Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jul 22, 2013

So this past week has had so many different things happen. I have some pictures that I will send along as well. But literally it all started with Monday night, of course happening after I had done emails for that day and that my P-day had ended.

First up on the list is that we literally found out about 5 minutes before on Monday night that we were doing a Skype TRC that night during class. So Elder Turner and I had to quickly get a lesson together. It was quite funny though when we were sitting in the classroom and a TRC worker came and told us we were skyping that we were all flipping out with excitement and nervousness. So we ended up all kneeling down and said a prayer together. Then we went to the computer lab. Elder Turner and I skype taught a recent member in Taibei. It was funny also because we weren't expecting this for Monday night since we had taught at TRC the previous Saturday. But This last Saturday we didn't have TRC and they informed us that we are teaching again tonight over Skype. So Elder Turner and I are preparing a lesson centered on prayer and receiving blessings and answers through prayers. Also will be a 40 minute lesson. We feel better with this lesson though and feel that we will be really prepared for it. It's so much fun though and exhilarating to skype teach someone who there native language is Chinese and they probably hardly know any English.

But so that happened Monday night. Later that night I was talking with one of the Elder's in our branch who was leaving the next day. Elder Turner and I had gone to talk with him and look at some of his pictures because his family breeds snakes (lots of ball pythons and tree pythons). Then I saw some pictures of some cars that he had (his family members nice muscle cars) and then also a lambo that he said he drove. He told me that you pay $400 or $500 at this place in Nevada (he told me to just look up online Exotic Racing) and you can drive for like 7 or 8 laps these really nice cars. So you know what I want to do when I get home :)

Then on Tuesday for some reason that I still don't know why I got my new name badge. You'll see a picture of it when I send it. This is my name badge I will wear while in Taiwan. But yeah everyone else in my generation got their name badges on Friday. But they are way cool. Not one little bit of English on them. All in Chinese characters.

One of the things I have enjoyed more over the past week or so is that Brother Nightingale has been teaching more cultural and day to day language to us to help us be better prepared for the initial transition to Taiwan. I have a part out of my Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar book I want to share (and you could too read it since I have this book at home as well if you want to learn more about what I am getting myself into over in Taiwan) but so it says:
Expressing gratitude and responding to expressions of gratitude
In Chinese culture, you thank others for actions that benefit you or show you respect. Such actions include doing something for you, taking the time to visit or write you, or helping you in some way.In Chinese culture, you do not thank others for compliments or invitations. (So pretty much when I come home my gratitude will be destroyed and completely different)
In Chinese, it is considered presumptuous or rude to accept compliments, praise, and expressions of gratitude. Chinese does not have an expression equivalent to 'you're welcome' in English.
Invitations, requests, and refusals
In Chinese culture, people are connected through a web of obligations and mutual social debt ofter referred to as guan1xi (yes I purposefully put the numbers in for tones because the computers here cannot do any Chinese typing), 'relationships' or 'connections.'
The social debt is created by invitations, favors, and requests, big and small, that have been offered and accepted by others. They include buying small items for someone such as coffee, soft drinks, or ice cream, helping someone complete a task, inviting someone to dinner, or facilitating and introduction. By accepting an invitation or favor, or by making or agreeing to a request, you enter into a relationship that obliges you to reciprocate at some time in the future.
In many Western cultures, the relationship between favors and social obligations is not so strong. One may accept favors without creating any obligation towards the giver. English has an expression that captures this: 'no strings attached.' The expression means that a gift or favor comes with no obligations to the recipient. In Chinese, where relationships are built on give and take, favors often come with the expectation of reciprocation. A Chinese friend may be more generous with you than a Western friend, but will expect more from you in return.
Invitations between friends are accepted or rejected without ceremony. However, in more formal circumstances, it is often not considered polite to accept an invitation at its first offer. Typically, people refuse an invitation once or twice before accepting, even if they intend to accept all along. In the same way, the one who gives an invitation does not give up after an initial refusal, but offers a second or a third time before being certain that the refusal in genuine. This cycle of refusal and re-invitation is a social ritual in which you are expected to participate.
Expressing apologies, regrets, sympathy, and bad news
Cultures differ in the kinds of things that people are expected to apologize for. Note that in Chinese culture, you are not expected to apologize for or otherwise acknowledge bodily functions such as coughs, sneezes, belches, flatulence, etc.
So just some things about the Chinese culture. Crazy, right? I'm sure I will have more to say as time goes on.

So for scriptures I want to share is one that pertains to the difference between directed and inspired.
First is D&C 11:13 which pertains to being inspired. It says:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;"
Then what I wrote next to this verse is: Acting in righteousness and wisdom, the Lord will open my mind and will help in making choices. I should not feel any hesitation, sorrow, or uncertainty, but be completely full of happiness, delight, pleasure, cheerfulness, and gladness.
Next to many scriptures on direction or inspiration by the Spirit, I have written things like this pertaining to my mission since I have felt directed by my patriarchal blessing to study into it more. Its helped to teach me more of how to act more slowly, thoughtfully, and deliberately to heed and listen to the Spirit as well, especially in my future when I come to that stage of life pondering whether or not a girl is my eternal companion.

Next is a combination of Mosiah 4:27 and Isaiah 40:31
They have become strengths for me in that knowing everything has an order and right way in which it should be done. I must not act irrational or jump over things that I can learn. Or as it says run raster than I have strength. But to simply walk the path the Lord has set before me, little by little, line upon line. And as I do this, even if it feels I can be somewhere else already, I must do what is front of me and follow the little spiritual packets of light left for me to seek after that will lead me to my prize, which will be even greater a prize than if I had tried running past, bypassing, or skipping over the slow and methodical and diligent path the Lord has left for me to follow. The greatest part though of all is that even if I feel like it is so hard to just walk the path set in front of me, to align my will with the Lord's will, is that I am promised that I will receive strength, that I will mount up as eagles, that I will run and not be weary, walk and not faint. That is the greatest blessing of all. That as I walk the harder path that may seem to me not what I need or want right now, but is the Lord's will and path, that he will be there every step of the way to help me succeed and win the prize that both I and the Lord want for me. (and also yes my first scriptures were never found)

So talk wise I have printed off this week Elder Scott's talk "Trust in the Lord" in 1995
Just some parts from it that I really liked and that have helped me.
"When trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."
"Ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do."
"To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it."
"Your willingness to accept the will of the Father will not change what in His wisdom He has chosen to do. However, it will certainly change the effect of those decisions on you personally. That evidence of the proper exercise of agency allows His decisions to produce far greater blessings in your life."
I like the last most of all, because the Lord already knows what He will do for us and will be the greatest benefit to our lives. However, when we come to recognize His will, align ours with His, and say "Thy will be done" our blessings we receive are so much more exponentially because we understand what everything the Lord has and is doing for us.

So the biggest moment of all is my travel itinerary!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally going to Taiwan. So I have three different flights. Then we have a 3 hour bus ride to Taizhong. That will be fun. So there are total of 28 of us all going to Taiwan Taizhong. The weirdest thing that's happened is 26 of the missionaries are going through San Francisco to Tokyo to Taiwan. Then 2 are going through Seattle to Tokyo to Taiwan. You already know which one I am on. But can you guess who is going with me? A sister in one of the other districts, Sister Eryn Wilkins, is flying with me to Seattle instead. We will meet up with the rest of the group in Tokyo and fly together to Taiwan. But we leave SLC later than everyone else. Their flight to San Fran is at 7:30 in the morning. We don't leave until 11:15. We think it happened this way because Sister Wilkins must have been at the end of the alphabet and I was added to the end of the list since my call was reinstated in May. So a Sister and Elder traveling together for 18 hours or so.... The joke has been that its an 18 hour first date. yeah.... :) its ok though because I have talked with Sister Wilkins a little bit because I don't really know her a whole lot with her being in a different district and branch. But it will be good to get to know her more and we both are pretty much going to be studying or maybe talking to other people. I am just sad that I am not flying with everyone else on the big flight over the Pacific.

So that is pretty much what my week has been. Very hectic and very crazy but also feeling slow at some points because we are all excited to get to Taiwan. Some personal goals I have set for myself this week to keep focused are: 1. Memorize Mosiah 4:27 in Chinese 2. Use 5 different grammar principles in lessons (these being ones that have been taught but that I have forgotten or don't really use much at all) 3. Know words and phrases for 3 Missionary tasks out of the small TALL book and strive to apply them throughout the day.

I strive to keep busy and I strive to do what's right. It's interesting that I really don't have any worries, fears, or anxieties about going to Taiwan, being a missionary, serving a mission. I have a lot of trust and faith in the Lord in this aspect.

Love ya!
Elder Roo

So custodial did a sneak attack on us and inspected our room this morning for P-day. Of course, we weren't going to have anything cleaned up when we were just going to be back in there later today. Also the custodial people are very particular in they never give a commendable or best score. Also notice the "no Hotwheels cars". This is the first time a custodial person has written this. My cars have been sitting on my desk ever since I have been here. Good thing I am leaving next week. They are my little piece of home.

My MTC badge next to my mission field badge. Pretty killer huh?

Elder Heaton and I with Brother Averett, the second counselor in our Branch Presidency. He is the nicest man ever. He has such the cutest mannerisms and is so kind.

This is me with Sister Sarah Moore (the one on the left). I knew her from college. She is studying bioengineering and we were both Merrill Engineering Scholars (a group of 20 or so) that went and toured the different research labs. I see her a lot actually and have been talking with her. Its been nice seeing her.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jul 15, 2013

Sounds like a pretty crazy time in NY. And that is totally not fair getting filet mignon. And I can't believe how crazy expensive you said it was! Yeah, I also know that Topher comes from Christopher. Christian Peper would sometimes call me that when we were younger. But so plays, New York, the whole big lifestyle stuff like that try to confuse people, make them unsure about what is important and what isn't. The Gospel helps to direct lives, that's why it's important sharing the Gospel. You can share it sometimes. But tell me more about other things you are learning. What new insights have you had from studying. Maybe from classes. Here at the MTC and hearing from all the other missionaries, I already know how much important the Gospel is. I studied a lot on being directed and inspired by the Spirit. 

I am trying hard to learn Chinese. It is not an easy language. It takes time though and in no way can I do it on my own. That's where part of my prayers each day go towards being able to remember the language, what I have studied, and be able to understand what I hear so I can better help and serve those around me in coming unto Christ. But things have been feeling better now. We are all working together and it makes me feel good being surrounded by everyone else.

So cool experiences from this past week was first in TRC Elder Turner and I taught a 13 year old boy. It was way fun and I really enjoyed it. He is from Taiwan. His parents are in Taibei right now. But he is here with his older sister and brother (the brother is in high school, the sister is the oldest). It was funny though because at the beginning we were talking and he said in Chinese that if you need to you can speak in English. But I told him back in Chinese that we really want to speak in Chinese and want to practice teaching in Chinese. So he said that if we are struggling with a word he can help us in knowing what the word is. So we taught about the plan of salvation and focused a lot on the Atonement. We invited him to study more about the Atonement and praying about it. He said he would. It was a good experience.

So each Sunday night we can watch a video, some being Church videos and some being previous talks at the MTC. They showed last night the Testaments in Chinese. So our whole district wanted to go see it. And just about every other Chinese missionary! It was insane. So about the size of the TV room to the island in the kitchen was the size of room we had to watch it on a 32 in tv. Guess how many missionaries we had packed in there?!? I estimated about 75 of us were in there. :) that's not breaking any safety violations right? ;) It was really funny though some of the parts and how things are said and what is said. I understood a good chunk of it. Actually a lot of us were surprised at how much we understood.

So lastly, we had the opportunity cleaning the temple this morning. We went up there and went in through the dock entrance. Elder Peterson and Elder Heaton were on security. Then the rest of us went into the temple, got white scrubs (which are actually super comfy), and waited at the baptismal font area. Then they took the sisters to go work on the crystal chandelier in the sealing room and took us to clean the women's ordinance workers lockers. I only cleaned 11 lockers. But we work very thoroughly and not going fast but making good work out of it. We practiced Chinese, Elder Jenkins and Elder Ward were practicing teaching to each other. I was helping Elder Turner memorized a How to Begin Teaching point (yeah go to Preach My Gospel Chapter 10 and the How To Begin Teaching section. The 10 points there, yeah I have them all memorized in Chinese, and I have used them several times). But so we would do that cleaning down every inch of the lockers. And that's all we did for 3 and half hours. But it flew by. Afterwards, like I said, we went to go see the Brides' Room since we normally don't go to see it (all of us did, the Sisters included, except the two on security). It was all lit up and literally from walking out of the halls and into that room was such a drastic change. I literally felt something just come over me and such a peaceful, warm feeling. Marriage is such a beautiful event and when done properly and in the Lord's House creates a lasting feeling and literally has the blessings of the Lord poured out upon your marriage. It was such a great feeling being in there. I am glad I felt it and was able to witness it.

So tell Mom I am sorry I won't email her. I am kind of out of time. Sorry. But you know what's funny, she sent me President Uchtdorf's talk to me and I had already printed out that talk and another one by I believe Maxwell (talking about handling thoughts and past things coming up) that I had already read through and have marked. I was going to take a picture with them side by side, but didn't. But yeah I already had that talk printed out which was funny. The one thing that I feel about the not having immediate communication that I was referring to is that when you send me replies back to what I said it sometimes ends up being obsolete. Like last week with some of the replies. I had already grown some and studied things out and that the responses ended up not being exactly what I needed at that moment. So I have been praying that what I say in my emails can help all of you in coming unto Christ and helping you to feel the Spirit as well as what I say can best convey my thoughts and feelings so when you respond, it can best help me and be what will help me at that moment.

So that's about it.

Love ya!
Elder Roo

My roomates

Me & Elder Turner demonstrate where we'll be in about 2 weeks.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jul 8, 2013

Dear Family,

As part of the 4th celebration they let all of us watch 17 Miracles. It was a good movie. From the eyes of Levi Savage who helped as a co-captain of the Willy Handcart company. I still liked watching The Other Side of Heaven last year more though. Oh well.

But so the fireworks weren't as cool as we were hoping. I mean I have seen so many of the RSL fireworks that I already know what that is like. We were all more really excited to hear the music from the Stadium. Is that bad? We all just really wanted to hear music. But the MTC must have had their hands in it or something because we did not hear one lick of music while the fireworks went off. Then on top of all this the fireworks show just made all of us more anxious and excited to get to Taiwan because honestly no U.S. fireworks show will compare when we get Chinese New Year. Also I am so sick of the MTC food that I am getting so anxious to get to Taiwan and have all that fresh and authentic Chinese influenced (Elder Turner doesn't like me calling it Chinese food since it is Taiwan :/) food.

Yeah, I wish I could have been there in Florida doing the crazy firework stuff. I still have yet to play with roman candle :/ 

I am sure it was hard for everyone leaving the Trockels down in Florida. But hey, that's their path they are following right now and where their life is taking them. I remember very little about Florida Keys. Just basically what you've told me. I am sure that everyone had a good time and enjoyed being around family. So that is pretty funny about Sahara. I think she is spoiled. Also Allaina and Kyle need to tell me about being at Sea World. Did they go on Manta? I freaking love Manta and wish so badly to go on it again. Did they love the loop going head down first and having the gravity slamming into from so many different directions. Also did they ride on the very back car, which obviously is the best place to ride because when you get to the drops or loops you are already going so fast?

Dad, you needed the break in Florida though. You were wiped out. Don't do that to yourself. It's not good and not healthy. I know you will get your papers and research project done though. You always do. That's what's great about you. You are always very dependable and can be trusted. Also Elder Turner thinks that is awesome that you are working on a research paper/project for 3 months. Elder Turner is the best and always there is more to learn about him each day. I love him and am so thankful to have him.

Yes, I have been in touch with many of my missionary friends: Christian, Cody and many of the ones in Taiwan or Australia. Just emailed Jaren today. Not Pat though. He kind of doesn't really email anyone.

Well if things go according to plan I should get travel information in a week and a half. The thing that is making our whole district nervous though is that Sister Mancilla's blood samples were twice lost and finally on the third one they got it sent off and everything. But unlike everyone else in our district, she has still yet to sign the Visa forms since they haven't heard back on the blood sample stuff yet. We, as a district, have been trying to proactive on getting that done. But what makes us nervous is that we don't remember if we heard right that if one missionary in a district doesn't get the Visa stuff done then the whole district could be delayed. I don't know. Maybe cuz they keep the district Visa papers together. I don't know though. I hope not. I really hope that I won't have to get sent to some state side mission while waiting and missing valuable time to learn and grow in the language in Taiwan.

I think I will be able to see the Sky magazine because we should be leaving for Taiwan on Tuesday, July 30, in the morning. So I will probably be seeing the article on David Beckham. But I try to not leave any reserve in my tank. I think its happening, or why else am I so tired every single hour of the day. If you think you are tired, you haven't been in a missionaries shoes. And I am only at the MTC right now. But I study so much, prepare so much, and still turn to the Lord every minute asking for help with remembering, teaching with the Spirit, and asking to bless those we serve and teach.

Yes, that is also true about it being one year now. But that's all in the past. I had to step out of class during the last half hour and ended up talking with Elder Turner, my companion, for the remaining time. It was nice to just have him listen so I could just talk things out. We then went back to the classroom and everyone had already gone to dinner, but Ge Laoshi or Brother Nightingale, our teacher, was still there so I talked with him for a little bit and just asked him how you handle bad memories or feelings that come back up. He told me that a friend told him about how the scripture talks about when you repent sincerely, the Lord remembers your sins no more. Brother Nightingale told me about how he always thought that this meant you, youself, wouldn't remember anything then. But that over the years especially after his friend told him this, that you do remember things from your past and emotions and feelings and thoughts. The key is being able to remember things like mistakes or sins so that you learn from them and become a better person, but at the same time not remembering too much so that you aren't consumed and harrowed up by bad memories, feelings, and emotions. But at the same time the sad thing as being mortal is that we sometimes forget that which we wish to remember and that we remember too much that which we wish to forget. I love Brother Nightingale. He said that he actually wants to study more into this and will have some more things to maybe share with me on Tuesday. It's kind of funny and amazing how as a missionary you come to just love everyone.

So yeah I already read President Monson's message about Pioneers. One step ahead of you. Ha! But yeah it was good. I ended up reading the pioneer story about Austin Hammer last night at Haun's Mill. I never fully realized how much of Dad's side of the family dates back to being members right at the start of the Church. It's amazing.

A mormon message from LDS.org you should watch and share is called "Extraordinary Gifts". There is a quote at the beginning by President Eyring that is beautiful. It says "Every person is different and has a different contribution to make. No one is destined to fail". But the video is truly astounding and extraordinary, and a chance to listen to some good music. It's about a boy name Kuha'o from Hawaii. I'll leave it at that.

So interesting you talk about the Sacrament. At TRC, Elder Turner and I taught about receiving revelation through church attendance. It was a blessing to study more about the Sabbath day and how to receive revelation. But so this last time we still taught two 20 minute lessons. This next week we will have just one 40 minute lesson to teach at TRC. But what made this TRC experience definitely unique and stand out was that (so there are 6 companionships in my district, so we have 6 rooms with volunteers lined up normally just one person per room, but sometimes 2) we were teaching our first lesson to a member. His name was Tian Dixiong and that he served a Mandarin speaking mission in Sydney, Australia. But so we started teaching about church attendance and revelation, and then about 5 or so minutes into our lesson a TRC worker person came in and had another volunteer sit down in our lesson. We then slowly learned with help from the member as well that this girl was from Shanghai and was not a member. She didn't know if God was true and also if this church was true. But so we continued teaching according to lesson plan, and the member definitely helped so much with talking with the girl and answering questions. Elder Turner and I though bore our testimonies and taught a little more. We invited the member to come to church the next day with a question in his heart. We also invited the investigator to read the BoM, but she said no. Didn't really understand her reasoning though. It just made wish so much more to understand the language so I can be able to listen to my investigators to discern what their needs are and what their questions are. I know though that I will always have a prayer in my heart to have the Gift of Tongues because there is no way on my own I will be able to teach without the Spirit. I don't want to miss a single soul when I get to Taiwan. That's always my goal is being able to understand my investigators and helping their needs. But so in TRC we found out after teaching, and then talking with the others in our district, that there had been I believe 4 investigators that had volunteered that day and that we taught. That means they weren't members. 4 actuall volunteers! Just makes me a little nervous for being in Taiwan the first while.

I guess now that I have answered some of your questions, time to turn around. So first I haven't really heard anything from anyone on how to best really work on patience and trust. Waiting on the Lord and waiting for His timing. This really is something that is so weak in me and I want to make a strength. So please I am reaching out and asking for help and advice. Also did you watch first the "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father" Mormon Message (not I'm A Mormon, this one is one LDS.org)? Did you watch the I'm A Mormon messages I told you about. There is three (side note and funny thing is that Chinese people don't say I am a mormon, which would be "Wo3 shi4 yi1 ge Mo3'er2men3". Instead they say I am a Latter-Day Saint which to them equals saying I am a Mormon. So "Wo3 shi4 Hou4qi2 Sheng4tu1".). There is Mao Kaiping who lives in Taiwan and is a tourguide for people who come from China to Taiwan. Then there is Jiying who writes reviews for restaruants in Taibei. Then there is one other who's name is slipping me right now but she does surfing and lives in the U.S. Just looked up her name, its Monica. So you should watch those.

Also you should send a binder with some piano music. but music I actually play. So like the 6 page song of the Lonely Mountain (not the shorter one) from the Hobbit score. Maybe a few others from there. And also from the Lord of the Rings books. and anything else you have heard me play or think I might like. I probably won't get time to play those here though, but I want some of my music I like for when I am in the field and maybe get a chance to play. By the way, I am playing the piano for priesthood this Sunday.

I guess that is pretty much all. Oh I also just remembered that Dài with a dropping tone (that's what the à is) is my Chinese name. But this dai means like to put something on or other. So really doesn't have any meaning which sometimes lots of Chinese names don't have meanings. But when we taught the member at TRC and we told him our names, he said something back about Dai that meant Kangaroo. So I looked it up in the dictionary and Dàishǔ (so dropping then a dropping rising tone) means kangaroo. The dai is a different character from my dai character, but said exactly the same. I really want to be able to change my character to that character which actually means sack or pouch. But hey names don't really actually carry the meanings that are behind the characters. So I think I might talk to Ge Laoshi and see if it's possible.

I think the two things I miss most (of course besides also family and friends) is driving and listening to music. It's difficult. But yeah......

Elder Roo

So here are a few recent photos of me with my District 25L and my MTC roommates. I found Elder Soule, who entered the MTC a few weeks ago. He's in my branch.
District 25L
My MTC roommate companions
Elder Soule and Elder Dayley

Friday, July 5, 2013

Jul 1, 2013

Dear Family,

I am feeling much better. Last Monday I was pretty much wiped out. Except for getting up to do emails and to do laundry, I pretty much just slept the rest of the day. Since the Sunday lunch to Tuesday morning breakfast all I had was pretty much a banana. My stomach was all over the place and not wanting to cooperate at all. Finally by Thursday I was back to full strength again and being able to eat an actual full meal. Definitely having a prayer of faith in my heart that Heavenly Father would help me return to full strength helped.

The week wasn't too bad. It's the same old, same old. We got the new missionaries in. Not a whole lot of chance to really bond with them or anything. We say hello and see them around here and there. But at the sushe they are all on the first floor where as all my generation are together in a group on the second floor. There classrooms are right next to ours though. Two new districts in our branch. So about 20 or so new missionaries. None to Taichung though. I believe the new Taichung missionaries will come in in about 2 weeks. And also Elder Soule is in my branch. His classroom just down two from mine. I stopped in and said hi and such. We'll probably get a pic some time before I leave. He is also a district leader now. Did I also mention that I am not district leader anymore? Yeah Elder Ward is the new district leader. Although this week for the first time I was senior companion with Elder Turner, so I met with Elder Ward to interview for our companionship. He mentioned to me that it just felt weird interviewing me because he felt like that I am still the big man and that I already know everything so I should be in charge. But he's done a good job taking over and handling leading our district.

Yes I very, very much enjoyed the box. I love adding the collection of my stuff I get. Everyone loves having the huge Taiwan flag hanging in our class now. Also when I first opened the box I was seriously confused at why there were target sheets in there. I thought you were maybe sending them to try and reminisce with me about the day when we all shot the bb pistol. Then I dug deeper and saw the dart guns. Oh my goodness!! I was not expecting that. But they have been fun. Of course I am smart and keep it in the bounds of just our room. And yes, fei chang yes, I extremely enjoyed the cake. That Friday night I downed the cake in about 3 minutes. It was so good. And that will be insane when you send the huge cake. We will probably eat it in class and watch mormon messages. We watch a lot of those....but they are really good. If you want to watch something cool and funny and see what we as a district work on to help with listening to Chinese, go to mormon.org, then I'm a Mormon and watch the videos there. There is a chinese guy who is a tourguide in Taiwan. I think his name is Kiping. There is also two girls. One lives in Taibei and tastes different foods writing reviews. Another is in Cali. But all speak Chinese. So we listen to them, very often repeating parts, trying to understand what they say. I can sometimes get like half of the words they say. They speak very fast too.

TRC was amazing this last Saturday. We didn't have it the Saturday before because there weren't enough volunteers. On Friday we thought we weren't going to have it again. But we actually did. So within the three hour block of class in the morning, Elder Turner and I taught Chen Dixiong  briefly about the plan of salvation and overview (which he was really excited about and is looking forward to our next meeting. He is preparing by studying 2 Nephi 31 with his family, which talks all about the Gospel, or the Way, in which you achieve the plan of salvation, or return to Heavenly Father and be with your families together forever.), then we taught two volunteers 20 minutes each about receiving answers to prayers and how they help our lives. Yes I am able to teach the gospel principles ok and I understand a fair amount of what our progressing investigator says and what the volunteers say. We taught in TRC two friends, separately, one served in New York and the other served in Taichung (which we thought was way cool). But it was really fun getting to know them and then talking about prayer. I asked Vince (the one who served in Taichung) what he felt when he prayed. And he responded back that it was good and such. But both were really good teaching appointments. Our laoshi told us though that they are looking to go away from TRC and start having the missionaries instead Skype teach with recent/new converts from Taiwan. How sick would that be!?! That would be so awesome. Also based on the broadcast I hope they really soon quickly update the Taiwan mission to incorporate more technology. I hope we will get to use smart phones and tablets. It would make the work progress so much faster and be a more effective and useful way to find people rather than knocking on door to door. Also we as missionaries for Taichung are wondering if they will reopen the Gaoshung (not sure how it is spelled) within the next year. The Taichung mission when we get there will be up to close to 230 missionaries.

So for 4th of July we will get a special celebration. We will have a devotional of sorts on Thursday night and then we will get to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks from the campus. So not completely ignoring the holiday. So it will be special and cool.

I can see photos I believe when you send them in emails. The sad part though is that here at the MTC I will need to borrow an SD card reader to send photos because I just tested and the compurters (since they are so locked down here at the MTC) do not recognize the camera when plugged in since it is not a local file. Oh well :/ 

So now more from my week. There have been several really spiritual moments. We will start with the earlier ones. So we taught Chen Dixiong earlier this week specifically about prayer. From the previous week we had followed up with him asking if he had personally prayed. He said that he had prayed with his family, but told us he hadn't prayed personally. He gave us some small little reason behind why he hadn't, and I think I understood what he had said. So this last week we prepared mainly a lesson around the importance of personal prayer. We compared to how he as a father likes to hear about his children and their days to how Heavenly Father wants to hear about our days individually. We shared our testimonies with him and how personal prayer has blessed our lives. We invited him again to pray personally and he said he would try. I asked him though why he was unsure about praying personally, and he told us that because there are so many people in the world and that God wants to help all his children that he feels right now that he doesn't have any big questions or problems. So he doesn't want to bother God and rather have Him help more those who have bigger problems. He also was talking about how he wants to be able to learn and grow on his own, so I think he feels that he doesn't want Heavenly Father to help him or else he won't learn as well. We talked with him more about how you don't have to always ask God for things, but rather just tell Him about your day and what you are thankful for in your life. We bore testimony to him again about how important and helpful personal prayer is, and he said he would try. We've done what we have as missionaries and invited him, so we will follow up with him. I am thankful he is praying with his family though.

Next for the week, Elder Turner and I were blessed to be able to say the sacrament prayers this week in church. He said the bread and I said the water (of course being in Chinese). I was a little nervous earlier in the week. But it went away and I was so happy I got to do it. Brother Averett (the 2nd counselor and only member of the branch presidency who speaks Chinese said I did a very good job with the prayer). It's difficult to have to make sure pronunciation is correct, tones are correct, and speaking loudly since we don't have a microphone.

Next is that all four of the Jiemei asked us Elders that they would each like to receive a blessing of comfort (help with the language and such). So I was blessed with the opportunity to bless Sister Peng. I definitely felt the Spirit and really felt it there while I blessed Sister Peng as being a missionary and help with studying the language.

So I guess just more some personal feelings and thoughts from me. First off Dad and Marty should watch the Mormon Message video "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father". I have watched it several times already this last week and it just makes me so excited to be father when that time comes. It also helps me to appreciate and understand more my relationship as a son with my Heavenly Father. Also I don't know if I need to continue to build on my patience, trust, or hope, but something needs for work and foundation building because it isn't easy sometimes during the week. There are some things I really like about the MTC, but a lot of it I don't like and I just hope and wish more and more to be out in Taiwan. I also am mainly learning the most from language stuff right now. The Gospel principle things that are taught I already know or have already been taught multiple times. It's also hard having limited communication because there are many times where I just want to talk but then I have to wait until p day so it sits on my mind, then I have to wait for a response. Its too slow sometimes. But I am thankful I have email, especially when I will be in Taiwan.

That's my week


Elder Chris Dayley

Elder Turner and I in front of
Provo Temple
My stock of Zonas

So just a few pictures here. One is Elder Turner and I in front of the temple yesterday for temple walk. Sadly now the temple is closed until after we leave. Then a picture from a couple weeks ago when I had a huge stock of Zonas. It was pretty awesome (I did give one of those to Sister Anderson because she loves Zonas as well and had never had one of the Lime Rickeys before). And then a picture of the boxes we have accumulated. A few are donated from the rest of our district or a few other Mandarin Elders. But pretty much they are all our room's, most being Elder Jenkins. We plan to make a box fort today for P-day since we now have so much extra time because we don't go to the temple. Also it was great. Elder Teerlink and Elder Oberg slept over last night since we have two extra beds. We thought that they might move two new Elders into our room this last week, but they didn't. Heck Yeah!!
Our accumulated stash of boxes

So here are a few more pics consisting of our box fort we built today since we don't have temple time anymore.

The Four Musketeers in our fort

Jun 24, 2013

Dear Family,

Well first off thank you so much for the package. I really liked getting the cars. I carry the Lotus Evora GT4 around with me everywhere. But yeah that's fine about the mixup with the ferrari's. Poor Stig. Well with an expensive, fast car like that, it makes sense that there is no stereo.

That's fine as well about the Zonas. I appreciate just getting things from home.

So about the Broadcast. It was really good. You should be able to see me. Elder Jenkins and Elder Peterson said that there was a point where you could see me. Not close up, but also not too far away. I guess my biggest things I took away from the broadcast were that first the members need to be working harder and jump onboard with the hastening to help the full time missionaries. It makes since too that the members must be more involved with missionary work because they are the key to retention of new members in the church. Us as full time missionaries are not always there for the converts and investigators, but the members are. So the investigators and converts cannot become converted to the missionaries, but rather to Christ. This is something big we are taught here. The other big thing I got was the pulling away from tracting for missionaries. It makes sense since in this world today that there is more security, more waryiness, and less likelihood to meet with strangers. I'm sure the high rises in Taiwan are pretty hard to get into if you don't live there. So that tracting doesn't work. Plus people are more nervous and wary these days to meet with complete strangers. I feel that also the Church is going to be pushing hard now over the next year of implementing techonolgy. So that can mean computers as well as tablets for missionaries. It will make for a more simpler and easier and quicker way of finding and teaching to have your area book just there on a small tablet.

I'll try to keep my eyes out for Sammy. I might see him. I don't know. There are well over 3500 missionaries at the MTC I fell. I don't know though. Just seem like so many. So Jarom might or might not be in my Branch. They split the Mandarin Branch, so I am in the new Branch 25. There is still the old 39 Branch. We will get two new districts in our Branch. If not I will still see him since all the Mandarin classes are together and also the residence hall and also basically the same schedule.

So TRC is Teaching Resource Center. Volunteers from outside the MTC come and we teach them. Most are members, some being RM's or students at BYU. Occasionally there may be a nonmember. They come for many reasons such as helping the missionaries with the language, seeking a spiritual boost for themselves by being taught by the missionaries, and so on. So it's a great time for teaching others who are not our teachers (the progressing investigators we teach are our teachers).

But so other big news and such for this last week. Ge Lao Shi (our teacher from the very first day) got married last Thursday, so he is gone for the next two weeks and we are having other teahcers substitute in until he gets back on July 6. Elder Turner and I bought little matching shoe horns (blue and pink) for him and his wife since basically the only place we can buy stuff at is the book store. They were also only 50 cents each, so we made sure to take the price tag off before we gave them to him :) We met the new mission president and his wife on Saturday night. They are very nice and he seems like he will be a really good mission president. Elder Ward is now the new district leader and I am now for the first time senion companion. The whole time I was DL Elder Turner was the senior companion. Also the MTC is the biggest cesspool for disease in the whole wide world! It's awful! Over a week ago I was sick with cold symptoms, sore throat, and such. I took medicine and by Wednesday I was better. However, in the middle of Tuesday night Elder Heaton threw up and was sick. Basically knocked out cold all of Wednesday until dinner time when he was feeling much better. Then Thursday Elder Teerlink got sick with cold symptom stuff. So he stayed back at the residence hall and rested. Then Friday night throughout the whole night Elder Peterson was throwing up. He probably threw up 6 times or so. He pretty much just slept all of Saturday and by mid afternoon was doing better. Then Saturday night Elder Oberg threw up to the extent that he was throwing up so hard that he threw up blood. Later in the night he threw up again and him and Elder Teerlink went to the hospital at 2 in the morning. They came back and said that it was GI. Then last night I threw up three times and had been sick with cold symptoms. I am feeling much better now, bout 80% or so. So now we are all wondering who will be next for tonight. :/ I really hope no one else gets it.

So some funny things my Laoshimen (teachers) told me this week. English Missionaries come to the MTC and leave understanding and knowing the Gospel. Spanish Missionaries come to the MTC and leave speaking the language. Chinese Missionaries come to the MTC and leave being humble. Then the other thing is that this past week we have memorized Joseph Smith's First Vision in Chinese. It's very important though that we pronounce things correctly and say the correct tones. For example the last line "This is my Beloved Son, Hear Him" in Chinese is "Zhe4 shi4 wo3 de Ai4zi, ting1 ta1 shuo1." Now Ai4zi is beloved son because ai4 with a dropping tone is love and zi is pulled from the word er2zi which is son. However if you say Ai3zi, whereas instead of a dropping tone its instead said with a falling rising tone, you will be saying "This is my midget, hear him"

So just a few things, especially one to clarify. I need my big Taiwan flag. It's not for my sushe room, its for our district's classroom. Our classroom is pretty pathetic and bleak. We have one little picture of Jesus and that is it. Nothing else! Of course I am not going to take that big flag with me to Taiwan. But for the time being while here at the MTC it would be nice to have to liven up our classrom a little bit. Also if you can find my Bible in Chinese characters that would be really great. Try not to get it confused with the Triple combination (BoM, PoGP, D&C). The MTC is super backordered on those. Like two generations before us didn't even get them before they left.

Also I have a few pictures too since I am borrowing a SD card reader.


Elder Dayley

Jun 17, 2013

Dear Family,

Sounds Like a fun time at church. I feel that the district is progressing really well. No one is struggling. So you don't need to keep saying throw your arm around a missionary. We are all helping each other out and supporting each other.

So the next big batch of missionaries comes in on June 26. I think about 56 missionaries come in. That would put our branch up close to 150 missionaries. But just this last Sunday they split the Mandarin branch. So now there are two Mandarin branches. Branc 39 and Branch 25. My district got put into Branch 25. So I have all new Branch President and Counselors now. President Baker (same from last year), Brother Frishnekt (same from last year), and Brother Teng (now the 2nd counselor, was 3rd last year and called in when I was in the MTC last year) are over the Branch 39. Brother Averett (had been 3rd counselor in Branch 39 when I came in this year is now 2nd counselor in Branch 25) is a really nice guy. President Runn and the first counselor are both new to serving in the Mandarin and actually don't know any Mandarin. Both had served in German branches here at the MTC.

I am so thankful for the packages. Thanks! :) Maybe send a few more letters or dear elders throughout the week though. I thought you hadn't read my email or forgot about me until I got your dear elder friday night (also I have an hour for email not 30 minutes, so its not a big issue). Also where was the fire on Thursday night. We got all the smoke blown down here to provo. So a few things that I would like: Send my Taiwan flag (we need some things to make our room more lively), also keep eyes out for good hotwheels cars (like actuall real world model cars) and maybe send me a few so I can put them up on my desk or have them around to just feel more comfortable (my little snowtrooper lego man now holds my dorm room key), of course send more Arizonas (they were so good, I have 5 left right now and I gave one to Sister Anderson because she loves them just as much as I do and had never tried the Cherry Lime Rickey), then also you will need to get me a new English Scriptures (black leather, mid size, gold sheets, with no button clasp. I haven't seen them since Wednesday morning from personal study. I had left my scriptures sitting with my PMG on top of my desk chair in our classroom. My desk sits right by the door and we usually leave our class door open. Our class is also right by where a decent amount of foot traffic passes for the hall. All of us leave basically all our study material in the class because it is no big deal since its the MTC. Later Wedneday night when I needed my scriptures I went to grab them under my desk and realized they weren't there. I have looked in the lost and found of each floor in my class building each day and still haven't found them. I have looked in the lost and found by the laundry room. I have looked in the lost and found by the mail room. These are all the lost and founds. If they were to show up at the mail room lost and found or the front desk they would notify me because my name is on them. But they still haven't been found. My teachers know about it. The zone leaders know about it and have spread the word. I have looked through all the chinese classrooms and about half of the korean classrooms in the adjacent hall. Still haven't found them. I have prayed everyday that the Lord would allow them to be found. Also in companionship prayer we have prayed about them. Sill haven't been found. So I don't know what else to do but to now say I need new scriptures. Which I really don't want to do since I have had those other sets from freshman year of HS and have marked a lot in them and have written a lot in them. All the teachers say this is really peculiar and weird. So I don't know).

Spiritual moment would have to be either being at the temple in the celestial room or when we did TRC teaching on Saturday teaching a member who is from Taiwan studying at BYU, studying in English.

The district loves me. They sometimes call me District Leader Dayley. We all get along really well.

Best thing ate is probably the wraps you can make. Worst thing is the chicken cordon bleu.

Different this time is the amount of missionaries there are. There are so many! :/

So many things in service that go both ways of receiving and giving to count.

Love you,

Elder Dayley

P.S. So I will try to answer quick your questions. Actually running out of time now. Ready dad's email first and forgot to wish happy Father's Day. So Dad, Happy Father's Day!

1)    So how come the different name, Yi Zhanglao ---> Dai Zhanglao?
They are more trying to standardize last names I think. So with anyon from now on who has a similar name will get dai.
2)    How’s the food at the MTC? What do you like best?
Food's ok. Don't like it a whole lot, but just push through it.
3)    Have you been able to do any exercising yet and keep up those bulging biceps?  ;-)
I have been trying to do at least one a week weight lifting. Since being here I have lost 3 pounds, but its all muscle weight that I have lost.
4)    Some of the moms of elders/sisters in your district write on the MM site. They all express good comments. It’s been nice to hear others perspectives though and what their sons or daughters have been experiencing the last few weeks. I’ve come across Sis Peng’s blog and it’s been fun to read excerpts from her letters. So my question is… how is she sending photos from the MTC? If you have time, I’d love to see a photo of your companion and/or district.
Yeah next week I will send pictures. You have to have a sd card reader and Elder Jenkins has one. So I am going to borrow it next week.
5)    Did the Zonas survive the transport to the MTC last Monday? How about the Pringles last Friday?
The Zonas survived and I would like more. Elder Turner and I now use the insulated bag as a freezer in one of our drawyers. We get ice when at gym and then put that in the insulated bag in a zip lock bag and then put our drinks in there.
6)    How’s it going with learning the Chinese grammar during your language study time? About how much time do you spend each day studying the Chinese language – grammar, vocab, phrases, etc.?
I probably do around 6 to 8 hours of studying the language each day.
7)    Are you teaching the lessons with your investigators in Chinese?
Since the first Friday when we taught the first time we teach in Chinese. We never teach investigators in English. Its always in Chinese.
8)    How was your Sunday? Your devotional?
It was good. Keep your eyes open next Sunday.
9)    Any new missionaries this past week to add to your branch? Or is it still forthcoming?
New missionaries are coming in next week.

10) Still a foursome in your room or did you get 2 new roommates?
And yep still a foursome in our room. But we are going to work out next Sunday night to have Elder Teerklink and Elder Oberg to sleep over in our room since it will be P-day the next day.