"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 21, 2014

"Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

Departing picture with Elder Gomun.  He and I have become very close.
Well, it's been a bit of a slow week.  With the departure of eight missionaries (and one in our apartment) there were many things that we had to do, visits to make, etc.  However, once everything got a bit more settled we were able to put more effort into the work.

Our last District Meeting with Elder Gomun as our District Leader!
Whoops!  Somebody was watching?
The airplane going to Côte d'Ivoire with 5 missionaries on it! (We hear every single airplane that leaves the Cotonou airport).
How's that for front row seats?

This week has also been filled with physical afflictions, which hasn't made it any easier. However, it is the Lord's work, and He has given me His strength to be able to accomplish His will.

What happens when you have no water for 4 days?  You have to go to your neighbors and fill up some jugs!
And then prepare for the long haul up the stairs...
In spite of the hardships of this past week, there have been tender mercies of the Lord, showing me that He is still there and that He still cares about me.  Most of all, I have felt my personal testimony strengthen of God, the Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. They truly do live and are constantly watching over us, caring after us.

Something that has really caught my attention lately is the story of Thomas after Christ's resurrection, Thomas who refused to believe that Christ had risen from the dead until he saw.

 24 ¶But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
 26 ¶And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

My studies have really been drawn to the response of the Christ to Thomas and to us all:

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  (emphasis added)  (John 20:24-29)

I have really been pondering on this scripture and others that convey a similar message. Sometimes, I get discouraged because the work isn't progressing the way that I want it to. Sometimes there are people that I love so much who just refuse to believe!  It's so hard sometimes to see people lose sight of what matters most.  It happens to all of us in certain degrees, but it's hard to watch.

However, I take courage knowing that I am doing what I need to be doing, and that I believe in Christ, although I have never seen Him.  I know that He lives!  This is truly His work.  Even though there are many forces fighting against God in this world, He is there.

The past 14 months (almost) of my service to the Lord have enlightened many things to me.  I have tried to serve the Lord with all of my heart.  Although I have fallen short many times, He makes up the difference.  As long as I have the desire to serve, He provides a way.

I have learned that the more I focus myself on others, the more I have strengthened my testimony and deepened my conversion to the Lord.  I have seen the famed scripture of the words of Jesus Christ in action:

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.  (Mark 8:35)

These past 14 months have truly been a blessing for me.  I have seen many lives change.  I have seen people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior through His Restored Gospel.  But the life that I have seen change the most is my own.  I don't know how, but it has happened, and I am eternally grateful for the Lord's grace and mercy that He has so fully given me.

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

Avec amour,
Elder Jenkins

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