The MTC is GREAT! They got us working right when I got here. I immediately met my District, which contains a hodgepodge of people from all around the world. Four of us are from America, two are from China, three are from the Philippines, and one is from Christmas Island. And we are all sisters! Our branch president said we are the second all sister district he has had in his branch in all his years at the MTC. So cool! The lessons the first day were focused on the missionary purpose and orientation. Most District have language prep courses throughout the day, but since we are in the Advanced Language route, we will only be here for two weeks and so we are focusing on learning lessons and doctrine rather than studying languages. And since we are Advanced Learners, we are all going to different missions and most of us are speaking different languages. One of the girls here is going to Madagascar, French speaking! After she announced it, three sisters said at once, "Oh, like the movie!"
My companion's name is Sister Parkinson. She is from Michigan and is going to Taiwan, which is REALLY nice, because we can speak Chinese together throughout the day. I really lucked out; she is really the best companion imaginable. We are always on the same page on what we need to do every day and she has great insight on Preach My Gospel. Plus, she also eats quickly and speed walks everywhere. And we both have no ability to read our watches right. On the first day, we were rushing into a class that started atand nobody was in there. We started asking around if everyone had left the room in the last few minutes. One of the sister missionaries asked to look at our schedule and pointed out that it was only . Same thing happened two classes later. Got to love that analog clock. Yesterday, our main language study focus was praying in Chinese. Sister Parkinson already finished Chinese 202 at BYU and is really good at it. Me...not so much. I feel so lucky to have a companion that pushes me to learn Chinese faster and study harder. It really helps when all of your studying is alone to have extra motivation.
We had our Branch President meeting yesterday and the Branch first counselor gave an awesome spiritual thought. He read the first verse of Matthew 5. In this verse, a multitude is following Jesus around. Instead of turning around and teaching them immediately, Jesus climbs a mountain and, as it says in the scriptures, his "disciples" follow him. Then, He begins to preach one of the greatest sermons ever given, the Sermon on the Mount. As a missionary, I would be thrilled if a ton of people were to follow me, waiting to be taught. I would stop whatever I was doing and teach them. But, Jesus realized that there were people in the multitude that were simply following the crowd. He wanted weed out the curious from the serious, therefore, He made the people who really wanted to hear his Gospel work for it. And only the disciples, the "disciplined" followed him. Brother Vaughn said that missions are the same way. There are many people that, to use a colloquial term, "jump on the bandwagon." They are serving for the experience or to learn a new language or visit a foreign place. But the Lord wants missionaries. He wants people who are there because they love God and want to serve Him. So he will give each of them trials, make them "climb a mountain" and, thereby, separate the curious from the serious.
It is great to be surrounded by such fabulous people! But, I am so grateful I will be in the field so quickly, because I know that any learning I do here will be nothing compared to what I'll learn in the field. I'm ready to teach!
I hope that the family is doing well! Its completely okay that you pulled a Mimi, I pulled a Mom yesterday and bought earplugs (one of my roommates snores haha). I love you all and I'm praying for you all (in Chinese. Gah!). Thanks for the email! Have an absolutely fantastic week!