Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Week 5! Over Half Way There!

Ni hao!
How is everyone doing? Thanks for all your dearelders. i do get them. Sorry i cant respond to them individually. I just dont have any time. So this big family email is the only way i can communicate with you. I can now email friends and family. So Rachel or alma, can you post my email to my facebook page and cousin's FB page? valeria.chao@myldsmail.net. New mission changes. Love it!
So this week was kinda sad. My teacher Si Kong Lao Shi (Brother Raskey) is not our teacher anymore and stopped teaching at the MTC!!! We didn't even know it was his last day. He didnt tell us. We had a normal class and then he shared his testimony and volunteered to say the prayer (which was a REALLY good prayer) and then shook all of our hands. We didn't think twice about it and thought we would just see him again the next day. Then after dinner, we see his info on the board with his address and email. Our other teacher Xia Jie mei told us he will not be teaching here anymore. We never got to say goodbye to him either! He just left without really announcing his goodbye! So sad! We really got to know him and love him so much. He was so funny and weird and quirky in his own way. Brought much laughter to the class. Also he was our investigator named John Li. I didnt know Friday was my last day teaching him. He started to progress a lot too and was preparing for baptism on April 13th! Now he is gone and i really loved my investigator. You really learn how to love people here. You learn how to love people like Christ loves others and how Heavenly Father loves all his children. Every soul is important so it was sad to find out i wouldnt be teaching john li anymore. We all got teary eyed when we found out we wouldnt see him again. It put into perspective how it will be like in the field. How I might have an investigator that i really loved and then all of a sudden she wont want any more lessons or want to go to church anymore or meet with us. But guess who is my new teacher?!?!? Brother SEIBERT! Mom, dad, Meg....do you remember him??? We met him while he was on his mission in Taipei. We met him in Keely's ward (shiling) and he was our translator. he translated sacrament meeting into english for us! Do you remember now!? so crazy! he just got back 3 months ago. He told me that I looked familiar to him too. What a small world! His chinese is really good. He is half Chinese...i didnt know that. He doesnt look half chinese. anyways he is a good teacher. He is going to be our new investigator, so we have to start all over. We'll see how it goes. I teach him tomorrow for the first time. Okay, last sad part of the week. The older generation of missionaries left today. They all went to Taichung. We grew really close to them. They are such amazing missionaries. Hopefully we will be like them when we leave. It's sad because i dont think i will ever see them again. But it was fun seeing how excited they were to leave the Asian Fortress (basement of our building). The asians got stuck on the bottom floor. :) Now my district and 2 other districts are the oldest generation of the mandarin speaking missionaries. We only have 4 more weeks here!!!!!
Okay enough of the sad news. So we started getting creative with our lessons. We have to make them interesting to our investigators! That's why i need that puzzle. :) If any of you want to send me things to make my lessons more interesting, please do so. but make sure everything is in characters. no pinyin. Anyways we taught John Li about Christ's early ministry. We used the story in Matthew 14. So my comp and I got some goldfish out of the vending machine and we "took" 5 rolls from the cafeteria during dinner and a few slices of bread to rip up. We took a box and on the bottom we had a ton of ripped up bread and lots of goldfish. Then on top of that we laid a paper towel down to separate it and put the 5 rolls and 2 goldfish. It was supposed to represent the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes in the scriptures and how Christ was able to feed the 5,000. When we read that part, we lifted up the paper towel and he could see all the pieces of bread and lots of goldfish. haha. I dont know if any of that made any sense but he loved it and laughed. my companion kept saying "zheme gao!??!?!" but she didnt say it right and i was just laughing so hard and the investigator was too! haha. i dont know what she said actually. sooo funny. I love creative lessons. The investigators understand a lot more and actually remember things when we make it creative. I'm really love to teach now. It's so fun and i really love my investigators! I think about them all the time and pray for them. The planning part is just the hard part and it takes a long time. We have to make sure each lesson is planned around each investigator's needs. And we have to make sure we ask the right questions and make sure they have the desire to follow the commitments we give them. Our goal is to help them come closer to Christ and to have faith and repent so they can be baptized. I love it! Just difficult sometimes, but when it's all planned out, I'm ready to go! :)
So this next sunday is EASTER! I'm so lucky to be at the MTC on Easter! We get to hear from either the apostles or the prophet...we dont know who is coming yet, but there is going to be a huge devotional that morning. We are going to have an MTC wide sacrament meeting and 2 elders from my district were chosen to pass the sacrament in front of the general authorities!! So cool! They might even pass it TO them. They are lucky. I can't wait to here them speak. I think easter is the best holiday to be at the MTC. I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ because without it, we would not be here right now. Without it, we wouldn't be able to change and become better people. After reading past journal entries, i think i have changed a lot, especially spiritually. We really need to be in tune with the spirit. I definitely feel the spirit everyday here at the MTC. I think we pray at least 10 times a day. no joke. its great! I think my chinese is improving a little. i sure hope so. My teacher said it has, but i can't really tell yet. In our district meeting last week, Brother Frischknecht (1st counselor) talked about how there is a pattern in all things...I think he said it was from D&C, I can't remember which scripture exactly. but he said that when we receive a calling and are set apart here on earth, we must be called and set apart in the pre-existence life too. There are patterns in this life, and this life is to find those patterns. I thought that was cool. I love being able to serve the lord 24/7. It's been great and I know that all of you will be blessed for it. I pray for all of you every night. I hope things are going well. I love the work and I can't wait to get out into the field. I know that the challenges I experience here will only help me in the field. Love you all! Wo ai nimen!
Sister chao
Dad- When are you going to Taiwan and China? Did you receive the check from the church????
Veronica- i dont know where my layover will be. it might be in SF or in LA. who knows. or some other state.
Aborn- i got your dear elder. Glad to hear mia is getting fatter! :) haha. if you can print pictures of you and the kids and keely that would be great. I dont have very many of you guys. Also, you can email me pics. I just want some printed ones too to take to taiwan. Can you email me some of mia recently? I want to see what she looks like now! but do send me some printed pictures.
Rachel- i dont think i can watch videos.
Mom- Wo ai ni!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One Month Done!

Hello Jiating!
Thanks for the package mom and dad!!! I've used the diffuser and it works great. Thanks for the package Alma!!!! I already opened the kind bars and ate 1 of them. Im trying to save them. haha. Mom and Alma sent me mangoes. I shared the Pocky with my district. Thanks for the package Megan! The kneaders bread was SO good! Rachel, i got the pictures of Mia and the kids and i showed everyone in my district and they loved them!!! They loved how chubby mia looked! You should email them to Aborn. I miss my little baby mia! :) Oh and Aborn, I do get your dearelders. so no worries, they are making it to me just fine. Thanks and keep them coming!
I can't believe I've been here for 4 weeks. Time flies most of the time now. I have 5 more weeks! yay!!! I also get to call home during the layover to Taiwan. I'm hoping it will be in SF! Hm...can you visit me then and bring me food at the airport?! haha. I bet not. But I get to call home, so that will probably be around April 23rd ish. We don't get travel plans until 2 weeks before we leave. Dad, did you get the check from the Church for my plane ticket to Utah?
Well, this week I taught my 2 progressing investigators that are actually my teachers and 1 progressing investigator that we just got, but we get to teach her in English. We taught our one investigator Liang jie mei about faith and used some props. I got a few of my sunflower seeds, some dirt, a cup of water and we drew a picture of a sun. We compared how faith was like a little seed in Alma 32. It was fun and she loved it. Then we taught Li di xiong about the purpose of life. We compared it to a basketball game. (He likes basketball). We said that when you play basketball, you can't win the game on your own. You need team members to help you. It's like life, you can't return to Heavenly Father on your own, you need Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Heavenly Father, the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, prayer, and going to church. He liked that too. He has a smoking problem and has a hard time quitting. Any ideas on how we can help? We taught him about faith and stuff. But it's fun teaching when we get creative.
TRC this week was so good as well. I love TRC. We do TRC's every Sat and I think Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays are my favorite days. We taught this lady from Taiwan and this lady from Singapore. They are both members and it is so great to just hear their experiences with the Church and prayer, since the topic was on prayer. Then I taught this guy named Bro. Tsai. He goes to BYU and is from D.C. He went on his mission 2 years ago to Australia, same mission as Aborn. I showed him a picture of our family and he said he recognized alma?? Or he said that Alma looked familiar. ha. I dont think he knows you though. Anyways, TRC is great because we get to teach real people and listen to their stories. It also helps my chinese when i listen to natives speak it.
Sunday was amazing as always. It's so spiritual on Sundays especially. The sisters get to listen/watch Music and the Spoken word and they sung Teach Me to Walk in the Light, Called to Serve, and Come Thou Font of Every Blessing. It was so good!!! Music really does bring the Spirit into the room. The general Primary president or counselor came and spoke. She said that we are on missions to help others see themselves as how Jesus sees them. We are to give them that perspective on life. I thought that was interesting. For devotional that night, the director of missionary assistance spoke. He talked about examples in the scriptures about stones and rocks and how the BOM is the keystone of our religion and the D&C is the capstone. We need to turn the little pieces of faith that are thrown at us into something strong like a stone. We can become something new, stronger than sand. Be on the winning team because the Gospel will ultimately win! yeah! Then for the film devo, I chose to go watch Elder Holland's MTC devo given on Thanksgiving last year called "For Such A Time As This". He said that your mission is real life. Don't think that your life before or after is real life. This IS real life now! You will never be closer to God than you're going to be while you are on your mission. You will do things that are EQUALLY important but NOT more important than your mission. So, temple marriage and having a family is EQUALLY as important as a mission but not more. I thought that was so cool! 24/7 you are engaged in the saving of a human soul. that is the most important thing you will do. Everything God does is devoted to the saving of His children. I loved his perspective on that.
Anyways, I went running like 3 times outside since last p-day. It has been so nice here!! I asked the security guard if i could run around the temple and he said yes! yay! It was so nice to run outside and enjoy fresh air. Except, on Sat I accidentally rolled my left ankle a little because of the construction outside. The sidewalk had a huge crack in it but i didnt see it because i was looking straight ahead. Oops. I just rubbed it out a little and kept running. But then it kept hurting after and for the next 2 days. I was like oh shoot, i hurt my good ankle. But I used some deep blue oil on it and now its pretty much all better. :) Thank goodness. Food is still the same. Some days are better than others. I dont really know what else to tell you on that. I went without eating sugar for 4.5 days straight! but then this sister dropped off homemade dark chocolate chip cookies last night and i couldnt resist that!! so i had one. and then this morning at the temple, I had half a waffle. I'm starting no sugar again tomorrow, at least for a few days, maybe till next p-day. I think my companion is going to join me on this. But rachel, if you send me those cookies, i will still eat them. :) Just saying. Oh and today i did sealings at the temple! I loved it! Now these families can be together forever! yay!
Okay, I'm out of time. Tell the kids to write me! I love hearing from them. and keep using dearelder. They are great! Miss you and love you all!
Wo ai nimen!
Sister Chao
Zhao Jie Mei

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

1/3 done at the MTC!

Ni Hao Jiating! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!! Wo ai ni! 

Again, my thoughts are all scattered. Everyday seems like a blur and the same. I write everything down in my journal but when it comes to emailing, i never know what to tell you guys. Oh, my rash is all better. :) 

I guess I can start with food update. Don't worry everyone, I'm not starving here. Just not the best foods here. Cafeteria food just gets really nasty after the first few days. Salads are too. But the nutrition room that i get access to is not as horrible (close but slightly better) so that's good. Fridays are pizza days (which made me think of the kids) so they asked me if i wanted some without cheese and i said okay. So I get 2 slices of veggie pizza without cheese. hahaa. We'll see how that is. Tell the kiddos that i'll be eating pizza with them on Friday! Sundays are probably the worst food days. No salad wrap bar, because they serve ice cream there lunch and dinner. Basically lunch and dinner on sundays are full of meat and unhealthy foods. Sometimes they will have more vegetables in the nutrition room, but last sunday they only had peas and carrots!!! so I made myself a PB&J sandwich and ate some fruit. But don't worry, the other days are decent and i can survive. So mom, DONT WORRY! :) Also, on p-days we go to the temple early in the morning so we can eat breakfast there. Today we did a session and then I had the most divine lemon poppy seed muffin for breakfast. Yes, I was dying, it was so good. You all know i love lemon poppyseed anything! Rachel, i'm missing your lemon cake right now! Also, kale smoothies and anything kale. I usually get a cookie to keep me sane. ha. They are good here. 

Well, on Sunday while I was eating lunch, I sat by Sis. Cathy Teng and Bro. Teng. Bro. Teng is the 2nd counselor in the Branch Presidency. Sis. Teng kept telling me that i looked so familiar. And she told me she goes to Taiwan a lot and she asked me who my dad was. I told her and she was like "Oh! He is David Hsiung's friend!" Of course she does DoTerra too and she said she has been to our Alpine house for a DoTerra meeting. Small world. I took a picture with her and she said she would text it to you dad. Did you get the text? I told her to say hi to you. The Asian community is so small in Utah. Everyone knows everyone! Amanda Burr came to the MTC and she is in my branch. It's fun seeing a familiar face here. Our branch president spoke to us in Sacrament meeting and the theme was how to recognize the spirit. He talked about how if you are worthy and obedient, just go and do! Have faith in God and the Holy Ghost. Don't worry about it. Don't be so worried if you are feeling the spirit or not. You won't always realize it until after. You will have the spirit if you are doing what's right and make good choices, using your best judgment. I loved how he said that your life will be defined by the mission you serve. It made me think that I needed to do everything I could to make this the best mission possible. If I work hard, God will bless me, not only now but my life after the mission. Oh and every sunday, all the missionaries have to have a 5 minute talk prepared in Chinese about the topic and then the Branch president will randomly pick who is going to talk. You won't know until they announce it. kinda scary, but so far i haven't been picked. 

We have TRC's every Saturday morning. This is when we get to go teach volunteers (usually BYU students) a lesson. It was so fun! Both of our people that we taught were students at BYU. We taught them how God loves his children and how he can bless our families. We asked them to share their experiences and the spirit was so strong. It was fun and I wasn't as nervous to teach real people (even though they are members). It was nice to teach people who weren't our teachers. I saw Michelle Hsiung too! 

We have 3 progressing investigators. Two of those investigators are actually our teachers that have a different profile. It get a little nervous sometimes going into a lesson because I know they are evaluating us. Sometimes we teach in a room with a glass window where we can't see in but there are other teachers on the other side evaluating and watching us. We had a really good lesson with one of our investigators Liang Jie Mei. We taught her about the Holy Ghost and the first lesson. It was really good, even though my chinese is limited. I have to pause a lot to think about what i want to say. we ask her a lot of questions and sometimes her questions are so hard that I don't know how to respond in Chinese! And my companion has no idea what she is saying so i have to try and answer it. haha. It's fun. She asked me if Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father were Americans because they are White. I was like UHHH Jesus Chirst is from Jerusalem? hahaha. I really did not know how to answer in Chinese. I told her Joseph Smith is from America though. Anyways, i'm really trying to learn to teach without notes. My companion and I write down our lesson plans and English, but then i just keep it in English and just translate it as I go. If i'm unsure about how to say a word in chinese, i'll write it on the side. My goal is go in without notes someday. I need to rely on the gift of tongues more and the spirit when it comes to what to say. It's hard because I want to say so much but sometimes I don't know how. I think that's the hardest thing. 

Interesting story. On Friday night, everyone in my room decided to go to the big gym for gym time. Thats where they play basketball, volleyball, and foursquare. I don't play any of that, I just go upstairs to the track and run 35 laps. It gets super boring, but i have to stay in shape. Anyways after gym, I go downstairs and one of the girls in my room broke her pinky finger playing volleyball! They thought it was just dislocated but she ended up going to the ER because it was broken. Ends up she is getting surgery next monday. Poor girl. She is a lefty and she has a huge cast on her left hand. We have to help her put on her clothes and cut up her food. But she is strong. 

Also, the MTC people just put a mini refrigerator in our room!! that means we are probably getting 2 new girls in our room tomorrow and one of them must have diabetes or something. BUT how in the world are we going to fit 6 girls in our room? Yeah...we've been lucky with just four, but they added another bunkbed to every room but didn't add another little closet space. There are only four closets and four desks, so i have no idea where they are going to put all their stuff. Nothing against them, but our room is just really small. oh well, it will be an adventure. Im excited to meet the new girls though. So now that we have a refrigerator, I need to take advantage of it!!! 

Okay, well i'm out of time! Love you all! Write me dear elders during the week so i can read them before p-day! 

Sister Chao

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Week 2

Hello Family!

Ok so i only have 15 minutes left!!!! The computers here are so slow and sorry if I have typos because the backspace button is slightly broken. anyways this week was definitely ten times better than last week. It was still very difficult but lots better. Im getting used the hang of things here. Food is just as horrible but dont worry, im definitely eating enough, just not the best food. Im really sick of it but i just have to remind myself that i only have about 7.5 weeks left. eeeek. then i get all the chinese food i want and my stomach will feel lots better. How is every one doing? I know baby Amelia went home. I miss her so much. She was like my own baby! haha. I think about her a lot. How is life without her? Are you sleeping a lot more dad? How is yeye?

This morning our district decided to wake up 30 minutes earlier and go to the temple this morning. We did initiatories and it was amazing!! i loved it! then we all had breakfast at the temple. SO delicious. i think anything tastes good that is slightly better than MTC food. I got a real waffle with tons of strawberries on top. best food yet. The temple is really the house of the Lord and i know that angels truly do walk the halls. Also, Elder Holland dedicated the MTC a few months ago and i think our teacher said that the MTC is like a temple for the living. So cool. The spirit is so strong here all the time. Emotions are definitely running and with all these sisters here, you know how that will go. It's weird that my friends are literally just down the street. I had to go get a chest x-ray this week for my visa. We got to walk to the BYU health clinic and it felt like i was escaping or something. It felt really good to be in the sun. we need more vitamin D! I love walking to the temple too. what a stress reliever. Also, I've been trying to do my p-90x ab ripper every other day and the other gym days, i go to the indoor track above the gym and i run 3.2 miles. 10 laps = 1 mile. it gets kinda boring, but what can you do. then i stretch like crazy so i will never lose my splits. :) Gym time keeps me sane during the day. it's great. even though it's short. Rachel, can you send me some good workouts? sleep is running a little low. there are just sisters that are really loud and get up at 5:30 AM to get ready in the morning. mostly english sisters. i dont think they realize that they wont care in a few days. our room is right next to the bathrooms so i usually get woken up at 5:30and i try to go back to sleep. anyways, reminds me of baby mia. :) but baby mia was so much more worth it. im so grateful i got to be a little mommy to her for a few months. it made me realize how much HF really loves his children when i had so much love for her. She is so cute!!!!

Okay, so on sunday we had a few devotionals and my favorite one was the last one that was a prerecored one by Elder Bednar. I think he gave it a year ago. its an MTC devotional so i dont know if you can watch it online but if you can, PLEASE WATCH IT PRONTO! it is the best devotional i've ever heard. it's called the "character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. Look it up onlds.org or youtube or where ever you can find it. i hope you can watch it. everyone needs to watch it. so do it! i'll give you a little summary of it. He talked about the character of christ and how we must obtain that. The character of christ is when Christ turns out and in love, service, compassion when the natural man would turn in and be self centered, self absorbed, and selfish. We all need to be more charitable. (Alma, his talk reminded me a lot of what you told me. i wrote you a letter about it.) anyways he was talking about how the mission is not about you and that if you turn outward, you become a very different missionary. It's about Christ and serving Him. Your testimony alone is not enough, you ahve to be truly converted to the lord. conversion is being consistently true to what you know. if you are converted, you will never fall away. (Alma 23: 5-6). the greatest convert on my mission will be myself. I have made that a goal. conversion is turning away from the natural man through the atonement. i know it wont be a quick thing, but it will come little by little.

I love you all. time just flies when im emailing home. I hope all of you are enjoying life and the good food. definitely missing some home cooked meals. If you can send something home made that will stay good for a little (kale chips) or anything, that would be great. maybe my friends will send me bread? ;) thanks for all the letters. the dear elders are great. i love reading them. OH and tell Tracy that i got her letter and tell her thanks!! It was so good to hear from here. ill probably send a letter home to the cousins and mail it to clinton's house since i have his address. Tell the cousins on FB i miss them and hope they are doing well. Mom, i sent you a card in the mail for your bday. Kaitlin, lucas, alex, and mo should be getting a letter soon. also, tell them thanks for all the dear elders. they make me laugh so hard. i know i have so much more to say and share but there is just no time! A mission is not easy at all, but elder holland once said that missionary work is not easy because salvation came with a high price. We are diciples of Christ and we will walk and experience some of what Christ went through. But we must remember that He is always there to help us get through these hard times and carry us. I truly believe that. The work here is hastening and we get 2 new districts in our zone tomorrow! Amanda burr and verina chen are coming in! yay! So many sisters here. R.S. is combined with all the sisters and it is full! love sundays and i love pdays the best. Chinese is slowly coming along, but i decided not to really worry about it, even though it can be a little stressful. Teaching is really hard because i want to say so much but i cant. I know it i will come. We get two new progressing investigators this week and for the rest of our stay. They are actually our teachers but they have different profiles. Hopefully we can commit them to baptism. Our goal is to bring others unto Christ. I memorized the missionary purpose in chinese and now im working on memorizing the baptismal invite in chinese. gift of tongues is real. it makes me so happy to see them be able to bear testimony in chinese. Love you all! Time is moving a little faster for me. i pray for all of you every night! ok write me on dear elder!!

Zhao jie mei