Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 28, 2015

I'm really excited. Not about my past week. But about this coming week. We have two baptisms, Brother Wang and Brother Xu. In the mountains!!! And I'm so stoked. I miss being able to go to the mountains whenever I wanted to. Also today is our temple day, hence on Wednesday.

This past week was actually packed of awesome progression in terms of our investigators. We have some awesome ones right now. I would like to take credit for how cool they are, but really it is all them. Bet you wouldn't have guessed that one coming.

The mission life has been a thousand times easier since they combined mine and Elder King's former areas. We have things happening! And I'm not stressed everyday about having no work anymore.

But I decided one thing. Although it sucks to be in really hard areas and face rejection from everyone including their dogs, all of my best mission stories thus far have all been in SiYuan, a major devil of an area. And looking back on this past week where things are going really well in DanFeng, although it was exciting and awesome for us, nothing hilarious happened. So, perhaps I miss those hardships because they honestly brought some of my favorite memories.

One story from this past week though. We are the streets contacting people. Its 100 degrees. At this point I'm considering which would be the least painful, passing out in the heat, or drowning in my sweat. But as we are walking up to a corner, I notice this kid pretty far away from us crossing the road. I don't know if it was the Spirit or just crazy impulse, but I yell out "Hey, stop!" and sprint over to him. If I were him I would've ran away haha, having a crazy white kid running after you must've been a fun sight for him. I get up to him panting and say, "Sorry, I just really want to tell you a story," (something I have never said before on the street) and then proceed to catch my breath a bit. Putting myself in his shoes, such a funny image! He actually stops and starts talking to us. We start sharing a bit of the first lesson with him. Somewhere in there I ask him why he didn't run away. He says, "I was about to, but then you said you had a story to tell me. And I really love hearing stories. So I thought I would listen for a second." I guess stuff like this actually happens sometimes.. Cool stuff.

I will have a lot more to tell you next week.

our mountain view on a clear morning

look close and you can see Taipei 101


finally got around to celebrating the big 20!

check out these devil spiders we have crawling around here

Taiwan is so humid, you can see it.....

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


July 19, 2015

The air has been so poor lately here. Apparently Taiwan occasionally gets winds that carry over some of the crap from Mainland China. And it just takes Taiwanese skies over. Wow. My snot and eye bugars have been so black lately its disgusting.

One particularly hot day here, i think Friday, we went out contacting in the heat for a while. I didn't realize how tired I was until I stopped walking to make a phone call. Then I realized that I was maybe not standing on both my feet anymore. It was a weird sensation. So I got myself a shaved ice and sat down for a few minutes. You wouldn't believe the delicious flavors I got. Green bean, tapioca pearls, grass jelly, and sweet and condensed milk. No one judge that until you try it. It is DANG tasty.

We have been walking down the streets many times when drunk aborigines lean out the window and call out to us "ZhangLao!" (meaning "Elders") That's always fun.

We have some progress amongst our LA's and Investigators. Perhaps I said this in last week's, but again, as a missionary it was good for you to see progress and be busy. I almost forgot what that is like during my time as a SiYuan elder. 

We occasionally still hike the mountain behind our house in the mornings for exercise. We have become part of the regulars. People know us. That is fun.

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this yet, but we randomly found out we have to move before the transfer is up. Our apartment's contract is expiring. It's actually a fun story as my companion forgot the keys walking out the door and ending up finding out that we were getting kicked out in a matter of weeks. Miracles take many different shapes and forms, including locking yourself out of your apartment occasionally.

Yesterday in Gospel Principles class, we heard the story of the little boy and the apple tree again. It really moved me as it has taken on all sorts of meaning lately as a missionary.

There was once a little boy who loved to play on a hill near an apple tree. The apple tree loved watching the little boy come out in the heat of the day and his little heart out. One day after playing hard, the little boy came to the apple tree and said "I have played all day, and now I am so tired!" The apple tree lovingly said, "Come, sit in my shade." And the apple tree was so happy.

The boy went away for a while and the apple tree began to miss seeing that little boy. One day, the boy came back, however, he had now grown into a young man. The young man said to the tree, "I'm almost to the age of going to school, but I have no money to do so." The apple tree lovingly replied, "Come, climb up and pluck all the apples off my many branches and sell them so you can have money to go to school." The young man did so and the apple tree was happy.

The young man went away for a time again and the apple tree began to miss him again. One day, the young man came back, however, he was a grown man now. The man said to the tree, "I have gone off to school, however, I want to get married now and I don't have a house." The apple tree lovingly said, "Come, cut down all my thick and strong branches and use them to build yourself a house." The man did so and the apple tree was happy.

The man went away for a time again and the apple tree began to miss him again. One day, the man came back to the tree and told it, "I have got married and a have raised my family. However, now I'm retired and I want to go see the world, but I don't have a boat." The apple tree lovingly said, "Come, cut down my trunk and use it to carve out a boat for yourself." The man did so and the apple tree was happy.

The man left and did not return for a very long time, and again, the apple tree began to miss him very much. One day, the man came back, except he had aged during his travels and became an old man. The old man said to the tree, "I have now seen the whole world. My life is full." The apple tree was so very happy to hear this, however, it began to be somewhat sad as it realized it no longer had anything to give to the man. It told the old man, "I am so happy for you, but I am so sorry, I have nothing more that I can give to you." The old man smiled and said, "All I want now is to just rest." The apple tree rejoiced and told him, "Come, sit on my stump and rest with me." The old man did so and they were both happy together.

Pursuing happiness is best achieved by giving. Such common sayings like this are hard for me to truly comprehend it until I actually experience it a little. This apple tree is still much more virtuous than I am, but perhaps as my days start to come to an end, I can be happy with all the service I have offered as well.

That is my goal.

Love you all. 

Taipei art

still impressive

sometimes I still have those moments where I think "I wonder what would happen if I throw a penny from off the top.."


July 12, 2015

I first turned 20 years old on Tuesday. Then I turned 1 year old on Thursday. Friday was my first Typhoon. A year from today is my release date.


a break in the rain

typhoon action

Elder King and Elder Jensen working in a typhoon

Lots of crazy dates.

Every other missionary always mentions how hot it is here, so I'll join on the bandwagon and complain about how hot it really is here lately. Perhaps the main reason Taiwan feels so much hotter than Vegas is because I'm out on a bike in the heat of the day in dress slacks. I guess it just makes sense right?

As far as missionary work goes, things are getting better. I actually have investigators to teach now, so that is something for sure. And little miracles in between. I'm not sure if I had mentioned this in previous emails, but while in Siyuan with Elder Miner, we only had really one person who we would regularly meet with. He was a 72 yrold member who was suffering from colon cancer. It got really intense for a while and they thought his time had finally come. We visited him every week for months so this was hard on me. However, he got some treatment and 洪 (hong2) DX told me that it was because of the support from us missionaries and the ward members that he was able to pull through it and get back on top of his condition. I am so grateful I had the chance to be there for this man during his time of need.

On Tuesday for my birthday, a bunch of members brought a cake and pizza to celebrate with me. Of course they had to bring shaving cream as well, but it was still lots of fun nonetheless. 

shaving cream attack coming

the results

Thursday we went to Ikea and ate salmon to celebrate the year-mark. That was tasty.

Then fateful Friday hit. Typhoon day. 8am I get a call that missionaries were to stay inside all day and clean the apartment. The rain gets intense. 11am I get another call that they actually changed their minds and we were to still go out in the rain. We had plans to go to a far part of our area called 林口 which is up a mountain. We decided we would maybe get this kind of experience once, so we biked up a 89 degree mountain for an hour in the pouring rain. We didn't have anything happen that day. But life is sometimes just about the experiences isn't it? I won't forget that one, thats for sure.

Yesterday was a special day for me. Remind me to read you my journal entry when I get home next year and I'll tell you about it.

Love you all

Sunday, July 12, 2015


July 5, 2015

On my front of the battlefield this week, there have been some good things happening. People on the street are nice to us in the Danfeng area, much unlike my old Siyuan area. It is a bit of a relief to see some smiles and have some people interested in us every once in a while.

We ran into a recent member from Oregon on the street that had just been released from duty in Afghanistan. That was lots of fun talking with him about the war effort, something I haven't heard much about for a very long time. Talking to a white person not wearing a shirt and tie is also something that hasn't happened for a very long time..

White people are semi starting to scare me. Not that they are scary or threatening, but being so used to only seeing Asians makes me a little nervous around the "outsiders". Sometimes I forget who I am in all of this.

We have some awesome people we are working with here in Danfeng at the current moment. I think I forgot what it was like to have investigators there for a while in Siyuan.

President Jergensen officially took over the reigns from President Day this week. He seems very composed and he is the most caring man. I am very excited to work under him for the remaining year. The church has done a good job with choosing missions presidents in Taiwan for the past while.

However, the biggest thing for me this week was not the miracles that occurred on my half of the world, but back at home. I love my family. How lucky I am to be a Jensen/Ott. How lucky I am to have the parents I do. My mom is a survivor. I would not be able to go through her same pain and survive. She is more of a man than I'll ever be ;-) Much more tough than me. Thank you mother. I love you.

Heavenly Father is merciful. It is true that He won't give us more than we can bear. For that I am also grateful.

Happy Independence Day. Hope you all enjoyed the fireworks.


June 29, 2015

This past week was like any other. Ups and downs. But one fabulous thing happened this morning. I got a birthday package from my beautiful sister and it had my favorite Costco Mangoes in it. What could be better? 

My area was combined and I said goodbye to my son, Elder Miner. So I'm now over 3 cities and 2 wards with Elder King. Exciting stuff.

President Day is out of here in two days, then comes President Jergensen. That will be a fun transition. Lots of exciting dates and events coming up.

I got a new camera. Ikea is still in my area.

How's that for an update?

Have a good one this week.

of course this is the only one they took with my camera.  I love Elder Huntsman and I love hotpot.

this man made all the difference for me.

i found out these pictures actually still do exist.