Monday, October 31, 2016

My Stint as a Halloween Party Planner!!!

Waiting for transfer phone call with a bit of trepidation!
Wow, it was kind of an interesting week. There was so much to do that we were simply fighting against time.

Here is the story: A few weeks ago, the ward gave the missionaries the huge responsibility of planning and completely handling on our own, a ward Halloween Party. Initially, it didn't sound like much, but we soon discovered there was sooo much to do! The two sisters and the two of us basically sacrificed the whole week to try and make the party as "sick" as we could and to find as many people to come as we could. We had to buy all kinds of decorations, make cool invitations, advertise, and it took soo much time. But it was cool! Our party consisted of a haunted house, apple bobbing, a pinata, dinner, live music, and even Krispy Kremes! The whole 9 yards.
But, for real, the hardest part was finding people to come About half of our ward came, which makes about 15 total people. Besides the ward, I estimate that on the street alone we invited over 400 people! I also took to the phone and texted/called a little over 900 people, literally.  We went at it so hard (invited more than 1300 people)!!! And guess how many people total came......... maybe 40. Aw Man!!!!! WHAT THE? This is actually a great example of the people of Korea who are always so BUSY. Anyway, it was fun to kind of create a Halloween Spirit in Korea. They don't celebrate much at all here, so it was fun to give them the experience! 

Other highlights: not many since we spent the whole week on the party, but yesterday Elder Bratt got grabbed by some drunk old guy, got scared, and literally took off running. Thanks for waiting comp! I still hadn't realized what had happened until I too was running and looked back at a red-faced old man, cussing, and waving a cane in the air!

Oh, and also we saw two drunk dudes singing last night! I tried to snap a pic for the followers back home, but the flash went off, which created a scene, and then I just hid my face and got out of there (haha). Fail.

And last but not least: We got transfer calls on Saturday (a week early), and after 3 beautiful transfers of serving in hilly Seongnam, I am moving. I'm going back to my old District in Suwon! It should be a lot of fun there, but it still amazes me how much I get attached to people. Tears everywhere man!

The Agony (impending phone call)
Anyways, love you all and I hope you have a great Halloween! I mostly just hope you are happy:) See you next week!

Elder Jenkins

Parent note:  Seth has been decorating (or making us decorate) for Halloween as long as we can remember.  It's his favorite time of year.  We noticed a rather large dip in his checking account this week and wondered about new shoes or perhaps a winter coat.  Not quite!  We now know it was for the Seongnam Ward Halloween Party.  What a kid!
Leaving his friends of the Seongnam Ward:

Monday, October 24, 2016

I smile and laugh a lot!

So many fun things happened this past week!

The main highlight was definitely Elder David A. Bednar's visit to our mission!!! So sick! And he brought the Spirit with him. We had a 3-hour question/answer session with him, and I even asked a question. I learned wayyy too much to tell you everything, but one thing I really loved that he said was, "Don't pray for God to do what you know you need to do!" Act with Faith! It is so simple.

Another fun thing happened on Tuesday; we had some free time in the middle of the day, so we hit the subway for a little refreshing type of proselyting and it was awesome. There truly is an art to subway-finding and it requires focus and communication by both members of the companionship. We split up in the same cart and then start talking to as many as will listen, or if someone is willing we talk to an individual for a few stops. The reason I mention focus and communication is because you both need to be on the same page as to geography: we need to get off the subway before we ride beyond the boundaries of our area. Elder Bratt and I have been doing this for a while, so I never really worry about it too much. But this last week, our stop came and at the time Elder Bratt was still talking to someone. I hopped off the subway and then realized he was still on; I jogged up to his door to tell him to get off, but right then the doors were closed. I was waving and shouting, looking kind of crazy to other people I am sure, trying to get him to get off (haha). Yup, he didn't see me. I spent the next 45 minutes panicking, looking for my lost toddler--or that is at least how I felt (I know, he is not a toddler, but in terms of language and time in Korea it seems a fitting comparison). Terrifying! Now I know how my parents felt when I got lost in Disneyland. Funny memory, but not one bit funny at the time!

One more funny experience: in Korea, our church's reputation is not great. Not good at all in fact. Frequently, when we start talking to someone on the street or in the subway and people learn that we are the Mormons, instantly people say "cult!" That word in Korean is 이단 (idan)--I meaning "2" and Dan meaning like "direction." If you break the word down, it means "you split off of the direction everyone else was taking." That really isn't accurate, since we are different from the very beginning! But anyway, we were waiting at a bus stop the other day and this old guy approached us and started talking about God: "Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, AMEN!" Before he got too far into his sermon, I stopped him and said, "Sorry man, we are the Mormon Missionaries, we already believe in what you are talking about." He got all excited and yelled "The Mormons! You are about as idan (second path) as it gets!" So I just smiled at him, and then said "Nope, we aren't idan; we are samdan (third path)!" which isn't a thing in Korean. He just looked at us and was totally at a loss of words. And then I said "God Bless You" and we got on the bus. 

I also learned this week from more evangelists that Christ's Second Coming already happened in Korea 80 years ago and they claim to be "the Restored Church of God".. Gah! I guess I won't be using that line as heavily anymore.

I also had a surprise visit from my second companion, the former Elder Ely. It was so great to see him.

Anyway, last week was so great. Loved it! And definitely smiled and laughed a lot! Isn't that what it's all about? 

Love you all!

Elder Jenkins

Monday, October 17, 2016

Friendship, Love, Understanding

This week, there were some sweet moments for sure!

On Friday, we met with the investigator (the guy who found us off of a lucky internet search) and we taught him the Plan of Salvation. It was sooo flipping cool! We were all faced with like absolutely speechless moments, and we all recognized a really really spiritual--kind of just amazing--feeling!  He is really Christian and we shared with him some  scriptures from the Bible to help illustrate what we believe and he really couldn't reply. He was just in awe. It was so sick. Another reminder that in God's word, there is power!

Then yesterday one of the more humbling moments of my mission happened. Korean ward members aren't the best at Family Home Teaching, but honestly I don't think Americans are either (haha). But one of our members really likes it, so we asked him to give us a ride and take us to visit some Less Active members and it was absolutely an inspired decision. The first man we went and visited was a RC (recent convert) and he is starting to go a little less active. When we went over, the Spirit was not in that guy's house! Not at all. It smelled like smoke and alcohol and it broke my heart. He just looked so depressed and it appeared that he was having a really hard time. It turns out he had been, and we got there at a perfect time to try and help him. And as we did: the Spirit filled the whole apartment! Testimony is so incredibly powerful, but so is friendship and Love and Understanding. It was such a cool experience. Just as Elder Holland told us to do, we went Family Home Teaching, and I know now why we should! Such a cool miracle! Help those with feeble knees!

Anyways, no more time. But I love you guys. And I hope you have a fine week! 

Getting Pretty Comfortable with the Mask

Elder Jenkins

Monday, October 10, 2016

When in Korea...

When in Korea...

Wow, another pretty awesome week, but sadly no crazy crazy highlights to entertain you with other than we finally go to watch conference! That in itself was sooo great! However, I only got to watch half of it in English, so it looks like I will be rewatching! (haha) I am not opposed to that; in fact, I wish I would have done that when I was at home. Reviewing conference talks has become a big part of my study time. And it is so cool that we can keep learning from things, even when we have already read them before. My testimony of Prophets and Apostles was really really strengthened this past weekend!

For those of you that don't know, in Korea the whole ward comes to the church on the days of Conference and we watch it together, so it is usually a really good strengthening opportunity for the members. We also eat together and have some fun spending time together as a ward.

When in Korea...
On Sunday before the morning session of conference began, I got a call from one of our investigators who had come to church for the first time the week before. I actually thought he lost a lot of interest at church because it seemed to be really strange for him, but he called me just as church should have begun and asked "where are all of the members?? I am at the church in Seongnam!" I didn't even realize that he might want to come again (great showcase of my faith). I explained that we had a special meeting and that is was actually in a bigger church in the area. After explaining that, I thought he would just say like "okay, see you next week!" But he once again proved me wrong and asked for the address. I sent it to him, and 5 hours later he left the church with a huge smile on his face and I know with a special feeling in his heart!!! It was such a miracle for us. He stayed for both sessions, ate with our bishop and built a fantastic relationship there, listened attentively, laughed with us, and, like I said, he felt the Spirit!!

Other than that, it was a pretty "normal" week in Korea--if there even are those here (haha). I'm loving the life I live and I hope you all are as well!! Try to use what you learned from Conference to become a better person! It works:)

Love you all!

Elder Jenkins

Zone Conference

Treats from HOME!!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Accept (Embrace) Corrections (easier said than done)!

This week was easily the most humbling week of my mission. It was just experience after experience of the Lord basically just saying "This is my work, so you better do it my way!" Anyway, it had that kind of feel. Although sometimes pride makes those experiences hard to swallow, when we listen and do it the Lord's way, we are blessed so much! In so many different ways.. I love the opportunities I have to personally change as a missionary, even though it can be hard.

Highlights from the week:

1.We ate delicious seafood dukbokki with two cool members! Elder Bratt once again walked away peppered in red sauce. He's still getting acquainted with every food being red, which is not a great condiment for the required white shirt.

2. We went sticker boarding twice with the sisters which is always so fun. This time, an older lady walked up to the board, told me there was a weird smell as she looked me and the other foreigner sister missionary up and down, and then didn't even put the sticker on! What the? Maybe I am too white? Summer tan fading quickly.

3. On Thursday we had the sickest District Meeting ever. The Spirit was SO strong and it seemed like all 9 of us were in tears. I absolutely love when people share cool experiences.

4. We taught "The Professor" and he was sooo hyped to hear that his ancestors could have a chance to learn about Christ and God. It was the perfect lesson for him I think. He already seems to love what the Gospel has to offer to him!

Korean Hoops
5. On Saturday we went and played basketball with a Less Active Member and some potential investigators and it was soo fun! We went hard, and once again Steph Curry comparisons were drawn. Just kidding, but there were some big eyes when Elder Bratt and I were on the same team. We showed them a little bit of "white boy ball." So awesome.

There was much more to this week, but honestly I am out of time. I love you all and I hope that even though it may be hard to accept if there is correction this week (especially from the Lord), take it with a grain of salt and then improve! It feels so amazing!

Love you again!
Elder Jenkins
The Hills of Seongnam