"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, January 20, 2014

Conversion unto the Lord

Mountains to climb!
Hey everyone!  So the internet connection today has been one of the worst that I’ve had in my time in Africa.  I was planning on writing to lots and lots of people today, but it might just have to wait until next week.

So I just wanted to share my testimony this week that Heavenly Father really does answer prayers.  Last week, when I wrote home, I had been going through a bit of a rough patch.  I just wasn’t feeling the Spirit of this work like I have before and I know I can.  I have been continuing to do my best to remain faithful and loyal to my God, but I just got overwhelmed with the fact that I have to be patient with myself and that I can’t master every commandment at the moment all at once.  Conversion to the Lord takes time, but this was a principle that I was just unwilling to accept or that I just didn’t understand at the time. However, after much prayer and meditation this past week, Heavenly Father truly opened the windows of heaven to pour out blessings and understanding to me.  Yes, I still have not mastered the principle of personal patience, but God has given me many instances this past week that have let me know that He is still there and that He has not forgotten me.

So in my personal study this week, I was reading 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.  On Friday and Saturday specifically, I studied chapters 15 and 16 respectively. While I was reading these chapters, the Lord blessed me with understanding just as I had prayed.  My whole life I have known what the “Gathering of Israel” means, and I know that this is what I am doing now, but after reading these two chapters, including many, many cross references throughout the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the Doctrine and Covenants, I really began to understand specific events and meanings represented as symbolism in the scriptures, especially in Isaiah.  Every scripture that I looked up had a unique meaning and explanation, many of which led me to have more questions that were answered as I searched more scriptures.

Needless to say, these two experiences left me so happy.  Enveloped in the Lord’s light, both Friday and Saturday were amazing days. Everywhere I went I just felt God’s love surrounding me.  Saturday was especially good with the baptism.  We had three baptisms (Bella, Bruno, and Kossi).  Bella and Bruno are sister and brother, and Kossi is Bruno’s friend that lives just down the street.  All three of them, while only being in their teenage years, have already made some great changes in their lives thanks to the Restored Gospel.  At the baptism there were about 20 baptisms, as we had a collective baptism for several missionaries in Togo.  The Anfamé Zone Leaders were able baptize two families of six people each, as well as several missionaries with one or two baptisms.  It was a great service as well!  The Spirit was there and it was amazing to see so many people enter into covenant with God.

From the baptismal service.  It was packed in there!

Our baptismal service on Saturday, 1/18/14.  From left to right: Elder
Rasolonantenaina, Kossi, Bella, Bruno, me, Abel (member)
Haha yeah we decided to have fun with some of the pictures.
Another one from the baptism.

As I have reflected on these two days, I have seen the goodness of God reflected in my life.  I am such an imperfect being.  In every moment of my life, I need to seek the Lord’s help, because without Him I am nothing.  Trying to fix things by ourselves in this life will only lead to sadness and confusion, if not in this life then definitely in the future.  The mission has already changed me greatly.  I am on the life-long path of conversion to the Lord and His Gospel, but I have so much to learn and to perfect.  Patience truly is a virtue and a Christlike attribute, and I pray everyday that I can have more patience with myself and with those around me.

As for the work here in Baguida, Togo, it is progressing well.  As previously stated, we had three baptisms this past week that successfully took place.  We have others that are progressing towards baptism, especially those that are finding solutions with their problems with the dowery.  I am very hopefully that Luc and Vicky can get everything sorted out so that they able to be baptized on Saturday the 25th because they are very ready for it.  Other than that, we have some that are struggling with keeping commitments, namely coming to church and praying, and prayers in their behalf would be greatly appreciated.  There are many good people here, but the church is still small and the Gospel still relatively unknown.  Ours is the task to take this light to the whole world, but just as this light takes time to grow in ourselves, it takes times to grow throughout the world. However, the Lord is hastening His work like never before and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a true servant and an instrument in His hands.

I love you all so much, and I pray that we may all search to feel God’s love in our lives.
Avec amour,
Elder Jenkins

A man was working with us on Sunday and was complaining
that his feet were hurting as we were walking to a mangez-vous.
So I just picked him up and put him on my back.
However, when we tried to take pictures, he got so ashamed himself and
wouldn't show his face!!!  Hahaha made for some good laughs.
Couldn't even get him to show himself while walking    
Someone finally tried pulling his face, but he was sooo resistent.
Made for many laughs hahahaha.
Typical African stove.  Filled with charcoal and they just put the
pots directly on the charcoal.  Luckily in our apartments we have gas stoves.
The game we played after dinner Sunday evening.  We did it
tournament style, and I did 11 in the untimed preliminary, 10 in the
one minute quarter-final, 8 in the 30 second semi-final, and then I
won with 9 in the one-minute final!!!  Elder Kunz was my competition
in the final, and just lost with 8, even though he got 12 in the
untimed prelim.

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