Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas: Korean Dating Holiday?!


A short video from Christmas Day: Five short months in the field and this very difficult language is coming along fantastically!  


video


Man, all I can think about from this week was the awesomeness of spending my favorite holiday away from home, in a completely foreign country, in a completely different way. What an experience.

First off, Korea does not really celebrate Christmas the way we celebrate Christmas. Instead, it literally is a holiday for couples to go on dates. Sounds a bit more like Valentines huh?  So Christmas is not the deal it is in America, and they don't love it the same way we do. And secondly, we had no snow, so for me it barely felt like Christmas at all. But maybe that is why I loved the change up this year.  Without all of the buzz and chaos surrounding Christmas, I honestly was able to focus on the Savior and the greatness of the Gospel that I get to talk about everyday! And, as a result, Christmas was DIFFERENT! Like sooo much better! Gosh is was awesome. Wherever I was, I had the Savior in mind which made Christmas so special. I hope all of yours was swell as well.
Other than that, it was not a crazy busy week.  We were just so busy getting ready for the ward Christmas party that we didn't get a lot of other interaction. We did  have zone conference in the mission home on Wednesday and it was amazing. 

Although Christmas has passed, never forget how incredible our Savior Jesus Christ is and what He means to us. I know He never forgets us, and He never loses track of us, so try and return the favor. And I can promise you that big blessings will be coming your way--and they will be much cooler than the presents you received at Christmas!

Love you all. Sorry I didn't have too much to write about this week, but next week you are in for a treat. We are heading to the Temple Thursday.  Going to be the greatest week ever!

Elder Jenkins


I Love Boxes!

Stuff from Merica!  Yeah!
Ok, I guess I did get a little bit excited about gifts from home.

Parent note:  
We are starting to see Korean language influence in his writing.  English sentence structure in simple form is Subject, Verb, and Object.  In Korean it is Subject, Object, and then Verb.  That makes for very difficult translation.  It also changes the way he uses adjectives.  He modifies two adjectives in this letter, great and awesome, by adding "ness" and they become nouns or objects in his sentences. The "awesomeness" of this is astounding to us:)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas to All!!!

Life in the Suwon Mansion! "Grandma" pants are stylish???
It was an awesome week. I seriously don't know where to start.  It is actually stressing me out right now trying to remember all of the goodness from this week.

So this week we spent a ton, and I mean a ton, of time doing the 전도! (finding) and still we were not very successful. Dang.  But it is still funny to me how the Lord blesses us ways other than the natural man inside of us would like to have received the blessing. I swear He always always is blessing us! 

This week he blessed us with some service opportunities rather than with success in "finding." On Thursday (I think), we were leaving the church to go "finding" and we saw this older lady that was pulling around her trash cart (this is how old retired people continue to make money, and it is sooo sad). Anyway, she just started waving us over, so we went over to help and my companion pulled the cart while I held her hand and helped her walk--about as slow as a human being can walk, but that was literally all she could do. The walk would maybe take 5 minutes at a normal speed, but we took 15 minutes to get to her house! It was fine. She was just a cute old lady who needed help.

Ironically, the same thing happened yesterday, with same lady! And this time, she moved even slower! (haha)

Our next opportunity came at night. It was a cold one, so we were walking real fast trying to get home. To be honest, I didn't see this lady when we were passing by her, but I did see the same exact waving motion as the other grandma and I knew I was in for another treat! This time, I put on an EXTREMELY heavy backpack which I cannot believe she was carrying and we walked her to a bus stop, where she proceeded to burst my personal space bubble more than it ever has been before: her face was literally inches from my face while she was just going off trying to sell us her very overpriced kimchi. To make it worse, by the way her toothless mouth smelled, it was fairly evident that she had been eating that kimchi all day (for those of you who don't know, kimchi tastes absolutely amazing, but the smell is not pleasant).  But it was still a cool experience serving the crazy old kimchi-selling lady.
The only Christmas decoration in Suwon

AND THEN, we met a random man on the street who I felt was completely insane, but my companion chatted with him for a bit while I gazed off into the night sky--haha, not literally, but he was just talking about the craziest things that I had to clue what he was saying. According to my comp, he was telling us that we needed to "RAISE A CROSS" right in downtown Suwon for all those people who worked in Suwon who got kicked out, who spilt blood and shed tears.  Most interesting, he claimed that because God is from Salt Lake, and we are from Salt Lake, we need to just throw that cross up and represent all those ancestors! Imagine like a Southern Baptist saying those things and then translating it to Korean and that is what you would get! CHAOS! But at least he was right about God like being in SLC (haha).

Okay, one more service story. For the next two weeks, we are helping a less active member learn English because his parents are making him buy a wife from Vietnam and she doesn't speak Korean and he doesn't speak English. I really don't know how to react. I'm happy to help the guy, but it is really a freaking weird situation.. Yikes!

And to wrap all of the new news up: this week we did commit one of our investigators to be Baptized!!!!!! YES!!!!! First experience for me! And one that I hope happens much more! 

Don't forgot that God seriously is so great! And remember when you have a service opportunity, just know, "When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God"--even if it a kimchi-smelling lady who gets in your space.

I love you all! And MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Elder Jenkins

Interesting Fact:
I am like Korean with the way I eat now:  I can't use a fork, and I keep chopsticks in my right hand and a spoon in my left. I eat rice with every meal, and for a snack I mix rice, milk, and brown sugar together.  It is getting pretty weird actually.  I don't even buy American food anymore.

More Photos:
Clean huh Mom!
The 8th Floor, right... there!
Suwon is 20 mile south of Seoul.  A look at Our Meetinghouses in the Mission

Our work room.

Monday, December 14, 2015

If I Squint, I Can Almost See China!

The Western Edge of Korea and the Yellow Sea

Wow! Crazy week! But not necessarily for the work as much as preparing for the new work! So on Tuesday we spent my last day in Gimpo with our investigator!

He drove us and we just tore it up! It was so legit. We left the house pretty early and went out to Gangwha Island--the only place in our mission where you can see ocean! So we did some sight seeing, and then went out on the coast and ate some real seafood.
Best Food ever!



There's my Fish!
Literally the fish we ordered was just swimming in a tank and this like crazy old lady fishes it out, slams it on the table, and just pulls out this Machete and goes WHAM and cuts it up.


It was suuuper creepy. A little dark I suppose, but it was delicious!









And then we "hit up" the beach (haha); we just went out and sat in the sand and on the rocks and talked about life while we looked out on the ocean towards China. It was sooo nice!!! And a nice cherry on the cake for my stay in Gimpo. Sad to leave, but Gimpo is in a really really good place now. All is well!

So I arrived in Suwon on Wednesday and that is when the fun began. It is my first time in a 4-man apartment since the MTC, so it has been so much fun just getting to know them and my new companion. It really is like the exact opposite living conditions that I was in in Gimpo. Our house in Gimpo was like 40 years old and it was honestly not in a nice state, but our house in Sinpung is sooo nice.  It is nicknamed "The Mansion" in the mission. The city is amazing to go along with it. Golly this is a cool place! 

So some fun/new things:
  • On Friday, I saw a corpse. For real. The first dead body I have ever seen... Super awkward. Long story. But that was definitely a NEW thing.
  • Our ward is about double the size of Gimpo ward, so I have some work to do. On Sunday, I had to give a talk and we sang in sacrament meeting as well! 
  • This one is kind of bad... but it was hilarious. One night right outside of our house, we devised a plan where I would pretend that I had no clue how to speak Korean and then I just would speak, preach I guess you could call it, in English and my companion would translate for me. It was so awkward! I have not done this in English since being in Korea, so I really wasn't sure what to say, but it kept the guy on his toes because he had no clue of what was going on! And he listened! Just some fun with the new comp, but we might need to repent for this stunt actually... haha
  • And also, our new area is incredibly historic, so there are some really Asian-looking buildings and HUGE Buddha statues all over the place! Pics next week on that stuff.

But for real, life is great. And I love you all so much!
Elder Jenkins
Love you Brother Chang!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Transferred!

Gangnam!

Wow fun week!!! But also the worst day of my mission came as well!

So on P-day we went out to Gangnam, which is sooooo legit.  It felt just like America; they had Taco Bell and everything. On the way there, we started kind of chatting up a kid in English.  He lived in Florida and Chicago during high school, so his English was pretty good. We talked all the way to Gangnam (40 minutes) which is funny because it normally takes us 1 1/2-2 hours of travel to see one of our less actives that lives IN our area, but only 40 minutes to pass though 3 different areas to get to Gangnam. Super funny! I love Gimpo! But anyway, we ended up hanging out with that kid the whole day; that night he came with us back to Gimpo and we ate at Moms Touch.  Afterwards, he wanted to see our church, so we took him there and actually ended up teaching the whole Restoration. It was soooo sick! He is definitely prepared I think. So that was our first Miracle.

Then on Saturday there was a performance of Handel's Messiah in a mission area that is pretty close to us. We invited DG ( the kid we met on Pday) and he said he wanted to go, so we went! The music carried a good message, and DG really liked spending the time with us! DG and I are born in the same year which is like super super important in Korea. If you aren't born in the same year, then you can't really be friends, so that helps our relationship with him a ton. As we were leaving the concert, we took the elevator downstairs and on the first floor there were big posters filled with church information. I pointed to a picture of the Manti Temple and told him that was my home! He started looking at the posters and he seemed pretty curious, so we just started teaching again and before we knew it we had taught him the about the Plan of Salvation, Temples, Priesthood, and then even Baptism. It was so wild! I was so giddy while it was all unfolding! I couldn't believe it. Gimpo is finally heating up!
Investigators to Church!!!
And guess what (now for the bad part of the week): I am leaving. The Lord's will, not mine. We got the dreaded call on Saturday night and I literally could not fall asleep. I just couldn't. I was tooo sad! I am getting transferred to a place called Sinpung (Suwon) and supposedly it is awesome and a little more city-like. I am replacing Elder Fleming, who is transferring in Incheon.  It will be a big  change, but a good one I am sure. 

The sun has set in Gimpo for me.
So yesterday I gave my little "farewell" in church and I just lost it. I cried harder in that little 3 minute talk than I did at my own farewell in Manti. I didn't think it would be possible to come to love a group of people that much in that small space of time. It kills me to have to leave them. I am tearing up as I am writing this! Gosh dang it! But just like it says in Corinthians, man cannot comprehend what the Lord has in store for those that love Him. 

I do love the Lord. So dang much. And I definitely am having a hard time comprehending why I have to leave Gimpo, but I know that good things are in store. All is well! 

I love you all so much!! Have a nice week! And look at the positives!!!

Elder Jenkins
P-day activities with investigators