So one of the things that made me smile really big this week is in the ENORMOUS stack of books we got (not a joke, we all got about 15 pounds of language and gospel study books...), one of my books is called "Thai for Missionaries." It made me think of you guys and smile. Ok. Now on to the long-awaited email!!
Sawadii khaa khrabkhrua khong sitdee!!
(Hello to my family!!)
This has been the longest, most exhausting, and definitely one of the best weeks of my life. On Wednesday after mom dropped me off, I was escorted to my residence, and then off to my class where our teacher spoke only Thai. That was exciting. And wonderfully confusing :)
HOLY COW THANK YOU FOR ALL THE BIRTHDAY LOVE!!! :) I have never felt the birthday love like I have this year!! I have been teased mercilessly about the copious amounts of mail I got on our second day in the MTC, haha. Every time Elder Astle (in my district) checks the mail and I have something, he says "Sister Hugh, more fan mail for you..." Haha. By the way, DEARELDERS: Awesome invention. That's all :)
I have gotten a lot of questions about my "companion." Well folks, I'm in a trio! My companions are Sister Phelps and Sister Slaugh. Sister Phelps is from Murrietta, CA (San Diego) and is about 16 feet tall with big green eyes and an infectious laugh. Just kidding, she's only about 6 feet tall. But still. Sister Slaugh is from New Jersey, "about 45 minutes away from NYC on a good day, but it's never a good day," just finished her freshman year at BYU and loves to be sarcastic. We get along really well :) Both of my companions are 19! Turns out I'm kind of an old lady! But that's ok with me.
We have two classes of 9 missionaries each learning Thai. In my class are my trio (obviously), Sisters Stack and Du Plessis, Elders Astle and Passey, and Elders Hill and Winsor. Pretty much it's one big spiritual party in there. Fun fact, in Thai there is no V sound, so Elder Astle hails from Las Wegas, Newada. It gets me every single time. But really, everyone in our class is awesome. So far, I can say my name, where I am from, that I am a missionary, pray, and bear my testimony. Last night I prayed in all Thai without notes for the first time. It was really ugly, broken up Thai, but it was awesome. Last night at our Tuesday night devotional, we heard from Elder and Sister Gavarret. I loved Elder Gavarret's message, but what really stood out to me was what Sister Gavarret said. She is originally from Paraguay (maybe Uruguay?) so English is her second language. She bore her testimony in English first, then went on to bear it in Portugese, Spanish, and then French. She told us to just keep on working on our languages. They will come. "You need only believe."
So that's what I'm doing! I'm believing. And I'm definitely seeing the results. (See aforementioned story about praying in Thai.) Also, here is another story about Thai. On our second day here, we taught our first investigator. My trio and I are teaching a guy named Sam, who is from Thailand. (Side note: Sam is not a real investigator haha, he's just an employee here at the MTC. But he really is from Thailand, and he only speaks to us in Thai, obviously.) We taught a really choppy lesson and basically just read a script that we had written out because we didn't know how to say anything really. BUT THEN...on Friday, we taught him again. This time, we really focused on following the spirit and talking to HIM, not just teaching a lesson. It was amazing what we have been learning about him. He talks back to us only in Thai, and somehow I am able to understand what he's saying to us. We taught him how to pray, we taught him about God and about the Holy Ghost, and this next lesson we are teaching tonight is about Jesus Christ. In our lesson on Monday, we talked to Sam about families. I had an outline of things that I wanted to say to him about families, but suddenly I knew that my outline was not what he needed to hear. I'm sure my companions thought I was CRAZY as I sat on the floor (Thai people sit on the floor, criss cross applesauce, good thing my skirts are all so long), flipping through one of our 17,000 dictionaries. It was awesome how I was able to tell him what he needed to hear without having prepared for it and without really knowing what I was saying. And he understood me. Okay maybe it wasn't me that he understood...but still. :) Also, I PRAY SO MUCH IT'S CRAZY. I love it!! Seriously, I feel like I'm saying a prayer every 2 seconds.
So a little bit about the MTC. It's covered in tulips. EVERYWHERE. Good thing tulips and daisies are my favorite flowers. It makes me so happy :) The food is fine...it's pretty much like any other cafeteria out there. I'm kinda sick of it already...haha. Mostly I eat a lot of cereal and salads and pineapple and honeydew. Every Wednesday and Sunday there is ice cream from the BYU creamery, which makes me just about the happiest girl in the whole wide world. And I drink SO MUCH WATER. I don't know what is happening to me. I lived in Utah for 4 months before coming to the MTC, but for some reason, I can't stay hydrated! And my skin has never been so dry. It's way weird. I just keep lathering on the lotion. I know you were curious about that so there you go.
During our Gym time, our entire zone likes to go out to the field by the temple to play soccer or volleyball. It's super fun. In our zone, we have the Thais, the Cambodians, the Hmongs, and the Vietnamese. The sisters all play soccer together and when we do, we usually play against the Spanish sisters. We call ourselves Asian Persuasian and we try REALLY HARD to not get competitive with the Hermanas. Haha. Volleyball is awesome, too, because you can play in the sand without your shoes on. :) I have proven myself quite the worthy opponent on both fields. Note sarcasm. Haha.
On Sunday we had mission conference with the MTC presidency. One of our opening hymns was Go Forth with Faith, and a tear or 6 definitely slipped out. I told the elders I had allergies. They didn't believe me :) Thank you, Katie and Suzanne. It's my new favorite hymn. :)
So on Monday in class, we really concentrated on talking about what our purpose is as missionaries and coming unto Christ. Brother Shipley asked us to each think about when it was that we came to know the Savior personally, and to find a scripture that illustrates to us who He is. I instantly thought of so many stories about Christ, and all of the things I wanted to say about Him, but I finally settled on 3 Nephi 11: 14-15. In these verses, Christ invites the Nephites to come to him individually, and feel the scars in his hands and feet and side. He stood there while each person came to Him. There must have been THOUSANDS of people in that crowd. And they came to him, one by one. And I thought about how Christ loves each and every one of us. Personally. And He teaches us one by one. I then thought about how He wants us all to come unto Him. He loves us and wants each of us to hear of His gospel. But He isn't here to teach each one of us individually. That's where the missionaries come in. It is so humbling to think that the Son of God, who has done more for me than I can even comprehend, needs me to help Him. It seems so backwards, but it is so amazing! I love knowing that :) And knowing that for some reason, I'm needed in Thailand. AH! So exciting. Only 8 more weeks until I ship out. Not that I'm counting down or anything... :)
So ask me more questions!! What do you want to hear about? I'll do my best to answer. I LOVE YOU ALL SO SO SO MUCH.
Have a great week, keep sending me DearElders! I think now that I have a set schedule, I'll be able to find a little more time to write back to you.
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