Don't miss the video her mission posted by scrolling to the very bottom of this page!
Crossing the street in Bang Khen
We were so fortunate to get tons of pictures and a long letter this week! Evidently Brecklyn has been homeless so they had quite a bit of time this p-day. She warned us this probably wouldn't happen again!
Hey Everyone! Yes I am in Thailand now! What a great place to be. :)
So I'll start from leaving the MTC. We got on a bus that took us to front runner. We took that and trax up to the airport. It was kind of a pain with all 14 of us and all of our luggage. When we first got to trax Sister Alley our travel leader said we had 2 minutes to go and get on the train. So we started moving quick. I got on and started loading other people's stuff on. Sister Alley is so smart. She knew that if our group got divided (which the doors kept closing on us so it was a possibility) that she needed to stay behind because she knew I had traveled and would make sure the first half of the group was ok. That is why it is good she was travel leader. Thinking of things like that in panicky moments. Luckily we all managed to make it on ok and we made it to the airport with no problems.
Then we checked our luggage and were able to get dinner. REAL FOOD!!! I got peiwei. It tasted so good! Too good I pretty much inhaled it and didn't enjoy it. Also, I got to call home and talk to my family for quite a while. My one request, when I skype home for Christmas, don't be at a US soccer game or a restaurant while on vacation in Florida, its kind of hard to talk with all of that going on.
It was finally time to bored the plane, which was a bit delayed. Then we got on the plane only to find out we didn't have a pilot. He was rerouted to Twin Falls because of weather. So we sat and waited forever until they finally found us a pilot. We were worried we were going to miss our connection or our flight would get canceled like it did for the last group heading to Thailand. When we finally landed in LA and checked in and found our gate, we had about 10 minutes to use the bathroom and board the plane... So no phone calls home happened there. People decided they would then try in our layover in Hong Kong. But of course whenflying to Hong Kong we ran out of fuel and had to land in Taiwan. I didn't expect to ever end up there anytime soon. So that was a fun hour adventure.
Landing in Taiwan
Taiwan from the air
We finally took off again and made it to Hong Kong. The airline had to personally walk us to our next flight to make sure we could go through special security and make our flight. In security, they took my nail file! Apparently it is a weapon. It made me really mad. I hate regular nail files and it was a nice one. I made them let me use it before they confiscated it. (This sounds SO much like Brecklyn! She was at least going to use it one last time before they took it away and hoping to inconvenience them just a little to prove a point. haha)
Then we hurried and sat down on our plane and took off for Thailand! That flight seemed so short after the one before it. Luckily I probably got about 10 hours of sleep on the long flight. Because once we landed in Thailand it was just go go go.
|Funny Asian English|
Missionaries and Airplanes
After getting off our plane we had to go through customs. That's where I had my first Thai conversation, in Thailand, with a Thai person. The lady was checking my arrival slip. I said hi how are you. She said good how are you? I said good thank you. Then she said you didn't fill out your birthday. I said sorry. She said don't worry about it. I understood and communicated in my first Thai conversation perfectly. It was amazing! After getting our luggage, we couldn't find the Seniors who were supposed to be picking us up. We kind of just waited around looking for them for a while. Then they finally got there and took all of our luggage and put it in the vans. Then we took the train to the church office building. We went straight to the roof and took a picture.
Then we split up into different groups. I was in the first group to meet with President Senior. We had a nice chat so he could get to know me a bit and have a better understanding to who I should be companions with. I also had to get a new temple recommend because I accidentally washed mine in the hustle of leaving the MTC. Now I have one in Thai! So that was cool. After that we headed to the clinic to get our blood drawn. On the way there, we got to invite people to be baptized or come to church. I got this girls number to invite her to church... But its not in my area so the office Elders get to deal with that. After getting our blood drawn we flew through a ton of important information about the mission because we were short on time. Then we went Dan Jonesing and invited everyone to get baptized... People just kind of laughed at me. Oh well. To be honest I felt like those monks in the scene of Midnight Madness when they get to the airport. It was weird.
That night we went to the Senior's for dinner. I love their apartment! They have such a nice kitchen which is weird because we aren't in the states. After that we went back to the church office and grabbed our overnight bags for the hotel.
Hotel room the first night in Bankok
That hotel was nice. I got to shower in a room with a lock for the first time in 2 months! It felt like the greatest shower in the world! I woke up at 4:30 the next morning due to jet lag. But I managed ok. We went and ate the complimentary breakfast from the hotel. I got fresh fruit, fried rice and bread. I really missed real food! After breakfast we hopped in vans and drove to the church for transfers. That was crazy! Luckily I had a native Thai Elder driving. I would be nervous to drive those big vans in the states. He was a pro driving it here in Thailand. The people here drive crazy! I swear there are hardly any traffic lights. You just go when you want to!
First breakfast with Sisters Zoller, Mamea and Peck
On the way to transfers to with Sister Zoller
Look at the Thai writing on the license plate!
After arriving to the church safely they lock you in a room with a sign on the door that says new missionaries. They don't like you mingling with the other ones, President Senior likes to keep you a surprise. Sister Senior talks a little bit about bug spray and things like that. President Senior tells you a little about them and their life. And then they send you into a big room full of missionaries cheering really loudly. You sit down. Stand back up and sing called to serve. Then you get to go up and introduce yourself. This conference, they had an ode to the dying missionaries. There were a lot dying this transfer so all of their companions got to say good things about them. Just to clarify, dying means leaving the mission. A lot of sisters were leaving. Then Sister Senior and President Senior talk for a minute. And then they announce transfers.
My companion is Sister Her. She is from Sacramento California and hits her year mark on the mission this Thursday. She has been in country 10 months. She has served in Udon, Bangbuathong, Kalasin, and now here with me in Bang Khen. We are white washing in, we are both new to the area, and we are reopening the area. The sisters left here in February. The Elders moved into their apartment. And they inconveniently sold that apartment like a week ago. So It was poring rain and I was homeless with huge suitcases. That was fun. Oh before that though, I ate at my first restaurant in Thailand. Que Pasa. Yep there is a Mexican restaurant near the church they do transfer meetings in, so all of the missionaries go there to eat after. I just got an oreo shake because we had just eaten lunch. Which, let me go back again.
Mexican Restaurant, Que Pasa
My new comp Sister Her
After they assign transfers and the meeting ends, the new missionaries and their trainers go to a meeting. They served us pizza from an Italian restaurant. Elder Hartmen is training Elder Okimoto so he was there. While we were eating I introduced myself and told him we went to the same high school. Neither of us knew each other. So we sat there and started playing the name people you know until you recognize a name game. So we sat there for a solid 10 or 15 minutes naming people back and forth without even recognizing a single name. Finally after that solid naming, we found one person. It was quite a struggle. Normally I at least recognize names I hear even if I don't know the person. I didn't even recognize a single name he said. I guess that's why we didn't know each other. So after that meeting we went and got Mexican food. Then we went back to the church to get our stuff. We were there for a while trying do decide where to go and what to do with our luggage and Sister Her's bike. (We are in a walking area). So finally a LA of the ward we are serving in told us about a member's guest house we could stay in. Guest house means almost sketchy motel with a really hard bed that makes you consider moving to the tile floor instead.
So we stayed there that night and had to drag my heavy luggage up sharp stairs to the second floor. Then we headed to the church for a welcome dinner with a few of the members. The members of this ward are really so great. I love them so much! After the dinner we took a taxi back to the hotel.
The next day we woke up and did studies. Then we headed to find a real hotel closer to our actual area. Well we found one, that was really nice and kind of expensive. So we took our stuff to the Elders apartment and packed an overnight bag (in preparation to go back to our old hotel).
Our stuff in the Elders apartment
From there we went back to the church and waited to hear if we could rent the old apartment again. At the church we flipped through the not so organized teaching record. It was kind of hard to know who had been baptized from the daters because it was back in February. So after we got a little organized we went out to contact because we had no investigators. While walking away from the church one of the Elders came running after us and said there were two ladies who wanted a tour of the church (which is how they get the people in Thailand to start lessons). So we turned back because the Elders can't give tours to women. So we started talking to the ladies. They live right next to the church and had been looking at it for years. That day, the day sisters are back in the area, they decided to just show up for a tour. The timing of that was crazy to me, if they would have come even one day earlier the Elders wouldn't have been able to give them a tour. So we gave them a tour (which was funny because it was our first time looking around and seeing the chapel). We walked into the chapel and Sister Her and I were just like, "wow isn't this a beautiful church?" It probably seemed really weird to them. Ha ha. So we finished the tour and taught them how to pray. One of the ladies said she would come to church on Sunday but the other was going out of town because it is their Mothers Day this weekend. Well tomorrow on Tuesday but they celebrate it all weekend. So we got Phii Duan to pray that lesson and agree to come back the next day for another lesson.
That night we had sports night with the ward. It was really fun. They always end with dodge ball. The next day we taught Phii Duan her second lesson. We taught her the plan of salvation. We also set her a date to be baptized. Next week! I didn't even have a home yet and I already had a dater!
Then later that night we were street contacting. We were asking all these people if they wanted to go to church. Then Sister Her had the thought, what if someone wants to go to church and I am here wanting them to go to church so we are both each other's answers. She looked up and contacted the next guy we walked past and asked him, "Do you want to go to church?" He was like, "Yeah I want to go to church!" He was so excited we thought he was kidding. So we took his number and said we'd see him at church the next day. That night we had Book of Mormon class. I love this ward because they are always at the church doing something. It is so fun. They were so patient with me while I struggled through the verse every time it was my turn.
Then it was Sunday. Oh yeah we were back at the semi sketch hotel living out of an overnight bag... If that matters. Oh the simple things I want right now. Like my retainer, anti itch stuff for bug bites, bug repellent, and study material. I'm over the hard bed if I could just have those things. Also the sun is out today so sunscreen would be nice... oh well. So we went to church. It was so amazing! Both Phii Duan and Phii Joe (the man from street contacting) came! Sacrament meeting was so crowded there wasn't an empty seat! I had to go up and bare my testimony in Thai... Elder Hill gave me a voice recorder because he said that is something I will want for the rest of my life. So I have it recorded. I kept it short and simple so people would know I don't speak Thai. I guess it wasn't short and simple enough because people kept coming up and talking to me. Sister Her had to keep telling them I am a Nong Khiaw which means greenie in Thai. For Sunday school they have a class solely for investigators but we had to combine it with the RC class because their teacher wasn't there. And the Sister teaching it was baptized 7 months ago! This place is crazy! The RC's have so much strength! After Sunday school was Relief society. Next week we will probably have to do it in the gym/stage room. Its not a basketball court. The room was so full of chairs! It was really tight. They had me lead the music... That was hard trying to read Thai and lead at the same time. I kind of just mumbled along. Ha ha.
Nice church in Bang Khen and area around the church
After Church we took pictures with the whole ward. I don't know how that happened but I am not complaining. Then we had lunch at the church with the whole ward.
This is the ward I am serving in. They are seriously so awesome! They love having sisters here and they haven't had any since February. Everyone told me I was going to be treated like a princess here!
After we taught Phii Joe. He was eating everything up he loved it! Elder Curtis told me that in Priesthood he was asking really good questions and he was holding a Book of Mormon and he asked, "where can I get one of these?" And so the elders told him, you can have that one its free. I guess he got really excited about that. So After church we taught him the restoration and why our church is different from other Christian churches. He asked good questions like how is the Book of Mormon different from the Bible. Then we taught him the Word of Wisdom. And then we gave him a baptismal date! He wants to have lessons and study before but we told him that is why we are here. So he is scheduled for the end of this month! Oh it was such an amazing day!
Our investigator Phii Joe
After church and everything, we went and street contacted. I got two phone numbers. I am searching out the priesthood holders to get Thailand their temple! Then we made Spaghetti at the church with the Elders. And headed home. It takes a while to get to our hotel... But today we might move into our apartment!
I forgot to mention, Saturday we found a place in the same building as the Elders! Its really nice too. So if all goes smoothly we should be able to move in today and I will get to have my stuff again!
So yes, the Lord was very nice and sent us investigators who are super ready for the gospel. I think he sent us extra blessings because we are homeless. Two daters before a home. This week was just so amazing. I love it here! I love being a missionary!
Spiritual thought one of the members shared in relief society. We were talking about answers to prayers. She said that when we pray, we pray on our time. When we get answers, we get them on Gods time. Its like an 8 year old asking for a motorcycle. He can't get one yet because he isn't ready. The parent knows that he isn't ready because he is only 8. That's how it is with God. He knows when we are ready for our answers.
I guess that's the best I can sum up this crazy long week! Hope you all had a good one! Love you!
Some of the food I've been eating. Ah, the freedom from MTC food! :)
I forgot to write this, but I tried Durian flavored icecream! :) It was nasty. I still want to try the actual fruit though. Ha ha
They have Koala's here! (One of Brecklyn's favorite treats from Japan)
The green noodles you put in broth. The meat was duck. But it actually reminded me a lot of ramen.