Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 85 - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It sounds like there is no shortage of snow in Denmark this year! It's like a Winter-Wonderland over here and it's been quite the experience driving (yes, I now have official permission to drive and it's great fun in the snow).

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!

I love you all!!!

Elder Jepsen

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 84 - Training Elder Lars Rickhard Horgmo from Southern Norway

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 Oslo.

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.

Love y'all

Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 83 - Grateful for Another Good Day as a Missionary

Friday morning came much too early. I am not in the habit of getting out of bed at 5:00 AM but we had to get ready for Zone Conference in Duluth at 8:00 AM and I always like Zone Conference. We were running out of miles for the month so Brother Moyle kindly gave us and the Elders from Grand Rapids a ride there. We were all tired and didn't offer much entertainment value for Brother Moyle for next hour and a half on the way there. In my mind I could hear my old Sarge yelling: "LOOK ALIVE, MEN!" Fortunately the memory of Sarge was far enough away to not be very loud and I could continue the ride in a less demanding state of mind.

Zone Conference was well worth the effort. It was amazing. The doctrine taught was mostly reminders and reinforcements of principles that not only makes a good foundation for missionary work but for good living. The principles of teaching and internalizing the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's never a waste to be taught good doctrine, even if we already are familiar with these same concepts and are busy striving to live them. Hearing good and true principles from a different point of view broadens our perspective and allows for the Holy Spirit to confirm the truthfulness of what is taught. It leaves me with a lighter heart, feeling happier, stronger and more able. I learned of many areas where I needed to focus more attention and where I needed to improve myself. I am grateful for these opportunities to revise my behavior, patterns and priorities.

Our awesome Ward Mission Leader, Brother Ron Hall picked us all up after Zone Conference. Brother Hall is one of those "Teddy Bear personalities" that everyone knows and loves. He dropped the Grand Rapids Elders off in Hibbing where their car was parked and brought us to Eveleth for a dinner appointment. After we finished work in Eveleth and Gilbert, Brother and Sister Hall picked us up. We climbed into the back seat and all headed toward Hibbing when out of nowhere...

Well, nobody got hurt in what follows... except the deer. Sadly, it died.

I saw a flurry of green paint chips flying off the car, heard a crash and the airbags were activated. Brother Ron Hall pulled off the road and stopped the car. We all got out to see what that was all about: A deer had butted heads with the car and although the whole front of brother Hall's nice new Buick Le Sabre took a bad crumbling and made both front-lights go strangely cross-eyed, even worse off was the deer, it was not going anywhere, anymore.

Thanks to brother Hall's calm reaction to the whole event, nothing further happened after the impact with the deer. We drove away from the experience unharmed and arrived home safely.

Sunday morning brought disappointment: We had invited some good people that didn't show up and we had looked forward to them experiencing church. But, other blessings were already on their way. Ryan Otis, who's a returned missionary attending the Hibbing Community College law enforcement program walks in right before the Sacrament Services are about to begin. He quickly informs me that he has brought along some friends and needs help! Out of nowhere Ryan brought not one but--four girls to church. We offered to share a little more about the beliefs and our way of worship after the church services were over. It went very well and I was left grateful for another good day as a missionary.

When we later dropped by Ryan's he had a lot of people visiting and one of the girls from the earlier church visit was there. She had thought about what happened earlier and had a lot of good questions. The Spirit was there backing us up every step of the way, accommodating both understanding and clarity in our conversation. We answered her questions to the best of our ability and felt inclined to invite her to make full use of the Saviour's atonement in her life, through baptism. She happily accepted the invitation. It's times like this that helps me realize how much the Lord loves us all and how much I love serving the Lord.

Now for a completely different subject: Christmas packages! What in the world are you doing sending a Christmas package before it's even December, not to be opened until December 1? You must realize the torture this will be for me but I guess you already calculated that. I know, you have devised a new radical approach to strengthen my character. Oh, boggles, I guess I'll just have to wait through the days of it sitting there, taunting me with it's protective tape and concealing cardboard.

Love you!

Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 82 - New Truths in the Book of Mormon?

This week was absolutely amazing!! We shared a message about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a nice lady that we had met while she was working in her yard raking up leaves. Well, the leaves hadn't finished dropping and it was already impossible to see all the work she had done previously that week. We borrowed a couple of big rakes from our Bishop and helped her rake up her leaves. It turns out that she liked that and responded by taking us to Pizza Ranch (a pizza buffet place we really liked that)! While we were all busy and focused on doing what must be done with pizza, her daughter called and asked where she was at such an hour. Her daughter was concerned, seeing the house dark and nobody answering the phone. She responded with a smile: "I'm with two young Mormon men, so I'm perfectly safe." She is an absolutely wonderful person and we all had a enjoyable time.

This week I was back in the big city again for training. I still have so much to learn and time is only speeding up, so I really enjoy these training sessions and the opportunity to meet other missionaries and hear their ideas. It's good to meet up with old and new friends.

I can't help wondering if I will ever stop finding new truths in the Book of Mormon? I think that if people would only read it with an open heart, wanting to learn the many truths contained in the Book of Mormon and realize its full potential, we could quit teaching and spend all our time just scheduling and performing baptisms. I know, I am still young and feel inadequately equipped to be generalizing but, it seems to me that many of the big questions in life are addressed and answered in the Book of Mormon. All one has to do is read it with a sincere heart.

Love y'all

Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 81 - My Responsibility to God and People is Far Greater Than to Time

Once again I'm back in the big city, if only for a short visit: I am here for leadership training and I suppose it is a fringe benefit of being a trainer but I am just thrilled that I get to go. I am surrounded by missionaries I can look up to and leaders I can learn from. Getting to go to a training session like this is just pure bonus. We are taught by accomplished people that have a lot to offer and share, making it difficult (well, impossible) to put all the benefits into words.

I do value time but time keeps flying by at an uncontrollable speed. I have to learn to accept the speed of time and do things at my speed and do them right. My responsibility to God and people is far greater than to time.

The temperature is dropping again and just beginning to climb below freezing. My companion (Elder Call) has never experienced anything colder than what he is feeling right now and he is getting cold. We have a lot of fun as I tease him about his electric blanket: "You know, my Grandma back in Denmark had an electric blanket too" But, he's no wimp, he answers right back "Well, she probably enjoyed it just as much as I do."

I really enjoy working with Elder Call, he has a good attitude and all the makings of a great missionary. We have a lot of fun and I have great hopes for him. I wish I could share all my greatest mission moments with him and then he could start from there on his mission.

Love you all

Elder Jepsen

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Day in the Sun With Good People

I know the clouds are up but it felt sunny all day long and we enjoyed it.

Is there a better way to spend a few hours, than with good friends?
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