Happy P-Day

Hey it sounded like you never got last weeks email so here it is. 

Hey thanks for that message. I started the BOM again and when I read the first vision I actually noticed that and tried to discuss it with my district but none of them really understood what I was asking about. So that'll really help. And yeah I already got that whole idea of the fear of not speaking the language. The first few days here were absolutely terrible. We only speak Chinese in the class and theirs only one other elder in my district who does not have multiple years of mandarin experience. I took it really hard. I was constantly complaining about it and it was all I could think about. My companions name is Dong Zhanglao (Elder Donalson) and he had 4 years of Chinese before coming here and still struggled with the language. So yeah our first lesson on Thursday last week was terrible. And all I could say was to the investigator was "I'm sorry. Could we please come back tomorrow." The spirit was definitely there in the room but me and Dong Zhanglao just couldn't come up with the words that we were inspired to tell our investigator in Chinese. It was with out a doubt the most frustrating experience of my life. So the next day came around and it was time to teach again. We were supposed to redeem ourselves this time. Once again, we kneeled outside the investigators door and prayed for the spirit to be with us and specifically asked to be blessed with the gift of tongues. But it was to no avail. Our lesson was terrible. As a result I was really rather angry. Everyone kept saying "just make it to Sunday and you'll be okay. Everyone goes through this." I tried to believe that but when I looked around, it seemed nobody else was struggling like I was. And it only kept getting worse. Then Sunday rolled around. I didn't see what all the hype was about. I made it through the whole morning and afternoon, and everyone then said "See? Doesn't the first Sunday change everything?" I would reply with a "Yes it's been a great day," but in reality I felt the same. Same headache and same struggle with the language. Then it was Sunday night and time to watch a movie. I thought this meant some Mormon movie and everyone told us to see the "Character of Christ." So I was kinda excited to just chill and watch a movie.Turns out it was actually a talk given by Elder Bednar on Christmas a few years back in the MTC. I was slightly disappointed, but to put it simply, that talk changed my life. I can't explain it in a way that would do it any just justice but the gist of it is Christ's character is all about "turning out" and putting others before your self. Yeah it's a simple and overused idea but the way he explains it makes it seem like so much more than that. Acting Christlike is more than occasionally serving others. It is completely leaving yourself behind and putting the welfare of others in front of yours in every aspect of your life. It was after watching this that my attitude completely changed. I had realized I had gotten so caught up in my struggles, I had forgot about my Mudi or purpose here as a missionary. I am not learning mandarin for myself. I am here on Heavenly Father's time to serve as an instrument in His hand to bring His children into the fold. The only reason I am learning mandarin is to better serve this purpose. This is such a sacred purpose.
These ideas have completely changed my perspective here. I am now studying with that purpose in mind and it is now coming so much easier. The next day (Monday) I figured out a study method that actually worked for me and finally started seeing progress. I couldn't necessarily speak the language but I had at least learned a few more words. When the next lesson with our investigator came around I actually felt at peace. This time we arrived a little late and therefore had to say a quick prayer and I noticed afterwards, we actually forgot to ask for the gift of tongues. But despite that, the lesson went absolutely beautifully. I taught the first vision, IN CHINESE. I may have peeked at flash cards occasionally (actually rather consistently) but nevertheless Mr. Lin understood it. But that wasn't even the most amazing part. Our investigator asked a question afterwards neither of us seemed to understand but then it happened. Dong Zhanglao just started bearing his testimony of the first vision completely on his own, maintaining eye contact the entire time. And then Mr. Lin started crying. The spirit was so strong and it testified to all three of us the truth of this restoration. I witnessed the Gift of Tongues for myself and we didn't even ask for it. 
This actually kinda confused me as to how this happened. But then last night Tuesday devotional came around and President Clayton of the seventy and his wife were the speakers. It was actually during Sister Clayton's talk that my question was answered. She had explained how even though we seem to live on "mortal time" here on earth, we are still on eternal time in the grand scheme of the plan of salvation. Answers to our prayers have don't come on our time even if this leads to frustration or trials because of our impatience. Our Father has a plan and reason for everything. I needed to experience that frustration my first few days here. Sister Clayton would call it a "Mormon blessing" or a trial that is just a blessing in disguise. My testimony and faith in the gospel is now stronger than ever. This week has been going wonderfully and I can't wait to teach again tonight
But anyways, I love it here. My districts just great. I have my companion Elder Donalson, he's from Lehi and just always a pleasure to be around. Then there's Elder Johnson. He's from Vegas and is really into bodybuilding. He's huge. Then there's Sister Burton. She's the granddaughter of THE Sister Burton (general relief society president). She's amazing. Her companions are Sister Clyde and Sister Kwan. Sister Clyde is like a legit sister to me. Her Chinese last name is even Ai, which is the same as mine. So we get along great (with the exception of always arguing) and have all the same interests. Sister Kwan is from Seattle and is always fun to be around, and both her parents are from Taiwan so that's cool.
But about the physical stuff I need, I already got like a lot of stuff here. Like hangers. They didn't have hangers in the room. But at this point all I really need (or want would be a better word) is my Birkenstocks, an electric shaver (like the ones with the three circle things on top; this razor thing isn't working out), Taiwan shot glasses, Taiwan flag, really Taiwan anything lol. But thanks for everything mom and dad. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity. I am so excited for these next 2 years.

I love you lots,
Ai Zhangloa

P.S. I haven't had the chance to take too many pics but I'll just attach everything on my camera.​

I don't know who is whom but the ladies are in order Sister Clyde, Sister Burton and Sister Kwan. Elder Donalson is the blonde on the right.

The first Tag photo.

View from his dorm

Sister Burton teaching Elder Erickson the Viola.

This lady must have patience.  :)


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