Monday, May 26, 2014

I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

To paraphrase our branch president yesterday during Sacrament Meeting: The Gospel has many principles...just like a Korean drama has lots of different episodes.
So this past week has been a good one. We had transfers, and I am now with Elder Chong, a native from over in West Malaysia! I've spoken more Chinese in the past five days with him than I have with any of my other companions in the field, maybe even the mission. Who knows? In the words of a great song: "One way or another, I'm gonna [speak it], I'm gonna [speak it, speak it, speak it]." (That was probably a little Babylon-esque. M'bad :) ).
I've had a chance to contemplate the principle of repentance this week a LOT. This morning, as I was doing so, an analogy kind of clicked in my mind. My brain functions in such a way that I understand things best when they're put into real-life situation examples. For instance: Many people (myself included) sometimes have the false assumption that repentance--or rather, the Atonement--is like a dishwasher. You just throw in a dirty dish and hope for the best, essentially. In actuality, it's more like handwashing dishes. The Atonement is very personal and thorough. The Lord takes the plate of our lives into His hands, and, using the power of the Atonement, scrubs and rinses and washes and scrubs some more, wearing away the weaknesses, the faults, the sins, the trivialities that impede us from entering His presence. He does it individually--you certainly can't wash more than one dish at a time if you're doing it by hand (trust me, I've tried). He does it with a purpose--He will have a clean dish, not something that's half-washed. He knows our potential, and He will not rest until we have reached it. Thank heavens that we will never reach that potential in this life! Thank heavens that we are being cleansed by that Atonement and by our Master each and every day! Thank heavens that we have a Father in Heaven who loved us so much that He, desiring to make us as He is, sent His Only Begotten Son to pay the price, to wash us clean, even through the blood of the Lamb. 
I love y'all very much, and hope that the Lord will watch over you this upcoming week. 
Keep on keepin' on,
Mai Zhanglao

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fwd: Concerning Hobbits (or Redheads)

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
In a flat in Malaysia there lived a missionary.
Same diff. That being said, this past week has been a great one. We got to journey forth and do some great contacting. In addition to that, we stopped by the home of one of the people that visited the family history booth last week. We gave him a pedigree chart and, as we were explaining, he stopped us and said, "Wait a second. Don't you guys usually talk about God with people?"
Well, sir, as a matter of fact, we do :) He also said something along the lines of: "I'm a kind-of Christian. But one thing that I don't really understand is why there are so many different Christian churches."
In response to that, me and my companion looked at each other, grinned, and said, "We can teach you about that."
We shared a little bit about the apostasy with him, and then scheduled a time for him to come to the family history center to input the information he's collecting about his fam. He actually kept the appointment and came to the center! Unfortunately, he figured out really quickly how to work the website, so he kind of fled the scene after about 15 minutes. 
However, the Lord is kind, and impressed us during our first meeting to leave with this guy a Restoration pamphlet. We'll probably have to call him back about it and see how he likes it :) The Lord works in great ways :)
Today I'd like to testify about the power of prayer. It doesn't really have anything to do with the above story, but whatevs :) The other day I had a lot on my mind. Life, investigators, friends, family members, my own inadequacies, my relationship with God--it all kind of hit me at once during a Personal Study. I put down my scriptures; I was having a hard time feeling the Spirit throughout it all, with everything on my mind. I quietly left the study room and went to our bedroom, where I closed the door and spent a good ten to fifteen minutes pouring out my soul to my God. I testify that the power of prayer is REAL. Notice that I say POWER, not quick, five-second, no-thought-whatsoever of prayer. Power--putting your whole heart and soul into it, reaching sincerely heavenward in supplication of something, anything.
I testify that Heaven reaches back. I testify that God leaves us not comfortless. I testify that He knows our hearts, our fears, our worries, our stresses; and it is in spite of, or maybe because of, all these things that He immeasurably loves us and says, "Let Me take care of it." Or, maybe instead of that phrase, He says something more along the lines of, "Let Me take care of you."
I felt a peace that morning that can't be described. I felt a hope for the future, a faith for the present, and a love of God and all men that cannot be denied. Men may rail and slander the Gospel as much as they want, but they cannot deny the fruits thereof. They cannot deny the peace this Gospel brings. They cannot deny it.
In closing, I wish you all a very Merry May :) Guess what?! I hit my year mark this past Thursday! One whole year in the field! Go team! :)
Love you all,
Mai Zhanglao :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hello To All Y'all

This week has been another great one. We got to do another family history booth from Thursday May 8 (my sister's birthday! She's officially able to date...or so she thinks. As I told her and the other sister last night during Skype, they will NEVER be old enough to date--not with THIS GUY as their older brother :) )--anywho, from May 8 to May 10. It was really cool, and the Lord provided the way for several really prepared people to stop by! It was awesome! The Lord truly does hear and answer our sincere prayers,and is anxious to use us as tools in His hastening of the work of salvation.
Like I just mentioned, I got to Skype home with family last night. It was so wonderful! I haven't seen them in nearly a year (almost to the day, in fact!). As I reflected on getting to talk with them again in the past couple of hours, I've realized how grateful I am for my relationship with them. I've also realized that there is really only one relationship in our lives that doesn't ever need to change. For missionaries, we're gone from our families for two years--they change, we change, there will always be that awkward few weeks in trying to readjust to regular life once we get home. For our friends and acquaintances, there will be times when we don't see eye-to-eye, times when we can't even stand each other. All of these relationships are amazingly important, and are some of the only things that we are able to take with us into eternity. But the one relationship that doesn't need to change--or rather, that DOES need to change, but only for the better--is our relationship with God. Even if our families are half a way world away, we can still remain close to God. Even if we're struggling in the depths of sin, despair, trials, or sorrow, we can still remain close to God. In sunshine and in shadow, the Lord is our constant friend. That truth kinda hit me like a ton of bricks earlier this morning. 
I'm so grateful for the chance we have each and every day to strive to come closer to our Savior. I'm grateful for the relationship I do have with Him, and for the fact that I can improve it in the upcoming year (yeah, I nearly forgot to mention: This Thursday=Elder Mitchell's YEAR MARK! May 15 lah! :) Crazy how fast time flies by!).
I love you all and hope that this day and week bring nothing but blessings to you. God be with you till we chat again,
Mai Zhanglao :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fwd: Happy Star Wars Day (Yesterday)!

Well, folks, this past week has been a good one. Don't have much time to talk this fine day, but I just want all y'all to know that:
1. I got my camera to work. Ya welcome for the pics :)
B. Read the 27th chapter of "Jesus The Christ" sometime. Super good :)
III. I know that this Church is true. I've had the opportunity to see the lives of people that have been blessed by the Restored Gospel, versus those who have not yet partaken of the fruit. There is a notable difference. This Gospel reassures us of a loving and real Heavenly Father, anxiously engaged in our lives and deeds. This Gospel reminds us of the Plan of Salvation our Father presented to us eons ago, guaranteeing that that thing known as death is not an insurmountable wall, but rather a checkpoint on the road home to our Father in Heaven. This Gospel compels us to become better, to stretch farther, to reach higher, to love deeper, to give greater, to see brighter, to feel happier. I'm so grateful for all the many blessings that we have been given, and for the many more that are promised to us, according to our faithfulness. 
I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful week and day and life!
Mai Zhanglao

p.s. Here come the pics! Get yourselves ready for some fun!
1--Photo 0069: You can take the gangster out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the gangster
2--Photo 0156: Jungle in the back, garbage in the front, random orang putih/white guy in the middle=Your Average Malaysian Day
3--Photo 0158: We were cleaning the baptismal font. And we found this random little dude. Poor frog.