Monday, July 28, 2014

7/28/2014 Mission Letter

Hello, everybody!

This week has been another hectic one. The MTC is such a routine, same thing every day place, that I begin to lose track of what day it is here. Every day feels the same, because it is. Monday is the new Saturday, and Saturday is just another weekday (Monday is Prep Day). I was writing in my journal about something I thought had happened that morning, and then realized that had happened the previous day (how embarrassing!).

I'm playing the piano a ton here. Since we can't listen to music, and we're not allowed to listen to Music and the Spoken Word on Sundays in our classroom (we used to, until they told us no), so we're very music deprived. So a few times a week, we just go during lunch or dinner to an empty classroom with a piano and just play for a while. They asked me to play in Sacrament Meeting again, and then in Priesthood Meeting, and then they asked me to do a musical number in Sacrament, and then another Elder from a different Mandarin District asked me to accompany him in a musical number. So, yeah. Lots of piano, and very little time to practice. It's really fun, though.

This week my district started something called TRC's, or Teaching Resource Center. Once a week, the whole district goes down to the building it's held in, and we have appointments with real members, instead of acting investigators. We still speak entirely in Chinese, and we practice different techniques (as they are told us, each week) like How to Begin Teaching, How to Receive Revelation through Prayer, etc. All these people are volunteers who come to the MTC to do this, so they're all members, usually returned missionaries who served in Taiwan or Mandarin Speaking. However, they're allowed to bring friends that are nonmembers, and someone did this last week. But we didn't get to teach him, someone else in our district did.

TRC's are also great because we can just talk to members without explaining basic principles to them, we can ask them for advice for our missions, and just have a casual atmosphere that is really fun and enjoyable. They're quickly becoming one of my favourite things here in the MTC.

This coming Wednesday, my district (along with some others) were assigned Hosting responsibilities. You have no idea how excited we are. We get to stand on the corner and yank other missionaries away from their families. I know it's hard for families, and that may have sounded a little callous, but we love seeing new missionaries here. We're just really excited for them, and sometimes we see people we know. We're like, "Welcome! You're gonna have a GREAT time." And they're like, "Sniffle." But we're really excited to host and bring in the new missionaries. For the past couple weeks, we've just been people watching--we stand by the door and watch them all come in, see the different reactions and their faces. It's great, because we've done it and we know what being in the MTC is like.

Last night we had the first movie night they've had since I've been here in the MTC (the first week I came in, they didn't do them because the building was being renovated). Most of my district went and saw an MTC devotional from a couple of years ago that the MTC filmed. It was a Christmas Sunday devotional, and Elder Bednar came to the MTC. He gave an hour and a half long talk on the Character of Christ. It's one of the most amazing talks I've ever heard. It's so long and good, I really can't do it justice in an email, and I don't know if it's circulating out in the real world somewhere. But the main point of the talk is that Jesus Christ turns out in love and comfort to others, when the natural man would turn in.

Read Matthew 4:2-11. Note that after the 40 days and nights of fasting, it says that the devil tempted Christ. But all those temptations were secondary temptations. The main temptation is in verse 3: "If thou be the son of God,..." And after the Devil is finished tempting him and leaves, verse 11 says that "angels came and ministered unto him." Except that that verse is translated wrong. Look at the footnote, which says that, "And now Jesus knew that John was cast into prison, and he sent angels, and, behold, they came and ministered unto him [John]." Even after what he went through, after the temptations, and when most people would want to turn inward, he turns out and helps other people.

Still no pictures, I need to get an SD card to USB converter in order to put them into the computer.

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission