July 11, 2012
MTC: Week 1
It's 1am, and I'm stuck in Atlanta (Did I mention I was supposed to land at BWI at 4pm, in time to go to class? Yeah... That didn't happen... Something about the weather?)
So, while I sit here and wait for everyone else to board, I'll share with all y'all my baby brother's VERY FIRST E-MAIL to us from the MTC!! :)
*Note: I'm typing this on my iPhone, so I offer my most sincere apologies for any formatting issues. The grammar errors are all Jason's. :) Bless his 19-year old heart...
From: Elder Zavala
Date: July 10, 2012
Subject: Ni Hoa wode jiating!
Ni Hoa wode jiating!,
As we would say here around the Chinese Dept! The mission is going great! I love the MTC! It is so awesome! The Spirit here is so amazing! I am learning Chinese faster than I thought possible! My P-day is on Tuesday, obviously! and I did laundry today! It was horrible! 650 Elders and sisters all trying to wash laundry at the same time....nuff said.....
Well my companion is awesome! I love him he's a huge [Tongan]. He played for University of Hawaii! He's awesome I love polynesians now, and he is so optimistic all the time! Well learning Chinese is so hard! It is literally the hardest thing I have ever been asked to do! But I know that "the lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall provide a way for them to accomplish it!" (Nephi 3:8?) Yes, but I can already bear my testimony in Chinese! and I can also pray in Chinese! On day 3, I was teaching my 1st investigator! it was SO hard! It is SO frustrating not being able to say the things of your heart! But I know that the language will come with time! It is so hard! I bought some flash cards yesterday to help with some vocab!
The food here is okayy..........HA! but seriously, it is not too bad honestly. I am trying to stay positive all the time, because it is so hard to study when I am so so homesick! I have gained a testimony of learning by the spirit! When I am focused and studying the BoM and praying, I can honestly say it is easier to learn Chinese! I have already learned more here than I have my two years in high school! It is awesome.
So about the MTC...the rumor about the MTC having air conditioning.... FALSE... Only some of the buildings have air conditioning.... and the Asian Fortress is not one of them....( Us Elders who speak an Asian Language are all in the same building!)...The only people with air conditioning in their classes are the English and Spanish Elders.....We (the Chinese Elders) are mortal enemies with the Spanish Elders. (No reason specifically....just a tradition passed on from generation to generation....) And EVERYONE hates the English elders because they have the nicest building with the newest computers and Language learning software (even though they don't use them...) and the nicest desks and chairs and the air conditioning works there....BUT it's okay! I want to stay positive!
Please keep sending me letters through DearElder.com! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE getting mail! It is the BEST! I wanna hear from ALL of you! (Yanchies thanks for the Cin Rolls! Please send cookies :)
Oh BTW, I LOST my shampoo my first day here! Somebody stole it from the bathroom. I forgot I had left it in there, and by the time I remembered and went to check, it was GONE! So I got some new shampoo and I had an extra bodywash!...
Oh yeah! YANDARY!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE see if you can find me a chinese hymn book (pocket?) with pinyin and characters! PLEASE! they only have 3 books in Mandarin here at the MTC bookstore....it sucks but if you can find one for me that would be amazing!
But yeah we as Mandarin Elders have more books than anyone here.... We have three copies of every book we own. For example.... In my book bag I carry my water bottle, my preach my gospel (english), my PMG (Characters), PMG (Pinyin), My scriptures (ENG), My Script (PINYIN and Characters) , followed by 3 grammar books and 2 language study books.....I love it!
My district is AWESOME! I love everyone here so far! We are all brothers (and sisters) in the Lord, and I love that. Everyone is so friendly here (Almost...) It is so hot here on sundays when we have to wear our suits it is horrible! Two other elders in my district are going to the same mission as me! and they are both in my room! my comp is one of them! He's great! please keep sending me letters and other stuff through dearelder! I love it here! be good everyone! I love you! The Lord loves you! I am so happy here! I cannot restate this often enough....WRITE ME LETTERS!!! SEND ME FOOD! Tell me stories!
My computer times is up! I love you! bye!
Aww... In conclusion, I think he likes it so far, and something about writing him letters and sending cookies. :) And does anyone know where to get the hymnbook he asked me for?
Should any of you feel inspired to write to him, you can do so for FREE (while he is in the Missionary Training Center) via DearElder.com. If you want to write via snail mail, his address is:
Elder Jason S. Zavala
MTC Box #106-0918
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604
PS A special shout-out to the mother of my brother's companion, who found my blog online after her son got his mission call. My brother is really happy to have your son as a companion, and my mom is happy that he is happy. :)