July 23, 2016
Today is my first Pday at the MTC. Because we have a big block of personal time, I'm probably going to be using email for about 20 min at a time with a total of an hour, so I'll be emailing throughout the morning.
Wow, the MTC and mission are totally different from anything else I've ever done. It sure is exhausting at times, but it's the best kind of exhausting because of the Spirit that I feel, the knowledge that I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do, and the good people around me!
The first day was super exciting! A really nice host brought me to my room, and I got everything I needed, including my name tag, which says "Elder Kwok" in English and the "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in Mandarin. Everything in class is in Mandarin, and we have a really nice and encouraging teacher, who's a returned sister missionary from Taipei. I met my companion soon after, Elder Wilde, who's an 18-year-old mountain biker and bike mechanic. He is really nice, thoughtful, and funny with a really good sense of humor!
The next couple days, the Chinese kept on coming and coming, and my brain felt like it was flooded! But we got some really good advice to get a journal just for Chinese words and meanings. With continual effort, I'm starting to grow my vocabulary, especially incorporating the tones.
We have to write talks in Chinese for every Sunday because we don't know whether we'll be speaking until after the sacrament is over. They're supposed to accumulate to a stockpile of talks we'll have ready when we'll be called to speak in Taiwan. Also, on Sunday, we learned that this month for devotionals will be for emeritus seventies and the next will be general authorities, but rarely an apostle. During the devotional that night, we watched Elder Bednar's talk titled "Character of Christ" He taught about the Character of Christ, which is turning outward toward others instead of turning inward to the natural man (which is self-centered and selfish--he referenced the cookie monster who "want cookie now!"). I felt the Spirit so many times answer many of my questions and struggles. When he closed his talk and the lights turned on, everyone suddenly stood, and guess what? Elder Bednar and his wife walked onto the stand!!!!!!.
I felt many of my questions answered by him when he answered other questions. I felt the Spirit and the love of my Savior and Heavenly Father. I'll share one of my answers. I sometimes worry that I'm not doing things correct or perfect or worthy enough for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, but that's because I forgot a simple truth that he told us that Sunday night. He said just be a good boy or girl. As long as we try our best we can have the Holy Ghost. You don't have to be perfect, but good. Also, worrying about how well you're doing is not selfish, but it's self-centered, which is what he talked about with the natural man. Turn outward instead, because the only way you can find who you are is if you forget and lose yourself in your service. Wow, I can't even describe the force that came to me with that, and I definitely know it's true. I dare you to test it out and see if it's not :).
All right, signing off!