So my first several days here have been super super long! But they have been so good! I really love it here, but I hope that it speeds up haha. My companion's name is Elder Henson and he played football and rugby in high school. But that was like 3 years ago because he is 21! He joined the church when he was 19 and now he is out here on a mission! He is a great example to me of dedicated service and when we teach, he can tell me from personal experience what the elders did that worked with him! It is really cool and humbling and he is a great companion! I think he is used to being late for stuff though, so we're working on that haha.
On Thursday I learned my first great lesson in the MTC and that was that we can't be late for stuff. We were running about 3 minutes late to go meet with our Branch President and when we got there, Our zone leaders and the rest of our district was gone. We looked everywhere for them even dropping our bags in the classroom to go run outside and see if we could find them. Well we found them, but when we got to the meeting, the president asked us to pull out our scriptures and we realized that we didn't have our bags. It was a two and a half hour meeting and the whole time, the Spirit was telling me never to be late again and to always make sure that I was prepared. So that was kind of hard, but we haven't been late to anything since then, so that is really good haha.
Our days are extremely long. On a normal day, we wake up, eat and exercise. Then we have 3 hours of study. One personal, one companion, and one language. Then we go eat lunch and have an additional hour of study. Then we come learn from a chinese teacher for 3 more hours then we go to dinner. Then we come back and prepare and teach an investigator. Finally, we have an additional hour of study and then we plan and write in our journals and go to bed. It is pretty grueling, but I am learning so fast! It's crazy that we could teach an investigator in Chinese on day 3, but the gift of tongues is absolutely real. But I'll get to that story in a minute haha.
I see Elder Jensen, Elder Curtis, and Elder Wadsworth on a daily basis and it is so great to see them!! Elder Curtis won't be here for very much longer which is kinda weird to me because I still have like 8 weeks. I see Elder Jensen the most because we are both speaking Chinese. He and I are in the same priesthood class and I got to say the prayer for that in chinese yesterday. It was kinda scary for me to do that in front of Elder Jensen and a lot of other guys who have been here for 6 weeks, but it went great! Anyway, Sunday went great and it was super spiritual! We watched a talk by elder Bednar about the character of Christ and it was amazing! Basically he taught that even in our times of most trial, we need to turn outward and focus on other like Christ would have done! It was wonderful and he said that that is what makes missionaries so noticeable as they go and serve! He made me want to make the most of this time that I have given to the Lord and it got me excited to get out there! Then I realized that I actually don't know chinese and I have another two months in the MTC haha.
Well on to the gift of tongues experience. On Friday night with our very little knowledge of Chinese, Elder Henson and I prepared what we thought would be a killer lesson. Then, while we were teaching, the investigator started to ask us questions about what we were teaching and we didn't really have that in the plan. It got so bad, that after three minutes I just closed my notebook and started to listen to him. I did my best and my chinese was very limited. But somehow, words that I had learned only that morning started to form in my mind in coherent chinese sentences. I couldn't believe it. I just started speaking from the heart and I was able to teach the investigator how to pray. Then when I asked him if he would give it a try, he said that he didn't feel comfortable. I testified to him, once again in extremely limited chinese, that if he prayed that he and his family would be blessed. After doing that twice, he finally gave it a try and prayed!! It was such an amazing experience and I never would have believed that I could have gotten someone to pray after 2 and a half days in the MTC. I was so spiritually drained that evening because of that experience, but it strengthened my testimony so much. I know that I will be able to learn this language and serve effectively when the time comes if I have this divine assistance. I love this gospel and the spirit that I feel everyday!
Love you all! Have a great week!
PS. My chinese name is Jiang Zhang Lao. (Zhang Lao means elder haha)