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.  

May 10, 2010

Last Phone Call From India

Can you believe it?  We are 'this' close to the end of Dev's mission.  We had our last phone call from the mission field on Mother's Day.  It is always such a fun thing.  Devon is speaking with a slight Indian accent.  I am thinking that it will fade away pretty fast.  What might not go away is the speed with which he now speaks.  Maybe he will be able to get one of those jobs reciting the legal stuff at the end of commercials.  
I miss him a lot after the phone calls.  He and I have have our own little communication thing.  He was a 'daddy's' boy when he was young, but when he got to that favorite age of mine - 8-10 years old, we really developed a bond.  I miss talking to him, especially just after I get to talk to him.  But he will be home soon enough!
He seems to be quite happy and settled into the Indian way of life.  I think he may have some adjustments when he gets home.  His debriefing may take a bit longer than the first two boys' did.  
I am anxiously awaiting the 2nd of August.  That will be the auspicious day of his arrival.  Maybe we will see all of you at the airport! MM

April 20, 2010

The Rest of the Story

This week I want to do a Conference Report. Whenever they have a sports tournament, they do a report. Well I'm doing the same thing with Conference.

FIrst up. Top 5 Talks.
1.Henry B. Eyring - Help Them On Their Way.
2.D Todd Christofferson - The Blessing of Scripture.
3.Dieter F. Uchtdorf - Continue in Patience.
4.Bradley D. Foster - Mother Told Me.
5.David A. Bednar - Watching with all Perseverance.

All of the talks were great, but these five spoke to me the most. i really enjoyed them all and am looking forward to reading them when I get next months Liahona. :)

Rookie of the Conference (The best talk by someone I had never heard before)

Bradley D Foster
I dont know why I liked his talk so much, but I did. I dont know if I considered myself a mamas boy before my mission but I sure do now; so maybe that is why I liked it so much.

Top 5 Lessons Learned
1.Teach your children the things of God.
2.We have more scripture than any other generation. USE IT!
3.Be a Rescuer for those who are lost.
4.Take comfort in the promises of God.
5.Turn to the Lord without delay. Especially in times of trial.

I think the general theme of the conference was teach our children. It's funy how it works out like that even though there are no assignments given. :)

Top 5 Jokes.
1. "He kissed me on the cheek. First date." Thomas S. Monson
2."But we don’t have to throw open the door, serve them tea and crumpets, and then tell them where the silverware is kept! (You shouldn’t be serving tea anyway.)" Jeffery R. Holland
3."Grandpa are you in there." Robert D. Hales
4."Man, what a pitcher." James B. Martino
5."Our trained toed friend had his foot in his mouth." Thomas S. Monson

I thought the whole conference had a lighter side to it. I like it like that. I felt President Monson was in a wonderful mood and it made things fun.

And Last but not least. MVP
And this year it goes the Dutch Bulldog. aka Jeffery R. Holland. He comes again with a spiritual smackdown about the terrible affects of pornography. You may be wondering why this talk was not in my top five well it's because it was in a league of its own. He taught pure doctrine while amusing us with whitty sayings like "True love, we are absolutely giddy about—as I am about Sister Holland; we shout it from the housetops, and occasionally from General Conference." and "Throw the rascals out."

Overall it was a great conference that I was pleased to watch. I'm excited for next months Liahona.

April 12, 2010

Not Much This Week

  • This week was nice. I got nicely sunburned yesterday. I don't get it though, because we weren't even outside for very long. We were in appointments all day. The sun does weird things. :)
  • I ate Intestine Biriyani on Monday. It was terrible, but I've trained myself to eat anything and say it is good. :) That's all the interesting stuff this week, only two things. I know, it's a downer week.
  • I got your package. It was awesome to get pictures. Evrything looks a lot different than when I left. You all look older. I guess that happens when you are gone for two years. Thanks for the deodorant, it's nice. :)
  • London did ask some questions so I will answer those. Yes, I see corruption everywhere. They pay people to vote. People have to give bribes to get like their pension plans after they retire. If anyone gets pulled over they just pay off the cop and then they don't get a ticket. It's sad. I haven't seen anything about an Indian Census. It might be going on; I dont know. As far as call centers go, I knew people that worked at call centers in Hyderabad and Visak, but there are no call centers here, so I don't know anyone here. Elder Chigurupati worked at a call center before his mission. Half of the branch in Visak worked at a call center called HSBC you might have heard of it. It's a bank. Bangalore is crazy big. The whole city is basically the technology district. Hyderabad had a place called Hi-tech city, but it was kinda disappointing, a couple big buildings and that's it.

April 5, 2010

Staying in Erode

  • This week was good. Same ole same ole. We have been trying to get 10 investigators to come to church since I came. We have had around 8 the whole time I have been here. This week we finally did it. We had 11 at church on Sunday. It was awesome. 6 of them are set with dates now. Three are being baptized on Sunday, and 3 more in April. They are all great. I'm excited for them all.
  • We had the three baptisms on Sunday. That was awesome. It was of three 16 year old best friends. They have been coming to church for over a year, but due to English and age they had to wait to be baptized.Tthey could have been baptized sooner, other elders never took the time to teach them and help them progress due to the English problem. They are awesome guys. They are so small though. It is funny. They are tiny. You'll see in the picture.
  • We have a great young couple that has been coming to church for 6 months. They have been beggng us to baptize them, but they dont know enough English. I feel pretty sad, because they know the gospel, they just can't speak enough English. However, we talked to President Nichols about them and he said that they can be baptized. So they will be baptized in April. I'm so excited for them. They have such a strong desire to do what is right, but they just couldn't, but now they can. I'ts awesome. Plus they are learning English like crazy. I cant believe how fast they are picking it up. I guess that's what the spirit can do. :)
  • I feel like Heavenly Father is blessing Erode so much. He has given them a wonderful District President that wants to help fix some of the things in the branch and he is working hard to get those things fixed. He came on Sunday and started the process. He is an awesome man. We are also finding so many great families that are progressing towards baptism that will help this branch so much. It has been so awesome to be in Erode right now. I am very thankful to have served here. I have learned a lot while I have been here. I love being a missionary and I never want to stop.
  • It's freaking hot in Erode by the way. I sweat so much.
  • Oh, my bicylce got stolen on Monday. I was so upset. I had just gotten it to work correctly too. People are dumb. now I have to ride the ghettoist bike ever. The seat is like a piece of plywood. It hurts so bad to ride. Oh well. I didn't get transferred. So I will have to bear it for at least 6 more weeks. But what to do.

March 18, 2010

More From Erode

  • It wasn't the AP's in jail,  it was the office elders; but they were tracting and they went into some private property that they didnt know was private property. The man caught them and asked what they were doing.  They said they were coming from church.  The man was Hindu and didn't like that they were Christian.  He slapped one of the elders and called the cops.  They were in jail for like 4 days, but they are fine now.  No problem.  No problem?  No problem for who?  Just the thing that Mom's want to hear.  MM
  • This week has been good.  We are just working hard and trying to get things done here in Erode. We found a new family yesterday.  They have the two cutest daughters I have ever seen.  They have the biggest brown eyes.  They are so cute.  I want daughters I think.  I'm pretty sure they will get anything they want, but I want to have at least two. :)
  • Erode is amazing. I am going to miss it more than any other place. The branch is awesome. Even though it is a little disfunctional. We are baptizing some really awesome people that will help the branch so much.

March 10, 2010

Zone Conferencen and the Bicycles

  • So today we had zone conference. The Asia Area President came. Elder Anthony D Perkins. He did interviews for 8 elders, and I was lucky enough to be one that was interviewed. It was weird to be in an interview with a General Authority. He is way nice though. We talked for a while. He asked a lot of questions, but it was good. He talked to me about how lots of missionaries go home and get discouraged. He said to avoid that I should still always look for opportunities to serve. so I will be trying to find lots of opportunities to serve, and yes, I will start with painting your house.
  • Also another crazy thing -  his wife reminded me of you mom. It was like my mom was at zone conference. Kinda weird, but cool. They also have a son that lives, loves, and breathes soccer. :) I like him already. He lived his whole life in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. They have lived in Asia for the past 15 years. It's cool. They all know Chinese. Even all 6 of their children.
  • Anyway, it was an amazing zone conference. My spirit is just full. I'm so thankful. We talked about how the gospel blesses families, how important the Book of Mormon is, and how important it is to get families to come to church together. It just made me so thankful that all of my family is awesome and they all have strong testimonies and keep their covenants. It made me smile, because I could see the blessings the gospel has had in my family.
  • The adventure in India is still awesome. It gets better everyday. The other day Elder Cunha ran into a parked motorcycle on his cycle and tipped it over and dented it all up. It was hilarious. Thankfully the owner wasn't mad. He didnt care. Elder Cunha just wasn't paying attention.
  • No new cycle (for him), but I did get it fixed so it's bareable. A bike costs like 50 dollars. But I fixed mine so no problem.
  • I got a rock thrown at me by a little kid, but then I just scolded him in Tamil and he ran away crying. Ok, just kidding, he didn't cry, but he stopped.

March 7, 2010

Well, I am going to give up on getting this blog up to date and just suffice it to say that Devon has been working hard, baptising and having many adventures since last summer. Besides, he will be home soon and can fill you in himself. I guess that way he may have something new to tell you when he arrives. I will do my best from now on to keep this blog more current. MM

January 13, 2010

JUNE 30th
India is amazing. I love it here. Mostly the people. Everything is basically backwards. And when I say everything I mean just about everything. Everything is crazy, but I'm used to it. So it's normal. Going back the the US will be really intense and take some getting used to. :)

JUNE 16th

This week was good for us. We are meeting with a lot of the people we met last week. They are all doing well. We had 12 people at church this Sunday, but 10 of them were late. It's ok though. There is always next week. There is one really awesome family. They love us so much. They are progressing really well. They are reading and praying and coming to church. Things just seem to be moving along. everything is going well. I love being a missionary. Nothing really exciting is happening, just the usual. I love it though.

Here is a funny story. We were in this lesson and there was a little chick running around the whole time. I was teaching a man and while I was teaching, the chicken got up on my feet. I didn't really care so much so I continued teaching. I didn't want to offend the family so I didn't kick it off. Well I finished teaching and by the time i was don't the chicken was off. Well I looked down and the stupid thing pooped on my foot. I was like what the crap!!! It was funny after the fact.