Friday, September 30, 2016

Week Hitu (7) - Provo MTC

Eha to'oe huru?  

Tahitian is nuts.  It might very well be the death of me.  The grammar principals are fairly simple compared to French or English, but the memorization and pronunciation is utterly ridiculous.  But, I feel so blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to learn TWO languages!!! There are some islands called the Marquises in my mission, and if I get sent to those I'll actually have to learn ANOTHER LANGUAGE.  I can't tell whether I'd like to or not lol.  But yes thank you for prayers because they help very much!

I'm having a good time here.  I mean it's like the toughest thing in the world, and sometimes I wanna scream, but I wouldn't rather be doing anything else.  The other Elders are becoming pretty good friends and we get along! And guess what!? We got a new addition to our 4 person classroom!   We got a solo sister named Tuahine(sister) Weyland.  She's pretty cool and already knows more French than we do, so she's jumping right on the Tahitian train, and will leave the same time as us to TAHITI!!! Also it was Elder Kerr's BIRTHDAY yesterday and so that was fun to be able to see him.  

I've decided the Gospel is very similar to a good band.  Like your favorite band.  That makes you so so happy and the lyrics are very deep and can help you through rough times.  Then, you try to show your friends and they're like "nah".  So naturally you're upset, because they can't see how amazing it is.  LIKE THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER HOW CAN YOU NOT UNDERSTAND! I have a lot of those feelings while trying to teach here.  Because it's hard to understand/believe in the Gospel when you don't have a lot of understanding/experience.  Just like how someone might brush off a good band because they've only heard one or two songs they didn't like that much.  You just have to realize that underneath the surface is something incredible. 

I just hope so so so so so (infinity) much I can spread the amazingness of these blessings to as many people as possible.  Because once you REALLY understand what it's all about, there's nothing better.  It's taken me a while to get to that point, but it's been so worth it.  I miss everyone so much, but I can already tell I'm never gonna wanna leave Tahiti and the chance to be a missionary.  

Also everyone go check out the band "twenty one pilots" because that's what I got that idea from haha.   |-/


Elder Jenkins

Friday, September 23, 2016

Week 6 - Provo MTC

Hello everyone! How's life!

This week went by pretty fast! (although I really can't tell one day from another lol) But I'm still learning so much! Hopefully all your lives are more exciting than mine right now hahaha!  Don't worry I'm still doing well, I just CAN'T WAIT TO GET TO TAHITI

This week was tough (like every week) and I'm trying to perfect French cause this is our last week of French!  We start Tahitian on Monday.  Nuts. It's weird to think that we'd be hopping on a plane this week if we didn't have to learn a second language.  But, I'm sure it's gonna be worth it!  

One day this week it smelled like smoke everywhere and it was so weird.  Anyone know why?  Speaking of, Elder Todd put some sort of Chinese cup of noodles in the microwave, and turns out the lid had tin foil in it.  So the residence smelled like smoke all that night as well.  At least we didn't burn anything down!

So some Elders and Sisters got chosen to be in the MTC Choir to sing in General Conference! Unfortunately I was not one of them hahaha! But it's aright, just look out for those good lookin Elders and Sisters with the prophets! Choir is still so fun, and we all have story time while we are waiting for it to start.

Probably the best part about this week is that IT RAINED YESTERDAY!

I love the rain.  Super stoked for rainy season in Tahiti.  

Sorry this is short but really not much happens anymore haha!

Spiritual thought!!- While teaching, I've seen how it's difficult for people to keep commandments.  Especially new and "more difficult" ones like tithing, the law of chastity, word of wisdom, etc.  But what I've also realized while studying, is that harder commandments bring stronger blessings.  The Lord knows each of us individually and he knows what is hard for us.  If we show increased faith and obey all the commandments (even the hard ones) he will bless us tenfold.  And He will always be there to help us in our times of need.  You just have to keep your eye out for miracles, cause they happen every day.  *definition of a miracle by my teacher- "when we see God's hand in our life"  So really everything God does is a miracle.  And he helps us a lot.

Here are some awesome videos we watched in our additional study time this week and they are really cool.


Elder Jenkins

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week Cinq - Provo MTC

Hi! :)

Ok so I think things have finally slowed down here at the MTC! Not so much learning-wise, but as far as adjusting to the lifestyle I'm pretty solid.  

I've been here a month now.  Crazy.  And I'm halfway done with the MTC! One more month to go!!  It's not too bad here but I'm sure compared to Tahiti it's lacking.  Haha to say the least.  We have one more week of learning French, then we start TAHITIAN.  Oh dear boy.  Plz send prayers.  That language is nuts.  Not even close to English or French.  Fun fact, I found out my teacher is from the south, and she spoke French to us in a Southern Georgia accent and it was one of the funniest things ever.  

We got to hear from not one, but TWO apostles this week!! That makes 3 in a row.  Ballard and Cook both came for evening devotionals.  Both talks very good, about mission work and love.  ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE!

The older group of Tahitians left, so the MTC feels very different.  It's still fun, but I don't really know too many people anymore.  Gotta make some new friends! :D   I got called as the District Leader! Which isn't really that special cause there are only 4 of us and so we will all get a turn.  But still.  It feels fun to have power over my peers hahahaha. This week we had a jeune d'Anglais! Which translates to "English fast"  So basically, we couldn't speak English the entire day!  To say the least, we were much more quiet than we usually are! But I think my French has improved, so there ya go.  

Teaching lessons is going well, we got both our (fake) investigators to agree to baptism! (Or at least work towards it)  It's awesome to see a change in someone and see them want to become better. (Even if they aren't real people) 

We taught a real member a lesson this week too! IN TAHITI! We taught him over skype and tbh I'm surprised we were able to communicate at all because I can barely speak French as it is!  But it was really fun and he was really nice and there were so many dogs!! Haha so I'll have that to look forward to!

Thank you all for giving me updates about the outside world!! From what I hear, the BYU-Utah game was a tragedy.  It's ok as long as they win once I'm back! GO COUGARS!  Also I hear twenty one pilots covered an MCR song and I about cried.  I guess there will be many more things like that.  Lots of songs I can't hear in the next 2 years.  

But ya it's pretty fun here.  An Elder in the zone (Elder Dorsey) Freestyle raps every night and it's so cool! And yes it's better than me rapping called to serve hahaha.  The choir is way fun too!  The director is actually hilarious and kinda gives spiritual talks inbetween the singing.  SUPER FUN. 

OH YA and the best part- IT RAINED!!!! I MISS RAIN.  Elder Jorgensen and I ran outside and got soaked for as long as we could before bedtime.  Basically the best.  Looking forward to all the rain in Tahiti!!!

Spiritual thought!- The more I learn about the Gospel the more sense it seems to make.  Like even from a logical standpoint, I don't see how the church couldn't be true.  But with that, the church isn't always perfect.  There are always gonna be strange rules and rude people, but that doesn't change the message of the Gospel.  That God lives, there is a living prophet, and Christ died so we can become perfect and live with our loved ones forever.  So don't worry about what other people think.   The Gospel is there to help you, and you don't have to answer to anyone, except God.  

I LOVE YOU ALL.  Thank you so so so so so so so so so much to anyone who has written me cause it means so much and I LOVE hearing about all your lives! It just makes my week so much better

All the loves,
 Elder Jenkins

The Temple with all the Missionaries

I saw Elder Kerr- and Elder Miskimens right before he left!

Every week, all the French missionaries sing
together at the temple under the trees and socialize.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Week Quatro - Provo MTC

It has been a week! Haha not too eventful, but I feel like I've learned and experienced SO MUCH.  First off, French is awesome. I'm SO glad I get to learn it cause J'aime francais!  I hope I can learn the rest of it pretty quick so I can pick up Tahitian!! The other group of missionaries going to Tahiti has started Tahitian and they say it's pretty tough but really fun haha! So prayers and wishes of luck are appreciated.

Almost ALL the French speakers are leaving this week! All the French and French Canadian have finished their stay here.  After monday all of the French missionaries will be composed of only my 4 Tahiti, 4 new Elders going to other islands, that came this wednesday, and the group of missionaries going to French africa (including Elder Kerr)  So our numbers will go from like 50 to 20.  It'll be sad to see them all go, they've become such good friends.  But I couldn't be more excited for what they are going to do and I wish them the best of luck!!

There are a lot of pianos here in random rooms so I've had a chance to play a little bit of music during free time and that makes me very happy!  I'm not great at the piano but I've had a few Elders teach me some songs.  Again, ANY music sounds like heaven hahaha! I remember the first time I got to play a piano here I thought it sounded so amazing.  

This week has definetly not been easy, but it's insane how much you learn and grow in a week.  You learn big life lessons here every day. Both from teachers and from personal experiences through dealing with other people, trying to teach, and putting everything you've got into trying to study the language and the Gospel.

So this week I got a slap in the face from an Apostle so that was fun.  Metaphorically of course, (Apostles are too nice to slap anyone.[Except maybe Satan])  But here's the story-  A little while ago we had a speaker come and talk about a new missionary phrase- "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts."   And I thought it was so stupid.  They wanted us to have that as a mindset in the missionfield.  I just thought it made the church sound a lot "shallower" than from our mission purpose "Invite others to come unto Christ..."  To me, the phrase sounded like we only cared about how many baptisms we got, with no regard to helping people individually.

Then Elder D. Todd Christofferson (one of the 12 Apostles) came to the MTC and gave a talk about the same phrase. My eyes were opened for sure.  Of course we want people to get baptized and become part of God's kingdom, but I was totally missing the "Teach Repentance" part.  

Before the mission I looked at Repentance as "Saying sorry to God for doing bad stuff and then asking forgiveness."  It is so much more than that.  I feel like the word repentance has such a heavy feel to it, but really it's just awesome.  Repentance is "a changing of one's heart", and in doing so, becoming more like Christ.  More than just saying sorry, it is changing your mindset to become a better person, guilt free of any mistakes.  Go watch the "Because of Him" video clip the Church put out cause it's awesome and so so true.

So ya, repentance is awesome. Not easy, but it will bless your life SO SO much.  I repent like everyday, because I want to correct all of my little mistakes and become more perfect.  It's a way to have second chances with others, God, and yourself.  

Sorry if that was a little "preachy" but I mean I am out here preaching the good word for two years haha! And that's been something that I've learned this week and has helped me a lot.  The Gospel is so true and so cool.  It's amazing what faith can do.  God answers prayers 100%, IF you ask and have faith.  Thank you SOOOO MUCH to everyone who was able to write me this week, I absolutely LOVE hearing from y'all! I'm praying for you and I hope everyone is doing great! 

-Go Cougars

All the loves,
Elder Jenkins.

*Stuff to check out-
    And if you like the band "Neon Trees",

Friday, September 2, 2016

Week Tres - Provo MTC


Ok so the weeks here are weird, it's week three but I've really only been here like 16 days so it's not that long.  How is everyone!? I hope everyone back at home is awesome with school/college starting up.  I'm getting pretty used to the routine here and tbh it's not that bad. 

The usual daily routine consists of forcing myself out of bed at 6:30 in order to be "exactly obedient" (that's a saying they have here, "obedience brings blessings but exact obedience brings miracles." and I DEFINITELY need a miracle if I'm gonna learn two languages in 9 weeks haha!) Then we exercise for an hour, then we study for 3-4 (Personal study, companionship study, and language study) And all the studies are supposed to be aimed towards how we can teach our current investigators better.  Speaking of investigators!  We finished teaching "Nicole" and that was a fun first experience!  She was very nice and was encouraging to our week old French.

Elder Todd and I with Nicole

Now Elder Todd and I are teaching our teachers, Kimble and Vanderholm, who are pretending to be investigators.  (investigators are people who wanna know more about the Gospel and get taught by missionaries)  They are good actors let me tell you.  Vanderholm's character is so intimidating and just stares judgingly the whole time haha!! It's pretty scary and difficult to teach when the room feels so tense.  (and when you can't freaking speak French)  But ya!  We usually have 2-3  3hr lessons inbetween meals and then go back to the residence where we hang out, sing hymns and sleep.  

On P Days! (which are Fridays) We wake up and go straight to the temple! Then we eat from the temple cafeteria and it's SO GOOD!  yummys.  Then we come back and do our laundry, and write emails! (Which is what I'm doing now)  At 2:40 we have a giant soccer game with all the French speakers!  It is very fun and very hot.  I better get used to it.  Then at 6PM, P Day ends and we have a class.  

---Some random thoughts--- 
 It's so awesome seeing all these Elders I knew from high school come in! I'll pass someone I know every once in a while and I'll get so excited.  Elder Kerr learns French in the same building as me so we get to talk all the time! (when we aren't diligently studying French and The Lord's work, of course.)

Elder Kerr and I being Ethauns
The MTC has no regard for a sense of time.  It will feel like 10PM when it's only 11AM and the days come and go so fast but so slow.  I'm thankful we all have watches otherwise I would never know the time.  

I. Eat. So. Much. Food. Here.  But we do a fair bit of exercise so it's fine.  And I drink 2 glasses of chocolate milk every meal.  Praise for the BYU creamery.

I have had the oddest dreams while I've been here.  And they're always like action adventure end of the world type stuff.  And I can never remember them, just little parts.

We've met so many people who are already fluent in 2,3,4 languages and it's nuts! Like how do you do that!! And then I realize that will be me in two years lol.

We always toss an orange around for entertainment during study time.  Until it breaks and leaks all over my white shirt...

I spilled food on my new pink tie and I had to clean it before Wednesday, because on Wednesdays we wear pink. (ties)

There are a few Elders here who were also in bands before they came! So it's fun to talk to them about music. 

We taught TRCs this week! TRCs (idk what it stands for  [*see note below]) but basically we teach LDS members who speak French as practice! It's fun teaching actual people and not actors! I'm so stoked to go out in the field.

OK! STORYTIME! So we have a pretty busy schedule locked up here in the MTC so nothing THAT exciting really happens.  BUT! Elder Todd and I made it to the "outside." Here's how.  
Elder Todd's jaw has been bugging him, so he talked to some people about it, and turns out our Branch 2nd councilor (one of the guys that runs the French part of the MTC) is a dentist!! And he knew just what to do to fix it, he just had to make a retainer thingy to keep his jaw from doing stuff while Elder Todd slept.  So, he invited us to come see him any time on Monday.
So Monday after breakfast we hopped on a shuttle to Markham's (that's the Dentist's name) office! It feels like it's been so long since I've been in a car!  We started driving and I realized, We are SO CLOSE to BYU! Like across the street.  I saw the buildings where some of my friends live, and that was crazy.  It's odd to think that the world is so close but I feel so secluded haha!  Anyways, we get to the dentist's office and it turns out to be a KIDS DENTISTS OFFICE with an aquarium with the finding nemo fish and everything.  

Markham sits us down and they make a mould for Elder Todd's retainer.  Markham then tells us it will take about 2 hours to make the retainer, so HE INVITES US TO HIS HOUSE FOR LUNCH! SCORE!  We meet his dog, Axel, who was some rare "ridgeback" showdog breed and very pretty.  We then met his wife who was so so nice and they made us the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life.  (Probably cause I'm used to the MTC food by now) They also gave us their homemade wine!!! (Don't worry mom and dad it was just grapejuice) But seriously this stuff was amazing.  They grow like hundreds of types of grapes from all over the world and every year make around 1200 bottles of very fancy grapejuice. They invented their own steamer and everything. It's called Chateau Markham and there are several varieties consisting of many different combinations of grapes.  That was seriously probably the best stuff I've ever drunk.  Drinken? Drunken? Idk.

So as we finish up our food, Markham goes back to work ON HIS UNICYCLE and tells us the directions to walk back.  When we were walking back I felt like a real missionary haha! Everyone was looking at us and some people stopped to talk and we got honked at!  I felt like a celebrity as a missionary in Provo lol.  

When we got back to the dentist, we got the retainer, and as we were waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the MTC, we talked with the dental assistants and it was so fun!  Since it was a kid's dentist they made us balloon animals and gave us stickers hahaha!

The balloon animals Elder Todd and I got

The stickers which we naturally decorated our nametags

But ya it was quite a fun time, and it made me super excited to be out of the MTC.  6 weeks to go!

The French is actually coming really well! I can understand most when people talk, and I can speak pretty confidently to friends and in lessons.  Studying has been difficult cause we have to stay focused for so long but it has been so rewarding.
ALSO! I saw my first guitar in a while! Nicole, our investigator (who is really a teacher) had it to play hymns on our weekly sunday temple walk!  I REALLY wanted to play it but didn't ask cause I didn't wanna be "that guy" hahaha!

I'm not gonna lie, this was a pretty difficult week and has been very humbling.  Of course learning languages is hard, but the emotional and spiritual impacts of the MTC are brutal.  It's hard trying to be a perfect missionary haha! It takes a lot of sucking up your pride and trying to be humble enough to learn from the Lord.  I truly know that God answers prayers, I have seen crazy cool things happen as answers to my prayers since I've been here.  

Thanks again so much to anyone who has written me or sent me anything, you guys are THE BEST.  top notch.  number one. best of show.  first place.  Thankuthankuthanku

Also sorry my emails are so long, they will calm down now that I'm getting used to the new lifestyle.

  All the lovezzzzzzzzzzz, 

      Elder Jenkins

*From the MTC Wikipedia Page:

Teaching Resource Center

Missionaries review a mock teaching session in the TRC.
The Teaching Resource Center (TRC) gives missionaries some experience teaching in their mission language, even if it is their native tongue. All missionaries visit the TRC each week. Volunteers who speak the language role play as "investigators" (people who are investigating the church) in these teaching situations.[8] At the end, Missionaries watch a video tape of their teaching session to find ways to improve their language skills and teaching style.
Volunteers are usually returned missionaries and/or BYU students with language abilities. Members of other faiths are able to volunteer as well. All volunteers must present a temple recommend or BYU ID card to participate. As visitors to the MTC, volunteers must pick up a guest pass at the main desk before going to the TRC.