Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 45 - I Love Being a Missionary!

I love you all and I appreciate whenever I hear from you. I hope you're all doing well, or will be well soon? Are you ready for your operation Mom, how long is it going to take and how about recovery? I really hope it goes well!

How's Dad doing, is he getting better? You have really had some winter in Denmark this year, WOW! Are you getting through the cold OK and how's Dad handling the winter?

The picture is me in my "Stay Warm & Stay Happy Touque" on a prep-day with Thunder Bay behind me. I don't attempt to teach the gospel wearing this, but it is WARM, nice and WARM! (It's a sort of District emblem, all the Elders here have one).

Do you know if the ward received their letter? I'm glad the Junior Sunday-School liked theirs. It is so hard to find time for everything and I would love to tell everyone how great an experience I am having, how much it changes your state of mind constantly focusing on other people's needs and concerns. It feels good and I wish I could share it, but words just don't do the experience justice and I never seem to have the time to write, or to do all the work I would like to do.

I have been in this area through four transfers and it's time for another transfer. They might move me somewhere else and not that I would mind, although I am going to miss this place and especially the people here. I've truly come to love this people, and it'll be sad to leave, but it's going to be nice with a change as well.

We are preparing to baptize a father and his son in the upcoming week. I am so excited for them! we've been working with them for a while and they've come a long way. They're both very quiet, making it even more important to listen to the spirit. But, it's apparent to see that they love the gospel! The Zone-leaders are coming up today to do baptism interviews. It's going to be great.

I love you all and I wish you the best. Sorry that it's a short one this week. I hope that you all will be able to get through this operation... especially for you mom. Don't stress it, the Lord loves you and He will be there looking after you. You are much too valuable to all of us for things to go terribly wrong.

Gotta go now... computers are a dead slow today..

Love Ya!
Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Update from our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti

From Alice Rampton: Update from Haiti

Mark called from Haiti again last night and shared many experiences of his day. The Corvallis Gazette Times, our local newspaper, did an excellent job of covering that in this article:

If you want to hear about the individual cases that Mark and others are seeing each day, please read the article, it explains things perfectly. When Mark called last night he had a hard time talking without getting emotional. [Being a doctor] he's a touchy feely guy, but doesn't actually cry all that often so I know he's affected by what he is seeing. He said that he does fine during the day when he's with the patients, but on the phone, the emotions were raw. After thirty-thre years of practicing medicine, he's seen everything in terms of blood and guts, but when a young boy is carried in with two legs broken, his parents and siblings dead in the earthquake, and his home destroyed, it's just too much loss to comprehend. As mentioned in the Gazette Times article, the cases that they are all seeing are pretty heart wrenching except for the delivery of a healthy baby, which he was able to do yesterday.

The clinic, located at an
LDS church in the heart of Port au Prince and very close to the Palace, is very busy because of its location to a severe part of the disaster area, plus it is two blocks from one of the hospitals called Sacred Heart. There have been thousands of people camping out at the hospital trying to be seen and now many of them are being carried over to the LDS clinic because they heard that there are doctors there. Then when the docs and nurses at the LDS clinic see that there is a severe need for surgery or whatever, they just carry the patient back to the hospital and can usually get in to the operating room because they bring the orthopedic surgeonon the twenty member medical team or whomever to do the surgery. The team includes two orthopedic surgeons, two general surgeons, two emergency room physicians, four family practice doctors and an unknown number of nurses.

The LDS church has a generator (with fuel that did make it there) and they try to use it only when needed. The church also has a water filter which is at a premium in the area because it allows for clean water. So those things are great, but the orthopedic surgeons are running out of the screws/plates that they need for the
broken bone surgeries and I'm sure other supplies will soon be in shortage. There does seem to be fairly good exchange among the military and other medical teams that are there. The doctors were going to go see if the military would lend them the supplies needed for bone surgery.

Mark definitely felt the earthquake yesterday morning. In fact, he woke up thinking someone was shaking him to get up. Instead, it was just the rolling of the earth. The team has a nice place to stay outside of Port au Prince- it's a big hacienda belonging to a contractor. Mark sleeps in a tent on the grounds and at first, felt guilty being in such a safe and peaceful setting, but after the first day of seeing eighty patients in a ten hour day without any stops for food, he realized that it's good to have a place to go to build up physical and emotional strength, get a good night's rest, and be ready to face the next day.

The volunteers at the church/clinic are amazing. There are hundreds of them. They are helping to distribute goods, assist with
medical procedures, triage, translate, organize the patients, etc. It's a large army of Haitian volunteers and he says they are wonderful. He said that the church is Haiti is alive and vibrant.

Now I have one potentially happy story to tell. Mark called about two hours ago regarding the twelve year old girl girl (mentioned in the newspaper article) named Fedline Mon Flery who has severe thir
d degree burns, which have removed half of her scalp and caused open wounds on her arm, face, and neck. She was treated a few days ago with just gauze and antiseptic, but that isn't enough. Mark spent an hour yesterday trying to debride (remove dead and infected tissue) the burns. For the severity of this case, she will only survive with skin grafts and hospitalization. He is working on that end to get her flown to a medical facility in the US. So he asked me to call our son, Marcus, who is an anaesthesiology resident at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio. BAMC has one of the best burn facilities in the nation. But Marcus is down in Corpus Christi doing training with pediatric heart surgeries for a month, so I talked to our daughter-in-law, Rebecca Cropper Rampton. Mark wanted to find out if the burn unit at BAMC would accept this little girl if they got her there. Rebecca eagerly took on the situation and bravely called Colonel Mary McAfee, deputy commander for clinical services at BAMC and asked if it would be possible to get this little girl some help. Rebecca gave her the phone number of someone working with Mark who has a cell phone. Col. McAfee did some research and checking and then called the number in Haiti and was able to talk to Mark. She shared with Mark that Dr. Rob Sheridan of the Galveston Burn Center is actually in Haiti and put the two of them in contact. Dr. Sheridan is going to try and get this young girl to the Shriner Burn Center in Galveston. We hope and pray that this will come to pass. But thanks to the LDS Medical Team, Rebecca, Col. McAfee, the guy in Haiti with the cell phone, and Dr. Sheridan, there might be a chance for this little girl.

That's about it for today.


Church Humanitarian Services:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 44 - Thunder Bay Heatwave Melts Entire Generation of Snowmen

HEATWAVE! We're all dancin' on da island in da sun! Party, Party!

You ask how I am coping with the cold??? What cold??? Let me clarify with a SLIGHTLY modified scripture: 1 Cor: 15:55 O frost, where is thy bite? O chill, where is thy mark? IT IS NOT COLD in Thunder Bay!!! We've had plus degrees lately and we're all perplexed! I don't get it! You're still getting snow in Denmark and it's probably colder than here! I am sure it won't last, but wonders never cease. Now Eric, don't forget to wear your touque! 

I mentioned last time that we were losing some commitments to baptism, but no worries, others are progressing in their place and taking BIG steps forward. We are teaching a native father and his son. They are scheduled for baptism and they're really looking forward to it. They are very very quiet and contemplative people, but when they speak it's with great depth (not at all like me, more like the totally opposite).

Some of the people we teach came out to church last Sunday and it went very well.

When visiting one of our less active members at the local hospice, we were trying to visit one of the people we are currently teaching who works there. We hadn't seen her there before, so we were just following a hunch that we would bump into her. When we walked in the door, there she was! She was so excited to see us there that she immediately gave us a BIG hug. She's a woman that we just recently were led to, that has been very interested in what the gospel has to offer her family. She has a three year old child that I first thought was five or six years old. He is like a younger version of Elder Marsh and really enjoys skateboarding and snowboarding. They have so much happiness waiting for them from the Gospel. Hurrah!

I really enjoy seeing the change in people when they discover that God is there for them and that He DOES answer sincere prayers offered up in faith. When it happened for Joseph Smith it totally changed the rest of that day for him, and if if I could teach only that and teach it well, everything else would would be a breeze. Have faith, pray and trust in the Lord! 

I really hope your operation goes well, Mom (I'll try and put a word in with the Lord next time I report to Him). Maybe if you're getting a cast you can use it for training the dog to sic people (just kidding :D).

Yes Mom, I'll try to remember to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.

I love you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you!
that should cover everybody, including the dog.

Well, take care y'all. Ah luv y'all

Elder Lee Jepsen

Monday, January 11, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 43 - Two Baptisms and Praying For More

Happy thirtieth anniversary, Mom & Dad! Thank you for all the work you've done putting up with us kids over the years. You guys are great. Happy anniversary!

We had two baptisms this weekend! I got to baptize one, and confirm another, my first ever! I was so nervous!!! Everything went well and the Spirit was very strong. Some of the people we teach attended the baptism and enjoyed it very much. It is awesome to be able to see the miracles that that happen with faith.

While some of the people we teach are like living miracles others are getting cold feet, but then some things just don't happen but by prayer and fasting, so we better get to it again. I do pray and hope it all works out in the end. The big things in life should all be approached with prayer and fasting, then you can be assured that not only are you doing the right thing, but you have God backing you in what you do.

Sorry to hear about Dad, hope he gets better soon. He sure has been putting up a good fight. I have sent letters to all but one, which I'll write today and all will be well. I'm getting much better at not stressing about letter-writing anymore, so I can actually write them with a little more flow. I even wrote one to the Ward which should have arrived by now, as well as one to the junior sunday school. I love you all and I wish you the best.

Love you all!

Elder Lee Jepsen

Monday, January 4, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 42 - Baptisms coming up!

I have experienced the coldest day in my life -29° Celsius (-20.2° Fahrenheit), but things are great! We are teaching some people that are very much looking forward to their upcoming baptism this month, I know I am looking forward to it! Applying the gospel changes people so much! It's amazing to see how the gospel has such an impact on peoples lives.

So you have snowy white beaches in Denmark now? Isn't that just my luck. The one year where I am not in Denmark and you get both a WHITE Christmas and ICE! Not that it's in short supply here in Thunder Bay. Well, I hope that life is well in the now cold Denmark. I've recently been battling a bad cold. I was man-challenged to buy the nastiest medicine out there to get rid of it. Can you guess it, Mom? Buckley's, it's almost worse than the cayenne and garlic mix Dad used to make us take to get well (which I must admit was EFFECTIVE). Well, this was particularly nasty, but it works too - and you don't get garlic breath! I suppose straight cayenne might have done the job just as well.

The Olympic torch came through Thunder Bay, but we were late for the ceremony and saw it really quick. It was all right, nothing fancy. They had some local musicians play some stuff while we were there and it was nothing really to write home about, but here I am doing just that. Now I can say that I've seen the Olympic flame and I guess that's something. :)

We spent New Years at a recent converts place. He made us a lot of food, and sadly enough I was not well, so my enjoyment of the good stuff had its limitations. Oh well! We went home afterwards and went to bed early, as is appropriate for missionaries. This was my first New Years Eve where I did not stay up 'til past midnight.

I love you all! It was really nice talking to you and hearing and seeing you all again. Time flies way fast over here. I am afraid that one day I'll wake up and be home, wondering where all the time went!

Love y'all

Elder Jepsen

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