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