HELLO! Hi :) I'm really happy right now. Today is a good day. It will be a really long and tiring day but by the end of it, Sister Orchard and I will be moved into our new apartment. So excited for that. It is so much more convenient.
So let's see, what happened this week? On Monday (after I emailed home), Sister Orchard and I went to Tesco (it's grocery store or shopping center, like a much nicer Walmart). There we met a very interesting farong (white foreigner). Apparently he has been living here (here being right across the street from Tesco) for about 5 years so he has come in contact with the missionaries a lot. He is usually the one to start the conversations. Let's just say, I forgot how mean people could be. He is from New Jersey but lived super close to New York. He was raised Catholic but "studied" the main religions in college and decided to become a Buddhist. "Not a Buddhist like Thai people are but an actual Buddhist" (his words). Very against the idea of God and had no issue saying so. He likes to talk to missionaries because he feels the need to make sure we are okay. He wants to make sure we are safe but "doesn't care about our religion." That actually wasn't a direct quote because he used some cruder words. Luckily he made the connection with me being from New Jersey so I was able to handle his comments. He kept on relating things back to home and experiences there and so on. He said that Sister Orchard couldn't relate as she is from Idaho and mostly Mormons are there. He was just very ... oh I don't know how to describe it. He was saying that the reason we get so much attention is because we are white and can speak Thai. God has nothing to do with it, in his mind, because God doesn't exist. The thing that kept on coming into my head was 2 Nephi 9:28-29 --> "When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, ... wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not... But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God." Sister Orchard and I were very calm talking to him and I felt very at ease. Sister Orchard did not feel the same so maybe it's because he felt he could relate to me. He got so worked up talking to us though even though we were very calm. He had good intentions talking with us (wanting to make sure we were okay and safe) but I think he really likes arguing about religion--something Sister Orchard and I will not do. He thinks he is so smart but what will he think when it comes time for him to meet God? "To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God." I truly hope he softens his heart before that. He could be so much happier than he currently is. The encounter with him just showed us that Thai people are so much nicer than farongs. :) Every Thai person I have met so far has been super sweet and nice and respectful. Even when they aren't interested, they are very nice about it. I love Thailand. :)
In other news, transfer meeting was last Thursday. Sister Orchard and I are still together and still in Bang Kapi but ... she is now Sister Training Leader. This is a new leadership position that missions around the world are still trying to figure out. It's kinda like Zone Leader but for the Sisters. And Sister Orchard and Sister Wiganda (the other Sister Training Leader) cover all of Bangkok so 3 or 4 zones. Sister Orchard does not feel ready but I'm excited for her. She is an amazing missionary and a great leader. Of course, with this new responsibility, our lives will be effected greatly. She and I will be going on a lot of switch offs with other Sister missionaries in all of Bangkok. Lots of traveling lays ahead. Also because she is now Sister Training Leader, I have relieved her as English leader in our district. English leader just is in charge of English class for our district so it's not a big deal. I'm super excited for Sister Orchard. She will do amazingly. And she will probably be STL until she goes home which isn't till February. She has a lot of time and she will do a lot of good.
Transfer meeting did bring some other changes to our life as well. First off, transfers are now 9 weeks long instead of 6 weeks. This way the mission matches up with how long missionaries are in the MTC.
Next change: President white-washed Bang Kapi again with our District Leader and his companion. This is actually really nice because apparently our previous district leader was not the most proactive (I didn't realize because he was my first district leader). Things should be really great with Elder Haughton (DL) and Elder Wheeler.
What else is there? Ooh! Miracles are always fun to talk about. :)
On Tuesday we were low on time but we had to mail something at the post office. When we got to the post office and got our number, there was a long wait as per usual. The tellers were on about 603 and our number was 636. Miracle time. A guy was leaving the post office and gave us his number: 604.
Next miracle was after English class. We were headed to 7-11 to get some drinks and passed one of our students (a quiet old man). He then apparently followed us into English class. There was a lot of lack of communication or understanding because neither Sister Orchard nor I knew what was going on but he bought our stuff for us. And then he just left. He just wanted to buy our stuff for us. He didn't want any thanks or anything like that. He didn't want a big conversation. He just wanted to be really nice. Compare his generosity to the man I told you about at the beginning of this letter.
The 3rd and 4th miracles happened yesterday. I know there were a lot of other miracles throughout the week but these are the ones I can remember right now. Don't worry, I wrote the rest down in my journal. But so, on Saturday we kept on trying to get in contact with Sister Ning but she didn't answer any of our phone calls--very unlike her. Sunday she didn't come to church. Sister Orchard felt prompted for us to go visit her with Sister Yoo. Only probably, Sister Yoo didn't have a bike and Sister Ning lived too far away to walk. So we had to take a bus. The miracle was that both there and back, the bus people gave us a free ride. We still didn't have to spend any money on Sunday. The second miracle was that we were an answer to Sister Ning's prayers. She wasn't feeling well and had been praying for us to come visit her. It was really cool. :)
We have to start moving soon so I will close this letter. I love you all very very much and I love hearing from you all even though I don't always have time to respond. Much love from this side of the world!
P.S I'm glad Mommy and Daddy enjoyed their birthdays. And Jon and Rachel as well. :)
P.S.S: Did you know that I am about 12 hours ahead of you?