Sunday, July 12, 2015

Editor's Note:  Folks this is Travis' last email/epistle from his mission, and hence the last post we will add to this blog, unless we download pictures from the airport Tuesday night :)  Thank you to every one who has followed the blog over the last 24 months.  It has definitely been an amazing adventure for him, and for us.  We should find out tonight (12 July 15) what the ward boundary changes are and where and when Travis will be speaking after he comes home.

Thanks again for the views, prayers and support of Elder TJorg!

So Sister Ballard wanted me to write this up and send it to the
mission office... And I am sending it to you guys too! 
Elder Mike G Cooper- September 9th 2013 - Deceber 2nd 2013 - Beaverton West
- Elder Cooper instilled a good work ethic in me. Neither of us really
knew what we were doing, but we didn't let that stop us from working
Elder Tyler Morrison - December 2nd 2013- February 24th 2014 - Beaverton West
- My companionship with Elder Morrison was one of those that I learned
more from the things that went wrong than the things that went right.
We didn't get along very well and the two biggest factors were A) my
pride and B) the fact that we didn't ever talk through our problems.
Not talking about things usually doesn't help them go away.
Elder Austin Goff- February 24th 2014 - April 7th 2014 - Milwaukie
- Elder Goff is one of the best examples of having a good attitude in
life that I have ever met. He always does his best to be upbeat and
happy even when your area is hard and its cold and rainy outside,
Elder Goff was happy to be working.
Elder Mathew Warenski - April 7th 2014 - June 23rd 2014 - Milwaukie
 - I love Elder Warenski. When we first got put together, I wasn't
sure that I would, he reminded me a lot of Elder Morrison. But I made
the decision after Elder Morrison that I'd never have a bad
companionship due to lack of effort on my part again. So I decided
going into that companionship that I was just going to love Elder
Warenski and do all that I could to help us get along, and he is one
of my best friends for life now.
Elder Gerardo Soriano - June 23rd 2014 - September 22nd 2014 - Milwaukie
 - Elder Soriano is the best example of the pure love of Christ that I
have ever met in my life. He loves everybody, and insists that you
love them too. When I was with Elder Soriano it really helped me to
look outside myself and realize that there are other people and they
have other ideas than I do, and sometime's it's not all about me.
Elder David Peterson - September 22nd 2014 - November 3rd 2014 - Evergreen
 - Elder Peterson was great about being sincere with people, and
helping members understand the vision of and purpose behind missionary
work. We whitewashed into Evergreen, went to work, and saw miracles
Elder Waylon Jessen - November 3rd 2014 - December 15th 2014 - Evergreen
 - Elder Jessen and I got along well as friends but clashed very
frequently as companions. We had different views of missionary work
and often butted heads because of it. One day, after a particularly
heated debate, he told me that before the mission, it was people with
attitudes like mine that had made him not like the church. That was a
profound moment for me. There I was trying to help other people come
unto Jesus Christ, and yet I couldn't even do that in my own
companionship. At that point being a good companion took on a whole
new meaning to me. Was it still important to help my companion be a
good missionary? Yes. But how I went about doing that was equally as
important as what I was trying to do.
Elder Gaven Mann December 15th 2014 - January 22nd 2015 - Tigard
 - With Elder Mann I learned to trust in the Lord about how He does
things. Elder Mann and I got along really well, we were like brothers
most of the time. We told each other all of our stories and a lot of
the ones that he told me he said I was the first companion he had told
them to. Towards the end of that transfer, he told me he needed to
meet with President, and subsequently ended up going home. After he
went home, it came to my attention that he had been breaking a lot of
rules that I didn't even know about, which partially opened my vision
to some of the other reasons that he went home. A lot of them were
things that other missionaries knew about, that no one told me about,
and if I had known about them I would have tried to help him with
them. But that would have affected our friendship, and in the end a
good friend can do more for someone than anyone else can.
Elder Marshall Tuten and Elder Dakota Bair January 22nd 2015 - January 26th 2015
- Being with Elders Tuten and Bair was a good little recharge for me.
They are both very diligent missionaries and for the few days that I
was with them I kind of just fed off of their energy.
Elder Parker Engman January 26th 2015 - March 9th 2015
- With Elder Engman I saw from both sides of the spectrum how attitude
really is one of those small things that makes a big difference. While
he was my companion I sprained my ankle really bad and had to take a
few days off. My first day that I was allowed to be back, my ankle
still REALLY hurt to walk on. I could have asked for another day off,
but I knew that if I did that, my heart wouldn't really be in it for
the right reasons.
Elder Dakota Bair - March 9th 2015 - April 20th 2015
 - Elder Bair really showed me the value of doing the little things
right all of the time, of just teaching simply and planning thoroughly
and being obedient. We saw a lot of cool things happen together.
Elder Gregory Mayer - April 20th 2015 - July 13th 2015
- Elder Mayer and I worked harder than I would say that I've worked
with anyone else my whole mission. We got along great but also had a
desire to help people. We saw a lot of cool miracles about finding
people. Things happened that no one but God could have lined it up.
And yet even after praying to be able to teach someone who was in the
middle of an addiction and needed the Gospel to make it out, and
finding someone who had been struggling with a pornography addiction
for 5 years, or praying on my birthday that God would lead us to
someone who would be baptized, and the only person that we talked to
that day was someone who told us that she knew God had sent us to her,
and the date we felt like giving her was her birthday, which she
graciously accepted, or praying to find someone who really just needed
to hear our message, and finding someone who did With all of those cool experiences, try
as hard as we could, we couldn't go anywhere with them. It gave us a
unique perspective on enduring to the end because things were going
well, but not the way we had hoped.
 - President Jeffrey R. Morby.
President Morby taught me a lot about the importance of being a good companion, of helping others increase their faith in Christ. Looking back, I can see that he did that by giving me companions that helped me a lot, even when at the time I thought that I was too prideful to be helped. And then for his last act as my Mission President, he turned the tables on me and gave me the chance to be a good companion for somebody who needed it. President Craig B. Ballard.
President Ballard taught me the most about the importance of personal conversion and living the Gospel every day. Through his emails, through trainings that he gave, always after learning from him I came away with a better realization that sometimes at the end of the day, our testimonies are all that will keep us going. That feeling was often accompanied by the desire to be continually strengthening my conversion so that I can be ready when the storm hits and constantly be helping those around me. MIRACLES THAT STAND OUT TO ME 1. The baptism of Eric Salazar.
When I first came out on my mission, it was a spur of the moment type decision, so I probably wasn't as prepared as I should have been, but I knew, and I still know, that I was where I was, when I was, for a reason. In my first area, my trainer and I practically whitewashed it. My trained had only been out for 3 months longer than me so neither of us really knew Spanish very well, let alone how to do missionary work. But we did work hard, and as we did so we met a young man by the name of Eric Salazar. All three of us quickly became friends and after a lot of prayers and fasting, he was baptized on my last Sunday with my trainer. It stands at a testimony to me that God has a plan for each of us and he knows what He is doing. 2. The baptism of Eric's parents and sister.
Initially when we started working with Eric, no one in his family wanted anything to do with us. We usually had to teach him at a time when no one else was home. So when he made the decision to be baptized, and told his parents about it, initially there was some friction, and they said no. I fasted that day that God would soften Eric's parents' hearts, and the next day they accepted his decision to be baptized. They came to the baptism, and three weeks later they were baptized. A few weeks after that, so was his younger sister. 3. The baptism of Karla Salazar.
My second area, Milwaukie, was a very trying time for me. I went from seeing a lot of success in my greenie area to a hard area where the work I put in was not always equivalent to what I got out. I was there for 7 and a half months. After my third transfer there I thought for sure that I was going to leave. But when transfer calls came, I found out that I was training and staying, and I was not excited at all. That two second period when I heard Elder Bair tell me "Elder Jorgensen, you're staying," was probably the hardest two seconds of my life. I felt broken. The next thing we had on the plans that day was to go see one of the few members that we had in our area, her name is Sister Guerrero, and she is one of the sweetest old grandmas that I have ever met. She has been through a lot of hard times in her life. She told us a story about how her husband was abusive and she couldn't take it anymore, so she was praying hard for help to leave him. She said she felt a hand on her shoulder, and looked up, and saw someone dressed in white standing above her. That personage told her that her husband is important to God, and she was the only one who could help bring him back. So she endured 10 more years of that relationship, and just before he died, he had a change of heart. The reason I share that story is because I had a very strong spiritual impression as I sat there listening that there was a reason that I was still in Milwaukie. Soon thereafter one of our investigators started progressing, and before I left she was baptized. 4. Michael Plummer. One day Elder Soriano and I went to go be translators at a dentist's office for one of our investigators. The appointment was in the southeast part of Portland, in a part of our area that we didn't venture very frequently We finished at about 10 AM, and wanted to hurry and get back home so that we could finish our studies and get out working. As we were walking back towards our car, I had a very strong impression that we needed to stick around for a little bit. I had been paying close attention to our surroundings the whole time and never saw anything that gave me hopes of finding hispanics in the area. With that, we got in our car and started to drive home. We didn't make it two blocks before I once again felt like we needed to go back to where we were. I looked around desperately, trying to see some clue or glimmer of hope as to why we still felt like staying where we were. Although I searched with scrutiny, nothing called my attention, and the more that nothing called my attention, the stronger the prompting became. So I looked at Elder Soriano and told him, "I don't know why I feel like this, but we are going back." I found a spot to turn the car around, and drove back to where we had parked the first time. As we got out I noticed a Safeway off to the left, and I decided I was in the mood to preach to captive audiences. Before we even made it to the door, a tall, caucasian gentleman in ragged jean shorts, a threadbare grey shirt, with a white beard covering his face stopped us politely asked us if we believed in Jesus Christ. He introduced himself as Michael Plummer. That is one of only 2 times my whole mission that someone not of our faith has approached me in a non combative manner to learn more about what we believe. As we got talking, he told us that he had been bed ridden for 25 years, had just barely started walking a few months ago, and that in a few weeks he was being evicted from his home and needed help moving. It took us a full week, but we helped the man pack up his truck and get on his way to California. I lived the Ammon experience, and we also got to teach him. He told us that the first time he saw us, he just felt like talking to us, he said we had a glow about us. Which is interesting, because remembering that experience what he saw and how I felt were two very different perspectives. 3 POIGNANT SCRIPTURES Alma 31:5. This scripture has really helped me understand the importance of scripture study. As we study the scriptures we are enlightened as to how we need to change and what we can do to become closer to Christ. Mosiah 24:13-15. I love that the first thing the Lord said to them was "lift up your heads." I love that, because it shows that we still need to have confidence in God even when we are going through trials. And it also opened my eyes as to how the enabling power of the Atonement. D&C 19:18. Elder Maxwell explained this scripture and said "Not shrinking is more important than surviving." In my mission I found that quote very applicable to missionary work. It is easy to "survive" in an area without necessarily fulfilling our purpose. The same principle applies in the Gospel and in our callings. Shrinking from a calling or position and magnifying it are opposite things. A CHANGED PERSPECTIVE OF THE ATONEMENT I'll be pretty honest and say that before my mission I didn't really even know what the Atonement was.

It wasn't until I was going out with the missionaries one day and heard them teach very simply that the Atonement is A) Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane B) Christ's crucifixion on the cross and C) Christ's resurrection. So I thought I knew it from there. But it turns out I was only brushing the surface. Later on, through scripture study, I began to understand how it works. I began to understand that it was more than Christ just suffering for our sins, He suffered through everything we could ever imagine, and He can strengthen us through those experiences.
And I've just had simple, yet profound experiences my entire mission that have shown me why that is important. On days when we feel like we don't know where we are headed or what we are doing and the burdens on our backs are so heavy that we can't take another step without some divine means of aid, or so we think, until we take another step because Christ matches us step for step as we continue.
Or moments when we feel that we are the hardest workers, yet the least recognized or known, and all we want is a little attention from one of our peers, until we realize that Christ was human too, He knew what it was like to want some attention for the things that He did. But He gave all of the glory to the Father because in the end He knew what His priority was. In the end, the Atonement will never be able to be fully understood, yet even small fractions of understanding can bless our lives every day. The Atonement is Christ's greatest teaching, and as we follow His teaching we reconcile ourselves with Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment