Monday, September 9, 2013

Bangkapi letter dated 9/9/2013

Hey fam!
So....I guess I'll answer questions first:
*Still haven't gotten the scriptures. I'm sure they come soon though. [Abbie's scriptures were stolen from her bike. We mailed new ones August 9, to the mission office.]
*Christmas? Wow that seems far away. My only current thought is Peanutbutter M&Ms. Haha :)

And that's it for questions... I think
[Seminary started this morning, 5:45 a.m.  Debra had asked Abbie to give a welcome to the kids in Seminary for this morning.]  As for seminary, I am very very grateful I attended and paid attention during it. It is so important for missionaries to have a firm understanding of the scriptures. How can you bear testimony of a book you haven't studied? How do you hope to learn of Christ if you don't read His words or the words of His prophets? In all honesty, I have had to explain scriptures or other aspects of the gospel that I would not have been able to without seminary. Like about Jewish culture. Or about the Isaiah chapters. Seminary made the scriptures more real for me. It's so much easier to teach these stories and these principles because I know them. I know them and I know they are true. Seminary is mission and life training. On a mission, you study the scriptures for about an hour every day. Seminary taught me how to study the scriptures and taught me to love the scriptures. Because of that, I always look forward to personal study. But seminary isn't just about preparing for the future. I truly believe that I couldn't have gotten through high school without seminary. It gave me the strength to defend and live my standards. It helped me be happy. I realized the reason I was so happy in high school was because of seminary. In all honesty, that is the reason. In college I was not as bubbly and that was because I didn't start my day off with the scriptures. On my mission I do, and I am as cheerful as I was in high school. So moral of the story, everyone should go to seminary.

On a related note, everyone should read the scriptures every day. There are three things we stress with every investigator, recent convert, less active, and other members: the importance of praying often, reading daily, and going to church (sacrament meeting) weekly. Those are the key to having a testimony. I firmly believe that if people are doing those things, they will gain a testimony of Jesus Christ and they will know that the Book of Mormon is true. Agency is so important to God - the whole war in Heaven was all about agency. The only way to have agency is to have knowledge. The only way to gain knowledge about this religion is via praying to our loving Heavenly Father, reading His words - the scriptures, and partaking of the sacrament and renewing our covenants with Him. Sorry about that little rant. I just wish people realized that the Sunday School answers truly are the answers to everything in life. :)
So this week. It started off with a trip to the crocodile farm with all the Sister missionaries in the zone. Super fun! I held a baby tiger, fed a crocodile, and rode an elephant. My life is basically complete. 
Tuesday we went on yet another switch-off. It was fun though. My companion was Thai which was a lot of fun. It was a good boost of my confidence with Thai because she understood everything I said and I understood her. Of course, when your ego gets high, the fall hurts. A recent convert called (we work with her a lot) and asked me to have Sister Orchard call her back because she can't understand me when I talk. And when we were teaching an investigator, they had my companion resay everything I said. The funny thing is that she often said it the same way I did. Yup. But I know my Thai is improving and reading is so much easier now. 
Wednesday was an interesting day. It felt like it didn't even happen. Bangkapi is a fantastic ward but it too has problems. Understandably, the young women are fascinated with the farong Elders. [farong = foreigner] However, this is causing a serious problem. Sister Orchard, our two Elders, and myself had a meeting a couple of days ago and basically made a battle plan of how to deal with the situation. Since then, things have gotten remarkably better. So no worries. 
Speaking of our Elders, they are great. We have been working with them a lot and visiting members together. It's been a lot of fun and really good. The Elders are hilarious but also really great workers. Elder Wheeler is from Idaho and Elder Haughton is from California. Bangkapi has improved a lot since they came here. 

So the miracle of the week was yesterday. Saturday night was a hard night (Sister Orchard's wallet is either lost or stolen - we have not given up on it yet though) so we weren't able to plan for Sunday. I was expecting Sunday to be a hard day because of the lack of planning. It was actually amazing. I have never felt so taken care of by God before. He took care of us so much yesterday. A former investigator brought a new investigator to church. Other investigators asked us to teach them. Afterward a member asked us to visit her dad. The bishop came to that as well and afterward he asked if we wanted to visit some members with him. There was another female with us so we did. Afterward the stake relief society president (Bangkapi is her home ward) invited us for dinner and the past relief society president for Bangkapi just happened to be there too. We had been planning on visiting those two for a while now. Literally the entire day was a total miracle. God took us by the hand and guided the entire day. It was so amazing. He truly is involved in this work. He is working harder than anyone else in this work. Last week when Sister Orchard and I were tracting, we ran into two less actives. Total miracle. We didn't know who they were - we were just saying hello to everyone we saw and they identified themselves as members. Those LA's are starting to come back to church. It is so humbling to be a servant of the Lord. We are doing nothing. He is doing all the work - leading us, putting us in the right spot, telling us what to say, everything. It is so amazing. 
So that is all for this week. God truly does have a role in everyone's lives. The more you look for His loving influence, the more you will see. 
I love you all very very very very very much!! =D
~Sister Slaugh
P.S: I am so excited for General Conference!!!!!!!!! =D

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