Friday, February 14, 2014

Chiang Mai Letter--February 10, 2014

well hello there. :)
Um...hi =D

Let's see. This week has been really good. I mean, I still can't bike because of my knee and standing for a long time hurts and now I have a very annoying cold but still, this week has been really good.

Monday we PLAYED WITH TIGERS!!!!! =D It was fun. And by play, I mean took pictures with and laid on. Not much playing. But one of the baby tigers did try to eat Sister Woodbury's skirt. It was super funny. Don't worry, no harm came to the skirt.

Tuesday was the usual story. Most of our investigators are free in the morning so we have to rearrange our study time to teach time. But then studies don't always get done. It's a somewhat difficult balancing act: study or teach. Both are super important and have to get done. It just takes a lot of determination to actually do everything. :) Before English class we taught Golf, an investigator currently struggling with smoking. We had two members help us. A man, Brother Niwat -who has overcome addictions himself- and Sister Caterina. Caterina is an American who is learning Thai. We invited her in the lesson because we needed a female member with us and because she is a convert herself. It was actually really cool having her. When Brother Niwat was speaking, the Spirit was really strong. Caterina said that even though she had absolutely no idea what he was saying, she was captivated. She could tell it was super important and powerful. You don't need to understand the language to feel the Spirit. :)

Wednesday: Taught a lot today. After I go through my week, I'm planning on giving you little bios of the current investigators.

Thursday: Taught Mike (the monk) again! He is soooooo cool! :) We also watched Finding Faith in Jesus Christ with Sister May (another investigator). She's Buddhist and doesn't know much about Christ. She started crying during the video. It was actually really cool - not that we made her cry but because she was feeling the Spirit. I MET .... um...I have no idea how to spell her nickname in English. She's the girl Lorri told me to look for. Her name means ant. She's a missionary now. She was so excited when I said I was Lorri's younger sister because Lorri taught her. I couldn't spend a lot of time talking to her but I got a picture with her and will definitely be seeing her again.

Friday: We called a TON of less actives on Friday. Neither Sister Ng nor myself were feeling well enough to go inviting (Sister Ng was having a lot of back pains and it hurts my leg to stand or walk for that long). We found a lot of member records and started calling. We put on some church movies (The Restoration and Finding Faith in Jesus Christ) on in the background. These are movies that we show investigators so they are only 20-30 minutes long. We listened to them over and over in many different languages just so we could have some background noise. It was my first time watching The Restoration in English. SOOOOOO weird. The words and mouth movements actually match up.

Saturday: So Saturday. I woke up and felt super sick. I tried going about the usual day but then I was coughing a lot and just obviously sick. Sister Hughes and Sister Ng put me on bed rest and banned me from leaving the house. They also called Sister Senior (who is in charge of the health of all the missionaries) and she also told me to sleep. I slept basically the entire day. I felt a lot better afterwards but I still have a cold. But, I am well enough to work so I am happy. :) On Saturday, Sister Hughes spent most of the day with me because she was feeling sick as well. On Sunday, Sister Hughes was talking to President Senior and he said that our entire house needs to take a nap today. Don't worry, I am taking care of myself. Lots of herbal tea and enough sleep each night. And medicine. So no need to worry. :)

Sunday. Mana got the Holy Ghost! This is a miracle because beforehand she didn't think she was going to be able to come to church today. She just left right after sacrament meeting. Some of the less active members who we've been working with came to church too. Yes victory! Wii got baptized too!!! She is such a cute little 19 year old. She looks like she is 14 or 15.

Today: Still have the cold but it's getting better. :) This morning we had house companionship study (we discuss what we studied personally) because we don't have to prepare for any lessons because none of us have lessons today (preparation day). I painted my nails while talking. Purple sparkly fingers with hot pink neon toes. I feel like this would never fly in the states but in Thailand it is totally acceptable. I have acquired some very fun earrings here in Thailand that I wear quite often (don't worry, President Senior has seen them and has also complimented them) that I am excited to show you guys. Those gold fish bone earrings you sent fit in perfectly. :) But do not worry, all in all, I make sure I have a very professional appearance. I just also have some fun with it. :)
Today we are planning on going to a mountain and dressing up in mountain tribe attire. I don't really know how to describe their clothes. Maybe google Chiang Mai hill tribe people. lots of stripes and fluffy ball things. I'll send pictures next week.

So....investigators!!! =D

Mana just got the Holy Ghost so she technically isn't an investigator any more. She has been Christian for two years but when she moved here from Bangkok she didn't know which church to enter.

May is 16 and Buddhist. She lives on her own and ended school (dropped out?) and works to support herself. She has passed by the church for 5 months but has always thought it was so quiet. Then we changed our contacting method. :) She absolutely loves learning about Christ and is ready to change everything about her life to keep the commandments. Yay =D

Wii has been Christian since she was a child but has always been curious about why there are so many different sects. Shouldn't Christ only have one church? Which sect is the most right and can best help her return to heaven?

Golf is technically no longer our investigator because he moved to Udorn (however you spell it) last week. He's about 38 and has been smoking since he's been 15. We met him on the street and asked him if he wants to learn about how to be cleansed from sin and do you want to quit smoking. He's great.

Rich. He's in his late 20s. He wants to learn the truth from those that know. We told him that we can teach him the truth but he has to be willing to pray for himself to know if it is really true. He asks SO MANY questions. It's great but sometimes I feel like he focuses too much on the small details. One of his first questions (after we explained the Godhead): "Will the Holy Ghost get a body? If so, when? Is the Holy Ghost a son of God too?" I mean, I know the answers (kinda) but wow. No one else has asked those questions before. He still has a lot of questions but it is fun answering them. I love teaching people. You can see the truth change them.

Bob is in his late 30s. He runs a food place (not restaurant but...I don't know how to explain it) and is super busy all the time. It's a family restaurant and since he is the oldest son...well, when we asked him if he has any dreams or plans for the future he said he didn't. He really wants to know the truth and he feels trapped in his life with no way out.

Mike. We love Mike. Mike is our monk friend. He is 23 and is only a monk because he doesn't have enough money to go to school otherwise. In Thailand, in the parents are really poor, they can send their children to be monks so that schooling is either free or cheaper. He loves learning about the Book of Mormon and says that he will stop being a monk next year and he can get baptized then. We're thinking that if we can help him find a job, maybe he can stop being a monk sooner. :)

Pok. We just met him yesterday at the front of the church. He said that he used to worship Satan (he showed me his tattoo on his arm. I believe him when he says he used to worship Satan) but then a year ago he read about Christ and felt really good (Yay Spirit!). He hasn't known how start learning about Christ but he is willing to change his life to follow Christ. He says in a little he will be able to get a day off from work and he will ask for it to be on Sunday. Yay! =D

These are our main investigators right now. We have others but these are the ones we see regularly. Teaching is sooooooooo much fun! I feel like on a mission, I haven't learned complex things about the gospel but I have learned soooo much about the basics. The basics are so important. It's like what Coach Ray always said: "Go back to the basics." You need to master the basics before you can go on to the more complex aspects of anything. You can do as many fancy tricks as you want but if your basics aren't solid, there is a high chance you will fall and or mess up. President Senior has asked us to study the gospel of Christ everyday: Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It is really amazing. You will never get to a point where you know everything in this church. If you feel like you know a lot, start studying the basics. There is always so much more to learn.

So yeah. I second Coach Ray: Go back to the basics. Study and master the basics. That is what will support you in life. :)

OH! Mom, about your brother's friend's daughter. Here are some hints from me about shoes. Crocs. Or sandals like that. In Thailand, rubber shoes truly are the best and all the sisters wear them. Do not bring a lot of red or yellow. The situation might change by the time she comes out here but currently missionaries are not allowed to wear any red or yellow (because of the political issues). Don't stress about learning Thai before the MTC. Start reading through Preach My Gospel. I'll think of some more tips of the trade during this week and I'll let you know. Also, I agree with who ever said that President Senior is the man. He is SOOOOOO amazing in every way. Sister Senior as well.

Other notes:

* It's kinda funny knowing that Joe had geckos in my room. There are geckos in our house (and room) all the time...but they are not pets nor necessarily wanted. =D (we had a guest staying with us for a week)

* I am sorry Barbie that you think I angered the Winter gods. The weather here in Thailand has been...well, I would say but Delsa told me I wasn't allowed to talk about the weather in Thailand when in is winter in the states. :)

*I LOVE the house quilt! It is soooooo cute!!!! =D

*I talked in sacrament meeting two Sundays ago. About repentance. I have never liked speaking and still don't like it. I love teaching. Teaching is great. Speaking...nope.

*I'm glad you have corrupted Joe to like the Scripture Scouts. He sounds like an acceptable little brother.

*Thank you soooooo much for serving others!!! It is something that a lot of members need to learn how to do. I am soooo grateful that you guys do it so willingly. =D

*It's cool knowing that you guys are focusing on tithing at home (stake) too. In order to get a temple, we need 4 stakes (aka BAPTISMS) and priesthood holders that pay tithing.

Well, I love you all!!!!!! =D
~Sister Slaugh

Chiang Mai Letter--February 3, 2014

This past Saturday was Sister Hughes' and my half-way point mission wise. We are celebrating it today by going to the Tiger Kingdom and tomorrow by doing some more lanterns. It's super weird thinking that I am half-way in my mission. Let's just say Sister Slaugh has had a lot of reflection time over this past week. I read some old journal entries. From the perspective of all of you sitting at home, have I changed at all?

I absolutely love my mission and I am going to tell you some of the reasons why (there are many more reasons than these but I don't have time to list them all):

1. I am serving God. Think about it. Missionaries are representatives of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. We have been called to bear the message of the gospel (the atonement) to all the world. We cry repentance on the streets (literally) and invite all to wash away their sins through the proper authority of God and prepare to return home to heaven. It's a pretty epic calling.

2. I get to see people change their lives. I have seen people addicted to drugs become free, people lost with no direction or hope in life find their Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I have seen countenances of people change as they listen to us tell about the restoration or about the plan of salvation. This gospel is not just gee wiz information to store away for some future time period. This gospel has the ability to change lives. It has the ability to save lives! We should not be scared in sharing it.

3. I have learned how to pray. Obviously, I've known how to pray since before I can even remember but now I know how to pray with my whole soul. I know how to pour out all my thoughts and feelings to my Heavenly Father who I know hears and answers my prayers. I know that my prayers have power, even if I can't see the results immediately. I have learned how to counsel with the Lord. Admittedly, not all my prayers are super sincere and sometimes I still do my quick prayers before bed but still, I have learned how to receive answers from God. Often times I feel like I have two forces pulling me in different directions (and I can't tell which force is good or bad) but I know that through prayer, the path can be made clear. I am soooooo grateful for the opportunity to counsel with our loving Heavenly Father in all times and in all places. I know He hears and answers our prayers. Every prayer, every word said, is important to Him and He loves us soooo very much.

4. I have learned about Christ's atonement. Christ's atonement is not just when we sin. It is for when we are sad, hurt, confused. It is for when we made a mistake and want to turn back. It is for when we are doing good but want to be doing better. Christ's atonement is for all these things. We just have to start where we are, be it in utter disbelief in the existence of a God, in a sinful state not knowing how to return, in a wounded state because of the actions of others, in a confused state not knowing where the truth is, or in a happy state wanting to continue to improve. Whatever state or situation we are in, the atonement can and will help us if we let it. God and Jesus Christ want to help us sooooo badly. They love us. Why is it that sometimes we don't accept their help?

5.I have learned to love the scriptures. Please, everyone, please read the scriptures. Open them daily. There literally is a power that enters our lives when we read and ponder the scriptures. There is never a good excuse as to why you didn't read the scriptures. You may have to sacrifice 5 minutes of Facebook or 5 minutes of watching TV. No matter what it takes, read the scriptures every day. The Book of Mormon is true. Think about that statement. True. Truth. What is truth? The Book of Mormon is the most true book. This book is how we draw closer to God. The Bible too. How important is our loving Heavenly Father to us? Can we sacrifice 5 minutes for the Being that created us and for His son who sacrificed His life for us? Haha sorry about this rant (this is for everyone but kinda focused on the seminary students because Mom told me they aren't all reading their scriptures every day). :) I have worked with many less-actives during these last 7 months. One of the first questions we ask them (after all those usual pleasantries) is about their scripture reading. (They don't) Then we ask about their prayers. (Sometimes if they need help) Since they are less active, they obviously aren't going to church. If you know this church is true, if you believe this church is true, if you hope this church is true, if you want to know if this church is true, or if you think this church is satanic, please read the Book of Mormon. Anything and everything depends on this book. The Prophet reads the Book of Mormon every day. It doesn't matter how long you have been a member or how long your family has been a member, you individually and personally need to read the Book of Mormon every day. :) Please study and ponder them. Dude, the monk reads the Book of Mormon (not everyday but we are working on that:)).

6. Other reasons include that I am meeting some of my life-time friends, I am learning an amazing language, I am eating delicious food, etc. =D

Um that was my week... Oh wait. There is one more thing I probably should tell you but, before I do, I need to tell you a story. :)
So Thursday was Sister Ng's birthday. She doesn't like Thai food so we (we four Sisters) were going to eat fancy for lunch and dinner. Lunch time we ate at the Duke's. I had a burger. It has been 7-9 months since I've last had a good burger. It was heavenly :) For dinner we were going to go a mall. An hour before we were going to go, Sister Ng had a feeling that we shouldn't. Weird, huh? She didn't understand why she would want to eat Thai food on her birthday but she felt very distinctly that if we went to the mall, something bad would happen. Let's just say Sister Slaugh is super grateful that Sister Ng listened to the Spirit. So we went to a nearby place to eat. I was dismounting (my ususal method is what Stu taught me as a kid - have both legs on one side as you are braking) and braking at the same time as I always do. Only problem is that my brake jammed and so my bike stopped short. Without warning, I was given a very quick lesson in flying. Unfortunately I am not a bird and therefore, fly I can not. So, time for the miracles. Because we went nearby, there were no cars. If we went to the mall, there would have been a lot of cars and very very very likely, I would have been hit. Also, only my right knee got scratched up. Nothing else. Well, okay, I broke a nail and my watch got a little scratched up but that's it. Nothing else. No damage to my helmet. No damage to my clothes (except a little blood from my knee). No other damage to my arms or neck or anything. Just my knee. I've replayed the accident in my head many times and tried to figure out the physics of the situation. Nope, it doesn't work. So yeah. God really does protect His missionaries. He knew my brake was going to jam so He had us go to a situation where it would hurt the least. And then He also helped me not get hurt as bad as I should have. I would attach some pictures but the USB drive on this computer is broken. Next week. It's about the size of my palm (fingers not included) and oh so pretty. So it's been a couple days and my knee is getting better. I still can't bike and I can't bend that knee too much. But I still was able to play volleyball for an hour or two the next day. ;) I can still wobble around and do missionary work. So all in all, I'm great. It doesn't hurt too much either except when I try to bend my knee or I accidentally hit it against the desk. :)

Let's see, what else is there?
Yesterday Mana (our investigator of two months) got baptized!!!!!!! Yay! =D

We have a great relationship with the Elders. We haven't pranked them this week because they haven't gotten us back but they (Elder Nirut and Elder Wheeler) tease us (mostly me) all the time. When asked why, these are their reasons: Elder Nirut knows I have the inability to get mad so he feels like it is fair game. Elder Wheeler says he considers me his little sister because we have served together for about 6 months (I have only been in Thailand for about 7). So don't worry Stu, I'm still getting plenty of brotherly teasing here in the mission. Delsa asked about the food.'s pretty much the same. Lots of stir-fry. Lots of rice and noodles. Bugs when the members bring it on Sunday (that's another picture I need to send you). I usually only eat chicken and pork here.
Food that is hard to get: burgers and pizza. Good Italian food doesn't really exist. That's very hard for someone from New Jersey. No bagels. Um...yeah. I'll start taking pictures of some of my meals so you can see them. I forget that Thai food isn't common in America.


Chiang Mai Letter--January 27, 2014

Hi again! =D
Let's see, what is there to report this week?
I am sorry about the weather there. If it makes you feel better, Chiang Mai has been cold again too. Not your level of cold but cool enough that I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. Yeah. Sorry about all the snow. :)

This week has been soooooo good. At least, from what I remember, it has been so good. Last Monday we went to a really pretty Buddhist temple on a mountain. I'll have to send you the pictures next week if I don't have time today.

Tuesday: Taught Mana (investigator). We've been teaching her for the last two months. She is getting baptized this Sunday (she decided this herself). She is really excited even though she still has a ton of questions. I'm excited for her to get the gift of the Holy Ghost so that she can get help with all her questions.
English class was good as usual. I love my students. I really like teaching small classes because you can have really good conversations. And the program is improving too.

Wednesday: Taught Mana and Amy. Amy is an interesting lady. She reminds me of a lot of Bible stories because she told us that she had lots of experiences in her past with evil spirits. Teaching her is interesting. It was cool to be able to promise her that God is stronger than all those spirits. They are more afraid of us than we should be of them because we have bodies and therefore have more power than them. The Book of Mormon can protect her if she reads it every day.
ALSO!! Guess what! I taught a monk! :) His name is Mike and he has been coming to english class for a while (with some of his other monk friends). He is friends with one of our other investigator (Bob) and was standing nearby while we were setting up an appointment to teach Bob. Bob asked Mike if he wanted to learn too. Mike said yes. So Wednesday night we taught them both. We started teaching them together but somehow the lessons split. I taught Mike with Tuu (a member) and Sister Ng taught Bob with Ry (a member). Mike is sooooo cool! He has so many questions about the plan of salvation. He is so curious. He has read part of the New Testament before. We taught him about the purpose of this life, about the pre-mortal life, and about what is happening after this life. We taught him how to pray and he was totally willing and comfortable praying for us at the end of the lesson. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he was excited to study it. He is super cool. I'll keep you posted on any future lessons.

Thursday: Mana passed her baptismal interview. Yay! =D Amy didn't show up for her lesson. :( This actually happens a lot - investigators just not showing up for lessons. It's always exciting when they actually come for lessons. Had choir again. The choir depends soooo much on missionaries being there. It's hard. We are happy to help but they shouldn't need us.

Friday: Taught two amazing new investigators. Wii is a 19 and so cool. She is already Christian but totally seems to understand the Priesthood and is excited to be baptized again by one holding the authority of God. She is really interested in the idea of temple work for those who have passed on already. Gob is the investigator. We met him on the street Thursday night. He was smoking. He asked us baptism (we were inviting everyone to be cleansed from sin) and we told him and then asked if he wanted to quit smoking. He is also super cool. He is Buddhist but really wants to learn and change. He is willing to keep every commandment and has a goal to be baptized on the 15th of next month. Friday night we did not go to Sports Night but we went to a special FHE with some long-time members. One of the members is only free on Friday - hence the date change. It was a lot of fun. There were three families there. These families have been married in the temple and have been members for a long time. It reminded me a lot of home. It's a rare sight. I watched some of the siblings playing together and it reminded me soooooo much of our own family. It was a lot of fun but there may have been a little bit of homesickness involved. But it was sooooo much fun =D

Saturday. Taught Wii again. Taught a recent convert and a less active. And there was a baptism service that night. 5 people got baptized. It was cool! =D And our investigators went and really enjoyed it.

Sunday. Was really good. Choir preformed at a fireside. President Smith and his wife spoke. They were the mission president in Thailand before President Senior. It was really good. And church was good too. It's so nice going to church and seeing the members we love soo much.

Sister Ng and I love contacting (inviting) in front of the church. It is so nice. If people are interested, we teach them right then. And now more people know what the church is. There are people there. We teach about being cleansed from sin. It's fun. :)

Today we are going to another palace. We are excited. :) We are going with our entire district. Yeah district unity.

Also, in case anyone was wondering, things are great with the Elders. Last night told us that they really care.
So Sister Ng and I were done earlier and had the option of going home and planning or staying at the church and planning. We decided to stay at the church and plan for how to help our investigators and other members that we are working with. We went into the chapel because it is the closest thing we have to a temple (we really miss the temple). We talked for a long time and, apparently, looked very serious. The elders had looked into the chapel and were worried that something was wrong. Being elders and not knowing how to deal with possibly emotional females, they just waited outside of the chapel. They kept on asking the other sisters if anything was wrong. The other sisters kept on saying no (which is true). Those 6 missionaries had no reason to still be at the church but they were concerned about us so they stayed. And stayed. And stayed. Sister Dow (a member who is basically our mom) came in and told us that the elders were really worried (they did not ask her to do this). We came out (we were done anyway) and the missionaries were all just standing around talking to each other. Then we left and everyone else left too. I'm not a great story teller so I apologize. But, it was actually really endearing that they all cared so much. They were sooo concerned and it was kinda funny. Even though they don't know how to show it, they care which is nice to know. :)

Um...yeah. Don't worry, we have not gotten distracted by any pranks. Nothing really big happened this week and there are usually a couple of days in between. We sisters are taking a break because the elders have still not gotten us back (even though they have promised they would). I'll keep you posted. :) It's a lot of fun and we aren't letting this distract us from the work, don't worry.

Oh, Mom. So you said that you were teaching about Lamoni and his father. I love the conversion story of his father. I remember reading Alma 22:18 in my first area and it really hit me. How badly do we want to know God? How badly do we want to know our Father who loves us more than we can even imagine? Are we willing to give up all our sins to know God? All our sins, even the small ones. Even the ones that don't seem like a big deal and have been our companions for most of our life (like cursing or stuff life that). How badly do we want to know God? Are we willing to do as Lamoni's father and give away all our sins?  I love this chapter and this verse soooooo much!

Hope everything is well in the States. I love you all very much! =D Please continue praying for Thailand to get a temple soon (or at least one announced). The goal is to have one announced in this upcoming October conference. :)


Chiang Mai Letter--January 20, 1014

Dear Family,
I refuse to believe that we only have one more week of January. Where does the time go?
So this week. Well, fun stuff first. Wednesday evening we pranked the Elders (Wheeler and Nirut). We drew on their helmets with white-board markers. We were in choir when the Elders found the drawings (unicorns, hearts, and other girly stuff). When we next saw the elders, Elder Wheeler told me to keep my chin up. That obviously got me slightly worried. Guess what I found when I exited the church that evening. Not my bike if that was what you were thinking. Yup. The classic bike in a tree. They unlocked my bike (Elders have odd and slightly worrisome talents sometimes) and stuck it in a tree. I was super impressed. They changed my bike lock too so I had to go to their house (a 2 second walk from the church) to ask them what it was. The numbers they left the lock on was 5550. 5 in Thai is "ha" so my lock said "ha ha ha". Excellent job Elders. There happened to still be male members at the church so they got my bike down--they wouldn't let me help besides unlocking the bike. Skirts--they limit the things you can do. But don't worry, we have already gotten the elders back. :) Salty brownies. Don't worry, we didn't use the brownie mix you sent. Those brownies were made correctly and were happily eaten (and we shared with the Elders too). We bought another pack and used a small portion of it to give to the Elders. That was last night. I tried the brownies before giving them to the Elders (giving them a heart attack is not something I want to happen) and they are super salty. I am quite proud of myself. My companion thinks it's really funny when I try to prank people because they are always innocent pranks and I have the inability to lie.
We had another training this week (two of the assistants to the President and Sister Reedy, the sister training leader) which was really good. One of the things they talked to us about was being the elect in order to find the elect. I really liked that. Also, as missionaries, we are supposed to talk to everyone. Everyone. They said how we probably think we are talking to everyone we see but are we really? Afterwards Sister Ng and I went inviting with Sister Reedy and Sister Packard (her companion). Where you ask? In front of the church. To the people on the motorcycles driving by. Before I thought I was talking to everyone but while inviting I realized that there was a huge bunch of people we have never talked to - the motorcycle drivers. In Thailand, motorcycles are super common. It's like having a motorcycle in Thailand is like having a car in America - basically everyone does. So yeah, this new inviting method is a lot of fun. It's so much more convenient too. There is no travel time and if people are interested, you can teach them right then and there at the church. Super sweet. Something different about missionary work in Thailand and missionary work in America--in America you teach at people's homes, but in Thailand you teach at the church. There are always people at the church and the church is almost always open. I love it. But yeah, we have started teaching a lot of new people because of this method. Beforehand getting to teach a first lesson was super hard (people rarely show up to appointments or answer their phones) but now getting to teach a second lesson is hard (same reason). I prefer it this way though. Before, people didn't really know much about our beliefs--how much can you really tell them in 2 minutes? Now they know more (they just had a 20 minute lesson and tour of the church) so they can use their agency better. They have more knowledge and their decision is more on them. I am less accountable about their decision now. It's nice to know.
Um...what else?
I don't like Satan. He is really annoying and frustrating. A marvelous work is coming forth in Thailand (there is a temple coming) and obviously he doesn't like that. He is thrashing around trying to stop us but this is one rolling rock (cut out of the mountain without hands) that just cannot be stopped. It is amazing that despite all the trials and hardships happening right now, the work goes on and goes faster. Missionaries are having struggles. Our recent converts are getting hit so hard. We are meeting harder rejections more often. But still the works goes on and happily at that. Two of our strongest recent converts (one of 5 months and the other of 1) have been hit so hard lately with marriage issues and actual abuse. It's been so sad and so hard to see them have these struggles but they are so strong. So much stronger than so many people I know. They lean on the Lord so much. They trust Him. All they want to do is serve God and help as much as they can with the missionary work. They are so happy still. I mean, they are super sad because of all these problems but they have so much hope. We cry with them a lot but they are always comforting us. They are so strong. They have such strong faith and so much love. They are so amazing.
Um... what else? Our current investigators rock. One is super solid and is getting baptized next month on her birthday. She really wants to be a missionary. Another we just met last week. He came up to us and told us that he wanted to repent and cleansed from his sin but he didn't know how. Well, we can help you with that. I love it when they come up to you. And! He has been reading in his scriptures. That's super cool! There are some others like that too. Um... I would tell you about the rest of them but I don't have time. So I am going to close this and attach the picture of the bike. Going to another mountain today.
Oh, my new camera rocks too! I can actually see the pictures I'm taking. It's sweet. =D
~Sister Slaugh

Chiang Mai Letter--January 13, 2014

"I forgot I had a belly-button right here."

That gem of a quote is from my companion. You realize a lot of amazing things late at night and early in the morning. Two weeks ago, I bought a small notebook (Thai style so it's hilarious) that is serving as my quote book. There are a lot of beautiful gems in there because one, missionaries are crazy; two, missionaries are slowly loosing their ability to speak in English; and three, we four sisters are having a lot of fun together. Example. Last Tuesday Elder Wood tried to ask Sister Ng to say the closing prayer. In Thai, you say, "(To) Pray close, can you?" So what did he say in English? "Can you close the prayer?" So close, but sooooo far. :)

This week has been most excellent, at least in hindsight anyway. :)

Monday -> ZOO!!! So much fun! It's really big too. We love spending P-day with the other two sisters. It's a lot of fun. We could have gone elephant riding but it was super expensive and our branch president is taking us in a couple of weeks to go elephant riding. With him it will be cheaper, longer, and bare-back. We are excited. :) I fed some giraffes and some other animals but nothing too crazy. I asked some monkeys if they wanted to get baptized but none of them accepted. So sad, I know.

Tuesday -> We taught Brother ตุ๊ again. He has soooooooooooo many questions. We tried teaching about the Restoration but by the end we just had to stop. He asked a lot of questions technically about the Restoration but all those questions were really about the Plan of Salvation. He is slowly opening his heart more to learning the truth. After we taught him we had English class. My students are so much fun. It's still a small class (about 7 people) but that is super nice because we are able to help more. After English class we may have pranked the Elders. Nothing too big, just hiding their helmets in the trees. We didn't have much time to do anything big. We have some really good ideas though. Don't worry Mom, I am making sure none of these pranks are harmful, permanent, messy, time-consuming to fix, or would take time away from the work. We are being very smart about these pranks. Either on Tuesday or Wednesday (I can't remember which), Sister Hughes and Woodburry put stickers on two of the Elders' bikes. It was super funny when the Elders found them. Priceless reactions. :) The Elders haven't gotten us back yet but let's just say Sister Ng and I are very cautious. Aka double locking our bikes and locking our helmets to our bikes. :)

Wednesday -> Switch-off with another set of Sisters. Sister Reedy and Sister Packard are in our zone but not our district. Sister Reedy is the Sister Training Leader and is supposed to go on switch-offs every transfer with each companionship. It was really having nice two sets of Sisters in one area. Lots of work got done. :) We taught Brother ตุ๊ the Plan of Salvation. Let's just say it was really really really good that we had two really knowledgeable and strong members in that lesson. They really led the lessons just because he had soooo many questions. It was really good though.

Thursday -> Nothing too crazy happened this day. Just weekly planning and inviting as usual. A potential investigator helped us invite which was really fun. She is a saleslady and is super funny. And yeah, we aren't technically selling anything (salvation is free) and we don't really want to look like salespeople, but still. She had a lot of good suggestions. And it was a lot of fun.

Friday -> We ate lunch with a member that wants to be a missionary and then took her inviting. Super fun. Later that night was Sports Night! Super fun. This is the first time Chiang Mai has had it in a while (like maybe a couple of years?) so that was nice. We had volleyball, ping-pong (a game that Thai people love oh so very much), badminton, soccer (I think), basketball, and other random games. It was soooo much fun. :) Now we will have it every Friday night. They don't have Mutual here in Thailand so Sports Night kinda serves as Mutual but also as a way members and investigators can get to know each other.

Saturday -> Saturday was really busy lesson-wise which was very very very nice but that also meant we had no time to go contacting. Instead we bought some food storage. Like the letter from the mission home said, we are all very safe here. The Lord is protecting us and we have a lot of precautions in place. Nothing can stop this work from progressing. :)

Sunday -> I love Sundays. Sundays are always full of miracles and the Spirit. God really likes to hold back His miracles during the week (how is your faith, trust, patience, and endurance doing?) and pour them out to you on Sunday. I love Sundays. You get to see all the members that you love and consider family. You get to take the sacrament. You get to see your investigators begin to enter into the fold of Christ. You get to see the fruits of a week full of labor. And then you get to see all the unexpected miracles that God gives you. I love Sundays. Contacting was also really good too. We went for three hours (one before church and then two afterwards because our other appointments fell through) and it was really good. During the first hour we met two less active members and were even able to teach one of them. During the last two hours, not a single person we talked to was interested and available and from Chiang Mai but that was totally okay. I felt the Spirit really strongly the entire time. I love inviting. It is so much fun. You are inviting God's children to learn about Him and be cleansed from their sins. It feels really good to do that.

So yeah. Really quickly, my spiritual thought for the week (almost out of time so this will be short): Please read Mormon 8 and Mormon 9. Mormon 8 is to members of the church in this day and age. Mormon 9 is to the non-believers in this day and age. One of the reasons Sister Ng and I want to focus this transfer partially on strengthening the members is because if the ward and branch are not ready to receive new members, why would God lead His children to that branch? We as members need to be constantly checking ourselves. Are our actions helping others come unto Christ or are they pushing others away from Christ? Are we full of pride or of charity and love? Alma 5 is another really good chapter about this. I've met with a lot of less actives members who have stopped coming to church because they got offended. That is obviously not a valid excuse to stop coming to church but it is so sad that other members made them feel that way. We all make mistakes and no one is perfect but we need to help each other. Build up the church together. Don't judge. Help via love and charity. Improve the church by first improving yourself. On my mission, each time I get annoyed at someone else, I have been able to fix the problem by changing and improving myself. Every time. I have been thinking a lot about what Dad said about making sure you are always above reproach. I love that sooooo much. A mission has blessed me in so many ways because I am able to work on improving myself every single day. I am put in random and hard situations but they make me learn so much. And through it all, smile. Laugh. Satan's trials just mean that he doesn't like you because you are doing what's right. Keep on going. What's that quote again? "If you are going through hell, keep on going." Something like that.

Well I gots to go. Love you all VERY VERY VERY VERY MUCH!!!!!! =D

~Sister Slaugh :)