Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A temple dedication with 2,000 other missionaries!!

August 25, 2009
So this week was quite fun! We got a new roommate - she is going to Cambodia but speaking Vietnamese. Her name is Sister Harlan and she is quite honestly one of the funnest people I have ever met. We have really hit it off and really enjoy each other, which is good because she is a solo sister so she spends a lot of time with Sister Meyers and I. The bad news of the week is that we are not getting any new Thai sisters - just five elders. We are quite bummed about that one, but we are still really excited - they come in tomorrow! We also got four new English sisters in our branch this last Wednesday. I love being the coordinating sister because I got to go meet them on Wednesday night and give them a tour of the MTC, so we are all really good friends - we went to the Temple together this morning and had a blast. It is sad that they will only be here for three weeks - it is so interesting to watch the merry-go-round of English speakers come and go - while Sister Meyers and I just kind of stay. We have been talking about how some times it feels like we were born here, and we will die here. It is hard to imagine life outside the MTC - but we also feel like we just got here, and we are both a little freaked out by the fact that we are leaving five weeks from tomorrow! CRAZY! As of tomorrow, we will be known as the Phii Thai's. We are so excited.
Another fun event of the week is that we learned the famous Thai "Elephant song". We have heard the Phii Thais sing it before and we loved it, and we finally got to learn it this week. It is a pretty dinky kids song about elephants - its like "have you ever seen an elephant? - They are big and heavy and they have tusks and a trunk and ears and eyes" - But it is set to this really cool tune and we feel really cool when we sing it because it is in Thai. There are also actions. I will let you imagine what those are for yourself. Brother Sakhaa taught it to us and did the actions and we were pretty much rolling on the floor we were laughing so hard!
So we taught our first lesson in Thai on Saturday, and it went pretty well. I really love teaching in Thai because it forces us to rely more on Heavenly Father and the Spirit is just more with us. We had a couple of funny language moments (and some great laughs together) but the rest of the lesson was awesome. I really felt that we had the Spirit with us, which really helped get the message across even when we were speaking Thai so slowly that by the time we finished a sentence, the investigator had probably forgotten the beginning of the sentence. But Brother Duvall gave us lots of compliments afterwards, which he usually just gives us things to work on, so I guess it went pretty well. So, anyways, that was a really encouraging experience. I also feel like my ability to speak has kind of exploded this week - we are holding pretty much all our conversations in Thai and we are able to talk about a lot with out having to switch to English! So, that is pretty awesome.
We had more awesome devotionals this week. We also got a chance to go to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication - they broadcast it here at 3:00 on Sunday. I thought all of the talks were really awesome! I love Temple Dedications. Doing the Hosanna Shout with 2,000 other missionaries was one of the most awesome experiences ever. I really loved that.

My brother Taylor is a 23 year old apostle

August 18, 2009
My funny language mess up of the week was when I was practicing for our "task" in the TRC - this week, we got to bring a picture of our family and describe our siblings. So, I was practicing with Sister Knudson and got to Taylor and said "This is Taylor - etc, and then I was going to say that he is an engineer. The word for engineer is wisawakaan, and I got mixed up with Agrasawok, which is dumb because they aren't even that close - but Agrasawok means Apostle. So, I told Sister Knudson that my 23 year old brother is an apostle. She was like WOW!! (obviously making fun of me.) The class got quite a kick out of that one!
That same day, Sister Knudson told us a lot about Thailand. She said that you shower twice a day because it is so hot and muggy. The seasons there are that March to May is "insanely" hot. Then, from June to October it rains every day, but she said that is good because it makes contacting easier - people get trapped inside because no one uses umbrellas - they just wait for the rain to stop - so people have no where to go and you can talk to them. Then, from October to February, it is the "cold" season. That means it only gets to about 85. They all bundle up and call it winter. Crazy. But Sister Knudson said she only had to shower once a day during the "cold" season, so that is something to look forward to. She also said that all sister missionaries apartments have air conditioning, so at least I'll be able to sleep!! On the Thai New Year, they have a "songkrang" - a nationwide water fight. Apparently the missionaries are actually allowed to participate because they get a lot of contacts and referrals from it. I am pretty excited about that. Anyways, while she was saying all of this, I got so excited! I can't wait to go to Thailand!! I honestly could not sit still in my chair and my stomach got butterflies! - - I love Thailand!!

Sawadii Kha family!

August 11, 2009
So this was quite the eventful week. Our Phii Thais left last night, which was actually quite a bummer. They are so much fun. And, we went from having fifteen friends to two. But, we are very excited for them, and now we have bottom bunks that don't squeak! I can't even tell you how happy that makes me. We aren't getting any new sisters in our room - so it is going to be me and Sister Meyers with a room for six people all to ourselves. We each get three closets and a desk and a half - - it will be nice, but quite lonely at the same time.
So here is my random spiel for the day on why I love the Thai language. All of their words are made up of smaller words, which makes words very descriptive of what they mean. My new favorite word is "talent" which is phaansawan - phaan means blessing and sawan means heaven! - I LOVE how that works and how their words are put together! It is SO much cooler than English, in case you were wondering! And as for why all other languages are wussy compared to Thai ( I just have to throw that in a little bit), there are seven vowels in English. In Thai? There are 105 vowel and tone combination's! Whoa! Some of the vowels have the most miniscule differences - it is so hard to hear the difference between them, but the difference is very important, as we have already figured out. For example, the word for "name" is chuu and the word for "adulterer" is chuu - there is just a very slight different vowel and the vowel in the word for name is not a sound we have in English. So, as missionaries, we have to be extra careful when we introduce ourselves to say "my name is" instead of saying "I am an adulterer." So much fun.
Well, I am still loving being on a mission! We were at a fireside and we sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth", which made me happy anyways, but they they changed the words "And we will be the Lord's Missionaries" to "We are now the Lord's missionaries!" Man, I almost lost it - that made me so happy! It just hit me that I have been waiting for this for my whole life and I am living it right now! SO awesome!

A CTR ring in Thai says "choose things good"

August 4, 2009
I learned what my CTR ring says this week - it says "Luag Sing Dii" - literally translated, it means "choose things good." I think that is quite awesome. Everyone is jealous of me and the one other Elder who have Thai CTR rings.
We learned some cool things about Bangkok and Thailand this week. Brother Sakhaa said that prime contacting time in Bangkok is 8:00 in the morning because of all the students from grade school up to university students, all go to school at the same time - and there are 8 MILLION of them - so they are everywhere. I am excited to see that - he says it is quite a sight. Sister Knudson said that we will nver get yelled at - the Thai people are just too nice. And, that all Thai missionaries know each other - it is like a family because there is only one mission that speaks Thai. She says we will know everyone from like five years in front of us and five years behind us.
I am getting better at reading Thai - I can now read a whole paragraph in a half an hour, which is a huge improvement from last week. Script is phonetic, but they have some pretty funny rules - silent letters and strange vowel combination's, and there are tons of cases where the letters will change their sound. Letters have a different sound, depending on whether they are in the middle or end of a word. So really, there is just a lot of memorizing to do - and then try to decipher what it says. I really love reading though. Thai is such a beautiful language - both in the way it looks and sounds. I am excited to be able to speak it eventually. We have also started working on teaching in Thai - I can teach the first principle of the first lesson (which happens to be one of the shortest). I love teaching in Thai because it forces you to simplify what you are teaching - All I can say is that God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us. But that is really all they need to hear.
We had a Spanish companionship come teach us a lesson in Spanish the other day. No offense Dad and Taylor, but learning Spanish is wussy. I understood everything they said and I haven't been here learning Spanish for six weeks. That is ok though. Spanish has a lot more practical application than Thai. Still though, know that I have it harder and am probably smarter than you. :)

If I can't speak Thai, the Spirit can

July 28, 2009
We have a real live investigator - Elder Petvixay contacted her in the RC and she didn't want the missionaries because she works all day but she has let us call her back a couple of times. Elder Petvixay is mostly the one who talks to her but I got to talk to her for a couple of minutes and bear my testimony about how the gospel strengthens families and how God is always listening to our prayers, even when it seems like He isn't. Her name is Josephine - she is from New York. It has been a great experience. We are going to call her again tomorrow.
We also had our first TRC experience - we had to do a fifteen minute task in Thai - we had to introduce ourselves, get to know the investigator, talk about our message, and testify. The first part was interesting because the two investigators were Native Thais. She asked us about our family, which Elder Petvixay was fine with but Sister Meyers and I had no idea what she was talking about. We just stared at her blankly. But the talking about the message and testifying went really well, although I said a couple words wrong and she had to stop me and ask what I was talking about. But when I testified, the husband said he got goosebumps. That made me happy. It also just showed me that even if I can't speak their language, the Spirit can.
I love you all so much! I love the Gospel and I love Heavenly Father - He is amazing. I have learned so much while I have been here at the MTC. I feel His Spirit with me all the time - and it is a great feeling! Sister Webb