Monday, August 11, 2014

Humility by the Handful

We have a saying here (you've probably heard it) that goes, "English-speaking missionaries come back scriptorians, Spanish come back linguists, and Asian-speaking missionaries come back humble." Well. let me tell you, they're serving humility by the handful. 

Elder Holland said about a month or two ago, "I don’t think any of us can deny that when we speak of hastening the work that wont ever be anymore true than, that couldn't be anymore true anywhere, than it is going to be in Asia... I think it would be impossible not to grasp, not to feel there's a great work unfolding in Asia." 

I was thinking a lot about when they open China- lets face it, all of us Mandarin-speaking missionaries think about that a lot- and I think in a way Taiwan is a footstool to opening China. They don't speak Mandarin in Hong Kong, so the only way we'd have a large number of missionaries and possible mission presidents ready or church ambassadors is through all those native Mandarin-speakers in Taiwan and the missionaries that go to Taiwan and learn Mandarin. Because we have Taiwan, we can be ready for China. A guest speaker told us that when China opens, it will be because of the example of the missionaries and members (but especially missionaries who will be allowed into China) in Hong Kong and Taiwan. It's just so exciting. 

Okay so on with how the week has been. First, we will talk about spiritual things and then get into some more butchering of the Chinese language. (Veggies before dessert). 


One of the Elders in my district shared a scripture about the sons of Mosiah and being discouraged in missionary work, and how they prayed for strength and the Lord helped him. And then he said, "You see, its not the things of life that are the problem, its our reactions to the things of life that are the problem." And I think it's true- your reaction to the situation has the power to change the situation itself. 
This gospel is the logical. It's meant for logically minded people. Don't get me wrong, at some point you have to exercise faith, but the gospel (a) makes sense (b) explains all the witnesses of God around you (c) you could spend forever logically peeling apart doctrines only to find them more and more solid. This is the perfect gospel for the atheist, and those who scrutinize, and peel apart the world in search of truth. Its what they've been looking for their whole lives. 
So I can only use the Book of Mormon to teach, because its the only things I have a translation for (verses side by side) so I have to be able to find all the doctrines and uplifting things in the BOM and memorize where they are. Its incredible. Everyone should try to only use the Book of Mormon. 
Wether the trial is great or small, "Do not be discourage, God is over all." So don't worry, he's got this.
Where more is given, more is required. Not expected, required


1. My companion woke me up to card some sisters door open. She knew I could do it and they had locked themselves out. Not every day you get to card a door open as a missionary. I just said, "The atonement is real sisters. We all have a past." and left them to wonder. 
2. There are now over 20,000 sister missionaries, which is more women than crossed the plains to come to Salt Lake. 
3. There are now over 150 senior missionaries (the most ever) in the MTC. The cafeteria lines move considerably slower. 
4. We looked around and realized all missions have a stereotype of sorts. Some a bunch of big guys go to, or.. I don't know. They just have a "type" and its interesting. The East coast missionaries are always really savvy. So we sat for awhile trying to figure out what ours was. The only conclusion we came to is that we all have a musical background (only me and one other Elder don't play multiple instruments and everyone sings. Like... incredibly well). 
5. I decided someday I'm going to write a book, something like John Bytheway's "How to be Totally Miserable" book, but instead of a self-help book I'm going to call it a "self-hinder" book. 


So a few people this week have asked me what a typical day was like in the MTC. So, I figured I'd take some time to tell you! First, I wake up at 6:30 everyday, and have to dressed and down to breakfast before 7:00 to get my sack breakfast (or else the line is horrible long). Then I eat with my district (like my class of 12 people) and get to go to gym by 7:25. Then I have an hour to work out, run, lift, play soccer, etc. Hey! It turns out I'm not too bad at soccer and sometimes I help lead the sisters in some polymetrics. But anyways, then I come back and shower and get to class by 8:55. Then I have an hour of personal study, then an hour of study with my companion, and then an hour of rigorous language study on our own. Then lunch, then another hour of language study. Then- I have 3.5 hours of Chinese and doctrines class, dinner (at 4:30, yes 4:30) and then another 3.5 hours of class with another teacher. Than another hour of individual study. Then a half hour of planning. sometimes my extra hours of language study are broken up with practicing how to teach real people (in Mandarin) and Saturday volunteers come in who are LDS and we practice giving them devotionals in Mandarin. Tuesdays are a little different because devotionals are at night, but every day I have 30 minutes to do personal things and then lights out by 10:30. Opa!


An Elder was trying to tell the investigator to open D&C and read about revelation. Instead he said Ether 9:7-8 which says...
               7 And it came to pass that Akish began to be ajealous of his son, therefore he shut him up in prison, and kept him upon little or no food until he had suffered death. 
                8 And now the brother of him that suffered death, (and his name was Nimrah) was angry with his father because of that    which his father had done unto his brother.
Our teacher was telling us about how she was in Taiwan and was explaining to the investigator things she needed to bring and she said, "You'll need a change of clothes, a hair band, a brush, a towel..." Well she thought she said towel. Apparently she told the investigator she needed to bring a cat to get baptized hahaha. 
Yes, we still have very broke sad little Chinese sentences. I speak so slowly I have to repeat things because by the time I finish the sentence the investigator forget what I was originally talking about.
A couple nights ago we were in our room with the lights out and Sister Ashby (Bi JeiMei) goes "Oh... I forgot to take my nametag off). I don't know why it was so funny but I laughed so hard that I kept the other sisters awake. And then, because I knew I had to be quiet, it was so much funnier and I had to muffle my giggles. Then the other sisters started laughing so hard because I was laughing so hard and couldn’t stop, that all of us stayed awake. I literally laughed myself to sleep. I woke up with really sore abs. 
We were brainstorming things prayer brings with out Taiwanese teacher (who hardly speaks English) and every time we said something, she would draw it. We said happiness- a smilie face, a heart for love, a peace sign for peace, and then we said faith. She looked puzzled about what to draw so someone said, "oh draw a little seed" then, she drew a little tiny "c" on the board. We tried to tell her, but she just didn’t understand. We tried so hard not to laugh but we just couldn’t help us. Her trusting us enough to draw a little "c" was an example of faith though. 
One of the elders was trying to ask the teacher something and he used "qiqio". So basically, he addressed her as a God. I've never seen a teacher laugh so hard in the face of a student. 
So we had to get blood drawn for our Visas. We weren't really sure why we had to go there at first, but they took the sisters in first while the elders waited. When we came out of the room I turned to the Elders and said, "well... its gunna be a little embarrassing. They don’t have an male nurses." and then watched the confused horrified looks on their faces :) and just walked away…


On a last note, we heard a devotional on Mary Fielding Smith Sunday. I can’t describe how much it touched me. All she did alone, and all she faced, and how steady and solid she was. I can’t describe how much I want to be like her, a steadfast beacon to her family who did so much alone by raising so much of her family on faith without Hyrum. I mean, I know she must have had doubts and fears but she choose not to live them, and put those aside for her son. President Joseph Fielding Smith said he had the most powerful memory of his unyielding faith-filled saint of a mother. I just want to be like her, and choose the faith over the fear. Because fear and encouragement come to us all, but its what we do  with it that makes us the strengths others can lean on. 


Thank you! I love you! Please keep writing me!

Now picture time :) 
Told you my district was musical! Thats my companion playing- sight-reading on the piano a masterpiece. Its unreal.
This is Sister Ashby playing the violin but her companion can play too 

Elder Varvel getting his many packages 

I also may have written a note (on behalf of all the sisters) to Elder Tattons mom. He doesn't know that we did this, but he jokingly invited us to write her and ask for chex mix. Well. He shouldnt have joked about food. :) 

Sister Geddes and I

Hey guess who found Elder Neff!!!!

Our closet sized classroom

We try to do something nice for the Elders every friday. This time we drew them all pictures based on random jokes and experinces we've had together.

"To the Elders who shared the Ether scripture" 

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