July 23, 2010
Dear familial unit:
I’m writing you this day to let you, to whom I no longer have emotional attachment, know that I have a new family. Christine, and the Mechams, have written me this week every day. Well, except Thursday. And you have not written once. So, in essence, this is the last letter to you.
Kidding! I cann’t wait to hear about Girls Camp and the Jamboree and California and everything. This week has been totally nuts. Monday, we had the sweetest P-day yet because we got to clean the temple. Tuesday, Chung had an orthodontist appointment, so I got a sweet nap. Wednesday, we got new elders. They’re still in the awkward, new-elder phase. Thursday, we had to go back to the orthodontist, so I got another nap. And today we had special visitors.
Not very long ago, legislation was proposed in Taiwan that would have permanently removed LDS missionaries from the country. And it specifically targeted the LDS Church. Well, this bill got to the Taiwanese office in the U.S., and someone in the that office stopped the bill. No one knows who, but they’re obviously on the Lord’s side. Well, the head of that office came to visit us today.
His name is Mr. Chen, a Taiwan native, and he was so cool. He started by asking where we were all from and where we were going. Then he spoke really fast in Chinese to one of the teachers (not ours), then he opened the floor for questions.
Now, earlier in the week, a guy from the MTC administration office came and told us all the stuff we had to do, including standing when the visitors entered the room, wearing full suits, looking our best, being respectful and, most importantly, no proselyting!
Anyway, we had a bunch of questions prepared beforehand:
Weirdest food – sticky rice, deep-fried in chicken blood with peanut powder;
Favorite hobby in America – driving fast on the highway. He told several of his colleagues to get licenses just so they could drive fast;
And last and best…sites to see – he replied (in Chinese), “Don’t worry about things to see, just share your message, and opportunities will come.”
He’s not LDS! It was incredible.
Also, the mayor and Deputy Mayor of Utah were both there, and we took a picture together. I’ll send it back they give them to us.
Well, I’ve got something to write about now. Lately, Elder X has been having bigger problems than usual. So today (Sunday), their companionship was broken up and they were reassigned to…yup, you guessed it. Chung and I are no longer companions. Elder Whinham is my new companion.
I’m floored. I was just getting comfortable at the MTC. Elder Chung and I were to the point where we didn’t have to try to be friends anymore. We were like flippin’ brothers! And we taught well together and our Chinese was awesome.
Elder Whinham and I don’t share much in common. We’ve never taught together, and his Chinese needs a lot of work. But the branch president said he was inspired, this must be the Lord’s will. Family and friends, pray that we can work together. Xìnxīn yoǔ bànfǎ.
I’ll keep you up-to-date on the new companionship. I’m honestly gonna have to pray for strength. It’s going to be interesting. Luckily, I’ve just got four weeks left. Yoǔ bànfǎ!
On another note, we just had a really cool experience on our temple walk! As we walked onto the grounds, we saw an Asian lady with three little Asian girls, and a white guy. We didn’t think anything of it, and just kept walking. But then the lady saw Elder Mutton’s name tag and was like, “Hey! Mandarin!,” but in a pretty thick accent.
So a few people went back and the rest stood a little way off, but then they kept talking to her so all of us came over. As we started showing up, she got more and more excited. Turns out she’s from Taiwan, a convert from Taiwan, and the guy she was with was the RM [returned missionary] she married. The girls were her daughter and two nieces.
All of her immediate family were members, but her nieces were not. So we talked for a while, took pictures with the family and most our zone (all Mandarin elders) then I talked to one of the nieces some more. One of our ZLs was trying to ask her how old she was, but he was using weird grammar, the the little girl just looked to me. (I was doing most of the communicating with the family) and I asked again. She said, “Sísì,” which sounds like “44”. Elder Lee was right next to me and his jaw just dropped. After, he said, “I was thinking there’s no way you’re even half that age, you little liar.”
She actually said, “14”, but in a very Taiwanese accent. I only knew what she was saying because of the TA this week. Lemme tell you, it was an experience. Here’s what happened. We knocked on the door, walked in, and our investigator was just sitting on the couch. The scenario was that he was supposed to sell us stuff. He didn’t, so Zhōng Zhǎnglǎo just jumped right into a lesson. I was just confused.
I could barely understand anything he said, and he wasn’t following the scenario, so I just let Zhōng Zhǎnglǎo go for it. He eventually made me bear testimony, but I still didn’t know about what, so I just went for it. I guess it turned out okay.
After the “contact,” Chung explained that our investigator was speaking in a very deep Taiwanese accent. So when we went back to teach him, it was easier to understand him.
Okay, so today is P-day and I didn’t get a single DearElder! Come on familia, pick up the slack!
He everybody, it’s Tuesday morning and since I haven’t gotten anything to reply to, I’ll just send this off. I’m pretty sure you’re sending hand-written letters, which I’m super-stoked for. Can’t wait!
Love you all! Also, everyone pick a Chinese name. Or, I can give them to you after I get mine. Your call.
P.S. Tell Christine thank you. Her letters sustained me through last week. Love you Christine!
P.P.S. I lied. My stupid DL just left my two DearElders in there. Thanks Marebear! I love you. I’ll reply to the next letter. I just want to send this off.
The photo is of our visitor. He’s the short Asian right in the middle. Keep this safe. It’s my only copy.