Hello friends, family, and all other persons that might be involved,
"One day more! Another day, another destiny!" Now, imagine that song (from none other than Les Mis) being played while the images of planes crossing the ocean are displayed on some sort of big screen. Yep, I feel pretty much like a mix between Jean Valjean and Indiana Jones :)is the big day! , at , I go to the Travel Office, and from there on I head to SLC, then off to LA, and then across the Pacific. For a small town kid who's never been outside of the Intermountain West this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime! I've never been more scared, nor have I ever been more excited, for or about anything in my entire life! But I know that this is where I need to be. Allow me to illustrate my point using a brief but hopefully effective story:
About two minutes after thinking that, the pain started getting worse. It incrementally became stronger and stronger of a feeling; I found myself standing in the dinner line, fending off the urge to double over from the agony of my stomach. It hurt A LOT! There were moments when I thought that maybe my appendix was going to rupture or something like that (okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating the pain a wee bit, but it still hurt like the devil). After I finally got some food in me, I felt much better.
When I reflect on that pain, I'm also reminded of a memorable quote from a Mission Conference we had earlier this week, in which President Nally said: "The world is hungry...for the truth."
The world is HUNGRY for the truth. Those pains that my stomach was having were minimal compared to the spiritual needs and nourishment that this world is currently lacking. The Lord has called us all to arise and shine forth, and impart of that good word which we do have to the rest of the world :)
In 2 Nephi 31:20 we read that we are supposed to feast "on the words of Christ"--FEAST! There's more than enough to spare for everyone! And we're not supposed to do it in minimal amounts either--we're meant to FEAST. We're meant to delight ourselves in partaking of the goodness of the Gospel. I know that as we do this, as we become entrenched in the wonderful fruits of the Lord's words and His work, we truly can find delight. The only thing that can add to the joy of feasting upon the words of Christ is inviting others to come join us in the feast. Which is better--watching the football game by yourself, or with your buddies? Exactly! It's better when there are others with you! Though that might be an unorthodox example to attach to this message, the principle is still the same: We are meant to not only feast on the words of Christ--we are meant to invite others to do so! And with the renewed emphasis on "Every member a missionary", we are ALL invited to help others come and partake. The world is hungry for the truth, and we are meant to go forth and fetch those that are starving and bring them before the arrayed wonders of doctrines and ordinances and Gospel principles and words of living prophets. The crowning course of this feast, I think, will be the fruit of eternal life that is served at the end, the fruit that is described about in 1 Nephi-12.
Well, friends, it's almost time for me to bid a fond farewell to the States and proceed to the Great Unknown. I hope and pray that you'll all remember that the Lord is so very aware of your existence and that He loves you with all the perfection of a Heavenly Father! :) I know that this Church is true; I know that the work missionaries do is the work of salvation, and I know that any and all, set-apart or not, can participate in this noble endeavor. I know that the Lord is hastening this work; He is eager for His children to come home. In the words of Joseph Smith: "Brethren [and sisters], shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren [and sisters]; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad" (D&C 128:22) :)
Zai jian for now; God be with you till we meet again!
Elder Mitchell/Mai Zhanglao
p.s. Prepare yourself for some great and grand pics of Singapore/Malaysia/wherever it is that I'm sent! :)