Sunday, November 15, 2009
So I'm sorry that not many of your questions have been getting answered, so I guess I'll start by doing that and then I will proceed to explain to you the marvels that have taken place—bodily and supernal.
Basically I have received one package that has been sent...the one that had the Richard Winkel talk in it with the sweet as Redwood tree. But even that one was almost sent to Mt. Roskill where the other Elder Jenkins is serving. So I'm almost positive that several of the packages are probably on their way to Mt. Roskill. SO! I have an idea. When you write the address, or, I guess in your case, when you stick your fancy labels on the package just write “In Panmure” so they don't attempt to be intelligent and figure out which Jenkins it needs to be sent to. Yay!
This week has been rather interesting, to say the least. We started out on Monday thinking that we would be good to go since I was feeling up to leaving the flat, but that's when Elder Voyles caught some stomach bug and he went down hard. All 230 pounds of him went down like King Kong after having a night out on the town. So basically this week has consisted of a sickly Elder taking care of another sickly Elder. BUT, it was also an amazing opportunity to use the priesthood. Let me just say the priesthood rocks and we have seen miracles even though we were confined to our flats till last Friday.
Even though we were only able to do about a third of the work we could normally do during the week, we still managed to commit someone for baptism (Joe), find three new investigators who are already very keen to be baptized (Stormin' Norman, Iteli, and Isimeli), and overall have a very productive Sabbath in which Isimeli was fellowshipped flawlessly into the ward and is even going to play Touch (rugby) with us today! Basically he will be baptized. Soon.
Isimeli was a miracle. A huge Fijian miracle. His mom is in California right now, but was baptized in the States. She has been talking with him about the church and so he started trying to find the Elders but wasn't able to so he called the mission office and they called us! We went over Saturday, committed him to come to church, he came, we committed him to come to church again, and set up another appointment with him. He is just great.
Iteli is the little brother of a Samoan member of our ward, Brother Iu. He doesn't speak a whole lot of English but he wants to be baptized and has been going to church so it's really just a matter of teaching him and setting up a date. But basically he could be baptized this month and if he is that will just be a huge miracle. Heck, it's just a plain miracle that we found him. By the way...I ate a couple fish heads at their house yesterday, as well as raw fish in coconut cream. Weren't expecting that were ya?
Stormin' Norman has been taught before but he wasn't really ready for it at the time but he sure is now and we have an appointment with him on Thursday (Elder Voyles' birthday) and we are hopefully going to be able to baptize him before Elder Voyles goes home.
So a huge thing I learned this week is that the Lord will definitely give us trials and allow us to be tried. But I have also realized that all we need to do is endure them faithfully and we will be blessed beyond what we can handle. Seriously. There are patterns and cycles that I have picked up on that were just never apparent before I came on my mission. This gospel is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and He helps push this work along. Heavenly Father will not let this work fail, as evidenced by allowing a snot-nosed brat from Bountiful, UT to be an instrument in His hands in bringing His children back to Him. It's just the best. There is nothing that compares to it.
I just love you guys! You are so great and I really appreciate all the emails and support you guys give me. Keep up all the awesomeness! Dad, good luck with Dr. Phil; punch him right in the nose for me. Mom, I know you miss me, but hang in there. Sarah I hope your lesson went well! Stephen, sounds like you need a day out of the lab. Ashton, don't let Samuel (or his bladder) get the best of you! Jesse, get some sleep. Now. Lauren, cute bangs. I agree. Maryn, you just need to stop liking boys. That's how to solve your problem. And my problem with you growing up. Sophie, don't run into too many walls, you're already a little retarded.
Love you guys!
So basically this week started out really nice, but then plummeted because my body decided that it was going to geek out on me and get sick! But I shall describe the events previous to the illness and maladies.
Basically, Mabel is doing really well and is slowly gaining a testimony. She wasn't able to come to church to my knowledge (I wouldn't know I couldn't go because I was bed ridden) but that was because her brother is in hospital down in Hamilton so she was down there but said she would try to get back for church. It didn't help that we have church at 9. But she will get there. We're trying to get her lots of fellowship so she feels comfortable when she goes. I think her fears about being pushed by the missionaries will slowly dissipate as she comes to realize the truth.
Rex and Kelly-Anne and their family, Maoris that have been taught for ages, are slowly regressing :( We found out that even though they have been taught all the lessons they still don't even have testimonies about the Prophet Joseph or the BOM. So basically, the missionaries before us were just a waste of space and did nothing to help them progress. Fabulous!
But! We found a keen boy named Joseph who we feel could be baptized this month. He has been taught before and would have been baptized but something got messed up when the missionaries got transferred. All good.
And do you remember Nia and Nola from my last area??? They are married now and Nia will be baptized on Saturday!!!! HUZZAH!!!!
So we have some challenges but a lot of good work. We met a girl who lives in a homeless shelter and have begun teaching her and the woman who takes care of her. Katrina and Nan. They are just great and their lives will really be turned around when they embrace the gospel.
So ya, I have been sick and it has been terrible. Basically I have been flat ridden and bed ridden and all kinds of ridden. Doesn't help with putting on the weight, eh?
But basically I'm feeling heaps better today (thank you priesthood) and I should be good to go for this upcoming week. Don't be surprised if we get to baptize several people between now and Christmas. All good :)
Love you! This church is true and I'm so thankful for it!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Well, I will just tell you that I am loving Auckland! I really couldn't tell you about the surroundings because we are in the middle of our district and really the only scenery we have is a lake that we sometimes stop at when we go to see Bishop Leota. Basically the area is very very rural, but it's fantastic! There is a lot of district unity, I will tell you that. Every Monday apparently the ward plays touch with the Elders. I have yet to experience my first game of touch...what a sad thought. But it will be happening today at 3 p.m!
As for eating with members, if we were to eat with the members EVERY night, every single missionary, without fail, would go home 50 pounds heavier. So we have a feed with the members four times a week for dinner. But that's just the scheduled feeds. Basically we get fed everywhere we go. We get fed heaps and I think I have gained like 15 pounds, or about 7 kg, since I have been out. I'm a gonna get fat. BUT! I am one of the few elders that works out every morning because I am determined to not get a belly. It will not happen.
So, like I explained last week, we had a total of two investigators when I got here. Who wants to make a guess at how many we have now??? Ah, heck, I don't even know...I think like 9. Ya, well the point was we have got the work to pick up and it's been awesome! OH, I have a wonderful spiritual experience to share :D
So we had an hour left of our night on Saturday and we had been going since lunch without a feed so we were planning on just heading back and taking our dinner and calling it a night. But then we decided that we wanted to find some more people so we went into a member's backyard and said a prayer, basically asking for a miracle and that people would be placed in our path that would be prepared to hear the gospel. So we start walking back to the flat and I get the impression to take the long way home so we start heading up Erima and we have been walking but 30 seconds before we meet a lady named Betty who was in country from American Samoa. We started talking to her and she was so super keen to hear the gospel! She had actually been taught before but she told us, "Now that I look back on those lessons, I wish I had taken them more seriously." So basically that was find number one. Then we met another lady who was basically the exact same situation as Betty. Find number two. THEN we find a lady who invited us over before we could even ask! So we only saw three people that night on the streets walking home, but those three people were choice as!
That is my story.
So the work is going well. We committed a lady named Mabel to be baptized when she discovers the church to be true and she accepted. She seems really excited but she didn't show up for church yesterday so we will have to go check up on her.
We found a couple named Pete and Christine, as well. They are both in wheelchairs, both have epilepsy, Pete has cerebral palsy, and Christine suffered from a stroke 4 years back. Ya. But they are very good people and they both enjoy hearing the gospel. We just need to get them off coffee and smoking and they will be good to be baptized :)
We have a less active member, who should technically just be counted as an investigator because he knows nothing, that wants to get to the temple with his family. He had a very spiritual experience that convinced him of the importance. But he is an interesting case. Basically he doesn't even believe in God. But wants to go to the temple. Anybody else see the challenge in teaching this man? He's one big contradiction! But he is a good man and he will slowly come around! Oh and his name is Tui Russell :) Tui Russell the Great Big Contradiction.
Basically we just have heaps and heaps of potential investigators and people to meet and more people to teach and my fingers are numb so I don't feel like typing about all of them! But I'm sure next week I will have more stories to share about this glorious work!
This church is true. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and restored this gospel to the earth. Nothing will ever sway me from that fact. Even if I have to part all these crazy islanders like the Red Sea...except it would be a more brown-shaded sea...an Auburn sea??..oh well, it's not exactly pertinent to my salvation, now is it? I love this gospel! I love the Savior. He is our Redeemer and the Son of God.
Love you all!
Fa Soifua, Ofa Atu
ELDER :D Seth Jenkins
Sunday, October 25, 2009
So basically I can't answer any of your questions from your emails because I no longer have an answer for them! I have been transferred to Panmure, a suburb of Eastern Auckland. Not gonna lie, I was pretty upset at first because the work was starting to boom and then they decided to transfer me. But I'm all good now so don't you worry!
My new companion's name is Elder Voyles. He is from Florida and has about two months left on his mission! He leaves December 28. I guess he is already being sent home a couple weeks early so he can catch school so that's why he won't be home for Christmas. He's a pretty alright guy. There are a lot of things about him that I will learn from. Hint hint. My patience will certainly be tested. And I'll learn to be extensively more humble as well. And I'll definitely be learning charity. I'm going to come home the most freaking charitable person you have ever met! Sucka please.
We challenged President to a game of basketball last night. It's on for next P-day so you won't hear about the result for a couple more weeks. Although, you can have faith that, if it comes down to it, I'll make sure we win.
About my district...Elder Cope, my district leader, is actually from Bountiful! He went to WX, but I actually knew his younger brother, Seth, who is on a mission in Baja, California right now! Crazy. His companion is Elder Cunniffe, who was actually in my intake. We also have a companionship of Tongan elders, Elder Tonga and Elder Raass (pronounced oss you dirty minded people). They're pretty cool, but, like most elders from the islands, they are growing dodgier. I'll smack them around a bit, don't you worry. I'll just have to worry about the smack they send back my way.
Basically I don't know many of the investigators that we have. Partially because previous to this Elder Voyles companero, Elder Fa'asau, was apostate and wouldn't do anything. So we have to start basically from square one. Which I'm ok with. Basically we just have the opportunity to exercise our faith and make things happen.
Matai was supposed to be baptized soon but about 3 days before I got here, the elders went to his house and found him drunk. So we have to start over with him and relight the fire he had. A massive Cook Islander who is deceivingly good at chess...I know, weird.
Stephanie is a 9-year-old in basically the same situation as Isaac from my last area. She wants to be baptized but because her mom doesn't give a squat, it's really hard to get her to church. She plays basketball so I told her that for every time she comes to church we will play basketball with her. It didn't work yesterday, but I have faith.
Latai is an interesting situation. The first lesson we had with her we were just trying to figure out what she was all about. It turns out that she was actually baptized in '97 but in a really dodgy way. Basically her cousin convinced her to be baptized without telling her the implications and without teaching the lessons. AND he didn't have permission from the mission president or the bishop at the time so we are pretty sure that we need to baptize her again. Either way she has joined the Tongan Methodist faith since then but she is happy to have us come back. Can you REbaptized? If you can't, go back to school.
Basically I just love you guys! I got heaps of emails this week! And I usually get heaps but today was like holy overflowing! Thanks for all the support you have given me and for all the confidence you have in me as a missionary. Basically the next email you get from me will be a super happy one. Happy because we're gonna baptize all of Panmure. It's basically just not even a question, Napoleon.
This church is true. A testimony of that is the Lord sends out hormonal 19-21-year-old punks who don't know anything to be missionaries and the church is growing like crazy. Why? Because it's true. It's not because of us. It's the Spirit testifying to the people we teach. Awesome.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Alright! Now for question answering time!
There are no states in New Zealand...just the cities and the suburbs within the cities. So Auckland city actually has heaps of suburbs. But the suburb I'm in is called Dinsdale, within Hamilton. Anyway, the Waikato area could be thought of more as just the region, or maybe even like a county. Except there's not really any political boundaries set up inside or outside the cities. It's really confusing unless you are here...
Hamilton, the Waikato, is super rainy. Perhaps the rainiest place in NZed. And I would absolutely love it if I weren't in a suit. But it's actually a beautiful area. There are palm trees everywhere and it really is awesome. It's actually a pretty diverse landscape with hills and valleys and lakes and rivers...well, of course it is, it's freakin' New Zealand. But I guess Kauai is probably the closest thing to it in terms of the environment.
Elder McFarland goes home next transfer! He is ready to be put down like an aging dog. But I am his first greenie--he has been a follow-up trainer heaps of times though. He was a DL for about a year before he went to Niue. Apparently the Pres wanted to make him a ZL his last couple transfers but felt he would learn more here training me...no pressure.
We have a pretty small area actually, it's just packed with residential areas so the ward is quite big...Probably like 400 people, which is huge for NZ. But our boundaries are shaped like a bowtie. It runs along Massey up to the round about and then goes into Dinsdale road and then to Newcastle; coming back down the hill it goes down Whatwhata (Fatafata) and ends at Duke street. Very small area, but we are still managing to find people. In fact, the work is booming right now. We have a potential of 6 to be baptized next month!...just thought I would throw that in. The temple is not in our district but IS in our zone...we actually went this morning :D
And I would actually really love an MP3 of conference. Conference freakin rocked hard as. And we have listened to almost all the talks on the MP3 disks we have :) they are so good and so inspiring! I used Hugh B. Brown's reasons for why God wouldn't talk to man today (He doesn't love us, He doesn't have the power, and we don't need Him) and he just stood speechless with his mouth open and then swore at us and told us to leave. Mean as.
Anyways! The work is going really well! Last week was a bit rough and Mike has got a little sidetracked, but apart from that we have just been letting the Spirit guide us and we have been reaping the rewards. Now that I think of it we actually have a potential of 7 for next month because the sisters called us and told us some 14-year-old girl wanted to be baptized in our area so we are just going to rock up and give her the discussions! Huzzah.
Amy and Reuben absolutely love the BOM. Reuben is dyslexic so he has a bit harder time but he is still getting it and they love the stories. They especially love the vision of the Tree of Life...it was so cool when we were reading it with them because they interpreted some of the stuff from chapter 8 that was said later in chapter 11 and Elder McFarland and I were almost speechless. The Spirit was working hard out with them and they have been listening. So cool.
Paora was challenged to be baptized and we're pretty sure he is going to say yes. He said he wanted to pray to make sure it was right. Duh it's right so we'll baptize him soon :)
Nia and Devonte are awesome. It's sad though because Elder McFarland leaves December 1 and they want to do the baptism in December...I don't know how I'm gonna lift Nia out of the water. I hope I don't drop him.
Basically we have just been teaching heaps this past week. We taught 26 lessons and we almost had 30 but they fell through. So we have been blessed so much this week. The trials last week really taught us a lot and we are applying everything to make us better and to better our efforts in teaching the gospel. On top of it, I'm getting to be a pretty good teacher! Although I need to learn where more scriptures are, I have learned heaps and I'm so excited to keep learning. If I can learn as much as Elder McFarland before I leave I will consider myself blessed.
But anyways, just take comfort on your beautiful Sabbath afternoon that I am doing well and am getting a haircut today :) I will also buy some Eccos because slip ons are the way to go here because you take your shoes off before you got in to peoples' houses. It's getting annoying taking these shoes.
Anyways I just love you guys! And I love my Savior. My testimony has never been stronger and I'm so excited to continue learning and growing in the Spirit. I appreciate your emails so much! Congrats to Sarah for her kick butt poem. L-O-V-E-D it. And thank you to Abby for bringing rhinos to New Zealand. Go Dad for being a sneaky lowdown lawyer at the benefit concert ;) and I just love everyone! I hope all is well in Bountiful and Provo and Chicago!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
So I have been assaulted this week with dozens of questions so I'm going to answer them.
I play quite a bit of basketball! Hamilton is really the only place this happens because there is such a Mormon influence on the city. Most places just play rugby. We could play a game every now and then on P-day, but we don't have a key to the chapel so that's the only barrier.
New food...kumara! Pronounced Koo-Muh-Da. They have slow cookers here called hangi (unsure about the spelling) and those are pretty darn good. Basically it's just heaps of meat and whatever else they throw at us.
When we sing in members homes we try to sing songs of the Restoration...so We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet and songs like that. When we sing to someone who just said no, we'll sing them Love at Home or something. Something to pierce their hearts, basically.
Elder McFarland, oh dear. He's actually a great guy and we have become pretty darn good friends. He is a very talented volleyball player and actually went to nationals a couple times before his mission...his girlfriend is still waiting for him so he'll be old with grandkids by the time I get home. By the way, I'm like 1/12 done...weird as. He is a good missionary although we both have lazy tendencies so we just have to fight those and push really hard when the work gets discouraging.
Discussions are coming fine. Trade-offs helped me to realize how much I actually do know, I just never get to use it because Elder McFarland does such a good job so I just try to help him whenever I can. Apparently President wanted to make him a ZL several times but always felt he needed to be somewhere else. Crazy, eh?
Funny experiences...Well, we had a Born-Again admonish us to put down the BOM "for a season" and realize we were damning ourselves...it was funny when we shoved it back in his face and walked out... :D I don't know! I haven't had any super funny experiences, just lots of little ones with Elder McFarland. Although, it is funny when people are walking on the same side of the road as us and then cross the street so they don't have to talk to us and then cross back after they pass us. That's always really funny.
Spiritual experiences...this whole week has been a great big spiritual experience, but not in the way you would think. It was actually the toughest week I have had on my mission thus far. We had a couple days where we felt we were trying our hardest to be obedient and follow the Spirit but every single appointment fell through. We were even asked to fast to be able to commit someone to baptism for this month, and we are still working for it. But what that has taught me is that trials of our faith can last much longer than we expect. But actually I feel like we are supposed to keep hitting up this guy named Mike and the email I got from Pops this week actually might have been the answer and strategy we were looking for. So take note we are going to try it on him this week and if it works I will tell you about it.
Basically Mike has been opening up quite a bit over the past week but he is just so dang stubborn. He has specifically told us that he is looking for that lasting happiness not just moments of pleasure to get him through the day. But he won't listen to anything we tell him! He just starts rambling on about some Buddhist nut and how he teaches the "basically" the same thing we do. Ya, OK. I take that back, he does listen. He just doesn't have the desire to really know if it's true at this point. That's why we need to get him to experiment upon the word like it says in Alma.
I'm getting worried about our one set baptism for this month. His family really wants him to be baptized and he is a smart kid who understands it all, but they are really flakey so we can't ever get into the home because his uncle is never there, only his nana and aunty. So basically we are just going by every day hoping for a chance to talk with him. They also won't bring him to church. He can't be baptized if he doesn't come to church....they don't seem to understand that yet.
Anyways, basically the Spirit has been teaching me humility over the past week. To forget myself and my frustrations with stupid people and to have empathy and tell them what they need to hear instead of what I want to tell them. That was one of the biggest messages I got this week. And I'm trying really really hard! I'm such a sarcastic person that it has proven difficult but I just need to keep my cool and rely on the Spirit to guide through the discussions and through the days. It's all good in Zion.
So basically this week was a week of trials, but I know we just need to keep up the faith and show our Heavenly Father our dedication to Him and His work. That's what I have to realize. This is His work. Not my work. I need to do what He would have me do and say what He would have me say. Pride is no good, everybody. Get rid of it! Crush it!
I love you guys so much and I'm so thankful for all your emails and words of encouragement! And I'm also glad to see my neice is becoming exponentially more beautiful by the day and that my nephew has an ear-to-ear grin. Absolutely fantastic. And if anyone had doubts after General Conference about the truthfulness of this gospel you did not pay attention. I have never felt so strongly about the BOM and Joseph Smith. Totally awesome. And I guess loving people is good too.
Love you all!
Elder Seth Jenkins
Sunday, October 4, 2009
But we set another person baptism! If you remember Nia, the massive Cooky/Tongan, he has committed to be baptized in December because Nola's family will be in from OZ for Christmas. So exciting! Huzzah!
I have some wonderful food stories. But I want to stress that the food here is awesome. Even the taro isn't bad! Everyone was telling me it would take time to adjust to but I quite enjoyed it. It's a potato with natural steroids in it. That's why the Tongans and Samoans get so freaking huge. They eat taro by the barrel. But I'm slowly gaining weight, but because of the mandatory exercise it is becoming muscle. Blessed Kiwis. So basically I could stand in front of a bus and stop it with my abs alone. Just saying. But in all reality I gained six pounds from the time I went to the MTC to the time I went to the field. I don't even want to the check the scale to see how much I have gained out here.
However, we had a wonderful AMERICAN dinner on Friday night. We went to Brother Pearse, the acupuncturist, for a feed and he had cooked up steaks and baked potatoes. It was seriously glorious. I had two porterhouses and a couple baked potatoes lathered in Greek yogurt. So good. Then came the surprise. He made us milkshakes! Real milkshakes! The milkshakes here are just chocolate milk basically. You have to ask for a "thickshake" to get a normal milkshake. Anyways, so we drank them and we were super full and I was feeling a bit sick, but obviously I had to man it up till we got home. He started telling us what he put in it: the main the ingredient was avocado but then he also put in RAW MILK. Right when he said that, my stomach dropped and I knew we had to get out of there. I was getting sicker by the second and we basically ran home before I blew. But we made it, so it was all good.
We have ice cream about 4 times a week because the members love to give us dessert. But I have actually been handling that quite well. The Lord blesses his missionaries, that is for darn sure.
So we set Nia for baptism and Paora is slowly working his way there. He is still having some problems he is working out but he knows he needs to be baptized and he is very keen.
Amy and Reuben are now my favorites. They told us they love everything about the LDS church and want to join but they still have a lot of issues, namely W of W stuff, along with the fact they are only partners. But they are planning on getting married so that problem will soon be gone! They have 4 kids and their family means everything to them, so basically we talk about family a lot. Which is perfect! The best part is we haven't even taught them the second lesson yet. We're gonna blow the alcohol and smoking out their butts! In a Christian, missionary-like way, of course.
We found 9 new investigators over the past couple weeks! 2 last week, and 7 seven this week. We have been working really hard to exercise our faith as a principle of power and it has been paying off. The Lord has blessed us so much this week! We were trying to figure out what we had been doing to merit such blessings and success and we couldn't figure it out! We just get further in debt the more we serve the Lord. Mosiah sure knew what he was talking about...Anyways I'll write more about them as they come to fruition. Ya know, since they will all be baptized, of course.
And basically we are receiving enough member referrals for half our mission! We have received over 40 in the 3 short weeks have been here. Though that might be because we sang in sacrament meeting...they basically love us now. And I can't remember if I mentioned it already, but we sang "Nearer, My God, To Thee" and everyone came up and told us they couldn't remember the last time the chapel had been completely quiet. But to answer your question, Elder McFarland and I sing everywhere we go (I would by myself anyway so he joins along) and we have been doing that for our spiritual thought for the past couple weeks and I have been enjoying it! Music is awesome and it really softens the hearts of people. Even the people who swear at us and slam the door in our face on the rare occasion we have to tract. We ask to sing them a hymn and afterward they just want to hug us and apologize. Sucka please, you can't handle us. But the Spirit really works through music. I would seriously say we can draw closer to the Lord through music than anything else except prayer. But I'm good with a close #2 to talking with the Lord...I guess that's kind of important... :)
And Dinsdale is a region in Hamilton. It's kind of weird how New Zealand does it...they have regions in their cities like we have states in our country. That's the best comparison I have for it. They don't have states in NZ they just have regions in the cities. So in Hamilton there is Dinsdale, Frankton, and Grandview to name a few. But Pops, you were right, Dinsdale is a street in our area as well. And we are VERY close to temple. You Googler you.
I have nothing else to write and I hope I was able to answer all your questions and give you some idea about what has been going on! I love you all and I'm so thankful for the kick butt family I have! Missionaries can't believe how many emails I get a week and I would be lying to say it doesn't make me really happy you guys write so much!
Good luck to Stephen in his interviews in NY and at Baylor!
The church is freaking true!
Elder Seth Thompson Jenkins, Gung-Ho
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I think I only received one question this week and that was about my apartment. I have thus decided to give a State of the Flat address. Four score and seven years ago there were probably people still living in our flat. In a glorious moment of grace they upgraded slightly with the kitchen and thus we were blessed to enter through its great and rusting doors. Heat is no where to be found in the land. In the morning, when dew gathers upon the windows and nearly seeps through the noninsulated walls my first mate and I curl up in our Rosey blankets around our trusty space heater. We have faced many afflictions which have come in the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, ant infestations, and crazy men who try to tell us their seyances and would sooner gut our insides than listen to the message of salvation we declare to the illustrious town of Dinsdale. Amen.
And, for the sake of those who have complained to me, I will try to refrain from using the phrases of "sweet as," etc...apostates.
Anyways! So, I have some really cool experiences to tell about! First I'll go through all the wonderful spiritual occurences and then I will move into the slightly less interesting tales of Hamilton.
Nia wants to be baptized! Oh man it's so great to see a 275 lb bulk of muscle, who is recently out of prison, bear his testimony about the truthfulness of the gospel. Totally awesome. And I'm not exaggerating about the 275 lbs...holy huge man. But we're also teaching his and Nola's son and he is coming along just nicely. However, as I have mentioned, they need to get married first, so they are working on a date, and the following week, Nia will be baptized like Nacho Libre baby!
Elder McFarland and I had a wonderful opportunity to fast for extra help in finding new investigators. We found some very keen ones. But one of the greatest things about that day was that Mike, who has been very difficult and was really just having us over for philosophical discussions has finally begun to inquire about the gospel. He wanted to know how we prayed and if we believed in prophets (we were under the impression the previous missionaries had spoken with him about that..lame). So we told him how to pray and then we all prayed together with Yours Truly offering the prayer. It was a great experience and it really was a miracle for him to have such a change of heart. HUGE.
We also found this guy named Harry who is the partner of a member's daughter. We had gone to see the member, George Tenweld, but he wasn't at home so we asked if we could meet with him and he invited us in and we taught him about Jesus Christ (he was not a very religious person) and about how our families can be together forever and he just loved it! They recently had a newborn boy (5 months) and he has really been getting into the family think so I think that struck a chord with him.
The next guy was Teina. He is the partner of a less active member who just moved into the ward. But he asked for missionaries and the family loves us. In fact, the less active member, whose name is Chantay, is in love with us. So basically she will make Teina listen. But it's all up to him to accept it and pray to know of the truthfulness of the gospel. PS He is a body builder and seriously has the biggest arms I have ever seen on a human being...
Amy and Reuben are really coming along! We actually were invited to his birthday party on Friday and that was interesting...a lot of dumb questions asked by their family. But they were very nice and it was fun to chat with them for a little bit. But we need to make sure we don't become too close with Amy and Reuben so they still respect us as missionaries and will listen to our message. They are coming to church this Sunday!
Alrighty! So basically I got acupuncture last week. No joke! There is a guy in our ward, Brother Pearse, who does all that weird Oriental stuff. And I was telling him my shoulder hurt (like it does after I throw a football) and he told us to come over. So I got it done! Afterwards he put big suction cups on my shoulder, don't know why, and he left them on FOREVER. So I basically had these huge purple marks on my shoulder for a week and they just barely went away. I have pictures of the marks though so will get a laugh out of it.
And no, I'm not some weirdo now. I just figured it would be a fun experience to tell you guys about and it was really the weirdest thing ever. He even hooked up a stim machine and was running an electric current through the needles. My shoulder was pulsating. Awesome.
And I got to go on a trade off with my ZL Elder Nebeker. Good man. I learned a lot from him about exact obedience and listening to the spirit and planning...basically just everything. He is a great missionary. He's from Willard, UT. He was a dairy farmer back home. Cool, eh? In combination with that he was a skater who played in a band...don't ask me how that works.
I love you all so much! Thanks for all your great emails! Love the stories about everyones week (even though Mom's was all about shopping). I hope you enjoy the emails! This church is true and the time is just going by so fast for me! I love this gospel with all my heart and my testimony has grown heaps since I have come out. The Atonement is for everyone, not just sinners and people outside the gospel. Love you all!
Elder Sethro Thompsonian Jenkinsson
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I'll start off by trying to nail some of the questions coming my way. First, Mother, you spelled Elder McFarland's name wrong...so no, he is not related to this Billy character. Second, Elder Jenkins Sr. and Elder Davis have both made it here! They arrived in Auckland the day before Zone Conference and so they came to mine actually, so that was really fun to see them! In fact, everyone from my MTC district was there except Elder Handy and Elder Kimball. Good times. Third...there was no mail for me at Zone Conference...so I guess I have to wait another freakin' six weeks to read anything tangible!...stupid. Fourth, Stephen, please keep sending your jokes, they are much appreciated. Fifth, Lauren, I love your Abby stories, and I will address you in a separate email.
I think that's all the questions...
Anyways! So basically this last week we discovered that the area we are covering has been dead as for ages. We had no idea! So because we had no idea we just put our nose to the grindstone and have been working hard as to get people and we have been having huge success! Members used to be a deterrent here, but now they are our greatest strength. We have received 16 referrals since we have been here (10 days) without doing any friend shares. Friend shares are when we go to their home for a feed (tea...dinner) and afterward we sing for them and share a spiritual thought and try to get them to bring a friend to church or give them a Book of Mormon. We haven't done a single one! They just give them to us! Awesome.
We have a baptismal date set! His name is Isaac, and he is only ten but his family members are all inactive and have been a bit of a problem. His grandmother, though, wants him to be baptized so we have been teaching him the lessons and he loves it. I'm so excited for him. He really is such a great kid and he soaks up everything we tell him. He loves reading the Book of Mormon and nearly peed his pants when I gave him one. Oh ya, he is set for October 24...so the 23 for you guys.
We took a bit of a set back with Paora. Not a huge one, but we haven't been able to meet with him for a while because he travels with his band. We were supposed to meet up Wednesday, but he called us several hours before and told us a family emergency had come up and he needed to leave. So at least he was thinking about us and isn't blowing us off...we're meeting with him this Wednesday and we're going to set him for baptism hopefully. He's pretty keen.
Remember when I mentioned Amy and Reuben? OH my keen. We were teaching them the Restoration on Saturday night and I had the opportunity to tell them about the First Vision. Oh man, the Spirit was so strong and they were both tearing up and so attentive. After I had told them, without us saying anything, Amy asked how we could know if he is a true prophet. We explained to them that we need to ask God and they said would definitely pray to know. Sweet as. I always have a prayer in my heart for them because Amy believes that a church shouldn't be all quiet, but should involve loud praise (like a band) and excitement. But I'm hoping we got through to her that the Spirit speaks to us softly through our feelings and promptings and so if we are surrounded by noise we are distracted and don't feel the Spirit. Stay tuned, I have a good feeling about these guys. OH, and they may be partners but have already spoken about getting married so huzzah.
Well Nia is coming along and just recently Nola told us she wants her son to be baptized so we are going to be teaching him the lessons and we're gonna set his date for October 24, yes, the same day as Isaacs. His name is Devonte and he is a little 7-year-old stud. I think we will be able to commit Nia to baptism within the next week or two as well.
Well I have basically gone through all the people who are actually accepting the things we are teaching. Most of the people for now just let us in because they are curious or because they want to Bible bash. There was a man named Matt who we spoke with on Saturday and everything single bogus thing he tried to throw at us we answered calmly and effectively and finally he called us blasphemous because he believed the Book of Mormon taught Satan was our brother and blah blah blah. So we explained to him that Satan was once very powerful in Heaven but his pride got in the way and we wanted to show him Isaiah 14 where it specifically says Satan had fallen from Heaven...but our quads were in our backpacks...stupid. Anyways! Still a bit bitter about that, but it's all good.
I love you all so much! Thanks so much for all your support! And I'm sorry I have emailed very many people specifically...we come to an internet cafe and so we try to be as short as possible because they charge ridiculous amounts. Comfy chairs though!
This church is true! People don't understand the liberating feeling you have when you know the Savior has your back and that he has suffered for every stupid little thing we can think to do. How many drops of his blood were mine? I was thinking about that yesterday...what a terribly devastating thought! But He loves us so so so so much and He suffered for us willingly. I love Him so much. If we ever have any problems we need only turn to Him and He will strengthen us.
I love you guys! Hope you don't have ant infestations!
Elder Seth aka "Huck" Jenkins
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Dear Bro. and Sis. Jenkins,
It was a great pleasure to welcome your son, Elder Jenkins, to our mission. He arrived in good health, ready to begin his missionary work here in the New Zealand Auckland Mission. I have interviewed him carefully and find him well prepared, with a strong testimony. He is a credit to his parents and we appreciate the privilege of having him here in the mission. I feel honored to be his mission president and know that the Lord has prepared many people here to receive the testimony of the restoration he bears.
Elder Jenkins has been assigned Elder MacFarland to be his first companion, his “trainer,” who will help your son adjust to missionary life. They have been assigned to work in the Hamilton area. We are confident that as they work diligently together that the lord will bless them in accordance with their faithfulness, and they will experience the joy of seeing our Heavenly Father’s children progress towards baptism in His church.
Your son will look forward to your weekly letters of encouragement and support. Monday is his preparation day and will be when he is able to check for and write emails. All mailed letters should be sent to the Mission Office, which address is located in the letterhead above.
Thank you for all you have done to prepare your son for his mission. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Sister Porter and I will do everything in our power to help him have a wonderful and productive mission. We pray the Lord will bless and sustain you in his absence.
President Benson L. Porter
New Zealand Auckland Mission
We went to command central after a couple days of orientation by President and Sister Porter, along with the AP's. That's where we do transfers and where I met my companion and trainer, Elder McFarland. He is seriously a great guy! And a hard working, smart elder. He actually is really good with maps and such and he already knows the area! Oh ya--we got double-shifted in so basically neither of us know anyone so we have biking around everywhere (Yes, Mum, the bike is swell) trying to meet people and get referrals.
81% of baptisms and investigators come from referrals! How crazy of a number is that?? Elder Robison was not kidding! And if you see him around tell him I have met Elder Dixon who is now an AP. Anyways! So President Porter said, and I quote, "If you spend 6 hours a day tracting, you are not fulfilling your purpose AND you're stupid." I'm OK with that, eh?
Most of our visits with investigators have been to get acquainted with them and to let them know we are the new missionaries. It has proved to be a bit difficult because many of them are more converted to the missionaries than the gospel...stupid. But they're all great people. We actually had 4 of them come to church! And two of them we didn't even ask them to! How is that for keeping commitments, eh?
Mike and Poi are an interesting couple. What people do here is they just be "partners" because they get paid more by the government than if they were married (Ya, I know, NZ is paying people into hell..fun isn't it?). Many of our investigators are like that. Many are members too. But they are all great! Mike is really into reading about Hindu and the Yogi(?). No idea who that is, but Mike is one of those people who who believes every religion is good and we all believe in the same God so we're all gonna be saved. It's been hard talking with him and helping him understand because they don't really want to pray or anything like that so they won't even try to find out for themselves if this is the one true church.
Nia just got out of prison and is living with a member, Nola, as her partner. He was in our gospel principles class, yesterday, however, and he has been learning to read so he was doing a great job when he was called on. They're both really nice people and they have been doing great, but they're one of the couples who was converted to the missionaries instead of the church, so we need to do some big renovations.
We're going to visit Amy and Reuben, both nonmembers, tonight around 8. They asked us back when their kids are all asleep. They are only partners right now but have seriously been considering marriage and we're hoping we can help them work towards that.
Paora! He is my absolute favorite. He came to church, the whole block mind you, without us asking him to or even meeting him! He is absolutely stellar and I think we are going to commit him to BAPTISM soon. Oh ya, I said it. Baptism. I'm so excited for him!
I'm doing really well with the accent, I must admit. I'm picking up on how the "a" is pronounced like an "e" and all that. It's really fun! Elder McFarland was even telling me I'm doing quite well so that was a confidence booster. You know, since me speaking with an accent is imperative to bringing others salvation.
I know this church is true. If it wasn't I wouldn't be here. If I hadn't received for myself a confirmation that it is true. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I love Him with all my heart. Thinking about the Atonement gives me so much strength and it makes me so happy to know that I'm doing what He would have me do. Our prophet is the Lord's chosen seer and he truly receives divine inspiration on how to run the church. Listen to him without failure.
I love you all so much! Thanks for the heaps of emails you sent me, I loved them! I hope everyone is doing well!
Elder Seth Jenkins
P.S. I won't be sending many letters because just a little one is like 3 bucks...stupid. But I love you and will write emails and much as I can! Loves!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I've officially started my mission in the field! We landed at 5:04 a.m. and I never experienced a September 8, 2009. We have been taken to mission headquarters (not the mission home) and we're just being prepped and being told about all the rules and expectations and such.
I just barely had my interview with President Porter and he is a fantastic guy. I can tell I'll be well taken care of here. He likes to stress the super baptizing efforts being made right now and wants us to know we are capable to continuing on the success the mission has been having.
Just wanted to let you all know I'm safe and feeling like death! They're going to let us sleep for a few hours around noon (7 p.m. your time) and then we get dinner and we're doing some orientation meetings. Tomorrow I willl find out my assignment and will meet my companion.
I love you all so much! Thanks for being so great!
Elder Seth Thompson Jenkins
P.S. Exact obedience is the key. And that is my goal.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Fortunately, I was able to finish off the week with a bang (a week being from Wednesday to Wednesday) and I am just feeling great! Ready for my Adventure in Auckland (Oh my gosh. Did you notice that sick play on the title of my mission blog?)
My flight leaves at 4:50 p.m. this Monday! I'm going to take a picture of the travel itinerary and send my SD card because I must admit I forgot to bring so I can't tell you all the hours that I won't be on a plane. However, I do know I have a 3 hour layover, I'm just not sure in which part of the world...I actually think it might be in LA so it shouldn't be too difficult to get a hold of you and match times! At least you don't have to stay up till 1 in the morning, right?
We had some great experiences this week. The first was when Elder Handy and I were supposed to be teaching the second discussion, the Plan of Salvation, which you would know if you have continued to read PMG. However, when we began teaching we both felt impressed to hammer our investigator with a commitment to be baptized. It was a really powerful lesson in which we were led completely by the Spirit. We were all crying and it was basically beautiful. After the lesson, our investigator told us he had been acting as his best friend from Reno, his hometown, who refused to be baptized. Elder Monette (Mo-Net) said we told him some things which really helped him to understand how to help his friend so I guess we were really teaching more for his benefit than ours. We told our teacher, expecting him to be all proud of us, but he was actually kind of upset because we had strayed from the lesson plan...but I didn't care. Elder Monette needed it more than we needed practice for the second lesson. Besides, Elder Handy and I freakin' rock the discussions ;)
We are great friends with Elder Monette and his district now. We even played them in a "non-competitive" game of kickball. We totally wasted. It was like 10-1, even though if anybody asks we have to tell them it was 0-0. Pride is not good, but I sure have a lot of it when it comes to beating the stuffing out of some cocky missionaries! P.S. Elder Monette just walked by.
We also taught the third discussion, the principles of the gospel, to an investigator we call Sister Schneiter. She is a regular volunteer at the TRC where missionaries go to get lots of practice. We taught her and we were doing very well, sharing experiences and scriptures and whatnot, and she even said she was feeling something she had never felt before in such strong "portions." We pounced, obviously, and told her it was the Spirit and used that to ask her to be baptized. She was hesitant because of the all the challenges following the gospel presented, but she said yes! So we went back for a follow up, all excited to tell her more about the gospel when she told us she DIDN'T WANT TO BE BAPTIZED ANYMORE! Not she was WORRIED. Not that she didn't know if she could keep the covenants. She DIDN'T WANT TO! Absolutely devastating, ladies and gentleman. She told us afterward how hard it was for her to say no, but she had been asked by our teacher to not follow through on any commitment she had made. She said she felt the Spirit so strongly as we testified of Christ and how we need to be baptized to return to him and would have consented in any regular situation. She said she would always remember us and she was going to write about us in her journal. Even though I was a moron and tried to guilt trip her haha. But we didn't feel like we had done anything to impress this woman until she said all that so we were feeling good. Like we had done something good.
I'm sending my pictures home this week! All my wonderful MTC experiences...Ok, not all of them, but most of the ones that happened in my room :D I'm excited for you to see them.
Oh, and I got me hair chopped off! I seriously felt like a piece of cow under the butcher knife. They got out the shavers and went to town. And they weren't gentle about it either! They just dig into your skull. I have a theory that the salon people take bets to see who can inflict the most pain on a missionary. Make a missionary cry and you get employee of the month. Make a missionary bleed and you get promoted. Send a missionary home with head contusions (right word??) and you get double your monthly wages. You see where I'm going with this.
Anyway, I'm about out of time! I love you all and miss you! However, the mission is fantastic and I have a great district to keep my head on straight so don't even worry about me! The church is true! If it wasn't I wouldn't be able to do this. Period.
Elder Seth Thompson Jenkins
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I wish to make it known now that I have sent a letter with answers to many of your questions. I know Stephen is operating a blog on my behalf called Adventures in Auckland, unless he has changed the name, and this makes it a little less interesting for you to read the blog, but it sure saves me time and stress when writing emails.
Besides, if you really want to know how everything is going, you would talk to my family anyway, right?
It's been an interesting first P-day, getting used to the sack lunches and how to do the laundry here (it's really a bit jacked up). But it's been nice to just chill and write letters while my clothes are undergoing the purification process.
We had an amazing opportunity to hear from Elder Richard G. Scott yesterday at the MTC devotional and his message was so powerful. He spoke of prayer and listening to the Spirit and to never disobey the impressions we receive while on our missions. He also invoked two Apostolic blessings upon the missionaries. The first was directed towards the missionaries learning languages that they would have the gift of tongues, so it didn't apply directly to me, but I could still feel the power of the blessing he had pronounced on those fortunate elders' heads. The next was a blessing of protection to all the missionaries, on the condition we remain faithful and obedient to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the commandmants, respectively.
He also bore testimony of Jesus Christ and he said, "If you forget everything else I have spoken of this night, remember this: The Savior of Mankind lives! I know this, because I know him." Don't you just get the sense that he knows so much more than he is telling? Last night was a big testimony builder for me, in both the power and authority of apostles and of the existence of my Savior.
My teachers, Brother Lords and Brother Merrill, are two fantastic men who literally are emanating from their closeness to their Savior and the Spirit that is their constant companion. They have taught us a lot about using the Spirit to teach and trusting that the Lord will put words in our mouths at the very moment we need them. I can bare testimony that what they have taught us is true. On Monday, we had the opportunity to teach our "first first discussion" as we have been calling it. The elderly sisters we taught were very receptive to the gospel as investigators but they both were struggling with internal family issues. We didn't catch their hints at first but the Spirit eventually helped us to catch on and we were able to teach them about how through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, our families are blessed and strengthened. I was trying to find a scripture to help illustrate that God is with us and will protect us and aid us, but I completely blanked, as well did Elder Handy. But I was guided to Alma 36, where I had already marked verse 27 and 28 and it was perfect for the message I was trying to convey.
The Spirit saved that discussion, and while I know they were not real investigators, the presence of the Holy Ghost was so strong in the room and the sisters became very eager to read the Book of Mormon because of the scriptures we had read. They even accepted an invitation to come to church with us. I reiterate that I know they were mock investigators, but it was still such a wonderful experience and confidence builder for Elder Handy and myself.
I know this church is true everyone. I have felt the testimonies of the teachers and elders and they have "kindled the Spirit within my heart" to know of the truthfulness of what they speak. My testimony and willingness to serve God has never been stronger and I'm so so so so (I could go on for a while, but, for sake of keeping your attention, I wont) excited to get out in the field. I'm excited to see what I'll learn from my trainer (hopefully he's not a bum) and to grow as a missionary. Every night I pray that I will be able to be successful because nothing worries me more than being inadequate in my calling.
OH! And we know we are going to be home sick sometime, so I suggested that we as a district draw up a creed, a belief/mission statement if you will, that we would decide now the kind of missionaries we would be.
"Be prepared for what will happen, be prepared for what won't happen, because no matter what happens, you will be prepared."
That's just a very clever and brilliant quote we came up with. Kind of cheesy, ain't it? That's the beauty in it.
I love you guys!!!!! I appreciate all the support! And make this gets forwarded to everyone!
Elder Seth Jenkins