Monday, September 22, 2014

God Prepared Me - Week 34


I am a Chinese speaking missionary now! So crazy. When I got called
English speaking I was disappointed but I got over it because I
recognized that it was a call from God. Before I went to the MTC I
thought maybe I could still be a Chinese speaker on my mission. Once I
got out here I assumed I would be English my whole mission and that
once I got home I could continue learning Chinese and use it
elsewhere. So imagine my surprise and gratitude when I got to be
Chinese speaking after all! Looking back it's amazing how God prepared
me. I remember being so incredibly disappointed when I didn't make
madrigals in ninth grade but if I would've made it then I wouldn't
have been able to take Chinese, same with when I tried out for another
choir class my junior year. If I had made volleyball my sophomore year
then I wouldn't have been able to take Chinese that year either.
Making madrigals and the volleyball team in junior high would've made
me more busy and I would've made the teams in high school but then so
many other things I was able to do wouldn't have happened (like taking
art classes. I wouldn't have had time and I probably wouldn't be doing
animation..). During my high school years I would sit in my room for
hours memorizing vocabulary and how to write the characters because I
felt this inexplicable drive to learn the language that no one else in
my Chinese class had. Usually missionaries get 8 weeks in the MTC to
learn Chinese but I don't get any MTC language training so I'm going
off of all of the Chinese I studied in high school. I haven't had much
experience actually speaking it with people so that's been the tricky
part but I'm so glad I have a whole bunch of random vocabulary stored
up so now all I have to focus on is the grammar and not vocabulary.
God knew what I needed to do. He knew it would be hard on me but that
it would be ok and I would one day understand. And now I do and I
thank Him for not giving me what I wanted at the time so that I could
later have something better. I'm sure I'll see even more results from
this later, this is only the beginning. You should all go watch "The
Will of God" Mormon message right now. Like right now, find it on
YouTube. Mom can you please post the link on the blog? This video has
been running through my mind all week.

Wednesday was transfers. What a crazy day. I can't say I was feeling
very thankful that day. Sister Lewis and I arrived early to meet our
new companions since she's training and I'm somewhat training. Her
trainee is from her same ward in Alpine. I don't know why so many
missionaries are from Utah here but it will make going back to BYU so
fun because over half of the missionaries here go there. Anyway then I
got Sister Liu. We had our transfer meeting where the new missionaries
were introduced and the departing missionaries bore their testimonies.
I got to introduce Sister Liu and we announced that we would be in the
Chinese branch and got a great, surprised reaction from the other
missionaries. After transfer meeting ends is always chaos because
everyone is trying to move their luggage into each other's cars to go
to their new areas. It's so fun, I love transfers. Since Sister Liu
and I were opening up a new area, we had no phone, car, or apartment.
It took forever to get our car keys and apartment info and they didn't
have a phone for us. I was starting to get really frustrated and was
freaking out about whitewashing in Chinese. It took us forever to
finally get to our apartment and to drag our heavy suitcases up three
flights of stairs. That night we went and tried to visit the few names
of members the Chinese elders gave us. We had no info about the area
and where the boundaries are. After that we ran to a gas station and I
borrowed the cell phone of a worker and called my district leader to
let him know we don't have a phone and that we are alive. Not a fun

The next day we finally got a phone and we were able to stock up on
some Chinese Book of Mormons. Essentially the whole day I was freaking
out inside because I didn't know what we were doing. I also found out
that apparently the Assistants to President Cook had forgotten about
us during transfers and that was why they were scrambling to find a
car and apartment for us. Sweet. That night we went to a Chinese choir
rehearsal since the Chinese are performing Christmas Eve at the vc.
They had us be soprano and the songs were really intense and high so
we were belting high Es, Fs, Gs, and a couple As with a room full of
Chinese people. My throat hurt by the end.

Church on Sunday was so fun. I love the Chinese branch. I could
understand maybe half of Sacrament meeting. It helped that the
speakers where two American interns visiting from the YSA wards who
served Chinese speaking missions. I understood about 40% of Sunday
school and barely anything in relief society. By third hour my brain
was tired and I kind of checked out. I have no clue what the lesson
was on. In relief society they had Sister Liu and I stand up and
introduce ourselves. They were all curious how Sister Liu became a
member since she lives in mainland China. She briefly told her story
and all of the sisters were so excited and one of them started crying.

After church we went over the the Branch President's house for lunch
with 10 other people. There are four Chinese elders in the branch and
they and the Branch President were making me think we were gonna eat
chicken feet which is pickled chicken feet. It looks like a pale,
bloated chicken foot with the talons still on there and all. One of
the elders, Elder Proudfoot, tried to give me some a couple weeks ago
and said that they eat it all the time in the Chinese program. I
refused to eat it and told him that's why I'm not in the Chinese
program. The next day President Cooke told me I was going to be in the
Chinese program. I will send you a picture when I get one, they look
so nasty. You have to bite it to break the bone then chew off the
pickled skin. Ughhhh yuckkkkkyyyyy. Anyway they didn't have any
chicken feet and the lunch was good and President Shen asked us to
each give a talk after General Conference. My first foreign language

We got 5 referrals and we have an appointment with two of them
tomorrow so I'm very excited. Things are finally moving along.
President Cooke told Elder Proudfoot last Thursday that they're
letting us settle in and then next week (this week) he'll talk to us
and figure out a plan. So my freaking out was legitimate since the APs
forgot about us and President Cook was just letting us settle for a
week. We finally figured out our area boundaries yesterday as well.
It's fun being a foreign language missionary because our areas are a
lot bigger. Basically the branch extends over more than half the
mission so we have free range. (:

My Chinese has been improving. The first day I felt awkward speaking
it but now it's coming and Sister Liu has been so great. She doesn't
like speaking English so she's more than happy to speak Chinese with
me and teach me. I wish I was proficient already but I know that's
unrealistic and my Chinese gets better every day. Sister Liu and I
both think my Chinese should be pretty good by my birthday at the rate
I'm going. I mean it hasn't been a week yet and I am speaking and
understanding so much better. We talk in Chinese in the car and
sometimes I have to ask her to repeat herself a few times because I
like to zone out while I'm driving and I forget to concentrate on what
she's saying. By the end of each day, and especially yesterday, my
head is buzzing with Chinese. I love it.

Today we went to the city. Sister Liu has been so excited. She is such
an Asian, she was taking  so many pictures. While we were walking
around we were chatting in Chinese and we talked to a few Chinese
tourists. We went to the National Gallery of Art which was really
cool. Got to see some original Monet, Picasso, DaVinci, and other
things. I wonder if the elders go there often, there's a lot of nude
paintings. It doesn't bother me because I'm just fascinated by the
different techniques and styles and I draw nude people sometimes.
Sister Cooke suggested we all go though so I hope they enjoy that.

Sister Liu is a temple square missionary. She is from Chuang Chun
(choo-ang choo-in) China. She is 23 years old and has her degree in
art and I think she does animation as well. She hated learning English
so she wasn't happy with when she was called English speaking haha so
she's so happy to be Chinese speaking again. Her mom joined the church
nine years ago when she went on a business trip to Korea and during
some meeting she felt the spirit or something and got baptized. A year
later Sister Liu got baptized too. Apparently you can get baptized in
China if your family member is a church member and they have church
members assigned to give you the lessons. Also there's 22,000 church
members in China. Now you know. Cool right?

That's about it. It's been an interesting week. Kind of lonely too
since I'm not at the VC anymore and we don't have any roommates but
that's ok. D&C 90:11 (: (: Love you all!



How I'm learning Chinese words for household things:


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