As of now, I am leaving December 10 for Syndey! :) I met an Elder that just came in from there last night and he's so excited to have me go there. I kinda am too i guess :b. So some info regarding the New Mission rules/ requirements.... we just had a fireside last night and the speaker addressed some of these things. They will be cutting missionaries time in the MTC by about 1/3 starting in January. Therefore, Anika, if you get your call and enter the MTC before the first week or so of January, chances are you'll be there for the full time. Otherwise, you'll either be here for 2 weeks, 6 weeks or 8 weeks depending on the language you'll be speaking. They are expecting a big influx of missionaries within the next three months, so the speaker told all of us to be prepared to become trainers soon because they are expecting the largest number of missionaries to come through in the summer and they will be needing lots of new trainers. I can't imagine training after just a few short months! They have initiated a new program as of about 9 months ago where, when a missionary enters the field, they redo all of PMG and have a specific training program for the first 12 weeks that the Missionary is in the field. All of these things point to the fact that the Lord is hastening His work!!! It is crazy to think that in 2 weeks Elder Staheli will be gone and I'll be training a new cantonese missionary....... I hope I can be as good of a trainer as he was! We are both very busy here. We were called to be zone leaders last week and it has been quite odd to switching into that adjustment.
Elder Bednar came for our Tuesday Night Devotional!!!!! It was so cool!! When the doors opened up and he walked in. The spirit flooded the room and everyone immediately stood up! It was a crazy awesome experience! He talked about the need to study conference addresses and shared with us how he does his personal study. Pretty sure everyone who listened now is going to study in a similar way because if an Apostle studies this way...... You can't really go wrong with studying that way haha! :) He talked about how he will always look for Doctrine (a salvational truth) Invitations, and promised blessings. He will find these in every talk and ponder each of them seperately. He will look for the core doctrines that the Brethren are speaking about, then find the invitations they offer and the promised blessings, and then he will try to follow them to the best that he can. He mentioned something about doctrine that was really cool. He said that a lot of times we in the church like to refer to some things as "deep doctrine." but that in reality, those are not deep doctrine because Doctrine is basic, simple, and is a salvational truth. Most of the things people refer to as "deep doctrine" has little if any significance to one's salvation. So that was a really cool thing to learn.
So a little disclaimer about the whole investigator thing...... brace yourselves. The investigators are really our teachers haha! The first week they give you a new "investigator" who then after 5 or so lessons becomes your teacher. These "investigators" are real people that they know or someone they met on their missions. So they are real people, and we are still supposed to treat them as if they were a new investigator, but they in actuality are our teachers. Sorry, I didn't know until my companion had me give a baptismal interview to his investigator, and when I entered the room, it was his teacher haha! The teachers do a AWESOME job at switching roles. I honestly dont feel like I'm talking to my teachers because they fit the roles SO well!!! And they aren't allowed to speak a single word of english, so we really do feel like we are teaching someone from Hong Kong. Especially Sister Tai, she role plays her best friend "Kim" and I really can't believe its the same person because she completely switches her role and doesn't ask the regular questions you'd expect a church member to ask. I think it's because all the teachers really knew well the people they role play so they can do an awesome job. But yeah..... was a tiny bit sad to realize they I couldn't actually baptize Pauline before Leaving the MTC as "Pauline" really lives in Hong Kong and is my teacher's best friend. But I can totally see why the MTC does it this way. It helps the teachers tremendously to help us teach according to our investigtor's needs and helps them prepare us as best they can. So for any future missionaries reading this..... don't treat your investigator like your teacher because it won't work. They won't sympathize with you and will treat you just as if you were 2 missionaries teaching them and they didn't know you from anywhere. All things here are set up to help us teach to our investigator's needs. We have a lesson every single day except sunday and so a lot of study time goes into preparing lessons and then translating them into Cantonese. My Cantonese keeps coming along much better than I was expecting.
The blessings here are so amazing! Thank you to everyone who keeps me in their thoughts and prayers, I know they are being answered because I see blessings I could never hope to imagine. I gave my first blessing for the sick this week. Elder Staheli and I blessed Sister Larson because she caught a really bad virus and had to go to the doctor. After 14 hours of sleep (the doctor told her she needed to sleep as much as possible, so my teacher kicked her out of class one night haha! :) in a nice way of course!) she started feeling much better, but it was cool to give a blessing of healing and comfort, rather than just a blessing of comfort and guidance. My time is up now, I love you all so much and am so grateful for this wonderful experience. Thanks to everyone who has and does support me. The work I am doing is in large portion due to your efforts on behalf!