Sister Jensen's first email from the Philippines:
Wow! This week has been so crazy. To make a long story short I have a native Filipino as my companion. Our area is Masinloc and we have two other sisters living with us. Before the Elders lived in our apartment and I have learned that Elders are the same everywhere. Therefore the apartment was nothing short of scary looking when I got there... There is a couple here and the Sister helped us clean our house up and it was much better after that. We have a shower and a toilet, so I am happy. I have ridden in a tricycle many times, a jeepney just today, and a bus. There is rice for every meal and the Filipinos eat with a spoon in place of a knife. I think I have mastered the spoon technique. The members here are nothing short of inspiring. The Branch President lives up a hill that has lots of trash scattered everywhere. His house has a dirt floor. He is a fisherman and goes out fishing at night. His two youngest girls are named Janine (different spelling, but hey) and Jasmine, so it's just like home! They are very cute. They hold my hands when we go to lessons with their mom. The Branch President and his wife have both spent WHOLE days helping us find people to talk to and introducing us to members and less active members. I know they make many sacrifices for the gospel and I am touched by their obedience and perseverance. They have so little but they give so much. The other day we hiked behind his hill to get to some people. It was just like hiking in Idaho... Except more green! I loved it. People sometimes say things about mosquitoes, but in my opinion they are nothing like Idaho mosquitoes. I have only been bit twice. In Idaho I would have had all the blood sucked out of me. Everyone stares at me here and all the little girls think I look like barbie. It is a little weird, but it brings more people to our lessons because most of them start with the nanay (usually grandma) and the little girls see me and they go tell there mom that barbie is in their house. I think I look nothing like barbie, but they do. The other day we had a lesson with a lady whose husband is a rice farmer. She lives in a little hut next to the field. Yesterday we ate like queens at Sister K's house. She is our neighbor and she is very kind. She made us our first couple of meals here. Last night she made us spaghetti (Yay!) and we had a fruit salad. I had guava and papaya! They are not how I imagined they would taste, but I love fruit! I love it here! the people are all nice. Yesterday we basically took all of the mutual group with us visiting members and less actives. We went to one of the boy's home who blessed our sacrament. It was a simple home. I came to find out that his mom is not a member and his dad, I never even saw. HIs dedication to the church inspires me. I know it would be so hard to be the only member in the states, but here with so little in the first place it must be a great sacrifice. The youth are so willing to help out, more so than at home I think and yet they have so little. Many of them want to be missionaries. They are definitely pioneers in my eyes. I don't talk much here because I am still learning, but I am beginning to understand more and more and my companion includes me more and more. Hopefully I will be fluent in no time, but until then, I am just happy to be here and serving the Lord in what way I can. I am trying very hard and I am learning lots. Yes, it is hot here. Yes it is rainy. It is the rainy season and whoever said Filipinos didn't use umbrellas lied. They use them for rain and sun. There are racks outside of stores for them. They are obsessed with being white like Americans are with being tan. The food is great. I like it a lot! The other day my companion made teraki chicken, but it wasn't called that. I loved it. Overall it is great to be here. I love you all!
The long plane ride to the Philippines.
Just after arriving in the Philippines. (Jasmine looks a LITTLE tired haha).
Sister Jensen's first sunday in the branch in Masinloc
Mom asked Jasmine if these pictures were taken in church, to which Jasmine replied, "Yes, the branch president wanted pictures so I took them. It was so weird because we do not do that in the US hahaha."
"This Is my companion Sister J. and also they boys and girls that went with us to visit people."
Sister Jensen's first missionary roommates in the Philippines.