And here's Sister Slaugh's email of the week. I will post the pictures as a separate post.
Well hello there. So I've been debating how to start this email but I have finally made a decision. And my decision is to not make a decision and to start with all my options.
ELDER NELSON CAME AND SPOKE AT THE TUESDAY DEVOTIONAL!!!! (Russell M. Nelson is an Apostle and a member of the Quorum of the 12, which helps lead and guide the Church. First there's the First Presidency, and then there's the Quorum of the 12. So Elder Nelson speaking is a really big deal.)
SISTER JANICE KAPP PERRY SPOKE DURING RELIEF SOCIETY ON SUNDAY!!! (Sister Perry is a well-known and respected member of the Church. She has written a number of songs that are regularly sung. They're actually very pretty.)
I HAVE A COLD. Being sick is not fun.
WE ARE NOW ON WEEK THREE!!!!!
WE ARE READING THAI!!!!!!!
yup. those are the highlights of this week. Honestly I cannot believe that I have only been here two weeks. My little missionary daily planner is my life saver. I never know what day it is without it. I am currently looking throught it to see if anything insanely exciting happened this week. Um....
So Thursday first I guess. My district was basically a guinea pig (or pigs but then the subjects would not match up). Some guy taught our class so he could show two new teachers an example of how to teach. It was actually really informative.
On Friday we attempted an SYL (Speak Your Language) Day. It failed miserably. So instead we are just going to speak whatever we know in Thai and say everything we don't know in English. We also laminated our script cards--our alphabet. Our teachers call our script cards our Urim and Thummin because we use it to translate Thai. (The Urim and Thummim is an instrument created by God to help different Prophets through the ages translate by the power of God.) It is color coded by tones. We have started to memorize the letters but we have yet to attempt the tones. It's going to be interesting.
On Saturday...*looks in planner because all the days have totally meshed together* Oh! So something my district and the other district of new Thai's are doing is writing notes to each other. On Wednesday we pick a name of someone in the other district out of a bag and we have to write a note to them by Saturday. It's fun. We have decided to call our two districts the Disco -> district couple.
SUNDAY!!!! Sunday is amazing here. Breakfast is unfortunately 30 minutes earlier but oh well. At 9 we get to watch Music and the Spoken Word. (That's an hour-long devotional done every Sunday morning. It happens in Salt Lake City, but it's also broadcast.) Then we had Relief Society, Janice Kapp Perry spoke! It was really cool. We sang her songs for the prelude and for the opening and closing hymns. We also sang a medley of some of her songs and an alteration of "As Sisters of Zion." ("As Sisters in Zion" is a hymn) It's called "The Sisters of Zion" and we were the first group to sing it. So cool! Sacrament Meeting is at 12:45. So here is how the talks work: the Branch President tells us the Sunday before what the topic of the next Sunday will be. Then we all prepare a 2-5 minute talk on that topic. And then on Sunday he calls up 2-3 people to give a talk. So we all have to be prepared each Sunday. It's nice though because that means we have all studied up on the topic so we can gain more from the meeting. I did not talk this week. The topic was Enduring to the End. However, after sacrament meeting our district gets together and talks about the topic so you are going to talk somewhere on Sunday. On Sunday we do not have any class time so we have a lot of study time. It's really nice to relax and take a mental break from Thai for a little. Dinner was... I can't remember. On Sundays and Wednesdays though, there is ice cream from BYU Creamery. Wednesdays there are limited flavors but many toppings and on Sunday there are many flavors but no toppings. Oh, and tell Stuart that him teaching me to speak "boy" has come in handy. I was able to bond with an Elder companionship on Sunday because they used to watch anime and play video games. We got onto that topic because my companionship and the two Elders (they are in my district) were sitting in the class room and someone starting humming a disney song and then we started to talk about our favorite disney and pixar movies. Then one Elder mentioned that he loved the game Kingdom Hearts so much because it combined Disney and Final Fantasy. I commented that I enjoyed that game and that I had played Final Fantasy as well. So yeah. Then Sunday night we had a devotional--Sister and Brother Shane Littlefield spoke. Last week Brother and Sister Chad Lewis spoke. Apparently he played football and works/worked for the NFL. Both of the devotionals were really good. Brother Lewis got us pumped for missionary work by sharing stories and other experiences. Brother Littlefield talked about important characteristics to have while serving a mission. He was a mission president in Mexico. They both shared a lot of funny stories.
Monday morning is when we do service. Because I am in a trio, we cleaned the stairs. It's a super easy job and we made it fun. We may or may not have been singing the entire time really loudly. :) Nothing really exciting happened on Monday. Sorry.
Tuesday. We got a new investigator: Phii Thom (Phii means older). He is played by our teacher Brother Shipley. Speaking of investigators, we have stopped teaching Sam. We only taught him four times. The person who played him (Brother Phan) has now become our teacher during the afternoon. Brother Shipley teaches us at night now. Tomorrow we will start teaching Nike who is played by Brother Phan again. So now we have two investigators! Yay! :) It's so much better having investigators because we have people to study for during personal and companion study. Now we have people to care about and think about and to motivate ourselves over. It's cool. Apparently having fake investigators is only a recent thing though. I'm glad we have that. It's really good to have experience and to figure out what works and what doesn't during a lesson. Tuesday night is also devotional night. AND ELDER NELSON CAME. IT WAS SO COOL!!!!!! One thing he and other people spoke on is that people on the other side of the veil are helping us. I never really thought of that before. When they mentioned that, I thought of Grandma Slaugh. She served a mission too, right? He also talked about the importance of being happy and respectful. We are only the messengers of this gospel: the Holy Ghost is the teacher. Our mission is about the people we teach, not about us. I really like.
And now we are on to today, Wednesday. We went to the temple this morning which was amazing. It was so beautiful. OH! Speaking of temples, there are rumors that we could be getting a temple in Thailand soon! Missionaries who are there were told that the next four months are really important in terms of the future of the church in Thailand. And a couple of general authorities are going to Thailand this month. And if they were to build a temple in Southeast Asia, it would be in Bangkok because it is most central. THAILAND COULD BE GETTING A TEMPLE! I AM SO EXCITED! AHHHHHHH!!!!! =D
um... now that I have finished the overview of my week, on to random things I wrote down to tell you all about:
*a joke my companion told me: what is brown and sticky? A stick. I don't know what I expected. I just laughed really hard. As you can tell, late at night (aka 8 or 9pm) we have totally cracked. Brother Shipley is worried for us (jokingly I hope) because it is only the beginning of our third week and we have already cracked.
*speaking of being cracked, one night when Sister Stack was about to pray in Thai, she started laughing. We don't know why. Then we (the district) starting laughing. We couldn't start the prayer for 5 minutes. Yup. Our brains are sleepy by that time at night.
*And another story of manic laughing: Brother Phan was trying to teach us how to pronounce a vowel and he said it was like saying apple with a stereotypical New England accent. Then he said apple with that accent. My companion Sister Hughes lost it for a good 10 minutes. :)
*Throughout this week I have seen
~from my BYU ward: Elders Hoyt and Christenson (I have no idea how to spell that (neither do I, since it's a last name)) and Sisters Harman, Price, and Nance.
~Sister Thomas :)
~Elder Ball from the leadership conference. He is here for 11 weeks because he has to learn two langauge: French and Tahitian.
~and.... just this morning, Elder McCleary. We ran into each other at the bookstore. I did not realize it was him at first. and yes, I am attaching a picture of the encounter.
*I have decided that my companions and I have the same brain. Why? Because the other night, we all had the same dream: that we were still in class learning Thai. The best part? Sister Phelps talked in her sleep and said, very loudly, "I don't understand!" Because that fit in my dream, I did not think it odd to response with "What don't you understand?" Our other roommates cracked up at that. Yup. Good times :)
*oooh fun(possibly) fact about Thai: females speak in the third person. Males, however, speak in the first person. There is probably some past negative thing about that but I just think it is really fun. So basically when I am introducing myself I am saying, Sister's name is Sister. If I wasn't on a mission I would say, "Abbie's name is Abbie." Yup. So if I come back only speaking in third person, you understand why.
I am sorry if this letter is shorter BUT I am sending pictures this time. Love you all! I hope to hear from you all soon :) the MTC is fantastic!