Monday, June 24, 2013

Week Four

Ni hao!
Can you believe it is almost July? I can't believe it has been a month already. This week coming up is going to be super busy since they want us to teach just about every day now.
Sadly, I don't think I made it into any of the shots from yesterday's (Sunday) broadcast but I did end up having some pretty sweet seats three rows back from the apostles. Never been so close! It was a great experience being able to participate in the choir. I am not sure if you have heard about their announcement yet but they are allowing missionaries to use more technology on their missions now. Not sure what this means yet/ if this applies to everyone now. Of course the main message of the broadcast was the push for members and missionaries to work together in unity because it is so important if the Lord's work is to be done more effectively.
Last week, Sister Goldrup and I taught three days in a row. I accidentally gave one of our investigators the wrong scripture because for some reason I confuse my 5s and 8s. The first time, he read a scripture in Alma when I did say Mosiah and I was trying to read along as he read out loud and I was like.. hmm this is not the scripture I gave him. So I tried saying the right one and then I gave the wrong versus. Finally after what felt like 5 minutes, we figured it out and read the right scripture. Another of our lessons with another investigator we were running out of time and we had already decided that we were going to extend the invitation to be baptized and so we were awkwardly like "are you willing to be baptized" and it didn't really feel right because we were in the middle of talking about the Plan of Salvation. The investigator was like "what's baptism" and I tried explaining how it was necessary to obtain the blessings of the Atonement and be washed clean and he accepted our invitation. The reason why we started to rush at the end was because we have been kicked out of our appointments since they have gone over our 30 minute slots haha.
Last Friday, the Sisters in my district and I went to a kick boxing class at 6 am. They have fitness activities almost every morning here just for the Sisters. I thought it would be hard to get up even earlier but it wasn't too bad. I wouldn't really call it kick boxing but it was quite the work out. We justified sleeping during our personal exercise time later that day since we had already did our exercise for the day so it was also really rewarding in that sense haha.
Tell Massa and Aken I say congratulations! That is such great news that they are getting married and then baptized. Thank you all for being such great member missionaries back at home. Keep it up! 

I love you all!
Sister Jordan

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week three Pictures

The one where I am with the tree, I am smelling it because this tree at the MTC smells like Cream Soda. Yep Cream Soda.

Ni hao everyone!

This week has been quite eventful:
Last Monday I found some crutches in the give-away box in our residence halls. Hehe.. still not sure if they belonged in there or not but so far, they are still in my possession. I fooled a couple people with them but in both cases I couldn't keep it up because I was just laughing so hard. I planned on coming to class one day with the crutches so I could fool my whole district and the teacher but that plan fell through because the first time Sister Goldrup and I were going to see our teacher, the one person we really wanted to mess with, until we taught him as our "investigator." Side note: we practice our lessons in Chinese with our teachers as the investigators. We had only one option: go into the appointment with the crutches, and that is exactly what I did haha. So we knock on the door and our "investigator" opens the door and saw me on crutches and he was like "Ni shi O.K ma?" (are you ok?).  I just nodded my head like "dui, dui. Wo shi O.K." (yes, yes, I am ok.). I managed to get through the whole lesson without laughing although I was laughing internally. Later when that teacher came to class I rose my hand and was like " I have a confession" and then I stood up on my supposedly hurt foot and then I said "I'm not really hurt.." The look on his face was priceless. Our district laughed about that for a bit.

Great news! I saw Sister Rozsa, finally!!! Pretty much best day ever so far. I ran into her at the Tuesday devotional since all the missionaries at both the west and main campus gather at the Marriott center for Tuesday devotionals from now on. I am 100% sure Sister Rozsa is having  a wonderful time being a missionary.

Saturday was our first TRC (teaching resource center). TRC is different for missionaries learning a foreign language because we just meet with members who volunteer and do not pretend to be investigators and when we teach them. It is more like a talk in sacrament meeting or a Sunday school lesson. I  heard that we might even teach over skype too. Although we are teaching a member, our purpose is still the same--to invite others to come unto Christ and strengthen them. I was super nervous about TRC because you never know what you are going to get. Our preparation paid off though and we taught a pretty good lesson on obedience and the Word of Wisdom. Our volunteer was super nice and he taught us just as much as we taught him. During our lesson, I shared a scripture I found when I was reading my scriptures one day. It's in 1 John 2:3 and it basically says that when we are obedient to God's commandments we can come to know God. I find this verse very interesting because I have never thought of this concept before. What our volunteer said, and what I was thinking too, was that we don't know too much about God because we have been so far away from Him for so long. If being obedient is how we can gain more knowledge about our Heavenly Father, then all the more reason to be obedient. You guys should look that scripture up if you have the time.

Our district always has a good story to share. So far I have told everyone about the "Oh we gon get dis blood" story and a few others. My favorite story I heard this week is about how one of the Elders sleep runs in his sleep. Literally. This Elder sleeps on the top bunk here at the MTC and his companion on the bottom. His companion said that one night he woke up to this big commotion coming from the top bunk and he found out that it was this Elder running in place in his bed while sleeping. If you knew this Elder you would know how much funnier the imagery is. He is kind of a quiet person and you would never guess he has a sleep walking issue. This Elder has also been known to climb down the ladder and walk around while sleep. Pretty funny, but also pretty creepy.

Yesterday at our branch sacrament meeting (our whole branch is Mandarin Chinese speaking) the MTC President announced that our branch is getting split in two starting next Sunday. We are supposed to be getting 53 new Mandarin Chinese missionaries on the 26th of this month. If they did not split our branch we would have had over 140 missionaries in our branch. My district is getting moved to the new Mandarin branch and I am actually pretty excited about it. Our new Branch President seems like a really awesome guy. The fact that the MTC has created a new Chinese branch when there has only been one for a very long time shows  that the work with the Mandarin Chinese population is hastening and more missionaries are being called to speak this language. Very exciting. Most of the Presidency for our new branch got moved from a German speaking branch and they know little to no Chinese. I guess we get to go through learning a new language together.

Sunday devotional was so great last night. I didn't get to see it "live" because it was the first Sunday devotional that was broadcast from the West campus. It didn't matter thought because the speaker, Brother Stephen B. Allen, used the cameras at both campuses to interact with everyone. He showed us commercials from the Homefront Commercial Series, which are Mormon ads that used to air on t.v. You all should definitely look these up because they are soo great. All of them have inspirational messages at the end of them and they are very entertaining as well. I suggest watching the "Braces and Glasses" one. So when I said Brother Allen used the cameras from our campus to interact with us, he would have the tech guy show the missionaries from our campus and we would all wave at the camera and I even saw one Elder in the crowd wrote a "Hi, Mom" sign. Before he started his talk, Brother Allen asked all the missionaries if any one of them had been Dear Johned or Janed and the camera zoomed in on the Elders who had shamefully raised their hands. At the West campus there was an Elder who had raised his hand so Brother Allen asked him "are you happy about that?" and this Elder sadly shook his head no and then Brother Allen asked him "is the girl who Dear Johned you happy about that?" and the Elder shrugged his shoulders and was like "Probably." And then Brother Allen said "I bet the RM who is dating her is pretty happy." Haha. Funny guy. Brother Allen,in the light of Father's Day, mentioned that he bet that none of our fathers would want anything more than to have their son or daughter where they are right now, on a mission. Happy Father’s Day again!

An update on the Chinese: I am able to speak more and more every day but last week I was staring to get frustrated that I couldn't understand anything in return. I have been praying to have this gift to interpret the language and it is slowly coming to me. The talks given by fellow missionaries on Sunday I was able to understand which is a huge step forward.

Thanks for all of the DearElders, they are always a highlight of my day. Glad to hear everything is going well back at home. Love you all!

Sister Jordan

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

MTC week 2

MTC Week 2

Hello, Family!

Thanks so much for all the DearElders letters. I am enjoying the frequent letters :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! So glad that my P-day and your birthday overlapped. Happy Fathers Day as well!
So I have wonderful news: there is going to be this missionary broadcast thing here at the Marriott Center on June 23rd and there are going to be a bunch of Genral Authorities attending since they are the ones who organized it. The MTC choir gets to sing at the broadcast so be looking out for me! It's great I get to participate in this event since I will be here so long.

Last Monday was an interesting day... Having Sunday then most of monday off isn't too great when you have class Monday nights and you forget what you learned two days ago. Whoops! Yeah so, when we had class Monday night our teacher kept on calling on me to answer questions and I had no idea what was going on/ it was hard for me to answer in Chinese since I have such a limited vocabulary. Basically, it felt like I was sitting there trying to answer 'how the Holy Ghost helps us' for like 5 mintues because I couldn't think of anything to say. SO EMBARRASING! hahah. So glad that my face doesn't turn red because it would have been super red. It's all good though. I laughed it off.

I looked all day long for Hayley on Wednesday and I never saw her :( I think she might be at the new west campus, unfortunately. They are now hosting all Tuesday devotionals at the Marriott so mabye I will see her tomorrow!

My tong ban (companion) and I have been having pretty good lessons so far. Mostly I just sit there and try to understand what everyone is saying and I think the best way to understand Chinese right now is to just not focus on it too hard. When ever I read the "investigator's" body language and use the words I do understand I can ususally figure out what they are saying. We are trying to ween ourselves off of taking in a script and teaching just a lesson. Our goal is to be better at "teaching people not lessons" by trying to speak what is in our hearts. The Spirit always has a greater presence when we do that.

For Relief Society this week, we had a speaker from the Relief Society board come talk to us. One of the things that stood out to me from her talk was that we should expect to see miracles on our mission. This is applies to everyone learning a new language because being able to pick a language in the span of 18-24 months is such a miracle. In the scriptures Christ talks about how faith proceeds the miracle and that got me thinking of why it is that everyone keeps saying "they send the best missionaries Chinese speaking." I do not mention this to think highly of myself, because I do not think that highly of my missionary skills but I say this to at least talk about those in my district. We had  a mini testimony meeting yesterday afternoon on the topic Faith in Christ and after hearing the stories that were shared I know that they all have such great faith and that is why they are going Chinese speaking. As I was saying before, faith proceeds the miracle. We are all gong to need faith to learn this language and these Chinese speaking missionaries have demonstrated the faith necessary to learn a language. I know that we are all going to witness the miracle of speaking a new language. Even if it doesn't come when we want it and even though we may not speak Chinese as well as we want, I know that all we need to do is open our mouths and the Spirit will do the rest.

I wasn't able to send any pictures last week because the computers here were acting up and wouldn't read my SD card. It is working today so I have attached some pictures! Looking forward to hearing back from you all.


Sister Jordan

Thursday, June 6, 2013

First Week In MTC

Qin' ai jia ting (Dear family),

I love the MTC! It was such a blessing to have Sister (Bryce) Capner as my host because having a familar face at the MTC right away helped me to quickly transition into focusing on my mission and leave behind all my troubles. I ran into a lot of Sisters (Hermans Haliday, Fisher, and Orr, and Sister Rosa) I know that got here the same day I did and I see them all almost every day. As I expected, my first time in class my lao shi (teacher) only spake to us in Chinese. I just smiled and nodded as I took my seat because one, he was speaking too fast, and two, I really don't know Chinese that well haha. I am not going to lie, the first few days were extremely exhausting because of how much Chinese they try to cram in our brains. The experienced missionaries here at the MTC kept on saying "the first three days are the hardest, but if you can make it to Sunday, the worst is pretty much over." It was annoying at first because Sunday felt so far away but they were right-- Make it to Sunday, and you will survive. I also found out on my first day that our zone has everyone prepare a 5 minute talk in Mandarin every week and then they pick two people to give those talks on Sunday. Knowing my luck, I will probably be giving one haha.
      My companion is from London! Well, her family has lived there for the last three years at least. I found out there her family has also lived in South Africa, China, and Jordan. Cool, huh? It tursn out we have a lot in common. She lived in Hinckley this past year in Helaman halls, she plays the violin (close enough to a viola), and we were basically matching our first day! She is really good at the language since she took two semesters of Chinese this last year at BYU. Thank goodness for that because we have already had to teach two lessions in Mandarin and I relied on her to say what I don't know how to yet. At first I was beating myself up for not taking Chinese classes but I being so limited in the language has kept me very humble and willing to learn. The hardest thing about learning Chinese is getting the tones right. My lao shi always corrects me and it can get frustrating but I know it will benefit me later on.
   Half of my district is going to Taiwan and the other half is going to eithe California, Austrialia (my companion), or England, but not in the same mission as me in Manchester. We liike to do a lot of things as a district and we have a lot of fun and share a lot of laughs together. One of the Elders is from London  and some times we cannont tell if he is speaking Chinese or English because of his thick accent. The other day he asked me if I knew who Kevin Hart was and I was like "Kevin Hart? Of course I know who Kevin Hart is!." haha. that should give you a good idea of how funny he is. Sister (Ashley) Parker has been here for almost three weeks now and since all of the Mandarin Chinese speakers are in the same Zone, I get to see her a lot so that has been nice.
  My P-day is on Monday so I will be able to email you all then. So far I can bear a simple testimony and give a simple prayer in Chinese. I think I am progressing well! I hope all is well in the Mid West and I can't wait to hear back from you all. I forget to mention that you can use DearElder to write me letters. DearElder is great because I get the letters written from that the same day they are "mailed." I love receiving letters so even if it is just a short thought, I would love to have it in a DearElder.
Thank you all for the love and support!
Wo ai ni men!
Sister Jordan