"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 27, 2014

Missionary Miracles!

Beautiful African sunset in my area.
Hello all!  I'm sure you all hear this so often from other missionaries, but this week has been filled with missionary miracles!

The first was with Luc and Vicky.  Luc and Vicky (as I have previously described) are an amazing young couple.  However, their trial before baptism has been the payment of the dowry so that they can legally be married.  This past week they went up to their village to visit Vicky's parents to sort all of this out before their baptism, which was scheduled for this past Saturday the 25th.  However, their parents were not willing to sign the document allowing them to be married from a legal standpoint. 

We went over to their house the following evening and they were definitely discouraged.  We shared Ether 12:6 with a message on the trial of our faith and how EVERY person in this Church can testify of the trial of their faith that they have had in their life, many right before their baptism.  They seemed very comforted and relieved even.  When they came to church on Sunday, it was clear that their faith had been strengthened by this experience and the Spirit that they have felt in the truthfulness of this message.  Now is not their time but, when it comes, I have no  doubts that they will be ready.

Another miracle this week: Friday night as we were walking back from our branch mission leader's house and Elder Kunz and I decided to take a different route just to see if it would be quicker, or at least that's what we thought at the time.  We ended up getting a little bit lost (couldn't help but realize how crazy it would have seemed to us before the mission to be lost at night in the middle of nowhere in Africa hahaha).  As our area is outside of the city, there's was only sand, lots of palm trees, a few roads, and lots of stars that we could see.  OK, so there were houses and some people too, but still, we were a bit lost.  We both felt the impression that we should just keep walking, and so we did.  Eventually, after about 15 minutes, Elder Kunz finally recognized where we were because we had gone clear east into his area instead of going south to the main road!

We found our way again back to the apartment.  It took us about 10 more minutes to get back, but we found it with no problem once Elder Kunz found the way.  Finally, as we were just getting back to the apartment, we heard this voice behind us shouting a winded "Hey guys!" (in English)  We looked back to see this Shaquille O'Neal-type looking dude.  He's  a big guy.  He explained to us how he had seen us a little ways back and had run to catch up to us.  He talked for quite a while (all in flawless English, not even very African sounding) giving us his story.  Turns out his wife is Nigerian (one reason why he speaks English so well.  The other reason is that he was adopted by an Australian family while he was young).  His wife was baptized several years ago into our Church.  They attended our Church while they were living in Benin, but stopped because of some politics that offended them.  They have been searching for the Church here in Togo for a couple years, but haven't found it because it just came to Baguida 2 months ago.

He continued for some time telling us about his family (his wife and three girls) and how he has spent his life as an unattached missionary.  He just goes all over West Africa preaching, and I think he does a little bit of consulting work all over West Africa as well.  Anyways, they are really struggling right now because not too long ago they lost their youngest daughter because of heart problems, and lost almost all of their money as well due to hospital bills.  He then asked if we could help him out a bit with food.  "I'm not a beggar," he explained, "but we honestly just do not have anything in the house that we can eat right now.  PLEASE, just help me with tonight and I know that God will provide for tomorrow."  He explained that the Australian family sends him some money every month because he is struggling so much right now but, as it is the end of the month, they are all spent out.  Thankfully, Elder Kunz and I had a loaf of bread that we were able to give him, and he was more than gracious.  (He showed us some pictures of him and his family, so it seemed more legit, but it also just felt right helping him, like it was all real and would be alright).

We then left him with a brochure in English and he asked if we could come by the next morning.  We only had one appointment the next morning before lunch, so I told him it would be very possible.

Long story short, we made it over to his house the next morning, but it was only his wife and three daughters that were home.  However, they were expecting us and welcomed us in graciously.  The wife was very warm with us because she knows who we are, but the little girls took a little bit to warm up to us.  Anyways, I got to chatting with the wife for a while before Anthony, her husband, got home.  She is SUCH a nice lady, and she loves the Church.  She said that she was so, so happy to receive the news that the Church is here in Togo from her husband the night before.  Anthony finally got home and we talked with the whole family a bit before leaving them with a prayer.

Then, next morning, Sunday, Anthony showed up to church with their three daughters!  Unfortunately their mom wasn't able to make it.  They loved it, and the three girls were SO friendly with me!  They all made little flower bouquet's from our garden!  I forgot to mention that they all speak English in the home, but the girls know French and éwé enough to do fine in Togo.

Some Primary girls made me bouquets from our garden!
I had to display them in my room.

As I reflected upon this afterwards, I realized how much of a miracle this event was.  Every single part depended on our timing on Friday night.  If we hadn't passed Anthony at that specific time, none of this would have happened.  There are no coincidences in this world, only miracles.

Everything is going amazing out here in Baguida!  The Spirit is strong and very present out here, and all you have to do is ask.

I love you all so much.  Have a great week!

Avec amour,
Elder Jenkins

Pulling the German Pancake out of the oven.
Cutting the German Pancake.
German Pancake with apple sauce and powdered sugar!  One of my favorites.
Making some fajitas!
Overgrown soccer field next to the general high school in my area.
Thought this was pretty cool looking.

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