What of the
Douglas and Beverly Jensen
A Call to Japan
For years Douglas and Beverly Jensen had attended and helped with the Northern Far East Reunions held each April. Their association with the former NFE returned missionaries and their spouses was a treasured blessing. They had returned to Japan in 1986 for a wonderful visit to areas and members where Douglas had labored and to see the sights of that country. Even though Japanese students who lived with the Jensens in Sandy throughout the years invited them to come for other visits to Japan, Douglas and Beverly felt in their hearts that nothing could be better than what they had experienced in 1986 and so declined the students’ invitations. Their goal to go on a mission while their youngest son was on his mission did not include Japan because it was too expensive and Douglas felt inadequate with his language ability.
That mission goal did spur them to get mostly out of debt. A couple can live on a lot less if they have no debt. Their concern about what to do with their home was alleviated by their oldest daughter, her husband, and family who lived in their home. When the call came to Haiti as the office couple, they were shocked. Only bad things about Haiti were in the news. When a former Haiti Port-au-Prince mission president came to the Jensen home and told them about the members and the Church in Haiti, they became excited about their mission, although they were still apprehensive about their abilities to work on computers and do office work.
In Haiti the Lord blessed them with great help from office elders, the mission president, Curtis Giles, and his wife, and Church members so they could be effective in their office work. Beverly taught piano keyboarding and on Sundays helped ward and stake choirs. Douglas was the Executive and Financial Secretary of the mission. He used his engineering abilities to help repair and maintain diesel generators, inverters, hot water heaters and gravity–fed water systems and they both gained a great appreciation for what has to occur to make a mission operate successfully.
About five months into their mission, they experienced a very long transfer. Because of kidnappings of North Americans and diplomats (anyone perceived to have money) and political unrest in Haiti, the Church evacuated all North American missionaries. The Jensens were very sad to leave wonderful members and friends, but the call to be coordinators of the Employment Center of the Asia North Area in Tokyo was both a thrilling and humbling one.
They were retrained in Welfare Services in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sandy for their new assignment while they waited for their visas to Japan. The Career Workshop Workbook had recently been translated into Japanese and the Jensens coordinated the teaching and training of stake employment specialists by teaching Career Workshop all over Japan. This program teaches people how to set goals, how to make 30-second power statements about their strengths, how to interview, how to network, and how to proceed with getting a job. This program is very much needed in Japan because it is not “cradle to grave employment” there any more. Companies are letting people go in their 40’s and 50’s before the social security safety net is in place. Japanese members needed to discover different ways to find new careers. Career Workshop helped them do that.
Brother and Sister Jensen worked under the direction of the Area Welfare Manager. With his help and the help of the Translation and Production Departments, a power point presentation in Japanese and English on employment principles was made. An interpreter in most of the training sessions helped immensely with the comments and questions that always accompanied the presentation, but they had some wonderful experiences when the Lord helped them explain business principles in Japanese without the aid of an interpreter. Brother Jensen’s experiences of being out of work three times during his engineering and management career gave verification of workshop principles.
Beverly worked with the mentoring program to let Japanese students attending BYU Provo, BYU Hawaii, BYU Idaho, and LDS Business College know there were opportunities to return to Japan to work and to strengthen the church. Many expatriates (returned Japanese missionaries from North America) who have returned to Japan and become high officials in their companies were mentors for these Japanese graduates. Helping with interns, awarding of wheelchairs, and serving in the Tokyo Temple for the English- speaking session were most enjoyable experiences for them. The Jensens truly know that “. . .whom the Lord calls, He qualifies. . .” Their mission in Japan proved that unequivocally.
This very modest report of their mission experience written by the Jensens does not adequately convey how wonderfully the Jensens succeeded in Japan. Full of energy, brimming with love for the people they served, and with light shining from their eyes, the Jensens won the hearts of all they met, worked with and taught. Trusting in Heavenly Father’s love for those they served they overcame obstacles, cultural differences, and language problems. To some it might seem a miracle, but it is a common miracle as senior missionaries throughout the Church rise to the level of service the Lord can help them achieve. This is His work. And He is there to lift all who are willing to seek His help as did the Jensens.