Hola Hola Hola!!!
Mom, Dad, I think you need to retake that genealogy DNA test because Thai people swear I’m ลูกครึ่ง which means half Thai. I literally cannot meet a person without them asking if I’m half Thai. Apparently I just have a face that looks very Thai like….I guess the whiteness of my skin doesn’t deter them. Anyway, it’s just funny because my go to answer after they ask me if I’m ลูกครึ่ง is no!!! I’m 100 percent ฝรั่ง (falang) which means foreign (AKA white). Also, it’s hilarious because in Thailand, when Thai people see a ฝรั่ง they’ll yell “ฝรั่ง ฝรั่ง Hello Hello Hello!”. My companion was like if we were in America and we saw a Mexican and said “Mexican! Mexican! Hola! Hola! Hola!” we would break so many societal rules and people would not like us but here in Thailand they do it all the time haha.
ANYWAY! In other EXCITING news!! I was transferred!!! Greenies aren’t usually transferred out of their greenie areas until after they’ve completed training (or two transfers) here so many missionaries were surprised when 6 out of the 9 from my MTC district were moved to different areas or got new trainers after just one transfer. But I guess the Lord just needed us in different places. I for one am already seeing the blessings of my new area and companion. I am so grateful for my first area, transfer, companion and everything I learned but I am also grateful for this new opportunity and new challenges.
A few factoids I’m sure you are all interested to know:
I am now in Sakon Nakhon which is a 10 hours bus ride from my last area! Whereas before I was in Bangkok, now I’m closer to Laos.
One of my many miracles from this week was that after an all night bus ride [and these are not first class busses] we arrived in my new area at 6:30 am and immediately started our missionary day, sticking to the schedule and working hard despite our lack of sleep. That was one of the best days of my mission. I don’t know if I can explain why but when you sacrifice for the work, obey and just keep making every moment count, the joy and blessings are immeasurable.
My new companion is Sister Hoffman! She’s from Wyoming and this is actually her last transfer but I have already decided she is not allowed to go back home because I love her too much. She is THE BEST. She works hard and loves everyone she meets. She’s also HILARIOUS. She’s taught me so much already about perseverance and charity and obedience but also that fresh fruit probably makes your hair grow faster and that I need to remember to take my helmet off when we get to places or I’ll look super weird (yes I’ve already forgotten to take my helmet off but just once)
OH! That reminds me! I’m in a biking area!! What?! I didn’t have a bike and since this was super sudden, the wonderful Sister Johnson is letting me use her bike since she’s serving in Bangkok right now and doesn’t need it. I LOVE biking. I’m sure everyone by now has fainted with surprise. Yes, this girl who has never actually gone on a real bike ride (unless around the neighborhood cul-de-sac counts) is biking and loves it so much. Riding in a skirt is hard though…and monsoon season is coming up so I’ll let you know how I feel about biking in about a month when I’m soaked to the bone while I ride;) But for now, I just love the feeling of wearing my missionary badge and helmet and biking in my skirt through the streets of Thailand:)
Sakon Nakhon is how I had imagined Thailand would be. Very rural, very cute, very hot:) Some of the people just live in shacks of wood and sheet metal. Yet they have the biggest smiles. The members here are already like family. They practically adopt the missionaries as their own so I am never short of hugs or food or love. Which reminds me; I am now serving with Elder Feist, Elder Daily, Elder Walker and Elder McKay. Elder Walker and Elder McKay pretended they didn’t know english my whole first day with them but they felt so guilty by the end of the day they spilled haha. They are all super great, dedicated missionaries.
My first Sunday (*sorry I have so much to say today. I’m super super happy. I’m literally just bouncing in the bright orange chair of this little internet place as I type*) in Sakon Nakhon was amazing. God answers prayers. He really does. So only Elder Feist and Elder Daily can play the piano and only a few songs so of course they assigned me to play today to give the members a break from the same songs. Well usually the missionary gets to pick the song they want to play but the Branch President picked some songs he really wanted to sing and was like, I know you can play these. Haha. Right before the meeting started I just prayed that the Lord would allow me to play to bring in the spirit for that Sacrament meeting. And it went so well. I promise, if you want to play the piano well, just be a missionary. Another missionary attested to me too that he feels like he’s so much better at playing the piano on his mission even though he has less time to practice. After that I had to speak in church for the first time! And again the Spirit just filled my mouth. I know it wasn’t me. It was the spirit speaking through me. After that in Relief Society I had to translate………That was…an adventure…Sister Christensen and Elder Christensen ( a senior couple) are visiting Sakon Nakhon and my companion was already translating in RS for someone else and Sister Christensen sat down next to me and I had to just go for it. It was a good practice experience. I really couldn’t explain much but I think we both got a decent gist so it was okay:)
We have a really cute investigator right now whose older sister is a member. Her name is Sister May. But her parents won’t let her get baptized and she’s not 20 yet (which is when you are recognized as an adult in Thailand) so we are just teaching her, showing love to her and praying her parents’ hearts will open because she is so ready for baptism. She knows everything and loves it. We actually don’t have any other investigators besides a couple that are so ready for baptism too but are having an issue (because of the complexity of getting married in Thailand) getting married so they can’t get baptized yet. But they are super faithful and are praying everything will work out. So we are praying for new investigators this week!
I know God is cognizant of each and every single one of you. He wants to answer your prayers. This week I read in the Liahona about a mom and her little girl. The mom had to leave the room for a second and told her little girl not to touch the iron because it was super hot and would hurt her. When the mom returned the little girl was hiding behind the couch crying. She refused to tell her mom what had happened but eventually she admitted that she touched the iron. The mom immediately rushed her to the kitchen to rinse her little girl’s burn with cold water. From this experience the mom realized that God gives us these commandments for a reason, to protect us. Often though, we don’t realize the danger and sin anyway, ending up hurt and in pain. Like the little girl we hide, ashamed and afraid our Father in Heaven will be mad, ashamed, and won’t forgive us. We are too young, like the little girl, to fix the wounds ourselves. But like the loving mother, our Father in Heaven and His son, Jesus Christ, want to heal our wounds. When we make a mistake we need to go to them and show them our wounds, our pain, so that they can apply the healing balm of the Atonement. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and all that is possible through Him. I am grateful for this time on earth to experience trials and pains and joys and happiness, to make mistakes, and to repent and come closer to my Father in Heaven.
Keep smiling everyone:)
New Jersey represent!!!