Sunday, October 27, 2013

MTC Week 4

Dear Family & Friends,

Today is officially the month anniversary of my mission! And what a life-changing month it has been. I don't feel like I am the same person that walked in to the MTC a month ago. My testimony has grown so much! I know this mission will continue to change my life as I serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength!

The highlight of my week was getting to "host" the new missionaries that came to the training center on Wednesday. My district, along with several others, lined up on the curb to greet the cars that came in to drop off their missionaries. I watched all the teary-eyed moms hug their sons and daughters goodbye for 18-24 months and I knew exactly what that felt like. After each missionary said their goodbyes, we took them to their residence, picked up their books, and walked them to class. I hosted three sisters- one going to the Philippines (speaking Tagalog- what??!!), another to Jackson, Mississippi, and the other to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I enjoyed getting to know each of these sweet sisters and calm their fears about the MTC. We get to host next week too! My cousin Rex and my old roommate Rachel are coming next Wednesday and I am super excited (if either of you are reading this, I can't wait to see you!!!).

Elder McArthur, one of the elders in our district, was lucky enough to get his visa yesterday! He's probably the most prepared out of all of us so it's definitely not a coincidence. He leaves Monday November 4th straight to Sao Paulo! So excited for him. All of us who haven't received visas yet will get our temporary reassignments this Thursday! So stayed tuned for next week's email to find out where I'll be serving until my visa comes! I can't wait! It's like getting another mission call!!!

Okay I just have to mention how beautiful the weather was this week! AH I love fall and the mountains and the different colored leaves on the trees. Those of you in Alabama... I heard about your little cold spell... bundle up!

This week I've been studying a lot about Christ-like attributes. I really like Jude 1:22 that says, "And of some have compassion, making a difference". The ultimate example of compassion is our Savior Jesus Christ. Matthew 9:36 says, "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them... because they were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd". So what did the Savior do? He encouraged us to pray that He would send forth laborers because the "harvest truly is plenteous"! We are those laborers. He wants His lost sheep to be found. That's my purpose as a missionary- to invite others to come unto Christ and to care about that one lost sheep! Christ is our shepherd.

I also like the account of the Savior visiting the Nephites in the Americas in 3 Nephi 17. As He looked around the multitude there, He said, "Behold my bowels are filled with compassion towards you" and then He blessed the sick, afflicted, and all the children. He "did heal them every one" (v.9). I testify the Lord has compassion for each one of us and He does in fact heal us. We ALL have need of His healing- we all have struggles, pains, worries, stresses of life. Christ has so much compassion, love, charity, and mercy for us. With this compassion, we can make a difference. We can see others through the Savior's eyes. We can be a source of healing and love for someone else. We can make an impact in the world for good!

Thanks for the many letters and emails! I know I say this every week, but I truly am so grateful for all the love and support. It means so much to me! I love you all!

Have a wonderful week and Happy Halloween!!!
Sister Jorgensen

Saturday, October 19, 2013

MTC Week 3

Dear Family & Friends,

I can't believe another week has come and gone! Friday already?! Mid-October already?! Crazy!!!! This week was good! A lot of really cool things happened this week. I have so many reasons to be grateful for this incredible opportunity I have to serve.

On Sunday, Sister Bonnie Oscarson (Young Women General President) came and spoke to all the sister missionaries during Relief Society meeting. She talked about the parable of the vineyard in Jacob 5, specifically verse 72 where it talks about the Lord laboring with us. There is nothing too hard for the Lord and because He is always with me, I can do hard things!

On Tuesday, my district decided to sing with the MTC choir. We sang the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version of "Praise to the Man"- so beautiful and powerful and WOW. I wish you all could have heard it! And guess who came to speak? Elder Dallin H. Oaks, one of the 12 apostles. Yup, 2 general authorities in one week. We must be at the Missionary Training Center or something :) Elder Oaks gave an incredible talk about the only "true and living" church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is "true and living" because Christ lives and He is at the head! The Lord guides our church through modern-day, living prophets and apostles who have His authority. The Heavens are open! I am so grateful to be a missionary for our true and living church!

We are still progressing with the language and working hard with teaching our lessons. It's not easy, that's for sure. But I know I am supposed to be here and there are people out there that need to hear the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ! The other day I was sitting in class and thinking about how truly happy I am. Happy to be in the service of the Lord and becoming the missionary that He wants me to be!

Another thing that made this week awesome was that I found out, thanks to a sweet letter from my mom, that I was accepted into the Journalism program at BYU!!!!! SO EXCITED! Even though I won't be returning to BYU until Spring 2015, it's so comforting to know that I have a place when I go back. Ahhh I am so excited! All that hard work paid off! I can't wait to see where Journalism takes me, especially with coming back fluent in a second language (according to God's will of course). He has blessed me so much!!! No doubt that everything works out when you put your trust in Him and do His will.

I spent some time in the health center this past week (my companion has been sick) and I happened to pick up one of the Ensigns, one of our church magazines, where I found the best quote ever: "Often small acts of service are all that are required to lift and bless another: a question concerning a person's family, quick words of encouragement, a sincere compliment, a small note of thanks, a brief telephone call. If we are observant and aware, and if we act on the promptings which come to us, we can accomplish much good" (President Thomas S. Monson). LOVE this quote! It reminded me of a sign we used to have in our house when we lived in Arizona. It said the verse in Hebrews 13:2 "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares". Whenever we feel like we should say something nice to someone or smile at the person walking by, do it! We never know what people are struggling with. We never know what our small act of kindness can do. Little acts of kindness can make the biggest difference to someone's day. So there's my little thought about being nice to people :)

Ok I just have to say thanks again to everyone for all the letters and emails this week. I feel so loved! Thanks for the uplifting words, I need them! I love you all!!! Have a great weekend!

Sister Jorgensen

P.S. So about the pics... here's our classroom, the other is when I ran into Memo, the other is playing in the leaves during the temple walk last Sunday. Another is of all the girls in our district (we attempted to all wear black, white, and red- yes this is how we add flavor to our lives here at the MTC- haha). Enjoy!

Friday, October 11, 2013

MTC Week 2

Dear Family & Friends,

HAPPY FRIDAY!!! I have been looking forward to P-day all week. When you sit in a classroom for 10 hours a day (seriously), and your head is spinning with so much Portuguese you are about to explode, you kind of start to go crazy! As stressful as it is sometimes, there really is no place I'd rather be right now. I know I am supposed to be here and I am so thankful for the Lord's help through this adventure. I am SO blessed to have such supportive and loving friends and family. I feel your constant prayers and thank you for the letters of encouragement. They are much appreciated!

I hope everyone had a great week! Portuguese is still a work in progress (as it will be for a very long time). We do lots of grammar lessons, vocab flashcards, and role playing of teaching situations. We also do an hour of online language study each day. The program we use is kind of like Rosetta Stone but it follows the Preach My Gospel lessons. It's very helpful! I can now recite my missionary purpose and Joseph Smith's First Vision in Portuguese! We've been practicing while we exercise. I forgot to mention this in my first letter but our classroom is on the 5th floor of our building. We climb 96 stairs (yes, we counted) everyday- actually multiple times a day. I can totally see my Heritage dorm building at BYU from the window in our classroom. It's so close!

In the middle of our busy days, we have an hour of gym time. My companion and I either go to the fitness center or run laps around the campus outside. The weather has been super cold and rainy lately, so yesterday we went to the gym that has an indoor track. It's nice but it's very small. 10 laps is a mile. I ended up running around the track 30 times. It took a lot of mental effort but it's so nice to be able to have that stress-release after being in class all day. I love exercise time. And I'm glad I have a companion who likes to exercise. She doesn't like to run as much as I do, but we work it out. Between going up 96 stairs and running, I think we're (hopefully) making up for the delicious cookies and ice cream in the cafeteria :)

I met a girl in the lunchroom going to the Birmingham, Alabama mission! She was so sweet and friendly. I wish I could remember her name. She leaves on Tuesday. I still can't believe that English-speaking missionaries are only here for 2 weeks. I told her she was going to the best mission in the world! So watch out Birmingham.... You've got some awesome missionaries headed your way! This just reminded me how we now have tons of Russian-speaking sisters on our floor in our residence. Russian?! I am so glad I only have to learn Portuguese. I've met some missionaries who are here at the MTC for 12 weeks because they have to learn two languages, like French AND Tahitian. Holy cow.

So just a quick note about the visa thing. It is very rare for Brazil-bound missionaries to get their visas while in the MTC and almost all of us will have to be temporarily reassigned to another mission. My companion and I were talking to President Nally, the MTC President, on the way to lunch the other day and he told us there are over 1,000 "visa-waiters" in other missions around the country right now. As much as I hope I get my visa soon, it probably won't happen. If I do get reassigned, I will find out the Thursday before I leave the MTC (which happens to be Halloween!). Lots of Brazil missionaries have been getting reassigned to Texas and California. So we'll see what happens! 

This week I have been learning about the power of sincere prayer. It's so comforting to be able to kneel beside my bed at the end of every day and just pour out my heart and soul to my Father in Heaven. I know He is listening, I know He cares, I know He truly wants to help me. Prayer keeps me humble as I continually acknowledge the blessings- the countless blessings- that He gives me each day. At first I would pray "Heavenly Father, please help my visa to come so I can serve you in Brazil" because I REALLY just want to go to Brazil! In Jacob 4:10, it says "seek not to counsel from the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand" (also see Isaiah 55:8-9, the Lord's ways are higher than our ways). I have to trust that the Lord is in control and He knows what He is doing. He has a plan for me, just like He has a plan and purpose for all of us. My prayers have changed. I say, "Father in Heaven, I am YOUR missionary. I am here for you and I am your servant. I'll go where you want me to go and I'll be who you want me to be." Prayer is essential to developing our relationship with God and feeling His love in our daily lives. We can pray anytime, anywhere, for anything! When life becomes more than you can stand, kneel. Ask God for help. Pray to have more faith. Pray to be more loving. Pray to be more humble. Pray for inspiration and guidance. Pray to be an answer to someone's prayer. He is always there to listen!

I love you and miss you all!
Sister Jorgensen

Friday, October 4, 2013

MTC Week One

Dear Family & Friends,

Thank you SO much for the letters, emails, packages, and most importantly, the love and support! I can't believe I've been here for 10 days now. It's gone by so fast, but yet feels like I've been here forever. I have learned and grown so much over this past week and a half! I have no doubt that these 6 weeks here at the Missionary Training Center will prepare me for what is to come in my mission.
I'm so glad it's finally our first P (preparation) day! My companion and I woke up at 5:30 this morning to make it to the laundry room to beat the rush. We also found this secret classroom on the 3rd floor of our classroom building where we could print out our emails. That way I could read what everyone wrote me, think about what to write, and not waste any of my precious limited email time! It's super nice.

Life here at the MTC is busy but awesome! I am learning so much! The Portuguese is coming along. The first few days were pretty rough, especially because our teachers didn't speak English. After teaching our first lesson in Portuguese last Friday, I felt so overwhelmed. I wondered how I could ever learn everything in just 6 weeks. But I know it's possible! I can now pray, say my testimony, and talk about the basics of the gospel in Portuguese. We also sing a hymn in Portuguese before each class- I LOVE it. We taught a lesson yesterday and I didn't have to use any Portuguese notes! My companion and I call it our "caveman Portuguese" but at least we're trying. It's not so much about the words we say but the Spirit that we bring with us. I have realized that when I don't stress out so much about planning everything, the Spirit really does prompt you what to say. I know the Lord is blessing us for our hard work, obedience, and strong desires to serve Him. 

I am in a district with 6 sisters and 4 elders. All 6 of us girls are in one room (3 bunk beds) and we are all together every minute of every day. We get along and we're all really good friends now so it works out! Of course sometimes I have to bite my tongue and put on a smile, but I am trying so hard to just love and have charity for others, and see them how Christ would see them. My companion's name is Sister Lowther (from South Carolina) and she is also going to Brazil Sao Paulo North. She did a year at BYU just like I did. She is strong in areas where I am weak (for example, she is a lot more bold than I am) so we teach together really well!

The biggest thing I've learned so far is the importance of FAITH. We've been taught about faith in Christ our whole lives, but not until this week did I really come to understand it. When I have faith in my Savior, I put my FULL trust in Him. When I sit there and doubt my Portuguese skills or knowledge about the gospel, I am not trusting Him. I am doubting the Lord's ability to help me! I know the Lord knows me and has a plan. I need to have confidence that everything will work out! Whenever I get frustrated, I like to look down at my name tag and remember than I am truly a representative of Jesus Christ. My purpose is to invite others to come unto Him. I am saying and doing those things that He would do if He were here. I know that when I do everything I can on my end, the Lord will do the rest. I have felt it this week as I have been humbled time and time again. The Lord blesses us when we accept His will and His timing and put our full trust in Him. Read Alma 13:28-29. It's a good one :)

I am so so so so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve a mission. Whenever I get homesick or tired, I try to remember how I need to make the most of my time here at the MTC. Never again will I get the chance to be surrounded by 3,000+ missionaries who are sacrificing 18-24 months to serve the Lord. There is such a special spirit here. Never again will I get the chance to be taught by such incredible teachers who have so much to share with us about the joys of missionary work. Never again will I get to attend so many uplifting conferences, devotionals, firesides, and speakers and be taught about the gospel and what it can do to change lives.

Ahhh I could write for hours about all the things I have learned and experienced this week but time is running out. I love you all so much and I want you to know that I have a testimony of the Savior. We are never alone and He is always there to carry us through whatever we are going through. He lives! 
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics are of the district, the temple, and getting to wear jeans on Pday!