MTC – First Impressions

District at Provo Temple_Sep2018Hello friends!!

We kicked it off running this week. Everything is always go go go. Haha but I absolutely love it. All the older [missionaries] in my zone kept saying it will get better after you get to Sunday, but I have loved it since day one!

Let’s start with some logistics. My companion is Sister Griffin. She is from Syracuse, Utah and attended a year at BYU before coming to serve. She is an Elementary Education major. We will both be headed to serve in Taipei after our time in the MTC. Fun fact: both of her older brothers also served in Taiwan. So she’s been over there before and heard lots about the mission from them. I love her so so much already even though I don’t know her quite that well yet. She took Mandarin for four years in high school, so we make jokes in Mandarin during class together all the time haha.Andersen_Griffin_name tags_Sep2018

My district is made up of six elders (male missionaries) and four sisters (female missionaries), including my companion and I. Most of us are headed to serve in Taipei except for one elder who is headed to Hong Kong after the MTC. I absolutely love my district!! We have one elder from Australia and his accent is the absolute best. He is also so so funny and just makes everyone laugh all the time. We have all gotten along really well, especially while playing volleyball (my wrists are so bruised right now haha).

I have run into many elders that I knew from Park City including Elder Maples, Elder Thorn, Elder Orr (who leaves tomorrow for Singapore), Elder Rose, and Elder Strong (who is in my same zone, but the district that got here 3 weeks ahead of me). It is a hard adjustment to calling everyone ‘elder’ and ‘sister.’ I most definitely want to keep saying “hey guys” haha, so I get corrected on that a lot.

I love having the time to focus on studying the scriptures and my Mandarin and not having to worry about anything else. It’s so nice knowing that you can’t get kicked out, all you have to do is try hard. I love it haha it’s nothing like I’m used to.

Fun things that happened this week that I didn’t know happen at the MTC:
1) We got kicked out of playing volleyball because we got
 there too early
2) We got sent to get chest x-rays to make sure we don’t have TB

3) One of the sisters at my cafeteria table got asked if she wanted a banana by some elder even though she hates bananas. So she straight up goes, “ummm…no!” And the elder was like I’m just gonna leave this here anyways…and when she picked up the banana it had his myldsmail email on it (which is 100% not allowed). We started busting up laughing haha.

Singing at the MTC is already one of my favorite things. Everyone always sings loud and proud, so when there are about 2,500 missionaries all singing, the Spirit is so strong. This fact definitely made my companion and I want to join the choir, so we went to choir practice on Sunday, and I want to say it was one of the most spiritual things ever but if I keep saying that I will say that about literally everything at the MTC haha. Also if anyone can find the lyrics to the song, “I Heard Him Come”, and send them to me, you will be my absolute bestest friend!

If you ever feel like your prayers aren’t sincere, learn how to say them in a different language. Praying is something I learned how to do on my third day here, and my prayers have never felt more authentic and from the heart even though they sound so childlike. I’ve decided to make it a goal to pray in Mandarin every day for the rest of my life.

One of my other favorite things from the first week was the change of pace on Sundays. They have what is called “movie night”. So we went to watch Elder David A. Bednar’s (of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles) talk on “The Character of Christ”. It was soooo good!! He compared Cookie Monster to the natural man and how the natural man wants everything and he wants it now. He said we need to stop being Cookie Monster and turn outward and serve. Don’t go internal. Only by this way can we truly learn of Christ and become more like Him. That seemed to be a common them throughout our fast and testimony meeting as well as our Sunday devotional too. Look OUT more and IN less. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (also of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles) once said (and I might not quote this exactly), “I need someone to feed My sheep and save My lambs. I need someone to preach My Gospel and defend My Faith. I need someone who loves Me.” I promise you all that as you look for others who you can serve, and as you get lost in serving them, you will become a better person, feel hope, and be happy.

If anyone ever wants to email me, my email is kara.andersen@myldsmail.net

I love you all so much!!
An Jie Mei (Sister Andersen–there’s no tones on an American Keyboard, so that’s as close as I can get to my Mandarin Name)

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