Thursday, July 11, 2013
So I’ve survived my first full week at the MTC and it has been CRAZY. The first few days were really tough. I was homesick (it’s hard when you know that Jeremy and Nerd are literally just a few streets away), I didn’t feel like talking to anyone, didn’t eat much, etc. I seriously hated EVERYTHING about the MTC. I hated the schedule, hated how Mormon everyone was, the cafeteria food and lack of vegetarian options, just EVERYTHING. Not trying to be depressing, but I spent the first couple nights crying myself to sleep. But things have been picking up and I’m adjusting to the new missionary schedule pretty quickly. We have 14-16 hour days and we’re supposed to be asleep by 10:30 pm since we need to get up by 6:30 am the latest. I’m usually up by 6 am to shower and get ready though because you need to wait in line for showers/bathrooms….we are lucky though. We’re apparently in one of the newest residence halls (which are exactly like dorms) and there are 5 of us in a room. All 5 of us sisters are going to the Temple Square Mission. Oh yeah, here’s the craziest thing. MY COUSIN is in in the SAME ROOM as me! As some of you may know, we reported to the same mission on the same day and we were wondering when we were gonna see each other. Now, we share a bunk bed! How crazy is that?! Anyways, my companion (Sister Sherratt) is from Southern California, too (Diamond Bar)! We get along really well and we’re really similar. Oh yeah, I’m like the oldest person in the group of missionaries…..but I’m sure once I get out to Salt Lake, I will meet sisters that are closer to me in age. But honestly, I don’t feel the age difference when we’re together. Probably because I don’t act like I’m 22.
The branch president of our zone assigned Sis. Sherratt and I to be the sister training leaders for this last week. That means that we are essentially in charge of all of the sisters in our zone, which is made up of 4 districts and there are a total of 17 sisters, including Sis. Sherratt and I. The elders that we came in with last week are all going to Colorado Springs. Yesterday, the 2 new districts came in and GUESS WHERE THEY’RE GOING?!? IRVINE, CALIFORNIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was SO EXCITED to hear that obviously because I’m from Irvine! None of the sisters I’m training are going to Irvine but there are 6 elders in my zone that will be going to Irvine, so keep an eye out for them! All of the sisters that came in yesterday will be going to Scottsdale, Arizona, which is actually Jeremy’s hometown…..weird, huh!? Anyways, I’m so excited that they’re here and I hope that the Temple Square sisters can set good examples for them. Lately, Sis. Sherratt and I have been pretty stressed and overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities that have been given to us and there is a bit of conflict among some of the companionships with the sisters. We were assigned to be training leaders for the sisters the night we got to the MTC and we both thought the branch president randomly assigned us. But I know for a fact now, that it was not randomly assigned. It was definitely inspired. I’m not trying to brag but Sis. Sherratt and I have the most stable companionship among the sisters and have the least amount of conflicts with one another, and the zone leaders (who are elders) that were called are the BEST. So, I know that our branch president assigned us for a reason.
YAY!! I JUST FOUND OUT we have 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes to write emails!
So, continuing on. I’m flipping through my journal so I can remember what to tell you guys about! Seriously, even though I’ve only been here for a week, I feel like I’ve been here for months. It’s crazy, it’s like the real world outside these gates don’t even exist to me anymore. We are literally going for 14-16 hours straight with no breaks all day so we really don’t have time to think about anything but missionary work. But, they let us celebrate the 4th of July! They let us stay up past our bedtimes (but still had to be up by 6:30 am latest the next morning) and we got to watch fireworks that were set off in the BYU football stadium! We didn’t get to go outside of the gates, but that was a nice little mental break. We also got to watch a church movie called “17 Miracles,” which is AMAZING. It’s about all the different hardships that the Saints went through while crossing over to Salt Lake. That movie really hit home for me because I realized my sacrifice of 18 months is NOTHING compared to what the Saints went through.
At the beginning of this first week, our teachers challenged us to really get to know and love our companion. Having a stable companionship is SO important because the Spirit cannot be with you two if you’re constantly fighting or in disagreement with one another (people here at the MTC like to call it “the spirit of contention…”) Sis. Sherratt and I are doing just fine together, but I feel like I wasn’t a very good companion in the beginning. She was really really homesick and although I was homesick too, hers was a different kind of homesick (not quite sure how to describe it) and sometimes I felt really impatient with her (I know, I’m so horrible!) because I thought “Well geez, you’re not the only one who’s struggling.” But as we discussed this challenge together, we could feel that we were getting a lot closer. We get along great and we support each other constantly. So long story short, love your companion because she will be the BEST tool to help you become a better missionary.
Sunday was Fast Sunday and the first day that I thought went by quickly. Probably because we didn’t have 6 hours of class (3 hours straight, twice a day). But we had a ton of meetings (now I know how Dad feels…), especially because Sis. Sherratt and I are the new sister training leaders. Later that night, we watched a movie on Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel, which was AMAZING. I really have such a strong testimony about Joseph Smith and I truly know that he was a prophet called of God. This movie was another good reminder to me that my sacrifice is once again, NOTHING, compared to what Brother Joseph went through. Watching that movie made me feel so happy, grateful and proud to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We’ve been practicing how to teach lessons with our teacher, Brother Terry. He pretends to be an investigator named Aaron and although this is just a role play, IT FEELS SO REAL. It sometimes messes with my mind again but these role plays prepare us for when we need to teach real investigators. Sis. Sherratt and I have taught him a little bit about Joseph Smith, the restoration of the gospel, and the plan of salvation and yesterday we got him to commit to come to church on Sunday AND be baptized once he realizes this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ! After these role plays, Bro. Terry will give us feedback on how we did and every time we taught him, he never had much to say. Sis. Sherratt and I were really worried that we were doing some so wrong that he didn’t know how to help us. But when we expressed this concern of ours, he was so taken aback and was like, “No! You sisters are doing everything right, that’s why I don’t know what to tell you!” So that was really relieving to hear. But Sis. Sherratt and I both know that it’s not us that’s communicating to Aaron/Bro. Terry. It’s the Spirit and He is guiding us throughout the lessons and telling us what we should tell Aaron. Once again, having that strong companionship really helps.
We also had the opportunity to teach a “real” investigator. These people volunteer at the MTC and they role play with us, but it feels SO real. I was SO NERVOUS before going into our first appointment (they call them TRC appointments) but our first appointment with “Sarah” went well. Unfortunately, we need to cancel all the TRC (except for one more on Saturday, I think…) appointments because of the new districts that came in – Sis. Sherratt and I aren’t done training them.
Anyways, I’m running out of time, so I just want to leave you guys with a couple things that really kept me going this week. The first is Revelation 3:8, which essentially said that God knows how hard we are working, but that He will help us. Second was a definition of “missionary” that I saw hanging in the health office. Missionary: Someone who leaves their family for a short time so that others may be with their families for eternity. I love and miss you all so much, but I’m doing well! Thank you for all the Dear Elder letters, I LOVE getting them at the end of the night. My district gets really jealous because I get the most mail every day….I got 7 letters one day..YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST.
Love, Sister Ying
我們這裡的分會會長上個禮拜召喚我跟雪瑞特姊妹擔任我們地帶的姊妹訓練領袖。基本上，我跟雪瑞特姊妹一起負責監督我們地帶的所有姊妹們，那就是我們分會會長分配給我們的任務。我們的地帶包括4個地區，然後這4個地區總共有17個姊妹（包含著我和雪瑞特姊妹）。那些跟我們在同一天進去MTC的長老們都要去克羅拉多泉服務。昨天兩個新的地區來，猜猜他們要去哪裡?!?! 加州，爾灣!!!!!!!!! 因為我是從爾灣來的，所以我當然好高興聽到他們要去那裡！我所訓練的姊妹都不會去爾灣，可是我的地帶有6個長老要去爾灣，所以為他們留意！昨天來的全部姊妹都要去阿利桑那州，史考特斯德（忠航的家鄉）。太巧了！反正，我很開心她們來了，我希望我們聖殿廣場的姊妹可以為她們做很好的榜樣。最近我跟雪瑞特姊妹受到的責任使我們兩個一起感到很多壓力。而且，我們地帶裡面的幾個同伴團有衝突。我們在MTC的第一天晚上被召喚擔任訓練領袖。當天晚上我們兩個覺得我們的分會會長隨便分配這個任務給我們，可是我現在確實知道這個召喚並不是隨便給我們的。我們的分會會長做這個決定的時候真的受到靈感。我的意思不是要吹牛，可是我跟雪瑞特姊妹的關係非常好。我們兩個是我們地帶姊妹最穩定的同伴團。我們真的有最少的衝突和其他的問題。然後，我們的地帶領袖（他們是長老們）非常棒！我們真的知道我們的分會會長故意得選擇我們，而我們受到這些召喚一定有很深的原因。
我剛發現到我們其實有60分鐘寫電郵。我本來覺得我們只有30分鐘。我現在很開心！反正，我要繼續描述我MTC的經驗。我正在一邊看我的日記一邊寫這個電郵，這樣子我希望我可以記得我要跟你們分享的事情。我知道我在這邊一個禮拜而已，可是我真的感覺好像我在這裡好幾個月。真的很奇怪！對我來說，就是好像在MTC外面的真正生活不存在。我們真的每天工作14到16個小時，並沒有休息的時間，那麼我們除了傳教的工作以外，真的沒有時間想其他的事情。不過，MTC的領袖們准許我們慶祝4th of July（美國國慶節）！他們也允許我們在那一天晚上熬夜（可是我們隔天早上6:30還得起床），那麼我們當天晚上去外面看BYU（楊百翰大學）體育場所放的焰火。我們雖然不能離開MTC的界限，但是那一天晚上還是一個很好的夜晚和休息的時間。當天晚上我們也有看一部很好的教會電影，叫做“十七個奇蹟。” 這部非常好！這部電影的情節就是關於我們教會的先驅者和他們所遇到的困難。看這部真的讓我內心引起共鳴。看完以後，我發覺到我犧牲的18個月完全不如我們教會的先驅者的犧牲。 在這裡第一個禮拜的最初幾天我們的老師們叫我們好好認識我們的同伴和愛他們。為了感覺到聖靈的影響，你和你的同伴必須有一個穩定的關係。一個穩定的同伴團非常重要。你絕對不要跟你的同伴一直吵架，要不然，聖靈不能跟我們同在。我跟雪瑞特姊妹的關係好極了，可是剛開始跟她在一起的時候我覺得我不是一個很好的同伴。那個時候，她非常想家，我也很想家，可是她的思鄉跟我的不一樣（我不太知道如何解釋為甚麼）。然後，我有時候對她沒有很多耐心（我知道，這樣子很不禮貌！），就是因為我是這樣想，“妳並不是其中的一個很想家的人，我們都非常想家。” 不過，只要我們一起討論這個問題，我們就感覺到我們的關係變好了。我們真的相處得非常好，而我們不斷的互相支持對方。長話短說，一定要愛你的同伴 因為她真的是最好的工具來幫助你成為一個更好的傳教士。
我們最近跟我們的老師（泰瑞弟兄）練習教導慕道友。我們練習教導的時候，他假裝他是一個慕道友叫亞倫。雖然他不是一個真正的慕道友，而我們教他的時候就是一個練習而已，但是真的感覺到好像是真正的。有時候我會忘記這個亞倫真的是我的老師。我知道這些練習的機會一定會幫助我們準備好教導真正的慕道友。我跟雪瑞特姊妹已經教導他關於約瑟斯密，福音的復興，和神的救恩計畫。而且， 我們昨天幫助他承諾在禮拜天參加教會聚會。我們也幫助他承諾當他知道這個福音是耶穌基督真實的福音的時候接受洗禮！我們教完他以後，他會評估我們，不過每一次他沒有說很多話。我和雪瑞特姊妹本來覺得因為我們教得很爛，所以他不知道如何幫助我們進步。後來，我們跟他談論這個問題，然後他很驚訝得說，“No! 你們兩個姊妹太棒了，我不用評估你們，那就是為甚麼我不知道我該跟你們說什麼話了！” 聽他說這句話真的讓我放心。不過，我跟雪瑞特姊妹一起知道不是我們兩個說的話使亞倫（泰瑞弟兄）感覺到我們訊息的真實性，而是聖靈。我們教導福音的時候真的一直有聖靈在引領我們。我知道聖靈在告訴我們跟亞倫應該說的話。再說，穩定和堅強的同伴團非常重要。