Monday, August 11, 2014

Bangna Letter--August 11, 2014

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY PARENTS!!!! I am so grateful that you both (Mommy and Daddy) got sealed in the temple. Thank you for that amazing decision. As missionaries here in Thailand (and I'm assuming everywhere in the world), in every lesson that we teach our RCs (Recent Converts) we have been asked to mention the temple. Every lesson pre-baptism is towards baptism (but we still talk about the temple so they know baptism isn't the end) and every lesson post-baptism is towards the temple. Baptism is only the first gate. It's really fun teaching our RCs about the temple because they are getting soooo excited. They ask me questions all the time about what they have to do to prepare. I am soooo excited for the day that Thailand has a temple. It will bless all of Asia (at least this section).  

This week...well...every week is good. Every week has its ups and its downs. Still working through the investigator drought. It's been a very spiritual week--mainly because it has still been so hard. I'm going to tell you the main things of each day--not to complain but to explain. Monday and Tuesday are packed full of preparation day stuff (Monday) and meetings (on Tuesday). We still contact but because it's the rainy season ... yadayadayada. Wednesday we were home sick all day (my companion--not me). I made a TON of phone calls and our apartment is more organized. Thursday--transfers. Neither of us moved but we had to go to switch our phone and the Zone Leaders wanted everyone to go. Friday and Saturday--good normal work days. I have so missed good normal work days. Problem: still is insanely difficult to find anyone interested--like 2 or 3 (usually 6-8). And half of those people weren't actually interested in baptism, just interested in flirting. (By the way, this morning I was invited to go to Burma with some random guy. Don't worry, I said no.) So yeah. This leads me to Friday night. 
I am happiest when I am working, obviously. I love contacting, teaching, etc. These past three weeks have been really difficult because we haven't taught any new investigators and contacting has been hard. Therefore, Friday night I was really stressed, despite my attempts not to be (when you enter the mission field they give you this book about managing stress). Three weeks. Frankly, I think I did pretty good lasting 3 weeks. haha. So Friday night after we plan and pray and all that stuff, we have kind of "personal time" of sorts to write in the journal, prepare for bed, etc. I prayed. And cried. Not in anger at God or anything. Just pleading to know what on earth I was doing wrong (not as in saying that I think I'm perfect or anything but as in I didn't think there were any huge issues). Why? We are being exactly obedient (or at least trying to be), going contacting, etc. Why isn't this working? What else do we need to be doing? 
You know how D&C talks about treasuring up the word of God and it will be given to you in your time of need? It's true. I know from experience. In that moment I was reminded of a Mormon Message called "The Will of God" ( You should watch it. In particular, these lines: "I am the Gardener here and I know what I want you to be." This is God's vineyard and we are only helping Him in His harvest. This is His area and we are His children and He knows what He wants us and these areas to be. The Spirit told me in that moment that this past three weeks, God has been teaching me about patience and humility. "Thank you Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me." Am I the only one that thinks it's comical that it took me three weeks for me to learn my lesson? haha. Maybe it's just because it took three long weeks to make the lesson complete because I am positive throughout those three weeks I was praying for guidance and all that stuff. 
So afterwards, I was still praying and thinking. Okay, so God knows what He wants to happen. He knows what is best. So how am I supposed to know? I was reminded of another talk: "Where is the Pavilion?" by President Henry B. Eyring in October 2012. He shares a story of his daughter-in-law who was barren despite her righteous desires to be a mother. In the end, she prayed and said "Heavenly Father... I will give you all of my time; please show me how to fill it. " I love this and have thus adopted it.
On Saturday some missionaries and members were fasting for the Stake President's wife (was in surgery but is fine now) and I took the opportunity to fast about that but also to find out what God wanted us to do. On Sunday the answer came very clearly from multiple sources: work with the RCs. Help them. Strengthen them. Another sister missionary--who ended her mission on Thursday but was visiting her other areas--quoted to me some quote from some apostle to mission presidents (we are all so specific) that working with the new members will never make your investigator pool shrink. Also on Friday there was this huge drama thing with some of the new members that we have to go help clean up. The new members told us about it and the clean-up stuff that we are going to do is all their idea--it's just that we missionaries are kinda like the leaders of the new members. We have made a plan to go visit less actives with new members. They are all excited and ready to go. Very good. 
So yeah. I will let you know how everything turns out. I don't know what will happen but I'm sure it will be something good. 
Haha it's kinda funny. This has been a lesson in patience and humility and I feel like I just got more stubborn. "I will figure out what's wrong." "I will not sit idling by." "I will make everything good again."
Sunday night our Sister Training Leader called us, making sure that we were okay. She and I entered this zone together 2 transfers ago so she knows how things used to be and all that stuff. We are also pretty close because, as she is our Sister leader thing, we talk pretty often. I told her everything--I'm not ashamed because I am literally trying my hardest. She commented that it's been interesting how everything has worked out. She and I have been in the same situation before--where we had great companions and we had been able to help the Lord harvest a lot in these areas. So, she said, our faith was strengthened and we saw that this field truly is white already to harvest (D&C 4). After our faith was strengthened, that new strength obviously needs to be tested. Hence these three weeks. Can we keep on going, harvesting, leaning on our faith, despite how barren the field now seems? I would like to say that we passed. But dude, it hurt. It really hurt. I do not want to do it again. 
But don't worry. Everything is okay. I am reminded of instances in high school or middle school when I would be freaking out about a mistake I made or something that happened and Mom and Dad would just be like, "get over it. Learn your lesson, stop fussing, fix it, and move on. You can't change the past but you can change the future." Not exact words. I'm not sure if they remember these instances but I do. Very influential in my life. So thanks :)
In other news, I think I'm starting to get a cold but I have firmly informed my body that I don't have time to be sick so sorry. It has to wait until I am no longer wearing this badge. :) 
Haha so while I theoretically have gotten more patient, loving, humble, and all that good stuff, I have also gotten more direct and blunt. As a missionary in Thailand (maybe this is the same all over but I don't know), you have to be blunt and direct. We teach the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom the first lesson and very clearly. Our way of contacting is asking people to come to church and/or to be cleansed of their sins. :) It's very fun. I like it. :) 

Other news. At transfers, President Senior informed us of a new mission rule that I think will be super hard: we have to cook at home at least twice a week. Meaning that at least two meals a week have to be made from home. And yes, this is a rule. "Why?" you may ask. "It can cost less and save MSF funds, it will lead to enjoyable meals on Sunday’s and will impress your family and friends when you return home.  It is a skill that will bless you the rest of your life." President Senior asked: what will our families and friends think when we return home and we can't make a Thai food dish to save our lives? Good point. But still. Luckily my Thai companion majored in food and the cooking thereof. The mission has also sent us recipes to get us started. And we are told to ask the members for help. It's all very comical for me. And luckily it is only twice a week. 

What else happened this week? 
Oh! Happy early birthday to Jon. And to Dad, Mom, Rachel, and Leslie. Is there anyone else?

OH! Lorri. I keep on forgetting to tell you that about a month ago I met some people that you served with. I forget their names but I think they took a picture so hopefully they sent it to you. Apparently they called you Elder Slaugh? Impressive. :) And today I met a guy named Jeff that was in your first area. He also remembers you. He said that the first thing he learned (?) about you was that you had a very impressive history knowledge...background...dude I have no idea. English is hard. He married a khon thai from Bangna. Do you know who I am talking about? Their children are super adorabs. 

In other news, I totally love my RCs. They are literally some of my new best friends. But don't worry, we keep everything super professional.

Um...other news...
Tomorrow is Mother's Day in Thailand - the Queen's birthday. Happy Mother's Day!

I can't think of anything else. So yeah. Love you all!

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