"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, August 18, 2014

Precious Moments

My apologies this week: there were three power outages while we were at the cyber this past Monday.  Since I didn't have a chance to write home, I am writing today with my Mission President's approval.

So what I wanted to write about this week was to share a few special moments.  These moments I have started to document as "Precious Moments," moments when I have been so touched by the Spirit and when I have felt as if heaven is drawing nearer to me.

The first moment was a marriage on Wednesday.  The Aïbatin sister missionaries (in our district) have been working with several couples in preparation for marriage.  Finally, two couples have been able to get everything in order for their marriage and then baptism.  So Wednesday the office elders picked us up in the mission van and we went to get the rest of the crew (the couples and family plus the sisters).  It was pretty packed, but we made it.  Luckily the sisters had asked me to bring my guitar so that we could all sing "Love at Home" together, so I got automatic shotgun.

The mission van
Elder Oliverson at the wheel
The District

The marriage itself was fun.  The mayor of Akassato (a little bit north of Cotonou--the marriages up there are far cheaper than in Cotonou) is quite the poet, which made for some good laughs.  But a precious moment for me was singing "Love at Home" at the end of the ceremony.  Another testimony for me that God lives and that He truly gives us families for a reason.  It is only through these families that we can reach the highest level of exaltation, which is why families are so important in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Here are the two couples with the mayor-poet on the right

The couple that was baptized on Saturday
The ring (I'm kinda proud of this picture.  It actually turned out ok even though I had a terrible angle)
The peanut gallery
The wedding party (courtesy of Elder Oliverson)

The couple who was baptized on Saturday (courtesy of Elder Oliverson)

The second moment was on Friday.  I had the opportunity to do the baptism interviews for one of the couples (the other couple was traveling and will be baptized in the coming week).  The husband and the wife are already soooooo solid in their testimonies of the truth.  They know that Christ had established something on this earth, that it was lost, and that it was restored by God and Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith.  They are so happy together, and they understand the gospel already very well.

But what touched me the most about this couple was how they know.  It was not through reason or research.  Yes, both of these practices helped them to gain a testimony, but what planted their testimony firmly in them is that they FELT that it is true.  When both of them explained this to me independently, I, again, FELT the same thing that they did.  Even though I come from halfway around the world, my testimony is the same as theirs.  Even though we might have acquired this testimony in different ways, it is the same.  Oneness has always been godliness, and this new, young married couple has joined in that oneness in their own special and precious way.

The third moment was their baptism on Saturday.  The baptism was in the afternoon due to the Mormon Helping Hands activity in the morning.  It was so nice to see two people so ready to enter into a covenant with God through the special ordinance of baptism.  President Morin came to the baptism as it was the first in the Aïbatin building.  His welcome message was focused on the family and its importance in life and in eternity.

The baptism on Saturday

I am very excited for this couple and the future that they have in front of them.  I never had the chance to teach them, but through the events of this past week, we have grown a relationship together, and I have been so happy and blessed to have shared a bit of their own path to eternal life with them.

The Mormon Helping Hands activity this past Saturday went very, very well.  In contrast from last year, everyone was engaged at almost every moment, and it was amazing how quickly the task got done.  We were done in just about an hour!  There was a Yovo-owned pastry place right in front of where we were working, so as we were waiting for the bus to come back and get us, Elder Hawkins, Silvas, Hanks and I all got some REAL cake/ éclairs!!!  It was quite delicious.  Not too expensive either.

My job was just to dump sand wherever they told me

Charging my load

This was the hardest part.  They started laying sand right next to the mounds instead of starting on the outside, so I had to roll over tons of sand in order to get to where I needed to go.  The problem was that the tire was completely broken.  Not just flat, but broken. In half.  So it did almost nothing.  Especially on sand.  But at least it was a good workout (which I haven't had in a while)!
In action

This little girl was so cute in that vest that was way too big for her!
 The whole group at our activity

Elder Silvas trying to get a sandwich.  Elder Kunz, Hawkins, and I were all dying laughing because he was just standing there with his hand up.  He eventually succeeded.

Anyways, that's been my past week.  It's been a great one, and the Lord is really blessing us!  I'm so happy to be in Fidjrossè right now, and I believe next week should bring some exciting news!

Thank you for all of your prayers.  They really do make a difference.  With a few other experiences this past week, I have truly felt the Lord's love, grace, and protection that He so graciously provides for His servants.

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

Avec amour,
Elder Jenkins
I played keeper for the first half and got score on three times.  The first was a 1-on-1 in the opening couple minutes.  The second was an own goal (*hmm hmm* Elder Oliverson).  The third was my fault because I had completely forgotten to set the wall on a set piece (that happens when you only play three times a year).  I then played second half at forward.

Our team from the soccer match this morning.  We got killed by the members, it wasn't even funny. But they sure thought it was hahaha

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