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!!