Love you all!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Love you all!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
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!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
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.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
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 .
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.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
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.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
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.
Elder Lee Jepsen
P.S. My official release date is March 30th.
Monday, October 4, 2010
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.
Elder Lee E. Jepsen