Everything has been the same, but everything is different. My companion was sent home due to health issues. I was disappointed to have him leave, we were getting along so well. However, he might be able to return to the MTC in 6 weeks if his conditions clear up. I hope I see him again, we were great friends and companions. So this week, I was assigned to a tri-panionship with Elder Jones and Elder Stevens. We have a room to ourselves, and we love to learn funny phrases in Chinese.
A shipment of Singapore/Taiwan missionaries are leaving today. I am sad to see them go, but I look forward to seeing them in the field. I became close with Elder Brown (Zone Leader, not my first companion), and found is only a week older than I am. He is also Chinese, and plans to attend Asian ward at BYU when he returns from his mission. Elder Brown is so great, he gave my companionship some great pass-me-downs this past week. We attained 100 plastic army men, a rubber band ball, a homemade “guitar”, food, and a recipe book. At the end of last week, we had a box of candy, silly-string, nerf guns, and 40 boxes of cereal. The traditions at the MTC are so great, it makes the environment so friendly after a hard day of work. Anyway, I hear it’s likely that I will see the missionaries that are leaving today, there are about 25 Mandarin-speaking missionaries in the Singapore Mission. When we return, we plan to have an Mandarin-speaking missionary reunion. Sister Huff from my district is also leaving with the missionaries today, she was put on the fast track program because she knew enough Chinese.These Elders and Sisters are so great, they all have great talents, work ethic, and testimonies.
At the devotional yesterday (Sunday), Elder Brown (Zone Leader) played the violin with two other missionaries playing piano and singing. They played the song that was performed at my mission farewell (Savior, Redeemer of My Soul). It was so beautiful to hear my favorite song again, I am so grateful for the power of music. We sing five songs at devotionals, before each meeting, before class, walking around campus, and everywhere we go. Music lightens the stress significantly and brings a powerful spirit.
Next Wednesday (November 12th or something, we loose track of time here), we will receive the next shipment of Mandarin speaking missionaries. We will receive another shipment two weeks after that, then we will be leaving on approximately the 15th of December. Right now, our zone is about 15 missionaries. Stress increases when there are fewer missionaries. On Sundays, we are required to write talks, share testimonies, and give prayers in Mandarin. When there are fewer of us, the chances of us being picked are higher. So it looks like I might be giving a talk by reading a script next week. Speaking of the language, before I left on my mission, I heard that there is usually one day in the MTC where everything makes sense. I had that day on Tuesday. I could understand everything my Laoshi (teacher) was saying, and I could respond to her questions. This place is full of miracles.
Talking about miracles, one missionary in my district was challenged to drink 16 glasses of apple juice at dinner. He was able to drink 15 glasses (about a gallon), and got really sick. We gave him a Priesthood blessing, and he soon recovered. He did spend some time in the bathroom (a lot of time), but he was able to attend his meetings that day. Perhaps the greatest miracle of all is that 7 missionaries with diverse character traits can function together and work hard from 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 at night. We love to serve the Lord, and we love serving each other. I can’t wait until we serve out in the field together.
Some random points this week: I had a uni-brow for Halloween, everyone here is sick and coughing everywhere, I don’t know the days of the week anymore, I’m getting fat from eating too much food, but everything here is great.
Love you all,