Monday, August 26, 2013

"Country Road" in Mahasarakham

Hello familia!!!

Okay, so this week was great! As a mission, each week we are supposed to have the goal of having "balanced key indicators" which means: 2 investigators with a baptismal date, two new investigators/week, 10 lessons taught with a member present/RCLA lessons, and 2 people at church. It's way harder than it seems. This week we were so hopeful that we would actually reach our goal. We achieved it all, except for two investigators at church. Only one showed up, but it's the first time that an investigator has shown up! So, even though we didn't totally make our goal, we were still really happy!

So, as far as D. goes we did not get to teach her this week because she was gone with work. Hoping we will this week. We have kept in touch with her, though. And we also dropped off a conference talk that we thought would help her.

We've kept in touch with B. also. She says she's been praying and read a little in the Book of Mormon. We brought her by a conference talk as well. So, even though we didn't get to meet with them this week, we are keeping in touch and they are still on the right track.

This week we got two new investigators! Not sure if they are really truly interested, but we shall see! They are two 18 year old girls from English class. They are super cute!  They met with us at the church and we had an intro lesson with them. We introduced the Godhead, the BoM and prayer. We gave them each a Book of Mormon and committed them to start reading and praying about it. They accepted a return appointment. So, I'm hoping things will progress!

As far as Min's grandma goes, there really is something about Sisters connecting better with people sometimes! haha We were talking to Sister Mod about Min's situation and she told us that the elders had always had such a hard time teaching her because the grandma was so rude and would tell them to leave. However, I already told you how she was so excited to let us in and feed us all this stuff and give us hair product. Last night we went to drop off something to Min and the grandma told us to come in and sit down because she wanted to show us pictures. She also wants us to come over for dinner this week. Oh, also, on Saturday Min invited us over to make candy with her and her friends because her grandma was teaching them how. Way fun. We made these coconut cantaloupe candy things. But, the grandma would not let us leave until we had eaten lunch! Then later that day we came back to actually teach Min a lesson. When the grandma saw us she literally went and dragged out a little table, put a red table cloth on it and brought us all this fruit, smoothies, and soup! haha I am so confused, but so pleased that she likes us so much. I think we're going to be able to help Min progress a lot better. We asked her to be baptized and she agreed! Anyway, her Mom works way far away and only comes home once or twice a year, so she wants to wait until her mom comes home in December. So, we probably won't see her baptized, but I'm so glad she has that desire and has that goal now!

This week I think I definitely got food poisoning for the first time! haha On Tuesday I felt so sick all day long and I'm pretty sure it was from whatever we ate the night before at FHE. However, the day that I felt sick was really fun! We had our first district meeting with the new elders and it was great. E. Chelson is way organized and had a lot of great advice/counsel. Afterwards we went out and visited a LA who lives waaaay out. We went with a couple in the ward and their little boy. It felt so nice to just be with a normal little family. The family unit is very weak in Thailand and I cannot really think of any other families I know where there is actually a mom and dad and kids that are all living together and in the gospel. It just felt really nice to be with them. But the lady we visited lives in the most beautiful lush place ever! So gorgeous. But, the greener it gets, the more mosquitoes there are. I attract mosquitoes like no other! So, I was putting all this ointment on my bites so I wouldn’t itch them, then this little dog came over to me and started licking it all off! Ick! haha Dogs and mosquitoes will not leave me alone!

One goal that we have here is to make church a bit more spiritual of an experience. We noticed that people are always late and that causes meetings to start way late. Church is also definitely the social gathering place and sometimes I feel like people forget the real purpose for coming to church. So, last week the branch president had a big meeting and basically talked about needing to come on time, think about the sacrament/ Christ's sacrifice, and being reverent. There was a big difference this week! We try to get there about 30-40 minutes early to welcome people and then Sis. M plays prelude to set the tone for the meeting. I think the talk from the branch president and having music really made a difference because church started 2 minutes early!! What? I have never been to anything in Thailand that has started on time, let alone early!! So excited!!

So, this weekend there is a big conference going on in Roi Et and Khon Kaen because Elder Gerritt W. Gong (first quorum of 70) is coming! Our branch is singing in a little choir for it and they've been going like crazy trying to prepare for it. So, since S. Mullen is the only one that plays the piano well enough, we've had to go to practices to accompany them. They asked me to lead the choir! haha If only I could actually read the song. Actually, I pretty much have it memorized because we've sung it so much. But now I can say that I've lead a Thai choir! Fun!

Turns out we will be having switch-offs this week with Sisters in Galasin (Sister Greenwood!) So, I'm not going to the meeting on Saturday to sing with the choir. But we will go on Sunday!!! I'm way excited to go to Galasin and see Sister Greenwood!! Yay!

On Thursday was Sister Wright's birthday. So, we made her some little treats and took them over to her with the Elders. She is so funny! She took a bite of the brownie and then danced around and made us each take a bite. Then she made the elders do the hokey pokey for her. Love it!

We also met with Sister Joy. She's so cute and so excited about coming back to church. When I called her to see if we could meet she said, "Yes! Let's meet at 12 and eat som tam and then have the lesson!"  So, we had  som tam, fish, brownies, and then a lesson on the restoration. I just love meeting with her.

Oh, the other day we went to visit another less active sister. Her husband was there and he really likes it when we come over because he likes to speak English with us. Anyway, he was playing some John Denver and would get so excited if we knew the song. When "Country Road" started playing I sang along with it and he was way happy! haha The song kind of made me homesick, though.

So, yesterday when we were coming back from teaching we were stopped at a stoplight and this man walked up to Sister Mullen and wanted to shake her hand. Warning for anyone coming to Thailand: if someone wants to shake your hand beware. That is very abnormal because everyone always just "ways." Anyway, she shook his hand and then he planted a huge kiss on her hand. I have never seen such quick reflexes from anyone. She yanked her hand away and then luckily the light turned green right then and we rode away! So funny and unexpected.

Oh, this story is really funny. Sometimes missionaries go a little far to make their goals. Yesterday the elders were sitting waiting for church to start and they realized that only one of their investigators was going to come to church. To get their balanced key indicators they needed one more person at church. So, they left and flagged down a tuk tuk driver and just told him to go wherever. After they'd been driving for a few minutes they saw this garbage lady off the side of the road and told the tuk tuk driver to stop. They hopped out of the tuk tuk and ran over to the lady and told her that she needed to go to church! haha This poor random woman was probably so confused. Anyway, I’m not sure what they said, but they somehow convinced her to hop in the tuk tuk with them and go to church. Apparently she would only speak Esan with them so they couldn't communicate real well. haha It just made me laugh that they literally dragged this lady off the street to come to church.

Those are the highlights of the week.

Good luck with the first day of school and seminary! Can't wait to hear about it all!

Thanks for being the most amazing wonderful family in the world!

I love you!