February 12, 2014This week was so great! Lots of miracles.
Everything is great here at the MTC!! It was kind of a mess trying to get to the MTC last Wednesday...(I can't believe I've already been here for a week!!). I flew to Detroit first, but the plane landed late late because of the snow. So then I just barely missed my flight to go to Salt Lake. I got to Detroit a little after 8am and the next available flight didn't leave until noon! But it's okay. While I was waiting for the plane to board, I saw some missionaries, so I went and talked to them. They were leaving their missions to go home, so it was pretty interesting to see their perspective at the end of their missions. I finally got to Salt Lake City and then waited for the shuttle. I ended up being the only one in the shuttle, and it was the driver's sixth day on the job. He was from the Dominican Republic and he was super interested in the Church because of all the Mormons he has seen in Utah. We talked for a long time about his questions and my mission. Finally I got to the MTC around 5pm....I was supposed to be there at 12:30! But it was fine...my companion and two sisters came and found me and helped me bring all my stuff to my room.
My companion's name is Emily Jorgensen. We get along really well! I absolutely love her. I'm really blessed to have her as my companion. She's from Utah, but she's part Chinese and part Hawaiian and her family owns a fishing lodge in Alaska. Her dad and her older sister both served their missions in Taiwan! She's also serving in the Taiwan Taichung Mission, the same one I'm going to.
Our district is really awesome! I'm really glad I like my district because we spend most of the day together in this tiny room studying Chinese. Our district is me and my companion and two sets of elders. We have so much fun together, and they always make me laugh so hard! We've learned so much in just one week! Elder Randall is in our district and he said that a girl he dated before his mission is serving in the Boston Mission right now! So if you meet Sister Hollan (I think that's it. Like Holland, but without the d...) I know someone who knows her...haha. Our teacher is Jin Lao Shi. He's such a good teacher!! He served his mission in Taiwan and he's always been really fascinated with the Chinese language, so he knows a lot! I think Chinese is really hard to explain, but it makes so much sense when he's teaching. I am super grateful for him. He makes the class really interesting and fun. I'll try to send a picture of him next week, I forgot to take on this week.
We have an investigator that we've been teaching! On the second full day we were here, we taught her a whole lesson in Chinese!! Tonight we're teaching her for the fourth time and on Monday, we committed her to baptism! It's been amazing how fast we learn Chinese! I had a really cool experience when we were teaching her. We usually write down like everything we're going to say, so that we can just read it if we get stuck, but during the lesson, she asked a question that I hadn't written down or thought of. A lot of what she says goes right over my head, and I just try to look like I understand. But she asked us a question and I understood what she was saying and answered her really easily without using any notes or anything. Then when I got back to the classroom and was talking with a couple of the elders about the lesson, I couldn't remember how to say what I had told her. Right when I needed to know what to say, it came to me in that instant. It was a huge testament to me of the gift of tongues. Learning Chinese is so hard and I know that I cannot do this on my own, but because I am working hard and doing all that I can to learn the language, the Lord fills in the gaps and helps me know what to say.
In the MTC, we actually are only taught the Pinyin, or how to pronounce the words, instead of all the characters. I have been reading the New Testament trying to better get to know the Savior. After I finish a chapter, I will go through and read all the scriptures in the Book of Mormon that are in the footnotes from that chapter in the New Testament. I read the verses in the Book of Mormon in English and then in Chinese. I think it's good practice, even though I don't know what each word means.
I know that this Church is true. I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve a mission in Taiwan! I am learning so much and I'm so happy!
Sorry I'll try to send more pictures next week...they're all too big.
Love you all