Ni hao, everybody!
This week has been another busy one, because there is no such thing as a non busy week in the MTC. We have 3 to 6 hours of classroom instruction time everyday (all in Chinese), and we have teaching appointments where we practice our teaching (also in Chinese) on different investigators. This week we taught Gao Dixiong, who stopped meeting with us on Friday. We'll get two new people to teach this week.
Our District (of 11 missionaries, 8 Elders and 3 Sisters) are growing so close together. It's amazing how well we get along and we all love each other, except that we can't say that to the sisters because it's "San Shi San!" San shi san, or 33, is the page in the missionary handbook that talks about relationships with people of the opposite gender. So, if anyone sees any flirting, people will start randomly yelling out, "SAN SHI SAN!" It's become kind of a joke, but it's hilarious.
Chinese is getting better. Two days ago, Brother Durrant did a teaching demonstration for us by teaching Sister Luo (who is from China). They talked about around half of the first discussion, him teaching her about prayer, the nature of God, etc. all in Chinese. And I understood ALL OF IT. Though casual conversation is the main difficulty, I've been one of the fastest learners of Chinese in the class. All except for two of the Elders in the class (me and Elder McNeil) have had Chinese classes before, which makes things disheartening sometimes when you feel like everyone else is comprehending and you're being left behind in the dust. But I've figured out a pretty good study pattern. So, I'm doing pretty well in the language.
For the past two weeks, the building that our devotionals and meetings are held in has been closed for renovation/resurfacing of the basketball court. So all our devotionals have been held in the BYU Marriott Center. So every Sunday and Tuesday, it's quite a sight as about 3200 missionaries from both the MTC's Main Campus and West Campus stream out of the complex and across the street and parking lot to the Marriott Center. It's like a never ending trail of ants across the entire parking lot. However, the building is being reopened on Tuesday, so we won't be crossing anymore.
This past week one of the other districts that's been here about 7 weeks got their itineraries. It's kinda bitter sweet, because when we arrived, we looked up to them. They looked like they'd been here forever. They seem much older and wiser than us; they don't feel like they've been here such a short time. So now that they're leaving, it's kinda like loosing your mission parents. It'll be sad, but we're excited for them.
During Priesthood Meeting yesterday, Brother Williams (my 10th Grade English teacher) gave the lesson. He talked about the Doctrine of Christ: 1) Faith, 2) Repentance, 3) Baptism, and 4) Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Now there is one more that isn't in the 4th Article of Faith, and that is 5) Endure to the End. But how do we endure to the end? By repeating all the first principles that got us to this point. The Doctrine of Christ is recursive and interrelated. After baptism, to endure to the end we must continue to exercise 1) Faith, continually 2) Repent, continue to make covenants and commitments through 3) Partaking of the Sacrament, and 4) Obeying the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Remember to consult the Lord in everything. There are so many times that we're supposed to pray here, it's not even funny.
Sorry there are still no pictures, the MTC computers don't have an SD card slot, so I'll have to figure out another way to send them.
Elder Sequoia Ploeg
Taiwan Taipei Mission