Break the cauldrons and sink the boats

"I think that’s a great idea," President Jergensen told us. "Talk to the MTC teachers and see what they think."

We were trying to figure out how to better integrate our mission’s language study program with the missionary training center’s. I proposed calling the MTC and talking to language teachers who had previously served in Taiwan and gone through the phases of language study here.

Sister Chen fed us lunch.

President Jergensen gave us permission to stay up late in the office to catch the beginning of the MTC’s working hours in the Utah morning. At 10:30 PM, I called the MTC front desk.

"Hello, this is Elder Elliott from the Taiwan Taipei mission," I began. "We’re working on a new language program, and we’re trying to integrate our language system better with the MTC’s. I was wondering…" I stated our purpose and requested passage. The operator accepted, and transferred us to the teaching department.

"Hello, this is Elder Elliott from the Taiwan Taipei mission. We’re working on a new…" I introduced us to the teaching department secretary. She transferred us to the Chinese teaching department.

"Hello, this is Elder Elliott from the Taiwan Taipei mission…" I said. The Chinese teaching department secretary provided the numbers of several teachers. We dialed the Utah cell phone numbers. Nobody answered any of them.

"Hello, this is Elder Elliott…" I left a voicemail message on each phone.

Elder Smith and I debated what to do next. We still hadn’t talked to an actual person, and it was past 11:00 PM. My eyelids were drooping with fatigue.

We decided to call the MTC back and talk to someone in charge of the mandarin department.

"Hello, this is Elder Elliott from the Taiwan Taipei mission…" I said to the front operator. I painstakingly repeated the query three times, once to each level of administration. The Chinese teaching department secretary provided the Idaho cell phone number of the boss.

We called. There was no answer. I repeated our tired mantra to the answering machine.

Elder Smith and I both agreed that we needed to call again, but neither of us wanted to make the humiliating call again. At last, Elder Smith picked up the phone and dialed the number.

"Hello, this is Elder Garcia from the Argentina Buenos Aires mission," he said.

Just kidding, he said the same thing as before.

This time, though, we finally talked to a real person. He left our number for the guy in charge, who called us back the next day. We emailed back and forth, and he told us about the new language learning program the MTC is developing. We’re going to see if we can help them develop the Mandarin learning program, and integrate their system into our mission’s.

Aside from that, most of our time this week was spent getting ready for transfers and compiling the examples for our 5,000 character dictionary. I re-did my Excel macros to allow free manipulation of columns by eliminating hard-coded column values in the table-reading code. I helped the Taizhong mission set up our reporting system using Teamviewer. We drove to Taoyuan to sign the contract for the Beutler’s apartment. I bought airplane tickets for President and Sister Jergensen to fly down to Hualian and back up.

That’s about it for this week!

Elder Elliott


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