Monday, October 28, 2013

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing...

Here is this weeks email. There was no explanation as to why the subject title was what it was...apparently it's a Steven Covey quote (I had to google that) but she added the main thing is conversion!

I can't believe it is another P-day already! What everyone says is true, weeks FLY by on the mission. We got to go to the temple this morning as always and that is one of the best parts of the whole week. I LOVE the temple. Go all you can! Being on a mission has also given me a love of the scriptures that I never thought possible. Just a couple weeks ago I struggled to just read a chapter a day. Now that I'm a missionary I feel like I don't have enough time to study the scriptures! We get an hour of personal study every morning. I LOVE personal study time. It is so sacred to me here. There are so many things we need to study though I feel like I need 2 or 3 hours! But God inspired the MTC schedule here so I know we are all getting exactly what we need. :)

This week was really great. Sister Larsen and I are finally getting the hang of planning and setting goals. We have noticed that when we plan the way we are supposed to, we are SO much happier. Time flies when you have planned well. All these skills I'm learning on the mission are going to help me for the rest of my life! One thing I'm really excited about is that yesterday I FINALLY buckled down and made a language study plan. These are SO important in the MTC and throughout the mission when you are trying to receive the Gift of Tongues! Because in order to receive help from God you have to be doing all you can do. Making a detailed language study plan and following through with it is a way Preach My Gospel says you can qualify for God's help. Basically how it works is you start with a main vision/miracle goal for your whole MTC stay. Then you break up that goal into weeks. Then everyday you plan to do whatever you need to do that day to make your weekly goal. At the end of every week you reevaluate your weekly goals to make sure they are leading up to your main goal/vision. Anyways, that might sound really obvious to you all but for some reason it took me a long time to wrap my mind around and humble myself enough to buckle down and just do it! 

Sister Bement's Planner

My desk that I sit at basically all day everyday. 

So a couple really sad/hard/humbling/faith building things happened this week. The worst one is that our sister training leader (kind of like zone leader but just for sisters) found out yesterday that her mom AND dad have cancer and both are in stage 4. It was such tragic news. She is so strong and faithful though it amazes me! We are all praying for her family and are going to do a zone fast on Sunday

The other bad thing is less tragic but still for me really sad. We found out that our teacher, Ge Laoshi (who is my FAVORITE teacher. She is the most amazing woman and totally my hero!) is being switched to a new district coming in on Wednesday. This is such a big deal because teachers are a huge part of being at the MTC. You get so close and attached to them. Honestly, when I found out I was so mad! Partly at the MTC administration but also kind of at God. It just seemed like such a dumb thing to happen! Why would he take away our favorite teacher half way through? And that also means we loose an investigator that we have put our faith, tears, sweat, and study into. Ugh I was so upset! But then I realized...this is how my whole mission will be. I will get attached to people, ward members, investigators, companions, etc. and then I will get transferred or they will loose interest or something. So maybe God was just preparing my district for the field. And maybe our new teacher (we don't know who it is yet) will bring something new that we needed to our language study. Who knows! But I DO know that God has a plan and he doesn't just transfer our teachers around to bug us. Everything He does is for our own good. We get to teach Zhang Xi Ya (Ge Laoshi) one more time tonight and then we get personal interviews with her where she will give us feedback on the last month. So that will be good closure for me and I'm praying that I won't completely loose it and get mad/totally depressed again!

Here are some other random details about the MTC that might be interesting. 
Food: The food is pretty okay here. Although the longer I stay the more cereal I eat. I just am not a cafeteria meal kind of girl! So I mostly eat cereal, wraps or salads, french fries, and fruit. I only let myself eat desserts of Fridays because they usually have cheesecake which is YUM. :)

We also all have to do service every week here. Our district is assigned to set up the chairs for Tuesday and Sunday devotionals. It's a pretty good service project because we don't have to do any cleaning! It also can be fun...can be. :)

Oh! Something I learned from Elder Holland yesterday (they played a talk he gave last Thanksgiving at the MTC for our Sunday night film last night) made me really happy and even more excited to be a missionary. He said, "If you want to give your life to the Lord, serving a mission is the BEST thing you could do right now. Nothing in your life will be more important than serving this mission. Other things will be equally important. But NOTHING will be more important." Woo hoo! I love being a missionary! I didn't realize until I got here how important missionary work is and sometimes it still think it is all over my head. I have to take it one day at a time and just enjoy every second of having this call. It is hard sometimes. Sometimes it is REALLY hard. But most of the time, I'm experiencing this new kind of happiness that I don't know if I will ever feel when I'm not a missionary. So I need to not waste one second!

I love and miss you all! You all amaze me. I love your emails and letters more than you could ever know! I pray for you and send you happy thoughts.
Okay for some reason my picture thing isn't working -_- Frustrating. But I will try again next week.

Sister Jenni Bement

 There is this famous tree here on the MTC that apparently smells like creme soda. I heard that like the first day I was here but thought it was dumb. But on Thursday I finally gave in to curiosity and smelled it. It really does smell like creme soda!!! So I had to take a picture.
Roommate picture on a sunny Friday

wo de tongban! (my companion)

This is me and Bao Jiemei. She is so cute

Sister Miller our Sister ing leader. She was in my ward in Rexburg. Small world! She is going to Taiwan and leaving the MTC 2 weeks before me. We weren't really friends in Rexburg so it has been awesome to get to know her now!

Temple walk!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Investigators, Sprained ankle, and the Simple Testimony of an Apostle

This is our roommate temple walk picture. The leaves and trees were so pretty so we got in them. :) 

Well it was another great week at the MTC. There are always ups and downs but this week there were definitely more ups than downs. Interestingly, one of my favorite things to do here as well as the scariest and most stressful is teaching investigators. Our investigators are really our teachers pretending to be someone they taught on their missions. But it feels SO real. Like once you walk into their "house" (empty classrooms) you feel like you are meeting someone for the first time or talking to someone completely different than your teacher. The MTC program is so inspired and the Lord makes everything as meaningful as it can be. Right now we have two investigators. Zhang Xi Ya and Xiao Ming. Zhang Xi Ya is progressing pretty well. We have met with her twice and she has been praying everyday and last time we challenged her to read the BOM as well. We teach her again tonight and I'm so so so excited! We are working on growing her faith in believing that Christ is her Savior and last week she was so close so if she was praying and reading everyday with real intent then hopefully she has started a testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ! Xiao Ming is a different story. He is 22 years old and is really lost. He is kind of a stinker but I absolutely love him (funny how that works with missionary work). He refused to pray and refused to answer any questions. I can tell he is interested though and just pretending like he doesn't care. Otherwise, why would he want to meet with us again? The hardest part about teaching is the language barrier. Sometimes it is so hard not to be able to just say what I want to say! I'm limited to the basic basic basic gospel principals. But the Gift of Tongues is definitely at work here because somehow we are able to communicate with these children of God, answer their questions, and understand most of what they are trying to get at. There are lots of awesome resources here to help us learn. One of the is called TALL (technology assisted language learning). We have an hour of TALL time a day. It is this program that has  vocab, phrases, and listening we need to practice divided into the 5 missionary lessons. But even better is that TALL is coordinated with 3 of our other textbooks (a phrases book, a basic grammar book, and a more complicated grammar book). So to plan our our language study time there is A LOT of different resources.

I'm also very lucky in the timing of my arrival at the MTC. Right now there are only 3 chinese speaking districts but enough teachers for more than double that. So each district has 3 regular teachers (who I LOVE LOVE LOVE THEY ARE MY HEROS) but also each companionship has a personal coach that is assigned to ONLY that companionship. Sister Larsen and my coach comes 3-4 times a week. So there is so much help and good teaching available here! In 2 weeks more Chinese districts are arriving and we will loose our coaches, but how lucky is it that in my first 4 weeks here, there is an overload of teachers so Sister Larsen and I get our own personal coach to help us? God is so good.

Oh. Some less exciting news. Last Monday like a few hours after I emailed I sprained my ankle. I have no cool story. Sister Larsen and I were jogging around campus and I tripped on an acorn. Pretty lame. I think I scared Sister Larsen to death because I screamed and was rolling around on the ground. It hurt! I hobbled over to the gym because there is medical help in there but no one was there! So we stole some ice and I just layed in bed for like 30 minutes before we had to go to dinner and class. I kinda just limped around. The next day though it was WAY swollen so during gym time I went and got it looked at. They were so nice! They iced and wrapped it for me which made it feel so much better. But then a really big blessing came! The next day I went back and they taught me these stretches that would strengthen my ankle (I think the whole reason I sprained it in the first place was because my ankle was weak from surgery a few months ago) and also showed me how to massage the scar tissue out the scar on my toe! I still can't move my toe and that was worrying me, but this nurse showed me what to do to hopefully get some mobility back in my toe. God works in mysterious ways and I think that I needed to sprain my ankle so I could get help with my toe. 

Something more happy and exciting! Elder Dallin H. Oaks was our devotional speaker on Tuesday!!! I was singing in the choir (which did really well and was really fun) and had the perfect view of him entering and where he was sitting. It was so amazing. I was expecting him to stand up and give this really dramatic and life changing sermon. But he surprised me! He stood very still and spoke quietly and surely that the gospel was true. It was extremely powerful to me because I realized that the sentences he was saying were ones I could say in Chinese. God is our father. Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Atonement is real. Etc. I realized that it doesn't matter that I'm not fluent at Chinese yet! I just have to say the simple truths of the gospel and the Spirit will do the rest.

Well everyone! I'm so happy here! Like I've said before, everyday is a roller coaster and a pride cycle. But I'm so grateful for the refiners fire to make me a little better every day. I have SO MUCH to learn. But I've never felt this kind of satisfaction  drive, or happiness before so every hard moment is really but a moment. I wish I could convey to you all what it is really like here but I don't know how! Hopefully my emails help a little and aren't too long and boring! I miss you all so much! Love love LOVE YOU!

Sister Jenni Bement

Me, Ruan Jiemei, Lin Jiemei (my companion), and my companion's twin sister who is in our zone! They are both speaking mandarin and going to California but to different missions. Crazy right!?

 Mong Jiemei (dad you know her dad), Xu Jiemei, Ruan Jiemei, and me about to start our Sunday temple walk!

Han Jiemei! She is so awesome. She is the 18 year old. She amazes me everyday. I can't believe she just barely graduated high school! Not that I'm much older I guess haha

Ruan Jiemei :) I love her too!

Xu Jiemei. This lady is FUNNY. We get along really well have have deep and funny conversations basically all day long.

This is our whole zone!

Well is this is our food shelf in our dorm room. We are all very loved apparently (MOM! The cookies you sent were so good. THANK YOU! They were gone so fast! I shared them with a lot of people and they all were like, "What are these? They are so yummy!" Getting that package made me so happy!!!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

MTC Beginnings

Sister Jenni Bement entered the MTC on October 2, 2013. Her first email said it was pretty hard, but worth it. Her Chinese teacher only speaks to them in Chinese. There were some emotional roller-coasters, but she learned a lot and she really enjoyed watching General Conference. She loves her companion, Sister Larsen, as well as her roommates and her district.

--MORE PHOTOS at the end--

Her companion, Sister Larsen

MTC Cards!

This week (Monday, October 14) she said:

This week has been absolutely AMAZING! I seriously love the MTC. I'm so glad I get to be here for 9 whole weeks! Time is already flying and there is so much to learn.

This morning we went to the temple :) Sister Larsen and I did initiatories. Such a wonderful and peaceful experience! I really needed to hear those blessings again. God is so merciful and loving! 

I love all the study time there is here. I've never studied the Gospel so thoroughly before. And the crazy thing is that the more I study the Gospel the more I realize there is SO MUCH MORE TO KNOW. It is hard to divide the study time between learning Chinese, the Gospel, or how to be a good teacher. But like I said before, the Lord is in charge and will help me learn what I need to learn! An amazing thing I've noticed here is if I pray beofore I start studying to learn whatever it is Heavenly Father wants me to know, I ALWAYS learn something that has either been on my mind or will help our investigators. It's so humbling to know that the Lord is award of us every moment.

Yesterday was our first normal Sunday here! It was AMAZING! One of the best days here yet. We all had an interview with a member of our Branch Presidency in the morning. Relief Society is so. Cool. All the Sisters have it together in the gym where we have devotionals. And guess who spoke to us? Oh, just the Young Women General President. No big deal. I guess every week we have a guest speaker like that. She was such a great teacher and spoke about Jacob 5. I really needed to hear everything she said because I've always been one to sort of avoid that chapter because it is so long...haha but not anymore! 

Sacrament meeting is with just your zone. There are only 2 districts in our zone so it was so small. I led the music which made me really happy for some reason :)  The way Sacrament works is a topic is assigned every week and EVERYONE has to prepare a 3-5 minute talk about it in Chinese. Then right after the Sacrament the Branch President announces the two missionaries who will speak. Scary! Since my district is new we didn't have to do it this week but next week we will. Then one couple out of the presidency speaks. It was so nice to take the Sacrament and also hear the district who is two weeks ahead of us speak Chinese. Brother and Sister Teng spoke about the Holy Ghost. I love learning about the Holy Ghost because to be a missionary you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE IT.

I think after having such a spiritual day yesterday I finally realized REALLY why I am out here serving. I am here because God knows me better than I know myself. He knew how happy I would be out here. He knew my life would never be the same. He knew that I would learn the most, grow the best, and be the happiest I've ever been while on a mission. I would not change my decision to serve for ANYTHING. This work is too important and it is truly being hastened just as was prophesied in the D&C. THAT is why I'm out here! I will share this message of Jesus Christ because God called me. And I will do it God's way by being obedient and going where He wants me to go. He will help me teach the people, He will help me learn Chinese, and above all He will and has armed me with His Holy Spirit. Teachers and leaders here keep on thanking me for my sacrifice of coming on a mission. But really, this is no sacrifice. All that has happened since being a missionary is God giving ME things. His blessings and Spirit have been unrestrained since my mission began. I seriously am overwhelmed with gratitude. The other night before bed I was praying and trying to explain to Heavenly Father in big fluffy words how grateful I am and the Spirit whispered, "If you are really grateful, then serve me. That is enough." So I will! I will do whatever it is the Lord has in store for me. The gospel IS true, and God's never ending love MUST reach every willing ear and heart. I will serve Him because I am nothing without my God and Savior.

I love you all! Pray for missionary moments (and pray for me please :) ) I miss you, think about you, and pray for you. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Bement's roommate, Sister Rolphing, in front of her mormon message video
-click picture to see video- 
Spencer Transier

Chinese Book!

Her district at the Provo, Utah Temple

Color matching with Sister Harper

Sister Bement is the only one going to England!