Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Taiwan Bound!!!!!!!!- August 26

So I haven't packed yet and we leave tomorrow morning at 6 am soooo needless to say this will be a very short email. But I have a lot of pictures so that can compensate...right? 

Time is flying by. Last Tuesday was my 1/2 birthday...I am officially 1/2 a year away from being in my 20s......what the heck? 

I am really going to miss the MTC. The MTC and I have had our moments...I've been pushed to my limit here and it's been really hard. But somehow--everytime I feel like I can give no more, I am able to keep going. I think this is because "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." When I work the hardest I can with my will aligned to His, He will carry me. I know my prayers have been answered. I know that God listens. I can't think of any other time in my life where I have learned so much in such a short period of time. This is a really special place. 

BUT I AM SO EXCITED TO GO! Well, here's the jist of what is going to happen in the next 48 hours of my life: 

--wake up at 5:30 tomorrow and finish packing/get ready to go 
--board the bus at 6 am 
--take front runner train to the airport 
--board the plane to LAX 
--Land. 4 hour layover. CALL HOME :) 
--board the plane to Taiwan 
--fly for 16 hours. (That's just enough time to read the entire Book of Mormon with some naps in between, right?) 
--land in Taiwan and meet President Day 
--go to the mish home and SLEEEEEEEEP 
--then training begins and I will be an official missionary doing missionary things! 

I am also super happy because we are traveling with everyone in our generation who is going to Taiwan Taipei (23 missionaries) We are all very close. Also, my companion is the Travel leader...but its funny cuz she's never ever been on a plane let alone to an airport before so she is scared out of her mind. haha. But it's okay, I will help her out. till we get to Taiwan.....then I will have no idea what is going on. 

Well i need to go do things. Sorry if this email is lame but I promise...next week's email will be CHAO JI YOU YI CI!!!!! (super interesting!) 

Enjoy the pictures and keep it real, everyone! 

Off to Taiwan!!!!! 

Sister Tracy/Zhong Jie Mei

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Shenme dong dong! that's Chinese for holy cow (sort of) - August 19

Okay pretend that ! is a question mark because this keyboard is malfunctioning and the question mark doesn't work. 

MOM I got your package FINALLY. I got the package slip on Saturday but the mailroom closed so Ive had to wait all weekend to get it. But it is awesome because I have so much food now YAY. 

KARAZAY WEEK for the following reasons 

1. I GOT MY TRAVEL PLANS!!!!!!!!!!! We leave August 27. I believe our plane departs at 11:20 am. We land around 12:30 pm in LAX. Then we have a 4 hour layover in LAX. Then we depart for Taiwan at 4:50 pm. we land in Taiwan the next day at 9:20 pm. AMAZING! IMPORTANT - Mom and Dad, I am allowed to call home at some point during this time. I'm planning on calling you during the layover. PLEASE be by the phone all day on Aug 27 just in case. Let me know which phone to call too. 

2. We got our Chinese nametags!!!!!! I'll send some pics. So crazy! We aren't allowed to wear them in the MTC though because not everyone knows Chinese. 

3. I am super sick! I have laryngitis and I cannot talk which stinks because I need to practice speaking Chinese as much as I can until we leave but I can barely say a word. The nice thing is my Branch President let me go back to the dorm yesterday and sleep. And people brought me my favorite foods from the MTC cafeteria...pb and j, crackers, carrots, and granola. (Clearly, I don't like a lot of the MTC food). Good day of rest for me! 

We skyped a boy in Taiwan on Monday. It was the weirdest conversation of my life. The boy learned English from a British teacher so he has an Asian English accent. He really wanted to practice his English on us so he spoke a mix of English-British-Chinese to us and we spoke Kindergarten-level Chinese back to him. Thank goodness the lesson went well (gift of tongues). 

5. At devotional, guess who came to speak....ELDER SCOTT!!!!!!!!! It was incredible! And I got to sing in the choir for him. Oh, and it was broadcasted to the MTCs around the world and apparently I was on camera twice! Elder Scott talked about prayer and revelation. Wonderful insights! I will write you guys about it later because I have zero time to type today. But what I really liked was his comment that when we don't get an answer to our prayers it means the Lord is wanting us to exercise our faith...that's when the answer comes. Everyone remember that! Also, right when he walked in the room I felt very strongly that his wife was present. Midway through the talk, Elder Scott broke down a little and said, "Sorry that I am so emotional. I feel my wife's presence in the room." WOW the Spirit speaks! 

6. This week my district is observing Consecration Week (i.e., we are speaking no English). If we don't know a word we are forcing ourselves to look it up and spell it out till we know the Chinese. It's a great motivator and will push us before we end arrive in Taiwan. Hopefully, I'll be able to get my voice back soon so I can participate. 

7. Cool experience. We were listening to a Chinese translation of an Elder Bednar talk as a listening exercise. . At first, we had no idea what was going on. Our teacher stopped the talk and told us a personal experience he had with using the Spirit to translate Chinese. He told us to listen to the spirit harder, to be more open. We knelt down as a district and said a prayer. Immediately afterwards...we could understand...maybe not everything. but we understood what he was saying. Our teacher was so excited, "GIFT OF TONGUES, MISSIONARIES!!! YOU ARE DOING IT!" It was incredible. 

8. My new address. You do not need to write out the characters-thank goodness-cuz that would be really hard for all of my non-Chinese family and friends. If you write the characters it gets delivered faster...but if you do the following, it just mails a little slower. SOOOOOO write me at the following address 

Sister McKenna Dawn Tracy 
Taiwan Taipei Mission 
4FL, #24, Lane 183 Jin-hua ST 
Taipei, TAIWAN, ROC 

9. Spiritual thought of the week. God knows us. We are numbered and He knows us personally. I know that if we rely on Him and His spirit, He will help us know where we need to be and what we need to do. I know for a surety that Taiwan is the place for me. Even though I often think, I wish I was speaking English...it would be so much easier, I know that this is not my path. I realized this week that I am so so so thankful to be learning this difficult language because it forces me to be simple and teach the gospel simply and plainly. If I were to be in an English speaking mission I know I would focus way to too much on HOW I was teaching rather than WHAT I was teaching. I would overcomplicate things with a language I know. Chinese allows me to speak as simple, gospel truths. It takes a really special person to serve an English speaking mission because they have the patience to teach the gospel simply. I would probably have a hard time with that. 

Well, last week in America for the next 16 months of my life. Last week before its go time for real. Let's do this!! 

Wo ai nimen! 
Zhong Jie Mei 
Sister Tracy 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 7izzle- August 12

Nimen Hao! 

Well this week starts week 8! shenme dong dong? (lol that means what the heck in chinese) 

Well this week was up and down and up and down and all around. Here are some highlights... 

We got new missionaries this week! They are so cute. We got 3 new sisters in our zone going to Taipei. they rock! its weird though, looking at them I am so reminded of myself when I was a new missionary. And the funny thing is they think our (the oldest generation) Chinese is incredible. Oh little do they know, we still speak with kindergarten gospel vocabulary. Its funny though cuz I thought the same about our older generation. 

We lost an amazing teacher this week.....no she didn't die....but it feels like she did. Wen Lao Shi had to start a new job as an English teacher at a middle school this week, so last week was our last lesson with her. The missionary-teacher relationship is so incredible and close. They literally spend EVERY DAY with you, talking about the gospel, Chinese, seeing every good and bad side of you possible. They know you very, very well. And Wen Lao Shi is an inspirational person. She is honestly the best teacher I've ever had. She always knows exactly what to say to me to make me feel better. She is so close to the Spirit that a lot of the answers to my prayers come through her. I will miss that. In our last class we all read from Alma 26 as a group. Its about Ammon glorifying God and talking about his missionary work. Despite all of the battles and trials--he has amazing reverence for God and such a close relationship. I said, "Sometimes, I feel like I cannot be as close to God as these prophets. They are too perfect." She looked deep into my eyes and said, "Oh missionaries. You all have the exact same opportunities as Ammon did. You all have the same God as Ammon did. You have every, exact right to have the same relationship with God as he did." How right she is. We have the same opportunities as the prophets. She also gave each of us a quote from Elder Holland. Everyone should read it. It gives me so much motivation to know that there are people on the other side of the veil watching over me. On the back of the quote,Wen Lao Shi wrote each of us a personal note too. I will never forget her. 

We love our teachers so much that we pitched in money to buy them these Jade Dragons. They were so surprised! They told us they would sleep with them because they loved them so much. In fact they did...they sent us photos to prove it haha. 

We get them this Friday!!!! AHHHHH. Oh and we get first names in Chinese this week too. In the Chinese culture. First names are very personal and sacred. They say a lot about a person's personality. Wen Lao Shi is going to give us our Chinese names. I am way excited. We will get our Chinese name tags too! 

I was asked on the spot to give a talk in sacrament this week without knowing before and in Chinese. It was also super scary because there was an actual investigator there and the MTC president and his fam!! I know that even though I cannot speak Chinese well...I was able to speak through the language of the Spirit. The investigator came up to me after wards and in broken English (she's from Taiwan) said, "Sister...I can feel your love in my heart. Thank you." I know with all my heart that with the Spirit and love of God...all things are possible. We can speak with the tongue of angels, the Gospel will be taught to everyone in their own language and by their understanding. 

Dad will appreciate this story. The other day I was teaching our investigator about repentance. I was trying to say, "You can go to the bishop and talk to him about your mistakes." The word for bishop in Chinese is "Zhu jiao" (Zhu in 3rd tone and jiao in 4th tone) Well I accidentally said "Zhu jiao"  (Zhu in 4th tone, jiao in 3rd tone). So instead of saying "bishop," I accidentally said, "You can go to the pig's foot and talk to it about your mistakes." Needless to say, the investigator was not willing to do that. 

I told you all that I would send you my new Taiwanese address. The thing is, there is an English address and an address in Chinese characters. I totally forgot to ask my teacher which one you all need to use. So for now, if your letters will get to the Provo MTC before Aug 27, keep using the MTC address. I will get back to you when I know for sure which address everyone is supposed to use. We'll probably find out on Friday when we get our travel plans. 

Okay, gotta go. I think we are going to have an apostle come talk to us tomorrow because at MTC choir yesterday they said that it was going to be broadcasted to the other MTCs because someone important would be speaking. AHHHHH I'll take good notes for you all. 

Okay, gotta go. Wo ai nimen! 

Zhong Jie Mei

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


BA YUE KUAI LE! (Happy August!) 

Time flies. My district and I are super excited because since August 1st we have officially been able to say "We will be in Taiwan this month." AHHHHHHH hen bang! (awesome). I leave on August 27, so I've got about 2.5ish more weeks left at the MTC. SHENME? (What?) 

Thank you to anyone who reads my emails. It's awesome that you like to hear what I say and also support me. :) Also a few shout outs. Shout out to Mallory because she's an awesome pen pal. Shout out to Elder Kohldog because he is safe in Peru. Shout out to Sarah for sending me Saxon and Matix's pictures. I will be sure to draw them an awesome pic today. And thank you for your sweet letter and keeping me up to date on the Bachelorette news. ;) Thank you Nina and Joey for sending me homemade cookies and the MI Reporter so I can stay up to date. Thank you MI Sunday School for sending me every flavor of M&Ms that ever existed and the sweet notes! And Dad for sending goodies. You all rock. My roommates also love you because I share the food you send with them. 

So in addition to the food I get sent in the mail, the older generation left last week and left us all this food. We are so spoiled. We have an entire closet shelf stocked with food. yummm. Speaking of food. I learned a few fun facts from my teacher this week about Taiwanese culture--which involves food etiquette. 

--When entering a Taiwanese home you must take off your shoes. 
--You must always acknowledge the elder of the household by BOWING (awesome so doing this everyday) or just saying "Hi how are you?" etc. 
--You cannot stab your food with chopsticks. 
--You must reach across the table...they don't ask anyone to pass anything ever. 
--You must must must finish ALL of the rice in your bowl! It's insulting to the farmers who picked the rice. Also if you don't, it's a superstition that your future spouse will be ugly (yikes). 
--Whistling at night--don't do it or else the ghosts will come out!!!!!!! 
--Taiwan missionaries get hit by a car an average of 4 times. Shoot. Don't freak out, Mom. 

So remember last week when I said that I was teaching via Skype? Uhh yeah..that lesson was bad haha. It took us 20 minutes to get the connection working. And after that the lesson just was --bad. No spirit felt whatsoever. Most of it was my fault because I was allowing myself to get frustrated with my companion. Oh well..you live and you learn right? 

BUT yesterday was awesome. During temple walk we ran into a bunch of teenagers you were visiting from Taiwan!!!! We talked to them for an hour! In Chinese! It was kind of hard to understand them because they spoke fast, but it was great practice. They were so kind to us. I was talking to one girl named Momo and I told her her name was cool cuz that's the name of the monkey on Avatar, the last Airbender. She had no idea what I was talking about lol. I tried to explain in Chinese but I just made her even more confused lol oh well. They said they wanted to practice their English with us. We had to go but I invited them all to volunteer at TRC and they said they wanted to come! Maybe we'll see them this Saturday! :) That sure made up for the bad TRC experience I had earlier this week. 

I've learned a lot this week about enjoying the little things in life. If you don't have fun...this MTC experience would be miserable! If you find yourself getting down ever, just take life a moment at a time! Seriously!
 (I put this sign on Elder Leo while he was sleeping lol)

I just got back from cleaning the temple an hour ago. Such an amazing experience. The sisters got to clean the crystal chandeliers. It was amazing,. I don't really have words to describe it. I miss the temple. The moment I walked into the Sealing room I just got super overwhelmed. I cannot wait to help others get to the temple and feel that same peace. 

I learned this week that if you feel like you need to bear your testimony--even if it's in another language that you've only learned for 6ish weeks--just do it. Otherwise the MTC President will call you out in front of the entire congregation because you look nervous and you're sitting in the front row. (Rookie mistake) 

I taught about tithing for the first time this week. We teach my teacher who is pretending to be a progressing investigator. I handed her a Chinese pamphlet on tithing and bore my testimony. She randomly starting laughing in the middle of our lesson and I thought "Shoot--I said something wrong." After the lesson she came up to me and showed me a pic in the pamphlet and said, "THIS is why I was laughing." The Asian dude in the Chinese tithing pamphlet looks JUST like an Asian version of Jerry Seinfield!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA i took a pic for you all. 
ALSO, super random...Ryan Reynolds (the actor) has a little brother. And he is in my branch. I found out the other day when talking to him. SOOOO WEIRD. He looks exactly like Ryan Reynolds, only shorter and younger. I'll take a creeper picture of him and send it home to you guys before I leave. 

have been saying to me "You and your sisters did sooooo well on Sunday!" Mom, Dad, am I a long lost quadruplet? 

I have learned so many amazing lessons here. I would like to share a quick thought. 

Throughout this week I have been starting to feel overwhelmed. Taiwan is approaching soon and as excited as I am for adventure I am also very afraid of what's to come. I am fearful for the future. 

Earlier this week I was reading Joshua 1:9 during personal study: "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid. Neither be thou dismayed. For the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." 

Later that day I heard a quote by Elder Holland: "I submit to you, choosing not to counsel with your fears is almost the most universally disobeyed commandment." I thought "Commandment? How could being not afraid be a commandment? Being afraid is so natural..it should be okay..." 

Later that week my teacher said to our class something truly inspired. I believe it was an answer to my prayers, meant for me and my personal revelation. She said, "We are safe. We are not insecure, we only think we are. Fear begins in our heads. We are the author and it is a clear tool of Satan. You really do have to let go and let God do His work." 

I realized something important. Fear makes us hide. Fear makes us put our light under a bushel. "Be not afraid" is a commandment because fear teaches us to be too concerned with the opinions of others. We become afraid to be bold, to explore, to find out who we really are. We make choices based on "safety" rather than making choices by the Spirit. We have to make a spiritual leap that says "I can let go of worry. I do not have to see things right now nor have all the answers delivered to me this day." I can trust because the One I trust is completely, undeniably trustworthy. 

I think my problem is that I want to see the end from the beginning. I would like to see at least a step or two ahead sometimes. Prophet Harold B Lee once said, "You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps in the darkness; only then the light will appear and show the way before you." 

Do not take counsel from your fears. It is a diminished source. Let us take counsel from the light, from the One who knows the end from the beginning and whose hand is over all things. "All things" means me and you too. 

Have a great week everyone :) 

Sister Tracy