Well we received Kyle's first letter home today. He is working hard and loving his mission. I'll let him tell his story...
Thanks so much for your love and the letters. Keep them coming!! :) The MTC is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO amazing!! way different and better than anyone could have ever told me. You're wrong on one thing though. The MTC IS a mission now. They have Real investigators that we are teaching and we have a MTC Mission President. His name is President Brown. Yes, they want us to speak our language as much as possible. I came in Wednesday night to my class and all I heard for the first 50 minutes was Cantonese. I guess they like to give you a crash course but it was really well done! My teacher is way qualified to teach. He just got back from his mission to Hong Kong 9 months ago and is attending BYU currently. He teaches very well and gives us the truth about how the Language really is since some of our text books are outdated. Cantonese is a "changing" language. For example, a lot of our books use the letter N, but in reality, most newer texts and the common language replaced the N with an L. Another example is that there used to be 7 tones, but now there are only 6.... not sure exactly how it works, but the langauge changes over time and so it's good to have someone who really knows the current language rather than learning from a text book that is over 10 years old.
We started teaching our first investigator on Friday. She is from Hong Kong and is 16 and studying here at BYU. she's only spoken to us In cantonese and it is pretty difficult to teach and understand her, but our second visit, which was the next day was much better. It is amazing how much you can learn in one day here!! The gift of tongues is SO present and working in my life and I can see it all the time. I think ASL has helped me a lot to really focus and pay attention because in ASL if I didn't look at every single movement of my teacher, I wouldn't know what she was saying. It is the same for Cantonese. I only understand a couple words of what my teacher says in a sentence, but I can use those to piece together what I think he is saying and so my brain is getting faster at recognizing the words that I know. Does that make sense? My vocabulary is growing quickly too. I think I know about 100 words in cantonese. I pray in "chinglish" where I will say every word I can in Chinese and then fill it in with english words. I know how to bear my testimony on Christ living, that God loves us, the book of mormon is true, Joseph smith is a prophet. God has a plan for us, reading the scriptures makes you happy, and that you can pray to Heavenly Father at any time and He will answer. I am very suprised at how quickly I have learned these things. My companion is as well. He says that he couldn't pray without the book to help him until after a week here and I was able to do it on the 3rd day! Not to boast of myself in the slightest, but it is an answer to prayer because I have been praying for a long time for the language to not be a hindrance to my teaching.
I want to teach the Lord's gospel to anyone who will hear is as soon as I can and I think the Lord is recognizing that desire and helping me more than I can ever imagine. I lay awake at night after praying just SO thankful for everything that has happened in the day. Once i finish my formal prayer, I will just lay there and ponder and commune with thoughts I guess to My Father in Heaven for all of my blessings. He has blessed me so much here and in my life. I am so blessed to be here and with the opportunity to bring to pass His work and His glory. We watched a talk by Elder Holland last night about that concept. Of making God's work, our work, and doing it his way, not ours. it was awesome and so inspiring!! My companion is a very hard worker. He also eats REALLY fast so that He can get back to studying. We are given 50 minutes to get our meals, eat them, and clean up before heading to class, and almost always we have eaten and are done in 30 minutes and then he pulls out his flash cards while the others in our district finish. He is an amazing Elder and I am so glad to have him. His name is Elder Staheli (pronounced Stay-lee).
Speaking of our District...... He and I are what you call "solo" elders. The only other person in his district is a sister missionary, and the only other 2 in my district are sister missionaries. Since he and Sister Ainge (his district companion) are 7 weeks in, they are in a different class than me and the other 2 new sisters, so it's weird beacuse He and I will walk to the same building, but then have to go into different classes. They can't be in the room without the teacher, and when me and the sisters are in our class room, we all have to leave together. So it's like half the time I have 2 sisters as my companion, and then other times I''m with Elder Staheli. It's not what I was at all expecting, but that's what we have to do since only us 5 are learning Cantonese. I have checked often though to make sure we are staying within the Guidelines, and I have been reassured several times that our unique situation is fine and that we just need to be diligent and make sure we are extra conscious of not being alone with 1 sister or leaving companions or such things. So yeah..... That's the sitch with my district. I am also the District leader since I'm the only Elder in our district. I am also the only elder in the entire MTC that is going to Sydney speaking cantonese, pretty crazy to think of! but it struck me that in PMG it mentions that the gospel will be proclaimed to every person in HIS OWN tongue. So it makes me realize that the Father is relying on me to be the unique tool he needs to declare the gospel to the Cantonese speaking people in Sydney because He loves them just as much as He does any of His other children. All the other people learning cantonese are going to Hong Kong. The MTC is great here!! Love you and the Family so MUCH!!!!
Please pray for Pauline. She is our investigator. She is very humble, but didn't know who God was, or what prayer was before we taught her. Please pray for her by name, I know she can use all the help she can get for understanding our low quality cantonese! :) Love you!!