Friday, June 28, 2013

Pictures--June 26, 2013

Once again, the district, also known as the disco

The district sisters

The district elders 

Sister Slaugh and her companions 

Companions again. They tried for a hug but Sister Slaugh fell down. 

Laughing at the fall. Silly sisters. 

Pointing to Thailand on the map
Sister Hughes took this picture.

 They are doing TALL right now, which Sister Slaugh explains as language learning on the computer.

The caption says "The Savior has done his part, are you doing yours?". Sister Slaugh says that "Someone thought this meant the part of your hair and was rather confused." 

Biohazard bags for the bed bugs

Sister Slaugh and her companions after cleaning (after the bed bugs).
Sister Hughes took this picture.

MTC letter--June 26, 2013

Dear Family,
So I won't have as much time to write today because I'm sending a lot of pictures. The highlights of this week:
  • Sister Hughes is off pain medicines and is able to eat solids!
  • So we had a bed bug infestation. It was hilarious but inconvenient. But hilarious and so random. One girl in both districts of Phii Thais had some bites on her but we didn't know what they were for. Sister Tilley was at the doctors for another reason but the doctor asked her if there was anything else that was bugging her. She showed the bites and the doctor freaked out (we have had many encounters with him and he does this a lot unfortunately). It turns out both rooms had bed bugs so from about 5:30 pm to about midnight, we were cleaning everything. We had to wash everything we possibly could. I used 5 wash machines when we had to go wash all our clothes and bedding and blankets. While our clothes were in the wash we had to spray everything that couldn't be washed with a lovely insecticide . After we got clean clothes, we had to shower and then wash the clothes that we were wearing. While those clothes were being cleaned, we were able to move to our new room. Luckily it was in the same hallway so we didn't have to go far. By the time we got settled and everything put away it was about 12:30 am. So on the bright side: 
    1. All our clothes are very clean and we got some free dry-cleaning (if we needed it). This means we don't have to do laundry today and won't have a lot to do Saturday (when we pack). 
    2. We have already starting packing. Very convenient. :) 
    3. Another hilarious story to add to this MTC experience. We've had spleen issues, tonsil issues, everyone getting sick, other issues, and now bed bugs. The MTC is not a normal place for many reasons but I love it here. :) It will be so weird to leave.
  • Two of my most spiritual moments happened with investigators this week. We taught Tuk about the Plan of Salvation and about the resurrection. His wife died a couple months ago because of illness and his daughter is handicapped. We felt the Spirit so strong teaching him about eternal families and that everyone's bodies will be restored at the resurrection. My companions and I wanted to start crying. Also, Tuk's prayers are so sincere and beautiful and simple. He asked how to follow Christ and so we told him briefly. He asked us if he could get baptized. We were totally shocked and stunned for a moment. My thought process: "Wait. What? What did he just say?" We couldn't respond for a moment. We had just barely mentioned baptism but Tuk has such amazing faith. 
  • The other spiritual experience was teaching James and Tony. I guess I should give some background experience. In order to try to better learn about how to teach someone, we practice being investigators so we know better what people are thinking while we are teaching. Honestly, it is one of my favorite things but I'll explain that in a bit. So James and Tony are Elder Astle and Elder Passey (James and Tony are actually people and friends of Astle and Passey). James has some religious background but it isn't a major component of his life. Tony doesn't - or I should say didn't - believe in God. We were teaching them about prayer and faith one time and the Spirit there was fantastic. Trust me, it was not us at all. Our Thai - actually even our English - is so limited that no one could be taught of anything via it. The Spirit did all the work; we just happened to say some key words. I loved teaching James and Tony. Sadly our last lesson with them is tonight. Our last lesson with Nike was Monday. Luckily we have one more lesson with Tuk.
  • So being an investigator is absolutely amazing. I have never felt the Spirit like that before. I am so grateful that I was born into the church but I was also slightly jealous that I never had that moment of first feeling the Spirit or being overwhelmed by the Spirit testifying of truth. While I am pretending to be an investigator, I feel the Spirit testifying of truth like it was the first time I had ever felt it. It was overwhelming the first time I felt it. I'll miss doing that because being an investigator were some of my most spiritual times here. 
  • The Broadcast was so amazing! I loved singing at it. I was surprised at how much they used technology during it. I love how the Church does not shrink at the changing world. We keep our standards yet we change the way we teach to fit the people we are teaching. I'm curious how the increase of technology in the mission field will look like. I hear our mission has smart phones but I'm not sure if that is just a rumor. I also love how much emphasis the speakers put on the importance of member missionary work. Missionary work is very little without the members. We can teach the people but it's up the members to help them grow and to continue learning. We aren't always going to be there but the members will. So I'm looking at my notes and there is something fun I should tell you. You know at the very beginning when Elder Perry and Elder Holland kind of switched places (Holland just stopped talking and Perry was about to)? So when they walked passed each other, Elder Perry slapped Holland's chest. It was hilarious. I love how they are all such great friends. I love them. :) So what are your thoughts on the ward buildings being opened to guided tours? I was really shocked at that but that's great. I wonder how that is going to work. At the end of about every devotional, our district has a review/testimony meeting. At this devotional, my district members said some interesting things. To think, this entire restoration and missionary work happened because one 14 year-old boy had a simple question. Never doubt the importance of a question. Another: missionaries leave their families for 18 or 24 months so others can be with theirs for eternity. Last one because I need to go: my goal is to work so hard that by the end of this mission I want to be so very tired. Not sick or exhausted but so very tired.
I need to go now (attaching pictures takes a lot of time). I love you all so very much and I am so excited to call from the airport! The next letter you will get will be not this Monday but the Monday after. I also won't check emails till then. P-days in Thailand are on Monday.
Much love!
~Sister Slaugh

MTC letter--June 19, 2013

Hey family! =D

So not like I'm counting or anything but we leave for Thailand in about 12 days! I am so excited! Apparently our first night in Thailand we are staying in a hotel because there are too many of us for the mission home. That will be super exciting! I am so excited to go to Thailand though it still seems so surreal. I mean, will I really be in Southeast Asia in two weeks? Apparently the first day there we are given two copies of the Book of Mormon to give out. The only reason we know this is because my companion's mom sends her blog entries from one of the sisters that just got to Thailand a couple of weeks ago. It's nice getting a sneak peek. If you are curious to know what's going on in Thailand, her name is Sister Zaugg. I guess you can try googling it....maybe. (If you're curious, the link is

Um... what's happened this week? Tuesday devotionals are now in the Marriott center because there are just so many missionaries. Devotional starts at 7 and missionaries in the choir go over around 5:15. That is my heads up to anyone living in the area - traffic will be slowish around the Marriott center around those times. We walk quickly so hopefully it's not too bad for drivers. The Mission Presidents are coming soon so some changes are happening around the MTC. The area where Southeast Asia usually sits has been sectioned-off for the mission presidents. Also the huge broadcast on the 23rd (The Worldwide Training Meeting) is because of their arrival. It'll be fun. :)

Oh! Guess who I met today? An Elder Slaugh from Colorado. His family is from Vernal and his last name is pronounced the same. His parents are Chad and Anita and his grandparents are Wade and Sylvia. It is now your job to figure out how we are related and dearElder it to me. :) It was really weird. One of the girls in my district saw him first and then told me. We talked for a bit. He is leaving in about a month and I think he is speaking Spanish. I can't remember where he is going. He is in the same zone as my Relief Society president at BYU. She is going to Alabama but I don't think he is going there as well.
(Mom has been doing some research today to figure out the relationship between Elder Slaugh and Abigail).  It seems that in 1851 2 brothers (John Jacob Slaugh and George Jacob Slaugh) joined the church in Philadelphia, PA.  John Jacob was called as a Branch President and was given the charge to help his branch move to Utah.  They settled in Vernal, UT.  John Jacob is Abbie’s 3rd great grandfather and his brother, George Jacob Slaugh is Elder Slaugh’s 4th great grandfather.  There is another connection with John Jacob’s wife (Matilda Smuin)  Her niece, Rachel Smuin married George’s son).  This has been fun to figure out – using New Family Search and the Internet.)

So on Saturday something very exciting happened. Phii Tham got baptized! Well... if he was a real person he would have been baptized but since he is really Brother Shipley.... Oh, sad news about Brother Shipley. He was transferred to teach the new Thais. We are very excited for them because he is an amazing teacher but it was really sad when we found out. He wasn't planning on telling us until maybe the day before but somehow it was brought up and somehow we got it out of him. We were shocked and sad. And there may have been some tears shed by every Sister there. He was our first teacher so we were really close to him. His replacement - Brother Thrap - is amazing so don't worry, we still have two excellent teachers. We just all love Brother Shipley. Brother Shipley's response to us getting the news that he was leaving us was something similar to the following: “I guess I don't need to teach how to ask inspired questions”. He teaches the other class (next to ours) a couple times a week so we still see him.

Hm...what next? So Sister Hughes is recovering (reminder: she got all her tonsils out last Wednesday). It actually is a quick recovery (her scabs are starting to fall off) but it still feels really slow for her. She can't eat solids and her throat is constantly in pain. She has painkillers which she takes every 4-6 hours and luckily they don't make her loopy. She has to sleep a lot but she is becoming much more active - only taking one or two naps during the day. But she is improving and should be recovered soon. The scabs look like foam in the back of her throat and it really hurts when they fall off. But, the sooner they fall off, the sooner Sister Hughes gets back to normal. That is the silver lining of her being in a lot of pain: it will be over soon. And she has started to get some solids (soft pasta) but it still hurts. I think the reason she is starting to eat the solids is because she is sick of not being able to eat real food. Totally understandable.

Um...things with Nike (another investigator) are going well as well. He and his girlfriend own two homes (and did before we started teaching them) so they live in separate houses. Their two daughters are adorable (Brother Phan downloaded a picture of two Asian toddlers playing from off the Internet) and LOVE church. The Bishop talked to Nike and Maddy (also the name of Brother Phan's fiance) about marriage so those two will be getting married in a couple of months. They are both very excited. Hopefully things continue to go well. Nike has also starting sharing the gospel with his coworkers so we are going to ask Nike to ask his friend to come to church as well.

Have I told you about Tuk yet? Brother Thrap plays him. Tuk is 33 and lives in Bangkok. He has a 7 year-old daughter named Rainbow who cannot talk or walk. He works from home and works with computers. Two lessons ago we found out that Tuk's wife (Nok - meaning bird) died about a month ago due to "bad health". He is absolutely amazing and really wants to learn. We love teaching him (and Rainbow) so much. We have taught him three times.

um... sorry, I'm really bad at coming up with things to talk about. A couple of days ago some people from the Salt Lake Tribute (I think) came to interview President Nally and the other district of Thais. The main interviewer was Sister Stack's mother. She honestly did not plan for that to happen. She was given the topic and she was also given a district. It was really nice for Sister Stack to see her mom though. So eventually there will be an article coming out about the MTC. They picked the Thai district because they wanted to talk to missionaries learning a hard language. Thai is very hard but I love it so much.

Speaking about Thai, the new Thais are amazing. Honestly they are so smart. With each new group of missionaries, the teachers push them faster. We started learning script a week before our Phii Thais and these Thais are learning script around now-ish. It's so amazing. And the teachers don't allow them to use notes in lessons so they have to learn the words faster. We are so excited for them. There are only 8 new Thai sisters. Now in our entire zone, the only sisters are Thai-speaking. Last week we got 48 new missionaries - only 8 sisters. Today we are getting the missionaries speaking Laotian. We are really happy with all the new people.

Fun Thai fact: fruit means result of wood (tree). Thai is really nice in that way. Oh, and there is a way to change verbs and adjectives into nouns. Just add a word to the beginning of it (kaan, kham, or khwaam). It is so nice because we get to make up words and everyone will understand us.

That's exciting to hear about Elder McCleary. (Our cousin was sent to Indonesia a couple weeks early.) I would love to get to Thailand sooner. I'm not that confident language-wise but I know it will be okay. At Relief Society on Sunday, the speaker told us to just speak the language even if you aren't confident. The Spirit doesn't need the correct words to testify of the truth of the gospel. Also, it's totally okay if all I know how to talk about is the gospel because that's what matters. And people keep on promising us that we'll be able to understand tones better once we are in Thailand. I hope they are right. Tones and I are really not friends yet. I know I'll learn them though so I am optimistic about them.

Oh! another fun Thai thing: butterfly means tiger ghost. Why that makes sense is unknown to us. Maybe we are just getting our tones wrong but still, it's fun.

The MTC is still great and still true. The temple still has the best breakfast ever. :)

I hosted today (meaning I helped new missionaries around the campus). That was fun because it reminded me of when I first got there.

I have to go soon. I must apologize that I am so slow at responding to snail mail. The only time I have to write is Wednesday and during Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday. I am working on them though.

Love you much!!!! =D
~Sister Slaugh

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pictures--June 12, 2013

I am pretty sure that these are Abbie's two companions. Sister Phelps and Sister Hughes. Apparently they are making funny faces.

 Sister Hughes being silly (I guess--I can't really tell and Abbie gave little (read: nothing) to explain the pictures) with one of the Elders.

Sister Phelps juggling (this is one of the few pictures with a proper explanation from Sister Slaugh, and her explanation was "Sister Phelps juggling") 

According to Abbie's tiny explanation: "us with Brother Shipley"

MTC letter--June 12, 2013

IN ABOUT 20 DAYS I SHALL BE IN THAILAND!!!!!! Excited? I have no idea what you are talking about?
Monday we had to go to the doctor's so while we were waiting to be called in, we were talking to people. Real people. I really like real people. I don't think you understand how nice it is to talk to actual people--not ones associated with the MTC. Now the reason that MTC people are not real people is because the MTC is not a real place. Time does not work the same here and I refuse to believe that I am only about 10-15 minutes away (walking time) from where I have been living for the past year. The MTC is a bubble in a different universe and I refuse to be told otherwise. But anyway, back to the real people. They are just so interesting and fun and real. We talked to this little old Japanese lady who met her husband when she was a nurse and he was in the air force. The height difference was great but they were just so cute together. She commented how young missionaries are getting. I have a story about that I need to tell you. We also met a man from New York in a sleeveless green shirt with tattoos. He was really cool to talk to and he agrees that nothing can beat East Coast pizza. Nice bonding moment. We also met a lady named Sylvia who is super sweet. She was fun to talk to as well. There were other people we talked to but our conversations were not long enough to learn a lot about them.
So you are probably curious why we were at the doctors. If you weren't, I'm telling you anyway. :) Sister Hughes had to get her throat checked out and she is currently at the doctor's again (this time with Sister Phelps) getting her tonsils out. In one devotional we were told to expect and look for miracles. Well, we found one. The doctor here at the MTC made it seem like Sister Hughes would be out of action for 3-4 weeks and another doctor (at the hospital) said they wouldn't be able to schedule an appointment for a week or two. While, here is the miracle: We scheduled her surgery for two days later (so today) and because they aren't taking out the entire tonsil, she will be recovered in 2ish weeks which means (wait for it) SHE'LL STILL BE ABLE TO COME TO THAILAND WITH US AT THE SCHEDULED TIME! I'm sooo happy and she is (obviously) as well. Sister Phelps and Elder Astle are excited for her surgery because she'll get pain killers. Sister Stack had to take pain killers and it was hilarious and now Sister Hughes will have to.
         Sister Hughes: "Don't worry, I'll be on pain killers for days."
         Elder Astle: "That is what I like to hear."
Hm, I guess I should probably explain something about our companionship and the companionship of Elder Astle and Elder Passey. Elder Astle and Sister Hughes are (read: act like) siblings and Elder Passey and Sister Phelps are (read: act like) siblings. I am the best friend next door that hangs out with the siblings a lot. It's a lot of fun. Our two companionships are insane together. Don't worry, we still abide by page 33 though.
  • Note: Page 33 is referring to page 33 in the white handbook for missionaries. That page tells us not to flirt with each other. We used to joke and tell each other to look at page 33 because it is just really funny. Now we have decided to not joke about that rule because it is there for a reason and not really something we should joke about. 
Have I told you about my district members yet? Elder Astle is from 'Las Wegas' Newada' (Thai people cannot pronounce V's). He is absolutely hilarious. He makes the funniest faces and noises. When he needs to be seriously, however, he can be. He is very kind and likes to help out if someone is struggling with the language. He worked in the temple and in the primary before he came and says he loved both equally.
Elder Passey is from Utah. He graduated the same year as I did but is only 18. He is proof that this age change was totally inspired because he is just amazing. He was really quiet at first but now that he is comfortable with us, he is also a total goof-ball. His companionship is so funny. They sit next to us in class so it's great. Their companionship is also amazing Preach My Gospel wise. They read it and use it a lot which is great. They also teach our companionship when we are pretending to be investigators and they are amazing at teaching. Elder Passey is also really short which Sister Phelps teases him a lot on (she is tall).
Sister Hughes and Sister Phelps. Both are from California. I love them so much. We have gotten the hang of teaching in a trio which is amazing. Last Sunday we gave a lesson to our class (they were pretending to be investigators) about repentance and it went really well. On Monday we had a companionship exchange so Sister Phelps and Sister Du Plessis switched places. Sister Du Plessis was shocked at how different things are in a trio, especially in lessons. That's all we know though so we really enjoy it. I honestly love being in a trio. Planning lessons was hard at first because we all had such different ideas but they were all right. Now things are much easier. Sister Hughes speaks French basically fluently and did a study abroad in Paris for 3 months. She loves speaking French. Sister Phelps plays guitar, wants to be a nurse, and speaks some Spanish.
Elder Hill and Elder Winsor. They are both from Utah. Elder Winsor played soccer for Dixie State and Elder Hill is a theater kid. They were both slightly worried when they found those facts out about each other. They get along great though. Elder Hill says it is great because they are both stubborn so they can help each other. Don't ask me, it just works really well. Elder Winsor is our amazing District Leader. Elder Hill is amazing at studying at every moment possible. Elder Winsor was also really quiet and serious when we first met him but now he has unleashed his silly side. Elder Hill says the craziest things and they are just so funny.
Sister Stack and Sister Du Plessis. Sister Stack snorts whenever she is scared or startled so she snorts a lot. A lot. And she sits right next to the door so whenever the door opens, she snorts. Sister Du Plessis has been nicknamed Pocahontas and her theme is now "Just around the river bend." During volleyball she chases the volleyball in an hilarious manner and once spent at least 5 minutes following a butterfly around during gym time. She loves the outdoors like no other and loves jumping up and trying to touch the tree branches. Sister Stack makes amazing battle cries as she goes after the volleyball. When Sister Stack was on painkillers, her Thai improved a lot. We realized it was because while she was on painkillers she was totally confident. She has now become more confident when she speaks and her Thai improved so much because of that. Honestly, a huge part of speaking a language is being confident.
I guess I'll tell you about the other district tomorrow. Oh! Guess What! We get our new Thais today!!!!! There are 22 new Thais but only 8 are sisters. We also get our new Cambodians but there are no Sisters. We are adding 48ish people to our district today. Crazy, right?
Oh! the story about young missionaries. Sister Phelps met an Elder here that entered last Wednesday. Guess when he graduated high school. The day before. He graduated high school. Had grad-night. And the VERY NEXT DAY entered the MTC. We have 2013 graduates here now. What? That's insane. But soo exciting.
  • To Dad's comment about enthusiasm: Thank you so much. One of the things I realized during the devotional last night was the importance of constantly being cheerful. (excerpt from Linden's letter to Abbie: "A week or so ago I was in some stake meeting where we were discussing some youth activity. They were talking about how to get the word out to the youth, to create a buzz and excitement for the activity. I thought of you, and how you were able to get the stake youth enthused about activities. You set a high standard for others to follow.") 
  • Also, time here is crazy. I feel like I've been here forever and yet still feel like I've only been here a week. A day feels like a week and a week feels like a day. It's crazy.
  • I approve of the FHE attempts. Exact obedience brings miracles :) (Barbie is determined that we get back on track with having Family Home Evenings again. She taught an excellent lesson using President Uchtdorf's article in the June 2013 Ensign Walking in Circles.)
  • In response to the mention of Chrissy, if you see any of my friends in the future, tell them I say hi please :) That's really cool that you saw her and I'm glad she is doing well.
  • Tell Sister Peterson that I am sorry I can't help out with Young Women's camp this year. :) That's exciting that Patty, Ali, and Megan can do it again though. I loved being a YCL. And congrats to Paige!!!! That's sooo exciting!!! The Japanese are in our building and they are really fun people. We like them a lot. 
I'm going to attach some pictures (I think) so I'm going to end the letter here.
Love you all! :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

MTC letter--June 5, 2013

Hello dear family!
Well, nothing much is new here. Life is amazing and a lot of fun and there is a lot of growth going on. Reading is getting a lot easier now but that doesn't necessarily mean I understand everything I read. Lessons are going and are quite fun. So as I have been reading over past emails I've sent you, I've realized I've left out a lot of spiritual things I have learned. This letter will make up for that. But before I tell you the spiritual, I will tell you the other. I was going to tell you spiritual first but then (after I wrote it) I realized I wanted to end with those thoughts instead of jumping to a new topic. So:
  • Sister Stack had to take pain killers on Friday. I felt so bad for her but it was honestly soooooo hilarious. "What is water, I mean, what is it?" "What is ice?" "What is pizza?" "I am just so happy I could just dance on my face!" "What do they speak, box?" Honestly, the box one is the most hilarious but I can't really even explain why. It had to do with the keyboard programmed to type in Korean but the characters just came out as boxes. She commented that our teachers were so spiritual that it makes sense that the 3 Nephites are called as such (One of our teacher's first name is Sam and Saam means three in Thai). It was sooooo funny. Honestly, I don't think we have ever laughed that much.
  • Um... I honestly can't remember what else. Oh, everyone in our zone is getting sick (not my fault I promise! I was better for three days before everyone else got sick and they had different symptoms than me) so we went to the doctors on Sunday for one of our companions. Yup. The MTC is great but we are always with people so it is so easy to get sick here.
  •  ON SATURDAY WE REACHED OUR ONE MONTH MARK!!!!! THAT MEANS THAT IN A MONTH I WILL BE IN THAILAND!!!!! what? me? excited? what are you talking about?
  •  Oh, we have a new person goal: to like the Spanish Elders more. They aren't bad or anything, they just call us Hermana and we aren't Hermanas. We are Sidtees. So whenever they call us Hermana, we respond in Thai. We need to be more humble about how awesome our language is. :) And this is diffidently not saying anything bad about learning Spanish. We just don't like being called Hermanas. :)
  • no one is really asking me questions so I don't really know what to talk about. Oh. Next Wednesday our zone of 18 missionaries is gaining 48 new ones. 22 of those are going to be Thai. We are also getting Vietnamese, Hmong, and Cambodians. The week after we are getting Laotian. Today about 860 new missionaries entered the MTC which is the highest entry-number the MTC has ever had. And next week will also be in the 800s. But to answer Mom's question, I am still staying at the MTC and not moving to the Raintree or some place else.
  •  Speaking of moving, we get to go off campus on the 23rd. Why? Because the choir (which my zone and I choose to sing in) is singing at the Marriott Center. Why? Because the 1st Presidency and 12 Apostles will be there because of the new mission presidents! And this will be filmed and broadcast world wide. SO EXCITING!!!!! Speaking of choir, it is absolutely amazing and I love it. We practice on Sunday and Tuesday and sing at the Tuesday devotional. The choir direct (Brother E something) is hilarious and amazing and just really cool. I love choir so much! :)
Um... I am out of time so I guess I'll stop writing about the other stuff and include the spiritual stuff I had already written. 
I have learned so much and one of the things I've learned is that I know and understand so little about the gospel. Honestly, that was one of the best lessons I got here. I was asking an Elder questions about something and it was amazing how much he knew. And our teachers have so much spiritual knowledge it is astounding. I mean (sorry for saying that phrase a lot), you would think that by now I would know and understand Ether 12:24 but you would be wrong. Brother Shipley was telling us about it in a new way. You know how the Lord says His grace is sufficient? I thought that meant that His grace was sufficient to help our weaknesses become strengths. Brother Shipley offered another meaning: that the Lord's grace is sufficient to work with your flaws. And being humble means to not focus on yourself. If you are focusing on your flaws constantly, you are still not being humble. So the Lord tells us to be humble and His grace is sufficient. So even if you don't think your testimony is strong enough, if you do the work here and focus on your investigators, the Lord will make up for your flaws. Sorry, I'm not saying it as well or as meaningfully as Brother Shipley did. But it was amazing.
Another thing I have realized here: I have been taking the Book of Mormon for granted. I mean, oh my goodness that book is amazing and... I can't really even describe it. In another lesson Brother Shipley gave us the challenge to have enough faith to pray to the Lord with a question and then to open the scriptures and find the answer or an answer on that page. He always stresses how every verse is meaningful, every verse has meaning for yourself and your investigator. So I've been applying that principle. It is so true! In a lesson with Phii Tham (played by Brother Shipley), we began by asking Phii Tham if he had received answers to his prayers. He said he didn't know how to. I mentioned how, for me, answers come by feeling the Holy Ghost or by randomly opening my scriptures and seeing an answer. Well, Phii Tham repeated back to me what I said about randomly opening the Book of Mormon and then decided to do. Right then and there. I started mentally freaking out. I knew it could work because it has worked every time for me without fail but still, what if it didn't? I started praying so fervently that it would work. All the while Phii Tham is just reading the page he opened to. After a while he looked up and we asked where he turned to. It was in Alma. I have it written down somewhere but I don't remember off the top of my head. He told us the two verses that stood out to him: they had to do with keeping the commandments and the promise that accompanied them. I showed him the scripture in 1st Nephi where it says what the Lord's promise is. He said he had goosebumps. We told him that that and him feeling good was the Holy Ghost. It was soooo exciting! And then the next lesson with him he said he now had a testimony of Joseph Smith. Before he hadn't because he didn't really believe in prophets. He has gone to church for the last two weeks and this last week they learned about Joseph Smith. That combined with knowing how to pray and knowing about how to receive answers strengthened his testimony. He told us he had a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Like the third or fourth lesson we had with him, he said he wanted to be baptized once he knew what we were saying was true. So this lesson we asked if he still wanted that. He said he did but... he had to change some things in his life first. One of those things might be that he is the manager of an entertainment business. Any guesses what that business is? Pretty Ladies. Yup. He said he didn't like that job and that the atmosphere wasn't good and that he wanted to change jobs but he was scared because the job supported his family. So we are praying that he can find a new job and that the Lord will help.

But anyway, back to the Book of Mormon, it's amazing. Either the next class period or the one after that Brother Shipley (I promise Brother Phan is amazing as well. I mean seriously, he is an amazing teacher and we love having him as a teacher) talked again about there being meaning of every verse. Because of that lesson with Phii Tham, Brother Shipley had me open to a random page. Well...that led to us reading in the war chapters. Yup. Let me tell you, it was hard to find meaning in the 6-8 verses that we read but we did and it was really amazing what we found. It's just, honestly, there is no other book that you can do that with. There is no other book that you can open up to a random page and every verse (or paragraph) having great meaning to your life and to the life of your investigators. I know it so much. The Book of Mormon can and will and has changed lives. It is the keystone of our religion. Without it, our entire religion crumbles but with it, the truth is undeniable. Just reading it with a sincere heart and "with real intent" as the scriptures say, can change your life. I love how a small 531 page book can do that.
Another thing I realized while here at the MTC, everything comes back to love. You know how in a lot of movies (especially children's books), love is always the answer. Love is the most powerful. Love conquers all. Love saves the day. Yeah, well that cliché is totally true. In Preach My Gospel, in the every first paragraph of chapter 3 (the lessons), it starts off talking about Heavenly Father and His love. It has a very profound statement there: "He loves us." I mean, have you ever really thought about that. Heavenly Father, the most supreme being anywhere and everywhere, who created everything, loves us. Us! Us imperfect and sinful creations. And there are so many of us. But He loves each of us individually. He knows us each by name. Our name! He knows every single thing about us. Why does He love us? What have we ever done to earn His love? We follow Him sometimes but we usually are pretty bad at that. He sent His Only Begotten Son to Earth to die for us because we weren't perfect. I mean, why? Why does He love us? In all honestly, I haven't figured that answer out yet which I think is the best part. We don't always believe in Him, we take His name in vain, we curse Him, we claim He doesn't exist, we don't follow Him or obey Him and yet though it all, He loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His perfect son to die for us. Jesus Christ is the only perfect being that has ever walked this Earth. He is the only one who has ever perfectly followed the Father and yet He died for us. Isn't that amazing? It makes me think of the song "I Stand All Amazed". It is so true. "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. Confused at the grace at so fully he offers me. I tremble to know that for me he was crucified. That for me a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died." God and Jesus Christ love us so much. Never forget that. Never doubt that. When everything is going wrong, remember that God, the All-Powerful and All-Knowing, loves you and that He wants you to be happy. His work and His glory (His Glory!) is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life (see Moses 1:39). I mean honestly, wow. Why have we ever doubted Him? He knows the future, the past, the present. He knows all that could be, all that is, and all that never will. He has created everything and yet we doubt His ability to help us? He created us! He created this world! He created everything and yet we doubt His power and His love for us. Sorry to go on that little spiel but that is just something that hit me during this week. Never doubt that God loves you, each and every one of you.
I love you all every much and hope all is well with you. The Lord truly does run this church and this MTC and I know this without a shadow of a doubt. The MTC would never work without the Lord.
Love you much!

~Sister Slaugh