Date

May 11, 2016

Area

Provo MTC

Companion

Elder Eisert

Week 3 MTC Letter

Writing these letters is difficult because I could copy and paste my letter from last week and everything would still be true. It's hard to keep these fresh and interesting, so I'm just going to relate a bunch of random thoughts and experiences.

On Monday, the oldest district left. It was pretty sad because they made up half of our zone, and I was good friends with most of them. The zone is now only about ten people, and only three of us are elders.

My companion and I have been assigned as the new zone leaders, but there are only two Elders in our district, so I'm also district leader. It's a lot of extra work and stress, but I've been told this is my last week as district leader, which I'm hoping is true.

When the older district left, they passed down onto us all the weird MTC zone traditions. One of them is a name tag stolen from a French speaking missionary a couple years ago named "Elder Crappo."

In our zone when one of the Elders is a jerk, they have to wear the Elder Crappo name tag for a whole day. I want to wear it, because I think it's funny, but I don't want to be a jerk; it's have a bit of a dilemma. I'll probably just steal it and wear it, thereby making me a jerk for stealing it, and allowing me the privilege of its use.

As the zone leaders, we have the responsibility to help all the new missionaries who arrive tonight with an orientation and a campus tour. This is to help all the frazzled new missionaries feel welcome. The first day of the MTC is a whirlwind. The new missionaries get pushed from classroom to classroom and force fed more information than anyone could remember. I remember my orientation as a huge relief because a bunch of normal people my age were friendly to me and showed me a human being could survive here.

I'm doing well in Mandarin. When teaching lessons, I can say almost everything I want. Also, I understand about 80% of what our teacher says. However, when native Mandarin speakers talk to me it still sounds like Chinese. Native speakers just talk fast, and because they know the language, they take short cuts and don't pronounce everything the way our teacher teaches us.

Exercise time is still my favorite block of time. I usually go to the gym and use the elliptical machine. Everyday, the same Joseph Smith movie is playing on the TV. It's only like twenty minutes long, so I can get through it a couple times. I'm getting sick of it, but even weirder is seeing Rick Macy die twice a day, every day.

There aren't any forms of conventional entertainment here; there are no TV shows, games, non-Church related books, and no music. As children of the digital age of mass consumption and instant gratification, we've had to find ways to entertain ourselves without technology. The MTC store has become our preferred form of entertainment. When we have time to go to the MTC store, it's like going to Disneyland. For the outside world, the MTC store would be less stocked version of Office Depot, but for us, it's a treasure trove.

Everything is really cheap because of the Church subsidized discount. They sell books with church paintings on high quality paper for $3.50. I've bought a couple of them and I'm cutting out all the pictures and hanging them next to my bed. I want to create some kind of collage with prophets faces but I'm gonna figure that all out tonight during personal time.

I also got a little white board that I'm going to hang next to my bed that I will use to write notes and reminders for myself. I'm really excited for that.

Far and away the most amazing thing I have purchased is a little metal extending pointer thing. I keep it in my pocket and whenever I need to teach with an extra authority boost, I can just pull out my pointer, extend it, and people listen in awe.

The MTC is weird. We have less freedom than prisoners, but I can honestly say I have grown to like it here. Everyone is kind, and you can always feel Jesus propping you up and keeping you going. My own view of myself has changed a lot lately. The old zone leader told me that we are not agents of God, we are children of the Lord. God doesn't expect us to turn into conversion machines with no emotions and feelings. He wants us to be happy, and he lets us further our own blessings by letting us serve a mission. 2 Nephi 27:20 says ". . . I am able to do mine own work . . ."

Jesus could easily convert those willing by his own power. He has us do it because we get more blessings from serving him. And even though we can't teach as well as he can, he loves us enough to help us try.

You know when a toddler comes up to you wearing a tie or tuxedo (tux-my-sedo) or something and they are so proud of themselves and think they are so cool? That's probably how Jesus sees us missionaries in our suits. We really are so un-advanced compared to the Lord. I've have learned that I can't be too hard on myself; I need only expect of myself what Jesus expects of me. If I do that, I will be just fine.




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