Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 89 - Blessed Beyond My Imagination

Once again it was time to call home for Christmas and it was so nice talking to you all! Something that I especially warmed my heart to hear was Dad's happy tone. He sounded more like his old self than I have heard for a long time.

Christmas was awesome and I learned so much from the wonderful people here. Thousands of miles from home I find brothers and sisters showing me by example what is meant by brotherhood. I felt more than welcome and I was well taken care of. I can't imagine people here treating their own sons better than they treated me and I have been blessed beyond all hopes and expectations this Christmas. I have met a lot of great missionaries here that I would find it impossible to measure up to. I'm not as good a missionary as I would like to be but I do my best. Yet, I'm being blessed in abundance beyond my imagination. I feel so very small next to so much greatness.

I'm glad that you had an amazing Christmas. Thanks for the rundown of how it was, I enjoyed sharing in your Christmas even from this far away! I have so much to be grateful for.

Tadaaa! Here I come 2011. My guess, it'll be another year full of firsts!

Love you all!

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 88 - Everyone Can Know for Themselves that God Lives

Merry Christmas everybody and thank you all for being there for me in the past year! Thank you for your greetings, prayers and support. It is really a rather impossible experience to share in just a few words but I hope that sharing even a little from my mission experience has allowed you some of the feeling that I get from doing this. I wish there was some way that you all could share the beautiful feeling it is, when someone you have taught is beginning to know for themselves that God lives. But, there is no words for it, sorry.

It is amazing to me that everyone can know for themselves that God lives and I find it very motivating. This week we were once again blessed with a baptism. Every baptism is amazing and I find it commendable when someone has made the necessary effort to draw closer to God and discover some of the potential given us in faith and prayer.

This was a great baptism. The whole program went well and there was a good turnout. There is a great group of people ready to welcome her into the congregation and she was unusually well prepared for her baptism. It was awesome!

It was a busy week. We attended Christmas conference in Duluth (I've had both of my Christmas Conferences in the Duluth Zone). President Howell was once again playing Santa Claus and we all got to sit on his lap and ask for a Christmas wish...

Yesterday I went way past my comfort zone as we went Christmas caroling. We caroled for more than a hundred people, all people we have never met before and you apparently meet a lot of friendly people when you carol. Singing has never been my forte but my heart is in it and the friendly people here warm right up with a Christmas tune or two. 

This week is Christmas week and everybody here are taking good care of us and we certainly feel welcome and appreciated in the congregation. Wonderful people!

Thank you for the Christmas package, Grandma! You know I love you!

Love y'all

Elder Jepsen 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 87 - Know That the Book of Mormon is God's Words to Us

Once again God has chosen to bless our efforts and we had another absolutely amazing week: 

At the beginning of this week we had no prospective baptisms in our calendar. 

Well, I have before told you about a member attending the law enforcement program at the local college. Having recently returned from a mission he has proven a valuable teaching ally. You'll remember that he introduced his girlfriend and some of her friends to us at church. We began teaching her and her friends while he carefully helped them in many of their questions along the way.  They have all listened with an open heart and allowed for the Spirit to find room in their lives, as they have followed the challenge given us by Moroni in the Book of Mormon. After familiarizing themselves with God's teachings, weighing the principles carefully, they approached God in prayer and they now know what to do next!

The week has passed and we were blessed with six prospective baptisms!

I know that you know this, as you have taught it to me. But, knowing that you publish my mails on the blog giving others a chance to share in this, my heart demands that I open my mouth: When you read the Book of Mormon (the whole thing from the title page, introduction and 1. Nephi to Moroni, it really doesn't take long), consider the teachings and principles found there and then with an open heart (well, chances are that you'll feel the Spirit telling you in your heart--long before you pray about it) approach God in sincere prayer, if these things are the truth. I find it difficult to understand how anyone can read it, pray about it with an open heart and not with an overwhelmingly strong feeling know that the Book of Mormon is God's words to us.

Last night we also were able to assist in administering a blessing to a member that went to the Hospital Emergency. I am grateful to Spirit of God leading and guiding us to where we need to be... Because, if I have to be brutally honest, without the Spirit to help me out in my missionary work there'd be no purpose to me being here. It is futile to work or do anything without the Spirit. And I am so grateful that God finds me worthy to serve Him and His Children.

Merry Christmas, I love you all!

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 86 - Time is Flying, Much too Fast!

The temperatures are still dropping and most of the time the weather is best described as cold or colder. When it heats up (an increase from 4° Fahrenheit to 26° Fahrenheit) it almost feels like a heatwave--below freezing. We have no shortage on snow which is mostly good for visual appeal, playing or winter sports. We do our best to enjoy the visual appeal. 

Being from Norway, Elder Horgmo is dealing well with the cold and snow and the members here are great at taking care of us. I am so grateful to be here on a mission. Giving something of myself has given me more in return than I ever imagined.

We have begun our Christmas preperations and it looks like it is going to be a fun Christmas. We found a box of Christmas lights in our apartment and decided to decorate the whole apartment. There was a lot of lights and the whole place is now packed full of Christmas cheer!

I am certainly no expert in English. But, being fellow Scandinavians makes it easier to get help Elder Horgmo through some of the initial obstacles and questions arising, when confronted with the English language in a teaching situation. Elder Horgmo is doing well, we have lots of people to see and time is flying, much too fast. 

It turns out that Elder Horgmo and I know some of the same people back home. I have enjoyed getting a few updates and news from home.

I love you all!
Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 85 - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It sounds like there is no shortage of snow in Denmark this year! It's like a Winter-Wonderland over here and it's been quite the experience driving (yes, I now have official permission to drive and it's great fun in the snow).

Our Thanksgiving continued to long after the calendar called it quits: We not only had our third Thanksgiving dinner Saturday but they also gave us enough food to bring home and make two more meals for us. It was such good food and yes... I will have to loose some padding when I get home. Very apropos padding, our winter is getting colder and has already reached three degrees Fahrenheit.

I haven't opened the Christmas package yet, but SOON.

There's a lot of good stuff going on, and we're staying busy!

I love you all!!!

Elder Jepsen

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 84 - Training Elder Lars Rickhard Horgmo from Southern Norway

Happy thanksgiving! We just returned from a very nice Thanksgiving dinner, all fueled up and ready to get lots of work done.

We have all sent our mails later this week because of Thanksgiving and transfer calls. Sorry for the delay but it was unavoidable.

Transfer calls happened this week: After completed training Elder Call was transferred to Brainerd, Minnesota. I’m staying and training, again. Once again my new companion is awesome and he’s from Norway! His name is Elder Lars Rickhard Horgmo and he’s from some place an hour away from Oslo.

Training takes effort but has great rewards: I consider it a blessing to train as it once again helps me remember the essentials of why we are here as missionaries and helps me find a renewed focus. The people prepared by the Lord for us to teach, are like treasures or gems of great value that we must find and teach with great care. It's of great importance that we carefully listen to the Spirit's promptings as we can never know exactly what has caused these people to open up their hearts to God. But, I'll forever treasure the rare and beautiful moments teaching someone who's ready to let God into their heart.

Since I am not allowed to open the Christmas package from you until December 1st, I have tugged it away out of sight and mind, so that I enter not into temptation. But, November will soon come to an end and I can rid myself of the suspense. Love you, Mom and Dad.

I’m so sorry to hear about your fall, Mom. I really hope that you get better soon.

Love y'all

Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 83 - Grateful for Another Good Day as a Missionary

Friday morning came much too early. I am not in the habit of getting out of bed at 5:00 AM but we had to get ready for Zone Conference in Duluth at 8:00 AM and I always like Zone Conference. We were running out of miles for the month so Brother Moyle kindly gave us and the Elders from Grand Rapids a ride there. We were all tired and didn't offer much entertainment value for Brother Moyle for next hour and a half on the way there. In my mind I could hear my old Sarge yelling: "LOOK ALIVE, MEN!" Fortunately the memory of Sarge was far enough away to not be very loud and I could continue the ride in a less demanding state of mind.

Zone Conference was well worth the effort. It was amazing. The doctrine taught was mostly reminders and reinforcements of principles that not only makes a good foundation for missionary work but for good living. The principles of teaching and internalizing the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's never a waste to be taught good doctrine, even if we already are familiar with these same concepts and are busy striving to live them. Hearing good and true principles from a different point of view broadens our perspective and allows for the Holy Spirit to confirm the truthfulness of what is taught. It leaves me with a lighter heart, feeling happier, stronger and more able. I learned of many areas where I needed to focus more attention and where I needed to improve myself. I am grateful for these opportunities to revise my behavior, patterns and priorities.

Our awesome Ward Mission Leader, Brother Ron Hall picked us all up after Zone Conference. Brother Hall is one of those "Teddy Bear personalities" that everyone knows and loves. He dropped the Grand Rapids Elders off in Hibbing where their car was parked and brought us to Eveleth for a dinner appointment. After we finished work in Eveleth and Gilbert, Brother and Sister Hall picked us up. We climbed into the back seat and all headed toward Hibbing when out of nowhere...

Well, nobody got hurt in what follows... except the deer. Sadly, it died.

I saw a flurry of green paint chips flying off the car, heard a crash and the airbags were activated. Brother Ron Hall pulled off the road and stopped the car. We all got out to see what that was all about: A deer had butted heads with the car and although the whole front of brother Hall's nice new Buick Le Sabre took a bad crumbling and made both front-lights go strangely cross-eyed, even worse off was the deer, it was not going anywhere, anymore.

Thanks to brother Hall's calm reaction to the whole event, nothing further happened after the impact with the deer. We drove away from the experience unharmed and arrived home safely.

Sunday morning brought disappointment: We had invited some good people that didn't show up and we had looked forward to them experiencing church. But, other blessings were already on their way. Ryan Otis, who's a returned missionary attending the Hibbing Community College law enforcement program walks in right before the Sacrament Services are about to begin. He quickly informs me that he has brought along some friends and needs help! Out of nowhere Ryan brought not one but--four girls to church. We offered to share a little more about the beliefs and our way of worship after the church services were over. It went very well and I was left grateful for another good day as a missionary.

When we later dropped by Ryan's he had a lot of people visiting and one of the girls from the earlier church visit was there. She had thought about what happened earlier and had a lot of good questions. The Spirit was there backing us up every step of the way, accommodating both understanding and clarity in our conversation. We answered her questions to the best of our ability and felt inclined to invite her to make full use of the Saviour's atonement in her life, through baptism. She happily accepted the invitation. It's times like this that helps me realize how much the Lord loves us all and how much I love serving the Lord.

Now for a completely different subject: Christmas packages! What in the world are you doing sending a Christmas package before it's even December, not to be opened until December 1? You must realize the torture this will be for me but I guess you already calculated that. I know, you have devised a new radical approach to strengthen my character. Oh, boggles, I guess I'll just have to wait through the days of it sitting there, taunting me with it's protective tape and concealing cardboard.

Love you!

Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 82 - New Truths in the Book of Mormon?

This week was absolutely amazing!! We shared a message about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a nice lady that we had met while she was working in her yard raking up leaves. Well, the leaves hadn't finished dropping and it was already impossible to see all the work she had done previously that week. We borrowed a couple of big rakes from our Bishop and helped her rake up her leaves. It turns out that she liked that and responded by taking us to Pizza Ranch (a pizza buffet place we really liked that)! While we were all busy and focused on doing what must be done with pizza, her daughter called and asked where she was at such an hour. Her daughter was concerned, seeing the house dark and nobody answering the phone. She responded with a smile: "I'm with two young Mormon men, so I'm perfectly safe." She is an absolutely wonderful person and we all had a enjoyable time.

This week I was back in the big city again for training. I still have so much to learn and time is only speeding up, so I really enjoy these training sessions and the opportunity to meet other missionaries and hear their ideas. It's good to meet up with old and new friends.

I can't help wondering if I will ever stop finding new truths in the Book of Mormon? I think that if people would only read it with an open heart, wanting to learn the many truths contained in the Book of Mormon and realize its full potential, we could quit teaching and spend all our time just scheduling and performing baptisms. I know, I am still young and feel inadequately equipped to be generalizing but, it seems to me that many of the big questions in life are addressed and answered in the Book of Mormon. All one has to do is read it with a sincere heart.

Love y'all

Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 81 - My Responsibility to God and People is Far Greater Than to Time

Once again I'm back in the big city, if only for a short visit: I am here for leadership training and I suppose it is a fringe benefit of being a trainer but I am just thrilled that I get to go. I am surrounded by missionaries I can look up to and leaders I can learn from. Getting to go to a training session like this is just pure bonus. We are taught by accomplished people that have a lot to offer and share, making it difficult (well, impossible) to put all the benefits into words.

I do value time but time keeps flying by at an uncontrollable speed. I have to learn to accept the speed of time and do things at my speed and do them right. My responsibility to God and people is far greater than to time.

The temperature is dropping again and just beginning to climb below freezing. My companion (Elder Call) has never experienced anything colder than what he is feeling right now and he is getting cold. We have a lot of fun as I tease him about his electric blanket: "You know, my Grandma back in Denmark had an electric blanket too" But, he's no wimp, he answers right back "Well, she probably enjoyed it just as much as I do."

I really enjoy working with Elder Call, he has a good attitude and all the makings of a great missionary. We have a lot of fun and I have great hopes for him. I wish I could share all my greatest mission moments with him and then he could start from there on his mission.

Love you all

Elder Jepsen

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Day in the Sun With Good People

I know the clouds are up but it felt sunny all day long and we enjoyed it.

Is there a better way to spend a few hours, than with good friends?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 80 - Scripture: Words of God, Speaking to You

The weather is getting colder... we're having a light drizzle of rain today, and later this week they're predicting snow. You know, the fluffy white stuff!

Missionary work is great but, I also love to train. The very idea that I can multiply my efforts by passing on what works for me, is encouraging. I like to think that maybe I can make the process just a little easier for the next generation of missionaries. The study time is great, there is so much to be had in the scriptures. If you study the sciptures with an open heart and mind, searching for that deeper meaning, perhaps contemplating why God preserved this text that is so easily taken for granted, in between the lines of print--is the words of God, whispering great truths to your heart! With your heart prepared, softened and tuned in to listening mode, approaching God in prayer can be a very humbling and beautiful experience. Leaving you with a peace that you just don't want to let get go of! I suppose the essence of missionary work is to help others discover the experience that comes from opening our hearts to God's whispers then missionary work would happen all by itself. I am so grateful for this experience, being here!

Training a new missionary certainly has it's benefits but once again I am discovering that training is hard! When I last trained a new Elder I knew both the people and area well. That was then and this is now: I am still struggling with figuring everything out in the area and sometimes feel like the blind leading the blind. On the upside we are finding a lot of new people and it's very exciting! I suppose the lesson learned here is that only by working outside of your comfort zone can you change your results.

The members here are amazing. They give us referrals, do missionary work and invite people out to church. Last Sunday a guy came to church because one of the members invited him. When I talked to him I learned that he already had a copy of the Book of Mormon--on his iPhone! That's just awesome!

I truly love the way that the Lord keeps us busy: A temple worker from Kiev, Ukraine sent us a referral for one of his college friends in Hibbing. I am excited and will let you know how it goes.

I got the letter from Paul and Brittany. Paul made me laugh so hard as he was describing one of the more... uhm... memorable experiences of his mission. On my wall I have one of Paul's drawings, sharing experiences of misssionary work, it makes me smile every time I see it!

Love you all!

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 79 - Working with Elder Matthew Call

I have now had a few more days to work with my new trainee and he's awesome. We've had a lot of fun working hard and we've had a lot of fun.

I often think about this when sensing God's hand in our work but then forget it when I later rush to share some of my experiences from the past week: Thank you for your many prayers, I'm convinced that much of our success is attributed to your prayers and that of the many good people praying for us all over the world. I am grateful to be one of those in the front line meeting people every day, experiencing for myself the difference that God makes in people's lives.

In our search for less-active members in the area the Lord has blessed our efforts. One particular example stands out as being out of the ordinary. As most missionary accounts go: We knock on a door, a person more or less distracted from what they had intended for that particular moment come to the door and listen with a half-an-ear while anxious to get back to what they were doing. We talk for bit, politely finish up, leave and they go back to what they were doing before our interruption. You know I wouldn't telling you all this unless I was leading up to an exception: A little while later we're driving around and the phone rings and it's the people we just talked to, wanting us to come back at a better time. That's not the usual process! People don't call us back, especially if we have not yet given them our phone number. We once had somebody call us that we hadn't even met yet, but she called to get baptized and that's a totally different story:


Returning to the present situation: We quickly accommodated the request and set up an appointment for the following week. I love it when a plan comes together, even if this particular outcome wasn't any plan of ours.

The work continues moving forward. I'm continually learning a lot and that is great! God is with us as we serve Him. I enjoy being here, I enjoy serving and I enjoy the experience. Funny thing is: The more I do that, the faster time goes and that was never my intent.

I love being part of something so much greater than myself. I love serving my God!

Love you all! God be with you.

Elder Jepsen

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Learning the Way of the Rubik's Jedi

There is many new things to learn as a new missionary.

But, after nearly two years of hard work...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 78 - A "Thank You" Seemed Far Too Inadequate

A new missionary arrived here yesterday and he seems ready for the task at hand. I'll be training Elder Matthew Call from Gilbert, Arizona and while I don't know too much about him yet, I do remember him mentioning something about wrestling for four years. From a purely symbolic point of view that ought to make for some potential as a missionary. All joking aside, he's a nice guy and is excited to get some work done and that counts.

They do get snow but not a lot of cold in Arizona, so Elder Call was planning to buy a winter coat once arriving in Minnesota and we were looking for a good place to buy him a winter coat. I have before told you about the Hancock's in Virginia, Minnesota. We stay there when in the town of Virginia and they have the greatest beds that any missionary could wish for. Well, they knew of a great place for good winter coats and so we went and they bought Elder Call a winter coat, boots, gloves and hat and bought me six new shirts, new socks, shoes (Ecco), winter boots (Columbia), gloves and two pairs of slacks. We were overwhelmed and we didn't know the words suitable or big enough for this situation. A simple "Thank you" seemed far too inadequate, small and lacking in comparison. We couldn't think of anything to do, that would remotely begin to show our gratitude to these people and decided to rake their leaves for starters and ask God to help us figure out a suitable way to reward these kind people. I am sure God has a quite a few things in store for them but, that does not remove our debt to these amazing people! We are so ready to go out and find us some more people to teach (all dressed up and lots of places to go).

They had quietly seen a need that we had tried to ignore away and became God's extended hand to us, an example to learn from. The lord has truly provided for me and I feel extremely blessed. There is so much to be grateful for and so many examples to live up to.

It's an overwhelming feeling to be experiencing for myself how this feels! I remember how you used to tell me about Grandma Jepsen helping the missionaries staying warm, fed and taken care of back when you were a little kid back in Denmark. Now I know for myself and I have a lot to learn.

Well, I had better get going. We have stuff to do, people to see, people to find, people to teach and I feel GREAT!

Love y'all!

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Snail Mail Entry: Time Flies

To all of you at home,

Before I begin I must ask your forgiveness for not having written you an actual letter since Christmas, which I feel terrible about. It is amazing how fast time flies out here. My thoughts often turn to you all at home in Esbjerg as I write my weekly e-mails to Mom and Dad. I know that Dad shares most of them on the mission blog and hope that it serves to maintain some degree of contact with you all, both friends and family.

I am writing this letter on September 30th, 2010 and will probably have to finish it at later date. But, my thoughts went back to you all and the comforts of home while relaxing on this large (they call it Queen Size [60 x 80 inches] but I like it just fine) comfortable bed in the town of Virginia, Minnesota. A member family here keep two comfortable Queen Size beds waiting for us when we visit here each week to do our missionary work. Missionary work can be so good but to sleep in a bed like this after a day of missionary work. Well, it just doesn't get any better! Working in the town of Virginia is travelling 1st class!

The springs protruding through the top of my own bed back in our apartment in Hibbing have made their presence well known, so I spend the week looking forward to the luxury of one of the softest, most comfy beds ever. But wait, there's more! We were short on miles (with General Conference coming up) and were invited to stay the whole week and we were quickly persuaded). The families in this congregation are all so helpful that missionary becomes a breeze.

Our Mission President has allowed me to take my drivers license while I'm here in the States, since it's both easier and much cheaper. Hopefully I can exchange it to the pink Danish drivers license without to much difficulty, when I return home.

I have now served in Hibbing, Minnesota for nearly a full month. Elder Guillary and I have seen many miracles together and I have learned a lot. Missionary work takes on a whole other dimension once you realize that your success is not only based on your personal effort and work. I have found great comfort in knowing that our Lord is far more involved in this work than I could ever begin to imagine.

On a day while we were following up on some less-active members in a small town in our area we found this absolutely amazing family. The lady of the house opened the door, looked at us and exclaimed ”Oh, hi guys. Did my Mom send you again?” We soon found out that her Mother is a temple worker, who lives in Utah and has through the years referred the missionaries to her daughters address in a hope to reactivate her. We were not referred by her mother or anyone else, we were just doing the work we felt inclined to do, on that day, in that town. We do continually seek the Lord's help and direction, as we otherwise would be only serving ourselves and not the Lord. We are always grateful whenever He leads us to people already prepared by Him to hear His message and this was just one of those experiences.

While there we were informed that her children actually had been expressing a desire to attend church and how much more could a missionary hope for? Last time we met with their family, their daughter had invited one of her school friends, who had before experienced some difficulty believing in God to visit with us as well and she had a lot of questions. To step the whole thing up a notch, it turns out that they live just 400 meters down the road from a very active family in the congregation. The two families now enjoy getting together every Monday for Family Home Evening, the girls from one family get along really well with the son from the other family. Missionary work is just so much easier and fun when you follow the path prepared by the Lord for His work.

It's now October 3rd and I have just returned from General Conference, still filled with the spirit from all the good words spoken there. A member in the congregation described it as a ”Great big spiritual Super Bowl.” I love the thought that we have real living prophets in the world now. Far to often I find myself taking to many things for granted. I have thought a lot about Elder Holland's speech and everything President Monson said about gratitude. I am so grateful that the president of the church is a prophet and to be a part of a church that has a prophet seer and revelator, receiving his directions from Jesus Christ, the head of the church.

This is a big thing, because God does not make mistakes and He doesn't work with coincidence. His church is a living church because He lives and He leads us through His living prophets. I thought about that and I began listening more carefully during conference this last week end. As a member in this church I have so much to be grateful for. I can't begin to express how grateful I am to all of you at home (well, I could start writing you more letters but a mission flies by so fast). Where would I be without all of you? My love for Denmark and all of you at home has seen tremendous growth while on my mission. I think a lot of all of you... and not to change the subject but I'll do it anyways: ”I passed my driver's test, just so you know ;-)!” I should receive my new driver's license in a couple of weeks. US$ 24 is just so much cheaper than the nearly DKK 20000 (US$ 3750) a drivers license costs at home in Denmark.

The weather here is getting colder. We had an extremely hot and humid summer and all the experts are expecting an extremely cold winter. I may have lost my mind because I am actually looking forward to it. Elder Guillary is not looking forward to it but I happen to have this big nice coat from Bishop Meline, it's so good that you start sweating if the outside temperature is warmer than 20 degrees, so I am looking forward to using it again. Rummer has it that if you want to find any people in the winter their all out on the lake ice fishing.

You all take care now, I hear there are a lot of new faces in the congregation and I am looking forward to meeting you all.

Love y'all

Elder Lee Jepsen

P.S. My official release date is March 30th.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 77 - Life on the Iron Range

Life out here on the Iron Range is good (Hibbing is right next to the worlds largest open pit iron mine, hence the "Iron Range)."

General Conference was amazing. When the next General Conference comes around, I'll be watching it from home, if God permits.

Transfer calls are the 11th of this month and we might get a new missionary into the area. I'll probably be staying, which is good. There is a lot of potential in this area, and a lot of good work to be done. I am glad to be here and be a part of it.

I've been working on a letter to the people in the Esbjerg Congregation and soon realized just how hard the Danish language is. I had to use my dictionary more than ten times! Many words I couldn't think of the Danish word for! I was out of town when I started writing it, so I had to wait until I came home to finish the letter. I feel like such a dweeb sometimes, sorry!

Eric, my mission is flying by faster than I keep up and I'll be home soon. I hope you're getting yourself ready for a mission. It's not going to happen by itself. You're planning to send your papers in soon, I hope?

I love you Mom and Dad. Even though I am a very long walk and a bit of a swim away I feel that I have grown to love and appreciate you more in spite of the distance. Somehow, in my mind, when I come home I'm thinking that I'm going to be able to get to know you all over again. You have both taught me so much and I would like to think that I've matured just a little bit while on my mission. I am looking forward to seeing you both in a new and better light.

Love ya,

Elder Lee E. Jepsen

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 76 - In the presence of something truly great

How I missed you dearly this week! My story begins with Elder Bennet (another Elder in the District) getting a cold which he quickly passed on to Elder Lemonds, who generously shared it with me. You can learn a lot by following others example and so I passed on this opportunity to Elder Guillory. I am not sure what to think and I have yet to find out what can learned from all this. But, we're all a miserable bunch, and that just isn't fun when there isn't a Mom around. I can in my minds ear hear Dad in the background and yes Dad, the family cure of steeped cayenne pepper and garlic was promptly implemented and I am now cured--like usual! It works once you feel sick enough (or desperate enough) to submit to it. It scares any illness right out of you, that fast--just like any nearby friends or neighbors. Elder Guillory doesn't have my luck, he managed to turn our involuntary "District Activity" into a most excellent example of Sinusitis. He clearly has more talents for this than the rest of us but, he is not enjoying himself and is just not doing well. So, I've done my best in helping him get better (might take a few more prayers yet).

While we were all nursing our ills the members here were busy as little bees. A less active but awesome family joined another awesome family for a Family Home Evening and they are going to repeat the success. I hope to be there this time (It's great when a good plan comes together).

Unplanned illness (who plans for illness, anyways?) can obliterate all plans for productivity. Being out of our area for half the week and sick for most of it makes me so disappointed with myself. I had big plans, I really wanted to accomplish something but, I had no way of winning that argument.

This weeks training sessions left lots to think about. The tactics and pedagogy are changed and improved. At first I didn't care much care for the approach but, it works and that helps me get used to it--and now I like it.

With three days of training out of town we had more travel to do than we had alloted miles on our cars. Fortunately our local members helped us out a lot. But, all that driving allowed me a lot of time to reflect on my mission so far. At first I felt quite satisfied with my effort (I have worked hard and done my best), until I saw that I had momentarily left out the most important factor, turning it all into be a rather humbling equation. I realized that for everything I thought I had accomplished, God had been there balancing and fine-tuning the scales while I was busy piling on my little contribution. In all the best times on my mission I have not only relied on God's wisdom as found in the scriptures but, whenever I could I sought His council advice and support in all that I do. Clearly, I can't turn around and take credit for God's blessings in my life and what He has made possible? Everything worthwhile on my mission happened only because the Lord helped me every bit of the way. It was like a big light went on in my heart and I could only cast a very small shadow in it's presence. I felt everything put into proper perspective and it made me feel very small and humbled. Yet, this was a good feeling--I felt in the presence of something truly great.

I love you all! We're off to buy some groceries and like a couple of old folks are we both going to take a much needed nap. Even with prayers and the Family Cure-All I'm in recovering mode and Elder Guillory is still not doing well.


Elder Jepsen

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 75 - I Felt Like I Had Witnessed a Miracle

It's great news hear that the reception went well and I am so happy for Brittany and Paul (all the best to you two).

I really enjoyed the story about Dad in the Hospital lobby helping that little old lady. I would so very much like to have seen Dad in his motorcycle gear carrying a big full-face helmet all while taking the little old lady's walker out of the Hospital after having first helped her (together with any reasonable excuse or explanation) out of the Hospital in her wheel chair. Dad has always been ready to help wherever needed to the best of his ability. I know his back isn't doing well and that impedes his walking, but to see him "using" a walker all through the Hospital lobby would have been such a laugh. There is just something about Dad isn't there? I sure love you, Dad! :-)

This week has been amazing! Early in the week I had to attend some training sessions at the Mission Office in Bloomington, requiring me to stay overnight in my old area and I met up with my last companion (and first trainee). I had the opportunity to see some of the people I knew from when I was there last. It turned out that they had some questions and concerns and with the help of the Holy Ghost we reviewed the purpose for the Church and our part in it all. I felt like I had witnessed a miracle as they clearly understood much more than the few words coming from me. It is amazing what can be accomplished when working with the Holy Ghost. I found out later that the missionaries in the area had fasted and prayed for these people in concern and worry. I am grateful that the Lord could use me for the job and would allow me there while He did the work.

This new area has its challenges. It's harder than usual to remember places and names, and I am struggling with knowing how to work in such a different environment than I'm used to from working in Minneapolis. But I am determined to do my best. Our President and his assistants have expressed great confidence in the inspiration that prompted him to send me here and told me that he's counting on me. That is a very big responsibility and I hope I can live up to his and the Lord's expectations. While this assignment doesn't appear straight forward and easy, I am quite sure the Lord will give me some directions and tools to work with along the way.

I don't have to much time to write much more. The training took up part of my week but, you know--there is still mail, groceries, laundry. It's not all missionary work, although necessary.

I love y'all, you're amazing!

Elder Jepsen

Monday, September 6, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 74 - New Area, New Town: Same God and Church

My transfer call came and it said: Go North and so I am going North... to Hibbing, a good bit smaller than Minneapolis... and I love it too! The Stake President here actually served his mission in Denmark a number of years ago, so we've been talking "Denmark."

The congregation here is a very pleasant group of people. I look forward to get to know them while serving as a missionary.

My new companion is Elder Carson Guillory. He has a good sense of humor, so chances are that we'll get along great. He's from New Mexico and actually arrived in this mission at the same time as me (except that this was his beginning mission and I had already served a portion of my mission in Denmark as my visa processing was delayed).

My new address is:

Elder Jepsen
1601 E 29th St.
55746 Hibbing MN

So, all is well. There is a different and slower pace here but, God is the same and He's the source of all our blessings and miracles, both on a mission as in life. We met this lady that welcomed us in and she wanted to come to church. We'll be meeting with her this coming week and helping her find her testimony. She explained that her children wanted to start attending church and I can't wait to teach her and her family, help them find a space for God in their lives.

Paul, I'm proud to have you as my big brother. Once again CONGRATULATIONS, when you read this you must already be a married man. Way to go, Paul! Looking forward to meet Brittany, my new sister.

Love y'all

Elder Jepsen

Monday, August 30, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 73 - It's Never Too Late To Find God

Paul, you're quite the brother and example. Here's a GREAT BIG CONGRATULATIONS from me to Brittany and you! I will be one of your new brothers, Brittany--hope you don't mind, I will do my best to be a good brother. I am sure you know you have already made a great impression on me (what missionary could ever resist such an introduction, I don't know). Sorry that I was unable to attend but, you know how it is. I really wanted to be there.

Once again it's transfer time and I got my transfer call. I am going up north,... to Hibbing, Minnesota! It's going to be great! I've really enjoyed the time that I've spent here and have made so many new friends, people that changed their lives and mine too as I saw how much God's word and spirit could help. There are so many people here that I will never forget and I feel fortunate to have witnessed their conversions as I am just here to facilitate the process. I love this.

Time is impossible to hold on to. I feel like I am just beginning to getting the hang of this as I realize that my own mission is very nearly over. Depending on how long I am to stay in this next area, it could be my last area. I better not start getting "trunky," I just don't have the time for that and there is so much work to be done.

Everyone was suspecting my departure as I was already pushing the limits for time, so I got to bear my testimony in Church yesterday. I am going to miss so many people here and I love them so much but, I am also looking forward the adventure of tomorrow, new place, new people, new challenges and new things to learn. I am so grateful for this experience as a missionary, serving God.

We had a baptism this week! This man has been checking out the church for the last thirty years now and decided it is a good thing. I suspect he considered it a good thing before now or he wouldn't have hung around for thirty years. All his friends and family are happy for him, it was a very special experience. It has also been a blessing to see him make this commitment, bringing his family together in sharing this important covenant.

This week we met with our main investigators, Kenny and Vanessa, and they started off our meeting by saying that they had some questions about something that they read in the "Gospel Principles" manual. They commenced to ask about this "Eternal Marriage" thing and what that's all about? I thought "Could I have imagined a more perfect teaching cue, if I tried?" This is not a question commonly asked by the people we teach but, they did ask and God certainly had prepared them for the answer! We proceeded to teach them about God's plan for our families and how they are eternal in nature. It became an absolutely unforgettable and stellar moment, the Spirit of God was very much present and very strong--and YES, I love being a missionary!

Love y'all

Elder Jepsen

Monday, August 23, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 72 - God will come to our aid, if we allow Him.

I received some great words of counsel this week. Thank you, Dad. You are my hero, constantly giving me something to live up to with your example, reminding me of who you are, who I am and who I want to be. Your words meant a lot to me and I truly enjoyed reading them. I don't have coins with me for the library printer, but I'll print it next week and read it through the week when needed. Thank you again.

This week has been absolutely crazy. Almost all of our appointments have worked out to have maximum travel distance between them and we have spent a lot of effort bicycling across town, back and across town, again and again. I really enjoy all the appointments and I wish I could do more but, maybe I should stop telling the Lord how much I like bicycling, I would probably be all trained, top form and ready for a bicycle race about now. But, I do love being a missionary and I am deeply indebted and grateful to be here.

There is a man here that has been thinking about becoming a member of the church, for a while now. His wife is a member, he's sent all four of his kids on missions and they all found good spouses whom they married in the temple. After thoroughly thinking it over and being at the receiving end of his wife's gentle nudging for the last thirty years, he is now getting baptized this week and it is going to be a wonderful experience.

We meet more and more people who wants the church in their lives and understand the process and need of repentance. It is so wonderful to witness and be a part of: One woman and her mother is returning to the church after finally cutting the last strings to an abusive boyfriend who also kept her away from the church. Another couple are also coming to church where she hasn't been since she was a young teenager and he has previously gotten angry with missionaries in the past, but has now forgiven us and is feeling a great change in his heart as a result of following Alma's challenge of planting a seed of faith and nourishing it.

I have now been in this area for a while and chances are that I soon will receive a transfer call (they are doing a new round of calls next week). I have been so blessed and I am so grateful for the privilege of being allowed to serve in this area. I love it here and I have learned so much. I love the people here and I have so many friends here now that I will miss when leaving this area.

Being a missionary is the greatest blessing God could give me. I expected to go on my mission to pay back some of my debt to my Savior and Lord but, I fear that upon my return I will be more heavily indebted to Him than before I left. My frequent feelings of inadequacy in my daily missionary work and ever increasing debt to our Lord has had me worried for a long time. But in my prayers He's let me know that "It's all right I don't really have to pay Him back (which I am grateful for, because it is far more than I would be able). All He wishes for is that I live my life worthy to be called His friend. Recently I was once again struggling with feelings of inadequacy and as I was praying and studying I had this overwhelming feeling come over me. I then felt the words in my heart and mind "You're doing just fine, my child. Don't worry, you're doing just fine." It is just amazing how well the Lord understands us. He really does know and He knows our innermost feelings. God will come to our aid, if we allow Him.

I love you all! I wish I could give y'all hugs, but that'll have to wait a bit. Thank you for being there for me.

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 71 - Miracles Happen, again and again!

Miracles happen, again and again! In fact, this whole week has been full of them and it's absolutely amazing! The blessing of witnessing such an abundance of miracles around us makes us want to be better missionaries, in an attempt to live up to all the many blessings around us. But, the harder we work at serving God by trying to be better missionaries, the more He blesses us--again. There is no way of describing the feeling, it is just beyond words but, I like it!

We have been blessed with a total of six scheduled baptisms just this last week. Three of them are new people and the other three have been giving it some thought for a while. There is no easy way to put that feeling into words when you see people changing their lives but, I'm so grateful to see it happen and I am so happy for the people experiencing this for themselves.

Saturday evening we were biking home and met the Spanish speaking Elders. They told us of a less active member they had met up with that hadn't been in church for over a decade, but wanted to come back to church.

When Sunday came around she walked with the help of her crutches and her fiancée Tim, the whole two blocks to church, suffering from both knee and hip problems and the stifling heat that all "enjoy" at the moment. She was able to actually meet with the Bishop as well, almost as soon as she arrived. She was so grateful to come back to church, and it was amazing for us to witness. We went over later to administer a blessing for her knee operation on this Tuesday.

May God be with you, always!

Elder Jepsen

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