Another week has flown by, and this time I have 很多的 cool stuff to report.
First of all, last Tuesday night we had a fireside, and Apostle Neil L. Anderson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to speak. That day was Prophet Thomas S. Monson's birthday, so he talked about what President Monson would say to us had he been there. How important it is that we have a smile on our faces! This is a gospel of happiness, so by golly, let's be happy! I was thoroughly reminded of the importance of becoming Christ like. As a missionary, I am a representative of Christ, and I must act how he would act. Through the enabling power of Christ's sacrifice for us, I can become like him.
A little tidbit I learned this week: Christ's sacrifice, or the Atonement, has two parts, mercy and grace. Mercy is an event. We apologize and make restitution, and then we are forgiven. Grace, on the other hand, is a process. Grace is the power Christ gives us to become like Him. As Elder Fronk put it: "Mercy is when God gives us what we don't deserve. Grace is when God doesn't give us what we do deserve." Stew on that one for a while.
That night, the head of operations at the MTC came to our district meeting. He told us about how the church works with major airline companies (like American Airlines and other foreign companies) in getting discounts on flying missionaries to their assigned fields. They've discovered that the negotiation process goes much better when the executives of these companies can meet missionaries in person. This happens once every year. And then he told us that for some reason or another our class was picked to be the MTC missionary representatives and that they would be coming to see us the next morning at 9 am. He then told us that there would be about 5 people, and he prepped us on the kinds of questions they would be asking, such as, "Why did you decide to serve a mission?", "Why are you willing to do this on your own funding?", and, "How do you feel about the current presidential candidate Mitt Romney?". We were pretty stressed, to say the least.
The next morning, 12 people shuffled into the room, and they asked a few questions about the language. These people were not Mormon, so they were new to everything we did as missionaries. We ran through a language exercise for them. We were lucky they didn't understand Chinese: Elder Raley said a sentence that didn't make any sense whatsoever. It was everything we could do to keep from laughing. Luckily, they didn't say anything else besides how long we've been here, so no Mitt Romney questions. One lady with Delta airlines (I think) was especially ecstatic about our accents, saying they were "spot on". Afterwards, we went outside and took a picture together, and that was it. Crazy, but it went well. If you look at the big picture, this little meeting saves the church hundreds of thousands of dollars. I feel really blessed to be of help to the church that way.
I saw Issac Hales today! He was my friend that moved away when I was 12, and I just happened to see him in the cafeteria. His voice is mega low. He's going to a Spanish speaking mission I believe, but I forgot where (curse my brain!). He just came in last week. I'll make sure to get a picture before I leave.
Last but not least, I must leave you all in anticipation. President Brown, President of the MTC, came around to all the Chinese speaking missionaries and told us that we were going to have a special meeting on Tuesday only for us, and that a General Authority (Apostle or one of the Seventy)would be speaking to us. This led to immediate speculation. Currently, mainland China is not open to missionaries, only Hong Kong and Taiwan. The church has felt for quite some time now that China was close to opening, but there has been little if any word on the church's progress. There are two likely possibilities: Either mainland China has opened and they will be reassigning us, or it's just a pep talk about how we can learn the language. Of course, there is a whole slew of things that they could talk about, so I'm just not going to get too excited and just see what happens. What is extremely interesting though is that nobody, not even President Brown, knows what the meeting is about.
Quick shout out to Elder Davis, going to Paris, France! WOOHOO! You are going to have a blast!
I love you all, God bless you.
-Elder Jorgensen （葛长老）