Monday, September 2, 2013

The dog ran away with my shoe

Hellooo family that I love!

Every week Monday is like Christmas and I seriously cannot wait to bike as fast as possible to the internet place to see what you've written!!

So, this week was great! It was kind of a crazy week because we had switch-offs and our big district conference in Roi Et with Elder Gong (area seventy over SE Asia). I’ll get to it all!

This last week we finally taught an official lesson with E. (English teacher from Cameroon). We are continually running into him around town and I kind of feel like that is a hint that we need to really teach him. We've tried to get him to come to church or meet with him, but he's often traveling. Anyway, we were able to teach him the restoration last week and it went well! We had given him a Book of Mormon a few days previous and he had actually started to read it. There was something really special about teaching a lesson in English. I felt the Spirit very strongly when we testified of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Not totally sure what he thinks, but he was way open to our message and invited us to return. So, that was a really great experience and I really hope he'll continue to learn with us!

We've been having a really hard time meeting with investigators. We somehow have investigators that are always gone. It's really frustrating! So, tomorrow and the next day we are going to visit them and make a calendar with them so that we can have for sure appointments. We'll see if it works! We've been praying and fasting for one of our investigators, Sister B. She really wants to be baptized and she's come to church the last two weeks!! Amazing!

We also have a less active member named Sister D. who is nowhere near interested in making the effort to come to church and become active. However, she seems to enjoy having us come over. So, we come and visit her usually about 3 times a week. Our big goal is for her to start praying personally, but she always says she doesn't have time or forgets. Anyway, we're working on that. But, each time we visit, we've decided to share a story in the Book of Mormon with her and pull out important principles. We're going in chronological order, so right now we're on the liahona. She seems to like the stories and maybe that will start to peak her interest in the gospel again!

So, a few funny things that happened this week, and then I'll get to the really exciting things!

On Monday for FHE we decided to bring brownies for dessert. Our English students seemed to love them, so we figured the ward members would like them too. Oh, how wrong we were... haha. They all took a brownie and started eating them, but they seriously all looked like they were downing hamburger-oatmeal-delight from Dad's scout camp. I guess that chocolate is not delicious to all Thai people! We told them they don't have to eat it, but of course they wanted to be nice. Made me laugh. Won't bring those again!

After FHE we went to stop by a less active member's house a little way out of town. We'd brought the brownies stacked in this big rice cooker because we don't have tupperware or anything else to put them in. So, we were leaving her house and going down a little street to the main road. We were riding our bikes and I was carrying the rice cooker with one arm when 5 or 6 dogs came out of nowhere and started to bark and chase us. Normally I can bike fast enough and out ride them. However, since I was carrying the rice cooker and was going to have to turn onto the main road, I was going slow. One of the dogs bit my shoe off my foot!!! I was so mad! I really liked those shoes and I didn't want it to get all nasty and slobbery. The dog ran away with my shoe. But, like a true mother, Sister Mullen went back down the street and found my shoe in the middle of the road and it was all in one piece! Wahoo! Dogs...

Okay, so on Friday all of the trainers, district/zone leaders, and sister training leaders had an all-day training in Khon Kaen with President Senior and the AP's. So, our sister training leader told us that we greenies could do switch-offs so we wouldn't have to spend all day in Khon Kaen! I went to Kalasin with Sister Greenwood and we had an awesome time! It was so fun to catch up with her and she seems to be doing great.

Kalasin city itself seems to be smaller than Mahasarakham, but they have many "banogs" (towns out in the boonies) that are way spread out. So, they definitely cover more area than we do. We spent Friday and Saturday visiting a lot of recent converts and less actives! I met so many wonderful people. I wish I could tell you about them all. But, we seriously visited a ton of people. I'll tell you about a few of them.

On Friday night we rode our bikes way out into the banog to visit an investigator. She had some questions about her readings in the Book of Mormon and wanted us to come explain things to her. So, we took a member with us because we probably could not explain very well. The investigator, Sister M., was so sweet and really loves the Book of Mormon, but it's hard for her to understand. She was on the story of the Brother of Jared and the member, Sister Golf, explained it really well and we added our own testimonies/insight. When we were about to leave she asked us what verse we could leave with her to study. NEVER have I ever had an investigator actually ask for a commitment! Amazing!

Afterward, Sister Golf wanted to take us to dinner at KFC. haha There are a ton of KFC's here, but I haven't had it yet. It was surprisingly good! Sister Golf also brought along her 13 year old cousin. Her little cousin loves falangs and wanted to take pictures with us. Then she asked us to give her a "falang" name.We named her Emily and she seemed pleased!

The next day we visited a ton of people, too! I think my favorite part of the day was when we rode our bikes about a half-hour out of town to visit Sister Noi and her family. She is a recent convert and Sunday was her birthday. She loves the gospel and she loves the missionaries! She has a daughter about 35 years old and a 14 year old granddaughter. Sister Noi only has one old skirt that she wears to church every week. Since yesterday was the big meeting in Roi Et, she didn't feel like she looked presentable enough to go to the meeting. So, we went out to her house and took her one of Sister Madsen's skirts as a birthday gift. I almost started crying because of her reaction. She was so so so happy and could not stop talking about how beautiful it was. She kept picking it up and hugging it, then she'd stand up and dance around with it. This lady was so grateful and so happy. Who knew that a skirt could lift someone's spirits so much and bring such joy! We also brought a ton of fingernail polish and painted her nails, as well as her daughter's and granddaughter’s. Then we shared a short thought from the Liahona about being daughters of God. This experience made me so happy and really touched me. I thought about how just showing kindness toward this lady had brought me so much joy. I know that throughout this mission there are so many people that we can touch and improve their lives even slightly. Whether or not we're missionaries, there are always people that can use a bit of cheer.

Okay, so Sunday was AWESOME! We had to be in Roi Et at 8:30 am to meet Elder Gong and his wife in person! They shook all our hands and then took pictures with each of our companionships. I think Sister Senior said she'd have the pics sent to all the parents, so you should get them sometime this week!

Elder Gong came to speak for district conference (stake conf), but he also took about a half-hour to speak to us before the meeting. He gave us five points of counsel:
1) honor, respect and learn from the senior Thai missionaries/leader
2) don't just work harder, work smarter (this is a gospel of joy and happiness- you should be having fun!)
3) have hope in our companionships (treat comps so well that in 30 years we'd want to get together and talk all night long!)
4) live for the day (make every day the best it can be and then the weeks and months will work themselves out)
5) take care of our health
6) D&C 62:3 (cool scripture!) Our testimonies are recorded in heaven whether or not they are accepted by those with whom we share, and the angels rejoice over them! (goes along with the thought that Grandma Lynn sent me!)

Anyway, it was great! In the actual meeting he talked about how darkness cannot endure light. Prayer, FHE, scripture reading, etc... bring light. He asked that we all try to bring light into our lives. He said that the temple is a place of complete light. If our homes are supposed to be like temples, they should be full of light. Mom and Dad, I'm so grateful for the home completely full of light that you have provided for me! Thank you!

So, a lot more was said, but those were some of the main points. It was wonderful to hear from our amazing leaders. And it was so much fun to see other missionaries! I saw Sister Stack, some of our nccngs from the MTC and our Phiis! It was such a great weekend.

Also, seeing President and Sister Senior always gives me a huge boost! They are wonderful! Sister Senior came over to me and said, "So, I hear all you eat are carrots and cucumbers!" haha. I think Sister Mullen must have mentioned something about buying vegetables here all the time. Anyway, we're both healthy, happy, and well.

I love you all so much!