Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 69 - Thank You, Mom & Dad!

Having the opportunity and responsibility of training a new Elder is unlike anything I imagined. Elder Seppo Samuel Happonen is from Finland and he is an awesome missionary! His enthusiasm and dedication to the work is exciting and he has many good ideas. The Lord knew that I needed to work with Elder Happonen after sending home three missionaries that all were done with their mission, his excitement for the work has made me a better missionary. I am looking forward to us having a great deal of success all due to the great faith of Elder Happonen.

Training a new missionary is so much harder than I expected, I can imagine it being a little like parenting. Thank you and RESPECT to you both, Mom and Dad. You are my heroes, 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 just by being there for me.

Being an example is a lot to live up to all of sudden--all the time--whether I am trying to be a good example or not. I'm not used to people looking up to me like he does (not that he's short, he's actually taller than me). Although it's a nice feeling, the responsibility is a little overwhelming.

We've been meeting a whole lot of new people so hopefully I'll have some new people to write about next week. Sorry, but I don't have much time to write this week.

Love you all. You have given me a lot to live up to!

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 68 - Gospel of Jesus Christ a Good Foundation for Happiness

I have enclosed a picture of some of our friends (the great people we are teaching). Could you imagine a happier bunch? They are truly GREAT and I love being a missionary! I am truly grateful to be here and with friends like this it is hard not to be happy. There is no place I'd rather be right now.

Congratulations on Eric graduating and finding work to begin saving for his mission already. Keep it up, brother! The result could be that Eric is ready to go as I return home? I'm impressed and looking forward to hear about his mission. Good going, Eric!

Paul sent me some missionary art work that I just had to post on my wall for me to see every day. Paul, you have a good sense of humor and I like it and you're a GREAT brother! In fact you and Eric are my best brothers EVER (no-one even comes close since you're my only two brothers [insert laugh track here]).

Transfer calls were this morning and guess what? Once again I'm staying in my current area BUT, I'm training! I'll be responsible for helping a brand new golden missionary getting off to a fresh start, I'm so excited!

If that is enough to get you excited, I might get to train a missionary from either Finland or Sweden. There are three missionaries in the new group coming down from "The North Lands." Two of them are Elders from either Finland or Sweden, and the third is a Sister from Norway. We're getting a full Scandinavian representation.

The more seasoned missionaries used to call new missionaries "Greenies" but, not any more--as it can shed a derogatory shadow on the situation. New missionaries are now referred to as "Golden" missionaries suggesting great worth and potential. I think the analogy of "Refining Gold" throughout a mission is more appropriate rather than the earlier idea of "Breaking in a Greenie." Goldens are eager, energetic and have a lot of excitement about the work, and I'm all in favor of that.

This last week I've been to Leadership Training for four days where I've spent most of my time being reminded how to be a better missionary, how to make use of the Holy Ghost in every aspect of our missionary work, making Him literally our third companion.

Love you all and I look forward to hear from you next week!

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 67 - Without a Dream, Goal, or Destination You Won't Get There!

The weather here has been scorching hot and muggy but, I'm getting use to it and it doesn't feel as bad anymore.

I got the camera back from repairs right after my last email to you. We finished up and we left from the library to go home and I found it there. In the parcel I found my camera with a bag of BUFFALO JERKY from Trader Joe's. I read the note from Brittany where she commented on how an official introduction presented with a camera and beef jerky was acceptable... and I TOTALLY AGREE! Congratulations to Paul and Brittany!!! I found Brittany's way with words hilarious and truly enjoyable. I don't think she is going to need it but, she has my immediate stamp of approval. Any pending sister-in-law that wants to buy me jerky is more than welcome in the family.

This week all of the Zoneleaders, District Leaders and future Trainers (that would be me) are attending a four day long leadership training. We just finished the training an hour ago so that's why I haven't written until now. The purpose of the training is to bring us to a different stage of missionary work. After our training I wrote this down in my journal:
  • We must attempt to rise above ourselves. The competition we face is our own complacency.
  • We must lay behind ourselves our old selves along with our old weaknesses and fears, so that we don't have them to burden us while climbing up our ladder of improvement.
  • We must first realize that we have an infinite potential. Second, we must reach it.
  • No man has ever accomplished more than he dreamed of!
  • There must always be a dream, a goal, a destination in order to reach it. The sky is only our limit if we make it our limit, or we won't reach it otherwise.
  • If we fail to dream we end up earthbound, bound to suffer the fate of our dreamless brothers with no drive or passion. We must dream and rise to what God has in mind for us.

I know it's a little bit rough, but the idea is there and I had to write it down while I still remembered some of it.

Well, I'm out of time, gotta go! Love ya!

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 66 - Results Make Missionary Work Worth Every Little Effort

A great big happy independence day, or happy fourth as everybody else says... We spent some of the evening at our main investigators house and it was a blast of barbecue, fireworks (nice, but small ones compared to New Years eve in Denmark...(which while excessive, is overwhelmingly impressive). Do you happen to have any pics from Danish New Years Eve, BTW?)

One of our families is moving tomorrow to a different place in town, although still within the ward. Once again the famous "Elder's Quorum Volunteer Moving Company" will be assisting them in their move (although nothing remotely close to our last move--no worries). It's great to see how fast and how well they've integrated into the Ward here and also how everyone in the Ward loves them. It is like they've always been part of this congregation. It's times like these that makes missionary work worth every little effort.

Based strictly on my little accounts from here you might think that life is just one success after another and this would be completely WRONG. As you are well aware, I have a habit of putting my foot in my mouth (American lingo expressing an urgent need to attempt an immediate blocking of the flow of stupidity before any embarrassment builds to unrecoverable heights). I could write the book on putting my big foot in my mouth and I realize that I have lots to learn about common courtesy but, I mean well and I do keep trying. I could be a LOT more "polished" but that's actually difficult when you're me. Additionally, life as a missionary does have its trials, hurdles and troubles to get trough and the obstacles in our path does not get any smaller, just because of being on a mission. But, I don't like to dwell or focus on negatives and no problem has ever diminished by whining, complaining, writing or reading about it. My time as a missionary is very limited and I find my time best spent looking ahead on what can be done and how I can do it better.

On a completely different subject: When meeting new people every day we see a lot of different family situations and it truly makes me appreciate you two. I really love you both. I meet so many people here where their parents are either divorced or they just don't function. I know you that you don't feel much that way but, you two really are a source of power to me because of the your love for us children and each other. We may not have lived like the Rockefeller's when I was growing up but, I sure felt spoiled anyway. I feel so fortunate to know that you are my parents. If I were to do things over, I would have still put dibs on you to be my parents. I would want it no other way and I want you to know that I feel proud to be your son and I always will. Thank you for raising me, being my parents and doing your very best at it. I love you both!

It seems that every time I write you stuff like this I end with a lump in my throat but, it has to be said!

Love ya!

Elder Jepsen

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