Monday, December 16, 2013

Hi.

Before I forget....i get to skype next weeeeeekkkkkkk!!!!! ahhhhhh yayayayyaayay. so here's about all the specifics i know. (oh and ps. get ready, because i'm 95% positive i'm about to move, so i may be a bit bummed next week...just because i know i'm gonna miss this place like crazy.) anyway, it will be Wednesday morning for me, so Tuesday night for you? Which is your Christmas Eve right? sorry to pull you away from all the festivities. i'm not actually sure what time exactly, because it might depend on my new companion too. i would plan on anywhere from 6-9pm...sorry i know that's not specific. if i remember right, by skype name is emily.steele6. What skype name should i look for?? hopefully i'll be able to send a quick email right before. can't wait!!

Every day of this week was good, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary. On Tuesday we talked to one of our investigators from English class. She's a mom with 2 little boys, who works ALL time, while trying to take care of her sick mom too. Her husband died 10 years ago, so she's a single mom. She works a lot, and hasn't been able to come to church yet. She's basically one of those investigators that's already Mormon, and if she could just come to church, she'd be baptized right away. She actually reminds me a lot of you, mom. On Tuesday she told us that she asked for a day off on the 29th, and she knew exactly what she was going to do with her day off...come to church! She wants her 2 boys to be missionaries when they are older, and she is so excited to be a member of the church one day. So that was our miracle for Tuesday. On Wednesday we rode our bikes to Joho. Yeah I should have listened to Elder Ghettavong when he told me it was 'really far.' I think it was about 30+ km round-trip. We met one of our RC's out there, because she wanted to go visit members with us. She's going to be a great missionary. Then we biked another 5 km out to another RC's house. She was baptized about 2 months ago, along with her two little kids, and just found out she only has a few months left to live. She was diagnosed with cancer a while ago, and it's spread to the point where the doctors don't really know what to do anymore. On Wednesday I felt like a representative of Jesus Christ. Rather than just going through routine, checking off my 'to-do's', or racking up numbers, I really felt like I was where God wanted me to be. I know that as missionaries, we are truly 'His hands.' Although I felt so sad to see this woman in the state that she was, I could tell she wasn't in despair. She had hope. And not necessarily hope that she would experience a miraculous recovery, or that her pain would disappear, but hope that this isn't the end. I was surprised at how happy and upbeat she was, even though all she can do is lay in bed. She knows that she's found God now. She knows that she made that covenant with Him that if she is faithful, all will be well with her in His kingdom. 
I know I am here to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that's what I do every day. But in the process, I am learning so much from seeing the faith of these people. They're teaching me!

Until next time,


Sis. sTeele

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Can time slow down please?

Happy December.

This week we did a lot of traveling...which is ok sometimes, but when you have long bus rides week after week, it starts to get old. we had to go to Bangkok to renew sis. Phavadee's VISA so she wouldn't get kicked out of the country. it's been pretty crazy in Bangkok lately because there have been some political riots going on. i really don't know much about it because i'm way out here in Korat, and i'm not exactly allowed to watch the news or anything like that, so i'm kind of in the dark. anyway, we spent pretty much a whole day in Bangkok, because the buses were super full that day, because it was Father's Day in Thailand.
We started teaching a new investigator this week, and she said she loves coming to the church because she feels better than she feels in any other setting. She said that the members are different than any people she's ever met. She's so excited to keep learning, and  is progressing really well. We taught her on Sunday about the Restoration. One of the members in our ward (she is from the Philliphines) wanted to help us teach, even though she knew she couldn't speak Thai. She shared her testimony in English, and we translated, and the Spirit was so strong. I know our investigator came out of that lesson REALLY wanting to learn more and to read the Book of Mormon, because of the Spirit. No matter what language we speak, the Spirit speaks all languages. And I know that this investigator knows that God loves her.

I can't believe how fast time flies. Sometimes I wish I could slow it down. Korat has been my refiner's fire, but it has also been my little heaven on earth. I love these people more than I can say, and I am so happy. I am so thankful to God for the opportunity He has given me to be a missionary, and to see His hand all the way over here in Thailand.
Hope you have a fabulous week!


Sis. Steele
Bangkok at Christmas time!  (She was there renewing her visa.)

Open wide!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

PLEASANT AND PERFECT!

December 1, 2013

wow what a week. everyone here keeps saying how cold it's getting...and i'm absolutely loving the weather. it's not cold at all. it's actually perfect. but now i'm starting to see the members come into sacrament meeting wearing full on coats, and sis. phavadee is asking if we can turn-off the air conditioning because she's cold. i just keep telling everyone they're crazy. whenever we arrive at our destination after a long bike ride, i'm still hot and sweaty. i would still consider this weather more warm than cold. but it's "cold" compared to the hot season i guess. it's perfect.

so i actually went through my planner this week so i could remember what happened this week, because a week here is an eternity and sometimes i forget little things.
Monday: FHE with one of the members. She's a recent convert, and married to a farang (foreigner) he's from the U.S. so we usually have Thai/English lessons when we visit them. anyway, FHE lately has been fun. i've been introducing the game "Don't Eat Pete" to everyone lately. i don't know why i didn't think of it sooner...everyone loves it, and they're usually super confused about who 'Pete' is. the only bad thing is that i have to keep buying M&M's, which are considered an 'expensive' food here.
Tuesday: we had to go to Udon for Mission Tour. so we spent most of the day in a van. much better than a bouncy bus.
Wednesday: Mission Tour. Elder Larry Y. Wilson of the 70 came with his wife, and the theme was 'Principles of the Restoration: found in 1 Nephi 1. It was really good, and it made me realize there's still so much i don't know about the scriptures. Also, another really cool thing: the Thailand Bangkok mission had over 100 baptisms in November. I know every mission is different, and some missions baptize like crazy. But this was the first time this mission has EVER hit 100. That's basically a whole new branch in Thailand!
Thursday: we taught Saychon. i think he must have some memory problems or something, because as much as i think we've explained things thoroughly, for some reason he still thought that we came from monkeys...
THANKSGIVING!! how could i forget? we went to a member's house with the Elders, and we tried to have a traditional thanksgiving dinner (chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, rolls, watermelon, and pepsi.) YUMMO! (by the way, i've got everyone saying Yummo now, it's hilarious.) 
Friday: we taught a new investigator. 1)she's really old. 2) she's already Christian. I've found that these type are actually the hardest to teach, because they're stuck in their previous Christian ways. in our lesson, we had one of the members say the opening prayer, and during the whole prayer our investigator was crossing her chest and whispering 'hallelujah', 'khob khun phra-jaw!' (thank you god!) the whole time. yeah i think she might take a while to convert....
Saturday: May was baptized! Miracle: she's been an investigator for 3 years now, off and on. i didn't actually meet her until about a month ago, because she hadn't showed up to church in a LONG time. so it turns out that the first missionary who taught her was Erica Eyestone! small world. May is baptized and confirmed now, and i've never seen her more happy. she wants to be a missionary in a year too. she's really become one of my best friends so far.
Sunday: our whole mission had a 'Thanksgiving Fast'. i've never really done that before; fasted with the sole purpose of giving thanks to God for all the miracles we have seen this past month. i feel so grateful. i feel so blessed. i feel so happy. i can't even really describe it...just that i feel so full. God is GREAT. i love you all so much. thank you for your prayers!


sis. steele
Sis Steele and Sis Phavadee having fun!

It is now a mission rule that we wear these at night: it says: I'm a MORMON in Thai. i thought this might help you sleep peacefully, knowing that i am bright green and reflecty on my bicycle.


May's baptism
May was first introduced to the gospel 3 years ago by Erica Eyestone!  

Monday, November 25, 2013

IT'S ALMOST DECEMBER!

hello!

well, there wasn't a lot that happened this week, so this letter might be kinda short. i've been kinda sick this week, so that's been fun. food poisoning again. it took me a little longer to get over it this time, and it's probably because i didn't really have any time to get over it. plus we went on companionship switch-offs in the middle of the week, which meant i spent 8 hours on a bus one day, and 7 the next. i think i'm gonna stay away from buses for a while. especially the bouncy ones. 

Miracle for the week: we had an investigator, May, pass her baptismal interview on Saturday. She's getting baptized on the 30th! we celebrated by making two pans of brownies.

I can't really think of a lot more that happened this week, so here's some random thoughts that are going through my head...enjoy....

i'm really hungry right now.
sis. phavadee and i made up a rap to remember how to say 'we are forbidden from looking at pornography in any form.' thai is really fun to rap to.
i finally bought some multi-vitamins this week, and i've already seen them work wonders.
we were at a market this week and a random drunk guy made me stop so he could sing and do a dance for me
i think i have a total of 20 mosquito bites on one leg
it's about to rain, and i'm very upset about it
i found the christmas CD 'joy to the world' at our house, and i've been playing it over and over, just so i can listen to the music..(yeah i'm starved for entertainment)
i really miss waldo, but i think it's going to take me a while to like dogs again. the ones here are infested with fleas and they like to chase me on my bike. the other day, one jumped out of the bushes and caught me off-guard, causing me to scream out loud and swerve my bike into on-coming traffic. don't worry i'm ok.

well that's about all i have for today, but i can't wait to send pictures of May's baptism. It's truly a miracle, and i'll tell you more about it.

love you all! oh and happy thanksgiving! i'll probably be having a KFC feast that day.


Sis. Steele

Monday, November 18, 2013

I GOT TO SEE THE LIGHTS!

Hello hello hello

This week has been soooo good. oh and just before i forget, i forgot to tell you that for my half mission anniversary, i got to go to Bangkok because sis. phavadee had a meeting for THai and Laos missionaries. so i got to spend a day in Srinakarin! my first home:) i got to visit some of the members, and see some of my RC's, and we all met at the mall and had dinner together. ah it was so good to see everyone again. plus this time i could actually kind of communicate with them because i had a few months to work on my Thai haha.

so we have an investigator that has a WOW problem...can't stop smoking. but yesterday he went a whole day without smoking! we were so proud of him. he probalby gets super annoyed because we call him a few times a day to check up, encourage him, etc. and bless his heart he wants to be baptized right away, but he has to quit first...annnnddd his understanding isn't quite there. he's the one who thought the BOM was a prayer book. he's come a LONG way though. but he still gets a super confused look on his face when we introduce anything new. we went to his house every day this week, and it's been a little bit exhausting. he likes to talk. A LOT. so half the time is spent just trying to get back on track after his tangents. love him to death though.

We met with one of our RC's and she had collected a bunch of her old clothes and was getting ready to go to the market and sell them for 10 baht a piece. We helped her take her huge bag of clothes to the market, and asked her what made her decide she wanted to do this. She said that she knows how important paying tithing is, and that she will receive blessings if she pays 10 percent to the Lord. She doesn't have a job, so she doesn't have any income. So basically, she went out and sold her clothes to earn money IN ORDER TO pay her tithing. She only made 90 baht that day, but I'll never forget how happy she was, just to give 9 baht to the Lord. And she knew that she could declare she was a full tithe payer in her tithing settlement interview the next Sunday with the branch president. Whenever my faith is tested, I can look around me and see the strength of these faithful members, and how much they are willing to sacrifice to follow Christ. They truly do LIVE the gospel. 

i got to live my dream yesterday. in thailand they have a holiday that's kind of similar to Christmas...Loy Gratrong...that's a terrible translation of how it's really spelled. FLOATING LANTERNS. we went to our favorite park (which is HUGE and people go there to exercise all the time...it's great for contacting). It has a HUGE lake in the middle too. we went with some members and one of our investigators, and the other elders. we had bought our floating lanterns already, so that was good, because it was SUPER crowded at the park. Everyone sends off there floating lights at different times, and it's either in the sky, or across the water (huge decorative floating candles that they would send off into the lake). I can't describe it with my limited vocabulary, so i'll send pictures. and even the pictures don't really do it justice, because my camera is kinda less than awesome. anyway, i basically felt like i was in the movie Tangled.

They don't really have Thanksgiving here, so happy Thanksgiving, happy eating, happy Turkey bowl, etc. i love you all!


sis. steele


Loy Gatrong Celebration



Reunion in Srinakarin

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'M EATING PINEAPPLE RIGHT NOW!

heyyyy

greetings from Korat. yes i am still here. It's so weird because in some moments i want to see other places and serve other areas, but then at the same time i CANNOT imagine leaving this place. it's seems like YEARS ago that i first came to Korat, and had no idea where anything was, or what i was doing. And now i know exactly where the best fruit stands are, which members will cook the best food, and which buses to take, etc. 

so we have an investigator (the one we found at the bus station) and he is determined to get baptized this sunday...but he still doesn't quite understand everything all the way. like when we asked him to give the closing prayer in our lesson this week, he was like, "ok, what chapter?" i guess he thought that the BoM was a prayer book, and he needed to read his prayer. hahaha. and then we followed up on his reading and he said he had prayed til page 5. oh man. so basically it just told us we need to explain everything SUPER clearly for him. we have an appointment with him every day this week, because he really is set on getting baptized this week. i have a feeling we'll have to move his date back though, because he needs to come to church a few more times.

a few random things i'm grateful for before i forget:

Koko Krunch. it seriously saves me every morning, and sometimes i can't stop eating.
Oreo smoothies. i'm not even gonna try and remember how many i ate this week.
the basket on my bike. it really comes in handy.
'hymns made easy.' where would i be without it?
sis. phavadee. oh man i love her.

sunday was a good time. sister sunshine, who is from the philipines, and doesn't speak thai, asked me to be the translator when she gave her talk yesterday. she was assigned to speak on Elder Clayton's talk: Watch and Learn, about marriage. so i had a fun time trying to translate words like: transparency, self-evaluation, and self-refinement. so after i totally slaughtered her talk for the congregation, i resumed my place at the piano, where i plunked out the right hand of 'our savior's love' for the 'special' musical number....it was...special. i've been learning a lot lately about my imperfections. even though i wish i was perfect at playing the piano, or speaking thai, or teaching the gospel, i'm thankful for these opportunities to learn to be humble, and then to be better. and whether i'm awesome or not, i feel so much love from these people, and from God. and that's what this gospel is! through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our best is good enough. as long as we're striving, struggling, and desiring to improve, that's what God asks of us.

bye bye now.

sis. steele

Monday, November 4, 2013

ANOTHER WEEK IN KORAT! It doesn't get better than this!!

well hello.

this week was so good. Obaw was confirmed yesterday along with 3 other people. Our branch is growing so fast! Our branch president is probably frustrated that we can't baptize anyone but teenagers...haha. but they're some of the only ones that are accepting and will listen. so bring on the babies. yesterday we taught one of our new investigators, her name is Peace. She's 10, and we think her mom will start learning with us soon too, because she comes and sits in on the lessons and it actually really supportive and excited for Peace to learn. she told us yesterday that she would bring Peace to church next week. after our lesson (which included drawing and coloring the plan of salvation...oh man i love teaching children haha), she stayed for a little while and we played games and then made somdam. yes i made it all my myself. we taught her at one of the members houses. Her name is Cat. And we go there ALL the time. because she's hilarious. if i'm every having a bad day, i tell sis. phavadee we either need to go eat an oreo smoothie or go visit Cat. 

Yesterday was also fast sunday. we usually start our fast saturday and then break our fast around lunch time on Sunday after church. so we had already started our fast on saturday, and then we went to a member's house that night (s. Gop) who we also visit a lot. we usually help her with her work, which is stuffing fireworks into little bags and then stapling them to colorful cardboard. she buys them in bulk, sorts them, and then sells them. so we went over there saturday night, and then she told us we needed to eat with her. we told her we were fasting, and she said if we didn't eat we couldn't go home. she's usually a joker, but at the same time, she'd be one to get offended if we turned her food down. we finally decided we would eat with her and fast all day sunday instead. and then i think that decision came back to bite us the next morning. our stomachs kinda freaked out with all her spicy food, and the next morning was not fun...sis. phavadee spent our whole time before church taking turns in the bathroom. i guess that's what we get for telling god we were gonna fast, and then being like...oh, just kidding!

i think the rain has pretty much stopped, and it's been sunny the past week or so. I LOVE IT. it's been pretty hot some days, but for the most part, the weather in Korat is perfect, and always has a breeze going. oh and just a random fact: i am now halfway through my mission! weird. well it's time to go now...miss you and love all of you!

sis. steele

Monday, October 28, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEEN!

Dearest family and friends,

I've decided that Halloween is probably one of my most favorite holidays...besides Christmas. But not many people celebrate it here. i'm quite bummed about it. i wanna have a party with our branch, but they say nobody has ever celebrated it before. well there's a first time for everything. maybe we'll go trick-or-treating as part of our finding activities this week. but maybe we'll do it reversed, because i have a feeling nobody will have candy to give us, and if they did, it would probably be some sort of fake bread filled with jelly or custard...(that's their idea of 'treats' here, and they sell it at 7/11 on every corner). By the way, i pretty much live out of 7/11 now. i think i've wiped them out of their hi-chews by now.

breaking news: i think i am now the new piano player for the branch. the guy that usually plays went to Bangkok so that he could go to school...which means our branch is now limited to singing Nearer my God to THee and Teach me to Walk in the Light every Sunday, unless i play out of 'Hymns made Easy.'

There's a big sports tournament thing coming up for the branches in our district. So probably 5 branches. All the members are supposed to make teams in a variety of different sports, and then we're all going to Mahasarakham to play. oh boy am i excited. our leaders have also decided it's important that we practice a few times a week, so we've been playing a lot of volleyball lately. except they don't know what kind of ball you're supposed to use or how much air to put in it, so my arms had bruises after two days of playing. but that's ok, because I hadn't played since i left Srinakarin, so i was satisfied.

One of the LA's we've been working with decided he wanted to give us a bunch of food this week. he sent us home with a whole bag of it....and then told us he had a bunch of clothes for us...weird. apparently they were his mom's old clothes. but don't worry it gets weirder. he included her bathrobe in the package. yeahhhh i think we're gonna keep our distance for a while.

Yesterday, Obaw was baptized. she was the one that her mom took a while to give her permission. she's been learning with us since i got here, and to se her progress from beginning to end has been the best thing ever. she was SO happy yesterday, and she has such a good testimony. and it's really not the end, it's just the beginning. she bore her testimony yesterday and said she was so happy to start her new life. she's only 16. i love her! and really we can all start over every week. because of the Atonement, we can change. we can start fresh. 

i hope all is well. i love you all!

sis. steele
Obaw's baptism

Sister Steele and Sister Phavadee, her Laotian companion

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stressed is dessert spelled backwards!


helloooooo

wow what a week! It started off kinda crazy because transfers meeting was coming up. i was 100 percent sure that neither sis. phavadee or me was moving, because she just barely got here. but on Tuesday they called and said i would be training a new missionary coming in, and s. phavadee would be moving. what?? so we packed up ALL her things, including her bike, and left for Bangkok that night around 1am. got in at 5am, went to the training meeting with no sleep at all. then later that night they called and said...oh actually you can both go back to Korat, we changed our minds. we were both super happy to go back, but it was a long 2 days without any sleep.

so we got back to Korat and went to work. we had two investigators confirmed members of the church on Sunday, and another interviewed for baptism. she came out of the room looking super depressed and told me she didn't pass. i didn't really know what to think, because i wouldn't have sent her into that interview unless she was ready. i was SURE she would pass. so i jumped out and gave her a hug and told her it's ok she would pass next time. then she started laughing, and my district leader started laughing. JUST KIDDING! hahahahaha it wasn't very funny actually. how mean. they almost made me have a heart attack. so she passed! she's getting baptized this SUnday. She's the one that her mom wouldn't give permission, and we went to her house last week and saw a miracle when her mom signed the papers. I can't wait for Sunday!

it's been raining SO much here. we've basically been biking through some rivers lately, because the streets have been flooding. all in all it's been pretty fun, but there have been a few times i've been hit by a wave and fallen off my bike into the water. there was another day that we got caught in a HUGE rainstorm, while we got lost for 1 1/2 hours biking around trying to find a members house. oh how i wish i were blessed with a sense of direction. but i figure i wouldn't have half the interesting stories i do if it weren't for my lack of navigation skills.

We watched the video 'finding faith in Christ' with one of our investigators yesterday. She was amazed at how much Christ did for her. it helped her testimony grow so much. it helped my testimony grow too. as a missionary, you're always going going going. you're teaching people about your beliefs all day every day, and sometimes don't have a moment to stop and ask, ok how is MY testimony? do i believe these things? yesterday i was reminded of why I'm here. My Savior LIVES. He is a living Being, who loves these people so much. and they don't even know it yet. i love that our Savior knows us personally and will never leave us. "He knows the way because HE IS the way."

until next time,

sis. steele

I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE!


October 14, 2013

Sa-waa-diiiiiiiikha.
All is well. All is well. Sis Phavadee and I are always singing 'come come ye Saints' in Thai as we ride our bikes. it's our theme song. 'tuk yaang dii, tuk yaang dii.' Pung was baptized this week! She's so happy, and she came to watch general conference at the church yesterday, and she has a 'Preach my Gospel' now, and is going to start studying it. wow. this week has also been awesome because it hasn't rained. haha yayyyyyy! the sunshine makes me happy. also a random thought: salt is actually kind of good for you in a way. i just learned that iodine helps your thyroid function properly. they don't use much salt here...which explains a lot about the rate i'm burning fat haha. if one of you could google-how to burn fat without exercising, that would be great. let me know what you find.
This week has been great, especially General Conference. I don't think I've ever loved General Conference so much. I thought of a few questions beforehand, and every one of them was answered. I loved David M. McConkie's talk, because it told me exactly what I need to do to be a better missionary and teacher. I loved that he said the message of the Restoration could be summed up in two words: 'GOD SPEAKS'. Of the four points he talked about, I want to work on having the spirit, and studying and treasuring up the word. I love that he said the most important part of our service is our own personal study and preparation. We always make language study plans, but I realized I've been kind of bad at making a personal study plan for my personal study every morning. That's going to be one of my goals, and as part of that I want to study the Atonement EVERY day. One of my other questions was, 'Is this the true church of Jesus Christ?' I've known the answer to that question my whole life. But I know God will answer EVERY time we ask, and this week I found that I hit a point where I was really wondering where God was. I prayed really hard this week just to know He was there, even though the whole time I battled with myself...'I should know this already, I've known it all along, why am I even feeling this way, I don't need to ask, just have more faith...'. I feel like I received lots of answers to my prayers, and to this question. On Friday I kept feeling like we should go find one of our investigators houses, even though she cancelled our appointment, and didn't really want us to go to her house. She really wants to be baptized, but her mom doesn't support her (she's only 16). Anyway, I prayed really hard that I would know where God wanted us to go that day, and not where I wanted to go. And I kept feeling like we should just go find her house, even though I was sure I wouldn't be able to find it. We probably circled her neighborhood 20 times, and then stopped to pray. We started up again, and things started to look familiar to me. By some miracle, we found her house, and she was actually happy that we came. Her mom was there, and even though we knew she didn't support her daughter in being baptized, I kept feeling like we should talk to her again. We all sat down and talked about it, and I pulled out the permission form. Her mom told her daughter to go get a pen, and she told us that she has seen the teachings of this church change her daughter for the better. We were all shocked as she signed the paper, and even invited us to stay for dinner. This small and simple thing was such a tender mercy to me, and it confirmed to me once again that God is there. He hears me. He is working WITH us. And He works miracles. And Elder Uchtdorf's talk flat out answered my question word for word: "This IS the Church of Jesus Christ." I know that's true. 

love you all so much,

Sis. Steele



Monday, October 7, 2013


hello everyone.

this week has been really good. i've decided sundays are such interesting days on the mission. let's just say i can't wait til the day when i can go to church and sit and listen and enjoy what's being said, rather than looking back every two seconds to see if my investigators have come to church or not. ok, it's really not that bad, but i will say that sundays are probably the days when i'm most high-strung haha. it's like pay-day. you get to see whether all your hard work paid off or not. alos, Bam was supposed to be confirmed last week, but she was sick. and this week her bus broke down. stupid satan. so she got to church right after sacrament meeting, and apparently there's a rule that she can only be confirmed IN sacrament meeting. so now she has to wait until the 20th, because next sunday is general conference. but on the bright side of things...we have an investigator getting baptized tomorrow!! Pung. She interviewed yesterday after church and she passed! the elders have an investigator getting baptized on the same day, so we're inviting all our English students to come right after English class...haha we're so sneaky. Pung is awesome. We've only been teaching her for about a month now, but she was ready to accept the gospel from the minute we met her. We also had another investigator come to church yesterday, and we actually found him through inviting at the bus station. He called us randomly one day and asked where he needed to go to be clean from his sins, and what color he should wear. Since church yesterday, he's probably called me 4 times, and he's already started reading the BoM. So we're excited to see where that goes. Things are going great with Sis. Phavadee, my sweet little khon Laos companion. Last night i taught her how to make pancakes. we have a lot of fun together, even if we don't understand each other sometimes haha. i'm so excited for general conference, and i'm jealous that you've already watched it. we have to wait a week for the thai translations. i can't believe it was 6 months ago that i had just come into country, and my first sunday here was conference sunday. whooooaaaaaaa. anyway, i'm so grateful for a living prophet that gives us guidance straight from God. i've always been grateful, but i feel like it's a lot more special to me now. i'm kind of craving it actually. i hope all is well, and i love you all so much!

love sister steele

Monday, September 30, 2013

HIYA!


hey hey hey it's been another week and this one's been a bit crazy.

so on wednesday e. willamas (DL) told me that Sis. stack had to go to Bangkok to renew her visa with everyone else in her group. so two other companionships came to Korat from further out in the Easan, and we kinda did switchoffs for a day. so i spent the day with sis. madsen and sis. mullen. we took a tuk tuk clear out to an appointment with First, and she was actually supposed to have her baptismal interview that day too...but she's still trying to move out so she and her boyfriend aren't living together anymore. the lesson went really well though, and she's willing to do it even though it will be hard. when we got back from that lesson, we went to pick our companions up from the bus station. while we were waiting, we decided to sing and pass out pass along cards (we're supposed to be inviting/finding people in creative ways haha). So we took the elders with us and started singing hymns in the middle of the bus station. actually there was one guy who called me later that day and asked where he needed to go to be clean from all his sins. he probably called back about 4 times after that making sure he knew where the church was and what kind of clothes he needed to wear hahaha. so we'll see where that goes. anyway, while we were singing, i realized i missed a call from President Senior. that usually means something big. ohhhh yayyyyy i love my life. he just likes to get last minute revelation haha. anyway i called him back and he said that once sis. stack got to the bus station we needed to turn right back around and get her to Bangkok because she would be moving and i would be training a new sister here in Korat. The only new missionaries that came in this past week were khon thai or khon laos (Thai and Laos missionaries). so i found out i would be training a new sister missionary from Laos! but i couldn't be at the transfers meeting because i was still in Korat. it was definitely super hard saying goodbye to sis. stack, especially because we kinda started this area together, not knowing anything, getting lost together, etc. it was kind of a crazy day, trying to get her all packed up, say goodbye to everyone, etc. while the AP's kept calling us asking when we were leaving. we ended up leaving early the next morning, meeting up with my new companion in Bangkok, and then going our separate ways. 
My cute little companion from Laos. I LOVE HER. she's the sweetest thing i've ever met, and as we've gone out and worked together, i can already tell she's going to be an amazing missionary. she's 19, but i wouldn't have guessed it, and i don't think she even needs to be trained. the only bad thing is she's always hungry, which means that i'm always eating. but what else is new? oh and by the way, yes, i am studying up on my Laotian...you know...just in case i serve in Laos anytime soon. so our language studies: she teaches me Laos, and I teach her English. and the only language we can communicate in is Thai. yeah i'm pretty sure i can't speak English anymore i don't even know how.
the past few days have definitely been weird, and crazy, and satan has really tried to get at me sometimes. but just like every other time, i have found strength that is not my own, and i know that God is pushing me through. In his strength we can do all things.
last but certainly not least, i got to ride an elephant today. so i'm satisfied. we had a very kind investigator that pretty much drove us all over Korat today and acted like our tour guide. so i'm pretty much set for the next 5-6 p-days.

love you all,

sis. steele
Riding an elephant with her new companion

Monday, September 23, 2013

OH, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WEEK...MINUS THE RAIN!


heyyyyy!

this letter might be a little scatter-brained...a lot has been going on! And it feels like all the work is just flooding in right at once and we're trying to be organized enough to keep up with it. oh and one thing i forgot to say last time...i ate the spiciest food i think i have ever eaten since being here. we went to a members house, and her mom loves us so she made us somdam (papaya salad, usually really spicy, but SO good). Usually the most peppers i've had in it is 2 or 3. so last sunday, when we were crying and dying as we ate it, we asked her how many pricks she put in it....TEN. ouch. my digestive system had fun with that one. but now at least i have added to my bragging rights. haha

we had zone conference this week, and it was SO good. the theme was true conversion. it really made me stop and think. what is conversion? it's so much more than just knowing and having a testimony. it's about BECOMING. and it's made me look at repentance in a whole different way. there's such a stereotype to repentance, that it's this huge scary thing, that it's only for when we make mistakes or do something bad. but it's such a wonderful gift! without repentance, we would never be able to change or to become better. sometimes i forget that the whole purpose of this life is to prepare to meet God, and even better, to eventually become like Him. everyone always asks 'when was your conversion?' And now i can honestly say that it has been on my mission that i have seen myself becoming truly converted to the Lord. rather than just knowing, i feel like i'm actually becoming a new person, and it's all because of these awesome people and the miracles i see from God. there is a member here, Bro. B, and on the 2 days that he has off from work, he will literally spend every minute with us, helping us teach, find new investigators, find and visit LA's, etc. He even took our tires to get fixed the other day (yes, another flat tire..). he's the perfect example of what it means to be a 'member missionary.' seriously, i think he works harder and gives more than most missionaries do. i want to be a member like him when i get back.

the first investigator that we started with here in Korat got baptized yesterday!!! it was such a great day. 4 of our investigators came to church, so they got to see the baptism. Bam was SO happy, and she couldn't even express in words how she felt, just that she was happy. It's been an amazing 3 months of teaching, growing, and learning with her, and now she's baptized! i'm so excited that she gets to have the gospel in her life. everything was perfect about yesterday, except for that the ward pianist didn't show up, so guess who got to play the hymns...yep me. i had to play the sacrament hymn out of 'hymns made easy'...oh how shameful. sorry mom, for never listening when you told me to "get more hymns under my belt."

it's been raining pretty much every day here. and if you know me well you now i really don't like the rain, because it's depressing, and wet, and dumb. but all we can really do is laugh as we ride around getting soaked, riding through 6 inches of dirty muddy water. sister stack lost her shoe in this huge puddle one day, so we spent a while wading around looking for it.

well before this letter becomes a novel, i will say goodbye! i love you all!

sis. steele

Sister Steele & Sister Stack after Bam's baptism

Monday, September 16, 2013

BAM!


hello family, friends, etc.

this week has been absolutely awesome. surprise number 1: I didn't think i was gonna get my package until transfers meeting, because that's usually how it works, but then we had a meeting with our zone leaders from Roi et, and they brought my package with them! so i got it the day before my birthday! and yes, i waited to open it. it seriously felt like christmas morning on Friday, and i was probably wayyyy too excited to open that package. and it was the best birthday present everrrrr! my favorite part was the letters and pictures from all my friends and family. mom had mentioned that it might be a good idea to not read them all at once, kinda space them out so that i could save some for a day when i need a little pick-me-up...yeah that was a really good idea...except for that i may or may not have terrible self control...and i may or may not have spent my entire personal study hour reading every single letter in the package. oops. oh well it was totally worth it. THANK YOU so much i loved the package! and it made my day. later that night, sis. stack said we were going to a member's house...but i knew something was up, because she's terrible at keeping secrets haha. so we got there, and a bunch of random people jumped out and yelled 'surprise! happy birthday!' really though it was the most random combination of people: the elders, one of my favorite families, a few people i didn't even know, the shop owner next door, and bro. nok. apparently bro. nok, the LA that's been coming back to church now, planned the entire thing and cooked a whole live chicken so we could have a feast...beak, legs, everything. the pictures should explain more. yes i ate chicken talons for my birthday. i can't even explain how much i love these people. it breaks my heart to think that i will ever have to leave them, which means i'm coming back here for sure! 

we got the chance to go to st. mary's hospital with the investigator friend we have that plays the violin too. sis. stack and i thought it would be a great chance to talk to a bunch of people/play some music. So i got to play my violin with him in the lobby, with his friend who played the cello. poor sis. stack got her ear talked off my some sweet little old lady for 2 hours....overall it was a good experience though haha

this week we have seen some pretty amazing things happen. we have been told to focus on teaching the law of tithing to less active m. priesthood holders, because that's what needs to happen to get closer to having a temple here. we were promised we would see miracles if we do this. i know that when God promises something, He keeps His promise. FOR SURE. we had a complete full day of miracles just from teaching 2 men in our branch about the importance of paying tithing. it's such a sacrifice for people here, but they know that God will bless them so much if they will just show their faith. yesterday our investigator, Bam, who we've been teaching since we got here (about 3 months) had her baptismal interview. She had to wait 3 months because she's only 13. SHE PASSED! i had no doubt that she would though. i have never seen someone more happy, and i have never been more happy. again, i can't even explain the joy i feel. i love this sweet girl so much, and yesterday was perfect. it was a perfect day. we have started teaching 3 other girls, First, Cartoon, and Pung, and they all want to be baptized. it's crazy to look back at the days when sis. stack and i could barely find anyone to teach, would go inviting all day, and would struggle just to find new investigators. and now we are seeing miracles. we're seeing that there are people that God has prepared, that are SO ready to follow Jesus Christ. everything that has happened this past week is all from God, and it's so cool to know that no matter how weak or inexperienced i am, i can't mess His work up, because He is the true teacher. i've never been more certain than i am now that God is real, and that this is His work. This is the only true church of Jesus Christ on the earth. I'm so HAPPY!

thank you for everything, i really can feel your prayers. love you all so much!

sis. steele

Enjoying the birthday package!

22 candles???

Sis Stack, First, and Sis Steele

Birthday dinner in Thailand!

Monday, September 9, 2013

LIFE IS GOOD!

now that i finally know my way around this place, time is moving too fast! i can't believe it's already september...what??

so our english classes with the soldiers have been going well. it's still kinda stressful to do all the prep for it each week, but i really like teaching, and we have a lot of fun. plus, the head army guy comes to the church to pick us up in a huge nice white van, and they give us orange juice. so there are definitely good things coming from this. also, last time we had a spiritual thought/lesson at the end of class, and we introduced the BOM, and told them it could answer any question they had in life, even helping them learn English. after that, we passed out registration forms, and told them that if they were interested in learning more about the gospel, they could meet with the missionaries. after we left, we counted through the forms, and there were 15 people who were interested. MIRACLE.

We have been teaching a couple from singapore, and we've been trying to get a couple in our ward (who speak english and are from the phillipines) to help us teach them. but we hadn't been able to get a time for both of them that worked. anyway, on sunday we finally followed the phillipines couple home so we could see where their house was...and sure enough, the singapore couple lives 2 doors down from them! they already know each other because they're neighbors! MIRACLE.

We found a new investigator this week, and she's AMAZING. she came to church yesterday for the first time (oh and her name is FIRST. so it gets really confusing trying to form sentences. the names here are super weird. aka: "well, we can just have FOCUS focus on FIRST, because FIRST needs friends at church. But it's hard because we won't even be able to focus on FIRST and it's FIRST's first time at church. Oh and after church we can go teach ICE and IN with SNOW WHITE." something like that...) anyway, First loved everything, and wants to be baptized. she even asked if she could take a sunday school manual home to read....wowwww. MIRACLE. oh and one more random thought about First...she kept telling me how tall and beautiful i was...and then said that if i was skinnier i could be a model. hahahaha. ouch. i don't even care. i'm fat and happy.

i just want to say thank you for all of your love, prayers and support. i live for your emails each week, and i love hearing that everyone is happy. i love being a missionary, i love these people, i love the gospel, i love life.

sis. steele