Here it is:
Thank you so much for the emails! Its so good to hear how you are all doing and what is going on at home, even when it isn't very different. I love seeing the pictures of you all and Jemma! Just like you said dad she is already changing! I'm sad I'm missing it, but I know we will have so much time when I get back. I pray for you all everyday and think of you often.
This week has been kind of a strange week at the MTC. Our roommates left for Taibei Tuesday so my companion and I were the only ones left in our room. The other two sisters from our district (who stay in the room right beside us) have been sleeping in our room though. Their things are in their original room but they come and sleep in ours. Its kind of funny, but whatever makes them feel comfortable. They are also the only ones in their room now. Like I said in my last email we are now the oldest generation of Mandarin speakers at the MTC. When we came in there were about 140 mandarin missionaries between the two zones. Now there are about thirty of us with no new missionaries coming in until after we leave. It is a little different, but I assume this is how the MTC used to feel before the huge influx this last year.
Because we are the only district in our zone we have had so many teachers trickling into our classroom to help us. It's really nice, and we love all of the teachers, but I think on Saturday we always had at least three teachers in the room at one time. Collectively we've decided we've had about ten teachers total throughout our MTC stay. Sunday was also interesting because the eleven of us made up the congregation, so everyone was participating. It didn't seem quite as special because we were speaking to our district, who we are with all day every day. But it was still good.
I don't remember if I told you, but my companion is adopted from China. She was adopted when she was two and has no idea where she was born or who her birth parents are. This week she got photocopies of the adoption papers from her mom and with the help of the teachers was able to figure out her given Chinese last name and the meaning of her name. She was pretty emotional the rest of the day. In our class after she figured all of this out we were supposed to do an activity where we were telling each other what the Gospel of Jesus Christ meant to us in Chinese. Our teacher told us to have conviction, because without it our testimonies aren't as powerful. She went first and started crying because she was talking about the plan of salvation and was thinking about her real parents. During my turn afterward I also started crying because I was thinking of my mom and just my whole family in general and how grateful I am for this gospel. I have realized more and more as I teach and learn that I have no doubt whatsoever that we will live again after this time on earth. I know that we will see our Father again and be judged according to our works. If we are faithful in this life we will be able to live with our families again and I am so grateful for the knowledge. It makes me so hopeful for the future.
Going along with that topic later on during the same day we were teaching our second lesson with a new investigator (our new teacher). We were teaching a little more in depth on the first vision and about the Book of Mormon. I think we alluded to the plan of salvation and bore our testimonies on it but didn't give it a lot of attention. We continued with the lesson and I could feel the spirit so strong. My companion and I were testifying about the Book of Mormon and this gospel and I could just feel it in my stomach that this is true. When we looked at our investigator it looked like his eyes were really red, but we didn't know why. We thought maybe because he was sick, but when we left my companion thought he was crying. (He wears glasses so its a little harder to tell.) When we got back to class he told us his grandpa was in the hospital and was probably going to pass away soon. I'm not positive because he didn't tell us anything but I think our lesson made him cry. This has happened a couple of other times before, but we were never sure. Its so incredible to me how even when we grow up in this gospel we can still receive those testaments and spiritual experiences about the teachings we've heard our whole lives. The Spirit is an incredible teacher and knows when we need a reassurance of the principles of the gospel.
On that same day I read a passage our of Preach My Gospel that I loved! (It was just a crazy day because I started getting emotional again while I was reading it.) I think this passage was so powerful to me because I believe it whole-heartedly. It is what I love about the gospel and how I feel about my relationship with our Savior. It says, "The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. It begins with faith in Christ. We believe in Him, trust in Him, and depend on Him." I love this gospel so much! And I'm so excited to get out into the field and begin sharing it to the people of Taiwan. I'm still a little nervous and know I will be overwhelmed, but I know this is His work and with Him everything is possible.
We also got our travel plans this week! We got lucky and don't have to be to the travel office until 6:30 Tuesday morning. I'm really glad that most of our district is going to the same mission because we are able to travel together. I know we probably won't be side by side the whole time, but we will at least have people we are familiar with there with us.
That's about all I can think of this week. I'm so excited for Katie and hope plans go well! Also I'm glad you got to go to Mandy's farewell, I'm sure it was great and would have loved to be there for it. I can't wait to come home and be together as cousins again. I love you all and am so glad Jemma is still loving preschool. I hope you all have a fun week during UEA break and that Lagoon is a blast! You will have to tell me how it goes and what Jemma thought about it. I'm not sure exactly how departure will work, but I think I may be able to get a calling card and call you at the airport. I think our flight in Salt Lake leaves around, but I'm not positive. I'll let you know next week when it is closer! I think I may also need to get a bag for the two days of orientation in Taiwan. I was going to see if they had anything in the bookstore but I'm not sure. It is so crazy how fast time goes, only seven more days in the MTC then its off to Taiwan. I love you all and am grateful for what a fantastic family I have. Give Jemma the biggest squeeze for me and tell her I love her so much and that shes the best little sister I have. ;) Have a fantastic week!
Come what may and love it!