Monday, July 1, 2013

Another week

Another week has come and gone here at the good ole MTC! It's hard to think that already I'm at P-Day...only two more after today, then the field! One of the teachers I have who went to Singapore says that on his first day, the mission president had them go out street contacting and they filmed him doing it and sent that recording back to his parents! I dunno how my mission president is going to do it, but that'd be neat if he did that. You'd be able to hear my bright, beautiful mug speaking some Mandarin! ;) 
This past week has been quite a crazy one. For the first half we weren't allowed in the main administration/dining building on campus, because of the New Mission Presidents' Seminar; now we are though. Me and the two other elders in my district going to Singapore got to go to a malaria instruction class on Tuesday--turns out we get to take special pills every day of our mission so that we don't contract malaria! Oh joy! On Wednesday we got all of the new missionaries that came in; it was very exciting and fun! Our zone, after being split a couple weeks ago, has now doubled or more in size with all of these newbies. Pretty great :) 
Mandarin is coming along, at times fast, at times slow. It's a work in progress. I've discovered this week that I can hold my own in a lesson, and that I can understand and speak more Chinese than I originally thought I could :) It's still going to take a lot of time and effort to learn this language, but I have hope that it will come :)
I'm just so doggone excited to get out to the field! There are several downsides to being there: 1) The mail will take FOREVER to get there! 2) Humidity and heat--so far this hot weather here in Utah is already killing me. I dunno how I'll survive Xinjiapo. 3) Speaking Chinese all day, errday. I'm excited for this one, but also scared to death of it. My Chinese is nowhere near ready for anything like that...I guess it will be a kind of 'baptism by fire' experience :)
This past week on the Tuesday Devo our speaker was none other than Janice Kapp Perry!! One of the greatest of Mormon legends! She and her husband spoke, and it was really awesome :) At one point she had all of us start singing a medley of the various hymns/childrens' songs she'd written. While we were singing "We'll Bring the World His Truth", I just had the thought that Rory too had been called to serve. Where and for how long, I do not know; hopefully on his P-days he can come help me, though :) I also remember thinking of an image that just brought me comfort: In my mind (whether or not this was inspired by the Spirit, I dunno) I could picture myself lying in the mud, battered and bruised. Rory came; at points in my mind (don't think this is like a vision or anything like that; it's not. It was just a thought, a picture, that I had) anywho, Rory came. At points he was dressed in white, and at other points he seemed to switch back to his regular work clothes, with the discolored red/maroon shortsleeve shirt and his tattered jeans and USU hat. He was accompanied by the Savior, who both helped to pull me up. Me and Rory then went out and helped other people up out of the mud.
Maybe this doesn't make any sense, and I hope none of you think that this was a vision or anything like that. It was an image that I kinda crafted in my head while we were singing these rousing songs, and one that I thought I'd share with you :)
I've been working harder and harder on learning how to apply the Atonement in my personal life this past week. It's been an awesome experience! For those interested in learning more, I suggest reading two talks: "O Ye That Embark" by President Eyring, and "Missionary Work and the Atonement" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. They're both on, so hopefully you'll be able to find them without too much trouble :)
I know that the Lord loves each and every one of us. As we strive to work out our salvation and make our wills align with that of heaven, I know that the Lord will provide strength, comfort, and help. He won't "leave us hangin'"; He will always be there to catch us, to buoy us up, to make us stronger. He will certainly pass us through refiner's fires, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the Book of Daniel--but let's not forget that He was standing right beside them in that fiery furnace the entire time. :)
The Lord loves you! I know He does! I love you, and I hope that as you feel the light and bounteous joy this Gospel brings you will strive to become more and more like our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ :)
May God be with you till we meet again,
Elder Mitchell/Mai Zhanglao

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