Monday, December 27, 2010

Well, hello there!

Hello Friends and Family!
How is life?  I hope all is well with each of you!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!  Christmas isn`t really big here but new years is.  However, the ward Christmas party was awesome! We had three potential investigators come,and one of them had a baptismal date by the end of the night.  His name is Own, and he's from Thailand.  He came and practically read the perfect script to us.  "I want to have a connection to God.  What can I do to make that happen?"  That is exactly what he said!  He is awesome!  And when we called him a couple days later, he said he has been reading the Book of Mormon.  He has such a desire,and his faith is inspiring.  Please pray for him.
Ah-ha Moment:  1 Nephi 1:20 is the theme of my life.  The tender mercies are EVERYWHERE!!!!  At the Christmas party I got a chance to use some skills I acquired as an older brother.  This adorable little Japanese boy (I made friends with him two weeks ago when we had dinner at a members house, he taught me some fun kids games in Japanese) came up to me with a transformers car (one exactly like the one we have at home!).  He was stuck on getting it back into "car form."  He came to me and asked for help.  After about ten minutes of fiddling with the stupid thing, I figured it out.  He was so happy when he realized that it wasn't impossible to fix his toy.  He smiled and ran off, excited.  His mom thanked me and asked how I could even figure it out.  (Oh, she speaks english too. :D )  I told her we have one exactly like it at home.  So, long story short: I have been so prepared for this area; even if they are small, little things.  :D
Culture Spot Light: Japan has the beastliest phones.  They have the craziest capabilities!  They are only found in Japan too because they keep it here to make more money.  Our phone has something called Sekigaisen.  It is an infrared exchange system.  We call it phone kissing.  You pick what you want to send and then put your phone next to the other phone.  It is a quick way of sharing contact information.  We use it a lot.  It is so cool!  Put your phones close together and your information is swapped!  There are a lot of little innovative things that make things more convenient.  :D  I love Japan!!
Funny Moment:  My companion has an unpredictable bladder.  :)  We'll be in the middle of housing an apartment building and he'll say, "I need to go to the bathroom."  Luckily, there are 7-11 convenient stores everywhere.  Well, last week we went to find some less active members in this clustered area of houses.  On the way we stopped at the 7-11 for the bathroom.  We went back to that same 7-11 four other times that day.  We laughed so hard when we back for the fifth (and final time) that day, because the workers were so confused.  We kept coming back just to use the bathroom.  It was really funny.  :)
Spiritual Stuff:  The call home was very therepeutic.  Thank you Mom and Dad!  I just needed to take a massive chill pill.  Well, I took it, and the last couple of days have been amazing!  I stopped freaking out about things I couldn't control, read my partiarchal blessing, and took complete control of things I could do.  Yesterday was weekly planning and Elder DeBuse and I talked A LOT.  We set some great goals for our companionship and ourselves personally.  Then after a fired up planning session we went out and talked to everyone!  We met awesome people that again seemed to be reading a script to us.  This lady straight up asked, "Well, I'm in the middle of making dinner right now.  If I am interested in your church, can I just come to church?"  I almost started laughing.  OF COURSE!!!!  Come to church please!  We are definitely going back to her house to give her more information.  There was another lady on that block that said, "Oh, you're the missionaries.  It's been twenty years since I've seen you; I want to talk.  I'm taking care of my sister in the hospital right now but come back in a month and visit me."  Who are these people!?!  So, my spiritual stuff this week has been (again) realizing the tender mercies that are seriously blanketing me.  I am crying while I writethis, because I am blessed so much!!  And it's a bunch of small things.  So many reminders, everywhere!  I am just so grateful for such personal reminders!  I love the Lord so much!
Well, I got to go!  I love you all!  Have a wonderful week!  Smile and know that you are loved by me and your Heavenly Father!!
Forward Pressing Forward!
Elder Jenkins

Monday, December 20, 2010

Week Two, CHECK! :D

Hello Friends and Family!!
I would show off the awesome Japanese typing abilities of this computer but it takes too long to figure out and I don't have the time today. 
I hope you didn't send me anything for Christmas because the ward I'm in is awesome.  They gave our four man apartment BOXES of food and gifts!  You are not going to receive pictures until I get a signed promise (hard copy) that you won't laugh at how fat I am.  I cringe inside when I eat some member meals because EVERYTHING (except the rice) is on the avoid list.  :(  It tastes so good....  :)  But seriously I am going to be so fat!!
Cultural Moment:  Speaking of food... NATO!  It's highly beneficial to Type A blood.  :D  Nato is "fermented" soybeans.  They come in little packets, about the size of your palm.  This is how its made: 
At the top of Mt. Fuji
At the top of Mt. Fuji, in a factor big,
the Nato is brewd to perfection, without pig. 
The beans are all washed and gathered together. 
Then placed in a foam bowls, light as a feather.
Those ailed with colds all choose a pot
and on three give it one good snot rocket shot!
Their noses are cleaned using little force
(They use their pointer fingers, of course)
Then with that finger, they give the Nato a stir.
It is then packaged (using no animal fur)
and shipped to you to enjoy and adore!
(Please, don't judge.  My language is poor.)
Nato is actually really good, but it really does look like someone blew their nose in it.  :D  I am glad I liked my boogers when I was little; it prepared me to enjoy Nato!  Tender mercies!
Funny Moment:  In the weekly ward mission metting on Sunday something funny happened in translation.  Everyone just talks in Japanese and occasionally the Ward Mission Leader will tell me in English what was said.  Well, I was following really well in Japanese.  Everyone was talking about how we could contact people around colleges.  Then every one started using the word: chizu (ちず).  I was thinking, "That's interesting, why did everyone start talking about their favorite cheese?"  Finally I said something, "Wait, why are we talking about cheese?"  They all laughed and said, "No, ちず (chizu) not チーズ (cheese).  Chizu is map.  They were talking about getting maps of the area and of the colleges.  :D  Good times.
Ah-ha moment:  If you couldn't tell in last week's email, I was really emotionally confused last week.  I am sooooo much better now.  I just walk up to members and people on the street and talk to them.  My trainer says I am unnaturally bold.  (shrug).  I just want to talk to people!!  Well, anyway, we were at a member's house on Sunday and there were a lot of people there.  I did about an hour and a half to two hours of dishes that night and I talked to the members the whole time!  It was really good practice and it was a lot of fun.  They were baffled by how many people there are in our family.  Because I did the dishes one of them said something, "Jenkins choro ga hoshii desu yo!"  That means (This is for you Mare), "I really want a Jenkins choro!"  I don't say this to gloat or anything but that brought soooo much comfort.  One of my biggest fears last week was that I couldn't be me in Japanese.  I'm still me.  I still do the dishes.  My smile hasn't changed.  My laugh still makes others smile.  I'm still me.  :D
Spiritual Moment:  This week by inspiration (after an appointment fell through), we completely trashed our plans for the day.  We felt we should go revisit this boy we had found earlier.  He wasn't home, so we housed in the area (that means we just went from house to house talking to whoever was home).  The last house (it's always the last one) was had this awesome family in it.  The Iwamoto family (pray your hardest for them) is their name.  The husband had just left so we talked to the wife.  She was surprised by our family's size and really opened up to us.  Then her children came to the door, and I was slammed with a spiritual confirmation that this family needed the gospel as I looked at her eldest son.  He is probably Bryson's age.  I had this overwhelming feeling of the boys potential.  The church needs that family in Japan.  They will be powerful assets.  Pray that when we go back, the husband will have a soft heart and they will listen to our message.  Eternal families is what really sparked the wifes interest.  I honestly can't stop thinking about them.  I think about them when I go to bed and when I wake up and just when we're walking around.  I want them to be eternal!
Well, this is long enough.  I love you!  I pray for you!  Have a wonderful Christmas!  I will talk to you on Christmas!!  Call at 10:15/5:15 instead because my companion's family is calling right before you and in case he goes over just call fifteen minutes later.  I LOVE YOU!!!!
Elder Jenkins

Monday, December 13, 2010


こんにちわ! Friends and Family!
O my! I'm in Japan!!  Adapting to the setting didn't take long, and  I'm physically comfortable in the apartment.  Yes, I've had meat.  :(  Yes, I am going to get really fat, but it is something that I honestly don't worry about.  We're too busy for me to worry about it!  I will be miserable after my mission when I see myself in the mirror again.
Culture Moment: The culture is so polite.  Either they ignore you and pretend they didn't hear you or they nicely say no thank you or I'm fine.  Seriously though, they are so nice.  Second thing: they are really big into their family names and the kanji.  Half of the ward members I've tried to talk to have tried to explain to me the awesome history of their kanji.  田中 is one of the most common names in Japan (it is tanaka).
Ah-ha Moment: I don't know.  I don't think I've really had one.
Funny Moment: We are teaching this girl named Mika (pray for her!) and she is really cool.  She has been coming to church for about a year now but only talked to the missionaries before.  BOO!!  So we started the lessons with her.  Anyway, see speaks English pretty well because she lived in New Zealand for three years.  I bore my testimony in the middle of the lesson.  I started in Japanese but then I switched to English.  I got overly excited and animated (as expected) and then I sat back and listened the rest of the time.  Afterward, when we were parting ways, she said, "You're cute," like you would to a child in Japanese.  To which I laughed (that didn't help because my laugh makes me sound more like a child).  She and the member at the lesson laughed and repeated it in english, "you're cute."  So already I've got nihonjin laughing at me.  :)
Spiritual Moment: I honestly surprised myself with how quickly I adapted to the time zone, the food, and the setting.  I have been in my area since wednesday and I've totally been okay.  Until (you all knew that was coming) Sunday.  Priesthood and Relief Society is first and sacrament meeting is last.  I felt this worthlessness building up through all the meeting.  What am I doing here!?!  I can't do anything but exist.  I can't talk to anyone, I can't bear my testimony, I can't contribute to my surroundings, what is everyone saying!, and I would rather serve an English speaking mission.  By sacrament meeting I was ready to cry because I just felt so worthless.  Sacrament meeting was the Christmas music program, that helped a little, but I still felt horrible.  Then sacrament metting ended.  Mika came to church and I went and said hi.  We started talking about music and then it just exploded.  We talked for an hour and a half.  I ended up teaching her the first lesson in English with parts of the second lesson.  We talked about the hymns, I shared a couple scriptures, she accepted my challenge to find a hymn that she like the words to and then I would teach her the music to it.  Meanwhile, my companion went around the chapel talking to members and getting us a lot of appointments; he would come by just to eavesdrop a little and then he would go at it again.  I finally stopped and Mika said this: "Okay, I understand that you know it's true and that you want me to read the book of Momon; you can stop saying it.  I know you know it is true because I can see it in your face, in the way you talk, and I can feel it when you say it."  When she said that I just got slammed in the face (I guess this is my ah-ha too).  She said, "You are going to be a good missionary because you know this and love it so much.  Keep working hard will your Japanese.  People will listen."  I almost started crying because I knew she wasn't the only one telling me that.  She had to go so we said bye and continued on with the days activities.
I was able to connect to Mika originally because of my love for music.  That simple conversation sparked an opportunity for her to feel the Spirit.  I'm suppose to be here.  If for no one else but Mika.  She is our only investigator and I think about her constantly!  I know I'm supposed to be here.
Well, you probably want your questions answered so here they go.
My trainers name is Elder DeBuse.  I realize more and more each day how perfect a fit he is for me.  He is a good trainer and he has great faith to find and teach.  His Japanese isn't very good (by his own admitment) but he talks to people!  I am learning a lot.
Yesterday was our first winter rain.  I got my first rain suit and we were out in the rain all day trying to find.  I like rain and I like being a missionary.  Thank you to all my Scout leaders and to you Dad for insisting I learn how to grin and bear hard fun work.
I am in FUJISAWA!  I love it here!  The ward is huge!  The people are everywhere!  The ward mission leader speaks perfect English and he is awesome!  He has already scheduled member meals and practices for the next month.  DeBuse choro and I whitewashed into the area, meaning that both the missionaries that were here before left.
Tokyo is the most expensive mission in the church.  I already got my bike and rainsuit!  And I still have other little things to get sometime in my first transfer.  I hate money!  :P  Sorry family.  The bike was actually really cheap for it's good quality and the rain suit kept me dry.  I might just spend $150 more for my rain boots and an electronic dictionary.  I can hold off on those things though.  They aren't too important yet.
Japan is seriously like a video game.  The stores play music that you would hear in Mario or something and everyone is such an anime character.  Speaking of anime, I am so sick of hearing missionaries talk about it! :P  The toilets seriously do every thing but massage your bum.  The sing, and have about three flush settings.  The Japanese are so innovative!
Nabe and curry are really good!  I've never had them before now,and I really like them.  Yes, I am going to be so fat, but when I pick what I eat, I will still do my thing.
You get to call me on Christmas.  I WILL NOT call you.  Please tell me in the next email when you will call.  Call some time between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon JAPAN time on either Christmas or Christmas Eve.  YOU decide.  We get an hour to talk.  :) 
Well, that's a lot to digest and we need to go to lunch!  Have a wonderful week!  I am praying for you! Pray for Mika;we're going to try and commit her to baptism tonight!  I LOVE YOU ALL!!  Sorry this is such a jumbled email.  It won't be as long next week.
じゃ, また ね!
Ja, mata ne!
Elder Jenkins
Pres. and Sister Albrecht w/ Elder Jenkins

First companion in Japan, Elder DeBuse

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I love being a missionary! :)

Hello Family and Friends!!
Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all had a wonderful time being thankful!!  Well, I'll just dive right in because my thanksgiving was the best day of my life.  :)
Spiritual Moment:  Yes, I spoke with the Hollands after the devotional on Thanksgiving.  They called me to the front desk, and I got some jealous looks from the other missionaries.  :)  Nelson choro was beaming (he came along for a very fun ride).  Bishop Holland just updated me and told me that he had been asked to give me a blessing.  I absolutely accepted it!!  He then said, "Let me go get a companion."  It was then that I realized who he was going to get.  He came back with his wife and his dad.  Intimidating?  No.  Exciting?  Oh yes!!  Bishop gave the blessing, with Nelson choro and Elder Holland at his sides (Nelson choro was really smiling at that point).  What happened next is extremely personal and I won't share.  It brings tears of gratitude to my eyes even as I write this.  Just know this:  God answers our prayers specifically and so personally.  I wept through the whole blessing.  I will NEVER forget that blessing.  Thanksgiving took up ten pages in my journal (a record I don't know if I'll beat).  I am just so so grateful!
Realization of the Week:  It wasn't an ah-ha moment.  I watched Elder Bednar's talk from 2005 called, "The Tender Mercies of the Lord."  I have been flooded with them since entering the MTC, especially in the last two weeks.  God is soooooo mindful of our little needs.  When we are obedient, he blesses us in the most simple, yet profound, ways.  The tender mercies of the Lord are so real.  (1 Nephi 1:20)
Funny Moment:  There is a shimai (sister) that is so funny!  Her name is Inoue Shimai.  She has been asking everyone to teach her pick up lines (as in missionaries out of our zone), and she practices them on us.  It is hilarious.  Imagine a four foot Japanese girl saying this in a broken asian accent.  "I am sorry for being so beautiful."  "Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?"  "Are you tired?  Because you have been running through my mind all day."  and then the threat:  "I am going to clean your clock."  It was so funny!!  She would say it and then just stand there and stare at you (as if to say: did I say that right?)  Good times
Cultural moment:  Japanese people are nerds.  It's awesome.  :)
Well, no time, again.  I love you all!!  Thank you for showering me with support!  I was actually great here; I just wanted to know you were all okay.  And you are.  I am so excited to be a missionary!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rough week

Hello Friends and Family,

This past weekend has been rough, really rough.  I have found that the MTC bathroom stalls are the perfect place for crying.  :)  Families are supposed to get through trials together and its been hard not being with you this weekend.  I am so relieved to finally know what is actually going on.  All the president told me was that Daxton was in critical care.  I am grateful for the information.  I am praying for you here with my whole heart.

To add to the emotional turmoil this week, I fear I have offended my best friend, and my progress with this language is pathetic.  Again, this weekend has been rough.  Avoiding comparison is hard, especially when you are the worst.  No, I am not exaggerating.  I just don't remember anything, and it is horrible.  Despite this horrible time, I have never felt closer to my Heavenly Father.  I have such a testimony of His perfect, personal, and specific love for His children.  I've had so many little things happen this weekend to remind me that God is mindful of me like: words fitting perfectly on a page, blueberries (2nd time in 10 weeks) in the wrap bar, Bobby's smile (it is so awesome to watch him light up more and more!!), a perfect opening hymn just when I needed it (Press Forward Saints, #81), and beautiful music played by an amazing piano player in my zone.  These little things have each made me cry (don't laugh), because I just felt the Lord saying, "I'm mindful of you.  I'm right beside you.  Keep going."

Ah-ha Moment:  In my personal study this weekend I've discovered many personal things about my patriarchal blessing.  Obviously I won't share them, but again, it is evidence that God is so mindful of us personally.

Spiritual Moment:  When I was in Victor Ludlow's class he said, "a Psalm a day keeps the devil away."  I have discovered this week that in addition to doing that, the Psalms provide comfort and assurance.

Cultural Moment:  The natives are so nice!  The other night there was a native Elder talking with other missionaries in the bathroom for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes the elders asked the native what he was doing.  He told them he came to go to the bathroom.  He was so nice that he waited for 30 minutes to go to the bathroom.  The poor Japanese Elder!  That is totally their culture.  They never want to inconvenience you, even at their expense.

Funny Moment: There have been so many little funny moments this week.  I know it is the Lord keeping my spirits up.  Funniest of the week though was this.  You will need a PMG (Preach My Gospel) for this.  Ahn choro from south korea mis read the section on the law of chasity on page 77.  First paragraph.  He read a sentence but didn't go to the next line; he accidentally started re-reading the same line.  So he said, "Those who break this law are subject to a lasting influence of the Holy Ghost in their lives."  We seriously laughed for 5 minutes.  It was great!  Look at it in the PMG; that line just fit perfectly.

I love you all!  My testimony is only getting stronger!  The reason this weekend was so rough was because I want to be able to hug each of you and bear my testimony to each of you!  Stay strong!  I love you all!  Read the scriptures every day!

Elder jenkins

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another week closer!

Hello Friends and family!
I leave for Japan in three weeks!!!  AAAHhhhh!!!!  The next batch of nihonjins(japanese natives) came yesterday and they leave with us.  I haven't seen them yet, but I am so excited to meet them!  I love Japanese!
Funny Moment:  Yesterday at dinner we decided to assign everyone in our district an animal based on their facial features and personality.  I guess I'm a chameleon because at meals I just sit and people watch.  (Darty eyes?)  I can't help it!  I like observing my surroundings.
Spiritual Moment: The beginning of this week was horrible again because everything felt wrong (again!).  I honestly wrestled with the Lord like Enos did in the Book of Mormon.  The answers two my two questions came in two separate, yet personal ways.  I know the Lord knows us personally and perfectly.  He answers righteous prayers and concerns.  I found solace in the scriptures and fortitude in my prayers.  The answers were personal so it wouldn't be appropriate to share but know that I received both answers.  I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly FATHER who knows me so well and cares about little me so much to answer my pleadings.
Ah-ha Moment:  I'm still vegetarian!  I realized that yesterday standing in the salad bar line.  I have been so blessed here.  Do I still want to have a nice long talk with whoever is in charge of food here?  Yes.  :D  But I have been so blessed.  I'm pretty sure that my blood is about 40% soy milk now.  :D  And I love it!  Yes, Mom, I will be reasonable in the field, stop fretting.  ;)  I am just so grateful to the Lord for the energy I have!  I never get brain fog and I'm always energetic!  Mock me all you want for doing this blood type diet, but I have never felt better.  I feel like I'm doing my part so that the Lord can bless me.  I have seen His blessings so much just at the MTC.
Cultural Moment:  The Japanese version of onomatopoeia is great!  They are called phenomimes, psychomimes, and some other mime word.  They have way more then English.  They sound so fun, too!  They use them for every sound.  Like the sound of something shiny, sticky, rolling, thinking deeply, and whatever!  We don't really focus on them but they make your speech so much more natural and exciting.  Oh, I also learned this week that statistically Japanese is the second hardest language for English speakers to learn (Finnish is #1 and Russian is #3).  I have DEFINITELY seen the hand of the Lord and the gift of tongues at work.
Well, time is up again.  I love you all!  Have a wonderful week and know the Lord loves you personally!!
Onward, ever onward,
Elder Preston Jenkins

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Konnichiwa (two n's)!!!!  Friends and Family!

Funny Moment:  Last Sunday in Priesthood meeting Elder Brown(my district leader) and Elder Ahn talked about baptism out of the White handbook.  When they finished explaining they demonstrated a baptism.  Brown choro went to "dunk" Ahn choro and totally dropped him flat on his back onto the stage floor.  I laughed so hard, as did everyone else.  Good times.  :D

Cultural:  Japanese has something called causatives.  We have them in English but they're implied.  By changing the ending of the verb at the end of the sentence, you can say: "subject made something do something."  Or with the same ending but with a different marker you can say: "subject let something do something."  It is so fascinating.  Japanese people will use causatives to be polite and show who has the power.  Japanese is such a level oriented language.  IT IS SO COOL!!  I love Japanese!

Spiritual:  Well, Elder Ballard was last weeks devotional speaker, so naturally it was incredible.  His theme was:  Become master communicators.  He gave great insight as to how to do this and develop our skills.  it was awesome.  Then, Sunday's fireside speaker was Sheri Dew.  IT WAS INCREDIBLE!  That woman has a powerful testimony and she touched my heart as well as everyone elses.  She was an answer to my fervent prayers this last weekend.

Ah-ha:  Nelson choro and I did sealings last week instead of an endowment session and it was perfect.  I love the mirrors in the temple.  I had an ah-ha moment during the sealing of a couple.  I was witnessing and I realized that I was witnessing as a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  It was an ah-ha moment because it just hit me how real that sealing ordinance is.  It's for eternity that you are sealed to your spouse in the temple!  It was such a beautiful experience.  (And yes, I cried, but only at the beginning :P).

The language is coming!  We can teach lessons in Japanese!  We have been for a couple weeks now.  I love this language and it is awesome to feel the spirit in Japanese!  I've already had Japanese in one of my dreams!  but I was just reciting the first vision.  That doesn't count because I wasn't speaking Japanese.

I love you all!!  Have a wonderful week!!  Kiss Baby Daxton for me!!

Onward, ever onward,

Elder Preston Jenkins

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pressing forward

Hello Family and Friends,

Well, I think I hit rock bottom this week.  I snapped and cried myself to sleep the other night.  Yes, it was horrible.  However, it turned into one of my most spiritual moments thus far.  The Lord is really mindful of us, and the Atonement can cover hurt, too.  This last week has been soooo spiritual.

Since the day the Harry Potter scare has taken residence on my face it has secretly gathered an evil force against me.  Yesterday they attacked and the Harry Potter scar happily lead the assault.  He conjured cold sores to cover my lower lip, a witch's-wart-sized zit to occupy my chin, a scratch to cover the right side of my nose, and two troll-sized zits to grace my right eyebrow.  I almost started crying again.  I look horrible right now!  My face is at war with itself!  I thought I liked my Harry Potter scar but it betrayed me!!  Boo!!

Cultural:  I briefly explained this last week but we learned about it yesterday in great detail.  Japanese is so cool!  There are four ways to honorify the person you are talking to, there are three ways to humblify yourself, and you can also choose to speak in polite form or plain form.  It is such a detail oriented language.  Based on what honorifics you use, you can express investigators the extreme importance of God, Jesus Christ, and Prophets, while humbling yourself.  Japanese is so cool!!
Funny:  Elder Soliai (one of the zone leaders) and I have a competition going right now.  I'm winning of course (or else I wouldn't have told you about it).  It's a bowing competition.  Because the Japanese people are so apologetic, they bow.  Well, we take it to the extreme and full on drop to the ground.  the computer just did something and everything is messed up and I can't figure out how to fix it!! AAAA!!!
now I'm mad!!!  It won't work!!  Well, I love you all and I am sorry you don't get a full message this week!  i hate these computers!!  I want a mac!
Elder Scott spoke last week and it was the highlight of the week!  It was awesome!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Hello Family and Friends!!
Updates!  My Harry Potter scratch has scarred!!  UGH!!  It's horrible!  It goes right down my forehead!  The senpai (senior missionaries) and the nihonjin (Japanese natives) left yesterday.  :(  It's eerily quiet at the residence hall now, and the laundry room is pretty empty today.  We're next!!
Funny Moment: Yesterday in class we tried to sing hymn number 130 Be Thou Humble and we failed three times in a row.  We couldn't get the second line right because the wonderful Elder Duarte (who always sings loud) kept getting it wrong.  It threw me off (everyone always relies on me for melody) and then we just couldn't get it right.  It was hilarious because Elder Duarte is just the most loveable Elder ever.  We just stood there laughing because we kept failing to sing it right.  We ended up skipping the song and moving on to More Holiness Give Me (we got that one right).  Good times.  :D
Cultural:  Japanese is so cool!  Japanese has something that English doesn't, called honorifics.  In prayer, we use archaic words to honorify God.  In Japanese you can use archaic words but you can also change the verbs into their "honorific form."  There are three ways to "honorify," you can: humblify yourself, honorify someone else, and we haven't learned the third way because it's too hard.  Just by conjugating the verb differently you can really express the seriousness of God and His gospel just with honorifics!  It's so cool!!  Japanese is totally my language!  :D
Ah-ha: I re-read and listened to President Utchdorf's talk from Priesthood session on pride.  I love the line in it: "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself; it's thinking less about yourself."  That helped a lot.  Confidence is key to humility.  I really needed to hear that this week.
Spiritual:  Elder Nelson was the speaker in our last devotional, and it was incredible!  Every single line was inspiring!  It was great!!  The best part was the devotional review afterward.  We always have a testimony meeting after the devotionals, and it was incredibly spiritual.  I promise it's in my journal; for real.  I have an awesome district.
Sister Beeson is this bubbly old lady here with insane musical talent.  She served in the MoTab for five years and she is in charge of music at the MTC.  I auditioned to her last week for a musical number in a fireside.  It was SOOOOO much better than singing in sacrament meeting.  Sister Beeson made me feel so comfortable and I sang so natural and relaxed!  It WAS GREAT!!  I will let you know what comes of it!
I love you all!!  Thank you for the prayers!!  Don't hesitate to send Cliff Bars and Mint Water!!  :D
Forward, pressing forward,
Elder Preston Jenkins

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lesson on humility

Family and Friends!
Yes, I got the email and package and yes, I did a dance when I got the package!!  I LOVE Cliff Bars.  :D  (Don't get the cool mint chocolate ones anymore, they have caffeine).
Funny Moment:  Lee sensai saw a pumpkin this week with a Harry Potter scar on it and he said it reminded him of me.  My harry potter scratch is almost gone but it still gets me weird looks.
Cultural Moment:  The nihonjin shimai (native sisters) are hilarious!  They are so nice and supportive and we can get them to laugh about anything.  Lee sensai confirmed to us that almost all Japanese people are like that: genuinely nice. It is a comforting thought.  :)
Spiritual Moment:  I have been reading my partriarchal blessing A LOT.  The Large Group Meeting we had yesterday was another spiritual meeting in which the Spirit just testified to me of principles I had discovered the day before.  I know that I have been soooooo blessed.  I have been prepared for a mission my whole life.  It was great to get that confirmation from the Spirit again.
Ah-ha moment:  I got the package on thursday and I sang in sacrament meeting on Sunday (I told you I wanted that book).  IT WAS HORRIBLE!  I almost passed out, I forgot the japanese words, I was shaking uncontrollably afterward, and I felt so messed up afterward.  I realized yesterday why i felt so horrible.  I did it for the wrong reasons.  I was prideful and I was humbled with a trembling experience (like in the Book of Mormon).  It was horrible but necessary, but I won't be singing again on my mission.  Sorry.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Elder "Potter"!

To Everyone:
Life is so good!  I have never been at more peace with who I am than I am now.  My testimony is growing at an exponential rate and I LOVE it!  I learned a lot this week!  Here is the update:
Culture moment:  The nihonjin (native japanese) missionaries came this week and it has been really fun watching them and practicing with them.  Lee sensei said all Japanese people do something they call "nice guy pose" (said with a Japanese accent).  They make faces and symbols with their hands when they take pictures or when they are happy.  It was really funny because the next day we were at the temple and all the nihonjin were making nice guy poses.  It was great.  I wish I was Asian.
Funny Moment:  Um. . .  This is embarrassing.  I cut my forehead with my name badge; as in there is a huge red line right down the middle of my forehead.  Everyone has been calling me Harry Potter, including the nihonjin!  The first two days looked like a red sharpie mark and yesterday and today it looked like a maroon sharpie.  I am so embarrassed!  I don't have anything to hide it with either!  I always tell people I'll curse them if they call me Harry potter.  We have been yelling spells at each other all week.  My district is such a group of nerds.  I love it.
That stupid cut goes into my hair! :(

Spiritual Moment:  Yesterday was one of the most spiritual days of my life.  I literally felt the Spirit all day yesterday.  It confirmed to me four times about four different things.  I promise it's in my journal, but know this.  I now know what it truly feels like to learn from the Spirit and communicate with God through Him.  Yesterday was such a beautiful day!!
Ah-ha Moment:  My ah-ha moment is also another spiritual moment.  I have read my patriarchal blessing a lot since entering the MTC.  I realized something this week.  I have been holding back.  I have been ashamed of my testimony because I feared it was stronger than those around me.  I realized i was forsaking my gifts by doing that.  I recommited my self to never hold back my testimony.  I have a testimony of this church and i am not ashamed of its strength!!
Basically, I AM SO FREAKIN' HAPPY!!!!  I feel the Spirit ALL the time!  I cherish it!  I love you all and I have to go!
Best of wishes for all,
Elder Preston Jenkins

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MTC Week #3!

I LOVE the MTC!!  Conference was incredible and I love my sensaitachi (teachers)!  Really quick:
Spiritual Moment:  I read my patriarchal blessing last Wednesday and for the past week I have been really thinking about what I want for my future family.  During general conference I wrote in the margin of my notes five things I wanted to do for my children.  Two talks later Elder Lawrence gets up and recites the EXACT same list.  I started bawling!  It was such a testament to me that I was doing the right thing and preparing in the proper way for my future family.  It was my favorite talk.  The Lord is mindful of us.
Funny Moment:  The zone leaders are both Australian and they are awesome.  Elder Bardjinski is AWESOME!  The other night he came into our room talk in the voice of the gatekeeper-lion-head-thing from Aladdin, you know (touch nothing but the lamp.)?  It was hilarious but then he started speaking in Japanese in that voice and we (at least I) started crying because we were laughing so hard.  It was great.
Ah-ha Moment:  Same as last week.  You can say anything you want in Japanese.  It is actually a complete language!!  :D
Cultural Moment:  The nihonjin (japanese natives) came yesterday.  They came and talked with our district.  It was while one of them was talking that I realized that the gospel is true in any language.  The elder in front of me had a testimony just like me but he just said it different.
I have no time left so I have to go!  I LOVE YOU ALL!!
-Elder Preston Jenkins

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


WOW.  The MTC is incredible.  They have everything down to a T.  The schedule is perfect, meal time has perfect timing, and everything works out.  I love this place, I love my leaders, and I love my sensei!
     Wednesday is a blur.  I don't remember much.  I remember a lot of rules and regulations being given and I remember confusion and frustration in seeing the japanese elders that have been here for six weeks not following the rules!  However, I am in an awesome district!!  From the start we all sat down and promised each other that we would observe strict obedience to the rules.  We all bonded very quickly because we were already united in purpose.
     My companion (I'd spell it in Japanese but these keyboards don't work very well) is awesome.  His name is Elder Zach Nelson.  We get along great!  Our first conflict in companionship inventory was that we didn't have a conflict; we still have that problem.  :/  We need to work on that.  We have a lot of similarities in learning style and study style.  It makes study time much smoother!  Bottom line: he is awesome, and I am so grateful for a companion that will help me excel rather than hold me back.
     I am still vegetarian!  I was shown the refrigerator locker with the soymilk, and I have a wrap for lunch and dinner.  And it's delicious!  I put different stuff in them every time.  Another answer to prayers and worries.
     Our district's senseis are INCREDIBLE!!!!  There is McIntyre Sensei (girl) and Lee Sensei (boy) and they are the perfect balance.  Lee Sensei pushes us hard but he is so INSPIRING.  I am going to leave the MTC fluent in gospel!  I know it can be done because it has been done before!
     I am running out of time but I have to share this experience.  Satan has attacked the members of our district already (at least those in my residence room).  Yesterday was my turn, and it was one of the worst days of my life.  I couldn't focus, I couldn't be happy, I couldn't think!  It was horrible.  All I could think about were all the reasons I shouldn't be here.  I prayed for strength to shake myself out of the funk and my prayer was answered that night in class.  Lee Sensei is awesome.  He totally answered my prayer with his lesson.  I know that I have an awesome district because we each have had our trials.
   My time is about to expire!
With love,
Elder Jenkins
MTC companion, Elder Nelson, and two native sister missionaries w/ Elder Jenkins

MTC district