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