Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why I'm Here

сунан сайхан юу байна вэ?

This week we taught again in the TRC (teaching resource center). They have native speakers come in and you teach them as a companionship about a specific gospel principle. To make it even more fun, each room has a video camera so that  your teachers can watch you try to decipher about three words of what the speakers have said.  It was pretty scary, but we stuttered through some sentences and questions.  I only had to look up one word (revelation) while we taught. Two of the TRC volunteers were returned missionaries because, go figure, there aren’t as many native Mongolians in Provo as you’d think.  They were really helpful and it was cool to see where we will be in two years in the way of fluency. 

As we were waiting in line for wraps on Wednesday, Elder Call was talking with the lady in front of us about where we were going.  When Elder Call got to the front of the line the server asked him, "You’re going to Mongolia?"
Elder Call:  “No just Spinach on Spinach” (no expression)
Elder Lloyd and I almost died.  And it continued to be funny for the rest of the week. Once we told Elder Call he thought it was pretty funny too.  I guess maybe you had to be there.  Anyway, our district is so close and I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk to each of them individually about their lives.

This week we really cracked down on our gym time soccer performance which had been lack luster. Elder Quinton and I looked up some helpful Mongolian soccer phrases such as cross it, through ball, pass and shoot.  We also outlined strategy on the board before games. We've been playing a lot better.

The missionaries are not singing in general Conference this year. They sang less than two years ago and they usually sing only once every two or three years.

Tanner Olsen arrived this week.  I saw him during my service time this week and we sat together for the movie on Wednesday night. He arrived with over 40 missionaries headed to Japan with 20 more scheduled to come in next week. It’s great to see people you know in the MTC.

I realized this week how isolated from the world we are here which is good because it keeps us focused on the work.  It was funny as we all pieced things together about the tropical storm/ hurricane as we each received information from the letters we received.
Everyone has started school now and it’s been great hearing about how all of your school years are going so far.  Kevin wrote!  Plus I got some great dried cherries from Michigan. Go BYU this weekend!  The first installment of the Kramer, Neuberger rivalry game (BYU vs. Ole Miss) ha-ha

It was great to hear from the South Carolina Neubergers and I was reminded how great it was to have you at my farewell.

Not much is really new here. Same schedule, same goal. We'll watch our second batch of English speaking missionaries leave next week. They're in and out so quick you have to meet them fast before they're gone!  One of the MTC presidency spoke this week on being someone’s missionary.  He had received a call from a sister he had baptized 40 years earlier. He was so glad that he could report to this sister that he is still an active member. He assured us that we will all have the opportunity to be someone’s missionary. It was wonderful to think about the life changing affect that the Gospel can have on peoples’ lives.

The devotional this week was given by a physician who spoke on the importance of being healthy. On any given day 28% of missionaries are unable to work due to sickness. I don’t have my notes with me but basically, "wash your hands and use your head!"

This week I read through the book of Alma, with my favorite chapter being chapter 26. This chapter outlines the goal of every missionary.  Again I don’t have my notes (see below), but I want to be able to say that I (v5) thrust in my sickle with no regrets. That I (v29) taught in homes and in the streets and on the hills. Because I know God is mindful of all his people (v37).  Even the people of Mongolia!  Especially the people of Mongolia!  Even a farmer a thousand miles from nowhere. (v30) And then will my joy be full. That’s why I’m here.

You all mean so very much to me.
Love, Elder Neuberger
Alma 26: 5,29,30,37
Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.
29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

20 Days and 1000 Flashcards

Hey everyone!
сайн байна уу?

I cant believe its already Tuesday again. All the days here at the MTC mesh together, so it's hard to say what I've been up to on any given day. If you've written me a letter so far I wrote today and the responses should be on there way. I love hearing whats going on in all of your lives.

More of the same this week as we continued to work on the language. My vocabulary is getting larger each day, flashcard by flashcard. The grammar makes more sense and Elder Call and I are able to teach our investigators with almost no materials, albeit our sentences are really simple and we speak really slow. Piecing sentences together with the seven cases and crazy sentence structure is really exciting when you work them out.

The missionaries in the District in front of us got there visas last Wednesday and have been in Mongolia for almost a week now. We all go an email from them and they are excited and ready to get to work.
We were able to teach a native speaker this week which was really hard. She spoke super fast. We mostly just smiled and nodded and hope that she wouldn't ask any questions. It scares me sometimes that we only have two months left to become proficient enough to somehow survive in Mongolia. Oh well.

One of our teachers proposed to his girlfriend this week and she said yes. Right on Brother Stevenson! This enabled us to sidetrack enough to ask a lot of culture questions. Weirdest thing he ever ate: liver straight out a sheep, still bleeding (John Olson's favorite). There were so many things that reminded me of Brazil like the English words used on restaurants to make them look "chic." He told us that he only ever had 15 appointments for meals his entire mission but that anyone you teach will automatically feed you. Apparently there are no rules of the road and the few places where there are many vehicles have traffic like you wouldn't believe. what else.....They kill all their sheep by making an incision down the stomach, reaching in and snapping there aorta with there fingers. Apparently it's very peaceful. Any part of the sheep is fair game for food, so watch out! The members and the missionaries are extremely close and most of the time youth and young adults will join us for Pday activities.

Congrats to Ali, on making varsity for cross country!

Scott Holmes left the MTC this week. It was fun seeing him around all the time, but he's needed in Mexico and will be a great missionary. Also he gave me a bunch of candy that he had amassed so that was awesome!
Sister Manwill (they used to be in our ward) is in my branch and is headed to Portland Oregon in three weeks. More people that I knew from school arrived, but I'm not sure Tanner Olsen is here yet.

Choir is awesome. There are about five hundred of us and it sounds great despite the fact that I"m a terrible singer. The directors are outstanding and always bear their testimonies at some point during rehearsal. This week"s song references Mark 4 in the lyrics when the apostles are sailing and a storm arises. The bible literally says that the boat was "full" when finally Peter cried out "carest thou not that we perish!" Was the Savior really asleep? Either way sometimes the Lord allows us to see his hand in all things before he interjects just as he suffered that Lehi"s family not cook there food so that He could make it sweet. Furthermore, to Peter"s question, Was there anyone, anywhere who cared more at that moment then the Savior? who in a week would suffer for the sins of mankind and then seal his sacrifice with his death on the cross? He loves us all. He knows us all and he gave his life because he cares that none of us perish.

At the MTC we talk a lot about sticking to the fundamentals of the Gospel. Keep it simple, remember the basics. One of the special things about learning another language is that in the beginning these are the only things that you can share. It gives me a better understanding and testimony of what the essentials are.
Thought of the week from Brother Margetts, "Don't teach to be understood, rather teach so that you cannot be misunderstood"

би та нарт хайртай- I love you all
бурхан та нарт хайртай
Have a great week!
Elder Neuberger

PS Our District dominates in Gym time soccer
current stats: Quinton and Neuberger combined stats 7 goals 5 assists

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Busy and Time Flies

Saimbaim oo!
This week flew by. Everyone says The days are long but the weeks are short and its very true.  It was great to hear from so many of you this week.  John, Lauren, Anna and Mrs. Kramer, your letters were all amazing.  I figure most of you will be heading out to college sometime soon and won't be getting mail at your home addresses, so I'll wait till you send me a note or letter on dearelder.com after you get to school so that I'll have your new addresses before I write you back.
Today's Pday and was our first opportunity to go through the temple as last week we had ESL certification class. (more on that later).  It was so neat to go through he temple with so many missionaries, including the ones from my district whom I have grown so much closer to this week.  The rest of Pday includes personal study, meals, laundry and service hours.  Our service assignment is to set up for the devotionals and firesides.  Its one of the better service assignments and beats cleaning toilets.  After that we go to choir (yes Mom, I'm in the choir, you're welcome :)  )  and then we sit and wait for the devotional.
We are now certified to teach English by BYU.  We all got certificates at the end of last week when we finished the 20 hour course.  The last three days we have taught foreign missionaries who are here to learn English.  Needless to say I learned almost as much about English as they did.  English is super hard, almost as hard as Mongolian which is coming along nicely this week.  My companion and I are memorizing 5 additional new vocabulary words a day and that's going really well.  Its difficult because the sentence structure is subject-object-verb.  So even if you have the vocabulary,s piecing sentences together is not that easy.  Our teacher are extremely helpful, although they hardly ever speak in English any more.  We've taught 6 lessons in only Mongolian and they are going much better.  At the end of the last one I was able to bear my testimony in Mongolian without looking at the page.
John, Kevin, Kyle, Brian, and Keaster will be happy to know that I'm working on my soccer skills during gym time.  Elder Quinton and I look forward to the hour we get to run around everyday.  I've also been perfecting my Jimmer range threes, still a work in progress...
Yes dad the two elders that are here are the ones that were supposed to arrive in Mongolia this week.  They were supposed to leave 10 days before we arrived, but since their visas aren't here yet they have been delayed yet again.  They are hoping to leave Friday but it's still unsure.
The devotionals here are nothing less than what you would expect.  This week we heard from Brother Heaton who is on the administrative staff at the MTC.  He spoke on measuring missionary success.  It can be measured quantitatively on the number of people we bring unto Christ or also in the way that it is pleasing unto God.  He taught us that we need to do all we can without expectations.  We need to work hard so that perhaps we might be able to bring people to Christ, but baptisms are gifts from God.  There were several references to the word "perhaps" in passages in the scriptures including alma 29:9.  I encourage you to look for the rest.  Also I don't have them listed here with me.  It was an amazing message and I'm not sure my brief overview did it any justice.
During District meeting this week we all stood and shared five minutes about a scripture or event that touched us this week.  I spoke on the scripture from my mission plaque D&C 64:33-34 (33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. 34 Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days).  Then I urged everyone to stay determined to master the language.  I also shared Dad's words: "No one remembers easy campouts."  Its the difficult times that make memories! We sang "Armies of Helaman" in the devotional, but the words were changed to the present tense for a lot of the lyrics so it was really cool. in
Times up so Ill leave you with this.  "You can count the seeds in an apple, but you cant count the apples in a seed"
Plant Seeds!
Press On!
Elder Neuberger

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No Happier Place

Hello Friends and Family!
And you thought I'd never write.  Today is our first P day.  There are about a million things that I can tell you so I'll try to get through them all in the 30 minutes we're allotted for writing letters.  

My district is made up of 8 missionaries.  We are all headed to Mongolia in October barring any mishaps with visas.  My companion is Elder Call from Springville, Utah.  A pretty quiet elder who enjoys computer programing and interjecting odd comments.
So the Mongolian mission is about 80 missionaries and we found out this week that only six of them are Americans!  The mission was shut down in 2009 when the government decided that we didn't have enough documentation certifying us as English teachers.  Since then 6 elders have made it to Mongolia and there is a district of just two elders in front of us.  Chances of me ever having a American companion 0.   Awesome!!!  Our district is awesome and we've really bonded during this first week.  I already knew Elder Boyd from school and Elder Stranski is Andrew Larson, both in look and especially in gestures. 
The schedule here is crazy!!!!   We learn so much everyday.  Usually we'll have two 3 hour blocks of language study time a day along with meals, personal study, and gospel workshops.  It is non stop learning.  Our teachers are both returned missionaries and bring such a sense of love for both us and the Mongolian people.
On the third day here we taught our first investigator in all Mongolian.  Most of it was read off a script, but you could still feel the spirit when we bore our testimonies to him.  The language is pretty difficult, words are hard to memorize because they don't sound like anything that is previously in my brain.  Our teacher describes it as talking under water.
The first couple days were really long with all of the classes we had to attend, but once we made it to Sunday the time has been flying.  The rhythm has set in and we are all focused on learning all we can to help the people of Mongolia.
This week we have ESL certification training because we need to be certified to enter the country.  All week we are teaching Elders learning English from all over the world.  It is such  rewarding experience.  The focus this week was to teach individuals.  We have to let the spirit guide us with what is to be said.  We need to get to know our investigators. Understand what they feel.  When the lesson is no longer our lesson is when the metaphorical lightning strikes.  As we struggle with the language we have to remember that Mongolain is merely a tool to reach Gods children. 
While everyone is counting down the weeks till they leave, the MTC has to be the happiest place on earth.  The counsel we  receive everyday is like three months of General Conference.  On Sunday we had testimony meeting where all the outgoing Elders spoke.  The district before us (the two elders) are having visa issues so they are still here and bore there testimonies in Mongolian.  Then we had a district counsel with the branch president, interviews, a two hour mission conference where all the head leaders spoke mainly on baptism.  After that we had a devotional where we learned about sticking to the basics.  And that we need to feel all the things our investigator needs.  If we want them to pray more earnestly, the Lord wants us to pray more earnestly etc.
I've seen people I know all over the place.  Elder Maquet is on my floor!!!  And Elder Holmes and I have talked several times including during the movie on Sunday night.  It's the unity in cause of BYU times ten.  Seeing all the familiar faces strengthens my resolve to press on. 
Times up!
I love you all
Pray Always,
Elder Neuberger
P.S. If you want to write me follow the instructions on the side of the blog.  It's so fun to get your letters during the week!