Monday, October 27, 2014

Sapansung Letter--October 27, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sapansung Letter--October 20, 2014

Recently I read in the scriptures about how in the last days, God will shorten the days for our benefit. I have no idea if that means the days will be shorter or there will be fewer days but I guess it doesn't really matter. I feel it happening but I'm not sure if it is really for my benefit. Haha :) Days are going by sooo quickly. 

It's really cool looking at pictures of the house 25 years ago. What is the sign above Stu and Sam's room? It looks like it says Boy on it so ... it is from when Sam was born? Haha that was in August. Kinda funny how it was still up. (Sam’s birthday had been 2 years and a couple months before that picture was taken. The sign 25 years ago was from my birthday, and says “It’s a boy girl” because Mom expected a boy.) When did we cut down that tree? I half want to say that I remember it but I don't trust my memory. :) I remember when the house was green! I like the sign on the old garage. :) I'm also glad the trees are still taller than the house. :)

This week was good. I went on switch-offs with the two other sets of sisters in this zone. It was fun and productive. I remember being on the other end of the switch-off, always getting really good training from the leaders. And now I'm on this end, not always knowing what I'm doing but hoping something works. Haha. Thank goodness for the Spirit because without Him, nothing would ever get done. Or at least not well. 

With the switch-off in Bangkapi—I went there. If you remember, that was my greenie area. It was really cool to see a lot of the members that I had worked with. They all said that my Thai has improved sooo much. Haha well it has been a year or more. It was also really cool to see how the ward was changing for the better. 

With the switch-off in Bangna (my previous area), I stayed in Sapansung but worked with the senior companion from there. I prayed about how it should go and that was the answer. I had wanted to go to Bangna to see my RCs but I also worried that it would be weird seeing how I just came from there. In the end, we went with the Lord's way (obviously). It worked out well because I was able to train in my area but also still be able to help her with the RCs in Bangna—I could give her some insights from serving there for 5 months. I felt that it (and the switch-off in Bangkapi) went really well. 

We've been seeing some really good miracles (good miracles...are there such things as bad miracles?) here in Sapansung. 
We have a plan for two people to get baptized (or receive baptism as it’s said in Thai) next week. One is an 18 year old girl. I love her soooo much. She is really cool. She does competitive riflery and karate (or self-defense). She also understands English soooo well (we were looking at her homework and she is sooo good at it). I feel like she would get along really well with Jon, Sam, or Stu ... except for the fact that she is utterly terrified of boys (all-girls school for a looong time is the excuse that she claims). She is a really good sport about it and laughs with me when I laugh at the situation (not at her, of course). She also knows that she will have to overcome her fear because there are a lot of guys at church ... and there are the Elders. We are trying to get her to talk to the Elders a lot because if she doesn't feel comfortable with them ... haha that will be an interesting baptismal interview. It's really comical though. But she is amazing. We first met her over a month ago (she wasn't super free the first couple weeks) and since then she has read the Book of Mormon 6 times. I was so confused when she told us that. "So you mean those little books we gave you, not the big one." No. "You mean the first chapter" No. "You mean the first book" Nope again. The entire Book of Mormon 6 times. Apparently she reads like 2 hours a day. What? Haha she still doesn't understand it all the way but she says it's getting better. She really wants to get baptized too. 
The other one is a boy that is 17 years old. He is actually a former from about a year ago. He has still been coming to church every once in a while with the member that introduced him to the church but he never got baptized because he didn't feel ready. Now he does. And he really is. 
Sister Embley and I used to compare investigators (and just all people in general) to cake mixes. Some are just a bag of flour—not even close to ready yet but could be with time. Some are all the ingredients measured out but not combined—takes a little bit more time but ready. Some are the box cake mixes—ready but you just need to add a couple more things. Some are easy-bake cake mixes—you just add the water (baptism) and the fire (Holy Ghost) and you've got a fantastic member. Going along with this comparison (even though it obviously is not a perfect one), I think a year ago, this boy was probably the bag of flour or the measured-but-not-combined ingredients. Right now, definitely easy-bake. Haha. We missionaries sound sooo weird. 

Another cool new investigator we met this week is actually also a former investigator (meaning that she once learned but then stopped). I was just calling random people from the phone (contacts just build up throughout the years) to see if they wanted to learn again and she was one of them. When we actually were able to meet with her, we asked her some of the usual get-to-know-you questions—Why are willing to meet with us today? What do you expect out of meeting with us today? Why are you interested in learning about Christianity (because the majority of the people we teach are Buddhist)? Since she was a former, we also asked her why she was willing to meet with us again. She said how the first time, she didn't feel ready to change but know she did. We asked why she wanted to change. She said that she didn't choose her first religion—she was born into it. So why Christianity? She said she really liked the idea of prayer. She loved that we could just pray straight to God and we didn't need to go through anyone. Also we could pray about anything because He is our Father. Prepared? I would say so. At this moment we shared Alma 37:37 with her about prayer. When she finished reading she told us that she felt really good and warm. We were then able to testify of the Holy Ghost and His role and what He did. It was such a cool first lesson! She didn't accept a hard commitment to be baptized (meaning she didn't accept a date) but she did accept a soft commitment (meaning that she wants to be baptized but doesn't want to commit to a date). She is really cool. AND. here is another cool thing to show how God prepared her. She works at a nearby gym, at which one of our members is a member. She said that she has never really asked anyone about their religion before but she felt that she should ask the member. There was just something about the member. It was really cool because that member was able to sit with her at church yesterday and explain any questions she had. Yeah miracles!!!! =D

This week is Mission Tour—Zone Conference: Special Edition. We have Mission Tour once a year. It's when one of the area presidency (I think?) comes and tours the mission. So that's happening this Thursday. And because it's my last one I have to (get to) bear my testimony. They always have all the ending missionaries bear their testimony at their last zone conference. Whee... 
And the week after that is transfers ...
Luckily there is still a lot of work to be done here and lots of people to take care of so it's really easy to stay focused. 
I remember when Sam and Lorri di ... ended their missions and how excited we were for them coming home. I'm assuming it's the same way (haha I hope) but because you guys love me and understand how I feel you don't mention it. Thanks. I hope you all know that I am excited to see you guys. I really am. It's just ... yeah, you know ... I’m going to really miss being a missionary in Thailand. Luckily every member a missionary! haha :) 

To Mom's question two weeks ago, I don't think I have any preference about where I live in January. I don't really remember much from the thing I went to pre-mish about all the housing options. Campus Plaza with Uncle Bill sounds great. I would like to be somewhat close to campus because it will be winter and my body currently really really does not like the cold. And I would like to be somewhat close to Delsa's place (which I guess comes from being close to campus) because there are four little people I would like to see (and I guess two big people too :)) I think every place is probably the same distance from Sam's so that doesn't really play much effect ... did I say that phrase correctly? Lately I have been making up new words on accident. Like dramastically - dramatically and drastically. And there were some words like that this week. Dude English. *shudders*   



P.S. As a side note, the Bible videos on are really good. :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sapansung Letter--October 13, 2015

GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!! Today for P-day my companion and I are going to get ice cream and watch the priesthood session. Haha we want more conference. :) 

Actually, I have a good experience to share about Conference. Prior to Conference I was kinda worried about what our investigators and new members would think about it. As much as I love conference, I also realized that sometimes things included in talks are really complex for new member or new investigators. We did our best to prepare our new members and investigators by testifying that we love conference, that everything we will hear is truth, that these people representatives of God, etc. but I was still kinda worried. Throughout conference, I was constantly praying that they would at least kinda understand the main topics. It turns out—obviously—that I had no need to be worried. After the first session I talked to two walk-ins about their experience. They didn't understand much of anything but they said they felt good. They felt peace. They knew that this was good. They agreed to meet with us during the week. That experience strengthened my testimony of finding the elect (or them finding us) and of the power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is real. He is working harder than us to help these people. 

I loved the common themes. The prophet. God does in fact still speak to man and He has called leaders of the church to guide us and to be His spokespeople. We need not be afraid because God is near. As long as we have prepared ourselves by properly listening to His chosen, we will be alright. I love how they talked about working with people of different faiths and standards. Love truly is the answer to everything and the essence of the gospel. I also loved how much they emphasized that we all need individual and strong testimonies. For the last days ahead, we need to be prepared. We will face trials and struggles and tribulations of all sorts but we can be confident. We can disagree without being disagreeable. I also love how much they emphasized the sacrament—do we prepare ourselves enough for this sacred ordinance? I loved Elder Oaks’ talk. And President Monson’s talk. And Elder Klegindat's about "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence." I also liked how much emphasis they put on protecting the home. The home truly is the most important thing. I love watching how Lorri, David, Delsa, Jon, Sam, and Samantha raise their kids. As a missionary, I try so hard to help people gain the faith of a child—I try to copy what parents do for their kids. I'm an example of what a good family with parents who keep their covenants can do for a kid. Obviously there are still exceptions and obstacles but the principles are always the same. 

As always, it was fun seeing how many scripture masteries they used. Speaking of scripture masteries, Mom, I will do my best to memorize those scriptures. I'll try to do it in Thai but I can't promise anything. Haha :)
Yay missionary experiences! Yay talking to people. :) Yay family history work! =D 

Speaking of Thailand and small worlds—an RM here knows Lorri too. I don't know his full name but I will find out and let you know when I know. President Senior thinks it's cool how someone Lorri taught is currently a missionary (I think this is referring to someone else now that gender has changed). I love seeing her at meetings. She is doing really well. 

Dad, that is really interesting about the fireside. I think it is interesting how Elder Perry and Elder Christofferson just want every church to increase their activity—it doesn't have to be just ours. I really like. They just want more people of faith. Yay :) 

In other news, things are going well. Unfortunately, our fantastic 'golden' dater from last week stopped answering the phone (which hurts the most because we don't know what happened) and our other golden dater couldn't come to church yesterday so her baptism has to be delayed a week. But, on the up side, we had two rescues and prevented one RC and another member from missing their fourth week and going LA (according to missionary standard). You win some and you lose some but you keep on going. :) I liked President Monson's talk about walking as the Savior walked—we still have disappointments but we are still successful. 

I'm not sure if I really have anything else to report. Haha. I hope everything is well!! =D


Monday, October 6, 2014

Sapansung Letter--October 6, 2014

I AM SO EXCITED FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!! I get to watch it this Saturday and Sunday at the church. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!! =D It's odd how the idea of sitting in front of a TV watching older people giving talks for 10 hours is exciting BUT IT IS!!!!!!!!! When we teach new members and investigators about conference, we usually ask them to prepare about 5 questions that they want answered. Then they have to come to conference (as much as they can) and listen carefully. The more they put in, the more they will get out. I've really enjoyed doing the same. 

This week...I felt that I was in a taxi for most of it. Haha. On Wednesday we had MLC (mission leadership council) in Asoke. Then for Thursday and Friday we (Zone Leaders and us) went around to the different areas in our zone (4 not including ours) to give the training that we received at MLC. So many taxi trips. I felt really bad for my companion because she gets car sick … yeah … So we are really grateful for the days that we are just in our home area. :) 
I really love this new training that we got. Lately we have felt confused at the direction from different leaders and haven't felt super unified. The new training has solved all of those issues. It's sooo good! We now are BRAFTing missionaries ... yes I know it sounds weird. Our purposes: Baptism, retention, activation, finding, teaching. Anyway, it's really good and we really really like it. :) 

I have a question. The window above mine ... is that to the attic or to your new bedroom? Is the attic on the same level as your bedroom? Huh ... I am really curious to see this in person ...

I'm impressed you guys have already started decorating for Halloween. Some of my mission friends have already made suggestions what I should go as: a dead missionary (in missionary lingo a dead missionary is one that finished their mission). Originally I thought I was travelling during Halloween but it has recently come to my attention that I get home Halloween morning? (Actually about 7pm Halloween) I actually have no idea...nor does it matter. Unfortunately this topic comes up a lot because one of our zone leaders (we are in the same district) is dying as well. Members bring it up a lot. 

The work is going really well here. God has made a lot of miracles happen this week even though we haven't been in our area every day. Sister Candy got baptized!!!! Her getting interviewed and passing was a miracle in and of itself. We had scheduled the interview for Thursday morning thinking that there was enough buffer time before Sunday (the baptism). She lives with a member and that is her mode of transportation to the church. Unfortunately, the member had to go to work early Thursday and Friday ... and Saturday. The thing is that we needed to meet with Candy before Sunday. So what was the solution? We meet her Saturday at 7am. Haha. Soooo early. We had to wake up at 6 to get ready in time. Technically, we really shouldn't be leaving the house till like noon every day because of studies (we have extra studies because Sister Peck—my companion—is a new missionary). But whatever it takes to get them ready for baptism. Haha. :) 

We had a really cool investigator come to church yesterday. His name is Jackpot. He is sooooo cool! He has been wanting to change religions but was always kinda too scared to go to church. Luckily (or divinely) he met us two weeks while we were contacting. He is sooooo good! He has such great understanding.  He wants it. And you can tell he wants it because he reads the scriptures every day. He prays every day. He isn't ashamed about praying in front of his friends. He gets it. He is sooooo cool!!!!!!! =D He is on schedule to get baptized this next Sunday.

Oh. Yes I totally approve a dual open house. (Another missionary in our ward is coming home at about the same time as Sister Slaugh, and his family suggested we hold a dual open house for them.) I very much approve. Though I apologize in advance that I might not be much for parties ... I am planning on huddling under about 20 blankets because I will be so cold.

I am most excited about conference and Jackpot getting baptized.
I approve of Rachel’s cast colors. haha. I also approve that she is becoming left-handed. It's a good. :) 
YAY COCONUT WATER!!!!!! I literally drink it like all the time. I am so happy. 

So what is everyone going as for Halloween? 

Hm...I don't know what else there is. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sapansung Letter--September 29, 2014

First I would like to say I am very impressed with Rachel. (Our niece Rachel broke her arm last week.) I hope her cast is a pretty color. :) Which arm is it?

Second, from all your descriptions of the house, I'm excited to see it. It sounds very different. I am happy that my room is—according to mother—the same. 

Dear mother, when you say the weather is still warm … around what temperature is that? I am slightly worried because during my time as a missionary, I have become very prone to being cold—something I no longer like. My current companion gets warm very easily and I get cold very easily. It's kinda funny. :) 

What did you guys get at the Thai place? Lorri, are the Thai restaurants in New Jersey close to the real stuff?

Mom, I like the talk—really I do. I like how you talked about how we keep the commandments because we love God. I also like how you brought up the commandments given by modern revelation—like food storage. That's a cool thought. Especially how the Liahona (and Ensign I guess) talked about that this month—I wonder what God is trying to prepare us for. 

Thailand has been really good. Sapansung is probably one of the most developed wards here. Yesterday we had 167 people at church, which is the highest I have ever seen. Usually this area has between 120–150 people. Most areas are just trying to get to 100. So Sapansung is doing amazingly. 
Also yesterday, an adorable investigator named Awy got baptized. I think the sisters have been teaching her for about 3 or 4 weeks. She has a two-year-old son. She is soooo sweet and very quiet. 

This week has been an interesting one.
Recently the mission has been trying to become more balanced, more all-rounded. Growing pains but good ones I guess. :)
We are starting to ask for referrals more. We are trying to support more member-missionary work. The method? We ask every new member we teach to think of a friend or family member. We ask them to pray every day for that person’s heart to open and for them (the member) to have an opportunity to share the gospel. We also pray for those people. It's actually been a lot of fun and really cool. Sometimes inviting friends to learn with the missionaries is an intimidating idea so we start with praying. Praying isn't scary. And it unifies us more with the members. We are praying for them and for their friends. They know that we care. We aren't trying to find people to teach, we want to help them feel comfortable and to help their friends and loved ones. I like praying. 

So Sapansung has been an area leading the mission in a lot of things. This also means that this area was hit really hard when the contacting method came out. There are so many people here that know who we are and really don't want anything to do with us, and that's totally okay and up to them. Despite that, we are still meeting a lot of people. This past week we met with six people that have been thinking about changing religions but didn't know how. Four of them are friends and called us. All six are really cool: a 21-year-old boy, 15-year-old girl, and then the group of friends which consists of 17- to 18-year-old girls. Now the only issue is finding time for them to meet with us ... 

What else? 
Today we helped translate for the primary presidency meeting. It was really interesting. The handbook is a very very very good thing. :)
We also learned how to open a coconut. Meat cleavers. Very useful things. I love coconuts. I really love fresh coconuts. It's really quite delicious. Do we have access to coconut water in New Jersey? It's really tasty. 

What else? 
yeah I don't know. 
Being Sister Training Leader is fun. I really like following up with the sisters. They are really great. We don't follow up on numbers like district leaders do, we follow up on how the sisters are doing.  It's fun. I like getting to know them. We have our leadership meeting this week. That will be fun. 

I love you!!! =D

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sapansung Letter--September 22, 2014

Sister Slaugh's subject line was "Area Number 6."

Dear family,

I just watched a puppy and a kitten attempt to fight. The reason I say attempt: the puppy was inside the internet raan and the kitty was outside and there was a huge glass door between them. It was really cute and funny. I have a picture.

So, another transfer has gone by and I have been reminded of how much I dislike packing and unpacking. I am currently in Sapansung. I am still in the Bangkok East Zone. As a reminder, Bangkapi (first area), Srinakarin (second), and Bangna (the area I just left) are also in this zone. Actually, I have been in every area in this zone except for Samut Prakan and that area doesn't have sisters. Technically Srinakarin no longer has sisters as well but that happened a couple transfers after I left. I claim master of this zone. Haha. One of the zone leaders has been my zone leader for the past 5 months. By the time he and I end together, we will have served together/around each other for about 6-7 months. 

I have also been called as Sister Training Leader. So that means I take care of the other sisters in this zone—kinda like zone leaders do for district leaders. I’ve only been doing it for three days and I can already tell how much love and care is put into this work. I follow up with the Zone Leaders and Sister Senior about how the sisters are doing in the zone. "How are they? Are they happy? How can we help them?" It's really cool. I've been reading a lot about leadership in the missionary handbook lately. Christ-like leadership is really different from worldly leadership. It's really amazing to study. :) 

To Dad's comment about autumn: if it makes you feel any better, Thailand is going into the cold season soon. And by that we mean the not-so-hot season. :) The rainy season is ending now. Boy did it rain a lot. :)

Mom, yay seminary! Wait, the Krauses have moved back? Haha it’s like nothing changed. They left after me and came back before. :) What town are they living in now? Sarah Kramer has been keeping me updated on college life with Aza. How are the rest of the seminary people doing? Are Bradley and Owen in college yet? Or is this their senior year? That's sooooo weird. I feel old. How about Kenzie, Patty, Alex, Rob, Ali, Matthew, Chris, and everyone else? Faegan moved, right?

That's interesting about Mom and the phone. (In brief, Mom’s phone broke, so she got a new one.) The mission just got new phones too. Touch-screen. Not iPhone status but closer than anything else I’ve ever used. It's been taking some getting used to. 

Yay inviting people to church! I’ll be praying for you guys! :) Yay missionary work. :)

Dad, thanks for your talk. I really did like it. I like how you were able to tie it all together—Christ's life and commandments. I think being a missionary has really taught me a lot about the importance of commandments. I love teaching others about the commandments—they are soooo good! I love when we get to the promises and blessings. :)

Delsa, (question about which is more logical, Thai or English): Thai grammar is really simple so sometimes it gets confusing when someone tries to say a complex thought using Thai grammar (scripture reading is really hard sometimes). When it comes to vocabulary, Thai all the way. It makes soooooooo much sense. It's so simple. Happiness is a good heart. Sadness is a broken heart. A towel is a cloth that dries and wipes the body. Parents is dadmom. Repentance is turning your heart. Enduring to the end is enduring until you die (technically it is until you can no longer find your life or something like that. It makes sense in Thai). Thai vs Chinese: Thai you can sound out. But there are a ton more vowels in Thai than in English. 

It's been really interesting switching from a Thai companion to a farang (white) companion. I literally keep finding myself wanting to speak Thai with her and then having to stop myself and translate my thoughts in English. Literally my brain is sooo gone. I tried to write Thailand the other day and I wrote thainlad and thought nothing was wrong. My journal is hilarious to read because there are so many mistakes.

Fruits? There are these little gray-brownish ball things ... Haha I’ll take a picture. Mangos are out of season. So are mangkok ... however you spell that in English. The red fruit – ngong—is in season. It’s red with green spiky-looking (but fuzzy-feeling) stuff on it. Pictures. Will do.

Clothes? A lot of it is going to be left here—bike stains, sweat stains, pen stains, rips, etc. Favorite clothes to wear: I like wearing bright colors. Only short-sleeves. I prefer longer skirts (calf-length) because I can sit cross-legged. I’m not really tired of my clothes because I know I can't change them. Haha :) I already left the ones I didn't like anymore and picked up new ones from different sisters. 

Shoes are good. I haven’t used any of the shoes I brought on my mission except for the sneakers ... sorry Mom. 

Side note: Sapansung is not a biking area.

Yup ... I think that's everything ... I’ll give you more of an update on the area and investigators here once I figure it out ... so next week ... sorry :)

Love you all!!! =D

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bangna Letter--September 15, 2014

Well hello family. How is everyone doing? I really like the pictures of the 13 siblings plus spouses. (Dad and his siblings had a sibling-and-spouse reunion this past weekend.) It's great timing that you had the reunion around Grandma's birthday. What an amazing birthday gift for her. Yesterday we talked to our RCs about eternal families. It's sooo cool that we get to be a family forever. Such a huge blessing.

This week has been good. 
B. Earth was baptized yesterday. That in and of itself was a miracle. He did a lot of soul searching beforehand. But after he was baptized, he told me he felt so clean. He said that ever since he was a kid, he was scared of punishment. He never knew about forgiveness. He used to think that if he had already made a mistake in life, he was going to hell, and that there was no way to be clean again. If that was the case, he reasoned it was better to be bad all the way and do whatever he wanted because he was going to hell anyway. Then he learned about the Gospel, about Christ, about the Atonement, about God's love. He learned about repentance and forgiveness. He has never felt so clean before. He's like a little brother...or son. He's 17 so...little brother. :) He is sooo good. 

Mom, to answer your question about Julie's friend Yok—we met once but after that I haven't been able to get a hold of her. She wasn't answering the phone or talking to me on Facebook. So... yeah. She lives about an hour away from the church so that might have something to do with it. She has had some amazing experiences in the past though so I definitely know that in the future she will accept it. The question isn't "if?" but "when?". 

We are working a lot more with members now. Before, us missionaries were doing a lot on our own—the majority of our converts came from our own efforts. Recently we have received some training that said it shouldn't be that way—we need to work more with members to find people to teach. We must be balanced in all things. It's going well. 

Delsa, so when I go back to college, can Rachel teach me Chinese? haha :) But seriously. I think learning Thai has made me want to learn a lot of langages—French, Chinese, Russian (?), etc. 

I feel like I had things to talk about but I forgot. Oops. 

Transfers are this Thursday. We find out today or tomorrow if we are moving or staying. I have been here for 5 months so everyone thinks I am moving. I, frankly, am doing my best not to guess because I'm sure God will not tell me. There is literally no reason to guess because 1, I highly doubt God will tell me because I don't need to know, and 2, I can't reason what the answer is because sometimes God likes doing things that most people would think isn't reasonable. haha :)

One of our RCs is leaving for Japan tonight. It will be really really really weird not seeing him all the time like usual. 

what else?
Delsa asked what I'm studying about. This past week I've been studying a lot of B. Earth's questions. Today I studied two of Elder Holland's talks: The First Great Commandment (Oct 2012) and the one from this past conference (April 2014) about discipleship. I would really suggest reading these talks. They are REALLY good. :)
Also, carving fruit? nope. I eat a lot of fruit but no carving. Just eating. :)

Yeah. I got nothing else really. Um...
We are having a lot of fun. Sister Uttamakul and I are having a lot of fun together. Lots of craziness.