August 15, 2010

Safe at Home

Elder Jenks is Devon again, pretty much anyway.  We have had an amazing 13 days of family and fun.   Devon arrived in Salt Lake just on time - 10:51pm.  He was tired, a little dazed and not sure what to do.   As soon as we got home, we were off to the Stake President's office for Devon to be released; always a moving and retrospective event.  Immediately following that, we went across to the Temple for a session with Devon, Ash & Ali and London & Alissa.  Aunt Charlene joined us and it was such a joy to have all of our adult children there in the Celestial room together.
The days following have been filled with family and outings.  Devon is register for classes at CSI and working for his Dad for a while.  We are thrilled to have him home and thankful for his faithful service.  This is an excerpt from the letter President Funk sent to us.

You should be very proud of your son. He has been a wonderful missionary. This is a mission of outstanding young men. We literally get the “best of the best” and he has served well, most recently as a very successful zone leader. From my brief experience with him, I can tell he is a remarkable young man.
You will notice that he has grown and matured in many ways. Though little may have changed in your lives during the past two years, much has changed in his. Thank you for the fine young man you sent to us. You will be impressed with the disciple of Christ who is returning.
Thank you for raising such a wonderful son and for his service in India.
So, I guess this is all for the blog.  I hope that you all have enjoyed being a part of Devon's mission to India.  I am sorry for the missing months, but you know what being a Mom is like.

August 2, 2010

The Last, but not the Least

  This is the last email from India.  I have been editing and correcting all his letters, but for this last one, I thought I would leave it as it came.  We are at this very minute in Salt Lake waiting for the time we can head out to the airport to see him come off of the plane.  Can not tell you how excited I am.  

  • Well i cant believe this is my last email.  i feel like i will neverstop being a missionary.  i guess when i get home it will be like hitting a brick wall.  im excited for that wall though.  :)
  •  I think i am a little taller.  i had a lot of growing pains, but i never measured myself.  proably not much taller.    
  • as far as my last words go....hahah  i just want you all to know that you are the greatest family i could ever ask for.  im so thankful for you all.  i have learned so many things that i didnt even know from
    each of you.  im thankful for your faith and the way i was raised. 
    i talked to president nichols about this before he left,  it was never hard for me to keep the commandments.  i wasnt perfect, but i was a pretty good kid.  i attribute that to you and your examples.  i hope i am being that kind of example to others. especially Stratton and Crayson.
  • I have a testimony of our savior.  i have seen the power of his atonement in others lives, and that is when i have gained the greatest apreciation for it.  i know that he died for me and my sins.  i
    testify that God lives and loves each and everyone of us.  i have recognized his hand in my life and the lives of others so much in the past two years.  i know that he takes care of us and he always will.
  • i know the Book of Mormon is true.  i have read it.  i have prayed about it and recieved a witness that it is God's word.  I know that it  answers our most sincere questions and guides our lives.  it took me a
    long time to see the importance of the living prophet.  watching conference has become as exciting as watching college hoops in March.  i love Thomas S. Monson and know that he is God's prophet today.
  • I kno9w that the Gospel changes lives i have seen it.  i love the country and people of India.  i dont think i can ever forget some of the faces i have met.  they will be forever engraven in my mind for one reason or another, but mostly for the great impact they have made on me.  I find it interesting that when you want your mission to end it doesnt, but when you dont want it to end it does.  I feel that way
    right now.  i want to serve the Lord all my life and i will, just in different ways.
  Elder Jenks has served an amazing mission in an amazing place.  Anxious to start hearing the stories.  The growth of character and spirit has been obvious in his letters home.  He has rendered a service to be proud of.  His and our lives have been changed.  We thank our Heavenly Father for the blessing of being his parents and the blessings Devon has received while on his mission.  

July 13, 2010

Short & Sweet

  • I'm excited for the last three weeks of my mission.  
  • I feel like they will be the most productive yet.  At least I hope I can make them. 
  • I want to keep working until the last second.  
  • I love being a missionary.   

July 1, 2010

Testimony of a Son of Helaman

  • Wow!  Our emails are getting shorter and shorter, just like the time I have left on my mission. 
  •  I'm such a bundle of emotions these days.  I'm excited, but sad and reflective.  So many feelings, I don't really know what to think these days.  I'm so thankful for my mission.  I'm grateful for the service I have been allowed to render.  I'm grateful for the people I have met and the wonderful changes I have been a part of. 
  • I'm impressed with the changes in myself.  I never saw myself as the person I am today.  I never thought I would be who I am.  I love being a missionary.  I wish I could instill all of my love for missionary work into every new missionary.  I know though, that they will gain this same love as they experience the things that I have.  
  • I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I don't think I will ever understand what He went through and the love He has for each and everyone of us.  I hope I can always show my gratitude for Him and His sacrifice. 
  • I know that God loves us and I'm thankful for His guiding hand in all that we do.   I love the restoration.  It makes me so happy to know that God continues to speak to us through a prophet.  I will always do what the prophet tells me to do.  I'm grateful for revelation.  I don't think I ever truly believed in Revelation before my mission. I heard so many stories about it, but it had never happened to me.  It is probably because I had never sought it.  I know that God gives us revelation to help us, to guide us. 
  • I'm thankful for the scriptures.  They are the guide to salvation.  Paul teaches about it in 2 Timothy.  I read it today with my companions.  It made me think about how true it is.  They show us the way to return to our Heavenly Father. 
  • I have a testimony of the plan of salvation and our potential to become like God.  I also have a testimony of the great responsibility we have to share the gospel and equally important to live the gospel.  
  • I'm grateful that God gives us families. As our families follow the example of Jesus Christ, we find true lasting happiness that will never end.  All in all I'm thankful for the Love of God and all that He does for us. If we recognize this love our lives are so much better.  :)
  • I don't really know why I did that, but I did.  I hope it helps someone. 

June 14, 2010

Working in Chennai

  • The work is going really great.  We are being blessed to meet people that are prepared for the gospel.  This last week we met two new investigators.  The first time we taught them we set them for baptism.  :)  I don't think that has happened very often on my mission.  They are doing great.  Their names are Vikram and Kesevan.  They both just kind of walked up to us and wanted to be taught.  So we did and now they are getting baptized in two Sundays.  It's crazy.  I'm guessing this is a little what it's like in Brazil and other South American countries.  :)  
  • Chennai is awesome.  They actually have American food here.  Last Wednesday I bought ham and cheddar cheese.  The first time I have seen those since I came to India.
  • Things are going great.  My zone is awesome and they are working so hard.  We are planning for 15 baptisms this month which has never happened in the history of Chennai.  :)  Cool, huh?
  • Yesterday we had our last zone conference with President Nichols.  It was absolutely amazing.  He taught us some of the best things I have ever learned.  I don't think I fully explained to you how amazing President Nichols is.  I cant really describe what makes him the way he is, but he is so inspiring and kind.  Everything he does is for the benifit of others.  I dont think he thinks about himself all day.  I am going to miss him a lot, but I want to go visit him in Alaska and go fishing with him.  :) 

New Area - Chennai

  • Well I got transferred.:)  to the hottest city in our mission.  Chennai.  It is also the biggest, like 14 million people or more.  I'm not really sure.  I'm going to be one of the zone leaders with Elder Shepherdson.  He is cool.  I know him.  We were together in hyderabad.  
  • As far as Chennai goes, everyone said it would be so hot, but it's not so bad.  They have lots of trees that keep things cool on the streets.  We are also having a lot of appointments so we spend most of our time inside peoples houses. It's a pretty cool city.  Everyone speaks English, so that is an upgrade.  :)  We have some good investigators, so that is always a plus.  The zone is also doing great.  The mission is working hard.  We are trying to meet our mid year goal of 300 baptisms by the end of June.  We need 79 more this month.  That has never happened, but I have confidence that we will make history.  Our zone is supposed to get 15.  It's going to happen. Things are wierd being a zone leader. There are a lot of things that need our attention and that we have to take care of.  We get so many phone calls.  In erode we probably got on average 3 per day.  Here we get like 30.  It's fun.  
  • My apartment is about the same as my last apartment. Ii'ts not bad.  Bearable for a couple months.  :)
    My companion is Elder Shepherdson.  He is awesome.  He is from Florida; his dad is an accountant.  Ironic, because that's what I want to be.  He is very organized.   Something that I can learn from him.  He is very kind and loving.  He works to meet peoples needs.  We are doing great.  
  • Oh, on Sunday (May 30th) the branch I was in in, Chennai first branch, split into two.  We are now in Chennai 3rd branch.  We have an entire branch to ourselves.  It's awesome.  We also have 4 American families in our branch.  They are awesome. We ate lunch at one of their houses on Sunday.  It was amazing to say the least.  Ham, funeral potatoes, jello, homemade bread, broccoli, chocolate cream pie, and lemon bars. It doesnt get any better than that in India.  :)  
  • This will definately be my last area unless there is a disaster.  :)  What does that mean?  Is he predicting a something? MM

Finishing Up in Erode

  • We have 3 baptisms on Sunday.  It is a sweet family.  It is a mother and her two daughters.  Their father ran out on them when the youngest girl was one so about 10 years back. It is so sad.  It happens so much in India.  It bugs me.  It makes me mad actually.  Anyway, they are pretty poor, but they are very happy since they recieved the gospel.  It is awesome to see them smile whenever we visit and teach about the Gospel.  The daughters are funny.  They just barely started to warm up to us.  They are very cute, but very quiet.  It is fun to finally hear them talk.  They are a great family.  :)    I'll send pictures next week. :)  
  • DSCN9585.JPG
  • DSCN9618.JPG  JACKFRUIT  looks like giant potatoes!
  • DSCN9576.JPG    Indian birthday tradition, wiping the cake all over the birthday boy's face
  • This past week I was studying in Alma.  The stories of Ammon and Aaron.  I love those guys.  They have become my favorite stories from the Book of Mormon.  I still love the Brother of Jared,  but Ammon and Aaron are growing on me.  It so amazing to read about all that they did.  Reading about it makes me want to serve everyone I see.  It makes me want to teach the gospel to everyone.  It is crazy how the Book of Mormon does that. It's great. I think one of my favorite scriptures has become Alma 26:27.  It inspires me to keep working hard.  To stay diligent and obedient so I  can receive Gods blessings.