Week 2

Nimen Hao! (that means hello)

Wu Zhang Lao here.
So my second week in the MTC is done!  I’m officially a third-weeker.  My district still thinks I’m crazy, but they’ve also decided I’m basically the district dad even though I’m only 2 months older than the next oldest Elder.  So that’s fun.  We’ve also already started pulling pranks on other missionaries (nothing harmful don’t worry).  And let’s just say we have some good ideas in store for some silly string we have.  😛  Elder Jones got a package earlier this week with a mini basketball hoop, so in between our personal and companion study in the mornings we’ll sometimes take a 5 min break and play horse in our classroom.  I’m proud to say I’ve gotten out first every game.
Last Thursday (I think) was what my Zone called Star Wars Night.  A couple of Elders dressed up as Sith and Jedi using their sheets and blankets and acted out different scenes from Episode VI.  What made it really funny was that they did parts of it in Chinese.  Like when the emperor wants Luke to kill Darth Vader, he says I can’t, and the guy who played the emperor yelled “Weishenme!!?”  (why!?) .  We all died of laughter.  I decided I’m going to do the same thing after I’ve been here a while except it’ll be with Lord of the Rings.
This last week we’ve been learning/reviewing a lot of Chinese grammar principles and yesterday our teacher, Sister Tate (TanLaoShi), asked us to write Yinwei/souyi sentences.  While she wasn’t looking I wrote on the board, “Yinwei ni shi women de laoshi, souyi women ai ni (pengyou de ai).”  That loosely translates to, because you are our teacher, we love you (as a friend).  Her reaction was priceless.  My Zhongwen (Chinese) skills are paying off.  I think I know about 300-350 words, and 50ish phrases.  I can read pinyin pretty proficiently but that doesn’t mean I remember much.  Chinese is fun.
Last week I forgot to talk about our first investigator we had to teach, Yang Ming Fang!  We taught her 5 lessons and they were all a lot of fun.  Starting today, we get to teach two different investigators every other day.  (fun fact they’re actually just our teachers but they pretend to be someone interested in the gospel)  One of them is a Buddhist, so that’ll be interesting trying to teach him about who God and Jesus are.  The other claims to know and believe in Christ, but some of the Elders who have already taught her said that she didn’t know what prayer was, and that the idea of it freaked her out because she thought it was like talking to dead spirits.  So that’ll be interesting too I guess.  My companion and I have been focusing mostly on being able to understand the investigator and their needs first, before we really begin teaching.  We want to understand where they are in their beliefs and religions, and life in general so we are better equipped to teach them how the gospel of Jesus Christ can help their lives.
Something cool that happened this last week was that we got to sing with the Nashville Tribute Band for Sunday night’s devotional.  About 1500 missionaries showed up to sing in the choir and we rehearsed 3 songs that we performed with them that night!  John’s Song, I Was Born, and When He Comes Again. For any of y’all who don’t know who they are, their music is awesome!!!  Look them up!  I was honestly completely surprised by their performance and the way they brought the spirit.  Each of their songs had a powerful message.  One song, I don’t know the name, was from the perspective of a Roman soldier who was present at the crucifixion of Christ and posed the question, “what have I done?”  John’s Song was from the perspective of John the Baptist and preparing the way for Jesus Christ.  Seriously guys, look them up.  Every song brought chills.
Oh and I almost forgot, I’m 19 now!! Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes!  My birthday wasn’t too bad.  I did receive some cookies in the mail, plus our teacher that day had us all sing happy birthday in Chinese!  And it also happened to be one of the Cantonese Sister’s birthday as well which was kind of crazy.  I was seriously hoping that I’d get a cake in the mail (because who doesn’t want cake on their birthday?)  and when I didn’t, Elder Jones decided to make me one.  He had plenty of supplies in his room to construct a cake, and so he did.    He walked into my room that night with some of the other Elders and started singing happy birthday.  He then sprayed me with a ton of silly string!  That was kind of him lol.  And the cake turned out to be a peanut butter brownie layer and a mint brownie layer, with chex mix and tootsie rolls on top!  Twas tasty.   He’s definitely a master chef.  We decided that we’re going to make it a tradition to make food out of food we already have, like cookies, brownies, and candy.
Anyways, life is going great, Chinese is coming along, and I’m still having a blast.
– Wu Zhang Lao