Saturday, June 7, 2014

Always Remember

Always Remember
Shared from a Missionary Mother's Perspective
 Laura Jensen, Missionary Mother of Elder Zach Jensen


On June 19, 2013 Elder Zach Jensen opened his mission call.  A mission call that was foreordained and received by revelation from modern day prophets. Not one single person guessed where Elder Jensen would be serving for the next two years, only the Lord knew. Dear Elder Jensen: "You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Arizona Phoenix Mission." 


Elder Jensen knew right away that  Phoenix was the mission for him, he received confirmation after confirmation!  We only had 6 weeks before he entered the MTC on July 31.

Trainer - Elder Rigby


Elder Jensen loved his first area, the North Mountain Ward in North Phoenix.  He loved the members, the families, his investigators, and his companions, Elder Rigby and Elder McFarland, with all of his heart.  At Six months, we all thought for sure it was transfer time, but the Lord had a different plan.





Gilbert Open House - Day before auto accident
With Elder McFarland
On the evening of February 13 I had fallen asleep while watching the Winter Olympics.  The phone rang and I looked at the caller ID “Phoenix, AZ.”  My heart skipped a beat, there was only one person I knew in Phoenix and that was my Elder Jensen.  The phone call was from an ER doctor and he was trying to explain to me that Elder Jensen had been in a serious auto accident.  I immediately went into shock and denial.  I actually argued with the ER doctor that, “Elder Jensen  doesn't drive; he is on a bike mission.”  Then I remembered they had driven to the Gilbert Temple Open House, but that had been the day before, so I asked the doctor if they had been driving to Gilbert and he said, “No.”  The ER doctor then explained that Elder Jensen had two skull fractures, frontal and temporal, and that he had suffered an epidermal hematoma and that emergency surgery would most likely be necessary to remove the blood clot that was placing pressure on his brain.  At this point I was seriously in shock and the doctor could no longer communicate with me so he handed the phone to dear Sister Taylor, wife to President Taylor.  Sister Taylor explained that President Taylor was getting ready to give Elder Jensen a blessing and that Elder Jensen was coherent and she let me say a quick “I love you” to my son.  Sister Taylor and I exchanged cell phone numbers and she said she would txt me after his blessing.  I naturally and automatically went into meltdown and fear mode with questions racing through my exploding brain, “How was I going to survive this nightmare?  I've never been away from my children when they were sick, let alone an auto accident!  I’m not with him!  I’m not with him! I’m not with him! He doesn't have his mom and dad with him!  How am I going to be able to wait and wait and wait and wait for updates?  Will he be able to stay and continue serving the Phoenix people that he loves with all of his heart?  Will he be sent home? Will I be strong enough for him?”

Priesthood Blessings
President Taylor and Elder Rodgers gave Elder Jensen a beautiful blessing that night.  At almost the same time, I received my own priesthood blessing of peace and comfort from my husband and my bishop.  My heart and mind calmed down from racing and the power of my priesthood blessing immediately took effect.  Sister Taylor shared that Elder Jensen was blessed and promised with a full and quick recovery.  I have always been present for every single priesthood blessing for my two children.   Even though I was in Utah and my son was in Phoenix, I still felt the power and peace of his priesthood blessing with all of my heart.  I was no longer in shock and we started listing our blessings; our son was alive and talking, the other missionary who was on splits with our son, Elder Linkogle, was not critically injured – he suffered a concussion with short term memory loss, the other drivers were not injured, and most of all our Elder was promised with a full and quick recovery.  President and Sister Taylor were spending the night with our son in ICU.  We did not know any details of the cause of the auto accident that night and were hoping that surgery would not be necessary.

Valentine’s Day & Surgery
After reading my son’s patriarchal blessing & crying myself to sleep, Sister Taylor sent me updates throughout the night.  Her updates were always positive and looking back now, her positive reassurances really helped me to remain as calm as possible.“He’s doing great, remembers everything, which is incredible, had a beautiful blessing!” Love Sis Taylor.  “Elder Jensen is doing very well.  His midnight scan showed bleeding still, which is normal.  The one at 7 am will be more critical.  Will keep you posted” Love Sis. Taylor.  
                                                        
After a restless night, I awoke to the most beautiful tender mercy.  I had received a message from a member of the Phoenix North Mountain Ward, “Sister Jensen, my name is Tim Gooch, and I am in the ward Elder Jensen is serving in. Right now I am sitting with him in his hospital room, and I want to let you know that he is doing well. He was coherent when I arrived so we had a chance to chat, but he has dozed off now. He is a wonderful young man, and it's a pleasure to have him here. He dozed off, and as I sit here, I considered leaving, but I didn't want to leave him alone and without a companion, but the impression came over me that he is not alone here, and he is being watched over, and has other capable "companions" standing watch as well. Your son is genuine, he loves the people, and they feel that and respond to him. What a blessing it is to witness The Lord work through his worthy and effective servants, of which your son is, to carry out His purposes through the small daily miracles that may get overlooked by the world, but personally crafted for the people your son serves. Thank you for raising this young man who is an example to my young boys.”  I truly believe that Heavenly Father sends comfort through others and I would be receiving a lot of comfort from Arizona angels. 

Receiving this 1st picture of Elder Jensen from Sister Taylor 
was a huge tender mercy, we were imagining so much more.
Elder Jensen looked so good - but the injury was inside. 
As a family and extended family we began our family fast and prayer for our Elder Jensen.  We still didn’t know any details of the accident or if surgery would be necessary. We were praying that the bleeding would stop and that surgery would not be necessary.  So I decided to call the mission office, and spoke with Elder Rogers who happened to be over all of the vehicles in the Phoenix Mission and also a retired policeman.  He explained that Elder Jensen and Elder Linkogle had been on splits because both of their companions were not feeling well and were unable to leave their apartment.
This was the busy street that
they were trying to left on.
 
 
Since Elder Jensen was the designated driver, he was driving the Spanish speaking Elder’s car to the Spanish Elder’s area.  The accident happened right as they exited their apartment complex on to 7th Street.   After Elder Jensen looked left and right while turning left on 7th and attempting to crossing 4 lanes of heavy traffic with no stop light, they were first t-boned on the driver’s side by a Nissan Frontier that they did not see due to the hill on the left. I didn't realize until I received the police report that a Nissan Frontier is a mid-size truck.  This collision caused their Toyota Corolla to spin three times, and then getting broadsided again on the passenger side by a 3/4 ton pickup truck before landing in a ravine next to the road.  The police officer on the scene explained that the missionary’s Toyota Corolla was totaled and that these 2 young men shouldn't have been able to walk away from the accident.  So now we knew that their accident had been more serious than what we had imagined and that it was a miracle they were even alive. 
There is a hill on the left & difficult to see
on coming traffic
.
                                                      

Sister Taylor explained, “I know that these Elders had angels bearing them up at the scene of the accident and that all the right people were in place to care for them that night and during their stay.  There are not that many LDS people in Phoenix that the odds would have an LDS Doctor, 2 LDS nurses and an LDS EMT from the ward that Elder Jensen is serving in right there helping our Elders.” 
  
                                                                                                                    



The first response team was led by a member in Elder Jensen’s ward, Brother Wayde Kline, who recognized Elder Jensen right away.  Brother Kline found the Elder’s cell phone and let a message for President and Sister Taylor to meet them at John C. Lincoln Hospital.  When Elder Jensen did not recognize Brother Kline, he knew that Elder Jensen had a closed head injury. 

The Lord was in charge that night, from the very beginning.  Through his infinite power, he orchestrated the evening of the accident and the days to follow.  It was not a coincidence that Brother Kline was the captain of the emergency response team and first on the scene to call the Elder’s mission president. 

Weeks later - this is Elder Linkogle walking down
the ravine where their car ended up.
It was not a coincidence that the ER doctor was LDS along with the other LDS nurses.  It also was not a coincidence that Elder Jensen was taken to John C. Lincoln Hospital.  Elder Jensen along with his companions had been called on many times to offer blessings to patients at this hospital; many of the medical staff recognized him from his service at the hospital.

On Valentine’s morning, the neurosurgeon determined the blood clot in Elder Jensen’s skull was increasing in size and placing too much pressure on his brain.  The neurosurgeon actually couldn’t believe that Elder Jensen wasn’t in more pain due to the size of the clot.  Brain surgery would be required to remove the clot and to cauterize the bleeding around his brain.  We soon realized that surgery was a huge blessing, many people pass away or suffer from a stroke from undetected blood clots that place pressure on their brains.  It also was not a coincidence that the best neurosurgeon at John C. Lincoln Hospital hadn’t left yet for his planned vacation for President’s weekend but agreed to stay for Elder Jensen’s surgery.   On his way to surgery, Elder Jensen wished all the medical staff, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”   Elder Jensen had his head shaved prior to brain surgery to remove his blood clot and received 25 staples during the surgery.  This is what he wrote later, “The nurse asked if I wanted half of my head shaved, or all of it. I told them to take it all off. In fact, I remember really needing a haircut because my hair was getting long. So this was the perfect opportunity!”  
                             
Meanwhile, Elder Linkogle recovered from his concussion and memory loss, and was released from the hospital on Valentine’s Day.  Sister Taylor explained, “Elder Linkogle’s brain was jostled so seriously that he could not remember anything that he had just talked about seconds earlier.  His long term memory was fine, but he had no idea what had happened or how anything was really going.  We teased Elder Linkogle about his memory. The first night when he kept asking us the same questions over and over, we would just smile and tell him ‘It's all OK. ‘ What was sweet was that he was so concerned about everyone else!  He constantly asked if there were other injuries in the other cars...and how Elder Jensen was doing.  Really, he only cared about others! Elder Rodgers finally wrote on a cup ‘IT'S ALL OK.’



Elder Linkogle with his "It's All Ok" cup 
with his companion Elder Sharon (blond)
Elder McFarland - Elder Jensen's Comp




       Obedience
 
On Valentine’s morning President Taylor requested that we as parents not travel to Phoenix to be with Elder Jensen.  We had already received our answer from Elder Jensen’s priesthood blessing – our son would be blessed with a full and quick recovery.  We knew we had to be supportive of our son’s mission president and be obedient.  By being obedient, we would be blessed and more importantly, Elder Jensen would be blessed.  In looking back, I was prepared as a mother for this difficult time by learning about two different groups of missionary parents who are my heroes.  The first being the parents of the Saratov Russian Missionaries, I was greatly impacted by their faith and their example by placing all of their trust in the hands of their Heavenly Father when their sons had been kidnapped.  The second being the parents of the Philippine Tacloban missionaries during the typhoon disaster, where so many missionaries were displaced  for days.  My Bishop revisited this typhoon tragedy in a talk that he gave the Sunday before Elder Jensen’s accident. He specifically talked about how these 
After surgery pictures sent by a member,
were very difficult.  However, without these
 pictures we wouldn't have understood the
following: The small indent is where the
 small piece of skull was removed, to get to
 the blood clot.  The tubing was like a
 suction that caused the small indent.  Once
the tubing was removed, the small indent
 filled in.  This area is a soft spot until  the
skull reattaches, which can take up to a year.
 
missionaries handled their trial on their own with only each other, with the help of their Heavenly Father, and without their parents being right there with them.  I know that Bishop Ward was inspired to give his talk for me so that I could remember the obedient and faithful example of other missionary parents. I knew that Elder Jensen would never be kidnapped in Phoenix and I knew that he would never experience a typhoon in Arizona.  However, I have learned that our missionaries face many other difficult situations and we as parents need to be prepared to be faithful and strong for them.   In the beginning, we didn’t know if we would be able to be obedient by not traveling to Phoenix to be with Elder Jensen. Many family members and friends did not agree with our decision in staying home and offered to pay for our air fare, which we were grateful. However, if we had chosen to travel to Phoenix, we would have denied our testimonies of the power of the priesthood.  We had to take a giant leap of faith and let our Phoenix friends in the gospel love and serve our son. We only felt out of control for a short period of time, because the flood of tender mercies soon replaced our fears. We were able to go to sleep with hearts full of gratitude & wake up with hearts full of hope.

24 staples and the 25th was added
after the tubing was taken out
.




Also, President and Sister Taylor were truly our son’s dad and mom away from home.  They loved him through this difficult time, like he was one of their own sons.  The Taylors will always have a special place in our hearts.  The auto accident took place right during their Zone Conference week.  So with very little sleep they went back and forth from Zone Conferences to visiting Elder Jensen and Elder Linkogle.  We were also blessed to have family close by in Gilbert.  Elder Jensen’s aunt and uncle were given permission to visit before and after surgery.     

After surgery, Elder Jensen was able to call home and talk with all of us, he sounded upbeat but exhausted. Elder Jensen was even joking with us that he had broken two mission rules, having his head shaved for surgery and having facial hair.


Missionary Work and the Pure Love of Christ
Brother & Sister Havea from North Mountain Ward
Elder Jensen loves the Haveas!
 
We soon received confirmation that the Lord’s plan is always the best plan and the best plan was not for Elder Jensen’s mom and dad to be in the way of missionary work that still took place for 6 days in his ICU room. Elder Jensen shared the gospel with every nurse and hospital staff that he came in contact with. Later Elder Jensen wrote, “I was still a missionary in ICU and invited all of the medical staff to go to Mormon.org and learn more about our faith. Even a couple of them seemed really interested. So I am glad to say that I used my time to the 'best' as I could while in the hospital doing missionary work.” As a missionary, he shared his spiritual experiences from his accident with his visitors.  His ICU room became a spiritual and sacred haven with angels attending. Elder Jensen wrote, "Anyone that comes by and visits can feel the presents of angels that are in my room." Elder Jensen remembered many details of his accident and just before the first car hit them he had a sacred moment, he calls his “White Out.”

Sister Hickman from Buckeye Arizona,
The Hickmans lived down the street from us in Utah and
moved to Buckeye last summer.
We will always connect Elder Jensen’s accident with charity, the pure love of Christ.The North Mountain Ward served and loved our Elder like he was one of their very own. We will always remember brothers and sisters in the gospel in Phoenix who adjusted their schedules in this busy world and made the time to visit and take care of Elder Jensen’s needs.  We simply couldn't have made it without knowing he had family in the gospel away from home.  Receiving email, text, and Facebook updates eased our concerns and painted a picture of ward and stake members visiting and attending to Elder Jensen’s needs when we could not be there.
Uncle Mark & Aunt Jody with cousin Allie
Visiting from Gilbert
One of the ICU nurses explained to me, “The average Phoenix 20 year old male is in the ICU due to gang violence.  A clean cut young man who was happy, courteous, and who wasn’t even watching any of the Winter Olympics on T.V. was a patient that left a huge impression on the ICU staff.” On some days, there was a line of visitors out his door. His ICU room was covered with his favorite snacks of blue Powerade, Pringles, and milkshakes. Many of Elder Jensen’s visitors were complete strangers and had heard of his story and took time out of their busy schedules to visit and drop off treats. One of these special visitors was Marcy Black who lived in the same stake that Elder Jensen was serving in but had never met him before.  Marcy visited Elder Jensen several times and sent me beautiful messages of hope.  All I could think of was, if I knew of a missionary away from home at our local hospital, would I take the time to go and visit and would I have the courage to do so?  Marcy would send
Brother Hickman - filling Elder Jensen up with shakes
messages like, “If they don’t let Elder Jensen go home soon, he will convert the hospital.” Also, “We took our 18 year old daughter last night and she couldn’t stop talking about the feeling in the room.  She wanted to go again tonight just to feel that same feeling.” If we had traveled to be with our son, I know that we would have detracted from the missionary Spirit and it would have been so difficult to leave.                                              
Even the nurses wanted a shift to work in Elder Jensen's ICU room. 
Jeffrey R. Holland has taught, “That not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with every day.” We would like to add that earthly angels are found right in Phoenix in the North Mountain Ward and stake.                                         
Mia Palmer - My BYU college roommate!
 Living in Gilbert with her family.  I sent Mia
with a mission - to shave Elder Jensen!
 He was so uncomfortable with
his facial hair, but he wouldn't go for it.
The Jensen family is also grateful for the many who prayed in behalf of Elder Jensen.  Elder Jensen wrote, “All I know is that a lot of people are praying for me, and I feel your prayers. I believe my name has even been through 15 temples already.” Elder Jensen's cousins and friends who were serving missions around the world and hundreds of other world wide missionaries were all praying for Elder Jensen and he could feel this world wide power of prayer. 
Marcy Black, who visited Elder Jensen several times - "Our missionaries Elder Dobson and Young were blown away by the Spirit that was in the room & the experience that Elder Jensen told them. We were so lucky to be in room with 3 amazing servants of the Lord.



video


Sister Tamara Larsen is another Arizona Angel. Sister Larsen heard of Elder Jensen's story and traveled from Mesa the day after his surgery to visit and take this video clip for me.  In one of Elder Jensen's Emails, Elder Jensen referred to Sister Larsen as "Missionary  Mom for the State of Arizona." I thought this kind of cute and sounded like "Miss Arizona." I don't think Elder Jensen ever fully understood how missionary mom's network together through email and Facebook groups, he was amazed and humbled that  complete strangers would take the time to visit him"

 
Quick Recovery

Three days after surgery - huge improvement!
Have you noticed what's common in almost everyone of
Elder Jensen's pictures - the "Shaka"
The Shaka is a reminder that everything is
all right & don't worry.
 This was Elder Jensen's sign to me,
"Mom don't worry, I'm OK!"
Elder Jensen’s priesthood blessing of a full and quick recovery was fulfilled.  His appetite came back with a vengeance and he felt like his pain was only a 4 out of a 10.  Three days after his surgery, President Taylor called me with the following update, "Elder Jensen is sitting up reading his emails and working on an email himself.  He no longer experiences head pain and pain medicine will be reduced to Tylenol. His hair has started to grow back already and it's still red. He is walking around, eating up a storm!” The promises from his priesthood blessing were coming to pass, only three days after surgery and he was sitting up reading his own emails and typing his own email on p-day.                                                                                                           


In his very first email after only 3 days after his accident he wrote, “I am so thankful for this accident, because it has helped me become more converted to Him and His gospel. If everything goes well, I will be able to remain on my mission and serve a full time honorable mission. Thank you so much for all of your prayers, it really has been helping me. I am getting stronger and I am healing."

After six days at John C. Lincoln Hospital, Elder Jensen was released the evening of February 18 the Taylors took him to recover at the mission home for a couple days.  On the way to the mission office, the Taylors and Elder Jensen stopped for medication at Walgreens.  This is what Elder Jensen wrote, “I had my proselyting clothes on, that looked really raggedy from the accident and I didn't have a hat on, so everyone could see my big scar and staples in my head and also my bloodshot right eye. So I basically kind of look like a UFC fighter with my eye, my scar, and having a buzzed head, haha. So I am sure I got some interesting looks while at Walgreens." Elder Jensen basically did not sleep well during his ICU stay and enjoyed a couple of full night night’s rest without being woken up by nurses or patients screaming out in pain.        
              
First Day in Phoenix Mission with President and Sister Taylor
Elder Jensen loved the Taylors from the very first day!
August 13, 2013
After Elder Jensen was released from the hospital, my updates soon came to an end.  I had a difficult time transitioning from having the freedom to calling the nurses station for updates to going back to waiting for Monday’s P-day emails.  At the hospital everything was controlled for Elder Jensen, I was concerned about the details of his recovery. During surgery, a piece of his skull was removed to reach the blood clot, that small skull piece is now floating and will take about a year to firmly reattach.  The neurosurgeon explained that it is very important that Elder Jensen not re-injure this soft spot in his skull – no bike riding, contact sports, or running for 6 months to a year.  In the beginning, it was difficult to not constantly worry about the possibility of re-injuring his skull fractures or his soft spot.  As an answer to prayer, I received the following update from Sister Taylor the morning after Elder Jensen was released
"Elder Jensen is doing great! This AM he walked a short walk with President Taylor while I jogged.  
Maricopa/Buckeye/Goodyear Zone Conference
Elder Jensen with Elder Linkogle - day after being released.
One of a kind picture - an Elder with a ski cap on
during Zone Conference.
He is fully functional. He is with us today in Zone Conference since he missed his day. Elder Linkogle is with us as well. Elder Jensen is really doing better than you may imagine. If he were at school, he would be back in class, just has to avoid running, biking, etc.  We anticipate he will be back in his area by Saturday with members assisting in driving them everywhere and coming in for him to nap as needed. With Elder Linkogle also needing to keep things relaxed, those two can walk together in the AM and nap as needed. Elder Jensen will either be with President Taylor or myself at all times. If we need to be away, he can be with office couples. He will ease into the modified daily schedule with us Thu and Fri this week. He is just doing incredible! His blessing promised quick recovery and it is absolutely coming to pass!"

Receiving Sister Taylor’s email was another tender mercy that gave me enough peace and hope so that I could wait till next P-day's email. Elder Jensen spent three nights and four days at the mission home with the Taylors.  Elder Jensen rested, took naps, wrote in his journal, and read his scriptures. The first day after being released he was at Zone Conference and was able to take a nap in a side classroom in the afternoon on a mattress that the Taylors had brought for him. His recovery time at the mission home was a very special and
While at the mission home, Elder Jensen found his name
on the APM flag - written on the first day
that he arrived in Phoenix
.
time for Elder Jensen that allowed him one on one time with both President and Sister Taylor.  He walked in the morning with President Taylor.  He even had “Companion Study” with Sister Taylor.  President & Sister Taylor really tried to make his recovery time at the mission home fun for Elder Jensen after everything that he had been through. Elder Jensen wrote,
“The Taylor's have done so much for me! I am so grateful for them, and all they have done. I really can't find any words to describe my gratitude for them because there are no words that are up with their charity.  Sister Taylor totally reminds me of you mom. She did all she could to help me, made me lunch and dinner when I was at the mission home. They are wonderful. Also, the only female that any missionary can be alone with is with Sister Taylor. President Taylor would be out visiting people, and Sister Taylor and I would be in the home relaxing and talking. We even did some personal and companionship studies.”
My Favorite Hat
from the "Hat Parade"





Sister Taylor even had a “Hat Parade” for Elder Jensen to find the perfect hat that would cover his staples and scar until his hair would grow back in. She was so clever with this "Hat Parade" post on her blog and compared the different hats that Elder Jensen tried on to the different hats of life that we need to wear.  Click here for the Hat Parade Link  Here is also the link to Sister Taylor’s blog Post "Tender Mercies" her perspective and thoughts about the accident.

A smiling Elder Jensen back with his comp -
 Best picture a missionary mom could ever receive!



Friends for Life!
Elder Jensen was blessed to return to his missionary apartment on February 21, eight days after his accident.  Elder Jensen resumed his missionary work, with a modified schedule for a month which included a nap time and earlier bedtime. “I am doing really good right now, and don’t really have any pain,” said Elder Jensen. “I just get tired easily and can feel the fractures in my head. I can tell that I have been healing because my head was puffed up from the surgery, but now it looks normal, so everyone’s prayers have helped me with a speedy recovery.
I think my hair is starting to growing back in more red, and everyone keeps telling me that the girls are going to love my scar after the mission.”

Scar Transformation
A Giant "C" to always remember to CTR
Elder Jensen is very proud of his scar!












Milestone for Elder Jensen - Climbed a Phoenix mountain
with new companion, Elder Smith, and felt like he was
"King of the Mountain!"

Since Elder Jensen could no longer ride his bike, the Priesthood members of North Mountain Ward continued to serve Elder Jensen & Elder McFarland by driving them everywhere they needed to go.  This opportunity resulted in many spiritual experiences for brethren in the North Mountain Ward as they participated in many teaching splits with these Elders.                                                                                                                 


"It feels like I'm in Heaven right now,
 because the Williams area is so awesome!
 I'm going to cherish everyday that I'm up here!"

Enjoying P-day lunch with Elder Albrecht
at the famous Flannery Kitchen!
Elder Jensen served two more months in the North Mountain Ward after his accident and received his first transfer of his mission, almost 9 months, to Williams, Arizona – Flagstaff Zone.  Before Elder Jensen found out the location of where he would be transferred to he wrote, “President Taylor told me that he is excited for me of where I am transferring. He said that he has been thinking of me going to this area for the last 5-6 weeks and feels that it is the right place for me."




Elder Jensen is currently serving with Elder Albrecht in the Williams area.  Williams, Arizona is 20-30 degrees cooler than Phoenix and best of all, the Elders ride around in a truck. Elder Jensen has been blessed with a full recovery, no headaches, no fatigue, with his full level of energy restored.

Missionary Opportunities Still Continue 
I was blessed with many opportunities to share Elder Jensen’s story, as I spoke with many auto and medical insurance agents, hospital billing departments, driver license division employees across the country.  These opportunities led to conversations about LDS Missionaries and why they serve.  Many responded, “I’m so happy that I received your call today, your son's story has inspired me.” I remember talking for a long time with a Jewish lady back East, she had never heard of the LDS Church or our missionaries, so it was a great opportunity to give her an introduction to the Mormons.  Many were pleasantly surprised that Elder Jensen was not receiving any physical therapy or rehab services and that he was back to serving as a full time missionary.  My medical & insurance conversations were huge tender mercies, due to the Privacy Hipaa Law, I was surprised that medical personal would even talk to me but they all did.  Once they heard Elder Jensen’s story, their hearts were softened and we were able to exchange insurance information.                                                                                                                                             
You would never think that Elder Jensen is
serving in the Phoenix mission by this picture -
in the woods of Williams with a jacket on.
Elder Jensen wrote in April, “So, when I was a patient in the ICU room,  President & Sister Taylor talked to a man named Daniel that was next to me in ICU. Daniel was in a motorcycle accident.  President & Sister Taylor also gave Daniel a Book of Mormon, and suggested he meet with the missionaries. As of now, Daniel is now getting the lessons from the missionaries! So, if it wasn't for the accident, Daniel in the ICU would have never talked with the missionaries. So that is a really cool missionary experience happening from the accident."                                                                                                                   

Also President Taylor added to this story, In a recent weekly email from one of our missionaries serving in the Deer Valley Zone, it read: "We have a new investigator, Louise Juliano, who came to church yesterday and loved it! We found her by way of contacting a media referral, her grandson Daniel was referred by Elder Jensen and his companion a couple months ago when those elders got into their serious car accident. Daniel happened to be in the same hospital room with one of the missionaries because of a recent motorcycle accident and was interested in learning more. Now we're teaching him and his Grandmother!"                                         

A month after the accident, Elder Jensen and Elder McFarland were also called upon to return to John C. Lincoln Hospital to give a priesthood blessing. When they arrived, Elder Jensen couldn’t believe that they were sent to the very same ICU room that he had stayed in!  This is a full circle of Priesthood blessings. To receive a priesthood blessing and then to be blessed to recover from his accident and then return and give a blessing at the same hospital and same room is not a coincidence - it is a testament of the power of the priesthood.  Elder Jensen wrote, “After a day or 2 from giving the blessing, I was told that Larry was taken out of the ICU room and has been getting a lot better! Now that is power of the priesthood working right there! It is neat and humbling to me that I am now physically able to give Priesthood blessings, after I was given a blessing from my accident. I know for a fact that the Priesthood blessing President Taylor gave me really helped. I also know and have the faith that giving blessings to others is real and can help others physically and spiritually.”                                                   

Then a few weeks later Elder Jensen wrote, “We had a lesson with Larry, he is doing a lot better and is walking. His wife is a member who is less active. Larry even told his wife that he wanted to go to our LDS Church on Easter. So we saw Larry and his wife at church on Easter Sunday. In the lesson we had with Larry yesterday, the Spirit was very strong. Larry even told us that he had a spiritual near death experience after I gave him a blessing in the ICU. Even sometimes during the lesson, Larry came to tears because of how strong the Spirit was. In the next lesson, Elder Smith and his companion better invite Larry to be baptized. Because I believe Larry is golden! (Elder Jensen was transferred to Williams after the first lesson.)  Elder Jensen received an update on Larry, “Larry is on fire right now with the gospel, he comes to church every week and has been baptized!”

Always Remember
Before the accident I shared an idea with Elder Jensen that our Stake President had shared. To place a penny in your shoe to help you Always Remember..... and if you can't remember what to remember then think about it until you can. So I guess Elder Jensen liked that idea and put a penny in his shoe weeks before the accident. When he left the hospital, the penny was still in his shoe!! The same penny had made it through the accident, through the ride in the ambulance, through the ER, and through his 6 days in ICU. Elder Jensen will "Always Remember" that he was never alone on that night, that angels were protecting and watching over him, that his Heavenly Father loves him deeply and knows him personally and is involved in the details of his life.                                   
A couple of weeks after the accident, Elder Jensen and Elder Linkogle returned to the scene of the accident.  There in the debris of the accident they found one of their missionary pass along cards, marking the place where tender mercies and miracles took place. #Becauseofhim, Elder Jensen was blessed with power to do hard things. Because of Him, Elder Jensen was blessed with Priesthood Blessings and blessed with the power of prayer from many. Because of Him, Elder Jensen never felt alone but felt the love of His Savior and Heavenly Father. Because of Him, the North Mountain Ward & Phoenix members served Elder Jensen with Christlike love during and after his hospital stay. Because of Him missionary work continued for 6 days in ICU. Because of Him his parents back in a Utah were blessed with peace and comfort. Because of Him, Elder Jensen was grateful for his accident and his testimony of his loving Savior grew.
Elder Jensen is my Stripling Warrior Hero! Elder Jensen did not doubt that God would deliver him and he put his trust in God continually. He faced his auto accident and surgery with courage and The Lord blessed him with peace and great faith.
Thank you all for reading Elder Jensen's story. As a missionary, Elder Jensen freely shared his spiritual experiences of his accident with all who visited him in the ICU and wrote about them so that others could feel the Spirit and love of their Heavenly Father and Savior. Here is a link to his blog - elderzachjensen.blogspot.com.  It has been important for me to share Elder Jensen’s story so that his story can continue to inspire others and be used as a missionary tool. 
Please Note – Every missionary accident is unique and handled differently by mission presidents around the world.  Some missionaries are sent home from third world countries for medical treatment in the states. Many mission presidents also request that parents travel to be with their injured missionary, in stateside and foreign missions.   

16 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, that is an incredible story. I know the Lord has His hand in our lives. What a testimony builder this experience is to those that went through it and those it is shared with. Incredible courage and strength.

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  2. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing all the details. We have such a loving Heavenly Father who will work miracles in the most intricate ways.

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  3. Wow, well I can 'see' to type now. I don't even have the words to describe to this mom, family and Elder after reading this story. God has other plans for this young man, that is the truth of the matter~

    I as a mom, and not a member of the church have many thoughts running through my head. 1 I WOULD NEVER sit back in Colorado. Sorry. I would have taken the first plane out of DIA and sat with my daughter. NO ONE would have dared stopped me. I would have just went.

    SO I am shaking my head at the moment, because I guess I am not as strong as this mom and her family! They are blessed!
    Anna

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  4. Truly inspiring. Thank yiu for sharing, glad he is doing well. Elder Rigby is from our town and played soccer with my son. He's a great young man!

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  5. My son knows Elder Rigby from school and soccer, he's a great young man. Thank you for sharing this truly inspiring story. I'm glad Elder Jensen is doing well, a stripling warrior for sure.

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  6. This is so amazing. You are an amazing mom to be so obedient and not rush down there. I pray for that kind of faith. I do know that our missionaries are being watched over and blessed.

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  7. Thank you Lord for allowing this young man to live and remain in your service. We know that your protection has given him a testimony that will be effective and comforting to those who need it and this number is great. I pray for his continued strength and enthusiasm on this journey! Thank you again Lord for his life!

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  8. Oh wow. So glad this went so well. You are strong and so are your missionary. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Thanks for sharing this incredible story! This is such a wonderful story of faith, courage and strength. :D

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  10. Thank for sharing. What a wonderful Elder full of faith and hope. May he and your family continue to be blessed.

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  11. What a beautiful story of faith. I live in Gilbert and I haven't met your son and probably won't because we are the only stake in Gilbert that is part of the Tempe Mission. Thank you for sending your son here to work with the people of Arizona, and thank you for sharing his story!

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  12. What a beautiful story of faith. I live in Gilbert and I haven't met your son and probably won't because we are the only stake in Gilbert that is part of the Tempe Mission. Thank you for sending your son here to work with the people of Arizona, and thank you for sharing his story!

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  13. What a beautiful story of faith. I live in Gilbert and I haven't met your son and probably won't because we are the only stake in Gilbert that is part of the Tempe Mission. Thank you for sending your son here to work with the people of Arizona, and thank you for sharing his story!

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  14. Awesome story. your son has a wonderful attitude. My husband's 2 sisters and their families and his mother live n phoenix. I also know quite a few members who have moved there from our ward. There are actually a lot of members there(at least from an easterners point of view)

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  15. Thanks so much for your example of faith, of "walking the walk". Exactly what I needed this morning!

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