I can walk the Walk, but can I talk the Talk?

Yes! Yes I can.

First things first, I received my birthday card and pictures from the Fam! It was a very pleasant surprise to see in the mailbox. My little photo album is now half-way full of pleasant and recent pictures of my family! But don't assume that means that everyone is off the hook for sending more pictures with emails....or sending emails in general :P

Fields of Seville from the train.

Evidently Seville is on the desert planet of Tatooine.

 This week was a lot more active, and tomorrow marks the end of my first transfer in the field! I absolutely hate doing this, but here is a larger part of my letter to President Andersen this week!

This was a pretty full week. The exchange with the other elders in the district went really well. I know how to confidently navigate our area which helped since I had to take more of the lead role this time. The first evening, I had a list of investigators and less-active members to contact and I was the one informing Elder Anderson about the various backgrounds of them. Very few were available, I don't think we got in a single lesson, but I was able to (I had to) branch out a little more in my Spanish as a result of being the familiar face of the companionship. The next morning, Elder Bird and I had a similar experience, but were were able to get a lesson in! I was leading the introductions, pre-lesson small talk, and the discussion, with much required embellishment from Elder Bird. We were able to teach the Plan of Salvation up to The Atonement, like we planned with this investigator. It went really well.

We regularly have really good gospel discussions with a returning member, Alejandro, as we go through the missionary discussions for the sake of review. The past two visits, one of the other renters in his home, named Abraham, started listening in on these discussions. This Wednesday, he officially sat with us as we taught Alejandro about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. At the end of the lesson, Elder Gerrard invited Abraham to church and he came today! We don't believe he has much of a history with the church, or if he is even officially an "investigator", but he came to church!

Saturday, I shared the spiritual message after an eating cita at the request of Elder Gerrard which turned out to be very good for me. This helped me a lot because last week, I was assigned to give talk without a theme, and the entire week, I didn't know what to talk about. This assignment forced me to pick a topic and ultimately provided a foundation for my talk this morning. My talk went really well! I received many compliments. I feel like there wasn't very much to it, but the compliments were nice. My talk had to do with the commandments of obedience and prayer, and the ways that they are connected and work together.

I have a more solidified language study plan now. That should help me with my speaking. I think I need to revise a comment I made in my last email. Understanding Spanish, isn't the main barrier. I can follow along pretty well with Spanish without focusing too hard. The main barrier, is the severity of the accent in the Cadiz area. Spanish doesn't sound like this anywhere else, right? I'm not entirely sure what more I can do about that beyond really trying to listen and working to increase my own knowledge of Spanish.

It's not hard to believe that it has already been a transfer, but time has been going by pretty quick. I hope to stay engaged and busy so time continues to pass with ease.

Spanish is coming along steadily, but I'm not joking about the accent. It is not Spanish. My tablet had a software update, and now I can use the Gospel Library app in split screen (I couldn't before) so now I can do direct Spanish to English comparisons for conference talks! It's quite helpful for my studies.

I rode in a car for the second time. Obispo Sánchez needed help returning some heavier items to Leroy-Marvin(?) which is like a Euro-Home Depot, and getting a large barrel of butane from a gas station. The whole experience was very reminiscent of American living. It was weird.
Random thoughts from this experience: 1. Gas should never be sold by the liter. 2.How is this society still living solely off of butane? 3. I hope I never have to drive in Europe. 4. This place has too many one-way streets. 5. There was a giant battleship gun just sitting in the middle of a field but I didn't get to take a picture.

One of my teachers from the MTC is the daughter of the ward mission leader in Barrio 2 and she visits San Fernando for the weekend every now and then. She did that last Sunday, but I was attending the other ward, so I missed her! Evidently, she bore her testimony about working at the MTC and mentioned that I was a hard worker among other things. Fortunately I got to say hi to her at an activity at the church later that day. So that was a friendly face to see!

Oh! Here's a fun story. A couple weeks ago, we contacted a woman who ended up being Brazilian, and her Portuguese was a thousand times understandable to me than the people born and raised in the Cadiz area. Just another example of how much of a struggle that is here, haha! 

Another thing from a few weeks ago: Dallin H. Oaks' talk this most recent conference on The Godhead and the Plan of Salvation referenced an early exposition on the connection and differentiation between God and Christ. I looked for it and found it. It can be found in the April 2002 Ensign in an article called "The Father and the Son" and it is extremely informative and helpful. Find it, then read it to clear up any confusion you might have.

On a somber note, I am so very sorry to hear about Mr. Seely's passing. He was my first adviser at Highland, my Spanish teacher, my leadership adviser, and a lighthearted member to look for in Highland. He would always hum or sing hymns in class and I would often join in. He also liked to make subtle gospel-related jokes or references during meetings/lessons then smugly glance at me. I appreciate how he tried to build up school spirit among the students and make everyone there feel welcome.

I was excited to show him my Spanish. 

I would like to testify of the absolute truth of the Plan of Salvation that has been set for us. Death is not the end, and through Christ, it has no sting. I'm so grateful to know that his family is comforted in their faith and for the support his wife is receiving.

I might have had more to say, but that news was quite the mental hit. So I will end it here. Let me know if you'd like to know any more specifics of the mission so far!

Elder Jensen :)

That scarf has been there since my first week. It's quite stylish in my opinion. 


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