Monday, April 25, 2016

Keep Climbing Those Stairs!

Hey this week I finally watched most of General Conference in English, and it was so awesome! For me, it was a time for much needed feasting on the word of the Lord. Sadly, we didn't get through all of it, but even though I am not completely through, it has made such a difference in my life this past week. What a nice change up to a wild and chaotic lifestyle. Oh man, it really is so amazing. I know God lives and is aware of everyone, and I know He gives all of us those things that we need, right when we need them. I actually had another experience this past week that built on to that testimony.

In order for this story to make sense you need to hear the background:  So almost exactly a year ago, I got my mission call to come to Korea, and to be honest I could not think of anyone I knew who had received a mission call to Korea. I felt pretty lonely about that--I won't lie--and it also added more anxiety to what I was already feeling.  I felt pretty alone, going to an unknown land and having NO ONE to relate to! However, I soon found out that a guy who happened to be my childhood hero had actually served in my exact same mission about ten years ago--well, it was a different mission then, but the boundaries are essentially the same. Honestly, I was so happy to have someone to relate to and who else than the guy I had looked up to for such a long time. In fact, he was the entire neighborhood's hero. One of my close friends liked him so much that he asked him (Spencer Harman) to baptize him when he turned eight. This guy was famous in my eyes! Once I found out that he had been to Korea, we arranged to meet and he got me excited about my call. 

So after living in Korea for a while, I decided to contact Spencer to see where he had served (now knowing a little bit more about Korea and my mission) and he told me he had served in 5 different areas, none of which I had heard of, so I didn't think much more about it. A few months later, though, I found myself in a new area, so I looked at the list of his areas again and found out that he had served in the area I am serving in now!!! Naturally, I hurriedly sent him an email letting him know. I was so excited and happy for me, but also for him. When I got to the new house, I dove into records and read though close to a thousand just looking for Spencer's name to see if I could meet someone that he knew. I found a lot of cool records, and a few even had his name, but nothing looked too promising. A lot of wrong numbers is mostly what we found.

A few months passed and still I had nothing to connect with Spencer. Feeling a little angry and more than anything sort of questioning this cool occurrence (me serving in the same area as my childhood hero), I received another email from Spence. He sent me the name of a person who had gotten baptized while he was still here in Korea.  The name sounded familiar, but I wasn't positive who it was. I ran home and looked through the records again, and at the top of the "Most Potential" pile was the person Spencer had told me about.  We had actually already tried to find him, but the contact information was incorrect.  I called around the ward trying to find out more, and finally got his address and correct phone number.  We went that night to the house and there was no answer! I was so confused, and I even questioned God. We were so close.  We let a few days pass and went back, but the same thing happened again. No answer! AH! A near "miracle" that turned out to be nothing. 

Well, I tried just to forget about it because, to be honest, it kind of hurt. I didn't know why, but I was kind of just mad about it all. Everything had been lining up: my childhood hero, the same mission, the same area, the records.  It all made sense to me that we were supposed to find this guy and tell him what had happened and he, of course, would just follow us back to the church building! It seemed meant to be. But it wasn't working out that way and I wasn't sure why.  However, last night we were taking a bus back home at a pretty late time when I realized that we were on the same bus line that this guy's house was on. And, moments later I also realized that it was the very bus stop we were pulling into. I thought "whoa what a coincidence! Should we go try again?" I wasn't sure what to do, so I began a quick prayer.  Honestly, the second I started the prayer I got an answer and it was "GO."  A second answer might have also been the words "YOLO" from my companion as he stood up to get off.  We both just bolted to the door right before the bus was about to leave the stop! 

We hopped out, went up to the apartment, said a prayer, and knocked. You won't be surprised to hear that someone answered! His daughter! I was so happy that someone had answered--not just the door, but also my prayer. I am not sure what will come of this, but I'll just trust the Big Guy and his incredible timing on this one! 

Through these few experiences, I have come to know that God is really right next to us, and that He really IS in all of our lives. I love Him for that, and I know that He is there because He loves us!

Sorry for the length! I am just hyped is all.  Love you guys!

Elder Jenkins

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Seoul in full bloom!

This week was super nice. God has been great to us lately. But I won't lie, I still haven't watched General Conference in English, so I am sure after that I will see God in my life even more than right now.

On our P-day this past week, we went bowling, ate Big Macs, and played Screen Baseball! It was way fun, but I might have gone a little too hard. I ripped my pants again, but of course that did not stop me from taking some big cuts. The coolest part about that was we played with this member who had been less active for close to 7 years and he came back to church just while I have been here (the last few months).  Over that time, we had actually grown really close to him. I truly love him! Sadly, though, Monday was the last time we will see each other. This past Wednesday he flew out to China for work and will be there for a full year. AH! I am going to miss him so much, but I am so grateful for the opportunity we had to help him come back to church and to start gaining back the testimony he once had. He really did come so far in these few months and I am so proud of him.  I'm just praying now that he finds a church in China.

Then for the rest of our week, it rained. We did meet with a few other investigators and the craziest thing happened yesterday.  We showed up the the church building and this Sister we had met with a few times was waiting in the chapel for Sacrament to start, so that was a super pleasant surprise. Then, another investigator who was supposed to go to China for like a month, randomly showed up to church. Additionally, our two teenager friends came as well.  To top it off, all three of our ward's Recent Converts showed as well.  That is a lot of people for the missionaries to host. And, to put the cherry on top, my companion was speaking and so was one of our new sisters, so both of them were on the stand and couldn't help. So, you know me,  I was frantically trying to find places to sit and figuring out who was sitting where and with whom. Oh man it was crazy. But it worked out. A little stressful, but it worked out.  It made for an interesting day that is for sure! 

It really was a nice week--so fun. The Gospel truly is so wonderful! I love it. And I love you all as well. 

Elder Jenkins

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Little Baseball--Korean Style!

Elder Baseball

WOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! It was a great week here in Suwon! SO much to talk about, and not enough time, but I will try my best to write up a good one.

So this past week our P-day wasn't on Monday; it was changed to Wednesday because on Wednesday we went with one of our investigators to... A Professional Korean BASEBALL GAME!!
And it was so sick! Seriously one of the coolest things ever. It was still good old baseball, but with a Korean flair.
Elder Jenkins and Wilcox
First off, Korean people love fried chicken and so guess what? Every single person (not exaggerating) brought in a bucket of fried chicken to enjoy with the in-house supplied booze! There were literally those "peanut vendor" type guys walking around with a KEG on their back serving people beers the whole game. The most fun thing was that each team had the equivalent of our high school "student section" (but fans instead of students) and they had legit cheers,
The Best Day Ever!
songs, and all kinds of crazy dances going through the entire game. It was mad! I loved it so much. And more important than anything, our investigator loved it sooo much and we all grew much closer. Thank you Baseball gods! So grateful I was able to experience this cultural experience.

The other awesome thing from this week was that we were able to watch General Conference, but we had to watch it all in Korean--for a good reason. We invited investigators, but didn't really expect them to show.  Surprisingly, three investigators showed up, and after it ended we committed our two teenager friends to Baptism next month. What a miracle! I am telling you, such a miracle with these two kids.

Okay. No more time, but things are so great! See you next week.

Elder Jenkins

Suwon KT Wiz Park

Thanks President Morrise  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Life is Good

Once again, I don't have much time to write, but I have to tell you it was such a great week! I guess you have noticed, but I have slowly have been running out of any wordly stories. Pretty much all of them are churchy now. Should have seen that coming.  I've really just never been so Spiritually high all of the time, and it is the greatest thing ever. I guess all of the other stuff has just kind of become less important to me, so I will try and avoid spilling too much of that on you guys!

This week, some really cool things happened: Junegun Kang was confirmed a member of the church yesterday; we had two new investigators at church; 5 or 6 people were at church that hadn't been out in a while. It just made me so happy seeing all of those people! Gosh, it just makes me smile so big! The Gospel helps people so much, and yesterday (at church) I got to see that first hand. So fun!!! 

Additionally, two times this past week we met with two high school-aged friends who initially didn't look like much more than "foreigner friend" interest, but as we met, things went a lot better than I expected, and they actually accepted an invitation to be baptized!!! And then they volunteered to come to church! What a wonderful surprise!! Since becoming a missionary, so many amazing things have been happening in my life. I can't help to think that before my mission I really didn't think to look around me and recognize the little blessings in my life from the Lord.  I am so aware, though, now that the Lord is constantly blessing us, even in the smallest ways.  He really does bless us--whether we are missionaries or not. He blesses us because He loves us! I wish I would have really recognized this reality earlier, but I am happy that at least I know it now. :)

I love you guys! Stay tuned for a fun story next week ... I promise.

Elder Jenkins