Wednesdays are always great, since it's new missionary day! So we get to make all the new missionaries with orange dots on their tags feel awkward when every single person there says "WELCOME TO THE MTC!!!" It's great. Actually, Sister Cochran was the best at greeting those new missionaries and she saw one and yelled "welcome to the MTC" at him. turns out he was Elder Klein (our British missionary who's been here 11 weeks because of an injury) with a highlighter in his pocket above his tag. Needless to say that was pretty awkward...hahahaha. Good times though. Sister Anderson summed up the feeling of our first day in class together with a quote from Finding Nemo. When Marlin is getting ready to exit the EAC, Squirt is trying to give him instructions. Marlin says "You're so cute but I have NO idea what you're talking about!!" That is totally how we felt. Our teacher is adorable, but she speaks literally ONLY Cantonese. So it's hard to understand anything. BUt oh well!
Thursday I ran into my old buddy Elder Wilcox from junior high. I mean, I guess I've seen him like every day since I've been here, but it was good to catch up with an old friend. Then my companions and I went to the main building to go audition for a special musical number. I made it! Sister Nally (president's wife) said she'd be more than happy to use me. I'm playing Paul Cardall's "Redeemer". We don't know when yet since speakers often request certain types of musical numbers, but that's okay. I'm so excited to be able to share the gift of music that the Lord has given me!
Thursday afternoon was rough. My comps and I prepared to go teach our investigator, Stellar. Teaching with our limited vocabulary is really hard, so we brought books with us to help us with what we were trying to say. We planned to invite her to baptism. We explained the blessings of the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation the few visits before. She said no to our invitation and threw all these questions at us like "Why should I be baptized? Why is it by immersion? Why do I have to ask God if it's true?" And the hardest part was we couldn't answer a single question. We just didn't have a clue how to do it. The three of us almost cried as we walked out of that lesson feeling like we'll never make a difference in someone else's life. That night, we went to watch a demonstration of a lesson in English which actually really helped us understand what we were doing wrong and what could've been better. I mean, there's only so much you can do when you can't speak Cantonese well yet, but it was very insightful. We went to dinner feeling a little better about ourselves and then went to class prepared to learn more so we could revamp our previous lesson plans and make them better. We walked into our class and lo and behold, our investigator was standing in front of us with a teacher badge. I knew our investigators were members and often our teachers, but I guess I just didn't put two and two together. She has been teaching our class every day since then. I love having her teach us because she uses English to explain Cantonese's weird grammar rules, so it's easier to understand.
Friday we got to use the TALL lab- Technology Assisted Language Learning. It's basically digital flashcards and practicing pronouncing, but it's really helpful so I don't really care how boring it is. Friday, we also found out that one of our dear Elders is going home- hence the subject of this email. It's been an emotional farewell as we said goodbye to Elder Moody today. He just said he isn't worthy to be here, and he's going to go home and put his life back in order so he can come back out. As much as I hate to see him leave, I know that if you aren't here for the right reasons you won't stay.
Saturday was nice because I had time in the evening to actually relax a bit. Saturdays are awesome. Nothing else really happened that was exciting though...
Sundays. WHOA. that's my favorite day... sorry family! P Day just isn't as awesome as Sunday. In Relief Society, we had a member of the general YW presidency speak to us- Sister Niell Marriot. She gave a wonderful talk and we were all so spiritually uplifted. We also sang the new words to Janice Kapp Perry's As Sisters in Zion. If you haven't had the chance to look them up, here are the words to verses one and three:
The Sisters of Zion are called to God's labor
We Willingly serve him with spirit and might
We go to the nations with truth everlasting
We teach of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
We go forth enlisted in Helaman's army
In numbers much greater than ever before
With power and spirit we'll faithfully witness
The heavens have opened, the truth is restored!
I get so emotional every time I sing those words. Like to the point that I can't sing. It's such an incredible, powerful message. Go look up the other verse. it's all so good!
Our speaker last night was Elder Stephen B Allen, manager of the missionary department. He gave us a wonderful talk with some great one-liners that helped us understand the importance and simplicity of missionary work. I guess if I have to say anything about what I've learned this week, it's that our mission as missionaries of our Lord is not to force the church down people's throats. It isn't to lay out a ton of doctrine and expect every person out there to believe it. It's to invite others to come unto Christ. It's to build up the kingdom of God by sharing with others how much their Heavenly Father loves them. it's to teach that they can repent of their sins and be able to live with their families again. Our message is simple- Come unto Christ. He loves you and wants you to be with Him again. It took me 19 years of my life to understand that that is really what the gospel is centered around. Everything else is just icing on the cake. How amazing is that?
I love you all and love your support! Ngoh jidou Yehsou Geduk ge fuhkyam gamjat. Ngoh jidou Tin Fuh ngoi ngoh, ngoi ngohdeih. I know the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is True. I know Heavenly Father loves me, loves all of us!
It's gonna be a great week! (:
Oh the weird things that happen here... Mom please forward on!
The other day, Sisters Cochran and Anderson had to use the bathroom. So they went. And they were confused because when they walked in, there were urinals too. But they figured since they could see a sister's feet under the stall door (or so they say) that it was just a womens' room that had been converted because of the masses of sister missionaries. So then the next day as the sisters from our district walked back from dinner, Sis Cochran said "Huy guys! Do you want to see the urinals?" So of course, we were like "umm........ sure." Because urinals in a women's bathroom make no sense. Anyways, she walks up and looks at the sign and was like "Umm, no way. This is the bathroom we used yesterday. They changed the sign!" turns out she used the men's room...and there was probably a poor elder in that stall being totally horrified at what was going on. Good times.
Sis Cochran got treats from her family in the mail so she offered to share them. Elder Klein is a solo missionary so he isn't always with a comp, so when he walked in a little later she offered him a treat. he said "I'm not a dog" in his hilarious British accent... we totally died. Maybe the lack of sleep is getting to us.,
Saturday night, Elder Klein went off on us about our language and pronounciation. He spent 10 minurtes at the chalk board going off on how Enos is not pronounced "Enis" but rather "Ee-noss" and Enoch is not "Enich" but "E-knock". So then we got after him and said that through doesn't start with an f (since he says it "frough") and it was pretty funny. Thank goodness it's all in good fun, and nobody gets offended!
Also, the spirit speaks every language. Especially Chinglish. Please remember that when I get home and can't speak English! I'm actually having a hard time even now remembering words in English. it's a crazy phenomenon.
This mission is the hardest thing of my whole life. I've never been on my knees praying so hard for the companionship of the spirit, pleading for my family to be blessed at home, praying I can stay awake through 9 more hours of class tomorrow. But every second of it is worth it, and these funny moments make it even more enjoyable.
All the sisters in the district
MTC typo. Banch? Or Branch?
Sassy Sister Missionaries
Work hard, study harder
Beautiful sisters doing the Lord's work. So proud of all these girls and their decision to serve God for 18 months of their lives.