So…I’m officially halfway through my MTC time! Crazy! We had a good “hump day” party with some donuts courtesy of my wonderful family! One month from today a plane that I will be on will land in Taiwan! Wow. I’m beyond excited. One of the us asked our teacher what the Chinese word for lotion is and he just laughed and said we won’t need it because we will swim through the air. Ha. It’s exciting. In honor of one month to go, here’s a video you all can watch. We watch these to practice listening skills. Appreciate how wonderful Taiwan is and then appreciate the fact that I can almost entirely understand what she is saying. And you can turn on English subtitles so you know what’s going on. She’s so great! http://www.mormon.org/zho/shi
A couple of fun things first. MTC four-square is the most competitive and entertaining thing ever. I’m pretty sure the last time I played four-square before now was 3rd grade at Greenville Elementary school. Our district managed to get the whole gym to ourselves last P-Day and the 10 of us played four-square for a solid hour. We kind of made our own rules with battle rounds and falcon punches. I don’t even know how to explain, but it’s a good time. Also, there are some funny things relating to Chinese. Because of the tones, if you don’t use the right tone combination, then you’re saying a completely different word. So, shufu with one tone combination is bondage and shufu with another is comfortable. And wen is ask with one tone and kiss with another. It makes for some funny misunderstandings. Also, two elders in our district have a companionship goal to translate a Napolean Dynamite quote every day into Mandarin. (We’re supposed to say everything we can in Chinese, and they said that since the majority of their conversations revolve around such quotes it’s important to know.) Anyway, it’s been pretty entertaining. Oh and our gym is closed for the next couple weeks, so we get to go out the gate over to the Mariott Center for devotionals. So that’s some of the fun of the MTC.
This week we got 650 new missionaries at the MTC! 54 of them are Mandarin speaking and 30 are in our zone/branch. It’s so much fun to have our Mandarin basement in the Heber C. Kimball building full! We got the chance to host the new missionaries coming in on Wednesday. I had to kind of turn off all of my emotions, but it’s also pretty cool to be a part of that first mission memory for someone. I just love how with every new sister I hosted, they were fine once they had their name tag. It just kind of took away the fears and reminded them how great it is to be a missionary. I love the four new sisters in our zone! The are so sweet and fun to be around. I haven’t had a chance to get to know all of our new elders because there are 26 of them, but they seem pretty great and excited to work hard.
Our teaching this week has been so awesome. We’ve really learned how to rely on the Spirit in our teaching. It’s amazing how much better my Chinese becomes when I begin to teach or bear testimony. I’m really awful at having a conversation, but I’m beginning to feel pretty confident in teaching. Its incredible how much love we have begun to feel for the people we teach. The best this week was TRC. I think I mentioned it before, but it’s where volunteers come in and we just share a message with them. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week. On Saturday, we had a really sweet older couple from Taipei that we got to teach. It was SO awesome! Their Chinese was a little hard to understand, but we understood each other and that was amazing. We talked to them about receiving revelation from their Book of Mormon study. It was a really cool experience and got me so excited to go teach and be with the wonderful people in Taiwan!
Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke to us on Tuesday. It was really awesome! He talked about receiving revelation. My favorite thing that he said that exercising faith and working as hard as you can are the greatest things you can do as a missionary. That was cool to hear. I’m so lucky to have heard so many apostles since I’ve been here.
Chinese is so amazing. I have really fallen in love with learning this language. It’s crazy to me how much I’ve already learned and I’m only halfway through. I’m also so excited by the fact that I can always continue to learn more Chinese. We learn all in pinyin here at the MTC, so that we will be able to speak. Pinyin is mostly used for them to type, but we use it as our romanized form to learn fast enough. But I look forward to getting into reading and studying characters in a few months. I learned this week that the character for righteousness is the character for I/me aligned with the character for the lamb. It’s interesting because the Asian countries don’t come from a Christian background, but it’s cool to see just how much meaning there is behind every single word in the language.
So yesterday our Mandarin branch was so great. Zones and branches are one and the same at the MTC, so that makes it fun. Our branch jumped from 19 last week to 49 this week so it was really fun. I think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we all prepare a talk each week and the President Woodfield just picks two at the beginning of the meeting to speak. Yesterday he chose two of the brand new missionaries to share their testimonies. They were both so good and simple and you could tell that each word was studied and practiced with only 3 days of Mandarin instruction. It made me realize just how far I’ve come. And then surprise… President Woodfield stood up to speak afterwards, but instead he said, “I think it would be good to hear from some more experienced missionaries too. You’ll see that although they prepared a talk for today, they won’t need or use any prepared notes and I’ll ask them to bear their testimony. So we’ll now hear from Sister Turner and then Elder Love.” So that was exciting. I only had about two seconds to prepare mentally as I walked to the front of our little room and then all of this Chinese came out of my mouth. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but instead of thinking of English and translating it, I was just bearing my testimony. It was awesome. And then after the meeting, President Woodfield came over to me and a bunch of the new missionaries and asked me how much Chinese I spoke before I came to the MTC. I said not a word. He said that it was really cool to see how fast we learn here. Anyway, that was a really cool opportunity and I’m so glad.
I love the MTC and I love this gospel! I’m so glad to have the chance to learn and study every single day!