Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Hello body! It's time to party! Chin up, shoulders back, knees straight, buns tight..."

Hello everybody!! This week was FANTASTIC on the mail and package front! I think I got a letter or package or dear elder every day this week! Thank you thank you thank you! It means so much to me to get little notes from everyone- they definitely make my day and are so encouraging and uplifting! Lauren, Zoe, Jaelynn, Hannah Barnes, Heritage Ward YM/YW, McKee family, and Jared, and my immediate family- I will be writing you all letters today and putting them in the mail tomorrow!

This week's quote comes because we've been getting up early to do the sisters' aerobics classes at 6 AM. They have different things every day- yoga, pilates, cardio, kickboxing, step...pretty fun. 

This week we had our first experience in the TRC (teaching resource center). Basically they tell you what door to go in, and you teach whoever is in the room. The people that come in aren't role playing- they're just themselves. Usually they are members of the church, but they can also be less-active members or those investigating the church. Regardless, they usually come because they have a specific challenge in their life and are looking for some spiritual upliftment. We teach them in Chinese. TRC was frustrating though, because I wanted so badly to help them and teach them something that would bless them and uplift them, but I had no idea what they were saying and I couldn't figure out what their needs were. I think that is what makes the MTC so hard- we come here with strong testimonies and an incredible desire to bless and help people, and it's hard to feel helpless. What I do know, though, is that I don't need to be able to speak Zhongwen to help people feel the Spirit, so that's what I try to focus on.

Xiao Laoshi
This week I've also realized how well God knows me! He knows my weaknesses, and what experiences I need to help me become stronger. He also knows my strengths and how to use them. He knows what things to bless me with and how to make me happy. One of those tender mercies is my teacher, Xiao Laoshi. She is amazing! Besides being a fantastic language teacher, she is SO spiritual and kind and able to know how to help us and encourage us. She served in Taipei a few years ago and she is just the cutest, most adorable person I've ever met. When she's teaching, she does these cute sound effects and facial expressions that just make us all crack up!

On Sunday we also got to watch the Testaments (a movie about Christ's visit to those on the American continent after his resurrection)…in Mandarin. I could not understand 98% of what was being said (good thing I know the movie pretty well!), but I could feel the spirit and Christ's love so strongly. It was amazing. I love that movie so much. Even though I'm going to be a little white girl missionary who can't speak Chinese, I can still try to help Taiwanese people feel God's love- watching the Testaments in Mandarin proved that to me. Side note- I didn't realize how much flirting there is in that movie until I watched it here.....

My companion and I were trying to teach a man Mosiah 24, where the people pray to God to get them out of bondage, but to answer their prayer, the Lord eases their burdens and helps them bear them. So, I turned there and started to try to give some background info, but I have no idea how to say bondage, or really any word that relates to the background of the story. So, I jumped up and started drawing on the board and pantomiming until he understood. I thought it was hilarious! We do so much pantomiming and drawing in our lessons- it's really quite awesome! I'm going to be SO good at charades when I get back.

Okay, another funny story about the MTC. All the walkways and sidewalks here are covered- this is great when it rains or snows, but it also means that we NEVER see the sky. Well, except for our walk to the temple on P-day (preparation day- her day off) and our temple walk on Sunday. Also, we are outside for a total of 6 minutes everyday, give or take, and even for the three minutes of that that is during daylight hours, we are under the covered walkways. Jared, if you thought I was pale before, just wait until I'm about to leave the MTC. I'm going to be a ghost! Hahaha! :D

Confusing Chinese words of the week:
jihua- plan
jihui- opportunity
jiaohui- church

zhidao- to know (1st tone, 4th tone)
zhidao-guidance (3rd tone, 3rd tone)

CAN YOU SEE WHY THIS LANGUAGE IS MAKING ME CRAZY, PEOPLE?! They all sound the same! Hahaha! Actually, I love learning Chinese so much. So so much. It's hard and tiring and annoying, but I really do love this language!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The food. Oh man the MTC food. It is getting pretty bad. I think I probably have 1 serving of veggies every week, and maybe 2 servings of fruit! I am craving vegetables! And fruits that aren't pineapple and grapes! And good meat! Hahaha! I think we are going to talk to the dietitian this week and see if we can eat from the special dietary needs room...
I can't believe I haven't always wanted to be a missionary. It's my favorite thing ever. Seriously. It's worth the roller coaster of emotions and the being tired all the time and the really bad food because I love it so so so so so much.

I love you all!! Thank you SO MUCH for all of the emails, letters, packages, prayers, and love. You are the best. If you need something to write to me about this week....tell me how you've seen the hand of the Lord in your life lately!

Mu Jiemei/ Sis Murri

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