Monday, October 28, 2013

7th week at the MTC

Hello 가족!

This is an exciting week. So, I will try my best to describe everything but hopefully this email will not turn into a novel. First things first, I got my travel plans today and it turns out that I will be leaving the MTC earlier than expected. I will be leaving on the Nov 07, 2013, which is a week from this coming Thursday! It is crazy to think that my time here at the MTC is almost over, but I am incredibly excited to start serving the Lord and the people of Korea. Hopefully I will be able to run into cousin Sis. Blickenstaff at the mission home or at transfers. It truly will be surreal to see everyone that I have met at the MTC in the mission field. 

Second of all, I did receive your package the other day! It was filled with many goodies and beautiful skirts. Do not worry about sending me any other treats because I am having a hard time getting rid of them all. The sisters in my building know me as the treat lady, so they avoid me. Haha. I have now resorted to doorbell ditching treats. Yes, I have sunk to a new level. 

Also, I saw the photo of me and Sis. Thorne. What happened?! Haha I truly do need to start wearing more makeup or something because I looked like I aged 50 years. It was a wake up call. Haha. Also, when you wear make up everyday, it does not seem to last as long as it used to. It was a lot of fun to run into her and I have seen her several more times here on campus. She says that she is enjoying her time at the MTC and will be heading out to Dallas on Monday! She will do amazing things and I cannot wait to hear more about her mission. 

Things with Kwon 형제님 and Jung 형제님 are going very well. They are starting to read the Book of Mormon on their own and I can see their faith in Jesus Christ grow. It will be amazing to see how they transform throughout the conversion process. Sometimes when we are teaching, the spirit is so strong that it feels like he is present physically in the room. It is absolutely crazy! Tonight, Rose 자매님 and I will be teaching a 40 minute TRC lesson. I have no idea what we will be teaching, but I know that it will be good. We will prepare a myriad of topics from PMG, but it is definitely up to the Spirit what lesson we actually teach. Whatever lesson it is, I want it to be impactful and beneficial to the volunteers. Also, if you know someone who would like to volunteer at the MTC/TRC, you should convince them to do so! It is so beneficial to the missionaries and it really helps us learn how to teach people and not lesson. Mom and Dad, you should consider it because I know the Chinese missionaries would love to talk to native Chinese speakers! 

I cannot believe I am leaving so soon! I am going to miss the MTC, but I cannot wait to return to Asia. I love the people, culture, food, and I will be sharing something that I have come to love so much. It is so strange for me to be saying that, but it is true. I have come to realize how much the Lord has influenced my life. I am so glad that there were people around me to help me realize it. It almost makes me incredibly sad that it took me so long to realize it. So, I am going to be sending some pictures right now. Don't post them on Facebook...I beg of you. Haha infact, you can just neglect my facebook. That would be ideal actually. Who needs Facebook and what is that anyways? :)


Sis. Melanie Chao 

차오 자매님

Friday, October 25, 2013

6th week at the MTC

October 18, 2103

Hello Family,

I cannot believe that it is P-Day already...time is just flying by here at the MTC. It is so strange because the days are really long, but the weeks are really short. In a little less than a month, I will be in the beautiful land of Korea! I cannot wait to serve the people there, but I am also grateful that I have more time to "master" the language and learn more about the gospel. This week has been relatively uneventful here at the MTC. 

My companion and I have been teaching our two investigators Bro. Jung and Bro. Kwon. Bro. Jung is asking a lot of questions in our lessons, which is a good thing because we can make sure that we are addressing his concerns. We asked him if he would prepare himself to be baptized, and from what I understood it sounds like he will. I hope he does because there is so much happiness involved with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bro. Kwon is not progressing as much, but I can tell that he is genuinely interested in learning about the gospel. It may take us longer, but I enjoy meeting with him and talking about the basics of the gospel. It really helps me spiritually because all I really know are the simple truths. 

Sister Thorne & Sister Chao
This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to hear from Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Sis. Oaks. There talks were very powerful. Essentially, I know that the Lord has prepared all of us for the trials that we will encounter in this life. The Lord knows exactly where we are, what we feel, and what we can accomplish. All we have to do in order to succeed is to have faith and rely on Him, which is a terrifying concept when you think about it. No one really likes to think that they cannot do something on their own, but in reality we succeed in part because of Him. It has taken me a long time to realize this idea and I am still learning about it.


So the Korean sisters and I had a KPOP jam session on our way to gym the other day. It was hilarious because the Korean sisters were quite reserved before that moment, but for some reason they just decided to let loose around me. It was hilarious and now we have become close friends. I am actually quite sad that they are leaving this Monday for Pusan, but it also means that the next group of Koreans will be going to Seoul and Seoul South. Do you know what that means?! It means that I am almost done here at the MTC! Although it will be quite sad, I must say that I will not miss scrubbing toilets and sketchy stains out of urinals.

So one day while I was doing service, I was assigned to cleaning the vents in the bathroom ceilings. I thought the supervisor in charge was giving me a meaningless task because there was nothing else to do. Well, the other day I realized how important cleaning those vents are. I was in the bathroom stall and I look up and this big nasty spider started coming down. Oh my goodness, what do people do? Do they run or do they stay? Anyways, I won't get into the details but nothing is more terrifying than a spider greeting you during one of your most vulnerable moments.
I love you guys and I hope you are all doing well! I love you and cannot wait to hear from you!


Sis. Chao

5th week at the MTC

Oct 11, 2013

Hey Family,

Today is officially my one month mark at the MTC! Can you believe it? I know I cannot because it feels like I just entered the MTC. There have been so many notable experiences at the MTC this week, so I will do my best to make it short and sweet. Everyone hates a novel email...I know I do! 

This week, my companion (dombanja) Sis. Rose and I taught our investigators Bro. Jung and Bro. Kwon. We decided to take a new approach and apply as much of the gospel principles to their lives. Bro. Jung was very excited to learn how the atonement and serving others can strengthen his relationship with Christ and his family. Our second lesson with Bro. Kwon is this week and we are hoping to create a lesson that will apply to his busy graduate school life. We tried asking him about what his concerns are, but for some reason he didn't open up. is okay to have some emotions and concerns. 

Another highlight of the week is that I was able to listen to a talk by Elder Bednar about recognizing the spirit. In his talk, Elder Bednar mentioned that a lot of people struggle with knowing whether or not the spirit is talking to you. I know I have struggled with this question and it has often made me question whether or not the spirit exists. Well, I have come to learn that the spirit can talk to us in many ways. It may not always be something magical like a unicorn descending from the sky surrounded by halos or the feeling that your heart might explode with more hearts, but it can be a simple thought or impression. Essentially we have to stop worrying about it. If the thought is something good, it is most likely coming from spirit...after all, do not all good things come from God? Another thing I learned from this talk is that we may not see the effects of following a prompting immediately, but that does not necessarily mean that it was not from the spirit. That is pretty much the synopsis of Elder Bednar's talk, but I may have added a few minor details like the unicorn.I really wish there was a way that you could access the MTC devotionals because they are filled with incredible messages. 

I actually had an experience with a prompting from the spirit this week. Right after teaching Bro. Jung, I had this thought that we should walk around the building before heading to class. It was a bit odd because normally Sis. Rose and I just walk straight back to class. So, I told Sis. Rose that I felt like walking around and she agreed to because she is a really good companion. As we walked around, we noticed a lady sitting on a bench outside. As soon as she saw us, she asked us the time and then started asking questions about why were at the MTC. We told her that we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that we were learning to preach the gospel in Korean. It turns out that she was not a member of the church, but was sitting on the bench waiting for her husband. To make a long story short, my companion and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with this sister for 20 minutes. It was an incredible experience and we were able to clear up a lot of misconceptions that she had about the gospel and LDS culture. 

Things get a little crazy on Wednesdays and the sisters tend to pack a lot of stuff. I have never lifted so many pieces of heavy luggage in my entire life!

Well, I have to go check on laundry...but I will write you individual emails as well. Love you!


Sis. Melanie Chao 

4th week at the MTC

Week 3 October 4, 2013
Hello 가적!

Well, I have officially been at the MTC for three weeks! Crazy, right? I cannot believe how fast time is going. This week has been especially good and I cannot wait to tell you all about.

This past Friday, my companion and I went to the TRC for the first time. There is only one word to describe...hilarious. We literally had no idea what TRC was until 5 minutes before we had to go. So my companion and I tried our best to make up a lesson and off we went. We met Sis. Siepel and we attempted to get to know her. Our sentences were probably 85% English and 15% Hangumar, which meant that there were many moments of awkward silence. Well as you know, when things get awkward...I start laughing. At first I was able to hold it in, then out of no where my companion says "하나님 아버지" which means Heavenly Father and I burst out laughing. I could not stop! It was then the volunteer burst out laughing and it was a mess. Do not worry, we were able to calm ourselves down and deliver a wonderful message about Jesus Christ. 

The MTC truly would not be the MTC without the weekly spiritual slaps to the face. Over the past few weeks, my companion and I have been teaching two different investigators (구도자) about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Well last night, my companion and I had this overwhelming feeling that we were approaching our investigators the wrong way. We did not really know what that meant, so we decided to pray and study the scriptures. After a lot of studying and praying, it became blatantly clear that we were not teaching people, we were teaching lessons. Yes, we knew the lessons but we did not know a whole lot about our investigators. My companion and I were so worried about our language abilities that we did everything we could to do only things that were in our comfort zone. When we discussed this more, we realized that we were also too busy comparing the progress of our investigators to others in our district. This upcoming meeting, my companion and I have decided to apologize to our investigators and TRULY get to know them. We may be starting at square one again, but I know that this is what we are supposed to do. 

Random tangent, so in my flat there are vanity mirrors and lights attached to each of our dressers. Well, the sisters and I call the light attached to my dresser as the obedience light. The other day, I noticed that the light in the dresser was flickering.  I randomly made a joke that perhaps it only works when I am obedient. So I said "Hey light, I am not going to bed at 10:30." Then out of no where it turns off. I then quickly responded "Just kidding, I promise I will go to bed at 10:30." It then turns back on! I thought it was coincidence, so I said something else and it turned off again. Then I waited for 5 minutes and said I would be obedient and it turned back on. POSSESSED! 

As for packages, thank you for sending me all of those items. :) It truly made my day to get a package with pimple cream, Pringles, Burberry, seaweed, a Korean paper, and other reminders of home. They truly do make terrible days into great ones! You don't have to send me anymore candy because I will get fat. You think I am kidding, but I am seriously gaining weight here and I don't even eat the food! What is going on?! Okay, I am not gaining weight but it truly does feel like it. 

So Kimmie Thorne enters the MTC in two weeks? I may see her because my district and I will be helping host at the MTC on Wednesday. Essentially that means that we will be carrying bags up lots of stairs and comforting crying mothers. I cannot wait! Also, I don't really know what pictures I sent you because I cannot see them. Let me know what they look like and I will tell you who they are.

See you next week,


Sis. Melanie Chao 

3rd week at the MTC

September 27, 2013

Hello Family,
I cannot believe that I am almost at week 3 of the MTC. Time truly is going a lot faster than I anticipated it going. To be honest, at the beginning it felt as if though I had been born and will eventually die here. That being said, my mindset has definitely changed and I think that the experience is going by too fast. I don't think there will be another time in which I will be on sacred grounds and surrounded by people who are trying their best to be like Christ. It truly is an uplifting experience. I have no doubt that if I came home after week 9 at the MTC, I would still be a better person than when I entered. That being said, I will not be coming home until I have finished serving the entire 17 months (apparently sisters now only serve 17 instead of 18).

Met an old friend who came to visit the MTC during the Sunday
Korean is going relatively well. I don't really know a lot of Danno (Korean Terms), but I am starting to be able to formulate sentences and speak relatively well for someone who just started learning Korean. I must admit that there are times where I feel frustrated because I am unable to effectively convey Christ's message, but those moments are where I learn the most. Korean has forced me to simplify everything that I know and allow the spirit to do the teaching. At the end of the day, it is not me converting investigators. It is the spirit that is teaching the investigators. In all honestly, I am merely a tool in the Lord's hands. 
Before I forget, I recently watched an incredible talk by Elder Bednar. The talk is called "Character of Christ." You guys should try to look it up because it truly teaches you about what it means to be a follower of Christ. Look it up! I really can't emphasize that enough.

Non-spiritual highlight of the week, when I wear my bejeweled pants to makes my sheets spark! Literally, I spent like 5 minutes the other day just making sparks in the dark. I might be hallucinating or it could actually be happening. If I am hallucinating, it is because the food here is terrible. You think I am joking, but I am totally not joking. The other day, my companion and I had mandarin oranges that tasted like they were soaked in Vodka. I am pretty sure individuals could have gotten drunk off of those fruits. 
Got to check my laundry! I love you!

Sis. Chao