Monday, July 6, 2015

Roundin da bend, secon time

Sawaadiikrap! Wo de Taiyu bu tai hao, danshi wo de fuyin de Zhongwen danzi bijiao hao duo le! I have a ton of stuff to write about so let us press on! Firstly this week is the halfway point in my MTC experience which is NUTS the time is really starting to fly by. I got here June 10th and I leaveAugust 10th, so July 10th (this Friday) is halfway! Secondly I forgot to mention something super awesome from mission president week, and that is that my tongban and I got to teach Elder Paul Johnson and his wife (of the Seventy) about the Book of Mormon. It was really weird to do it in English but we managed. They said we did really well, I was happy :D On July 1st we hosted again which was cool, with a bunch of people going to Pittsburgh and a bunch to Detroit. One guy has a sister serving in my mission, so I'll have to let her know that I hosted her little brother! Howweevveerr later that day was not so great. It was like 100 degrees that day, so we were all super worn out after hosting and then had to sit through a bunch of class and one guy in our district had symptoms of heat exhaustion so he had to go lie down and drink gatorade all afternoon. The district mood was down that evening, people were getting discouraged and frustrated but we shaped up the next day and it's been nice ever since. Oh and the sunday before that In the middle of sacrament meeting the fire alarm went off so we all went outside (again, super hot) for like 15 minutes and then only had time for the guy who was supposed to give a talk to give a quick testimony and then end. Yesterday MTC President Burgess and his wife came to our sacrament meeting to release our branch president which was sad :( He's been the branch president for about 4 years though, so I guess it's okay. We still have the same counselors, they're both so cool. One is a little jumpy and ridiculously nice, and the other is Mr. Miyagi's Singaporean quintalingual brother. For a couple days we could see the hot air balloons off in the direction of BYU (I guess that's south), that was fun to see since I remember going to the hot air balloon festival way back when! Didn't see the pig-shaped one sadly. We found out President Packer had passed away about 5 1/2 hours after it happened, which was really fast considering how closed off we are. We just happened to get on during study time and see the announcement. Sad, but nice to know that he's doing a lot better now. A couple days ago a guest (real investigators that come to the MTC to learn about the gospel) was walking out and stopped by me, my tongban, and another tongbantuan who are going to Taizhong to ask us some stuff about the gospel. We ended up having a pretty long discussion and doing our best to answer questions without being overwhelming since there were four missionaries and one investigator, but I think we left a good impression. We even set up a return appointment for the same time and place this week! It was really good for helping me realize where my testimony is and that I really do believe in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It seems counterintuitive, but it's easy to lose sight of that when everyone around you believes the same thing so your faith is never really tested. On the 4th of July which our district called "Ziyoutian" (Freedom Day) we had a cool devotional about how America is the promised land even though this church is an international, everlasting Gospel (not an American church). It also included two stories from missionaries in Ghana which was awesome because it made me realize all over again how much I want to go to Africa and how excited I am to meet Africans in France (and Chinese people and French people and Tahitians and Italians and whoever might wander into the light of the Gospel that my companion and I will be shining wherever we go).

I have a couple requests! Thanks so much for the French flag, but when I opened it up it was all dirty and smelled like fish, so I tossed it in the washing machine (alone, not with my socks or anything) and it made it smell fine, but that stain refuses to come out. I'm not asking for another one, but if that's the conclusion y'all come to then so be it...hint hint. LOVE YOU!! Thank you so so so much Mom and Dad for loving me and helping me grow and preparing me for this adventure! I'm really excited! I hope Courtney's LOVING the Dominican Republic, she's now somewhere I've never even been close to! How cool is that?

Oh and also I need to get Elder and Sister Frogley on my email list before I get to France! They're the PreMTC teachers at BYUH, so you should be able to find them through the BYUH PreMTC facebook page. Also Elder and Sister Russell that are currently there as well, I don't know exactly how to get ahold of them though :/ Sorry.
Last night we had a great devotional by Jenny Oaks Baker and her family! It was fun because I'd already seen her in concert once a number of years ago, and they played a number of songs for us. Her kids are all musically talented as well, including her 8 year old son on classical guitar -_- whatta boss. They did two Kurt Bestor songs, the first was the one she played for President Hinckley's 90th birthday and the second was Prayer of the Children, which two of her daughters sang. Wow it was awesome. Also last night, it being movie night, we watched Legacy in Korean and I can tell you that Joseph Smith's Korean voice really is something. In TRC on Saturday we had a couple really good lessons about receiving answers to your prayers, both our appointments were with members from places like California (quite a few Chinese people there), Taiwan, and Mainland China, no surprises there really. I've run into so many people I know, some from college and some from home like Sister Gordon going to Brazil and Vanhin Aldous headed for Finland! I did get to talk to Sister Aldous just for a minute after they dropped Stephen off but I didn't see him until I think Friday morning. I probably forgot some stuff, it's really a happening place but I love you all and I do have a testimony that the Church is true! Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and we really do having living prophets today who guide us under the direction of God. I know that as we study the scriptures, ponder them in our hearts, and pray with faith, or at least trusting that we will gain faith (faith and trust are different), we'll receive an answer every time that it's TRUE! All of it!

Wo ai ni!

Garrett & Julie Aldous (Stephen's mom)

Elder Jensen hosting for arriving missionaries

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