Sunday, October 25, 2009

Transferred like Strong Bad

Hey whanau! And friends :D

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.


Elder Jenkins

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Just Called To Say . . .

Kia Ora Family! And just so you can feel legit when you say it to people, you pronounce it slurred. So it is actually said Kiora, but since an "r" is more of a "d," it is said "Kioda" but very very fast...I'll say it for you in a tape or something.

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 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 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!


Elder Huckster

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bassetball John and the Running Dingos

Hello Mon Famille...and friends, but I don't know the French word for that...,

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 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 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

Gr8 W33k 4 BAPTeyeZING

No. We did not.

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