Things are starting to pick up here at the MTC! Three weeks in and I am slowly but surely learning more and more Cantonese. Though it’s all pretty much gospel related, so I’m in for a hard time if anyone ever tries to make small talk with me, haha! I’m getting more into the swing of things and time is really starting to fly–it feels like just yesterday that I was writing e-mails!
I’ve had a great experience at the MTC thus far, but I think that the food is really starting to get to me. You can only have cafeteria cheeseburgers and pasta so many times before you start packing on a few pounds… but I’ll lose it once I get to Hong Kong, right? 😉
This past week has been pretty much the same thing I did the week prior: wake up, study, eat, class, study, eat, more class, teach, study, and so on and so forth. I have really great teachers though so that makes the six hours of language class each day better! We have two different teachers throughout the day and they both are not only great at teaching us the language and how to be an effective missionary, but they also throw some humor into the class. One of our teachers makes a tear drop on the side of her face with her fingers when she’s stressed, like in anime when they have those big tear thingies. Yeah, I’m not really explaining this that well, but I’ll attach a picture so you don’t think that I’m completely crazy….
We each have been given a Chinese last name (mine is “Gok”) that we will use when we are in Hong Kong, but I just found out that we will also be given a first name as well which they will use for all of our documents. One of our teachers, Lau Ji Muih, who is from Hong Kong will be assigning us our first names within the next couple of weeks. She chooses our Chinese name based on what our real first name means in English. One day in class she had as all go around and say our first names and what they meant so that she could start coming up with our Chinese names. When she got to me I told her that my name meant something like “weary”, but I wasn’t quite sure and also I didn’t want to be stuck with that as the meaning of my name for 18 months so I had her look up the meaning of my name on her phone. She listed off a few things that google said my name meant and then got to a word she didn’t know how to say so she wrote it on the board (keep in mind that English isn’t her first language)–and the word that she wrote on the board was “mistress”, and as soon as we saw it we all started laughing! But she had no idea what it meant so we had to try to explain it to her in polite terms and when she realized what it was she said, “Oh!” and quickly erased it and joined in the laughter. I guess that I just don’t have very good luck with the meaning of my name, haha maybe I’ll just stick with “weary” for my Chinese name after all…
This past Saturday we taught TRC for the first time which is where members of the church who speak Cantonese come in to the MTC to be taught a 20 minute lesson by us. I was initially really nervous because I had only ever taught investigators before and wasn’t really sure what to expect with teaching a member, but it turned out to be a really great experience. We taught an older gentleman about prayer and the role of the Holy Ghost in answering and guiding us. We did a pretty good job with the lesson and got him involved in sharing personal experiences and giving his insight into what we were teaching and I surprisingly was pretty calm and collected throughout the lesson. At end of the lesson when I was bearing my testimony in my broken and simple Cantonese, I had such a feeling come over me that I couldn’t help but to cry. I felt so much love from my Heavenly Father and I wanted more than anything else to share what I knew and was feeling with this man but the only Cantonese words that could escape my mouth were “I know we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and will help us.” It was all I could muster up to say with my limited vocabulary, but I think that I realized more than ever just how much I meant what I was saying and how badly I wanted others to share in my pure joy and gratitude at this simple yet infinitely true statement. I left the lesson with both my eyes full of tears and my heart full of love as I again remembered why I was here on this mission. I am here for the people. Not for any place or experience, but for the love and knowledge that I hope to share with others who may be struggling or feeling alone. I mean it more than ever when I say that I can’t wait to get to Hong Kong.
Thank you all so much for the letters you write, you have no idea how much it brightens my day to hear from all of you! I wish you all the best this week and encourage you to find ways to serve and uplift others, you may never know how much a simple act of kindness can help someone else out.
(Gok Ji Muih)
2) Pointing to Hong Kong–it’s so tiny