Monday, March 29, 2010

Messages or massages for Buddhist Monks!?

Typical Homes on a Street in Thailand
Sister Hulme and I have started counting giant centipedes that we see on the road. We are up to 13. Luckily most of them have been dead. They are HUGE! A good 8 inches long. They scare the crud out of me. It rained here the other day and apparently that makes them come out.
Speaking of rain - last Friday was the most amazing day of my life. It rained all morning so we changed our study to the morning and then it was actually cold! All day! In the middle of the hot season! It was the weirdest but best thing that has ever happened to me. I actually SHIVERED In Thailand and didn't sweat all day! Even a little bit! weird! I loved that day. I wanted to invite all day. Unfortunately we had appointments. (I never thought I would say that). I really like cold weather. I miss it. We are already back to heat full force. But that's ok.
Sister Hulme wrote a little song about Thailand. It is to the tune of the Cheers theme song. It goes like this "Making your way in Korat today takes everything you got. Taking a break from rabid dogs sure would help a lot. Your third appointment didn't show." Then you skip to the chorus which goes "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your first name. And they're always glad you came." We like to sing it while we are inviting and getting rejected over and over and over again.
Phii Ow continues to just completely astound me. I think I could spend a good hour writing an ode to her and her amazingness. She is really on track - we just started teaching lesson 4 so we will be done with the lessons soon and I really think she won't have a problem getting baptized. She already calls this "our church" and refers to herself as a Christian. And she was a pretty strong Buddhist before.
We also picked up a new investigator named Ma Somnuk - (yeah - same name as the lady in Lopburi who is my favorite person in the world). She was being taught by the Elders but her husband lost interest so we are going to teach her. Apparently all people with that name are amazing because we already love her. She already has a baptismal date and is progressing really well, so hopefully we can keep that up. We met and started teaching a new investigator named See. She is about 15. We ran into her inviting twice so we figure she really needs the Gospel. So far she has been great. We have met with her twice and she actually read the commitment and prayed. That doesn't happen all that often. She seems really interested in the lessons and when we asked if we could continue teaching, she was very enthusiastic about saying yes. The awkward thing is that both her parents give massages in the front room where we teach --- the first time we taught, her dad was massaging a Buddhist monk in the same room. Awkward. Really awkward. But once you get into the lesson you kind of forget. It was the closest to teaching a monk I think I will get on my mission.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My dreams came true!!

Floating Market / Bangkok, Thailand
My dreams came true! I am in Korat with Sister Hulme! My companion is AMAZING! I feel like writing an ode to Sister Hulme. She is a very hardworking missionary who I share lots in common with including similar opionions on school, the Gospel, life, etc. We have so much fun talking! Our companion studies rock. Then we just talk and talk all day. We have started the tradition of companion date night and we went to the mall and ate at a place that had a huge window overlooking the city and pretty much bonded from the start. We are having so much fun! She has made me love inviting! Every morning we just go out on foot and explore neighborhoods and chase people down. Thais are so fun because they are so nice - we talked to one lady for three minutes and she told us we could live with her and brought out pictures of her family. I love it!
Korat is actually the second biggest city in Thailand - behind Bangkok, but it is still quite peaceful. You can be in a ton of traffic but then suddenly turn down a street and it will be just like Lopburi - not a lot of people and quiet. It is a lot bigger than Lopburi. It is a huge area - I have to learn it in 6 weeks. But it will be good. Korat has a lot of cool stuff. It has taxis and took tooks - these little converted motorcycle things that are really fun to go around on. They actually have a church - a real little chapel. It is very cute and it makes me very happy. So basically it is the best of both worlds. I have met a lot of the members and I love them. Moving from my greenie area has really helped my confidence - I am understanding a lot more and getting my Thai complimented a lot more. I just LOVE it here!
We have an investigator named Ow (like the sound you make when you are hurt). She is AMAZING! We will be teaching her and we will get out one sentence and she will pick it up and teach herself the rest of the principle. We will do comparisons like "God is like our parents - if our kid does something wrong, we will forgive him and forget about it." And then she goes off on how that is true but sometimes parents don't forgive and God will always forgive. And then she says "but when we repent it is not just stopping doing bad things - we have to do good things too." This is all unsolicited - we basically don't have to teach her. I have never seen anything like it. Sister Hulme and I decided that when the veil was placed over her mind it got messed up somehow. She just seems to know everything already but has never met with the missionaries or learned Christianity. She works until 5:00 am on Sunday mornings but then still comes to church. She said "If it is a commandment from God, I have to do it." She has a baptismal date for April 25. Phii Ruay was amazing to me when I left Lopburi - - she is going full steam ahead with her baptism.
You are all great. I love you dearly. Have fun in life.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Phii Ruay is getting baptized!

Wow! This week was amazing! YAY! We have had our miracle. Phii Ruay is getting baptized! In three weeks! We went to her house to teach and she stopped us half way through and was like "Sisters, I am ready. I don't want to wait anymore. Apparently she was sitting at the dentist reading a book she found on the table about the "last days" - how the Mayan calendar ends in two years. Then it hit her that our church has the name "the last days" and she was like "I realized that we are the Saints of the last days and that Jesus is coming and that I need to get baptized so I can be ready." Isn't it amazing how after all the praying and hoping, He answers ours and her prayers through a random book about the Mayan calendar? But then she was still feeling like she wasn't ready and she read the chapter we had given her for homework - the baptism chapter in Mosiah - and she read the verses about being willing to follow the Savior and she got her answer - she thought to herself "I am willing to try and do my best - I don't need to wait anymore". Sister Mark and I were trying really hard not to scream until we left. She was so sweet - she told us about when she was first learning. She was like "Sister Webb would say that God loved me a lot. I always wondered how she could know or how God could love us. But she kept saying it and I thought about it a lot and that was one of the first things I got a testimony of - that God loved me." Man that made me happy. That is about all I knew how to say in Thai at that point and I love saying it. It was really good for me to hear that it had an effect on her. Both her and Bookie bore their testimonies a lot and Bookie started crying - they are both so cute. After all this, we went to dinner and Joy to the World was playing in the restaurant. We thought it was pretty random in a Buddhist country but very appropriate - right after our miracle. We have just been grinning stupidly at each other for the past 24 hours. So exciting! I just wish it would have happened three weeks ago so I could be here, but thats ok. As long as she gets baptized, I am good. Man! Heavenly Father is awesome! The Church is true! Yay!
So I am moving in four days. I can't believe it. I am sad but also excited. I think it is time for a new experience. I have no idea where I am going.
Remember Ma Somnuk? I think I have told you about her. She is the cutest lady ever. She is in her 60's and inactive because of health problems. We love visiting her. While she reads her scriptures, she writes down the ones she likes and then shares them with us. I love her so much. We went and visited her yesterday and she told me that she was glad I am moving because I am like a light and I can take it to another place. My heart pretty much melted at that one!
This whole moving thing is fun! I could be anywhere with anyone next week!
I love you all so darn much!

Monday, March 8, 2010

"It makes a good story."

The missionary who eats bugs, plays with snakes,
has to meet UNDER houses where it's cooler, gets attacked by monkeys,
and crashes on her bike .... and is HAPPY about it!
LOVE her!!!
So I had my first bike crash yesterday. And it was epic. I was riding and I heard someone honk at me so I moved over but unfortunately he was trying to squeeze by on the side that I moved to (it was a motorcycle). So I moved over right into him, which obviously made me lose my balance. I splatted on the pavement. Heavenly Father definitely protected me on that one - I wasn't hurt at all. I probably should have been. I was able to get right up and all that is wrong with me is a sore spot of road rash on my leg. I thought I would be really sore today but I'm really not. At least now I can tell people I have had a bike crash. It makes a good story.
We took a bus to Korat for more splits this week and that was really funny - they played Thai karaoke and Sister Mark and I had a blast trying to read the Thai fast enough to sing along. All the songs were completely ridiculous - most were about someone committing adultery. Thai culture is a lot like Latin culture in that respect - they have a flair for the dramatic.
Things are going great in Lopburi. Phii Ruay is doing well. She told us that she believes "100%" that the church is true but is still worried about breaking her family up. We had a really good talk with her and she said she is praying to know what to do. Her husband is having some kind of surgery next week so she is going to be taking care of him. We really think she will get baptized - it is just a matter of time. I wish I could be here for it but Sister Mark promised to send me lots of pictures is she is still there when she gets baptized. We got two new investigators this week. One is a lady that we invited and we asked her who she lived with and she said she lives with her two boyfriends. Interesting. I guess we will jump that hurdle when we have to. But when we were teaching her how to pray she was like "I need to try this" so she basically committed herself. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Some time in Pakkret

We spent some time in Pakkret this week on splits. Switch offs were really fun. I was with Sister Amnooychoke - she was born in Thailand but moved to Hong Kong when she was 12. She speaks English fluently. She is a lot of fun. We taught a new investigator that is a Christian. That was hard! She kept freaking out about the Bible. It was my first taste of what other missionaries deal with with people that can't accept additional scripture. She was like "But the BOM is so different". (Which it is not). She told us she is thinking of starting her own church. That will be interesting. Then we walked over an hour to get to a recent convert's house and she forgot our appointment so we walked over an hour back. This was during the hottest part of the day. Fun. Not. The rest of the day was good though and taught a new investigator and then this lady that is awesome. We would teach and she would ask the best questions - she is really interested. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation and we were talking about life on earth - about how we are here to learn how to be like God. She was like "well God is immortal and we aren't. so why would God send us here when there is no way we can accomplish that?" Obviously she was listening and thinking. We talked a little about the atonement but it was mostly a teaser - you don't want to try and shove the Atonement into a two minute answer. It is just refreshing to see someone who is actually thinking about what you are teaching and not just nodding politely.
On Wednesday, we went back to teach that young mother we invited. We were talking to her and suddenly we had a swarm of neighborhood kids that came up and wanted to talk. They sang us songs and pretty much just hung on us. When we left, we told them we would come back and teach them about our church. They were all there again, and about 12 of them sat on a mat (along with this young mother) and we taught them about the Godhead and prayer. It was actually really cool. They all listened and liked it. The mother prayed at the end. We are going back this week. They are all really cute kids. We are hoping that we can get some of their parents interested. But most of all, we think everyone should have a chance to learn the gospel - and even if nothing happens now, maybe they will accept missionaries later because they will remember what they learned.