Monday, June 10, 2013

Dear friends, family, poisonous reptiles:
I hope you all got the clever 'Ice Age' reference there :) It was pretty good, if I say so myself. It's hard to believe that yet another week has gone by!! In five days it will have been a month since I entered the MTC, and in six days it will be a month till I leave it! I'm nowhere near ready nor prepared to go to Singapore/Malaysia yet; there's this thing called Mandarin Chinese that is proving to be a fun yet determined roadblock. But deep in my heart of hearts I REALLY want to go. I just want to go and fall in love with the people of Singapore and Malaysia; I want to go and be their servant and their friend. I am anxious to just go and immerse myself in the culture, the people, and yes, even the language. :)
This week has been one of great spiritual rewards and blessings. I've put more effort into studying the language and the Gospel, and I can testify that the Lord blesses such efforts. I can also testify that the adversary enjoys trying to overthrow such efforts as well. But, in the words of a great song, "don't give up, never give up, we won't stop, give it all we got" :) (to be honest, I'm not sure which movie that's from, but my sisters would be able to tell me. I probably just offended them right now by saying I forgot :) )
We've taught several more lessons and are advancing in the language, my companions at a remarkable rate, me at more of a snail's speed. But yeah. All's well, I suppose, in that regard. There are times when I feel like I'm just moving so fast and rapidly in Chinese, and there are other times when I feel the complete opposite. Pretty great :) Positivity! That's the key, my friends! I've come to learn through happy and sad experience that to be positive is to get the most and advance the farthest in any situation presented to you, spiritual or temporal. There's a reason that the most oft-repeated commandment--and, as Elder Holland says, the most oft-broken commandment--that the Lord gives to us is 'Be of Good Cheer'!!! 2 Ne. 2:25--"Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy" :)
Lately the days have been supremely hot. I'll find myself in the midst of complaining about said heat and starkly realize: Singapore is even HOTTER than this, and is much more HUMID. Oh joy ;) But I'm really super excited to go! I've heard stories that go something like this: You sweat gallons, and you hope it rains so that you can get a free shower :) I'm totally fine with that :)
This week I've decided that I want to read the Book of Revelations. I'm not very far into it, since I don't really have that much time to do that sort of 'for fun' reading, but what I have read is amazing!!! It is so thought-provoking and awesome! :) I really like Revelations 21:4--"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." This scripture, along with a lot of the devotionals and other studies I've done here, has pointed my heart towards my brother and towards Singapore. I miss him a lot, as well as the friends and family back home, but I know without a doubt that this is where I'm supposed to be, and I'm very thankful for it :)
Friends and family, I know this Church is true. My knowledge is far from perfect, and my faith is far from being that of a spiritual giant's, but I know that the work I've been called to do is one that the Lord has ordained. I know that although I am weak, He is strong, and He can help me when I need that help. I know that I'm far from perfect, and that He still loves me. This morning me and my district had the chance to go to the temple, and the Spirit there was wonderful! I love being in the Lord's House and I encourage any and all to do whatever it takes to get there! It is so worth it! I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that he saw what he said he saw. That is an area of my testimony that has definitely grown since my time here in the MTC, and for that I'm eternally grateful :)
For now I bid you a fond farewell; see y'all next week!
Elder Mitchell/Mai Zhanglao

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