13th letter from MTC

Xinbis

July 17, 2010

Dear Family

I’m writing on a napkin.  Or, in Chinese, Wǒ zaì xiě caì yī  zhāng cānjīn shàng.  That’s pretty cool, right?  I decided that I’m gonna start doing this when I finish a meal early.  How cool is that?  I knew you’d think so.

So today we taught in the FRC, at our weekly TA.  First time teaching a lesson in Chinese. It was awesome.  We got baptismal commitments out of both of them. They were brothers who owned a restaurant.  We had a member in our appointment helping us, and the only other companionship that did have a member to help.  We may or may not have had a real investigator.  It’s a good thing we had that member with us because at one point I was teaching Jesus’ earthly ministry, and I said, “Jesus killed people.”  The investigator said, “Really?  I had no idea!”  I thought I had said, “Jesus was killed.”  So I was like “Yeah, it’s sad.  I know.”  Thankfully, the member jumped in and then I corrected myself.  That was a little bit embarrassing, but it was cool.  During the baptismal commitment, I definitely felt the gift of tongues Dad promised me.  I was able to explain what baptism was, which I shouldn’t have been able to do.  Thank you Spirit.

So, I’ve had an epiphany.  What if I write a screenplay or skit or an in-depth story every day about something that happened that day?  I’ll call it the “Napkin Chronicles.”  Hao bu hau?  I think you’ll like it.  I’ll try and make them good.  No more napkin space.  Love ya!

This is a picture of a Xinbis on the day they get here.  Because this is exactly how I felt. Hopefully he’s a pretty good likeness of the little things from Despicable Me.  But hey, whatever floats your boat right?  When in Rome?

Well it’s Saturday night and I just finished getting planched for writing my language study plan for the week on a napkin.  But then he didn’t even check my plan because he knows it’s good.  Typical.

Quan Laoshi told me not too long ago that he relies on me and Zhong Ahanglau to be examples to the rest of the district.  He also meant that we’d be planched often for little to no reason.  But it’s all good.

Here’s a funny story.  Yesterday, President Baker was making his usual Friday walk around the dorms, and was standing int he doorway next to mine, when I walked in behind him with a water bottle.  As I was generously drinking thereof, he commented, “Hittin’ the bottle huh?”  I said, “Yeah, it’s been a long day.”  He then said, “Finish all that and it’ll be a long night too.”  I couldn’t tell if he was continuing the alcohol theme or not. I mean, the phrase “hitting the bottle” has obvious connotations, but he seemed to mean that by finishing my water, I’d be up all night.  Possible going to the bathroom.  I just don’t know anymore.  Utah is a strange land, family of mine.

Did I tell you that I’m doing a diet and exercise program with Lǐ and Weí Zhǎnglǎo?  Well, I am.  Every time we workout, I drop a pound, then usually have it back the next day.  But I’ve lost three pounds after four days so hopefully I’ll be pretty fit by the time I get to Singapore.

Oh!  Someone explain why you all only write me on Tuesday and Monday?  Wednesday I  got a letter from Brother Edgel, the I got one from Christine on Thursday and another from her on Friday.  Did our house have a carbon monoxide leak?  Were all you incapacitated?  Write me, darn you?  Ok.  Done now.

Here’s another funny story.  Another district has a native for a teacher.  So her English isn’t too hot.  Her class was talking and she told them to quiet down, but I guess it made the class laugh even harder.  She just kinda looked at them really confused.  After a few seconds she said, “Shénme dōngdōng?”  (Shu-muh-dong-dong.)  And they laughed even harder.  Shénme dōngdōng roughly translates to “What the heck?”  So now we all say that.

Then yesterday in class I said it and I realized it sounds a lot like “Shamalamadingdong.”  So I just said that.  Our teachers burst into laughter.  I felt cool.  End of story.

Kay, so Gaō Zhǎnglǎo in our district grew up in an Airforce family.  And as such he has had a weird upbringing.  I’ve never seen the guy relax.  His shoulders are always up by his ears and his arms are always stiff and at 90 degree angles.

Anyway, he wrote the president of our zone this week.  Well, we all did, but his was specifically mean.  He pretty much told on everyone for not focusing.  Now usually I wouldn’t be angry, but he never even told us he felt that way.  He just straight up told on us.  And we got planched for it!  I wouldn’t be mad if he had talked to us first or if he’s always perfectly focused.  But he didn’t and he isn’t!  So I’m a bit put off at the moment.

Now a doctrinal question for Dad.  Today, when we were learning about the Spirit, something hit me.  If the Spirit is a specific personage, how can its presence be felt in more than one place at a time?  I mean, I have to believe, that the Holy Spirit, being a real personage (though without a body), must be restricted by the same laws that bind Heavenly Father and Jesus (or at least some of the laws that bind them).

I’ve decided that maybe his influence is what we’re feeling.  And not specifically his presence.  In other words, maybe he isn’t really there.  Maybe he’s somewhere else and it’s just the influence of him.

Which brings me to another question.  Who is the Holy Ghost?  Was he a spirit God already created?  Or maybe there’s a different type of spirit that qualifies who he is.  Maybe when Heavenly Father wasn’t a god yet, the Spirit (or another like him) also testified of his heavenly father.  But I wonder.  Any info you have is greatly appreciated.

Well, it’s P-day now.  So relaxing.  But also boring.  Except today.  Yee-uh-boi!  Oh…Erm, uh…Excuse me.  But I really am excited though!  It should be a really cool experience.  So let me tell you about why I’m excited for this week.  Well, actually, we need to wait for Elder Smith to stop planching us for being “rowdy”.  Still going…and going…still be planched.  There’s nothing I like more than a 7:00 a.m. planch.  Nothing at all.  K, he’s done now.  Anyway, I’m excited for this week because today we clean the temple.  Tomorrow Zhōng Zhǎnglǎo has an orthodontis appointment. Wednesday the new missionaries get here.  Thursday he has another appointment (where we get to go off campus — probably for a couple of hours), and Friday we have a mystery visitor coming in to teach us.

So this should turn out to be a good week!  Hopefully.  After this week, we have four weeks left in the MTC.  And I am so ready to leave.  I mean, it’s great here.  Six weeks would have been a good time to stay.  But 12 is just hard.  At least it feels like that right now.  I’ll probably change my mind in an hour or two and love it here again.  Planches always put me in a sour mood.

So this mystery visitor.  I bet you’re wondering what that’s all about, right?  Well Qián Lǎoshī told us that he volunteered our class to have a pretty high ranking (or at least he made it sound like that) person come to teach us for a few hours.  I’ll let you know who it is when I do.

Wǔ ‘ān everyone!  So I just finished cleaning the temple and it was way fun!  When we first got there we had to put on a white scrubs.  Most of ended up wearing ladies shirts.  So that was a bit weird, but then they gave us our “tools”: a bucket, a rag, and a toothbrush.  Then they sent us to the stairs to start cleaning.  We scrubbed the same two stairs for probably an hour.  The same three stairs.  They glowed.  Then some guy told us they needed help moving carpet.  And when he said carpet, he meant a 100′ x 200’ piece of carpet.  It took 18 of us to move it.  Then we had to snake it around corners and up stairs and I felt like we were playing a giant game of snake.  It was fun though.  And a workout!

Well, Bailey and Hayli wrote me, bringing the number of girls that have written me up to seven.  Oh yeah!  So, I’m gonna write them back.  Love you all!  Write me and tell me all about your week’s adventures.

穆敬伦

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About 6moodys

Sam Moody serving as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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