Monday, September 2, 2013

We are going to be AWESOME, not perfect.

That was a quote from relief society yesterday, and it made me so happy. :)

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Kid marketplace—kids selling to kids

This week has been pretty tame. Nothing too out of the ordinary or too crazy happened (although yesterday I did see another woman who was all the way up in the top of a tree hacking away at a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge branch with a meat cleaver...and I feared for my life a little bit...). But some good stuff definitely went down.

Woo-hoo! The mail came on Tuesday and I got a letter from Sherry Moore! I love that lady! Definitely a highlight of my day. Still waiting on mail from you guys, though...Keeping my fingers crossed for this week.

So here’s a fun story! Last winter semester, I registered to take the first half of the New Testament. I was super excited about it. When I showed up to class on the first day, Brother Johnson stood in front of the class and announced, “Welcome to the SECOND half of the New Testament!” I kinda looked around me to see if anyone else was one was. So I pulled out my laptop speedy quick and checked the classes I had registered for. Turns out I had mistakenly signed up for the second half of the New Testament and didn’t even realize it. Whoopsie daisy. So after class, I was sitting in the library and about to switch into the first half of the New Testament when I suddenly felt like I needed to stay in the second half. So I did. And it turned out to be great. I loved learning about Paul. And then I went on my mission.

So there I was, sitting in a lesson with Ploy in Thailand, where the Thai Bible is hardly ever used because the translation is so bad, when Ploy suddenly asks a question about why in the Bible John said we couldn’t have any more scripture. I was so surprised. Sister Weed looked at me and was like, “What do we say?” But because I had taken the second half of the New Testament, Sister Weed and I were able to explain about John writing that no one else could add to his scripture passages as a sign of specific authorship, not that the heavens had been closed and revelation was no more. I kind of sat back and smiled to myself. That’s why I took the second half. Just for Ploy :)

On Saturday we had a Branch activity where we all got together and invited people in a neighborhood near the church to come to church on Sunday. It was pretty fun, and I was so impressed with how many people came and were willing to just walk up to people and say, “Hey! Come to church with me tomorrow!” Before being a missionary, that would have been the scariest thing in the world for me. I’m so impressed by how the members here will literally do anything for the church. It’s awesome.

Anyway, at the activity, Sister Weed and I had seen an American man walking through the market area of the street earlier, but couldn’t talk to him at the time because we were talking to someone else. Just as the activity was ending, we found out both of our appointments for that night had fallen through and we weren’t sure what to do next. And then that man walked by again. We asked him where he was from and he actually is from Seattle and the Bay Area—both places that Sister Weed and I have lived. Instant connection. And THEN we found out that he’s a member and has been less active for about 7 years or so. How often are you in Thailand and find a less active church member American? I don’t know much, but I’d say the chances are pretty slim. We actually ended up talking to this man, Dan, for a bit. He is married to a Thai woman and lives with her, their children, and his in-laws—who all speak Thai to each other. He just really needed to talk to someone in English. He told us “Boy, you are really good listeners” and “Man, you’re great therapists.” Haha. And all we did was listen. He was telling us about his work and he has literally worked all over the world for some of the most prestigious aerospace companies (and you know I have no idea what those are actually called, so sorry I have no names to back that up haha). He is an economist and was full of awesome advice. He fixes business infrastructures. It’s pretty interesting; he was telling us—and he wasn’t trying to give us advice at all about life; he was only telling us about how to solve problems in businesses—but this really stood out to me. He said, “The biggest mistake that people make is that they believe the environment is complicated.”

Sometimes I feel like missionary work can become so complicated. Dan’s statement made me take a step back and remember that everything about the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. It’s all founded on love. And that’s about all there is to it. There is no need to make it confusing. And because that’s what we’re teaching all the time, there is no reason to make missionary work complicated. It’s straightforward. You follow the Spirit, you find people, you teach people, and you help and serve people. And it’s all founded on love. So I’m gonna edit Dan’s statement a little: “The biggest mistake that missionaries make is that they believe the work is complicated.” I'm going to try to remember that in the future.

I’ve also had some questions recently in letters about the people I’m working with in my branch! We currently have two sets of elders and one set of sisters (me and Sister Weed, obviously haha). The elders are Elder Creer and Elder Campbell (zone leaders) and Elder Barfuss and Elder Angkham (district leaders). They’re all pretty awesome. Elder Angkham is actually from Laos, which is awesome, and he is learning to speak English right now. It’s the best. On Saturday we taught him the word “gentleman” haha. He also is learning how to spell, which is exciting. I love when he writes “dristic meeting” or when he says “I need to call to Vietnam guy.” (He and Elder Barfuss were teaching someone from Vietnam.) It makes me smile. Such good stuff. Elder Barfuss is from Detroit and played soccer at BYU Hawaii pre-mission. He also lived in London for two years, which is awesome. He doesn’t quite get my sense of humor yet. But that’s ok, it’ll come with time (hopefully). Elder Campbell is from Utah and he’s 11 feet tall and talks to literally everyone. He is so good at Thai. He has about 6 months left. Elder Creer is from Vegas and is friends with Elder Astle. He also wears the craziest ties, just like Elder Astle. I’m pretty sure most of them are straight out of the 70s. One time I called him the Big Cheese because things like that pop out of my mouth...and he refuses to admit it’s funny even though I know he thinks it is.

So that’s about it for this week! Today Sister Weed and I are heading with some our the other sisters in our zone to the world’s largest crocodile farm and you can bet I will take a bazillion photos and probably come home with some crazy-weird t-shirt as a souvenir. Watch for photos of that next week :)

Well, fam-bam, I LOVE YOU. 
ฃิสเตอร์รักครอบครัวมาก :)

Sister Hungry
 ฃิสเตอร์ หิว

Pa Gua with his ping pong paddles that he stores in a trusty old bread bag. His eyes are almost as good as new!

This week's photos include some of the things I see on a daily basis, yo.
A monsoon coming; nbd.

Some construction . . . 

A rabbit in a bike basket. 
Oh, you know. If you wanted to get your nails done at the Faux French nail salon,
you could have Jose written on them! Awesome!

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