Mindy is officially a Sister Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!! yay!! She is currently in the Provo MTC until December 2015 then she will be off to Hong Kong to serve and teach those wonderful people! We're extremely proud of her and so excited to see how her mission goes! Mindy asked me to keep her blog up to date with things and to post her emails.
She was able to write us yesterday and here is what she wrote:
"...God Loves Chinese People" MTC Week 1
Leih Houh! (I haven't figured out how to type accents and stuff yet.)
The MTC in one word, busy! Sometimes I feel like I barely have time to breathe, let alone think. I keep telling people that I wouldn't have time to be homesick even if I wanted to! My companion is Sister McNeeley, she's seriously a sweetheart and we have quite a bit in common. It's been really fun and frustrating getting to know her and learning how to serve her/with her. I'm definitely learning about my weaknesses and areas in need of improvement already. I feel like Sister McNeeley and I are forever running from one activity to the next, literally running. I'm so tired all the time but so happy too. The spirit is incredibly strong here. I feel like my heart and soul are in a crockpot on low heat all the time, but in a peaceful, pleasant way.
The first day at the MTC was madness. After I was ushered away from the car, I was led into a maze of "WELCOME! WHERE ARE YOU SERVING?!?" and "Here! Take this, and this, and this and this and this..." They aren't kidding when they tell you you'll get 15 pounds worth of books. I was sweaty and overwhelmed by the time I reached the dorms. When I finally took one step into my classroom, my teacher spoke to me in Cantonese and only Cantonese. I have yet to hear him speak in English (apparently he does sometime this week though).
My cantonese is better now than it was that first day but it's still not very good. My cantonese name is Lahm Ji Muih. Ji Muih means sister and Lahm apparently means forest. I don't know how to make up the names here, because none of them really make sense. I taught my first "investigator" on Friday, entirely in Cantonese. It was literally the worst, most embarrassing experience of my life. my face was red for two hours after that lesson. I'm not kidding either. I wanted the ground to swallow me. I was having some serious doubts at that point but the "old cantos" (the group of cantonese missionaries that left for Hong Kong this morning) came in to our class later that night and just gave us words of love and support. They told us about their own horror stories and about some crappy lessons that they still give today. They've been really loving, supportive and silly since we got here and I'm going to miss having them around.
All of the missionaries heading to Hong Kong in my zone are Sisters, expect for two Elders in my district. It's funny because it's the complete opposite with the group of Canto missionaries. That group is all Elders, except for two Sisters. It's crazy to me how quickly I can grow to love people here. I already love my district and my companion so much and I haven't even been here a week. i get sad thinking about how we'll be split up when we reach Hong Kong.
The second lesson I taught was much better than the first (THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS REAL, just not really for me...) The Spirit was more present and the investigators was actually understanding what we were trying to say this time, My companion is good at the language, which is good because I'm struggling a lot. It's been a little hard because I feel like all the other missionaries are catching onto the language really well, and I'm still suffering through it (though my man voice is really coming in handy with the low tones). The language is a lot like singing(because of the tones), which makes me happy because you all (KELSEY) know how much I love to sing, even though I'm not very good at it. There's a phrase in Canto that means willing or not willing (yuhn mh yuhnyi) and because of the tones is sounds exactly like "Come on Eileen" (the song) I laugh every time I have to say it. Also, when we practice symbol sounds and vowel sounds it starts to sound a lot like we're singing the "Apples and Bananas" song. I feel like I just giggle my way through language class but I really am learning a lot and these little things help me to remember the sounds better.
The food and I don't get along here. I know I was worried about gaining weight here, but I'm actually more worried about not getting enough protein and stuff now. I eat A LOT of salad, soup and wraps. The wraps, the salad and fruit are literally heaven sent. Every time I try to eat something from the main foodline, I suffer through the rest of the day/night with a stomachache. So, I've just been avoiding that now. There's my MTC advice of the week, EAT FRESH OR YOU'LL REGRET IT. Daily exercise has become a must for me now too. We sit so much during the day that I take every opportunity I can to get moving. I actually wake up at 6 AM most morning to go to the extra workout classes. They are a lifesaver.
Sunday was my favorite day BY FAR. We had an incredible devotional that night by Chad Lewis (BYU Tight End, played for the NFL Eagles). He was so awesome, very humble and very loving. He talked about not hiding your gifts and to play up your strengths when you are teaching and learning. My favorite thing he said is when he quoted Elder Oaks, who said; "I know The Lord loves Chinese people because He made A LOT of them!" How can you not love them though? I'm so excited to serve them, even though I can barely say a prayer in their language!
Tayson Hill (BYU Quarterback) also stood(hobbled) his way up and bore his testimony. I really enjoyed what he said when he was talking about meeting one the apostles at the BYU game after he'd been injured. The apostle told him, "If the Lord wanted you on the football field, you'd be on the football field. But you're not. So, figure out where He needs you". I need to figure out why I'm here. I need to figure out why He needed me in Hong Kong, or the MTC, at this specific time in my life. I challenge you all to find out why you are where you are also.
I watched "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar for my first Sunday movie. I really encourage you to watch it or read it if you can find it. It was really incredible. It talks about how Christ turns outward when most of us would turn inward in selfishness. I truly feel like I'm the cookie monster that he talks about and I need to change that. My favorite quote from him in that talk was, " You cannot live on bottled light". We need to constantly be working on being more and more converted. CONVERTED, not just having a testimony but being converted.
I love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts of love this week. I've really been able to feel you lifting me up (the power of prayer for missionaries is very real). I hope that you all have a fantastic week and that you TURN OUTWARD and strive to be more like the Savior.
Lots of love,
P.S. No pics this week because I only get an hour and I talked too much. Oops.