Monday, September 30, 2013

Bangkapi Letter--September 23, 2013

Heya Fam!
Is it really the 23rd already? How can that be? I was positive that it just barely turned September. I've been warned a lot that the longer you are on a mission, the faster it goes. That scares me because I haven't been out long and it is already flying by. On Sunday I was thinking about where I was in life and about choices that brought me to this point. I realized one of the blessings of a mission is that you know you are in the exact spot you are supposed to be because you don't choose your location, God does. I was at church in Bangkapi in Thailand. There was literally no better place for me to be in at that moment. It's super cool to think about.
The other amazing thing about yesterday was that Sister Jane and Sister Jeep got baptized!!!!!!!!! =D That in and of itself is a miracle. Prior to them getting a date, they kept on saying that their mom wouldn't be okay with them getting baptized. And even before that, only Jane was interested in the gospel - not Jeep. And yesterday they both got baptized and their mom was even able to come and support them. It was so amazing. As cliché as it is, they looked heavenly in their white baptismal dresses. I wanted to cry I was so happy for them. They are so excited to eventually be able to go to the temple and become missionaries too. Last night they helped us go inviting. They were great and loved doing. What better way to celebrate their baptism than by them wanting to share the gospel with others? I love being a missionary.
Everything is going really well here. Last night when we went inviting I talked to a lot of farongs. It is so hard sharing the gospel in English. I can do it in Thai and I don't feel awkward but in English? I kept on wanting to speak in Thai. One of those farongs is now a new investigator though so I couldn't have done that badly. He's curious about the gospel. He gave me his number so I could get him a Book of Mormon in English. He said he couldn't promise that he would believe but he also couldn't promise that he wouldn't. I have high hopes for Brent. Even if we were are just planting seeds for future missionaries, I'm happy.
What else has happened this week?
I absolutely love my new scriptures so thank you again.
Two benefits of seminary that I discovered: I was planning activities for Showcase (kind of like a party for English class; it's tomorrow night) and I was able to adapt some seminary games to my benefit. We aren't actually going to play those games but it was really relieving to know that I had more options available than I had thought.
Benefit #2: Seminary taught me how to study the scriptures really well. I love the scriptures so much more when I am studying the verses than when I am just reading them. This morning I was applying some methods we did in seminary: focusing on the prepositions, seeing how often a phrase is repeated, cross-references, etc. It really helps me get more out of the scriptures. So thanks :)
To Dad's question about the pictures: I can print pictures that I take on my camera but that's it. So if it is possible for you to send printed pictures, I would absolutely love it. And just the normal size would be great. Pictures of ancestors, pictures of family, pictures of what you all have been up to, pictures of friends, pictures of when I was a kid, pictures of the temple, anything really. People really like to look at picture here and I like it too. :)
To Mom's comment about the importance of families in the scriptures: it's amazing how important families are to the Lord. Families have been hit really hard here in Thailand. There are a lot of single mothers. President Senior says about 85% (or 95%, I can't remember) of the members in Thailand are the only members in their family. We are starting to work with part-member families more now. It's really hard on people when they don't have a strong happy family to lean on. I think maybe that's why the ward is really like a family here in Thailand. Church is where they feel comfortable. Church is where they feel at home. It's really amazing how strong these people are. It makes me so grateful to have been raised the way I was. Mommy and Daddy, thank you so much for being strong in the gospel and loving each other so much. And for letting us kids know that you loved each other and loved us. Thank you so so so so so sosososososososo much.
To Delsa's letter: I love the idea of going TV (and the like) free for a week. I used to think the computer and Internet were really important pre-mish (as showed by me being on it a lot) but it's so freeing to never go on the Internet (except to email) while on a mission. It shows me what's important. And I love that your girls reacted so well to it. Go Audrey and Rachel! Also, everyone here thinks that Rachel looks like a young Dakota Fanning (or whatever her name is - that actress in a lot of children's movies).
To Lorri's pictures: Your son is absolutely adorable and I love him. I'm excited to hug him one day :)
Another miracle from this week: When Sister Orchard and I were finishing up tracting for the day on Friday, a girl came up to us, wanting to talk to us. She said that she wanted to be Christian and could she please have our number. We were very happy to oblige. Apparently her brother is a less active. What makes this even more amazing is that prior to that, we were asked to focus on 3 less actives or non-members who could receive the Melchizedek Priesthood by next February. I think Heavenly Father was telling us someone He wanted us to work with. Another miracle (because I love sharing these stories) from yesterday. There is a member who we work with a lot who, for a while, was dancing on the line of inactivity. He is 20 years old. Apparently before he got baptized he used to be a really not great guy but has shaped up a lot since then. He has an amazing testimony but is also currently going through a lot of trials. His parents aren't active even though they were the ones who introduced him to the church. We work with him a lot and he loves to help us teach. We're buds. For the last month we have called him every Sunday to wake him up so he can be on time to take the sacrament. He hasn't been on time in soo long and still hasn't. But here comes the miracle. Lat Prao is currently splitting off from Bangkapi and so is starting to hold church service a couple hours after Bangkapi does. Jane and Jeep were giving talks in Lat Prao so we went to support. And we brought this member with us. And he was able to take the sacrament. Woohoo! I was so excited.
On a related note, something I am learning on my mission is that church attendance is so important. Investigators improve so much after attending church. Once they realize the importance and after they make the attempt to go, they progress so much faster. The sacrament is so vital. It is so so so vital. If people want to understand this religion, they need to go to church and take the sacrament. Partaking of the sacrament is one of the most important things we can do in this life because it renews our baptismal covenant with Heavenly Father. I love the sacrament sooo much. So much.
Um... I think that's pretty much it for last week. It rains basically every day here. I love it. I love chocolate milk too. It's great. And pineapple. Fresh pineapple is heavenly. And yesterday a member made a salad for after church (there is a linger-longer every Sunday) and I was so happy. It was so good. I love salads. They aren't spicy and they don't have rice or noodles. I love rice and noodles but salads are happy breaks.
Much love!!!!! =D
~Sister Slaugh

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