Monday, December 26, 2016

WEEK 19 - December 26, 2016 (Bangui, Philippines)

Skyping with the family

Merry Christmas everybody!! 

I had a really great Christmas. I got to skype my family, which was amazing and then we had a big feast at one of the member’s house. It was his birthday, so there was a ton of food. I’ll send a picture. 

Christmas Eve Feast

So the big news this week is that Elder Costales is being transferred, and my new companion will be the new branch president (leader of the local congregation). So that leaves me to be leading the area after just 6 weeks here haha. That scares me a bit but also excites me. I’m a bit nervous because I still struggle to speak the language, and I’m still not totally familiar with the whole area, but I also am very excited because this will help me a ton to learn the language and now I have to speak to everybody.  I don’t really have a choice haha. So I am excited. I love challenges. 

So funny story… remember the story about me thinking the food was a potato and it kept on being a piece of lard? Well, we were eating with a member the other day, and we were having some kind of soup. I saw a golden piece of a potato in my bowl, but I was not going to let myself be fooled again. So I poked it with my spoon a few times and even touched it and felt it. I was sure that it was a potato. I was so excited and I took a nice big bite. It turned out to be a big piece of ginger :(   I couldn’t believe it. I was soooo disappointed. I just want a potato soooo badly haha. 

So we didn’t have any investigators show up to church on Sunday, but we weren’t too surprised since it was on Christmas. I’m very excited for this next transfer though. There are a lot of people that we have set to be baptized this month. And one thing that does help on my mission is that I am competitive and I get annoyed if I don’t hit the goal that I have set. So my new comp and I are about to go to work this cycle (next six weeks or so) and saddle this area. 

The little hut where one of our investigator families lives

One thing I’ve noticed over the 5 weeks I’ve been here is how weird the time has felt. In the beginning it was sooooo slow... but the more I know the language the faster it seems to go. I’m actually a little afraid that when I fully know the language, my mission is just going to fly by and before I know it I will be heading home. And although time is starting to speed up a little, this is the harder part of the mission for me, I think. But I realized that if you just take it one little thing at a time, one day at a time, it isn’t too hard. And I think that is the same in life away from the mission. That’s one thing I have already learned so early out here that will help me throughout my life. And that’s what I absolutely love while I’m out here. I’m learning things that are preparing me for the rest of my life, and molding me into the person I need to be. 

I absolutely love my mission and everything I’m doing out here. Right now I am obsessed with the Book of Mormon. I just finished it again, and I’ve set a goal to read it all again by the end of the cycle (transfer – usually six weeks). I learn so much from it every time I read it. It is so true and holds the things that we need to know to improve in our lives. 

Love you all, and Happy new year:)

-Elder Jenkins

pink sky selfie

Mission Christmas Conference

Monday, December 19, 2016

WEEK 18 - December 19, 2016 (Bangui, Philippines)

Hello everyone!! 

This has been a great week.  Unfortunately I have like no time to write :(

So on Saturday CJ got baptized!!! It was awesome, she was so happy and so were we. We also baptized another girl who the sister missionaries were teaching. After the baptism, we had a big Christmas party for our branch. It was soooo fun and everybody had such a good time.

On Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Lewis. It was a lot of fun to work with an American. So much easier to understand what he is saying in Tagalog haha. That’s kind of the problem for me. The accent that these people have is just so hard to understand. Especially when they are talking 100 mph.

This family was awesome... 
they also thought I looked identical to Charlie Puth and wanted a picture haha.

Funny story... the other day we were in an investigator’s house teaching and “Bug’s Life” was playing in the background. I began to testify and all of the sudden I hear "HEY, who ordered the PuPu Platter?" hahaha.  I stopped and started chuckling a little. So funny. 

So I finally partook of the delicacy Balut. Honestly, it wasn’t too bad. The juice of the egg tastes really, really good. But the duck just isn’t very desirable. When the feathers are just barley growing in, it adds some good flavor. One of them that I ate though was a little too old. Feathers were very much grown in. It’s a very weird food. I ate two of them though because I was absolutely starving. Not too bad, but not something I would look forward to eating.

Dinner of Champions.. a few Balut, and an Empanada 

My testimony is always progressing. It seems like every day I learn something new that helps my testimony grow or I go through some mini trial, and once I get through that, I can look back at it and realize how it has helped me. Right now I’m finishing up the Book of Mormon again. I absolutely loved reading through 3 Nephi through Mormon. I was so into it and couldn't put it down.

Sorry that I really don’t have much time to write. We are doing our mission Christmas conference here in Laoag the next two days and the schedule of things to do is just jam packed. It was awesome to be able to see some of my friends from the MTC again. I’m sooo excited for Christmas!! Mostly because I get to skype my family. The whole Christmas season here in Laoag has been so fun. Love all of you. Oh, and congrats Chancey and Jayne (getting married on the 21st). Sooo exciting!! 

Have a great week :) Merry Christmas from the Philippines!!! 

-Elder Jenkins

one more pic... Crossing a river in the rainforest haha

Monday, December 12, 2016

WEEK 17 - December 12, 2016 (Bangui, Philippines)

Was another good week! First of all, happy birthday davo!! big 21, that’s big. Also happy bday Dallan T. I think it’s soon, right? big 18, get those mission papers going haha. Welcome home Dallin Havens!! (Cousin who just returned from his two years in Uganda.) Oh and how exciting for Uncle Ken and Aunt Robin!! So excited to hear about that experience. (Recently called to serve as mission president – location not determined yet.) 

Was pretty stormy all week and didn’t really get hot at all. It doesn’t really flood, just gets really muddy. So I got some rubber shoes, but they look like church shoes. Probably won’t wear them very much because they aren’t very comfortable... but they are good for rainy days.

Honestly, I don’t have too much to tell you about the week. Nothing too exciting. So I’ll update you on a few of our progressing investigators. 

One of them is a 12 year old girl named CJ. She’s on date to be baptized on the 24th, but it might end of happening this Saturday. She is so ready and excited. She’s a great learner. Listens closely to everything we teach her, she’s great. Very excited for her. 

So we have a family that is progressing well. The mother is named Deserie. She has 4 kids, 2 of them who are 8+. Her husband isn’t quite interested, unfortunately. They live in a little hut on a hill. When I say they live in a hut, I’m not kidding haha. It’s literally a little hut made out of bamboo. I don’t understand how it makes it through some of these storms. But they have been coming to church for the past 2 weeks now. I believe they will be baptized sometime next month. Very, very excited for them.

So on Wednesday, I met my mission president and his wife. They are just great. Such loving people, and very fun to be around. I look forward to being able to work with them for the next 20 months. Wow I’ve been on my mission for 4 months haha that’s wild. 

I’m excited for tomorrow. I will be on exchanges with the other white elder in our district, Elder Lewis from Lehi, Utah. I think a lot of people will be very willing to let 2 white people teach to them, so that will be a fun experience. 

So I’ll just tell a quick story of an experience I had this week. My testimony has grown on how the Spirit guides. We were on our way to an appointment, and decided to go stop by somebody else’s house real quick. Well, we were standing at the doorstep, and the door to our right opened, and the people invited us in to teach. Turns out this woman had been being taught by missionaries before, but stopped listening to them because her husband had been put in prison for life for possession of drugs. She told us she wanted to listen again. And we taught her about the restoration of Christ’s church. The spirit was very strong in that room. I know that Heavenly Father guides his missionaries. 

Love you all, have a good week!! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

WEEK 16 - December 5, 2016 (Bangui, Philippines)

Hello everyone:)

This week was really good. Went by really, really fast. I needed a quick week because it felt like everything was going by really slow. The best part about it is that I felt like I really improved in the languages. It’s really difficult, because my struggle right now is understanding people. A lot of the reason is because sometimes they are speaking Tagalog, sometimes Ilicano, sometimes both. So it’s tough to understand what they are saying. But I’m becoming a better speaker. At least with bearing testimony. I struggle a bit with street talk though haha. Right now I’m mostly just studying and learning Tagalog and picking up some Ilicano throughout the day. I’ll tell a good story about the language later.

So it seems like every morning I wake up feeling sick. I talked to an American missionary who has been here for a while and he said that’s how it was for him for the first month or so. But one morning I woke up feeling pretty gross. Elder Costales, out of the kindness of his heart, decided to make breakfast for us. Well I’m sitting there in my bed, trying to overcome the gas pain, and he walks in with a plate for me. It consisted of Spam, hot dog (nothing like American hot dog) and some rice. I kind of just looked at him with a blank face, knowing I could not eat a single bite. He simply turned around, chuckling and walked back to the kitchen. The food here is rough… haven’t found anything here that I look forward to eating yet. It’s always kind of a chore to feed here. One more food story. There have been multiple times now where we are at a member’s house eating dinner, and they are passing around a tray of food. The plate sometimes consists of meat, and something that looks like a nice sliced up potato. And somehow I ALWAYS convince myself that it is a potato, and I gamble and grab some. Well It always turns out to be a big slab of fat, with little pieces of bone it haha. It is sooo hard to eat. I don’t know why I keep telling myself it’s a potato, but I will probably continue to do so. So yes. the food is not very desirable here. 

Oh, so Sunday morning, I was awoken at about 2:45 to an earthquake!!! I’ve never experienced one before so that was pretty cool. No damage done though. Right now, Bangui is pretty lit up with Christmas stuff. They LOVE Christmas here. They started playing Christmas music in September and on the morning of December 1st they began wishing everybody Merry Christmas. It’s really fun.  

I still haven’t gotten used to all the people staring at me like I am some alien. I am getting so irritated haha. We were having lunch the other day and a bunch of high school kids were just staring and laughing at me for like 20 minutes straight. But then when I approached them to speak to them, they all look down and wouldn’t say a word. And people refuse to sit next to me on the bus!! haha  Sometimes they will stand instead of sit next to me. Honestly, I don’t mind that part though. An hour bus ride can be looong when you are squished in between two people. So yeah, the people here are a little different, but I love them. The little kids like me, so that’s good. They will come jump on my lap and climb on me while I’m teaching. They are really, really cute.

This family was Hilarious!! They say I look like Charlie Puth, and made me sing for them.
(On exchanges with ZL)

So I had a really good experience the other night when we were teaching somebody. He was speaking and I decided, instead of thinking about what I was going to say next, I would just listen to him and try to understand him the best I could. Well he finished speaking, and I didn’t really understand anything, but I just began to bear testimony. And I began to speak better than I had before. Words were flowing out of my mouth, smooth as can be. I felt the spirit strong as I testified of the Book of Mormon and the truthfulness of it. And as I testified of the happiness and blessings it brings to people’s lives. I looked him deep in his eyes as I spoke, and spoke with confidence. He nodded his head and smiled as I spoke to him, which really boosted my confidence with the language, knowing that he was understanding me. I absolutely love testifying of the Book of Mormon. I want all the people we teach to read it and see how their lives change. And I love how a lot of the people here are willing, and they give it a chance. And then they realize the blessings and the happiness that come from it.

I looooove the Gospel and the guidance it gives me. I love sharing it with these people here and blessing their lives. Hope you all have a good week!! Love Ya!

-Elder Jenkins