Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Feast!

I really love this place!!!

I really had a good week. Although it is getting cold, I am loving it more and more here! The good news is that it hasn't snowed yet, so I am doing okay. I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was good.  Mine was super weird!(haha)

I definitely forgot that Thursday was Thanksgiving day. For our lunch that day, we decided to go eat at Pizza School.  It is my new favorite Pizza place. Seriously delicious pizza: Potato Pizza, Sweet Potato Pizza, Bulgogi Pizza and some other unusual ones I have never before heard of. Now that we have found it, we eat there a lot. It reminds me of good old America.

Right as we finished the last bite of our Pizza, a member called wanting a Priesthood blessing. In Korean, this is a big problem for missionaries because to give a blessing, you have to use King form (Korean honorifics), which neither one of us knows! Nevertheless, we agreed. We met her and her husband and before the blessing she took us to this restaurant that serves what now might be my favorite food--Dak Galbi, which is superrrrr yummy! Chicken, vegetables and this stuff called Dok Boki which is like rice that is just crushed and crushed until it is super fine and rolled into little logs.  Then they put in this super spicy red sauce and stir fry it.  It is Freaking Delicious!!!! So, even though I forgot it was Thanksgiving, my stomach was super full like it usually is on Thanksgiving.

Afterwards, my companion blessed her (in English) and even though she and her husband couldn't understand the blessing, they said the Spirit was powerful for them! It just goes to show the Spirit is always the same, no matter the language!

I also need to tell you my funny experience for the week (there always seems to be plenty of those). We took a guy out to dinner that I met a couple of weeks ago and we paid (which is super against Korean custom since the older person always pays), but he is so chill so it was okay. We ate some new tasty Korean food and then we just talked for like a long time about life and stuff. And then I told him I played baseball a lot in America and he just got like HYPED! Then he said, "Do you want to come play on my team man?!?!" "We aren't like great, kind of beginner, but we need you!" (haha) So I said, "How about I coach you and I play?" He was like jumping for joy.  I was being kind of sarcastic, but Korean people literally DO NOT understand sarcasm, SO I might have gotten myself into a Korean Baseball League! Super funny. This also just goes to show that the Lord uses your talents to help others come unto Him. He cares about what you care about, and so he will use what you can do to help strengthen the Kingdom. So come spring, crossing my fingers for 9 new investigators! haha

New things this week:
  • We had street waffles and these things called "shoe cream."  Shoe cream is now easily my new favorite snack! These things look like a fish: the outside is like a batter and inside is something like a banana cream filling! SOOOOOOOOOO delicious and warm on a freezing cold day!
  • Today we are headed to Gangnam to have Mexican food!!!  Bet I never get to say that again haha.
  • There is this thing in Korea called the waygukin discount! Wayguk means foreigner! When you are a foreigner, they just give you the discount without you even asking.  It's great! 
Things I am thankful for (since it is Thanksgiving back home):
  • My family!
  • My beliefs!
  • My friends!
  • And I am so thankful for the opportunity to be serving in Korea--the absolute, without a doubt, perfect place for me to serve.
I love you all! And I am Thankful for all of you. I truly am.

Elder Jenkins
I'm thankful for my "Harmony" pants, which translate to Grandma, so my grandma pants!
Pic of my bathroom/shower
Ahh Biscoff--available in Korea!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Getting a Jump on Christmas!

It's Christmas season in Korea--at least for the missionaries!

This past week seemed to fly. We had a temple day on Thursday, which meant like a double P-day last week. We emailed on Monday like usual, but the P-day activities fell back to Thursday.

So we left the house pretty early to get to the temple. It is in the Seoul Mission, so it takes some time
Love this Temple
to get there. And what a blessing it was to attend the temple!!! Seriously the greatest blessing. And it was also a much more meaningful experience for me to have sooo many members, potential investigators, and close friends in mind! I really feel like I found some new things that I needed through the temple. After the temple, we went to our Zone Leaders' area and had a huge party with our whole zone and it was legit. We played a ton of Korean games--pretty sure they were children's games, but I was loving it. We were all screaming and running around--kind of immature (haha), but super fun! And all of the games were in Korean so I learned new words as well.

On Friday, we had our interviews at the mission home which is 2.5 hours away by subway. I had a great visit with the mission president about the language and culture, faith, and upcoming transfers. We actually had to run out to Incheon, though, before our interviews, so on Friday, including our trip to Incheon and to and fro the mission home, we spent 6 hours traveling on the Subway and Bus.... insane! On the bright side, it provided a great opportunity to find. And that I did! I just tried to take advantage of the fact that people can't go anywhere when they are stuck next to you on a subway, so I chatted up everyone. For real--one person to the next. And I found some Gold!!! It is crazy, so crazy, when you can see exactly why the Lord put you in a specific place at a specific time. It is dang fun! 
My view for much of the bus ride--but I chose another

So on Friday I had a long 6 hours of sitting/travelling which turned into 6 great hours of finding which was truly a blessing in disguise. I challenge all of you, when it seems like you are doing something that is wasteful, look at the good that can be accomplished if you change your attitude. You will surely find it!

Bonus: we were cleaning the church with ward members, and they decided to throw away their Christmas tree.  I was like, "heck, no, we are taking that home."  So I carried it home in the rain and protected it with my umbrella. 

Have a mad week! As will I!

Elder Jenkins
Pictures from the week:
This will make it feel like Christmas in our apartment--even though Christmas is Korea is not the big  holiday it is in America

Korean Temple

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bow Low; Speak High

Some ward children

Jeez time sees to be flying. It isn't fair! I seriously cannot believe how fast time is moving. I have loved every single second of this so far! And this week was another great one for the books. Yeah, full of a few lows, but the highs are what I like looking at--obviously!

Not a lot of appointments this week or much of that, but even though we were not sitting in someone's living room teaching about Jesus Christ, I still feel like I truly made an impact this week! On Wednesday we went to 통진 high school and taught English from like 10:30-5. Ahhh sooo crazy! I about died, but what a blast that was. I truly have come to love service opportunities. And in turn, I am really served as well. Our topic for the day was culture and I learned soooo much about Korean culture. Buckle up: some things literally don't make sense.
Full Day of School

Okay so one of the first things we talked about was student life. High school kids in Korea show up at 8 in the morning, and they literally do not go home until 10 or 11 sometimes. They always serve dinner at the school, so I had school dinner. (haha)  Also, there are 3 different types of high schools: Academic, Commercial, and Technical. And a separate category for the kids that play sports! If you have potential to be a professional athlete, then you just go to a sports school and there is hardly any studying! (haha) It blew their mind when I told them that I drove a vehicle to school everyday. They seriously could not believe that. So those are just a few of the things I learned, but really, their lives are sooo much different.

And the culture is really different (I keep learning that) and all of that really really applies to what I do as a missionary.  No doubt, it is challenging at times. In Korea, there is a HUGE emphasis on something like class, but it is all about like age (not money). Whoever is older than you gets to tell you to do whatever he wants. And it is hard. And to make it more difficult, with each class there is a different way to speak--which just means basically variances in how you conjugate each word. When I see really old people at church, I have to speak in a high form; if it is just a normal person close to my age, then I speak in a middle form--which is how everyone usually speaks; and then to kids there is a completely different form. In total, there are 7 forms, but we really only use the middle and high forms. But the reason I tell you this is that in church if you don't use the right form to the right person, they hate you!! I accidentally used the normal form to an older lady in church and she chewed me out. Using this custom, the oldest person in the ward deserves the most respect. So we have to respect him more than our Bishop! (haha) You also show respect by how deep you bow, so the more respect, the deeper you bow! And the other thing is that if you speak English in front of Ward Members, you lose their respect and it is like impossible to gain back. So I am soo careful! But that makes life super challenging to someone who doesn't really speak Korean yet.  I have gotten really pretty good at interpreting: just go where they point and start moving stuff!

So truly there is sooo much pressure that comes with this culture. When you breach that line and do something American, you are toast! So I am working on perfection because that literally is what is asked of us. They don't care how long you have lived here. No matter what, you have to do things the right way! 

But anyways, I love it! Things are so much different, which makes life so fun. You have to always be at your best and on your toes.

We finally tried knocking door. Dad told me all about "tracting" in LA on his mission and I want to say, it is nothing like that here.  So this is how it goes; we knock, they won't open until you have told them who you are, why you are there, and anything else they ask. Basically we just talked to doors (haha).

We went to a Costco last week and let's just say it's not quite like the one in Spanish Fork.  It still felt a little like home, though!

But it really was an awesome week. I am learning that when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you really are in the service of your God and that makes me soooo happy! Service is where happiness lies my friends!

Have a nasty week!!

Elder Jenkins

Some Halloween photos with a ward family:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cold, Wet Week in Korea!

Me at the Provo Temple at the beginning of my mission

As usual, I don't have much time so this will be short. But I've been thinking about the last four months and I can't believe how blessed I am.  My first day at the MTC and how much I loved my time there, and now Korea! I admit I wasn't so sure about my call to this place, but it is simply the most perfect place for me and I love it sooo much.  Bring on the next 20 months!
Me at the Seoul Korea temple a few weeks ago

So, my companion and I definitely went to our Irish Band man's house this week and my companion played the guitar while I read a book (church approved).  Doesn't really sound like me does it?  Reading while music is in the works.  The mission is changing me drastically.

On Thursday we had splits and we taught a group of high school kids English. I was literally the only white person there! That felt super weird without my whitey comp, but we had a great time nonetheless. I was definitely looked to for my English speaking skills. I was overwhelmed by all of the questions. Just because I am white (and American) DOES NOT mean that I know every single thing about America!

The cool moment of the week came yesterday, which was a super gloomy day where not a lot was happening. We ran to a bus stop to get out of the rain and I was just kind of camping there, minding my own business (probably pouting about the weather a little bit), when some guy walks up to me and says in really good English, "I Love your temple." I was so shocked! We ended up getting on the same bus and I told him all about our church and temples--in Korean. So fun! We traded phone numbers, so hopefully something comes of it. This made me realize that the Lord truly is in all of our lives. His hand literally is everywhere, but it is our job to look for it! 
My Korean is getting sooo much better.  My ability to talk is improving immensely!  Hopefully I can keep improving.

It was a fun and wet week! I love and miss all of you! As always!

Elder Jenkins
Fun facts about this area--Gimpo
  • We ride the bus all the time.  The subway is about 30 minutes away and we don't ride it much.
  • We walk a ton.  I think we walked 3 miles yesterday, in a heavy rain.  We were WET!
  • We never knock doors.  Everyone lives in apartments and you need a code to get in, so we just walk around and talk to people on the street. We also talk to people on the bus.
Gimpo Ward extends farther west including several islands. Yes that's North Korea across the river

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween--Not a Korean Holiday

We have these sick BOM cases because Pres always wants us with one in hand!

Halloween Sunset
Halloween! Yeah! We didn't do anything cool for Halloween because they don't even celebrate it here! What!  But all of you were obviously on my mind on one of my favorite holidays. I love and miss all of you! We actually had an English class on Halloween, so we shared a bunch of our Halloween experiences with the Korean people and they could not believe some of the things we do. It was super fun to look back on the idiotic things I used to do around this time back home.

SO this week was full of many emotions, and some real fun times. We taught one Korean class on Monday, and then on Thursday we went to a high school for 6 hours and taught English. It was a ball! I love those kids; I seriously love them so much. And they love us too! We are white and speak English, so when we get to the school's location we become instant celebrities and it is hilarious! It makes me feel nice. When you introduce yourself, there are like ROARS from the students! Hahahaha it is so funny! All I said was, "I am Elder Jenkins, I am from America and I really like baseball" and they lost their crap! That is a fun thing for me. Then on Saturday we taught another English class, and afterwards some mom tried like hooking her up with my daughter... hahaha every one likes the American lifestyle here!
I Serve in a Beautiful Place
Anyway, it was a really pretty enjoyable week, but to be honest it started out super crappy! On Tuesday, we had made a plan to go and visit a less active member that lives quite a ways away-- maybe 1.5 hours. So we trekked out there and I was just in a terrible mood. I sometimes just feel like we aren't getting done what we need to, and we spend so much time travelling.  Right when we got on the bus, I was just kind of mad and negative. And, to pile on top of that, we looked for like 3 hours to try and find his restaurant and we weren't having any luck. It was the most frustrating thing! We finally found it on the second floor of a factory and it didn't even have a sign. So, by the time we got to him, I was not in a good mood. But the thing is, when we found him he was ecstatic! He was so happy. He couldn't believe we had found his restaurant (and neither could we haha-- put a sign up!!!).  But even though he was so happy, I still wasn't. I was being a selfish piece of crap. So we left and when we got on the bus, I pulled out a talk that I really have come to rely on and love. This quote really stood out:

         "True character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward." 

It described exactly what I was doing. And I was not happy at all! AT ALL! So the rest of the week I really worked on charity and the blessings truly did come. I became sooo much happier. From this humbling experience, my testimony of charity and trying to develop Christlike character has truly been strengthened. When we can see every one as they truly are, as Children of God, then we really can begin to develop the character that I believe we all want so badly. So try it, and I know you will be blessed.

I really and sincerely love all of you!

Elder Jenkins!

My typical day:
  • 6:30 wake up and work out
  • 7:30 shower and have a small breakfast
  • 8:00 individual study
  • 9:00 companion study
  • 10:00 language study 
  • 11:00 lunch
  • 11:30 travel to appointments
  • 9:00 pm plan for the next day, write in my journal
  • Sleep!  I'm sleeping great!  I am physically exhausted every night so I just drop cold.
Neat and Tidy, A House of Order!