Monday, November 11, 2013

“Hey, your feet are orange.” —Elder de la Garza

Elder de la Garza sure is tactful, isn’t he? :)

FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! สวัสดี!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week in Thailand I:
- got my hair stuck in a songtaew
- spilled somtam all over myself
- ripped my skirt on a bus
- was told my feet were orange
- got lost in a wat (Buddhist temple)
- had the most awkward phone conversation of my life (which I will soon detail)


This week in Thailand I also:
- l earned how to make Thai food
- was fed PANCAKES
- held a baby leopard and kissed a baby elephant
- had the most awkward phone conversation of my life, which actually turned out to be the most   
  hilarious phone conversation of my life (details will soon come, I promise)
- was told by an RC all the reasons why she loves me

So all in all, it was a really good week :)

On Monday we went back to the Crocodile Farm with all of the Sisters in my zone. It was super fun, I held a baby leopard. And I wanted to take it home with me. I also got to play with a baby elephant. I was waving at it and he reached out his truck to me so we...held hands?...for a while and then he tried to pull me into his cage. It was pretty entertaining. That night the Special Effects Elders—who are actually the Social Media Elders, I just can never remember what they're called—came to our district and filmed us contacting to make a training video for the whole mission. That was pretty fun. So Sister Zaugg and I are the only sisters in this training/inspirational video about how miracles happen through inviting people to be baptized as soon as you meet them. It's actually a really good video. The elders did a really good job. It should be on Facebook at some point...I'll let you know when and where it is. 

So that being said, everything about how we contact in Thailand is changing. When I first got here, we would just walk up to people and have a nice conversation with them and then invite them to learn more about Jesus Christ. That would leave us with a bunch of people who just wanted to talk to us because we were nice Americans who could speak English. In our District, we started inviting people to be baptized as soon as we made contact with people. So basically, we started just walking up to people and asking them if they knew what baptism was, would give a brief explanation, and then ask them if they would be baptized. A bold question to begin the conversation. Elder Campbell and Elder Creer really started it, and got it going in our district, then in our zone, and now President Senior wants our whole mission to do it. It's kind of intimidating, but it's allowing us to talk more specifically to a lot of people who want to learn because they want to know how to change their lives. Which is awesome. And exactly what we want. I feel like once I decided to just suck it up and fully jump on board with this way of contacting, the work started picking up and I have found that I am becoming more of the missionary that I want to be. In our last zone conference we talked a lot about inflection points—the point where you either shoot up or fall down. And Sister Zaugg and I were saying that we both feel like we hit our inflection points this last week and are starting up the upward journey. We're both so so happy and excited about the work that we're doing.

Other things about this week. We visited Sister Oy again, and then she wanted to paint our nails. This week mine are red and black with some white flowers on them. They're a little more showy than I would have picked, but she was so happy to do someone's nails that I couldn't say no.  :)

We visited Sister Ah, the Relief society president (President Suchaad's wife) at her house to figure out who we she wanted us to go visit. She fed us macaroni and PANCAKES. I'm not the biggest fan of pancakes, but after having been deprived of them for 6 1/2 months, they were the most delicious thing I've ever eaten. 

When we were trying to get ahold of the list of less active members that Sister Ah asked us to visit, we just only had people's real names. (In Thailand, people have their true, given names and then a nickname that everyone knows them by. It makes activation work really hard because members don't really even know each other's true names so when you go through records you have no idea who you're dealing with...) So I called this one number looking for a woman named Pasirii. In Thailand, it's really common for people to have ringback tones, like a song plays instead of hearing the usual "ring, ring, ring." So I'm listening to the song, thinking "Hey! This is the same song as Pa Samran's phone!" And then a man answered the phone. I told him I was looking for Pasirii. He was confused and said, "What are you looking for?" I told him I was looking for a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He asked for the name again. I spelled it. Then the man on the other end said, "Loog, are you looking for Ka-Ning?" (Loog = child, it's a term of endearment that adults use with younger people they are close to.) At that moment, I realized it WAS Pa Samran, because Ka-Ning is his niece who lives with him. I said, "Is this Pa Samran?!" He said, "Yes, Sister Hugh, it is." BAH. How awkward that he knew it was me the whole time...but also soooooooooo hilarious. I was laughing so hard I was crying, and I could hear Pa Samran laughing, too. The next day he told me how happy that phone call made him. 

Sister Na, the woman with the Chihuahua, called us on Wednesday morning and said "Sisters, I'm going to teach you how to make somtam at noon at the church." And then she hung up the phone. There was no arguing with that. So we met up at the church at noon and she taught us how to make somtam—a classic Thai papaya salad. It's one of my favorite foods here. So that was fun. I also spilled it all over my skirt...which was embarrassing...but it's all good. 

I have a video of Pa Gua singing during a conversation and then Sister Benny telling him in English to "Pleash be quiet" so that's another highlight of the week that I get to keep with me forever and ever.

While trying to find new places to contact, Sister Zaugg and I somehow got lost in a wat when we tried to cut across it to see what was on the other side, and while trying to get out of said wat, were approached by a monk who wanted to talk to us for like 10 minutes in English and it was such a unique experience. No prostelyting at religious locations, so we just talked, and the wat was really pretty, so that was cool.

We also met Mala, from Myanmar, this week. She speaks a some English and some Thai. She told us that she's always believed that there is a God and that He loves her. She prays to Him every day. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and it was so good. She said one time her husband got thrown into jail (in Myanmar) through no fault of his own.She had no way to contact him; she didn't know would happen. He was in jail for a long time, and one day she went in her room and cried and prayed. Her phone rang when she finished her prayer. It was her husband saying he was coming home. She said, "So I know that there is a God."

We visited a sister for Sister Ah on Saturday evening. It turns out she is someone that Sister Weed and I had been trying to get a hold of for two transfers. This week when we called her, she said it wasn't convenient for her, but then changed her mind. She had us come over and it was so fun. She is the cutest woman named Meow. She previously had been working from 8 am to 11 pm every single day, but literally just days before we called her, she quit her job. God is preparing people to receive the gospel—whether they are investigators or members who have stepped away from the church. It was no coincidence that we called her the week she left her job, I mean am I right? She was even able to come to church on Sunday with her mom, who isn't a member. We taught her mom after church. She's such a sweet woman. She needs a little Gospel light in her life :)

Well, I think that's about it for this week. It was a good week. :) I LOVE YOU ALL!!

Sister Hughes / Hungry / Choo / Q


Me complaining to Sister Zaugg : "Elder de la Garza told me my feet were orange. . . uh, cause they are." (Man, I don't even eat carrots all the time or anything! What is going on?!)

Fun at the Crocodile Farm
A sad and fluffy bear

Holding a baby leopard!
Playing with the baby elephant and getting pulled into the cage
We were both laughing

Pinata at English class

The kids LOVED it 
Making Somtam

Stuck at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere with no one to talk to

The wat we got lost in

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