December 31, 2008

Random People in India

People of India

Post Christmas Week

  • I loved talking to you. I wish I could have spoken longer...Oh well I guess. Short is best I guess. I missed you all more than I thought. :) I was really sad by the end of the call, but I'm over it now. All Elder Talk and I could talk about that night is what you said. We stayed up just lying in our beds talking. I thought that was funny. His family is really funny too. It was weird getting off the phone and then realizing I was in India not America.
  • I have to tell you about my second family here in Visak. There names are Prabahkar and Naveena Malladi; they also have a 3 month old baby named Aman. He is my tanmoodu (a little brother). They were in a car accident, and the mom (Naveena) broke both bones in both legs. That was 3 weeks ago. We visit them a few times a week. We are the only spiritual influence they get pretty much, because they can't go to church and other things. I love visiting them. We help the father cook and clean and with anything else they need. He tells me to treat his house like mine. They remind me a lot of Matt Thompson. (There you go Matt, and I didn't even have to prompt him!) It is really funny. Anyway the real reason I am telling you about them is that Sister Naveena can already walk! What a miracle. I am so amazed at how loving our Heavenly Father is. I know that God is our Father and that He loves each and every one of us. I am so happy to be His son.
  • I am also so happy to be your son. Thank you for being the best parents in the world. Sorry for not appreciating you more fully. I will do better. Thank you for everything you do. I love you all so much and miss you, but I know I am doing the right thing in the right place.

Christmas Photos from India

Christmas game at the church.

Devon eating Christmas Dinner

Elder Talk,

Devon's Companion

December 28, 2008

Mom's Christmas Phone Call

The Christmas Phone Call from missionaries is a Mormon tradition, as most of you know. The missionary gets the opportunity to phone his family at home and talk for a varying amount of time. Elder Jenks was allowed 60 minutes. As his family, we have, of course, been anxiously awaiting that moment. He was able to make his call on Christmas morning for us and Christmas evening for him. They make the call from an international pay phone located in some kind of an Internet cafe. The cost of such is call is surprisingly less than $3.00!
It was so comforting to hear his voice. There seemed to be so many things to learn from just it's sound; he is picking up an accent. Not just the missionary accent where they raise their voice at the end of each sentence as some sort of questioning procedure just to be sure you are listening and understanding. If you have not spent any time with a newly returned missionary, you will not understand what I am referring to. But aside from that, he is acquiring a mixture of a British and Indian accent in his own speech. That is to be expected, I am sure. But there was something else I heard in his voice; a maturity that reflected experience beyond what I might expect. A knowledge that there are things more important perhaps than the frivolous facts we were pressing him for. He seems to find his daily existence normal now; nothing of note worthiness to himself. He was very articulate in his answers to our questions and the observations that he was able to make about the people of India, their lives and culture. I was thrilled to hear him and judge for myself his state of happiness.
We found out some interesting things. Most of them of little importance, other than they are just that - interesting. There is one story he told that is haunting me still and moves me to deeper and more meaningful prayers in his behalf. It is a story that he was not able to relate within my hearing, so at this time, I am not going to pass it on. I will get his permission before doing so. I am assured now, as I have believed for a very long time, that we in the United States, the West, "Zion", are sheltered and protected from the very worst that exists in this world. The blessings that come from simply being one of those allowed to live in this country are innumerable and mostly invisible to us who have not ever been absent. As I try to imagine my baby boy encountering these things and the impact that they may have on his character and life, I am moved to tears and my heart aches for him. But I know that it can be for his own good. These experiences, taken and reflected on and viewed through the lens of the of the gospel, can make him a more charitable person. I hear that in his voice as he speaks of his daily activities and adventures.
I am glad for the Christmas Phone Call. I am happy for the maturity that I hear developing in him. I am grateful for the growth of his character that comes through with the sound of his voice. I will be waiting for May when he calls again. I hope that it is not too hard for either of us to wait that long. MM

A Day in the Life

  • My typical day: I drag myself out of bed at 6:30am, which is still really hard. Then I pretend to exercise, just kidding, I usually do some sit ups and push ups for half an hour. Then I take a shower, get ready, and eat breakfast. 8:00 is personal study. 9:00 is companion study. Then we leave. We usually go finding all morning until lunch; then we eat - usually at our apartment and take a power nap. Then we usually either do more finding or have appointments until 9:00pm. Then we go back to the apartment and plan. Then eat dinner and write in my journal, and sleep. That's my day everyday :) so much fun. I love it. It probably sounds really boring, but its not; It's way awesome.
  • As for cooking I make one of three things grilled cheese, PB and J, or Cheese Omelet with toast. Sometimes we eat outside at some Indian Restaurant. We have a washer in our apartment, but no dryer. It costs too much. Shopping is interesting. What is at the store is different every week; you never know if they will have what you want. They pretty much have random things. American food they have, but its super expensive so we don't eat it. The only thing that I buy that is American is Oreos. They are the same price as any other cookie so I buy them. Oh, and Tang. Pineapple tang is the best!!! No Target or Walmart. We shop at a place called Karachiwalla. Try pronouncing that. HAHA Pretty much every store has everything like a Walmart but a lot more ghetto. :)
  • We walk mostly everywhere. We also take autos here. Our area is like a 15 minute auto ride from one side to the other. It is very small.
  • As far as our investigators - we try to teach them twice a week unless they are really progressing, then we meet with them every other day. We teach the whole lesson at once, but we usually have to teach it more than once, because we are teaching people in their second language. Member present lessons are super hard. Especially here in Visak. Members aren't interested in coming with us. We are working on that though.
  • This week has been pretty boring. Most of our investigators have been bunking our appointments, which means they don't show up. So, it has been pretty frustrating. We dropped most of our investigators and we haven't found a lot of great people; just one that will progress I think. A couple of our old investigators are doing well. They are all set for baptism in January. They mostly will be gone the rest of this month. People are just kinda super lazy here and have no desire to change. Which is really sad, because their lives could be so much better with the gospel. We are still trying and working hard. I know we will find those people that are prepared; it might just take some time. We have faith. :)

From December 7, 2008

  • Sorry that I have fallen behind on this blog. I am sure you can guess why. I will try to get a few things in right now and then fill you in on the infamous " Christmas Phone Call"!
  • Yesterday was Zone Conference it; was so good. Every single one makes my testimony grow and grow and my assurity that President Nichols is called of God. He is so inspired. He is super smart also. He is amazing. I love him a lot he helps me so much. I am very thankful for him.
  • Most people in India can't trace their lineage past their grandparents. It's so sad. They also don't know any dates or anything. Like older people don't even know when their birthday is. They don't even know how old they are. I never knew stuff like that happened. I guess we are super blessed to live in the country we do, but at the same time lots of things are a lot better here. So I guess its a trade off. I was told to bring mine to reflect on my ancestry. I read the stories a lot actually, there are some good stories there. They are just for me though.
  • If you don't know, the family here in Twin got a new dog in November, a German Short Hair. Devon is claiming it as his dog. The dog sounds fun. Here some drunk guy tried to sell me his puppy the other night for 50 rupees (1 Dollar). I would have done it in a heart beat, but I'm not allowed. Oh well. You should train that dog. I think that would be best ;) just kidding, I'm sure you are. We are trying to train the dog, but it seems that we might have to successfully train Crayson before we can start on the dog!
  • I love being in India. You never know what to expect when you walk out the door. It is so much fun. I also don't like Americans anymore. When I see them I avoid them. It has been so long since I have spoken to an American that isn't an Elder. Going home is going to be super hard. I don't know what I am going to do. Crazy.

December 7, 2008

This-n-That from India

  • Everything is going great in India!!! Especially after the news that I'm going to be an uncle!!!! WAHWHOO!!!! All I have to say is its about time. HAHAH Just kidding! I'm really happy actually and I hope all goes well. I'm super excited to come home and see him or her. :) show HIM/her pictures of me so HE/she knows who I am. I think it's going to be a boy. I just have this feeling. We will see though.
  • As far as Mumbai goes, there are no missionaries in Mumbai, and I'm pretty sure that is why. There is a branch there, but no missionaries. President Nichols didn't want to send any there for some reason, and I am guessing that is why. He truly is an inspired man. I'm very happy to say he is my Mission President. I love him so much. Nothing abnormal has happened here. We just couldn't go outside for one day to be safe, but now nothing is different. All is well.
  • It's true. I eat with my hands everyday and I love it. It is so much easier. You just have to make sure your hand is clean. Oh by the way, I am making all of you do it when I get home. I already know how to cook a few Indian dishes so you will all enjoy. HAHAH
  • So a little about me. I was super sick yesterday. The first time I have really been sick in India. I seem fine today, so that's good. I must have just eaten something I shouldn't have. The couple missionaries were all worried about me, but I told them I just needed to rest and get over it. Sister Nielsen asked what she could do so I said make cookies. HAHAH Then I told her I was just joking; she just laughed. The couples are so funny. Sometimes I wonder how they survive here, but then I think of Grandma and Grandpa and I know they could survive here. They would love it here. It is an awesome place. I love it here.
  • We have this one investigator named Balu Krishna; he is so awesome. We set him for baptism, but he could only come to half of church so we need to reset him. He did read the Book of Mormon and said that it made him so happy when he read it. I love those kind of responses. It makes my life so much easier. He is still searching for his answer, so soon he will get it and be baptized. :) Hopefully I will be here. If not, oh well.
  • Here is the funny story of the week. We were walking down a main street and this beggar came and started trying to get us to give him money. We said no and kept walking. Usually beggars won't follow us. But this guy was really determined. So he followed us for ten blocks. I'm not even kidding, forever he followed us. The whole time yelling some Telugu. People were all staring at us. It was so funny. We walked so fast. Then I was like, "Oh forget it." and let him catch up. Then he started asking me for money so I pointed to Elder Talk who was like 15 feet ahead of me. The guy ran after him. It was so funny. I could barely walk I was laughing so hard. It was Hilarious.

December 2, 2008

I just have to take a minute and share my Mother's Heart and feelings I am having about Elder Jenks. I am so proud of him! He seems to handle everything with calm and humor. I have been in awe of him and the way he has grown and matured. I had no idea that he would turn out to be such a great missionary! Devon has always seemed like he was more interested in other things his whole life, sports, Nike, his phone and his MP3. He is truly an amazing young man. His Patriarchal Blessing says that he will be a judge in Israel. I found that kind of surprising, but now I think I was wrong. He is in only his third transfer, his second area, third companion and he is the trainer. His companion had only been there 6 weeks when Devon got him (I guess if he had been there any longer, that would not have worked. You can't have a trainer or Senior Companion who has been there less time than the Junior Companion). That is crazy. And yet, he just goes on working and learning and baptizing.
I think the thing that has impressed me the most, his exacting obedience. That is what gives me comfort. His obedience is the best safety system he can have! That is strange too, he has always tried to wiggle out of, into or otherwise push the limits his entire life!
When he left, he was terrified of speaking to people that he did not know well. He was given the subject of "weakness becoming strengths" for his "not a farewell" talk. It couldn't have been a better choice for him. Not only did it put into focus for him the ways he had been blessed already in that one area of weakness he had, but he also determined that in the success you might have with your weaknesses being made strong, you had to remain humble and realize that it is only possible with the help of the Lord. If you think it is you, it will be a weakness again. He has really put that into practice there in the mission field.

Please excuse the ramblings of a Missionary Mom, but I am so very proud of him.

November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Photos

Elder Jenks enjoying his Thanksgiving meal of rice and delicious currys in Visakhapatnam, 2008. The other Elder in this picture is Elder Pessetto.
The elders of Visakhapatnam, India enjoying Thanksgiving dinner together, 2008. Elder Jenks' comanion is Elder Talk, the elder on the far left of the photo. They are a great companionship!

Elder and Sister Nielsen

Thanksgiving in Visak

Hey Family I know I emailed yesterday, but because of recent events I am emailing again. You may have already heard, but there was a huge terrorist attack in Mumbai this morning or last night. I'm just emailing to tell you that we are OK. We just cant go finding and everything is alright. Don't be worried have a great day!!!! I love you all.

Elder and Sister Neilsen sent us an email with photos from the Viska area's Thanksgiving.

Brother and Sister Jenks,
Thought you might like to see your great missionary son, Elder Jenks, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, Indian style in Visakhapatnam, India. You have a great son! We are enjoying becoming acquainted with since his arrival here a couple of weeks ago. He and Elder Talk are working very hard at being great missionaries. We hope you had a nice Thanksgiving in the USA.
Elder and Sister Nielsen

Settling in at Viska

  • We started with no investigators when we came. We had nothing. We have been working hard though. We have been finding for the past two weeks and last night we set three people for baptism. It is super exciting. I know that it will happen. It is crazy how the Lord has prepared some people. We found these families only last week and already they are preparing for baptism. It is so awesome!! I'm excited for them.
  • My companion Elder Talk is super smart and super quiet at the same time. I have to try really hard to get him to tell me anything. I have had him start leading all day to get him out of his shell. It seems to be working out pretty well. He still has a hard time talking to people. So I do most of the talking. How crazy is that? Who would have ever thought I would be the one doing all the talking, but I do. I'm starting to enjoy it. It's so weird.
  • The new state is crazy different. People are way nicer; they don't scold us or anything like that. I like it a lot better. The language is super hard. I was just starting to understand Tamil a little bit and now I have to learn Telegu. They are similar, but very different. I'm learning though. I also know some Hindi. I want to be able to speak part of each language. We will see how that works. The branch is about the same size, but there are two in Visak so it is actually twice as big. It is a good branch they aren't quite as involved in missionary work. That is something we are going to try and change. It might take some time. I don't know how long I will be here, but I hope a while so we can help the branch. All is good here in Visak I like it a lot.
  • Anyway, here are some stories. Not too many exciting ones. We have met 4 pastors here. It's so funny to show them scriptures that show that a prophet is important and they still don't believe. There was one pastor who said the bible is the only thing we need. So we showed him that in Amos 3:7 it says that prophets are important. He then said, "Oh, that doesn't matter, prophets aren't important." And we are like, "Brother, are you telling us that the bible is wrong?" He didn't know what to say.
  • They have so many crazy opinions here. We met one lady that was scolding us and telling us that we were leading people astray. Then we were like, "OK you aren't going to listen. Bye." Then as we were walking away she says, "Oh, can you go pray for this family down the street?" We were like, "What? You think we are leading people astray but you want us to go pray for them?" We didn't understand. I don't get it.
  • Funny story. Monday I got offered a pigeon, a chicken, and a dog all in one day. They were just going to give them to me. It was weird. Then later in that evening we were walking to a member's house and we saw this auto (autos are the public transportation, cushman-like vehicles) with three huge marlins in it. The marlins were sticking out about three feet on each side of the auto. It was crazy. I'm telling you we see some pretty crazy things.

November 24, 2008

New Area - Visakaputnam

  • Well, where to start!!!! This week has been super crazy. I don't really know what to think. Anyway, about my new area and everything, Elders were here, but all of them left so they white washed the whole branch. We are pretty much new to everything. We do a lot of walking and finding. I am way more tired here then I was in Coimbatore. We found 7 new investigators last week, which is a good start but we need to get more. We will keep working hard. My companion is Elder Talk, he has been out for 6 weeks. He is 100% Navajo Indian. How cool is that? He is from Provo, Utah. He went to Harvard for one year. He is kinda quiet, but slowly I am getting him out of his shell. He doesn’t have much confidence in himself, but he is a great missionary. We are working hard and trying our best. I think we will have success as time goes on. It will just take a little while.
  • You should see the hawks here. Anywhere there is water there are hawks. They are super big too, and there are probably 15 to 20 flying around. They are pretty awesome. There is all sorts of crazy wildlife in India. The Rhinoceros beetle was probably 2 to 3 inches long. It was crazy. If I ever see another one I will send it home, hahah. I can't believe I am saying this. Being in India has definitely changed my tastes and phobias. Bugs don’t bother me anymore. I think just because I have seen so many things that are worse then bugs. I don’t, know it's weird. I can eat anything. I'm a new person!
  • I don’t have a lot of time to tell my stories, but I can tell you in two years. All is well. I am doing Great. Thanks for everything. You are the greatest family ever!!!!!! I love you all. Have a good week, thanks again.

November 13, 2008

Bits & Pieces

  • What is this? One email last week and eleven this week? How am I supposed to have enough time?
  • Secondly, NOW YOU GET A DOG?!!!!!!! What is this? I wanted a dog for the longest time. I'm so jealous, you have no idea. I'll get over it. Hopefully it's still alive when I get home. Send me pictures when you get it.
  • There is no Halloween in India. It's pretty sad actually, I didn't think I would miss it, but it's so much fun. I only have one left that I have to miss. As for Christmas, people who are Christian celebrate it, which isn't a big percentage, but what I didn't realize before I got here is that there are so many people in India, even a small percentage is A LOT of people. I never expected to see so many Christians, but there are really a lot. So not much of a Christmas celebration my companions tell me.
  • On Barack - Most people don't like him, because he said he would stop outsourced jobs and that is like all the jobs in India; so they are pretty scared here. I don't think it will happen though. We will see. What do you think? Is he going to be a good President? I don't know anything about him. Most people ask me but I don't know anything.

Anyone want to take this one on? I am not sure how to break it to him. I just hope he makes it home before it all falls apart! JK MM

  • Haven't seen any animals just elephants and camels. Maybe in Visak I will see something cool. OH!!! I saw a rhinoceros beetle. I picked it up and took it in my apartment and took pictures of it. I will show you next week. It was so strong. I could press down on its back as hard as I could with one finger and it could push back just as strong. It sounds crazy but it's true. They are so strong. It has like armor for skin too. It was pretty cool for being a bug. :) Just in case you don't already know - Devon does not have the fondness for insects that Stratton does. It is really something that he would pick up any bug. We are hoping that he will send us the actual bug! MM
  • Vandalism happens here a lot. Also, Hindu people get drunk during festivals and vandalize all Christian churches. It's pretty sad, but pretty normal also.
  • They didn't like any of my names. :( so they named her blessing. I think it's a pretty lame name, but I didn't say that. Oh well, I tried.
  • The only funny story from this week is that we were standing at the bus stand and the family that wanted me to name their baby walked up to us and started talking. We talked to them then they walked away. Then I looked down and my shoe was all wet. I was like, what is that? The baby had peed all over my shoe. Her mom was holding her, but in India no one can afford diapers, so they wear nothing. I washed my shoe that night, and now it is back to normal.
  • Thanks for all the emails. Sorry if this is not a very good email. I had very less time, because I had to read all of yours. Thank you for all your love and support; have a good week. I Love You All!!!!Elder Jenks

Well, I guess we should consider writing less emails? Not! Thanks to all who wrote to him - I know that Dallas wrote once, Stratton once and I only wrote three times (guilt from missing last week!) That is only four emails, so that was a lot of you who wrote last week.! MM

Update on the Work

  • Oh! I'm getting transferred tomorrow. (11-13-2008) I'm going to Visakhapatnam. It's on the coast. I will see the beach. I'll send you pictures. Oh get this too, I'm follow up training. My companion has only been here 6 weeks. But still, I'm follow up training. Oh and another thing, neither of us has been in this area. We are being white washed. It is going to be so much fun. :) I'm really excited.

  • I'm sad I'm going to miss 6 baptisms though :( They will be baptized in a week and a half. SAD!! Oh well,. . . . . as long as they get baptized, I don't care. I don't have to be here. When I get pictures I will send them to you. They are two super families and on single guy who is so super also I'm so excited for them.

  • I found that it is really hard when people won't except our message, but you have to love them enough and have enough faith to know that God will help them later. They may not accept right now, but later they will. I hate when people are so good they already have a testimony of everything we teach except Joseph Smith and they won't even try and read one chapter. It makes me really sad. I know though, that someday they will believe and try it.

  • We spend about half of every day street contacting, which is good. It is fun to just walk around and talk to as many people as we can, there are so many people out there. We just need to find those that are ready.

There is another Elder serving from our ward who went into the MTC the same days as Devon. He is serving in the San Diego Mission. On his second day there in California, the Mission President asked him to switch to Spanish speaking. Elder Naylor (Miles) consented, of course, and is now, two months later understanding and teaching in a foreign language. MM

  • That is so cool about Miles, too. I know what he means though. I have been here only 3 months and can understand Tamil. I can't speak it, but I know what people are saying. It's crazy. Now I get to go to Visak and learn Telugu, a new language.

November 9, 2008

The Church in India & Baptisms in November

  • The baptisms are all planned to go down (go down?) on November 23rd. I'm really excited. We might have to push them back one week, but that's Okay. They need to be ready. They are all doing well. One family didn't come to church because one of their relatives died in the night; but they are still happy and love the gospel.
  • There are about 350 members in the branch but about half are inactive. So around 1 70 come every week. Its a pretty big branch in India. We are trying to work with less active members, but the branch has terrible records so we don't exactly know who is inactive. We just ask members if any of their friends stopped coming to church. The branch actually does really well with home teaching, but not everyone has home teachers. That is something we are trying to work on.
  • Everything (the church organization) is pretty much the same. They don't have Young Men/Women, but most everything is the same.
  • For Institute and Seminary they just have a member teach. It works out well. Most classes are full. There are people that come every week, and some that come once in a while.
  • Members are very stubborn about referrals. They don't give them. They have them, they just won't tell us. It's really frustrating. I don't know why either. We are trying to work on that . We are having a fireside next Sunday to try and get referrals. Hopefully we will get some.
  • . . . there is one funny story . . . We met this family and taught them. Then we were leaving and they just like threw their naked baby at me. I didn't know what to do, because we aren't supposed to hold children, but if I hadn't had held it, it would have fallen to the ground. So I just held it and they took a picture. I was like, "What is this? Where am I?" It's crazy. So many times crazy things are happening. It's nuts. Anyway, that is my funny story for the week.

I have now gotten commenting ablilities on the blog going, thanks to my friend Havilah. Don't forget that you can send messages to him yourself with the email address at the right. MM

October 29, 2008

Investigator Updates

  • I can't believe I have been on my mission for 3 months already. It is going by so fast. It is so crazy. Thanks for all the love and support. You are the best family ever. I think I may have taken you all for granted a little. Sorry!!!!
  • . . . . . . about my investigators. Which are the best investigators in the world. My families are doing so well. I'm very excited. We also have planned to set 3 more people this week. I'm super excited. They have all been coming to church for two weeks I think, so they are doing good. They have to come for three weeks straight before we can baptize them. They are awesome. They keep all our commitments. They call us to see when we can meet. They are so good. I know that this gospel has already changed their lives, and will change their lives even more. I'm so happy for them.
  • My area is about a ten minute bus ride from the church. Distance isn't a problem here, it is just their desire. You can go from anywhere in Coimbatore to the church for less than 5 rupees. Some families do have a problem with having enough money. . . . . The families that speak English, mostly have more money. The better English you speak, the better job you can get.
  • We see our progressing investigators like 3 or 4 times a week. We try to see them as much as possible. Most people in India go to work at 9 in the morning and don't come home until 8 or 9, so some people are hard to meet. They are all great kind people. I'm amazed at how nice people are.
  • Oh! I saw a bunch of camels in the street yesterday going to a festival. So many crazy things you see here. Monday was Diwali, the second largest festival of the year. They light off so many fireworks. And no fireworks are illegal! We had to stop proselyting at 6 o'clock because it is too dangerous at night. So we went up on the roof and every direction you looked you could see 30 fireworks going off. It was the coolest thing ever. Then people were lighting them in the street right in front of our apartment so they would explode right above our heads. They also have huge long strings of firecrackers. I recorded one that lasted more than 1 minute and thirty seconds. It was crazy but so cool at the same time.

October 22, 2008


Gekos are all over the apartment. Devon considers them a better option than giant spiders!

The Work is Going Forth

  • Today we had Zone conference. We are in Bangalore. Every other zone conference is in Bangalore. The focus was on using Preach My Gospel. I really need to do that more. I have been focused on finishing the Book of Mormon. One thing President said is that we need to use our study time for those we teach and not for ourselves. That made me think; I need to focus on those I teach when I study, not on what I want. I will work on it.
  • We set my first family for baptism on Sunday. I'm really excited for them. I don't know if it will go through or not but I am praying. It is a family of four, but only three can get baptized because the other son is only 6. The other three are set though. Elder Hansen and I found him like my first week here. He is a super guy. I'm excited. He is set for November 2nd, because in the mission we have one rule that they have to attend church for three consecutive weeks; then they can be baptized. So that will work.
  • I dont know if Ii told you this, but I saw an elephant roaming through the street for a festival. It was cool. He just walks around and people give him food and he blesses them by putting his trunk on their head. It was cool. It was a hindu elephant (that probably sounds funny) so we didnt try to feed it. They probably wouldn' t have liked us very much. HAHA I'm going to try and ride one when I go to Erode. I will send you pictures if that happens this week. In Erode there is a super poor guy that owns an elephant and people pay to get a ride. It is funny. I dont know how such a poor guy has an elephant, but I've seen wierder things in India.

October 13, 2008

The Auto Rickshaw

Here it is, the motorozed rickshaw. Little did we know that our boys had been using one for their own transportation some years ago! We still have it and it is for sale! Anyone interested?

Goings on in Coimbatore

A photo of the Coimbatore chapel.

The Elder's kitchen, not bad!

Hyderabad, India

These photos are from Hyderabad. Elder Jenks spent three days there while he got registered with the Goverment and while they were on lock-down. It is monsoon season, hence the flooding.

New Companion, Spreading the Gospel Message & Naming a Baby?

  • My companion is Elder Banavath. He is from Hyberarbad. He is 26. Most Indian Elders are way older, which is wierd because I feel so much older then them. Maybe because I am bigger or act older, I dont know. He is a good missionary, a hard worker, I miss Elder Hansen though.

  • It is hard to live with a native. They are used to their mom doing everything for them. I do all the dishes and cleaning. It is frustrating. I will get over it though so no worries. He also thinks his way is the only way things should be done, so he tells me all the time that I am doing things wrong. I don't know whatever. I just deal with it.
    Devon doing all of the dishes and cleaning? I will have to ponder on that one . . . . MM
  • We viewed a movie (City of Joy) about a group of widows in India. We questioned Elder Jenks as to how they are treated now.
  • The widows in India don't get shoved away. They just live with their sons or daughters. They are still loved. As for men and their wives. The culture is that men just boss their wives around. I really don't like it, but I can't do anything about it. Men have all power. They mostly just tell their wives what to do and aren't very nice about it. In the church it is still there, but definately less. They are a lot nicer to their wives, but still boss them around. That is one thing I have had to deal with. Women aren't treated very nice here and that bugs me.

  • I went on exchanges with the Assistants on Saturday. That was fun. I can see why they are Assistants. We met a new family and taught them about the Restoration. Sateesh was super excited and said he would read and pray. We went back yesterday and taught him the second lesson. He told us that before we came he was thinking about a lot of things, and worrying about them. Also that he wasn't very happy. Then he told us that after we came and he read and prayed his mind felt so free and clear and he just felt happy. It is so exciting to help someone feel the Spirit like that. We told him that that was the Spirit telling him that what we teach is true. He is so excited to come and hear Conference. I am excited for him too. So that was a good experience from this week.

  • Here is a funny story. We were out finding and a man walked up to us and told us that he had met our friends. He invited us to his house so we went and taught him. His family is pretty poor. He makes about 3000 rupees a month. About 75 dollars only. Anyway, they were so excited to see an American. The good part is we taught them, they dont know very much English, so I dont know how far it will go. We taught them and at the end before we were going to leave THEY ASKED ME TO NAME THEIR BABY!!!!!!! Any suggestions. I know it's crazy. I don't know what to tell them. I guess I will just think of some names and tell them next time we meet them. HAHAHA It is a girl by the way so any help would be good. Well that is the best story yet from my mission. I'm sure there are more to come. :)

  • Anyway the work is going great. We are working hard and teaching everyone we can. I love you all and hope all is going well. Have a good week and I can't wait to hear from you next week. Keep being good.

October 2, 2008

Fun in India

  • Oh before I forget. Yesterday I got to play soccer with kids in the street. It was so much fun. We were waiting for one family that we were going to teach. The kids were just playing so I played with them. It was fun.
  • I also got a Lungi. It is pretty much a lava lava, but Indian Style. I will send pictures for you to see.
  • Girls all were things on their foreheads. Every single one of them. They just stick to their foreheads. Like little stickers. If they are Hindu. They will have a powder dot thing, I don’t know how to explain it, but it just looks like a colored powder dot on their forehead. Kinda funny looking.
  • Food is getting easier to eat. I just eat it as fast as I can and try not to taste it. It is hard sometimes. I don’t have any really nasty stories from this week. Just normal stuff.

I have been waiting for the soccer in the street. That bit warms my heart. You all know how much I loved to watch Devon play soccer. I will see about a picture of that Lungi thing. We are still waiting for the solution to the photo situation. As soon as we get something, you will be able to see! MM

Transfers - New Companions - The Work

  • This week is going good. We finally got the apartment all figured out for the new sisters. They are all set to go. They will be here tomorrow. This week is transfers. Elder Hansen is being transferred to Chennai. I will be getting a new companion tomorrow. His name is Elder Banavath. He is from Hyderabad. I will tell you more about him next week. It kinda stinks that Elder Hansen is leaving. He is an awesome guy and I am going to miss being his companion. I am also going to have to be the one who knows everyone and where to go. That should be fun. I'm trying to figure out all the bus stops and such. I am going to be the only American in Coimbatore. I will be with 4 Indian missionaries and 1 Nepali missionary. Crazy huh?
  • Transfers are every 6 weeks same as normal, we just don’t get transferred a lot. Elder Hansen has been in Coimbatore for 7 months. So I expect to stay here for quite some time. But that’s OK, I like it here.
  • India is still great. The work is going. We don’t have many investigators yet. We are still working hard and trying our best. We have only found bachelors recently. Which is kinda bad, because they usually move away. We will see how that goes.
  • As far as Conference goes, I actually get to watch it. They just show it the week after the live sessions. I hear Conference weekend is so much fun. We will see. . . I'm excited for general conference in two weeks. I'm excited to see everyone speak. I think I will get more out of it then I ever have.

September 26, 2008

Back to the Job of Being Missionaries

  • Well things have calmed down and we are back to our normal missionary work. Except we still can't wear our tags. I miss wearing it; it was so easy to refer people to it to pronounce my name. They have such a hard time saying Jenks it is crazy.
  • The work is going good. We have quite a few investigators. They aren’t progressing as well as I would hope, they are all having a hard time gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon and that is the first step. They mostly want proof that it really happened. We keep telling them that they have to pray to find out for themselves, but they don’t. I hope this week they will have that desire and will pray to Heavenly Father to find out for themselves.
  • I want to tell you about this family. They are the Paul Mathew family. They are so awesome. They were baptized the week before I came. They already have such a great testimony of the gospel. It is awesome. I love visiting them. They are my favorite lessons. They always feed us. She gives good food that I like though, so that is good. What is funny is they make us eat so much. It is usually like 3 times as much as what normal Indians eat. We eat until we are about to throw up. I have never been that full in my entire life. They are so awesome though. That is why we eat so much.

September 21, 2008

Just a Bit More

Well I only have four minutes. Sorry London I will get to yours next week. Or I will write you a real letter . . . . Before I forget, there isn’t anything I really need. You could send drink packages like crystal light and stuff like that. Also I need my line of authority. And addresses for Grandma and Grandpa, and Grandma, and Aunt Char. And any others you can think of. Have a Great week. And keep doing what you do. Have fun and I'll talk to you again soon. I wish I had more time. I love you all!!!ELDER JENKS

I must add this last bit of his letter from last week. It has become the most important part for me. The missionaries have 30 minutes to check and send emails each week. Devon says, "...I only have four minutes." As I have thought about that, I see the exactness of his obedience. What would it matter if he took 35 minutes to finish up the email; or took an extra 15 so that he could send an email to his brother? Would his missionary service be any less? Probably not; but would he be fully obedient? No. It is very comforting to me, his mother, to know of his desire to be obedient to the very minute, second. Through that obedience will come the blessings; blessings of protection and success and personal growth. Isn't it wonderful when your child becomes your teacher? ! MM

September 18, 2008

More on the Sons of Mosiah in India

First about all the happenings in Bangalore. An assistant and an office elder were on exchanges. Elder Ivie and Elder Valluri. They were just out finding people. While they were out walking, it was like 7 at night. There was a big festival. There are huge Hindu festivals here all the time. They ran into one. There were a bunch of drunk guys who weren’t very happy to see Elder Ivie, because he is white. The Elders ran away because the guys wanted to hurt them. They ran to the police station. Before they got there the “Mob” (I really don’t know how many guys were there) caught up to them. They beat up Elder Ivie. I don’t know how bad. He is still alive and looks the same so I assume not too bad. They then took them to the police, accusing them of offering money to join our church. Since this is illegal, they arrested them. They were in jail for 3 days then released. They are fine and well, so no worries. . . . . . . Everyone is fine though. They Sent Elder Ivie home 2 weeks early. They took out all the missionaries in Bangalore. The only ones left are the assistants, office elders, and the zone leaders in Bangalore. All the other ones got sent to other areas. I don’t know how long that will be like that. We are out of lock down. It just meant that we had to stay in the apartment for a couple of days. Then Friday and Saturday we could only visit those investigators that had a baptismal date set. We are out and prosolyting now. We just can't wear our tags yet. That is our only restriction.

It is somewhat disconcerting to hear about events like this occuring in the mission where your son is serving. But as I think back over the history of the church, I remember multiple times when missionaries have spent time in jail. Establishing the church and it's truths throughout the world is not always easy businness. I still believe that my missionary is safer there in India than he would be at home, living the life of an average 19 year old! MM

All is Well in Coimbatore

  • I am still in Coimbatore with Elder Hansen. He didn’t go with me to register. I flew pretty much by myself the whole time. There were always missionaries there to meet me at the airport though. To register I just had to go to the office and fill out a bunch of papers and sign them. The reason I had to go somewhere else was because no one has ever registered in Coimbatore. They usually just register everyone in Bangalore. I didn’t do that though. I went to Bangalore first, but then they decided that with all the happenings there they didn’t want me to register there so I flew to Hyderabad where I registered. I stayed there for 3 days. We were on lock down most of the time there so I didn’t do much. This past week hasn’t been the greatest for missionary work. We haven’t gotten much done. This week will be good though. We are all safe here in Coimbatore. There isn’t too much unrest here.
  • My apartment is sweet. It is the best apartment in the mission. I don’t know if I told you that. It is just like living in America, just no carpet. Everything else is pretty much the same. We live a pretty good life as missionaries.
  • Food is still not so great. Last night we went to this investigator's house and it was her birthday so she fed us. She fed us this stuff called mutton biriyani. It is just rice with spices and meat. I don’t really like it. Anyway, mutton isn’t lamb here I don’t know if that is how it is in America, but that is how I understood it. Mutton here is Goat. Gross. Especially if you saw the goats here. They are nasty, but anyway about every third bite I would get some mutton and it was so gross. So many times I wanted to throw up. I kept it down though. I drank lots of water. Experiences like that happen about twice a week. The mutton is so nasty it is all gritty and gross. You would understand if you had it. Blah!! Another thing I hate is they always put curd on it. It is pretty much curdled milk. . . . Now you know some of the gross things I have to deal with every week. So nasty!!!

September 9, 2008

Wanakum Family

  • Wanakum (Von-a-cum) Family, That is some language that I can't remember, but it means hello. Either Telegu, Hindi, or Tamil. One of those. They speak so many languages it is so crazy. Most everyone can speak 3 to 5 languages here. It is hard to tell them apart but they are definitely different. It is kinda fun trying to learn all that I can.
  • Oh by the way I'm in Hyderabad for awhile now. Somehow they forgot to get me registered. Once you get to India you have to register and they have to approve you within 14 days. I have been here a little longer and fell through the cracks. So I haven't been registered yet. I have been flying around the country for the last 2 days. I have only been in India and already I have been in half the cities I can serve in; how awesome is that? Every city is so different. I love every one though. India is awesome.
  • The food I don't like is mostly everything. They just put so many spices in everything and it is really overpowering. I just have to eat a lot of rice and bread with it. Bread here is really good, like chapati and rotti and naan all are very good and rice is normal. . . . I can eat mostly everything now, I just don't enjoy it. HAHA Everyone says that will change eventually. . . . . I'm not very good at meals without a recipe. I just don't really remember how to make things. I would like recipes like pancakes, stroganouf, cookies, maybe some soup, some kind of chicken dishes, and just stuff like that, anything that you think would be relatively easy to make.
  • Everything is well here and I learn so much everyday. We pretty much find (street contact) all day long, because we don't have very many new investigators. I love being a missionary. Sometimes I feel like those big characters at Disneyland. Like Mickey Mouse and Pluto and people like that, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love the gospel. I know I didn't always show it, but it gives me so much happiness and joy. I am so grateful to be able to share what I have with others. I know this church is true and that everything I teach everyday, is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I love it or I wouldn't be here. I love everything about missionary work, even the dangerous parts, it makes it more exciting. I love you all and hope everything stays well.

Sons of Mosiah in India

There were two missionaries arrested in Bangalore on Sunday night (September 7th). They were accused of bribing people to join the Church. This is a big problem in India; we can't even call ourselves missionaries, we are just volunteers. Don't worry though they are fine and out of prison. They are fine, they just won't be able to go home until their case is over. So don't go writing President Nichols or anything. He has enough on his plate already. The whole mission is on lock down for a while, because it is all over in the news so people are a bit suspicious of us. Once again don't worry we will all be fine I promise we are being taken care of.

September 7, 2008

First Zone Conference

We went to zone conference yesterday which was awesome. . . . . It was cool, accept we had to ride a bus for 10 hours to get there then 10 hours to get back. It was in Chennai. It is cool; I can't wait until next zone conference. Elder Scott aka Elder Lund (from Declo, Lund is a bad word of some sort in India, so he goes by his first name) is in my zone except he is going home next week. I got to meet him and talk to him. Elder Ward aka Reagan Ward (from Raft River) was his companion so I got to talk to him too. It was pretty awesome. I was on an exchange and we went to subway for lunch. Normal food, awesome! And we were there and Elder Scott and Elder Ward came and my exchange is from Idaho. So we had four guys from Idaho sitting at a subway in India. How crazy is that? I thought it was funny.

Finding aka. Street Contacting

Street contacting is fun. I'm not very good at it. I still have a hard time talking to people that I don’t know. Everyone here will just smile at me so that makes it easier. We just walk up to people and start talking. We just say hi brother what is your name … my name is elder Jenks coming from church. Then we share some part of our message and ask for a contact number to call and come and visit them some day. We normally get numbers because people would rather lie to us then tell us no. They just tell us no over the phone when we call them back at night. It gets kinda annoying. We call it finding not tracting, but it doesn’t really matter. We found a man named Raja (there are lots of those). We taught him the first lesson and are going to teach him the next one this week. I hope it goes somewhere. We will see though, he seemed like he liked our message, but wasn’t sure if he thought it was different from other churches. We will have to fix that soon.

Settling in at Coimbatore

  • I feel like I am on a different planet. It is so weird. People think I am an alien. They always stare and laugh sometimes. It bugs me a little, but I will get used to it. Hopefully sooner than later. We are like two of 6 White people here. Indians think it is so funny to see two white people at the same time. They always stare.
  • I haven't seen any big bugs yet. Just normal sized ones. Except the mosquitoes. They are huge here.
  • The weather is good. It is pretty much like home except a little cooler and more humid. It has rained 3 out of 5 days I have been here. When it rains it rains so much I have never seen so much rain. Two times we were walking when it started to rain and there were no buses or autos to catch. An auto is a taxi like a cushman, it is pretty funny actually. They are fun to ride in. They weave in and out of traffic, it is kinda scary. They are so much faster here than at home.
  • Everyone tries to speak English, but I don’t really know what they are saying. I never thought I could be listening to English but not understand it. Hopefully I will start to understand it soon.
  • I hate the food. The first couple of times I ate it I wanted to throw up so bad. It was nasty. I am starting to be able to eat it even if it is nasty though. I just drink lots and lots of water. The other two missionaries in my area are from India and Nepal so they are going to teach me how to cook something
  • Coimbatore has about 2 to 3 million people in it. Relatively small. haha, comparatively to 12 in Chennai. I have never seen so many people, and they all look the same; it is crazy. Church was interesting very different. They have to translate everything to Tamil because a lot of people understand that better than English. Some people just speak Tamil during their talks so I have a lot of time to just think. I have to give a talk this Sunday. It is missionary Sunday because it is the fifth Sunday. I didn’t really get to talk to my branch president much, but he seems cool. The church here is beautiful. It looks just like a normal church building, but better.
  • Street contacting is interesting because we have to talk to people who speak English so sometimes it is hard to find them. They had 8 baptisms right before I got here so we mostly tract all day long.
  • Something funny I saw here families usually only have one vehicle and it is usually a motorcycle. I saw a family of 7 on one motorcycle, it was crazy. Most of them were little but still that is a lot of people on one motorcycle.

August 20, 2008

First Impressions

  • Driving in India is crazy. No one follows any rules. There are lines on the road, but no one follows them. They all just drive down the middle of the street and only move when someone honks at them. They are always flashing their lights and honking. It is crazy scary.
  • There are stray dogs everywhere. I have only seen like 10 cows wandering the streets. I guess they let them wander just because they don't have any land; it's not like they worship them. Then at night the cows wander back to where they came from and get milked. It is pretty interesting.
  • We slept on the floor at the zone leaders houses for like 4 hours. It was weird trying to sleep. I kept thinking there were bugs all over me. I guess I will get used to it.
  • We ate McDonalds for lunch today. It was pretty cool. They only have chicken, but it is the best McDonalds I have ever had. It is pretty awesome.
  • It will take me a while to get used to it here but I will get there.

India - First Mission Experience

Devon tells this story from the Airport in India:

  • When we got to India a lady came and started talking to me. She was speaking English but I had no idea what she was saying. I was so confused. But what I did get out of it was that she had a Hindu background and she loved Jesus Christ and she saw my name tag and wanted to know where we had meetings. Well, I really have no idea because I just got there. But I gave her a pass along card and told her to call the number and they could tell her where we meet. Hopefully she does that. It really helped me. I was really nervous but it let me know that people want to hear the gospel so that helped me to know that everything will be OK.

Devon's First Adventure - The Trip to India

Elder Jenks and his 13 "Batch Mates" headed off to the SLC Airport at 6 am, Monday morning. Their flight left around 9 am. After a stop in Chicago, IL., they arrived in Fankfurt, Germany around 8 am Frankfurt time. The missionaries were allowed one call home during their flight; Devon called us just after midnight MST from Germany. It was great to hear his voice. He was very tired and a bit nervous about being so far from home. He was able to get some sleep on the third leg of his flight, thanks to Uncle Fred, and disembarked just after midnight on Wednesday morning in Bangalore, India.

The missionaries were greeted at that early hour by President and Sister Nichols. They were farmed out to Zone Leaders' apartments for about 4 hours of sleep on the floor and then gathered up again for a home cooked breakfast prepared by Sister Nichols.
His trainer is Elder Hansen from Las Vegas, NV and they will be serving in Coimbatore Branch in Coimbatore.

We are happy and relieved that he has arrived and all is fine.

August 15, 2008

Devon's Second and Last MTC Letter

Devon's second letter arrived today. Yeah!! Here are some quotes from it:

  • I got a haircut today. My hair is so short. I don't know what to do with it.
  • We get to go to the referral center 4 times a week which is pretty cool. People call in to receive either a video or a Book of Mormon. We get to talk to them and sometimes teach them. I have gotten to teach a few first lessons over the phone. It is the closest thing we have to teaching real people.
  • I love you all. I love the gospel. I am so thankful that I am here. . . . I'm so glad that you taught me well. I have strong testimony of the gospel. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know with all my heart that Joseph Smith restored the gospel and translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I am so thankful for all the help the Book of Mormon is to me. I also love the Spirit. I feel it 24/7. . . . . It strengthens me in everything I do.

Devon will be flying out with 14 other missionaries for India on Monday, the 18th. They will not arrive until the 19th. The time difference from Twin to India is 11 1/2 hours, so it will be Tuesday evening when they arrive. And he thought that that first Thursday was the longest day of his life!

India Bangalore Mission Address

The best way to send a letter to Devon is through the mission office. They will courier it to him with their weekly communications.

India Bangalore Mission Office

#493 Anjali Plazza, CMH Road

Indira Nagar, Bangalore 560038


August 8, 2008

Devon's First Letter

Hello everyone! We have received our first letter from Devon. I will post some excerpts.
  • I love it here. I love being a missionary. The first day was the longest day of my life. The second day was the second longest day of my life! We get so much done. I didn't think it was even possible to accomplish this much.
  • We have already started teaching and we are getting better. Yesterday we had two 'appointments'. The first one went terrible. I felt horrible afterward. I was so depressed. I guess that is OK since we are talking about people's salvation. The second one went way better. I think it is so great how we can get so much better in just a couple of hours.
  • I am so thankful that I am here. I love this gospel. I have grown so much in so little time.

Our family is thrilled to have Devon in the mission field. We are very excited that he has been called to serve the people of India. We are anxiously awaiting his adventures in this country across the world.

Check back for updates as we get them.