Monday, July 30, 2012

Questions Answered!

Side Note -- Elder Black's spelling and grammar are progressively deteriorating. He says the English there is not English at all, and may come back sounding like a 1st grader. Let us hope not!


Daily Routine:
Well, we wake up at 6:59 here, and then I ask for the Lord's help, and greet Him.  Then I go and work out, varies on what I do, but I like push ups, sit ups, and I try to rotate throughout the week.  My favorite workout is when I stretch!  :D Then I go and shower, shave, brush the teeth, and apply the D.O. After that... (dress... then) I feast.  Usually PB&J and oatmeal. After breakfast I go and begin my Personal study. I try to memorize one scripture, read the Bible, BOM, and the Doctrine and Covenants.  Companionship Study comes next we know ;) which is really a great part of the Day! It is very nice to sit down and talk about all of our investigators! Then I have Language study for an hour.  At this point I usually read from the Book of Mormon out loud for 30 minutes (the Pinyin) and then I study grammar, or something I am trying to memorize, or additional vocabulary words.  After LST (Language Study Time) I... FEAST!

FOOD!
So let me talk about meals here in Sitiawan, let me just explain to you in glorious detail just what you are all missing out on. First of all, Chinese food (real Chinese food) is outstanding. Right up there with Mexican food. At the beginning of my time in the MTC, or whenever this actually happened, I told myself that I was going to love everything about my mission. The people the food, the weather, the language, everything!! So I got here and found out Chinese people like mushrooms, BUT! they taste so good! Anywho, back to everything else I was telling about the food stuffs :D the noodles here are so good! you find shrimp, octupi, and weird mussels and other things in them! I am never quite sure what I am eating, and by the end of the day I try to have eaten something new! Then spiciness.... I am practicing, building myself up for the native sauces etc. I am getting a bit better at Wasabi. Knowing what to expect helps out on that! I like sushi okay now! I am also a huge fan of boiled lettuce. Okay.... ah yes, Indian food, can't really go wrong (Anisha- saw some tirimishu for an obscene price!) I am psyching myself up to try Durian. It is this fruit that smells like garbage and gasoline, and tastes the same BUT with a peanut butter after taste. I hear its an acquired taste, so I am going to eat it as often as I can and in two years I will definitely be converted! Everything here is not sweet. I am fine with that, but it will take me a while to get used to eating a fruit that everyone says is very sweet and find it to be rather bland :D

Elder Jensen:
Well, after lunch I get trained by ... (GUESS!) My Trainer! Let me tell you about him. He is from.... (GUESS!!!) Utah! His name is Elder Jensen. He is the youngest of 11 children, and all of them have served missions. His sister was in the MTC at the same time as him, and they reported on the same date, speaking Mandarin together. She went to Taiwan. Well, he loves drama and psychology, so we have a lot to talk about. I admire him a lot, and he continually pushes me out of my comfort zone, (which I didn't think was possible, but it is :D) I know have enlarged my comfort zone extremely! I am ready to try anything anyone says tastes good, I will smile at everyone, I am working on talking to everyone, but getting a lot better! I am just afraid to talk because of silly reasons, like: do they speak Mandarin, Cantones, Hakku(sp?) or Bahasa Melayu? Perhaps English? I have been learning words in all sorts of languages. I hear at least 5 languages a day easily. I see about 3-4 written languages every day.


Sitiawan:
Oh, quickly (maybe ;D) the scenery/climate etc. BEAUTIFUL! Imagine paradise, then place a random city that is pretty developed in the middle of it, and that is Sitiawan. Out of one side of the apartment we dwell in, I can see a flourishing jungle. On the other side, there is run down buildings, nicer buildings etc. Throughout the day I will pass through Jungles, and also nice neighborhoods. The weather is very exciting! It has only rained about 4 times (for an Arizonan that's a lot), but we are waiting for the "rainy season" so... I am excited? I hear your feet hit the water as you pedal!!!


Names/Culture:
BUT! Names in different languages are about 10...not 20 times harder to remember. Also trying to remember Chinese family names (So their surnames are all the same, but then added to that, you have the first character of their name, which is the same for all the boys, and another character for the girls, and then you just add on any other "random (their is probably a system I missed...)" character on the end, and you have a name! So Cun Wei Jun is Cun Wei Jian's sister.... it's so awesome :D Then Indian, Iban and Malaysian names are nearly more impossible-- Alabashazaraki! So... I just kinda.... make up names? :D Then people correct me. Also, The funnest thing in the world to do is to "be that dumb American." I know enough of the culture (oh by the way, I accidentally flipped off the entire country (hyperbole) but quick hint- if you leave the country learn how to flip people off so you don't accidentally do it!) that I get most of their body language now, but then I can ignore it! It''s great fun! So I thought things could get awkward in America... I was wrong. Awkward is defined here :D I can't really explain that statement so I wont try to... :D

Missionary Work:
What else... oh yes, so after training, we begin our missionary work! Its usually around 2pm. Ah missionary work! Right now, we just made a quarterly goal, so we have 3 months planned out. We are working with three very nice young men trying to prepare them for baptism. (I probably wont use names just as a safety precaution if I talk about anything sensitive etc.) They are so very hard to teach because of their attention spans, but- well, I can relate :D so we are working slower with them, and working out problems as they arise! Ah yes, as some of ye fellow yeomen may remember, I am not quite the best at remembering names.... *GOAL!) Well, we usually have appointments here, I have been tracting about 10 times only since getting here, but a large majority of them are with members and less actives. The reason for this is that there are not enough who understand how the gospel has helped their lives. A lot of what we are doing is strengthening the members here, and building relationships with the 30 members of our branch. A very high baptism goal for a month here would be 1 in a month. Well, I have made a lot of friends, and friends who don't know that i have made them my friend (yet) :D It's going great! I have been having one of the best times of my life (if not the best) Including the MTC, definitely the best-- call out to Elder Savage, I love you! Well, after about 3 appointments we go and FEAST yet again. Then we have 3 or four more appointments usually, come back and plan for the next day! We meet an investigator from mainland china who is so sweet! she just told us she cant meet with us anymore though, I will try to be better at updating you all on the investigators and friends I am making over here. The language is improving, I am learning the culture which is helping a lot with that, Elder Jensen and I frequently SYL (Speak our language)

Tell everyone I love them!!

2 comments:

  1. Way to go bai zhanglao!!
    I love this boy! I'm crazy excited for him and all the fun he is having! He has the best attitude about everything! I swear he's gonna come back speaking 6 different languages!
    It's weird knowing he has a new companion. Not gonna lie, I am a tad bit jealous.
    I can't wait to return and join him in this amazing work in 3 months (even though it'll be in Taichung)
    Does anyone know his mailing address??
    Does anyone know what his full Chinese name is??
    Well Elder Black is amazing and is still inspiring me to this day. Can someone please let him know that I love him and pray for him often?
    -Elder Savage. Banma!

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    1. Hi!,
      I asked Jacob about his name and this is what he wrote back: My nname is Bai, which means "white" and "Banma" which means zebra. "Zhanglao" means Elder. In china the surname goes before the title so my name appears as "Bai Zhanglo". But you already know that! as far as his full chinese name, don't know,yet. Elder Black will be so glad you asked about him. He asked about you in his last email. He would like to write you. "ASAP" Please send him your address! His email is jacobeblack@myldsmail.net

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