Thursday, May 30, 2013

I decided to practice writing my testimony in Thai, so I turned it into a letter for you! I love writing in script, it looks so cool! And the only words I had to look up were "support" and "example." We are learning! haha
My testimony in Thai with the translation

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wow. Mom's pruning got a little out of hand.
 Beautiful day!
Trying to be artistic..."I do BELIEVE that I will be able to read this..." 
Family shrine
Welcome to class. Bro.Burgess, one of our teachers.

Found this in the free box. Happy Cream! I think we'll leave that as a gift for the Nccng Thais.
Sometimes we need a break
 We found almost everything on this desk in the free bins! Holy Cow! 
Don't bother bringing shampoo here!

Patterned skirt day!
I think all our district is in this picture

Should've been an actress

Hello KhrccpKhrua!
Thank you thank you thank you for all of the amazing letters and emails! You all look so great! I especially like the yardwork that Mom is doing! And Sam and Dan, you are some intense corn shuckers! haha Thank you for the cute picture of you two, I love your sign. I love you, too! :)
Daniel, way to go on your spelling test! That is so good!! The food here is just fine. They have lots of cereal and cookies, which you would like. They also have a milk dispenser and a chocolate milk dispenser.  Last night they had macaroni and cheese. You will do just fine here when you're a missionary. I like the salad bar and I usually eat cottage cheese and tomatoes. As much as I love it, it is getting kind of old... now I need to start being a little more creative! I'm so excited that school is almost over! Wahoo! What are you going to do on your first day of summer? My roommates are really, really nice! I love them all and we have a really fun time together!
Samuel, the Empty C is going very, very well! And the Thigh is getting very good! hahaha I'm so glad that you gave Profe the blog link! Tell her hello from me! It's funny because when I first got here I was sitting outside of a Spanish classroom and I could understand everything the teacher was saying. I thought to myself how much easier it would be to go Spanish speaking! Now, however, I feel way more comfortable speaking in Thai (I think I know more in Spanish still, but Thai comes easier), and it feels weird to teach in English! Crazy!! How'd the track season wrap up? Also, I heard you gave a really good talk! Way to go! When do you get your driver's license!?
Mom, thanks for the Dorothy quote, I love it! And Sam and Mom, you look so good at the Luau! How did it go?  That sounds like so much fun! When I opened this email a sister missionary sitting next to me said, "Wow, is that your brother? He's cute!!!" I agree!
So, this week has been so great! We've all been sick with coughs and colds, but I think we're all on the mend now. Nothing bad enough to put us out, though.
On Sunday all the sisters in our district sang for church. We sang "Lead Kindly Light." Such a pretty song, however, it probably didn't sound very pretty because half of us had colds, my ears were plugged, and my voice was croaky. We probably sounded like a bunch of frogs. But, no one cares.
I didn't get chosen to talk. This week's talk topic was the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Over the last few weeks all the devotional speakers talk about "sanctifying yourselves." So, I decided to study this a little more and it makes for an interesting study! I would suggest it!
After church we meet as a district with a member from the branch presidency and two companionships practice teaching a 10 minute lesson to everyone on the topic of the week. So, Sis N and I went first and we taught about the Holy Ghost. It was weird to teach a lesson in English- first time that I have since I've been here. I realize it is much easier to be simple and clear when you don't know very much vocab!  But, we got some good tips and pointers from our counselor in the branch presidency.
This week for one hour of our class time I was chosen to pretend to be an investigator while the other district's teacher pretended to be a missionary and teach me a lesson. This is called "demonstrate teaching." I was kind of nervous because that's an hour of being taught and expected to answer/ask questions in Thai. But, it went fine and was actually really fun. I love when the teachers demonstrate teaching because it's really helpful to see the techniques they use and the ideas that they have.
This week Sis. Tilley and Sis. Greenwood asked Sis N and me to pretend to be newly converted members and come and share our "stories" with their investigator. We pretty much just bore testimony of how the gospel of Jesus Christ had changed our lives and so on. This investigator (Bro. Burgess) has a pretend smoking/ drinking problem. When I was sharing my testimony/story, I told him that I, too, had had smoking problems, but through the help of the missionaries and the atonement I was able to overcome my addiction. Apparently I am a really good actor because after the lesson Bro. Burgess thought that I actually had been a smoker! I told him of course I had not, but he legitimately thought I had been a smoker! So funny. And offensive! 
TRC this week was great. That is one of my favorite things. We get really helpful feedback from the RM's and it is so fun. Sis N and I are doing a much better job of teaching together and we never go in with notes or even a lesson outline anymore! Starting to feel more real.
This week's devotional speakers were Elder Nash and Elder Zwick. They were great. I especially loved Elder Zwick's because he talked about developing Christ-like attributes. Elder Nash talked about the Plan of Salvation (I think) as sort of a prep for us to watch Sis Monson's funeral. We watched it on Sunday and it was such a beautiful funeral. Sister Dibb, President Uchtdorf, and President Eyring gave such uplifting talks. I got a lot out of it. She sounds like an amazing lady. Did you get to watch it? Also, how was the video on President Monson?

A few days ago we practiced street contacting within our district. We contacted Sis G and Sis T and they are now weekly investigators. It's kind of fun because we will teach each other until we leave. The elders contacted us and they will teach us. Our first lessons are on Friday.
Raintree is now open for missionaries, but I think we are safe from being sent there! I think there are Indonesian missionaries over there.
So excited for NY trip! Wahooooooooo! Take some good pictures!
I love the JFSmith quote you sent me. What a great thought!
I love you all so much!  
 Sister Stevenson

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

With all the Thais before the Phii Thais left
Huckleberry party! Thank you!
Our Elders from the zone
I love Sis. N!
Missionary work is hard...makes everyone fall asleep.

With the new sister from Thailand. Her name's too long I can't remember. Starts with a V.

Sing, sing a song.....and don't laugh

Hellooo Family! I love you all so much!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful letters!

It is so crazy that it has been three weeks since I got here! It has flown, but at the same time I feel like I've lived here my whole life. Time is super warped at the MTC. The days go by normally, but the weeks fly! Crazy!
This week was so awesome! So many great things happened I don't know where to start.
Our branch now consists of only our two districts of Thais because all the Phii Thais, Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Hmongs left on Monday and Tuesday. It was actually way sadder than I thought it would be to say good bye to them all. They had become great friends. So, for the next week it is just us Thais. Then on June 12 we will actually have 22 Thais, 8 Cambodians, 11 Hmong, 6 Vietnamese. Then the next week we will get 4 Laos. So great! I have not gotten called on yet to speak in church, but now that everyone has left I think my chances will increase a lot!
We now have three progressing investigators! And things are going well. We are teaching "Samad" who is an alcoholic and smoker, but who wants to make changes in his life. We've taught him about 4 or 5 lessons.
This week we also had our first TRC (Training Resource Center) when  we teach people from the outside world! haha We taught Thai RMs about the restoration. We taught two twenty-minute lessons and we did it pretty much without notes and got good feedback! It's kind of funny because they video record you while you teach so that your teachers can watch you... kind of creepy, but helpful for the teachers, I guess! haha
Brother Shipley asked everyone to buy Thai hymn books. We  now have to sing in our class just reading the Thai script. It is hilarious to say the least. We're doing much better now, but last week the first time we tried, we sang soooo slooooooow and completely off tune because we were concentrating so hard on the script. It sounded awful and I started laughing and could not stop for the entire song! It was even worse because I was trying to hold it in. I felt bad because Brother Shipley is pretty serious and he probably thought I was totally setting the wrong mood for his class... but he was smiling. Whew! Every once in a while that Arbon laughing gene kicks in! haha
Another funny story related to the language. This week in one of her lessons, Sister Tilley was explaining to Samad that through repentance we can be forgiven. She said something along the lines of, "when we repent, we pray and ask God. It's easy!!" But, the word for "ask" is very similar to the word for "kill." So, you can fill in the blank. Samad was confused! Made me laugh all day when I thought about it. I love language mistakes like that. They happen all the time. One of our teachers, Brother Sanchez (who served Hmong speaking) said that one time on his mission he went to a member's house for dinner. They asked him what they normally eat for dinner, and he replied, "Ramen." Unfortunately, "ramen" translates perfectly into "breastfeed" in Hmong. The family just kind of awkwardly laughed and thought it was a bad joke... he didn't realize this mistake until much later!
This week a new sister from Thailand came. She'll be serving in Washington. Her English is really good. I think her dad is a church leader and Wisan is her uncle. She told me that I speak Thai very clearly! (you don't need  to post that) Yay!
This week we also practiced placing Book of Mormon's in Thai just within our building! So fun! Can't wait until I get to do it for real!
Sunday was awesome! I love Sundays at the MTC! The talks and meetings were great. The RS speaker was on the RS general board and she served a mission in India with her husband.  So, Sis N and I went and talked to her afterward so they could chat it up about India.

Later at the temple walk we practiced bearing our testimonies in Thai to random missionaries and I ended up talking to an elder from Teton Valley (or something like that) about Yellowstone for a long time. So fun! Later we watched the Testaments. I was excited to see it, but I remembered that it was kind of cheesy. But, I love the parts where the Savior is ministering, and then when He comes to the Americas and heals the main guy's dad. It hit me so hard how very much our Savior loves and cares for us! I just love little witnesses like that!

I love you all so so so much! I'm going to try and write some more snail mail to you all today! Thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to start sending pictures before my time ends!
Sister Stevenson

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I love the necklace! Thank you!
I can read! haha
Practicing Thai on the computers. We kind of look like telemarketers.
All the sisters in my zone

On the way to the temple
Our class!

Our zone rocks the tones!

Hello Family!!!
 I love you all so much! Thank you so so so much for the pictures/emails/letters this week!

This week has been great!!! It's crazy to think that it was a whole week ago that I was sitting in this same spot... feels like yesterday, but so much has changed since then!
 Last week I talked about how the Thai was really easy and I felt like things were super unstructured. Last Wednesday evening we kind of got the scoop about it all. Apparently, they try to make the first week a "fend-for-yourself" experience. They don't really teach anything about teaching/speaking/etc... and expect you to teach lessons. The reason they do this is to humble us, and give us a really low starting point to build off of.... don't know if I wrote that so it makes sense. But, basically they wanted to kind of let us figure things out for ourselves first, and then begin teaching. I was frustrated because I wanted to learn more, but now that we've been through the second week, things are very structured. We learn a lot in class about how to teach lessons, what to focus on in lessons, and Thai. The most important thing that we've learned is that everything we do all day long needs to revolve around our investigators. Whenever we study alone/with companion/language/plan/etc... it should all be about our investigators' needs. So, I feel like we're learning a lot now and I feel way better!
We stopped teaching our first investigator because he was sort of the "welcome-to-the-MTC-let's-totally-freak-you-missionaries-out" investigator.  And you are right... "Phii Dtam" is now one of our teachers. We have Brother Shipley, Brother Burgess and Brother Sanchez as teachers. Now, we are teaching Phii Samad and Phii Maag. We are learning skills about how to teach them. Samad has drinking/smoking problems and wants to change, so we are helping him learn about the Word of Wisdom, repentance, atonement, etc... It's so great! Thai's coming along just fine! We're taught over and over again to focus on the investigators and our scriptures/PMG/etc... and then the language will come.
But, our zone made a new record (or so they say) by being the earliest group to read Thai. We were taught the alphabet in the first week, and now we all can at least sound things out. The tone system is super complex when you're reading it. You should google how to read Thai tones. That'll take some practice! But, I was able to read the first two paragraphs from PMG and understand about 90% of it! (most of the words in the first paragraph are easy and things we've learned from class, but it made me super excited still!) I love Thaiiiiii!!!!!!!
On Sundays RS is combined with all the sisters in the MTC. This week Janice Kapp Perry spoke to us!!! Holy Cow! She was amazing and we all sang a new arrangement of "As Sisters in Zion" that she arranged/wrote. We also sang a whole bunch of her songs throughout her lesson! She was so fun to listen to and talked about her experiences as a missionary with her husband in Chile. Awesome!
Yesterday...drumroll... ELDER NELSON came and spoke to the MTC for devotional!!! So glad we decided to join the choir because we got great seats! haha He is so sweet and personable to listen to. He spoke all about missionary work. There was so much that he covered I don't even know what to write about. He talked about being obedient, keeping in touch with converts, keeping our spiritual batteries charged, and more. So amazing!
So, I'm going to try to answer the questions from the DearElders. When we run we just go around the perimeter of the MTC... about half a mile (maybe a little longer). We tried running around the temple lower fields last P-day, but we got kicked off! (The sign said "OPEN"!!!) haha so... just around the MTC now.
The gym is in the basement of the bookstore. It has a lot of machines... elliptical, bike, rowing, etc... and lots of weights!
Mom, I am glad that you are (sort of haha) training for the SeaWheeze! sooo excited to hear all about it this summer!
Dad and Sam... good luck next time you go fishing! haha glad you had fun outside, though. At the temple today at least 3 or 4 workers asked where I was from and commented on the great fishing in MT!
I'm going to start sending pictures now! I love you all so much!

Sister Stevenson :)