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!