A quick week!

kamusta!!!!!!

i can’t believe its pday again! i know i was just complaining how time goes by slowly. but this week was waaaaaaay fast!
How are you all doing? thanks for all the dear elders and letters and packages. love you ALL so MUCH! i hope Doug is doing well now! and when i heard that Emily was home i thought WHAT? that 18 months went by quick, right? the same will happen for me. Give Em a hug for me!!!!! today for pday the international missionaries went to a session in SLC so i told them all to look for a sister burgoyne, but no luck. so ryan: it was totally meant to be that you saw her the other day.
this week has been really good. not super eventful. but i will let you know the deets day by day.
sidenote: do i write exactly how i talk in real life? because i have been told that a lot lately. feedback appreciated #thanks
ok…
Saturday: normal, class, etc. nothing to report
Sunday: the temple dedication! but before that, we had sacrament meeting. you know how every missionary in the branch is supposed to prepare a talk in case they get called on? well let me tell you a little story. Saturday night i was getting ready for bed when the thought came to me, “i’m going to have to speak tomorrow” I kinda shrugged it off and hoped that it wouldn’t be the case. of course i prepared my talk though! Sunday morning comes, and remember how i have been sick? (update on being sick: i’m totally over it now, but have been coughing the whole time and only stopped coughing (finally!) yesterday) Before sacrament meeting started, we were in our classroom studying. our branch president came in to chat for a minute. since i was coughing so much he said, “i don’t usually do this because i’m not supposed to medicate missionaries but do you want this cough medicine pill thing?” i declined because 5 minutes before I had taken cough syrup. as we walked over to sacrament meeting he asked me and the other sisters if we had prepared talks. i thought nothing of it. but yes, i did indeed get called on to speak! my talk was about faith in Jesus Christ. At the end, one of the branch counselor’s wives came up to thank me, and then she was super nice and told me that it was one of the best talks she has ever heard since being at the mtc. But here’s the thing. I felt like i was super scatter brained during my talk. it was ok, but nothing to warrant that kind of praise from her. So either she was just being super crazy nice, or the spirit was very present and touched her in some way! which as a missionary is exactly what is supposed to happen. Because I am definitely not a perfect teacher in any way, shape, or form. THE SPIRIT is the teacher! and it doesn’t get any better than that! So after sacrament meeting we went to the 10 o’clock temple dedication. I loved it so much! it was one of those times where i just get so excited about the gospel! sitting there before it started, i realized, this is the longest i have sat with nothing to do since being at the MTC! it was good to reflect for a few minutes. the speakers were great and spirit taught me a lot. Not to mention, it was THE COOLEST thing to be in the huge MTC auditorium with a zillion other missionaries during the hosanna shout! it was like a sea of white handkerchiefs! super cool.
Monday: a pretty normal day of classes and all the good stuff. We’ve been having a bunch of different teachers teach us lately. We still have our main teacher, brother pasikala, who is FANTASTIC. But we’ve had a few substitutes for our other teacher and i have loved it! its very cool to be taught by different people who are all outstanding, but have different experiences and put different emphasis on different things. I’ve learned a lot. I had a Cebuano breakthough too. Which has been incredible. I’m understanding so much more than before. and i’m starting to be able to say what i WANT to say! its a very weird, but cool language.
Tuesday: found out that we don’t get to sing in general conference 😦 which so bums me out. the elders are singing in priesthood though, so look for them! I super wanted to sing so i’m sad for me, but mostly i’m just sad for my cute companion. i can’t remember if i’ve told you before, but almost daily she tells me that she wants to see the prophet. so i’m sad for her, but its all good! it reminds me of the plot of the joseph smith movie because it starts and ends with the redhead girl from england who converts and moves to america and hopes to see joseph smith. at the end she doesn’t see him, but concludes that she doesn’t have to see him to know that he is the prophet! thats what this situation reminds me of! haha. On Tuesday night for the devotional, Elder Ballard came! its crazy that we’d had 2 apostles in a row (Elder Scott last week). Apparently its super uncommon for this to happen. He didn’t write a talk, just spoke to us like he would his grandkids haha. It made me miss both of my grandpas! His talk was very good and i felt so lucky to be there! Also at the devotional i found my calculator watch twin! i know you hate my watch mom, but its now one of my favorite things! this week i used the calculator to estimate how many calories i consumed from cough drops hahah #nerdalert. other thing that happened tuesday: my back muscles started hurting because i cough so much. seriously i’ve coughed so much that i now have abs of steel. but its all good now! no more coughing!
Wednesday: The day i reached my 1/2 way mark at the MTC! also, we started playing 4 square during gym time. it is hilarious because the elders get so into it. its way fun though.
Thursday: The day i realized i was getting a little sick of the MTC food. the food is fine, its just definitely mass produced food. haha having taken a foodservice class for dietetics makes me kind of hard on the cafeteria though haha. it really is all fine though. this week is sister taungea’s birthday! on the 29th!
Random other things that don’t fall under a day
– i now have a scripture case because this random elder in my district made me one out of poster board haha. i didn’t ask him to, he just gave it to be one day haha so funny.
– you’ve asked about the communal showers and i’ve heard you. they’re not terrible actually. we cleaned them ourselves. each day of the week different sisters have different responsibilities. but the funny thing with the bathroom is that people sing in the showers. like hardcore. some people are good, others are….not. it kind of makes me feel like i’m listening to american idol auditions, except there aren’t any judges to tell them to stop haha.
– yes, i have been teaching yoga to the sisters in my district! its super fun. they’re way funny about it.
– also, sorry this email is so random. i write stuff as i remember it!
well, i’m out of time!
i love you all! thanks for all the prayers and support! i appreciate it.
this gospel is true! if it wasn’t i wouldn’t be here! (duh)
love,
j
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I drink chocolate milk at every meal and i’m not ashamed of it!

w/Sis Taungea

w/Sis Taungea

kamusta!!!

how are you all? thanks a million for all the dear elders and letters and packages. you people are too good to me!
this week went by quickly! i know last week i complained how weird the time is here. now the time is going fast. we just started our 3rd week here! crazy. soon we’ll be 1/2 way done with the mtc. also, this week was seriously hilarious. so many funny things happened. i’ll go day by day.
last friday/pday: we did our laundry, other pday type things, and then we were supposed to teach our investigator, linzera. We’d been planning/memorizing our lesson all day long but when we walked into class who was there? Linzera! except for suddenly she had an mtc teacher name tag on! she was going to teach us! i always knew that she wasn’t a real investigator…what i didn’t know was that she is a co-teacher for our class. so now we have 2 teachers!
Saturday: a normal day of classes. uneventful.
Sunday: woke up feeling not so hot. i was coughing kinda and my throat hurt. but i pressed on! when i got to church i was feeling worse and was praying that i wouldn’t get called on for the random talks in sacrament meeting. my prayers were answered. during church was when i realized that basically half of our branch has the same bug so i wasn’t surprised that i came down with it too.
Monday: uneventful, i think…the days are starting to blur together….k i give up telling you about each day. honestly i don’t know what day certain things happened.
One morning i woke up with the thought, “i could have strep throat!” i was surprised i didn’t think of it before because my nose wasn’t stuffy/runny or anything. my throat just killed and i was coughing. so i dragged myself over to the health center and tried to schedule an appt with uncle david, but he was all booked up. what ended up happening was a nurse gave me the strep test which turned out negative, and i went on my way! meanwhile taking advil because my throat was killing me. i was just plugging online until yesterday (thursday) I was feeling terrible! sidenote: another girl in our district is sick with the same type thing too. so we both asked for priesthood blessings from our district leader. FUNNY story: my hair was in a bun on top of my head, so the elders didn’t know where to drop the oil on my head…ultimately they chose to put it right in the middle, divot of my bun! haha. after that we went back to our residence to sleep which was the best decision ever! i felt a lot better after but still not 100%. since then i’ve had a fever, aches, etc. BUT i’m FINE NOW! seriously like 90% better today!!!
another funny story which i will call “the couch syrup catastrophe of 2014”: yesterday in class we had to teach our progressing investigator who is now our teacher brother pasikala. my companion and i taught him about the book of mormon and we asked him if he would read and pray about it. to make a long story short, he said no haha. so obviously our teacher is trying to make things more realistic for us haha. which is good! but that is not the funny story. the story is that while the companionship of boys was teaching and it was just the sisters left in our classroom, i decided to take more cough medicine. i opened the bottle poured some out into the little cup thing, and set the bottle on my desk. that was my first mistake. the bottle slid off the desk, landed in my lap, and fell to the floor! cough medicine was EVERYWHERE! i screamed (at least i’m told..i don’t remember haha) and grabbed the bottle but not before 3/4 of it was on my skirt/on the ground! luckily the sisters i’m with are the best people ever. they cleaned up the floor while my companion and i ran back to our residence and changed my skirt while my amazing companion rinse out my skirt/slip/garments in the bathroom sink! we ran back to class and right as i sat down our teacher and the elders walked back in to start class. it was the best timing EVER! sidenote: both carpet and skirt are fiiiiiine.
also, i made a fool of myself twice this week so obviously i will tell you all about it! the first time, our teacher sister millar was teaching us how to say relative/family/brother/sister/etc. in cebuano she said, “stand up if you’re a brother”. I honestly didn’t really listen to what she said after the “stand up” part, and since she was making eye contact with me, i stood up! suddenly everyone started laughing and i looked around to see a bunch of elders and ME standing there haha waaaaaay funny. Second funny thing. Our teacher wants us to teach him a lesson as a class on saturday night in english. So he wanted us to ask him more get-to-know-you questions so we can assess his needs and teach him accordingly. Although the lesson will be in english, the get to know stuff is all in cebuano. I was getting ready to ask “do you have a girlfriend?” (which was one of the first questions i learned to ask in cebauno haha) But instead of saying the word for girlfriend, uyab, i said ugma! Which translates to, “do you have a tomorrow?” haha my teacher responded saying he really hoped that he would be blessed with another day to live haha waaaaaay funny.
other eventful things of the week: elder scott spoke at the tuesday night devotional. it was way cool! he talked about prayer. and said that he invokes a blessing upon the missionaries that as we pray the Lord will indicate things we as missionaries need to do to be successful in our mission and as we take note (literally) of the feelings and follow them we will be successful! super cool. i felt blessed to be there.
i love being a missionary and although i don’t have a ton to say because our days are mostly the same, I am loving everything!
love you all! thanks for all the love and support!
love, j
p.s. i’m on a computer that will let me send pics! so expect those!
The Kiribati Sister missionaries!

The Kiribati Sister missionaries!

The sister missionaries in the district.

The sister missionaries in the district.

I’m Living in a Time Warp!

hello all!

thanks for the awesome letters and emails and dear elders. they make my day, my life, my mission!

I cannot believe that i’ve only been at the mtc for a little over a week! the mtc is seriously a time warp. the days go kinda fast-ish, but then the weeks are slow. its incredible how much i’ve learned thus far. i can pray, bear testimony, and teach lessons in cebuano. if that isn’t the power of the holy ghost and a testament to the reality of the gift of tongues, i don’t know what is!!!!!!
i’ve made a list of things i’ve thought of throughout the week that i want to tell you!!! so sorry if things are in a random order.
first, Mom thanks for the news about kate and will. baby #2? holla! let me know when they find out the gender haha.
so this week has been a normal week (at least i assume, i haven’t been here that long after all haha). days are mostly the same. we have breakfast at 7ish and then are in class by 7:40. we an hour study of each: personal study, companionship, and language. there are other study sessions scheduled throughout the day. we have class w/ our teacher (who is seriously the coolest, best teacher i could ever hope for) for 3 hours. add lunch and dinner in the day. and add more studying in for the rest of the gaps throughout the day and welcome to the mtc. that’s all we do! but somehow, even w/ the monotony i love it!!!
on sunday we had our temple walk. if i was a rebel i’d tell you what time to meet me there haha. but let me just tell you i felt like an inmate being let out to the prison yard! don’t get me wrong, i just didn’t realize how much i am indoors (i’m getting paler by the minute if that is even possible?) until we walked to the temple. its a miracle i didn’t get a sunburn haha.
i also spent all week like trying to figure out how to grammatically correctly ask if our teacher has a girlfriend. hilarious. so yes, i am still nosy. business as usual.
my cute companion from kiribati and i had some laughs this week. apparently lots of our american hand gestures mean terrible, terrible things in kiribati. so that made for some hilarious conversations! (if you ever go to kiribati, do not do the a-ok sign haha)
also for the sunday devo Elder Sitati of the quorum of the 70 spoke. very good and very cool. he talked about remembering diving potential. way cool. i joined the mtc choir in hopes that we will sing in general conference! no word if we will yet, but i’m not missing out on the opportunity if it presents itself! so one thing i’m loving about the mtc is that i see a person i know like everyday. so far i’m averaging 1 person/day. its a blast and totally fun for me to see people from the outside world! i’ve seen a bunch of dietetics friends who work in the cafeteria, and also some from my ward, and other places too. speaking of which, tell david and colleen THANKS a million for me! and thank you for the snacks. i’ve been wasting away (k, not really) but i do get hungry at night (some things never change, right??) so thank you!
we had a lesson with our investigator, linzera last night! we teach her almost everyday, but last night was special because we committed her to baptism! we teach her again tonight. #giftoftongues
so my very very favorite thing lately is that i get to teach sweet sister taungnea about all sorts of american things! last night she said to me that the mtc provided her with something but she didn’t know what it was! she dug through her things for a minute, and then produced a package with dental floss in it! I taught her how to floss her teeth! apparently its not a thing in kiribati. who would know because her teeth are beautiful. gosh wish i could send you the pic of us flossing (dumb mtc computers!) it was seriously the most adorable thing to teach her how to floss haha. sister malu says she thinks we act like a mother and daughter because i have to explain/teach her lots of things haha. i love it. its so fun for me. after the flossing we had a discussion about braces because she screamed when she saw me pop out my retainer haha. so funny. and so fun!
well i wish i had more time. there are lot more things i could say! i have to write our branch president now! but before i do, mom thank you for the stuff you sent via David.
THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU ALL! the church is true. that’s for sure.
ayo-ayo (goodbye!)
love, j

First Email From The MTC!

hi!

it is so weird that i have to email to talk to you now! but it is ok! i have been so excited to email since last night when they told us our pday was today.
 
ok. so here is the scoop. everything is so good. have i cried? nope. have i been sad? nope. not. at. all. i am way happy and so glad to be here. so mom, no more crying! i am happy! whoever it was that told me that time passes slow was right. i feel like i have already been here a million years!
 
on the first day my cute host (also turned out to be my sister training leader- not a coincidence!) dragged my stuff all around (bless her heart) while I went in and out of buildings, getting my name tag, books (like a zillion of them), etc. Fun fact, one of the volunteers at the MTC is the Olivers’ neighbor, Joelle Slade. So she took a pic of me which i think she was going to send to you via Lisa. Then my host showed me my room, we dropped off my stuff, and she took me to my classroom. So i get to the classroom and there are already people there. the teacher looks me in the eye and starts speaking straight up cebuano! i was like, uhhhh what? but then i realized, this is the mtc of course they will throw us right into it right off the bat! we learned how to introduce ourselves and then we left to go the big new missionary meeting.
 
at the big meeting I got a shout out! mom and dad remember that lady in deseret book? She is sis. roach a wife of one of the mtc presidency counselors. when she spoke she said, “I want to introduce my friends” and then had one girl she is related to stand up, and then me! so that was kinda fun. after that we had dinner (at 4:15!) sidenote, i wouldn’t complain if you sent me some snacks for before bed because i usually get kinda hungry by then 🙂 we have a microwave but no fridge. after dinner we did some training stuff and met our zone leaders. let me tell ya about my comp. she is the most adorable person i’ve ever met! she is from kiribati! ever heard of that? it is a 3-4ish hour plane ride from fiji. her name is sister taungea (not as easy as it looks to pronounce) and she hardly speaks any english. let me tell ya, the language barrier is real. but really it is not too bad. probably because i speak with my hands so much anyways haha. anyways. there are a few missionaries from her country and i am not sure, but wonder if the church is making some big efforts there somehow. she went to a high school/boarding school called moroni high that is a church school. anyways, all the missionaries at the mtc from kiribat (pronounced kiripez) have been provided clothing by the mtc. interesting. anyways. she is absolutely darling and is finally opening up a little more. it is very cool to see how we compliment each other already. she is helping me learn cebuano better because in her language they pronounce the nga sound that my sad little american mouth has never attempted! and today for our pday i taught her how to do laundry (she has only ever done it by hand) and how to use an elliptical (is that how its spelled?) she is obsessed with it now. Also she is freezing all the time. so mom, it was a good idea that you had for me to pack my northface jacket! anyways i will try to send a pic but these dang mtc computers are all locked up so idk if it will let me. i’m probably more than a foot taller than her! she’s adorable too because instead of saying “uh huh” for yes, she says “nuh uh” and so it took me a little bit to realize that she really means yes haha. i feel very honored and privileged to be her companion. she copies everything i do. seriously. like its taken a few meals in the cafeteria for me to convince her she doesn’t have to choose the same food i do haha. 
 
so yeah, cute sis wilde isn’t my companion! in fact,she isn’t even in my district. there are 2 districts of people going to tacloban and cebu. so we are all mixed up. but i see her around a lot which is fun! in my district there are 6 girls and 7? boys. i share a room with all of the girls. they are cute and fun. one is a sassy samoan girl from australian who is hilarious. the other girls besides my comp are from the u.s. and are pretty young haha. for some it is not hard to tell that they are 19. which i am finding slightly frustrating because i’m realizing i’m the only one in my room who tries to be exactly obedient. especially with bedtime. i basically run around like a chicken with my head cut off to be in bed at 10:30, but they seem to not be in a rush. as for the boys in my district, there are a surprising amount of polynesians. ok, well 3 (shout out to kristen!). the rest of the boys are nice white boys from the u.s. haha.
 
so about cebuano. whoever it was that told me that cebuano is similar to spanish…lies! there are a few similarities, but not really many. it is a pretty tough language and although we’ve only been here a few days, we have to teach a lesson in cebuano tomorrow. so that will be interesting…i’ll keep ya posted on how that goes. so far i know how to say a few things. this is how you say, I know that the church is true: nasayud ko nga tinuod ang simbahan. Does that look like spanish at all? nope!!! but i am getting along just fine. surprisingly fine. my only frustration with the language is that i want to fill in spanish with cebuano words i don’t know. i guess my brain just turns to non-english mode because i keep telling people hola haha.
 
another thing that has been fun is that i keep seeing people i know. so far i’m averaging 2 people per day. i’ve seen brynn erdmann from a distance (didn’t get a chance to talk to her :(), jonathan and tammy from the dietetics program, and then 2 guys from my singles ward who work at the mtc. its been fun! i am always looking for who i might see next haha. that reminds me, where is uncle david’s office? i know where the health clinic is…but i have no idea where i might find him. is he still ok with me dropping off some stuff at the end of my time here? 
 
ok i have to email an update to my branch pres. that we met last night.
 
i love you all! don’t cry about me mom because i am doing fiiiiiiine. really. i cried all summer so that i wouldn’t cry here at all. haha ok i didn’t plan it that way but that is how it is turning out 🙂
 
love you all. the church is true!
love,
 
Sister Jennifer Brereton

jennifer.brereton@myldsmail.net

Philippines Tacloban Mission
September 2014 – March 2016
 
***NOTE: Jen’s preparation day while in the MTC is Friday, but will likely change when she arrives in the Philippines. If you’d like to email her while in the MTC, please email before Friday so she can see your message. If you have any questions about receiving Jen’s emails, please let me know at breretonryan@gmail.com. – Ryan***