Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Now It Is Starting to Hit Me - Week #6

Tomorrow the new Thai, Cambodian, and Malays/Indos (we think) come. There are ten new Thai missionaries coming, eleven Cambodian, and we do not know how many Malays/Indos if any. It has caused a lot of us to start thinking about how real this is getting and how fast it is starting to go. We are now in the same shoes our Phii Thais were when we came and it feels like we were only with them for a short time. So these next three weeks are probably about to fly. That is, until we receive our flight plans. Everyone receives their flight plans ten days before departure, which means we will get ours a week from Friday. That is when it really starts to feel real and the time starts to go slow because you are waiting for a specific time on a specific day to leave to the airport.

My anticipation grows everyday to get out there, but also my anxiety. This language is difficult and has done much to humble me, I have to rely on my companion sometimes, my teachers a lot, and the Lord always. But I know that when I focus the gifts He has given me on my missionary purpose, my progress continually improves.

Yesterday was a sweet experience with the language, we had the privilege of teaching a member in Bangkok, Thailand through Skype! I remember before hitting the call button my companion and I were super nervous because if we said anything with an incorrect tone or vowel length he probably wouldn't understand. Other people's members spoke English also but I don't think ours did. His name was Ronni and he works as a translator for the church. It was hard to focus with about thirty other video calls going on in Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Thai but we were able to get a simple message across. At the end we felt like did not do as well as we could, or so we thought.

After the Skype, our teacher called all of them back individually and wrote down what they had to say. Ronni said that we spoke Thai very well and that we addressed a specific need of his that he has been lacking in, focusing on the Savior during sacrament. He said that because of his calling as Ward Mission Leader, he often gets distracted with responsibilities. So I had an impression to invite him to read Alma 7:11-12, one of my favorite atonement scriptures, when he partakes of the sacrament. Before I said that, my companion invited him to think about the Savior, so we were in harmony with our teaching. He told our teacher to keep doing what we are doing, and our teacher told us he never coaches us because he never has to worry about us.

That is not how we feel. We feel like we do not know a lot at all, but we continue to work hard and try our best. I try to learn at least ten to twenty new words a day, as well as a grammar principle. That has been helping with our rate of fluency but still, I wish I could be a lot more ahead than I am now.

Other than that, this week we had TWO Apostles speak to us, Elder Christofferson and Elder Ballard. It is always an amazing experience when get to hear them speak to us, and we can always guess when they are coming. They won't show the speaker preview before and they will wait last minute to bring the MTC president and speaker out on the stand, and then everyone arises and the Apostle waves, it is awesome. The rumor is Elder Oakes is coming either today or Sunday but who knows, he would be our fourth Apostle we have got to see in the MTC. If we had been here a week earlier, we could have seen Bednar but oh well. And Holland ended up not showing up and instead delivering a BYU devotional.

This week I also received news of Grandpa John passing away. Thanks to my amazing Branch Presidency who has made sure everything is ok for me, I was able to send an email to Grandma. I have since heard that my email was read at Grandpa's funeral. I had no idea that it would be that significant at all. The memories I had with Grandpa in Georgia were amazing and I will miss him so much. I know this is a tough time for everyone in the family but like I touched upon in my email, we can find comfort and resilience through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Love you all and thanks for the love too! I can feel it here in Provo!

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