Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It’s YOU, Champer Damper! It’s YOU!

Sister McQuivey said that all the time. Apparently it's from some cat video on youtube? I never saw it...but it's this woman who is obsessed with her cat and sings to him, "Who's the best cat in the United States? It's YOU, Champer Damper! It's YOU!" Haha, I will have to remember to watch that in SEVENTEEN MONTHS. How has it been a month already!? Time is flying!

Dead family,

(Yes, I said "Dead." In dad's most recent DearElder to me, he addressed me as "Dead Sister Sweetness." I cried—I was laughing so hard. It was classic.)

This has been another awesome week here in the MTC. I'm halfway done...only 4 1/2 weeks until I ship out to Thailand!! AHH!! I'm so ready to get out and go!! I'm not going crazy here, why do you ask? Haha. But I really am loving it.

So on Sunday this week at Music and the Spoken Word, it was all about Memorial Day. Memorial Day?! We forgot that there were things like that that happen in the real world! We were all shocked! All I could think about the entire time was being at the American Cemetery in Normandie, and walking along the shore on Omaha Beach. I am so glad I did that particular study abroad in Paris. That place changed me—Paris and the cemetery in Normandie. I kept thinking about that little old British veteran* at the hotel we stayed at in Bayoux before visiting the cemetery and Omaha Beach.

I was thinking about all of the boys who gave their lives for their cause at 19 and 20, and all of those blinding white crosses and Stars of David that stretched on as far as I could see. And I started thinking— obviously their mission was so vastly different from mine as a missionary—but at the same time, they are kind of similar. Let me explain. Those 19 and 20 year old boys believed in their cause, and they were willing to give their all for it. Why should I feel any differently about my mission? Interesting to think about. I am grateful every single day for the lifechanging experiences I had in France.

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* October 3, 2012  |  bayeux part ii

woke up, went to breakfast, and had a wonderful experience. at our hotel, there was a british wwii veteran who fought on the beaches of normandy. i typed out my experience on my phone (i didn't have my computer with me) while we were driving to gold beach later that day because i didn't want to forget it. here's part of what i wrote:

this morning at breakfast in bayeux, there was a british veteran from dday. 
i watched him and his wife eat their breakfast while i ate mine. i didn't want to approach him 
because i thought he wouldn't want to be interrupted. he was in his uniform, 
a navy coat decorated with pins and medals from the RAF. 
i finished my breakfast and realized that if i didn't thank him, i would kick myself for the rest of my life. how many times do you run into a veteran from normandy while you're in normandy? 
not often. i walked up to him and shook his hand while i said, 
"thank you." 
he locked his eyes with mine through his thick glasses while he spoke and said, 
"we couldn't have done it without you." 
his hand held mine the whole time. it was rough and worn and warm. 
"it was the americans who made all the difference." 
he proceeded to tell me a little bit about his experience in the war, and about how he was so grateful for roosevelt and the american soldiers coming to the aid of the british. he smelled like coffee, and in the hand that wasn't holding mine, he was holding a sugar cube. he asked me why i was in france, and i told him about our study abroad. he told me to cherish it because 
it is an amazing experience to live abroad. i told him i would. 
he smiled. 
i loved him and his british accent and his faded ribbons on the lapel of his jacket.

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Later Sunday evening, we had a wonderful devotional and then we all watched Sister Monson's funeral. I heard it wasn't broadcast, so I guess not very many people actually got to view it. It was beautiful, and she was an amazing woman. It got me thinking about family, and what I want for my family now and in the future when I am a mother.

I also decided on Sunday that I really should invest in waterproof mascara and eyeliner, because I am still a tenderheart. Ha.

So on Monday, we had the most amazing lesson we have ever taught as a companionship and in my entire mission of one month (haha). But in all honesty, it was the best experience of my mission thus far. Our investigator, Nike, is awesome. He has two little girls and a girlfriend. We learned in our last lesson that they’re not married, and we knew that if he wanted to be baptized, they would have to get married—but we didn't know how to approach it. We asked him to pray with his family, and to ask his fan (girlfriend, but it can also mean wife, so you never know if someone is married or just dating someone; ANNOYING haha) if she would be interested in hearing the missionary discussions. He also asked us how the gospel of Jesus Christ would be able to help his family. So when we were planning, we all suddenly felt like we needed to tell him about God's plan of Eternal Marriage. So we walked into the lesson, no notes, with two pictures of temples (Thank you Grandma Coco, they have definitely come in handy!). We had a "member present" (one of our other teachers in character of a ward member who was just sealed to his family two months ago!) and we told Nike that God wants our families to exist together beyond this life. He wants us to live together in His presence after we die. To do that, we need to be sealed together by the priesthood power in the temple. He was so excited. I was so excited. I couldn't stop smiling. The spirit was so strong, I have never felt anything like it in my life. I got teary-eyed, right in the middle of the lesson! And my hands started to get all sweaty...and anyone who knows me knows that my hands DON'T get sweaty. I am a human ice cube. Ahhhhh I just wanted to shout, "NIKE! DON'T YOU SEE?! THIS IS THE BEST POSSIBLE THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD FOR YOUR FAMILY! I WANT YOU TO HAVE THIS!!" But I didn't...haha. Anyway, Brother Gang (member present) bore his testimony about being sealed to his family, and as he did, I had no idea at all what he was saying, but I cried. And I think Nike teared up a little bit, too. He wants to know how he can be sealed to his parents, who have passed away. We asked him to share this message with his fan, who wasn't interested after praying. We really want her to accept this. Because this is what it is all about. Bringing people unto Christ and showing them what complete and everlasting happiness they can have through his gospel. :)

I'm so grateful for my family. I just want everyone to know I have the best family in the whole entire world, and no one can even argue with me about that, so that's that. I'm so grateful for the blessings of the temple, and that they are stuck with me forever :) It is seriously the happiest thing in the entire world. I just want everyone to know about it!

So Thai! This week has been really rough in the language department—we're all beginning to read. It is rough. All I want is a constant supply of Advil and a magnifying glass. We are reading from the Book of Mormon and the letters are so tiny! It gives me a headache if I try to read for too long. But it's beginning to be really fun. Elder Hill put it all into perspective for us when during class he announced, "Not everyone gets to experience the magic of learning to read twice in their lives." It's so true :) I remember reading Go, Dog! Go! with daddy, and how fun it was to pick out the word "the" on the back of a Land Before Time video cover with mama. I'm getting to experience that all over again! It's so cool. Only a lot harder because #Thaiisagianthashtagandtheydontseparatetheirwordsyoujusthavetofigureoutwheretheystartandwheretheyendsogoodluck :)

One evening Brother Shipley was trying to help us remember all the different consonants with little tricks, because so many of the consonants make the same sound. Each consonant is associated with a word, like the first letter on the script card is kaa k<y. kaa is the sound, and the word it is associated with is k>y, which means rooster. So each letter in the alphabet has stuff like that. One of the letters, scc sxa, on the very bottom row in yellow (i sent photos of my script card, right?) is kinda hard to remember sometimes. Brother Shipley asked, "Does anyone know how to remember scc sxa?" Me, being the genius that I am, assumed he wanted to hear our tricks of how we remembered it. So I raised my hand. He called on me and I said, "I remember it because scc is an s-sound, which stands for Sydney, and it has a unicorn horn because Sydney likes unicorns." He gave me one of those, "Wow, I can't believe you just said that" looks and said, "Huh. Well, I remember it because sxa means tiger, and it has a tiger swipe through it." Good one, Syd. Good one.

We have been doing the $100 chair each night at district prayer and we tell the person who is praying something we really appreciate about them. Last night was my turn, and everyone was very complimentary, especially Elder Passey, who told me he appreciates my "motherly nature." I had to laugh at that one. It's not like I've been told that before or anything. :)

And now I'm back to my little trio! Sister McQuivey left for Washington yesterday morning at 5 am. It was an early morning, because I had to accompany her to the travel office haha. BUT GOOD NEWS EVERYONE. The Lord blesses you when you do good things, because guess who found Diet Coke in the free bin? That's right, this Sister. Blessings, everyone. Blessings. Haha. Also, I would like to say that I am very good at finding things in the free bins in our hall, our room has quite the collection of hair products, cute clothing, and I have started a personal library of "The Plan of Salvation" pamphlets in as many languages as I can find. So far I have English, Thai, Cambodian, Spanish, Czech, and Korean. It's a pretty good start. Haha.

And if anyone is wondering about the food front...on Monday night we were served Cod Nuggets. I had Life cereal.

I love you all!! You are the best, and I can't wait to hear from you!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Sister Hugh

PS. Sorry there aren't any pictures this week...there's only one lab in the MTC that has uploading capabilities and there was no room in there today.

Fun Fact
In Thai, you can't pronounce an S on the end of a word, so my name is just Sister Hugh. And Hugh means "hungry." So...I'm going to be Sister Hungry for the next 17 months hahahaha.

Quote of the Week
"Next time we say something in the wrong tone, can you say, "Don't you use that tone with me!"?" -Elder Hill, to Brother Shipley (PS I have no idea how to correctly use quotations with that one, so Kelly Benning, if you are reading this, I am so sorry! haha)

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