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Monday, April 29, 2013

week #8 Monday, April 29

Hey jiating he pengyou.
It has been a crazy week, it seems everyone needed to get sick at different times. My companion was sick Wed. Our District Leader was sick on Monday. But because my companion was sick, I experienced being in the biggest possible companionship. (4 people) We had three elders and a single sister. Both of her companions were sick so we had to stick together the entire day it was way weird.
Also we got our travel plans!!!!! we head out of the MTC next Tuesday, I leave the MTC at 7:30, our flight is at 11:30, then we have a 3 hour layover in LA. I already bought a phone card. I also got my Chinese name tag. So basically I'm just stoked to go. I'm super excited for all of that.
At the MTC, we really haven't done anything too different.  I've just been teaching lessons, studying, and going to devotionals and stuff. No apostles or anything this week. We did get to see the movie they filmed our class for. It's okay, nothing amazing #likethedistrict. They did switch our schedule around. Because the teachers all just finished the semester at BYU, and the MTC is going to be super crowded, they did some readjustment. I got Monday as my p-day and they switched around a lot of our meal times and study times. It doesn't really matter for us though because we only have a weeks worth of this new schedule anyways. One cool thing that came from it though is Sister Burningham and I have the same service (taking down the devotionals) so I get to talk to her a lot more now.
Another cool thing that happened, do you all know what TRC is? Basically we just teach members who already know Mandarin, who aren't our teachers/progressing investigators. We just teach them one of the lessons, so it's basically just practicing using teaching fundamentals. Well guess who I taught, Burr Laoshi (Mrs. Burr, who was my High School Chinese Teacher). It was crazy and way cool. One, it was weird teaching a high school teacher religion stuff. Second, I could understand a lot of what she said, which is a pretty good sign.
So, one way I've been practicing my listening skills is by listening to the video that is in all chinese (there are 3, one is a surfer, she speaks pretty slow, another is a tour guide but you have to go on the chinese language settings to find him, he speaks normal speed but he pronounces things funny and adds a lot of thinking words so it can be hard to understand him, then the last one is Jingyi, she is like in the 3rd row or something, she's a tourist in Taipei, she speaks super super fast, but I've probably listened to that one the most. and I actually understand most of it now. (that's a good sign right). But I'll just listen and then stop every few seconds, re-listen until I understand and can repeat what she is saying.
So basically, I'm a pro(just kidding), but I'm super excited for Taiwan. ummm I think that's everything.
Oh did I tell you Kenny got his call to Denver, Colorado, spanish speaking enters May 29th, I think that's everything....

Love, Elder Brandon Bean

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Week #7 April 23

Ni hao jiating(family),
I hope everything is going well. I hope Colby is feeling better. I'm sure it is a Stake Conference no one will ever forget. (Colby puked right on the bench) So first I'm gonna apologize, the MTC always has this weird "hard to tell what's going on" thing. Everyday is very redundant, and it feels like the same stuff happens every week. Last week's speaker was Elder Richard G. Scott. It was way cool to be in the same room as an apostle. He talked a lot about how our calls are divinely inspired. He talked about how important it is to develop a relationship with God through prayer. It was a great talk (what else can you expect from an Apostle). One interesting thing is he gave an apostolic blessing to all of us who are learning languages, that we will trust in the Savior, that we will be able to learn the language and teach his children in their own tongue. It already was a promise, but it was really cool to actually here an apostle promise us that specifically as an "apostolic blessing". Also, after he talked, we sang the closing hymn, and then as the sister who was going to say the closing prayer got to the pulpit, Elder Scott stopped her and said he still had a few more words to say. It was way cool, he basically said the same things, but it helped me know how important it was that he conveyed those messages to us.
Um... it's kinda exciting knowing we only have 2 weeks left.  I should be getting my travel plans this week, and getting my all Chinese inclusive name tag. We as a district are way excited. This week one of our investigators was worried about the word of wisdom, because he knew his family and leaders at work would expect him to drink tea. Yesterday I translated a story that I remembered Sister Gibson telling about President Gibson and comparing his inability to drink wine with his business partner's (whom were Jewish) not being able to eat pork. It was way cool to tell a story in another language, probably something I'm gonna start doing a lot more often.
So Sunday, we knew that the Men's Chorus was going to be singing, and after choir we saw a group of them walking towards 19M (the gym/devotional room) As I was getting to the end, guess who I saw. Kenny!!! We talked for like 15 minutes, It was really great to see him. I told him to send a text to you later, but he might have forgot what I told him to say, just in case. (Kenny, I am still waiting on that text, Debbie)
Dui, well I think that's everything. To practice my zhongwen I started listening to a few videos. You should definitely watch them, they are in chinese, and they speak really fast, but it has subtitles so you can understand.
I love everyone, thanks for writing me, tell Aunt Sherrie thanks so much for the stamps they arrived right on my P-day, so it was perfect, I'm gonna try and thank her personally today, but just in case I run out of time.  I love you all talk to next week.
Elder Brandon Bean

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

week #6 April 16

Dear family
 I just realized next week the semester ends, and I have a majority of college addresses.  So, everyone that gave me their college address should let me know their actual home address in their next letter.
So last week we had a devotional by Gerald Lund. Mom you should know how cool that was. He talked about spiritual promptings, he quoted "The Candle of the Lord" by President Packer a lot. He had so many great insights on the subject. It was definitely a great devotional. As I listened to it I was reminded a lot of President Monsen and how his ministry is centered around following the spirit. I hope I learn to follow the promptings of the spirit, and to never delay listening to the Spirit.
Let's see, I've seen Sister Kallie Boothe a ton. So she's caught me up a lot on what everyone's been up to. umm... Elder Ko got a fever on Saturday, so Elder Wootan and I had to switch of babysitting him while the other would go to class. It was kind of good, during that time I was able to study a lot of the language. I think it helped me in the long run. Sunday, we had another devotional by Brother Dubay(not sure on spelling) He is in charge of the advertising of the Church (I'm a Mormon). He told us a lot about how the Lord is "hastening his work" and how the Bretheren have been focusing so hard on making sure we have a good image. He told us about the advertising in New York on Christmas Day. It was really cool apparently the # of visits to went up 400% and the amount of referrals in the area went up 91%. He also talked about what the church just opened up in London. DEFINITELY LOOK IT UP. It is soooooo cool! He told us that the Book of Mormon Play was coming to London and the advertisement they had going around was a picture with the actors and it said (the mormons are coming). Apparently when the brethren saw this they said, "Well we better get going London's expecting us" Basically the church has bought a TON of advertisements. They've got advertisement's on the sides of over a quarter of all the double decker buses that tell people to go to, and have a few simple beliefs. Then they've taken over tubes (subways) and just put advertisements everywhere. I feel the brethren have a very good plan for doing this. I think London is going to experience some increase in church membership.
That's all I can think for now. other than that, the MTC is pretty much the same. We are all getting excited we might get our new name tags (that'll be in complete zhongwen) at the end of this week, maybe next. We have exactly 3 weeks left today until we head out. WOOT WOOT!!!
I love you all, keep writing. I should be able to respond to everyone today.
Wo ai nimen
Bi Zhanglao (Elder Bean)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

farewell in February

This is the talk I gave on February 24th, I understand not everyone was able to make it s

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Week #5 April 9

Hey family,

So Michael got called to Argentina.  Kenny turned in his papers a week ago, shouldn't get his call for at least another week, hopefully he actually lets me know besides through email. I've seen Keri quite a few times, caught me up on everyone in Highland, except for Stephanie Shattuck, she should be getting her call sometime soon, Mom could you send her a text with my phone asking her where she is going. I did find the stamps, almost out of them, I did send a letter to Jordan though, only cost me 30 cents, I have no idea how that works out, but it did.   We did sign our visas which means they are done. We were all celebrating about that.

This week has been great. Our speaker for last Tuesday was an area seventy for North Asia, which doesn't include my mission, but he gave a great talk on enduring to the end. He talked about how the entire point of a mission is to prepare us and others to be able to endure to the end. It was really good I wish you could here it, but oh well. So we hosted yet again, I saw Sister Burningham during that, and she called out "Brandon!" I didn't even react until she remembered to yell "Elder Bean!!!" It's kinda funny, I keep worrying I'm going to forget that my first name is Brandon, hopefully that will come back fine when I finish, but that's not for another 2 years.

 Both of our investigators are now committed to baptism. It's really cool, even though it's just role play it helps so much, I'm learning so much about my teaching style, and what I can fix before I get out to Taiwan.

We did get new missionaries in our zone this week. It was really fun, it brought back memories of when we first got here, but it also made me feel a lot more confident in my Chinese. There are 26 new missionaries, when our generation came in we brought in 16, it seems like it's just going to get more and more crowded. I don't know how big the next group is but I'm hoping we don't get too crowded.

So I loved conference. It was the greatest, I don't know if it was just us, but us as missionaries felt like the entire thing was directed towards us. Every talk seemed to discuss missionaries, and how important we are, and what we need to do. It was really cool to here President Gibson give a prayer during priesthood, It really brought thoughts of home. But don't worry it didn't distract me. Sunday night for our devotional we had vocal point come, they each bore their testimonies, and then sang a song. It was really cool. Especially because they all pointed out how powerful our spirits were. I don't know why, but since I've gotten here, it never really occurred to me the power we have to control the spirit in a room. As I think about it, I do remember the spirit always being around missionaries, and I have noticed being able to control whether or not the spirit is with me a lot easier. It just adds a testament to the fact that we are called of God, and authorized to this marvelous work.

Ummm, that's all I can think of, I'm excited for tomorrow to host again, Kallie watch for me, you already know my meal times, so best of luck, and remember to always depend on the Lord, he will help you with everything you need. Like I said last week, feel free to write me, anyone, I don't have any letters to respond to today.


Elder Brandon Bean
(Also I heard Tay turned in her papers, mom could you ask Sister Airmet where she is going)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week #4 April 2

Well family (jiating),
It's been another great week. So much has happened. So Wednesday, my companions and I decided that we wanted to be hosts, so we just went to the meeting and they let us. Which means that we will probably host every week now. I finally got Dad's letters, I explained the situation in the letter I wrote him. But just a disclaimer in case I've made the same mistake my address is 
Elder Brandon Bean
MTC Mailbox #204
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

On another note, I've have been blessed so much to be able to follow the spirit this week. While preparing for one of our investigators, who is a Christian who's son joined the church, she has cancer, and decided to investigate our church. We had been pretty far into the lessons and started discussing baptism. She had some major disagreements about being baptized again which frustrated my companion, because he didn't know where to go from there. While doing personal study I remembered we challenged her to read Mosiah 18 (about baptism) so I decided to review it when I stumbled across verse 17 which says to be baptized you must be baptized by someone who holds the proper authority. As I read that I remembered dad printed out my line of authority so I prepared an entire lesson around that one verse.  I got to the lesson discussed how the church left the earth during the Apostasy and with that left the priesthood authority (shengzhi quanbing) and it was gone until Joesph received the priesthood in 1829. I then pulled out my line of authority and showed her I can trace my priesthood authority. Then I let one of my companions invite her to follow Jesus Christ's example and be baptized with someone holding that authority. She asked me to explain who the people were on my line, I explained it was my father who received his priesthood authority from grandpa, and I went through each one until Jesus Christ (Yesu Jidu) I kept saying I have the same priesthood as Jesus Christ, we have the same priesthood as Jesus Christ and then once I had shown her how I was connected to Jesus Christ, she nodded and said "yes, (yuanyi) I will be baptized into your church".

That was one of many more experiences, I love how much they train us to not really be on our own hear, we are encouraged to follow the spirit 24/7. It really is comforting to know that the spirit is around everywhere, and that it will lead me. I don't have to do much other than try and keep it with me.

So on Sunday, we had the Presiding Bishop Cosse come and talk to us. It was really good, one crazy thing though, so after our mission conference, we had a testimony meeting with just our branch/zone. We are required to bear our testimony is zhongwen (Chinese) to help prepare us for the field which is usually fine, but then after the first speaker Bishop Cosse came in, and it went completely still. No one wanted to give up to bear their own testimony in poor zhongwen (even though he is French and wouldn't understand a thing). The zone leader looked right at me and motioned me to stand up, so I did. I got up and got all the way to the pulpit, started off by saying "xian duibuqi, wode zhongwen butaihao" (first, sorry my chinese isn't very good) after I said that, I just knew what I was going to say, I talked about how I knew the Savior because of the atonement, I knew he was my friend. I talked about because of him I can do anything. and I had no reason to ever fear. That was really nerve wrecking.

We also saw a devotional that night by Sister Sheri Dew, she wrote Gordon B Hinckly's biography. It was really good I learned so much. I also watched Elder Bednar's devotional called "Character of Christ" it is very good I suggest everyone to try and find it and read it.

So, today I went to the temple and guess who I ran into, Kallie and Savannah.  It was way funny, I wasn't even expecting to run into anyone today, but I talked to them for a short bit. ummmmm.....other than that, I can't think of anything. I'm learning the language, I love the food, and I look forward to getting to Taiwan. We will start our 5th week this week. I wish luck to Sister Burningham, I'll try and find her as soon as possible. I will be hosting but that's like a one in a hundred chance of getting sent to my station, I hope everyone enjoys General Conference this Week. I heard a rumor President Monson is going to be speaking that weekend so everyone prepare;). I love you all, I also love all the snacks and goodies I don't know how I'll ever finish them. Also, to get rid of the idea Jenna suggested, I love letters write me as much as possible, It helps me a ton, no matter how often, I don't think it's weird. Best of luck everyone, until next week.


Elder Brandon Bean

PS- I'm pretty sure Brother Moody doesn't really know us b/c when I said hi to him, he showed no recognition facial expressions, but oh well.