August 12, 2013

Jiating hao!
That means hello family in Mandarin Chinese. I’ve been living and breathing Chinese, so hopefully I can talk proper English in this email. Anyways, I’m alive! I made it through my first couple days. So far, I LOVE the MTC. The Spirit is so strong and we are all striving to fulfill our purpose as missionaries: Invitd others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Yups, I memorized the missionary purpose. There’s so much I want to write about. I’ll just start on day one.
One the first day, I got pretty emotional saying goodbye to all of the family, but once I reached the MTC I was fine. The sister missionary that hosted me was super nice and super chill. She helped me adjust to getting used to the MTC. I found out that she is also an International Relations major at BYU and we both had a mutual friend. It was a small world. She also lives just two apartments over from me. By the way, I live on the fourth floor so I get my excerise going back to my apartment. Actually, I spend most of my time in the classroom than in my apartment since we have to do all of our studying in the classroom. On average, I have spent probably 10-12 hours in the classroom.
I really like my companion. Actually, she was in my mission prep class. We both got our mission call at the same time and we stood up to announce our mission calls in class. We were the only two in that class to announce our calls. We both got called to the Australia Brisbane mission entering the MTC August 7. I remember joking to her that day, “Hey, we’ll probably be mission companions.” Small world: We are mission companions! I also found out that there are currently no sister missionaries in the Australia Brisbane mission speaking Mandarin Chinese. There will be two sisters before us flying out to the mission field in three weeks. Then there will be me and my companion flying out to Brisbane. So when I get to Brisbane, I will be one of the four sister missionaries speaking Mandarin in my mission. Small world again: One of the sisters leaving for Brisbane Australia Mandarin speaking was also in and my companion’s mission prep class. She said that she saw our pictures and thought we looked familiar, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. We just found out last night that we were all in the same mission prep class this past winter semester.
I guess I’ll just jump around with what I feel like writing instead of doing it by the days. By the way, we now have an hour to write emails so I have a lot more time to write emails. So my teacher for Chinese is a female. I thought for sure it was going to be a male. She super cute though. We call her Xiao Laoshi (“Xiao” is her surname and “Laoshi” means teacher). She looks like an anime character. We have class with her like 3-4 hours at a time. She’s entertaining though, so I’m able to endure learning 100 vocabulary words in 4 hour blocks. By the third day in the MTC, we taught our first “investigator” all in Chinese for 30 minutes. I just found out that this investigator is going to be my second teacher for Chinese. We already taught him twice and tonight we will be teaching him about the Plan of Salvation. It’s crazy! All of these times we have done pretty good teaching, considering we have been in the MTC for only a couple of days. My companion called me “a genius” because I was able to understand what he said and answer all of his questions. I’m definitely not a genius. It’s just the Spirit guiding me telling me what to say. During all of these workshops and role playing situations, I have really gained a love for the people that were supposed to be investigators. Even though were fake investigators, my heart would still burn for them to be converted to Christ. I can’t wait until I meet real people who are looking for the fulness of the gospel.
I feel like I have been more productive these past couple days than I have been during the whole three months of my summer. Haha, I was such a loser! Anyways, I love my district. They are funny and rowdy and often times I can’t study because they are so crazy. They really make my day though. They can be spiritual at the same time too though, which is a good thing. There are two male missionaries in my district that are also going to Australia Brisbane Mandarin Chinese speaking. They are also companions. We determined that both my and their companionship are the best companionships in the district. I totally agree. Not to brag, but I feel like we are pretty cool spiritually and in every other way you can think of. People in my district think that me and another elder in that companionship have the best Chinese. I still feel like my Chinese sucks though considering I’ve had two years of it at BYU. I feel like my Chinese should be way better. Having Chinese experience though helped me survive through these first couple days. Typically in class, I can understand 90% of what the teacher says, so it hasn’t been super duper stressful. Here’s some quotes that people in the MTC have said to describe the affect of Chinese on the missionaries: “Chinese jacks up your mind.” “Chinese makes me high.” “I think I’m allergic to Chinese.” Yeah, living and breathing Chinese does that to us. Well, for me it hasn’t been too bad since BYU has prepared me well for the MTC.
Song Jie Mei (“Song” is my surname is Mandarin and “Jie Mei” is sister)

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