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

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