Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Elders Navy Dalton, Tom, Elder Joe Empey

Tom with Sister Ainsley Ovard next to him 

This isn't even half of the mandarin elders and totally excluding all the sisters. Maybe that gives you an idea of how many friends I've made thus far.

High school buddies!

 Tom with Elder Josh Parr


So the MTC just gets better and better. I have had salad wraps for lunch and dinner for the past 5 consecutive days. so yes that is 10 wraps in a row with the exact same ingredients. veggies and veggies. too many kids have been getting sick off the meat lately. and the OJ which is a good story coming up haha.

As the days get monotonous its hard to have experiences that really stick out. So I'll just cover some of the more eventful moments of yesterday.

You are in the same classroom 10 hours everyday. it's about the same size if not smaller than my cabin bedroom. Surprising as it is, those white brick walls don't get any better to stare at. So when elder vaughn got really restless yesterday during study time I took him on a couple laps through the building and found a lot of decorations in the other rooms that arent even being used right now! so i definitely nabbed a huge Taiwanese flag and a couple pictures of Christ and apostles and such to hang up around our room. Also my dream catcher you sent is now hanging by the window so we don't have bad dreams while dozing off in class hahah. Call it stealing if you will, but I see it as if these things arent being put to good use then they might as well be borrowed permanently by me. And those incoming mandarin missionaries wont even know those decorations were originally in their rooms before they came in right? Also no one has really seemed to notice... So i'm pretty sure no one cares. or just that they havent put the two and two together that i'm a little thief!! bahahaha if someone says something or makes a scene perhaps I'll consider returning our BadA decor.

We discovered the OJ here explodes. Dump a little out, spit in it, screw the cap tight and let it ferment for a few days then BOOOOM! I literally thought the TV fell off the wall. So the MTC serves us liquid bombs and I'm pretty sure they have no idea! There will definitely be some funny pranks to come out of this chance discovery.

There are these two elders that are going to the same mission as vaughn that are from shanghai and taichung. they look hilarious together. Jinzhanglao (same name as mine) from shanghai is almost 7 foot and probably 270 lbs. Hsuzhanglao from taichung is maybe 4 foot and 80 lbs. both chinese. They crack me up hard core and i love talking to them because they only speak mandarin and i only speak english. the language barrier is real and friggin hilarious.

I found these two sisters from Australia, one going to poland and not sure on the other. finally I found some people i can drop a few hells and dammits around and it means nothing!! they have different swear words so those are actually church accepted words down under. like common words in talks and testimonies!! so i know where I'm moving to after my mission bahahaha maybe only then i wouldnt get into so much trouble for my vernacular around these parts! they also taught me the aussie chant that i cant get over. Aussie OY Aussie OY Aussie aussie aussie oy oy oy! its a crack up so i'll be randomly chanting that when I don't know what else to say.

It's been super nice having Elder parr in the same residence hall. When the tongban (comp) gets to be a little much to handle then i just pop up to the 3 floor and kick josh's trash in pig and whatnot and steal his dorritos haha.

SOO here is my only spiritual update. (I don't feel the need to bear you my testimony every time since you probably here enough every sunday..) Last night our devotional was given by TC Christensen who filmed 17 miracles and a couple other church movies. We watched a bunch of clips from 17 miracles and he just kept expressing his admiration and appreciation for them. at the end of the talk he asked all those with Martin or Willie handcart co. heritage to stand. since i have both companies on both sides of my lineage, I shot right up! His reverence for my ancestors, especially since he had no pioneer ancestors in his own lines, really touched me deep. I was really grateful for my namesake at that moment. Perhaps I was also slightly excited to show off to the whole congregation that my ancestors were bosses but really i was just struck deep that this guy held my heritage with such high regard while I had always complained that my name wasn't Sven. Thomas is a great name. Thank you mom and dad.

As for the updates on the district and zone, my zone is so rad once again. Elder Robinson, Huntsman, Johnson, Nixon, Elliot, we're all getting really tight. all from similar backgrounds although I'm pretty sure I'm the poor one of the group haha. All sooo smart and way ambitious for business in the upcoming years. We've all talked a lot about our future business partnerships. We'll all speak mandarin too. so basically we're going to run all those international markets together hah. I'm taking your advice dad. I'm meeting the right kind of kids and making the right kind of friends. I might sound shallow but remember the most important thing about all these kids is I actually love them all a ton first. second comes our common desires for business partnership. So we're all becoming genuine friends and I'm suuuuper stoked about it. The lord has blessed me tons in my calling it really was theee perfect one.

Anyways, hope all is well. I love all the letters and emails you are all so great! thank you for everything and all the packages. keep sending pics of the little animals Chris and Miss and soon Lisa also. you all make beautiful babies. the chips are fantastic and mangoes have been gone since the first night! youre all beautiful and may the lord bless your souls abundantly!! love you all!

Jin ZhangLao
Elder Jensen

Monday, July 14, 2014

these studs are myself (bahaha) Huntsman and Robinson

my buds!! top LtoR: Heaps, Elliot, Robinson
bottom LtoR: Vaughn, myself, Wheeler

the district

Ni Men Hao!!

First off, I have no idea who anyone's email is. Mom, get me all of those as soon as you can that would be great, just anyone who wants to receive these I guess haha. So MTC is awesome loving it all. I've literally seen all my friends here so that's cool. Not a ton of pics though yet I haven't been carrying my camera like I should.

So I guess Bergen and lauren are coming to the cabin to chill with you mom and dad, that'd be fun for you. Just remember you love me the most forever even if they'll talk to you both a little bit more than I ever did hahah.

So my district is super rad. and zone. These kids going to Taiwan/Australia/Canada/France/US etc are seriously all such studs. I could not have been put in to a cooler zone. So diverse too! Here's the dynamics of the district in a nutshell. There's 10 of us, 4 sisters, 6 elders:
Sister Jenkins-reminds me soooo much of Anjuli tuscano its ridiculous. absolutely hilarious, seriously her laugh is the most contagious I've ever heard. But she's forward and loud and I could listen to her joke around for hours.
Sister Strong- one of those sweet softspoken sisters that you'd think wouldn't hurt a fly. She's sarcastic and can dish back anything to you! I love it when those kind of people totally take you by surprise by their fire.
Sister Fisher- very cultured, lived in a military family so she's lived everywhere. I haven't associated with her as much so I can't tell you as much.
Sister Liu- a Hongkongian, british, girl that only has American citizenship. Straight up Chinese, born there, but only an American citizen. She has fire too and me and her feed off of each other. She's brilliant in Chinese too so we basically answer all the questions kids have.
Elder Vaughn- my comp. No armpit hair yet haha. that should tell you it all. But surprisingly enough I love the kid. Lots of zone members wonder how I put up with him but you know he literally could do anything to me and my temperament is such that i just take it and dont think anything of it. The lord has blessed me immensely to be as relaxed about such a strict life as i have been. He has told me that he is bugged with how relaxed I am about everything because I think he thinks if I yell or get angry at him he wont take 45 minute showers, wont forget everything at the room, wont bug the others with his immaturity so I really dunno what he's irritated by. But once again, I love this kid, doesn't bother me at all which is miraculous to me.
Elder Wheeler- Renaissance man. There is nothing he can't do. He's 20 or so, fresh out of 3 years at Westpoint academy, but the most relaxed, easy going guy youll ever meet. He teaches us how to pick locks and such. Love that guy. His stories keep us entertained for hours.
Elder Robinson- basically me. a little more outspoken than me, but like similar backgrounds and personalities. I'm gonna have some of the best life long friends out of this experience. Robinson is district leader, an awesome one. He's probably the biggest screw off but also the hardest studier of the clan, idk how he does it but he manages and its great love that guy too.
Elder Heaps- from Smithfield. Hes a stud. knows Chinese pretty well too. Not super book smart as he tells me but he's got those streets smarts hahah. I love talking to him, he's so well thought out and can handle those deep conservations. me and him could theoretically solve the world's problems together about everything when we chat.
Elder Elliot- his dad is the organist for MoTab. He's also albert einstein. 36 on the ACT. I'm definitely going to maintain that friendship so we can party on his yacht and mansion in 5 years! but I ran with him during gym and he told me all about this light photon storage thing and how he wants to improve it or something...Mind blowing!! I am associating with some of the most brilliant kids here I have ever met and I love it.

Confession time. I have not done any personal studying at all yet hahah. The district is always waayyyy off topic in a collective discussion/argument. Yesterday we had essentially 3 hours of study time. During that time, Wheeler explained the differences between Cyclones and anticyclones and how weather patterns work. Elliot explained why toilets flush opposite ways depending on the hemisphere. I taught everyone the history of the 12 tribes of israel. and Vaughn very astutely pointed out that Adam and Eve were definitely white, to which all of us busted up and told him to not tell those Chinese people they can't imagine Adam and Eve as chinese anymore. I told him to not be racist and he shouts "I'm not stupid or racist I'm sitting right next to one!" and points right at Wheeler who hadn't yet told us but is half Colombian. So I guess Vaughn has something against hispanics but Wheeler is a stud and just takes it. So there are the dynamics of this group that makes it so impossible to focus when we're all together cuz we all just feed off of each other and get out of control and love being all together. In a spiritual way though! generally. I've felt it a couple times for sure during our bonding moments.

Mandarin is coming great. I can pray, testify, and hold conversation so thats cool. Teaching in chinese is rad too but straight up hilarious because imagine three white people sitting in the same room only speaking chinese! it takes me a couple minutes to calm down everytime I walk into that room before I can start teaching bahaha.

So i've wrote a ton. mom dad I'm sending you a letter at some point thats more personal so be awaiting that either wednesday or thursday. Love you all! Don't be afraid to email or write though. thus far I've only received a package from the Parrs which was lovely while the district is showered in dear elders and whatnot. But ni men are all great!
Wo ai nimen,
Jin Zhanglao
Elder Jensen

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tom with Elders Esplin and Parr

Tom with Elder Loo

MTC Rocks!

This place is awesome. Love it to death. My comp, Elder Vaughn is a stud. We work well together. Be assured I've had little time to think of home haha. But tell Lisa my new last name is Jin just like hers was. Love you all!

See you in 2!