, highly sensitive to the typically unavoidable withdrawals one can experience as a Scandinavian, far removed from anything Scandinavian at a time like Christmas, they promised me a full Finnish Christmas dinner... that is, IF I have not been transferred before Christmas... For all I know (which really isn't all that much), I might get transferred. Well, back to the story about my Sunday, it was at this point already the kind of day to write home about--and I am. But my day was not over yet, we attended a missionary farewell for a young man going on a mission... tomorrow! This of course brought on an immediate overload of flashbacks.

In my capacity as a missionary, every day is filled with opportunities to visit families in their homes. It is a real privilege to be allowed into someones home. It's as if people are letting you in to a portion of their collective hearts. In visiting so many good peoples homes I have concluded that apart from temples, the most holy places on earth must be the families where the Spirit dwells.

There is more of these homes where the Spirit dwells than one would guess, as it in theory is rather easily accomplished to have a family where the Spirit dwells. Now I did say "In theory" knowing from past experience, that even beautiful and simple principles takes hard work and a constantly vigilant eye to maintain. But, it is merely required to utilize the good principles given us in the gospel, using them to establish the foundation of the family. They are good principles that really can be applied anywhere such as faith, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, good activities and hard work. But they must be incorporated in the very traditions and culture of the family, as we now more than ever before do need to fortify our families with the full armor of God. The alternative holds devastating and far reaching consequences as families wither and are broken by the winds of the world. I believe that our families can be like the strong, grand and towering Redwoods, individually strong because of our strong intertwining roots, together a force as we brace each other from the rigors of heavy winds and sometimes even storms.

On the subject of family: Eric, my good brother. You better be studying "Preach My Gospel," if not, get yourself into gear.

I love you all and I MISS YOU LOTS!... not that much though. ;) (You know me, I am happy where I am, knowing that I have you all with me, wherever I am.)

Elder Denmark (you know, Jepsen)

PS: Due to circumstances out of my control, I'll be writing on a later day than usual next week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mormons in Business - CNN Report

John F. Kennedy on Mormons

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 34 - Transfer time, or not?

Thanks for that last email, I really enjoyed it. Transfers are coming up and no one knows who stays or not, AAAARGH! Although personally, I think I'll stay. But what is that really more than speculation, so I''l just wait and see.

We are doing well here in T
hunder Bay. The weather here likes us and has us all confused. Suddenly there's no snow and it's all warm! I'm back to walking around in a short sleeved shirt... in November! Two or three weeks from now I'll remember what I just said in disbelief, but for now--this is amazing. I am sure you're NOT wearing short sleeved shirts in Denmark right now.

I have an excellent companion and I have a lot to learn from him, but I don't always understand how he's put together. It's not like we have any contention between us, we just don't tune in that well sometimes as we are so widely different. But we are both in agreement on what we are here for.

Thanks for caring advice. I've been working on how I approach things, while I've been trying to do some growing. I've tried to do some more focus on my own qualities, but with somewhat disappointing results. Working on myself is a rather slow process since I have to be both the horse and the whip. So I've taken a little different approach in focusing on Christlike attributes this week, as it's an infinite times better than focusing on my own attributes.

Sister Sherry Dew said that: While life is meant to test, challenge and strengthen us, if we are attempting to negotiate the twists and turns and ups and downs of mortality alone, we are doing it all wrong. Mortality is a test, but it is an open-book test. We have access not only to the divine test but to Him who authored it.

It is not like we don't know what to do with our time but some times I get an extra minute on prep-day and guess what: I solved A Rubik's cube!!!!!!!!!
I know, I know--a little out of character but I used the manual (a member printed it out for me) and I finally solved it! Now I'm faced with the dilemma of figuring out what I did and if I can actually do it again without looking at the guide.Life is just packed with these big hard tests that we somehow have to make it through (PLEASE, apply irony in quantities as needed).

Oh, time flies, I'm late, I'm late. Gotta go!

I love you all. Take care, EH!

Elder Jepsen

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Free Christmas Gifts from Deseret Book

Deseret Books is already getting into the Christmas mood. They are giving away eight good books stored in digital format as PDF files. There are no strings attached, no obligations and no commitments. All you have to do is download them (and read them if you like). Click on the link below for your FREE books:

You will need to download and install "Adobe Reader" unless you have previously done this. There is a link at the bottom of this blog, download, double-click on the file and it should take care of the rest. Then download the free books and double-click on that file for a free read.

You can also download inspirational wallpapers and screen-savers for your computer. If you experience any problems with downloading or viewing the books, feel free to write me a note in the comment box and I will do my best to help. Have fun.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We believe...

What motivates a young man or woman to unselfishly spend two years serving God and those who seek God? A solid and deep down conviction should be self-evident, but the answers are probably as numerous as there are missionaries and I can't really speak on their behalf. What I do know is that all missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world know and share a belief that perhaps is best summarized in "The Articles of Faith," written by Joseph Smith:

The Articles of Faith

of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

  2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

  3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

  4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

  6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

  7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

  8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

  9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

  10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.

  11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

  12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

  13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Joseph Smith

Life as Missionary

Some things change and some don't. Here are Elders A. T. Rose and G. M. Fryer serving their missions in Mississippi in 1897.

Glenn Beck on Mormonism

Monday, November 2, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 033 - I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Sorry about the mess-up last week and I'm sorry about it. The computer sessions at the library are EXACTLY an hour and we are only allowed an hour for our e-mail time anyways. When the hour is up at the library, everything SHUTS DOWN WITHOUT FURTHER WARNING and "You'd better be DONE with what you are going to say by then, because THAT'S IT!" So, with barely a few seconds left I sent off my email in hopes that it would get to you. I'm not the fastest typist and it is very limited what I can write within that one hour, all while fighting the additional limitations of the very slow processing speeds of the library computers. Sending these emails can really be a source of stress sometimes as I have to think about what I write at the same time as trying to beat the clock. Sometimes the clock wins. Sorry!

I have quite the special experience to tell you this time around. As missionaries we had the opportunity of attending a special meeting, taught and instructed by a General Authority. One of the Seventies Elder Allen F. Packer, son of Boyd K. Packer, our Senior Apostle was COMING TO OUR MISSION! If that in itself wasn't awesome enough, he would be interviewing a couple of missionaries from our mission! This particularly unnerved us as we had heard of this "Soul Stare" thing, that General Authorities can do. Soon the four of us Elders (that is the full extent of our district) probably sounded more like a small turkey farm, as we all were speculating and debating back and forth on who he might want to interview. We had all but regained our dignity again, when later that evening they phoned us from the Mission Office. The call went something like this:

"RING RING" (and I answered the phone)
-Hi, this is Elder Jepsen
-Hi, this is Sister Naatjes from the office speaking. How are you doing, Elder?
-Doing Good, thanks. Canada's treating us well, as always. How can I help you Sister Naatjes?
-Well I'm just calling on behalf of President Howell to inform you that Elder Packer will be interviewing you
7:50 Friday morning.
-Me? Elder Jepsen?
-That's what he told me.
-7:50 AM?
-Well... Thank you very much for informing me, Sister Naatjes. I hope you have a good day.
-Don't worry too much, Elder. You sleep well, OK?
-Thank you, Sister Naatjes. You take care.

Needless to say I was completely surprised! The following day I went through a lot of thoughts of what was about to happen, I was going to interviewed by a Seventy! AAARGH!!!

The next morning arrived rather suddenly, as I would rather have had a couple of years to prepare for this situation. In spite of the frightening thoughts of meeting someone that you expect can look right into every last little inadequacy and insufficiency, it wasn't at all that bad.

Elder Packer totally took over the room with his reassuring calm and respectful approach, all while he had this quiet authority about him. He was actually really nice! I know, it sounds as if that was a surprise to me, but I was so busy thinking about meeting a person who has so many qualities that I don't and instead he treats me as if I am the one deserving respect. He didn't give me the "Soul Stare" and if he did, he didn't complain about his findings. Instead I received some excellent advice and reassuring words of counsel. The Holy Spirit testified to me that he was a man called of God and that I would do well in listening intently to his message. Elder Packer also asked me to thank my parents for raising me to be what I am, that I could go on a mission, help me develop an understanding of God's ways and the knowledge that He lives. He really meant it as well. So, THANK YOU! ;)

Next I had an interview with my
Mission President, but this was not like most other interviews I have had. I have had problems lately with a lot of things. I've been stressed, tensed up and pulling myself down a lot. I have felt far inferior to my companion and the companions before him, who all have so many excellent qualities! I blame myself a lot for not having their qualities. Why does he teach so much better, why can't I just be as relaxed as him?.. The list just goes on and the whole situation was really dragging me down. This situation has gone on for a while and I just haven't been able to shake it off. I shared these thoughts with my caring Mission President and this is what he counseled me: He told me that I am letting myself become distracted by others and what they can do." He went on to say "Your strength Elder, is not in that area. You have sacrificed a lot, that the others haven't and you are here at a great cost. Your strength is in your spiritual depth, your ability to feel and your ability to love. Remember that! Go to your Heavenly Father, ask for help and start tapping from your great spiritual reservoir."

How great it is at times like this, to know that my Redeemer lives and that I can bring my worries, needs and gratitude to Him. I have so much to be grateful for.

I only have four minutes left and I'm sorry I can't squeeze any more in here. My goal is with the help of my Father in Heaven to find or realize the strengths that He has in store for me, to hear and follow His wishes and directions that I can offer Him my best effort and be the missionary that He intended for me to be. I know that God loves me and cares for me as He cares for everyone that we teach while here.

I thank you also for helping be what I am, that I can stand for what I believe in and accomplish the heights I need to reach for in life. I love you all and thank you Eric for your words. You are awesome!

Love you all. Toodles!

Elder Jepsen

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