Monday, August 29, 2016

Oh Rejection!

Working the Streets!
Okay first off, the good news--at least the good news of the week for me. I think that fall has come! Literally the temperature has dropped 15-25 degrees over the past few days and I am loving it, but, at the same time, I was getting pretty used to just sweating all of the time. So actually, from what I have heard, this summer we just got through was the hottest summer that Korea has had since 1994. Yeah baby! I caught the big one! Seriously, though, I loved this summer--hot and sweaty and absolutely lovely.

This past week was weird. Although the temperature was more inviting, I actually felt the least amount of acceptance in my entire time as a missionary! I literally don't think I have ever been rejected so much. It was insane and wayyy hard, but after some time I just found some comedy in it. I didn't really know how to deal with it except for being myself! So yeah, hard week. But if there weren't some hard ones, how would we know how an easy and nice one feels? Right?
It is tiring being a Greenie

This past week we also met with our main man Harry! Harry is this 88-year-old man who LOVES English more than any Korean I have met. He is such a funny character, so our visit was really interesting and comical. He did let us share a little message with him, and the cool thing was, I think that old man felt the Spirit of God. Sick!

Something that really hit me this week came yesterday, at the end of a hard and long week. We were sitting in Sacrament and were singing the opening hymn. Seongnam Ward was sitting at their usual 25 in attendance, and I was seated clear in the back so that I could translate. As we were singing, I was kind of just reflecting for a second, thinking about the week we had had. Sort of depressing, seeing that there wasn't hardly any success that came of the week. Honestly, I was just feeling pretty beat up. And, on top of that, I was looking across the Seongnam few and just feeling so empty. Only 5 years ago, the congregation had 60. Now we are at 25 on a good week. I was just feeling soo much weight. But the funny thing is, as I kept looking at those few members, I received the STRONGEST feeling that God loves each and every one of them that were there. And that He loves and knows each and every one of those people I tried talking to this week. And that He loves YOU and that He loves ME. And honestly I couldn't hold the tears back. He truly is aware of us. He cares so much about us. And He is here! Right next to us! I sure love Him. Although sometimes we might feel like God isn't there, I can testify from my experience yesterday that He is!

I love you all, and I hope you have an awesome week. Remember that even if it does get hard, there is someone you can turn to, and He will be by your side the whole way.

Elder Jenkins!
Learning about Pizza at Pizza School!

NOT Taco Bell!

Monday, August 22, 2016

I Can't Remember What My High School Looks Like

Elder Jenkins and Elder Bratt

Okay, this week seriously has been awesome. On Wednesday, I picked up the big man himself: Elder Bratt! He is soo fun and such a baller. He brought his nerf hoops and so we have been ballin hard at night. I didn't realize how old I would feel with him around though. He is 2 flipping years younger than me. He has been talking about High School and stuff and I can't even remember what my high school looked like (hah). But really, these next two transfers are going to be so fun and full of fire and blessings. I know it!

Actually the blessings have already started flowing. On Thursday night we had our first teaching appointment together, and we were meeting with a kid who Elder Altejar and I had found while playing basketball. At first, it seemed like just friend interest, but as we kept meeting every now and then, his gospel interest level kind of started showing. Since we had already scheduled an appointment, I decided it would be fun to try and teach the Restoration for my companion's first lesson. I kind of had the thought that if things went well, we should try and give the investigator a baptismal date. I helped my companion prepare some Korean and then we went into the lesson. Man, the Spirit was soooo strong! It was crazy--easily one of the coolest and most emotionally moving lessons I have ever participated in. I loved it! And then near the end, I felt like there was a really good opportunity to ask the investigator to be baptized. So I nudged my companion and said, "You need to ask him to be baptized." He tried his best (remember it was his first lesson), I clarified a little bit, and the investigator committed! haha yeah!!! I honestly wasn't really sure if things would work out, but it is so crazy to see what kind of an influence the Spirit of a young missionary can have on the work. Gosh that was such a cool moment--for the investigator of course, but honestly maybe even more so for my new companion. What a blessing! 

Then yesterday was Stake Conference and I loved it. To be honest, my whole mission I haven't had great confidence in my Korean speaking ability. I have always just kind of let my Senior Companion take the reigns and, if he wanted to, I would let him speak the whole time. But recently (becoming Senior Companion and then a trainer) I have no choice but to speak and understand. Honestly, I didn't think I would be able to do it when I first learned about getting young companions, but the craziest thing is, my Korean level and all of that stuff in between has like gone wayy up! Or at least that is just how it feels. That, I believe, is totally a gift from the Lord. 100%! So yesterday at Stake Conference I had to translate the meeting for a Senior Missionary Couple, and it was weird but for one of the first times in my mission I felt like I could understand almost everything and I was able to translate for them. Once again, such a big blessing from the Lord. I love Him! He rescues me sooo much as a missionary it is crazy. I love my Savior!

This week has been sick and full of blessings. I hope all of yours was the same! 

Elder Jenkins

Monday, August 15, 2016

Less Active Does Not Mean Less Important!!!

Seongnam--Love this place!
WOW, I received crazy news this week: transfers were announced and our mission was completely turned upside down! Right now in our mission, I would guess that we have about 110 missionaries, and literally about 100 missionaries are getting transferred this week. I think there are close to 20 areas being changed--all new missionaries. President Turner is taking over. I love it! I am staying in the same place, but Elder Altejar and I are being separated--after just one transfer--and we are both so SAD! I love this kid soo much! But honestly, I think it only took one transfer with each other to learn what we needed to. I learned absolute life lessons from Elder Altejar that I don't think I would have learned any other way. And I think I might have helped him too. Maybe..  It has been such a clutch companionship, but with the end to this one, I will be receiving a brand new missionary. Time to train! Yikes! But I am so flipping excited! YEAH!

Anyway, I don't have a lot of time--like always--but this week was sick--also like always! Not easy, but still great. I made a proselyting goal for our District and since I was the one who set it, of course I had to work super hard to lead by example. It was soooo fun! I haven't pushed that hard for proselyting in a long time. We literally tried to talk to anyone and everyone. I loved it! It made for some stories too. Literally, Elder Altejar has been "chasing"people that we missed, just making sure that they receive something. Awesome!!! I sure love the Lord and His fun work! 

Other cool things:

Clutch Companions
I did my third Baptismal Interview this past week with that one guy who graduated from Yale, and he did awesome. His whole life, he has been an atheist and a chain smoker, but BOOM everything changed because of this Gospel. He is a completely different person than he was just months ago... This Gospel is absolutely amazing! 

And my favorite story:) recently I have been trying really hard for us to find more Less Active Members to work with and after rifling through countless ward lists and records, I kept thinking about this one Sister who is like 33 years old and an RM. Due to family issues, though,  going to church became suuuper hard for her. I contacted her and she agreed to meet. As we met and found out a lot of this stuff, I felt like I truly understood her.
We just really wanted to help her and we told her that. She became pretty emotional, which was sort of odd because we were eating in a restaurant and out in public, but man it was amazing. She completely opened up. And then in a small break of silence, Elder Altejar flipped out his Book of Mormon and had her read a verse and she just started bawling. And then she explained that right at the time when I first called her, she was kind of having some super hard times and just a lot of hateful feelings. She was even feeling suicidal. Then I called and she said EVERYTHING changed for her! She really felt that we were the answer to everything that she had been going through, and it really was the most spiritual and humbling moment of my mission! AMAZING!!! I

I am out of time. Sorry! Other cool stuff happened this week as well! haha love you all!
Elder Jenkins
On the Streets

Monday, August 8, 2016

Whether to Go; Weather to Not

Being a foreigner in Korea, this week was really really interesting for me. So this was the hottest week in Korea since I have been here (I think like high 90's with suuuper high levels of humidity) and with the heat came a lot of challenges for missionary work. Korea just shut down in this weather! We could walk the streets and there was like no one. Last Friday, even we as missionaries weren't allowed to leave our houses until night time because I guess it was too hot. I can't say I was 100% obedient to that. To be honest, to me it was weird and frustrating. I didn't come here to sit in my house all day! The weird thing was, even the natives to this weather, the Koreans, were nowhere to be found. Sooo weird! And literally everyone we talk to just says "wow it is soo hot, and difficult, how can we do this??" haha gah! I hate this. So for Koreans, this was kind of just-take-it-easy week, and it really really tried my patience. No one could meet, and when we tried finding everyone gave us the excuse of it being too hot. So yeah, I was pretty frustrated. But what a great learning experience for me. Patience is so key in doing God's work. Waiting is truly one of the hardest parts for me, but learning patience is an awesome reward!

Additionally, because of the weather, church attendance proved to also be a "difficulty." We started sacrament meeting with 13 members and 4 missionaries, BUT did end with close to 30 total! Woo! 

Also this week some old lady passed us on the street and started to yell at us pretty aggressively, and the weird thing was that I actually understood her. Yeah! As I think I have said before, Korean people usually are either Very Very Christian or Buddhist, and this woman was Extreme Christian. She was just like going off on us not believing in Jesus and being a cult and all that good stuff. And then she even started to yell about us needing to believe, and that Jesus has appeared in Korea in the form of a woman (uh.. what the?). After a while of listening without intending to say much, my mouth just opened and kind of randomly said "I BELIEVE IN CHRIST!" Seriously, it was the craziest thing. But upon hearing that, she just stopped and nodded her head and kept on walking! Not another word. Although this experience was pretty weird to say the least, it really made me realize that a testimony can really carry a lot of power. Just 4 words was all it took, a simple testimony to stand up for something I believe. Don't underestimate the power of declaring a testimony! 

One last cool thing from this week: On Saturday, it was recommended we try to stay indoors with investigators and that kind of stuff, but after a while of nothing we just decided to take a little bit of time and go proselyte. As we were leaving the church, I had the thought that we should pray to find someone to come to church tomorrow, so we prayed right there in the middle of the road and then went to work. We spent about an hour walking about; we talked to some fun people, but no one committed. Frustration! So right when we were walking back to the church, literally 50 meters from the church, a guy stopped us and asked "where have you guys been? I have been waiting at the church for you. Lets meet!" So we sat down, got to know him a little bit, and when things were wrapping up, I made the last little "attempt" and invited him to church. To my surprise he said "yeah, I guess that would be a good thing to do."  Of course man! It was such an awesome experience: reliance upon the Lord and being specific with the Lord brought a specific and needed blessing! 

But the funny thing is, he didn't come out to church yesterday. I am blaming it on the weather ... and that is missionary work! But the thing is, whether or not that random guy came to church or not isn't the important thing. I think it was the fact that Elder Altejar and I relied on the Lord, and because of that He reminded us He was there, and it is still His work and He does it in His own timing. So yeah, maybe we will never see that guy again, but I sure do think there was a reason we met him on Saturday.

God really does work in funny and interesting ways. I love Him! And I sure love being His representative. 

I love you all and have a great week! 

Elder Jenkins

Monday, August 1, 2016

Heat, Heat, and More Heat--Am I Repeating Myself?!

It was such a fun and hot week, and from what I hear, it is going to be getting even hotter this week! We are praying that as the temperatures go up that the work stays parallel. I do have one lucky thing to report on: we got AC in one of our rooms this week. YEAH! Such a blessing--no more waking up covered in sweat. Anyway, this week really was so fun and things just keep getting busier and busier. I love it!

One cool story: this past Wednesday we were on our way to District Meeting in the area next to ours and only one stop into the ride a guy came and sat by me. Right when he sat down, I started to talk to him in Korean and he just looked at me like I was crazy.  I kind of tucked my tail between my legs and bemoaned what I thought was the fact that "people still can't understand my Korean?!" (haha) Fortunately, he then responded, "Dude, I'm not Korean." Phew! He was from China, and he was sooo cool! He had immediate interest, and so I got his number. We talked for like 20 minutes on the way to the church about God and all these good questions he had. So sick! Then I started texting him that night and I just asked a question like, "when do you usually get off work" and he responded "6, but I can't meet tonight sorry... How about tomorrow?" We met him the next night and it was such a cool experience. This guy literally asked every question that we try to answer for people, and he is just sincerely seeking. Cool blessing from the week. Now I'm going to start learning some Chinese! Maybe I will be quad-lingual (is that a real term) by the time I am home.  Anyway, that funny little miscommunication paid off.

Tte next day we had our first interviews with President Turner and he is awesome. It all just makes me smile! 

On Saturday there was a Baptismal Service in the area next to us and we attended. I interviewed her last week and she said she really wanted me to be there, so we worked our schedule around it and it was so worth it. I love the sound of the water running at the church! 
The Baptism We Attended:  Check Out that Smile!

This week truly was a week full of ups and downs, but I loved it so much. I hope you all are doing well. Keep up the good work! 

Elder Jenkins