Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving in Korea? Pizza and Fried Chicken!

Highlights from last week...

Because American Holidays are not a thing in Korea (for me at least), it is suuuper hard to keep track of holidays. Literally on the 24th I finally remembered that it was Thanksgiving, so that night I pulled some strings and a cool member bought us Pizza and Fried Chicken and we feasted! Pizza for Thanksgiving two years in a row now--a bit different from the traditional family turkey feast.

This week I went on an exchange cleaaaarr into the countryside to a place called Anseong and it was so sick; it literally took two hours to get there. It reminded me of home: no people, no cars, and a nice little cozy church (haha), but it definitely looked a lot different than home. The craziest thing, though, is only about 6 members and 4 missionaries come to church (I thought Seongnam was small). My little realization about that was just that even in small numbers, the gospel will roll forth! No matter how many people show up on Sunday, the Gospel is still true and the Spirit can be felt for ever single one of these members. 

One other story to illustrate just a little bit about how people look at missionaries or anyone very religious in Korea: Yesterday I had a meeting in our stake building and it takes quite a bit of time to get there--about an hour both ways--which makes for great proselyting time! Yeah baby! For the sake of brevity, I will skip the ride there and get to the ride back. There were a lot of people so I just stood by one of the doors (my strategy with that is that at every stop there are more people to talk to), so I started talking to some younger-aged guy and he was a little shy at first but it was fun trying to get him to open up and make him laugh and stuff like that. Right when I thought it started to go well, I got a phone call from another missionary that only lasted like a minute tops. While I took the call, though, this random old lady grabbed the guy I was talking to and "whispered" something a little too loudly because I heard pretty well what was being said: "watch yourself, they are a cult!" I hurried and hung up the phone and "whispered" back, "who in the heck is that?" He said he had no clue, but he (not surprisingly) shut down. I just figured I lost my chance to the old lady. A few stops later, she got up to get off and brushed his shoulder and said, "BE CAREFUL" with a pretty terrified look on her face. And that was that, but the hate is real! Anyway, the adversary is real in Korea, but I can tell you one thing: God is ever present! I feel Him in my life every single day, and I know He is in all of our lives if we choose to let him in!

I miss you all!

Elder Jenkins

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Short and Sweet--Not Me, My Letter!

This week was so cool! It started off with a really fun P-day with the members of my MTC group, and it was a blast. I don't know if it is like that for other missions or not, but here in Korea it is so fun to hang out with the kids we spent nine weeks with in the MTC. And the crazy thing is .. those Sisters are going home so soooon!!! Such terrible news; we will really miss them.

Other than the bitter sweet party on Monday, this week was just all kinds of good. Well, I guess that is just mostly true of Sunday:
Our Sisters' Investigator was baptized and it was such a cool and spiritually powerful experience!   She has only been meeting them for like 3 or so months (which is a short time in Korea), but she was just soo ready. She found the church through our free English class and told herself that even though she was attending, she would never commit to a religion let alone learn of ours. She is only 18, and her parents are both non-members who are not fans of religion, but even they came out to the Baptism and the dad was all hyped up. It was dope! He was videoing it all and after the service, he was asking participants for pictures. The Spirit is amazing. It worked on all of us pretty well in that service.
I sure do love the feelings that I get from the Spirit of God. I am so grateful for that in my life!

Life is so great in Korea. Other fun things from this week: on Tuesday, I was able to go back to Shinpung (my second area) on an exchange and it was a blast! We visited all of these old people that I knew, and there were a lot of surprised faces for sure. There were also some good "feels like home" vibes! Then on Thursday, my companion and I were heading on a bus to the Subway to go meet some other missionaries, and when I got off the bus I realized (too late sadly) that I left my phone on the bus. After a couple of hours of borrowing strangers' phones and having crazy-sounding old men answering my phone, I found it! Gosh, I have to get my stuff together (haha).

I just had a jolly time last week! I hope you all did as well.

Elder Jenkins

Monday, November 14, 2016

White Washing

This last week was awesome, but as always there was so much to do and not a lot of time to do it. It is crazy busy doing all the things you need to do in your own area and simultaneously watch after other missionaries around you as well, but I have been loving it!

When I came into this area there wasn't a lot, which is why we were assigned to white wash (I believe), so it has required a lot of planting without much sprouting! That definitely can be frustrating, but we have been doing our best to have fun and help people around us in their situations as well. And I have been so happy! Helping others and focusing on them is totally the key to being happy and loving life I think. So as the week progressed, we kept working hard, found a new investigator, on the first meeting we gave him a baptismal date, and he also came to church on Sunday. Sweet!!! Spouting is already happening which is so fun to experience and watch.

Last week, we held District Meeting in my old area Shinpung, so it was way fun to go back and see all the stuff I used to see everyday! Shinpung is easily the most historically deep and interesting area in our entire mission, so I got all kinds of excited for that!

One last cool thing: last night we went to this beautiful part of our area called Central Park and intended to proselyte to as many people as we could. That is always our goal, but this place is unique because it is notorious for families! It is a super cool and rare opportunity in Korea to find a family and to teach them! That still hasn't happened for me. A year and 3 months and I still have a 0 in that column, so I was pumped for that first opportunity. And, literally, the first two people we run into are 2 Americans who stopped us and said, "We are so curious about Mormons!" Needless to say, we didn't get any proselyting time with families yesterday. Instead, just two white folk who had some Mormon friends back in their hometown! That was so fun. We talked to them for almost 50 minutes, exchanged info, and they want to meet again. Such a cool blessing! That is the second time something like that has happened on my mission. The first was actually 3 months ago when I was serving with Elder Bratt and it was also two Americans. Koreans? Anyway, both are great examples of how being an example can really spark someone's interest. Sometimes being a member missionary doesn't necessarily even mean "preaching" as much as it does just living the Gospel and being a good person! Keep it up Americans! And I will also try my best in Korea!

Love you all! 

Elder Jenkins

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dog Soup Days

Leaving Seongnam
Wow this week was soo crazy! Because I was transferring, of course, there were so many goodbyes. And because it was a weird transfer (a bit off schedule), I had a whole week to visit people and do some fun things with them!! I don't really have time to describe every one of them, but I can say briefly how much people have come to mean to me on my mission. Every time transfers come, it is sooo hard to leave! I'm always so sad, but I am always so grateful that I even had the opportunity to meet them. Anyway, here is a fun summary of the week:

1. We went hiking for P-day with our Sisters, and on the way up the mountain, we randomly ran into one of our potential investigators who was doing the same hike and so we unexpectedly were able to spend the afternoon with him. It was such a blast! We saw some cool things, had a lot of laughs, and then after we finished the hike we went bowling with the rest of our district members. It was so much fun! 

2. Elder Bratt and I did a little "Basketball Finding" one more time, and then we ordered our favorite chicken delivered to the house.

3. Definitely the craziest thing we did happened on Friday. At lunch time, we went with one of our members out into the country side and ate... DOG SOUP! (hahaha) Oh man, that was sketchy! When we stepped in to the restaurant, I thought it smelled like a wet dog and I heard dogs barking out back (maybe psychological?). I don't know. It was just weird! But, surprisingly, the soup wasn't half bad! But I'm not so sure I will voluntarily eat that again. Quite the experience!

4. Moved in to Gokbanjeong on Saturday. A nice surprise on Sunday when nearly 4 times the number of members than we we had in my last area showed up. It looks to be a way awesome ward, and I am super happy to be serving here now! 

Anyway, I think the week maybe felt more eventful than it really was... Dog soup must be getting to me! 

Love you all! Keep on keepin on!
Elder Jenkins
More photos:
Hiking with the Sisters
It's Fall!
Leaves are a-changing!