Friday, August 15, 2014

August 11, 2014

It feels weird having my second P-Day in 3 days, but life is good.  We taught our "Chinese investigator" again this week, turns out our teacher Brother Wong is from Singapore (not Taiwan).  So Elder Li will likely see him on his mission.  He gave all the Elders in my Chinese district, who asked for one, a Chinese name.  It was cool.  I'm still waiting on my Chinese name tag.  Maybe I'll get it in California, or not at all.

On Sundays, we have personal and online study time.  That means a lot of binge watching videos and other various church related media.  There are a lot of different kinds of Mormons out there. 

Sunday leadership meeting was spent discussing the people in our zone, and how we can better serve and love them.  I have a stronger understanding that leadership is about service and love, rather than exercising authority.

During church, we had 70 people! Of which only 27 were actual missionaries (my age).  The rest were senior missionaries, who apparently love to see me on the stand (just kidding).  They were probably there because President Marion (our branch president) was speaking.  He's a wonderful speaker.  Up on the stand, I can see all these old people just nodding to sleep, it's pretty funny.  Pres. Marion thanked all of the senior missionaries for leaving their... grandchildren behind.  I was not chosen to give the random missionary talk, so I'm getting out of the MTC with a free pass. 

During our priesthood meeting, President Marion had me and Elder Belmonte do the ordinance teaching.  We were supposed to teach on anointing the sick and blessing them.  We read out of our missionary handbook how [to do it], then he told us to put the book down and demonstrate it, which we, unfortunately, could not make happen.  Then he "snubbed us to the post" [chastised us]. There are a lot of these phrases that President Marion uses that, frankly, go right over the head of most of the missionaries (international missionaries and American ones). 

He talked about how missionaries have to be prepared.  Apparently there's a missionary that came into the MTC in April.  She's been in the hospital since them and is from some island in the pacific.  To contact her mother, the Stake President has to go three or four islands over in a boat and bring her to a place with internet.  I don't think these places are very internet connected.  Elder 'Otuafi, my old companion, had to go to an internet cafe (or internet "caff" as he called it) to use internet and Facebook.

President Marion said he'd been visiting her every day and an apostle of the lord visited her on Sunday.  He doesn't know if she's going to make it.  It was an incredibly humbling experience.  So, the moral of the story is, I have to be more prepared. 

President Marion is a great teacher and branch president.  He's been a mission president twice and was the president of the New Zealand MTC before. [He shares] lots of great nuggets of wisdom.  During his talk, he didn't use a single note.  He was looking up the whole time.  He's also hilarious, all the little stuff he does, like wink at you, and say his one-liners.  He always wants us to "enjoy the MTC food he cooked for us" and he wants us to know "how the cow eats the cabbage" (which I still haven't quite figured out).  The way he says it just makes it hilarious, I'm constantly laughing when he's around. 

During a leadership meeting, he told us a story about being a good missionary.  He said one of his counselors has a horse that keeps bucking people, a "stupid horse."  According to him, you have two options when you have a "stupid horse."  You don't give it to your friend because then they have to deal with it.  It costs the same amount to feed a stupid horse as it does a good horse.  So your two options are, sell it to the glue factory, or shoot it and bury it in the yard.  I couldn't stop laughing...

Oh and I saw Angela Schoenhals while I was on a temple walk!  I saw someone that looked familiar and saw her name tag and was like, "Angela??"  We hand shook, because missionaries can't hug. [It] felt a bit weird but that's cool.  She's doing great, hopefully learning a lot of Italian.

One of the coolest parts of my past 3 days was giving a priesthood blessing to Sister Kalonihea (from Tonga) before she left.  When I said the blessing, I felt as though there was some sort of surge of electricity going through my body – amazing experience.

I leave tomorrow (the 12th of August) at 4:30 am from the MTC.  My flight leaves at 8:35 am for Ontario, CA (?), which I have never heard of.  [I’m] anxious but excited.  The biggest lesson I learned here at the MTC was teach with love, love the people, love your companion, love everyone.

Chinese language district and teachers

Elder Dyer and Branch President Marion

Elders Li, Dyer, Andino, Li, Itufia, Belmonte, and Pring

Elders Li and Dyer and Sisters Kolanihea and Mahe

Ties worn in the MTC (none repeated)

Sister Schoenhals (center) and Elder Dyer (second cousins)

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