Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Best Week Ever!"

October 28, 2009
Ok. Best week ever. I am so excited to write this email. First of all, Phii Ed passed his baptismal interview with flying colors! He is getting baptized this Sunday.
So now for the completely unexpected news of the week. Som interviewed for Baptism on Sunday too! We went over the questions with her and her answers were awesome - she was like "Yeah - I know there is a God because I prayed and asked if there was one and He answered me. I did the same thing with Joseph Smith" You have to realize how out of the blue this was. She was not going anywhere two weeks ago. Then we met with her and set some goals and she started reading the Book of Mormon everyday and she is a completely different person. She is happy. Two weeks ago she was one of the saddest, loneliest people I have ever met. Not any more. After we met with her she wanted to come inviting with us. She was following us on her motorcycle and I heard her singing to herself. It is honestly that God just reached down and scooped her out of her sadness and is guiding her through life. It is a complete transformation. Let me express how I feel about this. YYIIIIIPPPPPPPEEEEE! YYYYYYAAAAAAAAAYYYY!
HHAAALLEEELLLLUUUJJAAAAHH!! That is me screaming in delight.
Pim continues to be just awesome. Everything we tell her is like ok. I don't really have a testimony about that but I will go pray about it. Then she comes back and is like "check. got an answer about that one. What's next?" She is so awesome. She is still moving toward baptism. She has a day set for December 6. She doesn't want to move it sooner because I think it is her birthday or some sort of special day.
Anyways. I love you all. In case you were wondering, being a missionary is freaking awesome. This week was the best. I am so excited for Sunday. So I love you all, the Church is true, God's hand is in this work, and I think it should be mandatory for girls to go on missions. Just saying.
Sister Webb

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Oh Budda!!"

October 21, 2009
Funny story – we totally had a lady get up to say the prayer in Relief Society and pray to Buddha. The whole prayer was great except she opened it “Oh Buddha” instead of “Heavenly Father”. The Church still has a ways to go here, I think. Honestly I think she might of just forgotten or it came out automatically. But it was pretty shocking, to say the least.
Phii Ed has his baptismal interview this Sunday! He never did get one giant answer, but he finally put all the little answers together and realized that they were an answer. We are so excited. It is really cool. We are so excited for his interview. He is going to be such an awesome member. He is the funniest guy ever. He can't stay serious for very long - he keeps us laughing all the time. Most of the time I don't know what he is saying but I know it is funny, so I just laugh too. When I do understand, I laugh really hard.
We went inviting the other day and very possibly found ourselves a family of nine to teach. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Like five of them were sitting outside and we were passing out English fliers but Sister Josephson invited this girl and she said she was really interested. She started telling everyone around her that they were going to go to learn English and about Jesus. The whole family wants to come to English and we are going to try to set up an appointment to teach them. That would be like the best new investigator number ever. That will be tonight. I hope they are still interested. We had a cool experience this week – a member called and said that he wanted us to come teach his relative, who is 78 years old and has been Christian all her life. We went and taught her but we didn’t really know if we should continue because she speaks Isan (“country” Thai) and we don’t, and she really didn’t seem to understand anything, and she can’t go to Church because she is too old, and she can’t read, so we were debating what to do, and decided to go see her again, and she was at a neighbor’s house who listened to our lesson and wants to learn more – she was really interested and really liked what we taught about prayer. So we are going to teach both of them together – that way we can continue teaching the older lady and see if she can progress but we also have this new investigator who can understand and help her and learn about the Church herself. It was awesome.
So I have already gotten better with spicy food. We ate at the Church after meetings and it was way spicy (the members called it a little spicy) and I was able to handle it with only one water bottle. This week was another great adventure. I showered with my bucket and cup five out of the last seven days. It is freezing. But I like it because it is the only time I ever get to be freezing! The air conditioning actually works really well in our apartment and gets the room cool enough to sleep. For the most part I sleep really well here. I am already to the point of liking my bike. It is nice to just ride around and think and get a breeze.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The attack of the killer monkeys

A monkey's welcome to LopBuri, Thailand
October 14, 2009
So I went and played with monkeys last Wednesday. They are CRAZY! Sister Josephson bought some food to give to them and she got attacked while we were still out in the street and this evil monkey stole the whole bag. So then we go inside and this monkey comes, climbs up my dress and sits on my shoulders and starts looking for bugs in my hair. That was all fun and good. But then another one comes and does the same thing, but I couldn’t get him off. I kind of shook my shoulder to try to get him down and he started swinging from my bangs. No joke. I finally got him off, but not before he scratched my face pretty good. I feel pretty proud that I got scratched by a monkey.
As for our house: don’t let the picture fool you. It is not nice. I officially showered with a bucket and cup this morning because our showers died on us. We swept 10 cockroaches the other day. One of our favorite pastimes is spraying cockroaches and running around and trying to get them before they die and screaming if they come at us. It is quite the adventure.
I ate fish with the skin and face still on it yesterday. I am officially cool. Most of the food is really good but I have definitely had some nasty stuff too. As for the real Thai food, they rate the “spiciness” on a scale of 1-10, so when you order food you choose the dish and level of spiciness. I ate a 0 yesterday and almost died. I am definitely not a Khon Thai. The members have noticed and now make fun of me for it – we all had lunch together in between conference sessions and I was trying to hide how much my mouth hurt but they noticed that I went through like 2 water bottles in 5 minutes and all started laughing. Good times.
I still don't understand Thai. But we are working on it. One day I will have a conversation with someone. That will be exciting.
I have never sweat so much in my life (which by the way, I found it we are in the middle of the COLD season. I am in for a treat when the hot season comes around.) But I love it! It is great! And I love all of you! Being a missionary is amazing!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guess What!? I am in THAILAND!!

Sister Josephson and a TIM TAM slam

One last look at the MTC --

October 7, 2009
Ok. First things first: My trainer! She is the amazing Sister Josephson, from Idaho Falls, Idaho. She has only been here 5 months but she is amazing. 2 of her first three companions were native Thais so she speaks the language really well. I absolutely love her. We had a Tim Tam slam together the second day and that bonded us for good. All the members here are crazy about her. She is hilarious.
My area: I am in Lopburi, which is about 3 hours north of Bangkok. It is a “medium sized” city, which apparently means it is nothing compared to Bangkok but it feels like a pretty big city to me. There is a ton of traffic. We ride our bikes EVERYWHERE. Other than almost getting clipped by buses every few seconds, it has been pretty good. My area is famous for its MONKEYS!! When I told other missionaries where I was going, they all said “oh! You get to go play with the monkeys!” Sure enough, on my first day, we were buying my bike and we walk to a corner and I kid you not, there were 200 monkeys in the street.
I will do my best to describe Thailand. First of all, it is HOT! I have no way to even begin to describe how hot it is. From the second we walk out the door, there is sweat pouring down our faces. Being dry ever is a thing of the past. Riding bikes actually makes it better because we get a breeze. We always spend a good 2 minutes when we arrive at someones house mopping our faces with handkerchiefs to try and look presentable. But we never do. I have never looked more hideous. We don’t wear makeup or do our hair. But it is all fun. They like me because I am really white – they think that it is beautiful.
As for the Thai language. In case anyone was wondering, it is hard. I was excited when I got here because when my trainer talks, I understand like 96% of what she says. But also in case you were wondering, farangs speaking Thai do not sound the same as Thai people speaking Thai. I would honestly say I understand about 8% when Thai people are speaking. It is getting a little frustrating. I am totally in love with these people and I want to know what they are saying! I can teach a lot because of the practice we had in the MTC – so Sister Josephson will give me parts to teach and I will teach them and people will look really surprised when I start talking because I don’t say anything when we are just having a conversation. But after my part is over, I sit and listen. But it will come. I already understand a lot more than I did when I got here.
The branch here is teeny. There are 40 active members. Sacrament meeting was really funny. S.J. plays prelude so I was sitting alone and this sweet member tried to talk to me and I just stared at her and then said “My kawjay” (I don’t understand) she just patted my arm and smiled at me for the rest of the time. Oh the joy. Then I was sitting innocently and I hear my name called by the branch president and then he sits down and they all look at me expectantly. I was being called on to speak! What the garbage? I just bore my testimony and sat down. It was terrifying. I said um… like a million times, which is funny because they have a word for um and it is not um, so um means nothing to them. Oh well. All the members now know I understand nothing so they just smile at me. It is really quite enjoyable.
I love being a missionary! This Gospel is so amazing. It is changing people’s lives, even here in Thailand where there are only 3000 members. When people come to know their Heavenly Father, it is an amazing thing to watch. I have loved the opportunity to teach someone about God for the very first time. God is in this work and He guides His missionaries. Yay for the Gospel! Yay for Thailand! This place is amazing!