Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 2

Got another letter!  Here is week 2!

Hello Everyone!
So this week in the MTC - so many things happened!  I can't remember them all!  But I'll try my best.  Tuesday night we had a devotional that was really great.  It was by Paul E. Koelliker which taught us a lot about the doctrine of Christ and how to be effective missionaries.  The Spirit was really strong and the district meeting we had afterward with our branch president and his wife was also really fantastic.  We had some substitute teachers in class this week.  Brother Osurno taught us about how the Doctrine of Christ and the Missionary Purpose (Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) are one and the same.  Then we had Brother Jarman for a couple days, and he gave a very helpful but entertaining basic overview of Spanish grammar.  There was one part of the lesson where he was trying to teach us how to us direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish by offering us a pen "Se lo doy!  Se lo doy!" (I give it to you!) and wanting us to accept it by using the correct Spanish indirect and direct object pronouns and the correct conjugation of the verb to say, "You give it to me."  (Me lo da.)  I won't get into the details of Spanish grammar right now, since I am already ten minutes into my email time, but his teaching style is fantastic.  Our progressive investigator, Nellie, "moved" back to Mexico, and so after only three (not-so-great for me and Hermana Frandsen) lessons, we are moving on to two new investigators, Luis and Bonni.  We met Hermana Call (who had been acting as Nellie and will now be acting as Bonni) as our teacher for the first time.  She is very nice and sometimes can remind me of an elementary school teacher with her teaching style.  But I think sometimes we need that kind of gentle reminder of focus - especially when we're trying to get through our particularly long stretches of class time (which go from 2:30 - 5:30 and then 6:30 - 9:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) after dinner.  Hermano Piperato is our other full-time teacher and this week he started also acting the role of our second progressive investigator, Luis.  Luis is very funny but speaks rapid Spanish - most of which we don't understand - and gets distracted easily in the lessons.  He asked Hermana Frandsen and I for our "real names," and when we wouldn't tell him and told him to just  call us "Hermana," he said (in Spanish, of course), "Well, then you can't call me Luis.  You call me 'El Capitan Mercado.'"  Two of our district members, Hermana Brewster and Elder Biddle, will be leaving us next week for international MTCs.  Hermana Brewster to Nicauragua by way of the Guatemala MTC, and Elder Biddle to Spain.  We have three other elders headed for Spain as well, but they haven't received visas yet so they are stuck here for a while.  (Elder Biddle is from Australia so he already had to have a visa before he could even come here.)  I was going to tell you about how Hermana Frandsen and I were comparing going on a mission to the Plan of Salvation - well, I may not have time for a lenghty explanation here, but basically we were thinking that coming here is really a lot like having to leave Heavenly Father's side to come to earth.  We were so loved and cared for in the pre-existence and down here there's just so much that is scary and unexpected and difficult.  Hermana Frandsen says she thinks this is why babies cry so much when they are born - they are homesick for Heavenly Father.  And we cry a lot in the MTC as well.  Because it's SO HARD.  EVERY DAY.  And we miss home and we feel inadequate (because we are, and that's why we need Christ) and yet we know that if we work hard and pray and do our best we will be so glad when we return home again.  Something else cool that happened is this morning we went to the temple, and as I was waiting for my turn to go into the celestial room, I just felt such a rush of joy and excitement and gratitude from the woman for whom I was acting as proxy (her name was Abigael).  It was very special.  Anyway, we really dislike the MTC cafeteria.  Some of the cookies and salads are good, but it just gets old so fast.  And we feel like all we do is eat and sit, and yet we are starving all the time and we're always stealing bags of chips and apples and cookies from the cafeteria to get us through class.  Hermana Frandsen is convinced that no one can like the MTC except for in retrospect.  I am inclined to agree with her.  The MTC does weird things to you.  Like, it shouldn't be the best part of your WEEK when you have enough time to take a shower where you can shave your legs....  And you also shouldn't be so desperate for entertainment that turning the drinking fountain spout outward so you can set your water bottle on the floor to fill it more completely is the best part of your day (this is not my experience, but some elders in our zone say we will get there).  Also, we are so desperate for really good food that we are considering hoarding up butter and paper bowls from the cafeteria and writing home for Rice Krispies and marshmallows so that we can make Rice Krispies treats in the dormitory hallway microwave.  (Seriously, if you want to do send them, Hermana Frandsen and I would love you forever!!!!)  Anyway, that's really all I have time for for now.  I will try to stop being so disconnected in my letters but it's hard when there's no time.  PLEASE KEEP WRITING!   WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!  Another thing about the MTC is that getting mail is really the best thing that happens to you all day and so if I could get mail EVERY DAY, just imagine how happy I could be!  (And thanks to everyone who wrote and sent packages this week - I am so grateful and love you all so much!)  Hermana Frandsen gets all kinds of packages from and letters from friends and family all the time (hint, hint) and it's amazing how much it helps the morale.  Love you all.  My time is gone, gone, gone.
Until next week!
Hermana Burgess

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jordanne's first letter

After a kind of long week, we heard from our girl today!  She sounds great... already talking like a seasoned missionary.  Here's what she had to say:

Hola Familia!

Just a little note to report on the first day at the MTC.  When I arrived, I was escorted around by a sister who was getting ready to go to Singapore.  I got an ID card photo taken, got my nametag, took my bags to my room, etc.  Then I met with my district, did some orientation videos, and met my companion.  Her name is Hermana Frandsen, and so far I like her a lot.  She is from Provo - you can practically see her house from the MTC (and you can see the place where she used to work.)  We room with the two other sisters in our district, Hermanas Dalley and Brewster.  Hermana Frandsen is headed to Conception with me.  Her mana Dalley is going to the Chile Osorno mission (with the penguins,) and Hermana Brewster leaves in three weeks for the MTC in Guatemala and then she'll go on to Nicaragua.  I love them all, and though I'm sure once we get more settled in we'll find things out about one another that might cause disagreements, we have all been so grateful to be blessed with wonderful companeras and roommates.  One of the last things we did today was to participate in a "Teaching Experience."  Large groups of missionaries met together in a room that had a staged living room area.  The instructor would give us a little background information on the "investigator" we'd be meeting, and then some more-seasoned sisters would demonstrate a door approach and the beginning of a first meeting.  Then the instructor would pause and ask how we thought we could invite the "investigator" to come to Christ, and he would open it up for us to try to teach  My favorite "investigator" was named Arnold.  He was an older man, kind of a recluse, a photographer and a nature lover.  He had just lost his wife and was very lonely and downtrodden.  He loves the Bible and knows it well and has a great love for the Savior, but is a bit cynical because of the hypocrisy of the world.  I was blessed to have the opportunity to share my testimony of eternal families with him, and he seemed to be receptive to the idea and especially excited about seeing his wife again.  It was a cool experience.  Anyway, I have too much to say and too little time to do so, so I will leave you now.  My P-day is Tuesday, so look for an email then!

Hermana Burgess

Needless to say, I could hardly wait to open my email to see if she had written again, but I had to go to a rehearsal.  As I was driving to rehearsal, I opened my email on my phone and found that she had written, but I didn't have time to read it before the rehearsal began.  I read bits and pieces of it during the few short breaks that we had, but didn't get to finish reading it until after 10 this evening.  Here is what she had to say in her email:

Hello Everyone!
Tuesdays are my P-days in the MTC, so be looking for my emails every Tuesday!  Some really important items of business before I start to tell you about my week (just in case I run out of time at the end - only 30 minutes for email, aaah!).  First of all, PLEASE WRITE TO ME!!!!!  I accept DearElder (free to you and delivered to me daily from dearelder.com), handwritten letters, and packages of all sizes.  It is truth that mail is like "paper gold" around here, and it is REALLY MOTIVATING and makes me feel SO LOVED!  (Kudos to Mom Cannon, AnnMarie, Anna, and Megan for being the first to send me letters, you guys rock and I really appreciated it! - *ahem* Notice no letters from mi familia... *ahem*)  My compaƱera even got one letter from a friend that was only a few sentences long, because he wanted her to get more mail than her companion.  So if that's all you do then do it!  :)  I love you!
Okay, so first week at the MTC.  Pretty rough.  I don't love the MTC yet - not convinced that I ever really will, despite the many assurances about it that I received.  But I do love my compaƱera, Hermana Frandsen.  She is from Provo and lives only about three blocks from here.  Her family attends church in the chapel just across the street from the MTC and today on our walk back from the temple (LOVE the Provo temple, by the way, it's so beautiful!) we saw her 16-year-old brother out training for Cross Country.  Anyway, she is awesome and we love each other, and she is headed to Concepcion with me so we are both excited to maybe have someone to travel with, as well as a friendly face in country if we ever get the chance to work together again.  We room with the two other Hermanas in our district, Hermanas Dalley and Brewster.  Hermana Dalley is headed to Chile as well, but to the Osorno mission, down south with the penguins.  Hermana Brewster leaves us for the Guadalajara MTC in tres semanas (dos semanas now) and then she goes on to Nicauragua.  I love all my district sisters and there have been no roommate-oriented disagreements thus far, which is a blessing.  We all go to bed on time and get up on time and we're quiet and clean and it makes it pretty easy to get along.
On Thursday we met our branch presidency and although one of the counselors, President Bradford, is very strict and stern (and a little scary), the other counselor and his wife (President and Sister Davis) are clearly ecstatic to be working with the missionaries and President Bradley and his wife are so loving and kind and clearly in tune with the Spirit.  They called me to be the coordinating sister over all the Hermanas in our branch, which basically means that I am responsible for welcoming any newcomers, reporting to the branch presidency on the status of the sisters in the branch at Branch Council each Sunday, and making sure each Hermana is doing well, feeling happy, obeying the mission rules, working hard, and having all their needs met.  And letting President Bradley know if there are any problems.  I am supposed to make nightly visits to all my branch sisters in their residence hall, but as myself and my roommates are currently the only Hermanas in our branch, I don't have a whole lot to coordinate.  It also makes it really hard for me to be out of the loop.  Sister Davis told us that our branch traditionally is devoid of sisters, so I don't know that it is likely that I will ever have more than just the four of us to watch over, but I pray every day to better serve my sisters and to know how to best fulfill my calling.
Spanish is difficult.  Not because I can't learn it, but because by Friday we were teaching lessons to a progressive investigator (AKA our teacher, Hermana Call, acting the role of Nellie, an investigator she taught on her mission to AZ) all in Spanish, and those lessons take place nearly every day of the week.  It is so frustrating sometimes to try to convey your knowledge and testimony to someone when you don't have the skills to do so.  It makes us sometimes yearn to be speaking English, because we are really just ready to go out there and teach and we won't be able to do that for soooooooo long.  But our last lesson we taught without a pre-written script.  Mind you, it did not go very well.  But I am understanding more and more of what Nellie says to us in each lesson and that is encouraging.  I just pray that we can learn to teach by the Spirit (in Spanish), because that will be the only way that Nellie can come to learn that what we are (attempting) to teach her is true.
I am almost out of time!  Remind me to tell you about how Hermana Frandsen and I were comparing a mission to the Plan of Salvation, and if you want to send me addresses, pictures, or anything, please send them in the mail because I have SO MUCH MORE TIME to read them that way.
I love you and miss you all.  WRITE TO ME!!!!
Hermana Burgess
P.S.  Mama, I need some more sweaters.  If you could please send my bright blue v-neck cardigan, my purple crewneck sequined cardigan, my pink 3/4 sleeve with the rosettes, and any other cute ones I'd really appreciate it.  Along with my dark brown skinny snakeskin belt if it ever got found....  I have more but I'll write it by hand.  Goodbye I love and miss you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Adventure Begins!

Hello Hermana Burgess fans!  This is her mother, Danielle.  Just a quick entry to let you know that Jordanne was set apart last evening as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in a very sweet meeting at our home.  We stayed up most of the night finishing the packing, then took off this morning for Provo.  Besides Jordanne and myself, we had Eric, Shannon and Austin in the car.  We stopped to finish a couple of last minute errands on the way, then went to lunch at Jordanne's favorite restaurant, Zuppas.  Jordanne had a little panic attack during lunch, but that was to be expected.  There are many changes ahead for her.  After lunch, we drove to the MTC and dropped her off at the curb.  There were many very cute (I thought they were cute, anyway) Elders waiting there to help her with her luggage and to make sure she found where she was supposed to be.  She seemed to be in good hands.  We waved to her as we drove away.  I'm sure that she will be fine, but any prayers in her behalf would be greatly appreciated!  I will be posting any news that I receive and her letters will also be posted on this blog.  Stay tuned...