Life in the MTC is great! I am always busy doing something, the people here are great, and I’m never hungry! I love the MTC!
My companion is Elder Brown from Utah. He is almost the complete opposite of me. He loves football, hates math, and dislikes most of the things I like and likes most of the things I dislike. Despite our differences, we function quite well as a companionship. One similarity between us is our desire to serve, work hard, and learn fast. We spend almost all of our free time learning the language (Mandarin Chinese), and studying the lessons. On several days, we have spent five strait hours on TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning) software. We have learned so much in the first week. We can already introduce ourselves, say where we are from and going, say a prayer, testimony, read lessons, teach discussions, and carry on a conversation. In my district, many of them have taken previous classes in Chinese. Most of them say we have learned more in this week than they had in two or three years. I still feel inadequate in the language, but I realize how much the Lord has helped me learn.
My district consists of Elder Stevens (Birmingham England) and Elder Jones (Singapore), Elder Avery (Singapore) and Elder Harmon (Singapore), Sister Payne (Taiwan) and Sister Crowell (Taiwan) and Sister Huff (Singapore, but was transferred to the fast track program because she knew Chinese already), and Elder Brown and I (Singapore). Elder Avery is my district leader, he is great at keeping everyone on task and informed of the schedule. We have taught three discussions in Chinese already, our investigator was Amber. We have taught her how to pray, the Atonement, and repentance. We will be teaching her five times a week now. We do our best to understand everything she says, but it turns out to be only encouragement to learn the language better.
So everyone here is getting sick, the cold is going around the residences. I had a different type of “sick”. My first day, I had some food poisoning before I reported to the MTC, but that only lasted a day. I also had some minor chest pain, and had the doctor check that out. Turns out my body was simply stressing out, and I need to slow down. I don’t feel overwhelmed, but I do try to do everything possible to learn. At a district devotional, we discussed that the Lord will help us to do anything if we do our best. He will not require us to do more than we can, so I guess I need to keep this in mind. I do work hard every second of the day, but perhaps I should learn to enjoy this time in the MTC.
Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so I can’t upload any pictures right now. We do have some crazy pictures and stories like eating chili peppers and almost passing out, shooting Elders with rubber bands, and passing gas in other Elders’ rooms. I share a room with Elders Brown, Jones, and Stevens. We wake up early at six to read the Book of Mormon in Chinese, we say our prayers in Chinese, we use Chinese whenever possible, and we dream Chinese at night. We are quite immersed in the language, we hope we can learn it well enough to go out into the field.
So normally, I will be writing on Monday, but my P-day was mixed around this week. Today is Wednesday, which means I finally get to be the annoying Elder who says to the new missionaries “WELCOME TO THE MTC”! On my first day there, I was told that over one-hundred times. Once you have survived one week, you can annoy the new elders with that phrase.
I really learned to be humble this week, I was surprised how little I can do alone. I also learned of the strength Christ can give if we accept his will and do our best. I hope you all are doing well at home, I miss you all. Until next week…