Monday, June 30, 2014

Life's "Practically Perfect in Every Way" --Sister Poppins

Helloooooo familia that I love! I'M IN KHON KAEN!!!! Literally a dream come true and answered prayers!! I am so beyond happy you can't even imagine! My new companion is that "lucky duck" Sister Carter! Originally there were 4 elders and 2 sisters. Now they've switched up to have 4 sisters and 2 elders. Sister Carter and Sister Broeder were originally companions, but they got split up and I am now companions with Sister Carter, and Sister Broeder is companions with Sister Sawangwong!! We live in the same house! This has turned out so perfectly and even better than I ever imagined! Not only that, but Elder Heras is my DL again, and his comp is Elder Lingard. He keeps joking that he just can't get rid of me and Sister Sawangwong. haha So, I am so excited! It's only been a couple of days and I love it all so much already. It's way fun living in a 4 sister house. Never had that before and I love it. These girls are so awesome! 

Last Monday was the best birthday EVER! I just love my Bangkapi family so much. They made it so special for me and I felt so much love. On Monday we went to Ikea and it was a blast. We ate Swedish food for lunch and took pictures in all the display rooms. Then I bought 70% dark chocolate. Perfect day. That evening we had family home evening at Sister O's house. It was her one year anniversary as a member of the church, and her birthday as well. So, it was an extra special celebration. So many people came and, as you saw, they gave me the special treatment. I got the cake and your amazing birthday video! That was the funnest thing ever! I wish I could keep that somehow. But I had Jane show it to me a few times again before I left Bangkapi. THANK YOU SO MUCH!  I just absolutely loved seeing you and the ward family! So, it seriously was the most perfect birthday. I can't even write how extremely happy I was that day just being surrounded by these amazing people that I love so much, and getting a surprise visit from my own family as well. Best day ever! :)

And to add to this amazing day, Sister Nok from Mahasarakham randomly called me to wish me happy birthday!! Of course, her number was not saved in the phone, so at first I had no idea who was singing happy birthday to me, but I soon figured it out. I was so excited to hear her! I love Sister Nok so much. She really took care of us out there in Mahasarakham and she had a really strong influence on me. So, it was amazing to talk to her. She said that Cream and her mom, Yui are still way active and strong. Amazing! She also said she plans on going to next transfer meeting to meet with me, Sister Crockett, and Sister Mullen! At the time I didn't know where I was going to be transferred to, and she told me to pray really hard and then call Pres. Senior and ask him to send me to either Roi Et or Khon Kaen. haha We were just joking... but I got sent here regardless! I cannot wait to go to Mahasarakham!!

Okay, so Wednesday was our big good-bye day at Bangkapi. After Book of Mormon class and ward council meeting finished we all took a million pictures together, and it sounds like you probably got to see most of them! haha Mom, that adorable picture that you saw on Facebook was drawn by Sister Su for me. Is that the sweetest thing ever?? I have it tucked away safely in my journal! So, it was so great to spend a couple last minutes with everyone before we all headed out the next day.

Thursday was transfers and it was so much fun! Before the meeting started all the missionaries that had made it to Bangkok by lunchtime went to Que Pasa together. Afterwards, transfer meeting started. Lots of changes made!  They reduced Bangkapi in half. They took out Elders from Lad Phrao, as well as another Bangkapi companionship. So, there's just Sister Peterson and Sister Barton, and Elder Heiner (DL) and his new comp. I think with moving the church they can't really feasibly have church in Lad Phrao anymore. So, that was interesting. E. Black is now DL in Udon, E. Heras is here with me in Khon Kaen, E. Proctor is in Bangkae, E. Gage is in Sakhonnakon and E. Gettavong is in Samut Prakan. Also, Sister Steele and Sister Sahagun opened up a sister area for Thonburi! They are going to be the power companionship! Sister Mullen is going to finish her mission in Gamphengphet and Sister Crockett is in Roi Et. She's my STL. Sis. Narayanan is in Bangbuathong!

So, lots of exciting changes!

So, the last few days have been quite the adventure. There was quite a bit of chaos just getting to Khon Kaen, but we made it safely! Since there used to be 4 elders and 2 sisters before, and it's switched, we also switched houses! So, we are living in a super nice house almost next door to the church! Wahoo! This may be the nicest house in the mission, but I'm positive it's been left in the worst condition. We literally spent at least half of Friday throwing away junk from the last elders and scrubbing the house down. Now I know... be wary if you ever inherit an elder’s house! Anyway, it's squeaky clean now and so nice. There are 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and living area and a kitchen. There's also a large yard area- perfect for working out!  Unfortunately, the previous elders never paid their bills so they shut off our water the first day we were here and we had to go Thai style for a few days. haha We filled buckets with water from the church's hose and used that to bathe. Once they finally turned our water back on, it only came out green for about a day. But, it's all back to normal now. I'll admit, these are exactly the things that I love. So, it's been fun moving and getting everything squared away!

So, in the last month or so, there were 30 baptisms in Khon Kaen which is just amazing and unheard of for this area. So exciting! However, none of them have received the after baptism lessons, and we don't really have detailed records of them, so we've been trying to coordinate with each other and the members to figure out who all of these new members are. Especially after church yesterday when only about 15 or less of them showed up. So, I think a really big part of our work here in Khon Kaen is going to be helping these recent converts become strong in the church. We've got quite the task ahead of us, but it's going to be fun. We were able to meet with three of the RC's yesterday, and have appts. scheduled for this week as well. We also got two referrals! Which is great because we have no investigators. Seeing miracles already. Contacting here has already proved to be much more successful than it ever was in Sarakham. I'm way excited to be here and give it my all. 

Also, this made me laugh. A couple of nights ago Sister Nok called our phone, expecting to talk with Elder Chambers (he was here before me and we have his phone... which used to be our Sarakham phone) and when I answered she freaked out! haha Excited to see her at some point!

So, at our house there is much wildlife. Inside the house we have this lizard called a Tukee that no one can catch. It looks like a gecko and Thai people are way scared of them. They make a funny noise and they are really cool looking. Anyway we really need to find it and get rid of it, but a few nights ago I heard it and then I started dreaming about iguanas. Just a random fyi.

The branch here had 47 people at church yesterday, but just last month they had 70 + with all the recent converts. Going to do all we can to get that back up to where it should be. The Branch President is named P. Thongsuk and he is great. There's really awesome leadership in this branch. 

I'm beyond excited to be back in the Esan and feel so extremely blessed. I love you all so much!


Sister Stevenson

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