Original article posted by chamblin:

So far, I’ve received mail from 4 blood relatives and 1 beautiful vixen. To the huddling masses (by which I mean everybody who has NOT hearkened to the Spirit which teacheth a man to write Greg always and faint not), I refer you to the “Blaine Theory of Chokitude.”

Seriously, though… um… well never mind. I can’t remember the thing that I’m serious about. Curses!

Somebody said “The days pass like weeks and the weeks pass like days here.” I think I beg to differ. The days pass like weeks and the weeks also.

It’s interesting to see the different type of missionary here. We have the type that can’t get over who he was before he came—you know, constantly writing letters about how much they miss home, girlfriend, music, sleep…

Not that I don’t.

But what I’m doing is more important to me than those things. So I’ve put them aside.

There are missionaries who had to sacrifice a lot to get here, so they value every minute. There are some who do what’s expected because it’s what’s expected. Some are anxious to leave, some are not. Just more proof that missionaries are just normal people trying to do something exceptional.

So far. I’ve not had any Chinese speaking dreams. Maybe that means I’m not learning enough Chinese yet. Maybe it means I’m not getting enough sleep. Both are likely.

Chinese is still hard. I’m certain the only way I’m going to learn is by speaking it, but my companion and roommates are interested primarily in Gym time, meal time, and P-Days. This means they spend most of their time saying “Man, I want to get out of here.” And “Did you check the mail yet?” and “This sucks.”

This makes it somewhat difficult for me to practice saying “wo zhidao Fianfu shi wo de something something.” Or “Nimen shi pang do.”

“However, they do like to say one of my phrases: “Ni de baba shi shei?” which is “your daddy is who?”

Our teachers are all feeling that we’re slacking off. Which is true. I’m afraid I’m just as much to blame as anybody. Oh well.

I have had a few chances to work at the “Referral center.” We take calls for people who see those commercials for free videos or Bibles or Book of Mormons, then we call them back in a month to see if they got it and if they want to know more. So far it’s my only “real” missionary experience. Mostly people say, “nope, not interested.” But sometimes people get really mean. And, once in a while, somebody says, “Yeah, I would like to learn more.” So that’s always exciting.

We have lots of opportunities to practice teaching, though only 2 times in Chinese. Which is probably good because my vocabulary is currently about 50 words on my best day and it’s hard to talk about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with only 50 or so words. I end up with a lot of blank is blank. Blank’s blank is blank.

It doesn’t flow exactly.

My companion sprained his ankle pretty bad last Saturday. He is a big sports guy so he hates it. But maybe it’s helping him find more “quiet dignity.” Also… maybe not. But let’s not go into that.

We had a change in our district. Our Elder Heng already knows a ton of Chinese , so they moved him in with the group six weeks ahead of us. We got Elder Killan. I have nothing to say about that beyond the fact of its occurrence.

My friends who went on missions would always write about transfers and companions and exchanges and I was always thinking “Why?” The answer, I’ve found is there is little else to talk about. My schedule is Breakfast, Class, Lunch, Class, Dinner, Class, bed. Sorry if I’m a bit dull.

It’s been 2 weeks, but it feels more like half a month.
Ha ha. I’m so funny. Ha.

I’ve had many, many good experiences. I’ve learned a lot, not just about Chinese, but about life in general. I have excellent teachers who manage to counteract the negative vibes of 50% of my district. Elders Esmiol and Richter, who are so immature they make middle-schoolers look sincere, and Elder Kelly who seems to hate me for no reason I can detect. I realize I can get pretty annoying at times, but he loves to go out of his way to indicate his displeasure in me. Alas, earwax.

But the Temple trips, the teachers, the scripture study, and the over-all atmosphere of this place combine to keep me happy and satisfied.

We’ll see how I feel in a month and a half.

The lifeblood of the MTC seems to be mail. Elders flock in droves… or… flocks… to the mailroom. Elder Richter wouldn’t be happy if we checked the mail less than 10 times per day.

Man, I sound so negative.

The Church is true.

Okay. That’s better.

Speaking of mail, I really would like to hear from you. I have received mail from Kayeleen, Mom and Dad, and a letter from my Grandma which included a certain article from a certain Ensign…

So write me. I’m not in such dire straits as Blaine was at Basic Training, because I’m actually pretty happy here, but I want to hear from my friends.

I’m just saying is all.

Hang on, my laundry just finished…

OK. Now I’m back in my dorm. I’m sitting under the skylight in the stairwell so I can hear the rain. We keep getting rain on our Preparation Days. What’s up with that, yo?

Every P-day starts with a trip to the Temple. So far, my district hasn’t figured out how to relax en route and in the Temple, but I’ll keep telling them to take it easy and enjoy the peaceful spirit.

My Temple experience today was good as usual. I learn more about myself every time I go. Like my eyes change color sometimes. In the Temple they were quite blue. Weird. But that’s not what I really learn.

Seriously, now.

When you go to the Temple, it’s just yourself and God. Satan and his angels can not follow you in. This allows you to really see what kind of person you are. Does that make sense? You’ll be able to find out which thoughts are yours and which thoughts are inspired by the adversary.

So I always learn about myself and what I need to work on.

Well, that about wraps it up for me. I’m going to write a few brief messages.

Blaine: Feel better. Get to class. Also get out here, I need your help. What’s the problem, eh?

Stephanie: Tell me about NZ. Also your innermost thoughts.

Rodney: How is it going?

Spencer: Just because there are plenty of fish in the sea, it doesn’t mean you should try to catch them all.

Kayeleen: Thank you and this doesn’t count either.

Jodie: no, you shut up. *insert combat wink action*

Jared: AY!!!!!!

Parental units 1 & 2: Please send pens, stamps, microwave popcorn, Peruvian Servant Folk, pictures and a paper-hole punch. Also I guess I love you and stuff.

Ben: Stop playing Counter-Strike… It makes me jealous.

Ryan: I value your friendship.

Mickelle: I saw a girl with a Rosie-the-Riveter shirt and it made me happy.

Et Al: please write me.

I realize I’ve left a few people off the list. Why don’t you write and tell me how mad it makes you? Won’t that be fun?

And we’ll finish with a recap of our top stories:
1. my Goku pillow has its own cult following
2. life am good
3. Chinese is a harsh mistress
4. MTC is a breeding ground for sickness in all varieties. I happen to know first hand.
5. I’ve been able to subdue my urges to say Elder Smeagol, but am now daily assailed by the desire to shout “mucal invader.”
6. The Church really actually is true, and I hope I’ve shown my knowledge of that fact through my actions and behaviors with you.
7. You need at least 8 things for any decent list.
8. Wo ai nimen. (I love you all.)

–The Candy Thief, GCH

Orginal comments:

Nickname: Cornelius
Re: Greg’s letter 2/27/04
To see an explanation of the “chokitude” read the comment under the #3 letter from Greg.