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.