So I decided to keep a note card on me to record what happens during the week, and it resulted in a whole bunch of uncorrelated, random bullet points. Forgive my apparent case of ADHD.
You know the band Imagine Dragons, that popular rock band that popped up out of nowhere in the last few months? Turns out, Elder Teshima knows the lead singer personally because they are in the same Stake (geographical location that contains several smaller congregations). AND Imagine Dragons just recently released a new EP, which news made me severely depressed because of the strict music rules on my mission. Ah well, I guess something to look forward to when I get back, right? (Mom and Dad, birthday present for when I get back!? Maybe!? )
This week the older generation of Chinese speakers leave for their mission fields (one is going to Ireland! Weird!). It's really sad to see them go. They were a great inspiration to me. But the cool part is that their departure marks my generation's halfway point of our stay in the MTC. Six down, six more weeks to go!!!
For those of you who have seen the movie "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration" (and if you haven't the whole thing's on YouTube!), the actor for the younger Joseph Smith is at the MTC right now. I've been itching to get a picture with him, but all the opportunities I have with him are horrid, like in the temple or during a fireside. I believe he's serving in Virginia... Still gotta ask him. I often have to look at him twice because he has red hair, but in the movie he's blond.
Sunday I watched the church film "The Testaments" in Mandarin. I've done this before at home, but unlike previous experience, I actually understood about 1/3 to 1/4 of the words that were said. It's times like these when I realize my time at the MTC is paying off.
This week was one of the first weeks where receiving letters was almost completely out of mind. This week was also the week where I got two to three letters a day! I'm learning more and more that the Lord is a perfect teacher, and will do whatever is the best way to teach us the lessons we need to learn. For me, it was "Forget your darned self and get to work!" So for those of you who send me letters, forgive me if it takes a while to reply, I'm trying to write back in the order I got them. And thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all your kind words! It's clear that I am greatly loved, and I am very humbled to have such great friends and family.
My dad gave me a Portuguese nametag that he got from his cousin while he was at the MTC, and I decided to wear it one day this week. It gave me nothing but trouble. One elder sat down next to me at lunch and started speaking Portuguese, and he was so frustrated when I couldn't understand. And then when I was teaching our progressing investigator, the investigator pointed at the end of the lesson and asked me what was up with my tag. It was so fun, I might do it again!
A few more funny quotes to add on to last week:
"Dude, that's the thing with crushes. Sometimes you just gotta burn down cities. Just burn 'em down." -Elder Deal (While talking about Alexander the Great and Cleopatra.)
"I was upset when English was decided as the official language of the Church. That meant I had to learn it. But don't get cocky, English speakers, because you will have to learn a new language too. I am convinced that in the celestial kingdom, we will be speaking German." -Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"You're a stud. Now get outta here." -Elder Christianson
And an inspiring quote:
"You can't write a paper unless your pen's moving." -Elder Greer
Before I go, I just want to take a moment to testify of the divinity of The Book of Mormon. Many say that The Book of Mormon is a fraud, that it was devised in the mind of Joseph Smith or the minds of a party of people. But when I read this book, I know without a doubt that no mortal man could ever write a book such as this. I add my witness that this book is another testament of Jesus Christ, and that a man can get closer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book. I testify that The Book of Mormon contains God's word, and that Joseph Smith translated the ancient records that comprised the book by the power of God. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that through him, Christ restored his church to the earth today as it was when he established it in his mortal ministry. This is His gospel. His church is the only way whereby man can be saved. I exhort you, member or non-member, to receive this knowledge for yourselves through the power of the Holy Ghost. If you study it out, ponder its message, and pray with the sincere desire and real intent to know if it is true, I can promise you that God will give you an answer.
I love you all, and stay cool!