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