Sunday, August 17, 2014

Headin' for the Hills!

Hello family and friends!

So, I'll answer Mom's questions from the email first.

Sister Tilley leaves home on Thursday, so we'll probably have to head down on Wednesday night. We usually just do the overnight bus or train. And yes, it's definitely a long ride. To MahaSarakham and KhonKaen it was only like 5-7 hours. This ride is about 12-14 depending on the mode of transportation. We're always so tired, but it's always a really fun adventure!

So, Chiang Mai is the head of the zone (this is where the zone leaders are), so it's called the Chiang Mai Zone. In Chiang Mai our district consists of the zone leaders, the district leader and his comp, another set of elders (one is being trained) and us sisters. But the Chiang Mai zone covers Lampang, Chiang Rai, Pitsonulog, and Gamphengphet. Way fun!

And I LOVE being in a trio. I was interested to see what it would be like and I absolutely love it! It is probably the most continuous fun I have had on my mission, and it's because Sister Tilley and Sister Bentley are just awesome. They work so hard, get things done, and have fun. I feel like we're laughing all the time.

Okay, so this week was great! 

Last Monday we went to the Hill Tribe up on the mountain, as well as a wat (temple) up there. It was absolutely beautiful. It is so lush and the mountain overlooks Chiang Mai. We got to dress up and take pictures and walk around some pretty gardens. Way fun! 

On Tuesday we had a really great district meeting. Elder Bartholomew is a great district leader and had a very organized and well thought out lesson. He focused on skills for teaching first lessons with investigators and really stressed doing the church tour. It's a lot of fun, it's what we normally do, but he added in an element. So normally with a church tour we take them to the sacrament meeting room, explain what happens there and sometimes we teach a principle or commandment there, then we head to the baptismal font and explain baptism and ask them to be baptized. Well, E. Bartholomew asked us to then take our investigator to a picture of the temple on the wall and help them understand that that is really the end goal. And we've done it a few times with new investigators. I really like it!

One of our new investigators is named L. He came to church last week for the first time. He is Gariang, which is the Hill Tribe here. They have their own language and I literally cannot understand it. I can understand Esan okay and even speak a little bit of it. This is completely foreign. Of course, he also speaks Thai, but it's not his native language. So, we had a member in the first branch presidency who is also Gariang come help us teach him so that he for sure understood what we were teaching. It really helped. L was already Christian and has been baptized into another church (in fact, his name means "frankincense") and he is really worried about being baptized a second time. Right now he's praying to receive an answer about Joseph Smith and the restoration. So, excited to help him keep progressing!

On Thursday night we went and did a switch-off with the Lampang sisters! (Lampang is about a
1.5 hour bus ride from Chiang Mai) It was so much fun! All three of us went to Lampang. Sister Tilley and I went with Sister Maughan, and Sister Bentley went with Sister Black. Those two are just so cute! It was really fun to spend the day with Sister Maughan because I have never really gotten to know her that well. She is just so cute and I had a lot of fun.

One huge miracle that happened while we were in Lampang. So, a few days before Sister Tilley had contacted into a guy named S. He happened to be going to Lampang the same day as us, so we set up an appointment to teach him there. Well, this is probably the most prepared investigator I have ever met. He wants to be baptized so badly. He already keeps all the commandments, and before we even introduced them he told us he just felt like there must be rules to follow before baptism and then he asked what they are. Anyway, it was really cool to see! Unfortunately, that very day he was moving down to Asoke for work, so we won't get to teach him anymore. But, Sister Jackson just got a really awesome new dater! Wahoo!

Yesterday at church we had a few new investigators come! Yay! One lady is named Ch. She's in her 50's studying Burmese. She was on her lunch break and dropped in at church. We gave her a tour and then she went to the first part of sacrament meeting! Hopefully she'll be free to meet again soon. 
 Another girl named B came, too. She's interested in Christianity and so she came to our church. We taught her and she's excited to be learning! She wants to be baptized once she receives a confirmation of the truth. 
Also, we had a mother/daughter duo that came to church a few days ago that want to be baptized, but want to take some time to study first (of course). So, we're really seeing a lot of blessings here and we are very happy! I'll keep you updated on their progress!

Okay, so every Saturday the Sister Training Leader has a meeting with the zone leaders. So, we met and we were trying to come up with something fun to motivate the zone. I can't even totally describe what happened, but Sister Tilley was trying to explain some idea she had and asked us all to close our eyes and picture it. Well, Sis. Bentley and I did not close our eyes, but Elders Quinn and Omer did. They were really tentative about it, though, because they would keep peeking at each other to see if the other had their eyes opened or closed, but at different times. Well, we lost it and so did the Elders and we pretty much just sat there and laughed to the point of tears for like 10 minutes. We left the meeting not really sure what happened, but it was so funny. Hard to explain in an email. However, we did have a bit of productivity. Elder Omer came up with the idea to make a video of us doing missionary work, service, etc. to the Alex Boye version of "Have I done any good?" So, we've been working on that and we'll be compiling it today! Fun!

Yesterday at church was kind of fun because we had a ton of tourists from Utah!

Anyway, those are some of the main events of this week. It's going so great! I just love it here so much. I love this gospel and I love sharing it! It truly transforms people's lives. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!

I love you all so much!

Sister Stevenson