Monday, September 8, 2014

Bangna Letter--September 1, 2014

Daddy. I love you but why did you tell me that? [Abbie arrives home October 31 at 7:30 pm; Dad told her that her homecoming talk will be November 23] ... I told my ex-companion Sister Embley and she was very impressed that our ward plans talks that far in advance. I also told my MTC companions and their responses were along of the lines of "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" but for about 20+ more lines.
On the bright side, I don't have to write the talk as a missionary or on the plane but can procrastinate it longer. :) Mom, fun fact about Sister Herrmann. You said she is serving in Sisaket, right? That's where my companion is from. Her family is super involved in missionary work so I can promise you that Sister Herrmann knows my companion's family and talks to them daily or at least often. That's fun. :)

I am very grateful that you guys are very involved in service. Thank you very much for that. As a missionary, I love families that do service and go to activities because it gives my investigators and converts good examples.

As for the baptisms. Rachhai and his son were baptized yesterday. They are so utterly fantastic. Lai was not because he couldn't go to church—work.

Mom, if you had asked me prior to being a missionary, I probably would have agreed with the whole having people wait long to be baptized. Now my opinion is that 1, when I was baptized at 8, I don't know how much I understood—maybe I did, I don't remember. I had faith but knowledge? Either way, doesn't matter. More importantly—2, these people have a much better chance sticking to the church after they have the Holy Ghost then before. Recent converts progress a lot faster than investigators because they have the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Also, fast baptisms aren't for everyone. If they aren't ready, they aren't ready and they will do it when they are ready. One person we taught in Chiang Mai was an investigator for 7 years. One person here was one for 2 years. Then again, one person we taught was baptized within like 8-10days of first meeting us. It's up to how prepared they are.

Last Sunday, our STL (Sister Training Leader) challenged us to get creative with our inviting this week. On Friday, Elder Kris (District leader, Thai) commented how it is really easy for us farangs (foreigners) to contact because it is in a different language. Just image if you had to do this for 2+ hours every day in your own language. That got me and Elder Reed (his companion) thinking so we decided to try it out. "Have you ever gone to church before? Would you like to go to church? Would you like to be cleansed from your sins and mistakes? Do you want to wash away your sins?" Obviously, it still isn't the same because the audience here doesn't speak English but still ... it was fun. We started inviting in English—absolutely hilarious. The key to inviting is getting people to stop and listen/talk to you. I swear half the people that say no have no idea what we are talking about because they just don't listen/care. So, speak in English, they are completely shocked and start listening, so you switch back to Thai. Really fun and worked well.
Saturday we went singing with some members. Also fun. As a missionary, you learn how to not be embarrassed by anything. I'm not sure what I would think/do, pre-mission, if the missionaries asked me to go sing hymns with them outside a mall. Now, yeah it was weird at first but it was fun.

Don't really know what to report.
The companion is doing really well. We are very good friends now and get along very well. Fun fact, she is really ticklish. And no, I will not tell you how I know that. I'm innocent, I swear. :)

Answering Delsa's questions:
What we did for p-day now: Really, just a lot of relaxing. I already did the 'touristy' stuff here and well, yeah. She likes to relax too. Naps are amazing. I love naps. I think I have missed sleep the most out of anything (except family and friends, of course).
Me playing the piano? I am the unofficial RS pianist. The other people who play have callings in YW or primary or are male. So yeah.
Also about he/she. It's the same in Thai. Khaw (cow with a valley tone) means he/she. There is a way to differentiate but khaw is more common.
Mainly the foods are just really really simple. Nothing complex yet. We are going to be doing more this month. Today we are grocery shopping aka hitting the market.
We walk and take public transportation.
Pets? Dogs and cats too.
In some areas we are part of the choir, in some areas no. I could be part of the choir here but it takes up far too much time. If it was just an hour, maybe we'd be willing. The problem is that sometimes choir practice is 2+ hours long. That is too much time to sacrifice from our work, especially on a Sunday.

I like the commandment stuff. I love commandments. I think of the Scripture Mastery in John: if you love me, keep my commandments. They aren't rules to restrict us but blessings to help us grow and be happy.
Fun fact. I feel like pre-misssion I never wore sun glasses. Now, they are literally always on top of my head. All hours of the day too. [Mom went on the mission Facebook page and watched a video of the transfer meeting August 7. We could 'see' Abbie at 2.35 minutes into the video. She is wearing sun glasses on top of her head and we commented to her on this]

that's really interesting about the letters from President [telling us that she is a trainer and the other one telling us about her release date]. I've been a trainer for about 1.5 months now. She's doing really great.

Report on language,
I am now working on increasing my vocab to not just be 'mission vocabulary'. I am working on body parts (fun fact: throat and neck are the same word and toes are foot fingers), family terms (thai is very specific when it comes to aunts, uncles, and grandparents - which side of the family are they on and are they older or younger than your parents, etc), house terms (attic = ceiling room), cleaning terms (a broom is a sweeping stick), etc. I'll keep you posted.


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