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

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