Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ShengDian Tian!!

Today is temple day, hence the email is slightly late I apologize... BUT the Taiwan temple is beautiful and small but super cool! It's right in the middle of the city and yet so quiet. I loved being there doing that, especially the fact that I went through for a daluren! or in other words a man from the mainland! turns out there's missionary work going on on that side of the border as well too haha that was super cool!
left to right: dad (elder Willes), granddad (elder Westover), and me!
I'm straight up becoming Taiwanese. I haven't had American food once since being on island and I've literally eaten all the craziest foods that you could ever imagine, AND LIKED THEM!! except pig ear and pig foot they are 99% fat and hairy so it was slightly too much to bear hahah! But I also like using squatter toilets now. They are way more sanitary in my opinion bahahah. My shirts are all almost completely yellow now and stinky, and I swear my breath is Taiwanese too now. I might just not come home because everyone might think I'm a little too weird of a person now!! Nah I'm still the same...ish... hahhah
breakfast always makes my day!!
We bike like 20 miles a day here on average. dad you better be training or start training so when you get on island we can bike from taipei to taidong alright?? cuz we gonna be biking maniacs for the 2 weeks youre all here!! last saturday had to have been at least 35ish miles, it was sooooooo long. and its super funny because the waist in my pants gets more and more rooming but my thighs get tighter and tighter hahah! its a funny sight! and I'm also getting my hair back so that's exciting. you might wonder why I decided to go bald.. the lady was snipping all my hair off and there were horrible cuts lines everywhere so I just told her "I want all same length!" so she grabs the razor and sure enough all my hair was gone after that! but its great never having to worry about bed head, except now its semi coming back again...


I straight up discovered a drink from heaven and it's become my addiction. Donggua cha with ice cream and pearls in it, for $1 dollar!!! I dont even understand how Taiwan it blows my mind!! the most expensive dinner I've eaten so far was a huge thing of squid for $3!! Dinner entrees for that much?? bahaha its one of those cliches that's actually true.

I had my first baptism over the weekend. that was cool. I didn't really help teach Joy much, but the little that I did she was super awesome. It is fun watching people getting baptized. But not always easy getting there as it turns out. Taiwan is actually considered one of the less successful missions in the Asia area. But s'all good!! Everyone is so friendly it doesn't matter if they don't care for religion they still just want to talk to you because you're WaiGuoRen which is basically nonexistent here in Taiwan. To the point that I get a little weirded out when I see a white guy in the street hahah!
first baptism!! Joy is great!!

I use my WaiGuoRen-ness to my advantage out here. sometimes when we're at stoplights and I'm trying to hand out a pamphlet, people don't want it. they yell "BU YAO" or "BU YONG" which means no want or no use! and of course i know they're rejecting me but they dont know that I know that so I yell back "I'm sorry, I'm white! Wo TingBuDong!" (I can't understand what you're saying!) and then smile really big and it always works hahah they just roll their eyes and look super irritated but they take it!! And they say no effort is wasted so maybe one in those thousands of people I talk to will read it?? idk but its still a riot!!

I also had the privilege of giving an entirely mandarin blessing of the sick. This guy is a stud and we go paint his roof for him a lot as service. but he's like 35 in a 90 year old body. It breaks my heart. So Willes annointed and I sealed and It was through and through mandarin and friggin legit the spirit definitely is a major help when you need it!! Such a super cool experience.

Sorry I have no time, ever. But I still read your emails so keep sending them!! Love you all thank you for your support and prayers you're all beautiful and remember God loves you to the infinity and back!!

Jīn ZhǎngLǎo
Elder Jensen

meet Derek!! We just painting roofs like a boss.

this lady is absolutely nuts.  you'll have to have me tell you her story when I have time in two years hahaha

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ZuiBang de ChuanJiao

Translation is I friggin love Taiwan! bahah. This week hasn't been as hectic as my past ones have been but still good none the less. 
love this place from the bottom of my heart

The Taiwanese people are straight up boss and absolutely hilarious! Lisa, Asians really as SOOO direct about everything they say! It cracks me up honestly! Yesterday at church, one of our LA's shows up and the first thing he says to me is "Elder Jensen, you've gotten so much thinner!" I laughed and said I don't think I did?? Then one of our recent converts walks in directly after and once again that is the thee very first thing she says to me. "AH WahSai! You're so skinny!" I just laughed it off because I don't know what they are talking about, I'm still going on my original 165lbs since I entered the field hahah

As for a food update. I have now added the delicacies of Chicken Butt, pig liver, Pig ears, and chicken feet. I hated the pig ear, especially since there was still hair all over it, but other than that I still haven't run into anything that I don't like yet. That's been awesome. Breakfast is to die for here. And the fruit. And man, Tricia and Darren, those pineapple breads you were saying they have all over in HongKong are all over Taiwan too. And they are SOOO delicious!! Really the food here is so good. I can't get enough of it. Me and Willes haven't had anything western since I got here.

chicken anus.. hai hao.. also, yep, my hair is that short bahahaha

pig ear...

Some crazy cool things happened last night. Willes was kind enough to let me take over the lesson when we went out finding last night. It was a major confidence booster. I straight up had a full out lesson with this random chick we walked up to on the Restoration then I invited her to baptism and she said yes, after she kept meeting with us of course. But still that was so rad. I love love being able to communicate in Chinese. The secret to languages is to have no fear of people and try to stretch yourself, even when they aren't understanding super clearly. But thats part of the fun hahah the language barrier is hilarious, though I will admit, sometimes frustrating because things like "ZhuJiao" mean both bishop and pig foot and if you don't make yourself sound angry when you say "Jiao" then you insult your bishop!! Bhahahah Chinese is so quirky it cracks me up!!! 

Guys, life is so good! Life is so fun. live it up! A highlight from this week, we were just leaving the apartment after studies riding to lunch when this random lady stops us at a crosswalk and shouts she's going to buy us bread and don't move then runs away!! so Willes and I just sat there for a second and were like wha.... hahah so this lady comes out and hands us these two delicious pastries and wishes us a good day. I yell back thank you and she turns around and throws her whole body into waving goodbye to us and smiling sooo big! That caught me so off guard and made me love life so much I went and bought two homeless guys lunch hahah. Your influence really does affect people for the better so much!! not that you have as much opportunities like this back in stg, but I encourage everyone to go out and make someones day! I decided I want to be just like that lady when I get older and just go make a bunch of random people's days. people here are so nice I honestly don't understand!

We did some service for this waiguoren (foreigner) the other day and his neighbor comes out and starts talking to us and offering us cash and what not for doing service for her neighbor hahah SUCH a nice lady! but we wouldn't take her money so she gives us stuff for lunch. just another example of how nice the taiwanese really are.

It's hilarious finding people on the street! Willes and I will pull up next to people and start talking to them in funny asian-american accents in english and they'll either say like good or hello and then just laugh because they are talking to a foreigner, which isnt very common in these parts I'm finding haha. The other hilarious thing is I do lots of dumb things and people will just look at me like "youre crazy you almost just got hit by that car" or "wow americans have no manners" and then I always just yell back at them "its all ok I'm just a waiguoren so I don't know how to be polite!" this usually makes them laugh and smile again. people are obsessed with us waiguoren here I can't even tell you how many pictures they make us take a day with them.

I'm also contacting and teaching people from dalu, or mainland China, so thats cool. I really am in China on my mission just like I had always felt I would be. This place rocks. through and through.

Love you all a ton!! miss you keep up the good work everyone is amazing!!

Jīn ZhǎngLǎo
Elder Jensen
me and this shuaige haha

the before shot of my bike

after shot she looks beast now am I right? haha

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


 Taiwan straight up rocks! First week was best week of my life hands down! Such a party. And ridiculously eventful which made it super nice and cool. I'll just give you a brief overview of all my experiences so you can get an idea of how backwards and goofy this place is. I'll start with what all I've eaten haha, maybe this will you tell you all you need to know.

A chicken's neck
Pork's blood
Fish eyeballs
Pineapple bread (which is from heaven)
A black bean pastry (thought it was a cinnamon roll...)
Duck filet
Squid chucks
ZhuaBing (almost like a breakfast burrito?)

All surprisingly good! Although the first few days it wrecked my stomach hard core hahaha! But I've made my trainer get more adventurous with the food here with me so I have him tell me what sounds the most disgusting on the menu and that's what I get hahah BUT the food is all SOOO friggin good that if this food could put weight on you I'd have already gained a 1000 lbs but luckily Chinese food goes right through you haha so no worries I've stayed the same and if anything am probably on the decline. ahhh sooo good though its ridiculous.

Anyways, as for the experiences of this week. First real day in the field was Tuesday night. I am assigned to ZhongLi which is by Taoyuan on the west coast of the Island and my trainer is Elder Willes from somewhere up north. First night we go out and Willes leaves it up to me to go approach me and you know me and approaching people haha I love talking to random people so I would just go up get their attention, stumble through some sentences, start laughing at my lack of Chinese, and then yell at Willes to come save me from tingbudonging. We set a goal to get 2 lessons in, which he said was maybe a little unrealistic considering we only scheduled an hour to do so, but, miracles happen and we got 3 and it was cool we found a golden new investigator. Then with another I played with someone's kids while tongban taught so here I am all dressed up professional looking, but doing handstands and racing little kids in this public park. And the fact that I was the only waiguoren was probably making me stand out hard core. But I went home and laughed forever at how hilarious this place is. People are so direct, super racist, and express themselves in the most quirky ways I swear!

the view from our apartment

me and tongban Willes
One night while we were eating pineapple bread on the streets me and Willes were shouting hello to everyone haha. Got a lot of Asians laughing at us and lots that wanted pictures with us (slightly awkward as a missionary...) BUT we got one guy and I yelled at him "hello! Where are you going? Do you know how to pray??" He stops and listens and we ended up having a lesson with him and he gave both the opening and closing prayer by volunteering so that was cool.

THE TRAFFIC HERE IS NUTS!! mom you would not believe how crazy fun it is riding bikes in the streets here, but I'm really glad you aren't here to see you'd have a heart attack. There's basically no laws, its straight up free for all! and there are these schools of scooter drivers everywhere, so soooo many bikes on the road. So drivers are good to watch out for bicyclists so I have not yet been hit by a car, however, I have been in a wreck. I straight WRECKED this poor woman. Hit her SOOO hard and knocked her into a car hahahaha. It's not funny but it is because I was riding down the yellow lines in the middle of a traffic jam and pedestrians are just walking everywhere in the streets so I'm coming up along this bus and the buses here have really sharp corners so this woman was walking in front of a bus right at the perfect moment that I was riding alongside it such that I had no time to react and I straight up wrecked her haha. It was like when I wrecked my jeep in the parking lot, my car didn't have a scratch but wrecked the other car hard core. Same with me I'm just standing there nothing wrong and this poor woman quickly gets up off the ground and storms off. hahahah I was in shell shock for a minute at what just happened.

We went knocking doors in the pouring rain and even though we were getting straight up drenched I was loving it. We found this guy standing outside his house so we go talk to him. Tells us he's baibai-ren or buddhist and not interested and I'm not sure what happened to me but I (loving) started yelling at this fellow that he didn't understand and our message was super important! So he starts yelling in return so his dialogue was along the lines of this:

"I am happy with my religion just like you are! I worship my ancestors not Jesus! I don't need Christianity--

What are you doing standing out there in the rain getting soaked like that, get under my shelter!!"

Me being me replies
"No I'm a "MeiGuoRen" (American) I'm not afraid of the rain!!"

(remember we're still screaming at each other)

The argument stopped after that and we were all cracking up haha I won the argument with that one and the guy actually ended up being willing to meet again! Miracles.

Last night I got chased by a rabid dog for the first time in my life and that was terrifying.

Tongban and I have this joke going on that whenever a miracle happens or something chao cool happens or really just anything good we yell at each other "TianShi Laile!!" Which translates to "Angels came!" hahah so someone at General Conference pulled out the tortilla chips from Costco and I shout with like 30 people around "TianShi Laile!!" Inside jokes are the best.

Last of all for my well-being, I have literally never been happier. I am Taiwanese. I have found my home. And my people. Besides theft, there's no crime here and everyone is so nice. And goofy. People will ask you all the time as you pass them in the streets "ChiBaole Ma?" Which means "have you eaten?" and thats their way of saying "what's going on?" hahaha cracks me up everyone is so interested in where when and what I ate last. Thats the Chinese for you. The fruit here is to die for, as is the bread. My trainer is such a stud. Favorite companion thus far, we get along super well. ZhongLi is actually a more rich area so everything is super nice.

In a nutshell, I'm at home here. And missionary work is actually really fun regardless of rejection because the Chinese really are the most hilariously different people you have ever met.

Wo zhende ai nimen!

Jīn ZhǎngLǎo
Elder Jensen

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Monday October 6

I FINALLY MADE IT TO TAIWAN!!! So those of you who thought I've been dead all this time, I got news, I am very alive and very well! Syracuse was just too happening and I never had time to email! And didn't want to make you all too jealous of Utah since you know it was the greatest mission in the world. (I'm lying.)

Well anyways, it took long enough to get us to Asia. Nearly 3 days in fact. For example we only lived about an hour of October 4. Not sure where that day went bahaha crossing the dateline gets me all confused. But in retrospect, Syracuse UT was a life changer. So many miracles I can't even begin to explain. It was literally the craziest time of my life in many aspects. And I thoroughly loved it for what it was.

Taiwan is much better though hahaha. Best thing is these people speak the same language I learned in the MTC! It's fun being able to understand just about 75% of everything. Chinese is absolutely hilarious though. These people don't express themselves in anyway like how we Americans do. Like they just say different things to describe certain things, I don't know. It's a riot though!

My temporary companion while we wait to get our assignment is Elder Johnson. It's been friggin sick. Yesterday morning we woke up and got right to it. Instead of spending an hour and a half wasting time in the showers, we just got right to the streets and contacted like 10 people. And experienced the hectic Chinese market life. But then later in the afternoon the mission leaders gave us a bunch of proselyting materials and set us loose in the Central Park of Taiwan. It was sick. We got a lot of angry people shewing us away, others flat out ignored our presence (even when we came and sat right next to them bahaha) BUT we got 4 referrals out of it on the first day. So that was a little confidence booster not going to lie. Plus I gave out a bunch of pass along cards and BOM's on our many flights to get here. Spreading the gospel is a good time!

Delivering the good book!

Yesterday was literally thee most tiring day for me that I have ever experienced in my life. I didn't sleep once on our entire ride out here, which means I was awake for nearly 36 straight hours on either a plane or a bus, but oddly enough I wasn't super tired from that at the time. And we were only given 5 hours of sleep for our first night out here, since we didn't make it to the mission home until 1 am. Then yesterday morning I was golden, stayed awake the whole day, until dinner. Then I got a full belly and was warm in my suit jacket and passed out cold for our Sunday night fireside bahahaha. Didn't catch a word out of it all.

Taiwan is straight up wet. And friggin hot. You don't dry off. It's just a given. And honestly kind of a fun one because you basically don't even need to dry off after you shower, really not much point of trying either hahaha most elders are saying they aren't quite used to it yet but I'm loving it!! Back at home I would just wallow around in my sweat all day though so I was already living this sweaty life before I got here! As gross as that sounds...

But as for the really funny stuff, just watching people out here is hilarious. This place could not get anymore foreign. There's these huge crowds of people everywhere just doing their Taichi routines in the park, exhaling so loud and so forcefully you'd think they're trying to breathe fire! Can't wait to be doing that alongside them during my P-days.

So I don't have a trainer or an area as of yet, our orientation is three days long here. But tomorrow night (don't ask me when that is back home, time change is screwing with me hard core) I'll for sure be all settled in and finally getting to work. So excited it's honestly hard to sleep at night. This place is everything I could have asked for. Love it to death.

Will provide more detail later...sorry not much time today. But hope you keep smiling big because the world is a beautiful place!

Can't beat the dragonfruit here is to die for!
Jīn ZhǎngLǎo
Elder Jensen

Friday, October 3, 2014

Amazing last story and I'm off!

also. I'll tell you the highlight of the week. last Friday we went to dinner at a families home and when we got there, we met this Austrian couple who only spoke German who were staying with this family for a while. I guess the husband of the family found them on his mission and baptized them. but anyways, they were very spiritual people. very kind. but we didn't understand a word each other was saying. so that was fun hahaha. but she told the husband who then translated for us that she wanted to tell us a story about why alcohol and drugs are bad for you. she starts speaking and doesn't really stop for the husband to translate for us so he just doesn't and sits quietly and listens. but you know, he didn't even have to translate. I don't speak a WICK of German. but I completely understood her story. and was picturing it all in my head as she was going. cliche as it sounds I even forgot she wasn't speaking my language during the story haha. but at the end after having comprehended it all she still hadn't told us what became of the man the story was about. so I asked her. and she gave me that confused look and I was like WOAH! that's right you don't speak English! so the husband asked for me and then she proceeded and I caught most of that as well. but I was literally blown away. one because it was a powerful story of love and charity. but two because when the freak have I ever been able to fully comprehend a story that's in German? a language I only know like 10 words in, max haha. the gift of the interpreting of tongues took on a whole new meaning for me there. it was the coolest thing after to realize what had just happened.

me and Arrington (Ogden)

departing picture with Pres Hiers

4 weeks late but I am on my way!

12 hour flight Los Angeles to Tokyo boarding now then on to Taipei

Peace out!