Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saya tau Yesus Kristus Juruselamat saya.

Hello everyone,

So, first can I say that 30 minutes to email is NO time at all? Sorry if my sentences are all the same length or if my word choice is strange, no time to edit!

The MTC is an incredible place, it really is. I love it. People say that the MTC is really hard, but if you make it through you can do anything... but that really hasn't been my experience. The hardest personal challenges I've had here so far has been a tendency to lose focus during language study because other the missionaries in my district are so fun to be around and talk to. They really are awesome, I LOVE the other missionaries here. My point is that I'm doing fine and having the time of my life. For me, the MTC has been really fun. Our branch has missionaries going to Malaysia (us), Indonesia, Mongolia, Madagascar, as well as Missouri and Oregon. Super cool. They are all great examples to me. There are 15 new missionaries going to the Singapore mission: 3 sisters, 12 elders. I'm lucky to be among them.

The first day of class on Wednesday was interesting. I walked in to class and my teachers were talking to me and welcoming me, only they wouldn't speak English. I was very confused! :) But it made me happy. Malay is a really neat language. I couldn't understand anything the teachers were saying, but I was listening just to hear what it sounded like. I remember just sitting and listening and all of a sudden I felt the Spirit strongly, and I realized that the teacher had begun to bear his testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. It was a really cool experience and it showed me how much the gospel really stands on its own. It's completely true. The Holy Ghost testifies of that truth when it's being witnessed of, even if I don't understand the language being used to bear witness.

Since then I've learned a lot more Malay than I thought. It's a really fun language, and it's relatively (but only relatively) easy. You'd think it was harder because it's an Asian language, but it's easier than French and it's probably easier than Spanish. (Understanding the different dialects in Malaysia will be a different challenge than learning MTC Malay, though!) It's been hard because we don't have a lot of materials--half of our textbooks/resources are in Indonesian, which is about 75-80% accurate in Malay. But we're learning and it's fun, and the grammar/sentence structure is like broken English - aka caveman. There's even no words for "the" or "is." Example of caveman word order of Malay: "Pen blue this mine." Meaning in English, "This blue pen is mine." It's GREAT! The word for Savior is "Juruselamat." Super cool. Saya tau Yesus Kristus Juruselamat saya. I can understand about half of what my teachers say now, and I can have a basic conversation/teach a simple gospel lesson if I have a couple of notes to fall back on. Heavenly Father has REALLY been helping me. I still barely know anything, but I've made a TON of progress in the last 5 days of studying.

I have two companions - Sisters B and W - and they're great. We've been teaching a fake Singaporean investigator named Juni (he is actually a Malay teacher here, but he pretends to be an investigator). We've taught him three lessons in Malay so far. I'm always nervous and don't feel prepared, but that has been my FAVORITE part of being at the MTC. Teaching! In Malay! And it's really cool that because the Lord inspired this method of preparing missionaries, the Spirit is totally there during our lessons and it doesn't even matter that we know he's not a real investigator. It's amazing. It's funny, during the first lesson we taught him, we gave him a Book of Mormon to read. He said he would begin reading it. After we left, we realized the copy we gave him belonged to my companion, so we went back and (laughing) asked (in Malay) for it back. He gave it back. At the next lesson, we (thinking that he'd play along) followed up with him by asking him if he'd read anything from the Book of Mormon, and he said, "No, you took it!" It was hilarious but also really sad. We gave him his own copy and he's reading it.

So some of you who know me will agree that I like to choose my words precisely when I talk, and during gospel lessons I like to bring up new insights or cool facts that people haven't heard before. Sometimes I'm pretty good, but that's in English. In Malay, I am reduced to humble and simple statements of truth. The only thing that can make my lesson a good one is if the Spirit is there strongly. I NEED the Spirit to teach. I have NOTHING else to rely on. I'm being really humbled by that. Language is a barrier, because I need to discern the spiritual needs of the person I'm teaching, but it's coming. And I'm learning to communicate.
Saturday, we went around and found random people to bear our testimonies (kesaksian-kesaksian) to. We found some sweet Italian sister missionaries, and we practiced on each other. I felt the Spirit REALLY strongly as I bore my testimony to her. In Malay. The Lord has blessed me so much! I LOVE the Gospel! 

Thank you for your prayers and everything you're doing for me. I love each of you, and so does our Savior.

Sister Gopinath


  1. love hearing about your adventure!

  2. Hi! My name is Melanie Wilkes....I believe my son, Elder Benjamin Wilkes is in your district! I figured it out from your Mom's post on Missionary Moms and her link to your blog. Thank you sharing such great detail about your first week in the MTC. It sounds very similar to my son's comments and it's fun to get another perspective. You are a beautiful writer, and I've learned many things about the Singapore Mission on your blog! Thank you and best of luck to you and you continue working so hard!

    Melanie Wilkes--Missionary Mom to Elder Wilkes