Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Love Sundays

This week was sooooo fast.  I was amazed at how quickly Monday came again, but it has been super duper fun!

At Tuesday night's devotional we got to hear from another apostle.  And, we got to sing in the choir for him!  M. Russell Ballard came!  He spoke about missionary work.  It was so good!  It got me so pumped for general conference this week!

On Wednesday we got to host the new people again so that was fun!

On Saturday it started getting cold.  I forgot that Utah is cold.  So, I am kinda dying since I did not prepare for that.

Sunday was awesome!  Sundays at the MTC are the best.  Sister Cutler and I had a bunch of meetings all morning.  We found out about the new missionaries who will be joining our district this Wednesday!  We are so excited to do orientation and stuff for them.  During sacrament meeting on Sunday we had fast and testimony meeting.  It was rough, but I was able to bare my testimony in Chinese (with a couple English words thrown in).  For our Sunday night movie we went to see "Legacy" (it's a movie about pioneers) in Chinese.  The whole movie is kinda cheesy, but it was fun to watch.  All the missionaries learning Chinese went as well as all the missionaries who already know Chinese.  Most of the Chinese missionaries are from Taiwan and are going to like Canada or France.  Though, I did meet an elder going to Melbourne (where m best friend is!)!  That same Elder introduced me to a sister from Hong Kong! She was super nice! Though, she didn't speak very much English or Mandarin and I don't speak any Cantonese....so we couldn't communicate much.  Speaking of Cantonese....whenever i tell one of the Chinese missionaries i am going to Hong Kong they first say "wait, you're speaking Mandarin?"  I say "yes" and then they say "oh so you already know Cantonese?" and I say "no" and then they just stare at me .... hahaha or sometimes they just laugh.  So, I guess I really am gonna have to work on picking us some Cantonese! 

This morning we went to the temple!  It was great!  We got to do initiatories! After that we came back to the residence halls and decorated the door for the new sisters!  We are all just so excited to meet them!

So I am almost 6 weeks in! Only 3 more to go!!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Halfway to China

This week has been super exciting! 

First, we lost everybody from the older districts.  It has been super sad and depressing.  Now our district and the others that came in at the same time that we did are the "oldest" Mandarin speakers.  I wish all of those other missionaries the best of luck! They are all the best!

On Tuesday we had our devotional.  This week was a real treat because Elder Richard G Scott came!  Sister Cutler and I were lucky enough to make it into the choir for the devotional too.  He spoke about the power of prayer and it was just so awesome! 

Speaking of choir, yesterday at choir practice we found out that the MTC choir was asked to sing at conference (yay)!  But, only the  Elders (boo!).  I was so bummed! 

On Wednesday we got to host all the new missionaries that came in.  This means that we helped drag them away from their parents and get their name tag and find their room and stuff.  It was really fun! Though, super hot and I was really sweaty which was kind of gross since I was in a dress.  But, I guess it is good practice for Hong Kong!

Hmmm....what else.... 

Oh Saturday was really cool!  We got to watch the Ogden Temple Rededication broadcast.  I have never seen a temple dedication before so that was a super cool experience!  Also, on Sunday Sister Cutler and I had a meeting with President Teng and he relieved us of our calling as the branch music coordinators and called us as the new Sister Training Leaders for our zone.  So that is pretty exciting.  We spent most of Sunday going to like 8 different training meetings.  Sister Cutler and I are both stoked to serve and work with the sisters in our branch!  We are especially excited for next Wednesday when we will finally get some more sisters coming in!  We can't wait to help them get used to the MTC and stuff! 

This morning we went to the temple.  Which was awesome as expected.  And then we took some much needed naps.

The MTC is so fun, but again, seeing other missionaries get to go out into the field just made me so eager to finally get to work too!  

Monday, September 15, 2014

MTC Life

So this week, just like all the others, has been great!  It has gone by soo quickly.  Every day is just a mash up of lots of Chinese and lots of Gospel.

We are still teaching our two teachers as "investigators."  It is going pretty well.  It amazes me at what great actors they are.  Like we will be teaching our teacher one minute and she is super rude and disinterested and then 30 minutes later she comes in for class and is a completely different person.  They are pretty good actors.  

Everything is a blur and every day is pretty much the same so i don't remember very much of what happened...

It was Jian Zhang Lao's (Elder Johnson's) birthday this week so we made some little decorations and a birthday crown for him.  So that was fun!  Though, it was kinda difficult to get a hold of good crown-making materials.

Tuesday night's devotional was super good.  It was just an example of one of the many, many times we feel the spirit super strong here.  Oh, we had TRC again this Saturday.  Instead of being a train wreck like it was last Saturday, we actually didn't do too bad!  Our teachers actually watch us teach on camera (which is a bit intimidating).  The only feedback we got was that we worked great together, had a smooth lesson, and extended a very clear commitment.  Our only negative feedback was the we could have asked more specific questions instead of just "So what do you think?"  Though, in our defense that was the only question we asked because it's the only question we know how to ask in Chinese...!

The older districts finally got their stateside reassignments.  They are all so excited to finally leave the MTC after like 10 weeks.  I'm a bit sad though because I'm really gonna miss them.  They were awesome examples to us.

Ummm.....Sister Cutler and I are getting along great.  Every day we find that we have something else in common! So yeah we are always having fun together.  I also feel the same way about my district.  We are definitely the closest out of any of the other districts.  We are all just the best of friends.  

Speaking of friends, I keep running into tons of people I know both from BYU and from back home.  It's so cool to see everyone with their name tags and stuff.  I really admire them all for choosing to dedicate their time to the Lord.  

We are almost 4 weeks in which is soooooooooo weird.  I cannot wait until I am done though and can finally go to Hong Kong! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chinese ... Cookies

So this week has been sooo long ... but also flown by super duper fast.  I don't really remember which day is which because they are all basically the same.  They consist of morning runs and gym time and then like 6 hours of Chinese class.  So yeah, everything blends together. But here are some highlights: 

On Tuesday we had a devotional.  The focus of it was making sure that we take care of our investigators after they are baptized.  Our job as missionaries is not just to help people to be baptized but especially to help them build a relationship with their Heavenly Father. That was a really good devotional. 

Then on Wednesday we added a new district to our zone. There are three new sisters and they are all going to Singapore.  It is weird not being the youngest ones anymore.  Like, we are actually expected to know things now.  haha 

On Saturday we had TRC for the first time.  TRC is Teaching Resource Center.  During it, volunteers (who speak Chinese) come and we practice teaching lessons to members.  It is terrifying and we totally bombed it.  In all of our other lessons Di Jiemei and I have been teaching people who have never even heard who God or Jesus Christ was so it was super weird for us to teach people who already knew stuff.  So yeah, we definitely need to prepare better for TRC next week!

Yesterday, Sunday, was the BEST!  It was fast Sunday so instead of the normal Priesthood and Relief Society we had a "mission conference" which is basically a two hour devotional where all the MTC presidency and their wives speak.  And as you can imagine, it was great! They all spoke on different subjects and covered a range of spiritual topics.  During Sacrament meeting yesterday we got to do our calling for the first time and pick out the songs and pianist and stuff.  Then we had testimony meeting.  IT WAS SO AWESOME! Everyone bore their testimonies in Chinese and the spirit was so strong! I could  understand almost everything (even when the older districts spoke).  Then to end the meeting, the two older districts sang a medley of Abide with Me and Til We Meet Again.  It was so pretty and so sad.  Most of the Elders and Sisters in those districts will be leaving any day to go to stateside reassignments.  None of the people going to Taiwan's visas came in. So they will all be reassigned for about a month.  I'm gonna miss them all so much! They have been such great examples to me! 

This morning we went to the temple and it was great!

And speaking of awesome things and awesome people, I love my district! But, for some reason everyone in our district keeps getting boxes full of homemade cookies and stuff except for sister Cutler and I.  I guess our Elders felt bad for us so they sent us a package full of treats and goofy notes and stuff.  It was so sweet and they are so nice! 

The MTC is awesome! I am making so many great friends and learning so much! The Lord is helping me and I am so grateful to him.  But I just wanna get to HONG KONG!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The MTC is Amazing

Ni Hao guys! 

Actually we are not allowed to say "guys" here...it has to be "Sisters and Elders." 

This week has flown by.  It seems we've been here forever even though it has only been about 10 days or so.  Just some random updates about MTC life:

All the Sisters in our zone
Our district is the bomb! The 12 of us get along so great and have become such good friends. We spend like 15 hours a day together so it's a good thing we all like each other!  IT will definitely be sad when we all ship out to different parts of the world. 

Sister Cutler and I have managed to create a fantastic work out schedule so we don't go crazy while at the MTC.  We wake up at 5:45 for the 6am Sisters-only aerobics/yoga/kickboxing class everyday.  Then we go pick up sack breakfasts and drop them off at our room, then we go run for a half hour around the campus until gym time at 7:35.  During the first 25 minutes of so of gym we run around the upstairs track.  It's really small (10 laps a mile)...so it actually makes us a bit dizzy, and then we spend the end of our gym period playing games like 4 square.  It's a pretty good start to our day! 

The MTC food is basically the same as at BYU, but with a bit less options.  We mostly eat salads though because they have good and interesting salads, but sometimes there are really weird/creative entrees...

All of the Elders (except 2) in our district have started a chopstick competition.  They wrote a constitution for it and everything.  Basically the rules are that you have to eat every single thing with chopsticks (even mints and stuff) and also have rice for at least one meal a day.  If you mess up then you have to wear this really ugly and dirty zip tie for the next day.  The most recent rule that they have added is the "Bear Clause".  It says that if you kill a bear with chopsticks and then wear its pelt, then you can eat you food with regular silverware.... 

Since there are only three missionaries in my whole zone going to Hong Kong (me and two elders in my district), I have started trying to meet the Cantonese Hong Kong missionaries! They are all super cool too!  Here's just a quick outline of this last week: 

Tuesday: We taught our third lesson to our investigator. It went as about as good as it can be when you don't actually speak much Chinese.

Wednesday: Our WEEKAVERSARY! 

Thursday: Our teacher challenged us to invite our investigator to be baptized during our next lesson.  Di Jie Mei and I woke up feeling sick with sore throats.  (Literally everyone in our zone is sick....our halls are like a hospital wing.  Its gross). 

Friday:  We had no more lessons with our first investigator....but now he is one of our teachers! And our first teacher is now our newest investigator (we teach her for the first time tonight).  We also got another new teacher.  He is from Singapore and we all really like him too.  All the older Mandarin speakers (in our zone and the other zone) who are going to Taiwain were planning on leaving this next Friday, but they found out that none of their visas went through so they were told that they'd be staying for an extra week or so.  It was so sad seeing how upset they were when they found out.  

Saturday:  I have no memory of this day....everything is a jumble.

Sunday:  Sundays at the MTC rock!  We started off with Relief Society and the first counselor in the General Relief Society presidency spoke...that was way cool.  For sacrament meeting everyone is asked to prepare a talk in Chinese and then the branch presidency randomly picks someone to speak....Sister Cutler and I prepared a killer talk...but we weren't picked! Haha.  Also, during sacrament meeting all of the leadership positions help by the missionaries in the oldest districts were released (zone leaders, sister training leaders, sacrament meeting coordinators, technology coordinators, and music coordinators).  Guess who was called as the new music coordinators....Sister Cutler and me!  hahaha  Sister Cutler has about as much musical talent as i do....but we were excited and happy to serve nonetheless! 

Temple Walk yesterday was also sooooo great!  It was perfect weather and just so fun!  The devotional last night was way super good!  The guy who spoke emphasized the importance of a study journal........which I really want to do now! 

Monday: Today is P-day (yay!).  The temple is closed though (boo).  So instead of going to the temple our district got together for a breakfast picnic outside the temple.  We ate and talked and played games and it was way fun! 

Soooo the MTC is way cool! There is this version of the "Army of Helaman" song and the "Sisters in Zion" song that we sing a bunch, but with modified words that fit missionary work.  It's really cool and being a missionary in general is super cool! 

Love you guys, 
Shao Jie Mei