Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

Hello Everyone.

It's tough to think another week has already gone by. The biggest news this week is that the older Mandarin Districts are all leaving, either to Taiwan or Canada. It's sad to see them go because they've been such a help to us, but I'm really excited because it means I'm that much closer to Taiwan! And my favorite of the other missionaries is serving in Taibei as well so that is nice.

My companion received a couple of Taiwan travel books in the mail and ever since I looked through them I've been SOO excited. This place is absolutely amazing. It's gorgeous and tropical but so modern, and Taiwan is known for all of it's delicious eats from the street markets, which we found out we will be eating basically every meal because it is cheaper to eat out at the markets than cook the food. We can get meals for $1-$3 U.S. dollars at the markets, I just can't wait to eat snake meat. Needless to say I'm really really really excited for Taiwan.

The older Districts sang a musical number in Sacrament Meeting yesterday, some medley of Sisters in Zion and Armies of Helaman, The spirit was amazing and by the end of it all of them were in tears. Yesterday we had fast and testimony meeting, all of it in Mandarin Chinese. Almost all of the older missionaries who are leaving this week bore their testimonies. It was a really spiritual meeting. 4 of the 24 missionaries in the younger districts bore their testimonies, and I was one of the 4. I just felt prompted to go up. When I got up there and bore my testimony in Mandarin it was a really cool experience. I was able to express my feelings and speak sentences in Chinese I had never said before. None of it was new vocab or anything, but it just all flowed together and it wasn't until after I sat back down that I realized I just bore my testimony in Mandarin.

Being District Leader of my district is awesome because of how great my district is. Of the 4 missionaries from younger districts who bore their testimonies 3 were from my district. We are doing so well as a district both spiritually and with the language. This week we make the switch to teaching in Chinese. SO HARD. It's tough to not be able to understand all of the investigators questions or be able to express yourself how you want to in order to answer their questions. The good news is that the older districts have said that this is the time when our Chinese really starts to take off. I hope that truly is the case. My Chinese has improved so much this week. I'm beginning to think in their grammar patterns and it's allowing me to speak full sentences and speak great Chinese. On the other end of that spectrum, for some reason this week has felt like one of the hardest and most frustrating weeks with the language so far. There were a couple days in a row where I promise every word in this language sounded the exact same. It was tough. But overall the language is coming. Preach My Gospel tells us that in learning a mission language we must be patient and struggle. check and check.

Anyways I'm sure we all want to hear what Elder VandenBerghe did this week. Well Elder VandenBerghe purchased a dream journal a few weeks back and was really excited to write all his crazy dreams in it. We all have had weird dreams here at the MTC. Since purchasing it 2 and a half weeks ago he has 4 entries, all of which are about 2 sentences that say "I was at the MTC. I was learning Chinese and spoke it to some Spanish speaking elders." That is literally every day of our lives here. But this week he heard that eating oranges before you sleep will give you nightmares, so the next day at dinner he was going to eat an orange. He came back with a tray and said "look at how big this orange is" excitedly. I replied "That's a grapefruit Elder VanDenBerghe." He then proceeded to peel it the way you would an orange and ate some of it. That night, myself and the 2 other elders in our room woke up to Elder VanDenBerghe screaming in his sleep. It sounded like some English, some Chinese and some German? maybe Russian? We all thought we had just dreamed it, but the next day we discovered we all heard it. Was it due to the grapefruit? Doubt it. Did I enjoy every bit of it? YES!

We as a district gave Elder Vandenberghe instructions that he has to eat 1 fruit OR vegetable a day. Just 1. His recent fascination with experimenting with fruits and their effects on his dreams has really helped him meet that quota.

Wrapping up, I talked to my district and we all want to wear Tabasco ties on the same day one day. so dad if you could send some that'd be great. I need 4. With that send my 80's style knit tie, those are allowed.

This week we were able to hear from Elder Duncan of the 70. His talk was amazing. I loved it. Also he retired at age 45 which is absolutely insane.

I really miss all of you and hope you are all doing great. Write me and let me know what is going on in your lives. All is good here.

Love, Elder Bruce William White

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