Monday, September 30, 2013

Hold on...It's picturepalooza!

Hello familia!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! I hope you are having a wonderful fabulous birthday! Your birthday was yesterday here, but today Sis Mullen and I are going to celebrate by going to a really fancy expensive sushi restaurant and then we will bake cookies with the elders. Do not worry- you are being celebrated in Mahasarakham! :) 
This week was kind of crazy but waaay fun! 

Last Monday we played volleyball with the Elders at the church and I was reminded again why I failed all my skills tests in P.E. I have no skills and my arms still hurt from playing. haha But it was fun. The elders didn't ask us to come play with them again so we really must be pretty bad.

So, I was really excited for Tuesday because we had a lot of great visits and appts. planned and English was going to be way fun. However, around 10:00 in the morning we got a call from Sister Pannida saying that I had to leave to Bangkok that day to go renew my visa on Wednesday. What? No warning there. So, Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty much done for because we had to travel to BKK. We actually met up in Korat with Sister Greenwood and Stack and their companions. We greenies (actually... not anymore!!!) went to BKK together and our trainers stayed in Korat because they didn't need to renew their visas. 

We had such a fun time! It's always so fun to catch up and share stories. We caught a bus to Bangkok Tuesday night from Korat and we realized really quickly that we are definitely Esan girls because we really had no clue how to get around Bangkok. We knew where we needed to end up, but as we were driving into the city, I noticed signs for where we were going, but the bus wasn't stopping. So, we told the bus driver where we wanted to go and he laughed because we'd passed it awhile back. So, we pretty much were dropped off on the side of the freeway. Luckily, we were able to find a taxi and we got the address of the sisters' house we were staying at and made it there. Fun times!

Wednesday morning we caught a cab to go renew our visas. We didn't know where the place was so we asked the sisters we stayed with to tell them where to take us. We ended up at the airport. haha So, I told the driver we needed to renew our visas and he laughed and took us to the right place. And it was soooo much fun! Almost my whole MTC zone was there to renew their visas! It was amaaaazing to see them all! And we had a lot of lines and paper work so we got a lot of time to visit. Everyone seems to be doing really well! Except for poor E. Black... he got his appendix out a few weeks ago, but he is recovering well and in good spirits. That was such a huge boost to see everyone! What an awesome day!

Also, that same day they had a mini transfer meeting because the Thai and Lao missionaries came into the country. They are on a different schedule because they go to the Phillippines MTC. So, they had to be placed with companions. There were actually a lot of changes with other missionaries here as well. So, this coming tranfers meeting will be interesting. Can't wait to see what happens!

On Saturday we had our big performance in Khon Kaen! haha They went all out! You'll see in the pictures. When they asked us last week to be in the dance, we were originally going to do a traditional Esan dance called the Red Ant Dance. We must not have done a very good job because Sister M and I got downgraded to the flower girls for a different dance that the YW did. haha We pretty much just came out at the end of the dance and threw flowers all over the place. But we got a big applause! So funny! 

The Elders still did the red ant dance and they were hilarious! I wish I could send video through this email. Super entertaining! 

It was a really fun day and all the branches performed awesome talents, mostly dancing and singing.

Our costumes were way hot, though. We were pretty much wearing 50 blankets over our clothes. I really don't think I've ever sweat so much and we wore them from 8 in the morning until 2 or so in the afternoon. It was really funny because while we were there members from the district kept asking to take pictures with us--probably because I looked so ridiculous. I'm a falang trying to pull off a beautiful Thai costume/hair/dance. Such an awesome experience! Got to see a lot of other missionaries, too! Wahoo!

Okay, get this. I about died!!!! On our way to Khon Kaen, Brother Boy leaned over to me and asked me if I have family in Utah. I told him I do and he asked me if I know Lola Johnson!!! What??? I screamed and said, "YES!! She's my aunt, my grandma's sister!" He said that his friend, Sister Gai, served a mission in the states, married a falang, is living in Utah, and is Lola's visiting teacher now! Oh my goodness! I was so excited to make that connection. And I still can't get over how surprised I was to hear this Thai man in the middle of the Esan talking about Lola! Crazy!

A new investigator accepted the invitation to baptism last week. Things will probably go pretty slow with her because she doesn't remember things well. Yesterday we took Sister Nok with us to go teach. She totally connected with Nok and opened up a lot. Unfortunately they were speaking Esan the whole time... so Sister M and I just kind of sat there and let them talk. haha We'll have to get the whole scoop from Nok.  I think when we visit her, and especially now with Sister Nok, she feels some light and hope. I love this lady so much and I just want her to know that Heavenly Father loves her and that she's important. I know she feels good when we come and I want to help her truly find happiness in the gospel to help her deal with everything going on in her life.

Sister Du is still doing great. She is keeping a scripture study journal and loves having us over. Now, if she would just come to church!!! She is afraid of closing her shop on Sundays because she needs to pay for her daughter to go to college. We're working on helping her realize that she'll be blessed for keeping the sabbath day holy. While we were at her shop she was watching a dragon boat race happening somewhere in Thailand. We got to see a bit of it. Way cool!

A couple of days ago we went to meet a new investigator at her work. She sells food at an elementary school. While we were there we were literally swarmed by a table full of 11 year old girls all super excited to practice their English! Fun! We invited them to all come to English class. Let's hope they come! 

Oh, I have two new nicknames! I'm going to see how many I can get before I end my mission!  Brother Boy nicknamed me "Goy" (means "pinkie finger") and Sis M "Gluay" (means "banana"). Apparently they are famous twins here in Thailand. Then yesterday another less active member named me "Daw" (means "star") and Sister Mullen "Duen" (means "month"). So, I have lots of options here.

This week we had a few investigators tell us that they like brownies. So, we decided to make some for them. Unfortunately the church oven was not working so we tried to bake them in our toaster oven. haha They were pretty much just burned on the outside and underdone on the inside... but they still seemed to like them.
This week we studied Mosiah 18 a lot because we were hoping it would help some of our investigators understand the need for baptism by the proper authority. It makes that need clear, but it also really illustrates the happiness of people who are baptized and follow Christ. I just really liked that chapter this week!

Thank you all for the great emails! I love you all so much! I have a million pictures to sift through so I'd better get started! Have an awesome week! I love you!

Love, Liz