Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 1 at the MTC

Dear friends and family,

I have officially survived the first week (well, half-week) at the MTC! No companions have been strangled (yet) and I still want to be here. I consider that a success, right? :)

I have decided that in order to make my emails more interesting, I would make a format. So, in each email you can expect something spiritual, something funny or awkward, and something informative. That is, if something funny or awkward happens to me each week...

First, the funny. My first day at the MTC, while waiting for my flu shot, I told an elder that I was going to "Taipei." He quickly corrected me, telling me that it was "Taibei." I quickly (probably too quickly) responded that since I was in America, American, and speaking American, it was "Taipei." Yes, I really did. And then I said just kidding, as if that would make it better! I guess my pride was helped when I started learning Chinese and quickly found that I was already behind the first day of class, as most of the elders and sisters had studied Chinese before they came!

And now the informative stuff. I am in a threesome companionship, and will be until I leave the MTC. !!! If you thought I would struggle with one companion, how do you think I am doing with two people following me wherever I go?! It is kind of crazy, slightly (or more than slightly) annoying, and definitely trying my patience. But I came on a mission to preach the gospel and not to have fun companions, right? Sister Chen is from Sandy but her parents are Taiwanese and she knows quite a bit of Mandarin. Actually, she is a blessing from heaven because she helps me often (always) with my Mandarin, which is quite difficult, in case you were wondering. She is also very funny and says off-the-wall, unexpected things all the time, which are made even funnier because she is this tall skinny Asian who looks like she should be really quiet. She keeps me laughing. My other companion, Sister Pickering, is also very nice with a lot of good attributes. I am sure I will learn a lot from her too.

This week you get two items of information. This next one is about my district. They are amazing, absolutely and completely. The other day I was walking to my classroom and I saw an elder with his tie around his head. I have to admit, these are the kind of elders that I expected to be in the MTC, but these kinds of elders are definitely not in my district. They are all very serious about the gospel, and especially about Chinese, and speak Chinese everywhere and take every opportunity to learn a new word or ask about the tones in the word. There are four elders and three sisters in my district, and we are really rockin. I guess I never imagined that 19 year old men could be this spiritually prepared for a mission. I guess it is about time my perspective changed, eh? :)

And finally, the spiritual side. I remember the first letter or two from the MTC are always so spiritual, with the missionary trying to communicate in 10 minutes or less how amazing they feel at the MTC. Well, it is impossible, and the letter is usually a bit boring for those who are not experiencing the MTC, so I won't try. I will say, though, that I feel completely different as a missionary, even staring at the same mountains and still being on BYU campus. The other day I went to the missionary field to excercise, and I thought about all the other times I had walked past this field. Each time I had looked at the field and the missionaries and longed to be with them and like them. It was the one spot in all of Provo that I was not allowed to enter. But two days ago, as I was on the field, knowing that it was the only place I was allowed to enter, I felt completely happy! Crazy, I know, but I think it comes with being set apart.

I see miracles happen every day here, and I am excited to keep watching them happening. For those of you who work at the MTC, I look for you all the time. And for those of you who care for me but don't think that I like letters, I do. I have received one so far--a package actually, with cookies!--and Noelle, your letter is in the mail--thanks!. I really appreciate mail, since I can read mail any day and email only one day a week. No pressure or anything! :)

Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your letters.

Love always,

Sister White

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