Monday, March 31, 2014

Udon Letter--March 31, 2014

Hey family!
How is life going? Are you relieved that the quilt show is over? Great job on the ribbons! :) (Mom entered some of her quilts into a quilt show this past weekend. Two of them won first place in their sections.)

Mom's comment about killing a missionary: we use that phrase too. Your first area is your birth place. Your first companion is your mom or dad (though President Senior has asked us to stop referring to them as that, because that means the greenie is a child and that doesn't do wonders for their confidence). Your last companion kills you--because I was Sister Zatarain's last companion, I killed her. 

Speaking of the Sisters, how is the work progressing for them in Scotch Plains? Are things getting better?

Fun fact: In the "I am a Child of God" video that Dad mentioned (in the General Women's broadcast), Thai is at 24.59 and 25.31 :) All those Sisters are in a branch in Bangkok. Interestingly enough, their meetinghouse is where we have transfers (moves). We haven't watched the Broadcast yet (translation takes about a week) but I just went on to find the song. 

Thailand lately has been very hot. A weekly average of 102. And there is humidity. And it's bright. My companion and I are pretty sure we are going to melt. Luckily, New Jersey has trained me well for this. But still. It's hot. This past Sunday, we even had an investigator that didn't come to church because it was too hot. Weather is actually a really common excuse here in Thailand. Raining or too hot? No need to go to church. It's so frustrating because she was planning on getting baptized yesterday. It's also hard to have sympathy because we have to ride our bikes in every weather. 

Speaking of monks (Mom's letter), we are currently teaching an ex-monk. He is 27 and was a monk for 9 years. His mom is the hospital with cancer and wants to know if God can help. He also likes the idea of being cleansed from his sins. But it's hard for him because old habits and traditions and beliefs die hard. But he still comes to church every week even after we told him that being baptized would completely change his life. Good stuff. He is also really funny and all the members love him. 

To mom's comment on thinking about Christ more and truly taking upon us His name: I suggest Preach My Gospel. It is such an inspired book. There is a whole chapter just on Christlike attributes. It talks about how for missionaries (and really for all members), who we are is more important than what we say. It says it a lot more elegantly than that though... But yeah. In order to take Christ's name upon us, we need to become more like the way Christ is. Yay Christlike attributes! Christ invited us all to come unto Him and become perfected in Him. I am currently working on the section on charity in Preach My Gospel

Interestingly enough, one of the hardest things for me on my mission so far has been working with other missionaries. Pre-mission, if I didn't get along with someone, I just didn't spend a lot of time with them. Easy as pie. On a mission, it isn't that easy. You are with the other missionaries all the time. Also, pre-mission, I never really failed to get along with people (that I remember - maybe I did but now, just don't remember it). It's kinda shocking when it's hard to get along with other missionaries. That's okay though. Patience. And charity. Great things we can always improve on. And prayer always helps everything.

Dad talked about the high school. Is anyone I know (that you know as well) a senior right now? Faegan is a junior right? That's terrifying. Truly and utterly terrifying. I swear she is still in Beehives. (I just reread that and realized how confusing that last sentence must be for people who are not Mormon.) (Thus, for non-Mormons, a Beehive is a 12- or 13-year-old girl.)

So I feel the need to update you on what I am doing here in Thailand. 
My days are filled with inviting people on the streets to be cleansed from their sin and also teaching people. Yup. Missionary work is truly quite simple in that if you aren't teaching (or eating), you are out inviting. If you aren't inviting (or teaching or eating), you are doing something wrong. Haha :) We are truly trying to talk to everyone. Even at stop lights. If we are biking and see someone on the side of the road walking, we stop and talk to them. Travel time has increased quite a bit. haha (or as the Thais would write 555) :)

My companion has a goal of helping me overcome my directionally-challengedness - or at least that's what she says. I think that she just likes getting lost. She keeps on trying to get me to lead while biking but then she always has to race ahead of me when I, of course, make a wrong turn or fail to make a turn. She loves teasing me and laughing with me when I get turned around or when my attempts to speak English fall apart like a cookie in milk. Dude, spoken English is soooooo hard. I can't do it. When I get home, I am taking a small white-board and white-board marker around with me because I can't speak. Or, apparently, type either. Sister Yim keeps on telling me that she agrees with Mom that my grammar is shot. Haha. Thai is better anyway. The grammar is so much easier. 

Another thing my companion laughs at: me talking about everything in war terms. Whenever I am trying to overcome a situation, I say that I am trying to conquer it and I make a battle plan. In my defense, the scriptures talk about wars a lot. And the Lord says that the word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword. So yeah. 

She also laughs at the fact that I am so easily amused. We once walked past a park bench that had painted flowers on it and I got really excited and said, "Oh! Flowers!" There are many other instances like that too. She likes to joke that she is often reminded that she is 5 years older than me. I don't mind. I am serious when I need to be and silly when I can be. But always mature and appropriate. 

Just in case Stuart is curious, his influence is very wide-spread. Everyone here teases me. Members. District Presidents. Missionaries. The Mission President. Investigators even. I'm fine with it. If they are okay teasing me, that means they like me. And we all end up laughing. Good times. 

From my personal study this week: The first two steps of the gospel are faith and repentance. People cannot be baptized if they have not faith and have yet to repent. In order to teach towards the cleansing ordinance of baptism, we need to teach towards faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and His atonement and we need to sincerely repent of all our past sins. This also applies to those who have already been baptized and are about to renew their baptismal covenants through partaking of the sacrament. We have to have faith and repent. I love repentance. 3 Nephi 7 is a great chapter on this. 

Oh, side note. There is a lot of silk stores here. Are there any preferences? Women (that includes you Samantha), would you like long or knee-length skirts? Men (that includes you two Jon and David), any particular style of tie? Data. Data. Data. I cannot build bricks without clay. (Name that movie). 

Um...I think I am out of things to report. OH! That girl that is coming in June! Would she like me to start emailing her so that she can get a heads-up about Thailand? If so, I'd be happy to email her (meaning that I need her email). If not, that's totally okay. If the rumors are true, she is going to be a solo sister in the MTC meaning that she is the only sister coming to Thailand at that time. She have a companion in the MTC with someone in a different district. 
P.S: there is no longer a ban on wearing yellow and red. Everything has been really peaceful for a while. 

PS: the movie is Sherlock Holmes

Monday, March 24, 2014

Udon Letter--March 24, 2014

Dear family,

I am sorry if this letter is slightly short or rambling.

Important/interesting things that happened this week:
  • We went to the hospital yesterday to visit our investigators’ mothers (2 different investigators). Everyone was sooo excited to see a white person. My companion is Asian so she had fun doing show-and-tell. Yeah. But hospitals in Thailand are actually quite terrifying. I am so grateful for American hospital: privacy and cleanliness.  
  • I got some adorable letters from the Young Women this week. I am working on responding but I am also still working on writing thank you notes to Amanda and Sister Bristol so yeah … Young Women, don't hold your breath. :) I learned a lot of things from them about Mormon prom and the upcoming priest-laurel conference. They also told me that Mom tells the seminary class that my grammar is shot. Gee, mom. (well, it kinda is) Thanks a lot. Also, one of them said that they hoped I had fun at my yogurt place. I didn't know I had a yogurt place so I'm kinda confused about that. Also. Amber Woll adorably told me in her letter that she recently watched The Best Two Years and her perspective of missionaries is confused. I remember when I was a kid, I always thought missionaries were these perfect people. Now that I am a missionary, wow have my eyes been opened. It's kinda funny. Don't worry, Amber. There are still some amazing missionaries out there that are totally focused and fantastic. One of them happens to be living in Udon, Thailand. Haha. :) 
Question. When you talk about missionaries "contacting" people, what does this mean? Does this mean teaching new investigators or just getting phone numbers? I guess missionary work is really different here from there. We stand outside of 7-11s a lot and ask everyone if they want to be cleansed from their sin. It really hits home for a lot of them because Buddhist culture teaches them that they can't be cleansed from their sin. 

I love how Heavenly Father knows everything that we are doing and uses it all for His good. We were at the mall on a certain day because we had to buy something and we ran into a less active. He was soooo excited to see us and to read the scriptures with us. Unfortunately he hasn't answered his phone since then but that is actually quite normal for Thai people. A lot of them aren't great at the whole answering the phone thing. 

I love how, in life, crazy things happen but then God gives us blessings to remind us that He loves us. Sister Yim and I have been teaching this amazing man that has a wife and four kids. He wants to be baptized here. His wife has felt the Spirit strongly during lessons but had been going to a Protestant church before she met us. We had been trying to help her overcome her feelings of obligations to that church and come to our church on Sunday instead of the other church. Yesterday we called them and the husband said that he was at the other church, supporting his wife as she got baptized there. But then he set up an appointment with us on Tuesday because he knows our church is true. It just hurt hearing that even though we did all we could, it didn't work. But, then we had 5 really good other investigators come to church. Some of them are super humble and so good. God loves us and if we do our best, He will make up for the rest. He is such an amazing Father! :) And, she can always still get baptized here. Yay Priesthood power. :) 

A lot of people have been asking us why we are here trying to teach people about Christianity. "The Thai people already have a religion and they are doing fine. Why are you trying to ruin that?" These people are also really hard-hearted so I don't try to reason with them (I just smile, nod my head, and tell them that they are entitled to their opinion). If they would listen, this is what I would say: Imagine for one second that everything I am saying is actually true. That would answer your concerns in a heartbeat. We believe that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He loves us so much and it wouldn't make sense for Him to make a hundred different religions and say that they are all okay and will help you equally. Yes, every religion teaches you how to be a good person but it is more than that. If God truly is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow, then it would only make sense for Him to have one truth and therefore one religion. We believe that this religion has a fullness of the truth and while every religion teaches some truth, this has all the truth. Why wouldn't we want to share it? We believe that in order to return to live with God, we must be cleansed from our sins. We believe that the only way to be cleansed from our sins is through baptism by immersion through the power and authority of God. We believe that this power and authority is called the Priesthood and was lost when Christ and His apostles were killed but then was restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith. If everything we say is true, then we would be selfish and mean if we didn't share it. And the only way to know if what we say is true is via reading the Book of Mormon with an open heart and real intent and then praying and asking our Maker and Loving Heavenly Father. 

I'm almost out of time. I'm sorry. I was writing my friend that is apparently engaged. I will prepare a longer letter next week. I LOVE YOU ALL SO VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY MUCH!!!!! =D

PS: I sent this to [a friend] when she asked me how my mission is:

I LOVE being a missionary. My first companion put it very well: you feel your highest highs and your lowest lows. It's so true. You feel the Spirit so strongly. Like EFY, times a million. There is a power when you invite others to repent and change their lives to follow Christ. It's exhilarating when you feel the Spirit telling you to make a promise to your investigators that you know is from God. Of course, these are only special instances; it is not like this all the time. You also feel your lowest lows. You get soo invested in the investigators and the members here that when you move or when they make a decision that you know is not the right one, oh my, it is devastating. Your heart just drops. I have learned sooo much more about the gospel and about the atonement as a missionary. Haha I feel like I really didn't know much pre-mission. I mean, I knew stuff but I didn't understand it fully. I understand it so much more now. It's so hard to describe. It's so much more real now.

PPS: In another email, Sister Slaugh sent this.
So I'm adding more to my letter because I felt super bad about it being so short. (She was writing to a friend that recently got engaged.)

This week has been really good and fun. 
Zone Conference was amazing. President Senior focused on looking at the long term goals of missionary work. He even mentioned how his mission blessed his marriage life. That was weird, thinking that marriage is the next chapter. Kinda scary. Anyway, he also taught us a new teaching method: promise and testify of the blessings that are attached to the commandments before teaching the commandments. It's actually a pretty cool method. It's been helping people understand that commandments aren’t just barbed wire to keep us caged in but are the requirements to receive certain blessings. I actually love commandments. Haha :) Sister Senior talked about raising our expectations and redoubling our faith. The book Jesus the Christ talks about how our faith is increased and shown by our obedience and our diligence (not a direct quote, I simplified the language). Obedience. It's great. It's the first law of Heaven and that is how we receive blessings. If we love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). Also, we played a scripture game. Think seminary jeopardy games. It was all about scripture mastery (without calling it scripture mastery). Yay for paying attention during seminary. Haha. President Senior wants us to become better scriptorians. So yeah, Zone Conference. It was great. 

The Zone Leaders were in charge of the food for zone conference and they bought ice cream cakes. After Zone Conference was over and everyone returned home, there were still two cakes left over. So … we the last 8 missionaries sat around talking and eating the cakes with spoons. It was fun but by the end, we were all like "never again". So much … too much ice cream. But it provided for some nice time to talk to the other missionaries and get to know them more. One of the Elders (from Canada) and I have a mutual friend which was super random but nice. Yay huge colleges where you meet lots of people.

The weather in Udon has been crazy. It has either been super hot or actually pretty chilly. Because of the heat, there have been a lot of wind and lightning storms - not really any rain. Fun to watch but hard and probably slightly not safe to work in. But yeah, fun to watch. :)

Um...yeah. I LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!! =D

Last P-Day was dressing up in traditional Thai clothing and getting our hair and make-up done. The pictures are so ridiculous. I'll send some next Monday. :) 

I absolutely love my companion. Sister Yim is so much fun and great to talk to. She has been soooo loopy this past week which has been absolutely hilarious. She teases me all the time (which, in all honesty, isn't abnormal. Everyone does) which is fun. She is a convert of three years and has so much faith. It's just a blessing in lessons because she is able to understand the investigators so well.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Udon Pictures--March 17, 2014

Sister Slaugh and her companion at the border between Thailand and Laos.

The "huge" wooden statues

Actually, she's got a point. They're pretty big.

Udon Letter--March 17, 2014

I hope you are all enjoying a delicious mint pie in honor of this holiday.

Another week has passed by and I have no idea what to write about. What in particular would you all like to read or hear about? 

I am the English leader again and we are back to using the old book (the one Lorri worked on). The new program isn't ready yet. Apparently Udon used to have a really good-sized English class but then it started to die down. Now there aren't that many people that come. We are going to try to change that but really I have no idea how to. The first step is putting up flyers. That should help a lot. 

Last week for p-day we went to a statue garden. The statues are a mix of Buddhist and Hindu and are super interesting. They are made of wood and sooooo huge. I'll attach some pictures. 
Monday night we had FHE at a member's house. It was fun. The member and her parents have both been sealed in the temple. That's so rare and soooo cool! They showed us their temple sealing certificate - it was framed. 
Do missionaries in the states do FHE at member's houses? Did that lady that mom was helping drive around ever get baptized? 

Wednesday I went to Nong Kai for a switch-off. It was fun. I saw some missionaries that I have served with in the past which was a lot of fun. It's cool seeing them again especially now that we have all changed. 

I totally understand that Wesley was shocked that I am more than half-way through. I am too! I still feel so young in the mission but I am really quite old.  

We are finally building up our investigator pool. We are teaching a family which is absolutely amazing! The father is absolutely amazing and really wants to learn. He can't come to the church often to meet with us so we call him every night to read scriptures with him. He and his wife are both fantastic and want to learn. And they have four children. And he and Elder Brown (senior missionary) are like brothers. Now the only issue is helping them get to church so they can get baptized. The more we teach them, the more faith they will have, and the easier it will be. 

Let's see. What else?
Have I always been directionally challenged? Maybe it just wasn't apparent because I've lived in the same neighborhood my entire life. I know I got lost a lot while camping but.... It is sooo apparent as a missionary. The bright side is that I make my companion laugh multiple times a day just because I am sooooo directionally challenged. I never have any idea where I am. I've even missed the right turn to get to the church or our house a couple of times. Dude. Maybe I'm just always thinking about other things so I'm not paying attention. Yeah, let's go with that. That makes me feel better. :) 

I don't really know what else to talk!
So Sister Yim and I think that we are getting closer to a temple because everywhere in Thailand the Church is facing a lot of opposition. Satan isn't happy which gives us a lot of motivation to keep on working hard. :) 

I'm glad you got the package! :) Yay it actually got there. Whee. 

All in all. Life is good. The food is soooo tasty. The members are great. Investigators are progressing (finally). Everything is happy. Zone conference is this Thursday which is fun. 


Monday, March 10, 2014

Udon Letter---March 10, 2014

Dear Family,
Hey! is everyone doing?
I hear you have Daylight Savings. Thailand doesn't have it. Just the states. Sorry that you had to wake up earlier than usual. 
How long are Lorri and her kids going to be New Jersey for? Is David there too? How are they enjoying the warmer weather of New Jersey verses Wisconsin? Thailand has been soooo hot lately. Let's just say I have been drinking a lot of water. It hasn't gotten too bad yet but we are yet not at the peak of hot season. Haha good times. 
It's so weird hearing about Eliza and Clara making friends in their classes. I feel like Clara shouldn't be that old yet but I guess kids develop really fast in a short amount of time. I love hearing stories of the nieces though I haven't heard much about the nephews. They are all growing up so fast.

So commenting on Dad's comment about missionaries using Facebook. That's so weird. Some members here in Thailand have been getting friend requests from missionaries on Facebook and they are so confused. "Wait, I thought missionaries weren't allowed to be on Facebook." When I was emailing the Sister Slaugh (one of our cousins is serving a mission in New York) in New York, her email back said, at the bottom, "Sent from my iPad". That's so weird but probably super sweet to use. All the scriptures, manuals, and everything you need on the iPad. Downside, it's a lot heavier to carry around than a phone. I wonder how they use iPads to help with missionary work. They probably can coordinate more with members and the ward mission leaders. Haha missionary work in the states seems to use a lot more technology. It's cool how church leaders have approved using this higher technology to help the work. I don't think I would want to be on Facebook though. Too hard. Like, it would be soo tempting to talk with your friends from home. I mean, it's probably convenient because all your investigators and members probably have Facebook so you can make appointments via Facebook. But still. I am very glad I do not have that temptation. I applaud the missionaries currently using it though. They are very strong. 

Also comment on money. The monthly funds are for food and then basic necessities. Everything else (buying a bike, bike repairs, p-day traveling, shopping, etc.) comes from our personal funds. There is a house fund for basic missionary needs aka traveling for missionary-related activities, house cleaning supplies, stuff like that. At least, that is how I understand it. 
Speaking on shopping, is there anything that any of you would like from here? I know Delsa mentioned Thai silk or Thai skirts. Lorri said she would send me a list. Anything else? I'm in a pretty high-so part of the Essan so I can get stuff here. If I go to a less high-so part next transfer, there won't be as muduch shopping. So yeah. If you want anything, let me know. 

Mom, how is seminary going? What percentage of students are going? That's cool that you are reading about Pahoran for this upcoming lesson. I never realized how amazing Pahoran was until Fall semester of college when we studied that half of the Book of Mormon. He has such patience. He gets completely yelled at and scolded for something he never did and takes it soooo calmly. It reminds me a lot of how Christ acted during His life. He was accused of many things, many of which weren't true, and just took it so patiently. Never got offended. I admire Pahoran for that. Isn't there some quote from some general authority (so specific, right?) about wo unto those who offend but also wo unto those who take offense? Christlike love and patience. It's so hard to achieve. I think one thing to be learned from Pahoran is the need to not jump to conclusions. Moroni jumped to the conclusion that Pahoran was wicked when that wasn't so. It's so easy to gain a little bit of information and think we know everything when in reality we know so little. So yeah, no jumping to conclusions. 
Since you are on Pahoran, that means you are probably talking about the Army of Helaman as well. What I love about that story is that they never did anything wrong and yet they still had so many hard trials What I mean is this: those soldiers were exactly obedient and loved and had faith in God. They were super righteous. But, because of the sins of others, they were not receiving enough supplies or new troops. They were really struggling for a long time. But they never cursed or questioned God. Sometimes we do everything we are supposed to be doing but still only trials come. We think, "what am I doing wrong?" Sometimes we just need to keep on enduring. God has never and will never forsake us. Sometimes we have trials because of the sins of others. God gives us just what we need to survive, just what we need to keep on going. We have to keep on going for the massive amount of blessings to come. Enduring to the end. Being a missionary and working with members has taught me a lot about what this means. 

By the way, how are the sisters doing with their work in Fanwood and Scotch Plains? (Our area has recently been assigned a set of sister missionaries for the first time in a very long time.) Any success yet? White washing or especially opening a new area is hard. I hope they are keeping their spirits up. Some of the best things members can do for missionaries is be a good example of the church for others, being willing to talk about the church with others, praying for the missionaries, and praying for missionary experiences. Yay member missionary work. 

Mom and Dad, thank for you being such good examples to me in all things. Seeing the Browns has really reminded me a lot of you both. Thank you so much for raising me to be strong in the gospel and teaching me about what is important in life. Yeah. Just thanks for everything. :) I love you. :) what has been happening here in Thailand?
Oh! So something I forgot to tell you all was something really big happened at transfers. Myanmar (Berma) has opened for missionary work! There are two Elders currently serving there. Yup. Just two. It's so cool though! Another country has opened for missionary work. Woohoo! :) That must be hard for those Elders, having to learn a whole new language. It's so cool though. I mean, Elders serving in Laos have to learn a new language as well but luckily Laotian is really similar to Thai. 

The mission is still changing. It's cool to see how. In November the goal was for every companionship to have a baptism (to work on mission unity). December was 2 weeks of balanced and 1 baptism. January was 2 baptisms. Also, the way we have been contacting has been changing too. Before, we went contacting for two hours every day. Then we contacted just on baptisms for 2 hours every day. "Sifting" as it is called. Now, as one of our leaders has said, inviting should no longer be just a two-hour activity we schedule in everyday but how we do missionary work. Everywhere we are, we need to be inviting people to be cleansed from sin. At stop-lights, at stores, in lines, all the time. It's soooo cool. We are doing as Samuel the Laminate or Abinadi have done, declaring repentance in the streets all the day long. We are inviting everyone, all ages, all genders, everyone to repent, come unto Christ, and be cleansed from sin. So many people reject. So many people mock, laugh, make fun, etc. But the few that accept, they are so amazing. It's soooo cool! I love being a missionary! Haha it's the best. We are helping people come to know God, their Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ, their Redeemer and Savior. It's the best. 

Not much else to tell today. For P-day we went to the border of Thailand and Laos. I stuck my hand in Laos. In all honest, the air doesn't feel much different there. Haha. :) 

I love you all very very very very very very very very very very very very much! =D

~Sister Slaugh

P.S: Sorry there is no language lesson this week. I ran out of time this morning. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Udon Letter--March 3, 2014

Hey family (and friends)!!! 

How are you all this fantastic Monday morning? I hope you all have a great day. By the way, there is a really good new Mormon message about not bullying. I highly suggest everyone watch it. Maybe even watch it at the beginning of seminary as you wait for students (mom). I really love Mormon messages. They are a lot of fun. I wish I knew about them pre-mish. (

Well, this past week has been interesting. White-washing is an interesting business. White washing means that both missionaries in the companionship are new to the area. It's hard because neither of you know the area, the members, the investigators, places to go inviting, anything. You know, new adventures are always fun. Right? Sure. Yesterday and this morning I was thinking (a dangerous pastime. i know.) and reflecting. At first I thought that I hadn't really changed much on my mission and was slightly worried. Obviously, I can always improve more but I then realized that Heavenly Father has blessed me with many new or improved traits on my mission: I am more patient, more loving, more hoping, more joyful in trials. This past week has been actually pretty hard. Sister Yim and I have been so super obedient and have gone contacting for more than two hours a day (the minimum) and yet still haven't really seen any success yet. At transfers, everyone was saying that Udon was booming and then we come up and can't really see it. I knew it wasn't our fault because we literally were doing everything we were supposed to be doing and yet still it's hard not to doubt yourself when you can't see any success in your efforts. Also, a lot of new members baptized right before we got here haven't come to church in a couple of weeks. And we saw an LA [less active](that we helped come back to church) praying to a monk. Discouraging to say the least. But. Heavenly Father has never abandoned His children, especially when they are serving Him. Every day there was something to smile about. Heavenly Father gave me so much hope even though nothing was going right. He gave me so much peace in the work. The members here are so amazing. There are some amazing new members. They basically live at the church because they love helping teach. They want to help us find LAs. They love this gospel so much. They give me hope. We found a great place to eat...finally. We also find a great place to get smoothies and shakes. Delicious and cheap. :) Yup little miracles. And definitely there were some self doubting thoughts but those have all been overcome too. This morning we four sisters went over to the Browns to help plan an FHE activity and at the end, Elder Brown made us promise that we would tell our families that we were amazing missionaries. And then after President Senior's email this morning (he tries to respond every week to our 'reports') made me feel a lot better as well. "You are an amazing missionary and I am so impressed with your attitude, about white-washing, and a new area, and everything in your positive attitude....Have a great week." I wanted to cry when I got that email. It's nice knowing that even though I make a ton of mistakes literally all the time, I do some things right too.

Haha right now I'm listening to that Mormon message video for like the fourth time. Why? Because the internet cafe we are at is playing lots of rap music with curse words in it. So yeah. Mormon message to cancel out the sounds. Good times. :) 

Hm... I actually don't know what else to write about. um...

Dad, thanks for the dinner play-by-play. It's actually really nice. I'm glad to know that the teasing is still going on. Yay Stu! =D The Browns have taken over as our Udon parents. It's very very nice. :)
Mom, I am so sorry about all the snow. It is sooo hot here. Hot season has started and it is really humid. Next month is going to be even hotter. High 90s or low 100s all this week. It's hot even at night. Bright side, my watch and shoe tan is great. You will all need sunglasses when you see it. Everyone here calls me really white but then I look at my wrist and remember how white I used to be. Haha. :) 
Delsa, thank you soooooo much for Rachel's testimony. You can tell that I'm a missionary when I want to cry at everything spiritual. I love it. I love it so much. I just wish everyone could know what Rachel knows. Heavenly Father is always with us. He loves us sooooooo much, more than we can ever know. He gives everything to us and only wants to help us have true joy and yet people curse Him, hate Him, and don't believe in Him. How? He is our Father. His work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life. How could anyone not love Him? I just don't understand. The only reason I can think of is that they don't understand Him. If they understood who God and Jesus Christ were, they would love Them as well. Prayer. Prayer is how we learn about Heavenly Father and develop a relationship with Him. Prayer is so vitally important. Honest, sincerely prayer is needed for daily life. 

So yeah. In closing, keep on doing what you do. I love you all soooooooo very much. So very much. I want to give you all hugs. Never forget that Heavenly Father is always there. When we want to talk to Him, we pray. When we want Him to talk to us, we read the scriptures, the ensign (or church magazines), go to church, etc. 

MUCH LOVE!!!!!!! =D

Sister Slaugh, the very happy and peaceful and joyful =D

Udon Letter--February 24, 2014

How did you guys know!?! I was planning on doing this huge reveal but then Mom's email is all like "how is Udon?" I'm impressed. I mean, I was always told that moms knew everything but I didn't realized how true it was. Good job mommy skills. :)

So yeah. I am now in the Northern part of Eastern Thailand. It's not like the Eastern part where Lorri served - this is much nicer. It's still the east but very clean and very nice. :) Also, our house is super high-so. It's sweet. I'll take a picture for next week. 
I'm companions with Sister Yim - again. We were both so shocked but neither of us are complaining. Those first 3 weeks we were together in Srinkarin were not long enough. Now we have a good nine weeks together...hopefully. There is another mini transfer in three weeks. Dude, if we get separated again I'll be soo sad. If we stay again, I'll probably only be in Udon for nine weeks (a transfer). This is Sister Yim's third area and she stayed in her last two areas for three transfer each. I'm more sporadic with my coming and goings. I'm excited to make these next nine weeks count and very memorable. 
There are two other sisters in the house: Sister Tilley (my MTC group) and Sister Downs (the group after me). The Elders actually live two houses down (super odd). We have Elder Cauhoon (I have no idea how to spell his name. oops) with Elder Terry. They are the zone leaders and this is their last transfer. There is also Elder Watts and Elder Burke. Elder Watts has two transfers left and this is Elder Burke's first transfer. They are all super tall. 
We also have a Senior couple who we love very much. They are the Browns. They live two houses down from the Elders. We used to have the Harts (before I came up here) but then they ended their mission. I think the Harts are the reason we all live near each other. The original missionary houses weren't so great (like normal) and two houses on the Harts' street were up for rent/sale so we moved. Yup. Very nice. The Browns make waffle batter and homemade syrup for us every Sunday. We have to make the waffles ourselves but that's totally okay. The waffles are sooooo good! =D 
So yeah. Sister Slaugh is very spoiled right now but very happy. :) 

From what I can tell, the members are amazing here as well. They are so helpful and and the young adult members love going inviting with us. 
It's interesting. In the states, missionaries rely so much on member referrals for investigators. Here we rely so much on our own efforts. Wait, that sounds weird. Let me explain. Our method of finding people is going to areas with lots of people (parks, malls, main streets) and asking everyone if they want to get baptized. We are looking for low-hanging fruit - can be harvested fast. Thailand needs strong new members and it needs them fast. These new members have been prepared by God - they are the future and soon-to-be current leaders of the church. In America, the first harvests have already happened. The fast fruit has already been gathered. Now the missionaries are trying to find the higher-up fruit but they need members to help them. Sometimes they have can the ripe fruit but often times they are just too many unripe apples too. They need members to help too. Think about it. How much work can two people do in an area that they are not familiar with and where no one knows them? Not a whole lot. How much more work can a whole ward do in an area that they are familiar with and where so many people know them? So much more work. Member referrals are some of the best investigators but they are so hard to get in Thailand. The members here help us with going inviting and with teaching. It is sooooo amazing. When I was in Bangkok for transfers, I saw two members inviting by themselves. They were standing at a street corner asking people to be baptized. No missionaries were there. I'm not sure how much success they had but I was so impressed! This work is not just of the missionaries. It's of the Thai people in Thailand. Yes we missionaries have been called of God to serve here but members are soooooooo sooooo soooooooooo important and needed in missionary work. I'll start praying too for you all have missionary experiences back at home. =D

I LOVE the sacrament topics at church. That is soooo genius! It's just a great way to strengthen everyone's testimony of the building blocks of our faith. The Plan of Salvation is the motivation for all that we do. Because we know that God is our Heavenly Father and loves us more than we can understand, we trust Him. Because we know that God's work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life in heaven with Him, we keep His commandments. He knows what it takes to be clean to return to Heaven. He knows what it takes to become like Him. That's why we trust and have faith in Him. Because we know that God has a perfect plan - a plan that can help every single one of us to return to Heaven if we accept it - that is why we can endure through our trials. The Plan of Salvation gives us the why for everything. Why don't you drink coffee? Because we want to return to live in Heaven again with our loving Heavenly Father. Why don't you...? Because of the Plan of Salvation. Every member - young, old, long-term, new, less active, or active - will be benefited by strengthening their knowledge and faith in these basic topics. 
I'm excited for you to study the atonement next. The Plan of Salvation is why we do what we do but the Atonement is how we do it. The atonement is how we overcome our trials and stumbling blocks. It's how we become stronger than our addictions. Preach My Gospel says that all that is unfair in this life is made right through the atonement. The atonement is how we become clean. The atonement is how we grow faith in Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ. The atonement is how we are able to endure through every single trial and challenge through our way. The atonement is how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can understand us perfectly - understand our thoughts, our emotions, our pains, our hardships, our joy, everything. I love the atonement sooooo very much. Everything is made possible through the infinite atonement of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The Plan of Salvation is the why and the Atonement is the how. How do you keep going after having a miscarriage? Because Christ atoned for us, He perfectly understands our pains and sorrows; He can help us overcome and continue moving. How do you stop smoking after being addicted since a teenager. Because Christ atoned for us, He perfectly understands our desires; His atonement is more powerful than our naturally desires and can help us overcome and continue moving. 
Yay amazing sacrament topics! =D

Okay. time to answer questions about transfers and new areas. 
So moving a lot of missionaries at once is difficult. Everyone has two suitcases (and usually one carry-one sized bag), an overnight bag (for during transfers, and a bike. The Elders are very very very helpful. They try their best to make it as easy for the Sisters as possible. Good guys. In Chiang Mai, all missionaries gathered at the church and then we took a red truck together to the bus station. Now, these buses are like charter buses. Members came too to send us off. We load all of our stuff in the bus and then yeah, we take the bus to Bangkok. Then at Bangkok we take taxis. First we have to find a taxi that is willing to take all our stuff - the bike is the hardest thing. Next time I'll try to remember to take a picture of it. If you have two missionaries moving in the same companionship, you have to fit two bikes in one taxi. It's like Tetris. Luckily missionaries get really experienced doing this all.the.time so it's not as difficult as it sounds. But it is still pretty difficult. 
If you aren't moving, you don't need to take your stuff with you. which is always nice. And then you are able to help the missionaries who are taking all their stuff. That's always nice too. 

Delsa asked about dialects. Yes there are dialects. Most people can speak and read basic Thai so it's not usually an issue. Bangkok is normal Thai. Chiang Mai had northern and mountain dialects. I didn't learn much of anything about these dialects except for one word. The east also has a dialect that I want to learn, at least somewhat. Issan (or essan or yisan, or however you spell it in English) language! woohoo! :) There are definitely some people who have a hard time understanding, speaking, and reading normal Thai. It makes lessons interesting but not impossible. :)

Is there anything else I need to tell you?
Oh, I got a hair cut last monday. I'll send a picture of it straight. The members loved my hair cut and straighten. Thai people are very blunt (but loving). Some of my favorite members, when my hair went back to wavy, told me that they preferred it straight. It was super funny because that is so Thai. They are so blunt. It's great. :) 
Also, I sent a package. It may contain future Christmas gifts so open at your own risk. My suitcase was too full so I had to send it home. It should take about a month to get there. 

I can't remember if there is anything else to tell you guys so..... I LOVE YOU!!!!!!! =D

Be safe always! LOVE YOU ALL MUCH!!!! =D
Sister Slaugh

PS: Here's the language lesson for this week: utensils. Maybe google translation will give you better pronunciations.