Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Baptism is a pizza

Hello family!

So, this was a great week! Lots of really good things happened.

Last Monday we had FHE at Sister Ooy's house. She is the primary president and she has three kids that are all still living at home. Her husband is not a member and she wants so badly for him to be a member and to have the priesthood in her home. She invited us over, along with the elders, to share a message and to fellowship him. One thing that I definitely took for granted before I came on the mission was having the priesthood in our home. In Thailand there is definitely a lack of men in the church and so many women and families want so badly to have priesthood holders in their own homes. We're going to try to help as much as we can.

Also on Monday we (tried) to make pumpkin pie. We bought already cooked pumpkin off the street and then mixed a whole bunch of ingredients with it and poured it over an oreo crust. Tasted nothing like a pumpkin pie, but it was pretty tasty. Even the Elders ate it! haha Happy Thanksgiving to us!

At English class you have to be 14 years old or older to come, or else have a parent come with you. There are a ton of little kids younger than that who come every week. Last week we announced that rule. Still a whole bunch of kids showed up. So, we finally had to lay down the law and it was so painful! They are the cutest little kids, but we couldn't let them enter the classroom because they were too young. Sister Crockett enforced it and did a great job. So, they all just went outside and played and probably had more fun anyway! But then in class E. Chambers taught the students to sing "Jingle Bells." It was pretty funny! I heard a couple girls in the back talking about Christmas and Easter. One said she liked Easter better because it tastes better... they must have pretty great Easter candy here.

Oh, this week we also got to meet with Min! She's doing pretty well. (She wants to be baptized when her mom returns in January). However, she's now not sure when her mom will return, and she is firm about waiting until then to be baptized.  While we were there her Grandma made us pad thai. I've decided to start planning visits with her around meal times because every single time we go she cooks something up for us. haha

Also, Cream is doing really well, and so is her mom. They came to church together and Yuwi seemed to have a really great time. She stayed all three hours, participated super well, and seemed way happy. They are so cute! And Cream made Sister C and I the cutest little origami cards that say "I love you" on them. Made my day!

Toward the beginning of this week we went with Sister Nok to surprise a less active lady for her birthday. She's a sweet lady. We went to her work and sang happy birthday to her, and then gave her some treats that the elders had purchased and a card that we bought and all signed. She was so happy. She kept reading her card over and over and thanking us. Then she wanted a picture with us all, too. She told us that she had forgotten that it was her birthday and that she felt so special. It completely made my week to see how happy she was! Oh, here's a little Thai culture for you-- Thai people will often show affection to people they are close with by sniffing them, like on the cheek or head. So, Sister Y. gave me a huge hug and sniff and I felt pretty bad for her because I'd been sweating like crazy all day long. That was probably not very pleasant!

 A few days ago we went to try and find a less active man at his work. We never found him, but his work place is awesome. It's basically like a huge, super fancy, nice Home Depot in the middle of nowhere. In my previous life I never really enjoyed home improvement stores, but apparently now I love them! It felt so familiar and I wanted to dance around the store because I was so happy. haha Sort of weird! 

Also, the Elder's investigator, Sam, got baptized on Sunday! So, so, so happy for them! We've been praying hard for him!

A couple funny things: On Saturday we went inviting off of baptismal commitments. I went up to one person and showed them a pass-along-card and asked if they were familiar with baptism. They said no, so I proceeded to tell them that baptism is a pizza. Um... oops... no, it's not a pizza, it's a "pithi" (means ordinance basically). I think they were pretty confused. haha

Also, Sister Crockett talks in Thai in her sleep. It's pretty entertaining! A couple nights ago I woke up to use the bathroom. When I came back and hopped into bed, Sister Crockett, in her sleep started laughing and then said, "คิดถึงเจ้า" which is a super formal way of saying "I missed you." I don't know what she was dreaming about, but it was perfect timing since I'd just returned from the bathroom. Made me laugh.

Those are the main events of the week! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving break! I am so thankful for you. I am so blessed to have you and I love you so much!



 Pumpkin Pie?
 FHE at Sister Ooys.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

 Yeehaw! If this whole speech/language/pathology thing doesn't work out 
maybe I'll become a tuk-tuk driver instead!
 Mom, I finally found the bowling place you were talking about!
 I almost died when I saw these trees!
Closest thing to a pine tree that I've seen.
 Time for a DQ break.

 Merry Christmas from KFC!

The Elders and Sam, plus Brother Boy.
 Making peanut butter!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Banana Boats afloat in the year 2556

Hellooooooo familia!

I'm so jealous of the snow! I bet it's so pretty!!! I keep forgetting that it's snowy season. It just feels like the middle of summer... as always. I don't mind it, but Thanksgiving and Christmas season needs to have snow to feel complete. This week the weather's been okay. Not terribly hot or humid. Two weeks ago was an oven, though! Being in Thailand will definitely help me cope with summers in Utah. haha I remember always complaining about how hot the weather was the first month or so of school at the Y. Never again. I have now gained an entirely new perspective! 

This week was great and I feel like we were truly blessed! On Tuesday we received some training from our Zone Leaders. Right now the mission is all about contacting off of baptismal commitments. It is soooo fun! I absolutely love it! We were already doing that a bit, but the training sort of re-energized us and we're way into it. We pretty much just walk around busy areas for 2 hours and talk to literally everyone we possibly can. Sometimes we'll strike up a bit of conversation, but lots of times we'll just ask them if they are familiar with baptism (they’re usually not), explain it, and then commit them to baptism on a certain date. I feel like this is a much more effective, aggressive way of contacting and it's really helping me become more confident and bold, and it's also helping my language skills. I love it! It's also causing us to get way more "other lessons" (teach a principle, commit, get a number/address). Normally we'd have a goal of about 15-20 "other lessons" a week. This week we got 40 "other lessons" by contacting this way. It's seriously so fun. I LOVE Dan Jones-ing now!  So, from our contacting, we got about four people who were interested this week and agreed to meet with us. We'll see where that takes us! We also got some new investigators from English. 

By the way, in Thailand it is year 2556. An interesting fact that I only figured out about a month ago. I was always so confused why dates ended in '56. Now I understand! 

On Wednesday we had some pretty fun contacting stories. I'm used to people always yelling at us about how white, falang, or pretty we are, but sometimes people take you by surprise. So, we were out contacting and a man about 50 years old ran up to us and started speaking English with us. He explained that he has been to America to give training on something (I didn't understand) and that he has been to Hollywood. He told us we look like the people at Hollywood. Thank you very much. I think I kinda like this guy! haha Then he shook our hands and gave us his business card. It made me laugh when I read his name: translates to "Power Lion." The best. So, we walked away and then there was a man sitting on his motorcycle and blatantly taking a picture of us, so I pulled a face and waved at him. Then a little farther down the road we ran into a guy who asked us if we were married. Umm... we'll just say, yes, we are. He told Sister Crocket she was beautiful and asked us where we live. Bye bye, time to go. haha Made us laugh. We feel like celebrities here sometimes.

This week we had some great lessons with B. At the end of one of our lessons she asked if she could share her testimony about prayer and receiving answers. She really has a testimony, now she just has to make the decision to be baptized. We also met with both of her daughters! Last week we met P. for the first time. She's way cute. This week we finally met B. She is 20 and loves to bake so we asked her to come make brownies with us (for Cream's bday). She couldn't, but we ended up meeting her at her mom's school one day by chance. We had a really good conversation and she is willing to meet with us again! So happy!

Cream’s birthday was on the 14th so we brought her those brownies, pictures from her baptism, and some little hair things. She was excited. Sunday was the primary program and she gave an awesome talk! She's so cute, love that girl! And the primary program was adorable. There are 6 or 7 primary kids and they are so cute. As I was sitting in sacrament meeting listening to those kids and looking around the room I felt so happy! I just love Mahasarakham, I love the people I am surrounded by, and I love being a missionary. I feel like it's definitely taken time for me to feel comfortable here, but I really do now. I absolutely love it! And I really don't ever want to leave!

Oh, this week we went and harvested rice again. No injuries this time! haha Fun times! It's kind of relaxing being out in those fields!

On Saturday we visited and taught N. I don't know if I've talked about her or not. We contacted into her months ago and were never really able to get a hold of her after that. A few weeks ago we were by her house and she happened to be there. She let us in and we helped her shred basil. We've been coming back on Saturdays and she always has a little project for us. This last Saturday we committed her to baptism. She agreed, however, she had back surgery and can't hardly leave her house, let alone be baptized. So she has a goal for next year! On that day her husband asked us to help him string together these little flower necklace things. I was having a great time, and then I realized they were for putting on the Buddhist shrines. haha Maybe a little counter productive?  Happy about N., though.

Okay, so there really seems to be some holiday, crazy market, festival, etc... every weekend here. This weekend was the Loy Grathong (่ลอยกระทง) festival! Loy means "to set afloat" and grathong  means "banana leaf cup/ boat." So, they make these fancy little boats out of banana leaves and flowers and put candles and sparklers in them and set them afloat on the river. It's a Buddhist holiday where they ask for forgiveness and set their little offerings on the water. So, Sister Oy made us some grathongs and we set them on the water for fun! It was quite the gathering! They had a huge market going with people performing traditional dances and music. And there were people selling the little boats everywhere. It was so fun to see all the different styles. Super fun and cultural!

So, I feel like this was an awesome week!




 Trying to place a Book  of Mormon with this guy. Not too interested.
 Mango sticky rice
Dad, I found a momma for the little chang you gave me!

 There's my little boat!
 People gathering at the Loy Grathong Festival
 Selling the little boats
 Full moon

Love her!
 We bought a calendar this week. This is a newscast group.
Made me laugh so hard.
 Bundling up the rice.
 A rather inconvenient napping spot
 Hey look!!! A double rainbow!!!
Making shrine decorations.
Cool bug
Banana trees

Monday, November 11, 2013

"The field is white (yellow) and ready to harvest."

Top of Form
Hello Querida Familia! :)

Sam, way to go on your buck! That's way awesome!  And SNOW! I keep forgetting there's actually snow back home! It does not feel like winter at all here! Yesterday in church they sang Christmas songs (!) and I thought that it was pretty strange because I thought we were so far away from Christmas. But then I remembered that we are already well into November! haha Crazy!

I'm so sad for all those people killed in the Philippines and their families. That is just awful. We haven't felt any effects from the typhoon out here in the Esan, or anywhere else as far as I know.

So, yes, I am the pianist. There are two youth that can play about as well as I do. So we switch off. It'll be good, maybe I'll get better at the hymns! Also, yesterday at church we gave a "special" musical number. E Chelson was asked to play his violin, but he must have chickened out (or didn't practice enough haha) because he roped us all into singing "Redeemer of Israel" instead. It was not very good, but it was fun!

Also, Dad, thank you for the latest letter! Always so exciting! Elder Chambers told me I'm worse than the elder on Best 2 Years that is always getting mail. haha

You asked about the food here and it's pretty good. To be honest, I like American Thai food that I’ve had better. Sad. I think I just haven't really found good places here, and a lot of the food is Esan, which is not what I think of when I picture Thai food. But I really like Som Tam and there are some really good noodle places, too! I have had durian in all its forms! It definitely smells bad, but when you eat it fresh it's okay. It is not, however, very appetizing when they make it into a paste to eat with a spoon.  

Last Monday was way fun! Sister Ud rented a song tow and took us to see a few places around Mahasarakham (out in the bonogs). Sister Wiganda (her daughter who just returned from her mission), Sister ChuanPhid, and the Elders came also. First they took us out to this really pretty river and mini wat. Then we went to the fish sanctuary! (we went there on accident a couple of weeks ago but didn't look around too much because we were contacting) It was really fun. There's a little mini zoo there with rabbits, guinea pigs, cows, birds, and MONKEYS! The monkeys are pretty aggressive.  I was trying to get a picture of one of them and it reached its hand through the bars and smeared banana all over my camera. Gross! It was fun to spend some time with the members. We had a little picnic, too. It was such a relaxing, fun day.

Also, one reason things may have been extra slow this week is because there was a huge annual market (gniw) that pretty much the entire city goes to. Waaaaay fun! We went and shopped around a bit on Monday, and then returned a few times during the week to eat food and jaag eggesons. 

Also, Sister Nok went and got me a ring with my Thai name engraved on it. So sweet of her! I don't remember if I’ve ever written about this, but Sister Mullen's Thai name is Tadsanee, and Sister Nok's real name is Tadsanaa. So, Sister Nok (a couple transfers ago) gave me the name Tadsaneeya! (ทัศนิยา). Fun! She got us each a ring with our names, and got one for Sister Crockett that said CTR in Thai (ลสด). 

Okay, so it's been a long time since I’ve really talked about Sister Bu. But we stopped by this week and had a great lesson on faith and prayer. I really felt the spirit in the lesson and I think she did, too. We shared Alma 37:37 (which always makes me think of Gma Lynn) and she was really touched by it. She even highlighted it!!!

Tuesday English class was pretty fun! We ended up taking about 8 new college students who are about to graduate in accounting and help them prepare for job interviews!

Also, warning to anyone traveling to Thailand: lettuce is a sure way to get sick. Learned that lesson the hard way one too many times this week. haha

Oh! This was way fun! On Thursday we went to harvest rice! We went to the same member's rice field that we went to a few months ago. When we helped the first time back in August we were just plucking the rice out to replant it. But this time we actually got to harvest it. The Elders, Sister Nok, and I went out to the rice field to help. We each got a sickle and went to work cutting down the rice and putting it into piles! It was fun, but also a little dangerous. Both Elder Chambers and Sister Crockett sliced their pinkies pretty good on the sickle, so Sister Nok had to go buy alcohol and bandaids. They're fine. Besides that, it was really fun!

This week we also had some nice lessons with B. She's been taught everything, but is still waiting to get baptized because she wants to finish her Buddhist ceremonies for her husband. However, I don't know if she feels good about doing that or not. We taught about prayer and faith, with her also. And Sister Crockett pointed out that the best possible thing that she could be doing for her husband would be to get baptized, then help him by doing his work for him.

We also finally met with her daughter, P! She's 16 years old and is a radio host. We found her at her work and she is adorable! We only talked for about 15 minutes with her, but I already love her to death! I am really hoping we'll be able to teach her. Her mom wants her to be baptized, so that will help a lot if they can support each other! So happy!

So, the dog laser- doesn't work super well with dogs, but little lizards love to follow it. We had a lot of fun with it one day while we were waiting for an investigator to show up to a lesson! haha It's provided a lot of entertainment!
Yesterday we had some really good contacting! We extended 6 baptismal commitments (none of which were actually accepted) and got one new investigator. It's so fun! I am actually starting to like contacting more and it's becoming a lot more fun! I feel more confident about it and I LOVE sharing this gospel!

So, those are the main events of the week! Just so you know, I FINALLY found a good souvenir place! Christmas shopping, here we come!

I love you all so much! Thank you so much for your love and support and encouragement! I hope you all have a wonderful amazing week! Picture time!


Liz :)