Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chiang Mai Letter--October 21, 2013

Sister Slaugh's subject title was "Third transfer. Third area."

Yup, I have moved yet again. And Sister Yim is now training. Yay :) So when I left Sister Orchard, she started training again and now that I left Sister Yim, she started training too. So yeah, third area. I'm pretty sure my companions from the MTC are still in their first area. 

I am currently in Chiang Mai with Sister Zatarain. I absolutely love it. And I love her so much. She is so amazing. Unfortunately she is finishing her mission in about 3 or 4 weeks (mid-transfer -> it's a long story). No one really knows what will happen then but I'm really hoping I won't move again. There might be another mini transfer when she leaves and there might be new missionaries coming in. No one really knows yet but I'll keep you posted. But yeah, she is so amazing. She's from Texas and says y'all a lot. It's fun. She is absolutely amazing at Thai and is an amazing missionary. The fact that she has less than a month left has not negatively affected her work. If anything, it motivated her to end strong. She is really fun and really enjoyable to be around. She loves joking around and laughing but she still works hard. Randomly during the day she starts speaking to me in Thai. That's actually really nice because then we have a nice little conversation in Thai. That helps me "think" in Thai more and be more comfortable talking to people in Thai. I don't need to take as long to figure out how to say stuff anymore. Thai is becoming a lot more natural. The only downside: talking to people (besides my companion) in English is super odd. Chiang Mai has so many farongs and a lot of the Branch members speak English. Some of them can't speak Thai. It feels really weird talking to them in English - like normal English, not simplified for people are speaking it as a second language. Speaking straight up English with people that aren't other missionaries is soo weird. My brain gets kinda confused. :) 

I feel like my Thai has improved a lot as well. The day before I left Srinakarin, the APs (assistants to the president) called Sister Wiganda to have her help out with taking the new missionaries coming in out contacting. Clarification: the first day missionaries come in to Thailand, the mission president likes having them go out with a more experienced missionary and give out a Book of Mormon. The APs called Sister Wiganda so her companionship (herself and Sister Bentley), my companionship (with Sister Yim) and another companionship that was staying at our house for the night (Sister Sararat and Sister Muller) went to Asoke to help out. It was fun. It reminded me when I was the first day I came into country. In three or four months, I have improved drastically. People can understand me (most of the time :)) and I can hold conversations fairly well. Reading in Thai has gotten easier. I've started reading the scriptures in Thai during personal study instead of just the English scriptures. One of the teachers in the MTC said that the sooner you can receive revelation from reading the Thai scriptures, the better. It's still really hard but the sooner I start, the sooner I will be able to do it. The members say I speak "chat," meaning very well and having good pronunciation. Of course, that being said, as soon as you start to see how much you've improved, Heavenly Father reminds you how much you still have to go and that none of that was possible without Him. Before church on Sunday (church starts at 1 here) I was calling people from English that said they were interested learning about the gospel. One guy asked to meet with us because he couldn't understand what I was saying and he was confused. Haha it was really funny though slightly sad. But hey, he came to the church and was actually interested in the gospel. Heavenly Father used that instance to keep me humble and to get one of His sons to church. It was great. 

So what else happened this week? Oh, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARBIE!!!!!! =D 

I guess I should explain a little about traveling to Chiang Mai. We took a bus - kinda like those Charter buses in the US but less nice. The bus ride was about 8 or 9 hours long. We left about 9:15pm (the earliest tickets we could get) and got to the Chiang Mai around 7am...ish. I don't really remember. Luckily we were able to sleep on the bus so it wasn't too bad. All my years practicing sleeping in the car during road trips have paid off :) Chiang Mai is north of Bangkok. A lot of missionaries call it heaven because during the hot season, it is one of the coolest areas (not cold, but cooler than Bangkok). Also the air is a lot cleaner. If Bangkok is like New York (city wise), Chiang Mai is like Scotch Plains or probably Westfield. It is really touristy too though (which is kinda fun). So many farongs. I have decided that going home is going to be hard because it's so weird seeing so many farongs. But anyway, back to traveling. My bike never made it to transfer meeting (still in storage at the office) so the Office Elders said they would send it to Chiang Mai for me. It should get here around Tuesday. That actually made it easier to travel. 

Yup...what else? That's so cool that Andrew is entering the MTC this week! He is going to love it. A mission is so amazing. Soooo amazing. 

Um... miracle of this week: Heavenly Father really does answer prayers. It'll take too long to explain the situation (I have about 5 minutes left on the computer) so I'll just explain what I learned. A prayer made in faith truly has a lot of power. Sometimes all you can do in a situation is pray your heart out and then get up off your knees and work really hard. That's when miracles happen. And it is so evident that the results have nothing to do with you. Nothing you did had anything to do with the result. But God sees your effect and your desire and where your heart is and He helps out. I love the saying "Pray as if everything depended on the Lord and work as if everything depended on you." It's a fantastic method. On my mission I have learned to rely on the Lord so much, more than I ever have before. My prayers have changed and I love it. There is a lot of power and peace that comes from putting all of your trust in the Lord. I mean, He is all-powerful and all-knowing and loves you sooooooo much, why wouldn't you trust Him? 

Um... I guess that's it for this week. I love you all very much and am praying for you all. Have a great week!!! =D
~Sister Slaugh <3

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