Monday, July 25, 2016

Korean Heat Wave

The Old MTC Cohort

Holy cow, this past week was the hottest weather I think I have ever experienced! It is absolutely incredible how hot it has gotten. It literally feels, at the end of our days, like I  just swam in my clothes at the pool (haha). It is crazy! The weirdest thing is I look around at all the Korean people and they look fine! What in the world?! Am I the only one melting here? Although it has been hot, the work has been moving forward much more rapidly here in Seongnam. I think there must be a direct correlation with weather heat and missionary work here...

The most difficult part of this last week may have been that, in the middle of the heat wave, we didn't have a lot of investigators to work with which meant finding with the sun on your face, the humidity on your body, and your sweat in your eyes. Heck yeah! That is the work: it isn't easy, but it is so fun when you just keep grinding right through the toughness and you get to see the blessings. They do come, especially when you expect them. If you do what you are supposed to, then you can just expect it. Last week, I came to know that that principle is true.

We had exchanges with our Zone Leaders last week and I absolutely loved it. I went to their area and we met with one of their investigators who has a baptismal date and it was incredible! This guy is like a total braniac! He graduated from Yale, he is fluent at English (RARE), he has made millions, and he is very possibly one of the more accomplished people I have met on my mission. Honestly, I was intimidated! Not to mention, the Zone Leader I was with is also a genius. Literally. I felt soooo inadequate just being there. To be honest, I let that fear win for a long time in that meeting. I simply didn't talk while I sat back and just watched the intelligence work. That lasted for a while, but then I had a really distinct and direct prompting from the Spirit to speak. And I did. And the coolest thing was, it changed him! It was no longer the straight philosophical talk. Instead, it was the Spirit and it really hit him! He teared up and that became the coolest lesson I have ever been a part of. Follow the Spirit!
And to go along with that last line, we have just started praying more often as we have been finding and guess what: God has been leading us to people. It is so sick! I love it. 

Additionally, this last week in my second week as a District Leader, I performed my second Baptismal interview and once again it was a great experience. There really are people everywhere who are prepared to receive the gospel and I have been getting really lucky lately to meet so many of them! What a cool testament to me...

Such a fun and faithful week! Hope yours was that way as well!
Love you all! So much.
Elder Jenkins

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Burned up a Year!

Hey, It's a Tradition MOM!

Holy cow, I cannot believe that it has been a year since I entered the MTC... So sad!!!! I won't even deny that I did stay up that night and cry, but now I am so sad that I only have a year left to do this amazing work. It is literally the most life altering experience of my entire life. I love being a missionary so much and I absolutely dread the day when I have to take the tag off. Anyway, although it was kind of a sad moment for me, I was also pretty happy. I made it a year, and it has been the best year of my life. It truly has been the happiest I have ever been. And for that, I am soo grateful. I love God and His super legit missionary work! And I love Korea!

On top of that madness, this week was sick! Elder Altejar and I had a blast proselyting this week and trying to work hard for appointments. The work really did pay off: we taught 4 times the number of lessons we taught last week and it was the most Elder Altejar had seen on his entire mission. He is just so happy. I love it! We are just really working hard at raising our expectations and because of that I think we are being blessed. So, boom, we got to teach and of course I love it!
Hitting the Streets

Thursday, the coolest thing happened! But before I tell you about that, I have to provide a funny little background to this story. On Wednesday, it was raining pretty hard and we didn't have any appointments in the afternoon so we had to do some finding. As you can probably imagine, finding in the rain is pretty hard and usually you just end up wet and frustrated, so I had the idea to just go hop on the subway for a while and talk to people there. There were a LOT of people to talk with, so we just went for a joy ride and even gave away a Book of Mormon. NICE! But while we were busy talking to people, I lost track of the stops (I know that's not like me) and being new to the area I still don't really know area boundaries. We went well outside of the area, and right when I noticed we were outside area boundaries in comes a text from President: "Hey Elders, this is President Turner. Please call me when you have a moment.. I would like to talk." My first thought: no way, how did he know we went out of boundaries? But as I kept reading, he said he wanted to go on exchanges with us. Exchanges?!? That actually made me even more nervous than my first thought. So on Thursday we had to go on exchanges with our Mission President and it was so fun! We didn't have any appointments when he came, so we just proselyted and gave away copies of the Book of Mormon to people. I love this work because it is just full of happiness and love.

One last awesome and humbling moment from last week. On Friday I got a random call from the Zone Leaders asking me to perform a baptismal interview the next day (thank you for letting me know in advance), so in my first week as District Leader I did a baptismal interview. And it went so well. The 79 year old man passed and is getting baptized this week! Yeah!!!!

Anyways, super sick week. I am now a dying missionary and also a student of Tagalog (haha). Life is sooo good, and I hope all of yours is as well! 

Love you! 

Elder Jenkins
Zone Activity

Umm this is when the fire alarm went off HAHAHA!!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Hills of Seongnam

So... this week was transfer week. It was literally the first time I have been to transfers in 7 months! Although I was really sad to leave Sinpung and Elder Wilcox, I already love my new companion and the challenging area that we have come to.

I don't have a ton of time, but I can give you a little rundown of what last week was like and how this new area is with just a few descriptors:
  • Getting lost 
  • Stress
  • Hills and more HILLS
  • Getting even more lost
  • The most famous dog soup in Korea (which I have not eaten--yet...)
  • New companion: Greenie from Philippines (only speaks a little English and even less Korean)
  • Having to speak very slowly and very clearly to and from my companion
  • Learning some Tagalog
  • 25 active ward members
  • A LOT of mentally ill people live here--kind of scary actually
  • Rainy season seemed to end, and was replaced by "sweating like a pig" season
  • Air Force jets everywhere
  • 88 year old investigator
Haha, this place has it all, and it is completely and 100% different than my last area. I love Korea man!
A quick spiritual story from this week as well. So this area wasn't left in like the greatest working
Elder Altejar
condition before I got here, so Elder Altejar and I spent a lot of time outside this week trying to find and learning the area together. After not much success throughout the week, though, 2 random people came to church. One believes very seriously in UFO's and the other was like trying to take every book our church had (haha I honestly liked the UFO guy much more). But after we got home from church, one of our members called us and told us to meet him at the church at 7:00. So we met him and then went to the nearest subway station and he introduced us to two people from the Philippines! The husband is a less active member but the wife is not a member at all. It turned out to be the highlight of the week. Elder Altejar got to speak to them in Tagalog and help them understand more of what we said, we shared a message with them, and then we went back to their house and just had super good talk. They said that they are going to try actually coming out to our church and hopefully the wife will start investigating! It was just a cool blessing. I become companions with the only Filipino Elder in the mission and in that same week we teach the first Filipino family I have ever taught! So sick! 

Love you all so much! Remember that the Lord really does utilize the talents and skills that we have, so try your best to use them!

Elder Jenkins
Seongnam Ward Meetinghouse

Monday, July 4, 2016

So Long Suwon!

I'll sure miss this place!
Whoa. Holding back the tears on this email... Saturday night at about 10:40, we got a call from our new President and I am transferring. Ah man!!! Literally maybe the saddest call of my whole mission, and it hasn't really stopped since I hung up the phone. I have spent almost 7 months in this area and I have come to love these people and this place sooo much. I think back to the last time I was transferred as a greenie and I remember how sad I was to leave, and I remember thinking "how is it possible to love a group of people and a place so much in such a short amount of time?" and now I am having the thought of "after having been in a place so long and loving a group of people this much, how is it possible for me to leave?" I hate leaving people! I really find it hard to put into words how I feel. But I sure love this Sinpung Ward and this place. It is going to be an emotional goodbye on Wednesday morning, especially with Elder Wilcox! I got here on December 9th, Elder Wilcox got here on the 28th, we have been in the same house ever since, and we have been companions for 4 of those months. A sad goodbye to Sinpung, but I am sure that I will love my next area just as much!

So other than transfers and Monsoon Season starting this week, the rest of the week was sick! Some cool things happened:

On Friday Elder Wilcox and I (as well as a few other missionaries) were selected to take a test on language learning, and it was soooo hard. But it was super fun and made me realize that I know more Korean than I thought!

Then on Saturday we met our new Mission President and his wife--President and Sister Turner. They were super energetic and fun; I think I am going to really enjoy my next year with him.
President and Sister Turner

Yesterday was crazy at church. I gave a quick little farewell talk and the members were like shocked that I was leaving. I think they had just gotten completely used to me being here. So yesterday was full of like 75 pictures and invites for several meal appointments. haha nice! 

This last week (because of upcoming transfers I think) we also had meal appointments for almost every meal, so we have been really eating well. Thank you transfers!!!
Tae Kwon Do Punch to the Elder

Such a fun week with a sad ending, but I think for me it was just a good realization that in all of our lives we have the blast of a time (like in Sinpung Ward) and then all of a sudden it ends. And things change! And we have to keep moving forward. And if we do it with a smile on our faces and work to be happy, we will see how quickly things will change back to the way they were. And we will be blessed. I know it.

I love you all, and I hope you have a good week!
Elder Jenkins
I'm Bringing Him Home

Translation: "Elder Jenkins Leaving Day" from the Primary