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:
- 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).
- We have already starting packing. Very convenient. :)
- 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.