|Elders and Sisters heading from Sisaket to Ubon. Elder Lim photobombing.|
This week was good, family; it involved a lot of the same things: teaching, testifying, riding our bikes, SWEATING. What the heck, we sweat so much this week. I don't even know why it was so hot. Here are a few highlights:
On Wednesday, all four of the elders went contacting out at a store called Tesco Lotus, about a 30-minute ride out of the city. They locked their bikes...and then realized they didn't have the keys to unlock them. Sister Croft and I had to sneakily break into their house and then ride all the way out to Lotus to give them the keys...classic.
I BOUGHT NEW CROCS THAT DON'T HAVE HOLES IN THEM. They are pink (surprise, surprise) and they change to purple in the sun :)
I found out I took a French class at BYU with Elder Lim's older brother...small world.
We ate mangoes and sticky rice with a grandmother who was the 6th member of the church in Sisaket. She yelled, "MISSIONARIES, HAVE YOU EVER HAD MANGOES AND STICKY RICE BEFORE?" "Yes! We love it." "Oh. WELL I BET MINE IS THE MOST DELICIOUS ISN'T IT. I'M REALLY GOOD AT COOKING" :)
We rode a train to Ubon for last P-Day! We ate American food. It was great. I love trains and the wind in my face.
Tui brought 30 bags of milk to the church to share with everyone. Just because he could. Haha. (Sadly we found out he is moving!! To a province where there is no church...NOoooooooooo! I'm going to miss that man.)
And here is the real message of the week: Mom asked me in her letter what is making me happy these days. Here it is. Sister Croft and I have been trying to figure out how to find those people ready to hear the gospel as we are looking for investigators. It's hard! But we've realized that when you decide to find people whose hearts are ready, you will either find them or they will come to you. There is an activity in Preach My Gospel, chapter 9 that I did this morning. One of the related scripture passages was 1 Thessalonians 2. I read it and my heart almost burst. That is exactly how I feel about my whole mission.
I've told Sister Croft a couple of times about this little theory I have, and I feel like Paul describes it so perfectly. My theory is this: my heart is a suitcase. As a missionary, I get to experience the intense and very real love that God feels towards each of his children, whether that be investigators, members, those who are less active, or other missionaries. I feel like my ability to love has been magnified so much more than I could have ever expected. I had no idea I could love so many people and hold them there, in my little heart that is very much like a suitcase. I've opened all the expanders and all the pockets. And somehow, I still have room to keep stuffing people in. Because God's love for his children knows no end. God's love is perfect and there is always room in His suitcase and there are no weight limits in heaven. Here is how Paul described his love for his people that he was teaching and serving. It's verse eight (italics added):
“So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”
It's so true. There is nothing I wouldn't do for any of the people I have packed so tightly into my suitcase heart. I would give my own soul, gladly. They have affected me eternally. I think learning to love—the way that God and Christ love—has been the biggest blessing of my mission. That is what makes me happy. That is what makes me forever grateful that I decided to serve a mission. It's funny how it works, you learn to love others, and in turn learn to love yourself. When you forget yourself, you find yourself. Paul concludes his letter in verse 20 by saying,
“For ye are our glory and joy.”
All my people, myself included, are my glory and my joy, because Christ is our Savior and God is our Heavenly Father.
I love you family! I'm so glad you take up a huge part of my heart. Can't wait to give you all a big hug.
Quotes of the Week (whoops, it's been a while since I've done this):
Me: “Elder Angkham, did you ask to use my pen?”
Elder Angkham: “Yes, I did. In my heart.”
Sister Boom (who we ran into while we were contacting): “Hey sisters! Come here! What, do you want a watch? Pick one. What?! No watch?! Well then let's go get Swenson's. Please let me buy you something. Here, pick out some treats at this stand right here.” It was so silly.
Elder Hartman (after we learned that most of the kids we are teaching are named after fruits; it’s super common in Thailand): “I’m naming my kids fruits.”
Me: “I’ve got my pink shoes and my sparkle shoes, what more do I need?”
|Me eating a fish head|
|My sad, sad crocs with holes in them|
|and me throwing out my old shoes : )|