Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MTC: Week #1

My Tag -- I'm Official Now!
Hi Family and Friends,
So this first week at the MTC has been so much fun, but it has gone by so slow. When I got dropped off I was greeted by one of my good college buddies Connor Dehlin. I then went and picked up my new nametag and all my chinese missionary supplies. Dad, don't worry about sending me the Book of Mormon with the chinese characters, pinyin, and english. They gave me one. So, far I have learned to pray, bear my testimony, and teach investigators in chinese, however, I do struggle with it...a lot.
On Sunday, President Samuelson from BYU came and spoke to us about spiritual gifts and the ministering of angels. I learned quite a bit, even though I gave the same topic at my mission farewell.
So about teaching our MTC investigator. We have met with our fake investigator three times already. The first time, we were somewhat nervous. We had no clue what to teach. We ended up teaching him about our Heavenly Father and about the Book of Mormon. He committed to continue reading the Book of Mormon, but told us that he wouldn't pray.
Our second visit we decided to talk about the importance of prayer. Afterwards he told us he liked reading the Book of Mormon, but felt weird praying to God. We didn't know what to do, and because we don't understand the language, it made it so much harder to answer his questions. We ended up leaving (haha), which probably wasn't very good.
Our third visit, we decided to talk about Jesus Christ, the apostasy, and the restoration. He told us he knew the Book of Mormon was true, he just wouldn't pray about it. He said he gets weird feelings praying and he feels he is just talking to himself.
So during our next visit we are going to be asking him questions on how he feels and why he feels that way. Just so we can get some insight on him and hopefully teach him the proper way to pray. Even though he is just a fake investigator, it is teaching me that we need to understand the needs of our investigator instead of just teaching him a lesson and going on our way.
Today, Tuesday, is my P-day. We started it off by going to the temple at 5:30 a.m. That is too early for me. The best part about it, besides the wonderful work we were doing, was the temple food. I got an amazing omelet, bacon, and hashbrowns. It was amazing! The food here at the MTC is terrible. It gives everyone bad gas. Our classroom constantly smells haha.
Anyway, I had the wonderful opportunity to go out of MTC grounds. My companion had to go get some shots at the BYU Health Center, so I got to leave with him. I felt like I was back at school with all my buddies. I was even tempted to go down the street a bit and say HI to my friends at BYU, but I didn't. One thing I need to mention . . . About Sunday walks— my Branch President warned us that they may not let us go on the walks anymore because too many visitors have been meeting up with missionaries. If you do come, all I can do is say hello, shake your hand, and then say goodbye. Sorry if you were thinking about doing that!
So about my district and my companion. I would first like to say that I was called to be District Leader. Pretty exciting! It's really not that hard, I just have to go to an extra meeting or two. My companion, Elder Boice, is a pretty cool guy. He is Japanese and we have gotten along so far! My other roommates are pretty cool. Elder Larsen is the one who Uncle Rob introduced my to, and so we have gotten along pretty well so far. Elder Haag is my other roommate and seems like a really nice kid. The other Elders in my district are Elder Morgan, Elder Moore, Elder Clawson, and Elder Rosen. Elder Morgan reminds me of Hayden Blackburn, a lot! He is constantly making jokes, making people laugh, and bouncing off the walls. Elder Morgan is way sweet too. He is from Washington and apparently knew Sam Johnson while they went to BYU Hawaii. From what I hear, he is an amazing wakeboarder. He is talking about doing all these cool, amazing tricks. I'm sure he'll go pro one day. Elder Clawson actually went to Davis High School. Elder Rosen, his companion, is from Sweden, which is way cool. He is a way chill kid and pretty much knows Chinese already. He is way shy though. So far, my district has gotten a long really well with each other.
Some things I will need you to do: first, whatever you do, DON'T send me emails. I can only check them once a week and won't have time to read all the emails. SEND ME letters from dearelder.com. It will make things so much easier. When you do send me a package (and please send me one soon) make sure you pack that temperpic pillow (my neck is always sore in the morning), new contacts (because my left one split in the middle on sunday), mints NOT gum (my mission president here said no gum), and tell people (my friends, ESPECIALLY girls) to write me letters or send them from dearelder.com. Also go through my email and send me all my friends letters. I want hear from them. Love you all, Elder Smith (Sima Zhanglao)