"You will be an official representative of the Church. . . . Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ . . . Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place our confidence in you." Thomas S. Monson

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tender Mercies

at Landry's baptism 07/20/13 with Elder Dagrou
Wow!  It's hard to believe I've been in Africa for a whole transfer (6 weeks) now!  It's amazing how quickly the time is going by!  This week has been a bit interesting.  At the end of last week/ beginning of this week, I got a bit lazy with my cooking and was missing a lot of protein.  Needless to say, I was getting very tired very easily.  However, I want to write a little bit this week about what the scriptures call "Tender mercies of the Lord."  Tender mercies are really just the small and simple things in life, but I've spent a lot of this past week looking for them and recognizing God's hand in my life.

The first one that I really recognized was Wednesday.  I was still feeling really tired at this point, and every lesson that we were teaching was kind of just dragging along and I wasn't really following them too well.  My french was also lacking in my tiredness, so I was having a lot of trouble communicating as well.  Finally, after one lesson that I had slightly dozed off in, I prayed that I would be able to wake up and get some more energy.  As we were walking down the street, I heard a very, very familiar song that I hadn't heard in a little while.  Two steps later, I recognized it was "On Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons!  Two steps later, I was almost running to the source.  One thing about Africa (or at least the small part I've seen of it) is that there's these small huts every so often on the sides of the streets attached to a wall of a house or parcel or something.  Inside these huts are 2 or 3 old TVs with a few gaming systems.  The source of the music was the newest edition of FIFA (what is it, FIFA14 now?).  Many of you know that Imagine Dragons is one of my favorite bands, and "On Top of the World" is probably my first or second song by them (If you haven't heard it before, look it up and listen to it, you'll like it).  It's just such a happy song that has changed my mood many, many times.  I ran up to this little game hut and started freaking out to all the kids inside who were playing.  They kind of just stared at me as I'm sure my french wasn't making much sense because I was freaking out so much.  Anyways, I listened for a little bit but then had to leave to go to our next appointment.  As I left, I was singing along, and kept singing for quite sometime, every little detail of the song renewed in my head.  For most of the rest of the evening, I just smiled and smiled because of that song.  Definitely an answer to my prayers, and definitely a tender mercy of the Lord.  Also confirms to me that the Lord works in mysterious ways.

The second came at the baptismal service Saturday afternoon.  Oh, by the way, I had my first baptism as a missionary this week!  His name is Landry, and he's 16 and a blast to be around.  Quite a good footballer from what I've seen and heard as well.  Anyways, the baptismal service was held in Kégué, about 3 kilometers north of my area.  The church building in Kégué is the only building that was actually built by the church in both Togo and Benin.  They finished building it just a few months ago, and it is nice!  Cleanest and most proper building I've been in the whole country.  As it is the only building that the church actually owns, this is where they keep all the nice stuff.  For example, pianos.  We don't have any real pianos here in the church buildings.  They're all electric pianos without pedals.  However, one of the pianos in Kégué is probably the nicest semi-portable electric piano you can buy, with weighted keys and a pedal.  After the baptismal service, I sat down at the piano and let loose.  Oh my goodness!!!!  Many of you know that music has a special place in my heart with piano being at the center.  While I've been able to keep that space partially filled with my iPod and singing, there's is nothing like the piano for me.  Oh how glorious is was to make music like that again.  It's amazing how much of a difference weighted keys and a pedal can make on the piano.  Every key I touched felt like a real piano.  I can't really explain the feeling in words, but there's just something about creating beautiful music that fills my soul with joy.  Again, definitely a tender mercy of the Lord.

I have really seen a difference in the world around me looking for all of the tender mercies of the Lord, both big and small.  These are just two examples many, many tender mercies that I've seen around me.  I promise all of you that you too can find more happiness by looking for the tender mercies of the Lord around you.  When we look for things to brighten our day, there are always more than we expect, even if they're just small and seemingly non-important.  I've seen that in my life this past week, and what a wonderful blessing it's been.  I love and miss all of you so much!  May God be with you all this next week to brighten your day even if in the simplest way!
Avec amour,
Elder Jenkins
(note from mom:  Elder Jenkins said he is doing quite well!  Today had been a more relaxing day, which he has needed.  He said President Weed had called this morning to say that the missionaries are to stay inside all day on Thursday due to the elections.  It sounds like Thursday will bring a lot of excitement in Lome.)
a new friend I made at Soeur Dope's home

An African sunset taken from the top of the building where I go to church

I love the African children!

the river (or lake as the Africans call it) that runs through Lome, not far from my area

with Elder Owusu (taken for CJ Lewis who's last area was Elder Owusu's home ward in Ghana - CJ is married to Preston's BYU teammate, Taryn)

with Elder Peterson
getting a haircut from Pres. Ruben on 07/22/13 (Pres. Ruben is the 1st Counselor in the Branch Presidency - he's a renaissance man - a barber, an artist, an electrician and is pretty dang smart)

defending Ambriose on 07/15/13


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