June 11, 2010
This is your son/brother, Elder Moody. Remember me? Anyway, I already feel like I’ve been in the MTC for a month, but it has only been three days. I’m pretty sure Thursday alone lasted for several weeks.
So, after you dropped me off, that host elder led me to the check-in place. I got my name tags, took a picture, and got a bunch of other papers, including the Missionary Handbook.
So all of that took about three minutes. Then, that elder hustled me to my room (I was the first there.) I threw down my bags, called dibs on the low bed by the window, and again ran off to class.
Once I got there, this little Asian girl took me to a computer room where I had to sit through a 15 minute introduction to the MTC and the gym. Then they QUIZZED us on what we watched! Slightly ridiculous, right? But, I aced my quiz, like Moodys always do, and then hurried off to class. There I met my teachers, Brother Rickens (Qian Laoshi) and Sister Zheng (Zheng Laoshi). They’re both pretty cool. In fact, Brother Rickens is the guy that called me on the phone [a few weeks ago to test my Mandarin skills].
That was the first time since being here that I wasn’t running off somewhere. I got a new name from Sister Zheng, a native speaker. It’s Mu (like a cow with an attitude). Ask Mary for the pronunciation. Then all the other elders got here, and we sat in awkward silence until our orientation meeting. That meeting was really good. President Smith gave us some survival pointers. Well, actually all he said was “obey”, but that’s what amounts to survival pointers around here.
[The following paragraph must reference a scene in Zoolander.] I almost feel like I’m being brainwashed. People tell me to obey so often. It’s like a Zoolander thing. Oh, and I’m going to Malaysia, and I’m ridiculously good looking!
Well – to get back on track – after the meeting, we went to a teaching demonstration and that was really cool. We basically watched two elders ask an investigator questions and teach him.
Wait, I haven’t told you about my companion yet, have I? His name is Elder Chung, but contrary to his name, he doesn’t natively speak Mandarin. Cantonese, yes, but his Mandarin isn’t much better than my own. He’s a great guy. Funny, smart and obedient. And, easy to get along with. I totally lucked out.
So, after the teaching demo, we finally went to dinner. I saw Elder Patterson (both) and Sister Patterson, too. Also we were still in suits so it was super hot, and I was all gross and sweaty.
Oh, dinner here is like the old Cannon Center. You wait in a line, they give you ONE (in caps because they really, really, really stress only taking one) plate, and you sit down and eat.
So after we went back to class for a bit, then went to a planning class/meeting with our zone leaders. Our ZLs are pretty cool. Weird, but cool. And that concludes my first day in the MTC. Well, almost. Getting to sleep that first night was hard. Somewhere in that day, I unpacked. Okay, that concludes Day 1.
So, some things about the MTC:
- every building looks the same
- our rooms are really gross
- we get 50 minutes of “gym” time everyday
- all but one of my roommates is cool
- I love it
Like I said in the bullet points, all of my roommates are very cool, except one. He is the only one of us that doesn’t have a background in Chinese. And he complains about it nonstop. He even introduces himself by saying he’s the only one of us with no previous experience. But, the Lord loves him and so must I.
Two of my roommates who are companions are both going to Singapore, Mandarin speaking. There are three of us! We depart the MTC on August 23rd. So I’m actually only here for 10 weeks.
Elder Chung, my companion, is going to Tai Cheng, Taiwan, with the rest of my district. Thursday was packed full of class and meetings and learning to teach. At one point, we watched a video of this interview with a guy named Bruno. He lived on a yacht, hated pollution, and was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident in Brazil.
So with just that information, Elder Chung and I had to prepare to teach him a lesson and make him commit to something. Brother Rickens role-played as Bruno and we taught him.
It went really well, but we got too far into heavy doctrine without first teaching him of the Atonement. That failed lesson taught me a lot about teaching. Good experience.
Later in the day, after dinner in fact, we had a meeting with our branch president. It was good until the ZLs took over. They had to teach until the [branch] presidency finished interviewing 70 elders and sisters, so they did a lot of rambling. That three hour meeting took five days, I think. At least that long. But I got back and fell asleep promptly. As a side note, the water pressure in the showers is horrible.
So now I’m sitting in class during personal study and writing you this super long letter. There’s more I could say, but I’ll make sure to put it in my e-mail. I love you guys a lot. Don’t miss me. I’ll be back soon! All is well.