Monday, August 11, 2014

miracles, a new member, and a little mayhem

Helloooo familia!

So, you got the news! I am in Chiang Mai and I LOVE it here! I am in a trio with Sister Tilley and Sister Bentley. These two are absolutely amazing and I love them to death! Can you tell how excited I am? I don't even know where to start this email! 

Okay, so much happened this week and I don't have a ton of time, so I'll recount the main events. (Today we're going up into the hill tribe village to dress up! Finally happening!!)

Thursday was transfer meeting. And it was definitely an exciting one because the huge, awesome group of sisters was leaving. They all looked so great and we're sure going to miss them. Sister Mullen just looks so amazing. I love her so much! And everyone! Also, there were 8 new sisters and 6 new elders that came in! Most of the group that came in after me is training. Sister Narayanan's training and she's got the cutest sister.

Anyway, I got called to Chiang Mai with S. Tilley and Bentley. Sister Tilley is actually going home in less than two weeks to start up her nursing program, so we're going to really miss her and only be a trio for a little while longer. So fun to finally be companions with S. Tilley. Just the best! And Sister Bentley came into the MTC only 6 weeks after me, so we're basically the same age in the mission. She is from Utah and is just so cute! She is really talented musically, and she's also a seamstress! She goes to the U. Love these two girls so much! It's amazing working with people like them. These two are motivated, happy, fun, and work hard. So, I could not be happier or more excited!
Okay, so Chiang Mai is an awesome city! It is so clean and well kept up. There are a million tourists, and so many fun shops and markets and restaurants. It has a totally different feel than anywhere I've been before. It actually kind of reminds me Whitefish because it has mountains, it's super touristy and a little trendy. Sooooo cute! Also, there is a brick wall surrounding the original city with a moat as well. So sweet. I have pictures to show! Basically, this is the most awesome place ever! Another fun thing is that all of the Montanans in this mission are in our zone: Elder Quinn is zone leader here in Chiang Mai and Sister Maughn is in Lampang! So fun! And yesterday a random guy from Missoula came to church (not a member). We decided this must be the highest  concentration of Montanans in the world outside of Montana. haha The other zone leader is Elder Omer. The district leader is Elder Bartholomew and his comp is Elder Kline. They also opened up a new elder area and Elder Sukhan is training Elder Luker. It's another big district and I love it. Way impressed with them all! Great bunch of elders!

On Saturday our investigator, Brother Oat, was baptized! This guy is 29 years old and was found while Sister Bentley and Tilley were out street contacting a few weeks back.This made me laugh: the day before the baptism we were asking him what songs he wanted sung at his baptism. He didn't really know, so we got out the hymn book and sang some hymns for him. Every song we sang he rejected and did not like. haha Finally he flipped through the book and asked us to sing "Angels We Have Heard on High." Made the baptism! 

Oh, we have a SENIOR COUPLE here! I have wanted to serve in an area with a senior couple my entire mission and it finally happened. They are the Ures and they come from Provo. They are just the cutest. They are super fit and energetic and involved! We asked Elder Ure to baptize Brother Oat and he was just sooooo excited and ready to serve. The moment we asked him to baptize him he went and found Brother Oat so they could go practice. Cutest thing EVER!!

Okay, so, I will recount Saturday: one of the craziest, funniest, most embarrassing days of my life. So, Saturday at 5:00pm was the day of the baptism. In the morning we had a whole bunch of appointments and in the afternoon we went inviting. We got a little caught up in our inviting and lost track of time, and then had to book it back to the church on our bikes. We got there about 15 minutes before the baptism was supposed to start. When we got there Oat was still not there, but he showed up right in time. Well, we were about to start the baptism when one of the elders asked us if we'd turned off the font. Ummmm..... NO!  We hadn't even turned it ON!!! So, we dashed to the font, turned it on, and then hooked up a whole bunch of hoses from outside to it as well and then prayed for a miracle. The baptismal service started and we were all praying like crazy for the font to fill. Sister Bentley said she was sitting there the whole time telling God, "You made a few loaves and fishes turn into enough to feed thousands, you can fill this font!" haha Well, about a half hour later the songs and talks were over, and we nervously made our way to the font. To our great relief and gratitude the font was more than full, it was almost overflowing! It normally takes much longer than that just to fill it enough to immerse a person. We took that as our first miracle together here and we are so grateful for it! Anyway, the baptism went flawlessly and afterwards Brother Oat shared the sweetest testimony. In it he thanked Elder Ure multiple times for baptizing him and for the opportunity to be a member of the church. It was a beautiful baptism!

So, we thought that was the end of our crazy day, but I think that was only the beginning because right after the baptism there was a wedding reception taking place in the cultural hall that we were asked to help with. The day before, a member who plays the piano, asked us to do a musical number for it with him. He played the piano, Sister Bentley played the flute, and Sister Tilley and I sang. The song was "Where Love Is" from the Children's Songbook. That used to be one of my favorite primary songs, but I'm pretty sure we ruined the wedding with it. The keyboard that the member was playing on was pretty messed up. Whenever he tapped a note it would play the note twice. This totally threw him off, and he didn't really play any of the notes right, which made the flute sound way off, and our singing as well.

Well, this is someone's wedding, and keeping composure would be a nice thing to do. But, it sounded so awful that I lost it. I could not sing because I was shaking so hard trying not to laugh. Poor Sister Tilley had to sing a solo and I looked like a fool! Anyway, I eventually got a hold of myself and we finished the song out. At the end everyone just looked a little amused and disturbed. I was a little ashamed, but it was so funny I laugh every time I think about it. Anyway, pretty sure they won't ask us to do musical numbers anymore. After that they asked Sister Bentley to translate everything that was being said (it was a Thai woman marrying an English man). She did a way good job. It's so hard to translate, especially in front of everybody. She's awesome! 
So, after that we hit the road and got a pretty good laugh out of it all. Crazy, awesome day!

In Chiang Mai there are two branches, one at 9:00am and one at 1:00pm. We are in the 1:00 branch. So that's a change! And I think it will be easier to get people to church. It's kind of nice because people have two options.... if they can't go at 1:00 they can go at 9:00. Sweet! On Sunday there were four confirmations! It was also Branch conference and the district presidency gave a really great lesson on personal consecration. That night we had a pancake and waffle dinner at the Ure's! I love them! They are the cutest! I miss Grandma and Grandpa and Grandma so much and I finally have some grandparents here!

So, basically, I love it here and am so excited to be working with Sis. Tilley and Bentley. They are amazing missionaries and people. Work way hard and are so considerate. We also do P90X every morning and yoga at the end of the day. Way fun! 

This is going to be an awesome transfer!

Have a great week!

Sister Stevenson :)