Monday, July 28, 2014

WEEK THREE: Jiaodao ren, bu kecheng

My subject line says "Teach people, not lessons." I've learned a lot a lot this week; this is just one of the things I have learned. 

We had some crazy awesome speakers at the MTC this week!!! Like Sheri Dew! We also had an entire family of 11 talk to us...a mission president in South Africa and his wife and their nine kids. They each had a common theme: obedience. Out of all of the TONS of advice I got before I left, one of the things that stuck was to be obedient. I can attest to that and it wasn’t just a coincidence that they all talked about obedience because I needed to hear it. After all, obedience brings blessings, but EXACT obedience brings MIRACLES. If anyone needs a miracle with learning this language, I do.

Something that happened this week: I feel like I hit a plateau in my learning. I know words, and I don't know words, but I don't know which words I need to know.

I had an interview with my teacher this week and she said a few things that really lifted my spirits:

1. She thinks that my Chinese is feichung hao. That means really good. That was a surprise.

2. She thinks that as soon as I learn grammar principles, my ability will skyrocket. 3. She thinks that my foundation in the gospel is right where it should be and that she can see my testimony not only in the things I say but just the way I am. This one was really helpful because I've been feeling a little on my own. All of my roommates are receiving answers to every prayer and being given guidance with the language during lessons and I kinda have felt like I haven't had that.

She said it's because I'm where I need to be and I don't need any specific push in any direction at the moment because I'm doing what I need to be doing at the right time in the right place. So that was good. 

Something we talked about in our district this week was that we need to IMPROVE to the end, not just endure to the end. So I just need to improve little by little and I will be on the right track. 

Well we also watched this AWESOME talk by David A. Bednar called Characters of Christ. Basically it was about how if I think of myself and am selfish, I will do no good to myself or others. I need to not be selfish and "Do better good things". Yah what I'm doing is good, but helping others while I do this is even better. "The Lord controls the harvest, but we control the effort." There's a little food for thought for the week. 

Funny thing that happened this week:
Laundry time is right before dinner which is right before class.  We did our laundry late so we had to take it to class. An Elder had to stand on my desk to get something on top of the bookshelf next to my desk, but my laundry was in the way. So he said, "Sister Wright, will you please remove your clothes?" in the sweetest voice you can imagine because he was just being polite. Only after about 5 seconds when we burst into laughter did he realize what he said!!! 

Also, I'M HOSTING NEXT WEEK!! Which means I get to rip children away from their families and give them a new home in the MTC. Just kidding...but I do get to show new missionaries around the MTC AND miss class ;) so I'm looking forward to that haha. I saw Carlan Brandt come in to the MTC this past week...he was the only one I knew out of this last batch, but maybe I'll know more next week!

TRC was this week...That stands for Teaching Resource Center. We have to teach volunteers once a week in Chinese of course. So our first lesson was two old men. One from Taiwan and one from Beijing. Our Chinese is still rudimentary at best so the man from Beijing kinda looked frustrated.

Only after the lesson did we find out he's a Chinese government wonder he was frustrated with our stupidity!! Then the next lesson was 3 teenage boys....two were cousins and one was a friend. So they chattered rapidly in Chinese and we couldn't get them to focus and basically we just kinda had a  conversation the whole time. Haha.

Last week on the way back from the temple, we met a Taiwanese sister who was converted by missionaries. We taught her son for TRC!! So hopefully it goes better next week!!!

Well choir practice was awesome as usual. We're singing “Hurrah for Israel”, which the speaker asked for. We aren't allowed to know who the speaker is yet...but when you type in Hurrah for Israel, the first one who comes up is L. Tom Perry!!! So that's cool. Some people thought it might be Elder Groberg from The Other Side of Heaven...I guess we'll see!! 

Well our zone is 63 people as of this Sunday. We got 16 new elders and 4 new sisters, but 19 missionaries leave tomorrow!! But we're the 3rd largest branch at the MTC so that's cool. Oh and I MEMORIZED the First Vision in Mandarin. It was no small feat, but I did it!!!!! Look it up to see how hard it is...

Ji Jiemei got a blessing this week because her back has been hurting. It was so cool to see all of our elders come together to use their Priesthood power to heal our fellow Sister.

We also taught a new investigator this week, who is actually our teacher. But it went really well. I understood a lot of what she said and we were able to get her to pray with us. Even though it's not real, it helps me see what it will be like in Taiwan. I also sat in on a lesson that some of the Elders from another district gave. I understood ALL of it. It was amazing to understand what was happening in a different language. I am not capable of learning Chinese this quickly on my own and I know that. But through the Lord, I can do it. I don't know how, but it's His work and it will not be stopped.

I'm reading The Fourth Missionary's incredible how the success I have is dependent upon my faith and my living in accordance with the rules I've been given. But it will make me so much happier if I do everything for other people!!! So I'm excited for this next week to try out a new attitude of selflessness. 

SO sorry my email has been sporadic and random this week. Not a lot of time and so many things I want to say! But I love you all and I love this experience!!!! Write me please, I want to hear what's going on!!

Wo ai nimen,
Ren Jiemei

Monday, July 21, 2014

WEEK TWO: Shenme dongxi!!!!

Hello everyone!! This has definitely been a great week! Of course how could it not be...oh and the subject line literally means "what stuff" in Chinese, but it's used like "WHAT THE HECK"!!

We heart the MTC

Well new missionaries came in on Wednesday! So I'm officially not the new kid anymore!! Which is cool because I remember how much I looked up to those elders and sisters when I first got here, but scary because now I can't act like a new kid! I'm expected to know the language and how everything works now! Oh boy....

Well, I've taught four lessons in Chinese ONLY so far! Our first pretend mudaoyou (investigator) is now our laoshi (teacher)...WEIRD!! So the first 3 hours of class time will be taught by her, and the last 3 hours of class time will still be taught by Wang Laoshi, but she will also be our new mudaoyou! It's crazy! 

Regarding the language...I'm learning SO much! But it still doesn't feel like enough. 5 out of the 10 people in my class took Chinese previously, and yeah i'm not one of those. But i feel like if I apply myself and learn 25 words a day, I'll be pretty good. It's very very intimidating to have 6 hours of class time where all you hear is Zhongwen (Chinese) and you have to glean information from it and can only respond in Zhongwen! I know how to pray in Chinese and carry on a brief conversation. 

I know a lot of gospel-related words but nothing really commonly used. But the more I speak  it, the more I learn, so I just gotta keep doing that. It's really hard to memorize all of the words, the accent marks, and the tones because that's how you say them. And I've started working on characters because that's what we're going to have to read on signs and stuff in Taiwan. Talk about intimidating. But we went to a fireside last night by T.C. Christensen (yes, maker of Forever Strong and 17 Miracles) and he said that the Lord will not ask you to do anything that you're not capable of doing. So I must be capable of learning Zhongwen SOMEHOW. 

We talked about stress management this week which was extremely helpful. Its ok to be stressed as long as it motivates you to try harder. So i just gotta keep that in mind. Especially on Sundays. We have to prepare a talk every week and they randomly call on someone to speak. SHENME DONGXI!? Once I feel comfortable enough to speak for 5 minutes in fluent Zhongwen, i'll just raise my hand and say "I volunteer as tribute!" because it's literally the Hunger Games. 

I saw Zach Chase at the MTC this week! Another member of the 49th ward at BYU! I also saw long lost EFY friend Braden Pitt! Crazy how the MTC can bring so many people together!! I sang in the MTC choir this was SO cool to have 500-something missionaries singing together. Not to mention that that many men voices is incredible! And since we can't listen to music in the MTC, it's good to have that in my week. I'm DYING without music!! Oh AND...I got called as Music Coordinator of my zone this week. Me and wo de tongban (my companion) are gonna rock this calling!! We get to pick musical numbers and hymns to sing and such.

Something bad this week: I had to clean the women's showers. Yah. The whole spraying down the showers with a fun foamy soap gun isn't so bad, but when it comes, to pulling hair wads the size of rats out of shower drains, I'm not a fan. But wo de tongban and I made the best of it by singing zhongwen words to the tune of Let It Go! 

Something crazy this week: I WORKED OUT. IN A GYM. Yah I used the elliptical and biking machines this week. And I wasn't even sore!! It's crazy!!! But I need to because of the food....the FOOD IS SO GOOD BUT SO UNHEALTHY!! It's like they know my weaknesses. Brownies and ice cream and cordon bleu and steak and breaded fatty deep fried things...oh boy. So I gotta try harder to resist that. I also played volleyball pretty hard this week. Which is weird and new....

I got blood drawn and x-rays this week for my Visa I step closer to Taiwan baby!!! So exciting!!! It was also exciting because we got to LEAVE THE MTC and walk to the BYU health center! It was weird and I had an incredible sense of freedom and nostalgia because the health center is right across from my old apartments.

I learned everyone's first names this's so weird to find out first names since you only go by last names. Except we don't even go by last names, we go by our Chinese names! So it's super weird! It's like McKenna doesn't even define my existence anymore! Which is true I guess. The name Jesus Christ now defines my existence and I need to dedicate all of my time and efforts to glorifying that name. I need to be prepared enough that when I am called to do something crazy (crazier than learning Chinese), I will be able and ready to. Well, I love the MTC and I love the people around me and I love Chinese!! But I also really, really love getting letters and packages and pictures!!!! :) I miss you all! You're never far from my mind or heart!! 

Sister Wright
(but I'm going to start going by Ren Jiemei)

p.s. my most used words are:
dui (pronounced dway) = form of agreement)
wo bu zhidao= i don't know

duibuqui (dway-boo-chi) = sorry!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WEEK ONE: new names and people and language


I have officially made it to my first P-day at the MTC!!! And I've heard that it's a piece of cake the rest of the way...JUST KIDDING!

So my companion (wo de tongban) is amazing!! We are so similar! Her name is Kaitlyn Elizabeth Morris and she is from Kaysville Utah. She went to Davis High School, worked at Johnny Rockets, and played the flute in marching band. She is outgoing and funny and we get along so well!!! I love her! (wo ai ta)

Forgive me if I slip Chinese words in every now and then. Lemme tell you...MANDARIN IS HARD. and if I type Chinese words, the tones don't show up so it looks funny to me. The words are pretty easy, but you have to do the 4 tones correctly or you aren't saying it right. We have 3 or 6 hours of class everyday and SO many more hours of personal and companion and language study. And we are encouraged to Speak Your Language. SYL is taken very seriously, so I have elders and sisters speaking to me in Chinese (Zhongwen) all the time so if I don't understand, I look dumb and I don't want to look dumb so I have to study!!! It's really hard because 4 out of the 6 elders in my class have Chinese experience and one of the sisters does. So I feel at a real disadvantage. But I feel confident that I will get it even though it's really hard right now.

My district is AWESOME!!! 6 elders and 4 sisters. Elders= zhanglaomen, sisters= jiemeimen. I have the same birthday as one of the elders too!! And us 4 sisters do everything together!! The other pair of sisters both went to BYU and lived in the other freshman dorms. I had a physical science lab with Sister Akita and Sister Sorenson lived in the same hall as her. Sister Morris is from Kaysville, Sister Sorenson is from Alpine, and Sister Akita is from Hawaii, most recently St. George. We all get along so well. I love them (wo ai tamen).

I've run into so many people that I know!!! Especially from 49th ward at BYU! Kelsey Bastian, Jake Rolfson, Nate Andrews, Adam Christensen, Evan Coutu, Kennen Brooks, even Matthew Nelson from EFY two years ago. AND GUESS WHO LIVES RIGHT NEXT TO ME?! NICOLE DECKER!!!!!!!! My very bestest friend/ roommate from BYU is literally the door next to me!!! It's so great! I also saw Breanna Brown in the mail room! 

Which reminds me...SEND ME LETTERS!! One elder in my district gets like 4 letters and 2 packages a day!!! So send me stuff while it's easy :)

Send me emails with questions because I would love to answer any!! I'm out of time today, it went by SO fast!! but please please please send me letters and emails and I love you all so so much!! This gospel is true and that's why this is worth doing. It would be so easy to just quit and go home but this is truly a miracle and I love it!!!! I don't ever want to leave...which is good since I have 8 1/2 more weeks of it! I love you!!!

Sister Wright
(Ren Jiemei)

Thursday, July 10, 2014



As you can see from the subject line; everything is AWESOME! My first day was a blast!

My companion is from Kaysville Utah and she played the flute in high school. She has red hair and big blue eyes. She's talkative and outgoing and funny! We get along great and I can tell we're gonna be great friends and even better companions.

I woke up on time with NO PROBLEM. Right?? But I guess this is the Lord's work and it needs to be done. 

OH MY CLASS!! First day: only in Mandarin. A bit overwhelming. But I know I can get it!!! I haven't had any time to just sit and look at my books, but I guess I will later. 

My district and zone leaders are awesome. At our first zone meeting thing, we lost the elders from our district!!! So we had to go find 6 elders just wandering around through the halls!! Haha but other than being a bit scatter-brained, they're great. 

I have the most stuff out of all the girls in my we'll see what gets sent home!!!

That's all the time I have!

Wo ai ni!
Ren Jie Mei
(Sister Wright)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Here We Go! Off to Neverland...

Okay, well, maybe not Neverland, but off to the MTC! Yes, that is correct - or you might say - that is Wright; Sister McKenna Wright entered the MTC today! 

Her address for the next 9 weeks will be:
Sister Wright

Unit 6
2007 N. 900 E.
Provo UT 84602

She would LOVE some mail! When she gets her address in Taiwan, we will post it. 

And her email for the entire 18 months will be:

Please drop her an email every week!

Soon, this blog will be full of pictures and information and updates from Sister Wright herself! So, be sure to check back frequently for pictures and updates! You can also 

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