March 23, 2016
Here’s Zach’s update from MTC Week 2…
Hey Y’all!! Another week down at the MTC! Only 7 more to go before I’m off to Taiwan! (Wow that’s a long time). In the words of my companion, Elder Horton, when I asked him to describe this week in a sentence he said “This week was slightly better than last week, and last week sucked” So things are looking up here hahaha! Also it snowed kind of a lot yesterday, so that was cool!
So everyone here says the MTC is like a prison, but that’s really not true… Prisoners have way more freedom than we do, lol. To put it in perspective, we are surrounded by fences here, and the only way in and out is through a guard gate! Also we are completely in the dark here about pretty much anything that happens in the outside world, unless we get updates in letters or through emails on P-days (preparation day), which is for me on Wednesday. For example, Ted Cruz held a rally at Provo HS literally a mile away from here, and we didn’t hear about it until a day after. BUTTT my companion and I have started to have fun with this and we try to spread funny rumors every day to see how far they can travel, because interesting news travels FAST here. This week’s rumor was that Cam Newton got busted for steroids hahaha. So as we pass other missionaries in the hall we will be like “dude did you hear that Cam Newton got busted for steroids?!” to each other, and we wait and see if other group of people caught what we said and act surprised. It’s the little things that keep us sane here.
Every day is basically the same thing at the MTC. Wake up at 6:30, eat breakfast, go to the gym (I go to the trainer to get my foot iced), shower and get ready, study for 3 hours, eat lunch, class for 3 hours, study for another hour, eat dinner, class for another 3 hours, and then more studying until bedtime at 10:30. It’s really repetitive, but it’s the most efficient way to become as proficient in Chinese as we can in 9 weeks!
The food here is absolutely awful, like literally the lowest quality food I’ve ever eaten. Kids (Including me) get sick from it all the time, so that’s a struggle…
The Chinese is coming along really well! It’s so hard to be focused on it pretty much 24/7, but it’s what’s necessary for us to be successful! Our teacher still teaches in only Chinese, no English, and were only allowed to speak Chinese in the classroom, so it was a challenge at first, but now we can pretty much handle ourselves. The big surprise this week was that our “investigator” from last week ended up being our new teacher, so that was a shock for all of us. Now we have two teachers, one an RM who served in NYC Chinese speaking, and the other a native Chinese speaker from Taiwan. So we get a nice little mix of speaking styles! Elder Horton and I can pretty much teach hour long lessons in Chinese now, and like I said the gift of tongues is a very real thing.
My foot is getting better! Almost no pain when I stand on it now, But I’m not allowed to put weight on it for another week, so I’m still on the scooter. The podiatrist said that this injury takes a full 6 weeks to heal, but the missionaries he sees with it usually heal in around 4 due to so many extra blessings, so I’m hoping when I go see him again on April 1 it will be fully healed!
One of my friends from BYU, Sister Jackson, arrived at the MTC this week, and she is going to Tallahassee for her mish!! I’ll try and get a picture with her this coming week and send it!
My favorite quote of the week came one of the speakers at the Provo City Center Temple dedication which we got to attend on Sunday. It was “You can’t expect to fatten the hog on the day of the fair”. It really hit me that, in order to be successful in Taiwan, I have to put the work in now, and I can’t expect to do nothing to prepare myself and be fluent the day we get there.
Thank you all so much for your love and support!! Your emails, letters, and packages mean so much to me!! If anything cool happened in your lives, or you have any rumors you want me to try and spread, let me know!
I love you all! Until next week- Elder Stroud