Monday, March 27, 2017

WEEK 32 - March 27, 2017 (Aparri, Philippines)

Hello Everybody, 

This week has been a crazy week. I’ll tell you all about it. So after I emailed last Monday, I took a 4 hour bus ride and 30 minute jeepney ride to my new area, Aparri. This place is a little, big city. Lots and lots of people and tons of traffic. Not with cars, but Tricycles…lots of tricycles. It’s kinda nice cuz when we need one, there is always one driving by. It’s a lot different that Bangui where we would have to call our tric to get one. But wow there are tons here. Lots of people.

But anyway, I got dropped off at Jollibee with all my luggage. Jollibee is like the McDonald’s of the Philippines (they have McDonalds too). I waited for my comp there to pick me up. My comp is Elder Montojo. He is from Mindanao (the second largest and southernmost major island in the Philippines), and has just 3 months left on the mission. He has been here in Aparri for 3 months and will probably finish his mission here. 

So our apartment: it’s me and 3 other elders and honestly, the place is junk haha. For example, we went to pump some water this morning, and it decided not to work. So I had like 3 quarts of water for my shower haha. Our kitchen is infested with ants, cockroaches at night, rats sneak in and feast on any food that we leave out. So we are gonna try to fix that problem. I forgot to take a picture of our bathroom, I’ll send one next week. You guys will laugh haha it’s hilarious. It’s literally just a toilet bowl, with a bucket of water next to it. We have to manually pour the water into the bowl to flush it lol. It’s a loooot different here to say the least. It smells really bad. 
One thing that I don’t enjoy here is the water. It is freezing cold. The showers are brutal. I seriously dread taking showers every morning. I just stand there and pour a freezing cold bucket of water over me, shivering while I wash, and then pour bucket after bucket of cold, cold water to rinse off. Some days it’s hard to pour that first bucket on cuz I’m just not feeling up to it. So I do all I can to heat myself up, pushups, jump up and down, anything to help haha.  I will never get used to the showers.  
I am very very excited about this area though. There is sooo much potential here, it’s fully ready to harvest. Yesterday we had 6 investigators at church, 4 of them will probably be baptized within the next 3 or 4 weeks. So the work here is good. And the members are great too. Lots of them get together on Saturday and all go home teaching. We have a nice big beautiful chapel. I love it here. 
So here in Aparri, of course they speak Tagalog, and they speak some Ilocano, but they have another language here too – it’s called Ibanag. So I guess I’ll start learning that one too haha. The language (Tagalog) has gotten a lot better for me though. I’m beginning to be able to speak to everybody without any problem. It’s a lot of fun. The best part about the progression in the language is the ability to teach better. 
Lately, I’ve been studying the New Testament, and also have been reading Jesus the Christ at the same time. As I read and study His teachings and the way He teaches, I become more and more enlightened by the spirit on how I can improve my teaching. It’s incredible to me how the spirit works. It will just pop ideas into your mind, and then confirm those ideas by a feeling. I have also realized that God likes it when we pray specifically. For example, instead of me asking how I can become a better teacher, it’s more effective if I ask how I can help a specific person understand the gospel better. And I am enlightened during my studies of how I can help that specific person. I love how God works, and how this church works. And I absolutely enjoy the spirit every day of my mission. I could NEVER deny the happiness I receive from this gospel. How could I not give it all I have every day. I owe it all to my Savior! 
Love you all,

-Elder Jenkins

Monday, March 20, 2017

WEEK 31 - March 20, 2017 (transfer day)

Well this has been a pretty eventful week. Of course the highly anticipated day was Saturday. On Saturday night we were supposed to receive texts if we are being transferred or not. It was 10pm and I had still not received a text, so I thought I was staying another cycle, but then we got a text saying transfer texts will be on Sunday. So Sunday morning during church I got the text saying I was being transferred. I was expecting it, and I think most the members were too, so it wasn’t too shocking or devastating. But then I look to my right, and I see the two sister missionaries crying and crying. Both of them were getting transferred too, and they were devastated. And so were the members. They hadn’t been here for very long, so they weren’t expecting to be transferred. But oh man, there were lots and lots of tears from them and the members. Then I decided to change the closing hymn to hymn 152 (God Be With You Til We Meet Again), haha and that really got the tears flowing again. 

But anyway, we were going to check our emails this morning to see where I’m getting transferred to, but the power was out. So I just found out a little bit ago where I’m going. I’m being transferred to Aparri!! It’s in Cagayan and it’s going to be smoking hot these next few months. Gonna be sweating a lot. But I am sooo excited. Don’t know too much about my new comp, haven’t met him yet, but I’ll give details in the next email. It really feels weird to be leaving Bangui after all this time. It definitely was a bit hard saying goodbye to a few of the members that I’ve been close with these past few months, but I just told them I’ll be coming back in 2019 or 2020. (Start planning Mom, Dad :)) 

Anyway, earlier this week, the sisters had two more baptisms. I got to baptize one of the young girls. I always love having the opportunity to baptize someone. Always a good, spiritual experience. 

Well sorry, I don’t have too much time to write, I have to catch a bus at 12:00 to Aparri. I’m sooo excited for this next area for me in the mission. New area, new opportunities! Next email will be a good one. I’ll have lots to tell. 

Love ya!

-Elder Jenkins 


The Pacman shirt was a gift from a member.. it's awesome

Monday, March 13, 2017

WEEK 30 - March 13, 2017 (Bangui, Philippines)

Hello everybody!!! 

This was a great week. And this next week may be the last one for me here in Bangui. Transfers are on March 21, so we will see what happens next week. But anyway, it has been even hotter this week. For fun I started counting how many showers I take during the week and I think I got up to 19. If we have any down time at all, we get back to the apartment as soon as we can and take a quick shower haha. We are sweating like mad out here. 

sweating :)

This week we had some good success in the branch. We had a large sacrament meeting attendance, and we also had 3 investigators come to church. There is one investigator that we found a week ago. We returned back earlier this week and asked if she had read any of the Book of Mormon. She pulled it out and said she had read 30 pages. She’s a solid investigator, but she didn’t make it to church this week. But it was nice to have someone keep commitments.

So you know how in some movies, there will be a kid that has to run after a bus or somebody is sprinting after a bus to catch up to it? Well I always thought that doing that would be pretty embarrassing. But I’m not kidding, it’s a weekly thing here for us. Sometimes when we are waiting for a bus, we will flag it down, but it won’t see us until late. So it hits its brakes and expects us to start sprinting to get in. And if you don’t show some hustle, they will just leave haha. It’s hilarious. Just pictures me in full proselyting clothes, sprinting a 40 yard dash towards a bus. I hustle too, it’s no joke. 

Speaking of things they do different here than they do in the US, the fellowshipper title is to a whole other level here. We have 2 fellowshipers in the branch. And by fellowshipper they mean someone that goes out to teach with the missionaries, but not just for 1 or 2 lessons. He works the whole day with us haha. It is wild how generous the members are to work with us for that long. I can’t imagine doing that back home. 

Another funny thing here that I have been forgetting to write you about is the phrase "Long time no see". People love to use that phrase, but they do not understand the meaning. In America, it’s a sarcastic phrase, right? Like if you just saw somebody earlier that day and you see them again, you would say that, right? Well here, I had an experience where I met somebody for the first time in my life, and she said "Hello elder, long time no see!" I was soooo confused. I had no idea what she was talking about. So yea that’s a funny phrase to use here. 

Right now there is a ton of construction going on here. They are fixing up the town in time for the Bangui Festival. It’s a bigggg party here that lasts a weekend. Everybody loves it. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I will still be here for that. I think it’s in mid-April. (The town of Bangui featured the Kannawidan Festival which is a five day celebration starting every 26th of April. This is the most awaited event in the said municipality wherein the townsfolk participate to showcase their traditions.)

There is a lady from Las Vegas here, visiting for a bit. She invited us over for dinner the other day. Turns out her box of American food just shipped in from the states, and she cooked up some spaghetti for us. It was amazing. They have spaghetti here, but it is waaaaay different. It’s sweet and tastes like candy almost. So that was soooo nice to be able to have a little taste of America again. 

Alright so spiritually-wise, I had a great week. As I begin to learn this language little by little and get better at it, I begin to recognize the spirit more and more in the lessons. I’m able to teach with the spirit better because I can actually speak decently. It’s a goooood feeling to teach and feel the spirit confirm your words are true. And even a better feeling to recognize a prompting and act on it, and then have the spirit confirm to me that it was a prompting and not just a random thought from my brain. I’m excited for the time that I am fluent in speaking and am able to fully focus my attention to the promptings of the spirit.

I also had a good experience with prayer. Occasionally in my extra time, while my comp is doing some branch business at the office, I decided to just pray. I realized as I began to pray more than just the regular times during the day, the spirit has had a bigger effect on my life. I really think if we rely on God more during the day and just talk to Him more than twice a day, we will feel His impact in our lives more often. I know for a fact that He wants to help us and bless us, but we need to act in order to receive that help and those blessing.

So there’s my testimony for the day. Love you all. Have a great week. I’ll let you know next week if I’m getting transferred or not :)

-Elder Jenkins


Monday, March 6, 2017

WEEK 29 - March 6, 2017 (Bangui, Philippines)

tracting on the beach

Hello everybody. It is absolutely summer over here. It’s kinda funny how hot it is. Hopefully I’ll start to get used to it because it’s supposed to get even hotter I guess.

This week was pretty good, especially on Saturday because we had another baptism in the branch. So I’ll tell you about that a bit. We got word that the power was supposed to be out all day on Saturday (it has been like that the past 3 weeks on Saturdays), so we were planning on doing the baptism in the ocean. I was sooooo excited - everybody wants an ocean baptism, it’s way exciting. And then we woke up on Saturday morning and we had full power, no problems. So that was a bit disappointing. We ended up doing the baptism in the font, and of course, it was still a great experience. Always is.

Baptism of Ella

One thing I love about the place where we live is that like twice a week our neighbors get together and play some live music. And they are pretty good. They love playing American music too, it’s awesome. They play a lot of “Eagles”, “Journey”, “Rush”, it’s amazing haha. Some nights after we get back I just go sit down outside and relax and listen to their music. The other night, I was doing that and they started playing “Africa”. It was incredible, probably the most relaxed I’ve been in a longgg time. So that is quite a blessing to live next to those people. The music that people know here is pretty funny though. They know the most random American songs. Like the other day, somebody had no idea what “Don’t Stop Believing’” was, but they knew a random Simon and Garfunkel song.  It’s hilarious some of the songs they know by heart here.

The language went all right for me this week. It’s still really difficult, but I am kind of starting to get the hang of it. It’s definitely been something that has humbled me more than anything has in my life. Sometimes I’ll feel like I’m starting to get a bit comfortable with the language, and then the next minute I won’t understand a thing. So humbling. It’s been difficult, because honestly most things in my life that I try for the first time, I’m pretty decent at, and I can get the hang of pretty easily (mostly sports things). But the language has been troubling haha. It’s been so humbling to say the least.

So the other day, I yet again saw God watching out for me. So I got a call from my dad’s friend from work, Mike, who was in Ilocos Norte this week. He has family here and had a package for me from my family. He explained to me this story of how the package was almost lost. I’ll explain real quick. So he had my package, and he was traveling in a van, touring some spots close to where I am serving. Well his driver told him that he knew where the mission office is, and that he could just drop off the package for him later. So they left the package with the van driver, thinking he would drop it off. Well FOUR days later, Mike and his family were in the same van, but with a different driver. Mike's son was playing on his little Nintendo DS in the van and accidentally dropped the stylus on the floor. When he went to pick it up, he saw my package hidden under a mat under the seat. Who knows if the driver was gonna steal it, or just flat out forgot about it, but if they hadn’t see it, who knows if I would have got my package. Which would have resulted in a sad Elder 😢 (and parents). I know without a doubt that God looks out for all his servants out here in the field. So thankful to Mike too, for hauling the package around with him (and for his son, for dropping the stylus!)

Love you all and am so thankful for all of your prayers and support. The word is sweaty as can be, but i love it! :)

-Elder Jenkins