We traveled by a ferry to the island, where we rented bikes and bought little ponchos that looked ridiculous and didn't really keep the rain out that great (yeah, it's still raining like crazy at this point in time). We mountain-biked all over the island, getting soaked, seeing jungle sights, living the dream. Towards the tail end of our adventures we ran across a family of wild pigs! A mom and her four or five rather large piglets (or whatever wild pigs' babies are called). It was very cool--alas, I don't have a picture to give you hard-core evidence of this, so you'll just have to believe me :)
Anywho, that's my excuse for getting the email out late. Ya welcome :)
This week has seemingly flown by! The days all started melting together and stuff--it was cool and eerie all at the same time. We've taught a LOT of lessons in the past week--I've been able to put my MTC skills to the test and recite the First Vision in Chinese a few times (so for you kids still struggling there in Provo, hear this word of encouragement: Learn the First Vision! Super powerful, I promise! :) )
A quick sidenote: We'd just barely taught two lessons and were getting ready to go out and teach a third when Ge Zhanglao comes frantically running to get us. He alerted us to the fact that he'd killed a baby gecko that had randomly been crawling the floors of the church. He was fairly distraught over the incident, but I decided that I'd take some pictures, if only to preserve the memories. ;)
Lately I've taken to reading from thatSchool book on the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. My love for him and the work that he restored has grown a LOT! It's been awesome to see the majesty and power that Joseph Smith truly had, and I can do nothing but say: It's true. It has to be. Everything makes sense when you put it into a Gospel context. EVERYTHING. Life, death, pain, suffering, happiness, tragedy, natural disasters, success, spiritual experiences--they all fit into the Lord's timing and plan. They all make sense when you look at them through the lenses of the Gospel.
Guys and gals, this Church is true. There are times when clouds of gloominess or sorrow overcast that piercing light of truth, but as I sit here writing this I can feel it burning deep within me. There have been several times while I've been out here in Xinjiapo that I've just wanted to sit down on the side of the road and cry--missionary work and the fact that some people want nothing to do with it can really tax your emotions. But the Lord has always found a way to cheer me up, usually through a conversation with another person. The Lord is watching over each and every one of us, and as determined as we may be to succeed, He is even more so. This is His plan, this is His work, and I know that He'll help any who are willing to enlist in His Almighty service.
In closing, I'd like to share a quick quote that I love; it's by none other than Joseph Smith himself:
"The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."
I love you all! I really do! May God be with you till next we chat!
Mai Zhanglao :)