Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 58 - Faith in God Will Make the Most Amazing Things Possible!

WOW, what a week! My birthday turned out to be quite the experience. It was a good day with a lot of good appointments and lot's of good work. I experienced a whole new angle on the concept of trials: Everyone wanted to feed us (not that people here in any way lack hospitality) but, this was all within the limitations of one day. I generally try to please the people around me and this was NOT what you could call a sacrifice! I suppose one could say that I surpassed my nutritional requirements on my birthday! It was great fun and the only way to repent was hard work and lots of crazy bicycling to work it all off! To top it all off I had received two nice packages in time for my birthday, one from Grandma and another from Ximena in Barcelona. My birthday couldn't have been better.

We got our transfer calls today. Elder Noffsinger is going home this week as was the plan, dismissing any element of surprise, or so I thought. Change was inevitable but, what I didn't expect was my president telling me... "Elder, you've done such a fine job with sending Elder Noffsinger home that we're going to have you send one more home! - My first thought was "AAAARGH!" as I seem to have no choice but to develop some form of immunity to getting "trunky" and the only antidote that I know of is hard work.

Now for the really awesome part of my conversation with our President: He said that I might get to train a new missionary after the next transfer if I do a good job in this upcoming transfer. I might get to train a Swedish Elder fresh from the MTC... Scandinavian power!

We've recently met this girl with five siblings that also showed an interest in the church. The whole family attended church last Sunday and they loved it! I hope and pray all goes well for them, learning and building on their relationship with God. They are great people and faith in God will make the most amazing things possible.

Our baptism last week went well. We're all very grateful that she finally was able to enter this new stage in her life and now she seems ready to begin reaching for new levels. I have faith that she will be a great asset to the church here.

The weather here is great and we're enjoying it a lot. We occasionally get some massive thunderstorms that just pour and pour, but that's no reason to abandon the bike. Most bikes over here come without fenders, as did mine. Being without a rear fender is particularly problematic in thunderstorms with heavy rain, as it it makes for an experience similar to what I might imagine to be spending a day seated on a bidet--fully clothed!!! Having pity on my now fully marinated body parts, my good companion bought me a fender as a birthday present, a near life-changing experience! I am going to miss Elder Noffsinger. He is an awesome missionary and it has truly been a pleasure serving with him.

I gotta go, there is more missionary work to be done!

Love y'all!

Elder Jepsen

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 57 - Testimony of the Book of Mormon and Blessings (well, Computers) Falling From Heaven!

Yes, it is my birthday and it's weird! I just don't feel my age, but then how am I to know what this age feels like--I have never been this age, before now!

Thanks Eric, for your awesome mail! It was nice to get updated.

I received Grandma's package today, with all kinds of good stuff! Thank you, Grandma--I will be sending you a thank-you letter as soon as possible.

Could you please send me Paul's address? He is ahead of me by two cards now and I need to reply, SOON.

We had a great experience this week. A native American that we teach, is a friend of the most fabulous member-missionary alive. He's been interested in the church for many years and when we met with him the first time we explained some things, showed him the video of the restoration, and bore testimony of and gave him a Book of Mormon. The Spirit was there and testified with such undeniable strength, that it was very nearly overwhelming. The truth of what we were teaching was verified, as fast as we could teach. Everyone there knew without a doubt that were teaching in accordance with what God wanted this man to know. It was an amazing experience!

If people are prepared to listen, read and apply the contents of the Book of Mormon together with the Bible, their lives are bound to change for the better. You almost don't have to teach if only people will read, pray and apply the principles learned through a study of the Book of Mormon, it's a GREAT teaching tool.

After sensing the immense power in the Spirit he began to think of the possibilities. With a grandnephew in the hospital, Sister Hill had been teaching him about blessings (behind our backs) and he soon saw the potential in this. After obtaining the appropriate permissions the very next day, we are off to St. Paul's Hospital with him and Sister Hill to administer a blessing. He found the experience beautiful and loved it. He felt the spirit strongly there as well and we are now teaching both him and his wife.

Apropos St. Paul's Hospital, now for something completely different: The sky is not falling, but a little boy was nevertheless nearly nailed by a fly-by-laptop computer here in Minneapolis this last week. A nice laptop computer dropped from the sky and was in perfect working order until it blew to pieces on the asphalt one foot ahead of a young boy, that suddenly had something for next day's show-and-tell in school. A hospital helicopter had accidentally dropped the computer on the way back to the hospital. The boy lived to tell the tale, the hospital apologized and everyone went back to just another day in Minneapolis.

Last weekend we were supposed to baptize one of the people we have teaching, but through some hard effort and praying we ended up correlating our plans with God first. Our planned baptism (prospective member) is an amazing person and has changed immensely since we met her the first time. Embracing the gospel has brought her so much happiness and she is now going to be baptized in the Singles Congregation and attend there. Initially she didn't seem to feel comfortable with the idea, but I think the Spirit has helped her to make a good choice.

I had the privilege to baptize a young boy from the congregation this last weekend. He was the last in the family to be baptized and it was a very special and beautiful experience to be able to assist the family in performing this sacred ordinance. We were also able to bring one of the people we teach to the baptism. She was happy to see how a baptism is performed and enjoyed the beauty of it as well. Baptisms always bring back the memories of my own baptism, back when I was eight--in the cold waters of Lillebelt (Little Belt Sound) ... ah, good times.

So we've been biking around alot, and my rosy cheeks are getting all kinds of comments and compliments. Most people see it as sunburn, but you know--my cheeks love any weather and that's just how they weather when I bicycle a lot.

I have to be going. Missionary life is calling, and so is a spring cleaning of our apartment.

Love you all!
Elder Jepsen

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 56 - Amazing Strength and Empowerment of Faith

It was good to hear from you. I look forward to my news from home every week. But this week especially, Eric's mail made me laugh and brightened my whole day. I love you kiddo, you're a my best little brother!

So biking around has been a blast. We've been enjoying the beautiful weather. I'm told summers here can get HOT, being of Viking blood this has me a little worried as heat, humidity and I don't work that well together.

The other day we were out teaching with one of my favorite members. He's blind and has a great sense of humor. He has taught me a great deal of appreciation for the blessing of sight and allowed me some insight into the "blind" world or helped "Open my eyes" towards blind people (sorry 'bout the puns, but I am amazed at how much we rely on seeing). We worked out a challenge for me doing my whole morning routine without turning on the lights and just relying on the other senses... I tried and found it very interesting, although it never totally allows me understand the life of a blind person, being able to open my eyes or turn on the light and see at any time. I totally appreciate my gift of sight but, to walk a step or two in another persons shoes does help me gain a different point of view and I appreciate that.

One could expect there to be a saturation point in these weekly e-mails. Always more baptisms, more faith, more miracles and more happiness but, it doesn't bother me one bit. I love it here and the more, the merrier. Just keep it coming and yes, we have another baptism coming up and it's great!

Sometimes I feel as if I am sitting on the sideline watching all these miracles happen in front of my eyes, as people discover and develop their potential in faith. The empowerment and strength available though faith comes as a surprise to most people. It is great to see the progression from when we first meet someone and to when they realize that no matter how fast they decide to move, God's ahead of them awaiting and accompanying their arrival at this new point in life. I enjoy how even the newest members in the church has something to offer the rest of us, they contribute a great strength to the church.

Yet another baptism is scheduled for the beginning of May and is a miracle in itself. We taught an object lesson for the "Plan of Salvation" in the chapel for a mom and her daughter. The spirit was very strong and both of them committed to be baptized together. The husband and father will be released from prison on the day of the baptism and will be able to see his family get baptized (he's already a member).

I hope that you are all doing great... I really do miss you, and can't wait to see you all again one day. A letter should be coming your way Mom and Dad, within the next couple of weeks.

Love you all,
Elder Lee Jepsen

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 55 - A Spiritually Strengthening Experience!

I feel all recharged after attending General Conference (even if by-satellite, as always--but the message as strong as ever). It was a not only informative, but a spiritually strengthening experience!

I learned so much from listening carefully and taking notes of what the brethren said. I particularly found it interesting to hear from Elder Neil L. Anderson toward the end, that the talks were not written or organized with a collaborative effort amongst the brethren. Each talk at General Conference is prepared and spoken on what the speaker themselves have felt inspired to speak on. I found this to be a very fascinating piece of info, as I thought they received assignments from the First Presidency, but apparently this is not so!

I was also impressed as Elder Rasband of the Seventy was recounting the sacred experience of how missionaries are called. He told of a particular incident where the spirit inspired both President Eyring and Elder Rasband that this one particular Elder needed to go to Sapporo, Japan. It gave me great comfort to learn this, and strengthened me to know that I am not in Minnesota by chance, but I have been appointed this area of stewardship by inspiration!

This week has been a bit slow. We'd been inviting a lot of people to conference, but NONE of them came! What's THAT all about, mind-boggling, I tell ya! Not wanting to dwell on the past, we found a couple of new people after Conference that looks promising, so that´s nice.

Elder Noffsinger and I realized last night that the upcoming Zone Conference this week, was going to be his last. We had a laugh followed by an awkward silence, where we both were "Trunking out" a little... But, as much as I tried I honestly couldn't imagine my last zone conference. It just seems too far away to be for real. I can't even think that far ahead right now as so much is happening here and now. But, being a missionary's last companion is weird, it does serve to remind me of the finite nature of a mission. But not one to dwell on the future, now I can't wait to train a "Greenie," so I can recover from this "highly traumatic experience." No worries, I love it here!

It's nice to know that Paul now has my busted camera to be repaired, thank you. I really miss having a camera, stupid me!

Love you all,
Elder Jepsen.

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