Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WEEK 74 - January 15, 2018 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody!!

Well another transfer week has gone by, and for some reason this one just wore me down. Not sure if it was because Basa hit the road or if it's because of the toe, but I was real tired at the end of the week. But at the same time it was another real fun week. 

As usual, on Tuesday we took all the departing elders to the airport. I guess the people are starting to get a little more strict with who is allowed to go into the airport with the going home missionaries. Back then we were all allowed to go in and help them with the luggage and then say goodbye, but they are starting to crack down on that I guess. Luckily I was able to go in, but all the Office elders and my companions weren't able to. So I was happy I got to give a final goodbye to Elder Basa - saying bye was sad, but I don't think anybody shed any tears. After that we headed back to the mission home and gave a training to all the trainers. The next night, all the new missionaries came in. There were only 5 of them and they were all Filipino, so it was a little batch. For the next two days, we handled the orientation and training with the new missionaries and then with their companions on Friday, then sent em all off to their areas. 

with Elder Holmes & Elder Morehu

The hard thing about transfer week is we don't get to work too much in our area for the week. So for that week, our area suffers a bit. But we were still able to get some investigators to come to church who will be baptized in the coming weeks. We did have one cool experience this week. So, at the house of one of the investigators that we have been teaching they have a really old grandma. She's like 85 years old. She's always sat in on the lessons, but has never really expressed interest. She did, however want to read the Book of Mormon, but wasn't able to because she couldn't read the small font. So we printed out the first chapter of Nephi in size 75 font and gave it to her the other day. Once we gave it to her, she refused to put it down. She finished the chapter that night and the next day could tell us everything that happened in the it. She said she wants to read all of it, and she came to church again yesterday. So as of now, we are trying to prepare her for baptism. She has changed a lot. When we first met her and were on a topic about revoltos (idols), she was ticked and did not want to get rid of her revulto. But now she wants to go to church every week and read the Book of Mormon. 

We had another spiritual experience the other day. We entered into the house of one of our investigators and it was just absolute chaos. They were all real busy and one of the kids was on the ground throwing a fit, screaming and crying. They sat us down though and we told them that we are going to bring peace into the house. Before we started we felt prompted to sing a song first. (Elder Morehu has an incredible voice btw.) So Elders Morehu, Holmes and I sang "Love One Another". And all the sudden the kid stopped crying and calmed down, and everything just felt better. We could absolutely feel the spirit enter into the room and we were able to teach a very nice, spiritual lesson. Because of this experience, the investigators totally realized something different about us and our message and they realized that we carry the spirit with us. They asked us to keep coming back everyday. Im so grateful for the spirit and the impact it can have on one person's life. Especially the impact it has had on my life. 

Love you all, have a good week! :)

-Elder Jenkins

My toe is doing fine, just still walking around in flip flops haha. I feel like all I'm missin is a Lava-lavaI told the doctor plenty of time that they don't take off the whole nail in America, so why is that what happens here? He just kept saying that taking off the nail is the best option wherever in the world. Even the mission medical department didn't want them to take off the whole nail. Sister Andrada and I talked to the doc for a bit but he insisted on taking the whole nail off, and didn't want to do it any other way. So oh well. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

WEEK 73 - January 8, 2018 (Laoag, Philippines)

and then there were 9 toenails ... again   :(

Hello Everybody!

So this week was full of good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad, painful news. So remember about 6 months ago, back in July when I had to get my toenail ripped off because of the ingrown/infection. Well my toe has been doing great since then. Actually had almost grown all the way back. Well, while walking around the other day, I started to notice a sharp pain in the same spot of my toe. At the end of the day, I took off my shoe, and sure enough my toe was looking red, swollen and not normal. The next day I went to the hospital to get it checked out, and the doctor put me on some antibiotic, but told me if it doesn't improve by the end of the week, they were gonna have to take off the toenail. Fast forward to Saturday morning, the infection had gotten a little bit better, but the sharp pain of the ingrown cutting into my skin was still there. So again, I was laid down into a hospital bed and the memories from Aparri came right back. This time for sure though hurt wayyy more. I cringe every time I think about the doctor inserting the anesthetics in my toe. At one point I questioned if it would hurt less if he skipped the "sinking a needle 5 times into my toe" and rather just ripped the ol' nail off right away. The anesthetics weren't as effective as they were either when I had the operation done 6 months ago. So I was a bit surprised by the pain of the removing of the toenail this time. When he got it off, I thought it was over, but then he started scraping off the dead skin or something. Actually I'm still not sure what he was scraping at, but it was absolute torture! So I am glad that all that is over. I left the hospital really hoping to never have to get an operation done here again. But the good thing is that my toe is feeling better now. I'll probably be in flip flops for a couple weeks again, but I bought a nice comfy pair, so I'll be fine. So there's that. Hope you guys enjoyed that story haha. 

MLC missionaries

So the good news is that Cassandra and Kim were baptized yesterday! We had been really busy all week with MLC (Mission Leadership Council) stuff and being at the hospital, so if we had time, we were over helping them get prepared for the big step in their life. They're the first ones to be baptized in their family, but we have committed their sister and their aunt to be baptized on the 20th. My goal is to have their whole family baptized before I get transferred. Hopefully I never get transferred, I love the area so much, we are having so much success. 

Speaking of transfers, transfer texts were on Saturday night. Of course with Elder Basa going home, we weren't sure if we would be getting another companion and be in a trisome again or if it would just be me and Elder Holmes. Well we found out that we will be getting a new companion and will be in a trisome again! Our new companion is Elder Morehu! Maybe you remember him from Aparri? We lived in the same apartment for 3 months. Such a stud, one of my best friends in the mission. So we are wayy excited.

celebrating Elder Basa before he heads home

So even though this last week was rather painful when I look back at it, it was also a spiritual one. I actually had a nice experience while we were in the hospital. So I didn't mention this, but in the hospital we were waiting in the waiting room for about 3 hours before they started my operation. During this 3 hour wait, the anticipation was brutal. I had the operation before, so I knew the pain that was coming. Of course during this time I was feeling a little stressed and had some discomfort. So I went ahead and said a silent prayer in my heart asking for comfort. After that, my thoughts went to the Savior, and the anticipation before he suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what He would suffer, and it was far much worse than a toenail operation. He knew that he would not only have to suffer, but die. All of this to overcome the sins of the world, to overcome death, and to complete His mission here on earth. Knowing that the Lord has suffered every pain, sickness, temptation or anything that we go through in life gives us hope and comfort. He did all of that for us. In that hospital waiting room, I felt my Saviors love. 
Alma 7:11-12.

Love you all, have a nice week :)

-Elder Jenkins

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people in their infirmities.

art by J. Kirk Richards 
from the book This Is Jesus

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

WEEK 72 - January 1, 2018 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody!

Well this last week was just a good week of getting back into the work. After all the big Christmas celebrations last week, we had a lot of work to catch up on. And we definitely made our time worth it. Did lots of finding and are trying to set up all the baptisms for January and February. 

So one thing that you will probably find pretty weird is that we went to a couple Christmas parties this past week. Yeah you are probably thinking "Christmas party? Christmas is over!" But the people here just don't care. I wasn't kidding when I said that we still celebrate Christmas here. Haha people still go around caroling singing Christmas songs. People are still having Christmas parties and programs. Everybody's still saying "Merry Christmas" to each other. It's pretty funny. But for New Year we had a pretty early curfew. We all had to be inside by 6:30 because the fireworks get pretty out of control and dangerous. Even though Duterte (Philippine president) made fireworks illegal, still seems like lots of people light em up. But the members in Laoag are sooo nice, they came by at 8 and dropped off a bunch of food for us, since we weren't able to celebrate with them. The fireworks went on all night. They are soooo loud. Sounded like all our neighbors were popping them off all night.

Christmas Skype from both sides

So we had two sets of exchanges with the ZLs this last week. On our exchanges on Wednesday, we got Ray (The Nelson's son) to come out and work with us. He served a mission in Sweden, so it was a lot of fun talking to him and hearing him compare the work in the Philippines to the work in Sweden. There were a couple times that we were finding, and some people would let us come in and teach them. Of course Ray couldn't really understand anything, so after the lesson he asked "So were those members or less actives?" haha And then he was surprised to know that they were new investigators that just let us into their home. He said something like "The work is so different here." It was fun having him with us all day. 

It feels weird that a whole 'nother year has gone by. I try to remember back to last New Years Day, and it seems like it wasn't that long ago. But I look back at the whole year of 2017 as a year that has changed my life forever! A full year in the field serving the Lord has molded me into a different, better person. I am so thankful for the experiences, the trials and the challenges I have had. So thankful for the miracles I have seen, and the lives I've seen change because of the Gospel. And I am so happy for the growth of my testimony and the relationship I have come to have with the Savior and my Father in Heaven. 
Love you all, Happy New Year!
-Elder Jenkins

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

WEEK 71 - December 25, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

I don't really have time to email, so I'll just give you all a quick rundown on my exciting week.

So on Wednesday, all the missionaries from Cagayan traveled into Laoag, so we got them settled in a hotel. While all that was going on, President Andrada interviewed Mhylez and Wellington Alejandro. They passed the interview and President said he was very impressed with them and was very excited for them and their baptism. We ended up at the office pretty late that night preparing for the Thursday morning activity. By Thursday morning, all the missionaries from the whole mission were all gathered at the mission home. We had a real fun activity with lots of games, water balloon fight, etc. Lots of fun to see everybody enjoy so much. 

Later that night, everybody got changed into their PLM polo shirt and dressed up nice for our Mission Dinner/Social night. Every zone performed their cultural dance, and some other presentations were included. It was a lot of fun, lots of laughing. The food was real good, and was just a lot of fun being around everybody having a good time. Also some of the RMs came back and visited the mission including Daryll Costales!! haha So much fun seeing that guy (editor: Ryan's trainer). 

five generations of trainers & their trainees

APs & office elders

Friday morning was the Mission Conference. We managed to squeeze everybody into the small little cultural hall and got to hear a few trainings from President and Sister Andrada. Then we had our big lunch. Sister Andrada went all out with buying gifts for everybody. She bought shoes, new shirts, candy, snacks and other gifts for a lot of missionaries. We also did a big mission-wide gift exchange. Last month when President was interviewing all the missionaries, he had them pick one name out randomly, and that's who they would get the gift for. I picked Elder Swann, so I customized a hat and put a picture of a swan on it hahaha... But yeah the gift exchange was fun, and got missionaries who don't really know each other to start talking to each other. Then we finished the conference and sent all the missionaries back to their areas. After all these events were done, we were absolutely exhausted. But looking back on it, it was a lot of fun.

A surprise Christmas carol serenade at the mission home on December 24th

Even though all these Christmas events were a lot of fun, the best part of the week was on Saturday. The Alejandro family was baptized! Mhylez, Wellington, and their two kids, Paul and Joshua were baptized together as a family. We combined with the Ward 1 elders who also had 4 baptisms.  So it was a nice big baptismal service. On Sunday they were confirmed, and they are feeling spiritually blessed :) 

Love the work and the joy it brings to others and into my life. It's such a blessing to be a tool in the Lord's hands in helping others come unto him, and having me grow spiritually through doing so. 

Love you all, Merry Christmas!!

-Elder Jenkins

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

WEEK 70 - December 19, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody,

First of all, I got an email from some random guy telling me that this blog makes it in the top 100 Philippines blogs in the world! haha so good job Mom. I was hoping we would be top 10 or something like that, but turns out we are number 84. But anyway, that made me laugh. Also congrats to Elizabeth on her Mission Call!! Very Excited for you!! (editor: cousin Elisabeth DeLong has been called to serve in the Taiwan, Taipei Mission,  Mandarin speaking, reporting April 25th.)
Ok, so it is sooo cold here! The past week we haven't been using our A/C at night or even our electric fans. This is the coldest I have ever remembered it getting here in Laoag - it's incredible! The only problem is still the cold showers... Brutal. 

Well this last week was a full of a lot of preparing for two things. First, for the Christmas celebration of the Mission. Tomorrow, all the missionaries will be here in Laoag. We will have a fun activity in the morning and then at night we will have our Christmas Party. Every Zone has a prepared dance presentation to perform and there will be lots of foods, gift exchanges, singing etc. It will be a lot of fun. Then on Friday we have our Christmas Conference. So it will be a busy next two days. 

The other thing we have been preparing for is the baptism of the Alejandro Family this Saturday! This past week we have been focusing on getting the kids ready, because the parents are good to go. They all came to the Ward Christmas Party last night and had a really good time with all the members. So we are so excited for them and their baptism on Saturday. 

We are so happy with the success we are having in the work right now. At church the other day we had 8 investigators attend. And then last night at the Christmas Party, 17 of our investigators attended. The Lord is helping us a lot to have success in the work even though we are busy with other responsibilities sometimes. The past few weeks I have been able to print out all of the J-Co devotionals and read them. (editor:  members of the extended Jenkins family take turns during the month of December to share a devotional on our family facebook page.) And I have truly been inspired and uplifted by the things you have all testified and shared about. I am truly blessed to live in such a Gospel centered family that relies on the Lord and trusts in his plan. I love you all so much! Merry Christmas!!

-Elder Jenkins

Monday, December 11, 2017

WEEK 69 - December 11, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVO!! Big 22!! you can now rent a car or something. (is that right?) Love ya brother, have a good one. 

Well believe it or not, it's a little cold here. Not cold in the afternoons, but in the morning and at night it's been a little chilly lately. Which is making my cold showers in the morning even colder. (editor: I looked it up... low of 70.) Christmas is getting closer and closer and you can feel it in the city. There is a Christmas event at the plaza almost every night, which gives us a nice opportunity to talk to a lot of people.

Speaking of events at the plaza, our "Light the World" event turned out great! Last Monday we were at the church for 5 hours trying to put a nice little choir together. It kinda turned into a me telling people to be quiet, listen, and stop messing around kinda day. Tuesday after our MLC meeting in the morning we gathered everybody in the zone together again for our last practice before the big event. It was kinda hectic and we definitely could of used more time and practice, but it was good enough. So we all walked over to the plaza. There were a total of 70 missionaries in the choir, so there were a lot of us. Our part was at the middle of the program, so when it was our turn to perform, there were lots of people in the plaza. After the first song, it was our (APs & office elders) turn to give our little presentation. I think once we got up there everybody's voices started shaking a bit. It was also our first time singing with mics, so we were all off a bit, but it turned out pretty decent. We all wish we could perform it again cuz it was a lot of fun. Definitely a good memory that we won't forget. Altogether, the event went really well. We didn't get too many referrals from it, but we definitely got the missionaries more well known in Laoag. There have been a few times where we will be out working and then somebody will come up and say, "Hey we were at your concert the other night!" haha So it was a very successful event. I'll try to get the file from President that has all the pictures on it, because I didn't have my camera with me during the thing. So I'll try to send some pics and videos soon.

Besides that, we had an awesome week of work. We were able to make daily contact with the two families that are progressing and both the families were able to make it to church yesterday. One of the families has a baptismal date of the 23rd. The other family's baptism date is on January 6. They have come to church 2 times now and are reading the Book of Mormon consistently. This next week we will have 2 sets of exchanges with ZLs, so we will be able to get a lot of work done. 

The other day I finished the Book of Mormon again, and continue to feel its great spiritual power, especially as I read through the last chapters of Moroni. As I try and reflect what effect this "Spiritual Power" has on me, I always seem to think back to Samuel the Lamanite standing upon a wall crying repentance. People are trying to kill him, throwing stones and shooting arrows. The stones seem to miss or fall short of him, and even the sharp arrows can't seem to pierce his skin.  All of this because of the spiritual "shield" that he has around him. That is the kind of shield that I want with me every day. Something to protect me from the sins and temptations of the world. I've realized that through scripture study, sincere prayer, a clean mind, and a pure heart, this spiritual protection can be with me all day. The companionship of the Holy Ghost and the spiritual power I am given through the Atonement are such blessings in my life.

Love you all, have a nice Christmassy week :)

-Elder Jenkins

Monday, December 4, 2017

WEEK 68 - December 4, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody,

Well, we just finished off another busy transfer week. This was my 4th one, so I feel pretty used to it and it's all pretty routine for us now. It's an exciting week for sure, but after our meetings on Friday when everything was finished up, we are all pretty happy that it was over. 

So this transfer, we had 5 new missionaries come in. Three Filipina sisters, 1 Australian elder, and also one sister from Pakistan! Now that was pretty interesting, the Pakistani sister. She doesn't really speak English, and of course doesn't speak Tagalog. So we had to be creative in finding ways to communicate with her. Us APs and the office elders decided to study a little bit of the language of Pakistan so that we would at least know how to say "Hello", and "How are you" when she got here. But when we approached her at the airport and tried to say some Pakistani words to her, she just chuckled haha. She ended up being able to speak a little bit of English though, so it all worked out. 

Dinner with new missionaries

Also, we found out that the trainer of the one Australian elder would be elder Maharry, the trainee of Elder Reyes. So my bloodline in the mission has extended haha. I now have a great grandson :)

Elder Jenkins and his "mission posterity" 

So we didn't have much time to work last week, but when we did have any free time, we would spend it inviting everybody to attend the Light the World event on Tuesday. They really wouldn't seem too interested, so we just started telling them to attend our "Concert". That seemed to make them way more interested and a lot of them said they would for sure go haha. The location of the event is at the "Central Park" of Laoag, so we are sure there will be a large attendance. We are very excited. It will be a great missionary opportunity.

"Concert" rehearsal

Yesterday, we had 7 investigators attend church. We were pretty happy with that number considering that we didn't really get to work last week. The one family that has been progressing the past few weeks is doing great. The dad didn't make it to church yesterday, we aren't sure why. After this upcoming event on Tuesday, we are excited to be able to focus again on the work and get lots of progression going again in the area. 

These past few days of December, I made it a goal to really focus my studies on Jesus and His life. When reading in the New Testament and in Jesus the Christ, I always seem to realize or notice something about Jesus that strengthens my testimony of Him, and my relationship with Him. Every single day I seem to find myself on my knees more thankful than I was before for the grace and mercy that He gives me every single day. It is such a blessing to be a member of the true, restored church of Jesus Christ, and to be able to fully enjoy the blessings of His Church. There is nothing more I want for the people I teach than to also enjoy these blessings.

Love you, have a nice week!:)

-Elder Jenkins

Service with a smile...
dishes at the mission home after a big dinner.

Perks of "meeting" with the Zone Leaders - homemade bread!!