Thank you so much for the amazing birthday video! Made my day, I think I watched it at least 10 times! haha The best!
And holy cow, thank you for the amazing birthday package!!!!! I decided I am going to wait to open the gifts until Sunday, but I couldn't help but see the awesome elephant pinata! That is amazing- I told my district about it and they are super excited to party with the pinata! And Mom, you are so sweet to make treats for the whole zone! My district is always saying they want to meet my family because of all the cute packages and pictures you send! THANK YOU! I did look at the bag from NY, though! Thank you so much! I wore my new PJ's last night and they fit great! So cute. Those little M&M's were adorable. Thank you so much!!!
To answer questions:
I think they will have devotionals at Marriott center from now on, at least on Sunday, because there are so many missionaries and we should be reaching a peak here soon! It is really nice to leave the MTC, at least a block away. It's kind of fun to see people from the outside world. And it's funny because the people in the cars passing us are always poking their heads out the windows to take pictures! So fun!
Last Wednesday 22 Thais came in, 8 of them are sisters. They are all really cute and really nice! There were about 30 others that came into our zone as well (Laos, Cambos, Viets, Hmongs). So, church is huge now!
Our new teacher is one of the teachers they hired when we first got here who has been training. His name is Brother Booth and he studies linguistics at the Y. He is super smart and I really really like his class because he teaches us a lot! He's awesome! He speaks Japanese, Thai (of course), Arabic, Spanish, and something else that I can't remember. So, even though I am sad to not have Brother Burgess, I really like Brother Booth. A few days ago he showed us some pictures from his mission and it was so much fun! Got us super super excited!
We should get our travel plans tomorrow or the next day! AHHHHHHH!!! Sooooo excited! We got our arrival info from President Senior (I sent it to you, so you can read it). It's hard to believe it's finally here! Week and a half! Holy Cow!
So, this week has been crazy awesome! People always talk about how the MTC/ Mission is so stressful. I would say it is a lot of hard work, but I haven't really felt stressed… up until this point. The MTC is only stressful when the Salt Lake Tribune's top religion writer/editor decides to come interview/photograph your Thai class! Oh my goodness!
Last Saturday or so, a PR guy for the MTC came into our class to forewarn us that we were selected to be interviewed and photographed for a big article they are publishing on the MTC. He told us how he wanted our room to look and what we should wear. He also had us meet with him and practice answering questions so we could be prepared and know how to answer and what appropriate answers are for this situation. I was soooo nervous! But also excited. So anyway, the reason we got interviewed was because Sister Stack's mom is the top writer/editor for the Salt Lake Tribune's religion section. So, since she couldn't go to her daughter's class, she wanted to come to ours. So, Tuesday morning we were all super nervous and excited. It was so funny because Brother Shipley kept rearranging everything in the classroom and making sure all the pictures/ TV/ computers/ etc... were exactly straight! They were supposed to come at 11, but we got a call for me and Sis N to come to the front office and escort Mrs. Stack to our class. So, we went up to meet her, but instead the PR guy was there. He told us they had gotten permission to come into our dorm room and photograph it. He sent us running back to tell the sisters so we could go clean like crazy. I don't think I've ever been so panicked in my life... our room was a mess. So, we came flying back to the classroom to tell the sisters and we all sprinted to our dorm to clean. They all call it the Midnight Ride of Sister Stevenson now (like unto Paul Revere). "The Tribune is coming, the Tribune is coming!" So, after we cleaned super fast and shoved everything into our closets we came back to our classroom and they arrived. The interview was very short and they took a few pictures of Bro. Shipley teaching us in class. They asked what was hard about Thai, where we were from, etc... I think I may be quoted because she took down my name. She asked me what was most difficult about Thai and I explained a little bit about tones. We had been forewarned that she was going to pull Sis N and I out to interview, but they didn't have time. Thank heavens! I was so nervous that I was going to say something stupid! So, family, you may just be seeing me in the Salt Lake Tribune in the near future. They didn't say when it would be published, so keep your eye out for it online!
After the interview, we all were completely exhausted from being so stressed about it. It was such a crazy funny morning!
Haley arrived and we have the same meal times so I see her every day! She is loving the MTC and looks great! It is so fun to chat everyday! I love Haley!!!
Last Sunday our two Thai districts sang "Nearer My God to Thee" in Thai for Sacrament meeting to welcome in the new missionaries to our zone. We all sang parts and I think it went really well. It was really fun to prepare for it the week before. As we sang it at church, I looked out and a whole bunch of elders and the Branch presidency wives were teary. So, I think our song touched at least a few people.
This week Sister Hughes got her tonsils out. I feel so bad for her, but she is recovering, and she will be able to head out with us to Thailand.
This next week is going to be awesome because all the mission presidents will be arriving. So, we cannot eat in the cafeteria for the next week or so, because of all the mission presidents. I'm so excited to see them all!
I think that our district is officially going crazy. We've been here long enough to be completely comfortable with each other and for some reason everything anyone says is hilarious. I'm going to miss these people so much when we all split up!
On Sunday when we sing for the worldwide broadcast, I sit in the alto section, so I'm in between the sisters on the far left section and all the other elders on the right. Basically when you're looking at the choir it goes soprano, alto, tenor, base, from left to right.
This week we heard from Elder Gay of the seventy for devotional. He talked about missionary work as a revelatory work. Really good! I'll try and write out some notes!
Oh, what is the plan for when I call from the airport? Is Dad going to the cabin? Just let me know who you want me to call/ where you'll all be!
I love you so much! I can't believe this MTC experience is coming to a close. I have loved every minute here and am so so so grateful for everything I've learned. Advice to Dailen and Sean... use EVERY minute you have to prepare... it goes faster than you think, and when you take real advantage of this time and all the resources you'll feel good going into the mission field, even if you still don't know everything!
Anyway, I LOVE YOU! Have a great week! Picture time!