Sounds like things are going well! So jealous about your beautiful fall weather! It's actually not been that bad here. Rainy season is finally ending and we should be in cool season for a while now. It's funny, I really thought I'd prefer the rain to the sun but that is definitely not true! I am sooo sick of being wet and muddy. I'll take a hot sunny day any day to the constant rain! haha But I think we're out of that season now. Wahoo!
I am sooo excited for General Conference. We'll get to hear it this weekend because it has to be translated. I’m really hoping we can watch it in English! I’m sure we'll be able to.
So, this was a great week. A lot of good things and not so good things happened, but overall I'm really happy with how it went!
First of all, we finally got BALANCED KEY INDICATORS! We're usually always balanced in everything except for investigators at church. It is SUCH a struggle to get people to church, even when I feel that we've taught the importance of keeping the sabbath day holy, importance of sacrament, etc... They just don't come. Well, this week we had two investigators at church! Hooray!
Anyway, last Monday was way fun! We went with the Elders to this fancy sushi place. I had some ice cream to celebrate Dad's birthday! Then we spent the rest of the day at the church making cookies, singing songs, writing letters, and having a great time. Once P-day ended (at 6) we had a less active member named Sister Y. and her daughter, Cream, come to the church to teach them how to make brownies. We've taken them brownies before and Cream loves them. She wanted to learn how to make them. Fun! While the brownies were baking we watched the Restoration movie with them and had a little lesson. Cream is almost 10 years old and she wants to be baptized. Later in the week we had another lesson with them. We taught the Plan of Salvation. Little Cream knew all the answers and was so excited to explain the Plan. I love that little girl and I wish so badly that her mom would take her daughter to church.
Tuesday we had Showcase! Every six weeks in English class we have "showcase" where we do a big, fun activity. For this showcase we had a movie night. We set up the church like a theater and had snacks and fake tickets. The students had to use their English to pretend to buy their ticket and snacks. We played a whole series of Mormon Messages for them to watch. While they were watching we gave them Bingo cards with words from the messages. They had to listen really closely so they could catch the word. Bingo winners got a treat. After each message E. Chambers would explain the meaning of the video. It was way fun! I think the students enjoyed it!
Also, Tuesday was a memorable day because I got ELEVEN letters in the mail! Holy Cow! Thank you everyone! And sorry I haven't been responding- some of the letters were from back in August! Awesome awesome awesome!
On Wednesday we went to Sister Wright's school to go help her with her 4th grade English class. The kids were adorable and way excited to see us falangs! They love to practice their English! Some of those little kids are way good, too! Impressive.
That night we met up with the Elders to go do a door-bell ditching activity. haha We made a whole bunch of cookies and attached little notes to them to drop off at less active members' houses. Unfortunately, doorbell ditching doesn't really work in Thailand, because no one has doors... but it was fun. We'd just leave the cookies on the fence or on the ground, yell "sawaddii kha!!!" and then book it on our bikes. We decided to stay and visit several people, though. Fun night!
Okay, has anyone ever tried this? Sister Wright made me a peanut butter/jelly/white cheddar cheese sandwich. When she handed it to me I thought I was going to have to really pretend to like it, but it was waaaay good! So, I went and bought the ingredients for it.
Okay, Dad, I got your letters! Yay! I’m going to hand-write responses, but I'll answer your Esan questions. Oh wait... I don't think I put your letter in my bag. Whoops! But I think I remember. Esan people are just Thai people that live in the East. Maybe originally they were from somewhere else, but most people in the Esan grow up speaking both Thai and Esan. A lot of people know Laotian, too. Esan is written with Thai script. I need to ask people where that language originated from. So, I guess I don't really know that much. haha
The other day we decided to go biking in a direction that we've never gone before because we thought it was just a highway leading out of town. However, we ended up in the most beautiful area. By far my most favorite bonog so far! It was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day. Everyone was outside and we were able to talk with a lot of people who welcomed us to come back and visit! Yay! On the way back into town we decided to take a back road and ended up at the biggest wat I've ever seen. It was out in the middle of nowhere and there were drums beating from inside. It totally felt like I was back in Ancient Asia. Sooo cool!
So, this week I finally found some really good curry! It was off the road by a som tam place we like. I saw the lady's big pots of food and asked if one of them was Panang. Wahoo! It was and it was sooo good!
Sad news: a string on my guitar broke, so I am going to have to get that fixed at some point. But we went singing at the market a few days ago. It's always really fun. We usually get a few people who are interested enough to talk to us. Most of all it's just fun to see people going about their business at the market getting ready for the day.
I LOVE THAILAND!!! I feel like it was a super culture shock when I first got here and I felt pretty uncomfortable with the language, the culture, the lifestyle, etc... Now, I really feel like I’ve adjusted and I just love being here so much! Every week I feel more and more at home and the language is getting better and better! Such a blessing! It's still crazy to me sometimes that I'm living in Thailand! I love it!
So, we have a new investigator named Sister B. She's been taught before by previous elders. She was actually a referral from Sister Ud. This lady is a delight! I love love love teaching her! She's already been taught a lot and prays and reads the Book of Mormon. Anyway, her son who is 12 is learning with us also. And her 18 year old daughter is probably going to start learning, too! What a blessing! A whole family learning the gospel together.
On Saturday we went to her house in Borabue- about a 45 minute drive away. She came and picked us up and we went out to her house to have a family home evening lesson with her family! We shared the message of the Restoration and talked about prayer and reading the scriptures. She was way engaged and so was her son. After, we played UNO (they got way into it) and had cupcakes that we made. It was a great experience. Also, their house is awesome. It's a two or three story house on a big plot of land. They have a potato field and two water buffalo. Sweet! Afterward she took us to go get noodles. Such a fun day! And to top it off, the next day she and her son came to church and stayed the whole time! She totally participated in the lessons and even brought food for the lunch afterward. This lady is awesome. We'll see what happens, but I am way excited about this family!
As for Bia, she still is way excited about being baptized and really wants to be a member of this church. We've now taught her everything! Also, on Saturday night we stopped by her shop to remind her about church. She was so happy and said she'd actually gone and bought a skirt for the occasion! We were soooo excited! However, at 10:30 that night we got a call from her apologizing that she would not be able to go to church because she had to go set some turtles free at a wat with her parents. What on earth. Sister Mullen tried to reason with her, but she wants to please her parents. So, no Bia at church, which means she for sure will not be baptized before this transfer ends. Sooo sad!
Last night we went to drop by and visit Bung. I love this lady so much and I really want to help her out around her restaurant but she will never let us do anything. Anyway, we stopped by just to say hello. There was a table of men drinking and one of them came over and sat at our little table. This man was hilarious. He was trying to practice his English on us, but he was a bit tipsy and was saying the craziest things. He asked us how to say, "Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom," in English. This guy's pronunciation was awful and it sounded like he was saying, "ekumi, brashome." He kept saying it over and over. He asked us who we were and we explained. He then proceeded to tell us a 10 minute long life history of Jesus Christ. Then he started singing us his "favorite" American song that I definitely couldn't recognize. As he was talking he kept calling Sister Mullen "my darling." Sister Mullen corrected him and told him to call her "sister." haha He laughed and then said "batiset" ("reject") and then said "my darling." haha Also, the whole time we were talking with him a light was shining in his eyes and he kept motioning for Sister Mullen to move over to block the light so he could see. Sooo, you definitely had to be there, but there is NOTHING more entertaining than a drunk man trying to speak English with you. And to top it all off, that night around 9:30 after we were already home he called us and asked us what "pasa" translates into in English (translated to "language"... you always say that before whatever language you're referring to- "pasa Thai", "pasa Esan", etc...). I feel like we're going to start getting a lot of calls from this guy asking how to say random words in English.
Oh, so after this guy left Bong's restaurant we were finally able to really chat with her. As we were talking with her the Elders called us. A while ago Elder Chambers recorded himself singing "Amazing Grace" opera-style on our phone and set it as their ringtone on our phone. So, it went off and I could not find the phone in my bag. We got to listen to the whole song blasting as I frantically tried to find the phone- I think Bong got a kick out of it!
I love this gospel and I love sharing it! It truly is amazing seeing people accept the gospel in their lives and feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. I love this work and I feel so blessed to be here!
Thank you for being the best family ever!
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!
Love, Liz :)