Sunday, November 20, 2011

English; It's harder than you think

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week I’m sporting a fresh new haircut compliments of Elder Wilson who cut it last week before I met back up with Elder Jolley.  Pretty much as short as it can be while still being mission legal.  It definitely makes a hat necessarily as we walk along the now ice covered streets of UB.  Pack your ice skates.

Our power days now have become Saturday and Sunday as these are the only two days which we don’t teach English.  We try to stack these days with at least five missionary lessons or so.  The English teaching makes planning the days a bit tricky, but we find time to stuff as many lessons with investigators as we can.

Alright teaching English:
First of all I love it!  I have five different classes that I teach for an hour and a half every week. One of them I teach twice.  All of the classes are very basic entry level English.  Some of the grammar is there, but the comprehension and speaking is yet to be developed.  The other teacher who teaches at the school is a Mongolian journalist and she has never really studied English so that complicates things a bit.  But she’s very nice and tries her best to teach the students to the best of her knowledge.  

Because this week was zone conference Elder Jolley did not accompany me to any of my English teaching this week.  On Wednesday I teach one class at 1:50.  I was paired up with a priest age church member while Elder Jolley sat in on one of the zone conferences.  We hopped on a bus that I prayed was correct and rode the bus for a while.  By nothing short of a miracle we got off at the right stop and somehow found the school which is about a mile from the bus stop through some back alleys and small roads.

I begin teaching the students with a get to know you sheet and some introduction worksheets. Then later we moved to telling time and saying dates.  During the exercise I asked the students "What time does this class end?"  (At this point I had been there an hour and twenty minutes and figured we were almost done).  It was 2:20 and the students all said 3:30.  I asked five times and for some reason I trusted their English.  So panicking that I still had an hour left to fill I began making up other exercises with prepositions and such.  About a half-hour after that the church member I was with came up and told me we needed to go.  I told him we have a half hour left.
No class ended a half-hour ago.
And then when I asked the students again they confirmed that I sure enough had taught 30 minutes past class time.  Apparently when they said 3:30 they meant 2:30.  No one had said anything for a half hour about class being over.  Diligent students.

I taught the next day with Elder Boyd as my companion again finding the building miraculously.
Most of my classes have 15 to 30 students, varying in all levels.  The hardest problem is that there is no syllabus or course outline so I’m pretty much making this up as I go.  Fortunately, the students are really eager to learn and I have some background knowledge in the English area.

Thursday night Elder Jolley and I took home our area’s whiteboard.  Its 3feet by 4 feet and has all of our investigators,  new members etc. names and phone numbers in bold letters.  I’m not sure there was anything stranger than two white 20 years olds walking down a fairly busy street holding a board full of mongolian names and phone numbers.  I was laughing the entire time. And Elder Jolley fell on the ice at one point which only compounded the hilarity.

Right now we have 8 investigators with baptismal dates which is amazing and almost all of them came to church on Sunday.  On top off that Gonbold who is pure gold stood up and bore his testimony during Gospel Doctrine class. WOW!.  He and his family live in a small two room house very near our apartment.  They are amazing.  He is in between jobs and trying to sell his house.  When he saw the changes that his friend has made in becoming a church member he wanted those changes in his own life.  His baptism is set for this Friday. 

This week at zone conference President retold the story from President Monson about the city in the Toronto mission where no one wanted to serve.  Kingston.  So they pulled all of the missionares out.  They later told them about Brigham Young baptizing 45 people in 30 days. When President reopened the "golden city" everyone wanted to serve there.  He assigned two brand new missionaries.  It became the most baptizing city in Canada.

Afterword President told us we were all being transferred.  And then area by area “reassigned” us to the golden city of where we had been serving. It’s all about perspective.  If you limit yourself, if you don’t set goals that make you stretch and work has hard as you can, you won’t accomplish nearly as much as you can.  I realized this week through English teaching that there will always be an excuse to why you can’t work as hard as you might.  I could be better, smarter, more effective if .   .   .   But you can be better smarter, and more effective if you put your head down, take you medicine and go to work.  Make the best of whatever situation you've been allotted and realize the blessings in your life every day. Here lies true happiness.

Have a fantastic holiday weekend and safe travels where ever you’re headed!

Love Elder Neuberger 

1 comment:

  1. English: it's harder than you think about your friends too and me we love so much i am so happy for you and i am very proud of you too