She Loves to Serve
August 1997

“She Loves to Serve,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 70–71

She Loves to Serve

Wanda Jensen Garvin has spent much of her life reaching out to those in need. “It’s so important that we love and strengthen one another,” she says.

While serving as Relief Society president in the Pocatello Idaho Fifth Ward, she befriended an elderly woman living in a one-room house in an alley near an LDS chapel. She taught this widow, an alcoholic, how to clean her home, she took her to Relief Society and other Church meetings, and she went shopping with her. Through her example the rest of the ward came to accept and welcome this once-lonely woman.

Later, when one of Sister Jensen’s sons was left with three small children to care for alone, Sister Jensen and her husband, Lionel, warmly invited this son and his family into their home. She covered her immaculate white velvet chairs with sheets and put her breakable statues in storage. Toys were strewn about the family room, but Wanda knew her beautiful home could be restored again one day. At the time, it was the season to serve.

About seven years after Brother Jensen passed away, Sister Jensen was called to the California Santa Rosa Mission. Before she left, she made packets containing envelopes already stamped and addressed to the mission home. She gave a packet to each of her grandchildren, who were expected to help support Grandma on her mission, as she would later be willing to support them. They could make financial contributions in amounts ranging from 10 cents to three dollars a month, depending on their ages.

Sister Jensen hoped to increase the children’s testimonies of missionary work—and to help them remember that they had a grandma!

In May 1990 Sister Jensen suffered a heart attack and a massive stroke. The stroke left her paralyzed on the left side, but her memory and personality were unaffected. One month later, surrounded by friends and family, she married Lee Garvin in the Idaho Falls Temple. She continues to give unselfishly to others. To Wanda Jensen Garvin, that is what life is for.—Karen Johnston, Pocatello, Idaho