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!!!)

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