week 3

Hello Hello Hello.

Week three is officially over and it feels like yesterday was when I was emailing yall last.  Time flies (I guess that’s a good thing).
I can’t think of a ton of news for you guys, but I guess I can start with how our lessons have been going.  This last week we’ve been teaching two investigators Ding Jie Mei and Zhou Di Xiong.  I think they’ve been going great!  Ding is super receptive to our teachings, even though we misunderstand her a lot of times. Actually during one of our lessons the funniest thing happened.  We were talking about how Jesus Christ was baptized and I showed her a picture of him with John the baptist in a river.  We explained baptism in our best Chinese and then asked her if she was willing to be baptized.  She said no because she was scared!  She kept saying “pa!”  It turned out she thought that baptism was always in a river and she was scared she would be carried off by the current of the river.  We didn’t have enough time to that lesson to explain that actually baptism happens inside of a church, not in a river, so we had to explain that the next lesson.  But all is well now.  It’s funny to look back on.
This week the oldest district in our zone flew out to Taiwan, so the past 2(ish) days have been a little quietter.  Today though, we are getting 18 new Chinese speaking missionaries in our zone which will be great!  We have a little orientation of sorts planned for tonight back at the residency.  Basically we will be builiding Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings out of cardboard boxes.  It will be built right outside of the door to their room and we will be using cardboard swords to defend it with our lives.  Hehehe.  🙂   All the while only yelling in Chinese.
Speaking of cardboard boxes, we have quite the hoard of them in our room.  We have been saving them for a few weeks now.  Already I’ve built a few shoe shelves and other convenient things out of them just because I can.  Also, I’ve been helping Elder Van Slooten (who is a musical violin genius) build a ukulele out of a piece of wood, some hangers, tape, strings, and a plastic cereal bowl.  When it’s done I’ll send you guys a picture.  I’m trying to channel my inner MacGyver.
This month we will also be celebrating Christmas (on August 25th) because we will be in Taiwan when It’s actually Christmas.  And of course I will be using some cardboard and tape to construct a Christmas tree one of these days.  I’ve already been sneaking into different classrooms and drawing Santa Claus on their chalk boards.  I’m pretty sure everyone knows It’s me though.
Oh lemme tell yall bout san shi san. I’ts a big joke between all the Chinese speaking missionaries here at the MTC.  San shi san means 33 in chinese.  Why is that relevant you ask?  Well, I’ll tell ya.  Page 33 in the white handbook (the missionary book of things we can and can’t do) is “Missionary Conduct with the Opposite Sex.”  That section basically says no flirting.  Whenever any Elder in our Zone (the group of missionaries that speak Chinese) talks to a Sister, or vise versa, they get “san shi san’ed.”  Pretty much whenever any Elder talks to any of the “Cantos” (the group of Sisters heading to Hong Kong speaking cantonese) people will tell them “san shi san.”  I get san shi san’ed a lot.  Especially when I talk to one of the Cantos.  Apparently my district thinks that I’m not allowed to talk to any sister, whatsoever.  My companion just leaned over and said, “yes, that is true.”  I disagree.  Anyway, san shi san is a good laugh and always a good time.  And just to assure everyone, no I am not flirting with any of the Sisters.
This week we had devotionals from different general authorities of the church.  On Sunday, Stephen B. Allen spoke and he showed us a ton of the old Mormon ads from the 70s and 80s and maybe the 90s.  They were super cheesy and super funny but they all had a good message.  Yesterday, Bishop Waddell from the Presiding Bishopric spoke.  He focused a lot on what our missions should mean to each of us. He said our purpose was to go out and baptize, to invite people to come unto Jesus Christ, but he also said our success is not defined by how many people we baptize.  Instead our success is defined by our personal effort in going out and doing our best to invite people to Christ.  Another powerful thing he said was that there was a difference between “going on” a mission and “serving” a mission.  People who just “go on” missions go through the motions and do everything a missionary does, but doesn’t do it to serve others.  People who “serve” missions do it because they turn outward and want to serve the people.  I hope that I can learn to love the Taiwanese people and have an incredible desire to help them come unto Christ and learn about the Gospel.  I know that if I can learn to love them the way that Christ and Heavenly Father loves them, then I can be the missionary Heavenly Father wants me to be.
Peace out!  Love you all!
-Wu Zhang Lao (Elder Councill)