It was quite an adventure getting here on Wednesday. We took the frontrunner from Provo to Salt Lake. Nine ladies in skirts and nametags, pulling ~20ish suitcases at 6 am, most of us having never travelled alone in America -- was quite a sight.
We had all woken up at 4 am to finish packing and cleaning our rooms in the MTC, so by the time we arrived at Temple Square to meet the APs, the mission president, and all the other sisters, we were quite deadbeat. We received so many hugs from so many sisters when we arrived. I was so sleep deprived and overwhelmed, I'm pretty sure I had a look of death on my face as I received all those hugs.
First thoughts: this place is like that scene from Princess Diaries 2 where Mia has a princess sleepover. Everyone here is a graceful princess, confident in their own selves and coming from all the different corners of the earth. There are 50 countries represented here by sister missionaries. There is also a lot of giggling and singing. Unfortunately, Julie Andrews has yet to make an appearance on a mattress surfboard.
The mission president, President Polsen, is so gentle and kind. I couldn't think of a man better fitted to run a mission of 200 sisters from 50 different cultures and countries. So many things could go wrong when you're dealing with so many different backgrounds, but he is graceful and considerate.
My trainer/companion is Sister Burgoyne, from Pennsylvania (!!! DANIELLE GO SAY HI TO HER FAMILY!!!) and I am SO HAPPY TO HAVE HER. She's really kind. As my trainer she will be telling me all the ins and outs of Temple Square, letting me know when I'm doing something wrong, when I'm doing something good. She's wise and kind, and does a great Miranda voice. She'll be going home after she trains me, so she's really got a lot of wisdom to pass down to me.
Although it's only my third day here, we've already had so many great teaching experiences. We've taught so many kind and intelligent people who are mostly on vacation in Utah. On my first day (Wednesday) I was able to talk to a lady from Beijing who really believes in God and Jesus Christ (!!!) and is genuinely curious about finding more about Mormonism. SHE WAS SO LOVING AND BEAUTIFUL. I was a little frustrated that I didn't know how to say "prophets" in Chinese at the time, but I know that she'll be able to learn everything in time. I'm mostly amazed that I'm able to be here in Temple Square to talk to people like her, who wouldn't have had the opportunity to hear the gospel in China (mormonsandchina.org), AND to awesome local members who live right here in Utah! Heavenly Father is too kind to me.
In the course of three days (two and a half really), we've talked to people about the gospel in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish (S. Burgoyne is certified in Spanish tours). Everyone is so loving and humble and kind, members and nonmembers alike. I love love love love love love love it here.
To finally answer everyone's question about which flag I wear under my nametag: they only gave me a Japanese one, since they usually only give flags of the country you have citizenship for. The Chinese tourists I talk to are usually very taken aback when the girl with the big red dot starts speaking to them in Chinese. There are people here who have multiple flags; apparently, they don't wear them all at once. They just wear one flag at a time, and switch according to which nationality of people they think they're talking to that day.
Here is a selfie. I love my nametag.
Conference (lds.org) is happening tomorrow, and I'm a little terrified. General Conference at Temple Square on my first week here! CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE. I can't even imagine. I hope that you all prepared to receive revelation. I learned from talking to members about conference this week, that finding the questions you want answers to are half the battle of getting good answers. Any worries or questions we need to receive from conference are only helpful if we know what our questions are! I hope that we're all able to really take time to introspect and understand where we are before we watch conference this weekend.
I love you all.