I can’t believe I’m already sitting down to write another email. I realized last night that I should get my travel plans this Friday to leave for Taiwan just before Halloween. If this is how quickly my mission is going to go, I’m gonna be home before I know it! BUT this week was fantastic!!
I’m going to start with the funnies again before going all spiritual on ya’ll because I have some very special things to share. Funny things that happened this week at the MTC:
1. Last Monday after I sent out my weekly email, we went and played volleyball for exercise time. One of our Elders spiked the volleyball into the face of another Elder from our district, so he got a black eye. And then at soccer on Saturday, the Elder with the black eye decided that the grass needed a hug from his face. So he tripped over the soccer ball, did a 180-degree flip and landed on his face on the other side and so now that cheek is all cut up and bruised haha. He looks like he just got in a fight.
2. It’s Taiwanese culture to never accept a compliment, so we had an activity where we just practiced turning down compliments. One of the conversations was, “You’re so handsome” “No no no no no… you compared to me are more handsome” “Oh that’s not true, you’re younger so you’re more handsome” “…..” It went on for like 5 minutes, it was hilarious!!!
3. We got new missionaries this week!!! My companion and I are the Sister Training Leaders and Elder Dalton and Berges from our district are the Zone leaders, so we got to welcome the new missionaries in on their first night here. At this time, I was finally again starting to get my voice back and sounded like a crying seal. But a different Elder, Elder Gray decided to trick all the new missionaries into thinking he was from India. (His mom is from India, so he at least looks the part) So for 3 days, this Elder held up an Indian accent. (It was so hard for me not to join in and just start talking about goats 😉 ) He was so good at it!! All of us just played along with it. When he broke character on Saturday and told them all who he really was they all wouldn’t believe the actual truth. We all laughed for so long!!
4. There are a few Elders in my district that know how to swing dance, so they started teaching the rest of the Elders. BUT they taught them all the girl parts so they could dance together. So at our service activity Saturday night, they all demonstrated their learnings and some of them were doing flips with each other haha it was actually super cool to watch.
Okay now on to the spiritual side of the MTC which is my actual favorite part!
First off, I want you all to go listen to the song, “Sweet Hour of Prayer”. Really listen to the words, it is sung so often but never with the true meaning it deserves. This song is powerful!! This was the song the choir sung for our devotional on Tuesday, and ever since then, my focus of the week became prayer without me even realizing it.
Our lives are filled with thousands of prayers upon our knees, and if it’s not, it should be. I mentioned my first week here that if you wanted your prayers to be more meaningful, learn how to say them in a different language. Ever since that first day, when I learned how to pray, all of my prayers have been in Mandarin, and never have my prayers had so much meaning. (Sometimes there is English thrown in when I don’t know the words in Mandarin, but for the most part, they are long periods of time with me talking with my Father in Heaven in Mandarin)
I found myself one day during personal study time reading Richard G. Scott’s Conference Address from April 2007 entitled, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer”. I honestly can’t pick a favorite part, so I just challenge you all to go read it!
On a particularly rough day this week, I had just felt like I failed a lesson. I couldn’t remember any of the Chinese I needed to answer the person I was teaching’s questions, so I couldn’t adequately help her understand. My companion just kept looking at me waiting for me to talk because she didn’t understand the questions that were being asked. I was just making this poor person more confused as I talked in circles and said the same things over and over trying not to cry. I felt like I was alone. I walked out of that lesson, our teacher asked us how it went, and I burst into tears. This was the first lesson we had that absolutely stunk. I felt like I was at rock bottom. That night when we returned home to our dorm, I spent what seemed like an eternity on my knees, asking my Heavenly Father for help and guidance and comfort.
I was then led to my scriptures. Alma 34:41 reads, “But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest form all your afflictions.” I know that I can become a better teacher. I am not called to be a perfect missionary or a master of Mandarin. All I am called to do is put forth the best effort that I can and have patience, and then the Lord will make up for my weaknesses. 1 Nephi 17:13 reads, “And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.” In the meantime of us waiting to rest from our afflictions, Christ has promised to be our light and lead us through all of our trials, step by step. 2 Nephi 4:20 reads, “My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.” I know that as I put my full trust in the Lord, he will not let me fail. And on the bright side, the only place you can go from rock bottom is up. So up is what I have to look forward to while relying on Christ.
In a devotional this week, we were told, “You won’t ever be a perfect servant, but He will still work through you.” I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I know the Savior is walking side by side with me, carrying me sometimes when I’m too weak to run. And comforting me as I am on my knees pleading with my Heavenly Father for strength.
He makes up for our weaknesses, and I can see that in other experiences from this week. One in particular was when we were teaching the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. I got the privileged of recounting Joseph Smith’s First Vision, and I felt the Spirit of God testify through me so strongly, that this church is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet. He did see, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and he also believed whole-heartedly in the power of prayer.
I love you all so so so much!!
An Jie Mei