Week Two: Fears of Malaria and Grass Huts

MTC life is interesting here.  Since my first week (since Wednesday), I have had Ge Laoshi as my Mandarin teacher.  On the third day, we started teaching “investigators” in our language to practice conversations and plan lessons.  We were mainly teaching an investigator named Amber.  She would speak very softly and quickly, so we were always on our toes to keep up with the conversation, and very quick to give looks of confusion.  At the beginning of this week, we had a change in teacher schedules.  “Amber” is now our teacher.  Her name is Sun Laoshi, she has been back from her mission in Taiwan for about 4 months.  It was apparently a secret that our “investigators” would be our teachers, but the older missionaries do not keep secrets.

Sometime this week, we were informed of the dangers of our mission.  The most dangerous threat was Malaria, carried by mosquitoes.  So basically, we need to soak all our cloths in some liquid, put on mosquito repellent,  sleep with mosquito nets, take Malaria pills, and run away from mosquitoes.  My district has quite a sense of humor, so we were laughing at the side effects of the Malaria medication pills than the effects of Malaria.  The Malaria medication we have is supposed to be taken every day, and side effects can include esophagus ulcers, strange and vivid dreams, and hallucinations.  I think most of us are more scared to take the medication than catch Malaria.  Guess I’ll find out how that is in 7 weeks.  There are also rumors that we will live in grass huts.  This makes me very grateful for the facilities here in the MTC.

I realized my love for music this week.  Although not everyone in my district sings, we all attended choir practice.  We are practicing for devotionals on Tuesdays, and we learned to loosen ourselves up by singing.  It is likely Elders Harmon and Stevens and I will sing in Sacrament meeting next week.  There is quite a learning curve when we sing, some words will be Chinese and some English will escape our mouths.  I feel very relaxed when I have an opportunity to sing, I have never loved singing hymns more in my life.

Today, I was able to attend the temple with my district.  Preparation day is quite nice.  We woke up at 5:00 this morning to do laundry, eat breakfast, run to the temple, and now we have almost 6 hours of “free time”.  My district will probably lounge around studying or get some exercise.  Concerning the exercise, the Mandarin speaking Branch is known for being very good at playing four-square.  I had no idea that four-square could be so competitive.

If there are any grammar or spelling mistakes, I apologize.  The Mandarin is really taking it’s toll.  We are often so tired we can’t think of English words anymore.  An implementation here at the MTC is SYL (speak your language).  Essentially, we can’t say anything in English that we know in Mandarin.  In about two weeks, all my conversations will be in Chinese.  I’ll be able to write my emails in Mandarin soon.  I can’t wait for the day I can be fluent in the language.

Things to be grateful for: fresh air, showers, sleep, non-mosquito infested environments, and laundry machines.

Hope you are all well, I love you all! 🙂
Elder Chin

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