Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Hey Mikesell Clan!

Thanks everybody for all the letters and packages and love and everything!!! It's awesome, and I really appreciate it. So, we leave June 3rd!!! A week from today, and we have to be at the airport by 6:00am, so we have to leave the MTC at 3:00am!! We fly from Salt Lake City to San Francisco, sit there for 5 hours, then it's straight to Hong Kong!! The flight from San Fran to Hong Kong is like 18 hours!!!

Oh, and to answer your questions, Kelly, most of the tangerines are going to Taiwan or staying in the states. There are a few mandarins in Hong Kong but very few. We are actually on the same flight with the first two sister missionaries speaking mandarin going to Hong Kong. The tangerines actually had an apostle come to the MTC to evaluate their progress. We've been told that after we leave, the next group of Canto's will be twice our size... 50 Canto missionaries!! Crazy, man.

We actually were able to host last Wednesday which was fun. It's crazy to think about how much we've progressed since being here. We are going to host again this Wednesday, being that we are the grandpas of the MTC, haha. Nobody has been here longer than us now. It's cool, but makes we want to get out of here, but to be honest if they gave me the option I'd probably stay for another 4 weeks, hahaha.

The choir is doubling their size and is singing at the Marriott Center next month!!! I wish I could be here for that, but going to Hong Kong will be cool, too, haha! This week we heard from Elder Nash of the Quorum of the Seventy and Elder Allen who is the Director of Missionary Work. They both were inspiring and made me want to go hard my whole mission. Also, Elder Allen is hilarious, haha. Alec will probably hear from him. We've heard from him twice now.

Anyways, it's starting to get real now!!! Love you all! This will be the last email from the MTC!! Love you! Keep the faith! Never quit!

Elder Mikesell
It's my name!! They gave us names for our passports, and mine means "eternally bright".

Isn't the temple cool with all the clouds in the background?!

Do you recognize the Hawaiin? Yeah, he is from the district!!!! I was like, "Hey, elder Manu, right?" And he said, "Nope, Elder Reece... There are only two brown dudes on the district and you got them mixed up..." Hahahaha, he was nice, though.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Ok, so I have so much to tell you about this week!!! It's been a busy one... But, I have to tell yout this one story about our zone leader. I guess he woke up at 1:30am in the morning thinking it was 6:30am and time to get up. Hahaha, he starts turning on the lights and telling people to get up, and then instead of grabbing a towel to go to the shower, he takes a sheet off his bed and wraps it around himself like a toga!!! Hahaha. At this point, Elder Young is like "What the heck are you doing?! It's 1:30, go to bed!!!" So, Elder Luderup (our ZL) looks at the clock, realizes what time it is and is all like "Haha oh, sorry." And, THEN Elder Heartwig, who apparently has slept through this whole debacle just then wakes up, thinks it's time to get up cuz the lights are on and starts to get ready too, hahahaha. So, I guess it was a pretty crazy night :) Haha, the MTC is steadily starting to break the best of us, hahaha. Just kidding.

So, in other news, we got a TON of new tangerines last Wednesday, so we're outnumbered like 3-1!!! It's ridiculous! Oh, but good news! We finally got the proof copy of the Cantonese Book of Mormon!!!!!!!!!!!!! So stoked. It is split into 2 huge, binder like things, but we still read from them, haha. Hopefully, they'll actually start printing the real copies soon. Elder Martinez told me that he knows the guy who is in charge of the translation of Book of Mormon, and he told him that he would get him the canto translation... so he keeps telling everyone that it's because of him that we have them... but I'm skeptical, haha.

Oh, and on Tuesday we got to hear from Elder Nelson! He is awesome and super funny. We heard rumors that he was coming, and I have an inside source (one of the cafeteria workers I became friends with) who confirmed the reports. I was telling everybody in our zone to get down there quick, so they could have a seat (cuz not everyone is as cool as us, and sing in the choir, thereby getting saved seats), but some of them didn't believe me. I told Elder Osborn that if it was Elder Nelson, he owed me one of his uncles experimental Oreos (his uncle works for Oreo and sends him the new kinds before they come out to the public haha), and if it was ANYONE else, then I would give him one of my Trader Joe chocolate bars that everyone loves. Well, needless to say, I was feasting on cotton candy oreos that night hahahaha.

So, it's starting to get real... One more p-day.. crazy. I was reading my favorite chapters of the Book of Mormon, the mission chapters of Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah. I was reading after Ammon had converted King Lamoni. King Lamoni wanted Ammon to come with him to his father's land (who was the King of all the land and his superior), but Ammon prayed about it, and the Spirit told him if he went, the king would have his people kill him and that he was needed in Middoni because his brothers were in prison. He told this to Lamoni, and without hesitation, the king told him he would go with him and help free his brothers. So, they suit up the chariots and are charioting along (I don't know if that is a real word hahahaha) when they cross paths with, non other than, King Lamoni's father who was mad that Lamoni is with a Nephite and orders Lamoni to kill Ammon. But Lamoni stands up to him even though he knew the consequence could be death. Lamoni's father goes to kill Lamoni, but Ammon steps in and tells him if he does that he will go to hell. So, instead, the king tries to kill Ammon. (Apparently, he doesn't know Ammon chops off arms like nobodies business haha.) And Ammon ends up hurting his arm pretty bad. The king realizes he could be killed, so he starts to offer up half his kingdom if Ammon won't kill him, but Ammon being the boss that he is says, no, all I want is two things. One, let my brothers out of prison, and two, allow King Lamoni's people to worship freely. (Because he and his people are under his father's rule and would not have religious freedom, even if Lamoni wanted them to.) The king at this point is astonished that Ammon only wants these two things and sees that he is a pretty stand up guy, so he grants both requests (cuz he would have died if not haha) and goes on his way with his messed up arm.

Fast forward to the brothers who are in prison. It says their skin was raw cuz of the binds, they were starved, went without water, beat, spit upon, the whole 9... now think about the change they made in their life. Before, they were rich, doing whatever they wanted, sinning and committing whoredoms... but after they were converted, AFTER they decided to change their lives and serve a mission, they get thrown into prison. And all it says about the whole experience was "they were patient in their afflictions". They HAD to have wondered, "Why, now that I'm doing what's right, what the Lord wants, am I going through this? I'm a missionary! I should be blessed! I'm doing what's right!!" But, what I'm sure they didn't realize is that BECAUSE they were thrown into prison, Ammon was told to go save them instead of going to the dinner and his death and BECAUSE they were thrown into prison, Ammon and King Lamoni went to free them and crossed paths with the king himself, contending with him and gaining religious freedom of ALL of King Lamoni's people.

Sometimes we don't know why we go through hard times when we are doing what's right... why we can't just magically learn canto haha, but God does know why, and he has a reason. He knows all and is the master organizer of everything. So, trust Him and be patient in your afflictions.. cuz it might just lead to the religious freedom of a nation, haha. Also, if you read further you'll see that one of the brothers who were in prison, I think it was Aaron, goes directly to the guy who, a couple chapters before, orders to kill him. He ends up converting him and a ton of others... I challenge you (cuz that's what we do as missionaries, we give commitments, haha) to read these chapters (Alma 17-27), and read after everyone is converted who gets the credit.

I love all of you. I'm so grateful for all the letters and packages everyone has sent me and the prayers on mine and all other missionaries behalf. KEEP THE FAITH, NEVER QUIT. I love you all. Chittyging!!!

Mahk Jeung Louh

Monday, May 13, 2013


HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!! Thanks to moms everywhere! Especially mine, and Kelly. They are awesome wonderful. We watched this video on lds.org about moms they made for Mother's Day, it was really good. I don't remember what it was called, but you shouldn't have a hard time finding it. Whenever you want a spiritual kick in the butt for a little motivation, go watch Mormon messages, they're great. The bible videos are cool, too. Oh, and on the mormon.org website, they have this guy you need to find. He's like a YouTube legend. I can't remember his name, but he's from Hawaii and he plays the piano. Look him up. So cool.


So we've been here longer than most everybody else, haha. We've seen 3 sets of yingmans (English speakers) come and go, and all our Spanish, Tagolog and Subuano buddies are all gone, haha. We feel like the old grandpas of the MTC, haha. It's cool, though, cuz we got a new group of Mandarin speakers a few weeks ago that live in the same dorm and have the same gym time. There is a pretty big rivalry on the soccer pitch. We call them the tangerines and they refer to us as the cantaloupes, haha. But, we usually beat them, haha. They are actually really cool guys. Sometimes we will street contact each other around campus and try to understand what each other is saying. It's weird cuz it's close, and I can understand a few things, but overall it just sounds like they are shushing us all the time, haha. They tell us we are "chinging" them, haha. Anyways, this week has been good. I've learned a lot and am excited for another week. Our teaching schedules have picked up a ton, but that's just what it will be like in the mission, hopefully. Anyways, so that's good, haha.

The field has opened up, so I play soccer. We started with only 6 people, but it's grown to a bunch more. Yesterday, we had 13 vs. 13, it was a pretty fun game, haha. I haven't taken any pictures of the 4-square games, but if I do, I'll send them to you.

A lot of people complain about the MTC and about how long they have to spend here, but I think if they gave me the option to stay for 12 weeks, I would, haha. Well, that's all for today folks, keep the faith, don't quit, and pray for my gift of tongues, haha, I need it!

Remember Elder Martinez, the lip stick and the laminated letter? If not, you should definitely check out the post from April 2013: Missing Laundry, Kissing Elder Martinez & Gotta Love Them Sisters!

Monday, May 6, 2013


 This was a good week! I'm learning a lot. Not just Cantonese but the gospel of Christ and His doctrine. It's actually kind of crazy how much more time we devote to learning the gospel and how to teach it with the Spirit than we do actually learning the language. Don't get me wrong, we spend hours every day reading, repeating, memorizing and attempting to speak it every day, but we spend more time learning the language of the Spirit, which is so much more important because we don't convert, the Spirit does. It took me a while and a few frustrating lessons to figure that out. It doesn't matter as much how much canto I can speak, but how well I bring the Spirit into the lesson. And it's so true. I can testify of the truthfulness of that through experience.

OK! Supppper funny story time... My buddy, Elder Howell in our zone, hurt his leg a while back playing 4-square... yeah, it gets intense. We even have an announcer, Elder Nestman,  who whenever someone gets out says, "You hate to see that at this level." Hahahaha. It might not be that funny to you, but when you are playing 4-square with a bunch of 20 year old men, screaming at the top of their lungs you'd get it haha. ANYWAYS he hurt his leg a while back and the other night they were saying district prayer, and when he got up from kneeling he felt a huge pain and fell over, went to the hospital and is now on crutches. The joke around the zone is he "wrestled with an angel in prayer with such zeal that the angel broke his leg" hahahahahahaha funny right??!! If you don't get it, look up and read Genesis 32.

We also had an awesome TRC this week, I won't go into it cuz I don't want to ruin it for Alec, but it's just when you get to teach a member in your language. We got to teach this guy, Frank, who is like 65 or something and served his mission in Hong Kong before there was an MTC. They gave him a textbook, a recording of some tones and told him to learn it - hahaha. He actually spent 6 extra months there because it took so long to learn the language that he didn't really teach his first 6 months haha. Anyways whenever I think about wanting to get out of here and get to Hong Kong, I think of him and I don't feel so bad hahaha.

Okay, so last story... Coooooolest devotional yesterday. We got to hear from Chad Lewis who played for BYU and eventually for Philadelphia. Elder Dorman was freaking out when he saw who it was and made us go with him to shake his hand and talk to him before it started. Turns out he went to Taiwan, Mandarin speaking. He was an awesome speaker and got us all pumped up to serve. We even got to see some clips of him jumping over some dudes, it was cool. He told us that he was talking to Troy Polamalu after a game and how funny his voice sounds, and then he went to do a fireside and Troy's little brother came up and talked to him hahaha. He's in Fiji right now. Oh, and he was also talking about how he covered the Superbowl in Chinese one year, but he didn't know how to say a lot of words cuz he learned "mission Chinese, not football Chinese", so the whole time he was "testifying that Tom Brady was throwing true passes" hahahahah. I thought it was funny.

Oh, and so you know, that kid that is supposed to be the new Jimmer for BYU? His name is Nick Emery, and he got here last week. We have been trying to see when he is schedule for gym time so we can sneak in a play him. I just want to drain one three pointer on him, just one. That way, I can tell people that I sunk a shot in Nick Emery's face when he goes pro hahahaha.

Well, I'm about out of time, but I want to testify that the Church is true and that your prayers are felt, so please don't stop because I can't do it without them. The gift of tongues is real, but the gift of the Spirit is so much more important. Keep the faith, keep writing me. It's the best part of the day. Thank you soooo much for all the packages, they are the best and everything else that you do. I love you all, keep the faith! Until next week.

Mahk Jeung Louh

 My district with some of our teachers. The semester at BYU is over,
so they are both gone, but the new teachers are awesome.