Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Khnyom, khnyom, khnyom!

Sisters Hughes, Phelps and Slaugh

Ok, the title of this email is from a song that one of our Cambodians wrote during her stay in the MTC. Her name is Sister Hartley. She's a riot. The song goes as follows:

Khnyom, khnyom, khnyom!
Khnyom, sraline, khnyom!
Khnyom sa-at, khnyom cha-lat
Khnyom, la-ah ching gay!

I, I, I
I love my self,
I am pretty, I am smart.
I am the best.

It's pretty great. Now I know how to say all the really important stuff in Cambodian, so nobody should worry about that.

This has been a very silly week. It started out with me seeing my friend Janna (from my human development class, remember? I love that lady) here at the MTC (she's a teacher) and I literally screamed when I saw her. It was so good to give her a hug! Haha, so much for "quiet dignity..." Whoops :)

I have also been discovering that the Missionary Training Center is a gold mine of 18- and 19-year-old boy antics. I mean, I knew this...I knew it would be an adventure. But I am having so much fun observing all of the awesome things that go down. Like this week, one Elder Clawson, a Cambodian, got all the elders to snort jello at dinner. Yeah, that happened. Or when Elders Passey and Astle wrote a Thai word on the board and snickered the whole time...I found out later it was the verb for "to elegantly break wind." I had to laugh at that one. Last night we had a 40 minute conversation about tie trading and the rankings of different types of ties here at the MTC. Seriously?! It was a FORTY MINUTE CONVERSATION. You kinda run out of things to talk about after a while...haha.

Our schedule at the MTC is the same for 8 weeks in a row. I don't have it in front of me...but on Mondays there are 6 hours of class, on Tuesdays there are 3 with a devotional in the evenings, Wednesday is P-Day (preparation day) with a 3 hour evening class, and then Thursday thru Saturday we have 6 hours of class. And then there is Sunday with no class; we watch Music and the Spoken Word as sisters, have Relief Society, Sacrament Meeting, a walk to the temple, and then we have a Devotional around 7. When we have class varies from day to day, but it's the same each week. If that made sense :)

So speaking of Music and the Spoken Word, this week was so good. There were so many video clips of nature...I forgot how much I missed the outside world! Seriously, people, GET OUTSIDE!! To anyone who is coming to the MTC...SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. We have gym time every day, but it's just not the same. I realized that I haven't seen the stars the entire time I've been here. I miss that. It's funny the things you miss in the MTC. So far for me, it's Google and the stars. AND MUSIC. That too. We don’t to listen to background music here, not even church-y music. I don't know why, but once we get into the field that will change.

Anyway, so what I really wanted to say about Music and the Spoken Word...I FOUND CONAN / DINO GUY IN THE TABERNACLE CHOIR!! It took me three Sundays, but I finally found him. I laughed so hard...I pointed him out to my companions and now they look for him all the time, too! I kept thinking of General Conference with the Morgans and the Navas and it just made me so happy happy happy :)

Another fun thing that happened this week...during our lesson with Nike, we realized that we wanted to share a scripture with him. We decided to share something about Jesus being the "light and the life of the world" in Alma 38:9. I told him the wrong scripture. I asked him to read Alma 39:9. I'll let you look that one up. Needless to say, we all laughed really hard, even Nike (who is really just Brother Phan, our teacher). It was super awkward hahaha.

Oh, here is a fun thing I found out. So Sister Tilley found out in a somewhat unfortunate manner during one of her lessons the difference between Khaa and Kh>> (remember the backwards C?). Anyway. She related said story to us: She was teaching her investigator how to pray, and she said that you "khaa God," or "thank God." Or so she thought. She asked the investigator to try it, even though he seemed confused. It turns out she was asking him to "kill God." And we all realized that in our prayers we have been trying to kill God instead of thank him for our many blessings. Whoops-a-tulip! He knows what we were trying to say :)

So now that the silly stuff is out of the way, let's move on to the spiritual stuff I've learned this week.

The Book of Mormon. It is so incredibly personal! I have always known that reading the Book of Mormon is the best way to come to know Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. It is the best way that we can gain a testimony of Him. But the Book of Mormon is a way for the gospel and for Christ to reach people individually. It allows for each of us to have our very own experience with Christ as our Savior. It allows us to come to know Him on our own, for ourselves. The spirit will testify to each of us in a different way that He is the Son of God, and that He is our Redeemer, if we approach reading it with faith and commitment. It reaches people one by one, which is exactly how the Savior wants us to come to know Him. I love that. And THAT is why the Book of Mormon is the most powerful resource in the conversion process, for our investigators and for ourselves.

We've had some pretty big changes in our zone this week. All of our Pii Thais left for Thailand on Monday! I'm so excited and happy for them. Yesterday, almost all of our Cambodians left. In their district of 12, 11 left—10 for Cambodia, and 1 for Long Beach. Sister McQuivey, who is going to Tacoma, Washington, is the only one who is still here due to transfer dates in her mission. So guess who has a new companion? Yep! That's right! I do!

Yesterday is a long story. Yesterday morning, Sisters Phelps, Slaugh, and I were able to teach Pii Tom about baptism, and he accepted the invitation to be baptized. WHAT?! I AM SO HAPPY FOR HIM. Definitely the high of the day. During our personal study, poor Sister Stack had a pretty severe athsma attack. Sister du Plessis asked the elders to give her a blessing before they called medical services, and it was so awesome how all four of them literally LEAPED out of their chairs to give her a blessing in the hallways where she was. We stayed in our classroom for about 40 minutes while the medical peeps took care of her and took her off to the health clinic for breathing treatment. After the elders came back in, we had a district prayer all together (minus Sisters Stack and du Plessis, obviously), and it was the sweetest thing ever. Yesterday was a huge bonding day for our district, and Sister Stack is back in the saddle, never fear. Blessings work!

After class, we helped all of our Pii Cambodians move their stuff out of their rooms so they could board the bus to the airport. We also moved all of Sister McQuivey's stuff into our room. I moved to the top bunk, which is actually an adventure because of where the bed is, there isn't really a way to climb up onto it, so I just kind of climb on a chair and on the cupboards and fling myself onto the bed. We don't have a ladder. We can't do things the easy way in the MTC :) Anyway, watching the Cambodians drive away was such a happy, happy thing. I am seriously so excited for them!! But watching Sister McQuivey standing there, crying, was the hardest thing in the entire world. My heart broke into so many millions of little baby pieces for that girl. Her entire district of 9 weeks just left, and she gets to stay back for a week with the Thais. It was amazing how the Spirit told me exactly what to do to comfort her. I don't know her very well at all, but I just knew that she needed someone to hold her hand, and so I stood there with her, holding her hand, as the bus drove off. We held hands a lot yesterday. It was nice.

Our devotional last night was so awesome. Mom and dad, if you get the chance, could you maybe try to find a copy of it? It was Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Seventy. He gave the most amazing talk on the Doctrine of Christ. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and when it was over, I just wanted to listen to it on repeat about 27 more times because it was seriously that amazing. The final advice he gave us was, "Don't hold anything back from the Lord." I thought that was so cool. After devotionals on Tuesdays, we have a little testimony meeting with our district and someone from our branch presidency. And I realized in that meeting that if we don't hold anything back from the Lord, He won't hold anything back from us. He will bless us with everything we need to be the best missionaries we can be. It was the most amazing realization ever.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!! I hope you guys get my point :)

Until next Wednesday!

Sister Syd


"I can't even stick to a goal for ONE dayTHERE'SJELLOWHERE." —Sister Hartley, at dinner when she saw Elder Clawson with a plate of Jello

Each night we have a prayer as a district before we go back to our residences. Elder Whitney, of the Cambodians, was with us so we asked him to pray in Khmer. So he did. Somehow, though, Elder Hill missed the memo and in the middle of Elder Whitney's prayer, he said super loud, "WHAT?!" And we all busted up, even Elder Whitney. It was great.

"I'm not Asian, I'm 6'4''!" -Elder Black, who is half Thai

Sister Stack: "My power animal is like a mix between a pig and a t-rex."
Elder Hill: "How did those two meet?"
Elder Astle: "That's a funny joke. We'll laugh about that later."

Me: "Dang. Modesty is a really long word." I then proceeded to struggle saying "khwaamsuphaabriabr>>y" for about 30 seconds until Elder Passey said, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

Me: "Kaanfuunfuu. That sounds like a good name for a bouncy house rental place, right?"
Elder Astle: "You know, those are the kind of thoughts that will make you a lot of money one day."
And that was my week in quotes :)

CARINE IS HERE! Hurrah! It's a beautiful thing.
The girl with the red hair is Sister Ralls, she is Dr. and Jennie Hurlbut's neice!
Our two Thai districts with a Sister who is from Thailand! Wahoo!

Some of our district at the temple this morning. The girl with the Red shirt is Sister McQuivey! She will be my companion until Tuesday morning when she leaves for Washington! 
The sisters going to Thailand with the Thai Sister (who's last name I can't pronounce because it is 21398472358971204783 letters long) 

This is L Tom Perry. There is a vowel in Thai that requires his smile to make the right sound.
If that makes sense. Ha ha. So we hung those up :)
HOLY CLOUDS! utah lake has never been so beautiful 
Look at this car!
Sister Tilley and I

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