Hey! (And that's Chinese for Hello, by the way!)
So I've gotta fill you in on that meeting, now, don't I? I suppose I could just not say anything, but that would be a little rude, since I know a number of you were waiting impatiently on the edge of your seats. So I proceed:
Dad, you were close on your guess, but not quite. The guy who came was one of the Seventy, who was an area authority in China for the last 5(?) years. It started out mainly as a pep talk about how the Chinese people are very nice, and that they are very interested in what the gospel has to offer, particularly around having eternal families. And then he opened it up to questions, and people began hammering him with questions about if China is opening soon and little details around that.
Moving on to other stuff... Our teacher pulled my companionship aside a few days ago and said, "I take back what I said before. You have a lot of love toward your investigator. You have a great amount of faith. But your Mandarin is, uh..." I jumped in, "--terrible?" "--Terrible!" He quickly pulled back saying, "Just kidding, just kidding!" When we replied that we really wanted to know what he thought, and that we wouldn't be offended, he said, "Yeah, it's terrible." He continued to say that we have some wonderful things to say that would truly help the needs of the investigators, but we just lack the language to communicate them. That, and our grammar is totally atrocious. Which I take more of the blame for: usually in lessons it's me asking Elder Christianson what the investigator was saying, and me asking him for vocabulary when I'm trying to speak. I feel like I have this annoying problem of forgetting everything. But I'm not letting this get me down. The fact is, I was called to do this by the Lord, and he qualifies whom he calls. "And I will do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that he giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the thing which he commandeth them" (1 Nephi 3:7). As I try to improve myself each day through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can accomplish all trials. As I exercise my faith, I can become the missionary the Lord has foreordained me to be.
Some news on Isaac Hales: I sat by him in a Sunday night devotional, and I learned he was going to Mosambique (sp?), Africa, Portuguese speaking. Crazy. We reminisced on the good times we had when we were younger, such as me throwing giant rocks at his head because he made me angry at a campout. Good thing he doesn't remember that episode. It was so crazy running into him, talk about slim chances.
Congrats to Adam Price to going to Taipei, Taiwan. You're gonna speak more Chinese!!! :D
And I just got the news about my best friend Dillon. 糟糕！不好意思。Man, that's a huge bummer. Get all the way through the mission paperwork process, only to have to start over because it accidentally got deleted. For those of you who don't know, it takes a long time to get through all that paperwork. Because you could get sent pretty much anywhere in the world, you have a lot of medical information to fill out. My mom said this, and I agree: Clearly the Lord is preparing a special mission for him, but it's just not quite ready to have him there yet. Good job staying positive through all this Dillon; you're gonna have a great story to tell during dinners at the MTC. I'm rooting for ya!
How about a Chinese lesson, eh? Let's do a simple phrase:
nǐ hǎo! wǒ shì ____. Nǐ shì shéi?
(Hello! I am _____. You are who?)
See those little markings above the vowels? Those are called tones. They are extremely important to get exactly right. If you want to know how they sound, just match the line to your pitch. For example, if it is a rising line, just make your pitch go low to high as you speak the word. If it's a dip, make your voice dip as you speak it.
"nǐ hǎo" literally translated means "You good", but is commonly understood as "Hello". Keep in mind that this is a very formal greeting. Normally, people in China just say "Hey" or "Hi", or my favorite (translated), "Oh, your doing ____ right now."
"wǒ" means "I". "shì" means "am", or "is", in the literal sense. If you were saying that someone is dead, you cannot say "Tā shì sǐwáng" ("He/she is death"), because they are not literally "death" itself. So you have to add "de" after the word for death ("de" is a descriptive word, meaning "type"), in order to say "He/she is death type person." See how the meaning changed to something that makes more sense? (Oh, and don't go around saying "sǐ", it's bad luck. And all the Chinese hate the number four, because it sounds very close to "sǐ".)
"shéi" is a question word, meaning "who?" Because Mandarin is a tonal language, you cannot use a rising tone like English to indicate you are asking a question. You have to use some word or sentence particle to indicate that you are asking a question. If "shéi" is used, people know you are asking them for some person as an answer. In this case, if someone asked me "Nǐ shì shéi?", I would respond with "wǒ shì David". In this case, it's implied that you are asking for a name, but in reality I could answer with a variety of things, such as "wǒ shì chǔanjiàoshì" ("I am a missionary").
And that's about it for now. You may want to take everything I say with a grain of salt, because apparently, my Chinese is terrible.
Love you all, and write you again next week! Oh, and before I forget, I will be going to Taiwan in two weeks, so if you want to send letters, I'd start sending them to this address, because it takes about 2 weeks for letters to reach me from the US:
Elder David Hendrick Jorgensen
Taiwan Taichung Mission
#498-11, Wu Chuan Road
And international flat rate is a heaping 3 stamps (I think, don't quote me on that one).
See ya later,