Nimen hao wo de pengyoumen he jiating!
Hard to believe that yet another week has come and gone here at the good ole MTC. There's quite a bit of cabin fever going around in our district--we're all fairly anxious to get out into the field. My Chinese is nowhere near good enough for it--I'll provide a story in a couple minutes to illustrate that point--but I'm also super excited to just go and teach all day and make new friends and see new places. I'm finally getting out of Wyudahoming!!! It's a happy moment indeed--by the time I get to Singapore, I'll have stopped in LA and Hong Kong! That's right! I'm going all over da place :)
Now, about that story about my Chinese being no good--Yesterday at our Temple Walk we heard from a few Mandarins in the other zone that up by the fountains were a bunch of native Zhongguoren/Chinese! We hurried up there and found about four sisters being mobbed by every Chinese-speaking missionary in Provo. None of the sisters were LDS--they were visiting America, and the place where they worked also happened to be the workplace of a member. He (who served his mission in Singapore, but was a Malay elder) had taken them to church and was now giving them a tour of the Temple grounds. Anywho, none of these sisters were members; that much was clear by the way they dressed...not exactly Temple worthy. Not awful, but I'm pretty sure a Young Womens' Leader would have a coronary if she saw one of her Beehives in such attire. Whatevs. Anywho, we're talking with them--it was kool to be able to talk in Chinese to actual CHINESE people--and I decided to throw in my two cents' worth. I was trying to ask the question, "Nimen cong Zhongguo lai ma?" which means, "Do you come from China?"
Instead, I said, "Nimen qu Zhongguo lai ma?" Which doesn't make any sense at all. It's like saying, "Are you going to come from China?"
Yeah, pretty much a party.
Another incident like this occurred at the time of the Worldwide Broadcast. There was a man waiting in the drinking fountain line, and we started a conversation up with him. He was from Taiwan (I think), and he was asking us where we were going on our missions. Clever Sam replied with: "Wo cong Xinjiapo lai." Instead of saying, "I'm going to Singapore," I said, "I'm from Singapore." [I didn't realize that mistake until after this conversation, when my comps finally told me] He gave me the weirdest look, something that can only be described as: "There is no way this skinny little white boy is from Singapore. No way."
Whatevs. You have to learn to laugh at yourself, I guess--and I've certainly had plenty of those opportunities! ;)
Oh! Before I forget: We were talking with those Chinese sisters up at the Temple, right? So, the guy that was escorting them around the Temple finally asked one of them, "Have you ever seen hair like that?" pointing at my luscious mop.
The Chinese sisters emphatically shook their heads; one of them asked, "Is that natural?"
I nodded smugly. Apparently they don't have redheads in China. Bummer--they're missin' out ;) Either way, maybe my hair will make me a celebrity or something ;)
Sowe went to a great devotional, and afterwards we decided to go to the movie/talk that Elder Holland gave here back on Thanksgiving last year. It was excellent! One of his main points was how grateful he was that we were born in this age and dispensation. I testify that this is such a great thing to be thankful for! It's so amazing to me that, of all the many billions of God's children in heaven, He's allowed us to come at this time and to this place for a very specific purpose and plan! I don't know His ways, nor will I ever pretend to--but I do know that He knows, and that He's got things prepared for any and every situation that will come our way.
The other day I was studying from Preach My Gospel, and was doing the Patience Personal Study Activity. It has you go to Mosiah 28:1-9--I really loved the second verse, particularly the word 'cure'. This word made me think of that scripture in Isaiah 61:1-3--this is pretty much the Savior's mission call and mission statement (the one in Isaiah). However, it can also be applicable to all of us. Missionaries, members, any devoted disciple of Jesus Christ--we're all meant to 'bind up the brokenhearted' and help those who are in need, spiritually, physically, emotionally. It's really great :)
I hope you all have a good week; one more email from the States, and then you'll be hearing from none other than Singapore Sam!!
Zai jian for now; God be with you till we meet again,
Elder Mitchell/Mai Zhanglao