Still Attempting to Learn Chinese

Elder Simonson – Gettin’ Lit up and feeling the (Christmas) spirit at the MTC

Hey everyone!

My first and second week at the MTC has been awesome! We have devotionals on both Sunday and Tuesday, plus special ones on holidays. On Thanksgiving, Elder Dallin H. Oaks was the speaker! He gave a great talk about obedience and gratitude (what a coincidence that it was Thanksgiving…). He brought up a good point that we should be grateful for even the adversities and trials that we have because we will be blessed when we overcome them.

Filling the bags...

Filling the bags…

Instead of having a Thanksgiving dinner, we had a lunch so the cafeteria would be clear for our service project later that evening. For the project, we made bags of dehydrated lentil casserole that would be distributed to needy families in Utah. We ended up making over 357,000 bags total – the most that’s ever been made at the MTC before! (From Mother Terresa – found the story online and a picture with Austin in it! I added the picture, and here’s the link:

Ever since the moment we got to the MTC, our language teacher has only spoken Chinese to us. Occasionally he will say something in English if it would be extremely difficult for us to understand otherwise, but for the most part, he only speaks in Chinese to us. We’ve already learned how to bear our testimonies in Chinese, say a prayer, ask someone to read a scripture, and extend an invitation to an investigator. It’s coming a long pretty well. We have, on average, about 6 hours of class everyday except Sunday and P-Day. We also have to teach an “investigator” 100% in Chinese nearly everyday.



I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, but it’s definitely not as hard as I anticipated. No matter how much I learn by the time I leave here in January, I know it’s going to be very difficult when I get to Taiwan. Our second teacher just got back from his mission in Taiwan Taipei and said that despite everything he learned in the MTC, he was lost once he got to Taiwan…it took him about 6 months there to get it down. For now though, I’m just going to continue studying and doing the best I can, and I know that I’ll be able to do what I need to when I’m in Taiwan.

The picture below is of our entire zone (and also our Branch). My district has two “tri-panionships” consisting of 3 elders (the group that I’m in) and 3 sisters. The other district has 4 elders and 3 sisters. This makes Sacrament meeting a bit weird since there’s less than 20 people there, but it’s still a great meeting!

Mandarin missionaries

Mandarin missionaries

Elder Austin Simonson

One thought on “Still Attempting to Learn Chinese

  1. Great message! Also received another wonderful note from our grandson, Elder Bassett, serving in the wildlands of Gilbert, AZ. We’re currently visiting family and friends in SoCal…. including M-I-C-K-E-Y and about a zillion of his ear-wearing friends!

    Keep on keeping on Elder!

    Elder & Sister Bassett

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