Week 2: A Little Bit at a Time (Feb 12-18)

(Jordan does not manage this blog. Her emails are being posted on her behalf.)

As you can see in this picture, there’s a ton of preparation that goes into every lesson. Especially for the first few, we had to figure out exactly what words we wanted to use in each sentence we would say. Chinese is hard!! But I’m learning a little bit at a time. I know it’s a process.

Personal and companionship study every morning

This picture is me and my companion with MICHAEL BAKER!! I saw him outside the temple and recognized him right away! I was like, “Hey, I know you!! Do you recognize me?” And he’s like, “If you give me a second, I probably will . . .” I told him my name and then he totally remembered. It was so crazy seeing him! It had been so long!!

We saw Michael Baker in Provo

Anyway, this week was amazing! I’ve learned so much and I have so much to write about!

I guess I’ll just start on Thursday, the day after my last P-day. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANNA! I can’t believe you’re already 16! I was thinking about you all day. Thursday was a hard day, but it taught me the importance of hard work and prayer. Whenever I feel like Chinese is impossible or just overwhelmed with everything, I stop thinking negatively and say a prayer. My attitude changes and it’s so much easier for me to work hard and learn a lot. Praying for strength always helps! As a district, we started to read the Book of Mormon. It was super powerful and I loved being able to learn new things from it and talk about it with my district. Also on Thursday I found this awesome quote by Thomas S. Monson: “As our Savior gave his life as a vicarious sacrifice for us, so we, in some small measure, do the same when we perform proxy work in the temple for those who have no means of moving forward unless something is done for them by those of us here on earth.” I love that. I’m on a mission because I know that Jesus Christ suffered so much in my behalf. He sacrificed his life for us, and I want to be able to sacrifice something for Him. But really this mission has really just been a blessing. It’s funny how it always works like that. Jesus Christ suffered and died for us, but every time we try to show Him we are grateful, He just blesses us so much more!
On Friday, it was Valentine’s Day, so that was fun! So much candy!! I got your package, thanks so much for the candy! I tried to share it, but everyone else also got a ton of  candy, so they didn’t want any. haha More for me, that’s fine. Our teacher did a little demo on teaching from one of the pamphlets in our class and it was so good! I’m amazed at how much Chinese I can actually understand. I love feeling the Spirit and I think it’s so powerful being able to hear the Spirit from what’s being taught in Chinese. Also, I just love our teachers. We have two now, and they’re both so so so good! They help us stay focused and remember why we’re here on a mission. They always help me feel more confident and I just love the way they both teach. In the mornings, we do personal and companion study and plan our lessons and then in the afternoon one teacher comes and the other one comes after dinner. We spend so much time in our little classroom! I love every minute.
On Saturday, I had a cool experience. I’ve always had such a hard time actually waking up with my alarm. In high school and in college. I’m a deep sleeper and I hate waking up in the mornings, but since coming to the MTC, it’s been so easy for me to get up. When my alarm goes off at 6:30 every morning, I wake up and then kneel down and pray. On Saturday morning, I remember praying and receiving an answer to a question I had. Because I was sacrificing and was in the right mind set, the question I had was no longer a question. I know that personal revelation is real. You can talk to Heavenly Father and He listens. He always answers your prayers, and if you take time to listen, He will answer you. I made an amazing doodle in my journal on Saturday. I wish you could see it. I have already used so much of my journal, and I don’t think that journal will even last the whole time I’m in the MTC. So many thoughts and so much Chinese and so many doodles. I love it. Here’s something funny that our teacher told us on Saturday. “People who serve a mission in their native language come home fluent in the gospel. People who serve speaking a new language come home fluent in that language and the gospel. People who serve speaking an Asian language come home fluent in humility.” That is so true. Learning Chinese is definitely a huge challenge.
Sunday was the best!! We had a district meeting and it really reminded me of a girls’ camp testimony meeting. The six of us bore our testimonies and told each other about experiences we had had. The Spirit was really strong while we were talking and one of the elders in our district asked us to go around the room and talk about what we’re feeling. It was so powerful. My companion and I started crying and the elders were really close to tears. We all bore our testimonies of the Atonement. We really have the best district and it was amazing to be able to bond and grow stronger together. The Spirit was so strong! I can’t really describe it. On Sunday night, Elder Holland’s son, the president of Utah Valley University came to speak. It was his mom’s birthday, so she came to see him speak and her husband, Elder Holland, came too! It was an amazing surprise. When the apostle walked into the room, you could just feel the Spirit pour into the room. We all stood and he introduced his son. President Holland (Elder Holland’s son) gave a talk on Joseph Smith. It was so good!! The UVU choir came to the devotional, so there were a few musical numbers throughout his talk. It was really incredible! I was in the MTC choir, and at the end of his talk, we sang Praise to the Man. Oh man. So cool. I just love Joseph Smith and I feel so lucky to be able to sing about his life while an apostle was there and the Spirit was just so amazing. Ah, I can’t even describe it. I love the line in that song that says, “Wake up the world for the conflict of justice. Millions shall know ‘Brother Joseph’ again.”
On Monday, we found this scripture: 2 Nephi 10:20. Taiwan is an isle of the sea!! We learned a lot more Chinese on Monday. At the MTC, you hear “SYL” all the time. People always say it. It stands for Speak Your Language. Whenever you’re talking, you’re supposed to speak the Chinese words that you know and then fill in what you don’t know with English. Over time, you’ll be able to only speak Chinese and when you do SYL, you can notice what words you don’t know and then you can go learn those words. So whenever we’re just talking to each other in class, or when we’re walking to places on campus, or eating a meal, we try to always SYL. It’s actually really hard because it takes so much longer to actually process in your mind how to say things in Chinese, but it’s really good practice.
Yesterday was Tuesday and we probably had one of the best lessons yet. Most days that we’re here we teach a lesson to one of our investigators. Yesterday, I spent a ton of time practicing and planning for this lesson! We went in to meet with the investigator, and right after I sat down, I realized I had forgotten my journal which had everything written in it!! I kind of panicked, but told myself I could do it, and I just winged it. Instead of reading things off my journal and reciting sentences, I was able to look the investigator in the eye and testify and teach. It was really amazing. Even though I forgot how to say a lot of words during the lesson, I knew that because I had practiced and planned and worked for this investigator, I was prepared and could have the Spirit. I’m so grateful for that experience because it helped me realize that the secret to missionary work is work. If you work and struggle to learn the language and the doctrine, you will see success. The investigator later told us that our lesson was one of the best ones he had had from missionaries after only two weeks. That was so rewarding! The Lord blesses you after you do all that you can do! Read in the Bible Dictionary about grace. I LOVE that section.
I love you all! Thanks for all the DearElders and letters and thanks so much again for the package!!! I’m so lucky to be a part of this family. Remember who you are…you’re a child of GOD!
Sister Jordan Berrey
(Jordan does not manage this blog. Her emails are being posted on her behalf.)