Monday, September 1, 2014


Sister Giles (Gu Jiemei) & Sister Tate (Tan Jiemei) courtesy of Justin Edwards:)

OH MY HECK. I love the MTC. Seriously it is the greatest place. I feel like every day changes my life here. It's amazing. This was the first week that I have really felt like I can be myself in Chinese. I have no problem in class. I love speaking in class and I understand really well. But for some reason, when we get to lesson time I freak out and can't understand anything! It's the weirdest. But this week 2 really really awesome things happened. 

1. So we had a big lesson on Comp study this week from one of our teachers. He really stressed the importance of role play during our comp study. I thought it was weird and I wasn't sure how it would work. Then that night when Sister Tate and I were doing our study time, we both got the impression that we need to ditch our scripts for our lessons. What we've been doing up until now with our lessons (We've taught 5 times) is writing out every word we want to say in Chinese. We plan it in English and then translate. But we both felt like we needed to have faith and go by the spirit. In class we practiced giving a 3 minute lesson on the restoration to another member of our class. So we decided we would practice giving a mini-lesson using our restoration pamphlets for our role play. I started out and I had no idea where I was going... I asked questions and I gave facts... and then all of a sudden I felt like I needed to share an experience. This is hard for 2 reasons:
First, I do not have a vast knowledge of Chinese vocabulary yet and this experience required me to use a lot of words I didn't know.
Second, I'm very expressive with my voice... and you can't do that in Chinese because of the tones :) haha
But I digress, so I started to share this experience... and a miracle happened. I was able to be myself in Chinese! Shenme?! It was amazing! I totally felt like Maddie Mad-dog Giles! I was bold and expressive and it felt wonderful. My Chinese wasn't the best, but it will come with time. 

2. Each week we are required to prepare a talk for sacrament meeting. The Branch President will stand up as he's conducting and announce which sister and which elder will be speaking. It's a lot like Hunger Games. So I prepared my talk and it felt so good! I was actually kind of excited to give it, but I didn't end up being called on. When Sister Tate and I were practicing our talks with each other I once again felt just like Maddie Mad-dog Giles. I CAN DO THIS! :) haha One of my signature phrases is "LET'S GO WIN A FOOTBALL GAME!" I'll reverently whisper that to people when we hear an especially good talk or when anything happens that really pumps me up :) haha

Sister Tate is the best. I am 100% sure that The Lord put us together. (Strange fact, she looks nothing like herself in any of the pictures I've taken... I don't know why...) Her first name is Natalie and we were facebook friends before we came on the mission. SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE WIN! She's super enthusiastic about teaching and she's been doing a lot of work with the missionaries from her home ward in preparation for her mission. I love her. She's also super comfortable speaking Chinese. She took 2 years in high school. So we complete each other in a lot of cool ways. I'm better at reading and knowing tones, and she's better at speaking and vocabulary. It's great. She's a super hard worker and we laugh at ourselves all the time. I really feel like I can be myself with her and it's wonderful. Also, she's exactly mom's height, so when we hug it's like I'm home :)

I think there are 12 chuanjiaoshi (Missionaries) in our district. Most of us are going to Taibei, but we have one companionship who are both going to France but different missions. One to Paris and one to Lyon. we have 2 elders and 1 sister going to Hong Kong and we have 2 elders (I think) going to Canada. We're very diverse :) 
We only have 1 elder who is especially fluent. The rest of us had very little knowledge, or none at all.

Ok so we used to only have one teacher. Her name is He Laoshi (pronounced Huh). She is the most adorable little Chinese woman ever. She's from China and she only speaks Chinese. ONLY. But guess what? My superb charades abilities are coming in mighty handy. It actually makes other people think I know Chinese... which is completely untrue.  She was our only teacher for a while and every now and then we would have subs. She's kind of like our mom. We don't like it as much when other people come in. One elder put it really well when we had another teacher he said "It's kind of like our first day of kindergarten where your mom's walking away and you just are yelling at her, 'Come back and take away this scary man!'" haha that's basically how it is ;) but our other teachers have been amazing too. All returned missionaries and some from Taiwan! It's been cool. 

So yesterday was Sunday and oh my goodness it was amazing. So people always told me that the MTC was spiritual, but you don't really understand what the MTC is like until you're here. It is not the kind of spiritual I'm used to. My roommates and I were all talking the other day about how we feel like our relationship with God is very different now than it used to be. It just feels like the focus is much more about how much God trusts us. It's like the grown up kind of love from our Heavenly Father. Which is very nice, but very different. This gospel is all about growing up. I've realized that a lot throughout my life but being here especially. God expects a lot from us, but he expects it from us over time. LINE UPON LINE. This gospel is true. Yesterday we watched the talk called The Character of Christ from Elder Bednar. If you've never seen it, and you have an hour of free time (A term that I'm not sure exists anymore) I highly recommend it. I will never get the image of Elder Bednar imitating cookie monster out of my head. It was the best. But something that I learned a lot yesterday was the importance of being bold on the mission. Like I mentioned, during our lessons I wasn't exactly bold. In fact I was probably shy. Shenme?! (What?!) I know... it's weird. But All during yesterday I was taught over and over again by the spirit that I need to be bold. Then Heavenly Father blessed me with Elder Bednar's talk. HE WAS SOOO bold. IT was crazy and I'll never forget it. 

I will be bold!

I love you all so much. Thanks so much for your prayers and love. I have felt your prayers pushing me in moments where I feel I can't possible study one more word. Thank you for all the emails.  I appreciate them so much. I've felt so much love today it's been amazing. I will try to get back to you all as soon as possible. We don't have much time to email in the MTC:( 

Wo ai nimen!!!

Sister Giles (Gu Jiemei)

Maddie & Sweet Charlotte (McKenzie's former roommate)

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