Hey! So...how 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. :)
Um...so 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
P.S: Sorry there is no language lesson this week. I ran out of time this morning.