After the temple today, Elders Liston, Matua, and Sisters Lindsay, Haacke, Hendricks, and I went to the travel office and asked if they had any updates for us. We were joking around and saying that we should have brought signs and go on strike. “Give me Visas or Give me Death!” Just kidding. I want visas, not death. They still don’t know anything. We don’t know when we’re leaving, but we know our reassignments have been cancelled. We’ll be staying in the MTC until the travel office gets our visas. It could be less than a week, or it could be more. We have no idea. They said they expect them to come in this week though, but we’ve been asking about this for 3 weeks and we get nothing every time.
Dallin H. Oaks spoke at Devotional! Apparently it was a CES Devotional, so it was broadcasted. Elder Oaks made a really good analogy in comparing missionaries to a pen, because a pen is an instrument, and we are instruments to the Lord. First, we want the pen to be able to work. Missionaries need to be able to work; we need to be healthy. Second, a pen must be filled with what it needs in order to work. Ink. Missionaries need to be filled with knowledge of the Gospel and a strong testimony. Third, we want our pens to write what we want them to write. We don’t want them going off doing their own thing. The Lord want missionaries to preach HIS gospel, not for us to teach people whatever we want to teach them. I LOVE APOSTLES.
Wednesday morning, Sister Hendricks and I were invited to a meeting with our MTC President, President Nally. We, along with 20 other missionaries, have been selected to attend a luncheon with the Thanksgiving speaker! We didn’t know who it was, until Thursday morning at the Thanksgiving Devotional…DAVID A. BEDNAR. He gave an amazing talk. He had people pass out cell phones and invited the missionaries to text him any questions for him to answer. So it was just a huge Q&A. It felt so weird to text. Elder Bednar made a joke and he said he could tell that we were a bit rusty. It’s true. I forgot how to text.
Then, I had lunch with him! I got to shake his hand twice. TWICE. I was fangirling so hard, but as reverently as possible. What I didn’t expect was for him to be so short. He’s not taller than 5’9”. We just had a devotional review in a small room with those 18 other missionaries and shared insights of what we got from the devotional. Right before he left, I shook his hand again, and I asked him what his favorite scripture was. He said he had no favorite scriptures, only favorite themes. He told me that one of his favorites was the theme “one by one”. In 3 Nephi, he calls the people forth to touch his hands “one by one” after his Resurrection. Why do you think the phrase “one by one” is so important? Because EVERY soul is great in the sight of God. Elder Bednar said that the phrase “one by one” appears 6 times in the Book of Mormon, and he already told me one of them, 3 Nephi 11. He challenged me to find the other 5. I found one in 3 Nephi 17 when Jesus calls the children forward and blesses them “one by one”, and one in Ether 3 when God touches the stones “one by one” to light them up for the Jaredite’s barges. I still have to find the other 3. Searching the scriptures is so fun!
After meeting Elder Bednar (I can’t believe I met him, this is crazy!), all of the missionaries did a huge humanitarian service project for the Utah Food Bank. We packed 366,000 meals for the hungry. That’s crazy! We beat last year’s record by 16,000! I mean, what else are you going to do with 2,000 missionaries on Thanksgiving? Put them to work, and have us do what we came out here to do…serve!
Then, we all gathered in 19M (where we have devotionals), to watch a film. While we were waiting for the film to start, they had a chorister lead all of the missionaries in singing primary songs! WE GOT SO TURNT UP. All of us missionaries did all of the hand motions to “Book of Mormon Stories” and “Popcorm Popping”, and we all jumped up and down when we sang “Jesus Wants Me for a SunBEAM!!!!!!”. When we sang “Follow the Prophet”, all of us Mandos changed up the words and sang “Gen sui XianZhi” (translates to follow the prophet). Like I said, TURNT. Then President Roach (1st Counselor in the MTC Presidency) announced what film we were watching. All of the Mandos screamed for joy when he said “Meet the Mormons”. Everyone else at the MTC had already seen it, and we were the most excited because we have been in the MTC the longest and we reported right before the movie came out. My favorite part of the movie was the story about the Naval Academy football coach. The main reason being that is was Thanksgiving and I got to watch a bit of football action. It was so satisfying watching that part of the movie. SO. SATISFYING.
After the film, President Roach instructed us to go out to the main plaza because they had a surprise for us. The Mando elders were joking around and said “We know what the surprise is! It’s the annual MTC dance!” Oh how I wish that was true. [Dad: #CuteElders #BAE #SanShiSan] But alas, we are missionaries. We went to the plaza and saw that they put up Christmas lights! We were so happy! We took so many pictures, and started singing Christmas songs, and agh, the Nally’s know how to throw a party! But we still had to be back at the residence halls at 9:30pm. It was the best Thanksgiving ever. Mission Presidents really know how to take care of their missionaries on holidays when we are all away from home:)
In-Field Orientation. They had all of the departing missionaries assigned to leave this week attend. It was really fun! They made it super interesting. They even did a play about a missionary arriving in the field for the first week. It was hilarious. While we were waiting for the play to start, they played a whole bunch of different hymns, but in a different arrangement. The music sounded like music they play in Disneyland while waiting in lines. I literally felt like I was in Disneyland because they had special effect, and it totally felt 4D. I was waiting for the bugs to crawl under my seat and I was ready to pinch my nose for the stinkbug part, but then I remembered I was still at the Missionary Training Center. The only frustrating part about In-Field was that I met a lot of missionaries going to Germany, Japan, and Argentina, and they all asked when we’re leaving and what our travel plans look like. They were all shocked that we still didn’t have travel plans. Everyone is leaving except the Taiwan missionaries. I’m convinced that we’re just going to be serving in the MTC for 18 months…
We had a very special devotional on Sunday. BYU Vocal Point performed for us! It was such a good show, they were hilarious, and their voices…just…wow. A few members of the group shared some experiences they had from their missions, and they performed Christmas songs, so YAY!
Funny Story of the Week:
Sister Oviatt’s mom loves her and send her Buc-cee’s Beaver Nuggets. BEAVER NUGGETS. When she showed me, I started bawling. And I NEVER cry. I don’t know how to emotion. But when she showed me those Beaver Nuggets, I was just so happy to see something so distinct to Texas, the greatest country ever. The tears were just streaming down my face. There are pictures. They are embarrassing but it shows my Texas pride.
The general mood for today:
Depressing. Even though this past week was just the best week ever, all of the Taipeis are still upset. Just the fact that we were supposed to leave today for Taiwan, and we still have no idea when we’re leaving is making all of us super antsy. Today I was screaming in my pillow…we’re all burnt out. And when we said goodbye to Elder Andersen (Australia Melbourne, Mando) today, it just hit me how different things are going to be from now on. We’re just going to have to endure until we get to Taiwan. The depression is real.