Monday, December 30, 2013

Chiang Mai Letter--December 30, 2013

Happy New Year's everyone!!! =D

So on Saturday night I got a very nice surprise. Two lovely packages :) THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! =D I'm currently wearing some of my new jewelry and have much enjoyed the candy. :)  My companion finally got hers as well :)

So this week has been kind of crazy and not necessarily in the best of ways. Normally I wouldn't tell any of the less than pleasant parts of the mission but if I didn't tell you about them this week, I wouldn't really have much to say. So before I go into more depth, I would like to say that I really don't know who is right and who is wrong in this situation. I feel really stuck in the middle of a situation I would have rather avoided (and could have probably avoided if I was on my own). So yeah, please don't judge. :)

The interesting thing about new transfers is learning to work with the new missionaries that join the district. The mission is also changing how we work. Every night every companionship answers 5 questions, 
1. Did you invite a child of God to repent and be baptized today?
2. Did you invite children of God to repent and be baptized for two hours today?
3. Did you pray for specific miracles?
4. Did you ask for referrals?
5. Were you exactly obedient?

President Senior has asked us to try our best to answer yes to all 5 questions every night. Honestly, it's not hard at all. But, different companionships struggle with different things. My current companion doesn't care all that much about obedience. Timeliness isn't all that super important to her. Because of other experiences in her past, obedience is kind of like a four letter word. Let's just say that the elders don't really appreciate when our answer to the last question is, more often than not, no. And my companion doesn't really appreciate them breathing down her neck. And then there's me caught in the middle. But I know I am supposed to be here. I love obedience but I am also very understanding. My companion has said that Heavenly Father has always given her very patient companions. She and I get along soooooooo well. It is always fun and we are super super super open with each other. If there is something that bugs us, we voice that concern. It is an excellent companionship. So yeah, know that. She and I get along so very very well, honestly. But our district isn't exactly unified right now. Our district leader has been getting on our case a lot about exact obedience. And then Friday night was just super awkward with the zone leaders. 

We were at a member's house with the zone leaders and it was getting close to when we had to leave. In all honesty, we two were in no rush to leave because my companion loves these members very very very very very very much and one of the members' time with us is running out. We also thought that a car (it's called a red car--it's kind of like a public taxi) was going to pick us up (because a car dropped us off and that is usually how spending time with members works) so we weren't freaking out. Well, it turns out that there was no car coming but a member was going to take us missionaries home.  The elders were kind of freaking out about the time and I tried to calm them down by saying that yes, we wouldn't make it home by 9 (our curfew) but we would make it home by 9:30 (our curfew if we are teaching a lesson). One of the elders responded (kind of rudely) that this wasn't a lesson. I responded kind of sarcastically (but also kind of truthfully) and told him to start teaching. I realized while I was saying that, that that wasn't a smart idea. So I know me saying that was wrong. But then the elder kind of yelled at me. Well I guess it wasn't yelling, it was more like scolding in a mean way. He told me that I was wrong and to never take that attitude towards obedience ever again. By this time the member came up with the car. Problem: she has only been a member for two months and so doesn't really know all the missionary rules. She didn't realize that the elders need a responsible priesthood-holder with them. Situation: a small car that technically has 5 seats (but that's kind of too cozy) and 6 people that have to go. The elders weren't offering any solutions so my companion and I came up with one. The member would take the elders home and we would find another way home. The elders got in the car. That's the thing that really bugged me. Scolding me, fine. I shouldn't have said that. But elders taking the car home so they wouldn't break the rules while the sisters had to figure out another way to get home and break the rules bugged me so much. The member agreed to take the elders but the other members that were with us weren't very happy with the elders. They were exactly obedient, but at what cost? 

So yeah. But this is why I think it is important for me to be here. I am able to help my companion want to keep the rules. The elders' actions have made her want to keep the rules even less. I guess I make the rules less binding and evil. The elders are trying to chain us to the rules. They judge us based on the rules and against other missionaries. That literally is the worse feeling I have ever felt. I'm able to help my companion not hate obedience. The rules help us and are not binding chains. Every morning we are supposed to wake up at 6:30 sharp. I do. I have three options when it comes to my companion:
1. Let her wake up when she wants to (which is what I was doing for a while)
2. Turn on the light so that she can't sleep (a terrible idea because then we would have no companionship unity)
3. Talk to her in the morning so that she can't fall back asleep but we still have a good relationship (this is what I have been doing for the past couple days)
So even though this situation is really between her and the elders (and I guess me because we come as a packaged deal), I can play a part. So yeah. But the story isn't done yet. 

Saturday and Sunday we were exactly obedient. We had a lot of fun and were much happier than we had been for a while. Why? Because we also avoided the church building and the other missionaries. There have been other things that have happened that would take too long to tell you about. But whenever I am near any of the elders I feel super judged. I don't feel like they care or are trying to help us. I literally feel like dirt when I am near them. So my companion and I have avoided the church building (except when we have an appointment or church on Sunday) and just been outside working. 

So yeah, I feel like this situation is already starting to improve. The more obedient we are, the less often the elders can get on our case. The more we avoid the church building and them, the less we have to interact with the elders. I figure as we just give the situation some air, it will resolve itself and we can go back to working well with each other. But yeah, I feel like both parties are at fault. We need to work harder at obedience. The elders need to learn how to be loving and caring leaders who help those they work with and not just slave drivers that judge you. :) Okay, that was exaggerated. And they are still just boys too - 20 or 21 years of age. This is probably one of the biggest leadership positions they have ever been in. They have a lot of pressure on them to help those they work with. But still, they are doing it wrong. :) My last district leader once corrected me on something but he was super nice about it. I actually wanted to do better after that! These elders need to learn how to do that too. 

So yeah, the silver linings of the situation (because every situation, no matter how bad, has some silver linings) are:
  • my companion and I are so much closer because we have had to lean on each other
  • we are out working more
  • I know how to be a better leader in the future
  • I can relate to less actives more. I know how it feels to be offended by someone at church. I understand now. Beforehand the church is a house of love but now it just feels like a house of judgement and scolding. I understand how it feels to be judged and looked down upon by people that were supposed to help you. I understand. Yesterday I honestly didn't want to go to church. I didn't want to see the Elders. But obviously I went anyway because I'm better than that, it's church - you have to go, and church isn't about the people but about renewing your covenants and worshiping God. So yeah. Now I can help less actives more because I understand now. This is excellent because my companion and I want to work with less actives a lot this transfer. 
  • I have figured out more of who God is to me. He loves us very very very much. More than we can know. He doesn't judge us like humans do. He wants us to improve and he wants us to obey. He is sad when we don't but He never stops loving us. He corrects us lovingly. He helps us. He only wants what is best for us. 
So yeah. Don't be angry. I'm fine. I fell down but I'm getting back up again. I'm good. My companion and I are good. We have a lot of really cool plans for this transfer. We are excited to see a lot of miracles and a lot of growth. We have a plan to improve the relationship with the elders (work hard, answer yes to all 5 questions, and avoid them until it's no longer uncomfortable to be near them). Some amazing things are about to happen in Chiang Mai, we know it. It is amazing how right now, my companion and I can just work. Neither of us are training. Neither of us are new to the area. We can just work and we are so excited. :) 

So yeah. Um...that's has basically been my life this past week with normal working thrown in too. The work is moving forward faster than it ever has before. :)

I actually don't know what else to tell you because that has been such a big thing this week. I know God loves us. Very much. I have seen many miracles throughout my mission - some big and some small. God has given us a lot of tender mercies this past week, every day. He is ever mindful of us. We know what we are going through but, like the waves and wind that pushed the Jaredite barges to the promised land (I read about that this morning), He knows our trials will bring us higher and make us stronger. I felt so much peace after I realized that the situation with the elders will help me relate to less actives better. 

So yeah. Wow I say that phrase a lot. Sorry. Um...Yeah...that's all I got for right now. 

I LOVE YOU ALL VERY VERY MUCH!!! =D we (we two and the other two sisters) might be going to the zoo today. Not positive yet. But today will be fun. :) 

~a very peaceful Sister Slaugh

PS: Funny moment from Tuesday English class. The pronunciation section was about F and V. My companion and I were discussing what homework to give. I suggested that we have them watch a youtube video, anyone, and write down at least 5 V and F-words that they hear. And then I realized what I said and quickly rephrased my idea. 

And then...during class... we were discussing the word on and it's different uses. I couldn't figure out a lot of examples so if I could think of one, I said it. Sometimes I didn't think first: "Put your clothes on" yup. That was awkward. Luckily there weren't a lot of people that week (like 2 in our class) and they were both members. But yeah...


PPS: (In answer to Barbie's question regarding Thai New Year's traditions) I actually don't know if there are any traditions. Here in Chiang Mai are a lot of farangs so we are expecting a lot of people drinking that night. So we are returning home early that night =D

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chiang Mai Letter--December 16, 2013

I feel like my subject lines (this one was "is December seriously halfway done?") are usually me shocked at the calendar date. But seriously, where did December go? And November and October and September?
So first things first: Christmas! P-day next week will not be on Monday like usual but will be on Wednesday (aka the 25th). So...skyping. I'll leave that to you family members to figure out what time you want to skype. I can do it as early at 8 or 9am (Thailand time) or can do it later too. Whatever you would like. My only request is that someone make me a skype login because I forgot mine. Haha oops :) Yay this will be fun! =D
...I just realized I have no way of getting in touch with you before the 25th's just say I'll get on the computer around 9 or 10am. Wow that's not specific. Um... I'll try to get on as earlier as I can. Yeah, that'll work. :)
This past week as been really interesting. My companion has been sick so we haven't been able to go inviting for the entire week (expect for one hour on Wednesday). Instead, the Lord has given us appointments during those hours. There was one day when an investigator and an less active called us to schedule appointments - that's sooooooooooo rare! And that happened another day as well. We just couldn't go out contacting but we had the desire to do God's work and so He provided a way. He can and will take whatsoever we can give Him and He will make miracles happen. AndSunday! Sunday was soooooo amazing! We had so many investigators at church that we were not planning on. Investigators brought friends, members invited former investigators, and another former investigator just randomly showed up and said she wanted to learn. What. None of that had anything to do with us. God just loves making miracles happen when we have the faith and the desire for them to happen.
And then Sunday night was super cool too! Sundays are always super long days and by the end we just want to go home because we are exhausted. And this Sunday we had choir for 3 long long hours. But at 8 we had an appointment with a member that has been really struggling. His name is Tu and is 21 years old. We love him to death. He has great church attendance because of his calling (secretary and choir director) but he has told us many times that when it comes to scripture reading or praying, he just doesn't. He hasn't read the scriptures in almost a year. So we made this appointment with him but he kept on trying to convince us to cancel - it's so late, you're tired, it's not worth it, etc. But we kept at it. We basically had a little testimony meeting of us, him, and four other members that are his friends. It was sooooo cool! Our original plan was just to read together to help him get started but before we could start, he asked me if I knew the Book of Mormon was true and if I did, how. I gave my answer but I didn't feel like I could really express myself like I would like to. Then we all went around the room, sharing how everyone knew the Book of Mormon was true. When it got to him, he said he didn't. He wasn't even sure that he believed it was true. He told us a lot of other things too. He never reads and hardly prays. He doesn't feel anything. He is always stressed and doesn't have any motivation to read. At the core of the issue, the 6 friends that introduced him to this gospel and helped him when he first became a member have all fallen away. They want nothing to do with the church. That hurt him soooo much.
And it was at that point that the Spirit really kicked in, at least that's when I felt it really strongly. In 1 Nephi 7:15, Nephi says that the Spirit constrained him to speak unto his brothers. I now think I understand what Nephi was saying. The words I was saying weren't mine. The experiences and the belief was but the words and power that accompanied them were not. There was a point where I was kinda scared that I was being too bold but, like Nephi, I felt constrained to speak. Oh my goodness, family, I can't even explain it. It is so amazing! To feel the Spirit work through you is so utterly amazing. The Spirit was so strong when all three of us (my companions and I) were bearing powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the Plan of Salvation. We opened our mouths and the Lord was able to make miracles happen through three sisters, young in age and young in experience. My trainer told me that she loves calling people to repentance and now I totally understand her. Not repentance like "You're a sinner. Repent or go to he..." but repentance like "Come unto Christ and become perfected in Him. Draw closer to the Savior and partake of His love." Things like that. Like bearing powerful testimony to Brother Tu about the power of the Book of Mormon and inviting him to start anew and feast upon its pages. He called us this morning thanking us. He said he's going to start reading again. He said last night really helped. Yeah power of the Holy Ghost!! =D I love being a missionary soooooo much!
So I guess I should kinda explain what's going to happen this week in my life.
Today we are going to a 3D art museum with one of our beloved members (she is basically our mom in Chiang Mai). Hopefully we are also going to be told whether we are moving or not.
Tomorrow is going to interesting. We have our final two presentations to the college students so that will last from 8am-1pm. And then we have to practice our skit for the branch Christmas party (it's about the legend of Santa Claus). And somewhere in there will be lunch...we think. And then probably packing because one of us is probably moving (my two companions have both been together for the last two transfers so there definitely going to be some kind of change). And then there is a branch Christmas party at 6 or 7. And then that night we have to leave for Bangkok. Wednesday: Transfer meeting. We will get into Bangkok that morning. Then have transfers. And then go back to Chiang Mai. Yay long bus rides... but hey, I should be getting a new companion! :)
Thursday: Get back to Chiang Mai in the really early morning and sleep. That night we have the District Christmas party (at 7) and we are singing in the choir.
Friday: The District Christmas party is two days long so we are doing that again.
Saturday: working. But President Senior is also coming up and our zone is having a little Christmas party with him and Sister Senior.
Sunday: same as Saturday. Sister Rii and her daughter are getting baptized!!!! =D
Monday: a normal work day...we think.
Tuesday (Christmas Eve): still have English class
Wednesday: P-day and talking to you guys :) A member invited us over for Christmas dinner so we probably will do that.
And that will be my life until I next talk to you.
Sister Abigail Lee Slaugh
Thailand Bangkok Mission
1645/6 New Phetchburi Road
Makkasan, Ratchathewi
Bangkok 10400

Chiang Mai Picture--December 9, 2013

Sister Slaugh says, "us and Sister Rii"

Chiang Mai Letter--December 9, 2013

If you are curious about the subject line (which was "Mormon girls ... how ridiculous"), that's what a farang said to us this week while inviting. What made it funnier was that he was British with crooked teeth and nose. It was just really funny.
So this week. I felt like it went by super quickly. Everyone keeps on reminding me that this is my last week as a teenager. I refuse to admit it. It's not happening :)
I feel like there really isn't much to tell about this week. Just a normal week in missionary life. what are the highlights?
We are teaching this absolutely amazing fantastic investigator. Her name is Sister Rii. She is literally so amazing. The Elders found her contacting but she wasn't in their area so they gave her to me (technically us but it's my area). She literally is so prepared by God. We asked her what she thought faith was. "I think it is believing in something that you can't really see but is true." Well hello there Alma. Nice to meet you. :) She woke up at 5am once to read the Book of Mormon. She's already done with 1 Ne. We asked her if she believed it was true. She said she knew it was more than true. She couldn't describe it. When we taught her about keeping the Sabbath day holy, she immediately said that she had faith that God would help her find a way to keep that commandment. She is so absolutely amazing in every way. Her 10 year-old wants to get baptized too. Oh my goodness family, Sister Rii is sooo amazing.
It is so evident to me that God is really hastening His work. The people He is bringing into His church right now in Thailand are so prepared and so amazing. They will not be passive members. On Saturday, Benz and Joy got baptized (the Elders were teaching them). Benz is my age and really wants to be a missionary. Last month, Ford (investigator of the other sisters) got baptized. He is 16 but really wants to help teach and really wants to be a missionary too. Same with R, another investigator that got baptized this month. All over Thailand, God is leading His children to the church. He is bringing the people that will help His church grow the best. It is sooooooo cool! It's such a blessing to be a part of this work. So amazing in every way.
On Thursday, we three sisters translated for a young single adult activity (district-wide). It was fun but kinda weird. Most of the YSA (there is about 20 of them) can understand English pretty well. They were helping us translate for them. The awkward part was the topic matter: table and eating etiquette, dancing, and being a gentlemen. I can teach about the restoration, the great apostasy, the plan of salvation, faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end, priesthood, temple marriage, and all that other good stuff. But really? They ask us to translate about table etiquette. I wish we had taken a picture. The three of us were sitting down at a table with a couple dictionaries in front of us trying to translate as best as we could. It was a lot like charades. It was really fun and really good. I love those people so much. They are a lot of fun. else...
Transfers is the 19th. The District Christmas party is the 19th and 20th (yes two days. We party hard here in Thailand). We may make it back for the 20th. It's just really hard because everyone was counting on us missionaries being there to help with the choir. But... I really really want to get my new companion. I love Sister Ng and Norrell soooo much and I love their branch but I am excited to be able to just care for my branch again. Taking care for two branches is a lot of work and I feel like I could do a better job if I only had one branch again. :)
Um... a couple of weeks ago Sister Senior (President's wife) gave us some more bike safety stuff. We now have reflective vests to wear at night. Yeah...they're kinda awkward but at least we're safe, right? :) The funny thing is that someone once ran up to us thinking that we were the police. I felt really bad for that lady because she needed the police and we weren't them but it was slightly comical that she thought we were the police.
So to answer Delsa's question about how the Thai people celebrate Christmas. There are some decorations out but not a lot. Kinda like early November in the states when some stores start bring out decorations too early. Members celebrate Christmas by having branch and district parties. I don't think people really do the whole tree thing. Thai people kinda celebrate it because it's a farang holiday about presents. Very few people here understand that Christmas is a religious holiday celebrating the birth of the Savior of the world.
I'm sorry about the snow. I know you guys said I couldn't talk about the weather in Thailand during winter time but I'm going to break that rule. It's actually been pretty cold here in the mornings. I need a sweater otherwise my arms are cold. It obviously isn't as cold as in the states and it probably isn't even that cold because I just got used to Thai weather but still. It's colder than usual. So I kinda feel your pain. I'm drinking hot chocolate some times :) Well I guess warm chocolate milk because I don't like it too hot.
personal study has been in Alma about all the missionary stories. It's super cool because I can relate to the missionaries and I understand where they are coming from. :)
um...yeah... sorry. There isn't much else to report. I LOVE YOU ALL SO VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY MUCH!!!!!! =D
~Sister Slaugh

Chiang Mai Letter--December 2, 2013

Hey Family!

Sorry this letter is late (not that it makes much of a difference for you folks). A nearby college is doing a sort of "World Religions" class and so students are going to different churches to learn about them. They chose our church to be the representative of the Christian religion. There will be 6 sessions - each about 2.5 hours long - over a period of 4 non-consecutive days. The hour and half (ish) is just us giving a presentation. The rest of the time is the students asking questions. It's actually pretty cool. We had two sessions this morning. The presentation covers the plan of salvation, prophets prophesying about Christ, Christ's birth, life, and ministry, the Atonement, the great apostasy (and dark ages), and then the Restoration up to the Saints arriving in Utah. It also covers the organizations in the church and stuff like that. It's a really good presentation which gives an overview of our beliefs. And the questions so far from the students have been really good ones. Well, usually. Some of the students didn't care much but other ones were really interested. There are about 42 students for each session.

So this week...well...this week was weird. Monday was mission tour. Tuesday was P-day and English class. Wednesday was normal. Thursday was Thanksgiving! We went to a farang member's house and it was sooooo good. Think traditional Thanksgiving dinner - turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, bread, banana bread, pie, cranberry sauce, stuffing. It was all sooooo good. We all were so stuffed afterwards it was hard to move. Soooo good!

Friday was pretty normal too. The Jehovah Witnesses never showed up. One had to go look for an apartment to live in and the other was in the hospital for something. This means we probably will never have to met with them - they don't have our number and we aren't planning on calling them to reschedule. I am very grateful we didn't meet with them.

Inviting on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday was hard for all three of us. It was hard to get motivated. Hard to keep on inviting after rejection after rejection and people laughing. But oh well. We kept on doing it. Saturday was soooo good though. It was kinda like God was testing our resolve and obedience Wed-Fri, but on Saturday He just threw out lots of blessings. It was really good. We met some really cool people. The only downside to Friday was visiting a less active who is slightly crazy and we don't know how she got baptized in the first place. She claims she has already taken her records out of the church. The reason I say that she only claims that she's done this is because I don't think she ever called the Branch President in order to take them out. She has only said that she's taken them out. All the same, it's so hard visiting her. There is just not a good spirit at her house.

Saturday night the Elders had a baptism. His name is R and he is just a good guy. Oh my goodness he is so awesome and amazing.

Sunday was really good. We have some really cool new investigators. They are really interested and really willing to keep the commandments. They are a mom and her 10 year-old daughter. The mom is sooo cute and so fantastic. And the daughter asked us how long she has to learn before she can become a missionary. And Sunday was the first day we met the daughter. Soooo cute.

I have no idea what is going on for Christmas. Apparently transfers might change from the 19th to being closer or after Christmas but I really don't know. I will let you know as soon as I know. I'm assuming we'll still be skyping on Christmas but I don't actually know for sure. :)

I don't know if there is really much else to report. Every month President Senior sends out a newsletter and in this one he told us that there were 109 baptisms and 69 reactivation in Thailand in November. He says that that is the size of one ward! The work is progressing, faster and faster. This new contacting method is making it go even faster. It is sooo exciting! It is soo amazing to be a part of this work.

I love you all sooo very much and my prayers are with you. Please be safe and never lose hope. As Preach My Gospel says, all that is unfair in this life can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. He is our Lord and Savior and our older brother. He and Heavenly Father love us very much and are very mindful of us. More times than not, we don't understand why we have certain trials. That's when one of my favorite verses comes in: "I know that He loveth His children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things" (1 Nephi 11:17)

Run the good race and finish the course. Fight the good fight and keep the faith. I love you all sooooo very much!

Sister Slaugh :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Chiang Mai Letter--November 26, 2013

Hello dear family! What's up? Life has been good here in Thailand, really really fun. That's sad to hear about the protests in Bangkok. That's the reason, a couple of months ago, President Senior told us all to have 72 hour kits--in case there was a protest nearby and we couldn't leave our house. 

The mission has been good. Being in a trio is literally so much fun. It was somewhat odd at first and we all had to get adjusted but now it is just fantastic. We laugh all. the. time. We break out into song all the time. We sing a lot of disney songs and often change the lyrics to fit what we are doing. It is so much fun. I love Sister Ng and Sister Norrell so much. It's fun because Sister Ng is the group ahead of me in the MTC and I am the group ahead of Sister Norrell. Teaching is a lot of fun too. We all have different teaching methods but they all fit together so nicely. 

Last Monday we tried going to a parade but it literally poured. We got soooo soaked and we had to run home in the rain. It was soooo much fun! I love rain storms. The native Thais were kinda freaking out because they don't like the rain that much (they get sick easily). They thought it was funny how much fun we were having though. Afterwards we went to 7-11,  bought chocolate milk, went home, and had hot chocolate. It was great. 

Tuesday. We were kinda sick that morning but not too badly. We felt a lot better towards the end of the day. English class was normal. The Ure's are in charge of the English program for Thailand which is cool. Because I'm Chiang Mai's English leader, Sister Ure talks to me a lot about how to improve it and we just talk about the program. It's really great. She used to be a teacher or principal or some kind of educator. It's really helpful. 

Wednesday. Normalish day. We had a lot of appointments set up (due to this new inviting method) but no one showed up. That was kinda hard. Luckily, there is a lot of organization we can do at the church while we wait. In the missionary room, there are tons of binders of member records with little to no organization. We've been going through them with members while we wait for appointments. It's great but I wish the appointments didn't always fall through. Usually appointments are pretty good and don't fall through but this past week. Wow. We were able to visit and get to know a lot of members though which was great. It's super important to search for the 1 but you can't forget the 99. This upcoming week will be more focused on the 1 though. It should be good. 

Thursday. Ummm... honestly don't really remember much. Just another day. Every Thursday we plan for the upcoming week. 

Friday. Friday was interesting. We went to visit Sister Iit (the one baptized in the beginning of November). We usually can just drop in at work because she cuts hair and a lot of time she is just waiting for the next costumer. When we stopped on Friday, she was currently doing someone's hair. The costumer (native Thai)'s friend (farang) was sitting on the coach. We decided to sit down too and just wait for a bit. The friend looked at us and asked if we were Mormon. We were slightly surprised that she recognized that we were Mormon from our badges but it wasn't out of the ordinary. She told us that she was a Jehovah's Witness. I was the main person talking to her so the conversation was always very respectful and polite but still kinda awkward. She asked how the ministry was going and how we learned Thai so quickly. She was really friendly and was honestly just curious. She asked us to clarify what we believed because she didn't know. When we started to explain, Sister Lit finished up the native Thai's hair so the native Thai (Nii) joined in the conversation too (so I never had time to explain). Nii is in her early 30s and the farang in her late 20s. They have apparently known Iit for about a year. Nii was definitely more aggressive of the two. She was talking about the Bible a lot and was asking questions why they are so many churches and all that. She wants to meet with us this upcoming Friday at 2 at Sister Lit's to discuss why there are so many churches. She told us to make sure we brought our Bibles. She understands the Great Apostasy really well (she was telling us about it) but the entire time she was talking, she seemed slightly hostile. Her motivation wasn't simply curiosity. I'm kinda scared to meet with them but I think we will. But before we talk about anything we are going to clarify our purpose. We aren't here to fight. We aren't here to Bible bash. We are here out of politeness and to explain where our church came from. We are going to be very respectful and polite. If we feel like they are just there to Bible bash, we will stop the conversation. At the end of that conversation (when we set up the appointment) there was a somewhat awkward pause, almost as if they were waiting for us to leave. We were not leaving Sister Iit's place before them. After a little, they gave Sister Iit a pamphlet and left. Now this is why I love Sister Iit. Afterwards we and Sister Iit talked about any of her questions from the Book of Mormon or anything else. She had some really good questions. She reads the scriptures every day. She really thinks and ponders about what she reads. She told us that she's read the pamphlets of the other churches. She says that they have a lot of truth but they aren't complete. She said that they were nice but she never felt the Spirit reading them. Sister Iit is so strong and so good. She has such a strong testimony. 

Saturday.  I think we had choir practice. Yay Christmas songs. Only probably, the Christmas party here (it's two days long) will be when the missionaries are in Bangkok. We told the choir director and he still wants us to come to practice. I think he is going to see if we can change the date of the Christmas party. 

Sunday. I was at church for 12 hours. Branch 2 starts at 9am and goes till noon. Branch 1 (my branch) starts at 1 and goes till 4. Then afterwards we all eat together and then have meetings. And appointments. And meetings. We were at church from 8:30am till 8:30pm. I was sooo tired by the end of it. I love church but 12 hours? That's a lot. 

Monday was amazing. We had Mission Tour. President and Sister Senior came up to talk to all the missionaries in the North. Elder and Sister Wilson from the Asia Area Presidency came too. It was from 9-5. It was soooooo good. I learned a lot and learned a lot about how to help investigators. It was all about the Book of Mormon. They told us to read more with the investigators from the Book of Mormon. That seems so simple and so obvious but we don't do it that much. They want us to spend a lesson just reading a chapter with them or stuff that like. Help them understand the scriptures and love the scriptures. That's where a testimony comes from - the scriptures. It was soooooo good! The Book of Mormon is literally sooo important. This book is the keystone of our religion. If it is false, everything else in our religion is false. But if it is true, and it is, then everything else is true too. Because it is true, we have prophets today leading this church. We have the restored and complete gospel of Christ. We have the priesthood, the power and authority of God. Everything comes from that little 531 page book. But a testimony doesn't come instantly. It comes from a daily study from its pages. As an apostle or prophet once said, there is a literal power that comes from its pages. That power will accompany us and help us. Elder Wilson shared a story of a stake president and a member of the Seventy [Elder S Dilworth Young] (I think the story is from conference). [Elder Boyd K Packer, "The Key to Spiritual Protection," October 2013 Saturday afternoon session] The stake president was asking the Seventy for advice because the stake was really struggling. The Seventy's response was to tell them to read the scriptures. It didn't matter which scripture. Just read them daily. The stake improved. The Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God. It is ancient writ and was written for our day. Every verse has application in our lives. The writers kept on saying there wasn't a lot of space on the plates so what was recorded must have been of absolute great importance. The church has before been under condemnation because they took the Book of Mormon for granted. We need to study it. We need to read it every day. We need to know it and love it. It is what defines us from other churches or religions. Everything depends on that book. Investigators need to put forth the effort and read the Book. Members, young and elderly, new and old, need to study from the Book of Mormon. Mission Tour was very inspiring and amazing. I love the Book of Mormon soooooo much and I absolutely know, without a shadow of a doubt, it is true. Every single word of it is true. 

Well, that's about it from my week. 
Delsa reminded me that my birthday is coming up. I'm turning 20. This is so weird. I know everyone reading this will scoff at me but I feel so old. I'm turning 20. 20. 20! I'm leaving my teens. I think I'm kinda having a one-fourth-life crisis right now. Haha but seriously. I'm almost 20. And Dec is my 6th month in country. That means I will have been on my mission 8 months. Dude that's scary. I'm already more than a 1/3 done. Where did the time go? It really feels like sand slipping through my fingers and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Wow. Okay. I'm good now. Still kinda freaked out but that's okay. Still got a good while here. 20's not too bad either. I'm one of the youngest sisters in the mission (age wise) so just barely turning 20 is still really young (as my companions like to remind me). 

I love you all very much and hope you have a fantastic week and Thanksgiving! A farang member from Branch 2 invited all us missionaries (in Chiang Mai) over Thursday night. It'll be lots of fun. :)

~Sister Slaugh

Chiang Mai Pictures--November 18, 2013

These are the candles they apparently made and then released. Very pretty, I think.

Sister Slaugh's candle

the companionship of three

The next are the many, many pictures that Sister Slaugh took of the lantern festival. Judging by the number of pictures, she adores this festival and wants to do it over and over.

Do not be deceived. These are not stars. They are instead the many lanterns in the sky. I think.

Pictures of Sister Slaugh and her companions. I have no idea which is which.

Chiang Mai Letter--November 18, 2013

So you all remember the lantern festival from Tangled, right? Well, I figured out where the film writers got the idea from. Every year around this time, Thailand has a lantern festival. Luckily, the best place to partake of this festival is in Chiang Mai where I am. It's sooooo amazing. I'll attach pictures. It lasts for about three [hours]. Just think Tangled. We released lanterns into the sky and then released candles onto a moat (it was supposed to be a river but we aren't really allowed to go to those). The members had to light the candles and the lanterns for us because we aren't allowed to. I think they were really amused by how excited we were by this festival. They do it every year. It was so amazing. 

What else happened this week? The mountain last Monday was really cool. It's the tallest mountain in Thailand. When the clouds cleared, the view was absolutely breathtaking. Afterwards our driver (a member) wanted to go to a waterfall and took us along. The Elders were able to go closer down to the waterfall but there are just some things you can't do in a skirt. Oh well. 

Tuesday was good. They are changing the English program in Thailand again. It hasn't been changed since Lorri worked on it so I guess it's high time it gets revised again. 

Sister Zatarain left Wednesday for Bangkok. I, oddly enough, did not go down with her. When we were asking President what day he wanted us to come down, he said that she could come down by herself. If I went down as well, the other two sisters would have to as well so that I could have a companion coming up. It was really sad seeing her go. I'm definitely going to miss her a lot.

So currently I am in a trio (again) with Sister Ng and Sister Norrell. Sister Ng was in the group before me in the MTC and Sister Norrell was in the group after me. It's interesting adjusting back to being in a trio. We get to take care of both branches which is interesting. It's a lot of work though because we have twice as many people to take care of. Two companionships are better than one but you can do more in a trio than you could do with just two. Yay for splits. This also means that I attended church for 6 hours yesterday. It will be this way until transfer meeting in mid December (around the 18th or 19th). 

This week we were also taught of a new inviting method that we need to adopt. Let's just say that I am really grateful that President Senior receives revelation for this mission. We are focusing on finding those that are already ready for baptism. The church in Thailand needs to grow larger and faster in order for a temple to be announced next October. We need 4 Stakes (meaning more members), more Melchizedek Priesthood holders, and more full tithing payers. We have goals in order to work on all three of these aspects. We are supposed to review tithing with every member. We are supposed to work with Aaronic Priesthood holders that are old enough to get the Melchizedek and help them get there. And now for more members, we have a new inviting method. We ask everyone to repent and be baptized. We do that for two hours everyday. We ask people if they want to be baptized and be cleansed from sin. If they say no, the conversation ends and we move on. This is such an amazing method. There is an urgency to this work that this method captures. If people aren't interested, we don't take up any more of their time telling them why this church is the true church or anything like that. More importantly, we don't waste our time talking to people that aren't interested. In the scriptures (like D&C 4), we are told that we are called to the harvest. We are called to harvest, not plant seeds. God has prepared His people to receive this gospel. This is evident in how many people walk into the church to learn. 

Sister Dang is one such member. She walked into the church one Sunday and has been a member for about 4 months now. She is one of the strongest members of this branch. This work is truly hastening and the time to work is now. It is such a blessing to be on a mission in Thailand right now. It is sooo amazing truly seeing this work hasten and seeing people rise up to the call. I love how you said that our Stake's theme is about hastening the work too. There is literally so much members can do to help. Missionaries physically cannot do this alone. Members provide a support system for investigators, recent converts, and other members. They also are "examples of the believers." There are too many people in this world for missionaries to find all of them. Members are missionaries via their examples and willingness to share the gospel with friends and family. In some of Sarah K's emails to me, she has been telling me about some of her missionary experiences with friends. It's soooo cool to read about! Also, Barbie with Chris. 

When members are willing to live the gospel, God can use that to help His other children find the truth. And it may take years of being an example before anyone else becomes interested in the gospel but it opens pathways for God to do His work. One of my favorite members has been a member for about three months. Her son was a member for about 10-15 years but she was never really interested. During all those years he just kept on living the gospel and being the best example he could. He was not afraid to answer her questions about the gospel. One random day she told him that she wanted to learn with the missionaries. 10 years of being an example and now she is such a strong member. It's sooo cool seeing this work progress. So thank you all for being examples of the believers. :) 

Other than that, I don't have much to report. Life here is great. It's weird reading that you all are raking leaves because I feel like nothing really changes much here in Thailand. Technically we are in Thailand's colder season too. I think it really should be called Thailand's less hot season. The seasons of Thailand: rainy, less hot, and really hot. I think really hot is around April or May...

Um...what else? Did you know that you can cook pasta in the microwave? The things you learn as a missionary without a pot to boil water or an oven. Chicken on our hot pan thing and pasta in the microwave. A great Sunday dinner. :) Lately breakfast has been scrambled eggs, oatmeal, and strawberries (a member gave them to us). Lunch and dinner is usually when we are out and about. 
Hm... is there anything else you all are curious about? I keep on forgetting to take a picture of our showers for Delsa. 

I probably won't get any packages until someone goes down to Bangkok or till December but I did get some really cute drawings from Wendy Woll the other day. :) Sister Woll said she was due the 11th and from your letter last week, I guess the baby came right on time. Does he have a name yet? 

Random fun comment: a couple of days ago we called one of our members Peter Pan because he reminds us of him. He really liked that nickname so we have all taken on characters from Peter Pan. Sister Norrell is Tinkerbell. Sister Ng is the Crocodile. I am Captain Hook. I'm good with this. I like pirates. :)

~Sister Slaugh

Chiang Mai Pictures--November 10, 2013

Sister Slaugh writes, "this is our investigator Sister Goy who got baptized last Saturday. She loves Elder and Sister Ure."

 "My companion and I were trying to visit a less active [member] but he wasn't home. We wandered around waiting for him to call us back and we found a huge field."

"This is Sister Zatarain"

All of the following pictures are from a Buddhist temple Sister Slaugh and Sister Zatarain visited and played tourist at.

 "There were these random Buddhist signs there too"

 "The monks are fake"


Friday, November 22, 2013

Chiang Mai Letter--November 10, 2013

I'm not really sure what happened this week. 
On Wednesday we went biking for about 4 hours. The first 1.5 hours was to and from a less active's house. The rest of the time was spent trying to find an investigator's house. Addresses here are absolutely terrible. They are absolutely sooo hard to find. We still never found the investigator. On the bright side, Sister Zatarain and I have more impressive tans now. The watch tan is coming back. 

On Tuesday was Showcase. We made it Thanksgiving theme. Sister Zatarain and I wrote the Thanksgiving story (we may have made up part of it...oops) and the Elders acted it out while we read it. Then everyone made hand turkeys and talked about what they were grateful for. And then we watched a Mormon Message on gratitude. It was fun. 

Monday we had nothing to do for p-day so we went to the Buddhist temple. It's super pretty but I felt absolutely nothing there. It's such a testimony to me about the power of the Holy Ghost. Our temples may not be as decorative but at least I always feel something there. The Buddhist temples are super pretty though and fun to go visit.

Our favorite way to go contacting in Chiang Mai is to go to parks. There may not always be a lot of people but the people that are there aren't in a rush and are okay with talking to us. We've met a lot of families there and one family actually came to church yesterday! We met them about 3 weeks ago but they were never free. They're a cute little family. 

Oh, dear family, I have a problem. I am oh so very directionally challenged. Sister Z is having me lead more to make sure that I know where I'm going and I keep on getting lost. Oops. That's okay. The Lord will bless me, right? Haha. :)

Well, time is almost up. It was really fun talking to you!! =D [note from Linden:  Abbie had her computer time early Monday morning (her time), the same time that we were writing to her (Sunday night our time). Therefore we had a brief back-and-forth email conversation in real time.  A new senior couple, Elder and Sister Ure, just arrived in Chang Mai.  They are the parents of our stake president, John Ure.]

Love you all! =D
~Sister Slaugh

Chiang Mai Pictures--November 4, 2013

The only thing Sister Slaugh said to go with these pictures is a silly joke. Specifically, "why was the ocean friendly? It waved!" I don't know ... maybe it's funnier in Thai?
Anyway, I'm pretty sure these are the pictures from the baptism Sister Slaugh mentioned in the accompanying letter.

Chiang Mai Letter--November 4, 2013

Is it seriously November?
I feel like I keep on saying that but it's true. I've been a missionary for 6 months. I cannot believe it. Wow. I feel like part of my disbelief is because it feels like time never changes in Chiang Mai. I mean, the sun sets and rises but the weather never changes. It's not raining anymore which means it's no longer rainy season. Besides that, time is constant. 

So something that you might be interested in is the following. We now have a new senior couple in Chiang Mai. Elder and Sister Ure. President Ure's Dad and Mom. Yup. It's super weird that the dad of the guy who set me apart as a missionary is now serving in the same area as me. 

That is sooo cool that Anita was able to go to the temple! I miss it so much. 

So last Saturday one of our investigators got baptized. Her name is Sister Iit. She's been an investigator for 2 years. And she finally was able to get baptized this Saturday. It was soooo exciting! But...our normal pianist for every activity wasn't able to attend. Guess who got the lovely honor of playing for the baptism. Yup. Me. The other 7 missionaries in Chiang Mai currently do not play so I did. It went ... Well, let's just say that it's really good Sister Bristol asked me to bring a simplified hymn book with me on my mission. I had the tempo and the tune great but sometimes the notes weren't as correct. That's okay. The baptism still went on amazingly. And Sister Iit still got baptized. 

After the baptism something really funny happened. We were cleaning up when Sister Iit walked up to us holding the hand of a crying child. Apparently he was in the corner of the bathroom crying. His grandparents had forgotten him. It was sad but just so adorable and really funny. Poor little 5 year-old having to be stuck at the church with 6 missionaries. We had no idea what to do because we couldn't touch him or hold him. We kept on trying to distract him while two other missionaries tried desperately to get in touch with some of his family members. Eventually they got a hold of the aunt and uncle (the younger siblings of the kid's parent) who then rushed to the church as fast as they could. So yeah, a request to all parents and grandparents, please don't forget your 5 year-olds at the church with a bunch of missionaries. But still, it was really funny. 

Um... I'm not really sure what else to report on for this week. 
I was a missionary for Halloween. Thailand (or at least Chiang Mai) doesn't really celebrate Halloween. No decorations and no one was dressed up. 

I absolutely love my companion so much. We get along sooooo well and she is so funny. She's helped me a lot with teaching and with the language too. Oh my goodness she is sooo amazing. 

Getting around to appointments is a lot easier when you have a bike. I much prefer having a bike though I think I have biked more this week than I have my entire mission so far. It's fun. :) 

I feel like I keep on learning this but oh well. It's so cool to me that when you work your hardest but still fall short, the Lord steps in and makes up the rest. This is true with us trying to reach our goals and this is true with me learning Thai. I've been trying to study the scriptures in Thai and I haven't felt like I've been getting much out of it. Today He really helped me understand that I was really and feel the Spirit while reading. It was cool.
Studying the scriptures is sooo important. Today we will teach at a FHE at using the scriptures as a personal liahona (Alma 37:40-46). It is important that we become familiar with the scriptures and fall in love with them. This religion stands and falls on the truthfulness of those books. The Book of Mormon has the answer to every single question in this life. Every verse has been and every story has an application in our life. This past week we used the story of Lehonti (Alma 47:4,8-19) to help an investigator know about the importance of enduring and keeping the faith. If we falter even in the least, we can fall. We can't come down from the mountain, even half way. Lehonti probably thought he was doing really great when he went along with Amalickiah's plan but I highly doubt he felt that great when he died from being poisoned "by degrees."  Don't falter on any accounts. Lean on the Lord. Keep the faith.

Love you much! 
~Sister Slaugh :)

P.S: How is everyone in seminary doing. I hope you all are staying awake. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chiang Mai Letter--October 30, 2013

Hello dear family!! =D 
So last week Barbie told me that I had permission to eat fish. I was so shocked and also my ability to understand English has decreased so I instead let some fish eat my feet. (And here was me, thinking I was such a generous, benevolent big sister for relenting on the fish issue...) But in all reality. Sister Zatarain had to register for classes (she goes home in November) so while she was on the computer, I was making a thousand phone calls. The internet place that we went to also has a "fish spa". There are these tanks of fish (about the size of the fish in our tank at home) and you put your feet in. The fish then nibble on your dead skin I guess. It felt weird and don't really feel like it did anything. But now I can say that I did it. :)

So what happened this week? 
Monday - We woke up at 6 to play soccer with the Elders and some investigators. 

Tuesday - English class. I'm English leader again. I don't mind doing it because (as bad as it sounds) I like having responsibility. The English program in Chiang Mai is kind of small and so has a lot of room for improvement. It'll be fun. :)

Wednesday. So I guess before I tell you about Wednesday I need to explain a little about transportation in Chiang Mai. I still don't have my bike yet so our options are walking or public transport. Unlike the city, Chiang Mai doesn't have any somtaws or really any taxis. Our options are rotdangs. That literally translates to "Red Car." They are kind of like public taxis but cheaper. You tell the driver where you want to go like a taxi but there are multiple groups of people in the car (more like a truck or mini bus). So on Wednesday we wanted to take a Rotdang to an investigator's house. There were a couple people in the car around but the driver said that he would drop us off on the way to the other stops. He said it would take like 10ish minutes. He lied. He went in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go and we were in there for about 40 minutes. Luckily the investigator's home is also her place of work and she and the member that was going to help are really good friends. So our being late wasn't terrible but I still felt bad. 

Thursday was just a normal day. We planned for the upcoming week like usual. Ever since Monday, Sister Zatarain and I have been waking up at 6. We run for 30 minutes and then I teach her soccer for the next thirty. It's really funny because I have no idea what I'm doing. Monday was the second time in her life that she played. 

Friday. Taught an American. It is soooo hard teaching in English. It felt awkward and hard to think of certain words. I kept on wanting to teach in Thai. There is a reason I was called to teach the gospel in Thai and not in English. Haha it's so bad. Also now when I talk to Sister Zatarain in English, I mess up English grammar and I say words wrong a lot. So basically when you next see me, I won't be able to talk to anyone. Sorry. :) But don't worry, everyone. When she comes home, I will sit her down and she and I shall review English grammar and spelling for days until I am satisfied.

I don't have much time left soo... miracle story from one of our investigators: Sister Goy is one of our daters and she is such a miracle. She had an amazing experience with fasting this weekend. Earlier in her learning she had told her mom that she was thinking of changing religions and her mom told her that if she did that, she didn't need to ever come home again. This weekend Sister Goy wanted to tell her mom that she was planning on getting baptized so she fasted for the first time. Sister Goy and her mom stayed up to 2am talking about it. Her mom is fine with her getting baptized. Yay fasting! =D

Love you all! Take pictures of Halloween for me! 

~Sister Slaugh

Apparently one of the places they went to gives you the "history" of non-native foods. Or at least that's what I suppose.

Chiang Mai Pictures--October 21, 2013

Technically, we got these pictures on 10/28. But Abbie's subject line for this email (the pictures came as a separate email) says "this was from last week. the computer turned off before I could send it. working on this week's letter." So I say these are 10/21 pictures.
These captions are exactly as Sister Slaugh wrote them. Except for the quotation marks. I added those.

 "Sleeping on the bus"

"It rained a lot and flooded a tad. Picture of Sister Wiganda and Sister Weed (Sister Hughes' companion - they are in our district in Sinakarin)"

 "Sister Zatarain got attacked by a saledude at the Mall"

"tacos for dinner!!!"

Chiang Mai Letter--October 21, 2013

Sister Slaugh's subject title was "Third transfer. Third area."

Yup, I have moved yet again. And Sister Yim is now training. Yay :) So when I left Sister Orchard, she started training again and now that I left Sister Yim, she started training too. So yeah, third area. I'm pretty sure my companions from the MTC are still in their first area. 

I am currently in Chiang Mai with Sister Zatarain. I absolutely love it. And I love her so much. She is so amazing. Unfortunately she is finishing her mission in about 3 or 4 weeks (mid-transfer -> it's a long story). No one really knows what will happen then but I'm really hoping I won't move again. There might be another mini transfer when she leaves and there might be new missionaries coming in. No one really knows yet but I'll keep you posted. But yeah, she is so amazing. She's from Texas and says y'all a lot. It's fun. She is absolutely amazing at Thai and is an amazing missionary. The fact that she has less than a month left has not negatively affected her work. If anything, it motivated her to end strong. She is really fun and really enjoyable to be around. She loves joking around and laughing but she still works hard. Randomly during the day she starts speaking to me in Thai. That's actually really nice because then we have a nice little conversation in Thai. That helps me "think" in Thai more and be more comfortable talking to people in Thai. I don't need to take as long to figure out how to say stuff anymore. Thai is becoming a lot more natural. The only downside: talking to people (besides my companion) in English is super odd. Chiang Mai has so many farongs and a lot of the Branch members speak English. Some of them can't speak Thai. It feels really weird talking to them in English - like normal English, not simplified for people are speaking it as a second language. Speaking straight up English with people that aren't other missionaries is soo weird. My brain gets kinda confused. :) 

I feel like my Thai has improved a lot as well. The day before I left Srinakarin, the APs (assistants to the president) called Sister Wiganda to have her help out with taking the new missionaries coming in out contacting. Clarification: the first day missionaries come in to Thailand, the mission president likes having them go out with a more experienced missionary and give out a Book of Mormon. The APs called Sister Wiganda so her companionship (herself and Sister Bentley), my companionship (with Sister Yim) and another companionship that was staying at our house for the night (Sister Sararat and Sister Muller) went to Asoke to help out. It was fun. It reminded me when I was the first day I came into country. In three or four months, I have improved drastically. People can understand me (most of the time :)) and I can hold conversations fairly well. Reading in Thai has gotten easier. I've started reading the scriptures in Thai during personal study instead of just the English scriptures. One of the teachers in the MTC said that the sooner you can receive revelation from reading the Thai scriptures, the better. It's still really hard but the sooner I start, the sooner I will be able to do it. The members say I speak "chat," meaning very well and having good pronunciation. Of course, that being said, as soon as you start to see how much you've improved, Heavenly Father reminds you how much you still have to go and that none of that was possible without Him. Before church on Sunday (church starts at 1 here) I was calling people from English that said they were interested learning about the gospel. One guy asked to meet with us because he couldn't understand what I was saying and he was confused. Haha it was really funny though slightly sad. But hey, he came to the church and was actually interested in the gospel. Heavenly Father used that instance to keep me humble and to get one of His sons to church. It was great. 

So what else happened this week? Oh, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARBIE!!!!!! =D 

I guess I should explain a little about traveling to Chiang Mai. We took a bus - kinda like those Charter buses in the US but less nice. The bus ride was about 8 or 9 hours long. We left about 9:15pm (the earliest tickets we could get) and got to the Chiang Mai around 7am...ish. I don't really remember. Luckily we were able to sleep on the bus so it wasn't too bad. All my years practicing sleeping in the car during road trips have paid off :) Chiang Mai is north of Bangkok. A lot of missionaries call it heaven because during the hot season, it is one of the coolest areas (not cold, but cooler than Bangkok). Also the air is a lot cleaner. If Bangkok is like New York (city wise), Chiang Mai is like Scotch Plains or probably Westfield. It is really touristy too though (which is kinda fun). So many farongs. I have decided that going home is going to be hard because it's so weird seeing so many farongs. But anyway, back to traveling. My bike never made it to transfer meeting (still in storage at the office) so the Office Elders said they would send it to Chiang Mai for me. It should get here around Tuesday. That actually made it easier to travel. 

Yup...what else? That's so cool that Andrew is entering the MTC this week! He is going to love it. A mission is so amazing. Soooo amazing. 

Um... miracle of this week: Heavenly Father really does answer prayers. It'll take too long to explain the situation (I have about 5 minutes left on the computer) so I'll just explain what I learned. A prayer made in faith truly has a lot of power. Sometimes all you can do in a situation is pray your heart out and then get up off your knees and work really hard. That's when miracles happen. And it is so evident that the results have nothing to do with you. Nothing you did had anything to do with the result. But God sees your effect and your desire and where your heart is and He helps out. I love the saying "Pray as if everything depended on the Lord and work as if everything depended on you." It's a fantastic method. On my mission I have learned to rely on the Lord so much, more than I ever have before. My prayers have changed and I love it. There is a lot of power and peace that comes from putting all of your trust in the Lord. I mean, He is all-powerful and all-knowing and loves you sooooooo much, why wouldn't you trust Him? 

Um... I guess that's it for this week. I love you all very much and am praying for you all. Have a great week!!! =D
~Sister Slaugh <3