"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 28, 2014

Prosper's questions and the healing power of a priesthood blessing

Hello all! Unfortunately today, I’m not feeling too well at all, but I’ve had a great week!!!  We have a few investigators that are progressing well, and one family that’s getting ready to be married and be baptized in August!

For this past week, we had a Sacrament meeting with President and Sister Morin for all of the missionaries in Benin on Thursday.  It was an interesting tactic to get to know us, but I loved it!  They have been doing apartment interviews this whole week, and ours were after the meeting.  Pretty much just filled out a paper with a few questions and such to get to know us better and then every district had about a 30-minute interview with both of them.  Also, as we were eating lunch after the meeting, I saw two very familiar faces: Elder and Sister Stagg!!!  They had come over from Togo for a CES meeting and happened to be there at the same time as us!  I went outside to meet them when they were leaving and was greeted by a great big hug from Elder Stagg and an almost-hug-then-slightly-awkward handshake from Sister Stagg!!! Haha it was great to see them again!

Friday was an absolutely awesome day, but as I’m not feeling well, I’ll just share my journal entry from that day.

Vendredi, 25 juillet 2014

I apologize for the handwriting, but my day has just been so good that I had to write about it, even with my slight handicap.

Our last lesson tonight was absolutely fantastic, thanks to the Spirit.  It was with the father of the Nigerian family that has been to Church a couple times with Sophia Taylor.  He finally is back from traveling and has wanted to talk with us.  We spoke with him yesterday (thank goodness he speaks French so Elder Sahue can participate), and he was interested and had questions about our doctrine.  We left him a Restoration and Joseph Smith pamphlet.  He said he also wanted the Book of Mormon, so we fixed an appointment for tonight at 7.
This time, it was just Elder Sahue and I (the Taylor family was there with us last night).  We opened with a prayer and got talking.  In essence, his main question was, “What is your church’s mission?  Some churches heal, others deliver, others promise eternal life, etc.  So what is your church’s role in all of this?”  I almost jumped for joy at this question, because it is a PERFECT opportunity to explain and testify of the apostasy cycle.  I think I might’ve jumped the gun a bit because when Elder Sahue gets going, he doesn’t stop for 20 minutes often times.  But we were able to explain together that Christ organized a Church to carry out the gospel to the whole world, but then the Great Apostasy came.  I then used the mirror analogy, which he understood well, but his question after was “How did the apostasy come?”  Elder Sahue then explained, with a personal story form the civil war in Ivory Coast, that after Christ’s death, the Church was still persecuted and forced into hiding.  When opposing forces came to the door, the saints (disciples of Christ) were either courageous or not.  Those who were courageous were put to death, and those were not denied their faith, thus losing the Holy Spirit and the authority of God.
After Elder Sahue explained that, Prosper (the investigator) took a couple moments of reflection, and then said, “So when the mirror broke, many men essentially came and took a couple of pieces to create a church.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not complete. So this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been restored to be how the Church was during Christ’s time?”  Elder Sahue and I made eye contact and smiled as he spoke.  After he finished, we both said simultaneously, “EXACTLY!!!”  We then shared with him the Articles of Faith (putting the focus on #6 and #11), and he absolutely loved it!

What I love about this man is that he has a great religious knowledge (he’s a non-denominational pastor), but he’s humble.  He’s curious, but he’s humble.  And it’s amazing for me to see the difference that humility makes.  He was willing to humble himself before the Lord and seek for the truth in curiosity and humility.  In return, his eyes were opened to the truth and he understood.  As I handed him the Book of Mormon as we left, he said, “I have a good feeling about what I will learn from this book.”  As he travels often, we exchanged emails at the end so that we can keep in touch and check-in with him often.
Secondly, my slight handicap.  The eczema has really worsened on my right hand, especially on my ring finger.  About a week ago, blisters started to appear on the back of my ring finger.  When I did laundry, those blisters burst, leaving some open wounds.  I didn’t think much of it until Sunday when I realized that it wasn’t healing at all.  In fact, it was worsening and starting to infect.  On Monday, I went to the Mission Office to have it looked at, and Elder Christensen just gave me some rubber gloves to finish my laundry and said that Sister Morin would look at it Thursday.  The problem was that my finger was too swollen to fit into the glove!
On Tuesday, I finally decided that I needed to bandage it.  When I changed the bandage for the first time on Wednesday (it had become covered in not-nice-looking stuff [I refrain from the actual term in fear of a rather revolting image appearing in the reader’s mind]), I experienced some of the worst pain that I ever have in my life (yeah, sorry I’m a wuss).  On my ring finger, I would say that 15-20% was not covered by skin, and the new skin seemed to have formed into the bandage, so when I took the bandage of, it was like I was peeling all that skin off again.  Not fun.  At all.  Thursday morning after our sacrament meeting I showed Sister Morin the pictures I had taken when again I had changed the bandage with similar results.  She told me just to continue doing what I’m doing and be patient.  I decided after that instance (and another painful bandage exchange last night) that I was in need of a Priesthood blessing.  After my finger was all wrapped up last night, I got the apartment together and asked for a Priesthood blessing.  A blessing was administered, and I went to bed with hope that all would be well.
I decided to wait until this evening to change the bandage, and it was an absolute miracle the difference.  Taking off the bandage took about 30 seconds instead of 15 minutes.  Cleaning it was still quite painful, but it was much more manageable.  I then dried it, put Neosporin on, and rebandaged it.  The whole process took about 30 minutes (including drying time) versus the hour and a half yesterday.
The Priesthood power is real.

Well, that’s it for this week.   We have Family Home Evening at President Kazotti’s tonight.  He’s hosting his employer from Canada who came with a BYU student (both members of the Church) with whom I had the occasion to chat with last night after our last appointment at President Kazotti’s house!

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

Avec amour,

Elder Jenkins

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