Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 9: In which I accidentally say some rude things and in which I give my first talk in Chinese!

Outside the  Provo Temple

Hello everyone! GET THIS. I get my travel itinerary THIS WEEK. It's actually happening! In two weeks from today, I'll be on a plane headed halfway across the world. It doesn't feel real, but I think it might be. I am so grateful for this wonderful time that I've had at the MTC. There is no place like the MTC! But I am so ready to get out and actually go serve those Chinese people that we pray for every day. On Tuesday, we had our special Chinese-speaking missionary meeting with Elder Perkins of the Quorum of the Seventy. He was a member of the Asian Area Presidency, which meant he's been living for quite a while in Hong Kong. He and his wife both spoke about charity, and let me tell you, the love in that room was practically tangible. Elder Perkins pointed out that 1 out of 5 of God's children are Chinese, and the opportunity that we have to serve them is an incredible one. It was such a blessing to hear from them. Sister Perkins talked more about charity in the Tuesday evening devotional, and she said to remember that we are called to serve our brothers and sisters, and that we should serve them like they're family. I am so ready to do that! For the rest of the meeting, I was thinking constantly about Rebecca, Rachel, and Rowan. How would I want people to serve them? Well, I'd better serve the people of Hong Kong the same exact way. In the scriptures we're commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love is a commandment. And 1 Nephi 3:7 tells us that with every commandment, God will give us a way to accomplish it. And for us, the way to love the people in Hong Kong is by praying and serving and praying until we feel like praying and serving until we love serving.

I'll be frank, this week has been the most challenging so far in the MTC. It's not because the work was harder or because I was busier or sicker than usual. I was just missing home and missing BYU. It's really hard sometimes to control your thoughts, so I just tried to stay busy. I feel kind of like Harry, Hermione, and Ron must have felt at the beginning of The Deathly Hallows, when they realized that the Hogwarts Express had once again left the station, but this time they weren't on it. That must have been a little sad. But at the same time, they didn't want to be on it, because they knew that had something so much more important to do. I kind of miss classes and homework and wearing sweatpants on the couch, but given the option I'd never, ever, in a gazillion years, be there instead of here. That's the thought that's helped me push through this week, that no matter how tough things get here, there's nowhere else I could feel so at peace.

Sister Ainge and I have had a blast so far. She and I are such good friends, and our giggling binges make the MTC so much more fun. We always laugh at the same things, so even if maybe they weren't that funny before, they're now hilarious. We giggle, and then the giggling escalates until we have tears pouring from our eyes and our faces are so red and people start giving us weird looks. The 15 minutes before devotionals start, we always sing a few rousing hymns, and on Sunday night we sang Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel. The choristers will sometimes tell one half of the room to sing the melody, and the other to sing the harmony, and we lucked out and got the harmony for this one: the echo "Push Along" and "Full of Song" during the chorus. And for some reason, we couldn't get the tune at all. It was terrible. And so we basically just shouted the echo as loud as we could. And Sister Ainge sang it especially bad in one of the verses, and I turned to her and whispered, "Nailed it!" And then we just lost it, and giggled for the whole rest of the song. To sum up, I love that Sista. I made a goal to love each companion I had, fully expecting that as soon as I made that goal, I'd be blessed with all the most... challenging companions. And I know they'll come (I know because I have been well-prepared by various... situations to deal with challenging companions) but right now I am just soaking up this wonderful companionship and making the most of it!

I've had the weirdest array of songs going through my head this week. One of my vocabulary words for Thursday was 'gaakjyuht,' which means 'separated.' So then I thought of that one line from that one song that I don't actually know that goes, "Dun, dun, dun, gotta keep 'em separated." Which I then translated into Cantonese: "Seuiyiu jeunsau keuihdeih gaakjyuht." And I sang it all day. And then the next day in gym, during volleyball... Well, I think I must have had too much sugar or something because I couldn't stop jumping up and down and stretching and running in place. And then I started singing, "WAR! HUH! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" Not exactly the most uplifting of songs haha, but what can I say?

Elder Morton (talking about Elder Staheli): He's like a goat! He'll eat anything! 'Oh, I love Almond Joys! Oh, tater tot casserole, yum! Oh, yes, thank you, I do love caterpillars! They taste like gummy worms!

This conversation took place at a workshop. These are real elders from our branch:
Teacher: So how can we invite miracles to be a part of our work? Yes, Elder Davis?
Elder Davis (in a Forrest Gump voice): Well... Miracles... are... miraculous.
Teacher: Uh... great. Thanks. Anyone else? How about you, Elder Smith?
Elder Smith: Oh, sorry, he took my answer.

In other news, Vincent got baptized on Saturday! It was... well, hilarious. After the 'baptism' (keep in mind, these are just investigators played by our teachers) I had Elder Morton do a special musical number. So he played 'If You Could Hie to Kolob'... on his tin whistle. I died. I was trying so hard to subdue my laughter that my chair was shaking and tears were pouring from my eyes. And every time I almost got it under control, I heard Sister Ainge laugh behind me and it started all over again. It was a great day though. Which reminds me, do you think someone could send me some pictures from my baptism? I thought it would be a nice thing to have to share with people I teach in Hong Kong.

Anyways, I'm about out of time! Thank you so much for the letters, and Aunt Lisa for the wonderful package! I love you all so much, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

(Some pictures from Katie's letter this week...she did not identify anyone, so not sure who they are, but they look very happy! )


Sister Ainge

So we do know Elder Aaron MacFarlane (on right) from our hometown, heading to Idaho.

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