Monday, October 10, 2016

This Place is Crazy - Week #10

I don't know what anyone is saying, the food is unfamiliar, I am sweating all the time, and I have bugbites everywhere but I love this place! It is unreal to be here. Everything is sooooo different from America and definitely different from the MTC.

After a loooong travel day of around 32 or so hours, we finally arrived in Bangkok and were picked up by President and Sister Johnson, Elder Chamberlain and his companion the APs, and the Office Elders. On the airplane and in the airport I contacted about 7 people and gave out 2 Book of Mormons so that was a cool experience. We taught the first 3 lessons in Thai to someone so that was a preview of what is to come. Once we arrived we were taken to the mission office and put our stuff down and then we were taken to a nice hotel next to the office and were told we could sleep in just this one time. Still we only got about one hour extra and then woke up and had an amazing Thai breakfast. Imagine American breakfast foods and then some Thai food you would normally have for lunch or dinner, like rice and chicken. 

Then we had a long day where we contacted on the streets of Bangkok and went to a place called Lumpini Park where the country was dedicated. Throughout the day we did a lot of errands like drawing blood and getting oriented and interviewed and more contacting and then had dinner had a really really nice Thai restaurant that the President said would be the nicest place we would eat in two years most likely (unless we become OEs or APs). 

Then we headed to the President's home which is an apartment in a highrise which looks like a house straight out of Newport Beach it is way nice. We ate cake but we were full and had a spiritual thought and the President said of all groups he was suprised we were the ones who didn't fall asleep.

We woke up the next morning and had breakfast again and then studied for a few hours before we headed to the Mission Office for transfer meeting. We saw a lot of different missionaries from everywhere. We were all anxious to see where we were going and had to wait a long time before President announced it. He announced my name and I stepped up and then he read the name of my trainer Elder Powers who got really stoked, it was so loud I didn't hear the name of my area until we sat down together at the edge of the room to hear everyone else's. 

Then my trainer told me that we were in Gamphaengpet, a town in the middle of nowhere on the border of Burma and Thailand 5 hours north of Bangkok. He told me that there were a couple members with a truck to take us there with all of our stuff. So we ate some Thai pizza and then headed to our area. The members were Brother Aof (Off), Brother Phii, Brother Deum, and Sister Eve. Turns out Brother Aof was one of the people I had talked to on Instagram before I reported to the MTC, it was crazy. And he said that Sister Por (Baw) also lived in my area, another girl who had chatted with me online. I was so surprised to realize that. They told me all the members wanted me to go there and I did! So then we started off on one of the longest car rides of my life. There was four of us stuffed in a three seat back for a 5 hour ride. I didn't understand pretty much anything but I held a few short conversations about random things that I was surprised I could talk about. They said I was gang which means skilled, at speaking Thai. I didn't think so. Everyone says that it is a completely different language when you get out to the field and it really is. It is very unclear and fast here and my trainer understands every word but I pick out maybe 2 or 3. When people talk about the gospel I can understand it though.

We ate at a roadside KFC and I withdrew my money to buy it. The KFCs here serve spicy chicken as regular, it is pretty good. And then we kept going until we got in a small accident. Turns out the guy had no insurance so he really couldn't do anything about it but we still gave him 1,000 baht to fix it. Then we continued and went to our house which is so huge and dropped off our stuff and then went to the church. The members were there and we had a Book of Mormon reading circle. Reading out loud in front of Thai people was so nervewracking and I thought I did terribly but my trainer said he couldn't even read when he came out so that made me feel better. Then we taught this investigator we had no idea about because we white washed the area and taught here a review of Lesson 3. I was able to teach quite a bit and she understood. Turns out she can't get baptized because her parents won't allow her to, so that is a bummer.

We taught a total of 4 lessons this week, all with members present. There is a tight group of members who are all friends here and we are teaching all of the non-members. The branch is tiny and most of the members are around our age so a lot of our time is spent hanging out and fellowshipping the nonmember friends. They are all so nice and helpful and speak a little English but not much. One of them, Dot Com, lived in California so he is a huge help because he is fluent in both. The biggest miracle of the week was teaching Brother Shiin. It was our first lesson with him just yesterday. He had been hanging out with the members so he had a little background. We taught him the first lesson and I extended the invitation to be baptized and he accepted! We now have three dates for baptism. We are in the only area in the mission where you don't baptize in a font, you baptize in a lake or a sweet waterfall about an hour drive away. So in a few weeks it is going to be awesome baptizing Waef, Shiin, and Naht. We have done some contacting but have gotten just a few to be interested.

The food here is good. I only had curry at that one restaurant, which is my favorite dish. Other than that, a lot of rice, pork, and chicken, as well as noodles. I haven't had anything too spicy. That first day I had Thai papaya salad with 4 met, or seeds, and that was really hot. But other than that, the members always warn me if something is hot. I had pad thai at this one restaurant next to a beautiful lake and that was good. My favorite so far has been fried pork on rice, and the curry I had. I am going to try and find some more curry, hopefully after I send this email.

For P-day today one of the greatest guys Brother Chang (elephant) is going to take us exploring some hill tribes who speak Hmong. He is a super funny guy and took me to buy my bike. We are going to go with some of the members and investigators, so that will be fun. Other than that, we have nothing planned, we might go to a meat buffet with Sister Eve later today.

I can't wait to continue to serve and to learn. I need to start working really hard with the language because no one here speaks like my teachers spoke, except for my trainer. Everyone else speaks super fast. We get to teach English later today I think so I will feel good when I am to the one doing the teaching. The language has definitely been a struggle but I know with divine help I will overcome it!

Love you all, packages and letters can only be picked up every six weeks after each transfer I believe, so it will be much slower here.

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