Monday, October 6, 2014

On the Road Again

 Dear family and friends,

 I'm glad that you had a great week, with General Conference to top it off! We'll get to see it next week! Cannot wait!

Also, I really hope we get to see the "Meet the Mormons" movie! That sounds awesome! I hope it's really good!

Well, this has been a crazy, amazing, awesome week! 

Tuesday night we headed out to Bangkok for Missionary Leadership Council which was held Wednesday morning at the Chaengwatna chapel. It is just the biggest boost to meet together with missionaries and receive instruction and guidance for the mission. I LOVE MLC! Elder and Sister Meeker are the cutest. They prepared a delicious pancake breakfast for us. Afterwards, we started our meetings and had a really great training. Lately we've been trying to focus on being "all-around" missionaries, that not only find, teach, and baptize, but also retain and activate. Of course, this is so important, but sometimes it's overwhelming to do it all. So, two of our zone leaders in Bangkok, Elder Quinn and Elder Delagarza came up with a new verb for the mission: BRAFT-ing. It stands for just those things: baptize, retain, activate, find, teach. So, now we are supposed to ask ourselves every day if we are BRAFT-ing, what can we do to BRAFT better, etc... haha.  Kind of funny, but really great! In the training we focused on each of these elements and how we can be efficient in all areas. Every day we should be doing all of these things, so we learned how we can help the missionaries be better BRAFTing missionaries, and therefore better all-around missionaries! Everyday I'll go through my planner and write a B, R, A, F or T, next to each activity we have planned and then I can see what we may be missing. Really, it's nothing we didn't know already, but hopefully it will help people organize better. A big focus of finding was asking for referrals and involving members better. Also, we're now not going to have companionship baptismal goals, but rather district baptismal goals. We want more unity in our districts. This also takes away the competitiveness that sometimes happens. I think this is all so inspired and I love it! So, amazing training! I just love the missionaries in our mission so much. They are all so dedicated and so willing to do what the Lord wants. I am so inspired by the people that I serve around. What a blessing to be serving! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
After the training we ate a delicious chili dinner prepared by Sister Senior and had some time to chat with everyone! What an awesome day!

So, after training on Wednesday we hit the road to Pittsonulok to go train the Elders that are in Gamphaengphet and P-Lok. It was fun to go see a new area that I’ve heard so much about but never been to. We stayed in a cute little hotel by the church that night, went for a nice adventure run the next morning, studied, ate lunch at a cute little cafe, and then presented the training with the zone leaders that afternoon! So much fun! The elders there are just awesome and so excited to apply the training.

After that we headed back on the bus to Chiang Mai, about 6 hours. Longest bus ride ever! haha They like to play these really obnoxious soap operas on the buses, so we just try to sleep through it. haha But, the seat that I was on was a little sketchy. I was lying against the window and reached down to grab something from my bag at my feet and my seat unbolted from the floor and I nearly fell off. There were three soldiers sitting in the row behind me and they tried to grab my chair and all looked way concerned. haha

Anyway, we made it back to Chiang Mai on Thursday night and the next morning we had a training here for Lampang, Chiang Rai, and Chiang Mai. They all met here, the training went really well. Pres. Senior came too because he had come up to do interviews for the upcoming zone conference (I didn't get interviewed, I will at ZC on the 17th).  Anyway, that was really fun to see everyone! They're all doing well!

Right after the training we had to run. The government officials that we teach English to had scheduled a lunch date with us missionaries here in Chiang Mai. So, all eight of us got picked up in a government vehicle and were taken to a hotel for a delicious lunch. It was so kind of them. They are very gracious people and wanted to show their thanks by taking us to lunch. The editor of the newspaper was there to take pictures as well so we should be in the upcoming edition of Chiang Mai News (or whatever it's called)! Kind of a neat experience. It's been a really neat thing to work with these people, and apparently, one of the officials might be interested in learning with the Elders! 

 As far as our investigators go, Sister F. was doing pretty well. She had learned everything and really has the desire to be baptized. She has passed her interview already and will be baptized! The plan was for yesterday. However, her mom is very opposed to all this and wouldn't let her go. We've talked to her and we're going to try to go visit the mom. I really think things will work out okay in the end. F. is so awesome and has so much faith. She just wants to do what's right and I know she'll be able to be baptized this week.

We have another few investigators that are really great: Brother Th. and Sister O. They are boyfriend/girlfriend and are so cute. Sister O. is Christian, Brother Th. is Buddhist. They want to get married and he wants to raise his family Christian. They love church, they love our restoration message, and they will be baptized. We can only meet them on Sundays, so it may take a little while. We're just so happy that they are so humble and excited to learn and follow Jesus Christ, and that Sunday is their day off.

Brother Md. is progressing very well! He's quite the faithful church-goer and we're hoping he will be baptized this week. He's been out of town, but he's back now and so hopefully things will work out for this week! He's just so great. We have more new investigators but I'll write about them more next week once we get another chance to teach.

So, this has been one amazing week! So much happening and it's so exciting. I love serving in Chiang Mai with Sister Ference. We are seeing a lot of miracles and feeling so blessed! I love this area and I love the people we work with. I love sharing this Gospel and seeing people accept it into their lives! Life is sooooo good!