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

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