Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 2 from the MTC

Hello everyone,

   I write to you today through the daze of cold medicine. There are over two thousand missionaries living in very tight quarters so disease spreads very fast. We have all taken to calling it the "Plague" and this week my whole district caught it but most of us are on the way to recovery so that is really good. 
   Several of you have been asking about Cantonese and it is honestly the most difficult thing I've ever done. We spend about 13 hours in a small classroom a day. In which we are given about 50 vocab words a day. Which is crazy. Also we are not taught characters but we are taught to read "Pingyham" which is a romanized written language I'll see if I can attach a picture of it. But it is prettymuch impossible to read. It was designed in 1980ish and the language has evolved but the pingyham has not so half of the letters are silent and Ngho is pronounced "O" and N = L and j some times makes a j sound and sometimes it makes a ch sound. So it's ridiculous to read. However that being said I am learning at a surprising rate. The "Investigator" I talked about last week accepted our invitation to be baptized so that was an awesome feeling even though it isn't real.

   We got a second teacher this week. She is a native from Hong Kong and it is intense to hear her speak at full speed and not going easy on us. She is really nice though. Her name is Lou jimuih. Our regular teachers name is Baak Hingdai.

   I was going to send home some photos but I don't think that this computer will let me. So I will try from a different computer later today. (Photos attached at end of post)

   Also the food here is really good and there is a lot of it. I think that I've gained 6 pounds already. So we will see how that goes. We get an hour of gym time a day so I think that will help. We also learned that we are the largest shipment of Elders and Sisters to go to the China, Hong Kong mission ever. I'm beginning to realize the truth behind something our zone leaders told us on day one. He said: "The days are long but the weeks go by fast". The 16 hour days seem to drag on (Especially if you are sick) but it seems crazy that It's P-day again. 

  Every Wednesday we get a new batch of Missionaries to the MTC so it is fun to see the fear in their eyes and to welcome them. We can tell that they are new because they have a green sticker on their name tag. It's just a really cool thing to see. 

   Also a few of you were wondering again what my mailing address is:

Elder Gordon Conrad Walker
2005 N 900 E Unit 178
Provo UT 84602

The fastest way to tell me something though is through "Dear elder" I will get that the same day that you send it. The fastest response from me will be through mail so if you want me so send you mail tell me your address and I'll write.
(from Mom: if you go to and write a letter to Gordon, they will print it and give it to him the same day instead of him having to wait until Monday to read it online.  He still won't be able to respond until the next Monday. YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW HIS UNIT # 178 AND THAT HE IS IN THE PROVO MTC)

Love you all,
Elder Walker
Chinese style from right to left:  Me, Elder McGowan (companion) Elder Gibson from Utah and Elder Huang from Taiwan

Our nametags

This is what Pingyahm looks like
Classroom with Hong Kong flag (left) Macaw flag (middle) and Chinese flag (right)

My room
One elder is going to Canada so he made his own flag!
My desk
My closet (he's using his laundry bag!)
My district by the back of the Provo Temple

Monday, August 24, 2015

First email from the MTC!

Hello all,

I am alive and well here at the MTC in Provo. Today is our first p-day which means that we get a couple hours to relax. Training started immediately with an hour of full immersion Cantonese training. then two whole days of orientation and training. We spend about four to six hours a day in a small cramped room learning or at least attempting to learn Cantonese. We have learned enough to begin teaching an investigator (A simulated one) but she is really from Mainland. We had some real trouble the first lesson but Saturdays lesson went much better.

My companions name is Elder McGowan. He is from Virginia and really cool we are getting along great. There are 27 of us Learning Cantonese and heading for for Hong Kong. Which is a lot Our district is getting along really well. One of them is Elder Munsey or as we call him Elder Army or Sgt. Army. We call him this because he has spent two years as a west point Cadette. We love every time he starts a story with "Back at the Academy". I told everyone I am from Portland because that is easier than trying to describe where Newberg is. So they all make portlandia jokes to me which I tell them are pretty much accurate haha. My district also tells me every time that they quote Shakespeare... I then correct them haha.

The food here is really good but the cafeteria crowded. The days are also super long. Nearly every minute is scheduled and we are up late and to bed by 9 o'clock. Everyone is realy nice and welcoming. The biggest advice we got was make it to Sunday and you will be fine. We did and they were right it all seems a lot brighter and like we will be able to last here for 9 weeks. It still hasn't set in completely it still feels like I am at camp and will be coming home soon. Though I know that I'm not. On Sunday we watched a video from elder Ballard which was amazing it is called the character of Christ if you can find it I definitely recommend it.

I have seen Elder Masse a few times and we have eaten together but that is pretty much the only time we see each other.

Also if you want to this is my Mailing address:

Elder Gordon Conrad Walker
2005 N 900 E Unit 178
Provo UT 84602

Though if you want to contact me same day there is a thing Called "Dear Elder" it's online somewhere I don't know how to get there but you essentially write an email and then print it out and give it to us. Then I will respond wither my next p-day or write you personally.

OK I think that's it for this week sorry I didn't send pictures I forgot my card reader in my residence so that will have to happen next week.

Love you all!!!
Elder Walker