Monday, September 16, 2013

Veteren status. Finally.

As of this Wednesday I will finally be six weeks old. I am finally an MTC vet. Almost done... Just. Keep. Swimming.
I am so looking forward to the field.
Last friday, my whole mission went to the Nationals baseball game.
And you know what is even better?
Ohhhh someone upstairs loves me and loves me a ton.
On a funny note, I threw up twice in the shower on Tuesday (due eating a bucket load of greasy food and working out really hard right after). Needless to say, there was no line to that shower the following morning so I got a free ticket in! (I made sure to loudly groan and say "Oh that's nasty" while taking my shower so nobody would be suspicious of my activity the prior night).
Also, I am known as the guy who dry heaves in the gym. I literally have to work out with a trash can right next to my bench just in case something decides it wants out.
Sister Shipp was given the Ventura, CA mission for her transfer assignment! I literally jumped up and yelped when she told me! I turned quite a few heads that day.
People say when you get to this point in the MTC, you really want that plane trip to come as fast as it can.
It's a hot and cold relationship for me at this point. I want to get into the field.... buuut I want to stay here because my Chinese does not feel up to par yet...

Alright so let's talk about devotionals for a bit... (This week I promised myself I would incorporate some spiritual things into my email home instead of simply talking about throwing up and stuff)
So here are the stats: every 700 doors knocked yields one conversion. 2 out of every three investigators referred to the missionaries and taught in a member home end up accepting the gospel. Moral of the story? We. Need. You. Yes you, average citizen members. We do not cease to be missionaries simply because we do not have a nametag on.... Xiang yi xia, Xiang yi xia (think for a moment). If you were a non member, would you be more willing to accept the gospel from a stranger knocking on your door, or from a friend who is inviting you to come over to their house and meet someone who has a special message for them? You tell me. Please, break that comfort zone! Comfort zones are no fun anyway! They were made to be broken!
Another good point that was made...
Simply because someone has refused the gospel before does not mean they will never accept it eventually.
Some people require multiple invitations before accepting it.
We need your help. Please.
Alright that is my message for the week! I wish you all the very best and I am so thankful for your prayers! If there is anything I can do for any of you from here, please, write me and ask. I will more than likely have no problem doing it.
Elder Valentine

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Orange Juice

Okay so hmm let us start with the orange juice....
There is a word of wisdom here at the MTC. What is that word of wisdom? DON'T DRINK THE ORANGE JUICE. Apparently it really cleans you out. Both ways.
Elder Caldwell, my current district leader, made a deal with his companion: next person to forget something from home has to pound 9 cups of orange juice. Nine. Cups.
He forgot something and had to pound nine cups....
He gave me the down low on how that went for him...
Turns out, he was in the bathroom more than class. Oh yeah, it's real.
Sooo I walk in to evening class a touch late, and one of the sisters (Sister Dahl-- the tall blonde one) boldly states to me "I bet you couldn't keep quiet for even one night."
"Yeup. I will bet you five glasses of orange juice."
"Make it six FULL GLASSES and you have a deal."
She hesitated a little bit.
"Oh come on you know I'm going to lose anyway; what do you have to lose? What's the matter? You were so confident a couple seconds ago!"
"Okay but you cannot say ONE WORD. Not ONE WORD or you lose."

two days later at breakfast she found herself pounding 6 glasses of orange juice.


Sweet, sweet justice. Hehe, no pun intended.
She was in a sick nasty state for the rest of the day.
Elder Caldwell gave me grief for making her go through with the deal. (Nobody had said anything about it that whole morning-- she was not planning on going through with it so I said something and reminded her of the challenge)
"You are a bad man Elder."
"Oh? Why is that?"
"You are making her go through with it."
"Is it a bad thing to hold people accountable?"
"No, but she is a Sister."
Oh that ticked me off.
"Hmm. That doesn't make sense to me. See, if I said one hint of a word-- which some of you tried so hard to make me do that night-- you would have not let me forget one second about the Orange Juice challenge I had to complete. Not one second."
That shut them up.
Hm what else happened this week...
Oh yeah! Sister Shipp's branch president!
Wooo... that guy is a stickler.
So I go up to him Thursday night at dinner (by the way, this guy was more intimidating than Maryann's father. My goodness) and I say "President Blah blah blah?"
"Yes? Sit down. What is your name?"
I flash my name tag and his wife starts laughing outloud "Oh it's Elder VALENTINE! We know ALLLLL about YOU!"
.... I had mixed feelings on how that comment should be received!
So I start talking : "President, I am aware that you told Sister Shipp to limit any contact with me-- she respects you so much and has made a grand effort to follow your advice. As you are aware, she leaves this Monday. May I say goodbye to her for five minutes at dinner sunday night? I will bring my companion and do it in public."
"Elder, I will give you not ONE SECOND over a minute. And I want someone besides your companion there."
"Okay. That is fine-- would you want to be that person? You can come watch us if you want."
"I'll talk to Sister Shipp about it."
"Alright sounds good see you around!"
"Did Sister Shipp tell you what I told her?:
"Hmm what was that?"
"I told her to make sure to write you every week and then send the letters to you as she is leaving the MTC!"
"Ahh yes thank you so much."
Okay so he didn't turn out to be COMPLETELY against me. Not completely. Mostly though.
oh yeah, I never got that minute by the way. (But I made up for it in other ways and said my goodbyes to her-- she left this morning).
Oh yeah.
I totally cried in front of the District that night.
Man card? GONE.
Dignity? GONE.
Okay not really but yeah. They took pictures of me because they thought it was funny. I thought it was funny too! I was laughing and crying at the same time! Elder Johnson dragged me into another room and I had a good sincere 2 and a half minute cry. Then I got my man on and walked back into the room.
I am officially half way through my MTC experience! 98 WEEKS LEFT IN MY MISSION! Oh my goodness that makes it sound like it is already over!
"Almost over what a bummer!" -Tony Horton
Haha. Well, we got a new teacher this week! He looks like a taller version of Joe! (forgot his last name... Hertz? Hert? Don't feel offended if you are reading this, Joe... I stink at names)
OH NAMES! You think it is hard memorizing peoples names? TRY MEMORIZING THEIR CHINESE NAMES! THEY ALL SOUND THE SAME! ZHUAN, ZHUANG, LI, SUN, WEI, so on and so forth. I swear, there are only like ten surnames and everyone uses them.
Well, there are the stories for the week.
Till next time, my friends.
Yeah so my companion is super not sensitive and isn't touchy feely whatsoever.
He literally jumps as if someone shoved a cattle prod up his rear if you touch him or even HUG HIM!
So last night he asked me if there was anything he could do for me...
My request?
Give me a hug.
Oh yes, I used this moment to my advantage.
So here is a picture of me getting a hug from him-- something I would never dream of accomplishing

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

O.K. it is time...Week 4 at the MTC

This will be a relatively short email, unfortunately :( Nothing huge happened!
I am no longer district leader! Wooo! :) Not that I had to do anything strenuous ... I just had those fat extra two hours of meetings each sunday that were not any fun!
Hmmm there is barely anyone left in our zone... As of next week, there will only be three districts, each of us exactly 4.5 weeks old (HOLY SHISHKABOB THAT IS HALF WAY THROUGH).

Time is now speeding by. Holy mackerel is it speeding by....
Planning is awesome. Seriously, plan, plan, plan. There was a study that showed for each minute spent planning, ten minutes are spent in execution...
If you failed to plan for thirty minutes of your day each day, that would result in 22 days of lost time a year.
Crazy. Right?!
Maryann is leaving in a week! She gets her reassignment this... Friday? We are thinking she is going to Georgia. I secretly (not so secretly, actually) want her to go to the San Fernando, California mission.... Or Virginia.... Or DC North... (NOT DC SOUTH. I WOULD DIE. I wouldn't be able to write her then, either! Blah!)
Ehehe there are some funny stories with that. The first counselor of her Branch Presidency almost said "The hymn will be conducted by Sister Valentine" at her Sacrament... eheheheh I thought that was pretty stellar. Lol.
This week I definitely learned about the huge difference there is when the spirit is present at a lesson vs when it is absent. Holy cow what a difference. The Spirit makes such a huge difference...
My companion and I were just messing around the hour before a lesson one time and we bombed it. We bombed it hard. Wickedly hard. No fun. Nooo fun.
On the flipside, we dominated another when we were super prepared :) I love it.
Sorry this email was so short D: I promise you next week will be better!

Elder Valentine