Monday, April 20, 2015

God Be With You Till We Meet Again

This past week was GREAT! We went on exchanges to Melaka and Masai, and got to be with the good elders there. The Lord's work is hastening in each of these different places in unique but good ways. I love being a part of this work! It's the best! We also had a baptism this past Saturday night, as well as the other elders in our district! It was awesome! Our recent convert, Hady, is SO AWESOME! She's a 16-yr-old from Korea, and this is her first time learning about God. She is so open and willing to learn--she's incredible, and the Lord really has prepared her. She went back to Korea to visit her father there; she'll come back here to JB at the beginning of May, and then her journey as a recent convert will continue and move forward and upward. Hooray! :)
Well, elders, brothers, and sisters--the time has come.
This is my last P-Day as a missionary. Tomorrow morning/early afternoon I head off to Singapore for a final interview and fireside with my beloved mission president, and then the next day, at a VERY early hour, we board the flight bound for home. It's a really weird thing to think that my mission is coming to a close, that things are wrapping up. I don't think that I've fully and completely processed it yet, mentally or spiritually. I don't think it will fully process for a long time. As I was sitting down and doing my Personal Study this morning, I took a step back and looked at what makes me most happy at this very moment. Honestly (and I'm not saying this to be cliche, either), one of the things that makes me the most happy is sharing the Gospel with other people. Being able to see the Spirit touch their hearts; the light that clicks on in their eyes; the happiness that just pours into your own spirit as you tell them about the Savior and His happy message with every bubbly bone in your body--man, it's the best! A part of me feels like I'm going to miss it a lot; but as I sat back and thought about it all, I realized that these feelings NEVER have to end. I realized that the point of this life is to change and to become something more than we originally were/are. The best and only really effective place to receive and apply that time of refinement is in the service of the Lord. Being a full-time missionary truly has been a refining and changing process for yours truly, but hopefully it's not the only chance that I'm going to get for that type of refining. If it were, I'd probably be bound to not the Celestial Kingdom at this point--but thanks be to God for the matchless gift of His Son Jesus Christ! Through Him we are redeemed from our sins. Maybe even more importantly, He doesn't just redeem us (Helaman 5:10), but He also RAISES us to life eternal (Moroni 7:41). He enables us! He empowers us! We'll continue to be refined and perfected all throughout this life, for THIS is the time to prepare to meet God, and He's going to give us as many chances as we need--and even more than that--in order to get us ready to see Him again. He WANTS us to be with Him. I testify that that is true.
I testify that the love of God is real. I testify that the gift of tongues is real--I have no idea how people understood my words and decided they wanted to be baptized if it isn't true. I know that it exists, and I know that the Holy Spirit is the REAL teacher--not us finite mortals. I'm so grateful for the wonderful Saints of Malaysia and Singapore--I love these two little countries with all of my heart! I love these people with all of my heart! I wish that you all were as lucky as I am to know them and associate with them. They're wonderful, and I pray that God will bless them always. 
This Church is true; the Gospel is the path that the Lord has set for us to help us be able to return to Him. It's sort of the individual Plan of Salvation that each of us chooses whether or not to follow. For now I bid you all a fond farewell. To those still in the field, keep on keeping on! This is the greatest work EVER! To those back home, get ready--things are about to get real ;) :) I love you all, and hope you have a fantastic week! Keep the Faith! :)
God be with you till we meet again,
Elder Mitchell. :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Rumor Has It....

Rumor has it:
1) That there's a temple coming to Thailand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's such AMAZING news! Thailand is our neighbor, and this means that all the members in Singapore and Malaysia will have greater and easier access to the temple! Pretty much everyone will be able to go too, because the Thailand baht isn't as strong as the Malaysian ringgit or the Singaporean dollar! Hooray for the revelations of God! Of all the many things to be happy about, I am SUPER STOKED about this! There's a temple coming to Thailand! Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
B) That was pretty much the only rumor that I've heard lately. :)
So life here is going pretty great. For any that may or may not care, I am finishing up the mish in about 2 weeks. It's a sad thought, but exciting and happy and scary all at the same time. Because of it, I ask my adoring fans to refrain from sending mail, because I probably won't see it...ever. So yeah. Emails can! Handwritten letters (unless they're sent like today) unfortunately cannot anymore. No worries, though--emails still can! :)
Today's email is going to be a wee bit shorter, but no worries. :) This morning as I was reading the 25th chapter of 2 Nephi, I kept coming across the phrase "they that believe in His name [Jesus Christ] will be saved". As I was reading, I couldn't help but think: What does that word "saved" really mean? I compared it to its opposite: damned. When something is damned, it is kept from progressing and or from improving. Therefore, when something is saved, it is enabled to continue progressing and improving and renewing itself. Those that believe in the name of Jesus Christ will be enabled to continue progressing and growing. The only place in the eternities that allows us to be able to continually progress and eventually become like God is the Celestial Kingdom. 
[My mind started blowing up right about this point with all of the kool little trajectories and tangents you can draw from this fact]
So: If we believe in the name of Jesus Christ, we will do the things that He commands us to. He will enable us to enter into the Celestial Kingdom, even the "mansion of my Father". Isn't that exciting?! It certainly says a lot about the power of belief and faith in the name of Christ. If we truly are converted to Christ, we will keep all of the commandments that He has revealed to us through ancient and modern prophets--and then we are assured by God Himself that we will partake of His glory, enter into His rest, and and inherit His kingdom--"joint-heirs with Christ" in the Celestial Kingdom of God. :)
I sure do love you all, and I hope that you have a marvelous week! :)
Elder Mitchell

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Cockroach and The Flies

So the title of this week's email is certainly not the most appealing, but it sure does provide a fun story (or at least I think it does). Are you ready? Good, here we go:
So once upon a time we were on exchanges last Friday night in the wonderful, historic town of Melaka. I had a bed of pillows on the floor, and was just about to sleep when I felt something crawling along my foot. Here in Malaysia we have lots of geckos all over the place--we lovingly call them cicaks, and I thought it was just a cicak crawling on me. I flicked my foot and felt whatever it was fly off. Murmuring under my breath about how "wonderful" cicaks are, I grabbed my watch and turned on the little light on it to see where the little devil had gone to. The light brought to my view not a cicak, but a cockroach! It had been crawling all over my foot! Aaaaaaaaaaah! Yuck! The other elder by me also saw it. I didn't have glasses on or contacts in, so I was essentially half-blind for this whole story. The cockroach darted underneath one of the pillows that made up my bed; I flipped that pillow aside, and he darted underneath the next one. We played this game till all the pillows were flipped over; he then started crawling through the beds. Me and the other elder awake at this point--having lots of adrenaline pent-up inside of us, and fighting the urge to scream like little girls over the whole thing--chased after it, and finally found it nestled beside the sandals of my sleeping comp. The other elder grabbed some roach spray and managed to strike at the roach once, but then it skittered away. We spent the next ten minutes looking for it, but to no avail. Hopefully he crawled somewhere and died :)
Anywho, that was quite the highlight from our trip to Melaka this time :) What else happened this week? Well, my shower is infested with this little fruit fly things. It probably doesn't say to much about the overall cleanliness of our shower, but we certainly do try to keep it looking nice. Nevertheless, this little colony of flies manages to live on, and every time you get into the shower they get stirred up and are flying all over the place. As they do this, it gets a little distracting, and you can't help but focus on them and utterly destroying them. It's helped provide a spiritual insight, though--Satan likes to fly around us and get us stirred up too. He provides lots of different little ways to attack and annoy and disturb us. But when we focus on the things that matter most--in this example's case, actually getting the shower done and out of the way--we find ourselves happier, more effective, and more open to revelation (some of the best revelation comes in the shower!). Although the example is a little strange, I know that the principle is true. As we put our minds into focusing on the things that matter most, all of the other little distractions melt away. As we strive to come closer to Christ, we see all of our little sins and mistakes and weaknesses fading away--because He can heal them, take them away, make them strengths. I love our Savior, and I know that He lives and that He wants to help us. I love you all! Have an amazingly great day! :)
Elder Mitchell
p.s. Our branch had a big BBQ this past week--go Team JB! :) 
p.p.s. What would life be without the random pillows you find on the side of the street? :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hello, I'm Elder Mitchell: I Tame Crocodiles, I Hike Jungles, and I'm a Mormon

[Please read the title in an Australian accent]
Hello to my homeboys and -girls! So this little post is coming in a little later than usual because this morning we had an INTENSE jungle adventure for P-Day! We hiked through Malaysian jungles, saw some pretty kool waterfalls, and then we got to go to a crocodile farm in the middle of nowhere. Turns out, however, that that waterfall is the largest in West Malaysia! Boom! It's been a pretty fun day, although we've spent a good portion of it in a car traversing the length and breadth of the state of Johor :) 
We're currently working on strengthening our progressing investigators; we're also planning on pruning out our portion of the vineyard this upcoming week by putting some of the people we've tried to work with on ice for a while. I truly do love this work, and I love being a missionary! Being able to help people see how important the Gospel is in their lives truly is a great blessing! :) 
This past week we had a HUGE rainstorm that just smashed us. I'd put what I thought were all of my valuable items in my drybag before we had to go bike into the middle of said nightmare...but I'd forgotten to throw in a picture album....Little did I know about that till I reached the chapel. As I was pulling out the contents of my bag, I saw that yep, I'd forgotten to put the photo album in my drybag. Thankfully, the Lord had been kind to me, and preserved my pics for the most part. Other than a couple of pics of my little sister that got ruined (her face is now half-white, half-blue :) ), the pics were relatively untainted. As I've pondered about that, Heavenly Father has reminded me that that's also the fate of our families if we prove faithful. We'll face plenty of trials--God tells us so: "When through the deep waters I ask thee to go, The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow." (Hymn No. 85) As we hold on faithful to the Gospel, we'll be blessed with our families for forever and ever! I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation, that ensures that we'll be able to live with our loved ones, no matter what things we're called to pass through in this life. As we continue faithful in our testimony of the Savior, all things will work together for our good.
I'm a naturally stressful person, and I've learned so much on my mission about taking that stress and putting it behind me as I rely on the Savior to work things out. He asks us to be faithful--and sometimes that is REALLY hard. But it is the simplest cure to all things. We have to humble ourselves, our views, our wills, and trust that He knows what He's doing. I love my Savior and I know that He lives. This Gospel is true! As we live its principles, we find out just how GOOD it really is, and how amazing our Heavenly Father and our Saviour Jesus Christ are!
I love y'all! Have an awesome week :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nama Berita!

This past week has been a great one! One of the big things that happened was Zone Meeting--we had all of our wonderful missionaries from JB and Melaka come down to the JB chapel. We were taught more about the Restoration, and I felt the Spirit testify multiple times that it really did happen! Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ! The Book of Mormon really is the word of God! It was awesome to feel that power and that truthfulness flood into our souls :)
We've had some awesome experiences this past week, and they've helped to solidify within me the desire to be more loving. When I think about things that have happened in my past, as well as things that have happened in the past of those that I love, I am able to see the absolute importance of being able to LOVE people. Think of all the awful things that happen when people don't have charity for their fellow men--people take their own lives, the lives of others, harming and hurting those people that are hurting just as much as they are. Wars, calamities, schemes, secret combinations, murders---the list could go on and on. Now, stop thinking about that, and look at the flip side. What would happen if we all tried a little harder to be a little better, if we all would strive to show that charity to others? I can only imagine what a world and what happier lives we all would have! I testify that Jesus is the Christ, and that He loves us! I testify that He wants us to love others. I've been able to see what happens when people don't feel that they are loved, and I've been able to see the changes that come to people who are able to feel loved. I have seen the difference; I've FELT the difference myself! I know that it is true! I love this Gospel, because it teaches us how to love God and how to love others! It teaches us that we need to repent! It teaches us that we need to forgive! It gives us a moral code that helps to shape and guide our lives.
I love you all, and I'm so excited to be able to bring this message of hope and happiness to a world in desperate need of it!
Have a wonderful day!
--Elder Mitchell

Monday, March 2, 2015


Happy Hokkien Chinese New Year (as of 27 February)! :) Hopefully you all celebrated it to the best of your ability ;) Well, for starters, we went to Singapore for Zone Conference and got to go do some sight-seeing for P-Day. We were originally planning on having an epic badminton tournament, but plans changed, and we ended up seeing a kool exhibit on Leonardo daVinci's works. It was pretty intense.
In other news, we got to watch "Meet the Mormons"! It was awesome, and I highly recommend it! :) Elder Baer and I got to stay in Singapore a little longer for MLC, so we went to an Asian Cultural Museum and saw a bunch of really neat-looking Melayu swords. One of my dreams is to become a swordsmith, but I feel like that realistically is a little far-off. Whatevs. I'll still dream :) 
We also got to stop by a bookshop of another Christian faith this past week. They had ram's horn trumpets there, like from the Bible! Purportedly the horns were straight from Israel, but I have my doubts. While I was there, I found a Chinese version of the Punchinello book by Max Lucado (You Are Special, or something like that--I think it was actually a sequel). Anywho, that's a shout-out to my dad, who read that book to me all the time when I was a wee lad! :)
This past week I've had the chance to really ponder on my personal relationship with Christ. I know that I've probably talked about this subject a LOT, but that's because it's important. This week I was sitting in my study room, thinking about some of the mistakes and goofs I'd made throughout the day--the times when I'd let pride get the better of me, the times when I hadn't been as valiant in the Gospel as I need to be. As I was doing so, I happened to glance at the picture of Christ on my desk, and I could feel His love. He IS our hope! He is our Light! He can bring rest and peace to our souls. Sometimes I'm really eager to tell other people that Christ can forgive them, but I forget that He can also forgive me too. Sometimes I mentally withhold the blessings of the Atonement from myself or others because they're not normal, or they're not good enough--but the blessings of Christ's love and grace are freely given to those who are willing to lay hold on them! I love that about this Gospel!
This past week we had an investigator lay hold on some of those blessings. His name is Brother Tan, and he's such an awesome guy! I love him so much and he's made the decision to be baptized! Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for Israel! :)
I love you all, and even more importantly: God loves you! Sometimes I think we all take that phrase for granted. God LOVES us! GOD loves US! He loves us so much, He sent His Only Begotten Son, not to condemn the world, but save it. To bring us back to Him. To anchor us safely in the encircling arms of His love. Don't forget it! :)
爱你们! 再见!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lulang Ho Bo?

So my Hokkien pinyin could probably do with some work, but its essential meaning is: Nimen hao ma? Or, in the language of my hood: What be goin' on, my homeslicedawgs? :) So this past week has seen Elder Mitchell wielding some pretty intense Chinese swords, helping his recent converts prep little cookie-things (the term "cookie" is use very loosely here) for Chinese New Year, and attending a farewell party for the departing senior couple. He'll miss them a lot, but they're going to keep in tough, right? :) At the party there was a jar of spread that has the consistency of Nutella, but it's cookie dough flavored. In actuality, it tastes like Animal Crackers, but no one here knows what those are. Oh well ;)
Chinese New Year is coming up, and we're pretty excited for it! The work might be getting a little slower, but we're looking forward to lots of free food. :) And fireworks. The night of 18-19 February is going to be epic :) Last year I was in Miri for Chinese New Year (it feels like forever-and-a-day ago), and the fireworks there were AWESOME! I can only imagine what JB's going to do :)
This past week I've been striving to increase my faith in my Savior. I've come to learn this past week that faith really is such a driving force in missionary work, and I haven't taken advantage of it as much as I should have throughout a good portion of my mission. When we have faith in Christ, we FIRST believe that He is there, that He hears our cries and our pleas, and that He can help us. We then ACT on what we believe. We go out and show Him that we love Him! His grace is a free gift, but it's just like the free samples that you get in candy shops. You get a sample--that's all. If you pay the price of discipleship, you are enabled to receive ALL the blessings of His amazing grace. You're able to be sealed to Him through covenants, you're able to follow His example more fully, you're able to appreciate Him even more than you would before--because you've paid the price! You've tried to walk that path of discipleship! You know how hard it is---and you know that, every time you fall or falter or fail on that path, He kneels down beside you, takes your hand, and says, "Let Me take care of it. Let Me take care of YOU."
I testify that these things are true, because I've been able to feel that power and that strength in my life this past week. I don't have perfect knowledge yet, because I'm still a very mortal, mistake-ridden person. But I have felt the Spirit, and I hope to continue feeling Him, as He testifies to me that these things are true. I love you all, and hope you have a great Chinese New Year!
Gongxi Facai! Wo ai nimen! :)
Mai Zhanglao