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!!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

WEEK 67 - November 27, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody,

Well everybody here was a little sad earlier because Miss Philippines didn't make the top 5 in the Miss Universe Pageant. We were getting haircuts and everybody seemed to be pretty focused on the TV. As well as the guy cutting my hair... so the haircut didn't turn out too well. Good thing Miss USA didn't take the 5th spot or the barber probably would've taken it out on me. The good news is Elder Basa didn't get transferred!! haha We couldn't believe it. He has been here as AP for 9 months, and now he will finish his mission here with us, so we are real excited about that. It will be a fun Christmas!
APs and Office Elders with President & Sister Andrada

So this last week was a really busy one. As you know, on Monday we traveled to Cagayan and had Zone conference. Then on Thursday and Friday we had the other two Zone conferences to finish off the cycle. On Thursday, President helped us celebrate Thanksgiving by taking us out to dinner. Unfortunately, there was no turkey, stuffing, or any of Grandma's famous Ham Sauce. But we did enjoy a nice meal. President really helped us enjoy the week by taking us out to dinner plenty of times. So we are very thankful for that.

Back in one of his old areas for Zone Conference.

with Elder Wineberg (MTC companion) and 
Elder Mortenson (in the MTC together & friend from Alpine, UT)

So we have something coming up next week that we are really excited for. We will be putting up a stage at Centro Plaza of Laoag and be putting on a "Light the World" program. Us missionaries will be performing some songs, the Mayor will be giving a speech, its gonna be a good time, and a really good missionary opportunity. At one of the zone conferences last week,  the office elders and us APs sang a nice little song, so we were asked to prepare a song for this event on Dec. 5th. It's gonna happen in Centro Laoag, so there should be a lot of people. As for the people we have been teaching, they are still doing well. We weren't able to really work at all this last week, so we are in need of a nice week of work. But they are still reading the Book of Mormon, and as long as that is happening, they will progress. 

The other day I realized and felt something that hopefully I can remember all the time throughout my life and that is the satisfying, happy feeling of being obedient to the Lord. Everything seems to work out better when we are simply obedient to His commandment and as we try to obey His words as well as the counsel of the Brethren. By doing so we can feel a satisfying feeling that we are doing the right thing and doing what the Lord wants. 

Sorry this isn't the best email. We were busy with transfer stuff earlier today and then it took me 20 minutes to log onto my email. Love you all, talk to ya next week!

-Elder Jenkins

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WEEK 66 - November 22, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody!

Another full, busy week down! Hopefully you are getting used to me sometimes writing on Monday, sometimes on Wednesday. So much business. This last week was a busy one, but it gets busier and crazier next week!

This last week we had 2 more sets of exchanges with some Zone Leaders, so we got a lot of work done again in our area. Our work paid off on Sunday when 9 investigators came to church again. The Ward is really getting excited about the missionary work because of all these new investigators that are coming to church. All the Auxiliary leaders are getting involved in teaching and fellowshipping these people, and because of them, we are having success. On Saturday we had the Baptism of Len Len! She has been an investigator for a long time now, so we were excited for her.

The Alejandro family is still progressing real well. They came to church on Sunday again for all 3 hours. The husband wasn't able to make it because if he went, he probably would have got fired from his job. He just started as a Tricycle driver, so he needs to be driving for a certain amount of days before he can go absent. But they both want them and their family to get baptized this December. One of the families that we have been teaching for about 4 months now finally came to church for the first time! We were so excited and they were real happy to finally make it. So we have two progressing families right now that we are working with. The work is going good. 

On Monday morning, we hit the road once again and headed out to Aparri for the Cagayan Zone Conference. We got there and the weather was niceee. Wasn't too hot and was nice and windy. Made me miss working in Aparri a bit haha. We did have time to stop by the house of one of my old investigators. They couldn't believe it when they saw me. They were screaming and laughing saying they thought that I went home. Was a fun quick reunion. The Zone Conference went good. We gave our training well and then got to hear a lot from President about what they talked about at their Mission President Seminar last week. Weird to think this was my 3rd time driving out for the Cagayan Zone Con. Time is going fast. 

So we have started our preparation for this Christmas here in Laoag. Like last time, we will have a fun day of activities and Christmas "Party" with the whole mission and then the next day we will have our Mission Conference. While preparing, we got to see this years "Light the World" video. I was touched by this video. Many times in the video, it shows Christ reaching His arm out to other sand helping them up off the ground. As I watched this, I realized that I want to try harder to be more Christlike by helping and lifting others up. Not only the people I am teaching, but my fellow missionaries here in the mission.  As I have been trying to do this, I have really gotten into the Christmas spirit of service to others. My parents have always told me since I was a little boy that giving gifts is a lot better that receiving them. And it is so true. Lifting others up and helping them feels a lot better than opening up any gift. Service to others and reflecting on the life that Christ lived, and what He did really changes the way you look at Christmas. I am so grateful for the gift that Christ gives to all of us, and so grateful for the example he set for all! I know, it's a little early for a Christmas testimony, but I guess I'm just a bit excited for this Christmas.

Love you all so much! Talk to ya next week.

-Elder Jenkins

Light the World link (this is from 2017... 2018 will be release the day after Thanksgiving... unless you are serving in the Philippines & get a sneak peak): 

Monday, November 13, 2017

WEEK 65 - November 13, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody,

Well, it has only been 4 days since the last time I wrote, so I don't have too much to update you all on. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we were able to focus full on the work in our area which was nice. It really seems right now that things are going really, really good in our area. We have tons of progressing investigators and have been experiencing a lot of success in the work. Yesterday we had 9 investigators attend Sacrament Meeting. One of them is named Len Len, she will be baptized this Saturday. We are really looking forward to December and baptizing a lot right before Christmas. 

The Family that we have been teaching came to church again last week. Actually a really cool experience. Last Sunday, E.Holmes, Basa and I fasted together for that family, because the thing that was keeping them from getting baptized is that they are not yet married. After we fasted for them, we went to teach them at their house. They then opened up to us and told us that the reason they haven't gotten married yet is because Mhylez (wife) was married before to a different person. And here in the Philippines it costs a ton in order to get your marriage annulled, so her and her current husband haven't been able to get married yet because they don't have that kind of money. Her and her current "husband" have been together for 9 years now. We found out that in a special case like that, they don't need to get married before baptism. They were so happy when they heard that and said they want to be baptized on Dec 9. So they and their kids are progressing real well.

Everything has really just been working out in our work. We have found a few people that told us they want to go to church before we are even able to teach them. One lady was just touched by our testimony about the Plan of Salvation when we opened our mouth and talked to her. The Lord is giving us such success. We are so grateful. 

So this next week is going to be really really busy. We will be driving out to Cagayan on Monday, having Zone Conference on Tuesday, and driving back Tuesday night. Hopefully on Wednesday I will have a few minutes to email you, but that will also be our only opportunity to work in our area because Thursday we have a Zone Conference in Batac and Vigan, and then Friday we have  the Laoag Zone Conference. Saturday we have Stake Conference and then transfer texts that night.  So if I don't get to email, just know that that's why haha.  

Love you all, have a great week! :)

Elder Jenkins

-don't have any pics for you this week sorry :(  I'll take some this week!

Friday, November 10, 2017

WEEK 64 - November 10, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody!!

Well after a couple rainy days over the weekend, I was hoping it would start to cool down and the Philippines "winter" would kick in. But, that didn't happen and it has been blazing hot these past couple days. So I'm just sweating more and getting skinnier haha, but I'm lovin' life!

wishing for "winter" weather

So to update you on what happened on Nov 1, I actually still don't know what happened. All I know is that everybody was at the Cemetery, and I mean everybody... I was on exchanges with the zone leaders that day, and we walked up and down the streets, trying to find people to teach or even a person just to talk to. Nothing. I wanted to go to the cemetery to see what everyone was up to, but it's out of our area, so we weren't able to go. So yea, I still have no idea what everybody does at the cemetery on Nov. 1.  But it must be a good time, because everyone attends. 

This week was filled with exchanges with the Zone Leaders. We had some Zone Leaders come in from Batac, Ballesteros and Santa Ana to do some exchanges with us. It's really a sacrifice for some of these missionaries to come in and do exchanges, because for example, Santa Ana ZLs have to take a 10 hour bus ride into Laoag, and then after our exchanges take a 10 hour bus ride back to their area. So we really try to do our best to show them a good example of how missionary work should be going on in their zone, and try to give them some ideas on what they need to do to improve in their area. I really enjoy these exchanges though. I learn a lot from these other elders and have definitely enjoyed getting to know these leaders really well. 
on exchanges with Elder Petty

On Monday we had our monthly MLC (mission leadership council), and us APs did our monthly reporting on the KIs. This last month we once again reaching 100+ baptisms, so that makes 2 months straight. We also talked about Christmas Conference and planned a little for what is gonna be happening. On Dec. 21 all the missionaries in the whole mission will be coming in and celebrating Christmas, then having a Conference. We are excited for that next month. 

polka-dot sisters & matching tie elders with Sister Andrada

large, medium, and small :)

As of our investigators, we had 7 at Sacrament Meeting last Sunday... should've been 10+, but it rained pretty hard, so some investigators weren't able to make it. Our family that we found last month is still progressing and we are looking forward to a lot of success in December and November.

I have really enjoyed the Spirit I have felt this last week while teaching. This past month I have really seen a change in the way I teach, and have seen the investigators understand the message a lot better. And no doubt it's because of the Spirit that gives authority and power to my words when I am speaking. It is just so satisfying when after the lesson, the person fully understood what you were teaching. I am sooo thankful for the guidance that I am given in this work and the help that the Savior gives me every single day. 

Love you all, have a nice week :)

-Elder Jenkins

Monday, October 30, 2017

WEEK 63 - October 30, 2017 (Laoag, Philippines)

Hello Everybody,

First of all, CONGRATS MARY ANNA!! So surprising and exciting! Nobody even told me you were going on a mission until last week. (Cousin Mary Anna received a call to serve in the Singapore Mission, speaking Mandarin Chinese. YAY!!)

Happy Halloween! People here celebrate Halloween a little bit weird. This is my first Halloween in the Philippines so I'll tell you a little about it. I'm pretty sure their tradition or celebration is just about the same in the Spanish parts of the world. First of all there is little or none of the dressing up and giving out candy. If there is a pumpkin, they chop it up and eat it. So no jack-o-lanterns. Actually Oct. 31 isn't really the big celebration. The Holiday is November 1, Saints day. On October 30th and 31st, everybody goes to the graveyard and starts setting up (idk what they are setting up, that's just what everybody says they are doing "Setting up" or "Getting ready"). Honestly I don't know much about what will be happening. All I know is that tons of people are at the graveyard, and on Nov 1st, almost everybody will be there. I guess I'll find out on Tuesday what it's like.

aka: small, medium, and large :)

So this last week was a really good, busy one. But busy in a good way. We weren't in meetings all week or orienting all the new missionaries. We actually were out on the streets going to work. Finding, teaching, reactivating, contacting. It was really nice. After splitting our area last week, we had a lot of work to do in finding and adding people to our teaching pool. So on Wednesday and Thursday we took advantage of being on exchanges with the ZLs in our area, and being able to split, and just went to work.

On Wednesday we found a lady out barbecuing in the front of her home, selling what she was cooking (lots of people do this). We talked to her and she told us to come back on Saturday. When we came back on Saturday, she told us to come in and sat us down, then called in her husband and family to listen to us. We taught The Restoration to them, and the spirit was really strong. The best part was how close they were listening and understanding. Out of the year I have been in the Philippines, they understood the Restoration better than anybody I have ever taught. They understood the Priesthood Authority, Apostasy and the Restoration. Then they realized that this is the only church on earth that had the Authority of God. They understood immediately that their baptism in another church was not valid because it wasn't done with the proper priesthood authority, and then asked "What time is your church service tomorrow?" Sooo receptive. There is a member that lives close to them and we told them that they will drop by before church so they can go together. On Sunday morning, this family was the one who went to the member's house and picked them up haha. The husband wasn't able to make it because of work, but when I talked to wife at church she said, "I'm telling my whole family that Sunday is rest day and we will all go to church from now on."  We and the ward are very excited for them and their progression. 

These last few weeks I have been studying Ilokano really hard, trying to get a hold of the language. It's a lot of fun seeing progress in a whole 'nother language again, not to mention, the people love it when I speak Ilokano to them. It just shocks them, first of all that an American can speak Tagalog, and then also speak some Ilokano. It's their mother tongue, so it's what they want to speak. I'm glad I've started to learn it too, because there are some people and some of our investigators that kinda struggle to speak Tagalog and would really rather speak Ilokano. 

One thing that I realized I will definitely miss after the mission are the Carinderias here. A carinderia is a little eatery that you can find in almost every Barangay (neighborhood). The meal you can order is always rice and then you can choose from like 3 or 4 different ulams (sides) and then there's some gulay (vegetable) too. The best part about it is that I can get full off of 50 pesos eating there. Haha there is no where in American where I can get full on a dollar. I will definitely miss that.

Well after a good week of work, I am so thankful and humbled by the power of the spirit. We can do our absolute best at teaching, but when there is no spirit, the people will not understand. I am also so grateful for how much the Lord has prepared the people we teach, even before we have taught them. And more than anything I am so grateful for the Atonement and how merciful the Savior is. What a blessing it is to be able to repent and not be in a cloud of darkness all our lives. It is such a blessing to live in a time where the Gospel has been Restored!

Love you all, have a good week! :)

-Elder Jenkins

ps. won't be emailing again til next Wednesday. (MLC, Exchanges)

name that tune...

APs and office elders after a Stake baptism

moving day (a couple of weeks ago)