Monday, March 31, 2014

To Become a Unicorn Expert. The Last Week of March.

The Koonyays and Koontas from the rehab center—helping to teach the youth how to make rugs and baskets.
Dear family,

HOW IS IT THE LAST DAY OF MARCH. HOW IS IT APRIL. I hit my 11 months tomorrow...that is weird, isn't it? Anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed my last week of March. And I also enjoyed planning for April Fool's Day...haha.

Here is a quote from my journal this week. "I am at my happiest when I am working and sweaty and smelly and rejected." Why is it that these things make me feel my happiest? Being smelly has never really equated to happiness for me, but I guess things have changed :) I love Tuesdays because after District Meeting we all get ice cream together and then go contacting as a district. We call it the Pakkret Party #pakkretparty or the Pack Rat Party #packratparty. I think it's my favorite day of the week. I can't wait for tomorrow.

This week we also started teaching our friend Joe. Joe is from Nigeria and is a very strong Christian. He loves the Bible and was concerned about the Book of Mormon. He was so pleased when he saw how many times the Book of Mormon refers to Christ. We taught him with another African member named Stephane, who is from Cameroon and speaks English and French. It turns out they have multiple friends in common because of some soccer teams and they became BFFs in no time. The best part was when we asked Joe to say the closing prayer. I won't be able to explain it properly. Stephane explained that when we say "in Jesus name" we always say "amen." Joe got a little mixed up on the order of things and he started with the closing of the prayer by saying "In Jesus name..." Stephane: "Amen." Joe, starting again: "In Jesus name..." Stephane: "Amen." Joe: "Father we thank thee..." There we go. :) It was so heartwarming. I smile every time I think about it.

We had dinner with the Poulson family this week and we had a hilarious discussion about reality TV these days, don't worry, I had no idea what was going on the whole time. And then Sister Lynette, another sister who was at the dinner, turned the subject to camping and how her husband is not a big fan of it. Apparently their family has a trip planned for next month and her husband refuses to go. She said, "I told him there would be marshmallows and hot dogs but noooo he's afraid of that kind of stuff." The Poulson's son Kai, age 12, interrupts. "You mean he's afraid of marshmallows and hot dogs?!" I lost it. American families are golden.

This week I also received a crash course on working with less active members. I've worked with a few over my mission, but it's never been a huge focus for me. (Don't worry, I'm repenting, I'm changing my ways. I'm realizing that my heart has to be divided into 4 equal quarters—one for investigators, one for recent converts, one for members, and one for less active members.) Sister Ladle is SO good at working with less actives. She always knows just what to say. It just blows me away how she always knows exactly what to say to help them. I am learning a lot from my awesome companion :) We had two especially great lessons with some women from the Philippines, one named Helen and one named Aileen. Sister Ladle knew exactly how to help them feel that their Heavenly Father loves them. I've got a lot to learn from that girl. I'm gonna start taking notes.

On Friday we helped Sister Nelson decorate a Christmas tree at the church for the youth conference on Saturday. It was supposed to be the Tree of Life. I had my taste of Christmas this year in March. I could not have been any happier. More on that to come.

We also had dinner with the Chao family. They are from Utah, but Sister Chao is Laotian and Brother Chao is Cambodian. Sister Chao reminded me so much of Auntie Carrie it was unreal. We had pizza and cookies for dinner. I am hoping she signs up to have us over for dinner again in the near future. Haha. At one point she was talking about how her sons have to take piano lessons. She goes, "I tell my boys they can stop piano after their missions." 11 year old Aaron, who is rolling around on the floor at this point, stops and looks up at us and says, "And then I'll become a unicorn expert!" and then continues rolling. Seriously, people, these kids are killing me.

On Saturday we taught a new investigator for the Thai branch named Sandy. She said about three months ago, she asked her friend what she believed in. Her friend said she believed in humans because we can experience success on our own. Sandy switched her beliefs to align with those of her friend. She said that this week, though, when she met us, she felt that Jesus was calling her back.  Before we could even finish the Restoration and ask her to be baptized, she said, "So...when can I get baptized?" :) She is so cute and so good. She was so willing to change and accept what we were teaching her. Yes!

Because our appointment with Sandy was early in the morning, we switched our schedule around a little bit so we ended up studying at the church. We plugged in the Christmas tree and read under the twinkle lights. It was like when I was little and would hide behind the Christmas tree to read even though I wasn't supposed to. Oops. I could not have been any happier. Hooray for Christmas in March! :)

That day we also helped out with the International branch's youth conference. They organized a service activity where a group of older people from a rehabilitation center came to teach the kids how to make rugs and baskets. Sister Ladle and I got to be the interpreters. It was so fun to get to know these little grandmas and grandpas and help the kids in the branch get to know them, too. They have really incredible stories. One woman was a maid for the American army. She also had about 3 teeth and was so sassy. :) My favorite part was at the end of the activity. All of the youth sang, "I Am a Child of God" for the grandmas and grandpas. Sister Ladle and I sang, too, but we sang in Thai. It was so cute to watch the Koonyays (grandmas) and the Koontas (grandpas) looking at us as we sang. They got it, even if they didn't understand the words that were sung.

Church yesterday was great as always, in both branches. The Sae-dan family was in town this week (remember them from Chaing Mai? Sister Yim's family?) because Guung, Yim's younger brother, is leaving for his mission today to St. George Utah. They were all so wonderful and I hugged Sister Sae-dan and they told me I looked fat. Classic Thailand. I was so happy to see them :) 

Well, I think that's about it for this week. I turn 22 in a month. That's weird. Everyone asks me if I am one of those "young and new missionaries" when they first meet me...and I have to shake my head slowly and say, "I'm almost 22!" They look at me with a smile and say, "Well, that's okay." Haha. Well. I think it's great. Anyway.

I love you!!!!!

Sister Cute
(Someone thought I said "cute" instead of "hugh" this week. I didn't correct her.)


"Hey so I shaved my legs last night..."
—Elder Berbert at lunch on Tuesday

Grandma Si-Nuan, the woman who was a maid for the American armies. She was my favorite.
Elder Berbert's leg. . . .
Sister Nelson and the Christmas tree! 
Studying under the Christmas tree on Saturday with Sister Nay (her dad is in the Branch Presidency).

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