As you probably all know, I am still in the Provo MTC. I just finished my 11th week here. This week was really good. I learned so much more this week than I think I ever had. I have met some amazing friends. Friends that I will keep in contact with probably my entire life. An Elder called up to Salt Lake this morning to see about our visas because we heard that they can cap you at 12 weeks at the MTC but we found out that that is not true. They told him that we will probably be in the MTC until after Christmas, get reassigned and then go to Taiwan after a transfer in a reassignment. Unless a miracle occurs...When I heard this news, my heart honestly broke. I was (and still am) very sad but what I have been reminding myself that this is the Lord's work and He will have me be where He needs me to be. I know He is aware of all of us who are waiting and He knows where we are going. As hard as being patient is, I really have learned more about myself and the power that prayer brings. The Lord had comforted me in my hardest times and I am grateful for that. It is hard but as a group, we will learn and grow so much. Sis. Lindsay and I were talking about it and we kind of made a joke that we were glad we get along because if we didn't, these would be the longest weeks of our lives.
Here are just a couple funny things we have learned over the last extra weeks we have been here.
Reasons you know you have been at the MTC for too long:
1. You know all the temple workers by name and what shift they are on when you enter and leave the temple.
2. You know what they cafeteria is serving every Wednesday and Sunday dinners. AND you know the MTC cafeteria workers and their shifts.
3. The Sister's that entered the MTC when you were a Sister Training Leader and are now called as Sister Training Leaders.
4. When you talk to other missionaries and you're telling them where you are going and how long you've been at the MTC and they call you, "Oh you're that group."
5. You have seen every movie or talk at least twice after Sunday devotional.
6. You know the inside and outs of the MTC.
7.When you starting speaking in Chinese assuming that everyone can speak your language.
8. When you know how to say hello and thank you in 9 different languages.
9. When you see every single Sister you have hosted leave the MTC before you do.
10. The mail room has to change your departure date 4 times and gives you a new unit number.
We all just laugh about it and hope and pray we will be able to get to Taiwan soon...
About my week, this week was actually really good. I just have a couple experiences I want to share this week.
Tuesday devotional: Elder Craig Zwick and his wife, Jan, came to speak with us. They had a great message. Sis. Zwick shared a cute video that her 4 year-old granddaughter made for missionaries. She kept on repeating, "If you are grumpy, sad, depressed just say a prayer and you will be close to Jesus!" It was the cutest thing. What was the neatest thing about the night, is that they brought LEXIE WALKER to sing to us!! Marissa, I was thinking of you the entire time. Lexie has such an amazing voice! She sang I am a Child of God, O Holy Night, and I Know my Redeemer Lives. She has a phenomenal voice and she is only 12!! Elder Zwick talked about the importance of Obedience--especially on the mission. He shared three principles we should always remember. 1. Follow the inspired Priesthood Counsel 2. Listen to the voice of the Spirit, 3. Obey God's commandments. After devotional, Sister Lindsay and I went up to see if we could shake their hands. We talked to them and then we had the opportunity to talk to Lexie. It was so funny. The first thing she said to me was, "Oh my gosh! I love your hair!" I laughed and told her the same thing back. She also has red hair. She is super cute.
Saturday morning, Sis. Lindsay and I went into a lesson with one of our investigators, Chen Di Xiong. He accepted baptism a couple days ago and then the lesson on Friday, he told us his wife wouldn't allow him to get baptized. We decided to center our lesson on Saturday about Christ and how he knows and loves him. We changed it last second so we didn't really have a plan but it ended up being one of our best lessons we have had here at the MTC. We ended up sharing Because of Him and Mosiah 4:9-10. Chen Di Xiong told us that he believes that the church is true. We bore testimony to him and told him to continue talking to his wife about becoming a member. During the last hour of class, we had weekly planning. Bro. Chia was going to work with Sister Lindsay and I today. After we planned, he told us that our lesson today was really good and that it was the best that he can think of. He told us that in a 'real' setting, what we did was exactly teach to his needs and not just get through a lesson. He said that he could and can tell that we have really been working hard this week and our progress has been phenomenal. it was kind of funny because after he told us that, we were supposed to talk about our concerns/worries for each other and our companionship but we really didn't have any other than SYL more.
Sunday: Sunday was a great day. I'll try and sum it up quickly...Sister Cheryl A. Esplin (2nd counselor, General Primary Presidency) came and spoke during Relief Society. She talked about our calling as missionaries for the church. One thing that really stood out to me was something she said saying, "When times get tough, just remember who called you. The Lord calls us and the Lord himself, will be with us." She shared a scripture with us that has shown her the love God gives and shows her. D&C 84:87-88.
Sacrament Meeting: Pres. & Sis. Hacking (from MTC presidency) visited our ward today. Bro. & Sis. Davis have hit their 4th year mark serving at the MTC, so they got released. It was actually really sad. After sacrament meeting, we were saying goodbye to them and I cried when I hugged Sis. Davis. They have both taught me so much and have truly changed my life. I hope one day I will be able to meet up with them once more. Back to sacrament meeting, Sis. Woodfield asked me to sit by her today and translate the portions of sacrament meeting in Mandarin. I was happy to have this opportunity. I think I have mentioned this before, but after the sacrament, the Branch Presidency Member conducting the meeting announces two missionaries who will be speaking and they have no previous notice. Today, Bro. Seow conducted so he was saying it in Chinese and I was translating for Sis. Woodfield, when he was about to say the names of missionaries, I crossed my fingers and whispered, "please, not me" Next thing I know, I hear "Huang Jie Mei he Ma ZhangLao." I leaned to Sis. Woodfield and I said, "Oh no....He just said my name" We have 2 Ma ZhangLao in our zone so as they were clearing that up, I leaned to Sis. Lindsay and said, "Is there two Huang Jie Mei?" There's not, so I have the privilege of speaking today in Sacrament Meeting. I was so nervous because you have to give it in Chinese but as soon as I got up there, I was at peace and I was able to just speak from my heart. The topic today was the Book of Mormon. I used the Chinese that I know and talked about how we have receive personal revelation through the Book of Mormon and how it is the Word of God. I bore testimony about this Christmas season, my family, and how grateful I have been for this extra week in the MTC to learn so much more. Elder Matua spoke after me and then Bro. and Sis. Davis spoke for their last time at the MTC. It was kind of funny because a couple weeks ago Sis. Lindsay and Elder Liston were called on to speak when we got released from our calling as Sister Training Leaders. We made a joke that Elder Matua and I would be speaking this week. (Elder Liston and Elder Matua served as Zone Leaders when we were STL's). And of course that happened..Karma much?! Bro. Davis shared some amazing stories from his mission. Again, I can't wait to go and serve the people!
Sunday night devotional was by the BYU's Mens Chorus. It was amazing!
This week has overall been great. I love what I am learning and how much time I have to read the Book of Mormon. I know this book is true! It contains testimonies the the Lord is our Savior, Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and especially that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true! I love it. I love what I am doing!
I love you all!! I miss you so much! If I don't leave this week, I'll talk to you on Christmas!!
Thanks for the letters this week! I love receiving them!!
P.S. As of right now, I have no idea what my departure date is for mail. My new unit number is 202. If you just put Taiwan Taipei Mission Unit 202, It will get to me. On dear elders, you can just put whatever date :)
P.P.S. Due to construction at the MTC, all the Sisters have to move from 17M to 3M. We have to move this afternoon. It has been really nice because Sis. Lindsay and I have been in our own room because Sis. Moe and Allen have already left but now we will be in a full room--6 girls--it will be a little different but good.
P.P.P.S. There is still no snow on the ground...Half the time, it doesn't even feel like December?? haha...whats the deal with the weather?!?