Monday, July 28, 2014

A Humbling Experience
Hello! So to begin, I would just like to say to my family that you're all brats. You laughed at my blood/needle story and told me I was a drama queen... and I even left out the most dramatic part of it! So when I was feeling sick and I was in the bathroom I was so hot so I took off my clothes. So when my companion asked me if I wanted a blessing I said, "Uh... sure, but I need to put my clothes back on." So there. Go ahead and laugh at me some more! Haha. 
This week went by so fast for me! Time is speeding up, it's so weird. On Tuesday morning for gym time I saw Elder Sng doing a push up with a clap, so I decided to try it. I ended up falling flat on my stomach with a thud. He says he's going to train me to do one by the time he leaves (2 more weeks!) soooo great. In the classroom the elders were writing variables on the board for different ways to make orange juice explode. Needless to say, we have about ten bottles of orange juice in our classroom and they have exploded several times. The devotional on Tuesday night was so good! Elder Ellis of the quorum of the seventy brought his 8 out of 9 children and they all talked about their missions! All of them talked about exact obedience... my greatest struggle. I'm trying so hard! Dad, this is for you. One of them likened God's work to a train. People may get on, and people may get off, but the train (God's work) will continue moving forward. If I get off the train it will keep going, but I will miss so many opportunities and relationships with people. So I won't get off the train (or plane like my dad always tells me).
Chancey Trentman from Auburn, CA enters the MTC
Chancey Trentman entered the MTC on Wednesday! So I got to see him. Wednesday was a humbling day for me, which sucks. I hate being humbled, but I know that´s one of the reasons I´m here on a mission. My companion has taught me so much about missionary work and myself just through her example. I´m starting to learn patience and charity, but I have a long way to go. 
Thursday was a great day. After lunch we got a new investigator, it´s just our teacher Wu Laoshi pretending to be an investigator he taught on his mission. But the spirit was so strong! The Lord helped me so much and I was prompted so many times on what to say! I have been so blessed here! In class we had to take turns playing an investigator, someone that we know from home, and have a concern about getting baptized. One of the Elders said he struggled with the concept of God and whether he was really there. A scripture instantly popped into my head, Ether 12 verse 6. The spirit was so strong and I was able to put all of his concerns to rest. I was wondering why the spirit was so strong in a fake situation, so I asked him who he was pretending to role play. He told me himself. So the spirit was prompting me because this Elder was seriously struggling with a real life situation. God knows all of our worries and concerns, and through the spirit we can be guided to help all of His children.
                                                                    Provo Temple
Holiness To The Lord
Friday was a funny day. So here´s a little back story, a couple weeks ago Elder Wheeler looked up my profile. I had made it kind of fast when I was at home so I really quick wrote in my bio "I'm Courtney, i love music,Mexican food, and my family." So my whole district has been making fun of me for that. At lunch I touched Elder Heap´s doughnut and when he ate it he said," Ew, Courtney germs. This tastes like Mexican food!" Moral of the story, everyone in my district is a brat. So that was pretty funny I guess haha! We got another new investigator, Huan Li Xin, and she has major anxiety. We tried teaching her how to pray, and I just failed miserably. I told her "Ok, first say 'Dear Heavenly Father.' Second, ask and thank God. Third, say "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen," (All in Chinese obviously.) So we asked her to pray, and this was her prayer: "Dear Heavenly Father, ask and thank, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." hahahahah my companion and I just died! Ugh, my Chinese is so limited that I struggled getting my message across! Friday my whole district cracked. We were going crazy during class. We were laughing at everything. Oh dear, I think we're realizing that we are never going to be alone for the next 18 months. During the class, Wu Laoshi kept asking me to translate everything he was saying. Finally on the third time I said, "Why are you only asking me to translate?!" He said that I always have a confused look on my face. This language is so confusing! But it's coming along.



Sister Missionaries

Saturday morning my whole district decided to play volleyball... I even scraped my knee because I'm so dedicated ;). During class Tan Laoshi was telling us all the MTC rules (and some of them seem so dumb to me, but exact obedience is key!) and some people were complaining. She said, "You all chose to give up your agency for  year and a half. Remember why you are doing this." It's so true, I have given up so much in order to serve the Lord; the least I can do is be obedient. 
Yesterday was the best Sunday of my existence. All the lessons were so good. Sheri Dew talked to the relief society about how women and men are equal, but they have different responsibilties. She said that we aren't priesthood holders, but when we were called to be a missionary we recieved the authority to use the priesthood. Gah it was such an incredible talk. In sacrament meeting, District C sang the EFY medley because they leave tomorrow :( I was bawling. I hate good byes. I've gotten so close to everyone here! The day before I was being kind of down on myself, so when I got back from Sacrament meeting I found a note on my scriptures from Elder Sng telling me to look up Mosiah 24:13-14. It says that the Lord will ease my burdens. I love how close everyone is here and how the first place everyone turns to for comfort is the scriptures. I know that we are never alone. The Lord is always looking out for us. If we ever need anything we can turn to Him and ask Him for help. We can read the scriptures and grow closer to God. This work is a marvelous work, and I love being here.
I love and miss you all so much! Thank you for the Dearelder letters and packages and emails! It's so comforting to have so much support (:

Wo ai ni

Jian Jie Mei

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time Is Crazy
Another week down! Time is such a crazy concept out here in the MTC. The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. I feel like I just emailed you, but at the same time it has been a life time! This week I had the BEST day at the MTC followed immediately by my worst day. 
On Monday we taught our investigator again, which went pretty well but we forget that the Chinese word for Chinese is Zhongwen... so that was awkward. Elder Jensen and Elder Vaughn didn't know how to explain baptism so they stood up and demonstrated it! It was so funny! Someone read me a really good scripture: Mark 10:28-3028 ("Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life".)
Tuesday was seriously the best day ever, but you have to hear me out until the end because it starts horribly. So my whole district had to go to the health clinic for what we thought was just a check up for our Visas. But upon arriving the nurse told us that she had to draw blood from all of us. I felt the blood leave my face and I started crying. I know, I'm almost 20 and I still cry. So she said she would do me first to get it over with. I went into the room and Sister Lew came with me to hold my hand, thank goodness! She wants to be a nurse so I'm sure this was great practice for her haha! So I'm in the chair, and looking at the ceiling where they have hung a picture of Jesus that says "you're not alone"... kind of cheesy hahaha. So I'm hyperventilating and crying and she sticks my right arm and I think "ok, it's done!" but then she says "your vein ran away... so I'm going to have to do your other arm." Oh my gosh. So at this point I am seeing black spots and there is a ringing in my ears and I feel dizzy, but she sticks my left arm and its over. I can't get up because I'm so dizzy. They make me drink gatorade and stuff, but suddenly I get this ridiculous pain in my stomach. I was seriously in so much pain, and I thought I was going to throw up. So I asked if I could use the bathroom, and they tried to help me get up but I felt dizzy again and they made me lay on the floor. They got a wheelchair for me and my companion wheeled me to the bathroom. The pain would not go away and I was praying so hard that it would. I got a prompting that I needed to ask for a blessing, but I pushed it away and told myself that I was strong and didn't need it. but at that moment my companion asked me, "Do you want a blessing?" I knew that this was another prompting and that I needed a blessing. So she wheeled me into the room where all the Elders were waiting for me. My companion asked them if someone would give me a blessing, and only one of them had their oil on them; Elder Vaugn. A little background on this elder, he looks like he is 14 and acts like it too. He seriously reminds me of my little brothers. He's spazzy and just out of high school. So it surprised me that he was so prepared. His companion, Elder Jensen, annointed the oil, and then Elder Vaughn sealed it and gave me my blessing. Oh my goodness, it was one of the most beautiful blessings I've ever received. I could feel his hands shaking at first, but then he calmed down and the spirit was so strong. He blessed me that I would have health throughout my mission, and I would be able to get through whatever medical stuff I would need in order to get to Taiwan. He blessed me that I would be able to learn Chinese. he said that the Lord had been preparing people in Taiwan for me my entire life! I was bawling by the end of it, and my stomach pain was gone the instant the blessing began. It was so incredible. It really strengthened my testimony of blessings. I was his first blessing too, so it was really special for both of us.
I had three hours of class later that day, and my laoshi (teacher) pulled me aside to talk to me. He asked me how I was doing, and I said fine and I was just frustrated with my chinese. He told me that i need to be more confident because my Chinese is really good. He said, "I was talking to the other teachers on the first day and I told them that there was a girl in my class that I was pretty sure had the gift of tongues, and that you." Wow! The Lord is seriously blessing me so much here! I couldn't do it without Him!
Wednesday was my one week mark, and it was a hard day for me. The lesson with the investigator was a failure... all she talked about was why people shot other people and why God didn't stop it and stuff. My chinese isn't good enough to answer, and I just couldn't feel the spirit. It was rough. My chinese was coming slowly that day and I was just so down on myself. 
Thursday was a good day again. There is a quote on my journal that says, "every blessing brings a challenge... and every challenge a blessing." That is so true. My Chinese came easier to me that day, thank goodness. And we even committed our investigator to baptism! The spirit was so strong during that lesson it was incredible! I receieved a package from my sweet family with tons of food(: Yummy! Thank you guys(:
Friday was the same as every other day, except a bottle of orange juice exploded in our garbage can and shot garbage everywhere! It was so surprising and so funny. Saturday I played four square with my district, and I even made it to the "king" spot several times, purely through luck though! haha. Sundays are great because they are a day of rest from the language. We had a devotional from T.C. Christenson,  a cinematographer. He did 17 Miracles and stuff. It was really good. He talked about the importance of always being prepared so that you can go to action the minute the Lord calls you to. 
I'm loving it here. I can't imagine being anywhere else. I love my district, I love my zone, I love my sisters. I know the Lord is blessing me in so many ways, and that through Him all things are possible. I love you all so much! Keep the faith, the church is true.
Jian Jie Mei
Courtney and her Zone Leaders

Courtney and Sister Lew


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Week one! Wow! I've been out on my mission for what feels like forever and also for no time at all! It was so hard watching my family walk away from me in the airport Wednesday morning, but I got lucky because I sat next to an LDS couple on the plane and they talked to me about their sons on missions and how it's going to be such a great experience! I found another Sister on my plane, Sister Stephens (Phteven!), who is serving in Rapid City, South Dakota... Bernice's home town! I rode the shuttle with her and we were basically companions for the first couple of hours. I love the MTC. Upon arriving I felt immense comfort from my Heavenly Father that this is where I'm supposed to be! I went to lunch and I SAW ADDY! I ran up to her and started crying and hugging her. She was crying too and it was so great to see my best friend again! I also saw Cammie, and James Pyron and lots of others from my ward at BYU. That was super comforting and exciting... but weird that I can only shake hands with the elders. I also had to get used to introducing myself as Sister Jenkins. So weird.
I was the first one to enter my classroom, and instantly the teacher started talking to me in Chinese. I just laughed. I have not felt stressed at all about learning the language. I figured out what the teacher was saying to me and even began to respond in Chinese myself! The teachers hardly ever speak English to you. It's crazy how much I am learning daily! I also got a new last name, Jian. It means chill or something. I'm not sure haha. I met my companion, Sister Strong. I absolutely adore her. She's quiet at first but then she's all sassy and fun. We're really fun together. In my district everyone has a companion that has had a little bit of experience with the language except for me and Sister Strong. We struggle, but we work together. I know we were put together for a reason. We help each other and have to rely on each other completely! I room with another set of companions, Sister Fisher and Sister Strong. Sister Strong and I are seriously the same person. It's crazy. I know I wasn't put with her because we would never get anything done! But I love these girls so much. They're so fun and so good to be around.
The day I came in 635 other missionaries entered too, and 54 of them were Mandarin speaking! Also, did you know there are sign language missions??? Maybe Mel or the boys will get called there ;) On Tuesday the alarm went off at 6:30 AM and I thought, "Oh my gosh.. I'm doing this for 18 months." Haha! The days are so long, but by the time night comes it feels like I was just writing in my journal the night before. Time is a crazy concept out here in the mission field! I had a lot of class and such. Every time I learned something new I felt so accomplished! I always get excited and my district just laughs at me. I love my district. They all say my laugh is contagious and I'm super animated and entertaining. I know that I was placed in my district for a reason and I already feel like we're all family, even though I just learned their first names yesterday! The boys all just graduated from high school except for Elder Wheeler, who is 20 years old and served in the military for 3 years. i learned how to bear my testimony in Chinese! Crazy stuff. The Lord is helping me SO MUCH. I met my branch president, and he is so sweet. They told us so much information about the MTC. Being here is like having someone spray you with a firehose and telling you to drink. 
Friday I had my first investigator with wo de tongban (with my companion). OH my gosh... we left the room and just started laughing. We had a script all planned out but we couldn't understand a single thing she was saying! We told her about Jesus Christ and God, and she kept holding up one finger and two fingers. I thought she was asking if there were two Gods, so I kept holding up one finger and making awkward gestures about Christ being God's son. Getting back to the classroom, everyone told me she had been asking if God and Christ were the same person! I told her yes! Oh dear me... what a missionary I am! Haha! One companionship went in, and Elder Wheeler was saying "I'm from California," but Elder Robinson forgot how to saying anything except "Jesus is the son of God!" so he blurted that out and it didn't make sense and it was so funny!
Saturday was a good day. I played soccer in the morning with some sisters! I blocked a goal!... with my stomach on accident because she kicked it at me. I also made a goal!... in my own goal because they kicked the ball at me and it went in. But it was so fun! I had my investigator again, and oh my goodness the gift of tongues is real! I couldn't understand her, but the spirit kept whispering what she was saying and how I should respond. IT was absolutely incredible! Me and my companion said a prayer after to thank our Lord for this experience. It was amazing. 
Sundays are great. We get a lot of study time. We have relief society before lunch and sacrament meeting after. I said the closing qidao (prayer)! In Chinese! I wrote it down first, but still! I was proud(: I did choir also. It felt good to sing again! We had a devotional on BYU campus at the mariott center. I was getting super nostalgic from being on my campus (Sister Lew goes to BYU too! We were in the same dorms, different floors). The devotional was all about charity. "Charity always requires sacrifice." I love that. It's so true. 
This morning I went to the Provo Temple with my sisters and the elders. It was so wonderful! I was kind of sad because it was my first time going through without my mama, but it was still such an incredible experience. I love this gospel so much. I know I'm supposed to be here. I know without a doubt that Christ lives, that God answers prayers, and that trials make you stronger. The church is true. I love you all
Jian Jie Mei 
Sister Jenkins (new name tag)
Missionary District Companions

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mama! Hi I love you! I don't have much time to talk, but my branch president told me I have to email you and let you know I'm ok! I love the picture! How sweet! I'm so sorry that you are feeling so sad; it will get better I promise! The MTC is so great! Mom, I didn't cry my first day at all! They keep me so busy that you don't have time to think about anything! My P-Days are Monday, so I will email you with more details then! But my companion is Sister Strong and she's adorable. Her voice sounds just like Alyse Whiting! We both have no experience with Chinese so we are struggling together! We know how to bear our testimonies in Chinese already, and I have my first "investigator" in about an hour! Pray for me that I will get the gift of tongues and I will be able to reach out to our investigator! I miss you guys, but don't worry about me, I'm doing so great. Heavenly Father has been giving me so much comfort and love. He has let me know that if I focus on my mission everything will work out. The days feel like weeks... but by the time night comes it feels like the day was a blur! I love you all so much! I got the letters from girl's camp about 10 minutes ago. I found Mel's letter, but I know I won't be able to read it without crying so I'm leaving that for tonight in my room. Send my love to everyone. Send my love to Andy. Send my love to Honey. I'm so proud of all you guys.
I will write you on Monday!
Wo Ai Ni!
Jian Jie Mei <3