Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Transfers Bundang it

This past week was a lot work (mission work) and not a lot of my favorite work (missionary work), but I still found joy in the work! And to conclude the week, the wonderful and habitual season of transfer calls came upon our mission. Let me give you a quick rundown.

On Monday, we had a big basketball tourney and it was a lot of fun as usual. We also got to eat the beloved Costco cake.

Tuesday, we had a meeting for younger missionaries and Elder Lee and I did some fun acting! I played Satan in this role-play (haha I know what you are thinking, "he is a perfect fit!" and you are right). The idea of the role-play was to emphasize using time wisely, and literally every comment afterward was something like "I really loved how Satan was depicted in this roleplay"or "Satan does exactly that! He pretends to be our friend, and he is kind of loud and obnoxious." I just started to assume they were no longer describing Satan anymore, they were just describing me. I guess I should try and tune down the acting skills, and wait for Hollywood after the mish.

Wednesday Thursday and Friday (hmmm, I can't remember), but I know we went on exchanges with the other elders in our house and set a baptismal date with a guy who was referred by his non-member friend. Sick! We actually weren't totally sold on him, but he surprised us and showed up for church. Near the end of sacrament, he told us that he probably should go, but he ended up staying for Gospel Principles class; then near the end of Gospel Principles, he leaned over and told us again that it looked like he needed to go, but he didn't! He stayed for the third hour and also for the lunch afterwards. Something kept him here. It turns out he has some serious potential! Sweet.

On Friday, we made transfer calls! I found out a few days in advance from President that I am moving once again--this time to Bundang! That is my 6th area and it looks like I will be spending my last two transfers there. Kind of sad to be leaving this area and position, but always ready for a new challenge! After transfer calls, it is always so chaotic but I have been enjoying it! I got a lot of pictures with some members that I love and I also spoke for a little bit in Sacrament Meeting! To cap it off, I got to pull out the skills I learned from the MTC Choir experience: I participated in Ward Choir! Yeaahhhh! I was sure they were going to give me a solo...maybe next time! (haha)

This week was just great. Although it is sad to learn about leaving an area, and things like that, it is always possible to be happy! That might be one of the biggest lessons I have learned on my mission. We can choose happiness! I hope I can continue to learn much in my limited remaining time as a missionary! This is the greatest time ever. 

I love you all!
Elder Jenkins

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Plastic Surgery Anyone?

WOW, this week was sweet--so many cool miracles, lots of laughs, and some good weather!

This week we were super busy with exchanges! We had three back to back to back, so I actually didn't see my real companion for 3 days in a row. But exchanges are always cool--they seem to always be filled good learning experiences and hard work. Of course, weird things also seem to happen. Here is a story for the books. 

For those of you who don't know, plastic surgery is suuuper popular in Korea. I have heard that as many as 2/5 of the women here have "something" done. But because Koreans are very, very private about their personal lives, you will usually never know if someone has had something done. As a result, it has been a non-issue for me; that is, until last Thursday. We were riding up an escalator, and I bowed to the lady that was riding up next to me and we started talking. She had lived in Canada for a little while and her English was pretty good, so I was definitely not mistaken when I asked her where she was going and then heard her surprising reply: "I am going to get some plastic surgery!" WHAT THE? I was full blown shocked. First off, that is normally a very private thing, and second off why are you telling a random white stranger this? I was honestly so surprised, I almost asked "WHERE!?" Instead, I just showed her a Book of Mormon and told her that she could probably use a read! yikes..

Okay, now fast forward a few hours to maybe the biggest miracle ever! Recently I have been reading in the middle of Alma where it talks a lot about missionary work and the need for prayer, diligence, and an ear for the Spirit. So those are some of the things I have been even more focused on recently. On Thursday, we were riding back to the church on the subway, but it was the middle of the day so there were only like 10 people in the whole cart we were riding in. Elder Lee and I both made attempts to have some good conversations, but we both faltered quickly. I just kind of was sitting there alone and no one else was around, but I saw a guy down the cart a little bit that kind of looked a bit familiar. So I stood up quickly and walked over to him, knowing I was getting off in just a few seconds. I said hello, but nothing! 

Naturally, I was a little bit confused as to why I felt like I should talk to this guy and right as I was thinking this, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to a shorter middle-aged woman who said to me, "Hey you are Mormon right?" Of course I said yes, and then she said "Give me your number!"  I was a little confused by this prompt and rather aggressive response (I actually thought to myself, "Yikes, she's definitely pyscho, but at least she hasn't talked to me about her plastic surgery yet"). Despite that thought, I did give her our number and we actually proceeded to get off at the same stop. So Elder Lee, this lady, and I walked for a little while and we learned some pretty cool things as we talked! About 30 years ago, she met missionaries for the first time because her middle school was right next to one of our churches. She came out to activities a few times, but nothing crazy. She said she was just left with a good impression. Well a few years ago she grew close to a Pastor of another church and ended up being baptized, but the Pastor recently moved away and then this woman fell away from the church because she no longer had a friend. She said at that time she was really quite disappointed in herself, and decided that she should find a religion or a faith that she would be cemented in. At that time, a memory came to her mind of some white guys in white shirts with black tags that she used to know 30 years ago.. and the search began! She recently had even tried chasing missionaries down, but barely missed them as they caught a bus. Sick! So when she saw me in close range, she pounced! I am awfully grateful for the feeling that I had to go talk to that guy, although he wasn’t interested. There totally was a reason. God guides!

So next: after talking for a few minutes, she had to run to the hospital for an hour. But she told us to meet her at the station when she was done with her appointment, so we did. And she came back! We talked more deeply, set a baptismal date, and committed her to come to church. And guess what: she came!!! And she found lots of friends! She came up to us before she left and told us that she had set an appointment with one of our members and she wanted us to be there to teach her the Gospel! Haha, missionary work is so cool. I love this life.

My week was fantastic, I hope yours was as well! And this coming one too!!

Love you!

Elder Jenkins

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Groundhog Day?

Korea is SO Pretty in the Spring

This week was a good one for sure! The reason for the title (Groundhog Day) is that we had conferences again this week and it was deja vu, but we made it fun. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were busy with training, but we took advantage of our evenings.

On Thursday, a special visitor--an Asain studies professor from BYU--spoke to us. He spoke for about an hour and a half about the history of Korean religion, and it was super fascinating! I learned a lot of cool new things. He spoke a lot about Shamanism and boy was that interesting! On Thursday, I also went back to Gokbanjeong on an exchange. I love seeing my old areas!!!

Recently our mission has been making a big push on passing out copies of the BOM and so the other day as a district we did a sticker boarding activity and tried to give out a few. Near the end of the activity, I stopped some older guy and introduced to him what we are doing and gave him a copy. I guess I didn't think I needed to explain that the book was free because the next thing I knew he put 10 bucks in my hand and said, "I will make sure to give her a read!" And then he left! It happened so quickly, I didn't even get a chance to give the money back! It made for a funny moment for sure.

Another cool thing happened this week: because of translation difficulties, in Korea we watch General Conference a week late. So, for us, this last weekend was the big week! The nice thing about it is that it always lands on the "start of spring" in Korea, and that means cherry blossoms!! So our ward, after watching Conference together, went to this suuuper popular place and enjoyed the blossoms.
Me Proselyting in the Back

It was super fun and also quite the site. There were sooo many people, I felt suffocated! But it made for some good opportunities to street contact.
I gotta go but I had a great week, and I anticipate this week will be even better!
Love you all!
Elder Jenkins
Catching a Little Power Nap During Conference Hymn

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Mad, Mad, Mad Week!

This week was mad, but I can't be too detailed because, as always, I'm short on time. I gotta go ball out today! I guess everyone will be wearing ankle braces (haha)!?  Anyway, this past week was everything I could have asked for. We were so so busy with all kinds of things. I will explain quickly!

On Monday we didn't actually take our p-day because there were four different teams that needed to move out of their apartments by Tuesday morning. Directly after our email session ended, we left the house and didn't get home until a little after 10:30. It was such I grind! I really enjoyed getting in some physical work though. You know me.
I had to do a lot of driving as well, which was super sketchy. Driving in Korea is insane! I know I was kind of a crazy driver at home, but I really make an effort to tone it down in the mission (the Lord's vehicles). Haha

Then on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we we went to some mission conferences and it was awesome! Someone did a hilarious role-play where they pretended to meet someone who didn't have a religious background and so they taught the Restoration, but instead of using words like prayer, God, and baptism, they used words like Mochi, Walla Walla, Langway. Obviously, it was really confusing for those watching, but it made a great point about people who are just learning about the Gospel: there are a lot of words and concepts that are confusing. We have a unique language! But in truth the Gospel really should be simple. I love that message! It reminds me of a classic scripture:

For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.

God and His Gospel really are simple. We would do well in doing the same!

Then the coolest thing happened yesterday at church! Around 8:00 in the morning before church,  I sent out a mass text to potential investigators and just invited them lightly to come to church with me. There were a ton of replies, and someone actually came!!! He is this 21 year old who is soo funny; his dream is to be a rapper. The coolest thing about him is that he actually has a physical disability so he walks with a small limp and can't use one of his hands very well, but you hardly notice because of his great personality. After church, we did a short lesson and he just said "I love this church! I will come every week!" We asked why he felt that way and he said it was because he was just so touched by our members. Everyone was so nice to him and he was really really grateful for that. He has been bullied his whole life, and he was just so happy that there was a big group of people at church who were kind, accepting, and loving. Yes. Thank you members!!! Well, then we of course asked "when would you like to be baptized?" and he responded, "anytime works for me!" Woo! So we set a date for the end of this month. Blessings!

Great week. I am all smiles. 

Love you all! Keep it simple!
Elder Jenkins