Sister Josephson and a TIM TAM slam
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!